News Archives for 2021-09

Apple issues stump orchard owners

Your guess is as good as the orchard owners themselves when it comes to some issues seen with this year’s apple crop. Wood Orchard owner Steve Wood has been trying to figure out why some of his honey crisp trees have had good years while others hardly produced any fruit this season. The cortlands and macintosh apples in his fields he believes are smaller than in years’ past. Wood has been producing apples long enough to know that other orchard owners in the state are seeing similar things and that every year is different. He thinks some of the early season weather may be the reason why the apple crop is good but not as great as it could be.

The dry months of May and June may have also contributed to some of the apples not reaching their full potential. Wood believes that no matter what kind of apple you are looking for that you will not have to try too hard to find it.

Sturgeon Bay Police warn of bank scam

A scammer may be trying to get into your bank account and the Sturgeon Bay Police Department is making sure you see the red flags. The department has received two separate reports of fraud involving a person posing as an employee trying to switch banking information. Through email, the scammer is trying to move a payroll direct deposit to a different account that belongs to a fake employee. The Sturgeon Bay Police Department says the recent cases involve Green Dot Bank, which is an online bank with no physical locations. The incidents serve as an important reminder to never provide banking information or personal information over the phone or email of someone you do not know.  Making sure the institution is on the FCA Register of regulated companies is also a good sign of whether the company is legitimate or not. Like other cases of fraud, you should also report the attempt to local law enforcement so it can be investigated.  

 

Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Police Department

Habitat, housing partnership names first partner family

Your curiosity on who the county’s newest partner family is was finally answered Thursday morning in Sturgeon Bay. Door County Habitat for Humanity and the Door County Housing Partnership Trust announced Melissa Krueger and her children will be the owner of one of the two homes being built by the organizations. It is the first time Door County Habitat for Humanity and the Door County Housing Partnership Trust have collaborated on an affordable home for a local resident. It was a long wait for Megan Dietz and Lori Allen of Door County Habitat for Humanity, who usually have the partner family announced before the foundation is often poured. Allen says it has been worth the wait.

Jim Honig from the Door County Housing Partnership says the home will be able to remain affordable for homeowners for years to come.

Both Door County Habitat for Humanity and the Door County Housing Partnership Trust is donor-supported, but you can also help out with the home build at the site on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

 

 


Extinguisher saves Gibraltar hotel room

A fire inside a vacant hotel room in the Town of Gibraltar earlier this week is giving you more of a reason to keep an extinguisher nearby in your home or business.

 

Gibraltar Fire and Rescue shared the details of a Tuesday evening fire on Wednesday after having to cut their monthly Mid-Door training session short. An employee at the Cedar Court Inn discovered the fire in the single, unoccupied room and began using an extinguisher to battle the flames until firefighters could arrive at the scene before 6:30 p.m.  Thanks to the hotel employee’s efforts, an additional fire extinguisher and a little bit of water were all that was needed to finish the job.

 

Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges credits the quick action of the employee for helping save the structure. He added it was the second time this month where an extinguisher was used to suppress a fire until crews could arrive.

 

The Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, and Egg Harbor Fire Departments along with the Door County Emergency Services, Door County Sheriff’s Department, and Wisconsin Public Service also responded to the call.

 

Photo courtesy of Gibraltar Fire and Rescue

 

 

Critical Race Theory a non-issue for local schools

You will not find much discussion about critical race theory at local school districts even as Assembly Republicans took aim at the topic on Wednesday. An Assembly Republican-led committee passed a bill along party linesprohibiting public schools from teaching students and training employees topics considered to be anti-racism and anti-sexism. Critical Race Theory was argued at school board meetings across the state ahead of the new academic year with parents demanding access to teaching materials.  Opponents to the measure say it takes the decision-making away from local school districts and oversimplifies the topic. NAACP Dane County Branch President Greg Jones thinks Critical Race Theory should not be taught in K-12 classrooms but he told DoorCountyDailyNews.com in August that Black history could be taught better. Southern Door, Sevastopol, Kewaunee, and Luxemburg-Casco School Districts have received inquiries on whether they were teaching it to their students. Southern Door School District Superintendent Chris Peterson says it is not being taught and it is not in their plans either.

Luxemburg-Casco and Sevastopol echoed those sentiments, saying the board has no interest in entertaining its introduction into the classroom. Kewaunee Principal Mike Bennett says the topic has not been brought up at a school board meeting, but he says he has had discussions with people about it, but that is as far as it went.

Feldt gives sneak peek at county budget

You could potentially find something that has not been seen in the Kewaunee County budget in the last 10 years when it is formally discussed next month. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt distributed the proposed 2022 budget to board members during Tuesday’s meeting. The tax levy currently sits at $12.8 million while the total expenditures stand at $24.8 million. Taxpayers will see a rate of 6.88 percent, which is the first time it has been below seven percent in a decade and a decrease of 6.9 percent. More details will be discussed at upcoming committee meetings and the budget hearing on October 19th, but Feldt touted other highlights during his administrator’s report.

In other Kewaunee County Board business, members will have to be present in order to vote on agenda items. The board may discuss at a future time an alternative plan for unforeseen circumstances like another pandemic where they would have to conduct the county’s business but are not allowed to meet in person. The board also recognized Chuck Wagner and his 22 years of service as a district supervisor.

 

 


Door County sees 50-plus new tests in two days

Door County’s COVID-19 Situation Report put a damper on otherwise positive news from Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Out of 138 tests performed since Monday, 52 came back positive. The county also reported five new hospitalizations. In the state, the number of positive COVID-19  tests dropped to 2,857, a drop of over 100 from the day before. The average number of deaths stayed steady at 12. Door County’s vaccination rate still hovers above 70 percent with the public health department offering vaccine clinics on September 23rd in Sister Bay and every Wednesday at its offices in Sturgeon Bay.

DCEDC holds 32nd luncheon; local businesses win awards

Representatives from Door County businesses you’ve come to love made their way to the 32nd Door County Economic Development Corporation Investor’s Meeting Luncheon. After not having the luncheon in 2020 due to the pandemic, the DCEDC and their Board of Directors welcomed back guests to celebrate Door County’s business developments and perseverance. DCEDC’s executive director, Steve Jenkins, discussed their accomplishments and the help they could give Door County businesses since March of 2020.  

 

 

Jenkins also showed pride in the DCEDC’s special revolving loan fund worth over $500,000 to provide businesses low-interest loans. To date, $290,250 has been awarded to businesses from the fund. The event’s keynote speaker was Director of Corporate Communications, Leadership Development, and Training for Kwik Trip, Jon McHugh. He presented on the need for purpose and compassion in the workplace and with customers. Though he was unable to offer any official updates on the speculation of two Kwik Trips coming to Sturgeon Bay, he did tease the thought, ending his message by saying, “see you in 2022.”
 

Three businesses and their administrators were awarded at the luncheon. The Lighthouse Award, which goes to the established business of the year went to the Washington Island Ferry Line and was accepted by Hoyt Purinton. The Range Lights Award was given to Door Community Child Development Center and accepted by Alexis Fuller. The Lightkeeper Award, which is given to the Women and Minority-Owned Business of the Year, was won by Spot and Space and accepted by Jennie Bexell. 

Scholarships make way for more YMCA members

The YMCA is pushing their membership renewal to all members, especially if you receive a scholarship to financially assist you or your family’s membership. If you are a recipient, you’re urged to reapply by the end of September. This is so the Door County YMCA can assess any occupational and income changes and then offer you a new rate. The scholarships are awarded to those successfully enrolled in the YMCA’s Membership For All program, which is a sliding scale fee to help families regardless of income. Because of the program, Director of Financial Development, Membership, and Marketing Tonya Felhofer says you shouldn’t let the YMCA price tag you’ll see on their pamphlets scare you away. 

 

 

The YMCA’s annual campaign fund, which typically raises over $500,000, is a big help to membership assistance. Felhofer says the YMCA is also encouraging you to renew your membership by the end of the month if you use the Northern Door facility in Fish Creek. 


Is labor shortage a fair term?

The labor shortage being experienced in communities such as Door County this summer may not be as simple as you think. According to the latest Department of Workforce Development’s jobs report, which doesn’t adjust for seasonal employment, Door County had a 4.4% unemployment rate and Kewaunee County’s was 3%. Opportunity Wisconsin’s program director, Meghan Roh says she doesn’t think the term “labor shortage” covers the nuance of the situation. Roh also disputes the thoughts that enhanced unemployment benefits were the driver in some employees not returning to work and that ending them doesn’t guarantee a surge in employment. Roh adds there are systemic reasons you may have to choose between the workforce and staying at home that we have the opportunity to address. 

 

 

Roh also notes that having to make the decision between affordable and unaffordable health insurance can also be a workforce deterrent, which she hopes is addressed in Congress. Door County’s unemployment rate was at its 2021 peak in February, when it was at 7.5%. Roh says that in recent data they are seeing disputes that ending unemployment benefits helped states that did it months ago. She looks forward to seeing the long-term data now that the benefits have ended nationally. 

Sturgeon Bay bumps up snow removal, lawn mowing fees

You may want to think twice the next time you call for the city of Sturgeon Bay to remove snow or mow your lawn. In the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, a resolution was passed increasing the fees by $15. City Administrator Josh VanLieshout said each year they try to revisit the fees for city services to make sure they are covering the actual cost of providing the services. VanLieshout added that the city is trying to get out of snow removal and lawn mowing for private owners, as those can detract from other necessary services. 

 

 

He said he finds it reasonable to increase those rates by $15 across the board. The new price for snow removal will be $125 plus tax initially and then raised by $25 with each subsequent occurrence. The lawn mowing fee will be $250 plus tax initially before the price goes up to $25 with each additional occurrence. The park shelter rental price also increased for residents and non-residents, and that price varies based on the size of each crowd. 

 

Public Works Director Mike Barker explains that the lawn mowing presents more issues than the snow removal, and the subsequent $25 fee isn’t because the city is trying to make a profit. 

 

 

Alderperson Spencer Gustafson shared concern for some residents who may have limitations in their ability to mow or remove snow and also paying for the services. Mayor David Ward says they’ve often been observant of hardship cases and that’s something they’ll try to continue doing.

Several second readings approved at Common Council meeting

You’ll start seeing words put into action by the city of Sturgeon Bay in the near future. At the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting on Tuesday, finishing touches were put on a few different projects or code changes that had been in the works for several weeks or months. The city put discussions on the 53-unit Breakwater Residences to bed for the time being, as the Planned Unit Development was approved, giving an official go ahead to the housing project. Common council also approved an amendment to the provisions for their room tax ordinance, increasing the tax from 5.5 percent to 8 percent. 

 

The council also approved the second reading of an ordinance that will allow lawful property owners or occupants to prohibit use of bicycles, play vehicles, and in-line skates on their property. Ackerman Street will also be vacated after the council approved the resolution to discontinue it. A public hearing on Ackerman Street was offered but there were no speakers. The city will also charge more for lawn mowing and snow removal, as the council adopted a resolution to increase the fees for the city to do those tasks on your property. 


Can Door County childcare options build back better?

You may soon see help on the way for Door County families in search of child care. The absence of affordable childcare options has been well documented in Door County and Family Friendly Wisconsin State Director Brita Olsen says the concerns are echoed across the state. Olsen believes there’s hope to ease the local childcare shortage through proposals in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. 

 

 

The scarce child care scene in the area was noted as a catalyst in the local unemployment rate to DoorCountyDailyNews.com last month by Lakeshore Cap’s Colleen Homb. Olsen compliments the agenda on being designed to help working families. Proposals surrounding childcare in President Biden’s agenda include publicly supported universal preschool for three and four-year-olds, ensuring that no middle class family pays more than seven percent of their income in child care, and an extension of the monthly child tax credit. According to whitehouse.gov, 56 percent of children under the age of six do not have good childcare options and that through the agenda middle-class families would save an average of $14,800 per year.

COVID-19 cases jump up from Monday

In Wisconsin’s COVID-19 report on Tuesday, the seven-day average for cases and deaths made an increase from Monday. The seven-day average for cases on Tuesday was 2967 and for deaths, it was 12, which is one more than Monday. In Wisconsin, 56.3% of residents have at least one vaccine dose and 53% are fully vaccinated. 

 

Both Door County and Kewaunee County’s public health departments are making sure to let you know about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and urging you to get yours. Kewaunee County Public Health held a vaccine clinic on Tuesday but also encourages you to give their office a call to schedule an appointment if you haven’t got yours yet. 

 

Door County Public Health recently shared statistics about the vaccine’s ability to fight the predominant Delta variant. One point said that the age-adjusted rate of COVID-19 hospitalization among not fully vaccinated people is nine times higher than the rate among fully vaccinated people. Another point said that the vaccines are still highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death from the Delta variant.

Kewaunee County well prepared for nuclear plant emergency

In the event of an emergency at the Point Beach Nuclear Plant in Two Rivers, you can be assured that Kewaunee County Emergency Management is as prepared as you can be. Kewaunee County passed its portion of a biennial Plume Pathway Emergency Response Excercise, which was evaluated by FEMA, and focused on the ability to protect the health and safety of the public potentially in danger in the plant’s 10-mile radius. Kewaunee County Emergency Management Director Tracy Nollenberg explains that you don’t need to reside in a ten-mile radius to be affected by an emergency at the plant, and their preparedness is a benefit to all in Kewaunee County. 

 

 

FEMA’s preliminary results showed that Kewaunee County had no planning issues detected. The exercise also tested the county’s internal and external communications, evacuation protocols and routes and traffic impediments that could impact evacuation. In an emergency evacuation, the Kewaunee County reception center is the Luxemburg-Casco Intermediate School, in which evacuees would get monitored for radiological contamination and to gain further assistance. The final FEMA report is expected to be available within ninety days. 

 

(Photo from nexteraenergyresources.com)

Senator Jacque discharged from hospital; still in recovery

After a stay in a local hospital due to COVID-19 that lasted over a month, State Senator Andre Jacque has been released. In mid-August, Jacque was placed on a ventilator and according to a statement from Jacque’s office, he has a ways to go as he continues respiratory and occupational therapy but is breathing well and making substantial progress toward regaining his health. 

 

Jacque has not confirmed whether or not he had been vaccinated for COVID-19, but after his hospitalization, his wife Renee made a plea encouraging others to get vaccinated. Jacque’s illness was part of a family outbreak, in which five of their eight family members tested positive for the virus. 

Playwright offers hope through grief

Rogue Theater’s production of “The Loss World Monologues” may be a source of light during a period of grief. Playwright Mary London Szpara wrote the book “The Loss World” after her husband Michael died in 2004 after a long battle with hepatitis C and its side effects. Years later, she adapted the book into a play showcasing a diverse group of women on their own journey of emotional healing. Szpara says it was important for her to capture her thoughts while grieving.

Szpara grew up in Kewaunee County and made Door County a vacation destination her entire life. Door County was one of the last places she and her husband visited before his passing. Szpara says having her play performed in Door County is almost like her story coming full circle.

The show runs from September 24th through September 26th in the upstairs room at Door County Fire Company in Sturgeon Bay with a portion of the proceeds benefiting HELP of Door County.

Farmers making big strides on harvest

You will find plenty of action in area fields as many farmers are finishing their harvest and looking ahead to planting in some cases. The United States Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday that 56 percent of the corn silage crop is harvested, which is one day slower than last year but still more than a week faster than years past. That could be due to recent rains in the state that soaked northern and southern Wisconsin but left central portions of the state relatively dry. That has helped farmers like Aaron Augustian, who is in the final days of his corn harvest season in Kewaunee before they get ready to start planting cover crops. For farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties, Mother Nature has cooperated for the most part since June.

Augustian estimates it is the best corn yields he has seen in the past five to seven years. The next step for him and other farmers is to get back out into the fields and to plant cover crops like winter wheat, which the USDA estimates is about 27 percent planted.

Weather, state park keeping ferry line busy

Even with a busy 2021, the Washington Island Ferry Line is still making sure you get to where you need to go.

 

No official numbers are in yet, but Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says traffic has been strong not just during the usual tourist season, but the entire year. The shoulder season heading into the summer was busy thanks to weather allowing residents and visitors to travel much easier than other years. Another factor has been Rock Island State Park, which was the only state park to be closed last year due to high water levels making it nearly impossible for the Karfi car ferry to bring people there. Purinton says that uniqueness provided a lot of interest.

Purinton expects the ridership demand to be strong through the fall as the leaves begin to turn colors in some spots in the county. The Washington Island Ferry will stop trips to Rock Island State Park after Columbus Day weekend. The ferry is making eleven roundtrips daily from the mainland to Washington Island through October 24th.

Fr. Tony Birdsall honored for his over 60 years as a priest

After more than a year of waiting to celebrate, you will have the opportunity to honor Fr. Tony Birdsall at Saturday’s 4:30 pm mass at Corpus Christi Catholic Church.  Fr. Birdsall celebrated his 60th year as an ordained priest on June 11, 2020.  The Knights of Columbus Council 2478 planned the tribute to Fr. Birdsall last year but delayed the event until this Saturday.  Past Grand Knight and organizer Steve Partyka says everyone he has talked to has a great Fr. Birdsall story to share. Partyka describes the plans for the special mass. 

 

 

Fr. Birdsall grew up in Maplewood and currently lives on Shiloh Road continuing his love of raising chickens and growing flowers that he shows at the Door County Fair. 

 

 

Fr. Birdsall, 87, served as a full-time priest for four years in Green Bay before going to Appleton and Hilbert and served for 21 years at Corpus Christi, where he retired in 2008.  He is the current chaplain for the Knights of Columbus and regularly celebrates mass at area parishes.  Immediately after the 4:30 pm mass on Saturday, there will be a meet-and-greet with Fr. Tony in the social hall with appetizers provided.   

 

(photos courtesy of Corpus Christi Parish)

Sturgeon Bay tackling numerous new ordinances

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will address several ordinances that have been discussed and passed the initial readings when they meet Tuesday night.  The first ordinance for consideration deals with bicycle registrations, and restrictions on play vehicles and inline skates within certain areas of the city.  The council will also be looking to move forward with a 53 unit apartment building on the West Waterfront by passing a second reading of the ordinance to rezone from Central Business District (C-2) to Planned Unit Development (PUD) which is subject to requirements fulfilled by the developer Northpointe Development.  City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the other ordinance being brought before the council for the second reading is the amending of the lodging tax ordinance.

 

 

VanLieshout adds that the Sturgeon Bay Common Council will discuss a resolution to adjust park fees for shelter rentals, snow removal, and lawn mowing.  A public hearing to discontinue Ackerman Street, which is a street that only existed on a plat and dead-ended into a swamp area near Canal Road, will be conducted as well at Tuesday’s meeting which starts at 6 pm at City Hall. 

Door County active cases rise again, one hospitalized

The active cases of COVID-19 in Door County went up by 40 as 30 more positive tests were confirmed by Door County Public Health since last Thursday.  The new cases were down more than half from the 63 positive tests reported last week.  The 242 tests performed since Thursday reflected 211 negative tests as well as one listed as probable.  One additional person was hospitalized in Door County and the death toll remains at 31 since the pandemic began in March of 2020.  On the vaccination front, 71 percent of Door County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine for COVID-19. 

 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, hospital bed capacity in the state is at 90.6 percent with ICU beds at 93.3 percent.  Nearly 85 percent of all the hospitals in the state have immediate bed availability.  

 

Baumann takes literacy fight to Madison

You will have Baileys Harbor resident Kari Baumann to thank if Wisconsin legislators move on a bill looking to improve reading skills among the state’s youngest learners. Baumann testified in favor of Assembly Bill 446, which would replace the current assessment strategy with a three-tiered approach for students in 4K through second grade. The hope is by assessing literacy more often, they could prevent more kids from falling behind in their reading skills. While testifying, Baumann shared with the committee her own personal story of her son struggling with dyslexia. It took a reading program in Illinois and thousands of dollars in expenses to get him the help he needed and her son back on track.

Baumann says if this bill is approved, she believes Wisconsin could follow in the same footsteps of Mississippi, which saw dramatic improvements in their reading scores after making a similar change.

Some groups including the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction say the change would be an unfunded mandate, something Baumann says is not true.

She could testify again on October 6th when she is tentatively scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Committee on Education.

 

PIcture courtesy of Kari Baumann

Boaters rescued near Death's Door

You got to see more than just Death’s Door during a scenic cruise in Lake Michigan on Saturday.  The United States Coast Guard was called into action when two people asked for help when their boat struck a shole near Detroit Island and began taking water. Shoreline Scenic Cruises and Charters Captain Jim Robinson was on his way towards Pilot Island with a boat full of guests when they saw the distressed boat. It was not the first time his sightseeing boat had to become a rescue vessel, but he could not find a great angle to help the people because of how shallow the water was around where the incident took place.

A Coast Guard boat and helicopter came to help shortly after the distress call was placed, first with a pump to try to get some of the water out of the beached vessel and then to eventually tow the boat away. Coast Guard  Lieutenant Junior Grade Phillip Gurtler says it is important for boaters to have the proper charts in hand to make sure they can navigate around islands and sholes safely.

While the status of the boat was unknown, the two people and the dog were rescued, which left Robinson thankful for the strong Coast Guard presence in Door County.

 

Pictures courtesy of Shoreline Scenic Cruises and Charters

 

 

Pfizer gives high-marks to its COVID vaccine for kids

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer gave you good news on Monday if you want to vaccinate your kids against COVID-19. Pfizer announced it would be seeking U.S. authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine aimed at kids between the ages of 5 and 11. The Associated Press reports the vaccine is a third of the amount adults and teens have been receiving, but it developed the same antibody levels as the full dose with similar side effects. The Food and Drug Administration will still have to give it its seal of approval before it can be distributed. Last week, Door County Medical Center Chief Pediatrician Dr. Amy Fogarty estimated during a joint Facebook Lives session with Door County Public Health that vaccine availability is still weeks away for school-aged children and even longer for those younger than that.

Until then, Fogarty recommends students mask up while in the classroom and for people vaccine-eligible to get vaccinated in order to keep kids learning in the classroom. Monday marked the first day Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol had at least a portion of its student population required to wear a mask, joining Washington Island, Gibraltar, and St. John Bosco in the practice.

Kewaunee County revisits virtual voting, Sister Bay discusses administrator vacancy

Where your supervisor votes will be a part of the discussion when the Kewaunee County Board convenes on Tuesday. It marks the second time in as many meetings the topic has been brought up by the board. It was briefly taken up during its last meeting in August, but Chairman Dan Olson decided more time was needed to discuss. The Kewaunee County Board will also honor former supervisor Chuck Wagner, who stepped down from his District 3 seat in July after 22 years of service. The Kewaunee County Board will meet at 6 p.m. at the administration building in Kewaunee and is available on YouTube.

 

In Sister Bay, the Village Board will meet in executive session to discuss the recent resignation of its administrator Beau Bernhoft. After serving in the role since June 2019, Bernhoft announced earlier this month that he would be resigning to take on the same role in Little Chute, Wis. The Sister Bay Village Board will also consider a recommendation from the plan commission to approve a new condominium hotel project proposed by Gary Wesa. Their meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station and on Zoom.

Utilizing your local WIC program to make your family stronger

With struggles for enrolling your child in quality daycare in the area and the inability for some to reenter the workforce, WIC Director for Kewaunee County, Rachel Bauer, says they want you to apply for the WIC food benefits if you’re eligible. 

 

 

Bauer adds that she and others often feel like there are people who could be using WIC, which is financial assistance for shopping for healthy foods, that aren’t. WIC cards are similar to debit cards, and Bauer says the stigma some feel when applying for WIC benefits isn’t as strong as when WIC used to be distributed by checks. Bauer wants to assure you that you shouldn’t feel any stigma at all, because of the good that you’re doing. 

 

 

Beyond helping purchase healthy foods, Bauer says the WIC program helps provide resources for other assistance you may need.

 

(Photo from the USDA)

Ephraim improvement meeting set for new date

An opportunity for your voice to be heard on what makes Ephraim special and what improvements the village should prioritize has been rescheduled for September 22nd. The meeting will let residents, business owners, and visitors know what the village board sees as the top priorities the village should focus on over the next 5-10 years, as well as discussing the results of the survey that the public filled out. Ephraim Village Board President Mike McCutcheon emphasized the importance of having community feedback ahead of the two meetings on September 22nd to allow for more attendance. The meetings will take place at 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM. 

 

The results showed that the public sees improvements to Anderson’s Dock and the north-end lighting as the highest importance. The meetings were previously scheduled for September 8th but were canceled due to rising COVID-19 case numbers in Door County. The September 22nd meeting will be held at the Village Hall with masking and social distancing measures in place. You can view the full survey results which will be discussed here

Southern Door Schools benefiting from COVID testing program

Southern Door School District is taking the hassle out of getting a test if your child has COVID-19 symptoms. The district was able to get into a state program that makes COVID-19 testing available four days a week at the school. Both the rapid and the PCR test varieties are available for students and staff members if they are feeling ill. The turnaround times are approximately 15 minutes for the rapid test and 24 hours for the PCR. The district is requiring students to show they have a negative test to return to school for those that are symptomatic. Superintendent Chris Peterson says parents want their kids in school and hopes this program makes it convenient for them to get the answers they need sooner.

Like other school districts in the state, Peterson says COVID-19 has affected their operations in other ways including a current shortage of bus drivers and substitute teachers.

Archery season underway in Wisconsin

You can now enjoy one of Wisconsin’s favorite past times with a bow. Saturday marked the beginning of the archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons running until January 9th. In 2020, over 110,000 deer were harvested by archery and crossbow hunters, including 64,000 bucks. That was an increase from 2019, due in part to the uptick in outdoor recreation the state saw as a result of the pandemic. DNR Conservation Warden for Door County Chris Kratcha expects the high interest in bowhunting to continue, especially amidst delta variant concerns. 

 

 

DNR Deer Program Specialist Jeff Pritzl, says after last year’s mild winter, Wisconsin hunters can look forward to increased harvest opportunities this season. The DNR urges you to keep weapon and treestand safety in the front of your mind when you go out. 

Crossroads telling an evolving story through Archaeology

The Crossroads of Big Creek is hoping you’ll share their curiosity about how the land we roam today was built and how to best restore it. Crossroads recently announced a grant received from the Wisconsin Humanities Council which will help them with their archaeological practices and outreach. Program Director at Crossroads, Coggin Herringa, describes their current archaeological research and Fall Dig as a path to find out how they can best give back to the land. 

 

 

There’s still a lot of history to be discovered on the Crossroads soil, especially after last year’s dig revealed that First Nation People settled along their stretch of big creek. Dig participants will do a phase one study at the Hanson Homestead, in which they’ll do an extensive dig in hopes of finding the location of the original home site and outbuildings. Others will also dig at The Cove at Crossroads. Herringa says that the research project that is partially funded by the Wisconsin Humanities Council helps illuminate an evolving story. In other outreach efforts, Crossroads is emphasizing their private family sessions for yourself or your family. 

Not too late for you to think of area colleges

With a high amount of area employers looking to fill their staffs with quality employees, it’s a good time for you to think about the skills you have and how you could sharpen them. Executive Director at Bay Area Workforce Development Matt Valiquette points out the numerous quality area employers and the universities specializing in vocational education, saying that it may just take a couple of classes or a few credits to greatly increase your employability and potential for higher wages. Valiquette also says not to rule out post-secondary education based on your age or past experiences.

 

 

Valiquette adds that you can find out about your scholarship eligibility by calling one of their centers. 

Warm weather and cold drinks mark Harvest Fest return

You couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day than Saturday to take in the first Harvest Fest in Sturgeon Bay in two years. Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski said it was nice to see all of the smiling faces, and also said that it was a great start to her new role that she started on Wednesday. Ehlers-Kwaterski added that the rest of the crew at Destination Sturgeon Bay prepared a great event. 

 

 

Harvest Fest also included live music, a car show, and the Tapping of the Firkin, which was carried out by Mayor David Ward. The mayor tapping the keg is based on a tradition in Munich. 

Door County tree distributions meant to cut carbon emissions

You can help the Door County environment by supporting a tree distribution and planting program this fall. The Climate Change Coalition of Door County is distributing 650 trees to various organizations and churches in Door County, including all Door County libraries. The organizations that get trees distributed will do what they wish with the trees, and the libraries will be giving away the trees on September 28th as part of their seed giveaway. Climate Change Coalition Director Nicole Matson says they typically distribute trees in fall or spring because those are the best times to let your trees get established in their ecosystem. 

 

Matson also says that planting a tree is one of the easiest ways you can get started in combatting climate change. 

 

 

The trees being distributed are all native species, which includes red pine, white pine, white spruce, white cedar, and balsam fir.

Wearing your lifejacket regardless of swimming ability this fall

Whether you’re out trying to catch a fish, getting ready for a day of hunting on the water, or just boating recreationally this fall, you’ll want to keep boating safety and lifejackets at the front of your mind. Boating Law Administrator Darren Kuhn knows that boats will still be active for multiple activities in Door and Kewaunee counties as water temperatures cool, and says that while being a proficient swimmer is great, that doesn’t necessarily prepare you for an unexpected dip into the water. 

 

 

Even if you are familiar with the body of water or the water temperature, a lifejacket can help in an instance of getting your feet stuck in vegetation underwater. One common clothing item for waterfowl hunters are waders, which Kuhn notes that though they are useful, it’s important to understand that if they fill up with water and get into the boots, your boots can act as an anchor. He says when you have waders on and are boating to your hunting spot, you should have your lifejacket on. Kuhn also emphasizes the importance of establishing rules for safety when in your boat with your party and if you’re hunting to establish safe shooting zones. 

 

Kuhn also adds that all boaters, regardless of purpose, should use their boat lights outside of daytime and understand that they are meant to help other boaters. Kuhn also advises you to leave alcohol off of your boat. 

Winter Park getting upgrades

Start dreaming for snow now so you can see some of the upgrades going on now at Kewaunee’s Winter Park. The Kewaunee Parks Department is beginning to make changes to its popular tubing and ski hills. The stand-by areas at the top and the bottom of the hill are being expanded to adjust to the growing numbers the park has seen in recent years. Work on expanding the ski runs will also take place this fall, though it is unknown if that work will be completed before the first snow flies. Kewaunee County Parks Director Dave Myers says the improvements being made are all about incrementally improving the experience for their guests.

Myers believes the shortened season was the main reason why Kewaunee Winter Park did not see record attendance last year based on the trends he saw. If you are a fan of disc golf, you’re out of luck for the rest of the year as the county’s course was forced to close earlier this week to make way for construction efforts.

More patients taking advantage of virtual care

Your fear of the doctor’s office has been made easier over the last 18 months thanks to the growth of virtual care. Telehealthcare from primary care physicians has grown substantially in the last five years according to the American Medical Association and Medical Economics magazine.  Approximately 14 percent of primary care physicians participated in telehealth back in 2016, a number that has grown to between 60 to 90 percent now.  The pandemic forced healthcare providers like Door County Medical Center to invest in their telehealth platforms. Last week, Door County Medical Center announced that with its new telemedicine platform, it can now offer virtual care seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Chief Information Officer Erick Schrier says the advancements in platforms like Zipnosis make great healthcare available almost anywhere.

McKinsey and Company Healthcare Systems and Services suggests that 46 percent of patients now use telehealth for some of their visits, up from 11 percent in 2019. Rashes, bug bites, lower back pain, and muscle strains are just some of the concerns that can be addressed via DCMC Virtual Care. You can learn more about the process of how you can use virtual care below.

 

How it works: 

Log on to www.dcmedical.org and click “Virtual Care”. Answer a series of questions, many of which are the same questions that would be asked at a regular clinic appointment. 

Interact with a local, DCMC provider within the hour, through an online intelligent interview or video, if the Clinician requires more information.

Patients answer the questions on their own time. A DCMC provider reviews the answers, and then provides a diagnosis and treatment plan. If a patient needs a prescription, they can select the pharmacy of your choice.

 

 

Picture courtesy of Door County Medical Center

Heritage of agriculture being celebrated next weekend in Luxemburg

You will be able to see dozens of antique tractors and vintage farm equipment on display next weekend at the 28th Annual Agricultural Heritage Days in Luxemburg. The two-day event is held at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds and is sponsored by the Agricultural Heritage & Resources, Incorporated.  President Jim Rabas says the annual showcase is an educational opportunity that also entertains with demonstrations, wagon rides, and tractor pulls.

 

 

Rabas notes that he will be giving rides with his famous “Thomas the Tank” steam engine again this year.   Ag Heritage Days will be from 9 AM until 4 PM on September 25th and 26th.  The Agricultural Heritage & Resources, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization that preserves and promotes the culture of farming history in the area.  

 

(photo courtesy of Jerry Sinkula/Agricultural Heritage & Resources, Inc. )

Door County League of Women Voters urging early voter registration

Even though there are no fall elections locally, that shouldn’t stop you from making sure you’re registered well before you head to the voting booth next year. Door County League of Women Voters is urging you to take Voter Registration Day on September 28th as an opportunity to make sure your information is updated or that you get yourself into the voter rolls. They also want Door County to build off its 2020 momentum when it achieved a high voter turnout. 

 

The next time you vote may not be until 2022, but League President Pat Scieszinski says there are advantages to registering early, including skipping long voting lines. By registering early, you’re also assured well before going to cast your vote that it will count, and you save the election day hassle. Scieszinski also stresses the importance of updating your voter registration. This needs to be done if you got married, changed your name or if you’ve moved, even if to a residence in the same town, says Scieszinski. 

 

 

You’re also encouraged to register if you’ve recently turned 18. Scieszinski encourages you to check your voter status ahead of Voter Registration Day by going to myvote.wi.gov, where you can see if your registration is current and sign up if needed. The League of Women Voters isn’t allowed to register you to vote, but they do plan to hold events to draw awareness to registration throughout Door County this year. Scieszinski adds that if you have proper proof of residence and a valid I.D., the registration process won’t be difficult. 

Kewaunee County hospitalizations down; active cases up

In Friday’s COVID-19 report in Kewaunee County, positive tests and active cases both saw notable increases but hospitalizations went down from five to one. In Kewaunee County over the week, 204 people were tested for the virus and 73 were positive, compared to 131 that tested negative. There are now 68 active cases in the county, which is a 12-case jump from last week’s county report. There were no new deaths in Kewaunee County due to COVID-19 this week.

 

In Wisconsin, the seven-day average for new confirmed cases is 2227 and the seven-day average for new reported deaths is 13. On the vaccine front, 56% of Wisconsinites have at least one dose and 52.8% of residents are fully vaccinated. In Kewaunee County, 46.1% of residents have at least one vaccine dose and 43.8% have completed the series.

Major Sturgeon Bay development plan passes final step

You’ll see drastic improvements to the city of Sturgeon Bay’s fifth district over the next several years. The plan to create a tax incremental district, or TID, passed through the join review board this week and is now officially approved. Improvements with the TID will include a 10 and 26-unit housing development on the Sunset School Property, street repairs, new sidewalks, and a new playground. This is partly because of the tax dollars that the city will collect by changing the Sunset School property from public ownership to private. Before joint review board approval, a resolution establishing the project boundaries and plan was passed by the city Plan Commission and the Common Council. Fifth District Alderperson Gary Nault thought the project was a good fit for the location. 

 

 

At the same meeting, Sixth District Alderperson Seth Wiederaners said a resident even in his neighborhood was elated about the project. Fourth District Alderperson Spencer Gustafson, mentioned that the project will help fill the void left by the future demolition of the Sunset School. 

Egg Harbor increases parking fees for businesses

Your parking spot in downtown Egg Harbor could cost some businesses a lot more in the future. The Village of Egg Harbor Board of Trustees voted earlier this week in favor of raising the current $50 fee in lieu of parking (FILOP) five-fold to $250. It also capped the number of parking spaces a business could claim through FILOP to 30. Egg Harbor businesses could opt to go this route if it is too difficult or expensive to build their own on-site parking lot. The new ordinance, which also includes rescinded old rules claiming spaces within 500 feet of a business, is designed to help address the parking concerns in the village. Deputy Administrator Tom Strong says parking is a big topic of discussion when the village’s plan commission looks at new projects.

Parking is one of the subjects of contention with the expansion plan of Shipwrecked Brew Pub, which saw its discussion get tabled to the plan commission’s meeting on September 28th.

 

Picture from an agenda packet from a May Egg Harbor Village Plan Commission meeting. Image provided to the village from Baudhuin Surveying and Engineering.

Air traffic building for fall

Upcoming sporting events and fall festival season in Door County are just some of the reasons why you will notice more people taking to the sky to northeast Wisconsin in the coming weeks. Green Bay’s Austin Straubel Airport has slowly seen its air traffic rise as the country recovers from the pandemic. Airport Director Marty Piette says they are at about 80 percent of what they were doing before the pandemic brought much of the country to a standstill. Events like this weekend’s home opener for the Green Bay Packers and next week’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler will keep its fixed-based operators busy with private and charter flights landing in Green Bay. In addition to Packers home games in October, Piette expects the airport to be busy with day-trippers wanting to check out the fall colors and Door County’s fall festivals like Egg Harbor Pumpkin Patch and Sister Bay Fall Fest.

Piette reminds air travelers that even though traffic is building back up to normal, there are plenty of aspects that are not normal as of yet. You have to mask up inside the airport and on flights in accordance with federal guidelines and some landing spots do not have all of their amenities open for travelers.

Sevastopol staff, elementary students required to mask beginning Monday

A fourth Door County school district will require at least your elementary students and staff members to mask up while indoors beginning on Monday. The Sevastopol School Board voted 4-3 Thursday to require students in grades 4K through sixth grade and all staff members to wear facial coverings when indoors. The only exception is during physical education classes where the gym allows for more spacing. Masking will remain optional for students in seventh grade and up. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says he made the recommendation after discovering the majority of its six positive cases and 20 quarantined students were at the elementary level. The older students impacted have ties to kids at the elementary school. Luedtke hopes this action will help keep things under control.

No specific criteria were set to lift the requirement, but Luedtke says the board has given him the ability to either call a special meeting or to make the decision on his own. Although not as strict as the others, Sevastopol joins Washington Island, Gibraltar, and Sturgeon Bay school districts as having a masking requirement for students and staff. St. John Bosco School in Sturgeon Bay also has its own mask mandate.

 

DISTRICT COMMUNICATION FROM SUPERINTENDENT KYLE LUEDTKE

Required masking for all 4K through 6th grade students when indoors. The exception will be physical education class in the gym (the gym allows more spacing). Optional masking for grades 7-12. Mandatory masking for ALL staff. For educational purposes, if a teacher is 6 feet or farther away from all students they may remove the mask to provide instruction.

 

If one is alone in a room then one does not need to mask.

 

Follow all protocols outlined in the September 1, 2021 letter to parents.

 

Allow the use of the rapid testing for Covid.

Door County working on hazard plan

Your input will be appreciated this month when it comes to disaster management in Door County. The Door County Emergency Management and Land Use Services Departments are currently making updates to a multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan that is supposed to align with FEMA requirements. Door County announced on Thursday that they are inviting you to discuss the mitigation plans once drafted, through virtual open houses on September 29th. Having a plan in place that’s certified by FEMA lets municipalities apply for pre-disaster and post-disaster hazard mitigation funding. 

 

The open house will feature a presentation that will be shown to three different audiences at 4:30 PM, 5:15 PM, and 6:00 PM. The meeting link is here

Health Bingo sees participation increase in Kewaunee County

You may not think bingo and exercise go together, but for the second time this year, Get Healthy Kewaunee County proved the two are a perfect pair. After a successful first go-around in the winter, Get Healthy Kewaunee decided to use August for their fall Health Bingo challenge, in which participants would meet different challenges and cross them off their bingo card. Kewaunee County WIC Director and Dietician Rachel Bauer estimated that thirty more people entered the challenge than in the winter. That number could be more, however, as not everyone turned in their bingo cards. 

 

Bauer also says that the challenges work great in the summer, as they allow you to try new activities with your family. 

 

 

Bauer also hopes that the challenge continues in future years. 

Sturgeon Bay School District to mask up beginning Monday

You will have to remember to wear your mask inside Sturgeon Bay School District buildings beginning on Monday.

 

The Sturgeon Bay School Board narrowly approved mandating masking indoors just before midnight Wednesday by a 5-4 vote. Students, staff, and visitors will not have to wear facial coverings if they are eating or are outdoors while practicing social distancing. The Board of Education did outline a number of exemptions that would allow students, staff and visitors to not have to wear a mask, many of which focus on medical concerns.

 

In the meantime, the board has to develop a set of criteria needed to lift the mandate no later than October 21st. If Door County's COVID-19 activity drops to medium or low, the board will have 10 days to call an emergency meeting to change or eliminate the requirement. In a letter sent to Sturgeon Bay families, Superintendent Dan Tjernagel thanked them for their civil approach to a divisive topic and for listening to their fellow community members whether they agree with their opinions or not.

 

You can read the full facial covering motion from the school board and the letter from Tjernagel below.

 

FACIAL COVERINGS ACTION TAKEN BY THE STURGEON BAY BOARD OF
EDUCATION ON SEPTEMBER 16, 2021
“To require that all staff, students, and visitors wear a facial covering when indoors on school property just before, during, and just after student school instruction time/days and while being transported in school buses and other school vehicles effective Monday, September 20, 2021.


The face coverings section, implementation section, student exceptions section, staff exceptions section and enforcement section of the 2020?2021 Board Approved Facial Covering Resolution are applicable to this motion.


The Board must determine, no later than October 21, the metrics we will use to end the facial covering requirement. However, if Door County moves to the medium or low COVID?19 Case Activity level as reported by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Board must hold a special meeting within 10 business days to evaluate possible changes or elimination of this facial covering requirement.


And the added exemption also applies to Sturgeon Bay faculty and staff.”

The motion passed 5?4 at approximately 11:30 P.M.

Face coverings must:
Fully cover the mouth, nose, and chin and fit snugly
Be held secure through a tie, elastic, etc. to prevent slipping
Not create difficulty breathing while worn
Meet the requirements of the appropriate dress code policies and/or codes of conduct. (Board Policy 3216, 4216, and 5511)

 

Implementation:
Face coverings must be worn indoors at all times by students, staff, and visitors, except as otherwise provided herein.
No face coverings will be required while eating or drinking.
No face coverings will be required while outdoors, if social distancing of at least six (6) feet between individuals is maintained.
Students who forget or lose their mask will be provided a mask by the School District.
Alternative options or accommodations will be considered where an individual has a medical condition, mental health condition, intellectual or developmental disability, or other sensory sensitivities that prevent the individual from wearing a face covering.

 

Student Exceptions:
Individuals who have trouble breathing may be exempt.
Individuals who are unable to remove the face covering without assistance may be exempt.
Children younger than 2 years old will be exempt.
Individuals may be exempted from this requirement by a school administrator due to a
documented medical condition, mental health condition  intellectual or developmental
disability, or other sensory sensitivities that prevent the individual from wearing a face
covering.
In instances where facial coverings will significantly interfere with the teaching or learning process, an exemption may be made. This may apply to students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students receiving speech/language services, young students in early education programs, and English?language learners.
Exemptions may be made when engaging in work where a face covering would create a risk to the individual, as determined by governmental safety guidelines.

 

Staff Exceptions:
Individuals who have trouble breathing may be exempt.
Individuals who are unable to remove the face covering without assistance may be exempt.
Individuals working alone in a personal office or other non?shared space may be exempt.
Individuals who have a documented medical condition, mental health condition, intellectual or developmental disability, or other sensory sensitivities that prevent the individual from wearing a face covering may be exempt.
In instances where facial coverings will significantly interfere with the teaching or learning process, an exemption may be made. This exemption may apply to staff who are communicating with students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students receiving
speech/language services, young students in early education programs, and English?language learners.
When engaging in work where a face covering would create a risk to the individual, as
determined by governmental safety guidelines, an exemption may be made.

Enforcement:
The District will have face coverings available to provide to individuals.
Non?compliance by a student will result in the following progression:
1. Conference(s) with the building principal or designee
2. Written warning
3. Move to off?site virtual instruction for a period of time
Unless otherwise excused or exempted, failure of an employee to wear a face covering as required herein will subject the employee to discipline.
Visitors refusing to wear a face covering will be denied access to school property.
__________________________________________________________________________________
Additional information about the exception referenced at the end of the motion that also will apply to faculty and staff.


The reference is derived from page 11, paragraph three, of the COVID?19 Infection Control and Mitigation Measures for Wisconsin Schools 2021/2022 (August 10, 2021) in the paragraph below. While the guidance includes the exception in masked settings for students, the Board has extended this exemption to faculty and staff. This is not only because the same requirements will apply to students as well as faculty and staff, but because it would not help our community to have students be able to stay in the classroom when we don’t have a teacher for that classroom. 


“Note the CDC and DHS guidelines for the 2021?2022 school year include the added exception in the close contact definition for students in K?12 indoor classrooms who are within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well fitting masks the entire time. This exception applies in the classroom. . .”

 

September 16, 2021 -- School Messenger Communication


Dear School District of Sturgeon Bay Families and Staff Members,

Late last night, our Board of Education voted 5-4 to require masks beginning on Monday, September 20, 2021. I will include a link to a two-page document that contains the actual information approved by our Board so you have those details, which will also be added to the website. As you can read in the document, additional work will need to occur involving metrics since we realize people do not want this change to be in place indefinitely.


As requested by our Board leadership, I also want to summarize a major change between last school year and this school year. This change, or exception, was a critical part of the Board’s decision to shift to masking, in addition to the request from leaders at DCMC.


Voluntary masking – If a student is in a classroom and then tests positive, that student and everyone who has been in “close contact” with that student in class needs to quarantine, thereby missing school. (Note: Vaccinated students and staff do not have to quarantine but must monitor for symptoms and wear a mask for a certain period of time.)


Universal masking – If a student is in a classroom and then tests positive, that student still needs to quarantine BUT everyone who has been in “close contact” with that student can continue to remain in school, unless they have symptoms. Under the current guidance and Public Health direction, with universal masking more students should get to stay in school. Additionally, with fewer students needing to quarantine, more parents can report to work whether at school, the hospital, or elsewhere.


I want to pause once again and thank everyone for their civil approach to such a divisive topic. Our school community members continue to respectfully hear the views of others, whether they agree with them or not. Our people also understand the importance of continuing to work together for the ultimate benefit of children, families, and our community. Thank you. There are many people elsewhere who could learn from how our Clipper community behaves even in these challenging and frustrating times.


As we transition from this week to next, some information will be removed from the website and additional information will be generated then added to the website. Stay tuned and thanks for staying informed.


Sincerely,
Dan Tjernagel, Superintendent

No deaths, hospitalizations in Door County; state cases soar

Cases aside, you’ll see good news in this week’s Door County COVID-19 report as there were no new hospitalizations or deaths from the virus. Of the tests performed in Door County, 63 people tested positive and 115 tested negative. There are currently 58 active Door County cases. 

 

In Wisconsin, the seven-day average for new confirmed cases rose by almost 250 from Wednesday, as the average is now at 2110. The seven-day average for new reported deaths fell by three from Wednesday and is now 13. In Wisconsin, 55.9% of residents have at least one vaccine dose and 52.6% have completed the series. In Door County, 71% of residents have at least one dose and 67.9% are fully vaccinated. 

Friends group, Door County continue pretrial proceedings

You may soon notice higher water levels at the Forestville Dam Millpond, but the fight surrounding it is still not over. Pretrial proceedings for a suit the Friends of the Forestville Dam filed against Door County in January resumed on Thursday. Judge D. Todd Ehlers ruled on Thursday that certain evidence presented by the friends group can still be considered in the suit despite a request from the county that it not be considered. The county says the evidence should be disallowed because the friends group missed a filing deadline. 

 

The Friends of Forestville Dam are seeking an order to maintain a water level at the millpond of 592 feet above sea level, and Friends of Forestville Dam President Terry McNaulty says that would be helpful in the future.

 

 

The county and The Friends of Forestville Dam have both requested a summary judgment, asking for the court to make a ruling for their side before going to trial. The friends group stated that their legal team has requested a downstream impact study. McNaulty says they care about more than getting the dam valve closed, and their efforts include the downstream effect as well. DoorCountyDailyNews.com reached out to Counsel Grant Thomas’s office for comment but he was unavailable this week. 

Door County Emergency Services call volume up 25 percent

If you have heard more sirens in Door County this year than others, you would not be wrong based on current data from Door County Emergency Services. The department has seen a 25 percent increase over last year’s calls, which was a record year for the department. Data shared during Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting shows Door County Emergency Services responded to 475 calls in August alone, compared to 413 in the same month in 2020 and 355 in 2018. The most common call has been for falls, whether they are for the elderly or for those suffering from a sudden medical emergency. Director Aaron LeClair says help is on the way thanks to the Door County Board.

LeClair added that their call volume has increased 76 percent over the last 10 years thanks partly to the increased popularity of the area. He says they are always recruiting people to the field, something that will ramp up once the new positions are approved.

Liberty Grove expands commercial core for future historical projects

Your opportunities to learn more about Liberty Grove’s past took a step forward Wednesday as the town board approved to expand the commercial core.

 

The decision is beneficial to Greater Escarpment Organization-Door County and the Liberty Grove Historical Society as it reduces current setback requirements on State Highway 42. With the commercial core expansion, the GEO-DC would not have the space needed to build its future interpretative center with an adjoining parking lot. Stefanie Burke from the Liberty Grove Historical Society spoke in favor of the expansion even if the organization will not benefit from it until years down the road. Town chairperson John Lowry says the conversation took a long time because of possible implications to its zoning code. In the end, Lowry says it will provide opportunities for the two organizations to tell their story.

The Liberty Grove Town Board also voted to allow the Door County Maritime Museum to remove an old potbelly stove from the Mariners Park property to be displayed on Cana Island. Lowry added that items discovered on the land will have to be removed at some point and he is happy organizations like the Door County Maritime Museum and the Liberty Grove Historical Society have found items worth saving. 

 

Picture is of the former GEO-DC Escarpment Discovery Center. The building has since been deconstructed and will be torn down before a new center is constructed. Picture courtesy of GEO-DC.

Civil discourse flies at half-mast

A quick drive around the area would make you think the fall Presidential election was coming up again based on some of the complaints coming to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department.  Residents have called to complain about flags or signs with vulgar language on them that sit on private land but can be seen by the passing public. It is an extension of what was seen last fall with signage representing both political parties were vandalized, resulting in at least one person being charged in Sturgeon Bay.  It has been disappointing for Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski who says that even though it is protected free speech, it does not mean you should still do it.

He adds that nobody has been asked to take down a flag or a sign unless it violates a local ordinance, but says the owners are notified of the complaints. Joski suggests people should have better discipline to control their actions and their words with the next generation of leaders watching closely to everything we say and do. You can read more of his thoughts below.

 

FROM MATT JOSKI

Over the years, I have written numerous times on the topic of character and how we demonstrate our character by our actions. I have also written many articles regarding resilience and the way in which each of us behave when faced with outcomes we do not like or agree with. Both of these are lessons we try to provide to our children, and the best teacher there has ever been is without a doubt are actions. While it is important in a free society that our views and opinions not be suppressed, the true measure of our own personal character is the way in which we express our views and opinions.

      

Civil discord should be just that; civil. It is not always easy in the face of opposing views to maintain our composure, but if there is to be constructive dialogue and any hope for mutual understanding, that dialogue must contain respect and decency. This brings me to an issue of which I have received more than a few complaints about, and as in many instances does not fall within the realm of criminal behavior. It has to do with the display of political opinions within public view. These displays which incorporate vulgarity, have taken the form of either billboard signs affixed to private property or flags flown on private property which are visible to the general public.

       

Although it would seem that such public display of vulgarity would be enforceable as disorderly conduct, it is not. I along with other Sheriffs have reached out to legal resources and have been informed that such displays are in fact legal as protected speech so long as they are not posted within public easements or right of way. This brings me to a phrase I have used many times when asked about our obligations as community members and especially adult community members which is; just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. There are many actions we can take on any given day which although legal, fall well short of our higher obligation as contributing members of our society. There are also many examples of so called leaders who act with a complete disregard to the principles they have sworn to uphold or to the population they have sworn to protect. To these examples I would say “We can and should do better”.

        

Whether at a local level, state level, or national level, we all have concerns over various decisions which have been and continue to be made. We live in an amazing country where these concerns not only can be voiced, but should and must be voiced. While not perfect, the United States is one of the few countries in the world where we can not only question our leadership, but more importantly become an active force for change through the election process.

       

Although difficult at times, we must discipline ourselves and our exchange of ideas or opinions so as to build bridges rather than burn them. To create awareness without isolating or alienating those who may not agree with our perspective.

        

 A guide I like to use when caught up in a discussion of a subject I am passionate about is to consider the words I choose and whether or not I would chose those words in the presence of my children. While we may not be able to control the events which unfold around us, we have total control over how we react and respond to them. To those who choose vulgar words or actions, please know that I have invoked your actions as great examples of what not to do, or who to become. Always remember we are being watched by our next generation of leaders. Let us strive to form them in our best likeness. 

Door County represented in reading bill discussion

Concerns with your child’s reading may be addressed earlier thanks to a new bill being pushed by people with Door County ties.

 

With Rep. Joel Kitchens serving as its Vice-Chair, the Assembly Committee on Education held a public hearing on Tuesday discussing Assembly Bill 446 replacing the current way school districts address literacy. The current annual reading readiness assessment would be replaced by a three-tiered approach for students in 4K through second grade. The hope is by assessing literacy more often, they could prevent more kids from falling behind in their reading skills. School boards would be then required to create a personal reading plan for those students falling behind.

 

Kari Baumann of Baileys Harbor testified in favor of the bill, rehashing her son’s own battle with dyslexia and the improvements he has made since he got the help he needed. Baumann told the committee she spent thousands of dollars and 18 weeks away from home just so her son could make up for lost time with his reading skills. She told the committee a lot could have been different if this bill was a law sooner. Several organizations support the bill including the Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Reading Coalition.

 

The bill does have its opponents including the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, and the Wisconsin Association of School Administrators. They say the bill is unfunded in order to be able to pay for the extra staffing and resources necessary.

Homecoming welcomes home normalcy

Between the students dressing up as their designated decade and Saturday homecoming dance, you will find a sense of normalcy that has been missing from Kewaunee High School for over a year. Like all the high schools in the area, homecoming was either held in an altered, socially distant matter or like Kewaunee’s case, not at all. This week will mark the return of the theme days for dressing up, the Thursday afternoon tractor parade, the Friday football game, and the Saturday dance. It means a lot to Kewaunee High School Principal Mike Bennett to have these types of events return for the students.

The fall is the typical time when high schools host their homecoming celebrations, including Luxemburg-Casco and Southern Door next week.

 

Pictures courtesy of Kewaunee School District

 

 

 

 

Counties host redistricting public hearings

You can make your voices heard when it comes to new supervisory district maps drawn in Door and Kewaunee counties. The maps were drawn earlier this month after the United States Census Bureau released their final data in August. Based on this data, individual municipalities can also draw their own district lines for their elections. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says there are a lot of factors considered to make sure there is just the right amount of people in every district.

Both Door and Kewaunee counties will hold their public hearings on the proposed supervisory maps on September 21st ahead of its regularly scheduled board meeting. Kewaunee County will hold theirs at 6 p.m. at its administration building in Kewaunee and Door County will conduct theirs at their headquarters in Sturgeon Bay at 9 a.m. We have the links for both counties’ maps available here. 

 

Door County

Kewaunee County

Schools to review COVID strategies

While the seven-day average for positive COVID-19 tests continues to rise, your local school district will be taking a deeper look at their own numbers in the coming days.

 

Sturgeon Bay School District was scheduled to discuss the topic during its Wednesday Board Meeting (9/15) after a group of parents called for universal masking earlier this month. An update on COVID-19 is included on the agenda for Sevastopol (9/16) and Southern Door (9/20) as well as a presentation given by Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens.

 

The updates come after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Wednesday the seven-day average for positive COVID-19 cases jumped nearly 200 from the day before to 1,864. That is the highest it has been since January.  Forest and Buffalo counties saw their diseases activity level increase to critically high levels while Door and Kewaunee counties remain two of the 64 counties currently rated at a very high level.  Door County will release more specific COVID-19 numbers during its Thursday report.

Kewaunee County planning event for safe waste disposal

On October 30th you can get rid of junk in an eco-friendly way in Casco. Kewaunee County Emergency Management is opening registration for residents, farmers, and ag businesses to take part in their “Clean Sweep.” This is so you can properly dispose of unwanted chemicals, pesticides, dry medications, opioids, and sharp objects. Kewaunee County Emergency Management Assistant Kim Selner says the event is helpful for people who don’t know what to do with certain unused items around their household. 

 

 

Items that aren’t accepted include explosives like fireworks, batteries, and contaminated soil. This year they will take fluorescent light bulbs for a $2 charge. Charges will also exist if your drop-off includes over 50 lbs of household waste or over 200 lbs of agricultural waste. If you come to the sweep, you will have to remain in your vehicle during the drop-off and staff who are wearing protective equipment will collect your items. All items should be placed in a car trunk or rear compartment. Pick-ups should place their items in the bed. You can find more information on eligible items and registration here. The event will be at the Kewaunee County Hillside Highway Shop from 8:00 AM until noon.

How lifeguarding can teach you transferable skills

Your impression of being a lifeguard at the Door County YMCA may not account for how much it can broaden your skills and career options down the road. With the Door County YMCA still looking to fill a few lifeguard slots, you may be a fit to fill one of them, especially if you are pursuing a career as a first responder. Students at Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College are especially encouraged to apply. Aquatics Director Kurt Krauss explained that the training you get to become a lifeguard has similarities to training for other emergency management jobs. 

 


Krauss says that the Door County YMCA is in an okay spot with its lifeguard numbers despite a national shortage. He adds that more lifeguards would allow them greater scheduling flexibility. To learn more about lifeguard training, you can click here.

Red Cross broadening local blood drives

With a nationwide need for blood, you’re always encouraged to donate, and over the next two months, Door and Kewaunee counties are part of a new Red Cross approach to broaden the donor demographic. Black residents and visitors in Door and Kewaunee counties are encouraged to donate, as the Red Cross of Green Bay says that the majority of sickle cell disease patients are of African descent. Communications Director at the Red Cross of Wisconsin Justin Kern says that blood donations from individuals of the same race or similar ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients experiencing a sickle cell crisis. Kern adds that 51 percent of individuals who are black are type O blood, compared to 45 percent of white individuals. Type O blood also happens to be the most often needed by hospitals. 

 

Kern notes that you can donate blood wherever is most convenient for you, including when on vacation or away from home. Kern also says that if you donate the blood you get step-by-step updates on the journey of your blood. He says he’s had donations from a southeast Wisconsin hospital wind up at a medical center in Puerto Rico. The new approach doesn’t change the Red Cross message, urging all individuals who can to donate. Kern says that it’s preferred that you schedule a donation ahead of time, and you can learn more about eligibility and sites here. Listed below are upcoming donation sites in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

 

Door County

 

Sister Bay

10/5/2021: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., First Baptist Church, 2622 S Bayshore Dr

 

 Sturgeon Bay

10/14/2021: 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, 229 North 14th Ave

 

 Washington Island

10/6/2021: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 1763 Town Line Rd

 

Kewaunee County

 

Algoma

9/21/2021: 1:15 p.m. - 6 p.m., Algoma Youth Club, 620 Lake St

 

Luxemburg

9/27/2021: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., St John Lutheran Church, 700 Heritage Rd

10/5/2021: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Pilsen Church, E860 Hwy 29

10/5/2021: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Pilsen Church, E860 Hwy 29

Extra cleaning can lead to stronger waterfowl hunting

The opportunities for you to hunt waterfowl species like geese and ducks in Door and Kewaunee counties are opening up, but you’ll want to take steps to make sure you’re not bringing extra species back home with you. Making sure to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species is one of the most important things you can do to help sustain the local migratory bird population. 

 

When forming your setup and covering your blind, it’s best that you remove all roots and seeds from the vegetation being used. After hunting, you’ll want to make sure you do a thorough clean before even leaving your access point. That includes draining water from your decoys and boat motor. You’ll also want to clean your trailer, waiters, boat, blind, boots, and dog if you brought one. Once you get home, you’re advised to do another clean, and one inexpensive object to help is a boot brush.

 

Narrow-leaf cattails are one non-native species to be mindful of, as they will be the most prevalent for Wisconsin waterfowl hunters. Non-native phragmites, or “reed grass,” which is popular for people to put on their blinds, is a concern because it grows easily, according to Jeanne Scherer, an aquatic invasive species outreach specialist with UW-Extension. 

 

 

Another concerning invasive species is faucet snails, which can cause internal organ failure and hemorrhages to the birds that diet on them. Another point of emphasis Scherer says is to remove as much mud as possible from everything you use as that can contain have tiny animals or seeds hidden in it. You can click here for more resources on aquatic invasive species and here for a video showing how you can prevent aquatic invasive species spread. 

Local Sheriff's offices helping you assist hurricane victims

You can utilize your local sheriff’s department to help provide hurricane relief to Louisiana Sheriff’s employees and their families impacted by Hurricane Ida. The Door County and Kewaunee County Sheriff’s departments are joining the other 70 Sheriff’s offices around Wisconsin partaking in the Sheriff's Adopting Sheriffs initiative. The initiative is designed to bring relief to Sheriff’s Department employees who’ve had to leave their families to help others during disasters. 

 

Badger State Sheriffs’ Association President, Sheriff Nate Dreckman, said that too often lost in the mix of the disaster is the fact that Sheriff’s emergency responders themselves suffer major personal and family loss. The Sheriffs Adopting Sheriffs initiative typically solicits funds from Sheriff’s personnel and their families but has been expanded to the public because of the great need for help left by Hurricane Ida. The Door County Sheriff’s Department stated that you can make a donation by mail or by dropping off your donation at their Office. The Door County Sheriff’s Office is located at 1201 South Duluth Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.

Thousands of dollars raised to fight Alzeheimer's in Door County

Participants and donors for this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Sturgeon Bay raised nearly $14,000 to battle the disease at the local level. The $14,000 will help fund Alzheimer’s research and help expand services like support groups, education, referral services, and advocacy efforts. Spencer Feivor, who was a member of the Edward Jones team at the walk, previously told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that he could see how much the cause means to the area. 

 

 

The walk took place on Saturday and was held in person for the first time in two years. Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter David Grams said that they’re grateful for how the local community rallied together to bring awareness and funds to support their mission.

Average cases, deaths going up in Wisconsin COVID-19 report

Door County and Kewaunee County are both in the “very high” disease activity level category according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 database, as the state struggles to keep daily cases or deaths down. They are lumped in with the other 54 counties in the state that are also at a “very high” level. The state’s report on Tuesday showed that the seven-day average for new confirmed cases is 1670 and the seven-day average for new reported deaths is at 15. Both case and death totals are an increase from Monday’s report.

 

In Wisconsin, 55.8% of residents have at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 52.5% are fully vaccinated. Coming off of the extended weekend, Wisconsin administered approximately 49,700 vaccine doses last week, which is a decrease from over 70,000 the week before. You can get vaccinated in Door County on Wednesday in Sturgeon Bay at the Door County Public Health office from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Another clinic is on Thursday in Washington Island at the Community Center’s Rutledge Room from 11:00 AM until 1:30 PM. Door County releases their COVID-19 report on Thursdays and Kewaunee County releases theirs on Fridays.

 

Animals installed at zoo before Zoobilee

There is no need to call the sheriff’s department when you encounter a zebra, lion, and rhinoceros at the Bruemmer Park Zoo in Kewaunee.  The three life-size animal statues were recently installed and fenced in at the zoo by park staff, joining a metal giraffe that is already standing at the zoo. The animals were made possible by a $20,000 donation by Steve Bruemmer, the great-grandson of Kewaunee County Judge Louis Bruemmer who the park is named after. Kewaunee County Parks Director Dave Myers is excited for people to see the animals, even if they are not real.

More animals of the real and model variety are coming to the zoo in the upcoming months. A life-size sculpture of an elephant will be installed this spring and the zoo will begin work on an expansive pheasant exhibit. The sculptures will be dedicated and the ground will be broken for the pheasant exhibit when the Zoological Society of Kewaunee County hosts its Zoobilee event on September 25th.

 

Students, staff adapting to new Sevastopol School

Make sure you continue to travel carefully near Sevastopol School over the next several weeks as the district wraps up its construction. Sevastopol School District is still waiting on flooring to arrive for its 1965 building and the north parking lot is still not finished as of Tuesday morning. As a result, staff members have been shuttled in from a nearby church, and parents and buses have been patient while dropping their kids off at school. District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke even with all the changes, things have been running relatively smoothly.

Right now buses and parents are accessing the school off of Ripp Road, which Luedtke says takes some of the stress off of Highway 57 during the busy drop-off and pick-up periods of the day. He adds the high school students are having to make the biggest adjustments to the new building since they switch classrooms throughout the day. Work on the school’s outdoor athletic facilities is also taking shape. Luedtke says the new grass has been planted on the athletic field and the new press box could be installed later this week.

Kewaunee approves ATV/UTV ordinance

By this time next month, you will be able to drive your ATVs and UTVs through the City of Kewaunee. The Kewaunee Common Council passed the ordinance allowing the vehicles on city roads during Monday’s meeting by a unanimous vote. The ordinance follows closely what the Kewaunee County Board passed in 2019, which includes rules allowing people as young as 16 years old to drive on roadways where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less. Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek says it is something the community has been wanting for the last four to five years. He is hopeful it will become beneficial for area businesses over time.

Kewaunee was one of the last municipalities in the county to pass an ATV/UTV ordinance after Algoma and Luxemburg each passed their own rules earlier this summer. Jelinek says the ordinance will go into effect in three to four weeks while the city puts out the necessary signage.

Truck catches fire in Sevastopol

No injuries and no additional damage were caused when a truck caught fire in the Town of Sevastopol Monday evening. The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department responded to the fire off of State Highway 42 between Whitefish Bay Road and Maple Heights Circle at approximately 9:40 p.m. Crews found the truck on fire near another building. Sturgeon Bay Fire Department Assistant Chief Kalin Montevideo said infrared cameras showed no heat transfer from the fire to the nearby building and there was no damage. Firefighters were on the scene for approximately one hour. Montevideo says the cause of the truck fire is unknown as of this time.

Health departments get funding boost for pandemic response

Local health departments in Door and Kewaunee counties and the remainder of the state will benefit from a $58.4 million investment of funds established by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  Governor Tony Evers announced the funding on Monday saying “the state has worked hard this past year to put our state in the best position to recover from this pandemic, and this funding will help support our local partners in this effort to help build a robust and equitable state and ensure our continued economic recovery”.  Kewaunee County Public Health Officer Cindy Kinnard says the monies received will be used for vaccination and testing efforts.

 

 

Kinnard adds that funding will also go towards infrastructure and staffing for public health and safety.  The $58.4 million in ARPA funding can be used for expenses incurred from March 3, 2021through December 31, 2024.  This funding adds to the $106.5 million the Evers Administration has already allocated to public health departments for COVID-19 response activities in 2021.  

Minor injuries in school bus accident

Two people were injured Monday afternoon after their vehicle was involved with an accident involving a school bus.

 

The accident occured at approximately 4 p.m. at the intersection of Pit Road and County Road DK in the Town of Union. The cause of the crash was not reported in a post by the Door County Sheriff's Department. It did note that the driver and the passenger in the vehicle suffered minor injuries. The school bus was carrying passengers, but there were no injuries to them or the driver. 

 

We will follow up with more details as soon as they are available.

Homebuyers facing more competition

If you are looking to buy a home in Door County you might want to act fast to get the home of your dreams.   A fast and furious home sales market has local realtors scrambling to keep up with motivated buyers and a limited amount of inventory.  Lisa Bieri of Shorewest Realtors says the growth in average home sale prices has slowed a bit recently.  She has seen some potential buyers become frustrated and step out of the market because of losing out to cash buyers.

 

 

According to statistics compiled by the Door County Multi-Listing Services records, the overall growth in the last year for residential non-waterfront homes in northern Door County has been 47.91 percent.  The median sale price has increased over 15 percent from $320,000 to $370,000.  Waterfront homes have seen an increase of 53.19 percent with the median sales price increasing 21.29 percent to $700,000 in northern Door County.  Bieri says it was just two years ago when homes were on the market for typically 270 to 365 days before selling versus a matter of a few weeks now.  

 

(photo courtesy of Shorewest Realtors)

Ryder Cup adding to local golf interest

You might be seeing more people on the area golf courses with the Ryder Cup coming to Whistling Straits in Kohler in less than two weeks.  Area golf courses have noticed an uptick in the excitement and interest surrounding the game and event.  Brandon Hansen, general manager, and golf professional at Idlewild Golf Club says many businesses will benefit from the international golf event coming close to Door County.

 

 

Hansen says golf has seen a resurgence in the past year with people looking for more outdoor activities.  He notes the Ryder Cup can create more awareness of golf in different generations. 

 

 

The 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup will be held from September 24-26, with the U.S. team looking to recapture the cup from the Europeans who won in Paris, France, in 2018.  

 

 

 (photo courtesy of brandonhansenPGA Facebook)

Kitchens leading fight for Potawatomi State Park tower funds

Your voice has been heard, and now Rep. Joel Kitchens, Senator Rob Cowles, and Senator Andre Jacque are making sure the state has the funds necessary to rehabilitate the Potawatomi State Park observation tower. Kitchens sent out the memo on Monday looking for co-sponsors for a bill that would direct up to $750,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to repair the structure that has been closed since 2017 due to safety concerns. Dr. Dan Tingley of Wood Research and Development recently did an engineering study, discovering that the tower’s main supports and the majority of its components could be saved. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole told Kitchens and Jacque in May that the agency was no longer looking at demolishing the structure but looking to save it. It has been put on the back burner ever since, something Kitchens hopes to change with enough sponsors.

Funding for the tower was included in special session legislation proposed by Governor Tony Evers, but it was tied in with Medicaid expansion that state Republicans were not on board with moving forward. The tower is listed on the National and State Register of Historic Places.

Southern Door Girl Scouts collect supplies for caring closet

Your extra school supplies, hygiene products, and clothes could help support local students and help three Girl Scouts from Southern Door earn their organization’s second-highest award. Troop 4347 members Addison Kluge, Anna Massart, and Joslyn Uecker collected dozens of school supplies, shoes, winter coats, and other items on Saturday to support Southern Door School District’s Caring Closet.  Executing the service project is a key requirement for the trio to earn the Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award a member in the Cadettes program can earn. Uecker says it is important to keep the caring closet for those students less fortunate.

Even if you missed the in-person drive on Saturday at Wal-Mart, you can still support Troop 4347’s efforts. You can arrange pick-up of your donated items with their leaders Michelle Patza (920-256-1932) or Kristi Kluge (920-559-6783). Only 10 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide receive the Silver Award.

 

 

Door County hosts pair of vaccination clinics this week

You will have two opportunities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 this week.

 

The Door County Public Health Department will host its usual Wednesday clinic at its Sturgeon Bay office from 2 to 4:30 p.m. It will also welcome appointments for its clinic in the Rutledge Room inside the Washington Island Community Center on September 16th from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sister Bay last hosted a clinic on September 2nd and it is typically held every three weeks.

 

In its Monday report, Door County reported 19 new positive tests since last Thursday, but it also saw a number of recoveries. The active case count only went up to 223. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths reported. Door County is still among the over 50 counties experiencing high case activity.

Door County offering you flexibility with Hunter Safety

Your chance to learn how to hunt safely and get your hunting certificate is coming up and it’s a hybrid of online and fieldwork. Door County has an Internet Field Day Hunter Safety class coming up on September 28th. If it fills up, another will be held on September 30th. With the field day offering, you can do all the written portions of hunter safety and then come to the field day on the 28th to practice firearm safety. 

 

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha notes that with the concerns and uncertainty with the Delta COVID-19 variant, it’s a plus to have in-person and virtual hunter safety options to meet all comfort levels. Kratcha says that the Internet Field Day course is well suited for someone who is less experienced with firearms. He adds that the course offering also helps you meet your schedule demands. 

 

 

Kratcha also mentions the completely virtual option, for those who may not have hunting experience but are familiar with firearm handling. You can click here to learn more about the specific Door County course held at the Door County Rod and Gun Club. 

YMCA getting kids on the gridiron

While football seasons at high school, college, and professional ranks are all going, your child can also get in on the action. On Tuesday, the Door County YMCA began offering flag football to three different age groups as part of an eight-week program. The age groups are 4k-5k, grades 1-2, and grades 3-5. The program has seven weeks remaining and is located at the Sturgeon Bay High School team’s practice field. YMCA Youth and Sports Director Paul Briney says the location will improve your child’s experience. 

 

 

The football will be played on Saturday mornings and more information can be found here

Future improvements in the works at Carmody Park

When getting off and on the kayak launch at Carmody Park, you could soon be taking a concrete path. One of the Door County Parks improvement ideas for 2022 was announced, as this coming spring, the quarry walkway that goes over the grass and connects the kayak launch to the parking lot is expected to be replaced with cement. The current quarry walkway leads to a wooden path which then connects to the ramp and eventually the launch. 

 

The project will approve accessibility to the ramp, and The Friends of the Door County Parks System has shown excitement. Member Jay Renstrom says they’ll be looking forward to next spring to see if they can help out, especially as more details and questions on feasibility are answered.

 

 

Carmody Park is expected to see more visitor traffic next year, especially with the exposure to the ADA-accessible kayak launch.

Century Ride returns for year 42

On Sunday you may have noticed a few more cyclists on the Door County roads as riders embarked on the 42nd Door County Century Ride. It was supposed to be the 43rd Century Ride, but last year was canceled because of COVID-19. Event Coordinator John Mory said that he has never seen so many people excited to get out cycling. The ride reached its 3,000 cyclist limit well before Sunday, and Mory says this is the first year he’s seen the ride sell out online. 

 

About half of the riders are returners and the other half are taking part for their first time. Mory adds that a lot of the riders may not even know about Door County before the ride, but once they come they know they need to make the trip again. 

 

 

The Century Ride has 30, 50, 70, and 100-mile ride options. Cyclists also departed from the Door County Fairgrounds between 6 AM and 10 AM. Mory says the optional departure time helps disperse the bike traffic better than a race with all cyclists departing at once would. The bike ride also has an impact beyond satisfying cyclists, as those cyclists often bring people with them and those people will visit Door County businesses. Mory says next year’s race will be on September 11th and to get your spot in it you’ll want to sign up early.

Demand for Transitional Living Program increases

Finding a safe place to live after experiencing domestic violence is a challenge if you are in the process of transitioning out of an abusive relationship.  The Help of Door County has been busier than usual, helping those who have suffered domestic abuse find refuge.  Executive Director Milly Gonzales says the Transitional Living Program helps victims get out of an abusive situation for themselves and their families.

 

 

Gonzales says the program helps pay for the first month of rent, 75 percent of the second month, 50 percent for the third month, and 25 percent for the fourth month.  The support is based on available funds, and Gonzales says the Women’s Fund of Door County has generously given an $11,000 grant towards the Transitional Living Program.    

DCEDC finding new ways to educate you on careers

Whether you or your child is exploring career options, the Door County Economic Development Corporation is trying to help you learn your options. The DCEDC is part of an open house on September 29th and career labs on September 30th and October 1st. This is a change from previous years when the DCEDC traditionally celebrated Manufacturing Day by offering manufacturing facility tours to 6th and 11th graders. To broaden outreach and engagement, the DCEDC worked with  Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College to make a bigger event.

 

On September 29th, NWTC will open its university to the public and display some of the stem programs that they offer. This is a way to help students learn about NWTC and explore possible careers. On September 30th, there will be a career lab for everyone at the NWTC Learning and Innovation Center in Sister Bay. Director of Business Development at the DCEDC, Julie Schmelzer, says it’s part of their revamped focus on northern Door County. 

 

 

The career lab is done in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, which will be making the trip in their mobile career lab van. On October 1st, they will do a career lab in Sturgeon Bay. 

Shipyard Tours show off shipbuilding success

You’ll now have to wait until 2022 for your rare chance to see the inner workings of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for the Annual Rotary Club Shipyard Tours. This year, the tours that are usually held the first week of May were held on Saturday by the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay. The Rotary tours are typically the only chance for the general public to see Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding up close and personal each year. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Assistant Manager and Finance Director, Ryan Hoernke says those who came this year got to see a couple of exciting newer developments. 

 

 

The proceeds from the event are directed toward the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay and the Rotary Youth Interact Charitable projects. The event is a catalyst in the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay’s ability to award tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to local students each year. This year, the event was held completely outdoors so that all attendees could safely enjoy their tour. 


First in-person Pet Walk a success

In future years, you’ll be able to take your dog on the Door County Pet Walk with other people and their hounds after Saturday’s first in-person pet walk went well. The inaugural Pet Walk in 2020, put on by the Humane Society’s Door County campus, was virtual and Event Coordinator Lori Nachtwey shared excitement to meet up in person this year. She added that this year’s fundraising efforts for the event outdid last year’s fundraising by $9,000.

 

 

The walk consisted of a mile-long loop at Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay, and games and prizes for pets and owners. 

Stair climb honors lives lost in 9/11

You may have felt harder hit by this year’s September 11th than in recent years because it’s the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and you’re not alone as the Door County Maritime Museum and Pioneer Fire Company put on a 9/11 stair climb on Saturday. Firefighters, EMS personnel, and other participants walked up and down the eleven flights of stairs at the museum ten times, representing the 110-story walk up the World Trade Center. 

 

In a ceremony before the walk started, the pastor at the Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church, Matthew Knapp, recalled the unity the day brought to Sturgeon Bay, saying people overflowed Memorial Field.

 

 

Knapp also discussed how he would like to see that unity restored, in Sturgeon Bay and beyond. 

How you can help prevent suicides

National Suicide Prevention Week concluded Saturday, but a Sturgeon Bay psychologist says discussing resources and raising awareness about signs of suicidal behavior is essential to do year-round.  Dr. Dennis White notes that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and is preventable in nearly every single case.  He shares some examples of suicidal behavior that should be taken seriously.

 

 

Other signs and symptoms include a sense of hopelessness, uncontrolled anger, acting recklessly, feeling trapped, dramatic mood changes, or feeling no purpose in life.  Dr. White adds that suicide is preventable, and most suicidal people desperately want to live but cannot find alternatives to their problems.  He recommends that you talk about suicide because talking about it does not cause it to happen.  Help is available at your local mental health clinic or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 

 

Dr. White's entire Mental Health Minute is below.

 

 

COVID-19 hospitalizations under control for now

A hospital bed will be waiting for you if you need it even as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise nationally.  The Wisconsin Hospital Association reported Thursday that only seven intensive care unit (ICU beds were available and the total number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has been on the rise in northeast Wisconsin since July. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says they are busy like the Green Bay hospitals are, but they are not at the point where drastic measures need to be taken.

Door County announced two hospitalizations earlier this week. Heise says as of right now they are not backing off of elective procedures like they were forced to do last fall when the pandemic hit its peak locally. 

New Administrator vacancy in Sister Bay

The search for a Sister Bay Village Administrator is already underway after the recent announcement of Beau Bernhoft’s departure from his post this week. Bernhoft’s resignation is reportedly effective on October 8th. Bernhoft accepted a position as the administrator in Little Chute. Bernhoft originally came to Sister Bay from the village of Oak Creek in June of 2019, when he took over for Zeke Jackson. 

Attempted murder suspect thought to be in Kewaunee County arrested

Your mind can be at ease now knowing that an attempted murder suspect who officials warned may be in the Kewaunee County or Door County area is now in custody. Officials arrested Cody Krueger, who was wanted in connection to an attempted murder in Oconto, around 7:15 AM on Saturday morning near the town of Lena. Krueger had been known to frequent the Algoma area, which was listed as a potential hiding spot in the week-long pursuit, along with Door County. 

 

Officials received a call about a reckless driver in Lena on Friday around 3:15 PM and the driver, identified as Krueger, was able to flee from the pursuit on foot. After receiving a tip about Krueger’s whereabouts, officials executed a search warrant at a Lena residence but did not locate Krueger until Saturday morning, when he was found hiding in a wooded area. The Oconto Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Oconto Police Department, Suring Police Department, Gillett Police Department, Oconto Falls Police Department, Lena Police Department, The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Oconto County Emergency Management. 

Casco school gets a new name

When Luxemburg-Casco School District officially dedicates its new diesel program site later this month, you will notice something nostalgic about it. Students were welcomed to the newly christened Casco Career Academy this month, which will house students from surrounding districts like Denmark and Kewaunee in its alternative high school and diesel technician programs. The school board chose a green and white color scheme, which oddly enough were the same colors the building boasted when they were the Casco Comets before merging with Luxemburg. With all the improvements made inside, Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the feedback they have received so far has been great.

Before the diesel program area is dedicated on September 29th at 5 p.m., the Luxemburg-Casco School Board will decide on accepting a tractor-trailer that will give students hands-on experience with a real semi.

New murals a boost to Algoma

Next time you go through Algoma you’ll see a fresh coat of paint on a couple of the town’s businesses. Since the Community Improvement of Algoma’s original mural project with buildings in town in 2006, they had touch-ups done to them, which led to the idea to add a couple more murals to area businesses this week. Community Improvement Board President Nicole Meverden said that they wanted murals to be painted this year that were more contemporary-based. With the help of the staff at Yonder, Community Improvement came up with the idea of a “park of flowers” floral mural which you can see on 2nd street, and a Paint By Number mural that you can view at Steele Street. Meverden says the town seems to enjoy the new murals.

 

 

Meverden adds that it would be nice to do more murals in future years. 

Kewaunee County has COVID-19 death in consecutive weeks

Kewaunee County is now at 37 total COVID-19 deaths per their weekly COVID-19 report that came out on Friday. This is the second straight week that a death has been recorded. This week there were also five hospitalizations. Seven more active cases were added to the weekly report and there are now 56. In Kewaunee County, 45.6% of residents have one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 43.3% are fully vaccinated. 

Rescued bald eagle released on Washington Island

If you see a bald eagle soaring on Washington Island, it may be a recently recovered one. On Thursday, Wildlife of Wisconsin’s Jerry Theys released a bald eagle who was originally injured and rescued on the island. On July 28th, the Open Door Bird Sanctuary was notified about the eagle and after a call with WIldlife of Wisconsin, they were advised to perform the rescue. After OBDS Executive Director Rob Hultz and volunteer Bill Bauernfeind secured the eagle, it was put in the care of Wildlife of Wisconsin and placed at their rehab facility. Hultz says that the eagle had a bruised shoulder that was enough to hinder its flying ability. He suspects that stormy weather was a factor in the injury. 

 

 

Hultz says the eagle responded great to treatments and credits the people who saw the bird and made sure it was safe until someone qualified came to the rescue.

 

 

The eagle was able to be released near its rescue spot, which Hultz says is always the goal when a bird is placed back into the wild. 

 

(Photo by Steve Waldron)

Kewaunee Common Council to decide on outside counsel

You could soon see a pair of lawyers advising the Kewaunee Common Council on city matters. Monday’s meeting will see the return of discussion of bringing in outside counsel for members of the council to talk to if they cannot have access to city attorney Randy Nesbitt. The Committee of Whole voted 6-2 last month to approve a resolution making the request after voicing their frustrations with Mayor Jason Jelinek and City Administrator Fred Schnook. Council President John Blaha explained why they went that route shortly after the COW meeting.

Jelinek expressed his disappointment in the route being taken by the council prior to the resolution’s approval last month.

The Kewaunee Common Council will also host its second reading of an ATV/UTV ordinance that could bring the vehicles to city streets when it meets on Monday at 6 p.m.

Mandates, increased testing included in COVID-19 battle strategy

You and your family may be facing more mandates and restrictions in the near future after the Biden administration announced their strategy to get a handle on the rising cases of COVID-19. President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he is calling on all workplaces with more than 100 employees to require vaccination or be subjected to weekly COVID-19 tests. The strategy also includes providing easy access to booster shots, increasing aid to schools to stay open, and improving support for COVID-burdened hospitals. In recent weeks before Thursday’s announcement, people were asked if they were concerned if new restrictions would creep in due to COVID-19. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck said last month he feared that the variant would destroy the progress that has been made.

Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel stated earlier this month that while he fears new restrictions could come, he knows they have a job to do.

Rep. Mike Gallagher said last week that people should be allowed to live their lives after absorbing the financial and mental health costs of the last year.

Republican governors in states like South Dakota, Missouri, Texas, and Wyoming are preparing for litigation, saying the collection of mandates and new restrictions are federal government overreach.

 

Screenshot from WhiteHouse.gov feed

 

 

 

 

Firefighters remember impact of 9/11

Door County is approximately 1,000 miles away from New York City, but you can still see the impact of a single September day 20 years later. Of the over 2,900 people killed in the September 11th attacks, 343 New York City firefighters responding to the World Trade Center. WPVI in Philadelphia reported that another 227 firefighters have died in the years since due to 9/11-related illnesses. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht was on the way to a paramedic meeting when he learned of the attacks. As people’s eyes were glued to their televisions, Hecht says they saw what emergency responders are willing to do for their community.

Unlike the military that saw a small spike in the wake of the attacks, local fire departments did not. Hecht did add that the firefighters that did show up were more engaged.

Hecht thanks the community for all of their support over the years and encourages everyone to take some time to remember the events of 9/11. The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department and the Door County Maritime Museum plans on honoring the lives lost with a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Saturday inside the new tower.

Highway 42 closed in Ephraim

You will have to pick a different route if you planned on driving through Ephraim today. Crews shut down the stretch of State Highway 42 between Orchard Road and North Shore Road at 6 a.m. this morning to repair a broken sanitary sewer line. It is expected to reopen at 8 p.m. Until then, traffic will be detoured onto County Q and State Highway 57.

Future of J-1 program discussed in Zoom event

You may have directly or indirectly felt the effects of the low number of J-1 visa students in Door County. On Thursday, 34 people, including Door County business owners, joined in a Zoom call to discuss the current state of the J-1 Visa program and possible solutions and resources going forward. Business owners expressed their concerns and discussed their difficulties patching their business together through the season with minimal staff. The session was headlined by Attorney Glenn Mandel with USITEX Law, who spoke and took questions.

 

Mandel said that travel restrictions and employee shortages in many students’ home countries were also a barrier, but many students may want to come and work in the United States. One possible solution that was brought up to alleviate staffing concerns for companies was having business owners work together to hire workers. One way of possibly doing that is through the EB3 Visa program, which gives the holder indefinite or permanent residency. Those trying to attain an EB3 Visa need to have two years of experience in a specific skill or equivalent training. Mandel said in the presentation that it’s a fast-growing visa program and explains how business owners can make that work amongst each other. 

 

 

One thing that was discussed as a possibility for filling staffing needs and providing opportunities was to keep an eye on resettlement efforts for Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy. 

New scholarship program created to help local economy

If you graduated from a Door County or Kewaunee County high school, you could be one of 100 vocational training scholarship recipients in northeast Wisconsin. The Bay Area Workforce Development announced on Thursday that they are making one hundred scholarships of up to $8,000 immediately available. The scholarships are for individuals pursuing technical training leading to a career in one of five high-demand industries that include transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, construction, or information technology. Bay Area WDB Executive Director Matt Valiquette says that while the scholarships are part of a federal program and can be used anywhere nationally, the aid is aimed to help the local workforce. 

 

 

The scholarships are designed to help recipients with costs like tuition, textbooks, transportation, childcare, and tools. You can learn more about eligibility and how to apply here

How you can help mitigate CWD spread

You can help protect the state's herd from chronic wasting disease when you harvest a deer in Door and Kewaunee counties this year. Hunters in seventeen northeast Wisconsin counties are being asked to have their deer carcasses tested for CWD because they want more samples to identify where the disease is most common. CWD is a contagious neurological disease that is caused by misshapen proteins that accumulate and prey on the central nervous system. DNR Wildlife Health Conservation Specialist Amanda Kamps says signs of CWD can take 16 months to be visible, and when they show up it will look like the deer is “wasting away.” 

 

 

Kamps notes that if a deer carcass tests positive for CWD, the hunter can still choose whether or not to consume its meat. She adds that the DNR backs the recommendation by the state health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to not consume CWD-infected venison. If your sample comes back positive, Kamps suggests that you find a designated deer carcass dumpster to dispose of your deer, which can help slow CWD spread. Here are four ways the DNR offers to help you submit a CWD testing sample: 

  • Self-service kiosks where hunters can submit their deer’s head for testing
  • A network of cooperating meat processors, taxidermists, and other businesses who can assist with CWD sampling
  • By-appointment sampling with your county wildlife biologist
  • Kits for hunters to extract lymph node tissue themselves to submit to the DNR for testing

Cub Scout packs look to get restarted in Sturgeon Bay, Kewaunee

Your kids will have more opportunities to get involved in the community this upcoming year through scouting. Voyageur District, which covers Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties for Bay-Lakes Council, is looking to restart a pair of Cub Scout packs in Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee. The two units recently folded, leaving a void for boys and girls in grades kindergarten through fifth grade to get involved in scouting in those communities. It is part of a growing enthusiasm for Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA as more in-person events and school involvement are allowed. Voyageur District Director Bobbi Gordon says they have seen growth in their kindergarten-based Lion Cub Scout program and units for girls.

Cub Scout packs and Scouts BSA troops will be having recruitment events throughout the month of September, including September 16th at the Luxemburg Sportsmen Club and September 21st at Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay. You can find a full listing by clicking this link.

 

Picture provided by Boy Scouts of America

Town says no to former motel property sale

You will have to wait a little longer to find out the future of the former Val-A Motel property in Ellison Bay. The Town of Liberty Grove Board voted last week to not sell the land to a prospective buyer who was hoping to start a new business on the property. The town purchased the property in 2019 and shortly thereafter removed the former motel buildings. Town chairperson John Lowry says the hope is to turn that land into workforce or affordable housing options for the community.

Lowry says they are continuing to work with the Door County Economic Development Corporation to develop the site for future use.

Giant pumpkins taking root in Kewaunee County

Linus Van Pelt is nowhere to be seen, but you could find plenty of great pumpkins this fall in Kewaunee County. Casco’s Bill Roethle and Algoma’s Chase Romdenne and Matthew Fay are taking on the challenge of trying to grow giant pumpkins this year in their respective patches. It is Roethle’s first year of trying to grow big after harvesting pumpkins for Hillside Apples for several years. It has been a learning experience for Roethle, who says there is a lot of care and maintenance you have to do to make sure the pumpkin grows big, up to 25 pounds a day in some cases.

Whether they are giant, small, or in between, Roethle credits the warm weather in June for what looks to be another large pumpkin crop.

With the cooler temperatures, Roethle covers his oversized gourd with a blanket to make sure nothing goes wrong before he takes his 800-plus pound pumpkin to Mishicot for one of five Wisconsin Giant Pumpkin Growers Association weigh-ins on October 16th. Last year, the biggest pumpkin grown in Wisconsin was 2,114 pounds.

 

 

One Door County COVID death in weekly report

Door County has now had over thirty COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as one was logged in Thursday’s Door County weekly report. There were also two hospitalizations in the report, putting the pandemic total up to 122 in the county. Public Health added fifteen active cases, bringing the total active cases to 221 in Door County. Out of 81 people tested this week, 19 were positive. 

 

Door County became the first northeast Wisconsin county to exceed 70% vaccination rate this week as 70.3% of residents have at least one dose, and 67.3% are fully vaccinated. 

Gallagher pushes against infrastructure plan, budget proposal

Federal overreach and additional spending are just some of the reasons why you will not see Rep. Mike Gallagher support the current infrastructure plan and $3.5 trillion budget that will be taken up in the halls of Congress later this month. The $3.5 trillion, 10-year spending plan introduced by Democrats looks to establish universal preschool, expand federal healthcare programs, limit carbon emissions, and invest in infrastructure. Tagged as the “Bernie Budget,” Republicans like Gallagher say it will add to the already mounting deficit and contribute to increased inflation. Gallagher says he would like to see the infrastructure plan separated from the budget and add some regulatory reforms to make sure the dollars invested are spent efficiently.

Gallagher believes the budget proposal as it stands now is a non-starter, citing the impact it could have on local manufacturers as a part of his reasoning.  

Gallagher will have to wait a little before getting his chance to debate the bill again in the House. CNN reports that members of the U.S. Senate have until September 15th to submit their final recommendations for the bill before it hits the floor.

 

Picture courtesy of Congressman Mike Gallagher's Office

Virus activity high, but no significant change either

You could take away some positive news from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 update on Wednesday. The seven-day average inched up to 1,590 new positive cases, up 1,583 the day prior. There were 19 new deaths and 187 additional hospital admissions over the last 24 hours. On the positive side, DHS reports that there has been no significant change in the number of cases over the last two weeks even though they have been increasing it. Door and Kewaunee counties are still listed as having very high activity levels for COVID-19, but COVID-19 numbers in nearby Manitowoc County are actually sliding down. Door County will release its second report in three days on Thursday while Kewaunee County will announce its weekly numbers on Friday.

Corn harvest days away for many

Tractors and combines could be a part of your daily commute as soon as this weekend in Door and Kewaunee counties. The UW-Extension hosted a pair of corn dry down events in Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg over the last week to look at aspects of their crop such as moisture levels, dry matter, and maturity. The average moisture level among the 88 samples brought in was at 69.86 percent, about four percentage points higher than recommended for harvest. Moisture levels at this point of the year can drop as much as half a percent per day to the recommended 65 percent. Agriculture agent Aerica Bjurstrom notes that dairy farmers should pay special attention to their feed corn this year due to possible corn tar and micro toxin issues. 

She says the early and dry spring helped the corn get almost a week ahead of last year’s crop.  With some areas already underway with their harvest, Bjurstrom reminds farmers and motorists to watch out for each other to stay safe on area roadways over the next eight to ten weeks.

 

Picture and data courtesy of Aerica Bjurstrom

Delta variant symptoms changing the approach

Much like the virus has mutated in recent months, so have the symptoms you used to identify if you had COVID-19 or not. A study recently conducted in the United Kingdom noted that the most common symptoms found with COVID-19 patients vary on the type of strain they are infected with and their vaccination status. For example, sneezing has become a more common symptom of COVID-19 than a persistent cough among the partially vaccinated when it was never considered a symptom before. Losing your sense of smell or taste was a common symptom, but it has become more uncommon with the Delta variant among the unvaccinated. Some are finding some symptoms related to the Delta variant to be confused with issues with allergies. These symptoms could eventually grow into something more and land you in the hospital. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says at this point, they assume every case of COVID-19 is connected to the Delta variant.

If you are vaccinated, Heise adds that there is no reason to run to get tested for every stuffy nose you might have.

Heise applauds Door County for its high vaccination rate but advises people to mask up if they feel they may be in close quarters with others due to the high infection rate of the Delta variant.

Suicide prevention group using week to educate

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and Suicide Prevention Door County is prepping for its fifth Walk of Hope on Monday, September 13th. At the walk, you can participate with others who may have been impacted by suicide or those who support those affected. Dixie Jorns, a member of the Prevent Suicide group, says the walk and suicide prevention week mean a lot as she and Suicide Prevention - Nathan Wilson Coalition Founder Cheryl Wilson both have loved ones who’ve taken their own life. Jorns says the walk is a good fellowship opportunity and a good opportunity to learn more about prevention. 

 

 

There’s no fee for the walk which starts at 5:00 PM at Martin Park. Wilson is also expected to speak before the event begins. 

YMCA working with you to get your family there

The possible financial strain of a wellness center membership may be keeping you from getting yours, but the marketing director at the Door County YMCA, Amy Gamble, says they won’t turn you away, regardless of circumstance. With the school year and fall sessions for children and adults beginning, Gamble makes clear they’d like to see you and your family there. She says they have a special income-based plan to help families enjoy the YMCA. 

 

 

Gamble also reiterates that the information you share in signing up for your membership will remain confidential. 

Door County Granary project getting possible eco-friendly boost

In the future, your events at the Door County Granary being restored may be solar-powered. The unexpected but welcomed energy source was brought up at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. During a granary project presentation, Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Executive Director Beth Renstrom said that an unnamed donor was very interested in getting solar power at the granary. Renstrom added that it does fit the plans for the project surrounding sustainability and that a solar evaluation for the building is being done next week. 

 

 

Renstrom also said that a significant amount of donations the project has received comes from northern Door County. 

Projects approval at common council meeting means more housing

You’re getting closer to seeing significant progress on the housing supply in the city of Sturgeon Bay. The Common Council approved a resolution paving the way to redevelop the Sunset School property and school parking lot into housing on Tuesday. One structure will have 26 units and the other will have ten. The 26-unit structure is projected to be finished by the end of 2023 and the 10-unit structure is expected to be done by the end of 2022. The project also includes new sidewalks on Erie Street and Florida Street. Other improvements would be done to Delaware Street and Florida Street. 

 

The council also approved the first reading of the ordinance approving the Planned Unit Development for a 53-unit dwelling located on the west waterfront. The PUD is a special zoning agreement with Northpointe Development that allows certain exceptions to usual city parameters. This particular PUD allows the building to be taller than what is normally approved downtown and it will have more units than what’s typically allowed. The city will vote on the second reading of the ordinance on September 21st before it becomes part of the municipal code. 

Tuesday's storms are a reminder of Preparedness Month

Tuesday’s storms that rolled through Door and Kewaunee counties acted as a good reminder of what you should do in the event of a natural disaster. September is Preparedness Month in Wisconsin and ReadyWisconsin spokesman Andrew Beckett says it especially goes well with the start of school. He says the start of a school year is a good time to talk with your children about how to handle emergencies because you may not be with them when they occur. 

 

 

Beckett says it’s important for you and your family to occasionally practice your plan for emergencies and going to the locations you’ve designated as safe. Beckett adds that it’s important for you to know what risks are presented to you in and outside of your house.

COVID case increase postpones Ephraim development meeting

Your chance to discuss future improvements in the village of Ephraim has to wait until COVID-19 case numbers have decreased. On Wednesday, the Ephraim Village Board was scheduled to hold public meetings to talk about their findings of what makes Ephraim special and what projects they’d like to see prioritized in the next 5-10 years. Village Board President Mike McCutcheon stated that he decided to postpone the meeting due to the significant rise in COVID cases in Door County. He added that he plans to reschedule the meetings for next week. 

 

The questionnaire being discussed was a collaborative effort to strategize development efforts going forward. Board President McCutcheon had previously told doorcountydailynews.com that he wanted to replicate the success of the village’s streetscape project. A couple of the most popular improvement ideas were upgrades to Anderson’s Dock and the north-end lighting. You can view questionnaire results here

Quilt shop prepares for first blanket drop-off for refugees

Your generosity is part of the reason why a Sturgeon Bay quilt shop is putting a hold on blanket donations this week after a major outpouring of support. The Barn Door Quilt Shop partnered with two other stores in De Pere and Wausau last week to collect new and used blankets for Afghan refugees being placed at Fort McCoy in western Wisconsin. In that short time, the three storefronts have collected over 5,000 quilts and blankets, including 600 in Sturgeon Bay alone. LeRoy knows how caring the Door County community can be, but even she was shocked by how strong of a response they received for their efforts.

LeRoy plans on driving the 600-plus blankets and quilts to Wausau where they will be taken the rest of the way to the military installation. While she is putting a temporary hold on blanket donations until she learns more from the Wisconsin National Guard, LeRoy says she will continue to collect personal hygiene items for the thousands of Afghan refugees being sent to Fort McCoy. Governor Tony Evers announced a number of donation opportunities to support the refugees last week.

 

Pictures from Kate LeRoy

 

 

 

Down tree causes Highway 42 shutdown

UPDATE: The affected portion of Highway 42 in the Town of Gibraltar is now open according to Gibraltar Fire and Rescue.

 

 

 

Monday’s storm caused more than just thousands of homes and businesses to be without power in northern Door County. A section of Highway 42 between Gibraltar Road and County Road A was shut down at approximately 7:30 a.m. due to a downed powerline caused by a fallen tree. Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Chief Andy Bertges says Wisconsin Public Service told him the road could be closed for a few more hours as their crews try to fix the problem.

Bertges added they have not received in an influx of calls due to the power outages, but understands there are hundreds of businesses without power. As of 9:20 a.m., over 3,400 Wisconsin Public Service customers were without power, including 2,405 in the Town of Liberty Grove alone.

Door County cracks 200 active COVID-19 cases

Door County saw almost four dozen new cases of COVID-19, but you could still find some good news in its Tuesday situation report. Out of 160 tests, 44 came back positive for COVID-19 with another three listed as probable. Thanks to a number of recoveries, the active case count only grew by 16 to 206. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths reported. Door County is also nearing 70 percent of its residents receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. For the week of August 22nd, the 275 doses administered was the most the county has seen since the week of June 13th when 294 shots were given. Door County will issue its second report on Thursday. 

Iconic motel sign vandalized

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you if you noticed something a little off about the Holiday Music Motel sign this weekend. In the early Saturday morning hours, two men and one woman were caught on camera throwing rocks and shoes at the neon sign located along Michigan Street before eventually breaking one of the bulbs. Owner melaniejane says the security footage from her business and a nearby gas station have clear photos of who did it, but she hopes they come forward before having to get the police involved.

You can also reach out to melaniejane if you have names or any other information on who damaged the sign. The neon sign is grandfathered into city ordinances, so it cannot be altered or replaced. She estimates it will cost approximately $2,000 to repair. 

 

Picture provided by melaniejane

Over 2,500 Door County customers without power

Wisconsin Public Service is likely coming your way after a band of powerful thunderstorms went through northern Door County Tuesday morning. As of 7 a.m., 2,543 WPS customers are without power, including 2,002 in the Town of Liberty Grove. Door County’s totals represent over 70 percent of WPS’ affected customers. According to the WPS outage map, it is estimated many customers will have their power restored at approximately 9 a.m. while others may have to wait until the afternoon before they can use their electricity again. We will have more information on this storm and the power outages across the area as it becomes available. 

 

Map provided by Wisconsin Public Service and Google

Storm takes aim at northern Door

You will need to take the necessary precautions if you are north of Egg Harbor this morning. The National Weather Service issued a special statement this morning warning visitors in Oconto, Marinette, and Door counties about a band a strong thunderstorms developing between 5:20 and 6:15 a.m. The storm could include winds in excess of 40 miles per hour and half-inch hail. It is expected to hit Ephraim and Egg Harbor at approximately 6:15 a.m. If you are outdoors, the National Weather Service asks you to consider seeking shelter inside a building. 

Fewer households donating to charities

It is the number of donors, not the amount of money that is beginning to concern some of your favorite non-profit organizations. A study published by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy shows that less than half of American households donated to charitable organizations in 2018, which is down from 66 percent when they first started in 2000. The pandemic, declining trust in some organizations, and the growth of crowdfunding have all fueled the decline. Despite this, Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the amount of money being raised is actually going up because the wealthy are donating more to their favorite causes. Bicoy wonders what will happen if the donors of today go away.

Becoming more relevant with what they do and how they market themselves are two ways Bicoy believes non-profits can attract more donors in the future.

Slow vehicles, obstructions bring up right of way concerns

Whether they are riding a bike, bus, truck, or tractor, you have to think twice before you try passing them. Passing slow-moving vehicles or other obstructions are a common concern for motorists and law enforcement alike. The National Safety Council suggests that approximately 15,000 crashes each year involve slow-moving vehicles. Wisconsin State Statute says you cannot pass them in in a no-passing zone regardless if the other lane is open or not. It also says the motorists traveling in the opposite direction of the obstruction should move over just enough so they can share the lane with the other driver trying to pass. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says you are better being extra cautious than following that statute.

Area roadways are expected to be even more crowded in the coming weeks farmers head out their fields for the fall harvest and all schools are open for in-person learning. You can read more about Joski’s thoughts on the topic online with this story. 

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

Once again, after finding myself at a loss for topics, I was rescued by a community member who had a great question, and thought it would make a good topic. The subject is one that has appeared from time to time as topics of my articles, but pertaining to different dynamics. The topic is yielding to right of way and in this article it pertains to vehicles traveling in opposite directions on a public roadway.       

     We are all well aware of our obligation to yield right of way at intersections, to pedestrians or to school buses and emergency vehicles, but we may not know how to proceed when confronted with the situation where your lane of travel is partially obstructed. These obstructions could be caused by work being done by a utility company, road maintenance, or an agricultural operation related to fertilizing or harvesting. It could also be caused by significant debris in the roadway such as a branch after a storm, or similar such objects. Bottom line is; your lane of traffic is partial obstructed and you now need to navigate around the obstruction. This is a fairly easy maneuver if no other vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction, but what if this is not the case?

       In researching the answer to this question, I was actually somewhat surprised by what I found. I would have thought that the vehicle in the traffic lane with the obstruction would have to yield and wait for oncoming traffic before proceeding into that oncoming lane to pass by the obstruction, but that is not the case. In Wisconsin State Statute 346.06 -Meeting of Vehicles, it states the following: Operators of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right, and upon roadways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction each operator shall give to the other at least one− half of the main traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.

        In essence, what this is saying is that the vehicle with the obstruction can maneuver to the left in order to avoid the obstruction and that any oncoming vehicles need to maneuver to the right of their lane to allow for safe distance so that both vehicles could proceed in their respective direction of travel.

        You may be asking “What about Operating Left of Center?” This is answered in the previous State Statute 346.05- Vehicles to be driven on right side of the roadway; exceptions, where is states in subsection c “ When the right half of the roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair or (in subsection d) “When overtaking and passing pedestrians, animals, or obstructions on the right side of the roadway.

        So in summary much like many other duties required of us as motorists this maneuver requires us to be attentive and aware of all that is going on both in our lane of traffic as well as those traveling in the opposite direction. It also requires a sense of courtesy so that both vehicles are able to proceed without creating undo anxiety or danger. I hope I addressed this topic sufficiently and cleared up any questions related to it.  Take Care and Drive Safe!

Childcare shortage keeping mothers out of workforce

The struggle to get your children enrolled in a daycare is a real big driver in the strain on the workforce. Lakeshore Community Action Program Director Colleen Homb says that finding childcare before the pandemic was tough especially in Sturgeon Bay, and it’s now nearly impossible. Over 3,000,000 women left the workforce when the pandemic came and many have yet to return. Homb says she doesn’t want you to think that women are opting to collect unemployment because they don’t want to work, but many have not been able to find open daycare slots for their children to be taken care of. Some daycares in Wisconsin are yet to reach full capacity, as their limit can fluctuate or they remain at risk of temporary shutdowns in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the building. Homb describes how the childcare shortage can come full circle. 

 

 

Homb adds that you do not need to feel like a burden for asking for financial support if you are unable to return to work currently. 

District prepares for mask challenge

Your opportunity to weigh in on universal masking at Sturgeon Bay Schools could be coming later this month. Last week, a Sturgeon Bay School District parent told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that she and other parents collected over 200 signatures for the school board to review their decision last month to make masking optional. District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says he understands the frustration on both sides, especially as school districts in Green Bay, Appleton, and Oshkosh have gone to universal masking. He says he has been in contact with the parents, but it is up to the school board to call a special meeting ahead of the regular session coming up on September 15th or wait until then to discuss it.

In a recent DoorCountyDailyNews.com poll, over 64 percent of the 525 respondents say students should be required to wear masks at schools until the spread of the Delta variant lessens. Thirty percent of respondents argue that it should not be required and five percent believe the policy should only be required for those not eligible for vaccinations.  On Tuesday, Sevastopol will join Southern Door, Algoma, Luxemburg-Casco, Kewaunee, and Sturgeon Bay in making the practice optional for its staff and students. At the same time, Gibraltar students and staff will all have to mask up regardless of vaccination status like they do at Washington Island and St. John Bosco schools. It comes after health officials at the local, state, and federal levels encouraged masking for everybody inside a school setting due to low vaccination numbers among students, many of which are not even eligible.

Parents becoming more comfortable searching for help

Do not be concerned if you feel like you need a little extra help raising your kids as the family dynamic has changed over time. A 2015 Pew Research study shows 26 percent of kids live in a single-parent household, up from 19 percent in 1980 and 9 percent in 1960. Dads have also become more involved with their kids, though the study show fathers think less of their parenting skills than mothers do. Only 39 percent of fathers believe they are doing a good job compared to 51 percent of mothers. It has led to an increase in interest in parenting courses like last month’s Focus on Fathers program hosted by UW-Extension. Human Development and Relationships Educator Renee Koenig says it is great for moms and dads to reach out to other resources and each other so they can become better parents.

UW Extension will host another online parenting course during the fall through Zoom. Parent Connect will focus on skills such as decision making, mindfulness, and problem-solving and how to talk about them with your kids. You can click on the link to learn more about the six-week course, which begins on September 23rd. 

Sturgeon Bay begins Harvest Fest preparations

Your fall celebrations in Door County kick off in just about two weeks in Sturgeon Bay. The annual harvest fest, classic car show, and street art auction returns to Third Avenue and the surrounding area after a year away. The cherries that have adorned the city streets will be auctioned off while visitors stroll down Third Avenue to enjoy food, a craft show, and children’s activities. The Old Bolts Car Club will also show off their rides on Saturday as they raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of Door County, Lakeshore CAP, DOORCANcer, and Door County Special Olympics. While the food is Destination Sturgeon Bay’s Carly Sarkis’ favorite thing about Harvest Fest, she says another tradition with Munich ties will also return.

Sturgeon Bay Harvest Fest, which is sponsored by the Door County Daily News, will take place on September 18th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event kicks off fall festival season in Door County with Egg Harbor Pumpkin Patch and Sister Bay Fall Fest occurring in October.

Attempted murder suspect potentially in Door or Kewaunee counties

You’re asked to be on the lookout in Kewaunee and Door counties for 24-year-old Cody Krueger, a suspect in an armed robbery and attempted homicide. The Oconto Police Department has listed Krueger as a suspect in an incident that took place in Oconto on Friday morning. Police responded to an incident in which Krueger was reportedly carrying a pistol. 

 

Krueger is a frequent visitor in the Algoma area and also may be with 19-year-old Kyra Saldana. According to authorities, Krueger may be in Kewaunee or Door County and may be driving a gray or silver Honda Accord with racing stripes. Krueger is caucasian with blue eyes, ear piercings, and is roughly six feet and four inches tall. Krueger has these tattoos:

  • A swastika tattoo on the abdomen
  • “Skinhead” tattoo on his abdomen 
  • “Forever and Always” tattoo on his right breast
  • “High Life” tattoo on his left wrist 
  • Barbed wire tattoo on his left hand and fingers 
  • A swastika tattoo on his left knee 
  • Cross and skull tattoos on his left calf
  • “KRK” tattoo on his left forearm
  • “1488” tattoo on his left wrist 

If you spot Krueger you are asked to contact authorities and to keep your distance.

Mammoth and Mammoth Hike to collide in Sturgeon Bay

If you take part in the 2021 Ice Age Trail Alliance Mammoth Hike Challenge, you may also get to take the hike past the woolly mammoth sculpture that was placed in Sturgeon Bay this week. The challenge, which consists of walking or running 41 miles on the Ice Age Trail, is in its second year and will go through Sturgeon Bay for the first time this year. While the Ice Age Trail Alliance has no affiliation with the mammoth sculpture, Director of Marketing and Community Relations Melissa Pierick believes it’s an awesome coincidence. She adds that there has been shared interest in placing a kiosk by the mammoth with a trail map and information, but notes that something like that would have to go through a municipality approval process. 

 

You can hop on the trail in Sturgeon Bay or at any point of it, and Pierick says the beauty of the trail is it’s close to everyone in Wisconsin. 

 

 

If you complete the challenge, you’ll earn a challenge patch. Pierick says the trail will be especially beautiful with the leaves changing colors, and warns if you start on the trail you may not be able to stop walking it. More on the event can be found here

There's Still Some Great Fishing and Kayaking in the Fall

How does summer go so fast?  And, as I get older it seems to go faster.  Wasn’t it just the other day that I was hitting the waters of Door County to start the season in early May, and now it’s Labor Day Weekend!  The good news is, don’t put those kayaks and that fishing gear away yet.   September and October, and even into November can be outstanding months to get out and view our Door County beauty from your kayak, and it’s a good time for fishing.  I just read that we are the number one location in the Midwest for viewing the fall colors from the water.  I’ve done it many times and it’s spectacular.  Pick a day with light winds and you have dozens of great locations to paddle and enjoy the beauty.

 

I’ve talked about this in the past, but as we got into summer many of the bigger smallies go deeper, which is a challenge for anglers in boats or kayaks.  However, as the water cools those smallies begin to come back in shallow.  Probably not as shallow as in the spring, but in a normal fall, you’ll find them in the 8’ to 15’ range.  For my fall fishing, I’m still using the Ned Rig, tube jigs, and in the last few years soft plastic swimbaits.  The local tackle shop carries the items I mentioned as well as knowing some of the better spots for those fall smallies.  

 

Two points of caution with fall kayaking and fishing from a kayak.  Be sure to wear proper cold-weather gear and be sure to check the forecast related to the wind.  I am only kayaking and fishing close to shore just in case of an emergency.  It’s been great sharing my thoughts about kayaking and kayak fishing with you again this year, and, as always, if you have any questions email me at kayakfishingwisconsin@gmail.com.

 

 

Lumber prices coming down but supply still "difficult"

If you want to build a new deck or patio to enjoy in your backyard, you may have to wait until nearly Thanksgiving.  Jeff Dorner, sales and project manager at Van’s Lumber & Custom Builders in Dyckesville, says that lumber prices are lower than earlier this year, but decking ordered this past week won’t be in until November.  He says besides orders for windows and doors being out for several weeks, getting power to nearly completed homes is causing delays.

 

 

Dorner adds that shortages at the mills were due to the pandemic, causing prices to soar with demand resulting in a decrease in inventory.  Lumber prices reportedly hit an all-time high of $1,670.50 per 1,000 board feet in May, before dropping to $5.33.10 per 1,000 board feet this past week.  Dorner notes that lumber prices are still about 20 percent higher than a year ago and may rise again after the recent natural disasters.  OSB and lumber prices typically increase after hurricanes and flooding damage, which has impacted many parts of the United States.

Getting bats out of your living space

The bats of Door and Kewaunee Counties are vacating their summer roosts and returning to winter sites for hibernation and it’s a good time for you to make sure you evict bats from your home or building the right way. Through May 31st, before the nursing and baby bat protection period begins, you can use the practice of exclusion to get bats out of your space. Exclusion is the practice of sealing a building except for primary exits, outfitted with one-way doors and letting the bats leave with no re-entry. Wisconsin DNR Conservation Biologist Heather Kaarakka says that while the goal of the DNR’s bat program is to protect bats and bat habitat, we understand that bats don’t need to share living spaces with humans.

 

June 1st through August 15th is when exclusions are prohibited. Exclusions are most effective in spring and fall, when temperatures are above 50 degrees. You can see do-it-yourself instructions on performing an exclusion by clicking here.

You can stay upright with fall prevention

You never want to have a dangerous and unexpected fall, but you do want to be prepared for if and when it happens and there’s no time to be aware like Fall Prevention Month in September. Northern Door YMCA healthy living and facilities director Megan Schneider says fall prevention is a big emphasis of both Door County YMCA locations because they want you to be able to do everything you love without fear of falling. One of the popular fall prevention classes is Moving For Better Balance, a course taught on Tai Chi principles, which Schneider says yields results.

 

 

You can learn more about other classes to help prevent falls here

 

(Photo from doorcountyymca.org)

Keeping your produce near you

As seasons change so might the foods that you put on your kitchen table, and you shouldn’t have to buy from outside Door or Kewaunee counties to adjust. Secretary Designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Randy Romanski says Wisconsin is so fortunate, as agriculture is a $104.8 billion industry in the state and that our local producers are worth promoting whenever possible. 

 

Romanski says the benefits are clear for buying locally produced foods, including the personal connection to buying from a producer down the road. He also says it supports local economical development.

 

 

Romanski also notes with the variety of products in our state, there’s always a fresh seasonal fruit or vegetable to look forward to buying. Romanski says that since the pandemic, Wisconsinites have grown a larger interest in knowing where their food comes from. You can view the video discussing the importance of buying from your local farmers. 

Local manufacturers the target of new summit

On October 1st you’ll have the chance to showcase how you can be of service to local manufacturers at the inaugural Door County Manufacturers Summit. The event that’s put on by the Door County Economic Development Corporation is letting vendors show local manufacturers different services they can provide. DCEDC Director of Business Development Julie Schmelzer says different services that will be discussed could include accounting, real estate, childcare for employees and other types.

 

 

The DCEDC partnered with Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College in Sturgeon Bay for the event and you can register here

Children's Boat Building returns with Sister Bay Marina Fest

On and off rain on Saturday didn’t stop the opening day of the first Sister Bay Marina Fest in two years, or your kids chance to build their dream boat. For the first time since 2019, the Sister Bay Lions Club was able to open their tent for the Bob Steger Memorial Children’s Boat Building. Steger, a former marine engineer in the Navy and Lions Club president, created the event. After his passing, the Lions Club decided to carry the tradition. They’ve kept the event going on for 15 years since.  

 

Elliot Sadler, a Sister Bay Lions Club member, says there are typically up to 250 boats ready for children to design but it started with 75 boats when the Lions Club took over. The next year they went up to 125 before finally deciding to prepare 250 boats because of the demand. There are now boat-building legacies, as Sadler says you can see people who were building boats years ago now bringing their children to build. Sadler says the Lions Club never ceases to be surprised at the creativity the kids come up with. 

 

 

Saturday morning also ushered in a vendor fair and the Vintage Boat Show. The event goes on through Monday. You can view the entire schedule here. 

Door County and Kewaunee County meet drinking water standards

You can feel comfortable about the water you drink in Door County and Kewaunee County knowing it meets the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources standards in its 2020 Annual Drinking Water Report that was recently published. 

 

The 2020 report showed that more than 98% of Wisconsin’s public water systems meet all health-based drinking water standards. The routine inspecting and sample collecting process was able to be achieved despite the pandemic, which made it a challenge for water system personnel and DNR staff to collaborate. DNR Public Water Supply Inspection Chief Adam Deweese says it did bring some innovation. 

 

 

The DNR awarded more than $93 million in financial assistance to 14 Wisconsin communities for repairs and improvements to their water systems, but none in Door or Kewaunee counties. 

Door County becoming handicap accessibility gold standard with kayak launch

Mobility concerns won’t get in the way of your kayaking experience at Carmody Park in Gardner as it’s now home to northeastern Wisconsin’s only handicap kayak launch. The kayak launch joins the Otumba Beach ADA-accessible beach mat and the wheelchair-accessible pier at Fish Creek Beach as 2021 summer projects that increased beach and water accessibility.  

 

Door County Parks Manager Burke Pinney came to the Friends of the Door County Parks System in July to discuss the possibility of providing the final funding for the installation of the kayak launch. Board member of the friends group, Jay Renstrom, says there was minimal discussion before they were on board and donated the final $5,000. Renstrom says Pinney did all the legwork and grant-writing for two separate DNR grants. Renstrom would like to see the launch serve as an influence to other groups in Wisconsin. 

 

 

The project cost was $39,000 which included the launch, quarry wash, and rain garden to meet previous surface requirements. Other funding came from the Raibrook Foundation, National Environmental Education Foundation, and the town of Gardner who donated $2,000. 

"Coffee with the Chief" returns

If you have advice or concerns about the Algoma community, you can go one-on-one with the city’s senior law enforcement officer. In September, Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker will again be offering “Coffee with the Chief” for better community outreach. The tradition began before the pandemic and is returning in late September. Police Chief Remiker shares some of the past concerns that were addressed in Algoma neighborhoods.

 

 

Remiker also says citizens have expressed appreciation for the greater visibility of patrols on the streets. The “Coffee with the Chief” will be held on Friday, September 24 at Café Tlazo starting at 9 am. The Algoma Police Department recently hired two new officers and is fully staffed. Remiker feels he has accomplished the primary goal of opening up better communications with the community since becoming the Algoma Chief of Police in 2018.

Farmers prepare for fall harvest

You’ll start to see more tractors and combines on area roadways in the coming weeks. Farmers have already been hard at work the third cutting of alfalfa and the oat harvest taking place. The United States Department of Agriculture reported earlier this week that corn and soybeans are little behind from last year, but almost a full week ahead of the five-year average. UW Extension scheduled corn dry down events at the Door County Cooperative on Wednesday and Rio Creek Feed Mill in Luxemburg on Tuesday so farmers could get a better idea of when they can head out to their fields to start harvesting. The beginning of the harvest season for farmers like Devin Schmidt from Jerseyland Dairy in Sturgeon Bay means making sure all of the equipment is ready to roll from the start.

With over 5500 acres to cover between the beginning of September and November, Schmidt asks motorists to be extra cautious on the roadway around some of their bigger vehicles.

Schmidt says the biggest thing to remember is to be patient, especially if Mother Nature does not play nicely with their harvest schedule.

4-H embracing in-person and virtual activities

Returning closer to normal does not mean you cannot bring the 4-H experience into your home. 4-H Educators in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties are bringing back its “Explore 4-H” program for the second year in a row. The six-week experience not only has participants doing activities every week similar to what area clubs might do, it also introduces 4-H to kids who may not be participating yet or does not feel comfortable with meeting in person. Door County 4-H Educator Dawn Vandevoort says even though the program is meant to be held face-to-face, there should not be a barrier for people wanting to participate.

Vandevoort admits she is not sure what the guidance will be if case counts continue to rise after being able to host in-person meetings only within the last few months. She does know that thanks to some of the virtual opportunities they introduced last year that they will be ready for anything. Door County 4-H opened its enrollment period on September 1st. You can learn more about the Explore 4-H program by clicking this link.

Sustainability preached in upcoming Climate Change Coalition event

You're able to discuss the possible future of agriculture on September 22nd when the Climate Change Coalition of Door County brings notable speakers to explore new approaches to agriculture in a virtual event. There, four speakers will also discuss the cultural and economic systems that pair with agriculture, and the speakers will focus on perennial grains that don’t need to be replanted every year and don’t require monocultures.  The four speakers are Kathleen Smythe, Matthew Burke, Marianne Patinelli-Dubay, and Bill Vitek, who all collaborated in writing The Perennial Turn: Contemporary Essays from the Field. Climate Change Coalition coordinator Nicole Matson says the speakers are prominent and one even has a Door County connection.

 

 

The event is free to the public and you can take part in a Zoom question and answer session. 

One death in Kewaunee County report

For the first time in months, a Kewaunee County death is listed in their weekly COVID-19 report. That puts the COVID-19 death total up to 36 since the start of the pandemic. There were also three hospitalizations in the report. In Kewaunee County, 159 tests were administered over the week and there were 64 positives. There are currently 49 active cases in the county which is up from 32 in last week’s report. 

 

In Wisconsin, the seven-day average for confirmed cases is 1702 and the seven-day average for deaths is eight. The state has 55.1% of its residents with at least one vaccine dose and 51.75 are fully vaccinated. In Kewaunee County, 45.2% of residents have one vaccine dose 42.7% are fully vaccinated.

The people of Ephraim have spoken

If you’ve considered the improvements you’d like to see in Ephraim, you can now see how many others think like you. After residents, visitors, and business owners were surveyed in August on what they think makes Ephraim special and what projects they’d like to see accomplished in the next decade, the Village Board scheduled a presentation to discuss the findings with the public on September 8th. Over 100 people have chimed in and a few of the qualities people found special were quietness, vintage buildings, the beach, and the history. Village board president Mike McCutcheon said in a previous interview with doorcountydailynews.com that he felt this survey and the results warranted two public meetings on September 8th. 

 

 

The potential projects that board members prioritized the highest are improvements to Anderson Dock, the administrative building, the fire station, and the north-end lighting. You can view the survey results here or here

Updated: Highway 57 in Jacksonport back open

After a vehicle accident closed down Highway 57 in Jacksonport, officials have reported that it’s now open for you to drive through. One bystander stated that a box truck had hit a power pole, causing the closure. We will have more details on the accident as they become available.

 

 

Original story

If you’re traveling in Door County, you will need to avoid Highway 57 in Jacksonport due to an accident. The Door County Sheriff’s Department stated that it will be shut down for several hours. We will keep you updated on the story and when the highway reopens. 

Bringing faith outside

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion is proving you do not necessarily step inside a sanctuary to grow your faith. COVID-19 concerns have limited the number of large pilgrimages visiting the holy site which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. Though those numbers went down the Shrine Rector Fr. John Broussard feels more families and smaller groups have taken advantage of its green space. The Fathers of Mercy introduced Eucharistic rosary processions to connect believers with communion at the onset of the pandemic. While some parishes had to find unique ways to keep members engaged, Broussard was happy they had one right in their backyard.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help will host a special blessing of the grapes and fall harvest luncheon on September 11th beginning with mass at 11 a.m.

 

Picture courtesy of National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

Gallagher bill tries to right wrongs in Afghanistan

Making sure your government is accountable for its recent decisions regarding the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan is the goal of Rep. Mike Gallagher. The Wisconsin Republican and Marine veteran has been critical of the Biden Administration since the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years was made two weeks ago. Only portions of his House Resolution asking for more transparency when it comes to the number of Americans that are still in Afghanistan and the number of refugees wanting to escape possible persecution survived after its initial introduction. Those pieces were included in a defense bill that will be discussed more in the coming weeks. Gallagher’s frustration is with House Democrats who support the measures behind closed doors only to vote against them later.

In a different position, Gallagher says he would have kept Bagram Airfield under American control and brought in more troops on the onset of the withdrawal to ensure every American and refugee were able to get out safely. With many veterans feeling betrayal and disappointment from the pullout, Gallagher hopes they know that their 20 years of service in the region were not a waste.

Gallagher believes more of the focus in Congress right now is on the infrastructure plan and the budget reconciliation bill, which will spend more time in the Senate before it comes back to the House.

 

Picture courtesy of Mike Gallagher's Congressional Office

Farmers look ahead to trying conservation practices

Peninsula Pride Farms is willing to give you up to $1,500 for trying something new in your fields this upcoming year. Applications are now open for its cost-share program where the farmer-led watershed group helps members front some of the bills associated with trying new conservation practices like cover cropping, split nitrogen applications, or harvestable buffers. Such practices, along with reduced tillage, have prevented an estimated 62,800 pounds of phosphorus from leaving farm fields and reduced erosion by nearly 23,800 tons. Nick Guilette has helped introduce some of the practices at Ebert Enterprises in Algoma, using harvestable buffers not just for conservation purposes but also to help feed some of its younger stock. He is encouraged by not just the number of farmers trying some of the conservation practices but even expanding its use in future years.

Six different conservation practices are covered in the cost-share program with farmers receiving up to $1,500 to cut down the costs. The enrollment deadline is October 15th.

 

Screenshot courtesy of Peninsula Pride Farms

Ways you can help Afghan refugees in Wisconsin

Though Afghan refugees won’t be brought to Door or Kewaunee counties, there are still ways for you to help out according to Governor Tony Evers. With Afghan individuals and families staying at Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy, the Evers administration, through Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, are coordinating efforts to assist the refugees. Many of the refugees could not bring luggage or personal items, and a top priority is getting them clean, new clothing and footwear.

 

More places to donate are expected to open up around the state in the coming weeks, but for now, you can donate through the Catholic Charities of La Crosse by shopping online at this link. Businesses and other groups with large quantities of new clothing or footwear to donate can do so by using this online form. [link] You can stay tuned to the Department of Children and Families website as more donation organizations are identified. Evers said Wisconsinites have a proud tradition of rolling up our sleeves to help our neighbors when times are tough. 

Steps you can take when facing eviction

As the US Supreme Court overturned the eviction moratorium extension last week, you may be wondering how to reconcile with your landlord that may be expecting a large payment. Executive Director Colleen Homb at the Lakeshore Community Action Program says that just like at the beginning of the pandemic, they urge you to pay your landlord what you can. She says it’s also important for you to communicate with your landlord.

 

Homb also says not to let any stigma behind applying for assistance stop you. Even if you’ve previously been rejected for having too high of an income, Homb says the income thresholds have increased as a pandemic result. One valuable resource is the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance program, which you can be pre-screened for by Lakeshore CAP. Homb says the best way you can help those who might be stressed about a possible eviction is to increase awareness about special programs. 

 

 

Homb notes other cost-saving measures to leave more money for rent, like applying for foodhshare or visiting food pantries. You can learn more on your options here. 

(Photo from law.com)

Bay Shipbuilding constructing historic barge

A Sturgeon Bay shipyard will be making history and keeping its workforce busy well into 2023. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding announced this week that in partnership with Crowley Maritime Corporation, they will be constructing the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering barge ever built in the United States. The 416-foot vessel will have the capacity for 3.17 million gallons of LNG. Vice-President and General Manager Todd Thayse says the new project of a transformative design will meet demands for cleaner energy.

 

 

Liquefied natural gas is a process where natural gas is cooled to a liquid state and reduced by nearly 600 percent, allowing for easier and safer transportation.  Thayse notes that Bay Shipbuilding previously partnered with Crowley in 2002 when two large articulated tug-barges were constructed. The new bunker barge is expected to be in service by 2024. Currently, Bay Shipbuilding is wrapping up construction of a similar but smaller LNG barge for Polaris New Energy.

Consumers stocking up on beef bigtime

You may have to pay a little more for your steaks and burgers for your Labor Day cookouts this weekend compared to last year, but the beef sales in the area are not slowing down any.  Many local meat sellers are boosting their production to keep up with the demand.  Nationally, Tyson Foods reported last month that beef sales jumped 24 percent for the third quarter alone.  Mark Marchant, owner of Marchant’s Meat & Sausage in Sturgeon Bay, says the demand for beef in the past few weeks in the store has gone up considerably.

 

 

Marchant adds that people are buying products and eating at home more even though prices have increased.  He notes that customers are stocking up on hamburgers and brats, especially with more steak sales towards the weekend.  As far as the supply chain, Marchant says the store has been able to get plenty of beef with no problem, but pork and pork bellies have been especially challenging going back to early last year when pigs were euthanized due to impacts brought on by the pandemic.

No Door County hospitalizations in Thursday report

While rising coronavirus case numbers haven’t subsided in Wisconsin, hospitalizations from the virus in Door County have remained at zero this week according to the Thursday COVID-19 report. This week, 105 tests have been administered and 22 have come back positive. There are no new deaths in the county this week. 

 

In Wisconsin, the seven-day average for cases is 1744. The seven-day average for deaths is seven. In the state, 55 counties, including Door County, are at very high disease activity level and seventeen are at high disease activity level. 

 

On the vaccine front, 54.9% of Wisconsinites have at least one dose of the vaccine, and 51.6% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated. Door County has 69.7% of its residents with at least one dose and 66.7% have completed the series.

The search for the next Odinns begins

Although the late K-9 Odinn will never be replaced, you can help the Door County Sheriff’s Department find his successor. The Door County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Foundation, a partnership between the department and the Door County Community Foundation, started its efforts this week to fund two new K-9 officers after Odinn suddenly passed earlier this year. Providing the funds for Odinn was one of the first projects the special fund took on when the department approached the Door County Community Foundation a few years ago. Odinn helped search for missing persons, remove drugs off the streets, and deescalate very high-risk situations. The foundation is looking to raise over $58,000 to buy and train the new dogs. Both dogs will be used for tracking and detection, but one will also be used to help apprehend suspects. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the K-9 units have proven to be important assets for the area.

Bicoy says the Crime Prevention Foundation has also helped purchase items for other Door County law enforcement agencies. You can learn more about how you can help support the foundation’s efforts by clicking this link.

 

Picture courtesy of K9 Odinn Facebook page

Highway 57 prepares for construction finale

You have less than two weeks before you find construction cones on sections of State Highway 57 in Door County again. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced earlier this week that work will restart the week of September 13th. The $6.4 million project stretched from Highway 42 to Summit Road in the towns of Sevastopol, Jacksonport, and Baileys Harbor. Work on the 17.5 mile stretch of roadway was suspended on June 29th to avoid a large part of Door County’s summer tourist season. More details about what needs to be finished up will be provided closer to the project’s restart.

United Way brings back adult prom

Your next best chance to make great prom memories is coming up later this month. After holding the event virtually in 2020, the United Way of Door County is hosting its fourth annual adult prom in Jacksonport. With “Come Sail Away” as its theme, United Way of Door County is bringing back memories from proms of yesteryear including a seated dinner, live music by Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns, and crowning the king and queen of the festivities. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says the proceeds from the event will go towards its annual campaign, which has set a goal of $775,000 for 2021 to help meet the needs in the community.

Tickets are available now for the event, which will take place on September 25th. You can listen to our full interview with Kohnle online with this story.

Supply chain delays Sturgeon Bay School District project completion

Sturgeon Bay School District is in the same boat as you when it comes to waiting for materials to complete its projects. The district’s voters approved a $16.84 million referendum in 2020 to make building upgrades, expand programs, and to close Sunset Elementary. When students returned to school on Wednesday, some of the projects were left unfinished. Glass, furniture, welding booths, and other items have been placed on backorder due to COVID. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says despite these challenges, the project remains on budget and on time thanks in part to the architects, construction crews, and maintenance staff.

Tjernagel estimates that much of what they have been waiting for will be completed by the end of October. He added they are planning to have open houses later this year to show off the improvements to the community. 

Tradition returns to Sister Bay Marina

Your Labor Day tradition in Sister Bay is back after a year away. From Saturday through Monday, Marina Fest returns to the Sister Bay waterfront with food, music, and other activities throughout the three-day event. Highlights include the arts and crafts fair, the new kid’s pedal tractor pull, and the Saturday night fireworks. Losing last year’s Marina Fest meant many of Sister Bay’s civic organizations and non-profit organizations could not make the necessary money to fund their projects throughout the year. Sister Bay Advancement Association Community Coordinator Louise Howson says like all the communities in Door County, they are happy there will be a sense of normalcy this year with events like Marina Fest.

Marina Fest started in 1993 to pay tribute to the newly rebuilt marina and to thank boaters for their patience during the construction project. You can find the full schedule by clicking this link.

State's COVID case average hits six-month high

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is encouraging you to mask up and use other mitigation strategies this Labor Day weekend as the seven-day average of new COVID-19 positive cases reached a six-month high on Wednesday.

 

The seven-day average for positive COVID-19 cases stands at 1,699, just about double where it stood on August 3rd. The average number of new deaths remained at eight. Door, Kewaunee, and 55 other counties are now suffering from very high disease activity over the last two weeks, compared to just 15 considered in the high range. Door County will give its second COVID-19 report of the week on Thursday while Kewaunee County will provide their update on Friday.

Baldwin talks maritime issues in Sturgeon Bay

You could have found U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin crisscrossing Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday for a series of listening sessions on maritime-related concerns. The Democratic senator from Wisconsin first visited with members of the United States Coast Guard to discuss the challenges they face between breaking ice on the Great Lakes to finding affordable childcare for their families. Baldwin said she appreciated the insight from Vice Commandant Admiral Linda Fagan and the Coast Guard members on housing and childcare concerns.

 

From there she headed to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding where she was able to meet with company officials like Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse to discuss concerns in the industry like COVID-19. Baldwin called Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding “an industry leader” and stated her continued support for “strong Buy America policies to support the domestic shipbuilding industrial base.” Fincantieri Marine Group CEO Dario Deste called Baldwin’s visit “a great reminder to our shipyard teammates that the work they do each day is critical to the U.S. maritime industry.” News of the visit came on the same day Fincantieri Marine Group announced that Bay Shipbuilding would be partnering with Crowley Maritime Corporation on the largest liquefied natural gas bunkering barge ever constructed in the United States. 

 

Photos courtesy Monica Salmeri, Fincantieri Marine Group. Descriptions by Eric Dent, Fincantieri Marine Group

1 (above): Dario Deste (left), president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Todd Thayse, vice president and general manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding tour newly constructed facilities at FBS in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Aug. 31, 2021.  Baldwin was in Door County to meet with local Coast Guard members, visit Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, and conduct a listening session with maritime industry leaders.

 

2: Todd Thayse, vice president and general manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, explains a shipbuilding process to Sen. Tammy Baldwin and members of the U.S. Coast Guard during an Aug. 31, 2021 visit to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.  Baldwin was in Door County to meet with local Coast Guard members, visit Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, and conduct a listening session with maritime industry leaders.

 

3: Sen. Tammy Baldwin, wearing a red helmet, walks with leaders of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and members of the U.S. Coast Guard during an Aug. 31, 2021, visit to FBS’ Sturgeon Bay shipyard.  Baldwin was in Door County to meet with local Coast Guard members, visit Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, and conduct a listening session with maritime industry leaders.

 


4:  Sen. Tammy Baldwin, wearing a red helmet, walks with leaders of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and members of the U.S. Coast Guard during an Aug. 31, 2021, visit to FBS’ Sturgeon Bay shipyard.  Baldwin was in Door County to meet with local Coast Guard members, visit Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, and conduct a listening session with maritime industry leaders.

 

5: Todd Thayse, vice president and general manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, discusses shipbuilding process to Sen. Tammy Baldwin and members of the U.S. Coast Guard during an Aug. 31, 2021 visit to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.  Baldwin was in Door County to meet with local Coast Guard members, visit Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, and conduct a listening session with maritime industry leaders.

Door County, UW-Oshkosh teaming up for groundwater study

If you have a private well in Door County, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is hoping to work with you for an important study. UWO’s Environmental Research and Innovation Center is resuming a Door County groundwater study this fall that has been in progress since the fall of 2019. UWO’s goal is to educate you on the importance of testing your well water and building a database of groundwater quality in Door County. They also hope you better understand water quality data. 

 

UW-Oshkosh is also holding a virtual forum aimed to help you learn more about the study. The forum is expected to show participants a presentation on study goals and how to collect and drop-off samples. You can RSVP to be a part of the study here. 

 

(Photo from the US Geological Survey) 

Increased yoga offerings highlight Northern Door YMCA fall

With the school year starting, the Northern Door YMCA is hoping you’ll join for its fall sessions and new yoga offerings. The Fish Creek facility has opened up registration for its Fall 1 Session, which officially begins on September 7th. Healthy Living and Facilities Director Megan Schneider adds that there is youth and adult programs to help you ease into the fall. 

 

This fall’s yoga offerings are one of the biggest changes, as the classes that were typically held on Tuesdays and Thursdays will also be held on Wednesdays and Fridays. Schneider says you can find yoga for almost every day with a wide variety. 

 

 

The yoga classes also cater to your skill level.

Local, military organizations support Egg Harbor veteran

Even years after serving, an Egg Harbor veteran is being thanked for defending our freedoms as he recently had his house resided by Door County community members. The siding project that was finished this month was spearheaded by Adopt a Soldier Door County with help from Todd Hanson of Habitat for Humanity and members of the US Coast Guard. The process for what was called “Ryan’s House,” included volunteers removing all the home’s previous siding, replacing the sheeting, and wrapping it before residing the Egg Harbor residence. Adopt a Soldier founder Nancy Hutchinson notes that the way the house was sided before did create a bit of difficulty.

 

 

The project was also aided by a grant from Home Depot. 

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Should local municipality board and council members have the ability to vote virtually without having to attend in-person meetings indefinitely?
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If you were Packer GM Brian Gutekunst, would you make a big trade now that Za'Darius Smith is on injured reserve?
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