News Archives for 2021-12

Sevastopol receives donation for athletic complex improvements

The School District of Sevastopol announced that Therma-Tron-X donated $500,000 towards phase II of their planned athletic field complex. Phase II of the plan includes a combination concession stand, bathrooms, athletic training room, and officials rooms among other enhancements. The total cost of the project is around $900,000 and the district hopes to get roughly 70% of those funds from donations. 

 

Chad Andrae, VP of Sales at TTX says that “our hope is that the students, staff, and community are blessed for years to come because of this contribution.” 

 

Sevastopol Athletic Director Brooke Tanck says “I couldn’t be more appreciative and excited for the generous donation from Therma-Tron-X and the Andreae family. We are blessed to have such outstanding support and I am filled with gratitude for our students and community.” 


If any other businesses, organizations, or individuals are interested in donating to Phase II of the athletic complex they are asked to send donations to the Pioneer Athletic Booster Club in the form of a check, or make an electronic payment through www.Givelify.com. For additional information, please contact either Superintendent Kyle Luedtke or Athletic Director Brooke Tanck at (920) 743-6282.

Staying in school hangs with staffing

The difference between your kids staying in front of a teacher or a computer screen depends on the number of staff members in the building.

 

Door and Kewaunee counties eight school districts are scheduled to head back to the classroom for the first time since just before Christmas on Monday. It has been even longer for Washington Island School students, who went to virtual learning in mid-December in response to COVID-19 cases cropping up. Many school districts will also return to optional masking for all of their students after Gibraltar, Washington Island, and Sturgeon Bay kept mandates in place for its youngest learners during the fall.

 

Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says they will continue to work with the Door County Public Health Department on COVID-19 protocols and monitor the data within their buildings as students return to the classroom, but ultimately they need the staff in place to pull in-person learning off.

As of Monday, approximately 21 percent of kids 5-11 and 59 percent of kids 12-17 were vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Nature Reserve in Northern Door County to host a climate action book club

A book club discussion of the climate crisis, hosted by the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor will take place through the first four months of 2022. The book to be discussed is titled Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, written by Paul Hawken, an environmentalist, and bestselling author. The book discussions will start on January 18th and take place every third Tuesday after that point. A section of the book will be discussed at each meeting, along with how the reading could be applied to Door County. Anna Foster, the environmental interpreter at the Ridges Sanctuary, details how the series of book discussions came to life.

 

 

The meetings will be held in person and over Zoom, as the capacity for in-person attendance is limited. With the book's reading required for participation in the series, you can find it at the Door County Libraries and the Nature Store in the Cook-Fuller Nature Center in Baileys Harbor. After the book discussion meetings are over, the Ridges Sanctuary will also hold a community meeting that will be more action-oriented. The five book discussions will be held in the evenings from 6:00-7:30 pm. For more information about the series and to register for the discussions, you can visit the Ridges Sanctuary website.


Sheriff thanks staff, community to close out 2021

As we close out the year, I always like to take a moment to thank all of those who serve our communities and keep them safe. Throughout the year I receive numerous calls from those who have had direct contact with law enforcement, and who feel the need to express their appreciation for the acts of a given officer or officers. We are truly blessed to have these public servants living among us, those who have put the needs of their community above their own needs. This also holds true for those in our communities who give of themselves in the fire service as well as rescue personnel and first responders.

            

To see on a daily basis how these professionals come together at a time of crisis and apply their given talent to those in need is truly humbling. Even more amazing is that after a call is complete, they re-group and prepare for the next response. This goes on 24 hours a day 7 days a week. While most are sleeping they are responding. While most are at holiday events, they are responding.

            

Law enforcement has an additional component which is unique to our calling which requires us to stand between those we protect and those who would harm them. This position in society is not an easy one as we must determine friend from foe, and how we will respond to threats to both our communities as well as to ourselves in split seconds. While we rely on an ongoing regiment of training and policy updates which reinforces a consistent and appropriate response to all possible scenarios, the reality is that every situation has its own dynamics.

            

We realize the faith that our communities have put in us, and confidence which is placed on our abilities to navigate through the myriad of calls and complaints as we go about the duties of preserving the peace. I would hope that all can appreciate the burden that we place on law enforcement officers, and take every opportunity to let them know that they have not only our appreciation, but our support throughout the year.

           

Whether these members of Law Enforcement work on Patrol, Investigations, School Liaison, Dispatch, Jail, or Administration, we are all part of  the same team. To all who put on the badge and stand guard over our communities; thank you, it is an honor to serve along of you.

New Year's Resolutions: Losing weight and getting in shape

Every year one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to attempt to lose weight or to get in good physical shape. This year the YMCA is ready to help those that make that their goal achieve it. The YMCA is offering different types of fitness programs such as cardio, strength training, various water exercise classes among others. The goal of having such a variety of programs for people to participate in is to accommodate for everyone as not everyone has the same fitness goals. The YMCA also has a process to help people stay committed to their fitness goals, The Senior Program Director of Healthy Living at the Door County YMCA of Sturgeon Bay Mary Claire McHugh says they encourage those who participate in these programs to start small and set goals that are measurable and achievable. McHugh also mentions that along with physical activity, mental health is something that should be monitored as well and says activities such as meditation can help relieve some of the stress that can occur from time to time.

Kewaunee County COVID numbers continue to climb

The number of active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Kewaunee County took another jump this past week.

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported 109 more positive tests since last Thursday, with 4,500 people diagnosed with the coronavirus since the pandemic began in early 2020. The active cases rose by 27, with three more hospitalizations and one additional death reported. The county's number of hospitalizations and deaths tends to lag behind the state's reporting.  This week, a total of 81 recoveries were also noted in Kewaunee County's COVID-19 update.  
 

On the vaccination front, just over half, 51.7 percent. of Kewaunee County residents have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.   

 

   


Sevastopol turns down request for ATV/UTV on roads

The Town of Sevastopol will not be allowing All-Terrain Vehicles and Utility Terrain Vehicles on its roads in the foreseeable future.  At a meeting earlier this month, the Sevastopol Town Board decided against taking any action after discussing concerns over safety and higher traffic during times when there are more visitors.  Town board member Linda Wait says the proposal brought forward last summer by a group of ATV/UTV riders was organized and respectful, but most of the board felt that the request at this time was not a good fit for Sevastopol.

 

 

Wait notes that riding trails are much more attractive and safer than town roads, especially in northern Door County.  The lone town board member to voice support for the ATV/UTV routes on town roads was Mark Haen.  Wait adds that a similar request was made a few years ago by another individual, which was subsequently denied as well.  

Increased testing, positivity rates slowing down results turnaround times

You may have to wait a little bit longer for your results if you are getting tested for COVID-19 at Door County Medical Center.

 

The hospital announced on Thursday that patients getting tested may have to wait as long as 72 hours for their results to be verified.  With the installation of new equipment and lower testing volumes, Door County Medical Center had gotten the turnaround time down to about 24 hours. Approximately 58 percent of the 253 tests taken since Monday have come back positive.

 

Pharmacies have struggled to keep the at-home tests on their shelves as people purchased them to test before and immediately following holiday gatherings. Those types of tests can get you results in as little as 15 minutes. Back in October, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise told Door County Daily News that those tests can be useful, but should not be treated as a gold standard.

The state reported the third-most new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Wednesday at 7,772. Only November 12th and 17th in 2020 were higher. The seven-day average is the highest it has been since November 28th, 2020 and the seven-day average test positivity rate rose to a record high of 18.3 percent.

Gibraltar cancels optional masking for K-6 students

You may still have to wear a mask on Monday if you are a Gibraltar student or staff member.

 

Superintendent Tina Van Meer announced on Thursday that K-12 staff members and K-6 students would still be required to mask up despite the school board voting to lift the mandate at its last meeting. The board also directed the district to do what was necessary to keep in-person learning uninterrupted.  In her letter to parents and staff, Van Meer announced that eight students and two employees had tested positive for COVID-19 since the holiday break started and suggested that the number could be even higher.

 

She also pointed out that the Door County COVID-19 Situation Update has the area at a critically high level of disease activity. Less than a quarter of kids between the ages of 5-11 have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine series.

 

Masking became optional for Gibraltar students in grades 7-12 in class and participating in extracurricular activities before the holiday break and they will be strongly encouraged to wear a face-covering when they come back from break. 

 

You can read the full letter below:

 

Good afternoon,

 

I am writing to inform you of an important announcement regarding mandatory masking in the Gibraltar Area School District.

 

Door County's COVID-19 Situation Update for Dec. 30 shows Door County at the "Critically High" level of disease activity. In addition, the hospital capacity rates for the Northeast Region has exceeded 89%. Although the vaccination rate for Door County is 76.9%, the majority of vaccinated people are over the age of 18. 96.2% of people over 65 are vaccinated. While 61.1% of children ages 12 to 17 are vaccinated, only 24.5% of children ages 5 to 11 are vaccinated. 3 out of 4 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have not received a first dose of vaccine. 1 in 4 children between the ages of 12 and 17 has not received the first dose of the vaccine. Due to the nature of our school organization and the emerging characteristics of the Omicron variant, the vaccination rate of children ages 5 to 11 is a major concern.

 

As of December 30, the District has had 8 students and 2 employees test positive for COVID-19 during the holidays. This number only includes those who have informed me directly. The actual number of positive cases could be considerably higher. As the number of positive cases continues to grow each day in our District, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the number of staff required to ensure in-person learning. The Board of Education has directed the District to keep continuous and uninterrupted teaching and learning a priority. As such, the Superintendent has been given the authority to take all necessary steps to ensure the continuation of in-person learning.

 

Given all of this information, I have made the decision to continue mandatory masking for children in grades K-6 until further notice. In an attempt to maintain staffing levels that ensure continuous and uninterrupted instruction, all employees (K-12) must also wear a mask. All students and employees riding the school bus or other means of transportation provided by the District must also wear a mask. Given the 61.1% vaccination rate, children in grades 7-12 are "strongly encouraged" to wear masks, but will not be required at this time. Additionally, optional masking will remain in place for 7-12 extracurricular events and activities. I will carefully monitor the number of positive cases at the secondary level and make necessary adjustments to ensure continuous and uninterrupted teaching and learning.

 

Sincerely,

Tina Van Meer

 


New Year's Resolutions: Spending more time with friends and family

Checking off a New Year’s Resolution in 2022 could be as easy as grabbing a box and gathering your family around the table. Spending more time with friends and family is one of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions according to Brad Zomick from GoSkills.com. Board games have become one of those options for people as the pandemic has caused “digital fatigue” for many with more time at home becoming the norm. The Gnoshery owner Pat Fuge has certainly seen that enthusiasm for board and card games in his first year in downtown Sturgeon Bay. He says the activity is only getting more popular with new games on the way.

The German news outlet DW reports that the pandemic fueled a 20 percent growth in the board game industry, which now has a global segment worth of approximately $15 billion. A 2018 study commissioned by Visit Anaheim showed that Americans enjoyed just 37 minutes of “quality time” as a family on weekdays. 

Rogue Theater breaks ground on new performing arts space

An 8 a.m. groundbreaking could not come soon enough for Rogue Theater’s Stuart Champeau and Lola DeVillers.

 

The DC Performing Arts Center was supposed to have broken ground in March 2020 just as the pandemic was taking its hold on the country. In its wake, financing for the project was hard to come by let alone getting the materials and the crews lined up to construct the fine arts building. Champeau has a construction background, so he knew delays at this point were inevitable. He and DeVillers are excited for what this building can be for Door County’s arts community.

The hope is the DC Arts Center will host its first Rogue Theater production around Memorial Day 2022.

Truck catches fire in Liberty Grove

A truck and equipment used for foundation coating are considered to be a total loss after the truck caught fire in a field in the Town of Liberty Grove on Wednesday.

 

The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department, Door County Emergency Services, and the Door County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the field near Water’s End Road just before 2 p.m. Fire Chief Chris Hecht says everything happened quickly.

No injuries and no other damage were reported as a result of the fire.


Positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations balloons in Door County

Door County Public Health has scheduled three vaccine clinics in the first two weeks of the New Year after reporting some of its largest COVID-19 numbers in several weeks.

 

Of the 253 tests performed since Monday148 of them came back positive for COVID-19. The new positive tests far outpaced the number of recoveries as the number of active cases jumped 127 to 594. Another seven residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, bringing that number to 192 since the beginning of the pandemic. Thirty of those hospitalizations have occurred in the last month. No additional deaths were reported. The number of hospitalizations and deaths announced by the county tends to lag due to the state’s reporting.

 

Door County Public Health will host a vaccine clinic for kids 5-11 on January 4th at the ADRC building from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. They will also host clinics for people ages 12 and up at the Sister Bay Fire Station on January 6th  from 2-5 p.m. and January 13th at the government center in Sturgeon Bay from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. All of the clinics are by appointment only.

Door County island to get a new name?

A small island near Little Sturgeon may need a new name after the U.S. Department of Interior declared a part of it to be derogatory. Squaw Island made a list of nearly 30 Wisconsin sites and nearly 650 federal locations with the term in its name. Squaw is considered a slur for Indigenous women. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland first announced the plan last month to change the names of geographic places if they contained racial slurs. Interior Secretarial Order 3404 declares the term squaw derogatory and implements procedures to remove the term from federal usage, but what that means for the privately-owned Squaw Island is unknown for now after contacting Door County officials on Wednesday.

 

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Geographic Names Council voted to change the name of Squaw Lake in Western Oneida and Vilas counties to Amber Lake. In a WXPR report, Wisconsin Geographic Names Council Carroll Schaal said public opinion or county approval on the name change did not matter and the name change is “acknowledging some of the past harm here and moving toward a greater inclusive society.”  The Dane County Board voted to change the name of Lake Monona’s Squaw Bay to Wicawak, the Ho-Chunk word for muskrat, in 2019. 

 

Map screenshot from MapBox

Doctors recommend upgrading masks as Omicron spreads

As Bellin Hospital in Green Bay gets some much-needed help, one of its local doctors says you can help by getting vaccinated and getting better masks. It echoes sentiments made by doctors in Ohio earlier this week urging people to retire their cloth masks and use hospital-grade ones.  Dr. Robert Mead from Bellin Health says cloth masks were important at the beginning of the pandemic because of hospitals' shortage of personal protective equipment. Thanks to the increased production of masks like the N95 and KN95, Mead believes the time is right to upgrade in the face of the much more infectious Omicron variant.

Bellin Hospital is operating at 100 percent capacity due to the influx of patients. It is forced to turn away dozens of ambulances from rural hospitals because they cannot accept new patients. Trained members of the Navy and Army have been deployed to Bellin to help with the increased patient load for the next month.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

 

Zettel joins race for District 14 seat

You are running out of time if you are planning to run for the Door County Board. Hugh Zettel is the only new name to join the fray since our update last week.

 

He has returned his nomination signatures to run for the District 14 seat, which is being vacated by longtime supervisor Richard “Biz” Virlee and challenged by Darrick DeMeuse. That could create eight contested elections this spring for Door County Board seats. Todd Thayse and Lora Jorgensen have both filed their nomination papers for the District 2 seat. Roy Englebert will face another challenge to keep his District 3 seat after Patrick Olson took out his nomination papers for circulation earlier this month. Nancy Robillard and Kara Counard are contesting the District 4 seat after redistricting put the pair of incumbents in the same area. Jeff Miller and Timothy Smith look to become the new District 5 supervisor. Incumbent District 9 supervisor Dan Austad could face a challenge Jonathan Kruse while Morgan Rusnak and Helen Bacon are both in the race for District 11. Holly Runquist is challenging District 18 supervisor Vinni Chomeau while Nate Bell, Walter Kalms, Janet Johnson, and Abby Duebler are all running for the District 20 supervisory post. Thayse (District 2), Jorgenson (District 2), Englebert (District 3), Robillard (District 4), Ken Fisher (District 6), Austad (District 7), Rusnak (District 11), Bacon (District 11), Dale Vogel (District 13), DeMeuse (District 14), Zettel (District 14), Elizabeth Gauger (District 15), and Joel Gunnlaugsson (District 21) have all filed their nominations papers. Every seat on the board has at least one person running for the board.

 

All other potential candidates have until 5 p.m. to fill their paperwork with Jill Lau in the Door County Clerk’s Office on January 4th.

YMCA bringing fitness to a "360" in 2022

You can elevate your YMCA experience anytime and anywhere now with a new program offered by the Door County YMCA.  Starting January 1, YMCA360, a digital content streaming platform, will provide hundreds of different programs for people of all ages.  Progressive Gymnastics Director Amy Gamble shares some of the details of the new online service.

 

 

The classes are for any fitness level and can be accessed by registering on the Door County YMCA website.  The program is free for all YMCA members and community members can try it out with a free trial until January 31.  You can find out more about the YMCA360 classes here.  

Enjoy the winter wilderness with friends in Newport State Park

On January 1st, you will have the opportunity to hike through a part of Newport State Park as the park participates in a First Day Hike event. The First Day Hike is a nationwide event led by America's State Parks to encourage people to get out and explore the outdoors. According to the American Hiking Society, nearly 55,000 people participated in the hike last year, with a conjoined distance of 133,000 miles throughout the country. Newport State Park has participated in this event for many years and is excited to bring it back this year. One of the co-presidents of the Friends of Newport State Park, Mark Glasser, describes what is in store for hikers this year and his feelings about the experience.

 

 

Hikers will meet at parking lot #1 on Saturday to begin the journey promptly at 9 am. Although a park pass will be required to enter the park, no reservations will be required. Glasser does suggest that if you plan on participating in the event, you should be mindful of what you wear. Warm clothes and boots are recommended in case of chilly weather. First Day Hike participants are invited by the Wisconsin DNR to share their experience by using the hashtags #OutWiGo and #FirstDayHike on Instagram.

 

New Year's Resolutions: Updating your estate plan

Keeping your estate plan updated can be as important as preparing your personal taxes in the New Year, according to attorney Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay. Ross says reviewing and updating one’s estate plan should be done periodically, mainly when changes occur in your family. He shares some life-changing events that may impact your estate and calls for making changes.

 

 

Ross adds that you may want to make changes to your advance financial and healthcare directives as well. Having those documents in place allows for family members or representatives to make financial, business, and healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated. Ross also notes that you may want to take advantage of charitable contributions for tax purposes before the New Year.

Door County welcomes benefits from Packer fans

Lambeau Field hosts thousands of people for all Packer home games and it can be assumed that somewhere in that mass of people there are ties to the Door County area. Director of Communications and Public Relations at Destination Door County Jon Jarosh says it is common for people to inhabit the Door County area before heading to Lambeau Field for a Packer game. He says the influx of people that might spend a weekend in Door County is dependent on the time of day the Packers play. 

 


Jarosh also talks about the impact one player like Packers running back AJ Dillon can have on local business.

 


The Packers will be at home this Sunday at 7:20 pm to take on the Minnesota Vikings.

 

Door County Facilities & Parks want to hear from you during a public information session

You will have a chance to share your input on the plan set for the facilities in downtown Sturgeon Bay. This information session will present the results of the Downtown Sturgeon Bay Campus Study that was previously conducted. This study was done by Door County government members, stakeholders, and the architecture planning firm HGA. With this study, the people listed above worked to create a master plan for county facilities in the city's downtown district. Those facilities include the government center, the Sturgeon Bay campus of the Door County Library, Miller Art Museum, Door County Historical Museum, and the former Younkers building. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich describes the study done, what they are looking for during the meeting and next steps for the plan.

 

 

The public information session will be held on January 4th at 6 pm in the County Government Chambers Room located at 421 Nebraska St. The conference will also be available via Zoom if you are interested but unable to attend in person. 

 

Drive Sober program in full swing for New Year's Eve

Local law enforcement want to help you avoid being a part of a statistic when it comes to alcohol-related accidents. Last year in Wisconsin, 6,050 alcohol related accidents were to blame for 167 deaths. In order to keep people safer on the roads, the Door County Sheriff's office is participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over program that is taking place across the country. 

 

Lieutenant Brad Shortreed shares this reminder with all people who have festivities planned for New Year’s Eve 

 

 

If you are celebrating New Year’s Eve, never let someone who is imparied get behind the wheel of a car, and identify a designated driver who is sober and has not consumed any alcohol, or find a safe alternative way home. You can also download the Drive Sober mobile app at zeroinwisconsin.gov. The app helps find a safe ride home for those who need it.

 

Local airport not feeling airline nightmares

While thousands of flights of the country had to be delayed or canceled over the holiday weekend, you could have still flown out of Green Bay with relative ease.  Airline tracker FlightAware reported more than 1,200 flight cancelations and 5,300 delays on Monday. That’s on top of the nearly 1,000 flights canceled on Christmas and 1,500-plus trips canceled on Sunday. While the weather was a factor in some cases, many airlines are experiencing staff shortages due to increased COVID-19 cases among their crew members. Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay works with United and Delta Airlines, both of which told the USA Today that omicron cases among staff were the cause of many of their cancellations. Assistant Airport Director Rachel Engeler says they have avoided most of that frustration so far.

She is not sure how air traffic compares to pre-pandemic levels, but Engeler did not note that the terminals have been very busy all holiday season long. Passengers are encouraged to keep track of their flight status before they head to the airport. After the holiday struggles at airports, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested a vaccine mandate for domestic flights may be something to be considered. A report from Bloomberg Business reported that the Biden Administration is currently not considering. 

City races hold steady in final week

Your ballot for the city council with three municipalities may not change much between now and the spring election on April 5th. Kewaunee Clerk Terri Decur and Sturgeon Bay Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt reported no new people taking out nomination papers ahead of the final week on Monday.

 

For Sturgeon Bay, that means  Mayor David Ward and council members Dennis Statz (District 2), J. Spencer Gustafson (District 4), and Seth Wiederanders (District 6) will likely run unopposed after recently returning their nomination papers.

 

In Kewaunee, mayoral candidate Jeff Vollenweider, his potential replacement Cathy Brown (District 1) and Jim Brewster (District 2) have returned their paperwork as of Monday morning. Incumbent Janita Zimmerman (District 3) and newcomer Eric Wisnicky (District 4) are still circulating.

 

No update has been provided from Algoma about their city council. Previously, Mayor Wayne Schmidt, First District Alderperson Kevin Schmidt, and Fourth District Alderperson Jake Maring were intending on running for office again.

Harmann Studios to close Luxemburg location

You will have to head to De Pere to get your photos done by Harmann Studios in the future. 

 

John Harmann, the owner of Harmann Studios, announced on Monday he would be consolidating his operations and closing their operations in Luxemburg effective January 1st. The photo studio has had a physical presence in Kewaunee County for over 60 years when Wayne and Clif Harmann first started printing black and white photos in its Algoma lab. Factoring in the decision was that over 90 percent of their Kewaunee County clientele did not require an indoor location.

 

In a press release, Harmann thanked the people of Kewaunee County for their support over the years and expressed his appreciation for the business’s historical connection to the area.

 

Harmann Studios will still operate a physical location in DePere and is working with the future tenant of his old space to offer pick-up/drop-off points for local clients. You can read his full release below.

 

 

Picture from screenshot of a Harmann Studios video on their Facebook page

Looking back before setting your 2022 resolutions

For the sake of your mental health, you might want to take some time in the next few days to have a personal "year-end review."   Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White recommends that you take stock of what happened to you in 2021 before making any New Year resolutions for 2022. He suggests writing down your 2021 experiences and reflecting on your accomplishments rather than focusing on what you failed to get done.

 

 

Dr. White says the year-end review can help you remember, learn, and grow as a person. The process can help better prepare you for a more positive year ahead and lead to meaningful resolutions in 2022. You can listen to Dr. White's entire Mental Health Minute with questions to ask yourself regarding a personal review below. 

 

 

Low recruitment in local fire departments

Local volunteer fire departments have struggled finding new recruits and would like to see you join their ranks. An ongoing study conducted by the Wisconsin Policy Forum suggests that the increase in 9-1-1 calls and the lack of recruits may cause difficulty in keeping departments able to provide adequate coverage for their jurisdictions. Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges describes how he has seen this issue within his department.

 

 

While the time required to become a volunteer may be high, Bertges says that many people who give their time to the department feel a sense of camaraderie and are happy to give back to the community. In a similar fashion Fire Chief Rich Olson from the Southern Door Fire department says he is happy to have a good group of regular volunteers; more people would be beneficial in some areas.

 

 

Door County Library event schedule starting to fill up

The Door County Library staff is thrilled to once again be holding events for kids to participate in during the winter months. The Library will be giving away craft bags that are designed for children ages 4k-Kindergarten which will include a penguin craft that can be hung up, a snowman bookmark, and a list of suggested games that kids can play in the snow.

In terms of location specific events, there will be an adult craft bag for pickup at the Ephraim location featuring an origami craft, grab and go bags for kids at the Forestville location which will include instructions on how to construct a make a wish star wand, and in Egg Harbor they will have a cricket machine that cuts material for various crafts, this year the craft will be a custom luggage tag.

Another event coming up will be the Kickoff to Door County Reads which is a program that encourages the reading and sharing of designated books, and will also include speeches from authors around the state of Wisconsin, as well as a songwriting workshop.

Community Relations personnel for the Door County Library Morgan Mann says that all of the events are free even for those who are not residents of the Door County area, however one event at the Sturgeon Bay library will require an RSVP., as well as lists where you can find the list of dates and times for the various events.

 

Two Kewaunee County Board members opt out of re-election bid

Two seats on the Kewaunee County Board may have to be filled in via write-in vote after two more county board members filed their non-candidacy papers last week.

 

District 5 supervisor Matthew Piesler and District 10 supervisor John Wochos each filed their notice of non-candidacy last Tuesday. As of Monday morning, there were no challengers for those seats. District 4 Doak Baker filed declared his non-candidacy earlier this month, but he has Nellie DeBaker and Dennis Langteau vying for the seat.

 

All of the other 17 seats have the incumbents looking to run for reelection. Langteau, Gerald Paape (District 1), Daniel Olson (District 6), Aaron Augustian (District 11), Milt Swagel (District 12), Thomas Romdenne (District 14), Virginia Haske (District 16), and Joanne Lazansky (District 20) have all filed their nomination papers.

 

Candidates have until next Tuesday at the close of business to file the necessary paperwork for the role. 

Omicron present in state, CDC updates protocols as Door County's numbers continue to climb

State health officials are asking you to be extra careful in the coming weeks as people continue to celebrate the holidays.

 

The state has documented 324 cases of Omicron since it was first discovered on December 4th. In comparison, there have been over 2400 cases of the Delta variant in approximately the same time frame. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cough, fatigue or tiredness, and congestion continue to be the main symptoms while the loss of taste and smell seem to be reserved for previous variants. 

 

The new variant comes as Door County’s active COVID-19 cases crossed the 500 mark again ahead of the Christmas holiday. Seventy-three of the 189 tests performed between December 20th and December 23rd came back positive for COVID-19. The number of active cases went up as a result by 40 to 507. The county report, which often lags compared to the state’s data, added another five hospitalizations and two deaths. Forty-one people have died and 185 more have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The climbing numbers have caused Door County’s case activity level to spill over into the critically high category, joining the rest of northeast Wisconsin in that distinction.

 

Only eight people went in for COVID-19 over the Christmas holiday. One person who previously tested positive came back negative, so the number of total positives in the county since the pandemic started actually went down one to 4,327. There was no update for the number of active cases.

 

The CDC updated its protocols for those who test positive for COVID-19 on Monday. The recommended time for isolation was cut in half from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic. It is recommended after coming out of quarantine that people wear a mask for five days when around others. The CDC says the change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early on in the process, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.

Highway incidents raise caution for deputies, motorists

Law enforcement personnel reminds you to travel carefully this winter season, especially when you see their deputies at work.  A Wisconsin State Patrol cruiser was struck on Thursday while it was investigating multiple vehicle runoffs on State Highway 29 in Marathon County. The trooper was inside his vehicle when another motorist lost control and struck the cruiser. That marked the third time this month that there was a close call for law enforcement on the highway. Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says they preach a lot about officer safety and there are steps you should remember when you are out driving.

Failing to move over in Wisconsin is not just dangerous; it could be expensive as a citation could cost you $263.50 and three demerit points on your drivers’ license. The next two days could be busy ones for local law enforcement if last Thursday’s snowfall was any indication. Door County Dispatch responded to nine accidents and one vehicle in a ditch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the snow was at its heaviest. 

Winter weather advisory expires at 10 a.m. ahead of more snow

Don't put your snowblower too deep in the garage after Monday's winter weather advisory expires.

 

Portions of Door and Kewaunee counties were expected to get between two and three inches of snow according to models provided by the National Weather Service on Sunday, making for slick conditions during the Monday morning commute. The snowfall could mix with freezing drizzle and sleet as the morning progresses. The Winter Weather advisory is expected to expire at approximately 10 a.m.

 

The National Weather Service is already predicting similar conditions for the Tuesday afternoon commute. Another two to four inches is expected for Door and Kewaunee counties by the time the snow tapers off Tuesday evening.  There is also a chance of snow on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 

 

Jacksonport ready for return of Polar Bear Swim

The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club is getting set to host the 34th and the 35th annual swim into Lake Michigan on January 1 at 12 pm after cancelling last year's event. This year, there is expected to be roughly 500 participants in the swim, and organizers are welcoming those involved to go in twice due to the cancellation of last year's event. This year's swim will take place at the Lakeside Park in Jacksonport and does not cost anything to participate. Registration will begin at 10:30 the morning of the event. Organizers are also asking that each participant fill out a liability form which can be downloaded from their website before the event, or can be filled out at the pavilion upon arrival at the park. The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club has included a list of tips for participants on their website on precautions to take to ensure they have an enjoyable swim experience. The list can be found here: http://www.jacksonportpolarbearclub.com 

Peninsula State Park aims for 2022 makeover

Peninsula State Park’s dream of getting new playground equipment is getting closer to being a reality. Last spring, Peninsula State Park was forced to remove the set of playground equipment at Nicolet Bay Beach due to the structure's rotting foundation. The Friends of Peninsula State Park has started fundraising in hopes of getting a new all-inclusive playground built that will be accessible to children of all ages and abilities. Another goal of this new playground structure is to help improve mental, physical, and emotional health in children. The fundraising goal for this project is around $120,000 and secretary of the Friends of Peninsula State Park Judy Ortiz says they are about halfway to achieving that goal. Construction for the new playground structure is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring of 2022, with a goal of opening the structure during the summer of 2022. Judy also says anyone interested in making a donation towards the project can go to their website peninsulafriends.org to make a donation, or mail a check directly to the Friends of Peninsula State Park organization.

Why United Way?

When I moved to Door County in 2006, I was immediately struck by the giving nature of the Community. I knew that we had made the right decision to move to this community as the Residents were clearly trying to take care of and support themselves at all costs. 

 

In 2011, I started to work for Jim Olson Motors. I quickly learned that Jim Olson was committed to running a successful business that allowed him to give back to and support our Community. Giving back to the Community is a top priority for Jim Olson and that was a good match with my personal beliefs.

 

I was motivated to look deeper for what groups I personally wanted to commit to. For me, the United Way became the obvious choice. It was the one Organization that seemed to support and fund so many of the most basic programs in our area through its partnerships. The United Way is focused on the core areas of education, financial stability and health in our Community. The United Way continues to work toward understanding the causes of social issues and finding very real solutions to promote long term change for the betterment of the community. I appreciate knowing that through the United Way I am supporting so many agencies in our area that are doing great work for our Residents of all ages-who may be in need. 

 

I believe that for most people there can come a point in their lives where they find themselves unexpectedly needing help. Very often this happens through no fault of their own. I am reassured by the work of the United Way that my Friends, Family and Neighbors find help when they need it because the United Way is there!

 

Solarium concludes work improving cyber defense

The Internet is a safer place for you and area businesses after the bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission expired last week after two-and-a-half years of work. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime costs will reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $6 trillion in 2021 and $3 trillion in 2015.  

 

Chaired by Independent Senator Angus King and Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, the commission made dozens of recommendations and Legislative proposals to be taken up by Congress.  Their work created the Office of the National Cyber Director and established a Cyber Response and Recovery Fund. Gallagher says the threats are still growing from countries like Russia and China, but they are off to a good start to protect the United States' economic interests online.


Even though the commission has disbanded, Gallagher says he will team up with King to form a "Solarium 2.0" to bring up some of the recommendations that have not been implemented yet.

 

Businesses are starting to take action on their own through cyber insurance. The consulting group MarketsandMarkets expects the cyber insurance market to grow from $7.8 billion in 2020 to $20.4 billion by 2025.

Fire department capturing important memories

You are invited to share your memories of the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department for a special project. The department announced last month it would be partnering with Write On, Door County, The Sister Bay Historical Society, the Liberty Grove Historical Society, the Door County Library, Recollection Wisconsin, and others to capture audio and video recordings of former and current firefighters. The hope is not just capturing the memories of firefighters but making them available for future generations. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht has been able to sit in on the recordings and he has taken away a lot from the sessions.

The project hopes to be completed in time for National Fire Prevention Week next year, which is slated for October 9-15, 2022. You can contact the SBLGFD oral history project’s director, Maryanne O’Dowd, at nordoorfirehistory@gmail.com to learn how to submit your oral history. 

Salentine reflects on National 4-H Congress experience

You have seen her at plenty of Kewaunee County 4-H events, but Pilsen Skylighters member Megan Salentine took her love for the organization to Atlanta for the National 4-H Congress last month. It was the 100th anniversary of the National 4-H Congress, which began in 1920 and has been hosted in Atlanta since 1998. A senior at Luxemburg-Casco High School, Salentine joined over 30 other delegates from different Wisconsin counties for the event. While the over 800 delegates from across the country got to fit in some sightseeing, the National 4-H Congress also featured a number of workshops, guest speakers, and other events. Salentine says she enjoyed meeting people from around the nation.

Even after going national with her 4-H experiences, Salentine still enjoys the monthly meetings and community service projects her club participates in throughout the year as one of its more experienced members. 

 

Picture courtesy of Megan Salentine

Local auto industry getting better going into 2022

Dealing with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, including inventory issues the past year, local auto dealers are optimistic that the car and truck market will be strong in 2022.  Jim Olson, the owner of Jim Olson Motors and three dealerships in Sturgeon Bay, says even though production had a hard time keeping up with demand, customers have been patient and adjusted by pre-ordering vehicles or working with salespeople to claim new arrivals.  He notes that the market is getting more predictable and better for the dealer and consumer.

 

 

Olson adds that Jim Olson Motors is paying top dollar for used cars to help build inventory with the demand remaining high for the foreseeable future.  The increased price for pre-owned vehicles has made trade-in values higher than ever.  

The impact of severe winter on wildlife

The severity of cold weather and heavy snowfall during the winter can impact the survival rate of the deer population in the area.  Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says the DNR typically uses a winter severity index that tracks the number of days of 18 inches or more of snow that is on the ground and temperatures dropping below zero.  He notes that the combination of snow and extreme cold over the course of many days can really be dangerous to deer, especially fawns later in the winter. 

 

 

Kratcha says every animal has its own adaptation for survival, and that it is remarkable that many can survive in extreme weather conditions. 

Sturgeon Bay retail store seeing extra traffic with the holiday season

Bliss, a retail store recently relocated to 3rd avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay has seen a successful holiday season of shoppers.  The festive time of the year has brought people from all over the area searching for Christmas gifts and sales. With that in mind, Todd Trimberger, owner of Bliss, describes seeing more foot traffic since its relocation to The Marketplace. Trimberger says the preparations for the holiday rush were a little different for this year.

 

 

Before Christmas Day, Bliss offered a 25% sale on all holiday items for their guests and wrapped every gift, whether a holiday item or not, so gifts were ready to give after leaving the store. When they reopen after Christmas on Sunday the 26th, Bliss will be offering a 40% off sale for all holiday items as an after holiday clearance. 

 

Patron inspired activities in the Algoma Library

Throughout January, you will be able to attend and participate in various activities at the Algoma Public Library. Most of these events are held in person at the library, while some are more at-home-focused. One of those individual activities to take part in is the New Horizons Reading Challenge going on through the entirety of 2022. This challenge invites library patrons to track their reading while broadening their scope of genres. Another activity is the Community Art Project that is open to everyone. You are invited to pick up a large puzzle piece from the library and make it your own by decorating it with art for this project. After all the parts are returned, the library will then put the puzzle together to create a work of art to showcase. Katie Haasch, the adult services librarian, describes her part in the event planning and where the ideas for activities originate.

 

 

There are other events at the library like book clubs, trivia games, and writing workshops. You can find a complete list of January events at this link.

Ransomware attacking more businesses

One attack by a cybercriminal could cost you thousands of dollars without the proper protection.

 

The Government Accountability Office shows the costs of cyber attacks to U.S. Insurers almost doubled between 2016 and 2019, costing businesses trillions of dollars along the way. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime costs will reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $6 trillion in 2021 and $3 trillion in 2015. During that same time period, the number of cyber policies increased by 60 percent. Paul and Julia Stoneman from Stoneman Schopf Agency in Sturgeon Bay says it has become popular with their clients because government organizations, large businesses, and small businesses have all proven to be susceptible to cyber-attacks.


The consulting group MarketsandMarkets expects the cyber insurance market to grow from $7.8 billion in 2020 to $20.4 billion by 2025. You can read more about what the federal government has done to address cyber security fears on Sunday.

Kewaunee County Toys for Tots gives back to 88 families

Close to 90 families and 250 children had a Merry Christmas thanks to the generosity of Kewaunee County residents and visitors. Volunteers distributed enough toys last Saturday at Kewaunee High School to provide gifts for 88 families and 245 children. The event occurred as shoppers were filling up Salvation Army Red Kettles to help families meet ends meet throughout the year. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski helps lead both campaigns during the winter season. While the warm fuzzies are nice, Joski says there are other reasons why he stays active in such causes and encourages to do the same.

Kettles were up throughout the community through Christmas Eve, but last year’s month-long Salvation Army Kettle Campaign raised over $20,000. You can read more from Sheriff Matt Joski below.

 

FROM MATT JOSKI

As we get closer to the Christmas season most people’s thoughts are occupied with preparations for family gatherings and last minute shopping ideas. For some however their minds are on recent life changing events which may have put them in dire financial times. They may be sitting down at their tables deciding whether to pay the heating bill or the mortgage payment. They may be choosing between gas in the car or supper.

    

Some parents are listening to their children’s wish list knowing full well they will not be able to gather the resources to make their children’s wishes come true. It is for these families that so many in our community reach beyond their own needs and wants and provide much needed donations and gifts during the Holiday season.

      

This past Saturday, we held our Kewaunee County Toys for Tots distribution event as we have for almost three decades. This year, we actually had a decrease in the number of families that we assisted, and many of these families were new to the program. We also had families that received toys in previous years that volunteered to help out in this year’s program which is always a great thing to see. This year we were able to provide gifts for 88 families with a total of 245 children. Thank you to all who have donated and to those who assisted with the distribution. Thank you also to the many businesses who allowed us to put a box in the place of business. We couldn’t have done it without you! Let’s all make sure we in turn take care of these businesses by considering them first in our purchases and service needs.

       

Another program which assists our neighbors in need throughout the year is our Salvation Army Kettle Campaign. As a voucher writer for the Salvation Army I can attest to the need for these resources and the impact that it has at critical moments in people’s lives. This year’s campaign is also coming to an end with the last day of bell ringing being on Christmas Eve. Thank you to all who have taken time out of their busy lives to ring bells and to those who stopped for a moment to drop a donation into the Kettles. I have no doubt this year’s campaign will be just as successful as year’s past.

       

I recently spoke to a group of students on this very issue and I got to thinking; why does all of this matter in the scope of being Sheriff? I do believe that programs like this as well as the efforts of so many charitable organization makes for a safer community and here’s why.

      

Most crimes are committed for two reasons, Desperation and Isolation. I have seen many good people make poor choices because they felt they had few to no options. If we can provide assistance at critical moments maybe that assistance is the difference between that person or a member of their family doing right or doing wrong.

      

The second factor, Isolation has to do with our accountability to each other. If through our giving we show that we do in fact care and that we take time to help one another it builds a stronger sense of community. It is my firm belief that this stronger sense of community may in fact make a difference when an individual is contemplating a criminal act against another.  This is just my optimistic view and you can accept it or disregard it but I do believe that we can start to change the world by what we do here in our communities. Be Safe, Take Care, and have a wonderful Christmas!!

Green Bay man identified in Luxemburg crash

the name of the 19-year-old man who died in a one-vehicle crash in the town of Luxemburg Friday night has been released.  The Driver in this incident has been identified as Kyle R. Barr of Green Bay.  

 

According to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, several 911 calls regarding an accident at the intersection of County roads V and N in Luxemburg were reported at about 7:20 pm.   The initial report shows that the vehicle struck a utility pole and caused down power lines.  Traveling northbound on County Road V, the driver was unable to stop at the intersection, hitting the utility pole, and was ejected. 

 

The man was dead at the scene from the accident injuries.  

 

NOTE: A previous version of this story had the other cross street a CTH H. We regret this error.

Whole Grains: Good for Your Heart!

You’ve probably been told to eat whole grains. But what are they? Why are they important? Where are they found in foods? 

 

What is a Whole Grain?  

Whole grains are whole because we eat the whole thing, the whole piece of rice or corn or wheat OR we grind the whole seed into flour using all parts. Whole grain products have more fiber and important nutrients, such as B Vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. 

 

Where do we find Whole Grains? 

You can find whole grain versions of rice, bread, cereals, flour, and pasta on most grocery store shelves. Check the label. If the first ingredient is whole grain or “Whole Wheat Flour,” that’s good. The key word is WHOLE. Other common whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal, corn, popcorn, and quinoa. 

 

Why do we want Whole Grains? 

Whole grains are naturally higher in fiber and key vitamins and minerals. Fiber helps you feel full and satisfied, so you can maintain a healthy body weight. Diets rich in whole grains are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Try making one simple swap: whole wheat bread instead of white, brown rice instead of white, or popcorn instead of potato chips. Enjoy whole grain foods AND the health benefits. 

 

 

 

Recipes using Whole Grains: 

https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/whole-grain-cereal-treats/ 

https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/chewy-granola-bars/ 

 

Resources: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/whole-grains/art-20047826 

https://www.myplate.gov/tip-sheet/make-half-your-grains-whole-grains 

Crossroads looks to soon host seasonal event

There will soon be an opportunity to Ski or Snowshoe for free courtesy of Crossroads at Big Creek (2041 Michigan Street). Crossroads will begin hosting this event on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30-3:30 p.m as weather conditions allow. Crossroads is keeping the pandemic in mind by reminding participants to stay socially distant from one another, assuring that all equipment is sanitized between uses, and asking that participants wear a mask when being fitted for equipment. Crossroads also reminds potential participants to pay attention to the signage posted along the designated trail as some areas are marked as “ski only” in hopes of preserving the shape of the trails.

Kewaunee County searches for next Fairest

Your love of the Kewaunee County Fair could land you an important role at next year's event.

 

The Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Committee is looking for its next Fairest and Junior Fairest. Last year was a unique year for the program as there was no formal selection for the 2021 Fairest of the Fair. Originally, 2020 Fairest Kiley Pagel and Junior Fairest Morgan Servaes were to reign over the 2021 Kewaunee County Fair after the pandemic canceled the 2020 event. When a different opportunity arose for Pagel last summer, Taylor Paye was tapped to hold the Fairest title for the weekend to help Servaes for the weekend. Coordinator Lisa Cochart says a lot goes into being a good Fairest.


The deadline to apply to become the Fairest and Junior Fairest of the Fair for Kewaunee County is January 5th.  Boys and girls are eligible to be selected at a crowning event to be held at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Expo Hall on January 7th. You can click on this link to learn more about the program, the eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

 

Filling in for Santa (not appropriate for kids)

When the Man in Red cannot come to Sturgeon Bay himself, the community knows it can always call on Trent Snyder to fill his boots.  Snyder bought the Santa Claus suit for a Packers game he went to and wore to a costume party shortly after he moved back to Door County because he did not have a better option. His first attempt at buying a Santa Claus suit was from a second-hand store in Minneapolis, but that turned out to be a Mrs. Claus suit he would later give to his wife.  Snyder says the response from the party led to his first gig as a Santa.

Snyder filled in for Santa several times this winter, including helping lead the Unwrapping Sturgeon Bay car parade in November.

Why United Way?

Why should I give to the United Way when I can just give directly to the organization that I want to support?

 

That’s a good question, and you can do that, and we do appreciate it. But here’s why it’s also important to give to the United Way of Door County. They don’t just fund local organizations – they also provide educational and networking opportunities for local non-profit agencies so that the agencies can work together to provide all of the resource information a person or family may need. In addition, the United Way researches the needs of our community and uses creative problem-solving to arrive at solutions for addressing those needs. Once a resulting non-profit is established, the United Way is there to advise them, to help make sure that the organization is successful.

 

For example, in Door County, without the work and guidance of the United Way, we would not have these services implemented in our community: Door Tran, STRIDE (a program that provides access to quality mental health treatment for Door County youth), Door County Food Pantry Coalition, Boys and Girls Club, DCMC Dental Clinic (for our lower income population), and Door County Partnership for Children & Families, among others.

 

So, thank you for giving to the charities of your choice. But, please, also consider a donation to the United Way of Door County, which relies on contributions from individuals for 70% of their funding, so that they may continue to support and create the services that many in our communities rely on. Send your contribution to United Way of Door County, P.O. Box 223, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. You will be contributing to the long-term health of your community.

Luxemburg-Casco Food Pantry gearing up for 2022

As area food pantries continue to collect and distribute goods during the holidays for those in need, the Marv Bins Food Pantry in Casco is currently closed and restocking during December. Director Jackie Peot says that soups, peanut butter, jams, canned vegetables, and fruits are useful items to donate.

 

 

Starting in January, the pantry will also be available the first and third Thursday of the month from 5 pm until 7 pm and open on the second and fourth Saturday from 9 am until 11 am at Holy Trinity Church in Casco.

 

(photo courtesy of the Compass)

Washington Island High Schoolers place top 50 in state decathlon

Washington Island high school students will be heading to the Wisconsin Academic Decathlon regional competition in January. Out of the 90 teams competing, the students from the island finished in the top 50 teams during the local competition in early November. Their place within the 90 teams competing qualified the students to compete in the regional competition. This second event will give 20 teams a chance to show their academic skills during the state competition. With the regional competition coming soon on January 7th, team coach Miranda Dahlke describes what the students have done to prepare for both the local and regional competition.

 

 

At the regional competition, the students will have to take a test in seven different categories; Art, Economics, Literature, Mathematics, Music, Science, and Social Science. In addition, the students will have to write an essay in advance, give a prepared speech, give an impromptu speech, and be interviewed in front of two judges. As of the new year, the competition is set to be held virtually.

Kewaunee man arrested for making threats in Luxemburg Business

A 48-year-old man from Kewaunee was arrested on Thursday after making threats at the Cellcom store in Luxemburg.   According to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, an employee of Cellcom reported that a man, who was identified as David Reimer, currently in the building had made threats of violence involving a weapon towards those in the building shortly before 11 am on Thursday.   Multiple law enforcement agencies arrived at the scene, but Reimer had left the building in his vehicle and was shortly thereafter taken into custody.  The initial investigation determined that the threat was verbal in nature and no weapon was ever displayed.  Reimer will be charged with Disorderly Conduct. 

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society asks for sublease amendment

You will soon see even more action on the west waterfront in Sturgeon Bay after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources gave the ok to the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for its Door County Granary project. 

 

The approval will allow the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society to begin more work on the century-old structure before it is transformed into a cultural and events center. The DNR did identify a number of concerns when the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society filed for a historic fill exemption. The organization has to address methane mitigation efforts similar to what would have needed to be addressed in 2015 when the former Sawyer Hotel project was being discussed.

 

Executive Director Beth Renstrom says they have been working with the city and the DNR to address it.

The city’s finance and purchasing committee will discuss the amendment during its 4 p.m. meeting on Tuesday. 

Area churches welcome Christmas celebrations

You are welcome to join area congregations in their Christmas celebrations this weekend. While many churches are holding the bulk of their services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, some are holding them on both so families have a choice on when and where they want to attend.

 

Pastor Dan Schuster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Parish in Casco hopes people become more active in their faith after a period of self-reflection.

 

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Pastor Joel McKenney of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma says whether it is Christmas, Easter, or a wedding, the message of finding Jesus stays the same.

 

Pastor Matthew Sprunger of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kewaunee reminds the faithful that even though joy and peace can be hard to find, there is one aspect that is everlasting.

 

Father John Broussard, the rector at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, wants people to examine what the birth of Jesus Christ means in their daily life.

 

Even with Christmas falling on a Saturday this year, Sunday is still a day of obligation for many Christians. You can listen to Schuster, McKenney, and Sprunger give their true meaning of Christmas and information about their Christmas services below.

 

ST. PAUL LUTHERAN CHURCH, ALGOMA

 

IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH, KEWAUNEE

 

ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, LUXEMBURG AND HOLY TRINITY CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CASCO

 

School violence nationally raises alarm locally

Recent events of school violence at high schools in the Midwest have caught the eyes of local school officials. It has been less than a month since a student at Oxford High School in Michigan killed four students and left six others and a teacher injured. Students in grades six through 12 in Green Bay were forced to end the calendar year in virtual learning after three threats were reported at Preble High School and a handgun was found in a locker at Green Bay East High School. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says the events certainly led to conversations with its other administrators and its school resource officer on how to be vigilant within reason.

Law enforcement personnel in Kewaunee County provided a presence at school buildings last week when districts across the country took extra precautions due to a school shooting trend that was fueled by the social media app TikTok. 

NWS warns of slippery travel Thursday

Motorists will have to drive with extra caution this afternoon as a band of snow begins to hit the area. The National Weather Service issued a special statement at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning warning that snow and mixed precipitation will cause snow and ice-covered roads. Only one to two inches is expected, but that could still be enough to lower visibility and increase the number of slippery roads, especially if they are untreated. The NWS is urging motorists to use extra caution and allow additional time to get where they need to go.

Gallagher applauds Manchin for standing against Build Back Better bill

Rep. Mike Gallagher hopes Senator Joe Manchin’s decision to not support the Build Back Better bill spurs more productive conversations on how to get the country on a better track moving forward. The BBB bill called for universal preschool, consumer rebates for shifting to clean energy, and a reduction in prescription drug costs. The Wisconsin Republican charges the Biden administration with lying about the price tag for the bill and calls out Congress for trying to create Civilian Climate Corps bigger than the Marine Corps and hiring more IRS agents than there are seats in Lambeau Field. After saying in a statement that the bill belongs “in a fiery (but mostly peaceful) dumpster,” Gallagher says there is very little from the BBB that should be saved.

While Senator Ron Johnson sides with Gallagher when it comes to BBB, Democratic Tammy Baldwin said she will not stop trying to extend tax cuts, create jobs, and lower the costs of child care and home health care.  

 

Picture courtesy of Congressman Mike Gallagher's Office from visit to the Ahnapee Diesel Tech Center earlier this year.

Carefully celebrating the holidays

With the proper precautions, your Christmas celebrations with friends and family this weekend should be a little closer to normal compared to last year. More than 109 million people plan on traveling more than 50 miles this Christmas, which is 34 percent more than last year. In addition to getting vaccinated, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is encouraging residents to celebrate the holidays with small groups, get tested before meeting with others, and stay at home if they have symptoms. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise said last month that you should celebrate the holidays, but you need to measure the risk when doing so.

The fight against the pandemic got another boost on Wednesday when the Food and Drug Administration issued its emergency authorization of a COVID-19 antiviral pill. The pill could help reduce deaths and hospitalizations for the coronavirus, which have begun to tick up in recent weeks. 

Lundahl endorses Morkin for her seat

Door County Board Supervisor Megan Lundahl is indeed not running again for her District 7 seat, but she has somebody already in mind for your vote.

 

After six years on the board, Lundahl told her social media followers that she would be taking a hiatus from local politics in order to focus more on growing her gallery and coaching/Reiki practice. She also threw her support behind Claire Morkin, who currently sits on the Sturgeon Bay Local Arts Board and is in the process of collecting nomination signatures. Lundahl calls Morkin a “studious woman and stellar communicator.”

 

Prospective candidates for any of the 21 Door County Board Supervisor seats have until January 4th to return all of the necessary paperwork.

Door County Sheriff's Office meets K-9 fundraising goal

The Door County Sheriff's Office has announced that they have gathered the necessary funding to acquire a second dog for its K-9 unit. The new dog will join forces with the current K-9 Leo, but it will also entail more search and rescue missions, along with the detection of narcotic drugs. The dog will be handled by deputy Tina Spaulding. The new dog is likely to be brought in this March from a kennel located in the southern part of Wisconsin. Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Tassoul discusses how the K-9 unit can help make potentially dangerous situations a little less likely for officers to encounter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire department teams prep for ice water rescues

Three local fire department and rescue teams braved extremely windy and cold weather conditions Wednesday night to practice ice water rescue on Kangaroo Lake.  Twenty-four firefighters from Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, and Gibraltar Fire, and Rescue departments participated in the exercise as part of their Mid-Door monthly training.  Bailey’s Harbor Fire Chief Brian Zak shares the challenges faced when dealing with an ice water rescue.

 

 

Zak adds that planning for an ice water rescue takes great coordination and timing as crews wear heavy-duty diving equipment.  Fortunately,  the Mid-Door teams did not have to perform a water rescue last year but did have one two years ago on Kangaroo Lake, according to Zak.

 

(photo courtesy of Baileys Harbor Fire and Rescue)

Sturgeon Bay approves road work bids and fencing ordinance

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council completed their business on Tuesday in relatively quick order as major fiscal items were approved regarding contractors' asphalt and concrete bids.  The city approved Martell Construction's bid of $298,222.25 for the Concrete Replacement Program.  The only bid received for the paving work was Northeast Asphalt's bid of $846,620.22.  Mayor David Ward shares those details and other actions taken on Tuesday evening.

 

 

The city imposed a new ordinance on fencing setbacks and heights in other business.  In the final resolution taken on Tuesday, the council passed a resolution to move forward on eminent domain to extend Grant Avenue after failing to purchase about 36-acres of land over the past two years from Timothy Ruenger.  The 66-foot wide right-of-way strip that would connect South Grant Avenue to Sawyer Drive on the west side now will fall into a Relocation Order and Declaration of Necessity.  Mayor Ward credits the work done at the committee level to allow for a smoother approval process for all business done at the council meetings in the past year.

Highway 57 reopened after crash

Highway 57 north of Sturgeon Bay was closed for more than an hour Tuesday afternoon after a vehicular accident on snow-covered roads.  According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the accident occurred between Highway 42 and Mathey Road shortly before 2:30 pm and caused the closure of both lanes of traffic on Highway 57 until about 3:30 pm.   The Door County Sheriff’s Department has not released any information regarding the accident or if any injuries occurred.  DoorCountyDailyNews.com will update this story as more details become available.  

Kewaunee County Winter Park readies for opening next week

Starting next week, you can begin enjoying the tubing hill at Winter Park in Kewaunee County.  The Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Department made enough snow to open the hill for tubing ahead of the runs for skiing and snowboarding in early January.  Parks Director Dave Myers says the conditions for making snow have allowed for the Special Winter Break Snow Tubing next week.

 

 

 

 

The tubing hill will be open Tuesday, December 28 through December 30 from 10 am until 4 pm, and again on Sunday, January 2 from 11 am until 5 pm, subject to change due to weather conditions.  The regular season public hours will start on weekends beginning on January 8.   The ice rink is expected to open in January as well and will be open 7-days a week as long as temperatures stay below 32 degrees.  

 

 

Farmers look towards next year after successful harvest, planting seasons

The big pile of corn you could have seen at Rio Creek Feed Mill’s Luxemburg facility up until recently was all you needed to know about this year’s harvest. While some Midwestern states had to struggle with droughts, Mother Nature was exceptionally kind to Wisconsin farmers in 2021. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates approximately 506 bushels of corn and 112 million bushels of soybeans were produced in 2021 according to a November 9th report. That means the corn harvest was down only about one bushel per acre and the soybean harvest was up two bushels per acre compared to 2021. Rio Creek Feed Mill still had to store some of the corn it collected outside despite building a 1.3 million bushel bin a few years ago due to above-average to record yields this year. Agronomist Adam Barta says a lot of factors went into the success of this year and the farmers’ excitement to put some other crops into the ground.

Nationwide, corn production for grain was up seven percent from 2020 with a forecasted amount of 15.1 billion bushels. Soybean production was also up five percent from 2020 with 4.42 billion bushels harvested. Barta says farmers are already hard at work planning where and how much nutrients need to be spread and what crops to plant in 2022. 

Sister Bay looks to fill vacancies on village board

With under two weeks to go before nomination papers are supposed to be filed, the Village of Sister Bay wants to know if you are interested in filling one of its two vacancies on its board of trustees.

 

Patrick Duffy and Vivian Nienow both filed their Notification of Non-Candidacy within the last week with no other potential candidates filling out the necessary paperwork to take their place.

 

You can contact Clerk Heidi Teich to get the proper paperwork started to collect your signatures and return them to village hall by January 4th.

District 7 appears vacant after Lundahl submits non-candidacy papers

In the middle of several potential contested races this spring for Door County supervisory positions, one district could be lacking a candidate. 

 

District 7 Supervisor Megan Lundahl submitted her declaration of non-candidacy on Monday, joining Susan Kohout (District 6) and Richard “Biz” Virlee (District 14) in not running for re-election this spring. No one has taken out nomination papers to run for her seat while Kenneth Fisher (District 6) and Darrick DeMeuse (District 14) have turned in the necessary paperwork to replace their predecessor. Fisher, DeMeuse, David Englebert (District 1), Rodney Beardsley (District 8), Alexis Heim Peter (District 10), Nissa Norton (District 12), Dale Vogel (District 13), Elizabeth Gauger (District 15), David M Enigl (District 16), Bob Bultman (District 17), David Lienau (District 19), and Joel Gunnlaugsson (District 21) are the sole people circulating nomination papers in their respective districts. 

 

That sets up potentially eight contested elections this spring. Lora Jorgensen looks to challenge District 2 supervisor Todd Thayse who just joined the board last year. District 3 Supervisor Roy Englebert is poised to face Patrick Olson. District 4 will feature a pair of current supervisors with Kara Counard and Nancy Robillard running against each other. Redistricting is part of the reason why the two incumbents are positioned to run against each other while either Jeff Miller or Timothy Smith will become the new District 5 supervisor. Jonathan Kruse is planning to challenge District 9 Supervisor Dan Austad while Helen Bacon looks to rejoin the Door County Board by challenging current District 11 supervisor Morgan Rusnak. District 18 Supervisor Vinni Chomeau recently took out her nomination papers, joining Holly Runquist in the race for the seat. 

 

The seat with the most interest is District 20 located in the Liberty Grove area. Nate Bell, Walter Kalms, Janet Johnson, and Abby Duebler are all circulating nomination papers in efforts to capture the seat. Of the 30 people to take out nomination papers, only Gauger, DeMeuse, Vogel, Rusnak, Austad, Fisher, Robillard, and Englebert have returned them as of Tuesday morning. 

 

Potential candidates have until January 5th to return their nomination papers to the Door County Clerk’s office.

Quick action limits Liberty Grove electrical fire

An overloaded circuit is to blame for a small electrical fire in the Town of Liberty Grove on Monday. The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department was called at around 3:40 p.m. to a home on Europe Bay Road when an outlet with an electric space heater plugged in caught fire. One of the department’s firefighters was already in the area and was able to run approximately 100 yards to the home to shut the power off to prevent further damage. With the winter season in its infancy, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says the incident was a good reminder for those with an electric space heater to take the proper precautions.

The fire was out right after they shut off power to the source, so no additional damage was caused and no water was needed. Fire department personnel were able to clear the scene in about 20 minutes.

Holiday road travel expected to spike 

Local law enforcement encourages travelers to take the proper precautions for holiday travel this week as significant increases are expected compared to last year. AAA predicts that auto travel will be up 34 percent starting this Thursday through January 2. Door County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Pat McCarty suggests keeping an eye on the weather if you need to travel over the holidays and allowing plenty of time to get where you are going.

 

Chief Deputy McCarty adds that local and other law enforcement agencies are engaging in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that is currently in effect through New Year’s. He advises people drinking to find arrangements to get home, like a designated driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drunk driving takes the lives of more than 10,000 people every year in the United States. 

 

Farmers preparing cattle for long winter ahead

With Door and Kewaunee County farmers reflecting on a successful fall harvest and planning for 2022, dairy operators are focused on keeping their cows and calves on healthy diets. Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says livestock must be well supplied with water and food.

 

 

Olson adds extra nutrition is needed during extreme frigid weather conditions as cattle will use up more energy and calories to stay warm.  Calves are fitted with calf jackets that help maintain their body heat to endure through the cold winter months.  

Sturgeon Bay to move on fence ordinance, Grant Avenue extension

In order to put parameters around the construction of new fences in the city, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council will be meeting Tuesday night and voting on an ordinance that would go into effect in 2022.  Acting on a recommendation from the Community Protection & Services Committee, the council will vote on the ordinance to impose setbacks of at least three feet from streets and at least 18 inches from public sidewalks.  The height of the fence cannot exceed eight feet and the fence post must be nine feet or less.  Concerns over the original recommendation that was sent back to the committee last month, were adjusted with fewer setbacks and consideration of the fence post height.  The new ordinance would require a permit from the City prior to the building of the fence.  Any fences currently up in the city would be grandfathered.

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also decide on a resolution for a relocation order and declaration of necessity for the acquisition of a proposed 66 feet right-of-way for the extension of South Grant Avenue.  Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 6 pm at City Hall in Council Chambers. 

Two more hospitalized while active COVID cases drop

Monday’s COVID-19 situation report from Door County Public Health was a mixed bag ahead of the Christmas holiday.

 

Forty-three of the 118 tests administered since Thursday came back positive for COVID-19. The number of active cases tumbled by 47 to 467. No new deaths were reported, but two residents were hospitalized with COVID-19. The number of deaths and hospitalizations announced by Door County Public Health can lag from what is actually being seen locally due to the state’s reporting. Over 90 percent of hospital beds and 96 percent of ICU beds in northeast Wisconsin are in use with 70 percent of hospitals reporting that they are at peak capacity.

 

Door County Public Health is not offering another COVID-19 vaccine clinic until December 28th when it administers the second dose for Washington Island residents. The Sister Bay Fire Station will be the site for a vaccination clinic for kids 5-11 receiving their second dose from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

 

DHS Issues Public Health Advisory about the Omicron Variant

 As cases are anticipated to surge, DHS calls on Wisconsinites to take immediate action to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.

 

Today the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued a public health advisory calling on all Wisconsinites to take urgent action to prevent additional hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. The highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Wisconsin and is anticipated to cause a rapid increase in disease activity in the coming weeks. There is a serious risk that continued, increased numbers of COVID-19 cases will overwhelm an already strained health care system, leading to dangerous situations where patients experiencing medical emergencies may not be able to receive immediate, adequate, life-saving attention and care due to lack of hospital capacity.

 

“I urge every Wisconsinite to take immediate action and get the COVID-19 vaccine and your booster dose if you haven’t received it already—this is critically important for mitigating surges in hospitalizations and deaths across our state,” said Governor Tony Evers. “Please get the vaccine, continue following public health best practices, and do your part to help slow the spread of the Omicron variant.”

Sherman resigns from Gibraltar Area School Board

The lone dissenting voice from last week’s decision for Gibraltar Area Schools to drop its masking requirement has opted to resign from her post.

 

Angela Sherman turned in her letter of resignation on Friday after the board voted to allow optional masking for the majority of its secondary school students on December 20th and the rest of its population on January 3rd when they return from winter break.  It proved to be a breaking point for Sherman, who wrote in her letter of resignation that the “board went from being proactive during a global pandemic to bowing to and becoming bullies who spread misinformation and wish to spread preventable disease to other students, families, and the community.”

 

She charged the board with not standing by their previous statements to allow students between the ages of 5-11 enough time to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and called out Board President Dr. Stephen Seyfer with spreading misinformation prior to the board meeting on December 13th.  That prompted her to file a complaint against him with the school’s attorney but expressed a lack of confidence with the board to hold each other accountable for their decisions.  She goes on to say the board relationship is “toxic” and chose to resign so she would no longer continue to sacrifice her health and family.

 

Sherman was re-elected to the school board last April, garnering the most votes out of the six candidates running for the school board after it was trimmed from eight in the primary. You can read the full letter from Sherman to the Gibraltar School Board below. 

 

December 17, 2021

Dear Gibraltar Board of Education,

Please accept this letter of resignation from my position as a Board Member effective immediately.

 

I lost my trust and respect for the board and community at the meetings this week. The board went from being proactive during a global pandemic to bowing to and becoming bullies who spread misinformation and wish to spread preventable disease to other students, families, and the community. I have dedicated too much time and effort to doing my best for the students and staff of this district only to be ridiculed and ignored. Up until this week, I could say I was proud of the board but that pride has shifted to distrust.

 

I stand firm in my statement last night that you: 1) do not stand by your previous statements to allow sufficient time for children ages 5-11 years old to complete their Covid vaccination series; 2) believe you know more about Covid than local, state, and national health experts including Dr. Fogarty, Dr. Heise, and Sue Powers; and 3) are okay allowing others to make decisions for this school district despite the consequences of those decisions on your in loco parentis responsibility to this school.

 

Mrs. Ward specifically said she was operating under the misinformation provided by Dr. Seyfer prior to Monday’s meeting and that she would have made a different decision knowing the accurate information; Dr. Seyfer knew the information was not accurate but refused to correct it prior to or during Monday’s meeting. The unwillingness of board members to correct that decision based off of misinformation tells me that this board is okay with supporting unethical behavior. There are two other areas where Dr. Seyfer acted in what I believe are unethical and illegal ways regarding this item. I have filed a complaint against him with the school’s attorney but do not have faith that this board will hold him or themselves accountable for decisions resulting from those actions should the attorney confirm there were in fact unethical and illegal. I am not willing to support unethical behavior or actively participate with those who do.

 

It is important to me that I teach my children self-care so I’m leading by example and have explained to them why it’s necessary to leave toxic relationships, including their unenrollment from the district due to the board not providing them a safe learning environment. The board relationship is toxic and I will not continue to sacrifice my health and family, so I will practice that self-care by removing myself from the board.

 

Our community is even more broken now than it was before because of your actions. I wish you all the best going forward, you have a lot of work to do as I am not the only person feeling betrayed and bullied after this week’s meetings.

 

Sincerely,

Angela Sherman

 

From Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer

The Board has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, December 21st @4:00 PM. The purpose of this meeting is to accept the resignation of Mrs. Sherman from the Board of Education and elect a new Clerk. The Board will begin the process of filling the vacancy in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes 17.26 and Board policy 0142.5. Appointment by the Board to fill a vacancy must be by the majority of the existing Board. The Board will seek qualified and interested candidates from the community. Interested applicants are required to submit their notice of interest to the Clerk. The Board may choose to interview candidates to ascertain their qualifications. If the vacancy is not filled within 60 days of the date on which the vacancy first exists, the vacancy may be filled by the Board President. 

 

I would like to thank Mrs. Sherman for her years of dedicated service to the students, families and staff of Gibraltar Area School District. She was an active member of the Board, and did exceptional work updating Board policy as the Chair of the Policy committee. Angela also served on the Financial Planning committee, Door Community Auditorium Liaison committee, the Employee Handbook committee and the CESA 7 Board of Directors.

New face in store for Kewaunee County's District 4

Residents in Kewaunee County’s District 4 will have their choice of a new supervisor when it comes to the April election.

 

Doak Baker filed his notice of non-candidacy the same day Dennis Langteau turned in all of his paperwork to run for the seat. Nellie DeBaker has circulating nomination papers for the same seat. District 4 appears to be the only contested election and the only one with challengers in it.

 

Langteau, Gerald Paape (District 1) Milt Swagel (District 12), and Virginia Haske (District 16) have filed all the necessary paperwork to run this spring. Nicholas Guilette (District 2), Daniel Olson (District 6), Timothy Kinnard (District 7), Scott Jahnke (District 9), Aaron Augustian (District 11), Kim Kroll (District 13), Thomas Romdenne (District 14), Linda J. Teske (District 15), Jeffrey Vollenweider (District 18), John Mastalir (District 19), and Joanne Lazansky (District 20) have all started the process to run for re-election.

 

Steven Agamaite (District 3), Matthew Piesler (District 5), Douglas Doell (District 8), John Wochos (District 10), and Joseph Lukes (District 17) have not indicated either way if they are running or not as of Monday morning.

 

Prospective candidates have until January 4th to turn in the necessary paperwork to run in the spring election slated for April.  

Community spotlight: Door County Medical Center's Dr. Jim Heise

Dr. Jim Heise has become more than the Chief Medical Officer at Door County Medical Center since March 2020. Mask or no mask, Heise has been one of the faces and voices of Door County’s fight against COVID-19 since even before the area saw its first positive case. Partnering with Door County Public Health’s Sue Powers, Heise did weekly Facebook Live sessions for several months before eventually paring them down to an as-needed basis. His communication efforts are done in between his already full workload which can ebb and flow with patients at a moment’s notice. Heise admits the task has been both redeeming and frustrating at times.

Heise takes great pride in the fact that Door County has the third-highest vaccination rate in the state and that the pandemic has only strengthened its bonds with other community partners such as school districts and the public health department. You can listen to our full interview on our Podcasts page.

ADRC Meals on Wheels hitting the road

If you live in Liberty Grove, Baileys Harbor, or Brussels, you will be able to receive Meals on Wheels in 2022. The ADRC already has dining sites in each of those towns, but with the expansion of the home-delivered meals, they will meet more needs within Door County. Liberty Grove, Baileys Harbor, and Brussels are set to each have one meals on wheels route for each dining site. The ADRC meal delivery program provides both hot and cold meals approved by a dietician and prepared by a chef and kitchen team. This service is also beneficial to someone who may be isolated by providing them with social interaction and a safety check when the volunteer drops off their meal. The ADRC is asking for help with the expansion of the program. They request volunteers to help deliver hot and frozen meals to residents around Liberty Grove, Baileys Harbor, and Brussels. Those interested will have a background check administered and some screening to protect the clients. If you want to volunteer or get more information, you can contact the ADRC during their regular business hours.

Grant important for Door County childcare's future

You did not have to look very hard to see the smiles on the face of two of Door County’s child care operators. 

 

Governor Tony Evers and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek announced on Thursday that the United Way of Door County was getting a $3.5 million grant to help make changes to the Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay and the Door County Child Development Center in Sturgeon Bay to address the needs of the community. For Northern Door Children’s Center, it means a redesign of its building as it prepares to partner with Gibraltar Area Schools to introduce a 4K pilot program in northern Door County. It also offers a training and mentorship program and affordable housing options so Northern Door Children’s Center can attract and retain new instructors. Executive Director Cindy Trinkner-Peot and Northern Door Children Center Board President Jen Thompson are excited about what this grant will mean for all aspects of childcare.

 

Picture courtesy of the United Way of Door County

A lot of work has already been done by the United Way of Door County, but Trinkner-Peot says now they will get to work on a timeline to implement all of the different aspects the grant will cover.

Door County Land Trust protects Washington Island parcels

The Door County Land Trust announced on Friday afternoon the protection of two parcels of land on Washington Island. One parcel is 62 acres located near Indian Point Natural Area and the other is 10 acres adjoining the Little Lake Nature Preserve. The land near the Indian Point Natural Area will be named after Sigwald Jacobsen and it is expected to help create a wildlife corridor in the northeast portion of Washington Island. The new addition for the Little Lake Nature Preserve will be ideal for migratory and nesting birds, spring ephemeral flowers, birds of prey, and other wildlife. This brings the Door County Land Trust to over 8,800 acres protected on the peninsula, which is equivalent to the combined acreage of Door County’s five state parks.

Teens facing hardships get early Christmas gifts

Nearly 130 teenagers with health and financial hardships from Door and Kewaunee counties will get special assistance this Christmas thanks to volunteers and generous donations.  Organizer Sammy Olivia and her family started the “Bless A Teen For Christmas” last year and helped 157 children ages 13 to 19.  Starting the program again last month, Olivia says the impact is being felt from Sister Bay all the way to Kewaunee.

 

 

Donations can be made at Nicolet National Bank locations and gift cards of any amount can be dropped off at various Door and Kewaunee stores with the “Gingerbread House” donation boxes.  Teens were nominated from different programs and churches and submitted a “wish list”.  The deadline to drop off donations is Thursday, December 23.    You can find more information about the “Bless A Teen For Christmas” program here.  

United Way helping solve community problems

Why United Way?!  I’ve supported United Way for decades with time and funding.  It is the one stop shop for charitable gifts to help Door County.  United Way’s committees and staff research where the biggest problems in Door County are and why, and then they work at eliminating them.  

 

Can I do that kind of research?  No.  Do I have the right connections to get to the heart of the problem?  No.  United Way does.

 

Several years ago, a group of educators and health providers reported an issue with little kids coming to school unprepared to learn.  They were not able to regulate their feelings, mingle with other kids, or enjoy their time in school.  That started a collaboration between United Way, schools, the health department, childcare centers, and more.  The United Way funded STRIDE.  This program brought counselors to each school once a week, helping teachers understand what they saw in their classrooms and offering one-on-one help to students who needed it.  And there’s a lot more that United Way is doing. 

 

Recently, the United Way received a significant grant to create solutions around the childcare shortage.  This was a competitive application, and the United Way was awarded three and a half million dollars from the state.  That is a fantastic Seal of Approval!

 

As a volunteer with United Way, I’m aware of the internal workings of the group.  I can tell you- these folks are professional and compassionate.  If you are ever offered the chance to be involved with Amy and her staff as a volunteer, jump in.  You’ll grow as a person, and United Way will welcome your input.

 

Thank you, Amy, Christina, and Kelly for making United Way a jewel in Door County.

Coping with last-minute holiday stress

The decisions we make during the holidays concerning our time and money can lead to added stress, says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.   He shares five tips drawn from the works of Joel and Michelle Levy that can help you manage your responses to stress and increase your enjoyment of this special time of the year.

 

 

Dr. White says it is important to know that you can say "no" to specific invitations or perceived obligations that can create the feeling of being overbooked and overwhelmed. He recommends decreasing tension during the day by taking short breaks and scheduling some downtime. You can listen to the entire Dr. White's Mental Health Minute below.

 

 

Community Employment Forming a Win-Win Partnership with C & S Manufacturing

Good news! A mutually beneficial collaboration was formed in June between Sunshine Resources of Door County and C&S Manufacturing, a Sturgeon Bay company that produces plumbing and electrical products.

 

“Jeremy Paszczak at Sunshine Resources worked with us to identify potential projects that would help their clients transfer the work skills they developed at Sunshine Resources to our facility,” says Jerry Mellenberger, General Manager of C&S Manufacturing. “It has worked out extremely well for us,” he continues. “We currently have two clients from Sunshine Resources that work three hours a day one day a week.” As the employees gain experience, those hours will be increased. Another advantage C&S Manufacturing realizes is that their new employees help the company during a time of a tight labor market. “With the labor crunch most businesses are experiencing,” Mellenberger says, “we appreciate being able to hire employees who already have a solid set of skills. In addition, it helps them to broaden their horizons.” Providing a range of work experiences is important because it assists people in identifying the type of work they would like to do long-term. Kenny Kuehn, one of the new employees, indicated he enjoys working at C&S Manufacturing because he likes working with his hands. He also noted that he has learned to do things that he hasn’t done before. It’s a learning experience he appreciates and gravitates toward. Mark Behrendt, another of the new employees, agrees. “I enjoyed meeting my coworkers and everyone has been really helpful. I like people, and like being around people. I also enjoy seeing what other employees are doing because it helps me to know if it’s a job I might be interested in. I like the work I’m doing and I feel like I’m part of a team—a team that works together and helps one another. “I’m also making more money,” he says, “which allows me to take my parents out to dinner once in a while.” At Sunshine Resources, Mark is part of the Employee Council, a group of nine Sunshine Resources clients that meets to discuss topics such as safety and special events. They are also the voices of their peers and bring ideas and suggestions to their monthly meetings. “I’ve been a member for two years,” Marks says. “I enjoy being able to make a positive difference for everyone who works here.” Skills that are, once again, transferrable to other workplaces, such as C&S Manufacturing.

 

 For more information about our programs please contact Tami Walls at 920-818-1483 or visit www.sunshinere sources.org/our-services/rise-program

Cryptocurrency making impact with Sturgeon Bay man

Cryptocurrency, a digital currency used to buy goods and services, or is traded for profit, is growing globally and has at least one excited investor in Door County.  One form of cryptocurrency you may be familiar with is Bitcoin, the forerunner that started back in 2009.  Sean Linnan of Sturgeon Bay started researching over twenty forms of cryptocurrency about five years ago and began investing about a year after that.  Not a fan of Bitcoin, Linnan says he is no cryptocurrency expert by any means.  Still, he recently did a presentation at a Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club meeting sharing his knowledge of how to buy, why to buy, or not to buy digital assets.   Comparing it to investing in stocks, he predicts that cryptocurrency will be a technological revolution that will eventually overhaul the entire financial world.

 

 

Linnan spends about five to six hours a day dabbling in cryptocurrency and estimates he is part of the one percent who invested early on.  He says it is also about investing in the companies using the technology.  You can listen to the entire interview with Sean Linnan on the podcast page.

Shrine begins Christmas preparations

Christmas Day is more than a week away, but the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion hopes you begin remembering the reason for the season a little bit earlier. Friday marked the first day of the Novena of the Nativity of Our Lord, a series of nine days of prayers leading up to Christmas. The Shrine’s grounds are quieter this time of year due to the winter weather. Father John Broussard, the Shrine’s rector, hopes people use the novena as a way to connect with God this Christmas and possibly even let go of some of the stress this season can bring.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help will still host one of the few midnight masses in the region along with two other services on Christmas Day.

Door County Housing Partnership excited for future progress

You can expect to hear more about the Door County Housing Partnership in the coming months after the organization helped celebrate its involvement with Door County Habitat for Humanity’s 45th home build.

 

It was the first time the two organizations addressed affordable housing in Door County together. By operating on a community land trust model, the Door County Housing Partnership ensures the property the home stands on remains affordable for years to come. Donations to the organizations help provide the subsidy that bridges the gap between what it costs to provide the home and what is deemed to be affordable. The model the Door County Housing Partnership is based on is used in over 200 areas across the country. It was a learning experience, but DCHP President Jim Honig is excited about its future direction.

In addition to partnering with Door County Habitat for Humanity on at least one more home in the immediate future, the DCHP will also play a role in workforce housing in Sister Bay as a part of the $3.5 million grant awarded by the state to the United Way of Door County on Thursday.

Social media playing a role in recent unrest, holiday mental health concerns

Your SnapChats and TikTok videos may be doing more harm than good in some cases.

 

Threats allegedly made on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram led some schools across the country, including Green Bay Preble, to cancel classes or go to virtual learning on Friday. Many of the threats were deemed not credible, but that did not stop some districts like those in Kewaunee County from having a police presence on hand to assure those taking their kids to school that things were going to be ok.

 

The holidays can also offer an opportunity for social media to wreak havoc. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says many people judge their friendships with people based on how many Snap Chats are shared or likes on a social media post. Pictures from the holidays can offer a superficial view of how people are actually feeling. He hopes people make fewer posts and have more conversations this holiday season, especially with those struggling with their mental wellbeing.

Joski will be teaching another QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) course on December 20th at 6:30 p.m. inside the County Board Room at the Kewaunee County Administration Building in Kewaunee. 

 

MORE FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

The Holiday season brings with it so many amazing opportunities for both sharing memories and making memorable moments with our friends and families. While this season is known for gift giving and celebrations, let’s also use these get-togethers as a time to reconnect on a personal level. Although the overall atmosphere may be brimming with happiness and joy, let’s make sure we take the time to engage on a meaningful level with those who may appear to be struggling. While for many of us the Holiday season is a time of peace and hope, for others this season brings heightened levels of anxiety and mental pain.

         

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to present on suicide awareness throughout our communities by using the QPR philosophy (Question, Persuade, Refer). The best part about these training sessions is that they don’t necessarily focus on the subject of suicide, but rather on the subject of hope. It’s no secret that our society as a whole is struggling to a greater extent with mental wellness than ever before in our nation’s history. This isn’t because our nation has not experienced adversity before, nor is it because we as individuals haven’t struggled. The missing component is that we have lost a great deal of our connection to each other as human beings. We live in an age where the ability to communicate has never been greater, yet meaningful communication has decreased. We have substituted the experience of conversation which incorporates vital verbal and non-verbal expressions, with short texts and emogees. We base friendships on the likes of a social media post or the frequency by which our Snap Chats are shared. What we need is to get back to the basics. We need to listen, not with the anticipation of responding and giving our opinions, but rather listening to understand. We need to return to the concept that disagreement and respect are not exclusive of each other, but inclusive. Those of us who have a few miles behind us, need to take the time to share our stories with those less traveled so they can understand that what they are experiencing in today’s world is no better or worse than times of our past. It is up to us to plant the seeds of Hope.

         

Attending to the mental needs of our family and friends does not take a degree, certificate, or even an office. It can happen sitting on a park bench, or a truck tailgate, or a bale of hay. Any one of us can provide hope to another at a critical moment. Many times that may be all they need; Hope. At times, our providing Hope may just be the bridge that holds them over until we can get them to a greater level of care. Just as we would provide physical first aid when we see the need, our ability to intervene when someone needs immediate emotional or mental support is vital to their ultimate success in recovery. The first step is having the courage and compassion to step out of our comfort zone and have those crucial conversations. We need to normalize talking about mental health, and especially to discuss feelings of suicide. We need to move beyond conversations about football scores, or politics, to conversations about each other's experiences, the setbacks, the victories, the pain, and the joy.

         

If you are interested in exploring this process, I will be providing a QPR session on December 20th at 6:30 PM at the Kewaunee County Administration Building, in the County Board Room. Please feel free to contact the UW Extension Office at (920)388-7137 to register.

New cases continue to top 100 in Kewaunee County

New positive tests of COVID-19 were slightly down this week, but active cases increased by 11 in Kewaunee County.  The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported Friday that the number of new cases was 101, compared to 111 last week.  Active cases stand at 83.  There were no deaths reported and two people are hospitalized with COVID-19, although numbers tend to lag due to the state’s reporting.  Nearly half of all Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  The Kewaunee County Public Health Department accepts appointments for weekly clinic dates every Tuesday and Friday.

 

Jelinek backs out of Kewaunee mayoral race

You will see a new mayor in the City of Kewaunee next spring.

 

Current Mayor Jason Jelinek has filed his non-candidacy forms since last week’s update. Current alderperson Jeffrey Vollenweider had previously begun the process for his own mayoral bid. District 4 alderperson Dan Stangel has also filed his notice of non-candidacy, opening the door for Eric Wisnicky to take the seat after he began circulating his nomination papers. Cathy Brown (District 1), Jim Brewster (District 2), and Janita Zimmerman (District 3) are also seeking signatures to run for the Kewaunee City Council.

 

There will be no new faces on the Sturgeon Bay City Council as of right now as only incumbents have taken out the necessary paperwork. Mayor David Ward and council members Dennis Statz (District 2), J. Spencer Gustafson (District 4), and Seth Wiederanders (District 6) have taken out their nomination papers for circulation.

 

Nobody new has thrown their hat into the ring in the City of Algoma since last week’s update. Mayor Wayne Schmidt, First District Alderperson Kevin Schmidt, and Fourth District Alderperson Jake Maring have begun the process to run again for their respective seats.

Case over Forestville Dam Millpond dismissed

The Friends of the Forestville Dam Millpond will not have their day in court after Judge D. Todd Ehlers dismissed the case on Thursday.

 

The lawsuit dates back to January 18th, 2021 when the Friends of the Forestville Dam Millpond charged Door County officials with mismanaging the millpond with its drawdown efforts. The county began the process in 2019 in an effort to stave off future invasive plants and fish. The group has said the drawdown sent sediment downstream, which would wreck other habitats along the way. It wants the millpond to be kept at a consistent depth of just under 600 feet. After hosting oral arguments on Thursday, court records show that Judge Ehlers denied the Friends’ group request for a summary judgment in the case, but granted the County’s request for the case to be dismissed.

 

Whether or not the county will request to be reimbursed for court costs is still unknown.

 

STATEMENT FROM THE FRIENDS OF THE FORESTVILLE DAM

“We are of course disappointed with the Court’s decision and we will be evaluating our options going forward.  We continue to believe that a minimum water level should be established for the millpond and the benefit of all those who rely on it, and that Door County should evaluate the impacts of the uncontrolled transfer of sediment downstream during the drawdown. Our goal has always been to protect the Millpond and the Ahnapee River and we will continue to fight to ensure that it can be enjoyed by all.”

Algoma added as 2023 cruise stop

Cruise passengers could be coming to you as soon as 2023. Algoma is listed as part of a 15-day excursion through the Great Lakes. Viking Expeditions will offer six “Great Lakes Collection” cruises that will take passengers between Duluth, Minnesota and Toronto, Ontario during the months of June, July, August, and September. Algoma marks the halfway point of the excursion with the cruise line offering side trips to check out Lambeau Field, explore Moonlight Bay by kayak, hike the Niagara Escarpment, paddle through Ellison Bay and the Mink River Estuary, and sample the area’s wine and cheese. Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ben Nelson believes it will provide an economic boom for the region.

Nelson says they will make future announcements about the cruises as more information becomes available. You can make reservations for the cruises for a starting price of $13,995.

The Grinch sets up shop in Sturgeon Bay

You could have played a role in United Way of Door County board member Peter Kerwin’s heart growing three sizes in downtown Sturgeon Bay on Thursday. Kerwin played the role of the Grinch at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Michigan Street as he did his part in helping the United Way of Door County reach its annual campaign goal of $775,000. He had to withstand dropping temps and high winds during his stint as the Grinch while other volunteers posed as Whos collecting donations. Kerwin has done some unique things to help raise money for the organization, but he credits the board for this idea.

The United Way of Door County helps fund a number of initiatives in the community such as Healthy Door County, Stride, the Door County AOD Coalition, and the Door County Partnership for Children and Families. The organization also officially received a $3.5 million grant from the state of Wisconsin this week to address the county’s child care challenges.

 

 

 

Power could return by late Friday after windstorm

Residents in Door County are hopeful they will be able to get power to their homes by the weekend.

 

As of Friday morning, Wisconsin Public Service was still addressing outages in Baileys Harbor, Egg Harbor, Ephraim, Gibraltar, Jacksonport, Liberty Grove, Sevastopol, and Sturgeon Bay impacting 544 customers. That is a significant improvement from Thursday when over 4200 customers in Door and Kewaunee counties after a December storm blew through Wednesday night into Thursday with winds gusting at over 60 miles per hour in some parts of Door County. WPS said in a statement on Thursday that they have restored power to over 90,000 customers so far, though warned that customers may have to wait days for their lights to come back. While some of the over 19,000 customers still without power may have to wait multiple days, the WPS power outage map shows many customers could have theirs back by late Friday night. WPS says they have crews working around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

 

Door County Dispatch took 12 calls Thursday related to trees and wires down.

Don't let windy weather sweep you off your feet

On Thursday, the storm that came through the Midwest was described as a once in a lifetime occurrence, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared in case it does happen again. The storm blew Wednesday night into Thursday, bringing with it a wind advisory with wind gusts over 60 miles per hour in Door County. This severe wind caused many to go without power for multiple hours due to downed trees and power lines. In a time like that, you need to know what to do in an emergency. Dan Kane, Emergency Management director for Door County, details the correct procedure when it comes to the aftermath of a wind storm.

 

 

Like any other storm, Kane urges people to be prepared for weather conditions before the worst falls and know the difference between a warning, advisory, and watch. Being prepared also includes having a kit and a plan for you and your loved ones to stay safe. Kane also says it's crucial to report outages or downed structures to help the emergency management team recover and clean up. 

 

State awards United Way of Door County $3.5 million to address child care challenges

Your concerns about child care in Door County are getting addressed thanks to a state grant awarded in Sturgeon Bay on Thursday. Governor Tony Evers and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek announced the United Way of Door County was getting a $3.5 million grant to help make improvements to the Northern Door Children's Center in Sister Bay and the Door County Child Development Center in Sturgeon Bay. The grant would also help address affordable housing options in Door County to attract and retain child care workers. With workforce challenges prevalent across the state, Evers says the efforts these grants could spur could be duplicated in other communities.
 



The grant was a part of nearly $60 million awarded to 12 agencies across the state to address workforce challenges. Of the 12 grants awarded, one to the Green County Family YMCA was the only other to address childcare needs.

 

 

Wisconsin sees record low unemployment in November

The state got good news on the employment front as the unemployment rate for November was down to three percent and tied the previous record from November of 2018.  The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary employment estimates on Thursday.  The three percent unemployment rate was down .02 percent from October's 3.2 percent.  The state also reported that employment grew by 6,200, with private-sector adding 12,300 jobs and total nonfarm positions increasing by 10,200.   You can view the Wisconsin Labor Force summary here.

Local demonstration farm owners tell their story

The work you are seeing in fields in Door and Kewaunee counties could be part of setting a new standard for other farmers in the state. Members of the Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farms Network attended the Discovery Farms Annual Conference in Wisconsin Dells on Wednesday to share their experiences with management trade-offs from low disturbance manure applications. Farmers Jacob Brey of Sturgeon Bay and Aaron Augustian of Kewaunee spoke as part of a panel on how they implemented the practices on their own operations. Augustian says it is all part of the education process as they compared their old and new practices.

Augustian added that even though they still have a ways to go, he is proud of the strides local farmers have taken to address soil health and water quality on their farms and in their communities. The Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farms Network is a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project designed to discover new conservation practices to address water quality concerns.

 

Picture from Peninsula Pride Farms

Two more deaths reported as Door County COVID-19 cases jump

Door County Public Health is urging people to get vaccinated as the number of deaths and active cases climbed during Thursday’s situation update.

 

Of the 200 tests performed since Monday, 100 of those came back positive for COVID-19. That caused the number of active cases to climb up 75 to 514. No new hospitalizations were reported, though two additional deaths were added to the nearly 40 that have perished since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of hospitalizations and deaths typically lags from what is being seen locally due to the state’s reporting.

 

Earlier this week, Door County Public Health released data comparing the vaccinated and the unvaccinated when it comes to hospitalizations. Between January 1st, 2021, and December 9, 2021, 86 of the 107 hospitalizations and 20 of the approximately 25 deaths were of people who were not vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Just over 76 percent of Door County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 21.6 percent of children 5-11 and 59.5 percent of kids between 12 and 17. 

 

Door County -COVID-19 data is updated twice weekly on Monday and Thursday

Tests Performed: 23,851 (+200)
Positive: 4,214 (+100)
Probable: 280 
Negative: 19,357 (+100)
Active:: 514 (+75)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 178 
Death: 39 (+2)

Santa begins Christmas week in Casco

Before Santa heads up to the North Pole for his final preparations, you will be able to find him in Casco this Sunday.

 

During the day, Santa will be at Casco Kidz Zone for the Christmas in Casco event where his reindeer and members of the Paw Patrol will be on hand for pictures.  While enjoying milk and cookies from the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion and the Village Kitchen, attendees are encouraged to donate new socks for the Sock Donation Tree and donate funds to support Cody Cravillion’s fight against cancer.  Later in the afternoon, the Casco Fire Department will reprise its Santa parade as they escort the jolly old elf on one of their trucks. Casco volunteer firefighter Dan Andres says the Santa parade was born out of the pandemic to inject some holiday spirit into a pandemic-riddled year.

The Christmas in Casco event begins at 11:45 a.m. while the parade will take place at 4:30 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of Casco Fire Department

Sevastopol, Gibraltar delays school, Washington Island Ferry cancels trips

Wednesday's high winds that are continuing into Thursday morning could have an impact on your plans.

 

Sevastopol principal Adam Baier told Door County Daily News that the school building is without power this (Thursday) morning, prompting a two-hour delay.

 

Gibraltar also notified families that the district will also be operating on a two-hour delay due to high winds and power outages.

 

The Washington Island Ferry Line announced yesterday in anticipation of the high winds that all morning trips would be canceled. They are predicting the afternoon trips will be called off as well if the weather does not allow them to travel across Death's Door safely.

 

 

 

You will be able to find additional delay and cancellation information on our website as it becomes available.

UPDATE: Over 4,200 without power in Door and Kewaunee counties

UPDATE 8:10 a.m.: The number of people without power has grown substantially in the last few hours. As of 8 a.m., 4,264 Wisconsin Public Service customers are without power, representing approximately eight percent of the total number affected by the windstorm in the state. The hardest-hit areas in Door and Kewaunee counties are Liberty Grove (1802), Sevastopol (1046), and Forestville (361). From just before 10 p.m. Wednesday to 7:30 a.m., there were approximately 30 calls to the Door County Dispatch Center related to either trees or wires being down.

 

ORIGINAL STORY

High winds are to blame for you and your neighbors possibly not having power this morning. Winds hitting as high as 63 miles per hour in some communities have led to over 1,200 Wisconsin Public Service customers in Door and Kewaunee counties to be in the dark as of 5 a.m. The Town of Liberty Grove was the hardest hit with 779 customers waking up without power. The estimated restoration time in many cases is set for later this morning. Approximately 59,000 WPS customers around the state were without power as of 5 a.m.

 

The National Weather Service says a wind advisory will be issued after its high wind warning expires at 9 a.m. The agency also warns residents that there will be scattered damage to trees and power lines and difficult travel conditions due to the wind.

Santa arrives early with help from Door County Toys for Kids

Thanks to you, a record number of collected toys are making their way to Door County families. Door County Toys for Kids collected nearly 6,000 items this year, which will be distributed to approximately 500 families in the coming week. Santa and members of the law enforcement community got an early start on the holiday season with visits to some area homes and the Boys and Girls Club of Door County over the last few days. Volunteer Adam Peronto says it is great to see the community get behind the effort.

While the boxes for next year’s Door County Toys for Kids drive will not be out until late October, you can always donate money directly to the organization by mailing a check or gift card to Door County Toys for Kids, P.O. Box 825, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. The funds collected go towards buying toys for age groups that do not often get items through the donation boxes.

 

Pictures by Adam Peronto

 

 

Habitat dedicates 45th home

The smiles shown by the Krueger family and other community members shined through cloudy skies and wet, windy weather on Wednesday as Door County Habitat for Humanity dedicated its 45th home. Volunteers built two homes simultaneously this summer, but construction supervisor Chuck Stone noted it was supply chain woes that pushed the completion date back approximately a month. That did not matter much to Melissa Krueger, who was appreciative to have a home for herself and her four children.

Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen said dedication day is her favorite day of the year when it comes to her job.

While it was the 45th home build for Door County Habitat for Humanity, it marked the first time the organization had joined forces with the newly formed Door County Housing Partnership. The experience left DCHP President Jim Honig excited for the future.

Door County Habitat for Humanity is already looking forward to building two more homes in 2022.

 

 

UPDATE: Shelter-in-place ends, Hobart suspect hospitalized

The suspect in a domestic incident in Hobart is in the hospital after causing a shelter-in-place to be called for on Wednesday.

 

WBAY in Green Bay is reporting that the suspect is suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being involved in a standoff with Brown County law enforcement authorities for much of the day. A call from the suspect's girlfriend prompted the response after she said she was hurt with a broken hand but had not been shot. The suspect later escaped his apartment and was found in a nearby wooded area. The incident called for a shelter-in-place to take effect and was played over the Emergency Alert System. The stations of NEW Radio played the alert.

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY

Residents of an apartment building in Hobart are still being told to stay inside after authorities responded a potential domestic incident Wednesday morning. Multiple Green Bay TV outlets are reporting that law enforcement personnel were called to the scene at approximately 7:45 a.m. Hobart Police Chief Randy Bani told WLUK-TV that a female was injured and a gunshot was fired during the incident. The suspect has barricaded himself inside the apartment and has not responded to law enforcement requests.  The Brown County Sheriff’s Department has told people to stay away from the area and for people living near where the incident took place to stay put. The shelter-in-place was played on the Emergency Alert System and aired on the stations of NEW Radio. 

Northern Sky Theater's "Home for the Holidays" in-person performances

An annual show filled with holiday humor and music will be back performing on stage for the public between Christmas and the New Year.  This year’s production of Home for the Holidays by Northern Sky Theater will be live and in-person, after being a virtual performance last year due to the pandemic.  The cast includes Doc Heide, Karen Mal, and Matt Zembrowski.  Director of Public Relations Holly Feldman says the show was started as an opportunity to extend that holiday feeling beyond Christmas morning.  “Home for the Holidays” shows will be at 4 pm from December 27 through the 31st.  Northern Sky Theater will be following health protocols and masks will be required inside the theater, lobby, and restrooms.  You can find ticket information for “Home for the Holidays” here. 

Dodgeball for kids coming to YMCA

Kids will have the opportunity to get some good exercise after school thanks to the new youth programs being offered at the Door County YMCA.  The Winter I session will be starting up in January and Youth and Sports Director Paul Briney says dodgeball is a new program that will be offered after school on Thursdays along with a host of other activities.

 

 

A “girls night out” and “kids day out” program will be offered during the Christmas break for students. The Door County YMCA will have registration beginning next Monday, December 20 for members and available for the community on Wednesday, December 22.  You can find more information on YMCA classes beginning in January here. 

Strong winds, volatile weather expected

The National Weather Service is forecasting dangerously strong winds tonight and into Thursday morning.  Record high temperatures are expected this afternoon with strong southwest winds developing from 25 to 40 miles per hour late this evening and gusting from 50 to 70 miles per hour.  Possible thunderstorms may also impact Northeastern Wisconsin as the winds are expected to continue with gusts from 40 to 55 miles per hour through Thursday morning before tapering off.  


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reminds drivers to use caution and know that loose objects and tree branches may be blown on roadways.   Wind gusts may be more robust on exposed areas like roads, bridges, and overpasses.   

Two Door County Sheriff's retired reserve deputies honored

Two long-time reserve deputies with the Door County Sheriff's Department were honored Monday evening.  Retired reserve deputies Mary Ripp and Brian Werkheiser were thanked for their years of service with the Reserve Division within the Door County Sheriff's Office.


Ripp served on the Reserve Unit since 2012, and Werkheiser served since 2011, before retiring earlier this year. The Door County Sheriff's Office Reserve Deputies provide many different functions for the sheriff's office, including security for the Door County Fair and monitoring crowds at other summer events and festivals.  Other duties include numerous school functions like sporting events, dances, and homecoming activities.  They will also transport prisoners and provide security for persons requiring a deputy to monitor them at the Door County Medical Center.  

 

 

Holiday hunt gives deer hunters one more chance

The DNR’s efforts to control the deer herd in Door and Kewaunee counties include the final gun hunt of 2021 starting on Friday, December 24.  The holiday hunt allows area hunters to harvest an antlerless deer with a gun from Christmas eve through January 1. Local Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says the additional hunt and bonus tags that are given out in the area help manage the deer herd. He shares a reminder for all hunters heading out into the woods before the end of the year.

 

 

Door and Kewaunee counties are included in the 17 farmland zone units in the state that are participating in the holiday hunt this year. The overall deer kill in Door County from the traditional nine-day hunt last month showed the buck harvest was up about 12 percent, with the antlerless deer down five percent.  Kewaunee County’s buck harvest was down four percent, and the number of antlerless deer taken was down nearly 20 percent this year.

 

(story originally said Thursday, December 24, we regret this error.}

 

Algoma Community Band holiday concert Wednesday

The annual “Holiday Concert” by the Algoma Community Band will be offering a few new musical arrangements for the first time ever on Wednesday.  Algoma Community Band’s wind and brass ensembles will play “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “The Friendship Polka”, respectively.  President Sue Hepp says the wind ensemble will feature bassoon soloist Kathy Cross.

 

 

The Algoma Community Band is under new co-directorship with Jennifer Massey and Dave Kopetsky taking over from Tom Mueller.  The Algoma Community Band Holiday Concert is free to the public and begins at 7 pm Wednesday in the Elementary School Performing Arts Center (PAC).  The concert will also be live-streamed on the Algoma High School website.   

 

(Photo courtesy of Algoma Community Band)

Baumann ready to help students find calling

Your children may soon lean on Lauren Baumann in their search for a career in the future. The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced earlier this month that Baumann would be taking over the reins of its Door County Youth Apprenticeship Program. Baumann has already been busy working with schools and local businesses to help find the right fit for students as they attend classes and go through an apprenticeship. Working with kids is something Baumann missed after she left her role as a Certified Athletic Trainer for some of the schools.

The Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship Consortium is currently ranked third in the state in terms of connecting local businesses with students to provide mentorship, support, and guidance.  NEW Radio has hired one graduate and employs other high school students as a part of the program. 

Gibraltar drops mask requirement, superintendent announces retirement

Monday’s Gibraltar Area School Board meeting offered plenty of changes for its families. The board voted in favor of instituting an optional mask policy for students in grades seven through twelve beginning December 20th. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will have to wait until January 3rd. In both cases, students would need parental permission to go maskless. Staff members will also have the opportunity to choose to mask or not at those points as well. Superintendent Tina Van Meer says many of its current safety protocols will remain in effect. With vaccines available for everyone above the age of five, she added that is now up to the parents.

Van Meer also announced that she will retire at the end of June after 10 years on the job as Gibraltar superintendent and over 30 years in education. She is proud of what has been accomplished, but she is also looking forward to some time to reset.

She has at least one more major task to complete before she leaves after the board approved establishing a pilot program for its preschool.

Judge's race remains at two in Kewaunee County

The race for Kewaunee County Circuit Court Judge looks the same as it did a month ago when two candidates announced their intentions to run.

 

Jeffrey Wisnicky and Kim Hardtke look to replace Judge Keith Mehn on the bench, who is stepping aside after completing one six-year term. Wisnicky came in second behind Mehn in both the spring primary and spring general election in 2016. He has served as Kewaunee County’s corporation counsel since 2007 and was named its human services director earlier this year. Hardtke served as a law clerk for Brown County Circuit Court for two years for joining Brown County’s District Attorney’s office as a special prosecutor in 2016 and assistant district attorney in 2017.

 

Both candidates have been able to accept nomination signatures since December 1st and have until January 4th to return the necessary paperwork. Over 20 other counties will also head to the polls this April to elect a new circuit court judge. 

Dog Park getting open shelter

If you bring your dog to the Shiloh Road Bark Park in Sturgeon Bay, you can look forward to having some shelter from the wind and sun by spring of next year. Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says the plan is to install a wooden shelter on the larger side of the two fenced areas in the dog park with a gate added.

 

 

He notes that the project will begin in spring after the ground thaws out and cost between ten and fifteen thousand dollars. The shelter will be approximately ten by fourteen feet in size and be open on one side. Bark Park is located on Shiloh Road just off of County Road U near the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park and is sponsored by the Door County Humane Society. 

 

(photo courtesy of Shiloh Road Bark Park Facebook Group)

 

 

Land Trust protects another wildlife, forest property

The Door County Land Trust announced Monday the protection of one of the most pristine freshwater estuaries in Northern Door County.  The 31-acre Hilltop Conservation Easement straddles the border of the Three Springs Creek and Mink River sub-watersheds and was purchased by landowner Lisa Barker in 2017.  Historically used as farmland, the property has seen recent reforestation of sumac and young saplings.

 

Door County Land Trust began working with the Barker family last year to establish a conservation easement that will now forever protect the land and wildlife habitat while allowing land to remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls.

 

The land protection efforts coincide with other nearby conservation easement properties surrounding the Mink River Estuary.

 

You can read the news release from Door County Land Trust here

Two COVID-19-related deaths, three hospitalizations in Door County

The Door County Public Department presented somber news on the COVID-19 front Monday morning during its biweekly situation update.

 

Fifty-five of the 128 tests administered since Thursday came back positive for COVID-19. That caused the number of active cases to tick up 11 to 439. The department also noted two additional deaths and three hospitalizations in the latest update, though those numbers tend to lag compared to the state’s.

 

Door County is currently listed as having a very high activity level for COVID-19 infections while nearby Brown and Kewaunee counties are listed as critically high. In addition to other providers in the area, the Door County Public Health Department will host a vaccine clinic this Thursday for those people ages 12 and up at the Sister Bay Fire Station by appointment only from 2-5 p.m.

County looks to tackle museum discussion in the New Year

Door County officials hope to make more headway with the use of one of the formers Younkers buildings in Sturgeon Bay at the beginning of next year. It has been over two years since the Door County Board voted unanimously to purchase the vacant Younkers building on Fourth Avenue for the future expansion of the Door County Historical Museum. The county paid over $500,000 for the property to address the lack of handicap accessibility and storage space at the current museum space. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says they will start talking more about the potential project next month.

The other former Younkers building on Third Avenue was transformed last year into The Marketplace, which houses Bliss and other businesses.  

Incumbents join county board races

Some new but familiar faces have begun circulating their nomination papers for seats on the Door County Board and the Kewaunee County Board.

 

In Door County, two new faces will try to represent District 5. Redistricting has placed District 5 supervisor Nancy Robillard into the same district as Kara Counard, both of whom have taken out nomination papers. Jeff Miller and Timothy Smith will try to represent District 5 instead. Lora Jorgensen looks to run against incumbent Todd Thayse for the District 2 supervisory seat. Holly Runquist is circulating nomination papers to potentially face incumbent District 18 supervisor Vinni Chomeau, who has not begun the process to run for re-election. Contested races are also taking shape in District 11 where Helen Bacon could run against current supervisor Morgan Rusnak and in District 20 where Nate Bell, Walter Kalms, and Janet Johnson are all running for the position on the board.  Incumbents David Englebert (District 1), Roy Englebert (District 3), Daniel Austad (District 9), Nissa Norton (District 12), Dale Vogel (District 13), Elizabeth Gauger (District 15), Bob Bultman (District 17), and David Lienau (District 19) have all taken out their nomination papers. Vogel, Rusnak, Austad, Robillard, and Kenneth Fisher have all filed their nomination papers. Fisher looks to replace Susan Kohout, who has decided to not run again to represent District 6. Darrick DeMeuse has taken out papers to replace Richard Biz "Biz" Virlee, who also decided to not seek re-election.

 

Things are a little more status quo in Kewaunee County where only one challenger has taken out nomination papers. Nellie DeBaker is hoping to represent District 4, a seat currently held by Doak Baker. Gerald Paape (District 1), Aaron Augustian (District 11), Milt Swagel (District 12), Thomas Romdenne (District 14), Linda Teske (District 15), Virginia Haske (District 16), Jeffrey Vollenweider (District 18), and Joanne Lazansky (District 20) have filed their campaign registration statements and the declarations of candidacy. John Mastalir (District 19) has submitted his letter of candidacy. 

U-Haul to take up former K-Mart space

Almost 20 years after K-Mart left Sturgeon Bay, you will finally see the building full again. U-Haul of Door County looks to transform thousands of vacant square feet into interior storage space, a supplies service, and an outpost for rental services. The news comes five years after Tractor Supply Company took over a portion of the building for its own business. Turning large vacant buildings into interior storage space is a trend picking up steam in the region after E&I Investments did the same thing to a former Palmer Johnson facility in Sturgeon Bay and former ShopKos in Suamico, Marinette, and Marshfield have also been converted. Sturgeon Bay Planner and Zoning Administrator Chris Sullivan-Robinson is happy the building will get used.

While the exterior elements of the new business need to still get approved, Robinson believes work transforming the building into U-Haul of Door County is already taking place on the inside. 

High school holiday concerts back again

After many virtual or canceled concerts from our local high schools, they are back to bring festive cheer to the community. Many area schools have their holiday concerts for both band and choir scheduled right around the corner. The Luxemburg-Casco high school has its band concert scheduled for December 13th and its choir concert scheduled for December 20th. The Kewaunee High School has its band and choir concert planned for the evening of December 19th. The Kewaunee High School choir director Heather Roberts details what she had to do as a director to prepare the students, and lists what they will be performing.

 

 

The Kewaunee County schools aren’t the only ones with upcoming concerts, with three Door County schools’ concerts coming up as well. The Sturgeon Bay High school will have its band concert on the 20th and its choir concert on the 13th. Sevastopol will be hosting their High school and middle school music departments for their performance on the 13th. The Southern Door High school will have their band concert on the 14th and their choir concert on the 16th.  Gibraltar is hosting a special Senior Citizen Concert Wednesday (Dec. 15) at 11am. Their Band Concert is Friday, December 17 at 7pm and the Choir Concert is Monday, December 20 at 7pm. All concerts are at the Door Community Auditorium.More information about performance times and locations can be found on each school’s website.

Community Spotlight: Door County Habitat for Humanity's Lori Allen

If you ask Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen what the favorite part of her job is, it is working with the partner families that bring the biggest smile to her face. Since coming aboard at the end of 2019, Allen helped set up the first Northern Door home build in several years and two more just down the street from each other in Sturgeon Bay. The two homes in Sturgeon Bay also mark the beginning of Habitat’s new relationship with the Door County Housing Partnership. Working together will allow the organizations to address the county’s affordable housing shortage over time. Behind the scenes, she has even worked with families on the cusp of being able to benefit from their programs, but need a little more time to get into a better position.  Allen says forming those kinds of relationships with current and future partner families is important.

Door County Habitat for Humanity will dedicate its 45th home and its first in conjunction with the Door County Housing Partnership on Wednesday, December 15th at 2:30 p.m. Melissa Krueger and her children are this year’s partner family and in addition to agreeing to purchase the home, they have completed over 200 hours of volunteer hours.

 

You can hear the full interview by clicking this link

Holiday giving strong in Kewaunee County

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski thanks you for keeping him busy this holiday season. Joski is one of the lead organizers for both the area’s Toys for Tots and Salvation Army Kettle Drive efforts. He has been routinely emptying kettles and boxes from area businesses as the month reaches its halfway point. Joski recently spent thousands of dollars in donated funds to make sure Kewaunee County families have plenty of toys to choose from when they attend the distribution event at Kewaunee High School on Saturday. Joski is excited about the impact these two efforts will have on the community.

You can donate toys at area businesses throughout Kewaunee County until Friday before they are picked up ahead of the distribution event. The familiar red kettles will be out for about one week longer and Joski encourages you to either sign up for a shift or to just grab a bell and begin ringing away.

Washington Island School district wins STEM competition

Eighth-grade students in the Washington Island School District have earned the title State Winner from Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow program. This program is designed to help students grow in their STEM skills as they choose a problem in their community and propose a solution. The students from Washington Island chose invasive species as their community problem to solve. With this project came research and a learning experience for all students involved. The group of students is led by Tim VerBoomen with guidance from Miranda Dahlke, both middle school teachers. Dahlke describes what the students worked on and what  is in store for them as they continue their hard work to have a chance at winning the innovation award.

 

 

Dahlke expressed plans to use the money awarded with the title State Winner to expand further and improve the STEM program at the district. This plan includes purchasing more technology to further their robotics program and provide more learning opportunities for the Washington Island School District students. 

 

Picture included students from the group as listed:

Back row: Magnus, Cydney, Cameron, Aidan, Collin

Front row: Rita, Mason, Tommy

 

Creative ways to help support Door County YMCA community members

The final days of the year are a popular time for charitable giving as a tax deduction.  From the Annual Campaign to Endowment Fund, there are opportunities for you to make a long-lasting difference in the Door County community by supporting the YMCA , says Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin.  She shares three ways to help those members who have financial limitations.

 

 

All donations stay in the community and are fully deductible as charitable contribution.  The Door County YMCA has two locations with program centers in Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay, and is recognized at a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.   

Writing down goals can help focus on what is important

As the fifth of our six children moved into her new apartment, I couldn’t help but pause for a moment to celebrate the giving person she has become.  This daughter of ours spends hours dreaming up wonderfully imaginative birthday celebrations for others because she knows how much it will make them smile.  When she heard that a person she knew couldn’t afford a Christmas tree one holiday season, she anonymously left a tree outside her friend’s door.  This young woman is filled with a generous spirit, and like all her brothers and sisters, her mother and I are both so pleased about the adult she has become.

 

Twenty-five years ago, I heard a casual comment at a conference that still resonates with me today.  The speaker wondered why parents aren’t more explicit about defining what they want their children to be like as adults.  She wasn’t talking about preparing a child to be a doctor or to master the skill of playing the violin.  Instead, she was talking about values.  She asked me to imagine my then infant child as a 24-year-old adult.  What did I want that person to be like?  What kind of values did I hope would guide their decision making?  She suggested that if we parents cannot define those core values during our children’s earliest days, how can we possibly expect to nurture those values within them as they learn and grow.  

 

Thus, my lovely wife and I sat down and defined three fundamental values that we wanted our kids to hold most dear when they became adults.  

 

We want our kids to be generous, confident, and happy.  We turned those three core values into active statements which we then framed and placed throughout our home, many of which still hang to this day.  Those prints remind our kids to be generous, to believe in themselves, and that family is everything (which we hold to be central to happiness).  Our great hope was that when our children are confronted with life’s many questions, their answers would be shaped by these values.  

 

What we didn’t anticipate was how much writing it down caused us to change our own behavior.  If these values truly are the most important characteristics we want to nurture in our children, then by definition, everything else is a secondary consideration.  

 

In practical terms, it means we’ve learned to accept that the bedroom of one of our daughters is going to be messier than we’d like because being neat and orderly isn’t on our list of most cherished values.  But that same daughter in high school volunteered to work with children with developmental disabilities without any prompting from us.  We didn’t complain when one of our sons dyed his hair green because appearance isn’t a central value for us.  Yet when one of his siblings was experiencing a personal crisis completely unbeknownst to us, our son was the rock upon which his sibling relied.  

 

Live deliberately.  Spend some time thinking about what is most significant to you, then write it down.  Resolve to work toward those goals.  Doing so will help you focus on what is truly important in life.

Griffon String Quartet preforming community free winter concerts

The Griffon String Quartet is giving a preview of their community winter concert throughout Door County and spreading holiday cheer this December.  Traveling to businesses and homes for the first two weeks of December, the musical group, which was formed by Midsummer’s Music, is having fun popping up at over a dozen locations before the main concerts begin.  The “pay-what-you-can” community winter concerts will feature holiday favorites as well as “Four, for Tango & Tango Ballet” by Astor Piazzolla, and “String Quartet No. 7 in F-Sharp Minor” by Shostakovich.  Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck says the opportunity to connect with the community in multiple venues is very special.

 

 

The community winter concerts in the area will be held December 17 at 5 pm at SWY231 in Sturgeon Bay, December 18 at 2pm at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor, and 2 pm December 19 at the Brown County Library in Green Bay.  You can reserve your free tickets at midsummersmusic.com or by calling (920) 854-7088.

 

(photo courtesy of Midsummers' Music)

 

Dealing with holiday stress

With Christmas only two weeks away, a Sturgeon Bay psychologist has tips on how to manage your holiday stress. Dr. Dennis White says the expectations surrounding the time and money spent over the holidays can cause a buildup of tensions and worries.  He suggests some tips to make the holiday season more enjoyable.

 

 

Dr. White adds that by managing your expectations and keeping the focus on the true meaning of this time of year, the holidays can be even more enjoyable.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White’s complete Mental Health Minute below. 

 

 

 

Oneida Casino event betting off to a good start

The Oneida Casino's sportsbook operation has been open for betting for a little over a week now, and many people have already started placing bets. The Oneida Casino is the first place in Wisconsin where you could place a bet on a sporting event legally. These bets can be placed on teams like the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Brewers, and others. Chad Fuss, the Gaming CFO for the casino, describes what it took to make betting on events legal.

 

 

Fuss explained that some of the inspiration behind having discussions to make this betting legal came from hopes of drawing in more tourists to the area. Betters have already started casting their predictions for future events like sporting championships. Sporting events are not the only kind of events that betters can vote on, with Nationally streamed award shows on the list of things to bet on.  Go to the Oneida Casino website to learn more about casting a bet on an event.

Incumbents in to win for city council elections

Most Door and Kewaunee counties’ three city council incumbents have made it known they are running for re-election this spring.

 

In Sturgeon Bay, Mayor David Ward and council members Dennis Statz (District 2), J. Spencer Gustafson (District 4), and Seth Wiederanders (District 6) have taken out their nomination papers for circulation.

 

Nobody new has thrown their hat into the ring in the City of Algoma since last week’s update. Mayor Wayne Schmidt, First District Alderperson Kevin Schmidt, and Fourth District Alderperson Jake Maring have begun the process to run again for their respective seats.

 

The only exception is Kewaunee where a contested race for mayor is taking shape. Jeff Vollenweider, who is currently one of the two aldermen representing the city’s first district, took out his nomination papers to run for mayor. He could potentially face the city’s current mayor Jason Jelinek, who has also grabbed the necessary paperwork needed to begin his re-election bid. Janita Zimmerman will seek another term representing the third aldermanic district while Cathy Brown has begun circulating papers for the first aldermanic district being vacated by Vollenweider.  Kewaunee City Clerk Terri Decur was not available on Friday to provide a new update on who has plans on being on or off the ballot this spring.

 

Nomination forms are due back to the cities’ respective clerk’s offices by January 4th.

Sprunger happy for deeper sense of normalcy this Advent

Seeing more people in pews and attending church events is bringing a smile to the face of Pastor Matthew Sprunger. He had just started at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kewaunee when the pandemic closed its doors. While people were allowed to attend Christmas services last year, there were still people that stayed away due to concerns around COVID-19. As advent crosses the halfway point, Sprunger says they have worked hard to keep families engaged with the church.

While they hope to see you in a pew, many congregations like Immanuel Lutheran’s still offer a live stream or a recorded video of the service for those who do not feel comfortable yet going back to church. Advent concludes with the celebration of Christmas on December 25th. 

Expiring charitable deductions offer tax relief

You only have a few weeks left to take extra advantage of your charitable giving in 2021. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act passed late last December extended a special provision to deduct up to $300 for single filers and $600 for married couples in cash donations whether you itemize or not. Certain businesses can also deduct up to 25 percent of their corporate taxable income for charitable contributions made in 2021 after being previously capped at 10 percent. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says these expiring benefits and a healthy stock market are driving some of the most generous contributions to the charities it supports in its history.

Many of the short-term changes to charitable tax law that were made last December will expire on December 31st. The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy reported in June that charitable giving set a record with $471.44 billion donated in 2020, which was an increase of five percent over the previous year.

Kewaunee County active cases drop, one hospitalization

Despite 111 new positive tests of COVID-19 this week, the number of active cases in Kewaunee County dropped significantly in the last week.  Since last Friday, the active cases are down to 72, a decrease of 77 cases.  There were 188 recoveries and only one hospitalization this week, although numbers tend to lag due to the state’s reporting.   No new deaths were reported and 49.4 percent of Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  The Kewaunee County Public Health Department accepts appointments for weekly clinic dates every Tuesday and Friday.

 

Starrs continue to shine over free community meal

The Starr family in Sturgeon Bay is keeping a relatively new Christmas tradition going again for the fourth consecutive year.  The Starrs’ are making free dinners on Christmas Eve for any community members. The meals will be offered at the Knights of Columbus building on a drive-thru or dine-in basis.  If you are unable to pick up a meal, you can call prior to Christmas Eve and have a meal delivered to you.  Carrie Starr says her family feels it is important to be there for the community and for those who may feel alone during Christmas.

 

 

Nearly 200 dinners were provided last year.  This year’s community Christmas Eve dinner will be from noon until 2pm and any leftovers will be given to a homeless shelter.  You can call to reserve a meal by calling (920) 495-2161.  

Wiring Washington Island

You could soon be using fiber optic internet on Washington Island in the coming years. A fiber optic cable was included when the island had to replace its damaged underwater electric cable in 2018. The twin cables run from Northport Pier on the mainland to Plum Island before it heads to Lobdells Point on Washington Island. At the time Nsight Teleservices helped the island earn a grant of over $103,000 to make a future fiber-optic internet service possible. Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay is now helping the Washington Island Electric Cooperative make the dream a reality. Erin Helgeson says it is an exciting project to be a part of as some preliminary work begins this month.

The goal is to begin installing fiber and drop cables this spring with substantial completion forecasted to take place in five to seven years. The island’s school, clinic, town clerk, and community center will be among the first places to take advantage of the future service. 

 

Pictures courtesy of Quantum PC

 

Christkindlmarkt introducing visitors to historical grounds

Your newest holiday tradition may be the first time you have noticed some of northern Door County’s oldest buildings.

 

This weekend marks the final days of the Door County Christkindlmarket taking place on the grounds of the Sister Bay Historical Society’s Corner of the Past Museum. Taking its cues from similar events held annually in places like Chicago and Milwaukee, the Door County Christkindlmarkt is drawing visitors from down the street and around the region alike to a place that is usually a lot quieter this time of year. Organizer John Nelson says it is introducing people to a place that they have likely driven past dozens of times since the Sister Bay Historical Society began their mission 25 years ago.

The Sister Bay Historical Society is currently fundraising so they can move a historical barn to the site. The village is even pitching up to $25,000 in matching funds to help the organization complete its restoration efforts. 

 

 

Picture courtesy of the Door County Christkindlmarkt Facebook page

Door and Kewaunee counties under winter storm advisory

You could be spared from the heaviest snows occurring in the state over the next 24 to 36 hours as Door and Kewaunee counties enter a winter storm advisory Friday afternoon.

 

The National Weather Service is predicting the area will get between three and six inches of snow during the storm before it ends sometime Saturday morning. There is a slim chance that Door County residents could see eight inches or more of snow. Fifteen counties including Marinette and Oconto are under a winter storm watch as they could see close to a foot of snowfall in some parts. The heaviest snow is expected to fall after 6 p.m. on Friday, just in time for many athletic games and other events that are scheduled to take place. Slippery, snow-covered roads are likely with poor visibility due to blowing and drifting snow also occurring when strong winds are expected to pick up on Friday night.

 

 

Make sure you visit DoorCountyDailyNews.com and NEWRadioSportsNetwork.com to stay up-to-date on closures, cancellations, and postponements. 

Cathy Grier's "I'm All Burn" gets national recognition

A local musician and her band’s title track won the 2021 Coolest Blues Song from Big City Blues Magazine.  The national publication announced the winners on social media last week, and Sturgeon Bay guitarist Cathy Grier was surprised to find out about the recognition this week.  Grier and her group, the Troublemakers, released the album “I’m All Burn” in July of 2020. She shares the inspiration behind her song that was chosen as the coolest blues song of the year.

 

 

Grier notes that the song “I’m All Burn” actually tied with Wee Willie Walker’s “Real Good Lie” for the coolest blues song. Cathy Grier and the Troublemakers are currently prepping to represent Wisconsin in the International Blue Challenge in Memphis. Their first quarter-final performance will be held on January 19 on Beale Street, known as the “home of the blues”. 

 

 

Gibraltar hosts Senior Citizen Holiday Concert

Gibraltar school is looking to make 125 senior citizens’ December a little more special with a holiday concert next Wednesday.  The band and choir from the Gibraltar Middle and High School Music programs will be performing holiday favorites at the Door Community Auditorium.  The Gibraltar High School Student Council is organizing the event. 

 

President Jade Toneys says it feels nice to bring back a holiday event for the senior citizens this year, even if it is not the traditional Holiday Dinner Celebration.

 

 

After the concert, seniors will receive a small token of appreciation with a goody bag of treats.  Reservations for the concert will be taken until December 13 and open to the first 125 guests.  

 

To reserve your seat, call (920) 868-3284 extension 346.  Masks will be required, with social distancing being practiced as well.  The Senior Citizen Holiday Concert is scheduled for 11 am on Wednesday, December 15. 

Critically needed blood drive at Sonny's Friday

A Sturgeon Bay business is stepping up to host a community blood drive Friday.  In an effort to help keep the local blood bank in ample supply, Sonny's Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria will provide floor space downstairs for the Community Blood Center to conduct the drive.  Business Development Representative Tina Ferron says the blood supply is at a critically low state right now.

 

 

All donors afterward will receive a complimentary pizza and pizza cutter, besides the regular coffee and cookies.  The Community Blood Center is the sole provider of blood, platelets, and plasma to the Door County Medical Center.  You can schedule a blood donation between 11 am and 5 pm on Friday by clicking here

Natural Christmas brings holiday revelers outdoors

A hike through the trails at The Ridges Sanctuary is just a small part of this Saturday’s Natural Christmas celebration in Baileys Harbor.

 

Visitors will be able to participate in a wreath-making workshop for a small fee and make a number of holiday crafts. The Hidden Brook Boardwalk will also be lit for hikers looking to enjoy the outdoors with opportunities to enjoy marshmallows and possibly chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Director of Operations Katie Krouse says ever since the pandemic started, people have been flocking to The Ridges Sanctuary to connect with nature.

The Ridges’ Natural Christmas is this Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m.

Five hospitalized as active COVID cases rise again

Door County continues to follow a statewide trend of increased COVID-19-related hospitalizations after releasing its Thursday situation report.

 

The numbers tend to lag due to the state’s reporting, but Door County did see another five hospitalizations added to its count since Monday’s update. That means 13 of its 175 total ever hospitalized with COVID-19 have come within the first 10 days of the month. The Active cases increased by 42 to 428 after 50 new positive tests were reported. The Evers Administration has requested 100 workers from FEMA to assist with the growing number of hospitalizations in the state. The Wisconsin Hospital Association reported earlier this week that only 41 of its 1,331 ICU beds were available, including only four in northeast Wisconsin. 

 

Door County is listed at the very high activity level of COVID-19 infections while 19 others including Kewaunee County are currently listed as critically high.

DeBaker only challenger so far for Kewaunee County Board

You still have plenty of time to fill out the necessary paperwork to run for the Kewaunee County Board.

 

Of the 20 seats up for election this spring, only seven candidates have returned their notice of candidacy as of Thursday morning. That includes Nellie DeBaker, who is challenging  Doak Baker for his seat representing District 4. Baker has not indicated to the county if he is running again. Gerald Paape (District 1), Milt Swagel (District 7), Thomas Romdenne (District 14), Virginia Haske (District 16), Jeffrey Vollenweider (District 18), and John Mastalir (District 19) have filed their declaration of candidacy.

 

Interested candidates have until January 4th at 5 p.m. to circulate their nomination papers and turn them into the Kewaunee County Clerk’s Office. 

Michigan Street Bridge finished with first week early

You are able to drive on the Michigan Street Bridge more than a day earlier than expected. Wisconsin Department of Transportation Director of Communications Mark Kantola says bridge crews were able to finish the first phase of their work on the bridge on Wednesday thanks to increased manpower and good fortune. Crews will still be back on the Michigan Street Bridge next week to finish the job, so Kantola says motorists can still expect a closure for most of next week. Crews are repairing overhead structures leading to the bridge after a vehicle struck them in October. DOT officials announced earlier this week that the bridge will also be closed for two weeks this February when they repair and replace damaged overhead members on the lift span of the bridge. Since those parts are no longer available, they have to be designed and fabricated first before the work can take place.

Shortages could plague fight against snowstorms

With the worst of winter still ahead of us, you may want to act quickly when it comes to buying snow removal equipment like shovels and snowblowers.  Much like lawnmowers this summer, some snowblower dealers have struggled to keep their most popular models in stock. Supply chain issues are to blame for engines not being made and sent out to snowblower manufacturers like Toro and Ariens quickly enough to meet the demand. Even plastic snow shovels are getting hard to find due to slowdowns in their manufacturing process. Lemens Hardware owner Jim Lemens recommends people act sooner rather than later.

With the worst of winter still ahead of us, you may want to act quickly when it comes to buying snow removal equipment like shovels and snowblowers.

Hospital beds getting tight locally

Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise is still encouraging you to come to the hospital if you are sick, but the wrong ailments could land you in a facility hundreds of miles away. The recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin has started to overwhelm the state’s hospitals. In northeast Wisconsin, 90 percent of hospital beds and over 93 percent of ICU beds are currently in use. That has forced many Green Bay hospitals to turn away patients from other facilities like Door County Medical Center and refer them to places as far as northern Illinois and Minnesota. Heise says just as hard as finding a bed for patients that they do not have the means to treat is figuring out a way to transport them.

Heise does offer some good news as Wisconsin has started to see cases of Omicron variant pop up. So far, the cases of the Omicron variant have not been as severe as those who have experienced Delta. It is too soon to determine how well the vaccines and natural antibodies perform when fending off the Omicron variant.

 

Driver crashes into Family Video building

A 29-year old man drove his vehicle through the vacant Family Video building on Egg Harbor Road in Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday morning and was uninjured.  Sturgeon Bay Assistant Police Chief Dan Brinkman told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that the driver was not from this country and was inexperienced at driving in wintry conditions.  According to the investigating officer, Brinkman says the driver apparently was entering on Egg Harbor Road from the Tall Pine Apartments complex across the street from the Family Video location when he lost control shortly before 7 am and mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of braking and drove over the curb and into the building.   The vehicle crashed into the west side of the building and exited on the north side coming to a rest in the parking lot.  The vehicle was deemed a complete loss and was towed away from the scene shortly after 7:30 am.  

 

 

 

Door County YMCA offering Soup Day

As a way to help support its annual campaign for the community, the Door County YMCA will be hosting a Soup Day next Monday, December 13 at the Sturgeon Bay Program Center. Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin says that there will be a variety of soups that will be made by YMCA members and local businesses.

 

 

The soups are packaged in 16-ounce containers and are $7 each.  You can order by phone or on the YMCA Facebook page.  Dantoin adds that the proceeds go towards the annual campaign that typically raises over $500,000 each year to financially assist families, enabling them to utilize the YMCA. 

Sevastopol Public Hearing on ATVs has split opinions

 

Town of Sevastopol residents had a chance to voice their opinions on the proposed operation of ATVs and UTVs on town roads and it appears to be a 50/50 proposition. Sevastopol Town Clerk Amy Flok says the public hearing was divided equally between those opposing the idea of ATVs on the town roads and those in favor of it.  The Pioneer Trailblazers Club volunteered to put up signage that is required to identify the routes throughout the township. Flok says many of those opposed cited noise issues and traffic congestion on the roads. Those in favor believed that allowing ATVs and UTVs on the town roads would be good for local businesses and the municipality. The public hearing lasted about 45 minutes, with 11 people speaking at the meeting. The matter now will be discussed at the Sevastopol Town Hall board meeting on December 20.  Flok speculates that a decision on the ATVs and UTVs on town roads will not happen until after the first of the year. 

Largest LNG barge delivered by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay announced the recent delivery of the largest ever built LNG bunkering barge recently to Polaris New Energy. Clean Canaveral”, a 340-foot vessel, was delivered last Friday and offers  12,000 m3 (3.17 million gallons) of Liquid Natural Gas capacity. LNG is a process through which natural gas is cooled to a liquid state and reduced by nearly 600 percent. That process makes it easier and safer to transport. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is on contract to build a sister 5,500 cubic meter ATB for Northstar and Polaris, in addition to other new construction and steady repair work on the Great Lakes’ winter fleet. Polaris New Energy is a U.S.-based maritime logistics firm.  

Sturgeon Bay clamps down on noise, allows for open alcohol in downtown area

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved a reworked ordinance that will curtail unreasonable, excessive, and unnecessary noise during specific times in the city. After much discussion on how the ordinance will be enforced, the council unanimously voted to approve the second reading of the municipal code. The ordinance covers noise that exceeds 55 decibels between 10 pm and 6:30 am in residential areas and 90 decibels at other times. Amplified music within commercial areas would not be allowed between 10 pm to 6:30 am during weekdays and midnight to 6:30 am on weekends. 


The council also approved the recommendation and the first reading of an ordinance to exclude the Downtown Entertainment District from open intoxicant laws, which would thus allow for a “public alcohol consumption area” from 9 am until 10 pm downtown.


In other business, the city approved two Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommendations.     One is for selling property at 1048 Egg Harbor Road to Cherryland Point Investments for a future multi-family housing development.  The other recommendation approved was for an intergovernmental agreement between the County of Door and the city for technical support services next year in the amount of $50,000.

Kwik Trip opens Thursday in Luxemburg

The new Kwik Trip in Luxemburg will be opening for business on Thursday morning. Located on North Main Street at the corner of Spartan Way and County AB, the convenience store is the first Kwik Trip to open in Kewaunee County.   Store Leader Tom Dekarske explains the final details of the setup being done this week before Thursday’s opening.

 

 

Dekarske says the store is fully staffed with a total of 45 employees who were hired in the beginning of August. Kwik Trip is a privately owned company based out of La Crosse with about 700 convenience stores in four Midwestern states.  Kwik Trip also plans on opening a new store on Sturgeon Bay’s east side sometime in 2022.

Oral arguments delayed in Forestville Dam Millpond lawsuit

The legal proceedings concerning the lawsuit issued by the Friends of the Forestville Dam against Door County were rescheduled in circuit court on Tuesday.

 

Attorneys representing both parties agreed to delay oral arguments in the case since Door County Circuit Court Judge D. Todd Ehlers did not have an opportunity to review the briefs submitted by both sides prior to the 3 pm hearing.  The oral arguments will be made now at 3 pm on Thursday, December 16 with a summary judgment being made after that by Judge Ehlers.  A summary judgment is granted when the facts can be decided without the need to go to trial.

   

The Friends of the Forestville Dam filed suit against Door County in January seeking an order that would mandate the county to maintain the millpond at a historic water level of 592 feet above sea level.  The millpond was drained in early September starting in 2019 and was refilled late this fall.

AWS outage negatively impacting internet

There is a reason why you might be struggling with buying your items from Amazon or binging your favorite show on Netflix. Amazon Web Services, also known as AWS, reported issues with outages at around 9:45 a.m. The source of the outage is with the US-EAST-1 cloud region. Amazon has identified the issues and says the company is “actively working towards recovery.” The cause of the outage was not known as of 11:45 a.m. Tuesday. Nathan Drager from Quantum PC Services in Sturgeon Bay says outages like this have a big ripple effect around the globe.

Drager added that this is a good reason for people to add redundancy to their networks so if outages like this occur, they can continue to work. According to DataCenterDynamics.com, AWS also had issues in September 2021 and November 2020. The company says customers may be able to access region-specific consoles going to https://console.aws.amazon.com/.

School districts fighting off staffing shortages

You can potentially help keep a school open as districts across the country address a shortage of substitute teachers and other positions. An EdWeek Research Center survey back in October showed more than three-quarters of district leaders and principals are experiencing at least moderate staffing shortages in their school buildings this year. The shortages are primarily among substitute teachers, bus drivers, and instructional aides. Having enough staff in the pipeline could be the difference between a building staying open or not during the pandemic. It was an issue Luxemburg-Casco School District faced last year when they had to go to virtual learning because there was not enough staff to cover the number of children coming to the classroom. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says they have been lucky to avoid that scenario this year. One reason for that is the six recovery learning teachers they have hired with federal dollars. Although their main role is to help students that fell behind during virtual learning last year catch up, they also provide a lifeline for the district if they are short on teachers in other areas. Schlender says you can never have enough substitutes on standby.

Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District in Marinette County announced on Tuesday they would not be opening due to not having enough substitute teachers with the possibility that the closure could continue. Almost every school district in Door and Kewaunee counties have a posting recruiting substitute teachers and other positions.

Community pours support into Door County Toys for Kids Drive

You still have time to give Santa a helping hand in Door County this Christmas season. Thursday is the last day you will be able to drop off presents at boxes throughout the community before they will be distributed to families.

 

It is a cause near and dear to the heart of Bridge Up Brewing Company head brewer Trent Snyder, who has helped collect hundreds of toys and thousands of dollars to support the effort each of the last two years. Having also assisted in the distribution of the toys, he is thankful for how the community has come together to help area families have an extra special Merry Christmas.

Snyder collected more than $2300 over the last few weeks and will spend the next day or two buying Christmas presents. Last year, over 475 children benefited from the toy drive that collected thousands of toys that were either donated or bought with monetary donations. Approximately eight to ten families got a little bit more than just presents last year when Santa stopped by with local law enforcement to spend time with the children.

 

A MESSAGE FROM SANTA

 

 

Virlee, Kohout say no to re-election to Door County Board

Two current Door County Board members have turned in their notice of non-candidacy while redistricting could set up a contested race between two incumbents.

 

District 6 Supervisor Susan Kohout and District 14 Supervisor Richard Biz Virlee turned in their notices of non-candidacy before the end of November. They each have people lined up to replace them as Kenneth Fisher (District 6) and Darrick DeMeuse (District 14) each took out nomination papers.

 

Redistricting has shifted some supervisors into new districts. It is part of the reason why incumbent supervisors Nancy Robillard and Kara Counard could face each other in the spring election. Robillard, formerly of District 5, has begun circulating her nomination papers for the same role in District 4. As of Monday, Counard has not taken out nomination papers to run for re-election in the district.

 

Helen Bacon looks to reclaim a seat on the Door County Board representing District 11 after she was defeated by Erin Tauscher in 2020 for District 7. Tauscher was later replaced by Morgan Rusnak, who is circulating her papers to keep her seat representing District 11.

 

Nate Bell, Walter Kalms, and Janet Johnson have all taken out nominations papers to represent District 20.

 

Daniel Austad (District 9), Nissa Norton (District 12), Dale Vogel (District 13) Elizabeth Gauger (District 15), David Lienau (District 19), and Joel Gunnlaugsson(District 21) are all incumbents that have taken the first step to run for re-election. Nomination papers are due back at the Door County Clerk’s Office by 5 p.m. on January 4th.

Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary remembered locally

Flags will be flown at half-mast Tuesday throughout the country to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor.  December 7th, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy and thrust the United States into World War II.  Door County Veterans Officer Beth Wartella, who served five years in the U.S. Navy, says although there are no planned events in Door County on Tuesday, the significance of the date is at the forefront of many active-duty military members.

 

 

The attack at Pearl Harbor by Japan killed 2,403 United States personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Naval ships.  

 

(The battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in the above file photo from Dec. 7, 1941.)

 

Open containers, loud music up for council discussion

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will address outdoor music limitations within the city at Tuesday’s meeting. City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the council will be voting on the second reading of the ordinance under the Municipal Code- Unreasonable, Excessive, and Unnecessary Noise. The action would give the city a tool to respond with, and the ordinance will be a welcome change to how noise issues have been administered in the past, says Van Lieshout.

 

 

The city council will also discuss a code to allow open intoxicants in the public Downtown Entertainment District permanently.  Another agenda item will be selling the Simon property at 1048 Egg Harbor Road to Doreen Phillips of Cherry Point Investments, which is planning to build multi-family housing on the site.

Colder weather to impact road conditions

With areas of Door County reporting up to ten inches of snow on Sunday and temperatures dropping to single digits on Tuesday, Highway Commissioner Thad Ash reminds you to be prepared for slippery spots on the roadways and allow more room between your vehicle and other drivers.  He says prior to any major winter weather event, crews will do anti-icing if certain conditions allow for it.  The protocol calls for brine use if low winds and humidity are present, and adequate pavement temperatures are found.

 

 

The brine mix will activate on the roads until temperatures drop to ten or twelve degrees when it would fail to liquefy to do any good.  Ash notes that the Wisconsin DOT does not like crews to put sand on the highway roads because it might give drivers a false sense of security.  The Door County Highway Department does use a lot of sand on county and town roads, which is dictated by the respective municipalities.  The Door County Sheriff’s Department acts as the “eyes and ears” for the highway department, according to Ash, regarding hazardous driving conditions.    

Another five hospitalizations for COVID-19 reported in Door County

Active cases went down in Door County over the weekend, but more people continue to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

 

Fifty-one of the 124 tests performed since last Thursday came back positive for COVID-19.  Recoveries outpaced new positive tests as the number of active cases went down 14 to 386. Although the data may lag from what is reported by the state on a daily basis, Door County saw another five people hospitalized with COVID-19. According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, over 90 percent of hospital beds and approximately 96.2 ICU beds are in use in the northeast region of the state with numbers climbing since November 9th.

 

The Door County Public Health Department has a COVID-19  vaccine clinic scheduled for kids 5-11 at the Sister Bay Fire Station on Wednesday and for everyone 12 and up for Thursday at the Door County Government Center. You can click on this link to learn more about the clinics and to sign-up.

Sternard announces re-election bid for Sheriff

Tammy Sternard would like to be your Door County Sheriff for another term after announcing her re-election bid Monday morning.

 

The 28-year veteran of the department became the second woman sheriff in Door County history when she won a tight election in 2018 to replace the retiring Steve Delarwelle. In a statement, Sternard said the decision to run again is centered on continuing a collaborative approach to addressing issues in the community. She paid tribute to the staff she has around her and the community support she has received during her first term as sheriff.

 

The election for Door County Sheriff will take place on November 8th, 2022 A fall partisan primary could take place on August 9th.  You can read her full statement below.

 

It's a very exciting day for me both personally and professionally. With the support and encouragement of my family, friends, our community partners, and many of my fellow law enforcement officers I have made the decision to seek re-election for Door County Sheriff.  My decision to seek another term is centered primarily on my belief in continuing our strong collaborative approach when dealing with issues in our community.   I understand the importance of surrounding yourself with good people and truly believe working together we can continue to accomplish great things within our community. 

 

After 28 years with the Sheriff’s Office and the last 3 as Sheriff, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader.  Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with many of our community partners on a wide variety of issues facing our community.  I feel my years of leadership experience within the Sheriff’s Office, community partnerships, education, training, community involvement, and history of outstanding service will allow us to continue moving the Sheriff’s Office in a positive direction. As Sheriff I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with every day, their professionalism and dedication to our community’s safety are evident in what they do each and every day.  It’s been my honor and privilege to serve our community as your Sheriff, the community support we receive is truly amazing and greatly appreciated by all of us at the Sheriff’s Office. I would be honored to have your support for a second term.

 

Sheriff Tammy

 

 

Washington Island School goes virtual for two weeks

You will not see Washington Island students back in the classroom until the New Year after a positive COVID-19 test was confirmed last week.

 

The Washington Island School Board made the decision last Thursday after the district sent students home early on Wednesday because of the suspected positive case.  Classes were canceled last Thursday and Friday as a precaution. Virtual learning will take place through December 17th. That goes right into their scheduled winter break which runs through January 2nd.  In-person classes could potentially return on January 3rd if all goes well.

 

Washington Island School went to virtual learning last school year for two weeks in January after a spike in cases on the island around the holidays. 

Michigan Street closed for repairs starting Monday

You will have to find an alternative route to get across the channel in downtown Sturgeon Bay starting Monday.  The Michigan Street Bridge will be closed to traffic for two weeks for repairs from damage caused by a semi-truck early this fall.  The bridge will be closed through this Friday and then reopen for the weekend before closing again December 13-17 to finish the repairs.   Drivers should use either the Oregon/Maple Bridge or the Bayview Bridge during the closure.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says crews may finish earlier than scheduled depending on weather and conditions.  The Michigan Street Bridge will remain open to marine traffic during the two-week period.  

Sportsmanship emphasized during sporting events

With the winter sports season ramping up in gymnasiums throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties, local athletic directors want to remind fans and students that sportsmanship should carry over into the stands as well as on the court or mat.  Janesville Parker school officials apologized earlier this week when students wore what they described as inappropriate attire for a dress-up theme during a girls basketball game the previous week.  Southern Door High School Athletic Director Korey Mallien says that they have not had any major issues and will occasionally remind the student body to have fun but to focus on cheering for their team while not lashing out at opposing teams.

 

 

Mallien says the school has a game manager and two ticket-taker supervisors with an administrator on-site to promote sportsmanship and monitor the conduct of fans.  He says Southern Door has done theme nights for games in the past but those are typically related to the students wearing all the same color shirts in the stands.

Stony Creek land earns protection

The Door County Land Trust announced recently the permanent protection of a stream bank along Stony Creek in southern Door County that spans a one-mile stretch.  This is the first time a conservation organization has purchased land within the 13-mile Stony Creek stream corridor, which is the largest in Door County.  Door County Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay says the protection of the Stony Creek watershed may improve fish spawning habitat and ultimately improve the water quality flowing into Lake Michigan.

 

 

Door County Land Trust plans to restore a small portion of the property to create a buffer of native plants that will help lessen soil erosion and sedimentation in the creek.

Christmas trees benefit YMCA youth despite shortage

Your family still can find a real Christmas tree for your home’s holiday decorating.  A community tradition continues at the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay with the annual Christmas tree sales.  The Door County YMCA has a limited quantity of trees left due to a shortage but had a dozen left leading into the weekend.  Tyler Powell from the YMCA says the proceeds from the sale benefit youth programs.

 

 

The trees range in price from $55 to $70 and can be picked up near the entrance of the Sturgeon Bay YMCA Program Center on Michigan Street. 

Algoma Public Library hosting holiday festivities

You can find holiday-themed activities all month long at the Algoma Public Library. During December, the library has something to offer for people of all ages. One of the events is the Holiday Open House on December 16th. Library director Cathy Kolbeck lists what you can look forward to while in attendance.

 

 

The library will also be holding a holiday craft week starting on December 6th. During the week, children will work on a holiday chain to decorate the library tree; there are also craft activities for teens on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday of that week, families are invited to join a Family Handprint grab-and-go kit. There will be a scrap tree ornament-making activity for adults who would like to drop in on Monday the 6th from 1-4 pm. In addition to the craft week and holiday open house, you can enjoy an interactive Polar Express viewing on Tuesday, December 7th. You will find a complete list of holiday events at the Algoma Public Library website.

Community Spotlight: Mayor David Ward enjoying Sturgeon Bay's progress

Leading the Sturgeon Bay City Council through the three past years has Mayor David Ward reflecting on the transition from infighting and dealing with challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, to the significant accomplishments in the past year.  Ward shares the improvements he is excited about in the city for 2022.

 

 

A career in finance, education, and the University of Wisconsin administrative system served Ward well before his voyeur into politics.  Ward spent most of his career as a finance professor at UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh before becoming the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs for the entire University of Wisconsin System.  Moving to Sturgeon Bay in 2000, Ward was elected mayor of Sturgeon Bay in 2019, after being appointed to the City Council in July of 2017.  You can listen to the entire interview with Mayor David Ward on the podcast page

Winter Storm Warning in the area until 9pm

The National Weather service has issued a Winter Storm warning in effect for Door County until 9pm tonight. Snowfall totals could reach 5 inches and light ice accumulations are possible. Expect poor visibility and wind gusts up to 35 mph. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Kewaunee County until 6pm tonight. If you must travel, precautionary and extra preparedness is advised. Tune in to the DoorCountyDailyNews.com for the latest updates

First Omicron variant case in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Saturday that a Milwaukee County man has the first case of the Omicron variant in the state. The man had recently returned from travels to South Africa and was fully vaccinated with a booster dose.  He reported mild symptoms and was not hospitalized.  The case is not related to the COVID-19 outbreak that the Department of Health Services and the City of Milwaukee Health Department are investigating.  You can read the complete DHS news release below.

 

First Case of the Omicron Variant Identified in Wisconsin

Governor Evers, DHS urge vaccination and continued public health practices to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant

Today the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has detected the newest variant of concern(link is external), the Omicron variant, in Wisconsin. The Omicron variant, B.1.1.529, was classified as a variant of concern by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on November 30, 2021. Variants are classified as variants of concern if they show evidence of being more contagious, causing more severe illness, or resistance to diagnostics, treatments, or vaccines.

To date, one case of the Omicron variant has been identified in a specimen from a Wisconsin resident with recent travel history to South Africa.

“We’ve been prepared for this news and will continue trusting the science to help keep Wisconsinites and our communities healthy and safe,” said Governor Tony Evers. “Now is the time to double down on our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the Omicron variant. I urge all eligible Wisconsinites to get vaccinated and receive a booster dose as soon as possible and to follow the latest public health guidance.”

The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa in November 2021 and has spread to the United States, including Wisconsin. The Omicron variant contains a concerning number of mutations to the spike protein. Certain mutations on the spike protein were already recognized on other variants and have been associated with increased transmissibility and antibody resistance. It will take several weeks to determine Omicron’s transmissibility, impact on disease severity, and the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments against it.

“With the detection of Omicron in Wisconsin, Wisconsinites should stay vigilant in their efforts to stay healthy and to help prevent further strain on our heavily burdened hospital system,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. "As we learn more about this variant and how easily it spreads, it’s crucial that all Wisconsinites continue to practice good public health safety measures like getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, staying home if you’re sick, and getting tested."

The person with the Omicron variant is an adult male and is a Milwaukee County resident who recently returned from a trip in South Africa. The person was fully vaccinated and had received a booster dose. The person reported mild symptoms and no hospitalization has been required. Contact tracing efforts have been completed. This case is not related to the COVID-19 outbreak that DHS and the City of Milwaukee Health Department are investigating.

Information on variant case counts is provided by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene(link is external). Variants are identified through a process called whole genome sequencing(link is external). Whole genome sequencing takes a sample of the virus from a positive SARS-CoV-2 test specimen and reads its genetic code to determine the genetic makeup of the virus. DHS, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, and other laboratory partners regularly perform whole genome sequencing on a portion of positive tests.

DHS is urging all Wisconsinites to follow these public health practices to protect against COVID-19, including variants like Omicron:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Get your booster if you’re eligible.
  • Wear your mask in public indoor settings.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • If you’re experiencing symptoms or have been identified as a close contact, get tested for COVID-19.

Everyone ages 5 and up can receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the CDC now recommends that everyone 18 and older receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after having received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after their single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccines are free and you do not need an ID or health insurance to get one. To find a vaccine location in your community visit vaccines.gov , or call 211 or 877-947-2211.

Johnson pushes for state legislature's take over of federal elections

The Wisconsin Legislature would have control over the next federal election you participate in if U.S. Senator Ron Johnson had his way. The idea came after a non-partisan report of the 2020 election found no widespread fraud or wrongdoing, but it also offered a number of ideas for continuous improvement in the future. While the Wisconsin Republican points out language in the U.S. Constitution that could allow state legislatures more control of federal elections, Democratic Governor Tony Evers told the New York Times it would be a vast overreach. Johnson believes the Wisconsin Elections Commission is doing things it was never intended to do when it was created by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in 2016.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission fought back on the audit during its public meeting on Wednesday, with both Republican and Democratic appointees calling the report unprofessional and inaccurate. The commission still moved forward on implementing some of the suggestions made in the audit.

Tugs prepared for winter fleet arrival

When you start seeing the winter fleet arrive later this month, you will also see several tug boats hard at work. It has been a busy year for Sarter Marine Towing with the pandemic not slowing them down too much, despite a drop in international ships visiting the area. Captain Steve Ross will spend some of the upcoming weeks getting dry docks set up for the winter fleet’s arrival to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. Whether it is a big laker, like the Arthur Anderson, or last month’s escort of the S.S. Badger, Ross says it is great to work in a community that appreciates its maritime history.

The winter fleet schedule is not finalized yet, but it usually begins in late December and continues into early March in some cases depending on the ship and the work that needs to be done.

Legacy endures for Farm Technology Days

The 15,000 hamburgers and the 11,250 bowls of ice cream served during the 2017 Farm Technology Days are long gone, but your college-aged students interested in agriculture can still benefit from the event now and well into the future. In addition to helping fund other projects in the county such as the Dana Farm Ice Rink in Kewaunee, the Andy Barta Legacy Show Pavillion in Luxemburg, and playground equipment in Algoma, Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days has funded over $18,000 in student scholarships.  The committee hopes to award the $1,000 scholarship to approximately 70 students over 10 years. Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days Committee Member Aerica Bjurstrom still looks fondly on the community support the event received and the impact it still has years later.

The application window is now open for alumni from Algoma, Kewaunee, Luxemburg-Casco, Denmark, Southern Door, and Mishicot in the second half of their post-secondary school career. Applications can be found here and must be completed by January 31st.

Friends of Peninsula State Park planning an inclusive playground

You might have noticed a missing structure at Nicolet Bay Beach in the Peninsula State Park after the old playground was taken down. The structure was removed for everyone's safety because it rotted and became overall unsafe. The Friends of Peninsula State Park have set out to build a new playground in its place that will be all-inclusive. The Friends secretary Judy Ortiz details what the inclusive playground brings.

 

 

Ortiz says the Friends of Peninsula State Park's mission is to make sure that everyone can enjoy the parks, and with the new playground, the ramp on the Eagle Tower, and the more accessible Nature center, their work has proved successful. The construction is set to begin in the Spring of 2022, with hopes of completion for the summer season. A lot of the money going towards the playground is coming from donations.  A donor has agreed to match $40,000 of dollars raised to support the Friends' goal. If you would like to donate to the cause, more information can be found here.

Vollenweider to make run at Kewaunee mayor

There could be at least one contested election in city government in Door and Kewaunee counties as potential candidates begin taking out their nomination papers. 

 

Jeff Vollenweider, who is currently one of the two aldermen representing  Kewaunee’s first district, took out his nomination papers to run for mayor. He could potentially face the city’s current mayor Jason Jelinek, who has also grabbed the necessary paperwork needed to begin his re-election bid. Janita Zimmerman will seek another term representing the third aldermanic district while Cathy Brown has begun circulating papers for the first aldermanic district being vacated by Vollenweider.  

 

Sturgeon Bay City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt could not be reached on Friday, but at least two incumbents have made their intentions know (known) that they will be running again. Mayor David Ward indicated last month that he will run while Seth Wiederanders announced on Facebook that he has taken out nomination papers.

 

Only incumbents have taken out nomination papers in Algoma. Mayor Wayne Schmidt, First District Alderperson Kevin Schmidt, and Fourth District Alderperson Jake Maring have begun the process to run again for their respective seats.

 

Interested candidates can begin circulating nomination papers any time over the next few weeks, but they are due back to their respective clerk’s office by January

Vitamin D: A Powerhouse!

As the days get shorter and we spend more time indoors, getting enough Vitamin D is trickier! Vitamin D plays a role in almost every process in your body so it is important to keep healthy levels all year round!

 

What is Vitamin D?

Our bodies need Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones, reduce inflammation, maintain healthy muscles and brain function. Vitamin D keeps our metabolism functioning, and keep our immune system strong! A lack of vitamin D in the body can lead to a slew of health concerns, such as osteoporosis, or brittle-bone disease, decreased insulin production, and lowered immune function!

 

How much Vitamin D do you need?

The amount of vitamin D you need will depend on your sex, age, race, and sun exposure levels. People over the age of 65, people with darker complexions, and people who spend less time outside will need more vitamin D in their diets. Most adults need about 600 IUs a day. Those over 70 need even more vitamin D. Signs you might not be getting enough vitamin D are fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, and mood changes, like depression.

 

Where do we get Vitamin D?

Our biggest source of Vitamin D is the sun! When the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun hit our skin, vitamin D synthesis begins. Most experts suggest direct exposure to the face, arms, and legs for 5 to 30 minutes mid-day several times a week. Sunshine can provide vitamin D, but it is hard to track how much vitamin D our bodies are producing based on age, time of year, sunscreen, skin complexation, etc. This means we must include vitamin D in our healthy and balanced diets. Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, mushrooms, fortified milk and yogurt products, and eggs.

 

 

Photo Caption: Many foods naturally provide Vitamin D including salmon, tuna, herring, and egg yolks. Vegetables sources include spinach, kale, okra, kale and soybeans. Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D including milk, cheese, cereal, and orange juice. Check the label to be sure. (Photo: Canva)

Protect yourself from "porch pirates"

Local law enforcement is warning you to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting your packages from thieves.   Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is the time when most parceled thefts occur.  Sturgeon Bay Assistant Police Chief Dan Brinkman says don’t leave your packages unattended for an extended long time.  He says a change of address done to have the package delivered to a neighbor or your work is a good idea.

 

 

Other tips include requesting notifications on tracking your deliveries via phone, text message, or email and requiring a signature on your deliveries to ensure packages are never left unattended.  A recent survey by Safewise found that 210 million packages were stolen from porches over the past year in the U.S and that 64.1 percent of Americans have been victims of package theft. 

Evers vetoes Workforce and Education Fairness Act, signs bill for clear ports and clean beaches

Governor Tony Evers approved one bill and vetoed another on Friday that was co-authored by Andre Jacque. 

 

A billed co-authored by State Senator Andre Jacque designed to extend tax deductions to postsecondary tuition to apprenticeship instruction has been vetoed by Governor Tony Evers.  In a statement issued Friday, Jacque says The Workforce and Education Fairness Act would have “leveled the educational playing field by addressing a significant financial barrier to these rewarding skilled trade careers.” 

 

All tuition for schooling programs that are approved by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) qualifies as tax-deductible, but apprenticeship programs are not included.

 

Another bill that reforms DNR regulatory legislation by promoting the clearing of Great Lakes ports and supply chains, and encouraging to clean and restore beaches in the state was signed into law by Gov. Evers.  It will allow the reuse of clean sand removed from the Great Lakes.  Senate Bill 93 and Assembly Bill 99 will facilitate disposal of dredging material from Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and have the DNR exempt facilities from various solid waste.  The law will also require the DNR to hold a public hearing in the county where a facility is located before approving a request to accept dredged materials that contain PCBs or heavy metals.

 

One death reported as Kewaunee County's COVID cases remain high

The number of active COVID-19 cases went up as new cases outpaced recoveries in Kewaunee County again this week.  The Kewaunee County Health Department reported Friday that 139 more residents tested positive in the last week.  Active cases increased by 41 and now is at 149, with 97 recoveries noted.

 

Kewaunee County reported the 44th death from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and two hospitalizations after having none last week.

 

Nearly half (48.8%) of Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is below the state average of 59 percent.

State passes 1M mark for COVID-19 boosters

Wisconsinites are finding that there are plenty of opportunities to get an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Over one million additional/booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered since they have been made available in August. Door County Medical Center announced last week it is only administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster, which accounts for over 428,000 of the doses that have been administered statewide. Director of Outpatient Services Sandy Vandertie says it is available to anyone 18 years and over at least six months removed from completing their series with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine or two months ago with the Johnson and Johnson shot.

Medical professionals from across the state made their plea for residents to get vaccinated and take other precautions against COVID-19 as infections are on the rise and hospitals are being strained. Prevea Health CEO Dr. Ashok Rai admitted that one Green Bay hospital had to reject 28 patient transfer requests from other facilities outside of the area because of its capacity limits.

Baumann selected as new youth apprenticeship program director

A new face will be helping guide your children towards possible new career opportunities in Door County. The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced on Thursday that Lauren Baumann would be taking over the reins as its new Door County Youth Apprenticeship Program Director. She is not a stranger to working with youth in the county as she was previously a Certified Athletic Trainer. Baumann’s goal will be to continue the development and growth of the Youth Apprentice Program in Door County through the area’s five school districts as she connects them with local businesses. The Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship Consortium, which covers schools in Door and Kewaunee counties and the surrounding area, is currently ranked third in the state in terms of connecting local businesses with students to provide mentorship, support, and guidance.  

Musicians fill the air with holiday music

You will have plenty of opportunities to get into a festive mood with holiday music over the coming weeks. Midsummers Music’s Griffon String Quartet will be visiting local businesses in the area to perform mini-concerts with its ensemble. Birch Creek Music Performance Center sold out both of its Christmas concerts inside Juniper Hall on Saturday. That is also when Vic Ferrari’s Michael Bailey, Tran-Siberian Orchestra’s  Mark Wood, and Steve March-Torme take the Stone Harbor Resort stage for their holiday show “For Kids from 1 to 92!” at 7 p.m. The son of the lyricist behind “A Christmas Song,” March-Torme is excited to share the stage with Bailey and Wood to bring some holiday classics to life.

You will still have some opportunities to get your live holiday music fix. The Peninsula Symphonic Band will perform their holiday concert on December 9th while local schools will host their performances over the coming weeks. 

Diaper Bank a big success

Thanks to some generous donations and hard work by community members and students, the Kewaunee County Public Health has plenty of diapers and wipes for qualifying families needing assistance.  Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says Luxemburg-Casco National Honor Society students raised over $1200 worth of diapers, wipes, and cash at the “Keep Their Bottoms Dry” event earlier this fall.

 


Kewaunee County Public Health received generous donations of diapers and wipes from the St. Mary’s Luxemburg Christian Mother’s Group from their Light Before Christmas Advent evening held this past Monday.  The Diaper Bank was started last year through an outreach program by Kewaunee County Public Health. You can find more information on diaper availability and schedule pick-up times by calling the health department at (920) 388-7160. 

Tractor Supply opens in Kewaunee

A new retail business has opened its doors in Kewaunee and is planning its grand opening on Saturday. Tractor Supply, which announced the purchase of the old Shopko Hometown building last April, had a soft opening on November 20.  Assistant Store Manager Jacob Joly says customers are excited to have a hardware store in Kewaunee.

 

 

The Kewaunee store is one of the company’s biggest locations, occupying about 35,000 square feet.  Joly notes that the store carries home improvement, agriculture, lawn and garden maintenance, livestock, and pet care supplies.  Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Tractor Supply has nearly 2,000 stores nationwide.

COVID-19 cases continue to spike, one death reported

With health officials reporting that Wisconsin has the fourth-worst rate of COVID positivity of any state in the country, Door County Public Health’s COVID-19 data on Thursday showed a significant increase in positive tests.  Since Monday, Door County has reported 101 new cases of the 206 test results.  The number of active cases also jumped by 86 and now stands at an even 400.  Three more people were hospitalized, and one more COVID-19-related death was reported though those numbers could lag based on the information they receive from the state.

The second omicron case was confirmed in the U.S. on Thursday, as Minnesota health officials stated a resident who had traveled to New York City tested positive.  

On the vaccination front, nearly three-fourths (74.8%) of Door County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  Door County Public Health is offering second vaccine doses for COVID-19 for children 5 to 11 years old at the ADRC building by appointment from 4 until 6 pm this Friday. 

 

Door County Medical Center’s Fish Creek clinic announced pediatric COVID-19 vaccination clinics for Tuesday, December 14, and Thursday, December 16, from 4 until 6 pm.  The first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be available to kids five to 17 years old with required appointments.  The Door County Medical Center’s clinic staff will not be giving adult boosters during the Pediatric vaccination clinics.  To make an appointment for your child, call (920) 868-3511.

 

Battling slick roads while winter driving

With a couple of snowfalls in the rearview mirror and more on the way, now is the time to start taking the necessary precautionary measures before you go out and drive.

 

Monday’s snowstorm may have only dropped a couple of inches of snow, but the slick conditions may have been a factor in at least three vehicles going into ditches among other calls into Door County Dispatch. A set of snow tires could make a difference, but Randy Sahs from Sahs Auto and Collision Center says packing the right things in your car and taking it easy is something simple you can start with when winter weather hits.

A wintry mix of snow and rain is expected for Friday, but the area could also see accumulating snowfall on Sunday. Be aware that the poor weekend weather could have an impact on your morning commute on Monday.

Holiday shopping off to a strong start

You certainly were not alone the last few weekends if you decided to get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping.

 

The National Retail Federation announced this week that nearly 180 million shopped over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It exceeded its expectations by over 21 million people and falls in line with the country’s four-year average. Thanksgiving shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday purchases, which is about $10 less than last year. Sturgeon Bay storefronts were busy the last two weekends as shoppers not only celebrated Thanksgiving but also Christmas by the Bay the week before.

 

Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski from Destination Sturgeon Bay is encouraged by what they have seen so far.

You have some extra incentive to head to downtown Sturgeon Bay to shop. While the kids still have the opportunity to send Santa their wish list, adults can enter the Moo-La-La Giveaway whereby visiting local businesses they could win $1,000 in gift certificates in addition to other prizes.

 

Picture courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay

 

Voter advocacy groups lay out their recommendations for elections

Voter advocacy groups like Common Cause Wisconsin hope you can have more trust in your elections moving forward. The 2020 elections have been debated almost since the polls closed over a year ago with some arguing they were safe and secure while others claim the pandemic invited people to break the law while submitting their ballot. The Wisconsin Elections Commission approved a number of the recommendations made by a non-partisan audit of the 2020 elections during its hearing Wednesday. Some of those recommendations included issuing rules on dropbox regulations and whether or not local elections clerks can fill in missing information on absentee ballots. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says they trust the work of the commission but admit things can always be improved. He suggests automatic voter registration, risk-limiting audits, and poll worker training are some of the aspects that can be looked at.

State Republicans have suggested the WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe should step down along with many of the commissioners due to their role in the 2020 election. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has encouraged the state legislature to take over the elections from the WEC. We will carry that story including Johnson's thoughts on the matter on Saturday. 

Farm equipment forces Highway 57 closure

A combine driving off into a ditch closed a portion of Highway 57 Wednesday evening. Emergency personnel closed Highway 57 between Bagnall Road and Jacksonport’s Lakeside Park just before 4 p.m. because of the piece of farm equipment ending up in a ditch. A post from the Door County Sheriff’s Department does not describe what happened in the incident, but what appears to be one of the implement’s tires is laying in the middle of the road in the picture. No injuries were reported and State Highway 57 was reopened to traffic before 5:45 p.m. 

 

 

Congressional action not pushing Johnson towards re-election bid yet

Despite saying he is more panicked for the United States now than he was when he first ran in 2010, you will not find U.S. Senator Ron Johnson pushing for his re-election yet.

 

The Wisconsin Republican has been critical of many of the actions taken by the Biden Administration, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, and the evenly-split Senate. In a recent interview with a New York City-based radio station, he said the middle class will be taking the brunt of the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act, which includes a minimum 15 percent tax rate for corporations reporting at least $1 billion in profits, tax credits for solar panel installation, universal preschool, and the expansion of affordable home care and housing programs. Johnson says that the bill will only further increase the deficit like the recently signed infrastructure legislation, but it was not enough to commit to running for a third term quite yet.

Johnson does have over six months to file the necessary paperwork to run for re-election. Several Democrats are jockeying for their position to run against Johnson if he does decide to go for a third term. Brad Beyer, a reserve officer in the United States Army, announced in October that he would run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.

Legal sports betting in Green Bay begins

You can now put a little money on your favorite sports teams during your next visit to Green Bay. Oneida Casino accepted the state’s first legal sports bets Tuesday morning months after its gaming compact was amended earlier this year to include a sportsbook.  You will be able to make wagers on professional sports and college athletics not involving Wisconsin schools, though in the future you will be able to make bets on other events like nationally-televised award shows. Access to sports betting is still limited as you will not be able to use popular betting sites unless you want to drive a lot further than Green Bay. Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Rose Blozinski says the same principles you would use gambling at machines at local watering holes applies to sports betting.

Sports betting has been a major economic driver in states like Illinois and Michigan where it is legalized statewide. Gamblers in Illinois placed nearly $2 billion in wagers in 2020 at a time when many professional and college sports schedules were truncated due to the pandemic. 

COVID concerns close Washington Island School

Kids attending Washington Island School will not be attending classes the rest of the week after sending them home early on Wednesday due to COVID-19 concerns.

 

In a letter sent by the district to parents and then shared by the Washington Island Observer, students were dismissed at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday as a precaution for potential positive COVID-19 results within the building. The district will take the next few days to deep clean the building and add other precautions as needed. The letter states that they “want to ensure that we are doing our best to keep students and staff safe and healthy” and that “the building is being closed as a precautionary measure until we receive bonafide information regarding the status of COVID-19 results.”

 

Washington Island School went to virtual learning last school year for two weeks in January after a spike in cases in the town around the holidays. 

Northern Door YMCA hosting "Ugly Sweater Run" Saturday

You can enjoy the great outdoors and gear up for the holidays with the Door County YMCA 2021 Ugly Sweater Run this Saturday.  The 5K Fun Run & Walk will begin at the Northern Door Program Center in Fish Creek with check-in beginning about 9 am.  Healthy Living Coordinator Megan Schneider says the entry fee for the family-friendly event is $15 and includes a free T-shirt.

 

 

Schneider adds that the run/walk will officially start at 10:00 am with festivities continuing after the race with hot cocoa, music, and cookies.  You can pre-register in person at the YMCA, by mail, or online at https://buff.ly/3ktMSTU.

Recent snows keep road crews busy

Door and Kewaunee County highway and street department crews have already begun dealing with snow-covered roads in the past week.  With some areas reportedly receiving up to four inches of snow over the holiday weekend and again on Monday, drivers were facing slippery road conditions with hindered visibility.  Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy says his crews only use rock salt to keep the streets safer for travel, while highway trucks will dispense a salt brine mix.

 

 

Murphy adds that factors like temperature and the type of winter storm that is occurring, impact the number of workers sent out to clear roadways of snow and ice.  All cities of Algoma, Sturgeon Bay, and Kewaunee have ordinances in effect for no overnight parking on the streets until April 1.  Algoma started its ordinance on November 1st, while Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay began on Wednesday, December 1.       

Theft reported at Dollar Tree in Sturgeon Bay

A retail business in Sturgeon Bay was closed Tuesday morning briefly as the Sturgeon Bay Police Department investigated a theft.  The Dollar Tree located at the Cherry Point Mall in Sturgeon Bay reported to police a potential theft shortly after 8 am.   Sturgeon Bay Police Assistant Chief Dan Brinkman told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that several people were yet to be interviewed as of Wednesday morning before a formal report will be available.  He stated that “this is boiling down to a simple theft, but nonetheless, has to be investigated and cleared”.  No other information is available at this time.  

Algoma Park closed due to vandalism -- UPDATED, Park reopened

Perry Field in Algoma reopened today, earlier than expected, after being closed due to vandalism done a couple of weeks ago.  City Administrator Jared Heyn says the use of a buffing device was able to remove the graphic graffeti that was on slides in the playground area.  

 

 

 

Original story from Monday

You will have to wait at least a week to enjoy the use of Perry Field in Algoma as the city deals with vandalism that occurred recently at the park.   Vandals defaced playground equipment earlier this month and Algoma City Administrator Jared Heyn says the vandalism was graphic in nature and will require some work this week to restore the slide.   As a procedure, the city closed the park temporarily to clean up the vandalism that will present some challenges for public works crews.

 

 

Heyn says the best-case scenario will be Perry Field reopening to the public by the end of this week.  He says the Algoma Parks Department will meet on December 20 to discuss possible other solutions, if the removal of the graffiti is not possible without wrecking the slide.  No other vandalism has been reported at other city property, according to Heyn. 

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