News Archives for 2022-01

Wisconsin DOT providing better road information

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is attempting to help you by providing improved winter road condition reporting on 511wi.gov. WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said “We’re proud to find new ways to leverage technology to improve service and give the public a more clear and accurate idea of how to prepare for the drive ahead.” The 511 update revealed ties to the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS), which is the technology that the department and county highway departments use to make informed decisions about salting or plowing roads. The data sources that make up the MDSS technology include atmospheric and road weather sensors along the roadway and at airports, information from snowplows enabled with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and information from the National Weather Service. In previous years, the updates on road conditions were provided manually with personnel reporting conditions. The MDSS technology provides an expanded system and one that is capable of producing more accurate data at a better consistency. More than 14,000 miles of roadway will be updated at least twice hourly starting today. The old system was able to cover only 3,700 miles with field observations coming in every several hours.

New exhibits opening at Maritime Museum

The Door County Maritime Museum is beginning to introduce new exhibits in the Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower as they continue to get completed this winter into spring. The next floors that are opening to the public will be Shipwrecks on floor two and Navigation on floor seven. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for those floors on Friday, February 11 at 10 a.m. The next phase of floors to be completed are Life Underwater on floor three, Commerce on floor six, Shipbuilding on floor five, and People of the Water on floor eight. The final phase will include Our Rocky Peninsula on floor nine, and Recreation Boating on floor four. All of these floors will build up the anticipation for the Grand Opening event on National Maritime Day taking place on Sunday, May 22. Admission prices will remain the same during construction, however, there will be a small increase after the new exhibits are complete.

 

(Photo courtesy of Door County Maritime Museum Facebook Page)


Southern Door student receives Agricultural Grant

Southern Door junior Callie Miller received a Start-up Supervised Agricultural Experience Grant sponsored by the Andis Foundation. SAE grants are designed to help FFA members create or expand Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, which is a requirement all FFA members must complete. An SAE requires FFA members to create a business that deals specifically with agricultural aspects, work at an agricultural-related business, or conduct agricultural research. Upon completion, FFA members must submit a report regarding their experience. Miller plans to purchase a beef heifer calf, which will allow her to start her own beef herd, and allow her to fine-tune her skills as a beef entrepreneur.

Three different scam calls hit Kewaunee County

You should be on high alert from phone numbers you do not know after scammers tried three different stories to get money out of unsuspecting Kewaunee County residents on Friday. The Kewaunee County Dispatch fielded the three calls after residents recognized them as scams. One scammer posed as the Department of Security allegedly holding packages at the post office until the resident called a specific number to retrieve (the packages). A second call was a scammer trying to get money in exchange for a criminal action not taking place on their property. A third scammer posed as the person’s daughter claiming she needed money to avoid vehicular manslaughter charges.  The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department reminds residents to never provide personal information or a transaction of money. You should call your financial institution if you have any questions and contact local law enforcement if you have been targeted or made a victim of a scam.


Contested races set for several positions

While the April election date is the most important for many candidates running for public office in Door and Kewaunee counties, you will still find some local races on the ballot for the primary being held next month.

 

The field for the District 20 seat on the Door County Board will be trimmed before the April 5th election with Walter Kalms, Nate Bell, and Abby Duebler appearing on the ballot. Redistricting formed the new district, which covers parts of the Town of Liberty Grove. The League of Women Voters Door County is recording a candidate forum for the race on February 5th before releasing the video on February 7th. Dan Powers from the League of Women Voters says the candidate forums serve an important purpose, especially since this is a newly formed district. 

Gibraltar Area Schools will also have a primary for their two seats on the board up for election. Incumbent Don Heim, James Smasal, Patrick Voight, Jessica Sauter, Christina Voight, and Jeremy Schawab will be on the ballot with the top vote-getters moving on to the April 5th spring election. The board will also have to select two additional members on the board after the recent resignations of Angela Sherman and Amie Carriere. In Kewaunee County, the race for circuit court judge will have a primary. Jeffrey Wisnicky, Kimberly Hardtke, and John Peterson are all running to replace the late Judge Keith Mehn. You can read the survey answers collected by the Kewaunee County Democratic Party here. The spring primary is scheduled for February 15th.

New COVID-19 cases under 100 in Door County

Door County is continuing to see fewer new recorded cases of COVID-19 according to the public health department’s latest situation update on Monday. Of the 170 tests administered since last Thursday, 71 came back positive for COVID-19. The county has not seen numbers this low since the middle of December. One new hospitalization was reported last week, but no additional deaths were noted. The number of reported hospitalizations and deaths tends to lag locally due to the state’s reporting. Doctors are still encouraging you to mask up despite the improving numbers. Surgical masks, N95s, KN95s, and if necessary cloth masks with more than one layer are recommended against the Omicron Variant.

Door County Public Health recently announced six new vaccine clinics as well to cover the month of February. It will host a clinic at the Door County Government Center for those ages 5 and up from 12-4 p.m. every Tuesday in addition to ones held on Washington Island on February 3rd and at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station on February 10th.

Youth apprenticeship program to expand under new moniker

The kids in your community could have even more opportunities to find their dream career in the future thanks to the youth apprenticeship program that started locally.

 

Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 7 announced on Friday it would be joining forces with the Greater Green Bay Chamber and the Ahnapee Youth Apprenticeship Consortium to create the new Northeast Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship program. The current Ahnapee Youth Apprenticeship Consortium currently consists of seven schools with access to approximately 1,100 juniors and seniors. Over 300 kids are currently placed at businesses like NEW Plastics, D&S Machine Services, and the CP Center. The hope is with expansion, the roster employers will have access to approximately 10,000 interested juniors and seniors at possibly 31 high schools across northeast Wisconsin.

 

Luxemburg-Casco School District Director of Learning Services Mike Snowberry says they are proud to have a model that has worked and hopes it does the same for the entire region.

Snowberry added that the number of staff members would grow with the expansion with its youth apprenticeship coordinator Jen Johnson taking on a more active role in the entire region.

DCMM looks to set sail with Sea Scout program

For the first time in decades, you may see Sea Scouts in Sturgeon Bay.

 

The Door County Maritime Museum has approached Bay-Lakes Area Council on restarting a Sea Scout unit operating in the area. A division of the Boy Scouts of America, Sea Scouts operates on the four pillars of seamanship, scouting, social, and service. Units are organized as “ships” as they are primarily established near oceans, bays, rivers, and lakes. They participate in activities like SCUBA, boat safety and maintenance, and lifesaving.

 

The co-ed program has more than 50 million program alumni, including Door County Maritime Museum Executive Director Kevin Osgood.  During the education process, he learned that Sturgeon Bay had an active program as late as the 1980s and used to work out of the ship Utopia, which Peterson Builders built in Sturgeon Bay. With the museum’s other educational endeavors and the support being shown in the community, he hopes the Sea Scouts program will sail again.

Currently, girls and boys ages 14-20 would have to travel as far as Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Waukesha, or Wausau to participate in Sea Scouting. You can contact the Door County Maritime Museum if you would like to be a member or a leader in the program. 

 

Osgood picture courtesy of Door County Maritime Museum

Sea Scouts logo courtesy of Bay Lakes Council and Boy Scouts of America

Community Spotlight: Door County Amplify

Lachrisa Grandberry hopes you will have the opportunity to see more artists of color visiting Door County in the coming years.

 

Grandberry and fellow Northern Sky Theater writer and performer Molly Rohde joined forces one year ago to start Door County Amplify. The idea was simple: promote other artists of color that may be thinking about adding Door County to their stops for performances. As a Black woman who has performed in Door County over the last few years, Grandberry understands how hard it can be to come to a new area that is predominantly white and does not have the same background or experiences as you do. She is happy she helping other artists of color learn what she did after her first summer performing in Door County.

Through over 300 posts on their Door County Amplify Facebook page, Grandberry and Rohde amplified 101 distinct artists and 18 ensembles affiliated with 22 Door County institutions during its first year. It is a page Grandberry hopes will continue for years to come. You can listen to our full interview with Grandberry about Door County Amplify on our Podcasts page.

Putting words to paper

While you try to string five letters together on Wordle, Write On, Door County hopes you find the time to put those words together to write a story. 

 

Writing has a number of benefits whether you are just writing in your journal or trying to pen the next great American novel. Mindful Literacy Executive Director Laura Bean wrote in 2018 that creative writing can help foster a growth mindset, maintain a hopeful outlook,  and practice kindness. The University of Rochester Medical Center links journaling to being able to manage your anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. Write On, Door County Artistic Director Jerod Santek says reading and writing have proven to be an important outlet for people working through the pandemic.

The organization celebrated the virtual opening of its new campus in Juddville over a year ago, letting people come to explore its center, take courses, and hike its trails beginning last summer. 

Sturgeon Bay revises Grant Avenue extension resolution

Taking the advice of City Attorney James Kalny, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council will revise the resolution to acquire the right-of-way for Grant Avenue that was approved at the last meeting. Timothy Ruenger currently owns the property and is facing eminent domain, with the parcel needing an easement for a detention pond to deal with storm water runoff. The city is looking to connect S. Grant Avenue with Sawyer Drive to alleviate traffic on Highway 42-57, as proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. At its previous meeting, the Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission revised the Relocation Order and Declaration of Necessity resolution. The City Council will also be taking action on a recommendation to approve the water main replacement share proposal with Kwik Trip and an agreement with Foth Infrastructure and Environment, LLC for $42,500 as part of the project to restore the eastern shoreline of Bradley Lake near Sunset Park. The final piece of business the Sturgeon Bay Council will take up on Tuesday night will be the potential creation of a TID (Tax Incremental District) on Egg Harbor Road. The Plan Commission recommends the city enter into an agreement with R. W. Baird for general consulting services.
The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will meet at 6 pm at City Hall's Council Chambers on Tuesday night.

Algoma's Cochart, Washington Island's Kanipes to move on

Two more familiar faces from school districts and Door and Kewaunee counties will be leaving their posts at the end of the school year.

 

Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart is looking to move on to something new at the end of this school year. Cochart confirmed the decision via email earlier this week. He wrote that he is focused on getting the next superintendent hired in Algoma. Cochart, who became the superintendent in 2014, said that he wants Algoma to “remain the cutting-edge catalyst of innovation that has prompted so much state and national attention.”   He added there are opportunities for him to extend that work even further that he could not pass up. Cochart was a major driver of the Algoma Venture Academy and the broader Live Algoma Initiative. The coalition, which invites community members to engage in their personal wellbeing and overall health, helped Algoma earn All-America City status in 2020 and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation award winner in 2017.

 

Washington Island Principal and Director of Curriculum Michelle Kanipes is also leaving her role after being hired in 2018. Prior to her stop on the island, she served as the Dean of Students and the Athletic/Activities Director at Southern Door School District after almost 30 years with Ironwood Area Schools. According to the Washington Island Observer, Kanipes gave her resignation during a school board meeting earlier in the month as it wrestled with returning to school during a surge of COVID-19 cases. She told the Observer she was retiring but refrained from providing additional comment.

 

Kanipes and Cochart join Luxemburg-Casco School District Superintendent Glenn Schlender and Gibraltar Area Schools Superintendent Tina Van Meer in the decision to leave their administrative positions at the end of the school year.

Virtual Dementia Tours to be offered in March

You may know someone struggling with dementia, but what you might not know is what they have to go through on a daily basis. The disease is difficult to understand for those who do not deal with it personally, and tough to talk about with those that may have the disease. The virtual dementia tour is a program that is designed to allow caregivers a chance to experience what having dementia is like, to help them better understand the people they may be taking care of. One of the most important parts about treating people with dementia, according to Arial Yang of the ADRC of the Lakeshore, is making sure they do not isolate themselves from social interaction:

 

 

The virtual dementia tour will be held at St. John's Church in Luxemburg and for more information you can call the ADRC of the Lakeshore at 877-416-7083

 

(photo courtesy of kewauneeco.org)

Tower discussion draws crowd

You can still send in your comments for or against saving the Potawatomi State Park Tower after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources held their public hearing on the topic Thursday afternoon.

 

Dozens of people participated in the hearing as state officials debate whether the historic structure should be repaired, rebuilt, or torn down. The tower is on the National Register and State Register of Historic Places for the role it played in the state’s tourism history, but it has been closed to climbers since 2017. Comments in favor of saving the structure point to the historical nature of the structure and the modest price tag for repairs. One participant called ignoring and delaying repairs to the tower as a “direct attack on this community as a whole” by the DNR. Both Rep. Joel Kitchens and Senator Andre Jacque shared their thoughts during the hearing, calling out the DNR for switching its positions during the process.

REP. JOEL KITCHENS

SEN. ANDRE JACQUE

Opponents to keeping the tower say it should be accessible for all people to experience, similar to the newly rebuilt Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park. Doing something similar would cost millions as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of dollars being suggested to repair the tower. Public comment is being accepted until February 22nd.

Outdoor activities continue to increase

Over the last couple of years the COVID-19 pandemic may have forced you to stay inside or perhaps get creative with how you spent your time outdoors. In the state of Wisconsin, and more specifically Door County, people spent a lot of time boating, canoeing, kayaking, and cycling, as it was very accessible and safe given that you could be outdoors with those close to you during the safer-at-home orders issued by government officials. RV’s also contributed heavily to the amount of money made from outdoor recreation. The state saw 2.3% of its GDP in 2020 come from outdoor recreation activities according to the United States BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) data release in November of 2021. The next release with 2021’s numbers/data will be released in November of this year. 

 

(Photo courtesy of doorcountylandtrust.org)

 

Volunteer opportunity at Door County Pond Hockey Tournament

The Door County Pond Hockey tournament is once again taking place at the Sister Bay Sports Complex on February 12, 2022. Registration to play for the event is currently full, but you are able to submit an entry for a place on the waiting list. While the tournament has enough teams and players, there is an opportunity to help out behind the scenes. Positions such as score keepers are needed to help run the tournament, and while volunteers might not be compensated in terms of money, they will be given things such as food and tournament merchandise. There are various slots open to help between 8 am - 9:30 p.m.  on the day of the tournament. For further information and details you can visit doorcountypondhockey.com 

 

(photo courtesy of doorcountypondhockey.com)

 

 

City of Algoma pursuing sale of Long Term Care Unit

The Algoma Medical Center and Long Term Care Unit could be sold to a private party in 2022 to prevent the closure of the building.   A report by the Algoma Finance and Personnel Committee last August expressed concerns over the viability of the city to operate the facility over the long haul.  Despite the Long Term Care Unit operating in the black last year, City Administrator Jared Heyn says the financial outlook was bleak for this year.   The Medical Center Board had received an e-mail from the administrator last fall stating that the facility would be in a significant deficit for 2022 and that she was resigning, pending a replacement being found.  Heyn proposed to the Algoma Common Council to explore options, including selling the facility.

 

 

After listing with a real estate agent to see what the market would hold, a prospective buyer sent a “letter of intent” that is currently being considered by the Finance and Personnel Committee.  No decision has been ultimately made yet, but Heyn says that the Algoma City Council decided the preferred option is selling the Long Term Care Unit to another entity to keep it open rather than closing the facility because of the deficit.  No deadline has been set, but discussions with the prospective buyer will continue.  Heyn noted that the influx of COVID relief funds from the government has provided a significant cushion in the short term, but eventually, that funding will go away and a decision will have to be made.  The Algoma Long Term Care facility has 42 beds and provides skilled nursing and rehabilitative care.   

Tax season under way

With W-2 forms and other essential forms coming your way, it may be time to get a jump on your taxes. 

 

The Internal Revenue Service began accepting individual tax returns on January 24th, but they are already warning filers about refund delays due to a work backlog and limited staffing. Families who received an advance on their Child Tax Credit or received a third stimulus check will also need to ensure they have the proper letters from the IRS. Letters 6419 (Child Tax Credit) and 6475 (Third Stimulus Check) will have the information needed to make sure your return is accurate.

 

The IRS also recommends taxpayers use e-file and direct deposit to avoid delays. After being pushed back to May last year due to the pandemic, you have until April 18th to file your taxes this year. You can see more tips from the IRS on how to properly file your taxes here.

Kewaunee County active cases drop, one death

Despite 176 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 47, a decrease of 66 cases.  Hospitalizations went down from three to one this week, according to Kewaunee County Public Health.  One new death was reported and just over half (50.6%) 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.

 

Jenkins chooses to leave DCEDC earlier than planned

The Door County Economic Development Corporation will have to find a new leader sooner than originally planned. Steve Jenkins resigned his position as executive director this past Wednesday, after originally planning to have June 3 be his last day on the job. On Friday, Jenkins confirmed to DoorCountyDailyNews.com that he had resigned on Wednesday but had no comment on why he decided to leave earlier than expected.  The DCEDC Board of Directors accepted Jenkins' resignation on January 17 and thanked him for his significant contributions to the community and strengthening the DCEDC's mission. During his tenure at the DCEDC that began in March of 20220, Jenkins served as a board member for the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Destination Sturgeon Bay, Destination Door County, and participated in numerous committees and task forces throughout Door County. Jenkins says he is not retiring and still plans to stay and work in Door County.  DCEDC Board Chair Ann Renard released a statement on Friday afternoon that is posted below.

 

The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) was founded in 1989 with the goal to improve the economic conditions and quality of life in the County.  Our mission today remains very true to this core as we face different challenges on issues like COVID, housing, childcare, workforce development and broadband. 

 

To put the organization in the best position to address these issues, DCEDC has worked with Steve Jenkins to expedite the transition to a new Executive Director.  While the search for a new leader is ongoing, the Board of Directors will work closely with the DCEDC staff so we can maintain the momentum on our projects that impact the community.

 

DCEDC Board President, Ann Renard stated “We thank Steve for his accomplishments and vision he brought to the position, especially during the pandemic.   We will now focus on finding the next Executive Director who can take our primary initiatives to the next level and continue our strong community partnerships.  We are blessed to have talented and dedicated staff and we are excited to work closely with them to help with the transition.”

Sturgeon Bay bands prepping for Disney show

The Sturgeon Bay middle school and high school bands will be teaming up for a concert that contains your favorite songs from Disney shows and movies to celebrate the band being selected to play at Disney in March. This event will provide fun for the entire family, and the funds raised from the concert will benefit the bands’ extracurricular activities. Band Director at Sturgeon Bay Heidi Hintz shares some details about what songs you might hear at the concert:

 

 

The concert is scheduled for February 26 at 4 p.m. in the Sturgeon Bay High School Gymnasium.

 

(Photo courtesy of longmontleader.com)

 

Wine Fest making 2022 return

You will once again be able to enjoy one of Door County’s famous summer events, as Wine Fest has announced a return for the summer of 2022. After two years of not having an event due to staffing shortages at the wineries and COVID-19 concerns, the event is set to return  but will look a little different this time around. The festival used to take place at Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay, but this year's event will be held in Baileys Harbor at Maxwelton Braes on Saturday, June 25th. You can check for updates at doorcountywinefest.com.

Governor proposes $150 payment to Wisconsin residents

You could have an extra $150 in your pocket if Governor Tony Evers has his way with the budget surplus. The suggestion was born out of the news that Wisconsin’s state budget projections grew by $2.9 billion more than what was expected. Higher-than-expected tax collections led the charge for the surplus, which could be saved or spent for the coming months. Both Governor Tony Evers and the Republican-held Wisconsin Legislature took credit for the surplus earlier this week, offering their own plans for what to do with it. While Governor Evers would like to see $750 million sent to K-12 schools and $150 for every man, woman, and child, Republicans have said they would rather see that money used for a future tax cut after the fall election. Former Governor Scott Walker did something similar when he ran for re-election in 2018, offering a $100 to parents for each dependent child. Democrats attacked Walker on the proposal at the time, likening it to a bribe. State Rep. Joel Kitchens says both instances could be called political ploys while he would rather keep an eye on future budgets with the money in hand.

State Senator Andre Jacque is open to the conversation but would like to see a grander vision for what could be possible with the surplus dollars, especially since Governor Evers has federal money at his disposal.

Governor Evers’ plan would have to be approved by the Wisconsin Legislature before the $150 checks get sent out. Both Jacque and Kitchens had legislation regarding law enforcement pass their respective chambers this week. You can listen to their thoughts on those below.

 

JOEL KITCHENS

 

ANDRE JACQUE

 

Door County wired for broadband administrator

The future of your internet in Door County will be in the hands of a broadband administrator in the coming months. The Door County Board is moving forward with adding the position after it approved using American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fund it. Of the $1 million allocated for broadband support over the next three years, between $112,000 and $117,000 is earmarked for paying the new administrator. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says it is important to get this person in place as soon as possible because of the complexity and the importance of the project.

The board discussed a total of nine projects requesting over $4 million in ARPA funds during its Tuesday meeting. Pabich said that choosing a broadband administrator was the only urgent decision needed out of the discussions. The other projects will be vetted further at the committee level before returning to the full county board for more discussion.

Nine earn Teachers of Distinction recognition

Nine teachers in Kewaunee County are being recognized for the positive impact they have had in your community by the Greater Green Bay Chamber.

 

Ryan Deprey of Kewaunee Lake Shore Alternative School, Clarissa Louis of Algoma School District, Lauren Schumacher and the entire English Language Learning team (Laura Hooker, Jodi Kinnard, Nicole Marinin, Karen Tineo, Crystal Trejo) of Luxemburg-Casco School District, and Cassandra Pelnar of St. Mary’s School in Luxemburg were all named 2022 Teachers of Distinction in the first round of the Golden Apple Awards. The 29th annual showcase presented by the Greater Green Bay Chamber honors area teachers for making a big impact on students, parents, and community members.  

 

Over 70 Kewaunee County school teachers and two teacher teams were nominated for Golden Apple Awards. Golden Apple recipients will be announced on April 20th.

 

See the full list of Teachers of Distinction here

See the full list of nominees here

Gas prices continuing to rise

Fuel costs are one of the many things that have seen a price increase in the early part of 2022. Currently gas locally is $3.09 per gallon. As we near the beginning of February, you can compare that number to that of last year and see that gas was about $2.40 per gallon. The reason gas prices have been inching up is due to the Russia and Ukraine issue surrounding crude oil. For the time being, oil will likely stay at around $80 per barrel. If the situation between those two countries goes south, we could be looking at an even more significant rise in gas prices. Nationally, the average price of gas per gallon has risen almost 2 cents per gallon, for an average of $3.32 per gallon.

Housing prices going through the roof

COVID-19 has increased the value of many homes, and yours may be one of them. Due to the pandemic, many potential buyers feared losing out on a home, thus were willing to spend a little more to ensure they got what they desired. Between October of 2020 and October of 2021, the average price of an American household went up 18%, which according to CoreLogic’s Home Price Index, which has been one of the leaders in the U.S. housing market for 45 years, is the biggest increase in that time span. Door County saw a $230 million increase in home sales from 2020 to 2021. According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the selling amount of a residential home was roughly $220,000 about three years ago. That number increased by $59,000 in 2020, and increased by $115,000 in 2021. There are a lot of directions that the 2022 market could go, but the market is expected to stay relatively as strong as it has been.

 

(Photo courtesy of mortgagefinancegazette.com)

Door County Humane Society set to reopen for adoption services

The Wisconsin Humane Society Door County Campus is reopening for adoption services again on Saturday, after temporarily pausing adoption services due to the staffing issues caused by COVID-19. While the adoption services have not been happening, the Humane Society has been making a difference in terms of helping animals with ringworm infection. Of all the campuses within the Wisconsin Humane Society, the Door County Campus treats the most animals with ringworm. This year specifically, the Door County Campus has treated roughly 100 animals with the infection with 20 of those animals being Cats and kittens. They have now cured 14 of the felines of the infection, and will be transferring them to other campuses in the state of Wisconsin in hopes of getting them adopted. Cats are not the only animals that have been treated by the campus, as they have also treated Dogs and Guinea Pigs for the infection.

Kewaunee County Highway Department pitches future facility improvements

Kewaunee County Highway Department pitches facility improvements

You could soon see lots of improvements taking place near the intersection of County Highways C and F in the City of Kewaunee. The Kewaunee Board of Supervisors unanimously approved efforts by community members to raise funds to build an all-inclusive playground at Bruemmer Park. In addition to private donations being sought by the Bruemmer Park Inclusive Playground Group, Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt said they would be seeking grants to help build the playground and set up an endowment for the project moving forward.

More questions were asked of Kewaunee County Highway Commissioner Todd Every, who pushed for improvements to be made at its main highway shop across the street from Bruemmer Park. Every pointed out the age and size of the 1930s-era facility as the reason for the upgrades. The county spent approximately $28,000 for a pair of studies to look into what improvements are needed. A complete overhaul of the facility, which would include the replacement of several buildings, carries a price tag of $26 million. A phased-in approach, which would tackle the essential projects first, would be about $10.5 million. Supervisors questioned the cost of the upgrades as they have a decision about a new public safety building lurking in the future. Every and Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt said not enough was done to maintain the building.

The department’s other facilities in Algoma, Stangelville, and on Hillside Road near Casco were not considered in the study, but Every says improvements have been made at those sites over the years and are in good shape. The agenda item concerning the highway department upgrades was informational only, so no action was taken. Chairperson Dan Olson asked the county’s highway committee to work with Every to work on specifics.

Video and picture courtesy of Kewaunee County

COVID cases tumble again locally

Door County’s COVID-19 numbers are the lowest they have been in several weeks as the state tries to get past the surge brought on by the Omicron variant. Out of 199 tests performed since Monday, 105 came back positive for COVID-19. Outside of the two holiday weekends,  it was the lowest number of new positives reported by the county in their twice-a-week situation update since the middle of December.  One new hospitalization was added, but no additional deaths were recorded. Deaths and hospitalizations happening locally tend to lag based on the state’s reporting.

 

During a Mayo Clinic press briefing held on Wednesday, data scientist David Sorlie said Wisconsin is over the hump when it comes to the surge that led to the highest number of infections the state has seen since the beginning of the pandemic. The seven-day average of new cases has slipped to 9,012, more than half of what it was just under a week ago.

 

Door County Public Health announced six new vaccine clinics as well to cover the month of February. It will host a clinic at the Door County Government Center for those ages 5 and up from 12-4 p.m. every Tuesday in addition to ones held on Washington Island on February 3rd and at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station on February 10th.

 

Tests Performed: 27,299 (+199)
Positive: 6,287 (+105)
Negative: 20,663 (+87)
Probable: 349 (+7)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 214 (+1)
Death: 44 

 

 

Crossroads prepares for trail closures

You will have to re-route some of your hikes through Crossroads at Big Creek this spring. Work has already begun preparing for the removal of the nearly 25-year-old Cedar Crossing Bridge and the North Bridge, which included removing the boardwalk in some spots. The trail itself will be closed on short sections of the Creek and Forest Trails through the property. Crossroads at Big Creek Executive Director Laurel Hauser says the new bridges will not only be safer for their visitors but also help protect the wetland areas along the creek.

The organization spent close to a year fundraising for the project. Pending weather conditions, the majority of the six miles of trails on the property will remain open for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and kicksledding. 

Tower's last stand

Members of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society hope you take the opportunity to make your voice heard on Thursday regarding the future of the Potawatomi State Park Tower. 

 

Built in 1931, the tower was originally built as a way to promote economic development in the since-annexed village of Sawyer. It was closed in 2017 due to decay and wood rot creating unsafe conditions for visitors to the tower. Efforts by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society bought the society time as they brought in Dr. Dan Tingley from Wood Research and Development to survey the tower and determine if it could be saved. The tower has also since been included on the State Register of Historic Places and the National Registry.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has swayed back and forth on whether they should demolish the structure or make the necessary improvements to make it safe. 

 

Because of its historic designations, Rep. Joel Kitchens has argued the DNR is legally obligated to submit a plan for its long-term preservation. He submitted a bill in September that would have directed $750,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to be used for repairs to the tower.  Sturgeon Bay residents Paul Anschutz, Christi Weber, and Kelly Catarozoli spoke in favor of saving the tower in from the Assembly Committee on Tourism in November. Catarozoli, who is a member of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, wishes she knew what is taking the DNR so long to make a final decision.

The virtual meeting will take place Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. where you provide verbal comments. You can also submit a written statement to the DNR by February 22nd.

 

Click the link to register for the virtual meeting, visit this site to submit a comment, or send correspondence to:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

C/O Missy VanLanduyt

101 S Webster St. P.O. Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707

Email: melissa.vanlanduyt@wisconsin.gov

 

 

 

Sturgeon Bay Schools to honor retired principal with auditorium

Sturgeon Bay School District is looking to improve its auditorium in the coming year and hopes you help support the efforts in honor of a beloved principal. Auditorium upgrades including new seating and flooring, new lighting and sound systems, and improved storage and dressing room spaces were not included in the $16.84 million referenda approved by the city’s voters.

 

One person who advocated for the improvements was retired high school principal Bob Nickel. A talented musician himself, Nickel was among the first to help out as an accompanist for performances at the high school during his 15-year tenure. Shortly after his retirement, Nickel was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says it was shortly after that they began talking to the Nickel family about how to best honor his legacy at school as a constant supporter of the arts.

The district is taking donations for the project that will bear Nickel’s name upon completion and a performing arts scholarship in his honor. We have information on how you can support the cause below:

 

Donations for the SBHS Auditorium Project may be dropped off or mailed to 1230 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 or at a Nicolet Bank location. A school district activity account has also been established in Bob’s honor for this project.

 

For more information please contact our District Office at 920-746-2800.

 

Heyn set to leave Algoma administrator position

For the second time in two years, the City of Algoma will be searching for a new administrator.

 

Current administrator Jared Heyn recently submitted his letter of resignation to city officials effective April 1st. He is leaving his post to become an assistant administrator in the City of Waunakee, which is located north of Madison. Algoma Mayor Wayne Schmidt says Heyn did a great job in a short time as he dealt with the learning curve of being a city administrator.

Schmidt will talk to the city council to see if they will hire a firm to search for a candidate or if they will advertise it on their own. Heyn will continue to stay on until April 1st as the city works with a realtor to sell the Algoma Long Term Care Unit and hopes to pass a referendum to build a new public safety facility. 

Packerland Conference Math Meet results – Sturgeon Bay leads the way

Packerland Conference Math Meet results – Sturgeon Bay leads the way

 

The Packerland Conference Math Meet held their third contest this year on Monday evening, with Sturgeon Bay leading the way. The Clipper math team scored 271 points, while Southern Door finished second with 227 points. Sturgeon Bay junior Christy Braun had the high score of the meet with a 38 out of a possible 40 points. This week’s meet was held at individual schools  rather than one location. Complete results from all schools and the current standings are posted below, courtesy of Cliff Wind. 


 

Seniors

Place

Name

School

Score

 

1

Stephens, Maggie

STURGEON BAY

33

 

2

Kielpikowski, Jessica

KEWAUNEE

32

 

3

Holmgren Grace

OCONTO

30

 

4

Ellis, Elijah

NEW

30

 

5

Ash, Makayla

STURGEON BAY

29




 

Juniors


1

Braun, Christy

STURGEON BAY

38

 

2

Nell, Luke

NEW

30

 

3

Walker, Espen

STURGEON BAY

29

 

4

Serafico, Scarlet

STURGEON BAY

28

 

5

Zittlow, Matthew

SOUTHERN DOOR

27



Sophomores


tie 1

Ezra Linnan

SEVASTOPOL

34

 

Zittlow, James

SOUTHERN DOOR

34

 

3

Stephens, Ben

STURGEON BAY

30

 

4

Tomberlin, Jade

STURGEON BAY

27

 

5

Nachtwey, Josh

SOUTHERN DOOR

24

 

Freshman


1

Selle, Luke

STURGEON BAY

31

 

2

Wienke, Tre

STURGEON BAY

19

 

3

Michalski, Julia

STURGEON BAY

19

 

Tie 4

Logan Filar

SEVASTOPOL

19

 

Grota, Ben

SOUTHERN DOOR

19



Varsity Teams


1. STURGEON BAY -- 271

 

2. SOUTHERN DOOR -- 227

 

3. SEVASTOPOL -- 219

 

4. OCONTO -- 210

 

5. KEWAUNEE -- 173

 

6. NEW -- 162

 

7. GIBRALTAR -- 144

 

8. ALGOMA -- 111




 

JV Teams

(10 total teams)


1

STURGEON BAY

#2

190

 

2

SEVASTOPOL

#2

104

 

3

STURGEON BAY

#3

97




Varsity Standings

 

League points after 3 meets

 

1. STURGEON BAY -- 60

 

2. SEVASTOPOL -- 52

 

3. OCONTO -- 46

 

4. KEWAUNEE -- 40

 

5. SOUTHERN DOOR -- 38

 

6. NEW -- 32

 

7. GIBRALTAR -- 26

 

8. ALGOMA -- 18

 



JV Standings

(10 total teams)

 

League Points

1

STURGEON BAY

#2

90

 

2

STURGEON BAY

#3

82

 

3

SEVASTOPOL

#2

78




 

Were you the lucky winner in the lottery?

You might be holding a winning lottery ticket if you bought it in Door County last weekend, as a Powerball winning ticket was sold in Sturgeon Bay. The player added “Power Play” to their Powerball lottery ticket and ended up winning the $100,000 prize. The winning ticket was purchased at Tadych’s Econo Foods in Sturgeon Bay and the winner was selected in the drawing that took place on Saturday, January 22 2022. This comes after the news that a Green Bay store sold a $316 million winning ticket in a Powerball drawing earlier this month. According to Powerball’s website, tickets generally expire anywhere from 90 days after the drawing to one year after the drawing. The expiration date is typically found on the back of the ticket, and if it is not listed, Powerball encourages the winner to contact his or her local lottery for clarification. The Powerball drawings are held three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with the next one taking place Wednesday, January 26th at 10:00 p.m.

 

(Photo courtesy of delawareonline.com)

Door County YMCA doing well with aquatic programs

The Door County YMCA is once again seeing their aquatic program offerings fill up quickly. This year they currently have 140 kids enrolled in their swim lessons. The Dolphin Club program, which serves as the bridge between swim lessons and the swim team is currently full. Director of Competitive Swimming at the Door County YMCA Mike McHugh says that the Dolphin Club has done very well in keeping kids involved in swimming even though they may not be able to swim in meets quite yet. The YMCA also offers aquatic programs for adults that primarily focus on hip movements and improving hip motion. McHugh also says that they have a variety of programs with different characteristics and intensities to help offer individuals what they are looking for.

 

 

If you are a YMCA member a number of classes are offered free of charge, and anyone in the general public is welcome to participate as a guest but will have to pay a fee. 

 

For the entire conversation with Mike McHugh, head over to the “Podcasts” tab on doorcountydailynews.com and it will be under the “Y Wednesdays” category.

 

Door and Kewaunee County cancellations for Wednesday

Due to the cold temperatures and wind chills some schools and organizations have cancelled activities for Wednesday. For a full list of cancellations and postponements click on the "cancellations" page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com. 

 

(Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com)

"Rekindle Campaign" brightens Northern Sky Theater's future

Northern Sky Theater announced the raising of nearly $2 million in just over a year to ensure the upcoming 2022 season.  The organization that performs at Peninsula State Park and the new Gould Theater in Fish Creek began the Rekindle Campaign after the pandemic entirely scuttled their dreams of an in-person season in 2020.  Northern Sky Theater Director of Developments and Public Relations Holly Feldman says they are thrilled and thankful for the incredible generosity that supporters have given.  She says the entire 2021 season was amazingly successful on several fronts.

 

 

The Rekindle Campaign raised 1.85 million dollars, surpassing the goal of $1.75 million by over $100,000.

 

(picture courtesy of Northern Sky Theater)

Third Avenue Playworks adjusting February events

Third Avenue Playworks has announced that for the health and safety of the community, staff, and actors, they are making the decision to adjust some of their play reading series events. The announcement comes in support of the Door County Reads committee and library who  recently made the decision to move all of the Door County Reads events to a virtual platform. DAIRYLAND by Heidi Armbruster on Friday, February 4th at 7 p.m. will now be moving to a virtual platform, they have cancelled BETRAYAL by Harold Pinter that was scheduled for February 5th, MRS HARRISON by R Eric Thomas on Saturday, February 19th at 7 p.m. will be virtual, and THE LAST MATCH by Anna Ziegler on Sunday, February 20th at 7 p.m. will also be virtual. You can register online to watch their play readings for the scheduled dates and times above. 

 

Stay tuned to the Door County Daily News and Third Avenue Playworks Facebook page and website, as they are expecting to make an announcement regarding their season events sometime in the next month.

Gibraltar K-12 to take the rest of the week off, Sevastopol closes Wednesday

Gibraltar students will have the rest of the week off as cases rise within the school district, while Sevastopol schools are closed due to the exteme cold Wednesday.

 

The Gibraltar School District cited the staffing shortages due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases as the reason for the closing of the school. As of last Friday, the district had 15 staff members and 88 students out because of positive tests or contact tracing protocols. The elementary school had been participating in virtual learning this last week due to COVID-19 issues. Only 27% of the elementary school is vaccinated, and the district says that makes them more vulnerable to infection. The students in the elementary school were required to be masked, while it was optional with parental permission for those in grades 7-12 in the secondary school.

 

The district already had a planned day off on January 26th for a teacher in-service. The district says it hopes to return to in-person learning on Monday January 31st. 

 

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the district was going to virtual learning. That has been fixed above and we apologize for the error.

 

The letter from the district superintendent Tina Van Meer can be found below:

 

Good Morning,

I am writing to let our school community know that the Board of Education formally approved closing school this Thursday, January 27th and Friday, January 28th. As you are aware from the previous communication last Friday, the District has been experiencing staffing shortages and increasing numbers of COVID-19 positive students and staff. As of last Friday, the District had 15 staff and 88 students out either testing positive, isolating pending test results or in quarantine as close contacts. The elementary has been significantly impacted this past two weeks. With only 27.4% of children ages 5-11 vaccinated, this population of students remains more vulnerable to contracting and spreading the virus. In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 and maintain the staffing necessary to continue teaching and learning, the elementary school transitioned to virtual learning for January 24th & 25th. There is no school on Wednesday, January 26th because of a scheduled professional development day for staff. Following the Board's decision on Monday night, Gibraltar Area School District will not have school on January 27th or 28th for K-12 students. The decision was made to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the District and also provide a mental health boost to our students and employees. The District will resume in-person teaching and learning for all K-12 students beginning Monday, January 31st. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this public health crisis. Please contact the District or your building principal if you have questions regarding the information contained in this message.

Sincerely,

Tina Van Meer

 

 

 

Door County man sentenced on child porn charges

A Door County man will spend the next 13 years behind bars for having pornographic images of children on his cellphone.

 

United States Attorney Richard G. Frohling of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced Tuesday that Christopher J. Kone of Sturgeon Bay was sentenced to 156 months of prison for two counts of possession of child pornography. The charges stemmed from a four-month joint human trafficking investigation between the Door County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. The case itself was brought as a part of Project Safe Childhood, which has partnered with federal, state, and local agencies to combat sexual exploitation and abuse among children. Kone pled guilty to two counts of child pornography after the investigation uncovered several pornographic images of a kid on his cell phone. He was indicted earlier this month for child pornography production charges which carried an even harsher penalty.

 

U.S. District Judge William C Griesbach also noted a sexual assault and attempted trafficking of a minor when announcing the sentence. Kone will also have to serve seven years of supervised release and register as a sex offender after he leaves prison.

Town ponders future of Gills Rock home

A house is standing between you and the further development of Mariners Park in the Town of Liberty Grove. The town sold the home formerly owned by Betty Weborg to Stefanie Burke last year for $1,000, giving her until the end of 2021 to move the home. It is estimated to cost $20,000 to move the home to a new location. By removing the home, the town will be able to determine whether some of the other buildings on the property should be saved or demolished. The house was still standing on the property as of Tuesday and Liberty Grove Town Chairperson John Lowry says it is time for the board to determine the next steps.

 

 

By removing the house and the two adjacent buildings, Lowry says work could begin to install walking paths and park benches on the property. It would mark the most significant progress made on land since the town purchased the Gills Rock parcels in 2018 approximately $1.5 million. The issue is expected to be discussed at their next meeting scheduled for  February 2nd. 

 

Picture from Realtor.com posting from last year

 

Headline previously read Ellison Bay home. This change has been made to Gills Rock. We apologize for this error.

Data shows jail shortcomings

You would have been in tight quarters if you were booked by the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. The state’s oldest and smallest jail averaged over 29 people a day, which is approximately seven people over the building’s capacity. Staffed by 14 deputies, 628 people spent an average of 12 days in the jail, whether it be for non-custody and presentence bookings, warrant pick-ups, or probation holds. When they really push their limits, individuals are sent to other county facilities. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says the facility has its limitations when it is that full.

He credits Jail Administrator Lt. Chris VanErem and the rest of the staff for keeping everything under control, especially with new protocols due to COVID-19. You can read the rest of his thoughts below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI
 In this week’s article I would like to continue my yearend report by sharing some information and data in regards to our Jail facility. The current Kewaunee County Jail was built in 1968. It has a housing capacity of 22 with three short term holding cells which brings the total to 25. By law a county jail is intended to hold sentenced individuals for up to one year. Any sentences beyond one year are remanded to a state correctional facility. While we do hold the title of the oldest and smallest jail in the State of Wisconsin, I am deeply grateful to the County Board and the community in general for the support which has been provided in regards to the planning and ultimate updating of our facility. I will keep providing updates on that planning process in upcoming articles as that process continues.

         

The Jail is staffed by 14 Deputies, who carry out the various duties which are set forth by state statute, federal law, as well as department policy. These men and women are also tasked with the duties of Dispatcher which is very unique in the State of Wisconsin. I believe that there are only a handful of Departments which are still configured in this manner and it speaks volumes as to the professionalism and competence of these men and women. In these past few years of COVID-19 their commitment has been tested as in no other year. We have taken numerous steps to minimize exposure to both them as well as the inmates in our care. This has meant modifying schedules, restricting access, and a constant regiment of cleaning and disinfecting. We will be all be glad to get beyond this current reality and return to operations as usual.

          

 Every person arrested in Kewaunee County is processed through our jail and the following are some of the most common criteria for bookings so far in 2021 which stand at 628

         

The first is that we call non- custody bookings. These are bookings that occur when the individual is not physically arrested. This may be in the case where the offense was not immediately reported, and it is through investigations that the probable cause for an arrest summons was completed. It could also be where we are not able to locate the suspect at the time of the event, and we are able to send charges up to the District Attorney’s Office for his consideration. These bookings account for 309 of the total bookings.

          

The next most frequent category is pre-sentence bookings at 132. These are bookings which are for those who are currently awaiting the completion of their court process but do not meet bail criteria. These can be some of our lengthiest stays as the legal process itself is complex and lengthy at times.

          

 In third place we have a tie between warrant pickups and probation holds. These two are actually quite similar as they are the result of a failure to comply with either a court order in the case of warrants or probation rules in the case of Community Corrections. These tend to be our shortest stays. But account for a great deal of the total bookings. If you have found yourself within the courts system it is vital that you understand and comply with the various courts dates as well as requirements so as to avoid being one the unfortunate within this category. The same is true for probation clients. Many of those on probation forget that this is a privilege and an alternative to incarceration which brings with it many rules. It is incumbent on the individual to know and comply with these rules to avoid a return visit to jail or in some cases a state correctional facility.

       

So many ask what our daily population is here in Kewaunee County. Since the beginning of the pandemic, much of our criminal justice system has incorporated processes to limit the spread and as a result many court cases along with sentencing had been postponed, thus impacting our daily population and extending some stays beyond the traditional time period. As I stated earlier, our maximum capacity is 22 and for 2021 our daily population average was 29.22 with males representing 24.17 and females 5.05 throughout the year. The average stay is approx. 12 days with the shortest stay at approx. 1 hour and the longest stay at 365 days.

       

To meet the daily overcrowding in our facility we make use of two primary resources; out of county facilities, primarily Door County, and the use of electronic monitoring. For the most part those who we send to Door County are the female inmates which take pressure off of our scheduling requirements to have both male and female staffing when we have females in our facility. Electronic monitoring is utilized for those who have been granted work release by the courts and meet the many requirements we have to guarantee compliance in return for this privilege. I want to acknowledge Lt. Chris VanErem our Jail Administrator for the amazing work that he and his staff do on a daily basis to balance the constant demands of the inmates, the courts, and the many regulations with the limited resources both in budget and facility.

         

Along with the duties of Jailer and Dispatcher, these men and women also facilitate all of the transports which are required not only locally but many times across the state to bring inmates to Kewaunee County for court as well as monitoring the Huber Program (Work Release) and Court Security. These men and women give multi tasking a whole new dimension and we are fortunate to have them serving in these roles to keep our community safe. Contrary to some beliefs, these Deputies are Law Enforcement Officers just as their counterparts in Patrol and Investigations and are a vital component of the Criminal Justice System. Next week I will share some information from 2021 as it relates to our Patrol Division.

Hardy Gallery looking for artists for 2022 Mosaic Project

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Hardy Gallery’s Mosaic Project and they are currently looking for artists to contribute work to their 2022 project. The Gallery is seeking submissions of original artwork from the community, individuals, artists, students, and art enthusiasts. Past entries have included photography, 3-D art, sculptural work, paintings, and writings. All artworks should fit on a 6x6 canvas with minimal installation difficulty and a statement from the artist. Participants are limited to one canvas entry. Free canvases are being offered at the Artist Guild in Sturgeon Bay and are due by June 26. The project will be on display at the Hardy Gallery in Ephraim starting on July 16 running through August 28, 2022. 

 

(Photo courtesy of the Hardy Gallery Facebook Page)

Maritime Speaker Series wants your involvement

The Door County Maritime Museum Speaker Series offers a variety of monthly programs ranging from historical topics to current issues affecting the Great Lakes and the surrounding economy. To date, some of the topics that have been discussed are the 150th Anniversary of the Peshtigo Fire, Wisconsin Shipwrecks, The French and Native People of the Door Peninsula in the 17th Century, and the Legend of Deaths’ Door.  The Door County Medical Center Maritime Speaker Series programs are held on the first Thursday of every month through May beginning at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Museum in Sturgeon Bay, as well as online with no cost to attend. The next segment of the series is taking place on February 3rd and will be online only. The presentation will be with Dr. Victoria Brehm and will provide the opportunity to engage in discussions about historical women around the Great Lakes.

 

(Photo courtesy of Door County Maritime Museum Facebook Page)

DMV making it easier for you to vote this spring

The Wisconsin DMV is offering services that aim to help people obtain identification that will make them eligible to vote. The department is urging those that may require this identification to start the process now, so that they will be able to vote in the Wisconsin 2022 Spring Primary on February 15. Valid identification for voting purposes includes a drivers license, identification card, and a military or student ID card. To obtain the necessary identification for the polls, you can begin by visiting this link wisconsindmv.gov/idcards . If the required documents are not readily available the DMV has a process called the Voter ID Petition Process to obtain the information needed. This process is free of charge, and will provide you with a receipt to show at the polls stating that the necessary documents have been requested. 


Anyone with questions related to obtaining an ID to vote should call the DMV’s toll-free Voter ID hotline at (844) 588-1069, or direct questions regarding voter eligibility, poll locations, voter registration information or other election information to the Wisconsin Elections Commission at elections.wi.gov 

Boys and Girls Club of Door County welcomes Blumreich as new CEO

You will soon meet a new face leading the Boys and Girls Club of Door County. The organization announced on Monday that it has named Eric Blumreich as its new Chief Executive Officer. He comes to Door County after a five-year stint at St. Norbert College as a development officer and 10 years as a camp director for the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Green Bay. Blumreich believes his role with the Boys and Girls Club of Door County is a great blend of his two previous positions.


Blumreich, who has a wife and two daughters, is certainly not a stranger to other youth-focused organizations. He also has experience working with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), International Youth Sailing of Oshkosh, and PALS (what is PALS?) as a mentor and board member. He replaces John McMahon, who stepped down nine months into the role last summer.

New COVID-positive cases beginning to shrink

More people are testing positive for COVID-19 in Door County, but it is trending downward.

 

Out of the 323 tests performed since last Thursday, 105 came back positive with another four noted as probable. That is the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases reported by the county since January 6th when 198 people tested positive. No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported, though those numbers tend to lag based on the state’s reporting. The state offered similar good news on Friday, reporting the fewest number of new positive cases in two weeks and noted a sharp decline in additional hospitalizations.

 

Door County Public Health will have vaccine clinics on January 25th (Door County ADRC for kids ages 5-11 from 3-5:30 p.m. ) and January 27th (Door County Government Center for those 12 and over from 12-4 p.m.) in Sturgeon Bay by appointment only. 

Shipping season comes to a close in Bay of Green Bay

Ice anglers will have one less worry when fishing on the Bay of Green Bay.

 

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan Captain of the Port announced over the weekend that the southern waters of the Bay of the Green Bay would be closed to shipping until further notice beginning at noon on Monday. The closure covers all of the waters southwest between Peshtigo Harbor and Door County’s Sherwood Point. The last ship left the Port of Green Bay early Monday morning.

 

While this means you may not see ice cutters and steamships plowing through the ice, you still need to practice some caution. Two people and their dogs had to be rescued near Point au Sable on Saturday when their SnoBear ice machine broke through the ice. According to the USA Today Wisconsin Network, the Brown County Sheriff’s Department and the New Franken Fire Department were able to rescue them without injuries.

 

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard

Door County Ice Shoves arriving earlier than usual

Every winter, Lake Michigan provides an unbelievable art-like exhibit that forms 300 miles of ice along the shore line of Door County. The ice not only looks incredible, but it actually makes sounds that range in volume each day depending on the thickness of the ice and the strength of wind combined with wind direction. Although the sounds are usually muffled by the woods, you can hear waves below the ice as well as the crashing of glass like ice washing back out. Some Ice Shoves were seen locally this past week near Peninsula Park which is rare for this time of year, as they don’t typically form until early spring (mid to late - March). It can be seen as a unique winter tourism draw, proving Door County is a year round destination. 

 

(Photo courtesy of betterphoto.com)

Community Spotlight: You

Whether it is $1 or $10,000, your generosity is being felt in the area.

 

The Door County Community Foundation raised over $15 million in 2021. It was the first time the organization hit that benchmark in its history. The foundation supports hundreds of charities and non-profits in Door County including those supporting the arts, business associations, churches, civic groups, service clubs, and more. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says while he is proud of reaching the mark, he is thrilled that people continue to give back to the community they love.

Nationally, Schwab Charitable saw a 20 percent uptick in dollars given in 2021 compared to 2020. According to Barron’s magazine, grants totaled $4.4 billion, benefitting 114,000 charities through 945,000 grants. 

 

Listen to the full interview

Time to lace up your skates at Dana Farm Ice Rink in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Promotions & Recreation Department announced on Friday that the Dana Farm Ice Rink is now open for its second season. The outdoor rink which is located by Winter Park is lighted, free to use for everyone, and has public restrooms available for use in the building. Skaters must bring their own skates as there will not be any provided at the building. Kewaunee County Promotions & Recreation Director Dave Myers says that the County does groom it occasionally but there may be some rough spots depending on weather conditions and encourages those who use it to have fun

 

 

Skating is allowed at the Dana Farm property seven days a week from the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. as long as the ice is in good condition and the temperatures are able to keep the ice frozen.

 

Door County Reads kicks off this week

It is time for you to finish your copies of “Population 485” and “Truck, A Love Story.” 

 

The 2022 season of Door County Reads kicks off Thursday with a virtual book discussion of “Truck, A Love Story,” which is about a man struggling with a number of aspects of life including Neil Diamond. Through February 14th, fellow readers will be able to connect with each other through movie viewings, play readings, book and panel discussions, and performances. Morgan Mann from the Door County Library says the celebration of reading in the area has only grown more popular since the pandemic forced many of its activities to be presented virtually or in a hybrid setting. 

The Door County Library Foundation is sponsoring the 15th year of Door County Reads, including free copies of the book that you can keep, lend to friends, or return so others can enjoy. 

 

Click here for the full schedule and our full interview

 

Let's Root For Potatoes!

You probably have heard that potatoes are too high in carbs or are empty calories. In truth, Potatoes are a nutrient-rich starchy vegetable. The potato has simply gotten a bad rap over the years! Let’s talk about why potatoes should be on your plate.

 

What are potatoes: Potatoes are an energy-storing part of a plant, called a tuber. Because potatoes are meant to help a plant survive a long, harsh winter, they are packed with nutrients. Like corn and peas, potatoes are starchy vegetables. USDA MyPlate recommends between 4-6 cups per week of starchy vegetables.

 

Benefits of Potatoes: One medium russet potato, with the skin, will get you 25% of your daily potassium, 35% of your vitamin C needs, 30% of vitamin B6, 18% of you daily fiber needs, and 8% of your protein. All for about 160 calories! Potatoes are also very filling, thanks to their high fiber and water content.

 

How to best enjoy: When not deep fried or topped with extra butter and sour cream, potatoes are a naturally fat-free food. To maximize the fiber and nutrients, and to make prep time easier leave the skin on. No need to peel, just scrub and eat it all for maximum nutrition! Pair them with flavorful, but lower calorie toppings and mix-ins. Try tossing potatoes with carrots, onions, and herbs to make a quick hash. Or try topping with black beans, salsa, and cheese. See online recipes at Iowa Extension’s Spend S

 

Spend Smart Eat Smart site:  https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/healthy-hash-browns/ or https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/santa-fe-stuffed-potatoes/

 

 

Expand Wellness program available in Sturgeon Bay

Expand Wellness is a business that is bringing new ways of smartly training the body through gravity-based exercises that help decompress the spine and joints. Theresa Michalec runs the business and exercises out of a studio that is located at 2nd avenue in Sturgeon Bay and the exercises can help younger people learn about the body sooner to perform better in things such as sports, and older people recover quicker to perform better in their general daily activities. Expand Wellness aims to serve as a bridge to people that may regularly attend practitioners such as chiropractors or attend physical therapy appointments. 

 

 

For information about exercise sessions or general questions about Expand Wellness you can contact 646-852-7590. 

 

(Photo courtesy of expand-wellness.com)

 

Inflation taking its toll on ALICE population

You are paying more for many of your everyday purchases, but it is impacting some of your neighbors more than ever.

 

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the inflation rate hit seven percent in December, which is the highest it has been since 1982. Some items increased at an even faster rate. Meats, poultry, and fish were 12.6 percent higher in December than they were a year ago. Gas service is 24 percent higher than a year ago and used cars and trucks are up over 37 percent. While some can handle the increases, those that are considered Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed are struggling even more. Christina Studebaker from the United Way of Door County says it means nearly 30 percent of the Door County population are struggling to pay for the essentials.

The United Way of Door County is looking to take the stress off of the ALICE population by looking at ways to increase the affordable housing stock and improve child care access in the community.

 

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

City of Algoma looks to new public safety building

After two years of reviewing a space-needs assessment, the City of Algoma is looking to build a new public safety building in the Industrial Park on Sunset Avenue.  The current fire department and EMS building on Third Street has deficiencies that require custom ordering of trucks and apparatuses to fit in the limited space.  City Administrator Jared Heyn says there are many other issues with the aging building and that a new facility will be able to house both the police and fire departments.

 

 

Two public information meetings are tentatively planned for February 23 and March 16 with Bayland Buildings addressing questions and concerns on the proposed project.  The matter then would be decided on Election Day April 5th, where a referendum question will be on the ballot regarding the relocation of the fire, police, and EMS departments.  Heyn notes that the new public safety building would not be that much bigger square-foot-wise, but would be far more efficient and have significantly more room for the apparatus bay.  

 

(photo of current fire station courtesy of Jacob Nelson)

Wisconsin DNR to hold meeting discussing Potawatomi Tower

You’ll have your chance to comment on the plans for the Potawatomi Observation Tower as the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources will hold a virtual public meeting and comment period regarding plans for the observation tower at Potawatomi State Park on January 27th and 4 p.m. The observation tower is currently closed due to safety concerns, but the DNR is committed to finding a plan to move forward with the tower, with the biggest obstacles being repair, historical significance, and the requirement of accessibility. Months ago Governor Tony Evers set aside $5 million for renovations at Potawatomi State Park and you can expect to see some of those funds go towards efforts to repair the tower. This has been a back-and-forth issue between the DNR and legislation but the tower restoration has gained support from people such as Dr. Daniel Tingley from the Wood Science and Research. To register for the event that will be conducted on Zoom you can fill out the form here:

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvcOygpzwtGNYC2DqCgpPgyVI9H7bOZd4N  

 

Registered speakers will have a maximum of three minutes to provide verbal comments only and the department will not be taking questions from the public.

 

Wisconsin celebrates lowest ever unemployment rate

The state of Wisconsin has just broken its own record of the lowest unemployment rate in state history. The previous record was 3% in November of 2021, and according to the data released by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics the state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate as of December 2021 was 2.8%. The exact number of those that are unemployed dropped to 86,200. Locally, Door County’s unemployment rate is lower than the state number sitting at 2.3%, while Kewaunee County is at 1.4%. These numbers come after Governor Tony Evers announced a $130 million investment to support innovative solutions to workforce challenges. The Workforce Innovation Grant Program has provided $59.5 million in grants to 12 projects throughout the state that are aimed at solving long-standing labor challenges.

 

(Photo courtesy of bls.gov)

Driving out the cold

No matter how long you have lived in Wisconsin, driving around in arctic temperatures can be a shock to your system and your car. Single-digit lows are expected through Wednesday with a few more predicted for the beginning of the month. Randy Sahs for Sahs Auto and Collision Center in Sturgeon Bay says just like a person, your car needs to warm up and stretch a little bit before you can demand a lot from it.

Sahs also recommends having some warm winter clothing and a small shovel packed away just in case an emergency arises and you have to spend a lot of time in your car.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Destination Sturgeon Bay looks to manage farm market, move to 3rd Avenue

You may have to go to a different spot to do your farm market shopping in Sturgeon Bay this summer.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Joint Parks and Recreation Committee and Board will consider moving the Farm and Craft Market to Destination Sturgeon Bay’s management. Under their guidance, Destination Sturgeon Bay would potentially move the market to 3rd Avenue from in front of their building to Martin Park. It has previously taken place in Market Square, which during the week serves as a parking lot for Sturgeon Bay’s City Hall and the surrounding area. Vendors have had to undergo a lot of changes in recent years due to COVID-19 protocols.

 

Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski is hopeful the transition will help all parties involved.

If approved, the change could come as soon as this year. The Sturgeon Bay Joint Parks and Recreation Committee and Board meets on Wednesday where they will also get updates on Sunset Park’s Bradley Lake, the Memorial Athletic Field Complex, and a community service project being performed by Girl Scout Allison Sikorsky. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.

Gibraltar Elementary enters virtual learning, mask mandate extended at Southern Door

Gibraltar Elementary students will not be in the building for at least a week after Superintendent Tina Van Meer announced on Friday that they would be entering virtual learning beginning on  Monday. In a letter sent to parents and posted on the district's social media channels, Van Meer says she made the decision to slow the spread of COVID-19 within the school and to address staffing shortages within the building. Every grade level in the K-5 building has students and staff members either positive for the virus or in quarantine because of it. Students in grades 6-12 will remain in-person while grades K-5 will be in virtual learning until January 31st. 

 

They will remain in-person at Southern Door School District, but masking will be required for a second straight week. Southern Door Superintendent Chris Peterson said in a letter to parents that 64 students are currently positive for COVID-19 and he hopes that masking will allow them to stay open. Masking will be strongly encouraged for spectators at the school's athletic events and optional for those participating.

 

The announcements come after Kewaunee School District spent two days in virtual learning due to staffing shortage concerns and increased illnesses. Washington Island School District spent nearly a month in virtual learning due to positive tests at the school before the holidays. 

 

LETTER FROM CHRIS PETERSON

Dear Southern Door Families,
Thank you for all of your efforts this past week to "mask up". When our student and staff numbers rise, that is one important mitigation strategy that, we hope, helps keep us open.


Currently we still have 64 students (6%) positive with COVID 19. We are going to extend
the mask mandate through next week (January 24-28) for all students 4k-12. Staying
open is our goal, and fortunately we have been able to accomplish that with your help.
Starting January 20th, spectators at all events will be strongly encouraged to wear masks.


Additionally, masks are optional and encouraged for all players and officials during practices and games (including time-outs). All other masking requirements are to stay in place until further notice.


Again, thank you for your continued cooperation.

 

LETTER FROM TINA VAN MEER

Good Afternoon,

I am writing to let our school community know that the District has been experiencing staffing shortages and increasing numbers of COVID positive students and employees. In particular, the elementary school has been significantly impacted this week. Every grade level has students/staff who have tested positive or are in quarantine. The number of positive cases has doubled since yesterday. In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our elementary school and maintain the staffing necessary for ongoing teaching and learning, students and staff in the elementary (K-5) will be transitioning to remote learning next week. There will not be an option for in-person learning for students in K-5 next week. Students and staff in grades 6-12 will remain in-person at this time. In-person learning for K-5 will resume on Monday, January 31st. The District will continue to monitor staffing numbers and the degree of spread within the building to determine next steps. This decision has been made with the intention of slowing down the spread of this virus within the building and to ensure staffing levels allow the District to resume in-person teaching and learning as soon as possible. Please contact the District if you have any questions or concerns regarding the information contained in this message.

Sincerely,

Tina Van Meer

 

Kewaunee County COVID-19 cases slow slightly, no deaths

The COVID-19 news in Kewaunee County improved slightly this week, as the number of positive tests fell considerably compared to last week.  After reporting 421 cases last week, the Kewaunee County Public Health Department confirmed Friday that 277 more positive tests of COVID-19 in the past week.  The active cases dropped more than half from 238 to 113, with less hospitalization (3) and no deaths reported.  The county’s number of hospitalizations and deaths tends to lag behind the state’s reporting.  There were 402 recoveries noted in the Kewaunee County COVID-19 update.
 
53.7 percent of Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose on the vaccination front, and just over half, 50.5 percent, are fully vaccinated.  
 
Kewaunee County Public Health is taking appointments for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or booster on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Call 920 388-7160 for an appointment.  

 

 

Fireball blazes through area sky

If you were up around 6:45 a.m. you may have caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a ball of fire soaring through the sky. Most Wisconsin residents who saw the fireball were located in the southeast and northeast parts of the state. Witnesses said the fireball lit up the sky for about 1-7 seconds. Scientists say that the mysterious fireball was likely a meteoroid given that it was traveling southeast in direction. The meteoroid gathered a lot of attention because it was mainly overpopulated areas such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and the Fox Cities. The closest local sighting came around the Luxemburg area and several sightings in the Green Bay/Bellevue area. Scientists also say that meteoroids only fly over land about 25% of the time, and the rest of the time usually occur over bodies of water such as oceans, so anyone that saw the fireball should consider themselves lucky.

 

(Photo courtesy of livescience.com)

Packer playoffs offer grocers a bonus holiday

The lines at the checkouts might be a little longer this weekend as football fans make plans for home parties.  The holidays might bring a surge in business for local supermarkets at the end of the year, but Green Bay Packers playoff games in January are a “bonus” holiday, according to one store manager.  Jon Calhoun of Tadych’s Marketplace in Sturgeon Bay says the meat, deli and bakery departments get extra busy with big orders when the Packers are winning and in the playoffs.

 

 

Tadych’s is not the only food retailer in Sturgeon Bay getting in on the Green and Gold spirit.  Marchant’s Meats & Sausage is teaming up with Bridge Up Brewing to sell specialty Cheesehead Brats for tailgaters or Packer party hosts.  The kickoff for Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game is 7:15 pm at Lambeau Field.  

Door County Board to discuss ARPA fund distribution Tuesday

Addressing county issues like child care, workforce housing, broadband, groundwater testing, and invasive species are all on the table Tuesday as the Door County Board decides which projects are worth funding.

 

Through the American Rescue Plan Act, the county was allocated over $5.3 million as a way to recover lost state and local funds due to the pandemic. The county hosted a public information session about how to best use the funds on January 12th with the public echoing the need for many of the issues eligible for the ARPA funds.  Nine different projects will be funded with the ARPA money, taking up approximately $4.3 million of the $5.3 million available.

 

Door County Emergency Services requested $72,000 over three years to cover the initial education costs for up to four EMTs, two Advanced EMTs, and two paramedics per year.  The Door County Health and Human Services Department requested over $438,000 to help jumpstart the United Way’s efforts to address affordable child care and $575,000 for a multi-bed facility and treatment program to be used by people addicted to drugs. The Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department asked for $280,500 to perform a groundwater screen on approximately 20 private wells for contaminants. The department is also looking to acquire $204,500 to control over 120 acres of phragmites over a three-year time period.  Door County Land Use Services has asked for $500,000 in ARPA funds to supplement their affordable housing revolving loan fund and $500,000 to aid in the construction of a housing project in Sister Bay. Another $800,000 would be earmarked to replace all existing single-sided green fire numbers with new blue, two-sided signs in all 14 towns. About $1 million would set aside for improving broadband and hiring an administrator for those efforts.

 

The Door County Board meets on Tuesday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Door County Government Center. You can click this link to see the entire agenda and read more about the projects requesting ARPA funds. 

Door County Volunteer Fair to be held in April

You will have the opportunity to connect with a number of local non-profits in one place to celebrate National Volunteer Week in April. Door County Habitat for Humanity and the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary are just two of the over a dozen health and human services organizations looking to recruit volunteers at the event. Door County ADRC volunteer coordinator Nicki Scharrig says many local non-profit organizations are in the same place as area businesses are when it comes to needing help to fulfill their missions.

The Door County Volunteer Fair is slated for April 20th from 9 a.m. until noon at the Door County ADRC. Organizations looking for volunteers can contact Scharrig on setting up their own booth at the event.

Wisconsin Assembly approves lowering working age for summers

A bill approved by the Wisconsin Assembly on Thursday would allow children under 16 to work longer hours during the more busy summer months. The Wisconsin Senate approved the bill last October and has gained backing from the hospitality and grocery industries in the state. First District Representative Joel Kitchens says the bill would allow 14 and 15-year olds to work until 11 pm when they don’t have school the next day. He says it is a small measure to help small businesses in Door County that faced labor shortages during the busy tourism season last year.

 

 

The current law states that they cannot work past 7 pm during the school week and 9 pm in the summer months. The new legislation would not affect businesses covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, including those with annual sales over $500,000.  Kitchens does not know if Governor Tony Evers will sign the bill into law.   According to the Associated Press, the AFL-CIO opposes the bill, claiming it would roll back child labor protection laws and that supporters have failed to show why the change is needed.

COVID cases continue to climb in Door County

Door County announced another triple-digit increase in new positive COVID-19 tests during its newest situation update on Thursday.

 

Out of 363 tests performed, 237 came back positive with another one listed as probable. No deaths were reported but one new hospitalization was added. Deaths and hospitalizations reported by the county tend to lag from what is happening locally due to the state’s reporting. Door County, like every county in the state, is listed as having a critically high disease activity level.

 

On a positive note, Door and eight others are not seeing the disease activity grow, unlike nearby Brown, Kewaunee, and Shawano counties where it is still going up.

 

Door County Public Health will host vaccine clinics next Tuesday at the ADRC for kids 5-11 and next Thursday at the Door County Government Center for those 12 and above.

 

Tests Performed: 26,778 (+363)
Positive: 5,987 (+237)
Negative: 20,453 (+125)
Probable: 338 (+1)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 213 (+1)
Death: 44 

Area businesses prepping for Packer traffic

The Green Bay Packers open up their postseason with a game against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, and local businesses are once again prepping for the business that will bring up to the area. Nancy Bertz, General Manager of Stone Harbor says of the 160 hotel rooms available to people, 100 of them have been booked by people who intend to go to the game on Saturday night. Many people also come up to Door County to watch the game with friends or groups of people which also plays a role in increased business. Hotels are not the only businesses that will see that increase, as people tend to purchase snacks and food from local grocery stores, and dine at various local restaurants before making their way to Green Bay for the Packer game. The City of Green Bay sees an economic impact of $15 million per game.

Plan Commission unanimously approves future housing, discusses TID District

The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission met last night to discuss two major items of potential future housing, and a new TID (Tax Increment Financing District). There has been an application to turn a facility on Florida Street and 19th Drive into a community residential facility for some time, but TTX Corporation has now purchased the property and hopes to turn it into four apartment units. Before that can be done there is a condition that the property requires an additional use approval from the plan commission which after the presentation the commission unanimously approved.

 

 The second thing discussed was the new Tax Increment Financing District on Egg Harbor Road. Mayor David Ward said there are a number of properties on Egg Harbor Rd. that are good development prospects but need infrastructure improvements such as sewer and water, or road improvements. Talks about forming the district have just begun getting explored and will require a joint review board of the County, School District, Technical College, and City of Sturgeon Bay.

Inclusive playground pitched for Bruemmer Park

Regardless of your child’s physical challenges, they will be able to play at a new playground being proposed for Bruemmer Park.

 

The Brummer Park Inclusive Playground Committee presented a plan to the Parks, Promotion, and Maintenance Committee to fundraise and install the equipment.  The BPIP Committee wanted to make sure they had the blessing of the County Board before moving forward with further planning and fundraising efforts. The Parks, Promotion, and Maintenance Committee unanimously approved the proposal, sending it to the County Board for its blessing. The group wishing to install the inclusive playground will give a presentation to the board before possible action is taken.

 

Kewaunee School District raised approximately $220,000 before installing their all-inclusive playground in 2017. The Baileys Harbor Community Association and The Playground Group are trying to raise $500,000 to make their playground at Kendall Park more accessible.  

 

The Kewaunee County Board will meet on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the administration center in Kewaunee.

 

Picture from Kewaunee School District during ribbon cutting ceremony in 2017

Cheese sales experiencing sharp increase

From the dishes you cook to the charcuterie trays you create, chances are you will find more cheese in people’s homes.

 

Cheese sales have been going up since more people are dining and entertaining at home. Food Business News says snack cheeses have seen the biggest growth with a 12 percent improvement over 2019-2020 sales at $148.2 million. Natural cheese sales were up as a whole 5.6 percent at $15.8 billion. Krohn Cheese Store retail manager Sally Vandermoss says they have seen more interest in their sharp cheeses.

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin suggest the growth of Gen Z and millennial foodies using cheese to recreate comfort dishes and give new life to leftovers could further increase their sales in 2022. 

Voting rights bill sputters in Congress

Efforts to reform voting at the federal level took a pair of falls this week after the U.S. Senate failed to pass the bill itself and to approve a filibuster that would have opened the door for the measure to be enacted with a simple majority. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act aimed to make Election Day a federal holiday, set minimum national standards for absentee voting, approve the use of drop boxes, and restore rights for felons after they were released from prison. Senate Republicans called it a partisan power grab while Jay Heck from the voter advocacy group Common Cause Wisconsin says it would have made it easier for all Americans to cast a ballot.

Senate Democrats attempted to change the filibuster rules to allow the package to be passed by a simple majority of 51-48, opposed to the current 60/40 supermajority. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema dealt the fatal votes. Heck believes it is a matter of time before legislation in the Senate will be decided by a simple majority.

Wisconsin’s two senators were split on the vote along their party lines. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said they could no longer allow Republicans to federalize voter suppression. Republican Senator Ron Johnson called out earlier attempts by Democrats to preserve the filibuster as he voted to “prevent a naked power grab” amid poor poll numbers.

Luxemburg-Casco looks to build off success with future construction course

Luxemburg-Casco School District is not putting on the brakes for more career-based learning opportunities after opening the Ahnapee Diesel Tech program in Casco earlier this school year. State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly visited the district last week to check out the newly outfitted facility and to learn more about its plans for a new building to foster careers in construction. It would be built on land currently located between the district’s bus garage and Stodola’s IGA. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says they are already working with local businesses to help make the program a reality.

Schlender says the two career-based education programs and their apprenticeship opportunities have opened a lot of doors for students looking to find employment after high school.

Broadband project carries potential $110 million price tag

The wheels are in motion to get you faster internet to your home and business.

 

Door County and the Door County Economic Development Corporation hosted a joint public information meeting on Tuesday at the Door County ADRC building in Sturgeon Bay to go over potential plans of action to address the area’s broadband needs. Last year, a study was commissioned to complete an assessment and develop a plan of action. A broadband firm suggested the county bring fiber internet directly to homes and businesses. Depending on how many people buy into the product, the number of grants the county is able to acquire, and the parts of the area the system would serve, the price tag would be between $60 million and $110 million.

 

Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says they will act quickly on a number of items to start implementing some of the recommendations.

A recent study showed that the majority of Door County residents do not have sufficient broadband internet if they get it at all.

Free at-home COVID-19 tests now available

You will soon be able to check your mailbox if you are unable to find a COVID-19 test. The federal government officially launched its free at-home COVID-19 test website on Wednesday, though some were able to jump the line during the site’s beta phase on Tuesday. Each valid residential address is allowed to request up to four at-home coronavirus tests. The effort is in addition to the insurance reimbursement program that started on Saturday allowing Americans to have their at-home tests bought at stores be covered. The Biden Administration announced earlier this month it was purchasing 500 million kits to help tackle the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Door County Medical Center is advising people who have positive results from the at-home tests to trust them and stay at home to isolate themselves. If you test negative but you still have symptoms, Door County Medical Center advises you to take another test three days later to confirm the result. You can learn more about how to properly use your tests and read your results below.

The seven-day average for new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state went up to 18,473 and reported deaths increased to 29. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services warned residents that numbers will be high due to backlogged cases being brought into the live system. Door County will provide its latest COVID-19 situation update on Thursday.

 

Click here to order your free COVID-19 tests

 

Traffic accidents rise as temperatures drop

Door County traffic accidents were trending up yesterday, with the latest report showing 15 incidents involving traffic related accidents, with three of those accidents taking place on Highway 57 and County Highway H. Weather and road conditions may get worse in the coming days with the weather forecast projecting high temperatures under 20 degrees. With the recent snowfall melting these temperatures would mean roads could get icy and slippery. Door County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty reminds drivers to be safe and take the proper safety precautions when heading out on potentially dangerous roads. When driving on roads that may be covered with snow or ice, things such as reducing speed, braking earlier to avoid sliding into other traffic, and only traveling if it is necessary can be great ways to reduce potential accidents.

Sturgeon Bay approves new police squad, Plan Commission looks at new TID

Sturgeon Bay approves new police squad, Plan Commission looks at new TID

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council made quick work on two agenda items Tuesday night as the Plan Commission prepares for future developments tonight.   The City Council approved the Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommendation on the purchase of a 2022 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor squad from Jim Olson Ford Lincoln in Sturgeon Bay.  Mayor David Ward shares how the city makes it a priority to buy from local businesses.

 

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council did not take any action during a closed session to consider the acquisition of a parcel of land at the end of Alabama Place to help alleviate traffic congestion on Egg Harbor Road.  Mayor Ward notes that the City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout and Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak are authorized to negotiate the purchase of the land.  The meeting adjourned at about 6:35 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.  At a 6 pm meeting Wednesday, the Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will be looking at a possible TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) district for Egg Harbor Road that would include a 60-unit apartment complex behind the Cherry Point Mall.  The commission will also consider the order and declaration of necessity for the extension of Grant Avenue, and a conditional use permit for a 4-unit multiple-family dwelling for the property at 1921 Florida Street.   

Door County YMCA programming fun for kids

There is still space left if your child would like to be enrolled in one of the many programs available at the Door County YMCA. One of the programs that is available is the “Girls Night Out” program which is for 4th-6th grade girls to meet on Tuesday’s from 6 - 7:15 p.m. and let them build positive relationships with one another, as well as make new friends. The program just finished it’s second session of eight meetings, but the YMCA still encourages those interested to register. The cost is $30 per child. The last session of this program includes an outing for bowling, pizza, soda, and more fun for the kids involved. Trisha Salenius the school age director at the Door County YMCA says the Y’s Kids Club is also hosting an after school program for those ages 4-12 and transportation is provided via bus from sunrise or sunset elementary in Sturgeon Bay. Salenius also shared details about registration for each program which can also be found on the YMCA website. 

 

 

The YMCA will soon be announcing details about their Camp Compass Summer Camp with registration for that program beginning in March with a start date of June 6th.

 

For our entire conversation with Trisha Salenius, head over to the "Podcasts" tab on DoorCountyDailyNews.com

 

Wisconsin DOT, schools want you behind the wheel

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is making it easier for you to get a license to drive a school bus. The Wisconsin DOT will be implementing a temporary waiver that will no longer make it mandatory for drivers to test on the “under the hood” part of the test until March 31, 2022. Drivers that obtain their CDL through this waiver will only be eligible to drive school buses rather than being able to drive other large vehicles that require a CDL license. The DOT also sent out a recruitment letter to approximately 1,000 former drivers encouraging them to reinstate and look at opportunities in their area, citing that many school bus companies have started offering incentives, increased wages, and offered signing bonuses to help fix the shortage.

Jak's Place offering skills class for mental health outlet

Jak’s Place is a mental health resource center located in Sturgeon Bay that aims to be a resource for people that may be struggling with mental health. People are welcome to walk in and ask questions to see if they may or may not be suffering from mental health, and from there can be referred to a Place that specializes in therapy for the illness they may be suffering from. All of the services offered by Jak’s Place are free of cost and available to any individual as well as families. One of the events that has been taking place at Jak’s Place is a problem solving group on Friday’s from 10-11:30 a.m. where people can come in and share their experiences and problems from the week and people can collaborate with others to form a potential solution. They also have a free weekly meal that has moved to drive through due to the uptick in illnesses including COVID-19. Two unique things Jak’s Place has available include two S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Lights that simulate sunlight to provide vitamin D for your body, and two mental health professionals that have been certified in part because they themselves had a mental health illness cured at one point in their own lives. 

 

For more information about Jak’s Place and their services stay tuned to their Facebook page.

 

(Photo courtesy of Jak's Place Website)

BUG Fire Chief reflects on busy weekend

Not being afraid to call 911 was the moral learned for two incidents last weekend involving the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department.

 

The department was involved in the rescue of two people and an ATV that fell through the ice off the shore in the Town of Gardner near Sugar Creek County Park. One person was in the water for nearly 30 minutes before being rescued and had to be airlifted to a hospital to receive treatment. BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie was happy the story had a happy ending

 

On Sunday, the department responded to a snowmobile that was fully engulfed in flames near Sandhill Road in the Town of Union. Crews were able to extinguish the fire, but not before the machine was a complete loss. In both cases, Vandertie says calling 911 was key.

Those going on the Bay of Green Bay should be aware that ice-breaking operations are currently underway with the Cutter Mobile Bay cutting a track for an ore ship to Escanaba, Mich.

All Things Chocolate event cancelled

The Gibraltar Historical Association has announced that their annual “All Things Chocolate” event has been cancelled for 2022. The cancellation comes because of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases as well as a recommendation from the public health department that there should be no large gatherings indoors. In the past the annual fundraising event has offered a variety of items made from chocolate such as truffles, hand-dipped pretzels, toffee, and more. The association says they do hope to host the event again in 2023. 

 

For information about the 2023 event, stay tuned to the Gibraltar Historical Association’s Facebook page. 

 

(Photo courtesy of Gibraltar Historical Association's Facebook page)

Parents key to helping kids through pandemic

The example you set for your kids will continue to be important as the second anniversary of the pandemic's onset nears.

 

Washington Island School restarted in-person learning on Monday after almost a month away due to positive cases within the building. Kewaunee School District students returned to their buildings on Tuesday after their two-day pause due to staff shortages and general illnesses including COVID-19. Many events had to be canceled or postponed as a result. United Way of Door County Community Impact Coordinator Chad Welch says it is an opportunity for parents to reinforce a positive routine and lead by example.

 

The Centers for Disease Control recently suggested schools prioritize academics over athletics and cancel high-risk activities or hold them virtually where high transmission rates are possible.

 

The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases is now over 17,000 according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Monday afternoon. The department did warn Wisconsinites that numbers will be higher over the next few days thanks in part to new reporting procedures that will make their daily reports more representative of what is happening in the state.

 

Door County Medical Center joined other hospitals in the region on Tuesday advising residents to avoid the emergency room and urgent care centers if they need a COVID-19 test.  

Maple/Oregon Street Bridge to close Wednesday

You will be down to two bridges if plan on traveling through Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday. The Door County Highway Department and the City of Sturgeon Bay have been notified by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that the Maple/Oregon Street Bridge will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a small maintenance project. DOT spokesperson Missy Kok says crews will be verifying proper lengths and shim thickness ahead of their spring maintenance work this year.. Motorists will be able to use the Michigan Street Bridge and the Bayview Bridge to get around town during that time.

Sturgeon Bay looks to buy new police squad, land parcel

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will be addressing only a few agenda items on Tuesday night when they meet at City Hall.   The Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommendation to approve the purchase of a 2022 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor squad from Jim Olson Ford Lincoln in Sturgeon Bay will be considered. City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the council will also be looking for a resolution on a grant for a water week conveyor grant.

 

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will go into a closed session to consider the acquisition of a parcel of land at the end of Alabama Place to help alleviate traffic congestion on Egg Harbor Road. The meeting will begin at 6 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall. 

Golden Girl means green for humane society

The Wisconsin Humane Society would like to thank you for being a friend. The organization, which has one of its campuses in Sturgeon Bay, has benefited greatly from the grassroots campaign centered around the recent passing of television star Betty White. The #BettyWhiteChallenge is encouraging fans of her work to donate money to humane societies and other related causes across the country to celebrate her 100th birthday. Shaina Allen from the Wisconsin Humane Society says in approximately 24 hours, it has seen over 400 donations in White’s memory.

As of 1 p.m., E! News reported that over $550,000 has been donated to animal rescues and shelters across the country as a part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge.  

Door County Sheriff's office warns of scams

Phone scams may be one of the things you find yourself fighting off the most, but with the upgrade in technology, scam phone calls, text messages, and emails can become more and more appealing to the viewer. One of the more recent scam attempts is coming in the form of a phone call. The city of Green Bay recently had a person win a little over $300 million in the Powerball drawing. Since then, there is a new phone scam that is calling people to falsely notify them that they have won portions of the lottery. The Door County Sheriff's Office says although that specific call hasn’t quite reached the area, scams are one of the most common occurrences they are sought after to help with. When looking for a potential hint that a digital message might be a scam, the Sheriff's Department reminds people to look for misspelled words, as well as who the message is coming from to see if it is identifiable. One of the main things that people are recommended not to do is to send money electronically to those they don’t know.

 

If you or anyone you know may be having an issue with any type of scam, you are encouraged to contact local law enforcement for assistance. 

 

Jenkins resigns from top DCEDC post

Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Steve Jenkins told his Board of Directors his intentions to resign later this year. His resignation was approved by the board during their meeting on Monday and will be effective on June 3rd. Jenkins started his work for the DCEDC just before the pandemic forced shutdowns across the country after serving in similar roles in Fond du Lac, Wis., Topeka, Kan., and Corpus Christi, Texas. Jenkins is proud of how they were able to address broadband internet and affordable housing during his tenure, even while trying to navigate an ongoing pandemic.

Jenkins would not go into detail as to why he is resigning from the role, only saying he hopes to stay in Door County and serve the community in other ways. You can see the full release from the DCEDC below. 

 

RELEASE FROM THE DCEDC

The Door County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Steve Jenkins, Executive Director, during the organization’s monthly board meeting today. Jenkins announced that his resignation will be effective on June 3rd, 2022.

 

The DCEDC board of directors and staff are greatly appreciative of the work that Jenkins has contributed to the advancement of Door County during his time as Executive Director of the Organization. During his tenure Jenkins also served as a board member for the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Destination Sturgeon Bay, Destination Door County and participated in numerous committees and task forces throughout Door County.

 

Jenkin states; “I appreciate having the opportunity to serve DCEDC and Door County. During my tenure, the DCEDC Team accomplished much and I’m very proud of the success that we were able to achieve under difficult and challenging circumstances. This included the DCEDC Broadband Infrastructure Engineering Assessment that establishes the roadmap for providing fiber to the premises (FTTP) throughout Door County; applicant for the WHEDA Rural Workforce Housing Pilot which will lead to two major innovative approaches to providing affordable housing; and the creation of the Beacon for Business (B4B) program supporting all businesses of all sizes throughout the County.”

 

Ann Renard, DCEDC Board Chair adds; “Steve’s time with DCEDC has been extremely impactful. Beginning his journey at the onset of COVID in Door County, Steve has made significant contributions to our community and strengthened DCEDC’s mission.  The board would like to thank Steve for his passion for economic development and contributions.  Steve and his team are a talented group of economic development professionals driven by the mission and vision of DCEDC.  We appreciate Steve assisting in the transition and look forward to seeing the projects Steve began through to completion.”

 

Kewaunee County sees call volume dip

Employees at the Kewaunee Dispatch Center heard less from you in 2021.

 

Approximately 9,000 calls were handled by Kewaunee County Dispatch last year, which were a little down from 2019 and 2020. The number of rescue calls did go up by over 100 to 1287 in 2021, which includes people calling with medical emergencies. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says the advent of cell phones has led to a large number of calls for both good and bad reasons. Many of the 990 calls determined to be 911 hang-ups were on cell phones, but they were also used heavily for the county’s 273 traffic offense notifications.

He credits his employees in the dispatch center for being able to handle a lot of information at once and coordinate deputies and other emergency personnel to go to the right spot. You can read a more in-depth view of the numbers below.

Door County notes additional death as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

You have three new opportunities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 this month through the Door County Public Health Department.

 

The department’s Monday situation update showed 360 of the 553 tests conducted over the weekend came back positive for COVID-19. Another 12 tests are considered probable. While no new hospitalizations, the county’s 44th COVID-19 death was recorded. The hospitalization and death totals reported locally tend to lag from the state’s numbers.

 

The Door County Public Health Department added three more vaccine clinics this month. One will be held on Tuesday at the Door County Government Center for those 12 and up from noon to 4 p.m. The department will hold two clinics next week with one being at the ADRC for those ages 5-11 on Tuesday and the other at the Door County Government Center on Thursday for those ages 12 and up. You must register in advance for the appointment. 

 

Tests Performed: 26,415 (+553)
Positive: 5,750 (+360)
Negative: 20,328 (+181)
Probable: 337 (+12)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 212 
Death: 44 (+1)

Groundhog Day Parade canceled for second straight year

While it is still unknown if the groundhog will see his shadow this year, you will not be seeing a parade in his honor in Ellison Bay. For the second straight year, the Ellison Bay Groundhog Day Parade will not be taking place due to COVID-19 concerns. It was supposed to be the 10th edition of the event, which in the past has featured decorated cars, dogs, and the Inclement Weather Marching Band making its way to downtown Ellison Bay from The Vault, which was a former location of Nicolet National Bank. Event organizers hope to have it next year.

 

Picture courtesy of the Ellison Bay Groundhog Parade

Sturgeon Bay math team looking to continue string of success

The Sturgeon Bay Math Team has started their season and is looking forward to competing for another Packerland Conference title. The Clipper Math Team has won the Packerland Conference meet the last 20 years in a row and Sturgeon Bay Math Teacher and Math Team coach Cliff Wind says he expects to compete for the title once again this year as he feels this year’s team is very strong. How math meets work is that there are 4 individual tests for participants (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, with the final test being general math topics which can include topics that are generally taught outside of HS), followed by one team test. At each meet students compete within their grade level against other schools to earn medals, and all teams are required to have one underclassmen on the roster. 

 

For complete Packerland Conference Math Meet results, stay tuned to DoorCountyDailyNews.com.

Community Spotlight: Todd Thayse officially retires from shipbuilding

After more than three decades of working in the shipyard industry, Todd Thayse retired on Friday as the Vice-President and General Manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.  A native of Kewaunee County, who grew up in Lincoln and graduated from Luxemburg-Casco High School in 1980, Thayse turned 60 years old this past Monday, having announced his retirement last October.  After first working for Peterson Builders Incorporated (PBI) in the early 1980s, Thayse started working at Bay in the sheet metal shop at Bay Shipbuilding in 1985 with hopes of pursuing more significant opportunities.  In 1991, Thayse began working in the repair side of the business, becoming a project manager and eventually leading the repair and conversion division of the shipyard.  He worked under Pat O’Hern, who later became vice-president and general manager of Bay Shipbuilding, a person Thayse considered his mentor.  After Fincantieri purchased Bay Shipbuilding from the Manitowoc Company in 2009, Thayse became the general manager and vice president in 2012.  The building of the first self-unloading vessels and delivering over 20 boats during his tenure are some of the accomplishments Thayse will remember most.  He plans to stay in the area and is currently the District 2 Supervisor on the Door County Board, which serves southern Door County.  Thayse and his wife, Deb, live in Forestville and have three adult children and eight grandchildren.  He is looking forward to being around family more, sporting events, and the many hobbies he has pursued.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Todd Thayse on the podcast page here

 

(photo courtesy of MarineLink)

 

Crossroads looking forward to Fish Tale lecture series

Crossroads at Big Creek is once again hosting their Fish Tale Lecture series in their lecture hall at the facility. The goal of these lectures is to introduce people to the scientific research going on in the Great Lakes right now. The first lecture will be talking about protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species such as Asian Carp. The speaker will be a woman from the Michigan DNR, however, the lecture will be conducted online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Crossroads will stream the lecture in their lecture hall, and the Door County Library will also have zoom connections and Facebook Live streams set up for people to view the lecture. Some of the other lecture topics will discuss things like the movement of fish within the Great Lakes, and the science behind that lecture has to deal with the tracking of baby fish. In February and March topics will include how researchers chemically test for evidence of invasive species in the Great Lakes, and information on the suckerfish run that is quite a popular site at Crossroads specifically. All lectures are free to the public and available for everyone. 

 

Our whole conversation with Coggin Herringa of Crossroads at Big Creek can be found on DoorCountyDailyNews.com under our “Podcasts” and “News Podcasts” tabs.

YMCA prepares for Monday's "Soup Day"

The Door County YMCA has a way to keep you warm on a chilly Monday with the Soup Day offerings at the Northern Door Program Center.  A variety of homemade soups will be available for contactless pickup.  Healthy Living Director Megan Schneider says the donated soups will sell for $7 a pint with the proceeds going towards the annual capital campaign supporting membership-for-all and the kids’ food program.  She shares the different soups that will be featured.

 

 

You will be able to order from your car, by phone, or on the YMCA’s Facebook page.  The menu of Monday’s Soup Day will be posted on the Door County YMCA’s website Monday morning.  

The Best New Year's Resolutions

Quit smoking.  Lose weight.  Enjoy life.  Help others.  These are four of the most common new year’s resolutions according to most everyone who surveys such things.  Chances are that a couple of these are on your list as well.  Sadly, less than 1 out of every 3 people will fulfill one of their new year’s resolutions.  In fact, statistically speaking, about 1 in five of us will have already given up trying by the end of January.

 

I’ve never been a smoker, so I can’t help you keep that resolution.  I know a few things about losing weight, although COVID has added a few pounds back.  However, I do know a heck of a lot about enjoying life, and maybe even a little bit about helping others.  Let’s resolve together to enjoy life more and to do more to help others.

 

In my experience, this pair of resolutions is basically two sides of the same coin.  When we are inspired to help another in this world, we almost always find a little joy for ourselves in the process.  Here are three simple rules to remember which can help you resolve to both help others and enjoy life more.

 

First, give local.  This is not to say that there aren’t causes worthy of your support far beyond Door County.  Of course there are.  But charity begins at home for a reason.  When you give to local charities you are impacting the community you love.  It’s a beautiful thing to know that your contributions are touching the lives of people whose paths you might cross at the grocery store or who sit at the other end of the pew at church on Sunday.  Charity begins at home because it’s there that giving is most personally rewarding. 

 

Second, give more than money.  As good as it feels to share of your financial abundance with the less fortunate, giving of your time can even be more rewarding.  If you have a strong personal connection to your favorite Door County charity, imagine how wonderful it would feel if you could actually be there, actively involved in their work.  Through your volunteer service, you will build a deep understanding of how the organization works.  Assuming the charity is working well, then you will draw great satisfaction from where your contributions of time and money are going.  If the non-profit needs a little help to improve, you’ll be in a position to do something about it – which can be even more personally satisfying.

 

Third, give as a family.  However you define your family – you and your children, your close friends, your church, or service club – when you go through the experience of donating and volunteering as a group, it reinforces the bonds and connections that exist between you.  We are never more noble then when we act selflessly – and charitable giving is a selfless act.  When we are charitable, we are at our very best.  By giving as a family, we are offered the wonderful opportunity to see each other at our very best.  It reminds us of why we are blessed to call these people our family and friends.

 

So let’s all make at least two resolutions together for 2022 and let’s commit to reminding each other of what they are.  Let’s resolve to help others, and in the process, let’s enjoy life more.

 

Of course, it would make my lovely wife happy if you’d also remind me about my resolution to lose weight.  But then again, I wasn’t really serious about that one.

 

Bret Bicoy is President & CEO of the Door County Community Foundation.  Contact him at bret@givedoorcounty.org.  

Door County 4-H enters winter with excitement

The cold weather is not taking away from the excitement Door County 4-H clubs are experiencing this winter.

 

Clubs have been meeting since the fall and they are planning for a wide variety of events this spring including their speaking contest, project day, and small animal swap. Club members working on specific projects like livestock are also meeting to get their education requirements fulfilled before showing at the Door County Fair in August. Even with club meetings taking place in person, Door County 4-H educator Dawn VandeVoort says they have learned that the area’s youth are always looking for ways to learn in a fun way.

Door County 4-H is offering Cabin Fever Project Kits to encourage kids to get creative while learning this winter. Click here for the details on how you can pick up the kits for your family.

Another reptile house pet causes salmonella outbreak

If you are the owner of a bearded lizard, the CDC warns you to be careful as contact with the lizard species has caused 44 people to contract a strain of salmonella. This finding from the CDC is similar to the report made about turtles in the beginning of 2020. This recent study in relation to bearded dragons shows illness dates between December 24, 2020, and December 2, 2021, with an age range of younger than one-year-old to 84 years old. Of the 44 people who reported an infection, four reside in Wisconsin. From the outbreak map on the CDC’s website, four is seen as the highest number of reported cases in any state. However, federal health officials estimate that the actual number of infections in the USA is higher than the reported number, as many people who might have gotten infected did not need treatment and felt documenting their illness was unnecessary. The CDC recommends a series of steps to stay healthy if you own a bearded dragon. These tips include: Wash your hands, don’t kiss or snuggle your bearded dragon, don’t eat or drink around it, keep it out of the kitchen and keep its supplies and habitat clean. If you are unsure of how to properly clean and care for your bearded dragon, a care sheet from Petco can be found here.

Two saved on ice water rescue Saturday

Two men who fell through the ice off the shore in the Town of Gardner on Saturday afternoon were rescued by emergency personnel.  According to Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department Captain Pat O’Hern, emergency agencies were called shortly after 2 pm about two ice anglers who had fallen through the ice on Green Bay just south of Sugar Creek County Park.  Both anglers were rescued with one man airlifted to a Green Bay hospital by the Eagle III helicopter for treatment after being in the waters for over 30 minutes.  The initial investigation by the Door County Sheriff’s Department indicated that an ATV driven by a 58-year-old Kewaunee man was towing another ATV, and fell through the ice.  A 45-year-old Winneconne man came to help with his ATV and also fell through the ice.  The 22-year-old Brussels man whose ATV was being towed was brought to shore by a Coast Guard airboat and did not need any medical assistance. 

 

Personnel from the United States Coast Guard, Door County Sheriff’s Department, BUG Fire Department, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Southern Door Fire Department, and Sturgeon Bay Fire Department all responded to the scene.

 

 

Blood Shortage felt in northeastern and central Wisconsin

The Community Blood Center with locations throughout Wisconsin urges you to donate blood to help with the national blood shortage. The supply of blood across the nation is the worst it has been in more than a decade. The Community Blood Center has felt the shortage as they try to supply their 30 hospital partners, including the Door County Medical Center, with the amount they need. Kristine Belanger, the operations and chief operating officer at the CBC, describes how their supply numbers have fallen and urges non-blood donors to consider donating.

 

 

Belanger states that with the different types of donations that they accept, red blood cells are the area of most need, which means donations of whole blood are crucial at this point. She encourages those of all blood types to make a donation appointment either at one of their locations or at a blood drive in your area. You can reach out and find all of the information on donating with the Community Blood Center on their website here.

You might get a kick out kicksledding

Kicksledding is a new winter activity gaining traction nationwide and is now becoming local. Kicksledding is said to be a good alternative to cross country skiing, and is easier to do for people who physically may not be able to cross country ski, and it’s good exercise. Locally, there is a startup kick sled vendor that is looking to draw people into the activity. Co-owner of Door County Kicksled Alysha Pudlo says there is little to no learning curve on how to use the sleds, and mentions that there are a variety of usages for the sleds that range from runners being able to use it to stay in shape during the icy months when running could be dangerous, to ice fisherman being able to take it out on the water. Pudlo also adds that this is an activity families with children as young as 3 can participate in and says the most common uses of the sleds are on multi-use trails, state parks, and icy bodies of water. 

 

For further info about the activity or to purchase equipment you can visit doorcountykicksled.com, as well as email doorcountykicksled@gmail.com or call 920-495-0615

 

(Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com)

The humble beginnings behind Ice Angel rescue boats saving lives

Last week, the Brown County Sheriff’s department was able to rescue 34 people stranded on a piece of ice that had broken away from shore by using airboats fashioned after the first windsled Ice Angel. Introduced in the early 2000s, the Ice Angels were first conceptualized by Wisconsin Congressman David Obey. The idea began with a request from the Ashland Sheriff’s department following the death of a 16-year-old boy who had fallen through the ice in a snowmobiling accident where law enforcement could not do anything to save the boy. Congressman Obey then acquired the funds to create the first Ice Angel, a rudimentary airboat hybrid rescue vehicle. The boat is set in motion by airplane-like propellers to move the flat-bottomed boat over the ice that is too thin to safely operate a regular vehicle on. The introduction of this type of ice rescue was rough at best, with multiple people within the senate mocking the idea and calling it a waste of federal funds. This political debate brought publicity to the Ice Angels and caused many pictures and articles about the debacle. Luckily, the negative publicity worked in favor of the Ice Angels. Many law enforcement groups from around the Great Lakes reached out to Congressman Obey about acquiring such vehicles after seeing photos of them. Twenty years later, the Ice Angel legacy is still saving people stranded on ice, as we saw last week in Green Bay.

Neighbors fight against camp expansion

A group of Ellison Bay property owners would like to know why they were excluded from discussions surrounding an expansion project at a nearby camp.

 

In September 2020, Camp Zion took Door County to court after it was denied twice the variance needed for the construction of a 12,000 square foot multipurpose building near Door Bluff Road. The handicap-accessible building was designed to allow all of its campers to have additional space to dine and hold fellowship sessions. The county had said no previously because plans for the building had it too close to the road, which would be against the zoning ordinance at the time.  A year later, the two sides settled their lawsuit, granting the necessary variance and conditional use permit to allow Camp Zion to begin construction on the building. Camp Zion broke ground on the project in early November.

 

Mike Bahrke is among the group of neighbors opposed to the project and filed their own lawsuit against the county last November. Bahrke and his neighbors believe they were not given due process when there was no public hearing to discuss the project in front of the Resource Planning Committee or the Board of Adjustment. The county and Camp Zion reached their agreement in closed session, which does not allow the public to witness the proceedings or provide feedback. Bahrke wants the county to enforce the laws they have on the books.

Since filing suit against the county, the case has seen attempts to move the case from circuit court to federal court, add others to the lawsuit, and dismiss it entirely. You can listen to our full interview with Bahrke on our Podcasts page. We will offer the same opportunity to Door County and Camp Zion officials.  

COVID keeps Door County Public Health's phone ringing

The ever-changing landscape due to the pandemic is keeping the phones ringing at the Door County Public Health Department. In recent weeks, the Omicron variant has caused the Centers for Disease Control to change quarantine and isolation times, alter who is eligible for vaccine boosters, and suggest different masks to be used. Door County Public Health Officer Sue Powers says the science around the pandemic is always changing, leaving many people confused about best practices to stay healthy.

Powers encourages people to get vaccinated and follow the proper mitigation strategies to stay safe. She also hopes people stay patient as hospitals and testing sites are overwhelmed.

Kewaunee County cases skyrocket

The number of COVID-19 positive tests nearly doubled this week in Kewaunee County.  After reporting 230 cases last week, Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported Friday that 421 more positive tests of COVID-19 were confirmed this week.  The alarmingly high number of cases was offset by a decrease of hospitalization by four and no deaths.  The county’s number of hospitalizations and deaths tends to lag behind the state’s reporting.  There were 368 recoveries noted in the Kewaunee County COVID-19 update. 

 

On the vaccination front, 53.4 percent of Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  Kewaunee County ranks 51st out of the 72 counties in the state for the percentage of residents vaccinated.

 

Kewaunee County Public Health is taking appointments for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or booster on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Call 920 388-7160 for an appointment.   

 

 

City of Sturgeon Bay looking to rejuvenate parks in 2022

 

The City of Sturgeon Bay recently wrapped up a project to expand the beach at Otumba park last summer, and are now shifting their focus to improving some other aspects of other parks. One thing being looked into for 2022 is the pavilion at Sunset Park. Director of Municipal Services at the City of Sturgeon Bay Mike Barker says the city is hoping to start the project in spring or summer of 2022 and that the project would include a new roof on the pavilion, as well as covering the outside with cultured stone similar to the pavilion at Otumba park, as well as do some fine tune painting.

School districts trying to keep substitute pools afloat

Your local school district would not mind talking to you if you would like to be a substitute teacher. School districts across the state including Green Bay and Kewaunee have had to go to virtual learning in recent weeks due to staffing shortages. Kewaunee Superintendent Scott Fritz told Door County Daily News that they were five substitutes short of what is recommended for consecutive days this week before they pulled the plug on in-person classes on Wednesday. Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke said their own substitute shortage is part of the reason why they made masking mandatory for all beginning on Thursday.

Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel said before winter break that they were holding on with the substitutes they have in their pool.

Luxemburg-Casco Superintendent Glenn Schlender says they know they have a short bench when it comes to their substitute pool, but they tried to be proactive ahead of the holidays.

Washington Island School closed its school to in-person learning as a precaution when it had positive cases in the school. The school board voted on Thursday to return to in-person learning with new mitigation protocols in place for Monday. One of those new standards will require students to wear only CDC-approved face masks and disallow gaiters.

 

You can contact your local school district to see what their requirements are for substitute teachers. 

Clay set to depart Door County Land Trust

Door County Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay is leaving the organization’s top post in the middle of March after five years on the job. Clay came to the Door County Land Trust in 2016 after 10 years as the executive director of the Illinois Audubon Society. His conservation achievements cover over 1,100 acres of land ranging from Washington Island to the Door County Land Trust’s first-ever acquisition at Stony Creek in Southern Door. Board President Donna Hake thanks Clay for his service to the organization, adding that he accomplished a lot during his time.

Clay and his wife will return to Illinois after he departs his role on March 11th where he hopes to continue his career in conservation, but just a little closer to his children. Hake says the board is working on quickly finding Clay’s replacement, adding they will be patient in finding the right person for the job.

 

Picture of Tom from DCLT, Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve, photo by Dan Eggert

 

FROM TOM CLAY

Dear Friend,

For everything there is a season. After five years at the helm of Door County Land Trust, I have made the difficult decision that it is time for my wife Lisa and I to return to Illinois to be closer to family. It is with both sadness and anticipation of new opportunities that I announce my plans to leave Door County Land Trust.

 

Door County Land Trust is stronger than ever. The Land Trust is far greater than any one individual—it is a collective of passionate and driven individuals who believe strongly in protecting the Door Peninsula, its islands and surrounding waters.

 

Over the past five years the Land Trust has protected an additional 1100 acres of ecologically significant lands. It has garnered community support for places beloved by the community, including Pebble Beach, Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural Area, Chambers Island Nature Preserve, the first-ever land acquisition at Stony Creek in Southern Door, and more. And, most importantly, it has built the foundation to increase its land protection and its care of these protected lands in the coming years.

 

I will transition out of the office until March 11, but I leave the Land Trust in highly capable hands. Board President Donna Hake and our leadership staff members are poised to continue leading the organization without missing a beat.

 

It has been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated group of conservationists and supporters. Feel free to contact me in the office at (920)746-1359, or you may reach Board President Donna Hake at (920) 746-6709 or cranetrain@aol.com.

 

Yours in conservation,
Tom

ADRC suspends in-person dining

You will have to carry out your meals or request Meals on Wheels from the Door County Aging and Disability Resource Center beginning on Monday.

 

The Door County Health and Human Services Department announced on Thursday it would be temporarily suspending in-person dining until the area is removed from the critically high transmission rate list curated by the state. The decision was made to make sure there are enough people available to support the Meals on Wheels program.

 

The carryout and Meals on Wheels programs will be available and other ADRC services will still be offered in-person.

Kewaunee County closes trails; sheriff stresses snowmobile safety

With the many trails opened this week for snowmobiling, your safety is the main concern of many in the law enforcement community.

 

All four of Door County’s snowmobile zones are open for riding as of Friday morning, though they are all reporting poor conditions. Kewaunee County opened two of its four sections earlier this week but closed them as of Friday morning due to a lack of fresh snow and melting. The Kewaunee Moonriders snowmobile club told its Facebook followers that they are out moving snow from the wind and working with what they have, but admits they are still one more snowstorm away from opening their trails for the season.

 

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski urges snowmobilers to operate their machines with caution, especially if they have to use a ditch to get to a marked trail.

The region saw its first snowmobile-related death earlier this week in Oconto County when a 56-year-old woman from Wausaukee died after the vehicle left the trail and hit a tree. A 57-year-old Wausaukee man was also injured as a result of the crash. The DNR, the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, and the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office are still investigating the incident.

Supreme Court splits on vaccine mandates

You will not be required to get vaccinated by the federal government unless you work in specific capacities in the health care field the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. 

 

The nation’s highest court ruled 6-3 against requiring employers with more than 100 people to either get vaccinated or get tested weekly. The majority opinion said that neither OSHA nor the U.S. Congress has ever issued such a mandate.

 

In a closer vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that health care facilities receiving federal funding could still require their employees to get vaccinated. The majority opinion pointed out that the Department of Health and Human Services' core mission is to ensure that the health care providers who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients protect their patients’ health and safety.

 

Rep. Mike Gallagher applauded the decision. We have his full statement below:

“President Biden’s sweeping health mandate on private employers was a gross abuse of federal power that would have crushed businesses already struggling from the ongoing workforce crisis. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down this effort is a massive win for freedom and rightly recognizes that a President’s authorities are not limitless.”

Three's company for Omicron

The United States as a whole has seen an uptick in the amount of COVID-19 cases and a study conducted by Discovery Ltd shows that the Pfizer vaccine's effectiveness against the Omicron variant may be less effective. When testing the theory, results came back that the vaccine was only 33% effective against the Omicron variant compared to that of 80% effective against the Delta variant. With this news coming out people everywhere are being encouraged to get their booster shots as scientists say there is proof that a third dose of the vaccine can improve effectiveness in terms of fighting off COVID-19 infection.

What to know with ice fishing season in full force

The middle of winter is now upon us and you can now participate in one of the area’s most popular winter activities. Ice fishing is underway, but it can be dangerous because of the ice itself. Before going out to fish,  you should always check ice conditions to avoid hotspots of thin, cracking, or moving ice. According to Jeff Weatherwax, Captain of Tite Line Fishing Charters, local fishing has been taking place on the inner bays, with fishermen mostly heading out by foot and ATV’s. 

 

Weatherwax shares this tip with people who may be making the trek out on the ice to help them avoid hitting weak ice:

 

 

Weatherwax also mentions that fishermen should take the time to familiarize themselves with the area they are going to be fishing before heading out on the water. 

 

(Photo courtesy of planetware.com)

 

DMV extending drivers license renewal to those 60+

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles is extending the deadline for those ages 60 and above to renew their driver's license with no late fee, citing the recently elevated risk in health due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases. Licensed drivers who are 60 or older, and have a license that is set to expire anytime in January, February, or March, have until March 31, 2022 to renew it without having to pay a fee for being past a deadline. Also, drivers who are within the ages of 18-64 have the option to renew their driver's license online. The criteria for that also includes being a U.S citizen with an unrestricted driver’s license, have not had changes to medical conditions or history, and those who do not need a “Real ID”. That renewal process can be done at (wisconsindmv.gov/renewDL). 

 

The DMV reminds people that in person visits are limited to Driver’s License renewals, obtaining an ID to vote, and new residents to obtain identification. Those appointments can also be made online at the following link: 

(wisconsindmv.gov/DLGuide).

New York fire adds fuel to space heater safety talk

Local fire departments want you to be safe when it comes to heating your home with a space heater.

 

Door County residents got their first reminder of the danger a space heater could bring last month when the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department responded to an electrical fire at a home on Europe Bay Road that occurred because of an overloaded circuit with a space heater plugged into it. While that was contained quickly, a malfunctioning space heater caused an apartment building in the Bronx borough of New York City to catch fire over the weekend. That blaze killed 17 people and more than two dozen others to local hospitals for treatment, making it the deadliest in the city in approximately 30 years. Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says there are some common tips to remember when you are operating a space heater, including to always be at home when it is on.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission blames space heaters for more than 25,000 fires and 300 deaths each year. 

COVID-19 tests piling up with new cases

The surge of COVID-19 cases in Door County is driving up numbers across the board, including before you ever find out if you are positive or negative.

 

Door County Public Health announced Thursday 241 positive cases of COVID-19 out of 334 tests administered since Monday’s update. The total number of people hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic cracked the 200 mark with 15 new patients. The county also reported one additional death, though those numbers along with hospitalizations tend to lag from the state’s reporting.

 

Finding out you are positive for COVID-19 could be difficult, but for some, it is the waiting that is the hardest part. Door County Medical Center released a video on Wednesday apologizing to patients that it will take up to five days in some cases to get results from their PCR tests. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says they have been averaging about 250 tests administered a day when their capacity with three analyzers is approximately 170 per day.

At-home tests are becoming more readily available at stores after the holidays caused them to be in short supply. Heise says they work well, but you should make sure you test a second time if your results come back negative with the first one if you have symptoms.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases dropped for the first time since Christmas. The number of new cases still broke the 10,000 mark. 

Schlender set to retire from Luxemburg-Casco's top post

You will see a new leader for Luxemburg-Casco School District this July. Superintendent Glenn Schlender will retire from his role in June after being hired by the district in 2014. He has been telling district administrators and school board members about his decision for the last few weeks before he formally submits his request at this Monday’s school board meeting. Schlender says after four years on the job and 37 years in education, he is ready for some more family time.

Schlender’s major accomplishments include the passage of the $27.8 million building referendum in 2018 and the opening of the Ahnapee Diesel Tech program at the former middle school. State superintendent Jill Underly is expected to visit the area this week to learn about the district’s next endeavor addressing the skills gap in the region. Schlender says they are looking to build a new center on land the district owns near Stodola’s IGA where they would be able to cultivate careers in building construction similar to what is being done in Casco with the diesel technician program. 

SS Badger heads home ahead of winter fleet

Prepare for some long waits at Sturgeon Bay’s three bridges in the near future. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding released the list earlier this month of the over dozen ships that will get some work done in Sturgeon Bay before heading out in the spring for another year on the Great Lakes.  Many of the expected ships like the Wilfred Sykes, the Joseph Block, and the American Spirit are heading to Indiana first before they make the trip north to Sturgeon Bay. Unlike past years, there will be no schedule of arrivals for maritime lovers to check off as boats start coming in. Destination Sturgeon Bay and the Door County Maritime Museum are instead encouraging those interested to check out the MarineTraffic and BoatNerd websites for tracking information. 

 

 

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding did say goodbye to one of its dock tenants on Wednesday. Sarter Marine Towing started its journey to Ludington, Mich. at approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon to deliver the SS Badger. The Lake Michigan-based car ferry had been in Sturgeon Bay since early November for its quinquennial maintenance and a new paint job.

 

Picture courtesy of Sarter Marine Towing on Facebook, where you can keep track of their journey here

 

Lincoln barn destroyed by fire

A heat lamp is to blame for a barn blaze in the Town of Lincoln Tuesday night. The owner of the farm located on County S arrived at his home to find smoke coming out of the barn. By the time crews arrived on the scene shortly after 8:30 p.m., the 30 x 40-foot barn structure was completely engulfed by flames. Luxemburg Fire Chief Lew Duchateau says firefighters turned their attention first to the home nearby and the owner’s chickens.

The home did not suffer any additional damage and all the chickens were saved, but the barn is considered a total loss. Fire departments from Casco, Kewaunee, Algoma, Southern Door, Brussels-Union-Gardner, and New Franken all provided assistance fighting the blaze. The Denmark Fire Department was on standby just in case another call came in and the Kewaunee County Highway Department, Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, and Luxemburg Rescue also provided support. Crews were on scene for approximately three hours, leaving the site around midnight.

Kewaunee school district going virtual, Sevastopol masks up

The Kewaunee School District will be switching to virtual schooling for three days starting tomorrow and is hoping to return to face to face on Tuesday of next week. Monday was already a scheduled workday for staff.

 

Superintendent Scott Fritz says the district has seen an uptick in all illnesses, not just COVID-19. He added that the district has had five positions vacant the last two days because of the increased number of illnesses and the small substitute teacher pool. 

 

The school will use this time away to perform a deep cleaning and sanitization of the school buildings and facilities.

 

Kewaunee is not the only district trying to weather the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Sevastopol announced this week that masks will be mandatory for all students beginning on Thursday. According to the district's dashboard on its website, there are 12 active cases of COVID-19 in the school among students and staff. 

Door County receiving resources for Alzheimer's

For the first time ever, Door County will now have the funding to hire a dementia care specialist. The state of Wisconsin will provide the funding to the county, and the county will then hire the appropriate staff. Some of the things the dementia care specialist will be able to do for patients suffering from the disease include performing cognitive screens to see if patients need to be referred for further help, providing support for family caregivers, and making sure patients are still getting regular exercise as well as making sure patients receive social interaction with family members or friends.

 

(Photo courtesy of oaapn.org)

Candidate Forums being offered for Spring races

Door County's League of Women Voters organization is offering candidate forums for local races coming up in April.  The LWVDC is asking either candidates or any citizen to request a forum if it is a contested seat and at least two of the candidates agree to participate.  Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Spring Forums will be done online and made available to the public through the LWVDC’s social media platforms.  Dan Powers, the voter service forum coordinator, shares the valuable information that candidate forums offer.  

 

 

The deadline for a forum request to the LWVDC is January, 20.  If a primary is needed, a possible forum would be held before the February 15 primary election.  Otherwise, forums will be held in March and prior to the April 5 vote.   The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that engages the community to promote positive solutions to public policy issues through education and advocacy. 

UW-Green Bay teaming up with Toft Point to care for Door County land

The University of Wisconsin Green Bay has formed a partnership with Toft Point Inc. in hopes to preserve the condition of a portion of land in the Door County area. Toft Point is a peninsula that is on the Lake Michigan side of Door County that is located just outside of Baileys Harbor. The state nature area is made up of 732 acres that includes forest and wetland type terrains. The University actually owns part of the 732 acres of land, and the goal of this partnership is to maintain the natural area and continue to use it for scientific research, as well as scientific education. 

 

UW-Green Bay Professor and Director of the University Conference Center for Biodiversity Bob Howe explains how the area holds more value than a common park: 

 

 

Gifts to benefit Toft Point can be made payable to the UW-Green Bay Foundation Toft Point Stewardship Fund.

 

(Photo courtesy of uwgb.edu)

 

Gibraltar school district looking to fill two board vacancies

The Gibraltar area school district has two openings on its board of education due to the resignations of Angela Sherman and Amie Carriere, and are looking to fill those roles as soon as possible. Those appointed will be serving on the board until the spring election which will take place on April 4th, 2023. Those interested must file a letter of interest in the district office stating that they are a qualified elector and desire to be considered for the appointment board. The letter of interest must be filed by January 24th, 2022 by 4:00 p.m. Letters should be addressed to the Gibraltar Board Clerk c/o Evelyn Eckhardt, 3942 Highway 42, Fish Creek, WI. Letters should also include candidates name, address, phone number, and a written statement indicating the reason for seeking appointment to the board. Candidates must be a qualified elector residing within the boundaries of the Gibraltar Area School District, and will be interviewed by the board prior to appointments being made.

Biggest bunkering barge being built in your backyard

The Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has started construction on a Liquefied Natural Gas bunkering barge that is expected to be the biggest one ever constructed in the United States. The project was announced in September, but construction is just getting underway. Construction is expected to be completed under contract with Crowley, who is the largest independent operator of tank vessels in the United States. The vessel will be 416 feet and will have the capacity for a little over 3 million gallons of Liquefied Natural Gas. The vessel is expected to serve its purpose of better energy sources for ships on the east coast around 2024. 

 

(Photo courtesy of Fincantieri website)

Proposed Kinnard Farms permit draws ire

You could see more cows come to Kewaunee County if Kinnard Farms in Casco chose to max out on its permit allowance.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has placed a maximum of 21,450 animal units (approximately 15,000 cows) on Kinnard Farms under the proposed permit that had a hearing last week. The farm is currently operated with 11,369 animal units (approximately 8,000 cows), approximately 1,500 less than it proposed when it went through the permitting process in November 2017. One milking cow is equal to 1.40 animal units. The permit suggests the farm anticipates over 103 million gallons of manure and process 2,045 tons in solid waste in 2022. The liquid manure production is less than what was reported in the 2017 application.

 

The permit also shows Kinnard Farms operating on more land with over 16,200 acres under its nutrient management plan, compared to 11,400 acres at the time of the 2017 permit. In addition to having the proper storage for the liquid manure generated by the increased herd, Kinnard Farms is required to install a groundwater monitoring system at some of its land application sites. Kinnard Farms has to submit an initial plan for groundwater monitoring by March 31st and an update by September 30th.  

 

A Wisconsin Supreme Court decision last summer opened the door for the DNR to offer farms with an animal unit cap and other conditions such as groundwater monitoring. The case stemmed from Kinnard Farms nearly doubling the size of their herd in 2012 and the lawsuits that soon followed.

 

Environmental advocates have expressed their concern ahead of its official approval. Midwest Environmental Advocates Executive Director Tony Wilkin Gibart told news outlets that the DNR is missing the opportunity to develop that limit as a meaningful way to address the water contamination crisis in Kewaunee County." The permit fact sheet does point out that the “Kinnard production site does show persistent exceedances of groundwater quality standards for nitrates and bacteria.”  Evan Feinauer from Clean Wisconsin applauded the groundwater monitoring requirement, but added that it does not go far enough.

 

The public can still weigh in on the proposed permit until January 25th.

Registration now open for Century Ride

The 43rd Door County Century Ride is set for Sunday, September 11th, 2022 and you can register today for it. The Century Ride is a fall bike ride that is built for riders of all abilities and riding styles, with course lengths of 30, 50, 70, or 100 miles. The Century Ride does not have a mass start, rather all riders are encouraged to start right around sunrise with the short course riders departing no later than 10:00 a.m. on race day. Registration for the event is $65 through February 28th. That registration includes a free dinner and two adult beverages for riders. Riders' families have the option to purchase their own picnic tickets. The event will also include entertainment from Jackson CR.O.W. and Conscious Pilot. 


For any further details and information visit https://www.raceentry.com/door-county-century-bike-ride/race-information

Farmers excited to tell their story to different audiences

Lend them your ear and area farmers will let you know how they are trying to continually improve their practices.

 

It has been over five years since farmers and community members came together to discuss well water concerns in the karst regions of Kewaunee and Door counties. Out of those discussions came some different regulations that would later provide the framework for the state’s NR-151 rules limiting where and when farmers could apply manure to their fields.

 

The quest to identify alternative practices also came out of those discussions to help farmers explore new ways to improve soil health and better protect the land and water. In November, the Climate Change Coalition of Door County visited Brey Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay to learn more about their operation, specifically about their management intensive grazing system they installed in 2021. Lauren Brey says she appreciates the opportunity to speak with other community members and see how they can work together.

Brey will be one of the speakers at Thursday’s Climate Change Coalition of Door County’s forum on soil health and regenerative agriculture, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor. The program will also be live-streamed. The public will also be able to hear about farmers in their practices when Peninsula Pride Farms hosts their annual meeting on February 15th at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds beginning at 10 a.m.

 

 

United Way of Door County exceeds $781,000 milestone

Your generosity will go a long way in benefiting your friends and neighbors in Door County.

 

The United Way of Door County announced on Tuesday that it raised $781,317 during its annual campaign that ended last week. That is over $6,000 more than their target of $775,000 and $29,000 more than their previous record of approximately $752,000. After not hitting their goal for nearly 10 years, Executive Director Amy Kohnle is excited the community has helped them reach it two years in a row.

The generosity of the community will allow the organization to meet the needs of the applications submitted, support their internal operations, and save funds for emergencies in the future.

Furnace catches fire in Brussels

You have another reminder to get your furnace checked during this month’s cold snap after a furnace caught fire near the Brussels/Forestville line in Door County Tuesday morning. Crews from the Southern Door and Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department made their way to Marsh Road just before 7:15 a.m. after the trailer home’s owner called 911. The owner’s furnace caught fire and stayed ablaze even after they turned off the unit’s fuel source. The fire eventually went out on its own before crews even needed to extinguish it and crews were gone less than a half-hour. BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says it is a reminder to make sure a heating and cooling professional visits your home this winter to make sure you are safe for the remainder of winter.

Your furnace will likely get a workout over the next two weeks with single digit lows expected for 10 of the 14 days.  

Church closes to public, concert canceled

The Griffon String Quartet concert planned for January 12 has been canceled at the First Presbyterian Church in Green Bay.  According to a Midsummer’s Music news release on Monday, the “Gather with the Griffon” event will not be happening since the church closed the building for worship and other uses due to increasing COVID-19 numbers in the area.  The Griffon String Quartet will be offering a virtual performance in the future besides the planned in-person events in February, including the Door County Reads at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor on February 12.  Currently working with children in northeast Wisconsin, the Griffon String Quartet members engage to use the highly interactive program called the Einstein Series to teach students in private or group lessons as part of educational outreach. 

 

(photo courtesy of Midsummers Music)

Door County expecting increase in people for Packer playoff games

The Green Bay Packers have made it almost a yearly tradition to host playoff games at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. With those games bringing more people to the area, Green Bay doesn’t always have the capacity to host the amount of people that come to the area for the game and festivities outside the stadium. That is where areas such as Door County see an increase in people coming to local businesses and establishments for things such as watch parties and some people even need a place to stay for the weekend before heading to Lambeau for the game. Director of Communications and Public Relations at Destination Door County Jon Jarosh says there is no official number in terms of how many people will be coming to Door County around Packer playoff games but says the businesses that can expect to see an increase in business are places such as bars, restaurants, and hotels:

 


 

The Packers are the No. 1 seed and will have home field advantage throughout the entirety of the playoffs, and you can expect to see more people in the area than normal in the winter months due to the Packers having such a universal fanbase.

 

Local contestant to appear on Jeopardy

Northeast Wisconsin has had citizens take part in popular game shows such as Wheel of Fortune before, and now Northeast Wisconsin will once again be adding to its list of citizens appearing on game shows on Tuesday. Brigid Hogan from Ephraim is getting set to appear on the game show Jeopardy. Jeopardy is one of the most popular quiz shows in the country, and quizzes contestants on a variety of topics. Hogan will be taking on philosophy professor Steve Chanderbahn from Lewiston, New York, and engineer manager Amy Schneider from Oakland, California. Schneider has won 29 consecutive games, earning over $1 million in the process. 

 

You will be able to watch Hogan compete on WLUK-TV (Fox 11) at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 11th. 


 

(Photo courtesy of Ohio.edu website)

Death, hospitalization added after 300 test positive for COVID-19

Almost three out of every four Door County residents tested for COVID-19 came back positive this weekend as the surge continues across the state.

 

Out of the 409 tests performed since last Thursday’s situation update, 300 came back positive. Door County Public Health estimates another six probable cases are out there. That brought the total number of positive tests since the pandemic to 5,149, or just over 20 percent of those who got tested. The county also reported one additional death and one more hospitalization from over the weekend, though those numbers tend to lag based on the state’s reporting. The entire region including Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties are in the critically high category for disease activity. Thanks in part to four record days for positive tests, the seven-day average of 7,637 is more than double what it was two weeks ago according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

 

The Door County Public Health Department will host a vaccine clinic on Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Door County Government Center for those ages 12 and up. 

 

Tests Performed: 25,528 (+409)
Positive: 5,149 (+300)
Negative: 20,069 (+103)
Probable: 310 (+6)
Total Ever Hospitalized: 197 (+1)
Death: 42 (+1)

 

 

 

 

More snowmobile trails open in Door, Kewaunee counties

You will be able to ride your snowmobile on more trails beginning Monday morning.

 

The Door County Parks Department opened up the north and central zones on Saturday, warning snowmobilers that the conditions would be poor.  The county did note that two portions of the north zone on Corridor 3 near the Ephraim Beach and Corridor 1 by County Q in Sister Bay would remain closed due to open water. That means all four snowmobile zones in Door County are open for riders with the southeast zone offering the best conditions.

 

In Kewaunee County,  the Algoma Snowriders Club along with county officials announced Monday that sections 1 and 2 would open for snowmobiling at 9 a.m. on Monday. That includes trail sections in Algoma and Red River. A lack of snow is to blame for other sections near Kewaunee and Luxemburg south of Alaska and west of Casco to remain closed. The Kewaunee Moonriders posted last week that they were out packing and working with the snow they do have on their trails but believe they are still a good snowstorm away from being able to open. 

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Fire ruins Algoma garage

Plans to open an Algoma garage as a new business are on hold after a fire damaged the service area Sunday night.

 

Crews from the Algoma, Southern Door, and Kewaunee Fire Departments tended to the blaze just after 5 p.m. at the former Meyer’s Deep Rock gas station. One of the building’s owners was inside the building when the fire occurred and he had to be transported to a Green Bay hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation. Especially with wind chills well below zero, Algoma Fire Chief Tom Ackerman says the results of the fire could have been a lot worse.

No cause of the fire has been determined yet. Crews were able to get it under control in about 15 minutes and were back in service by 7:15 p.m. Melissa Chantrel, who is also one of the building’s owners, went to Facebook Sunday night to thank the Algoma Fire Department for their efforts and expressed her appreciation for the entire community. Plans were in the works to revive the building this spring and Chantrel still hopes to bring it back to life once they are able to take stock of the damage. 

 

Photo courtesy of Kevin Naze

Extreme cold hitting Door and Kewaunee Counties

The National Weather Service in Green Bay issued a Wind Chill Advisory for the entire Door and Kewaunee County areas. The advisory will stay in effect until 12 p.m. on Monday, January 10th. Wind chills are expected to range from 20-30 degrees below zero. These wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 20-30 minutes. You are reminded to wear the appropriate winter clothing if you must go outdoors. 

 

For more weather information and updates be sure to check doorcountydailynews.com

 

(Photo courtesy of U.S. National Weather Service in Green Bay Facebook Page)

Community Spotlight: School custodians of Door and Kewaunee counties

Behind every clean school in Door and Kewaunee counties, you will find a team of custodians that helped make it happen.

 

School districts across the state received millions of dollars to help make their buildings a safer place to learn and had to adjust with additional supplies and more advanced cleaning protocols. Some districts have relied on them for other duties such as cafeteria help or bus drivers just to cover some of their other staffing shortages.

 

Sturgeon Bay School District recently shined the spotlight on its own maintenance team at a recent school board meeting. In addition to the extra cleaning needed because of the pandemic, the crew had to also navigate a summer full of construction projects at all of their buildings. Business manager Jake Holtz says their maintenance team is humble despite all of the extra duties they took on during 20 months of uncertainty.

Over 50 people at the public school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties are tasked with maintenance or custodial duties. There are several others providing the same duties at the area's private schools.

 

Picture courtesy of Sturgeon Bay School District

 

Click here to listen to our full interview with Jake Holtz

 

Below is a list of the custodians/maintenance professionals at the area's public school districts. We apologize if anyone is missing.

 

Sturgeon Bay: Joseph Anderson, Stacy Cihlar, Robert Kramer, Jerry Reynolds, Cindy Wolter, Caryn Vogel, Amie Schommer, Donald Mallien, Jeffrey Jones, John Suillivan

 

Sevastopol: Kim Bagnall, Peg Bagnall, Sandy Beauchamp, Gail Wilke, Patty Weber, Dennis Peterson

 

Gibraltar: Cole Biwer, Zach Higginbotham, Mary Kaye, Rick Kjell, Joe Korn, Mark Tesnow, Eric Warner, Leigh Zielke

 

Southern Door: Marci Boulanger, Roy Dufek, Chris Ellingson, Russ Kallin, Daniel Londo, Jay Schukow, Phil Simon

 

Kewaunee: Austin Richard, Eric Tulachka, James Ferron, Rich Kinstetter, Teresa Wessel

 

Luxemburg-Casco: Gene Dejardin, Don Fameree, Heather Fameree-Whipp, Rochea Karnz, Perry Konop, Lee LeLou, Roy Lindgren, David Tlachac, Jeff Treml

 

Algoma: Steve Jerabek, Lori Everard, Rene Velchek, Jonathan Novak, Rebecca Nowak

Washington Island: Brennan VerBoomen

Whistling Swan Inn sold

One of Door County’s oldest and historically significant hospitality businesses has been sold.  According to a press release, the Whistling Swan & Restaurant in Fish Creek was recently sold by Bill and Michelle Tressler to Amos Goaz with the inn remaining in operation and the restaurant opening in the spring.  Designated on the National Register of historic places in 1997, the building, early 1900 circa,  was originally named Welckers Casino.  The Tresslers stated “The Whistling Swan will forever be part of Door County and Fish Creek history; we feel confident that the new owner will ensure it’s bright future.”  You can read the complete news release below.       

 

After 18 years as stewards of the beautiful and historical Whistling Swan Inn & Restaurant, we would like to share the bittersweet news of its sale to a new caretaker. The Whistling Swan will forever be part of Door County and Fish Creek history; we feel confident that the new owner will ensure it’s bright future. The inn will remain open this winter and after a brief respite, the restaurant will reopen under the same name in Spring of 2022. We would like to thank General Manager, Scott Zimmerman, the true heart and soul of the Swan for so many great years. He created the warm laid back vibe that kept guests coming back year after year. We’d also like to thank Executive Chef, Adam Schierl, for creating the most delicious, soulful food that our guests dreamed about between visits. Thank you to all the amazing staff members who worked for us throughout the past 18 seasons. You all have enriched our lives in so many ways. And finally thank you to all of the patrons who graced us with your presence. If you have a gift certificate to the Whistling Swan, please be assured that the new owner will be honoring those gift certificates. Thank you all for your understanding and patience during this transition.

Sincerely,

Bill & Michelle Tressler

 

(photo courtesy of Whistling Swan)

TAP Theater welcomes new Artistic Director

The TAP Theater located on 3rd Avenue in Sturgeon Bay announced that they have brought in new Artistic Director Jacob Jannssen. The transition committee recommended the hiring of Jannssen and the TAP’s board of directors voted to accept the recommendation and appointed Jannssen as the new Artistic Director. Jannssen is a native of Kiel, Wisconsin and holds a BFA in Acting from UW-Stevens Point. Jannssen’s career up until this point has had him working in New York and Washington, DC but Jannssen says he is “thrilled to be coming home”. Jannssen says one his first tasks will be connecting with the TAP community and that his favorite part of the job is “the challenge of putting together a thrilling season for our audience”. 

 

The TAP Theater is currently planning their 2022 season of events.

 

Senator Johnson announces third term

After months of speculation, U.S Senator Ron Johnson announced Sunday his intentions to run for a third term.

 

The Wisconsin Republican explained his reasoning in an opinion published by the Wall Street Journal. He says that as much as he would like to retire, he believes America is in too much peril for him to do so. 

 

Johnson joins John Berman, Brad Beyer and Justin Doty in the race for the Republican nomination. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, state Treasurer Sarah Godlew­ski,  Milwaukee Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson are among the Democrats that have lined up to challenge for the seat held by Johnson since he was first elected in 2010. 

Keeping on track with your New Year resolutions

Suppose you are waning on your resolutions for 2022 already.  In that case, a Sturgeon Bay psychologist says making a new behavior a new habit for your New Year’s resolutions requires patience as well as willpower. Dr. Dennis White suggests that our feelings sometimes get in the way of accomplishing our goals. He says you need to have a triple-whammy of behavior, combined with consistent thoughts and feelings.

 

 

Dr. White encourages you to hang in there with the new behavior for a while, and your emotions will eventually catch up. You can listen to the entire Mental Health Minute with Dr. Dennis White below.

 

 

Memory cafes return to Kewaunee County

Your loved ones will be able to once again connect with others in a comfortable setting beginning again this month. The Lakeshore Memory Cafes meet on the second Wednesday of every month in Algoma and the third Wednesday of every month in Kewaunee. The gatherings are for people experiencing early stage dementia or mild memory loss and their loved ones. Dementia Specialist Ariel Yang says the events help people who may isolate because of their diagnosis get out of their homes and meet others.

The Lakeshore Memory Cafes are free to attend and registration is not required. The ADRC of the Lakeshore will also conduct memory screenings next month to help address any concerns they have about possible symptoms of dementia. They are scheduled for February 16th at the Algoma Public Library from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m and the Kewaunee ADRC building on February 23rd from 9 a.m. to noon.

Fire and Ice Weekend set for February

The Fire and Ice weekend in Sturgeon Bay is set for February 18 - February 19th. The weekend will start with a candlelight ski/hike at Crossroads at Big Creek on Friday night, followed on Saturday with the carving of Ice Sculptures by professional carvers, and then the annual Fire and Ice Dinner at Stone Harbor which this year will have a black and white theme, and will include an auction and live entertainment from Big Mouth & The Power Tool Horns, the final event will be the “Winter on the Water” firework show that will be set off from the train bridge by Sonny's Italian Kitchen. 

 

Destination Sturgeon Bay Director Cameron Ehlers-Kwaterski says that you are able to reserve a table for the dinner and offers direction on how to do so, as well as more details about all of the events taking place

 

 

Tickets are still available on the Destination Sturgeon Bay Website

 

(Photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay and sturgeonbay.net)

 

Low-cost radon testing kits available

You can battle against the second leading cause of lung cancer with a simple test from the Kewaunee County Public Health Department. The department is selling radon test kits at its office for $8 each for residents to use in their home. Radon comes from trace amount of natural uranium in the ground, seeping through cracks in the foundation of homes. Kewaunee County Public Health’s Cindy Kinnard says it can be a silent killer over time.

You can pick up your test kit from the Kewaunee County Public Health Department. Governor Tony Evers declared January National Radon Action Month in Wisconsin earlier this year.

Sturgeon Bay native humbled by Packers Fan Hall of Fame nomination

You may soon see Cari Emmerich’s name enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

 

The Sturgeon Bay native is one of 10 finalists for the honor that was created by the Packers organization back in 1998. Emmerich was nominated by her daughter, which caught her by surprise when she was told that not only was her name entered but that she was also a finalist. Emmerich attends almost every Packers game that she can while watching the others in her Packers fan cave at her home in Green Bay. Football has played a large role in her life, whether it was playing flag football with her friends at Sevastopol or listening to games while working with her dad at the farm where they raised sheep. She says if she does win, it will be because of her dad.

Emmerich admits even though she would love to win, the other nine finalists boast pretty impressive resumes as well. You can vote for Emmerich online by clicking this link before January 31st.

 

Picture and nomination letter originally posted at Packers.com

 

We would like to nominate Carri Emmerich into the Packer Hall of Fame. Carri is by far the biggest Packer fan you will ever meet. She lives and breathes the Green Bay Packers 24/7. Carri's love for the Packers started at an early age. As a child, Carri would bond with her father by watching Packer games together. Every Packer game she would sit down with her tape recorder and commentate the games. She would then replay her tape recordings the following week, waiting for the next Packer game to be played. As time grew on Carri retained all of her knowledge of Packer games, rosters and players. She can rattle off the names and rosters of Packer players she grew up watching. In fact, in Carri's household, her husband's friends call Carri to talk about the Packer games. She remembers every play, good or bad. While most men have their "man cave" in their basement, Carri has her Packer cave. She has Packer memorabilia hanging up everywhere. Carri was lucky enough to marry the man of her dreams who just happened to have Packer season tickets passed down to him. Carri and Joel have been married for 34 years and in that time she has only missed a few Packer home games. Rain, shine or blizzard she cheering on the green and gold. Carri has passed along her love for the Packers to her children. She has instilled the motto "Sundays are for God, family and the Green Bay Packers." Every Sunday we watch the Packer game at her house or under the bright lights of Lambeau Field. Most families go up north or on vacation, we go to Packer games together as a family. When the Packers are away you will not find Carri sitting down watching the games. She usually paces back and forth behind the couch from the start of the game until the end of game. She is not able to eat or drink. She is dedicated to the 60 minutes the Packers play each week. There are so many stories we could share about Carri's love for the Packers. She is a very passionate person, especially when it comes to her Green Bay Packers and family. We feel very lucky to have her as a wife, mother and grandmother. GO PACK GO!

 

Humane society looking for foster homes

You can help change the life of an animal and give the Wisconsin Humane Society a helping hand.

 

The WHS is looking for foster families to help take in animals in hopes they will be adopted in the future. Over 1,000 foster families were used to take care of approximately 4,000 animals last year according to the Wisconsin Humane Society.

 

The WHS is always looking for foster families to help alleviate the stress on its volunteers at its campuses across the state including Door County, but the extra emphasis comes as it is running into its own staffing shortages due to COVID-19. Adoptions have been suspended at WHS facilities in Racine, Ozaukee, and Door counties temporarily as a result. Vice President of Communication Angela Speed says becoming a foster family for one of their animals is a worthwhile experience.

You can contact the WHS if you would like to learn more about becoming a foster parent to an animal.

 

 

LeGrave, Rivera earn Fairest nods

You will find new faces reigning over the Kewaunee County Fair this summer. Grace LeGrave was crowned Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair and Lexi Rivera was named Junior Fairest of the Fair during a crowning competition and ceremony held at the fairgrounds' expo hall Friday night.

 

LeGrave was the 2015 Kewaunee County Junior Fairest of the Fair and helped start the county's rabbit hopping program. She earned her 4-H Key Award in 2019 and earned her Bronze and Silver Awards through Girl Scouts. She is currently a student at Fox Valley Technical College studying to be a veterinary technician.

 

Rivera attends Pulaski High School, but has become heavily involved in the Kewaunee County 4-H Dog Project and in the Bells of Luxemburg 4-H Club. She is also a member of her school's FFA chapter and was a member of the National Junior Honor Society.  

 

LeGrave and Mackayla DeBaker competed for the Fairest crown while Rivera and Evangeline Robinson went against each other for Junior Fairest. Each contestant had to complete a 10-minute interview with the judge's panel before going in front of friends, family, and Fairest supporters to introduce themselves, announce an event, and answer an impromptu question about being the Fairest of the Fair.

 

In addition to becoming the faces of the 105th Kewaunee County Fair when it takes place in July, LeGrave and Rivera will have the opportunity to visit other events in the area as Fairest and Junior Fairest.  You can listen to our interview with LeGrave and Rivera below.

 

 

Kewaunee County COVID-19 cases continue to surge

The continuing trend of high positivity rates for COVID-19 cases this past week in Kewaunee County was offset with only a slight increase in hospitalizations and no deaths.  Kewaunee County Public Health reported that there were 230 positive tests since the new year began.  The number of active cases went from 76 to 185 with hospitalizations increasing from five to nine.  The county’s number of hospitalizations and deaths tends to lag behind the state’s reporting.  There were 154 recoveries noted in the Kewaunee County COVID-19 update. 

 

On the vaccination front, 53.2 percent of Kewaunee County residents have received at least one dose and exactly 50 percent are fully vaccinated.    

 

Local law enforcement shares recruitment challenges

Three law enforcement leaders from Door and Kewaunee counties held a press conference on Friday at the Sturgeon Bay Police Department addressing the challenges in recruiting officers to their respective forces.  The hour-long forum was hosted by First District Representative Joel Kitchens and featured Sturgeon Bay Police Chief Clint Henry, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski , and Captain Carl Waterstreet of the Door County Sheriff’s Department.  The three law enforcement officials covered topics ranging from dealing with limited applicants for filling positions in their respective departments to a lack of resources in dealing with mental health encounters on a regular basis.  Sunday is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and you can watch the entire video of the panel discussion on the challenges local law enforcement agencies are facing below.     

 

 

 

 

Mentor Door County hosts event to support young women

You had the opportunity to join women from the Door County community earlier this week to make vision boards and talk about future plans. Mentor Door County is still a young organization that strives to help young women be prepared for their future, find their strengths, and outline their goals. The Vision Board event on January 5th was an example of a program following in the footsteps of the group’s overall mission. Dina Boettcher, the co-chair of the advisory team, describes the inspiration behind the event and the goals set for the time spent.

 

 

Although Mentor Door County is still relatively new, they have quite a few women on the advisory team focused on bringing support to young women in the community. One such event is a revamped version of their called Choose Your Own Path program, which debuted in August. This event was a chance for young women who are either high school seniors or just out of high school to meet with mentors from the community. The goal for Mentor Door County is to host another Choose Your Own Path event in the spring for the same age range of women. Information about the organization and upcoming events can be found on the Mentor Door County Facebook page.

Door County seeking better Broadband

The Door County area is known for many things but fast reliable broadband might not be one of them for many people. Door County currently has eight ISP’s (Internet service providers) which are companies that provide web access to people of a designated area. However, only one of those eight meets the criteria for good service speed in terms of upload and download speeds. The Door County Economic Development Corporation held a meeting last night with a source that provided instruction on how to get better broadband in Door County. Discussions have been started to gauge potential interest from internet service providers that would be responsible for installing networks in the area. The framework has been set for projects in Baileys Harbor and Liberty Grove, with another project conducted by Nsight Telservices that is already underway for Washington Island. Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation notes that this process is one that needs to be handled in the correct way, and asks that consumers stay patient being that for the entire peninsula to have better service it could range anywhere from a three to five year window.

Snowmobile season starting to ramp up in Door County

Over the past couple of days, areas of Door and Kewaunee Counties were blanketed with fresh snow which has snowmobilers eager to hit the trails. The state of Wisconsin is a premier destination for snowmobiling with nearly 200,000 registered snowmobiles hitting 25,000 miles of trail that is available. The DNR reminds all who ride to stay safe and take the necessary precautions to ensure a good time on the trails. Riders are reminded not to drink and drive, not to go faster than 55 mph on evening rides, to stay on the marked trails, and not to travel in unfamiliar areas. The Central and North zones of the Door County snowmobiling map are currently closed, the Southeast zone is open but not groomed, and the Southwest zone is open but it is noted that conditions are poor. 

 

Dean Simonar of Simonar Sports in Luxemburg says one of the more common mistakes riders make besides ignoring the above precautions is not taking care of their machine:

 

 

Updates on trail conditions will be provided on doorcountydailynews.com as they become available.

 

County to weigh options with former Younkers building, other downtown sites

You might see the former Younkers furniture building in Sturgeon Bay back on the market after the county purchased the property back in 2019.

 

The Door County Facilities and Parks Department presented the findings from its Downtown Sturgeon Bay Campus Study to over two dozen people in attendance both in-person and online. In addition to the former Younkers furniture building, it also looked at the future for the Sturgeon Bay branch of the Door County Library, the Miller Art Museum, and the Door County Historical Museum. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says while there are some plans on how to move forward with the two museums and the library, there is no immediate need for the former department store space as of right now.

Pabich says the next step is to bring the study to the county board where he expects there to be some recommendations made to figure out how to move forward with the prospective projects later this year. 

Nurse delivers Door County's Baby New Year

The third time was the charm for Door County Medical Center nurse Holly Neri. Along with her husband Jose, she delivered their second child on January 3rd. Mateo was the first baby born in Door County in 2022 mere hours before another family was scheduled to deliver their child. After going into pre-term labor twice the previous week only to be sent home hours later, Neri opted not to wake up her husband and 11-year-old son and drove to Door County Medical Center when she started feeling contractions again. Two hours later, the nearly 10 pound, 20.5 inch Mateo was born.

For having the first baby in Door County, the hospital did award the Neri family a congratulatory basket of goodies to mark the occasion.

 

Photo courtesy of Door County Medical Center

 

 

Governor seeks replacement for Kewaunee Court Circuit Judge

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is seeking to fill a seat on the bench in Kewaunee County after Circuit Court Judge Keith Mehn passed away last month following a battle with kidney cancer.

 

“Judge Mehn was a respected attorney and judge who demonstrated a deep commitment to both his profession and his community,” said Gov. Evers. “We offer our sincerest condolences to the Mehn family, his colleagues and the Kewaunee County community, and all those who mourn his loss.”

 

You can click this link to find the application. It must be returned no later than 5 p.m. on January 31st.

 

Prior to his death, Mehn filed his non-candidacy papers for this spring’s election. Jeffrey Wisnicky of Kewaunee and Kimberly Hardtke of Luxemburg returned their nomination papers and had them approved by the state. A third candidate, John Peterson of Luxemburg, is waiting for the state to approve his paperwork after returning it earlier this week.

DCMC curbing visitor access beginning Friday amid COVID surge

You may not be able to visit your loved ones at Door County Medical Center for a while after another record day for positive COVID-19 tests in Wisconsin.

 

Door County Medical Center announced on Thursday it would no longer allow visitors for hospitalized patients unless it is an end-of-life situation or a patient’s care plan would benefit from family support. Patients visiting the hospital for outpatient and clinic services are allowed one designated support person. The designated support person must be at least 18 years of age and are required to be in the patient room with a medical-grade mask on at all times. Visitors are allowed at the skilled nursing facility with restrictions.  The rules, which are listed in further detail below, apply to everyone regardless of vaccination status and are effective as of January 7th.

 

President and CEO Brian Stephens explains the reasoning behind the decision at this time.

 

 

The announcement came after HSHS hospitals in the Green Bay area also updated their visitor policies and the state announced 11,547 new positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday. 

Retiring firefighter honored for 27 years of service

The City of Sturgeon Bay honored a long-time firefighter who is retiring this week at its council meeting on Tuesday.  Mayor David Ward made a proclamation recognizing Wednesday as “Lt. Mike Smith Day” in Sturgeon Bay.   Smith, who has served over 27 years with the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, had his declaration read by Fire Chief Tim Dietman who noted his many accomplishments.

 

 

Dietman presented a special shadow box to Smith as a gift from the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department. Smith thanked the city and the SBFD for the opportunity to work as a firefighter over the years.

 

 

Smith served as the vice president and treasurer of Firefighters Local 2682 for over 24 years.  He was promoted to lieutenant in 2016 and officially retired on Wednesday.

 

(photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Fire Department Facebook)   

Recent donation to fund walking trail at John Miles County Park

Door County recently received a generous donation of $40,000 from the Cordon Family Foundation Charitable Trust to help fund a new paved walking path at John Miles County Park. The park has hosted events such as the Door County fair since 1908 and today has many other uses in the various buildings included in the park. Director of the ADRC Jake Erickson says the path will add to what the ADRC and the County can offer in terms of helping adults with disabilities stay active.  The trail would connect the park with the community center and the ADRC garden and deck near the dining hall. In return for their donation, the Cordon Family Foundation Charitable Trust was given naming rights to the trail. Erickson also stated there is no specific timeline for when the project will begin, but said the hope is to start during spring 2022.

New mayors for Kewaunee County cities possible

You will see at least one new person leading a city in Kewaunee County after this spring’s election with the possibility of another.

 

The City of Kewaunee did not see any other additional candidates come through before Tuesday’s deadline, meaning Jeff Vollenweider will run unopposed for the city’s mayoral seat. Current Mayor Jason Jelinek opted not to run for a second term. Kathy Brown will look to replace Vollenweider as a member of the council representing District 1 and Eric Wisnicky doing the same for Dan Stangel who filed his non-candidacy papers. James Brewster (District 2) and  Janita Zimmerman (District 3) will run for re-election unopposed.

 

Two contested races highlight the Algoma city elections this spring. Mayor Wayne Schmidt will see a challenge from Virginia Haske, the person he replaced on the job ten years ago. Eric Dean is running against incumbent council member Casey Buhr for District 3. Kevin Schmidt (District 1) and Scott Meverden (District 2) are running unopposed.

New COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Door County

Three-quarters of Door County residents tested for COVID-19 since Tuesday have contracted the virus according to the public health department’s Thursday situation update.

 

Of the 262 tests performed, 198 of them came back positive for COVID-19 with another seven cases listed as probable. Despite nearly 400 positive tests announced this week in Door County, only four have resulted in hospitalizations and none have resulted in deaths. Hospitalization and death data reported does lag locally due to the state’s reporting. 

 

The Door County Public Health Department is determining additional dates for vaccine clinics this month after it hosts them at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department on Thursday from 2-5 p.m. and the Door County Government Center on December 13th from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those clinics are available by appointment and for people ages 12 and up.

 

The state of Wisconsin set a new record-high for COVID-19 infections on Wednesday with 10,288.

Wisconsin Council of Churches recommends a break from in-person services

You may have to tune into your religious services online or on the radio if your church follows the recommendation from a state group. The Wisconsin Council of Churches is recommending its 2,000+ member congregations suspend in-person services for the next four to six weeks to help stem the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the state. The organization estimates 80 percent of mainline Protestant churches in Wisconsin have offered worship opportunities both in-person and online over the last year and 94 percent of Christian churches have instituted one or more COVID-19 mitigation strategies to protect their members from infection. 

 

The recommendation by the Wisconsin Council of Churches is not a mandate, so individual congregations can make the best decision for their members. The Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church is one of the 20 members of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Jodi Parins, the lead of the COVID Taskforce at Algoma United Methodist Church, says they will still offer live services for the time being. The congregation has a 96 percent vaccination rate and has required face coverings for worship, meetings, and other ministries since late summer. Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, East Central Synod, which is also a part of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Pastor Jim Honig says they monitor the situation on a daily basis and plan on sharing their in-person services online as well as a low-powered radio signal in their parking lot.  

 

The Diocese of Green Bay, which has parishes in Door and Kewaunee counties and is an official observer of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, has not made a statement as of Thursday morning. It reinstated its Sunday obligation to attend mass in July.

 

Picture from Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church when it did outdoor drive-in worship in 2020. Pastor Honig says four to five cars each week still choose to participate from their cars.

Winter storm forces delay and cancellation

The aftermath of Wednesday's snowstorm is still being felt on Thursday.

 

Poor road conditions are to blame for Sevastopol School District calling for a two-hour delay on Thursday. The snowstorm has also forced Stella Maris Parish to close its office for the day and cancel its 8 a.m. mass scheduled in Sister Bay.

 

More cancellations and delays will be posted here as they become available.

 

A winter weather advisory will remain in effect for Door County until 3 p.m. Thursday due to the bands of snow expected to go through the area. Gusty northwest winds will also produce some blowing and drifting snow, which will have a direct impact on your morning commute. 

 

The National Weather Service has also issued a Special Weather Statement for much of northeast Wisconsin including Door and Kewaunee counties as some areas could see an additional one to four inches of additional snow accumulation.

Omicron helping bring chaos to area hospitals

Despite many having symptoms described as mild for those who contract it, the Omicron variant is having a stronger impact on your everyday life. Schools across the country have switched to virtual learning due to staffing shortages caused by COVID-19, most recently at Chappell Elementary in Green Bay.  Just under 90 percent of hospital and ICU beds are being used in northeast Wisconsin, though some patients are still being shipped as far as Iowa to receive treatment on other non-COVID-19 ailments. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says whether you are vaccinated or not, the mild nature of the Omicron variant is making it hard to control.

Some believe catching the Omicron variant could be helpful in the long run. Rob Arnott wrote in the Wall Street Journal that said its fast spread could push us to herd immunity quicker and other studies suggest Omicron antibodies could fight off the much-more serious Delta variant. Heise is cautious when it comes to that kind of thinking.

Wisconsin set a new record-high for COVID-19 infections on Wednesday with 10,288. Door County, which is currently listed in the critically high, will release its next report Thursday. Heise agrees with recent calls for others in the medical community to ditch cloth masks if possible and upgrade to ones that are higher quality to better protect yourself.

Salvation Army beats 2020 total in Kewaunee County

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says thank you for making sure your neighbors get the help they need in the New Year. The Kewaunee County Salvation Army Kewaunee County Kettle Campaign received $25,824.16 in donations between November 23rd and December 24th. That is over $1,000 more than last year’s total. Algoma led the way with more than $10,000 raised at their sites alone.  Joski says now is when they start trying to put those dollars raised to work.

He thanks all the bell ringers, site organizers, and the staff at Nicolet Bank for their help this year. You read more about this year’s Salvation Army Kewaunee County Kettle Campaign below.

 

FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI

With all of the Christmas and New Year’s excitement behind us, I wanted to take just a moment to share the outcome of our 2021 season of giving. Just as in the past, this year’s Kewaunee County Kettle Campaign was a testimony to the generosity of our communities. Over all, we received $25,824.16 in donations between November 23rd and December 24th. To put this in perspective, last year we received $24,206.72

 

These increased donations are not only amazing in and of themselves, but when you consider that this community gave at these levels when other communities struggled in both donations and volunteerism, it is just another testament to Kewaunee County’s sense of community and the empathy we have for those around us.

 

Leading the giving once again was the Algoma sites with a total of $10,453.56 followed by Luxemburg at $9215.17 and Kewaunee at $6,155.43. These donations are a total of both what was received in the kettles as well as donation checks received during that time.

 

These are some impressive numbers when you consider that most of these donations are mostly small amounts as people come and go from the Kettle sites. We would like to thank the businesses who allow us to place these kettles along with the bell ringing volunteers in their entrances. We would also like to thank the many volunteers who took time from their lives to ring bells and encourage giving. There is no way we would have been as successful in our fund raising had the bell ringers not been at the sites as often as they were. I am always encouraged by the many new faces that volunteer each year and look forward to more new faces next season.

 

I would like to thank John Ortlieb for all of his efforts and that of his team for doing an amazing job in the Algoma area. I would also like to thank Annette Wuest for her coordination at the Luxemburg sites. A special shout out to all of our Kewaunee County youth for showing us that there is no minimum age for volunteerism, as we had students, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Cub Scouts and student/ staff members of various organizations giving of themselves and their time.

 

Big thanks also to all of the Nicolet Bank staff, especially Lynn LaCrosse, for their processing of all of the transactions and patiently sorting the contents of the Kettles. Many hours were spent flattening out all of the rolled up, crunched up and otherwise jammed packed currency from the kettles that are brought in.

 

It is important to note that these funds stay here in Kewaunee County to help those around us who find themselves in short term need. These needs could be due to a sudden loss of employment, or an unexpected medical bill. In these instances, the resources are sent directly to the vendor so that there is no doubt that the money is going towards its intended purpose.

 

I have the unique privilege of being the Voucher Writer for the Salvation Army here in Kewaunee County which allows me to meet with and assist our neighbors throughout the year for needs such as Utilities, Rent, Lodging, Food, Clothing, and Fuel. While I may be the person filling out the voucher for them, I know that I am merely a representative of our community and all of its amazing generosity. I am grateful for this role I play in changing people’s lives for the better, and I would encourage anyone who has an interest to please join our county unit of the Salvation Army. We meet on a quarterly basis and are always looking for fresh insight and perspective on how we can better serve our community. Please give me a call if you are interested.

    

Write-in needed in Kewaunee County; contested elections in Door County

The excitement level for this spring’s election as it relates to the county board will depend on which side of the Door/Kewaunee line you live.

 

In Kewaunee County, there is only one contested election that will be on the ballot and another seat that may have to be decided as a write-in. Nellie DeBaker and Dennis Langteau are both vying for the District 4 seat being vacated by Doak Baker, who filed his non-candidacy papers in mid-December. Matt Piesler joined Baker and John Wochos in deciding to not run again for Kewaunee County Board Supervisor. In Piesler’s case, no one is running in his place for District 5. Scott Browne looks to replace Wochos to represent District 10. Gerald Paape (D1), Nick Guilette (D2), Steven Agamaite (D3), Daniel Olson (D6), Tim Kinnard (D7), Douglas Doell (D8), Scott Jahnke (D9), Aaron Augustian (D11), Milt Swagel (D12), Kim Kroll (D13), Thomas Romdenne (D14), Linda Teske (D15), Virginia Haske (D16),  Joseph Lukes (D17), Jeffrey Vollenweider (D18), John Mastalir (D19), Joanne Lazansky (D20) will run unopposed.

 

In Door County, seven of its 21 supervisory districts will have contested elections this spring. Todd Thayse will look to defend his District 2 seat from Lora Jorgensen. Redistricting set up a battle between two incumbents in Kara Counard and Nancy Robillard for the District 4 seat while opening the door for either Jeff Miller or Timothy Smith to represent District 5. Daniel Austad of District 9 is set to face Jonathan Kruse and District 11 supervisor Morgan Rusnak will have to defend her seat from Helen Bacon. Darrick DeMeuse and Hugh Zettel will have the opportunity to replace retiring District 14 supervisor Richard Biz Virlee. Nate Bell, Walter Kalms, and Abby Duebler hope to become the next District 20 supervisor.  Two other district races could have been contested, but the potential opponents to Roy Englebert (D3) and Vinni Chomeau (D18) did not return their nomination papers. Challengers Claire Morkin (D7) and Ken Fisher (D6) and incumbents David Englebert (D1), Roy Englebert (D3), Rodney Beardsley (D8), Alexis Heim Peter (D10), Nissa Norton (D12), Dale Vogel (D13), Elizabeth Gauger (D15), David Enigl (D16), Bob Bultman (D17), David Lienau (D19), and Joel Gunnlaugsson (D21) will run unopposed.

 

The spring election is April 5th. 

Ridges Sanctuary to host guided hikes

Beginning Friday January 7th, the Ridges Sanctuary will be offering guided hikes as a winter outdoor activity. Some of the things you will be doing on the hikes include learning about the aspects of the Ridges Sanctuary, exploring winter adaptations, and searching for animal tracks along the hiking trail. Pre-registration for the events is required and the cost is $5 for members of the Sanctuary and $8 for the general public. Kids that are 18 years of age or younger are free of charge. Future hiking dates along with more information can be found at the Ridges Sanctuary website listed here: www.ridgessanctuary.org

Door County YMCA becoming more accessible

The Door County YMCA is offering a variety of different programs and classes including fitness classes, meditation, yoga, cooking classes, and basketball skills and drills classes on the new YMCA360.org platform. These new classes are currently free to everyone until the end of the month, come February 1st you will need to register for a YMCA membership. There are currently 9 days left to register for a YMCA membership without having to pay a joining fee. If you decide to join after January 13th, there will be a $50 joining fee.

 

Director of Financial Development & Membership Services Tonya Felhofer says one of the best parts of the new YMCA360.org platform is that all of the programs and classes reflect the YMCA’s values:

 

 

Specific Door County YMCA content will be up on the platform soon, but YMCA’s around the country have programs for people to get started today. 

 

For more with Tonya Felhofer, visit the “Podcasts” page on DoorCountyDailyNews.com and click on the YMCA - Y Wednesdays tab.

 

Ice skating coming soon to Sturgeon Bay?

The City of Sturgeon Bay is hoping to soon open the ice rink located at Memorial Field and across the street from Sunrise School for use. The city had hoped to flood the rink before the holiday, however it was not possible to do so with the fluctuating temperatures getting in the mid to high 30’s. The snow forecasted for tomorrow will also prohibit the city from flooding the rink as the layering of the ice is impacted by any snowfall that would come down on top of one of the ice layers. The warming house will have designated hours of operation which can be found on the City of Sturgeon Bay Facebook page, and will have skates available for use. When the warming house is not open, people are encouraged to bring their own skates as long as there is no signage posted advising people to stay off the ice.  

 

Director of Municipal Services at the City of Sturgeon Bay Mike Barker asks ice rink users to abide by the messages posted advising people to stay off of the ice to avoid having to close and reconstruct the rink before it is usable again. 

 

For more information on the Sturgeon Bay ice rink, keep an eye on the City of Sturgeon Facebook page.

 

(Photo Courtesy of the City of Sturgeon Bay)

 

No primary needed for Sturgeon Bay Council positions

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will not have any people running against three seated members in the spring election. Nomination papers had to be turned in by 5 pm Tuesday. City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt informed the council that action was not required at Tuesday night's meeting since only incumbents turned in papers for re-election. Dennis Statz from District 2, Spencer Gustafson of District 4, and District 6 representative Seth Wiederanders will run unopposed along with Mayor David Ward. In the business part of the city council meeting, a new ordinance was unanimously passed to place standards on the size and setbacks of fences built in the city. Also, after a lengthy discussion, the council approved an amendment to the Lakebed Sublease with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society with conditions regarding mitigations of continual monitoring of the methane levels by a third party at the Teweles & Brandeis Grain Elevator site. The motion was approved by a 6-1 margin, with District 7 Alderperson Kirsten Reeths having the lone dissenting vote.

Winter Weather Advisory in effect for Door County area

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Parts of Door County from January 5 at 12:00 a.m. through January 5 at 6:00 p.m. The weather is expected to contain 2-4 inches of snow overspreading parts of the area tonight and then turn into wind with gusts as high as 40 mph with periods of snow on Wednesday. The winds are expected to cause drifting of the snow and reduce visibility which will likely mean travel will become more hazardous and the morning and afternoon commutes may be affected. The National Weather Service asks those who wish to travel to look at the road conditions before heading out. 

 

The latest road conditions can be obtained by calling 511. Be sure to stay tuned to DoorCountyDailyNews.com for the latest updates.

 

Washington Island Ferry terminal dealing with unusual winter

The Washington Island Ferry terminal has a lot on their plate this winter due to the variety of weather conditions and traffic to the dock. This winter has brought in conditions that have made it challenging for staff to make calls on whether or not trips will be made from the Island to the mainland or vice versa. Two of the main factors that are considered when deciding whether or not a boat will make a trip across the water is wind direction and air temperature. Hoyt Purinton of the Washington Island Ferry line says it takes a lot for a boat trip to get called off as was the case on December 16th 

 

 

Another big factor to consider when running the Ferry line is the likelihood of the weather being able to create heavy amounts of ice. If no ice is present the Ferry will take on more trips: 

 

 

 

For a schedule on boat times for the Washington Island Ferry you can visit https://wisferry.com/washington-island

Door County ditches active case metric for COVID-19 reporting

The number of active cases for COVID-19 will no longer be reported in Door County after changes made by the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC issues new guidance last week stating that COVID-positive people will be able to return from isolation or quarantine after five days if they show no symptoms and continue to wear a mask. That is down from the 10 days you used to have to isolate or quarantine.

 

The county did report another 176 positive cases since last Thursday out of the 346 tests performed. No new deaths were reported, but another three people have been hospitalized with COVID-19. The number of deaths and hospitalizations announced by the county tends to lag from what is being seen at the state level. Door County remains at a critically high level for disease activity, joining fellow northeastern Wisconsin counties such as Oconto, Brown, and Manitowoc. Kewaunee County has been downgraded from critically high to very high disease activity.

 

Door County Public Health is offering clinics today (1/4) at the ADRC building in Sturgeon Bay, January 6th at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire station, and January 13th at the Door County Government Center in Sturgeon Bay by appointment only. 

Door County to discuss fate of remaining ARPA funds

You will have the opportunity to weigh in on what Door County does with the rest of its pandemic-related federal funds. The county was allocated $5,474,185 under the American Rescue Plan Act. This is on top of the $600,000 it received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding it received at the onset of the pandemic. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says next week’s public information session will be about education and forming a plan of action moving forward.

The public information session hosted by the Door County Finance Committee will take place on January 12th at 6 p.m. inside the County Board’s chambers in Sturgeon Bay.

Statz showcases artwork on Sunday Night Football

A Sturgeon Bay native and artist was part of a huge mural painting series that featured past and present Green Bay Packer and Minnesota Viking greats on the Sunday Night Football broadcast. Zane Statz, a graphic designer from DePere, and friend Spencer Young worked for ten hours last Wednesday and Thursday to complete the eight-foot-high by 15-foot-long mural for the Sunday Night Football broadcast. The artwork will be one of the twenty murals painted nationally and displayed in Los Angeles for the upcoming Super Bowl in February. Besides NFL legends like Reggie White and Randy Moss,  Statz considered fan-submitted ideas for the mural that included Minnesota native and late musician Prince and a cow wearing a Packer cheesehead.

 

 

Statz, a 2010 graduate of Sturgeon Bay High School, painted portraits of Bart Starr on special helmets for the Green Bay Packers' 50th Anniversary of Super Bowl I a few years ago. He also paints the Packer fence across from Lambeau Field every summer leading up to the season. 

Sturgeon Bay deals with fencing, granary site, and spring primary

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will hold the first meeting of 2022 on Tuesday and look to finalize a fence ordinance that requires a second reading approval.  Other agenda items to be covered include recognition of Lt. Mike Smith, who is retiring from the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, and an introduction of the new president/CEO of Destination Door County, Julie Gilbert.  The council will also be considering the Spring Primary and a recommendation from the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee on approving an amendment to Lakebed Sublease with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society regarding the Teweles & Brandeis Grain Elevator site.  The amendment includes additional language for a methane mitigation plan comprising of offsite third-party monitoring and immediate notification of any active alarms to the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department.   The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting will begin at 6 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.  You can read the complete agenda for the meeting here.  

Packers' business program looking for applicants

The Green Bay Packers are once again facilitating a mentor business program in hopes of improving business growth, economic development, and job creation in Wisconsin. The program pairs emerging businesses with established, knowledgeable and committed companies to help provide insight on how to get their business to the next level. Mentors and emerging companies are expected to participate in program events and presentations, as well as meet monthly with one another. The program is put on by the Packers and AFF Research, LLC and primarily focuses on businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, or disabled persons, however other regional small businesses are encouraged to apply. Door County has had businesses participate in the program in past years such as Glide NEW Segway Tours. 

 

Owner Nick Dokolas said one of the best parts of the program was receiving the feedback about his own business from the business he was paired with:

 


 Those interested in applying can do so at www.affresearch.com/mentor-protege/

Washington Island School stays virtual for one more week

Washington Island students will have to stay at home for at least one more week in the wake of COVID-19 cases within the school. The district sent students home at the beginning of December for two weeks as a precaution to the positive cases. That took students right to winter break, which ended this past weekend. The school board voted on Thursday to keep the students home one extra week because of the holiday travels and allow more kids to get vaccinated if their families wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Board President Amy Jorgenson, who voted in favor of students returning this week, says this has been a hard time to be on a school board.

Washington Island School was not the only one to stay at home after the holiday break. Schools in Milwaukee and Madison will have their students in virtual learning until January 10th. Schools in Whitefish Bay and Racine also delayed in-person learning a couple of extra days as a precaution.

Wisconsin Humane Society temporarily closes Door County campus

You may have to travel to Green Bay or further if you are looking to adopt a pet.

 

The Wisconsin Humane Society announced on Monday it would be closing its Door County campus and its sister sites in Racine and Ozaukee counties until further notice due to staffing challenges brought on by the pandemic.  While you may be able to adopt directly from foster homes, the Wisconsin Humane Society will only offer adoption services from its Milwaukee and Green Bay campuses. WHS Vice President of Communications Angela Speed said this strategy allowed them to keep their doors open for animals in need despite unpredictable, limited staffing at the beginning of the pandemic.

 

You can still bring in surrendered, stray, or injured animals to the Door County campus, but it is encouraged to call ahead so a staff member can be there to assist you. Animals that had been previously at the Door County campus will be transferred to the Milwaukee or Green Bay sites.  

United Way Annual Campaign hits final week

You can help the United Way of Door County continue many of its ongoing programs in 2022.

 

As of last Friday, the organization is $69,616.19 away from reaching its $775,000 goal for its annual campaign. The organization set a record last year when it raised over $752,000, but it still wasn’t enough to meet all the needs of a community still trying to navigate its way through the effects of the pandemic. Executive Director Amy Kohnle is encouraged by many of the new donors they have seen, especially since the state of Wisconsin announced its $3.5 million grant for the United Way of Door County to address the area’s child care issues.

The United Way of Door County’s annual campaign ends this Friday.

 

Principal counts on students to keep them in school

Kewaunee High School Principal Mike Bennett is thankful its students have had the right frame of mind when it comes to staying in school safely.

 

The school has been able to avoid the struggles it had last year keeping in-person learning so far this year even with optional masking. Bennett believes students have been respectful when it comes to the students and staff members to mask up. Some school districts like Milwaukee Public Schools, Madison Public Schools, and even Washington Island School will allow their students at least one week of virtual learning as cases begin to rise in the state. Other schools like Green Bay Preble High School have had to institute new safety measures due to threats of violence on social media before the holiday break. Students at Preble are not allowed backpacks or winter jackets in the classroom and must carry a student identification card at all times. Bennett says those types of conversations took place earlier in the school year under the guidance of a new program.

Bennett has been thrilled they have returned closer to normal so far this school year with fall sports occurring without any cancellations and an in-person musical held in November.

New improvements to look out for in Door County parks in 2022

If you enjoy spending time exploring the parks of Door County, you have some things to look for throughout the new year. Door County is the only place in Wisconsin home to five state parks and one state trail. These amenities bring many visitors to the county to experience the outdoors. Unfortunately, with the many visitors that come to the area, some aspects of the parks are not in the best shape. Luckily, through the 2022 year, the parks department is looking to change that with improvements being made on the Ahnapee State Trail and Door County Parks. Burke Pinney, the Door County parks manager, details the extensive work scheduled for the Ahnapee State Trail.

 

 

Along with the improvements around the trail, there are plans to add an ADA-accessible dock in Forestville. The dock currently residing there is nearly 30 years of age and is not ADA accessible. The parks department has also written a grant to bring new docks to Pinney Park north of Sturgeon Bay after high water levels damaged the docks there. The project of repaving Ellison Bluff Road started earlier in 2021 and  is set to be completed within the year. Although Door Bluff Headlands will remain gravel, the department is looking to add 3 inches of gravel to the entire road to make for smoother travel.

Climate Change Coalition to discuss agriculture at panel discussion

The Climate Change Coalition has planned a public Door County panel discussion to converse with local farmers about their efforts in farm sustainability. The meeting is titled “Soil Health and the Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture” and will include speakers from Door and Kewaunee County. The moderator of this meeting is Jamie Patton, Ph.D., senior outreach specialist with UW-Madison’s Nutrient and Pest Management Program. Patton provides education to farmers, organizations, and agencies about improving soil health. The discussion will open with Patton sharing her knowledge on soil and its connection to carbon sequestration. Patton will then invite the panelists to a discussion, which a Q&A with public audience members will then follow. The panelists will include Lee Kinnard of Kinnard Farms, speaking about manure and carbon sequestration, and Lauren Brey, a fourth-generation dairy farmer in Sturgeon Bay and co-owner of Brey Cycle Farm, focusing on rotational grazing. Also on the panel of farmers is Mike Polich, a fourth-generation dairy farmer, discussing organic farming, and Chris Schuh of Door Karma Farms, explaining composting techniques. All of the farmers on the panel have experience in different methods of agriculture that are beneficial to the climate. This meeting will be held at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor on January 13th at 7 pm. The event will also be live-streamed, and registration for the Zoom link can be found here.

Fish Creek Food pantry feeling community generosity

Since opening in February of 2016, the food pantry at the Stella Maris parish in Fish Creek has seen an impressive outpouring of support from the community. The food pantry operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The pantry is restocked multiple times a day and allows for families and people in need to come in at any point to get anything they may need. Jan Liss, a volunteer at the pantry, describes many positives that came out of the pandemic and the generosity the holiday season brought.

 

 

One of the benefits of this particular pantry is that even though they are staffed throughout the day, people who visit the pantry are not required to leave a name nor a list of what they take off the shelves. This aspect of the pantry is favorable for those who wish not to be seen visiting the pantry or those who are conscious of COVID-19 and would like to maintain a social distance from others. Liss would want residents of Door County to know that the pantry is open to all, and there is no minimum salary or wage necessary for people to visit and take advantage of the open pantry.

Community Spotlight: Peninsula Charities' Adam Peronto

If there is an opportunity to give back in Door County, there is a good chance that Adam Peronto is somehow involved. Peronto’s charitable actions began in earnest last March when he helped create the Door County Meals Cooperative. Working at Door County Medical Center at the time, the pandemic slowed his daily workload to almost a crawl. He helped organize the meals program to fill the void, providing thousands of meals across the county during the early months. He did not stop after the cooperative turned the keys over to the newly formed Door County Food Pantry Coalition to address food insecurity issues in the area. The Peninsula Brewery Battle has raised not just the profile of Door County’s breweries but also much-needed funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Door County, Snowkraft Nordic, the Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail, Crossroads at Big Creek, the Door County Child Development Center, and The Ridges Sanctuary. A unique concert he helped arrange on the water with kayaks also raised funds for Crossroads at Big Creek.  Peronto credits his upbringing in Casco for his love for giving back to the community.

Peronto most recently wrapped up his work with the Door County Toys for Kids program, which collected nearly 6,000 items this year for approximately 500 families. You can hear more about his past efforts and what he is working on for the future on our podcasts page.

Door County community donations making a difference

Throughout December, two local organizations worked to collect winter items to donate to groups in the county. A non-profit group in northern Door County called 100+ Women Who Care hosted a giving circle at their first “Warm Hands Warm Hearts” event in December. At this event, they collected hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves that they could donate to the Boys and Girls Club of Door County and the Door County YMCA After School Kids Club program. Destination Door County also had a collection of winter items from December 1st to December 31st called the Big Bundle Up. Destination Door County put on this program in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s 11th year of the Big Bundle Up campaign. The collection strived to gather new or gently used coats, hats, mittens, and snow pants. Since the drive has finished, all items will be given to Door County residents with help from charity partners in the county.

Electric vehicles not gaining traction locally

The popularity of electric cars has grown substantially around the world in the past few years, but that has not translated to more sales at local dealerships.  According to Experian, electric vehicles made up 2.4 percent of new vehicle registrations in the United States for the first six months of this year, which is more than double for the same period in 2020.  Jim Olson, the owner of Jim Olson Motors and three auto dealerships in Sturgeon Bay, says he has not seen an increase in demand for electric vehicles in Door County.

 

 

Olson notes that electric cars make for a great commuter car and are used as a second or third vehicle in many cases right now.  Tesla has the largest share of the electric vehicle market in the U.S. with about 66 percent, but Ford, Audi, and General Motors have gained considerable ground in the last year.    

Hundreds start New Year as Polar Bears

Nearly 2,000 of your friends and neighbors began the New Year with a trip to Lakeside Park in Jacksonport on Sunday. The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club held their 35th and 36th swims on Saturday under overcast skies and an air temperature of 19 degrees. Approximately 1,500 spectators caught a glimpse of 500-600 swimmers jumping into Lake Michigan with the Jacksonport Fire Department on hand in case of an emergency. Swimmers represented 18 different states and as far away as Hungary. The 37th Jacksonport Polar Bear Club Swim is scheduled for January 1st, 2023 at Lakeside Park at noon. 

 

Media courtesy of Jacksonport Polar Bear Club and Southern Door Fire Department

 

The Southern Door Fire Department kept a watchful eye over a similar event hosted at Waterfront Mary's in Sturgeon Bay.

Being vigilant against human trafficking

Although human trafficking is not a known problem in Door County, one local agency wants you to be aware of the warning signs that indicate a person may be a victim of the crime. The FBI announced on Thursday that a $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of 38-year-old Adrian Edwards of Milwaukee. He is wanted for his involvement in the sex trafficking of a minor.    Help of Door County Domestic Violence Coordinator Karla Romero says Milwaukee is a hot spot for human trafficking. She shares some of the signs to look for someone who may be a victim of human trafficking.

 

 

Romero adds that you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or contact local law enforcement to report any suspicious behavior that may appear to involve human trafficking. On Thursday, in New York,  Ghislaine Maxwell, the late Jeffry Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and longtime associate was found guilty on five of the six charges against her, including sex trafficking of a minor.  

 

 

Door County expecting frigid weather

Five of the next fourteen days are expected to have temperatures in the single digits, and wind chills below zero. When preparing for the cold weather you are encouraged to make sure you have the necessary materials to keep yourself warm if you are going outdoors, as well as make sure you have things to keep warm inside in case of heat going out inside your home. Despite the frigid temperatures, the Packers are getting set to play in what is expected to be the coldest game they’ve played in eight years with a high temperature of 7 degrees fahrenheit. If you are going to the frozen tundra to take in the game in person on Sunday, you are reminded to dress for the weather, and layer your clothes.

Kitchens reflects on 2021, looks ahead to 2022

No matter what side of the aisle you support, there is a good chance Rep. Joel Kitchens has heard from its strongest supporters. The Wisconsin Legislature tackled a number of polarizing issues in 2021 including redistricting, vaccine and mask mandates, and the audit of the 2020 elections. Partly due to a Republican-held legislature and a Democratic-led administration, many of those issues needed the state or the federal Supreme Court to give their opinion. While other parts of the First District are strong Republican, Door County has been almost evenly split. Voters went for Democrat Joe Biden for U.S. President in 2020 and Republican Scott Walker for Wisconsin Governor in 2018 by less than two percentage points. For Kitchens it means hearing from both sides on many major issues.

Kitchens was most proud of how the economy took strides forward in 2021, but was disappointed his bill addressing reading proficiency at the grade school level was not signed into law. He would like to bring that bill up again in 2022 as well as address law enforcement in the state as the crime rate rises in the major metropolitan areas and departments struggle to fill open positions.  

Sturgeon Bay earns bronze status for Bicycle Friendly Community

Sturgeon Bay is continuing to improve so you can feel safe on your bike while riding around the city. For the second straight quadrennial, Sturgeon Bay earned the bronze status for being a Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists. The city is one of 24 Bicycle Friendly Communities in the state and approximately 500 certified municipalities across the country. The League of American Bicyclists considers five areas of focus when considering an application: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation. City Planner Chris Sullivan-Robinson says it is good for Sturgeon Bay to keep its Bicycle Friendly Community status.

The city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board will discuss the scorecard it received from the League of American Bicyclists when it meets on Monday. The board will also discuss creating a bike rodeo event in 2022 and installing bicycle repair stations in certain parts of the city.

Farmers prepare for 2022

Snow on the ground and cold temperatures do not mean you will not find farmers hard at work.

 

Farmers are coming off a successful harvest season and higher commodity prices helped them make a larger profit in 2021. There are some worries on the horizon thanks to the pandemic. According to the Wisconsin State Farmer, operations are being forced to dig deep for used machinery due to the rising costs and scarcity of newer models. Fertilizer prices are also expected to increase to record highs as input costs also rise. Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta says now is the time to work on those plans.

Many farmers are opting to make those decisions sooner rather than later due to concerns about future prices for their commodities and product availability for fuel, chemicals, fertilizers, and seeds in the New Year.

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