News Archives for 2022-02

Potential sale of Algoma's Long Term Unit discussed Tuesday amid concerns

The City of Algoma will be considering the sale of the Algoma Long Term Care Unit at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.   Concerns about selling the facility to a private party have been expressed by loved ones of current residents.   Karen Miller of Sturgeon Bay says her father, Robert, has been receiving incredible care since being admitted in early December, and now fears that new ownership could ultimately decide to close the facility in the future.  She worries that follow-up and decisions could take longer under a possible corporate approach.

 

 

The Special Finance & Personnel Committee expressed concerns over the viability of the city to operate the facility in the long haul.  Administrator Jared Heyn told DoorCountyDailyNews.com last month that the financial outlook was bleak this year for the facility based on the lack of COVID relief funds that the city relied on the past two years.  Mayor Wayne Schmidt says an audit revealed that the facility would lose upwards of $400,000.

 

 

The City of Algoma has owned the facility dating back to 1951 when it was the Algoma Hospital.  In 1987, the hospital closed and the facility has since operated as a nursing home and medical center that currently has 42 beds.  The Algoma City Council Meeting will begin at 6 pm on Tuesday at City Hall.  

Trump hints at third presidential run

You may have an opportunity to vote for Donald Trump for President for the third time. Former President Trump told supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual meeting over the weekend that he plans on running for his old job in 2024, saying “We did it twice and we’ll do it again.” Door County Republican Party Chairperson Stephanie Soucek does not know who would want to run against President Trump in a primary but thinks Americans do want a change from the direction the country is currently going.

During CPAC, former President Trump won the informal CPAC straw poll with 59 percent of conservatives saying they would support him a Republican primary. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came in second with 28 percent.

 

It comes at a time when President Joe Biden’s approval rating hit a near-record low with only 37 percent of Americans saying he is doing a good job. The same poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows that 54 percent of Americans believe Republicans could do a better job handling the economy while 35 percent said Democrats could hold their own. Ten percent of Americans either trusted neither or had no opinion. 


Ukrainian conflict to have limited impact on J-1 program locally

While Door County businesses have sponsored J-1 students from Eastern Bloc countries like Ukraine and Russia in the past, you likely will not see an impact this year locally.

 

Russia invaded Ukraine late last week and was already in the capital city of Kyiv on Sunday. The Washington Post reported on Monday that peace talks were underway between Russian and Ukrainian officials in the country of Belarus. News outlets have reported Belarus could also join Russia in their invasion efforts.

 

While the invasion is just days old, the unrest in the region has been going on much longer. When combined with COVID, Destination Door County Membership Director Phil Berndt says there have not been students from the Ukraine and Russia accepted into the J-1 program for nearly three years.

Even though they are not drawing students from that part of the world, Berndt says other countries have been filling in the gaps. Destination Door County is planning a virtual J-1 Visa Program seminar over Zoom on April 12th. 

New COVID cases stay steady in Door County

There was no major movement in the number of COVID-19 cases in Door County over the weekend.

 

Six of the 60 tests administered since Thursday’s situation update from Door County Public Health came back positive for COVID-19. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths noted in the update, but those numbers tend to lag from what is being seen locally because of the state’s reporting. On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced the seven-day average of new cases was 779 with a positivity rate of 5.4 percent.

 

Much of northeast Wisconsin including Brown Door, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc counties are listed in the high disease activity level, which is down from the very high level from the previous two-week range.


Community Spotlight: School resource officers

While they are helping to keep your child safe while in class, school resource officers are doing a lot more for them as they get older. A 2019 study at Canada’s Carleton University showed a reduction of the likelihood that a student will get a criminal record and increases the chances they will get the help they need from social service and health care systems. They also increase the feelings of safety among students and staff. Two Kewaunee County Sheriff’s deputies are deployed as school resource officers at Luxemburg-Casco School District and Sheriff Matt Joskisays it takes special people to take on the role.

While Algoma, Kewaunee, and Sturgeon Bay rely on their local police departments for their school resource officers, Sevastopol, Gibraltar, and Southern Door work with the Door County Sheriff’s Department for theirs. Earlier this month was National School Resource Officer Day.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

As I continue in providing information on the annual operations of the Sheriff’s Department, I feel this is a great time to focus on the amazing school liaison resources which we share with our school districts. If we look at the makeup of our community on any given week day, there is no greater concentration of people and activity than that of our schools. It is fitting that we allocate resources to these important members of our community; our students, in a setting which has such a great impact on their current and future lives.

        As it pertains to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, we provide two School Liaison Deputies to the Luxemburg / Casco School District as part of a contract for services. These positions and their duties are quite unique and the skill set necessary to be successful is also unique. We are very fortunate to have the two Deputies we currently provide to the school who possess the very traits and qualities to make this a successful relationship. Deputy Nia DuBois is our School Liaison Deputy for the High School, and Deputy Dana Schopf is our Liaison Deputy for the Primary, Intermediate and Middle Schools. Both of these young ladies bring with them a great deal of energy and passion for working with our youth, and the relationships they have built over the years has been a great benefit to not only the students, but the staff as well.

         Just as in any community, those school communities experience a great diversity in personalities, backgrounds and behaviors. The ability to have a law enforcement resource at hand when incidents arise has proven essential time and time again.

         Another valuable aspect of this program is the ability for our Deputies to have daily interaction and engagement in a positive way to demonstrate that the men and women serving in law enforcement are in fact human beings who can serve as not just a resource for filing complaints or conducting investigations, but also as a trusted resource of advice and mentorship for the many challenges our young people face day in and day out.

        These roles, while rewarding, are probably some of the most demanding in our department. The complaints they are called to investigate and the sensitivity that they must show require a great deal of empathy, compassion and patience. The ability to interact effectively with Students, staff and parents is key to maintaining the trust needed for such a program to be successful. Thank you Nia and Dana for all that you do in our schools to keep our students safe and assist the staff in creating the best learning environment possible.

 

Sunshine Resources finds opportunities

What you might find to be a hassle is an opportunity for others in Door County. Among its many programs, Sunshine Resources of Door County’s Bright Future Employment Services offer the training needed to prepare participants for employment. The service takes clients through every step of the way from resume writing and interviewing to finding that perfect job for them. Through Sunshine Business Services, the organization has opportunities available for their clients in their own building based on their individual skill sets. Speaking during a recent NEW Radio Sports Network broadcast, Sunshine Resources Director of Business Development Jeremy Paszczak said the job, no matter the task, is important to the clients.

Sunshine Resources of Door County celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year and recently received a grant from the Gordon Flesch Company to install a new smartboard in their facility so they can offer more educational resources and allow their clients more opportunities to interact.

Door County Medical Center providing funds for students in healthcare

If you graduated high school from Door County or Algoma and are interested in healthcare, you may be eligible to receive a scholarship from the Door County Medical Auxiliary scholarship program. Robin Hamm-Jackson, the volunteer coordinator for DCMC describes the different kinds of scholarships available and how the funds are raised.

 

 

In 2021, the program was able to award $33,000 in scholarships to students with the intent to pursue degrees in various fields, including but not limited to nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, and physical therapy. The deadline to apply for this year is April 5th, 2022. You can find more information about the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary Scholarship Program here

Door County Fire Chiefs gets state-of-the-art fire tool to save lives

Firefighters in Door County will have another apparatus in their arsenal to combat blazes in the future. The Door County Fire Chiefs Association received a donation Thursday evening that could help save lives and make the community safer. Henry S. Baird Masonic Lodge #174 in Sturgeon Bay presented the Door County Fire Chiefs Association with a new GreenPort Portable Fire Suppression Tool. The state-of-the-art device can be deployed quickly and extinguish fires in a confined area within 35 seconds. Small in size the tool can easily be stored in the trunk of vehicles. Door County Fire Chiefs Association President Chris Hecht and Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman accepted the donation that can help save trapped firefighters or citizens.

 

 

Dietman says the device will definitely make a difference in limiting damages and potentially saving lives. Never before used in Door County, the portable fire suppression tool will be centrally stationed in Sturgeon Bay. It will be carried at all times in Fire Chief Dietman's or Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo's vehicle. The Wisconsin Masonic Foundation has secured 50 fire suppression tools intending to get these life-saving devices in the hands of fire and police departments throughout the state. 

 

 

Algoma mother convicted in child neglect case

May 18th will be the day 24-year-old Cheyanne Wierichs learns her punishment after pleading no-contest to child neglect charges on Friday. 

 

According to the criminal complaint filed a year ago, Wierichs admitted to investigators that she left the bathroom with the baby in the bathtub to connect her phone to a Bluetooth speaker, returning after listening to a song when she heard splashing sounds.  It was estimated that several minutes would have passed from the time Wierichs left and returned to the bathroom. After authorities completed a search warrant, evidence of methamphetamine was gathered from the residence.


As a part of her no-contest plea, her previous drug-related drugs were dropped.

 

Michigan Street Bridge to close Monday for two weeks

You will only have two bridges to choose from beginning on Monday when you travel through Sturgeon Bay. The Michigan Street Bridge will be closed from February 28th to March 11 to all traffic to make repairs needed because of an accident last fall. A vehicle struck and damaged several of the overhead structures leading to the lift span of the bridge last October. The age of the bridge required the replacement pieces to be specifically fabricated for the repairs. Motorists will have to use either the Bayview Bridge or the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge to drive through the Sturgeon Bay area during the two-week closure.

ADRC to resume in-person dining

You will soon be able to continue in-person dining through the five ADRC sites in Door County. The ADRC temporarily suspended in-person dining at their meal sites on January 17th, 2022, due to COVID numbers. All ADRC meal sites will be open for in-person dining on Monday, February 28th. The ADRC has worked with their state partners, the Door County Public Health and Door County Health and Human Services department, to decide that the numbers are low enough to resume dining. Jenny Fitzgerald, the Assistant Director for the ADRC, explains how preparation for in-person dining is different and the response the ADRC has seen since announcing they’re open.

 

 

Although meals will be served in-house, the ADRC will continue to provide carryout and deliver meals through their Meals-on-Wheels program. Reservations are necessary to receive meals through the meal sites, whether in person or carryout. You can make a reservation by calling (920) 746-2372 at least 24 hours in advance. The ADRC will still be dining at 50% capacity, so making your reservation earlier rather than later may be beneficial.

 

Kewaunee County COVID numbers drop as CDC changes masking guidelines.

Kewaunee County has seen a drastic drop in COVID-19 positive cases in the past two weeks.  Only five active cases are reported this week with only nine new positive tests.    There are no current hospitalizations and no additional deaths since last Friday.  According to the Associated Press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will loosen federal mask-wearing guidelines to protect against COVID-19 transmission, meaning most people will no longer be advised to wear masks indoors in public settings.   

 

Man connected to Butch's Bar fire arrested

A Sturgeon Bay man is behind bars after being arrested for his potential role in a fire that killed two people, sent another to a Milwaukee burn center, and destroyed a building.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department announced on Friday afternoon that 57-year-old Anthony Gonzalez was arrested for two counts of second-degree reckless homicide (Class D Felony) and seven counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety (Class G Felony). Gonzalez was a resident of the building that consisted of Butch’s Bar and a number of residential units. Gonzalez’s arrest was the result of multiple interviews and the investigation into the cause of the fire. He was taken to Door County Jail without incident and had his bond hearing at the Door County Justice Center at 3:30 p.m.  

 

The fire reportedly began when Gonzalez spilt lighter fluid on his bed refilling a lighter and ignited the blaze accidentally when lighting a cigarette.  

 

Two bodies were removed from the scene Thursday after it was deemed safe to do so. They were taken to Madison to be identified by the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office and the names will not be released until family members are notified.

Community coming together to improve Baileys Harbor park

Thirty years after it was originally built near downtown Baileys Harbor, you can make sure Kendall Park gets the much-needed facelift it deserves.

 

The park was built near the town hall in 1992 in honor of Kendall Weisgerber, who had passed away tragically the year before. While its tall slide, swings, and giant lion’s head delights visitors and residents alike, the park has seen better days. The Baileys Harbor Community Association and The Playground Group joined forces last year to begin fundraising the $500,000 needed to replace the current equipment with features more inclusive of all ages and abilities.

 

 

The effort is especially important to Baileys 57 manager Kari Baumann, who has two kids of her own and the sister of the park’s namesake.

The hope is to raise enough money that they will be able to break ground on the project later this year. Baileys 57 is currently donating eight cents of every gallon pumped at the station to the cause up to $10,000. You can also donate directly to the project by clicking this link. 

Local schools celebrate FFA Week

Petting zoos, cornhole tournaments, and dress-up days are just some of the ways you could have found area students celebrating National FFA Week.

 

The annual celebration highlights the activities and the impact the country’s over 8,100 chapters have on area youth. The Kewaunee FFA chapter hosted a petting zoo for its students, allowing kids to say hello to cows, pigs, puppies, and bunnies. The Southern Door FFA had theme days and other activities for its students to participate in during the week including herding balloon pigs and dressing up in camouflage and Carhartts. 

 

FFA has certainly looked different in the past two years due to the pandemic with mitigation protocols and virtual programming opportunities in place for some of their activities. The program itself has transformed itself over the decades too. With the organization also commonly known as “Future Farmers of America,” Southern Door FFA Advisor Ann Glowacki says only 10 of its 47 members are “farm kids.”

Glowacki thanks the community and FFA Alumni for their support. With their help, FFA students can earn scholarships while attending events and doing activities at little to no cost.

 

Picture courtesy of Southern Door School District

 

Listen to some of the other things going on with the Southern Door FFA

 

 

Second body recovered from Butch's Bar rubble

Two bodies have now been recovered from the scene of Butch’s Bar fire that occurred on Tuesday.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department announced Thursday afternoon that the body of a second man was recovered. The remains were sent to Madison for identification. The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the names once the bodies are identified and their immediate family members are notified. Now that all the tenants have been accounted for, the structure will be razed.

 

The streets will reopen once the debris and ice have been cleared. 

 

STORY FROM EARLIER THURSDAY

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, and the state Fire Marshal are still looking for one more person that is currently unaccounted for from Tuesday’s fire at Butch’s Bar in the city’s downtown district. Investigators were on scene throughout the day on Wednesday as they began to remove small sections of the south wall. That allowed crews to recover the body of the man who was known to be deceased. He has been taken to Madison to be identified. A plan is still being developed to safely enter other areas of the structure to complete a more thorough search of the debris. A temporary flight restriction remains in place for drone owners until public safety officials are finished with their investigation. The United Way of Door County and Nicolet National Bank have set up a relief fund to support the fire’s victims.

 

Photo credit: Paul Haan

Door County COVID-19 numbers continue to improve

The Door County COVID-19 report is still showing that the virus is continuing to decline locally. The report detailed that out of 71 tests performed, only six came back as positive. This leaves the total of 65 negative tests coming in. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows that as of Thursday, both Kewaunee and Door Counties are still high in cases, however the total amount seems to be shrinking. The Door County Public Health Services still encourages you to get vaccinated if you have not yet and to wear a mask.

Body recovered, one unaccounted person remains from Butch's fire

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, and the state Fire Marshal are still looking for one more person that is currently unaccounted for from Tuesday’s fire at Butch’s Bar in the city’s downtown district.

 

Investigators were on scene throughout the day on Wednesday as they began to remove small sections of the south wall. That allowed crews to recover the body of the man who was known to be deceased. His remains have been taken to Madison to be identified. A plan is still being developed to safely enter other areas of the structure to complete a more thorough search of the debris.

 

A temporary flight restriction remains in place for drone owners until public safety officials are finished with their investigation.

 

The United Way of Door County and Nicolet National Bank have set up a relief fund to support the fire’s victims 

"Tall cop" to address substance abuse uptick

The Door County Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition and the United Way of Door County are giving you someone to look up to when it comes to addressing that nationwide growth of substance abuse.

 

Officer Jermaine Galloway, better known as The Tall Cop, will be speaking at the Stone Harbor Resort Conference Center on what substance abuse looks like locally and what can be done to combat it. The course is designed for law enforcement, probation officers, educators, counselors, and concerned community members. Community Impact Coordinator Shauna Blackledge says areas like Door County have seen an uptick in substance abuse since the beginning of the pandemic.

Galloway will provide the drug training on May 4th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Registration is required and you can sign up yourself beginning today by contacting Blackledge at the United Way.

State politicians weigh in on Ukraine invasion

The invasion of Ukraine has sparked international conversation, including right here in Wisconsin.  Russian President Vladimir Putin made good on his promise for military action in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine. The Associated Press reported Thursday morning that Russia hit cities and military bases with airstrikes while tanks and troops crossed into the country. Western nations like the United States have levied sanctions against Russia while Putin has warned them to stay away. 

 

Wisconsin-based members of the United States Congress have weighed in with Senator Ron Johnson calling on Europe to act with strength and the United States to support their NATO allies. 

 

Rep. Mike Gallagher, who represents the eighth district in the United States House of Representatives, was more pointed in his statement. The Green Bay Republican called Putin a “KGB thug” and said the Biden Administration “has demonstrated little urgency, creativity, or willingness to admit errors and adapt” as the invasion unfolded.  

 

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin issued her own statement later in the morning on Thursday. She suggested stronger sanctions that would punish Russia's financial, technology, and military following the "largest invasion of Europe since World War II"  Baldwin was a part of the Democratic-led Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022 which called for sanctions on the Russian banking sector and authorized $500 million in supplemental emergency assistance. The bill was introduced in January. 

 

You can read statements from local politicians concerning the invasion below.


“Weakness tempts tyrants and totalitarians to seek more power. People who only want to live in peace suffer the consequences. Ultimately, there is only one group of people responsible for the tragedies unfolding - Vladimir Putin and his cronies. They have stolen wealth from the Russian people, destabilized and done great harm to their European neighbors, and now they’ve crossed another line that will yield untold horrors. Europe must act with strength and resolve to prevent risking a wider conflict, and the U.S. must support our NATO allies and freedom loving people in this moment of extreme peril.” -U.S. Senator Ron Johnson

 

“Vladimir Putin is a KGB thug who understands no language except force. He has brought war to Europe because he believes he will secure a quick and decisive victory. Our task is to ensure that he is disappointed, by aiding the Ukrainians who are taking up arms to defend their homeland and imposing economic costs now, not after the inevitable humanitarian disaster. Unfortunately, throughout this crisis—as during the Afghanistan fiasco—the Biden Administration has demonstrated little urgency, creativity, or willingness to admit errors and adapt. The president must change course, or our deterrent posture will continue to collapse, chaos will continue to spread, and eventually no one will trust America’s promises or fear American power." U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher

 

“Putin has violated international law, invading a sovereign and democratic nation that wants peace and independence. Putin’s aggression has been met with sanctions, and his violent attack against Ukraine should be met with stronger sanctions, including a full set of punishing financial, technology, and military sanctions. I stand with the Ukrainian people and I believe we need to continue standing strong with our European allies and NATO by providing them the support they need to hold Putin accountable for the largest invasion of Europe since World War II.” Senator Tammy Baldwin

 

 

Winter weather advisory in effect until Friday morning

For the second time this week, the National Weather Service is warning you of potentially slippery conditions due to a winter storm.

 

Snow started in Door County at around 9 a.m., but the winter weather advisory does not officially kick in until 3 p.m. Lakeshore counties like Door, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc are expected to get hit the hardest with up to five inches of snow predicted. The combination of heavy snow, poor visibility, and covered roads will likely make travel conditions hazardous during the overnight hours. The winter weather advisory runs until 6 a.m. Friday.

 

Second Starbucks coming to Sturgeon Bay

You will no longer have to get out of your car to grab that Frappuccino in the near future.  District 4 alderperson Spencer Gustafson posted on his social media channels on Wednesday that the site of the now-closed Woldt’s Corner has been purchased. The plans call for three retail spaces, one of which will house a drive-thru Starbucks location. Gustafson wrote to constituents that there have been no announcements about who the other two tenants would be.  The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will get to weigh in on the proposal at an upcoming meeting, but only to discuss the drive-through portion. The next Plan Commission meeting is March 16th.  

Burgers for Bretls draws widespread support

Your butter burgers and frozen custards bought at the Sturgeon Bay Culver’s and Door Stop Amoco on Wednesday are not just going to fill your stomach, but help rebuild a family’s life.

 

It was all hands on deck at Culver’s as the True Blue Crew worked to fill dozens of orders from local businesses, non-profits, and government organizations for lunch will volunteers handling the delivery. Proceeds from the day’s sales are going to support the Bretl family, which lost its home and nearby storage shed on consecutive days in early February. Sturgeon Bay Culver’s owner Austin Hildebrand says it was important to help and great to see the support for their efforts to help the family out.

Support for the Bretl family has been widespread as a GoFundMe page set up in the days after the fires have raised over $31,000 from approximately 380 donors. Algoma School District is hosting its own unique way to support Chuck Bretl, who is famously known around the building for his neckties. The district is asking for donations of ties so Chuck can rebuild his collection.

 

UPDATE: Over $5,000 was raised during the share day at Culver's and Door Stop Amoco with more than $2,000 coming directly from donations.

Fire investigation ongoing at Butch's Bar

The State Fire Marshall was the latest to help investigate the fire at Butch’s Bar on Wednesday. The Fire Marshall and his team are assessing the integrity of the building so the body of the deceased individual can be removed safely and a more thorough search of the structure can take place. Assistant Police Chief Dan Brinkman said in his release that heavy equipment is on the scene to collapse the walls and the Medical Examiner is on stand by for when the body is removed. Brinkman also warned people who are inside the protected area will be asked to leave and may even receive a citation. The FAA also issued a one-mile radius temporary flight restriction for all drones except for public safety. The organization may issue subsequent temporary restrictions until after the scene is cleared.

 

There was no news about the person who was still unaccounted for as of Tuesday morning. Firefighters first reported to the scene of Butch’s Bar at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Monday with flames and smoke billowing out. The building, which consisted of the bar and several residential units, is severely compromised.

 

The United Way of Door County and Nicolet National Bank have set up a relief fund to support the fire’s victims.

 

 

YMCA expanding hours as Winter II sessions begin

With membership building up again, the Door County YMCA is extending hours of operations on Saturdays.  Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin says the number of members has increased to 8,000 and is nearly back to pre-pandemic numbers. With requests for longer weekend hours, Dantoin notes that the facilities will now be open two hours later on Saturdays, until 3 pm.

 

 

The registration for the Winter II classes opened this week, with sessions beginning on Monday, February 28. You can find more information on the Door County YMCA programs in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek at www.doorcountyymca.org or by calling (920) 743-4949. The complete conversation with Alyssa Dantoin can be found on the podcast page.

 

     

Grant helps Midsummer's Music string quartet impact community

The Griffon String Quartet of Midsummer’s Music recently received a “Project: Music Heals Us” grant to help bring more live performances to marginalized residents of Door County. Midsummer’s Music has provided mini-concerts for people who cannot come to performances due to healthcare needs, economic needs, or physical location, like the Scandia Village in Sister Bay.  The outreach program has provided concerts for hundreds of disabled or aging people and their caregivers. The Griffon Quartet is planning to add additional partners in 2022 to expand the presentations in the Door County community. Quartet concerts and solo performances have been conducted virtually with a two-way video that allows for the musicians and viewers to interact.

 

The Griffon Quartet was founded in 2018 to collaborate with Midsummer’s Music to enrich the lives of children and adults throughout the area.

 

“Project: Music Heals Us” is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide encouragement, education, and healing through bringing high-quality live music performances and interactive programming to disadvantaged people.      

Kewaunee County investigating stolen road signs

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is looking for help in solving the case of several missing or stolen signs from the Township of Carlton on Tuesday morning.  The road signs are from the intersection of County Trunk “J” and Church Road, and Townhall Road and Nuclear Road.  According to the news release, one sign was intentionally removed from the post, while the other sign may have been damaged by wind but is missing.  The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is asking you to contact the dispatch office at 920-388-3100 if you have any information on the whereabouts of the signs.   

Pebble Beach project in Sister Bay gets funding approval

The Joint Finance Committee in Madison announced Tuesday that the Village of Sister Bay would be receiving $392,000 in the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship to help fund the acquisition of the Pebble Beach property. The initial funding request was denied several months ago because of concerns over funding levels and the proposed use of the property. State Representative Joel Kitchens from the Assembly says sharing the importance of the project to his Senate colleagues was the key to getting unanimous approval this time around.

 

 

The 16.8-acre parcel of land has 600 feet of shoreline and will have expanded public access to the waters of Green Bay. Created in 1989, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund is a state program designed to preserve critical natural resources, water quality, and fisheries while expanding outdoor recreational opportunities.

One found dead, one person still missing after Sturgeon Bay fire -- UPDATED

The investigation of an early Tuesday morning fire at Butch’s Bar in Sturgeon Bay continues as one unidentified body has been recovered and another person is unaccounted for as of 2 pm Tuesday.  One person was sent to a hospital with burns earlier. Sturgeon Bay Police Chief Dan Brinkman says nine of the 20 apartments upstairs were occupied at the time of the fire.   

 

Firefighters first reported to the scene of Butch’s Bar at the corner of Third Avenue and Nebraska Street at approximately 3:30 am with flames and smoke billowing out. The fire department had a ladder truck on-site to attack the fire from above while flames shot up over the building from the inside.

 

Brinkman says the building remained very compromised. Fire marshals are working with an investigative crew to gain more access inside the burned-out concrete stone structure. 

 

 

 

 

 We will have more information on this fire when it is released. 

Highway department handles winter storm

Unless it snows every day for the next month and a half, you will not have to worry about the Door County Highway Department running out of salt. Crews hit the roads after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning to begin removing the snow that was resting on a little bit of ice after freezing rain hit the area at the onset of the winter storm. Highway Commissioner Thad Ash says that actually helped their efforts to get the roads safe to drive on ahead of the second band of the winter storm.

The salt supply is good according to Ash and the county has another vendor it can turn to if it does run low late in the season. Schools across northeast Wisconsin including those in Door and Kewaunee counties closed their doors on Tuesday as a result, forcing the postponement of many of the opening round games of the WIAA Girls’ Basketball Tournament.

Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse added to State and National Register

You can now see a third site in Kewaunee that is featured on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Members of the Kewaunee Lighthouse Preservation Committee cheered when the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously on Friday to accept their application and add the historic structure to the registries. The city acquired the lighthouse from the National Park Service in 2011 after it closed in 1959. After receiving some much-needed attention in recent years, the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse became a stop on the Door County Lighthouse Festival organized by the Door County Maritime Museum. This marked the third time the lighthouse had gotten to this stage in the process. Committee member Robin Nelson says this is a major step for further preservation of the lighthouse.

The Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse joins the Tug Ludington and the Kewaunee Post Office on the National and State Registries of Historic Places.

 

Picture from the City of Kewaunee

Granary earns second architectural award

The winter is preventing you from seeing a lot of progress on the Door County Granary, but the structure itself is earning plenty of praise from the architectural community.

 

The Boston Society for Architecture bestowed its 2021 Unbuilt Architecture and Design Award to the Door County Granary for its exemplary design and positive impact on the community. It was one of two yet-to-be-built projects to earn the distinction from a jury of design professionals. La Dallman Architects helped design the building and was already awarded the Progressive Architectural Award in 2021.  Executive Director Beth Renstrom is thankful for the entire project team including Beane Engineering and Greenfire Management Services and members of the community for having the vision for what this building could be.

Mother Nature has not been the best foreman for the project this winter, but the pilings and the foundation for the main part of the granary are in. The foundation for an addition to the granary has yet to be poured. Once that is completed, the granary will be able to be placed back in its original spot on the west waterfront.

Downtown bar catches fire, one hospitalized, several still unaccounted --UPDATED

Sturgeon Bay firefighters are starting their Tuesday battling cold conditions and a fire at a downtown bar.

 

Firefighters first reported to the scene of Butch’s Bar at approximately 3:30 a.m. with flames and smoke billowing out. The fire department has a ladder truck on-site to attack the fire from above while flames light up the building from the inside.

 

According to Sturgeon Bay Police Chief Dan Brinkman, some people are still unaccounted for in the nine rooms that were occupied upstairs in the building.

 

Aaron LeClair from Door County Emergency Services says one person was transported to the hospital with an unknown condition.

 

We will have more information on this fire as more information is made available at a 9 am press conference.

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Door County Board looks to move on broadband project grants

With the March 17 public service commission deadline looming for grant submissions for broadband, the Door County Board of Supervisors will be looking to get at least two projects submitted in order to receive state funds.  County Administrator Ken Pabich says they are in a good position to leverage the state for the grants.

 

 

Another agenda item that will be discussed is how the county will use the American Rescue Plan Act Fiscal Recovery Funds in 2022 towards phragmites control and sampling of private water wells.  The Door County Board of Supervisors will also be holding a public hearing at 10 am Tuesday, just prior to the regular meeting, on the enactment of an ordinance amending Door County’s Comprehensive and Farmland Preservation Plan 2035.  

Virtual Program shares "Final Five Voting" 

This Thursday, a virtual forum by the Door County League of Women Voters could help you understand possible new ways voting outcomes are determined. New legislation has been introduced in both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate to create a new way of electing our representatives at all levels of government using a “ranked voting” method. The virtual program will address the new initiative wherein the top five candidates are selected from the primary ballot, and instant runoff voting is used in the general election. Sara Eskrich of Democracy Found says implementing the system would hold politicians accountable for delivering results and revitalize democracy with every vote counting and every voice being heard. Door County League of Women Voters virtual program begins at 7:00 with an opportunity to ask questions. You need to register in advance prior to Thursday by emailing program@lwvdoorcounty.org to participate in the Zoom meeting.

Door County Habitat for Humanity to rehab former Algoma business

Door County Habitat for Humanity could use your construction skills south of the county line later this year.

 

An Algoma couple recently donated their business to Door County Habitat for Humanity after it was permitted to be a residential home. The plan is for Habitat volunteers to gut the building before turning it into a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home. Door County Habitat for Humanity was allowed to take on the project because Kewaunee County does not have its own local affiliate. Executive Director Lori Allen says it is another great opportunity to get someone into a home.

Door County Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers for not just this project, but for its two Door County-based home builds, its home repair program, and its ReStore. 

Winter storm advisory issued for Door, Kewaunee counties

You will have to prepare for not one, but two different waves of snow, ice, and sleet over the next 36 hours in Door and Kewaunee counties. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm advisory for 11 counties including Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties that are expected to last from 5 pm Monday to 6 pm Tuesday. 

 

The first wave hits Monday with snow expected to hit sometime late Monday morning and last into the evening. Parts of southern Door and Kewaunee counties can also expect to see ice begin to accumulate.

 

A second wave is forecasted to bring more of the wintry mix to the area beginning early Tuesday morning after a lull in the overnight hours.  Some parts of Door County can get upwards of eight inches of snow as a result of the storm with smaller amounts forecasted further south.

 

 

(Correction:  The original posting incorrectly noted the area was under a storm "warning")

Door County adds death, hospitalization to COVID-19 toll

New cases of COVID-19 crept into the single digits over the weekend as last month’s Omicron-fueled surge gets further in the rear-view mirror. 

 

Only six of the 47 tests performed since Friday’s situation update from the Door County Public Health Department came back positive for COVID-19. The update did offer some somber news as one more hospitalization and an additional death were reported, though those numbers tend to lag from what is being seen locally due to the state’s database.

 

On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the seven-day average was at 1,371 new cases of COVID-19 with the percentage of those testing positive at 7.8 percent.

 

The Door County Public Health Department will host one more opportunity this month to get vaccinated. It will take place at the Door County Government Center from 12-4 p.m. by appointment, though walk-ins are still encouraged. 

 

Two ice anglers rescued near Sturgeon Bay

A man and woman were rescued after breaking through the ice on the waters just west of Potawatomi State Park, near Cabot Point Sunday evening.  Southern Door Fire Department Chief Rich Olson says the two adults were initially rescued by a fellow fisherman about 6:30 pm and returned to the shore by emergency personnel shortly before 7 pm.

 

 

The man and woman were taken by ambulance to the hospital and are reportedly in good condition and should be fine, according to Olson.  Southern Door Fire, Door County EMS, Door County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Coast Guard all responded to the emergency call.   

Sturgeon Bay Rotary helping fund futures

The Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club offers different kinds of scholarships each year that students within the Door County schools can apply for. One of those scholarships is the Service above Self Academic Scholarships that offer college funding to students who are planning to go onto a four-year college or university. These students must have a high school GPA of a minimum 3.0 and have demonstrated an outstanding understanding and commitment to service to others. Alongside the Service above Self above Self scholarships, other scholarships are available for different types of students. John Swanson, Muckian Vocational Scholarship Chair for the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club explains one other scholarship and how giving to students goes along with the Rotary Club's mission statement.

 

 

Swanson also states that the Rotary Club is able to award multiple scholarships and oftentimes they do not receive enough applications. If you are a student within the Door County school district Swanson urges you to go to the Sturgeon Bay Rotary website and look into applying. 

 

Youth dance programs starting up at YMCA

If you want to have your kids dance themselves into shape, the Door County YMCA has more options for you with its winter dance class schedule.  Door County YMCA dance instructor Amber Novotny says more children's classes are being offered for area youth.  She shares some of the preschool activities that help children to socially interact and develop valuable skills.

 

 

 

Novotny notes that the winter II sessions begin on Monday, February 28 with registration beginning Monday, February 21 for members, while community members can sign up this Wednesday. with the first day of classes starting on September 28.  Youth and Pre-School programming is available every day of the week.  You can listen to the full conversation with Amber Novotny on the podcast page. 

Community Spotlight: End of an era, Malvetz Furniture closes after 89 years

A Sturgeon Bay family business that has operated for nearly nine decades closed for business this past week.  Malvetz Furniture and Floors on Egg Harbor Road in Sturgeon Bay completed its “Going Out of Business” sale, with the property being officially purchased by Kwik Trip at the end of the month.  Owners Dick and Tom Van Den Bogart grew up in the business in the 1970s.  Their father Orvel, better known as “Red,” started working for Clarence Malvetz in 1946 after the store moved from its original Fourth Avenue location.  In 1970, “Red" purchased Malvetz Furniture with his other son Larry and added the flooring side of the business.  Tom and Dick, who bought the company in 1997, share what they will remember most about operating the home furnishings store for the past 25 years.

 

 

In the past two weeks, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and Sunshine Resources of Door County were beneficiaries of several donated pieces of furniture offered by the Van Den Bogarts and Malvetz Furniture and Floors.  As far as their future plans, Tom plans on moving to the Upper Peninsula to be closer to his grandchildren, while Dick and his wife Marilyn plan on staying in the Sturgeon Bay area in retirement. 

 

Tom "Bogie" Van Den Bogart 

Harbor Express Spirit Pump supporting students in Kewaunee

In August 2020, the Harbor Express gas station on Highway 42 in Kewaunee installed a Spirit Pump to help raise money for the Kewaunee School District. When filling up at this specific pump, $0.02 of each gallon of gas you buy goes back to the district. Since its installation, the pump has raised nearly $6,000 for the school and students. Kewaunee School District Superintendent Scott Fritz explains how the money donated is used.

 

 

Fritz states that they have not used all of the money, and it will continue to be used for students rather than district accounts. He also conveys his gratitude towards the community’s support of the district. Although there is only one pump of this kind at this time in Kewaunee, many community members wait for the Spirit Pump to open up so they can support the school.

Gibraltar loosens mask requirement for students

Your kids at Gibraltar Area Schools will have the option to mask up or not again beginning on Monday. Superintendent Tina Van Meer sent the message to parents on Friday after making face coverings mandatory again earlier this year due to the Omicron-fueled surge in COVID-19 cases. Elementary school parents must fill out a permission slip for their children if they are allowed to forgo masking. Federal regulations still require masking while on a school bus or district-sponsored transportation. Van Meer reiterated that masking will be required for elementary school students when they return from spring break in April due to the low vaccination rate among the population. While other school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties have been mask optional for some time, others in Green Bay, Appleton, and Manitowoc have made plans to drop the requirement in the coming weeks. 

Kewaunee County looks to grants for trail, broadband improvements

Better trails and internet for you is the goal for a pair of grants Kewaunee County officials are looking to acquire in the coming months. During their meeting this week, the Kewaunee County Board unanimously approved the resolution allowing the Kewaunee County Promotion and Recreation Department to apply for the grants to rehabilitate its snowmobile and ATV trails at Riverview ATV Park. Approximately $94,000 in grant money is available, though some of it is through matching funds. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt explained to the board how that could be done.

Feldt alerted the board about the upcoming deadline to apply for the broadband expansion grant through the state. The county is planning on partnering with Bug Tussel Wireless on the application process after being awarded $960,000 in 2020 and $1.4 million in 2021.

 

 

Gibraltar TID bill passes the Assembly

You are a step closer to seeing workforce housing potentially come to the Town of Gibraltar. Championed by First District State Rep. Joel Kitchens, the Wisconsin State Assembly unanimously approved a bill paving the way for the Town of Gibraltar to establish a Tax Increment District (TID) to aid in its efforts to build workforce housing in the community. Workforce housing is needed to address its labor shortage concerns in the area at a price point many can afford.  Under current state law, Gibraltar does not meet the population requirement needed to be allowed to establish a TID even though the equalized value of its taxable property is well north of $500 million. TIDs are used locally in the City of Sturgeon Bay and Village of Sister Bay to help pay for some of the infrastructure needed to develop parts of their municipalities. In this case, the town would be able to install a sewer line and other improvements needed for the proposed affordable housing development. Town administrator Travis Thyssen said earlier this month that the TID would help the community provide the necessary improvements needed to make the project a reality.

In a statement from Kitchens, he said the bill stipulates that the private developer’s agreement must include a letter of credit that guarantees the repayment of the debt service on the project costs. Before the TID can be established, the bill needs the approval of the Wisconsin State Senate and Governor Tony Evers.

 

Details were added to this story to clarify that a developer and not the town would be the ones building the workforce housing units. The TID would address the infrastructure needed for those units.

Wind advisory issued for Door and Kewaunee counties

Hold onto your hat if you plan on going outside this weekend after the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for much of northeast Wisconsin including Door and Kewaunee counties. Winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 miles per hour are expected during the advisory, which runs from 2 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. on Saturday. The high winds could send tree limbs crashing down and wind chill temperatures to dip between -15 and -25 degrees. Driving is also expected to be hazardous as well for bigger vehicles.

Door County continues to see decline in COVID-19 cases

The state of Wisconsin thanks you for doing what you can to slow the spread of COVID-19 to a crawl. Out of 112 tests, the Door County Public Health Department announced 18 new positive cases of COVID-19 since its last update on Monday. One new hospitalization was the only blemish on the update which has seen a steady decline of new cases since hitting an all-time high. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says they are finally seeing the relief on the front lines.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Thursday that its seven-day average for new cases of COVID-19 was under 1,500 cases. Seventy-one of the state’s 72 counties, including Door and Kewaunee counties, are at the very high level for disease activity, a near flip of what it was just a couple of days ago when 56 counties were at the critically high level. 

Possible additions to programs helping students plan for the future

There are more and more opportunities for high school students to experience the workforce and college-like classes through the different programs offered in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Those programs include the Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship program and the Ahnapee Diesel and Automotive programs. All three of these programs aim to provide high school students with a chance to experience the different fields of work they may be interested in while also attaining academic credit. The Ahnapee Youth Apprenticeship allows students to be an apprentice at a local business within their field of interest. The Ahnapee Diesel and Automotive programs partner with the Northeastern Technical college to help students earn college credits and high school credits while completing a course in either field. Mike Snowberry, director of learning services at Luxemburg-Casco and the auto and diesel programs creator, reveals new programs of the same nature that are currently in the works.

 

 

Snowberry details that students are more excited about their schooling and futures through these programs. These programs also give students a chance to work around adults and better understand the workforce or college.

Hooray for Hollywood cheers for return to stage

After a year away, members of Hooray for Hollywood are ready to entertain you once again.

 

It has been a year and a week since Hooray for Hollywood last performed on the stage set up at the Agricultural Heritage Resources Center in Kewaunee. The pandemic canceled last year’s string of shows and a longer football season pushed this year’s residency back a week from when it is traditionally held. Community members perform skits throughout adult-themed variety shows all for a good cause. In 2020, Hooray for Hollywood donated over $53,000 to approximately 30 Kewaunee County organizations. Despite having no shows last year, Hooray for Hollywood still donated thousands of dollars to local organizations like Kewaunee County Special Olympics, Best Buddies of Luxemburg, the Casco Fire Department, and more.

 

Hooray for Hollywood President Lori Kleiman credited the community for the support they received when Door County Daily News talked to her last year after they were forced to cancel the 2021 show.

Dozens of local businesses have stepped up to show their support again for the Hooray for Hollywood shows scheduled for this weekend. While Saturday’s show is sold out, tickets are still available for the Friday and Sunday performances. 

Republicans tout different strategy for surplus following State of the State Address

Do not start making plans for the $150 you could receive from the state under a proposal pushed by Governor Tony Evers during his State of the State Address. During the address, Governor Evers pushed for $150 to be given to every Wisconsinite as a part of a plan for an expected $3.8 billion surplus from tax collections, which is about $2.9 billion more than originally forecasted. Other parts of the plan would invest $611 million in K-12 education and provide a total of $139 million for the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College System. Governor Evers says the surplus funds should be in the hands of Wisconsinites that need to buy groceries and gas and pay for child care and utilities. Democratic State Rep. Kristina Shelton of Green Bay added after a stop by Governor Evers to the Green Bay YMCA that we should “invest these public dollars back into our communities and into each other in support of common good.” Republican State Rep. Joel Kitchens likes where some of the dollars are going, but does not like where they are coming from. He points out that much of the surplus is because of federal programs that expired, making the investments unsustainable for the future.

Governor Evers highlighted other initiatives during his State of the State Address, which includes $30 million to support and stabilize EMS units in rural communities, $5 million for mental health support for Wisconsin National Guard members, and $20 million for mental health support for children. He called for a special session for the Wisconsin Legislature to discuss his plans for the surplus, but Kitchens expects it to be as quick as previous requests that were as simple as gaveling in and gaveling out. 

Salentine begins work on National 4-H Congress

The next National 4-H Congress you or your child attends will have a little Luxemburg flavor to it. Luxemburg-Casco senior and Pilsen Skylighters president Megan Salentine was named to the event’s design team earlier this year. She was recently in Atlanta for the first of several meetings with her peers from New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, Texas, Kansas, and Connecticut to begin planning the event that draws thousands of 4-H members and leaders every year. It was the collaboration she saw among the design team’s members during last year’s National 4-H Congress that inspired her to look into the opportunity of creating it instead of just attending it. Salentine says it took off from there.

Salentine says the group will meet twice a month on Zoom to sort out the final details before the National 4-H Congress takes place in Atlanta from November 25-29th. 

 

Picture courtesy of Megan Salentine

Annual meeting highlights progress in local agriculture

While they are proud of the work done so far, members of Peninsula Pride Farms hope to do more in 2022 to have a positive impact on your soil and water in Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

Dozens of members from the community and the producer-led watershed group met Tuesday at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds for their annual meeting where they reflected on 2021 and looked ahead to the coming year. Jamie Patton from the UW-Madison Extension discussed recent research done championing cover crops, grazing, and carbon storage and how it relates to improved soil health. Ricardo Costa from The Nature Conservancy presented the findings from Peninsula Pride Farms’ 2021 member conservation practice survey results. The Nature Conservancy provided Peninsula Pride Farms with cost-share funds for non-members to try different conservation practices on their operations. That helped lead to its current membership of over 50 farms practicing conservation strategies on 236,000 acres of land. Some of those acres have two or more conservation practices like cover crops, split nitrogen treatments, and low-disturbance manure injection. Brad Gingras from Superior Strategies took a different route for his presentation as he hosted a lively discussion about the differences among people from other generations.

 

Michael Vandenhouten, Jacob Brey, Eric Olson, and Paul Cornette were a part of a panel in the afternoon that discussed some of the different conservation strategies they tackled. Brey discussed his rotational grazing system they installed in 2021 to help better utilize a portion of their land.

Peninsula Pride Farms member Duane Ducat says a lot of good information was shared at the meeting, much of which he thinks can be applied to other operations.

The organization plans to host more Conservation Conversations later this year to bring farmers and non-farmers together to see how different conservation practices are working out.

Door County Medical Center designated a top critical access hospital

The work helping keep you safe has led to another honor for Door County Medical Center. Earlier this week, Door County Medical Center was recognized as a 2022 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by The Chartis Center For Rural Health. The organization rates hospitals based on eight pillars including quality of care, market share, and patient perspective. It was the second straight year Door County Medical Center earned the honor and it has garnered the distinction seven times in the 12 years it has been awarded. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens credits their staff for giving quality care while navigating a pandemic.

Door County Medical Center was one of five hospitals in northeast Wisconsin to be recognized by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. 

 

Portion of Sturgeon Bay intersection to close next week

Better plan a different route on Monday and Tuesday if you are used to traveling through the intersection of 18th Avenue and Egg Harbor Road. On Wednesday, the City of Sturgeon Bay announced that the west southbound lane of N 18th Ave will be closed from Egg Harbor Road to just past the south entrance to the gas station. The closure is needed to allow for excavation work required at the Jandu Petroleum gas station entrances. While the convenience mart has remained open, The station’s gas pumps have been closed for much of the year due to excavation work. The east northbound lane will remain open during the project, which will begin at 7 a.m. Monday and go until sometime Tuesday afternoon.

Sturgeon Bay approves land transactions

The City of Sturgeon Bay took action on two of the three recommendations set forth by the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee on Tuesday at its common council meeting. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the donation of land from the city to the Door County Economic Development Corporation for a modular home manufacturing facility near the Industrial Park.  Mayor David Ward explains the plan that is contingent on grant money received for the project.

 

 

The recommendation for the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) sites will be brought back to the council on March 1st after some maps are redrawn because of incorrect identification of a parcel of land near the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club.  The meeting wrapped up within an hour after five city ordinances and municipal codes received a first reading and approval of needed changes recommended by the Community Protection and Services Committee.  

Open Door Pride announces new Vice-Chair

A Door County organization that affirms diversity through inclusion for all has appointed a new vice-chair.  Open Door Pride announced this week that its board of directors has elected Michael Meulemans for a three-year term as the vice-chair.  Meulemans has served on the Destination Sturgeon Bay board, the president of the Baileys Harbor Community Association board, and on the Parks Committee for the town of Baileys Harbor. He co-developed the Tall Ships Festival in Sturgeon Bay and began the Baileys Harbor Farmers Market while living in Door County for the past 23 years.  He and his husband Doug Smith have the distinction of being the first gay couple to be married in Door County.

 

Open Door Pride will be holding its annual Pride Festival again this year at Martin Park on June 25th from 10 am until 5 pm.  Nominations for the annual Sandy Brown Award can be submitted to Open Door Pride for a person, organization, or business that exemplifies their mission to celebrate diversity. 

Door and Kewaunee County primary results

The primary election saw a big turnout in Kewaunee County, as residents narrowed the field of three candidates for the Circuit Court Judge position to two with Jeffrey Wisnicky and Kimberly Hardtke advancing to the general election in April.  Wisnicky garnered 1219 votes, while Hardtke received 717 votes.  John Peterson finished third with 663 votes. 

In Door County, the field for the District 20 seat on the Door County Board was trimmed on Tuesday with Walter Kalms and Abby Duebler receiving the top two in votes.  Kalms finished with 181 votes and Duebler claimed 112 votes.  The other candidate Nate Bell received 62 votes. 

The Gibraltar Area School Board has two seats up for its election and incumbent Don Heim (844 votes), Jessica Sauter (602), James Smasal (383), and Patrick Voight (261), will now move on to the April 5th spring election.  The other two candidates saw Jeremy Schwab finish with 200 votes and Christina Voight with 236.  Schwab was appointed to fill a seat on the Gibraltar School Board recently that was open due to a resignation, with that term running until 2023.

Sex Crimes legislation passes Wisconsin Senate

Two legislative bills designed to give law enforcement officials more ways to combat sex crimes in the future were passed by the State Senate Tuesday.  State Senator for the 1st District, Andre Jacque authored the legislation that addresses Human Trafficking and extends the statute of limitations for second-degree sexual assault from ten years to 20 years.  Senate bill 836 regarding Human Trafficking would ban anyone convicted of certain human trafficking or sex offenses from owning or operating adult establishments, and bans anyone under the age of 18 from working there.   The bill must pass the State Assembly and be signed into law by Governor Tony Evers.  You can read the complete bills below.

Senate Bill 836

Senate Bill 787

Financial literacy course requirement makes good "cents"

Making sure your children know the basics when it comes to their finances could soon be a graduation requirement in the state of Wisconsin.

 

Lawmakers introduced a bill earlier this month that would require high school seniors to pass a course covering budgeting expenses, handling debt, and doing taxes. Some Wisconsin high schools, including those in Door and Kewaunee counties, have already added it to their curriculum. According to WKBT in LaCrosse, West Salem High School has had such a course as a graduation requirement for over a decade while WPR reports that Oconomowoc High School has it had in place since 2017. Milwaukee Public Schools is hoping to have such a requirement in place by 2028.

 

In Door and Kewaunee counties, Money Management Counselors in Sturgeon Bay has been doing financial literacy programs with the school districts for 27 years. While COVID-19 has restricted what they have been able to do in-person locally, a grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation is helping the organization develop an in-person and online program for elementary and middle school students. Money Management Counselors Executive Director Leslie Boden says financial literacy is something kids should master before they go off into the real world.

The bill is currently opposed by the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, calling it an unfunded mandate. 

Jelineks open new supper club in Kewaunee

You can go away somewhere all bright and new for dinner in Kewaunee after the Wildflower Supper Club officially opened on Monday. Named after the popular Tom Petty album, Monday’s grand opening marked the end of an overhaul of the over-century old building. Cassie and Jason Jelinek knew they were interested in opening the business in the former location of Cork and Uncorked, but the building’s condition would not allow it. By teaming up with Art and Sarah Schiller, a building was saved and a dream was realized.

The restaurant industry is nothing new for Cassie Jelinek, who has had a number of different roles at area restaurants including Classix in Kewaunee. Wildflower Supper Club will be open Thursdays through Sundays during the winter months before potentially expanding operations this spring and summer. It is the second historical building saved in part by the Schillers in Kewaunee. The Schillers purchased and helped rehab the former Selner Plumbing building down the street on Milwaukee Avenue which also has a restaurant on the first floor.

In-custody death victim identified

More information was released on Tuesday regarding the death of an inmate at the Door County Jail last week.

 

On February 10th, Sheriff’s deputies at the jail discovered 54-year-old, Michael Savage of Sturgeon Bay unresponsive, after 11 p.m. and immediately began life-saving procedures when they found that he had no pulse and was not breathing.

 

Personnel from Door County Emergency Services, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Sturgeon Bay Police Department and the Patrol Division of the Door County Sheriff’s Department were also called to the cell to help out, but they could not revive the man. The Dane County Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy, but the results of that and the toxicology reports have not been released.

 

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department is conducting the investigation.

Sturgeon Bay to address land transactions Tuesday

The City of Sturgeon Bay will be holding its common council meeting Tuesday and looking to approve a donation and purchase of city property.  Based on a recommendation by the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee, the city will be discussing an offer from Turning Point of Door County to purchase about 1.75 acres of land at 1317 Shiloh Road with existing buildings from the city.  The accepted offer of $333,000 would include a contingency to connect to the city’s sewer and water within five years.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also look to approve the donation of land from the city to the Door County Economic Development Corporation for a modular home manufacturing facility to potentially build affordable houses near the Industrial Park on the city’s west side.  Another agenda item Tuesday night includes a recommendation to approve the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) sites.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will meet at 6 pm at City Hall Tuesday. 

Miss Door County Scholarship winners passionate about platforms

Newly crowned Miss Door County Chloe Staudenmaier and Miss Outstanding Teen Claire Bohn are ready to start making a difference in the community after receiving their crowns just over a week ago. As the reigning Miss Door County, Staudenmaier, a Southern Door High School graduate attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, will be visiting area schools and organizations sharing her platform on Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention in Teens (EDAPT). Her focus will be on getting the word out, especially with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week coming up from February 21-28.   Bohn, a junior at Sturgeon Bay High School, will be championing her platform on dyslexia, a learning disorder in reading that her brother has been battling. In June, both Staudenmaier and Bohn will be competing at the Miss Wisconsin and Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen 2022 contest in Oshkosh. You can listen to our conversations with Chloe and Claire at the Podcast Page on DoorCountyDailyNews.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L-C's Schlender to retire at school year's end

You will see a new leader for Luxemburg-Casco School District this July. The district announced on Monday that Superintendent Glenn Schlender will retire from his role in June after being hired by the district in 2008. Luxemburg-Casco School District has been on an upward trajectory since Schlender took over, and not just because of the 100 additional students that have come to the area due to open enrollment. Current district achievement is 20 points higher than the state average, making the high school a top 10 institution in the Green Bay metro area and the elementary school in the top 50 in the state.  A month ago, Schlender told Door County Daily News that 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. You can read comments from the school board president and other administrators below:

 

“Glenn came to the district with a vision, and he successfully implemented it. He expanded the learning opportunities for our students; by partnering with NWTC and area businesses we now offer students new career pathways. Under Glenn’s leadership, Luxemburg-Casco has become a destination district for learning in Northeast Wisconsin. Our goal is to have that success continue with our leadership team and his successor.”

Mike Driedric

L-C Board of Education President

 

 

“Glenn had a compass for student learning, behavioral growth and career readiness which benefited students’ experiences and prepared them for their future.

 

“Glenn created a listening session for the community to prioritize what was important for students, staff and the community to address the learning, facilities and program issues with the school system. Within a few short years of Glenn’s tenure, he led the administrative team and staff to accomplish the community’s ideas, which included facility upgrades, one-to-one technology, business relationships and a community fitness center.

 

“Overall, Glenn wanted to have an impact on the culture of the district in which it would change and adapt at a fast pace to meet the needs of students. In order to do this, Glenn knew he needed to build the leadership capacity of the administrative staff to accelerate change. He was able to do this by giving up authority and mentoring staff to build their leadership capacity.”

Mike Snowberry

L-C Director of Learning Services

 

 

“What has made Glenn successful as superintendent is his willingness to work with others and openness to new ideas. He worked to bring new opportunities to L-C students through facilities upgrades and additions. His legacy will be the passing of the referendum and its projects and his watch over the district during a time of what I feel has been an unprecedented increase in opportunities for students.

 

“I thank him for his mentorship as I transitioned from the role of teacher to administration/principal. I appreciate everything he has done for the district and for me personally.”

Troy Haws

Principal, L-C High School

 

 

“During Glenn’s tenure, the district approved and added the position of director of learning services, which Mike Snowberry currently holds. As a result, and with the two of them working together, the district has made tremendous gains academically, as evidenced by the student-achievement scores, course opportunities and career pathways.

 

“Under Glenn’s leadership, the process which brought the community and district together that resulted in the passage of the referendum and completion of its construction projects has positioned the district for even further success.”

Todd Chandler

Principal/AD, L-C Middle School

 

 

“Glenn recognized the need for public input to set direction for the Administration and Board of Education. The community event that he planned brought many ideas forward and gave us ‘marching orders’ that the community felt were important for us to work on. It set the stage for a successful referendum and for building projects that were needed, which included a new Middle School in Luxemburg. When making decisions, he always thought about how it would positively impact kids and kept them as the number-one priority. I am grateful for the impact he has had on our district and on me personally.”

Pete Kline

Principal, L-C Primary School

 

 

“The Luxemburg-Casco School District would not be where it is today without the leadership of Glenn. A good leader is making the people around you better. Glenn supported myself and many other people in the district to be better, and I am thankful he believed in me and gave me the opportunity for me to continue to grow as a leader.

 

“Glenn is leaving Luxemburg-Casco in a much better spot than when he got here. The list of things Glenn has accomplished here is commendable and truly amazing. I am truly grateful for the time I have worked with Glenn.”

Jenny Bandow

L-C Athletic Director/Dean of Students

 

 

“Glenn’s desire to provide innovative approaches to offer real-world experiences for our students has created a dramatic impact on the district’s ability to create a pipeline of college-, career- and community-ready employees. His empowering and supportive leadership inspired his team to strive for excellence and develop one of the best apprenticeship programs in the state of Wisconsin.”

Jen Johnson

Director, Ahnapee Regional Youth Apprenticeship program

 

 

“The moment Glenn walked in the door, one thing was evident: he was willing to listen. He took the time to engage with teachers, parents and the community. He used that information to fuel tremendous change in our district that matched the vision of the people within it. We wouldn’t be where we are today without his guidance and leadership.”

Kyle Thayse

L-C Instructional Coach

DCEDC looks to build modular home manufacturing facility

Seeing built homes leaving the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park could be a part of your daily commute in the future. The Door County Economic Development Corporation is looking at acquiring the necessary grants to build a modular home manufacturing facility. The organization would partner with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, the Door County Homebuilder’s Association, and participating school districts to build homes that would have a price point of between $99,000 and $159,000. Director of Business Development Julie Schmelzer says the proposed project could have multiple benefits to the community that is currently lacking affordable housing options and future contractors.

The concept is based on a similar program set up in Sheboygan County. The project will not get off the ground if there is no grant funding, though the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approving a donation of just under four acres of land in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park would still be a step forward. The council will discuss that decision during its Tuesday meeting.

Contested races highlight spring primary Tuesday

You can participate in the first election of 2022 on Tuesday when municipalities across Door and Kewaunee counties host their spring primary election.

 

In Kewaunee County, voters across the county will have the opportunity to trim the number of circuit court judge candidates from three to two. Jeffrey Wisnicky, Kim Hardtke, and John Peterson are all running to replace the late Keith Mehn on the bench.

 

In Door County, the field for the District 20 seat on the Door County Board will be trimmed on Tuesday 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 Gibraltar Area School Board will also have a primary for its two seats up for its election. Incumbent Don Heim, James Smasal, Patrick Voight, Jessica Sauter, Christina Voight, and Jeremy Schwab will be on the ballot with the top vote-getters moving on to the April 5th spring election.

 

The winners in Tuesday’s primary will move onto the general spring election on April 5th. Polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can still get a proper identification card for the polls if you do not have one. You can click on this link to learn how.

 

Three more hospitalized among dwindling count in Door County

Only the Christmas and New Year holidays produced as small of numbers as we saw in Monday’s situation update.

 

Fifteen of the 89 tests performed since Friday’s update came back positive for COVID-19 with no probable cases reported. No new deaths were announced, but another three hospitalizations were reported. The number of announced hospitalizations and deaths tends to lag behind what is being seen locally due to the state’s reporting. 

 

Door County Public Health will host two more vaccination clinics this month on consecutive Tuesdays at the Door County Government Center from 12 to 4 p.m. by appointment, but walk-ins are encouraged.

Partial maintenance closure on Highway 57 for Door and Kewaunee counties

You may have to add extra time to your commute to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 15th and 16th, if you usually take State Highway 57 North.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced that maintenance crews would be working on the northbound lane of Highway 57 between the Kewaunee and Door County line and County D to remove vegetation. Although the team will only be taking care of one of the shoulders, a moving lane closure will be in effect while they are working. The lane closure will be from 7 am to 3 pm on the 15th and the 16th. The DOT asks that you be mindful of workers near the highway and be prepared to slow down. 

 

Spotlight in the Community: Kevin Osgood and Sam Perlman of Door County Maritime Museum

Telling you the stories of Door County’s maritime history and inspiring the next generation is not something Kevin Osgood and Sam Perlman at the Door County Maritime Museum take lightly. In recent years, the pair have introduced a number of educational components to the county’s schools including the SeaPerch robotics competition. Sevastopol had earned a trip to the international competition before the pandemic wiped out the event. Recently, the museum began the process of recruiting boys and girls for a future Sea Scouts ship, something Osgood said earlier this month would be a tremendous opportunity.

Osgood and Perlman are also overseeing the Maritime Tower Project, which held the ribbon cutting for two more floors on Friday. The floors highlight the history of navigational tools and the area’s shipwrecks. The process has brought dozens of artifacts out of storage and into the public’s eye for the first time while using touch screens to captivate a younger audience. Perlman is excited for the public to embrace the area’s maritime history and look ahead to the future.

The Maritime Tower hopes to have a few more floors open for exploration when the Door County Maritime Museum hosts a grand opening event on May 22nd.

 

Click here to listen to our Spotlight in the Community podcast with Osgood and Perlman.

Stawicki named chair of energy board

A familiar face will be leading the organization overseeing your electricity. Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki was elected to the chairmanship position of the WPPI Energy Board of Directors late last month after 11 years serving as its vice-chair. Stawicki has represented Sturgeon Bay on the board since 2004 and joined the organization’s executive committee two years later. Under the guidance of Stawicki and the board, electric rates have remained consistent while WPPI Energy has invested in renewable energy alternatives. WPPI Energy includes 51 locally owned electric utilities including Sturgeon Bay Utilities and Algoma Utilities.

Celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday with the Kewaunee Public Library

From February 25th to March 5th, you can take on the challenge of solving puzzles in a Dr. Seuss-themed escape room. This escape room is the second that the library is hosting after the last one hosted in January. The Library director explains that the previous Jumanji-themed escape room created interest within the community.

 

 

This room will be different from the previous escape room the library hosted, as it was designed with families with young children in mind. This event was put together to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s March birthday. The escape room will be the highlight of the celebration, with other small activities to follow. Although this event is the main highlight right now, there are other events and activities available at the library all of the time. You can view the Kewaunee Public Library’s calendar of events here.

Beer trending back to basics

If hoppy IPAs or fruity sours are not your things, brewers across the country are hoping to make the beer right for you. 

 

The beer aficionado website HopCulture named the return of lagers and non-alcoholic beers two of the top trends to look for in the craft beer industry in 2022. Lagers popularized by the macro-brewery offerings by Miller, Coors, and Budweiser have seen a comeback for microbreweries over the last few years as they look to drinkers who want to have a lower alcohol content in their beer. Likewise, non-alcoholic beers are also becoming more popular as brewers have figured out how to produce the offerings without sacrificing the taste. Bridge Up Brewing’s Trent Snyder says the trend acknowledges that not everyone wants something with a strong flavor or high alcohol content.

Despite the trends, do not expect the popularity of India Pale Ales (IPAs) to disappear anytime soon.  According to the beer check-in app Untappd, the top style of beer was the American IPA with 7.2 million check-ins. Other IPA styles like the New England /Hazy and the Imperial/Double accounted for another 10.2 million check-ins.

Crossroads offering programs for everyone

Crossroads at Big Creek has many programs available for you to take part in in the coming weeks. The Ski for Free program will continue every Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. weather permitting. Door County Silent Sports will also have volunteers that will help find the size of equipment needed for people who participate. The lecture series at Crossroads will also be continuing with the Door County Master Gardeners Association presenting a program called “Awesome Annuals with Pollinator Potential,” which will be presented via Zoom on February 22. It features Mark Dwyer, landscape consultant and former Director of Horticulture at the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, WI. The lecture will focus on a wide range of seasonal plants for garden beds, borders, and containers that both add a colorful punch to the landscape and can be “pollinator magnets” as well. On Thursday, February 24 the Fish Tale Lecture Series will have its third lecture titled “Presenting the Science of Great Lakes Fisheries”, which will feature Dr. Cari-Ann Hayer. Dr.  Hayer is a fisheries biologist and Program Manager of the Aquatic Invasive Species Detection and Monitoring Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hayer will describe how her team gathers eDNA data from the near shore communities and rivers from various major ports around Lake Michigan including Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Chicago looking for novel non-indigenous fishes using a surveillance program designed to detect eDNA from traces of skin cells, feces, reproductive secretions, and other genetic material shed into the environment. Both lectures will have viewing options in-person and on Zoom, with participants being asked to wear a mask when in buildings at Crossroads. 

Door County Habitat for Humanity ready to build for more partner families

You can help make sure another two homes get built in Door County this year. After being able to build and secure partner families for two homes last year, Door County Habitat for Humanity is planning on building another two homes in the area this year. The organization will partner again with the Door County Housing Partnership for their 46th home on Cherry Court in Sturgeon Bay.  It will also build its 47th home in Baileys Harbor to support the Wittenmeyers as its partner family. After years of only being able to build one home a year and sometimes struggling to find a partner family, Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen is thrilled with the pace the organization is working at now.

The news comes on the heels of the organization seeing one of its partner families, the Kruegers, move into their home late last year and another family moving into the other home Door County Habitat for Humanity built in the coming weeks.  The organization is already recruiting volunteers to help support their home builds in Sturgeon Bay and Baileys Harbor this summer.

FYRE helping with teens dating violence awareness

The help of Door County is getting area youth involved with the FYRE program despite the challenges of not meeting in person. FYRE, which stands for Forging Youth Relationships and Education, has teens meeting virtually to encourage students to come forward and report teen dating violence. Youth Advocate Karla Romero says the goal is to give young people a voice that is heard. She says teen dating violence can manifest from an unhealthy relationship that is controlling.

 

 

Typically, Romero would hold activities and work within the area schools with students. She says the pandemic has caused challenges in getting the word out about the FYRE program, but ten teens currently are participating in Door County this year. One-hour meetings are held every other Wednesday starting at 5 pm. February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Humane Societies looking to get more dogs into homes

You may have heard that across the country animal shelters have been reaching capacity limits and are trying to get more pets out the door and into loving homes. Locally, this issue is no different as the campuses of the Wisconsin Humane Society are starting to take in more and more animals, without sending some animals home with new owners. Some common reasons dogs and other animals end up in shelters can be due to things like lifestyle changes, owners losing their jobs, and health problems.  Across the organization's five campuses, there are approximately 40 dogs that are available for adoption. One of the challenges that comes with trying to find these dogs new homes is that some of them have behavioral or medical conditions that make finding a match a little more difficult. To help this issue, the Wisconsin Humane Society has announced that they are cutting dog adoption fees by 50% through February 18th. Dogs that have been available for adoption for 10 days or longer will have adoption fees of only $25. Adoptions at WHS are on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as it’s a good fit. As part of the adoption fee, dogs available for adoption have been spayed or neutered and have received initial vaccinations. When a dog is adopted, the owner will also go home with a certificate for a free vet exam and a starter bag of food. For information about available animals and the adoption process at each location, please visit www.wihumane.org.

Long-term COVID having widespread impact

People suffering the effects of COVID-19 weeks and months after being infected are having a wider impact on your life than you thought before.

 

In a CBS report, non-resident senior fellow Katie Bach from the Brookings Institution suggests that the equivalent of 1.6 million people are missing from the full-time workforce because of their “long-hauler” status after contracting the coronavirus. Many people suffer symptoms for at least four weeks, but some can have them for months.  Long COVID patients are associated with approximately 250 symptoms like severe headaches, brain fog, and heart palpitations, which are making people feel less comfortable going back into the workplace. Dr. Brad Wozney of Bellin Health Denmark says they have been directing patients to their primary care providers in hopes of finding solutions to their problems.

 

 

An estimated 19 million people are suffering from long-term symptoms of COVID-19. According to the USA Today Network-Wisconsin, only a handful of Wisconsin health systems offer services tailored to the long-haulers, setting up long waiting lists for those currently not enrolled but in need.

 

Donations needed for Feed/Clothe My People of Door County

One of the largest food pantries in the area is looking for your help to restock its shelves in February. Feed and Clothe My People of Door County needs boxed foods and other supplies to meet the demand. Executive Director Stella Huff says the community had always stepped up in the past when donations were needed.  The pantry now allows for drop-offs on Wednesdays during the week, besides the regular business hours. Items like boxed meals, shelf milk, canned vegetables, and meats are donated foods that would help immediately.

 

Huff notes that Feed My People in Door County provided donations to about 50 people last month. The organization has a strong volunteer base but could use someone to help clean the floors in the building on Monday mornings. Here, you can find more information and hours of operation for Feed and Clothe My People of Door County.

Peninsula Players to host two more play readings

If you missed the first week of the Peninsula Player’s winter program, you don’t have to worry because two more are to follow. The program, called “Play’s the Thing,” is a collection of virtual and in-person events from February to March, where you can witness readings of plays by local actors and actresses. Each event takes place on the first Monday of the month, at 7:00 pm, but the virtual recording of the reading will be available for 24 hours after the start time. In the first reading on February 7th, the actors read “Kodachrome” by Adam Szymkowicz. For the March performance, the play “The Safe House” by Kristine Thatcher will be read, and in April, the play “A Rock Sails By” by Sean Grennan will be showcased. Information on each of the plays that will be read is available on the Peninsula Players website. Although the readings are free for attendance, you have to reserve a spot, whether that be virtually or in-person; you can do that at that website as well. 

 

Job fair to be held for Door County residents

If you were unemployed due to the pandemic, there is a chance for you to see available positions in Door County. On Wednesday, February 16th, there will be a job fair showcasing businesses in Door County that are currently looking for help. This job fair will be one of three job fairs in the area located at We Are Hope Inc. Amanda LaRoche from We Are Hope describes what you can expect if you attend the event in search of a job.

 

 

The other two fairs will be on March 16th and on April 20th. All of the fairs will be open from 2 pm until 6 pm. LaRoche notes that different businesses may be available at each fair, so if you don’t find a position for you at the first one, an opportunity may be available at one of the other fairs.

Positive COVID-19 tests increase, active cases decrease in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported 59 new positive COVID-19 cases, while the number of active cases fell by one from 21 to 20. Hospitalizations also decreased as last week there was one listed hospitalization, with this week’s report showing no hospitalizations, and two new deaths were reported this week, though those numbers tend to lag from what is being seen locally due to the state's reporting. On the vaccination front, 52.26% of the Kewaunee County population has already received at least one dose of the vaccine. The Kewaunee County Public Health Department accepts appointments for weekly clinic dates every Tuesday and Thursday.

Area grocers plan for big Super Bowl Sunday boost

Although the Green Bay Packers are not playing in the Super Bowl this year, local supermarkets anticipate a busy weekend as home parties are planned for Sunday.  According to the National Retail Federation, the average dollar amount per person in 2022 should come in slightly lower than the record of $88.65 per person set in 2020 when total spending hit $17.2 billion. Tadych’s Marketplace Store Manager Jon Calhoun says many of his departments are a lot busier the closer we get to kick-off.

 

 

USA Today reports that U.S. consumers are expected to spend a total of $14.6 billion on food, drinks, apparel, decorations, and other items this Super Sunday.  

Michigan Street Bridge to close February 28th

If you commute to opposite sides of Sturgeon Bay you may have to plan a different route to your destination starting February 28th. The Michigan Street Bridge in Sturgeon Bay will be closed continuously from February 28 - March 11 for both vehicle and boat traffic, as the repairs are made from the impact damage last fall. The bridge was damaged early in October when a semi-truck struck the support structure of the bridge. You will be able to use the Oregon Street Bridge as well as the Highway Bridge in Sturgeon Bay to cross town, however you may want to set aside more time to get to your destination, as traffic will be increased to both of those bridges. This news comes in addition to the one lane closure on northbound WIS 57 between the Kewaunee/Door County line and County D. The lane will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 15 and Wednesday, February 16. Motorists are urged to slow down and be mindful of workers near highways.  

 

For more state highway maintenance information, please see the Northeast Region maintenance website at  https://projects.511wi.gov/maintain-ne/schedule/

 

Annual meeting brings farmers, non-farmers together

You can be a part of the conversation on February 15th when Peninsula Pride Farms hosts its annual meeting at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds.

 

The event has grown in recent years as more community members wanted to learn more about what the producer-led watershed group has been up to as it relates to their own land and water conservation efforts. This year, the group is welcoming Jamie Patton from the University of Wisconsin Madison Extension, Ricardo Costa from The Nature Conservancy, and Brad Gingras from Superior Strategies as its speakers. While Patton and Costa will focus on the health of the land, Gingras is turning his attention to how people from different backgrounds interact with each other. Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles says the conversations that have been held at past meetings and will be had on Tuesday are beneficial to everyone.

The annual meeting runs from 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. for the general public inside the expo hall at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds. The meeting agenda also includes a year in review of their conservation practices and updates on projects the group is participating in across southern Door and Kewaunee counties.

Positive COVID-19 report marred by deaths, hospitalizations

Door County’s battle against COVID-19 continues to see improvement despite some bad news provided by the public health department.

 

Since Monday’s situation update, the Door County Public Health Department has seen 35 of the 131 tests administered come back positive for the coronavirus. One probable case was also included. The county did see two more people die from the virus and get hospitalized from it, though those numbers tend to lag from what is being seen locally due to the state’s reporting. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services downgraded the disease activity level in Door, Kewaunee, and 14 other counties to very high from critically high. The department announced Thursday that the seven-day average of new positive cases slipped to 2,537, more than 7,000 less than it was at this time last month and 16,000 less than at its peak. The positivity rate has also plummeted from 28.2 percent to 11.9 percent.

 

Door County Public Health will host two more vaccination clinics this month on consecutive Tuesdays at the Door County Government Center from 12 to 4 p.m. 

Sturgeon Bay man dies in custody at Door County Jail

The death of a 54-year-old Sturgeon Bay man at the Door County Jail Thursday has sparked an investigation. Deputies at the jail discovered the inmate unresponsive after 11 p.m. and immediately began life-saving procedures when they found that he had no pulse and was not breathing. Personnel from Door County Emergency Services, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Sturgeon Bay Police Department, and the Patrol Division of the Door County Sheriff’s Department were also called to the cell to help out, but they could not revive the man. No other information about the prisoner was released pending the notification of family members other than he was in jail on a probation hold. The Door County Sheriff’s Department has requested the Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigate the death with the Brown County Medical Examiner conducting tthe autopsy on Monday. 

Gibraltar, Sevastopol Elementary rank high on U.S. News & World Report List

Two Door County schools have cracked the top 150 elementary schools in the entire state according to the U.S. News and World Report.

 

Gibraltar Elementary School is ranked 101st while Sevastopol was placed at 125. The highest in the entire area was Luxemburg-Casco's intermediate school, which came in 50th overall in the state. The publication considered test scores, student diversity, teachers, counselors, and district spending with its data when ranking over 102,000 elementary schools in the United States. It was the first time the U.S. News and World Report ranked elementary schools after previously doing the same for high schools and colleges. Rankings for the area's high schools will take place at a later date.

 

Sevastopol Middle School ranked even higher than all of the others in the area, taking 3rd among all Wisconsin middle schools.

 

It comes at a unique time for schools in the area after the public school open enrollment period opened on February 7th.

 

From Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer

I would like to take this moment to recognize Gibraltar Elementary School, Gibraltar Middle School and Gibraltar High School for receiving recognition by U.S. News & World Report as Best K-12 Schools. This is the first time U.S. News & World Report has ranked elementary and middle schools. I am extremely proud of our students, families, teachers, support staff, leadership and Board of Education for their outstanding efforts during the pandemic to provide uninterrupted, continuous teaching and learning. It takes ALL of us working together to provide an exceptional Gibraltar Education to our students. I also want to take this moment to thank the community for their ongoing support of our school district. It is my honor and privilege to serve as the Superintendent of this amazing school organization! Go Vikings!

Sincerely,

Tina Van Meer

 

You can click on this link to see where your school ranks nationwide.

 

Washington Island: Unranked

Gibraltar: 101st Elementary, 88th Middle School

Sevastopol: 125th Elementary, 3rd Middle School

Sawyer Elementary (Sturgeon Bay): Unranked

Sunrise Elementary (Sturgeon Bay): 537th Elementary

T.J. Walker Middle School (Sturgeon Bay) 75th Middle School

Southern Door: 482nd Elementary, 255th Middle School

Algoma: 773rd-1030th Elementary, 256th Middle School

Kewaunee: 432nd Elementary, 408th Middle School

Luxemburg-Casco: Unranked Elementary (Primary), 50th Elementary (Intermediate), 102nd Middle School. 

 

A previous version of this story said their rank was out of the entire country instead of the state. We regret this error and have since fixed it.

 

Gamblers hosting "We Gotcha Girl" game

The Green Bay Gamblers will host the second annual “We Gotcha Girl” game on Saturday, February 12. Fans in attendance are asked to donate women's hygiene products which will be donated to those who need them in the Northeast Wisconsin area. Fans that donate will be eligible to win gift cards and autographed Gamblers merchandise. If fans do not possess hygiene products, monetary donations are also accepted, which will go towards the purchasing of products for those in need, and can be arranged by contacting the Gamblers front office at 920-405-1237. Tickets for the game can be found online and ticket prices for kids 14 and under will be discounted. 

 

Plum Bottom Art Gallery opening third location in Fish Creek

Plum Bottom Art Gallery will be expanding and opening their third location in the town of Fish Creek. The former owners of the property closed down and retired after 45 years of doing business. Plum Bottom owners Chad Luberger and Angela Olson-Luberger said that they will continue to offer art pieces from artists who have had their work in the old gallery for years before the change. The original Plum Bottom Art Gallery opened 16 years ago and was located on Plum Bottom Road. The second location opened up in Egg Harbor a couple of years ago and has been displaying artists from all over the country.

 

 

Technology, community policing aids in solving crimes

There is a lot that goes into solving crimes in your community and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski thanks you for your small role in it. A team of three deputies heads up the investigations at the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, covering areas like drug activity, internet crimes against children, physical assault, and child abuse. Technology has provided an avenue for many to commit crimes in a number of ways, though it has given the deputies a useful tool to build their cases as they try to solve the crimes according to Joski. He still gives a lot of credit to the community for their cooperation to help their investigations team do the work that they do.

The combination of the two plus the hard work of the department have given the department a high clearance rate or being able to close cases in recent years. You can read more about the topic below.

 

While some of the duties here at the Sheriff’s Department are in the public’s view and receive a great deal of attention, there is a division of the Sheriff’s Department that works tirelessly each and every day behind the scenes. As I reported in an earlier article regarding the response of our patrol Deputies to calls of a criminal nature; many of these calls are dealt with by those Patrol Deputies when the evidence for an arrest is clearly present. Not all crimes that are committed provide clear evidence of responsibility or even a clear picture of what actually occurred.

          

When a given call presents the need for evidence gathering, and in depth follow up, we rely on the members of the Investigation Division to apply their expertise in the pursuit of a successful outcome. This division is comprised of three Deputies, each of them skilled in various facets of investigative work. While they may receive preliminary information from the initial responding Deputy, their work requires them to look at each and every case with a fresh perspective and recreate the events of the incident through extensive interviews, forensic investigation and follow through on each and every piece of information available.

          

A great deal of resources is expended in our constant vigilance against drug activity within our community as well as assisting adjacent counties and municipalities in their efforts. We continue to see the emergence of heroin along with methamphetamines in our communities along with the alarming abuse of prescription drugs which have impacted too many families and friends. The knowledge and intelligence gathering which is done on a daily basis by our Investigators has proven successful in many convictions pertaining to all criminal activity throughout this past year.

          

Some of the common calls which we may request their assistance are burglaries, sexual assaults, and criminal damage to property. Some unique calls which this division has handled in this past year include the crime of sexting and related ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children). As with many crimes based in technology, there may be a limited awareness on the part of those perpetrating the crime, as well as those who are potential victims of the crime. sexting is when sexually explicit photos are taken by an individual and then shared electronically. A truly alarming trend which we have been seeing is the sexting which is going on among children in our community. While the young person taking the photo may not see it as a crime, or the young person who receives or shares the photo on their electronic device may not see it as a crime, it is in fact a serious offense. The real danger is the lasting damage that such activity causes in that these photos never go away and will last for perpetuity. The plain fact is that anyone taking such photos is in essence creating child pornography, and anyone with such an image on their electronic device is in possession of child pornography. Furthermore anyone who shares these images is actually distributing child pornography.

         

In 2021, we also investigated numerous significant crimes involving physical assaults and substantial child abuse. These cases required the cooperation and collaboration of our Investigators with state and federal investigative agencies. Just as our Investigators are an additional tool to our Department, these state and federal assets are invaluable resources for our Investigators. All of this demonstrates the complexity of the work which these Investigators must do and the sensitivity and professionalism which they must exercise in the investigations of such crimes.

        

Of the many ways we use in calibrating our success, one tool is the Incident Based Reporting system to which all Law enforcement agencies submit their data. A key area we look at is our ability to solve or clear cases. If you are interested in the details of this data, it can be found on our website at: www.kewauneesheriff.com

        

We pride ourselves on not only our clearance rates, but more importantly the quality of the work that goes into our investigations which ultimately leads to successful adjudication of these cases. This again is due to the diligent and hard work of our entire staff as well as the many leads we receive from our community.

        

Thank you to our Investigators for the thorough and methodical manner in which you do you jobs each and every day! 

            

Peninsula, Whitefish Dunes state parks get money for repairs

Your travels through Peninsula State Park and on the Old Baldy Boardwalk will get an upgrade in the near future after the State Building Commission approved over $28 million in improvements across the state.

 

Nearly $2 million will go towards eight miles of roadway at Peninsula State Park. Peninsula State Park Superintendent Eric Hyde called it a capstone project.

The State Building Commission, which counts Senator Andre Jacque among its members, also awarded a grant to the Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park for $6,516 to repair the Old Baldy Boardwalk. The boardwalk help lead hikers to the state park’s tallest dune “Old Baldy,” which stands at 93 feet tall. The grant was a part of $477,000 in matching funds awarded to 18 non-profit organizations.

Legrave honored with Silver Beaver Award

Dennis Legrave has been a fixture at your area youth events for years and Bay-Lakes Council BSA will recognize him for that later this spring. Legrave, a Cubmaster for Pack 4042 out of the Luxemburg Sportsman Club, will be honored with the Silve Beaver Award when Bay-Lakes Area Council hosts its annual convention at the end of April. The Silver Beaver Award has recognized an adult’s distinguished service to youth since 1931. It is the highest-level award a Boy Scouts of America Council can bestow on an adult leader and he is one of only 12 people to earn it this year in Bay-Lakes Council. A third-generation Cubmaster in the Kewaunee County area, Legrave is humbled by the award.

Legrave is also an assistant scoutmaster with Troop 1042 in Luxemburg and recently completed his Wood Badge, an advanced national leadership program only open to Scouting volunteers and professionals. He is also active in Kewaunee County 4-H, serving as one of the leaders for its rabbit project. 

National Weather Service issues Winter Weather Advisory

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for parts of Door County including areas from Sturgeon Bay up to Sister Bay. The advisory will go into effect at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening and will continue until approximately 6:00  a.m. on Friday. Forecasts are calling for snow to accumulate roughly 3-5 inches and winds will reach 30 mph and will produce blowing and drifting snow. The weather will likely impact travel as roads will become slippery and blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. You are encouraged to only travel if necessary and to use caution while on the roads. The latest updates on road conditions can be obtained by dialing 511 or by visiting 511wi.gov.

Holland tapped to help solve local child care challenges

Jess Holland understands your worries when it comes to child care being affordable and available in Door County.

 

The new Childcare Community Coordinator at the United Way of Door County was in similar straits as many parents are with her two children, now ages three and ten. While she had good family friends available to watch her son until he was able to get into the former Barker Center, it was not until her parents were able to could move to the area that she had a solution for her daughter. In the meantime, Holland’s daughter was waitlisted at the Barker Center and she stretched out her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time farther than she or her employer wanted her to go. That experience got her involved in helping the United Way of Door County with their work addressing the area’s child care needs before taking the coordinator position earlier this month. Holland knows how lucky she was and understands many are not.

Holland is looking at how to address the area’s trilemma: families struggling to find and pay for childcare while providers are finding it hard to pay their staff. She is currently connecting with home-based providers to learn how they can be supported better.

 

Picture courtesy of the United Way of Door County

Couple prepares to continue Uncle Tom's Candy tradition

The same bark and brittles you have loved for years will be now be prepared and served by new owners.

 

Ryan Mueller and Rebecca Whipple bought the business from Heather and Jim Laughlin earlier this month.  The couple moved to Ellison Bay from Milwaukee late last year after becoming interested in purchasing the business despite having full-time jobs outside of the food industry. They are not strangers to Door County with Mueller’s family having roots in the area since the 1920s and Whipple having spent time waiting tables at area restaurants. Under Laughlin’s guidance, Mueller and Whipple learned the recipes that have been produced under the Uncle Tom’s moniker since Uncle Tom himself opened the candy store decades ago. Mueller says he is excited to help continue the legacy of Uncle Tom’s Candy Store for years to come.

Your favorite items will still be around, but Mueller says some new products will also be mixed in as Uncle Tom’s Candy shows that “Gratitude is Attitude” year-round while being very active in the community.

 

Picture courtesy of Uncle Tom's Candy and Heather Laughlin

Community banding together for Bretl family after pair of fires

Your help is needed to support the family of an Algoma educator who lost their house and a nearby shed on consecutive days.

 

The family of Chuck and Kandi Bretl was not at home Tuesday afternoon when their home on Pit Road was engulfed in flames. Early Wednesday morning, another fire on their property destroyed a nearby shed. Brussels-Union-Gardner Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier suggests embers from the house fire got underneath the shed's tin siding and started the blaze. Within a matter of 24 hours, the Bretl family lost their dog, a family of kittens, a truck, a tractor, two other vehicles, and most of their other personal items.

 

In the hours since the two fires took place, a GoFundMe page established by their lifelong friend and neighbor Dawn Starr has collected over $6900 in donations as of 3 p.m. Wednesday and Culver’s and Door Stop Amoco in Sturgeon Bay has established a Share Day to support the Bretl family on February 23rd.

 

Chuck and Kandi Bretl are both staff members at Algoma Elementary School with Chuck earning a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction Award in 2021. No causes of the fires have been determined as of early Wednesday afternoon as the insurance company was on-site to look at the damage.

 

Click here to donate to GoFundMe page

 

Picture from GoFundMe page set up by Dawn Starr

Ridges Sanctuary hosting climate change discussion

The Ridges Sanctuary will be providing an opportunity for you to voice your opinions on climate change. Participants will be able to speak freely about how individual action and community effort can impact climate change in a positive or negative way. The discussion will be moderated by Ridges Sanctuary Staff and there will be community experts who will provide perspectives about how the work that they do impacts the climate change crisis. Ridges will also provide these discussions virtually as space will be limited at the Ridges Sanctuary facility in Baileys Harbor. Meetings will continue to run on March 1, March 22, and April 12 from 6-7:30 p.m. 

 

If you are interested in attending, you can contact Anna Foster at anna@ridgessanctuary.org or (920)-839-2802

 

Mayor Wayne Schmidt recognized at Algoma City Council meeting

The Algoma City Council was able to approve several agenda items after presentations and discussions at their meeting on Monday night. Some of the key items discussed were an Eagle Scout project to implement selfie stands at the Crescent Beach Boardwalk, City Parks and Recreation Purchases of a UTV and a used pick-up truck, and a liquor license for a new Algoma bar called Steel Street Hops. Mayor of the City of Algoma Wayne Schmidt goes into detail about the agenda items discussed on Monday night 

 

 

Items such as the selling of a long-term care unit will be carried over and discussed at the Finance and Personnel meeting as there were some questions left unanswered about those items. 

 

The meeting also included a recognition of Mayor Wayne Schmidt for retiring after 50 years of service with the Algoma Fire and Rescue.

 

Electric car usage starting to increase

Seeing electric cars and charging stations during your travel through Door County is becoming more common. Electric vehicles are starting to become more popular and are expanding from passenger cars to things like rescue vehicles. The result of this change is more places needing to have electric vehicle charging stations available for public use. The village of Egg Harbor is one of the few local areas that already has a charging station put in place at the Kress Pavillion, along with the charging stations at the Destination Door County Visitor Center, Crossroads at Big Creek, and the Sturgeon Bay City Hall building. The Egg Harbor charging station specifically has four chargers with two of those chargers being Tesla exclusive and two of them being universal chargers. Some of the perks with having a charging station is that it allows people to put their car on a charger and as they wait can spend some time in local businesses around the area of the charging station. There is expected to be money set aside at the federal level for the construction of these charging stations across the U.S.  Jess Reinke the Property and Event Manager at the Kress Pavillion talks about where those funds might get sent locally and how the current chargers were funded  

 

 

Another unique aspect of the electric vehicle system is an app called “Plugshare” which allows the people who use electric cars to view the nearest charging stations.

 

Fire destroys house on Pit Road

A Town of Union house was a complete loss after a fire on Tuesday afternoon.   The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department responded at about 2:45 pm Tuesday to a reported structure fire at 1681 Pit Road.   Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier said when they arrived, the two-story home was totally engulfed with flames, and the top story had already collapsed.

 

 

The owners, Chuck and Kandi Bretl were not home at the time, but their pet dog and two cats perished in the fire. No immediate cause of the fire has been determined. The BUG Fire Department was on the scene for over four hours.

Purple street lights popping up locally

If you have been driving past dark you may have noticed some area streetlights that are appearing to cast a purple light. The reasoning behind the light shining a purple tint is caused by a defect in approximately 1% of WPS streetlights. Streetlight LED bulbs can produce a variety of colors, but normally appear to cast a blue-ish light that the manufacturer then coats to make the light appear the bright white color that may come to mind when you think of LED lights. WPS says it does not create a safety issue and that the issue is happening as far south as Milwaukee as motorists noticed the purple lighting last year. Approximately 300-400 streetlights have turned purple which is less than 1% of the 50,000 lights within the WPS service area which includes Door County among other cities in Northeast Wisconsin and Fox Valley. 

 

(Photo courtesy of yourmileagemayvary.net)

Clipper Math Team wins 21st consecutive Conference Championship

The Sturgeon Bay Math Team was able to add to their dynasty as they took home their 21st consecutive Packerland Conference Championship. Led by Senior Maggie Stephens 38 points, the Clippers won Monday night’s meet by scoring 299 points. The complete results of last night’s meet are below as well as the all-conference selections.

 


 

Seniors Name school score  
1 Stephens, Maggie STURGEON BAY 38  
2 Konop, Andrew STURGEON BAY 35  
3 Ash, Makayla STURGEON BAY 27  
4 VanLieshout, Arry STURGEON BAY 27  
5 McKeefry, Philip OCONTO 26  
         
Juniors        
1 Braun, Christy STURGEON BAY 35  
2 Mandler, Timothy STURGEON BAY 27  
tie 3 Nell, Luke NEW 27  
  Walker, Espen STURGEON BAY 27  
5 Pudlo, Russell STURGEON BAY 22  
         
Sophomores        
1 James Joski KEWAUNEE 32  
2 Zittlow, James SOUTHERN DOOR 29  
3 Ezra Linnan SEVASTOPOL 28  
4 Tomberlin, Jade STURGEON BAY 28  
5 Stephens, Ben STURGEON BAY 21  
         
Freshman        
1 Selle, Luke STURGEON BAY 29  
2 Wienke, Tre STURGEON BAY 26  
3 Tyler Grooters SEVASTOPOL 18  
4 Konop, Jack STURGEON BAY 16  
5 Logan Filar SEVASTOPOL 16  
         
         
Varsity Teams        
1 STURGEON BAY   299  
2 SOUTHERN DOOR   187  
3 KEWAUNEE   166  
4 OCONTO   164  
5 SEVASTOPOL   162  
6 NEW   152  
7 ALGOMA   87  
8 GIBRALTAR   75  
         
JV Teams (8 total teams)      
1 STURGEON BAY #2 212  
2 KEWAUNEE #2 126  
3 STURGEON BAY #3 102  
         
         
         

Final Varsity Standings

       
1 STURGEON BAY 100   (Undefeated season)
2 SEVASTOPOL 82    
3 OCONTO 74    
4 SOUTHERN DOOR 68    
5 KEWAUNEE 66    
6 NEW 58    
7 GIBRALTAR 40    
8 ALGOMA 32    
         
         
JV Standings (11 total teams)   League Points  
1 STURGEON BAY #2 150 (Undefeated season)
2 STURGEON BAY #3 136  
3 SEVASTOPOL #2 128  
         
 

 

   

 

 

 

ALL-CONFERENCE AWARDS: 

 

Seniors      
1 STURGEON BAY Stephens, Maggie 145
2 STURGEON BAY Konop, Andrew 141
tie 3 OCONTO Holmgren, Grace 123
  STURGEON BAY Ash, Makayla 123
5 KEWAUNEE Jessica Kielpikowski 120
Juniors      
1 STURGEON BAY Braun, Christy 144
2 STURGEON BAY Walker, Espen 136
3 NEW Nell, Luke 121
4 SOUTHERN DOOR Laura Zittlow 101
5 STURGEON BAY Mandler, Timothy 99
Sophomores      
1 SOUTHERN DOOR James Zittlow 139
2 SEVASTOPOL Ezra Linnan 134
3 STURGEON BAY Tomberlin, Jade 113
4 KEWAUNEE James Joski 108
5 STURGEON BAY Stephens, Ben 104
Freshmen      
1 STURGEON BAY Selle, Luke 130
2 STURGEON BAY Wienke, Tre 99
3 SEVASTOPL Logan Filar 93
4 STURGEON BAY Konop, Jack 79
5 SOUTHERN DOOR Ben Grota 76

 

Olympic fever presents opportunities

Many of the Olympic sports you are watching take place in Beijing could be found locally if you know where to look.

 

The 2022 Winter Olympics kicked off last Friday night with sports like hockey, cross country skiing, and curling taking center stage ahead ski jumping and skating. Mother Nature has taken some of the fun out of the sports you can participate outside. Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay hosts its Ski-For-Free program every week, but the lack of snow has made it harder to enjoy. Local ice rinks have been able to stay open thanks to the colder than usual temperatures this winter.

 

One sport that always sees a post-Olympic spike is curling. The Green Bay Curling Club sees hundreds of people every four years take a new interest in the sport because of the Winter Olympics coverage. Bill Rhyme has participating in the sport for decades, winning the U.S. Senior Nationals in 2005 and 2008 and medaling at the World Senior Championships those same years. Even for someone who loves the sport, he cannot believe the popularity curling has seen over the last 10 years.

While the Learn to Curl events will take place after the Olympics, Crossroads at Big Creek. Newport State Park, and Whitefish Dunes State Park are planning their Candlelight Ski events in the coming weeks if the weather cooperates. Over 20 Winter Olympians this year hail from the Badger State.

 

Photo Courtesy of Josh Heimerl

Ducks Unlimited continues work on Dunes Lake

Making Dunes Lake a picturesque place to bring your family continues to be a major goal of the Door County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.

 

Dunes Lake is located east of Brauer Road and southwest of Ploor Road in the Town of Sevastopol. More than five years ago, the organization partnered with others to address the declining health of one of Door County’s largest inland lakes due to the growth of algae, legacy phosphorus, and invasive species. Work is ongoing to dredge the lake in order to get the body of water to its original state. Door County Ducks Unlimted member Paul Stoneman says the organization does a lot of other goodwill in the community.

The chapter will celebrate Ducks Unlimited’s 85th anniversary of being one of the nation’s leading organizations when it comes to wetland and waterfowl conservation when it hosts its 44th annual dinner banquet on March 10th. You can find more details about the event and the organization by clicking this link. 

 

 

Gibraltar seeks exemption for TID for affordable housing

Affordable housing is the goal of a new Tax Increment District in the Town of Gibraltar if it gets the support of the Wisconsin Legislature.

 

TIDs are used locally in the City of Sturgeon Bay and Village of Sister Bay to help pay for some of the infrastructure needed to develop parts of their municipalities. The Town of Gibraltar’s problem is that it is too small to qualify as you needed at least 3,500 residents to be able to establish a TID. Despite high property values, the town’s population is about 2,000 less than what is required. Town Administrator Travis Thyssen says with a TID, they would be able to install a sewer line needed for the proposed affordable housing development. Thyssen added that a town their size getting such a request approved is not unheard of in the state.

The request by the Town of Gibraltar is going through its legislative process in hopes it will be approved by the end of March when the current sessions of the Assembly and Senate are expected to end.

Upcoming holidays expected to boost local economy

You may soon see an increase in traffic to the area as many people are making their way to Door County to celebrate upcoming Holidays. This coming weekend people will be coming to experience the romantic aspects of Door County to celebrate Valentine's Day and with next weekend being followed by President’s Day some people have that Monday off as well which could positively impact the local economy as people will likely be coming from hours away to take advantage of their time off. Jon Jarosh the Director of Communications and Public Relations at Destination Door County talks about some area businesses that could see a potential impact due to the services or products they offer 

 

 

Destination Door County is getting ready for their new seasonal guide to be released and you can stay tuned to doorcountydailynews.com for updates on local events.

 

(Photo courtesy of travelpulse.com)

 

Kewaunee County looking forward to return of Roar Off the Shore Brewfest

The Dykesville and Kewaunee Lions are once again hosting the Roar Off the Shore Brewfest at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds on March 26. The event returns after cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 recommendations and used to be held in Kewaunee before outgrowing several venues and moving to the Luxemburg fairgrounds to accommodate for more people. Proceeds from those who participate in the event will be dispersed back into different aspects of the local communities. In the past, proceeds from this event have gone to county park improvements like Bruemmer Park Zoo and Red River Park, as well as organizations like the Lakeshore Food Pantry, Special Olympics, Toys for Tots, and have helped high school graduates through various scholarships. For details on what the event will include you can visit www.roarofftheshore.com. 

 

(Photo courtesy of penpaperandpixels.com)

St. John Bosco Catholic School to offer all day 4-K next year

You will soon have the option to enroll your child for a full day of 4-K starting next school year at St. John Bosco. St. John Bosco currently has a half-day 4-K program that runs from 8-11:30, but will begin offering a full time program that will run from 8-3 p.m. Principal Vickie Dassler says the decision for the move came from hearing feedback from families currently enrolled in the half-day program, who also work full time saying that they could benefit from having their child be enrolled from 8-3 like the rest of the classes at the school. 

 

 

Child care has become a focal point in the area and organizations such as the United Way have been working on ways to address child care in Door County. 

 

Dassler also talked about the plan they have in place to make sure staffing isn’t a problem for the full day program

 

 

The expansion of the 4-K program will now put St. John Bosco on par with public school districts such as Sevastopol, Sturgeon Bay, and Southern Door.

 

(Photo courtesy of schola.com)

Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse looks for national designation

You could soon visit three sites in the City of Kewaunee that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Wisconsin Historical Society will consider the application for the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse to be placed on the register, which also includes the city’s post office and the Tug Ludington. The city acquired the lighthouse from the National Park Service in 2011 after it closed in 1959. After receiving some much-needed attention in recent years, the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse became a stop on the Door County Lighthouse Festival organized by the Door County Maritime Museum.  After being considered for the designation twice before, Kewaunee Lighthouse Committee member Robin Nelson hopes the third time is the charm.

The case for the lighthouse’s inclusion will be presented at the state's historic preservation review board's meeting on February 18th at noon. You will be able to tune in with others at Kewaunee City Hall. 

 

Photo courtesy of the City of Kewaunee

"Critical Race Theory" bill veto disappoints advocates

 Senator Andre Jacque does not think your kids should have to learn about systemic racism or sexism in the classroom despite Governor Tony Evers’ vetoing a ban on the practice on Friday. The Republican-backed bill would have disallowed Wisconsin public schools from teaching students and training employees the concepts many have associated with “critical race theory.” The Democratic governor said he vetoed the measure because it would restrict schools from teaching topics like the Civil War and the civil rights movement with “honest, complete facts.”  Jacque says no one should have to undergo the humiliation of being told they are inferior to someone else.

While the National Education Association has said it is appropriate to be included in the K-12 curriculum, school districts in Door and Kewaunee said there are no plans to introduce the concepts to their students. Last year, Greg Jones from the NAACP Dane County Branch said although it is hard to teach some historical topics without mentioning racism or sexism, CRT is more of a graduate studies course and not something for the K-12 classroom.

Door County COVID-19 numbers continue positive trend

Door County is posting some of its lowest COVID-19 numbers since it switched to its twice-a-week reporting last fall.

 

Of the 156 tests administered over the weekend, only 36 came back positive for COVID-19. Another three were listed as probable. The county has not posted triple-digit positive cases since late January. No deaths or new hospitalizations were reported on Monday, though those numbers tend to lag from what is being seen locally due to the state’s reporting. It follows the trend the state is going after hitting its highest levels since the start of the pandemic last month.

 

On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases is 4,157 with a 16.1 positivity rate. Saturday marked the two-year anniversary of COVID-19’s first appearance in the state.

 

Door County Public Health will have two clinics in the area this week in Sturgeon Bay (Door County Government Center, 12-4 p.m. on Tuesday) and in Sister Bay (Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station 2-5 p.m. on Thursday).

Door County Reads a virtual success in first week

The Door County Reads festival kicked off its 15th year of hosting programs for all to enjoy on the 30th of January, and organizers have seen a tremendously positive response so far. The festival is a two-week affair that includes programs from various groups from the Door County community. Because of the pandemic, this year’s events are almost all in a virtual format, whether that be Zoom, Facebook Live, or pre-recorded showings. Morgan Mann from the Door County Library explains that the virtual nature of the festival has been somewhat a blessing in disguise.

 

 

Although many events have already passed, you still have a chance to get involved in the coming week. The week of the 7th will bring a play reading from the Peninsula Players, an illustrated lecture from Crossroads at Big Creek, a virtual performance from the Griffon String Quartet from Midsummer’s Music, and much more. You can view the entire calendar of events by visiting this website. You can also find the links to join in virtually and information about registering for some of the programs from that link.

Keys to managing stress two years into pandemic 

Sturgeon Bay psychologist Dr. Dennis White says developing self-care skills can help you overcome the fear, anxiety, and anger associated with the ongoing pandemic. Coping mechanisms can help with the overwhelming feelings during a prolonged health crisis. Dr. White says when experiencing stress, a “fight or flight” risk response can be triggered. Anger or anxiety symptoms can cause people not to think clearly and act out more. Dr. White shares techniques to help alleviate stresses and prevent outbursts or irrational thinking.

 

 

Dr. White adds that fear and anger are sometimes understandable, but how we deal with them is the key. You can listen to the entire Mental Health Minute with Dr. Dennis White below.

 

 

Griffon String Quartet brings music to Scandia

You could hear the sounds of string instruments the next time you visit loved ones at Scandia Village in Sister Bay. Thanks to a Music That Heals Us grant, the Griffon String Quartet began weekly one-on-one sessions with Scandia Village residents who cannot get out to enjoy live music. A handful of residents are currently in the program to receive the weekly interactions with the musicians. Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck says the program allows them to cover the whole spectrum of their audiences and also provides some extra benefits as well.

Fleck hopes the program can be expanded to more residents in the future. The Griffon String Quartet is scheduled to have an event at First Presbyterian Church in Green Bay on February 9th and will perform virtually as a part of Door County Reads on February 12th. 

Sturgeon Bay Math Team's success still adding up

Throughout the Packerland math team meets, Sturgeon Bay has pulled through each week in the number one spot. The Clipper math team consists of 29 high school students who partake in four individual tests in algebra, geometry, algebra 2, and other topics before working together in groups of eight to take a team test. Cliff Wind, the math team coach, and a high school math teacher, credits the team’s successes to the practice each student does individually and with the group. Wind states that at the end of November through December, the team met once a week to review Geometry and Algebra concepts to help the students do better on the tests. Although each school’s math team completed their tests without official offsite meets, for the final meet all of the schools’ teams will get together at Southern Door High School on Monday, February 5th. So far, the Clipper team has come in first place overall with both its varsity and JV teams. If they are announced the Packerland Conference Champions, it will be their 21st consecutive win.

Youth mental health program making "strides" in Door County

An initiative that began three years ago to address mental health issues impacting the youth will be offering a free presentation on Monday. STRIDE, which stands for Strengthening Trust, Resilience, Instilling Independence, Discovering Empowerment, is a program that began during the 2018-19 school year to offer mental health services to all five Door County school districts. Cami Peggar, the STRIDE Coordinator from United Way, is one of the five speakers and says the program is making an impact by removing barriers for accessing quality mental health care for area youth.

 

 

The STRIDE informational meeting will be from 9:00 am until 11:00 am on Monday, February 14, at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay. The event is part of the Door County Collaborative School Mental Health Project sponsored by United Way and the League of Women Voters of Door County. Accessible to the public, the STRIDE program will be held at the Collins Learning Center, where masks are recommended, and refreshments will be provided. 

Snyder toasts Hinterland mentor

The Bridge Up Brewing Company beer you are drinking was brewed by Trent Snyder with a little help from another positive influence.

 

Hinterland Brewing’s head brewmaster Joe Karls called it a career after 25 years, following the company from its humble beginning in Demark to its current location across the street from Lambeau Field. Its move to the new building allowed the beer maker to increase its brewing capacity from 5,500 barrels to 20,000 annually. That allowed smaller brewers like Bridge Up Brewing to produce its more popular beers on a bigger scale. Snyder immediately struck up a friendship with Karls, who he says approached the job with enthusiasm every day and helped him tailor his recipes to be more efficient ingredient-wise while not sacrificing the taste of the beer. Snyder says Karls has been a great resource to him, whether it at 4:30 in the morning in the brewhouse at Hinterland or just random text messages when he would be trying new recipes in his Sturgeon Bay facility.

Snyder believes Karls’ approach to brewing and talking beer is one he will take when he asked for advice, whether it is from aspiring homebrewers or to other brewers in the industry. 

 

Fat tire biking continues to grow in popularity

While you might be inspired by the Olympics to give activities like cross country skiing and curling a try, you will continue to see people cycling this winter. Fat bikes with their big rims and large, partially deflated tires make cycling possible and more accessible during the winter months even when there is snow and ice on the ground.  The sport’s popularity has grown in recent years, attracting hundreds to a Green Bay area golf course at the end of January and drew similar numbers to an event Saturday night at the Brown County Reforestation Camp. Fat biking enthusiast Randy Sahs has ridden his fat bike for years and believes the sport will only grow more in Door County.

If you’re interested in fat biking, do not worry about only using it during the winter months. The bikes were originally developed for travel through the desert. Sahs recommends Snowkraft Nordic for fat biking, though the state parks have also opened some trails for the sport as well.

Local Fire Departments adding more equipment

You may soon see a new apparatus responding to incidents around Door County as the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department introduced Squad 6-24. The apparatus carries up to 6 firefighters to incidents such as car accidents, structure fires, and technical rescues. Members of the department spent roughly three years working on the design of the apparatus that can be fully used by their department. The Sister Bay Liberty Grove Firefighters Association donated the funds raised in support of the department to complete the tool mounting and upfitting. Squad 6-24 will respond to all car accidents in the response district, and will carry tools such as the “Jaws-of-life” on board. This news comes in addition to other county departments receiving equipment donations. The Southern Door Fire Department recently received a rescue tube and a rescue auger that will aid in freeing someone who may become trapped in grain.

Lions Clubs collecting deer antlers for leader dogs

The Wisconsin Lions Clubs of Door County have found another way for you to use your deer to help support children around the state. Hunters in Door County donated over 600 hides to the Lions Clubs this past season, which produces thousands of dollars every year for the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt, Wis. for kids and adults with disabilities. Now, the Lions Clubs of Sturgeon Bay, Forestville-Maplewood, and Sister Bay are collecting deer antlers to be donated to the Northeast Leader Dog and Puppy Programs. With proper supervision, deer antlers are used to help dogs and puppies satisfy their chewing habits with something that does not break or splinter into little pieces.  Lion Tom Mueller says their relationship with the Northeast Leader Dog and Puppy Program fits in nicely with their efforts with the blind.

If you stumble upon the deer antlers you have harvested or ones that were recently shed in the woods, you can bring them to any Lions Club member.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

100+ Women of Door County awards $24,000 to non-profits in January

A dynamic group consisting of 343 members is making a huge impact on non-profit organizations four times a year with sizable donations.  The 100+ Women of Door County meets every three months and has members bring $100 to quarterly meetings that will be collectively given to three non-profits that are voted on.  Last month three organizations received a total of $24,000.  The Sue Baldwin Fund that supports cancer victims was the recipient of $12,000, while 115 Club LTD and Write On Door County were awarded $6,000 each.  Paula Latta of 100+ Women of Door County says positively impacting the community while learning more about other local non-profits is truly rewarding.  She shares the reason the organization was founded.

 

 

Latta adds that new members are always welcome and that the next “giving circle” meeting will be held on April 25 at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor.  You can find more information about 100+ Women of Door County here.   

 

(photo submitted)

Governor vetoes bill lowering working age for summers

Governor Tony Evers said no on Friday to a bill that would have allowed your kids to work additional hours while helping local businesses fill in their work shortages. The bill, which was approved by the Assembly in January after being passed by the Senate in October, would have allowed 14 and 15-year-olds to work until 11 p.m. on days when they do not have school the next day. Currently, they cannot work past 7 p.m. during the school week and 9 p.m. during the summer months.  Rep. Joel Kitchens expressed his disappointment in the Governor's veto, believing it would have helped small businesses in Door County facing labor shortages get through the summer season.

In his veto, Governor Evers said he objected to creating two separate systems of work requirements for employers, which could have created more administrative work for businesses. He pointed to several initiatives he allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for to address workforce challenges and expressed hope in working with the Legislature to address in the future. The bill was one of four vetoes he issues along with 18 bills he signed into law. While a bill banning the concept of critical race theory was vetoed, State Senator Andre Jacque saw a number of his bills empowering the state’s most vulnerable populations and increasing access to mental healthcare get signed into law.

Ridges Sanctuary posts recording of highly attended discussion

You do not have to worry about missing last month's discussion on Door County's Indigenous population from January 15th. The sanctuary hosted Kathleen Ratteree, a 4th year Ed.D Doctoral student in the First Nations in Education from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Before joining the doctoral program in her 12 person cohort, Ratteree spent quite a bit of time working with indigenous groups in multiple locations.

 

 

Ratteree talked to the large audience about the history of Indigenous people in Door County and how people who live in the community now have benefited from them settling here. Ratteree describes the main topics that her presentation touched on with the peninsula's Indigenous people.

 

 

She also indicated that knowing about the people who lived here before us who continue to live here is vital information for all of those who call Wisconsin their home and those who visit. Ratteree urges people who live in the Door County area to learn about the Indigenous people that call this area home. The entire hour and a half video presentation is available on the Ridges Sanctuary website.

Kewaunee County active cases continue to drop, one death reported

While 72 new positive COVID-19 cases were reported in Kewaunee County the number of active cases decreased by 26. Hospitalizations stayed at one this week according to Kewaunee Public Health. One new death was reported this week with 49.3% of all Kewaunee County residents having 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 Thursday.

Neighbor to Neighbor providing care for those in need

Neighbor to Neighbor, a local non-profit organization, is helping more people with their program offerings. The organization has a short term medical equipment loan program that allows those who need medical equipment to borrow the equipment for 3-6 months for no cost and return it after the time frame expires. They currently have 3 facilities available to meet people more conveniently, with those locations being in Sturgeon Bay, Northern Door County, and Washington Island. Branching off of that program is their peer companionship program, in which they match a volunteer with someone who is in need of the service to provide companionship to and visit with an individual. The peer companionship program combines with another care program in which a caregiver is involved to take care of the individual. The last program is the “Lemonade Club” which is for cancer patients and survivors to provide support and encouragement to one another as they navigate the cancer process. Ann Bennett the Executive Director at Neighbor to Neighbor says they have been servicing more clients than ever recently

 

 

Neighbor to Neighbor just received a $500 donation from Nicolet National Bank as a token of appreciation for the care and support they are providing for the community. 

 

Community Spotlight: the late Bob Nickel

Your life was touched in a positive way if you knew or interacted with former Sturgeon Bay Principal Bob Nickel, who passed away earlier this week from pancreatic cancer.

 

Nickel’s educational journey took him through Sevastopol and Algoma School Districts before finishing his career last year at Sturgeon Bay High School after 15 years. Nickel was a talented musician as well as a principal, volunteering his piano skills to be an accompanist for performances as needed. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel remembers how quickly the two got along both on a professional and personal basis after he joined the district in 2014. The two navigated the challenges of COVID-19 during Nickel’s final two years as they tried to juggle the pandemic while also providing a positive learning experience for their students. Tjernagel says his favorite memory of Nickel revolves around the annual rite of graduation.

It was the same sentiment Nickel shared with us before he presided over his final graduation in 2021.

The Sturgeon Bay School District is planning to honor Nickel with a renovated auditorium, which was something he fought for repeatedly as discussions surrounding improvements were made. You can find details for those efforts by clicking this link. You can listen to our full Community Spotlight interview with Tjernagel here.

Schwab, Fagundes appointed to Gibraltar School Board

On Thursday, the Gibraltar School Board was made whole again when it approved appointing Jeremy Schwab and Luca Fagundes to its two vacant seats.

 

Selected from a field of eight candidates, Schwab and Fagundes both live in the district and have children currently attending the school. Their current term will run until 2023 where they will run for a one-year term to finish out the term originally held by Angela Sherman and Amie Carriere. Last spring, Sherman and Carriere were elected to the school board but resigned from their respective posts within the last two months. Schwab is on the ballot for the February 15th school board primary. School Board President Stephen Seyfer says if Schwab were to win the election in April, he would have to decide on whether or not he wanted to keep his appointed position or accept the election results and serve out a three-year term.

 

The appointments come at an important time for the district as the school board begins the process of hiring a new superintendent. Current superintendent Tina Van Meer announced in December she would be retiring.

Bjurstrom takes on regional dairy role with UW-Extension

Her title may have changed, but you will still see Aerica Bjurstom at area dairy farms in the future.

 

The University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension Agriculture Institute announced late last month it would be changing how its educators would be placed throughout the state. Instead of educators being assigned to a specific county, they would be placed in regions. In this case, two regional educators covering dairy and crops will provide assistance and programming for farmers in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties. Bjurstom was named as the Regional Dairy Educator while her colleague Krishna Bhandari will serve as Regional Crops Educator.  It is a return to a comfort zone for Bjurstom who grew up in the industry and had to serve as a know-it-all for the region after Door County lost its agriculture educator a few years ago. It meant tapping into the Extension’s resources to answer some of the questions farmers would ask because it was not in her expertise. She is looking forward to having a renewed focus on dairy and working with farmers in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties.

Bjurstrom has also been busy as the Wisconsin Dairy and Beef Well-Being Conference co-chair at the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in Manitowoc that is scheduled for February 22nd. The conference will tackle issues dealing with animal health and how improving it on area farms can lead to improved production, profitability, and consumer confidence.

Snowmobilers running out of local options

You will have to travel to northern Door County if you want to fire up your snowmobile again. Earlier this week, Door County closed its southeast, southwest, and central snowmobile zones after temperatures reached near 40 degrees on Tuesday while new snow has been hard to come by over the last few weeks. The north zone, which covers Maple Tree Road/Kangaroo Beach Road (Egg Harbor to Baileys Harbor) north towards Gills Rock, remains open. Trail conditions are rated as poor. Most of Kewaunee County’s snowmobile trails have been closed since January 14th while some never opened. Mother Nature does not plan on helping either with two days above freezing forecasted for next week and just low chances of precipitation over the next two weeks.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Open Door Bird Sanctuary providing unique look at wildlife

You will have a unique chance to see some beautiful animals up close thanks to Open Door Bird Sanctuary who will be hosting their “open to the public” day on Saturday, February 12. The event will have several other things going on such as a bonfire, and warm beverages being served but the highlight of the day according to Jillaine Seefeldt the Development Volunteer and Board Member is the chance to see a number of rarely seen birds up close

 


The event will run from 11-3 and there is a small charge for entry with kids four and under getting admitted free. Those who participate are encouraged to bring their own snowshoes and cross-country skis if applicable as they have trails available for use at the sanctuary. For more information you can visit www.opendoorbirdsanctuary.org

Defibs4DoorCounty receives matching grant

The Defibs4DoorCounty organization is looking to be there for you by addressing an important public safety need. Defibs4DoorCounty is aiming to increase the number of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in key locations throughout the county to help save lives. The organization has received an anonymous matching donation grant of up to $75,000. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says that every minute that passes without early CPR or defibrillation decreases the chance of survival by 7-10%. Most cardiac arrests occur in public places, making AEDs accessible in public very important. Hecht also talked about where these defibrillators might get distributed first

 

 

For those that want in depth training with the defibrillators, information on that can be found on defibs4doorcounty.org, and donations can be made by mail, on the website, at any county fire station, or at Nicolet National Bank and North Shore Bank branches in Door County. 

 

Southern Door student council hosting blood drive

If you have been following the national trends you may have seen product shortages across a multitude of businesses/organizations. Blood supply is no different, as nationally there is not as much blood available to help those that may need it, as every 2-3 seconds someone needs a unit of blood. The Southern Door student council and the American Red Cross are sponsoring a blood drive on February 11 from 9 a.m - 2 p.m. in the Southern Door gymnasium. You can sign up for a donation time on the American Red Cross website, or by contacting Southern Door High School. Walk-ins will be accepted but may have a greater wait time. Anyone who is at least 17 years of age (16 with parent permission), weighs at least 110 pounds, and is in good health is eligible to donate.

Liberty Grove sends Henriksen request to county

Henriksen Fisheries is a step closer to offering you more products right outside a new processing facility. The Town of Liberty Grove Board approved a rezoning request for Henriksen’s land near Old Stage Road in Ellison Bay from light industrial to mixed-use commercial. Five years ago, the business purchased the property in hopes of replacing its current building that used to be a part of a cherry plant into a modern processing facility. The building will also have an area for its retail operations when it is built. Neighbors located near the parcel voiced their support for rezoning with one saying it will be an asset to the neighborhood. Town Board Chairperson John Lowry says the final decision is in the county’s hands.

The board also granted an extension to move a house on the future Mariners Park property until the beginning of May. Lowry admitted it was not properly communicated that a water line for the home was connected to another nearby building. Until that issue was solved, it made moving the home before the December 31st deadline set by the town nearly impossible. The new deadline will also give extra time to get the necessary approvals from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to move the home from the property in Gills Rock to its new land.

Rising calls stretch deputies thin in Kewaunee County

Just like you are, patrol deputies in Kewaunee County are certainly seeing things get closer to normal after the onset of the pandemic.

 

Patrol deputies in Kewaunee County were assigned 3,195 complaints in 2021 as they responded to a wide array of incidents. That was certainly up from 2020 when pandemic lockdowns and precautions kept them from being more active. It is still down from the 3,532 complaints assigned in 2019. Compared to that year, patrols arrested 13 fewer people (246 vs. 230) and issued 110 fewer citations (1,183 vs. 1,072). Lost in numbers is what happens when deputies get tied up in incidents that often take hours instead of minutes. With only two patrol deputies on duty to cover over 300 square miles, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they have to rely on a lot of help to cover the gaps.

Patrol deputies do not just write tickets and arrest people. Checking in on property and mediating tense situations are just some of the other tasks they tackle on a daily basis. You can read the full year in review from Sheriff Joski below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

As I continue with reporting the activity of the Sheriff’s Department in 2021, I would like to share some data from the Patrol Division. Probably the most visible division within the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is our Patrol Division, and it comprises of the most recognizable duties which we carry out throughout the year. There are twelve deputies assigned to the Patrol Division which is supervised by Lt. Eric Pieschek. The minimal staffing for Kewaunee County’s 322 square miles are two patrol deputies. When you consider the distance from Tisch Mills on our southern border and Dyckesville on our northern border you begin to understand the demands which this puts on our staff both from the perspective of continual presence to that of response time.

        If we were to look at the overall process from the time that a call or complaint is made to the Sheriff’s Department through its completion, the Patrol Division plays an important role. Aside from those calls which are determined to be civil in nature, and not involving an active crime, the patrol division is dispatched to every one of them ranging from keep the peace to traffic offense to domestics. The category for these calls is “Complaints Assigned” and they account for 3,195 of the total activity. In many cases the complaints may be occurring within one of the local jurisdictions or even involving an adjacent county, but we are requested to provide assistance. These are categorized as “Assist Other Agencies” and account for 558 of the total patrol activity.

          Of these complaints that we respond to not all result in arrest. Many times the Deputy is able to mediate the situation, or resolve the complaint with a warning to the perpetrator. In some cases the evidence which is provided to the Deputy requires that an arrest be made. In those cases where it is necessary to arrest the total number of arrests in 2021 was 230. While this number may seem low these calls tend to be very involved and require a great deal of the Deputy’s time in follow up and documentation.

          The most commonly perceived duty of the Patrol Deputy is of course traffic enforcement, although it accounts for very little of the overall time spent in a given shift due to the demands of call response. In 2021, there were 1,073 Citations issued along with 1,062 Warnings. We like to approach traffic enforcement from an educational perspective, and when possible try to achieve the learning experience through warnings. Unfortunately there are times where either the offense is so egregious or the individual has already been given the courtesy of a warning that a citation is unavoidable. It is important for people to realize that Deputies do not enjoy issuing citations any more than the person on the receiving end. Our ultimate goal is always public safety.

           Some of the duties which the Patrol Division carries out which may not be as commonly known are those related to civil process. By statute the Sheriff’s Department is tasked with carrying out actions which are a result of our circuit court Judge’s orders. These can range from eviction actions, actions in support of a writ, or even involvement in child custody orders. We are also part of the notification to those involved in these actions through the service of papers or notices. These “Papers Served or Attempted” account for 339 of the calls in the past year.

            The two final categories are what I would consider Customer Service. They are “Citizen Assists” and “Property Checks”. The category of citizen assists is for the most part unplanned events which are a result of an unfortunate circumstance on the part of the citizen. These can range from stranded motorists to providing information regarding vehicle registration or licensing. Deputies handled 448 citizen assists last year. Property checks are a service we provide when requested from individuals in our community who may be away from their homes for an extended period of time, or an additional amount of attention we may give to a property which has been the victim of a recent criminal act and the owner would like us to monitor activities in their area. In 2021 we conducted 2,322 such checks. A final category which our Patrol Division responds to are; “Welfare Checks”. These are calls where a loved one or neighbor has not heard from or had contact with the person involved and are asking our assistance in verifying their wellbeing or status. Fortunately, most times the outcome is merely that they were gone on vacation or just too busy to get back to the person checking on them. Our Department responded to 335 such requests in 2021.

              I hope that the take away from this article is that when you see a Sheriff’s Department squad you have a better understanding of the many different duties that these men and women engage in on a given shift. In all of these numbers, the most important element is the relationship that we have with those whom we serve. All the data and statistics mean nothing if we do not have the support of our community and it is our goal to maintain a high level of professionalism for those we have sworn to protect and serve!

            

Deaths, hospitalizations mar improving positive case numbers

New deaths and hospitalizations reported by Door County Public Health stole the thunder from the still improving COVID-positive numbers in the area.

 

The Thursday situation update reported two deaths and another 14 hospitalizations since Monday’s report. The death and hospitalization counts tend to lag from what is actually being seen locally due to the state’s reporting. Despite the somber news, the number of new positive cases being reported continued their freefall. Only 62 of the 156 tests taken since Monday came back positive for COVID-19. That mirrors the drop in the seven-day average for the state, which on Wednesday stood at 5,162 cases with an 18.3 percent positivity rate. Just under a week ago, the seven-day average stood at 11,127 cases with a 25.1 percent positivity rate.

 

Door County Public Health will continue to have vaccine clinics on Tuesdays from 12-4 p.m. at the Door County Government Center.  It will also host a clinic on February 10th at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station from 2-5 p.m.

Julian celebrating first Catholic Schools Week as principal

Curt Julian hopes you will see for yourself the importance of a Catholic education. Serving in his first year as the principal of St. Mary Catholic School in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic School in Casco, it has been a return to faith-based learning for Julian after over three decades working in the Green Bay Area School District. He went to Catholic school through fifth grade and also attended St. Norbert College. Julian knew he had more to give back to education when he retired in 2020 and he is happy with the support the church and the community have given to his staff and students.

Over 1.8 million students at approximately 6,400 elementary and high schools are celebrating National Catholic Schools Week. Five of those schools reside in Door and Kewaunee counties.

Peninsula Pride Farms earns $40,000 producer-led watershed grant

Be prepared to see new and additional conservation practices in a farm field near you in Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led conservation group covering southern Door and Kewaunee County, was awarded a $40,000 watershed protection grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection earlier this week. They were among 36 such groups to receive the $1 million towards new conservation practice incentives, water quality testing and monitoring, and outreach efforts. With over 50 member farms in the group, PPF President Don Niles says the grant funding allows operators to invest more in their conservation efforts without absorbing all the risk.

Niles is encouraged by the seven new groups that have been formed and received funding this year and that the program continues to have legs. This is the seventh round of grant funds made available to farmers since they were first included in the 2015-2017 state budget. Peninsula Pride Farms will highlight their progress over the last year when they host their annual meeting on February 15th at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Exposition Hall in Luxemburg beginning at 10 a.m.

Door County Medical Center tied to scam phone calls

Be careful the next time you get a phone call from Door County Medical Center. The hospital announced on Wednesday it had received reports from people receiving phone calls posing as if they are from Door County Medical Center asking for personal medical information. DCMC Chief Information Officer Erick Schrier says patients should only be getting phone calls from the hospital about an upcoming appointment or scheduling one for the future.

Hospitals in North Carolina and Illinois have also reported similar incidents in the past week. Door County Medical Center follows all state and federal patient privacy regulations in addition to other policies to ensure your information stays secure and is only shared with your written consent.

 

Click on this link to learn how you can protect yourself from scammers

Algoma to receive millions for breakwater project

If you have spent some time in Algoma then you probably know that the south breakwater has been a staple in the community for years, and is used for a lot of different activities. That breakwater is in need of repair, and Algoma is set to receive roughly $19 million to repair the Harbor’s south breakwater, with the project being led by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. Algoma Mayor Wayne Schmidt said the money has been discussed for some time, but it was a surprise when it became official that Algoma would be receiving the funds for the project. The investment is part of a federal infrastructure law that was passed in November of 2021. U.S Senator Tammy Baldwin who was part of the efforts to secure the funding for the project explains why this is a crucial repair for Algoma

 

 

 It is currently unknown when construction will start but the money is expected to be issued over the next five to ten years.

 

(Photo courtesy of beautyandblooms.com)

 

YMCA gearing up for annual campaign

Every spring the Door County YMCA kicks off their annual campaign that raises roughly $525,000 to support the YMCA and provide accessibility to those who want to participate in YMCA offered programs but may have difficulty doing so for various reasons. This year they are kicking off the campaign with the Day of Giving which will take place on March 1, 2022. Door County YMCA Giving Director Alyssa Dantoin says the Day of Giving will provide many fun activities

 

 

The YMCA is also preparing their new program session for March 1, 2022. More information on that session is expected to come out the week of February 18th. You can listen to the whole conversation with Alyssa Dantoin on doorcountydailynews.com under the “podcasts” tab in the “Y Wednesday” series.

 

Sturgeon Bay Schools holding Developmental Screenings

If you want to take a look at the developmental progress your child is making, Sturgeon Bay School District is holding a developmental screening for kids ages 3-5. Sturgeon Bay holds these screening days at least twice a year by appointment only with each screening taking roughly an hour. Children who participate are screened for academics, fine motor skills growth, and speech. From there, parents are able to review the results with staff and if there happens to be any delay in one of the categories they can then formulate a plan to bridge the gap to catch them up with their skills before advancing in school. Lindsay Ferry the Special Education Director and Pupil Services Director for the district says one of the biggest challenges that comes with this is getting people past the nerves to come in for a screening 

 

 

The screenings are taking place on March 4, 2022 and you can call Sawyer Elementary School to schedule an appointment.

 

Sturgeon Bay Common Council approves Grant Avenue resolution

The City of Sturgeon Bay Common Council met Tuesday night to discuss the necessity for acquiring the right of way needed for the extension of S. Grant Avenue. The right of way needed stormwater improvements, and the extension aimed to create a different entry/exit to the properties located at S. Grant Avenue. The motion for the extension was passed unanimously by the Council. A second agenda item was the enlargement of a 490 foot section of watermain that is needed to support additional demands of the proposed Kwik Trip project. The council passed unanimously to approve the cost sharing request proposed by Kwik Trip which is set to have the City of Sturgeon Bay cover costs of the project up to $46,000 with Kwik Trip paying the potential remaining difference. Back in January Foth Infrastructure and Environment, LLC proposed an Agreement for Professional Services for the restoration of the eastern shoreline of Bradley Lake, which also passed unanimously. Lastly, the Council approved hiring the consulting services of R.W. Baird to help implement a Tax Increment District (TID) along Egg Harbor Road.

Boys and Girls Club CEO passes away unexpectedly

The Boys and Girls Club of Door County has announced that recently appointed CEO Eric Blumreich has passed away from natural causes early Tuesday morning February 1, 2022. A letter from Board President Erich Pfeifer can be found below. The Boys and Girls Club will be closed for the remainder of the week to allow for grieving of Eric’s passing. 


Dear Boys & Girls Club of Door County Friends & Family, 

 

With incredible sadness, Boys & Girls Club of Door County (BGCDC) shares that its Chief Executive Officer, Eric Blumreich, passed away unexpectedly from natural causes early Tuesday morning, February 1, 2022. Our Club staff, youth, families, and community have suffered a tremendous loss of a transformational leader who joined our Club family just one month ago. Eric began his role as CEO of BGCDC on January 4, 2022, after working in the advancement office of St. Norbert College in De Pere and as the executive director of Camp Tekakwitha in Shawano. Eric was actively involved in several other youth-serving organizations where his contributions, commitment, and advocacy made a lasting and positive impact for children and teens.

 

During Eric’s short tenure with our Club, his leadership allowed us to reach an effective partnership with Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay to allow for optimization of Club activities. Our board and staff were uplifted and encouraged by his enthusiasm and vision for the future of our Club, and his presence and tireless energy will be sorely missed.

 

Boys & Girls Club of Door County will remain closed for the remainder of the week to allow staff time to grieve this untimely loss. We understand the challenge this closure may present to our Club families and greatly appreciate their support and understanding. Our hearts and deepest condolences are with Eric’s family, loved ones, and friends during this difficult time.

 

Sincerely, 

 

Erich Pfeifer

Board President

 

NWTC offering new course

You can now pursue a certificate in industrial maintenance thanks to NWTC’s new course offerings. The new Industrial Maintenance Fundamentals course will be part of NWTC’s 16 week program offerings, and classes will run two nights a week, with some of the coursework being self paced so you can complete it off site. The course aims to help those interested including adult learners who may be currently working full time. April Konitzer, the Regional Director at NWTC Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg campuses says that the course will help provide people with the skills to do a number of jobs in the industrial field 

 

 

Information about the Industrial Maintenance Fundamentals course and updates about the upcoming phlebotomy course can be found on the NWTC website, you can also call the Welcome Center today to register. 

 

(Photo courtesy of nwtc.edu)

 

Winterfest makes its return

You will once again be able to fling toilet seats and bicycles along the waterfront in Fish Creek this week. Fish Creek Winterfest was one of the final festivals to be held in 2020 before the pandemic canceled many events over the following 18 months, including its 2021 edition. Back are the games like ice bowling and minnow races and the competitions like the stump fiddle contest Saturday and the 0.49 Froot Loop Run Sunday. Visit Fish Creek’s Karlie Schultz says the event has a positive impact on some of the area’s schools and non-profits as well.

The fun starts on Saturday at 10 a.m. with fireworks happening at around 5:30 p.m. It resumes briefly on Sunday with the run kicking off at 10:30 a.m.

 

Videos from the Door County Daily News archives

 

Banned books draw attention to local libraries

As books draw attention for positive and negative reasons, you will see the impact at your local public library.

 

The latest book to catch the interest of the nation is Maus, a graphic novel about the author’s father's experience in a Nazi death camp as a Jewish prisoner told from the perspective of mice. A Tennessee school board recently banned the book from its curriculum, citing issues with the book’s language and pictures of nudity. The book, which was published in the late 1980s in two separate volumes, has soared up the best seller’s list ever since the ban was first reported. It has been a hot commodity for libraries as well as the Brown County Library has 26 holds on the first volume while InfoSoup, which shows the availability across several libraries including Kewaunee, Algoma, and Door County, shows 27 hold requests for the complete series.

 

Algoma Library Director Cathy Kohlbeck says the demand for the book locally has not been as strong as it was last year when Dr. Seuss Enterprises chose to remove six titles from printing due to racist imagery. She does think the attention is good for libraries.

While school board meetings are the route to go for questioning books for schools, there is a process to do the same at public libraries. At Algoma, you could fill out a statement of concern, which is then reviewed by the library’s directors. In Kohlbeck’s five years on the job, there has never been a book challenged through the process.

Door County theaters join statewide festival

You will be able to experience world premieres of musicals and plays across the state of Wisconsin including Door County in 2023.

 

Northern Sky Theater, Forward Theater Company in Madison, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater began planning the World Premiere Wisconsin festival in 2019. Their goals of building relationships between theater-makers, raising awareness about the fine arts scene in Wisconsin, and encouraging the production of new works took on even greater importance when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down theaters for months. Several theater companies across the state including Northern Sky Theater, Peninsula Players, Third Avenue PlayWorks, and Door Shakespeare are participating with hopes of more joining in as World Premiere Wisconsin gets closer to its March 2023 launch date.

 

Northern Sky Theater Assistant Artistic Director Molly Rohde says it has been an exciting process to be a part of as they raise awareness for the great theater-going options in Wisconsin.

More details on the festival will be released in the coming months as theater companies prepare for their 2022 seasons.

 

 

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