News Archives for 2022-04

Minding your stress helps with your mental health

Improving your mental health in time for Mental Health Month in May means handling your stress now. After all, April is Stress Awareness Month, and stress is often blamed for anxiety, job fatigue, high blood pressure, and more issues. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski has a different take on the issue as he reflects on his years in the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army Reserve, and the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. He believes it is not the stress that gets you but rather how you react to it that causes the concern.

The secret to managing stress? Joski recommends managing it rather than letting the stress control you. You can read more about Joski’s thoughts on the topic below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

There are a multitude of topics and events that are recognized and remembered in the month of April, each one of them deserving the recognition and observance to bring attention to their respective causes. One of these that I was not aware of is that April is Stress Awareness Month. I guess I can understand the need to bring attention to the topic of stress and the myriad of implications it has on our physical and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, Stress has gotten a lot of bad press over the years, and I am going to use this article to possibly bring about a different perspective on this unique condition.

         

Stress has been the go-to culprit for everything from high blood pressure to mental anxiety, from job fatigue to relationship implosion, but is it possible that it isn’t the stress causing these affects but rather our response to stress.

        

There have been some interesting studies that have been done in recent years that have explored the actual physiological responses to stress. Without going into great detail, it turns out that our body’s response to stress is very much like our body’s response in times of joy and excitement. In side by side comparisons of those who have encountered stress the actual negative impacts were only observed by those who held a negative view on stress. For those who viewed stress as an opportunity or as a positive experience, their body’s response actually enhanced their mental and physical resiliency, rather than weakening them.

         

Another finding from these studies is that much like in joyful or exciting events; our body naturally thrives on human connection. Think about when you had a great experience, and you couldn’t wait to share that feeling with others, or to reach out and share that experience. This is where we go wrong in stressful times. We either hold that feeling inside, or isolate ourselves because of the stressful situation. It is at these times that we need to communicate and share our experiences so as to have a more positive outcome. Our bodies are wired to be connected to one another and that human connection is one of our best defenses against the negative impacts of stress.

         

It is also during times of stress that we can practice gratitude in that whatever we are facing, it could always be worse. This is actually a resiliency skill called “putting it in perspective”. By doing this we are able to develop a natural and automatic default to positive thinking and ultimately towards optimism, and to me there is no drug or medication more powerful in sustaining mental and physical health than optimism.

         

I can look back on my own life at some potentially stressful situations, like handling and detonating High Explosives in the Marine Corp, or running into burning buildings as a Fire Fighter, or the many situations in almost three decades of Law Enforcement, but through it all, I have had great leaders, mentors, friends and family who have allowed me to process all of it in a positive way.

        

So the secret to managing stress is just that, to manage it and not let it manage you. I am not saying you should purposely create stress in your life or in other’s lives, but when it comes your way, identify it, embrace it, and ultimately turn it into a feeling of positive growth. It truly is all about perspective. Some great tools to help in the management of stress is of course exercise. It is no secret that our mental wellness is directly tied to our physical wellness. Another great resiliency builder is meditation. I am not saying to  go off to some exotic Mediterranean  spa, but rather to incorporate moments of peacefulness and thoughtfulness into your day, and especially when you feel the pressure of a given situation or person. A simple tool is deliberate breathing. Three seconds in through the nose, hold for three seconds and a three second exhale through the mouth. I have used this more times than I can count, and I have been able to keep a smile on my face through some interesting times. For more information you can visit: www.wellbeinginfo.org 

 

Storybook trail benches to receive dedication

The storybook trail in Egg Harbor implemented last November is to receive three benches that will also be dedicated at a ceremony on the 30th. The bench addition to the trail in Frank E Murphy Park is part of a project by the Book Nook Gardens in Egg Harbor. This nonprofit's mission is to support and encourage the love of books by creating reading nooks within nature. Kirsten Jacquet, the Book Nook Gardens board director chair details who the bench dedication is in honor of.

 

 

The dedication will be followed by a reading from the local author Sue Jarosh. Sue will also sign books and sell copies of her book and merchandise. Refreshments and activities will be available. All are welcome to join the dedication on the storybook trail, and families are encouraged to come to participate in the event.

 


Pierce found guilty on both charges

Richard Pierce will remain in custody after a jury found him guilty of the murder of his wife Carol Jean Friday afternoon. Judge David Weber read the verdicts in his chambers at the Door County Justice Center and confirmed it with each of the jurors by number after 1 p.m. on Friday. The 86-year-old Pierce was convicted of murdering Carol Jean and disposing of her body. The state was granted its request to have the signature bond for Pierce be revoked while the defense was denied its motion to dismiss the case. Since the trial started, the prosecution used 27 different people and 115 exhibits of evidence to try and show that Pierce is responsible for the death of his wife Carol Jean, who has not been seen since 1975. The defense called no witnesses, instead relying on the state’s ability to show a burden of proof that Pierce had indeed killed Carol Jean and disposed of the body. Carol Jean’s body has not been found since she disappeared in 1975. Pierce’s sentencing is scheduled for August 5th at 2:30 p.m.

Mobile Food Pantry for seniors arriving in Maplewood

Senior citizens in your life could benefit from a mobile food pantry event coming to Maplewood next week.

 

With support from the United Way of Door County and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, approximately 90 food boxes will be available for residents 55 and over at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says this is an excellent program for the area to receive, especially with so many area seniors on fixed incomes.

KOHNLE1

The drive-thru-style food box distribution will take place on a first-come, first-serve basis from 10 a.m. to noon on May 4th. Volunteers will need space in your backseat or your trunk to give you the food box. Additional events are being planned for June 8th and July 13th.


Proper prescription drugs disposal available Saturday

Saturday is National Drug Take-Back Day, and local sheriff departments will be giving you a chance to clean out your medicine cabinets.  Door County residents will be able to stop by Brussels-Union Gardner Fire, Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire, or the Door County Sheriff's Department from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on Saturday to dispose of unused and expired medications. The efforts are to keep unused drugs out of people's homes and off the streets. Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty explained why this is a vital way to dispose of the medications properly.

 

 

Both Door and Kewaunee County have drop boxes available for proper disposal year-round.  

(Photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department)

Gibraltar High School brings an interactive musical experience

You have the chance to actively participate in the Gibraltar high school musical as they perform for the first time in two years. The show is called The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and includes audience participation in the script. Director Lizz Thomas explains how the participating cast worked to put the show together and how this musical was picked for the students to perform.

 

 

This particular musical has been performed all over the country and has won multiple awards. The performance will take place on April 29th and 30th at 7 pm and May 1st at 2 pm at the Door County Community Auditorium. Tickets are available at the box office and by phone at 920-868-2728. The cost of admission is $5 for both students and seniors and $10 for adults. This show is rated PG-13 due to its mature content.

Kewaunee County COVID cases tick up

Kewaunee County is proving to be no exception to the rise in cases of COVID-19 across the state. The latest report from the Kewaunee County Public Health Department showed 14 new cases of COVID-19 since last week’s announcement, five of which are impacting people between the ages of 31-and 49. The county is reporting that there are currently 11 active cases. The good news is that there were no new deaths or hospitalizations reported. Thursday’s Wisconsin Department of Health Services report showed the seven-day average of new cases is now 1,205, which is an increase of over 300 from last week. The seven-day average for deaths has slipped from two to one during that same time period. 

 

 

 

Update on road construction around Sturgeon Bay

Patience and slower travel by drivers this week were needed as road crews continued the work on Highway 42/57 in Sturgeon Bay.

 

Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik reported Thursday that the blacktop was completed on the right turn lanes at the County U intersection. Also, underground electrical installation for traffic signal improvements was completed at Ashland and Neenah Avenues. Stretches of Highway 42-57 received some concrete patching on both northbound and southbound lanes north of the Bayview Bridge.

 

In the City of Sturgeon Bay, the major thoroughfare of Michigan Street has contractors continuing to work on the gas line replacements to finish that work in later May. You can find the complete construction update for all Sturgeon Bay road projects below.

 

 

 

Construction Update - ST HWY 42/57

 

Here is another project update from the WI-DOT for the work on ST HWY 42/57. 

 

April 25 to April 29: The contractor continued excavation and base aggregate placement for turn lanes at the Ashland and Neenah Avenue intersections. Underground electrical installation for traffic signal improvements were completed.  Asphalt paving was completed for the County U intersection right turn lanes.   Concrete patches continued in both the northbound and southbound lanes.

 

May 2 to May 6: The contractor will continue grading and base aggregate placement at Ashland and Neenah Avenue. Traffic signals and curb and gutter will be installed at these two intersections as well.  Concrete patches will continue in both the northbound and southbound lanes. 

 

Traffic impacts: WIS 42 will have single lane closures in permanently in place through May 26. Additionally, County U is closed at the intersection with WIS 42.

  • Local roadways will be closed and/or detoured for short durations during various times throughout construction.
  • There will be no right turns from WIS 42 southbound to Ashland Avenue until the end of May.
  • There will be no right turns from WIS 42 southbound to Neenah Avenue until the middle of May.
  • The Green Bay Rd off ramp from WIS 42 will be closed until the middle of May.

 

The City’s 2022 roadway projects started this week!  See below for updates on the various projects.

 

The following projects will be adding new sidewalks along:

  • Rhode Island Street (north side of the roadway between S 14th Ave & S 12th Ave)
  • N 14th Ave (west side of the roadway between Egg Harbor Road & Bluebird Street)

Currently the contractor has finished removing the topsoil and placing the gravel base for the new sidewalks on Rhode Island Street and should complete the same on N 14th Ave tomorrow or early next week.  If the weather cooperates the concrete should start to be poured next week.

 

Michigan Street (from 18th Ave to 12th Ave) along with S 16th Place (from Michigan Street to approx. 490’ to the south):  The contractor is continuing to work on the gas line replacements and is hoping to finish that work mid to late May.  After they finish, they will then move to N Geneva Ave (from W Juniper Street to the termination north of W Hickory Street) for gas line replacements on that roadway as well.

 

The following roadways are marked out and ready for removal of any curbing and/or sidewalk scheduled for replacement:

  • N 18th Ave (from Florida Street to Iowa Street)
  • W Walnut Drive (from S Duluth Ave to S Hudson Ave)

This work will begin next week and continue on to Michigan Street & S 16th Place after the gas lines are completed.

 

As a reminder, please use alternative routes when possible.  Reduced traffic within the project areas will result in a safer, more productive, and efficient project that will also allow for the earliest possible completion.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay High School Musical in session

You can now attend the Sturgeon Bay high school’s rendition of Legally Blonde the Musical. The show opened on Wednesday, April 27th, and will run through the 30th. The musical’s director Ben Olejniczak details how the students prepared to bring the show to the community.

 

 

Olejniczak says that the first show was successful, and the students enjoyed being able to perform. If you are interested in attending, performance times are April 28-29th at 7 pm and April 30th at 2 pm. There is a PG-13 rating on the show due to its mild adult themes, much like the movie. Tickets are priced at $5 for students and $10 for adults; you may make your purchase by going to this link.

Leonhard named new Sunshine Resources CEO

Sunshine Resources of Door County has a new person at the helm after officially introducing Michael Leonhard as its Chief Executive Officer. Taking on the role last month, Leonhard came to Door County from Green Bay-based Pathway to Living, where he served a similar role for over two years. His career working with adults with intellectual and developmental abilities also had previous stops as a Program Manager for Care Wisconsin and was a Case Manager for Brown County. Leonhard is excited about the opportunity, saying in a press release that his passion has “always been working with adults with disabilities, their families, support networks, and advocate groups.” 

Olson, Paape continue in Kewaunee County Board leadership positions

You will find familiar faces leading the Kewaunee County Board after its' meeting held earlier this week.

 

District 6 Supervisor Daniel Olson and District 1 Supervisor Gerald Paape were unanimously approved to continue their chairperson and vice-chairperson positions. District 19 Supervisor John Mastalir spoke glowingly of Olson, who is helping lead the charge for the county’s efforts to replace its aging safety building and highway shop.

Tuesday’s meeting served as the first meeting for the newly elected members of the Kewaunee County Board, including Brian Patrycia, who was elected to the District 5 seat as a write-in candidate. It was also the first meeting for Dennis Langteau, who defeated Nellie DeBaker for the District 4 seat vacated by Doak Baker.  

 

Rep. Joel Kitchens also spoke, highlighting his work on a bill signed into law by Governor Tony Evers earlier this month addressing nitrate contamination in ground and surface water. Supervisor Milt Swagel spoke shortly thereafter announcing he had taken the necessary papers out to run against Kitchens in the upcoming election.

Jury expected to begin deliberations Thursday in Pierce trial

It could soon be up to the jury to decide the fate of 86-year-old Richard Pierce after the prosecution, and the defense rested their cases in the murder trial on Wednesday. The state wrapped up its case shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday after it called 11 people to the stand and offered another 30 exhibits of evidence since the trial restarted on Tuesday.  Since the beginning of the trial, the prosecution used 27 different people and 115 exhibits of evidence to try and show that Pierce is responsible for the death of his wife Carol Jean, who has not been seen since 1975. The defense called no witnesses, including Pierce, before resting their case Wednesday afternoon. The prosecution and the defense were scheduled to give their closing arguments Thursday morning, with deliberations beginning shortly after that. 

Swagel joins Wisconsin Assembly race against Kitchens

You may see a Republican primary for Wisconsin's First Assembly District.

 

Kewaunee resident Milt Swagel submitted his campaign registration statement last week, joining current First District Assembly Rep.Joel Kitchens to pursue the seat. Both are listed as Republicans according to the Campaign Tracking List updated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Wednesday. Swagel is currently the District 12 Supervisor for the Kewaunee County Board.

 

No new candidates have officially entered the races for the First District State Senate seat now held by Andre Jacque or the Eighth District U.S. Representative seat held by Rep. Mike Gallagher. Although he has not filed his campaign registration statement, Gallagher did tout his endorsement for re-election from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week. Sturgeon Bay’s Jacob J. VandenPlas of the Libertarian Party, Luxemburg’s Robbie Hoffmann of the Environmental Party, and Appleton’s Robin Kettleson of the Democratic Party are potential challengers.

 

All candidates still need to submit the necessary signatures to be placed on the ballot for the August partisan primary and the November general election.

Kinnard Farms fights back against DNR-set limits and requirements

Kinnard Farms in Casco is taking its dispute over its most recent pollution discharge permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to court. The dairy farm is suing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for its requirement of installed groundwater monitoring systems and placing a limit of approximately 8,000 cows on the operation. 

 

In the complaint filed with the Kewaunee County Circuit Court and retrieved by Wisconsin Public Radio, Kinnard Farms says the monitoring systems carry an initial investment of tens of thousands of dollars plus an annual cost for experts to obtain the data required. The complaint also states that the 8,000 cow limit does not allow for fluctuations in the current herd, let alone expansion. According to the original permit, Kinnard Farms showed no plans for expansion.

 

 The suit comes about a month after the DNR issued the modified pollution permit to Kinnard Farms. According to the accompanying letter sent by CAFO Permit Coordinator Tyler Dix, permit holders have 60 days to challenge it with a verified petition review. In the original permit, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources placed a maximum of 21,450 animal units (approximately 15,000 cows) on Kinnard Farms under the proposed permit that had a hearing last week. The farm is currently operated with 11,369 animal units (about 8,000 cows), approximately 1,500 less than what it proposed when it went through the permitting process in November 2017. One milking cow is equal to 1.40 animal units. The permit suggests the farm anticipates over 103 million gallons of manure and processing 2,045 tons of solid waste in 2022. The liquid manure production is less than what was reported in the 2017 application by nearly two million gallons. The new permit also shows Kinnard Farms operating on more land with over 16,200 acres under its nutrient management plan compared to 11,400 acres at the time of the 2017 permit. Last July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the DNR could issue permit conditions on farms to protect water quality. 

 

When the modified permit was approved in late March, opponents to the possible expansion efforts were relieved. Some of the neighbors have been involved in nine years of litigation to fight off previous expansions to protect water quality. Current groundwater monitoring data at Kinnard Farms from the DNR show that the levels of nitrates and bacteria are too high in the water near production sites. 

 

Kinnard Farms President Lee Kinnard said in a statement after filing the lawsuit last week that “the Kinnard Farms family remains committed to regenerative agriculture and sustainability. On-farm practices such as planting cover crops, limited soil tillage (known as no-till), sand and water recycling, and more demonstrate our dedication to protecting groundwater in our community. We continue to invest in cutting-edge innovation to protect our environment.” Kinnard Farms is also a member of Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led watershed group exploring different conservation methods to improve water quality and soil health. Clean Water Action Council President and Executive Director Dean Hoegger credited farmers with trying some of those strategies but said earlier this month that something needed to be done in the short term.

Healthy Kids Day in Fish Creek saw a big crowd and Sturgeon Bay hoping for the same

After a two-year hiatus, the Door County YMCA Healthy Kids Day returned to the Northern Door Program Center last Saturday. Youth & Aquatics Director Lee McConkey said the event was an excellent way for local businesses and organizations to come together and create fun and excitement for children with activities and healthy kids information. She shared the incredible turnout of the event in Fish Creek and what can be expected this Saturday in Sturgeon Bay.

 

 

McConkey added that the Door County YMCA Healthy Kids Day at the Sturgeon Bay Program Center this Saturday is free to the public from 10 am until 1 pm. It will also include a scavenger hunt, bounce house, and Gaga Ball. You can listen to the entire conversation with Lee McConkey on the Y Wednesday Podcast Page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com here. 

Recycling event held in Algoma Thursday

You will have the opportunity to get rid of any old electronics in Algoma on Thursday.  Algoma Utilities is hosting a recycling day on Flora Avenue. The event will allow for the efficient and safe disposal of items like fluorescent bulbs, ballasts, batteries, and computer components. Algoma Utilities Energy Service Manager Markie Bscherer says they will take just about anything that plugs into a wall.

 

 

The recycling program will be held from 8 am to 3 pm, with some disposal items requiring a nominal disposal fee. You can find the list of fees for recycled items here.  

Superintendent search down to two

Select staff members, parents, and community members residing in the Gibraltar Area School District will have the opportunity to hear from the two candidates vying for its superintendent position. With the assistance of the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea Associates, the Gibraltar Area School Board whittled down an initial field of 12 candidates to Germantown School District Superintendent  Dr. Brett Strousland and Sheboygan Falls Elementary School Principal Lynn Bub. Board President Stephen Seyfer says both Strousland and Bub have a number of strong positive attributes that will make them good for the position.

The final interviews for both candidates will take place with the board, and select members of the staff and community participating on April 29th and 30th. Seyfer added that the board is also working on the final details of a contract for its new elementary school principal, who he described as a local candidate. The new elementary school principal will be introduced at the board’s meeting on May 9th.

Kewaunee County woman charged with OWI after crash starts barn fire

Thanks to the quick action of a Manitowoc County resident, a charge of Operating While Intoxicated is the worst that happened to a Kewaunee County woman who crashed into a barn and started it on fire early Tuesday morning.

 

According to the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, the 21-year-old woman was traveling north on State Highway 42 north of Irish Road in the Township of Two Creeks when her SUV left the roadway and entered a ditch. Her vehicle went airborne when it struck a culvert and went right into a nearby barn. The barn and the SUV were on fire when a  41-year-old  Manitowoc County man sprung into action and pulled the driver out to safety.

 

Manitowoc County Sheriff Dan Hartwig credited the Good Samaritan for preventing further injury from happening to the driver. He also thanked the Manitowoc Joint Dispatch Center, Two Creeks Fire Department, Two Creeks First Responders, Mishicot Fire Department, Mishicot Ambulance, City of Two Rivers Fire Department, and PK’s Towing for their assistance putting the blaze out and removing the vehicle from the barn. The Kewaunee County woman was transported to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. No other people or animals were hurt as a result of the crash.

 

The crash is still under investigation.

 

Photo and description from Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department

 

Media Release

A Good Samaritan Rescues a Woman from a Vehicle on Fire

The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a single-vehicle crash that occurred in the early morning hours of April 26, on STH 42, north of Irish Road, in the Township of Two Creeks.

 

Preliminary information indicates that a 21-year-old woman from Kewaunee County was traveling northbound on STH 42 in a 2019 GMC Terrain SUV. Her vehicle left the roadway and entered the east ditch, where it struck a culvert causing the vehicle to go airborne. The SUV started on fire after colliding with a nearby barn.

 

Shortly after hearing the crash occur, a 41-year-old Manitowoc County man quickly ran towards the crash location, unbuckled the driver’s seatbelt, and removed the operator from the vehicle, which was on fire. Thanks to this selfless act and a willingness to intervene, this man’s actions prevented further injury from occurring.

 

Responding Fire Department personnel were quickly able to extinguish the fully engulfed vehicle and the barn that had also caught on fire.

 

The operator was transported by ambulance to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. No other people or animals were injured due to this crash and fire. The operator of the vehicle was subsequently charged with 1st offense operating while intoxicated.

 

We would like to thank the following agencies who assisted with this crash: Manitowoc Joint Dispatch Center, Two Creeks Fire Department, Two Creeks First Responders, Mishicot Fire Department, Mishicot Ambulance, City of Two Rivers Fire Department, and PK’s Towing.

 

Dan Hartwig - Sheriff

Lawrie named new DCEDC Executive Director

The Door County Economic Development Corporation has found its new leader after naming Michelle Lawrie the new executive director.

 

The DCEDC Board of Directors made the announcement on Tuesday, three months after Steve Jenkins left the organization following his resignation late last year. For the previous three years, Lawrie has served as the Community Development Director for the Village of DeForest in Wisconsin. That was preceded by 15 years of economic development experience in Arizona, serving various roles for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Western Maricopa Coalition, and the City of Goodyear.

 

DCEDC Board Chairperson and Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens said in a statement that Lawrie “has the unique set of skills and the right personality to bring people together around these important issues and find solutions to address them.”  He also referenced the progress they have made on several development priorities such as broadband expansion, workforce housing, daycare initiatives, and worker recruitment. 

 

Lawrie will start her new role on May 9th. 

 

Michelle Lawrie

 “I am excited to be joining the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) on May 9. I have been very impressed by the dedication of the staff, the Board of Directors, and the partners of the organization. I am looking forward to serving the community as Executive Director of DCEDC, as well as making the area my home.”

 

DCEDC Board Chairperson and Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens

“There is so much positive momentum on the economic development priorities of Door County including expansion of broadband internet access, workforce housing, daycare initiatives, and attracting talented individuals to work and start businesses in our community.  Michelle has the unique set of skills and the right personality to bring people together around these important issues and find solutions to address them. We look forward to supporting her and the DCEDC team in accomplishing these goals.”

 

Weather delaying cherry, apple seasons

While no one likes to wait, your favorite apples and cherries from Door County are still doing fine despite the cold and wet weather. High temperatures are expected to struggle to hit 60 degrees through Mother’s Day, with only a handful of days even reaching the low 50s. It means waiting around for orchard owners like Steve Wood, who says the buds on his apple and cherry trees are hard to find. Given the streak of weather, that is a good thing for what he expects to be a good crop this year.

Wood says Door County is considered a good area for fruit growing because it can get past its frost concerns long before trees begin to bear fruit. Meanwhile, area farmers across the state are still waiting to put a meaningful week of work into their fields. The United States Department of Agriculture reported Monday that farmers had less than two suitable days for fieldwork over the last week. That has led to spring tillage falling three weeks behind last year’s pace and oats planting to be 18 days behind schedule. Warm and windy days will be needed to get fields to a point where the land can support the machinery.

"Fire Danger" level upgraded in area

You will have to be extra careful before burning in Door and Kewaunee County for the time being. Both counties have been upgraded to the “high” fire danger category as of Monday. Precautions include checking recent debris burns for smoldering embers.   It would be best to be mindful of breezy conditions that can cause flames to rekindle. You should check with your fire department, town chairperson, or local municipality to obtain burning regulation information. Fire conditions change daily and are typically posted to the DNR website at 11:00 AM daily. The majority of Wisconsin counties are considered high fire dangers as of Tuesday. Other precautions as listed by the DNR are listed below the map of Wisconsin with fire danger levels county-by-county.

 

  • Operate equipment (chainsaws, off-road vehicles, lawn mowers, etc.) early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks at peak burn hours.
  • Secure dragging trailer chains.
  • Delay having campfires until the evening hours as fire conditions tend to improve; keep them small and contained.
  • Report fires early, dial 911.

Safe burning tips from Wisconsin DNR here.

 

(photos courtesy of Wisconsin DNR)

 

Progress nudges forward with Potawatomi Park Observation Tower

The state took a step forward in protecting the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower, but there is still a long way before its fate is secure.

 

Governor Tony Evers and Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole made the joint announcement Monday afternoon at the foot of the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower that the state has selected GRAEF to move forward with the next phase of the project. That phase will include providing the state with a pre-design through construction services. The Milwaukee-based firm also has locations in Madison, Green Bay, Chicago, Minneapolis, Orlando, and Miami. It counts the expansions of Green Bay’s Lambeau Field and Kress Events Center, and the Milwaukee Art Museum among its projects.

 

Governor Evers also announced that the project would be a part of the 2023-2025 biennial budget if he is elected. Secretary Cole says it became clear in public feedback that people wanted the tower to be there but that there was a want to make it inclusive for all to enjoy.

The announcement did not change the mind of some in attendance who wanted action on the present structure, which has been in a state of decay since the tower was closed to the public during the Walker Administration. Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Rep. Joel Kitchens says this just moves the timeline further into the future. He would have rather heard plans to fix it now and make other plans to improve the structure later.

While Governor Evers said, funding for the revitalization of the tower would be in the budget, no dollar figure was mentioned. It was also unclear how much, if any, of the existing tower would be saved. The Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower, which was constructed in the 1930s, is a part of the National and the State Registry of Historic Places. Governor Evers suggested it would not be until this time next year that we will know if the project will move forward with support from the state legislature.

 

Former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who is looking to challenge Governor Evers for his seat if she wins the Republican nomination, said in a press release Monday that she would authorize the money to make the immediate repairs to the tower if elected.

 

 

Town of Gardner to discuss 20-year plan Wednesday

You can make your thoughts about the future of the Town of Gardner known this Wednesday. The Town of Gardner Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed adoption at 6:30 p.m. at the Southern Door Community Auditorium. An informational meeting will take place one hour before, at 5:30 p.m., allowing residents to review and ask additional questions about the comprehensive plan. The proposed comprehensive plan contains new information about the town’s demographics, housing stock, and infrastructure. The comprehensive plan also features goals for how the town envisions its development and preservation efforts over the next 20 years. 

 

You can click this link to read through the comprehensive plan ahead of Wednesday’s 5:30 p.m. informational meeting and 6:30 p.m. public hearing with the Town of Gardner Plan Commission.

Pierce trial to begin second week on Tuesday

The trial concerning a Door County cold case close to 50 years old will hit its second week of proceedings on Tuesday.

 

Richard Pierce is charged with First-Degree Murder and Disinterment of Dead for the death of his wife, Carol Jean. The first week of the trial consisted of hours of testimony from over 20 different sworn witnesses, including former and current members of law enforcement, acquaintances from his time serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, family, and friends. Eighty-eight exhibits of evidence have also been offered according to court records. The criminal complaint says Pierce had plenty to gain from Carol Jean’s disappearance, while the defense questions if there is enough to convict him since her remains have never been found. Carol Jean went missing in September 1975.

 

The trial will begin each week on Tuesdays through its scheduled end on May 13th.

No Door County COVID deaths, hospitalizations for fourth straight week

It has been approximately one month the last time someone in Door County has either died or has been hospitalized for COVID-19.

 

Hospitalizations remained at a total of 240 and deaths stayed at a total of 61 according to Door County Public Health Department data released on Monday. That marks the fourth straight week those numbers have not fluctuated. The county did see seven new cases of COVID-19 pop up over the last week out of 95 tested. One case is considered to be probable.

 

The report comes as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Friday that the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases reached 895. That is up over 200 from where it was on Monday. Door County remained in the low category for COVID-19 community level, but three counties did tick up to the medium range. The good news is despite the increase in cases, the seven-day average for COVID-19-related deaths ticked down to two.  DHS will update those numbers this afternoon.

 

DOOR COUNTY

Total Tests: 29,123 (+95)
Positive: 6,610 (+7)
Probable: 367 (+1)
Negative: 22,146 (+87)
Hospitalizations: 240
Deaths: 61 

 

UPDATE: The seven-day average for new COVID cases statewide is now over 1,000.

 

 

Bridges to take turns for closures

From April 27th to May 5th, you will have to pay extra attention to which bridge you take to get across the bay in Sturgeon Bay.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced Monday it would be closing each of the three bridges in Sturgeon Bay over the next 10 days as a part of its annual spring maintenance. Bayview Bridge will be the first to receive maintenance, closing the span on April 27th from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

The DOT will close the Michigan Street Bridge on May 2nd and 3rd from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and do the same to the Maple/Oregon Bridge on May 4th and May 5th.

 

Unlike the closure dates for the Bayview Bridge and the Michigan Street Bridge, the Maple/Oregon Bridge will not be open to marine traffic on its days of work.

 

In all three cases, there will be a signed detour to help motorists navigate through the city and around the closures. 

New Door County Board of Supervisors ready for first meeting

After the election earlier this month, the new Door County Board of Supervisors will be having their first meeting together on Tuesday.  Last week, board members sworn in with the oath of office were assigned to committees and will begin their work in earnest next week.  County Administrator Ken Pabich says the organizational meeting last Tuesday went smoothly and lasted about four and half hours, including some training.  He says the committee appointments are made in a couple of different ways.

 

 

The board's newest members include Jeffrey Miller from District 5, Hugh Zettel in District 14, and Walter Kalms in District 20. Tuesday's Board of Supervisors will meet at 9 am in the County Board Room in the Door County Government Center on Nebraska Street.   You can find the complete agenda for the meeting here. 

 

Last call for original Ahnapee Brewery taproom

The next time someone tells you to “meet me at the garage,” you will have a little more room to enjoy that pint. Sunday marked the last day of Ahnapee Brewery pouring its beer at its two-stall garage before it moves to a new location in Algoma. The garage launched the rebirth of Ahnapee Brewery in 2013, 127 years after they closed up shop just up the street where Von Stiehl Winery now stands. Head brewer and owner Nick Calaway has been with Ahnapee since 2013. The brewery has seen tremendous growth since he purchased it in 2017, including constructing a much larger facility for brewing in Suamico. While he is nostalgic about leaving the two-stall garage, Calaway says it is a sign of the support he has received from local restaurants and beer lovers alike.

With some final details still to be completed, Calaway hopes the new taproom will be opened in the middle of May.

Lessons from flying kites in bad weather

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says working on a tangled kite string can be an excellent analogy to solving your problems.  Flying a kite can be a fun experience until the weather changes and causes a tangled mess, says Dr. White.  When people seek counseling or psychotherapy, they feel like their life is one tangled knot.

 

 

Dr.  White adds that when dealing with several issues that do not seem readily connected, most personal problems can be sorted out and solved with hard work, patience, and faith.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below.

 

 

Sunday Spotlight: Sister Bay's Ben Anderson

Not many people would smile when showing off a scar that takes up most of your torso, but then again, you may not have met Sister Bay native Ben Anderson. He was on social media three years ago when he saw a story of an infant who needed a liver transplant. What stood out to Anderson is that you can be a living organ donor for someone you do not even know. He told his wishes to his parents and went through all of the testing necessary to become an organ donor. While he was not a match for the infant, he was for a three-year-old living in Upper Michigan. It has been three years since nearly a third of his liver was removed so Micah could lead a normal life, a decision that makes Anderson very proud.

Anderson and Micah chat on Facetime at least once a month, and they plan on meeting each other for the first time this summer. Over a dozen people stood outside Door County Medical Center for the raising of the Donate Life flag where Anderson spoke. April is National Donate Life Month, and you click this link to learn more about being a living organ donor.

 

Listen to the full interview here

 

 

 

 

Kewaunee County farm fined $225,000 for manure spills

A farm south of the Kewaunee city limits will pay a stiff fine for its repeated violations related to its manure handling. Wakker Farm was fined $225,000 earlier this week as a part of over 20 different incidences when manure ran off into area waterways dating back to 2017, including one approximately two years ago. Attorney General Josh Kaul also cited that the farm did not take the necessary steps to prevent future incidences and that its nutrient management plan did not include sensitive areas that were susceptible to issues. As of 2017, Wakker Dairy had 2,200 cows and farmed 3,300 acres.

Trail popularity rises as weather improves

Seeing people riding, biking and hiking will be more commonplace now that the weather is becoming more spring-like. The Ahnapee State Trail stretches 48 miles south from Sturgeon Bay towards Algoma, Luxemburg, and Kewaunee as it follows an old rail line. April 15th marked the first day horses were able to be on the trail this year, a season that ends on November 15th. Increased usage brings increased chances of a problem occurring, something Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski hopes people can avoid.

Open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. year-round, a trail pass is not required to use the Ahnapee State Trail. You can read more from Sheriff Joski below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Life is all about balance, and when it comes to our own individual wellness, we must understand the balance between Physical Health, Mental Health and Spritual Health. As May will be the month for Mental Health awareness, I would like to focus this week on our physical health. One of our greatest local resources for improving and sustaining our physical health is the natural beauty that awaits us just outside our front door. A truly unique recreational resource that is probably the best kept secret in our county is our own Ahnapee trail system. The many miles of improved surface (34 miles of it in Kewaunee County alone) spans the distances between our cities and villages and serves as a great way to enjoy the beauty around us while improving our personal fitness.

         

During the winter months, I have been relegated to running alongside the roads and highways so I am very grateful when the time comes to transition back to “Running the Ahnapee”. Unlike most resources in this day and age, this trail system is free to use courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The trail is maintained by our own Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Department who remove debris, trim the foliage, and even grade the surface when needed. However to preserve this amazing resource we must all share the role in adhering to some very basic rules and guidelines regarding its use.

          

For those who would bring their dogs along for a healthy walk, please be aware that you must keep your dog on a leash while on the trail. This prevents potential issues when meeting other walkers or pets as well as if your dog gets the idea to chase the many species of wildlife that also share this ecosystem. Also, please make sure you pick up after your pet. It’s just common sense.

        

Due to the fact that the Ahnapee has been preserved for “Silent Sports” another group of users is that of the equestrians. While horseback riding is authorized on the trail, please be aware that this usage is limited and spans from April 15th to November 15th.  Even with that said; please check the condition of the trail to verify that it is in fact dry and stable enough that your horses will not damage the trail surface. Also, just as with the dog owners, you too are responsible to pick up after your pet, even if the piles may be bigger.

        

Just as in any community resource, it takes a group of dedicated volunteers which make it possible. As it pertains to the Ahnapee Trail we are fortunate to have the “Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail” serve as the stewards and advocates for the preservation and promotion of such a wonderful resource. For more information on how you can assist this organization please visit them at www.ahnapeestatetrail.com or contact the Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Department at: (920)388-0444.

Shedding light on child sexual abuse

A Door County organization is promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in area communities by speaking out against sexual assault. Milly Gonzales, executive director of Help of Door County, says it is vital to raise awareness about sexual violence and inform the public of ways to prevent it. She says Help of Door County is always there to assist families who need support and guidance in working through a difficult time.

Advocate Damion Howard shares some of the Door County statistics that show that reported child abuse is on the rise.

 

 

April is National Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month. You can listen to the entire conversation with Milly Gonzales and Damion Howard on the podcast page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com. 

Captain hurt in Commercial Fishing Boat crash

A commercial fishing vessel captain is hospitalized after a Friday morning boating accident in Gills Rock.  Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department Chief Chris Hecht says the "Heather J" crashed into rocks on the shoreline around 10 am.  Door County Emergency Services assisted firefighters in extracting the captain from the vessel, who was then taken to a Green Bay hospital.  His condition is not known at this time, and the boat suffered damage to the bow.  Door County Sheriff’s Department, DNR, and the United States Coast Guard also responded to the accident scene, which is still under investigation.  DoorCountyDailyNews.com will have an update when more details are available.   

 

(photo courtesy of Lynn Brunsen)    

Kewaunee County sees cases increase as COVID average approaches 900

No deaths or hospitalizations were noted as the Kewaunee County Public Health Department released its first COVID-19 update in two weeks on Friday. Seventeen new cases of COVID-19 were received this week with seven of them remaining active. Twelve of the 17 cases affected people between the ages of 31 and 65 years old. The report comes as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced on Friday that the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases reached 895. That is up over 200 from where it was on Monday. Kewaunee County remained in the low category for the COVID-19 community level, but three counties did tick up to the medium range. The good news is despite the increase in cases, the seven-day average for COVID-19-related deaths ticked down to two.

 

 

 

Crews start Butch's Bar rubble clean up

After more than eight weeks after a fire destroyed Butch’s Bar in downtown Sturgeon Bay, the remaining rubble is now being hauled away from the site.  Crews from B.E.S.T. Contractors in De Pere started the removal process on Friday morning. The cleanup was delayed because of an arson investigation and a little-known state statute requiring next of kin of the victims who perished in the fire, to be notified and have a chance to visit the site.   Owner of Butch’s Bar Clarence Cumber told DoorCountyDailyNews.com Friday that the total cost of removing the rubble will be over $100,000.  He says no plans are in place yet to rebuild.

 

Two people died in the fire, in which Anthony Gonzales was charged with felonies of two counts of second-degree reckless homicide and five counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety.  He faces up to 135 years in prison on all charges.  The criminal complaint states that Gonzales, a tenant staying at Butch’s Bar, told officers that he “spilled lighter fluid on my bed” while lighting a cigarette with a Zippo lighter.   

 

Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman issued the following news release on Friday afternoon asking people to stay away from the area while removal is being done.

Butchs Bar clean-up has begun today. The contractors will be on-site and expect to have the site cleaned up within 2 weeks. They are asking that the public not stop and watch as the site is small and they will need the room to complete everything. The contractors are experienced with this type of clean-up and have the community in mind as they are working. The materials being removed are commingled with asbestos and they are handling the site as required by the WI DNR. Again, please refrain from hanging around the site while work is being done giving them room to work and preventing any potential spread of materials.

Brinkmann excited for role as Algoma Superintendent

Algoma School District will have a new face leading it when kids go back to school this fall. Earlier this spring, the district hired Jesse Brinkmann as its new superintendent, replacing the outgoing Nick Cochart. Brinkmann comes to Algoma from the Green Bay Area Public School District after serving as its Director of Elementary Education for the past year. Before transitioning to the role, he was a principal at Langlade Elementary School in Allouez. The pandemic allowed Brinkmann to return to school to earn his superintendent license. He is now looking forward to bringing that experience to Algoma.

Brinkmann will finish the year with the Green Bay Area Public School District while also taking some time to shadow Cochart over the coming months. He will formally take over the position on July 1st. Gibraltar Area Schools continues to look for its replacement for retiring Superintendent Tina Van Meer. Select members of the faculty, staff, parents, and the community will participate in interviewing the two finalists on April 30th.

Kewaunee receives business park funding

You may soon see a business park pop up in the City of Kewaunee thanks to a recent grant.

 

Former Mayor Jason Jelinek announced earlier this week that the City of Kewaunee was rewarded with an Economic Development Administration grant for $1.9 million. According to the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the grant is a part of a program offering assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities. The grant would support the construction of a new business park on the northern end of Kewaunee that would allow the city to attract new businesses and help existing ones expand. Sewer and water, streets and curbs, and lighting are all a part of the project. Along with a match of over $488,000, Kewaunee officials estimate the investment will create 31 jobs, save another 10, and leverage $2.7 million in private investment.

 

The hope is that the project will aid in the city's long-term recovery after the Kewaunee Power Station’s closure in 2013.

 

 

Gas prices climbing again

Prices are still below where they hit record highs at the pumps last month, but you can still expect to pay more to gas up in the coming weeks. The average gas price in the Green Bay metro area has crept up again to $3.86 as of Thursday, which is a dime less than a month ago but 20 cents more than last week. Experts predict those prices will climb even higher if oil prices rebound and demand goes up as the summer begins. Randy Sahs from Sahs Auto and Collision Center says there are ways you can help stretch your gas further when you are driving.

Wisconsin is about 30 cents below the national average of $4.12 a gallon, with Californians, Nevadans, and Hawaiians paying more than $5 a gallon. The current gas prices are more than a dollar higher than what was paid at the same time last year.

Kids to receive free trees on Earth Day

Members of the Brussels Lions Club spent their Wednesday evening packing 600 tree seedlings for a special Earth Day project.   For the second year in a row, the organization will be giving out the trees to every  Southern Door Elementary School student on Friday.  Brussels Lions Club Secretary Penny Wautier says the Lions will also be planting four trees they will donate at the school on Friday while demonstrating the proper way of tree planting to 4th-grade classes.

 

 

 “Invest In Our Planet” is the official motto for Earth Day 2022.  The annual event was first held on April 22, 1970, and now has coordinated events in 193 countries involving 1 billion people, according to earthday.org.       

Forest Recovery Project takes work to Mud Lake

The Forest Recovery Project has everything you need to get your hands dirty this Earth Day weekend. Under the umbrella of the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, the Forest Recovery Project aims to help educate the community about what Door County used to be like before much of the land became used for agriculture and other uses. The organization is helping restore some of these forests through coordinated tree planting efforts like this Saturday at Mud Lake just north of Baileys Harbor. By planting a mixture of conifer plants, FRP Coordinator Bob Bultman hopes they can jumpstart the process of returning Door County’s forests to their former glory.

The Forest Recovery Project is hosting a pair of tree planting events on Friday and Saturday at Mud Lake along Highway 57 from noon to 4 p.m. 

 

Photo submitted

United Way of Door County to close out fund for Butch's Bar fire victims

The United Way of Door County is making sure your generosity makes its way to the people affected by fire at Butch’s Bar in Sturgeon Bay in February. Since the fund was established in the wake of the tragedy, $31,358.84 has been donated to support the 12 victims of the fire including the families of those who died. United Way Executive Director Amy Kohnle says that even though the money has been allocated, they are still assisting the victims and their families in other ways.

This was the first time the United Way of Door County has stepped into a role like this according to Kohnle, which had to act quickly when other organizations were not able to provide immediate assistance.

 

 

Farmers look to each other ahead of spring fieldwork

You could learn something new at Cornette Dairy in Luxemburg on Tuesday as farmers try to grow optimism before anything else this spring. The wet weather has kept farmers out of their field for the most part with only 1.6 days of suitable fieldwork last week according the National Agricultural Statistics Service. That has led to some rites of spring like spring tillage and planting oats and potatoes to be as much as two weeks behind last year’s pace. When he does get the opportunity to get out into the field, Paul Cornette will be excited to try some new conservation practices this spring including strip tillage, fertilizer banding, and no-till planting.

All are welcome for the first Peninsula Pride Farms Conservation Conversation at Cornette Dairy on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of Peninsula Pride Farms

City engineer asks for patience for Michigan Street project

Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik hopes you can find other ways around a gas line and roadway replacement project currently underway on Michigan Street. The project started earlier this week with soft closures limiting the traffic between 14th Avenue and 18th Avenue. Shefchik said in a statement that he has asked the contractor to not do a closure between 14th Avenue and 12th Avenue, preserving a loop around the high school and middle school.  Soft closures may be needed for the safety of the work crews and the general public in hopes that the reduced traffic will help the project get done quickly. You can read Shefchik’s comments below:

 

While we hope people start to avoid using Michigan Street until the gas line replacements and roadway replacement are completed we understand that full closure of the roadway is not possible.  However, in the interest of safety for both the work crews and general public “soft” closures throughout the Michigan Street corridor will occur periodically.  I have asked the contractor not to do any closures on N 14th Ave & N 12th Ave along with the portion of Michigan Street in between these 2 roadways.  This way the loop around the high school & middle school is fully maintained open to traffic.  However, at times they may do “soft” closures of Michigan Street between N 14th Ave and N 18th Ave, or N 12th Ave and N 9th Ave, (along with their associated side streets) when they are actively working in these areas.  A “soft” closure means that there may be a barricade or 2 across a portion of the roadway.  However, at least 1 lane will open so that busses, emergency services vehicles, and residents that live within the closed zone will still be able to get through the area as needed.

 

I apologize for the inconvenience but reduced traffic will help this project get done as quickly as possible.

Locals running for state, federal office

The road to the fall election has officially begun with candidates for state and federal office looking for your signature for their nomination papers.

 

The Wisconsin Elections Commission released its first candidate tracking report of the fall election cycle earlier this week. Wisconsin governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin Assembly, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House will all be on the ballot if necessary for the fall primary in August and the general election in November. The list only reflects the names of people who have filed either campaign registration statements and/or declarations of candidacy. It does not have everyone who has simply announced they are running for office. 

 

First District Assembly Representative Joel Kitchens and State Senator Andre Jacque are currently running unopposed for their seats. Chasing the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher are Sturgeon Bay resident Jacob J. VandenPlas of the Libertarian Party and Luxemburg resident Robbie Hoffmann of the Environmental Party. They are also joined by Appleton’s Robin Kettleson who is running as a Democrat. You can see the full list of candidates who have already filed paperwork, which also includes 16 candidates for governor and 14 candidates for lieutenant governor, by clicking this link.

Sturgeon Bay blood drive scheduled for Friday

You can help fight against the worst blood shortage in a decade this Friday. The American Red Cross announced a national blood crisis in January when it reported a 10 percent decline in the number of donors as blood drives were canceled and staffing issues arose due to the pandemic.  The Community Blood Center, which supplies 100 percent of the blood for Door County Medical Center, has not been exempt from the shortage either. Tina Ferron from The Community Blood Center says they are especially looking for those who have never donated blood.

Sturgeon Bay Community Church is hosting this Friday’s drive for The Community Blood Center. It will take place from noon to 5:30 p.m. and even though appointments are encouraged, walk-ins will be welcomed if slots are available. You can sign up for your appointment here. According to The Community Blood Center, blood has a shelf life of 42 days and someone is in need of it every two seconds.

 

 

YMCA readying for Summer Foods for Kids

With the hopes of feeding bodies and fueling success, the Door County YMCA is planning for another big Summer Foods Program. Brett Cleveland, Members Experience Director, says the opportunity to provide free lunch during the summer for children is a great way to ensure them a well-balanced and nutritious meal after school is out.

 

 

Newly hired Community Input Director Joel Oberndorfer is excited to spearhead what he hopes will be a community-building event rather than just a food program. 

 

 

The Door County Y’s Sturgeon Bay Program Center’s Summer Foods Program began in 2011 and is open to any child under 18 years old, focusing on youth development. It has provided up to 400 meals and snacks a day in the past. You can listen to the entire interview with Brett Cleveland and Joel Oberndorfer on the Y Wednesday Podcast Page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com here.  

Sister Bay Church helping with mission in Zimbabwe

A community well in Zimbabwe, Africa, was recently commissioned with the help of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Sister Bay. The relationship forged between St. Luke’s and the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo started when Masvingo church officials visited Sister Bay in 2019. Plans are now for an extensive irrigation system on a 1500-acre farm at the Christ the King-Daramombe mission school with over 1,000 students. The Outreach Committee from St. Luke’s Church designated $15,000 of an $83,000 gift from a late parishioner for that project.   Member Pete Thelen says it is an exciting time, and the goal is to make the Masvingo community self-sustaining.

 

 

St. Luke’s has been part of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac’s plans to further support Masvingo by raising $16,000 to purchase a small dairy herd, including a $2,000 donation by St. Lukes for a cow. Thelen says there are hopes to send a delegation of church members from the diocese to Zimbabwe soon.

 

(photos submitted)

 

Every Day is Earth Day Celebration planned at Crossroads

Earth Day is officially this Friday, but a county-wide celebration will start on Thursday at Crossroads at Big Creek.  The Climate Change Coalition of Door County and Crossroads are presenting a screening of the film “Kiss the Ground”.  Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is 2020 documentary that addresses ways to reverse the damage to soils worldwide.  Wayne Kudick of Fish Creek says efforts around the globe represented by Earth Day go beyond a one-day celebration.

 

 

The free movie will be shown at 6:30 pm Thursday in the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads at Big Creek.  Earth Day was started in 1970 by Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson.  You can find the calendar of events planned for this weekend and Earth Day in Door County below.   

Sturgeon Bay veteran receives medals

Over 60 years after he left Korea after his tour of duty with the United States Air Force, Sturgeon Bay resident Robert Nelson received two additional medals. Rep. Mike Gallagher was on hand at the Sturgeon Bay City Hall Tuesday afternoon to award Nelson with the Korea Defense Service Medal and the Air Force Conduct Medal. Former Door County Veterans Service Officer Scott MacFarlane made Nelson aware that he was eligible for the awards and the offices of the current Door County CVSO Beth Wartella and Rep. Gallagher helped make sure Nelson received the credit that he was due. A member of the United States Air Force’s 314th Air Division when he was deployed to Korea in 1957, Nelson is proud of his service to our country.

The Korean Defense Service Medal was created in 2002 to honor the service of those who supported the defense of South Korea after the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953. The Air Force Good Conduct Medal is awarded to members of the United States Air Force who showed exemplary conduct during a three-year time period.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay moves on all agenda items Tuesday

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council held its first meeting since the April election.  All previous council members remained intact along with Mayor David Ward as a lengthy agenda of items were handled on Tuesday.  

 

After mayoral appointments to committees were unanimously approved, the council passed about $2,455,000 in General Obligation Promissory Notes that would be paid off within ten years.  


In other business, Commercial/Light Manufacturing (C-3) was rezoned to General commercial (C-1) for various parcels as well as the rezoning of property owned by Midwest Wire on Lansing Avenue from C-3 to Light Industrial ((I-1) after a second reading.  

 

Two housing projects planned for this summer are moving forward after second readings regarding rezoning a Planned Unit Development.  Cherry Point Investments is building a 68-unit multi-family residential complex on Egg Harbor Road, while another 26-unit apartment development by S.C. Swiderski, LLC is planned for the old Sunset School site on North Eighth Avenue.


The proposed Tax Incremental District #6 had boundaries established for multiple project types and received approval from the council.  Next Tuesday, it will go before the Joint Review Board for final approval to create a new TID that includes a large portion of Egg Harbor Road.

Before the business part of the meeting, Mayor David Ward presented Brian Stephens, the CEO of Door County Medical Center, with a plaque recognizing the efforts of DCMC during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

Baileys Harbor Fire Department prepares to welcome community

Thanks to your generosity, members of the Baileys Harbor Fire Department are getting their new fire station just the way they want it. The department welcomed members of the community last year after the construction of its $3.6 million facility was completed. The new building was about more than making sure it had enough room for its equipment and its volunteer department. Baileys Harbor Fire Chief Brian Zak says it has helped the department get with the times, all thanks to the community supporting them in any way they could.

You can check out the station for yourself during their open house and drive-thru cookout fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

Door County murder trial underway Tuesday

The road to possibly solving a Door County cold case decades in the making began this week. Ahead of the start of the jury trial on Tuesday,  the defense team for Richard G. Pierce issued several proposed orders, including motions to exclude the state’s first and second notice of experts and for a dismissal of the case. According to online court records, dismissing the case was introduced again on Tuesday.

 

The state’s proposed orders included motions for the admissibility of statements from the deceased and to admit other evidence. Both the state and the defense proposed orders to exclude certain testimony from the trial.

 

The trial is scheduled until May 13th to decide the fate of Pierce. He is charged with the murder of his wife, Carol Jean. She disappeared in early 1975, and her body has been missing ever since. The case against Pierce began in 2018, and he entered his first not guilty plea three years ago this month. 

Masks no longer required on public transit

No matter how you get around Door and Kewaunee counties, you will not have to worry about making sure you have a mask. A federal judge struck down the mask mandate on public transportation on Monday, ending two years of the unpopular travel rule. The mandate was supposed to expire on Monday before it was extended to May 3rd by the federal government because of the Centers for Disease Control’s concern about the BA.2 Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Airports and airlines acted swiftly after the decision, making masks optional on domestic and most international flights. While the airport and its carriers are now mask optional, Susan Levitte from Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay says you should still pay attention to what the rules are for where you are going.

Closer to home,  the Door County Transportation Department and its Door2Door Rides and Door County Connect services have kept in step with federal guidance up to this point. They have been timing their switch to a mask optional policy to coincide with the updates to the federal mandate. As of 11:20 a.m., Transportation Director Pam Busch says they are waiting for formal approval from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for final approval to go mask optional moving forward. The rideshare service Uber also announced on Monday that masks would no longer be required for their drivers and passengers.

 

Rotary Interact helping with bike program for refugees

Refugees that the Catholic Charities are relocating in Green Bay will soon be benefiting from the efforts by the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Interact Club. The Club’s service project involves the collection of bicycles for 58 Afghan children who live in 25 households in Northeastern Wisconsin. Ophelia Linnan, a freshman at Sevastopol High School and Interact student, says bikes can still be dropped off through Wednesday at Nor Dor Sports & Cyclery in Sturgeon of Fish Creek. She says the bikes will be checked over before being taken down to Green Bay for distribution with a bike safety course provided by the Rotary Interact students.

 

 

As of last Friday, Rotary Interact member Zeb Struck says 44 bikes have already been donated.

 

 

 Cash donations to help offset the $1,000 cost of inspecting the bicycles can be made out to the Door County YMCA and still dropped off this week. Bike safety helmets, toys, and other donated items other than clothing are being accepted as well to be given to the refugee children.  Rotary Interact is composed of mainly high school students and works directly with their local Rotary Club. Rotary members provide support and guidance, but otherwise, the kids run the club’s operations.

State Supreme Court flips on redistricting

The next election you vote in will be based on different maps, but they will not be the ones that were approved just over a month ago.

 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 to use the voting maps drawn by the Republican-controlled state Legislature approximately six weeks after the maps drawn by Governor Tony Evers were selected. Spurring the decision was the U.S. Supreme Court, which sent the legislative voting maps back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court after opponents to Evers’ maps disagreed with the decision to add a seventh majority-minority district in the Milwaukee area. The nation’s high court called for the Evers Administration to provide evidence to show they were compliant with the Voting Rights Acts and did not create a gerrymander along racial lines. Justice Brian Hagedorn, who voted in favor of the Evers’ maps, supported the Legislature’s maps this time around because there was not enough time to get everything sorted out before nomination papers could be taken out for the fall election.

 

Jay Heck from Common Cause Wisconsin voiced his displeasure with the decision, saying it is unprecedented.

Heck still prefers neither Republican nor Democratic-elected officials to choose their voters instead of leaving the task of redistricting to an independent, non-partisan commission.

Door County prepares for Big Plant

No matter where you want to dig your hole, an organization in Door County is working to make sure you have a tree to place in it. The Door County Big Plant was inspired by the Climate Change Coalition of Door County last year when the group wanted to do something for Earth Day but did not want the pandemic to derail the plans. Last year, thousands of trees were given away at several events throughout the county. Those efforts will be duplicated this year, but they will also be paired with planting events organized by groups such as the Forest Recovery Project, the Habitat Healers at Crossroads at Big Creek, and the Climate Change Coalition. Nicole Matson from the Door County Big Plant says she was thrilled with the response they received from the community last year.

The Door County Big Plant will have giveaway and planting days over the next month. The first planting event will take place on Wednesday at The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor, followed by opportunities at Mud Lake on Friday and Crossroads at Big Creek on Saturday. You can pick up your own tree or plant at Prince of Peace Church in Sturgeon Bay on Friday, Saturday at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor, and Sunday at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay. You can click on this link for the full schedule.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

City-supported shoreline legislation among the vetoed bills

Cities trying to navigate the laws surrounding land protected by Public Trust Doctrine will still have to proceed with caution. Senate Bill 900 would have allowed municipalities and private landowners to create title over formerly submerged land on the state’s shorelines pending a review by the Department of Natural Resources. Governor Tony Evers sided with groups like the Midwest Environmental Advocates, saying the bill would have violated the constitutional Public Trust Doctrine and could have likely led to litigation. Avoiding litigation was the hope of shoreline cities like Sturgeon Bay, which wanted a clear path forward on cases like this in the future. The City of Sturgeon Bay was involved in a lawsuit with the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront over the site where the Door County Granary will soon call home with the spot of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) being the flashpoint of controversy. Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the law as it stands now is anything but clear and believes the bill would have at least established a process moving forward.

VanLieshout added that this likely will not have an impact on the city for a while as it does not own any shoreline property at this time. Much of the shoreline in Sturgeon Bay has been developed over the last 30 years. 

COVID cases grow, but hospitalizations and deaths remain at zero

Door County saw its fair share of positive cases for COVID-19 last week, but it has not resulted in more people ending up in the hospital.

 

Fifteen of the 78 tests administered for COVID-19 last week returned positive for the virus. That is up from the eight reported last week despite almost twice as many administered tests. The good news is that for the third straight week, no one was hospitalized and died due to COVID-19.  Statewide, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases did go up from 420 on April 7th to 626 last Friday.

 

All 72 counties remain at a low community level for COVID-19, which encourages residents to stay up-to-date on vaccinations and boosters and take precautions if you are show symptoms or are exposed to someone with COVID-19. 

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - April 18, 2022

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  
Total Tests: 29,028 (+78)
Positive: 6,603 (+15)
Probable: 366
Negative: 22,059 (+63)
Hospitalizations: 240
Deaths: 61 

 

 

 

Southern Door high school musical wins award

It has been announced that the community’s involvement has earned Southern Door high school's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat an award from the Fox Valley PAC. Every year, the Fox Valley PAC Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program recognizes high school students with awards based on categories much like the Tony Awards. This year Southern Door high school was recognized with the Community Engagement Award for the support shown by the community for the production. Bonnie Weydt, the music director for the musical, explains how the community earned this award.

 

 

One student will accept this award on behalf of the rest of the students and the community at the Fox Valley PAC Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program Showcase on May 7th. Two Luxemburg-Casco students will also be recognized at the showcase for their production of Shrek the Musical.

Half of fundraiser goal raised for Sturgeon Bay Playground Project

You will have a chance to enjoy an ADA compliant and all-inclusive playground in Sturgeon Bay in the near future. This park will be located at Otumba Park in Sturgeon Bay; the park is already utilized by families in the area and the YMCA for their kids' summer camp. The hope for the project is to add new playground equipment that cannot be found anywhere else in Sturgeon Bay and includes areas for people of all ages to enjoy. Ashley Schanock, in charge of design and fundraising, details how this project was started a year ago.

 

 

The goal for fundraising was $53,000 initially, and nearly half that amount has been raised. In addition to the community donations, an anonymous donor recently agreed to match up to $40,000 of donations to bring this playground to life. This pledge is in effect until the 30th of April. If you wish to donate to this cause, you can do so on the Destination Sturgeon Bay website.

Nicolet Welcome Services opens the "Door" to new residents

If you are a newcomer to Door County, you probably have been paid a visit by Linda Wait of Nicolet Welcome Services.  Formerly called the Welcome Wagon, the service provides a welcome packet filled with gift certificates, and information about local retailers, recreation, medical options, and more.  Wait says the program is a great way for businesses and the community to provide outreach to Door County’s newest families.

 

 

You can receive a welcome to the community packet or participate by contacting Wait of Nicolet Welcome Services at 920-495-8129 or emailing lindawait@gmail.com. 

 

Community Spotlight: St. Paul's Diaper Bank

The deposit you make at the bank at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma pays you back not with interest but with the smiles of a young family. Members of the church noticed a problem within the community that affected its young families and their ability to afford the basic needs of their babies. The National Diaper Bank Network estimates that the average family spends between $75 and $100 each month on diapers for one child. Many forms of public assistance dollars from the government cannot go towards the purchase of diapers, though states like New Jersey, Missouri, and Michigan are trying to find different ways to at least soften the blow for families. Pastor Joel McKenney says his congregation wanted a unique cause they could rally behind, and they have done just that so far.

If you or someone you know could use some help with diapers, you can register by clicking this link so you can pick up a pack on their distribution days on the first and third Thursdays of every month from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. You can donate diapers to the St. Paul’s Diaper Bank at their school. 

Early spring boating safety tips

Boaters are already hitting the open and what can be dangerous waters in the area. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) in Sturgeon Bay reminds boat owners and operators to check their watercraft and a safety checklist to prevent problems on Lake Michigan and the bay. USCG Petty Officer Andrew Kappler, a 2nd Class Boatswain Mate, says one of the main concerns in the early Spring is the low water temperatures that can cause hypothermia if anyone is in the water for any significant time. He recommends filing a float plan with a friend using the Coast Guard mobile app.

 

 

Kappler notes that if you should ever fall in the water with a life preserver on, the best way to keep your core body temperature up is by assuming the HELP position (heat escape lessening position). That position is where you pull your knees up to your chest, wrap your hands around your knees, and squeeze your knees like you are in a ball. Kappler notes that the 1-10-1 rule in cold water is that you have one minute of controllable breathing, ten minutes of meaningful movement, and one hour before losing consciousness. You can find more information on water safety tips here.

Door County Volunteer Fair scheduled for Wednesday

Dozens of volunteer opportunities will be available for you to explore when the Door County Volunteer Fair takes place on Wednesday. Door County Habitat for Humanity and the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary are just two of the over a dozen health and human services organizations looking to recruit volunteers at the event. Door County ADRC volunteer coordinator Nicki Scharrig told Door County Daily News earlier this year that many local non-profit organizations are in the same place as area businesses are when it comes to needing help to fulfill their missions.

The Door County Volunteer Fair will take place from 9 a.m. until noon at the Door County ADRC building. 

 

 

Hams are in good supply as Easter meal costs increase

As you prepare for an Easter dinner this weekend, food prices might increase, but the traditional hams remain well in stock locally. Reportedly, several supermarkets throughout the country were sold out of hams earlier this week, according to KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 
Stodola’s IGA meat manager Mike Mauer says that preordering last June for Easter hams has kept his inventory strong this week.

 

 

Mauer adds that prices have increased slightly but not to the extent he expected.

 
According to the Consumer Price Index for Food, all food prices are projected to increase between 4.5 and 5.5 percent this year. 

 

Manager Jon Calhoun of Tadych’s Marketplace Foods in Sturgeon Bay also notes that his store is sitting with an ample supply of hams for the Easter weekend. 

Van Gogh Experience brings art mainstream

You will not have to travel far to take in a popular touring art experience that has sold three million tickets worldwide.

 

“Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” announced this week that Green Bay will be one of its future stops. Details are limited at this point, but when it does it come it will feature 300 artworks across 30,000 square feet as it uses digital effects to make you a part of the painting itself. The closest it has been to Door County was Milwaukee, where 196,000 visited the Wisconsin Center to check out the experience during its seven-month run. Miller Art Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says while it does not replace the feeling you get when you can see the brushstrokes of painting in person, she can see how it can draw different types of people to art.

You can register for notifications about the experience, such as when and where it will take place, by clicking this link. The Miller Art Museum also has its own ways you can get immersed and inspired by art. In addition to the works they have on display at the Sturgeon Bay Library, the Miller Art Museum launched its satellite education space known as M3 last month. M3 will allow the museum to offer hands-on programming with workshops being held throughout the year. 

 

Pictures courtesy of Aaron Auclair

 

 

Easter, Passover, and Ramadan all intersect this weekend

You will find a religious crossroads this weekend as area Christians, Muslims, and Jews all celebrate holy events. The month-long Ramadan, the weeklong Passover, and the weekend-long Easter Tridium (Triduum) are all being recognized at the same time, an event that only happens once every 33 years. Many Door and Kewaunee county residents will be filing into churches to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a part of Easter celebrations. Pastor Joel McKenney hopes people leave St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma with a feeling of hope.

The pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco, Father Schuster, echoes those sentiments.

Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Matthew Sprunger says people need a savior and he hopes they find one in Jesus this weekend.

Area churches will have Easter services throughout the weekend. Green Bay is the home of the closest synagogue and mosque for those looking to commemorate Passover and Ramadan respectively. 

 

 

TRUE MEANING OF EASTER

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Algoma

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kewaunee

 

Door County sees uptick in violations, drop in crash deaths

As the impact of the pandemic waned in 2021, you may have seen more lights from the vehicles of Sheriff’s deputies in Door County.

 

Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard released the annual report for the department earlier this month, highlighting statistics from its division such as patrol, K-9, and investigative. The patrol division made 99 operating while intoxicated arrests. It issued 1603 citations and violations in 2021, both up from the 75 arrests and 1204 citations/violations in 2020 that saw lockdowns curtail traffic for much of the second quarter of the year. The 99 OWI arrests were the most in the last five years, beating the previous high of 90 in 2019.

 

Door County roads saw 639 crashes in 2021, including two fatalities. While the number of hits increased by 131 over 2020, the two fatal crashes were the least the area has seen since there was only one in 2017. 

 

There were 654 jail admissions in 2021, up from the 620 in 2020 but still far below pre-pandemic, which were all above 870. The average daily population also went up to 64 compared to 52 the previous year.  That was still far below what was seen in 2018 and 2019. You can read the full 2021 report here and compare it to 2019 and 2020 by clicking this link.

Southern Door STEAM Teacher finalist in National Award

Jessica Meacham, the elementary STEAM teacher with Southern Door, is a finalist to receive the 2022 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Meacham is one of the four educators from Wisconsin to be considered at a national level. She has been with the Southern Door School District for 19 years and has been an educator for 25 years. Meacham describes her curriculum and the steps she had to take to apply for these awards.

 

 

These awards are given yearly and are considered the highest honors given by the United States Government for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science education. The President recognizes teachers from all fifty states plus U.S. territories and can name 108 teachers per year. Meacham’s application will be brought in front of a national selection committee, which will select up to two applications to be sent to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Clipper Clays raising funds for youth trap club

You can support the Clipper Clays Youth Shooting Club by attending their Whitefish Fry fundraiser. The Clipper Clays are a group of 59 Sturgeon Bay Middle and High School students who are interested in the sport of trap. Coach Matt Propsom describes the rise in popularity of trap as a sport that he has seen.

 

 

If you would like to support the Clipper Clays, they will be hosting their fish fry fundraiser on April 15th from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Door County Rod and Gun Club in Sturgeon Bay. Each meal will include whitefish/chicken tenders, baby reds/fries, slaw, rye bread, and dessert. Adult meals are priced at $14 each; kids' meals for ages ten and younger will be $7. Both Dine-in and carryout options will be available.

Water quality decisions take center stage

For better or for worse, two recent decisions made by state entities could impact the water that you drink.

 

Earlier this week, a Waukesha County judge ruled that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources cannot require businesses to clean up contamination from forever chemicals like PFAS until the state Legislature weighs in on their future or an administrative rule is put in place. The DNR argued that they have to do what is necessary to protect against pollution. At the same time, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce believes such regulations need to go through a defined process before they are enacted. The decision comes almost a month after the state filed a lawsuit against Tyco Fire Products in Marinette for years of not reporting PFAS spills and failing to clean them up after they occurred.

 

Clean Water Action Council of  Northeast Wisconsin President and Executive Director Dean Hoegger says he is concerned about the decision in the short term.

Hoegger was happier about another decision involving the DNR, this time limiting the herd of a dairy farm in Casco. While he notes that farmers like Kinnard Farms are planting cover crops and participating in other acts of conservation, Hoegger says something needed to be done to address what is happening now.

The Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin will host their annual meeting and fundraising event featuring author John Bates on May 5th in Green Bay.

Reading bill part of Kitchens' re-election goals

While he is proud of what he accomplished in the most recent Assembly session, there is one bill Rep. Joel Kitchens hopes to get across the finish line if you elect him for a fourth term representing the First District.

 

For a second time, Governor Tony Evers vetoed a bill that would have replaced the current way school districts address literacy. The new approach would have focused on those in grades 4K through second grade in hopes of preventing students from falling behind due to bad habits or learning challenges. Governor Evers said in a statement that vetoed the bill because there was no long-term funding source for the plan. Kitchens says states and even some Door County schools that have adopted a similar approach that identifies concerns and develops personalized reading plans for affected students have been successful while others in Wisconsin fall even further behind.

Speaking to Door County Daily News shortly after the end of the legislative session, Kitchens said he was proud of his work helping the Town of Gibraltar create a tax incremental district and addressing excessive nitrates and other contaminants in ground and surface water. You can listen to his entire interview by clicking this link. 

Easter egg hunts a plenty in Door County

The Easter Bunny is making an appearance at several places around the peninsula this weekend before stopping by your house on Sunday.

 

The Shining Stars 4-H Club kick things off a 9 a.m. at Brussels Town Park with four different egg hunts divided out by age. Sister Bay will host their 14th annual egg hunt beginning at 10:30 a.m. with three different age divisions in search of the Golden Ticket egg which could earn one special hunter an extra prize bracket. Baileys Harbor moved their Easter egg hunt to Waseda Farms where they will have two different age divisions look for goodies. Jacksonport hosts their Easter Egg hunt at 11:30 a.m. at Lakeside Park with registration beginning at 11 a.m. You will still have time to hunt for Easter eggs in Sturgeon Bay where the Door County Historical Society will host their event from noon to 3 p.m. with 2,000 eggs waiting to be found. If you want to learn about real eggs, Crossroads at Big Creek hosts its annual EGGstravaganza where visitors can participate in hands-on experiments. The Family Worship Center will host their egg hunt as a part of their Easter Sunday program beginning at 10 a.m.

 

South of the border in Kewaunee County, the Algoma Friends of the Library Book Corner will be holding an egg hunt in its store from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Later in the day, you will also be able to find the Easter Bunny hanging out at Homestead Kitchen and Tap in Algoma when their doors open at 4 p.m.

 

Picture from Pixabay

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, politicians decry stalling over tower

A Request for Architectural and Engineering Services for the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower by Governor Tony Evers and Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole is not good enough according to local politicians and residents.

 

According to the Public Feedback Summary released by the state after holding listening sessions earlier this year, 353 of the 361 responses received by the state voiced their support for the structure to remain. The majority of the responses were indifferent or did not mention making a rebuilt tower ADA accessible or its historical significance. Both Evers and Cole recognized the tower’s importance to the park and its role in improving access to the outdoors.

 

Christie Weber of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society scoffed at the announcement, saying the tower could be saved and not replaced as the RFP suggests. There have already been five studies of the tower, including one funded by the organization itself when Dr. Dan Tingley of Wood Research and Development announced that the tower’s main support and the majority of its components could be saved shortly after it was closed permanently in 2017.

State Senator Andre Jacque and Rep. Joel Kitchens also took aim at Governor Evers. with both citing his negligence for the decaying structure and accusing him of stalling. You can read their comments below. 

 

FROM SENATOR JACQUE

The Evers Administration’s shifting blame for its failure to restore and preserve the historic 90-year-old Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower shows it simply does not want to do the project and never has, State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) said today.

 

“Money is not an issue,” said Sen. Jacque, a member of the State Building Commission.  “The current state budget, which the Governor signed last summer, includes over $200 million for maintenance projects for state facilities – not to mention all the federal ARPA money he is distributing throughout the state.  The DNR could have submitted a request to the Building Commission at any time, but they have failed to do so.”

 

“We wish the Governor would tell the DNR to prioritize repairing the Tower instead of studying it to death,” said Christie Weber, former President of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation.  “This is the fifth study, and the administration’s own Brander Report, which claimed the Tower was not historic, has already been debunked.”

 

The iconic tower was targeted for demolition by the DNR in 2018 after the agency claimed that the structure, which is now listed on both state and federal historic registries, was unsafe and would require a costly rebuild, rather than a much less expensive repair.  After repeated rejections of Sen. Jacque’s request to meet with DNR Secretary Preston Cole to discuss the tower and urge reconsideration, a meeting was finally allowed months later where the DNR indicated a willingness to support repair, instructing Sen. Jacque to submit the plans commissioned by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation to Building Commission staff.  However, the DNR subsequently withdrew its backing of the stamped architectural plans for Potawatomi Tower repair from a timber repair expert - plans consistent with the similar Mountain Park Watchtower repair authorized on Door County’s Washington Island by the town government just this past year.

 

“Actions speak louder than words,” Sen. Jacque said.  “The Building Commission cannot approve a project that the Evers administration has not submitted for approval.” 

 

Sen. Jacque noted that the most recent stall tactics announced by the Evers Administration and their stated timeline would push out the ability for any repair approval to occur beyond this fall’s gubernatorial election.

 

“The campaign to save the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower is an example of public engagement at its best,” Sen. Jacque said. “It is shameful that the Evers Administration continues to string good people along with no intention of taking any meaningful action.”

 

Sen. Jacque said his goal has always been to help save this treasured landmark in a manner that preserves it for future generations.

 

“Today, promoting tourism and outdoor recreation and preserving our history is more important than ever,” Sen. Jacque said.  “The Evers administration’s willful negligence toward the Potawatomi Tower is putting a vital piece of our area’s livelihood and heritage at risk. It is critical that action be taken now to repair the Potawatomi State Park Tower before further damage and deterioration can occur.”

 

FROM REP. KITCHENS

Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) has released the following statement regarding the announcement from Gov. Evers and the Department of Natural Resources that they have issued a request for proposal to either repair or replace the observation tower at Potawatomi State Park but will continue to study the different options before making a decision in December:

“The people of Door County will not be fooled by this blatantly deceptive political maneuvering by the Evers administration. It is more than obvious that they are stalling until after the November election so that they do not upset the majority of residents who overwhelmingly support rehabilitating the iconic tower, which is listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places.

“Due to that designation, the DNR is legally required to submit a plan to preserve the structure. So far, they have ignored that legal obligation. That really comes as no surprise since they have delayed the process numerous times since the tower was closed to the public in 2017. Shortly thereafter, a company known for repairing towers across the world came up with a proposal to restore the Potawatomi structure. For nearly four years the DNR has been studying several different plans and this latest stall tactic is the epitome of willful neglect.

“I also take issue that Gov. Evers is once again blaming the Legislature for the failures of his administration. The DNR is part of the executive branch, meaning they are under the complete control of the governor. If he wanted to, Gov. Evers could order the repair of the tower today. We could also proceed if he allowed the state Building Commission to consider the project. This falls squarely on Gov. Evers’ shoulders and he should be held accountable for his conspicuous lack of action.”    

Wind Advisory in effect until 7 p.m.

The National Weather Service is warning you of possible power outages and downed tree limbs as high winds hit the area. Only a few far northern counties are being spared from a wind advisory until 7 p.m. Thursday. Southwest winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour are expected through this evening. The high winds could blow around unsecured objects and knock down trees and power lines as a result. 

Increase in construction raises work zone awareness

With many local projects underway this month in Door and Kewaunee counties, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reminds you to stay safe while traveling. From April 2021 to November 2021, there was more than eight work zone crashes daily in Wisconsin, working out to approximately one every three hours.  Since 2017, Wisconsin work zones have seen over 12,400 crashes resulting in 62 deaths and 4,780. Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says you can do some simple things to make sure you get to where you need to go and construction workers can go home safely.

Last year, speed, tailgating, and distracted driving were the most common factors for work zone crashes. Construction crews are a couple of weeks into their project on Highway 42/57 in Sturgeon Bay, while work on State Highway 29 in Kewaunee began this week. 

Healthy Kids Day coming up at Door County YMCA

A 30-year-old tradition of celebrating kids being kids at the Door County YMCA is continuing this month. The Healthy Kids Day is scheduled for both the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek program centers on the last two Saturdays in April.  Northern Door Center Executive Director Megan Schneider says the idea of Healthy Kids Day is to set them up for a successful summer while offering a day of activities and fun.

 

 

Healthy Kids Day will be from 10 am until 1 pm on Saturday, April 23 in Fish Creek and on April 30 in Sturgeon Bay.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Megan Schneider on the Y Wednesday Podcast here.    

 

Sturgeon Bay planning to start street repairs next week

Sturgeon Bay is slated to start improving roadways in the city beginning next week. Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik says 1.69 miles of streets have been budgeted, while the ideal targeted amount is usually between two and one-half to two and three-quarter miles of roadwork. Initial projects include milling and paving work on North 18th Avenue and eventually Michigan Street down to 12th Avenue.

 

This year, other streets receiving attention include North Geneva Avenue, West Walnut Drive, and West Redwood Street. Rhode Island Street and North 14th Avenue from Egg Harbor Road to Bluebird Street will be getting new sidewalks. The total expanse for the proposed projects is just over $890,000.

 

Shefchek adds that Martel Concrete and Northeast Asphalt are contracted for all the road construction that is expected to be completed by the end of summer in the city. 

United Way celebrates volunteers and community

Over one hundred community members and volunteers attended the United Way of Door County Annual Meeting and Community Celebration in Sturgeon Bay Tuesday night.  The evening featured a “changing of the guard,” with President Heidi Neubauer sharing her year of leading the organization and the successes realized in 2021, including over $780,000 raised during the fundraising campaign.  Executive Director Amy Kohnle shared the impressive programs that significantly impacted the area, including the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Door County.

 

 

The evening concluded with Laurie Chapman being awarded the 2021 “Volunteer of the Year” award for her work and dedication to United Way over the past 20 years.  She says volunteering will always give back to you more than you can ever give. 

 


You can watch the entire United Way of Door County Annual Meeting here.  

 

 

 

 

Fire burns The Farm's sugar shack

A building at a popular Sturgeon Bay attraction was destroyed by fire Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters from the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department and members of the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Sturgeon Bay Police Department, and Door County Emergency Services responded to the fire just after 12 p.m. at The Farm, known for its petting zoo and other agriculture-minded attractions. Firefighters tended to the sugar shack where the fire took place near one of the gravel trails. The fire was mostly out by approximately 12:30 p.m. with crews prying up the roof to put out hot spots.   

 

Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo could not be reached for further comment.

 

 

Potawatomi State Park Tower gets lifeline

You will get to see the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower a little longer.

 

Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole announced on Tuesday that it was moving forward with a Request for Architectural and Engineering Services for the tower after it concluded its public comment period earlier this year. According to the Public Feedback Summary released by the state, 353 of the 361 responses voiced their support for the structure to remain. The majority of the reactions were indifferent or did not mention making a rebuilt tower ADA accessible or its historical significance.

 

Both Evers and Cole recognized the tower’s importance to the park and its role in improving access to the outdoors. In January, dozens of people participated in the hearing as state officials debated whether the historic structure should be repaired, rebuilt, or torn down. Comments in favor of keeping the structure point to the historic nature of the structure and the modest price tag for repairs. One participant called ignoring and delaying repairs to the tower a “direct attack on this community as a whole” by the DNR. Opponents to keeping the outlook say it should be accessible for all people to experience, similar to the newly rebuilt Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park. Doing something similar would cost millions instead of the hundreds of thousands of dollars being suggested to repair the tower.

 

The tower is on the National Register and State Register of Historic Places for its role in the state’s tourism history, but it has been closed to climbers since 2017. After it was closed permanently, Dr. Dan Tingley of Wood Research and Development announced that the tower’s primary support and the majority of its components could be saved.

 

COMMENTS FROM STATE OFFICIALS

“It’s clear folks want to see a restored or reconstructed tower at Potawatomi State Park, and we also recognize that accessibility is a critical consideration for any building project, especially one as cherished as the Potawatomi Tower,” said Gov. Evers. “I’m proud of this administration’s continued commitment to expanding opportunities for all visitors at state parks and facilities. The concept plans developed as a result of this request will balance the tower’s historic importance with our shared commitment to accessibility.” 

 

“It was crucial for us to hear from the public regarding the future of the Potawatomi Observation Tower, and we thank everyone who took the time to weigh in. The department recognizes the tower’s importance to Potawatomi State Park visitors and the surrounding community,” said DNR Secretary Cole. “The comments we received and the overwhelmingly positive public response to the fully accessible Eagle Tower at nearby Peninsula State Park drive home the importance of improving access to our outdoors. We look forward to building on that important work at Potawatomi.” 

Washington Island's Team Dory ready to swim

Just like Dory was a small fish in a big ocean, four Washington Island students are ready for a big swim of their own in June when they compete in the SeaPerch International Competition in Maryland.

 

Washington Island brought five teams to the Regional SeaPerch competition held at Ashwaubenon High School earlier this month after winning the Door County competition hosted at the Sturgeon Bay YMCA. Colin Verboomen, Allison Bennett, Magnus Purinton, Julia Pratt, and their robot named after the Finding Nemo character took second place, clinching them a spot at the international competition hosted by the University of Maryland. Purinton admitted that SeaPerch judges pulled their leg a bit, simply saying that a team from the island took second place before mentioning Team Dory by name. After using a poster for a presentation, the competition included Verboomen, Bennett, Purinton, and Pratt navigating the ROV Dory through an obstacle course and a mission course.

 

The four students said the name was fitting because of the ups and downs during the process, but the ROV Dory still made its way to the International Competition. They will spend the next few weeks tweaking and practicing with their ROV Dory before shipping off to Maryland for the competition. The Door County Maritime Museum and other community partners are helping support the team with other fundraising ventures to be announced soon. They are the second team from Door County to qualify after Sevastopol earned a spot in 2020 for the competition that later had to be canceled due to the pandemic. You can watch our entire interview below.

 

 

Gordon Road intersection garners discussion

You might be waiting a while if you are looking for significant changes at an intersection in the Town of Sevastopol that saw another accident last week.

 

Traffic had to be rerouted for some time on April 7th for a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of State Highway 42/57 and Gordon Road (County BB). The accident came months after a resident had a near miss at the intersection, saying it has only become more hazardous with the inclusion of a recommended truck route.

 

Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash told Door County Daily News that the intersection is up for resurfacing in 2023, but no other improvements are being planned. If a traffic safety feature were to be installed, such as a roundabout or a J-Turn, it would take four to six years before it became a reality. Without funding the project itself, the county can only suggest that a fix must be made to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

 

Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation told Door County Daily News that crash data does not support an additional safety feature to be installed. From 2017 to 2021, five of the 11 crashes involved motorists traveling east on Gordon Road colliding with those traveling south on STH 42/57. One other collision involved a driver traveling north. Only one of those six crashes was due to a person failing to stop at the stop sign, which occurred on August 18th, 2020. The other crashes involved people failing to yield the right of way to traffic on State Highway 42/57. You can find the chart of these crashes below.

Residents will be able to make their thoughts known on this and other concerns with the Door County Highway Safety Commission when it meets on May 5th at 9 a.m. at the Door County Government Center.

Jacque looks to run again

After finishing up his first term as a member of the Wisconsin State Senate, Andre Jacque hopes to have your support for another. The DePere Republican expressed his interest to represent the First Senate District for a second term when he visited the NEW Radio studios in Sturgeon Bay on Monday to chat about his bills that reached the desk of Governor Tony Evers with mixed results. Jacque won the seat from then State Senator Caleb Frostman in November 2018 after losing a special election to the Democrat earlier that same year. It was preceded by eight years in the Wisconsin State Assembly. With over 20 of his bills getting signed into law this past session, he still wants to do more to serve the state.

Jacque was happy a bill supporting the Town of Gibraltar’s Tax Incremental Financing district was approved with taxpayer safeguards put in place along with the passage of “Dillon’s Law 2.0.”  He was surprised when Governor Evers approved a bill with a pro-life provision and when portions of his public safety bills and the “Preserve our Wisconsin Legacy Act,” which had bipartisan support to make damaging historically significant monuments a felony, were vetoed. You can listen to our full interview with State Senator Andre Jacque here and read why Governor Evers made the decisions he did here.

 

Outside burning fire causes false alarm

Local fire officials warn people to take extra precautions when doing any outside burning this spring. On Monday morning, a fire call resulted in multiple units from the Algoma Fire Department being dispatched to a reported fully-engulfed house fire on County S, three miles south of Algoma near the County Trunk U intersection. Algoma Fire Chief Tom Ackerman said when they arrived on the scene at about 10 am, the actual fire was a rubbish pile being burned.   It was decided with the windy conditions that it was best to extinguish the fire to prevent any possible spreading. The Algoma Fire Department cleared the scene after only about 15 minutes. Outside burning permits are needed for uncontained fires and should be done only when conditions are safe for burning.

Bird flu potentially hampers animal projects

The same reason you might see the price of eggs and chicken go up is why you also might see kids showing different animals at local fairs. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection announced that it was suspending all poultry shows, exhibitions, and swap meets statewide through May 31st due to ongoing concerns about the highly pathogenic avian influenza. Four other states, including nearby Illinois, have instituted similar rules. That means you will not find poultry animals at next month’s Door County 4-H Small Animal Swap, when many youths pick a duck, a chicken, or other birds to prepare for county and state fairs. Door County 4-H Coordinator Dawn VandeVoort says they are doing it out of caution and hopes the bird flu is cleared up before the fair season begins.

VandeVoort says a decision on whether or not poultry will be allowed at fairs like the Kewaunee County Fair July 8th through 11th and Door County Fair August 10th-14th will come from the state DATCP. The Door County 4-H Small Animal Swap will still take place on May 7th, beginning at 7 a.m.

No new COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths for second straight week

Door County is still seeing some new cases of COVID-19 trickle in, but it has not seen much worse things happen in two weeks. Of the 148 tests administered last week, only eight came back positive for COVID-19. One case was determined to be probable. The Door County Public Health Department also reported no new hospitalizations or deaths for the second week. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says it has been even longer since they have seen patients hospitalized, noting that the recent strain of COVID-19 does not seem as severe as other variants.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services noted a big jump in the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases on Friday to 568. Still, it admitted it was because of a backlog and not virus activity. Vaccine clinics are held every Tuesday at the Door County Government Center from 1-4 p.m. and the Sister Bay Fire Station on April 14th from 1-5 p.m.

Car part shortage continues to take its toll

Taking care of your car now could help prevent you from long waits later.

 

The automotive industry continues to be impacted by supply chain issues. The Detroit News reported last week that the Flat Rock Assembly Plant near Detroit would have to shut down from producing some lines of Ford vehicles because of the ongoing computer chip shortage. Recently, Volkswagen Group officials told a German news source that it does not expect the computer chip shortage to be completely resolved by 2024. Other German automakers warn that manufacturing could slow down as much of its wiring is made in Ukraine, which is still under Russian assault. Russia’s production of aluminum, nickel, platinum, and palladium also makes some car necessities hard to make. Along with other supply chain-related issues, Randy Sahs from Sahs Auto and Collision in Sturgeon Bay says it has been frustrating for the repair industry as some customers have to wait several weeks to get their vehicles back.

Sahs hopes motorists use this as a time to make sure their car is appropriately maintained now to prevent more costly repairs and longer waits in the future.  

Tax season enters final week

By this time next week, your taxes will need to be making their way to the mailbox. This year’s deadline to submit your taxes is April 18th. That is because the usual deadline for filing is April 15th, which is Emancipation Day in Washington D.C. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts even get more time because of Patriot’s Day celebrations on Monday. According to the Internal Revenue Service, it had seen over 70 million tax returns as of mid-March. Approximately 51 million people were poised to get refunds with the average American getting about $3,300 back. You can still file for an extension if you do not think you will finish your taxes in time and complete them by October 18th. You will still need to have them done if you expect to pay instead of getting a tax refund.

 

Picture from Pixabay

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County benefits those in need

As part of their 25th-anniversary community support initiative awards, the UUFDC has awarded the Door County Food Pantry Coalition a $7,500 monetary donation. This donation is one of four that the fellowship will give to the community. The UUFDC President, Henk Woist, details how the fellowship planned the year to benefit the community.

 

 

The money given to the coalition will help allow the eight pantries to continue to provide food for the community in Door County. The first beneficiary of the group was the Boys and Girls Club of Door County last December, who also received a $7,500 check. The next beneficiary is HELP of Door County, with the fourth recipient yet to be disclosed. The funds that are to be given or have already been dispersed are from collections within the fellowship and a $2,500 match from the group’s budget. 

 

Highway 29 construction begins Monday

Plan your route accordingly if you plan on taking State Highway 29 to and from Kewaunee County on Monday.  On April 1st, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Governor Evers announced that nearly $4 million has been approved to make improvements to State Highway 29 from County C in West Kewaunee to the Brown County/Kewaunee County border the town of Montpelier. The goal of resurfacing project is to extend the life of the pavement structure, improve the drainage in nearby culverts, and add rumble strips and wider shoulders as a safety feature. While the roadway may be torn up, STH 29 will remain open to traffic throughout construction, with lane closures and flagging operations in place when needed. With a bit of help from Mother Nature, the project aims to be completed by July. 

Miller Art Museum to present artwork from Door County's youth

The Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay is prepared to bring you the “48th annual Salon of Door County High School Art”. This exhibition will include artwork by students from each of the five Door County high schools. This event has been virtual for the past two years due to COVID-19. Helen del Guidice, the curator of exhibits and collections for the library, says that they are very excited to welcome back the community for this event.

 

 

You will have the chance to see plenty of art with 197 total pieces from the students. The teachers from each district have also chosen students to be recognized for their work at the reception. The display has been restricted to only the main floor in past years, but the students’ work will be shown throughout the whole museum this year. The exhibition will be opened to the public on April 16th and continue through May 23rd. An opening reception available to all will be held on Monday, April 18th, from 7-8:30 pm at the museum.

Community Spotlight: the late Donald Kickbusch

Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek made sure that he honored an individual who served as a mentor to him in public service before he departed office later this month. A plaque commemorating the late Donald Kickbusch was presented by Jelinek earlier this week before it was placed on the exterior of the city’s public works facility. Alongside a career in real estate, Kickbusch was employed by the Kewaunee Street Department for 35 years, 28 coming as the department’s superintendent. He would later serve on the Kewaunee City Council and as the chairperson of its Public Works Committee, in addition to his duties on the Kewaunee County Board, and the Kewaunee Lions Club. Jelinek says the plaque was a great way to commemorate Kickbusch’s service.

Before his life in local public service, Kickbusch served the country as a member of the U.S Navy. Kickbusch passed away last July at the age of 90.

Don't let warmer weather go up in smoke

With spring right around the corner, make sure you are prepared and knowledgeable about how to prevent spreading fire during the drier season. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports that 60% of the yearly wildfires in Wisconsin happen in the spring months. After the snow melts and nature begins to sprout, fires can get out of control quickly. Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges describes what you can do to ensure that your recreational fire doesn’t destroy property or get out of hand.

 

 

Bertges urges people who are planning to burn something to reach out to the fire department beforehand and make sure that the conditions are safe to start a fire in. There are resources available on burning safely on the Wisconsin DNR website

 

Partners provide support for sexual assault victims

According to the Violence Intervention Project, a person is sexually abused every 73 seconds. Sixty percent of those sexually abused are between the ages of 12 and 17, with 93 percent of those victims knowing their perpetrators.

 

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is thankful for organizations like the Violence Intervention Project and for the training his deputies receive so they can be more empathetic when dealing with such cases.

The Violence Intervention Project will have displays set up at three Kewaunee County grocery stores later this month with displays commemorating Sexual Assault Awareness Month  You can read more about the topic from Sheriff Joski below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

The month of April is designated in the State of Wisconsin as Sexual Assault Awareness month. For those who have been impacted by the brutality of these senseless acts the pain and suffering never truly vanishes. Historically the victimization of these crimes did not end with the act itself but unfortunately were further perpetrated by a culture of secrecy and transferred blame on the part of those who were attacked rather than the attacker. For many years these crimes were minimized or even justified based on the condition of the victim or even in some cases the very clothing that they were wearing at the time of the attack.

 

Fortunately those days are over and we as a society have come to recognize the severity of sexual assault for what it is. We have striven to provide the greatest possible support for the victims while working towards the most severe level of accountability for the perpetrators. We have opened channels of communication to those who have had to live in the shadows of victimization allowing their voices to finally be heard. One of the organizations that have been instrumental in this transformation is our own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project. Having personally worked alongside these amazing advocates for change, I can attest to both their courage and their dedication in the area of victim support and community awareness.

 

During this month of April there will be events held to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault and to the many that have been and continue to be impacted. This year for Sexual Assault Awareness, the Violence Intervention Project will be hosting interactive displays at locations around the county on the fallowing dates:

 

Stodola’s IGA (Luxemburg)- April 25th 12:00- 4:00

Denny’s SuperValu (Algoma)- April 26th 3:00- 6:00

Piggly Wiggly (Kewaunee)- April 28th 12:00- 4:00

 

On Weds. April 27th we will be recognizing International Denim Day. This event began as a call to action after a court in Italy failed to convict in a sexual assault case due to the fact that the victim was wearing denim pants. It was the opinion at the time that there was consent as no person could have removed the jeans without the assistance of the wearer. That case was later overturned.

 

If any Institution or Businesses are interested in prevention education presentations, please call the Violence intervention office at: (920)388-2111 and ask for Amanda to schedule a date and time.

 

Please take the time to join in supporting those affected by these senseless acts and bringing a greater awareness to our need as a society to rid our communities of both Sexual Assault and Child Abuse.

 

 

 

"Mirrorball" Drag Show to rock Door County

A historical event involving a lot of makeup and costumes will be taking place at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall next weekend.  The first-ever Door County drag show for the public will be featured starting on Friday night.  Mike Meulemans, and his husband Doug Smith hosted a similar party three years ago to celebrate their 20th anniversary.  After getting great feedback on it, they decided to bring it back for the public and are calling it Mirrorball.  Meulemans says the event is about having fun, promoting inclusion, and supporting the community.

 

 

The two-day extravaganza will start on Friday, April 15 with a “Match Game” contest that will include the celebrity drag queens and audience participants.  A $10 donation at the door will go towards the Kendall Park Rejuvenation fund in Baileys Harbor.  Saturday’s Mirrorball performance is open free to the public.  It will have three drag shows highlighting dance, music and extravagant costumes.  Professional queen Paloma Foxx has her own fashion line with dresses featured on RuPaul’s TV show Drag Race.  You can find out more about Doug & Mike’s House of Mirrorball here.

(photo above:  Melee the Queen, Malaiya Marvel Paloma Foxx)

 

 

Melee the Queen

 

Malaiya Marvel

 

Paloma Foxx

 

(photos courtesy of Luke Collins Photography) 

Door County Granary on the move

It was not going over the bridge as it has done in the past, but you may have noticed the Door County Granary moving on Friday. Scheduling and weather helped the building movers get a jump start on the effort to shift the structure approximately 30 feet closer to the bay to where it originally stood. Crews have already installed the pilings and the foundation needed for the granary, but Executive Director Beth Renstrom says some work needs to be done before it can settle into its final resting place.

Renstrom says there has been a lot of excitement about the project’s progress, even if much of the work that has been done in recent weeks has not been as visible as when the granary is moving. 

Fairbanks tapped as L-C Superintendent

Luxemburg-Casco School District has found its new leader, announcing it with a school-wide pep rally feel Friday morning.

 

The district’s school board announced Dr. Jo-Ellen Fairbanks as its new superintendent, replacing the retiring Glenn Schlender in the role. Fairbanks has a wide-ranging career in education that began in 1993 as a science educator and department chairperson at Burlington Area School District. Her career included stops with the School Districts of Beloit, Adams-Friendship, Portage, and Cochrane-Fountain City, CESA 9, and Mid-State Technical College.

 

School Board President Mike Driedric lauded her a statement from the district, saying she has “strong curriculum and financial backgrounds, a track record of managing a district and demonstrated the ability to be creative financially to find solutions.”  Fairbanks is excited to lead the district, emphasizing the support they have received from community partners to help create opportunities for students.

 

When she takes over for Schlender on July 1st, Fairbanks will be the sixth superintendent and the first female in the role in Luxemburg-Casco School District history.

 

You can watch our full interview after Friday’s announcement below.

 

 

 

Hartman takes reins of COVID-19 response in Door County

Two years after the pandemic took hold of the entire world, you will find a new face heading up the efforts in Door County. Registered Nurse Bill Hartman has been growing into the role of the county’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator since January after a year of volunteering with the Door County Public Health Department to do testing and vaccinations. After 40 years in the nursing field, he was trying to retire when the pandemic started in 2020. His position is being funded by a grant received by the department to get staff refocused on other public health concerns in the community. He has been tasked with scheduling their weekly Tuesday vaccine clinics and keeping up with the ever-changing circumstances around COVID-19. He says the variants like the current Omicron subvariant BA.2 make it hard for the vaccines to catch up since they were developed to fight the original strain.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control issued a report about the risks surrounding COVID-19 infections and the second dose of the mRNA vaccinations related to developing myocarditis and other inflammatory heart conditions. While it is rare, people can develop conditions no matter the route, though it was more likely with those infected with the virus than those completing the series, according to the report. Parents have still been wary about having their kids vaccinated against COVID-19, with just above 30 percent of children ages 5-11 and 65 percent of those ages 12-17 receiving at least one dose. The county as a whole stands at over 78 percent at least partially vaccinated against the virus. Hartman understands what parents are going through, adding that the unpredictability of side effects makes it hard to gauge what the right thing is to do.

He does encourage those above the age of 50 and the immunocompromised to get the second booster shot if you are interested. Vaccine clinics are held every Tuesday at the Door County Government Center from 1-4 p.m. and the Sister Bay Fire Station on April 14th from 1-5 p.m.

Second K9 on patrol in Door County after training

The Door County Sheriff’s Department has another four-legged officer on patrol. K9 TJ just returned this week with his handler Deputy Tina Spaulding after going through four weeks of K9 training at Jessiffany Canine Services in Iron Ridge.  TJ is the second K9 dog serving in Door County. K9 Leo and handler Deputy Matthew Tassoul completed their training last fall. Spaulding says K9 TJ will deal specifically with narcotics and search and rescue.

 

 

Already certified through the State of Wisconsin, Spaulding and TJ will be going through additional certification through the American Police K9 Association this Saturday.  The K9 program in Door County began in 2017 and is designed to respond to high-risk calls, traffic stops, and missing person searches. Fundraising efforts through the Door County Crime Prevention Foundation provide for the long-term care of the dogs in the K9 unit. If you would like to contribute to the crime prevention efforts in Door County and support the K9 units, you can stop at the Sheriff’s Office or click here.  

 

(photos courtesy of the Door County Sheriff's Office)

Young farmers take wait and see approach to short course changes

Changes to the once popular Farm & Industry Short Course at UW-Madison have sparked discussions among those hoping to see more interest in the agriculture industry.

 

University officials announced earlier this year it would be changing the format from a for-credit, 16-week residential experience to a non-credit format. College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Kathryn VandenBosch said in March that the current program does not meet the needs of farmers who cannot be away from their operations for long periods of time. The new arrangement will allow students to take the courses at their own pace year-round in an online, in-person, or blended learning (online and in-person) format. Previously, students would stay on campus for 16 weeks from the late fall to early spring to avoid the busiest times of the year. Many of the agriculture community decried the move, saying it lacked transparency and that it would take away other life experiences.

 

Denmark resident and recent Farm & Industry Short Course graduate Jeremy Schlies sees both sides of the discussion. He enjoyed the experience that fits within his schedule but noted that class sizes were getting smaller. Agri-view reports that enrollment has been dropping in the course since 2010. He hopes the decision does not limit those who want to get into agriculture and get the experience to succeed.

Schlies encourages other young farmers thinking about enrolling in the program to see what other changes may be on the horizon. He especially feels for those currently in the program that were using the program as a potential stepping stone toward a four-year degree. According to the news publication Wisconsin State Farmer, a listening session about the future of the program will be held on April 12th at 1 p.m. over Zoom.  

 

Photo submitted by Jeremy Schlies. Taken by Mike Roemer

Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament gets underway

Expect plenty of boats out on the water over the next four days as one of the first open water fishing competitions gets underway. The annual Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament began under cloudy skies Thursday morning as anglers try for thousands of dollars in prizes as they compete from Kewaunee to Washington Island. Andrew Sharpe won last year’s top prize with a 36.5-inch brown trout that weighed in at just over 29 pounds. That was the longest fish by over an inch and the heaviest by 11 pounds. Anglers with advance tickets can take their trophy fish to one of four locations until 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and noon on Sunday.

 

You can find more information about this year’s tournament by clicking this link.

 

Ceremony honors all Golden Hearts

Hundreds of volunteers that help make your community a better place were all honored Wednesday night as a part of the 2022 Golden Heart Awards ceremony held at Sturgeon Bay High School. 

 

Emceed by former Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Pam Seiler and Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel, the awards ceremony honored volunteers in six categories. Presenters noted that the judges for the awards struggled to reach a consensus, opting to award all of the volunteers with plaques of recognition. 

 

Bill Aune, Kathy Wagner, William Nick, Ronald Delwiche, Barb Chisolm, Madelyn Ostrand, and Barbara Graul were awarded the Karl May Lifetime of Service Award. The teachers and staff of St. Peter’s Lutheran School, St. John Bosco Catholic School, and every public school in Door County earned the Essential Workers of the Year award. Southern Door teacher Shannon Finger earned special recognition in the category, as did Door County Medical Center’s Michelle Johnson and Sturgeon Bay’s police and fire departments. Guy Fortine and Judy Samida from Crossroads at Big Creek and Marilyn Hansotia from the Door County Land Trust garnered the Environmental Stewardship Award. The volunteers of the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary House and Garden Walk, Door County Seed Library, Habitat ReStore, Scandia Village Birchwood Art Project, YMCA, Miller Art Museum Desk, Door County Candle, Meals on Wheels Program, and the 100+ Women Who Care Door County chapter were all honored with the Group Volunteers of the Year Award. Taylor and Kaden Stahlke, Jane and Karl Wise, Patricia Ploor, Robert Lindahl, Micaela Inman, Wayne Humbles, and Clarice Brey received the Adult Volunteer of the Award. 

 

The Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award could only go to one individual. Southern Door’s Anna Olson was recognized for her efforts with organizations like the Adopt-A-Highway program, Boys and Girls Club of Door County, and Door County Toys for Kids with a $500 scholarship. Olson’s nominator said, “volunteering is a part of her character.” 

 

You can watch the entire program below:

 

Statewide tornado drill scheduled for today

Today is the day you can prepare for the next severe weather event in Door and Kewaunee counties. A statewide tornado drill is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., though not all communities will test their outdoor warning sirens during those times. Severe weather alerts will air on the stations of NEW Radio. Weatherology Meteorologist Jennifer Wojcicki says this is an excellent time to evaluate your action plan before severe weather hits.

If severe weather actually occurs today, the statewide drill will be rescheduled for tomorrow.

Luxemburg-Casco expands career exploration efforts

Helping Luxemburg-Casco students find a career in your neighborhood received another boost this week. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announced on Wednesday that the district would be receiving a $25,000 grant for its Fab Lab. The money will go towards purchasing a robotic arm that will let 80 to 100 students learn new skills by using it with CNC and injection molding machines. This is on top of the $36,000 already donated by local businesses to bring the device to the school. District Superintendent Glenn Schlender says investments like this open the doors to different careers for more students.

The district is also forming a partnership with Bellin College to start a pilot program where high school students can begin earning up to a year’s worth of credits while still in high school at about a third of the cost. Schlender says the interest is high for both parties to hopefully get something done for the fall.

The announcements come just days before the Luxemburg-Casco School Board announces Schlender’s replacement as superintendent. Following Friday’s announcement, Schlender says he will assist in the transition process until he retires from the position this summer. 

Door County outpaces state in excessive drinking

Recent data from the Wisconsin State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Prevention Committee may cause you to think twice before tilting back that last brew of the night. The report titled “Moving Forward: Policies and Strategies to Prevent and Reduce Excessive Alcohol Use in Wisconsin” shows every county in the state has a higher excessive drinking rate than the national average of 17.6 percent when it comes to alcohol use. Door County even outpaces the state’s average with a 27.5 percent excessive drinking rate compared to 24.4 percent for Wisconsin. It comes as alcohol-related deaths jumped 25 percent in 2020. Door County AODA Coordinator Shauna Blackledge says she knew it was high, but she was surprised at where it was compared to the rest of the state.

The SCAODA report highlights 61 recommendations for improving the excessive drinking rate, which include increasing the alcohol tax, repealing language that allows the sale of alcohol to minors, and implementing public awareness campaigns. Blackledge encourages to attend one of the upcoming sessions led by Officer Jermaine Galloway, also known as the “Tall Cop.” They will take place at Stone Harbor Resort on May 4th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Municipalities begin canvassing election results

With the 2022 Spring Election in the books, local municipalities will now begin certifying Tuesday’s results. Door County Clerk Jill Lau says the purpose of the canvass is to account for every ballot cast and ensure that every valid vote cast is included in the election totals. She says all municipalities, including Door County, have until 9 am April 12th to canvass the vote.

 

 

Lau adds that all poll locations on Tuesday were fully staffed in Door County with no apparent problems.   She notes that fewer absentee voting was done compared to the past few elections. Door County's turnout of 5,812 voters was low for an April election, representing about 25 percent.

Blossom Run coming back in May

A popular run/walk that has seen up to 250 participants in the past is back on the calendar next month. The Door County YMCA Blossom Run will again be held in Egg Harbor on Saturday, May 14, after a 2-year hiatus that required the run to be virtual last year. Senior Living Healthy Director Mary Claire McHugh says the event is perfect for the whole family to get involved.

 

 

The 2022 Blossom Run offers a five-mile or a two-mile run/walk and a one-mile youth non-competitive run. Starting at the boat launch at the Harborview Park in Egg Harbor, awards will be given to eight age groups in both male and female categories after the run. More information on the event sponsored by Door County Medical Center and Ross Estate Planning is available here. You listen to the entire interview with Mary Claire McHugh and Sarah Gavin on the Y Wednesday podcast page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.

Election Recap: Algoma sees change

Two new mayors, a new judge, and new board members were elected during the spring election on Tuesday in Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

In Kewaunee County, no community saw more change than Algoma. The city will have a different mayor after Virginia Haske defeated Wayne Schmidt, unseating him for the first time since 2012. Christopher Schley will be on the Algoma School Board after he led the field. With Barb Rodgers coming in second, it means incumbent Joann Wiesner will not be returning to her seat on the board. Algoma will see a new circuit court judge along with the rest of Kewaunee as Jeffrey Wisnicky defeated Kim Hardtke. One thing that will not change in Algoma is its police and fire stations. The city's voters firmly said no to a referendum for a multimillion joint facility that would put both departments in the industrial park.

 

In Door County, Incumbent Kara Counard lost her seat to Nancy Robillard (former District 5 supervisor) in the reshaped District 4. Jeff Miller (District 5), Hugh Zettel (District 14) and Bud Kalms (District 21) will join the Door County Board as new supervisors after winning their elections. Three school boards will have at least one new school board member after Jessica Sauter (Gibraltar), Jeff Isaksen (Sevastopol), and Jacob Schulz (Sturgeon Bay) each captured their respective seats. Sturgeon Bay School District voters approved a new operational referendum that will last for five years with 58 percent of the vote.

 

You can find the complete election results by clicking this link.

Sturgeon Bay paves the way for more housing

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council swiftly approved several agenda items during Tuesday’s night meeting, including moving along 94 housing units involving two projects. 

 

A proposed zoning map amendment that was recommended by the City Plan Commission at an open hearing last month was approved. It will eliminate the C-3, Commercial/Light Manufacturing district to a C-1 for General Commercial for various parcels, including the Skipper Bud's properties. Another approved rezoning for Midwest Wire on Lansing Avenue would change it from C-3, Commercial Light Manufacturing, to I-1, Light Industrial.

 
In other business, the Council approved the first reading for rezoning and ultimately a Planned Unit Development for Cherry Point Investments for a 68-unit multiple-family residential development on Egg Harbor Road that the City Plan Commission recommended. That housing development should begin construction later this summer.

 

Another Planned Unit Development for a 26-unit multiple-family apartment complex by S.C. Swiderski, LLC for the old Sunset School location was approved with an ordinance first reading. Developers expect the start date for construction to be in July, with a planned opening in May of 2023.


In the Mayor’s report, David Ward said that Kwik Trip plans on opening the east-side location on Egg Harbor Road by October this year with plans to purchase property on the west side for a store opening sometime in 2023. 

School districts enjoying a sense of normalcy

Your kids are experiencing the closest they have been to “normal” at their schools in Door and Kewaunee counties in over two years. Only Luxemburg-Casco and Sevastopol have active COVID-19 cases among their student and staff population, with each having just one apiece, according to the districts' COVID-19 dashboards as of 9 a.m. Tuesday. Masks are now optional at all of the schools, and many of the mitigation strategies that have been in place since schools returned from being shut down in March 2020 have either been drastically reduced or eliminated. Southern Door School District Superintendent Chris Peterson credits the community with understanding their tactics during the last several months.

Washington Island and Kewaunee were the only districts in Door and Kewaunee counties to go into virtual learning this school year due to COVID-19 and staffing shortages. Washington Island students were off nearly a month when their cases began to elevate near winter break. Kewaunee had just a few days of virtual learning when it saw an increase in all illnesses and was experiencing staffing shortages. Gibraltar took a couple of days off when they saw elevated case counts and a staffing shortage in late January, but they did not go into virtual learning.

What's in a warning or a watch?

As the state recognizes Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week, answering one question can help you be more prepared when it hits Door and Kewaunee counties. Last year, the National Weather Service confirmed 41 tornadoes in Wisconsin, with several severe weather events happening in between. Spring and summer are when tornadoes are the most active, but they could happen at any time if the conditions are right. What is the difference between a watch and a warning though? Weatherology Meteorologist Jennifer Wojcicki says a way to remember the difference between having the right conditions for severe weather (watch) and a confirmed sighting (warning) is to think of tacos.

She says this is an excellent time to evaluate your action plan before severe weather hits.

A statewide tornado drill is scheduled for this Thursday at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., though not all communities will test their outdoor warning sirens during those times. If severe weather occurs on Thursday, it will be postponed to Friday.

ALICE population's struggles grow during pandemic

Many Door County families have struggled to make ends meet since the pandemic started over two years ago, but you would have noticed a high number even before the first COVID test came back positive. According to the United Way of Door County data, nearly one-third of Door County families were living in poverty or struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic. The shutdown of schools and businesses only sent the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population deeper into the red. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says it gives the organization even more urgency to help their neighbors.

The United Way of Door County will host two Zoom sessions on the topic on April 5th from noon to 1:30 p.m. and April 21st from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The organization will also celebrate its accomplishments and volunteers from the past year during its annual meeting on April 12th. 

 

Click here to listen to our full interview

Heim Auto and Recycling destroyed by fire

A New Franken business is being deemed a complete loss after a fire ripped through one of its buildings Monday afternoon.

 

Multiple Green Bay media reports say firefighters reported to Heim Auto and Recycling just after 3 p.m. Employees were still inside the building when the fire started, but they were able to escape without injury. WLUK-TV says the building that housed much of its recycling operations had to be torn apart so firefighters from other nearby departments could attack the fire.

 

A neighboring building that housed its offices and Ethel’s Auto Sales appear to have been spared from the blaze according to pictures. Investigators believe the fire was not criminal or suspicious. 

 

We will have more details as they emerge.

Election Day polls open 7am Tuesday

Door and Kewaunee counties will have plenty of contested races on the ballot when you go to the polls on Tuesday.


Door County will feature seven contested races in the 21 county board supervisor seats.  District 2 will have incumbent Todd Thayse being challenged by Lora Jorgenson, District 4 has incumbent Kara Counard facing current District 5 supervisor Nancy Robillard due to new redistricting lines.  Either Jeff Miller or Tim Smith will fill the open seat in District 5. Jonathon Kruse in District 9 is challenging incumbent Dan Austad.  District 11 has incumbent Morgan Rusnak facing Helen Bacon.  In District 14, Darrick DeMeuse and Hugh Zettel look to fill the position held by retiring supervisor Biz Virlee. In District 20, Walter Kalms and Abby Duebler will fill the spot left by Board Chair Dave Lienau, who is now in District 19 after redistricting.  
The Sturgeon Bay School District will have a referendum on the ballot to fund educational programming for students that would exceed the state-mandated tax revenue limit for five years. Sturgeon Bay, Sevastopol and Gibraltar all have contested races for school board seats.

 

In Kewaunee County, the circuit court judge position will have Kimberly Hardtke and Jeffrey Wisnicky facing off to replace the late Keith Mehn who passed away late last year.  Another contested race will be for District 4 in the northeastern corner of Kewaunee County, where Dennis Langteau and Nellie DeBaker are looking to fill that seat.  In Algoma, incumbent Wayne Schmidt will be running for re-election against challenger Virginia Haske, who served as Mayor from 2003 to 2012.   Algoma’s District 3 will also pit incumbent Casey Buhr against challenger Eric Dean.  The City of Algoma will also have a referendum to exceed the maximum tax levy on financing a new public safety building in the industrial park.  The school districts of Luxemburg-Casco and Algoma have board member positions to fill.  

 

The polls will be open from 7 am until 8 pm during the statewide general election on Tuesday.   

 

 

Lining the streets with Pride

Supporting the area’s LGBTQIA+ community is an initiative that could put a pride flag outside your door.

 

Open Door Pride offers businesses a pride flag free of charge to show your support. The flags can be flown during June which is Pride Month or year round which many businesses do. The story behind the flag dates back to 1978 when American politician Harvey Milk urged artist Gilbert Baker to create a symbol of pride for the gay community.  Even though the flag has changed a little bit since that first iteration, the symbolism for what it stands for has not. Steve Makovec from Open Door Pride appreciates the support from the local business community.

You can contact Open Door Pride at info@opendoorpride.org to request a flag for your business to be delivered in May. Open Door Pride is keeping busy outside of its annual festival in June, including assisting local schools with their diversity programs and holding the “What’s My Pride?” initiative at a local coffee shop.

 

Picture courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay

COVID numbers creeping up in Door County

As they are doing so statewide, the number of positive tests for COVID-19 is slowly increasing in Door County. 

 

Thirteen of the 112 tests recorded by the Door County Public Health Department returned positive for the virus, up from the six reported last week. The totals do not include those who are taking at-home tests. The good news is that for the first time in three weeks, there were no COVID-19 related deaths in Door County, and there were no hospitalizations. Deaths were recorded each of the last two weeks, but the data may be delayed due to the processing of medical reports at the state level. 

 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases has crept up statewide from 315 on March 25th to 371 last Friday.  The department is recommending a second booster of the COVID-19 vaccine for those over 50 and those with compromised immunity. Door County COVID-19 Response Coordinator Bill Hartman says the phones have been busy since the announcement was made for people to get the extra dose at their Tuesday vaccine clinics. Vaccines are available by appointment on Tuesdays at the Door County Government Center.

 

Numbers provided weekly by Door County Public Health

Total Tests: 28,802 (+112)
Positive: 6,580 (+13)
Probable: 365
Negative: 21,857 (+99)
Hospitalizations: 240
Deaths: 61 

Sale approval puts power station site's future on fast track

You will see more action at the Kewaunee Power Station now that its sale to EnergySolutions LLC has been approved by the federal government. 

 

Last May, we first reported the plant’s sale by Dominion Nuclear Projects to the Utah-based company after eight years of wondering what would happen to the site after it was permanently shut down in 2013. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the transfer from Dominion Nuclear Projects to EnergySolutions LLC. With the ownership change, the hope was hundreds of new jobs would be created to facilitate the decommissioning,  which could be done over 40 years quicker than initially planned. Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ben Nelson says it is exciting news for the region.

Nelson added that they only had preliminary discussions on what can occur on the nearly 900-acre site after the decommissioning is completed in 2030. EnergySolutions expects to start decommissioning the Kewaunee Power Station later this year. Hiring for the expected 200 jobs is already underway.

 

Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County

Tax benefits from direct IRA charitable contributions

Using your Independent Retirement Account (IRA) to donate to your favorite charity has tax benefits for retirees. Attorney Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay says anyone over 72 years of age must have required distributions to take money out of their IRAs. He explains why charitable contributions that come directly out of the IRA make sense for those individuals.

 

 

Ross says Door County has over 300 non-profit organizations needing support to continue their services. He notes that an IRA Direct contribution is a quick and tax-friendly way to make a difference and protect your legacy.

Residents embracing Get Healthy Kewaunee County

Your feedback helped Kewaunee County take on the challenge of getting healthier. The Get Health Kewaunee County workgroup was born out of a community health assessment performed by the Kewaunee County Public Health Department in 2015. Residents said they wanted more opportunities to get active in the community. Since then, the workgroup has helped organize walking groups and events to get people out exercising together, among other initiatives, according to Kewaunee County Public Health Department dietician and WIC Director Rachel Bauer.

The county is currently working on its next five-year Community Health Improvement Plan and is looking for new workgroup members to contribute ideas and provide the education and advocacy needed to promote health and wellness in the community. You can contact the Kewaunee County Public Health Department if you are interested.

Community Spotlight: Golden Heart Awards Door County announces nominees

You will not find a shortage of worthy people for this year’s Golden Heart Awards, which will be awarded later this week.

 

Created in the same vein as a similar event produced by the former Volunteer Center of Door County, nominees were listed in six categories. Bill Aune, Kathy Wagner, William Nick, Ronald Delwiche, Barb Chisolm, Madelyn Ostrand, and Barbara Graul were nominated for the Karl May Lifetime of Service Award. The teachers and staff of St. Peter’s Lutheran School, St. John Bosco Catholic School, and every public school in Door County earned nominations for the Essential Workers of the Year award. Southern Door teacher Shannon Finger earned special recognition in the category, as did Door County Medical Center’s Michelle Johnson and Sturgeon Bay’s police and fire departments. Guy Fortine and Judy Samida from Crossroads at Big Creek and Marilyn Hansotia from the Door County Land Trust are vying for the Environmental Stewardship Award. At the same time, Anna Olson, Shaun Tooley, and Andrea Vandertie received nominations for the Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award. Group Volunteers of the Year Award nominees include the volunteers of the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary House and Garden Walk, Door County Seed Library, Habitat ReStore, Scandia Village Birchwood Art Project, YMCA, Miller Art Museum Desk, Door County Candle, Meals on Wheels Program, and the 100+ Women Who Care Door County chapter. Taylor and Kaden Stahlke, Jane and Karl Wise, Patricia Ploor, Robert Lindahl, Micaela Inman, Wayne Humbles, and Clarice Brey are all up for the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award.

 

The awards will be passed out on April 6th, beginning at 6 p.m. The ceremony will be streamed live on the Golden Hearts Awards YouTube channel, but limited in-person seating will be available at the Sturgeon Bay High School auditorium. 

 

Time to get your fishing license for the spring

If you want to start out fishing this season already, you will need to purchase a new fishing license in the state unless you are really old or very young.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that anyone over the age of 15 must buy a fishing license unless they were born before 1927.  Licenses are sold annually and are good from April 1 through March 31 every year.   You can purchase your new license online at GoWild.wi.gov or locally at the DNR Service Center at 110 South Neenah Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.  More than one million people have purchased Wisconsin fishing licenses in recent years with over a dozen types of licenses offering fishing privileges.  Stamps are required to catch inland Trout, Sturgeon, and Salmon or Trout in Lake Michigan.  You can find more information on buying a fishing license here.    

How to talk to your kids about the war in Ukraine

“Talking with children about scary events is difficult,” says Renee Koenig, Human Development and Relationships Educator with UW Madison Division of Extension in Kewaunee County. The University of Minnesota published an article to help families talk to their children about the war in Ukraine. The tips in the article can also serve as a tool to talk with children about other scary events by simply replacing the details about the war with details about whatever tough topic is occurring. Here is the article from the University of Minnesota:

 

The war in Ukraine has affected all of us and brought constant images from our news sources. This can be frightening, especially for children, and often results in a host of questions. 

 

American television host Fred Rogers has great insight for parents and caregivers that applies here:

Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.

 

Before we talk with children, it’s important to make sure we have mentally and emotionally grounded ourselves. First, remember both you and your child may have feelings of anxiety, worry, fear and grief. Know that these are completely normal responses to stressful situations and, rather than trying to correct their negative emotions, you should honor their feelings. Kids don't need us to fix everything; they need us to be present while they experience it. This is a teachable moment for you to model how to handle these emotions.

  

If you are part of the military community, this war hits close to home. Military kids aren’t thinking only of the war in Ukraine, the constant talk of impending global conflict is worrisome and brings about anxiety. They are close to war without being on the battlefield because they are fearful for the safety of their parents.

 

Be mindful of what you take in

In addition to modeling emotions, focus on managing what you can manage. You have influence over what your family experiences within your home. It’s important to remain mindful of the news your child is exposed to and the conversations between adults and other children in their lives. Monitor the news you and your child are receiving. Ask yourself, “What information can my child or I handle today? What is helpful now?” Choose what is most meaningful, not what happens to appear in front of you. Pay attention to how information affects your own stress and anxiety because this can spill over to children of all ages. Be mindful of your child’s behavior for possible signs of trauma. A traumatic experience is defined as an event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. Examples of behaviors associated with trauma include: avoiding talking about the trauma; disruption in sleep patterns or frequent nightmares, and intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic event.

 

Once you feel ready, start the conversation. Ask your child what they know and whether they have questions. Address the questions as honestly and age appropriately as possible. If you don’t have the answers, search for them with your child.

 

Remember to communicate carefully and listen to your child with empathy. Ask yourself: “Who do I want to be on the other side of this stressful situation? How does that guide my behavior now?” 

 

Guiding the conversation

Talking about the topic might feel overwhelming. The answers to these questions are complex, and families should consider an ongoing discussion about what is happening, especially as the news about the war evolves.

 

Who is involved in this war? Discuss the names of countries mentioned in the news articles, online or television news with your children.

 

Where is this war happening? Find a map or a globe and have your school age child locate those countries mentioned in news articles, online or on television news.

 

Why did the war start? Wars start for many different reasons. You might want to explain some of the reasons: competition over territory and resources, historical rivalries and grievances, and in self-defense against an aggressor or a perceived potential aggressor. One analogy to use is if someone were to come and take all of the toys because they wanted more. Would that be okay?

 

What can we do to help? Brainstorm some ideas with your child about ways you can help them grasp what they are hearing or seeing in the news. 

 

Parents may, understandably, be hesitant to talk about such heavy topics with their children. Keep in mind that global crises will have an effect upon children whether you acknowledge them or not. Even if it feels difficult, the healthier choice is to talk with your kids and remember what Mr. Rogers said, “When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”

 

A web version of the article can be found here: https://extension.umn.edu/family-news/how-talk-your-kids-about-war

High credit card holds hitting Door County stations

Keep an eye on your credit card statement after you buy gas at certain stations. The practice of placing a temporary hold on a credit card when buying gasoline at the pump is not uncommon. The usual hold is between $50 and $100, but Exxon stations in some parts of the country have been placing credit card holds as high as $175. A listener recently made the Door County Daily News aware that this is happening locally at Exxon stations in Door County. An Exxon representative told WVUE in New Orleans that holds typically only last a few hours and they are at the mercy of the financial institutions when it comes to the credit card hold. Financial expert James Spiro told the same television station that the issue comes from people bypassing the PIN when using a debit card. He suggests banks are being extra cautious with high gas prices prevalent across the country. A listener recently made the Door County Daily News aware that this is happening locally at Exxon stations in Door County.

Kewaunee County sees three new COVID-19 cases as numbers start to rise

As the statewide numbers start to rise, Kewaunee County saw its first cases of COVID-19 in two weeks.

 

Friday’s Kewaunee County Health Department report showed three new cases since last week, with all three remaining active. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases has slowly increased since March 25th, when it was 315. The new average stands now at 371. Kewaunee County remains at the low community level for COVID-19, which means you are encouraged to stay up to date on your vaccines and get tested if you show symptoms.

 

 

 

Highway 29 construction begins April 11th

Your commute through Kewaunee County will be a little different on April 11th. On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Governor Evers announced that nearly $4 million has been approved to make improvements to State Highway 29 from County C in West Kewaunee to the Brown County/Kewaunee County border with the town of Montpelier. The goal of the resurfacing project is to extend the life of the pavement structure, improve the drainage in nearby culverts, and add rumble strips and wider shoulders as a safety feature. While the roadway may be torn up, STH 29 will remain open to traffic throughout construction, with lane closures and flagging operations in place when needed. With a bit of help from Mother Nature, the project aims to be completed by July. 

 

Butch's Bar fire burn victim recovering, benefit Saturday

The burn victim who survived the Butch's Bar fire on February 22 continues to recover and will be honored at a benefit Saturday evening.    According to manager Rick Hess, Gary McCoy, Sr.'s six-week recovery included an evening out last Friday to Samuelson Creek & Pub, where the Pasta Dinner Benefit will be held.

 

 

Hess and his wife Abby helped collect clothing for McCoy, his son Gary, Jr., and other fire victims who lost everything in the fire back in February.  The Pasta Dinner Benefit, which includes a silent auction, will be from 4 pm until 7 pm Saturday, with all proceeds going towards McCoy's medical bills.  Reservations are requested and take-out is available. 

Door County Transportation Department loosens pandemic restrictions

You will be able to share a ride with strangers through Door County Connect beginning on Friday.

 

This week, the Door County Transportation Department announced that it was doing away with the rule that passengers in Door County Connect taxis had to be from the same household group. Door County Connect buses also had a decreased rider capacity to respond to the ongoing pandemic. Transportation Manager Pam Busch said she decided to remove the shared-ride limitation due to the decrease in COVID-19 cases and the increase in demand for their services.

 

 

The service saw its ridership dip below 40,000 in 2021 after being above 47,000 before the pandemic. Ridership has slowly risen over the last several months.

 

Masks will still be required for drivers and riders until April 18th, when the Federal Transit Administration mandate expires. The FTA extended the previous mandate to that day last month. 

 

Sturgeon Bay Math Team claims 11th state title

It took them seven years to do it, but the Sturgeon Bay Math Team can officially count to 11. The team announced on Friday it had won its first state title since 2014 with three participants earning First-Team All-State honors. 

 

Participants competed in the competition at their home schools in early March. Senior Maggie Stephens and juniors Espen Walker and Christy Braun earned First Team All-State recognition while seniors Arry VanLieshout, Makayla Ash, and Andrew Konop, junior Russell Pudlo, and freshman Luke Selle were named to the All-State Second Team. Sturgeon Bay needed every member to do their part as they held off second-place Plymouth by three points and third-place New London by 15 points for the Class B crown. The team was able to continue its Packerland dominance earlier this school year when it won its 21st conference crown. Sturgeon Bay teacher and Math Team coach Cliff Wind is very happy with the team's accomplishments.

 

 

In Class C, Southern Door took fourth place with junior Amanda Austin and sophomore James Zittlow earning Second-Team All-State honors.

Two referendum questions being considered by Southern Door School District

You could have up to two different referendum questions appearing on your ballot this fall if you live in the Southern Door School District. An operational referendum was already on tap after voters voted in favor of the district exceeding the revenue cap in 2020. For many Door County school districts, that has become a semiannual rite of the election season, with Sturgeon Bay taking their question to voters next week and Washington Island and Sevastopol possibly asking voters in the coming years. Gibraltar passed a recurring referendum in 2018. For Southern Door, passing a new operational referendum this fall would have no tax impact on its residents. The district is also looking at a second referendum which could include several capital projects. Superintendent Chris Peterson says they are still early on in the process regarding both possible referendum questions.

The referendum questions have to be approved by the Southern Door County School Board this summer to appear on the fall ballot. 

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