News Archives for 2022-09

Southern Door FFA brings farm to school

You were not seeing things if you saw a bunch of tractors turn into Southern Door High School on Friday. It was all part of the annual Drive Your Tractor to School Day and Animal Day the Southern Door FFA organizes. Elementary school classes enjoyed the September breeze and sunshine outside while FFA members shared their passion for agriculture and talked about their animals.

Junior Jorge Gonzalez got to drive a John Deere tractor from S&S Jerseyland Dairy to school and said it is one of his favorite days of the year.

Junior Abbi Williams brought her two goats, Grady and Billy, to school. She said it was great sharing the stories of her two goats and answering the students' questions.

The Door County Sheriff's Department ensured the tractors had the opportunity to cross the highway to get back home safely. Southern Door FFA Advisor Ann Glowacki says it is her students' favorite day of the year and thanks the farms like S&S Jerseyland Dairy and Kinnard Farms that allowed them to borrow a tractor for the day in the middle of the harvest season.

Open House at Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility

You can watch the life cycle of a salmon happen before your eyes at the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility in Kewaunee on Saturday. An open house takes place from 10 am until 4 pm, where you and your family can witness the Chinook salmon arriving to spawn after about a six-mile journey from Lake Michigan. Wisconsin DNR staff will conduct spawning demonstrations, print fish t-shirts, and give guided tours of the facility. After the collection of eggs, fish are returned to the rivers along with other spawning fish, providing good fishing opportunities for shore anglers. The C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Fish and Wildlife Area is a 2,632-acre property located west of Kewaunee with the fisheries facility at N3884 Ransom Moore Lane.  


Volunteer firefighting remains a passion for many

If you are looking for a way to support your community, contacting your local volunteer fire department may be an excellent place to start. More than 90 percent of Wisconsin’s over 800 fire departments are volunteer or mostly volunteer, according to the United States Fire Administration. Like many professions, volunteer fire departments are losing people due to retirement without prospective firefighters waiting in the wings. For Casco Firefighter Dan Andres, it is part of a family tradition that dates back to his grandfather, who helped start the fire department in the Town of Buchanan. The seven-year veteran of the department says it is an excellent way for him to give back to the Town of Casco.

The Casco Fire Department is beginning the next phase of replacing its turnout gear, focusing on the helmets, boots, and other equipment for its 28 firefighters. You can support their efforts by attending this Saturday’s Milk Bottle Tournament, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can learn more about the event by clicking this link.

 

United Way introduces child care benefit pilot program

Thanks to a new innovative program from the United Way of Door County, recruiting new employees to your business could become a little easier. The organization announced on Friday the creation of its child care benefit pilot program. Door County employers are invited to participate in the nine-month pilot program by contributing to their employees' childcare expenses. Qualifying businesses would have those funds matched by the Women’s Fund of Door County. Child Care Community Coordinator Jessica Holland says the program hopes to address the child care needs in the community, especially for families with children under the age of five and a gross household income at or below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit.

Child care providers must be licensed, certified, part of a school system, or meet alternative requirements developed by the United Way and the Women's Fund to be eligible. Holland says the first round of employer applications to participate in the pilot program will be evaluated by October 31st, 2022. 


Door and Kewaunee counties upgraded to medium COVID community level

The stay at the low COVID-19 community level was short-lived for Door and Kewaunee counties. Both counties were upgraded to medium after a week at the low level. For most individuals, it does not mean much change in how you go about your daily life. According to the Centers for Disease Control, you should get tested for symptoms, stay up to date on your vaccines, and take additional precautions like masking if you are at high risk for severe illness. Door County’s situation update on Monday showed 45 new cases of COVID-19 and two probable cases. The lack of hospitalizations and deaths was a big reason why Door and Kewaunee counties slipped down to the low COVID-19 community levels last week. As of Thursday, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state was 858, which is 177 less than a week ago.

Artifacts discovered at archeological dig at Crossroads

Two weeks' worth of digging at the Big Creek Cove Estuary Preserve in Sturgeon Bay has unearthed some interesting artifacts.  Randy Dickson from Sturgeon Bay and Bob Jeske, a retired professor from the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee, began digging at the site seven years ago. The archeological dig is a part of the area’s cultural heritage.  Jeske says the excavation has uncovered fire-cracked rock, stone flakes, pottery, bones, and arrowheads that date back to a Late Woodland Native American community over 1,000 years ago.

 

 

 

Dickson notes that for every hour the crew spends digging for artifacts, they spend eight to ten hours in the lab analyzing them.   Besides the research, the project included educational opportunities for area students to experience the scientific process during field trips to Crossroads at Big Creek. Another archeological dig is planned at Crossroads in the spring, according to Dickson.

Local blood being sent to Florida in hurricane's aftermath

The blood you give today will be helping those in search of it in Florida after Hurricane Ian's landfall earlier this week. The Community Blood Center, which works with Door County Medical Center, is urging those who can to schedule a blood donation in the coming days. Hurricane season is expected to have an even more significant impact on hospitals and clinics in the southeastern United States that are dealing with low blood supplies. Community Blood Center Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Operations Kristine Belanger says it is moments like these where their nationwide network gets the opportunity to shine.

All healthy and eligible blood donors are encouraged to schedule a blood or platelet donation in the coming days. Donation appointments can be scheduled at communityblood.org. The efforts to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian will not affect the blood supply reserved for local patients.

Door County Medical Center to offer laboratory drive-thru clinic

Beginning on Saturday, October 1st, it will be as easy getting some lab work done as getting a cheeseburger and fries. Door County Medical Center announced Thursday that it would open a comprehensive laboratory drive-thru service. Patients will be able to have their blood drawn, drop off urine samples, get tested for COVID-19, and receive vaccinations from the site. The drive-thru laboratory has been used for COVID-19 testing since the beginning of the pandemic. As COVID-19 testing has slowed, DCMC Director of Laboratory Services Jane Metko says they decided to ramp up what other services the building, which used to house ambulances before the pandemic, could provide.

You still have to schedule your appointment at the Laboratory Drive-Thru with the DCMC Patient Portal. Metko recommends making sure your “best” arm is available, and you plan your wardrobe to make it easy for the hospital’s staff. Once it opens, Metko believes it will be the second such facility in the state.

 

ADRC to host Kewaunee County Senior Resource Fair

You will be able to gather some valuable information at next week’s Kewaunee County Senior Resource Fair hosted by the ADRC of the Lakeshore. The 17th annual event connects seniors and caregivers with the tools necessary to continue to live a healthy life. Attendees will be able to receive free screenings for bone density, balance, dental, memory, blood pressure, grip strength, and blood sugar, in addition to vaccinations for the flu, COVID-19, and tetanus. The event will also include a gentle chair exercise demonstration and presentation by Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski on scams and fraud that seniors may be susceptible to without the proper knowledge. The event takes place at the Kewaunee County Fairground Expo Hall from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, October 6th. You can see the post below for more information.

 

M/V Mark W. Barker makes Top 16 in "Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin" contest

Your votes are still needed for the M/V Mark W. Barker in the “Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin” contest. Built by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and launched earlier this year, the M/V Mark W. Barker was voted into the Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin’s Sweet Sixteen as its fifth seed. The M/V Mark W. Barker was the first Great Lakes freighter built in the United States since the 1980s. Organized by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, voting is open for the second round by clicking this link. The vessel will face off against the 12th seeded Aerozen Advanced Performance Coating System produced by Milwaukee’s Hentzen Coatings. 

Fall means preparation for lawnmowers, snowblowers

With leaves expected to fall in the coming weeks, it is time for you to get your yard equipment ready for winter. Grass typically stops growing once soil temperatures dip below 50 to 55 degrees according to multiple yard service websites. Lemens Hardware owner Jim Lemens says when you’re done mowing for the year, you should clean out the grass from under the deck and take the necessary steps to make sure your lawnmower is able to start the next year, no matter if it is powered by gas or electric.

Lemens hopes you will not have to use your snowblower for a while yet, but does say there are some things you can do now to make sure its ready while its still warm out.

If you believe the Farmer’s Almanac, this might be a good year to make sure your snowblower is ready. It predicted earlier this year that precipitation and snowfall will be above normal, with the snowiest periods in late November to early December and then again in early to mid-January.

Door County YMCA setting membership records

It took over two years to rebound from the pandemic, but the Door County YMCA is now seeing a surge in membership and participation in programming.  Door County YMCA Member Experience Director Brett Cleveland says the growth is exciting, especially with the new construction beginning for the 16,300-square-foot addition from the Heart of the Community Capital Campaign.

 

 

Cleveland notes the total membership is currently just under 9,000 and that the total membership units, including families, are at an all-time high.  The Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek offers a Membership For All Assistance Program that welcomes all who wish to participate, regardless of their ability to pay.  

Free Well Testing offered in Kewaunee County 

You could be one of up to 300 participants in free testing to make sure your well water is healthy in Kewaunee County. As part of a comprehensive study on groundwater quality, the Kewaunee County Land & Water Conservation Department (LWCD) will collect well water samples later this month. The water samples will be picked up on October 20th and 21st, with testing performed on October 24. Kewaunee County Conservationist Davina Bonness says the study of nitrate and bacteriological contamination will help determine the progress made and identify any additional resources that can be provided to property owners.  She notes that improvement has been made in the past few years.

 

 

 You can register for the free well testing by contacting Davina Bonness with the Kewaunee County LWCD at 920-845-9743 or email bonness.davina@kewauneeco.org. The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and Peninsula Pride Farms are helping to fund the free well testing.

Door County Board approves Phase II museum project, rezoning for Daycare facility

The Door County Board of Supervisors handled business quickly on Tuesday as a resolution to proceed on Phase II of the Door County Archives, and Historical Museum Facility was approved. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says the next step in the process is to take down the existing building and then plan for the expansion and layout of the space based on architectural design and recommendations.

 

 

The Door County Board also approved rezoning in the Town of Sevastopol that will pave the way for the new Door County Community Child Development Center planned for over 25 acres off Gordon Road near the Old Highway Road intersection, pending approval of a conditional-use permit. Pabich notes that the Board of Supervisors was comfortable okaying the rezoning while still working with the Wisconsin DOT to address the vehicle access at the Gordon Road/Highway 42-57 intersection.

 

 

The Door County Finance Committee will work to put together the 2023 budget in early October before public comments and input are accepted. The plan is to officially approve next year’s budget at the Board of Supervisors meeting on November 15, according to Pabich.

 

 

Door and Kewaunee counties under frost advisory

You may have to cover up your outdoor plants before you go to bed Wednesday night. The National Weather Service issued a frost advisory for much of the state, including Brown, Door, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc counties, from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. early Thursday morning. Temperatures could dip into the lower to middle 30s overnight, resulting in frost formation. Adding a layer of mulch and the combination of watering and covering your plants could help protect them from frost damage. Low temperatures are expected to be in the middle 40s to low 50s for northeast Wisconsin through the weekend. 

Construction closes part of Oregon Street

One of the final construction jobs of the year on Sturgeon Bay’s streets will force the closure of two blocks of Oregon Street for about a week.  City Engineering Technician Brian Spetz says gas line construction work beginning at 7 am Wednesday will require Oregon Street to be closed between South 8th Avenue and South 10th Avenue until next Thursday, October 6th, depending on the weather and progress of the project.  The street will reopen during the evenings and also over the weekend.  The City of Sturgeon Bay is asking you to avoid this area when possible for your safety and the safety of the construction workers.

Sturgeon Bay street improvements this past year included significant work on Michigan Street, North 18th Avenue, and Alabama Street. 

Festival gives lighthouses fall treatment

You have another opportunity to see the area’s lighthouses in unique ways this weekend. The Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society is hosting its Door County Fall Lighthouse Festival, a companion event to its springtime venture. Kayak expeditions around Cana Island, cruises around Death’s Door, and tours of Plum Island, Rock Island, and Chambers Island are some of the experiences still available, according to the event’s ticketing website. Door County’s Cana Island Lighthouse, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Baileys Harbor Range Lights, Kewaunee County’s Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse, and Brown County’s Grassy Island Range Lights will also be open for a self-guided experience. However, there may be an admission rate or requested donation. Tickets for select tours remain on sale, with all sales supporting the Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society.

Kewaunee County to host back to school vaccination clinic

If your children need to get vaccinated for school, the Kewaunee County Public Health Department has you covered. The department will host free Back to School vaccination clinics on Thursday, September 29th, and Thursday, October 13th.  DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), Polio, Hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), Varicella, and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) are the vaccines that are available for school requirements. Your kids can also get vaccinated for influenza, HPV (human papillomavirus), and meningitis. The clinic is available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Expo Hall.

 

 

 

Verboomen opening doors on Washington Island

Washington Island School Principal Tim Verboomen hopes to see you soon on campus. Verboomen took over the principal, curriculum director, and athletic director roles after spending his first year as a chemistry teacher. Filling multiple positions at once is nothing new for Verboomen, who has held several different roles at the elementary, middle, and high school levels as he moved across the country with his wife during her career as an Army nurse. When they finally had a chance to settle down, and after many of their kids graduated from high school in the Neenah area, the Verboomen family headed to Washington Island. With the initial worries about the pandemic behind them, Verboomen says he is looking forward to more opportunities to welcome parents back to the building and connect students with business leaders and community members.

Verboomen is excited to see some of the other opportunities that come their way. For example, science students at the school recently worked with the University of Georgia on their monarch tagging project at Plum Island. 

Gas prices jump up after weeks of decline

Hundreds of miles away, refinery issues are causing pain at the gas pump in your backyard. According to AAA Wisconsin, gas prices in the Green Bay metro area are at $3.93 a gallon as of Tuesday morning, which is 12 cents higher than Monday and 50 cents higher than a week ago. Some gas stations in Door and Kewaunee counties were under that average price this morning, while others in Green Bay and its surrounding suburbs were at $4.09 a gallon. GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan warned consumers of this occurring on Friday after an oil refinery fire killed two workers and shut down the facility. The good news is the increase should be short-lived. AAA Wisconsin spokesperson Nick Jarmusz told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that the prices should level off and even decrease once refineries finish their necessary maintenance and repairs.

Original John Denver video production tribute coming to Sturgeon Bay

You can relive the music of a country music icon and support Ukraine relief efforts next month in Sturgeon Bay. Jerry Kobishop, a local musician who has performed the national anthem at Lambeau Field, has created a special John Denver Remembered show commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Denver’s death on October 12, 1997.  The two-hour musical concert will feature a first-time video production of John Denver performances on the big screen while Kobishop plays his guitar and sings along. Kobishop says the show will begin with “Flying for Me,” a song Denver wrote to honor Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger crash in 1986. 

 

 

Kobishop adds that the multi-media sing-a-long celebration of John Denver’s music will emphasize a message of promoting worldwide peace and humanity. He hopes to raise thousands of dollars with proceeds from the show supporting Ukraine through UMCOR. The free concert, with a suggested goodwill donation, will be held at United Methodist Church in Sturgeon Bay at 6:30 pm on Saturday, October 8.  

Victims' names released from Sevastopol fatal crash

The victims from last week’s fatal crash in the Town of Sevastopol have been identified. 

 

Richard F. Straubel, 78, of Cape Coral, Fla. and Ephraim, reportedly crossed the centerline in his vehicle while traveling north and struck the rear tires of a semi-trailer heading south. The impact sent him in the direction of a sports-utility vehicle that was also heading south. The occupants of that vehicle, 60-year-old Tracy C. Ahola and 53-year-old Kimberly J. Ahola of Egg Harbor tried to avoid the collision when they pulled onto the shoulder.

 

Straubel was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Tracy was airlifted to a Green Bay hospital, while Kimberly was driven via ambulance to Door County Medical Center. The release from the Door County Sheriff’s Department did not give updates on the Aholas’ condition.

 

The Sevastopol Fire Responders, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Door County Emergency Services, Door County Highway Department, Door County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wisconsin State Patrol Crash Reconstruction Unit responded to the accident.

Griffon String Quartet to perform with Civic Symphony of Green Bay

You will see the Griffon String Quartet play with a lot more than just four people in Green Bay next month. The performing arts group, featuring Roy Meyer and Peter Miliczky on violin, Madlen Breckbill on viola, and Sarah Hansen on cello, will perform with the Civic Symphony of Green Bay for three musical pieces at a concert. They will also perform an arrangement written for a quartet at the performance. Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck says it is a tremendous opportunity for the Griffon String Quartet to showcase their skills in front of a new audience and situation.


The performance will take place at the Walter Theatre on the St. Norbert College campus on October 8th at 7 p.m. You can find information about tickets here.  

Cooler temperatures bring up importance of chimney safety

Cooler temperatures are here in Door County, and there are things you should do before you use your fireplace or wood furnace for the first time in several months. The National Weather Service is predicting overnight lows to be in the mid-40s to low 50s, possibly inspiring you to throw a couple of logs on the fire. Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges suggests you take preventative steps before you spark a flame.

The last week of September is traditionally National Chimney Safety Month. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there was an average of 17,600 chimney fires a year between 2015 and 2017. The National Fire Protection Association recommends getting your chimney inspected yearly and cleaned as needed.

No local COVID deaths, hospitalizations for second week

For the second week in a row, you will not find a COVID-19-related death or hospitalization in Door and Kewaunee counties. Door County’s situation update on Monday showed 45 new cases of COVID-19 and two probable cases. The lack of hospitalizations and deaths are a big reason why Door and Kewaunee counties slipped down to the low COVID-19 community levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To help combat the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the new vaccine formulation will be available at the upcoming clinics throughout Door County. As of last Friday, the seven-day average for new COVID cases is 1,021, 43 less than the week before. The seven-day average for new deaths from COVID also tumbled from six to two.

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - September 26, 2022 

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  
Total Tests: 31,695 (+104)
Positive: 7,677 (+45)
Probable: 445 (+1)
Negative: 23,573 (+528
Hospitalizations: 261
Deaths: 66 
*Data regarding deaths may be delayed due to processing of medical reports at the state level. To see the timeline of when deaths occurred in Door County, follow the link below and use the filter to select Door.
https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/data.htm

 

 

Derby race returns to Sister Bay Fall Fest

You will see kids zooming down the Sister Bay Hill again this October. The Sister Bay Advancement Association announced earlier this week that the popular derby race will return to its popular Fall Fest on October 16th. Girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 13 drive a gravity-powered car they can race down the hill. Cars are inspected at 8 a.m. before the races begin at 10 a.m. Last year was Avery Burress' first year participating in the derby race, and she walked away with first place. Even as the only girl competing, Burress says the whole experience was fun.

Participants have to register for the double-elimination race event by September 30th.

 

Picture courtesy of Jordan Burress

Mid-October expected for peak peninsula fall colors

Travel Wisconsin is ensuring you know the right time to hop in your car and enjoy the fall colors in Door and Kewaunee counties. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism released its fall color tracker earlier this month, with much of the state, including Door and Kewaunee counties, between 0 and 15 percent. Ashland, Barron County, Cable Area, Merrill, Minocqua, Oshkosh, Prairie du Chien, and Richland Center are all above 30 percent. As of Friday, Door County was at five percent peak. Door County has only a few patches of fall color showing but is still primarily green ahead of its expected peak of the second week of October. Peak color season is expected a week later in Kewaunee counties. However, the data could swing in an instance with low temperatures in the 40s in Door County on Friday and expected to occur again Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

 

Click this link to find the Travel Wisconsin Fall Colors Report

United Way campaign off to rocking start

It was a full house at the annual kick-off event for the United Way of Door County's annual fundraising campaign.,

 

96.7 WBDK and 105.1 the GOAT were sponsors along with Door County Medical Center, Nicolet National Bank, and many others that are supporters of the United Way of Door County. Pink Houses entertained the crowd with their versions of everything from Bruno Mars to, of course, John Mellencamp.

 

Earlier this year, the organization set a fundraising goal of $825,000, which represents a five percent increase from 2021. The annual campaign will continue through the year's end and finish on January 7. The United Way of Door County provides funding for 23 different non-profit organizations and 33 programs in the county.

 

Community Spotlight: Jacob Mattson releasing first album

Freelance musician Jacob Mattson of Jacksonport is planning his first music release, “Something Like Home.”  Coming from a family of musicians, including his older brother Eli, Mattson has branched out to find his own style.  He says his music provides a good outlook and brings something good into the world.  Mattson says his music is all about emotion and ranges from folk acoustic to duets with female artists. The title of Mattson’s first release has special meaning for people who are always searching for a home.

 

 

Mattson says his eight-year-old daughter, Alice, is on the album cover of his first release because of the inspiration she provides him while dealing with Leukemia and Autism.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Jacob Mattson on the podcast page here.  The pre-release of Mattson’s original song, Momentum, is below. 

https://youtu.be/p08GP6Uyxnc    

Pandemic, inflation brings change to lunchroom

School lunches are not like what you remember growing up or even what they were before the pandemic. In March 2020, food service at schools like Sturgeon Bay had to switch from serving students in a line to boxing them up for delivery during the summer. For the last two years, school lunches went from being free and reduced for those qualified to complimentary for all as students made their way back into the lunch room. So far this year, the lunchroom operates similarly to what it was before the pandemic, but some factors still linger. For starters, Sturgeon Bay School District Food Service Director Jenny Spude says the option to have a free breakfast as they have had for the last two years stuck around because of all of the positives that surround it.

Much like your shopping experience, Spude has had to change things on the fly menu-wise as the supply for some products like tortillas can flux in a given week. She also says their bills have gone up as well.

Spude credits local suppliers for helping her fill in voids in her menu when she cannot get certain items from her two main vendors.

Living on purpose

Over the years, I have been fortunate to participate in numerous Leadership Development Courses both on the civilian side and in the military. A few years ago, I was introduced to a world-class leadership organization located right her in Northeast Wisconsin. At the time, Superintendent Glenn Schlender had invited me to one of their events as a visitor. I was immediate hooked as the content and delivery were unlike anything I had experienced before. The name of the organization is Initiative One, and just last year, our very own County Administrator Scott Feldt, who was also impressed by this organization made it possible for members of our County Leadership staff to attend their leadership Transformation series.

      

While some may think this type of training is not necessary for Department Heads, I would disagree as there is a big difference between management experience and leadership experience, and very seldom in our professional lives do we have the opportunity to develop and grow those leadership skills. One of the first fundamentals in this training is personal accountability. This means that we must be willing to have those tough conversations when necessary and constantly be conducting “Self-Checks” to affirm that we are, in fact, living each day by the standards we set not only for ourselves but for those we are leading.

       

Another foundation of ethical leadership is “Living on Purpose”. This may seem rudimentary as we all live our days completing tasks and checking off our daily “To Do” lists. Many times, we confuse our occupations or personal obligations with purpose, and there is, in fact, a difference. Purpose has been described by one wise person as “Where you have the greatest joy while making your greatest impact without wearing out your soul.”

        

I like to think of that statement in relation to a cell phone battery. There are certain things we must do every day that drains that battery down and other things we do that automatically charge that same battery. If we are lucky enough to be able to engage in those battery charging tasks and in doing so bring about a positive impact to those around us, we have arrived at a life of purpose. For some, their jobs are truly just that, a place to derive a wage, while for others, their jobs bring about purpose. If you are one of those who do not derive purpose from your day-to-day occupation, there is good news in that you have the entire personal aspect of your life to incorporate this sense of purpose. We see this all around us every day in those who volunteer to make our community a better place.

        

This “Life on Purpose” approach not only brings with it an ability to fully enrich each and every day, but it also correlates to improved health both mentally and physically. It changes our internal conversation from “I have to do this” to “I get to do this!”

      

Life is there for us to embark upon, but a little shift in mindset could make the journey an amazing one. It is up to each one of us to decide if we will merely survive in life or thrive in life. 

Tractors take break from fields for fun

You will see plenty of agricultural equipment roaming around Luxemburg this weekend, and it is not because they are heading to the fields. Students at Luxemburg-Casco capped off their homecoming week festivities by driving their tractors to school.

Over a dozen implements ranging from classic tractors to combines spent the day parked next to the school’s football field.

 

 

The Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg will host the 29th annual Agricultural Heritage Days on Saturday and Sunday. Organized by Agricultural Heritage and Resources, Inc., the two-day event hosts an antique tractor pull on Saturday, a garden tractor pull on Sunday, and agriculture displays and demonstrations. This year’s event will pay special tribute to Ferguson, Massey Harris, and Massey Ferguson implements as the company celebrates its 175th anniversary. The grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days.

 

Pictures and video from Stacy Jauquet and Jennifer Salentine

County to move on from Younkers building for museum/archives project

While you could see the Door County Historical Museum and its archives building expand in the coming years, you will do so without the former Younkers building. The Door County Board of Supervisors will look to move to Phase II of its Door County Archives and Historical Museum facility construction project. By entering this phase, the county can go deeper into the architectural design of the buildings and put the project out to bid. One part of the project that will not be a part of it is the former Younkers building property, which the county bought in 2019 for $505,000. Master plan discussions earlier this year showed no use for the building itself. After running the numbers three times, Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says it makes more sense to tear down and build new rather than renovate.

The Door County Board of Supervisors will also discuss a zoning amendment for a parcel of land near Gordon Road in the Town of Sevastopol. If approved, it would pave the way for an expansion of the Door County Child Development Center. The board meets on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Mentor hunting gets people into the woods

If you missed the opportunity to join in on a hunter safety course earlier this year in Door and Kewaunee counties, there is still a way to get you out into the woods this fall. Introduced in 2009, the mentor hunting program allows licensed hunters to bring their kids or other individuals into the mix as hunting seasons begin. Mentors and mentees can share one weapon and must stay within arm’s length away from each other. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it has been a popular program, drawing 12,000 new hunters in its first year. DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says the mentored hunting program is an excellent introduction for people who may be interested in the activity but do not want to make the full commitment right away.

If you get bit by the hunting bug during the mentor hunt, Kratcha says you would be required to take a safety course if you want to participate by yourself. Otherwise, you could always take advantage of the mentor hunting program if you follow the rules, which you can find here.

Door and Kewaunee counties slip into low COVID-19 community level

Door and Kewaunee counties find themselves in the low COVID-19 community level for the first time in months, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Both counties have not been in that category since the beginning of July. The metric is based on the number of new cases and hospitalizations and the current number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive people. In this week’s Door County’s situation update, the public health department announced 30 new cases of COVID-19 out of 84 tests administered earlier this week and no additional deaths or hospitalizations. Washington Island is experiencing a surge, according to the Washington Island Community Health Program. They canceled their office hours along with some of their special events occurring due to the elevated cases on the island. Kewaunee County reported last week 26 new cases and no additional deaths or hospitalizations. Nearly half of the state’s counties, including Door and Kewaunee counties, are currently at the low COVID-19 community level.  

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - September 19, 2022 

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  
Total Tests: 31,591 (+84)
Positive: 7,632 (+30)
Probable: 444 (+2)
Negative: 23,515 (+52)
Hospitalizations: 261
Deaths: 66 
*Data regarding deaths may be delayed due to processing of medical reports at the state level. To see the timeline of when deaths occurred in Door County, follow the link below and use the filter to select Door.
https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

 

 

DCAS hosting new telescope open house Saturday

This Saturday, you can get the best view of the skies ever seen around the peninsula at a unique open house at the Leif Evenson Observatory in Sturgeon Bay. The Door County Astronomical Society is hosting the event at the Ray and Ruthie Stonecipher Astronomy Center within Crossroads at Big Creek. A new 17-inch PlaneWave telescope was installed last month, and President Dave Lenius says visitors will be amazed at the capabilities of the new capital improvement project that cost about $75,000 to install.

 

 

The event will also feature children's activities, including a "crater drop" to demonstrate how craters were formed on the moon. Planetarium shows will simulate night skies from 3 pm until dark.  If skies are clear on Saturday evening, the telescope will be up and running with live images shown on the big screen in the Astronomy Center. The Leif Erickson Observatory is located on the astronomical campus just off Highway 42/57 on Utah Street. 

Residents look to save Gills Rock fishing buildings

What may look like rundown buildings to you along the shores of Gills Rock are beacons of history for others in the community. The Town of Liberty Grove Board voted earlier this month to advertise bids to get rid of several old marine-related buildings owned by the Weborgs before they sold the land to become the future Mariner’s Park. The ad hoc committee in charge of redeveloping the property to become a park decided months ago that the buildings were in disrepair and no longer needed on the site. Not all community members feel that way. Mike Kahr began a petition to save the buildings a week and has already garnered over 200 signatures. He says the area’s commercial fishing history is within those walls and that so much can be done with the buildings without destroying them.

Saving the northern Door County’s maritime heritage is nothing new for Kahr. He is also part of the team behind efforts to protect the Sister Bay boathouse and turn it into a museum. He urges residents to speak with town board members and make their thoughts known.

 

Picture courtesy of Mike Kahr

You can sign the petition to save the buildings here

Influx of COVID-19 cases shuts down Washington Island Community Health Program

You can blame COVID-19 for making it hard to receive services from the Washington Island Community Health Program this week. An influx of COVID-19 cases forced WICHP to shut down through Friday. WICHP hosts the island’s Meals on Wheels program, resource library, food pantry, community van and more. In addition to those services, WICHP has also had to cancel its annual Packer Party, blood pressure screening, and Facts of Life Luncheon featuring Leslie Boden this week.   While Door County Public Health Department does not list its new data by individual municipality, it did report 30 new cases of COVID-19 out of 84 tests administered earlier this week. You can click on this link to learn when services will continue.

 

 

March turns into new organization fighting for women's rights

In the coming week, you will have another opportunity in Sister Bay to make your voice heard regarding women’s rights. Earlier this summer, over 250 people and 30 local businesses supported the Walk for Women, an event created in the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision to make abortion rights a state issue. At the time, Emma Cox was hopeful the march was just the first step for women’s rights advocacy in northern Door County, as more than 50 people indicated afterward they would like to help organize future events. With that, the group Northern Door Activism was born. They will host their next event at Peach Barn Brewery, where obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Kristin Lyerly will be joined by the area’s Democratic candidates for state Assembly, Senate, and Lieutenant Governor for a discussion on women’s reproductive rights. Cox is happy the issue has hit a chord in the community.

The panel discussion will begin at 5:30 p.m. on September 28th. If you have any additional questions about the event, you can learn about here. The panel comes a week before Governor Tony Evers hopes members of the Wisconsin Legislature come to Madison to address the current abortion law on the books by allowing voters to introduce ballot initiatives and referendums. This is the second time since the Supreme Court’s decision has prompted the Democratic governor to address the abortion ban with a special session. In June, the Wisconsin Legislature gaveled in and out of the special session without discussion. Wisconsin law currently bans nearly all abortions and criminalizes those intentionally harming human life. While Evers would like to see the ban reversed, his Republican opponent, Tim Michels, supports the current law. 

One dead, two injured in multi-vehicle highway crash

A Florida man died and two others had to be transported to area hospitals following a multi-vehicle accident north of Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday afternoon. The accident occurred just before 2:45 p.m. on State Highway 42/57 near Walker Road in the Town of Sevastopol after the Florida man reportedly crossed the centerline in his vehicle while traveling north and struck the rear tires of a semi-trailer heading south. The impact sent him in the direction of a sports-utility vehicle that was also heading south. The  60-year-old man and the 53-year-old woman tried to avoid the collision when they pulled onto the shoulder. The Florida man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the sports-utility vehicle was airlifted to Green Bay hospital while his passenger was driven via ambulance to Door County Medical Center. The Sevastopol Fire Responders, Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Door County Emergency Services, Door County Highway Department, Door County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wisconsin State Patrol Crash Reconstruction Unit responded to the accident. The Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy on the deceased individual later today. No names have been released until family members can be notified. The accident is still under investigation.

Accident shuts down highway north of Sturgeon Bay

UPDATE: You can read an update about Wednesday's fatal accident by clicking this link.

 

A potentially severe accident shut down a major Door County highway Wednesday afternoon. Emergency personnel began arriving at the scene of the accident near the intersection of Walker Road and State Highway 42/57 after 2:30 p.m. The Door County Sheriff’s Department quickly shut down northbound traffic on STH 42/57 at the roadway’s split near Mill Supper Club just before 3 p.m. The department also had to divert southbound traffic north of the accident scene. 

 

The highway was able to be reopened a few hours later, but the accident is still under investigation according to the Door County's Sheriff's Department.

 

 

We will update this story as soon as more information is made available.

 

Culver's, cops serve up goodwill

Wednesday was one of the few days you are thrilled to see a police officer come up to your vehicle. Members of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department and Door County Sheriff's Department were busy bringing butter burgers and frozen custard to customers as a part of the annual Cops at Culver's Day for the Police Lights of Christmas campaign. Started by Q90 in the Fox Valley, the daylong event collects donations from community members and earns a portion of the sales at Culver's restaurants to go towards outreach efforts in the winter months. Lt. Kyle Veeser says they use the money to buy gift cards that they pass out to residents who look like they need a little extra help or pick me up during the holiday season. Culver's of Sturgeon Bay owner Austin Hildebrand says it means a lot to him knowing the program's impact on the community. While the final amount to be donated will not be known until the end of the business day on Wednesday, last year's event raised $2,275 for the cause. You can learn more about the campaign by watching the video below.

 

 

Baileys Harbor prepares for Autumnfest this weekend

Another Door County festival will kick off the fall season this Saturday with the annual Baileys Harbor Autumnfest.  Baileys Harbor Community Director Cindy Ploor says the event will kick off with the Hey Hey 5k Run at 8 am that honors the famous Polka King Freddie Kodanko. She shares the details of the Classic Auto & Motorcycle Show, including a special appearance of the Pin-ups during a photo shoot on Saturday morning.

 

 

Activities will be held at the town hall, and the live music will feature "Big Mouth and Power Tool Horns" at Kendall Park from 11 am until 3 pm. You can find the calendar of events for Saturday's Baileys Harbor Autumnfest below. 

 

Hey Hey 5K run @ Door County Brewing 8 am

Pin Ups & Pistons Car Show 9 am - 3 pm

Arts & Crafts Fair 9 am - 4 pm

Food & Drink Vendors 9 am - 4 pm

Car Show winners announced - 3 pm

Live Music - Big Mouth & the Power Tool Horns 11 am - 3 pm

 

 

(photo from 2021 Autumnfest)

"Youth in Government" informational meeting October 3

Your middle or high schooler has the opportunity to experience a program that gets students more involved in government and learning the process of how it works. The Door County YMCA Youth in Government program has three sections that cover the legislature, judicial, and press corps. Program and Innovative Director Tyler Powell says the program's success over the years culminates with a spring trip to Madison.

 

 

The Youth in Government is open to any Door County student from 7th to 12th grade. An informational meeting will be held at the Sturgeon Bay YMCA Program Center on Monday, October 3 at 6:30 pm for parents and students interested in finding out more about the Youth in Government organization. You can listen to the entire interview with Tyler Powell about the program and the annual trip in March to the Wisconsin State Capitol on the Y Wednesday podcast page here.

Algoma Utilities offering grant for EV chargers

You may see the first electric vehicle charging station popping up in the Algoma area soon. Algoma Utilities has a grant program that provides up to $5,000 for commercial businesses of Algoma Utilities to purchase and install electric vehicle chargers. Energy Services Manager Markie Bsherer says a few companies have expressed interest already.
She shares how the grant for the Level 2 or 3 charger can be obtained.

 

 

To be eligible for the funding, a business must submit a letter requesting assistance. The grant request deadline is October 28, and the purchase of the EV charger must be made by December.   You can find more information on the EV Chargers grant on the City of Algoma or the Algoma Utilities website. 

Council gets personal tour of Granary, passes levy special assessments

Sturgeon Bay Common Council members not only received a monthly update on the Granary Tuesday but had the opportunity to tour the facility before their meeting. Mayor David Ward and four alders visited the Granary Tuesday afternoon. They then listened to an update at the Council meeting by Sturgeon Bay Historical Society President Laurel Hauser and Granary Project Manager Nicole Matson on the recent progress.

 

 

After passing the readings for two ordinance changes on rezoning a parcel of land and a Municipal Code on non-moving violations, the Sturgeon Bay Council approved three resolutions on the agenda. The resolutions authorized Improvements and Levying Special Assessments for two improvements, including the alley on the north side of Kitty O’Reilly’s parking lot to South Neenah Avenue. The other was for the sidewalk improvements on North and South 14th Avenue.

 



In his Mayors Report, Ward thanked departing Planner/Zoning Administrator Christopher Sullivan-Robinson, who is leaving for an opportunity in Colorado Springs next week, for his years of excellent work.
 
The final piece of business was a closed session on the Right-of-way acquisition of real estate connecting Grant Avenue and Sawyer Drive, in which the council adjourned without taking any action.

Liberty Grove to address room tax allocation Wednesday

The growth of short-term rentals and other lodging establishments in Liberty Grove has created a good problem for its town board to tackle on Wednesday. Last year, the town received approximately $80,000 from its portion of the room tax collected by its local lodging partners. In years past, roughly 90 percent of that would go to local groups like Door County North and the Liberty Grove Historical Society. The remaining 10 percent was slated for the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department’s reserve fund. Room tax collections are booming across the county, but especially in Liberty Grove, thanks to the area’s popularity and an increase in the room tax itself. According to Door County Tourism Zone data, collections through July were up over $110,000 compared to the same period in 2021. Town chairperson John Lowry says they need to make some adjustments to address other areas of their budget.

The Town of Liberty Grove Board will meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at its town hall.

Mental health taking driver's seat during harvest time

Even more important than what you see happening inside their tractor cab or in their fields during this time of year is what is going on inside the minds of area farmers. According to a 2021 Wisconsin Watch report, the suicide rate among male farmers is 43.2 per 100,000, much higher than the national rate of 27.4 per 100,000. The pandemic has only added to the stress farmers face, which includes crop prices, the weather, and their lengthy lists of daily tasks. Extension UW-Madison Regional Dairy Educator Aerica Bjurstrom says the combination of rural living and personal pride among farmers has led many to struggle with mental health, especially during the harvest season.

Bjurstrom urges residents to check in with their neighbors to see how they are doing. This week is National Farm Safety and Health Week, a time where there is an extra emphasis for farmers to be physically and mentally safe. The AgriSafe Network is putting on online seminars all week related to farm safety, two of which address mental health. Extension UW-Madison also has its own resources related to mental health and farmers.

 

Picture and additional content thanks to U.S. Ag Centers

Peninsula State Park installs new accessible playground

Your children will have a new playground to play at the next time they head to Nicolet Beach at Peninsula State Park.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officially welcomed guests to the new playground made possible by donations to the Friends of Peninsula State Park. Unlike its predecessor, which had wooden equipment inside a wood chip-filled pit, the new playground features a rubberized surface and in-ground features like a merry-go-round and rain wheel to allow children of all abilities to enjoy.

 

Park Superintendent Eric Hyde thanked the Friends of Peninsula State Park for their fundraising efforts, which raised over $130,000 for the project and replaced the playground in just over a year. Judy Ortiz of the Friends group is excited for the families who come to the state park and can now use the new accessible playground when they visit the beach area.

 

It is the latest project the Friends of Peninsula State Park have taken on recently, as they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the new Eagle Tower and nature center projects. 

Sidewalk construction to close Michigan Street lane on Wednesday

Making it easier for you to walk along Michigan Street is why it will be harder for you to commute through Sturgeon Bay over the next few weeks.

 

City Engineering Technician Brian Spetz announced Tuesday that the westbound lane of Michigan Street between 10th and 12th avenues would be closed to traffic for two to three weeks beginning on Wednesday, September 21st, due to sidewalk construction. The lane will only be closed when crews are on-site to work on the project, allowing it to reopen during other parts of the day.

 

Once the work begins on Wednesday, Spetz estimates the project will take two to three weeks to complete. He suggests motorists stay out of the construction zone area if possible until the work is completed for your safety and the safety of the workers.

Door County Economic Development adds Koepsel and Mallien to staff

 

The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) has hired two familiar local faces to their organization.  Bailey Koepsel and Korey Mallien have joined the long-standing nonprofit in director positions.  Koepsel, who has been the Executive Director of the Door County Historical Society since 2018, is the new Director of Accounting and Operations, while Mallien will be the Director of Marketing and Communications.  Mallien rejoins the DCEDC after being the Activities Director for the Southern Door School District for four years.  He worked at the DCEDC from 2017-18 as the Business & Education Partnership Manager and has 25 years of experience as a newspaper sports editor.  The DCEDC is a public/private partnership working to improve the economic vitality of Door County and its residents.  

Ephraim continues to weigh new alcohol ordinance

Buying packaged alcoholic beverages during an upcoming visit to Ephraim is on the horizon, but it will likely still take a while. The Ephraim Village Board has been trying to tackle the issue of Class A Alcohol licenses for several weeks as they have tried to iron out details like determining certain limits on how much and where packaged liquors can be sold in the area. At their August meeting, some trustees expressed a lack of interest in Ephraim having a liquor store as other communities do. Village Administrator Brent Bristol said last week’s meeting continued looking at the metrics that would be used to either accept or decline a license application if an Ephraim business wanted to sell products under a Class A Alcohol license.

Bristol believes it will take a few more meetings after the village staff crafts a draft ordinance before the final regulations could be agreed upon and licenses would be made available.

New COVID booster part of upcoming vaccine clinics

You will be able to protect yourself from severe cases of the flu and COVID-19 in one stop in the coming weeks. The Door County Public Health Department has scheduled several vaccine clinics throughout the peninsula from Washington Island to Brussels. In addition to the flu vaccine, the newest formulation of the COVID-19 vaccine will also be available after the Door County Public Health Department received its first doses last week. Recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control, the newest booster is supposed to protect you better from the Omicron variant, which is responsible for approximately 94 percent of all new COVID-19 cases. Door County COVID Response Coordinator Bill Hartmann says they have been holding off on other booster shots for individuals as they waited for this one’s approval.

The flu shots will carry a small fee, while the COVID-19 boosters will be administered at no charge. You can find a list of the upcoming clinic dates below.

 

Thursday, October 6th 10:00am—2:00pm

Washington Island Airport Building 1291 Airport Road

 

Tuesday, October 11th 1:00pm—3:30pm

Peninsula Room, Government Building 421 Nebraska St. Sturgeon Bay

 

Thursday, October 13th 11:00am—5:30pm

Drive Thru at Central EMS Building 14th Ave Sturgeon Bay

 

Thursday, October 20th 12:00pm—5:00pm

Drive Thru at Sister Bay Fire Station 2258 Mill Rd, Sister Bay

 

Thursday, October 27th 10:00am—4:00pm

Peninsula Room, Government Building 421 Nebraska St. Sturgeon Bay

 

Tuesday, November 1st 12:00pm—5:00pm

Drive Thru at Brussels EMS Building 1080 County C, Brussels

 

Thursday, November 3rd 12:00pm—5:00pm

Drive Thru at Sister Bay Fire Station 2258 Mill Rd, Sister Bay

 

Tuesday, November 8th 1:00pm—4:00pm

Aging and Disability Resource Center 916 N 14th Ave, Sturgeon Bay

Sister Bay Village Hall remains focus at local meetings

The fight to keep the Sister Bay Village Hall standing along the waterfront continues this week at a pair of meetings.

 

The aging structure has been on the agenda for several recent meetings for the Village Board and its Parks, Properties, and Streets Committee as officials decide whether it is worth the money to rehabilitate the Village Hall. The village has received approximately two dozen letters of support for keeping the structure, citing it as one of the last remaining structures built with locally sourced stone and that it represented the area’s quaintness that some have said has deteriorated in recent years. Two letters supported tearing down the building, with one challenging the structure’s historic credentials because of roof repairs done in the 1980s. The other would like the building torn down and replaced with a patch of grass so there can be an unobstructed view of the bay.

 

Because of the outpouring of support for saving the building, Parks, Properties, and Streets Committee member Denise Bhirdo recommended at their August 30th meeting that the village get a quote on what it would take to rehabilitate the building. She also said it is imperative for the village property owners to know that their property taxes could increase if the structure stayed. Another public input meeting was held on September 7th. The Village Board will discuss the correspondences, additional comments, and concerns at their meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Parks, Properties, and Streets Committee will continue their conversation about whether they should retain or raze the Village Hall at their Wednesday meeting at 5:30 p.m.

Algoma preparing for cruise ship arrival next year

You can expect to see a cruise ship floating offshore from the City of Algoma next summer. Algoma Chamber Director Ken Weinaug and City Administrator Matt Murphy had the opportunity earlier this month to check out the Viking Octantis while it was docked in Milwaukee. Murphy and Weinaug met with cruise officials to discuss the options for visitors when they dock in Algoma. The first ship to come to Algoma will be the Viking Polaris in 2023, as it travels between Duluth and Toronto. Other stops on the cruise include Thunder Bay, Sault Sainte Marie, Mackinac Island, and Niagara Falls. Weinaug says it is more of a research vessel than your typical cruise ship, but he expects it to be an excellent introduction to the area for passengers, and hopefully, they will return to spend more time.

Part of the visit was to determine the logistics of the passengers coming ashore. When the Viking Polaris comes to Algoma in 2023 and the Viking Octantis arrives in 2024, the ships will be moored offshore before passengers are ferried to a docking area. The stop in Algoma represents the halfway point of the cruise, which you can learn more about by clicking this link.

County, DCMC looking to shore up transport services

Making sure you get the medical help you need when you need it is the goal of Door County Medical Center and Door County teaming up on a transport service agreement. Before 2018, Door County Medical Center worked with Para Tran to get patients needing additional care to hospitals in Green Bay. When that company went out of business, Door County Medical Center was forced to contract with Door County Emergency Services and paratransit companies in Green Bay to fill the service gap. What was supposed to be a short-term solution has lasted for four years, with the wait times in Door County Medical Center’s emergency room getting longer. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens spoke at the September 13th Door County Judiciary and Public Safety Committee about a new agreement that would reimburse the county for the service so it would not hurt taxpayers. Speaking to the Door County Daily News a few days later, he says he hopes to rely more on local people that the community trusts while serving everyone better.

Stephens says the new agreement will likely have to go through the entire budget process before the Door County Board of Supervisors can approve the agreement. Door County Medical Center averages approximately 700 patient transfers every year.

 

You can listen to our full interview with Stephens by clicking this link.

Local organization offering Money Mindset Makeover

The success or failure of your financial future could come down to eight weeks beginning on September 28th. For the third year in a row, Money Management Counselors in Sturgeon Bay is offering its “Money Mindset Workshop” for those trying to work through some financial issues that could be holding them back. Each session of the eight-week workshop takes 90 minutes on Zoom as you examine the importance of progress, accountability, and support when it comes to developing your spending plan. Leslie Boden from Money Management Counselors says it has been a game changer for many who have struggled with their finances.

Registration is open for the eight-week course through September 20th. The cost is $125, though scholarships are available for those who cannot afford it. You can learn more about the Money Mindset Makeover workshop by clicking the link. 

 

Your thoughts needed for Destination Door County survey

The future of tourism in Door County could depend on a few clicks of your mouse. Destination Door County put out the call on Wednesday for stakeholders and community holders for input to share their thoughts on the area’s tourism opportunities. The data collected from the survey results and other research will be shared with the decision makers from the Door County Tourism Zone and the DDC to form a strategy for the upcoming years. In recent years, such community input turned Door County’s tourism strategy from “heads in beds” to a more sustainable version. DDC Chief Communications Officer Jon Jarosh says the organization is placing more emphasis on local engagement to find out what residents would like to see happen rather than putting it all on the visitors.

You have until September 30th to submit your survey, which is available by clicking this link. 

Improvements coming to three Door County Parks

You may have to wait until next year to utilize them, but the Door County Parks Department just started work to upgrade the facilities at three parks this week. Old steel-constructed restrooms at the Ahnapee State Trail County Park south of Sturgeon Bay and the Meridian County Park north of Jacksonport are being removed and replaced this fall. Door County Parks and Facilities Director Wayne Spritka says new bulk pit toilets will be installed at those two parks and the new Plum Bottom County Park that opened this past spring. 

 

 

Spritka notes that the park system in Door County experienced vandalism issues earlier this summer, but despite increased use, less damage has been reported lately. He adds that the group Friends of Door County Parks has placed donation tubes at three locations for visitors to put cash or even make a Venmo transaction to help support the parks. There are two tubes at Cave Point County Park and one at Ellison Bluff County Park.  

Scholarships offer path to college affordability

While many focus on how they are going to cover their student loans, there are ways you can pay for college without having to write a check to the bank, the school, or the government. EducationData.org reports that 84 percent of students receive financial aid to help pay for their school. Approximately 63 percent of all undergraduates receive at least one scholarship to help pay for school. If you know where to look, your odds are good of getting one if you qualify and apply. Five million scholarships are available for students across the country, accounting for $24 billion in aid. Closer to home, the Door County Community Foundation created its scholarship network to help streamline the process for local students looking for help paying for college. President and CEO Bret Bicoy says by completing one form for dozens of different scholarships, he hopes they are connecting generous local donors and area students more efficiently.

New scholarships are being added daily to the Door County Scholarship Network, so Bicoy encourages prospective scholarship recipients to check back early and often. You can click this link to learn more about the available scholarships and how donors can start their own fund.

Prevent Suicide Walk gets new day, location

You will still be able to remember your loved ones affected by suicide this month during the Walk of Hope in Sturgeon Bay, albeit from a different place on a different date. The Prevent Suicide Door County Walk for Hope has been rescheduled for September 27th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will step off from the Sawyer Park Pavilion and take walkers across the Maple/Oregon Street Bridge and towards the city’s downtown on 3rd Avenue before walking across the bay on the Michigan Street Bridge before heading back towards the pavilion. The original event was supposed to take place on Monday at Martin park, but it had to be canceled due to heavy rains. The money raised by the event goes to fund volunteer training, print materials, and other activities.

 

You can listen to our interview with Door County Medical Center Senior Life Solutions Program Director Lauren Daoust about National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month by clicking on this link. 

Northern Sky Theater announces Scholarship winner

Northern Sky Theater announced the 2022 recipient of the Northern Sky Werner & Sue Krause Scholarship this week. A $2500 scholarship was awarded to Owen Ensign Foulds, a graduate of Sevastopol High School. This scholarship is available to students pursuing a degree in theater or music performance who exhibit a love for theater or music performance and have participated in the performing arts throughout high school.

Owen is attending the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee this fall, majoring in Musical Theater and pursuing a professional acting career. He has performed in local theater performances for Door Shakespeare and Third Avenue Playworks. 

 

Recipients are selected for the Northern Sky Werner & Sue Krause Scholarship based on their participation in the performing arts while in high school, GPA, and other criteria.

Two road closures begin Monday in Sturgeon Bay

A pair of construction projects in Sturgeon Bay may affect your travel on Monday. Pennsylvania Street between South 8th and 9th Avenues will be closed for gas line construction. The good news is that closure expects to be short as the road will only be closed during the day, and the work should be finished by September 21st, depending on the weather and work progress. An access road leading to the city’s Target store will also close on Monday at 7 a.m. as construction crews continue to work on an area housing development. The closure between South Duluth Avenue and the store’s parking lot is necessary because of sewer and water line construction. The road was closed earlier this month so crews could do blasting so their work could continue. City Engineering Technician Brian Spetz estimates the work will be done by October 14th.

Bow season for deer hunting begins Saturday

Your first chance of getting a trophy buck or doe begins this weekend across Wisconsin. Saturday marks the first day of the archery and crossbow deer hunting season, with subsequent seasons specific to hunters with disabilities and youth coming up in the weeks ahead. Licenses cost between $5.00 for first-time archers to $24 for those returning to the sport. Because of the health of the deer population in Door and Kewaunee counties, DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says there are some things local hunters can take advantage of that others in different portions of the state can not do.

The archery/crossbow season for deer hunting ends in January and runs concurrently with the disability, youth, muzzleloader, and regular gun seasons. If you are hunting in a tree stand this weekend, Kratcha urges you to take extra precautions, like wearing a full body harness to protect yourself. You can listen to additional safety tips by clicking on the audio player below.

 

KRATCHA'S THOUGHTS ON TREE STAND SAFETY

 

Gibraltar looks for Town Board replacement

You have an opportunity to join the Town of Gibraltar Board after one of its members recently resigned from their post. Tim Luettgen is resigning after winning his re-election bid in 2021. No reason for Luettgen's resignation was given in the Town Board Vacancy notice distributed by the town on Thursday. Qualified electors interested in serving the remainder of the two-year term, which expires on April 17th, 2023, have until September 28th to submit their letter of interest to clerk@gibraltarwi.gov. The remaining town board members will consider the letters at their meeting on October 5th. 

Door and Kewaunee counties remain at medium COVID-19 community level

Door and Kewaunee counties continued the streak of being placed at the medium COVID-19 community level on Thursday. The metric is based on the number of new cases and hospitalizations and the current number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive people. In Monday’s situation update, the Door County Public Health Department announced 25 new cases of COVID-19, its second straight week of fewer than 30 cases. While there were no recent hospitalizations, Door County did experience its 66th death due to the virus. Kewaunee County saw just 26 additional cases over the last week, five of which were still active as of Friday. There were no new deaths or hospitalizations. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 25 of the state’s 72 counties are in the medium, with only three at the high level. 

Packers add to Door County tourism popularity

A night game against the Chicago Bears is almost a perfect combination for thinking about sneaking in a trip to Door County during the home opener of the Green Bay Packers’ season this Sunday. Discover Green Bay estimates a Packers home game carries with it a $15 million economic impact. It is a big reason why the Packers will become the last NFL team to play a game in London later this season. Destination Door County Chief Communications Officer Jon Jarosh says the area gets its fair share of visitors that include a trip to the peninsula as a part of the Packers road trip. Jarosh says night games are a bigger deal for the county because it allows people to stay a little longer.

For the second season in a row, the home schedule for the Packers appears to play in Door County’s favor if later is better. Three of the Packers eight home games at Lambeau Field have kickoffs after 7 p.m. and two games are scheduled for after 3 p.m. The start time for its season finale against Detroit in January has not yet been determined.

Ahnapee town bridge to close Monday

You will have to find a different route around Kewaunee County beginning Monday. The Town of Ahnapee, Kewaunee County, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be completing the replacement of the Willow Drive Bridge over Silver Creek. In 2021, it was determined that the bridge’s structure had significantly deteriorated, and the pavement leading up to it on either side was also in poor condition. Replacing the bridge will also include a new guard rail since the current one does not meet industry standards. For the bridge replacement to take place, Willow Drive will be closed from County Highway S, and Freemont Road will be closed from September 19th until early November.  

 

Picture courtesy of City of Algoma Police Department

 

Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County

Name inscription tradition disappearing from Anderson Dock?

One of your favorite traditions and photo backdrops in Ephraim could disappear if graffiti on the rest of Anderson Dock cannot be controlled. The tradition of writing on the Anderson Dock warehouse walls dates back to the 1880s, when boaters would log their arrival with the name of their vessels. The practice has since evolved to people commemorating life moments on the building that now houses the Hardy Gallery. Of great concern to the Ephraim Board of Trustees, the “good graffiti” is turning into vandalism in the surrounding area. With the building’s walls full of colorful paint, some residents and visitors leave their marks on the dock, nearby rocks, and other parts of the immediate area. The village’s Capital Projects Ad Hoc Committee is taking a closer look at the graffiti as they plan future improvements to the dock and its buildings. Village Administrator Brent Bristol says they are looking at all options to stem the graffiti, including repainting the entire building and banning the practice altogether.

Bristol says one side of the building was painted earlier this year, and within a day, it was nearly filled up with brightly painted names. He says a final path forward has not been determined and the topic will continue to be discussed at future meetings.

Mark W. Barker makes "Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin" ballot

You may have seen one of the coolest things made in Wisconsin leave Sturgeon Bay earlier this year. The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce released its list of the top 100 items made in the state on Wednesday as a part of its seventh annual “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” promotion. Making the list was the Mark W. Barker, which was built by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and launched in Sturgeon Bay earlier this year. The Mark W. Barker is the first Great Lakes freighter built in the United States since the 1980s. A Bay Shipbuilding-built vessel was also in the running for the “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” when the newest addition to the Washington Island Ferry fleet, the “Madonna,” made the Top 16 in voting in 2019. You can begin voting for your choice for the “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” on September 19th by clicking this link.

Evers flaunts Main Street Bounceback Program in Sturgeon Bay

You may have run into Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes while shopping in downtown Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday as he championed the Main Street Bounce Back Program. The pair stopped at Dancing Bear Toys, The Marketplace, and Avenue Art & Co. to highlight businesses that benefited from the program. Approximately 6,200 businesses across all 72 counties have utilized the funding to help them move or expand into vacant commercial spaces. The additional $25 million investment announced by Evers and Hughes this week will ensure a total of 10,000 businesses and nonprofits will benefit from the Main Street Bounceback Program.

 

Picture courtesy of Gov. Evers' Office

Kewaunee County looks to revise teleworking policy

Making sure you have access to employees post-pandemic is the goal of an amended policy being formed in Kewaunee County. The Kewaunee County Executive Committee approved on Monday the ability for department heads to grant remote work privileges on a case-by-case basis until a new policy can be established. Teleworking has been a major topic at each of the last three Kewaunee County Executive Committee meetings.  On August 8th, Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt explained that remote work could assist the county in multiple ways with worker productivity, staff retention, and staff time efficiency. He added that the county monitors remote workers and is working on metrics to validate that their tasks are complete.

On August 23rd, a citizen expressed his concern about county employees potentially abusing the option, saying he does not believe workers and supervisors can effectively do their jobs while telecommuting. Employees were allowed to work at home while the state was under stay-at-home orders and for those following quarantine guidelines. After the committee decided to limit remote work to just Human Services employees, it did open the option to department heads to determine if they wanted to provide an opportunity for their employees. The IT, administration, and corporation counsel requested that their departments be allowed to have options for working from home. While Executive Committee Member Tom Romdenne suggested that they go back to the pre-COVID policy of everyone working from the office, Feldt and Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Daniel Olson both said it is more complicated than that.

Door County established a policy in June allowing employees to work a maximum of three days a week from home. They are set to revisit the topic at the end of the year. Most Wisconsin counties kept some kind of remote work policy even after the worst of the pandemic was behind them. The Kewaunee County Executive Committee will try to nail down a final policy at its upcoming meetings.

Virtual Dementia Tour offered to support caregivers  

You can experience what it is like to be in the shoes of someone with dementia at the Virtual Dementia Tours on September 28 in Luxemburg.


Dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with Alzheimer’s being the most common among older adults.  The Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Lakeshore and Dementia Care Specialist (DCS) will hold Virtual Dementia Tours that will simulate what it might be like to have dementia.  The session will be simulations followed by debriefing.  The tour enables caregivers to experience the physical and mental challenges faced by those with dementia and use it to provide better in-person care.
The VDT will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Luxemburg from 1:00 until 3:30 pm on Wednesday, September 28.

You can call the ADRC of the Lakeshore to register or get more information on the free class at (877) 416-7083. 

State Senate Candidate Forum set for October 10

You will have the opportunity to know more about the candidates running for the State Senate in District 1 at a forum sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Door County on October 10. Andrea Gage-Michaels (D) and Andre Jacque (R) have agreed to participate in the Candidate Forum that will be held at the Southern Door High School Library. The League of Women Voters of Door County Event Coordinator Dan Powers says the forum is not a debate but a good way for the public to learn how each candidate stands on important issues, regardless of party affiliation.

 

 

Powers notes that the Candidate Forum will last 90 minutes and begin at 6:30 pm on Monday, October 10. You can submit questions for the forum to the League of Women Voters of Door County, with both candidates receiving an equal opportunity to speak to the voters. The District 1 State Senate seat covers Door and Kewaunee counties and parts of Brown, Outagamie, Manitowoc, and Calumet counties.

New Coast Guard Authorization bill introduced by Sen. Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced the bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 along with two other lawmakers this week, including $350 million for the Great Lakes Icebreaker. The bill will be the first time the USCG Authorization Act will include a standalone Great Lakes subtitle in the bill. The Arctic is the only other geographic area with such a standalone section. Sen. Baldwin says the new bill will address the inadequate icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes that cost Americans thousands of jobs and business revenue. She notes that the legislation will help to mitigate climate-related events and invest in climate-resilient Coast Guard infrastructure at places like Sturgeon Bay. [BALDWIN]  Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with Sen. Baldwin, introduced the reauthorization of the Coast Guard for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. Baldwin expects the bill to be approved after it goes through committee review and a final vote on the Senate floor. You can listen to the entire interview with Sen. Baldwin on the Podcast Page here.  

New interim CEO in place at YMCA

The Door County YMCA announced Tuesday that Steve Harty had joined the organization as the new Interim CEO. Harty replaces Heidi Erickson, who turned in her resignation last month to become the Branch Executive for the Fox West YMCA in Greenville. After 20 years as the President/CEO of the Greater Green Bay YMCA, Harty retired in December 2018. He officially joined the Door County YMCA on September 7 and has 38 years of YMCA organizational work. The Door County YMCA Board of Directors will be working with YUSA in a CEO search, with the anticipated hiring of a new CEO by the end of the year.     

Proposed legislation provides aid for dairy employers

A bill waiting for Senate approval could make it easier for your neighbors in the dairy industry to get employees. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would provide a pathway for undocumented agricultural workers to become citizens and expand the current H-2A visa program. The farming industry has not been immune to the hiring crisis many employers are experiencing. As a result, food prices have increased to levels not since May 1979, according to NBC News. Expanding the H-2A program to allow agricultural workers to stay in the country year-round would be good news for all farms, especially those in the dairy industry. Unlike some agricultural fields, the dairy industry is churning out milk, whether it is in the middle of July or the beginning of January. The Wisconsin State Journal estimates that 40 percent of dairy workers are migrants, 90 percent of which are considered undocumented. Edge Dairy Farm Cooperative and Dairy Business Association Director of Government Affairs Mykel Bickham says the legislation would bring more consistency to its workforce.

With many in Congress out on the road in the coming weeks due to campaigning for the mid-term elections, Bickham hopes the issue is resolved before the end of 2022. 

Local firefighters climb to remember those lost on 9/11

About 1,000 miles from the site of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, you would have found several local firefighters finishing the climb for those lost on September 11th, 2001. Firefighters from the Brussels-Union-Gardner and Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department were among the over 2,000 people who participated in Saturday’s 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Lambeau Field. The event is a tribute to the 343 firefighters who gave their lives the day terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York City. Participants are given a card to climb the stairs with the name and picture of one of those fallen firefighters. One of those heroes was Rev. Mychal Judge, the New York Fire Department Chaplain who was the first official casualty of the attacks. According to NorthJersey.com, Judge remained in the World Trade Center’s North Tower, praying for firefighters rushing up to save who they could from the building’s lobby and mezzanine until debris from the fallen South Tower blew through the glass and buried him. The name now has special meaning to Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht, who carried his memory up and down the aisles of the Lambeau Field bowl.

In its 10th year, the event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the National Fallen Firefighters Fund.

 

 

Door County YMCA breaks ground on future addition

After ten years of patiently waiting, you will soon see the most substantial improvements to the Door County YMCA's Sturgeon Bay facility since the pool was added in 2001. Plans to renovate the Sturgeon Bay Center began in 2012, but the focus quickly turned to improve its Northern Door facility in Fish Creek. As fundraising for the Sturgeon Bay facility started to hit its stride, so did the impact of COVID-19. The Door County YMCA has rebounded since March 2020, with its membership and program participation at or above pre-pandemic levels. Campaign coordinator and former Door County YMCA CEO Tom Beernsten told the crowd that this was as fulfilling of a campaign as he has ever been a part of during his 50-plus year career.

Outgoing Door County YMCA CEO Heidi Erickson explained the new facilities' positive additions when they are completed next year.

The Door County YMCA has inched closer to its $10.3 million campaign goal, adding nearly $200,000 in donations since it announced a $1 million gift from the Bunning family two weeks ago.

 

 

Road safety urged as harvest begins

It is not just the tractors and other implements you must keep an eye on when traveling area roads over the next several weeks. While the weekend rains likely washed out much of the fieldwork, cutting alfalfa and harvesting crops like potatoes and corn is underway. The corn harvest for silage is at eight percent complete, which is about a week behind last year and the five-year average. Cutting alfalfa is ahead of schedule at 70 percent by a couple of days over last year over a week compared to the five-year average. Rushing around could mean not ensuring the roads are clean after leaving the fields. In some case, the clumps of dirt or manure left on the road could cause accidents to motorists traveling. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it could be unsafe if farmers do not clean up after themselves.

Joski asks motorists to call their office if they encounter roads that might be too dangerous to travel. You can read more of Joski’s thoughts on the issue below.

 

MORE FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Although we had a relatively mild summer and seemed to get appropriate rains throughout the growing season, precipitation over the next two months could make for some challenging harvest conditions which will no doubt have an impact on the lives of our farming neighbors as well as on our roads. Many times the need to transition from field to field brings with it the potential for negative interactions with other motorists, and the need to pay close attention to the rules which apply both to Implements of Husbandry as well as for the average motorist.

      

For those who will be operating the equipment in pursuit of this year’s harvest, please familiarize yourself and any operators you may have working for you with the most current laws pertaining to Implements of Husbandry and the lighting equipment required. Make sure you have communicated with your local road authority regarding weight limits or the need for road closures. We are fortunate to have a continued presence by the State Patrol Motor Carrier Division, and we hope many opportunities for awareness of our laws continue to take place which will make this fall a safer environment. We also have our assigned State Patrol Trooper, Logan Christel who continues to be a great resource in keeping our roads safe.

       

For those engaged in the harvesting, please be attentive to the material which you are displacing and make every effort to minimize the amounts left on the road. This may mean a piece of equipment left on site to clean in between each and every load. The law that pertains to the placement of foreign material on the roadway is: 346.94(5) Placing Injurious Substances on Highway; which states “No Person shall place or cause to be placed upon a highway any foreign substance which is or may be injurious to any vehicle or part thereof.” Although we have seen a vast improvement in the vigilance of keeping our roads clean, we do still respond to complaints of material on the road and in some cases have had to issue citations.

        

As long as we are on the subject of state statutes, here’s another one which is quite relevant; 346.51(1) “Improper parking on/off roadway”. Whether you are using the road to off load a piece of construction equipment, or using the road to transfer loads from a field, it is your obligation to observe proper safety practices.

       

This may mean putting out warning signs, cones, or even deploying flag persons. Almost daily we receive complaints of roadways being obstructed by individuals or companies who have equipment on the road, creating a situation where vehicles are crossing into the opposite lane of traffic. Responding officers arrive and work with the business or individual to rectify the situation.  Unfortunately, if the area cannot be made safe the only other option is to shut down the operation until it can be made safe. If you know you are going to be off loading or staging equipment on a roadway, please plan ahead, by checking the area to see the level of warning devices you may need. Check with the Town Official for that area if you are going to be on a town road and the County Highway Superintendant if on a county road, or state highway. Again, we have approached this issue from an educational perspective for many years, and the time has passed where ignorance of the law will be accepted.

         

In the end the responsibility for a potential accident because of poor planning, or a failure to provide proper warning will fall to the individual or business creating the hazard. If you are traveling the countryside and observe what you feel is a traffic hazard, please call law enforcement, and we will respond. Together we can keep our roads safe.

      

For those in the general public that may find themselves in proximity to the harvesting process, please use caution when operating around these pieces of equipment as they have many blind spots, and may be stopping or turning for movement in and out of field driveways and side roads.

       

Having been fortunate enough to have grown up in the farming community, I know the sense of urgency that comes with both planting and harvesting; however no shortcut or increased speed will make a difference when someone becomes injured, and any potential savings will pale in comparison to the cost of tragedy.

Affording college starts early

Learning how to pay for college may start before you pick the school you want to go to and start talking to the bursar’s office. The latest statistics show that 45 million people owe a combined $1.7 trillion in student loans. It puts the average student loan debt at over $30,000. Leslie Boden from Money Management Counselors in Sturgeon Bay says prospective college students should take their time before deciding to put them behind financially. 

As for those trying to pay their college loans now, Boden says the right strategy depends on each borrower. With the student loan payment freeze going through to the end of the year, she says now is an excellent time to have your payments go directly to the principal and not to accumulate interest if you can afford it. 

Peeling license plates to be replaced

Your license plate that is peeling away will need to be replaced. According to Channel 3000 in Madison, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is bringing back a program requiring it to replace plates ten or more years old. Approximately three million plates fit that description, and the oldest ones will be replaced first. Seeing the plates lose their reflective sheeting is becoming commonplace because a state program that automatically replaced the plates expired years ago. A new state law passed last year will put the practice back into place and in line with dozens of other states. If your plates are ten years old or older, your annual registration will include an extra $8 charge to replace them. If they are still legible, you can wait for the program to get running. If you cannot read what your plates say, you will have to go through the DOT’s website yourself to get new ones. If you don’t, you could get pulled over by police and be subject to a fine of over $150.

More business and inland data needed from broadband survey

The response has been strong, but Door County Broadband Coordinator Jessica Hatch wants to make sure even more of you fill out its survey which is crucial to better internet in the future. The county has received over 1,600 responses to its survey about the internet connection residents and business owners use. A short 10-minute survey and a speed test result could go a long way to show the community's needs regarding the service. It is projected that the county would need approximately $140 million to bring Fiber to the Premise internet to the area to provide the proper service. The price tag and the associated federal and state grants that could be available in the future are tied to the results. Hatch says many of the early respondents come from shoreline areas and adds that more inland residents and business owners are needed to paint a better picture.


People without internet access or only have cellular access should call the State of Wisconsin Consumers Affairs office at 608-267-3695 to do the survey. Those with access should click this link to complete the survey and submit a speed test. Hatch recommends people keep submitting their internet speeds so the federal and state governments can get a better feel for how the internet connections are impacted during different parts of the year.

Death mars otherwise positive COVID-19 update

Door and Kewaunee counties are mimicking the statewide trend of lower COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. In Monday’s situation update, the Door County Public Health Department announced 25 new cases of COVID-19, its second straight week of fewer than 30 cases. While there were no new hospitalizations, Door County did experience its 66th death due to the virus. Kewaunee County saw just 26 additional cases over the last week, five of which were still considered active as of Friday. There were no new deaths or hospitalizations. Statewide the seven-day average for new cases of COVID-19 reached 969 on Friday, almost 200 less than it was the week prior. The average has not been below 1,000 new cases since April 22nd, 2022. The seven-day average for deaths has also dropped from five to two. 

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - September 12, 2022 

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  
Total Tests: 31,507 (+63)
Positive: 7,602 (+25)
Probable: 442 (+2)
Negative: 23,463 (+36)
Hospitalizations: 261
Deaths: 66 (+1) 
*Data regarding deaths may be delayed due to processing of medical reports at the state level. To see the timeline of when deaths occurred in Door County, follow the link below and use the filter to select Door.
https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

 

Recognizing the signs is half the battle in suicide prevention

Knowing the signs and feeling comfortable addressing them are ways you can help your loved ones from being a statistic when it comes to suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, nearly 46,000 people committed suicide in 2020. That number could have been even worse, with an estimated 1.2 million suicide attempts documented. Door County Medical Center Senior Life Solutions Program Director Lauren Daoust says just having the conversation can help head off tragedy down the road.

Daoust also points out you can also refer people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or texting 741741 to the Crisis Text Line. Door County Medical Center’s Senior Life Solutions is participating in several different programs in September to recognize Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. It will first partner with Prevent Suicide Door County-Nathan Wilson Coalition for its annual Suicide Prevention Walk on Monday, September 12th, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Martin Park. Daoust will be one of the presenters along with Monica Nelson of Prevent Suicide Door County for QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training on Tuesday, September 20th at 10 a.m. The training will take place at the Door County ADRC building.

 

You can listen to the full podcast by clicking this link.

 

Pro Arte Quartet returns to Door County

You will be able to catch the world’s oldest continuously performing quartet perform in Egg Harbor on September 18th. The Pro Arte Quartet, composed of violinists David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violist Sally Chisholm and violincellist Parry Karp, will perform the music of Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn during their performance. Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck will make the Pro Arte Quartet a quintet when she performs with her viola during the Mozart selection. The Pro Arte Quartet was born out of the Wisconsin Union Theater during World War II after Belgium became overrun by Nazi’s leaving three of the original four members war orphans. Midsummer’s Music will present the Pro Arte Quartet at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor at 3 p.m. You can click the link for ticketing information.

Crossroads at Big Creek set to celebrate Ida Bay

Exploring a portion of Crossroads at Big Creek on September 17th is one way you can thank the generosity of Ida Bay. The Ida Bay Preserve was initially donated to The Nature Conservancy by her estate in the 1990s, but it was then gifted the 60-plus acre tract of land to Crossroads at Big Creek in 2013. Over the last three decades, the land has been regarded as a natural area, with only restoration work done to remove invasive species. Interpretative naturalist Coggin Heeringa says the land itself has a fascinating history behind it.

Crossroads at Big Creek will host Ida Bay Day, which will also serve as a kick-off to the 2022 Fall Archaeological Experience, on September 17th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the release of its new trail maps, which will include a history of the parcel on it. Exhibits, demonstrations, music, and refreshments will also be a part of the celebration. Crossroads will also host guided hikes around the Ida Bay Preserve at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

 

You can learn more about the Ida Bay Preserve and the upcoming celebration below. Text and picture courtesy of Crossroads at Big Creek.

 

 

We often explain to visitors that Ida Bay is not a body of water, but rather the name of the woman who preserved and donated the land to The Nature Conservancy (TNC). In December of 2013, TNC legally transferred ownership of the 64-acre parcel to Crossroads. Since then, the preserve has become a remarkable showcase for interpreting geology and forest ecology. As we got to know our new property, we also examined the many ways it has been used by humans over the years and realized that the preserve is a microcosm of Door County history. 

 

We knew that First Peoples often created seasonal encampments along ancient lake shores, so we contacted our friends at Midwest Archaeological Consultants. They agreed to look at the topography. On the first survey day, (I think maybe the second shovelful), they found a motherload of pottery, presumably from the Late Woodland Period. So for the past decade, Crossroads has sponsored archaeological digs at Ida Bay. Because we are educators, we have included students from all Door County school districts, private schools and interested adults in authentic, archaeologist-supervised digs at the preserve. They have unearthed lithics, pottery, and organic materials verifying a significant occupation. 

 

We also found evidence of European settlers on the land. With grant funding from the Door County Community Foundation and the Maihaugen Foundation, were able to fund an archaeologist-in-residence position. We engaged historical archaeologist Emily Rux to do a literature search and shovel-test the land to learn the stories of the people who have lived or labored on the land since the 1850s. 

 

Based on land records and old maps, we speculate, but have yet to find evidence, that a portage trail may have crossed the land. Land records indicate that the forest was selectively cut in the 1850s. And thanks to local legend (and the presence of a very old building foundation), we believe the preserve was the site of a rooming house for Ship Canal workers.

 

Most surprising to us was the fact that the hospitality industry also made use of the property. The Cove Resort was a going concern in the early 1900s, hosting as many as 200 people and boasting a dock, dance hall, Door County's first swimming pool and many guest cottages. Most of the resort was along the waterfront, not on our property, but several cottages were on our property as was the truck farm that supplied the hotel dining room.

 

Aerial surveys document that until the 1960s, the land supported orchards and farm fields and migrant housing. Ida Bay's home (which is not a part of the preserve) was an antique store. And of course, now, Crossroads practices land restoration on the property.

Bjurstrom garners national recognition

After 15 years of serving farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties, Aerica Bjurstrom is being honored nationally for those efforts. The National Association of County Agricultural Agents announced on Friday that it awarded the Distinguished Service Award to Bjurstrom at a ceremony hosted in Florida earlier this year. The award is earned by those who have worked in extension offices for at least ten years, are held in high esteem by their peers, and have developed outstanding programs through Extension. Bjurstrom is currently the regional dairy educator with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. She previously held a more broad role within the Extension program, serving as the agriculture educator for Kewaunee County. Her specialty is dairy farm management with a focus on herd health and well-being, but she has also helped the area in other ways. She served as the Executive Secretary for Kewaunee County’s run as the host of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in 2017. Bjurstrom also helped develop programming to address mental health crises among Wisconsin farmers. 

Dozens support doggone good cause

Many people came out on an overcast day with dogs of all sizes to raise money for the Door County Humane Society.

This annual event helps our local animal shelter provide care for pets and today our community showed support. The pet contest was won by Savanah the baby shark but there were many highlights including Annabelle the unicorn bulldog.

PETCO Love was the presenting sponsor and all the money raised stayed right here in Door County. A special thank you to Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant for the matching gift of up to $5,000 for every dollar raised. 

Find out how you can volunteer or donate by visiting the Wisconsinhumane.org. 

Omicron-formulated COVID boosters are on the way

Your best bet of protecting yourself from the effects of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is already in Wisconsin and could be coming to Door County soon. USA Today Network-Wisconsin reported earlier this week that a supply of the updated COVID-19 booster is trickling into pharmacies and hospitals. The new formulation is designed to target the more contagious variant specifically. While it is not yet approved for kids, the Pfizer booster will be available for those 12 and up and the Moderna booster for those 18 and up. Like the flu vaccine, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says the new booster vaccine could help you stay safe from what is circulating in communities.

Heise says the new boosters are not in Door County as of Friday morning. He says to stay tuned to communication from Door County Public Health and Door County Medical Center for information on how you can sign up for appointments. 

Door County being strategic with its use of ARPA funds

Some of your favorite non-profit organizations could benefit from some of the federal funding Door County received from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Last month, the Door County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to make approximately $200,000 available to local organizations providing services to “expand and enhance behavioral health and a broad range of related programs and services” in the area. It is just the latest plan from the county to use the over $5.3 million it received from the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says they have tried to be strategic with their ARPA funds to address major and immediate needs in the area, including housing and broadband internet.

ARPA funds must be spent by municipalities by 2024. Grant funding requests for organizations addressing needs like child care, job training, alcohol and drug abuse, and behavioral health need to be filed by the individual organizations by October 28th, 2022.

 

Kewaunee County residents join Kinnard Farms/DNR case

A decade-old battle in Casco took another turn Friday when six Kewaunee County residents were allowed to intervene in a lawsuit involving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Kinnard Farms. According to a Midwest Environmental Advocates release, Administrative Law Judge Angela Chaput Foy allowed the intervention as a full party to the suit, initially born out of a 2012 case where a group of neighbors challenged the farm on its water pollution permit when it looked to expand. 

Sue Owen and Jodi Parins are two of the Kewaunee County residents participating in the suit with the Midwest Environmental Advocates. In a release shared by MEA, both call for Kinnard Farms to stop their lawsuit and focus on additional water protection measures.

 

The dairy farm sued the DNR back in April for its requirement of installed groundwater monitoring systems and placing a limit of approximately 8,000 cows on the operation. Kinnard Farms said in the filed complaint in April that 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 stated 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 growth. The suit came about a month after the DNR issued the modified pollution permit to Kinnard Farms.

 

Kinnard Farms President Lee Kinnard said in a statement after filing the lawsuit 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.”  The lawsuit came after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in July 2021 that the DNR had the authority to protect water quality by using specific terms and conditions in wastewater permits. This ruling came seven years after Kinnard Farms appealed a 2014 decision by Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt, who famously called the drinking water crisis in Kewaunee County a “massive regulatory failure.” In between decisions, farmers, environmentalists, government officials, and other community members formed workgroups that later led to the creation of new guidance for manure handling on fragile soils and the farmer-led watershed group known as Peninsula Pride Farms.

 

United Way of Door County sees growth in farmers market token program

The use of tokens you see some residents using at Door County farmers markets in the community is growing in its second year, which is a good thing for everyone. The United Way of Door County introduced the token program last year at the Sturgeon Bay Farm Market on Saturday and expanded it to Jacksonport’s Tuesday farmers market. Residents that rely on FoodShare to pay for a portion of their grocery bill can exchange some of their credits for tokens to be used at select vendors at the two farmers markets. The United Way of Door County then reimburses the participating vendors for accepting the tokens. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says the program has seen approximately $2,000 get spent at farmers markets this year, compared to $1,100 last year.

The Sturgeon Bay Farm Market runs until October 15th on Saturdays, and the Jacksonport Farmers Market runs until October 25th on Tuesdays. Kohnle says they will look to potentially expand the token program to other Door County farmers markets next year. 

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding breaks ground on new machinery shop

You will see a newer and safer building for its employees at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding pop up over the next year. With dozens of government officials, employees, and community members looking on, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding broke ground on what will be known as Building 110, home to its new machinery shop.

The new structure will replace its current setup, two different aging structures. By putting all of its operations under one larger roof, the hope is it will be a more contained and efficient shop with updated equipment like a five-ton overhead bridge crane and a 30-ton overhead crane. The new building will also contain offices, restrooms, a tool room complex, and a lunchroom. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager Craig Perciavalle told the crowd about the importance the new building will have with its growing operations.

Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward thanked Perciavalle and Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding for their commitment to the city.

The new structure will be built by A.C.E. Building Service out of Manitowoc, Wis., which has worked with the shipyard for over 50 years. The project is expected to be finished ahead of next year’s Winter Fleet.

 

 

Queen Elizabeth brings up fond memories in Door County

Even though the closest she got to Door County on her 1959 Great Lakes excursion aboard the Britannia, you can find people locally observing the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth. The British Royal died on Thursday at 96 years old in Scotland after seven decades on the throne. Crowned in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI, she became Britain's longest reigning monarch.

 

Before playing the organ at Ephraim Moravian Church, Colin Welford’s music was in England, where he pursued graduate study at The Royal College of Music in London, studying orchestral conducting and composition and was the conductor of the English National Ballet. He reflected on talking to the Queen twice, both times with her asking about his role. He said Thursday was a sad day and the end of an era whether you are a royalist or not. He hopes the next generation of the Royals is just as classy as it was under Queen Elizabeth. 

 

Karen McCarthy built their business Tea Thyme in Door County around the British experience after moving from Great Britain over 30 years ago. She says Thursday was a tough day after the world lost someone so inspirational.

Her son Charles was appointed King after Queen Elizabeth’s passing. Over the next several days, the Queen will be remembered through many different customs throughout Scotland, England, and other parts of the United Kingdom.   

 

Picture courtesy of MonicaVolpin on Pixabay

Door and Kewaunee counties stay at medium level

For the second week in a row, you will find both Door and Kewaunee counties in the medium level of the COVID-19 Community Level scale. Door County broke its month-long streak at the high COVID-19 Community Level last week while Kewaunee County has been in the medium community level for a few weeks. The metric is based on the number of new cases and hospitalizations and the current number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive people. On Tuesday, the Door County Public Health Department announced no recent COVID-19-related hospitalizations plus 25 additional cases. Almost 30 of the 72 Wisconsin counties are in the medium level as of Friday morning. 

Area apple orchards, pumpkin patches prepare to welcome fall

You will soon be able to fill up your wagons full of apples and pumpkins as the seasons begin to turn. Farm markets and apple orchards began to debut some of their early season varieties, such as Zestar and Paula Reds, earlier this week in anticipation of the more known McIntosh, Cortland, and Honey Crisp varieties. Pumpkins have also been popping up in some fields, with places like Hillside Apples in Casco already picking dozens each day. Hillside Apples owner Bill Roethle says Mother Nature deserves much of the credit for this year’s crop of apples and pumpkins.

Roethle says some orchards like theirs will offer pick-your-own apples and pumpkins in the coming days. He does advise apple pickers to follow the rules of the orchards because some varieties may be up to a month away from being considered ripe enough to pick. Wisconsin orchard owners produce approximately 56 million pounds of apples yearly, while the state's pumpkin patches produce about 29.5 million pounds.

Popular Fish Creek spot up for sale

It is not melting away, but you might see somebody new scooping custard at popular stop in Fish Creek. Commercial realtor Ed Rudd recently broke the news that Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard along Highway 42 in Fish Creek is up for sale. In his listing, Rudd says the owners are looking to retire after running the popular restaurant for 40 years. According to their web site, Clay and Susie Zielke bought the location from local fishing legend Stanley Anderson. What started as frozen custard shop evolved into a place to get burgers as well in 1987. Rudd’s listing reiterates that Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard is just up for sale and is not closing. The listing price for the property is $5,000,000, or the equivalent of over a million scoops of frozen custard. 

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

Door County island gets a new name

An island near Little Sturgeon has a new name for you to call it thanks to the United States Department of the Interior. The department announced new names for nearly 30 different geographic features in the state, including those with the word “squaw,” which is an offensive term among Native American tribes. One of the places that received a new name was the island just off the coast of Little Sturgeon near Keyes Creek. Because of that location, the island will now be known as Keyes Island. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced the plan earlier this year to change the names of geographic places if they contained racial slurs. Interior Secretarial Order 3404 declares the term squaw derogatory and implements procedures to remove the term from federal usage. The new names were based on public comments received by the department. While Keyes Island is what the federal government will call it, municipalities do not have to change signage or anything else to reflect the name change.

 

Less people donating more money to charity

While you may not notice it in a non-profit’s bottom line, there is a growing concern in the world of charitable giving that is being seen locally. Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy states that only half of U.S. households donated to a charity in 2018. That was the lowest it had been in almost 20 years. American households with more than $200,000 in wealth have been picking up the difference, according to the 2021 study, with eight of ten donating to a charity. Some have pointed out that wealthier Americans only donate to charity because of the tax deductions they receive. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says that is a myth, adding that there is no situation where a potential donor is better off donating money rather than keeping it.

Bicoy does share the concern of fewer Americans donating to their favorite charities, which could have bigger impact on how much money charities can raise in the future. He adds that giving in Door County continues to be strong despite the roller coaster ride the stock markets have been on for the last few months. In his experience, Bicoy says it would take a sustained bear market or a recession for a noticeable impact on charitable giving in the community.

Youth organizations ramp up recruiting efforts

With school back in session, local youth organizations like Boy Scouts, 4-H, and Girls Scouts hope your kids will join them. The pandemic and busy family schedules contributed to a steeper decline in membership levels in recent years. As pandemic restrictions began to lift, numbers started to level off and even improve in some cases. Bay Lakes Council BSA-Voyageur District Director Bobbi Gordon, who oversees Cub Scout packs and Scouts USA troops in Door and Kewaunee counties, says she is encouraging her units to be more visible than in years past so the community sees them “do a good turn daily.”

Units for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H are all holding recruitment efforts in the coming weeks, but your child can join the organization anytime. You can see a schedule of some of those events below.

 

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

TUE, SEP 13 AT 5:45 PM CDT
Join Cub Scout Pack 4021
Bay-Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America - Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay

 

WED, SEP 14 AT 4:45 PM CDT
Join Cub Scout Pack 4112
Bay-Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America - Knudson Hall in Algoma

 

WED, SEP 14 AT 6:15 PM CDT
Join Cub Scout Pack 4042
Bay-Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America - Luxemburg Sportsmans Club

 

THU, SEP 15 AT 5:45 PM CDT
Join Cub Scout Pack 4052
Bay-Lakes Council, Boy Scouts of America - Denmark VFW

 

 

GIRL SCOUTS OF THE UNITED STATES

THU, SEP 29 AT 6:15 PM CDT
DIY Fidget Party | Kewaunee Elementary
GSNWGL - Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes - Kewaunee Elementary School

 

A similar event occurred at Luxemburg Primary School earlier this week. 

 

4-H

SAT, OCT 8 AT 12:45 PM CDT
4-H Open House
Kewaunee County 4-H, WI - 213 Elm St, Luxemburg, WI 54217

Sturgeon Bay to host walk, Sister Bay church hosts speaker on Alzheimer's

You can walk for more than just pets on Saturday as Sturgeon Bay will also be the host of the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Over $12,000 has already been raised to spread awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. It will be held at Graham Park, with the opening ceremony beginning at 9:40 a.m. before the walk kicks off at 10 a.m.

 

The event comes a week before former Wisconsin governor Marty Schreiber returns to Door County to speak at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County as the featured speaker at the church’s Sunday service on September 18th at 10 a.m. Schreiber details his experience caring for his wife Elaine after she developed Alzheimer’s in his book “My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver.” He cared for his wife for 18 years before she passed away in April. You can learn more about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and Schrieber’s appearance in Sister Bay by clicking the links.

Crossroads gets $50,000 grant for land restoration

A nature reserve in Sturgeon Bay will expand work to restore the ecological health of Big Creek thanks to a 2022 Coastal Program Grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Crossroads at Big Creek announced the $50,000 awarded grant Tuesday, and Executive Director Laurel Hauser says the funds will help to improve the health of the stream corridor that drains about 6,300 acres just north of Sturgeon Bay.

 

 

Crossroads 3,000 feet of stream corridor is a recognized migratory bird stopover habitat and has a habitat for spawning pike and suckers, as well as plant management.  You can be part of the Crossroads ecological restoration by volunteering on Saturday mornings from 9:30 until 11:30. Volunteers cut seed heads from reed canary grass near Big Creek. Engaging volunteers and hiring contractors is funded through a grant Crossroads received from the USFWS.

 

(photo submitted:  Volunteers cut seed heads from reed canary grass near Big Creek. Engaging volunteers and hiring contractors is funded through a grant Crossroads received from the USFWS.)

 

YMCA closes in on Capital Campaign goal

With the Door County YMCA groundbreaking for its $10.3 million expansion less than one week away, the organization is only $600,000 away from the goal. Mission Advancement Director Tonya Felhofer says the plan was originally for a $7-8 million project. She says excitement is building throughout the YMCA community and anticipates that the Heart of the Community Capital Campaign should be wrapped up by the end of the year.

 

 

The Door County YMCA is working with Boldt Construction on the new addition and remodeling to minimize the amount of disruption to the operations at the Sturgeon Bay facility. Felhofer adds the groundbreaking will be at 10 am Tuesday, September 13, with an expected ribbon-cutting planned for Labor Day weekend of 2023. 

 

You can listen to the full interview with Tonya on the "Y Wednesday" podcast page here. 

Find out more about the League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters of Door County wants you to get more involved in voting and learn more about its organization. A “Get to Know the League” meeting is planned for Tuesday, September 27. The League will open the Baileys Harbor Town Hall from 4 until 6 pm to share information about the group's many aspects people may not know while getting acquainted in a social setting. The League of Women Voters of Door County is open for both women and men to join. You can RSVP for the “Get to Know the League” by clicking here. The League is also hosting a candidate forum for the State Senate in District One between Andrea Gage-Michaels and Andre Jacque at the Southern Door Auditorium on October 10. 

 

(photo courtesy of League of Women Voters Door County) 

Sister Bay residents voice support to save Village Hall

About 70 residents of Sister Bay shared their thoughts on the future of the maintenance building and the Village Hall on Tuesday evening. The Village of Sister Bay heard public comments before their scheduled Parks, Property, and Street Committee meeting. Sister Bay Administrator Julie Schmelzer says the consensus was to tear down the current Parks Maintenance building and rebuild it at the sports complex or on some recently acquired land. She says the sentiment was to use the maintenance building site for parking and not to sell it for commercial purposes.

 

 

Schmelzer says the Village Hall discussion centered around the building being an icon and landmark that should be repaired and saved.

 

 

The Park, Property, and Street Committee will consider the public comments when they meet on Monday, September 12, before making a recommendation to the Village Board, which could take action at their meeting on September 20.

Sturgeon Bay reassigns waterfront agreements from WRA to City

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council moved quickly on five agenda items on Tuesday, including three approved recommendations that will pave the way for the city to dissolve the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority. 

 

The council unanimously voted to reassign the interests of the WRA in the Stone Harbor Resort, Bridgeport Resort, and Harbor Club Marina Development agreements and to quitclaim any related property interests to the City of Sturgeon Bay. Another WRA agreement will be addressed at a later council meeting, according to Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak. 

 

The council also approved a first reading of the rezoning of five and one-half acres of land along South Hudson Avenue to R-3 zoning that gives flexibility for the development of single-family housing in the future. The city is still looking for a developer for the property.

 

For the record, a resolution was passed expressing gratitude to Curt Witynski and Gail Sumi, leaders of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, for their years of service.

 

Mayor David Ward closed the meeting, reporting that the city has been working on over 20 projects this year, including the recent new store opening of Door County Ace Hardware on Egg Harbor Road. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting adjourned after just 35 minutes. 

Land Trust receives Egg Harbor shoreline donation

You will hopefully see birds make a pit stop along the shores of Egg Harbor thanks to a land donation to the Door County Land Trust.

 

Executive Director Emily Wood announced over the weekend that the Nevins family donated two parcels totaling over nine acres of land. The Nevins donated the land near Egg Harbor as a tribute to their parents, Pat and Gordy. The land has been in the family’s hands for three generations, with Gordy inheriting the land from his father, Harry, who bought the land from Door County naturalist Ferdinand Hotz. Susan, Nancy, and Lori Nevins enjoyed the experience with their parents on the land but ultimately decided donating the land to the Door County Land Trust was in the area’s best interest to protect it and honor their parents' lives.

 

Wood says the property includes 385 feet of undeveloped Green Bay shoreline with a rocky beach ridge and wetland swale. Protecting this from development plays a significant role in reducing surface and groundwater pollution by runoff. The land could also be home to a wide variety of insects, small amphibians, berries, and nuts, all of which are essential for migratory birds to stop off along the Lake Michigan flyway, one of the five major migratory bird flyways in North America. The donation of the two parcels pushes the Door County Land Trust to nearly 9,000 acres protected through long-term care and permanent protection. 

Student loan forgiveness program welcomes sin from scammers

If you are in the running for possibly having up to $20,000 of your federal student loans forgiven, make sure you know to who you are giving your information.

 

The Better Business Bureau is trying to be proactive on possible scams after the Biden Administration announced the student loan forgiveness program last month. Those who made under $125,000 last year will be eligible to enroll between early October and the end of the year. According to USA Today, consumer protection groups say the timeline is too short, and the tight window could cause confusion for borrowers. Enter scammers, who were able to take advantage of other recent large government programs related to pandemic relief, such as the vaccine rollout, the eviction moratorium, and payroll protection loans.

 

The BBB is telling borrowers to learn the terms of their student loan and how the program could impact them. Wisconsin is one of over a dozen states treating the forgiveness program like earned income, meaning you will have to claim it on your taxes next year. The organization also warns you to be wary of out-of-the-blue phone calls, emails, or text messages about the available programs and not to pay anybody to take advantage of them.

 

Up to 27 million people who borrowed through the federal Pell Grant program could see the most benefit from the program, many of whom come from families making less than $60,000 a year.

 

The National Taxpayers Union, a fiscally conservative advocacy group, suggests the average burden for each U.S. taxpayer will be approximately $2,500.

Election sign vandalism and theft already a problem

You have over two months before the fall general election in November, but local law enforcement is already seeing the impact of the season’s tension. Signs representing both political viewpoints have been vandalized in Door and Kewaunee counties just weeks after the partisan primary decided the fall election’s final candidates. In Kewaunee County, Sheriff’s deputies have had to investigate several reports of stolen election signs in addition to vandalism of a pro-life billboard. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it is a reflection of what is being seen in a society where everything now is “I’m right, and you’re wrong.”

Stealing those cardboard signs carry a high cost if you are caught. The fine for a petty theft misdemeanor could range between $200 and $400. You can read more from Sheriff Joski below. 

 

MORE FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the need for civility and respect as it related to the current election season that we find ourselves in. Of course, respect and civility should be character traits that we all aspire to every day of our lives, but it is when views or beliefs that may differ from our own are introduced that these traits truly matter.

     

Although I had asked that we all respect each other’s personal opinions and especially each other’s personal property, some missed that memo, and unfortunately, we had a few that took it upon themselves to both remove and destroy some election signs which had been placed on individual’s personal property throughout the county.

     

For many law enforcement agencies, these types of crimes may not have been an issue they would direct resources to, but while the value of property may have been minimal, the message it sends to our community could not be stronger. We have always taken great pride as a community in our willingness to support each other. While communities across the country struggle to arrive at a place of mutual respect and appreciation for each other, we have always been there and take for granted the amazing quality of life we have here in Kewaunee County. The acts of property theft or damage to property can not and will not stand. Do we have bigger crimes to investigate, absolutely, are crimes like these a diversion of valuable resources, no doubt but we are blessed to live in a community where we can still address the small matters while also aggressively going after the larger ones. In short, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and I will not use the excuse of limited resources to negate our obligation to preserving peace and order.

     

In the investigation of these crimes, we took a unique approach and brought to bear some of the latest technology which provided us an effective investigative tool at a very limited cost to our budget. In deploying this technology, we were able to both locate the evidence of the incident as well as determining those responsible.

     

The process of accountability now begins and I hope that the swift resolution to these crimes, brings both deterrence to any considering similar actions in the future as well as closure and justice to those victims who were affected.  

      

I want to personally thank our Investigative Team that worked so diligently on these cases. Too often we are deluged with the negative stories of law enforcement, or those who have been victimized that do not get resolution. Please know that we take each and every crime reported to us not only as a serious violation against the respective victim, but to our profession itself and the community that so faithfully supports us.

Door County breaks COVID hospitalization streak

Door County did not report any new hospitalizations in its weekly COVID-19 situation update for the first time since July 25th.  

 

Twenty-five new cases of COVID-19, along with 82 total tests submitted, were the lowest in several weeks. Numbers do not include those who use at-home tests. Kewaunee County reported one new hospitalization and 27 additional cases of COVID-19 during their Friday update. Both counties are among the 29 in the state currently at the medium community level for COVID-19. 

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - September 6, 2022 

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  
Total Tests: 31,444 (+82)
Positive: 7,577 (+25)
Probable: 440 (+2)
Negative: 23,427 (+55)
Hospitalizations: 261
Deaths: 65 
*Data regarding deaths may be delayed due to processing of medical reports at the state level. To see the timeline of when deaths occurred in Door County, follow the link below and use the filter to select Door.
https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

 

Public to provide input on Sister Bay Village Hall's future

This weekend’s Marina Fest could have been the last time you celebrate alongside the Sister Bay Village Hall.

 

The village’s Parks, Properties and Streets Committee will host a public input session on Tuesday after its Plan Commission voted last month in favor of removing the deteriorating structure from the Sister Bay Waterfront.

 

The future of the building has been on the mind of village officials and residents since 2007, when discussions concerning a waterfront redevelopment plan were first introduced. In 2014, an architect drafted plans to rehabilitate the building for use as a reception venue. It was noted then in village documents that remodeling the structure would be futile and cost-prohibitive because of the poor condition of the building.

 

The village has received several letters supporting keeping the building intact, citing the stone used to build the structure as a significant reason. One correspondence included in the meeting packet for Tuesday’s meeting did applaud the Plan Commission, saying she would like to see it torn down to add to the village’s greenspace. You can see the full agenda and read the correspondences by clicking this link. 

 

The special in-person meeting for the village’s Parks, Properties and Streets Committee will take place on September 6th at 6 p.m. at the Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire Station on Mill Road.

 

Cullen family extends helping hands to area pets

Area pets need your help, and Kewaunee High School junior Christopher Cullen can direct you on where to go. Cullen is collecting food, treats, paper towels, blankets, and other pet-related items for the Animal Referral Center of Green Bay, Door County Veterinary Hospital in Sturgeon Bay, Lakeshore Community Food Pantry of Kewaunee, Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay, and Violence Intervention Project of Algoma. He is no stranger to helping out his fellow residents in need undertaking several service projects over the years out of the kindness of the family's hearts. Cullen says some of the organizations even reached out to him for assistance,  noting his success in collecting items for other causes over the years. He says it means a lot to be able to help and for the community to support him.

The Providing for Pets Drive will take place September 17th-September 25th will collection boxes set up at the Kewaunee Piggly Wiggly, Denny's in Algoma, and Holy Rosary Parish in Kewaunee.

 

Picture by James Cullen

Sturgeon Bay to close up WRA business

The City of Sturgeon Bay will take more steps at Tuesday’s common council meeting to assign past agreements back to the city that the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority (WRA) had made over the years.  City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the council decided to dissolve the WRA about four years ago, and the lengthy process of reworking many of the real estate and development agreements the WRA was party to is slowly being accomplished.

 

 

The recommendations that will be considered Tuesday will be to reassign the interests of the WRA in development agreements with Stone Harbor Resort, Bridgeport Resort, and the Harbor Club Marina.  Van Lieshout says the WRA is still listed on some parking lots and quitclaim deeds that must be reassigned before the organization can be fully dissolved.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting on Tuesday will begin at 6 pm at City Hall.   

Destination Sturgeon Bay looks ahead to Harvest Fest

Summer’s last gasp was possibly this weekend, but Destination Sturgeon Bay has the festival for you if you’re already looking forward to fall. 

 

The Sturgeon Bay Harvest Fest and Street Art Auction take place on September 17th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but it unofficially starts the night before. That is when the Old Bolts Car Club parades its classic vehicles through the streets of Sturgeon Bay before setting up shop at Martin Park. With an expanded farm and craft market, a stein holding contest, live music, food, and more, Destination Sturgeon Bay’s Rachel Malcore says a lot is going on to help you celebrate the beginning of fall.

You can participate in the Street Art Auction even if you can not physically make it to Sturgeon Bay on September 17th. You can bid on your favorite decorated cherries by clicking this link.

Traffic stops not the revenue generator you think

The next time you are pulled over on the road by local law enforcement, it is not because the deputy is trying to earn a few bucks. For many people, traffic stops could be one of the few times they interact with a police officer or sheriff’s deputy. In Kewaunee County, patrol deputies issued 1,073 citations for traffic enforcement. That could amount to over $188,000 in fines if they were all speeding violations of up to 10 miles per hour over the limit. As Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski details below, that money goes to many different places. Surcharges for the jail, the crime lab, the circuit court, and the justice information system are all part of the equation. Joski says they would much rather have a simple conversation with you if it can regulate reckless behavior on the roadways.

This could be a busy time of the year for local law enforcement as travelers return home from their Labor Day weekend vacations and adjust to having farming implements and school buses back on the road.

 

FROM MATT JOSKI1

Honor Flight teaming up with Wisconsin pro sports teams

You may be joined by a player of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, or Milwaukee Brewers on the next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. The organizers announced the plans on Friday to involve Wisconsin’s three professional sports teams for the Flight of Champions, which will pair players with groups of veterans as they are flown from Milwaukee and Green Bay to Washington D.C. on October 8th. Over 200 veterans will be a part of the special flight, adding to the thousands that have already gone on the journey as a thank you to them for their service. Recently, residents from Door and Kewaunee counties have been a part of similar trips with Old Glory Honor Flight. Baileys Harbor Fire Chief Brian Zak shared his experience being a guardian for a veteran from Sister Bay earlier this year. You can learn more about the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and Old Glory Honor Flight by clicking the links.

NERR update coming this week

The City of Sturgeon Bay will find out more this week about the site selection for the natural areas of the Bay of Green Bay National Estuarine Research System (NERR). The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will host public meetings to share the preliminary recommendations for NERR on Wednesday and Thursday. Sturgeon Bay, Green Bay, and Marinette are the three locations being considered for the proposed NERR facility that will be decided on sometime in 2023.

 

A partnership with NOAA, The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR) is a national network of 30 sites across the coastal US, including the Great Lakes, designed to protect and study estuaries and their coastal wetlands. The mission of the NERR System is “To practice and promote stewardship of coasts and estuaries through innovative research, education, and training using a place-based system of protected areas.”

 

The in-person meeting will be from 1:00pm until 2:30pm Wednesday, September 7 with a virtual conference held from 3:30 until 5:00 pm on Thursday, September 8. Details on the meeting and how to participate are provided below.

 

Both events will offer the same information and are open to the public.

 

1) In-person on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 1-2:30 pm (central time) at the S.T.E.M. Innovation Center on the UW-Green Bay Campus, 2019 Technology Way, Green Bay, WI 54311.
 
2) Virtual on Thursday, September 8, 2022, 3:30-5 pm (central time) via Zoom. If requested upon joining the virtual meeting, the meeting ID is 995 5126 4991, and the attendee access code is NERR. Participants may also join the meeting by phone by using this toll-free number +1 312 626 6799, and meeting ID 995 5126 4991, and attendee access code 688730.

Blasting concerns shut down Sturgeon Bay road

An alternate entrance to Sturgeon Bay's Target store will not be available to you to use until the end of the week. City Engineering Technician Brian Spetz alerted community and media members on Friday that an access road between South Duluth Ave. and the eastern edge of the store's parking lot would be closed until at least September 9th. The road is closed due to the city's concerns with blasting work being done by contractors to install sewer and water lines for a nearby apartment project. 

Community Spotlight: Baileys Harbor's Joe Miller

Sports bring people together, and if you know Joe Miller of Baileys Harbor, it also means putting food on people’s pantry shelves. Over the last several years, Miller’s love for collegiate sports has resulted in more than just bragging rights for winning pools for the college football bowl season and NCAA Basketball Tournament. Participants have been able to make voluntary donations to area food pantries, with the winners getting to choose where the money goes. The pool’s victors coordinate matching funds to make the win even sweeter, so the donation goes even further. Miller says because of everyone’s generosity, he has been able to help coordinate close to $43,000 in donations for food pantries across the country, including the Door County Food Pantry Coalition.

His sports card sales, like the one he is holding at his home in Baileys Harbor this weekend, have also raised well over $100 for the Door County Food Pantry Coalition.

Experts warn of spotted lanternfly's arrival

It is not here yet, but you may soon have to keep an eye out for an invasive species in Door County’s cherry orchards and grapevines. Originally from Asia, the spotted lanternfly has been making its way west since it was first found in 2014 in Pennsylvania. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, the insect feeds on plants and leaves a sugary substance in its wake that could attract other insects and cause moldy fungi to grow. PJ Liesch from the University of Wisconsin Entomology Department says it is unknown when the spotted lanternfly could make it to the state because it is more likely to move from state to state as eggs than the insect itself. He also points out that while some parts of Wisconsin may be unsuitable for the spotted lanternfly, Door County may not be as lucky.

If allowed to establish itself in Wisconsin, it could have a $5.1 billion negative impact on the state’s economy. 

 

Video and picture provided by Wisconsin DATCP

Don't Put Your Kayak Away Yet! -- Kayaking Series VII

We all know that Door County is one of the premier locations in the Midwest to view those amazing fall colors.  And I can tell you from personal experience enjoying them from the water is great!  So, don’t put your kayak away yet; there’s great kayaking all fall and into November if the weather cooperates.  I’ve talked about places to launch in Door County and in fall I’d suggest the two launches at Peninsula State Park, which will put you on some great water to view the colors on Eagle Bluff.  I also enjoy the colors and kayaking in and around Ellison Bay Bluff.  But there’s not a bad place to kayak and view the colors in Door County!

 

I’ve talked about this in the past, but as we got into summer, many of the bigger smallmouth bass go deeper, which is a challenge for anglers in boats or kayaks.  However, as the water cools, those smallies begin to come back in shallower.  Probably not as shallow as in the spring, but in a normal fall, you’ll find them in that 8 to 20-foot range.  For my fall fishing, I’m still using the Ned Rig with buoyant soft plastics, 2.5-inch tubes, and smaller soft plastic swimbaits.   

 

Two points of caution with fall kayaking and fishing from a kayak.  Be sure to wear proper cold weather gear and be sure to check the forecast related to the wind.  I’m only kayaking and fishing close to shore just in case of an emergency.  Also, always wear your PFD no matter what time of year you are on the water!

 

It’s been great sharing my thoughts about kayaking and kayak fishing with you again this year, and, as always, if you have any questions email me at kayakfishingwisconsin@gmail.com.

 

 

Wisconsin Harvest of the Month: Peppers

Peppers are a wonderful Wisconsin fruit full of flavor and nutrients.

 

Peppers are a fruit that come in a variety of colors, flavors, and spice levels. The most common varieties are sweet peppers, such as green, red, and yellow bell peppers, and hot peppers such as jalapeños and habanero.

 

Peppers, of all types, are excellent sources of Vitamin C, Folate, and Vitamin E. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and is an antioxidant. A single serving of red and yellow bell peppers provides 169% of your daily requirements, more than an orange! Folate is known to help prevent birth defects and is used in producing red blood cells. Vitamin E is another antioxidant that helps prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

 

Try a variety of peppers to find which you enjoy most! Bell pepper slices pair well with your favorite dip. Replace chips with crunchy bell peppers as a great way to add more vegetables to your day. Adding a spicy pepper to your meals is a great way to add heat, and flavor, without adding a ton of extra calories.

Election Inspector General program welcomed for transparency

 A new division being set up by the Wisconsin Elections Commission could help you have more trust in what happens at your local polling place. Commissioners of the embattled WEC voted 6-0 this week to approve $1.3 million to create an Election Inspector General program across the state. The ten full-time staff members would be in charge of responding to misinformation, complaints, and requests for records related to elections. The WEC has been bogged down with answering inquiries brought about by the 2020 election. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the WEC received an average of 15 formal complaints a year regarding elections, which swelled to 50 a year since 2020. Public records requests have also ballooned from 15 to well over 100. Jay Heck from the voting rights advocacy group Common Cause Wisconsin says although he believes the past elections have been safe and secure, he hopes the new office will help ease the concerns of those who do not.

The new program still has its hurdles as it has to make it into Governor Tony Evers’ two-year budget proposal for the state legislature. That would require Evers first to win the November election against his Republican challenger Tim Michels. He has said he would abolish the WEC and replace it with something else if he emerges as the race’s victor. 

Extension sets corn moisture testing dates

You will be able to find out how much longer you will have to wait to harvest your corn for silage later this month.

 

The Extension UW-Madison offices in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties will be hosting a pair of corn dry-down events on September 14th at the Door County Co-Op and on September 15th at the Luxemburg location of the Rio Creek Feed Mill. Temperature, humidity, and rainfall all contribute to how dry, mature corn grain is so farmers can determine if it is time to harvest.

 

Like many crops this year, corn is running about two weeks behind last year and a day behind the five-year average, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Crop Progress Report. Only about 24 percent of the state’s corn crop has reached the dent stage, which is about two to three times moister than the 23 to 25 percent moisture level farmers are looking for when they harvest. The Farm Journal estimates the United States will produce 13.759 billion bushels of corn this year, its smallest crop in three years.

 

You can learn more about what you need to know about this month’s corn dry-down events below.

 

 

Community level downgraded to medium in Door County

You should still take precautions, but things are improving on the COVID-19 front if you pay attention to the Centers for Disease Control’s Community Levels. After a month of being listed at the high level, Door County’s COVID-19 community level was downgraded to medium on Thursday. It joined Kewaunee County as one of 29 counties in the state at the medium level. Fifteen counties remain at the high level, and the remaining 28 are listed as low. The metric is based on the number of new cases and hospitalizations and the current number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-positive people. Earlier this week, the Door County Public Health Department announced three recent COVID-19-related hospitalizations plus 57 additional cases. The same day, the state announced an expansion of its self-testing program. You can click this link to receive five rapid antigen COVID-19 tests at no cost.

Algoma closes sale of Long Term Care Unit

The City of Algoma officially sold the Algoma Medical Center and Long-Term Care Unit on Thursday afternoon.  The new owners, Sam and Abby Follman of Mequon, purchased the facility for $1.5 million after approaching the city in October of 2021.  Follman says the goal is to continue growing the business and the great care provided to people in the Algoma community and the greater Kewaunee County area.

 

 

One of the few municipalities in the state that still operated a long-term care unit, the Algoma Common Council voted last February to sell the facility.   Follman has experience as a Director of Operations for Skilled Nursing Facilities and is venturing into ownership for the first time.  The Algoma Long-Term Care facility has 42 bed and provides skilled nursing and rehabilitation care.  

 

(Photo of City of Algoma Administrator Matt Murphy, Sam and Abby Follman, and Algoma Mayor Virginia Haske)

Wisconsin Humane Society Door County Campus, Al Johnson's announces matching program

Dogs, cats, and other animals under the care of the Wisconsin Humane Society Door County Campus want your help thanking some goats this month. The Wisconsin Humane Society Door County Campus announced on Thursday that Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay will match all donations from now until the organization’s pet walk on September 10th up to $5,000. With the increase need to help all animals that come to the Sturgeon Bay area shelter, Wisconsin Humane Society Event Coordinator Lori Nachtwey says this is a good way to really stretch those dollars.

The annual Pet Walk Door County is the Wisconsin Humane Society Door County Campus’ biggest fundraiser of the year. You can learn how to sign up for the event or donate to the organization by clicking this link. 

Habitat finding balance with three projects

You will find Door County Habitat for Humanity volunteers stretching the entire peninsula over the next few months as they continue to work on three separate affordable housing projects. Volunteers are working on two different home builds in Baileys Harbor and Sturgeon Bay. They are also assisting in renovating a home for a family in Algoma. It takes time, people, and money to take on the work. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the price of lumber alone has added another $14,345 to the price of a single-family home. Algoma’s Lakeside Community Church, the United States Coast Guard, UW-Milwaukee, and other groups have all provided valuable help to construction supervisor Chuck Stone and his site supervisors Richard Dannhausen and Tom Tuttle. Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen says without the extra support, they would not be able to do as much as they are this year.

Allen hopes they can hold dedications for all three projects later this fall. Door County Habitat for Humanity is already working ahead for next year’s home build as they prepare to announce the 49th partner family later this year. A recent golf outing hosted by the organization and the Door County Homebuilder’s Association raised over $25,000 for affordable housing projects in the area.

Door County YMCA receives $1M gift for Sturgeon Bay upgrades

Walking approximately 13,000 miles at the Door County YMCA Sturgeon Bay Program Center is part of the reason why you will see a transformed facility in the coming months.

 

The Door County YMCA announced Thursday that Denise and Dave Bunning, through their Sunshine Charitable Foundation, donated $1 million to the Heart of the Community Capital Campaign. Dave’s dad Jim was a mainstay at the Sturgeon Bay Program Center track, walking 44 laps several times a week for 23 years. His mom Barb also remained active, spending countless hours taking exercise classes at the YMCA.

 

A portion of the gift is being used to fund the $500,000 community challenge the Door County YMCA announced earlier this summer. The organization is trying to raise the final $650,000 needed to make the project a reality. The Door County YMCA will break ground on the over $9 million facility upgrade on September 13th. 

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