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News Archives for 2023-01

West side traffic lights being repaired by Wednesday

You will need to approach the Madison Avenue and Maple Street intersection in Sturgeon Bay with extra caution until the traffic lights are fully repaired and functional. Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik says an electrical contractor was contacted over the past weekend about repairing the signal lights. The lights temporarily flash yellow on Madison Avenue and red on Maple Street to control traffic. Shefchik says the problem will hopefully be taken care of by Wednesday, and an upgrade to the traffic lights is being considered.

 

 

The stop-n-go lights at the Maple and Madison Avenue intersection are the oldest set of traffic lights in Sturgeon Bay, according to Shefchik. 

Destination Door County collects over 1,000 items through bundle up campaign

Destination Door County thanks you for your help keeping residents warm this winter. The annual “Door County Bundle Up” campaign collected 1,002 cold weather clothing items between November 29th, 2022, and January 9th, 2023. Collection sites were located at Destination Door County’s office in Sturgeon Bay, Baileys Harbor, Ellison Bay, Egg Harbor, Ephraim, Fish Creek, Sister Bay, and Sturgeon Bay. Many of the items were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Door County, which in turn gave away the items over the course of two days last week. Jen Rogers from Destination Door County says it is still remarkable to see the community unite for a cause like this.

The “Door County Bundle Up” campaign has collected over 9,000 for local Door County organizations since its inaugural year in 2011. This marked the first year that the drive took place without the additional support of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

 

Mitten toss still warms Kassner's heart

Paige Kassner is thankful for your support for keeping the Warm Hands, Warm Hearts Mitten Toss a Kewaunee High School tradition. The Kewaunee native started the event as an eighth grader in 2012, approaching the school with an idea to help the less fortunate residents in northeast Wisconsin by collecting mittens, gloves, and other warm weather gear. She remembers being nervous about the first mitten toss, thinking about the possibility that one handful of mittens would be tossed out onto the court during halftime of the Kewaunee/Algoma basketball game. Over ten years and 65,000 mittens later, she is happy the event and her non-profit, Warm Hands, Warm Hearts, continue long after she graduated from Kewaunee High School.

Kassner currently offers choreography, mentoring, and inspiration to young dancers through her platform, Ultimate Expressions in Milwaukee. This year's mitten toss will occur between the boys' and girls' basketball games on January 31st. The girls play at 6 p.m., and the boys play at 7:30 p.m. 

 

 

LWV to host candidate forum for Sister Bay Village Board candidates

A crowded ballot is why the League of Women Voters of Door County hopes you attend the candidate forum in Sister Bay next month. The Sister Bay Village Board will see more change than several other governing bodies combined this spring. In December, Mary Lyon resigned from her post on the village board, and two other incumbents, Scott Baker and Chad Kodanko filed their non-candidacy papers, creating another pair of voids on the board if no one runs. While a replacement for Lyon will be appointed, Patrice Champeau, Nick Deviley, Vivian Nienow, Lilly Orozco, Andrew Torcivia, Alison Werner, and Sarah White are battling for the other open spots. The February 21st primary will narrow the field to six, while the April 4th election will decide who is seated on the board. The League of Women Voters of Door County hosts their candidate forum on Wednesday, February 15th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sister Bay Fire Station on Mill Road. For those who cannot attend the forum, the League of Women Voters of Door County is recording the meeting and will post a link to the video on their Facebook page.

 


Door County reports 75th COVID-related death

Door County hit a somber milestone last week as the public health department announced the 75th COVID-related death since the start of the pandemic.

 

It marred an otherwise positive report that saw the county reporting another 22 positive cases and no hospitalizations. Out of 72 counties, Door County and 63 others are in the low COVID-19 community level. Another one of those counties is Kewaunee County, which CDC data shows only had 14 additional cases of COVID-19 last week.

 

The World Health Organization fell short of removing the public health emergency designation from COVID-19 but admitted that the pandemic is at a “transition point” because the higher immunity among populations worldwide due to vaccination and infection will positively impact mortality rates. 

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - January 27, 2023

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  
Total Tests: 33,442 (+64)
Positive: 8,208 (+22)
Probable: 478
Negative: 24,756 (+55)
Hospitalizations: 275
Deaths: 75 (+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/data.htm

 

 

 

Gibraltar focuses on beach for potential grant funds

Over five years after the Town of Gibraltar bought more land and built a new shower house with restroom facilities, you could see more positive improvements at Fish Creek Beach.

 

Town officials are seeking grants from the Door County Community Investment Fund for soft surface placement removed from the beach playground and for an extension of its sidewalk toward the water. The approval of both projects could pave the way for more handicap accessibility at the Fish Creek destination. The town also mentioned repairs for the Sunset Park wall as a potential target for grant funds.

 

Approximately $1 million will be available from the Door County Community Investment Fund, a collaboration between Destination Door County and the Door County Community Foundation. Municipalities are spending the next few meetings discussing the grant ahead of the application deadline on April 6th.

 

The Town of Gibraltar will discuss the grant applications, along with new ordinances concerning speed limits on Gibraltar Bluff Road and mobile vending, on February 1st at 7 p.m. at the Gibraltar Town Center.

City discusses hotel, industrial building projects Tuesday

 A new hotel and a multi-tenant industrial building could be along your commute through Sturgeon Bay in the near future as the two projects head to the Finance/Purchase and Building Committee meeting on Tuesday.

 

The committee will first weigh in on the development agreement for a new 62-room Cobblestone Hotel located on the corner of 12th Avenue and Egg Harbor Road. It would be the hotel chain’s 35th property in Wisconsin, with the closest currently located in De Pere. The project would be located near a planned banquet and entertainment facility in the front portion of the former Pamida building. The city is offering $1.2 million in incentives. Officials believe they can easily pay off with extra money available to pay off other plan expenses in the Tax Increment District where the project would reside.

 

The committee will also look into a project with Howard Immel Inc. to build a 50,000-square-foot facility in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park. Slated for the recently purchased Zak property along Neenah Avenue, the facility would be big enough to house five tenants. The two sides seek a memorandum of understanding, allowing the developer to continue designing the building before entering a development agreement with the city.

 

The Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee will meet on Tuesday at 4 p.m. inside the Sturgeon Bay City Council Chambers.

Budget proposal pumps millions into students' mental health

If your kids or their friends struggle with mental health, help could be on the way. During his State of the State address last Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers called 2023 “the year of mental health” as he proposed $500 million over the next two years to be used to address it. Of that $500 million, more than half of it ($270 million) would be used for mental health programs for students. That would be on top of the millions of dollars pledged by the state to help schools develop their mental health programs. That would be good news for initiatives like the United Way’s STRIDE Program. STRIDE was designed to remove the barriers for youth to get the mental health services they need. Seventy kids can meet with a mental health provider because of the STRIDE program, and they serve dozens more through their STRIDE Mighty Teens Empowerment Project and summer arts camp. United Way of Door County Community Impact Coordinator Cami Peggar says the state funding could significantly impact locally, considering STRIDE depends on donations and grants to fund their work.

Almost half of Door County’s youth experience significant problems due to anxiety or prolonged sadness, adding to the importance that STRIDE can help provide one-on-one mental health services at all five Door County school districts. Evers is expected to include the proposal along with many others when he unveils his budget next month. 

L-C's Schanhofer named Golden Apple Awards' Teacher of Distinction

You will find one of the Golden Apple Awards’ Teachers of Distinction inside a high school social studies classroom at Luxemburg-Casco. Ali Schanhofer was one of the 22 teachers to earn the honor out of the hundreds of educators nominated for the Golden Apple Awards through the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce. More than 70 other educators from Algoma and Luxemburg-Casco school districts were nominated for the award. Teachers of Distinction are determined by community members, who base their decisions on nomination applications. Judges will now determine the Golden Apple Awards, awarded at Lambeau Field on April 19th.  

Math meets prepare students for inside and outside the classroom

The competition within the Packerland Conference High School Math Meets can go a long way in helping students problem-solve beyond the classroom. Sturgeon Bay High School Math Teacher and Coach Cliff Wind says the competitions offer individual problems and those that are handled as a team.

 

 

 

The first four meets this year were and will be at each of the eight individual schools in the conference.  The fifth and final meet will be held at Southern Door High School, where all individual honors and awards will be distributed to students. The Sturgeon Bay High School has won 21 consecutive Packerland Conference Championships. Wind credits the entire math program at Sturgeon Bay for its yearly success.


The much more difficult State Math Meet competition will be held in March, according to Wind. 

Ellison Bay man dies in early morning crash

Saturday morning in Ellison Bay began with a tragedy after a 33-year-old man died as the result of a single-vehicle crash.

 

The Door County Sheriff's Department was dispatched just after 4:45 a.m. to State Highway 42 between Humbug Road and Hillside Drive to a report of a heavily damaged SUV among some nearby trees. The initial investigation shows that Nathan W. McKillen of Ellison Bay was driving northbound when he lost control of his vehicle. He crossed over the centerline and entered a ditch on the north side of the road before striking several trees. McKillen was pronounced dead at the scene. 

 

STH 42 was closed for nearly four hours as emergency personnel conducted its investigation and cleaned up the crash scene. The incident is still under investigation and an autopsy is being conducted by the Brown County Medical Examiner's Office. The Door County Sheriff's Department was joined by the Liberty Grove and Sister Bay First Responders, Door County Emergency Services, and Door County Highway Department for support.

Crossroads hosts Door County Reads, Master Gardener programming

Door County Reads began this week. Sponsored by the Door County Library and its Friends of Door County Libraries support group, Door County Reads is an annual exploration and celebration of a specific book. And since the inception of this event, Crossroads at Big Creek has participated. This year, because the book, "Raft of Stars," is an outdoor adventure, Crossroads programs will focus on outdoor adventure as well.

 

Our contribution to Door County Reads will be offered on Sunday, February 5. At 1:00 p.m., our Program Director Corey Basten will lead a guided hike through the trails of Crossroads to discuss human and animal survival in winter. Then at 3:00, Mike Madden will present Survival Skills, starting indoors with a talk and then moving outdoors for a demonstration on fire starting.

 

The meetings of the Junior Nature Club are always an adventure, and this week, puppeteer Nancy Hawkins will be back to present one of her charming puppet shows in the Lecture Hall at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Weather conditions allowing, the pre-school-aged children and their companions will have a short outdoor trek following the show.

 

On Friday, February 3, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., Crossroads will host a Campfire at our Council Ring. Participants will not experience the frightening feeling of being lost in the woods because the path will be lit by luminaires, but at the fire, in addition to our usual marshmallows, as a tip of the hat to "Raft of Stars," we will have a few cans of tuna available for tasting. Nature will provide the spooky night sounds — possibly courting owls. 

 

Saturday morning, for folks who think they might want to embark on the adventure of keeping bees, the Door County Beekeepers Club is hosting an informative, interactive workshop from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., to teach participants about basic equipment, tools and techniques – how to choose the best hive location, how to obtain and install bees, and what to expect during the first year of beekeeping. All participants will receive half off a club membership. The workshop will be held at Crossroads at Big Creek, 2041 Michigan St. To register, email contact@doorcountybeekeepersclub.org. The $25 workshop fee partly supports restoration and pollinator plantings at Crossroads.

 

The first weekend of each month on Saturday afternoons, Crossroads will be highlighting community science projects with a workshop format we call Crossroads Science Academy. Families and learners of all age are invited to drop by the Collins Learning Center between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. to learn how use apps to document such things as weather conditions. (Hopefully, our conditions will not be quite as dire as those in “Raft of Stars.”)

 

But speaking of community science and using apps, Bird Club will meet on Tuesday, February 7, at 6:30 p.m. While not an organized club (at this point), folks who want to learn about birds and especially those who want to be get involved in eBird are encouraged to attend.

 

The bird profile for February will be “Northern Cardinals—the Valentine Birds.” The main program, presented by Program Director Corey Batson, will be “From Feathered Caps to Conservation Apps,” an overview of how the abuses of the plumage trade led to bird conservation. This program is free and open to the public. It meets in the Lecture Hall.

 

On February 9, Door County Master Gardeners will present a live Zoom presentation: “How to Make Your Garden a Pollinator's Paradise.” Speaker Mark Dwyer will explain how even small gardens can support native pollinators through the incorporation of appropriate plantings. Dwyer will discuss ways to increase the “pollinator appeal” of your landscape. View the program on the big screen in the Collins Learning Center or on-line. For a Zoom invitation, contact info.crossroadsatbigcreek.org. Please put DCMGA in subject line.

 

Finally, Ski-for-Free is a wonderful outdoor adventure. We will open this weekend if there is adequate snow to groom. Visit www.crossroadsatbigcreek.org for trail conditions and hours of operation.

 

Wednesday, February 1

10:00 am Junior Nature Club Puppet Show

Puppeteer Nancy Hawkins will present one of her fabulous puppet shows in the lecture hall. Following the show, if weather conditions allow, the preschool-aged children and their adult companions will have short outdoor adventure. Meet at the Collin Learning Center.

 6:00 pm Library Author Talk

Baptiste Paul, a Green Bay-based children’s author, will be presenting programs at four of Door County’s five school districts this month. Come to this evening program if you want to see what all the excitement is about. As a special treat, we will also have children’s author Miranda Paul, who has her own long list of titles, both with and without collaboration with her husband Baptiste. If you would like to purchase a book and have it signed, a variety of their books will be available.? Free and open to the public. Colllins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

Friday, February 3

5:00-7:00 pm Campfire

Follow the luminary-lit trail from the main parking lot to the Council Ring to enjoy fellowship around the Campfire and maybe roast a few marshmallows. Free and open to the public. The trailhead is located a 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Saturday, February 4

8:00 am-12:00 pm Introduction to Beekeeping

The Door County Beekeepers Club is hosting an informative, interactive workshop to teach participants about basic equipment, tools and techniques – how to choose the best hive location; how to obtain and install bees; and what to expect during the first year of beekeeping. All participants will receive half off a club membership. The workshop will be held at Crossroads at Big Creek, 2041 Michigan St. in Sturgeon Bay. To register, email contact@doorcountybeekeepersclub.org. The $25 workshop fee partly supports restoration and pollinator plantings at Crossroads.

 

1:00-4:00 pm Science Academy

Crossroads will highlight community science projects within a workshop format we call Crossroads Science Academy. Families and learners of all age are invited to drop by the Collins Learning Center any time between 1:00-4:00 pm to learn how use apps to document such things as weather conditions.

 

Sunday February 5

 1:00 pm Door County Reads Guided Hike

Join Program Director Corey Batson on a walk through the trails at Crossroads at Big Creek. Corey will discuss human and animal survival in winter. Dress for the weather. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.

 

3:00 pm Door County Reads Survival Skills with Mike Madden

Join Mr. Madden at Crossroads as he discusses the things you need to survive out in the wilderness. The program begins inside but will end up outdoor with a demonstration on how to start a fire. Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.

 

Tuesday, February 7

6:30 pm Bird Club

While not an organized club (at this point), folks who want to learn about birds and especially those who want to be get involved in eBird are encouraged to act like birds of a feather and gather. The bird profile this month with be “Northern Cardinals—the Valentine Birds.” The main program, presented by Program Director Corey Batson, will be “From Feathered Caps to Conservation Apps,” an overview of how the abuses of the plumage trade led to bird conservation. This program is free and open to the public. 2041 Michigan St, Sturgeon Bay.

 

Wednesday, February 8 10:00 am Junior Nature Club

Weather permitting, pre-school-aged children and their companions will visit the cedar forest. Please dress for the weather. If weather is extreme, the club will meet in the Wildlife Room. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center 2041 Michigan St, Sturgeon Bay.

 

Thursday, February 9

6:30 Door County Master Gardeners live Zoom presentation: “How to Make Your Garden a Pollinator's Paradise.”

Speaker Mark Dwyer will explain how even small garden can support native pollinators through the incorporation of appropriate plantings. Dwyer will discuss ways to increase the “pollinator appeal” of your landscape. View the program on the big screen in the Collins Learning Center or on-line. For a Zoom invitation, contact info.crossroadsatbigcreek.org. Please put DCMGA in subject line.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County and Greater Green Bay merging

You will see two regional youth organizations combining forces shortly. On Friday, the Boys & Girls Club of Door County announced that it would be merging with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay on March 1. The merger will not cause any location closures or staff layoffs, according to the Clubs.


In a statement, Boys & Girls Club of Door County Board Chair Erich Pfiefer said, “While we believe strongly in the power of coming together, great care is being taken to ensure that both Clubs remain connected to their respective communities. We are committed to providing the same high-quality services that have been the hallmark of both organizations for decades.”


The merger will mean that over 3,000 youth and families will be served, making the combined clubs one of the largest youth development agencies in Northeastern Wisconsin.  Each club will keep its name and branding for Door County and Green Bay.

Kewaunee County manure case moved to March

A Kewaunee County farmer and two associates will have another month to prepare for their upcoming case involving their manure handling procedures.

 

According to court records, the complaint against farmer Johannes Wakker, manure hauler Gregory Stodola, and crop consultant Benjamin Koss were amended on Wednesday. The amended complaint only applies to Stodola and his company, Stodola Ag Transport. Stodola is the only one of the three facing misdemeanor charges for polluting a waterway. Wakker, Koss, and Stodola are all facing felony charges for conspiring to commit a crime and falsifying written records related to the farm’s nutrient management plan.  On Friday, additional correspondence was submitted, and the court date was moved from February 1st to March 7th.

 

The original complaint alleged Stodola far exceeded the manure spread on his farmland in late 2019. The amount so far exceeded what Wakker’s permit allowed, resulting in pollution discharges into tributaries leading to Lake Michigan with E. Coli bacteria readings as much as 100 times that would result in the closure of a public beach. The DOJ complaint further states that Stodola created a document that grossly underreported the manure spread by over 1.9 million gallons.

 

The court case will begin with an initial hearing with Judge David Weber presiding on March 7th at 10:30 a.m.

Washington Island School prepared for upcoming referendum

If you live on Washington Island and the upcoming school district referendum is approved, you will not see your mill rate on your property taxes go up by more than a few pennies. 

 

The Washington Island School District Board approved the language for its forthcoming recurring referendum, which has become a biennial rite of spring on the island. If approved, the operational referendum would allow the school district budget to exceed the revenue limit by $935,000 for the 2023-2024 school year and $935,000 for the 2024-2025 school year. For taxpayers, the mill rate would increase from its current $4.04 two cents in its first year ($4.06) and an additional cent ($4.07) the following year. Washington Island residents, which carry the brunt of the school’s funding, approved the district to exceed the revenue limit by $775,000 in its last referendum vote two years ago. The question will appear on the spring election ballot on April 4th.

 

Green Bay airport flying high after growth

Customer demand is helping you see more planes leave Green Bay’s Austin Straubel Airport. The airport saw passenger traffic rise more than 14 percent in 2022 over 2021 as airports worldwide inch closer to pre-pandemic levels. According to Aviation Week, passenger traffic worldwide reached 70 percent of its pre-pandemic traffic in 2021, which could rise as high as 85 percent in 2023. Planes leaving Austin Straubel Airport are 90 percent full, something Airport Director Marty Piette says is exceeding the national average.

Airline carriers have also noticed the increased demand for flights arriving to and departing from Austin Straubel Airport. In the coming months, you will see larger planes from Delta serving Green Bay flights to Atlanta and more flights between the city and Detroit. Frontier is also prepared to resume its non-stop flights between Green Bay and Denver next month.

Brutal cold enters the area next week

Make sure you throw on an extra sweater and a thicker pair of socks when you go outside next week. The National Weather Service is predicting the area’s coldest weather since last Christmas, when wind chills were below freezing. Beginning on Sunday night, low temperatures will struggle to stay above zero degrees, with negative readings predicted for Monday and Wednesday. With colder temperatures comes harder working furnaces, and Jeff Blemke from Ultimate Air in Luxemburg suggests you make sure your filters are clean now to save your units from wearing out faster.

Holding your home’s temperature steady, reversing the flow of your ceiling fans, and clearing obstructions away from your air vents are other ways to stay comfortable without taxing your unit. Single-digit temperatures and potential negative windchills are predicted to last through at least Thursday.

Door County Habitat for Humanity kicks off 30th anniversary with celebration campaign

Your support can help make Door County Habitat for Humanity’s 30th year one to remember with big goals on the horizon. Thursday marked the organization’s kickoff for its anniversary campaign as it hopes to raise $30,000 over the next 30 days. Two new homes, 50 home repair projects, 20 deconstruction projects, and expanding its campus are just some of the organization’s goals for 2023. Executive Director Lori Allen says she knows the goals are lofty, but so are the affordable housing needs in Door County.

Even with volunteers providing the labor, building costs for homes built by Door County Habitat for Humanity are approximately $200,000. The Door County Habitat for Humanity 30th Anniversary Campaign, which will include special events at its ReStore, runs until February 28th. 

Door Shakespeare announces 2023 season

You will be able to catch one of William Shakespeare’s plays under the stars in Baileys Harbor this summer. Door Shakespeare announced on Thursday it will be presenting Shakespeare’s As You Like It and the PigPen Theatre Company's  The Old Man and The Old Moon. Producing Artistic Director Amy Ensign, entering her first season in the new role, said this season is full of joy.

 

“It is a celebration of who we are and the journeys we take to get there. It explores challenges that lead to discovery and a deeper understanding of person and place.”

 

She can’t wait for the stories to take shape when Door Shakespeare returns to its home at Bjorklunden in Baileys Harbor. Leda Hoffmann and Scott MacKenna Campbell will return to Door County to direct the productions. Door Shakespeare’s 27th season will run from June 28th through August 27th.

 

Correction: It was previously written that The Old Man and The Old Moon was written by William Shakespeare. The story now reflect that change.

Bookings go up at Kewaunee County Jail

You would have seen more people get processed at the state’s small jail in 2022, according to Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski. A total of 710 people were processed at the Kewaunee County Jail, up from 628 in 2021. Nearly half of those were non-custody bookings, which occur when a person is not physically arrested, and the offense was not immediately reported. Joski says it is just a sign of the county coming out of the pandemic.

The Kewaunee County Jail’s average population exceeded its maximum again in 2022. The average population was just over 30 people, approximately eight more than what is usually allowed. To help juggle its numbers, Joski says electronic monitoring and sending many female inmates to Door County are just some ways it helps balance its population. It also shows how much the new jail will be needed.

Staffed by 14 deputies, the department’s jail division doubles as its dispatchers. That role will continue even when the new facility is built in the coming years. You can dive deeper into the numbers from the jail division below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

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

         

The Jail is staffed by 14 Deputies, who carry out the various duties which are set forth by state statute, federal law, as well as department policy. These men and women are also tasked with the duties of Dispatcher which is very unique in the State of Wisconsin. I believe that there are only a handful of Departments which are still configured in this manner and it speaks volumes as to the professionalism and competence of these men and women.

           

Every person arrested in Kewaunee County is processed through our jail and the following are some of the most common criteria for bookings, which for 2022 were a total of 710 compared to 628 from the previous year.

         

The first is that we call non- custody bookings. These are bookings that occur when the individual is not physically arrested. This may be in the case where the offense was not immediately reported, and it is through investigations that the probable cause for an arrest summons was completed. It could also be where we are not able to locate the suspect at the time of the event, and we are able to send charges up to the District Attorney’s Office for his consideration. These bookings accounted for 339, as compared to 309 of the total bookings in 2021.

          

The next most frequent category is pre-sentence bookings which totaled 214, in comparison to 132 last year. These are bookings which are for those who are currently awaiting the completion of their court process but do not meet bail criteria. These can be some of our lengthiest stays as the legal process itself is complex and lengthy at times.

            

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

       

So many ask what our daily population is here in Kewaunee County. Over the past few years, we have had various factors impact our Jail’s daily population. The first of course were the effects of the pandemic, coupled with the transition from one Circuit Court Judge to another. Both of these have impacted our daily population and extended some stays beyond the traditional time period. As I stated earlier, our maximum capacity is 22 and for 2022 our daily population average was 30.51 with males representing 26.24 and females 4.25 throughout the year. as compared to 2021 which was 29.22 with males representing 24.17 and females 5.05 throughout the year. The average stay is approx. 8 days with the shortest stay at approx. 1 hour and the longest stay at 365 days.

       

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

         

Along with the duties of Jailer and Dispatcher, these men and women also facilitate all of the transports which are required not only locally but many times across the state to bring inmates to Kewaunee County for court as well as monitoring the Huber Program (Work Release) and Court Security. These men and women give multi tasking a whole new dimension and we are fortunate to have them serving in these roles to keep our community safe. Contrary to some beliefs, these Deputies are Law Enforcement Officers just as their counterparts in Patrol and Investigations and are a vital component of the Criminal Justice System. Next week I will share some information from 2022 as it relates to our Patrol Division.

             

Legislative Days continues in 2023

After a primarily virtual edition in 2021, you will be able to advocate for your communities as a part of the Door County/Kewaunee County Legislative Days delegation. Members of the steering committee have been meeting to discuss various issues they would like to bring up to legislators when they head to Madison in April. Past topics discussed have included broadband internet access, school start dates, water quality, child care, and the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. New to the process this year is Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Michelle Lawrie and her counterpart in Kewaunee County, Ben Nelson. Lawrie says she will have to dust off her lobbying skills, but she is excited to bring the issues directly affecting the peninsula to Madison with other residents in tow.

The Door County/Kewaunee County Legislative Days steering committee could use your help even if you cannot head to Madison for the event on April 19th and 20th. You can click on this link to submit your ideas on issues for the delegation to present to legislators. 

 

You can also learn more about Door County/Kewaunee County Legislative Days by clicking this link,

State of the State leaves local rep encouraged

The upcoming state budget could have you seeing more money go toward concerns like mental health, education, and water clean-up. On Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers presented some of his ideas for the 2023-2035 budget as a part of his State of the State Address in Madison. With an expected $7.1 billion budget surplus, the Democratic governor outlined plans for redirecting more state aid to local governments and school districts and millions of dollars to address PFAS water contamination and mental health services. Rep. Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay believes Governor Evers and Republicans agree on many areas the state needs to address. They just need to get to a point where they can negotiate and work together.

Kitchens was happy to see the Governor’s plan to dedicate $20 million to improving reading skills at Wisconsin schools. He had several bills vetoed by Governor Evers last session that would have addressed the issue by overhauling the state’s current reading-readiness assessment program. You can watch Governor Evers’ State of the State Address and the Republican response by Speaker Robin Vos below.

 

Republican Response

Kewaunee County farmers earn dairy leadership positions

You will recognize many of the faces on the boards for two of the biggest voices for dairy in the state. Lee Kinnard of Kinnard Farms in Casco was elected president of the Dairy Business Association for a two-year term. He previously served the DBA as its vice president in addition to his roles with Peninsula Pride Farms and Farmers for Sustainable Food. He was joined on the DBA Board by two other members of Peninsula Pride Farms: Nicolet National Bank’s Chris Schneider and Dvorachek Farm & Industry’s Jesse Dvorachek. 

 

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, the country’s third largest dairy cooperative and a sister organization of the DBA, will still feature Jamie Witcpalek of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee on its board. She continues to follow in the footsteps of her father, John Pagel, who served as the cooperative’s president from Edge’s start in 2010 until his passing in 2018. 

Three perfect scores highlight Packerland Math Meet, as Sturgeon Bay finishes on top

The Sturgeon Bay Math team came away with a narrow victory this week in the second Packerland Conference math meet of the year.  Three perfect scores of 40 points were registered, including senior Luke Nell of Sturgeon Bay and junior Ezra Linnan of Sevastopol.  Nell had a perfect score in last week’s competition as well.  The Clippers’ varsity team scored 243 points, while Sevastopol High School finished second with 228 points.  Sturgeon Bay math teacher and Coach Cliff Wind says the competition helps the students excel at math and prepare for the state competition.

 

Sturgeon Bay has won 21 straight conference championships and currently holds a 40 to 34 lead in the standings over Sevastopol and NEW Lutheran, who are tied in second place with 34 points.  You can find the complete results from this week’s Packerland Conference Math Meet below.  

 

 

Seniors

Name

school

score

 

1

Luke Nell

NEW

40

Perfect score

2

Christy Braun

STURGEON BAY

37

 

3

Espen Walker

STURGEON BAY

35

 

4

Brady Paul

NEW

35

 

5

Zittlow, Laura

SOUTHERN DOOR

32

 
         

Juniors

       

1

Ezra Linnan

SEVASTOPOL

40

Perfect Score

 

Jade Tomberlin

STURGEON BAY

   

3

Zittlow, James

SOUTHERN DOOR

37

 

4

Ben Stephens

STURGEON BAY

31

 

5

Hwang, Hannah

NEW

30

 
         

Sophomores

       

1

Luke Selle

STURGEON BAY

40

Perfect Score

2

Logan Filar

SEVASTOPOL

31

 

3

Chabrie, Maurits

KEWAUNEE

30

 

4

Tre Wienke

STURGEON BAY

28

 

5

Jack Konop

STURGEON BAY

26

 
         

Freshman

       

1

Grant Pieschek

SOUTHERN DOOR

21

 

2

Keira Wesley

STURGEON BAY

21

 

3

Levi Ullman

STURGEON BAY

14

 

4

Reid Kacmarynski

SEVASTOPOL

14

 

5

Aaron Tomasewski

SEVASTOPOL

13

 
         
         

Varsity Teams

       

1

STURGEON BAY

 

315

20

2

SEVASTOPOL

 

243

18

tie 3

NEW

 

241

15

 

SOUTHERN DOOR

 

241

15

5

KEWAUNEE

 

175

12

6

GIBRALTAR

 

152

10

7

ALGOMA

 

113

8

8

OCONTO

 

79

6

         

JV Teams

9 total teams

     

1

STURGEON BAY

#2

217

30

2

SEVASTOPOL

#2

113

28

3

STURGEON BAY

#3

110

26

4

KEWAUNEE

#2

60

24

         

Varsity Standings

 

League points after 3 meets

   

1

STURGEON BAY

60

   

2

SEVASTOPOL

52

   

3

NEW

49

   

4

SOUTHERN DOOR

41

   

5

KEWAUNEE

36

   

6

GIBRALTAR

32

   

7

ALGOMA

22

   

8

OCONTO

20

   
         
         

 

 

 

BUG Fire Department honors firefighters with awards

The recognition of several volunteer firefighters was on display earlier this month in Brussels. The Brussels-Union-Gardner (BUG) Fire Department celebrated its own by awarding Years of Service Recognition, Newly Retired, and the Annual Golden Axe Award.   Captain Bryan Jeanquart was presented with the annual Golden Axe Award, a distinction for going above and beyond the call of duty over the past year.   Fire Chief Curt Vandertie presented the awards to eight active firefighters who have served BUG Fire for at least five years, including Dan Vandertie and Galen Baudhuin for 35 years of service. Fire Chief Vanderie also recognized four new members of the department and the three newly retired firefighters, Dean Tassoul, Joel Daoust, and Mike Hanson. You can find the complete list of awards posted below.

 

5 years:

Dalton Everard

Eric Micolichek

10 years:

Mike Paye

20 years:

Jamie Kluth

25 years:

Bob Massart

Curt Vandertie

35 years:

Dan Vandertie

Galen Baudhuin

The following are Newly Retired:

Dean Tassoul: served for 25 years as a Firefighter at Station 1

Joel Daoust: served for 16 years in positions of Firefighter and Captain for Station 1

Mike Hanson: served for 10 years as a Firefighter at Station 2

The fire department also welcomed 4 new members who joined during the past 12 months. They included Danelle Micolichek, Andrew Martyn, Noah Slamka and Sarah Daul

Golden Axe:  Bryan Jeanquart

 

 

 

 

(photo courtesy of BUG Fire, Jeanquart receiving Golden Axe Award)

YMCA planning community breakfast for February

For the first time in three years, the Door County YMCA will be holding its Community Breakfast in person at Stone Harbor Resort and Conference Center next month.  The event has been held annually to celebrate past successes at the YMCA and raise awareness of the Membership For All program.  New Mission Advancement Executive Tyler Powell says this year’s Community Breakfast will also recap the “Heart of the Community” Capital Campaign used to renovate and expand the Sturgeon Bay Program Center.  He says the journey of the past two and one-half years will be shared about the over $10 million raised for the improvements.

 

 

Featuring a free breakfast and presentation, the event is open to anyone, YMCA members or not.  You can register for the Community Breakfast being held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 16, by clicking on the link.

Municipalities, organizations line up for Community Investment Fund

Thanks to Door County room tax dollars, your local municipality and favorite organizations could be in line for a significant grant. The Door County Community Foundation and Destination Door County announced the Community Investment Fund at the beginning of the year to provide assistance to improve the quality of all who live, work, and play on the peninsula. The two organizations hosted three different meetings in the weeks since to share details about the grants, which will range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the project. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says they have met with several organizations and municipalities already about ideas they might have for the potential grants. He says the biggest hurdle is with Wisconsin State Statutes since the money being awarded comes from room tax dollars.

Bicoy encourages those seeking funds to meet with his staff to assess their idea before submitting an application. The grants will be awarded quarterly, with applications due at 4 p.m. on April 6th, July 6th, October 5th, and January 4th. The Door County Community Foundation will hold one more public meeting about the Community Investment Fund on February 9th at 10 a.m. 

 

You can listen to more about the Community Investment Fund by listening to our interview with Destination Door County’s Julie Gilbert by clicking this link.

Door County historian Evenson passes away

Without the work of George Evenson, much of what you know about Door County could have been lost in history. Evenson passed away on Sunday at the age of 93. A graduate of Sevastopol High School, local preservation was important to Evenson both historically and environmentally. He served three governors on the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Board and was also a member of the Nature Conservancy Board. Evenson purchased St. Mary’s Church in Namur from the Diocese of Green Bay for a dollar, later helping the structure become the Belgian Heritage Center. Belgian Heritage Center Board Member Bill Chaudoir says Evenson was proud of the history of Door County. 

He served as the president of the Door County Historical Society, overseeing land and lighthouse preservation. He also lent a hand preserving other sites in the county, including Crossroads at Big Creek, The Farm, the Door County Granary, and the Hanson House. Laurel Hauser, the Executive Director of Crossroads at Big Creek and the President of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, says she learned a lot from Evenson.

Funeral services will be held this Friday at 2 p.m. at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Valmy. You can read the full obituary here.

Kewaunee swears in Mueller as police chief

The City of Kewaunee officially ushered in a new era on Monday as Robin Mueller was sworn in as its new Chief of Police.  City officials honored retiring police chief James Kleiman, Jr. before officially pinning the badge on Mueller. Kleiman announced his retirement three months ago and tapped Mueller, then his assistant police chief, as his replacement. Mueller has been on the force in Kewaunee for over 20 years and will serve the community as the department’s first female police chief.

 

 

Grant extends Midsummer's performances for Alzheimer's patients

You will be able to see those who have Alzheimer’s and their caregivers continue to tap their toes and hum a few bars, thanks to Midsummer’s Music. The performing arts organization received a $10,000 Challenge America award from the National Endowment of the Arts for its B Double Sharp program with its Griffon String Quartet. Since the group’s inception, the Griffon String Quartet has performed in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help connect those with Alzheimer’s with music. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies have shown that music may reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues that are common in the middle stages of the disease. Executive Director Allyson Fleck says it is a powerful moment to see a simple tune engage with an audience, no matter where the venue may be.

The grant received by Midsummer’s Music was one of 262 Challenge America awards, representing $2.62 million announced as a part of the NEA’s first round of giving this year.

Bay of Green Bay closing to commercial traffic

Starting Wednesday, you won’t see any commercial vessels navigating the southern Green Bay waters. The United States Coast Guard announced that the Captain of the Port Sector Lake Michigan would be closing all waters southwest of a line extending from Peshtigo Point to Sherwood Point in the bay of Green Bay at noon on Wednesday, January 25th. Commercial boaters will be off-limits, and the U.S. Coast Guard will cease breaking ice for commercial traffic. The bay is expected to be reopened in early spring, weather permitting.  

Door County Reads kicks off this week

The “Raft of Stars” will dock this week as the Door County Reads celebration begins. Taking place in Wisconsin, Andrew J. Graff’s “Raft of Stars” is about two boys running away from home after an incident and the four adults who try to track them down. Physical copies of the books have been available since late November at Door County Library branches, while digital versions can also be found on the Libby and Hoopla apps. The first scheduled events begin on  January 26th, when the Egg Harbor Library hosts the first of many book discussions throughout the county, and the Sturgeon Bay branch hosts a screening of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. 

 

Door County Library Director Dominic Frandup hopes the enthusiasm for the book translates to good attendance at their events.


The official kickoff is on January 29th, when the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor plays host to speaker Ron Lang.

 

You can click this link to find a complete schedule of this year’s Door County Reads celebration.

Organizations drumming up support for tower restoration

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society and the Potawatomi Park Alliance want your help to send a message to Madison about the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower. The two organizations expressed their frustrations shortly after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the architectural firm GRAEF presented their plans for the observation tower located at the state park outside of Sturgeon Bay. The plans both involved ADA-compliant ramps in reaching the top of the structure depending on whether the current tower is restored or if a new one is built. Depending on the option, it could cost up to $7.5 million, something Dave Allen from the Potawatomi Park Alliance says could be feasible, but the tower may not be able to be saved in time if they wait for the fundraising dollars to come in to support the project. He suggests the tower itself be restored for $500,000 so something is better than nothing.

Governor Tony Evers said he would include the most popular option from the DNR’s survey of tower options into the 2023-2025 budget. The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society and the Potawatomi Park Alliance are collecting their own information about the topic while presenting the restoration of the observation tower with no ramp as a fifth option. Allen hopes they can get an audience with the governor to see where he stands on the issue and to make an in-person appeal to save the tower.

Time just as good as money for area non-profits

If you cannot afford to make a big donation to some of your favorite non-profits this year, if at all, there is still a way you can support them with your time. According to the philanthropy website GreaterGiving.com, 26 percent of nonprofits anticipated that small gifts would be critical for their revenue, with almost 40 percent saying they would be very important. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says small donations were critical to their organization, raising their second-highest amount of over $776,000. She added that while dollars are nice, some organizations could use your time

Kohnle says things as simple as picking up food and stuffing envelopes are just some ways volunteers can support their efforts without costing them a dime. You can contact your favorite non-profit organizations to see what volunteer opportunities they may have for you.

Door County reports 74th COVID-related death as FDA shifts vaccine strategy

Door and Kewaunee counties remain at the low community level for COVID-19 despite some sad news delivered last week.

 

The Door County Public Health Department reported its 74th COVID-related death last Friday when they made their second update of the week. The update also noted that 25 of 39 tests administered came back positive for the virus. Door County did not report any additional hospitalizations.

 

In Kewaunee County, the Centers for Disease Control data shows 13 new cases were reported in a week through January 18th.

 

Nationally, NPR reports that the Food and Drug Administration would treat the COVID-19 vaccine similarly to what is done now with the flu by trying to predict the dominant strain heading into the fall. Proponents of the change say it is an appropriate strategy considering where the country is with the pandemic. At the same time, opponents question the desire for continued boosters, especially with how rapidly the virus can mutate and the current low demand for the shots. The topic will be discussed at their meeting on Thursday.

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - January 20, 2023

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  


Total Tests: 33,378 (+39)
Positive: 8,199 (+25)
Probable: 478
Negative: 24,701 (+26)
Hospitalizations: 275
Deaths: 74 (+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/data.htm

Griffon String Quartet looking for new members

You could be the newest member of a popular quartet of musicians in Door County, as Midsummer’s Music is in the process of accepting applications to fill three positions of the Griffon String Quartet.  The resident string quartet is in need of Violin II, Viola, and Cello musicians.  Violinist and founding Griffon member Roy Meyer says the ensemble had relied on guest professional musicians to play the roles recently.  The Griffon Sting Quartet musicians have performed throughout northeast Wisconsin giving private and group lessons and educational outreach to school-age children.  Well known for the pop-up concerts in the area during the holidays, the quartet’s B Double Sharp program presents miniconcerts for seniors and disabled.  Applications are being accepted online at www.midsummermusic.com.  The deadline for applying for the Griffon String Quartet is March 15 with the season running from September through May every year.  Beginning in 2018, the quartet is a groundbreaking project to enrich the lives of children and adults throughout northeast Wisconsin through concerts, workshops, and music education outreach.  

Legislature poised to move on PFAS with surplus money

In the wake of another Wisconsin community being negatively impacted by PFAS contamination, leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature are aiming at the issue with the state’s budget surplus. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Health Services (DHS), and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) announced on Friday that they issued well-specific drinking water advisories in the Town of Stella in Oneida County. The advisories were needed after dozens of residences found high concentrations of PFAS in their water. The state regulators issued a similar PFAS-related warning to those who might eat fish caught in Lake Wausau and the Stevens Point Flowage. The human-made chemicals are also known as “forever chemicals” and have been linked to certain cancers, liver damage, and decreased fertility. State legislators are now looking at the state’s nearly $7 billion budget surplus as a starting point to get something done. Clean Water Action Council Executive Director Dean Hoegger says it is an important issue that needs money to address it.

Hoegger says PFAS and nitrate pollution were the two main topics he addressed when Governor Tony Evers recently held budget listening sessions in Green Bay.

Phone familiarity leads to overall call drop in Kewaunee County

You are getting better at using your phone, and the proof is in the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department Communications Center numbers. According to Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski, its communication center responded to 8,220 calls in 2022, less than the approximately 9,000 calls it received in 2021. The biggest drop came from 911 hang-ups which dropped nearly 400 year-over-year. Joski credits the change with people becoming better educated about how their phones work and the apps that they use. He adds that the better technology may have caused the number of calls they received for things like traffic offenses, welfare checks, and citizens. Joski believes people feel more comfortable safely calling the police when issues arise.

Fourteen men and women alternate shifts at the Kewaunee County Communications Center to provide 24/7 coverage throughout the year. You can dive deeper into the numbers behind the calls in the dispatch calls below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

For this week, I would like to continue in my annual report to the community and focus on what is many times the first point of contact that our community has with not only the Sheriff’s Department but all of our emergency services as well; our Public Safety Communications Center. As I have written on many times, our Dispatchers are very unique in that they are not just serving in the capacity of Dispatchers, but do double duty as Jailers as well. While their job duties as Jailers are very important, I am going to focus on their roles as Dispatchers and cover the Jail operations in next week’s article.

           So, what is a Public Safety Communications Center? It is the answering point for all of our County’s 911 lines along with the Sheriff’s Department non-emergency phone lines. It serves as the sole resource for dispatching our local emergency services including Law Enforcement, Fire and Emergency Medical services.

           It is also our single point of contact for all local law enforcement agencies as well as our State Law Enforcement partners operating within our county. This means that every traffic stop, vehicle accident and call for service is relayed through our Dispatchers as they conduct record checks for criminal history, vehicle registration, driver’s license, warrants, probation records, and bail conditions so that the Deputy and/or Officer out on the street maintains the best possible situational awareness.

           As it relates to answering 911 calls, it is the Dispatcher who receives the calls from frantic callers, and they must be the calming voice to assure the caller that services are on the way, while obtaining vital information for the resources responding.

          Our Communications Center is staffed by 14 men and women who work alternating shifts to provide the 24 hour a day 265 days a year service. This staffing level has remained at this level for the past twenty years, even though the call volume and demands has increased significantly. In 2000 when we began our current computer records system we received and responded to 5,079 calls. In 2022 we responded to 8,220.

          The highest frequency of calls that we receive are categorized as “Rescue Calls” which accounted for 1,312 calls. This is up from 1,287 calls in 2021. These calls range from citizens who may be in their homes experiencing medical emergencies to patients at local clinics who are in need of transport due to a medical emergency. In each of these calls our dispatchers lay an important role in obtaining vital information about the patient and then following up with the appropriate response based on location and sense of urgency.

         While much less frequent, another category of emergency calls we receive are those requesting the service of our local fire departments. In 2022 we received 76 calls versus 98 in 2021. While not as frequent as other calls, these incidents are typically very involved and require a great deal of coordination and communication. These calls also last a great deal longer as the responding agencies work together in both the initial response as well as the lengthy efforts to completely extinguish the fire, preventing future flare ups.

        The next most frequent are 911 hang ups at 586 which compares to 990 in 2021. These are many times accidental mis-dials which require follow up either by our dispatcher or in many cases actually sending an officer to the location where the call came from. Thanks to Next Generation 911 we are able to determine the location of these calls in the event that the caller is unable to provide location information. If these calls are determined to be legitimate calls for service their status is then changed to reflect the nature of that incident. It is notable that there was a decrease, which is most likely attributed to an increased familiarly with personal devices and the various apps and features which can trigger unintentional 911 call.

         Following 911 hang ups is the category of “Citizen Assist” which account for 366 which is up from 299 calls the previous year. These calls range in nature from assisting people who have locked themselves out of their homes to assisting with civil matters where law enforcement is asked to be present during a volatile situation.

        The next two that I will cover came in with very close numbers. “Welfare Checks” at 294, down from 335 and “Suspicious Activity” at 251 which is down from 296 in 2021. Actually, these two are very similar in that the caller is concerned about the activity of either someone they know and would like them checked on or someone they do not know and want us to investigate. In either circumstance these again are very important calls and show that our community is involved in the well-being and security of their community.

         Another category of calls we have seen an increase in are the “Animal Problem” at 282 which is almost exactly the number from the previous year at 286. These are unfortunate situations which typically result from the actual or perceived lack of care that an animal is receiving or the lack of control that an animal owner is maintaining over their pets. These types of calls can be easily reduced by those of us who own pets being a more attentive and responsible pet owner.

       “Traffic Offenses” are next with 299 this past year, up from 273 calls in 2021. These types of calls have been on the increase since the advent of cell phones as members of our community serve as an extra set of eyes out on the roads. These calls are greatly appreciated and send a clear message that we are all holding each other accountable as motorists. We would just ask that if you do call in a traffic offense to do it in a safe manner that does not jeopardize your own safety or cause you to be distracted from your own driving.

       If you have any questions on any information I have provided, please feel free to reach out to me. There is nothing I enjoy more than sharing information about the amazing work that is done here at the Sheriff’s Department.

        I hope this information has been helpful, and I look forward to covering the operational overview of our Jail in next week’s article.

 

Door County looks to improve beach monitoring program

Door County officials are looking to make it even safer for you to swim at some of its beaches.

 

The Door County Board will weigh in on a proposal to install beach warning lights at five beaches in the county to alert swimmers of potentially high bacteria levels. In recent years, Door County has worked with UW-Oshkosh to test the swimming waters at 25 area beaches. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says problems can occur after the beaches test positive for high bacteria levels. The delay in posting a beach closure could be a day or two, potentially exposing visitors to dangerous bacteria levels when issues were already known. Health and safety warnings could be issued remotely by installing the beach warning system.

 

Pabich proposes installing the beach warning light system at five Door County beach locations: Otumba in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, Egg Harbor, Frank Murphy County Park, and Ridges County Park. To pay for the $40,000 pilot program, the county would tap into its Environmental Initiative Project allocation from its available American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. If the program is successful, the county could also approach the newly-formed Community Investment Fund through the Door County Community Foundation and Destination Door County for a grant.

 

The topic will be discussed during Tuesday’s Door County Board meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. 

Radon continues to be a silent killer

While cigarette smoking is still the number one cause of lung cancer in the United States, the runner-up in the category could lurk in your home. January is Radon Awareness Month recognizing the deadly, radioactive gas that is naturally in the ground and enters buildings through the foundation. At an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, radon causes more cases of the disease among non-smokers than second-hand smoke. Five to ten percent of homes in Wisconsin have elevated radon levels on the main floor. Radon levels can vary from county to county and even neighborhood to neighborhood. In Kewaunee County, the average radon level is 6.2 pCi/L (picocuries per liter), and in Door County, it is 5.1 pCi/L. Both are above the national average of 1.3 pCi/L, and over the  2.0 to 4.0 pCi/L, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends Americans install a radon mitigation device. The Kewaunee County Health Department encourages residents to purchase a short-term test kit to make sure there are safe from the harmful effects of radon. The tests are available for $8 from the Kewaunee County Health Department.

87th annual Lumberjack Dinner Wednesday

You can enjoy a traditional meal and community event with over 80 years of history in Sturgeon Bay this coming week.  The United Methodist Church Men’s Club is hosting the Lumberjack Dinner on Wednesday, January 25th, with dine-in seating for the first time in three years.  Event co-chair and Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward says the tradition dates back to accommodating the crews on furlough that worked on Great Lakes freighters docked in Sturgeon Bay during the winter.

 

 

A limited number of 500 tickets are available at the church office, online, or at the door.  Over 50 volunteers will serve the Lumberjack Dinner in the church’s Fellowship Hall with carry-outs available starting at 3 pm and dine-in from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.  Mayor Ward will act as the host and seat everyone attending as well.  

DNR accepting comments on S&S Jerseyland expansion

A Door County dairy farm’s herd could double in size by 2026, according to a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit receiving a hearing next month.

 

S&S Jerseyland Dairy, owned by the Schmidt family near Maplewood, looks to increase the number of animal units on its operation from 7,156 to 14,711 by March 2026. That is the equivalent of 9,200 cows, 560 heifers, 1,500 small heifers, and 1,575 calves. It would put them on par with other large dairies in Kewaunee County.

 

Of greater concern to some residents is the over 95 million gallons of manure the farm is expected to produce, up from the almost 47 million gallons the site produces now. According to documents from the DNR, Jerseyland Dairy has 9,256 acres approved in its nutrient management plan, including more than 7,000 approved for manure spreading, depending on the time of year. In addition to its anaerobic digester on site, S&S Jerseyland Dairy has 191 days of liquid manure storage space, 11 more days than the DNR’s mandated minimum of 180 days.

 

There is pushback from groups like the Friends of the Forestville Dam, which says the agricultural run-off over the top of thin soils and fractured bedrock has damaged the Ahnapee Watershed, which flows through much of Door and Kewaunee counties. The DNR has pre-approved the WPDES permit, but they will hold a virtual public hearing on February 7th at 10 a.m. You can click on this link to preregister for the hearing.

State parks begin hosting candlelight events

Snow or not, you can explore Wisconsin’s state parks guided only by the stars in the sky and the lights along its trails. The end of January marks the beginning of such events, which get visitors outside on cold winter evenings to experience the park’s beauty while enjoying warm drinks and conversation. Whitefish Dunes State Park will host their Candlelight Ski and Hike on January 28th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a warming fire and refreshments available inside the picnic shelter and a bonfire outside. Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park President John Swanson says it is a great way to get families back outside after the holiday season.

Two of Door County’s four other state parks will host their own winter trail events in February. Peninsula State Park will host its candlelight ski event on February 4th. Newport State Park will welcome guests for its candlelight hike and ski on February 11th, and Potawatomi State Park will host its winter trails day on February 18th. You can click on this link for more information. Swanson says the Friends group has a busy 2023 planned thanks to a strong volunteer base, including improvements to its trail signage, picnic shelter, and staircases.  

 

Photo from Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park

Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army team up for free coats

If you or someone you know needs help bundling up this winter, the Boys and Girls Club of Door County and the Salvation Army can help you next week. The two organizations are teaming up to offer free coats, gloves, and hats while supplies last to community members in need on January 23rd and 24th. A limited supply of snow pants and snow boots may also be available. Those interested can pick up the needed items in the Boys and Girls Club of Door County lobby near the alley entrance off of Nebraska Street between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

 

 

Mild weather putting ice fishing season on thin ice

You may have to start thinking about next year when it comes to getting some quality ice fishing this winter. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), only approximately three percent of the Great Lakes are ice-covered, which is 18 percent below average for January. Only pockets of the Bay of Green Bay are above 50 percent for ice concentration, a critical factor in if it’s safe enough to ice fish. Ice fishing guide Jimmy Doering of Cast and Catch Charters in Sturgeon Bay doubts it will be safe enough to ice fish on the bay this year, saying it usually has to be completely ice covered from Green Bay to Chambers Island for that to happen. As a safety precaution, he has been canceling several of his trips this year.

This could be the first time in his five-year career as an ice fishing guide that Doering does not take a group out onto the bay for a trip, adding that other guides have compared this year to 2012. If you can find a safe spot to ice fish, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers free fishing this weekend, allowing you to drop a line without having a license.

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Ag-Career Days return in April

For the first time since 2018, you will find kids learning about a future job in agriculture, thanks in part to the efforts of the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation.  Approximately 900 students from Kewaunee, Luxemburg-Casco, Algoma, Southern Door, and Denmark School Districts will participate in the two-day event at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy. Students will be exposed to careers in agriculture, from agronomy and animal care to cheese-making and technology support. About 2,300 jobs in Kewaunee County are directly tied to agriculture. 

 

 

“We are excited to bring back Ag Career Days,” says KCEDC Executive Director Ben Nelson. “KCEDC has a strong commitment to supporting the agriculture industry, which is so important to our area. Ag Career Days is a hands-on opportunity for middle-school students to learn more about the various aspects of agriculture, allowing
them to tailor their high-school coursework towards a planned career path."

 

Agriculture is big money in Kewaunee County with an over $80 million impact, $65 million of which comes from the dairy industry. Ag-Career Days traditionally rotates with Kewaunee County’s manufacturing career day every other year.

 

Photo courtesy of the KCEDC from the 2016 event

Scandia Village odd man out as Good Sam consolidates operations

You will see a new name on the sign in front of Sister Bay’s Scandia Village in the future. Late last week, the Evangelical Good Samaritan Society announced it would consolidate its operations from 22 states to just seven. Wisconsin and 14 other states did not make the cut, meaning that Sister Bay’s Scandia Village and a home care facility in St. Croix Falls, Wis. are up for sale. According to Skilled Nursing News, the company, which recently merged with Sanford Health, is investing $350 million in a virtual care initiative. Staffing concerns were likely also a factor, as the Good Samaritan Society had over 2,000 openings across its over 140 communities. 

 

In an email shared with Skilled Nursing News, Good Samaritan Society President and CEO Nate Schema said facilities in the additional 15 states would gradually transition to other operators. Ten of those facilities, located in Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington, have potentially found a new operator with Cascadia Healthcare. 

 

Scandia Village comprises the Woodview assisted living apartments, the independent-living Villa homes and Meadows apartments, and a skilled-nursing facility. 

DOT study to help determine potential Fleet Farm intersection

RecentThe latest example of this will be in the coming months as the City of Sturgeon Bay and Fleet Farm work together on establishing a development agreement. Fleet Farm pointed to the high inflationary construction costs and the city’s big-box ordinance as reasons they would need financial assistance for their project, specifically asking for help paying for the store’s entrance and traffic lights. Last week, Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout said both sides recognize that the proposed frontage road would benefit Fleet Farm and the city’s future growth.

As for what will help control the traffic in that area if a four-way intersection is established for the retailer and potentially other development, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Engineer Mason Simmons says a lot of work goes into determining the best option.

Simmons says the department is likely months away from making a final recommendation.

Cookie sales yield experiences for Girl Scouts

Those Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties in your pantry may just be cookies to you, but they mean a lot more to the Girl Scouts who sold them. The Girl Scouts Cookie Program officially started on January 18th, though some troops have been able to sell them online for a few weeks already.  The program helps Girl Scouts learn financial literacy skills like running their own businesses, counting money, and goal setting. It also helps the national Girl Scouts organization fund its programming nationwide, with members selling approximately 200 million boxes annually. The money earned locally through the cookie sales stays local, which helps Girl Scout leaders like Jennifer Heidel plan fun activities and service projects with her troop in Kewaunee.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program runs until April 2nd. You can find a link to order cookies here or find your local Girl Scout Troop to purchase directly from them.

Maple/Oregon Street Bridge to close on Monday

You will have to find a different way through downtown Sturgeon Bay for four days next week. Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik announced on Wednesday that the Maple/Oregon Street Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic from Monday, January 23rd through Thursday, January 26th. The closures will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. During the anticipated closures, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will provide routine maintenance to the bridge. Motorists will have to rely on either the Michigan Street Bridge or the Bayview Bridge to get through Sturgeon Bay during those times. 

Youth programs getting a "jump" start this month at YMCA

Children's activities at the Door County YMCA are increasing with the start of the Winter 1 sessions in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek.  Youth and Healthy Living Director Mae Daniels says basketball, dance, and dodgeball programs are off to a strong start with over 90 kids participating in the basketball program in Sturgeon Bay.  She says the participants are enjoying the interaction with peers and the staff.

 

 

According to Daniels, the Door County YMCA Northern Door Center basketball program will begin at the end of February. Interested parents can still have their kids participate in currently running programs that still need to be filled. Call the Door County YMCA or visit www.doorcountyymca.org for registration information.

Sturgeon Bay approves Fleet Farm development agreement

You are one step closer to seeing a Fleet Farm in Sturgeon Bay.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council moved forward Tuesday evening with Fleet Farm's plans to build a store on the west side. Council President Dan Williams, who was filling in for Mayor David Ward at the meeting, says the approval of the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee's recommendation is just the first step. He says establishing a Development Agreement with Fleet Farm only moves the project forward with phases of more arduous negotiations going on with the project managers for the company in the future. Despite concerns about the magnitude of the development expressed during public comments, Williams says all concerns will be accounted for during the negotiations with Fleet Farm and when the council addresses the project at least two more times.

 

 

In other business, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the second reading of a rezoning of property at 835 South Duluth Avenue from General Commercial (C-1) to Mixed Residential-Commercial (C-5). A resolution for a Development Agreement for Shirley Weese Young's Muse Project at the corner of Jefferson Street and North Third Avenue was also approved. A Vibrant Spaces Grant application resolution for the renovation of the Tewels & Brandeis grain elevator project was also passed. A settlement with the property owner on the west side of Sturgeon Bay will allow the city to connect Grant Avenue with Sawyer Drive without enforcing eminent domain. The council approved the resolution to accept the agreement to purchase the land for $80,000. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will next meet on Tuesday, February 7. 

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to build Wind Farm Service Operational Vessel

You will see more activity soon on Sturgeon Bay's working waterfront. Fincantieri Marine Group announced Wednesday that it would be building a 288-foot vessel at its Bay Shipbuilding location in Sturgeon Bay. The contract is with a joint venture between Crowley and ESVAGT. The ship will be a Service Operational Vessel (SOV)  that will transport technicians to service and sustain the operation of wind turbines at sea in the United States.   The building of the HAV 832 SOV vessel will allow it to be in service by 2026 and serve the Dominion Energy wind farm off the coast of Virginia.
Fincantieri Marine Group CEO Marco Galbiati said, "We are proud to be associated with important 'green' projects like this. The SOV market is one of the most interesting and important markets for our country."Vice President at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Craig Perciavalle, added, "The incredible shipbuilding professionals here at FBS are eager to execute this important strategic program successfully and to continue solidifying our position as a premier shipbuilding supplier in the offshore wind market".   Several LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) bunkering barges are currently being built at Bay Shipbuilding, and more Winter Fleet vessels are arriving this month for service.  

Kewaunee County Board updated on well testing results

The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors met for the first time in 2023 on Tuesday evening, having no new resolutions to address but did cover several important committee reports.  Supervisor and Land & Water Committee member Tim Kinnard updated the board on information from last week’s meeting.   The key topic was the concern about the spiking of nitrate levels during different times of the year in a new subdivision on the northwest side of the village of Casco.  He said that well-testing results collected by UW-Stevens Point last fall in Kewaunee County revealed levels of nitrates ranging from the 20s to 40s at some recently built homes.

 

 

Kinnard added that the Land & Water Committee would discuss options and look for solutions at its next meeting in February.  The next Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors meeting will be on Tuesday, February 14, at 5 p.m. at the Kewaunee County Administration Center.

Egg Harbor to showcase STH 42 project Wednesday

On Wednesday, you can see what State Highway 42 will look like in Egg Harbor for the years to come as part of a hybrid public meeting. Planning for the future reconstruction and improvements of STH 42 through the village began in 2015, but it has picked up steam over the last several months. The village brought GRAEF planning partners in to help with certain aspects of the project, specifically pedestrian zones, turn lanes, and traffic calming. Village Administrator Megan Sawyer says they have worked hard to balance the community's needs while also maintaining Egg Harbor's charm, right down to the trees they plant alongside the road.

The STH 42 update and public information session will begin at 5 p.m. at the Kress Pavilion. The meeting will also be available live over Zoom or on-demand on the village's website. The project is slated to begin this fall.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of Village of Egg Harbor

Cash bail changes among potential ballot initiatives

You could have a handful of state issues to vote on during this spring's election. The Wisconsin Legislature had several items on their schedule for Tuesday that would appear on the ballot if approved by both chambers. One of those would be a constitutional amendment allowing judges to consider more factors than just what will ensure a person's return to the courtroom. The amendment was introduced in the wake of the Waukesha Christmas Parade incident, where a man out on bail drove onto the route, killing six people and injuring dozens of others. Judges would be allowed to consider many different factors before issuing a bail sentence if the amendment is passed. As people called for judges to place cash bail on people to protect the public, Door County Circuit Court Judge David Weber believes the state constitution would not allow that unless the amendment is passed. He issued a pro and a con for the proposed amendment.

Other items up for discussion that could end up on the spring ballot include advisory referendum questions on whether there should be a work requirement for able-bodied individuals requesting welfare assistance and if school districts should be prohibited from teaching topics similar to Critical Race Theory. The latter advisory referendum resolution was introduced by local State Senator Andre Jacque, who pushed for it last year.

 

Governor Tony Evers and Democratic lawmakers made their own push for an advisory referendum to be placed on the ballot Tuesday afternoon. Their advisory referendum would look to repeal the 1849 criminal abortion ban and restore certain Roe vs. Wade protections.

 

The Wisconsin Legislature would have to pass the resolutions by January 24th for them to appear on the ballot.

Public transit keeps eyes on future as ridership increases

More of you are taking advantage of public transit in Door County. For the first time since before the pandemic, more than 40,000 people used either Door 2 Door Rides or the Door County Connect services in 2022. Since hitting 47,720 riders in 2019, the two services failed to crack 40,000 due to the pandemic since 2020. In 2022, 42,130 people took advantage of the  Door 2 Door Rides or the Door County Connect services despite driver shortages. The services were reduced by 430 hours due to the driver shortage. A Wisconsin Watch report points to services like Door 2 Door Rides and Door County Connect as important tools moving forward as communities across the state age. According to the U.S. Census, more than 31 percent of the Door County population is above the age of 65, with more and more individuals deciding to pass the keys off rather than driving themselves. Door County Transportation Manager Pam Busch says they have been keeping a close eye on the county’s aging population and what that could mean for their services moving forward.

Busch says while they are good with drivers for Door County Connect, Abby Vans, the company they work with for Door 2 Door Rides, is hiring more drivers to improve that aspect of the service.

Snowstorm predicted for Thursday morning

No advisories, watches, or warnings have been issued yet, but the National Weather Service wants you to be on the lookout for the next winter storm occurring later this week. Current models from the National Weather Service show Door and Kewaunee counties as highly likely for at least four inches of snow during the early morning hours of Thursday. The snow would likely begin at around midnight and continue until at least noon on Thursday. The area has approximately a 50/50 chance of getting six inches or more of snow, with it more likely occurring in Door County’s northern tip and less likely along the lakeshore in Kewaunee County. If the winter storm hits the area, it would be the most snow received since Carlsville and Washington Island received approximately nine inches of snow before Christmas. 

 

 

 

Sevastopol hosting public hearing on Broadband Expansion

Residents of the town of Sevastopol will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and have their questions answered on Broadband Expansion plans for the whole municipality next Monday at the Town Hall in Institute. Sevastopol Town Clerk Amy M. Flok says a public hearing is set for 6:00 p.m. on January 23rd, in which Plan Commission member Jeanne Vogel will first present information.

 

 

The open hearing will allow for those wishing to speak but may have time limits and stricter guidelines to accommodate everyone. For those unable to attend, you may send your written comments and concerns to the Town Clerk at office@townofsevastopolwi.gov before the meeting.  

West waterfront site added to NERR hopes for Sturgeon Bay

You could see the Door County Maritime Museum and the Door County Granary get a new neighbor on the west waterfront of Sturgeon Bay depending on what UW-Green Bay wants to do with its future National Estuarine Research Reserve visitor center. Earlier this month, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the site between the granary and the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge as a fourth possible location for a NERR visitor center. It joins Sawyer Park, Sunset Park, and a spot near the end of Nautical Drive as possible locations for the center that could potentially draw thousands of people to the city. Plans to develop a three-story mixed-use building near the site fell through in recent weeks, paving the way for the possibility of a NERR visitor center calling that area home. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward believes the site helps strengthen their bid and could potentially attract something else for the area.

Ward says they are finishing up the prospectus they will submit to UW-Green Bay in the coming weeks as they compete with Marinette and Green Bay for the facility. A section of Sturgeon Bay ranging from Crossroads at Big Creek in the north to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Reserve in the south has been included in the NERR’s natural area sites list. 

 

North Dakota crop consultant headlines Peninsula Pride Farms annual meeting

If you want to know how a yo-yo goes hand-in-hand with soil health in Door and Kewaunee counties, Peninsula Pride Farms wants to spend Valentine’s Day with you. 

The organization is holding its annual meeting at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds on February 14th, beginning at 10 a.m.

 

In addition to highlighting what Peninsula Pride Farms did in 2022 and what they are looking ahead to in 2023, crop consultant Dr. Lee Briese will headline a slate of speakers from Farmers for Sustainable Food, Houston Engineering Inc., and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Briese is an independent crop consultant from central North Dakota, specializing in conservation practices already used in some parts of Door and Kewaunee counties. Using a yo-yo analogy, Briese’s message encourages farmers to try new and different techniques while not being afraid to try again or something else if they do not work.

The Peninsula Pride Farms Annual Meeting will also feature a panel of members discussing the practices they have implemented over the past year, lunch, and a separate meeting for members. You can click this link to RSVP for the event.

Door, Kewaunee among dozen counties at medium COVID-19 level

Door and Kewaunee counties are in the minority, according to the Centers for Disease Control regarding COVID-19. The two are among 12 at the medium COVID-19 community level, which considers the number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations among its metrics. Oconto and Brown counties are also at the medium level along with six counties in the southeastern corner of the state and a pair in the northwest. The Door County situation update shows no new deaths and one hospitalization over the last week. Twelve of the 40 tests administered during that period returned positive for COVID-19. According to CDC Data, Kewaunee County saw 33 new cases and an estimated two hospitalizations over a week as of January 11th. 

Sturgeon Bay making progress on housing

There is still room for improvement, but City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout hopes Sturgeon Bay is making it easier to find somewhere to live. 

 

Housing has been a significant focus for the city since it joined the Door County Economic Development Corporation and other municipalities in a housing study in 2019. The study pointed to a shortage of affordable housing for renting and buying due to several factors. Van Lieshout is proud of what the Sturgeon Bay Common Council has done to address the issue, and he is happy the city is working with developers to create a wide range of options. Along with working with organizations like Door County Habitat for Humanity and the Door County Housing Partnership, Van Lieshout hopes a simple change to at least the ordinance could spur some growth in the single-family housing segment.

Several big housing projects broke ground in 2022 in Sturgeon Bay, including a pair of two-story, eight-unit buildings on the site of the former Sunset School.

Impact of Martin Luther King remembered in Door County

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and his message of hope and equality for all people still resonates throughout the United States, including Door County. Celebrated on the third Monday of January each year, the federal holiday is in observance of Dr. King's birthday. Hervy Hodges, a Sturgeon Bay resident and mentor to youth in the area, says he grew up in Milwaukee learning about King's message of equality at a very young age from his grandmother.

 

 

King was born on January 15, 1929, and rose to the fore of the civil rights movement in 1955. He advocated for a nonviolent means to end racial discrimination and segregation in the United States, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in 1964. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was legislated as a national holiday in 1983 and observed for the first time in 1986, some 18 years after his assassination in 1968. Many cities throughout the country have marches and parades planned. On Sunday morning, Hope United Methodist Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay locally celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday with a free program before services were dedicated in his memory.

 

(Public Domain photo courtesy of mlkonline.net)

Knights of Columbus holding youth Free Throw Championship

Door County boys and girls will have an opportunity to show off their basketball poise at the line at the 2023 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship in Sturgeon Bay. The competition will be held on Friday, January 20th and has no entry fee, with the only requirement being that the entrant is anywhere between the ages of 9 to 14 as of the New Year. Jeff Bruemmer, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 2478, says participants will shoot three rounds of five shots each.

 

 

Registration will start at 4:30pm at the St. John Bosco/Corpus Christi Gym in Sturgeon Bay. The official start of the contest is set for 5:00 pm.  The winners from each boy and girls’ age category will advance to the District level in February. 

New exhibits push Maritime Tower closer to completion

It is eight floors up and two to go for you to enjoy at the Jim Kress Maritime Tower at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay.

 

Opening its two newest floors covering the area’s shipbuilding history and showcasing the people that call the water home was a Christmas gift for patrons last month, with crews working on finishing the final two floors by the end of the winter. Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director and Development Manager Sam Perlman says it almost feels like a new space throughout its Sturgeon Bay campus. They are hard at work updating some of the galleries before the busy tourism season arrives.

The Sturgeon Bay campus is not the only Door County Maritime Museum property up for a facelift. A revitalization plan for the Death’s Door Maritime Museum in Gills Rock is already underway. The museum staff is also preparing to stage several rooms at the new rehabilitated Keeper’s Quarters on Cana Island before the summer season.

Community Spotlight: Wilson's Wish

When a farmer did not know what to do with his Holstein calf with crooked legs, Tonya Edwards did what she has done since 2019: offered it a home. Edwards started Wilson’s Wish in Luxemburg to give animals a second chance at a first impression. Since starting the organization, she and her husband David had to move to just outside of Luxemburg in order to continue their work which has rescued more than 40 animals and assisted in relocating almost 30 others. Some of their more popular residents have physical limitations, like Lilly Beans, a goat that needs a wheelchair to get around, Lyle, a three-legged bull calf, and Mercy, the bow-legged Holstein calf.

 

 

 

 

Edwards feels blessed that so many people in the community have felt an attachment to her mission and her animals.

Through public events at her property and private visits around the community, Edwards has raised thousands of dollars to help keep Wilson’s Wish running and support the animals in need of being rescued. She encourages others to follow their passion and do what fulfills their passion as she and her husband did with Wilson's Wish.

 

Pictures courtesy of Wilson's Wish

Town of Liberty Grove look to move on Mariners Park

You may see more than just a new sign at Mariners Park this year in the Town of Liberty Grove. The site has remained largely unchanged since the town voted to purchase the property from the Weborg Family in 2018. The town waited for the land’s owner to move away and several other buildings to be removed from the property before more meaningful work could occur. The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission has already submitted a plan for the site, and the town is awaiting a proposal from Ayres and Associates for their bid. Town chairperson John Lowry says they hope to put one of the groups on the task soon.

Lowry says planning for Mariner’s Park could be on the agenda again for Wednesday’s meeting if they receive a proposal from Ayres and Associates before then.

Sheriff begins annual report series

As I have done for the past few years, I would like to take the first few articles on 2023 and use them as a method by which to provide an “Annual Report” to the community. My primary reason behind this effort is to maintain connection and accountability to the community I have been elected to serve. The position of Sheriff is a unique office which dates back to the founding of our country. It is one of the only positions articulated in the State of Wisconsin Constitution and very clearly articulates that my responsibility and accountability is directly to the people of the County. I take this relationship very seriously, and it is that direct relationship to my community that drives my every action and decision. With that being said, I would like to start with an overview of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department.

       

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement services for our entire community which includes Traffic Enforcement, Public Safety Dispatch, Corrections, Criminal Investigations, School Liaison, Court Security, and Civil Process. Our total staff consists of 36 men and women who carry out a majority these tasks 24 hours a day/ seven days a week with the highest level of Professionalism and Integrity. We also provide support to our local municipal law enforcement agencies as well as those state law enforcement resources serving within our county. Our collaboration also extends to other county non-law enforcement agencies serving our community in which we have a common goal, such as Human Services and Public Health.

        

Our annual Budget for 2022 was $4,269,355.00 spread out over numerous line items, which covers everything from inmate care to fuel, to building maintenance with a vast majority of that amount utilized in supporting the wages and benefits of our greatest resource, our staff. As in the past, we pride ourselves in staying within the budget provided and have done so each and every year, with rare exception. While we do generate some revenue in the form of fees and services, our primary funding is derived from our annual allocated budget. We are very grateful for the support we receive from our County Board along with the professional guidance we receive from both our County Administrator and our Finance Director.

        

In the upcoming articles, I will be providing a breakdown of information and activities by each of our divisions, to provide what I hope will be a brief yet informative glimpse into the day-to-day operations of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. If at any time you have any questions, or would like clarity on an item which I cover, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. As I begin my fifth term as your Sheriff, I want to re-confirm my commitment to our community and extend my sincere gratitude for being trusted to serve in this capacity. I can be reached at (920)255-1100. 

Highway shop to get placed under the microscope

You will see the same treatment for the Kewaunee County Highway Shop as you did for the future Kewaunee County Jail. The newly-formed Kewaunee County Highway Shop Sub-Committee will meet for the second time early next month after hosting an initial session in November. The committee's goal will be similar to the Public Safety Needs Assessment Study Group as they go through the same process as the highway shop. Because of the committee’s work, the county was able to trim nearly $10 million off the final price tag compared to an estimate two years prior. 

 

A year ago, Kewaunee County Highway Commissioner Todd Every pushed for improvements at its main highway shop across the street from Bruemmer Park in Kewaunee. Every pointed out the age and size of the 1930s-era facility as the reason for the upgrades. The county spent approximately $28,000 for a pair of studies to determine needed improvements. A complete overhaul of the facility, including replacing several buildings, carries a price tag of $26 million. A phased-in approach would tackle the important projects first, costing about $10.5 million. 

 

Every told the Door County Daily News this week that even though the project does not have the same urgency as the jail did due to state inspection, they are working inside aged facilities with many of his components going beyond its typical service life. He says that several factors must be considered before determining when work could start and what would be included in a new or rehabbed facility.

High prices, end of FoodShare program could pinch food pantries

You may see more people rely on food pantries in the coming weeks. Last month, the United States Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, ending a federal program that provided extra benefits to households enrolled in Wisconsin’s FoodShare program. That means some families will have at least $95 less to spend on certain groceries. An estimated 700,000 Wisconsinites could be affected by the change. The program had been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. With food prices still up over 13 percent from last year, many residents are turning to food pantries to fill the gap. The Washington Island Food Pantry has seen an uptick in usage, especially among seasonal workers living in the town during the off-season. Ashley Madson from Feed my People Door County in Sturgeon Bay expects to see new faces in addition to their usuals.

Madson says items like pasta, canned meats, and snacks for kids are always in high demand at their food pantry. 

Bringing big school vibes to little Washington Island

Just because it is the state’s smallest school district does not mean you will not find some of the same fun activities students in other parts of Wisconsin get to experience.

 

Washington Island School was again named a state finalist for a grant from the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow program, one of seven Wisconsin schools to boast that kind of recognition. Students are working on developing a remote-controlled underwater vehicle to help restore shipwrecks.

 

The school’s basketball and soccer teams spent the last few months of 2022 going to road games, and it is planning to compete in forensics for the first time this spring.

 

 

Principal Tim Verboomen and Director of Business Services Sue Cornell say it is a credit to the staff for helping provide these opportunities.

The district is in the final stages of preparing its operational referendum question for the spring election. It is expected to be published on January 24th if approved by the school board the day before. 

Potawatomi Tower requests ignored, multi-million dollar projects proposed

Anything but a simple fix for the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower was proposed Thursday during a virtual presentation held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 

In conjunction with the architectural firm GRAEF, the DNR presented four options based on the observation tower and an ADA-accessible ramp leading up to it. The report authored by GRAEF acknowledged the decay in several parts of the current structure, comparing it to a report done on the Eagle Tower in 2015. It suggested the original wood stair system be replaced and other parts of the tower are removed for better materials. Paired with a helical ramp or a linear lamp, GRAEF estimates it would be close to $1 million more expensive to save the tower than to replace it with a new structure. Depending on the ramp used, it would cost between $7.1 and $8.6 million to build and maintain the tower if they save the original structure. The estimated cost of a newly constructed tower with ramps with 40 years of maintenance tied to it would be between $6.3 and $7.9 million.

 

Friends of Potawatomi State Park President Scott Bader said earlier this week that a project similar in scale to that one could be out of their reach. State Senator Andre Jacque, who also sits on the State Building Commission to decide whether they should take on the work, blasted the Evers Administration for playing a shell game with Door County residents. He says he will be requesting an examination by the State Historical Society on how the DNR can put forward a plan to demolish a structure on both the State and Federal Registries of Historic Places.

Rep. Joel Kitchens also weighed in, saying the administration has refused to listen to the people of Door County, citing that local governmental units passed resolutions to repair, not replace, the existing tower. You can look at the proposals further and weigh in with your feedback by clicking this link.

 

Joint Press Release from Senator Jacque and Rep. Kitchens

The Evers Administration’s tone deaf refusal to listen to the overwhelming input of citizens and make critical repairs to a historic structure were on full display last night, as the Department of Natural Resources went through the motions of putting on an essentially canned and ironically named “Public Information Session” on the Potawatomi Tower. The online-only presentation denied any opportunity for questions or comments from the public and left the door wide open to demolishing the treasured landmark as part of a series of invented criteria and false ‘choices’, complete with a red herring ‘poll’. The less than half hour session featured a single department staff and a single contractor without any options for public interaction, and was a marked contrast to those put on by state agencies for projects of similar magnitude and public interest, which typically involve both in-person and virtual question and answer periods.


“I’ve already heard from numerous confused and upset constituents wondering why their questions and input apparently aren’t important enough for the Evers Administration to take seriously- misleading the public with such a short, scripted session is a sham, and a perfect example of why the DNR has been experiencing a crisis of credibility,” said Sen. Jacque, questioning ,”Why conceal the results of their study from legislators and the public for weeks, only to tell them to log on at 6 PM for a ‘live’ video that could have been recorded and posted at any time? The only thing more virtual than last night’s meeting is Gov. Evers’ commitment to preserving the historical heritage of the Potawatomi Tower.”


After years of the DNR falsely claiming historic restoration of Potawatomi Tower was impossible and seeking to demolish it, the Department’s engineering consultant, GRAEF, admitted that repairing it is, and always has been, possible- not a surprise since the demonstrated repair of a similar wooden structures like the Mountain Park Watchtower on Washington Island, and other expert studies with that conclusion had been brought to the Department’s attention by numerous community stakeholders. Unfortunately, details were largely hidden on the lesser cost of simply making the vital repairs to the existing structure immediately without adding much more expensive and disruptive new construction using additional invented criteria demanded by the Evers Administration for the options presented. A DNR ‘poll’ linked on Department’s Potawatomi Tower webpage to create a mirage that input is being considered prevents respondents from submitting a preference for demolishing or restoring the existing tower without simultaneously conceding to select a form of additional ramp construction not required for ADA compliance that multiplies the cost of project to a point of making it cost prohibitive.


Rep. Kitchens said, “My office has received hundreds of contacts regarding the tower since it was shut down. Not a single person was asking for a new tower. Everyone wants to repair the existing Tower. All of our local governmental units passed resolutions asking for repair of the existing Tower, not replacement. The administration has absolutely refused to listen to the people of Door County.”
Both legislators also noted the importance of restoring the structure immediately before further deterioration can occur, and that an overwhelming majority of respondents to the DNR’s past public comment requests were in strong support of repairing the existing tower.

 

Sen. Jacque said there is no reason to wait until the next state budget six months from now. “The current state budget, which the Governor signed 18 months ago, includes over $200 million for maintenance projects for state facilities. The Evers administration has the money right now to repair the Tower – if it wanted. There’s still time to do the right thing without intentionally concocting plans to make the whole situation ridiculously more costly and complex than it needs to be,” said Sen. Jacque, adding “I will be requesting an examination by the State Historical Society as to how the DNR can even be putting forward preferred options to the public that call for the demolition of the existing historic structure of Potawatomi Tower that is listed on both the State and Federal Registries of Historic Places when historic restoration has clearly already been established as feasible.”


Rep. Kitchens added, “The administration not only has a moral responsibility to repair the Tower, but a legal one. Owners of properties on the historic registry are required to submit a preservation plan, which they have not done. As stewards of our heritage, they have utterly failed. They have spent more on repetitive “studies” and political games than it would have cost to repair our beloved Tower.”

 

Image from GRAEF and Wisconsin DNR

Second-largest Mega Millions Jackpot set for Friday

Friday the 13th might be your lucky day if you purchased a Mega Millions ticket.  An estimated $1.35 billion ($707.9 million cash) jackpot is up for grabs Friday, making it the second-largest in Mega Millions history.  Last week, Mark Cunningham of Luck, Wisconsin, won the $15.1 million Megabucks jackpot.  Mega Millions has paid out to winners six previous times on Friday the 13th, just not yet in Wisconsin.  Mega Million drawings are done in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The Wisconsin Lottery generates more than $17 billion in total revenue, with over $9.7 billion in prizes paid out.  More than $5.1 billion has been funded for property tax credits to eligible Wisconsin homeowners. 

Mild temps, rain keeping winter recreation plans on ice

Mother Nature has not done you any favors if you are a fan of winter recreation in Door and Kewaunee counties. According to the Weather Underground, there have only been a few days in 2023 when the day's high temperature stayed below 32 degrees. This week, daytime high temperatures have been about 10 degrees above normal. The recent rains have washed away much of the snow that is still around. Snowmobile trails in Door and Kewaunee counties have yet to be able to open this year, and Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay only received a few days of good cross-country skiing following Christmas. The Teresa K. Hilander Community Ice Rink in Sister Bay has not been able to allow skating since before December 28th due to the lack of ice. Kewaunee County's Winter Park is one of the few places able to hold seasonal fun at this time. The snow machine has been a saving grace, but even Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director Dave Myers says a little help from the weather would be nice.

According to the National Weather Service, you might have to wait a while before enjoying the area as a winter wonderland. Daytime highs will only be at freezing temperatures once over the next seven days in some parts of Door and Kewaunee counties. To make matters worse, rain is expected to sprinkle in and out of the area over the weekend.

Gallagher ready to get to work

It may have started officially later than he thought, but Rep. Mike Gallagher is ready to hit the ground running on China and several other issues facing the country. Gallagher could not be officially seated until after the House of Representatives chose its speaker. After days of debates and 13 votes, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was named Speaker of the House, the California Republican Gallagher supported during the proceedings. Although it looked messy at times, Gallagher says it was productive.

One of the first things McCarthy did once he was named Speaker of the House was to appoint Gallagher to head up the special committee on China, who has been a vocal critic of the country and its government. A 365-65 vote approved the committee, something he says bodes well for the work they will be able to do moving forward.

Gallagher is also looking forward to serving on a sub-committee on armed services and addressing concerns about oversight.

Door County YMCA closes in on $10.2 million campaign goal

Your support is helping a goal become a reality for the Door County YMCA.

 

The organization announced on Thursday that it is within $130,000 of its $10.2 million goal for its capital campaign. The money raised is going towards the expansive addition and renovation of its Sturgeon Bay Program Center. When the project is complete, members will experience a new youth activity center and wellness center to go along with additional class and community spaces.

 

With half of the facility under renovation, Door County YMCA CEO Tonya Felhofer thanks its members and guests for their flexibility and patience. “To say it’s crowded and crazy is an understatement,” says Felhofer, “Our members have been and continue to be incredibly flexible and positive. They are using alternate entry points, have had to be flexible as we have relocated class spaces, have learned to navigate new ways of accessing bathrooms and locker rooms, and have endured pounding, jackhammering, and contractors in and out of their classes. Despite all of that, they are thankful and excited about the future of this center.”

 

The annual campaign totals and the Sturgeon Bay Program Center are not the only aspects of the Door County YMCA that are growing. The organization also announced that it kicked off 2023 with an all-time high of 9,257 members for its facilities in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek.

Wery kick starts career in butchery

Paul Wery relied on more than one type of crowdsourcing to help you connect the dots between farms and your dinner table with the butcher shop he opened last month. The 2019 graduate of Kewaunee High School recently opened Paulie’s Chop Shop after over a year of constructing his facility west of Luxemburg.

 

Growing up on a farm with hundreds of hogs and cattle, Wery knew all too well the struggles farmers have taking their animals to market. With only a few options available, farmers have to wait several months, if not over a year, to get a coveted spot at a butcher’s shop. Wery learned his craft at a local butcher through the youth apprenticeship program in high school, which inspired him to continue that journey at Madison Area Technical College, where he got certified in Modern Meat Butchery.

 

When an opportunity to buy a business did not materialize, Wery decided to start his butchering facility, now known as Paulie’s Chop Shop. He turned to the crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter, where 49 backers kicked in over $10,000 to help turn his idea into a reality. With his family, friends, staff, and the community behind him, Wery is thankful for what it has taken to get to this point.

Wery looks to increase his output and hopes to butcher close to 100 steers and hogs a week in the coming months to help alleviate the stress on other butchers and farmers alike. He adds that other butchers in the area have supported his efforts and given him advice along the way. In addition to his butchering services, he has a small meat market for consumers to try out some of the products he helps produce.

 

United Way of Door County hits second-highest mark ever with annual campaign

They did not hit their ultimate goal, but your generosity toward the United Way of Door County will still make a significant impact in the area over the coming year. The United Way of Door County raised $776,346.41 during its annual campaign. It was the second-highest total the organization has ever raised, trailing only last year’s $781,317. United Way of Door County Board Vice President Denise Stillman highlighted some of the programs they will be able to support thanks to the donations received.

Stillman thanked the donors and the United Way of Door County’s volunteers, board members, and staff for making the 2022 annual campaign a success. 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurial Training coming in February at DCEDC

You can learn how to grow or start your own business with an eight-week Entrepreneurial Training Program offered by the Door County Economic Development Corporation.
Facilitated by business experts from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Small Business Development Center, the course will be held at the DCEDC Business Center in Sturgeon Bay. DCEDC Executive Director Michelle Lawrie says the eight classes will be from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm on Tuesdays starting on February 7th. She notes that the program will help small businesses develop a business plan.

 

 

For more information on applying for grants and registering for the course, click this link. You can listen to the entire conversation with Lawrie and DCEDC Director of Communications Korey Mallien on the Podcast Page.

Green comet will appear for the first time in 50,000 years late Thursday

You might want to invest in a telescope or binoculars by late Thursday night to see a recently discovered green comet that last appeared 50,000 years ago.  According to CNN, the comet was discovered by astronomers using a Zwicky Transient Facility’s wide-field survey camera in San Diego, California, on March 2, 2022. Door County Astronomical Society President Dave Lenius says the comet will be low in the northeastern horizon of the sky and should be visible if Mother Nature cooperates.

 

 

According to NASA, the comet should be visible through binoculars in the morning sky in the Northern Hemisphere through the end of January.  Lenius notes that the next viewing night at the Door County Astronomy Center off Cove Road in Sturgeon Bay is Saturday, January 21. There will be Planetarium shows, and the new CDK400 telescope will be operational for people to use if the skies are clear.

 

Photo released by NASA:  Dan Bartlett/AFP/NASA/Getty Images    

New Weight Loss Program starting at Door County YMCA

You can start 2023 by controlling your weight better with a new class at the Door County YMCA.  The 16-week weight loss program will begin on January 31st and will replace a diabetes prevention program that was offered over the past few years.  Weight Loss Control's Facilitator and Instructor, Tess Johnson, says the goal is for adults to achieve a healthier weight by making small, modest changes to daily behaviors. 

 

 

She adds that the one-hour session will be on Tuesdays from 10 until 11 a.m. and starts with a private weigh-in and different weekly topics in a group setting.  You can learn more about the weight loss program by calling the Door County YMCA or visiting their website.

FAA grounds all domestic flights Wednesday morning

The FAA has issued an order to ground all domestic airline flights nationwide until 8 am due to a system being down.  A spokesperson from Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee confirmed that all flights in the air will continue before landing, but no further flights can take off until 8 am.  

 

The FAA tweeted Wednesday morning that they are working on restoring the system that is used to communicate with pilots for take-off.

 

Door County Daily News will update this story as more information becomes available. 

 

UPDATE from Austin Straubel Field in Green Bay as of 8:45 am:

Some flights at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB) are beginning to resume as the nation’s air system goes back online. Because of the national scope of the situation, we do not expect things will be quickly resolved. While this is a major disruption for travelers, the safety of travelers and our nation’s air system is a top priority.

 

If your flight has been impacted by this situation, or if you have an upcoming flight today, we urge you to download your airline’s app for the latest information as well as rebooking options.

 

Austin Straubel is continuing to monitor the effect and impact this is having on our stakeholders.

 

(Correction:  The headline initially misidentified the FAA, we regret this error)

Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative gains traction

A “hidden crime” that is not usually associated with Door or Kewaunee counties is getting statewide attention this week by the Wisconsin State Patrol and Door County Sheriff’s Department. The Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative is underway, and Door County Sheriff’s Department Professional Standards Captain Carl Waterstreet says that human trafficking is a transient business that can still impact the area. He says it is sometimes viewed as a victimless crime, which is not true. Most avenues of human sex trafficking are being done online but can be identified by certain tattoos and unusual behavior and actions when you encounter someone in public.  Although Door County is not a hub for human trafficking, it can be readily available, especially during the prime summer tourist months, according to Waterstreet.

 

 

Waterstreet worked a case of labor trafficking in the southern part of Wisconsin when working for the Department of Justice, where the business owner unknowingly hired  J-1 Visa students who went through a contractor acting as a human trafficker.

 

 

The Wisconsin State Patrol is conducting an outreach program with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) this week during traffic stops and at truck stops.  You can find tips on how you can help prevent Human Trafficking with this link.   

Birch Creek to feature Valentine's Concert

Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor has your Valentine’s Day weekend plans covered if you have not planned them already. Featuring Birch Creek Alumnus and vocalist Jonathan Zeng, the concert scheduled for February 11th will feature the great love anthems of musical theater, opera, and popular music. Vocalist Diana Stoic and pianist Michael R. Oldham will join Zeng for the performance. The Chicago-based musicians have performed across the country with several different musical organizations. Thanks to the kindness of Tom and Penny Beernsten and Door County Medical Center, proceeds from the event will go to support Birch Creek’s students. You can click this link for ticketing information for the event, which includes a social hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the concert at 7 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of Birch Creek Music Performance Center

Winter Fleet season begins in Sturgeon Bay

If the fall is for the leaves, then you know winter is for the boats in Sturgeon Bay.

 

Several different vessels will be coming into town for their winter lay-up at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. At least four ships (Edwin H. Gott, Walter J. McCarthy, Indiana Harbor, and Mesabi Miner) are over 1,000 feet long, and five others are over 700 feet long. Workers at Bay Shipbuilding will spend the winter months making sure the vessels are ready to run for another nine months, hauling a variety of different materials.

 

The Winter Fleet is certainly a major draw for people in Sturgeon Bay. Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director and Development Manager Sam Perlman says even their employees get excited when the ships come through the bridges.

You can find the list of the ships for this year’s Winter Fleet below. You should keep your eyes on websites and phone apps like BoatNerd and Marine Traffic to stay up-to-date on their location and when they might arrive. 

 

Note: The picture is from a past year of the Winter Fleet.

 

 

Gibraltar to go to voters with $29.8 million referendum

Your vote could decide the future of some of the oldest sections of Gibraltar Area Schools in Fish Creek. The district’s school board voted in favor of a referendum this April to borrow $29.8 million to demolish the 1930s and 1950s sections of the building. In its place, the district plans on building a new two-station gym, community space, and classrooms in addition to updates to the cafeteria and offices. Gibraltar Superintendent Brett Strousland says there are over 30 ramps connecting different parts of the building, and, like other parts of the older sections, are not up to code.

If approved this April, Strousland says the district will spend the following year in the design phase before breaking ground on the project in 2024. Your tax bill will also change a little bit. After the district’s mill rate stumbles from $3.42 in 2022 to $2.98 in 2023, it will go up to $3.25 in 2024. Because of its high property values, Gibraltar Area School District has one of the lowest mill rates in the state. Strousland added that they plan to have multiple community coffee sessions and building tours in the weeks leading up to the spring election on April 4th.

DNR hosting public meeting on Lake Michigan fisheries

You can help the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decide on the future management of salmon and trout in Lake Michigan later this month.  The public is invited to an informational session on Monday, January 23.  DNR staff will present the latest Lake Michigan survey and stocking information.  Anglers and anyone with a stake in the Lake Michigan fishery can share ideas and input on the DNR's future management initiatives.  Bradley Eggold, DNR Great Lakes Fisheries Supervisor, says it is important to work with critical stakeholders to respond to the science and social preferences that drive the Lake Michigan fisheries.

 

 

The Lake Michigan Stakeholder Meeting will be at 6 pm on January 23 at the Lakeshore Technical College’s Centennial Hall West in Cleveland, but a Zoom option will be available with this link.  The DNR will develop an ultimate plan for 2023 and beyond with the input received from the meeting.   

Anticipation grows for Potawatomi tower presentation

Your guess is as good as anybody's regarding what a new or refurbished Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower will look like. Exact plans and costs are unknown, but they will be included in a virtual public information session on Thursday at 6 p.m. After the presentation, the DNR will ask for general feedback on which option is preferred. Governor Tony Evers will include the most popular design in the 2023 Capital. Friends of Potawatomi State Park President Scott Bader hopes to have some direction after the project has been kicked down the road since the tower was closed due to safety concerns in 2017. The one sure thing is that the Friends of Potawatomi State Park would likely need to fundraise more money for the construction of a tower similar to Eagle Tower.

Eagle Tower cost $3.7 million and required the Friends of Peninsula State Park to raise $750,000 to help fund its construction. The Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower was built in 1931 and placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2019 and the National Register of Historic Places in 2020. The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society helped fund work done by Wood Research Development to see if a restoration of the tower was possible. Evers and then-DNR Secretary Preston Cole announced their selection of architectural firm GRAEF to create concept designs to be considered last April. You can click this link to learn how to tune into the presentation.

Fleet Farm, city look to split costs on frontage road

The city and Fleet Farm continue to discuss what is fair for both sides as work on a development agreement continues. At the last Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee meeting in December, Fleet Farm pointed to the high inflationary costs of construction and the city’s big-box ordinance as reasons why they would need financial assistance for their project.  Fleet Farm is specifically asking for help paying for the store’s entrance and traffic lights  

 

In a memo to the Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee, City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says Fleet Farm is accepting the City purchase of the right of way that would be located in front of the store along Green Bay Road (STH 42/57). In the proposed development agreement, Van Lieshout also recommends reimbursing Fleet Farm for a portion of the street construction costs and establishing a minimum assessed value for the property that would return the investment on improvements over the course of 10 years.  He told the Door County Daily News that both sides recognize that the proposed frontage road would be mutually beneficial to Fleet Farm and to the city’s future growth.

The Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee will also meet in closed session to discuss the development agreement between the city and Fleet Farm during its meeting on January 10th, which begins at 4 p.m.

Door County hits 70-plus COVID-related deaths

Both Door and Kewaunee counties are at the medium level for COVID-19 for the second week in a row, but not without one reaching a somber milestone.

 

The Door County Public Health Department’s report last Wednesday announced that 37 of the 127 tests administered for COVID-19 came back positive for COVID-19. In addition, three deaths and two hospitalizations were also reported. That puts Door County at 72 deaths and 272 hospitalizations since the pandemic's beginning in 2020.

 

In Kewaunee County the CDC reports that Kewaunee County saw 20 new cases of COVID-19 and an estimated two hospitalizations. 

 

Door County COVID-19 Case Counts - January 4, 2023

Updated weekly on Monday when data available from the state. Case counts do NOT  include any at home testing results.  


Total Tests: 33,210 (+127)
Positive: 8,142 (+37)
Probable: 478 (+5)
Negative: 24,590 (+85)
Hospitalizations: 272 (+2)
Deaths: 72 (+3)


*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

 

 

Kewaunee man jailed with sixth OWI

Michael Reinke of Kewaunee will find himself in front of a judge this week after being pulled over for operating a vehicle under the influence on Friday. The Wisconsin State Patrol pulled over Reinke for a moving violation on County Road AB at Cherneyville at approximately 9 p.m. After the trooper noticed that he might have been impaired, Reinke went through the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and was subsequently arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI). A blood sample was taken as a result of the arrest. If convicted, it would be Reinke’s sixth OWI offense, with the last coming in 2018. 

 

LeGrave, Guilette look to land State Fairest role

Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Grace LeGrave and Door County Fair Ambassador Emily Guilette are looking for a promotion in 2023. LeGrave, Guilette, and approximately 30 other participants will converge on Wisconsin Dells this week to participate in the Wisconsin State Fairest of the Fair competition. It occurs at the same time holds the Wisconsin Association of Fairs Annual Convention. LeGrave and Guilette attended dozens of events in 2022 as a part of their duties promoting agriculture and their respective fairs. LeGrave says it gave her a year of memories she will never forget.

Guilette is looking to share her experience with other competitors after Door County gave its program an overhaul last year.

LeGrave and Guilette will compete for the role of State Fairest of the Fair over the course of a four-day selection process. The winner will travel the state during the year visiting every corner of the state and promoting the Wisconsin State Fair. Isabella Haen became the area’s first Fairest of the Fair to take on the state role in 2018.

The Door County of Realtors steps up with charitable giving

A local organization known for helping you sell and buy property in Door County, facilitated a successful charitable campaign to benefit a popular child’s program and a local food pantry last month. The Door County Board of Realtors made efforts during the holiday season to fill two cars with gifts and give over $700 in cash, checks, and gift cards to the Door County Toys for Kids program and donations to the Lakeshore Cap Food Pantry. Door County Board of Realtors Marketing Committee Chair Maria Jacobs says community involvement is a huge aspect of the board celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year.

 

 

Jacob adds that the Door County Board of Realtors also helps to support the Farm for Vets and the Door County Sheriff’s Department K-9 programs. 

Community Spotlight: Neville, Berns to enter Southern Door Athletic Hall of Fame

A long-time wrestling coach and an iconic baseball coach in Door County will be the newest members inducted into the Southern Door Athletic Hall of Fame next month.  Steve Neville, who graduated in 1989, and 1967 graduate John Berns will be honored during the induction at halftime of the boys’ basketball game in Eagle Gym on Friday, February 3 against Sevastopol.  Neville wrestled collegiately at U.W.-Stevens Point and has coached middle school and high school varsity wrestling for over 20 years.  Berns has served as a WIAA High School baseball and softball umpire for 14 years and coached high school baseball and softball in Door County for over 20 years.   Plaques of all honored inductees from over the years are on display in the lobby outside Eagle Gym at the Southern Door High School.   

   

Sister Bay Village Hall committee to begin meeting this week

Work on the future iteration of the Sister Bay Village Hall will begin this week when a newly formed task force meets for the first time.

 

Sister Bay Village President Rob Zoschke will chair the committee with Village Trustee Don Cox, Village Administrator Julie Schmelzer, Village Clerk Heidi Teich, Sister Bay Director of Public Works Dan Klansky, citizens Kathleen Van Gemert and Doug Hansen, and residents Don Howard and Aretha Sills sitting in on the meeting. The debate over the 80-plus-year-old building began in July when the village’s plan commission floated the idea of removing the building, citing the high cost of renovating the building so it can better serve the community. Residents voiced their displeasure with the talk, saying it is a unique building with a storied past. It was ultimately decided in September to halt plans on tearing down the building and instead for a committee to research possible improvements to the village hall.

 

Over the next two years, the committee will be tasked with determining the best use of the Village Hall, the renovations needed to make the space work, and how to fund those changes.

 

The first meeting of the Village Hall Planning Task Force will take place over Zoom at 9 a.m. on January 11th.   

Door County Farm Bureau works to keep young people in agriculture

The Door County Farm Bureau is helping ensure your kids get acquainted with agriculture in various ways. Over the past year, the organization helped bring the tractor safety course for kids between the ages of 12 and 16, sponsored the essay contest and other activities as a part of “Ag in the Classroom,” donated agriculture-related books to the Southern Door Library, and provided in the Door County Fair and Sevastopol FFA Dairy Breakfast. Claire Olson from the Door County Farm Bureau says it is important for them as an organization to connect the dots for kids as to where their food comes from.

The Door County Farm Bureau also uses its Young and Farmer Agriculturist program to keep young adults connected to the industry. Last month, Door County YFA member Rachel Harmann won the state Discussion Meet contest. Harmann, who serves as the Door County Farm Bureau’s vice president and local affairs chair, will represent Wisconsin in the national meet this weekend in Puerto Rico. The Door County Farm Bureau will host its YFA Cornhole Tournament and Fundraiser on January 21st beginning at 10:45 a.m. You can read more about the event by clicking this link.

Van Pay, Steinhorst named Kewaunee County Fairests

The three candidates at Friday's Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Gala at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg impressed the whole crowd, which included three former Wisconsin State Fairests of the Fair.

 

Fairest candidates Vanessa Van Pay and Lexi Nowak, and Junior Fairest candidate Jakayla Steinhorst started the completion with one-on-one interviews with the judges before going before the crowd of approximately 50 people to do an introduction of themselves, an event promotion, and an impromptu question. Each candidate also created a basket that raised over $500 as a part of a live auction, with all proceeds going to benefit the Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair program. Shortly after the auction ended, Van Pay was crowned Fairest of the Fair and Steinhorst was named her Junior Fairest.

 

 

It was worth the wait for Van Pay, who wanted to get a few years of college and some extra experience under her belt before pursuing the position. For Steinhorst, it was becoming a part of a family tradition.

 

 

Van Pay and Steinhorst will travel the county over the next 12 months visiting Kewaunee County events and promoting this July's Kewaunee County Fair.

Destination Door County turning tourism dollars into community grant funds

The money spent by you lodging in Door County will be used uniquely in the coming years thanks to a new grant program. Destination Door County announced on Friday the creation of the Community Investment Fund. The organization is partnering with the Door County Community Foundation to help turn some of the money collected through the county’s room tax into grants to improve the quality of life for all who live, work, and play in Door County. Public charities and local units of government are just some of the organizations that can benefit from the program that could distribute thousands of dollars every quarter.  Wisconsin State Statutes require the room tax dollars to be spent in ways that benefit visitors, but it can also meaningfully improve the quality of life for Door County residents.  With the county-wide room tax increasing from 5.5 to 8 percent, Destination Door County President and CEO Julie Gilbert says now is the time to invest the money into not just putting heads into beds.

Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy encouraged organizations interested in taking advantage of the opportunity to visit CommunityInvestment.org to learn more and then schedule an appointment to discuss their ideas further. You can also learn more about the program at one of the upcoming presentations listed below.

 

Tuesday January 10, Virtual – 10-11 AM via ZOOM (Use this link)

 

Wednesday January 11, In-Person – 10-11 AM at the Door County Community Foundation office, 222 N 3rd Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

 

Thursday January 12, In-Person – 3-4 PM in the Great Hall at The Donald & Carol Kress Pavilion, 7845 Church St, Egg Harbor, WI 54209

 

Thursday February 9, In-Person – 10-11 AM at the Door County Community Foundation office, 222 N 3rd Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

 

Grant cycles will be quarterly, with applications due at 4 PM on the first Thursday of April, July, October and January. Applicants should typically be notified of a decision about a month after application deadlines.

 

Click here to listen to our full conversation with Destination Door County President and CEO Julie Gilbert

Hamlin incident shows preparation is key for athletic trainers

Jason Linzmeier saw Monday Night Football just like you, but he experienced the events that caused its cancellation differently. Linzmeier has been a Door County Medical Center athletic trainer since 2013, primarily serving the student-athletes at Southern Door High School. Already a “jack-of-all-trades” in medical care as an athletic trainer, he has also tacked on CPR instructor and strength training coordinator duties along the way. He knew something was wrong with Bills defensive back Demar Hamlin when he staggered before falling backward. He says it was then when he played through their emergency alert strategy for Southern Door events in his head.

Linzmeier says they run through their strategy with school officials, coaches, and emergency personnel regularly, so they are prepared when a potential incident occurs. On Friday, ESPN reported that Hamlin was able to have his breathing tube removed and speak with teammates via Facetime for the first time since he suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during Monday’s Bills/Bengals game. Dr. William Knight IV from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center says the quick medical response, including CPR, saved Hamlin’s life. 

United Way of Door County looks for its final push

You have until 11:59 p.m. on January 7th to submit your pledges to the United Way of Door County for its current annual campaign. The organization was at around 90 percent of its $825,000 goal at the end of Thursday. From helping residents increase their financial literacy and teens feel empowered through their art to work keeping area food pantries well-stocked and children well-read, the United Way of Door County hopes to support more than 30 different initiatives in the coming year. Executive Director Amy Kohnle said during her Monday update that while inflation impacts us all, it can affect the area’s Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained Employed (ALICE) population even more.

To donate, you go online, call with a credit card number, or throw a check in the mail before midnight on Saturday to help the United Way of Door County reach its goal. Kohnle hopes to deliver the final numbers of their annual campaign on Tuesday afternoon.

Doc named for Mr. G's arson suspect's mental evaluation

Arson suspect Jonathan Polich will receive his requested evaluation after pleading not guilty to setting Mr. G’s Logan Creek Grille on fire because of a mental defect last month.

 

Arson suspect Jonathan Polich will receive his requested evaluation after pleading not guilty to setting Mr. G’s Logan Creek Grille because of a mental defect last month. Polich appeared in court via teleconference on Thursday after issuing his plea last month. Prosecuting attorney Aleksandra Hodowany and defense attorney Shannon Viel agreed on Wausau-based clinical psychologist Dr. Steven Benson to conduct the mental evaluation. Following his order for Polich’s mental evaluation, Judge D. Todd Ehlers set up a follow-up status conference for March 3rd at 11:30 a.m. 

 

Polich was arrested in early November after the Door County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin State Fire Marshal’s office found evidence that led to an arson investigation. He was charged with two counts of Arson to a dwelling and was placed on a $250,000 bond, which remains in place. 

 

Director saves best production for Door County's New Year's Baby

The first baby born this year at the Door County Medical Center arrived earlier than expected but has a father who is accustomed to the spotlight. Jacob Janssen and Lisa Buchs of Sturgeon Bay are the proud parents of August Willard Janssen, born at 10:34 pm on New Year's Day. The healthy, six-pound-four-ounce baby boy was due to be delivered on January 6th but decided to enter the world stage on January 1st. Jacob Janssen, the artistic director at Third Avenue Playworks, says little August's debut came soon after TAP's last performance of the year, "A Christmas Carol – the Radio Show" on December 31st.

 

 

Janssen says the name August is one they liked and that Willard is his grandfather's name.  The Janssens also have a two-year-old son, Leo, named after Lisa's grandfather.  The Maternal grandparents are Kevin and Karen Buchs of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and the paternal grandparents are Mark Janssen and Meg Doolan of Kiel.  

 

Director saves best production for Door County's New Year's Baby

The first baby born this year at the Door County Medical Center arrived earlier than expected but has a father who is accustomed to the spotlight. Jacob Janssen and Lisa Buchs of Sturgeon Bay are the proud parents of August Willard Janssen, born at 10:34 pm on New Year's Day. The healthy, six-pound-four-ounce baby boy was due to be delivered on January 6th but decided to enter the world stage on January 1st. Jacob Janssen, the artistic director at Third Avenue Playworks, says little August's debut came soon after TAP's last performance of the year, "A Christmas Carol – the Radio Show" on December 31st.

 

 

Janssen says the name August is one they liked and that Willard is his grandfather's name.  The Janssens also have a two-year-old son, Leo, named after Lisa's grandfather.  The Maternal grandparents are Kevin and Karen Buchs of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and the paternal grandparents are Mark Janssen and Meg Doolan of Kiel.  

 

County, UW-Stevens Point looks into Casco water mystery

Nitrate levels are spiking in Casco village limits during different times of the year, and even scientists need clarification as to why that is the case. It will be part of the discussions that will take place at the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee meeting on January 11th. With assistance from Wisconsin Coastal Management grants and Peninsula Pride Farms, the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department has been doing comprehensive well testing throughout the county, but specifically in the town and village of Casco. Researchers from UW-Stevens Point and environmental advisors from Dragun Corporation have tried to pinpoint the reason why Casco, in particular, has been struggling with its nitrate pollution. Initial results show that some of the sources of nitrate pollution are 15 years old, which committee chairperson Aaron Augustian says he would like to learn more about so they can start finding potential solutions.

The 5 p.m. committee meeting will precede a more extensive discussion about the well-testing results collected by UW-Stevens Point in Kewaunee County last fall. That presentation is expected to start at 6 p.m.

 

Wisconsin GOP House members siding with McCarthy in House Speaker battle

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is aligning with Wisconsin’s other Republican members of Congress when it comes to the battle over the role of House Speaker. The U.S. House of Representatives has been struggling to elect a new leader since what was supposed to be their inauguration day on Tuesday. As of Thursday at 10 a.m., there have been seven votes over the three days, with no Speaker candidate getting the necessary votes. Wisconsin Republicans have been voting in favor of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who has served as the party’s leader in the house since 2014. Wisconsin’s Democrats have voted for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York. A group of Republicans made up mostly of members of the House Freedom Caucus have been united in their opposition against McCarthy, instead throwing their support behind Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, among other candidates. While McCarthy has made some concessions, it has not been enough to push him over the edge. Door County Republican Party Chairperson Stephanie Soucek is happy that the conversation is taking place about some of the things that are wrong with Washington, D.C., but she also hopes both sides can work something out.

Committee appointments and other House business can only occur after a House Speaker is chosen. Once things get underway, Soucek looks forward to what the chamber will do to address government spending, border control, and international threats.

Lottery jackpot once again pushing $1B

You could become nearly a billionaire again on Friday the next time you pick up a snack or fill up your gas tank. Friday night’s jackpot for the Mega Millions is an estimated $940 million and could be well over a billion dollars if no one matches all the numbers. It currently ranks as the sixth-largest jackpot in U.S. history, with bigger ones happening recently. The biggest lottery jackpot wrapped up last November when a California resident won a record $2.04 billion. A few months earlier, an Illinois resident won $1.34 billion playing Mega Millions. The popular lottery game is played in 45 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The big jackpot could also put the state’s property owners on the path toward another year of savings on their tax bills. Last month, Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca announced that homeowners in the state would receive an approximately $213 credit on their property tax bill.

Sturgeon Bay Police Cadets building back stronger

You do not have to go far to get a jumpstart on a potential career in law enforcement. The Sturgeon Bay Police Cadets restarted its organization in June after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. Because of the time off, the Sturgeon Bay Police Cadets had to rebuild its roster while continuing to hold its training sessions. Finding success with the program is not hard to find. Manitowoc Police Officer Sterling Gardner and Door County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Deputy Triston Beauchamp were both recent graduates of the Sturgeon Bay Police Cadets, something program advisor and Sturgeon Bay Police Officer Brandon Shew says highlights the training they do and the success they have had.

The Sturgeon Bay Police Cadets is open to high school and college students between the ages of 14-20. They meet approximately once to twice a month, train with law enforcement officers, and attend conferences and competitions. You can find more information about the program below.

 

 

Local legislators celebrate inauguration day

It was nothing new for State Rep. Joel Kitchens and State Senator Andre Jacque, but they are still thankful for you allowing them to serve. On Tuesday, Jacque was sworn in for the second time representing District 1 in the Wisconsin Assembly, and Kitchens celebrated for the fifth time. Wednesday was marked with many meetings to prepare for the upcoming session, including passing the 2023-2025 biennial budget. Kitchens is happy to see Governor Tony Evers, Speaker Robin Vos, and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu seem more willing to talk and work through their problems than they have in recent years.

Jacque says the two months between election day and inauguration always seem long, but he is excited to get back to work in Madison.

Tuesday also marked the inauguration day for the newly re-elected Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, and U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.

Only one contested election, vacancy for city council seats

Voters in Kewaunee will have the only contested election and the only seat needing a write-in among the three cities in Door and Kewaunee counties after the deadline to register passed on Tuesday. Joe Mills looks to reclaim his seat from District 3 alderperson Robin Nelson. No one has submitted paperwork to run for the vacated seat by District 4 alderperson Richard Taylor. John Blaha (District 1) and Wendy Shelton (District 2) are also running for re-election.

 

In Algoma, there will be at least two new members if everything stays the same, as Wayne Schmidt (District 3) and John Ortlieb (District 1) hope to be seated as city council members. Midge Swedberg (District 2) and Lee Dachelet (District 4) are running for re-election.

 

It will be just incumbents in Sturgeon Bay, as nobody but Helen Bacon (District 1), Dan Williams (District 3), Gary Nault (District 5), and Kirsten Reeths (District 7) submitted nomination papers.

 

Despite the lack of candidates on a local level, a primary will still need to be held for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. Waukesha County Court Judge Jennifer Dorow, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, Dane County Court Judge Everett Mitchell, and Milwaukee County Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz are running to replace the retiring Justice Patience Roggensack. The spring primary will be on February 21st, while the spring general election will take place on April 4th.

Christmas tree pick up Saturday in Algoma

With the holiday season over, your local municipality can help you dispose of and recycle your Christmas tree. The Algoma Fire Department will provide curbside pickup Saturday if your tree is placed by the street before noon. All lights, tinsel, and ornaments must be removed from the trees for the one-time pickup.  Algoma Fire Chief Tom Ackerman says other options exist if you don’t get rid of your tree this weekend.

 

 

The City of Kewaunee will collect Christmas trees on the first and third Monday in January and requests that the trunk end of the tree be placed at the curb.  In the City of Sturgeon Bay, you will need to bring your Christmas tree to the corner of the nearest intersection for pickup. The city crews will dispose of trees through January 13.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(photo courtesy of DoorCountyParents.com) 

Northern Door YMCA offering Soup Day

To support its annual campaign for the community, the Door County YMCA will be hosting a Soup Day next Monday, January 9, at the Northern Door Program Center in Fish Creek.  Marketing Director Amy Gamble says there will be a variety of soups made by YMCA members and local businesses.

 

 

The soups will be packaged in 16-ounce containers and will be available for $7 each starting at 6 a.m. on Monday.  You can stop by or order online at DoorCountyYMCA.org or the YMCA's Facebook page on January 9.  Gamble adds that the annual campaign funds go towards financially assisting families, enabling them to utilize the YMCA.  

Multiple crews battle Washington Island fire

A house fire on Washington Island required help from several fire departments on the mainland on Tuesday morning. The Washington Island Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire at 1457 Deerlane Road at about 8:30 a.m. Fire Chief Peter Nehlsen says an alarm system alerted the occupants, who escaped the fire uninjured. He says the blaze started as a chimney fire right in the middle of the home, where hot embers fell into the crawl space. Chief Nehlsen explains how the mutual aid, MABAS, calls to other departments helped to give his crews a break during the over three-hour ordeal.  Fire departments from Baileys Harbor, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, Gibraltar, and Ephraim assisted with the fire call and returned to their respective stations at about 2 p.m. 

 

 

The estimated home damage is $50,000, according to Nehlson. He says the fire is a good reminder to clean your chimney regularly. 

 

(photo courtesy of Washingon Island Police Department)

Sturgeon Bay City Council moves on zoning, honors firefighter

The City of Sturgeon Bay covered several resolutions Tuesday night and honored a retiring firefighter in the first council meeting for the year.


Before agenda items were discussed, part-time Firefighter Todd Ploor was recognized for his 26 years of service and upcoming retirement. Mayor David Ward and Fire Chief Tim Dietman presented Ploor with a plaque and thanked him for his years of dedication to the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department.

 


In the first piece of the agenda items, a resolution for Tree Planting Deposit to increase from $200 to $225 and Marina Slip fees to increase by $50 at Stone Harbor Resort was unanimously approved.


The purchase of two 2023 Chevy Tahoe Special Service vehicle squads for the Sturgeon Bay Police Department was unanimously approved with a transfer of $25,000 from the Capital Budget line from Fire Department Unit 8 replacement to outfit the vehicles.
Several meetings by the Plan Commission set the groundwork for the City Council to adopt a recommendation to reduce dimension requirements for residential single-family homes. This will allow for the development of smaller new homes (1,200 square feet). Amending the zoning code will require a public hearing on February 7th before action can be taken. 

 

 

(Todd Ploor with Chief Dietman and Mayor Ward)

Griffon String Quartet, Suzuki Strings of Madison team up for winter retreat

Even if you cannot read music, you can meet some musical prodigies that share that sentiment. The Griffon String Quartet is welcoming the Suzuki Strings of Madison to northern Door County later this weekend for its inaugural winter retreat. The group of child performers is named after the Suzuki method of learning how to play instruments through listening, imitation, and repetition. The groups will present a performance on January 6th to third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at Gibraltar before hosting a workshop with the school’s fifth graders. Later that day, the groups will welcome strings students and community members to Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay for a night of pizza and musical games. The winter retreat will wrap up on January 7th with classes for students and performances. Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck says what makes the Suzuki Strings of Madison unique is not the young age of the performers but rather the method of how they learned to master their instruments without necessarily understanding how to read music.

The Griffon String Quarter Winter Retreat portions at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church are free for all to attend. 

Sheriff's office target of scam calls

Think twice before you give your financial information over the phone to someone saying they are a part of the Door County Sheriff’s Department. The department said on Monday that they had been made aware of a series of phone calls from individuals posing as Door County Law Enforcement. Specifically, one caller posed as a Sergeant with the Door County Sheriff’s Department. To make matters worse for possible scam targets, the caller ID shows the department’s general office number while the caller says they did not show up for court and face fines. The Door County Sheriff’s Department reminds you that they never call to request you pay fines or demand that you go to the bank. They also urge you to be cautious when someone asks for money or information over the phone. According to app producer Truecaller, an estimated 70 million Americans lost money to phone scams in 2022, making off with $40 billion along the way.

Football scare shows importance of CPR skills

The events that occurred during Monday Night Football may have given you another reason to ensure you are prepared with CPR skills. According to ESPN, Buffalo Bills cornerback Damar Hamlin remains in a Cincinnati hospital in critical condition after suffering from cardiac arrest following a tackle against Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Medical officials gave Hamlin CPR for several minutes before he was administered oxygen and taken by ambulance to the hospital. Over 575 miles away, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Christ Hecht shared his prayers for the Hamlin family while expressing the importance of learning CPR and using a defibrillator.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about nine in ten people with cardiac arrest outside a hospital die with CPR dramatically improving those odds. Administering CPR  correctly can double or triple a person’s chance of survival from cardiac arrest if administered in the first few minutes. The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department continues to conduct CPR training sessions for emergency responders, businesses, and community members upon request. You can contact CPR program coordinator Carol Forner to learn when the next session will occur or how to schedule your own.

Kewaunee County sees one death, two COVID hospitalizations

Both Door and Kewaunee counties are at the medium community level for COVID-19, but that does not mean there was no sad news on that front for COVID-19.

 

In its December 30th update, the Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported one additional death and two new hospitalizations since its last report on December 16th. Over the previous two weeks, it also saw 43 new cases of COVID-19, 12 of which were still active at the time.

 

According to the CDC, Door County saw 25 new cases of COVID-19 in a week through December 28th. It also estimates three additional hospitalizations, but Door County Public Health has yet to issue its weekly report as of 9 a.m. Tuesday. 

 

 

Sturgeon Bay Common Council addressing zoning for home size

The City of Sturgeon Bay will be looking to lower the requirement for the square footage of a home in the city when the Common Council meets for the first time in 2023 on Tuesday night. 


The Plan Commission’s recommendation calls for the minimum dimension size for a single-family residential home (R-1 Zoning) in the city to drop from 1,500 square feet to 1,200 square feet. 


Other business to be handled at the meeting will be the first reading of the ordinance to rezone a parcel of land at 835 South Duluth Avenue from General Commercial (C-1) to Mixed Residential-Commercial (C-5).  This would allow the southern portion of the old Woldt’s Corner property to allow for a single-family dwelling by the current development of a three-tenant commercial center that is being built.  The approval for purchasing two new squad cars for the Police Department is also on the agenda.  


The final piece of business will be a recommendation by the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee to approve listing the West Waterfront park area as a potential location for the possible NERR headquarters site.  


The Sturgeon Bay Common Council is set to meet at 6:00 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday.

 

You can read the packet for Tuesday's meeting on this link.

 

New year, new programs at Crossroads

All over the world, people will celebrate on January 6. In many countries, January 6 is called Epiphany or Three Kings Day. At Crossroads at Big Creek, we will celebrate the Full Moon with a luminary-lit hike and a campfire at the Council Ring. Oddly, the celebrations are somewhat related.

 

Epiphany celebrates the visit of the Magi and in many cultures throughout the world (including our own) people picture this as three kings riding on camels following a star and bringing valuable gifts to the “babe in Bethlehem.”

 

Religious scholars have debated the details of this story for millennia (this rabbit hole is deep!), but in the Bible, there is no mention of camels or kings or the number of night visitors. The book of Mathew was written in Greek, so when he wrote of the “Magi,” he probably was referring to Zorastrian priests or learned men from the east, presumably Persia (now Iran). Magi studied the stars, which in those days was a combination of astrology and early astronomy. In other words, the wise men were astronomers!

 

These protoscientists produced sophisticated celestial maps and understood planetary motions. They would have noticed if something out of the ordinary was occurring in the sky. (To this day, astronomers debate what that unexpected light in the sky might have been.) But certainly, the Magi would have known the phases of the moon. And like astronomers today, they probably did not do a lot of star-gazing when the moon was full and its bright light masked all but the brightest stars.

 

So no, even in the unlikely event that the sky is clear on January 6, the members of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will not hold a viewing night. The nights before, during and after the full moon, which happens on January 6, are the worst times for night sky viewing, or for that matter, for studying the features of the Moon. Lunar features are much easier to see in the first and third quarter.

 

This January, the full moon is a “Micromoon,” the opposite of a “Supermoon.” DPAS members sort of laugh at all the sensationalized media hype when we anticipate a “Supermoon.” To most people (unless they are influenced by the power of suggestion), a "Supermoon" doesn’t look any different than a regular moon. It’s no big deal.

 

Understand that every 29 days, the Moon orbits the Earth. The path is not circular, but rather, elliptical. Because of this, sometimes the Moon is nearer the Earth than other times. This January, the Moon will be at its apogee – the furthest from the Earth, some 252,600 miles away. And just as a “Supermoon” isn’t a big deal, the “Micromoon” isn’t a big deal either. In any month, the moon just seems bigger and brighter when it is near the horizon, and that actually is an optical illusion.

 

But whether or not the full moon is visible or how far away it is, the campfire and the luminary-lit walk to it, will brighten your Crossroads evening experience on January 6.

 

Even in the dark, walkers will see signs that Crossroads is endeavoring to increase our biodiversity. They may see “Restoration in Progress” signs or piles of cut buckthorn and honeysuckle, invasive species we are working to eradicate. But how will we know if our efforts are making a difference? In olden’ times, miners took canaries into the coal mines to warn them of dangerous conditions. Bird populations—rising or decreasing – give us an indication whether or not wildlife needs are being met.

 

At the Crossroads Bird Club (which at this point is really a lecture series), we will discuss why biodiversity is important—essential!—to birds and why documenting both migratory and breeding birds will help us evaluate our restoration efforts. We also will offer a short presentation on owl courtship, which is a real hoot! This program is for anyone who is interested in birds, and we hope, for folks willing to become involved in our citizen science programs.

 

The pre-school-aged children who will attend Junior Nature Club at the Collins Learning Center are in for a special treat on Wednesday, January 4. Puppeteer Nancy Hawkins will present “The Princess and the Pea,” and Interpretive Naturalist Coggin Heeringa will talk about forest animal beds.

New Kewaunee County Fairest to be crowned Friday

You are invited to see Kewaunee County’s newest royalty get crowned this Friday night. Two girls are vying for the Kewaunee County Fairest and Jr. Fairest of the Fair positions. Fairest candidates Lexy Nowak and Vanessa Van Pay and Junior Fairest Candidate Jakayla Steinhorst will be judged based on an individual interview, group interview, mock radio commercial, and basket auction.  . Isabella Haen, a former state and county Fairest of the Fair herself, offered some words of advice to potential candidates hoping to follow in her footsteps last month.

The general public can come to the Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Gala on January 6th at 7 p.m. at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds. The event is free to attend but proceeds made through food, beverage, and silent auction sales go to the Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair program.  

 

Click here to meet this year's candidates and to learn more about Friday's gala.

Salvation Army collects $22K through Red Kettle Campaign in Kewaunee County

Your loose change will add up to big help for your friends and neighbors in Kewaunee County. Through the Salvation Army of Kewaunee County’s Red Kettle Campaign, more than $22,900 was collected at sites in Algoma, Kewaunee, and Luxemburg. It was down from the over $25,800 collected in 2021. Despite the drop in donations, Matt Joski was still proud of the effort that mainly came from loose change and crumpled-up dollar bills. Even with some of the new technology available to drive up donations, Joski says some people just like the feeling of dropping money into the kettle. As a voucher writer, he is excited to see how the dollars will help residents in need in 2023.

Throughout the entire country, The Salvation Army serves more than 25 million people annually, including 2.3 million people during the holiday season. The national organization estimates that inflation has caused a 30 to 50 percent increase in requests for assistance compared to previous years. 

 

 

FROM MATT JOSKI

With all of the Christmas excitement behind us, I wanted to take just a moment to share the outcome of our 2022 season of giving. Just as in the past, this year’s Kewaunee County Kettle Campaign was a testimony to the generosity of our communities. Over all, we received $22,902.29in donations between November 23rd and December 24th. To put this in perspective, last year we received $25,824.16

 

Although we raised less than we did in last year’s campaign, it is still an impressive total and is yet another example of the giving spirit that our community continues to show forth.

 

Leading the giving this year was the Kewaunee sites with a total of $9,125.47 followed by Luxemburg at $6,434.80 and Algoma at $6,336.56. These donations are a total of both what was received in the kettles as well as $1,005.46 donation checks received throughout 2022. A relatively new addition to our campaign has been the counter top kettles at area businesses. Each year they tend to draw a bit more attention as well as donations. Thank you to the businesses that hosted those as well.

 

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

 

I would like to thank Jake Blazkovec and John Ortlieb for all of their efforts in the Algoma area. I would also like to thank Annette Wuest for her coordination at the Luxemburg sites, as well as my dear Mother, Pat Joski for her handcrafted sign-up boards at the Kewaunee Site. In addition to the volunteers of all ages, young and old, A special shout out to all of our Kewaunee County youth for showing us that there is no minimum age for volunteerism, as we had students, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Cub Scouts and student/ staff members of various organizations and schools giving of themselves and their time.

 

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

 

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

 

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

    

 

        

        

Jacksonport Polar Bear Club welcomes 800 swimmers

With air and water temperatures hovering above freezing, thousands of people lined the beach at Jacksonport's Lakeside Park to kick off 2023.

 

According to the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club, approximately 800 swimmers stormed the Lake Michigan waters for the 37th edition of the swim.  The swimmers represented 24 states and five international countries.

 

In addition to the swimmers, over 2,000 people rang in the New Year watching the festivities take place. The swim first started as a dare for club founder JR Jarosh, who has turned it into an annual tradition every year since outside of 2021 when the event had to be canceled because of the pandemic. 

 

Pictures courtesy of the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club

 

 

 

 

The City of Sturgeon Bay selling UTV

If you are in the market for a Utility Task Vehicle for the New Year, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department asks you to submit a bid before January 9th.  The City of Sturgeon Bay is seeking sealed bids for a 2009 Kawasaki MULE 4x2.  The vehicle has 288 hours of use, needs a new battery, and has rough idle.  According to the Sturgeon Bay Police social media post, the minimum bid is $500, and you can inspect the machine this Friday from 2:30 until 4:00 pm.  All bids must be received by 2 pm on January 9, and may be dropped off or sent to the Sturgeon Bay Police Department at 421 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.  You can contact Assistant Chief of Police Dan Brinkman if you have any questions at 920-746-2457 or dbrinkman@sturgeonbaywi.org.

 

 

 

Ferry ridership down in 2022 as things drift towards normal

Much like occupancy rates across the county, so too was ridership on the Washington Island Ferry. Official numbers have not been released, Washington Island Ferry President Hoyt Purinton said ridership was likely down for the year. While citing high gas prices, a cool spring, and a wet fall as reasons why not as many people rode on the ferry this year, Purinton said 2021 was just an exceptional year due to the pent-up demand to travel after COVID-19 restrictions kept most people at home.

Lodging establishments also saw fewer people stay with them this year. According to data from the Door County Tourism Zone for January through October, the occupancy rate was higher in 2021 in all but three months compared to 2022. Occupancy was higher in 2022 during January and February and even in August. Compared to 2019, the year prior to the pandemic, 2022's occupancy was higher every month from January through October. 

Door County Reads floats on with Raft of Stars

It is time for you to track down a copy of this year’s Door County Reads selection before events begin later this month. Taking place in Wisconsin, Andrew J. Graff’s “Raft of Stars” is about two boys running away from home after an incident and the four adults who try to track them down. Physical copies of the books have been available since late November at Door County Library branches, while digital versions can also be found on the Libby and Hoopla apps.

 

The first scheduled events are not until January 26th, when the Egg Harbor Library hosts the first of many book discussions throughout the county, and the Sturgeon Bay branch hosts a screening of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. The official kickoff is not until January 29th, when the Kress Pavilion plays host to speaker Ron Lang.

 

You can learn more about this year’s books, and Door County Reads activities by clicking on this link. 

 

Door County Reads celebrated its 15th-anniversary last year.

Community Spotlight: Megan Salentine

Pilsen Skylighters member Megan Salentine is in the twilight of her career as a youth member of 4-H, but you can be sure she is far from being done with the organization. While juggling the end of her senior year at Luxemburg-Casco High School and the start of her undergrad work at St. Norbert College, Salentine was one of several members of the National 4-H Congress Youth Design Team. For a year, Salentine held court with fellow design team members from around the country both in-person and virtually to ensure last month’s National 4-H Congress in Atlanta was another success. She said it was a fantastic experience to meet so many 4-H members from around the country and to see them enjoy the events she helped coordinate.

While the National 4-H Congress could be considered the last hurrah for Salentine and other members who will age out of the organization next fall, she plans on being as involved as she can be while attending classes. After participating in her final Kewaunee County Fair this upcoming summer, Salentine is excited to stick with 4-H in Kewaunee County as a volunteer.

 

 

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