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News Archives for 2023-12

Choosing an executor of your will is crucial

One resolution for the new year that can help you and your family down the road is one key aspect of an estate plan that is sometimes overlooked. Having an executor in place for health and financial issues is critically important, according to Jim Downey from Blazkovec, Blazkovec & Downey in Algoma and Sturgeon Bay. He says the roles and responsibilities of the estate executor or trust are in place, so your wishes are followed if you are ever incapable of making those decisions. He says choosing the right representative to handle those duties can sometimes be challenging.

 

 

Downey says most executors selected for financial or healthcare Power of Attorney are usually closest geographically. You can find the ten duties of an executor of a will below,  according to legal zoom.

 

 

 

1. Get a copy of the will and file it with the local probate court

The executor is in charge of locating, reading and understanding the will—usually, even if probate isn’t necessary, the will still must be filed with the probate court. At this step, the executor also determines who inherits the property.

2. Notify banks, credit card companies, and government agencies of the decedent’s death

The Social Security Administration, along with the decedent’s bank and credit card companies, are just some examples of who should be notified of the death.

3. Decide what kind of probate is necessary

Because inheritance laws may facilitate the passing of certain properties without probate (such as property held jointly by a husband and wife), probate isn’t always necessary. Additionally, the value of the estate may allow it to pass through an expedited process. If probate is required, you need to file a petition with the court to be appointed an executor.  You will likely need an attorney's assistance to accomplish this. 

4. Represent the estate in court

An executor may be required to appear in court on behalf of the estate. 

5. Set up a bank account for incoming funds and pay any ongoing bills 

If the decedent is owed money such as incoming paychecks, this account can hold them. An executor should be on the lookout for mortgages, utilities, and similar bills that still need to be paid throughout the probate process.

6. File an inventory of the estate's assets with the court

In many states, the court requires the executor to submit a detailed inventory of the assets in the probate estate. 

7. Maintain the property until it can be distributed or sold

This includes keeping up a house until it is distributed to heirs or sold- even deciding whether the property needs to be sold at all. Also, an executor must be sure to find all personal property in the estate and protect it until distribution. If the decedent had a safety deposit box, the executor should locate it and keep it safe. 

8. Pay the estate's debts and taxes

State law dictates the procedure for notifying creditors, and the estate must also file income tax returns from the first of the current year until the date of the decedent's death. If the estate is large enough, there may be state and/or federal estate taxes to pay as well

9. Distribute assets

Distribution occurs according to the wishes expressed in the will. If there is no will, state intestacy laws apply.

10. Dispose of other property

If there is any property left after paying off the estate's debts and distribution to heirs, the executor is responsible for disposing of it. 

Since estates vary greatly in size and complexity, an executor's job may be easy or challenging to carry out—and responsibilities may very well go beyond the ten basic items in this list. But while an executor can decline the position or resign at any point in the process, sometimes all that is needed is some legal advice.

Griffon String Quartet welcomes back Suzuki Stringsfor winter retreat

Thanks to Midsummer's Music and the Griffon String Quartet, you can catch children as young as two years old playing string instruments at a series of events next weekend.

 

The performing arts groups will reprise its winter retreat from last year, featuring the Suzuki Strings of Madison. The students prescribe to the philosophy of Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese pedagogue who believed that every child could learn to play an instrument with loving encouragement, a rich musical environment, and respectful cooperation between teacher, parent, and student. It means the students learn to play their respective instruments by relying on the sounds they hear rather than the notes on a page. Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck fell in love with playing music through the Suzuki method and says it is an excellent way for young children to get involved.

The Winter Retreat opens on Friday morning when the Suzuki Strings of Madison perform for students at Gibraltar before participating in workshops with the Griffon String Quartet and hosting an instrument petting zoo. The Suzuki Strings of Madison will meet with students of the Griffon String Quarter at Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay for a night of music, games, and pizza. On January 6th, the Suzuki Strings of Madison will participate in instructive classes with other students before hosting a community performance at 1 p.m. at Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay. 


Starting the New Year on the right (or left) foot

After you dust yourself off from your New Year’s Eve activities, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages you to get outside to kick off 2024. Almost 20 DNR properties, including Peninsula, Newport, and Whitefish Dunes state parks, are hosting First Day Hikes to celebrate the New Year. While allowing you to use your 2024 State Park sticker for the first time, some First Day Hikes around the state are guided by property naturalists or local experts. Whitefish Dunes State Park Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender says the annual event is a great excuse to get outside this winter.

The First Day Hikes are a precursor to other events like the Candlelight Ski and Hike events at Whitefish Dunes State Park on January 27th and Peninsula State Park on February 3rd. Potawatomi State Park will host its Winter Trails Day on February 17th.

Hop water popularity growing

The same people making you beer are now trying to provide you with an alternative.

 

According to a Gallup poll published in August, 62 percent of adults under the age of 35 say they drink alcohol, which is down ten percentage points from two decades ago. During the same period, excessive drinking has also decreased by six percentage points for drinkers 18 to 34 (28 percent to 22 percent) and two percentage points for drinkers 35 to 54 (22 to 20). The study credits the increasing concern that moderate drinking is unhealthy not just because of the alcohol but because of the calories that often come with it. Sales trends also show this, with Forbes reporting that craft beer sales were down two percent and spirits outsold beer for the first time.

 

While some brewers dipped their toes into the seltzer market, others are now trying to hop water, which is sparkling water with a hoppy flavor with no alcohol, calories, or carbs. Popular brewers like Lagunitas, Revolution, and Sierra Nevada have all entered the hop water market, with nationwide sales reaching over $14 million. Algoma’s Ahnapee Brewery will debut four flavors of their hop water beginning in January. Owner Nick Calaway is curious to see how it will be received.

Ahnapee’s hop water debut coincides with the recent trend of Dry January, which challenges participants to stay away from alcohol for 31 days.

 

Best of 2023: No. 1 Southern Door superintendent placed on leave until further notice

Southern Door Superintendent Chris Peterson remains on administrative leave from the district after two closed sessions held within the last week.

 

Peterson was placed on administrative leave following a special school board meeting held last Thursday. In the minutes from that meeting, the school board entered executive session just after 7 p.m. to “consider the employment and performance evaluation data as well as social or personal history or disciplinary data of the District Administrator which, if discussed in public, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of the District Administrator” and to confer with district’s legal counsel. The board took a brief recess at 9:50 p.m. so attorney Tony Renning of Renning, Lewis & Lacy in Green Bay and school board members Penny Price and Kim Starr could talk to Peterson. The closed session recommenced just before 10:10 p.m. on Thursday. No reason as to why Peterson was placed on leave was given.

 

The school board entered executive session again during their regular school board meeting on Monday, though further review of the District Administrator was not explicitly listed on the agenda. Price, who serves the school board as its president, said via email that nothing new occurred at Monday’s meeting and that Peterson would remain on leave.

 

Peterson was hired in 2021 to take over for the retiring Patti Vickman after he served in the same role at Howards Grove School District. He recently helped engineer some major changes at the district, including garnering millions of dollars for a series of referendum-related projects and implementing block scheduling for the 2024-2025 school year.

Best of 2023: No. 2 Watch for high beams

Now that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, it is a good time to discuss lighting on vehicles. This provides us with a reminder and opportunity to ensure your vehicle and any trailer lights are operational. While preventative maintenance on your vehicle equipment will make you and your occupants safer, it will also eliminate the potential for being stopped for defective equipment.

 

In this article, I would like to discuss high beams and low beams. I don’t have many pet peeves, but one of them is definitely when people do not dim their headlamps when they meet another vehicle. Wisconsin state Statute covers this in 347.12(1)(a) “Use of Multiple Beam Headlamps”

 

Whenever the operator of a motor vehicle equipped with multiple beam headlamps approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 Feet, the operator shall dim, depress or tilt the vehicle's headlights so the glaring rays are not directed into the eyes of the other vehicle's operator.

 

This paragraph does not prohibit an operator from intermittently flashing the vehicle's high beam headlamps at an oncoming vehicle whose high beam headlamps are lit.

This statute goes on to apply the same distance (500 feet) in regards to dimming your headlamps when following another vehicle.

 

I have had people who believed that flashing your headlights at an oncoming vehicle was illegal, and I hope this clears up the misconception. The proper use, or in some cases the improper use of high beams, becomes the source of many complaints, and the proper understanding and use will go a long way in maintaining harmony on our roadways.

 

One of the main reasons we use our high beams is to increase our response time in the event that a deer or other wildlife may wander onto the roadway and into our lane traffic. For those who are interested, we are slightly below the number of car-deer accidents from this time last year. Last year’s total number of car-deer accidents was 485. At this time last year, we had 334 car-deer accidents reported. The number for this year thus far is 310.  Stay Safe! Stay Alert!

Best of 2023: No. 3 Kwik Trip driveway leaves businesses stuck in the median

Originally published on February 18th, 2023

 

You will not be able to cross State Highway 42/57 to enter or leave the future Kwik Trip based on Wisconsin Department of Transportation recommendations.

 

The median is the last puzzle piece after the building design and site plan were approved at a previous meeting. The DOT later decided that closing the median was the safest option, adding that any new development would have triggered it. This means the raised median would stretch from Duluth Avenue to Ashland Avenue.

 

Eliminating the two-way left turn lane would limit traffic trying to get to either Destination Door County or Sturgeon Bay Metal Products. While Destination Door County is hoping an easement can be granted so visitors can get to their building from Duluth Avenue, representatives from Sturgeon Bay Metal Products expressed their opposition to it. At the Aesthetic Design and Site Plan Review Board meeting on February 13th, Vern Smith and Dana Anderson from Sturgeon Bay Metal Products questioned why it was needed, saying that it has always been a safe area and that a median would negatively impact how their semi-trucks navigate the area. They hope a solution can be met that is positive for both businesses.

 

The debate sparked additional conversation from board member Pam Jorns, who asked if a similar median will be needed if Fleet Farm is built south of the site.  After an agreement was not reached, the board punted the issue to the Common Council.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also weigh in on the development agreement for a new hotel and the Door County Granary's request for an extension on their development agreement when they meet Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Best of 2023: No. 4 Narcan vending machine debuts in Sturgeon Bay

Originally published July 25th, 2023

 

If you need it, NEW Sober Living’s Eli Phillips and Angie Levens do not mind refilling a vending machine outside their future thrift shop. Inside the vending machine are primarily products used to combat fentanyl, which includes testing strips and Narcan, the medicine often used to reverse an opioid overdose. The idea came to Levens and Phillips at a conference in Green Bay, where they learned similar machines were already operating in Milwaukee and Rock counties. Knowing people who have died from opioid overdoses and the prevalence of fentanyl in Door County, Phillips and Levens agreed that the $500 investment in a used vending machine to distribute the free products was worth it if it meant saving a life.

In the week since Phillips and Levens installed the machine, two test strips and four boxes of Narcan have already been claimed. NEW Sober Living is a newly established non-profit in Door County aimed at helping people manage their sobriety. Phillips is proud of the success they have already had in the organization’s infancy, with five people graduating from their program. The vending machine is located across the parking lot from Door County Habitat for Humanity’s offices and ReStore.

Best of 2023: No. 5 Mr. G's Supper Club to be torn down

Originally published December 5th, 2023

 

The building that housed a landmark dining establishment in Jacksonport will be razed next week.   Mr. G’s Supper Club is scheduled to be torn down next Monday.  The supper club was the victim of an arson fire in October of 2022.  Jonathon J. Polich was arrested in November of 2022 and faced two counts of Arson to Dwelling.  He pleaded no contest to the charges and was committed to a mental health facility after a plea deal was reached with the prosecution this past October.

 

The building has been owned by the Geitner family since 1973, and Bob Geitner, who, along with his wife Mary, has owned Mr. G’s Supper Club since 1981 after purchasing it from his father.

 

Geitner says there was too much damage to the building to save it.

There are no immediate plans to rebuild the supper club at this time, although he has hopes that family members may take over the property.  The Fernwoods Garden Ballroom, located just north of the building, is operational and held occasional catered events this past year. 

Best of 2023: No. 6 Casco rallies around local family

Originally published on December 3rd, 2023

 

The darkest days for a local family are shining a light on the meaning of community in the Village of Casco.

 

During the Thanksgiving holiday, the Connor family spent part of it in a hospital room in Madison, where their son Lucas was diagnosed with a form of cancer. According to the GoFundMe page set up less than a week ago, Lucas is stable after having to be treated for a mass in his chest that was releasing toxins in his body and harming his kidneys. In those days since, donors have contributed more than $22,000 to support the family. A member of the Luxemburg-Casco youth basketball program, the high school team is selling t-shirts with the hashtag #Love4Lucas on them, with all proceeds going to support the family.

 

The latest effort to support the family is scheduled for Saturday at the fourth annual Christmas in Casco event at the Casco Kidz Zone 1 location. The event allows kids to visit with Santa and his reindeer, take pictures with the Paw Patrol, and participate in other holiday activities free of charge, thanks to the support of other local sponsors. As a thank you, the community has donated over $10,000 to three other members of the Casco Kidz Zone family who have dealt with their own challenges. Event organizer and Casco Kidz Zone owner Lisa Cochart says the benefit of living in a small town is that everyone supports each other in need.

The Andy Barta Legacy Charitable Fund has committed to donate up to $1,000 in matching funds during the event. Christmas in Casco runs from noon to 2 p.m.

Best of 2023: No. 7 Century-plus-old shipwreck found near Algoma

Originally published September 1st, 2023

 

As excited as you might get for reeling in a monster fish in Algoma’s harbor, imagine Wisconsin Maritime Historians Brendon Baillod and Robert Jaeck finding Kewaunee County’s latest shipwreck. Baillod and Jaeck located the 156-year-old 140-foot schooner Trinidad on July 15th using various tools, including survivor accounts of the shipwreck and side scan sonar technology. According to Baillod, the ship was built in New York in the 1860s, and it was primarily used for grain trade between Milwaukee, Chicago, and Oswego, New York. The Trinidad sank shortly after leaving the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal in May 1881, about 10 miles from Algoma’s shores. Baillod, who has been chronicling shipwrecks since he was a teenager, says this was a special vessel to find because of its backstory and its condition.

With the assistance of Tamara Thomsen from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Maritime Archaeology Office, they were able not just to verify the vessel’s identity and document its artifacts, but they were also able to create a 3D photogrammetry model of the Trinidad. Baillod suggests that it will be included on the National Historic Register of Historic Places in the coming months.

 

First picture: The Trinidad's Intact Deck House, Zach Whitrock, Tamara Thomsen, State Historical Society of Wisconsin

 

See more pictures here

Best of 2023: No. 8 Jim Olson Motors sells to Patriot Motors Sturgeon Bay, LLC

You will see a new name on the three car dealerships in Sturgeon Bay this week.  Jim Olson Motors is transitioning its operations to a new owner, Patriot Motors, Sturgeon Bay, LLC.  According to Jim Olson, the transaction will be finalized sometime Wednesday.  Patriot Motors Sturgeon Bay will be taking over the Chevrolet Buick store at 632 Green Bay Road, the Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Truck dealership at the intersection of Duluth Avenue and Highway 42-57, and the Jim Olson Ford location at 440 South Duluth Avenue.  Olson first purchased the Bill Boettcher Chevrolet Buick Cadillac in 2006, and in April of 2012, the Chrysler franchise was awarded to the auto group after Bergstrom closed operations in 2009 at 812 Green Bay Road.  In October 2014, the Jim Olson Auto Group expanded by purchasing the Witt Ford, renaming it Jim Olson Ford Lincoln, and moving to a brand new store on Duluth Avenue in 2017. 

 

According to Bizapedia.com, Patriot Motors Sturgeon Bay filed as a company last November and lists Shawn Kohli as the registered agent.  A letter sent out to vendors last week by Jim Olson Motors notes that the new general manager at Patriot Motors will be Jake Belcher.

Best of 2023: No. 9 Major fire shuts down Rowleys Bay Resort campus

Originally published September 5th, 2023

 

All Rowley's Bay Resort staff members are accounted for after a major fire forced their evacuation Tuesday afternoon.

 

Fire departments were called to the popular Ellison Bay destination at approximately 1 p.m. to the resort, which includes lodging, a pub, a bakery, and a restaurant. Black smoke could be seen from miles away as firefighters fought the blaze. Crews ended up closing down the entrance to Rowleys Bay Resort at the corner of County ZZ and Mink River Road to all traffic other than emergency personnel.

 

A representative for Rowleys Bay Resort took to social media after 2 p.m., saying that the building has been evacuated and the resort and food service will be closed for the foreseeable future.  Rowleys Bay management is working with its future guests by helping them make alternative arrangements if possible.

 

FROM ROWLEYS BAY RESORT FACEBOOK PAGE

"Rowleys Bay Resort and its attached businesses are currently affected by a building-wide fire. The building has been evacuated and all staff have been accounted for.

Arrangements are being made for incoming guests. If you are with an incoming bus group, please contact the groups manager number you have on file. If you are an individual who has a reservation with us tonight, we apologize and are working as quickly as we can to gather information and make alternate arrangements. Individuals who currently have reservations with us and cannot find alternate arrangements, please leave a message at 920-421-3005 and we will contact you as soon as we are able.

At this time the resort and food service departments will be closed for the foreseeable future. We will post additional information as it becomes available, including resources for contacting us if you have a reservation coming up with us.

Thank you so much for your support at this time!"

 

 

 

Best of 2023: No. 10 Luxemburg woman finishes in top five of National American Miss Pageant

Originally published on November 27th, 2023

 

Nineteen-year-old Micaela Boucher of Luxemburg, representing Wisconsin, finished as the fourth-runner-up in the National American Miss pageant held in Orlando, Florida last week.  Arriving home on Monday, Boucher says the experience was incredible and one that she will always cherish.  She shares the most exciting part of the weeklong activities and competitions, after trying 13 times at the state level.

Boucher, a 2022 graduate of Luxemburg-Casco High School and currently a sophomore at U.W. Green Bay, also won the Alumni Essay Contest and finished in the top five in NAM Miss Photogenic.  Her essay will be featured in IAM Dream Magazine, along with her work in winning the Brand Ambassador Award.  According to its website, the National American Miss pageant is a program based on fostering positive self-image by growing confidence and teaching real-world skills.  NAM awards over a million dollars yearly in cash scholarships and prizes.  

 

(photos submitted)  

Two Door County Board districts in need of candidates

You still have the holiday weekend to make your candidacy for a county board position official. 15 of the 21 incumbent Door County Board members and 12 of the 20 incumbent Kewaunee County Board members have submitted their paperwork to run for another term. 

 

In Door County, Rodney Beardsley (District 8), Daniel Austad (District 9), Alexis Heim Peter (District 10), and Dave Lienau (District 19) completed their Notice of Non-Candidacy in recent weeks. No one is lined up to take Beardsley’s or Lienau’s seat on the board, while two have taken papers out to replace Austad. Ryan Shaw and Jonathan Kruse took out nomination papers this week to run for the District 9 seat, while Phillip Rockwell did the same to replace Heim Peter’s spot representing District 10. Kruse and Rockwell have returned their paperwork.

 

In Kewaunee County, Dennis Langteau (District 4), Douglas Doell (District 8), and John Mastalir (District 19) filed their non-candidacy papers earlier this cycle. Doak Baker (District 4), Paul Zeitler (District 8) and Wendy Shelton (District 19) look to replace them on the board, with Baker and Shelton already turning in their paperwork.

 

Interested candidates have until January 2nd at the close of business to return their paperwork.

Small changes equal big yields for Luxemburg farmer

It is safe to say that Luxemburg farmer Jim Salentine knows his land pretty well, which is why you saw him win a statewide contest for his soybean yields this month. His 81.85 bushels per acre were enough to win the Wisconsin Soybean Yield Contest for Division 2, consisting of farms in northeast Wisconsin. Salentine was the third generation to take over Salentine Homestead Dairy from his dad in 1975. He acknowledges how farming has changed since his grandparents, Ben and Marie, purchased the farm in 1920, not just because the herd has grown from 45 cows to more than 300 cows and from 80 to 560 acres. He says making small changes annually has helped him keep up.


Salentine has won the award several times before, but he admits the drought conditions they battled this year made him wonder if he could win it again. The final ranking and awards will be presented in February at the Corn Soy Expo at the Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells.

Road tests for teen drivers resume in New Year

Getting your driver’s license as a teenager in 2024 will include a hurdle not seen since before the pandemic.

 

Drivers under 18 who have completed a driver education course, behind-the-wheel training, 50 hours of supervised driving, and have parent/guardian approval will have to take a road test beginning January 1st, 2024. Since May 2020, teenagers have been able to waive the Department of Motor Vehicles’ behind-the-wheel test if they met the other requirements as a part of the pilot program. During the last three-plus years, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says over 169,000 16 and 17-year-olds bypassed the test, adding that their data showed they received slightly fewer citations and stayed out of accidents compared to those who took the test.

 

Wisconsin had been one of four states to allow a waiver, but now those drivers will have to schedule a road test with the DMV. The state opened the scheduling portal in October when it was first announced that the waiver program would not continue. The DOT encourages people to go to wisconsindmv.gov to schedule appointments online to limit their wait times. 

Christmas Bird Count turns up migrating birds sticking around

The groundwork to determine how many birds are flying around Door County and the whole Western Hemisphere is being conducted in the area. The National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count started on December 14th and will continue until January 5th. Member Dan Scheiman, the visitor engagement specialist at The Ridges Sanctuary, and other volunteers participated earlier this month in Ephraim and came away with some exciting observations. Scheiman was pleased to find a few species that are not often recorded, like the white-winged scoter and the winter wren. The bird count showed that the bird ranges are changing as the climate changes; notably, the numbers of Canadian geese in the area are higher because they don’t need to migrate south. Scheiman explains the best way to start birdwatching.

 

 

Scheiman notes that because birds are so active, colorful, and can sing, it makes observing them very easy. Other community bird science programs include e-Bird and the Great Backyard Bird Count, held every February. 

 

(photo courtesy of National Audubon Society)

Sturgeon Bay Food Service Program starts days right

While many schools cut out free meals after the height of the pandemic, Sturgeon Bay School District has been able to keep its free breakfast program on the right track. During the pandemic, every student in the state, regardless of financial status, could take advantage of free breakfast and lunch thanks to an influx of federal funds. When the federal funding ended after the 2021-2022 school year, many districts shut down the free meals programs, reserving them for only needy students. Under the direction of Food Service Director Jenny Spude, the program has survived thanks to the buy-in of local businesses, grants, and other existing funding. She says it has been a great way to keep kids fed heading into the school day and introduce them to new items that are available locally. 

Spude actually credits the pandemic for reducing the stigma around the school lunch program and increasing staff and students’ participation in it in the years since. 

Supporting your favorite organizations requires every dollar

Behind every great organization, you will find a dedicated team behind the scenes helping it go. That is especially true for non-profit organizations, where as much as 35 percent of the money they raise goes towards overhead costs, according to 501( c ) Services.  Some of these costs cover the day-to-day business operations that non-profit organizations incur. According to Charity Watch, organizations are considered highly efficient if they dedicate at least 75 percent of their funds to direct programming costs. This is important for potential donors who use such statistics to make decisions so they feel comfortable with how far their donation will be stretched. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle is proud of her staff members and volunteers who help ensure that 89 cents on the dollar gets funneled right back into the community they serve.

The United Way of Door County Annual Campaign currently sits at over $636,000, approximately 77 percent of their goal of $825,000. While the campaign runs until January 7th, Kohnle says you must ensure those checks are dated before January 1st so they can be written off on your taxes.

Egg Harbor Highway 42 construction begins Tuesday

Get a good look at State Highway 42 when you are visiting Egg Harbor this weekend because change is coming starting on Tuesday. That is when the much-anticipated State Highway 42 project is set to begin in the village’s downtown corridor ahead of the larger resurfacing project for the roadway starting in April. The project’s construction limits include roadway construction beginning at South Trail to Harbor School Road and beginning at CTH E to Church Street and utility burial starting at CTH E to Harbor School Road. The official detour route, which will be in place until June 28th, 2024, will take motorists from STH 42 to CTH I, CTH I to STH 57, STH 57 to CTH V, CTH V to CTH A, CTH A to CTH EE, CTH EE to STH 42. The highway will reopen for Memorial Day weekend, Juneteenth weekend, and all weekends between May 31st and June 24th. Village Administrator Megan Sawyer says they are anxious about the project but reminds residents and visitors that Egg Harbor remains open for business.


The highway is going out in style as the village hosts its annual New Year’s Day Parade on Sunday. The 44th edition of the parade lines up in the Stella Maris Parish parking lot before running north from Harbor School Road to County Highway E beginning at 1 p.m. No formal registration is required to participate.

Former U.S. Senator Kohl passes away

Leaders at the state and federal level are remembering the life of U.S. Senator Herb Kohl after he passed away on Wednesday. Kohl made his fortune as the co-founder of the Kohl’s department store chain before serving as a Democratic senator in the U.S. Senate for four terms and owning the Milwaukee Bucks for nearly three decades. He also established the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation in 1990, awarding more than $33 million to thousands of students, teachers, and principals across the state. In 2021, Southern Door Elementary School Teacher Jessica Meacham received the Herb Kohl Foundation Award for her work developing the district’s STEAM program and earning state and national rural teacher of the year awards. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers were among those paying tribute to Kohl, who was 88 years old when he passed away. Governor Evers ordered on Thursday that the United States and the state of Wisconsin flags should be at half-mast until his internment.

 

STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR TONY EVERS

“A Milwaukeean and Wisconsinite through and through, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl dedicated his life to serving our kids, our communities, our state, and our country. “Sen. Kohl was, without a doubt, nobody’s senator but ours. Kathy and I are devastated by the news of his passing. “Sen. Kohl was deeply committed to community, kindness, and service to others. Wisconsin’s seniors, students, teachers, and schools, and farmers and rural areas, among so many others, are better off because of his life and legacy, the impacts of which will last for generations. “Kathy and I join the people of Wisconsin, friends and colleagues of Sen. Kohl, and the many people whose lives he impacted—both near and far—in offering our sincerest condolences to the Kohl family and the Herb Kohl Foundation in mourning the loss of this Wisconsin giant.”

 

STATEMENT FROM U.S. SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN

“Herb was my role model. Herb was a true public servant, leading with compassion and humility, and uncompromising in putting Wisconsin first. It didn’t matter how powerful the opposing forces were or how long the fight was, Herb was willing to take on any challenge if it meant a brighter future for Wisconsin. Herb was as generous as they come – with his resources, his knowledge, his time, and his heart. Wisconsin is lucky to have had Herb Kohl in our corner and we are undoubtedly a better, more just place because of his service. He truly was nobody’s senator but ours. My heart goes out to his family, loved ones, and the entire Badger State as we mourn the loss of a Wisconsin giant.”  

 

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson took to X to write his sincere condolences to the friends and family of Senator Kohl. 

 

Picture from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation

 

 

Non-candidacy remaking Algoma, Kewaunee city councils

Even before you cast your ballot, the Algoma and Kewaunee city councils will look a lot different than they do right now.

 

In Kewaunee, Janita Zimmerman (District 3) and Eric Wisnicky (District 4) have filed their non-candidacy papers for the upcoming election, paving the way for new faces to join the city council. Scott Oftedahl (District 4) has filed the necessary paperwork to run to replace Wisnicky. Incumbents Jeffrey Vollenweider (Mayor) and James Brewster (District 2) have submitted their paperwork. As of Wednesday, there has been no indication from City Clerk Jo Ann Lesser on whether Kathy Brown (District 1) is running for re-election or if anyone else will pursue the seat.

 

In Algoma, Jake Maring (District 4) made it official with his non-candidacy papers that he would not be running for re-election. No one else has submitted nomination papers to take Maring’s seat. A contested race is brewing for District 3, with Bill Bush and Kenneth Taylor challenging each other for the seat currently held by Casey Buhr. Steve Lautenbach (Mayor) and Kevin Schmidt (District 1) have submitted their paperwork as of last Friday.

 

In Sturgeon Bay, the names remain the same for the Sturgeon Bay Common Council as Dennis Statz and Matt Huston are vying for the District 2 seat, Spencer Gustafson is unopposed in District 4, and Seth Wiederanders and Tom Benzshawel are after the District 6 seat. Statz, Gustafson, and Wiederanders are all Sturgeon Bay Common Council incumbents.

 

Candidates must submit their nomination paperwork by January 2nd at 5 p.m.

Children First to open child care center on Egg Harbor Road

You will see a new childcare center open in Sturgeon Bay next spring to help improve the childcare availability in Door County.  Children First Development Center has agreed to purchase the Door County YMCA’s old Barker Center at 1743 Egg Harbor Road.  That location is home to the Door County Community Child Development Center, opening a new facility on January 8th on Gordon Road.  Kayla Lehman of Children First says they are working through the transaction with plans to close on March 1st, 2024, and open by June.  She says the business is working towards being granted non-profit status and appreciates the help provided by United Way of Door County, which is serving as Children First’s fiscal sponsor.  

 

 

The Children First Development will be licensed for children from six weeks to four years old, with plans to have 15 teachers care for up to 76 children.

Agricultural community not worried yet about winter crop damage

As long as the area doesn’t fall into a deep freeze, you will see happy people on the farm.  With daily low temperatures expected to be well above average and no snowfall forecasted for Door and Kewaunee counties for the next week, local farmers are paying attention to the lack of snow coverage on their fields this winter.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says with no snow cover, crops like alfalfa and winter wheat temperatures are safe from damage until we get below zero temperatures. 

 

 

Another concern for farmers is water that might pool in fields, causing the dormant crops to be smothered.  Olson notes that farmers are conscious of proper ventilation during warm stretches of temperatures this time of year to ensure enough fresh air is circulating through barns and that the moist air is being vented outside to prevent possible respiratory diseases.  

New preschool class starts up next week at Door County YMCA

Three new preschool classes, including one that started in the fall, will be offered at the Northern Door County YMCA at the Jackie and Steve Kane Center in the New Year.  Youth and Healthy Living Director Mae Daniels says the registration is open for all classes, including the little scientist, art adventures, and kinder-sports program.  She says the preschoolers are so much fun, and the YMCA is excited to offer more opportunities for the three-to-five-year-olds.

 

 

   

You can find more information on the YMCA’s preschool enrichment programs at the Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay program centers here.

 

(Photo courtesy of Door County YMCA)

 

Dredging project underway for Algoma Marina

The City of Algoma’s dredging project planned for earlier this spring in the marina has started with hopes of completion for the spring boating season.  Algoma Administrator Matt Murphy says the city obtained the necessary permits for dredging two weeks ago.  Hopes are to remove 16,000 cubic yards of material and open the Algoma Marina in the spring.  Murphy shares why the dredging is needed for boaters. 

 

 

 

The dredging was initially scheduled for last April and was contracted with Iron Works Construction of Baileys Harbor for $427,000.  The project will take several weeks, and the final dredging material will be removed by early February.  

 

(Photo courtesy of Todd Haltaufderheid)

If NERR opts out, city working on Plan B

Even if the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration opts to go elsewhere with its potential Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Visitor Center, you will still see the City of Sturgeon Bay try to make the most out of the work it has put in so far. After months of work identifying sites and putting their best pitch forward to NOAA and UW-Green Bay officials, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved its prospectus document in May.  The prospectus showed six potential sites for the visitor center. It also featured the $500,000 already committed to a future visitor center through the NERR Startup Fund at the Door County Community Foundation. The city received two dozen letters of support for their bid, ranging from local municipalities and school districts to business owners and private citizens. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward is proud and confident that their bid will prevail but added that he still wanted a Plan B just in case NOAA and UW-Green Bay officials go a different direction.


Sturgeon Bay is competing with Green Bay and Marinette as a possible location for a visitor center for the Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Ward says he has no indication of when a decision will be made, saying only that they seem to be in a holding pattern. Ward says he is proud of how the city has been able to find public uses for its waterfront properties after being privately held for so long. One of the ideas will extend a trail along the water toward the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal and create a connection with the Ice Age Trail.

 

You can hear more from Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward about what he is proud of in 2023 and what he looks forward to in 2024 by clicking this link.

Voting maps go back to the drawing board

Wisconsin leaders will be hard at work over the coming weeks after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the maps used to draw district lines were unconstitutional. The heart of the matter is the legislative “islands” outlined in the Republican-drawn and Governor Tony Evers-drawn maps. That breaks up the contiguous nature of the maps, potentially breaking up municipalities and county boundaries. In a statement following Friday’s decision, Evers said, “Wisconsin is a purple state, and I look forward to submitting maps to the Court to consider and review that reflect and represent the makeup of our state. And I remain as optimistic as ever that, at long last, the gerrymandered maps Wisconsinites have endured for years might soon be history.” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos signaled in his statement the future destination of this decision, saying that “the case was pre-decided before it was even brought. Sad day for our state when the State Supreme Court just said last year that the existing lines are constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court will have the last word.” Rep. Joel Kitchens, who has championed using the Iowa model as a fair, non-partisan way of drawing the maps, says the decision was very political.


Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck celebrated the decision, saying that he expects the legislative islands will be drastically reduced or eliminated when the new maps are created. He also expects the decision will be appealed.


Whatever the future has in store, it will have to come quickly. Heck believes all of the evidence and testimonies will have to be wrapped up and submitted by the middle of February so the courts can decide the direction it wants to go by March 15th, when the districts have to be finalized before the fall election.

Record temps precede record Polar Bear swimmers?

If you have never done one of the polar plunges in Door and Kewaunee counties to kick off the New Year, this may be the year to do it. Sturgeon Bay tied a record for the warmest Christmas Day on record on Monday, preceded by two days above 40 degrees. Temperatures will get a little more seasonal later in the week, but it will still likely be about 10 degrees above normal. Jacksonport Polar Bear Club Plunge founder J.R. Jarosh says outside of heat waves on New Year’s Day in past years, the warmer water temperatures could bring larger numbers for its annual January tradition.

The Jacksonport Polar Bear Club Plunge, now co-organized by the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club and the Jacksonport Fire Department, will occur at Lakeside Park at noon. The event is free to participate, but proceeds from the event will go to support the Jacksonport Fire Department. For those who cannot make it to Jacksonport, similar events will occur in Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee.

 

Photo submitted by the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club from 2023

Powerball jackpot grows to $685M

No one found $638 million hiding under their Christmas tree Monday, setting the stage for an even bigger payout on Wednesday. The winning numbers drawn were 5, 12, 20, 24, and 29, with a red Powerball number of 4. Since no one matched all six numbers, the jackpot will be $685 million on Wednesday. While it is still a far cry from last year’s $2.04 billion prize, $685 million still cracks the top 20 lottery jackpots of all time and just outside the Top 10 for Powerball. The lottery game has already awarded a prize of more than $1 billion twice this year (July and October) and narrowly missed a third chance in February. This latest string of Powerball drawings did yield one winner in Door County last week when a $150,000 winning ticket was purchased in Sister Bay.

Food pantries facing demand surge during the holiday season

With food security becoming more of an issue this year with high inflation and grocery costs, local food pantries are seeking a greater need for donations to meet the demand.  In 2022, 17 million households in America were reported to be food insecure, compared to 13.5 million in 2021, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study.  Ashley Madson from Feed & Clothe My People of Door County says the pantry has been considerably busier than before, especially around the current holidays.  She says the pantry could use more donations for the 30 to 40 families they serve monthly.

 

 

Madson adds that Feed My People received a large amount of venison donated by hunters during the recent hunt and currently has ample hams to distribute this week.  If you would like to donate to Feed & Clothe My People of Door County, you can do so on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00 until 5:00 p.m. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Mild start to winter to have immediate impact on ice fishing

She might see you hiking the trails around Potawatomi State Park, but Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender does not picture you doing much else in the immediate future. High temperatures are expected to be above freezing through next weekend and above 40 degrees through Wednesday. Without frigid temperatures in the immediate future, it could be weeks before ice anglers can get out onto the bay. Brown-Stender says that will limit attendance numbers for them as a major launch point for ice fishing.

Potawatomi State Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park saw about average attendance for 2023. Brown-Stender says the biggest surprise for them was they saw camping reservations go up this year despite losing almost a month of potential stays due to work being down at the park.

Meeting the evolving needs of the community

Chances are the major issues your parents faced in Door County decades ago are not exactly the same ones plaguing you now. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says the most significant asks for funding from their organization include childcare, mental health, and housing, while other causes are close behind. All three areas have received funding from the United Way at some point, but they have turned into more significant drivers over the years because the need and the costs to address them have only grown. For example, 21.6 percent of Americans received mental health treatment in 2021 compared to 19.2 percent just two years earlier. Another example is 24 percent of Door County households are considered to be Asset Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed (ALICE), a number that is also continuing to grow. Kohnle says that it impacts who they can support and at what level.

As of last week, approximately 60 percent of its $825,000 annual campaign goal has been raised thanks to your generosity. The deadline to contribute to the campaign is January 7th.

Peninsula Players Theatre unveils Winter Play Reading line-up

A chance to experience the arts uniquely is on the horizon in the New Year after Peninsula Players Theatre unveiled its winter play reading series last week.

 

The Play’s The Thing, which takes place on February 5th, March 4th, and April 1st at Bjorklunden in Baileys Harbor, will showcase productions that Peninsula Players Theatre may not otherwise be able to put on by themselves or that they want to gauge the reactions of the audiences. Managing Director Brian Kelsey says it is a unique experience for the audience and the actors as they can only rely on the words to tell the story, not other aspects like set design, costume choices, or physical movement.

The Play’s The Thing is partly funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Door County Medical Center, Friends of Door County Libraries, The Shubert Foundation, and Peninsula Players Theatre. The performances are free, but donations are encouraged. You can read about the play selections below:

 

February 5, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.

The Nature Plays by Patrick Gabridge

 

The playwright crafted several short plays to coincide with a walk-through of Boston’s Mount Auburn Cemetery, a designated National Historic Landmark and arboretum. America’s first garden cemetery features winding paths, picturesque landscapes with various horticultural features, ponds, trees, shrubs, flowers, and art sculptures. The Nature Plays is produced with support from and in coordination with Door County Reads and its exploration of “Braiding Sweetgrass For Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” ?by Robin Wall Kimmerer, adapted by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt. A complete listing of Door County Reads events is available on its website.

 

 

March 4, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.

4000 Days by Peter Quilter

 

Michael has been in a coma for three weeks, watched over by his mother and his partner. The two are united in their grief and strong dislike of one another. But they both have to deal with the unexpected when Michael wakes.

 

 

April 1, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.

Last Train to Nibroc by Arlene Hunter

 

May and Raleigh meet in 1940 on an eastbound train and discover they are both from Kentucky. This funny and touching boy-meets-girl period romance follows the couple over time as they search for happiness and what their hearts truly desire.

Holiday Message from NEW Radio President and Owner, Bryan Mazur

Let’s take a moment to remember what the Christmas season really means; a season that commemorates the values of family, kindness, and love for one another. Don’t let the moment pass by without enjoying it. On Christmas morning, when there’s a big pile of Christmas paper next to the tree on the floor, it’s okay to let it sit there for a little while. You’ve been waiting all year for this moment, enjoy it for a few extra minutes. Be thankful for that moment, I’m going to be and I’m hoping that you will be too. Have a Happy and Blessed Holiday Season from me, my Wife Tami, and the entire staff at NEW Radio and the Door County Daily News. 

 

Kids and parents can track Santa coming to Door and Kewaunee counties

He sees you when you are sleeping, and he knows when you are awake, but you can find out when Santa is on the way to your house in Door and Kewaunee counties. The North American Aerospace Defense Command has been tracking Santa since 1955 when a child called its predecessor rather than the North Pole. Thanks to a website and an app, things have gotten more high-tech since then, but Master Sgt. Benjamin Wiseman says they still get thousands of calls every year to Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs from children trying to get a heads-up on where Santa is located.

Santa Claus says he is excited to come to Door and Kewaunee counties with the rest of the world this Christmas.

You can track Santa by clicking on the banner below or by calling 1 (877) HI-NORAD

 

YMCA bringing "Better Balance" to community

You can protect yourself from dangerous falls by taking a course that helps you keep your balance while improving your overall health.  The Door County YMCA will offer two fall prevention classes beginning in the New Year.  Specialty Wellness Director Abby Tesch says the specialty programs will begin January 8, including “Stepping On,” which will be held at the ADRC building in Sturgeon Bay.  She shares the details of that free educational program and the “Moving for Better Balance.”

 

 

Tesch adds that the CDC reports that taking Tai Chi can help reduce your risk of falling by 55 percent. 

"Ring" in the New Year at Crossroads

This weekend, Crossroads will ring in the New Year! Appropriate to the celebration, our Saturday Science Program will feature “Annual Rings,” and at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, we host the Wild Ones/Master Gardener Last Sunset of 2023 Hike, which will start from the Collins Learning Center.

 

Several years ago, when a school field trip program featured the annual rings of trees, one of the fifth-grade students wanted to know whether it was on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day that the trees added their annual rings.

 

Actually, making that dark ring takes several months.

 

A tree will increase in circumference each year. Come to think of it, this holiday time of year, some humans increase in circumference, too. But in nature, the opposite is true. While we humans tend to put on girth in winter, trees grow very little, if at all, this time of year.

 

Trees do most of their growing during the summer season, when the weather is warm and nourishment is available. During the growing season, trees develop new wood. Large light-colored cells are formed during late spring and summer, especially during years of abundant rain.

 

As summer turns into autumn, production of new wood slows considerably. The cells produced in the dry season (and into winter) are quite small. The smaller cells appear to the naked eye like a narrow dark band or ring.


The so-called annual ring of a tree truck is actually a layer of small cells. In most years, seasons alternate between warm and cold. Consequently, a light-colored ring and a slim dark ring are formed annually. The number of dark rings indicates the age of a tree, or more accurately, the number of winters survived.

 

There is a field of botany called dendrology. Scientists can not only determine the ages of trees; they can also learn about short and long-term climate changes based on the spaces between the dark rings. In drought years, for example, the rings of trees are very close together. When growing conditions were good, the spaces between the dark rings are significantly wider, indicating that the tree was thriving.

 

What if Crossroads at Big Creek had annual rings? 2023 would definitely have a wide growth ring.

 

It’s fun to imagine scientists, years and years from now, looking at tree rings and realizing that literally thousands of trees have been planted in the past few years as a part of our restoration efforts.

 

Many of those trees, shrubs and wildflowers were planted by our volunteers, to whom we give the appropriate names of Habitat Healers and Pollinator Pals. But many trees were planted by school groups, Boys and Girls Club groups, and YMCA Summer Camp participants, as a part of our efforts to “get kids outdoors.”

 

And those kids love our bridges! In 2023, we installed our third and final pedestrian bridge. The bridge is beautiful, and it also protects the wetlands and flood plains of Big Creek.

 

If you haven’t crossed our new bridges, you can see images on our new website, also launched in 2023, under the Explore tab. Be sure to check out the Activities Calendar, because we’ve planned a variety of events for learners of all ages in the coming months. The website is also the place to go to find out when our Ski-for Free program will be open and to learn of current hiking or skiing trail conditions.

 

During the summer, we again hosted researchers from the Environmental Research and Innovation Center of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and several community science projects got underway.

 

On Utah Street, we began work converting the historic barn at the Hanson Homestead into a research field station and classroom, and during both our Spring and Fall Archaeological Digs, we opened the 1852 Hans and Bertha Hanson House for tours.

 

Other 2023 initivates included a soil restoration project in which we removed contaminated soil from two former orchard chemical mixing site locations. And last summer, we began developing a Management Plan for our beautiful Ida Bay Preserve.

 

Traditional programs continued in 2023, as well. A highlight was hosting an Earth Day Festival in April that included a premiere showing of Peninsula Filmworks’ new “Ridges and Swales” documentary.

 

In May, it indeed seemed like every day was Earth Day as students from area schools participated in activities designed to inspire environmental stewardship. And in June, the Crossroads Trail Run was a glorious success.

 

This was a very good growth year for Crossroads. To grow, not unlike a tree which needs moisture and nutrients and warmth, Crossroads grew thanks to donor support and with the efforts of our board, staff and volunteers. And the warmth? That is the joy we feel when we see Door County residents and visitors enjoying our three beautiful preserves. 

 

Happy New Year, and remember, in 2024, our preserves will be open 366 days, free of charge.

 

Thursday, December 28

2:00 p.m. Winter Waterfest

Even if the weather outside is frightful, there are countless water-related demonstrations we can and will do inside. We’ll have activities for all ages, but the lessons and demonstrations will be geared toward elementary students – who will get wet! Open to all ages. No reservation necessary. Meet in the lab of the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

 

Friday, December 29

1:00-4:00 p.m. Board Game Bash

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a warm fire in the fireplace, warm hot chocolate or apple cider, and a good board game to play with family or friends. We’ll have tables set up with a variety of board games, including Wingspan, Science Trivia, and more. Feel free to bring your own games to play as well! Open to all ages. No reservation necessary. Meet in the lab of the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Saturday, December 30

1:00-4:00 p.m. Fireside at Crossroads

Throughout December, get cozy at Crossroads on Saturday afternoons. Whether you want to warm up after a hike or just stop by for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and some conversation, we’ll have comfy chairs around the fire. We’ll even pop some fresh popcorn for you!

 

2:00 p.m. Science Saturday: Annual Rings

In this lesson, we will learn how tree rings are formed and how they can record the natural events that affect a tree. Designed for elementary school-aged students, but all ages are welcome. No reservations required. Free and open to the public. Meet in the lab of the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Picture provided by Crossroads at Big Creek

Respiratory disease making it "ruff" on dogs

Veterinarians want you to keep a closer eye on your dogs when comes to taking them to their offices, boarding facilities, parks, and more. Atypical canine respiratory disease has been reported in Wisconsin, and it carries symptoms similar to kennel cough. A colorful nasal discharge, a lack of appetite, uneasy breathing, and drowsiness are the symptoms you should look for if your dog is not acting like itself. If you plan to take your pet to places with dogs, Dr. Jordan Kobilca from Door County Veterinary Hospital in Sturgeon Bay says you should consider other options if possible.

Kobilca says dogs should be okay on their own if they get the disease, but in some cases, they could develop pneumonia, which could require antibiotics. He also reminds owners that they should practice their own good hygiene as it is a disease you can bring home to your dog without knowing it.

Remembering the true meaning of the season

Area churches hope to see you in their pews for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service. According to Lifeway Research, approximately 60 percent of Americans will head to church on Sunday or Monday for Christmas services to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. That represents a significant opportunity for churches to connect with people who do not often attend services more than once or thrice a year.

 

Father Dan Schuster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco hopes the experience helps grow their faith.

 

Pastor Matthew Sprunger of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kewaunee wants people to see past Jesus as a baby but instead as their savior.

 

Pastor Jim Honig of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay wants people who attend their services to know they are being seen and heard.

 

Pastor Joel McKenney of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma says Christmas is a time when he wants us to be directed toward Christ.

 

Area churches will have services throughout the day on Christmas Eve Sunday and on Christmas Day Monday. In the Catholic Church, you have to attend two services to meet your days of obligation since Christmas Eve is also the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The last time this occurred was in 2017.

 

The True Meaning of Christmas will air on all five of our radio stations through Christmas Eve, including this one from Mark Bortle of St. Joseph and St. Peter and Paul Catholic churches.

 

Destination Door County Exec proud of community investments in 2023

The area was filled again with visitors in 2023, but much of what was accomplished by Destination Door County this year are things you will be able to enjoy for years to come. Destination Door County President and CEO Julie Gilbert said many local businesses were thrilled with how the year went, partly because they had a little more help doing it. Over 500 international students filled important roles this tourist season, providing service to visitors and relief to business owners. When asked what she was most proud of in 2023, Gilbert said the investment into the infrastructure makes Door County a fantastic place to visit.

Destination Door County has already laid out the application schedule for the following year in cooperation with the Door County Community Foundation. The Winter 2024 Community Investment Fund Sustainability Grant Cycle applications are due January 4th, 2024. You are encouraged to meet with the Door County Community Foundation to ensure your project is eligible for funds. You can see the rest of the schedule for 2024 below.

 

Winter 2024 Community Investment Fund Sustainability Grant Cycle
Applications Due: Thursday, January 4th, 2024 at 4:00 p.m.

 

Beginning March 2024:

Spring Community Investment Fund Grant Cycle
Applications Due: 4th Monday of March at 4:00 p.m.

 

Summer Community Investment Fund Grant Cycle
Applications Due: 4th Monday of June at 4:00 p.m.

 

Fall Community Investment Fund Grant Cycle
Applications Due: 4th Monday of September at 4:00 p.m.

 

Winter Community Investment Fund Sustainability Grant Cycle
Applications Due: 4th Monday of December at 4:00 p.m.

Salvation Army looks for strong finish to Red Kettle campaign

Before their bells fall silent on Saturday, Salvation Army chapters in Door and Kewaunee counties hope you make your donation to its Red Kettle Campaign. The annual rite of the holidays is the organization’s most significant fundraising push, raising more than $100 million between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year. While current figures for Kewaunee counties could not be found, the Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay told local media outlets this week that it is falling short of its $260,000 Red Kettle Campaign goal. Tom Mullenix, who organizes the Salvation Army’s efforts in Door County, says they are near $50,000 for the length of the campaign, about half of what they raised in 2021 and 2022. With the community's generosity, Mullenix says they can do a lot of good with the money raised.

Mullenix says a big reason for the decline in donations is tied to the big drop in people ringing the bell. You can contact Salvation Army representatives in Door and Kewaunee counties or click this link to learn how you can help staff a red kettle before the campaign ends this weekend.

Southern Door School District prepared to hear from superintendent candidates

You could hear who the newest superintendent of Southern Door School District is by the beginning of spring. 

 

The district has put in a lot of work since former Superintendent Chris Peterson resigned in June after three months of being on leave. Before the school year started, the district tapped on Southern Door alum and former Denmark School District Superintendent Tony Klaubauf to fill in on an interim basis for the year while the board conducted its search.

 

District officials held a focus group on December 12th and accepted survey responses through December 15th. With help from Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 7, the district plans on posting the superintendent position so candidates can apply in January. It then hopes to conduct the first round of interviews on February 5th and 7th before hosting a final round of discussions on February 12th. District and CESA 7 officials plan to keep the community informed so they can stay updated with the search.

Rock Island State Park gaining popularity

They are still outpacing pre-pandemic numbers, but you still would have seen fewer people at some of Door County’s state parks this year. Eric Hyde, the superintendent for Peninsula, Newport, and Rock Island state parks, says attendance was down slightly for the second year in a row, coming off the extreme highs in 2021. It still meant that Peninsula State Park welcomed 1.2 million guests this summer, making it one of the most popular in the system. Hyde adds that camping numbers have remained consistent during the stretch, suggesting that the lack of snow at the beginning and the end of the year might have played a role.

By contrast, Rock Island State Park’s attendance numbers continue to grow after high water levels, and the pandemic closed it entirely in 2020. Hyde believes the recently received National Park Service designation will help it grow even more.

Earlier this month, Gov. Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers and Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Mary Monroe Brown, announced that Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry contributed a record-breaking $9.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, growing 6.8 percent over the previous record set in 2021.

Motorcycle accident sends two teens to the hospital

Two Sturgeon Bay people were seriously injured in a motorcycle crash Wednesday evening. According to the accident report from the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, 18-year-old Jonathan Condra of Sturgeon Bay was injured, along with his 17-year-old passenger, after he lost control of a motorcycle while driving northbound on North 8th Avenue near the Erie Street intersection and crashed at around 9:30 p.m.  Condra told law enforcement that the vehicle’s front tire had risen off the ground, something he said had never happened before and didn’t know what to do. A neighbor heard the motorcycle drive down the street and stated it sounded like it was going fast when it passed their house twice before the crash occurred. Condra, who was not the registered owner of the motorcycle, was adamant that he was only going 25 to 30 miles per hour when the front wheel rose off the ground. The report shows that the impact point in the pavement to where the motorcycle came to rest is about one city block. Condra and his passenger, who were wearing helmets and eye protection, were transported to Door County Medical Center with suspected serious injuries. Condra was cited for failure to keep a vehicle under control and unreasonable and imprudent speed.

 

 

Gas prices give relief for holiday travelers

After buying all of your Christmas gifts, the gas pump is giving your wallet some relief. According to AAA, the average gas price in Wisconsin was $2.76 per gallon, which is almost 25 cents where it was a month ago and just a little bit higher than where it was a year ago. AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross channeled the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special in his comments on Thursday, telling consumers to expect gas prices to bounce like Bumbles for the next month or so. The average gas price rose nationally six cents from Monday to $3.12, the first time that has happened in over a week. In Sturgeon Bay, a gallon of regular unleaded gas was between $2.67 and $2.69 as of Thursday morning. AAA expects more than 103.6 million Americans to take the road over the next two weeks to celebrate the holidays. That’s up nearly two percent from last year but still off by four percent of pre-pandemic levels, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Wisconsin falls on wrong side with nation with childcare affordability

The problems you see in your backyard are similar to those across the country regarding childcare issues.

 

According to a recent Center for American Progress, more than two-thirds of the nation’s children have all available parents in the workforce, which places an extra emphasis on accessible and affordable child care. The study concluded that on a national scale, high-quality childcare is hard to come by and frequently unaffordable. The average annual cost for childcare in Wisconsin is $13,752 for an infant and $11,128 for a four-year-old, which is a couple hundred dollars more than the national average. At 12 percent (infant) and 10 percent (four-year-old) of the median income of a married income, both are higher than the federal affordability threshold of seven percent.

 

Especially in an area like Door County that is considered a child care desert, United Way of Door County Child Care Community Coordinator Molly Gary says the statistics show why they have been placing such a strong effort into alleviating the problem.

Providing resources for people who need childcare and those who want to take on the issue themselves as an in-home provider has been a goal of the United Way of Door County for several months after hosting listening sessions earlier this year. You can hear more about those programs below:

 

Bill aims to bring different options of milk back to lunchroom

Giving your kids more options in the lunch line regarding their milk is one of the many agriculture-related topics currently debated in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.

 

In 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture opted to serve low-fat or non-fat options as a part of the Obama Administration’s plan to fight childhood obesity. The USDA proposed eliminating flavored milk from school lunches for elementary and middle school kids earlier this year, citing the potential impact of the added sugars in the drink. That threat has triggered two other bills to fight back at the rules.

 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 330-99 to support the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act earlier this month, which would pave the way for two percent and whole milk to be offered. Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany introduced an amendment to that bill that would ban the removal of flavored milk from school cafeterias, citing a potential 50 to 60 percent loss in consumption if it is eliminated. Sturgeon Bay Food Service Director Jenny Spude believes their school meal programs are an excellent time for students to practice making healthy food decisions.

Spude estimates that 90 percent of the students who come through their food service lines choose chocolate over white milk.  Funding for food service programs comes from the federal Farm Bill, the comprehensive package that covers a wide range of programs, including SNAP benefits, agricultural research, subsidies, risk and price loss coverage, and programs dealing with energy and conservation. Politicians could not agree on a compromise to move forward, causing the 2018 Farm Bill to be extended one year.  Much of the debate is centered around SNAP benefits and reference prices for commodity support programs.

Contested race forming for Door County Board

With the filing deadline less than two weeks away, you may see even more people throw their hat into the ring for supervisor seats in Door and Kewaunee counties.

 

In Door County, Rodney Beardsley (District 8), Daniel Austad (District 9), Alexis Heim Peter (District 10), and Dave Lienau (District 19) completed their Notice of Non-Candidacy ahead of the December 22nd deadline. No one is lined up to take Beardsley’s or Lienau’s seat on the board, while two have taken papers out to replace Austad. Ryan Shaw and Jonathan Kruse took out nomination papers this week to run for the District 9 seat, while Phillip Rockwell did the same to replace Heim Peter’s spot representing District 10. Rockwell has also returned his nomination papers. All of the other incumbents have started the process with David Englebert (District 1), Todd Thayse (District 2), Roy Englebert (District 3), Nancy Robillard (District 4), Jeff Miller (District 5), Kenneth Fisher (District 6), Dale Vogel (District 13), Hugh Zettel (District 14), Elizabeth Gauger (District 15), and Walter Bud Kalms (District 20) already turning their signatures into the county clerk’s office.


In Kewaunee County, Dennis Langteau (District 4), Douglas Doell (District 8), and John Mastalir (District 19) filed their non-candidacy papers earlier this cycle. Doak Baker (District 4), Paul Zeitler (District 8) and Wendy Shelton (District 19) look to replace them on the board. Gerald Paape (District 1), Baker (District 4), Daniel Olson (District 6), Aaron Augustian (District 11), Milt Swagel (District 12), Virginia Haske (District 16), Jeffrey Vollenweider (District 18), Shelton (District 19), and Joanne Lazansky (District 20) have turned in their nomination papers. Interested candidates have until the close of business on January 2nd to get on the ballot by turning in the necessary paperwork.

Local law enforcement stressing Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign

As celebrations occur over the next two holiday weekends, local law enforcement wants you to know they will enforce the National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign throughout the New Year. Door County Sheriff Patrol Deputy Brad Shortreed says hopes are to educate people about the dangers and consequences of driving drunk or high. He asks everyone to act responsibly and to utilize a designated driver if necessary.

 


Shortreed adds that local law enforcement will step up patrols through the weekend to get impaired drivers off the roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, one person is killed, on average, about every 39 minutes in a drunk-driving crash, totaling more than 13,000 lives lost each year.

Sturgeon Bay celebrates ribbon cutting for Door County Boardwalk

Sturgeon Bay's newest activity and event center celebrated its formal opening Wednesday morning in front of dozens of residents and dignitaries.  The Door County Boardwalk comprises three businesses: Door County Gala, Door County Sandbox, and Virlee Gunworks Shooting Center, just off Egg Harbor Road and North 12th Avenue.  Owner Steve Estes says the goal was to make the three businesses the ultimate entertainment destination for locals and visitors.  

 

 

 

 

The Sandbox started operating last Thursday with a soft opening.  The new venues provide six lanes of virtual axe throwing, several golf simulators, a bar and restaurant, and a banquet facility for weddings and events.     The project broke ground in August with plans to employ 45 to 50 people during the busy tourism season. 

 

 

 

 

 

New Kickboxing program coming to Door County YMCA

You can literally get a kick out of some new opportunities for fitness and well-being at the Door County YMCA this New Year.  Healthy Living Director Sarah Gavin says the new sessions will start on January 2nd, including a new Martial Arts Level One Kickboxing class.  She says the beginner course offers high energy and a way for anyone to explore kickboxing for the first time.

 

 

The kickboxing class suits all fitness levels and includes conditioning exercises that help improve strength, agility, and endurance.  Registration started this week, and five of the 12 slots are filled already for the Martial Arts Level One Kickboxing course.  You can learn more about the Winter 1 sessions offered at the YMCA by listening to the full interview with Sarah Gavin and Specialty Wellness Director Abby Tesch here.

Powerball ticket sold in Sister Bay wins $150,000

A lottery player who bought a Powerball ticket in Sister Bay for Monday’s drawing will be $150,000 richer when they claim their winnings.  A Powerball ticket that was sold at the Sister Bay Mobil matched four of the five numbers and included a multiplier that tripled the $50,000 winnings. 

 

The odds of winning the Powerball prize of $50,000 are one in over 900,000.

 

The winner of the $150,000 has 180 days to claim his or her prize, and the Powerball jackpot for Wednesday, December 20th, 2023, is estimated at $572 million.   

Sturgeon Bay wraps up 2023 with nearly a dozen actions

Making unanimous votes on 11 different considerations on Tuesday night, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council concluded its final meeting of the year in just 30 minutes.

 In the quickly moved agenda items, the council approved the second reading of an ordinance on the repeal and recreate of the holding tank agreements and the first reading of the repeal and recreate of the weights and measures regulations ordinance.

After that, the council did two other first readings of ordinance to amend a part of the Municipal Code for adopting the state building codes and a repeal and recreate of the compulsory connection to the sewer and water mains.

The council approved the City Plan Commission's recommendation to vacate the unimproved portion of south Madison Avenue to allow a homeowner, Robert Scaturo, to expand his home.  A public hearing was held with no one speaking up. The council then approved the resolution, subject to a stormwater management issue being resolved between Scaturo and the city engineer.

Two lots along Alabama Place were included in an amended development agreement with the Geneva Ridge Developer (JPEJ, LLC), which the council approved.

The council then moved on to the recommendations from the City Plan Commission and the Community Protection & Services to change the Tourist Rooming House permit, requiring the owner/operator to be within 90 minutes from the house or have a management company nearby.

The council also voted to move January’s two meeting dates a week later than usual to January 9 and January 23, respectively, at 6 p.m. 

Green Christmas taking fun out of winter sports

Your sleds, skis, and snowmobiles will likely stay in the shed for the foreseeable future, thanks to Mother Nature. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures could potentially crack 40 degrees this Christmas, and overnight lows could struggle to stay below freezing until after the New Year. That is bad news for local winter sports enthusiasts relying on snow cover for skiing, sledding, skating, and more. No one knows that more than Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director Dave Myers, who has been trying to make snow at Winter Park in Kewaunee since late November. With temperatures rarely around 20 degrees, snowmaking has been difficult to pull off. Myers says they will likely be unable to have holiday sledding due to the warm temperatures and the coming rains.

Myers says with some help, early January might be the earliest they can open Winter Park this year for sledding. Across the state, Travel Wisconsin’s Snow Report shows only a limited number of counties have cross-country ski trails and downhill ski hills open for use. No county’s snowmobile trails are open. 

City gets creative with workforce housing plan

You could see more workforce housing coming to Sturgeon Bay soon, and some things about it make it unique.

 

For starters, the homes being developed by Portside Builders in Sturgeon Bay will sit on land given to them for free by the city thanks to leftover funds from the closure of Tax Increment District #1 that was put aside for affordable housing projects. Once the home is built, the buyer has to work full-time in Door County and is locked into the house for six years, or else they may have to pay a fee. The homes will also not be allowed to be used as a short-term rental. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward says other areas around the state, like Sheboygan and northern Door County, are going this route to ensure that local businesses have the needed employees.

Ward says it is already off to a fast start, with the construction of two homes underway. 

Kewaunee, Algoma, and Sturgeon Bay could see newcomers on councils

You are down to two weeks if you would like to run for office in your local municipality.

 

In Kewaunee, Scott Oftedahl submitted his declaration of candidacy for the 3rd Alderman District #3. The seat he is running for is held by Janita Zimmerman, who served as the council president last year. James Brewster (District 2) and Jeffrey Vollenwieder (Mayor) have also indicated that they will run for their respective roles again.

 

In Algoma, the city council could see two new people seated. Steve Lautenbach has indicated that he will run for mayor, a position currently held by Virginia Haske. Kenneth Taylor is preparing for a run at the 3rd Aldermanic District seat currently held by Casey Buhr. Kevin Schmidt is running for re-election in the 1st Aldermanic District.

 

In Sturgeon Bay, the names remain the same for the Sturgeon Bay Common Council as Dennis Statz and Matt Huston are vying for the District 2 seat, Spencer Gustafson is unopposed in District 4, and Seth Wiederanders and Tom Benzshawel are after the District 6 seat. Statz, Gustafson, and Wiederanders are all Sturgeon Bay Common Council incumbents.

 

Non-candidacy must be declared by December 22nd, while candidates must submit their nomination paperwork by January 2nd at 5 p.m.

 

Note: This information comes each city's clerk from their most recent correspondence which is 12/8 for Sturgeon Bay, 12/14 for Algoma, and 12/15 for Kewaunee.

It's the most wonderful (and wasteful) time of the year

With holiday celebrations filling your schedule in the coming week, so will your garbage and recycling containers. According to the Center for Biological Society, Americans generate 23 percent more tons of waste in December than in other months. For example, a 2018 analysis estimated that 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper are produced in the United States each year, and about half of it (2.3 million pounds) ends up in landfills. Jennifer Semrau, DNR Waste Diversion and Recycling Coordinator, says simply knowing what can and can’t be recycled can reduce your footprint.


When it comes to food, the DNR recommends storing it correctly, buying only what you need, and understanding date labels are ways you can reduce waste. You can find other tips from the DNR below.

 

In most cases, your garbage and recycling pickup will be one day later than usual due to the Christmas holiday, with some exceptions:

  • Sturgeon Bay: Monday/Tuesday pickup will be on Wednesday, Wednesday is on Thursday, and Thursday is on Friday.
  • Village of Sister Bay: Monday pickup is on Tuesday, Tuesday is on Wednesday, Wednesday is on Thursday, and Thursday/Friday is on Friday.

 

WHAT SHOULD GO IN YOUR RECYCLING BIN

Many items can be recycled anywhere in Wisconsin. These items, which the state bans from landfills, include:

  • Cardboard – Flatten boxes before putting them in carts or bins so that recycling equipment can handle them properly
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Office paper
  • Plastic #1 and #2 containers
  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel (tin) cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Wrapping paper that can be torn and doesn't have any glitter, foil or other adornments can be recycled in the majority of programs in Wisconsin.

Be sure the items are empty of any liquids and excess gunk, but you don't need to wash them with soap or put them through the dishwasher. For cans or bottles going into a curbside recycling cart or container, don't crush or flatten them – this makes it harder for equipment at recycling facilities to recognize and properly sort things like aluminum cans.

 

Most communities include junk mail and other mixed paper, such as cereal boxes. Check locally for a complete list, and don't rely on packaging labels. Keep in mind that what you can recycle at a relative's home may be different than what you can recycle at your own.

 

WHAT SHOULD NOT GO IN YOUR RECYCLING BIN

Some items can cause serious problems at recycling facilities that aren't designed to handle them, including a risk of fire and worker injury. Many of these can be recycled at drop-off sites but should not go in curbside recycling bins or carts. These include:

  • Tissue paper
  • Holiday light strings, cords and other "tanglers": At modern recycling facilities, these get wrapped around equipment, meaning a facility has to be shut down for workers to cut the material loose. Some retailers, electronics recyclers and communities offer seasonal recycling programs for light strings. If that's not an option, put broken lights in the trash.
  • Plastic bags, plastic film and wrap: These also get tangled in recycling equipment. Bagged recyclables also cause problems because workers can't be sure what's inside. Empty cans, bottles and other recyclables into your bin or cart, then put the bag in the trash. You can take many types of clean, dry plastic bags and wrap to store drop-off locations. Learn more about reducing, reusing and recycling plastic bags and wrap on the DNR's recycling plastic bags webpage.
  • Batteries and electronics: Recycling facilities that manage cans, bottles and cardboard and waste facilities that manage household garbage aren't set up to handle batteries and electronics. Rechargeable batteries cause fires in collection trucks and facilities if they are damaged by equipment, and many electronics contain hazardous materials. Find more information on how to recycle batteries and electronics, including drop-off site locations, on the DNR's electronics recycling webpage.

SAVE MONEY WITH FOOD WASTE PREVENTION TIPS

A 2020 study conducted by Penn State estimated households lose $1,866 a year on food that's thrown out.

 

Here are some tips to reduce and prevent food waste at home:

  • Understand date labels and when food items are actually unsafe. Date labels are NOT regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other federal agency. Manufacturers apply date labels at their own discretion, with the exception of infant formula products. The FDA advises consumers to examine foods to determine if the quality is sufficient for use. Relying on your eyes and an old-fashioned sniff test can be a better indicator of the suitability of food for your use and could help you avoid disposing of healthy and safe food. That jar of nutmeg from last year is most likely still good, so you might be able to avoid re-purchasing some special holiday food items.
  • Shop with a plan and prepare for gatherings. Purchasing more food than what is needed often leads to more food waste. You can reduce this problem by taking inventory of what you already have, planning meals and making detailed shopping lists.
  • Store food to extend its life. Storing food in the best manner for that food type can go a long way to reducing food waste and saving the time and money associated with additional grocery store runs. Save the Food's Store It guide is an excellent tool for learning the detailed recommendations for food items you buy the most or have the most challenging time keeping fresh.

Make sure your property tax bill reflects lottery and gaming credit

If you recently bought property or a home in the past year, you should ensure you received the lottery and gaming credit on your tax bill from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR). Wisconsin residents should check their current property tax bill for the lottery and gaming credit. The credit provides direct property tax relief to qualifying taxpayers on their property tax bills. Lottery proceeds are paid into a separate segregated state fund. The lottery credit is displayed on tax bills as a reduction of property taxes due.

To qualify for the lottery and gaming credit, you must be a Wisconsin resident and homeowner who uses the dwelling as your primary residence as of January 1, 2023. If an owner is temporarily absent, typically for up to six months, the primary residence is the home where the owner returns.

If your tax bill does not list the credit this year, you may file a late claim application with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue by October 1, 2024.  

You cannot claim the lottery and gaming credit on business property, rental units, vacant land, garages, or other property that is not your primary residence.

United Way hits 60 percent mark for annual campaign

The greatest gift you could give this season does not come in a store, and to the United Way of Door County, it could also mean a little bit more. Executive Director Amy Kohnle said Monday that with the latest donations from over the weekend, approximately 60 percent of its $825,000 goal has been raised thanks to your generosity. The announcement comes as the organization’s volunteers make its final recommendations for funding some of the dozens of local non-profits that rely on the United Way of Door County’s generosity. Kohnle says the grants they provide help support more than a third of the county’s residents.

She adds that you can contact the United Way of Door County if you need help dressing up your donation as a holiday gift.

Air travel expected to peak Thursday for holiday festivities

Whether you are relying on a car, bus, plane, or sleigh, you will not be alone for your Christmas travels this year. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced over the weekend that they expect holiday flights to peak on Thursday, December 21st, with 48,959. Over 43,000 flights are expected to take off on Wednesday (47,789) and Friday (43,959) before dipping below 37,000 on Saturday and 26,000 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Austin Straubel Airport Director Marty Piette said during the Thanksgiving holiday that you can do things to help you get to your destination quicker, including saving the wrapping paper until after you land.

AAA expects 115.2 million people to travel at least 50 miles for their holiday travel, with over 103 million taking to the road. Helping the case are the gas prices, which are $3.15 nationally and $2.72 in Wisconsin. While it represents about a two percent growth over last year, it is still about 3.5 percent less than the number that traveled pre-COVID (119.3 million).  

Baileys Harbor shipwreck added to state historic register

The Wisconsin Historical Society added another Door County shipwreck to its State Register of Historic Places on Friday, marking the fourth time it did so in 2023.

 

The newest entry is the Peoria, a shipwreck located just over 1/10th of a mile northeast of the entrance to the Baileys Harbor Marina. The schooner is located seven feet below the water’s surface, sitting upright and mostly intact, partly buried by sand. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Peoria was built in Ohio over the winter of 1853 and 1854 and operated in the Great Lakes bulk cargo trade for much of its lifespan. The schooner had issues long before it sank in November 1901 while waiting out a storm. The ship was considered a total loss while the crew was saved, and the cargo was salvaged.

 

The Sunshine, Emeline, and Boaz were all named to the State Register of Historic Places earlier this year before they were eventually designated to the National Register of Historic Places. 

Powerball jackpot over half-billion dollars ahead of Monday drawing

You could pay off your holiday debts, and then some if the right numbers are called Monday night. No one matched Saturday’s Powerball drawing of 3, 9, 10, 20, 62 and the Powerball of 25. That allowed the jackpot to grow to $535 million ahead of Monday’s drawing. While it is still a far cry from last year’s $2.04 billion prize, $535 million still cracks the top 20 lottery jackpots of all time and the top 15 for Powerball. The lottery game has already awarded a prize of more than $1 billion twice this year (July and October) and narrowly missed a third chance in February. If no one matches all five numbers and the Powerball, the prize money will roll over to Wednesday’s drawing and potentially Saturday’s.

Therapy dog poised to join Door County Sheriff's Department

The newest member of the Door County Sheriff’s Department will likely be able to sit, stay, roll over, and, most importantly, comfort you in times of need. The Door County Board of Supervisors will consider a resolution on Tuesday that would allow the Door County Sheriff’s Department to accept the donation of a therapy dog from Blueberry Cottage Labradoodles from Osseo, Wis. The business has donated more than a dozen therapy dogs to local police departments and district attorney offices across the state, including Tomah, Hobart, De Pere, and La Crosse. The therapy dog will be primarily used for crisis response, victim and witness support, and mental health and wellbeing programs. 

 

Chief Deputy Pat McCarty told the Door County Crime Prevention Fund that the value of a therapy dog in law enforcement "cannot be underestimated," adding that "their role in aiding in crisis response, supporting victims and witnesses, enhancing officer well-being, and fostering community engagement are vital to the success of modern law enforcement.”

 

The Door County Crime Prevention Fund, which is also responsible for helping bring K-9 units to Door County, began its fundraising efforts several weeks ago to help offset the costs of caring and training for the dog. You can click this link to support those efforts.

 

The Door County Board will also approve two other grants for the Door County Library and honor the life of former Sturgeon Bay Mayor and County Supervisor Dennis McIntosh when it meets on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Former dairy farm to become newest Door County Land Trust preserve

What used to be for the cows will soon be for you to explore after the Door County Land Trust announced its 15th land trust preserve in the Town of Clay Banks this week.

 

The Bear Creek Nature Preserve is located on a former dairy farm and features approximately a half mile of Bear Creek that flows into Lake Michigan along with open fields, wetlands, native forests, and bluffs. Land Program Director Jesse Koyen says the nearly 75-acre preserve plays a crucial role as a cleaning filter for surface water before it enters the lake. The watershed that it is a part of is considered a priority by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, making it even more critical that the land is protected so the water remains healthy. Koyen says the general stewardship plan for the property is to restore some former agriculture fields to grasslands and further expand the interior forest by planting trees.

 

The hope is that by planting trees and transitioning the farm fields into grasslands, the new landscape will support pollinators, grassland birds, and migratory birds. Executive Director Emily Wood says the new nature preserve offers plenty of recreational space and land protection. The Door County Land Trust will begin planning for trails, boardwalks, and more in 2024.

 

Destination Door County honors hospitality heroes

Destination Door County wants you to know how vital the “front lines” of the area’s tourism industry are in terms of its success. The organization recently wrapped up its third annual Hospitality Heroes campaign, allowing business owners, residents, and visitors to nominate the people who have made living, working, and playing in Door County a memorable experience. Over 130 nominations were received to compliment individuals who served local businesses in positions like bartender, server, receptionist, and more. Many nominations praised the individuals for their upbeat attitude, knowledge of Door County, and dedication to their job. Destination Door County President and CEO Julie Gilbert says their hospitality heroes are vital to ensuring everyone’s visit to Door County is remembered.

While plenty of jobs were available this summer, Gilbert says the influx of 500 international students made things much easier for local businesses trying to fill positions. Elizabeth Wuesthoff from Twelve Eleven Wine Bar was randomly selected among all nominees as this year’s prize package winner. You can read all of the nominations by clicking this link.

Crossroads prepare for Winter Solstice

With the exception of our friends in the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society who think fifteen hours of darkness is a good thing, most of us, regardless of our ancestry or religious beliefs, long for light during this dark part of the year.

 

At the exact same moment all over the world – Thursday, December 21, at 9:27 pm CST— the Earth’s northern axis will be tilted the farthest away from the Sun, which means we in the Northern Hemisphere will experience the longest night of the year.

This year at Crossroads, we will take advantage of the fact that Friday is not a school night, and celebrate the Winter Solstice on Friday, December 22, when the daylight will linger just a few seconds longer than on the longest night. In the early dark of evening, Crossroads will host a luminary hike and campfire for the community. 

 

A surprising number of our current religious traditions have roots in pagan beliefs. In ancient times, the decreasing hours of daylight, the apparent death of plants and hibernating animals, and winter cold must have been frightening indeed. People developed rituals to encourage the Sun to return.

 

What we celebrate at the holiday season is a meld of religious rituals, pagan customs, and cultural traditions. Almost all revolve around light and hope. In addition to Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza, at least a dozen religious or cultural celebrations occur within a few days of the Winter Solstice.

 

During the holiday season, we burn Yule logs, festoon our homes with holly and mistletoe, and bring trees indoors. But, because our nights are bright with artificial daylight, we sometimes forget the significance of “photoperiod,” the period of time each day in which a living organism receives light. It is significant. Plants, animals, and many humans respond metabolically to the length of day and night.

 

With our celebration, we join with people of many traditions as we light candles, burn logs, deck the halls, and gather with family and friends for singing and good cheer. Crossroads’ Luminary Hike starts at the Collins Learning Center. Arrive any time between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. No reservation is necessary. The candlelit trail is ½-mile long, and you may choose to walk it as many times as you’d like.

 

In spite of the fact that many folks bring evergreen trees indoors this time of year (which, when you think about it, is odd), our forests are still green with conifer trees. The Saturday Science program this week is “A Hike to the Conifer Forest,” which will be geared to learners of all ages. Unless the weather outside is frightful, the group will hike to different forests within the Big Creek Preserve to learn how trees survive a Wisconsin winter. This program is free and open to the public.

 

By Tuesday, many families will be tired of sitting around the house. Beaver families, in contrast, seem to be more than happy to hang around in their lodges all winter. The first of our holiday week family programs will be “Meet the Beaver” with games, videos, and demonstrations to help families get to know more about these flat-tailed rodents. These programs are free, and learners of all ages are welcome.

 

Photo by Crossroads at Big Creek

Keeping tabs on holiday mental health

The Holiday season brings so many amazing opportunities for sharing memories and making memorable moments with our friends and families. While this season is known for gift-giving and celebrations, let’s also use these get-togethers as a time to reconnect on a personal level. Although the overall atmosphere may be brimming with happiness and joy, let’s make sure we take the time to engage on a meaningful level with those who may appear to be struggling. While for many of us, the Holiday season is a time of peace and hope, for others, this season brings heightened levels of anxiety and mental pain.

         

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to present suicide awareness throughout our communities by using the QPR philosophy (Question, Persuade, Refer). The best part about these training sessions is that they don’t necessarily focus on the subject of suicide but rather on the subject of HOPE. Even more recently, I have had the honor to partner with the Center for Suicide Awareness in providing Resiliency Courses to our First responders. While suicide prevention techniques are critical in times of crisis, so too is resiliency training, as it builds the skills necessary to navigate through adversity.  It’s no secret that our society as a whole is struggling to a greater extent with mental wellness than ever before in our nation’s history. This isn’t because our nation has not experienced adversity before, nor is it because we as individuals haven’t struggled. The missing component is that we have lost a great deal of our connection to each other as human beings. We live in an age where the ability to communicate has never been greater, yet meaningful communication has decreased. We have substituted the experience of conversation, which incorporates vital verbal and non-verbal expressions, with short texts and emogees. We base friendships on the likes of a social media post or the frequency by which our Snap Chats are shared. What we need is to get back to the basics. We need to listen, not with the anticipation of responding and giving our opinions, but rather listening to understand. We need to return to the concept that disagreement and respect are not exclusive of each other but inclusive. Those of us who have a few miles behind us need to take the time to share our stories with those less traveled so they can understand that what they are experiencing in today’s world is no better or worse than times of our past. It is up to us to plant the seeds of Hope.

         

Attending to the mental needs of our family and friends does not take a degree, certificate, or even an office. It can happen sitting on a park bench, or a truck tailgate or a bale of hay. Anyone of us can provide hope to another at a critical moment. Many times that may be all they need: Hope. At times, our providing Hope may just be the bridge that holds them over until we can get them to a greater level of care. Just as we would provide physical first aid when we see the need, our ability to intervene when someone needs immediate emotional or mental support is vital to their ultimate success in recovery. The first step is having the courage and compassion to leave our comfort zone and have those crucial conversations. We need to normalize talking about mental health, and especially to discuss feelings of suicide. We need to move beyond conversations about football scores or politics to conversations about each other’s experiences, the setbacks, the victories, the pain, and the joy. A key component to this sharing is our ability to be vulnerable to each other and recognize that we are all broken in some way, shape, or form, and the best journey is a shared journey.

         

If you are interested in exploring these topics, I am always willing to provide this training to any group, big or small and young or old. You can reach me at (920) 255-1100

Shoppers look to keep it local in holidays' final stretch

You have less than ten days to beat Santa to the punch for your holiday shopping this year. The National Retail Federation expects consumers to finish the Christmas season in a sprint, with one of the year's biggest shopping days coming up. The last Saturday before Christmas is often known as Super Saturday, and nearly 142 million Americans are expected to wrap up their holiday shopping on that day. The short turn-around to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day opens the door for bricks-and-mortar stores to end their year on a high note. Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski hopes it means good news for the city’s local businesses.

Destination Sturgeon Bay just wrapped up its successful Moo-La-La promotion on Thursday. Over 1,000 entrants were collected at local businesses in hopes of winning a grand prize of $1,000 or one of 40 $25 gift certificates to spend in the city. The National Retail Federation estimates that between $957 billion and $966 billion will be spent this holiday season, an increase of three to four percent over last year. 

 

 

Site at Rock Island State Park named national landmark

For the second time in a week, the National Park Service has recognized a portion of a Wisconsin State Park in Door County. On Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland designated 16 new National Historic Landmarks, including Rock Island Site II at Rock Island State Park. The site was nominated in 2020 for being a well-preserved archaeological site that highlights the migration of Native Americans through the area, including the Potawatomi, Huron, Petun, Odawa, Sauk, Fox, Menominee, and Winnebago tribes. According to the nomination papers, the first mention of the site dates back to 1640 by the Jesuit missionary Fr. Paul le Jeune. State Park The recognition will allow the state to preserve the area for years to come, thanks to federal funding and other efforts.

 

With this designation, Rock Island Site II joins the Namur Historic District as Door County’s entries on the National Historic Landmarks list. Earlier this week, it was announced that the National Park Service would grant the Ice Age Trail unit status as a part of its scenic trails system. The Eastern Terminus of the Ice Age Trail is located in Sturgeon Bay's Potawatomi State Park. 

Leaders provide vision for Egg Harbor trails plan

Full crowds at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor on Wednesday gave you a sense that if everyone works together, a trail system connecting different Door County communities could become a reality. 

Village of Egg Harbor officials organized public forums about the Egg Harbor Trails Initiative. In partnership with the Town of Egg Harbor and the Town of Gibraltar, the Village of Egg Harbor hopes to construct a series of four off-road, multi-use trails to connect the communities. Representatives from the Town of Gibraltar, Destination Door County, Door County Medical Center, Village of Sister Bay, the Wisconsin Bike Federation, and the National Park Service spoke at the two sessions, highlighting the system's benefits.

Village Administrator Megan Sawyer credited former administrator Ryan Heise with having an early vision of the system, starting first with a trail that would connect the Egg Harbor Beach with the beach at Frank Murphy Park. Patrick Lydon from the National Park Service encouraged the crowd to share their feedback on the system so it can be what the community and the county want.

Door County Medical Center is one of the project's many partners, with President and CEO Brian Stephens telling the crowd that the trail system could help the area become one of the healthiest in the state.

State Rep. Joel Kitchens admitted that the project will take a long time and a lot of money to become a reality, but stated that if there is a place that can make it happen, it is Door County.

The Egg Harbor Trails Initiative is still accepting survey responses through the end of the year. You can click this link to fill it out if you have not already.

 

Pictures and video (below) courtesy of the Egg Harbor Trails Alliance

 

Ellison Bay man injured in rollover crash

An Ellison Bay man had to be airlifted to a Green Bay hospital Wednesday morning after a two-vehicle crash that caused his to roll over onto its side.

 

Emergency personnel were called to Plateau Road about a half-mile west of Old Stage Road just before 11:45 a.m. after Roland Smith of Ellison Bay crashed into the rear-end of a parked truck. According to the incident report, the impact sent Smith and his vehicle up a ramp before they were launched into the cargo area of the truck and into an attached salt spreader. Smith’s vehicle came to rest on its driver’s side, where he was later extricated by emergency personnel before being airlifted.

 

The incident report states that the truck, owned by Ashley Property Services, was illegally parked on Plateau Road with no signs or cones set up to warn oncoming traffic. Despite that, no citations were issued.

 

The crash closed Plateau Road for over an hour so the Door County Sheriff’s Department and Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department could tend to the accident, and the tow truck driver could remove Smith’s vehicle.

Racing gets another lap in Door County; on standby in Kewaunee County

After several weeks of wondering, you will hear the sounds of cars racing at John Miles County Park in Sturgeon Bay in 2024.

 

The Door County Facilities and Parks Committee awarded Sternard Motor Sports LLC a one-year contract to run the track. Sternard Motor Sports' bid offered the county a $1,000 per race rental fee for the proposed season of 11 dates from May 6th to September 7th.  The venture is being orchestrated by John and Adam Sternard, who have helped direct programs for several years in two states. John Sternard was a part of the PKS3 group that held race programs at the track for the last seven years under the guise of The Hill Raceway.  The Sternards stated in their proposal that they are trying to be sanctioned as an IMCA track, which could bring more regional and national attention to the track if approved.

 

The Sternard Motor Sports bid was one of two the county received during its second Request for Proposal process, the other coming from the owner of Denil Auto.

 

The news comes as Kewaunee County continues its search for a promoter for its track on the fairgrounds in Luxemburg. Interested promoters have until January 9th to file the necessary paperwork with the county to be considered.

Algoma Motors sells GMC dealership to Patriot Motors

After 86 years of being the area's licensed dealer for General Motors, Algoma Motors will no longer be selling or providing warranty work on GMC or GM vehicles.  Co-owners Jim and Jeff Rabas finalized the sale of the GMC dealership with Patriot Motors of Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday.  Algoma Motors became a GM dealer in 1937 when Jim Rabas, Sr., started the business and later added the Pontiac and Buick lines.  Jim Rabas, Jr. says selling the GMC brand was a bittersweet decision. Still, Algoma Motors will remain open to selling used cars and providing automotive repair services, even on GM or GMC vehicles.  

 

 

Algoma Motors’ Pontiac line of vehicles ended in 2010, and the Buick dealership closed last January.  Rabas adds that he appreciates the loyal customers throughout the years and plans to keep staffing the business at the same levels.

Area getting firmer grasp for need for childcare

Thanks to more awareness around the issue, you are seeing some positive momentum toward addressing the childcare needs of Door County. Late last month, the closure of the Zion Early Childhood Center sent waves through the county, but it was quickly countered by the announcement of a new childcare center being planned in the near future for the Sturgeon Bay area. Last month, the Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay launched its Essential Campaign, which hopes to raise approximately $2.4 million to focus on expanded and reconfigured classrooms for its infant, toddler, and 3K classrooms, a new outdoor classroom, indoor/outdoor bathrooms, a library, kitchen, multi-purpose room, and administrative space. Karen Corekin-DeLamer from the Northern Door Children’s Center is happy residents are seeing how childcare fits in the puzzle locally regarding affordable housing, employment, and families.


United Way of Door County Childcare Community Coordinator Molly Gary says the organization has also been working hard to provide resources for people who need childcare and those who want to take on the issue themselves as an in-home provider.

 

More on the Essential Campaign

 

Training key to employee retention

Providing opportunities for continuous improvement is one of the many ways you find employees sticking around their jobs. According to a 2016 Gallup Poll, 87 percent of millennials say learning and development in the workplace is essential, and 59 percent of millennials use those opportunities when deciding where to apply for a job. Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ben Nelson says consistent training is vital for employee recruitment and retention.

Corporate training is being highlighted at the KCEDC’s final quarterly roundtable on December 19th. The meeting will occur from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Luxemburg Regional Learning Center. It will feature NWTC’s Lori Connor as one of its presenters on strategies to provide training opportunities for your employees.

Chanukah celebrations a shining light in period of darkness

Area Jews are commemorating the final days of Chanukah this week in a positive light during dark times for their faith.

 

The eight-day festival of lights, which began last Thursday, celebrates the Maccabees’ victory over Selecudian Greek occupiers as they recaptured the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The eight days commemorate the time the temple’s menorah stayed lit despite only having enough oil for one night. Chanukah celebrations around the world have taken on a different tone this year because of the ongoing violence in Israel and the rise of anti-Semitism across the country. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents are up nearly 400 percent since the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel in early October.

 

Rabbi Michoel Feinstein from the Chabad of the Bay Area, which serves Jewish believers in Door and Kewaunee counties, says it has been tough for its community these past several weeks. In addition to its public event on December 7th, the Chabad celebrated Chanukah with local Israelis in the Fox Valley, some of whom lost family members in the attacks. Feinstein says while some were worried about the attention their celebrations might bring, others took a more inspirational route.

Feinstein is thankful for the support his congregation has received from the community not just during this holiday season, but since the attacks occurred in October.  The Chabad of the Bay Area is located in Allouez and hosts Friday night celebrations at 7 p.m. and Shabbat morning services at 10 a.m. on Saturdays.

One injured in Highway 57 crash

A Sturgeon Bay woman had to be taken to the hospital after she failed to yield to traffic when she tried to turn onto the highway Wednesday morning. Emergency personnel responded to the crash at State Highway 57 and Stone Road intersection. According to the accident report, Vevencia Wanless of Sturgeon Bay attempted to cross State Highway 57 at approximately 7:50 a.m. when she was struck by another vehicle traveling northbound. Wanless told Door County Sheriff’s deputies that she looked but did not see the other driver, Corina Kay Dantoin of Luxemburg, when she was struck. Dantoin told deputies that Wanless pulled out in front of her, and she could not avoid the accident. Two other witnesses corroborated her story. Wanless was transported to Door County Medical Center for suspected minor injuries after her airbags were deployed. She was cited for failing to yield the right of way from a stop sign. The accident forced traffic to slow down through the area while the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Nasewaupee Fire Department, and Door County Emergency Services took care of the scene, and towing services took away both vehicles. 

Luxemburg parish celebrates the Feast of Guadalupe

Millions of Catholics worldwide celebrated the Feast of Guadalupe on Tuesday, including a special mass said in Luxemburg. St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg celebrated the feast day with about 60 people with a Spanish-language mass followed by a small gathering afterward. Mexican Catholics primarily recognize the Feast of Guadalupe to commemorate the day the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in front of a peasant named Juan Diego. The apparition is credited with extending the Catholic Church into the Americas. Today, the Feast of Guadalupe is celebrated by Catholics making pilgrimages to holy sites in cities like Mexico City and Des Plaines, Ill., to honor the Virgin Mary. Pastor Father Dan Schuster admits his conversational Spanish is not great, but he says it was an important day to celebrate with local residents with a Spanish mass.

Schuster would like to see a Spanish-language mass celebrated weekly in Kewaunee County, admitting there needs to be more resources available to offer it currently. 

Grier joins in on "Home for the Holidays" show

Northern Sky Theater will include a well-known local musical talent when it features "Home for the Holidays" at the Gould Theater to wrap up the 2023 season.  Musician Cathy Grier of Sturgeon Bay will join instrumentalists Dennis Keith Johnson, John Rood Lewis, and Bruce Newbern on stage to sing and play Christmas songs with a jazz slant.  Grier says the chance to perform at the Gould Theater for the first time will be memorable, especially with her accompaniments.  

 

 

The five "Home for the Holidays" performances will occur at 4 p.m. from December 27th through December 31st.  You can find more information on Home for the Holidays with this link.

The Starrs are shining bright again for Christmas Eve Lunch

A Sturgeon Bay family is again hosting the annual Community Christmas Eve Lunch, which provided over 200 free meals last year. The Carrie and Kyle Starr family will again coordinate the free dinner at the Arle Memorial building (Knights of Columbus Hall) on December 24th from 11:30 am until 2 pm. According to Carrie Starr, the event has grown considerably in the past six years and is a great way to help give back to the community with the help of many.

 

 

The traditional Christmas lunch will be a sit-down or drive-thru take-out. Starr notes that another option for delivery will be available as well.  The Community Christmas Eve Lunch is free to the public, and reservations are not necessary but helpful by calling or texting 920-495-2161

 

You can listen to the entire interview with Carrie Starr below.

 

Two-vehicle accident slows traffic on Highway 57

Your morning commute into Sturgeon Bay may have been slowed down by Wednesday's two-vehicle crash on Highway 57 in Nasewaupee.   Shortly before 8:00 a.m., Door County emergency personnel were dispatched to the corner of Highway 57 and Stone Road for a two-vehicle accident involving a truck and an SUV.  Traffic on the northbound lane was down to one lane to allow emergency crews to work and wreckers to remove the vehicles from the ditch and roadway.  The truck had significant damage to the front end, while the SUV had substantial passenger-side damage. This information is private now, and Door County Daily News will update this story when more details are released. 

 

 

YMCA focuses on membership as 2024 approaches

The Door County YMCA is looking to grow steadily in 2024 after realizing a milestone this past summer when it reached the 10,000-member mark.  Membership Director Rachel Stoehr says the new facility in Sturgeon Bay and the addition of new programming have kept the membership momentum as registration for the Winter I sessions begins next week.

 

 

Stoehr notes that the Door County YMCA offers a reduced $24 joiner fee until January 5th for new members.  The Door County YMCA will hold holiday events featuring the movie “White Christmas” at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, December 18th, at both program centers in Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay.  A community Christmas party will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 19th, in Sturgeon Bay, and Wednesday, December 20th, at the Kane Center.  Stoehr adds that you may bring food and dress up in your favorite holiday outfits for the parties. 

Law enforcement warns about "porch pirates"

Local law enforcement is asking you to be more proactive in preventing the loss of shipped packages left at your front door this holiday season.  According to Security.org, nearly half of Americans, 44 percent, have had a package stolen at some point, including 17 percent in the past three months alone.  Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says there are ways to safeguard packages you might order online and delivered to your home.  He shares some steps you can take to eliminate being a victim of a porch pirate.

 

 

If someone steals a package at your home, file a police report, contact the sender for a possible free replacement, and file a claim online with the carrier, FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service. According to Safewise, losses in 2023 are estimated to be five percent higher than last year.

Kewaunee County officials push back on Burch findings

Despite consistent resident requests, you likely will not see United States Department of Agriculture researcher Dr. Tucker Burch present in front of the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee. The committee unanimously supported the decision not to bring Burch to the county for a presentation. In March, Burch was a guest speaker for a session hosted by the Door County Environmental Council and Kewaunee CARES earlier this year to discuss his research on water-borne infectious diseases. Burch has co-authored several field studies on private well contamination in Kewaunee County, including in 2021, when he linked cow manure as the top factor for acute gastrointestinal illness. According to Wisconsin Watch, the study predicts that cow manure causes 230 cases of acute gastrointestinal illness in the county, far outpacing what could be caused by human waste in leaking septic systems. The same study found that the closer the well was to a manure storage pit, the more likely it could become contaminated. Outside of one resident, other residents present for the meeting took time during the open comment period to express their support for bringing Burch to Kewaunee County and chastising the committee for their lack of action.

Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard pushed back on the findings, specifically challenging the term “underreporting” when it comes to residents seeking medical attention for their sicknesses.

Some good news did come out of the meeting as Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Director Davina Bonness and Kewaunee County Board Supervisor Tim Kinnard say some of the poor water quality concerns in the Village of Casco are improving. However, there is still a long way to go before it is safe to use.

Nautical Drive plan to take potential NERR facility into account

In the coming years, you may soon see changes to part of the Sturgeon Bay waterfront. Representatives from Edgewater Resources have been in town this week to examine the parcel of city-owned land next to the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club for future development. People living near the site have also been contacted so they could meet with the consultants to get their input on what they would like to see. Some ideas floated for the site include improving the dock wall, building a structure for the Sail Training Foundation, and returning the “E” dock. City Planner Stephanie Servia says if the city is chosen for the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) facility and if that site is slated for it, the plans will have to be tweaked.

After meeting with the public on Tuesday night, Edgewater Resources is expected to present some options for plans before leaving town on Wednesday. 

Biden impeachment inquiry vote could come Wednesday

The U.S. House of Representatives could begin down the road of impeaching President Joe Biden as soon as Wednesday. According to NBC News, the House Rules Committee was slated to discuss a resolution to authorize the inquiry before taking it to a full vote. House Speaker Mike Johnson said the approval of the inquiry would allow Congress to further its investigation into the Bidens’ business dealings, especially in foreign countries.

 

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy ordered the impeachment inquiry in September, but the White House has pushed back on the requested subpoenas. In September, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Wisconsin’s House Republicans largely supported the inquiry. Rep. Mike Gallagher was non-committal then, saying he wanted more information at an upcoming meeting. Gallagher told the Journal Sentinel that he does not want to “lower the bar for impeachment” and that “there needs to be evidence of a crime.” He also added that what “Hunter Biden and probably Joe Biden were doing is extremely swampy, and if it wasn’t illegal, it should be.” Democrats believe there is not enough evidence to move forward with the inquiry.

White Christmas? Keep dreaming in 2023

You can thank El Nino for likely depriving you of a white Christmas. According to the Climate Prediction Center, northeast Wisconsin has had a white Christmas 61 to 75 percent of the time historically when you look back at data from 1991 to 2020. A white Christmas, defined by the Climate Prediction as having at least an inch of snow on the ground, is a coin flip when you head south of the area and almost a certainty when you head north. Weatherology meteorologist Mike Karow says El Niño is a major factor in why you will likely have a Green Christmas this year.


Karow said temperatures will likely be between 30 and 40 degrees in the week leading up to Christmas.

Memories topple in Mr. G's demolition

While the structure may no longer exist after Monday, many of you had fond memories of dining at Mr. G’s Supper Club. Demolition of the building began at around 9 a.m. and continued for much of the day. Locals and visitors learned of its demise last week after the owner, Bob Geitner, told Door County Daily News and other media outlets that there was too much damage to the building to save it after it fell victim to arson in October 2022.


The announcement elicited over 100 comments on the Door County Daily News Facebook page. Many wished the Geitner family well on their journey, and Bob said that even though he is not rebuilding, he hopes the property stays in the family. Other comments raved about their favorite menu items like steak, coleslaw, and prime rib. One commenter even shared a story from the 1980s when the Geitners allowed them to mail in the remaining balance of their bill when they realized they did not accept credit cards and there was no ATM nearby.


 

The good news is that the neighboring Fernwood Gardens Ballroom will remain open, where many readers enjoyed other important events. Jonathon J. Polich was arrested in November of 2022 and faced two counts of Arson to Dwelling.  He pleaded no contest to the charges and was committed to a mental health facility after a plea deal was reached with the prosecution this past October.

 

 

Tug John Purves takes winter's nap

The Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay said bon voyage to one of its most popular exhibits for the winter on Monday. Tugs from Roen Salvage escorted the Tug John Purves across the bay to its shipyard for some much-needed repairs. The Door County Maritime Museum, which began offering tours of the tug boat in 2008, secured the last piece of funding needed to make a number of repairs to the vessel’s hull among other improvements. Deputy Director and Development Manager Sam Perlman said in October that it is important for the Tug John Purves to be preserved for future generations to tour, something over 70,000 people have already been able to experience.


The Tug John Purves was moved now to avoid the rush of freighters that come in for the winter fleet. The tug will return to its rightful spot by the Door County Maritime Museum in time for the 2024 season in May.

 

Screenshot and Video courtesy of Door County Maritime Museum

 

 

 

 

 

Contested election possible in Sturgeon Bay

For the first time in a few years, you may see a contested election on the Sturgeon Bay Common Council ballot.

 

As of Friday, two candidates took out nomination paperwork for District 2 and District 6. While District 4 alderperson Spencer Gustafson has no potential opponent currently in his re-election bid, Matt Huston is challenging incumbent Dennis Statz in District 2. Tom Benzshawel is after the District 6 seat now held by incumbent Seth Wiederanders. In Kewaunee, Mayor Jeffrey Vollenweider and District 2 alderperson James Brewster have returned their paperwork to run again for their current roles. No one has returned completed candidacy papers in Algoma.

 

Both local county boards will make changes next year after several of them filed their Notice of Non-Candidacy. In Kewaunee County, District 4 Supervisor Dennis Langteau and District 19 Supervisor John Mastalir filed their non-candidacy papers earlier this fall. Doak Baker (District 4) and Wendy Shelton (District 19) filed their registration statements with 17 incumbents on the board. In Door County, Daniel Austad (District 9), Alexis Heim Peter (District 10), and Dave Lienau (District 19) have completed their Notice of Non-Candidacy. Non-candidacy must be declared by December 22nd, while candidates must submit their nomination paperwork by January 2nd at 5 p.m.

Items on stove cause of Sister Bay apartment fire

Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht reminds you to keep combustible items away from the stovetop when cooking after a Sunday morning fire. Firefighters responded to the apartment on Stony Ridge Circle in the Village of Sister Bay at 1:40 a.m., where items on the owner’s stove had caught fire. Hecht credited a neighbor for their quick action after the owner tried to control the fire herself but failed. Hecht says they were on the scene for about 15 minutes, but he hopes the lesson people can learn from the incident lasts a lot longer than that.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking causes an average of 158,400 reported home structure fires annually, causing approximately 470 deaths and 4,150 injuries.

 

Christmas comes early for Door County Toys for Kids

None of it is for them, but the toys, books, and games you donated this year to Door County Toys for Kids mean the world to the organization's volunteers. After the thousands of future gifts were dropped off at the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church on Thursday, volunteers sorted the items into several categories so the over 560 families benefitting from the program can make their Christmas selections. For Jamie and Jaci Baermann, it is not just the initial drop-off day or the distribution day that sticks out to them. Instead, it is seeing everything unfold in the community over the course of several weeks that makes them grateful to live in Door County.

Toys were distributed to the grateful families on Saturday at the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church and Sunday at the Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay. Nearly 90 businesses helped collect gifts and money for this year’s Door County Toys for Kids Drive.

 

 

Sister Bay captures housing partnership's focus

After the Village of Sister Bay hosted its public input session on Saturday regarding affordable workforce housing, the Door County Housing Partnership is excited to start work on its plans to address the topic. Village administrator Julie Schmelzer said before the session that “we are at a point that if we don’t do something, we are going to lose the workers we need to make our community a place people want to visit or raise a family.  Without housing, we will lose our service workers, and they’ll eventually relocate to other areas with housing options.” Earlier this year, the Door County Housing Partnership and the village struck a deal to purchase approximately ten lots at a significant discount in hopes to building affordable housing on the sites.  Jim Honig, who serves as the Pastor of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay and the President of the Door County Housing Partnership, is excited to address the housing need in his own backyard and to serve more local families.

The data collected by the United Way of Door County paints a picture of the need for affordable housing in the area. Fifty-three percent of Sister Bay’s households are in poverty or fall under the Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE line), the highest percentage of all Door County communities.  The Door County Housing Partnership will close on two homes in the coming weeks, including the 49th Homebuild dedicated by Door County Habitat for Humanity last Thursday. The two organizations hope to partner together again next year.

Rotary Youth Exchange Students enjoying the American experience

Two foreign exchange students who are seniors at Sevastopol High School are adjusting well to their year abroad in Door County.  Aurora Breci, from Milan, Italy, and Catalina Gobbato, from Corral de Bustos, Argentina, arrived in the United States in August as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.  Aurora, sponsored by the Sturgeon Bay Noon Rotary Club, says the most significant difference in the education process in Italy and the United States is the moving from classroom to classroom at Sevastopol High School rather than staying in one setting with the same students.  She says her memorable first day in America included attending the Demolition Derby at the Door County Fair. 

 

 

Catalina, who the Door County North Rotary Club sponsors, said she struggled with English when she first arrived. However, her English has improved considerably over the first semester of the school year.  She says her most exciting time outside of school was attending the Green Bay Packers-Los Angeles Chargers game at Lambeau Field last month.

 

 

You can listen to the entire conversation with Aurora Breci and Catalina Gobbato about their Rotary Youth Exchange experience on the podcast page here.

Christmas Bird Count comes to Crossroads

We count birds every day at Crossroads.  So why is the Annual Christmas Bird Count so important? Why are we making it a special event for adults and families? And why are we now expanding our programing to include a community science initiative called Project Feeder Watch?

 

In spite of the fact we have a few people looking for birds for an hour or so most days, we can’t be everywhere and staff and visitors are not out all the time, so even in our 200+ acres, we’ve surely missed many species and individuals.

 

Besides that, winter birds are as erratic as December weather. The birds we see any given day depends on local weather. On mild sunny days, flocks of birds are out and about. If the weather is stormy or windy, birds are sensibly hunkered down. Before a storm, birds seem to know (falling barometric pressure, perhaps?) and crowd into the feeders to consume as many calories as they can before the bad weather hits and they disappear.

 

Furthermore, summer growing conditions in the boreal forests in the north of Canada, and consequently, the availability of seeds and berries, or lack thereof, may often determine which bird species migrate as far south as Wisconsin in the winter.

Sometimes, flocks are here. And then, for no reason, or at least no reason apparent to mere humans, they fly away. (Realize that the flocks of birds at the feeder may or may not be the same flock that was there the week before.) Winter birds tend to be nomadic.

Consequently, counting the birds we see on one Saturday tells us how many birds we identified that day. Numbers and species could be completely different the next day or the next week. Bird populations could change if a few hungry predators take up residence… or if The Cove Estuary freezes or opens up…. or if heavy snow blankets the wildflower seedheads in the uplands.…. or if food in Canada becomes scarce.

 

So if the counting birds on one day in December doesn’t count for much, why do we do it?

Staff and visitors to Crossroads join some 60,000 birders across the Western Hemisphere in this Audubon-sponsored annual community  science effort. While our individual count signifies very little, our numbers will be combined with other count areas in Sturgeon Bay, and other counts on the Peninsula, and in Wisconsin …you get the idea. Data from thousands of counts made throughout the whole Western Hemisphere, year after year, has been recorded since the first count in 1900.

Using Christmas Count results, the Audubon Society has developed a Climate Change Report which concludes that the range at least half of North American birds has decreased due to climate and habitat change. Their researchers predict it will become even more dire in coming years. The EPA (the Environmental Protection Agency) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency also use Christmas Count data as indicators for their predictions, which are equally alarming.

 

Are winter birds changing their migration patterns? Are birds wintering farther north than they used to? Are populations declining? Records from 123 years of Christmas Counts will help future scientists answer those very questions.

Those interest in taking part in Sturgeon Bay Count should contact Charlotte and Wendy Lukes clukes@mwwb.net . But for people who want experience this activity with some assistance or who have only a short time, we are sponsoring self-guided outings at Crossroads, and we hope to have volunteers out in the field to help with ID. For more information, visit the Crossroads website. Or stop by the Collins Learning Center to pick up a count schedule.  Reservations are appreciated but not required.

Another bird-related community science opportunity will soon be available at Crossroads. We now are a site registered in Cornell University’s Project Feeder Watch.  We are hoping to recruit volunteers, who instead of counting birds on one day each year, want to participate on Mondays and/or Tuesdays. On those two days, volunteers will count and record the birds coming to our new feeding station. If you would like to learn more or help contribute to this community science effort, stop by the Collins Learning Center or contact Corey@crossroadsatbigcreek,org

 

The Door County Beekeepers plan to “bee” social this holiday season so their December meeting will include fellowship and Max Martin will offer a special demonstration on making bee candy (which is not to be confused with Christmas candy.)The meeting will be held at the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads.

 

 

Saturday. December 16

 8:00 am - 5:30 pm 2023 Christmas Bird Count

Help us find and identify local bird species while adding to over a century of community science data! Want to participate? Come to the Collins Learning Center, grab a trail…

 

Saturday, December 16

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Fireside at Crossroads

Throughout December, folks are invited to get cozy at Crossroads on Saturday afternoons during our open hours. Whether you want to warm up after a hike or just stop by for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, you can enjoy some fresh popped popcorn, and relax around the Fireplace. Board Games will be available. Free and open to the public.

 

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Science Saturday: Family Bird Count

The Saturday Science program, which is offered every Saturday afternoon, will take advantage of the day—Christmas Bird Count-- to give families an opportunity to participate in this community science activity. Families should bring a cell phone if possible, in that we will be using the Merlin app for identification. Loaner binoculars available. Free and open to all ages. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads at Big Creek 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay

 

7:00 pm Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Viewing Night

At the monthly viewing night, planetarium shows will be offered and weather permitting, the observatory will be open and naked eye viewing available. Meet at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center, Crossroads Astronomy Campus, 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay.

 

Tuesday, December 19

6:30 pm -Door County Beekeeper Club: Bee-Social Holiday Gathering

Join the Beekeepers Club want to “bee” social this holiday season so they will gather for fellowship with a special demonstration on making bee candy by Max Martin. Free and open to the public. Meet in the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan Sturgeon Bay

 

Picture courtesy of Crossroads at Big Creek

Look to the stars in periods of darkness

One of my favorite activities over the past few years has been my early morning runs on the Ahnapee Trail. In the summer months, I have the pleasure of watching the sun come up as I enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while trying to stave off the encroachment of age. In the winter months, however, these runs are conducted prior to sunrise. Many people have asked, “How can you run in the dark?” so I have given it some thought and applied it to our own ability to navigate during the darkness of spirit that each of us encounter from time to time in our own journey of life.

 

Each of us sets a course for our lives. We do our best to stay on the right path, and for the most part, this is an easy effort as the path is well-defined and recognized. There are times, however, when darkness overcomes our journey. This is much like when I leave the illumination of the street lights and homes and continue on in what appears to be the total darkness of the trail. But here’s the cool part. As you enter into darkness, your vision adjusts, and suddenly, you can see the path before you. In our lives, we would call this perspective. While in what appears to be darkness, our minds draw from the illumination provided by gratitude, optimism, and hope, keeping us on our chosen path. We draw inspiration from those in our lives to persevere through the darkness until we have traversed it and find ourselves once again in a place of light.

 

A few weeks ago, my wife Jackie accompanied me on one of these early dark trail runs, and she said something very powerful. As we looked up at the stars along our darkened path, she commented how those amazing stars are always there, but we only see them when it is dark. She couldn’t have been more right, and I immediately thought of all the stars in my life that I take for granted, including her.

 

For many, the winter months, especially the holiday season, can be one of struggle and darkness. It is important to recognize and call upon those stars in our lives to help get us through. In addition, we all need to know that we all can be a star in someone else’s journey and to know the power of a positive word or a smile each and every day.

 

For those who have had darkness on their journey, reflect upon the stars in your life that supported and encouraged you. Take the time to thank them and let them know their value.  For those currently going through darkness, allow yourself to re-focus from the darkness to those stars that are in your life, ready to assist you in your journey. To all of us, don’t underestimate your ability to be someone else’s star.

Pay-to-Play listeners rock U-102.1 with record United Way donations

The United Way of Door County, with the help of U-102.1, raised over $6,480 on Friday during the Play-to-Play fundraiser on the radio.  The 12-hour radiothon brought the United Way closer to its annual campaign goal of $825,000.  Numerous volunteers and agency representatives from organizations that benefit from United Way grants were special on-air guests during the live broadcast. Listeners called, texted, and emailed with music requests of $25 to dedicate or hear their favorite songs.  Executive Director Amy Kohnle says the event raised much-needed funds while creating awareness about important programs serving Door County.

 

 

The United Way of Door County’s annual campaign concludes on January 7th.  You can still donate to the annual campaign by clicking here

 

 

 

Kewaunee's Gerold thinking summer with winter Eagle project

While you see kids playing in the snow, a Kewaunee Boy Scout hopes they do the same at its city beach in a few months. Life Scout Kile Gerold of Kewaunee Scouts USA Troop 1127 is currently in the fundraising phase of his Eagle Scout project, first selling wreaths at the Christkindlmarkt at Lakehaven Hall last month before selling baked goods at a local grocery store this weekend. He is about halfway towards the $350 he needs to construct a beach toy library on the city’s beach. His hope is through the donations of money and beach toys, the wooden box will be ready to serve the community for years to come. Gerold has enjoyed his time in scouting, and he is looking forward to putting the final touches on his last rank advancement.

Gerold admits that a successful run by his football team in the WIAA playoffs and applying for colleges have put his efforts a little behind schedule. Still, he hopes to complete his project and the paperwork before he turns 18 in February. Scouts looking to earn the rank of Eagle must be active in their local troop and hold a leadership position for at least six months, earn 21 merit badges, including more than a dozen that are required, complete a service project, and go through a board of review before they turn 18.

Safety improvements made to Renards highway access point

You will have to get used to a new traffic pattern on your way to getting your cheese curd fix.

 

The Door County Highway Department announced on Thursday that they have completed their way roadway safety improvements to County Highway DK in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the owners of Renards Cheese.

 

The biggest change may be the new locations of the stop signs at County Highway DK and State Highway 57. The stop signs will now control the traffic traveling on County DK. Motorists turning off the highway will no longer stop at County Highway DK but rather proceed with their turns. The speed limit on County Highway DK has been reduced to 45 miles per hour from Stone Road to Stevenson Pier Road. As a part of the changes, Renards Cheese closed one of its entrances while constructing a new one closer to its front doors.

 

In the future, the DOT will change the intersection to a right-in/right-out/left-in configuration, providing protected right-turn lanes onto Highway 42/57 and protected left-hand turn lanes on Cloverleaf Road. You will not be able to cross the intersection to turn left on Highway 42/57 under the configuration.  Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin DOT says there have been several accidents at the intersection over the years, and he is hopeful that the new pattern will help make it safer.

 

 

Griffon String Quartet in the holiday spirit

You will recognize many of the songs the Griffon String Quartet will play at their series of concerts next week, even if you have never listened to classical music before. Violinists Roy Meyer and Alex Norris, violist Oryann Tsaig, and cellist Jesse Nummelin spent Thursday and Friday touring Door County, entertaining people with their festive tunes as they get ready for their performances in Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Brussels, and Egg Harbor. Meyer, the longest-tenured member of the Griffon String Quartet, says these are among his favorite concerts he gets to do all year long, especially when performing for kids who may not be familiar with the instruments.

You can see the full schedule and a video of their caroling stop at the NEW Radio Studios below. In addition to performing at concerts, the Griffon String Quartet does lots of outreach events in Door and Brown counties, including giving private lessons to interested musicians.

 

 

 

Habitat welcomes 49th family to new home

Thursday afternoon was a dream come true for the Newman family after Door County Habitat for Humanity formally dedicated her home as the organization’s 49th. Habitat volunteers, officials, and other community members gathered in front of the house to welcome the Newman’s home after breaking ground on the project under much darker skies this spring. Despite the Newmans watching the house go from a hole in the ground to a 1200 square foot home, they still cannot believe this day has come.

Executive Director Lori Allen thanked the 35 volunteers for their over 3,100 hours of work on the home and to all their sponsors who helped make the 49th homebuild. She then asked the community to help ensure that number 50 becomes a reality.

In its 30 years, Door County Habitat for Humanity has impacted nearly 500 people, including 176 children, with its 49 homes built. Door County Habitat for Humanity hopes to partner with the Door County Housing Trust on a new home in Sister Bay next year.

Living Nativity celebrates 40 years of "Greatest Story Ever Told"

You can enjoy a local and live Christmas show this weekend that has roots dating back to 1984.  The Living Nativity is performed by members of the First Baptist Church congregation, and Pastor Cory Dahl says the four shows are a Christmas gift to the community and themselves. Set in the church’s parking lot, Pastor Dahl describes the scene as he narrates the “greatest story ever told.”

 

 

The Living Nativity changes slightly every year from costuming to the new wireless LED lights, which will be added this year.  The free 15-minute performances will be at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  The public is invited to attend the Living Nativity, which includes singing Christmas carols by the Sheppard Choir with a final audience participation sing-along.  A social in the Fellowship Hall will follow each performance with coffee and cookies. 

Pearl Harbor remembered in Sturgeon Bay

While wreaths were thrown into the waters, concealing the wrecks of dozens of military ships and planes thousands of miles away in Hawaii, you could have commemorated the events of Pearl Harbor along the shores of Sturgeon Bay. The Door County Maritime Museum hosted its second annual Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony outside of the museum’s doors in front of the Tug John Purves, which served in active duty during World War II as the Tug Butterfield. One of the guests of Honor was Navy Seamen 1st Class Rolland Briar, who was aboard the USS Whitney when the Japanese began their assault on the military base 82 years ago. A short distance away from the USS Whitney at Hickham Air Field was the father of Wayne Amborn, who told the story of the day of infamy through his dad's eyes.

Door County Maritime Museum Executive Director Kevin Osgood said during his comments that we should be thankful for the work of the military members who have served the country before, during, and after the Pearl Harbor attacks.

The attack on Pearl Harbor claimed the lives of over 2,400 Americans ranging from seven months old to 59 years old. It also destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy Ships. The United States entered World War II one day later, on December 8th.

 

 

Ice Age Trail status upgraded with National Parks Service designation

The Ice Age Trail that runs through Wisconsin, including Door County, received a significant boost after it received National Parks Service designation this week. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and officials from the Ice Age Trail Alliance announced on Thursday that Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail and North Country scenic trails would be granted unit status under the National Parks Service and its scenic trails system> The designation allows the trails to receive additional federal resources. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is 1,200 miles long, several traversing through Door County towards the Eastern Terminus inside Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay. Baldwin says she has been fighting for this status for Wisconsin’s scenic trails for nearly a decade and is happy to see the efforts cross the finish line finally.


Executive Director and CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance Luke Kloberdanz says this designation will tremendously impact the future trail, especially for Ice Age Trail communities like Sturgeon Bay.


With the addition of the two Wisconsin trails and a third one in New England, there are now 428 National Parks Service units under the National Scenic Trails System.

RSV, COVID, and flu making the holiday rounds

People around the country are getting one of three things you do not want this holiday season, even sending some to the hospital because of it. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said earlier this week that they have seen increases in respiratory illnesses like RSV, COVID, and the flu in recent weeks as the number of holiday gatherings escalates. The Centers for Disease Control says 11 states, mainly around the south and southwest portions of the country, are seeing high levels of flu-like illnesses. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says that unless you do not feel like yourself, you may not even consider testing yourself for COVID or RSV. Luckily, Heise says they have not seen a huge increase in the number or severity of respiratory illnesses as of now.

He recommends washing your hands frequently and if you are concerned about getting other people sick, especially if they are older or have underlying medical conditions, to wear a mask.

Kitchens' baby-box bill becomes law

A bill co-authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens designed to help overwhelmed mothers give their children a chance at a better life has been signed into law by Governor Tony Evers. The law will make the state the 15th in the country to allow an anonymous 24-hour, 7-day-a-week drop-off site for newborns through what are known as “baby boxes.” The baby boxes are often attached to hospitals, police stations, and fire departments and allow distressed parents a place to drop off their children, no questions asked. The boxes are monitored and alert medical professionals when they are in use. Kitchens’ involvement was spurred at the request of Door County Medical Center following the discovery of an infant in a field near Whitewater, Wis. “Being a parent in ideal circumstances is tough. For some in rough situations, it can feel impossible. If a parent finds themselves in a hopeless situation with nowhere to turn, the child could be in danger,” Kitchens said, “Now, parents in Wisconsin may have an anonymous and safe way to turn over custody of their child.”

Bug Tussel calms concerns at executive committee meeting

Earlier this week, the Kewaunee County Executive Committee heard from a familiar voice about its efforts to make broadband internet more attainable in the area. Bug Tussel Executive Director Scott Feldt spoke to the committee for approximately 45 minutes to address questions and concerns from its members. Feldt served Kewaunee County as its administrator until he left the county for the role this summer. He was one of the biggest champions of the county’s partnership with Bug Tussel as the administrator, helping to secure millions of dollars in Public Service Commission (PSC) grants in recent years. After Feldt recapped the work Bug Tussel had already done and some of the work that still needs to be done, he addressed some of the concerns customers have raised, including tearing up yards when installing conduit and lines and delays in installation, Feldt said they will be fixed and tried to quell any rumors people may have about Bug Tussel.

 

 

The Kewaunee County Executive Committee voted 4-3 against increasing the salary schedules for some of its elected officials to 4.5 percent before settling on four percent.

Mr. G's Supper Club to be torn down

The building that housed a landmark dining establishment in Jacksonport will be razed next week.   Mr. G’s Supper Club is scheduled to be torn down next Monday.  The supper club was the victim of an arson fire in October of 2022.  Jonathon J. Polich was arrested in November of 2022 and faced two counts of Arson to Dwelling.  He pleaded no contest to the charges and was committed to a mental health facility after a plea deal was reached with the prosecution this past October.

The building has been owned by the Geitner family since 1973, and Bob Geitner, who, along with his wife Mary, has owned Mr. G’s Supper Club since 1981 after purchasing it from his father.

Geitner says there was too much damage to the building to save it.

 

 

There are no immediate plans to rebuild the supper club at this time, although he has hopes that family members may take over the property.  The Fernwoods Garden Ballroom, located just north of the building, is operational and held occasional catered events this past year. 

Sturgeon Bay looks to expand housing developments in 2024

The City of Sturgeon Bay is winding down the year with sights on building more housing projects in the future.  Mayor David Ward says that although the city has approved the development of hundreds of housing units in the past year, single-family and affordable housing remains a high priority.  He shares some of the recent progress achieved in Sturgeon Bay.

 

 

Ward adds that road repairs in Sturgeon Bay is essential as the city plans on resurfacing three miles of streets in 2024.  He notes that 2024 should be a productive year of economic development, including more expansion at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and the Industrial Park.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council met briefly for about 15 minutes on Tuesday with a light agenda.  The council approved a second reading of an ordinance to rezone a parcel of land at 346 Oregon Street.  The first reading addressed the repealing and the recreation of the Municipal Code for holding tank agreements.  Ward notes that the measure is to clean up some old deposits from the 1980s and 90s before laws changed, having Door County regulate holding tanks. 

HELP of Door County searching for new director

A local organization that advocates for victims of domestic violence will be looking for a new leader starting in 2024.  HELP of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales will leave her position at the end of December to become the Associate Director of End Domestic Abuse, the statewide domestic violence coalition.  Gonzales, who has led HELP of Door County for the past five years, says it was a bittersweet decision to leave the organization, but the opportunity to advocate in a bigger role was too great.

 

 

Operations Manager Sue Farley and Program Manager Moriah Turk will be interim co-directors as the Board of Directors search committee seeks a new executive director for next year.   The HELP of Door County Board of Directors credits Gonzales “for making the organization stronger and leaving it in solid financial condition and ready to face the future”.  

Door County YMCA Swimming classes heating up

Over 160 children benefit from the Door County YMCA swim classes as the next session is coming up soon.  Swimming Director Mike McHugh says the aquatic centers in Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay are second to none in the state and are an incredible resource in the Door County community.

 

 

McHugh notes that 35 lessons are currently being offered at the Door County YMCA, besides private lessons.  Members can register for the Winter 1 sessions starting on Monday, December 18th, while community members can sign up on Wednesday, December 20th. 

Sister Bay officials to area workers: What do you want in a home?

If you work in Sister Bay and have always wanted to live there, the Village of Sister Bay wants to talk to you.

 

A public input session scheduled for Saturday is the next step in the process for the village, which worked with Stantec Consulting earlier this year to complete a housing plan. The data collected by the United Way of Door County paints a picture of the need for affordable housing in the area. Fifty-three percent of Sister Bay’s households are in poverty or fall under the Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE line), the highest percentage of all Door County communities. The American Community Survey data showed that almost 60 percent of renter households are considered cost-burdened as the average rent costs have risen in recent years. The village’s median household income has declined over the past decade.

 

Village administrator Julie Schmelzer says, “we are at a point that if we don’t do something, we are going to lose the workers we need to make our community a place people want to visit or raise a family.  Without housing, we will lose our service workers, and they’ll eventually relocate to other areas with housing options.”

 

The Saturday session, which is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station, is designed to hear from area workers who want to live in Sister Bay and tell the village and its consultant what they want and need and how much they can afford. Advance registration is required by emailing Village Clerk Heidi Teich or calling Village Hall.

 

Area businesses are expected to meet after the session to learn more about the workforce issue and how they can play a role in addressing housing concerns.

Proposal abolishes WEC, gives elections duties to Secretary of State

For the first time in decades, an elected official could be at the controls when you head to the polls next year. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a group of Republican legislators proposes to dissolve the Wisconsin Election Commission and hand their duties to the Secretary of the State’s office. The Secretary of the State’s office, now run by Democrat Sarah Godlewski, has not had elections under their purview since the 1970s as Wisconsin is one of seven states where the state board or commission of elections appoints the chief election official. Wisconsin would join 33 other states where voters elect a Secretary of the State or Lieutenant Governor to run the elections. The proposal would turn the reins of elections to Godlewski from current WEC Commissioner Megan Wolfe after June 30th.  However, she would still need approval from the Republican-led Wisconsin Legislature before acting on anything. Proponents of the measure say WEC’s handling of the 2020 election, which saw Joe Biden get elected president, was the final straw. That led to several changes to absentee voting and to impeachment articles to be forwarded against Wolfe by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos last month. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says having a non-partisan or bipartisan commission worked for over 50 years is a much better option than turning the operations of an election to one party or the other.

Even if it gets through the Wisconsin Legislature, Heck suggests Governor Tony Evers will likely veto it. The proposal still needs to be circulated, vetted, and approved by the Legislature before it gets to that point.

Check list twice before giving pets as gifts

It would help if you considered the work that goes before and after giving someone their new best friend under the tree. Giving dogs, cats, and other pets as gifts has been part of holiday debates for years. For a long time, advocates worried the pets would go the way of that year’s hot toy: played for a little bit before eventually being neglected. A recent study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shed some encouraging news on the topic, showing that 96 percent of people who received pets as gifts reported that it either reinforced or had no effect on their affection for their new pet and 86 percent of them still had them in their homes. Tanya Ditzman from the Wisconsin Humane Society says prospective pet owners are doing a lot of research to ensure their adoptions last.

Experts also recommend spending a lot of time at home and minimizing your foot traffic during the holidays to help you and your pet get to know each other better and adjust to the new surroundings.

Luxemburg-Casco looks to address shortfall through operational referendum

A semi-annual rite of spring for other school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties, you will see an operational referendum question on the ballot if you live in Luxemburg-Casco School District for the first time. The district is projecting a $3.2 million shortfall over the next three years, pointing the blame at how schools are funded in the face of inflation. The state put a limit on what districts could spend per pupil, and until the 2009-2010 school year, it automatically adjusted to keep pace with inflation. Without the operational referendum, the district could consider cutting staff, reducing transportation and programming, and delaying technology and maintenance upgrades. The district surveyed residents and held a community involvement meeting to get feedback on the potential operational referendum. Superintendent Jo-Ellen Fairbanks says much of the feedback she has received is centered around how this is different from the $27.8 million capital referendum approved by voters in 2018.

Depending on the option put on the ballot, you could see your taxes go up between $119 and $142 per $100,000 of property value. Fairbanks says they will discuss the survey results at its December 20th board meeting with hopes of putting the operational referendum on the spring election ballot.

Kewaunee County's "Giving For Sara" Drive making a difference again

You can help support a food and hygiene drive program that started in Kewaunee County 11 years ago. Kewaunee County officials created the "Giving For Sara" program after the Aging Services Unit Director, Sara Malay, passed away from a car accident while at work. Since then, the Kewaunee Public Health Department has put on a food and hygiene drive in her honor every December. Cindy Kinnard, the Public Health Director, details what you can do to get involved and the past impact she has seen from the community.

 

 

 If you would like to donate non-perishable foods, the Public Health Department suggests canned fruit or meat, healthy cereal, and granola bars. As for hygiene products, they offer shampoo, conditioner, diapers, deodorant, and baby wipes. You can drop off donations in the Kewaunee County Public Health Department lobby before December 31st.

Outdoor recreation has major impact on state's bottom line

Every time you visit one of the state or municipal parks in Door County, the money you spend while doing so has an impact you may not have realized. Gov. Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers and Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Mary Monroe Brown, announced on Monday that Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry contributed a record-breaking $9.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, growing 6.8 percent over the previous record set in 2021. According to the release from the state, travel, and tourism, as well as local trips (trips less than 50 miles) associated with outdoor recreation, grew to nearly $3 billion in 2022, increasing by 14.2 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively. It is a big reason why Destination Door County has invested so much in the industry over the past year. In May, the organization announced it would be investing $800,000 into local state, county, and municipal parks. The special one-time investment was made possible by the higher-than-anticipated room tax collections in 2022. Destination Door County’s Jon Jarosh says outdoor recreation is a major driver for tourism to the area.

 


The organization is offering matching challenge grants for each Friends group of the county’s five state parks to raise $50,000 for improvements at their respective properties. If it is successful for all five parks, it would mean another $750,000 in support.

Pickleball continues to be a smash in Door County

You may find a shortage of courts, but you will not find a lack of enthusiasm for pickleball in Door County after another banner year for the sport locally. In just a few short years, the number of Door County Pickle Ball Club members grew from 120 to more than 400 this year. That led to the club going through more than 1,600 balls at its outdoor courts at Sturgeon Bay’s Sunset Park and Sevastopol Town Park. Door County Pickle Ball Club Director Jay Renstrom says it is easy to see why the sport continues growing in the area.

During the warmer months, pickleball players have more than 20 courts to choose from to play. During the winter months, that number dwindles down to six. Door County Pickle Ball Club Director Jay Renstrom says thanks to the support of its members, they are supporting efforts to help make that number grow more in the future.

The sport is becoming a business opportunity in some parts of the country, with the Chicago area boasting two such complexes being built in the coming months.

Reetz enters field for Door County Circuit Court Judge

You will have another option on the ballot after Sturgeon Bay-based lawyer Brett Reetz announced he would be running for Door County Circuit Court Judge. The DePaul University graduate has run his own firm, Reetz Law Office, S.C., since 1992. In a Facebook post, Reetz said that he has “checked all of the boxes when it comes to lawyering” and is ready to “give back to the community that has been good to me and my family.” He joins Door County Family Court Commissioner Jennifer Moeller in the race to replace current Circuit Court Judge D. Todd Ehlers, who announced earlier this year that he was not planning to run again. The news comes after the window to circulate nomination papers for municipal offices began on Friday. Potential candidates have until 5 p.m. on January 2nd to submit the necessary paperwork.  The 2024 Spring Primary is on February 20th, and the Spring General Election is on April 2nd.

Casco rallies around local family

The darkest days for a local family are shining a light on the meaning of community in the Village of Casco.

 

During the Thanksgiving holiday, the Connor family spent part of it in a hospital room in Madison, where their son Lucas was diagnosed with a form of cancer. According to the GoFundMe page set up less than a week ago, Lucas is stable after having to be treated for a mass in his chest that was releasing toxins in his body and harming his kidneys. In those days since, donors have contributed more than $22,000 to support the family. A member of the Luxemburg-Casco youth basketball program, the high school team is selling t-shirts with the hashtag #Love4Lucas on them, with all proceeds going to support the family.

 

The latest effort to support the family is scheduled for Saturday at the fourth annual Christmas in Casco event at the Casco Kidz Zone 1 location. The event allows kids to visit with Santa and his reindeer, take pictures with the Paw Patrol, and participate in other holiday activities free of charge, thanks to the support of other local sponsors. As a thank you, the community has donated over $10,000 to three other members of the Casco Kidz Zone family who have dealt with their own challenges. Event organizer and Casco Kidz Zone owner Lisa Cochart says the benefit of living in a small town is that everyone supports each other in times of need.

The Andy Barta Legacy Charitable Fund has committed to donate up to $1,000 in matching funds during the event. Christmas in Casco runs from noon to 2 p.m.

Child care partners trying to meet demand

While you may find more doors open for child care in the future in the area, some families are worried about where their kids will go now. The Peninsula Pulse reported on Thursday that the Zion Early Childhood Center will close on December 22nd, giving the families of 60 students about three weeks to make alternate arrangements. The Door County Child Development Center’s new campus in Sevastopol still needs to be finished. The Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay just started its fundraising campaign to expand its facilities. In both cases, the expansions will only allow their waiting lists to get shorter, not eliminate them. United Way of Door County Childcare Community Coordinator Molly Gary says the organization has been working hard to provide resources for people who need childcare and those who want to take on the issue themselves as an in-home provider.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma began its own efforts to offer childcare in the community, opening the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center at its school this fall. Pastor Joel McKenney says the church understands and supports the need for childcare, but they are trying to handle what it takes to be properly licensed and staffed.

The Wisconsin Legislature discussed at least one possible way to help this week. Assembly Bill 660, introduced by Rep. Joel Kitchens and over a dozen others, would offer Wisconsin businesses up to $100,000 to help their employees afford childcare. The United Way of Door County and the Women’s Fund of Door County have a similar local program. 

United Way of Door County, U-102.1 partner for second Pay to Play Day

If you have ever thought you could pick better music to play on the radio, you can put your money where your mouth is for a great cause this week. Pay to Play with the United Way of Door County returns to U-102.1 on December 8th as the non-profit organization continues to whittle away at its annual campaign goal of $825,000. Special guests will take turns on the microphones to talk about the great work the United Way of Door County does in the community. At the same time, listeners can fund the “interruptions” with music requests of $25 (regular songs) and $50 (special requests). Executive Director Amy Kohnle says highlighting the organization and raising essential funds is a fun way to spend the day.

Last year’s Pay to Play for the United Way raised over $4,000 for the United Way of Door County Annual Campaign. You can make your song requests from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on December 8th by calling 920-785-1021.

 

Evergreens get the focus at Crossroads

The Collins Learning Center is decorated for the holidays, and we invite the community to come by each Saturday afternoon between 1:00-4:00 p.m. to see the handiwork of our volunteers and enjoy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and fresh-popped popcorn. Board games will be set out and available for friends and family to partake in a bit of indoor recreation following an optional hike on the preserve. We will have the fire going indoors and a fire in the outdoor firepit in front of the Center, too.

 

Also Saturday afternoons, from 2:00-3:00 p.m., our Saturday Science programs will be offered for elementary-aged students and their families … or learners of any age for that matter. This week, our conversations will be about cones.

 

This topic came to mind on a recent hike when several visitors seemed puzzled to learn that evergreen trees grow from seeds. They thought baby Christmas trees grew from cones.

 

An old birdwatcher riddle (birder jokes often are worse than Dad jokes) goes something like: Where do baby evergreens come from? Wood storks bring them. (For those wondering, the wood stork is in fact a wading bird found in coastal areas of the southern United States. They’d have to make a journey worthy of Santa Claus to deliver our baby trees.)

 

Cones are a part of the actual answer to the above riddle. Evergreen trees are classified as conifers because they bear cones. Cones, however, are not seeds. Rather, they are specialized leaves called scales and they function as the evergreen equivalent of flowers.

 

Most evergreens have male and female cones growing on the same tree. In spring, the male cones give off copious quantities of pollen, enough that our creek and puddles have a yellow scum on them for a couple of weeks. Once pollen is released, the male cones drop off.

 

Female cones grow at the tips of evergreen boughs. At first, they are red, but they turn green. If pollen floating through the air lands on the sticky female cones, the pollen grains grow little tubes into the ovules. This can take a while, from a couple of weeks up to a year, but when fertilization takes place, seeds develop under the scales of the cones.

 

Scales are ideal protection for developing seeds. They grow in perfect overlapping spirals, and as the seeds develop, the scales become brown and woody.

 

On most trees of our region, it takes two years for the seeds to mature. And when they do, they are tiny and light, usually having little wings that resemble tissue paper. The wings help the seeds blow from the parent trees.

 

Little mammals probably spread as many seeds as the wind. They carry or drag the cones from place to place, often stealing them from each other. Besides that, little rodents are notoriously messy eaters.

But where do baby Christmas trees come from? They come from tree nurseries.

 

Curiously, part of the land which now is Crossroads was once a Christmas tree farm … just one of many uses our land has seen since European settlement. And our Saturday Science group will hike to that area, if weather permits.

 

 On Tuesday, December 12, the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting. Tom Minahan will present the program, “When Are We Going Back to the Moon,” in which he will discuss the exciting Artemis Mission.

 

According to NASA, “The Moon is a 4.5-billion-year-old time capsule. With Artemis missions, we are exploring the Moon for scientific discovery, technology advancement, and to learn how to live and work on another world as we prepare for human missions to Mars … NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.”

 

Saturday, December 9

1:00-4:00 p.m. Fireside at Crossroads

Throughout December, get cozy at Crossroads on Saturday afternoons during our open hours. Stop in to warm up after a hike or to enjoy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and some fresh-popped popcorn around the fire. Board games will be available for use. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay. Free and open to the public.

 

2:00 p.m. Saturday Science: Conversations about Cones

School-aged children, their families, and learners of all ages will gather to learn about the cones of evergreens found at Crossroads. Weather permitting, a hike will be offered, so dress for the weather. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.

 

Tuesday, December 12

7:00 p.m. Meeting of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society

At the final meeting of 2023, Tom Minahan will present the program, “When Are We Going Back to the Moon,” in which he will discuss the Artemus Project. Meetings are free and open to the public. If skies are clear, viewing will follow the meeting. Meet at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center, 2200 Utah, Sturgeon Bay.

"Chop 'N' Shop with a Cop" brings holiday cheer to over 30 children

Over 30 law enforcement officers from Door County partnered with area children on Saturday as part of the 21st annual Chop 'N' Shop with a Cop" program.  Paired up with members from the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Sturgeon Bay Police Department, DNR, and Door County Courthouse volunteers, the kids were able to pick out a Christmas tree at Krueger Tree Farm early Saturday morning.  Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard shares how the event has been successful over the years and has grown with the community's incredible support.  

 

 


The day concluded with a shopping trip for the kids to buy gifts for their family members and a pizza party at the Door County Sheriff's Office.  

Staying prepared for winter drive

As I write this article, we are having our first exposure to our seasonal weather with temperatures in the teens. No matter how much we prepare, it still catches us a bit off guard, but I have no doubt we will adapt as we always do. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to see the fluctuation in temperature either just above or just below freezing, which gives some nice variations, but also brings some additional considerations.

       

The primary concern, of course, is the road surfaces. With fluctuating temperatures, those roads can transition from merely wet to glare ice in a matter of minutes. Be especially mindful of bridges and overpasses, as they will be the first to be affected. When approaching intersections or turns, give yourself and your vehicle a greater margin of reaction and distance. Trying to execute a curve or stopping for that stop sign, is not the time to find out you misjudged the road surface.

        

Another victim of early morning freeze is our car windows. Please take the time to either defrost your windshields and windows or scrape them to provide proper visibility. It is a law that you do not have any obstructions in the primary areas of the windshield and side windows. While most people think this relates to manmade objects such as air fresheners or window tints, it also pertains to natural obstructions such as snow or ice.

        

Once the snow finally arrives, remember to leave a little early to provide extra time in case of poor road conditions. Also, please remember that just because the sign says 55 doesn’t mean you need to travel at that speed. A little caution on a snow-covered road will go a long way. Another good tip is to create an emergency bag that you leave in your vehicle. This could include a shovel, extra coat, boots, gloves, flares, blanket, and even some snack food. This may seem unusual, but could prove vital someday. Also, even though you should not talk on a cell phone while driving, it is a good idea to have your phone with you in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Also, if you haven’t addressed your tires in a few months, this may be a good time for that investment. Many of the vehicle accidents we respond to over the winter months could have been prevented by having proper tires and sufficient tire tread on those tires. We have no shortage of great local shops that can guide you in the right direction and provide great service and products.

        

As a final note, once the road crews start their maintenance this winter; please respect the important and often difficult job they have in keeping the roads clear, and give them plenty of space to operate as they are plowing, and salting the roadways.

       

Please respect overnight parking restrictions, which also makes their job much easier and saves you the frustration of digging your vehicle out after they plow around it while looking at the parking ticket affixed to your windshield.

WEDC COO shops small in Sturgeon Bay

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Department Secretary Sam Rikkers touted the benefits of keeping your money local this holiday season during a Friday tour of Sturgeon Bay businesses. The visit was part of the larger Shop Small Sturgeon Bay effort being championed by Destination Sturgeon Bay. Rikkers and Destination Sturgeon Bay Executive Director Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski was part of a small traveling party that visited four local businesses, discussing the benefits of staying in the area for your holiday shopping. Rikkers remarked how refreshing it was to see the businesses bustling with customers coming off the street rather than staying on the computers to buy those unique gifts.

A 2018 American Express study showed that two-thirds of every dollar spent locally stays local. Small businesses are also more likely to spend with other nearby companies and donate to local charities and schools.

Toy drives down to their final days

You only have a few days to ensure your community's kids have a Merry Christmas this year. Door County Toys for Kids and Kewaunee  County Toys for Tots are entering their final week of toy collections and family registrations for this year’s events. In Kewaunee County, Sheriff Matt Joski has been making his rounds emptying boxes from more than a dozen sites to ensure that donations continue to flow until their collection deadline hits on December 15th. He challenges prospective donors to buy for the kids who may be a little bit on the older side.


Door County Toys for Kids wraps up its collection efforts at nearly 90 locations across the county on December 7th. Several businesses paired the toy drive with promotions, making it a win-win-win for the customers, the store owners, and Door County Toys for Kids. Last month, Door County Toys for Kids Vice President Jackie Baermann said the community's generosity is always heartwarming.


If you are a family in need, you can still apply online or in-person to benefit from all of the elves in Door and Kewaunee counties. In Door County, families can register online here or visit the PATH Club House on Jaycee Court this Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon. You can register by calling the Northern Door Children’s Center if you live in Northern Door County. Distribution will occur on December 9th from 8 a.m. to noon at the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church and on December 10th from noon to 1 p.m. at the Northern Door Children’s Center. Kewaunee County residents can register at the public health office until December 13th, with the distribution happening a few days later on December 16th. 

Playtime returns to Kendall Park on Saturday

After two years of planning, fundraising, and building, the Kendall Park Playground is ready to welcome children to play again. The playground has been transformed from a slide, a few swing sets, and a merry-go-round into an oasis of fun and imagination that allows children of all abilities to play side-by-side.  The Baileys Harbor Community Association and The Playground Group joined forces in 2021 to begin fundraising for the $500,000 needed to replace the current equipment with features more inclusive of all ages and abilities. Volunteers first unloaded some of the equipment in April before installing it and adding other touches earlier this fall. The park was built near the town hall in 1992 in honor of Kendall Weisgerber, who had passed away tragically the year before. Her sister, Kari Bauman, says seeing kids playing on all of the new equipment will be an emotional moment for her and her family.


The soft opening will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday behind the Baileys Harbor Town Hall. The park will have a grand opening under warmer skies in the spring. Bauman says the Baileys Harbor Community Association and The Playground Group continue to accept donations for the project toward the park’s ongoing maintenance.

 

Picture courtesy of Baileys Harbor Community Association

 

Second Sturgeon Bay Kwik Trip location sets opening date

You will soon have a place for Glazers on both sides of the bridges in Sturgeon Bay. Kwik Trip recently announced that December 14th will be the opening date for its second location in the city after opening one on Egg Harbor Road earlier this year.

 

The new site is set back from its entrances off of Green Bay Road (State Highway 42/57) and County S, in addition to other features to help control traffic going into and leaving Kwik Trip. There are over 860 Kwik Trip locations throughout the Midwest, and Sturgeon Bay is the only one opening in the company’s home state this month. Four others are opening in December, but those are located in South Dakota (2), Minnesota, and Illinois.

Former AG Schimel announce state Supreme Court

His election will not be for another year-plus, but former Attorney Brad Schimel wants your vote after announcing his bid for state Supreme Court on Thursday.

 

Schimel lost to current Attorney General Josh Kaul in 2018 after becoming the state’s top attorney in 2015. He has served as a Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge since 2018 as one of former Governor Scott Walker's final appointments after his defeat. During his time as Attorney General, Schimel successfully defended attempts to overturn the state’s Voter ID laws and legislative maps. He also led efforts to battle the Affordable Care Act with several other states. According to the Associated Press, he told supporters on Thursday that “there is no check on this new liberal Supreme Court majority” after Justice Janet Protasiewicz won her seat earlier this year. He is slated to take on Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who recently announced that she would run for a third 10-year term.

 

Republicans are still looking for more household names to run against U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in the 2024 election. Businessmen Eric Hovde, Scott Mayer, and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke have all been announced as possibilities. Still, UW-Stevens Point student Rejani Raveendran, Trempeleau County Board Supervisor Stacey Klein, and retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Patrick Schaefer-Wicke are the only people to throw their hats into the race officially.

 

Picture from Schimel's rally event invitation

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