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News Archives for 2024-01

Governor's veto pen gets less mighty under Republican proposal

The red pen of Wisconsin governors could be less powerful moving forward thanks to a proposed constitutional amendment by members of the Republican-held legislature. According to the Associated Press, the bill, proposed by State Rep. Joel Kitchens along with State Sen. Dan Knodl and Reps. Amanda Nedweski and Shae Sortwell would not allow partial vetoes made by the governor to increase any tax or fee. The partial veto powers of Wisconsin governors are among the most unique in the country, allowing them to veto individual words, letters, and digits. It is a power both Democratic and Republican governors alike have used.

 

Most recently, Governor Tony Evers took the phrase “2023-24 school year and 2024-25 school year” and changed it to lock in school funding for 400 years instead of two. Kitchens said shortly after in his July 7th E-Update that “we certainly need to properly fund education, but locking this type of spending into perpetuity is not responsible government.” He also mentioned then that “it may be time to revisit those powers and make the veto power of Wisconsin's governors more in line with how other states operate.” Since it is being presented as a constitutional amendment, it must be passed by two consecutive legislative sessions and be approved by voters before it becomes law.

Kewaunee lifts overnight parking ban temporarily

With the unseasonably warm weather and no snow in the foreseeable future, the City of Kewaunee Police Department has suspended the enforcement of winter parking on the streets.  The overnight parking ban will resume when snow is back in the forecast.  The Kewaunee Police Chief Robin Mueller says the laws restricting overnight parking are in place to allow for street departments to clear snowfall off roadways safely and in a timely manner. 

 

 

According to Mueller, when the parking ban from 1:00 a.m. until 6 a.m. is in effect, enforcement is only done at 1:30 a.m. or one-half hour after bar time.   Property owners are encouraged to check for blocked storm drains near their homes or businesses so streets are free of accumulating water caused by snow and ice melting.

You can always reach out to the police department in advance to request permission for overnight parking by giving your name, phone number, and vehicle information.

The cities of Sturgeon Bay and Algoma have not lifted the overnight parking ban, which began on December 1st in Sturgeon Bay and November 1st in Algoma.   The overnight parking bans typically expire at the end of March. 


YMCA dips into swimming opportunities

You and your family can participate in one of the 30 swimming lessons at the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek.  Aquatics Director Heidi Honold says that age levels range from preschool up to the Dolphin Club and competitive swim team.  Honold adds that it is important for young children to know how to adapt to water in the pool and learn what to do when they fall or struggle in the pool.

 

 

Honold says many tools are available for people who utilize the pool, even for non-swimmers, like water walkers who benefit from water resistance.  Winter Session II registration at the Door County YMCA will start later in February, with a one-hour swim challenge planned for March.  The idea is to achieve the top number of yards in a one-hour swim at the YMCA during the month with no aid of equipment other than a swim cap and goggles. 

Phase II begins Monday for Door County Granary

You could start seeing rehabilitation work being done to the outside of the Tewels and Brandeis Grain Elevator starting as early as next week.  The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation (SBHSF) announced this week that Phase II of the Door County Granary Project will begin Monday, February 5.  SBHSF President Laurel Hauser says the rehab work consists of repairs to the 19 wooden grain bins, with exterior installation of windows, doors, and siding scheduled for April and May. She says Phase II is expected to be completed by the beginning of August, with the facility being used as a free, three-season interpreted museum and a gathering place for community and private events. 

 

 

Phase II also includes building the catering kitchen and public restroom addition, installing landscaping and signage, and getting the ground floor ready for occupancy.  A Soft opening will be held this fall, with a grand opening planned for May of 2025 when interpretive elements are installed.  Hauser adds that the SBHSF plans to hire an executive director in the coming months.  

 

(photo updated with most recent plan)


Gonzalez found guilty in Butch's Bar fire trial

The man standing trial for the deadly fire that claimed two lives in Sturgeon Bay nearly two years ago was found guilty Tuesday afternoon of second-degree homicide.  Anthony Gonzalez faces a possible lifetime sentence in connection with the fire that destroyed the former Butch’s Bar and 20 apartments above the building in February of 2022.

 

The jury deliberated late Monday and resumed Tuesday morning before requesting the re-watching of a 45-minute video of Gonzalez being interviewed by investigators after the fire.  A verdict was reached after more deliberations were held in the early afternoon.

 

Gonzalez did not take the witness stand in his defense during the week-long trial, and his attorneys argued that the deaths from the fire were because of the inadequacies of the building's fire safety.

 

Gonzalez has been in jail on a $250,000 bond ever since he allegedly set the building on fire while refilling his lighter on his bed and tried lighting a cigarette in his apartment. 

 

The sentencing for Gonzalez will be on May 10th.  

Tax filing season begins

It is time to see if Uncle Sam is getting more of your money or if he is writing you a check this year. Monday marked the first day of the tax season, with the Internal Revenue Service expecting more than 120 million individual returns to be filed this year. According to CBS News, more than half of Americans plan on filing their taxes earlier this year to receive their refunds earlier, which is around $3,200 on average. While starting now puts you in no rush to miss the April 15th deadline, there are still some common mistakes you can still make. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteer Steve Hellmann says whether you do your taxes by yourself or pass it off to a professional or volunteer, that organization is key.


Entering the wrong information, missing out on tax deductions, doing lousy math, and picking the incorrect filing status are common mistakes tax filers make yearly. The United Way of Door County announced its new partnership with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide earlier this month to connect you with volunteer tax preparers to do the work for you. Those interested in scheduling an appointment with a volunteer tax preparation can call their locations in Sister Bay, Egg Harbor, Sturgeon Bay, and Algoma. 

Upcoming election a reminder for voter identification

You have less than a month before you will need your identification card to vote, depending on where you live. The spring primary is coming on February 20th,  and only residents in the City of Algoma will have to worry about it in Door and Kewaunee counties. Voters will choose from Virginia Haske, Steve Lautenbach, and Casey Buhr for mayor and Bill Bush, Kenneth D. Taylor, and Casey Buhr running for District 3 Alderperson. The top two will advance to the spring general election on April 2nd. With the two elections coming up, the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles reminds potential voters that they will need a valid photo identification card, such as a driver's license, identification card, military or student ID card, or passport, to participate. If you do not have one, they are free at the DMV if you bring the correct documentation, such as a birth certificate, passport, social security card, and pay stub. You can find more information about how to receive your photo identification card by clicking this link.

Seven girls prepare for next era of Miss Door County

Saturday could mark the crowning era for seven girls when the Miss Door County hosts its annual pageant at the Southern Door Auditorium on Saturday. UW-Milwaukee’s Abrielle Lenius, Sevastopol’s Kylee Duessler, and Gibraltar’s Vanessa DeMarinis are competing for the title of Miss Door County 2024, while Southern Door’s Isabel Jeanquart, Sturgeon Bay’s Sayde Jeanquart, Sevastopol’s Emily Bley, and Gibraltar’s Anna Dalke are vying for the role of Miss Door County Teen 2024. Saturday’s competition includes talking with judges during a private and on-stage interview, demonstrating artistic expression with a talent, showcasing lifestyle and fitness in sportswear, and displaying an evening gown. While Saturday’s event may last just a few months, Susan Fochs from the Miss Door County Scholarship Organization says the seven girls have put in a lot of work to get to this stage.

A goodbye is also in store for the Miss Door County competition as they bid farewell to Miss Door County 2023 Lindsay Schuh and Miss Door County’s Teen 2023 Kalei Klaubauf. Fochs says the pair represented the county and the program well over the past year.

More than $6,000 will be awarded in college scholarships on stage during the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Southern Door Auditorium. Tickets are $20, with all proceeds benefiting the organization’s mission. The program has awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships since its first competition in 1997.

 

The Miss Door County 2024 contestants include:

?      Vanessa DeMarinis: She attends Gibraltar High School and will be performing a monologue for her talent. Her community service initiative is called, “CommUNITY Uplift: Elevating Minds, Empowering Lives”.

?      Kylee Duessler: She attends Sevastopol High School and will be playing the trumpet for her talent. Her community service initiative is called, “Trust Your Training; Anxiety Awareness in Athletics”.

?      Abrielle Lenius: She attends UW-Milwaukee and will be playing the saxophone for her talent. Her community service initiative is called, “Protect the Skin You’re In: Sun Exposure Safety”.

 

This Miss Door County’s Teen 2024 contestants include:

?      Anna Dalke: She attends Gibraltar High School and will be singing and playing the piano for her talent. Her community service initiative is called, “Undercover Wheel”.

?      Isabel Jeanquart: She attends Southern Door High School and will be dancing for her talent. Her community service initiative is focusing on mental health awareness.

?      Sayde Jeanquart: She attends Sturgeon Bay High School and will be playing the baritone euphonium for her talent. Her community service initiative is advocating for the importance of screen time management.

?      Emily Bley: She attends Sevastopol High School and will be singing for her talent. Her community service initiative is called, “Nutrition Before Competition”.

Gibraltar to host Solo and Ensemble Festival

After many of them performed together as a part of the Bay Area Music Association Honors Band, you see some of the best young musicians perform alone or in small groups at Gibraltar Secondary School.

 

Students from Gibraltar Secondary, Sevastopol High School, Sevastopol Middle School, Southern Door High School, Southern Door Middle School, Sturgeon Bay High School, and Thomas J Walker Middle School will all travel to Fish Creek on February 10th for the annual Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) sanctioned District Solo and Ensemble Music Festival. Students will perform in front of judges vocal or instrumental pieces as soloists or part of a small ensemble. Similar to the BAMA Honors Band event, Gibraltar band teacher Charlie Eckhardt said earlier this month that the event is a tremendous experience for students to get feedback on their performance so they can grow as musicians.

The WSMA District Solo and Ensemble Music Festival will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it is free to attend. The organization will host state solo and ensemble festivals on the campuses of UW schools later this spring, including at UW-Green Bay on May 4th.

Peninsula Pride Farms sets stage for annual meeting

Education through implementation is a significant goal of Peninsula Pride Farms, one that they hope to continue when they host their annual meeting next month.  In addition to receiving updates from Peninsula Pride Farms members, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and other speakers, the meeting will also include discussions with Russell Hedrick and Keith Berns from Green Cover Seed as they explain the importance of rebuilding soil health. Peninsula Pride Farms President Duane Ducat says the speakers give an insight into where they have been so far and the importance of not stopping their efforts now.

The Peninsula Pride Farms Annual Meeting is on February 13th at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Expo Hall beginning at 9 a.m., with RSVPs due on February 6th. Recently, Peninsula Pride Farms received a  $29,600 grant from DATCP to fund its cost-share program, encouraging farmers to try one of nearly ten conservation practices on their fields. They were one of 47 producer-led watershed groups to receive a grant from the program.

Dementia experience gives people inside look at disease

With someone in the world developing dementia every three seconds, Door County Medical Center is allowing you to see what it would be like if you or someone you love received the diagnosis. DEMENTIA Live by Age-u-cate is a hands-on experience of cognitive impairment by placing special glasses and headphones on them and making them do everyday tasks. The hospital hosted its first of two sessions last week at the Sister Bay Rehab Center, and Christine Wisniewski says participants received a newfound appreciation for what dementia patients and their caregivers deal with every day.

Door County Medical Center and its partner, the ADRC of Door County, will offer the simulation again on January 31st at the Sister Bay Rehab Center. You can click here or call 920-746-3504 to schedule your opportunity to go through the 30-minute simulation.

 

Community to Sister Bay: We've got to do something about affordable housing

Finding affordable housing in Sister Bay is easier said than done, but village officials could use your help to make it possible. Over 50 people attended a presentation given by Stantec Consulting about its recently completed housing study for the Village of Sister Bay, which, like many Door County communities, is trying to find a way to have enough housing options for its local workforce. According to the study, the village needs approximately 600 housing units to make sure it has enough to put a roof over every local employee’s head, something they are far off from completing. The data also showed that rent keeps increasing on the few units open because of supply and demand. Village Administrator Julie Schmelzer says they do not have all the answers right now, but the community knows something needs to be done.

Schmelzer says the plan commission will begin forming committees to address the affordable housing issues in the village. She hopes residents, business owners, and workers can volunteer to help the committees represent the community’s needs.

Fish Creek welcomes revelers to 2024's first festival

Bike tossing, toilet seat throwing, and Stumpf fiddling will get you weird looks anywhere else but Fish Creek this weekend as the community hosts its annual Winterfest. Quirky games and activities dot the schedule all weekend long as Fish Creek holds the honor of having the first festival of 2024 in Door County.

 

The festival also incorporates local activities like All Things Chocolate at the Old Town Hall and the Candlelight Ski-Hike at Peninsula State Park. Laurie Buske from the Gibraltar Historical Association says the annual rite of winter is a great way to bring the community together and welcome visitors back to the area.

 

 

While most of the activities will take place on Saturday, Fish Creek Winterfest also has activities planned on Friday and Sunday.

Kitchens wants to see more proposed child care bill

Rep. Joel Kitchens wants more information about a bill designed to help shore up the finances of childcare centers in the state. Co-authored by Reps. Joy Goeben of Hobart and Karen Hurd of Fall Creek, school districts would be required to contract with eligible child care and Head Start programs to provide a public 4K option that is still tuition-free. This would send at least 95 percent of the funding that goes to the school districts for enrolled students to the childcare centers they work with and the parents choose. On the heels of the bill’s announcement, United Way of Door County Child Care Coordinator Molly Gary says the plan would provide a guaranteed and much-needed revenue source for childcare facilities. Meanwhile, Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says it would take critical funding from schools at a time when districts are cutting where they can to make ends meet. Kitchens reflected on his time on the Sturgeon Bay School Board when they contracted with local providers for 4K, something the school district now handles at Sawyer Elementary School. He says he needs to see more from the bill on how can be fair for everyone.

Kitchens expects the bill to go through one of his hearings as the chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Education. He commended other ideas, such as tax credits and business incentives, to fund child care in the state.

Gallagher hopes elections don't get in the way of legislative priorities

Even if the news cycle is being dominated by the fall election featuring a likely 2020 Presidential rematch, Rep. Mike Gallagher says there is plenty of work to do before the August primary.

 

The Green Bay-area Republican spent much of his time in the district over the past week, discussing a bipartisan bill exempting Wisconsin from the endangered species listing for lake sturgeon and receiving feedback on legislation and other ideas to improve the area’s water quality. On Friday, Gallagher was in Door County speaking about issues around mail delivery and celebrating Southern Door senior and incoming West Point cadet Thomas Jackson. Still looming ahead for Gallagher and the rest of Congress is another looming shutdown after the House passed a continuing resolution on January 18th to extend funding into March. He was critical of the move then, saying, “kicking the can even further down the road and then recessing for another week does nothing but reward bad behavior.” Gallagher spoke briefly after his events on Friday, saying he has lots of work concerning China that he would like to accomplish before more attention is focused on November.

Gallagher’s focus on the issues in China is one reason he decided not to run for the U.S. Senate when pressed about it last summer. 

 

Restaurant pavilion destroyed by fire

A restaurant in the Town of Gardner will be without its outdoor pavilion for the foreseeable future after it caught fire Saturday night. The first units responded to Rouer's Roadhouse just after 8 p.m. to reports of flames shooting outside of its outdoor pavilion.

 

According to Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Chief Curt Vandertie, the first engine crew performed an aggressive exterior attack with a section of the building fully engulfed. Crews knocked down the flames in approximately 10 minutes. They then entered the building, finding and extinguishing fire that extended into the roof line as the fire moved along the ceiling traveling the length of the building.

 

Vandertie says an electrical fire cannot be ruled out after it was learned that no one had been in the structure during the previous 24 hours. There were no injuries, but the bar area in the building suffered major fire, smoke, and water damage as a result of the blaze. In addition, items including freezers, ATV, UTV, skid steer, boat and other items also sustained some damage during the incident.

 

In addition to nine units from the BUG Fire Department, the Fire Departments of Southern Door, Nasewaupee, Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg, Door County EMS, Door County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Public Service and Door County 911 Communications Center all assisted in the initial call that was cleared by 10:15 p.m. Egg Harbor Fire Department assisted with the on scene investigation. The Casco Fire Department provided stand by coverage at BUG Station 1.

 

You can find pictures of the fire here on the business' Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02L5NjfD5JKxmqdEigwnVa4s7y5UovU9dMZjwHaWFiyqeC3eUSKDeivtFfmHdrpMpRl&id=100028871516389&mibextid=Nif5oz

 

Youth apprenticeship "creates" opportunity for Massart at NEW Radio

You will see a new face around Sturgeon Bay's NEW Radio and Door County Daily News studios. Lexi Massart, a Southern Door High School senior, began a youth apprenticeship at the radio stations last week. A participant in the Notheast Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship Program, Massart became aware of the opportunity to work in the media when school counselor Sara Paye, connected her to Door County Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator Lauren Baumann. Massart is currently taking an advanced 2D Level 3 AP Studio Art class and developing a portfolio on how multimedia can help with mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and OCD. She shares her favorite part of creating graphic design. 

 

 

After graduating from Southern Door High School in May, Massart plans to attend Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in Green Bay next fall to pursue a degree in design and graphic technology. She lives in Sturgeon Bay, has two younger sisters, and enjoys time with her nephew, Lincoln, who is the son of her oldest sister.  

Crossroads hooks visitors with sturgeon talk

Sturgeon will be the topic at Crossroads’ Fish Tales Lecture Series on Thursday, February 8, when Dr. Patrick Forsythe presents, “Elevating Optimism of the Menominee River Through Successful Up and Downstream Passage of Lake Sturgeon.” 

 

Because Crossroads is located in the City of Sturgeon Bay and our Cove Estuary Preserve skirts the Bay of Sturgeon Bay, we get a lot of questions about how the name came to be and if these huge fish still live here.

 

According to Ann Jinkins and Maggie Weir in their book “Sturgeon Bay,” French explorer, Fr. Claude Allouez, who wintered with the Pottawatomie in 1676, was the first to write “La Portage des Eturgeons,” apparently referring to the plentiful sturgeon in the bay.

 

In the book, “Brief History of Door County,” (and it is brief, as it was written in 1881 and there was not a great deal of written history back then), Chas. I Martin wrote, “Sturgeon, the largest fish caught in this water, are dressed and generally cut into large strips, and smoked.”

 

Martin continued, “The sturgeon is a peculiar fish, looking something like a creek ‘sucker,’ has dark skin; is as destitute of scales as a man’s face; varies in length from two to nine feet—the average being about four or five feet—and there is not a bone in its body. What is called the back-bone is a large grizzle that can be easily cut with a knife.

“The sturgeon often grows to great weight, and it is a powerful fish in the water—its flesh is a beautiful bright yellowing tint, and if properly cooked, is grand eating beyond description.”

 

Later in his book, in describing how the name Otumba was changed to Sturgeon Bay, Martin wrote, “The name of that arm or bay over … Green Bay, now so well known as ‘Sturgeon Bay,’ originated among the Menominee Indians. They so named it because of its outline being about the shape of the finny tribe being so plentiful in these waters.” 

 

So as of 1881, in Door County, sturgeon were plentiful and sought after by the 700 families living on the peninsula at that time. So what happened?

 

Liz Carey, in an article in the Daily Yonder, quoted our speaker, Dr. Forsythe as saying, “In recent decades, the sturgeon population was down to about 1 to 2% of its historic abundance.

 

“Some of the decline was due to overfishing,” he explained, “but most was due to a dam system. Built in the early 1900s, the five dams along the Menominee River were first put in to help logging operations along the river. As time passed, the dams were converted to hydro-electric dams to help fuel the area with electricity.”

 

Six years ago, during our inaugural Fish Tales Lecture Series, Rob Elliott, fish biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, presented the lecture, “All About Lake Sturgeon – Recovery Efforts in Green Bay and the Great Lakes.” In it, he described a fish elevator, a project on the Menominee River that could lift sturgeon above the first dam and transport them beyond the second dam.

 

The February 8 lecture title, “Elevating Optimism of the Menominee River,” is a play on words. Dr. Patrick Forsythe, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will discuss the fish elevator project on the Menominee River and discuss genetic research on sturgeon reproduction and dispersal, and share his optimism that the sturgeon population in Lake Michigan might increase.

 

According to Mark Holey, the Fish Tale Lecture Series organizer, "The basic premise for lake sturgeon in the Menominee River is that the parents of a disadvantaged family needs an elevator to have a better chance to raise a family that includes adequate nursery care (habitat) for the babies" Join us in-person at Crossroads, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay, or participate via ZOOM or Facebook Live by going to https://www.doorcountylibrary.org/event.html 

 

The community is invited to our First Friday Campfire on Groundhog's Day starting at 5:30 p.m. And on Saturday, in our weekly family program, Saturday Science, learners of all ages will learn about the “starry messengers” –COMETS by attending a family-friendly demonstration during which the Comet Chef will concoct a frigid comet model after showing a short video. Every family will receive a souvenir chunk of a “kitchen comet” to take home and enjoy (until it sublimates). This free program is for all ages and will be held indoors at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Crossroads is joining with The Ridges Sanctuary and the Door County Land Trust to promote community science opportunities, among them a four-day event known as the Great Backyard Bird Count which takes place Friday, February 16 through Monday, February 19. For people who might be interested, these partners in conservation will offer a Webinar: How to Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count on Wednesday, February 7, at 3:30 p.m. Register online with the Door County Land Trust to receive the Zoom Link. 

 

Crossroads will offer our popular Ski-for-Free program when conditions allow. Check the website www.crossroadsatbigcreek.org

 

Thursday, February 1

6:00 p.m. Door County Reads: Virtual Presentation & Virtual Author Talk

Join us February 1, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. in person or on Zoom for a Video and Virtual Q&A with Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of this year’s Door County Reads book “Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults.” Visit https://www.doorcountylibrary.org/doorcountyreads to submit questions and visit the Door County Library website for links.

 

Friday, February 2

5:30 p.m. Campfire at Crossroads

The nights are long, even if the groundhog sees its shadow, so why not brighten them up with campfire and some good company? Join us on the first Friday of the month for a merry campfire and s’mores. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Saturday, February 3, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Saturday Family Program: Science Saturdays- Comet Chef

Learners of all ages will learn about the “starry messengers” –comets– by attending this family-friendly demonstration during which the Comet Chef will concoct a frigid comet model after showing a short video. Every family will receive a souvenir chunk of a “kitchen comet” to take home and enjoy (until it sublimates). This free program is for all ages and will be held indoors at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Wednesday, February 7

6:30 p.m. Webinar: How to Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count

Bird and nature lovers everywhere unite to tally as many of the world’s bird species as possible in a four-day event known as the Great Backyard Bird Count. GBBC takes place Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19. Join us for an online presentation to learn more about this global effort and how you can participate. Register through the Door County Land Trust website. This program is in partnership with Door County Land Trust, Crossroads at Big Creek, and The Ridges Sanctuary.

 

Thursday, February 8

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The February 8 lecture title, “Elevating Optimism of the Menominee River,” is a play on words. Dr. Patrick Forsythe, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will discuss the fish elevator project on the Menominee River and discuss genetic research on sturgeon reproduction and dispersal, and share his optimism that the sturgeon population in Lake Michigan might increase. Join us in-person at Crossroads, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay, or to participate via ZOOM or Facebook Live, go to https://www.doorcountylibrary.org/event.html

Birch Creek brings Music of the Heart to celebrate Valentine's Day

You can get an early start on Valentine’s Day while supporting a Door County music institution on February 10th. Birch Creek Music Performance Center will feature its big band jazz faculty members when it hosts “Music of the Heart” on the Juniper Hall stage. Vocalist Mardra, pianist Reggie Thomas, and guitarist Rich Haydon will play several jazz standards during the evening. The event serves as a significant fundraiser for Birch Creek Music Performance Center, which Executive Director Mona Christensen says is coming off one of its best years in recent memory.

Thanks to the generosity of Door County Medical Center, all money raised from the event will go to support Birch Creek students. You can contact Birch Creek Performance Center to purchase tickets for the event, which begins at 5:15 p.m. when the doors open and continues when the concert starts at 6 p.m.

 

HEAR MORE ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE HERE

 

Court security key part of justice system

In this week’s edition of my “Annual Report,” I want to focus on a component of the Sheriff’s Department that is rooted in the very description of the Sheriff’s duties as articulated in State Statute 59.27 “Attend upon the Circuit Court held in the Sheriff’s County during its session.”

       

What this refers to is the position known here in Kewaunee County as our “Court Security Officer”, and I may be biased, but I feel we have one of the best in the State. We are very fortunate to have Deputy Mark Jandrin who has filled this role for many years and is a trusted resource not only to the presiding judge, and other court officials but to those who find themselves here at our courthouse for a variety of reasons.

        

The ability of any community to maintain a safe and efficient judicial process, is a product of effective practices, policies, and protocols, along with having the right people in the right roles.

        

Throughout our country, we have seen violence erupt within our courtrooms as many times, the volatility and emotions of both suspects and victims threatens the very safety that is essential for a functioning justice system. While we cannot remove the emotional state from those involved, we can set a standard, assuring a safe environment, and hold everyone accountable to that standard. While doing this, we can also show empathy and patience for those who become frustrated in what is by no doubt, a sometimes intimidating and unfamiliar process.

         

This is where Deputy Jandrin truly shines. His familiarity with not only the courts, but the entire Criminal Justice System, along with a solid understanding of the protocols, allows him to be a source of guidance and direction to those involved.

          

In addition to “Attending to the Courts,” Deputy Jandrin carries the additional responsibility of coordinating with the jail for those in our custody to appear in front of our Judge. This, too, brings with it the need for patience and flexibility, as many times, court hearings are scheduled with short notice or re-scheduled due to various circumstances. Deputy Jandrin does an amazing job at maintaining effective communication to minimize downtime or delays in this daily ritual.

          

Here in Kewaunee County, our Court Security Officer’s role is really expanded to that of a Courthouse Security Officer, requiring him to address situations outside the actual courtroom. Just as there is emotion and mis-understandings within the courtroom itself, the same can be said for those utilizing our supporting offices here at the Courthouse. Deputy Jandrin maintains his vigilance each and every day so as to be responsive regardless of what is asked of him.

          

While the Court Security Officer is often “seen but not heard” during the actual hearings, make no mistake, his presence speaks volumes to all those present. Thank you Mark!

Gallagher, Kitchens look to stamp out Sturgeon Bay mail concerns

If you live in Sturgeon Bay, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and State Rep. Joel Kitchens hope to understand why you are not getting your mail consistently. The pair hosted an event at Sturgeon Bay City Hall on Friday, announcing that they sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting a briefing and a plan of action for why city residents have faced mail delivery issues. Last week,  the postmaster in charge of the United States Postal Service for Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota districts blamed the weather for delivery issues, adding that they “will continue flexing (their) available resources to match the workload and are proud of the efforts of postal employees as they define essential public service every day.” That contrasts what has been relayed to Gallagher, Kitchens, and Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward, who say they have received numerous calls about the issue dating back to November. With many residents relying on the mail to receive necessary items like prescriptions and important bills, Gallagher and Kitchens say the community deserves answers.

 


Kitchens and Gallagher credited local post office officials for admitting their hiring struggles and Sturgeon Bay-area postal carriers for working as hard as they do. Sturgeon Bay is one of many cities in the country wondering about its mail delivery. According to the Houston Chronicle, more than 30 new employees have been hired in the Houston area to address their city’s delays. At the same time, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that four mail facilities in Minnesota will be audited by the United States Postal Service to take a deeper dive into their mail deliveries. Gallagher and Kitchens hope the Sturgeon Bay situation does not go that far.

 

WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW

 

LETTER FROM REP. GALLAGHER

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy,

 

I write to you regarding concerns that have recently been brought to my attention by constituents regarding their mail delivery service in Sturgeon Bay, WI. My office has heard from dozens of constituents that have not received mail in a timely fashion dating back to late November. Some of these constituents state they haven’t received consistent service for up to 3 weeks at a time and some have only received their mail four times since the start of the new year.

 

My constituents in Northeast Wisconsin, especially in rural communities, rely on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to receive their medications, pay their bills, and run their small businesses. I was especially alarmed hearing from a veteran in Sturgeon Bay who was concerned that he would not receive his medication on time. Those who sacrificed so much for the country should never have to worry about receiving packages that their lives may depend on. They should be able to count on consistent and reliable delivery service that the USPS normally provides. I want to commend our Postal workers and mail carriers for their continued hard work and dedication to ensure that this is the reality; however, due to staffing shortages, these same workers are unfairly being stretched thin and being asked to fill in the gaps.

 

To help put my constituents’ minds at ease that these delays are being addressed and will not continue to be an issue in future, I request answers to the following questions:

 

What actions are specifically being taken at the Sturgeon Bay Post Office branch to ensure normal delivery can resume in a timely manner and avoid delays going forward?

What plans does USPS have in place to help local post offices in rural communities address staffing needs to help ensure timely delivery?

Are local post offices being asked to prioritize the delivery of third-party packages over traditional mail? If so, what is the USPS’s plan to ensure that this does not cause delays in traditional mail delivery?

 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and your timely response to my questions. It is my hope that these issues are promptly addressed and resolved, and that the USPS will work diligently to decrease delays going forward so that Wisconsinites have the peace of mind that comes with consistent USPS service.

 

S/F,

Goals realized for Southern Door's Jackson

 If the acceptance letter from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, did not make things real for Southern Door senior Thomas Jackson, a full Southern Door Auditorium might have.

 

With his family and other dignitaries also present, Southern Door School District celebrated Jackson’s recent acceptance into West Point with an all-school assembly. Only one in ten students who apply to attend West Point are accepted, making his years of balancing a rigorous course load and a full slate of extracurricular activities worth it. Attending West Point has been a dream of Jackson’s since middle school, and he is thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the academy.


 

 

Rep. Mike Gallagher nominated Jackson for his admittance into the academy, something he says he was proud to do.


Jackson will embark on his journey at West Point this summer, where he hopes to get involved on campus in various activities while settling on a major. Upon graduation, Jackson will be required to serve at least eight years in a combination of Active Duty and Reserve Component Service.

 

 

NOAA accepts NERR nomination of Bay of Green Bay

You could soon have portions of a National Estuarine Research Reserve a short drive away after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration accepted the state’s nomination of the site.

 

Governor Tony Evers made the announcement on Thursday after nominating the Bay of Green Bay to be a part of the NERR system in 2022. The system consists of 30 sites nationwide designed to protect and study estuaries and their coastal wetlands. Spearheaded by UW-Green Bay since 2019, the Bay of Green Bay NERR would comprise several smaller sites, including one located near Sturgeon Bay.

 

“Conserving and protecting our natural resources and land continues to be a top priority for my administration, and I am thrilled to see this important effort to designate a site along the Bay of Green Bay as a new National Estuarine Research Reserve move forward,” said Governor Tony Evers.

 

There are still several steps before the Bay of Green Bay is officially designated as a NERR, potentially bringing a visitor center to Sturgeon Bay if the city beats out proposals from Green Bay and Marinette. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward is excited to see what progresses from here, even if it takes a long time.

 


Designating an area as a NERR typically takes 4-6 years. NOAA and UW-Green Bay will host two public meetings on March 19th to solicit comments on significant issues related to developing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Bay of Green Bay NERR. A virtual session will occur at 10 a.m., while an in-person event will be held at 1:30 p.m.

 

Decommissioning puts endangered species in potential trouble

What could be good news for Kewaunee County could turn into bad news for an endangered species in the area. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources applied for the incidental take of the peregrine falcon, a state-endangered species that has been found near the Kewaunee Power Station.

 

According to the DNR, incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the species' overall population at risk. EnergySolutions, LLC has been working at the Kewaunee Power Station since it acquired the site in May 2022. The incidental take permit was needed as the company began the next decommissioning phase of the former nuclear power plant.

 

Based on his last conversation with EnergySolutions officials, Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ben Nelson says the decommissioning remains on schedule, which is a six-to-eight-year time frame. After the work is completed, it opens the door for other uses for the site.

 
The DNR says that conservation measures will be taken to minimize the impact the project could have on the peregrine falcons in the area, which have been on the state’s endangered species list since 1975, according to UW-Green Bay. You can submit your thoughts on the issue at the address below.

 

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
c/o Rori Paloski, DNR Conservation Biologist
101 S. Webster St.
Madison, WI 53707
Rori.Paloski@wisconsin.gov or 608-516-3742

 

 

DNR explores variances for Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Eagle Tower

Helping you spend more quality time at Peninsula State Park is the goal of two variances being discussed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The variances would impact two of the park’s more visited attractions: Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and Eagle Tower. At the lighthouse, the variance would allow additional features to the site to expand its historical interpretation areas and other amenities for visitors. At the tower, the goal is to add more parking and reconfigure some nearby roads to make the attraction more accessible to those looking to get a bird’s eye view of the area. Peninsula State Park Superintendent Eric Hyde says the changes would be welcomed as Eagle Tower and Eagle Bluff Lighthouse garners a lot of attention from visitors during the tourism season.


The public can review the draft variances by visiting the DNR’s Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Regional Master Plan webpage. They can submit their comments to the information below by February 8th. This is the second time variances have been explored at a Door County state park recently. Newport State Park was targeted to expand its equestrian amenities, including more trails, but the DNR opted to add parking.

 

Comments may be submitted to Yoyi Steele, Property Planner, via email, phone or U.S. Mail.

Email: Yoyi.Steele@wisconsin.gov

Phone: 608-590-6027

U.S. Mail: Wisconsin DNR
                 Attn: Yoyi Steele LF/6
                 PO Box 7921
                 Madison, WI 53707-7921

United Way encouraging people to get into childcare

The United Way of Door County hopes you can help fill a significant need in the community first by attending an informational session it is hosting next week.

 

The session slated for January 30th at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay will empower those considering offering child care in their own home. Even with the expansions of the DoCo Child Development Center and Northern Door Children’s Center and the future opening of the Children First Development Center, the demand for childcare in Door County still exceeds the available spots for families. United Way of Door County Childcare Coordinator Molly Gary says help is there for those who seek it.

 


Grants for in-home childcare providers are just one of the ways the United Way of Door County is trying to address the issue locally. The Door County Child Care Benefit Pilot Program allows Door County employers to offer a child care stipend to their employees with matching funds provided by the Women’s Fund of Door County.

Coast Guard keeping busy with ice rescue calls

After wondering if there would ever be ice this winter, the United States Coast Guard has kept busy with rescue calls over the past two weeks. The latest scare came on Wednesday before 2 p.m. when a caller told the dispatch center that they thought a truck went through the ice near Little Sturgeon. The United States Coast Guard employed their airboat to help, but it was a false alarm. Earlier this week, they had to rely on that airboat to rescue a man who floated away from shore near Cedar Creek Road in the Bay of Green Bay. Machinery Technician (MK2) 2nd Class Colton Perkins says there are clusters of ice shanties near Little Sturgeon in Door County and Bayshore County Park in Brown County, most of which are prepared just in case they find themselves distressed. Echoing a similar theme this winter, Perkins says ice anglers must stay on top of changing conditions.


The United States Coast Guard regularly goes on “ice runs” around the peninsula to not just keep track of changing conditions, but also to check on traffic coming on and off the ice. Based on what they see during those ice runs, the United States Coast Guard forms rescue plans with local agencies to play out what-if scenarios in case something does occur. Ice conditions may continue to deteriorate, with the National Weather Service forecasting rain into the weekend and daytime temperatures staying above the freezing mark through next Wednesday.

 

State of the State highlights Governor's priorities

This year has been declared the “Year of the Worker” after Governor Tony Evers delivered his State of the State address on Tuesday.

 

Finding long-term solutions to teacher and nurse shortages, expanding paid family leave, and giving more help to better funding child-care centers were some ideas the Democratic governor suggested to begin addressing the issue. Evers also expressed his opposition to a proposed 14-week abortion ban, his support to providing more mental health resources to children, his disappointment in the lack of action on PFAS funding, and his wishes to expand contraception coverage in the state during his approximately 45-minute address.

Heading into the evening, State Senator Andre Jacque expressed his hopes that Evers would extend an olive branch to the Wisconsin Legislature and build on the progress they could have in 2023.

 

 

State Rep. Joel Kitchens said after the address that he appreciated Evers' acknowledgment that the two sides could accomplish much by working together, which was happening less in previous years. He did echo Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ critique of Evers not addressing how he would return some of the state’s record surplus to the taxpayers.

Both Jacque and Kitchens are optimistic that they will be able to accomplish a lot before the Wisconsin Legislature goes on recess at the end of February.

Snowmobile trails in Door and Kewaunee counties close

You will have to keep your snowmobiles on their trailers for now, as trails in Door and Kewaunee counties are closed on consecutive days.

 

The Door County snowmobile trail system closed Wednesday morning with a lack of frost, warming temperatures, and melting snow to blame. The Door County Sheriff’s Department sent a reminder ahead of the closure, saying they will keep a close eye on riders traveling on closed trails.

 

 

Kewaunee County trails are set to close Thursday at 6 a.m. Due to trail closures, snowmobilers in nearby Outagamie, Calumet, and Brown counties are also left out in the cold.

 

 

Mother Nature is not doing her part to help either, with temperatures expected to be above freezing through next Wednesday.

Sister Bay's Workforce Housing Study presentation Saturday

You can learn more about the Village of Sister Bay’s plans to address the need for additional affordable housing this Saturday.  Santec Consulting will present a summary of the Housing Study completed by the Village of Sister Bay last year.  Village Administrator Julie Schmelzer says the overview will show the demand for local housing while laying out a framework on how Sister Bay can provide more housing for residents, including 50 acres of land purchased a few years ago for housing developments.

 

 

Schmelzer notes that the village has the land and funds budgeted for immediate development. However, the plan commission decided to form a special committee to look at issues like financing and the type of homes to be built before finalizing a plat and moving forward.   The one-hour presentation and discussion are open to the public and begin at 10:00 a.m. at the fire station in Sister Bay.  You can read the completed final workforce housing study here. 

 

(photo submitted)

Local officials, DNR warn of unsafe ice after rescue

The warmer temperatures and changing weather conditions lately led to Tuesday's first ice angler rescue in Door County this year.  Egg Harbor Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says a man from outside the area was fishing offshore near Cedar Creek Road in the bay of Green Bay around 8 a.m. when the ice separated, leaving a 75 to 100-foot gap of open water.  MacDonald says the man was not in distress and did the right thing in calling 911 immediately.  He says the rescue took about an hour to perform with an airboat provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, and a drone from the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department was utilized.  Although the man said there was a foot of ice on the bay where he was fishing, MacDonald says conditions can change quickly and that there is no such thing as “safe” ice.

 

 

MacDonald says although the extremely cold weather conditions last week made plenty of ice, recent shipping traffic that entered Sturgeon Bay and southwest strong winds affected the shoreline from Oconto County to Door County.    

 

 

 

Ice Safety Basics from the Wisconsin DNR:

 

Here are a few basic ice safety tips to remember:

  • Carry a cell phone, and let people know where you are going and when you’ll return home.
  • Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or a float coat, to help you stay afloat and to help maintain body heat.
  • Wear ice creepers attached to boots to prevent slipping on clear ice.
  • Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas.
  • Carry a few spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself – or others – out of the ice.
  • If you fall in, remain as calm as possible. While attempting to get out of the water, call for help. Anyone who attempts to rescue you should use a rope or something similar to avoid falling through themselves.
  • Do not travel in unfamiliar areas or at night.

Have a plan in place noting where you will be and when you plan to return. Along with leaving a written note of your plans, keeping a charged cell phone is also recommended.

Community Closet debuts at Door County YMCA

You and your family can benefit from a new community closet that opened today at the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek.  The pantry-like room is open to anyone in the public who needs basic supplies and clothing.  Door County YMCA Mission Advancement Executive Brett Cleveland says the program is a collaboration with the help of Door County, which already has a community closet for its clients.  He says the YMCA hopes to fill a broader need in the community.

 

 

The community closet is available during hours of operation at the YMCAs and is discreetly located in the facility, with no check-in process required.   All items collected are brand new and were donated generously by community members.  

Sturgeon Bay moves on property purchase

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the purchase of maintenance equipment, floating docks, and a small piece of property for a stormwater detention area.

The purchase of zero-turn mower with attachments for $12,780 was unanimously approved in consent agenda items by the council, as well as a recommendation to direct $50,000 of the $100,000 from TID 10 for park improvements at the Sawyer School playground project.

A budget line transfer of $4400 was approved to purchase new floating docks from Pier and Waterfront Solutions for $84,400.  Municipal Services Director Mike Barker announced that the city received a $40,000 grant from the Door County Community Foundation for the floating dock project.

A closed session was not held, as the council was able to openly discuss and ultimately unanimously approve the proposal to purchase a .62 acre area of land near Alabama Street from BOC Partnership, LLP. The accepted price was $18,500 with the restriction of the parcel to have no more than four lots and allowing for 35-feet of right-of-way for Alabama Street.

City Administrator Josh VanLieshout and Mayor David Ward concluded the 30-minute meeting by praising Barker and his crews on clearing the streets and removing the snow piles after the major storm last week.  

KCEDC looks to advance housing development

The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation is doing what it can to ensure you have a roof over your head if you decide to move to the area. In what it called “a strategic leap towards collaborative economic growth,” the KCEDC has submitted a grant proposal to build the housing stock in the cities of Algoma and Kewaunee and the Village of Luxemburg. According to a 2019 housing study prepared by the Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission, more than two-thirds of Kewaunee County's housing stock is more than 50 years old, and there is a need for rental units and starter homes. The study also points out that Kewaunee County has a limited amount of land for new housing and the infrastructure needed to go with it. The initiative being spearheaded by KCEDC aims to address local housing needs and to be a model for other rural economic development organizations with the grant. The KCEDC is seeking collaborative partnerships to help make the plan a reality. With the initiative still in its infancy, the KCEDC hopes to provide updates throughout the upcoming year. 

Republicans introduce $1 billion tax cut

Keeping more money in your pocket while addressing previous concerns of Democratic lawmakers is the goal of a new tax cut plan introduced by Republican legislators on Tuesday. After two previous attempts to cut taxes by as much as $3.5 billion, Tuesday’s proposal would cut taxes by approximately $1 billion statewide. It would do this by raising the state’s second tax bracket from $18,420 and $36,840 to $150,000 and $200,000. The plan would also double the married tax credit and the child and dependent care tax credit. State Senator Andre Jacque says the plan addresses the needs of the middle class, something Governor Tony Evers has also focused on.

The bill would also eliminate income taxes for Wisconsin residents who have reached the age of 65. The announcement came hours before Evers issues his State of the State Address in Madison. Evers teased portions of his address during his visit to Sturgeon Bay on Monday, including the state’s multi-billion dollar surplus.

Conservation practices growing among farmers

You can expect more farmers across the state to be better stewards of the land they operate on thanks to $1 million in producer-led watershed protection grants awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection earlier this month. Forty-seven groups, including locally-based Peninsula Pride Farms, received as much as $35,000 for producer-led conservation solutions to encourage innovation and farmer participation. Peninsula Pride Farms will primarily use its $29,600 grant to fund its cost-share program that enables farmers to try one of nearly ten conservation practices on their fields. Peninsula Pride Farms President Duane Ducat says it is encouraging to see the number of producer-led groups and participating farmers grow yearly.

Peninsula Pride Farms also received funding from The Nature Conservancy to encourage farmers to try various cover crop techniques. The organization will hold its annual meeting on February 13th at 9 a.m. at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds.

New bill offers stability to child care facilities

You could see more access to 4K programs in the state of Wisconsin thanks to a new bill being circulated in Madison. Co-authored by Reps. Joy Goeben of Hobart and Karen Hurd of Fall Creek, school districts would be required to contract with eligible child care and Head Start programs to provide a public 4K option that is tuition-free. School districts receive funding from the state for each student enrolled in their 4K program, money that would go mainly to the childcare facilities they contract out.  United Way of Door County Child Care Coordinator Molly Gary says the plan would provide a guaranteed and much-needed revenue source for childcare facilities.

Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke knows that childcare is a significant issue on the peninsula. Still, he believes the bill could remove vital funding from school districts.

The bill would also change the requirement for 4K teachers from being DPI-certified to requiring a teacher to have at least a bachelor’s degree or plans to earn in the immediate future.

Sturgeon Bay looks to buy land for stormwater management

When the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meets Tuesday night, the agenda will include a proposed purchase of property to help with water runoff on the east side.  The city is looking to purchase a lot (.62 acres) on 3.8 acres of land owned by Tom Kriedeman of BOC Partnership, LLP, between North 4th and North 5th Avenues to the south of Alabama Street.  The area would be used to detain and manage stormwater from the overall drainage area if acquired. The Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommends accepting a proposal of $18,500 to buy the parcel of land that grants a 35-foot right-of-way for Alabama Street and restricts Kriedeman from dividing the remaining four lots.

 

The Council will also take up the Municipal Code, addressing the allowable amount of “transfer of funds” by the city as a reallocation that does not impact the annual budget number. 

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will meet at 6 p.m. at City Hall in Council Chambers. 

Door County Board to hear environmental study on Tuesday

You will be able to hear more about what could be flowing underneath your home and businesses as a part of a special presentation during Tuesday’s Door County Board meeting. Sheryl Stephenson from GZA Geoenvironmental will be providing an update on the emergent contaminants that may pop up in groundwater samples taken locally. GZA recently completed the first round of sampling across the county, which has nearly 8,000 private wells. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich hopes the four-year project gives them areas to focus on and encourages other landowners to participate.

The Door County Board is also expected to pay tribute to the late Supervisor Charles Gulley, approve snowmobile trail aid, and accept Department of Natural Resources grants addressing lake monitoring and protection and removing the invasive species European Frog Bit when it meets Tuesday at 9 a.m.

New childcare facility opens its doors

The DoCo Child Development Center ceremoniously opened its doors on Monday, a welcome sight for the many families in the area needing child care.

 

State and local officials like Governor Tony Evers joined community members for the ribbon-cutting event for the more than 18,000-square-foot facility on Gordon Road in the Town of Sevastopol. More important than the size of the building, the facility will be able to welcome 150 children six weeks to five years of age, more than 60 kids above what they could handle at their old facility on Egg Harbor Road. Governor Tony Evers connected the day to the more significant issue of child care in the state, which he says will be part of his State of the State Address on Tuesday.

Executive Director Alexis Fuller says it is a dream come true for her, who started the DoCo Child Development Center in the former YMCA Barker Child Care Center in 2020 to help fill a need in the area. Teachers and students moved into the facility after the New Year, and she says it has been great to have the extra space and the community's tremendous support.

The construction of the building was part of a $3.5 million Workforce Innovation Grant received by the United Way of Door County to address childcare challenges in the area. The project allowed the DoCo Child Development Center to to cut its waiting list by over half.

 

 

Two injured in Gibraltar crash

Two Luxemburg residents were injured but did not have to be transported to the hospital after they were struck Saturday afternoon by another vehicle, causing them to roll over in the Town of Gibraltar.  Jon Gilson of Luxemburg and his son were traveling south on State Highway 42 at noon near Peninsula Players Road, when another vehicle blew a stop sign and struck his vehicle. The crash's impact pushed Gilson’s vehicle into a nearby ditch, where it overturned onto its roof.  According to the accident report, Selena Martinez of Sturgeon Bay told the Door County Sheriff’s Department that she knew a stop sign was there but did not see it at the intersection and ran through it at approximately 45 miles per hour. All three people involved in the accident had their seat belts and were checked over by Door County Emergency Services, which also responded to the crash. Martinez was cited for failure to stop at a stop sign. State Highway 42 was closed for about an hour so the vehicles and accompanying debris could be removed from the intersection. 

Gonzalez trial begins after long wait

After almost two years of waiting, Sturgeon Bay resident Anthony Gonzalez will learn his fate after being connected to the destruction of the former Butch’s Bar and 20 apartment units in February 2022. Gonzalez has been in jail on a $250,000 bond ever since he allegedly set the building on fire while refilling his lighter on his bed and tried lighting a cigarette in his apartment. Not only did the incident lead to the demolition of the building, but the fire killed two people and sent one person to Milwaukee to be treated for burns. In the nearly two years since, the trial has been delayed many times, most recently last August. Gonzalez faces multiple counts of second-degree reckless homicide, second-degree recklessly endangering safety and one count of negligent handling of a burning material. The court case is scheduled for weekdays through February 2nd at the Door County Circuit Court.

Nitrates concerns add to waiting game for Casco residents

The most recent round of testing in Kewaunee County produced results you are already familiar with: many residents and businesses have unsafe drinking water.  UW-Stevens Point groundwater education specialist Kevin Masarik presented the findings as a part of a Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee meeting Wednesday night in Luxemburg, which showed many residents have nitrate levels in their water above the state average. It has been of growing concern in the Village of Casco, where residents and businesses are dealing with higher nitrate levels with every well dug. Tim Kinnard has heard the complaints on multiple fronts as a Village of Casco Trustee, a Kewaunee County Board Member, and a resident who had to install a reverse osmosis water system to get a tighter grip on his home’s elevated nitrate levels. He says it has been a frustrating battle for the village, which recently was denied a grant that would have provided some funding for a municipal water system in Casco.

Casco Kidz Zone owner Lisa Cochart is one of the businesses affected by the elevated nitrate levels as she teeters between a possible closure with every test. She knows local leaders are doing what they can, but more is needed.

Run-off from animal waste, fertilizer, landfills, and septic systems is often to blame for nitrates getting into the well water. The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department has made the results from the most recent study from UW-Stevens Point available on its website. 

Town of Gardner adds broadband question to April ballot

You have an extra incentive to head to the polls in the Town of Gardner in April, especially if you struggle to connect to the internet.  Residents will be asked if they support the town borrowing at most $1,242,686 to find capital improvements for the infrastructure needed to support a fiber-optic internet system. Brightspeed and the town would partner on the project to bring fiber optic internet to every occupied home and business. If it is successful in its bid to secure a Capital Project Fund Grant, the Town of Gardner may be able to reduce the amount it contributes to the project. As it stands, the money it borrows would cover approximately 25 percent of the total cost. Since the referendum is non-binding, town officials would still be the final decision-makers. The election is on April 2nd.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

Gibraltar's Eckhardt reaching career's coda

Only a few musical measures are left in the career of Gibraltar Band Teacher Charlie Eckhardt. He is set to retire from teaching at Gibraltar after over two decades. He estimates that he has conducted over 500 performances during his tenure, whether inside the Door Community Auditorium, at a basketball game, or along the Sister Bay Fall Fest parade route. One of his most trying times as a teacher came during the pandemic. It took a long time for performing arts ensembles like bands and choirs to get back to normal as groups wrestled virtual sessions and rehearsals in masks. He says leaving his kids will be hard, but he is happy he is giving them a great experience while he can.

There will be no decrescendo to the end of Eckhardt’s time at Gibraltar. In addition to hosting the Bay Area Music Association Honors Band earlier this month, the Gibraltar Band program is preparing to welcome musicians for the Solo and Ensemble Contest on February 10th before heading down to Disney World in March. You can listen to the BAMA Honors Band performance, which featured three Gibraltar musicians and several others from around the county, below.

 

BAMA HONORS BAND 2024

 

Bookings down, still above capacity at Kewaunee County Jail

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

         

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

           

Every person arrested in Kewaunee County is processed through our jail, and the following are some of the most common criteria for bookings, which for 2023 were a total of 679 compared to 710 from the previous year.

         

The first is what we call non-custody bookings. These are bookings that occur when the individual is not physically arrested. This may be in the case where the offense was not immediately reported, and it is through investigations that the probable cause for an arrest summons was completed. It could also be where we are not able to locate the suspect at the time of the event, and we are able to send charges up to the District Attorney’s Office for his consideration. These bookings accounted for 276, as compared to 339 of the total bookings in 2022.

          

The next most frequent category is pre-sentence bookings which totaled 179, in comparison to 214 last year. These are bookings which are for those who are currently awaiting the completion of their court process but do not meet bail criteria. These can be some of our lengthiest stays as the legal process itself is complex and lengthy at times.

           

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

       

So many ask what our daily population is here in Kewaunee County. As I stated earlier, our maximum capacity is 22, and for 2023 our daily population average was 34.84, with males representing 29.39 and females 5.45 throughout the year. as compared to 2021, which was 30.51, with males representing 26.24 and females 4.25 throughout the year. The average stay is approximately eight days, with the shortest stay at approximately one hour and the longest stay at 365 days.

       

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

         

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

 

Next week I will share some information from 2023 as it relates to our Patrol Division.

Gibraltar students attend leadership event at Lambeau Field

Running out of the tunnel at the home of the Green Bay Packers was cool, but it was the leadership and fellowship shared that stood out the most for a group of Gibraltar Middle School students on Thursday.

Gibraltar students Mylo, Maggie, James, Miles, Olive, Luke, Ashlyn, and Rocket all participated in the Green Bay Packers Empower Leadership Event, which took place at Lambeau Field and the neighboring Resch Expo. The students were chosen based on their involvement in leadership groups at school and identified as leaders by staff members.  They were among dozens of the students participating in the event, beginning with a keynote address from One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization Executive Director Orlando Bowen, who uses story-telling, fitness activities, and cognitive exercises to teach resilience, leadership, and teamwork. “The first speech was really touching and inspiring hearing Orlando Bowen’s life story. It made me feel sad for everything he went through and how you never really know what someone is going through,” said Ashlyn. Olive added that Bowen urged them to believe in themselves and remember that empathy is greater than kindness.

After the students toured Lambeau Field, they returned to the Resch Expo to participate in a service project packing more than 48,000 food packs for the Rise Against Hunger organization. The project will help more than 200 children have the food that they need for the entire school year. School counselors Chelsea Roberts and Brooke Petrie said some students enjoyed the service activity almost more than the Lambeau Field tour, adding that it was “a true testament to their desire to help others” and fit the theme of having a “we mentality” rather than a “us versus them mentality.” Miles and James were impressed the impact that they were able to make in just a few minutes, while Maggie added that she enjoyed the service project because “they made it fun, and it helped a lot of people who don’t have enough food.”

Roberts and Petrie said the service project was their favorite moment of the day because the students were proud of their efforts. “This was an important event because it allowed us to provide a unique experience for a few young leaders,” Roberts and Petrie added. “These events helped encourage and inspire them to continue being strong leaders, giving them more tools and strategies to use their gift of leadership in our own community and create a  positive impact on others in our community and the world.”

 

Pictures courtesy of Gibraltar Area Schools

BUG Fire salutes its members

Fire Chief Curt Vandertie from the Brussels-Union-Gardner (BUG) Fire Department has announced recent awards presented to a number of BUG Firefighters on January 14, 2023. The following Firefighters were recognized for their current years of service to the BUG Fire Department:

 

5 years:

Noel Baudhuin

Austin Griep

James Trae Kluth III

 

30 years:

Dan Kroll

 

The following are newly retired:

Travis Price: served for 18 years

 

Mike Paye: served for 10 years

 

The fire department also welcomed 1 new member who joined during the past 12 months. She is Firefighter Daria Ahrens.

 

In addition, the department recognized an outstanding Firefighter with the annual Golden Axe Award. This award is given to a Firefighter who has demonstrated outstanding dedication in all aspects of the fire department over the past 12 months. This includes such things as training, call response, meeting attendance, fundraising efforts, special projects, and all the extras that need to be done to make the department function efficiently.  This year’s Golden Axe Award was presented to Firefighter Dan Kroll.

 

Finally, the BUG Firefighters welcomed and acknowledged several honorary guests for the support and service they display toward the fire department. First, canteen volunteers Debby and Paul DeWitt  for the help they provide in response to incidents to support our volunteers with food and refreshments. Second, Ken and Mary Vander Loop from Ken’s Sports for their ongoing support and donations of the fire department’s UTV, Jet Ski and Snowmobile. Finally, Dave and Sue Marchant of Marchant’s Foods for their long standing and ongoing support to our BUG Firefighters and the BUG Fire Department.

 

BUG Fire extends a special thank you to all of its Firefighters who continue to proudly serve the Towns of Brussels, Union, and Gardner…three towns, ONE department, working together.

 

 

Books featured during wintry week at Crossroads

Ever since we at Crossroads found artifacts revealing that people had lived beside The Cove Estuary more than a thousand years ago, we have endeavored to learn how the Indigenous People lived. From the book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” we learn from Indigenous People how to live as we strive to “inspire environmental stewardship.”

 

On Thursday, February 1, at 6:00 p.m., as a part of the Door County Reads 2024, Crossroads at Big Creek is honored to join with the Sturgeon Bay Library and Write-On Door County to cohost the virtual presentation, “Robin Wall Kimmerer: Video and Virtual Q & A.” 

 

We are grateful to the Sturgeon Bay Library for selecting “Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults, Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” as this year’s Door County Reads book. We also are grateful that the organizers showed respect for the wisdom of Indigenous People by inviting speakers from various tribes to tell their own stories and share the teachings of their ancestors. And we are thrilled to cohost this year’s Author Talk.   

 

Robin Wall Kimmerer is “a mother, scientist, decorated professor and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation." She has followed many paths of learning and has come to a crossroads of understanding. Next week, she will be joining “our” Crossroads community, for a live virtual discussion.

 

Kimmerer’s book demonstrates a land ethic based on the wisdom of generations of her ancestors, an ethic based on gratitude. She suggests that we can create a more sustainable environment by being reciprocal, by taking and using but also by giving back. And she encourages us to teach our children so future generations also will be good stewards.

 

She introduces the precepts of “the Honorable Harvest” – “to take only what one is given, to use it well, to be grateful for the gift and to reciprocate the gift.”

 

“An organism that is too greedy and takes too much without giving anything in return destroys what it needs for life.”

 

That last quote is not from “Braiding Sweetgrass,” though it could be.

 

It was written by the German forester, Peter Wohlleben.  We will discuss his book, “The Hidden Life of Trees, How They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World,” this month at the Crossroads Book Club on Wednesday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. The author makes the case that trees are social, and that they communicate and share their resources.

 

Kimmerer wrote, “There is now compelling evidence that our elders were right – trees are talking to one another.” And through fungal networks, they “appear to redistribute the wealth of carbohydrates from tree to tree … they weave a web of reciprocity, of giving and taking.”

 

Two books: one by an indigenous scientist, one by a German forester/naturalist, can change the way we think about nature and will indeed, inspire environmental stewardship.

 

Weather-permitting, folks can get in touch with nature by hiking, skiing, snowshoeing or kicksledding the trails among Crossroads trees and through the meadows.

 

When snow conditions permit, we groom the trails. On weekends, we offer our popular Ski-for-Free program.  But know that conditions change rapidly, so please check our website for current conditions and the hours (which are subject to change) for Ski-For-Free.

 

Using the approach of gratitude for the environmental services provided by plants and animals, we probably should acknowledge the ancient corals and other marine organisms which, more than 400,000 years ago, excreted skeletons of calcium carbonate which formed the fossil bedrock on which we live.

 

Our weekly family program Science Saturday will be an Indoor Fossil Hunt. We can’t go to the beach or wade in Big Creek this time of year, but we can search for fossils in the rock walls and displays in the Collins Learning Center. Learn fossil-finding techniques and complete a simple craft. Each participating family will receive a free Door County Fossil pamphlet.

 

 

Wednesday, January 24

10:00 a.m.  Crossroads Book Club: “The Hidden Life of Trees

This month we are reading “The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben. This book is an exploration of complex ecosystems and describes how trees form communities and care for each other, communicate and share resources. Whether or not you have read the book, you are invited to join us around the fireplace for the discussion.  Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Saturday, January 27

9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Ski-for-Free (conditions allowing)

On winter weekends, Crossroads offers our Ski-for-Free program when and if there is enough snow. Friends of Crossroads and volunteers from Door County Silent Sports will help participants find the correct sizes of equipment. We have skis, boots, poles, snowshoes and kicksleds. When snow and temperature conditions allow, Ski- for- Free is open on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please watch our website for updates and current trail conditions.

 

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Science Saturday Family Program: Fossils Indoors

We can’t go to the beach or wade in Big Creek this time of year, but we can search for fossils in the rock walls and displays in the Collins Learning Center. Learn fossil-finding techniques and complete a simple craft. Each participating family will receive a free Door County Fossil pamphlet. No reservations required. Meet in the lab at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

 

Sunday, January 28

12:00-3:00 p.m. Ski-for-Free (conditions allowing)

On winter weekends, Crossroads offers our Ski-for-Free program when and if there is enough snow. Friends of Crossroads and volunteers from Door County Silent Sports will help participants find the correct sizes of equipment. We have skis, boots, poles, snowshoes and kicksleds. Watch our website for updates, hour changes, and current trail conditions (which can change rapidly).

 

Thursday, February 1

6:00 p.m.  Door County Reads: Robin Wall Kimmerer: Video and Virtual Q & A

The Door County Library presents the Door County Reads event which begins with a video provided by the author followed by a virtual discussion with the author Robin Wall Kimmerer. This program is co-sponsored by Write-On Door County.  Free and open to the public. Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan St, Sturgeon Bay. For more information, visit the Door County Library Website

Ice rescue call turns into practice run for local agencies

What could have been a scary situation in the Town of Gardner ended up being just good practice for local agencies.  In the early afternoon on Friday, the Door County Dispatch Center received a phone call about a person they believed fell through the ice near Sugar Creek County Park in the Town of Gardner. According to the Door County Scanner 2.0 Facebook page, multiple fire departments, the Door County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay responded to the scene with the possibility of the first ice rescue of the season. Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Chief Curt Vandertie confirmed the response but said they found the man walking on the ice not in danger. Vandertie took the event in stride, adding that it was good to run through the procedure with all of the agencies responding. Earlier this month, Coast Guardsman T.J. Barnes expressed his concern for anxious ice anglers and guides heading out onto the ice for the first time this season.

Barnes encourages people to dress for the elements, have a personal floatation device handy, and tell others where and when they will be on and off the ice.

 

New fund serves as cornerstone for families in medical emergencies

You are not alone when you or a family member suffers from medical hardships, and a new charitable fund in Door County ensures you never have to worry. The Door County Community Foundation announced the formation of Willie’s Cornerstone Foundation earlier this month, named after Door County resident Wilhelmina Leist.

 

Known as Willie to her friends and family, she faced multiple life-threatening diagnoses that placed a financial burden on her family. Through a collection of fundraisers throughout the county, Leist got the help she needed medically and financially. Dave Smith knows there are people in the community who are not as lucky to have that kind of support system in their backyard. Thanks to the generous support of donors like the Nichols Foundation, Door County residents suffering from life-threatening illnesses and lacking Medicare or Medicaid coverage can lean on Willie’s Cornerstone Foundation for support. During the initial phase, Willie’s Cornerstone Foundation will offer a maximum award of $5,000 over a six-month period to eligible recipients. Smith says he is excited to see the positive impact the fund will have in the future.

With the GO BO Foundation and Door CANcer, Inc. supporting those suffering from cancer diagnoses, Smith hopes the fund will address a gap of need in the community.

 

Logo courtesy of the Door County Community Foundation 

Griffon connecting the notes with children

Transitioning from the concert hall to the classroom has been as smooth as a string of legato notes for the Griffon String Quartet members. Among Griffon String Quartet’s outreach activities is introducing area students to the world of string instruments. Despite having such performing arts organizations as Midsummer’s Music and Birch Creek Music Performance Center in the area, none of the eight school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties have an orchestra program. For many students, events and private lessons with members of the Griffon String Quartet are the only exposure they have to the art form. Cellist Jesse Nummelin says it is a gratifying aspect of his experience with the Griffon String Quartet.

In addition to performances in Green Bay and Milwaukee, the Griffon String Quartet will participate in outreach events at Sturgeon Bay School District’s two elementary schools and high school, St. John Bosco School, and the Boys and Girls Club of Door County over the next two months. You can hear more from Nummelin by clicking this link.

 

Kitchens' bill puts abortion to a vote in Wisconsin

After U.S. Senator Ron Johnson suggested it could be done last year, a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Joel Kitchens could make it possible for you to weigh in on the abortion debate.

 

Last year, a Dane County judge ruled that Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban did not apply to abortion procedures, allowing clinics across the state to resume the service after not doing them for several months. The bill would ban abortions after 14 weeks. The time period not only matches up with what Kitchens’ constituents have been telling him they would prefer, it also lines up with when 93 percent of abortions in the United States take place. Kitchens says he is personally pro-life, but he understands that many others are pro-choice. He hopes that the will of the people is reflected in the bill, regardless of whatever eventually happens.

Kitchens says he knows they have the votes in the Assembly to get it passed, but he believes more work needs to be done in the Senate. Governor Tony Evers says he will not sign anything that limits a woman’s ability to get an abortion, though Kitchens hopes putting it to a vote could sway him. If approved in time, it could appear on the ballot this April.

 

The announcement comes months after states like Ohio, Kentucky, and Kansas passed different abortion rights measures.  It also comes on the day thousands participated in the March for Life, hoping to continue the momentum from last year’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade.

U.S. Postal Service dealing with delivery issues

Heavy snowfall is in part to blame for recent delays in mail delivery to many residents in the Sturgeon Bay area, according to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).  Many people have taken to social media to complain about the failure of packages and regular mail being delivered daily.  When reached for comment, the acting postmaster in Sturgeon Bay could not speak to the issue other than saying that they were looking for additional help.  In a written correspondence received by Door County Daily News this week, the United States Postal Service for Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota districts stated that weather conditions impacted the service for many in the past week. 

 

“The Postal Service is committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and we apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced. The Postal Service is utilizing all available resources to keep our commitments and deliver the mail in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Recent heavy snowfall weather conditions have impacted service in limited locations. We appreciate our customer's patience with us at this time. We will continue flexing our available resources to match the workload and are proud of the efforts of postal employees as they define essential public service every day.”

 

The USPC statement went on to recommend that customers reach out to their local postal station on any issues they are dealing with, or go online and email any problems that are happening.

 

“Customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on “Contact us” at the bottom of our homepage or utilize this direct web address: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/. Every email will be carefully documented, and appropriate action taken to strengthen service.

In addition, the official X (formerly Twitter) account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp. Customers can also private message on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/USPS. The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customer's concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities.”

 

Last November, the U.S. Postal Service contracted with Amazon to deliver packages to customers every day of the week, adding Sunday delivery. 

Southern Door senior to attend West Point

Southern Door senior Thomas Jackson will see his goals realized this fall when he attends the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York this fall. The school district shared the good news Thursday morning that U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher nominated Jackson and that he had accepted an offer to attend West Point, one of the four primary U.S. Military Service academies. Rep. Gallagher says Jackson’s quick acceptance to West Point demonstrates his achievements thus far. “I have no doubt Thomas will make Northeast Wisconsin proud as he embarks on this incredible opportunity and commits to serving our country,” said Gallagher. His last nomination was Stella Kersebet, who was from Gibraltar and was selected to attend the Air Force Academy in 2021.

 

While balancing a rigorous course load that included AP and other advanced courses, Jackson taught Sunday School and participated in four sports and the Youth in Government program. He also recently earned his Eagle Scout award, the highest rank in Scouts USA. You can county his wrestling coach, Jerry Englebert, among those who are very proud of what he has accomplished and the leader he has become.

Only one in ten students who apply to West Point is admitted. The school district is planning a special student assembly for Jackson later this month to celebrate the achievement. 

United Way, AARP team up for tax prep services

If doing your taxes this year gives you nightmares, the United Way of Door County can help. The organization announced a new partnership connecting you with volunteer tax preparers from the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program. Since 1968, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program has provided free tax preparation help for over 78 million taxpayers, focusing on older adults with low to moderate incomes. Last year, the program served over 500 taxpayers in Door and Kewaunee counties, a number Tax-Aide volunteer Steve Hellmann believes they can exceed with more education and volunteers.

According to LendingTree, 36 percent of taxpayers rely on their refund, so every dollar counts for some people, especially those in the Asset-Limited, Income-constrained, Employed (ALICE) population. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle hopes people take advantage of the service.

Those interested in scheduling an appointment with a volunteer tax preparation can call their locations in Sister Bay, Egg Harbor, Sturgeon Bay, and Algoma. You can click this link to listen to our full interview with Kohnle and Hellmann by clicking on this link. 

 

Final snowmobiling trail opens in Door County

It took a bit longer than the rest of the peninsula, but you have more room to operate your snowmobile in Door County.

 

Thanks to the hard work of snowmobile club members, a portion of Door County’s north snowmobile zone opened on Thursday. Corridor 1 between Grove Road and Old Lime Kiln Road and the Ephraim trail remain closed, leaving snowmobilers to venture on trails from Maple Tree Road/Kangaroo Beach Road north to the Gills Rock Area. The trail conditions are listed as poor. The rest of the Door County Snowmobile Trail System opened on January 13th under fair conditions, though riders were warned about water in low areas.

 

The Kewaunee County Snowmobile System is also fully open, with Section 4 (Denmark and Kewaunee) opening last Saturday and Sections 1 (Red River), 2 (Algoma), and 3 (Luxemburg) following suit a few days later.

 

Snowmobilers are reminded to stay on the marked trails and to respect private and public property owners when the trails close. The weather also remains favorable for all winter recreation enthusiasts, with temperatures below freezing through the weekend. 

County looks to restart jail discussions

Kewaunee County officials are hopeful its next round of discussions surrounding a new jail will be the last you hear about it for a long time. Earlier this month, Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Dan Olson notified the Jail Study Committee that Midwest Construction Consultants was no longer pursuing the project. According to the meeting’s minutes, the Iowa-based company was confident in how it contracted work in the past, and that Kewaunee County was asking them to contract was significantly different. It was decided at the meeting that they would soon put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) and a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) as they look for a new project partner. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they have put in a lot of work on replacing the state’s smallest and oldest jail over the last eight years. It is just a matter of finding the right partner to do the work at a fair price.

Meanwhile, improvements are being made at the current county jail for the time being. The county board approved $81,437 to replace the failing security camera server for the Kewaunee County jail and courthouse. Joski also told the board that he is working with the state jail inspector to see if there are other improvements they need to make to comply with Wisconsin code and others they can push off as they explore a new facility. On Sunday, you can read Joski’s jail portion of his annual report at DoorCountyDailyNews.com. 

Artists, Kewaunee high school students to collaborate on new mural

The corner of Ellis and Milwaukee streets in Kewaunee will have a different look to it when you drive past it next summer.

 

Algoma-based Yonder is teaming up with Kewaunee art students to paint a mural on a wall outside of Bob’s Auto Parts in downtown Kewaunee. Yonder is no stranger to murals, having painted several in Algoma and led several community paint-by-number experiences in Sturgeon Bay in recent years.

 

For this project, Yonder’s Erin LaBonte will lean on her high school students to paint the mural. Her husband, Don Krumpos, says the project is in its planning stages as the high school students plan on what they want to paint, and the Yonder team is seeking approvals and funding to make it happen. Krumpos says this endeavor is different than the others in the area, but he is confident it will positively impact the City of Kewaunee and the lives of the high school students.

The high school students will likely wait until the late spring and early summer to begin work on their mural.

Winter fleet begins trek into Sturgeon Bay

The spectacle of a large freighter moving through the Sturgeon Bay channel as part of the Winter Fleet was fully displayed Wednesday morning.  The downtown bridges were up, and traffic was delayed for about 20 minutes as the Joseph L. Block arrived at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding as part of the Winter Fleet arrival.

The 728-foot steel self-unloading Great Lakes bulk freighter docked at the shipyard at approximately 11 a.m.  Last year, 18 ships were in Sturgeon Bay until early April as part of the winter fleet work at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.   You can follow the progress of ships on the Great Lakes at Marine Traffic by clicking here.

Keep pets inside during cold snap

As the winter's first arctic cold blast continues through this week and daily low temperatures remain in the single digits, veterinarians remind you to limit your pet's exposure to the cold weather. Dr. Jordan Kobilca of Door County Veterinary Hospital says extra caution with your pet is advisable when freezing temperatures are around.


 

 

Even thick fur does not necessarily protect your dog from frostbite to their ears, tail, or toes. After returning inside, you should check your pet's paws and stomach areas for ice and salt chemicals. Here are tips for caring for your pet during the winter's extreme cold weather.

 

  1. Bring your pets inside during cold weather. Keep your animals inside. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) reports if pets are left outdoors, they can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

    The Humane Society of the United States adds that if pets cannot come indoors, you should make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

    Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water. If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
  2. Protect their paws. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth. The ASPCA adds that you can also use petroleum jelly or booties to protect sensitive paws. Use pet-friendly ice melt products.
  3. Take care of their coat and skin. To avoid itchy, flaking skin, the ASPCA recommends keeping your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he or she comes inside. Pay special attention to paws and in-between the toes. Remove any snow from between foot pads. If possible, keep your dog’s coat longer in winter for warmth. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting a coat or sweater for your pet. Keep pet bathing to a minimum when it’s cold to avoid dry skin. If your pet needs a bath, use a moisturizing shampoo.
  4. Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
  5. Know your pet’s limits outdoors. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports you should be aware of how your pet tolerates cold weather and adjust as needed. Consult your veterinarian if you need advice.
  6. Check your engine. A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it's deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to make sure a cat hasn’t taken refuge on your engine.
  7. Use space heaters with caution. The heater can burn your pet or be knocked over, possibly starting a home fire.
  8. Watch for hypothermia. If your pet is whining, shivering, anxious, slower than usual or stops moving, seems weak or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  9. Be prepared: Winter can bring blizzards and power outages. Prepare an emergency kit and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least five days.
  10. Avoid walking on frozen water. Stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don't know if the ice will support your pet's weight, and  falling through the ice could be deadly.

(Tips provided by the American Red Cross and ASPCA)

.

Sturgeon Bay claims Math Meet, Southern Door's Zittlow scores perfect 40

The second Packerland Conference High School Math Meet was held this week and saw Sturgeon Bay claim another victory while a perfect score was registered for the first time this season.

 

Sturgeon Bay placed first with 304 points, Kewaunee finished with 222 to take second place, and Sevastopol tallied 190 points for third.

 

Senior James Zittlow of Southern Door accomplished a perfect 40/40 score to lead the Eagles and take top individual honors, and Jack Konop, a junior from Sturgeon Bay, had the second-highest score with 38.  Senior Ezra Linnan of Sevastopol scored 37, as did Ben Stephens and Jade Tomberlin of Sturgeon Bay. 

 

There will be three more math meets this season before the state competition in March.

 

You can find the complete results from Monday’s Math Meet below.

 

Seniors

Name

school

Score

1

James Zittlow

SOUTHERN DOOR

40

tie 2

Ezra Linnan

SEVASTOPOL

37

 

Ben Stephens

STURGEON BAY

37

 

Jade Tomberlin

STURGEON BAY

37

5

Logan Filar

SEVASTOPOL

35

       

Juniors

     

1

Jack Konop

STURGEON BAY

38

2

Luke Selle

STURGEON BAY

35

3

Tre Wienke

STURGEON BAY

27

4

Nathan Rouve

NEW

23

5

Ben Grota

SOUTHERN DOOR

22

       

Sophomores

     

1

Noah Hudson

KEWAUNEE

22

2

Isaac Heidel

KEWAUNEE

21

3

Pieschek, Grant

SOUTHERN DOOR

21

4

Miya Nell

STURGEON BAY

21

5

Kiera Wesley

STURGEON BAY

19

       

Freshman

     

1

Calvin Langfeldt

STURGEON BAY

22

2

Gage Vlies

KEWAUNEE

20

3

Cedar Tomberlin

STURGEON BAY

18

4

Dakota Duerst

ALGOMA

16

tie 5

Blake Bortolini

KEWAUNEE

12

 

Joey Schlies

KEWAUNEE

12

       

Varsity Teams

     

1

STURGEON BAY

 

304

2

KEWAUNEE

 

222

3

SEVASTOPOL

 

190

4

SOUTHERN DOOR

 

185

5

NEW

 

152

6

ALGOMA

 

131

7

OCONTO

 

128

       
       

JV Teams

(7 total teams)

   

1

STURGEON BAY

#2

196

2

STURGEON BAY

#3

140

3

KEWAUNEE

#2

124

4

SOUTHERN DOOR

#2

87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 

YMCA expands kid's coverage around school schedule

You can have your children start their day at the Door County YMCA with two before-school programs at the Sturgeon Bay Program Center.  School Age Director Ashley Bagneski says the weekday mornings begin at 6:15, with kids being picked up by bus at 7:15 a.m. for the Sturgeon Bay School District and at 7:45 a.m. for St. John Bosco School.  At 8 a.m., they change gears by offering a preschool readiness program until 11:45 a.m., where kids are taught various activities. Having all youth programs now at the newly renovated YMCA in Sturgeon Bay offers more significant opportunities for the kids, according to Bagneski. 

 

 

Bagneski adds that the afterschool program, which begins at 3:00 p.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m., offers supervision of children from 4K to 12 years of age.  There is free choice time, the story of the day, and a 12-week program focusing on being fit and healthier for the New Year.  You can learn more about the before and after school programs at the Door County YMCA here

Ice fishing guides patiently waiting for weather's cooperation

Captain Jimmy Doering of Cast N Catch Charters in Sturgeon Bay had never gone open-water bass fishing in December and January like he did this winter, but he is ready to set his tip up on the ice. The streak of cold temperatures has helped the Great Lakes get ice-covered. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, total ice coverage on the Great Lakes is 4.8 percent, with Lake Michigan at 3.95 percent.  It has meant a slow start to the ice fishing season, which Potawatomi State Park Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender blamed for last year’s slight drop in attendance. Doering says he has had to start canceling and postponing ice fishing charters this winter. However, he admits he never counts on the season getting going until the final week of January and early February. Still, he says they need a big assist from Mother Nature to help generate safe enough ice for them to fish on in the coming weeks.

Doering’s biggest worry is next week when high temperatures are expected to be above freezing for much of the week including a chance of rain showers. Ice fishing is a part of the over $2.3 billion fishing in Wisconsin according to the DNR.

 

Boys and Girls Club plans second winter gear giveaway days

Just in time for the coldest days of winter, the Boys and Girls Club of Door County wants to make your kids stay warm. The club began collecting items for this year’s winter giveaway, collecting hundreds of gloves, scarves, boots, snow pants, hats, and jackets. Last October, over 300 items were given to area children in need thanks to the support of community members and local organizations like The Salvation Army. Boys and Girls Club of Door County Director of Programs and Operations Chelsea Adams says she will be happy to see the items go to good use in even better homes.

The winter gear giveaway will occur on January 22nd and 23rd from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. near its alley entrance. While plenty of coats, gloves, and hats are available, there is a very limited supply of snow pants and snow boots.

 

Seven maps turned in for redistricting effort

You would see Democrats gain seats in nearly every scenario presented to the Wisconsin Supreme Court after seven groups turned in their preferred versions of the state’s legislative boundaries.

 

The redrawing of the maps was prompted by a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision last month that said the current maps 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. At the time, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in, but whether the nation’s high court will weigh in has yet to be seen.

 

In the meantime, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will review seven different proposals. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, only the option submitted by  Republican legislative leaders would not result in seeing their majorities shrink. Maps drawn by Governor Tony Evers, Senate Democrats, Law Forward, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, Petering (FastMap), and the Wright Petitioners would see the majorities in both chambers shrink. Marquette University Law School Lubar Center research fellow John Johnson analyzed the proposals based on population deviation, majority-minority districts, contiguity, geographic splits, compactness, and partisan balance.

 

The proposed maps align with what Rep. Joel Kitchens said after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on them last month, saying it was primarily a political decision.

Heck hoped that by redrawing the maps, many of the issues that exist with the current ones are resolved.

Now that the proposals are submitted, two consultants hired by the Wisconsin Supreme Court are expected to review them and give a report on their thoughts by February 1st. 

Door County Reads events kickoff Saturday

You only have a few more days to finish “Braiding Sweetgrass For Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” before Door County Reads 2024 officially starts. The Robin Wall Kimmerer book, adapted by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt, touches on humans' reciprocal relationships with the earth. Since Kimmerer is a botanist and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, several of the events highlight Native American culture. That includes this Saturday’s kickoff event at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to a presentation by Dr. JP Leary from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Education Center for First Nations Studies, the Forest County Potawatomi youth drumming group “Fire Nation” will perform. Shortly after the book selection was announced in November, Maggie Behme from the Door County Library said the feedback they received while scheduling the events was great, especially from the Native American community.

You can still play catch-up if you want to read the book before Door County Reads 2024 ends on February 20th.  Free copies of the paperback book may still be available at Door County Library locations, and it is also available on the Hoopla and Libby apps as an eBook. You can find a complete list of activities related to Door County Reads below.

 

January 20 - February 20
All events are free and open to the public. 
?Presented by Door County Library & Door County Library Foundation.

Saturday, January 20 from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Kickoff Event with Dr. JP Leary
Egg Harbor Library and Kress Pavilion
(7845 Church St, Egg Harbor)
Zoom Meeting: 835 3502 1988
Zoom Passcode: 575692

Saturday, January 20 at 6:00 pm
Ancient Roots Homestead Journey with Ben and Lucy Grignon
Egg Harbor Library and Kress Pavilion
(7845 Church St, Egg Harbor)
Zoom Meeting: 825 1449 4809
Zoom Passcode: 565789

Sunday, January 21 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Rethinking Education and
Menominee Traditional Games Workshop
with Ben and Lucy Grignon
Door County Land Trust
(217 N Fourth Ave., Sturgeon Bay)
Zoom Meeting: 834 6167 0863
Zoom Passcode: 014090

Wednesday, January 24 at 1:00 pm
Finding Purpose in Research From an Indigenous Perspective
with Dr. Kat Milligan-McClellan
Zoom
Zoom Meeting: 817 6573 2503
Zoom Passcode: 078563

Thursday, January 25 at 10:30 am
Egg Harbor Book Discussion
Egg Harbor Library and Kress Pavilion
(7845 Church St, Egg Harbor)

Thursday, January 25 at 4:00 pm
Movie Matinee
Sturgeon Bay Library
(107 S. 4th Ave, Sturgeon Bay)

Saturday, January 27 at 10:30 am
Stephenie Muscavitch VanEvery -
Sharing the Oneida Creation Story with Paper Turtle Project
Miller Art Museum
(107 S. 4th Ave, Sturgeon Bay)

Thursday, February 1 from 6:00pm-8:00pm
Virtual Presentation & Virtual Author Talk
?With Robin Wall Kimmerer
Join the watch parties at Baileys Harbor and Sturgeon Bay.
Crossroads at Big Creek
(2041 Michigan St, Sturgeon Bay)
Meeting ID: 857 2802 4503
Passcode: 232039

Saturday, February 3 at 10:30 am
Storytelling with Weeya Calif
Miller Art Museum
(107 S. 4th Ave, Sturgeon Bay)

Saturday, February 3 at 7:30pm
TAP Play Reading of Ushuaia Blue
by Caridad Svich 
TAP
(239 N 3rd Avenue, Sturgeon Bay)

Monday, February 5 at 7:00 pm
"The Nature Plays" Peninsula Players Theater Reading
Bjorklunden's Vail Hall
(7590 Boynton Lane, Baileys Harbor)

Tuesday, February 6 at 1:00 pm
Sturgeon Bay Book Discussion
Sturgeon Bay Library
(107 S. 4th Ave, Sturgeon Bay)

Tuesday, February 6 at 1:30 pm
Reciprocal Restoration: Wequiock Creek
with Stephanie Dodge
The Ridges Sanctuary
(8166 State Hwy 57, Baileys Harbor)

Wednesday, February 7 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Author Talk: Indigenous Voices with Carol Cornelius
Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Library
(2323 Mill Road, Sister Bay)

Wednesday, February 7 at 7:00 pm
Baileys Harbor Book Discussion
Baileys Harbor Library
(2392 County F, Baileys Harbor)

Thursday, February 8 from 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Baskets of Knowledge with Stephanie Dodge
Egg Harbor Library and Kress Pavilion
(7845 Church St, Egg Harbor)

Tuesday, February 13 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Write Our Way Home: Place-Based Writing
Write On, Door County
(4210 Juddville Road, Fish Creek)

Tuesday, February 13 at 2:30 pm
Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Book Discussion
Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Library
(2323 Mill Road, Sister Bay)

Wednesday, February 14 at 1:30 pm
Fish Creek Book Discussion
Fish Creek Library
(4097 Hwy 42, Fish Creek)

Street cleanup from blizzard begins in Sturgeon Bay

You will see the last piles of snow banks in downtown Sturgeon Bay being removed in the next few days as street crews work to remove them after the blizzard last weekend.  Over 14 inches of snow was reported in Sturgeon Bay from Friday through early Saturday morning.  Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says the plowing of streets concluded on Monday, and some crews will be hauling snow from parking lots starting early Tuesday at 3:00 a.m.  Other crews will remove snow from downtown street parking spaces at 5:00 a.m. The large-scale snow removal from the downtown streets will be conducted on Wednesday and Thursday this week during the overnights as crews will be in at 1:00 a.m. both days.   Barker asks you to try and avoid parking and traveling on the downtown streets when work is being completed this week.  

 

 

The primary area of focus of the downtown area cleanup is listed below.

 

3rd between Jefferson St. and Oregon

4th between Jefferson St. and Michigan

Jefferson between 7th and 3rd

Kentucky between 4th and 2nd

Louisiana between 4th and 2nd

Michigan between 4th and 1st

Nebraska between 5th and 2nd

Oregon between 5th and Maple

Maple from Oregon to Lansing

Madison from the bridge to E. Pine

Oak from Neenah to Madison

Well testing result presentation highlights upcoming Kewaunee County meeting

You will be able to learn a little bit more about the steps forward or backward Kewaunee County has made when it comes to water quality when the Land and Water Conservation Committee meets at 5 p.m. this Wednesday. For the last year, the committee has tried to hold night meetings in conjunction with releasing the county’s most recent round of well testing. Approximately 300 homes had their wells tested last October for contaminants such as nitrates and bacteria, bringing negative headlines to Kewaunee County for the last decade. UW-Stevens Point Groundwater Outreach Specialist Kevin Masarik will guide the discussion at 6 p.m. as the Land and Water Conservation Committee meeting concludes. Committee chairperson Aaron Augustian says the discussion around the water testing results, especially in Casco, where nitrate levels have been extremely high in some areas, is essential as everyone works together to address the issue.

Augustian complimented the work of Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department Director Davina Bonness and Kewaunee County Board Member Tim Kinnard for their work trying to address the concerns of Casco residents with their ongoing water concerns. Wednesday's meeting will take place inside the expo hall at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds. 

Democrats, Republicans debate border control

Though it is happening hundreds of miles away, you can see the impact of illegal immigration right in your backyard. Republicans and Democrats are arguing about what to do about the southern border, which has seen record numbers of migrants in years since President Joe Biden and his administration took over the White House. According to Reuters, about two million migrants were arrested by U.S. Border Patrol officers in 2023. By comparison, the highest number arrested during the Trump administration was just over 852,000. Republicans would like to see the Trump-era rules reinstated to crack down on immigration, including banning migrants who traveled through another country to get to the United States to be granted asylum. Democrats are tying their support to stricter measures at the border with aid for Ukraine and Israel.

 

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says Democrats and Republicans agree that its immigration policies at the border have been broken for decades, and something has to be done. She points out that illegal immigration activities have brought with it drugs like fentanyl into Wisconsin.

Baldwin hopes a bipartisan deal will be reached in the future to address the issues at the border. Congressional leaders agreed to a stopgap bill to fund the government until March over the weekend, but there were no specifics in the continuing resolution related to border patrol and protection. 

STRIDE fights uphill battle with youth mental health

The United Way of Door County’s STRIDE program is doing what it can to help provide mental health services to children in the area, but it may just be the tip of the iceberg regarding the issue statewide. The Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health recently released some troubling statistics as it tries to tackle the issue that has only grown in the last five years. More than half of the state’s youth have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or behavioral problems, according to the office, which also found that more than a third of high school students reportedly feel sad and hopeless. Declining childcare enrollment, increases in screen time, the pandemic, and other factors are to blame for the high numbers. STRIDE Coordinator Cami Peggar says the statistics certainly point to why their work is so important and why they cannot slow down anytime soon.

The Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health credits school-based, peer-led programs in place at over 300 school districts to having a positive impact on students when it comes to suicide prevention and overall mental health wellness.

Wind chill advisory in place through Tuesday at noon

You must make sure you bundle up if you’re heading outside.

 

Most of Wisconsin will toggle between a pair of wind chill advisories issued by the National Weather Service. One wind chill advisory will expire at noon on Monday, with another taking its place at 6 p.m. The second wind chill advisory will last until noon on Tuesday. Wind chills are expected to be between 20 and 30 below as daytime temperatures struggle to get above single digits.

 

Shauna Blackledge from Door County Public Health says dressing correctly and limiting your time will help prevent the cold temperatures from harming you.

While daytime temperatures will get into the teens later in the week, low temperatures are not expected to get above 10 degrees until Sunday.

Kwaterskis keep Florian II building in the family

The iconic Florian II Supper Club in Baileys Harbor will undergo a name and operational change in 2024 but will remain with the same Kwaterski family that has owned it since 1953.  Twin brothers Jerry and Joe Kwaterski, along with their wives Mindy and Tina, respectively, sold the business to Jerry’s son Shane last month with the plans for it to be called the Augusta Club.  The name honors their grandmother, Augusta Walther, who created many of the supper club’s recipes.  Shane and Maddy Kwaterski will open the new venue in June, mainly for weddings, community events, and family reunions.  Jerry says he is proud the property will remain in the family for a fourth generation.

 

 

Jerry and Joe took over the business from their parents, Florian and Ada, in 1972 after the FlorAda Club burned down in 1971 from an electrical fire.  They will now focus on the Blue Ox across the road and their other family business in Baileys Harbor.   

Sturgeon Bay High School hosting first-ever Jazz Festival

You can enjoy a first-ever Jazz Festival in Sturgeon Bay next weekend.  Music students from Sturgeon Bay High School and TJ Walker Middle School will collaborate with Southern Door High School students in a day-long clinic led by nationally known jazz musicians.  Sturgeon Bay Band Director Heidi Hintz says the day will teach students to work in the jazz medium, a music language of its own and a true American art form. 

 

 

After the clinic sessions with jazz instructors from UW- Stevens Point, a concert will be held at the Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium that is open to the public on Saturday, January 20th at 7 p.m.  Admission for the concert is $10 and will also feature Door County’s Swingin’ Door Big Band and Company B.  Proceeds will go towards the costs of the clinic and benefit the Robert H. Nickel Auditorium Fund.   

Ellison Bay Shoreline property is now Protected Conservation Easement

The Door County Land Trust recently placed four acres of land on the bay of Green Bay on a protected conservation easement. Owner Michael Schmitz of Ellison Bay purchased the property at the end of Porcupine Bay Road in 1999 and agreed to the easement with the Land Trust to keep the shoreline parcel undeveloped forever. The property includes a rocky lakeshore and a mature cedar forest that provides a breeding ground for migratory songbirds and shorebirds.

 

Door County Land Trust Director Emily Wood says the importance of conservation easements as a part of the Land Trust’s overall land protection strategy cannot be overstated. “Partnerships with landowners and private conservation easements are an essential tool for protecting the lands between our state and county parks and nature preserves,” she said. “Door County’s wildlife benefits enormously from these protected corridors, and our community benefits from the clean air and healthy water too.”

 

Schmitz said, “It’s important to me that it stays the way it is,” he said. “I’ve done nothing to it in the 25 years I’ve owned it. I decided that I want it to be preserved after I’m gone.”  A conservation easement agreement is a legally binding agreement that allows a property owner to retain ownership of the land. At the same time, Door County Land Trust ensures the property’s conservation values are protected in perpetuity.

Skiing, "Fish Tales" highlights Crossroads activities

"To everything there is a season," according to the lyrics of a folk song by the Byrds. Now that we have had some snow, we think ... hope ... it is Ski Season! And this week our programs, though quite varied, seem to relate in some way to “a time to be born and a time to die."

 

During Ski Season, the weather conditions tend to be quite varied, but when they are favorable – snow is deep enough, gale-force winds have not created drifts, and the temperatures are “winter-moderate” – Crossroads trails will be groomed for skiing. If conditions are not favorable for skiing the trails will still be open to the public all day, every day free of charge.

 

Again this winter, Crossroads will offer our popular Ski-for-Free Program on weekends. Friends of Crossroads and volunteers from Door County Silent Sports will help participants find the correct sizes of equipment. We have skis, boots, poles, snowshoes and kicksleds for all sizes, small child to large adult. And as the name suggests, we lend equipment free of charge.

 

When snow and temperature conditions allow, Ski-for-Free is open on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 12:30 - 3:00 p.m. Please check the Crossroads website or Facebook page for current conditions and Ski-for-Free hours which, due to weather conditions, are subject to change.

 

Winter is the season for our Fish Tales Lecture Series: Presenting the Science of Great Lakes Fisheries.

 

On Thursday, January 18, at 7:00 p.m., Dr. Dan Isermann, Unit Leader of the U. S. Geological Survey’s Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, will kick off the series with his presentation, “A Quest for Nests II: Revisiting Nest Fishing and Smallmouth Bass Recruitment along the Door Peninsula.”

 

Isermann’s research is truly about the “time (for smallmouth bass) to be born” and whether nest fishing results in “a time to die,” in other words, fish mortality.

 

In his Fish Tale lecture last year, screening fascinating videos, Isermann described how, using camouflaged Go-Pro cameras, he and his team filmed male smallmouth bass guarding the nests of their offspring in the shallow waters just off the Door Peninsula. The scientists watched hundreds of hours of footage during the season in which nest survival was most likely. They hoped to learn which predator species is responsible for fish mortality and, additionally, how nest fishing impacts mortality.

 

We are eager to see “Nests Part II,” the results of the research conducted last summer. Nest fishing is a controversial topic, so the more science-based evidence, the better. The lecture will be offered in-person at the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads. Seating is limited. Reserve a seat using the Crossroads website. Thanks to a collaboration with the Door County Library, the lecture also will be available via ZOOM or Facebook Live. Go to https://doorcountylibrary.org/event.html and click on January 18 to find the link.

Our free family program, Saturday Science, will feature Planet Sizes. Learners of all ages (one needs not be with their family to attend) will gather in the Collins Center lecture hall for a short film about the birth of the Solar System. Then, the group will move into the Science Lab to participate in an interactive activity using playdough to demonstrate the remarkable range of planet sizes.

 

Like Fish Tales and Saturday Science, the meeting of the Beekeepers Club will feature seasons, birth, and death when it meets Tuesday, January 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Crossroads. Guest speaker Bill Meyer will offer “A Brief Discussion of the Biology of Honeybees,” an overview of the body parts and functions of bees, including the influence of hormones, and explain why Varroa mites are so detrimental to bee health.

 

And for those who want to learn more (a lot more) about beekeeping, the Club will offer “Introduction to Beekeeping,” an informative, interactive workshop on January 20, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., to teach participants about basic equipment, tools, and techniques; how to choose the best hive location; how to obtain and install bees; and what to expect during the first year of beekeeping.

 

The workshop will be held at the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads. To register, email contact@doorcountybeekeepersclub.org. The workshop fee of $25 for individuals and $40 for couples helps supports restoration and pollinator plantings at Crossroads and all participants will receive half off a yearly DCBC membership.

 

Door County Master Gardeners Association and Wild Ones-Door Peninsula are also starting their Lecture Series. On Tuesday, January 23, they will livestream one of their favorite presenters, Mark Dwyer. He will explain a wide range of techniques for maximizing the appeal and impact of perennials (native and non-native) in a garden. Livestreamed to the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads or online at https://crossroadsatbigcreek.org/event/dcmaga-deadheading-to-division/.

 

On Wednesday, January 24, the Crossroads Book Club will gather around the fireplace at the Collins Learning Center to discuss “The Hidden Life of Trees,” by Peter Wohlleben, which gives an overview of forest ecosystems and suggests that trees are “social beings.” And, yes, the book actually does cover the seasons and the birth and death of trees. One need not read the book to be welcome at this free monthly event. 

 

Thursday, January 18

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Door County Science on Tap: Video Games and the Brain 

Stop by Bridge Up Brewing to hear presenter Dr. C. Shawn Green discuss new thinking about video games. According to Green, Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at UW-Madison, “When video games first rose to popularity almost three decades ago, they were considered reasonably ‘mindless’ entertainment. Since then though it has become clear that video games are far from mindless. Instead, playing some games can produce a host of benefits to the way you see and think.” ?This Science on Tap free program is sponsored by Crossroads at Big Creek and the Door County Land Trust and held at Bridge Up Brewing, 129 N. Madison Avenue, Sturgeon Bay.

 

Thursday, January 18

 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Fish Tales Lecture: A Quest for Nests II

Dr. Dan Isermann, Unit Leader of the U. S. Geological Survey’s Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, will kick off the Fish Tales lecture series with his presentation “A Quest for Nests II: Revisiting Nest Fishing and Smallmouth Bass Recruitment along the Door Peninsula.” Does nest fishing negatively affect smallmouth bass recruitment on the Door Peninsula? Dr. Isermann will present the second year of the research he has designed to answer that question.

Attend in-person at Crossroads at Big Creek or via Zoom. Seating is limited. Reserve a seat or to participate via ZOOM or Facebook Live, go to https://doorcountylibrary.org/event January 18, to find the link.

 

Saturday January 20

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

DC Beekeeping Club: Intro to Beekeeping Class

The Door County Beekeeping Club offers this informative, interactive workshop to teach participants about basic equipment, tools and techniques; how to choose the best hive location; how to obtain and install bees; and what to expect during the first year of beekeeping.

The workshop will be held at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads. To register, email contact@doorcountybeekeepersclub.org. The workshop fee of $25 for individuals and $40 for couples helps supports restoration and pollinator plantings at Crossroads and all participants will receive half off a yearly DCBC membership.

 

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Science Saturdays Family Program: Planet Sizes

Learners of all ages will enjoy a short film about the birth of our Solar System and then move into the lab for an interactive hands-on program comparing the remarkable difference in the sizes of the planets, using models made of playdough. Free and open to the public.

 

Tuesday, January 23 @ 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Master Gardener/ Wild Ones Lecture "Deadheading to Division "

We have a lot of expectations from our perennials (both native and non-native) in the landscape. Presenter Mark Dwyer will explain how to maximize the appearance and contribution of perennials in the garden through a wide range of techniques. Live streamed to the Collins Learning Center at Crossroads, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, or online at https://crossroadsatbigcreek.org/event/dcmaga-headheading-to-division/.

 

Wednesday , January 24

10:00 a.m. Crossroads Book Club: The Hidden Life of Trees

Crossroads Book Club will gather around the fireplace at the Collins Learning Center to discuss “The Hidden Life of Trees,” by Peter Wohlleben, which gives an overview of forest ecosystems and suggests that trees are “social beings.” One need not read the book to be welcome at this free monthly event. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.

Snowmobile trails in Door and Kewaunee counties open

Friday's blizzard brought with it good news for snowmobilers on Saturday, depending on where you like to ride. Door and Kewaunee counties announced on Saturday the partial openings of some of their snowmobile trails after more than a foot of snow fell.

 

In Door County, the southwest, southeast, and central zones were all opened at noon on Saturday. In all three cases, snowmobilers were encouraged to ride with extreme caution due to water in low areas and significant drifting.

 

In Kewaunee County, section four of its trail system, which covers portions of Kewaunee and Denmark, opened to snowmobilers at 3 p.m. It issued similar warnings to snowmobilers about the potential for water in some areas.

 

Snowmobile clubs are hard at work making sure the trails are in good enough shape to have riders and ask that you stay where the trails are marked and to stay off the portions that remain closed.

DNR nixes equestrian trails, approves new lot for Newport State Park

You and your horse will not have more room to ride at Newport State Park after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources denied a variance on Friday. 

 

The proposed variance would have allowed the DNR to increase the mileage of authorized equestrian trails from 4-6 miles to up to 10 miles. It would also extend the trails into Newport State Park’s Management Area 2 and co-locate them where hiking and biking trails currently exist. 

 

The reaction from the over 100 responses received by the DNR was mixed, with some saying there needs to be more horseback riding opportunities in northern Door County, especially since the network of equestrian trails using private land has deteriorated recently. There was concern about how many people could take advantage of the opportunity based on the location and the number of horses in the county. Safety of interactions, spread of invasive species, erosion, and crowding were other concerns during the public comment period. 

 

In the end, the department recognized the desire of horse owners to access safe and enjoyable places to ride but decided that the proposed location for expansion was not a change the department wished to pursue. The department did approve the construction of a new parking lot to accommodate up to six vehicle-horse trailers. The new lot will include additional toilet facilities, four to six hitching posts, and a mowed grassy area in a former gravel pit on Newport Lane. You can read the entire decision from the Wisconsin DNR by clicking this decision.

Kewaunee County sees drop in calls for service

As we enter into the new year, I thought I would use this article, as well as the next few, as a format to share some yearend statistics on the various components of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. While we will produce an annual report to share with the community, this may provide a more direct source of information to the community that we serve.

        

I would like to begin by going over some numbers from the perspective of our Dispatch Center. The Kewaunee County Dispatch Center serves as the primary answering point for all 911 and other emergency calls throughout Kewaunee County. We also dispatch and page for all of our local Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement agencies. We are unique in Kewaunee County in that we dual-role our staff as both Dispatchers and Jailers. In most other counties, there are two dedicated Jailers and two dedicated Dispatchers. Kewaunee County has financially benefitted from this arrangement for years, and it is a testament to the quality of our staff that they are able to maintain a high level of effectiveness and proficiency in both of these areas.

        

In 2023, we handled approximately 8,688 calls for service, which is actually down from 9,000 calls for service in 2022. I would like to go over some of the most common calls that we receive and some background on the nature of these calls.

       

The highest frequency of calls that we receive are categorized as “Rescue Calls,” which account for 1,419 throughout this past year which is up from 1,287 the previous year. These calls range from citizens who may be in their homes experiencing medical emergencies to patients at local clinics who are in need of transport due to a medical emergency. In each of these calls, our dispatchers play an important role in obtaining vital information about the patient and then following up with the appropriate response based on location and sense of urgency.

        

While much less frequent, another category of emergency calls we receive are those requesting the service of our local fire departments. In 2023 we received 64 calls regarding fires, this is down from 98 in 2022. While not as frequent as other calls, these incidents are typically very involved and require a great deal of coordination and communication. These calls also last a great deal longer as the responding agencies work together in both the initial response as well as the lengthy efforts to completely extinguish the fire, preventing future flare ups.

       

The next most frequent are 911 hang-ups at 1050. This is up from 990 in 2022. These are many times accidental misdials which require follow-up either by our dispatcher or, in many cases actually sending an officer to the location where the call came from. Thanks to Next Generation 911, we are able to determine the location of these calls in the event that the caller is unable to provide location information. If these calls are determined to be legitimate calls for service, their status is then changed to reflect the nature of that incident.

        

Following 911 hang-ups is the category of “Citizen Assist” which account for 429 calls this past year. This is a significant increase from last year, which was at 299. These calls range in nature but primarily consist of assisting with civil matters where law enforcement is asked to be present during a volatile situation.

       

The next two that I will cover came in with very close numbers. “Welfare Checks” at 271, down from 335, and “Suspicious Activity” at 309, up from 296. These two are very similar in that the caller is concerned about the activity of someone they know and would like them checked on or someone they do not know and want us to investigate. In either circumstance, these again are very important calls and show that our community is involved in the well-being and security of their community.

        

Another category of calls we have seen an increase in is the “Animal Problem” at 328, which is up from 286 in 2022. These are unfortunate situations that typically result from the actual or perceived lack of care that an animal is receiving or the lack of control that an animal owner is maintaining over their pets. These types of calls can be easily reduced by those of us who own pets being a more attentive and responsible pet owner.

      

“Traffic Offenses” are next with 308 calls this past year, up from 273 calls in 2022. These types of calls have increased since the advent of cell phones as members of our community serve as an extra set of eyes out on the roads. These calls are greatly appreciated and send a clear message that we are all holding each other accountable as motorists. We would just ask that if you do call in a traffic offense to do it in a safe manner that does not jeopardize your own safety or cause you to be distracted from your own driving.

       

I would like to thank the dedicated men and women who serve our community as Public Safety Telecommunicators. These are roles that many times go unnoticed and unappreciated, but they truly do form the foundation of all of the public safety services that we provide throughout the year.

         

If you would like to know more about what we do at the Kewaunee County Dispatch Center, please do not hesitate to contact our department. We can even arrange for a tour. Next week, I will be covering some of our jail data, and share some of the many duties which we serve in maintaining our local facility.

Blizzard warning continues until noon Saturday

Northeastern Wisconsin, including Door and Kewaunee counties, are under a blizzard warning until Saturday morning.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) strongly advises drivers to adjust travel plans due to the current blizzard conditions and reduced or zero visibility at times in the locations under a blizzard warning. Motorists should monitor local forecasts and check 511wi.gov to see real-time video and current road conditions.

 

  • Those traveling in blizzard-warned locations will see the following impacts on roadways, likely through Saturday morning:
  • Roadway conditions continue to deteriorate in Northeast Wisconsin, especially in blizzard-warned locations.
  • Winds increase: Sustained northeast winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph in blizzard-warned locations.
  • Cooler temperatures move in later with light/fluffy snow causing severe blowing and drifting on roadways.
  • Visibility 1/4 mile to hundreds of feet to zero at times on blizzard-warned roadways.
  •  

Sustained winds can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles like trucks, which are at risk of losing control or tipping over in windy conditions. Drivers should be aware when traveling near larger vehicles and keep a safe distance.

 

Conditions may become too challenging for tow companies to assist stranded or disabled vehicles, and local authorities may issue tow bans for roadways in various municipalities and/or counties. Please monitor your local municipality or county emergency management department messages for locations of tow bans. With subzero windchills expected, becoming stranded on the highway could turn dangerous for motorists.

 

If you must travel during the storm, WisDOT offers the following winter driving tips:

  • Clear snow and ice from vehicles before traveling.
  • Snow means slow. Allow extra travel time, and following distance, and reduce your speed during winter conditions.
  • Be cautious on bridges, overpasses, and entrance and exit ramps.
  • Don’t be overconfident in four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicles. All vehicles require additional time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Avoid using cruise control in winter conditions.
  • Buckle up and put your phone down while driving. Every trip, every time.
  • Move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles.
  • In case of a crash or slide off, stay in the vehicle, turn on the hazards, call 911 and move vehicle(s) out of traffic if possible.

The Door County Highway Department and the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department provided updates to their social media followers, saying that their focus will be on major thoroughfares first before going to more minor roads. This means that some residents may be snowed in as some roads are impassable due to the 10-20 inches of snow the area has received and the high winds causing drifting.

 

 

Many businesses in Door and Kewaunee counties are keeping their stores closed after shutting them down early on Friday due to the storm. Others may run altered schedules as the weather allows. You can check the cancellations page on Door County Daily News for an updated list of canceled/postponed events.

 

 

United Way annual campaign raises over $800,000

Recording the second-most donations ever, the United Way of Door County collected $800,728.14 for its annual campaign.  Executive Director Amy Kohnle says although the goal was $825,000, the incredible generosity of so many makes Door County a special place to live and work.

 

 

The deadline for the annual campaign was last Sunday, and Kohnle adds that budgeting has started so grants can be awarded to over 30 organizations throughout Door County to make the biggest impact in the community. 

 

 

Weather stops cooperating with Washington Island Ferry

It has been smooth sailing for the Washington Island Ferry this winter, but this week will cause your commutes to be challenged in the coming weeks.

 

Friday’s blizzard warning forced the Washington Island Ferry to cancel its final day trip on Friday, and Saturday’s schedule is also in the air because of the weather. The frigid temperatures that start on Sunday will also lead to the creation of ice across Death’s Door. Washington Island Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says it is nothing new to them, but he has enjoyed the lack of drama with its trips so far this winter.

Purinton reminds ferry users to monitor its schedule to ensure it is running and make vehicle reservations ahead of schedule. Vehicle reservations are required until March 14th.

Extreme winter weather brings concerns for heating units

You might have to venture outside your house to ensure you are healthy and safe inside your home.   With heavy snow and high winds expected Friday and arctic cold temperatures coming on Sunday, Ultimate Air owner Jeff Blemke says you should ensure your filters are clean on your heating unit and that outside vents are clear of any obstruction.

 

 

Blemke also recommends maintaining your furnace to ensure it operates correctly during winter.  Another tip is to hold your home’s temperature steady and reverse the flow of your ceiling fans.  The National Weather Service forecasts single-digit temperatures with potential negative wind chills through next week. 

 

 

Winter officially returns to Kewaunee

If the snow falling was not the sign you were looking for, your first sight of kids racing down a hill in a tube may finally make it feel like winter. Kewaunee County officially announced on Wednesday that its tube hill at Winter Park in Kewaunee would open this week, almost three weeks later than it usually does. The mild and dry start to winter has left county employees still working on preparing the ski hill and the ice rink for visitors. The weather forecast spells good things for their efforts, with more than a foot of snow falling before arctic temperatures enter the area next week. Without Mother Nature's assistance, Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director Dave Myers said earlier this month that it is tough sledding to get the hills ready.

Myers says to check their website and social media pages for updates on specific hours of operation once they do open. Snowmobilers will likely have to wait out this weekend’s expected snowstorm to see if they can hit the trails for the first time this year. Currently, trails in Marquette, Iowa, and Grant counties are the only ones that are at least partially open for snowmobiling.

Sturgeon Bay claims first Math Meet

The dynasty known as the Sturgeon Bay Math Team started the 2024 Packerland Conference with an impressive win this week at the first of five math meets this season.  The Clippers, who have won 22 consecutive conference championships, tallied 284 points, while Kewaunee and Southern Door tied for second with 211 points, followed by Sevastopol with a fourth-place finish of 187 points.  Sturgeon Bay math teacher and coach Cliff Wind says the kids love math, and he was happy with his team’s performance.

 

  

The math meet consists of teams of eight students on each team being tested on four different categories of Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, and one other topic outside of the regular curriculum.  In the first math meet, Sturgeon Bay senior Ben Stephens posted the highest individual score with 37 out of 40 possible points.  Southern Door’s James Zittlow scored 35, while Kewaunee’s Katie Meier had a 34-point performance.  See the results of the season's first Packerland conference math meet below.

 

Seniors

Name

school

score

1

STURGEON BAY

Ben Stephens

37

2

SOUTHERN DOOR

James Zittlow

35

3

KEWAUNEE

Katie Meier

34

4

KEWAUNEE

James Joski

30

5

STURGEON BAY

Gavin Forest

29

       

Juniors

     

1

STURGEON BAY

Luke Selle

32

2

STURGEON BAY

Julia Michalski

32

3

STURGEON BAY

Jack Konop

29

4

STURGEON BAY

Tre Wienke

27

5

SEVASTOPOL

Eve Andreae

25

       

Sophomores

     

Tie 1

STURGEON BAY

Kiera Wesley

27

 

SOUTHERN DOOR

Grant Pieschek

27

3

KEWAUNEE

Noah Hudson

25

tie 4

STURGEON BAY

Simon Downey

21

 

STURGEON BAY

Ava Estes

21

       

Freshman

     

1

STURGEON BAY

Calvin Langfeldt

22

2

SEVASTOPOL

Luke Filar

17

tie 3

KEWAUNEE

Blake Bortolini

15

 

KEWAUNEE

Gage Vlies

15

5

STURGEON BAY

Cedar Tomberlin

11

       
       

Varsity Teams

     

1

STURGEON BAY

 

284

TIE 2

KEWAUNEE

 

211

 

SOUTHERN DOOR

 

211

4

SEVASTOPOL

 

187

5

NEW

 

132

6

OCONTO

 

103

7

ALGOMA

 

87

 

 

 

 

       

JV Teams

     

1

STURGEON BAY

#2

213

2

STURGEON BAY

#3

106

3

KEWAUNEE

#2

99

4

SOUTHERN DOOR

#2

77

5

SEVASTOPOL

#2

37

6

ALGOMA

#2

18

 

 

Blizzard Warning issued for area 

A significant winter storm is expected to impact Door and Kewaunee Counties with heavy snow and strong winds through Saturday morning.  The National Weather Service issued the warning that should bring seven to 15 inches of snow with wind gusts reaching up to 50 miles per hour.  A winter storm warning is in effect from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday, with the blizzard warning in effect from 3 p.m. Friday until noon on Saturday.  Total snow accumulation of 10 to 15 inches and high winds may drop visibility below a quarter-mile and near white-out conditions.  Schools closed their doors for the day early Friday morning, and many activities scheduled for Friday and Saturday have already been canceled or postponed. For the latest in cancellations and conditions, continue to check with the Door County Daily News.    

Presidential primary season begins Monday with Iowa Caucuses

After months of hearing from candidates for President of the United States, you will finally see voters put pen to paper to support them. It all begins on Monday when voters in Iowa head to hundreds of sites across the state to host their respective caucuses. Candidates have been crisscrossing the state recently, with Republicans Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, and  Vivek Ramaswamy holding events to court voters. Other candidates have dropped out over the last few months, most recently Chris Christie earlier this week. Unlike primary elections in states like Wisconsin, Republicans attending the evening caucuses in Iowa can lay out their cases for their chosen candidate before awarding delegates. Door County Republican Party Chairperson Stephanie Soucek says she is interested in seeing where the support of the candidates who dropped out will go and how this sets the stage for other upcoming Republican primaries in New Hampshire (1/23) and South Carolina (2/24) and caucuses in Nevada (2/8), Idaho (3/2) and Missouri (3/2).

Republicans in Door County will host its own caucus event on February 10th to choose their delegates for the upcoming district and state conventions and hear from 2025 Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Brad Schimel. Democrats in Iowa will also caucus beginning on Monday, but they will submit their preference via a mail-in ballot, with the results coming out in early March.

Kewaunee County Fairest concludes reign at state convention

She did not finish in the top 10, but Vanessa Van Pay ranks her time serving as your Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair as her number one experience. Van Pay went up against 34 other Fairests across the state for the title of Wisconsin Fairest of Fair, which will tour the state over the next 12 months promoting the Wisconsin State Fair, among other activities. Contestants auctioned off items representing their home counties, participated in individual and group interviews, and rehearsed sample radio commercials as a part of the contest. Miss Racine County Kelsey Henderson may have ultimately won the coveted title and sash, but Van Pay felt like a winner just being up on stage with so many others.

Van Pay presided over last week’s Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Gala that saw Vicki Christoph get chosen as her replacement. Christoph will be joined by Junior Fairest of the Fair Vivian Barta and Fairest of the Fair Court Member Kaylyn Martin this year as they tour the area promoting agriculture and the Kewaunee County Fair in July. Van Pay’s advice to the three was to have fun with the experience and soak it all in along the way.

 

 

 

 

Baldwin targeting asthma inhaler producers with investigation

Learning why you are paying 13 to nearly 70 times more than those living in Europe for asthma inhalers is part of an investigation launched by Senator Tammy Baldwin and other Democratic lawmakers this week. Baldwin, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, sent letters to the four most prominent producers of asthma inhalers to dive into their high prices, ranging from $200 to $600 in the United States. Those same inhalers cost between $7 and $50 in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. With 25 million Americans living with asthma and having to purchase inhalers many times every month, Baldwin says they deserve answers. She is happy that pharmaceutical price transparency is a bipartisan concern.

In their letters to the pharmaceutical companies, the senators wrote that the high prices “force patients, especially the uninsured and underinsured, to ration doses or abandon their prescriptions altogether.” According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, asthma-related issues were responsible for 17,981 emergency department visits, 2,011 hospitalizations, and 71 deaths.

Big week ends successful Door County Red Kettle Campaign

Tom Mullenix from the Salvation Army of Door County had almost thrown the towel in before you came through in a big way. Ahead of the final weekend, Mullenix forecasted they would raise approximately $50,000 to support residents in need, about half of what they raised in 2021. He was pleasantly surprised when he learned that over $30,000 was collected in the final week, giving them over $80,000 for the month-long campaign. Mullenix says the extra money will go a long way to supporting the community's needs, which only grow with each passing year.

Nearly $30,000 was raised between November 23rd and December 24th in Kewaunee County during its Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. That is well over $6,000 more than in 2022 when just shy of $23,000 was raised was collected. Nationwide, the Red Kettle Campaign raises over $100 million for the Salvation Army.

 

Electrical fire thwarted thanks to quick action

Thanks to the quick action of the homeowners, damage caused by an electrical fire in the Town of Brussels was limited to just the basement. The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department was called to a home on Misere Road at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday after the homeowners heard a loud noise from the basement and noticed it slowly filling up with smoke. The first crews arrived minutes later, finding the smoke but no visible signs of a fire. They also could not find potential hot spots in the fire using thermal cameras.

 

According to BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie, the electrical fire stemmed from a malfunction with the home’s main electrical breaker box, an issue a licensed electrician will address.  Vandertie credits the homeowners with calling 911 immediately to ensure the situation was handled quickly.

 

Fill sites were set up at Massart’s Pond and BUG Station 1, but no water was needed to address the fire.

 

In addition to the nine units and 21 firefighters, the BUG Fire Department received additional help from the Fire Departments of Southern Door, Nasewaupee, Sturgeon Bay, Luxemburg, and Casco, Door County EMS, Door County Sheriff’s Department, Door County 911 Communications Center, and Wisconsin Public Service.

County looks for feedback on transportation plan

Door County officials need to hear your thoughts on how you like to get around the area. The county will host a pair of public hearings at the end of January to discuss coordinating its public transportation. County officials last broached the four-year plan in 2020 through a public survey. During that year, residents said they supported having a public transportation system to help them get to work, doctor’s appointments, and other errands. Door County Transportation Director Pam Busch says having these conversations is essential for their planning efforts to secure state and federal grants to meet the residents’ needs over the next four years.

The Door County Public Transportation Meetings will occur on Monday, January 29th, at 5 p.m. and Wednesday, January 31st, at 10 a.m. inside the Peninsula Room at the Door County Government Center in Sturgeon Bay.  If you cannot attend in person, you can either tune in over Zoom or submit your written comments to the Door County Transportation Department by February 8th.

National Weather Service issues winter storm watch for weekend

You will have to make sure you still have gas in your snowblower from Tuesday’s storm after the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch on Wednesday. The winter storm watch is in effect from 6 a.m. Friday to noon Saturday. Like Tuesday’s storm, snow accumulations between six and twelve inches are possible, with wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour complicating the day’s commutes. The storm’s strong winds could also cause extensive damage to trees and power lines. Snowfall amounts could be reduced along the Lake Michigan shoreline with temperatures at or slightly above freezing. That would be similar to what was seen on Tuesday when snowfall amounts were supposed to be six to eight inches but settled between three to five inches in Door and Kewaunee counties.

First winter storm causes few road issues

The Door County Sheriff’s Department patrol was not as busy as expected on Tuesday as the forecast of snowfall and high winds did not impact the area until late in the day.  Snowfalls in Door and Kewaunee County saw the most increased precipitation in the southern part of the peninsula, with reported totals of 4.5 inches in Algoma and 4 inches in Kewaunee. However, all local schools canceled classes on Tuesday, and most of the snow accumulated later in the afternoon.  Door County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says that overall, the weather-related calls for assistance were rather minor, with just three property damage crashes, three vehicles in the ditch, and only a few trees and power lines down. 

 

 

McCarty notes that with more snow slated for Thursday and Friday, drivers should check the forecast and use good winter driving habits by slowing down and taking their time when venturing out on the roads.  

 

Sturgeon Bay closing in on ending WRA

On Tuesday night, the City of Sturgeon Bay took another step toward dissolving the long-standing Waterfront Redevelopment Authority (WRA).    The WRA, established in 1990 to improve the downtown waterfront and provide more public-friendly use, held its last meeting last month, making its final recommendation to turn over the rights of the development agreement with Will Estes, LLC to the city. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward says action taken at Tuesday’s City Council meeting reassigned the rights to the contract that deals with the parking lot at Sonny’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria. He says transfers of previous deeds and leases must be completed before the council can formally dissolve the WRA, which is expected at its second meeting in February.

 

 
Ward adds that the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved four-second readings of ordinances for tourist rooming houses, weight and measures regulations, and state building codes. An extension for a development agreement on an Industrial Flex Building was also granted until the end of July for the developers, Howard Immel Inc.,  to find tenants.  

"Sprint 8" growing in popularity

A workout class designed to give you the maximum results in minimum time is back at the Door County YMCA.  Sprint 8 is a 20-minute, high-intensity cardio program.  YMCA Wellness Services Director Aiden Labbe says the popular course is excellent for burning fat, building muscle, gaining strength, and growing stamina.

 

 

The program does not require running because you can do it on an elliptical or a recumbent bike.  It includes a three-minute warmup with eight 30-second “sprints” and 90-second active recovery periods.  The YMCA still has openings in the Sprint 8 Winter 1 sessions for Friday mornings starting at 9:45.  You can watch a Sprint 8 session by clicking here. 

Winter weather a hazard for powerlines

Tuesday’s storms mark the beginning of a busy time of the year for area firefighters and a reminder to stay safe around downed power lines. According to the Door County Sheriff's Department, there have already been six such calls since December 1st, with each response requiring the fire department and utility company to show up to tend to the issue. Tuesday’s wet snow and forecasted winds of up to 40 miles an hour could be the recipe for even more power lines being knocked down thanks to wires getting too heavy or falling limbs. Egg Harbor and Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says if you encounter a downed power line, you should call 911 and stay away.

MacDonald says their job is to ensure people stay away from the site of the downed powerline until the utility company can show up to fix the problem. With more than 500,000 volts being channeled through it, getting too close to a power line can seriously hurt or kill you. We have other tips from Wisconsin Public Service below.

 

TIPS

  • Never touch a down power line, even if you don't see sparks.
  • If someone is touching a down power line, do not touch them.
  • If you come across a car that's hit a utility pole, stay away; it may have a down power line on it.
  • If you are inside a car that has a down line on it, call 911 and stay put until help arrives.
  • If you have to leave the car for emergency reasons — such as a fire — jump out with both feet together, being certain to NEVER touch the car and the ground at the same time.

Sheriff's asks for assistance with Northern Door vehicle break-in spree

If your video surveillance systems were on last night in the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove area, the Door County Sheriff’s Department might need your help. According to its social media post, the department was alerted to a series of vehicle break-ins between 9 p.m. and midnight. The Tuesday morning media report from the department shows calls of theft on Beach Road and County Highway ZZ in the Town of Liberty Grove and Spring Road in the Village of Sister Bay. There was also one other call of suspicious activity on Frontier Road in Ellison Bay.

 

The Door County Sheriff’s Department asks residents to check their doorbell or surveillance cameras for suspicious activity that would have been caught on video during the late night to overnight hours. If you do have footage, you are asked to contact Sgt. Inv. Jason Stenzel at 920-746-2577. The department also suggests that people remove any valuables they may store in their vehicles. 

 

 

Medical advice key to Kitchens' support of marijuana bill

Stories from his constituents were a big reason why Rep. Joel Kitchens co-sponsored legislation that could make it legal for you to use medical marijuana. On Monday, GOP leaders held regional press conferences to announce the legislation to create five dispensaries managed by the Department of Health Services in each Medicaid region. Participants would have to suffer from cancer, glaucoma, severe chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and terminal illnesses where they are not expected to live for more than a year. Kitchens believes that marijuana should be regulated at the federal level rather than a patchwork of states that do not have it legalized at all, others that have it cleared for medical reasons, and states like neighboring Illinois and Michigan, where it is legal for medical and recreational uses. He likes that the bill gives medical marijuana users advice from a pharmacist on how to use it correctly, something he says may not happen if they leave the state to purchase it.

Even though Governor Tony Evers says he would support the bill if it makes it to his desk, he and other Democrats say it does not go far enough to make marijuana more accessible. State officials aim to pass the bill before recess at the end of February. It could be a busy end to the session, according to Kitchens, who says he has several bills he would like to see passed. 

Donation shows dangers of electric vehicle fires

Luxemburg Community Fire Chief Lew DuChateau hopes you never have to see them use it, but it does show how their job is changing with more electric vehicles hitting the roadways. According to Yahoo! News, more than 1.3 million electric vehicles were sold in the United States in 2023, representing eight percent of all auto sales during the year. While electric cars present some benefits, they also come with some challenges. Electric vehicles can be hazardous for firefighters when they catch fire thanks to the chemical reactions caused when they burn and the “thermal runaway,” which occurs when the fire spreads from one battery to another. DuChateau says the electric vehicle fire blanket donated by the Lee and Kathy Anderson Charitable Trust Fund will hopefully limit the time they spend fighting such blazes.

DuChateau says the $3,000 blanket can be used up to 30 times, though he hopes it is used less. The Green Bay Metro Fire Department, which has responded to electric vehicle fires in the past, received its equipment to use in future incidents last August. The Luxemburg Community Fire Department also recently received generous donations from Agropur and Johnson Tree Farm, totaling over $5,000. 

Deer hunting continues with extended archery season

You do not have to worry about putting your bow away just yet. Thirty-one counties, including Door, Kewaunee, Brown, Oconto, and Manitowoc, will have an extended archery season for deer hunting until January 31st. The decision to hold the extended season was made when the counties’ deer advisory councils met during the spring and early summer months to discuss its deer population and harvest metrics from the previous year. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden says the season usually does not yield much, but it does allow hunters to use up its extra tags and to get outdoors.

Kratcha estimates that deer harvest numbers in Door County are five to ten percent off its usual pace, which aligns with the 11 percent below the five-year average the state announced following the gun season in the fall. 

Wild Tomato restaurants sold

A well-known restaurant with two locations in northern Door County is under new ownership.  The sale of the Wild Tomato Wood Fire Pizza & Grille brand closed recently, with Matthew and Karla Sagorac purchasing it from Britt and Liz Unkefer, according to a news release by True North Real Estate.  The purchase was $7.5 million, including the Wild Tomato trademark, delivery kitchen, two restaurants in Sister Bay and Fish Creek, and the Wild Market frozen pizza division.

 

Plans are to keep the staffing for the year-round businesses the same, with 15 full-time and 15 part-time workers during the off-season and nearly 100 total during the busier summer season.

 

Wild Tomato was established in 2008 and will now be under the title and ownership of the Sagaracs as Wild Tomato Pizza, LLC.

Motorists asked to prepare for first major winter storm

For the first time in months, your commute to work and school might be more treacherous than you have been used to, thanks to the late arrival of winter weather. On the heels of one system dropping a couple of inches over the weekend, the National Weather Service expects seven to ten inches of snow in the area while it sits in a winter storm warning from 3 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. on Wednesday. If that happens, it could be the most Door County has seen since last March, when Sturgeon Bay received nine inches of snow, and Fish Creek and Ephraim saw more than ten inches. At that time, Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash offered sound advice to those on the road while road crews work.

Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says there is a lot that goes into removing snow from the city's streets in a timely, safe, and efficient manner.

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski said that depending on the storm's strength, you should consider staying at home or, at the very least, being prepared.

If you find yourself in a ditch or another precarious situation, Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says to make sure you stay in your car, call 911, and turn on your hazard lights.

McCarty adds that there should be plenty of deputies on patrol if motorists end of needing their assistance, but more can be added if things get really bad. Ash said last month that thanks to the dry and mild start to the winter, most municipalities’ salt supplies are at near capacity. The Door County Daily News will update its cancellations page with the latest on postponed and canceled events. 

GOP bill opens doors to medical marijuana

A new bill introduced throughout the state on Monday could make it easier for you to obtain marijuana for medical purposes. GOP leaders held regional press conferences to announce the legislation creating five dispensaries managed by the Department of Health Services in each Medicaid region. Participants would have to suffer from cancer, glaucoma, severe chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and terminal illnesses where they are not expected to live for more than a year to qualify. Once they get a signed confirmation on one of several qualifying conditions, participants must pay a $100 registration fee each year and visit a pharmacist at the dispensary to get the prescription. While smoking marijuana would not be allowed under the program, others, like creams, pills, and edibles, would be under the legislation. Assembly Speaker Rep. Robin Vos hopes to get hearings and votes taken care of before the Wisconsin Legislature adjourns head of the spring. Governor Tony Evers told the Associated Press last week that he is open to the proposal. However, he would like to see the full legalization of recreational and medical marijuana similar to what has been done in neighboring Michigan and Illinois.

City bids farewell to Waterfront Redevelopment Authority

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will vote to approve the dissolution of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority as a part of its meeting Tuesday night. The committee unanimously approved its dissolution at its last meeting on December 13th. One of its last acts as the WRA was to turn its rights of the development agreement with Will Estes, LLC to the City of Sturgeon Bay. The agreement sorts out, among other things, the details related to parking for Sonny’s Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria. It did something similar in September 2022 when the WRA reassigned its agreements with Stone Harbor Resort, Bridgeport Resort, and Harbor Club Marina Development accord and to the city. The WRA was established in 1990 to help steer the development of the waterfront to make it more public-friendly. It found itself in the middle of a controversy in the mid-2010s when discussions around a planned hotel and the future of the former Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator hit a fever pitch. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward spoke highly of the city's work to improve the waterfront and other public features when he recapped 2023 last month.

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also discuss a revised memorandum of understanding with Howard Immel Inc., which is in charge of constructing an industrial flex building inside the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park. Originally slated to be 50,000 square feet, the new agreement will see the building shrink to 34,000 square feet and give Howard Immel more time to market the project, which has yet to be able to nail down tenants. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. inside the council’s Sturgeon Bay City Hall chambers.

Griffon String Quartet brings poem to life

Your family can hear poetry in a way you may have never imagined this week as the Griffon String Quartet hosts a pair of concerts in northeast Wisconsin this week. The musicians will themed pieces alongside the words of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening.” The story follows the poem, opening with a single human figure astride a gray horse, stopping along a forest's edge as the rider looks upon the trees. The Griffon String Quartet has paired its musical stylings with literature before, last year providing the soundtrack for a reading of Mo Willems’ book “Because.” Midsummer’s Music Executive Director Allyson Fleck says combining the two art forms is a natural fit for the ensemble.

The concerts will also include an instrument petting zoo where children can pick up violins and violas to try it out themselves. The free concerts are at 6:00 pm on January 11th at the Brown County Library’s Pine Street Branch in Green Bay and at 2:00 pm on January 13th at the Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay. 

Door and Kewaunee counties prepare for first winter storm warning

It is time to make sure you have your snowblower and shovels ready for the first time this year. The National Weather Service placed Door, Brown, Kewaunee, Calumet, and Manitowoc counties under a winter storm warning from 3 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday. Seven to ten inches of snow is predicted, with lakeshore areas possibly getting more. With wind gusts reaching 40 miles per hour, travel could be very difficult, with hazardous conditions likely hampering Tuesday’s morning and evening commutes. The National Weather Service is also suggesting that another winter storm system could hit the area ahead of the weekend, causing hazardous travel on Friday.

Coast Guard stand on watch for ice

The longest wait for ice on the Great Lakes does not mean you will not see United States Coast Guard members preparing for the inevitable.  

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported last week that ice cover for the Great Lakes on New Year’s Day was at 0.4 percent, the lowest in the 50 years they have collected data. It has not been that clear of ice since 2007 and 2016, when the Great Lakes were just above 0.5 percent covered with ice. 

Members of the United States Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay have still been hard at work with their soft water missions as they cover the largest area in Sector Lake Michigan due to the peninsula. They also take advantage of the time by coordinating training with the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They have resorted to smaller inland lakes and even fake ice shelves they attach to their docks to practice their ice rescue techniques. For Coast Guardsman T.J. Barnes, this is his longest wait for ice to form during his time in the service, which includes two years in Duluth and the last three years in Sturgeon Bay. His big concern is when the ice does start to form and anxious ice anglers and guides start dropping lines to make up for lost time.

When it is time to hit the ice this winter, Barnes encourages anglers to make sure they are dressed for the elements, have a personal floatation device handy, and tell people where and when they are going in and out of their ice shanty. Last February, BM2 Benjamin Gantman and MK3 Salvatore DelRosario from U.S. Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay received the Secretary of Homeland Security Commendation Award for their role in rescuing 11 people stranded on an ice floe near Sherwood Point.

DOT releases details about WIS 42 project

Less than a week after the Village of Egg Harbor began its role in transforming State Highway 42, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation posted what you need to know about their portion of the project. The DOT will begin its construction work in April from approximately 0.1 miles north of the Mid Junction with WIS 57 to Rainbow Ridge Court in Sevastopol and Egg Harbor in Door County. In addition to repaving the roadway and replacing damaged culvert pipes, a portion of the project will add right turn lanes at Monument Point Road in north and southbound directions. The hope is that the improvements will extend the life of the pavement, decrease future maintenance costs, and increase safety. Because of the projects the state and the village are doing, an extensive detour route will use WIS 57, County V, County A, and County EE to help motorists get around the construction. Egg Harbor businesses spent the week reminding potential customers that even though through traffic in the village’s downtown corridor is closed, they remain open for business for local traffic. DOT Spokesperson Mark Kantola invites business owners to reach out to them so they can help motorists find them during the project.


With help from Mother Nature, Kantola says the project should be completed by July, though some work may need to be finished after Labor Day under flagging operations. You can click on the DOT and the Village of Egg Harbor links for the most up-to-date information on the WIS 42 project.

Sister Bay looks to public for feedback for comprehensive plan

Sister Bay Village Administrator Julie Schmelzer knows she has asked for a lot of feedback from residents over the past year, but she ensures you that it is for good reasons. The next request for public feedback comes on January 13th, when they are hosting an interactive open house for its 20-year comprehensive plan at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It has been 20 years since the last time the village went through the process. Schmelzer says during the previous ten years, you have seen the fruits of that labor thanks to intelligent decisions concerning the waterfront and the reconstruction of WIS 42 through its downtown. The village continues to grow, with outdoor recreation and affordable housing being the two most talked about items. Schmelzer says the feedback is important because the community’s members should have a say on what gets done in the village.

In recent months, the village has also asked Sister Bay residents to provide feedback on its facilities, outdoor recreation opportunities, and housing availability. Schmelzer says they plan to have another meeting discussing housing at the end of January.

Joski reflects on 2023 Kewaunee County Toys for Tots Drive

Last week, I shared the results of the 2023 Kewaunee County Salvation Army Kettle Campaign, and this week, I would like to share the results of the 2023 Toys for Tots Campaign. The Toys for Tots program has been around since 1947 and is a program sponsored by the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Here in Kewaunee County, we have partnered with the program since the early 90’s.

   

Personally, I got involved in 1991 while serving with the Marine Reserves. My first event was actually up in Door County, where I helped them out, assisted by a beautiful young girl I had recently met. Although it was an unusual date for a young couple, she didn’t give up on me, and three decades later, she is still by my side. The following year, I was approached by Mr. Tom Lotz, who asked if I would be interested in helping out with the Kewaunee program. Over the years, there have been so many amazing people who have assisted, and even more memories which have been created. The program started with the support of the Kewaunee Rotary Club and assisted just a few families being held down at Grady Lodge. Over the years, it has expanded, and so too has the list of helpers and organizations.

    

For 2023, we assisted 120 families comprised of 311 children. We did our best to provide each child with four toys, one stuffed animal, one game, one stocking stuffer, and one book. In addition, each family was provided with a coupon to be used at the Kewaunee Clothing Closet. This is an amazing outpouring of generosity for such a small community and something to be very proud of.

    To make this all possible, we had 35 businesses along with schools and churches, that sponsored boxes at their locations. We are fortunate to have these locations, as these boxes take up valuable real estate within their buildings. Also, just as important, are those who make donations to the program, that assist us in making it a success.

   

Each year, in late November, I pick up the boxes at the Green Bay Marine Reserve Armory and deliver them to each site. This is always a great time to reconnect with so many amazing people. Then, on the Friday before the program, I once again make the pilgrimage throughout the county, picking up the boxes that are typically overflowing with toys. This year, I was assisted in the pick-up by a dear friend, Scott Szydel. Thanks, Scott! Getting all the boxes loaded in one trip is always a challenge, but this year, Paul and Desiree Mertens allowed me to use their enclosed trailer. It made such a difference. Thank you to them as well!

   

The distribution day is always hectic, and I am blessed with an army of helpers from various organizations. I have to thank those members of the Kewaunee Rotary along with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kewaunee County HCE Homemakers, National Honor Society members, and the amazing 4-H Groups. This year, the event was held at Holy Rosary Parish in Kewaunee, and I would like to thank them for the use of their facility. Also, a big shout out to Christina Cordova, who for many years has assisted as an interpreter for those new to our community.

      

I always try to connect what these programs mean to my work as Sheriff and the quality of life we enjoy here in Kewaunee County. In addition to the obvious material support they provide, these programs reaffirm our commitment to each other and build relationships based on dignity and mutual respect. So long as these two elements remain intact, we are a safer community.

     

We have so much to be thankful for and many great local businesses supporting our local charities. Let’s all make 2024 the year of shopping local!

Crossroads invites comet chef, prepares for Fish Tales Lecture Series

Eyes will be on the skies this week at Crossroads. Many folks seem to be longing for snow clouds, but next Saturday, it would be splendid if the skies would clear for the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society’s Viewing Night. 

 

But looking ahead to next week, we can anticipate the return of what now has become a popular Crossroads tradition: the Fish Tales Lecture Series.

 

It all started about six years ago with a random comment. Crossroads was hosting a hearing about fishing regulations. During the question-and-answer period, most of the questions were insightful, but some were based on isolated anecdotes, and a few demonstrated serious miscomprehension.

 

Retired fish biologist Mark Holey attended that event, and after most participants had left, he expressed frustration that our local public seemed unaware that science informs fish management decisions. 

 

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission uses evidence-based science to guide its decisions and convenes state and federal managers several times a year to share scientific findings to coordinate and improve management of Great Lakes fisheries.

"IF ONLY the commercial and sport fishers and the public could hear what advanced science was revealing about the Great Lakes fisheries,” Holey said. “It would be so good if we could get the research biologists and the public in the same room.”

 

That “if only” comment spawned the “Fish Tales Lecture Series: presenting the Science of Great Lakes Fisheries.”

 

Since 2019, Holey has recruited outstanding researchers who have shared their findings at Crossroads. During the Covid years, Crossroads partnered with the Door County Library, which now live-streams the in-person Fish Tales lectures via Zoom and Facebook Live and makes archived recordings available on its website.

 

We will launch the 2024 lecture series on Thursday, January 18, at 7:00 p.m., so save the date. Dr. Dan Isermann, the Unit Leader of the U.S. Geological Survey-Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, will present “A Quest of Nests II: revisiting Nest Fishing and Smallmouth Bass Recruitment Along the Door Peninsula.” More details next week or check our website.

 

On Saturday, January 13, at 2:00 p.m., our Saturday Science Program will feature comets. Families are invited to learn about these “starry messengers” by attending a demonstration during which the Comet Chef will concoct a frigid comet model after showing a short video. Every family will get a souvenir chunk of a “kitchen comet” to take home and enjoy (until it sublimates). This free program is for all ages and will be held indoors.

 

That night, beginning at 7:00 p.m., the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will hold its monthly viewing night at the Astronomy Campus. DPAS is no longer dependent on clear skies. It’s always clear and starry in the Planetarium. No matter the weather, planetarium shows will be offered throughout the evening. And if it is clear, there is a possibility of seeing a dim comet (without a tail) in the constellation of Leo. (We anticipate better comet viewing later in the year, but comets tend to be somewhat unpredictable.)

 

A community science birding opportunity is available on Mondays and Tuesdays this winter. Crossroads is participating in Project Feeder Watch. If you would be interested in volunteering to watch the birds at our new feeding station, visit the Crossroads website under the Volunteer Tab or contact corey@crossroadsatbigcreek.org.

 

Crossroads at Big Creek Learning Center and Nature Preserve is located at 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay. Crossroads is a 501(c)3 organization committed to offering education, conducting research and land restoration, and providing outdoor experiences to inspire environmental stewardship in learners of all ages and from all backgrounds. We welcome your support. 

 

Saturday, January 13

2:00 PM Saturday Science: Comet Chef

Learn about the “starry messengers”– comets– by attending this family-friendly demonstration, during which the Comet Chef will concoct a frigid comet model after showing a short video. Every family will get a souvenir chunk of a “kitchen comet” to take home and enjoy (until it sublimates). This free program is for all ages and will be held indoors. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.

 

7:00 PM Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Viewing Night

If skies are clear, the Observatory will be open and guided outdoor sky viewing will be offered. But clear or overcast, free planetarium shows will be offered in the Stonecipher Astronomy Center. Free and open to the public. 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay.

"Mitten Toss" warms up Kewaunee schools

A tradition that started about ten years ago and benefits underprivileged children continued at the Kewaunee High School gym on Friday night. The “mitten toss” again saw hundreds of fans between the Kewaunee boys and girls basketball games Friday night throw mittens, gloves, winter hats, and scarfs onto the court to benefit students of all ages in the Kewaunee School District.

 

 

 

The Kewaunee National Honor Society sponsored the event, and vice-president Ellie Delebreau, who helped organize the event, says the mitten toss brings the community and the students together for a needed cause.

 

 

Delebreau noted that Friday’s “Mitten Toss” collected 530 winter items compared to 400 last year.

Christoph, Barta capture Fairest crowns

You can say hello to the newest Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair and Junior Fairest of the Fair the next time you attend a local event. Dozens of people celebrated the crowning of Vicki Christoph as the Fairest of the Fair and Vivian Barta as the Junior Fairest of the Fair during the annual Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Gala at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Friday night. Christoph, Barta, and Kaylyn Grace Martin participated in the process, including an interview with the judge’s panel, a mock introduction of a fair event, and a pitch for their live auction basket. Christoph has been showing dairy cattle for over a decade but did not get involved with the Kewaunee County Fair until five years ago. She relishes the opportunity to promote agriculture in her community

On the flip side, Barta has been involved with the fair for as long as she can remember, showing hogs alongside her cousins and siblings and other exhibits. She is excited to experience the fair from the Junior Fairest point of view.

Martin is similar to Christoph as she also did not get involved with the Kewaunee County Fair until a few years ago. She is looking forward to a summer full of inspiring young girls and boys to pursue their interests, whatever they may be, as a member of the Fairest Court.

The trio will spend the next year as advocates for the Kewaunee County Fair, scheduled for July 11th to July 14th. Outgoing Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Vanessa Van Pay will compete against her counterparts from other counties for Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair from January 7th through January 10th during the Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention in Wisconsin Dells.

 

 

Top high school musicians perform at Gibraltar

You can support some of the area’s best young musicians from around the area, including Door and Kewaunee counties, on Saturday as they form the Bay Area Music Association Honors Band. The students apply to join the ensemble before the area’s band directors make their selections. This year, the students will spend most of the day rehearsing at Gibraltar Secondary School, with UW-Green Bay Director of Bands Dr. Michael Knight leading them before hosting a concert in the afternoon. Gibraltar band director Charlie Eckhardt says it is an excellent opportunity for area kids to practice and perform with each other on a larger scale and get feedback from a college-level instructor.

After they rehearse all day, you can listen to the fruits of their labor when the Bay Area Music Association Honors Band hosts their free performance at the Door Community Auditorium on Saturday at 4 p.m.

 

Picture courtesy of Southern Door School District from January 2022

League of Women Voters preparing for multiple candidate forums

With more than a dozen contested races sprinkled across the area ahead of the spring election, the League of Women Voters of Door County wants to help you make an informed choice on your way to the polls.

 

After Tuesday’s deadline passed, several contested races were formed in Door County:

  • Door County Circuit Court Judge: Jennifer Moeller and Brett Reetz
  • Door County Board: Ryan Shaw and Jonathan Kruse (District 9), Jacob VandenPlas and incumbent Roy Englebert (District 3), and Wayne Denil and incumbent Claire Morkin (District 7)
  • Sturgeon Bay Common Council: incumbent Dennis Statz and Matthew Huston (District 2) and  incumbent Seth Wiederanders and Tom Benzshawel (District 6)
  • Sturgeon Bay School Board: Incumbents Angela Kruse, Wayne Spritka, and Damion Howard, along with challengers Jeffrey Matson and Cathy Meyer (four available seats)
  • Southern Door School Board: Incumbent Janell Veeser and challengers Adam Schopf and Seth Wilson (two available seats)
  • Village of Sister Bay: Incumbent Denise Bhirdo and challengers Kurt Harff, Louise Howson, and Eric Smith (three available seats)
  • Town of Sevastopol: Incumbents Jeanne Vogel and Derek Denil and challengers Mark Haberli and Trent Olsen (two available seats)
  • Town of Baileys Harbor: Incumbents Susan Tishler and Terry McArdle and  challenger Paul Kordon (two available seats)
  • Town of Washington: Incumbents Loren Roznai and Lawrence Kahlscheuer and challenger Peter Sownie (two available seats)
  • Town of Gardner: Incumbent Kevin Fleischman and challenger Ted Anderson (District 3)

The League of Women Voters of Door County encourages residents to request candidate forums for these contested races so they can get to know them better before they have to put pen to paper for them in April. Candidate Forum Director Dan Powers says the forums are a two-way street as the events allow candidates to connect with voters and explain their views.


The forums can only take place if the race is contested, multiple candidates agree to participate, and if a venue, time, and date can be agreed upon before either the February 20th primary or April 2nd general election. You can request a forum by contacting Powers at vsforums@lwvdoorcounty.org. Powers adds that a candidate forum is already in the works for the Door County Circuit Court race between Reetz and Moeller.

Winter Park sees flurries at the end of the tunnel

Mother Nature may finally be playing nice enough so you can get some tubing and sledding in this winter. According to the National Weather Service, the Green Bay area experienced its warmest December on record, with an average temperature of over 35 degrees and among its least snowiest at under four inches. That means Winter Park in Kewaunee has been left out in the cold, hoping for cold overnight temperatures so making snow is worth its time. While snowfall amounts may still be less than ideal, temperatures will cooperate with the extended forecast with daytime highs in the teens just before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director Dave Myers says they are probably a month behind where they usually are with the season. He is happy that they are finally receiving the break they need to get the season off the ground.

The combination of snowfall and cold temperatures makes Myers believe they can open the tubing hill next weekend (Jan 12th-14th) and the skiing hill the weekend after that. Myers advises people to keep a watch on their social media feeds for updates on exactly if and when they welcome people to Winter Park.

Ridges, Gibraltar buzzing about new 4K collaboration

You will have another option for 4K in the Gibraltar Area School District. The district announced on Thursday that it would be collaborating with The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor for a new nature-based 4K program. The Ridges’ Dragonfly Nature Preschool 4K Program will join the already-established community collaborative Gibraltar 4K sites at Gibraltar Elementary and the Northern Door Children’s Center. Although nature will be the centerpiece of the curriculum, the program will still meet the same standards as the other two sites. Gibraltar Elementary School Principal and 4K Director Lauren Ward says adding the collaboration will be an excellent addition to the district.

If you are interested in having your kids attend 4K in Gibraltar Area School District, there will be an informational meeting at the Northern Door Children’s Center on January 25th at 5:00 pm. Enrollment is slated to begin on February 1st. Any child who will be four years old by September 1st, 2024, and live in the Gibraltar Area School District is eligible to enroll. However, a limited number of spots will be available through open enrollment.

Algoma alum Birdsall posthumously receives military medals

The courage and service of an Algoma High School alum in post-World War II Europe was recognized Thursday by U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher. The Wisconsin Republican hosted the family of Captain Raymond Perry Birdsall II on Thursday to present to him posthumously four medals honoring him for his service. Birdsall II was a member of the Army and Army Reserve when he served in Germany during a pivotal period as Europe rebuilt following the destruction of World War II. He is credited with providing stability to the recovering region, supporting the mutual defense of the country’s NATO allies, and defending against Communist aggression in Western Europe. Rep. Gallagher was thrilled to award the Birdsall family four medals: The Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp, The National Defense Service Medal, The Expert Badge with Carbine Bar, and The Marksman Badge with Pistol Bar.

 

In a speech presenting the medals to Birdsall's family, Rep. Gallagher said, "Ray's efforts contributed to the security and prosperity of our allies abroad while ensuring our adversaries would think twice about any plans to invade Western Europe or threaten American troops... I could not be prouder to present these medals to such an honorable service member and selfless American."

 

Birdsall led quite the life outside of his time in the military between 1952 and 1966 before he passed away at 90 in 2019. He played professional baseball for the Green Bay Jays, who at the time were a minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. He was also a member of the Algoma Chamber of Commerce from 1954 to 1966 and on the board of directors at Northbrook Country Club in Luxemburg for 15 years. 

 

Pictures courtesy of Rep, Gallagher's Office

 

FULL REMARKS FROM REP. GALLAGHER:

 

It’s a privilege to be here today with you and your family to present your father’s medals.

 

Raymond Perry Birdsall II was born in Neenah on January 26, 1929. At age 16, he graduated from Algoma High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Wisconsin. His military service began when he was inducted into the United States Army on December 11, 1950. He then went to Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, from March to May 1951. After training, he was deployed to Germany.

 

Ray served in Germany during a pivotal period in both U.S. and world history. With Europe being rebuilt following the destruction of World War II, American servicemembers like Mr. Birdsall provided much-needed stability to a region that was still recovering from the war. Ray, along with his brothers and sisters in arms, supported the mutual defense of our NATO allies and served as the first line of defense against communist aggression in Western Europe. His efforts contributed to the security and prosperity of our allies abroad while ensuring our adversaries would think twice about any plans to invade Western Europe or threaten American troops.  

 

After nearly two years of service, he was honorably discharged from active duty on November 8, 1952. But his service did not stop there. He chose to once again sign on the dotted line and continue serving our nation in the Army Reserves.

 

After Ray’s time on active duty came to a close, he settled down and married the love of his life, Arlene Anderson, on July 25, 1953, and went on to raise seven children.  

 

As I understand it, he was quite an athlete: He served as a swimming instructor while attending the UW, played baseball for the Green Bay Blue Jays and for the Door County Cherry League, and – while in the Army – participated in the All-Star Basketball Game and earned the Southeast Oklahoma Golden Glove Heavy Weight Championship.

 

After over 15 years of service in the Army and Army Reserve, Captain Raymond Birdsall ultimately retired from the United States Army Reserve in March of 1966.  

 

One of his final performance evaluations notes, “Captain Birdsall’s performance of duty as Battalion Adjutant was superior at all times. He is an energetic officer who exercises good judgement and common sense. 

 

He was able to solve the problems of command and staff without hesitation. He expected and received the cooperation of his subordinates. He is a tall officer, neat in appearance, and physically qualified to perform his duties. This officer was a distinct asset to this unit and the reserve program.”

 

I could not be prouder to present these medals to such an honorable servicemember and selfless American: 

 

The Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp,

The National Defense Service Medal,

The Expert Badge with Carbine Bar, and

The Marksman Badge with Pistol Bar.

 

Thank you for giving me the honor of obtaining these medals and decorations for your father’s service. Honoring fellow veterans like Ray is one of the greatest honors of this job. The nation thanks Captain Birdsall and your whole family for your father’s dedication to our country and its defense.  

 

 

Kewaunee County gets grant to address poverty, safe housing

Families dealing with poverty and lack of affordable housing in Kewaunee County will be closer to getting the help they need, thanks to a grant from the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.  The Kewaunee County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secured a $10,500 grant through the “Stand Together Foundation” that awarded $180,500 to six agencies in three Northeastern Wisconsin counties.  Human Services Director Melissa Annoye says the grant money will go a long way in supporting a “wraparound home” that HHS is working to secure in the village of Luxemburg.  The planned wraparound home will help Kewaunee County families impacted by an unstable housing market.  It will provide supportive-type housing in which the family will have safe and secure housing while working on essential needs like mental health, AODA, parenting, and financial security. 

 

Annoye adds that HHS is in the preliminary stage of getting bids to remodel the Luxemburg house.  Kewaunee County secured the house due to unpaid back taxes, and is in much need of repairs.  The wraparound home project will be available to any Kewaunee County resident who may be in need when the remodel is completed.

Microchipping part of Humane Society event January 12th

While vaccines protect your pets from certain diseases, microchipping them can protect you from a broken heart. According to a 2021 survey, approximately one-third of pets will go missing at one point in their lifetime, with 80 percent never reuniting with their owners. While some are adopted, millions are euthanized each year as a way to control the population at animal shelters. Microchipping your pets increases the likelihood that you may be able to reunite with your furry friend. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, only 1.8 percent of all stray dogs and cats taken to participating shelters are microchipped.

 

The Wisconsin Humane Society-Door County Campus is hosting a special event on January 12th from 2-4 p.m. to allow you to have your pets microchipped and vaccinated for rabies, DHPP, FVRCP, and Bordetella for a reduced price. 

United Way of Door County nearing its goal

United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle is urging you to help them get across the finish line of their $825,000 annual campaign. At over $733,000 raised, the United Way of Door County is at approximately 90 percent of its goal. After their January 7th deadline, the United Way of Door County will begin awarding grants to the dozens of organizations that requested them as they look ahead to 2024. Kohnle says even the smallest donations can make a big impact on their goal in the final days.

Regardless of the final number on Sunday, 2023 will be at least the third largest amount the organization has raised in its history. Kohnle adds that you can donate online, by phone, or in person through the Sunday deadline.

 

Listen to our past interviews with Amy Kohnle by clicking on this link.

Ellison Bay church ready for bigger role in the community

You can expect to see more from Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay in the future. Shepherd of the Bay joined a cohort of 15 other churches as a part of the Thriving Congregations Initiative in the fall of 2022. A group within the congregation has been working hard to explore and understand the contexts in which they minister and to gain clarity about the church’s values and missions. They have done this through one-on-one meetings with members to gain information and ideas for the congregation's future. They are about halfway through the process, and Pastor Jim Honig said last month that the congregation wants to be a beacon of hope for each other and the entire community.

Honig hopes to develop an action plan by March or April so the congregation can focus on several aspects of their ministry over the next year.

Two contested mayoral races to highlight spring election cycle

Depending on where you live, you will have a lot to decide on in the upcoming election.

 

In Kewaunee County, the county board races have remained largely unchanged for the last few weeks. Doak Baker (District 4), Paul Zeitler (District 8), and Wendy Shelton (District 19) will likely be the newest faces on the board as they replace Dennis Langteau (District 4), Douglas Doell (District 8), and John Mastalir (District 19) in their respective seats. In Algoma, Casey Buhr is at the center of two contested races. Buhr has filed paperwork to run for his current seat in District 3 against Kenneth Taylor and Bill Bush but also to challenge incumbent Algoma Mayor Virginia Haske and fellow competitor Steve Lautenbach. Kevin Schmidt (District 1), Scott Meverden (District 2), and Amy Johnson (District 4) are running unopposed. In Kewaunee, current Mayor Jeffrey Vollenweider will see opposition from his predecessor Jason Jelinek for his seat. Jelinek opted not to run for re-election after his term was up in 2022. Scott Oftedahl has submitted his paperwork to replace Janita Zimmerman as the District 3 alderperson after she decided not to run again. No one has filed to run for the District 4 seat after Eric Wisnicky filed his non-candidacy papers last month.

 

In Door County, four contested races are brewing, and two others currently need candidates for the county board. No one filed to run to replace Dave Lienau (District 19) or Rodney Beardsley (District 8). Philip Rockwell is running unopposed to replace Alexis Heim Peter in her District 10 seat. Daniel Austad’s decision not to run again for his District 9 seat inspired Ryan Shaw and Jonathan Kruse to challenge each other for the soon-to-be vacant seat. Other contested races for the Door County Board include Jacob VandenPlas running against Roy Englebert (District 3) and Wayne Denil to challenge incumbent Claire Morkin (District 7). The Sturgeon Bay Common Council race will feature incumbent Dennis Statz looking to hold off challenger Matthew Huston for his District 2 seat and Tom Benzshawel hoping to knock incumbent Seth Wiederanders out of his spot representing District 6. Spencer Gustafson (District 4) is running unopposed.

 

Statewide, the spring general election on April 2nd also serves as the Presidential Preference Primary. While Democrats will only have President Joe Biden to choose from, Republicans will have six candidates: former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Keeping on track with your New Year resolutions

Suppose you are already waning on your resolutions for 2024. In that case, a Sturgeon Bay psychologist says making a new behavior a new habit for New Year’s resolutions requires patience and willpower.   Dr. Dennis White suggests that our feelings sometimes get in the way of accomplishing our goals. He says you must have a triple-whammy of behavior combined with consistent thoughts and feelings.

 

 

 Dr. White encourages you to hang in with the new behavior and let your emotions eventually catch up. You can listen to Dr. Dennis White's entire Mental Health Minute tips on keeping your New Year resolutions below.

 

 

Christmas tree pickup and disposal begins

With the holidays in the rearview mirror, you can properly dispose of your real Christmas trees with the help of city crews in the area starting this week.

 

In Sturgeon Bay, the collection of Christmas trees began right after the holidays as the City of Sturgeon Bay requests that you put your tree at the nearest corner and remove any garland, lights, or decorations.  On Friday, January 25th, the Sturgeon Bay Street Department will complete its final pass for picking up Christmas Trees.

 

The Algoma Fire and Rescue crews will make their rounds in the city this Saturday, January 6th, to collect undecorated trees from the curb by noon.  Fire Chief Tom Ackerman shares how the afternoon of collecting trees will work with over 20 workers helping out.

 

 

Christmas tree pickup in Kewaunee started this past Tuesday and will be done again on Monday, January 15th. 

 

Homeowners should not place the trees at the curb for more than 24 hours before pickup.

 

 

 

 

 

(photo courtesy of doorcountyparents.com)

 

Soup Day is on Fish Creek YMCA's January menu

Later this month, you can enjoy hearty soups while supporting the Door County YMCA’s annual campaign.  The Jackie & Steve Kane Center in Fish Creek will host the annual Soup Day on Monday, January 15th.  YMCA Member Services Director Rachel Stoehr says the soup sales will be available online the night before the event and in-person sales on the 15th.  She shares how the monies raised by Soup  Day will benefit the annual campaign.

 

 

The Door County YMCA annual Soup Day in Fish Creek will feature various soups and chili donated by local businesses and Y members.  The 16-ounce containers will be sold for $7 each.

DCEDC looking for entrepreneurial spirits for training program

You can learn the ropes of starting your own business with a program offered by the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC).   An eight-week Entrepreneurial Training Program will start on Thursday, January 18th, in Sturgeon Bay.  Director of Business Development Devin Vandertie says the classes are facilitated by UW-Green Bay Small Business Development Center experts and help new or established business owners develop a structured plan to solidify their ideas.  She shares the past success of the program and how camaraderie and networking are created within the class.

 

 

Vandertie notes that the Entrepreneurial Training Program will be every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the DCEDC Business Center at 185 Walnut Street in Sturgeon Bay.  There are 20 openings available for the sessions, and the deadline is January 11.   You can find more information and register online by clicking here

Egg Harbor admin thrilled with trail enthusiasm

While construction crews begin work on State Highway 42 in Egg Harbor, Village Administrator Megan Sawyer is equally excited about the progress on another way she hopes you use to get to the area in the future.

 

Last month, 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. Sawyer says the trail system would provide the county with one thing it needs: a safe way for people to travel throughout the peninsula without relying on a car. She is happy with the feedback the project has received, adding that it will play a role in how they proceed moving forward.

The village closed its survey concerning the project on December 31st, but Sawyer says there will be plenty of other opportunities to weigh in over the coming months.

Vehicle destroyed in Gibraltar Fire

The owner of a van driving through the Town of Gibraltar had a scary start to their New Year’s Eve celebrations when the vehicle caught fire and became fully engulfed. The Gibraltar Fire Department responded to the fire near County Highway F and West Meadow Road just before 7:20 p.m. The driver told Gibraltar Fire Captain Jason Ward Merkel that they were driving down the road when they noticed smoke and sparks coming from the hood area of the van. The fire started shortly after the driver safely exited the vehicle. Merkel says it took about an hour for crews to put out the blaze, using approximately 500 gallons of water. He added that no one was hurt in the fire and that the exact cause is unknown. 

Parent Café addresses screenager phase

If you are not on your phone right now, your teenager is probably making up for it. According to a 2019 Pew Research Center study, 95 percent of teenagers have access to a smartphone, with 45 percent adding that they are almost constantly on the Internet. The average kid spends about 6.5 hours a day looking at screens, which can harm academics, family life, and mental health. Schools across the country, including Luxemburg-Casco Middle School, are banning the use of personal devices during the school day as a result. “Screenagers” refers to not just the students growing up in the digital age, but to a trio of documentaries about the subject that will be shown at upcoming Parent Café events hosted by the Door County Partnership for Children and Families. Community Impact Coordinator Chad Welch says the battle between kids and their screens is a big concern for many families.

The Parent Café will take place at Sevastopol School on January 9th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Welch says they will screen “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age” in January and “Screenagers Next Chapter: Addressing Youth Mental Health in the Digital Age” in February. In March, Sturgeon Bay Police Officer Chad Mielke will give his take on the subject as he helps parents understand the social media outlets their kids may be using. 

Sheriff's Department on the search for Kewaunee County hit-and-run suspect

The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department needs your help identifying the suspect in a hit-and-run incident on New Year’s Day morning. Business surveillance footage shows a silver sedan sliding into a business and a parked car while traveling on an ice-covered Manitowoc Road just after 10:15 a.m. The vehicle stopped for a few moments after hitting some equipment outside the business before traveling south on Manitowoc Road to get to eastbound County Highway J towards Stangelville. Because of the crash, the vehicle has rear bumper damage along with scuff and paint damage on the driver’s side front bumper. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department asks you to call 920-388-7108 and refer to incident number 24-00008 if you have any information.

 

No lack of work despite lack of snow

Don’t worry about the Door County Highway Department employees: they still have plenty of work to do despite the lack of snow. Outside of a few instances, including on Sunday, snow removal efforts in Door County have been few and far between. In November, Door County Highway Department Patrol Superintendent Randy Dvorak said some municipalities turned down snow removal because it was such a small amount. Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash says his crews have been taking advantage of the lack of windshield time plowing to snow to do some of the projects that typically wait until February and March to complete.

Ash believes this is the least snow they have seen up to New Year’s Day in the last five years. According to the National Weather Service, Sunday’s inch or two of snowfall may be it for a while, with no precipitation in the forecast and temperatures above freezing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Hundreds take plunge at Jacksonport Polar Bear Club swim

Over 500 people braved chilly temperatures and overcast skies on New Year's Day by participating in the 2024 Jacksonport Polar Bear Club Plunge at Lakeside Park.  The 38th annual event also included nearly a thousand spectators who watched family members and friends take a quick swim into Lake Michigan at Noon.  With no ice on the water, organizer J.R. Jarosh says the weather provided “a good day for a swim” with air and water temperatures of 27 and 34 degrees, respectively. 

 

 

One of the first-time “polar bears”, Tori Sparks of Brookfield, describes the experience after the plunge and says she wanted to celebrate her 35th birthday a day early.

The Jacksonport Fire Department was on hand to assist swimmers and provide any emergency help, which was fortunately not needed. 

 

 

Kewaunee County Red Kettle Drive exceeds 2022 by $6K

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is thrilled that you grabbed a bell when you thought you could lend a hand. The Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive numbers are in for Kewaunee County, where $29,729.14 was raised between November 23rd and December 24th. That is well over $6,000 more than in 2022, when $22,902 was collected. Joski credits the generosity shown by the community during the month-long campaign. He said those who grabbed an apron and a bell when they saw no one tending to the kettle were just as important as people dropping a few coins in the bucket.

It was a similar story for the Salvation Army of the Fox Cities, which told WFRV-TV in Green Bay that they exceeded their Red Kettle Campaign goal of $270,000 by $14,000 thanks partly to a 17 percent increase in bell ringers. Tom Mullenix, who organizes the Salvation Army’s efforts in Door County, said last week he was hopeful they would close their gap ahead of the deadline. You can read more of Joski’s thoughts below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

With all of the Christmas excitement behind us, I wanted to take just a moment to share the outcome of our 2023 season of giving. Just as in the past, this year’s Kewaunee County Kettle Campaign was a testimony to the generosity of our communities. Overall, we received $29,729.14 in donations between November 23rd and December 24th. To put this in perspective, last year, we received $22,902.29

 

This is an amazing testament to the commitment and dedication of all those who took the time to ring bells and the generosity of those who gave what they could throughout the giving season.

 

Leading the giving this year was the Kewaunee sites, with a total of $11,198.81, followed by Algoma at $11.050.45 and Luxemburg at $7,472.39. These donations are a total of what was received in the kettles and donation checks received throughout the 2023 season. The countertop kettles at area businesses are a relatively new addition to our campaign. Each year, they tend to draw a bit more attention and donations. Thank you to the businesses that hosted those as well.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Crossroads at Big Creek wait for snow

The topic for the Saturday Science program this week is “Hexagons.” It may seem to folks that we at Crossroads are obsessed with hexagons—the six-sided polygons that show up in everything from honeycombs and ancient coral fossils to the mirrors on the James Webb Telescope. But currently, we are fixated on a special kind of hexagon – the six- sided crystals of water we call snow.

 

Every single snowflake begins as a hexagon because of the unique shape of a water molecule: two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. (A teacher once told me that a water molecule looks like Mickey Mouse, and I can’t unsee it.) The most efficient way for water molecules to attract each other is in a hexagon shape.

 

In a cloud, countless tiny particles – specks of dust, tiny grains of salt, ice crystals, particles of pollution, even pulverized rock (ash) from volcanoes – are floating about. Water molecules which escape the earth through evaporation float in a cloud too, but when they collide with solid particles, they form tiny hexagon-shaped ice crystals.

 

Then it gets complicated. Snowflakes develop in a variety of shapes, depending on the volume of water vapor in the air and the temperature in the cloud. Some snowflakes look like stars. Others resemble ferns, hexagon-shaped columns and needles. But because of the way water molecules arrange themselves to crystallize, the symmetrical six-side patterns persist.

 

So the annual question – when will we start grooming? – is superseded this year by, “When will it begin to look like winter?” When it does, we’ll assess all the factors necessary for grooming. Even with the best of equipment (which we now have), grooming snow is an art. The decision to set the base is dependent on many variables—ground temperature, water content of the snow, depth and fluffiness of snow, wind, which is all complicated by January thaws and the dreaded wintery mix.

 

Know that if snow is adequate, Crossroads will groom, and the trails will be open to the public free of charge, check our website for updates! And without snow, our trails are here for winter hikes.

 

In that this will be the first Friday of the month, and the year, for that matter, we will continue our traditional campfire program between 5:30-7:30 PM.

 

During our Science Saturday program, we will share a video called, “Hexagons are the Bestagons.” Then participants will explore pineapple rinds, turtle shells and fossils, the shapes of snowflakes, and create a make-and-take craft project. While this program is intended for school-aged kids, learners of all ages are welcome.

 

Friday, January 5

5:30 - 7:30 p.m. First Friday Campfire 

The nights are long, so why not brighten them with a campfire and some good company? Join us on the first Friday of the month for a merry campfire, s’mores, and maybe even a campfire song. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.

 

Saturday, January 6

2:00 p.m. Science Saturday: Hexagons

This free program begins with a video called, “Hexagons are the Bestagons.” Then we move to the lab to explore pineapple rinds, turtle shells and fossils, the shapes of snowflakes, and create a make-and-take craft project. While this program is intended for school-aged kids, learners of all ages are welcome. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.

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