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News Archives for 2024-03

Ten Women in Ten Days: Ula Noble

Her house greets you as you roll into Fish Creek, but her impact in Door County goes well beyond designing the floor plan of the Alexander Noble House.

 

According to a feature by the Gibraltar Historical Society, Ula Noble was a schoolteacher in Northern Door County at one-room schools in Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, Fish Creek, and Jacksonport before being a trailblazer in different areas. After she became the state’s first licensed pharmacist in 1892 after graduating from the Chicago College of Pharmacy, she returned to Door County to put a bigger stamp on education. She became the first female superintendent of schools in 1906 after losing the election twice before. It came at a time when women could not vote, a right they would not receive for another 13 years. She was also the first Worthy Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star in Wisconsin. A part of the fraternal organization Freemasonry, Sturgeon Bay was deemed Honor Chapter #1, and it is one of 38 chapters in the state.

 

As for the house she helped design, it is open for tours from the beginning of June through mid-October, thanks to the Gibraltar Historical Society. It was placed on the State and the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

 

Picture courtesy of the Gibraltar Historical Association

Marquardt steps down as Kewaunee County Food Pantry president

You will see a new leader starting April 1st at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry in Algoma.

 

After over ten years of serving as the president of the organization, Ken Marquardt will be trading roles with treasurer Mark Janiak starting on Monday.

 

Marquardt, and his wife Pat, are among 14 volunteers working at the Kewaunee Food Pantry, which typically serves over 120 area families monthly.  He says it is rewarding to give back to the community and help families keep enough food and supplies in their homes to live on.

 

 

By cutting back on his responsibilities with the pantry, Marquart says the change will allow Pat and him to travel more and enjoy family time together.  He notes that he is extremely proud of the organization’s accomplishments over the years, including the highly successful annual Spring Rummage Sale that wrapped up last Friday.

 

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is located at 1528 Sunset Avenue and is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., with donations always accepted. 


Education program gives SPARK to those with memory loss

Thanks to a Greater Green Bay Community Foundation grant, institutions around Door County are giving you and your loved ones suffering from memory loss a chance to learn.

 

SPARK! is a cultural program for people with early to mid-stage memory loss and their care partners to stay engaged in their communities. The programs do not introduce new ideas but reinforce old ones through conversations and hands-on activities. Door County Maritime Museum Collections Coordinator Brennan Christianson had experience with the program before he arrived in Sturgeon Bay after volunteering with SPARK! in Green Bay at the Neville Public Museum.  While many SPARK! programs focus on one institution, Door County’s comprises other partners such as the Ephraim Historical Foundation and the Liberty Grove Historical Society. Christianson and the museum's education programs coordinator, Andrea Stromeyer, know the program's potential, especially regarding the number of partners signing on to participate.
 


SPARK! of Door County is funded by a grant from the Kopseker Trust at the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. The next scheduled program, “Let’s Go Fishing!” is on Wednesday, April 17, at 10 a.m., at the Death’s Door Maritime Museum in Gills Rock.

Farm succession takes planning

Making sure your family farm stays a family farm takes a lot of time and work and is the subject of a session being hosted by Extension UW Madison later this week. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, there were over 58,000 farms in Wisconsin in 2022, ten percent less than in the state five years prior. An aging farmer population is one of the reasons why you are seeing fewer farmers, but there is some encouraging news. The state has 28,000 farmers considered “new or beginning” in the industry, a 16 percent increase over 2017. To see that number continue, family farm owners need to begin planning who will take over the operations once the current owner dies or retires. Extension UW Madison Kewaunee County Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says she does not see people discouraging their sons and daughters from entering the industry but reminds them that it is not a cheap industry to get into or sustain.


The fourth and final farm succession planning workshop will take place at the Weyers-Hilliard Branch of the Brown County Library in Howard on April 2nd from 1 to 4 p.m. Joy Kirkpatrick and Kelly Wilfert, both Extension Farm Management Outreach Specialists, will provide a framework to help farms identify risk and begin those first conversations around succession planning.


April is Tornado Awareness Month

With April being designated as Tornado Awareness Month, it’s always a good idea to go over some basic safety measures as well as revisit some resources we have locally to keep our communities safe. While Kewaunee County has not been the recipient of many tornado events, we have had our share of straight-line winds and severe thunderstorms, which should heighten our alert level and trigger some very similar responses.

         

Our greatest resource is our own situational awareness. Keep an eye on the weather especially if you are planning outdoor events or plan to travel. Establish and become familiar with your own response plan and make sure all members of your family are equally familiar with where to go and what to do in a weather emergency. When you see the weather changing, take advantage of the many forms in which you can receive updates either by radio, television or electronic devices. If you are notified of a weather emergency, take the precautions set forth in the alerts, as these conditions can change very rapidly, and delay can mean the difference between safety and tragedy.

          

During last week’s statewide tornado drill, we utilized one of our most effective tools for weather alerting; our “RAVE Alert” notification system. This system has been used many times for alerting our communities to events such as severe cold weather conditions, severe thunderstorm warnings, localized tornado warnings and even in law enforcement messages regarding public safety during volatile incidents. The main advantage of this system is that its success does not require the individual to be in any specific area or rely on the presence of radio or television. These alerts can be sent to residential landlines, as well as individual cell phones in the form of voice messages or texts. They can even go to individuals not living in our area as they may want to receive them on behalf of a loved one. Businesses and schools can also receive them and in turn alert their employees, staff, and students. Just make sure that the business phone number you are entering is a direct line and not an extension as part of a truncated system.

            

What this system does require is that each individual register to receive the notifications. Over the years, many have done just that, and our database of numbers is well established with over 6,000 contacts registered. If you did not receive a call, email, or text last week as part of the drill, please take a moment to register. You can register your cell phone landline or those of a family member by visiting our website at www.kewauneesheriff.com and clicking on the “Stay Informed” icon. If you have additional questions or need any assistance, please feel free to contact the Kewaunee County Emergency Management Department at (920)845-9700

Ten Women in Ten Days: Former Sturgeon Bay Mayor Colleen Crocker-MacMillin

As Women’s History Month concludes this weekend, Colleen Crocker-MacMillin of Sturgeon Bay recalls serving as Sturgeon Bay’s first female mayor. MacMillin served one term as mayor in the early 2000s and was also a Door County Board Supervisor and alderperson on the Sturgeon Bay Common Council at one time. As the mayor, she remembers that the best part of the job was helping the people in the community. She says her mediation background helped gain consensus from the council with those who disagreed on issues. Completing the Maple-to-Oregon Bridge, repairing the historic Michigan Street Bridge, and the shipyard plan were the City’s most significant accomplishments during her three years as mayor.

 

 

MacMillin notes that seeing more women seeking and realizing leadership positions in organizations and local government is empowering. MacMillan, who currently works at the Door County Medical Center in the Urgent Care Department, has enjoyed spending her free time volunteering with the local Neighbor-to-Neighbor program and running the Door County YMCA’s Youth in Government program for the past 30 years.

 

You can listen to the entire interview with former Mayor Colleen Crocker-MacMillin below.

 

Crossroads awaits for the upcoming eclipse

Coming up soon, the people of Door County will experience a partial solar eclipse so the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will open the Astronomy Campus on Monday, April 8, from 12:30 to 3:00, whether or not the weather cooperates.

 

A solar eclipse does not affect the Moon. It does not affect the Sun. But it does affect the Earth, and like the researchers at NASA, we at Crossroads are curious about how a solar eclipse will influence the behavior of plants and animals and even the weather.

In both total and partial solar eclipses, the energy of the Sun is blocked by the Moon, so most people think of this as a time of darkness. But realize that human eyes detect only the wavelengths of the (very narrow)  visible spectrum.

 

But the Moon blocks the full electromagnetic spectrum. It blocks the Ultraviolet wavelengths, which are not visible to human eyes but apparently are detected by some insects and other creatures, and also, can enhance photosynthesis. 

 

The Moon also blocks infrared wavelengths, so, during an eclipse, the heat of the Sun does not reach the Earth for a brief time. This explains weather changes, But we wonder: could it be the lack of heat waves, rather than darkness, that influences the changes in wildlife behavior?

 

During Crossroads’ free Science Saturday program at 2:00 on April 6, families will explore, through videos and hands-on demonstrations, the changes occurring here on Earth during an eclipse. Thanks to the Door County Library, each participating family will receive a free pair of solar viewing glasses and a few quick lessons on viewing safety.  

 

During past total eclipses, scientists have learned the pH of seawater changes, temperatures drop, and the wind dies down. There also are scads of anecdotal reports of birds “freaking out” or going to roost trees and singing night songs,…of owls hooting… and of crickets starting to chirp.   However anecdotal reports small samples and are often contradictory.

 

Consequently,  in the path of totally, NASA is sponsoring a research effort called  “Soundscapes,” they are asking community scientists, school and youth groups, and naturalists to make sound recordings before, during and after totality.  In several national parks within the path of totality, NASA has set up special sound monitoring equipment to record soundscape changes.

 

Crossroads, as part of our restoration/research initiatives, owns (and has deployed)  this kind of sound monitoring equipment to capture the songs and calls of birds and frogs. However,  our equipment is set to record at dawn and dusk so that it will be of little or no use at the maximum darkness here around 2:00 pm. And with the crazy weather we have had this year, who even knows if our songbirds will be singing, our wood frogs quacking, or peepers peeping? We certainly won’t hear crickets yet.

 

So, our wildlife observations will be anecdotal. However, the DPAS website www.doorastronomy.org posts data from its newly installed weather station at the Astronomy Campus so we can monitor changes in temperature,  wind speed, air pressure, the  UV index, and solar radiation.  And thanks to the Door County Library, we should have enough eclipse glasses for all who attend the viewing party.

Speaking of the Door County Library—as we so often do—Crossroads will be partnering with them for two additional programs in the same week as the partial eclipse.

On Wednesday, April 10, at 6:30, the Door County Library will offer a live stream presentation at Crossroads. The webinar “ Container Gardening through the Year”  features Melinda Myers.  Learn how to use container gardens to boost the color and seasonal interest in any size landscape, garden, balcony, or deck. With your budget in mind, we will explore attractive combinations of trees, shrubs, flowers, edible plants, and those that attract pollinators. Plus, you’ll learn strategies for extending your enjoyment year-round by transforming all or a portion of the container planting with the changing seasons. The webinar is sponsored by the Door County Library in collaboration with The Door County Master Gardeners, Door County Seed Library and Crossroads at Big Creek.

 

The final Fish Tales Lecture of the 2024 Series will be presented on Thursday, April 11 at 7:00 pm. Dr. Karen Murchie, Director of Freshwater Research at Shedd Aquarium, will present “Suckers on the Move – what we’ve learned from tagging and tracking.”  Murchie will describe what has been discovered about the movement of suckers using hydroacoustic tags in Green Bay tributaries. The presentation will be held in person at 7:00 pm in the Crossroads at Big Creek lecture hall. Zoom and Facebook Live links will be available on the Door County Library website Events calendar.

 

 Saturday, April 6

2:00-3:00 pm Free Family Program: Saturday Science: The Eclipse and Nature

A Total Solar Eclipse will take place this week, though here in Door County, we will experience only a partial eclipse. An eclipse does not affect the Moon or the Sun, but it does affect the Earth. Learn how an eclipse darkness influences the behavior of plants and animals and even the weather. Families can enjoy several videos, participate in demonstrations in the lab, and weather permitting, take a hike. Each family will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses. Meet in the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan, Sturgeon Bay.

 

  Monday, April 8

12:30 pm - 3:00 pm DPAS Partial Eclipse Viewing Party 

Join the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society in celebrating the eclipse at the Astronomy Campus---rain cloudy, or (we hope) clear. We may not be in the totality, but the eclipse is still something to behold. Live stream of the total eclipse will be offered on the large screen in the Stonecipher Center and safe viewing opportunities, demonstrations. Free eclipse glasses (while the supply lasts)  will be provided. Free and open to learners of all ages. The Astronomy Campus is located at 2200 Utah Street in Sturgeon Bay.

 

Tuesday, April 9

7:00  Door Peninsula Astronomical Society April Meeting

This month, the DPAS President Dave Lenius will present program “Discoveries from the James Webb Telescope”  at the monthly meeting.  If conditions allow, we will open the observatory following the meeting. Visitors are encouraged.  Meet at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center 2200 Utah, Sturgeon Bay. 

 

Wednesday, April 10:                                                                                                                     6:30 Live Stream presentation: "Container Gardening through the Year".

Watch this live-stream presentation of gardening expert Melinda Myers to learn how to use container gardens to boost the color and seasonal interest in any size landscape, garden, balcony, or deck. With your budget in mind, we will explore attractive combinations of trees, shrubs, flowers, edible plants, and those that attract pollinators. Plus, you’ll learn strategies for extending your enjoyment year-round by transforming all or a port portion of the container planting with the changing seasons. Sponsored by the Door County Library in collaboration with The Door County Master Gardeners, Door County Seed Library and Crossroads at Big Creek. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan, Sturgeon

 

Thursday, April 11

7:00 pm Fish Tales Lecture: Suckers on the Move.

Dr. Karen Murchie, Director of Freshwater Research of Shedd Aquarium, will present “Suckers on the move – what we’ve learned from tagging and tracking.”  Murchie will describe what has been discovered about movement of suckers using hydroacoustic tags in  Green Bay tributaries. The presentation will be held in-person at 7:00 pm in the lecture hall at the Crossroads at Big Creek Learning Center and Nature Preserve, 2401 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Zoom and Facebook Live links will be available and offered in Door County Library website. Events calendar.

 

 

Area churches commemorate Easter miracle

Churches across Door and Kewaunee counties hope you consider making a visit to their sanctuary a part of your Easter celebration this year. At a time when regular attendance at religious services continues to slide down, churches tend to see a boost at major holidays, especially Easter. Approximately 43 percent of Americans plan to attend Easter services this weekend, according to polling numbers, compared to 20 percent who attend every week and 57 percent who say they seldom or never go to church. With a chance to invite more people to come again, Father Dan Schuster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Parish in Casco says he wants to see if they are continuing to build on the hope and joy in the community that he has seen since he came to the area six years ago.

Pastor Matthew Sprunger hopes attendees realize the sacrifice Jesus made when he died on the cross for their sins.

Pastor Joel McKenney believes that Jesus’ rising shows that with his death is a new beginning for all who believe.

Many churches began their Holy Week Services on Sunday with what is commonly known as Palm Sunday. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday services are also celebrated as the lead-up to Easter on Sunday. 

 

Vietnam veterans remember the sacrifices made

Red River resident Chuck Wagner continues to appreciate the opportunities he has to connect with fellow Vietnam veterans more than 50 years after the United States ended its involvement in the war.

 

More than 58,000 names line the wall at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., honoring those who died during the conflict. Thousands more were disabled, and another 1,600-plus are still considered missing in action, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Wagner is thankful he is not a part of those statistics, though he believes they are the true heroes of the Vietnam War. He still carries bad memories of his return home from the war due to the verbal abuse he received from those who were against the conflict. He believes those experiences are why many Vietnam veterans stay quiet about their service and part of the reason why veterans of subsequent wars were treated much better when they came back.

Of the 2.7 million Americans who served in Vietnam, less than half are estimated to be alive today. March 29th was officially designated National Vietnam Veterans Day in 2017.

Communities feature Easter egg hunts for young and old

You can find eggs ahead of the Easter bunny on Saturday, and it may not matter how old you are this year. One of the longest-running Easter egg hunts takes place at Brussels Town Park, where the Shining Stars 4-H Club will hold their 26th annual event beginning promptly at 9 a.m. Kids will charge the field full of eggs as a part of four different age groups. With many of the parents former participants in the event as well, Shining Stars 4-H Club Leader Amanda Larson is proud that its Easter egg hunt has become such a longstanding tradition.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Baileys Harbor boasts the newest Easter tradition with its adult-themed egg hunt. The 21-and-over egg hunt begins at 9 a.m. at Baileys Harbor Recreational Park and comes with a $5 registration fee, so more Easter-themed community events can be planned in the future. The town will also host its Easter egg hunt for kids from three different age groups beginning at 9 a.m. Sister Bay (Sister Bay Sports Complex, 10:30 a.m.), Jacksonport (Lakeside Park, 10:30 p.m.), and Ellison Bay (Fitzgerald Park, 11 a.m.) will also host Easter egg hunts for kids on Saturday.

 

Group creates Cause for PAWS for abandoned Kewaunee County pets

Finding abandoned animals is a regular occurrence in many communities, but you will struggle to find even a temporary solution in Kewaunee County. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters yearly, with a relatively even split between cats and dogs. About 810,000 animals who enter shelters as strays return home to their owners, most of them (710,000) being dogs. In Kewaunee County, many of them end up in the office of a Luxemburg veterinarian’s office that treats, vaccinates, and spays or neuters them so they can be adopted. While they have had as many as ten in the office, they turn away several more because of insufficient space. Cause for PAWS Kewaunee County member Suzie Leist says because the Wisconsin Humane Society does not have a campus in the area, it is not as simple as taking the animals to Sturgeon Bay or Green Bay in hopes of finding the furry companions a better life.
 



A Cause for PAWS Kewaunee County is in the process of collecting signatures so they can petition the Kewaunee County Board to establish a service contract with the Wisconsin Humane Society so if pets are abandoned, they have a safe place they can go to in hopes of being adopted. Door County spends approximately $10,000 in its contract with the Wisconsin Humane Society to take in stray animals, taking in over 500 last year.

 

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

 

Ten Women in Ten Days: Madeline Tourtelot

Madeline Tourtelot brought a little bit of the big city with her to Door County over 80 ago and, with it, changed the area’s arts scene for generations. Tourtelot moved to Evanston, Ill. as a young girl and became immersed in the arts because of her musical father and the proximity of museums and galleries to her home. She began a career in movie production, where her credits included collaborations with musicians, including films like Windsong, The Poets Return, The Cry of Jazz, and U.S. Highball. With her husband Edward's help, Tourtelot created three art institutions, including the Ephraim Art School in 1943 and what is now known as the Peninsula School of Art in 1965. Seven years after she retired as the school’s director, Tourtelot donated much of the land and buildings to the Peninsula Art Association, which continues to run the Peninsula School of Art to this day. Mynn Lanphier says the stories he has heard about Tourtelot provide a compass for artists that come to Door County

Tourtelot passed away in 2002, but you can still find her movie work online and some of her other artwork at the Art Institute of Chicago and inside the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek.

 

Picture courtesy of the Peninsula School of Art

 

FULL INTERVIEW

 

Hot coals cause ditch fire

An ill-advised disposal of hot charcoals required a fire response by the Luxemburg Fire Department late Thursday morning.  Fire crews were alerted about 10:45 a.m. for a small ditch fire off County AB just north of St. Paul’s Lutheran School in the town of Montpelier.  Luxemburg Assistant Fire Chief Ryan LaPlante says the burning grass was extinguished quickly, and with the high winds, it could have been much worse.

 

 

LaPlante added that despite recent precipitation earlier this week, dry conditions continue, and people should avoid burning anything outside.  As of Thursday afternoon, Kewaunee and Door counties are listed in the Moderate Fire Danger level.  You should always check with your local municipality or fire authority to determine if burning is allowed and to get a burning permit. 

Trump visit provides boost for area conservatives

Election Day in northeast Wisconsin will get an extra dose of excitement after you cast your ballot on Tuesday. Former President Donald Trump announced earlier this week that he is planning to make remarks at a rally in Green Bay on April 2nd. He will likely win the Republican nod in the Presidential Preference Primary that takes place along with the local elections and referendum questions that also dot the ballot that day. It is Trump’s first visit to Wisconsin since he campaigned for gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, though he has made several stops to the Green Bay area since he first ran for president before his first term in office in 2016. With Wisconsin shaping up to be a battleground state once again in 2024, Kewaunee County Republican Party Chairperson Kirt Johnson believes Trump will encourage voters to start getting behind their candidates now.

According to a recent Marquette University poll, Trump and President Joe Biden are tied at 49 percent each, and only two percent said they are unsure who they will vote for this November. The rally is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, with the doors opening at 2 p.m.

 

Two newly signed laws give emergency personnel additional mental health resources

Emergency personnel will receive much-needed mental health resources thanks to two bills signed into law on Wednesday. Wisconsin Act 219 directs the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to establish a pilot program to provide virtual behavioral health crisis care services for county or municipal law enforcement agency officers to utilize while on duty. It also requires them to contract with certified county crisis agencies to provide the services. In a similar move, Wisconsin Act 220 requires the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish and implement a program for peer support teams and critical incident stress management teams for certain public safety personnel to provide emotional and moral support and coping mechanisms for personnel and volunteers affected by stress or an incident. The latter was called Assembly Bill 576 when Rep. Joel Kitchens introduced it after conversations with Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty. While most Americans might experience one critical incident in their lifetime, emergency personnel could see dozens, if not hundreds. McCarty is happy that his conversations with Kitchens turned into action in Madison.


Evers signed 27 other bills to improve community safety and reduce crime. That includes the Kitchens-introduced Kelsey Smith Act, which requires wireless providers to turn over device location information to law enforcement without a warrant if a person is in grave danger.

Extra food benefits coming this summer for families

If you are on a food assistance program and you have kids to feed, a new program through the state and the United States Department of Agriculture is lending a hand.

 

On Thursday, Wisconsin became the first state in the country to be approved for the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program that will give low-income families an extra $120 per child during the summer months to feed them. Families that participate in other food assistance programs like free and reduced lunch will automatically be enrolled in the program with the benefits being added to their existing card or via a pre-loaded debit card. Families eligible for food assistance but are not participating in the programs would have to apply.

 

“Making sure our kids have enough to eat is critical for supporting their success in and out of the classroom. Unfortunately, when school is out, many families lose access to one of their most reliable sources of healthy meals,” said Governor Tony Evers.  United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says it is not just great news for the area’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population.  She hopes families bring those benefits to some of the Door County farmers’ markets this summer, where they can redeem those credits to spend with local vendors.

Benefit recipients can expect to receive those funds in June. Participation in the program will not affect those participating in other summer food programs, such as the one run by the Door County YMCA.

Ten Women in Ten Days: Charlotte Lukes

From the mushrooms growing near your feet to the birds flying over your head, it is all a part of the Door County environment naturalist Charlotte Lukes adores. In addition to helping in the creation of The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor, Lukes and her husband Roy played large roles in the protection of other Door County ecological highlights like Toft’s Point, Newport State Park, Whitefish Dunes, Mink River Estuary, and Moonlight Bay. One of Lukes’ biggest contributions may be in fungi research, identifying more than 600 species of mushrooms in her career as a naturalist. The thing she is most proud of, however, is inspiring other residents and visitors to participate in “citizen science” and getting them involved with flora and fauna located just outside their doors.

Lukes and her husband were inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame in 2018. The couple also received recognition from the Gathering Waters Conservancy, the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology, the Nature Conservancy, and the UWGB Center for Biodiversity. You can listen to our full interview with Lukes below.

 

 

Picture courtesy of Crossroads at Big Creek

Kelsey Smith Act signed into a law

A bill that came out of the meeting space of the Door County YMCA’s Youth in Government program has been signed into law. Known as the Kelsey Smith Act, Assembly Bill 960 now requires wireless providers to turn over device location information to law enforcement without a warrant. It could only occur if a customer or subscriber consents if the provider believes an emergency involves a possible death or serious bodily harm and if the location information is relevant and crucial. Over 30 states across the country have similar laws on the books. Rep. Joel Kitchens said last week that he worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to iron out certain aspects of the bill to address privacy concerns. He also applauded Door County YMCA Youth in Government member Connor Waterstreet for bringing it to his attention.


With Governor Tony Evers’ signature, Wisconsin became the 31st state to turn the Kelsey Smith Act into a law. Kitchens also celebrated Evers signing his peer support bill into law, which will help emergency personnel better deal with the trauma faced on the job. That bill came to be after Door County Sheriff Chief Deputy Pat McCarty brought the effectiveness of peer support programs to Kitchens’ attention. “The best ideas don’t come from Madison,” Kitchens said, “I’m grateful to represent people who come to me with ideas that should become law. Both bills came from local folks who want to make our great state even better. I believe these bills do just that.”

Ten Women in Ten Days: Former Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin Barbara Lawton

Door County resident and former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton made history in 2002 when she became the first woman elected to that position. Serving with Governor Jim Doyle for eight years, Lawton took on many issues, including economic development, climate change, and campaign reform. 

 

She launched an economic development initiative called “Wisconsin Women = Prosperity” in 2003.  Other issues addressed by Lawton were clean energy policy, stem cell research, and affordable higher education. In 2006, The Capital Times newspaper in Madison called Lawton “the boldest and most active lieutenant governor in state history." in an editorial piece. 

 

Lawton announced running for governor in 2009 but withdrew from the race after two months due to “personal reasons.”

 

Lawton was named the President and CEO of Americans for Campaign Reform in 2014. She was co-founder of Issue One, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., whose goal is to reduce money's influence in politics.

 

Born and raised in Green Bay, Lawton attended Lawrence University and received a master’s degree in Spanish from UW-Madison.  She lives in Clay Banks along Lake Michigan with her husband, Cal, and they have two children, Joseph and Amanda, and four grandchildren. 

Detours and expected delays coming with start of Highway 42 project

Starting next week, you will need to take an alternate highway route when driving up the bayside of the Door Peninsula. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) announced this week that the construction work on a 12-mile stretch of State Highway 42 just north of Sturgeon Bay to Egg Harbor will begin next Wednesday, April 3.  Governor Tony Evers signed off on the contracted project for over $6.7 million. DOT Northeast Region Communication Manager Mark Kantola describes what the road improvements will mean for driver safety after completion.

 

 

Northeast Asphalt is the prime contractor that will begin milling and resurfacing work on the lanes and roadway shoulders while adding right-turn lanes at the Monument Point Road intersection and installing new rumble strips for enhanced safety.

State Highway 42, at the mid-junction with Highway 57 in the town of Sevastopol, will be closed to through traffic and detoured onto Highway 57 north to County V, County A, and County EE.  Local traffic will be open with flagging operations for those needing to access businesses or residential properties located on the closed route on Highway 42. 

 

The highway project is expected to be completed by mid-June. A 511 Wisconsin Construction website with WIS 42 Project graphics, maps, and displays is available here. You can also watch a video of the WIS 42 Public Construction Information Meeting on the website.

 

 

New study finds coronavirus in healthy Wisconsin sport fish

A new virus has been found in five fish species in the waters throughout the state, including Door County. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison detected a coronavirus that is usually associated with birds but does not threaten human health.  Department of Pathobiological Sciences professor Tony Goldberg, says his research group identified 19 new viruses in blood samples from over 100 fish, including bluegills, brown trout, lake sturgeon, northern pike, and walleye.  The virus in the walleye instance was a coronavirus. Goldberg notes that the fish-associated coronavirus differs from the type of virus that causes COVID.  It was present in 11 of the 15 walleye sampled by the DNR, and Goldberg says the impact of the virus on the fish is unknown, but it does not pose any threat of infecting anglers. 

 

 

Goldberg says the noteworthy study was done because it is not uncommon for unknown viruses to pop up occasionally, and it is vital to set a baseline for determining the future health of fish species in the state.

The findings are part of a Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded first-time-ever study of the natural diversity of viruses of fish in Wisconsin. You can listen to the entire interview with Tony Goldberg below.

 

 

 

 

Door County YMCA Strivers dynasty continues

The gymnastics team at the Door County YMCA continues its impressive run after competing at the state tournament in Fond du Lac last week. The Strivers turned in an undefeated season and claimed the state championship by a wide 2.6-point margin.  Gymnastics Director and coach Nikki Pollman says girls peaked at the right time this season with a strong performance at the Kettle Morraine meet just before state, taking first out of 12 teams.  She recaps how the 13 girls competing could medal 42 times at state by focusing on their routines and not worrying about the competition's scores.

 

 

Pollman says she hopes to keep all the girls together and have them grow and develop to the next level.  The Strivers team consists of girls who attend area public and private schools in Sturgeon Bay, Southern Door, Algoma, Gibraltar, and Sevastopol.

 

You can listen to the entire conversation with Nikki Pollman on the Y Wednesday podcast here.

 

Food Pantry "rummaging" to help more community members

An annual event that started ten years ago as a way to build a new pantry building in Algoma is being celebrated again this week.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry’s Spring Rummage Sale mission to help impoverished residents is planned for Thursday and Friday.  Food pantry members also volunteer their time, with all rummage sale profits going towards purchasing food and other expenses.   Kewaunee County Food Pantry President Ken Marquardt says the pantry serves up to 145 families by distributing over 12,000 pounds of food monthly.

 

 

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry Spring Rummage Sale runs from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. both days.  The pantry is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 1528 Sunset Avenue. 

Ten Women in Ten Days: Emma Toft

Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, you will find one of the lasting legacies of Emma Toft.  According to WomenInWisconsin.org. Toft’s father purchased more than 300 acres of land in Baileys Harbor before her birth in 1891. The land later became a summer resort run by the Toft family that highlighted simple living. It also became an object of desire of other developers who wanted to build up the area into an exclusive resort for vacationers. Toft resisted and along with her family, sold Toft’s Point to the Wisconsin Nature Conservancy in 1967. The area later expanded to its current 743-acre preserve, now recognized as a State Natural Area and a part of the larger Ridges Sanctuary-Mud Lake Wildlife Area- Toft Point National Natural Landmark. The area is now under the stewardship of UW-Green Bay, which collaborates with the Friends of Toft’s Point group to provide nature hikes, invasive plant removal, and trail maintenance. Site manager Andrew LaPlant says there is a lot to enjoy about Toft’s Point from an ecological point of view.

For Dr. Keir Wefferling, Toft’s Point has become one of his favorite places on the planet not just to visit, but to conduct his research on the variety of mosses found on the site. He works closely with the Friends of Toft’s Point, which counts some of Toft’s descendants as its members. Wefferling says those interactions have made him even more appreciative of Toft’s persistence in protecting the land for future generations.

Toft passed away in Sturgeon Bay on Valentine’s Day 1982. You can join the Friends of Toft’s Point here to help support the group’s efforts to provide docents, remove invasive species, and maintain the property’s trails and historic cabins.

 

Listen to our full interviews with LaPlant and Wefferling below:

 

Picture courtesy of Destination Door County

Egg Harbor Fire Department begins training with drones

When an emergency strikes in Egg Harbor, you can now look to the sky for help. The Egg Harbor Fire Department teamed up with Titletown Drones in Suamico to purchase a drone and for its subsequent training. Six fire department members are participating in the training that will allow them to conduct searches more quickly and efficiently. Egg Harbor Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says in the past, they would have to rely on the Door County Sheriff’s Department, the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, or the Gibraltar Police Department if they needed a drone for help. Because of the shoreline and waterways that is present in their jurisdiction, MacDonald believes it was worth the investment.

MacDonald credits fire department members Kurt and Nicole Krauel for spearheading the efforts to bring the drone to Egg Harbor and residents and businesses donating the necessary funds to make it happen. He also added that the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department is also considering purchasing its own drone. 

 

Picture courtesy of Egg Harbor Fire Department and TitletownDrones

Bridge collapse stirs up conversations about county's emergency plans

As you watched the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, the Door County Emergency Management and Communications Department reviewed its protocols in case a similar event happened here. According to the USA Today, a cargo ship was leaving the Port of Baltimore at 1:30 a.m. when it struck one of the support columns. The bridge snapped and collapsed within moments of the collision. As of 9 a.m., emergency personnel were still searching for a group of construction workers who were on the bridge when the accident happened. Door County is served by three bridges: the Bayview Bridge, the Michigan Street Bridge, and the Maple/Oregon Street Bridge. Door County Emergency Management Director Jeb Saelens says when anything of this magnitude occurs, it is essential for departments like his to ask themselves, “What do we do if this was us?”

Saelens says Door County's bridge emergency plan was developed in the 2000s. A Door County bridge was struck in 2014 when a tug-barge hit the Maple/Oregon Street Bridge when it was in the down position. The collision caused damage to the bridge’s sidewalk, railing, and lighting. 

Pagel brings farm life to children's book series

Chase Pagel is proof that some of the best stories can happen right in your backyard. The first of several books Pagel wrote will be released on Monday with her daughter’s Jersey steer Rosco stealing the pages. “Rosco’s Sweet Treats” is about a little farmer named Kiley who befriends the steer and shares treats with it, even popular foods like Pop-Tarts. Pagel says she developed the idea to come out with the book series because of the growing disconnect between families and farms. Pagel, who is part of Pagel’s Family Businesses that raises more than 5,000 cows in Kewaunee, says she wanted more people to learn about farms like theirs that do not necessarily have the opportunity to drive by, let alone visit, a dairy.

Her second book, coming out later this year, will explore different agricultural businesses in Kewaunee County, whether they are big dairy farms like theirs or small pumpkin patches and vegetable farms. She says the important thing to her is highlighting the families behind them.

Pagel says she is finalizing signings, story times, and other events to highlight the books.

 

Photo courtesy of Dairy Diaries LLC

10 Women in 10 days: Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant's Ingert Johnson

Door County is known for its historic landmarks, and Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant & Butik in Sister Bay is one of them, largely thanks to the matriarch of the family, Ingert (Forsberg) Johnson.

Ingert, 90, married Al Johnson in 1959 until his passing at 84 in 2010.  Their three children, Lars, Annika, and Rolf, and several grandchildren continue the legacy of the business today.  This year, Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant & Butik is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a rich history impacted significantly by Ingert.

According to the Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant website, Ingert Forsberg traveled to the United States from her home country, Sweden, and met Al Johnson after traveling up from Chicago after being introduced to Door County by a friend.

After honeymooning in Europe, Ingert was brought into the restaurant's operations and convinced Al to sell lingonberries and Swedish clogs at the cashier station.  The success of sales led to the opening of the first retail store next store called The Butik.  The business imported most of the products from Sweden into the store, with Al always crediting his wife for diversifying the restaurant's business and expanding its success over the years.

 

(photo courtesy of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant & Butik's Facebook account)

 

City revisits west waterfront hotel

The third time may be the charm for you to see a development along Sturgeon Bay’s west waterfront. Late last month, Cobblestone Hotels pulled the plug on its proposed project on Egg Harbor Road after it could not reach an agreement to purchase the land. They have now set their sights on a city-owned parcel on East Maple Street initially slated for a 53-unit apartment building before construction and interest costs grounded the project. The area was also slated for a hotel in 2014 before a legal battle over its placements caused the project to be shelved. The proposed Cobblestone Hotel project would have 62 rooms located on four floors. The developers are asking for approximately $1.32 million in incentives, which the city believes can be covered using funds from Tax Increment District #4 thanks to a guaranteed property value assessment of $7 million. As a part of the agreement, the city would sell the parcel to Cobblestone Hotels for $1 and would have to construct a new public parking lot. If the city approves a development agreement, shovels could come shortly after. Anna Jakubek, vice president of development for Cobblestone Hotels, wrote in an email to the city that they are ready to move on the project, saying they would order their plans, estimated to take 45-60 days. Once the group gets the necessary approvals, the new hotel could be built in 14 months. The city’s Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee will meet on Tuesday at 4 p.m. to discuss the project and its financial incentives. The committee will also talk about a price adjustment for the single-family homes in the Geneva Ridge development and sidewalk permit fees.

DNR lures visitors with early opening of Eagle Tower, park roads

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hopeful that opening some of your favorite spots in Peninsula State Park earlier than usual will reverse an early-year attendance trend. This winter, the lack of snow and ice discouraged many usual visitors from coming to the popular state park. As a result, Park Superintendent Eric Hyde says the attendance numbers for January and February were some of the lowest they had seen in a quarter century. In mid-to-late February, the DNR opened the Eagle Tower and some area roads around the park that usually do not welcome visitors until late April to early May. Hyde says it is a great time to see the park at a typically quiet time of the year.

Hyde says the park will also be quieter this fall but for different reasons. Some of the park’s campgrounds, specifically near North Nicoley Bay and Weckler’s Point, will be closed earlier this year so crews can renovate bathroom facilities and replace some of the water pipes that have been around since the 1960s.

Bullying leads to larger mental health problems down the road

A recent incident at Gibraltar Secondary School serves as another reminder of the impact bullying could have on your children at school.

 

Last week, 17-year-old Aidan Rice said in a Door County courtroom that a former student led to him bringing a gun to Gibraltar for multiple days. In his criminal complaint, Rice said he was scared of a former student, a person who allegedly pounded on a bathroom door while he was at Wal-Mart a week prior. School Resource Officer Heather Bemmann stated that the unidentified student had not been on campus since last November. Rice added in the complaint that he knew it was illegal to bring the gun, but he had it to protect himself in case the former student showed up.

 

According to the National  Bullying Prevention Center that shows that one out of every five students report being bullied, and 41 percent of students who reported being bullied at school fear that it will occur again. Cami Peggar from the United Way of Door County’s STRIDE program says bullying can have a long-lasting effect on an individual, even outside of a school setting.


Adding to the stress of bullying is that it does not have to be done in person anymore. The National Bullying Prevention Center says the percentage of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lives has doubled since 2007, from 18 percent to 37 percent in 2019.

 

Powerball, Mega Millions poised for big jackpots

Do not be shocked if you see people holding lottery tickets for two games this week. The winning numbers for the Powerball and Mega Millions games were not drawn over the weekend, setting the stage for one of the largest combined jackpots in history. The Powerball jackpot stands at $800 million, the sixth largest in the game’s history. The Mega Millions jackpot is currently at $1.1 billion, which is currently the fifth largest in the game’s history. Between the two games, there have only been six jackpots that have eclipsed $1 billion and all of them have occurred in the last 10 years. The games are played on different days, with the Powerball drawing taking place on Monday and Mega Millions occurring on Tuesday. You would have to strike gold twice to get close to the biggest jackpot of all time, which was an over $2 billion Powerball jackpot won in November 2022.

 

Ten Women in Ten Days:  Belgian Heritage Center's Barb Chisholm

The Belgian settlement in Door County has many stories from the past, but the person who presents a reenactment of her ancestors' experience and survival during the Great Fire of 1871 may be the most fascinating. Barb Englebert Chisholm of Sturgeon Bay brings her great-grandmother's story to life by portraying her at the Belgian Heritage Center every October when it commemorates the historic fire that decimated Williamsville in southern Door County.  


Chisholm, who grew up in Misere near Brussels, is a fifth-generation Belgian-American who graduated from Southern Door High School in 1964. She graduated from nursing school in Oshkosh and worked 47 years as a registered nurse at Door County Memorial Hospital (now called Door County Medical Center) before her retirement.


A volunteer at the Belgian Heritage Center in Namur, Chisholm has recreated how the Great Fire impacted the Belgian community through the eyes of her great-grandmother, Emmerance Gaspard Englebert.


Chisholm dresses in character while sharing how her ancestors survived the fiery inferno of the Peshtigo Fire by climbing down a well. She wanted to make history more interesting with the portrayal and pay homage to her family's ancestry.


 


Chisholm often reflects on how the families who survived the fire handled the devastating experience, especially after the blaze in rebuilding the Belgian community.  

 
Staying active in retirement, Chisholm also volunteers with the hospital auxiliary while living in Sturgeon Bay with her husband, Mike. They have three sons and three grandchildren who live in Northeastern Wisconsin.

 

You can listen to our full interview with Chisholm below.       (photos contributed)

 

 

Jackson returns to Algoma as City Treasurer

A familiar face will return to Algoma to handle the city’s finances.  After a search of nearly six months for a city treasurer, Jamie Jackson has been hired by the City of Algoma.  Jackson served as the city clerk for four years before leaving in 2022 for a position with the City of Two Rivers and, most recently, with the Luxemburg-Casco School District.  Algoma City Administrator Matt Murphy says everyone at City Hall is happy to see Jackson back.

 

 

Jackson will take over the treasurer position on April 1st, succeeding  Amber Shallow, who left the treasurer post last October.  

ADRC to host discussion groups for aging plans

If you did not weigh in on the county’s aging plan via survey, you can do it in person beginning next month. The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Door County will host a series of discussion groups at its meal sites in Baileys Harbor, Brussels, Washington Island, Liberty Grove, and Sturgeon Bay. By hosting a survey earlier this month and the discussion groups, the hope is they can educate the community about the county’s aging plan and identify areas for improvement. The last time the ADRC conducted this survey in 2021, it identified several goals to institute, such as expanding programming at its meal sites, expanding its Meals on Wheels program, addressing the caregiver and advocate shortages, and promoting education opportunities for fall protection. ADRC Director Jenny Fitzgerald says the feedback they receive during the process is important.

The state requires the counties’ ADRCs to complete a strategic plan that serves as a platform to create, improve, and expand services in the communities they serve. You can find the full schedule of discussion groups listed below.

 

The meetings will take place at the following locations and times below, each of the locations are wheelchair accessible for those who need additional accommodations.

 

Baileys Harbor Meal Site - 2392 County Rd F, Baileys Harbor

Friday, April 5th at 12:30 p.m.

 

Brussels Meal Site – 1366 Junction Rd, Brussels

Thursday, April 11th at 12:00p.m.

 

Washington Island Meal Site - 910 Main Rd, Washington Island

Friday, April 12th at 11:00a.m.     

 

Liberty Grove Meal Site - 11161 Old Stage Rd, Sister Bay

Monday, April 15th at 12:30p.m.

 

Sturgeon Bay Meal Site - 916 N. 14th Ave, Sturgeon Bay

Tuesday, April 30th at 12:30p.m.

Easter Vigil marks fresh start for new Catholics

While Christians around the world mark Easter as the beginning of a new life for Jesus after being crucified, the night before means something more for many Catholics. The Easter Vigil mass is held during the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The occasion is often marked with candles lighting the sanctuary. While other Christian denominations may celebrate the Easter Vigil, Catholics use it to welcome new members into the church. The yearlong process for adults begins with a series of classes. It concludes during the mass with the individuals celebrating their baptism, their first communion and their confirmation all in one night. Father Dan Schuster of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco will host one of its first conversions during the Easter Vigil for the first time in a number of years this Saturday. He says it is always special to see individuals immerse themselves in their faith.

Area Christians will celebrate the Triduum of Easter beginning with Maundy or Holy Thursday, followed by Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

EGGStravaganza highlights Crossroads Easter week activities

EGGStravaganza will again take place at Crossroads at Big Creek on Saturday, March 30th at 2:00. Understand that this is NOT an Easter Egg Hunt, but rather a special session of our weekly Family Science Saturday program. Generations of families have discovered that learning about the science of eggs is enjoyable, educational and memorable.

 

The program begins in the auditorium with several remarkable videos showing how, over a period of 21 days, a single-cell chicken embryo develops into a fluffy yellow chick inside a thin shell.  

 

Following the videos,  families will move into the science lab to dissect unfertilized eggs.

 

Then, the real fun begins. To demonstrate the phenomenal structural strength of an eggshell, participants will roll, squeeze, and toss eggs…. and even drop raw eggs out of the second-story window of the Collins Learning Center. Finally, the whole group goes outside unless the weather is extraordinarily unpleasant, and each young person gets one egg with which to experiment. (This has the potential to be messy.)

We have learned over the years  that participants get the idea that all eggs are similar….that they are all “ovoid,” which comes from the Latin word for egg and means “egg-shaped.” But eggs, even those of our native Door County birds, come in various shapes.

 

Many eggs are tapered—almost pointy at one end, but our owls lay round eggs, and cavity nesters like woodpeckers and chickadees and birds with cup nests lay eggs that are roundish or oval.

 

I had been taught that egg  shape was determined by "the roll factor." Spherical eggs could easily roll off a cliff. But eggs with pointy ends would roll in tight circles, making them perfect for cliff-nesting birds or, in our case, ground-nesting killdeer. In contrast, the eggs of cavity nesters or birds with cup-shaped nests are not going to roll anywhere, so they can be round or oval.

 

Clearly, egg shape adaptations have survival advantages, so I never questioned this explanation. But Mary Caswell Stoddard, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, did question it.

 

She pulled together a team of researchers from both sides of the Atlantic who, using photographs stored in an online database at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley, measured 49,175 bird eggs collected all over the world for the past one hundred years.  The researchers looked at two features: asymmetry, or how pointy the eggs are, and ellipticity, or how much the eggs deviate from a perfect sphere.”

 

They then, using a special computer program, ran their data through a whole raft of variables (many of which I would not have thought of), searching for correlations, and they found one! One they didn’t anticipate.

 

"We discovered that flight may influence egg shape," according to Stoddard.

 

She explained, “To maintain sleek and streamlined bodies for flight, birds appear to lay eggs that are more asymmetric or elliptical. With these egg shapes, birds can maximize egg volume without increasing the egg’s width – this is an advantage in narrow oviducts.”

 

In other words, slender birds that fly well produce long, tapered eggs.

 

The eggs we examine during  EGGStravaganza will be ovoid, and if conditions allow,  visitors might be able to visit the chunky-bodied hens that lay egg-shaped eggs.

 

Speaking of eggs, a student from Sawyer School already has found salamander eggs in Big Creek, and this is the time of year northern pike and suckers usually swim up the creek to spawn.

 

Due to our extremely dry winter, Big Creek is very shallow and we do not know when or even if fish will come into the preserve.  BUT…follow Crossroads on Facebook or watch our website. We will post progress and offer pop-up programs when conditions are promising.

 

 

Wednesday, March 27 

10:00 Crossroads Book Club

This month the selected book is  “The Genius of Birds” by Jennifer Ackerman. Whether you’ve read the book yet or not, we would love for you to join us as we explore the stories, ideas, and concepts shared within the pages of these awesome book! Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan, Sturgeon Bay

 

Saturday, March 30

 

8:30 Habitat Healers Kickoff Breakfast

Habitat Healers has been an ongoing volunteer effort at Crossroads for years. This year we invite you to join us for a hearty breakfast (cherry stuffed French toast courtesy of our volunteers) as we discuss the plans, changes, and details for Habitat Healers in the 2024 season. Whether or not you’ve been a Habitat Healer in the past, we invite you to join us this season! Visit our website Crossroads at Big Creek for details and to RSVP

 

 

 

Family Program: EGGStravaganza

During this event, a Crossroads tradition,  learners of all ages will view videos and  participate in  a number of (potentially messy) demonstrations and activities, ranging from egg dissections to a raw egg toss. Yes, we will be dropping eggs out the lab windows and an outdoor component, so dress for the weather.  Free and open to the learners of all ages. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan, Sturgeon Bay.

Rise and brine for area roads

Do not be shocked if you see the unmistakable white lines of brine on area roads again ahead of the work week. According to the National Weather Service, snow is expected to hit the area again after 1 p.m. on Sunday and continue through Monday morning before it gives way to rain. One snow removal tool used more among municipalities is a salt brine mixture used to pre-treat the roads before a potential storm. The hope is that pre-treating the roads will delay the slippery conditions that complement a snowstorm for motorists coming through the area. It can also stretch out salt supplies and keep the treatment on the roads instead of being kicked off onto the shoulder or other places. Salt brine also has its critics because of its ability to coat cars after it is freshly sprayed, and in some communities, it is being used more often than may be needed. Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash says they stick to a formula for applying salt brine to area roads and pick the spots where they use it.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, they can cover 209 miles when they spread $1,000 of road salt as a brine compared to 80 miles without mixing it.  Wisconsin used 387,000 tons of road salt during the 2021-2022 winter season, compared to 325,000 tons in 2020-2021 and 425,000 tons in 2019-2021.

Ten Women in Ten Days: Peninsula Dance Council's Ginka Cohn

Somewhere, you can still hear Ginka Cohn’s toe-tapping. Born in 1923, Cohn grew up in Milwaukee, following her passion for dance in New York City and Cambridge, Mass., before returning to Madison to major in dance. According to the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, Cohn would go on to form the Milwaukee Modern Dance Council, presenting shows and giving scholarships to aspiring young dancers. She even inspired dancers through the magic of television with “Figure Fun,” a live dance and exercise program aired on WTMJ-TV. According to her obituary, a bout with polio not only helped her find a hobby but also her true love. During her polio recovery, she took up ceramics and was introduced to Abe Cohn, who would later become her husband, the father of her children, and her business partner at the Potter’s Wheel in Fish Creek. She began her love of dance north, forming the Peninsula Dance Council in the 1960s. She was a mainstay of the council, teaching classes until 2007, and earned special recognition from the Wisconsin Dance Council. Cohn passed away in 2011, with her husband joining her two years later. 

 

Photo courtesy of Legacy.com

Navigating life like a video game

I never know where the ideas for these articles will come from, and this one is a great example. I was walking with our Son James the other day, and we were discussing the impact we have on others and how others impact us. We were sharing concerns over the decreased level of community involvement in both of our generations, and he made a comment about not wanting to become an “NPC”. This was a moment of generational disconnect as I had never heard of this acronym. I asked what in the world an “NPC” was, to which he replied a “Non-Playable Character”. He went on to say that in the world of video games, as you are navigating through a given challenge or journey, there are characters who present themselves along the way. He said that at first, you think that these characters have something to add to your journey, so you engage with them only to find out they lack any real response or support. They are just there. They may utter some repetitive phrase, or amusing actions, but beyond that, there is no substance.

      

This was some profound thinking, and I was so impressed with how he made that connection. It got me thinking about my own life, and those times when I may have been a source of support and encouragement (a playable character), and those times when I wasn’t really in the moment or present for those who were relying on me to help them in their journey (a non-playable character).

       

think of the numerous interactions we all have each and every day. Whether it be coming and going from grocery stores, and gas stations or in our place of education or work. Have we become merely an irrelevant character in the lives of those around us, uttering comical phrases or repeating useless speculation or rumor? Or, are we someone who has meaning and purpose, who engage in the support and encouragement of those struggling on their journey?

      

I put this challenge to our young adults ready to embark upon their given journey in life. Be a playable character. Be there for those around you. Be in the moment. Enter into the arena of life with nothing less than absolute passion for what you believe and the values you hold dear. In the video game of life, don’t play to win, play to thrive. Play in such a way that when the game is over, you have given it your all, and in looking back on your journey, you can count both successes and failures not by what was won or lost, but by the lives you’ve impacted and the differences you made. While we can’t hit the “Play Again” button on life, we can learn and adjust our character along the way. 

Ten Women in Ten Days: The Clearing's Mertha Fulkerson

While Jens Jensen gets much of the credit, you may have never been able to experience an art class at The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay without the work of Mertha Fulkerson. In 1935, Jensen recruited Fulkerson to join him in Door County to start The Clearing on his family’s property following the death of his wife. Fulkerson promised Jensen one year, but she stayed at The Clearing until 1969. The Clearing attracted mostly landscape architect students who wanted to study under Jensen until he passed away in 1951. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau would come in a couple of years later and brought Fulkerson aboard as its resident manager. In 1954, she collaborated with faculty from the University of Chicago on a curriculum that would attract a broader audience by turning their focus to arts, crafts, natural sciences, and humanities. Executive Director Mike Schneider says The Clearing Folk School would not exist as it does today without Fulkerson.

Fulkerson passed away in January 1971, less than two years after she retired from The Clearing Folk School. Through the end of the month, we will celebrate the women who helped shape Door County for future generations. You can listen to our full interview with Schneider below.

 

 

Photo courtesy of The Clearing Folk School

Door County looks to construct new maintenance building

The Door County Facilities and Parks Department will have a little more elbow room to operate in if the Door County Board of Supervisors approves an expanded maintenance garage at John Miles County Park. This will be the second time the over $1 million project has come before the board after it decided not to award a construction bid or provide non-budgeted funding for the project in January. After revising and rebidding the project, it is prepared to award it to Hobart-based Bayland Buildings. With a bid of $860,742 and four alternates at a cost of $102,217, the project is expected to be under budget. The Door County Board of Supervisors will also consider amendments to the floodplain zoning ordinance and discuss changes to the powers and duties of county board sub-units when they meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Door County Government Center.

Farmers keep close eye on weather ahead of planting season

Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta says this has been among the more interesting winters that he can remember for farmers.

 

Before the area saw snowfall on Friday, some farmers got out to their fields to spread nutrients and see some green up with cover crops. Barta says the dry weather has some farmers concerned early on in the season as they are used to a couple of inches of snow covering their fields at this point in the year. He adds that the wheat and alfalfa crops starting to come out of dormancy are their biggest concerns since other crops like soybeans and corn have yet to go into the ground.

Barta advises farmers to keep an eye on the numbers as much as the temperatures, with the price of some commodities dropping in the market. He is thankful that some costs, such as fertilizers and chemicals, have remained steady.

 

The United States Department of Agriculture will release its first Crop Progress and Condition Report on April 1st.

 

Algoma begins Phase 2 of Division Street project Monday

You will see orange construction barrels and crews popping up on Division Street again in Algoma starting next Monday.  City Administrator Matt Murphy says the second phase of the 2023-24 Division Street project will begin at the intersection of Navarino Street and stretch about four blocks to Fremont Street.  Drivers are asked to avoid the area and take an alternate route while crews work.  According to Murphy, the complete street rebuild, including storm and sewer lines, should be substantially completed by the end of July.  

 

 

After the contractor finishes the Division Street project, road and utility work will start on Frank Avenue from Jefferson Street to Washington Street.  For residents impacted by the construction on Division and Frank Streets, garbage pickup will continue on Tuesdays, but the roadside should put out containers by 6 a.m.  

Top Chef: Wisconsin teases Door County challenge in premiere

The season premiere of Top Chef: Wisconsin may have occurred in Milwaukee, but the episode promised you some unmistakably Door County for later. Fifteen chefs from across the country will be traveling around the state competing for the title of Top Chef while being judged by Top Chef: Seattle winner Kristen Kish, among others. Members of the Destination Door County team were able to join in the festivities of Wednesday’s premiere party at Discovery World in Milwaukee. Chief Communications Officer Jon Jarosh says he does not know when the Door County episode will air. Still, the sights of cherries and a fish boil during the closing minutes of the season premiere excited him for what is to come.

To coincide with this year's National Travel and Tourism Week, Destination Door County will host a watch party of the show on May 22nd with more details to come. Fans of Wisconsin cuisine and the television show do have a local rooting interest, as Milwaukee restauranteur Dan Jacobs is among the contestants. Top Chef: Wisconsin airs on Wednesdays on Bravo and Peacock.

 

Picture courtesy of Bravo, Top Chef, and NBCUniversal

Cost savings help Southern Door revive greenhouse project

Thanks to some good luck on the construction front, you will see a greenhouse grow at Southern Door School District. Miron Construction shared an update with the Southern Door School Board during its meeting on Monday, pointing out that some contingency funds are available for the district. The contingency funds were put aside just in case there were unexpected costs like price increases, design modifications, and weather-induced delays. Since Miron Construction did not have to dip into those funds, they will be able to build the greenhouse and complete it by the end of this summer. While the contingency funds will cover the building, interim Superintendent Tony Klaubauf says the district is looking at ways to pay for what it needs to fill it.

Phase two of the referendum projects, which includes the multi-purpose athletic facility, is on track to be finished before next school year. Klaubauf says they are working on some of the details of the new facility, such as naming rights, the location of its fitness center, and public access.

Messy morning commute possible with winter weather advisory

If you thought you were done with winter, Mother Nature wants you to guess again. Early Thursday morning, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Friday, affecting much of northern Wisconsin, including Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties. The advisory stretches from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m., with two to four inches of snow expected. The snow is expected to fall the hardest between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., making the Friday morning commute likely slippery and hazardous. Despite not having to be used much this winter, Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash says his crews are ready.

Ash says they will apply a salt brine mixture to the road on Thursday in anticipation of the winter event on Friday, focusing most of their attention on the county’s hills, curves, roundabout, and heavily wooded areas. The National Weather Service also warns of a small cyclone that could bring snow to the area late Sunday into Monday, but it is too far away to determine the exact accumulation totals.

Sturgeon Bay home added to State Register of Historic Places

After placing several shipwrecks on the State Register of Historic Places, the Wisconsin Historical Society has listed a landmark above the water for you to enjoy in Sturgeon Bay.

 

Earlier this week, the organization listed the Dr. Joseph and Olivia Soper House as one of its latest entries to the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places. Located on 5th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay, the over 140-year-old Italianate home was added to the register because it is the only residential structure made with Frear artificial stone. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the artificial stone was manufactured in Door County by Giles Kirtland, a former superintendent at the Frear Stone Manufacturing Company in Chicago, who purchased the rights to manufacture and sell the product in Sturgeon Bay. Frear stone was used at the Soper House for the block veneer, the drip course above the foundation, window sills, and decorative hoods over the windows, though much of it was replaced with more modern concrete forms a few years later.

 

Of the more than 2,500 entries listed on the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places, approximately 80 are in Door County. The Soper House is now one of more than a dozen sites in Sturgeon Bay listed on the register, which includes the city’s post office, former library, and Michigan Street Bridge.

KCEDC shares details of housing project

You will certainly see more coming from the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation about their role in addressing affordable housing in the area. Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation shared the details of Project Homestead with the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors during its Tuesday night meeting. Pointing to the small population of even its biggest communities, Nelson said the KCEDC would act like a developer as they look to bring contractors to the table.  Leading the efforts are City of Kewaunee Administrator Heath Eddy, Village of Luxemburg President Dan Porath, City of Algoma Administrator Matt Murphy, Luxemburg-Casco Superintendent Jo-Ellen Fairbanks, Bank of Luxemburg CEO Tim Treml, and Jordan Ebert from Ebert Enterprises and the Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce. The project's goal is to build affordable housing and fund future development in the county. Nelson says the program would be modeled off some aspects of what is being done in Sheboygan County, which puts some standards on who can purchase the homes being built.

Nelson added that local businesses are also prepared to sign onto the project later. The Kewaunee County Board also received an update on Bug Tussel’s progress and the county’s jail project. It also unanimously approved a snowmobile and ATV trail maintenance grant and gave the ok to purchase tri-axle equipment packages for the highway department by an 18-1 vote.

 

 

Kitchens announces re-election campaign

Rep. Joel Kitchens wants to represent you in Madison for another term. The Sturgeon Bay Republican officially launched his re-election campaign to hold onto the seat that he has held since 2014. Kitchens listed the passage of the Right to Read Act and Kelsey Smith Act, the rescue of the Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower from demolition, and the deliverance of mental health help for first responders among his significant accomplishments from his previous term. He says he still has plenty of passion for the job and lots to do as a state representative.

With the deadline to file the necessary paperwork to run still over two months away, Kitchens is the first person to announce their candidacy to represent Wisconsin’s First Assembly District. He has garnered at least 60 percent of the vote in the last four elections.

Manitowoc radio personality dies in car crash

One of the two victims who died in two separate accidents in Little Suamico on Tuesday was a long-time radio personality and WOMT staff member.   Thomas Dernlan, known as Tom Craig on the radio, died from a one-vehicle crash on US Highway 41/141.   

 

According to authorities, emergency crews arrived shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday on a stretch on US Highway 41/141 for a single vehicle on Brown Road.  A pickup truck was on top of a cable barrier in the median, with the driver unresponsive.

 

The Oconto County Sheriff’s Office reported that Craig, 66, was the driver of a van that struck an equipment truck parked on the side of the road of the northbound lane in the secondary crash.  The driver of the equipment truck had stopped to offer assistance.

 

The pickup truck driver who died was a 32-year-old man from Oconto, and Craig's wife, who was a passenger in the van, was transported to a Green Bay hospital for treatment of injuries. 

 

The crash remains under investigation by the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department. 

 

WOMT issued this press release on Wednesday morning

WOMT Radio is saddened to share the sudden passing of on-air personality Tom  Craig. On Tuesday morning, Tom was involved in a car crash while driving with his wife on Highway 41/141 in the Town of Little Suamico. 

Tom started in broadcasting in 1977, and his sultry voice was heard throughout his career on stations across Mississippi, Ohio, and Wisconsin, including Manitowoc’s WOMT and WCUB Radio. Over his nearly 50-year  career, Tom served as Program Director, Music Director, Public Service Director, Farm  Director, Talk Show Host, News Director, Sports Director, Sports Play-by-Play, and On-Air Personality. He did take a break from the mic in the 1990s when he heard the call to enter the education field, but returned to radio in the mid-2010s as he assumed the role of news director for WCUB. Even after retirement, he wanted to stay connected to his passion for radio, eventually transferring into his final mid-afternoon slot on WOMT,  where he entertained listeners every Friday. 

WOMT legend Damon Ryan called Tom a “wonderful human being. He was one of those people that had a great demeanor. Very humble, very kind.” He also noted that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, as Tom’s father, a very talented surgeon,  performed mission trips throughout his life. Damon also noted that Tom was always very prepared for his shows and never went on the air without knowing his exact vision for the shift. Tom Craig was 66 at the time of his passing and leaves behind his wife, who  was also injured in the crash, and family."

 

 

 

 

Search for Elijah Vue continues after one month mark of missing

The search for three-year-old Elijah Vue of Two Rivers continues as Wednesday marks one month since the child’s disappearance.

 

Vue was last seen on February 20, setting off a massive search with government agencies and volunteers canvassing the neighborhoods and rural areas around Two Rivers in the past month. 

 

The Two Rivers Police announced this week that Elijah’s red-and-white plaid blanket was found earlier in the search about four miles from where Jesse Vang, his mother’s boyfriend, last reported seeing him. 

 

Officials are still looking for video from any security footage possibly taken from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday, February 19, of a 1997 Nissan Altima with Wisconsin plates starting with A and ending with a zero.  Law enforcement has possession of the vehicle and wants to retrace the vehicle’s travel during that time frame.

 

Elijah’s mother, Katrina Baur, and Vang were arrested after the disappearance.  Baur was bound over for trial last week with charges of party-to-a-crime child neglect and obstructing officers, while Vang faces a charge of child neglect.  Vang is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Thursday, and his attorneys have asked for the charges to be dismissed.   

YMCA helping with training and sports performance goals

You can start the spring by getting or staying in shape with two specialized programs at the Door County YMCA.  Spring Session 1 Personal Training and Sports Performance sessions will begin next month at both program centers in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek.  Wellness Services Coordinator Aiden Labbe says having a personal trainer can help you achieve your goals and rehabilitate injuries safely.

 

 

Labbe adds that a 15 to 30-minute consultation is done before the workouts to help participants tailor a regimen to suit their needs best.  Specialty Wellness Director Abby Tesch says classes are customized to offer an easier and a harder version of exercise. She says that as the weather gets nicer, she plans to utilize the new outside sports turf at the Sturgeon Bay facility. 

 

 

  Spring Session 1 registration starts on April 15 for members and April 22 for community members.  The classes will begin on April 22; you can find more information on the Door County YMCA website.   

Sturgeon Bay moves on plans for Nautical Drive property

You will see future changes to the waterfront along Nautical Drive near the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council accepted the recommendation by the Finance Committee to approve the proposal from Edgewater Resources for a master plan with two concepts.  One will be a boater recreation concept, while the other will focus on a Visitor Center.  Both designed plans include a multi-use trail and benches, a renovated boat launch, a new “E” dock, and a Sail Training Foundation structure of 2,700 feet with an attached public restroom.  The size of the building may have to change if the City of Sturgeon Bay gets the NERR visitor center with the Nautical Drive location chosen.  The approved concepts and plans may be altered by the City if need be, and the costs of the two concepts have not yet been determined.

The council also approved the 2024 Harbor Improvement Plan and approved the second reading of the rezoning of two parcels, one at the south side of Alabama Street and the other at the corner of Utah Street and South 18th Avenue.

The final piece of business by the Sturgeon Bay Common Council was the approval of a first reading for an ordinance to deal with obstructions and encroachments on the streets and sidewalks.  The amended ordinance clarifies the application and use of outdoor seating for businesses like restaurants and cafes on public sidewalks.  The meeting adjourned after 30 minutes.  

Net farm income expects to drop another 25 percent

Much like your family’s budget, farmers will likely be doing the same things you are doing to make their bottom line work. The United States Department of Agriculture expects another 25 percent dip in net farm income in 2024, one year after farmers took about a 16 percent hit from the previous year. According to a Wisconsin Public Radio report, lower commodity prices and higher labor costs are to blame for the drop in many farms. Aerica Bjurstrom, the UW Extension Agriculture Agent for Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties, says farmers are starting to get used to this because every year is abnormal. She advises farmers to find additional uses for what they are putting into the ground to feed their animals at a later time.

Bjurstrom says programs like dairy margin coverage can help protect farmers from the pitfalls of lower prices. The UW Extension Office is offering a program via Zoom for those who have yet to apply on March 22nd. Farmers are also watching Mother Nature as they head into a possibly earlier-than-usual planting season. While soil temperatures may be higher than average, many parts of Wisconsin still battle drought conditions in their fields.

In-person absentee voting begins

Election Day is on April 2nd, but you can cast an in-person ballot as soon as today (Tuesday) if you choose. Tuesday marked the first day you could stop by your municipal clerk’s office to cast a ballot in person if you cannot vote on April 2nd and have not requested to vote absentee via the mail. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye says absentee voting has continued to be a popular option since the start of the pandemic in 2020, though it is starting to trend back downward. With several referendum questions and the Presidential Preference Primary on the ballot, Annoye is expecting a busier-than-usual spring election.

One thing that could slow things down for voters and election officials are the contests that require write-in votes to decide a contest. There are two such cases in Kewaunee County and two in Door County. Door County Clerk Jill Lau says writing the name clearly and filling in the necessary bubble will help the process.

In-person absentee voting depends on the municipality but could continue through March 31st. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is March 29th, and that ballot has to be received by the municipal clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on April 2nd. As of Tuesday, 1,534 Door County residents and 677 Kewaunee County residents had requested absentee ballots via the mail. 

Gov. Evers, DHS expands access to new oral contraception pill

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers made good on one of his promises from his State of the State Address earlier this year, announcing on Tuesday that BadgerCare Plus members can access the new daily over-the-counter contraception pill with no out-of-pocket cost. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug known as Opill last summer, making it the first daily oral contraceptive pill for use without a prescription. Online sales of the birth control drug went live on Monday, but Evers’ standing order will make it accessible to those under the state’s BadgerCare Plus program.

 
“As we see continued attacks on women’s reproductive freedoms here in Wisconsin and across our country, our work to ensure Wisconsinites can access the reproductive healthcare they need when they need it has never been more important,” said Gov. Evers. “Having the new Opill on the shelves across Wisconsin will expand access to more contraception options while also making it easier for folks to get the contraception they need when it works for them. And, through the standing order, I’m directing today, we’re making sure BadgerCare Plus members can access this new reproductive care at no out-of-pocket cost to them, too—that’s a big deal, folks.” “Streamlining access to contraception for BadgerCare Plus members helps them to make their own choices about their future,” said DHS Secretary Kirsten Johnson. “We appreciate the strong partnership of our pharmacy providers to help support the health needs of their communities.”


Pro-life groups like Pro-Life Wisconsin opposed the FDA’s approval of the drug, saying last July that hormonal birth control is not just dangerous to the newly formed baby but also the mother. “Just as hormonal birth control deceives a woman’s body by disrupting her natural hormonal cycle and filling her with synthetic hormones, the FDA is deceiving women across the United States into thinking this dangerous drug is safe and effective.” 

 

Wisconsin lawmakers had been working on a bill that would have allowed pharmacists to prescribe birth control before Opill’s approval. Known as Assembly Bill 176/Senate Bill 211, it is awaiting scheduling by the Wisconsin State Senate.

Kick Ash Products recalls granola product

The owners of Kick Ash Products in Ellison Bay want you to stay safe after an allergen was found in one of its batches of granola. Last week, Kick Ash Products recalled its dark chocolate cherry granola. According to its post, almonds were added to one of the batches, making it an undeclared allergen that is present in the item’s packaging. If you have one of the identified bags, you can return it for a full refund or a replacement. You can find the complete recall information below.

 

 

Free Public Health Skin Cancer Screenings coming in April

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department is sponsoring a free skin cancer screening next month. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Every day, about 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer. Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says skin cancer is the most common form and can be detected with a simple test. She notes that skin cancer screening exams are the best way to catch melanoma and other skin cancers early. 

 

 

The Free Skin Cancer Screening will be held on Saturday, April 13, from 8:30 a.m. until noon at Prevea Health Center in Luxemburg. The screening is open for all ages and will also provide you with information on the danger signs of skin cancer and how to protect your skin. You can register in advance by calling the Kewaunee County Public Health Department at 920-388-7160.  

Kelsey Smith Act heads to Governor's Desk

A bill heading to Governor Tony Evers’ desk aims to give you more peace of mind if a loved one goes missing. The Wisconsin State Senate approved Assembly Bill 960 by a 29-3 vote that would require wireless providers to turn over device location information to law enforcement without a warrant. It could only occur if a customer or subscriber consents, if the provider believes an emergency involves a possible death or serious bodily harm, and if the location information is relevant and crucial. Over 30 states across the country have similar laws on the books. Rep. Joel Kitchens says he worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to iron out certain aspects of the bill to address privacy concerns.

The bill is also known as the Kelsey Smith Act, named after a Kansas teenager who was abducted and murdered in 2007. It is believed that using location data would have helped track down Smith sooner, but her cell phone provider was apprehensive about sharing the data. Kitchens credited Connor Waterstreet, a member of the Door County YMCA Youth in Government organization, with bringing the law to his attention.

 

Photo courtesy of State Rep. Joel Kitchens

Alleged bullying led to Gibraltar student bringing gun to school

Seventeen-year-old Aidan Rice says a former student led to him bringing a gun to Gibraltar Secondary School on Friday.

 

According to WLUK-TV, Rice was released on a $5,000 signature bond on Monday after appearing in court. In his criminal complaint, Rice said he was scared of a former student, a person who allegedly pounded on a bathroom door while he was at Wal-Mart a week prior.  School Resource Officer Heather Bemmann stated that the unidentified student had not been on campus since last November. Rice added in the complaint that he knew it was illegal to bring the gun, but he had it to protect himself in case the former student showed up. Rice may have had the gun on him on Thursday when a classmate noted that he said “something about someone chasing him in a park” before tapping on his jacket.

 

Rice was arrested last Friday for possessing the gun on school property and stayed in Door County Sheriff’s Department custody until Monday. He will still have to wear a GPS unit as a condition of his release, in addition to having no contact with Gibraltar Area Schools and not possessing any firearms. He is due back in court on May 13th at 10 a.m.

Kewaunee County gets updates from KCEDC, Bug Tussel

The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors will get a pair of reports during its final meeting ahead of the April 2nd Spring Election.

 

Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ben Nelson is slated to give an update that will likely include details on its affordable housing efforts. In January, the organization announced it submitted a grant proposal to build the housing stock in Algoma, Kewaunee, and the Village of Luxemburg. The KCEDC is seeking collaborative partnerships to help make the plan a reality after a 2019 housing study showed that 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.

 

Bug Tussel will also provide an update after its Executive Director of Public Affairs, Scott Feldt, addressed several customer concerns in December at the county board meeting.

 

The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors will also weigh in on a financial assistance grant for its snowmobile and ATV trails and a resolution to upgrade its highway department equipment when it meets on Tuesday at the Kewaunee County Administration Center beginning at 6 p.m.

Door and Kewaunee counties remain in high fire danger zone

No incidents occurred over the weekend, but you are still encouraged to take the proper steps if you are burning outside this spring. Door and Kewaunee counties are among the 42 currently at a high fire danger level. The other 30 counties shuffled levels over the past week, with 19 counties in west central Wisconsin being upgraded to the very high fire danger level. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources last Friday, there were over 80 wildfires across the state last week, burning 182 acres. That brings the yearly total to 244 fires burning over 500 acres, with the bulk of that starting from debris burning. When Door and Kewaunee counties first entered the high fire danger level earlier this year, Chris Hecht from the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove said there are ways you can help prevent an accidental grass or brush fire.

Burn permits are issued by individual fire departments in Door and Kewaunee counties, unlike several counties in northern and central Wisconsin that are under DNR forest fire protection regulations. Many of those counties cannot receive a burn permit because of the current conditions.

City looks at two plans for Nautical Drive property

No matter what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UW-Green Bay decide, you will notice some changes to a portion of Sturgeon Bay’s waterfront coming in the future.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will look at concepts developed by Edgewater Resources for city-owned property on Nautical Drive near the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. When Edgewater Resources representatives were in town in December, People living near the site were also contacted so they could meet with the consultants to get their input on what they would like to see. Some ideas floated for the site included improving the dock wall, building a structure for the Sail Training Foundation, and returning the “E” dock. City Planner Stephanie Servia said at the time that if the city is chosen for the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) facility and if that site is slated for it, the plans will have to be tweaked.

 

The plans being presented to the council on Tuesday consider both possibilities. Both designs include a multi-use trail and benches, a bridge across a nearby creek, a renovated boat launch, a new e-dock, and sail foundation docks. The most significant difference between the two site plans is a 6,000-square-foot building for the NERR Visitor Center. The Sail Training Foundation would also have a building in both concepts, but the size would fluctuate if the city gets the NERR visitor center and the Nautical Drive site is chosen. The price tag for both concepts has not been determined.

 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also look to discuss the 2024 Harbor Improvement Plan, approve the rezoning of two parcels, and hear the first reading of an ordinance dealing with obstructions and encroachments on city streets and sidewalks. The meeting will start in the council chambers at city hall beginning at 6 p.m.

Brighter days ahead on Bayview Bridge with maintenance project

Things will be looking brighter on the Bayview Bridge on Monday, but they will delay your trips across the water for the day.

 

On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced that traffic across the Bayview Bridge will be partially restricted on Monday due to crews repairing the existing lights on the center span. Flagging operations will control traffic from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Motorists looking to avoid delays due to flagging operations can always cut through downtown Sturgeon Bay and use either the Maple/Oregon Street Bridge or the Michigan Street Bridge. 

Door County Seed Library kicks off season

You may have to wait a few weeks to plant, but you can at least get the seeds you want beginning Monday. The Door County Seed Library will host its season launch party on Monday at the Egg Harbor Library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The seed library holds hundreds of vegetable and flower seeds, gardening books, and magazines. A joint venture with the Door County Master Gardeners, The Community’s Garden, Extension Door County, and Wild Ones of the Door Peninsula, the Door County Library also has seed libraries at Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, Fish Creek, Forestville, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, Sturgeon Bay, and Washington Island. The seeds will be available now through the end of summer.

Ecology takes focus at Crossroads

This week, the public programs at Crossroads will feature weather, native landscapes and birds, which, though different, are related because in ecology, everything is.

 

On Saturday, March 23 at 2:00, during  our free family program, Saturday Science, learners of all ages will explore WEATHER! The topic was selected long ago because March is known for its changeable range of weather….lions and lambs… and so forth. But we certainly will not be able explain the bizarre weather we have experienced recently. 

 

Theories ranging from sunspot activity or El Nino to shifts in the jet stream have flooded the Internet, but truly, the scientific community is baffled. And predictions about what this weather will mean to our migrating birds and fish, to our orchards and to our lawns and crops are speculation at best.

 

That said, families will enjoy “making” a cloud and participating in hands-on demonstrations about wind and precipitation.

 

Door County Master Gardeners, Wild Ones-Door Peninsula and Crossroads at Big Creek have joined forces to bring Justin Kroening of Stone Silo Prairie Gardeners Nursery to the Collins Learning Center to present the free public program: “Solving Door County Landscaping Problems with Native Plants” on Tuesday, March 26 at 6:30pm.

 

When you think about it, many landscaping problems on the Door Peninsula are the result of extreme weather, and it does seem that extreme weather is becoming more common.  

 

Some winters are bitter cold. Other winters are warm to the extent the plants and seeds do not experience the requisite days of dormancy.  A late frost can prevent some flowers [think fruit trees] from blooming and bearing fruit. Some years [think last summer] it was far too dry. We all remembers summers during which we were flooded by perpetual rain or sudden violent storm events.

 

Inclement weather is nothing new. The Door Peninsula has been experiencing adverse weather conditions throughout its existence. During some geologic  periods, weather was far more extreme than the conditions we have now.

Our native plants are the survivors of past adverse conditions. Native trees, shrubs and wildflowers have adapted to our  soil conditions. They have survived the Little Ice Age.  Unlike turf grass, natives have roots deep enough to have survived during prolonged droughts.

 

In contrast, many plants brought in from other parts of the world, while attractive and apparently desirable, usually do just fine in temperate years. But they just can’t make it under extreme conditions.

 

In his talk, Justin will recommend ways to landscape with the native plants which have adapted to our weather and climate.

 

The next day, the Crossroads Book Club will discuss the award winning  “Genius of Birds”  an entertaining book which highlights new findings and discoveries in the field of bird intelligence. All are welcome, whether or not they have read the book,  to join Program Director Corey Batson around the fireplace for a lively discussion.

 

Clearly birds are intelligent. For example, songbirds almost always choose to nest in landscapes with native plants.

 

Understand that parent birds need the proteins and fats necessary to sustain themselves while involved in the arduous tasks of building nests and raising their families. And they need to be able to find even more nutritious food for  their offspring.

 

For our songbirds, the best source of nutrients is caterpillars. But most moths and butterflies are quite particular in selecting the plants---almost always native—on which to lay their eggs.

 

It’s fun to watch songbirds select nest sites that will provide both cover and adequate food.  They bounce through the trees and shrubs obviously looking for something.

 

They are looking for holes and insect damage in leaves. Most of us never even notice the tiny holes in host plants, but  birds can recognize a nest territory that will supply the food they need to raise a family…. hopefully in our landscapes.  Avian geniuses know they need natives in any kind of weather.

 

 

Saturday, March 23

Family Program: Science Saturday: Weather

 This free family program will begin with a brief video followed by a number of hands-on activities exploring the basics of weather. Kids will "make a cloud" and participate in hand-on activities focusing on air, heat, and water. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan Street.

 

Tuesday, March 26

7:30 Master Gardener/Wild Ones/Crossroads Program:Solving Door County Landscape Problems with Native Plants 

 Many gardeners in Door County are interested in using more native plants because they provide food for insects, birds, bats, small mammals and other wildlife, but they’re unsure how to successfully use these plants. At the next Door County Master Gardeners Educational Lecture, Justin Kroening, owner of Stone Silo Prairie Gardens, will explore how to solve Door County landscape problems with native plants. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be in-person at Collin Learning Center, Crossroads,2041 Michigan, Sturgeon BAy

 

Wednesday, March 27

10:00 am  Crossroads Book Club: The Genius of Birds

 

This month we’re reading The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman. Crossroads will have a few copies of the book available to borrow if needed.

Whether you’ve read the book yet or not, we would love for you to join us as we explore the stories, ideas, and concepts shared within the pages of these awesome books! Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan, Sturgeon Bay

Dillon resigning a boon for Door County

You can expect to see the Mayor of Door County around town for at least another year. The Green Bay Packers reportedly resigned running back AJ Dillon to a four-year qualifying offer on Thursday that keeps the famous player in the Green and Gold for another season with little risk for the franchise if he does not make the 53-man roster. Dillon has been a common sight for Door County visitors and residents since he was drafted by the Packers in 2020. He received a key to the county in 2021 and was featured on the cover of a local publication in 2023. He also frequently posts about his Door County exploits on his social media channels, whether on a rooftop with goats or with his family at one of the area’s restaurants. Last summer, Destination Door County’s Jon Jarosh said his authenticity is as important as the reach his posts get, which helped showcase the area to a new audience.

Door County did lose one of its celebrity fans to free agency earlier this week when safety Jonathan Owens, who is married to Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, was signed by the Chicago Bears. Biles and other members of the Packers took social media by storm last Memorial Day when the team celebrated the holiday in Door County. 

Defacing election signs is against the law

Although this may be a bit early, I have had some calls voicing concerns about the placement of election signs, so I thought I would resurrect a previous article on this very subject. Be mindful that the laws and regulations governing election signs pertain to the spring primary as well as the typical fall election season.

    

We are so lucky to live in a free and democratic society where we choose our elected officials every two years, four years, or, in some cases, six years. We should be grateful for those who take the time and commit to put their name on a ballot and serve our communities at all levels. Having said that, we need to respect the process by which these men and women promote themselves and their views in seeking these important offices.

    

One of the most visible signs that we are, in fact, in an election cycle is the presence of election signs either on private property or on rented billboards. The tampering or outright theft of these pieces of property is just that, and it is just as much a violation as if any other personal property was stolen or damaged. The state statutes that cover theft (943.20) or Damage to Property (943.01) also apply in these incidents. Any reports of such violations will be investigated, and charges referred to just as in any other complaints of similar criminal behavior.

     

Regarding the placement of signs by candidates, Wisconsin State Statute Chapter 12 governs those seeking public office and sets forth the restrictions and allowances regarding campaign material. At a local level, a few things to consider is making sure these signs are, in fact, on private property and not either on publicly owned property or posted in the public right of ways along the side of roads. Also, there are specific regulations requiring specific language that must be present on all election signs as well as any election material being handed out or circulated. We have all seen these statements in small print “Authorized and Paid for by……” but many are not aware that this is actually required by election regulations.

      

Even when posting on private property, it is common courtesy to ask permission before posting these signs.

       

While we may not hold similar views to all candidates, we owe them the respect that is due to them for putting themselves out and sacrificing their time and resources to make our communities stronger and engage in our democratic process. Thank you to all who serve in elected office, and good luck to those currently seeking office.     

Gibraltar student arrested for firearm possession

A 17-year-old Gibraltar student is in custody after he brought a handgun to school. A staff member notified Gibraltar’s school resource officer that the student may have brought a gun to school. After being interviewed by the officer and a school administrator, a Ruger .38 Special revolver was found, prompting the arrest by the Town of Gibraltar Police Department. The student will remain in jail pending a court appearance on Monday. The Door County District Attorney is deciding if the Class I felony charge that comes with knowingly possessing a firearm on school grounds is an appropriate charge or if additional charges could be added. The investigation is ongoing, and the Door County Sheriff’s Department and Gibraltar School District are working together to follow up with additional witnesses. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the incident is a reminder that parents should have conversations with their children about school safety and the importance of telling an adult if they know of any potential dangers to themselves, their fellow students, and staff members.

School closure a reminder of carbon monoxide dangers

If multiple people in your home or business are experiencing shortness of breath, light-headedness, and an elevated heart rate, Ephraim Fire Chief Justin MacDonald does not want you to hesitate to call them about possible high levels of carbon monoxide. That was the case at Crandon School District this week after 39 students, staff members, and EMS workers were hospitalized due to elevated carbon monoxide exposure. According to the Forest County Sheriff’s Department, hazmat workers from Oneida County and Wausau determined on Friday that a mechanical issue with the furnace was to blame for the elevated levels inside the school. The district canceled classes and school events for Friday until the building can be properly vented and the issues are resolved. MacDonald says they do not get a lot of carbon monoxide-related calls, but they do work with the property owners to ensure they are safe before they allow them back inside.

 

Ultimate Air owner Jeff Blemke says having your furnace properly maintained and a carbon monoxide detector will help protect your family.

 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 420 people die and 100,000 people are admitted to emergency rooms every year from accidental CO poisoning.

Birch Creek ready to welcome students and guests for 2024 season

You can almost hear the sounds of instruments driving past Birch Creek Music Performance Center. Earlier this month, tickets went on sale for the 2024 season, which begins on June 20th with the Percussion, Steel Pan, and World Music session. The symphony session will follow, beginning on July 4th, and the first two consecutive sessions of Big Band Jazz will start on July 17th.  Birch Creek Music Performance Center has been building its ensembles since early December, with registration numbers on par with last year's. Executive Director Mona Christensen says the sessions put musicians on the right path toward a career in music by immersing them in performance and connecting them with world-class instruction.

Whether you want to register your child for one of the sessions or buy tickets for the performances, Christensen encourages you to visit their website for more information. You'll be able to read more about the individual sessions below.

 

SESSION PREVIEWS

Opening night takes place on Thursday, June 20. The inaugural performance promises a spectacular Percussion, Steel Pan & World Music concert titled "Percussion at the Disco: I Just Want to Celebrate the 70s!". Following this, from June 21 to June 29, six more Percussion, Steel Pan & World Music concerts await, highlighting the talents of faculty percussionists and students. Program Director Dan Moore, Professor of Music and Director of Percussion at the University of Iowa, will lead these performances.


The Percussion series at Birch Creek offers a diverse range of styles, featuring Caribbean grooves with Scott McConnell, Chicago Youth Symphony Percussion Director, as well as percussive jazz, authentic world music, original compositions, and more. Anthony Di Sanza, a highly acclaimed performer and educator from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will guide concertgoers through the vibrant sounds of Brazil, Cuba, and the Middle East. Notably, renowned steelpan virtuoso Victor Provost, hailing from St. John, US Virgin Islands, is set to be the Special Guest Artist. With a dazzling improvisational style, he is recognized globally for seamlessly blending Bebop, contemporary flair, and Caribbean roots. Having collaborated with jazz luminaries like Wynton Marsalis and Paquito D’Rivera, he is a rarity in the jazz ecosystem, as noted by Downbeat Magazine and the NY Times.


Symphony session concerts, featuring an 85+ piece full symphony orchestra led by Program Director Ricardo Castañeda, Principal Oboist of Lake Forest Symphony and Chicago Sinfonietta, along with Conductor Taka Matsunaga, will take place July 4-6, and July 11-13. Get ready to
experience a breathtaking musical journey as our symphony orchestra brings together the works of some of the most celebrated composers of all time.


From the emotive melodies of Bernstein and Gershwin to the intricate harmonies of Rachmaninoff, Verdi, Beethoven, and more, the performances are set to enthrall classical and contemporary orchestral enthusiasts alike. The July 5 concert will feature the talented winners of Birch Creek’s annual Clampitt Concerto Competition, returning to display their exceptional musical prowess. Additionally, distinguished faculty soloists Jodie DeSalvo, piano, will fascinate audiences with Gershwin’s "Piano Concerto in F” on July 6, while Elizabeth York, violin, will play Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending” on July 12. This summer, “A Birch Creek Symphonic Fourth” will take place on Thursday, July 4 at 3:00 PM.


The powerful and mesmerizing sounds of Big Band Jazz classics will be performed in concert during two sessions from July 17-20, July 24-27, July 31-August 3, and August 7-10. Program Director Jeff Campbell, Professor and Chair of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and the Birch Creek Jazz Faculty Orchestras, bring their chemistry, charisma, and exceptional musicianship to Birch Creek audiences.


Performances showcase internationally acclaimed musicians and faculty performers from across the country delivering the best and most authentic big band jazz experience. Over 16 nights, Birch Creek will transport concertgoers back to the golden age of jazz, featuring the timeless sounds of legends such as Ellington, Basie, Miller, and more.
Audiences can expect to be swept away by the talented musicians, who will bring popular and newly found pieces in the Blues, Swing, and The American Songbook genre to life. Immerse yourself in the captivating sounds of horns, the rhythmic beats of the drums, and the soulful melodies of the trumpet, promising an evening of swinging, swaying, and pure musical delight. Students will be featured in pre-concert combo performances and big band numbers.

Kewaunee County schools take comprehensive approach to ag education

The path in agriculture your kids want to choose will be a compass for where they may take courses in the future. Luxemburg-Casco, Kewaunee, and Algoma school districts are collaborating on agriculture courses so they can all cover their bases beginning next school year. Luxemburg-Casco will serve as a home base for horticulture, while Kewaunee will cover animal science. Algoma’s piece in the puzzle will be precision agriculture, a farming management concept considering different variables to improve sustainability. Algoma Superintendent Jesse Brinkmann says they are currently finding the right teacher for the course, which would be the first of its kind in the state.

According to the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation, the industry's economic impact in the area is over $80 million annually, $65 million of which is generated by the county’s dairy farms.

NOAA, UW-Green Bay to hold public meeting on proposed NERR on Tuesday

The road to Sturgeon Bay being a part of a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) stops in Green Bay on Tuesday as two agencies prepare to hold a joint public meeting.

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and UW-Green Bay are taking comments on the significant issues related to the development of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Bay of Green Bay NERR. NOAA gave the state its blessing on the proposed NERR in January after Governor Tony Evers submitted a site nomination package the month before. The nomination includes sites in the Sturgeon Bay, Peshtigo River, and Lower Bay portions of the Green Bay estuary. By having the public meeting, UW-Green Bay and NOAA officials can continue their efforts by conducting public outreach and developing a draft environmental impact statement and management plan. The public meeting will be held virtually at 10 a.m. via Zoom and in-person at UW-Green Bay’s STEM Innovation Center at 1:30 p.m.

 

Progress towards designating the NERR would also bring more clarity for Sturgeon Bay officials who have submitted a bid to have a visitor center built in the city. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the NERR Advisory Committee’s 26-page prospectus document last May detailing several sites where the NERR Visitor Center could be built. Green Bay and Marinette are also vying for the visitor center as well.

Elijah Vue's mother bound over for trial, boy remains missing

The mother of the missing three-year-old boy from Two Rivers was bound over for trial on Thursday as the search for Elijah Vue continues. 

Katrina B. Baur, 31, faces a felony charge of chronic child neglect, another felony charge of child neglect involving a six-year-old child, and two misdemeanor charges for obstructing an officer.  She will be in court for her arraignment on March 22.   According to the Herald Times Reporter, Baur’s boyfriend, Jesse Vang, has not been assigned a public defender yet, and his preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for March 23.   He faces a felony child neglect charge and reported Elijah missing on February 20 after the boy had been staying with him at his residence in Two Rivers for over a week.  According to the police report, Vang called about 11 a.m., three hours after he last saw Elijah.

Multiple searches by federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as volunteers, have yet to net any results despite hundreds of tips and leads received by the Two Rivers Police Department. 

If you have any information that may help locate Elijah Vue, contact the Two Rivers Police Department at 844-267-6648. 

Servaes to represent Kewaunee County at National 4-H Conference

Algoma High School student Morgan Servaes is heading to Capitol Hill next month to represent your community at the National 4-H Conference. Held in Washington, D.C., the event features teenage delegates from across the country working together to prepare briefings on topics important to 4-H and youth programming. The road to our Nation’s capital began months ago for Servaes, who had applied to participate in the National 4-H Conference before going through a series of virtual interviews. Servaes is excited for the experience and hopes the work she does with other delegates helps grow 4-H throughout the country.

 

 

The National 4-H Conference will take place April 19th through the 24th. Advocating for youth is nothing new to Servaes. She is a part of the Kewaunee County 4-H Teen Leadership Council and she led efforts to have an all-inclusive animal exhibition at last year’s Kewaunee County Fair.

Filling in for write-ins

If you plan to vote in the upcoming election as soon as next week, clerks hope you are thorough when filling out your ballots. Several positions up and down the ballot in Door and Kewaunee counties have yet to be listed on the ballot. The winners of those races will likely require voters to write in their preferred candidate, whether they are registered or not. This often adds time at the end of the day for election officials to sort out the ballots and ensure that every vote gets counted correctly. Door County Clerk Jill Lau says filling in the oval next to the spot where you write in your preferred candidate can help achieve that goal.

The deadline to register to vote online or by mail passed on Wednesday, but you can still register to vote at your municipal clerk’s office until March 29th or on election day at your polling place. In-person absentee voting takes place at your municipal clerk’s office between March 19th and March 31st, ahead of election day on April 2nd.

Door County Bookmobile takes a spin

Driving through Door County yesterday meant seeing something that has not happened in over three decades. The Door County Bookmobile took a tour around the county Wednesday, making one of its first trips since the vehicle was retired in 1989. It has taken approximately ten years to take it out of retirement, restore it, and prepare it for the road. Roughly $180,000 has been raised to return the icon to service. 

 

Door County Bookmobile President John Sawyer took the vehicle for a test drive on Wednesday and said the trip around the county got him and other stakeholders excited about what returning the bookmobile to service could mean for the community.

The Door County Bookmobile recently received a $25,000 grant to continue preparing the vehicle for service, which will tour the area as a traveling museum and an avenue to give kids in the community free books.

Renderings ignite excitement for Gibraltar community

Seeing is believing, and residents and staff members in Gibraltar Area School District got to see what will occur over the next two years. Monday’s school board meeting featured a presentation with CG Schmidt to show off the project, including approximately 33,000 square feet of construction work this summer. The fruit of that labor will be a two-story addition across the back of the building filled with classrooms. Made possible by voters approving a nearly $30 million capital referendum by a 3-1 ratio, Gibraltar Area Schools Superintendent Brett Stousland says the renderings give an extra dose of enthusiasm for the project.

Stousland says they are arranging the construction schedule so that students, staff, and visitors should experience only a few interruptions to their daily schedule. Next summer, the district will add additional classrooms, centralize school offices, and remove the current commons and middle school gymnasium. The district recently held contractor meetings to highlight the construction schedule and to give them the information needed to place bids on the project.

County considers moving up end date for groundwater protection ordinance

You might see manure spreading happen in Kewaunee County earlier than usual this year, thanks to the spring-like weather the area has seen. Adopted in 2016, the Public Health and Groundwater Protection Ordinance bans spreading waste onto land with a soil depth of 20 feet or less to bedrock from January 1st to April 15th. The hope with the ordinance is that the melting snow and spring rains would not carry manure and other waste into the groundwater. Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department Director Davina Bonness told the committee on Tuesday that farmers had requested the date be lifted due to the nice weather that could allow them to plant earlier. It is recommended that nutrients be spread onto the field shortly after planting. Committee chairperson Aaron Augustian was lukewarm to the idea, saying they have come a long way since the ordinance was enacted.

The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee will meet a week earlier, on April 2nd, to determine if they could lift the ordinance if the weather remains dry and mild.

Virtual Dementia Tour gives caretakers important training

You can learn how to cope and navigate through the challenges of helping people with dementia with a training tool being offered by the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Lakeshore.

 

A Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) will be held later this month in Luxemburg to provide caregivers an opportunity to experience what it might be like to be in the shoes of someone with dementia.

 

Dementia Care Specialist Ariel Koning says the virtual aspect of the workshop will be a simulation and a debriefing session for caregivers to gain knowledge in helping dementia patients.  She shares how you will better understand the disease through the VDT experience.

 

 

Dementia is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with Alzheimer’s being the most common cause among older adults.

Koning adds that ten openings are available for the VDT, which will be held on Wednesday, March 27th, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Luxemburg.   You can sign up for the free session by contacting the ADRC of the Lakeshore at 1-877-416-7083.  

Family Dollar to close 1,000 stores nationwide

There might be fewer local low-end retail stores in the area by the end of 2024.  The Family Dollar discount chain store, owned by Dollar Tree, announced Wednesday that about 1,000 stores will be closing.

 

Although the company did not list specific stores that will be closing in a press release, Family Dollar has locations in Algoma and Luxemburg, with a Dollar Tree store in the Cherry Point Mall in Sturgeon Bay.

 

The decision calling for the nationwide closure of stores was detailed in Dollar Tree’s Reports Results for the Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2023.

 

“As a result of this review, we plan on closing approximately 600 Family Dollar stores in the first half of fiscal 2024. Additionally, approximately 370 Family Dollar and 30 Dollar Tree stores will close over the next several years at the end of each store’s current lease term. In the fourth quarter of 2023, we incurred $594.4 million of charges in connection with the store portfolio review.”  

 

Dollar Tree, Inc., which bought Family Dollar in 2015, operates over 15,000 stores throughout the United States and Canada and is headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia.  

 

 You can read the entire press release by Dollar Tree/Family Dollar here

Destination Door County bestowed Innovation Award for tourism

Thanks to a new program initiated in late 2022, Destination Door County (DDC) was honored with a state award on Tuesday evening.

 

Destination Door County (DDC) received the innovation award at the Governor’s Dinner at the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference in Lake Geneva.

 

The Innovation Award is presented to a business or community demonstrating outstanding initiative by implementing new strategies that positively impact their organization and destination.

 

DDC received this award for its groundbreaking Community Investment Fund, launched in 2023. This innovative initiative utilizes room tax dollars generated by overnight visitors to Door County to fund projects to enhance the quality of life for residents and workers while enriching the visitor experience.  A dozen projects by local non-profits, agencies, and charities benefited from $575,251 in awarded grants.

 

"Our groundbreaking Community Investment Fund embodies our commitment to enhancing both resident livelihoods and visitor experiences, said Julie Gilbert, CEO and President of Destination Door County. "This accolade reflects the dedication and creativity of our team and our ongoing efforts to enhance the visitor experience while supporting the local community."

 

Chief Communications Officer Jon Jarosh shares details on how the Community Investment Fund was implemented in the past year.

 

 

Wisconsin’s tourism industry honors six Governor’s Tourism Awards recipients yearly at the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

 

 

 

(photo courtesy of Yvonne Torres)

YMCA opens registration for summer day camps

You will need to act quickly if you haven’t registered your child for the Door County YMCA Summer Day Camps.  Youth & Sports Program Executive Paul Briney says the camp registration opened on Monday for YMCA members, and the five camps are filling up fast as community members can now begin signing up.  He stresses the importance of children staying active and socially connected with other kids during the summer months.

 

 

The camps are for children from four to 12 years old, and three of the camps are now being held at the Kress Youth Activity Center at the Sturgeon Bay Program Center.   The Camp in the Park is held at Otumba Park on the west side for kids 7-12 years old, with the Trekkers hosted at the Jackie and Steve Kane Center in Fish Creek.  You can learn more about the Door County YMCA Summer Camps here. 

New Mexican restaurant opens in Sturgeon Bay

You will now have another option for dining out on Sturgeon Bay's west side.  The new Gloria’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant doors opened for business this week.  German and Nery Ramirez, who own three other restaurants in Door County, renovated and modernized the old Andre’s Supper Club building at 23 West Oak Street to bring authentic Mexican food fare to the area.   Gloria’s was a way to pay tribute to German’s mother, who passed away 13 years ago.  The food and bar menu will offer signature options featuring cuisine from all parts of Mexico, especially Chihuahua.

 

 

Gloria’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.  A grand opening celebration will be held this Saturday, and a mariachi band will perform in the evening. 

 

Radio upgrades gets federal funding boost

Door County officials received a big boost from the federal government to upgrade its public safety radio system.

 

As a part of the bipartisan spending bill approved by lawmakers last week ahead of a threatened government shutdown, $3.9 million was earmarked for Door County to upgrade its system. Two weeks ago, at the Door County Board of Supervisors meeting, Technology Services Director Ashley DeGrave provided an overview of the communication tower and radio upgrade project last done in 2013. The project would upgrade the current tower network from an analog system to a new digital system. As a part of the upgrade, the county would build six new towers near the Washington Island Ferry, Sevastopol Dunes Lake, North Highway Shop, Horseshoe Bay, Bayshore Drive, and Baileys Harbor. The project would be separated into three phases, with the board approving the land acquisition/site testing phase for up to $700,000. The second phase will include civil/shelter/site work and tower construction, and the third phase will be FCC licensing acquisition and tower/radio equipment.

 

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says securing funding like this is important for rural areas like Door County.


The communication tower and radio upgrade project is expected to cost over $25.6 million by its completion in 2028.

Weather melts away Sister Bay tradition

For the first time since World War II, you will not see a goat out on the ice off the shores of Sister Bay. The Sister Bay Advancement Association pulled the plug on the 86th annual Ice Out Contest because there was no ice to be found. Ellie Soderberg-Guger from the Sister Bay Advancement Association says the contest was a great way to bring people to the village’s downtown businesses and have an extra thing to look forward to as spring ushers away the winter. She adds that they are trying to make the most of what is a twice-in-a-lifetime event.

You can still catch the goat in some water, albeit in a kiddie pool next to the Sister Bay Advancement Association offices. You can visit the “Goat the Didn’t Float” until March 21st. Soderberg-Guger says the organization is embracing the spring weather that has canceled other winter events like the Door County Pond Hockey Tournament. They will welcome the Easter Bunny to the Sister Bay Sports Complex on March 30th at 10:30 a.m.

 

Anderson appointed to Kewaunee Common Council

The Kewaunee Common Council was made whole on Tuesday after Russ Anderson was unanimously to fill the District 2 seat vacated by Wendy Shelton earlier this year. Anderson was the lone applicant for the seat. He retired in 2016 after an over 20-year career with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He has lived in Kewaunee for the last five years and wrote in his cover letter that he felt “ready to get involved with working with the government again, especially with the community I live in.” Anderson is also involved with several local organizations, including the Kewaunee Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Kewaunee American Legion, and the Kewaunee Rotary Club. He will serve on the council until April 2025. 

 

 

After Anderson was seated as a member of the council, he was able to weigh in on several items, including the purchase of body cameras for the police department, the approval of a new massage and wellness facility, and supporting the sale of a parcel of land near the Kewaunee River. 

Two statewide referendum questions dot ballots

Referendum questions impacting Algoma and Luxemburg-Casco school districts are not the only ones that will appear on ballots on April 2nd.

 

Two questions will appear on every ballot in the state to clear up issues that partially popped up due to the pandemic. The first question, if approved, would prohibit any level of government from applying or accompanying governmental funds or equipment for election administration. In 2020, the Center for Tech and Civic Life made a series of donations and grants to election administrators to help support operations at polling sites across the state, including in Kewaunee County. Still, millions of dollars went specifically to Democratic strongholds in Kenosha, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine. According to Ballotpedia, 27 other states have enacted similar laws since 2021.

 

The second question would add an amendment to current state law that only election officials designated by law may administer. Similar to the first question, the question came about as volunteers from the Center for Tech and Civic Life assisted operations in several communities with central counting centers created because of the pandemic.

 

The measures were added to the ballot after they received a simple majority vote from the Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate, which is the same reason why another three questions will appear on the fall election ballot this fall.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles reminds voters that now is the time to ensure they have the proper identification for the upcoming elections. Valid identification for voting purposes includes a driver's license, identification card, and military or student ID card. You can follow this link to learn more about obtaining a free identification card.

Gift card scams on the rise

You should keep vigilant regarding phone calls, texts, or emails asking you to buy gift cards to support law enforcement or other local agencies. The Sturgeon Bay Police Department reports that only scammers will tell you to buy a specific gift card and give them the numbers off the back. Scammers may also offer prizes and discounts or go as far as to threaten you. 

 

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers reported 48,800 cases of gift card or reload card fraud, totaling more than $228 in losses in 2022.

 

If you purchased a gift card and were scammed, you may be able to recover the money you sent. Please get in touch with the gift card directly and be ready to share proof of purchase or numbers on the back of the card to verify your situation. You should request your money back and may be able to recover your losses if the scammer still needs to access the funds on the card. 

Democrats expressing patience before candidates enter congressional race

As you continue to see Republicans line up to replace Rep. Mike Gallagher in the House of Representatives, Democrats are just as happy to take their time. Earlier this month, State Senator Andre Jacque became the second Republican to join the race to represent Wisconsin’s Eight District. Former State Senator Roger Roth declared his candidacy shortly after Gallagher announced he would not seek a fifth term. GOP Strategist Alex Bruesewitz said he would consider a run for the seat. However, that was immediately after Gallagher voted not to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Democrats have not officially fielded a candidate for the Eighth Congressional District since Amanda Stuck unsuccessfully challenged Gallagher in 2020. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dr. Kristin Lyerly, former journalist Kelly Peterson, and Navy veteran Alicia Saunders coordinate to ensure one will be on the ballot while avoiding a primary. Democratic Party of Wisconsin Eighth Congressional District Chairperson Tom Mandli says at least three others are weighing the possibility. Mandli says it is encouraging to see such interest in the seat that Democrats haven’t held since Steve Kagen held the seat between 2007 and 2011.



Republicans have held the Eighth Congressional Seat in Wisconsin since Reid Ribble beat Kagen in 2011. Prospective congressional candidates have until June to file the necessary paperwork to get on the fall primary ballot in August. 

 

Destination Sturgeon Bay welcomes St. Patrick's Day revelers with a parade

The City of Sturgeon Bay is giving you a good incentive to kick off your St. Patrick’s Day festivities this Saturday. Destination Sturgeon Bay is holding its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. The parade begins at Sawyer Park before traveling down Madison Avenue, crossing the Michigan Street Bridge, and heading down Third Avenue to Jefferson Street. Destination Sturgeon Bay Marketing Coordinator Alexa Soto says Saturday marks an excellent day to start a year full of parades in the city.


The parade is just part of the day of St. Patrick’s Day-themed celebrations in Sturgeon Bay. Local Irish restaurant Kitty O’Reilly will host a day of revelry for the holiday while Third Avenue PlayWorks hosts its final indoor market of the season.

 

Picture courtesy of Rachel Lukas

Fire danger spreads across the state

Last week’s rains were not enough to lift the state out of high fire danger level. All 72 counties are now under a high fire danger level after some counties were listed at moderate levels last week.  High fire danger is the third highest level listed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, sitting below very high and extreme. The DNR has blamed the lack of snow cover and rain for an early start to wildfire season. So far, there have been 187 wildfires across the state, burning approximately 355 acres. At this same point last year, there had been just seven wildfires across the state, burning approximately 10 acres. A pair of brush fires put out last week by the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department that occurred on the same stretch of South Stevenson Pier Road were not included in the count. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht reminded residents last month to be careful if they decide to burn in these conditions.


So far, no departments have banned the issuance of burning permits.

Chimney fire ignites Egg Harbor home

A chimney fire caused approximately $50,000 in damage to an Egg Harbor home late Sunday night.

 

The Egg Harbor Fire Department was called to the home on Chateau Drive in the Town of Egg Harbor after 11 p.m. Sunday night, where they found heavy fire and smoke coming from the chimney area and extending up the outside of the house. Thanks to an aggressive exterior attack, the firefighters on the scene were able to knock down the bulk of the blaze within 10 minutes, and they were able to ensure there was no extension of the fire to the rest of the building. Egg Harbor Fire Chief Justin MacDonald credits the home’s smoke detectors for preventing a tragedy by alerting the home’s owners.

 

The fire departments of Sturgeon Bay, Jacksonport, Gibraltar, Ephraim, Baileys Harbor, and Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, along with Door County EMS, Door County Sheriff’s Office, and Wisconsin Public Service, also responded to the fire. The Egg Harbor Fire Department itself responded with an engine, a truck, two tenders, one squad and command vehicle, and 11 firefighters. Units were able to clear the scene just before 1:30 a.m. on Monday.

 

Trinidad listed on State Register of Historic Places

In less than a year, the schooner Trinidad has gone from lost for good to found on the State Register of Historic Places. On Thursday, the Wisconsin Historical Society announced that the shipwreck found last summer about 10 miles away from the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse would be placed on the list, placing the historic vessel under state and federal protections. Built in 1867, the Trinidad sank off the coast of Algoma in 1881 on its way to Chicago with a load of coal. Brendon Baillod and Robert Jaeck found Kewaunee County’s latest shipwreck, the 156-year-old 140-foot schooner Trinidad, on July 15th using various tools, including survivor accounts of the shipwreck and side scan sonar technology. Shortly after he discovered it, Baillod said the Trinidad was a unique vessel to find because of its backstory and condition.

 


On Thursday, the Mojave shipwreck in Mosel and Lakeview Hospital in Milwaukee was also named to the Wisconsin Historical Society’s State Register of Historic Places. In December, four ships with ties to Door and Kewaunee counties were placed on the list, including the Peoria.

 

Photo by Brendon Baillod and Robert Jaeck

Parks department to start dock installation Monday

If you were looking for a sign of spring, the Door County Facilities and Parks Department is putting several of them in the water beginning on Monday. The department announced on Friday that they will begin installing boat launch docks at George Pinney, Robert Carmody, and Chaudoirs Dock county parks. Changes in the weather could delay the docks from going in on Monday. The department reminds boat users to review their boating safety equipment before heading out. 

NWTC receives award for Maritime training

Door County is known for its shipyard and marine history, and the local technical college is getting national recognition for preparing and developing students for careers in the maritime industry.  NWTC was recently recognized as a 2024 Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education (CoE).

 

NWTC was among 32 maritime training locations across the United States, and Guam received the honors. 

 

NWTC President Kristen Raney stated, “We are thrilled to receive this designation and proud of the influence our institution, alumni, and collaborators have had in the maritime industry.  NWTC is committed to maintaining this progress and ensuring world-class training for our students to excel in this expanding field.” 

 

This marks the second time that NWTC has been bestowed the CoE designation by MARAD, the last being in 2021.

Scholarships continue to be a big part of college affordability puzzle

Getting into your dream school is one thing, but affording it is becoming an even harder proposition for many families nationwide. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of college in the United States is over $36,000 a year when you factor in tuition, books, supplies, and other daily living expenses.  Each year, 30 percent of students rely on borrowing to pay for college, piling up an average federal student loan debt of nearly $38,000. Scholarships continue to be a popular way to help people afford college, with 58 percent of families in 2020 using them to help pay for classes. With well over 100 scholarships to choose from, Bret Bicoy from the Door County Community Foundation says he is still shocked by how many students do not even know about their scholarship network, let alone believe they are eligible for many of the awards.


Bicoy recommends students thinking about attending college this fall take a deep dive into its Door County Scholarship Network, as this is the time of the year when many deadlines are approaching. One of those deadlines is March 15th, when applications for many scholarships through the foundation are due.

A look at the county's school liaison officers

As I continue in providing information on the annual operations of the Sheriff’s Department, I feel this is a great time to focus on the amazing school liaison resources that we share with our school districts. If we look at the makeup of our community on any given weekday, there is no greater concentration of people and activity than that of our schools. It is fitting that we allocate resources to these important members of our community; our students, in a setting that has such a great impact on their current and future lives.

       

As it pertains to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, we provide two School Liaison Deputies to both the Luxemburg-Casco, and Algoma School District as part of a contract for services. These positions and their duties are quite unique and the skill set necessary to be successful is also unique. We are very fortunate to have the two Deputies we currently provide to the school who possess the very traits and qualities to make this a successful relationship. Deputy Nia DuBois is our School Liaison Deputy for the Luxemburg-Casco High School, and Deputy Dana Schopf is our Liaison Deputy for the Primary, Intermediate, and Middle Schools in both L-C and Algoma along with covering the High School In Algoma. Both of these young ladies bring with them a great deal of energy and passion for working with our youth, and the relationships they have built over the years have been a great benefit to not only the students but the staff as well.

         

Something new for 2024 will be the introduction of a Resiliency and Social Emotional educational program known as GRIT. This program is similar to one we incorporated a few years ago with some unique improvements to reflect the dynamic environment that our students are navigating. I will be sharing more on that in the upcoming months!

        

Just as in any community, those school communities experience a great diversity in personalities, backgrounds, and behaviors. The ability to have a law enforcement resource at hand when incidents arise has proven essential time and time again.

        

Another valuable aspect of this program is the ability for our Deputies to have daily interaction and engagement positively to demonstrate that the men and women serving in law enforcement are human beings who can serve as not just a resource for filing complaints or conducting investigations, but also as a trusted resource of advice and mentorship for the many challenges our young people face day in and day out.

       

These roles, while rewarding, are probably some of the most demanding in our department. The complaints they are called to investigate and the sensitivity that they must show require a great deal of empathy, compassion, and patience. The ability to interact effectively with Students, staff, and parents is key to maintaining the trust needed for such a program to be successful.

      

In addition to all of this responsibility, both of these amazing ladies return back to the Jail/ Dispatch role when needed, as well as during the summer months.

      

Thank you, Nia and Dana, for all that you do in our schools to keep our students safe and assist the staff in creating the best learning environment possible.

Weather swings could turn fruit buds into duds

While you may have enjoyed the early start to spring in Door and Kewaunee counties, orchard owners are being cautiously optimistic. Last Tuesday, Green Bay saw the warmest temperature on record for February 27th with 70 degrees, 11 degrees warmer than the previous mark set over 100 years ago. According to the National Weather Service, it was the warmest February by nearly two degrees in the last quarter century. Bill Roethle from Casco’s Hillside Apples says he is keeping a close eye on the weather now that many of his offseason duties, like pruning trees, are completed. He adds that as long as the weather stays away from being too hot or too cold, he feels pretty comfortable with where his trees are currently.


The weather will play nice with area orchard owners for the immediate future. No big snowfall totals are in the forecast, and the temperatures are not supposed to get much above 50 degrees.

 

Door County schools announce valedictorians, salutatorians

Area schools are beginning to honor their best and brightest ahead of the end of the school year. Southern Door became the latest to announce their valedictorian and salutatorian, representing the students with the best grade point average in the school. Thomas Jackson was named the valedictorian, and James Zittlow was distinguished as the salutatorian. Last month, Sevastopol honored Ezra Linnan and Logan Filar as valedictorian and salutatorian. At Sturgeon Bay, Mercedes Hanley, Natalia Michalski, and Jade Tomberlin will carry the title of valedictorian, while Ben Stephens is the salutatorian. Gibraltar recognizes its students using the Laude System of Honors.

Green is the theme at Crossroads

Wearing green, shamrocks, rainbows, and photosynthesis! Green is the color of the environmental movement and will be the theme of Crossroads programs during the week of St. Patrick's Day. 

"The Color Green " is the topic for our free weekly family program, Saturday Science. The program is designed for elementary-aged students, but learners of all ages are invited to participate in hands-on activities about rainbows, the colors of the spectrum and the miracle of photosynthesis. Each family will take home a green plant. Weather permitting, the group will go outside in search of the green already appearing outside in the preserve. 

Several weeks ago, the fifth grade from Sunrise School spent the day at Crossroads learning quite a bit about trees. One of the students remarked, "Green must be the most important color in all of nature."

He was correct in understanding that green plants capture the energy of our Sun, making life as we know it possible. But ironically, in nature, green (and yellow) usually are the least important colors of the spectrum.

 

The kids seemed to know that sunlight is made up of all the colors of the rainbow. Usually, the leaves of plants absorb the light at the red and the blue ends of the spectrum to use for photosynthesis and then reflect the green light. That's why most plants appear to be green. Blue and red light make plants grow.

Around St. Patrick's Day and into early spring, especially if there is snow the ground (and there still might be…maybe), the green range of the spectrum becomes more important.

Researchers have good evidence that sunlight can penetrate snow well enough for plant growth to occur. But green and blue light seems to pass through snow better than red light. So, if a plant begins to grow under the snow, it benefits from absorbing blue and green light, and reflecting red.

In early spring, many tender young plants... rosettes of winter annuals, foliage of tulips and hepatica, maple seedlings, and poison ivy... are red... at least until they get full sun and their chlorophyll kicks in.

Saturday night, March 16, starting at 7:00 pm our friends in the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will hold a Viewing Night whether it is cloudy or not. Planetarium shows will feature Pluto, If the sky is clear, DPAS members will be outside helping folks explore the night sky using green lasers pointers to direct attention to stars, planets, and other objects.

Curiously, the human eye is more sensitive to green than to other colors in the spectrum. Even in low light, an intense beam of green laser pointer is easy to see. Green lasers pointers are not toys! Because misuse can damage eyes, DPAS guides are extremely careful.

Even the Door County Beekeepers will be thinking "green" this week. Honeybees and our very valuable wild native bees depend on green plants for the pollen and nectar that sustain them. And, in turn, green plants depend on bees.

In the program, "Project Bee Watch,” former UW Extension Agent Mark Feuerstein will discuss how Bee Watch helps crop producers to collaborate with beekeepers. Topics will include registering hives on the Bee Watch mapping database and methods of communication with landowners so they can manage herbicide/pesticide applications to protect bees and working hives.

Finally, “green” is sometimes used as slang for “money.” Recently, a generous couple, Bonnie and Dennis Connolly (and yes, for the record, Dennis is Irish!) offered Crossroads a pot of gold. Or more accurately, they offered a gift of $15,000 if we could raise a match. Crossroads is currently more than halfway to that goal, so if you love Crossroads and want to help keep it green, visit our webpage for more information on how to donate. You could celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by the Sharing of the Green.

 

Thursday, March 14

7:00 pm Fish Tales: Research, monitoring, and more with the Green Bay NERR

Dr. Emily Tyner, Director of Freshwater Science at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will present “Research, monitoring, and outreach opportunities with a Bay of Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve within the City of Sturgeon Bay. Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.

 

 

Saturday, March 16

2:00 pm Science Saturdays: The Color Green

The program is designed for elementary-aged students, but learners of all ages are invited to participate in hands-on activities about rainbows, the colors of the spectrum and miracle or photosynthesis. Each family will take home a green plant. Weather permitting, the group will go outside in search of the green already appearing outside in the preserve.

Free and open to learners of all ages. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan, Sturgeon Bay

 

 

7:00 pm Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Viewing Night

Join members of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society as they explore the beautiful night sky in the Star Garden or with images from the telescope. If skies are cloudy, planetarian show will focus on Pluto. But if it is clear, the observatory will be open and DPAS members will help visitors explore the night sky using green laser pointers.

Free and open to the public Meet at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay,

 

Tuesday, March 19

6:30 pm Door County Beekeeper Club: Bee Watch Program

The monthly meeting will feature a presentation by former UW Extension Agent Mark Feuerstein talking about the Bee Watch program and how crop producers can collaborate with beekeepers. 

Topics will include registering hives on the Bee Watch mapping database, and methods of communication with landowners so they can manage herbicide/pesticide applications to protect bees and working hives.

Free and open to the public. Meet in the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads 2041 Michigan, Sturgeon Bay.

Gallagher looks to finish strong after final State of the Union

After sitting through his final State of the Union representing Wisconsin’s Eighth District, Rep. Mike Gallagher says he wants to do his best to represent you through the end of the year. President Joe Biden took advantage of a packed House chamber and millions of Americans at home by outlining his election-year priorities. The Democratic leader touted his successes while blasting former President Donald Trump, who will likely be his opponent this November. Gallagher says the State of the Union has turned into a partisan exercise that glossed over many of the administration’s failures.


Thursday’s State of the Union was Gallagher’s last after announcing last month that he would not be running for office this fall. Even if some view him as a lame duck, Gallagher says he has plenty he wants to accomplish before he exits this winter.


So far, no Democrats have opted to run for Gallagher's seat, but former State Sen. Roger Roth and State Sen. Andre Jacque have announced their intentions to run for the seat.

 

 

Sevastopol man gets 21 years in prison for hit and run

Sturgeon Bay’s Joshua Gann will spend the next 21 years behind bars after pleading guilty to eight charges related to a fatal hit-and-run accident.  Gann was intoxicated when he struck 71-year-old Marilyn J. Vandenbogart as she grabbed her mail in front of her home on County Highway BB (Gordon Road) in the Town of Sevastopol on August 27, 2022. Last November, Gann pleaded guilty to four felonies and four misdemeanors related to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, resisting or obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct, and bail jumping.  Thursday’s sentencing included corrections made to the pre-sentencing investigation before friends and family members made their statements to the court and District Attorney Colleen Nordin read a letter written by Vandenbogart’s grandchildren. Gann apologized to the family before he was sentenced to 21 years in prison, plus ten years of extended supervision and other stipulations such as counseling and psychological treatments.

Door County municipalities receive broadband grants

You got another step closer to having faster, more reliable internet if you live in three Door County municipalities. The Wisconsin Broadband Office announced over 30 grants to municipalities, providing matching funds to communities looking to get their internet services off the ground. The Town of Egg Harbor ($960,000), the Town of Sturgeon Bay ($552,399), and the Town of Sevastopol ($816,693) received funding for the projects they are partnering with AT&T on shortly. Once the projects are funded, nearly 4,000 homes and 430 businesses will be connected with fiber internet, thanks partly to the grant funding. Door County Broadband Coordinator Jessica Hatch says community buy-in and a change in strategy are to thank for the recent success the area has seen with acquiring grants for broadband internet implementation.


Hatch says Liberty Grove, Nasewaupee, Gibraltar, and Forestville are all applying for grants to help build the fiber network in their communities. The towns of Brussels, Union, and Gardner are hosting a public meeting next Wednesday night at Southern Door High School to discuss their own plans to bring high-speed internet to homes and businesses in those areas. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Southern Door Auditorium.

DOT outlines three road projects for Door County in 2024

You will have to get used to the sight of construction cones in Door County this year. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced its 2024 road construction projects earlier this week. Of the over 20 projects slated for the DOT’s Northeast Region, three are set for Door County. Two of the projects are centered around the resurfacing of State Highway 42, covering approximately 19 miles of road from just north of its junction with STH 57 to Bluff Lane in the Town of Gibraltar. Both of the projects are scheduled to take place this spring, with the southern portion beginning in April and the northern portion starting in May. DOT Project Manager Paul Brauer says the success of the Village of Egg Harbor’s STH 42 project will allow the state’s portion to take place smoothly.

A separate structure replacement project for portions of STH 57 is also in the works for 2024, though that will take place over the next year. The first phase will be focused on the Lily Bay and Geisel Creek locations this September. Logan Creek will be addressed in April 2025, and Hibbard Creek will receive attention in September 2025. You can read and hear more about the projects below.

 

HEAR FROM PROJECT MANAGER PAUL BRAUER

 

DOOR COUNTY

WIS 42 Resurfacing

Location: WIS 42 from approximately 0.1 miles north of the mid-junction with WIS 57 in the town of Sevastopol to Rainbow Ridge Road in the town of Egg Harbor.

Length of project work zone:  12.1 miles

Expected construction schedule: The contract is 50 working days, which equates to approximately three months of work that is anticipated to occur from April through June of 2024, but some work could extend until after Labor Day weekend 2024.

Description of work: Milling and resurfacing of existing asphaltic lanes and shoulders,  replacing various culvert pipes, adding right turn lanes at the Monument Point Road intersection and associated excavation, installing centerline and shoulder rumble strips, adding gravel to existing shoulders, and pavement marking.

Traffic impacts: WIS 42 will be constructed under single-lane closures via flagging operations for both local and through traffic. However, at the start of construction for this project, most of this project length (north of County I) will already be detoured under the village of Egg Harbor’s local project. That closure/detour will be extended further south to the mid-junction with WIS 57 as part of this project. The overall combined WIS 42 detour will then follow WIS 57, County V, County A, and County EE.

Detour:  As noted above, in cooperation with the village of Egg Harbor’s project, the overall combined WIS 42 detour will then follow WIS 57, County V, County A, and County EE.

NOTE: A public meeting to discuss the project has been scheduled for March 19th at 1:30 p.m. at Sevastopol Town Hall

 

WIS 42 Resurfacing

Location: WIS 42 from Rainbow Ridge Road in the town of Egg Harbor to Bluff Lane in the town of Gibraltar.

Length of project work zone: 7.0 miles

Construction schedule: The contract time is 25 working days, which equates to approximately 1.5 months of work that is anticipated to occur in May and June of 2024, but some work could extend until after Labor Day weekend of 2024.

Description of work: Milling and resurfacing of existing asphaltic lanes and shoulders; installing centerline and shoulder rumble strips; upgrading guardrail and associated excavation; adding gravel to existing shoulders; and pavement marking.

Traffic impacts: WIS 42 will be constructed under single-lane closures via flagging operations for both local and through traffic.

NOTE: WIS 42 south of County EE in the project work zone is closed for a village of Egg Harbor Local Program project.

The construction for this project will utilize the local closure.

Detour: A WIS 42 detour is being provided by other projects. The detour will follow WIS 57, County V, County A, and County EE.

 

WIS 57 Structure Replacement

Location: WIS 57 from approximately the mid-junction with WIS 42 in the town of Sevastopol to approximately County E in the town of Baileys Harbor.

Length of project work zone: 17.0 miles

Schedule: A construction contract is a carry-over contract that will begin in September 2024 and is anticipated to be completed in December 2025. Each structure replacement location will have its own interim anticipated start and completion date:

Lily Bay and Geisel Creek locations – September 2024 start and December 2024 completion

Logan Creek location - April 2025 start and July 2025 completion

Hibbard Creek location – September 2025 start to December 2025 completion.

Description of work: Work will include replacing the existing deteriorated drainage structures at four locations. The existing box culvert at Lily Bay Creek will be replaced with a new concrete box culvert, the existing box culvert at Geisel Creek will be replaced with a new box girder bridge, the existing culvert pipes at Logan Creek will be replaced with a new at-grade slab span bridge, and the existing culvert pipes at Hibbard Creek will be replaced with a new at-grade slab span bridge.

Traffic impacts: WIS 57 will be closed and detoured for the construction of these structures.

Detour:  During the construction of both the Lily Bay and Geisel Creek structures, the WIS 57 detour will follow WIS 42 and County I. During the construction of the Logan Creek structure, the WIS 57 detour will follow County T and County V. During the construction of the Hibbard Creek structure, the WIS 57 detour will follow County V, County A, and County E.

2024 Alice in Dairyland Finalist: Oconomowoc's Halei Heinzel

For Oconomowoc’s Halei Heinzel, a love for agriculture was not a birthright. Heinzel grew up in a more urban setting than the other five finalists for Alice in Dairyland. She would become heavily involved in the industry later in life, becoming active in her high school’s FFA chapter before graduating from the Farm and Industry Short Course program with certificates in Agribusiness Management and Dairy Farm Management and starting her major in Life Sciences Communication at UW-Madison. Heinzel says she is proof that there are no silly questions about agriculture and that you can jump in anytime.

Heinzel will compete against Denmark’s Katrina Hoesly, Kiel’s Lauren Siemers, Kewaunee’s Kiley Pagel, Big Bend’s Michaela King, and Fox Lake’s Cierra Essock for the title of Alice in Dairyland this May.Tickets went on sale on Monday for the Alice in Dairyland Finals’ two main events: the Wisconsin Products Showcase on May 3rd at Door County Boardwalk’s Gala location and the finale at Stone Harbor Resort on May 4th. You can meet the current Alice in Dairyland Ashley Hagenow and support the program at a fundraising meat raffle at Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay on March 9 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Daylight Savings Time this weekend

You will want to set your clocks before heading to bed on Saturday night. Sunday marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. As a result, you will have to roll your clocks ahead one hour to be on Daylight Saving Time for the next eight months.

 

The twice-a-year re-setting of your clocks is a good reminder to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replace air filters, and sweep chimneys. For those hoping to avoid resetting your clocks altogether, you will be waiting longer.

 

A congressional bill to keep Daylight Saving Time a new permanent standard time, effective last November, was passed in the U.S. Senate in 2022 but never received a vote in the House of Representatives, and it did not pass a Senate Committee in 2023. 

Algoma School District to ask voters for $10 million in capital referendum

Improving its buildings’ safety, infrastructure, security, classroom and support areas is the goal of the $10.05 million capital referendum going to Algoma School District voters next month.

 

The referendum question is the culmination of over a year of work dating back to November 2022. A comprehensive facility study was completed last summer before the district engaged a group of parents, community members, staff, elected officials, and business owners to go over the struggles school districts face. A survey done in November showed that 70 percent of Algoma School District voters supported a referendum. Algoma School Superintendent Jesse Brinkmann says after seeing the city’s public safety building referendum fail in recent years, he wanted to ensure they were as transparent and thorough as possible with their efforts.

The Algoma School District will host informational sessions on March 12th at the elementary school and March 21st at the middle/high school. The sessions will begin with a tour of the buildings at 5 p.m. and a presentation at 6 p.m.

 

The school district will also participate in a joint session with Luxemburg-Casco School District at the Town of Lincoln Board meeting on March 11th at 7 p.m. Luxemburg-Casco’s referendum is different than Algoma’s as it is related to the district’s operations and not the physical buildings. 

Renard's, Agropur take home top prizes from World Championship Cheese Contest

You do not have to travel far to get some of the best cheese produced in the entire world. Local cheesemakers won six medals at this week’s World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wis.

 

Among those six medals were two Best of Class titles. Patrick Doell of Agropur in Luxemburg took the top two places in the Mozzarella category, including the Best of Class for his Low Moisture Mozzarella made with whole milk. The Renard’s Rosewood Dairy Team took home Best of Class for its Savory Morel and Leek Cheese Spread in the Cheese Based Spread Category. Agropur’s Ezra Frater and Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese Production Team also took home medals from this year’s competition.

 

This year’s competition saw entries from as far away as Sri Lanka and Australia participate in the bi-annual competition. The World Championship Cheese Contest alternates years with the United States Cheese Championship.

Patrick Doell
Agropur
Luxemburg, WI
US
99.35
Best of Class
Low Moisture Mozzarella, Whole Milk

Pat Doell
Agropur
Luxemburg, WI
US
99
Second Award
Low Moisture Mozzarella, Whole Milk

Ezra Frater
Agropur
Luxemburg, WI
US
98.135
Third Award
Smoked Provolone

Ron's Wisconsin Cheese Production Team
Ron's Wisconsin Cheese
Kewaunee, WI
US
99.39
Third Award
Ron's Wisconsin Cheese LMPS Mozzarella String Cheese

Ezra Frater
Agropur
Luxemburg, WI
US
98.6
Third Award
Reduced Sodium Provolone

Renard's Rosewood Dairy Team
Rosewood Dairy, Inc.
Algoma, WI, WI
US
99.75
Best of Class
Renard's Cheese Savory Morel & Leek Cheese Spread

 

GEO-DC excited for progress on escarpment park

A grant from Destination Door County is making it even more possible for you to see a park dedicated to the Niagara Escarpment soon. In October, the Greater Escarpment Organization of Door County (GEO-DC) announced plans to create an interpretive park rather than building a museum on its site along State Highway 42 in Ellison Bay. The organization purchased the property in 2017 and had initially planned to turn a vacant home into a proposed Niagara Escarpment Discovery Center. A failed building inspection and a pandemic later, GEO-DC reversed course and created a vision for the park, including informational signage covering the escarpment’s geology, flora, fauna, local cultures, area economy, and environment. Five months later, GEO-DC received $15,000 from Destination Door County’s Community Investment Fund to help fund some of the interpretative signage in the works. Board Member Maryanne O’Dowd says there has been renewed enthusiasm for the project since they decided to shift gears towards a park.

O’Dowd says they continue to fundraise for the project, and they are still waiting to hear back on a few grant applications that could help them break ground on the park project later this year. The Friends of Peninsula State Park, the Door County Bookmobile, the City of Sturgeon Bay, the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, and the County of Door were among the other entities to share approximately $376,000 in grant funding from Destination Door County.

2024 Alice in Dairyland Finalist: Kiel's Lauren Siemers

For Kiel’s Lauren Siemers, becoming Alice in Dairyland would be a logical next step in her career in agriculture. The UW-Oshkosh student already has a lot of experience promoting agriculture not just in Wisconsin but across the country. Siemers served as the 2019 Wisconsin Holstein Association Princess, competed in speaking contests, and traveled extensively across the country and to Scotland to evaluate dairy cattle. During her time as a WHA Princess and her involvement in FFA and 4-H, she had a chance to see Alice in Dairyland up close and she performed her duties. Especially after seeing the role blossom even more after COVID, Siemers is excited to take over the program herself potentially.


Siemers will compete against Denmark’s Katrina Hoesly, Oconomowoc’s Halei Heinzel, Kewaunee’s Kiley Pagel, Big Bend’s Michaela King, and Fox Lake’s Cierra Essock for the title of Alice in Dairyland this May. Tickets went on sale on Monday for the Alice in Dairyland Finals’ two main events: the Wisconsin Products Showcase on May 3rd at Door County Boardwalk’s Gala location and the finale at Stone Harbor Resort on May 4th. You can meet the current Alice in Dairyland Ashley Hagenow and support the program at a fundraising meat raffle at Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay on March 9 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

 

Farmers may deal with predicted "Polar Coaster Spring"

This winter's weather may end up as the warmest in Wisconsin history, but local farmers are keeping their eyes on the spring as Mother Nature may be bringing unseasonably cold and snowy conditions.  The Farmers’ Almanac predicts a “Polar Coaster Spring” with colder temperatures and more thunder and snowstorms.  The long-range forecast calls for many days of freezing temperatures with possible late snow through April in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region.  Rich Olsen of Olsen Family Farm in southern Door County says more precipitation of rain or even snow would be welcomed since there is no frost on the ground and the fields are very dry.  He says the one concern is if there is a long stretch of bitterly cold weather.

 

 

Olsen notes that area farmers are readying their farm equipment for the upcoming planting season, which will not begin before late April or early May.  

High School Job Fair showcases employment opportunities

The Door County Economic Development Corporation’s High School Job Fair in Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday provided you a peek at the opportunities available in the area.

 

Wednesday's four-hour event connected over 500 local students with 40 businesses and organizations for youth apprenticeship opportunities, part-time employment, and summer jobs.  The fair also gave a chance for select seniors to find full-time employment after they graduate in the spring.

 

 

 

Door County Sheriff’s Department Professional Standards Captain Carl Waterstreet says the response on Wednesday was overwhelming, with many students showing interest in law enforcement opportunities.

 

 

Sturgeon Bay, Southern Door, Sevastopol, Algoma, and Washington Island high schools all attended the job fair held at Stone Harbor Resort and Conference Center.

Search for Elijah Vue continues as police seek video of vehicle

The search for three-year-old Elijah Vue of Two Rivers enters its third week, and law enforcement authorities are asking for the public’s help in obtaining video footage of a vehicle that could be connected with the child’s disappearance.

 

The vehicle is a 1997 Nissan Altima with Wisconsin license plates.  The Two Rivers Police Department is asking businesses and homeowners to check their security footage from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday, February 19th.

 

According to USA Today, authorities reportedly said they are not interested in the vehicle's current owner, only in the camera footage.  The car is not owned by Katrina Baur, Elijah’s mother, or her boyfriend Jesse Vang, who was the last person to see Vue before his disappearance.

 

Vue was last seen on February 20 at the residence of Vang.   A massive search by government agencies and volunteers has canvassed the neighborhoods and rural areas around Two Rivers and has been unsuccessful over the past three weeks.

Both Baur and Vang were arrested after the disappearance.  Baur faces a charge of party-to-a-crime child neglect, and Vang faces a child neglect charge.  They are due to appear in court on Thursday.

 

The photo released by the Two Rivers Police Department of the 1997 Nissan Altima is below.

2024 Alice in Dairyland Finalist: Big Bend's Michaela King

No matter how far away she tried getting away from it, agriculture kept on reeling in Big Bend’s Michaela King. King is one of the six finalists for Alice in Dairyland, a role that will send one individual around the state over the next year as a spokesperson for all things agriculture in Wisconsin. King was active in 4-H as a showperson in the beef and dairy projects and served as the Waukesha County Fairest of the Fair in 2019. King admits that her attending the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities was part of a plan to find a life outside of agriculture. For King, agriculture did not take long to find her again in the big city.

King will compete against Denmark’s Katrina Hoesly, Oconomowoc’s Halei Heinzel, Kewaunee’s Kiley Pagel, Kiel’s Lauren Siemers, and Fox Lake’s Cierra Essock for the title of Alice in Dairyland this May. Tickets went on sale on Monday for the Alice in Dairyland Finals’ two main events: the Wisconsin Products Showcase on May 3rd at Door County Boardwalk’s Gala location and the finale at Stone Harbor Resort on May 4th. You can meet the current Alice in Dairyland Ashley Hagenow and support the program at a fundraising meat raffle at Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay on March 9 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Door County YMCA seeking more swim instructors, lifeguards

The Door County YMCA is taking steps to add more swim opportunities for youngsters in the area by offering a certification class for instructors.  Aquatics Director Heidi Honold says the YMCA is always looking for qualified instructors to meet the demand for youth swim lessons.  She shares how the process is streamlined, and the certification can easily be obtained within a few hours of training and shadowing.

 

  

The Door County YMCA currently offers 25 swimming lessons with levels for parent/child, preschool, and youth.  Honold adds that the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay is hosting lifeguard certification classes later this month and a recertification in April.  Both swim instructors and lifeguards who complete their certification and then work at the YMCA receive the training for free.  You can register by calling the Door County YMCA or clicking here for a job description for being a swim instructor.    

Sturgeon Bay extends Cobblestone Hotel development agreement, approves rezoning

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council took several actions Tuesday night on potential developments including the new Cobblestone Hotel.

A recommendation by the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee was approved to give an extension to the Development Agreement with Cobblestone Hotels until December 31, 2025, due to supply chain issues and rising interest rates.  The project was originally planned to be completed by the summer of 2025.

The council also approved the first readings on two rezoning ordinances.  The first was for rezoning property at Utah Street and 18th Avenue from single-family residential to two-family residential.  The second property on the south side of Alabama Street across from the Nightingale Supper Club was rezoned from Agricultural (A) to General Commercial (C-1) to allow for the building of the Morning Dove Drive-Thru Coffee Shop. 

The Waterfront Redevelopment Authority was officially dissolved after the City of Sturgeon Bay accepted responsibility for all remaining contractual obligations and agreements the WRA had made. 

The council approved the hiring of Ayres Associates for up to $74,000  for conducting a feasibility study on a potential new sports complex where the Memorial Athletic Field Complex is currently located. 

Collaboration key to Door County Housing Partnership's success

Two single-parent families with children have homes in Sturgeon Bay, thanks partly to your generosity and the collaboration of several organizations. This week, the Door County Housing Partnership announced the completion of two new homes in Sturgeon Bay as they continue to address affordable housing in the area. The organization partnered with Door County Habitat for Humanity on one of the homes and received assistance from benefactors Mike and Kathryn Martell and Countrywide Construction of Forestville for the other. Pastor Jim Honig said last December that their work can be hard at times, but their firsthand impact makes their efforts worth it.

By using the Community Land Trust model, the Door County Housing Partnership ensures that the home and the land it sits on remain affordable for the foreseeable future. Honig said the organization looked forward to building more homes in the Sister Bay area this summer.

Republican field forming for August primary

The choice will be yours this August as Republicans continue to put their names into the hat to run for office this fall. In the U.S. Senate race, businessman Eric Hovde officially entered the conversation on February 21st after months of speculation, joining Kyle Corrigan, Matthew Harvey, Dan Helm, Stacey Klein, Rejani Raveendran, and Patrick Schaefer-Wick in the race. On Monday, State Senator Andre Jacque became the second Republican to join the race to represent Wisconsin’s Eight Congressional District. Former State Senator Roger Roth declared his candidacy shortly after Gallagher announced he would not seek a fifth term. Door County Republican Party Chairperson Stephanie Soucek says the name recognition of the candidates in the race should be beneficial as they go through the primary process on the way to the general election.

As for Super Tuesday, Soucek believes the results will further cement former President Donald Trump as the Republican nominee after capturing more than 240 delegates so far.

 

For the Democrats, Senator Tammy Baldwin announced her re-election bid over a year ago, the same cannot be said about the party's bid for the Eighth Congressional District. Democrats have not fielded a candidate for the Eighth Congressional District since Amanda Stuck unsuccessfully challenged Gallagher in 2020. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dr. Kristin Lyerly, former journalist Kelly Peterson, and Navy veteran Alicia Saunders are coordinating to ensure one of them will be on the ballot while avoiding a primary. They plan on making that announcement later this month or early in April.

Deadline to apply for open Kewaunee City Council City is Thursday

You only have a few days remaining to serve the City of Kewaunee’s second aldermanic district. The Kewaunee City Council opened the seat for applications last month following the resignation of Alderperson Wendy Shelton. The person selected for the role would fill the seat until April 2025, when they would be up for re-election. You have until March 7th to apply for the seat. Candidates would then be required to attend the March 11th meeting to learn whether they had been chosen.

2024 Alice in Dairyland Finalist: Fox Lake's Cierra Essock

In Cierra Essock’s Hustisford Junior and Senior High agriculture classroom, a student knew that her teacher had what it takes to be Alice in Dairyland. Essock was one of the six ladies named as a finalist for this year’s Alice in Dairyland Finals, which will occur in Sturgeon Bay May 2nd-4th. The UW-River Falls alum is no stranger to Wisconsin agriculture's spotlight after serving as a Wisconsin Holstein Princess Attendant in 2015. Before Friday’s announcement, Essock said no one in her classroom knew that she was in the running to become the next Alice in Dairyland. However, she admitted that one student believed she would be the perfect spokesperson for the state’s agriculture industry.

Essock will compete against Denmark’s Katrina Hoesly, Oconomowoc’s Halei Heinzel, Kewaunee’s Kiley Pagel, Kiel’s Lauren Siemers, and Big Bend’s Michaela King for the title of Alice in Dairyland this May. Tickets went on sale on Monday for the Alice in Dairyland Finals’ two main events: the Wisconsin Products Showcase on May 3rd at Door County Boardwalk’s Gala location and the finale at Stone Harbor Resort on May 4th. You can meet the current Alice in Dairyland Ashley Hagenow and support the program at a fundraising meat raffle at Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay on March 9 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

 

Southern Door 5th graders help CP Telethon set record

A tradition that goes back over 50 years continued this past Sunday when the Southern Door fifth-graders performed at the 70th Annual CP Telethon in Green Bay. Nearly 50 students performed two songs on stage and television before presenting a check for $38,343 to the Cerebral Palsy Center. Bridget Spude, a fifth-grade teacher at Southern Door Elementary School, says the individual efforts started months ago, and the hard work by the students every year is always appreciated, as well as the community support. 

 

 

The Southern Door Fifth grade class has raised over $50,000 in past years. Sunday's 2024 CP telethon held at WBAY TV studios raised a donation record of $1,469,772. 

Egg Harbor remains on pace as construction heads to second phase

State Highway 42 through Egg Harbor will remain open to local traffic, but you will still see some changes on the horizon as the village’s road construction project enters its second phase. The first phase of the STH 42 construction project focused on the village’s infrastructure as crews buried utility lines, installed sewer lines, and made other improvements. March 11th marks the start of the final segment of the village’s road construction project from Harbor School Road to County Highway E. 

 

 

The Village of Egg Harbor is hosting a public meeting on Thursday at the Kress Pavilion beginning at 6 p.m. to discuss the project schedule and what is expected to occur as the project progresses. 

 

BUG Fire battles two brush fires within minutes of each other

The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department did not have to go far to tend to a pair of fires on Saturday afternoon. Just before 2 p.m., crews responded to a brush fire in the area of South Stevenson Pier Road. They were able to put out that fire in approximately 10 minutes. They were paged to a second brush fire on a different part of South Stevenson Pier Road. Approximately 200 yards of ditch burned because the fire crews were able to put it out in approximately 15 minutes with two brush trucks and an engine on the scene. It was the third such fire the department was involved with last week after a discarded cigarette was to blame for a grass fire last Tuesday. Last week’s snow did nothing to calm the threats of fires in Door and Kewaunee counties as they are still listed at a high level for danger. Several nearby counties, like Oconto and Marinette, were downgraded from high to low in the past week. 

Jacque enters race for U.S. Congress

You’ll find another familiar name in the race to replace Rep. Mike Gallagher.

 

State Senator Andre Jacque teased the announcement on Sunday before making good on it Monday morning, telling conservative radio talk show host Joe Giganti that he will run for Wisconsin’s Eighth Congressional District. During the appearance, he touted his conservative credentials, including his stances against COVID-19 shutdowns, border security, and excessive spending. On his newly launched campaign website, Jacque says, “Northeast Wisconsin deserves strong leadership in Congress that won’t surrender to pressure from liberal special interests and will stand up for our common sense conservative values.”

 

Jacque faced an interesting decision regardless of his choice to run for U.S. Congress after the newly approved legislative maps drew him out of State Senate District 1, which included Door and Kewaunee counties, which would have forced him to move.

 

He joins former Republican State Senator Roger Roth, who began his bid hours after Gallagher announced he would not seek a fifth term.

2024 Alice in Dairyland Finalist: Denmark's Katrina Hoesly

Ever since she was in kindergarten attending the World Dairy Expo, Denmark’s Katrina Hoesly has had her eyes on Alice in Dairyland. She admits that at the time, she did not know everything that it took to be that girl who graced the color shavings in Madison who was presenting the show’s Supreme Champion. Her involvement in agriculture has grown over the years, which included being a Wisconsin State FFA Officer. Now a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Marketing Communications and Agricultural Business, she is excited to potentially be that role model for other little girls in the state like Alice in Dairyland was for her.

 

 

Hoesly will compete against Fox Lake’s Cierra Essock, Oconomowoc’s Halei Heinzel, Kewaunee’s Kiley Pagel, Kiel’s Lauren Siemers, and Big Bend’s Michaela King for the title of Alice in Dairyland this May. Tickets for associated events with the Alice in Dairyland Finals go on sale on Monday. We will feature all six Alice in Dairyland Finalists this week. You can meet the current Alice in Dairyland Ashley Hagenow and support the program at a fundraising meat raffle at Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay on March 9 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

 

Southern Door graduate on Wheel of Fortune Wednesday

When Pat Sajak spins the wheel and Vana White turns the letters this week on the TV show Wheel of Fortune, a Door County native will be competing for big money and prizes.

 

Southern Door’s 1981 graduate John Kipp will be a contestant on the popular show this Wednesday.  Kipp, who currently lives in Minnesota, was born and raised in Door County and has been a freelance product photographer for the past 35 years.

 

He sent in an audition tape to apply as a contestant last August and subsequently had a phone interview with a contestant coordinator and had two Zoom calls with producers playing the Wheel of Fortune game. 

 

After a long wait, Kipp finally received an email in January confirming that he was chosen as a possible contestant for the show.  One week later, he flew out to California where 18 other people were selected to be part of six shows being taped in one day.  The final taping was done at Sony Studios in Culver City, California.

 

Over 10,000 contestant applications are received every year for the Wheel of Fortune.

 

This was not Kipp’s first time as a game show contestant.  He competed on another game show called Mall Masters on the Game Show Network in 2000.

 

Kipp’s appearance on the Wheel of Fortune will be shown at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday on Fox 11 WLUK. 


 

(This story originally stated Tuesday for the show, it was corrected to Wednesday, we regret this error)

Sevastopol School District to explore adding on a third gym

Sevastopol School District officials are confident that if you build it, more groups would come to use a third gym if it was available. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke is looking to form a committee to explore creating a third gym on the school grounds that the district and the entire community could use. Luedtke says all options are being considered, but they will work with Bray Architects to provide some options and costs for a new facility. The district opted just to replace what was being torn down when voters approved a $25.1 million referendum in 2018. Luedtke adds that the community is driving this effort.

The committee will meet several times in the coming months before the district potentially puts the issue to the voters in April 2025. 

2024 Alice in Dairyland Finalist: Kewaunee's Kiley Pagel

Among the six 2024 Alice in Dairyland finalists announced last week in Egg Harbor, you may identify them as local. Kewaunee’s Kiley Pagel will graduate in May from UW-Green Bay with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. However, she is getting plenty of real-life experience as a marketing advisor for the Pagel Family Businesses, including its farming and cheesemaking operations. Advocating for agriculture is in her family’s blood, dating back to her late grandfather, John T. Pagel, one of the founding members of the Dairy Business Association and was associated with other similar organizations. She says it would be a privilege to serve as Alice in Dairyland and hopes to be able to secure the nod in her backyard.

 

 

Pagel will compete against Fox Lake’s Cierra Essock, Oconomowoc’s Halei Heinzel, Denmark’s Katrina Hoesly, Kiel’s Lauren Siemers, and Big Bend’s Michaela King for the title of Alice in Dairyland this May. Tickets for associated events with the Alice in Dairyland Finals go on sale on Monday. We will feature all six Alice in Dairyland Finalists this week.

Cobblestone Hotels seek development agreement extension

You may have to wait until the end of 2025 to check out Sturgeon Bay’s newest hotel. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will act on a recommendation to approve an amended development agreement with Cobblestone Hotel Development LLC, which includes a completion deadline of December 31st, 2025. The group purchased the property near the intersection of Egg Harbor Road and N. 12th Avenue a few years ago and hoped to complete the project by the summer of 2025. Supply chain issues, rising interest rates, and higher construction costs are why Cobblestone Hotel Development LLC is asking for an extension. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also look to dissolve the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and approve new floodplain zoning as a part of Tuesday’s meeting at 6 p.m. inside Sturgeon Bay City Hall.

Crossroads takes deeper look at NERR

Crossroads at Big Creek will host a special Fish Tales Lecture at 7:00pm on Thursday,  March 14 . Dr. Emily Tyner, Director of Freshwater Strategy – UWGB, will present “Research, monitoring, and outreach opportunities with a Bay of Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve." 

When Governor Evers requested the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) to establish a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) on the bay of Green Bay in 2019, it started a designation process that now includes natural areas in Sturgeon Bay.

The properties of Crossroads at Big Creek, the Door County Land Trust Ship Canal Preserve, and the Strawberry Creek properties of the Wisconsin DNR combined as one of the four natural areas requested by the Governor to be included in a Green Bay NERR Natural Areas. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has been the lead state agency coordinating the designation process.

So, what is an estuary and why does it merit protection? And why are we at Crossroads so committed to be good stewards of our Cove Estuary Preserve? 

Most people think of an estuary as “a dynamic ecosystem having a connection to the open sea through which the sea enters with the rhythm of the tides” and that definition is accurate for most of the coastal NERR sanctuaries. But The Great Lakes do not have salt water. Lake Michigan does not have tides.

Or do they? Studies have shown that the Great Lakes do experience a tidal pattern twice a day, during which the water level changes. But this change is really tiny- only several inches during the largest tide.  These minor height changes are often obliterated by water level fluctuations caused by weather related factors such as wind, rain, air pressure and water currents.  As a result, the Great Lakes are generally considered “non-tidal”.

The freshwater estuaries of the Great Lakes offer unique combinations of ground water, rivers or streams and lake water.  In these places,   waters meet and mix. Consequently,  estuaries  offer unique and varied habitats to countless creatures.

We at Crossroads knew that The Cove Estuary was special way back when we were still a school forest, but at that time did not have the funds to purchase the land. 

Fortunately, in 2015, using individual donations and grant funding, we were able to purchase the 9- acre parcel that we now call The Cove Estuary Preserve. At that time, our goal was to protect the water of the estuary so pike, suckers and other fish could continue to spawn in Big Creek.

The Cove Estuary Preserve does not have a formalized trail network. It includes a variety of  of habitats including a sedge meadow, riparian forest, shrub car wetlands, and so much more. 

 

We knew that waterfowl used The Cove during migration and were pleased to learn that is was  designated as “a stopover of significance” in the Wisconsin DNR Migratory Bird Conservation Plan.

Crossroads at Big Creek is now on the verge of receiving a national focus as part of the NERR system.  Please join us on March 14th at 7:00pm to hear Emily Tyner explain how these new federal programs will benefit The Cove Estuary which we steward, and of the additional community benefits it will bring.

With the recent warm up Crossroads is excited to announce another season of its wetland monitoring program. On Saturday, March 9, from 9:00 to 11:00,  Crossroads will offer a training session for volunteers who wish to help monitor the health of our wetlands. Please visit the Crossroads website for details.

Both the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society and the Crossroads Family Program:  Saturday Science will be looking at the Sun this week.  Wait---we all know better than to look at the Sun. (Don’t fry your eyes) . But during Science Saturday, families will explore how storms on the Sun (which are becoming more numerous) can result in Northern Lights. And the lecture at the DPAS monthly meeting on will be on safely “Observing the Sun through a Telescope” presented by Jim Gallt.

 

 

 March 9

 9:00 am - 11:00 am Community Wetland Survey Team Field Training

Join our team as we monitor the health of our wetlands to better inform our management practices and share the importance of wetlands with our community.

This field training day will cover the details of the surveys for new volunteers and serve as a refresher for volunteers who helped last year.

We will be discussing survey sites, protocols, equipment, and resources for volunteers as well as assigning teams to their sites.  If this is something that interests you, or you have questions about the project, please contact corey@crossroadsatbigcreek.org for more information.

2:00 pm  FAMILY Program Science Saturdays: Auroras

This free family program is age-appropriate for elementary aged students, but learners of all ages are welcome to explore, through videos and hands-on demonstrations, how northern lights are created. Meet in the lab of the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads at Big Creek 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay

TUESDAY, March 12

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Monthly Meeting of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society.

Visitors are always welcome at DPAS Meetings. The program will focus on safely “Observing the Sun with a Telescope”. Meetings are held at the Ray and Ruthie Stonecipher Astronomy Center, 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay.

 

Thursday,  March 14

 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Fish Tales: Research, monitoring, and more with the Green Bay NERR  

Emily Tyner, Director of Freshwater Science at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will present “Research, monitoring, and outreach opportunities with a Bay of Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR).”

Join us in-person at Crossroads at Big Creek.  To participate via ZOOM or Facebook Live, go to https://doorcountylibrary.org/event to find the link. Collin Learning Center. Crossroads at Big Creek 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, WI, United States

CredibleMind puts mental health resources at your fingertips

Addressing a significant gap between residents and mental health providers, local health leaders hope a new site can offer some help. On Friday, the Door County Department of Health and Human Services, the Door County Mental Health Focus Group, and Door County Medical Center announced the launch of CredibleMind, a free online mental well-being platform. The free online platform puts videos, podcasts, apps, online programs, books, and more right at your fingertips. One in five American adults suffers from mental illness, many of which cannot get the help they need. That’s especially true in Door County, where there is just one mental health provider for every 740 residents. Shauna Blackledge from the Door County Public Health Department hopes that residents find the site useful and can give them useful tips if they need assistance.


You can check out the site by clicking this link, where you can understand your mental health, take an assessment, and browse their library of resources.

Anatomy of a scam

Over the years, I have written numerous articles on the various scams and frauds that are reported to us, along with some helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim. Just this past week, I received a letter from a potential victim, who was not only smart enough to not be taken in, but actually took the time to transcribe the conversation. I thought this was a great bit of information, and I want to use this as an opportunity to discuss “The Anatomy of a Scam”

        

While the scam I will walk you through is what we would call “The Grandchild Scam”, most if not all scams follow the same methodology. The scam actually begins before the call is even answered in that the perpetrators are now using a method called “Cloning” to attach their call to a familiar number. Gone are the days when these calls would come in as “Unknown” or “Unlisted”. They realized that people were catching on to this, so they adapted. This provides a sense of legitimacy as the number may have a familiar area code or even the entire number. Also, as part of establishing legitimacy, they may or may not state a name. If they state a name, they most likely have done some research and actually have the correct name. This is where social media can be problematic. Be careful what you post. In other cases, they will just state “This is your Gandson/ Granddaughter”. Too often the potential victims will then give the name in an attempt to confirm.

        

The first step in any scam is to elevate the potential victim’s sense of emotion. In this case the caller stated “Grandma, I broke my leg in a car accident”. The general tactic here is that the greater the level of emotion, the lower the level of logic. This same approach is used when the caller states they from a law enforcement agency, the IRS, or in a positive way, a lottery representative with news of a big win. In all cases, elevating the potential victim’s emotional state is the goal.

        

The next step is isolation. The perpetrators know that if their potential victim, shares the story and request for money, those people will not have the same elevated emotion, and will view the entire situation with logic, thus drastically limiting the potential success of their scam. In this scam, the caller stated that she was in jail, as the other driver was pregnant (Not sure why that has any relevancy, but again, they are looking to keep the emotion elevated). She then goes on to state that she needs money for bail, but she asks that the potential victim not tell anyone as it could affect her job. For someone in a state of heightened emotion, this all may make perfect sense.

        

The final part is the actual transaction details. In this call, the perpetrator states that they will pick up the money. This of course should bring with it numerous safety concerns. Many times, this original plan, is shifted to having the potential victim either go to a bank to initiate a wire transfer, or a trip to a Walmart to purchase money cards, which will allow the transaction to take place more conveniently for the victim. In this case, the potential victim, was smart enough to see through it, and terminated the call.

        

It is important that when you do receive any call of such a nature, to end the call as soon as possible. The longer you stay on that call, the greater the chance that the caller will draw you into their story. I call this the difference between a “Hard Target” and a “Soft Target”. If the caller senses hesitation or an inclination in believing the story, they will turn up the pressure, or even call again. If you display a solid no-nonsense approach which is decisive and conclusive, they will most likely move on to someone else, who will be that “Soft Target” they are looking for.

         

I want to thank the wonderful community member who shared their story with me, so that I could share it with you. This is our greatest defense against such scams; our willingness to share stories. Even if you have actually been victimized by such scams, share that story. It may prevent future victimization.

  

Kewaunee resident among Alice finalists presented in Egg Harbor

The countdown is on for the Alice in Dairyland Finals in Door County, which officially began after the six finalists vying to succeed the current Alice, Ashley Hagenow, were introduced on Friday in Egg Harbor. Fox Lake’s Cierra Essock, Oconomowoc’s Halei Heinzel, Denmark’s Katrina Hoesly, Kewaunee’s Kiley Pagel, Kiel’s Lauren Siemers, and Big Bend’s Michaela King will all compete for the title of Alice in Dairyland this May. The role is a one-year, full-time public relations position with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The girls all have different backgrounds and experiences that they can fall back on over the next two months, and Steering Committee Chair Denise Plassmeyer said she was impressed by all six of them when she met them for the first time.


Along with Hagenow, the six finalists will frequent Door County to get to know the area better ahead of completing the final May 2nd-4th. Tickets to some of the associated events go on sale on March 4th. The Alice in Dairyland Final Door County Steering Committee will also host a meat raffle fundraiser on March 9th at Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay. We will feature each of the six finalists over the next week, or you can watch our individual interviews with them on our YouTube Channel.

 

 

ADRC begins work on Three-Year Aging Plan

The Door County Aging and Disability Resource Center needs your help crafting a plan for the next three years addressing aging in the area.

 

The state requires the counties’ ADRCs to complete a strategic plan that serves as a platform to create, improve, and expand services in the communities they serve. The survey helps the ADRC identify what they are doing right and where to improve. The last time the ADRC conducted this survey in 2021, it identified several goals to institute, such as expanding programming at its meal sites, expanding its Meals on Wheels program, addressing the caregiver and advocate shortages, and promoting education opportunities for fall protection. To participate in this survey, you can click this link or pick up a survey at the ADRC’s meal sites in Sturgeon Bay, Brussels, Baileys Harbor, Liberty Grove, and Washington Island. 

Brussels childcare center abruptly closes

Several families in Door County are waiting patiently to see if their childcare center can open their doors again after having their licenses revoked by the state. Earlier this week, Adventures Child Care owner Sandy Jandrin took to Facebook to express her sadness and concern about the facility having to close its doors. She says the license was revoked because she filed the necessary paperwork for her license renewal late. “I want to be clear there were or are absolutely no claims or instances of anything that jeopardized the safety or health of any children. I have devoted my entire life to nurturing and helping children grow. This was simply a paperwork mistake,” Jandrin wrote. Rep. Joel Kitchens says his office is waiting to hear back from the Department of Children and Families, who oversee childcare licenses, to see how the situation can be remedied since many had to make sudden arrangements to ensure their kids could be cared for until a solution could be found.

Luxemburg-Casco remembers Okoniewski

The Luxemburg-Casco School District is mourning the loss of a former principal and coach with ties to the Green and Gold. Steve Okoniewski passed away earlier this week at the age of 74 at his home in the Green Bay area. The Washington native first came to the region as a member of the 1974 and 1975 Green Bay Packers teams. He would later return to northeast Wisconsin first as a Master’s student at UW-Oshkosh before starting his tenure as a principal and assistant football coach in 1989. Despite retiring in 2014, his legacy lived on right up to his passing. Head wrestling coach Chas Treml says “Mr. O” had a tremendous impact on his life as a student and coach, adding that a picture of two of them hugging after the Spartans captured a Team State Wrestling championship says everything.


A Memorial Celebration of Life for Okoniewski will take place in April.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of Luxemburg-Casco Spartan Football

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