Sturgeon Bay welcomes you to school

Whether it is a session about supporting children dealing with anxiety or learning ukulele, Sturgeon Bay School District hopes you join them for a class or two. Last month, the district’s pupil services department kicked off its series of six topics covering areas like online safety, student organizational skills, and behavioral struggles. The sessions start with a meal at 5:30 p.m. before the parent-focused sessions start at 6 p.m. In the New Year, the district will also offer a session of community programs for the first time since before the pandemic. The programs introduce community members to its technical education, art and music departments, and other opportunities. Sturgeon Bay Superintendent Dan Tjernagel is proud the district can offer the programming and tighten its bond with the community it serves.

The Pupil Services Series sessions are free to attend, while there may be some costs for classes through the Community Programming Series. You can click on the links above to learn more about the sessions and to submit your RSVP.  

Community Spotlight: Door County Toys for Kids and Kewaunee County Toys for Tots

Drop-off boxes across Door and Kewaunee counties are overflowing with toys, which is a good thing. Both giving programs are in their final days of toy collection before their respective distribution events.  Door County Toys for Kids will have their distribution events for registered families on December 10th from 8 a.m. to noon at the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church or on December 11th at the Northern Door Children’s Center from noon to 1 p.m. In Kewaunee County, toys will be distributed to registered families at Holy Rosary Church in Kewaunee on December 17th from noon to 2 p.m. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says he has had to empty several boxes already to make room for additional donations. In Sturgeon Bay, Bridge Up Brewing’s Trent Snyder is playing the role of Santa Claus, shopping for Christmas presents with money donated in the tap room while patrons filled up seven boxes along the way. He feels blessed that he can help give back to the community and pass that spirit on to others.

If you are still out shopping for gifts for the two efforts, Joski and Snyder say that the community’s youngest and oldest children often do not have as many gifts for parents to choose from. 

Holiday traditions endure in nature

Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay and The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor are helping you take a nature-first approach with your holiday celebrations on December 10th. The holiday tradition of the Night Tree at Crossroads at Big Creek began a dozen years ago as a part of a field trip organized by a Sawyer Elementary School first-grade teacher. The students would read the book “Night Tree” by the hearth inside the Collins Learning Center, and afterward, they would head outside to feed the animals like they do in the book. Interpretative Naturalist Coggin Heeringa said when the teacher retired, it was decided that the tradition would continue.

The Night Tree program begins at 10 a.m. at Crossroads at Big Creek. Later in the day, families can head to The Ridges Sanctuary for their annual Natural Christmas celebration. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., guests are invited to walk along the boardwalk, enjoy snacks and warm beverages inside the Kaye cabin, and participate in holiday crafts and a campfire.  

"Chop 'N' Shop with a Cop" enjoys 20th year of success

Over 30 law enforcement officers from Door County partnered with area children on Saturday as part of the 20th annual Chop 'N' Shop with a Cop" program.  The day began with the kids being able to pick out a Christmas tree for their family at Krueger Tree Farm.  Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard shares how the event has been successful and grown with the community's incredible support.  



The day also included a shopping trip for the kids to buy gifts for their families and a pizza party at the Door County Sheriff's Office.  The law enforcement officers and children were also treated with a 20th-anniversary cake created by Holly Lehmann to cap off the day's activities. 


(photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department)



Third Avenue PlayWorks showcasing "A Christmas Carol- A Live Radio Play"

This month, a classic Christmas radio show from the 1940s will be recreated at a Sturgeon Bay performing art center.  Third Avenue PlayWorks will be transformed into “A Christmas Carol- A Live Radio Play” starting December 11.  Artistic Director Jacob Janssen says five actors will perform 40 roles on stage.   He says the story is magical with all the familiar characters of Scrooge, Cratchit, and Tiny Tim while a live musician performs all the music and sound effects on stage.



The show will be performed Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm until the end of the year, except Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  You can find ticket information on “A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play” by clicking on this link or contacting Third Avenue PlayWorks. 

Washington Island, Gibraltar look at posing spring referendum questions

Two Door County school districts could be asking you to help fund their operations as a part of the spring election. Both the Washington Island School District and Gibraltar Area School District are in the initial stages of the referendum process. The Washington Island School District Referendum Committee hosted its first meeting Friday after calling for volunteers to serve on it. They spent Friday analyzing how much may be needed and setting up an action plan. The district last went to an operational referendum approximately two years ago. Gibraltar Area Schools are looking at making capital improvements to the school for the first time since the districts last passed a referendum in 2018. While the last referendum project focused on its library and media center, Superintendent Brett Strousland said would address other parts of the building.

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the deadline to file a copy of the referendum question with the county clerk’s office in time to appear on the spring general election ballot is January 25th, 2023. 

Destination Door County begins Bundle Up collection

Your new or gently used winter gear could come in good use for those in need in the community. Destination Door County kicked off its annual “Door County Bundle Up” winter gear drive” earlier this week. Locations throughout the county in Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Ellison Bay, and Baileys Harbor will collect the winter gear before distributing it to Door County residents through local charity partners. The DDC has helped collect 800 to 1,000 winter gear items in recent years, including over 1,300 during the 2016-2017 drive. The winter gear drive is part of a more significant effort organized by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. You have until January 9th to donate the winter gear. You can find a list of the locations accepting donations below.


Destination Door County

Location: 1015 Green Bay Road, Sturgeon Bay

Hours: 24/7 in the Welcome Center Lobby


Baileys Harbor Community Association

Location: Baileys Harbor Town Hall, 2392 County F, Baileys Harbor

Hours: Daily 6 AM – 10 PM in lobby


Destination Sturgeon Bay

Location: 36 S. Third Avenue, Sturgeon Bay

Hours: 24/7 in the brochure room


Door County North

Location: Kick Ash Coffee, 12001 Mink River Road, Ellison Bay

Hours: Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri, Sat 8 AM - 3 PM; 8 AM – 12 PM Sunday


Egg Harbor Business Association

Location: Main Street Market, 7770 Hwy 42, Egg Harbor

Hours: Monday - Saturday 8 AM – 6 PM; Sunday 8 AM – 5 PM

Location: Nicolet National Bank, 7842 Hwy 42, Egg Harbor

Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 AM – 4 PM; Friday 9 AM – 5 PM

Location: Egg Harbor Village Hall, 7860 HWY 42, Egg Harbor

Hours: Monday - Friday 8 AM – 4 PM


Ephraim Business Council

Location: Ephraim Post Office, 3043 Cedar Street, Ephraim

Hours: 24/7 in the lobby


Visit Fish Creek

Location: 4097 HWY 42, Fish Creek

Hours: Monday – Friday 10 AM – 3 PM, Saturday 9 AM – 3 PM, Sunday 9 AM – 12 PM


Sister Bay Advancement Association

Location: Nicolet National Bank, 2477 S Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay

Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 AM – 4 PM; Friday 9 AM – 5 PM

Location: Al Johnson’s, 10698 N Bayshore Drive, Sister Bay

Hours: Monday – Sunday 7 AM – 3 PM

Keeping your holiday spending under control

Spending money will not be a problem in the coming weeks, but making sure you still have plenty left over will be the real challenge. The National Retail Federation said a record 196 million people shopped in stores and online last weekend, the official kickoff of the holiday spending. Almost a third of Americans said they overspent last during the holidays, going more than $1,000 in debt in some cases. Leslie Boden from Money Management Counselors says many shoppers get carried away when they think they are taking advantage of a good deal, while others forget about the additional costs that can accrue while shopping.

Boden encourages people to stick to a holiday spending plan and look to other giving strategies like making your own gifts. According to Investopedia, holiday spending could reach as high as $960 billion despite the average American planning on spending $47 less than last year ($832 in 2022 compared to $879 in 2021). 


Shelters busy heading into the holiday season

Your new best friend may be waiting for you at the Wisconsin Humane Society. Like many animal shelters across the country, the Wisconsin Humane Society has plenty of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and more in search of their forever homes. Angela Speed from the Wisconsin Humane Society said last month that there were a lot of reasons why they have over 1,000 animals in their care across their five shelters in Wisconsin, including their facility in Door County.

You can find adoption and fostering information by clicking this link. If you already have a pet at home, you can bring them and the rest of your family to the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Door County Campus in Sturgeon Bay for their holiday celebration this Saturday. A $10 donation allows you to tour the facility and participate in some festive activities, and your family, including your pet, to take a picture with Santa Claus. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Kewaunee County schools, leaders talk agriculture on Saturday

You will hear about the future of agricultural education on Saturday at Luxemburg-Casco High School.


Agricultural business owners, agri-education teachers and school leaders, FFA members and alums, current students, parents, and area residents are invited to participate in the discussion. The event is a starting point for Luxemburg-Casco School District, Kewaunee School District, Denmark School District, and Algoma School District to engage with the community about the direction of agricultural education in the area. Luxemburg-Casco and Kewaunee have been able to build dedicated structures for their agricultural programs. Several agricultural businesses, such as Rio Creek Feed Mill and Kinnard Farms, invested in the Ahnapee Diesel program that draws in students from the area’s school districts.


Luxemburg-Casco Superintendent Jo-Ellen Fairbanks explained last month how important this discussion would be to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The discussion will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. inside Luxemburg-Casco High School’s multipurpose room. 

One injured in Sturgeon Bay crash

One person had to be transported by Door County EMS Thursday night after a two-vehicle crash in Sturgeon Bay. The accident occurred at 5:25 p.m. at the intersection of STH 42/57 and Duluth Avenue. According to the report provided by the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, Fischer Pawelski of Brussels was traveling south on STH 42/57 when a sport-utility vehicle driven by Angela Denil of Sturgeon Bay turned left in front of him. Denil told the responding officer in the report that she was in the intersection with a red turn signal and was trying to get out of the intersection. Pawelski said in the report that he saw the car turning in front of him and could not stop in time to avoid the accident. Pawelski did not sustain any injuries, but Denil had to be transported to Door County Medical Center for suspected serious injuries. No citations were issued, and both cars had to be towed away before the scene was cleared by 5:50 p.m.



Felhofer named new CEO for Door County YMCA

A familiar face will take over the reins as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Door County YMCA.  Tonya Felhofer has been named the permanent CEO and will assume her new duties next Monday, December 5th. 

Felhofer has served as the Financial Development Director and, for the last year, as the Mission Advancement Executive.  She also successfully led the annual campaigns and, most recently, the Heart of Community Capital Campaign, which is approaching its nearly $10 million project goal. 

The Door County YMCA has 170 full and part-time staff serving over 8,800 members in the Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay Program Centers.  

AP, IB programs helping students prepare for college

There are multiple reasons why taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses may benefit your students at home. The AP and IB programs allow students to participate in college-level coursework and potentially earn post-secondary school credits through testing. While the closest IB programs are in Green Bay, many of the high schools in Door and Kewaunee counties offer multiple AP courses covering subject areas like English, history, and science. Students that get a score of three or better on an AP test and four or five on an IB test could receive college credit, allowing them to forgo the class once they move on to a university. According to USA Today Network-Wisconsin data, the $97 price to take and pass an AP test is 10 to 15 percent of the investment of a three-credit course at a state university like UW-Green Bay or UW-Madison and two percent of a class at a private school like Marquette or St. Norbert. Luxemburg-Casco Principal Troy Haws and Academic Counselor Lindsay Allen say for many of their students, it is also about the rigors of the course that simulate the college experience.

The high schools in Door and Kewaunee counties not only offer AP courses, but they have also had success with it as well. Luxemburg-Casco has twice earned national honor roll distinction from The College Board, which recognizes school districts committed to providing access to AP courses for underrepresented students while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of three or higher. Last year, Gibraltar High School received recognition from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction for having at least 10 percent of its students take an AP class and 60 percent or more score a three or better on the exam.

Bailey remembers Christmastime for upcoming holiday tour

Former Vic Ferrari frontman and current STEEM vocalist Michael Bailey loves a good Christmas song, and he hopes you do too, for at least one night in Sturgeon Bay. Bailey and fellow STEEM collaborator Steve March-Torme return to eleven venues across the state for their second run “For Kids From 1 to 92” holiday tour. Last year’s tour featured the debut of the pair’s Christmas song “I Remember Christmastime.” It is a song of profound importance for Bailey, who wrote it in the thick of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic when people were not sure what the holidays would look like that winter. Like other great Christmas songs, Bailey believes it carries a lot of heart.

With over a dozen other musicians joining them on stage, Bailey and March-Torme will present this year’s edition of the “For Kids From 1 to 92” at Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay at 7 p.m. this Saturday. You can find ticketing information by clicking this link.



One injured after motorist drives into Sturgeon Bay business

A person inside a Sturgeon Bay hair salon was treated for minor scratches on her face after a car drove into the building on Wednesday morning. The crash occurred at approximately 8 a.m. when Sturgeon Bay resident Traci Crabb pulled into a parking spot at First Impressions Hair Studio for her appointment and continued driving into the building. According to the accident report filed by the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, Crabb said she tried stopping the vehicle, but it would not stop. She told the responding officer that her car was recently repaired due to a recall notice. Casco’s Crystal Brandt was working at the salon and was seated near the window when the crash occurred. After feeling glass shards in her face, Brandt was checked out by EMS personnel and treated for her injuries. Crabb was uninjured and not cited in the incident. 

Malfunction closes Michigan Street Bridge UPDATE: Bridge reopens

You can only use two of the three bridges going through Sturgeon Bay this morning (Thursday).


The Sturgeon Bay Police Department posted just after 8 a.m. this morning that the Michigan Street Bridge is closed due to it being stuck in the open position. No other information as to why the bridge is stuck was shared, but the Door County Highway Department and Wisconsin Department of Transportation are aware of the problem.


The bridge reopened at about 12:20pm according to the Sturgeon Bay Police Department.  


Door County Candle Company shines light on continued Ukraine crisis

After raising over $800,000 for Razom for Ukraine, Door County Candle Company hopes you will continue your support for the war-torn country. Last week, the Carlsville-based retailer announced its newest initiative to send tin candles to thousands of Ukrainian residents without power. Russia has begun targeting Ukraine’s utility providers in efforts to cripple the country’s available power supply. The hope is that the candles, sent in a more durable tin container than their usual glass container, will get into people’s homes so they can have a power source. Door County Candle Company owner Christiana Gorchynsky Trapani says she learned about the need for candles at an event in New York earlier this fall. She is happy that, once again, the community has stepped up.

You can purchase three different candles to benefit those living in Ukraine. You can learn more about those options and purchase your own by clicking on this link. Since they announced the new initiative, they have been able to donate close to 2,000 tin candles.


Picture courtesy of Door County Candle Company

Door County Chop 'N' Shop with a Cop turns 20

For the last 20 years, you have been able to catch members of the Door County law enforcement community kicking off the holidays with some of the area's younger residents. Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard helped start the program back in 2002 where members of the department would take children into the community to shop for presents for their families. The annual event has grown to include taking the kids out to a tree farm to cut down their Christmas tree, hosting a pizza party where they can wrap their presents, and providing each family with what they need to make a holiday meal. Sternard says the program would never have gotten to this point without the entire community's support.

The 20th annual Chop 'N' Shop with a Cop Day will take place this Saturday in and around Sturgeon Bay, with approximately 30 families benefiting from the program. You can contact Sternard for more details about participating or donating to the program.


"Giving For Sara" collection drive starting in Kewaunee

You can help support a food and hygiene drive program celebrating ten years of supporting area food pantries in Kewaunee County. The "Giving for Sara" program is held every December in honor of Sara Malay, the Aging Services Unit Director for Kewaunee County, before she passed away in a car accident in October 2013. Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard shares Sara's impact on the community and that of the "giving tree" on display.



The donations of non-perishable healthy foods, personal hygiene products, and monetary funds can be dropped off at the Kewaunee County Health & Human Services building on Lincoln Street in Kewaunee. The "Giving for Sara Food & Hygiene Drive will accept donations through December 31.

Northern Door YMCA hosting Body Pump Launch

The Door County YMCA in Fish Creek is holding a free Body Pump Launch in December to bring back a popular fitness program. Instructor Amie Brey says due to the COVID restrictions for the past two years, the body pump program has been on hold. She says the weighted-bar class is more about repetition than the weights and helps tone all body parts.



The one-hour session is open to anyone 13 years or older. Brey notes that the Body Pump Launch is an excellent way to test the program and find ways to increase strength to support your skeletal system and organs. For more information on the Body Pump Launch scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 10, call the Door County Northern Door YMCA  at (920) 868-3660.  


(photo is courtesy of Northern Door YMCA)

Overnight parking ban starts December 1

Although no major snow events are forecast shortly, local municipalities are informing you about the restrictions on overnight parking on city streets.  The City of Sturgeon Bay will be enforcing ordinances that ban the overnight parking of vehicles on the streets starting on Thursday.  The winter parking ban is in place to allow street departments to clear snowfall off the roadways safely and quickly.  On-street parking is prohibited from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. until April 1, 2023.  You can apply for a special On-Street Winter Parking Permit at the Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services offices on North 14th Avenue.  Property owners are reminded that they are required to remove snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours after snow ceases to fall without blowing or shoveling it onto the streets.  The City of Kewaunee also has an overnight ban on on-street parking from 1:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. that goes into effect on Thursday, while the overnight parking ordinance in Algoma went into effect back on November 1st.   

Wisconsin Gun Deer harvest surpasses 200,000

Deer hunters in the area and throughout the state had a relatively successful gun hunt this year.  On Tuesday, the state's Department of Natural Resources reported that 203,295 deer were bagged during Wisconsin's nine-day season.  The kill represented a 14.4 percent increase, with 98,397 bucks taken and 104,898 antlerless deer harvested.   That is a 14 percent increase over 2021.  

In Door County, 2391 deer were registered, with 1,131 bucks and 1,250 antlerless deer.  The overkill was up just 4.2 percent (2,289 in 2021) from last year.  

Kewaunee County reported a slight decrease in the nine-day hunt, with 1,788 deer bagged compared to 1,822 in 2021.  More bucks were taken this year (729) than last year (717), but the antlerless count was down from 1,105 in 2021 to 1,059 this season.  

The deer hunting season will continue for bow hunters until January 31st, muzzleloader season running this week, antlerless-only hunts from December 8-11, and the holiday hunt between Christmas eve and New Year's Day.


Click on this link for the complete DNR numbers for the 2022 deer gun hunt.  

Jeff and Katie are "Home for the Holidays"

A pandemic-induced production will be a part of your holiday celebration at Northern Sky Theater in December. Jeff Herbst and Katie Dahl will headline this year’s Home for the Holidays shows inside the Gould Theater on the Northern Sky Theater campus. With California folk singer Claudia Russell and pianist/composer Colin Welford serving as their special guests, Dahl and Herbst will provide the music, the banter, the humor, and even the baked goods that were made popular when “The Jeff and Katie Show” was first streamed into homes via Facebook in 2020. The show aired dozens of times in the ensuing months after COVID-19 shut down the performing arts industry. Herbst is happy that his pair with Dahl still gets a tremendous response.

Tickets are on sale now for Home for the Holidays, which will play at 4 p.m. December 27th through December 31st

Former teacher gives back with miles

A former Washington Island School teacher is trying to earn your donations one three-mile loop at a time. Margaret Foss wrapped up a nearly four-decade run at Washington Island School this past June. While almost everything else around her at the school changed, the playground did not change as much. Some of the equipment has been removed over the years, and what still stands and the surface below it could use some repairs. Borrowing an idea from a walk she did to benefit the American Cancer Society, Foss says she pledged to walk 35 miles in exchange for the money the playground desperately needs.

While she acknowledges that much more money will be needed to make the necessary improvements, Foss is proud of the over $2,000 she raised and the 40-plus miles she walked in November to support the project. You can make your donation to support her efforts here. Foss added that her walks would remain part of her routine, but she will wait until the spring or next fall to tie it with a charitable effort.

Ephraim, Baileys Harbor next on Santa's Door County tour

After spending time in Egg Harbor and Sister Bay last weekend, you will find Santa Claus in Ephraim and Baileys Harbor this Saturday.


His arrival by fire truck at 3 p.m. kicks off an afternoon of festivities at Ephraim’s Christmas in the Village event. You will be able to see Santa inside Village Hall, where you can make a holiday craft or venture outside to find his reindeer and elves in Olson Park. The village will light its Christmas tree at 5 p.m. at Harborside Park before Santa lights a bonfire, a callback to those familiar with Ephraim's Fyr Bal celebration. Ephraim Marketing Coordinator Kelsey Stone says Christmas in the Village is a great way to cap off what has been a strong year for visitors.

Santa will then make his way to Baileys Harbor for the town’s Harbor Holiday event. Along with meeting Santa, his elves, and his reindeer, you can make holiday crafts and enjoy treats ahead of the town’s Christmas tree lighting at 7:30 p.m. You can click on the links above for the full schedule of each event.


Picture by Luke Collins

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