Forestville group petitioning to stop millpond drawdown

A plan to temporarily drain the Forestville Millpond has local residents working to stop the measure before it starts.  “Friends of Forestville Dam” has gathered over 700 signatures to prevent a proposed two-year drawdown that is being voted on at the Door County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.   Friends group member Robert Sijgers, who owns property along the Millpond says the decision to drain it not only devastates property values and recreational opportunities but does not solve the long term problem.  



The Door County Soil and Water Department gave a report detailing the issues of the Mill Pond last June.   The Facilities & Parks Department subsequently recommended a two-year drawdown over the other preferred option of removing the Forestville Dam completely.   

Local communities hope bankuptcy doesn't stop Shopko's generosity

Shopko's filing for bankruptcy protection is raising concerns about the company's ability to help local charities.  The company has sponsored a and hosted a car show at its Sister Bay store.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski credits Shopko with making the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's "Toys for Tots" campaign, which he's involved with, a success.



Shopko plans to close 105 stores nationwide.  The Shopko Hometown stores in Sister Bay and Kewaunee remain open and operate as usual during the bankruptcy process.

New telescopes show images of eclipse

The new telescopes at the Leif Everson Observatory in Sturgeon Bay were really able to show off what they can do. The Door County Astronomical Society hosted a viewing of the "Blood Moon" lunar eclipse at the observatory on Sunday night. Dave Lenius of the DCAS was thrilled it was a clear night and images of the eclipse were shown inside the observatory. Lenius says about 25 people showed up and they got quite a treat when the eclipse reached totality. 



Lenius is working on being able to save images from the telescope and post them online. The DCAS meets the first Tuesday of every month at the Ray and Ruthie Stonecipher Astronomy Center in Sturgeon Bay.

Door County looks to next-generation 911 system

You should have no problem having your calls to the Door County 911 Center answered quickly because of a new upgrade that's operating now.  The county emergency management and communications department and some county supervisors, however, are already looking toward the next generation of 911 systems.  Emergency Management and Communications Director Dan Kane says the NG-911 system will allow the county to accommodate changes in personal communications technology.





County supervisors are already looking to the state for help.  Some have recently spoken to lawmakers to see what types of grant monies might be available for future 911 system upgrades.  

Cops and schools ready for trouble

Door County law enforcement agencies and school districts have plans in place to deal with intruders or other emergencies.  And they're asking for public assistance to make it easier for them to respond in a crisis.  Sheriffs Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says in an emergency situation at school parents should monitor their phones and news media outlets for the latest information and stay at home.



McCarty also says schools hold drills so students and school staff can take cover and take action, if necessary.



McCarty also says communication is vital between school officials and police agencies during a crisis situation.  So parents are being reminded not to call the schools and risk tying up phone lines or call their children's' mobile phones, which could tip off an intruder to where they may be hiding.

Shutdown not impacting food safety inspections at local farms

The Food and Drug Administration is looking to bring more food safety staff back to work without pay.  That won't impact local farms or food processors.  Food safety inspections at such facilities are handled by staff from Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  So Kewaunee County Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says it's business as usual.


If more FDA food safety workers are called back to work they won't be paid until after the shutdown, just like Coast Guard personnel and TSA staff.

Former Younkers store would make room at the museum

The purchase of the former Younkers Store on 4th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay would give the Door County Historical Museum some additional room at its present location.  The county is looking at the vacant store for museum and county archive storage.  Museum Director Maggie Weir says having additional space next door to the museum would ease a storage crunch.



The Door County Board of Supervisors is expected to take up a resolution authorizing the $505,000 purchase when it meets in regular session at 10:00 AM, Tuesday at the County Government Center on Nebraska Street in Sturgeon Bay.

Snyder has Bridge Up for beer drinkers

The tap lines are open for Sturgeon Bay’s newest brewery. Bridge Up Brewing Company debuted three beers over the weekend at its home base of Sonny’s Italian Kitchen in Sturgeon Bay. It was the culmination of several months for head brewer Trent Snyder, who made the step up from making beer in a foam cooler on the weekends with friends to the one barrel system beneath the bar at Sonny’s. As he has been able to meet with other brewers in northeast Wisconsin, Snyder says the one lesson he has learned is to continue to ask questions.


Snyder says more beers will join the current lineup of a breakfast porter, cream ale, and brown ale in the coming weeks that are already in the works, but mentioned he is also always open to customer feedback and suggestions.

Door County agencies work together to stop elder abuse

Door County law enforcement, human services and community groups are joining forces to deal with instances of elder abuse.  Door County is one of four project sites in Wisconsin that are part of the federal "Abuse in Later Life" grant program.  Anni Lampert, with Help of Door County, was among several representatives from the county who attended a training conference in Washington D.C.   Lampert says the training sessions were designed to help recognize and respond to potential abuse cases.


Door County was selected because of the high number of older residents who live here full-time.  Lampert says the percentage of older residents is expected to make up over 50-percent of Door County's population next year.

Fairgrounds leases on county agenda

A familiar host and a new promoter are slated to have their lease agreements at the fairgrounds in Luxemburg approved during Tuesday’s Kewaunee County Board meeting. The Kewaunee County Agriculture Association would continue its work cultivating the annual Kewaunee County Fair in Luxemburg as it has for the last century for another two years according to the resolution. New to the fairgrounds is Kiel’s Skyhigh Entertainment, who will be the racetrack’s promoter through 2021. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Bob Weidner says it is important for the fairgrounds to stay busy throughout the summer.

The fairgrounds will also see a new open-air pavilion added in 2019 to serve as the home for animal shows and livestock auctions. The Kewaunee County Board will meet Tuesday night in Kewaunee at 6 p.m.

Impact of financial counseling appointments

Seeing clients doing the hard work after their initial appointment with Sturgeon Bay’s Money Management Counselors is one of the most rewarding aspects of Gay Pustaver’s job. Common situations include buying a home and couples in different areas with money and spending. Pustaver says it is important to make sure they get both people in the room talking about their issues and finding agreement.

During her time as the executive director of Money Management Counselors, Pustaver says financial wellness checks are important to do periodically to have an impartial voice help reach goals and talk their way through certain situations. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.



FBLA at Sturgeon Bay gets big donation

A trip to Milwaukee may be in the future for a Sturgeon Bay High School program thanks to a generous donation from the Pride Pumps at Jandu Petroleum gas stations. The Future Business Leaders of America will be receiving a donation of $543.99 from Jandu Petroleum. Two cents from every gallon are donated to certain organizations based on where you fill up at a Pride Pump. The FBLA at Sturgeon Bay sells coffee in the morning before school and helps run the Clipper School Store where they sell Sturgeon Bay School apparel. They also meet people from the business world and learn skills on how to be an effective business person. Michelle Gibson is the Sturgeon Bay FBLA Club Advisor and she says the money raised from the Pride Pumps will help fund their trip to Milwaukee in May.



The FBLA is a national organization and Gibson has heard from past students that being a part of the organization has helped them in college and beyond. Gibson started the Sturgeon Bay chapter of the FBLA back in 2009.

Door County businesses can serve as example

Governor Evers has made it a priority to focus on startup businesses in the state of Wisconsin and Door County is an example where entrepreneurships have thrived. Caleb Frostman was the State Senator for Door County and also the head of the Door County Economic Development Corporation. Frostman is now Governor Evers’ nominee to serve as Wisconsin Secretary of Workforce Development, and he says the state has been last in the country when it comes to starting up new businesses. The Secretary Designate says Door County should be looked at as an example when it comes to entrepreneurs thriving.



He added what makes Door County successful is that small businesses can work with the DCEDC and Small Business Development Center.

Algoma sculptor wins prestigious award

A sculptor in Algoma is a new winner of a prestigious award. Bren Sibilsky received an Award of Excellence in the 2019 Manhattan Arts Show for her sculpture entitled “Visionary, Call to Spirit”. The sculpture was a part of “The Healing Power of Art” exhibit. This is the third year in which Sibilsky has won an award at the Manhattan Arts Show. Sibilsky says she was inspired to create “Visionary, Call to Spirit” when she visited with members of the Potawatomi Tribe, who originally were settled where Algoma is today. Sibilsky says she hopes it will inspire people to learn the history of Algoma and the history of lakefront in Kewaunee County.



Sibilsky is a full-time artist who grew up in Green Bay and now lives in Algoma. Her studio is located in Algoma and is open to the public from May until September.

Kewaunee County Historical Society permanent home

The Kewaunee County Historical Society is planning some new exhibits now that they have their permanent home. Thanks to the generosity of a benefactor, the KCHS was able to buy the building they have been in for the past five years in Kewaunee. The funds were donated to the KCHS with the stipulation that it be used to purchase a building. The KCHS is bringing the Fresnel lens located in the Kewaunee Pier Lighthouse to the building later this month. In February, they will have three scheduled presentations. One is about Wisconsin during the Cold War, another about two ships that went down near Kewaunee Harbor, and the third about steam engines. Arletta Bertrand is the treasurer for the KCHS and she says her favorite things coming are items obtained from the recent Karsten Hotel auction that were part of the haunted "Ghost Agatha" room.



The KCHS is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.


Conservation Congress Member wants higher fees

A Sturgeon Bay member of Conservation Congress thinks it's about time to raise hunting and fishing license fees. The prices of the fees have not changed since 2005. The Wisconsin DNR gets 80% of its funding from hunting and fishing license revenue. In 2016, DNR administration reported a $4 million shortfall. Dick Baudhuin, a member of Conservation Congress from Sturgeon Bay, says the DNR can't just raise fees on its own. That has to be passed legislatively and Baudhuin says politics have gotten in the way of the state legislature in passing higher license fees. 



The Wisconsin Conservation Congress advises the DNR on how to responsibly manage natural resources.

Short on teachers at Southern Door

Educators in Door County are seeing their pay stagnate more than other industries and that could be causing a teacher shortage. As the job market gets better in Wisconsin and all over the country, the teaching industry is taking a hit. Teachers are quitting in record high numbers according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Joyce Turba is a representative of Southern Door United Educators, the teachers’ union at Southern Door School District. Turba says there was a higher than normal turnover rate among teachers from last school year to this. She didn’t want to attribute that to the job market since there were some teachers who were retiring anyway. Turba says there is a shortage of teachers at Southern Door and it may be because people with college degrees can make more elsewhere in the job market.



So while teaching was considered a safe place to work with high unemployment rates, the pay may not be good enough to keep many college-educated people in the teaching world. Turba has been teaching at Southern Door for 32 years as a special education instructor.

Knights of Columbus holding Free Throw Championship

Door County boys and girls will have an opportunity to show off their poise at the line at the 2019 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship. The competition will be held on January 25th and has no entry fee, with the only requirement being that the entrant is anywhere between the ages of 9 to 14 as of the new year. Jeff Bruemmer, a local member of the Knights of Columbus, said the competition will start with the younger kids and then go from there.



Registration will start at 5:30 p.m. at the St. John Bosco/Corpus Christi Gym in Sturgeon Bay. The official start of the contest is set for 6 p.m. The competition in Sturgeon Bay is just one of many held around the world. Last year, 120,000 participants competed in 3,600 competitions. Those with questions may contact Bruemmer or another member of the Knights of Columbus.

Southern Door looking at adding more dual-credit classes

The Southern Door Board of Education will look at adding several dual-credit compatible classes at its regular meeting on Monday. The board will consider the approval of a plan that would redesign four courses to be dual-credit compatible with the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. The state of Wisconsin has asked schools around the area to give students as many opportunities to earn dual-credit while in high school as possible. Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman said the board will also look at adding another senior-level class to help prepare for the next step after high school.



Dual-credit classes are taken over the course of a normal school day. The school’s normal instructor will continue to teach each course, but each class will be changed to fit the curriculum set up by the NWTC.

Future of school libraries focuses on collaboration

School libraries will always have a vast collection of books at their disposal, but several media specialists from Door County schools have noted a distinct turn toward collaboration and resource gathering as well. Bridget Bowers from Sevastopol, Angela Olson from Southern Door, Mike Scoville from Gibraltar, and Holly Selle from Sturgeon Bay all pointed out that the job has changed from what it has been traditionally thought to be. As the years pass, the involvement of technology in library activities has grown to the point of being a function of the job.  Because of this, a space once known for quiet, solitary work has become a location geared more toward working together. Scoville said he has seen the library shift toward becoming a central hub for students.


Olson also mentioned the evolving role of the job itself. With the increase of technology usage, most media specialists have become troubleshooters, making sure the technology runs smoothly for both other teachers and students.

Civility Project tackling political discussions through next lecture

The next Door County Talks lecture will focus on remaining civil in the public and political sphere. Dr. Allison Staudinger will give her lecture, titled "Civility in the Public Sphere," on Saturday, January 26 at 10 a.m. Staudinger will base the lecture off of a course she has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, discussing the frustrations often felt when discussing politics with others.  Shirley Senerighi, a volunteer with the Door County Civility Project, said the lecture will seek to help ease the frustrations of sharing politics across the differences that others might believe in.



Door County Talks is a collaborative effort between the Door County Civility Project and the Door County Auditorium. Dr. Staudinger's lecture is the third in a series of five talks, with the last being held on March 2nd. There is no cost for entry, but donations are appreciated.

Parent Cafe provides chance for parents to network

The Door County Partnership for Children and Families is offering a community-wide event to give area parents a chance to come together. The very first "Parent Cafe" in Sturgeon Bay will be held on January 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cafe is being offered as part of an initiative to raise successful children by creating successful parents. Chad Welch, the family engagement leader at the organization, said connecting parents with those in similar situations would help create efficiency when deciding what is best for them.



If the cafe is successful, Welch hopes to hold at least one more similar event in 2019, with the possibility of another if all goes well. There will be a free family meal from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., and the organization will offer free on-site childcare as well.

Vignes Schoolhouse to be renovated in 2019

The Door County Historical Society has revealed plans to renovate the Vignes Schoolhouse. Originally built in 1890, the one-room school is currently located at the Heritage Village at Big Creek and is one of the organization’s most popular attractions. To be restored, plenty of maintenance and repair work will be required before the renovation is considered complete. Bailey Koepsel, the executive director of the Door County Historical Society, said the schoolhouse is her favorite attraction the society offers.



The Door County Historical Society is taking January off before returning next February with a full slate of programs and projects for the 2019 season.

Government employees receive free entry to Maritime Museum

In the face of a long government shutdown, the Door County Maritime Museum is offering free entry to federal employees and their immediate families as long as business remains suspended. The Maritime Museum has been in contact with other museums and cultural institutions across the country and decided the move would be an excellent way to show appreciation for families most impacted by the shutdown. The offer is also being extended to members of the active duty U.S. Coast Guard and their immediate families as well. Executive Director Kevin Osgood said he is excited to open up an opportunity for federal employees and their families because it spreads a message of goodwill throughout the county.



Osgood said the offer would be valid for as long as the government stays shut down, and mentioned all programs fall under the deal.

DCMC offering free memory workshop

The Door County Medical Center is offering a free workshop in February for those worried about memory loss or already dealing with early-stage memory loss.  The M.I.N.D. workshop is facilitated with the Door County YMCA, and will last six weeks. The Caregiver Café will be offered consecutively with the workshop, and gives caregivers an opportunity to find tools to improve both their care giving abilities and their well-being. Christy Wisniewski, a geriatric outreach specialist at DCMC, said the program is truly meant for everyone.

Registration is required to participate in the work shop. Questions or registrations may either be submitted at the DCMC website or by calling Wisniewski at (920)746-3504.

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