Local building industry looking to stay strong 

With construction being a main contributor to the economy, local building contractors are optimistic that spending in 2019 overall will be positive, especially in the non-residential sector.  According to a recent Consensus Construction Forecast survey, growth is projected to be 4.4 percent in nonresidential building this year with another 2.4 percent in 2020.  John Nimmer from Forest Construction in Luxemburg says his company’s work has branched out in a different direction. 



Nonresidential construction grew over seven percent last year.  Construction in the public safety sector is projected to grow the most in 2019 by nearly seven percent, according to the Consensus Construction Forecast survey.    


Guilette and Klaubauf being inducted in Southern Door Hall of Fame

Two notable graduates of Southern Door High School from the ’70s will be inducted into the Southern Door Alumni Hall of Fame next month.  Barth Guilette and Tony Klaubauf will be honored at the seventh annual event in the Southern Door Community Auditorium on May 10.  Guilette, who graduated in 1973 and currently works for CedarDoor Wealth Management, says he was surprised and humbled by the recognition.


Guilette established the David Spude Cancer Center Fund which supports the Door County Cancer Center.  Klaubauf, who graduated in 1976, retired as the Denmark High School superintendent last year and is currently acting as the interim superintendent at Pulaski High School.  He shares what he learned most while attending Southern Door schools. 



The Southern Door Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at 9:30 am on May 10.  



Press Release information:  






Southern Door County School District will hold its Seventh Annual Alumni Hall of Fame Ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 9:30am in the Southern Door Community Auditorium. The district will honor Barth Guilette (Class of 1973) and Tony Klaubauf (Class of 1976). These honorees were selected as outstanding role models as Southern Door graduates who have made significant contributions in their careers and community. The ceremony provides an opportunity for the honorees to be recognized by the community. Honorees also provide words of advice to the high school students, as they prepare to be college, career, and community ready. The public is invited to the ceremony.



Barth Guilette (Class of 1973) After high school graduation, Guilette obtained an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering from NWTC and worked as both a carpenter and draftsman. After working as a financial advisor for R. W. Baird, where he earned the “Baird Only” Award for extraordinary care of clients, Guilette started his own wealth management business in 2004, and built it to over 100 million in assets under his management. In 2012, he helped to establish CedarDoor Wealth Management, and currently works as a consultant for them. Guilette has always been active in the community as a volunteer, board member, and fundraiser for charities. He served as a Charter Member and President of the Sturgeon Bay Breakfast Rotary, and received the Paul Harris Fellow award. His advocacy for serving the health needs of the community are evidenced by his services on both the Door County Medical Center Foundation and the Door County Medical Center, as both a board member and President. Guilette was significantly involved in the raising of over three million dollars to spearhead the Cancer Center addition. In 2005, Guilette established the David Spude Cancer Center Fund which perpetually supports the Door County Cancer Center. In 2009, He became the co-founder of the “Queen for A Day” annual golf outing for women, which has raised over $300,000 for the David Spude Cancer Center and DoorCAN charities. Guilette has served as an active member and President of the Southern Door Athletic Booster Club. He also is an active member of the Holy Name of Mary Church in Maplewood, where he has served as board member, Eucharistic minister, lector, and delivers communion to the shut-ins. He currently is involved in a start-up project called the Third Phase Rhythm of Life, where his mission is to assist others with their physical, emotional, and intellectual needs as they enter retirement.



Tony Klaubauf (Class of 1976) After high school graduation, Klaubauf obtained his undergraduate degree from UW- Green Bay, a master’s degree from UW-Oshkosh, an Educational Leadership certification from Marian College, and a Superintendent licensure from UW- Milwaukee. His educational journey began with classroom teaching, followed by an elementary principal position in Mishicot, before serving as that district’s Superintendent. In 2004, he was appointed Superintendent of the Denmark School District, and served there until he retired in 2018. Over the years, his accomplishments have included: an advocacy for technology; facilitating site-based management; implementing full-day kindergarten; and successfully passing numerous operational and facility referendums. In 2005, Klaubauf was also instrumental in being one of the founders of the Door- Kewaunee Insurance Cooperative, which brought together the nine districts of the two counties to share purchasing power for health insurance. For the past seven years, he has served as the Cooperative’s president, and brought the districts significant savings of millions of dollars in health insurance premiums, while providing comparable benefits for employees. For the past twenty years, Klaubauf has been an advocate for rural schools and the funding needed to providing equitable educational experiences with students in non-rural settings. He was appointed Co-Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding – a non-profit group dedicated to research on the state’s funding formula, and providing strategies to districts for their advocacy with their communities and the state legislatures. Over the years, Klaubauf has coached numerous sports teams, and served as a WIAA official. He is the founder and current President of the Denmark/Maribel Community Cupboard, a food pantry started over ten years ago. He serves as Secretary of the Denmark Community Business Association, and is a member of the Denmark FFA Alumni Association, Achieve Brown County, and serves on the Green Bay Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team. Effective July 1, 2019, his journey in education continues, when he takes over a one-year interim superintendent’s position in Pulaski.














Orchard owners looking for a big season

With the blossoms of cherry trees still a month away, area orchard owners are readying for the busy season.  Steve Wood of Wood Orchards in Egg Harbor and Sturgeon Bay says the cherry and apple trees came through the winter pretty good considering the severe weather earlier. 



Wood says a late spring frost can cause damage to the future crop but he is optimistic that his orchards will have a successful harvest this summer and fall. 

Algoma wedding venue ready for big reveal

The owners of The Grain Loft in Algoma want you to walk down their aisle next month. Stacey and Peter Vecellio purchased the building formerly known as The Flying Pig as their next venture within the wedding and event venue industry.   Stacey told last month that she credits her daughter for getting the couple into the industry six years ago, which led to their first venue in Oconomowoc known as The Cupola House.


Vecellio is excited to operate in Algoma, calling it a growing community that is becoming, even more, family friendly. You will be able to check out The Grain Loft during a grand opening event to be held on May 10th from 5 to 8:30 p.m.  


(photo contributed)


Shrine opens new Mother of Mercy Hall Sunday

You could see more pilgrims visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion after its new Mother of Mercy Hall officially opens its doors to the public on Sunday. The new facility will be able to seat up 1,200 people for large celebrations of mass or conference gatherings and be able to be divided into smaller rooms if needed. With 160,000 visitors last year, Father John Broussard, the Shrine’s rector, says Mother of Mercy Hall will be a great addition to its campus and to the region.

Diocese of Green Bay Bishop David Ricken will say Mother of Mercy Hall’s first mass and rite of blessing Sunday at 11 a.m. Other events will also take place at Mother of Mercy Hall throughout the afternoon.

Customer service key to Quantum PC honors

When your kids or grandkids can not come to visit you and address your computer issues, the staff at Quantum PC does not mind being considered as an extension of your family. Quantum PC was named best computer repair shop for the third straight year in the recently completed Best of Door County contest. Erin Helgeson from Quantum PC says its new location off of 8th Avenue has certainly helped with its visibility. She believes their customer service is what sets them apart from others when it comes to computer repair.

Helgeson says the most frequent issue they help address is the computer’s speed, something a little clean-up can help. Over 17,000 votes were cast in this year’s Best of Door County contest.

Gibraltar residents to get construction update

The invitation is in the mail for residents in the town of Gibraltar to learn more about this fall’s construction project. The dates may have changed, but the construction project on Highway 42 in the town will still focus on resurfacing the road, adding additional sidewalks near the Northern Door YMCA and Gibraltar school building, and relocating the storm sewer outfall near FIsh Creek Beach. Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says between its website and working with stakeholders over the last several months, residents should not receive any surprises.

The construction update meeting will take place inside the Gibraltar Middle School gymnasium at 5 p.m. on May 6th. Construction is slated to begin in September.

Electric cooperative waits out budget process

Washington Island Electric Cooperative manager Robert Cornell hopes a budget passed by the Wisconsin Legislature will help address the damage done by last year’s power outage. Governor Tony Evers’ budget currently includes $2 million in funding to offset some of the replacement costs of the submarine cable damaged last summer. Island residents have already seen their bill from the cooperative jump $20 a month for the next 30 years to pay for some of the costs. Cornell and others have worked with state officials including First District Senator Andre Jacque and Rep. Joel Kitchens to get the request this far. He says the support from the community and electric cooperatives around the state has been strong.

You can voice your support for the $2 million in funding to be included in the next biennial budget by sending an email to the Joint Finance Committee or attend their next hearing session on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Phoenix Rooms at the UW-Green Bay University Union. The budget could be done as soon as July 1st, but Cornell admits it could be as late as October before a final draft is approved.



Farmers targeting early May to start planting 

The recent warm spell of weather has area farmers optimistic that fields will be ready for planting in the next few weeks.  Heavy snow in April last year delayed planting by two or three weeks, according to Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County.  Olson gives the timeline that local farmers typically use in planting the corn and soybean crops every year. 



Olson says the fields are still considerably wet from recent rains and snowfall two weeks ago.  He adds that warm weather conditions along with westerly winds can help dry out the fields for planting.  Parts of Door County have already received nearly three inches of rain in April which is the average amount for the entire month, according to National Weather Service.    


Tree plantings planned in Door County

Earth Day celebrations were held around the world on Monday and local organizations are scheduling special events in the upcoming days to effectively impact the environment.  The Nature Conservancy and Forest Recovery Project along with the Climate Change Coalition of Door County are planning a one-day public tree planting on May 4 in Ellison Bay.  Katie Krouse of the steering committee says the two weeks of tree plantings will also involve students from area schools. 



The public tree planting will be held from 10 am until 3 pm on Saturday, May 4 on Badger Road in Ellison Bay.  Volunteers are encouraged to just show up to help and wear work gloves while bringing a five-gallon bucket and shovel if possible. 


Local supermarket to offer online ordering

Online ordering and delivery in the grocery business has been around for decades nationally but has not trended heavily in Door or Kewaunee County.  One local grocer has plans to implement online buying later this year.  Alex Stodola of Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg says digitally provided services are more common in major markets. 



Stodola says the online aspect is definitely the wave of the future and a growth opportunity for retailers to branch out.  He says Stodola’s IGA plans are to have testing done this summer and to be online by Thanksgiving.  


Pet insurance more common in area

The reason to carry pet insurance may vary between owners, but one local veterinarian says the financial aspect is always an important one.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca from Door County Veterinary Hospital in Sturgeon Bay says insurance can make decisions easier when choosing between medical options available for your dog or cat.



Dr. Jordan estimates that nearly 20 percent of his clients have some type of pet insurance compared to only two percent nationally.  He recommends that pet owners do their research and homework in deciding the right coverage for their furry friend.  Pet health insurance has increased over twenty percent last year, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. 

Waterfront access, park planned for Gills Rock property

Town electors in Liberty Grove hope to see waterfront access maintained and some walking trails be developed on recently purchased parcels in Gills Rock.  The ad hoc committee discussed the results of its survey at its annual meeting last week. The town’s electors approved the purchase of the three parcels, which include 440 feet of shoreline and a dock, back in October. The Door County Environmental Council offered to conduct the survey again due to some concerns they had with the questions and how it was carried out, but the town board decided the 30 percent participation rate gave them enough information. Town chairperson John Lowry says it was about what they expected.

Work on at least a portion of the site will be held off for potentially two years while one of the former property owners finds a new place to live. On Friday, the town of Liberty Grove also closed on the site of the former Val-A Motel in Ellison Bay, which could be the future home of affordable housing options in the area.

Taking care of the Ahnapee State Trail

Stretching from Sturgeon Bay to Kewaunee, the nicer weather is steering more people to the Ahnapee State Trail. Groups like the Friends of the Ahnapee Trail and county departments help keep it usable year-round for activities like snowmobiling in the winter to horseback and bicycle riding in the summer. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says with those extra people comes more responsibility, especially if you are bringing your dogs or horses.

Horseback riding is available on the Ahnapee State Trail until November while other silent sports are encouraged as long as conditions allow. You can read Sheriff Matt’s Joski’s full article about the trail online with this story.



For those of us who thrive on outdoor activities, winter presents some definite challenges, but those are all behind us now as we pull out our hiking boots, lace up our running shoes, pump up the bike tires, and prep those kayaks and canoes. One of our greatest recreational resources and probably the best kept secret in our county is the Ahnapee trail system. The many miles of improved surface (34 miles of it in Kewaunee County alone) spans the distances between our cities and villages and serves as a great way to enjoy the beauty around us while improving our personal fitness.


          During the winter months, I have been relegated to running alongside the roads and highways so I am very grateful when the time comes to transition back to “Running the Ahnapee”. Unlike most resources in this day and age, this trail system is free to use courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The trail is maintained by our own Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Department who remove debris, trim the foliage, and even grade the surface when needed. However to preserve this amazing resource we must all share the role in adhering to some very basic rules and guidelines regarding its use.


          For those who would bring their dogs along for a healthy walk, please be aware that you must keep your dog on a leash while on the trail. This prevents potential issues when meeting other walkers or pets as well as if your dog gets the idea to chase the many species of wildlife that also share this ecosystem. Also, please make sure you pick up after your pet. It’s just common sense.


         While most know that the use of motorized vehicles is prohibited on the trail, it also serves as part of the county wide snowmobile trail system during the winter months, and we are fortunate to have the many clubs who prepare and maintain those trails not just for the snowmobilers, but also for snowshoes and cross country skiers.


         Due to the fact that the Ahnapee has been preserved for “Silent Sports” another group of users is that of the equestrians. While horseback riding is authorized on the trail, please be aware that this usage is limited and spans from April 15th to November 15th.  Even with that said; please check the condition of the trail to verify that it is in fact dry and stable enough that your horses will not damage the trail surface. Also, just as with the dog owners, you too are responsible to pick up after your pet, even if the piles may be bigger. Dodging horse piles is probably one of my biggest issues when running the trail, and I hate to have to issue a citation for something that is a matter of simple consideration.


         Just as in any community resource, it takes a group of dedicated volunteers which make it possible. As it pertains to the Ahnapee Trail we are fortunate to have the “Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail” serve as the stewards and advocates for the preservation and promotion of such a wonderful resource. For more information on how you can assist this organization please visit them at or contact the Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Department at: (920)388-0444.

Survey yields great results for Door County UW Extension

You could be instrumental in helping develop a future Door County UW Extension program with just a couple clicks of your mouse. Popular programs like “Raising a Thinking Child” and the creation of Parent Cafes were born out of a family enrichment survey conducted by the Door County UW-Extension in recent years. Human Development and Relationships Educator Tenley Koehler says she has seen the impact first hand in the classes she teaches, working with approximately 65 families.

The survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete and features questions about your family and educational interests. You can find a link online with this story.



Kewaunee County Fairest registration window opens

You will have to act fast to be a part of this year’s Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair competition. Registration for the annual contest opened over the weekend but will close in just about a week. This comes months after a web site issue forced the Senior Fairest competition from being held at the same time as its juniors. Fairest program director Lisa Cochart says whoever wins is expected to be a true ambassador for all things Kewaunee County, including the fair.

The 2019 Junior Fairest Savannah Bailey and 2018 Senior Fairest Charlene Robinson have been filling in at local events this spring. Registration closes May 1st and the Senior Fairest of the Fair will be chosen at a May 11th event. You can find more information on Fairest of the Fair registration online with this story.



Pride Pumps will help Sturgeon Bay choir go to New York

The choir director at Sturgeon Bay High School is hoping more students will be able to get to go to New York next year thanks to a donation from the Jandu Petroleum Pride Pumps. Every four years the Sturgeon Bay Choir Department takes a coach bus to New York for five days the first week after school ends. The students get to perform at Carnegie Hall, go to Broadway shows and tour the city. The next scheduled trip comes in 2020. The Jandu Petroleum Pride Pumps program is making a donation of $511.60 to the Sturgeon Bay Middle School and High School Choir Boosters. Leslie Hill, the choir director at Sturgeon Bay High School, hopes more choir students will now be able to afford the trip.



Two cents from all gallons of gas purchased from the Pride Pump at the Jandu Petroleum in Sturgeon Bay is donated to a program at Sturgeon Bay schools each month. The Jandu Petroleum Pride Pump promotion has meant several thousand dollars have been donated to school districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

LWVDC taking on redistricting and gerrymandering

The League of Women Voters of Door County is taking on the issue of redistricting and gerrymandering. In the league's annual meeting on May 16th event, Dr. David Canon will be presenting on redistricting in Wisconsin. Dr. Canon is a professor of political science at UW-Madison and his talk will look at an issue that is being discussed on both a state and federal level, with the Supreme Court taking on a case involving partisan gerrymandering that involves Wisconsin as well as other states. The annual meeting is the start of the new year for the league. Shirley Senarighi, PR Representative for the LWVDC, says this event will start the celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the existence of the league itself.



The event will also include a dinner and is open to the public. Anyone is welcome to attend either the whole event or come just for Dr. Canon’s talk. Those interested in attending the dinner should contact Barb Graul to reserve their seat by calling 920-743-6842 or emailing

Wisconsin votes to add minimum hunting age

A local member of the Conservation Congress is in the minority opinion when it comes to adding a minimum age to hunt in Wisconsin. The annual meeting of Conservation Congress was on April 8th and it was the first time Wisconsinites could vote online in the questionnaire from the DNR. One of the big topics of debate was a question asking if Wisconsin should make it illegal for a person younger than 10 years old to get a hunting license. Voters overwhelmingly were in support of creating that law. This does not mean that the law is in place, it requires legislation to enact it. Dick Baudhuin, a member of Conservation Congress from Sturgeon Bay, has mixed feelings on the vote. Some kids are ready to hunt at six years old while some people are never ready to obtain a hunting license.



Seventy of the 72 counties in Wisconsin were in favor of the minimum age requirement. Voters were also in favor of making the Mink River in Door County a fish refuge.

Peninsula State Park Eagle Tower construction update

With one Door County state park trying to replace their famed tower, another one is moving ahead with their plans to rebuild their own. The wood on the Potawatomi State Park observation tower has decayed to the point that it cannot handle any load-bearing weight according to a study done by the Wisconsin DNR. They revealed those results in mid-February of this year. This is a very similar result as to what happened to the Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park back in 2016. The original Eagle Tower was dismantled but the plan to rebuild it is moving on. Steve Strucely, the Business Manager for Friends of Peninsula State Park, says the DNR is currently waiting for contractors’ bids. 



The Friends of Peninsula State Park donated $750,000 to the DNR at the end of last summer to rebuild Eagle Tower. Original plans expected the tower to be rebuilt by late summer 2019.

Tiger Woods comeback fueling optimism for local golf course

Northbrook Golf Club and Grill in Luxemburg expects to open the first week of May and Tiger Woods is raising hopes for a great season.  Woods victory at The Master's Tournament drew hundreds to the course just to catch the action on TV.  Club Pro Dave Spengler expects the “Tiger effect” to generate more interest in golf, especially among young people.



Spengler says the golf business has been soft since the 2008 recession and he believes that will pick up now that Woods is winning.

Help of Door County working with inmates

Help of Door County is making part of their focus this year to lessen recidivism among female inmates in county jails. Looking at recidivism as an issue of community connection rather than an individual one, Help of Door County hopes to break the cycle for many in their community by working in connection with Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard’s Fresh Start Program. Steve Vickman, Executive Director of Help of Door County, says he often sees repeat offenders coming from the same families and hopes to address the broader issue of lack of support.



Vickman says Help of Door County and the Fresh Start Program have group sessions twice a week with inmates to assist them with developing healthy relationships.

Former voice of Badger hockey speaks on Alzheimers challenges

Paul Braun is making a call for action against Alzheimer's disease for radio listeners from Sturgeon Bay to LaCrosse to Madison and Milwaukee.  Braun made a career calling games and sharing statistics for UW's Badger hockey team.  Now he's taking to the mic again for a radio ad campaign for the Wisconsin Alzheimers Association.  This time Braun's sharing some sobering statistics about the projected number of Alzheimer's cases and the costs of dealing with them.



Currently, there are 110,000 Alzheimers cases in Wisconsin.  That's nearly four times the total population of Door County.  Paul Braun's message comes from the heart.  He lost his wife, Karen, eight-years after she was diagnosed.  He urges everyone to learn more about Alzheimer's and help anyone they know who is caring for a loved one with the disease.  Kate Kahles, an advocate with the Alzheimers Association, says simple, practical steps can make a big difference for caregivers.



Braun and Kahles recommend anyone looking for more information on Alzheimer's disease go online and log onto

Much decommissioning work finished at former Kewaunee Nuclear Plant

It's been nearly six years since the Kewaunee Nuclear Power station shutdown permanently and much of the decommissioning work has been accomplished.  The remaining work, however, will take longer to finish.  Dominion Resources spokesman Richard Zuercher says the fuel removal and storage process is completed although monitoring continues.



Dominion Resources chose the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's SAFSTOR decommissioning option for the Kewaunee facility.  That allows monitoring for up to 60 years before the site is completely decontaminated and dismantled.  Zuercher says during that time work will be done on the reactor area.



In 2008, Dominion Resources was given approval by the NRC to operate the Kewaunee plant through 2033.  Economic conditions, however, made it too expensive to run the plant.  So it was shut down in 2013.

Gibraltar slowly crafts Fish Creek Park tree removal plan

A tree removal plan is being developed to clear about four-acres of Ash trees in Fish Creek Park. Those trees have been killed from an Emerald Ash Borer infestation.  The Town of Gibraltar Plan Commission and the Parks and Lands Committee will meet April 23rd to discuss the matter further.   The Parks and Lands Committee has developed a tentative plan with an area forester.  Committee member Tom Thurman says any removal plan would be on a fine line between removing the dead trees and protecting fish habitat.


The Fish Creek Park plan will eventually get help from Gibraltar School 5th graders in replanting trees along Fish Creek.  The plan commission and parks and lands committee meeting begins at 6:00 PM at the town offices on Highway 42 in Fish Creek. 

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