News

Kewaunee County Historical Society publishing book with past histories

 

The Kewaunee County Historical Society is publishing a book with past newsletters from earlier this decade. The Riverland Journal contains all the newsletter stories sent out by the society from 2010-2014. Richard Dorner, the director of the History Center, said the society will sell copies of the book to help bring more money into the organization. It will be available throughout 2019.

 


The newsletter program is the biggest fundraiser the society runs. The society will be taking January off, but have several events already lined up for February where attendees can purchase the book.

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Sturgeon Bay personnel committee looking for attorney

The Sturgeon Bay Personnel Committee will convene on Monday to discuss setting the date for interviews as they continue their search for a new city attorney. While the process is far from over, there have been a couple of applications put forward as the committee searches for the first new city attorney in several years. City councilperson Barbara Allmann listed one of the most important qualities they are searching for during interviews.

 

 

Allmann mentioned knowledge of municipal law is crucial as it can sometimes differ from more traditional practices. Both Allmann and councilperson David Ward said some of the biggest challenges the new attorney will face include the lawsuits the city has found itself involved.

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Village of Forestville president expresses doubt over Millpond recommendation

Another public figure has expressed his concerns over the chosen recommendation on how best to deal with the Forestville Millpond. Terry McNulty, the president of the Village of Forestville, said the solution to drain the Millpond for two summers and two winters creates a potential safety hazard for the community. The pond is currently the primary water source for the Southern Door County Fire Department and previously mentioned that there weren’t many other reliable sources of water in the area to use. McNulty also said he has doubts that the solution would truly clear out any invasive aquatic species. Beyond any physical drawbacks, McNulty said the pond is too familiar for many residents to drain for so long.

 

 

McNulty said his solution would be to dredge the pond, but mentioned it could be potentially expensive as it covers a large area. An informational hearing to discuss the Millpond is set for Wednesday.

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Door County Historical Society reflecting on 2018 season

After a busy 2018 season, the Door County Historical Society is taking a couple of months off before returning next February with a full set of ideas. It was a successful year for the organization, with attendance increasing and members taking advantage of the multiple benefits provided. However, the society is already looking toward the future. Bailey Koepsel, executive director of the Door County Historical Society, mentioned the project she is most looking forward to.

 

 

Koepsel also said how important volunteers are to their operation, and said that while they could always use more, it is those who take time out of their schedule to help that keep things running smoothly. The Door County Historical Society will reopen next February.

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Churches dealing with age-related loneliness through community efforts

As the population of Door County continues to age, some local churches are reaching out to older citizens to help combat loneliness in the community. According to recent census data, 28.9 percent of Door County and 18.7 percent of Kewaunee County citizens are above the age of 65 and an increasing number of them are finding their twilight years spent alone.  This has prompted some area churches to make coordinated efforts to get in touch with older members to make them feel welcome in the community. Michael Sullivan, the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kewaunee, said he promotes looking beyond oneself.

 

 

In addition, Friends Community Church pastor Nancy Bontempo said she feels as if some older residents might not feel as if they fit into a changing world, even in a church setting. She said she has seen an increase of older residents who seek a more traditional church environment than the more worship-style experience.

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Kewaunee County keeps pace with Tots demand

As the demand for gifts from the local Toys for Tots increases, so does the generosity of Kewaunee County residents. Kewaunee County Toys for Tots organizer Matt Joski says the average year serves approximately 70 to 75 families. This year, he says they are well over 80 preregistered families that will converge on Kewaunee Grade School for the toy pickup event next Saturday. Joski says he has noticed an increase in the toys he is collecting at the over 30 sites across the county, including at Friday's live remote broadcast at Krohn Cheese Store.

 

Toys can still be dropped off at participating sites throughout Kewaunee County through next Friday. 

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Holy Trinity Pastor enjoying life in the Luxemburg-Casco area

It has been an adjustment from growing up in Oshkosh, but the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco is enjoying the slower pace of life. Pastor Daniel Schuster came to the area three months ago after being ordained a priest ten years ago. He previously served the Diocese of Green Bay as a vocation director with the task of finding more people to become priests and nuns. Even though he had an inkling of his calling to the priesthood in seventh grade, he went to college to earn a business degree before eventually heading to Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. He has been happy to see the local involvement at the churches and their schools.

 

Schuster credits God for bringing people before him that planted the Gospel well in the community.

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CNA students return for Project Poinsettia

Friday's Project Poinsettia stop at Algoma Long Term Care Unit was more than just an hour of community service for four Algoma High School students. Hannah Wessel, Bailey Bomber, Treena Siebold and Faith Fenendael recently completed a semester of clinical training at the facility  as a part of their Certified Nursing Assistant program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Luxemburg Regional Learning Center. Fenendael says she took the course because she was interested in getting into the medical field and helping people on a daily basis. Her semester at Algoma Long Term Care Unit has only increased her passion for the field.

 

Fenendael says Project Poinsettia was a great opportunity to reconnect with some of the residents and bring a smile to their face.  Project Poinsettia is an annual initiative organized by DoorCountyDailyNews.com to help bring the holiday spirit to those residing at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where many do not have visitors during the year.  

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Chambers Island Nature Preserve expands again

The 600-acre Chambers Island Nature Preserve has grown by 50 acres.  The Door County Land Trust acquired two more parcels of land on the island.  Those include a 10-acre hardwood and hemlock forest and a 40-acre mixed hardwood forest.  Door County Land Trust Development Director Cinnamon Rossman says both locations adjoin the preserve. 

 

 

Rossman says the new lands will preserve woodlands that are unlike any on the Door County mainland.

 

 

The Door County Land Trust is working now to acquire one more parcel which will allow for expansion of foot trails through the Chambers Island Nature Preserve.

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Bicoy named Wisconsin Senate Scholar

Sturgeon Bay High School junior Nalani Bicoy is heading to Madison in February as a part of the Wisconsin Senate Scholar program. Students get the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of government for one week at the capitol after having their applications sponsored by a sitting state senator. Following up on the recommendation of her friend, Bicoy believes it is extremely important for students to learn how their government works.

 

Bicoy is active in her school and her community with activities such as running on the cross country team while serving on her church’s board of deacons as a student representative. 

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Door County Reads 2019 looks at lakes in peril

The Door County Library will take readers through the dangers facing the Great Lakes and a modern-day tale based on the Voyageurs.  The 2019 Door County Reads program features reviews and discussions of "The Life and Death of the Great Lakes" by Dan Eagan.  Youth Services Librarian Beth Lokken says Eagan's book is like a story still being written.

 

 

Water is also a theme in the other selection for Door County Reads.  "Wintering" by Peter Geye is a combined modern day version of the trials faced by some of the early Great Lakes explorers and a mystery.

 

 

Copies of the books will be available at library branches starting December 17th with discussions held weekly through February 15th.

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Students to present their programs at Algoma School Board meeting

Student-run initiatives will take the spotlight at Monday’s Algoma School Board meeting.  Its student mentoring Wolves and Pups program and its after-school Wolf Den initiative are among the items high schoolers will give updates to the school board. Its newest program will connect students with local businesses to show off the different career opportunities available in the area. Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart says this goes beyond its WolfTech technical education program, which already partners with local manufacturers to make different component parts.

 

 

Cochart believes student involvement in these programs is also translating to higher achievement in the classroom.  

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Workforce development director urges work release for skilled inmates

Wisconsin businesses in need of skilled labor can find trained workers behind bars.  That's one of many suggestions that Governor-elect Tony Evers got during his Building the People's Budget Tour.  Jim Golembeski, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, told Evers staffers there are prison inmates trained in the skills many businesses need.  He adds hiring inmates would not come at the expense of other workers.

 

 

Golembeski says he'd like to see wider spread use of work release programs to give more prison inmates practical experience they can use when they're released.

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Manure spills could give Kewaunee County's first test of new ordinance

Fines could be on the way for several farmers in Kewaunee County thanks to a new ordinance passed earlier this year. A dozen manure spills have been reported to the Wisconsin Department of  Natural Resources since August. It was an even split between farms classified as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and non-CAFOs with causes including faulty equipment, human error, and saturating rains. Kewaunee County’s Chapter 39 ordinance gives the Land and Water Conservation Department jurisdiction to respond to manure spill calls at non-CAFO farms and operations where the DNR has not responded to investigate and even fine violators.  Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee member Lee Luft says the ordinance virtually mirrors what was passed on the state level. 

 

 

The Chapter 39 ordinance was approved by the Kewaunee County Board in August after the state approved stricter NR-151 rules limiting farmers where and when they could spread manure on their fields. 

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New SUV squads on hold for Door County Sheriffs Department

 Heavy demand by police agencies nationwide for Ford Explorers is forcing Door County to hold on to older patrol vehicles longer.  Ford is redesigning the Explorer into a gas/hybrid model.  The current gasoline-only model is popular with police agencies.  When Ford announced the redesign, the company placed a deadline on orders for the current models.  So many police agencies placed orders that Ford limited deliveries and Door County has received two of the eight ordered.  Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says that leaves all police departments and dealers in an uncertain position.

 

 

 

McCarty says the department can get by with the high-mileage vehicles it has, for now.

 

 

Ford is shutting down production on the gasoline-only Explorer line in February and will begin production on the gas-hybrid police interceptor models in June.

 

(Photo from Ford.com)

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Sturgeon Bay hires firm to get public input on waterfront use

Sturgeon Bay's Ad Hoc Westside Waterfront Planning Committee is recommending the city hire a Madison-based firm to get public input on future uses of the waterfront.  The committee chose the civil engineering firm SEH of Madison.  Ad hoc Committee Chair Laurel Hauser says the firm has the experience Sturgeon Bay needs to find the best use of the westside waterfront area.

 

 

The committee's recommendation to hire SEH will go to the full City Council for consideration at the December 18th meeting. 

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Sister Bay food pantry keeping busy

Door of Life Food Pantry is seeing an uptick in activity this winter. Open 24/7, the food pantry is tucked inside the front entry of Door of Life Christian Church in Sister Bay. Pantry organizer Heidi Penchoff is seeing plenty of activity throughout the day, even though people donating and receiving items are anonymous. She says unemployed seasonal workers and the elderly are the ones using the food pantry the most at this time of the year.

 

 

Penchoff says personal items and quick meals like soups and pancakes are the items in most need right now. Donors can leave items at the pantry on the shelf or in the freezer at any time.

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Missing Baileys Harbor man found safe

A man reported missing in the Town of Baileys Harbor Thursday evening was found safe after a brief search.   The Door County Sheriffs Office was contacted about a 76-year-old man who lived in the area of County Highway Q and Birch Road had gone hiking and not returned.  A search was organized and the subject was located by a conservation warden at 8:46 PM, about three hours after the Sheriffs Office was notified.  Wardens helped the man out of the woods, turned him over to paramedics, who then took him home.  The Sheriffs Office says the search area was a large, road-less tract of heavily wooded land. Search efforts were further
hampered by darkness and poor cell phone coverage. The subject told responders he had been walking on a trail and had lost his bearings. Other than being cold, he was not injured.
 

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School canceled at Gibraltar due to power outage

Gibraltar Area School District children got an unexpected day off from school Friday when a power outage caused the school to close. Students on buses heading to campus headed back to their homes according to the school's Facebook page. Updates on the day's activities at the school, which includes a boys' basketball game against Kewaunee, will be given at a later time. 

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Door County Medical Center CEO Jerry Worrick retires

The New Year will bring a big change at the helm of Door County Medical Center.  President and CEO Jerry Worrick will retire from that post on January 5th after 31-years of service.  Worrick is credited with improving the patient experience and building DCMC's Cancer Care Center, which allows patients to get treatment closer to home.  Current Chief Administrative Officer Brian Stephens has been named to succeed Worrik.  Stephens says he hopes to continue building up Worrik's successes.

 

 

 

Stephens has been with Door County Medical Center for 13-years and put together a curriculum with Worrick, which they reviewed every two weeks for the past 18 months in anticipation of Worrik's retirement.

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Post offices swamped with holiday packages

Local post offices are processing more and more packages as Christmas Day approaches.  

The Sturgeon Bay Post Office says parcel volume started increasing the weekend after Thanksgiving and is still on the rise.  Postmaster Don Erdmann says package drop-offs and deliveries are already ahead of 2017.

 


In order to get holiday packages to their destinations in time for Christmas, Erdmann says First Class and Priority Mail are your best bets within the U.S.  Those have to be sent out by December 20th.  For packages bound for military installations, Priority Mail Express is the best option and need to be postmarked by December 16th.

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A YMCA's decision to cancel news channels has the local Y talking

The buzz around the Door County YMCA is about another Y's drastic decision. The Stevens Point YMCA has blocked cable news channels from TV sets in the workout rooms.  That decision came early this month after one member berated another over a cable news program.  Door County YMCA President and CEO Tom Beernsten says such behavior hasn't happened in Sturgeon Bay.  He says, however, Door County Y staff are always watching out for inappropriate language and actions.

 

 

Some private health clubs in Minnesota faced similar problems with heated discussions between members because of what was on TV.  So they've also blocked only the all-news channels at their businesses.   

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How a government shutdown could impact local veterans

 

There are steps that local veterans and families of active duty military members should and should not take in the event of a government shutdown.  The tone of President Trump's meeting with Democratic Congressional leaders his week raised concerns that a shutdown could be a real possibility.  Door County Veterans Service Officer Scott McFarland says the information he's currently receiving indicates that a shutdown would not affect military or veterans pensions and Social Security.  McFarland says, however, he's heard that before.

 

 

McFarland suggests some steps veterans and military families can take should a shutdown happen.

 

 

Funding expires for a number of key government agencies on December 21st at midnight. 

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Local groups keep the holidays jolly through music

From high school musicians to Broadway singers, groups in Door and Kewaunee counties are carrying a tune along with the holiday spirit. Local high schools are starting to wrap up their winter band and choir concerts before they have their Christmas break. Kewaunee High School band teacher Kelton Jennings says it helps students to play familiar songs, but it does not hurt to challenge them either with certain arrangements.

 

 

Northern Sky Theater has been holding its “Home for the Holidays” show for over a decade. This year the show features music director Ryan Cappleman, Northern Sky Theater artistic director Jeff Herbst, and Broadway performer Tom Donoghue. Unlike any other time of the year, Herbst says music plays an important role at Christmas.

 

Kewaunee, Luxemburg-Casco, Southern Door, and Gibraltar high schools will host some of their winter concerts Sunday and Monday, while Northern Sky Theater’s Home for the Holidays runs December 28th through 31st. You can listen to last weekend’s Ask the Expert with Northern Sky Theater and see our schedule of winter concert broadcasts of seven Door and Kewaunee county schools online with this story.  

 

 

 

WINTER CONCERT SCHEDULE

Algoma: December 19

Kewaunee: December 20th

Sturgeon Bay: December 21st

Luxemburg-Casco: December 22nd

Southern Door: December 23rd

Sevastopol: December 24th

Gibraltar: December 25th

 

 

 

 

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Door County roundabouts doing their jobs with safety

Crash statistics at Door County’s two roundabouts support the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s belief the roadway features are doing their job. From the day they opened in July 2016 to the end of 2017, the roundabout at State Highway 42/57 and Michigan Street had eight property-damaging crashes and one minor injury. The roundabout at State Highway 42/57 and Egg Harbor Road saw the same number of minor injuries but 11 property damaging crashes. Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin DOT says the good thing about those crashes is they were due to a failure to yield, which is correctable.

 

 

Kantola says drivers also have to remember roundabouts are not just for them as they are also designed to keep the crossings safe for pedestrians. There have been no accidents involving pedestrians since the roundabouts were added. 

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