Building Commission to decide on local project

The new Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park could get the go-ahead Wednesday when the State Building Commission meets. A first round of bids showed the differential between what has been raised by the Friends of Peninsula State Park and the estimated cost of the project to be nearly a million dollars. Modifications to the tower's requirements were made and bids were sent back out with the cost being lowered to a more reasonable number. Business Manager Steve Strucely is cautiously optimistic that funds can be shifted to accomodate the tower and that the Building Commission will approve the project.


Originally the Friends hoped the project would begin this fall but that is looking less likely with the continued review.


Pebble Beach dedication Friday

People will have the chance to see a nearly unexplored portion of Door County when Pebble Beach in Sister Bay is dedicated.  The Celebrate Pebble Beach ribbon cutting will make a 17-acre section of forest and 600 feet of shoreline officially open to the public.  Cinnamon Rossman, Development Director for the Door County Land Trust, which owns the property, says those attending the ribbon-cutting will get the first glance at the evidence of geological history that few people have previously seen.



The Celebrate Pebble Beach ribbon cutting takes place at 2:30 PM on October 18th along Pebble Beach Road in Sister Bay.  It'll be held rain or shine.

Sen. Hansen supports direct legislation laws 

A resolution designed to ultimately change the state constitution to allow for direct legislation to be passed through a state-wide referendum is being floated in Madison.  State Senator Dave Hansen, who has served 19 years for the 30th District, says Assembly Joint Resolution 32 could eventually lead to citizens initiating constitutional amendments and vetoes similar to Act 10 in Ohio.  Many states already have direct legislation laws in place, according to Hansen.



Sen. Hansen says the key is that when the legislature tends to ignore the will of the people, the people should have means to circumvent the legislature to make their voices heard.  He adds that a successful resolution would also address healthcare expansion, campaign finance reform, and medical marijuana that have public majority support with no state legislative action currently.  


Sister Bay Shuttle service succeeds

The Village of Sister Bay's free shuttle service is marking a successful first season and could serve as a model for other Door County communities.  The shuttle ran a 30-minute loop around the village Thursday through Saturday starting Memorial Day weekend. Shuttle service ran from 11:00 AM until 2:00 AM.  It continued to run on weekends through September. The Sister Bay shuttle carried over 4,000 passengers since it started. Louise Howson, with the Sister Bay Advancement Association, says the shuttle proved popular with residents, maritime visitors and could help other Door County communities transportation needs.



Howson says the shuttle will return next summer and budgeting for the service is currently under discussion by the Sister Bay Village Board.



Kewaunee County Manufacturing Career Day a big success

Over 200 students from the three Kewaunee County High Schools participated in the Manufacturing Career Day on Tuesday in Algoma.  Ninth-graders from Algoma, Kewaunee and Luxemburg-Casco schools toured three manufacturers throughout the day.  Students visited Multi Color, Olson Fabrication, and CTI Hospitality.  The event, sponsored by the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation, is designed to showcase career opportunities in manufacturing.  KCEDC Executive Director Richard Baker says underclassmen exposed to manufacturing careers are more likely to enter that field.



Baker adds that the Manufacturing Career Day event also included presentations that explored career opportunities in banking, human resources, agriculture, and public safety.  


Plants battle frost

Mother Nature has been hitting crops in Door and Kewaunee Counties with everything she has this year with her most devastating blows still on the horizon. Snowflakes flew in Door and Kewaunee Counties over the weekend and some spots have already been affected by the season’s first frost. For some crops, it is just time to clean up for the year. Door County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Annie Deutsch says there are some things you can do to protect your plants if putting them into pots and moving them indoors are not options.

Deutsch recommends you harvest what you can before the weather makes the decision for you, though she says apples can usually stay good on trees until temperatures reach 28 degrees and carrots actually get better with a frost.

Law enforcement rally around holiday causes

Law enforcement personnel in Door and Kewaunee Counties begin taking on the role of Santa Claus this month. Members of the Door County Sheriff’s Department and Sturgeon Bay Police Department will help serve lunch and dinner at the Sturgeon Bay Culver’s next Wednesday as a part of the Lights of Christmas campaign, which raises money for gift cards and other necessities for deserving families. Both Door and Kewaunee Counties host their own Chop n’ Shop-with-a-Cop events while Sheriff Matt Joski anchors two other holiday campaigns, including the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive. Joski says it is important for the public to see law enforcement personnel in a different light.

The programs help support hundreds of families every year. 



       I know that I had stated that this week’s article would continue my summary of the operations here at the Sheriff’s Department, but I want to take a moment to bring awareness to a few campaigns which are currently underway in an effort to increase support of those programs as we get closer to Christmas. These programs are not those that you will receive an electronic voice message from soliciting money, or the types that you will be flooded with mass mailings asking you to send your money to distance places. These are programs which are happening right here in our community to help those right here in our community.

        The first of these programs is our annual “Shop with a Cop” program. Each year we here in Law Enforcement work with the local school districts to identify a few children whose families could use an extra bit of help. We then contact these families and ask that they allow us to spend a day shopping for gifts not just for that child but for that child’s family as well. It is a humbling experience to shop alongside a child who rather than running towards the toys or electronic games, heads over to the clothing section to get Dad some socks, or to get Mom a new jacket. This is also a great opportunity for these children to see law enforcement in a way that most don’t have the opportunity to see. While our local law enforcement officers volunteer their time and donate many items themselves to make this day successful, we also count on donations to assist in our efforts. If you would like to donate to this cause, just give a call to the Sheriff’s Department.

          The second program that has been in our county for over two decades is the annual Toys for Tots campaign. This one holds a special place in my heart as it is sponsored by the United States Marine Corp Reserve. In this program, boxes are placed throughout Kewaunee County and on December 21st these toys will be handed out for children whose parents have pre-registered as residence of Kewaunee County. There are many great organizations and businesses that help in making this program such a success year after year. To assist in this program, please drop off a new unwrapped toy at any of the drop off sites.

           The third program which actually assists residents of our county throughout the year is our local Salvation Army Kettle Campaign. Just like you I have seen these kettles over the many years at various places during the Christmas season. Sometimes I dropped some money into them and sometimes I walked by them. Only until I began as a voucher writer for the Salvation Army did I realize the importance of this charitable organization and the importance of these kettles. Throughout the year, myself along with other voucher writers here in Kewaunee County receive calls from people who have lost jobs, experienced unforeseen medical costs or have just found themselves in a place of need. We assist with Rent, Utilities, Food, Gas and other basic essential needs to help get them through the crisis they may be facing. To assist in this program you can of course take a moment to drop some money into the kettles located at various stops throughout the county. You can also give of your time to ring bells at these sites as the likelihood of giving increases when these kettles are staffed rather than just sitting idle in a corner of the store entrance. It is a great way to spend time for a good cause and visit with people as they are giving. To volunteer for this program at the Kewaunee and Luxemburg kettle locations, just go to: and follow the links to Kewaunee County. To volunteer at the Algoma Kettle locations, please contact Jerry Guth at: (920)487-5491

              If you have questions on any of these programs, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I can steer you in the right direction. Just like shopping locally has the best impact for our communities, giving locally also provides the best results for those here in Kewaunee County.



Recall a Door County rarity

Voters in Clay Banks and parts of the town and village of Forestville are the only ones in Door County heading to the polls this November. District 3 Supervisor Roy Englebert is being recalled after citizens collected enough signatures to prompt the election. Englebert has been targeted by the Friends of the Forestville Dam for his role in the drawdown of the mill pond slated to begin on November 1st. Door County Clerk Jill Lau says this is the first time a supervisor has been recalled since 2002 and the election comes at a cost.

As the person being recalled, Englebert will already appear on the ballot while challengers have until October 22nd to file the necessary paperwork. November 19th is the slated election date for the recall.

City ok's harbor plan

Kewaunee Harbor can begin taking a different shape after the city council approved a master plan during its meeting Monday night.  The Harbor Master Plan gives the city guidance as it looks to improve the campground, beach park, and river landing areas while also connecting it with its downtown. Kewaunee Community and Economic Development Planner Autumn Linsmeier says having the plan will make it easier to get much-needed grants as the projects progress.

Linsmeier added how important it was to get feedback from local business owners and citizens to make sure the city had the community’s support with direction they were going. You can find a copy of the Harbor Master Plan by clicking here.

Sevastopol discusses in-house substitute teacher pay changes

Teachers and administrators in the Sevastopol School District will discuss the possibility of increasing compensation for in-house substitute teachers who cover classes for other instructors.  They cover for teachers who have to leave for family emergencies, doctor appointments or other personal reasons.  Teachers who serve as in-house substitutes are currently paid $16.31 an hour for each class period they cover.  That rate has been in place for a couple of years while compensation for full-day substitute teachers was increased to $120 a day.  Full-time teacher representatives have indicated they'd like to see in-house pay rates increased.  Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the need and benefits of the request will be discussed at the district's quarterly meet and confer session.



The Sevastopol School District's Meet and Confer session includes teachers and administrators representatives and two school board members.  That meeting will take place Wednesday, October 16th in Room 107 at the school building on Highway 57.

Smallmouth bass public meeting tonight

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the state of the smallmouth bass fishery in the area.  The meeting will be held at Crossroads at Big Creek in the Lecture Hall and will give DNR staff members an opportunity to engage stakeholders and share information on the status of the fishery in the waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay surrounding Door County.  Local kayak fishing expert Bill Schultz, who plans on attending the meeting, says the last time a session was held two years ago the feedback was very helpful for all parties involved.



The smallmouth bass discussion will begin at 6:30 pm on Tuesday at the Crossroads at Big Creek Lecture Hall in the John Collins Learning Center.  The meeting is free for the public to attend and is expected to last two hours.     

Wet conditions could close snowmobile trail sections

A local snowmobile dealer believes saturated soil conditions could close some trails in Door and Kewaunee Counties over the winter.  Dean Simonar, Vice-President and Sales Manager with Simonar Sports Incorporated of Luxemburg, believes most of the trails going through farmland and forests should be fine under the right conditions.  Wetland trails, however, are a different story.



So Simonar says the next best thing snowmobilers and tourist businesses can hope for is a good snowfall.  The Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs says that equals millions of dollars for local economies.

Horseshoe Bay Farms tours successful

Horseshoe Bay Farms Incorporated says hundreds of visitors took advantage of public tours Saturday, despite rainy cooler weather.  The non-profit group offered group and self-guided tours of the farms' historic 8.5 acres during the annual Egg Harbor Pumpkin Patch Festival.  Horseshoe Bay Farms Incorporated Board Member Andy Gill says the tours gave participants a chance to offer suggestions on future uses for the property.  He says visitors offered some great suggestions.



Gill says while the exact number of visitors is still being tallied there were about 500 people who took advantage of the free Pumpkin Patch Festival parking and shuttles.  He says many came strictly for the tours.

Tax rate drops in proposed budget

Kewaunee County residents could stand to pay less in taxes next year according to is preliminary budget. The budget is set for around $22,575,000, a decrease of about $210,000 from 2019. That means a $17 savings for taxpayers with a $100,000 home. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner says the biggest news comes from the highway department.

According to the budget book included by clicking this link, the budget cuts a full-time position from the UW-Extension office and makes changes to other positions in the county. A public hearing on the 2020 Kewaunee County budget will take place before the board conducts its business at 6 p.m. at the administrative center in Kewaunee. 

Gibraltar DECA gives real-world lessons

Even as the rain came down during its fundraiser at last Friday’s football game, it was just a small sampling of the many activities organized and executed by Gibraltar’s DECA Club. DECA helps prepare kids for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. In addition to hosting different events during the year and attending competitions, Gibraltar’s DECA Club runs the school store, also known as GBay. The experience is part of the reason sophomore Anthony Casanas joined.

Flexibility was an unintended skill taught during the Gibraltar DECA Club fundraiser on Friday, having to turn a football toss game into a “pass the bucket” campaign to raise over $160 for the GoBo Foundation.

Lincoln levy increase proposed

An increase on the tax levy is another thing residents in the town of Lincoln can blame on the snow. The town of Lincoln board will leave it up to the voters next week on potentially exceeding the allowable town tax levy by 37 percent, which is a total dollar increase of $21,517. The town had been trying to hold the line in recent years, even as services provided by the county and others climbed. Town chairperson Cory Cochart says road and winter maintenance is the main culprit. 

Cochart says the purchase of election machines and other expenses contributed to the request. The special meeting will be held on October 23rd at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Town Hall. A vote will take place after a background information presentation, a public comment and question period, and a reading of the ordinance.

West waterfront plans moving

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will get an update on the plans to redevelop the west waterfront during its regular Tuesday meeting. In a memo sent by administrator Josh Van Lieshout, the city is currently working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to obtain a lakebed lease for the future home of the grain elevator after Coleman Engineering performed two soil borings at 100 East Maple Street last month. According to the memo, the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society still needs to evaluate the existing pilings at 92 East Maple Street, complete a remediation plan for the site, and submit the final project plan, budget, and financing for approval. The council will also review the recommendations made by the Ad Hoc West Waterfront Planning Committee and develop a plan of action. The meeting will take place inside the council chambers at Sturgeon Bay City Hall beginning at 7 p.m.


In addition, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council is meeting at 4 p.m. today (Monday) to approve the city’s 2020 budget and set a public hearing date for the same time on November 4th.

Algoma searches for new city administrator

The City of Algoma is searching for a new city administrator.  That comes just over six months after Jeff Wiswell retired and his duties were shared be the city clerk, city treasurer and Mayor Wayne Schmidt.  He says sharing the duties has worked well, though a full-time administrator is needed and has been included in Algoma's 2020 budget proposal.




Schmidt says, so far, the City of Algoma has received applications from four candidates.  He's hoping to receive more by the November 1st deadline.

Sister Bay gears up for Fall Festival

Sister Bay's annual Fall Festival starts on Saturday morning with the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department pancake breakfast. Take in the parade through downtown and an arts and crafts fair which features nearly 100 vendors. Restaurants and bars in the village will have musical acts. Sister Bay Advancement Association Assistant Coordinator Miluzka McCarthy says Fall Fest is like homecoming and a lot of people return to Door County for the festival specifically. Fall Fest wraps up with a crowd favorite event.


The Sister Bay Advancement Association bills the Fall Fest parade as the largest in the county. Fall Fest will happen rain or shine.


Wisconsin Humanities Council visits Door Peninsula

The Wisconsin Humanities Council's Grant Program Director visited Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee October 4th. The trip was a follow-up related to successful award applications for the archaeological dig at Crossroads and a new historical walking trail near the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse. Meg Turville-Heitz says a majority of her job is helping nonprofits and governments applying for WHC grants with the byzantine process.


 It was the first trip for Turville-Heitz to the area in roughly 18 months. Humanities disciplines and activities involve taking a critical eye to various subjects from art to history. 


Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Humanities Council Facebook page.

Legislation aims to expedite substitute teacher hiring

State regulations are preventing schools in Door and Kewaunee counties, and others state-wide, from having enough qualified substitute teachers.  It's become harder for school districts to attract substitute instructors because of better paying jobs in other fields.  Southern Door School District Superintendent Patricia Vickman says districts are also hampered by rules that set a time limit before retired teachers can work on a part-time basis.


Legislation is being considered to reduce the time that retired teachers must wait before becoming substitutes.  According to the Wisconsin Education Association the biggest need for substitute teachers is in areas such as special education, library services and foreign language interpreters. 

Algoma seeks bond issuance for sewer project

Funds have already been secured for the road portion of the infrastructure projects on Second Street and First Street in the City of Algoma with sewers up next. The city is issuing over one-million dollars in bonds to complete replacements of sewer mains and water mains downtown. Additionally, according to Treasurer Amber Shallow, funds generated will be rolled over into projects in 2020.


The bonds are expected to be authorized at a Common Council meeting on Wednesday.


Cana Island construction stalled by elements

Construction on the Cana Island Interpretive Center will finish about a month later than planned due to complications from the elements.  The interpretive center was scheduled to open in October.  Door County Facilities and Parks Director Wayne Spritka says high water levels on Lake Michigan and adverse weather have now pushed back the completion date.




The Cana Island Lighthouse and the soon-to-be finished interpretive center are owned by the Door County Facilities and Parks Department while day-to-day operations are managed through a contract with the Door County Maritime Museum.

Whitefish Dunes hosting fall work day

Whitefish Dunes State Park is looking for volunteers for Saturday morning. Interim Park Manager Erin Dembski says there are only two full-time staff members at the park currently and a laundry list of tasks that need to be done.


The fall work day is set well in advance and will happen rain or shine, regardless of crowds that could be significant given the expected peak color season in that time frame.  Whitefish Dunes is a popular winter destination featuring trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing.


Washington Island makes cider

Washington Island travelers had the opportunity to make cider this weekend and bring a different kind of memento back to the mainland. The Washington Island Farm Museum brought out apple presses from its collection. According to Executive Director Bonnie Burnham, one press is a vintage collector's item.


The apples had to be transported onto the island before the event from a northern Door County orchard. Five gallons worth of apples, once pressed, translates into roughly three-quarters of a gallon of DIY hand-pressed apple cider.


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