News

Door County Food Pantry fulfilling the need

There is a good reason why you have not seen long lines at Door County food pantries during this time of uncertainty. Eight local operations teamed up to form the Door County Food Pantry Coalition back in May in order to have a coordinated and sustainable response to the needs of the community. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says their teamwork has produced great results.

NEW Radio, Inc. and its virtual animal sale sponsors Renard's Cheese, Salmon Meats, Marchant Foods, Ebert Enterprises, Portside Builders Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Rio Creek Feed Mill, Flanigan Distributing, Jerseyland Dairy, and TNT Dynamite Grooming, purchased two pigs, a lamb, and two turkeys from area youth to donate to the Door County Food Pantry Coalition, resulting in hundreds of pounds of meat for area families. The next Farmers to Families Food Box distribution is August 12th at First Baptist Church in Sister Bay.

 

 

 

Door, Kewaunee Counties on par with ALICE average

Door and Kewaunee Counties paint the average picture when it comes to Wisconsinites struggling to make ends meet. The United Way of Wisconsin recently released their ALICE Report based on 2018 data as it looked at people who are asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed. Approximately 31 percent of residents in Door County and 32 percent in Kewaunee County are at the ALICE threshold or worse, which is based on the household survival budget of $21,000 for a single adult and $68,472 for a family of four. The statewide average is 34 percent. Christina Studebaker of the United Way of Door County says one factor to the increase of ALICE households is the cost of living is outpacing wage increases.

According to the ALICE Report available online, eleven counties have more than 40 percent of their residents living below the ALICE threshold, including Menominee County at 55 percent.

 

Picture Courtesy of United Way of Door County

Door 2 Door Rides hits 10-year milestone

It has been a lot easier getting around Door County over the last decade. The shared ride taxi service known as Door 2 Door Rides provided its first trip on August 10th, 2010. Since then, Door 2 Door Rides has provided over 360,000 trips to local residents, giving over 3.5 times more rides in 2019 (over 41,000) than it did during its inaugural year (13,556). Door County Transportation Manager Pam Busch says the service has served the community well.

Even with ridership down in 2020 due to COVID-19, Door 2 Door Rides is still on pace to provide over 32,000 trips this year.  You can learn more about the Door 2 Door Rides service by clicking here.

 

Taken in August 2010, the picture features (Left to Right): Roger Tepe, former Door County Human Services Deputy Director, Pam Busch, current Door County Transportation Manager who was with Door-Tran at the time of the picture, and Amy Kohnle, United Way Executive Director.


Treasurer's race expected to drive voter turnout

The Door County Treasurer race is giving voters a reason to head out to the polls on Tuesday.  The races for register of deeds, clerk, and district attorney in Door and Kewaunee Counties, Kewaunee County Treasurer, Congressional District 8, and Assembly District 1 all have just a single candidate running for their respective party. In many cases, the candidates on Tuesday’s ballot will run unopposed when the general election comes around in November. The Door County Treasurer race features Democrats Jan Arbter Anderson and Ashley DeGrave and Republicans Christine Moe, Ryan Schley, and Lisa Hart. Village of Sister Bay Clerk Heidi Teich says that has already had an impact on absentee voting.

Teich says the Village of Sister Bay will once again have a drive-through option as well as the more traditional way of voting when polling sites are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

On The Ballot for Tuesday

 

Congressional District 8

Democrat: Amanda Stuck

Republican: Rep. Mike Gallagher

 

Assembly District 1

Democrat: Kim Delorit Jensen

Republican: Rep. Joel Kitchens

 

Door County District Attorney

Republican: Colleen C. Nordin

 

Door County Clerk

Republican: Jill M. Lau 

 

Door County Treasurer

Democrats: Jan Arbter Anderson and Ashley DeGrave

Republicans: Christine A. Moe, Ryan J. Schley and Lisa M. Hart

 

Door County Register of Deeds

Republican: Carey Petersilka

 

District Attorney

Democrat: Andrew Naze

 

County Clerk

Democrat: Jamie Annoye

 

Treasurer

Republican: Michelle Dax

 

Register of Deeds

Democrat: Germaine Bertrand 

Groundwater study looking for new contaminants in Door County

The UW-Oshkosh team studying water quality in Door County will be checking for known issues in the area, including agricultural runoff and elevated bacteria levels due to karst rock’s susceptibility to contamination. Professor Greg Kleinheinz says it is also the first chance to look into problems that have cropped up in other parts of the state in recent years.

 


PFAS are a common material in household items, but their use in firefighting foam has been the main contributor to pollution conerns, including in Marinette across the Bay of Green Bay. 

 

Egg Harbor preps for County Highway G construction

By the end of August, the Village of Egg Harbor will complete land purchases needed for a right of way. That allows for construction on County Road G to begin in the fall. Engineer Mike Simon says that contingent on approval from the Board of Trustees this week, utility work should be started in a couple months.

 


It consists of burying storm sewers, along with installing gutters and lighting to be completed this fall. Roadwork is set for spring. The fall detour to reach downtown businesses is Dock Road. A gate that closes the street for marina traffic typically reopens in September.

 


Consider flooding and erosion controls as Lake Michigan water levels drop

Communities and property owners in Door and Kewaunee counties may notice Lake Michigan water levels easing in the coming months.  However, it's only expected to be a slight seasonal reprieve.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit says Lake Michigan's water levels are expected to peak this month and recede through fall and winter.  The average lake levels, however, will remain at record highs.   Deanna Apps, Physical Scientist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District, says the receding water levels are a good opportunity for communities and lakeshore property owners to take additional flooding and erosion prevention measures.

 

 

 

Apps says the Corps of Engineers can help lakeshore communities and property owners find the best erosion and flooding control options. Those can be found at the Corps website and doing a search for the document entitled “Living on the Coast."

New funds help treat COVID-19 mental health issues

More help is on the way for people in Door and Kewaunee who are dealing with COVID-19 mental health issues.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services received a $2-million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt expects those funds will help people ease their stress in a COVID-19 world.

 

 

 

Among those who'll benefit from the federal grant are teens and young adults, those who've had issues accessing health care, and health care workers.

Destination Sturgeon Bay floats night market extension

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, Destination Sturgeon Bay floated a trial balloon to extend the Under the Stars Night Market through October. Marketing and Events Director Carly Sarkis says business participation continues to increase, and so do the crowds. After the group had to cancel Harvest Fest, the night market provides an opportunity to bring traffic to the downtown area safely. Sarkis hints that there are already plans for next year.

 


Destination Sturgeon Bay hosted the annual citywide sidewalk sale on July 30th, another safe event, with west waterfront businesses doing especially well. Sarkis says that with retail closed for several months, this year’s sale was important to clear inventory that shoppers couldn’t access easily during the spring.

 


Kress Pavilion outdoor events could be expanded

Art, yoga, and dancing are coming out at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor.  The August programs at the pavilion have moved to the porch or Grand Hall in the interest of social distancing.  So far, that move is proving very popular with program participants.  Jesse Reinke, Kress Pavilion property manager and event director, says going outdoors could become a long-term option.

 


More information on August programs and other events at the Kress Pavilion are available at the Kress Pavilion website.

 

(Kress Pavilion Group Class photo from Liz Heller)

Egg Harbor condo project inching towards approval

Developers of a proposed condominium project in Egg Harbor at the site of the former Mueller Mini Mart still have to seek the approval of two panels in the village. After scaling down original plans from 27 units to 14, the revised design will most likely be subject to a host of stipulations before the Plan Commission grants a conditional use permit. Administrator Ryan Heise says the Zoning Board of Appeals will also need to be involved.

 


The Plan Commission meets at 6:00 PM on August 18th. It will be a virtual meeting. Even if both committees sign off on the project, construction is not expected to begin until November.

 

Door County Archives plans proceed slowly

The proposed site for the new Door County Archives building is undergoing cost and use studies.  The county purchased the former Younker's Furniture store building on Fourth Avenue in Sturgeon Bay last year.  Several design options have been considered. County Administrator Ken Pabich says input is now being sought from the Door Public Library and the Miller Art Museum.  He also says some records and artifacts have been moved to other county-owned locations to aid preservation efforts.

 

 

 

A former home on Michigan Street had served as the Door County Archives.  That building has since been demolished and the site is expected to be used as a parking area for the new archives facility.


Choir cancels fall season and winter concert

The Peninsula Singers will stay silent for the rest of 2020. They announced this week the cancellation of their fall season and winter concert. The group has a rich history, stretching back nearly 50 years. Members come from across Door and Kewaunee Counties, consisting of young and old. Board President Jeanne Barnard says that, unfortunately, singing indoors remains a high-risk activity for COVID-19 transmission. She is hopeful that an online performance can be possible by year’s end.

 


The group has two primary concerts per year, with one of those happening at the Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church. The other floats between locations. Barnard says the Peninsula Singers perform a variety of genres and are gladly taking donations to help during the pandemic. In the spring, the Singers had already committed to a director’s salary and purchased songbooks and rights for music before they were forced to wait out the pandemic.

 

Parks and Facilities Committee tours southern Door County

New supervisors on the county’s Parks and Facilities Committee got to go on a field trip Thursday. Director Wayne Spritka and Chair Dan Austad led the group on a tour beginning at LaSalle County Park and winding across southern Door, including the hotly debated Forestville Millpond. Members of the Friends of the Forestville Dam, who oppose the county’s drawdown plan, were also there to help rescue a deer trapped to its shoulders in mud. Member Christine Reid says that even after a hot and dry July, there was still plenty of moisture in the flowage. It takes only a little rain for great sums of water to funnel towards the flowage from the surrounding areas and the Ahnapee Watershed.

 


Reid says that the county’s plan requires the flowage to dry out completely, and nine months after its start, that is a long way from happening. Additionally, when the dam valve is finally closed, and the flowage returns, the Friends group predicts it could be another five years before the area’s ecosystem gets back to normal.

 

Forestville flowage on Thursday, August 6th.

 

 

NFL Draft and other Lambeau events a boost for Door County

The possibility of Lambeau Field hosting the 2024 NFL Draft and other national events excites Door County tourism officials.  Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy recently announced at the virtual shareholders meeting that the team is one of three finalists for the 2024 draft sessions. Murphy also says Lambeau Field is applying to host the Big Ten Championship game between 2023 and 2030.  Jon Jarosh with Destination Door County says it's not known exactly what the economic impact would be from such events.  Although, he says past experience shows visitors will be looking beyond Green Bay for places to see.

 

 

 

Door County and Green Bay hoped to pick up additional tourism business when U-W Madison and Notre Dame played at Lambeau Field this fall.  That game has been tentatively rescheduled for 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Underground cable project begins Monday

American Transmission Company is starting a project Monday to lay a new submarine electrical line in Sturgeon Bay. Work will cause closures to several downtown locations sporadically between now and May of next year. 

 

• Second Avenue between Nebraska and Oregon Streets (northeast of Graham park) will be closed beginning the week of Aug. 10, 2020, through mid-December 2020.

• The City of Sturgeon Bay parking lot on Nebraska Street, between First and Second Avenues, will be closed Aug. 10, 2020, through May 2021.

• One lane on Neenah Avenue near Sawyer Park will be closed for up to four weeks in December 2020 and January 2021. Driveways and access points on Neenah Avenue are scheduled to remain open.

• First Avenue between Nebraska and Oregon Streets will be closed for construction for approximately two weeks in January 2021.

 

The transmission line consists of four cables that have a total capacity of 69,000 volts. It replaces a conduit laid in the early 1980s. The project is estimated to have a cost of over $12 million.

 

 

Picture of American Transmission President and CEO, Mike Rowe, courtesy of the company's website.

Ephraim moving forward post-Streetscape

Two years and $4.85 million later, Ephraim’s streetscape ad hoc committee has completed their duties.  The infrastructure project included 2500 lineal feet of roadway construction in Ephraim along with lighting and sidewalks.  Ephraim Administrator Brent Bristol says the ad hoc committee recently discussed their future.

 

 

Bristol notes that the ad hoc committee will probably not continue to meet, but remain intact in order to receive regular updates through the village board.  On Tuesday, the village board will be considering the request by the facilities committee to replace the three main Ephraim signs on the highway which compliments the new streetscape.   

Elder abuse program being implemented

A federal pilot program addressing elder abuse has been implemented to address the issue in Door County.  The State of Wisconsin Justice Department applied for a grant with the federal government to offer one of five pilot programs that are an offshoot of the Door County Coordinated Community Response.  Anni Lampert, Help of Door County advocate, had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to learn how to train law enforcement professionals and other service providers to identify signs of elderly abuse.

 

 

Lampert notes that elder abuse caused by controlling behavior can mirror those impacting other people.  Neglect is one of the bigger issues facing the elderly besides the reported physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological abuse.

Protecting yourself from swimmer's itch

As the area beaches become even more of an attraction in August, public health officials are reminding people to take added precautions to remain healthy after swimming in lakes and other bodies of water.  Besides following the guidelines set down by the Centers for Disease Control regarding the current health crisis, beach-goers should be aware of allergic reactions that can happen after swimmers leave the water.  Door County Sanitarian and Health Educator Chelsea Smies notes that swimmers itch is a common condition this time of year.  She shares how you can better protect yourself from the skin rash.

 

 

Swimmers itch is also known as cercarial dermatitis and is most common in freshwater lakes and ponds.  Smies notes that the condition may be uncomfortable, but usually clears up in a few days. You can find more information on tips to prevent swimmer’s itch below.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/index.html

 

 

 

COVID-19 Update:  Kewaunee County adds two more cases; Door County stays at 102

The number of positive COVID-19 cases ticked upward in the area again on Friday as the State of Wisconsin reported 12 more deaths and a slight increase in the percentage of new positive cases at seven percent.  Door County Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases on Friday while noting one additional recovery.  The active cases went down to 18.  Kewaunee County reported two more positive tests bringing their total to 128.  That reflects an increase of 20 new positive tests since Monday.   The active cases remained at 23 with two new recoveries.   You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.  

 

 

 

BBQ champion calls Sturgeon Bay home

Sturgeon Bay’s Tom MacIntosh proves you do not need to go to Kansas City or Memphis for really good barbeque.  T-Mac Smokin BBQ was born when he took over the food operations at his church’s picnic in Appleton. As the legend grew, he started to enter barbeque competitions across the country which have garnered him grand champion status at the Death’s Door BBQ competition and a fourth-place finish against the best of the best in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The secret to his success he says is loving what he does.

With many competitions canceled this year, T-Mac Smokin BBQ has been popping up at local businesses across the county this summer, including Johnny G’s Fishing Hole on Saturday.

 

Photo submitted by Tom MacIntosh from "The Jack" , 2019 Jack Daniels World Championship BBQ Competition. His team finished 4th out of 97 teams from all over the world.

Planting into green yielding good results

Members of Peninsula Pride Farms are trying a newer technique this year to help prevent soil erosion. Approximately half of the member farms are “planting into green” this season, which has operators seeding cover crops in between rows of other growing plants. For Brey Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay, that means wading through a mixture of radish, clover, ryegrass and sunflowers in between rows of corn. With rain events becoming more extreme when they happen, Tony Brey says having all those plants is helping keep the water where it needs to be.

While it could be harvested for different purposes, much of the cover crops planted  stay in the field to help build organic matter and hold the soil in place. Brey Cycle Farm will host a Peninsula Pride Farms Field Day on September 1st  from 6 to 7 p.m. to go more in depth with the “planting into green” technique.

Positive test dry docks tour company

Vessels at Door County Kayak Tours will remain on dry land for the time being due to a positive COVID-19 test on its staff. The Jacksonport-based business made the announcement on Facebook Thursday, letting customers know they would be canceling booked tours and not taking reservations for the next few days while the rest of their team gets tested. According to their website, Door County Kayak Tours introduced a number of additional safety measures as a part of keeping their guests and employees safe during the pandemic. Some of those extra practices include increased cleaning protocols, encouraging social distancing and masking, and limiting the number of guests in their shop and tours. Since May, close to 10 different businesses in Sister Bay, Ellison Bay, Baileys Harbor, Luxemburg, and Sturgeon Bay have closed their doors temporarily due to positive COVID-19 tests on their staff.

Door County census response lagging

Door County could be costing itself thousands of dollars in funding thanks to a lower than average response to the U.S. Census. Just over 46 percent of Door County households have completed the U.S. Census, compared to just under 70 percent statewide and approximately 75 percent in Kewaunee County. Dan Powers sat on the county’s complete count committee this winter and says one reason why the response rate could be so low is due to confusion with the area’s seasonal residents.

Although the finish line for this year’s census count has been a moving target in recent weeks due to the pandemic, there is still time for people to respond online, by phone, or by mail.

 

picture courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

Coping with the prolonged pandemic -- Mental Health Minute series

Dealing with COVID-19 fatigue and the new normal can bring about stressful times.  Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White compares managing stress with a tea kettle simmering on a hot stove.  Lowering the heat and using safety valves are valuable techniques in coping with the stress.  Dr. White shares two stress-releasers that are still available.

 


Dr. White says there is no way to eliminate stress during this pandemic, but there are ways to manage it better.  You can listen to the entire Mental Health Minute on coping with stress by Dr. White below.

 

 

 

 

 

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