News

Shortages could plague fight against snowstorms

With the worst of winter still ahead of us, you may want to act quickly when it comes to buying snow removal equipment like shovels and snowblowers.  Much like lawnmowers this summer, some snowblower dealers have struggled to keep their most popular models in stock. Supply chain issues are to blame for engines not being made and sent out to snowblower manufacturers like Toro and Ariens quickly enough to meet the demand. Even plastic snow shovels are getting hard to find due to slowdowns in their manufacturing process. Lemens Hardware owner Jim Lemens recommends people act sooner rather than later.

With the worst of winter still ahead of us, you may want to act quickly when it comes to buying snow removal equipment like shovels and snowblowers.

Hospital beds getting tight locally

Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise is still encouraging you to come to the hospital if you are sick, but the wrong ailments could land you in a facility hundreds of miles away. The recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin has started to overwhelm the state’s hospitals. In northeast Wisconsin, 90 percent of hospital beds and over 93 percent of ICU beds are currently in use. That has forced many Green Bay hospitals to turn away patients from other facilities like Door County Medical Center and refer them to places as far as northern Illinois and Minnesota. Heise says just as hard as finding a bed for patients that they do not have the means to treat is figuring out a way to transport them.

Heise does offer some good news as Wisconsin has started to see cases of Omicron variant pop up. So far, the cases of the Omicron variant have not been as severe as those who have experienced Delta. It is too soon to determine how well the vaccines and natural antibodies perform when fending off the Omicron variant.

 

Driver crashes into Family Video building

A 29-year old man drove his vehicle through the vacant Family Video building on Egg Harbor Road in Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday morning and was uninjured.  Sturgeon Bay Assistant Police Chief Dan Brinkman told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that the driver was not from this country and was inexperienced at driving in wintry conditions.  According to the investigating officer, Brinkman says the driver apparently was entering on Egg Harbor Road from the Tall Pine Apartments complex across the street from the Family Video location when he lost control shortly before 7 am and mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of braking and drove over the curb and into the building.   The vehicle crashed into the west side of the building and exited on the north side coming to a rest in the parking lot.  The vehicle was deemed a complete loss and was towed away from the scene shortly after 7:30 am.  

 

 

 


Door County YMCA offering Soup Day

As a way to help support its annual campaign for the community, the Door County YMCA will be hosting a Soup Day next Monday, December 13 at the Sturgeon Bay Program Center. Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin says that there will be a variety of soups that will be made by YMCA members and local businesses.

 

 

The soups are packaged in 16-ounce containers and are $7 each.  You can order by phone or on the YMCA Facebook page.  Dantoin adds that the proceeds go towards the annual campaign that typically raises over $500,000 each year to financially assist families, enabling them to utilize the YMCA. 

Sevastopol Public Hearing on ATVs has split opinions

 

Town of Sevastopol residents had a chance to voice their opinions on the proposed operation of ATVs and UTVs on town roads and it appears to be a 50/50 proposition. Sevastopol Town Clerk Amy Flok says the public hearing was divided equally between those opposing the idea of ATVs on the town roads and those in favor of it.  The Pioneer Trailblazers Club volunteered to put up signage that is required to identify the routes throughout the township. Flok says many of those opposed cited noise issues and traffic congestion on the roads. Those in favor believed that allowing ATVs and UTVs on the town roads would be good for local businesses and the municipality. The public hearing lasted about 45 minutes, with 11 people speaking at the meeting. The matter now will be discussed at the Sevastopol Town Hall board meeting on December 20.  Flok speculates that a decision on the ATVs and UTVs on town roads will not happen until after the first of the year. 

Largest LNG barge delivered by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay announced the recent delivery of the largest ever built LNG bunkering barge recently to Polaris New Energy. Clean Canaveral”, a 340-foot vessel, was delivered last Friday and offers  12,000 m3 (3.17 million gallons) of Liquid Natural Gas capacity. LNG is a process through which natural gas is cooled to a liquid state and reduced by nearly 600 percent. That process makes it easier and safer to transport. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is on contract to build a sister 5,500 cubic meter ATB for Northstar and Polaris, in addition to other new construction and steady repair work on the Great Lakes’ winter fleet. Polaris New Energy is a U.S.-based maritime logistics firm.  


Sturgeon Bay clamps down on noise, allows for open alcohol in downtown area

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved a reworked ordinance that will curtail unreasonable, excessive, and unnecessary noise during specific times in the city. After much discussion on how the ordinance will be enforced, the council unanimously voted to approve the second reading of the municipal code. The ordinance covers noise that exceeds 55 decibels between 10 pm and 6:30 am in residential areas and 90 decibels at other times. Amplified music within commercial areas would not be allowed between 10 pm to 6:30 am during weekdays and midnight to 6:30 am on weekends. 


The council also approved the recommendation and the first reading of an ordinance to exclude the Downtown Entertainment District from open intoxicant laws, which would thus allow for a “public alcohol consumption area” from 9 am until 10 pm downtown.


In other business, the city approved two Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommendations.     One is for selling property at 1048 Egg Harbor Road to Cherryland Point Investments for a future multi-family housing development.  The other recommendation approved was for an intergovernmental agreement between the County of Door and the city for technical support services next year in the amount of $50,000.

Kwik Trip opens Thursday in Luxemburg

The new Kwik Trip in Luxemburg will be opening for business on Thursday morning. Located on North Main Street at the corner of Spartan Way and County AB, the convenience store is the first Kwik Trip to open in Kewaunee County.   Store Leader Tom Dekarske explains the final details of the setup being done this week before Thursday’s opening.

 

 

Dekarske says the store is fully staffed with a total of 45 employees who were hired in the beginning of August. Kwik Trip is a privately owned company based out of La Crosse with about 700 convenience stores in four Midwestern states.  Kwik Trip also plans on opening a new store on Sturgeon Bay’s east side sometime in 2022.

Oral arguments delayed in Forestville Dam Millpond lawsuit

The legal proceedings concerning the lawsuit issued by the Friends of the Forestville Dam against Door County were rescheduled in circuit court on Tuesday.

 

Attorneys representing both parties agreed to delay oral arguments in the case since Door County Circuit Court Judge D. Todd Ehlers did not have an opportunity to review the briefs submitted by both sides prior to the 3 pm hearing.  The oral arguments will be made now at 3 pm on Thursday, December 16 with a summary judgment being made after that by Judge Ehlers.  A summary judgment is granted when the facts can be decided without the need to go to trial.

   

The Friends of the Forestville Dam filed suit against Door County in January seeking an order that would mandate the county to maintain the millpond at a historic water level of 592 feet above sea level.  The millpond was drained in early September starting in 2019 and was refilled late this fall.


AWS outage negatively impacting internet

There is a reason why you might be struggling with buying your items from Amazon or binging your favorite show on Netflix. Amazon Web Services, also known as AWS, reported issues with outages at around 9:45 a.m. The source of the outage is with the US-EAST-1 cloud region. Amazon has identified the issues and says the company is “actively working towards recovery.” The cause of the outage was not known as of 11:45 a.m. Tuesday. Nathan Drager from Quantum PC Services in Sturgeon Bay says outages like this have a big ripple effect around the globe.

Drager added that this is a good reason for people to add redundancy to their networks so if outages like this occur, they can continue to work. According to DataCenterDynamics.com, AWS also had issues in September 2021 and November 2020. The company says customers may be able to access region-specific consoles going to https://console.aws.amazon.com/.

School districts fighting off staffing shortages

You can potentially help keep a school open as districts across the country address a shortage of substitute teachers and other positions. An EdWeek Research Center survey back in October showed more than three-quarters of district leaders and principals are experiencing at least moderate staffing shortages in their school buildings this year. The shortages are primarily among substitute teachers, bus drivers, and instructional aides. Having enough staff in the pipeline could be the difference between a building staying open or not during the pandemic. It was an issue Luxemburg-Casco School District faced last year when they had to go to virtual learning because there was not enough staff to cover the number of children coming to the classroom. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says they have been lucky to avoid that scenario this year. One reason for that is the six recovery learning teachers they have hired with federal dollars. Although their main role is to help students that fell behind during virtual learning last year catch up, they also provide a lifeline for the district if they are short on teachers in other areas. Schlender says you can never have enough substitutes on standby.

Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District in Marinette County announced on Tuesday they would not be opening due to not having enough substitute teachers with the possibility that the closure could continue. Almost every school district in Door and Kewaunee counties have a posting recruiting substitute teachers and other positions.

Community pours support into Door County Toys for Kids Drive

You still have time to give Santa a helping hand in Door County this Christmas season. Thursday is the last day you will be able to drop off presents at boxes throughout the community before they will be distributed to families.

 

It is a cause near and dear to the heart of Bridge Up Brewing Company head brewer Trent Snyder, who has helped collect hundreds of toys and thousands of dollars to support the effort each of the last two years. Having also assisted in the distribution of the toys, he is thankful for how the community has come together to help area families have an extra special Merry Christmas.

Snyder collected more than $2300 over the last few weeks and will spend the next day or two buying Christmas presents. Last year, over 475 children benefited from the toy drive that collected thousands of toys that were either donated or bought with monetary donations. Approximately eight to ten families got a little bit more than just presents last year when Santa stopped by with local law enforcement to spend time with the children.

 

A MESSAGE FROM SANTA

 

 


Virlee, Kohout say no to re-election to Door County Board

Two current Door County Board members have turned in their notice of non-candidacy while redistricting could set up a contested race between two incumbents.

 

District 6 Supervisor Susan Kohout and District 14 Supervisor Richard Biz Virlee turned in their notices of non-candidacy before the end of November. They each have people lined up to replace them as Kenneth Fisher (District 6) and Darrick DeMeuse (District 14) each took out nomination papers.

 

Redistricting has shifted some supervisors into new districts. It is part of the reason why incumbent supervisors Nancy Robillard and Kara Counard could face each other in the spring election. Robillard, formerly of District 5, has begun circulating her nomination papers for the same role in District 4. As of Monday, Counard has not taken out nomination papers to run for re-election in the district.

 

Helen Bacon looks to reclaim a seat on the Door County Board representing District 11 after she was defeated by Erin Tauscher in 2020 for District 7. Tauscher was later replaced by Morgan Rusnak, who is circulating her papers to keep her seat representing District 11.

 

Nate Bell, Walter Kalms, and Janet Johnson have all taken out nominations papers to represent District 20.

 

Daniel Austad (District 9), Nissa Norton (District 12), Dale Vogel (District 13) Elizabeth Gauger (District 15), David Lienau (District 19), and Joel Gunnlaugsson(District 21) are all incumbents that have taken the first step to run for re-election. Nomination papers are due back at the Door County Clerk’s Office by 5 p.m. on January 4th.

Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary remembered locally

Flags will be flown at half-mast Tuesday throughout the country to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor.  December 7th, 1941 was a day that would live in infamy and thrust the United States into World War II.  Door County Veterans Officer Beth Wartella, who served five years in the U.S. Navy, says although there are no planned events in Door County on Tuesday, the significance of the date is at the forefront of many active-duty military members.

 

 

The attack at Pearl Harbor by Japan killed 2,403 United States personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Naval ships.  

 

(The battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in the above file photo from Dec. 7, 1941.)

 

Open containers, loud music up for council discussion

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will address outdoor music limitations within the city at Tuesday’s meeting. City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the council will be voting on the second reading of the ordinance under the Municipal Code- Unreasonable, Excessive, and Unnecessary Noise. The action would give the city a tool to respond with, and the ordinance will be a welcome change to how noise issues have been administered in the past, says Van Lieshout.

 

 

The city council will also discuss a code to allow open intoxicants in the public Downtown Entertainment District permanently.  Another agenda item will be selling the Simon property at 1048 Egg Harbor Road to Doreen Phillips of Cherry Point Investments, which is planning to build multi-family housing on the site.

Colder weather to impact road conditions

With areas of Door County reporting up to ten inches of snow on Sunday and temperatures dropping to single digits on Tuesday, Highway Commissioner Thad Ash reminds you to be prepared for slippery spots on the roadways and allow more room between your vehicle and other drivers.  He says prior to any major winter weather event, crews will do anti-icing if certain conditions allow for it.  The protocol calls for brine use if low winds and humidity are present, and adequate pavement temperatures are found.

 

 

The brine mix will activate on the roads until temperatures drop to ten or twelve degrees when it would fail to liquefy to do any good.  Ash notes that the Wisconsin DOT does not like crews to put sand on the highway roads because it might give drivers a false sense of security.  The Door County Highway Department does use a lot of sand on county and town roads, which is dictated by the respective municipalities.  The Door County Sheriff’s Department acts as the “eyes and ears” for the highway department, according to Ash, regarding hazardous driving conditions.    

Another five hospitalizations for COVID-19 reported in Door County

Active cases went down in Door County over the weekend, but more people continue to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

 

Fifty-one of the 124 tests performed since last Thursday came back positive for COVID-19.  Recoveries outpaced new positive tests as the number of active cases went down 14 to 386. Although the data may lag from what is reported by the state on a daily basis, Door County saw another five people hospitalized with COVID-19. According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, over 90 percent of hospital beds and approximately 96.2 ICU beds are in use in the northeast region of the state with numbers climbing since November 9th.

 

The Door County Public Health Department has a COVID-19  vaccine clinic scheduled for kids 5-11 at the Sister Bay Fire Station on Wednesday and for everyone 12 and up for Thursday at the Door County Government Center. You can click on this link to learn more about the clinics and to sign-up.

Sternard announces re-election bid for Sheriff

Tammy Sternard would like to be your Door County Sheriff for another term after announcing her re-election bid Monday morning.

 

The 28-year veteran of the department became the second woman sheriff in Door County history when she won a tight election in 2018 to replace the retiring Steve Delarwelle. In a statement, Sternard said the decision to run again is centered on continuing a collaborative approach to addressing issues in the community. She paid tribute to the staff she has around her and the community support she has received during her first term as sheriff.

 

The election for Door County Sheriff will take place on November 8th, 2022 A fall partisan primary could take place on August 9th.  You can read her full statement below.

 

It's a very exciting day for me both personally and professionally. With the support and encouragement of my family, friends, our community partners, and many of my fellow law enforcement officers I have made the decision to seek re-election for Door County Sheriff.  My decision to seek another term is centered primarily on my belief in continuing our strong collaborative approach when dealing with issues in our community.   I understand the importance of surrounding yourself with good people and truly believe working together we can continue to accomplish great things within our community. 

 

After 28 years with the Sheriff’s Office and the last 3 as Sheriff, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader.  Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with many of our community partners on a wide variety of issues facing our community.  I feel my years of leadership experience within the Sheriff’s Office, community partnerships, education, training, community involvement, and history of outstanding service will allow us to continue moving the Sheriff’s Office in a positive direction. As Sheriff I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with every day, their professionalism and dedication to our community’s safety are evident in what they do each and every day.  It’s been my honor and privilege to serve our community as your Sheriff, the community support we receive is truly amazing and greatly appreciated by all of us at the Sheriff’s Office. I would be honored to have your support for a second term.

 

Sheriff Tammy

 

 

Washington Island School goes virtual for two weeks

You will not see Washington Island students back in the classroom until the New Year after a positive COVID-19 test was confirmed last week.

 

The Washington Island School Board made the decision last Thursday after the district sent students home early on Wednesday because of the suspected positive case.  Classes were canceled last Thursday and Friday as a precaution. Virtual learning will take place through December 17th. That goes right into their scheduled winter break which runs through January 2nd.  In-person classes could potentially return on January 3rd if all goes well.

 

Washington Island School went to virtual learning last school year for two weeks in January after a spike in cases on the island around the holidays. 

Michigan Street closed for repairs starting Monday

You will have to find an alternative route to get across the channel in downtown Sturgeon Bay starting Monday.  The Michigan Street Bridge will be closed to traffic for two weeks for repairs from damage caused by a semi-truck early this fall.  The bridge will be closed through this Friday and then reopen for the weekend before closing again December 13-17 to finish the repairs.   Drivers should use either the Oregon/Maple Bridge or the Bayview Bridge during the closure.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says crews may finish earlier than scheduled depending on weather and conditions.  The Michigan Street Bridge will remain open to marine traffic during the two-week period.  

Sportsmanship emphasized during sporting events

With the winter sports season ramping up in gymnasiums throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties, local athletic directors want to remind fans and students that sportsmanship should carry over into the stands as well as on the court or mat.  Janesville Parker school officials apologized earlier this week when students wore what they described as inappropriate attire for a dress-up theme during a girls basketball game the previous week.  Southern Door High School Athletic Director Korey Mallien says that they have not had any major issues and will occasionally remind the student body to have fun but to focus on cheering for their team while not lashing out at opposing teams.

 

 

Mallien says the school has a game manager and two ticket-taker supervisors with an administrator on-site to promote sportsmanship and monitor the conduct of fans.  He says Southern Door has done theme nights for games in the past but those are typically related to the students wearing all the same color shirts in the stands.

Stony Creek land earns protection

The Door County Land Trust announced recently the permanent protection of a stream bank along Stony Creek in southern Door County that spans a one-mile stretch.  This is the first time a conservation organization has purchased land within the 13-mile Stony Creek stream corridor, which is the largest in Door County.  Door County Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay says the protection of the Stony Creek watershed may improve fish spawning habitat and ultimately improve the water quality flowing into Lake Michigan.

 

 

Door County Land Trust plans to restore a small portion of the property to create a buffer of native plants that will help lessen soil erosion and sedimentation in the creek.

Christmas trees benefit YMCA youth despite shortage

Your family still can find a real Christmas tree for your home’s holiday decorating.  A community tradition continues at the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay with the annual Christmas tree sales.  The Door County YMCA has a limited quantity of trees left due to a shortage but had a dozen left leading into the weekend.  Tyler Powell from the YMCA says the proceeds from the sale benefit youth programs.

 

 

The trees range in price from $55 to $70 and can be picked up near the entrance of the Sturgeon Bay YMCA Program Center on Michigan Street. 

Algoma Public Library hosting holiday festivities

You can find holiday-themed activities all month long at the Algoma Public Library. During December, the library has something to offer for people of all ages. One of the events is the Holiday Open House on December 16th. Library director Cathy Kolbeck lists what you can look forward to while in attendance.

 

 

The library will also be holding a holiday craft week starting on December 6th. During the week, children will work on a holiday chain to decorate the library tree; there are also craft activities for teens on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday of that week, families are invited to join a Family Handprint grab-and-go kit. There will be a scrap tree ornament-making activity for adults who would like to drop in on Monday the 6th from 1-4 pm. In addition to the craft week and holiday open house, you can enjoy an interactive Polar Express viewing on Tuesday, December 7th. You will find a complete list of holiday events at the Algoma Public Library website.

Community Spotlight: Mayor David Ward enjoying Sturgeon Bay's progress

Leading the Sturgeon Bay City Council through the three past years has Mayor David Ward reflecting on the transition from infighting and dealing with challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, to the significant accomplishments in the past year.  Ward shares the improvements he is excited about in the city for 2022.

 

 

A career in finance, education, and the University of Wisconsin administrative system served Ward well before his voyeur into politics.  Ward spent most of his career as a finance professor at UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh before becoming the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs for the entire University of Wisconsin System.  Moving to Sturgeon Bay in 2000, Ward was elected mayor of Sturgeon Bay in 2019, after being appointed to the City Council in July of 2017.  You can listen to the entire interview with Mayor David Ward on the podcast page

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