Attainable housing within grasp in Sister Bay

Your long wait for an attainable housing option in Sister Bay may soon be over. The Village of Sister Bay recently signed a memorandum of understanding with developer Mosaic Ventures to create 45 attainable housing rental units in Sister Bay near Northern Door Children’s Center. Earlier this year, developer Marissa Downs credited the county’s relationship with the Wisconsin Housing Development Authority and the money they were able to provide to help the project progress with over $700,000 in annual tax credits. The Village of Sister Bay will also be contributing over $400,000 in Premier Resort Area Tax funding to help improve infrastructure near the site. Sister Bay Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft says it is a step forward to addressing a major need in the area.

Bernhoft says it is now up to the developer to do their homework as they develop final drawings to present to the plan commission. A 2019 Door County housing study showed that Northern Door will need an additional 65 workforce rental apartments with rents between $500 and $1000 a month through 2023

Law Enforcement, Special Olympics team up for memorable day

Even though parts of their annual rite of summer were canceled again, you can bet Kewaunee County law enforcement personnel were not going to forget about the area’s Special Olympians. For years, law enforcement has ridden bicycles as a part of the Torch Run from Green Bay to Stevens Point to raise money for Special Olympics Wisconsin and to kick off the annual statewide games. For the second year in a row, those plans had to be canceled. Rather than wait another year, members of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and the police departments of Kewaunee, Luxemburg, and Algoma teamed up on Saturday for a special day celebrating the achievements of their local Special Olympians. The group biked from Blahnik Park in Algoma to Bruemmer Park in Kewaunee where they were greeted with lunch and a few games of cornhole. The Special Olympians were also rewarded their ribbons from their track meet held earlier this year. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it is important for local law enforcement to continue to show their support for the athletes.

While he hopes things get back to normal for next year’s state track meet for Special Olympics, Joski says the goal is to continue this local event for years to come.


Picture courtesy of Matt Joski



Delta variant poses concern for doctors

The new Delta variant of COVID-19 could spread just as easily as chickenpox if you are not careful according to Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise. After going almost a month with low case counts and hospitalizations, Door County Medical Center is seeing those numbers grow with four people being admitted for treatment last week. He cannot guarantee the COVID-19 strain going around now is the Delta variant, but Heise says it appears to be more infectious.

Heise encourages people who have not been vaccinated or only received one of the two doses to reconsider so the impact of the virus could be limited.

The Centers for Disease Control and Disease Control issued new mask guidance last week because of breakthrough infections among the vaccinated.  Breakthrough infections occur when people vaccinated for COVID-19 still get sick from the virus, although to a lesser degree. The new guidance recommends people wear masks indoors in certain situations where the Delta variant is causing a surge in infections. Recent studies show that the vaccinated can carry as much of the viral load as the unvaccinated when they contract COVID-19, although their symptoms may not be as severe.

Selections made for new Dome House residency

On Friday, the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay finally got to pick two new residents for a residency that has been in the works for years. For the Dome House Al & Mickey Quinlan Residency, the museum picked Amy Usdin and Ariana Vaeth, who are both midwest-based artists. Amy Usdin is a twin-cities-based fiber artist and Ariana Vaeth is a Milwaukee-based artist who focuses on contemporary realism. Executive Director of the Miller Art Museum Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead said it was difficult to pick the two out of a large talent pool. 



Meissner-Gigstead says they’re both excited to come and will immerse themselves into the Door County community. Both are expected to make their way to the Dome House by Labor Day. The dome house is located in Whitefish Bay.


New car buyers ordering off lists

If you are looking for a new car, patience and lists are the operative words this summer.  The current lower supply of new vehicles along with high demand means a challenge for consumers.  According to Cox Automotive, the national new vehicle inventory was at a record low 25 days' supply to start the month of July.  Jesse Yahnke, sales manager at Jorns Chevrolet in Kewaunee, says consumers are better educated today and are willing to wait to get what they want. He notes that many potential buyers are coming into the showroom asking to see the list of new vehicles on order for delivery to the dealership. 



Yahnke notes that vehicle prices with rebate offers are locked in when ordering and not at the time of the delivery date.  The average transaction price for new vehicles in June nearly equaled the manufacturer's suggested retail price nationally.   

League of Women Voters tackling substance abuse and mental health issues

You can mark October 30th as a day to learn more about different Door County programs that help support people and families dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues. The League of Women Voters Door County is having a substance abuse and mental health panel that will elaborate on a study they concluded last year on issues pertaining to mental health and substance abuse, and resources for those suffering. League of Women Voters Door County Chair Pat Scieszinski says one point of emphasis will be on the impact of treatment courts.



This will be one of the first in-person events for the organization since the pandemic began, which is something Scieszinski says they’re excited about. 

Accident on 57 and County Rd H causing heavy delays: UPDATED

South bound traffic will be backed up while crews from B.U.G and Southern Door Fire Department along with surrounding areas handle a multi-car accident that occurred around noon today. Minor injuries were reported and traffic on the south bound side is down to one lane. Expect a slow go as traffic backups were reported. Stay tuned to the for more details as they become available. 


Update: As of 1:38pm, all traffic is moving both directions and the accident has been cleared. A member of confirmed. 

MS Walk from a participant perspective

There’s a walk for Multiple Sclerosis in Door County that has picked up the pace with participant turnout in recent years, but one annual participant says she’d like it to grow faster. The MS challenge walk is a three-day walk in Door County from September 24-26 that starts in Ellison Bay.


Door County resident Pat Heller has been involved in the Challenge Walk MS for 13 years with her husband, Tom. If you participate your competitive itch will be scratched in a variety of ways, one of which is fundraising. Heller talks about her fundraising team, “Multiple Screwballs,” and the high goals they set. 



Heller enjoys the event's high retention rate, saying it’s built a camaraderie that newcomers quickly find themselves a part of. A byproduct of the family atmosphere is the decorative wardrobe participants and volunteers wear. Some will wear orange, which is the official MS color. The event hits home for Heller and other participants, many of whom either have MS or are close with someone who does. More information on the event can be found at this link


Your help requested for state deer management

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants you to start counting your deer sightings starting August 1st. According to a press release from the DNR, this will provide crucial data for deer management. The program is called Operation Deer Watch and doesn’t require registration. Between August 1st and September 30th, the DNR wants you to report deer sightings, including bucks, does, and fawns in an easy-to-use online form. This will help gain insight into the reproductive status for Wisconsin’s deer herds. A common way for you to participate is carrying a printable tally sheet with you. DNR Wildlife Population and Harvest Assessment Specialist Brian Dhuey called it a fun and useful opportunity for everyone to enjoy Wisconsin’s plentiful wildlife. You can learn more about Operation Deer Watch by following this link


Neighbor to Neighbor names award recipients

Some of the people who offer up their free time have been recognized by Neighbor to Neighbor in Door County. The next time you see the organization’s medical equipment maintenance team you’ll be able to recognize them as Volunteer Star Award winners. The team consists of Gary Bellin, Mike Barry, Joe McMahon, Lawrence Tanck, and Karen Bellin. While they were the award winners at Tuesday’s meeting, Neighbor to Neighbor Executive Director Ann Bennett was pleased with all of the volunteers' efforts since the beginning of the pandemic. 



Functions of the medical equipment maintenance team include assembling donated and purchased equipment, cleaning hospital beds, mattresses, lift chairs, and lifts when returned to the equipment facility. 


Washington Island Music Festival returns with new directors

After last year’s cancellation, the Washington Island Music Festival is back from August 2nd to August 13th with three new interim directors. Two of those directors, Stefanie Jacob and Scott Tisdel, have performed in the festival since 1994, and have taken part in the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. With this new title, both have had the responsibility of scheduling and programming the festival and contacting the musicians. Stefanie describes that their knowledge of and experience with the festival has helped them come into their new positions gracefully.



One of the struggles they experienced was finding how to logistically plan for the festival because it is entirely outside instead of within the performing arts center. This challenge forced them to reconsider some of the pieces that were previously scheduled. The festival showcases 12 musicians, most of whom have ties within Wisconsin. These musicians have already begun rehearsal and preparation for the eleven-day event. You can find information on scheduling, program, and location on the Washington Island Music Festival website


Ephraim Men's Club scholarship fund grows

The scholarship pot for future Gibraltar High School graduates got a little sweeter after a matching grant for the Ephraim Men’s Club was announced earlier this week. The club that has raised approximately $300,000 over the years for Gibraltar students received an anonymous $25,000 challenge grant. Donation funds for next year’s scholarships will be matched up to that $25,000 amount, which Vice President of the Ephraim Men’s club, George Harmon, says will increase what they can do next year. In a press release, club president Jim Reeve said that the combination of a successful pancake breakfast and this matching grant should enable them to create more and larger scholarships for students graduating next spring. The club was able to raise $30,000 last year despite not holding its annual pancake breakfast. 


Fix on Victims of Crime Act will support the community without using taxpayer dollars

Senator Baldwin's new legislation is in your benefit if you or someone you love has been a victim of crime. Earlier last week, President Joe Biden signed a bill for the Victims of Crime Act or VOCA to fix how the Crime Victims Fund is financed. This way, states will have enough to make sure that victims of crime are well supported through monetary benefits and assistance programs. Senator Baldwin describes why it was crucial for this bill to be put in place immediately.



It was a question within the Senate of how this fix will be funded with taxpayer dollars already being stretched thin. Luckily this new legislation will not change your taxes; Senator Baldwin created a solution to ensure that money and support are given to these victims without a single taxpayer dollar. Along with many of the Senators and the President, many organizations within Wisconsin spoke out in support of this bill. Wisconsin's organizations that endorsed this legislation include Child Advocacy Centers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin in Green Bay.

Kayak concert a Door County first

Your air guitar could be replaced by a kayak paddle at a special concert being organized by Peninsula Charities next month. The organization is hosting the first-ever Door County Kayak Concert on August 28th on the waters of the Big Creek estuary and Sturgeon Bay. Concertgoers will be able to kayak along a route following the band Feed the Dog, which will be playing live on a pontoon boat. Adam Peronto from Peninsula Charities says the event is a good way for people to get outside and active while also supporting a good cause.

Tickets are limited for the event and kayak rentals are available for those who do not own their own vessel. Peronto says the concert has been approved by the United States Coast Guard and hopes it becomes an annual event.

Sturgeon Bay's night market canceled

You’ll have to wait another week to get some nighttime shopping in at Sturgeon Bay’s Under the Stars Night Market. Due to forecasted severe storms on Saturday evening, Destination Sturgeon Bay canceled the event for this week. The plan is to be back for the night market next Saturday, August 7th. Saturday evening’s forecast from the National Weather Service as of Saturday morning calls for showers and thunderstorms likely before 11:00 PM. The storms may produce heavy rainfall. Patchy fog between 10:00 PM and midnight on Saturday is also in the forecast, and possible precipitation amounts for Saturday night are currently between a quarter and half of an inch. 


Fair gives youngest residents chance to show off skills

From art projects in the Junior Fair building to the show ring in the livestock barn, you do not have to be very old to have a lot of success at the Door County Fair. In the livestock barns, beginners and juniors can be as young as eight years old and show animals at the fair. Evan Brey of the East Maplewood Beavers is in his third year of showing dairy cattle. He was able to capture the beginner showmanship title and a grand champion ribbon with his heifer. Brey says one of the most important things to remember is to have fun.

Avery Delwiche from Shining Stars 4-H is showing animals at the fair for the very first time, following her mom’s lead by exhibiting a trio of pigs. She named her pigs after characters from the Addams Family movie following a Halloween at home last year. She took her mom’s biggest piece of advice to heart: do not get frustrated.

4-H’s Cloverbuds program allows kids as young as Kindergarten to participate in the Door County Fair by exhibiting art projects and other items. You have the opportunity to see the hard work of some of the county’s youngest residents before the Door County Fair closes on Sunday.

Circle of Honor opens up to first responders

You will soon be able to honor Door County’s first responders at the Liberty Grove Historical Society’s Circle of Honor near Ellison Bay. The Circle of Honor was originally dedicated in 2017 to honor individual active duty and veteran members of the United States Armed Forces, the first established in Door County. With help from volunteer Linda Wilkinson and Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht, the Circle of Honor grew this year to salute members of Door County’s first responder units. In the wake of the pandemic and years of other good acts in the community, Jan Newport from the Liberty Grove Historical Society says the time was right to honor the county’s first responders.

You can still purchase a brick to be placed in the Circle of Honor before the Liberty Grove Historical Society formally dedicates the new first responders section on August 29th from 1 to 3 p.m.  You can always visit the Circle of Honor during normal park hours, which is from dawn to dusk.


Photo courtesy of Liberty Grove Historical Society

Bennett looking forward to a more normal year

Making sure your kids have a more normal return to school this fall is the goal of Kewaunee Principal Mike Bennett. Since joining the district in 2019, Bennett has had more than three-quarters defined by the pandemic. Kewaunee students went through a number of different schedule models during the year as it handled COVID-19 cases within the building. The biggest difference this year will be how it handles virtual learning, which like some other districts in the area will be handled through the Rural Virtual Academy. Bennett says things started to feel more normal at the end of last school year when parents were able to attend athletic events and other functions at the school.

The Kewaunee School District will host a special board meeting to discuss their back to school recommendations on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. inside the Plantico Theater. Bennett says that is when procedures like masking will be discussed.

Hellman ready to serve United Way in new role

You’ve maybe seen her volunteering for the Door County United Way before, but when you see Kelly Hellman next she’ll be the organization’s Director of Operations. Hellman was announced as the Director of Operations earlier this week. Hellman and her husband have volunteered for United Way since moving to Door County in 2003. Her admiration for the organization goes back as far as 35 years. Hellman says the Door County United Way always impressed her and when the opportunity came to join full-time she was excited. 



Hellman also applauded the United Way’s response to the pandemic. She and her husband previously owned a Sturgeon Bay business and she formerly worked at Nicolet Bank.


(Photo from United Way of Door County) 

Meet local artists at the Door County Arts Guild Gallery Grand Opening

If you’re in the area on Tuesday, August 3rd, make a stop at the Door County Arts Guild Gallery in Egg Harbor for their grand opening. Although the gallery has been open for the past few months, the owner and curator, Jim Riead, said this is the best time to officially open the gallery within the summer season. He also described his feelings towards the grand opening, as it is his first time doing anything like it.



The event will showcase six of Door County’s home-grown artists and their work. Among the six artists, you will find various mediums as each artist specializes in their own crafts. Brian Pier, a longstanding Door County artist, will showcase the oil-based paintings he created with the Plein air technique. Patty Degenhart has also been recognized as a Door County artist who works with many mediums like clay, bronze, and mixed mediums within her paintings. Sheila Grace O’Gara is an artist who specializes in photography of all sorts. You will also meet Ann Perrizo, who creates three-dimensional art using paper made of pure cotton. Another artist that you will meet is Seth Taylor, who uses a combined Asian and western-style painting to create vivid images of animals. The final artist you will find at the opening is Nancy Wallschlageger, who paints using oil and enjoys painting landscapes as well as farm animals. The event will take place at the gallery located at 6709 Hwy 42 in Egg Harbor. Information about the gallery and all of its resident artists can be found at the DCAGG website.

Kewaunee County sees one hospitalization this week

In Friday's weekly COVID19 report from Kewaunee County, there was one hospitalization, and there are currently five active cases. There were no new deaths this week in Kewaunee County. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Kewaunee and Door County are at the medium virus activity level. The seven-day average for new cases in the state is at 638 as of Friday afternoon. 57 Wisconsin counties are categorized as having high virus activity currently, and none are at very high, and 15 are at medium. The seven-day average for newly reported deaths is two.

On the vaccine front, 51.9% of Wisconsin residents have at least one dose and 49.3% have completed the vaccine series. In Kewaunee County, 41.9% of residents have at least one dose and 40.8% are fully vaccinated. Door County has 67.1% of residents with one or both doses and 64.9% have finished the vaccine series. 

UW Extension offers fatherhood course

UW Extension staff in Kewaunee County is offering you the opportunity to become a better father. Focus on Fathers is a four-week series where dads can learn about the positive impact they can have on their children. Through one-hour Zoom calls, Extension staff members like Human Development and Relationships Educator Renee Koenig walk dads through how they can help their children stand up for themselves, build their confidence, and deal with others. She says there are good reasons why fathers should be more involved in their children’s lives.

You can register online for the  Focus on Fathers series, which takes place on Tuesdays beginning August 3rd. 

County fairs welcoming high numbers

The Door County Fair hopes a statewide trend occurring this summer means they will see you soon this weekend. County fair attendances across Wisconsin are surging after a year where many of them were canceled. The Northern Wisconsin State Fair broke the 100,000 mark for the first time according to the Leader-Telegram in Chippewa Falls. The Waukesha County Fair said in a recent news release that it had its highest attendance in 2005. Thad Ash from the Door County Fair Board says that is a common thread he has heard from other fairs including Kewaunee County. He is hopeful that trend continues as the Door County Fair heads into the weekend with its biggest musical acts on the horizon.

The Door County Fair runs through Sunday with some new events starting on the midway on Friday in addition to a double bill of music on Friday and Saturday and more livestock judging. You can find the full schedule for the Door County Fair by clicking this link.

Kewaunee County begins search for new supervisor

The next Kewaunee County Board supervisor could be you. District 3 Supervisor Chuck Wagner officially resigned his post on the Kewaunee County Board last week  after over 20 years of serving the people of Wards 1 and 2, which covers the Town of Red River. Wagner resigned due to family reasons and told earlier this month that he actually came into the role under similar circumstances.

 Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye is requesting interested candidates to submit their written request for consideration by August 6th. The person who is eventually appointed to the county board will serve the role until next year’s spring elections. 

Trout limit switched again

Your bag limit for trout has now increased after an emergency rule was restored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The lake trout harvest season for Lake Michigan, Green Bay and their respective tributaries will go year round, with a bag limit of five trout and/or salmon. 


This rule was already in place from 2017 through 2020 as an emergency rule designed to increase interest and opportunities to harvest lake trout. The rule came with a sunset clause that went into effect on January 1st, 2021. This brought the limits and season dates back to the way they were before 2017, when the trout bag limit was two and the season ran from March to October. DNR Great Lakes District Fisheries Supervisor Brad Eggold explained the positives of getting the emergency rule reinstated. 



The change back to the emergency ruling was made on July 23rd. The DNR is attempting to make the emergency ruling a permanent one. 

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