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Mr. G's Supper Club to be torn down

The building that housed a landmark dining establishment in Jacksonport will be razed next week.   Mr. G’s Supper Club is scheduled to be torn down next Monday.  The supper club was the victim of an arson fire in October of 2022.  Jonathon J. Polich was arrested in November of 2022 and faced two counts of Arson to Dwelling.  He pleaded no contest to the charges and was committed to a mental health facility after a plea deal was reached with the prosecution this past October.

The building has been owned by the Geitner family since 1973, and Bob Geitner, who, along with his wife Mary, has owned Mr. G’s Supper Club since 1981 after purchasing it from his father.

Geitner says there was too much damage to the building to save it.



There are no immediate plans to rebuild the supper club at this time, although he has hopes that family members may take over the property.  The Fernwoods Garden Ballroom, located just north of the building, is operational and held occasional catered events this past year. 

Pay-to-Play listeners rocks U-102.1 with record United Way donations

The United Way of Door County, with the help of U-102.1, raised over $6,480 on Friday during the Play-to-Play fundraiser on the radio.  The 12-hour radiothon brought the United Way closer to its annual campaign goal of $825,000.  Numerous volunteers and agency representatives from organizations that benefit from United Way grants were special on-air guests during the live broadcast. Listeners called, texted, and emailed with music requests of $25 to dedicate or hear their favorite songs.  Executive Director Amy Kohnle says the event raised much-needed funds while creating awareness about important programs serving Door County.



The United Way of Door County’s annual campaign concludes on January 7th.  You can still donate to the annual campaign by clicking here




Look to the stars in periods of darkness

One of my favorite activities over the past few years has been my early morning runs on the Ahnapee Trail. In the summer months, I have the pleasure of watching the sun come up as I enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while trying to stave off the encroachment of age. In the winter months, however, these runs are conducted prior to sunrise. Many people have asked, “How can you run in the dark?” so I have given it some thought and applied it to our own ability to navigate during the darkness of spirit that each of us encounter from time to time in our own journey of life.


Each of us sets a course for our lives. We do our best to stay on the right path, and for the most part, this is an easy effort as the path is well-defined and recognized. There are times, however, when darkness overcomes our journey. This is much like when I leave the illumination of the street lights and homes and continue on in what appears to be the total darkness of the trail. But here’s the cool part. As you enter into darkness, your vision adjusts, and suddenly, you can see the path before you. In our lives, we would call this perspective. While in what appears to be darkness, our minds draw from the illumination provided by gratitude, optimism, and hope, keeping us on our chosen path. We draw inspiration from those in our lives to persevere through the darkness until we have traversed it and find ourselves once again in a place of light.


A few weeks ago, my wife Jackie accompanied me on one of these early dark trail runs, and she said something very powerful. As we looked up at the stars along our darkened path, she commented how those amazing stars are always there, but we only see them when it is dark. She couldn’t have been more right, and I immediately thought of all the stars in my life that I take for granted, including her.


For many, the winter months, especially the holiday season, can be one of struggle and darkness. It is important to recognize and call upon those stars in our lives to help get us through. In addition, we all need to know that we all can be a star in someone else’s journey and to know the power of a positive word or a smile each and every day.


For those who have had darkness on their journey, reflect upon the stars in your life that supported and encouraged you. Take the time to thank them and let them know their value.  For those currently going through darkness, allow yourself to re-focus from the darkness to those stars that are in your life, ready to assist you in your journey. To all of us, don’t underestimate your ability to be someone else’s star.

Pearl Harbor remembered in Sturgeon Bay

While wreaths were thrown into the waters, concealing the wrecks of dozens of military ships and planes thousands of miles away in Hawaii, you could have commemorated the events of Pearl Harbor along the shores of Sturgeon Bay. The Door County Maritime Museum hosted its second annual Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony outside of the museum’s doors in front of the Tug John Purves, which served in active duty during World War II as the Tug Butterfield. One of the guests of Honor was Navy Seamen 1st Class Rolland Briar, who was aboard the USS Whitney when the Japanese began their assault on the military base 82 years ago. A short distance away from the USS Whitney at Hickham Air Field was the father of Wayne Amborn, who told the story of the day of infamy through his dad's eyes.

Door County Maritime Museum Executive Director Kevin Osgood said during his comments that we should be thankful for the work of the military members who have served the country before, during, and after the Pearl Harbor attacks.

The attack on Pearl Harbor claimed the lives of over 2,400 Americans ranging from seven months old to 59 years old. It also destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy Ships. The United States entered World War II one day later, on December 8th.



Habitat welcomes 49th family to new home

Thursday afternoon was a dream come true for the Newman family after Door County Habitat for Humanity formally dedicated her home as the organization’s 49th. Habitat volunteers, officials, and other community members gathered in front of the house to welcome the Newman’s home after breaking ground on the project under much darker skies this spring. Despite the Newmans watching the house go from a hole in the ground to a 1200 square foot home, they still cannot believe this day has come.

Executive Director Lori Allen thanked the 35 volunteers for their over 3,100 hours of work on the home and to all their sponsors who helped make the 49th homebuild. She then asked the community to help ensure that number 50 becomes a reality.

In its 30 years, Door County Habitat for Humanity has impacted nearly 500 people, including 176 children, with its 49 homes built. Door County Habitat for Humanity hopes to partner with the Door County Housing Trust on a new home in Sister Bay next year.

Ice Age Trail status upgraded with National Parks Service designation

The Ice Age Trail that runs through Wisconsin, including Door County, received a significant boost after it received National Parks Service designation this week. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and officials from the Ice Age Trail Alliance announced on Thursday that Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail and North Country scenic trails would be granted unit status under the National Parks Service and its scenic trails system> The designation allows the trails to receive additional federal resources. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is 1,200 miles long, several traversing through Door County towards the Eastern Terminus inside Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay. Baldwin says she has been fighting for this status for Wisconsin’s scenic trails for nearly a decade and is happy to see the efforts cross the finish line finally.

Executive Director and CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance Luke Kloberdanz says this designation will tremendously impact the future trail, especially for Ice Age Trail communities like Sturgeon Bay.

With the addition of the two Wisconsin trails and a third one in New England, there are now 428 National Parks Service units under the National Scenic Trails System.

Sturgeon Bay looks to expand housing developments in 2024

The City of Sturgeon Bay is winding down the year with sights on building more housing projects in the future.  Mayor David Ward says that although the city has approved the development of hundreds of housing units in the past year, single-family and affordable housing remains a high priority.  He shares some of the recent progress achieved in Sturgeon Bay.



Ward adds that road repairs in Sturgeon Bay is essential as the city plans on resurfacing three miles of streets in 2024.  He notes that 2024 should be a productive year of economic development, including more expansion at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and the Industrial Park.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council met briefly for about 15 minutes on Tuesday with a light agenda.  The council approved a second reading of an ordinance to rezone a parcel of land at 346 Oregon Street.  The first reading addressed the repealing and the recreation of the Municipal Code for holding tank agreements.  Ward notes that the measure is to clean up some old deposits from the 1980s and 90s before laws changed, having Door County regulate holding tanks. 

Luxemburg-Casco looks to address shortfall through operational referendum

A semi-annual rite of spring for other school districts in Door and Kewaunee counties, you will see an operational referendum question on the ballot if you live in Luxemburg-Casco School District for the first time. The district is projecting a $3.2 million shortfall over the next three years, pointing the blame at how schools are funded in the face of inflation. The state put a limit on what districts could spend per pupil, and until the 2009-2010 school year, it automatically adjusted to keep pace with inflation. Without the operational referendum, the district could consider cutting staff, reducing transportation and programming, and delaying technology and maintenance upgrades. The district surveyed residents and held a community involvement meeting to get feedback on the potential operational referendum. Superintendent Jo-Ellen Fairbanks says much of the feedback she has received is centered around how this is different from the $27.8 million capital referendum approved by voters in 2018.

Depending on the option put on the ballot, you could see your taxes go up between $119 and $142 per $100,000 of property value. Fairbanks says they will discuss the survey results at its December 20th board meeting with hopes of putting the operational referendum on the spring election ballot.

Outdoor recreation has major impact on state's bottom line

Every time you visit one of the state or municipal parks in Door County, the money you spend while doing so has an impact you may not have realized. Gov. Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers and Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Mary Monroe Brown, announced on Monday that Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry contributed a record-breaking $9.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, growing 6.8 percent over the previous record set in 2021. According to the release from the state, travel, and tourism, as well as local trips (trips less than 50 miles) associated with outdoor recreation, grew to nearly $3 billion in 2022, increasing by 14.2 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively. It is a big reason why Destination Door County has invested so much in the industry over the past year. In May, the organization announced it would be investing $800,000 into local state, county, and municipal parks. The special one-time investment was made possible by the higher-than-anticipated room tax collections in 2022. Destination Door County’s Jon Jarosh says outdoor recreation is a major driver for tourism to the area.


The organization is offering matching challenge grants for each Friends group of the county’s five state parks to raise $50,000 for improvements at their respective properties. If it is successful for all five parks, it would mean another $750,000 in support.

Child care partners trying to meet demand

While you may find more doors open for child care in the future in the area, some families are worried about where their kids will go now. The Peninsula Pulse reported on Thursday that the Zion Early Childhood Center will close on December 22nd, giving the families of 60 students about three weeks to make alternate arrangements. The Door County Child Development Center’s new campus in Sevastopol still needs to be finished. The Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay just started its fundraising campaign to expand its facilities. In both cases, the expansions will only allow their waiting lists to get shorter, not eliminate them. United Way of Door County Childcare Community Coordinator Molly Gary says the organization has been working hard to provide resources for people who need childcare and those who want to take on the issue themselves as an in-home provider.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma began its own efforts to offer childcare in the community, opening the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center at its school this fall. Pastor Joel McKenney says the church understands and supports the need for childcare, but they are trying to handle what it takes to be properly licensed and staffed.

The Wisconsin Legislature discussed at least one possible way to help this week. Assembly Bill 660, introduced by Rep. Joel Kitchens and over a dozen others, would offer Wisconsin businesses up to $100,000 to help their employees afford childcare. The United Way of Door County and the Women’s Fund of Door County have a similar local program. 

Kewaunee's Gerold thinking summer with winter Eagle project

While you see kids playing in the snow, a Kewaunee Boy Scout hopes they do the same at its city beach in a few months. Life Scout Kile Gerold of Kewaunee Scouts USA Troop 1127 is currently in the fundraising phase of his Eagle Scout project, first selling wreaths at the Christkindlmarkt at Lakehaven Hall last month before selling baked goods at a local grocery store this weekend. He is about halfway towards the $350 he needs to construct a beach toy library on the city’s beach. His hope is through the donations of money and beach toys, the wooden box will be ready to serve the community for years to come. Gerold has enjoyed his time in scouting, and he is looking forward to putting the final touches on his last rank advancement.

Gerold admits that a successful run by his football team in the WIAA playoffs and applying for colleges have put his efforts a little behind schedule. Still, he hopes to complete his project and the paperwork before he turns 18 in February. Scouts looking to earn the rank of Eagle must be active in their local troop and hold a leadership position for at least six months, earn 21 merit badges, including more than a dozen that are required, complete a service project, and go through a board of review before they turn 18.

Safety improvements made to Renards highway access point

You will have to get used to a new traffic pattern on your way to getting your cheese curd fix.


The Door County Highway Department announced on Thursday that they have completed their way roadway safety improvements to County Highway DK in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the owners of Renards Cheese.


The biggest change may be the new locations of the stop signs at County Highway DK and State Highway 57. The stop signs will now control the traffic traveling on County DK. Motorists turning off the highway will no longer stop at County Highway DK but rather proceed with their turns. The speed limit on County Highway DK has been reduced to 45 miles per hour from Stone Road to Stevenson Pier Road. As a part of the changes, Renards Cheese closed one of its entrances while constructing a new one closer to its front doors.


In the future, the DOT will change the intersection to a right-in/right-out/left-in configuration, providing protected right-turn lanes onto Highway 42/57 and protected left-hand turn lanes on Cloverleaf Road. You will not be able to cross the intersection to turn left on Highway 42/57 under the configuration.  Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin DOT says there have been several accidents at the intersection over the years, and he is hopeful that the new pattern will help make it safer.



Griffon String Quartet in the holiday spirit

You will recognize many of the songs the Griffon String Quartet will play at their series of concerts next week, even if you have never listened to classical music before. Violinists Roy Meyer and Alex Norris, violist Oryann Tsaig, and cellist Jesse Nummelin spent Thursday and Friday touring Door County, entertaining people with their festive tunes as they get ready for their performances in Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Brussels, and Egg Harbor. Meyer, the longest-tenured member of the Griffon String Quartet, says these are among his favorite concerts he gets to do all year long, especially when performing for kids who may not be familiar with the instruments.

You can see the full schedule and a video of their caroling stop at the NEW Radio Studios below. In addition to performing at concerts, the Griffon String Quartet does lots of outreach events in Door and Brown counties, including giving private lessons to interested musicians.




Living Nativity celebrates 40 years of "Greatest Story Ever Told"

You can enjoy a local and live Christmas show this weekend that has roots dating back to 1984.  The Living Nativity is performed by members of the First Baptist Church congregation, and Pastor Cory Dahl says the four shows are a Christmas gift to the community and themselves. Set in the church’s parking lot, Pastor Dahl describes the scene as he narrates the “greatest story ever told.”



The Living Nativity changes slightly every year from costuming to the new wireless LED lights, which will be added this year.  The free 15-minute performances will be at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  The public is invited to attend the Living Nativity, which includes singing Christmas carols by the Sheppard Choir with a final audience participation sing-along.  A social in the Fellowship Hall will follow each performance with coffee and cookies. 

RSV, COVID, and flu making the holiday rounds

People around the country are getting one of three things you do not want this holiday season, even sending some to the hospital because of it. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said earlier this week that they have seen increases in respiratory illnesses like RSV, COVID, and the flu in recent weeks as the number of holiday gatherings escalates. The Centers for Disease Control says 11 states, mainly around the south and southwest portions of the country, are seeing high levels of flu-like illnesses. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise says that unless you do not feel like yourself, you may not even consider testing yourself for COVID or RSV. Luckily, Heise says they have not seen a huge increase in the number or severity of respiratory illnesses as of now.

He recommends washing your hands frequently and if you are concerned about getting other people sick, especially if they are older or have underlying medical conditions, to wear a mask.

Kitchens' baby-box bill becomes law

A bill co-authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens designed to help overwhelmed mothers give their children a chance at a better life has been signed into law by Governor Tony Evers. The law will make the state the 15th in the country to allow an anonymous 24-hour, 7-day-a-week drop-off site for newborns through what are known as “baby boxes.” The baby boxes are often attached to hospitals, police stations, and fire departments and allow distressed parents a place to drop off their children, no questions asked. The boxes are monitored and alert medical professionals when they are in use. Kitchens’ involvement was spurred at the request of Door County Medical Center following the discovery of an infant in a field near Whitewater, Wis. “Being a parent in ideal circumstances is tough. For some in rough situations, it can feel impossible. If a parent finds themselves in a hopeless situation with nowhere to turn, the child could be in danger,” Kitchens said, “Now, parents in Wisconsin may have an anonymous and safe way to turn over custody of their child.”

Bug Tussel calms concerns at executive committee meeting

Earlier this week, the Kewaunee County Executive Committee heard from a familiar voice about its efforts to make broadband internet more attainable in the area. Bug Tussel Executive Director Scott Feldt spoke to the committee for approximately 45 minutes to address questions and concerns from its members. Feldt served Kewaunee County as its administrator until he left the county for the role this summer. He was one of the biggest champions of the county’s partnership with Bug Tussel as the administrator, helping to secure millions of dollars in Public Service Commission (PSC) grants in recent years. After Feldt recapped the work Bug Tussel had already done and some of the work that still needs to be done, he addressed some of the concerns customers have raised, including tearing up yards when installing conduit and lines and delays in installation, Feldt said they will be fixed and tried to quell any rumors people may have about Bug Tussel.



The Kewaunee County Executive Committee voted 4-3 against increasing the salary schedules for some of its elected officials to 4.5 percent before settling on four percent.

HELP of Door County searching for new director

A local organization that advocates for victims of domestic violence will be looking for a new leader starting in 2024.  HELP of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales will leave her position at the end of December to become the Associate Director of End Domestic Abuse, the statewide domestic violence coalition.  Gonzales, who has led HELP of Door County for the past five years, says it was a bittersweet decision to leave the organization, but the opportunity to advocate in a bigger role was too great.



Operations Manager Sue Farley and Program Manager Moriah Turk will be interim co-directors as the Board of Directors search committee seeks a new executive director for next year.   The HELP of Door County Board of Directors credits Gonzales “for making the organization stronger and leaving it in solid financial condition and ready to face the future”.  

Door County YMCA Swimming classes heating up

Over 160 children benefit from the Door County YMCA swim classes as the next session is coming up soon.  Swimming Director Mike McHugh says the aquatic centers in Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay are second to none in the state and are an incredible resource in the Door County community.



McHugh notes that 35 lessons are currently being offered at the Door County YMCA, besides private lessons.  Members can register for the Winter 1 sessions starting on Monday, December 18th, while community members can sign up on Wednesday, December 20th. 

Sister Bay officials to area workers: What do you want in a home?

If you work in Sister Bay and have always wanted to live there, the Village of Sister Bay wants to talk to you.


A public input session scheduled for Saturday is the next step in the process for the village, which worked with Stantec Consulting earlier this year to complete a housing plan. The data collected by the United Way of Door County paints a picture of the need for affordable housing in the area. Fifty-three percent of Sister Bay’s households are in poverty or fall under the Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE line), the highest percentage of all Door County communities. The American Community Survey data showed that almost 60 percent of renter households are considered cost-burdened as the average rent costs have risen in recent years. The village’s median household income has declined over the past decade.


Village administrator Julie Schmelzer says, “we are at a point that if we don’t do something, we are going to lose the workers we need to make our community a place people want to visit or raise a family.  Without housing, we will lose our service workers, and they’ll eventually relocate to other areas with housing options.”


The Saturday session, which is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Station, is designed to hear from area workers who want to live in Sister Bay and tell the village and its consultant what they want and need and how much they can afford. Advance registration is required by emailing Village Clerk Heidi Teich or calling Village Hall.


Area businesses are expected to meet after the session to learn more about the workforce issue and how they can play a role in addressing housing concerns.

Proposal abolishes WEC, gives elections duties to Secretary of State

For the first time in decades, an elected official could be at the controls when you head to the polls next year. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a group of Republican legislators proposes to dissolve the Wisconsin Election Commission and hand their duties to the Secretary of the State’s office. The Secretary of the State’s office, now run by Democrat Sarah Godlewski, has not had elections under their purview since the 1970s as Wisconsin is one of seven states where the state board or commission of elections appoints the chief election official. Wisconsin would join 33 other states where voters elect a Secretary of the State or Lieutenant Governor to run the elections. The proposal would turn the reins of elections to Godlewski from current WEC Commissioner Megan Wolfe after June 30th.  However, she would still need approval from the Republican-led Wisconsin Legislature before acting on anything. Proponents of the measure say WEC’s handling of the 2020 election, which saw Joe Biden get elected president, was the final straw. That led to several changes to absentee voting and to impeachment articles to be forwarded against Wolfe by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos last month. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says having a non-partisan or bipartisan commission worked for over 50 years is a much better option than turning the operations of an election to one party or the other.

Even if it gets through the Wisconsin Legislature, Heck suggests Governor Tony Evers will likely veto it. The proposal still needs to be circulated, vetted, and approved by the Legislature before it gets to that point.

Check list twice before giving pets as gifts

It would help if you considered the work that goes before and after giving someone their new best friend under the tree. Giving dogs, cats, and other pets as gifts has been part of holiday debates for years. For a long time, advocates worried the pets would go the way of that year’s hot toy: played for a little bit before eventually being neglected. A recent study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shed some encouraging news on the topic, showing that 96 percent of people who received pets as gifts reported that it either reinforced or had no effect on their affection for their new pet and 86 percent of them still had them in their homes. Tanya Ditzman from the Wisconsin Humane Society says prospective pet owners are doing a lot of research to ensure their adoptions last.

Experts also recommend spending a lot of time at home and minimizing your foot traffic during the holidays to help you and your pet get to know each other better and adjust to the new surroundings.

Kewaunee County's "Giving For Sara" Drive making a difference again

You can help support a food and hygiene drive program that started in Kewaunee County 11 years ago. Kewaunee County officials created the "Giving For Sara" program after the Aging Services Unit Director, Sara Malay, passed away from a car accident while at work. Since then, the Kewaunee Public Health Department has put on a food and hygiene drive in her honor every December. Cindy Kinnard, the Public Health Director, details what you can do to get involved and the past impact she has seen from the community.



 If you would like to donate non-perishable foods, the Public Health Department suggests canned fruit or meat, healthy cereal, and granola bars. As for hygiene products, they offer shampoo, conditioner, diapers, deodorant, and baby wipes. You can drop off donations in the Kewaunee County Public Health Department lobby before December 31st.

Pickleball continues to be a smash in Door County

You may find a shortage of courts, but you will not find a lack of enthusiasm for pickleball in Door County after another banner year for the sport locally. In just a few short years, the number of Door County Pickle Ball Club members grew from 120 to more than 400 this year. That led to the club going through more than 1,600 balls at its outdoor courts at Sturgeon Bay’s Sunset Park and Sevastopol Town Park. Door County Pickle Ball Club Director Jay Renstrom says it is easy to see why the sport continues growing in the area.

During the warmer months, pickleball players have more than 20 courts to choose from to play. During the winter months, that number dwindles down to six. Door County Pickle Ball Club Director Jay Renstrom says thanks to the support of its members, they are supporting efforts to help make that number grow more in the future.

The sport is becoming a business opportunity in some parts of the country, with the Chicago area boasting two such complexes being built in the coming months.

Reetz enters field for Door County Circuit Court Judge

You will have another option on the ballot after Sturgeon Bay-based lawyer Brett Reetz announced he would be running for Door County Circuit Court Judge. The DePaul University graduate has run his own firm, Reetz Law Office, S.C., since 1992. In a Facebook post, Reetz said that he has “checked all of the boxes when it comes to lawyering” and is ready to “give back to the community that has been good to me and my family.” He joins Door County Family Court Commissioner Jennifer Moeller in the race to replace current Circuit Court Judge D. Todd Ehlers, who announced earlier this year that he was not planning to run again. The news comes after the window to circulate nomination papers for municipal offices began on Friday. Potential candidates have until 5 p.m. on January 2nd to submit the necessary paperwork.  The 2024 Spring Primary is on February 20th, and the Spring General Election is on April 2nd.

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