Kewaunee County reports first COVID-19 case, Door County two more

Approximately one week after Door County confirmed its first COVID-19 case, Kewaunee County is now doing the same.


According to a release from Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard, the 80-year old patient was hospitalized over the weekend. It is the first confirmed case for Kewaunee County after 51 of its 62 residents tested negative for the virus with 10 tests still pending. Kewaunee County was one of the final fourteen counties in the state without a positive test until Sunday's announcement.


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also updated the statewide total of positive COVID-19 cases to over 2,240, including four in Door County. That is two more positive tests for Door County since last Friday.



DCEDC surveys to gauge COVID19 economic impact

Door County businesses will have the chance to help plot recovery efforts from the COVID19 pandemic.  Surveys of local business owners are being conducted over the next three months to determine the economic impact from the outbreak.  They're part of a combined effort operated by the Door County Economic Development Corporation, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and UW-Oshkosh.  DCEDC Executive Director Steve Jenkins says the more that businesses take part in the surveys the better the ability to develop a recovery game plan.




The surveys are currently underway with other opportunities to take part in May and June. The surveys are currently underway with other opportunities to take part in May and June.  You can log onto the surveys here.

Zoombomb phenomenon affects Kewaunee County extension

The Land Rent Survey Webinar initially slated for this past Tuesday has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 16th, at 7 PM. The original attempt to hold the session had to be aborted due to a phenomenon known as Zoombombing. Zoom is a popular streaming service that allows for teleconferencing. It is being utilized by corporations, college professors, and the Kewaunee County Extension to avoid large gatherings. Think of it like photobombing, both involve unwanted guests except in this instance it occurs on a video platform. The ability to steal trade secrets from rival companies could be one consequence. For most, the threat comes when hackers gain access to account information and passwords. Many people use the same password on multiple services like Netflix or online banking.

Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says security will be beefed up for the make-up webinar. The land rent survey was conducted from December to February, but Bjurstrom isn’t worried about the recent economic effects altering prices too much. She says those values have been relatively consistent for years. Bjurstrom is nervous about dairy farmers. She says milk dumping hasn’t been called for locally yet, but it is already becoming a common problem across the state.


Psychological damage from lost jobs may still be months away

Job losses are mounting locally, but it may be months before the worst is felt from a mental standpoint. William Nick, Counseling Associates of Door County Director, says that while a job loss can be shocking for the psyche, it is often harder for people to deal with missing out on the recovery when life returns to normal for others. It is that time period where Nick thinks psychologists will be needed most.


Jobs tend to become tied to an individual’s self-worth. Losing that is an obstacle that one could potentially be facing without the safety net of employer-provided health insurance. There are resources for those who are trying to cope with depression and its crippling side effects. 


Counseling Associates of Door County


Suicide Prevention Hotline


Maritime Museum uses virtual tour for homeschooling

The Door County Maritime Museum building is closed though its virtual tours are now adding some teaching opportunities for students and their parents as they go through homeschooling.  The museum is now posting video segments of the “Shipwrecks of Door County” exhibit on its website to provide some study activities that are also fun.  Executive Director Kevin Osgood says the online videos are designed to help students and parents alike with these unique educational experiences.




Such online resources had been in the Door County Maritime Museum's plans before the COVID19 outbreak.  The next offering for homeschooling will focus on the history of the Cana Island Lighthouse.  Students will be able to submit questions to museum staff members who'll provide answers in video snippets produced on the island.

Clutter in the night sky

Not since the days of Sputnik orbiting the planet have satellites been under so much scrutiny. Television and radio have been done by satellite for years, but that requires a small and well-defined number of deployments. SpaceX’s Starlink internet system involves a cloud of possibly up to 30,000 satellites in the coming years. Door Peninsula Astronomical Society President Dave Lenius says you can spot them with the naked eye from your backyard.


Astronomers argue that the Starlink network is a hindrance to stargazing and changes the night sky for the worse. SpaceX says it is taking steps to mitigate the visibility of its satellites. 


Stepping down on time

Kewaunee Board Chairman Robert Weidner hopes to hand the title to a successor later this month. Even with the changes to the election timeline, that should still be possible. U.S. District Court Judge William Conley ruled Thursday that absentee ballots can continue to be counted until April 13th. Results should be known by that date, which is over two weeks before the board’s organizational meeting, says Weidner.


Weidner and two other supervisors will not be seeking reelection, which means changes are in store regardless of the voting results.


Sketchbook challenge therapeutic during pandemic

A project previously scheduled by the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay is now being used as a tool to help participants get through the “Safer at Home” order.  The museum started a sketchbook challenge last month asking for drawings, photographs, poetry or observations from residents taking part in the project for posting to the museum's social media page.  Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says the project is focusing on helping people share how they're getting through the "getting through".




Meissner-Gigstead says such accounts prove the therapeutic value of the arts and provide a perspective for future generations.




Blank sketchbooks are available now and may be picked up from the literature box outside the south door of the Miller Art Museum office, on Nebraska Street. You're asked to take only one per participant.  Completed sketchbooks can be dropped off or mailed in after the pandemic subsides.

Cleaner homes can mean healthier families

The Centers for Disease Control have come down with everyday steps to clean and disinfect your home to protect you and your family.  The routine scrubbing of high touch surface areas including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, faucets, sinks, and toilets.  John Hill of Ahnapee Hill Cleaning Services in Sturgeon Bay says when it comes to cleaning inside your home, a simple mixture of soap and water can work, besides the detergents or diluted bleach. 



Hill says having your carpets deep-cleaned by steam-method will also help to keep your home safer.  You can find information by the CDC on how to best clean and disinfect your house below.


Scouting carries on despite quarantine

You may not see them out camping or doing community service projects, but the scouting movement is still going strong in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Units within the Bay-Lakes Council and Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes have been able to meet virtually and still work on requirements towards earning new badges. Bay-Lakes Council Field Director Doug Ramsay says that even though some events like its Scouting for Food Drive had to be canceled, they have not been as affected as you might think.

Both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts councils have hosted additional programming online to fill in the time where units and committees would usually meet. You can see some of those examples below.



Young turkey hunters goosed out of spring season

Hunter education classes have been postponed until at least April 24th, and that is leaving some hunters out in the cold during turkey season. For those over 18, the course is available online, but children are required to participate in Field Day. Those involve large groups with the itinerary comprised of hands-on activities as well as written exams. Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says mentored hunts are the only way to let kids tag a tom until the “Safer at Home” order has been lifted.


Spring turkey hunting begins on April 15th with weekly sessions going until the end of May.


FLS Banners changes direction to help fight COVID-19

A Sturgeon Bay business has gone from outdoor signage and flags to masks and gowns.  FLS Banners made the transition earlier this week from trade show supplies to producing medical supplies to help with urgent needs for hospitals while still staying financially sustainable.  Due to the cancellation of national trade shows and sporting events, which was FLS’s primary source of income, owner Cain Goettleman decisively acted on three fronts.  He says his company’s experience in importing through a robust Asian supply-chain will allow the eventual production of NIOSH-Approved N95 masks very shortly.  Secondly, Goettleman says his staff came up with a creative way to make level one medical gowns.



Thirdly, Goettleman adds that FLS Banners has already come up with 40 personalized mask designs to help overcome the perceived stigma of wearing a mask in the U.S while helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The multi-size masks are reversible and designed to contour-fit your face with a wire-bridge.



(photos submitted)







Christian performs "first music concert" in granary

A local musician performed a truly unique solo concert Friday at the historic Teweles & Brandeis Granary in Sturgeon Bay.  Despite the postponements of live concerts in front of audiences for the foreseeable future, Hans Christian played his 120-year-old German-made cello inside the 118-year-old structure in an impromptu, pop-up performance.  With the assistance of Christie Weber and Shawn Fairchild from the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, Christian hoisted his cello into the rafters of the partially-stored building.  Overcoming his condition of vertigo and finding enough elbow-room to perform, Christian says the acoustics in the historic building was great.



Christian adds that he was improvising and not playing any arranged piece of music.  



Video of Hans Christian at granary


(Courtesy of Sturgeon Bay Historical Society)



Door County updates COVID-19 status

The Door County Public Health Department released updated numbers on the COVID-19 situation on Friday afternoon.  Two residents tested positive since Monday of this past week in the county and have been in isolation since first being tested.   As of 2 pm Friday, 117 tests have been performed.  Of those tests, 68 were negative, and 47 are still pending.  Statewide, the numbers reflect 1,912 positive cases with 22,377 negative tests and 37 deaths.  The “Safer at Home” guidelines state orders all individuals in Wisconsin to stay at home or their place of residence, with limited exceptions. Individuals who are using shared or outdoor space other than their home or residence must, at all times and, to the extent possible, maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from another person.  You can find the complete guidelines online with this story.




FAQ of COVID-19 order by Governor Evers





Districts prepare for no more students

It is beginning to look like students in Door and Kewaunee Counties may not return to the classroom this school year. Deputy State Superintendent Mike Thompson sent out the letter from State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor to district administrators on Tuesday to thank them for their efforts during this unusual time and asked them to prepare for the possibility of no more in-person instruction this school year. The state has told districts they would still need to provide remote and virtual learning opportunities to students until they are allowed back into the buildings or the last scheduled day of classes. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says it is disheartening for teachers and staff to think students may not be roaming the hallways again this school year, but it is still too early to tell what will happen.

As for the high school seniors, Tjernagel says he and other superintendents leave it up to the principals and the students to decide if and when those events are held, even if that means they take place in the summer months.

Law enforcement keeping track of social distancing

Law enforcement personnel in Door and Kewaunee Counties are reminding people about possible violations of Governor Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order. Incident reports show the Door County Sheriff’s Department has responded to seven order violations since it went into effect March 24th. It has been less than that in Kewaunee County, but the Kewaunee Police Department is telling anglers to give themselves plenty of space while sucker and smelt fishing or else they will be forced to close the pier down. Kewaunee Police Chief Jim Kleiman says they have been more informative with their approach to possible order violations.

Citations issued for violating the governor’s order could include a fine of up to $500 and at least 30 days in jail. 

Response fund distributes nearly $36,000

Six local groups will be able to serve the community better after the Door County Emergency Response Fund made its first charitable distribution on Thursday. The fund distributed nearly $36,000 in aid to cover expenses for food, shelter, and other needs for the Boys and Girls Club of Door County, the Washington Island Community Health Program, the Door County Meals Cooperative, HELP of Door County, the Door County Medical Center Foundation, and the Door County Fire Chief’s Relief Fund. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy knows more public charities and faith-based organizations are struggling at this time meeting the area’s needs. He has been encouraged by the groups indirectly working together to support the community as a whole.

Bicoy says they will make other distributions in the coming weeks as they continue to raise money for the Door County Emergency Response Fund, which has raised close to $135,000 since it was relaunched last month.

Election period extended, not canceled

UPDATE: Governor Tony Evers has called for a special session of the Wisconsin Legislature to address the April 7th election at 4 p.m. Saturday. You can read more about his executive order by clicking this link.  He is calling for the entire election to be mail-in, something the Door and Kewaunee County Clerks expressed their opinions on last week at


Wisconsin’s spring election is still a go, but voters in Door and Kewaunee Counties will have a little extra time to get their voice heard. U.S. District Judge William Conley chose not to cancel Tuesday’s election but rather gave absentee voters a break when it came to making sure their vote counted. In addition to giving voters an extra day to register absentee, Conley’s ruling gave clerks until April 13th to count votes and people the ability to submit their mail-in ballots without a witness signature. Given the unusual circumstances, Door County Clerk Jill Lau says there are still a lot of details to sort out.

State and national leaders from the Republican Party appealed the decision, so some of the details are still subject to change. As of Thursday, less than 45 percent of the 9,571 absentee ballots requested by voters in Door and Kewaunee Counties have been returned.

Investment strategy during the volatile stock market

A Sturgeon Bay financial advisor says the volatile stock market the past month is a good reminder to always plan for the long haul when it comes to investments. The Dow Jones experienced another wild session Thursday before closing up 469.93 points, finishing at 21,413.44.  Casey St. Henry from Thrivent Financial says no matter what the stock market is doing, a good rule of thumb is to invest long term.



Experts say the market correction is continuing as the Labor Department announced that unemployment claims jumped to 6.6 million last week.  St. Henry adds that before investing in the stock market or your portfolio, you should work with a professional financial advisor in developing retirement strategies and goals.


"Thank Them" campaign started in Door County

A grassroots community effort to thank all essential workers in Door County is gaining traction as colorful ribbons and red hearts are already popping up in neighborhoods.  Henk and Buttons Wolst of Jacksonport and Dick and Barb Allmann of Sturgeon Bay started an initiative called “Thank Them.”  
Henk Wolst says after discussing ideas, the nationally-recognized “scrub blue” ribbons on trees and mailboxes for health care workers grew into a broader show of support.


Wolst says people can improvise if they don’t have ribbon, and use wrapping paper and cut-out hearts and tape it on windows and doors. He says although the initial plan was to kick the “Thank Them” campaign off on Monday, people are encouraged to display ribbons and hearts around Door County right away.  



(photos submitted)






Families, facilities adapt to challenges of socializing

Assisted care providers are trying to fill the void left by not allowing visitors and family to visit loved ones inside due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Anna’s Healthcare in Sturgeon Bay currently has 59 people that reside at the facility.   Tama Bagley, administrator and owner, says her staff and residents have adjusted well to the lockdown and the residents are still enjoying a sense of community.  She notes the positive ways families are staying in touch. 



Bagley sees the recent correspondences as a step back in time with more mail and flower deliveries.  She adds that Anna’s Healthcare is helping families connect on through social media as well.


Bagley says Anna’s Healthcare’s staff is also providing hair styling and nail polish services which adds more one-on-one time with residents.  


(photo courtesy of Anna's Healthcare facebook) 


Flea & tick season approaching for pets

Pet owners should be proactive in protecting their furry friends from the hazards of certain insects as they spend more time in the outdoors this spring and summer. Dr. Jordan Kobilca from Door County Veterinary Hospital and the Luxemburg Pet Clinic recommends heartworm prevention year-round for your pet.  The flea and tick prevention should be through the late fall. He suggests some tips on keeping your pet safe.



Common signs of flea and tick presence on your pet can include excessive scratching, licking or biting at the skin, hair loss, scabs, and pale gums. You can find more information on the recommended flea and tick prevention for your pet with this story online.


Baldwin leaves shutdown advice to health experts

Public health experts should have a heavy influence on when COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted according to Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines earlier this week to April 30th. Over 30 states including Wisconsin are under stay-at-home orders for at least the next few weeks while some are encouraging a shutdown until May or even June. Baldwin says decisions about lifting such orders should be made with sound health expertise.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and U.S Senator Ron Johnson both agree that efforts to control the coronavirus should be taken, but they have also called for strategic ways to do so in efforts to help the economy.


Click the link to read more: Gallagher hopes to get state moving again

COVID-19 scams spreading

COVID-19 is the latest target of scammers across the country, including a recent case in Door County. Earlier this week the Door County Sheriff’s Department was steered towards a case of fraud through e-mail as the suspect posed as a town official trying to get donations for COVID-19 efforts. The e-mail was immediately recognized as a potential scam and the Door County Sheriff’s Department already has a lead on who may be the owner of the email address used in the potential crime. Like any scam, Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says you should be careful of who is contacting you and why they are reaching out.

Three government agencies are trying to get ahead of other potential scams related to the coronavirus. The Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration have warned seven companies about unsupported claims about virus protection. The Internal Revenue Service is also telling the public to be aware of scams related to the stimulus checks arriving in the coming weeks.

Comparing pandemics not easy

Door County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise has been on the front lines of a pandemic before and believes COVID-19 is a much different foe. Heise treated many patients when the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, caused havoc around the world, including thousands of cases in Wisconsin. He says COVID-19 seems to be more infectious than the H1N1 virus and there are not as many answers to it yet.

Door County confirmed its second case of COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon out of 108 people tested. Forty-nine tests have come back negative with all others still pending. Heise recommends following the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations of keeping your social distance from other people, washing your hands, and limiting your travel to help slow the spread.

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