News

Congressional action not pushing Johnson towards re-election bid yet

Despite saying he is more panicked for the United States now than he was when he first ran in 2010, you will not find U.S. Senator Ron Johnson pushing for his re-election yet.

 

The Wisconsin Republican has been critical of many of the actions taken by the Biden Administration, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, and the evenly-split Senate. In a recent interview with a New York City-based radio station, he said the middle class will be taking the brunt of the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act, which includes a minimum 15 percent tax rate for corporations reporting at least $1 billion in profits, tax credits for solar panel installation, universal preschool, and the expansion of affordable home care and housing programs. Johnson says that the bill will only further increase the deficit like the recently signed infrastructure legislation, but it was not enough to commit to running for a third term quite yet.

Johnson does have over six months to file the necessary paperwork to run for re-election. Several Democrats are jockeying for their position to run against Johnson if he does decide to go for a third term. Brad Beyer, a reserve officer in the United States Army, announced in October that he would run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.

Legal sports betting in Green Bay begins

You can now put a little money on your favorite sports teams during your next visit to Green Bay. Oneida Casino accepted the state’s first legal sports bets Tuesday morning months after its gaming compact was amended earlier this year to include a sportsbook.  You will be able to make wagers on professional sports and college athletics not involving Wisconsin schools, though in the future you will be able to make bets on other events like nationally-televised award shows. Access to sports betting is still limited as you will not be able to use popular betting sites unless you want to drive a lot further than Green Bay. Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Rose Blozinski says the same principles you would use gambling at machines at local watering holes applies to sports betting.

Sports betting has been a major economic driver in states like Illinois and Michigan where it is legalized statewide. Gamblers in Illinois placed nearly $2 billion in wagers in 2020 at a time when many professional and college sports schedules were truncated due to the pandemic. 

COVID concerns close Washington Island School

Kids attending Washington Island School will not be attending classes the rest of the week after sending them home early on Wednesday due to COVID-19 concerns.

 

In a letter sent by the district to parents and then shared by the Washington Island Observer, students were dismissed at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday as a precaution for potential positive COVID-19 results within the building. The district will take the next few days to deep clean the building and add other precautions as needed. The letter states that they “want to ensure that we are doing our best to keep students and staff safe and healthy” and that “the building is being closed as a precautionary measure until we receive bonafide information regarding the status of COVID-19 results.”

 

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


Northern Door YMCA hosting "Ugly Sweater Run" Saturday

You can enjoy the great outdoors and gear up for the holidays with the Door County YMCA 2021 Ugly Sweater Run this Saturday.  The 5K Fun Run & Walk will begin at the Northern Door Program Center in Fish Creek with check-in beginning about 9 am.  Healthy Living Coordinator Megan Schneider says the entry fee for the family-friendly event is $15 and includes a free T-shirt.

 

 

Schneider adds that the run/walk will officially start at 10:00 am with festivities continuing after the race with hot cocoa, music, and cookies.  You can pre-register in person at the YMCA, by mail, or online at https://buff.ly/3ktMSTU.

Recent snows keep road crews busy

Door and Kewaunee County highway and street department crews have already begun dealing with snow-covered roads in the past week.  With some areas reportedly receiving up to four inches of snow over the holiday weekend and again on Monday, drivers were facing slippery road conditions with hindered visibility.  Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy says his crews only use rock salt to keep the streets safer for travel, while highway trucks will dispense a salt brine mix.

 

 

Murphy adds that factors like temperature and the type of winter storm that is occurring, impact the number of workers sent out to clear roadways of snow and ice.  All cities of Algoma, Sturgeon Bay, and Kewaunee have ordinances in effect for no overnight parking on the streets until April 1.  Algoma started its ordinance on November 1st, while Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay began on Wednesday, December 1.       

Theft reported at Dollar Tree in Sturgeon Bay

A retail business in Sturgeon Bay was closed Tuesday morning briefly as the Sturgeon Bay Police Department investigated a theft.  The Dollar Tree located at the Cherry Point Mall in Sturgeon Bay reported to police a potential theft shortly after 8 am.   Sturgeon Bay Police Assistant Chief Dan Brinkman told DoorCountyDailyNews.com that several people were yet to be interviewed as of Wednesday morning before a formal report will be available.  He stated that “this is boiling down to a simple theft, but nonetheless, has to be investigated and cleared”.  No other information is available at this time.  


Algoma Park closed due to vandalism -- UPDATED, Park reopened

Perry Field in Algoma reopened today, earlier than expected, after being closed due to vandalism done a couple of weeks ago.  City Administrator Jared Heyn says the use of a buffing device was able to remove the graphic graffeti that was on slides in the playground area.  

 

 

 

Original story from Monday

You will have to wait at least a week to enjoy the use of Perry Field in Algoma as the city deals with vandalism that occurred recently at the park.   Vandals defaced playground equipment earlier this month and Algoma City Administrator Jared Heyn says the vandalism was graphic in nature and will require some work this week to restore the slide.   As a procedure, the city closed the park temporarily to clean up the vandalism that will present some challenges for public works crews.

 

 

Heyn says the best-case scenario will be Perry Field reopening to the public by the end of this week.  He says the Algoma Parks Department will meet on December 20 to discuss possible other solutions, if the removal of the graffiti is not possible without wrecking the slide.  No other vandalism has been reported at other city property, according to Heyn. 

Meet the New Destination Door County CEO this Thursday

You can visit with the new CEO of Destination Door County, Julie Gilbert, this Thursday at a special event.  The conversation over coffee will be held at Skip Stone Coffee in Sister Bay from 8:30 until 10 am. Taking over the leadership role at Destination Door County on November 15, Gilbert brings 30 years of experience in the destination marketing industry, including most recently as Niagara Falls USA’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing for seven-years.  Before that, Gilbert worked for the West Virginia Division of Tourism and Parks, the American Society of Travel Agents, and National Park Reservations.  

Police asking for help from witnesses of reckless driver

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department issued a public bulletin Tuesday asking for help from people who called 911 to report a reckless driver from last Friday.  The reckless driver drove from Kewaunee County and continued through Sturgeon Bay on Highway 42/57.  He forced other drivers to take evasive action to avoid colliding with his vehicle.  The Sturgeon Bay Police bulletin reports that the driver was spotted east of the Bayview Bridge at about 5:37 pm last Friday.  One caller to 911 stated the suspect drove a blue Dodge Ram pickup truck and forced one driver to go into the ditch to avoid a crash.  If you are one of the people who called in or you witnessed the reckless driver last Friday, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department is asking you to call them.  

 

 


Giving Back to Humanity offers new musical release

Door County musicians are teaming up to help families that are experiencing hardships due to serious illnesses.  Hans Christian of Studio 330 and singer/songwriter Holly Olm organized a fundraising campaign Giving Back to Humanity last year and are collaborating with guest artists George Sawyn and Claire Morkin on the release of “I Will Follow” to benefit the Go Bo Foundation.  Christian says the new song was written by Olm and has a message of reassurance to those feeling alone or overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

 

 

The song “I Will Follow” became available Monday online through streaming services with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the GoBo Foundation.  Named after Bo Johnson of Sister Bay, the foundation was organized in 2012 after Bo passed away from a rare form of Leukemia at the age of 12.   You can find the link to the song "I Will Follow..." here.       

 

 

Health officials brace for Omicron variant

Getting vaccinated and continuing other mitigation strategies may be your best shot in protecting yourself from the coronavirus’ newest variant.

 

The Omicron variant is popping up in countries around the world including five confirmed cases in Canada as of Tuesday morning. With many of the cases linked to trips to African nations, more than 70 countries including the United States have issued temporary travel restrictions to parts of the continent like South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. President Joe Biden said on Monday that the Omicron variant was a cause for concern, but not for panic due to the lack of information scientists have on it. Door County Public Health Officer Sue Powers says this is just what viruses do.

Powers is encouraged by the response to their vaccine clinics over the last few weeks, especially for kids between the ages of 5 and 11. She also warns that hospitals in the region are getting overwhelmed not just because of treating patients for COVID-19, but for other reasons as well.

Ephraim, Baileys Harbor, and Fish Creek set to welcome the holidays

You will have another opportunity to explore northern Door County while celebrating the holidays this weekend. Baileys Harbor, Fish Creek, and Ephraim will all host special events to welcome the Christmas season on Saturday.

 

Harbor Holiday in Baileys Harbor begins at 10 a.m. with a winter farm market at the town hall before a holiday parade steps off at 6 p.m. You’ll be able to greet Santa, his elves, and reindeer while drinking hot cocoa and singing a carol or two ahead of the tree lighting at Kendall Park.

 

Santa will be in Ephraim ahead of that visit during the “Christmas in the Village” celebration beginning at 10 a.m. Ephraim Tourism Administrator Lane Methner says there are plenty of activities for families to participate in during the event, including a visit by Santa to the village’s Olson and Harborside parks in the late afternoon.

The Gibraltar Historical Society will light its Christmas tree in front of the Alexander Noble House in Fish Creek at 5 p.m.   


Gibraltar moves forward with 4K plans

You can potentially enroll your children into 4K at Gibraltar Area Schools as soon as next school year. The Gibraltar Area School Board gave preliminary approval to move forward with a 4K pilot program for the 2022-2023 school year. The decision allows Gibraltar Superintendent Tina Van Meer to continue planning the pilot while the financial impact and curriculum details of the program are determined. Van Meer said earlier this month that they have been working with other area early education providers to find a solution that works for everyone.

Research shows that children participating in programs like 4K are more likely to complete school, avoid remedial classes, and experience high levels of achievement in high school. Final approval for the 4K pilot program at Gibraltar could be granted as soon as the board’s December 13th meeting.

Michigan Street Bridge to close next week

Drivers in Sturgeon Bay will have to find another route to cross the channel other than the Michigan Street Bridge starting next Monday for two weeks.  The bridge will be closed next Monday through Friday and again December 13 to December 17 as maintenance crews repair damaged structures leading to the bridge.  The Michigan Street Bridge was damaged in early October when a semi-truck struck its support structure.  The bridge will be open to traffic on weekends while repairs are being made over the two-week period.  Drivers should use the Oregon/Maple Bridge or the Bayview Bridge during the closure.     

 

 

Wis-DOT press release is below.

 

(Sturgeon Bay) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Northeast Region announces the Michigan Street Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, will be closed to vehicle traffic from Monday morning, Dec. 6 to Friday evening, Dec. 10, and again from Monday, Dec. 13 to Friday, Dec. 17. Crews are repairing damaged overhead structures leading to the bridge.

 

Traffic impacts – Michigan Street Bridge

Week of December 6 and week of December 13, 2021:

Bridge maintenance crews will repair damaged structures leading to bridge.

Bridge CLOSED to vehicle and pedestrian traffic Monday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 10. This is a continuous closure. Bridge will open for the weekend from Friday evening through Sunday night.

Bridge will remain open to marine traffic.

Bridge CLOSED to vehicle and pedestrian traffic Monday, Dec. 13 to Friday, Dec. 17. This is a continuous closure.

Bridge will remain open to marine traffic.

Crews may finish repairs earlier than scheduled depending on weather and conditions.

Traffic to use Oregon/Maple Bridge or Bayview Bridge during closure.

 

Two weeks in February 2022 (TBD):

Bridge crews will replace/repair damaged overhead members on the lift span of the bridge. The lift span beam members are no longer available due to age of structure. Replacement parts must be designed and fabricated. The actual dates will depend on completion of fabricated replacement members.

The bridge will be CLOSED to marine traffic.

The bridge will be CLOSED to vehicle traffic

Traffic to use Oregon/Maple Bridge or Bayview Bridge during closure.

A vehicle strike damaged overhead structures leading to the bridge and on the lift span of the bridge in October this of this year. Repairs are needed to preserve the long-term life of the bridge. The structure is safe for travel. Bridge investigation shows no immediate safety concern for the traveling public or marine vessels.

 

For more state highway maintenance information, please see the Northeast Region maintenance website at  https://projects.511wi.gov/maintain-ne/schedule/

 

 

Town of Sevastopol holding public hearing on ATVs on town roads

Residents of the Town of Sevastopol will have the chance to voice their opinion on proposed ATV/UTV use on town roads.  A public hearing will be held at 5:30 pm next Tuesday, December 7 at the Sevastopol Town Hall to provide information and allow public comments, concerns, and questions to operate ATVs and UTVs on Sevastopol roads.  If you cannot attend the meeting, you can submit your comments and concerns to Town Clerk Amy Flok at office@twonofsevastopol.com.  Currently, Door County has about 60 miles of ATV/UTV routes with the majority of those trail routes in the Southern Door communities of Brussels, Union, Gardner, and Nasewaupee.    

Slippery conditions predicted for Monday afternoon commute

You will be able to celebrate Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day while on the move on Monday as another snow system is expected to develop. The National Weather Service issued the special weather statement just before 10 a.m. on Monday for a large portion of the state including Door and Kewaunee counties. Light to moderate snow is expected to develop throughout the day with up to three inches of snow likely in some parts of northeast Wisconsin. Hazardous travel conditions are anticipated because of the snow-covered roads and reduced visibilities. Door County Dispatch received six calls for cars in ditches on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., which coincided with the area’s first significant snowfall.

BUG Fire receives $198K grant

A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will give the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department a breath of fresh air as they replace aging equipment. The department was awarded a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $198,895.24 to replace its self-contained breathing apparatus. It means new air bottles and custom-fit face masks that will get them compliant with current safety standards.  BUG Fire Department Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says the combination of grants like this and its fundraising efforts allow them to stretch the taxpayer dollar.

Vandertie thanks the community for their ongoing support as all the money earned goes right back into the department’s operations.

Hospital proactive against preventable diseases amid COVID

Door County Medical Center’s forward-thinking may have protected your children against diseases not commonly seen due to vaccines.

 

One of those diseases is measles, which the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control report that even though cases went down in 2020, the number of those unvaccinated against it went up. The CDC suggests that is because it was underreported after the world saw the number of measles cases rise between 2017 and 2019. More than 22 million infants missed their first dose of the measles vaccine last year, which was the largest increase seen by researchers in nearly two decades.

 

While some hospitals across the country fear they cannot catch up on routine immunizations for kids quick enough due to a backlog of appointments and a focus on getting kids vaccinated against COVID-19, that is not the case locally. Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Heise credits pediatrician Dr. Amy Fogarty with a plan to keep kids in check at a time when they were trying to limit who was coming into the hospital.

He also credits the team for making getting the COVID-19 vaccine for kids a little more enjoyable by playing Disney movies and distributing cookies and slime in the waiting area. 

 

Sevastopol Elementary masks up; COVID hospitalizations rise

As the number of cases of COVID-19 in Door County took off over the weekend, the masks went back on at Sevastopol Elementary School.

 

As of Sunday, there were 12 active positive cases among the students and staff at the district with another two on quarantine due to cases. It marks the second time the district has instituted a masking requirement for its elementary school children this school year. It instituted a masking requirement for 4K-6th grade students in the middle of September before making them optional again in late October. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke said the decision was made because of the uptick in cases at the elementary school and an added precaution coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday. He said they will re-evaluate the decision at the end of the week.

 

The rest of Door County has seen a decrease in active cases according to the most recent situation update from the public health department. Out of 158 tests performed, 45 came back positive for COVID-19. The number of active cases did go down by 25 to 314. Nine more people were hospitalized and no new deaths were reported, though those numbers could lag based on the information they receive from the state.

 

Door County Public Health has a number of vaccine clinics scheduled in the coming weeks as they begin distributing the second doses for kids on December 1st and 3rd in Sturgeon Bay and first doses on Washington Island on December 2nd and in Sister Bay on December 8th. The department will also host a clinic for COVID-19 and flu vaccines in Sturgeon Bay on December 9th.

Crossroads "Night of Wonder" returns for a second year

This year you have a chance to participate in the Crossroads at Big Creek "Night of Wonder," where you can walk their trails while they are lit by candlelight. Crossroads program director, Coggin Herringa, described the creation of this tradition during a challenging time.

 

 

Out on the candlelit trails, you might not be able to see much, but you will be able to hear the sounds of nature surrounding you. Last year, people on the trail heard animals rustling in the forest and birds and owls in the trees. The luminaries will lead you along one of Crossroads trails for a half-mile loop walk. You can join Crossroads at Big Creek December 5th from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm for their second "Night of Wonder." All ages are welcome, and it is entirely free of charge, with no pre-registration required. If the weather is not permitting on the 5th, Crossroads has added a weather date of December 12th.

Kewaunee County "Giving For Sara" Drive back for another year

The food & hygiene drive program that started in Kewaunee County nine years ago has returned for the 2021 holiday season. The program was created after the Aging Services Unit Director for Kewaunee County, Sara Malay, passed away after a car crash while at work. Since then, every December, the Kewaunee Public Health Department has put on the “Giving for Sara” food and hygiene drive in her honor. Cindy Kinnard, the Public Health Director, details what you can do to get involved and the impact she has seen from the community in the last nine years.

 

 

If you would like to donate non-perishable foods, the Public Health Department suggests canned chicken or tuna (packed in water), canned fruit (packed in water or fruit juice), healthy cereal, granola bars. As for hygiene products, they suggest shampoo, conditioner, diapers, deodorant, or baby wipes. The health department urges those donating to check the “Best by:” label on any item, as expired items can not be accepted.

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Community Spotlight: Baileys Harbor's Kari Baumann

Baileys Harbor’s Kari Baumann started her march towards Madison because of her son Grady, but she has pulled along many other kids and their families along the way. The journey started well before she sat in front of the Assembly and Senate Committees on Education earlier this fall.  After struggling to get the help her son needed so he could read better as he fought dyslexia, she spent thousands of dollars and 18 weeks in Illinois to get him a little bit closer to where he needed to be.  She could have stopped there, but she did not. Her work with Decoding Dyslexia-Wisconsin and other reading advocacy groups led to progress across the state. Governor Tony Evers approved a measure developing a dyslexia guidebook to provide guidance for students, teachers, and parents trying to get a handle on the challenge. School districts have changed their approach to teaching reading as a result. This month, Gov. Evers vetoed Assembly Bill 446 and Senate Bill 454 which would have provided more tools to help identify students dealing with poor reading abilities and a road map on how to get them back on track. Baumann is frustrated it did not pass, but she is happy with the change she has been able to foster through her work.

Baumann hopes her journey with Grady helps more parents have the courage to ask questions and become more involved in their children’s education. You can listen to our full interview with Baumann at this link.

Kewaunee High School FBLA volunteering in the community

Kewaunee High School FBLA volunteering in the community

 

The Kewaunee High school Future Business Leaders’s mission is to help prepare students for their future by providing them with opportunities to learn skills like leadership, communication, networking and service. A big part of the National Future Business Leaders of America is teaching students to help their community through community service projects. Kewaunee’s chapter is participating in two of these projects through the holiday season. With the first project, the students in the FBLA group received letters that second graders from the district wrote to Santa about what they want for Christmas. The FBLA members then took that letter and wrote the student back as an elf, answering their letter and questions about the North Pole. The second community service opportunity for the FBLA students is to participate in the Shop with a Cop program in Kewaunee County. The students will go with the police officer and the child in need to help them pick out presents for their family and wrap them. The FBLA group at Kewaunee has participated in these two events for many years, and they will continue to do so in the future.

 

Churches hope attendance continues to increase

If it has been a while since you last went to church, your pastor would like to see you again soon. Church attendance was trickling downward even ahead of the pandemic, but the Wall Street Journal reports that in-person worship is still 30 to 50 percent lower than it was before COVID-19 shut down sanctuaries for weeks. Many parishes like St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco connected with its members by playing mass over Facebook. As it weaned away from those offerings weeks ago, attendance has returned to about 85 percent of where it was pre-pandemic. Pastor Dan Schuster says they continue to worship together as safely as they can and work even harder to keep its parishes’ young families engaged with the church.

Schuster hopes that something as simple as their upcoming photo directory will help bring people back to church to see what they have been missing out on over the last several months.

Door County Imagination Library reaches 1,100 children

Door County Imagination Library reaches 1,100 children


Since the Door County Imagination Library program first sent out books to their subscribers in 2019, the number of kids reached has grown exponentially. The program provides a free book every month to children from birth through age five who are registered with the program. The books received by the child are age-appropriate and something the child will enjoy. The Imagination Library is a program within the Door County Partnership for Children and Families, from United Way of Door County. Chad Welch, the Imagination Library coordinator, says the response seen from the community since the beginning of the program has been highly positive.

 

 

Although the program is reaching many children within Door County, there is still room for more. If you are interested in registering your child for this program, you can find a paper registration form at the United Way office or, you can sign your child up through the Door County Parents website. You then have the option to take a short pre-registration survey before being led to the registration page. After you fill out the registration form, you will begin to receive books by the second month after completion. If you are interested in more information or making a donation you can reach Chad Welch at chad@unitedwaydc.com.

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