Sevastopol to let community say final good byes

Sevastopol School District is allowing the community to roam the hallways of its older buildings one final time next weekend before demolition begins later this summer. Tours will take place next weekend for people interested in seeing the 1924 and 1946 portions of the building before they start being demolished in June.  The demolition of a connecting hallway between the gym built in 1991 and the 1924 building will start shortly after Sevastopol’s school year ends on May 21st. In conversations with community members, Sevastopol Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says it has been interesting to learn how the building has evolved over the years and the stories that come with each individual room. He believes it was important to allow people a chance to say reminisce and take pictures.

The district will host the open houses on April 30th from 6-8 p.m. and May 1st and 2nd from 2-4 p.m. Luedtke added that construction of its new facilities are on track to finish on time thanks to the hard work of the crews on-site and the good weather.

Birch Creek prepared for safe summer

Birch Creek Music Performance Center Executive Director Mona Christenson is excited to hear the sounds of music on the Egg Harbor campus this year after a summer of silence in 2020.  Birch Creek is taking rehearsals and performances outside to allow guests, students, and staff to be safe throughout the whole summer. That has meant establishing an 1800 square foot performance space for its groups, which will also be smaller than in years past. Guests will be able to stay socially distant from each other on benches or in their own lawn chairs. For students and staff, it will be a welcome change of pace fromlast year when private lessons and rehearsals were done via video conferencing. Christenson is proud that Birch Creek did not have to lay off any regular employees due to the pandemic and of all of the planning they have done to get this season off the ground.

Tickets are on sale now for the close to 30 different performances for the three different sessions, which include percussion and steel band beginning on June 17th, symphony on July 1st, and big band jazz on July 14th. You can listen to our full discussion with Christenson on our Podcasts page.

Sheriff takes lessons from Chauvin verdict

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski hopes people have learned over the past year that no group should be painted with a wide brush stroke after the verdict of a former Minneapolis police officer earlier this week. The death of George Floyd last year started a protest movement across the entire country including events in Sister Bay, Sturgeon Bay, and Kewaunee. The guilty verdict of former police officer Derek Chauvin restarted conversations centered around topics like police accountability and race relations. Joski says the events of the past year show that people cannot hold preconceived biases because of the actions of a few individuals and they must also trust in the system.

He adds that all groups of people deserve the same level of respect and decency no matter the situation.

Joski is hopeful that the entire community can work together to make the justice system work for everybody.

Board prepares for sales tax extension vote

The 0.5 percent sales tax in Kewaunee County could be extended another five years pending a Board of Supervisors vote on April 27th. The tax established in 2016 by a majority vote was set to expire at the end of this year before going through the committee process over the late winter months. The county sales tax generated approximately $1.3 million in 2020, the most it has produced since it was instituted. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says it is important to note that the sales tax will be reevaluated again in five years like it has this year.

The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors will also honor the life of the late family court commissioner Bill Wolske and discuss Feldt’s recommendation to hire Jeff Wisnicky as the new Department of Human Services head at its April 27th meeting. It will take place at the Kewaunee County Administration Center in Kewaunee at 6 p.m.

KCEDC, Green Bay Chamber partner for economic development

The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation launched a partnership to promote Kewaunee County’s economic diversity and growth. The KCEDC and Greater Green Bay Chamber are teaming up in hopes of mutually benefitting both areas. KCEDC Executive Director, Ben Nelson, says part of the desire for partnering is that economic development doesn’t just happen within local boundaries. Nelson added that it makes sense to look throughout the region in raising awareness for marketing the Kewaunee County and greater Green Bay areas. Nelson hopes teaming up with the GGBC will allow the two areas to leverage their unique resources together towards positive economic outcomes. 


Nelson mentions that Kewaunee County will now be provided better delivery services as they’ll be able to leverage the GGBC’s team to do more business retention and expansion visits. Nelson finds this to be a critical component of coming out of the pandemic crisis. These visits, along with enhanced data collection ability can help check the pulse of area businesses to see what they need and how the last year treated them. Nelson views this merger as a win for Brown County as well. 

While the partnership has a shared focus on coming out of the pandemic well, there is also enthusiasm for what this can mean for years to come. 

Over 40 percent fully vaccinated in Door County

Door County saw good news come out of its COVID-19 report on Wednesday.


Only one positive test was reported out of the 25 that were administered.  No new deaths or hospitalizations were reported. Statewide, 624 new cases were reported on Wednesday along with 70 hospitalizations and three additional deaths. 


Door County also crossed the 40 percent barrier when it comes to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It still leads the state with 57.1 percent of the population receiving at least one dose. 


Door County Public Health announced earlier this week it was hoping to find more people to get vaccinated with the supply it had on hand before they spoil. The same release also announced it would be setting up a vaccination clinic in Sister Bay on April 29th. D


oor County Medical Center will cease its mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the end of the month, but it will still offer shots by appointment. 

Volunteers lifeblood of local organizations

Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen and Restore Manager Megan Dietz says there are just not enough ways to say thank you to the volunteers that support non-profit organizations like theirs. According to SCORE, one out of four Americans volunteer, providing an economic value of $167 billion. For example, Door County Habitat for Humanity’s stable of 100 volunteers donated 3,000 service hours building last year’s home for the Marvin family alone. Coupled with its Restore operations and its home repair projects, Dietz says that number grows to over 10,000 service hours. Without the tremendous support of volunteers in the community, Allen says their program would not be able to function.

Dietz says even if you cannot swing a hammer, there is a good chance you could find a volunteer opportunity that suits you.

Like many other organizations, Door County Habitat for Humanity is always looking for a new crop of volunteers.  A 2017 Deloitte Impact Survey shows 75 percent of working millennials would volunteer more if they understood the impact they were making.

Baileys Harbor votes for land purchase

Baileys Harbor took a vote from residents on if the town will purchase the land that’s home to a former Nelson’s Hardware store and motel. The vote ended with 250 in favor of the purchase and 32 against. The town board voted to offer $1.95 million for the properties placed on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Town Chairperson Don Sitte is not sure at this time what will happen with it permanently. For the time being, the property is expected to be used by the town as additional public space near its marina. The town is open to residents weighing in on other possibilities for the property. 


Supervisors rescind ATV/UTV route

At Tuesday’s Door County Supervisor Board Meeting, a unanimous vote was made to rescind the amendatory ordinance chapter 11.05. The rescinded amendment designated portions of County Highway C from County Highway PD to North Duluth Avenue in the territorial boundaries of Sturgeon Bay and Nasewaupee as an ATV/UTV route. 


Supervisor Bob Bultman called the issues surrounding these routes disconcerting and said that almost every time the routes are brought up there’s a problem. Bultman suggested the county being more uniform in planning and said that he probably won’t vote for any more ATV/UTV route suggestions until there is a plan or guidance from the county.



He implored the county to engage with the planning department to create a plan or policy for the overall county. It was noted after that the highway committee has taken action to have the Sheriff’s Department, Highway safety commission, and others get involved with creating a plan. It was also mentioned that there is no initiative for a county-wide plan at this time and that the requests for routes do come from local municipalities and townships. Supervisor David Enigl chimed in offering that municipalities should have set rules to follow. 



Enigl also said he’s heard from too many residents wondering why ATV/UTVs have been coming down their road, without knowledge of designated routes. 


Door County goes green with pledge

Destination Door County is asking residents and businesses to do their part in setting an example of how other residents and visitors should travel the county. Starting this week the Door County Pledge is offered for residents to sign and will later be available to everyone. The pledge is an effort by Door County to urge traveling more purposefully and responsibly so that Door County’s amenities can sustain their attractiveness. Director of Communications and Personal Relations Jon Jarosh notes that everyone plays a part. 



The pledge has a broad focus that includes several steps such as respecting the waters, honoring local culture and traditions, and environmental preservation. The Door County Pledge is a component of a larger initiative called Care for Door County. This initiative will be focused on destination management and destination awareness. The initiative will also be revealed in further detail during National Travel & Tourism Week, which runs from May 2nd to May 8th. Door County is making push to be a Green Tier certified destination. The Door County pledge can be signed at or any of Destination Door County’s information centers.


Sturgeon Bay advances research facility bid

The city of Sturgeon Bay is taking a step further in their pursuit of landing a UW-Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward offered a resolution establishing an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on attracting the UWGB NERR to Sturgeon Bay at Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting. The committee would monitor the city’s bidding process. Ward opened up the floor for comments and questions to gauge the council’s interest, and the interest level was clear. The resolution unanimously passed. As council agreed there were clear benefits, Councilman Spencer Gustafson shared the impact he thought the NERR would have beyond Sturgeon Bay. 



Mayor Ward estimates the bid has eight to nine endorsements. It is not clear when the final decision will be made, but Ward is guessing it will be approximately six months. The cities of Green Bay and Marinette are also competing for the project. 


Students step up for Maplewood Food Pantry

A healthy and friendly competition between Southern Door Middle School classes resulted in another successful food drive for the Maplewood Food Pantry.    The annual campaign, which usually is conducted in the fall, concluded last week with over 700 items dropped off at the pantry.  Organizer Dillan Zaleski, the 7th grade English Language Arts teacher, says the six-week campaign included 14-17 classroom teachers encouraging students to collect canned goods for the Maplewood Food Pantry.  He says the class that collected the most items got to choose a fun challenge for a teacher.



Zaleski adds that Mrs. Tupa’s class raised over 200 of the 700 items collected.  Items were placed in collection boxes in each classroom and counted every Friday as part of the competition.  He notes that the campaign is an excellent way for students to get involved and give back to the community.


(photo courtesy of Southern Door School District)






Door County sees improvement in numbers

In Monday’s COVID19 report, Door County saw a relatively successful day in COVID19 tests with twenty-six being performed and just three turning out positive. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths in Door County. In Door County, 57% of residents have received a vaccine dose and 39.8% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 34.9% of residents have received a dose of the vaccine and 26% of residents have completed the series. Door County is currently leading the state in vaccination progress. 


Lengthy discussion reworks Door County resolution

A passionate discussion that spanned multiple hours at Tuesday’s Door County Supervisor Board meeting was centered around Resolution 2021-31, which declares racism a public health crisis in Door County. There was fire from both sides of the discussion during the public input period of the meeting.  


Multiple speakers enthusiastically discussed how they would be discouraged if Door County rescinded the resolution. Some mentioned how proud they were when the resolution was passed in March, compared to the disappointment of seeing it again placed on the agenda. In the meeting’s Supervisors Response portion, Supervisor Megan Lundahl said the resolution doesn’t call Door County racist and that saying the resolution does call it that is a form of political gaslighting. 



Opposing viewpoints on the resolution also exclaimed that there was no clear end game and not enough discussion had to pass it. There were also concerns from Supervisor Ken Fisher over the use of the word, “equity” in the discussions.



The vote to reconsider the resolution passed 11 to 9, which would place the resolution back on the table for discussion as if it hadn’t been acted on. Todd Thayse then made a motion to amend the resolution and bring back the resolution drafted by the administrative committee-- which passed 11 to 9. 


Supervisor Vinni Chomeau, who authored the originally passed resolution, wasn’t in favor of the amendment, calling it a total rewrite which didn’t include equity. Supervisor Susan Kohout offered amendments to the resolution, which ultimately passed by a 16 to 3 vote with two absences. She hoped this amendment could ease any hostility from both sides of the issue. 



The re-worked resolution will now be implemented. 


Fire Department plans open house Saturday

The Baileys Harbor Fire Department is inviting the community to check out its new digs on Saturday during an open house event. The $3.67 million building replaced its smaller, 65-year-old facility when firefighters were able to move into the new space in December. The new building has room to house and take care of all of its equipment while also providing space for sleeping quarters, offices, meeting rooms, and more. Baileys Harbor Fire Chief Brian Zak says the new building has had a positive impact on the department.

As a thank you to the community and a fundraiser for its future, the Baileys Harbor Fire Department is hosting an open house and cookout on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Town of Baileys Harbor approved the construction of the new fire station in 2019.


Picture courtesy of Baileys Harbor Fire Department

Energy savings sunny for Algoma Schools

The sun coming out is keeping the money in for Algoma School District since it installed its solar array last summer. Sitting on the south lawn of the high school, the goal of the 185-kilowatt solar panel system is to be able to generate approximately 25 percent of its electricity used per month. Since going online in September, the solar array has been able to generate over 85 megawatts of power, saving the district over $9,000 in energy costs. The district was able to obtain a number of grants to help pay for the system after first discussing the possibility six years ago. Algoma School District Director of Business Services Jason Melotte says there is also the possibility to expand in the future if the timing is right.

Melotte says in its efforts to further reduce the district’s carbon footprint, they are looking at installing a smaller solar array at the elementary school in the future. You can learn more about the Algoma School District’s solar array by clicking this link.


Picture courtesy of Algoma School District

Door County hurries to prevent vaccine waste

Several doses of the Pfizer vaccine could go to waste if Door County Public Health is unable to fill its COVID-19 vaccination appointments this week. Approximately 60 appointments still remain for its vaccination clinic on Wednesday and the vaccines themselves need to be administered by Friday before they spoil. The department would typically call people on their waiting list to administer doses on Thursday and Friday if they are unable to make the Wednesday clinic. That has been a rarity for the Door County Public Health Department, which has seen only two doses go unused previously. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says their team has been working hard to make sure every dose gets used.

Door County Public Health is also planning a COVID-19 clinic for Sister Bay on April 29th. People interested in getting vaccinated can click on the link here. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the seven-day average of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered has been dropping since reaching a high of over 63,000 on April 11th.


Vaccination sign up is available here

Final Farmers to Families Food Box coming Friday

Residents in Door County have potentially one last opportunity for food assistance courtesy of Feeding America and the United States Department of Agriculture.  The Door County Food Pantry Coalition and United Way will host a final Farmers to Family food distribution event on Friday in Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay.  United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says people should know that this might be the last opportunity to get the food boxes.



The food boxes will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and start at 4 pm at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department and the Door County Fair Grounds in Sturgeon Bay.  There will be a five-box limit per vehicle as a total of 700 free boxes will be offered on Friday until they are gone.

Algoma South Pier work being completed this week

Algoma’s South Pier should be reopened to the public by next week after temporary repairs. The pier was damaged from erosion caused by high water levels in the past few years.  City Public Works Director Matt Murphy says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished concrete work by the shoreline of the South Pier wall last Friday and should complete stonework on the west side of the south wall by week’s end.



Murphy notes that the public should gain access to the South Pier by next Monday. About $60,000 was earmarked for temporary fixes that included 85-feet of pier resurfacing. The federal government will be providing another $450,000 for the City of Algoma that consists of a current engineering study to determine a more permanent fix to the South Pier. 


(photo contributed)

DCMC partners with businesses on vaccinations

Door County Medical Center is hoping two vaccination clinics scheduled for this week is part of a larger effort in administering COVID-19 vaccinations. The hospital is hosting a vaccination clinic for Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding employees on Tuesday and NEW Industries on Friday for those who may have not had a convenient time to get vaccinated yet.  Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens says they are working with other large employers to set up vaccination clinics at their operations. He hopes they could expand it to the county’s hospitality industry and J-1 Visa Student Workers.

Stephens says the fact that many people have already received their vaccinations makes the clinics a little easier since they do not have to do as many or have to worry as much about side effects hindering the companies’ productivity. He adds that they are working with Door County Public Health and other businesses to see how they can help more people get vaccinated as the county creeps towards 60 percent receiving at least one dose.




Annual meetings take on big issues

Several municipalities will be taking up some big issues this week at their annual meetings. Towns host the annual meetings so residents can learn more about its finances and discuss larger issues in the community. The Town of Clay Banks will take up broadband infrastructure planning as a part of its annual meeting, while the Town of Gibraltar will discuss its zoning authority. Electors will have the opportunity to approve the sale of the Nelson property to the town for future use. Town Chairperson David Eliot told last month that the Nelson family is willing to help finance the $1.95 million sale for the first six years because of the recent construction of the Baileys Harbor Fire Station.

The towns of Gibraltar, Clay Banks, Baileys Harbor, Brussels and others are holding their annual meetings on Tuesday. Following its annual meeting, the Town of Brussels board will hear an update on the zoning permit application for a potential Dollar General store.

Kitchens aims for long-term with stimulus

First District Rep. Joel Kitchens was thinking about the future when he voted in favor of a package of legislation last week directing COVID-19 relief bill funding. Both the Assembly and the Senate passed the bills directing $3.2 billion in relief funds towards a number of different provisions including tourism efforts, rural economic development, and long-term care facilities. Other aspects of the bill may still need to be approved by the federal government. Kitchens says the $500 million slated for broadband and $61 million for lead pipe replacement are two examples of the projects the funds could pay for that have a lasting impact.

Kitchens believes it is likely that Governor Tony Evers will veto the legislation passed by the Assembly and Senate and then repackage as his own. Kitchens says at the very least it will apply pressure on the administration to address some of the needs in the state. Evers announced late last month the allocation of $2.5 billion of COVID-19 relief funding.

Scouting for Food a big success

Thousands of items were picked up from the doorsteps of homes in Door and Kewaunee counties as a part of this year’s Scouting For Food Drive. Cub Scout and Scouts USA units spent the last two weeks distributing and picking up bags in efforts to fill the shelves of local food pantries in need.  Troop 1042 and Pack 4042 in Luxemburg set a record for its units, collecting over 3,100 items to drop off at Marv Bins Food Pantry at Holy Trinity Church in Casco. Scout leader Dennis Legrave believes the pandemic could have actually helped with their successful food drive.

Pack 4112 and Troop 1019 from Algoma collected 1120 pounds of food during its Scouting of Food Drive while Voyageur District, which covers Door and Kewaunee Counties as a part of Bay-Lakes Council, collected 85,000 pounds of food at Lambeau Field.


Photo from April Legrave

Master Gardeners hopeful for blooming attendance

The Door County Master Gardeners are hoping operations get back to normal sooner rather than later. In 2020, like most operations, they scaled back heavily, without getting much opportunity to take in their 25th year. Though Master Gardeners President Mary Moster was understanding, a difficult challenge to swallow was being unable to open the research station at the Garden Door.



The Garden Door has not opened yet for the public, but there is regular communication to help decide when it will open. Another misfortune was that the Master Gardeners missed out on being able to hold their annual plant sale last May and this coming May. One development leading to optimism is that volunteers are allowed back on research station property. They will be cleaning and preparing the station for the Summer. There are no guarantees for this Summer, but Moster is hopeful for an opening.



Moster and volunteers look forward to working on approved projects in the community that include safety protocols in the near future. 


Algoma Utilities opening grant availability

Through funding from their power supplier, WPPI, Algoma Utilities is taking requests from local organizations interested in a Community Contribution Grant or Economic Development Grant. The grants will go toward local causes and non-profit customers. For grant consideration, organizations must submit a letter to request assistance including how they plan to use the grant. Past examples of grants include Algoma school projects, local safety programs, literacy and youth programs, park improvements. Grant requests will be accepted at the Utilities office through June 7th. 


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