Underground cable project begins Monday

American Transmission Company is starting a project Monday to lay a new submarine electrical line in Sturgeon Bay. Work will cause closures to several downtown locations sporadically between now and May of next year. 


• Second Avenue between Nebraska and Oregon Streets (northeast of Graham park) will be closed beginning the week of Aug. 10, 2020, through mid-December 2020.

• The City of Sturgeon Bay parking lot on Nebraska Street, between First and Second Avenues, will be closed Aug. 10, 2020, through May 2021.

• One lane on Neenah Avenue near Sawyer Park will be closed for up to four weeks in December 2020 and January 2021. Driveways and access points on Neenah Avenue are scheduled to remain open.

• First Avenue between Nebraska and Oregon Streets will be closed for construction for approximately two weeks in January 2021.


The transmission line consists of four cables that have a total capacity of 69,000 volts. It replaces a conduit laid in the early 1980s. The project is estimated to have a cost of over $12 million.



Picture of American Transmission President and CEO, Mike Rowe, courtesy of the company's website.

Ephraim moving forward post-Streetscape

Two years and $4.85 million later, Ephraim’s streetscape ad hoc committee has completed their duties.  The infrastructure project included 2500 lineal feet of roadway construction in Ephraim along with lighting and sidewalks.  Ephraim Administrator Brent Bristol says the ad hoc committee recently discussed their future.



Bristol notes that the ad hoc committee will probably not continue to meet, but remain intact in order to receive regular updates through the village board.  On Tuesday, the village board will be considering the request by the facilities committee to replace the three main Ephraim signs on the highway which compliments the new streetscape.   

Elder abuse program being implemented

A federal pilot program addressing elder abuse has been implemented to address the issue in Door County.  The State of Wisconsin Justice Department applied for a grant with the federal government to offer one of five pilot programs that are an offshoot of the Door County Coordinated Community Response.  Anni Lampert, Help of Door County advocate, had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to learn how to train law enforcement professionals and other service providers to identify signs of elderly abuse.



Lampert notes that elder abuse caused by controlling behavior can mirror those impacting other people.  Neglect is one of the bigger issues facing the elderly besides the reported physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological abuse.

Protecting yourself from swimmer's itch

As the area beaches become even more of an attraction in August, public health officials are reminding people to take added precautions to remain healthy after swimming in lakes and other bodies of water.  Besides following the guidelines set down by the Centers for Disease Control regarding the current health crisis, beach-goers should be aware of allergic reactions that can happen after swimmers leave the water.  Door County Sanitarian and Health Educator Chelsea Smies notes that swimmers itch is a common condition this time of year.  She shares how you can better protect yourself from the skin rash.



Swimmers itch is also known as cercarial dermatitis and is most common in freshwater lakes and ponds.  Smies notes that the condition may be uncomfortable, but usually clears up in a few days. You can find more information on tips to prevent swimmer’s itch below.




COVID-19 Update:  Kewaunee County adds two more cases; Door County stays at 102

The number of positive COVID-19 cases ticked upward in the area again on Friday as the State of Wisconsin reported 12 more deaths and a slight increase in the percentage of new positive cases at seven percent.  Door County Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases on Friday while noting one additional recovery.  The active cases went down to 18.  Kewaunee County reported two more positive tests bringing their total to 128.  That reflects an increase of 20 new positive tests since Monday.   The active cases remained at 23 with two new recoveries.   You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.  




BBQ champion calls Sturgeon Bay home

Sturgeon Bay’s Tom MacIntosh proves you do not need to go to Kansas City or Memphis for really good barbeque.  T-Mac Smokin BBQ was born when he took over the food operations at his church’s picnic in Appleton. As the legend grew, he started to enter barbeque competitions across the country which have garnered him grand champion status at the Death’s Door BBQ competition and a fourth-place finish against the best of the best in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The secret to his success he says is loving what he does.

With many competitions canceled this year, T-Mac Smokin BBQ has been popping up at local businesses across the county this summer, including Johnny G’s Fishing Hole on Saturday.


Photo submitted by Tom MacIntosh from "The Jack" , 2019 Jack Daniels World Championship BBQ Competition. His team finished 4th out of 97 teams from all over the world.

Planting into green yielding good results

Members of Peninsula Pride Farms are trying a newer technique this year to help prevent soil erosion. Approximately half of the member farms are “planting into green” this season, which has operators seeding cover crops in between rows of other growing plants. For Brey Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay, that means wading through a mixture of radish, clover, ryegrass and sunflowers in between rows of corn. With rain events becoming more extreme when they happen, Tony Brey says having all those plants is helping keep the water where it needs to be.

While it could be harvested for different purposes, much of the cover crops planted  stay in the field to help build organic matter and hold the soil in place. Brey Cycle Farm will host a Peninsula Pride Farms Field Day on September 1st  from 6 to 7 p.m. to go more in depth with the “planting into green” technique.

Positive test dry docks tour company

Vessels at Door County Kayak Tours will remain on dry land for the time being due to a positive COVID-19 test on its staff. The Jacksonport-based business made the announcement on Facebook Thursday, letting customers know they would be canceling booked tours and not taking reservations for the next few days while the rest of their team gets tested. According to their website, Door County Kayak Tours introduced a number of additional safety measures as a part of keeping their guests and employees safe during the pandemic. Some of those extra practices include increased cleaning protocols, encouraging social distancing and masking, and limiting the number of guests in their shop and tours. Since May, close to 10 different businesses in Sister Bay, Ellison Bay, Baileys Harbor, Luxemburg, and Sturgeon Bay have closed their doors temporarily due to positive COVID-19 tests on their staff.

Door County census response lagging

Door County could be costing itself thousands of dollars in funding thanks to a lower than average response to the U.S. Census. Just over 46 percent of Door County households have completed the U.S. Census, compared to just under 70 percent statewide and approximately 75 percent in Kewaunee County. Dan Powers sat on the county’s complete count committee this winter and says one reason why the response rate could be so low is due to confusion with the area’s seasonal residents.

Although the finish line for this year’s census count has been a moving target in recent weeks due to the pandemic, there is still time for people to respond online, by phone, or by mail.


picture courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

Coping with the prolonged pandemic -- Mental Health Minute series

Dealing with COVID-19 fatigue and the new normal can bring about stressful times.  Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White compares managing stress with a tea kettle simmering on a hot stove.  Lowering the heat and using safety valves are valuable techniques in coping with the stress.  Dr. White shares two stress-releasers that are still available.


Dr. White says there is no way to eliminate stress during this pandemic, but there are ways to manage it better.  You can listen to the entire Mental Health Minute on coping with stress by Dr. White below.






Banquet facilities slowly scheduling events

Area dining halls and banquet rooms are adjusting to capacity limits and the new protocols associated with hosting smaller events and family gatherings.  Kelly Froelich of the Rendezvous of Luxemburg says his upstairs banquet hall is spacious enough to socially-distance tables and stools.  He notes that the spacing allows guests to feel more comfortable while still enjoying celebrations and rescheduled events.



Froelich notes that social-distancing at Rendezvous includes the bowling alley downstairs.  He has been preparing for the upcoming bowling season as well.  Bowlers will use every other lane with different teams using different alleys.    


COVID-19 Update: Door County adds one case, Kewaunee County goes up six

The area appears to be following the state's trend of an elevated rate of COVID-19 positive tests.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 839 more cases with a 4.7 percent positive testing on Thursday with eight more COVID-19 related deaths.  Door County reported one new positive case for a total of 102 with 19 active cases.  Kewaunee County added six more cases to show 126 total with 23 remaining actives.  Both Door and Kewaunee counties are currently classified as moderately high on the state's COVID-19 activity level.   You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee counties online below.




Mud-trapped deer rescued in Forestville

A two-hour collective community effort helped to rescue a deer stuck in the Forestville Mill Pond on Thursday morning.  A full-grown doe was trapped in a quagmire of mud until about 10:45 AM.  Six concerned residents, three Southern Door Fire Department personnel, and a DNR official all worked together to pull the deer to safety.  Southern Door Fire Captain Rich Olson describes how the doe was rescued.



Olson says the rescue crew brought the deer back to dry land to wash off her mud-covered fur.  After a little thrashing, the deer headed back into the woods appearing very healthy.  


(Photo and video courtesy of Robert Sijgers)





The below video of the release of the deer is courtesy of Friends of the Forestville Dam





Second-hand stores keeping people safe

People took the extra time inside to clean out their homes and local second-hand stores are making sure the donations and their volunteers remain safe. Back in June, Door County Habitat for Humanity limited donations to just Tuesdays and Thursdays to allow volunteers enough time to properly clean and sanitize the items. At the recently reopened Algoma Book Corner, the Friends of the Algoma Public Library accept their donations only when they are open on Saturdays. After they are donated, the books are quarantined for three days until they can safely be handled by volunteers. Sue Hass from the Algoma Book Corner says it is all about keeping people safe.

After their first Saturday open last week, Hass was thankful for their customers and their understanding of some of the extra precautions put in place such as customer limits and extra cleaning.


Picture courtesy of the Algoma Book Corner Facebook Page

Finding routine in abnormal school year

The daily routine of their children may be one of the few aspects parents can control ahead of the upcoming school year in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Each school district has developed plans to help parents understand where and when students will be able to report for in-person classes based on certain health metrics. When students are allowed back for in-person instruction, all eight school districts in the two counties will require at least some kind of masking. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer from Sister Bay’s Northern Door Children’s Center says parents should start working with their kids now to prepare for this unique school year.

School is back in session as soon as August 24th for Sevastopol students and September 1st for most everyone else. Corekin-Delamer says Northern Door Children’s Center is currently operating at 50 percent capacity with all staff and students above the age of five masking up.



Rollover accident in Egg Harbor Wednesday

Serious injuries were sustained in a one-car rollover accident near Zion Lutheran Church in Egg Harbor on Wednesday. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the incident, which happened on County Road V, is still under investigation and no cause has been determined. A helicopter was needed to transport the victims.


McCarty is currently conducting checks on the health of the driver, and more information is expected to be released soon.


Fairs could get assistance in aid package

Organizers of the Door and Kewaunee County Fairs could get some assistance from the upcoming coronavirus aid package being circulated in the halls of the United States Capitol.  Proposed by  Rep. Jimmy Panetta of California and Rep. Billy Long of Missouri last week, the bipartisan Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act would provide $500 million in grant funding for organizations trying to make up for the money lost because of event cancelations or cutbacks. Door County Fair President Tom Ash says they are not hurting as bad as other fair organizations are across the country, but the grants could offset some of their costs like insurance premiums and down payments for specific acts.

According to the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, 53 of the 75 events including the Door and Kewaunee County Fairs and the Wisconsin State Fair, were canceled due   to concerns surrounding COVID-19. Only 13 of them including the Brown County Fair later this month are open to the public.

Conservation fund bill signed into law

A federal program that has had a huge impact in Door and Kewaunee Counties will be fully funded for the first time since 1965 after being signed into law earlier this week. The Great American Outdoors Act will give full funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to address a number of projects at national parks and public lands. Since the fund was established, it has supported 48 projects in Door County to the tune of almost $4 million and 11 projects in Kewaunee County at about $280,000. Rep. Mike Gallagher, who co-sponsored the bill, says its passage is good news for the entire state.

According to Investigate West, some of the projects supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund include improvements at all five Door County-based state parks and the acquisitions of the Little Scarboro Wildlife Area and a village park in Luxemburg.


Official Congressional Photo

Business closes after staff member infected by COVID-19

An area restaurant announced Wednesday that it was shutting down temporarily due to an employee contracting COVID-19. Joe Rouer’s Bar of Luxemburg is expected to be closed until mid-August. It was initially suspected the worker was merely exposed to the virus. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that the staffer is positive for the disease. They are urging patrons who dined there on July 30th or 31st to get tested due to exposure. HIPAA laws prevent more information from being released. reached out for further comment. Joe Rouer’s Bar has put out information online. 


Chinese seed mystery thought to be a business hoax

Mysterious seed packets have made their way to residents of all 50 states, including in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Penne Wilson, from the Door County Seed Library, says the explanation may prove to be a simple scam. She believes that Chinese businesses are engaged in a practice known as brushing. A seller places a fake order for a high-value item such as jewelry or furniture and ships out nothing, or at most something far less significant, like seeds, which they register as a sale. If it goes unnoticed, the seller has padded their total, and they will appear higher up in subsequent searches on e-commerce sites such as Amazon. Wilson says to be careful when trying to dispose of the unwanted seeds.


There have been no reports of health risks or hazards to humans from the packets.


Kewaunee County looking for polling staff

Area municipalities are generally set in regards to poll workers for next week’s primary election. COVID-19 has increased responsibilities for voting locations, though. Namely, more cleaning is necessary, and that takes additional staff for support roles, says Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye.


The extra hiring means polling sites are prepared in case an unexpected illness or absence crops up Tuesday. Annoye says county and municipal offices have been able to keep up with the flow of mail-in ballot applications. 


Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin County Clerks Association


Door County breaks 100 COVID-19 cases

Wednesday afternoon, Door County reported 101 total COVID-19 cases, an increase of three from the day prior. In Kewaunee County, the jump was more substantial. Seven new infections bring the sum to 120. Active cases for both counties are at 18. Governor Tony Evers instituted a mandatory masking order this past Saturday for all residents who are in public, indoor spaces, and unable to socially distance. It is too early to tell if that will be effective in stemming cases.







Kewaunee County


Historical Society pushing for fall repairs at Potawatomi

If the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has their way, repairs could be completed on the observation tower at Potawatomi State Park as early as next month. The group says they have a commitment from a contractor to finish the work in ten days for as little as $250,000. That is contingent on the acceptance of the plan by the Department of Natural Resources, which is still recommending a complete tear down similar to the work down at Peninsula State Park’s Eagle Tower. President Christie MacDonald says the area already has an abundance of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant structures.


Two state legislators have signed onto the plan to designate Potawatomi Tower a historical site. MacDonald has tried to reach out to Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole and has also petitioned Governor Tony Evers without response.


Ephraim Fire's phone lines are red hot

The month of July was a hectic one for the Ephraim Fire Department. Chief Justin MacDonald presented the numbers to the village’s Community Protection Committee on Tuesday morning.


Roughly half of those calls pertained to blazes within the village limits, with the rest concerning assistance for other area communities. Higher than average volume continues past Labor Day. MacDonald reports that EMS calls are not seeing the same trend, remaining in line with their long-term average.


Come to Door County and Leave No Trace Behind

Destination Door County says visitors are welcome to enjoy the area's natural beauty.  Just leave nothing behind except footprints.  The organization is teaming up with the Center for Outdoor Ethics “Leave No Trace” behind campaign.  The goal is to sustain healthy natural lands and forests.  Community Advocacy Manager Cambria Mueller says that starts with raising awareness of steps to take for the safety of visitors as well as preserve Door County's natural attractions.




Mueller says Door County's “Leave No Trace” effort also recommends watching for severe weather before venturing out and exercising bonfire safety.

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