Hometown Pharmacy opens in Kewaunee

Kewaunee welcomed a new business this week as Hometown Pharmacy held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.  Hometown Pharmacy opened its doors at 223 Milwaukee Street in downtown Kewaunee.  Pharmacist Sarah Bartel, who has lived in Kewaunee since 1999 and worked for Hometown Pharmacy the past two years, says having access to healthcare in smaller communities is important.


Kewaunee has been without a pharmacy store since May when Shopko closed.  Hometown Pharmacy has two pharmacists, two pharmacy technicians, and a cashier regularly working along with two part-time employees.    


(photo courtesy of Hometown Pharmacy Kewaunee)

Determining competency in the court room

Door County Circuit Court Judge David Weber says a lot of factors come into play when determining if a person is fit for trial. Earlier this week, Judge Weber declared Sturgeon Bay resident Duryea Johnson not competent to stand trial for his alleged sex crimes. The decision is a judicial one and is based on whether or not the defendant understands the charges against them, the proceedings taking place, and if they can help in their defense. The determination is often aided with the help of a report done by a psychiatrist. Judge Weber says it is important to not confuse competency with mental illness.

Johnson will be committed to a state mental health facility for up to a year with a status update coming in December.

Environmental law center celebrates anniversary

From the farm fields of Kewaunee County to the shorelines Door County, Midwest Environmental Advocates has certainly made its mark on a number of local cases in its 20-year history. The environmental law center has tackled many water-related issues since it was formed in 1999. In Door County, it helped represent the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront in its battle in what was seen as a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine in 2016. Its focus has been on large farms in Kewaunee County, including its six-year battle over a water pollution permit that was issued to Kinnard Farms back in 2012. As that case prepares for its day with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, MEA staff member Peg Shaffer hopes it is just one example of how the organization has stuck by its clients in the name of the environment for 20 years.

The MEA will bring together other environmental advocates when it celebrates in 20th anniversary at the Kress Pavilion on October 3rd as a part of its Water Justice Series. You can find details for that event here.

Field days growing

With some not able to get out to their fields, farmers are taking advantage of the free time to learn a bit about how they can potentially do their jobs better . Peninsula Pride Farms hosted their latest field day on Tuesday at Brey Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay, which is one of the many the group hosts year-round.  It has been especially useful this year as farmers using cover crops and no-till practices have been able to get to work in their fields quicker and seeing their soil health improve. Nathan Nysse from Peninsula Pride Farms says the field days keep on growing more popular as word gets out and ideas begin working.

Peninsula Pride Farms is currently working on additional field days in the future as they arrange presenters and different equipment demonstrations.

Algoma hunter takes to small screen

The size of the screen you watch him on may be the only small thing about Kevin Seiler’s appearance on television earlier this week. The Algoma hunter and Bay Shipbuilding employee is featured on an episode of “Brotherhood Outdoors,” a television show highlighting union members out in the wilderness participating in one of their favorite recreational activities. In the episode, Seiler took four different modes of transportation to get to deer camp in remote Saskatchewan. Seiler says it was an experience he will not soon forget.


Seiler says he did not mind being filmed on the hunt, especially since it comes with a happy ending of him harvesting a big ten-point buck. You can catch Seiler’s episode on the Sportsman Channel in the near future or by clicking here.

Adopt-A-Soldier porch project resumes

Adopt-A-Soldier Door County, Habitat for Humanity, and the Coast Guard were back at the residence of Door County veteran Frank Lautenbach Tuesday and Wednesday this week for phase two of a porch restoration project. President Nancy Hutchinson says the rebuild is going smoothly. The original porch was torn out in August. She wants to leverage the existing relationships into more projects. If you would like to nominate a worthy veteran for a future build contact the Door County Veterans Service Office.


Wartella is a familiar face and Hutchinson says they maintain a close working relationship following her promotion.


Historical Society fashion dinner next week

You’ll have a chance to learn what Door County Depression-era clothing was like at an upcoming presentation to the DC Historical Society. The meal begins at 6 PM. Sahlin's grandfather was a long-time doctor in the county specializing in pediatrics. Because of the lean times in the Depression, clothing was not discarded readily. Executive Director Bailey Koepsel says that Sahlin has never given a public address on the topic before adding an exclusive feel to the dinner. Sahlin is best known for her ties to the George W. Bush Presidential Museum.


The dinner begins at 6 PM and seating is not limited.


Flu vaccinations are arriving for winter

It is impossible to predict the winter forecast but some early guesses say 2019-2020 could be rough which makes flu vaccines very important. Absolute recommendations are for children and the elderly but all adults are encouraged to be vaccinated. Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says vaccines are already starting to trickle in with full supplies available by October. You can find vaccines across Door and Kewaunee Counties.


The vaccination is recommended for the full winter season, but even if someone waits until January or February, that is better than no vaccination at all. 

Union votes down proposed new Bay Ship contract

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 449 voted Wednesday afternoon to reject the new five-year contract proposal from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.  The previous contract had expired last Saturday but union members are continuing to work under the old terms.   Union President Shawn Claflin says the labor negotiations are a process.  He shares the concerns addressed in the new contract that will impact the 285 members of the union.



Claflin adds that it has taken up to five votes by the boilermakers in the past to approve a new labor agreement.  Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.       

Kewaunee County Senior Fair aids seniors and families

The Kewaunee County Senior Resource Fair is a time of fun for older residents and a one-stop shop for services of interest to them and their grown children.  The 15th annual fair is scheduled on October 3rd.  It will feature 50 different vendors offering flu shots, blood pressure screening, massage therapy and other services that can help seniors live independently at home.  Olivia Delikowski, with the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Lakeshore, says it's also a good setting for the adult children of seniors to address serious legal and safety issues.



The Kewaunee County Senior Resource Fair will be held October 3rd from 8:00 -10:00 AM at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds on 3rd Street in Luxemburg.

Door County students learn career options at Manufacturing Days

Hundreds of high school students from around Door County will learn about career options close to home at the third annual Manufacturing Days starting October 4th.  The Door County Economic Development Corporation is working with school districts to show interested students there are local companies that can provide living wages and are in need of qualified workers.  Tom Strong, DCEDC Operations Manager, says his group and schools are working with students ahead of time to match them with manufacturers that fit their interests.



Strong says such student visits can help them learn about apprenticeships and down the line could help them obtain full-time employment.  DCEDC Manufacturing Days will showcase 12 area companies on October 4th. They'll host student visits from 8:30 until 11:30 AM.  Public tours and a job fair will run from 12:30 until 4:00 PM. 

$10,000 grant aids Southern Door agriculture research

Southern Door Elementary School students will be able to do some extensive research that could help local farmers.  The elementary school's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEAM team received a $10,000 grant from the America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program.  That will allow the district to purchase equipment, including microscopes designed for field work.  Students will conduct research on the school pond, the school garden and maple syrup tapping area.  Jessica Meacham, who heads the elementary STEAM program, says students' studies will benefit local agriculture.



Such grants have also helped rural schools, such as Southern Door, obtain robotics and weather forecasting equipment to aid local agriculture research by students. 

Sturgeon Bay approves vaping ordinance

It will now be illegal for minors to possess vaping devices in the city of Sturgeon Bay.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council unanimously approved a second reading of the ordinance at Tuesday night’s meeting.  The ordinance forbids people under the age of 18 from possessing or purchasing electronic cigarettes in the city.  Mayor David Ward says the action is timely considering the recent reported negative health effects related to vaping.


Ward says other action taken on Tuesday evening by the council includes the first reading of an ordinance that was amended to make possessing one ounce or less of marijuana in a private home a zero penalty for a first or second offense.  Other business Tuesday at the Sturgeon Bay City Council meeting included discussion on the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society agreement with the city and review of the Ad Hoc West Waterfront Planning Committee recommendations.  Ward says the city’s next step with the SBHS is to get a lakebed lease from the state for both parcels of land.  Concerning the waterfront development, Ward adds that the city is looking at moving forward on the walkway along the bulkhead, where there is little disagreement.  The plan is for that to hopefully begin construction in September of next year. 

Student loan forgiveness makes housing more attainable

A Door County architect says student loan refinancing or forgiveness could make housing more affordable for some families.  College graduates face high interest rates and long repayment terms for student loans. Virge Temme says that makes it all but impossible for potential home buyers to come up with a down payment.  Temme suggests that refinancing or even forgiveness would create a market for new home buyers.



Temme says another obstacle for prospective home buyers is stagnant wages. She points out that the federal minimum wage has not been raised in just over a decade and is not keeping up with inflation.

Sturgeon Bay Jaycees marking 70th anniversary

The 70th anniversary of the Sturgeon Bay Jaycees will be celebrated with a reunion of past members later this month.  Phil Schmitz, a former member and state president in 1987, along with his wife Ann, will host the celebration at the Door Country Event Venue located at Schmitz Insurance south of Sturgeon Bay.  Schmitz says the social will encourage people to bring Jaycee memorabilia, photos, and stories to reminisce the history of the organization.  He says the Jaycees have always been a vital part of the community with many past projects over the years including June Jubilee and bringing Country singer Jerry Reed to the Door County Fair.



The Jaycees is a national civic organization that is open to people between the age of 18 and 40.  Schmitz says over 50 past members have already RSVP’d for the Sturgeon Bay Jaycee 70th anniversary reunion that will be held next Friday from 5 until 9 pm.  You can find contact information for attending the Sturgeon Bay Jaycees reunion with this story below.




Mental Health Minute with Dr. Dennis White

Here’s Psychologist Dr. Dennis White with a Mental Health Minute.


You can listen to Dr. White’s weekly Mental Health Minute played four times daily on all five radio stations of    


Sturgeon Bay schools utilizing Crossroads more than ever

A learning resource center with Sturgeon Bay School District roots is becoming a landmark for education beyond the initially-developed school forest.  Established in 1992 by the Sturgeon Bay Educational Foundation,   52 acres of land was initially purchased with many improvements and additions made in the last quarter-century.  Sturgeon Bay Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says the partnership with Crossroads at Big Creek remains very strong even after it became a separate entity from the school district.



Crossroads of Big Creek is a scientific, historical, and environmental learning preserve located at the corner of Highway 42-57 North in Sturgeon Bay and County TT.  Crossroads will be hosting a free seed saving workshop through the Door County Seed Library this Thursday starting at 6 pm.    You can find more information about the event below.

Johnson found not competent to stand trial

A Sturgeon Bay man accused of sex crimes has been found incompetent to stand trial.  Duryea Johnson, 28, was arrested back in June by a Sturgeon Bay undercover police officer who was posing as a 15-year-old boy online.  Door County Circuit Court Judge David Weber deemed Johnson not competent to stand trial due to a court-ordered doctor’s medical report evaluation.  Johnson faces two charges of child sex crimes.  He will now be placed in a state mental health hospital for treatment by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for up to one year.  A progress evaluation by a doctor will be done in the next three months before any future determination is made.  District Attorney Colleen Nordin says a trial will now be on hold until Johnson is competent enough to understand the proceedings, the nature of the charges and assist in his defense.   


Step closer to Ellison Bay housing project

The Town of Liberty Grove is taking steps to make its own affordable housing project a reality. The town board will consider proposals during its Wednesday meeting to remove asbestos from the former Val-A Motel buildings located 11976 State Highway 42 in Ellison Bay. The land was purchased by the town for future development earlier this year and they received word about the asbestos during its phase two report of the property. Town chairperson John Lowry told last month the asbestos removal is just a small piece of the puzzle.

Lowry says he expects construction on the site could begin some time next spring. The Town of Liberty Grove Board will also weigh in on a three-year contract for administrator Bud Kalms and a recommendation to use grant funds for a new tower site when it meets at the town hall on Wednesday at 7 p.m. 

Better late than never for apples

Apple harvesters are getting out to their orchards after a rainy start to September. This year’s apple crop also got off to slow start because of the cool spring temperatures, but the weather in recent weeks has also allowed the fruit still on trees to ripen and get a little more color. Wood Orchard owner Steve Wood says apples are making their way from the trees to grocery stores and fruit stands.

According to the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, orchard owners produce over 54 million pounds of fruit every year and are a $24 million industry.

Disputing online safety grades

Door County Sheriff’s Department Juvenile Investigator Chris Neuville says the state deserves a better grade for its approach to online safety.  According to online security company Safewise, Wisconsin earned a “D” grade when it comes to keeping kids safe online. It joined Montana, Wyoming, Maine, and New Hampshire for having the lowest marks in the country. Neuville says parents should know that even though specific laws may not be on the books, the state and Door County, in particular, are very active when it comes to protecting kids from online predators.

The Safewise grades, which are posted online with this story, were determined by looking at each state’s laws for cyberbullying and sexting. Neuville added that any parent or child feeling like an online altercation was criminal can reach out to the Door County Sheriff’s Department for help.


Click here to see state-by-state report card and online safety tips

Speeding remains traffic concern

You are not alone if you are feeling like everyone driving around in Door and Kewaunee Counties are speeding. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, speeding is by far the most common traffic violation with over 142,000 convictions in 2014. The number climbs to almost 150,000 if you include people ticketed for driving too fast for conditions. Whether you get pulled over going three or 33 miles per hour over the speed limit, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says you are getting pulled over for everyone’s sake.

Joski says drivers pulled over should treat traffic stops like they are part of ongoing education of the rules of the road.



The last time I visited the issue of Speed Enforcement our now College Senior Daughter was preparing to get her license. Now as our youngest is getting close to the age for driving many of the same conversations take place as he observes the driving habits on our public roads and asks the same questions “Does anyone drive the speed limit?”

       I can see where he may doubt the adherence to speed limits as it seems as though when you drive the speed limit of other vehicles exist in two forms: Those who are passing you and those preparing to pass you. While it is true that very few people are actually stopped for operating 2 or 3 miles per hour over the speed limit, one should never assume that you will not be stopped.

This conversation also prompted us to discuss what is known as “Officer Discretion” as it pertains to traffic law. I explained to my son that law enforcement officers are much like teachers. Our primary goal is education; our lesson plans are the rules of the road. We educate through traffic stops. If an individual is speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign, we have the ability to educate through various means including verbal warnings, written warnings or citations.

       While it is up to the individual motorist whether or not to abide by the laws, it is within our discretion to adjust the educational level based on what we feel would have the best results.                 For example; if a driver has never been stopped for a violation or has a mitigating reason for the violation, we may begin with a verbal warning. If that same driver was observed demonstrating a continued disregard for the law, we may feel it appropriate to elevate the educational experience to a written warning or even a citation. In the end it is up to the motorists to decide if they wish to engage in an educational experience with Law Enforcement, as we hold classes on all roadways 7 days a week 364 days of the year.

          What is important in our role as educators is our relationship to the community we have sworn to protect. We understand that traffic stops are not a pleasant experience, and that the cost of a citation in today’s economy can be a major setback in anyone’s budget. We exist for the sole purpose of serving and protecting our communities so as to maintain a high quality of life for all.

          We do not do this to you, we do not do this for you; we do this with you as we need the continued feedback and interaction to know whether or not we are successful. These duties and beliefs do not end at the roadway, as we are summoned for numerous reasons to homes or workplaces in response to various calls for service, and it is our obligation in these settings as well to respond and apply the laws which govern our societies and maintain the quality of life we have come to enjoy.

          I have said many times that local law enforcement is very fortunate to serve the communities that we serve, but in addition, I hope that our communities appreciate the quality of those who are serving them as well. It is only through this mutual appreciation that we can continue to be an effective team in meeting the challenges of the future.


Federal approval aids Door County lead abatement

Door County will benefit from federal approval of state plans to test for lead in the homes of low-income families.  The Wisconsin Department of Health Services initiative would check the homes of families and pregnant women who are enrolled in BadgerCare Plus and Medicaid.  Door County Public Health Nurse Katie VanLaanen says any effort to help test for lead poisoning in children is welcomed.  She says the effort starts with a simple blood draw and then determining possible sources if those blood test results merit.



VanLaanen says lead abatement efforts include recommending wet dusting or wet mopping when cleaning a home to prevent spreading lead-based dust from spreading.  Another recommendation is to feed younger children regularly to reduce the temptation to nibble at falling paint chips when hungry and absorb some lead that may have been ingested.

Statz shares Starr story behind fence and helmet

A Sturgeon Bay native and graphic artist revealed the new Packer fence artwork across from Lambeau Field this past weekend which featured legendary player Bart Starr.  Zane Statz, a graphic designer from DePere, along with a friend, Spencer Young, worked all day on Saturday to complete the annual paint project named “Our Champion Our Starr”.    Statz, a 2010 graduate of Sturgeon Bay High School, had the opportunity to paint portraits on a special helmet for the Green Bay Packer’s 50th Anniversary of Super Bowl I two years ago that was auctioned to benefit the Rawhide Boys Ranch that the Starrs help support dating back to 1965.  He says the newly painted fence has added meaning to him because of the honor he had in painting the helmet. 



Statz donated his time in painting the helmet and the fence painting is sponsored by Cheesehead TV.  You can see a picture of the newly painted fence with this story online. 


(photo courtesy of Zane Statz)  


Museum theft on Washington Island

The Washington Island Police Department is investigating a break-in from last week after three items were stolen from the Jens Jacobsen Museum.  An accordion, pair of eyeglasses and a Copenhagen snuff can from the Jens Jacobsen Cabin were reportedly taken sometime last week.  Police Chief Tyler McGrane says the director of the museum had noticed items missing earlier in the week and contacted employees to make sure they did not borrow any of the items. McGrane adds that the theft was reported on Friday after the director noticed a break-in.



McGrane says there is not a reported value of the stolen items and it is not sure the accordion was actually one used by Jens Jacobsen.  Anyone one with any information on the stolen accordion and other items taken should contact the Washington Island Police Department.  


(photo above courtesy of Steve South from National Police Car Archives)



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