Navigation

Category: People

  • John Carmody, Door County’s Last Thresherman

    John had kept it running until 1980, making him the last farmer in Egg Harbor, and possibly all of Door County, using the old machine.

  • Ephraim’s Herbi Hardt Looks Back on 98 Years

    Herbi Hardt saw World War I his German homeland, came to America in 1923, and got to know a man named Jens Jensen in his early years in Door County. All just part of a colorful life.

  • Freddie Kodanko, Door County's Polka King.

    The Polka King – A True Door County Character

    The late Freddie Kodanko (or Freddie K, as he is remembered around these parts) was a man who wore many hats:  potato farmer, spider dancer, crate builder, bean farmer, ballpark DJ, cat lover, among others. The hat I’ll always remember was a large, blue, puffy, jewel-studded crown. This crown was also accompanied by a long […]

  • Conducting an Orchestra…in Paradise

    Before I speak to Victor Yampolsky, Music Director of the Peninsula Music Festival (PMF), I get more than a little nervous. The questions that I’ve jotted down to ask him just seem so simple, especially for a man who in 2010 will celebrate 25 years as PMF’s Music Director – a post that he has […]

  • Devotion to Duty: Norman Carol, WWII submariner, recalls life in the Pacific

    Beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean in World War II, torpedo man Norman Carroll manned his station on the USS Guitarro as the Gato-class submarine patrolled the waters to the west of the Philippine Islands, unaware how close he was to his missing brother.

  • Reggaebilly Soulgrass

    If it’s later than 5:00 pm and the Door County snow has melted, chances are that somewhere – not too far away – Nick Steingart is making music. Follow the sound of mandolins, violins, banjos, guitars and harmonicas; join the crowd, sit back and enjoy the show. For many locals, the first spotting of Steingart’s […]

  • Small Town Girl Runs with the Big Dogs

    Most elite runners arrive at events wearing high tech running gear in the company of their personal trainers and coaches. Wendi Ray travels with her parents and carries gloves that sometimes have holes in them. But unlike some of her picture perfect competition, Ray is one of the top women marathoners in the United States; […]

  • Generations of Generosity

    Lee Traven was eager to meet me for an interview one Wednesday morning in September [2008], but his time for conversation was limited. By the time he and I met at 9:00 am, Traven had already finished a meeting with one of the many committees on which he serves, discussing the ways in which the […]

  • County Advocate Charles Jarman Died at 73

    The first memory I have of Charlie Jarman was on a cold and snowy evening, the night of my first snowmobile ride. I managed to plow through not one but two sides of an electrified barbed wire cow fence on his dairy farm and looked the worse for wear, as I stumbled dazed into the Jarman farmhouse with a shredded jacket and gloves.

  • Living for Purpose & Possibilities

    For those who may not know her, Judy Drew is the Executive Director of the Third Avenue Playhouse (TAP) in Sturgeon Bay. She came to the position in August of 2004 after working many years dealing with insurance and financial services. On the surface, it was quite a shift. Here’s how she describes it. “When […]

  • A Long Circuitous Path: Arvid Munson

    Arvid waits in the corner of Leroy’s like he is part of the décor, like he belongs, wearing a red and yellow plaid shirt and silver rimmed glasses, in the rustic Ephraim coffee shop. “How will I know it’s you?” I asked when I called to set up the interview. Arvid replied, “Just ask whoever […]

  • The Small School Experience in Northern Door: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

    The rural school experience is an important part of Americana, the belief that the one-room school in many respects was best. But advocates of a large-school education will point to broader academic curricula, expanded extracurricular choices, better educational facilities, and options for exceptional students to achieve at higher levels. People living in northern Door County, […]

  • So That’s Where It Stands On That Front, Anyway

    There’s always a good reason to go to Washington Island:  an afternoon at Schoolhouse Beach, a bike ride on the back roads, the ferry ride itself – travelling through Porte des Morts and crossing that magical buffer between real life and island life. But the best reason I’ve had lately is to enjoy breakfast with […]

  • Autumn in the Door

    Fall in Door County is a welcome sight. For locals, it’s a chance to get their bearings back from a crazy summer of balancing work schedules and businesses; for visitors, it’s a season that is often underestimated – until a drive through the peninsula reveals its relaxed pace, its unbelievable colors, and a peace that […]

  • Blue Horse Bistro: A Partnership that Works

    Owning and operating a business is seldom an easy feat, especially when there’s more than one person involved. Blue Horse Bistro & Espresso owners Carina Helm and Eric Rasmusson readily admit that when they first started the ball rolling on their café, there was more than one person telling them that it would never work. […]

  • Door County’s Piano Man

    The week before Eli Mattson decided to audition for America’s Got Talent, he applied for a cashiering job at Family Video. He has always been interested in film, and besides, the advertisement said that they were hiring “friendly and talented people.” He didn’t get the job. “Maybe I should have been discouraged,” he says, but […]

  • Door County’s Other Accents

    “How are you?” It’s the most common of questions, and usually doesn’t elicit much thought before a response. “I’m fine, thanks,” is the standard, no-thought response, whether true or not. But for the 400 or so international students who come to Door County to work in its kitchens, dining rooms, and shopping aisles each summer, […]

  • A Story of Roots: Anderson House Museum and Corner of the Past

    For four decades the property sat quietly on the corner of Highway 57 and Fieldcrest Road, visited only by ghosts and those drawn to taking photos of homes in decay. It was the sort of decrepit building that spurs the mind to wander, and wonder. What made its owners abandon the property? Something sad? Something […]

  • From “God” to “Doc”: Greg Vinkler

    Greg Vinkler has had a constant stage presence at Peninsula Players Theatre for over 20 years. His body of work is broad and his roles in the off season have taken him around the globe. Although the Players enjoy large audiences all summer long, few people are aware of the quality actors our local theater […]

  • “Chief” Left Lasting Mark: Missed by “dinks” across the county

    By Myles Dannhausen Jr.

    Northern Door has lost a legend.
    Rod “Chief” Billerbeck died March 19. The legendary coach, known primarily for his 41 years as Gibraltar’s baseball coach, had battled Parkinson’s