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LEAGUE LENS: Observations Of Local Governement

The League’s Observer Corps monitors Door County local government in order to understand and shine a light on issues of importance to the League. This column shares a snapshot of what is happening in county, municipal, and school government as observed through the lens of the LWV’s positions. 

ISSUE OF IMPORTANCE: PUBLIC SAFETY

The County Board Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, May 14

Emergency Management Director, Jeb Saelens, reported on recent off-season training activities. Event-security lessons learned were integrated into the emergency management support plan for the Half Marathon, and Incident Command Training for newly elected officials has been scheduled. The challenges raised by the prolonged power outages associated with the April 2 snowstorm were also discussed. Saelens’s request for approval of the formation of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) network was approved. The team, which will supplement the existing volunteer incident support teams, will be staffed and managed by volunteers, but the liability insurance for the volunteers and the vetting/background checks would be handled by the county. The Red Cross volunteer network for emergency response has been stretched thin and they are often unable to respond in the full capacity needed, according to Saelens. The goal is to eventually recruit around 50 volunteer individuals for the CERT program.

ISSUE OF IMPORTANCE: ENVIRONMENT

Sevastopol Town Board, May 20

The Town of Sevastopol recently had several public access lanes along Glidden Drive surveyed. The purpose was to determine needed improvements, confirm boundaries and detect any encroachments. The board is actively developing a plan to address the results of the survey.

ISSUE OF IMPORTANCE: MEETING BASIC HUMAN NEEDS

Town of Liberty Grove Community Development Committee, May 20 

Discussion was held about possible committee activities such as a community garden in cooperation with a local business or other organization. The committee also discussed: helping ADRC home delivery meal recipients join the people at town hall; supporting social events at town hall for residents; and working with local schools to promote education oriented to the trades. Other options will be explored as the committee matures. Community input is welcomed. The overall aim of the committee is to support activities that help Liberty Grove develop and grow as a community.

Door County Board Administrative Committee, May 21

The committee voted unanimously to support continued state funding for the modernization of County Child Support technology. This investment will ensure that Wisconsin counties can continue to effectively provide economic support to our children.

Pam Busch, Transportation Manager for the County Transportation Department reported on the Door to Door (D2D) Ride and Door County Connect programs. Ridership continues to rise and is on track to be well over 40,000 riders in 2024, Busch said. The department also partners with Door Tran, a non-profit that provides a variety of services including volunteer-provided rides for veterans and others, vehicle purchase and repair grants and loans, and half-price travel and gas vouchers.

ISSUE OF IMPORTANCE: ELECTIONS

Door County Board Administrative Committee, May 21

Door County Clerk Jill Lau reported on a February training provided to interested county municipal clerks on how to use the opioid antagonist Narcan. After the 2023 election, election officials in some offices around the country received fentanyl-laced mail. That resulted in warnings to election officials nationwide. Door County Public Health provided the Narcan kits and worked with the Emergency Services (EMS) Department to provide the training.

Lau reported on the difficulties caused by the weather for the April 2 election resulting in problems getting the results reported. Lau has asked for planning to begin cooperatively by various parties and departments involved well ahead of each election day to prepare for any possible events that could occur to obstruct the smooth running of an election. She pointed out that an election is a county-wide event requiring collaboration by all parties to make it work.

The League Lens is a monthly column produced by the League Observer Corps, in collaboration with the Peninsula Pulse, as part of a community journalism project designed to help keep Pulse readers informed about issues discussed at municipal, school board and county committee and board meetings. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Observer Corps, please contact [email protected].