• Inside the Multi-Age Program

    Gibraltar’s new approach to elementary education matures A first look into a multi-age classroom as the first and second grade students came in from recess may seem a little hectic, but for teachers Emily Heidler, Kayla Schleicher and Michelle Daubner, it was organized chaos.  The three teachers instructed students to get into groups of three, […]

  • This Old Store: Happy Herman’s Market in Sister Bay

    After weeks of scrubbing, painting and stocking shelves, Herman and Keta Steebs opened Happy Herman’s Market the week before Christmas in 1956. John Kopitzke ran a half-page ad in the Door Reminder and, as Keta said, “inadvertently became our first customer by buying a nickel candy bar.” Keta’s brother-in-law, Wesley Landstrom, made a huge, plywood […]

  • 99 Years and Counting: Jim Kramer’s Sturgeon Bay Life

    From the railroad, to the shipyard, to the homestead Growing up in Sturgeon Bay during the 1920s, Jim Kramer loved to sit and listen to old men tell stories. Now 99 years old, he has plenty of his own stories to tell, and he still remembers the ones he heard as a little boy. Kramer […]

  • Sturgeon Bay’s New Brand: City hopes new signage pulls visitors downtown

    Door County claims an astounding 298 miles of waterfront, but few people realize that nearly a third of that is in and around the city of Sturgeon Bay. The Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center is out to change that with a new signage initiative designed to draw people into the city and down to its expanding […]

  • Running for a Cause

    Baldwin takes on 13.1-mile challenge for the Sue Baldwin Foundation Carrie Baldwin has never run a 5K, but in May 2020, she has committed to completing the Door County Half Marathon, which means running a total of 13.1 miles.  “I am not a runner,” Baldwin said, but she has a compelling reason to take on […]

  • Feeding the Multitude

    Sister Bay’s Loaves and Fishes program needs new program manager Back in 2006, members of the Ephraim Moravian Church attended one of the Loaves and Fishes dinners, organized by a group of volunteers for those in need in Sturgeon Bay. “I was on the board of elders at the time,” said Kay Wilson. “After attending […]

  • Pioneer News Celebrates Student Life

    My visit to Sevastopol School began by walking into a small room stuffed with cabinets, a table and chairs, a green screen taking up an entire wall and a camera tripod with an attached ring light. I was there to meet the students behind Pioneer News, the Sevastopol School news broadcast that comes out every […]

  • How to Fall Fest

    It’s here: possibly the greatest weekend of the year in Door County (unless you’re curmudgeon Steve Grutzmacher). Fall Fest may no longer be the last gasp of the busy season, but it’s still the granddaddy of Door County festivals, and it’s no time for training wheels.  Let’s start with a few key times. First, this […]

  • How the Clippers Beat the Bays

    One of the city’s first Clippers remembers the battle for a name by Jerry Grassel During the first half of the last century, the name of Sturgeon Bay High School’s (SBHS) athletic teams and a moniker for many of the school’s groups and clubs was the Bays. Neighboring schools touted more intimidating mascots. There were […]

  • At Gibraltar, Administration Aims to Solve Attendance Problems

    Mental health, extracurriculars, vacations eating into learning hours At the end of the 2018-19 academic year, parents, teachers and school board members raised concerns when a handful of students failed to graduate on time at Gibraltar High School, in large part due to truancy. “We are looking at our attendance situation. There are some glaring […]

  • Farm Aid Sustains

    Diversity and resiliency were themes at 34th annual celebration Was it the end of an era? It felt like it when Willie Nelson walked on to the Alpine Valley stage for a late-morning press conference to kick off the 34th annual Farm Aid on Sept. 21.  When the 86-year-old music legend walked on stage for […]

  • Port Support: Lake Michigan advocacy group holds conference on commercial shipping

    Commercial ports of the Great Lakes were the subject of the Lake Michigan Stakeholders’ fall meeting on Sept. 17, and because it was held in Green Bay, the focus was on that port city’s diverse commercial shipping history. The Lake Michigan Stakeholders group was formed to address the ongoing threat of invasive species and the […]

  • A Horse Is a Horse, Of Course

    Unless, of course, the horse is the famous Mr. Triscuit Don’t call Triscuit a pony. That’s an insulting word for a full-grown horse, even if he is of the miniature variety.  Miniature horses were bred selectively to be small – even smaller than some dogs. To qualify for mini-horse status, the animal may not exceed […]

  • No Goats, No Glory? The story of Al Johnson’s is more than goats

    Rolf Johnson talked about the history of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant at a recent meeting of the Door County Historical Society, and because it’s impossible to separate the history of Al Johnson’s from the history of the man who established it, the audience also learned a lot about Rolf’s father. Axel Albert Otto Johnson was […]

  • Labor Day: Life in the Restaurant Industry

    Door County relies on tourism summer in and summer out. A vital part of this is the restaurant industry: an untamable yet exciting beast. From the people who grow vegetables and distill liquors to the people who serve plates and sling drinks, the workforce of the restaurant industry rides the waves of the seasons to […]

  • John Fons Found His Roots in 110-Year-Old Cabin

    The members of the Baileys Harbor Historical Society, like those of every other similar organization in Door County, have heard many presentations by people whose ancestors were early settlers. The most recent program, however, was different. Rather than speaking about his known roots, John Edwin Fons of Madison was searching for them. He had a […]

  • Jacksonport Celebrates Its Sesquicentennial

    Good neighbors, good food and music, and a great fireworks display – some say the best they’ve seen on the peninsula – were all part of Jacksonport’s celebration of 150 years as a town on Aug. 10. Photos by Len Villano.

  • Original Mobile Bay Crew Returns to Home Port

    Forty years ago – in 1979 – Sturgeon Bay became the home port of one of nine vessels in a then-new class of Coast Guard icebreaking tugboat when the Mobile Bay arrived with its first crew of 17 men. “It’s almost unheard of that a ship has been in the same port for 40 years,” […]

  • Fr. Tony Birdsall, the Man Who Loves Chickens

    The motto of St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, is “Joyful Catholic Leaders.” Whether that was chosen before or after Fr. Tony Birdsall was ordained there in 1960, he is surely its ultimate poster boy.  Birdsall speaks joyfully about the many years he spent as a full-time priest: four years in Green Bay, six […]

  • When the Going Gets Weird…

    Chad Lewis is prepared to tell the story In 1972, while studying for a master’s degree in social history at the University of Wisconsin, Michael Lesy came across a photograph taken by Charles Van Schaick, who served as the town photographer and justice of the peace in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, during the late 19th […]