Year in Review: A Watershed Year?

That really was some year, wasn’t it? It almost felt like a watershed year, but that is for history to say. Throughout Door County we saw communities coming together in various ways to define themselves, and citizens stepping up to help in that definition.

Take, for example, Sturgeon Bay, where the addition of a hotel to the city’s westside waterfront redevelopment project caused the public to become involved in their own city affairs to a degree not seen since the 1990s and the successful effort to save the city’s steel bridge. The community involvement in the hotel issue resulted in bringing two new voices to the city’s common council in last April’s elections and awakened the public to the importance of attending meetings and monitoring the public activities of their elected officials. That can only mean good things for the future of the city.

We also saw the quiet side Town of Jacksonport come alive with the creation of a Plan Commission that has taken the lead in the discussion of what Jacksonport is to be in the future. While the town still struggles with its identity – divided between those who want to see the business community thrive and the town become a destination and those who want it to remain a quiet community on the way to the well-established tourist destinations north of them –it is talking about the future, and that dialogue was started by the Plan Commission.

We saw what appears to be a reasonable compromise in the referendum for the long-discussed Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department makeover, which voters rejected in November 2014 when the cost was $4.285 million. The compromise whittled the project down to $2.8 million. Is that enough for it to pass in April? We will see.

We saw some transitions in key state, county and local governmental positions that brought people into the fold who seem truly committed to the common good.

We endured weeks of speculation regarding the mysterious disappearance of a Fox Valley-based doctor and the various social media amateur detectives who put forth a wide variety of theories – everything but alien abduction – on what happened to him. We eventually learned the doctor committed suicide, but the social media posturing reminded us that social media cannot replace good sources of information.

As with every year, weather was a big topic of conversation, whether it was all the thank-yous to the many individuals and businesses who extended a helping hand during the power outage that followed an Aug. 2 storm, or farmers debating whether the late fall months of November and December were the wettest they had ever seen.

These are just a few of the things that made 2015 a memorable year. Onward and upward to 2016!

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