MON AM News: Dodles founder says startup enthusiasm on the rise in Fox Valley; Evers issues executive orders on drinking water contamination

— The founder of an Appleton startup called Dodles says enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in the Fox Valley area is on the rise, though challenges persist. 

Craig Doriot is the CEO and founder of Dodles and also leads a second spin-off venture called Pound Social. Dodles is a social platform that aims to make the digital animation process easier, and Pound Social helps people and companies grow their online presence and reach. 

“Even though we’re a smaller community compared to Madison and Milwaukee, we have a pretty good young population and a pretty educated population,” he said in a recent interview. 

Doriot noted startup leaders looking for talented workers benefit from nearby Lawrence University in downtown Appleton, UW Fox Valley, as well as UW-Green Bay to the north and UW-Oshkosh to the south. 

He’s brought on several interns from Lawrence that he ended up hiring down the line. 

“We’re in a pretty strategic place for good talent, and we’ve been able to leverage that with some of the local schools,” he said.  

Still, he says startup communities in northeast Wisconsin often find themselves at odds when it comes to working together to solve common issues. 

“That’s a challenge, but really we’re right next to each other and feeding from the same talent pool. So we should be more collaborative,” Doriot said. 

See more: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has signed an executive order directing state agencies to take steps to address chemical contamination of drinking water. 

The order calls on the Department of Natural Resources to address toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS. These chemicals, used for decades in products ranging from non-stick cookware to textiles with Scotchgard, have been linked to a number of health conditions. The conditions include kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, immune system effects and other illnesses. 

DNR will be required to work with DHS and DATCP to expand PFAS screening and monitoring programs, develop regulatory standards, establish a public information website and create a PFAS Coordinating Council, among other things. 

The order drew praise from Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, who said in a statement that he was glad Evers was “now taking this issue seriously.” 

A database maintained by DNR shows 21 sites contaminated by PFAS in Wisconsin, more than half of which are on active military bases. 

— Insurance premiums are going up 4 percent for those participating in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program. 

The Department of Employee Trust Funds says the increase will result in most employees paying $1 to $3 more per month for individual coverage and $3 to $8 for family coverage. The state employee share of premiums is set by DOA’s Division of Personnel Management, and ETF will announce the final numbers before the open enrollment period, which runs Sept. 30-Oct. 25. 

It’s the first premium increase in three years for state employees and retirees. 

See the release: 

— Scientists at UW-Madison’s Messing laboratory have created a genetically modified rat that could improve therapy testing for a rare central nervous system disorder called Alexander disease. 

Led by Albee Messing, a professor of comparative biosciences, the lab previously identified a specific gene in 2001 that forms the genetic basis for the disease. According to a summary page provided by WARF, several animal models were then created to test and develop new treatments for the disease. 

But existing mouse models for the disease didn’t fully express every characteristic of Alexander disease, according to the Messing lab. The info sheet shows some of the therapies being developed are ready for more rigorous testing in animals before they can go to human trials. 

Earlier mouse models would show signs such as aggregation of certain proteins, mild seizures and cognitive problems, but they lacked problems with strength or movement, and didn’t show any disruption in the tissues surrounding nerve cells. 

To improve the testing process, the researchers altered the rat’s gene related to the disease so the animal would show more severe symptoms. Additionally, the researchers say it’s easier to draw cerebral spinal fluid from the rat, which is necessary for drug testing. 

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is seeking commercial partners to license the new rat model. 

See more in the WARF tech summary: 

— UW-Madison’s Discovery to Product program and WARF are partnering to co-host four Entrepreneurons lectures in Madison this fall, the organization recently announced. 

According to a release, the series begins Thursday, Sept. 12 and runs through Dec. 3, focusing on bringing the fundamentals of getting a new venture started. The first class will feature Michelle Somes-Booher of the Small Business Development Center and David Ertl of D2P and an introduction to the university’s new Innovate Network.

Entrepreneurons is free and open to the community.

Attendees can register here: 

See more on the D2P program: 

See more at Madison Startups: 


# Wisconsin leads nation in family farm bankruptcies

# Menomonee Valley’s growth includes expansions for Palermo, Potawatomi

# Alex Lasry says DNC impact is about more than delegate hotels

# Gov. Tony Evers issues order to curb PFAS pollution



– WFBF to host leadership boot camp in November

– Wells-Fargo: Wisconsin leads U.S. in farm bankruptcies


– Business groups sound an alarm as Trump’s trade war spirals

– How Milwaukee compares on cost of living with biggest US cities


– Falcon Frontier Days Rodeo planned at UW-River Falls


– Rare bee confirmed in Wisconsin for first time in more than a century

– Gov. Tony Evers creates council targeting PFAS contamination


– Pepi’s returns; new names take old Maison, RBG spaces: Quick restaurant news bites

– Dino’s Riverwest to close after 50 years


– Reports say stolen Hy-Vee account information being sold online


– Wauwatosa chamber names Joan Hansen new executive director, CEO


– For Central Standard, new Hard2O drink is about pushing innovation


Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee names interim executive director 

– David Huntington, inaugural leader of Greater Milwaukee Foundation, dies at 92


– Which Democratic state delegates are staying where? Clue: They’re not all in metro Milwaukee

– State Dem Party chair defends hosting of some DNC delegates in Illinois, says Wisconsin ‘will be brimming with visitors’


– MLG moving Mount Pleasant warehouse forward

– Wisconsin officials downplay DNC delegate hotel assignments in Illinois


– American Airlines sets date for rollout of uniforms from Lands’ End


– Alex Lasry defends DNC delegates staying in Illinois; promises capacity for southeast Wisconsin hotels


– WisDOT awarded $25.7 million grant to buy new Hiawatha passenger cars


– Tom Still: Beyond the rhetoric, signs of progress on trade

– Tom Nelson: Let’s ditch Foxconn and pursue real economic growth

– Kathleen Rogers and Shenggen Fan: To tackle climate change, we need to rethink our food system


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

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UWM’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center: Visit at Sept. 12 Tech Council event in Milwaukee

FarWell: Maintains rapid growth, lands third consecutive Inc. 5000 Award