TUE AM News: Startups in gener8tor Accelerator Studio to pitch next month; GOP lawmakers urging Trump to curb regulation of ethanol biofuels

— The graduating cohort of entrepreneurs from gener8tor’s Accelerator Studio program have created startups based on consumer products, software and connected systems. 

Founders for these early-stage companies will pitch their business models next month to an audience of investors, startup leaders and other community members as part of the program’s Premiere Night. 

This year’s event will mark gener8tor’s eighth anniversary and the completion of the inaugural Accelerator Studio cohort. Entrepreneurs joined the studio in late August with no concept yet for a company. Over the past four months, they worked with program staff to create and develop a product or service, develop a prototype of some kind and start reaching customers. 

Gener8tor Milwaukee Managing Director Ben Stanley said each founder has connected with more than 100 mentors and customers and pitched to more than 80 investors from Wisconsin and elsewhere, including New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Organizers recently announced Microsoft President Brad Smith will keynote the event. 

“Innovation has always been an important part of this region’s proud past, and accelerators like gener8tor are making sure that it’s equally part of its exciting future,” Smith said in a release. “I’m looking forward to hearing what these newly minted Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs are working on.” 

One of the presenting companies, Last Lock, has a “smart cylinder” product that can upgrade mechanical lock systems with electronic sensors. Users can digitally manage and track lock access. The company will be presented in December by Jack Ryan, CEO and founder.

Another participating startup, Altin Labs, has an industrial machine monitoring solution aimed at manufacturers. The company’s technology supports real-time performance monitoring to get ahead of potential issues. CEO and Founder Ahmen Kanan will address Premiere Night attendees.

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/startups-in-gener8tor-accelerator-studio-to-pitch-next-month/ 

— Nine Republican state legislators are urging President Trump to curb EPA’s regulation of ethanol biofuels.

Their letter claims the EPA is abusing a “Small Refinery Exemptions” rule to circumvent new Trump administration standards on the year-round sale of E15 ethanol blends.

SREs waive refineries from a requirement in the Renewable Fuel Standard to blend ethanol in gasoline. The EPA gave out 31 SREs in early August this year, a slight decrease from last year’s 35 exemptions.

The letter claims such exemptions lower demand for corn and ethanol production and have a direct negative impact on rural communities in the state.

“To protect these jobs, it is vital that the EPA uphold your promise to accurately account for biofuel demand lost to EPA exemptions, starting in 2020,” the letter read. “Rural communities across the Midwest are counting on you.”

The lawmakers include: Sen. Jerry Petrowski of Marathon; Reps. Mary Felzkowski of Irma, Tony Kurtz of Wonewoc, Jeff Mursau of Crivitz, Todd Novak of Dodgeville, Jon Plumer of Lodi, Rob Stafsholt of New Richmond, Gary Tauchen of Bonduel and Travis Tranel of Cuba City.

See the letter:


See a recent story on the issue: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/corn-and-ethanol-producers-feeling-short-changed-by-proposed-fuel-standards/ 

— Cold, wet conditions have been interfering with Wisconsin corn farmers’ regular schedule for growing and harvesting, according to a progress report from USDA and DATCP. 

This year’s corn harvest for grain is 44 percent complete, which is 21 days behind last year’s schedule and 18 days behind the five-year average. The report shows corn maturation has been lagging on both measures for more than two months. 

The condition of the harvested corn was 65 percent good to excellent, down slightly from last week. And the moisture content of grain corn was 24 percent, supporting a larger trend of unfavorable levels of moisture across all grains. 

Corn silage and soybean harvests have been slow, the report shows, though grain corn is picking up speed. Some farmers were harvesting their crops as quickly as possible before conditions get colder, while others were delaying that work to reduce drying costs. 

Other crops are being delayed as well, the report shows. The soybean harvest is 14 days behind last year and 20 days behind the average, while winter wheat growth is 24 days behind last year and 25 days behind the average. 

See the report: http://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/191118-Wisconsin-crop.pdf 

— Gov. Tony Evers and AG Josh Kaul have announced a $1.5 million expansion of treatment and diversion options for non-violent offenders the guv said “moves our state closer to a more compassionate and common-sense approach to criminal justice.”

At a Capitol news conference, Kaul touted the treatment and diversion expansion as “one key component of our three core parts of our response to the opioid epidemic.” The other two: lawsuits against Purdue Pharma entities; and education to prevent opioid addiction.

He said the move was made in the “interest of fairness,” noting such programs allowed those struggling with addiction and mental illness to receive “an outcome that allows them to return to their lives through treatment or through alternative programming rather than ending up in prison.”

Added Kaul: “It’s also a better outcome for public safety because if we continue the cycle of having people incarcerated, but not addressing the underlying issues that lead to that incarceration, the cycle of crime and incarceration that’s related to substance abuse addiction is going to continue.”

Both Kaul and Evers also touted the programs as win-wins for the state financially, with the guv highlighting a UW study that found every $1 spent on the programs saved the state $2 on its criminal justice system.

“These treatment programs can save lives, but they also can open the door for future opportunities and success stories for those who are gripped by addiction,” Evers said. “These are great bipartisan steps forward to tackle the opioid and meth epidemics we’re seeing in our communities across the great state of Wisconsin.”

Door and Shawano counties will receive over $140,000 and $107,000 respectively for adult drug courts, Lafayette County will be awarded more than $118,000 for an OWI court and the Ho-Chunk Nations will receive $70,000 to support a healing and wellness court. The three counties and one tribe will receive the funding in each year of the biennium.

Seven other counties will receive state dollars in each year of the biennium to expand existing programs. 

See a map of the state’s TAD programs: http://www.doj.state.wi.us/sites/default/files/news-media/TAD%20CY20%20Program%20Map.pdf 

See the release: http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-kaul-announces-3-counties-and-1-tribe-establish-treatment-courts-7-counties-expand 

— Kaul says he will continue to hold out on a proposed settlement with opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma.

Kaul in May filed suit in state court against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc. and former chairman and president Richard Sackler, alleging subsidiaries of Purdue Pharma and its founders fueled the opioid epidemic by employing “deceptive” marketing and sales techniques.

But the maker of OxyContin in September filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to shield itself and the Sackler family from more than 2,600 federal and state lawsuits seeking financial compensation from the company.

Kaul said yesterday that roughly half of the states involved have entered into a proposed settlement agreement with Purdue Pharma, but he doesn’t think the deal “goes far enough to hold the Sacklers as accountable.”

“I’m of the view that we need to hold out for a greater contribution of funds from the Sacklers, because those funds — by the way, the Sackler family made billions and billions of dollars and those funds that the state of Wisconsin recovers can help support efforts like this: treatment efforts, prevention efforts and enforcement efforts and it’s critical that we maximize our recovery,” he said.

A DOJ spokeswoman told WisPolitics.com the bankruptcy court has placed a stay on all claims against Purdue and the Sacklers, including Wisconsin’s suit in state court, while it puts together a plan to resolve the litany of legal action. 

— Baraboo is set to receive a $54,700 grant from the state for the redevelopment of the former AL. Ringling Mansion Ballroom into a new brewpub. 

The downtown location is being repurposed into a microbrewery and restaurant with the support of a community development investment grant from WEDC. 

City officials are working with the AL. Ringling Brewing Co. on the renovation project. The release shows the 18,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1905 by one of the Ringling brothers, who made their name through the Ringling Circus. 

The building was converted into an Elks Lodge in 1936, and was later expanded into a 300-person ballroom and six-lane bowling alley in 1948. The current owners, Don Horowitz and Joe and Carmen Colossa, purchased the property in 2013. 

The owners plan to serve a beer that’s based on a recipe found hidden under the floor of the historic mansion. According to a release, the beer is based on the Ringling Family’s century-old original beer recipe and has been in development for two years. 

The planned AL. Ringling Mansion Inn & Brewery is expected to be finished by spring 2020, creating around 14 jobs. The WEDC release shows the owners plan to make the beer with local ingredients, hire local contractors for the construction work and purchase brewing equipment currently being built in Viroqua. 

See the release: http://wedc.org/blog/baraboo-state-grant-support-renovation-historic-ringling-mansion/ 

— The Governor’s Task Force on Reducing Prescription Drug Prices will hold its first meeting tomorrow in Madison. 

After collecting information on drug pricing and looking to other states for examples and opportunities for partnerships, the task force will provide recommendations for reducing prices for prescription drugs in the state. 

See more on the task force: http://oci.wi.gov/Pages/PressReleases/prescriptiondrugtaskforce.aspx 


# Slowing economy limits Kohler’s ability to keep workers as jobs head to Mississippi

# Kroger buys 58 acres for more than $7M for Pleasant Prairie fulfillment center


# Report: DNR spends $8.7M on contractors to manage state lands


# A Texas company devalues sand mines in Wisconsin




– Grain dryer fire in Fond du Lac County causes major damage


– WFBF sets goal of $100,000 for centennial fundraising



– Survey of Midwest ag bankers shows steady land prices, increased farm debt



– American Family Insurance Amphitheater enters phase two of construction


– Proposed millennial task force would work to limit Milwaukee ‘brain drain’



– UCC breaks ground on new early learning academy

– Rural Wisconsin STEM teachers build connections to researchers at UW event



– gener8tor reveals four startups created through new Accelerator Studio


– Gokhman not concerned with turnover as Crossroads Collective enters year two


– Advocate Aurora Health continues executive realignment after Turkal’s departure 


– State directs $1.5 million for drug, diversion courts to 10 counties, Ho-Chunk Nation



– Hard times for Wisconsin sand: Amid flagging sales, Hi-Crush writes off $215M in mine value



– US Sen. Ron Johnson scores a win as Trump pulls back on e-cigarette restrictions



– Milwaukee investors buy former Residence Inn in upstate New York at auction 


– Meet the new owner of 84South’s large national retail properties. His family shops there 


– Kroger buys 58-acre site along 88th Avenue for Pleasant Prairie fulfillment center

– Cobalt sells 84South retail buildings for $34.5 million


– Dane County revisiting cost estimates for Alliant Energy Center’s Exhibition Hall expansion



– Iowa DOT: Wisconsin contractor says I-74 bridge over Mississippi River isn’t buildable



– GOP state lawmakers urge Trump support for ethanol, say exemptions hurt Wisconsin farmers



– Carrie Scherpelz: Wisconsin, when it comes to climate, we’re all in this together



<i>See these and other press releases: 

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