WED AM News: Evers discusses Language Roadmap Initiative at conference in Japan; WisBusiness: the Show with Jed White of TASC Ventures

— Gov. Tony Evers says the next generation of Wisconsinites will need to engage with others across linguistic, cultural and national boundaries to compete in the global economy. 

That’s from the guv’s comments before members of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association at its ongoing annual conference in Japan. Evers is joined by representatives of nine Wisconsin companies, as well as UW and WEDC officials. 

In his remarks to the MWJA, Evers discussed the Wisconsin Language Roadmap Initiative, a UW-Madison initiative to ensure all students in the state gain proficiency in another language aside from English. He also highlighted growth in the state’s organic agriculture and water technology industries. 

“As concerns about the environment continue to grow, Wisconsin is leading the way to make agriculture both more sustainable and more responsible,” he said. 

He noted the number of organic farms in the state has doubled in the past 20 years. The state is ranked first in the nation for the number of organic farms growing field crops, and second for the total number of organic farms. 

And with more than 200 businesses in the state working with water tech, Evers called Wisconsin “the Silicon Valley of water.” 

Evers met privately this week with: Yuzaburo Mogi, the honorary chairman and CEO of Kikkoman; Hiroyuki Ogawa, the president and CEO of Komatsu; and Shinichi Yasui, the executive vice president of Toyota North America. 

According to a release from the guv’s office, about 30 Japanese-owned businesses collectively employ more than 8,000 workers in the state. 

See more: 

— The latest episode of “ The Show” features an interview with Jed White of TASC Ventures, one of the newest entries on Wisconsin’s corporate venture capital scene.

Also, Liz Schrum presents Tech Metrics, which chart key indicators and events in the Wisconsin economy.

In a separate commentary, Tech Council President Tom Still talks about the upcoming Early Stage Symposium on Nov. 6-7 at Madison’s Monona Terrace. Companies will have the chance to meet and pitch to investors from Wisconsin and well beyond.

Watch the show here: 

— Huffcutt Concrete is planning a $20 million expansion in Lake Hallie, a project that’s expected to create more than 150 jobs in the Chippewa Valley over the next five years. 

WEDC has authorized up to $1.25 million in state income tax credits for the expansion that can be earned over a three-year period. The company can earn $750,000 of that total by creating jobs, and the other $500,000 by making capital expenditures in the state, according to a contract provided by the agency. 

A release from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. shows the company purchased 10 acres next to its current facility in Lake Hallie for the new development, which will include some automated operations. 

Huffcutt produces precast wall panels for buildings, as well as custom products for agriculture and septic systems. The company was first founded in Chippewa Falls in 1945, and got its start making septic tanks for the surrounding communities. 

In addition to the 150 jobs Huffcutt expects to create, WEDC estimates the project could indirectly create another 79 jobs in the region, for a total of 229. 

See the release: 

— The state’s suicide rate increased 40 percent between 2000 and 2017, according to a new Department of Health Services report. 

The report shows suicide rates were highest for people ages 45-54 between 2013 and 2017, the latest year for which information is available. 

In 2017, most individuals who died by suicide in the state were male. But the majority of people who were hospitalized with self-harm injuries in 2017 were female. 

And suicide was the second-leading cause of death for adolescents that year. 

The DHS analysis was released on Suicide Prevention Day and previews an upcoming report on the impact and response to suicides in the state, to be published later this year. It’s being created by Prevent Suicide Wisconsin, a joint effort including DHS, other state agencies, local health departments and suicide prevention groups. 

“Coordination and cooperation from every sector of society, including government, public health, health care, employers, education, media, and community organizations is critical for us to be effective in our prevention work,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.

DHS’s suicide prevention strategy includes four main recommendations: enhancing protective factors such as social connections and security for medications and firearms; boosting access to care for at-risk populations; promoting prevention efforts in health care systems; and improving surveillance of suicides and evaluation of prevention programs. 

See the agency’s new page on suicide prevention: 

See the release: 

— Foxconn has kicked off the second year of its three-year Smart Cities Smart Futures contest, which draws submissions from Wisconsin universities and colleges for improving local communities with new technologies. 

Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s director of U.S. strategic initiatives, recently announced the second year of the competition at UW-Milwaukee’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center. 

Last year’s contest brought in 325 submissions from students, faculty, and staff representing 24 universities and colleges in the state. 

“The company’s commitment to this three-year initiative, providing up to $1 million in cash and in-kind technical support to winners, reflects Foxconn’s desire to encourage innovation and critical thinking among young people who represent the workforce of the future,” Yeung said. 

New categories in smart manufacturing have been added this year, including farm tech, health care, safety, mobility and energy sustainability. 

Competition submissions for the second round are due Oct. 20. 

See more contest details: 

See more in Foxconn Reports below. 

— Rep. Katrina Shankland has unveiled a package of measures aimed at stemming the spread of CWD among the state’s deer herd. 

Of the three proposals introduced yesterday by the Stevens Point Dem at a Capitol news conference, two of the bills would boost funding for recommendations developed by a committee of sportsmen and DNR officials. They were tasked with reviewing DNR’s current CWD plan. 

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress last week recommended the agency more widely disseminate information about CWD to sportsmen and women, expand a program that places dumpsters for deer carcasses across the state, and increase the number of kiosks where hunters can drop off samples for testing. One of Shankland’s bills would provide $2 million for dumpsters and $100,000 for educating hunters about the importance of proper disposal of carcasses while a second would put $200,000 towards kiosks, with all three sums spread across the biennium. 

The third bill in the package would allow the DNR to study CWD in wild species of deer and elk and provide $2 million over the biennium for research and management of CWD. 

“These bills provide meaningful ways for us to mitigate the spread of CWD while also ensuring that more funding is dedicated statewide for these efforts,” Shankland said. 

The bills, which began circulating yesterday, boast a number of cosponsors but lack bipartisan support. 

“I’ve definitely been shopping the bills around, and we did design them to hopefully be as common-sense as possible so everyone would support them,” Shankland said. “It’s my goal to try to get them signed into law this session.” 

Deer bow season opens Sept. 14 and runs through Jan. 31, 2020, in metro sub-units. The traditional nine-day gun hunt is in November. 

— An upcoming luncheon held by the Wisconsin Technology Council will feature renowned virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a scientist with UW-Madison and the University of Tokyo. 

He’ll be joined by Paul Radspinner, president and CEO for Madison-based FluGen. He will discuss the company’s work on an intranasal vaccine that could be more effective against mutated strains of viruses.

According to a release from the Tech Council, the 2018 flu vaccine was only about 40 percent effective based on CDC data. 

Kawaoka will provide an overview of how flu viruses mutate into more dangerous forms. 

“Dr. Kawaoka’s research is at the forefront of work around the world,” said Tom Still, Tech Council president. “FluGen is among a small number of companies poised to provide answers to one of mankind’s oldest and most lethal maladies.” 

See more event details and register here: 


# Area Airbnbs already filling up ahead of DNC

# Wisconsin tourism secretary still seeks funds for DNC-related marketing campaign

# Wisconsin man accused in illegal THC vaping cartridge scheme



– Crop report: More farmers chopping corn for silage last week

– Overheated grain dryer prompts Didion ethanol to react


– Racine could dedicate $19.2 million for home repair loans

– Top bidders: The biggest winning bids from around Wisconsin this past week


– Milwaukee jobs outlook remains strong, despite dip heading into Q4


– Marquette University opens $18.5 million physician assistant studies building

– UW-Madison, Ho-Chunk Nation consider a ‘shared future’


– Finalists named for Leopold Conservation Award program


– Foxconn Smart Cities competition to focus on manufacturing in year two


– Former Post Acute Specialty Hospital of Milwaukee building sold for $2 million

– Marquette’s SWIM urges businesses to address trauma-informed care in Milwaukee

– States continue to tackle rising drug costs


– Leading data company invests in Madison-based startup


– QPS Employment expanding to Nebraska with acquisition


– Harley-Davidson lands at new dealership in O’Hare Airport flight path


– Madison Finance Committee recommends leasing space, $500,000 grant to arts nonprofit


– Milwaukee leaders tackle negative issues before city faces DNC spotlight in 2020: Panelists

– WFU members head to D.C. for legislative fly-in


– Huffcutt Concrete opens pre-cast plant in Lake Hallie


– National Wildlife Federation releases recommendations to address PFAS contamination


– El Rey grocery store co-founder Armando Villarreal dies


– DNC host committee drops fee for restaurant, venue referrals


– Transportation Projects Commission likely to reconvene this winter


– Sachi Komai: Madison can do more to foster minority entrepreneurship


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

WEDC: Huffcutt Concrete LLC expands operations in Lake Hallie

Agrace: Dr. Eric Marty Named Director of Palliative Care

J. J. Keller: Partners with the National Floor Safety Institute to combat workplace falls