FRI AM News: Packers grant $250K toward financial literacy lab at UW-Green Bay; WisBusiness: The Podcast features DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski

— The Green Bay Packers are granting $250,000 toward the establishment of the Willie Davis Financial Trading and Investment Laboratory at UW-Green Bay’s growing business school. 

The donation honors Hall of Famer Willie Davis, who passed away in April. He was a member of all five of Vince Lombardi’s NFL title-winning teams and played in Super Bowls I and II. 

The grant is an important next step in the university’s efforts to support the region’s financial services sector with a focus on financial literacy in its growing Cofrin School of Business. 

“This is a wonderful tribute to Willie. He was a Hall of Fame player who became a great businessman and entrepreneur,” noted Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. 

Davis was known for his belief in the power of education and his business and financial acumen. He became the first African American board member for many of the Fortune 500 companies he served. His board membership included Dow Chemical, Johnson Controls, Manpower, Sara Lee and the Packers.

Cofrin School of Business Dean Matt Dornbush said the new laboratory will provide students with financial and research data feeds, analytics and simulation platforms for financial trading portfolio management, stock tracking, and trading. 

Read the full story at 

— This week’s “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Randy Romanski. 

With a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers come out to take advantage of others’ misfortunes, Romanski said. DATCP is asking consumers to be wary when contacted by phone or online for personal information. Romanski warns of social security scams, currently the top scam reported to the department.

When the pandemic hit the state’s agriculture industry and disrupted supply chains, DATCP balanced its role as a regulatory authority and resource provider by pivoting its services.

“Our agency quickly mobilized to support those industries, so for example, we helped provide masks to food businesses, held weekly conference calls with industry groups and conducted virtual inspections and licensing exams to pivot with our regulated industry and serve as a resource in that way,” Romanski said.

Despite challenges, agriculture remains one of the state’s strengths, he said. 

As the agency heads into a new year, Romanski calls for continued investments in the state’s strengths, including the dairy industry, soil and water health and broadband. 

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— A Wisconsin contact tracing app is launching ahead of Christmas Eve to give close contacts of those with a positive COVID-19 test information to take quicker action.

Available Wednesday, WI Exposure Notification will be a voluntary app. It’s available for download in the Google Play store, while iPhone users can turn the app on in their phone’s settings. The app complements the state’s efforts in contact tracing. 

Users will remain anonymous because the app does not use, collect or store any GPS data or personal details. Instead, it uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously share Bluetooth signals with other smartphones using the app nearby. 

All people in Wisconsin who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a code that users can enter into the app. By entering the code, the person who tests positive anonymously notifies devices their phone has shared Bluetooth signals with during the period of time they may have been contagious. 

“The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be, just like the public health measures we’ve been talking about throughout this pandemic,” said Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm. “Stay home, wash your hands, wear a mask, physically distance, and use the WI Exposure Notification app.”

For the app to work properly, Bluetooth must be enabled on the device, and the WI Exposure Notification app must be downloaded and-or enabled before you receive a positive test result. Wisconsin residents with smartphones will receive a push notification within a few days of the system going live to download the app. 

The Exposure Notification Express is a collaboration between Google and Apple and is a no-cost solution being offered to states, according to DHS.  

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— Dane County public health officials are expressing optimism about the COVID-19 vaccine, but they’re keeping a cautious outlook on any lifting of virus mitigation orders.

Each week, more vaccine doses will arrive in Wisconsin, explained Doug Voegeli, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County Environmental Health Division. The doses are allocated from the state and pushed out to different vaccinators. 

Sixty-four entities are prepared to distribute vaccines in Dane County, Voegeli told a Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce virtual panel yesterday afternoon.

But the county is still months away from the ultimate end goal — vaccinating up to 80 percent of the general public. Voegeli said tier 1A of the vaccination plan, including health care workers and those in long-term care facilities, should be completed toward the end of January. 

City attorney Marci Paulsen said Madison will not mandate vaccinations during the emergency use authorization period, but the city has not determined what will occur as doses become more readily available.

Future public health orders will still rest on the number of active COVID-19 cases rather than vaccination rates, Voegeli said. And while Dane County only sees an average of 175 new cases per day, one of the lowest rates in the state, hospitalizations and COVID-19 related deaths remain high, explained PHMDC Public Health Supervisor Kat Grande.

“We are seeing decreases in cases but we’re still at a high level,” Grande said. “We’re excited about this decrease, yet we still see some challenges.”

Local businesses have grappled with changing public health orders since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of them losing more than half their revenue. PHMDC Business Support and Compliance Representative Molly Budlong said she’s received roughly 1,200 complaints about businesses not complying with public health orders as they roll out, but has not seen the same pattern of rising complaints following the most recent order. 

Order #11, which went into effect mid-week, allows more leniency for indoor and outdoor gatherings. 

Local businesses can help prevent future restrictions by promoting positive information about vaccines and even giving their employees a couple of hours off to get vaccinated once a dose is available to them, Voegeli said. 

The county is no longer in crisis mode for contact tracing, but is still asking businesses to report employees’ positive test results, said PHMDC Business and Enforcement Liaison Bonnie Koenig.

“We’re all hopeful that our numbers will continue to decline and as that happens, we can work on getting people back into environments they need to be in,” Paulsen said. “This has been a dark nine months and an end is in sight.” 

— State Supreme Court justices quizzed an Evers administration attorney on the legality of an order limiting indoor capacity at bars and restaurants in light of an earlier high court decision affirming lawmakers had oversight over a similar order.

The questioning was led primarily by the court’s three-member liberal wing, who wrestled with why the October order shouldn’t be considered the same as the extended stay-at-home directive the Supreme Court nixed in May. Liberal justice Ann Walsh Bradley noted the ruling found no DHS act or order was exempt from the definition of a rule.

“To me, it says no order is exempted from the definition. In other words, all are included in the definition,” she said.

But she noted that the decision included two footnotes creating such exemptions, including one granting the agency authority to close schools. She asked how to reconcile that with the text of the order.

Assistant Attorney General Colin Hector, representing the Evers administration, argued that in overturning the extended Safer at Home order, the court found DHS’ view of the law gave it “unfettered discretion or a sort of a blank check to impose public health interventions” without legislative oversight.

“There’s no unfettered discretion here,” he said. “The law says precisely what the agency can do: forbid public gatherings; and sets forth the criteria under which that authority can be exercised to control outbreaks or epidemics.”

But attorney Misha Tseytlin arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, an Amery tavern and Pro-Life Wisconsin, accused DHS of trying to make an “end-run around the Legislature.”

“My friend, again, representing the same agency in the same pandemic, is attempting to get this court to take another bite of the apple, frankly cynically because my friend believes that the composition of this court has changed,” he said.

Conservatives held a 5-2 majority on the court when it struck down the extended stay-at-home order. Since then, liberal Jill Karofsky defeated conservative Daniel Kelly to narrow the conservative advantage to 4-3.

Read the full story at 

— SHINE Medical Technologies LLC has broken ground on a new 54,000-square-foot facility in Janesville.

The new building will house its corporate headquarters and a large-scale production facility for the therapeutics division it established last year.

SHINE’s therapeutics facility will initially produce lutetium-177 (Lu-177), a therapeutic isotope in demand by clinical trial sponsors because of its potential to improve outcomes for patients with certain types of cancer. When operational in 2022, it will be capable of producing more than 300,000 doses of Lu-177 per year, enabling SHINE to support anticipated demand for the therapeutic isotope over the next five years.

“SHINE expects to play a leading role in supplying Lu-177 to serve cancer patients around the world,” said Katrina Pitas, general manager of SHINE’s therapeutics division. “Our new therapeutics production facility will enable us to implement our proprietary production process and scale faster than any other producer.”

The building will sit to the northeast of the facility SHINE is currently constructing to produce molybdenum-99. Thirty-five thousand square feet of the facility will comprise the company’s new headquarters, which will be focused on centralizing SHINE’s growing workforce.

“We are grateful to the City of Janesville for its partnership in this facility and look forward to continuing to be an active member and a significant employer in the Janesville area,” said Greg Piefer, founder and CEO of SHINE.

— The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. released a “shout-out generator” to build momentum for businesses across the state as they deal with the pandemic’s challenges.

The “We’re All In” generator enables reviews, celebration and shareable support for businesses. The online tool creates shareable graphics and memes for social media platforms about businesses with input from Wisconsin fans and shoppers.

As the holiday shopping season picks up, the digital tool offers customers who want to help businesses a way to praise the business or raise awareness of a positive experience they had with the shop or service.

Visit to access the shout-out generator. 

“This season, we’re asking people to show a little love for the businesses they love,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “We encourage everyone to share and celebrate the local businesses operating safely in their area as a way to keep those businesses open, help get our friends, and get everyone back to work.”


# Milwaukee hotel occupancy drops to worst levels since May

# Nexus Pharmaceuticals sets month for $100M plant opening, preps drug for treating Covid patients

# Ethanol producers seek federal aid, appreciate state relief



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– Legislative committee set to undo new rule to curb pollution from PFAS foam


– WEDC’s Missy Hughes talks resources for businesses, Foxconn 


– Health care officials urge patience as vaccine rollout slowly ramps up


– New GOP head wants earlier ballot counting in Wisconsin


– Michels assessing damages from explosion at R1VER project 


– Evers asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to allow new capacity limits


– Hawkeye Hotels makes downtown Milwaukee debut with three-hotel opening 


– InsideWis: If and when you get the chance, COVID-19 vaccination makes historic sense 


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