THU AM News: WEDC extends “We’re All In” grants; Tourism looking up in northern and southeastern Wisconsin

— The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has extended the deadline until 11:59 p.m. on Friday for small businesses to apply online for the $2,500 “We’re All In Small Business” grants.

“We’ve had a great response to our We’re All In Grants,” said WEDC spokesman David Callender. 

As of Tuesday night, when the applications were supposed to close, almost 27,000 businesses had applied for the grants. WEDC aims to get at least 30,000 business applications. 

“The feedback we were getting from many businesses yesterday was that they were really excited to apply, but needed more time to get their applications ready,” Callender said.  “It’s important that they take the time to get their materials ready, because mistakes will just delay the process of getting these grants to the people who need them, so we extended the deadline.”

WEDC has received support from local partners in getting the word out. Chambers of commerce, regional economic development organizations and small business development centers at UW campuses have provided the letters of acknowledgement required by the application. 

“We are still looking to start getting funds out the door by the end of June, and hope to have all the funds disbursed by the end of July,” Callender said. 

The program is designed to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, while also encouraging them to adopt best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe.

The grants will not be determined on a first-come, first-served basis, according to WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.

“Businesses all have the same chance of receiving a grant, regardless of when they apply,” she said. “But with the limited time that’s left, we’re encouraging businesses to apply now so that if they have questions, they don’t risk missing out on this important resource.”

Hughes also noted that the “We’re All In” grants come with “very few” strings attached. 

“They are grants – not loans – so they don’t have to be repaid, and businesses can use the money for whatever they need at this time,” she said.

To apply for the We’re All In grant, visit:

See the release: 

— More than 10,000 applications have been submitted for the Wisconsin Farm Support program, according to DATCP.

As of yesterday morning the count was 10,102.

Groups representing Wisconsin farmers requested that $50 million of CARES Act funding be allocated in the form of direct payments to farmers, to which Gov. Tony Evers agreed last month. The direct payments are to help the state’s agriculture industry adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19. 

Applications for the Wisconsin Farm Support Program, administered by the Department of Revenue, are being accepted now until 11:59 p.m. on Monday. Payments will total $1,000-$3,500 per eligible farmer based on a sliding scale.

To apply for the Wisconsin Farm Support Program, visit:

— Tourism in northern Wisconsin for 2019 was the best year on record, but 2020 is “blowing it out of the water.” 

Vilas County saw an uptick in sales tax for March and April, but it was late May when the county fielded more requests for information as people made the trek to St. Germain, according to St. Germain Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Penny Strom in a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce webinar.

“If you’re going to social distance, this is the best place,” she said. “People are looking to get out of the cities, to get out where there are a lot of cases.”

Strom noted Vilas and Oneida counties’ low COVID-19 case counts, at 11 and 17 confirmed cases respectively.

Memorial Day was “extremely busy” for St. Germain. While normally the influx of people is on Friday afternoon of the holiday weekend, Strom said crowds came in as early as Tuesday leaving hotels and lodging without vacancy.

“And they are plum full until the end of August,” she said. “Many of them have said that 2019 was the best year ever on record; 2020 is blowing it out of the water right now.”

Read the full story at 

— WMC President Kurt Bauer declared the need for law and order following violent Madison protests.

“Who will invest in a state where police are defunded, crime is rampant and the mob ragious with impunity?” he offered in a WMC webinar. “Law and order are imperative for commerce and investment.”

Bauer planned on making a trip to the Capitol Square during yesterday’s lunch hour, adding that it breaks his heart to see the beautiful grounds defaced the way they have been.

“Wisconsin businesses need our elected leaders to uphold the rule of law and protect our citizens, our property and our rights,” he said. “It is the most important and basic mission of government.”

— Pathogens don’t require a passport.

That’s just one of the things COVID-19 made Wisconsin aware of, according to UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden.

In a WMC webinar, Golden attributed luck for Wisconsin being in better shape than its peer states in combating COVID-19.

“It’s a combination of first of all, luck: luck of the draw, luck that we were not on the East Coast or the West Coast,” he said. “That gave us the second important factor: we had relatively more time to prepare, to ramp up our testing, to empty out our beds for any potential surge.”

Golden also acknowledged “incredibly high compliance” statewide with good public health measures and the “amazing infrastructure” for research at universities and biomedical corporations statewide. 

“And also, thank God, we have many, many really strong health systems throughout our state and they were much better prepared than several other states to weather the storm,” he said.

However, Golden said we started out in a bad place. 

“We started out in a bad place because we were under prepared,” he said. “This nation, and Wisconsin in particular, has chronically invested much less in public health than what we need to do.”

He said public health should be treated as just as important as “fancy technology” and cutting edge biomedical interventions. 

“I think also our health systems, for all of their excellence, were also underprepared for something as unusual as this,” Golden said. “At UW-Health for example, we’ve been working really hard and successfully to lower our costs.”

In order to become more efficient, bend the cost curve, eliminate waste or excess capacity, UW-Health was “lean and mean,” but did not have the extra capacity to deal with the “once-in-a-century” pandemic. Not to mention, Golden presumes that nobody thought this could ever happen in the United States. 

“But the bad news is these pathogens don’t really require a passport; they can cross through any of the arbitrary lines we draw on the map and covid has really made us aware of that,” he said.

Looking forward, Golden reminded viewers that this will continue past a vaccine, because the vaccine will have to be monitored to see if the virus is mutating. 

“Unfortunately, I predict that we will not be able to rest on our laurels like we have with polio vaccines,” he said. “I believe and I hope that treatments will become personalized… based on the genes of the virus, based on the genes of the host.”

— The state saw 432 new confirmed COVID-19 cases since the last count, the most new cases in one day since June 4.

In addition to a spike in new cases, the percentage of positive tests rose to 4.3 percent from 2.2 percent Tuesday.

The new cases bring the cumulative count to 25,763. The state reported 10,070 tests Tuesday, well under the state’s daily testing capacity of 17,759 tests.

To date, the state has administered over 513,000 tests, with the Wisconsin National Guard responsible for collecting just over 154,000 of those — 5,300 Tuesday alone.

The National Guard has ongoing coronavirus testing sites statewide, supporting the state’s initiative to increase COVID-19 testing since early April. The teams can be tailored to meet the needs of a specific facility and are dispatched from a larger task force of several hundred citizen soldiers and airmen.

Community-based testing sites are located at the Alliant Energy Center in Dane County, Kenosha’s Municipal Building in Kenosha County, UMOS and Custer Stadium in Milwaukee County and La Valle Town Hall in Sauk County.

The Guard is conducting site-based testing at the Chippewa Valley Correctional Center in Chippewa County, the Oak Hill Correctional Institute in Dane County, the Black River Correctional Center and the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Sheboygan County.

— Milwaukee emerged again as the state’s largest hotspot among other southeastern counties, but data has health officials keeping an eye on new areas of the state.

In eight days, Milwaukee County added 890 new COVID-19 cases to its count, giving the county a cumulative total of 10,544 confirmed cases and the highest infection ratio of 11.1 per 1,000 people. 

The second-largest hotspot in the state is Racine County which added 81 new COVID-19 cases in eight days for a cumulative total of 2,114 confirmed cases and an infection ratio of 10.8 per 1,000 people. 

Brown County’s ratio is 10.2 and has the second-most positive cases at 2,661, an increase of 169 in eight days. Kenosha County’s infection ratio is 8.5 per 1,000 people and cases number 1,436, an increase of 62 cases in eight days, but slowing down. 

Walworth (5.06), Dodge (5.05) and Rock (5.04) counties follow in terms of infection ratios.

DHS’ new Badger Bounce Back data dashboard determining COVID-19 activity level labels LaCrosse and Milwaukee counties as “high” for virus burden or case rate and a growing trajectory or a high percentage change in cases. 

La Crosse had 22 new cases today and has had an increase in daily confirmed cases since the beginning of June. Its infection ratio is 2.7 per 1,000 people. The Western HERC region of Wisconsin, which includes LaCrosse County, is also labeled as high for burden and a growing trajectory.

See the new data dashboard with county and HERC region breakdown here: 

— DHS is currently conducting 629 facility-wide investigations across the state, 16 more than last week.

Non-health care workplace investigations account for 284 of the current investigations, followed by 214 happening in long-term care facilities.

Long-term care facilities in the state are reporting 329 deaths due to COVID-19, making up 43 percent of total deaths in Wisconsin due to the virus. These include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes. 

Thirty-eight of the investigations are in group housing facilities including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes that have identified 40 COVID-19 deaths, or 5 percent of the state’s total. 

One hundred and ninety of the state’s COVID-19 deaths were not linked to group housing facilities, but 198 deaths are categorized as “unknown,” meaning they may or may not have occurred at these facilities. 

According to DHS, the unknown category exists because relevant information has only been collected since April 8. 

Almost 20 percent of confirmed COVID-19 patients who have died in the state were over 90 years old, while about 25 percent were between 80 and 89 years old. Over 26 percent were between 70 and 79, and roughly 17 percent were between 60 and 69. 

DHS is also conducting investigations in health care facilities (21) and “other settings” (72). A majority of the investigations are taking place in Milwaukee (126), Brown (81) and Waukesha (66) counties.

There have been a total of 853 investigations, with 224 investigations closed. An investigation is considered closed and removed from the DHS listing 28 days after the last positive case was confirmed.

Click here to see the facilities under investigation and a breakdown by county: 

— The state’s COVID-19 death toll reached 757, seven more deaths since Tuesday.

Milwaukee County had four new deaths while counties had two more deaths, while Brown, Kenosha, Racine and Washington counties had one more. One death was removed from Waukesha’s count. 

The number of recovered patients is at an estimated 78 percent, while 3 percent of patients have died. Active cases, cases still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis, number 19 percent.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (377), Racine (61), Brown (40), Kenosha (40), Waukesha (37), Dane (32), Rock (23), Walworth (18), Ozaukee (15), Washington (14), Grant (12), Winnebago (11), Outagamie (8), Clark (6), Fond du Lac (6), Waupaca (6), Dodge (5), Jefferson (4), Richland (4) and Sheboygan (4).

Door, Forest, Marinette and Sauk counties report three deaths each. Adams, Buffalo and Calumet counties report two deaths each.

Bayfield, Burnett, Columbia, Eau Claire, Green, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Polk, St. Croix and Wood counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 


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– Huntsinger Farms adds solar power in advance of Farm Technology Days 

– USDA Invests $20.5 Million in Rural Electric Infrastructure in Wisconsin 

– Wisconsin Farm Support Program Closes Monday 


– Chippewa Valley employment got a little better last month 


– A Response To The UW System’s Plan To Move Forward 

– New partnership with Herzing will offer ‘on-ramp’ for prospective Marquette students 


– Report Finds Wisconsin Is Among 10 States Where Nitrate Contamination Is Getting Worse 

– Wisconsin DNR Can Begin Crafting Regulations To Restrict Firefighting Foam Containing PFAS 

– Environmental DNA Shows Promise As Tool For Estimating Wisconsin’s Fish Populations 


– Wisconsinites Can Now Apply For 13 Weeks Of Extended Unemployment Benefits 


– Face masks prevented up to 450K cases, study says 

– 22 Wisconsin Counties Have ‘High Level’ Of COVID-19 Activity, Says DHS 

– Health Department: Patrons of two EC businesses could have been exposed to virus 

– With 21 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, La Crosse County remains in severe risk category 


– Milky Way Tech Hub to launch $50 million fund to invest in tech companies owned by minorities 


– Democratic National Convention Will Be Mostly Virtual 

– Elections Commission Votes To Continue Temporary Mail-In Voting Policy For Nursing Home Residents 

– Poll: 61 Percent Of Wisconsinites Support Protests Against Racism, Police Brutality 

– COVID-19 task force suspends salary increases for county employees 

– Green Bay mayor warns Trump against intolerance, ‘willful ignorance’ ahead of visit 

– President Trump’s Green Bay town hall meeting registration full  


– Jeffers opens $18M Gold Medal Lofts apartments in historic Racine building: Slideshow 

– How The Pandemic Has Impacted Home Sales In Wisconsin 

– Gold Medal Lofts in Racine opens 


– Bigger gatherings allowed in new EC County order, but some virus data ‘concerning’ 


– Perkins Restaurant & Bakery exits Milwaukee market 


– Wanaki Golf Course purchased by private operator 

– Eau Claire Express cancel 2020 season 


– Milwaukee’s Jet Constellations launches $50M fund to invest in tech companies owned by Blacks, other minorities  


– Feasible that Democratic National Convention will not be held at Fiserv Forum, sources say 

– Lake Geneva tourism recovering during Covid-19 pandemic 

– Wisconsin tribal casinos grapple with ‘devastating’ impact of coronavirus 


– Washington Island Ferry adds more trips this weekend  

– All passenger cruises to Milwaukee canceled this year due to COVID-19


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