TUE AM News: Kwik Trip rolls out take-home meals, continues expansions in rural Wisconsin; Arch Electric completes state’s largest privately owned solar system

— Kwik Trip’s latest product line, in an increasingly competitive convenience store sector, arrives Thursday with the introduction of take-home meals — an innovation sparked by a customer base adjusting to a COVID-influenced world.

The La-Crosse based convenience store has 12 options ready to go so far ranging from chicken enchiladas to meatloaf that can be heated up in the microwave in about 2 minutes. They will be available in all Kwik Trip stores. 

“It’s our expectation that you’re going to see a lot of restaurants not survive the pandemic,” said John McHugh, director of communications at Kwik Trip. “We think that the consumer is going to be a little less inclined to go to a sit down restaurant for a meal. They’re going to be worried about safety, social distancing, and yet, we know that there’s a large percentage of consumers that … don’t like to cook. Or there’s a certain percentage of people that frankly don’t know how to cook.”

The take-home meals have been available in about 40 of the 723 stores for the past year after using a former restaurant facility as a test kitchen. The new kitchen facility in La Crosse came online on Sept. 14. 

This is just more good news for the La Crosse-based convenience store that’s having it’s “best year ever,” according to McHugh, despite the global pandemic and recession. Earlier this summer, Kwik Trip announced it will acquire Madison-based convenience store operator Stop-N-Go. Kwik Trip also acquired 34 PDQ Food Store locations, a convenience store chain based in Middleton, in 2017.

But other convenience store chains are expanding in Wisconsin, too.

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/?p=1455614 

— Arch Electric completed the largest privately owned solar array in Wisconsin history at Green Valley Dairy located north of Green Bay in Krakow. 

The more than 1.8 megawatt solar field was officially put into service on Sept. 3, beating Arch Electric’s previous record of a 1.6 megawatt rooftop at an Ikea in Oak Creek,south of Milwaukee. 

The Sheboygan County-based electrical company is considered the largest vertical provider of solar in Wisconsin, meaning it designs and installs the project itself. The system at Green Valley Dairy was a unique collaboration between Arch Electric, Green Valley Dairy and Outagamie Clean Energy Partners.

“Sustainability isn’t just a goal for our family farm; it’s something we live out each day,” said John Jacobs of Green Valley Dairy. “We’re happy to work with Arch Electric on this solar installation as we continue looking for ways to increase sustainability and live responsibly while delivering for our customers.”

The system consists of 20 rows of solar panels in a 7.5-acre parcel of land owned by Green Valley Dairy. Producing over 2.2 megawatts of clean energy annually are 4,940 panels mounted on metal racking that are integrated with 10 solar inverters. 

The solar energy generated annually will offset carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to more than 1.7 million tons. That’s comparable to 8.7 railcars worth of coal burned or over 155,000 gallons of diesel fuel burned. 

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/?p=1455618 

— Soybean harvest was underway in southern and central Wisconsin this past week meeting 10 percent completion, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Soybeans coloring was 95 percent, 23 days ahead of last year and eight days ahead of the five-year average. Seventy-nine percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, 17 days ahead of last year and a week ahead of the average. Harvest is 13 days ahead of last year and four days ahead of the average. Conditions rated 79 percent good to excellent statewide, unchanged from last week.

Excellent conditions of sunny, windy and above normal temperatures helped dry field crops and gave farmers 5.8 suitable days for fieldwork. Cooler air moved into the state over the weekend, bringing rain to some areas.

Corn silage chopping moved quickly this past week — corn harvest for silage was 80 percent complete, a month ahead of last year, and 15 days ahead of the average.

The fourth crop hay cutting also moved quickly. The fourth cutting of alfalfa was reported as 87 percent complete, over four weeks ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average. Pasture condition rated 63 percent good to excellent, up one percentage point from last week.

Winter wheat planting and emergence were well ahead of normal at 58 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Winter wheat planted was 24 days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of the average. Winter wheat was emerging 19 days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of the average.

A few Wisconsin farmers started combining high moisture corn, according to USDA. Corn dented was 96 percent, over four weeks ahead of last year and 17 days ahead of the average. Seventy percent of corn was reported mature, 28 days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of the average. Corn condition rated 77 percent good to excellent, unchanged from last week.

Potato harvest was reported as 72 percent complete, 16 days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the average. 

Meanwhile, fall tillage, cover crop planting and manure hauling were ongoing. 

— Wisconsin ranks number four in the nation for the most COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, according to the CDC.

The Badger State is behind only Texas, California and Florida, the most populated states in the nation.

This increase is due to exponential growth in the 18- to 24-year-old population, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Health Services. 

The 18-24 age range had 26,519 confirmed cases by the week of Sept. 20. That’s an increase of 1,703 cases over the week before and a higher count than any other age group. It also has the highest infection rate at 48.6 cases per 1,000 people. 

That’s followed most closely by the 25-34 age group with 20,494 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,687 over last week, and an infection rate of almost 28 cases per 1,000 people. Individuals under the age of 18 account for the least amount of confirmed cases and the lowest infection rate of all other age groups.

Breaking down the data differently, a quarter of Wisconsin’s confirmed coronavirus cases are in the 20-29 age group. However, that age group accounts for 6.8 percent of the state’s hospitalizations. The chance of an individual in that age group being hospitalized due to COVID-19 is 1.6 percent. 

The death rate is even lower — individuals in the 20-29 age range account for less than 1 percent of the state’s death toll at nine deaths total. 

— As Wisconsin coronavirus cases surge, Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, blamed several things.

On the “UpFront” program, produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com, he said some of the surge is being driven by students returning to college campuses and “perhaps an element of relaxed social distancing that always happens around” Labor Day.

Host Adrienne Pedersen pointed out that Wisconsin is not the only state with colleges and universities and asked why we’re doing so poorly.

“In addition to the return of students, I also believe that masks and lockdown fatigue are contributing to the problem, as well as persistent skepticism about the effectiveness of masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Raymond said.

He noted a recent study from UW-Madison that Wisconsin doesn’t compare well to other states for voluntary mask wearing and social distancing.

“There may … again just be a high level of skepticism about the utility of wearing masks,” he said.

Raymond wouldn’t comment on the politics of Gov. Tony Evers’ extending the statewide mask mandate two months but instead looked at it from a public health perspective saying, “We know from other states and countries that mask mandates do increase the percentage of people who actually wear masks.”

See more from the show: https://www.wisn.com/upfront 

— The past two weeks have brought more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases every day. Half of those days marked over 2,000 cases. 

Yesterday Wisconsin added 1,726 new coronavirus cases, bringing the seven-day average for daily confirmed cases up to 2,156 from Sunday’s 2,091 — a figure that keeps growing. 

The new cases were out of 7,885 total tests received yesterday, putting the daily rate of positive tests to 21.9 percent. While that’s down from Sunday, the seven-day positive test average rose to 18.2 percent from 17.9 percent, another new record. 

The state reports 117,588 cumulative COVID-19 cases with 96,727 of those people recovered.

— Wisconsin’s COVID-19 death rate continues to decline. It’s now at 1.1 percent. 

People ages 70-79 and 80-89 with confirmed cases together account for 55 percent of the state’s deaths at 329 and 368 deaths, respectively. The age groups had an increase of eight and 15 deaths, respectively, over the past seven days.

Wisconsin added two new COVID-19 deaths yesterday, bringing the total to 1,283. Milwaukee County leads the toll with 529 reported deaths.

Counties reporting deaths in the double digits include: Racine (95), Waukesha (87), Kenosha (65), Brown (62), Dane (41), Walworth (35), Rock (32), Washington (32), Outagamie (29), Winnebago (26), Waupaca (20), Grant (19), Ozaukee (19), Dodge (16), Sheboygan (16), Marathon (14) and Fond du Lac (13).

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates. 

— The 2020 Wisconsin Fall Tourism Conference will take place virtually on Nov. 5.

The event, organized by Destinations Wisconsin, will focus on helping organizations navigate the “next normal.”

The opening keynote will be delivered by Amir Eylon, president and CEO of Longwoods International, a market research consultancy within the travel and tourism industry. 

Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Sara Meaney has also been invited to speak, and attendees can expect speakers covering sessions on digital marketing, group business, diversity and inclusion. 

Register here: https://wigcot.eventsair.com/2020-wisconsin-fall-tourism-conference/attendee/Site/Register 


# COVID-19 outbreak at Kettle Moraine prison tops 260 active cases, Wisconsin DOC says 


# Rounds of golf played across Wisconsin jumped 23% in August 


# Milwaukee hotel occupancy continues to fluctuate while revenue per room stays low https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/09/28/milwaukee-hotel-occupancy-continues-to-fluctuate.html



– Closing time: With one-third of America’s restaurants expected to close, industry in crisis as winter looms https://biztimes.com/closing-time-with-one-third-of-americas-restaurants-expected-to-close-industry-in-crisis-as-winter-looms/ 


– MATC, NEWaukee partner to create gap year program https://biztimes.com/matc-newaukee-partner-to-create-gap-year-program/ 

– As more colleges refuse to accept test scores, a billion-dollar industry is thrown in flux



– Friends of Blufflands earns $4,000 to help restore native prairie https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/09/28/friends-of-blufflands-earns-4000-to-help-restore-native-prairie/ 


– Kenosha nonprofit to deploy $250,000 for damaged businesses https://biztimes.com/kenosha-nonprofit-to-deploy-250000-for-damaged-businesses/ 


– Advocate Aurora Health declares racism a public health crisis https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/09/28/advocate-aurora-health-declares-racism-public-heal.html 

– Some workers face looming cutoffs in health insurance https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/09/28/some-workers-face-looming-cutoffs-health-insurance.html 


– Mondi Akrosil to close Pleasant Prairie facility https://biztimes.com/mondi-akrosil-to-close-pleasant-prairie-facility/  


– Political signs in Waukesha County turn ‘R-rated’ as the presidential election nears https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/waukesha/2020/09/28/inappropriate-presidential-political-signs-emerge-waukesha-county/3531519001/

– As Kyle Rittenhouse Fights Homicide Charges, Some Conservatives Portray Him As Hero https://www.wpr.org/kyle-rittenhouse-fights-homicide-charges-some-conservatives-portray-him-hero

– In first visit to Madison, Jill Biden pushes voters to ‘do more’ in the Democratic stronghold https://madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/in-first-visit-to-madison-jill-biden-pushes-voters-to-do-more-in-the-democratic/article_348f52c0-be11-5a74-a1ee-6c6a606568b7.html

– Jill Biden campaigns for Democrats in Waukesha County, Madison https://www.fox6now.com/news/jill-biden-campaigns-for-democrats-in-waukesha-county-madison

– Trump Plans Pair Of Wisconsin Campaign Rallies Saturday https://www.wpr.org/trump-plans-pair-wisconsin-campaign-rallies-saturday 


– Conservative Group Seeks Immediate Stop To Wisconsin Mask Mandate https://www.wpr.org/conservative-group-seeks-immediate-stop-wisconsin-mask-mandate 


– Brewers Stumble Into MLB Playoffs https://www.wpr.org/brewers-stumble-mlb-playoffs 


– Bucks betting on future with new hotel project https://biztimes.com/bucks-betting-on-future-with-new-hotel-project/ 

– Milwaukee Rep, unions reach agreement on safely hosting live performances starting in December https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/09/28/milwaukee-rep-and-unions-collaborate-to-safely.html 


– Milwaukee airport traffic rises from July to August, but down nearly 69% from a year ago https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/09/28/milwaukee-airport-sees-nearly-69-year-over-year.html 


<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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