— After closing a $1.2 million funding round dedicated to making test preparation accessible to all students, social learning platform Fiveable now seeks four recent graduates to join its fellowship program.
Chosen candidates will secure the opportunity of living, working and learning within an early-stage startup environment alongside Fiveable’s founding team as part of the nine-month program. The Fiveable fellowship runs from Aug. 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.
“We’re grateful to be in a position where we can continue to grow the Fiveable team, especially during a pandemic,” Fiveable founder and CEO Amanda DoAmaral told WisBusiness.com. “This moment has been incredibly difficult for students and teachers and we are committed to building an accessible library of resources that can support students during this crisis and beyond. With so many schools likely to face disruptions next year, we’re moving quickly to make sure students do not lose out on instruction.”
— Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ popcorn company received a loan of at least $150,000, one of thousands that went to Wisconsin businesses as part of a federal program to help companies keep employees amid the pandemic.
The Small Business Administration yesterday released a list of loans awarded to companies under the Paycheck Protection Program. Robin J Vos Enterprises Inc. was listed as receiving a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000.
According to the records, the April 11 loan helped preserve 44 jobs.
“His company received one of nearly 700,000 loans given to small businesses, which allowed the company to keep its workers employed during these uncertain times,” said Vos spokeswoman Kit Beyer.
Altogether, the SBA released a list of 12,355 loans to Wisconsin businesses worth at least $150,000 with another 73,104 or less than $150,000. Combined, the program helped preserve more than 990,000 Wisconsin jobs.
For the larger loans, the SBA detailed business names, addresses, business type, name of the lender and jobs supported. Those loans were broken into ranges of $150,000-$350,000; $350,000-$1 million; $1 million-$2 million; $2 million-$5 million; and $5 million-$10 million.
Those loans accounted for 75 percent of those handed out. For those loans below $150,000, the SBA didn’t release the business names or addresses.
In Wisconsin, 102 companies received loans of between $5 million and $10 million, including the Milwaukee law firms Von Briesen & Roper and Godfrey & Kahn. Another 514 accepted loans of between $2 million and $5 million, including the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
The breadth of companies that accepted the loans is expansive, including bars, golf courses, health care providers, churches, nonprofits, manufacturers, private colleges and K-12 schools, transportation, utilities and food producers, among others.
Some of those who received loans of $150,000 to $350,000 include the Clean Lakes Alliance Inc. in Madison, which advocates to improve the quality of the Yahara Watershed, and Clean Wisconsin Inc.
The political consulting firm National Consulting in Milwaukee also received a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000. Thad Nation, the firm’s founder and senior partner, said the loan helped him keep everyone on payroll so they could “pay their bills.”
“It was an important amount of security in an uncertain time,” he said.
— Small businesses receiving federal aid were not limited to companies selling products or services. Small private colleges and universities also received PPP loans.
Private higher education institutions statewide saw a share of coronavirus assistance. These ranged from Marian University in Fond du Lac receiving between $2 million and $5 million to Northland College in Ashland receiving between $1 million and $2 million. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College received between $350,000 and $1 million, and Milwaukee Career College received between $150,000 and $350,000.
Marian University, which received a loan to preserve 425 jobs, and Northland College, which had zero jobs listed, were labeled as nonprofit organizations. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College, no jobs listed, and Milwaukee Career College, which received a loan to keep 25 people employed, were labeled as corporations.
The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities received between $150,000 and $350,000 in loans as well. A sample of public university foundations that received between $150,000 and $350,000 includes the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and the UWM Foundation.
See a spreadsheet of loans: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/200706Loans.xlsx
See a previous WisBusiness story on higher education tackling the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/class-to-be-in-session-and-in-person-this-fall-education-leaders-say/
— The Department of Health Services is now predicting the Medicaid fund will finish the 2019-21 budget with a surplus, though the agency warns there are “multiple uncertainties” ahead that could throw off the projection.
Meanwhile, the agency also projects an additional 232,000 Wisconsinites will join the Medicaid rolls by June 2021. That would be a 22 percent increase over the enrollment of under 1.1 million in March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact the state’s economy.
The fund is on path for a surplus, even with a higher enrollment forecast, in part due to the federal government upping the reimbursement rate for the program by 6.2 percentage points in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That higher rate is in effect from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, helping the state finish the 2019-20 fiscal year with a surplus in the fund of $309.1 million, according to a letter Secretary Andrea Palm sent the co-chairs of the Legislature’s Finance Committee.
But the higher enrollments, coupled with the return to normal rates, means the fund will spend $223.7 million more that was budgeted in 2020-21. The net impact over the two-year budget is a projected surplus of $85.4 million in general purpose revenue on June 30, 2021.
During its last projection in late December, DHS was expecting the program to exceed the $6.7 billion in GPR budgeted for the two-year budget by about $40 million.
In her letter, Palm noted the agency was still sorting through the overall impact of COVID-19 on health care providers. While there were spikes in treatment for COVID-19, there were also drops in primary care visits and non-critical procedures. Because of a three- to four-month lag in providers submitting claims for reimbursement, the agency isn’t yet able to ascertain the overall impact.
The agency typically does an updated projection for the Medicaid fund each quarter. But at the end of March, Palm only warned lawmakers that expenses could rise significantly amid the pandemic.
In the latest update, Palm notes while the agency provided a more specific projection, “I must again emphasize how fluid the Medicaid enrollment picture will be in the coming months due to the changing economic conditions.”
Read the letter: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/200706DHS.pdf
— The Department of Health Services saw an increase in Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus applications during the month of April. However, it did not see that increase continue into May and June.
Currently, application submissions are no higher than average submissions monthly at this time last year, DHS spokeswoman Jennifer Miller told WisBusiness.com.
“While current numbers of people participating in our programs are higher than at the same time in previous years, policies implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic seem largely responsible,” she said.
Miller noted that consistent with federal requirements, DHS is not removing people from the programs during the national public health emergency unless the individual leaves the state or declines benefits.
“Therefore, while new individuals are being added to Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus, very few individuals are leaving,” she said.
— DHS opened applications for organizations interested in piloting a new “hub and spoke model” to help Wisconsin Medicaid members with substance use disorders. The model can also be used for other physical and behavioral health issues that challenge recovery efforts.
DHS will be funding up to three pilots.
In this model, an organization takes the lead as a “hub” on the care of the Wisconsinites in their program, ensuring that substance use disorder treatment and other health care needs are addressed. The hub then works with a network of “spoke” organizations which provide a range of services that are customized to support each individual’s unique circumstances, according to DHS.
“Using the hub and spoke model of care, the sites selected for our pilot will increase access and provide a higher level of care,” said DHS Secretary Andrea Palm. “Wisconsinites in need will receive individualized comprehensive care services that improve their physical and behavioral health, build social support systems, and address their substance use issues, leading to better outcomes.”
The model has been proven in other states to be effective in addressing opioid use disorders, but Wisconsin is expanding the approach beyond opioids. DHS data show that between 2014 and 2019, 5,516 people died of drug overdoses in Wisconsin. Of those deaths, 3,862 were caused by opioids.
The deadline for application is August 24 and successful sites will be announced in October.
— The state reported 484 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the cumulative count to 33,061 with a 9.2 percent positive number — both down from Sunday.
The number of recovered patients number 25,242 or 79 percent, while 2.5 percent of patients have died. Active cases — those still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis — number 6,018 or 19 percent.
The state reported 10,186 tests Friday, and tests returned decreased every day of the holiday weekend: Saturday (6,822) and Sunday (4,996). Yesterday, the state received 5,286 tests. Meanwhile, the state’s daily testing capacity is increasing, now at 19,014.
To date, the state has collected almost 621,000 tests. The Wisconsin National Guard collected over 191,000 of those.
The National Guard is conducting community-based testing sites the week of July 6-12 at the Iron River Community Center in Bayfield County, the Alliant Energy Center in Dane County, the Grant County Fairgrounds, Logan High School in La Crosse County, the Dollar General Store parking lot in Abbotsford in Marathon County, UMOS, Custer Stadium and Nicolet High School in Milwaukee County, Reedsburg High School in Sauk County and the Vernon County fairgrounds.
The Guard is also collecting specimens at the Stanley Correctional Institution in Chippewa County, the Gordon Correctional Center in Douglas County, the St. Croix Correctional Center and the Flambeau Correctional Center in Sawyer County.
See a map of community-based testing sites here: https://wispolitics.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c540e35869d1ba4ca61b4228e&id=1cc93f7bd4&e=63cd46885a
— Wisconsin’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 796 after three days without new deaths.
Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (391), Racine (65), Kenosha (44), Brown (42), Waukesha (39), Dane (32), Rock (24), Walworth (18), Washington (16), Ozaukee (15), Grant (13), Winnebago (13), Waupaca (10), Outagamie (9), Clark (7), Fond du Lac (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.
Barron, 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: https://wispolitics.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c540e35869d1ba4ca61b4228e&id=0583e9641a&e=63cd46885a
— Milwaukee Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic said members of the city’s Common Council will consider a face mask mandate at a meeting later this week.
She said the face mask ordinance will be called “Milwaukee CARES,” and it would require people to wear a face mask or covering in public.
Dimitrijevic said the ordinance has “great support,” especially in the business community, which sees it as a way to reopen the economy safely.
“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked Dimitrijevic how the ordinance would be enforced.
Dimitrijevic said the city would be “hoping for compliance,” rather than leaning on enforcement.
“We’re going to do this together as a community,” she said.
# Rising trends in positive Covid-19 cases prolongs Milwaukee’s reopening plan
# Advocate Aurora sells two hospitals for $190 million
# Delaware North has furloughed 1,300 employees at Miller Park and Lambeau Field
– Oneida Nation sees potentially lucrative business in growing hemp market https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2020/07/06/oneida-nation-experimenting-creating-market-hemp/5383805002/
– Wisconsin crops benefited from last week’s heat https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/wisconsin-crops-benefited-from-last-weeks-heat/
– Application Period Open for COVID Food Security Support Grants http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=720&yr=2020
– Jefferson Co. Farm Tech Days Awards $69,000 in Grants to Local Community Organizations https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/07/06/jefferson-co-farm-tech-days-awards-69000-in-grants-to-local-community-organizations/
– Sheep & Wool Festival Modified For This Year https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/07/06/sheep-wool-festival-modified-for-this-year/
– UW-Milwaukee Lecturer Says Online Comments About Sexual Harassment Were Misinterpreted https://www.wpr.org/uw-milwaukee-lecturer-says-online-comments-about-sexual-harassment-were-misinterpreted
– The Swifts Behind A New Chimney Survey https://www.wpr.org/swifts-behind-new-chimney-survey
# FINANCIAL SERVICES
– See the Milwaukee-area companies that secured a PPP loan of more than $1 million http://click.bizjournals.com/tPYy2pigUT0xL0b8WD00078
# HEALTH CARE
– Independent OB-GYN clinic closes, transfers patient records to Ascension Medical Group https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/06/independent-ob-gyn-clinic-in-wauwatosa-closes.html
– Healthcare Heroes Bill Introduced By State Democrats https://www.wpr.org/healthcare-heroes-bill-introduced-state-democrats
– EC County’s test-positivity rate for COVID-19 is escalating https://www.leadertelegram.com/covid-19/ec-county-s-test-positivity-rate-for-covid-19-is-escalating/article_9ff7a3c8-77ed-5d1a-9ec1-d11ed74d2ea6.html
– Officials “cautiously optimistic” with 28 new cases of COVID-19 in La Crosse County since July 3 https://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/officials-cautiously-optimistic-with-28-new-cases-of-covid-19-in-la-crosse-county-since/article_35cba472-8123-5bb5-9ecd-0c97db2765db.html
– 1 new case of COVID-19 in Northwestern Wisconsin on July 6 https://www.superiortelegram.com/newsmd/6563272-1-new-case-of-COVID-19-in-Northwestern-Wisconsin-on-July-6
– Milwaukee Police Investigating Off-Duty Officer For Alleged Assault Of A Protester https://www.wpr.org/milwaukee-police-investigating-duty-officer-alleged-assault-protester
– Olympus Group finds more work with sporting events and amusement parks https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/06/the-olympus-group-finds-more-work-with-sporting-ev.html
– Major Wisconsin Frac Sand Producer Expects To File Bankruptcy https://www.wpr.org/major-wisconsin-frac-sand-producer-expects-file-bankruptcy
# REAL ESTATE
– Stella & Chewy’s could expand in Oak Creek https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/06/stella-chewys-could-expand-in-oak-creek.html
– SBA releases redacted PPP data; lawsuit for full disclosure continues https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/07/06/national-ppp-data-release-story.html
– Green Bay Packers say possibility of no fans at Lambeau this year http://click.bizjournals.com/HU002bp08yeTdYDix7W00EP
– 2 Milwaukee Brewers Players Test Positive For COVID-19 https://www.wpr.org/2-milwaukee-brewers-players-test-positive-covid-19
– Over 300 Milwaukee hotel employees laid off due to coronavirus pandemic http://click.bizjournals.com/n0Uy0OJ02p8x0YW0T6ibPzD
– Milwaukee Art Museum plans to reopen July 16 http://click.bizjournals.com/WU07g8WDxiG2YPy00pbTd00
– Tariffs blamed for delay in one of Wisconsin’s first large-scale solar farms https://lacrossetribune.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/tariffs-blamed-for-delay-in-one-of-wisconsins-first-large-scale-solar-farms/article_f416f97f-9ac9-52bf-afb3-883b2ae38996.html
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: