FRI AM News: Marinette Marine gets $1M from DOT; ‘WisBusiness: The Podcast’ highlights Wisconsin Voices for Recovery

— State support of $1 million will help boost shipbuilding at Marinette Marine.

The Transportation Economic Assistance grant, approved by Department of Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson, supports a $2.6 million reconstruction of Ludington Street in Marinette that will provide better access to the Fincantieri shipbuilding facility. 

Fincantieri Marinette Marine recently received a $795 million contract to build the first of up to 10 new frigates for the U.S. Navy. If all 10 frigates are built, the contract could be worth up to $5.6 billion.

“We are proud to be partners with Fincantieri and the city of Marinette in this tremendous project, which not only will create jobs and stimulate the local economy but will also show the world the type of high-quality and technologically advanced products that are made right here in Wisconsin,” Gov. Tony Evers said.

Ludington Street will be reconstructed from the US 41 and Hall Avenue intersection near the entrance of Fincantieri’s shipyard. The project will reinforce the road base as well as add new pavement and stormwater drainage. The project is expected to begin later this year and be completed in fall 2022.

“This significant investment by WisDOT will bring future economic development for years to come,” Marinette Mayor Steve Genisot said. “We appreciate this great partnership and the efforts by all those involved to support and strengthen Navy shipbuilding in our community.”

Marinette Marine is currently making $200 million in site improvements related to its new Frigate contract with the Navy. Over the past five years, the DOT has also awarded $34 million directly to Fincantieri Marinette Marine from the Harbor Assistance program to improve its shipyard.

— The new episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Wisconsin Voices for Recovery Director Jessica Geschke. 

Voices for Recovery is a statewide, peer-run movement that brings together people in and seeking recovery for any substance use disorder. The organization is supported by the Department of Health Services and UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. 

The pandemic required the organization to work from home and take recovery efforts to Zoom, Geschke said.  

Recovery events, advocacy days and celebrations all happened virtually, she said. The virtual aspect allowed for Voices for Recovery to get in touch with big-name advocates nationwide and include people from all across the state.

“We have been able to make those adjustments and provide those recovery events via Zoom, but I think the cons of the pandemic are that people are still struggling,” Geschke said. “We still feel isolated. There’s still people who still can’t access treatment and care.”

During the pandemic, Voices for Recovery has seen an increased demand for Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal nasal spray. 

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison:

— Wisconsin reports no significant change in COVID-19 patient censuses in the two weeks leading up to Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, intensive care unit use is shrinking.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association reports 336 hospitalizations and 93 ICU patients. Both figures are down from the week before. 

Two regions — western and south central Wisconsin — had hospitalizations increasing by 73 percent and 17 percent, respectively, in the past two weeks. This data is from the Department of Health Services’ hospital dashboard.

Southeast Wisconsin and the Fox Valley were seeing the highest capacity strains for hospital beds overall, operating at 89.2 percent and 86.3 percent capacity, respectively.

Southeast and northwest Wisconsin were seeing the highest ICU bed strains, operating at 86.7 percent and 81.5 percent capacity, respectively.

South central Wisconsin is using the most of its available ventilators at 19.8 percent capacity.

The state as a whole is operating at 80.4 percent bed capacity, 82.9 percent ICU capacity and is using 16.2 percent of its ventilators. 

See the WHA dashboard: 

See the DHS dashboard: 

— Statewide, health systems and physician leaders are encouraging all eligible Wisconsinites to get the COVID-19 shot. 

In a letter sent today, 33 leaders representing 110 hospitals statewide draw from shared experiences and scientific evidence to promote vaccination as the key to moving past the pandemic.

“As physicians and health care providers, we’ve devoted our lives to caring for others. It is our responsibility to review medical studies and weigh risks and benefits to recommend the best treatments to protect the health of our patients,” the physician leaders wrote. “Based on our medical training and judgement, we believe the science and safety behind the COVID-19 vaccines is sound, and we encourage our patients and others to get a COVID vaccine whenever and wherever available in your community.”

Read the letter: 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on the coronavirus outbreak, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin and links to top stories, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and

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— Twelve Wisconsin Yes! Entries will move on to the second phase of the youth business plan contest for middle and high school students.

Students from across the state submitted their science- and tech-based 250-word business summaries through the contest website in April to compete in the first phase.

The second phase will have students develop their business plan in more detail in a 1,000-word executive summary. Place finishers will be announced in early June and will be eligible for prizes. A video presentation by the grand prize winner will be shown during Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, which will be held virtually June 3. 

The Wisconsin YES! contest is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council. Major support is provided by WEA Trust and the UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement.  

See the 12 entries: 

See more on the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference:  

— The Wisconsin Safety Council is recognizing 10 companies for their safety records as part of the 27th annual Corporate Safety Awards.

The 10 winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges who are safety, health and insurance professionals. Applicants were required to submit data about their 2020 safety records, in addition to providing information about their company’s safety and health leadership, training programs and their safety accomplishments and goals.

“Putting the safety of workers and the public is a goal of every Wisconsin company,” said Aaron Huebner, Wisconsin Safety Council executive director. “This year’s winners went above and beyond in accomplishing that goal during a global pandemic, and we congratulate each and every one of them for earning this prestigious award.”

The awards are presented in partnership with the Department of Workforce Development and M3 Insurance.

See the recipients: 

— Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual announced a $1.1 million seed funding partnership with mental health social network MentalHappy.

MentalHappy is a California-based app that advances mental health awareness and advocacy. The company provides individuals with resources and tools to replenish their mental health and make connections. 

“I’m so happy to be partnering with Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures,” shared MentalHappy founder and CEO, Tamar Blue. “They are a fund that recognizes the value and importance of supporting innovators and changemakers of color who are working to solve significant challenges within communities.”

Northwestern Mutual has made a $40 million investment in startups founded by women or people of color, such as MentalHappy.

— is hosting a virtual luncheon on May 19 to assess the state and federal push for new infrastructure dollars. 

The program begins with a briefing from U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison. The following discussion panel features Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Waukesha County Exec. Paul Farrow and Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert, a former top GOP Assembly member. The event will then shift to questions from the audience.

Register for the free event: 

— RSVP for the May 20 is hosting a virtual event: ‘Summer Tourism Outlook: How will Wisconsin take advantage of a post-pandemic surge?’

Between an overall successful vaccination rollout and pent-up demand for travel, businesses are preparing for a busy tourism season. Wisconsin boasts 15,000+ lakes, 60,000+ acres of state parks and a bounty of tourism attractions statewide — an oasis for eager travelers.

Department of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers, Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO Bill Elliott and Association of Wisconsin Tourism Attractions President Tom Diehl will discuss the state of the tourism industry in Wisconsin and how the political, health and economic climates may influence what Wisconsin’s robust tourism industry will look like this summer.

The panel discussion and Q&A event is sponsored by Madison Gas and Electric Company, University Research Park, Wisconsin Technology Council and The Phelps Hamus Group.



# Evers wants to invest in WI tourist attractions, like the Trout Museum of Art

# MGE, Alliant seek electricity rate hikes for 2022 as tax savings exhausted

# Direct tourism spending in Milwaukee area dropped by more than $1 billion in 2020



– Biden’s USDA aid plan prompts 2nd lawsuit, reaction 

– Senate Ag Panel Holds Hearing on Romanski Appointment 


– Republican Report On Higher Education Calls For Regionalization Of UW System Campuses 


– COVID-19 Cases Hold Steady With More Than 35 Percent Of Wisconsinites Fully Vaccinated

– Health care leaders encourage door-to-door efforts to increase vaccination percentages 


– Republicans scrap Evers’ priorities, start writing budget

– Republicans Cut Hundreds Of Proposals, Billions Of Dollars From Evers’ Budget

– Expansion of Madison unit for juvenile offenders approved

– With closure deadline looming, plans for Wisconsin’s youth prisons remain unclear


– Most Covid restrictions to end by May 28 in Minnesota, mask mandate to end July 1 


– Building Milwaukee into a national tech hub: Q&A with OpenGov president David Reeves 


– Milwaukee tourism industry hit hard by COVID, but poised for recovery 

– Summerfest announces 2021 headliners 

– Pfister Hotel brings back more employees as citywide occupancy rate hovers at 47% 


– Mitchell Airport passenger volumes up 85% from February to March 


– InsideWis: Tech world watches as Apple and Epic Games slug it out in court 


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

– Gov. Evers: Announces WisDOT Grant for job growth in Marinette

– Girls on the Run: Offers celebratory 5K events

– Dept. of Workforce Development: Badger Bounceback, a critical investment in Wisconsin’s workforce

– The Alliance for Regulatory Coordination: Observes May as Building Safety Month