— The environmentally-friendly mobile truck washing service Fleet Clean USA franchise has begun cleaning truck fleets in Madison.
“My wife and I are opening up the first Fleet Clean USA in Wisconsin because we saw a need for a mobile fleet cleaning business in the Dane County area,” said owner Patrick Doll, a Marine Corps veteran and area native.
Doll said he became interested in Fleet Clean because of the corporation’s concern for the environment.
“We reclaim the water we use and put that water through a five-step filtration process before returning through the sewer system,” he explained. “It is a big win for our environment to not be putting dirt and chemicals into storm drains.”
Equipped with water, pressure washers, brushes and water reclamation equipment, the crew arrives at their customers’ yards to pressure wash and hand-scrub trucks. Fleet Clean USA franchisees serve thousands of businesses in 25 states.
— The Wisconsin Technology Council is hosting university and venture capital experts in a virtual panel.
The discussion will take place in a morning webinar on April 1. It will touch on the importance of public investment in the campus-based research infrastructure, examples of collaboration, emerging research trends and ways for private companies to better access UW System resources.
Panelists include: Rebecca Blank, chancellor of the UW-Madison; Mark Mone, chancellor of the UW-Milwaukee; and Scott Button, managing director of Venture Investors, which has offices in Madison and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tech Council President Tom Still will moderate.
— The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin awarded $28.4 million for 58 projects to expand high-speed internet access in 44 counties.
The dollars are a part of the Broadband Expansion Grant Program. This is the second round of funding from the 2019-2021 biennium budget, which allocated $48 million for the program. Over 124 applicants sought more than $62 million in the second round — the highest request for broadband expansion grants in state history, according to the PSC.
“The pandemic has amplified the need for this essential service. This past year we all witnessed how important quality, high-speed, and affordable internet service is,” said PSC Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “These projects are another important step towards minimizing the digital divide.”
See the list of the 2021 recipients: https://psc.wi.gov/Documents/broadband/BbExpGAwardeeListFY2021.pdf
See the map: https://psc.wi.gov/Documents/broadband/BbExpG43.pdf
— Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative is applauding the passage of a House bill that provides a rare opportunity for a solution to a critical shortage of farm employees.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which now heads to the Senate, would provide a path to legalization for current farm workers and expand the H-2A foreign guest worker program to accommodate the year-round needs of livestock farmers.
“It has become nearly impossible to fill all available positions on dairy farms with American citizens,” said Edge President Brody Stapel, a Wisconsin dairy farmer. “Demographics have changed, labor patterns are evolving and the nature of the jobs remains demanding.”
Stapel said that existing immigrant agricultural labor rules, which focus on seasonal work, are not sufficient. He added that cows must be milked all year — so a year-round solution is important. But Stapel noted dairy and other farm sectors could easily utilize more year-round visas than the proposed cap of 20,000.
“While the bill is not perfect, it’s the best opportunity we have had in decades for a labor solution for farmers,” he said. “We look forward to working with the Senate to make improvements. It’s critical that this moves forward.”
— Ogden & Company, Inc., Wisconsin’s largest independent, full-service real estate firm, has announced implementation of a long-term succession plan.
Effective immediately, Ogden President Peter Ogden will transition to chairman of the board, and CFO Beth Sucevic will serve as president — the first female president of Ogden. Financial coordinator Megan Neuman will serve as CFO.
“We have been carefully preparing for the long-term future of the company for many years,” Ogden said. “This succession plan will build on our existing strengths of the leadership team while elevating emerging leaders, and position the entire organization for even greater success for years to come. There are tremendous opportunities in the real estate markets of Wisconsin and Arizona, and I will be representing Ogden & Company, Inc. in new business and ensure that Ogden is a part of these new opportunities for the clients and communities we serve.”
— Today people 16 and older with certain medical conditions are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
More than a quarter of Wisconsinites have at least started their COVID-19 vaccine series and nearly 15 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard.
The state has put more than 2.3 million shots in people’s arms. More than 1.4 million people have gotten at least one dose of either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or the two-dose series Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
More than 72 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine; nearly 49 percent are fully vaccinated.
By May 1, DHS says anyone 16 and older will be eligible.
See the Wisconsin COVID-19 Timeline: https://www.wispolitics.com/wisconsin-coronavirus-resources/
— The process has begun to close the Alternate Care Facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park due to decreasing COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Sanitation of the facility has already begun, with Wisconsin State Fair Park expected to be back to its original state before the end of April, the Department of Administration announced this week.
The West Allis field hospital has cared for 170 patients since it opened on Oct. 14. It was put into “mothball” status on Feb. 14, meaning it stopped accepting transfers from hospitals.
Wisconsin’s COVID-19 patient census has dropped more than 22 percent in the past two weeks, following a downward trend since record spikes in mid-November, according to the DHS’ hospital dashboard.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association reports 193 hospitalizations and 49 ICU patients. A month ago, those figures were 347 and 83, respectively. On Nov. 17, Wisconsin hospitalizations peaked at 2,277 COVID-19 patients.
— DHS announced four new pharmacy partners have started getting COVID-19 vaccines as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
This includes the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network, which includes some Hometown Pharmacies, as well as Managed Health Care Associates, Meijer and Walmart. The four join Kroger and Walgreens.
“As we prepare to open vaccine eligibility to people with medical conditions, these pharmacies will be critical in providing access to vaccine in more communities across Wisconsin,” said interim DHS Secretary Karen Timberlake. “Whether you live in a rural area or a city, every Wisconsinite will have the opportunity in the coming weeks to get the vaccine to protect themselves and loved ones from the virus.”
Find a participating pharmacy with the COVID-19 vaccine provider map: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-map.htm
See who is eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm
— Wisconsin reported 420 new COVID-19 cases coming into today and no new deaths from the virus.
The state reports 6,219 active cases, 572,432 cases since the start of the pandemic and 6,576 total deaths.
The seven-day average for daily confirmed cases is 399, up from 378 cases Saturday. The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths is six deaths per day, up from five on Saturday.
<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 WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.
Sign up here: https://forms.gle/o8FtqTLviGJPja8C9 </i>
— Join WisBusiness.com on Thursday for a virtual lunch hour even featuring a trio of hospitality sector representatives.
The hospitality industry was hit the hardest during the pandemic after forced shutdowns to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 resulted in a sharp economic downturn.
Even after the economy reopened, Wisconsin’s favorite eateries and alehouses continue to struggle as they’re faced with local capacity regulations and as people wait to get their COVID-19 vaccine before going out.
Wisconsin Restaurant Association President and CEO Kristine Hillmer, Tavern League of Wisconsin President Chris Marsicano and Wisconsin Brewers Guild Executive Director Mark Garthwaite will discuss the state of the hospitality industry in Wisconsin and policies from a new administration that could make or break what the state’s wine-and-dine scene looks like coming out of a global pandemic.
The program, “Hospitality industry stirs after year of COVID,” is set to run via webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday. The event will begin with a moderated panel discussion and then shift to questions from the audience. We will send you a link to access the webinar on the morning of the event.
This event is sponsored by Madison Gas and Electric Company, University Research Park, Wisconsin Technology Council and The Phelps Hamus Group.
Register here for this free event: https://forms.gle/vhj39DhqJFLmmTC19
# Trade unions protest use of non-local labor on Superior hotel project
# Madison companies still pursuing COVID-19 vaccines, saying more options needed
# Wisconsin honey producers keep buzzing along
– Wisconsin considering a change to fertilizer law https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/wisconsin-considering-a-change-to-fertilizer-law/
– Economist says changes in China should lead to more corn sales https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/economist-says-changes-in-china-should-lead-to-more-corn-sales/
– February milk production sees modest changes https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2021/03/19/february-milk-production-sees-modest-changes/
– Retail prices hold strong when it comes to meat https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2021/03/19/retail-prices-hold-strong-when-it-comes-to-meat/
– From in-person to online learning: More failing grades, fewer students https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/local_schools/from-in-person-to-online-learning-more-failing-grades-fewer-students/article_f126e1e9-8282-56c5-9902-fef3fbe92238.html
– Wisconsin Colleges, Universities Expected To Get $565M From Latest Stimulus https://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-colleges-universities-expected-get-565m-latest-stimulus
– UW-Madison CALS Ranked Among Top Ag Schools http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=288&yr=2021
– Historic Pollution Is Driving Higher Mercury Concentrations In Fish Within St. Louis River https://www.wpr.org/historic-pollution-driving-higher-mercury-concentrations-fish-within-st-louis-river
– Burnett County Deer Herd Depopulated Due to CWD https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2021/03/19/burnett-county-deer-herd-depopulated-due-to-cwd/
# HEALTH CARE
– A year into the pandemic, Wisconsin residents still aren’t being told where COVID-19 spread https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2021/03/19/wisconsin-covid-19-outbreak-locations-not-published-state/6949186002/
– Meriter nurses ratify tentative agreement between employer and union https://madison.com/wsj/business/meriter-nurses-ratify-tentative-agreement-between-employer-and-union/article_393dc43b-79ed-52d8-b138-00a45d0bebe2.html
– 6 area companies nominated for WMC Manufacturer of the Year awards https://biztimes.com/6-area-companies-honored-for-wmc-manufacturer-of-the-year/
– Racine loosening restrictions related to COVID-19 https://madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/racine-loosening-restrictions-related-to-covid-19/article_e681ae9a-1a8a-5679-988f-b85cd7d75716.html
– New owners say business has been ‘fantastic’ at reopened Jules’ Coffee House https://lacrossetribune.com/business/new-owners-say-business-has-been-fantastic-at-reopened-jules-coffee-house/article_24fcc1c0-b11c-58ef-889d-dd82aa6094e7.html
– Kohl’s, activists had ‘constructive conversation,’ investor says, but reached no resolution https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/03/19/kohls-activists-had-constructive-conversation.html
– Badgers Are National Champions In Women’s Hockey, Again https://www.wpr.org/badgers-are-national-champions-womens-hockey-again
– Old World Wisconsin begins seasonal hiring process, plans for summer opening https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/03/19/old-world-wisconsin-begins-seasonal-hiring-process.html
– Wisconsin officials seek public comment on $53M project to boost Amtrak service through state https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/03/19/wisconsin-seeks-public-input-on-53m-pamtrak-plan.html
– COVID-19 and the strength, diversity and scope of Wisconsin agriculture https://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/covid-19-and-the-strength-diversity-and-scope-of-wisconsin-agriculture/article_4302613a-a795-5278-9e71-dd9916e0bc87.html
– Missy Hughes: The ingenuity and grit of small business leaders are key to recovery in Wisconsin https://madison.com/opinion/column/missy-hughes-the-ingenuity-and-grit-of-small-business-leaders-are-key-to-recovery-in/article_839f9a50-1f55-5c61-8dbb-3d9b218b1e4c.html
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases:
– Dept. of Transportation: Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago passenger rail project open for comment
– Dept. of Health Services: Wisconsin adds more partners to the Federal Retail Pharmacy program
– ThedaCare: Awarded Comprehensive Stroke Center recertification
– DHS: Announces enhanced COVID-19 data cleaning efforts