THU AM News: Waterloo-based Trek overcoming Brexit hurdles; Advocates want Medicaid to cover room and board for substance abuse treatment

— Trek Bicycles, a global company with Waterloo roots, is successfully navigating the trade landscape left by Brexit. But the company’s rep says there’s still uncertainty ahead.

Brexit is the name given to the U.K.’s departure from the European Union in January 2020. The two entities signed a trade and cooperation agreement on Dec. 24.

Jim Poulton, Trek’s finance director for Europe, says the company’s largest challenge was looking after staff in the U.K. that were uncertain about their future post Brexit. But Trek hadn’t lost any of its team there, he told a Madison International Trade Association virtual event this week. 

The challenge lies in the free trade agreement, which isn’t free for some of Trek’s bicycles. Some bicycle models are subject to a new 14 percent duty between the U.K. and the EU and others are not.

Another challenge for Trek was global carriers ceasing services between the EU and the U.K. for fear that drivers would be stuck at the border. The U.K. customs officers were overwhelmed and paperwork delays impacted shipments earlier this year, Poulton added.

“For some companies, this was all a bit too much in the business-to-consumer side, so some within our industry, companies either paused or just stopped all of their trade with the UK,” Poulton explained. 

Rose Bikes and Canyon were two companies that made headlines for deciding to lose the U.K. customer base because of Brexit difficulties. Trek is a business-to-business model, such as selling to bike shops, so it didn’t have as hard of a time, Poulton said.

“We’re still not all the way there, but most of this now is behind us, but there are still complexities in the cross-border movement of products,” he said.

— has a new trade policy page to help you track events, news and developments that affect trade and the economy in Wisconsin and the Midwest:

— Addiction advocates want to see BadgerCare cover room and board costs associated with substance abuse treatment.

As of Feb. 1, Medicaid covers treatment for substance use disorder in a residential setting. A stay at these facilities must be clinically and medically necessary. The facility must also have 24-hour supervision. However, BadgerCare doesn’t cover the cost of room and board at those facilities. 

Residential treatment involves short-term stays that typically last only several weeks. During that time, people incur expenses related to their primary residence, in addition to lost wages while in treatment. 

Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal called to expand Medicaid coverage for those costs. Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee nixed that along with more than 380 other proposals in the guv’s budget.

Ahead of the JFC decision, Rep. Rob Summerfield, R- Bloomer, said it’s something the Legislature can look into for full or partial funding with Medicaid. 

“There is an argument saying, if we’re going to get these people fully treated, this should be part of it,” said Summerfield, who serves as vice chair of the Assembly Health Committee.   

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— The city of Menasha is getting $250,000 from the state to revitalize the site of a former historic theater.

The grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will support the redevelopment of the former Historic Brin Theater site which was torn down in 2018 after a fire. The site will feature a mixed-use development with commercial space, a skywalk and 43 apartment units. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

“This development will make a real difference in Menasha by adding housing, increasing property values and encouraging future investment in the downtown area,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missay Hughes.

Project plans also include 46 underground parking stalls and approximately 55 surface parking stalls. The city will additionally install a large regional underground stormwater retention facility under a newly constructed public thoroughfare.

Along with the potential for this project to create jobs in the commercial space, the taxable property value is anticipated to increase from $139,000 to $10 million when the site is fully developed.

— The DNR is accepting applications for the Wisconsin Clean Diesel Grant program. 

About $385,000 is available for projects that reduce emissions from older diesel engines.

The equipment and vehicles eligible for funding include school and transit buses as well as nonroad engines, equipment and vehicles used in construction, cargo handling and agriculture. Eligible recipients include private, nonprofit and public entities that own or operate diesel fleets and equipment in Wisconsin. 

This grant is administered by DNR with funding provided by the EPA. Applications are due before 5 p.m. on June 23.

According to the DNR, Wisconsin benefits from the pollution reduction, health cost savings and local economic incentives of clean diesel grant programs, which have updated or replaced more than 5,200 pieces of diesel equipment in the state. Over their lifetime, the projects funded by clean diesel grant programs will reduce diesel emissions by over 625,000 tons, save more than 49 million gallons of diesel fuel and result in more than $283 million in health cost savings.

See more: 

— For more developments in green energy, environmental issues and related policy proposals, visit WisBiz Green in the right-hand column at

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— A new state effort aims to encourage residents to open emergency savings accounts through automated saving.

The campaign encourages small- and medium-sized employers to promote to their employees the ease and benefits of saving automatically for emergencies through split deposit, recognizing that many individuals were not fully prepared for the lasting economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ensuring economic security is our top priority in the Office of the State Treasurer, and working with employers we know we can have a positive impact on the financial lives of Wisconsin residents,” said Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “Helping employees save in the short-term empowers them to build a more secure tomorrow and creates a more productive workforce.”

Godlewski is leading the effort along with the Department of Financial Institutions Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, Wisconsin Bankers Association President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation President Wendy Baumann and the national coalition America Saves.

Participating employers will receive free resources to support their communication efforts and be included in statewide recognition. Employers in all industries and locations in the state can sign up here: 

— Don Zietlow, president and CEO of La Crosse-based Kwik Trip, will be honored during the June 3 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

Zietlow will get the 18th annual Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award. The award, which celebrates entrepreneurial leaders who have been crucial to Wisconsin’s economic growth, is named for the late Ken Hendricks, a Beloit businessman and 2006 “Seize the Day” award winner who died in an accident in late 2007.

Register for the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference: 

— Wisconsinites with qualifying Spectrum Internet plans are eligible for up to $50 per month from Charter Communications, Inc.

Charter this week announced its participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Part of that commitment is to help close the “digital divide” — the gap between those who have access to broadband and those who don’t.

Now, millions of households across Charter’s 41-state operating area are eligible for the $50 credit. Households on tribal lands can get up to $75 per month. 

Households can qualify based on several criteria, comprising income level and eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, SNAP or Supplemental Security Income benefits, among others. 

See more on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program: 

— Wisconsin tart cherry growers have until June 15 to vote on two new members to the Wisconsin Cherry Board.

Barry Peterson of Green Bay was the only producer nominated by the April 1 deadline. Eligible growers can vote for the nominated producer or write in another eligible producer on their ballot.

The Wisconsin Cherry Board is composed of five at-large members that secure and distribute funding for research, education and promotion of Wisconsin-grown cherries. Elected producers will serve three-year terms beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2024.

DATCP will mail ballots to eligible cherry growers during the upcoming week. Producers that have not received a ballot by May 22 can request one through DATCP. Ballots must be emailed or postmarked by June 15.

— RSVP for the May 20 virtual event: “Summer Tourism Outlook: How will Wisconsin take advantage of a post-pandemic visitor surge?”

Join May 20 for a virtual lunch hour event featuring three tourism leaders — Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers, Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO Bill Elliott and Association of Wisconsin Tourism Attractions President Tom Diehl. The trio 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 program is set to run via webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 20.

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.

Register here:

This event is sponsored by Madison Gas and Electric Company, University Research Park, Wisconsin Technology Council and The Phelps Hamus Group.


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– Report says state should outsource unemployment services after pandemic failures

– State to provide money toward redeveloping former Brin site in Menasha


– 2 local school districts awarded $25K grants

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– Wisconsin initiative strengthening networks for women in ag, land conservation

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– Pearson Disability Law, LLC Launches New Website Serving Southeast Wisconsin


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– Appeals court invalidates shaming sentence for shoplifter

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– Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce asks Evers to end extra unemployment as businesses struggle to hire


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– Commercial Real Estate Riverside office building in downtown Milwaukee to become apartments

– YMCA sells 51-acre property on Milwaukee’s far northwest side to a housing developer. But the group will continue operating there.


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– Fiserv Forum fans can drink sustainably with SC Johnson-made cups that can be recycled into Scrubbing Bubbles bottles

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– Wisconsin State Fair unveiling 2021 headliner lineup this week, starting with Foreigner

– Vaccinations and Vacations: How Door County is winning on both fronts


– Because of COVID-19, 16- and 17-year-olds don’t need road tests to get driver’s licenses. The DMV wants to make that permanent.


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