— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Scott Suder, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council.
Suder provides an update on the council’s ongoing efforts to land an up to $100 million federal grant for the state’s paper industry. After being selected for a $500,000 grant for planning and other advance work, the council and other members of the grant coalition last month submitted an application for the next phase of the competition.
“Our coalition has worked very, very hard to really put forward a proposal that is going to move Wisconsin’s paper and forestry industry into the next century,” he said.
In an earlier report, the Paper Council-led coalition estimated 2,500 new jobs and $2 billion in new economic output would be created over the next decade if its proposal is funded and put into action.
Suder said he’s hopeful the coalition will learn “sometime around August, maybe September,” which applicants have been awarded funding by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through the grant program.
“It’s research and development, it’s innovation for future markets, it’s also R&D for Wisconsin’s forestry industries,” he said. “We have plans for a huge innovation center so we can do the research, some of the research at least, for the industry right here in Wisconsin.”
See a full list of WisBusiness.com podcasts: https://www.wisbusiness.com/category/podcast/
See an earlier related story: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/paper-council-leader-optimistic-about-federal-grant-proposal/
— The state Department of Justice says Wisconsin will receive about $2.4 million through a multistate agreement with Intuit Inc.
According to a DOJ release, the agreement followed an investigation into deceptive marketing tactics related to the company’s TurboTax tax filing business.
The release shows Intuit will be paying $141 million in restitution to “millions of consumers across the nation who were unfairly charged.” All 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the agreement, per the release. The company will also have to suspend an ad campaign that promised customers free tax preparation services “only to deceive them into paying” for these services, the DOJ says.
“More than 76,000 Wisconsinites ended up paying for tax preparation products that were marketed as being ‘free,’” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a release. “It’s not right for a corporation to use deceptive tactics to profit from folks who are paying their taxes.”
Customers covered under the agreement will get a direct payment by mail of about $30 for each year they were “deceived into paying” for tax filing services, the release shows.
— The number of fatal drug overdoses in Dane County continued to increase from 2019-2020, a report from county health officials shows.
The age-adjusted rate of fatal drug overdoses in Dane County rose 11 percent during that time, according to the 2022 Dane County Overdose Fatality Review. Public Health Madison & Dane County found that rate increased from 22.8 to 25.2 overdose deaths per 100,000 population over the year.
The report focused on overdose data between 2018-2020, the latest time frame for which “complete data” are available. During that period, 365 people in Dane County died from a drug overdose, the report shows. That’s up 43 percent from the previous study period of 2014-2016, in which 254 people died from overdoses.
And the county saw over 758 opioid-related hospital visits in 2020 alone.
Report authors say synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are causing a “steep increase” in overdose deaths in the county. Seventy percent of drug overdose deaths from 2018-2020 involved synthetic opioids.
The spike in synthetic opioid-involved drug overdose deaths seen between 2014 and 2020 came as prescription opioid-related overdose deaths “leveled off” between 2011 and 2020, the report shows.
Meanwhile, report authors say “there is some indication that heroin-involved death rates may be starting to decline” in the county.
Still, they note the opioid-involved overdose mortality rate remains higher than overdose rates involving benzodiazepines, cocaine and other drugs such as amphetamines. But at the same time, the percentage of fatal overdoses involving multiple drugs has been increasing for the past two decades, reaching 44 percent from 2018-2020.
See the full report: https://www.publichealthmdc.com/documents/overdose_fatality_review_2022.pdf
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— The Wisconsin State Building Commission has approved about $106 million in projects around the state, including a new solar array at UW-Parkside.
Approved projects also
include a renovation of UW-Madison’s Agricultural Hall, the Sandburg Hall West Tower Renovation at UW-Milwaukee and a food service renovation at Mendota Mental Health Institute.
Meanwhile, 24 maintenance and repair projects were approved for the departments of Corrections, Health Services, Military Affairs, and Natural Resources, as well as State Fair Park, Wisconsin Historical Society and the UW System.
And the commission approved funding for the Beyond Vision visABILITY Center in West Allis, which will help identify careers and provide services for the state’s “blind and low-vision” community.
# Lawsuits against US Postal Service aim to alter Oshkosh Defense production plans
# Latino Chamber of Commerce plans move, $5M renovation of Verona Road building
# Kenosha’s former Chrysler plant is slated to become an innovation district
– Wisconsin cheese production fell in March
– April Class III milk price rises to near record $24.42
– Ogden plans to replace mini-golf center on Layton with 257 apartments
– Facing declining enrollment and stagnant revenue, some Wisconsin schools are cutting staff
– Mount Mary University names Isabelle Cherney as next president
– Goodwill Industries chief communications and diversity officer appointed by Evers to UW Board of Regents
# FINANCIAL SERVICES
– Northwestern Mutual investing $5 million to boost Black-owned businesses in Milwaukee
# FOOD AND BEVERAGE
– Sargento Foods to acquire Baker cheese factory
– Restaurant review: Irish food works on more than just one day in March
# HEALTH CARE
– State data: About 6,400 abortions were performed in Wisconsin in 2020
– We asked 100 Wisconsinites about abortion access. Here’s what they said.
– If Roe falls, Illinois abortion providers plan for 20,000 to 30,000 more patients a year
– Froedtert names new chief strategy and transformation officer
– Northwestern Mutual names chief information officer
– $5M from Northwestern Mutual will seed loan fund for Milwaukee minority businesses
– Former Mercyhealth hospital executive sentenced to 3.5 years for fraud
– Autism awareness nonprofit Good Friend names new executive director
– Indiana manufacturer expanding into former Vollrath Co. facility in Menomonee Falls
– Lee Enterprises reports digital growth in second quarter
# REAL ESTATE
– Ansay, Pat Connaughton’s group aim for fall start on big Saukville project
– Real estate developer to move its headquarters back to Wauwatosa
– CrossFit Games returning to Madison in 2023
– Meet the startups selected for the 2022 Summerfest Tech Pitch Competition
– WisDOT to study options for rebuilding Stadium Freeway North in Milwaukee
– HGA to perform energy assessment for Dane County
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: