MON AM News: Speaker highlights ‘political opportunity’ in clean energy; Seven-day average for new COVID cases continues rapid decline

— The head of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum says Republicans in the state have a “political opportunity” in clean energy given widespread support seen in poll results. 

“We do polling every year across the country, we do polling here in Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter if you’re polling right-of-center voters, middle or left-of-center, clean energy is very universally popular,” Executive Director Scott Coenen said recently during Renew Wisconsin’s annual Renewable Energy Summit in Madison. “75, 80 percent — the numbers are always there. People like this stuff.” 

GOP lawmakers in the state have recently introduced bills related to community solar projects and third-party financing, as well as electric vehicles and EV charging stations. While some have seen more movement than others, Renew Wisconsin Director of Government Affairs Jim Boullian said these efforts represent “some real breakthroughs” with more conservatives eyeing clean energy issues. 

Coenen explained that Republicans and Democrats are approaching these topics from very different perspectives, and that has a big impact on related messaging. 

“In all materials, the supporting stuff we put together for all of those kind of right-of-center renewable energy, clean energy bills, you will not see the word climate mentioned once. Not once, right? Not a motivating factor,” he said, noting that applies to both GOP voters and political leaders. 

By avoiding the question of climate and focusing on factors like competition, consumer choice, free market opportunities, jobs, infrastructure investment and national security, Coenen says lobbying efforts aim to appeal to Republican values. 

“That doesn’t necessarily build bipartisanship or common ground necessarily, but it at least I think gets everybody rowing in the same direction, right, and does it matter why we’re rowing that boat if we’re all kind of moving in the same direction? Not necessarily,” he said. 

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See more coverage of last week’s event: 

— The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state continues to fall rapidly, reaching 7,301 cases per day. But daily deaths remain high.

While that number remains above the levels seen in late 2020 during the first major surge, it’s well below the more recent peak of 18,872 cases per day on Jan. 19. 

But at the same time, the seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths hit a recent peak of 37 deaths per day on Jan. 24, reaching a level not seen since December 2020 when the vaccines had just become available. The Department of Health Services reports a total of 11,062 COVID-19 deaths in the state. 

Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to fall, according to data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association. The group’s dashboard shows 1,700 patients are currently hospitalized with the virus, including 360 patients in the ICU. In the past week those numbers have fallen by 321 and 65, respectively. 

And the trajectory of COVID-19 patient hospitalizations is decreasing in several areas of the state. Between Jan. 12-25, hospitalizations were falling 13 percent in the northwest region, 11 percent in the south central region and 16 percent in the southeast region. No significant change was seen in the rest of the state. 

Slow progress continues to be made in vaccinating Wisconsinites. The DHS site shows 63.2 percent of state residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 59.2 percent have completed the vaccine series. 

See the latest case numbers: 

See DHS figures on COVID-19 deaths: 

See the WHA site: 

— ThedaCare will tighten visitor restrictions as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in northeast and central Wisconsin. 

A release from the health system shows heightened measures will be put in place at hospitals in Appleton, Berlin, Neenah, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose. 

For hospitals and surgery centers, visitors will not be allowed for patients with COVID-19, a release shows, with exception for “limited, approved, pre-arranged visitation for end of life.” No visitors will be allowed for patients without the virus either, including in the emergency department. 

Visitors to Family Birth Care sites will be limited to one “essential person” throughout the state, with no children allowed. And one parent or guardian will be allowed to accompany minors or patients with limited mobility, cognitive impairment, or intellectual or developmental disability. 

Restrictions vary for ThedaCare clinics, hospice facilities and the Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. 

“ThedaCare will continue to monitor and adapt visitor restrictions and screening guidelines as necessary to protect our patients, team members and visitors,” said Dr. Michael Hooker, ThedaCare vice president and chief medical officer of acute care.

See the release: 

— Port of Green Bay Director Dean Haen says higher totals this shipping season are “a nice reflection of the strong local and regional economy” and a good sign for the port. 

A release shows shipments into and out of the port reached 1.97 million tons for the 2021 season, marking a 3 percent increase over the previous year. The increase was driven by increased imports of limestone, cement and petroleum, while salt and coal shipments saw decreases over the year. 

The 2021 season saw 178 ships visit the port, up slightly from 176 ships during the prior season. 

Domestic and foreign limestone imports reached 639,357 tons, for a 12 percent increase over the year. And cement shipments hit 412,500 tons for a 5 percent increase. 

Meanwhile, petroleum product totals increased 71 percent to reach 378,768 tons. 

Haen says terminal operators will be working on repairs and maintenance for docking sites with planning underway for the 2022 shipping season. That’s expected to start in mid-March to early April. 

See the release: 

— The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce has announced 36 member companies got a perfect score in the latest 2022 Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Last year, 27 members of the chamber earned a score of 100 on the index. 

“We know firsthand that these businesses are committed to equality in the workplace and are actively helping build a more inclusive business community in Wisconsin and nationally,” said Jason Rae, chamber president and CEO. “Our members are working hard each day and we are particularly thrilled to see so many new additions to the list this year.” 

See the list of companies in a release: 


# Northern Wisconsin musher seeks another win in 2022 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

# Fathom Digital’s Martin aspiring to a billion-dollar goal

# After Harris visit, contractors, unions gearing up for lead-line replacements



– Next DCRC webinar addresses dairy cattle management

– Developers plan to buy long-held family farm on Madison’s East Side


– Students invited to apply for World Food Prize Youth Institute

– Milwaukee school board OKs spending $63m in COVID dollars


– Wisconsin health providers say climate change is a medical issue


– Free N95 masks in Wisconsin: Where to find them and how to wear them

– Overture Center to require COVID-19 booster or negative test to enter

– Why omicron is crushing hospitals — even though cases are often milder than delta


– Polk of MATC named director of DWD’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards

– Sen. Johnson meets with business owners in Chippewa Falls: ‘They can’t hire enough workers’


– Chippewa County’s land management director Masterpole retires


– MKE Tech Hub Coalition’s impact report shows nonprofit is bringing talent to Milwaukee


– Children of UW System alumni living outside Wisconsin would be eligible for in-state tuition under GOP bill


– Tosa’s big dilemma: Vassallo’s tower project stirs more discussion on zoning regulations

– Clever Real Estate names Milwaukee America’s ‘best coffee city’


– Appleton considers ways to ensure bartenders aren’t intoxicated


– Three reasons why Amazon would be compelling ‘long shot’ buyer for Kohl’s: Analyst


– National Railroad Museum to feature beer line memorabilia


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

Associated Bank: Earns top score in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index

Dept. of Workforce Development: David D. Polk to join DWD as the new Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Director