THU AM News: April home sales down in Milwaukee area, but realtor group says ‘no big deal’; Advocate Aurora Health announces plans to merge with Atrium Health

— April home sales in the metro Milwaukee area fell 8.2 percent over the year, but the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors says “no one should panic.” 

That’s because last year was an “exceptionally wild year” for residential real estate, the group wrote yesterday in its latest report. 

A total of 5,658 units were sold over the first four months of the year, the report shows, which is the second-most on record for that period. That’s compared to the 5,730 units sold at the same point in 2021. 

GMAR notes much of this year will likely “appear down” in comparison to last year’s numbers. Overall, the report forecasts a “pretty solid” outlook for the rest of 2022. 

“Despite some headwinds in the form of interest rate hikes, inflation, and supply chain issues, the current market should be able to withstand them,” report authors wrote. 

Meanwhile, the report highlights falling numbers of available listings as a concern for the market. The area had 7,342 listings over the first four months of this year, which is 3.4 percent lower than the same period of last year, the report shows. It’s also the lowest that four-month total has been “this century,” GMAR says. 

While listings increased 11.8 percent in February, they quickly fell 12.1 percent in March, according to the report. That continues a trend of “rollercoaster listing reports that have been on the negative side” over more than half of the past six years or so. 

GMAR also highlights rising home prices driven by low inventory levels, with the average April sale price in the four-county area increasing 11.6 percent over the year. A lack of new construction of single-family houses and condominiums and overproduction of apartments is underlined as a “systemic problem” in the market. 

See the full report here: 

— Advocate Aurora Health has announced plans to merge with North Carolina-based Atrium Health to form a new health system under the name Advocate Health. 

The new organization will be based in Charlotte, and will provide care in areas of Wisconsin, North Carolina, Illinois, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. 

The health systems say Advocate Health will “maintain a strong organizational presence” in Chicago and Milwaukee, including a new institute for health equity in Milwaukee. 

According to a release, Advocate Health will serve 5.5 million patients through 67 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations with combined revenues of over $27 billion. 

Advocate Aurora Health was formed through a previous merger when Wisconsin’s Aurora Health Care and Advocate Health Care Network of Illinois combined in 2018. 

Jim Skogsbergh, president and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health, says the newly announced health system will be able to “do more, be better and go faster.” 

“This combination harnesses our complementary strengths and expertise of our doctors, nurses and teammates to lead health care’s transformation for those we are so proud to serve,” he said in a statement. 

Both boards of directors for Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health unanimously approved the merger agreement, which is subject to regulatory review. Advocate Health will be led by a board of directors made up of an equal number of members from each health system. 

Edward Brown III, current chair of Atrium Health’s board of directors, will lead the Advocate Health board through 2023. It will then be chaired for two years by Michele Richardson, current chair of Advocate Aurora Health’s board of directors. 

Skogsbergh and Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health, will share the CEO position for the combined system for 18 months, the release shows. After that point, Skogsbergh plans to retire and Woods will take over as CEO. 

See the release: 

— The number of reported drug overdose deaths in Wisconsin last year spiked to 1,677, according to provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

That’s an increase of about 10 percent from 2020, when 1,531 drug overdose deaths were reported. That number was 1,200 for 2019, the CDC site shows. 

The latest increase continues the trend of rising drug overdose deaths in Wisconsin. Aside from a slight decline over the second half of 2018, drug overdose deaths in the state have largely been trending upward since at least 2015, according to the CDC. 

Wisconsin’s trend is roughly in line with that of the nation overall, which had nearly 104,000 reported drug overdose deaths in 2021 for an increase of about 12 percent over the year. 

See the CDC data here: 

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— DATCP has issued a new order banning all domestic birds from live events such as exhibitions due to the deadly strain of avian influenza. 

A previous order from April 7 applied only to poultry, while the new order replaces it and expands the suspension to all domestic birds. That includes poultry as well as pet birds, farm-raised game birds and others. 

The latest ban will remain in effect until 30 days after the last case of highly pathogenic avian influenza is detected among domestic flocks in the state, a release from the agency shows. 

See DATCP’s order here: 

See the agency’s site tracking HPAI cases by county: 

See the release: 

— WEDC is providing a $72,700 grant to the village of Cambridge to help fund the redevelopment of a blighted building into a small hotel. 

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s Community Development Investment Grant will be used for fire protection, plumbing, heating and cooling, a release from the agency shows. 

Cambridge Inn on Main is envisioned as a boutique hotel with five standard rooms and one three-room suite, according to the release. The owner and developer, Tony Buonincontro, operates a five-acre wedding venue called Villa Buonincontro with his wife Mandi in nearby Fort Atkinson. 

See more on the project in the release: 


# Kohl’s Corp. fends off activist investor board takeover bid

# Madison City Council OKs project to turn half of Yahara Hills Golf Course into landfill

# VC MKE aims to connect founders of color to venture capitalists



– WBC pffering summer beef promotion grants


– State directing $5M in infrastructure money to Milwaukee community center


– Duley receives sustainable agriculture grant

– Blank laments not building diversity, won’t miss bureaucracy

– Rebecca Blank advises successor to improve campus climate, seek flexibility

– Arts to be at the forefront of summer learning opportunities in Madison School District


– After a yearslong search, Wisconsin’s oldest tree is revealed. Sort of.


– The Buzz: Pizza chain closes only Fox Valley location


– Building blocks: Neuroscience Group clinic in Appleton

– Advocate Aurora to combine with East Coast health system that will serve as headquarters

– North Carolina-based Atrium Health to merge with Advocate Aurora

– Advocate Aurora, Atrium Health merger will create fifth-largest system in nation


– 1840 Brewing plans second taproom, and a gluten-free beer fest: Beer Biz MKE

– See UWM student designs turn Milwaukee’s Third Ward lots into parks and projects: Slideshow

– State to allocate $5 million in federal COVID relief funds for community center development on Near West Side

– Downtown Eau Claire co-working space moving next month


– Kohl’s shareholders retain board, but is a sale of the company still in play?

– Kohl’s shareholders reject dissident board slate, re-elect incumbents

– Kohl’s board remains in control following shareholder vote

– Family-owned Gooseberries grocery store in Burlington sold to Illinois-based chain


– Parisi, Dane County Board clash over next steps on zoo


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