WED AM News: Eldon Homes aims to revitalize Stoughton with new housing developments; Supreme Court rules against WMC in COVID records case

— A new development company called Eldon Homes aims to revitalize Stoughton’s economy by building hundreds of new housing units in the coming years. 

Rob Hostrawser is the director of operations for the business, which launched in November. In a recent interview, he explained the company was created by community stakeholders to address a shortage of housing in the region. 

“Part of the charm with Stoughton is having that smaller town appeal, but the problem we run into now is that we’re really losing out on the families, the school enrollment, the business growth opportunities that other communities are having,” he said. 

Eldon Homes founder and owner Keith Anderson currently lives in Virginia, but most of his family remains in Stoughton, Hostrawser said. Anderson’s family ran the GM dealership in the area for decades, and he and his wife Tammy met nearly 40 years ago while attending high school in Stoughton, a release from the company shows. 

The business was created after Anderson — a successful housing developer who previously worked for a large firm called NVR — learned enrollment at the Stoughton Area School District had been declining for years, Hostrawser said. Anderson recently donated $1 million to the school district for a new sports complex, slated to open next fall. 

But he and others in the community wanted to do more, starting with creating more housing options to attract new residents and businesses to the area. 

See the full story here: 

— A split state Supreme Court has ruled Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce couldn’t block the release of public records detailing businesses that had employees test positive for COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic.

The court ruled 4-3 the state law that generally prohibits judicial review of open records requests before the documents are released barred WMC’s claims.

Writing for the majority, Justice Rebecca Dallet wrote WMC doesn’t meet any of the exceptions laid out in Wisconsin’s open records law to the ban on judicial review.

She was joined by fellow liberals Ann Walsh Bradley and Jill Karofsky, as well as conservative Brian Hagedorn, who has become the key swing vote on the court in high-profile cases.

WMC President & CEO Kurt Bauer criticized the ruling, saying it opens “the door to massive public intrusion into private medical records possessed by state agencies.”

But Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said all that will be released are the names of businesses and number of confirmed infections and the decision affirms “the public has a right to know pandemic-related information gathered by public health authorities, whether the state’s largest business group likes it or not.”

See more on the court’s decision at 

— In the initial round of local road funding from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, $35 million is going toward 40 projects in Wisconsin, a release from state officials shows. 

“This investment in our state’s infrastructure will provide much-needed support for communities across Wisconsin to ensure we have a safe reliable transportation system for years to come,” Gov. Tony Evers said in the release. 

This round of funding supports rural and urban areas with fewer than 50,000 people. The state Department of Transportation says it received 306 applications, and the 40 selected span 28 counties. Officials say applicants who weren’t selected can reapply for funding in future years using a simplified form. 

Contracts for funded projects will be determined this fall, the release shows, with construction slated for the spring. 

See the list of recipients: 

See the release: 

— Marquette University is launching a new automation laboratory with support from a $1 million donation by the Omron Corporation. 

A release from the university shows the Omron Advanced Automation Lab in the Opus College of Engineering will combine “innovative industrial automation and robotics technology” with supply chain platforms. The Omron Corp. is based in Japan. 

“This will bring together their nationally ranked engineering and supply chain management programs, allowing students to bridge the gap between business and engineering with a state-of-the-art learning space,” said Robb Black, CEO and COO of the company’s industrial automation division. 

Along with establishing the new lab, the donation will also support Marquette’s mechanical engineering graduate program and an endowed scholarship at the university. 

Philip Voglewede, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, says the new lab isn’t meant to be a “showroom of perfection.” 

“Students will be allowed to fail and from failure comes understanding, learning and engagement,” he said. 

See the release: 

— A new fetal care center launched by UW Health and UnityPoint Health-Meriter is giving patients an in-state option for prenatal surgeries. 

The UW Health Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center, which began seeing patients in March, is located at the UnityPoint Health-Meriter Center for Perinatal Care in Madison. The center is staffed by pediatric surgeons, maternal-fetal specialists, genetic counselors and other care providers, a release shows. 

The Department of Health Services site shows about 2,000 infants are born with a birth defect in Wisconsin each year. Conditions addressed at the center include defects related to the heart, urinary tract, spinal cord, gastrointestinal system and lungs, as well as “complex twin conditions.” 

Before the new center opened, patients in the state would have to travel elsewhere for prenatal surgeries. That’s according to Dr. Inna Lobeck, the center’s director and assistant professor of surgery at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. 

“With the development of fetal surgery, we are able to offer families hope where there once wasn’t any,” she said in the release. “Thirty years ago, many of these conditions were untreatable, often resulting in pregnancy loss or poor quality of life. Now we can offer an opportunity to intervene early and change that.”

Find more information on birth defects in Wisconsin: 

See the release: 

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— In a new book from the UW-Green Bay Teaching Press, author Phil Hauck puts a spotlight on the “golden age” of innovation in northeast Wisconsin. 

“The Golden Age of Brown County Enterprise: Their CEOs, Strategies and Teams” includes success stories from companies that thrived in the region such as KI, Schreiber Foods, Fort Howard Corp, Schneider National and American Medical Security. It highlights executive leaders at these businesses and the strategies that helped them succeed in the late 1980s and 1990s, a release from the university shows. 

Hauck began connecting with these leaders in late 2020 as part of an effort to capture the history of Green Bay’s business community. 

“Many were at first apprehensive, but as they got into their stories, were very animated,” he said in the release. “Each interviewee reflected well back on both the highs and lows of their experiences in coping with the challenges of their times.”

See the release: 

See more on the book here: 

— Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is seeking signatures on a letter asking the EPA to waive reformulated gasoline requirements for Wisconsin as gas prices reach record highs.

The letter calls for EPA Administrator Michael Regan to waive a federal requirement that gasoline in southeastern Wisconsin be reformulated in cities with high smog levels. Vos argues conditions created by “the pandemic, swelling prices due to inflation, the war in Ukraine, and President Biden’s Executive Orders impacting the oil and gas industries” warrant lifting the requirement and doing so will reduce the price of gas.

“With summer travel season now upon us, many citizens are thinking twice about major driving trips,” the letter reads. “Any incentive at the gas pump to encourage people to follow through on their summer plans will stimulate the economy. We write this letter in the direct interest of the people of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Conservation Voters Government Affairs Director Jen Giegerich told petroleum companies and their allies in Congress are taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to increase profits.

“Wisconsin Families in need of relief from higher costs are being lied to by Rep. Vos,” she said. Eliminating clean air protections for Southeast Wisconsin will only cause more asthma attacks, more smog days, and greater respiratory problems.”

She added: “The only real solution to high, unreliable energy costs is investing in clean, renewable energy.”

The copy of the letter obtained by is dated June 7. It was circulated earlier this week for co-signers.

See the letter:

See more about reformulated gasoline:


# Kohl’s says it has begun negotiations with Franchise Group Inc. – operator of the Vitamin Shoppe – that could lead to sale of company

# Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that business COVID case information can be released

# Wisconsin ranks third nationwide for small business hiring struggles. Here’s why.



– Milwaukee-based digital marketing agency RyTech acquires Portland firm


– Over half of Wisconsin’s first hay crop now harvested

– Switzer named DATCP assistant deputy secretary


– What slowdown in biotech spells for life-sciences real estate sector


– ThriveOn King construction begins

– Madison City Council may remove public’s ability to file protest petitions on developments

– $110 million ThriveOn King project starts construction next week for completion in 2023


– As Northeast Wisconsin becomes more diverse, work continues to overcome negative views


– Justin Mortara named president of Madison health care AI startup


– Labor union alleges unfair wage practices at Ascent high-rise construction site


– Multistate investigation busts 13 anglers — 1 in Wisconsin — for poaching lake whitefish

– Wisconsin Supreme Court rules business COVID-19 records can be released


– A beverage company is moving its operations to Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley under a proposal that’s received a Plan Commission endorsement.


– Franchise Group says it would use Kohl’s real estate assets to finance purchase of the company

– Janesville Plan Commission gives nod to land use changes for massive greenhouse project


– Kohl’s Corp. negotiating company sale to owner of The Vitamin Shoppe

– Odd couple: Why does a franchise company want to buy Kohl’s?


– 1000-hp muscle car for Stellantis exec is most extreme build yet for Kacmarcik-led SpeedKore


– Milwaukee Public Museum begins site preparations for new museum


– DOT suggests cheaper diverging diamond option for Stadium Interchange rebuild


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

Gov. Evers, Wisconsin Department of Transportation: Announce $35 million in federal bipartisan infrastructure law funding for local road improvements

ThriveOn: ThriveOn King building construction to commence