WED AM News: Experts tout tech aimed at helping first responders; Bankers surveyed on state economy, inflation, potential for recession

— Experts say detailed facility mapping and gunshot detection technology can help first responders react more effectively during a crisis. 

Joe Hanson, regional director of sales and implementation for the Critical Response Group, discussed the organization’s “geo-spatial” mapping service yesterday during a Wisconsin Technology Council luncheon in Madison. By combining aerial imagery with a verified internal floor plan, these maps provide an up-to-date navigational tool for law enforcement and others during emergencies such as school shootings. 

He explained this tool helps those in charge determine where resources and personnel should be deployed in the midst of chaotic situations. 

“You could have 20 agencies showing up — in Milwaukee, probably more than that,” Hanson said. “I don’t need everyone going inside the building to the point of friction … It’s a very complicated dance between a lot of people who don’t always work together. And that’s why those maps are so important.” 

This technology has been deployed at over 400 schools in Wisconsin, he said. Other clients of the New Jersey company include hospitals and manufacturers. 

Another panelist, Shotspotter Director of Security Solutions Paul Mascari, gave an overview on the California company’s gunshot detection system. The company builds an array of sensors around a building or area — ranging from the size of a K-12 school up to an entire city — that can identify the precise location where a gun was fired in the area. 

The system then sends the information to the client as well as the local law enforcement agency. Mascari said the company guarantees that will occur in 60 seconds or less. Last year, the company issued about 250,000 alerts in the 800 square miles it covers for 130 customers, and had an average response time of 42 seconds, he said. 

“Obviously we have a big presence in cities that are plagued by gun violence, and certainly that’s going up,” he said. 

He noted over 250 mass shootings have occurred in the United States so far this year, but added neighborhood gun violence is on the rise as well. 

The discussion also touched on the recent high-profile example in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed during a mass shooting at an elementary school. While the discussion didn’t delve into the specifics of that situation, West Allis Police Chief Patrick Mitchell said the safety and wellbeing of innocent civilians must be prioritized over that of the responding officers. 

“Time is of the essence, and … as I deconstruct what occurred there, I don’t think you would see that occur in this state,” he said. “We would press the issue and go in for those that are still alive.” 

While yesterday’s discussion briefly hit on other technologies being explored by school districts and others, such as bullet-resistant tables and whiteboards, Mitchell said “you probably are better off spending your money elsewhere.” 

“You’re better off investing in keeping people out and having teachers have the ability to lock themselves in,” he argued. 

— In a recent survey of Wisconsin bankers, the percentage rating the state’s economy as good or excellent fell to 71 percent, marking a 20 percent decline from a previous survey. 

A report from the Wisconsin Bankers Association shows 91 percent of respondents to the previous survey in mid-2021 rated the economy as good or excellent. 

In the latest survey, conducted between May 24 and June 10 with 56 respondents, 50 percent said they expect inflation to rise in the next six months. Twenty-two percent expect inflation to fall over that time, and 28 percent expect it to stay “about the same.” 

Meanwhile, 16 percent said a recession in the next six months is very likely, and 44 percent said it’s likely to occur. About 20 percent were neutral on this question, while 16 percent said a recession is unlikely and just under 4 percent said it’s very unlikely. 

In its analysis of the results, WBA highlights “economic bright spots” cited by bank executives such as strong tourism, construction, manufacturing and agriculture industries. Results also indicate the hiring market and real estate market are “cooling down,” according to the group. 

Some of the top economic concerns for respondents include: inflation; cost of living, child care and education; rising interest rates; oil and gas prices; staffing shortage; and the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

“While the economy remains relatively stable, bankers are keeping a close eye on important indicators and stand ready to support their customers through possible economic challenges over the coming months,” WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels said in the report. 

See the full survey results: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has issued an executive order to prohibit price gouging at gas stations.

He also asked the federal government to waive reformulated gas requirements for southeastern Wisconsin in response to record fuel prices. 

The order against price gouging takes effect until Dec. 1 and declares a state of abnormal economic disruption, triggering Wisconsin’s price gouging laws to take effect as the U.S experiences higher fuel costs than ever.

Evers yesterday also renewed his call for the federal government to suspend the gas tax. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told Evers made the right move, but credit should go to Republicans, too. 

“After Governor Evers proposed a gas tax increase, which I strongly opposed, it’s good to see he’s again following our lead,” he said. “Something I’m sure he will again tout as his own idea on the campaign trails.”

Evers in a press release said waiving the EPA’s RFG requirements would reduce the cost of a gallon of gas by more than 30 cents in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties. 

“National inflation is causing the cost of everyday household goods and prices at the pump to go up, and Wisconsinites all across our state are struggling to keep up,” he said. “This emergency order will help prevent bad actors from taking advantage of Wisconsin drivers as they fill up the tank to get to work, school, supplies and resources for their businesses, or get their product to market.”

Vos earlier this month also called on the EPA to waive RFG requirements. 

See Evers’ release:

— The Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association argued Evers’ move amounts to a “ridiculous” and unreasonable blame on gas station owners. 

The group in a press release said Wisconsin’s fuel market is one of the most competitive in the country, leading to smaller profit margins than elsewhere in the country. It also argued other factors such as the cost of crude oil, federal/state taxes and boutique fuel requirements. The group added credit card swipe fees remain the highest expense after labor for gas station owners.

See the release:

— The state has ordered about 48,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses for young children, health officials said during a call with reporters. 

Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake says the newly approved vaccines are arriving in the state, with larger providers and health systems receiving direct shipments and DHS handling distribution for smaller providers through a number of hubs around the state. 

“That is enough to get us started … there is an additional brief kind of ramp-up period of provider training and making sure that folks have updated their local procedures and protocols,” Timberlake said yesterday. 

Officials are encouraging parents and family members to check to determine where vaccines for their children are available in the state. 

“That is going to continue to be the very best resource that people can use for information on availability of vaccines,” she said. 

DHS is now recommending that everyone aged 6 months or older get vaccinated against COVID-19 following federal officials recently approving pediatric vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. 

According to the agency’s release, the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years requires three total doses, with the first two given three weeks apart and a third dose at least two months later. The Moderna vaccine, approved for children aged 6 months to 5 years, requires two doses spaced 28 days apart. 

See the release: 

— The Department of Revenue has announced the final $205 million in American Rescue Plan Act money has been distributed to 1,824 communities across Wisconsin. 

DOR worked with the Department of Administration and the U.S. Treasury Department to distribute the funds to towns, villages and cities with a population under 50,000 — also known as non-entitlement units. DOR Secretary Peter Barca in a press release said the Wisconsin Towns Association and Wisconsin League of Municipalities deserve “enormous credit” for their help too. 

“I am extremely proud of the efforts of our staff to ensure every local unit of government was contacted and made fully aware of the funding available to them,” Barca said. “As a result, 99.8% of Wisconsin’s towns, villages and cities decided to accept and have now received this funding for their communities.”

Local governments can each use up to $10 million of the funds they receive for government services they already provide, such as water utilities, emergency services, health services and more. 

They can also use those funds to:

*Support public health expenditures;

*Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency;

*Replace lost public sector revenue;

*Provide premium pay for essential workers; and

*Invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

See the release: 

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# Evers signs order to ban gasoline price gouging in Wisconsin

# Madison guaranteed income program will give 155 households $500 monthly for a year

# As heat returns to Wisconsin, farmers work to keep their cows cool



– State lifts order prohibiting poultry at live events

– Protect those animals in the hot weather


– More than 60% of Wisconsin bank CEOs expect recession in next six months


– ‘It’s literally feeding my baby’: Formula recall affects Madison parents

– Children’s opens south side Milwaukee clinic serving largest pediatric population in area

– Wisconsin’s ‘chronic Lyme’ patients embrace alternative treatments, rack up big bills


– A 3% raise may not cut it this year in Milwaukee. Here’s how much local wages are rising.


– How Davenport landed Fair Oaks Foods and its $132M plant

– Recycling company plans Pleasant Prairie operation


– Housing affordability slips 30% in Wisconsin as mortgage rates, home prices rise

– A six-story, 86-unit apartment building is proposed for Walker’s Point. It’s the latest in a series of similar neighborhood projects.


– Harbor Freight Tools plans to open a new story in Grafton this fall


– Minority-owned businesses can struggle to start and grow in northeast Wisconsin. These groups are trying to change that.


– Johnsonville broadens test-market launch of new sausage snacks, offers free samples at Brewers game


– How a $35 million upgrade will boost business in the already bustling Port Milwaukee. A big year for cruise ships, but challenges remain.


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

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: Wisconsin agriculture news, milk production

WMC: To President Biden: Energy costs & reliability threatening manufacturing industry