• interstate 41 Corridor
Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties
ATW, Wittman net federal grants for airport facility upgrades
Appleton International Airport and Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh each received federal grants for airport upgrades.
Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh is receiving $7.5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to improve the safety of one of its major taxiways.
The FAA awarded the Winnebago County-owned facility an Airport Improvement Program Discretionary grant to rebuild Taxiway A, which serves the airport’s main north-south runway throughout the year and becomes a second north-south runway during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in convention. In addition to FAA funding, the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics and the county will contribute $425,000 to the project.
The Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics inspected the taxiway in 2015 and determined its pavement was deteriorating due to its age and would need to be rebuilt by 2021 to comply with minimum federal and industry standards.
The reconstruction includes replacing current lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting, replacing two 30-year-old metal culverts with concrete ones to improve water flow in the drainage structures and reconstructing five driveways that connect the taxiway to the prime runway. Construction will begin in April and run in several phases to avoid any work around EAA AirVenture. The project will be finished by spring 2021.
Appleton International Airport received $4.7 million in grant money, which was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation on behalf of the FAA.
Appleton will receive $2.3 million from the Federal Airport Improvement Program, and Rep. Mike Gallagher helped obtain an additional $2.4
million in discretionary funding. Improvements will include 26,000 square yards of new taxiway, ramp and site readiness improvements.
U.S. Cellular bringing 5G to Appleton, Green Bay in 2020
U.S. Cellular announced Appleton and Green Bay will be part of a rollout of its 5G network in the first quarter of 2020.
The company’s initial 5G deployment will be on the 600 MHz spectrum and provide customers with faster data speeds, a more responsive mobile experience and the ability to connect more devices to the network at the same time, Michael S. Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer of U.S. Cellular, said in a statement.
U.S. Cellular is starting its rollout in key markets in Iowa and Wisconsin, including Appleton and Green Bay. It will be the first phase of the company’s planned multiyear network expansion for 5G.
Customers in Iowa and Wisconsin with 4G devices will begin to see increased network quality as cell towers are updated with new technology, which also supports 5G. As the 5G network expands, customers will receive notification. Oshkosh is on the list of cities slated to receive 5G at some point during 2020.
Bankruptcy court approves Oshkosh arena financing plan
The owner of Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh says it has the funding to continue running the facility and pay back its debts.
Fox Valley Pro Basketball said a bankruptcy court has approved a $500,000 financing plan. That’s in addition to the $420,000 in TIF money the arena will receive from the City of Oshkosh this month. Of the $500,000 in approved financing, $200,000 is coming from Windward Wealth Management, which is owned by Greg Pierce, the president of Fox Valley Pro Basketball.
The money secured is enough for the arena to “fund its operations, become profitable and propose a plan of reorganization that will allow Fox Valley Pro Basketball to exit Chapter 11,” attorney Jerome Kerkman of Kerkman & Dunn, the company’s legal representative, said in a statement.
The financing plan was approved after concerns raised by parties, including Bayland Buildings, had been addressed. Bayland Buildings and Fox Valley Pro Basketball reached an agreement to allow the financing and to stay all legal proceedings between the parties until mid-January 2020. This will allow Fox Valley Pro Basketball time to work toward its financial restructuring.
In August, Bayland sued Fox Valley Pro Basketball, saying it was still owed $13 million from the arena’s 2017 construction.
Fox Valley Pro Basketball already reached agreements with The Future Bucks and the City of Oshkosh to address their concerns in the organization’s restructuring efforts.
• The Lakeshore
Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties
LTC receives $2M grant to help meet low-income students’ needs
The United States Department of Education awarded Lakeshore Technical College a $2.06 million competitive grant under the Title III Strengthening Institutions program.
This grant program provides funding to higher education institutions so they can expand and strengthen their capacity to serve low-income students. The funds are payable over five years.
LTC plans to invest the grant funds in the development of competency-based learning formats, the deployment of additional student support services and the implementation of a holistic student support system.
Competency-based learning provides students with a high degree of flexibility with their schedules and lets them obtain college credit for skills already mastered, allowing them to earn their degrees faster. It also allows students to learn at their own pace by progressing after having proven specific job competencies and choose for themselves the best times to learn on campus. Competency-based learning formats will be developed for high-demand, high-wage programs including those in advanced manufacturing, which are among the highest in demand locally.
Additional support services will help each student, including those who are low-income, of color or with disabilities, reach their goal of a college degree and a career. A holistic student support system will focus on student advisers taking new approaches to helping students overcome the challenges they face while working toward obtaining their education and career goals.
Manitowoc launches website that shares county’s positives
Manitowoc County launched Life’s All Here, a new countywide website. The new identity and website aim to capture the assets, growth, innovation and active lifestyle Manitowoc County boasts today and in the future.
The website is designed to be the single source of information that the community and visitors need. The new identity was selected to reignite the passion of residents to share with others about life in the county and to be appealing to people who may be considering Manitowoc County in the future.
In addition to the website, lifesallhere.com can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Next-phase plans include adding engagement tools for community organizations and employers to expand their recruiting and marketing activities.
• West Central
Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties
First State Bank donates $100,000 to New London library project
First State Bank donated $100,000 to New London Public Library’s Heart of Our Community campaign.
The New London-based bank provided the donation in support of the mixed-use development project at the site of the former Wolf River Lumber property. The library plans to move from its Pearl Street location to the riverfront development that will include residential and commercial spaces.
“First State Bank is excited to take a leadership role in initiatives that can reinvigorate our downtown and help attract and retain residents and businesses in our community,” said First State Bank President Scott Van Asten.
• The Northwoods
Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties
Marinette Marine marks beginning of USS Nantucket construction
Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine marked the beginning of construction on Littoral Combat Ship 27, the future USS Nantucket, with a ceremony in Marinette.
As part of a shipbuilding tradition dating back centuries, a shipyard worker welded the initials of Polly Spencer, USS Nantucket ship sponsor and wife of U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, into the ship’s keel plate. This plate will be affixed to the ship and travel with Nantucket throughout its commissioned life.
“The USS Nantucket will confront many complex challenges,” said Richard V. Spencer, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy. “It will confront humanitarian relief all the way to great power competition, drawing on the strength of every weld, every rivet applied by the great people here.”
LCS 27 is the first Navy ship to be named after Nantucket, Mass., in more than 150 years. Nantucket has a deep connection to sailing and maritime traditions, serving as a whaling hub in the 1800s and as the home of generations of American sailors since the town’s beginning. The previous USS Nantucket, the first to be named after the island, was commissioned in 1862 to serve during the American Civil War.
LCS 27 will be the 14th Freedom-variant LCS and will join a class of more than 30 ships. It is one of six ships in various stages of construction and testing at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.