A report on economic opportunity occurring in Sheboygan County and what it means for the local economy
Economic Progress and Opportunity Update
September 16, 2019
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Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge gets new deck
Sheboygan County's only Hmong Radio Program Signs Off
SCEDC - A few weeks ago marked the end of Sheboygan County’s only Hmong radio program, hosted on WSHS 91.7. Xia Vue Yang, DJ, and founder of the program, has decided to end his on-air tenure after dedicating 37 years as a volunteer radio DJ for the Hmong American citizens in Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties.

Since 1982, Yang has been instrumental in bridging the language and communication gap that exists for Sheboygan County’s Hmong American citizens which, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, accounts for 4,100 citizens, putting it fourth in Wisconsin for Hmong populations. As a child who grew up in the Sheboygan area with Hmong immigrant parents myself, I can recall looking forward to the weekly radio show hosted by Yang.

Thank you Vue for 37 years of service.
Lakeland Students program humanoid for Autistic Learners
TMJ4 - Twin brothers came up with a way to help kids with autism by using robots.

Nick and Dan Koerber thought it would be cool to mess around with robots they found in a lab at Lakeland University in Sheboygan during their free time.

"We take the robots home over the summer and over like winter break and do stuff with them," said Dan.

They ended up creating code to teach the robots, specifically known as humanoids, how to learn.

You simply need to watch the video. This is so cool.
Phase I: Kohler Co.'s Clearings sells 15% of lots in first Month
BizTimes - Kohler Co. began selling lots for The Clearings subdivision this summer, marking the first time in more than a decade the village of Kohler-based company has offered residential lots for sale.

Company officials say the lots are being offered now due to robust demand for new housing.

Seventy-five lots, ranging from 0.3-1.1 acres each, make up the first phase of the subdivision located on the west side of Woodland Road, between Forest and Woodlake roads in the village of Kohler.

Renee Suscha, manager of Kohler Co.-owned Village Realty & Development, said the available lots represent the first of four phases, which altogether total 188 acres in the village. The lots are priced between $69,000 and $257,000.

Thank you to Kohler Co. for developing a much-needed subdivision.
New spiked seltzer created by Glenbeulah couple sells out across Wisconsin
Sheboygan Press - Carbliss, a zero-carb, zero-sugar hard seltzer, hit Wisconsin shelves last week, but it didn't stay for long.

Created by a Sheboygan County couple, Carbliss' first two flavors, black raspberry and lemon, launched in 10 grocery and liquor stores across the state last Friday. Almost all of them sold out by Sunday.

"Ninety percent of our locations sold out," said Adam Kroener, co-creator of Carbliss. "Fond du Lac sold out after two hours."

Congrats on a strong launch and we hope you establish a significant foothold in this growing market.
County nonprofit aims to advance STEAM education around the globe
Hingham, WI - Gearbox Labs Inc., a newly formed company in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin is proud to announce that its first curriculum, The Arduino® Classroom: STEAM Edition will be available in September.

The curriculum targets grades 5 and up and is written to help build student’s advanced technology skills and address the technology worker shortage across the globe.

Gearbox Labs, Inc. was founded in 2019 as a charitable company to publish Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) curricular resources for K-12 students as well as provide professional services to schools and districts including professional development for teachers, residency programs for classrooms, and consultations to school districts.

Ultimately, Gearbox Labs, Inc. will publish additional titles to cover topics such as the “Internet of Things” and science and engineering fair projects using the Arduino microcontroller. With the sales of these resources and services, Gearbox Labs hopes to establish a scholarship for technology and engineering students to pursue their post-high school education.

Great to see passionate, driven people in Sheboygan County seeking to help others.
SASD Lands Grant to help disadvantaged students become college bound (emphasis in STEM Careers)
Appleton Post Crescent - More than 7,000 economically disadvantaged students across Wisconsin will receive college readiness assistance this school year after the state Department of Instruction announced Thursday that it won a seven-year $35 million federal grant.

"We'll advance our goal of giving every student the support they need for an equitable chance to do well in school," state Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said in a news release.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant — which amounts to $5 million each academic year, pending ongoing approval from the U.S. Department of Education — will reach 2,500 middle and high school students in eight public school districts this year.
Plymouth Creates Lead Water & Sewer Lateral Revolving Loan Fund Pilot Program
City of Plymouth - On August 27, 2019 the Plymouth Common Council adopted resolution 23 of 2019 creating the water lateral and sewer lateral revolving loan fund pilot program. The initiative sets aside approximately $500,000 in funds to provide 100% financing of private lead water laterals and private sewer lateral replacements through a low-interest revolving loan fund program. Eligible property owners would repay the low-interest loan through a special charge on the property tax bill.

The program is being called a pilot program because earlier this year the Common Council passed a resolution stating its intent to extend the life of tax incremental finance district (TID) no. 4 one additional year in 2027. The TID extension would provide funding to create an affordable housing revolving loan fund program. This long-term housing program would provide funds for home repairs including replacement of lead water laterals. In the interim, the short-term loan program approved in 2019 will provide the financing necessary to support voluntary lead water lateral replacements as well as funding to those water laterals that are leaking and/or sewer laterals that are in need of replacement.

Eligible applicants include residential properties limited to 4 units or less and/or a licensed day care facility.

Great to see Plymouth creating tools to remove potentially hazardous lead lines from their community.
Rhine may partner with Bertram Wireless to Provide Broadband Internet to Residents
Plymouth Review - At a community informational meeting the Town of Rhine, the town discussed erecting a 200' tower to provide broadband access within a 3-5 miles, making broadband available to the lion's share of the township.

The tower would be paid for with a combination of Betram Wireless investment and a competitive rural broadband grant. Several details still need to be worked out.

Expanding broadband to rural Sheboygan County is extremely important as telecommuting, remote medicine, IoT and other trends continue.
Lakeshore Coastal Recreational Study Completed
Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission - The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission was awarded a grant through the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program to develop a Lakeshore Coastal Recreation Study for three coastal lakeshore counties in northeast Wisconsin. The project supports regional planning efforts, as well as county and local efforts to enhance and promote coastal recreation/tourism and economic sustainability.

The study aims to provide a better understanding of Lake Michigan coastal recreational preferences and participation through gathering economic and spatial data and conducting a coastal recreation users survey. Tourism and recreation are vital to the social and economic success of coastal communities.

The region of Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties, as a whole, is heavily influenced by its association with Lake Michigan, with each of the counties claiming a portion of the lake’s shoreline. This area supports an exceptional concentration of high quality rivers and streams, most of which harbor outstanding trout fisheries. 

A very interesting look on growing recreation in and along Wisconsin's Fresh Coast.
Trends: Electric, nearly crew-less cargo ships to sail rivers of Belgium and the Netherlands
Electrek - The Dutch company Port-Liner is building two giant all-electric barges dubbed the ‘Tesla ships‘. The company announced that the vessels will be ready by this autumn and will be inaugurated by sailing the Wilhelmina canal in the Netherlands. 
The 100 million-euro project supported by a €7m subsidy from the European Union is expected to have a significant impact on local transport between the ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Rotterdam.

The battery-powered barges – pictured above – are capable of carrying 280 containers.

An interesting new use of a century-old+ technology.
 Upcoming Meetings
Lakeshore Community Job Fair 
Date:  Tuesday, September 24th
Time:  1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 
Location:   Manitowoc County Expo center
More Info:  Job fair website
SCEDC Annual Meeting
Date:  Wednesday, November 13
Time:  4:30 - 7:00 PM
Location:   Blue Harbor Conference Center
Registration: Register Here

SCEDC team contact information: 

Dr. Joseph Sheehan, Executive Director
C: 920-946-3767

Dane Checolinski, Director 
C: 920-946-9378

Mary Motiska, Special Project Assistant
C: 920-980-0177

Ray York, Entrepreneurial Development Specialist
C: 920-946-9379