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USDA Grants to Support Rural Businesses and Create Jobs PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by USDA   
Friday, 26 February 2016 15:24

wiSTEVENS POINT, WI - U.S.Department of Agriculture Rural Development Wisconsin State Director, Stan Gruszynski, announced Thursday that USDA is seeking applications for grants to support rural businesses and help create jobs.

“Our mission is to support and contribute to the economic viability of rural communities and help them build toward the future,” Gruszynski said. “Too often, rural businesses and the communities they serve lack access to the capital and resources they need to grow and thrive. These grants will help remedy that and provide access to planning, mentoring and other services that can help to ensure their success.”

Under the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program funds can be used to acquire or develop land, buildings, plants and equipment; build or improve access roads, parking areas, utility extensions, and water and waste disposal facilities; provide technical assistance; establish revolving loan funds; and to support rural distance learning programs for educational or job training.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Public bodies
  • Government entities
  • Federally-recognized Tribes
  • Non-profit organizations

For example, Vernon Economic Development Association (VEDA), in Viroqua, WI, successfully assisted five businesses with a $43,000 grant award, creating and saving 27 local jobs in the process. The organization’s Food Enterprise Center, a state-of-the-art value-added food processing, aggregation, and distribution facility used grant funds to provide technical assistance to the small, rural businesses utilizing the Center.

The application deadline is March 31, 2016. For additional information on how to apply, contact the USDA Rural Development Wisconsin State Office at 715-345-7610 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Application instructions and related forms are available at www.rd.usda.gov/wi. Applications must be sent to the USDA Rural Deveopment Wisconsin State Office, 5417 Clem’s Way, Stevens Point, WI 54482.

Congress established the RBDG program under the 2014 Farm Bill by combining USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) programs. The new program, like its predecessors, is designed to assist the startup or expansion of small and emerging private businesses and/or non-profits in rural communities.

During the past year, USDA Rural Development invested nearly $577 million throughout rural Wisconsin and helped a record number of residents receive funding for economic development projects and quality of life improvements. The agency’s investment in Wisconsin helped create or retain more than 1,560 jobs; aided 3,000 families in buying their own homes; and assisted more than 80 communities in improving community facilities and upgrading local infrastructure. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs visit USDA’s web site at www.rd.usda.gov/wi.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

http://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/news-release/usda-seeks-grant-applications-support-rural-businesses-and-create-jobs

 
Clean Wisconsin Sues EPA for Stronger Air Toxics Protection PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Clean Wisconsin   
Friday, 26 February 2016 15:03

valley-powerplantEPA has failed to update hazardous air pollution rules for years, needs to do its job and protect Wisconsinites from toxic air pollution by setting up-to-date standards.

Read more...
 
Wisconsin Students Award Ron Johnson a Failing Grade PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by League of Conservation Voters, Jonah Hermann   
Friday, 26 February 2016 12:28

uwgb-studentUWGB, St. Norbert College, Green Bay area educators, and other community leaders announce Delegation Scores from LCV’s 2015 National Environmental Scorecard.


GREEN BAY, WI - Today, students from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, St. Norbert College, Green Bay area educators, and other community leaders unveiled League of Conservation Voters’ 2015 Environmental Scorecard at a rally outside the Brown County Courthouse. This year, more votes than ever were tracked, revealing that the 114th congress has unleashed more attacks on our natural resources than any other year in our history.

ron-johnsonUW-Green Bay student, Lorissa Banuelos, said “As a leader of UW-Green Bay’s student environmental group, I know the importance of conserving our air, land, and water for the next generation. When I talk to my peers, they agree, and together we are doing our part in our community to ensure Wisconsin remains safe and beautiful for our children. I am disappointed to see Ron Johnson's grade so out of touch with reality.”

Scores are given to every member of the U.S. House and Senate. In Wisconsin, the most notable score was Senator Ron Johnson, who received a zero, bringing his lifetime environmental score to just four percent.

Maggie McConnaha a St. Norbert student, criticized Johnson, saying “Today, I join with my fellow students in giving Ron Johnson an F grade for his assignment to protect our natural resources. We are ashamed that Ron Johnson sided with corporate polluters and not the needs of his constituents. Students like us all across the state will not stand for this behavior from our Senator.”

Thielen continued, “Our decision makers in Washington DC need to stand up for us and support legislation that aims to reverse the undeniable science of climate change, not take steps to roll back progress we have already made on this enormous threat to our community.”

Read more...
 
Rep. Bernier's Offensive Comments Toward Local School Leaders Continue PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Assembly Democrats, Laura Smith   
Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:49

kathy-bernierBernier says “It’s worse than going to a dentist, going to these meetings” in an interview with the Chippewa Herald. Does not want to hear from local officials about the damage that her votes have caused to our children and schools.


CHIPPEWA, WI – Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) continued her verbal assault on local education leaders Wednesday, saying in an interview with the Chippewa Herald about Monday's regular meeting of the Chippewa Falls, Altoona, and Eau Claire school districts that “It’s worse than going to a dentist, going to these meetings.” (full story here)

peter_barca“Rep. Bernier’s continued disrespect to her constituents only compounds the harm she has done to our public schools,” said Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). “Rep. Bernier’s unwillingness to engage the community on the very important issue of funding our schools is as troubling as her record of defunding these schools. Rep. Bernier owes her constituents – and frankly, dentists – an apology!”

Rep. Bernier’s outburst is out of step with her community and even her Republican colleagues. Other Republican legislators attending these meetings said they actually find them helpful.

Rep. Barca provided the following statistics today in response to Rep. Bernier’s urging “Let’s get the facts first and remove partisan politics from the topic of educating our children. Then we can do what’s right for children and their families.” (source: Wisconsin Radio Network)

Here are “the facts.” Since joining the legislature in 2011, Rep. Bernier has:

  • Slashed Funding for K-12 Schools: The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) reported that since 2011, K-12 public schools have received more than $1 billion less in state aid (memo).
  • Restricted Local Control: Since 2011, Rep. Bernier and Republicans have passed approximately 100 measures that restrict local control or are considered unfunded mandates (memo).
  • Diverted Taxpayer Funds Directly to Private Schools: Rep. Bernier stood by silently as her Republican Party voted this year to divert more than $800 million in taxpayer funds from public schools to unaccountable private schools (memo). Last week, Rep. Bernier also voted for a bill (SB 615) that will cause immediate harm to our already-struggling public schools to the tune of $5.3 million this year.
  • Accepted Major Donations from Out-of-State Pro-Voucher Special Interests: Rep. Bernier has received nearly $11,000 in campaign contributions from pro-voucher special interests since 2010 (source: OWN report).

“It is shameful that Rep. Bernier is attempting to distract attention from her record of damage to her local schools and community,” Rep. Barca said. “Rep. Bernier simply does not want to hear from local officials about the damage that her votes have caused to our children and schools.”

 
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