Did Jimmy the Groundhog get it right this year?
It sure feels as though he did — at least this first week after Groundhog Day. There’s more snow in the forecast, temperatures are once again well below normal, and there’s no significant relief in sight till at least next week.
An inch to 2 inches of snow left Coulee Region roads snow-covered and slippery from late Monday morning into the evening, with up to an additional inch expected overnight, according to the National Weather Service. After that, we’ll face a chance of even more snow more or less continually from Thursday afternoon through Saturday.
And while we wait for more snow, we’ll get to enjoy more below-normal temperatures — highs in the teens and lows in single digits. The normal high for today is 28 degrees with a low of 10 degrees. The record high of 59 was set in 1878, with a low of minus-22 recorded in 1982.
On Friday, Sun Prairie’s famous marmot, the Badger State’s answer to Punxsutawny Phil, saw his shadow, forecasting another six bleary weeks of winter. But so what? Meteorological spring doesn’t begin until March 1 anyway, nearly four weeks after Jimmy’s big day. And astronomical spring begins on the vernal equinox, March 20, more than six weeks after Groundhog Day.
By the way, the National Weather Service this year checked up on Phil, the national mascot marmot. His 2017 performance wasn’t so hot. He, like his colleague Jimmy, saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. However, the NWS reports, the contiguous United States saw above-average temperatures in both February and March last year.
According to the weather service, thirty-nine states from the Rockies to the East Coast were much warmer than average, with 16 states breaking records. Overall, it was the second-warmest February on record, followed by the ninth-warmest March on record.
The Mississippi Valley Conservancy has received a $1 million donation that the land trust organization plans to triple into an endowment to fund its conservation efforts in western Wisconsin.
MVC plans to announce a campaign Tuesday to raise an additional $2 million for its Our Children’s Natural Heritage Endowment.
Executive director Carol Abrahamzon said the gift — from a donor who requested to remain anonymous — is the largest cash donation in the La Crosse-based nonprofit’s 21-year history.
“This is by far the first time we’ve ever had somebody step up and say we want to give you a million dollars,” she said. “We’ve never had an operational endowment which can be used to grow and expand programs.”
Incoming President Rob Tyser said the gift will be “an enduring resource for safeguarding these lands in perpetuity.”
Abrahamzon said MVC so far has raised about $500,000 toward the endowment, which will help ensure the organization can continue protecting rural land and wildlife habitat.
“We’ll always have enough staff to keep the operation running, even if something terrible happens,” she said.
Abrahamzon said the donor is a humble but generous conservancy supporter who has protected her own land through a conservation easement.
“This donor said to me … ‘I could wait and make this gift when I die, but I want to see the happiness it brings,’” Abrahamzon said.
Since 1997, MVC has protected nearly 20,000 acres of land in Buffalo, Crawford, Grant, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Trempealeau and Vernon counties.
In addition to the roughly 4,000 acres of publicly accessible land it owns, MVC works with private landowners on voluntary conservation projects.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Luring a new Foxconn factory will cost Wisconsin more than eight times as much per job as other job-creation deals in the past year, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis.
The Taiwanese company is receiving more than $200,000 in state taxpayer money per job. Foxconn’s incentive package is more than three times as much per job as the next most costly deal.
“Around the country, you just generally don’t see offers this high,” said Tim Bartik, an independent economist who studies economic development. “It’s very, very high.”
Wisconsin is also waiving $150 million in sales tax for the company. The state will pay the company up to $2.85 billion in tax credits if it creates 13,000 jobs and invests $9 billion in the plant in Racine County.
Foxconn’s tax credits accounted for 96 percent of the credits the state awarded in 2017, though the company will only produce 44 percent of the jobs.
Foxconn could also receive lower electric rates, money for roads and worker training, and up to $764 million in incentives from Racine County and Mount Pleasant.
The deal makes sense because Foxconn will create a new cluster of technology companies that will transform the state’s economy, state officials said.
“The state recognized the once-in-a-generation opportunity presented by Foxconn is unlike that of any other project in the state’s history as Foxconn is bringing the future of electronics manufacturing to Wisconsin with the first LCD manufacturing facility outside of Asia,” said Mark Maley, spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, a La Crosse Democrat, said too much money is being sent to a foreign corporation when the focus should be on local businesses, schools and roads.