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Company says plans are moving forward
Foxconn denies report claiming it is suspending plans in Wisconsin

MOUNT PLEASANT — Fresh off Wednesday’s announcement that it is adjusting its plans in Wisconsin, Foxconn Technology Group officials are denying a report that they are suspending work on the facility in Mount Pleasant.

On Thursday, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that Foxconn is planning to scale back its plans in Wisconsin “as a result of negotiations with new Gov. Tony Evers.”

Foxconn has denied that report, saying it is moving forward with its plans in Wisconsin.

Response and plans



The company said in a statement that, “All interactions to date with Gov. Evers and his team have been constructive and we look forward to further discussions as we continue to invest in American talent and broaden the base of our investment within the State of Wisconsin.

“While Foxconn’s need to be responsive to the global market environment has necessitated a reconsideration of which technology will best suit the needs of its customers, its commitment to the construction of the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park campus and the creation of 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin remain unchanged,” according to the statement.

Foxconn said that over the next 18 months the company plans to build:

  • A liquid crystal module backend packaging plant
  • A high precision molding factory
  • A system integration assembly facility
  • A rapid prototyping center to help startups test out hardware ideas and concepts, which will go in line with building the AI 8K+5G ecosystem
  • A research and development center
  • A high-performance data center inside the park or in the vicinity
  • A town center to support the people working in the Wisconn Valley Park

Louis Woo, special assistant to CEO and Chairman Terry Gou and the No. 2 man in the company, told the Reuters news service that Foxconn is planning to make the campus in Mount Pleasant a “technology hub,” with more emphasis on research and development.

Vos, Fitzgerald point finger at Evers for Foxconn changes

RACINE COUNTY — Republican leaders, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, are pointing fingers at Democratic Gov. Tony Evers after news came out that Foxconn Technology Group is going to adjust plans for its Mount Pleasant manufacturing campus.

‘Political finger-pointing’

On Wednesday, Foxconn officials confirmed they are adjusting their plans due to changes in the global market.

Republicans pounced on Evers, blaming him for the changes, but Democrats pointed the finger back at Republicans.

Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said “Claims made (Thursday) that (Evers) has tried to renegotiate the Foxconn contract are false. It is unfortunate that Republicans would rather try to make headlines with political finger-pointing than work with the governor to protect Wisconsin taxpayers.”

“All interactions to date with Gov. Evers and his team have been constructive and we look forward to further discussions as we continue to invest in American talent and broaden the base of our investment within the State of Wisconsin.” Foxconn statement

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Surviving the arctic blast
Weekend temps to reach 40s as polar vortex dies down, low temperature records set

RACINE COUNTY — The polar vortex is mercifully subsiding after a grueling stretch that saw over a foot of snow and record-low temperatures batter the area.

Slowly but surely, things are returning to normal. Municipal buildings began reopening Thursday and Racine Unified and other schools throughout the area will be back in session Friday. And after two days of suspended service, the United States Postal Service will start delivering mail again Friday.

Temperatures are projected to increase steadily through the weekend, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Rebecca Rogers. Friday will see a low of 4 degrees below zero and a high of 20 degrees, she said. From there, it gets warmer, with Saturday having a low of 15 and a high of 37.

It may even start to feel a little like spring: Sunday’s low is forecast at 34 degrees and the high is 44. Monday’s projected high temperature is 47 degrees with a low of 40, just days after wind chills as harsh as 50 degrees below zero swept through the county.

But the temperature increase does not come without a trade-off. Starting today, light freezing rain is expected on and off through Monday.

Rogers said residents should be cautious of the warm weather melting snow and ice and creating slippery road conditions.

It’s so cold in Wisconsin that bars are closing

RACINE COUNTY — Despite Wisconsinites’ penchant for a cold beer, a handful of bars in and around the city closed Wednesday when temperatures dropped below negative-40 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill.

Record-breaking lows

Wednesday’s air temperatures shattered the previous low-temperature records, Rogers said.

The NWS collects climate data in Madison and Milwaukee, and Milwaukee’s Wednesday low of 23 degrees below zero was enough to dethrone 1899’s low temperature of 15 below. Wednesday also set the record for the lowest high temperature of 10 degrees below zero. The previous record was set at 3 below in 1951.

The most brutal wind chill in Racine County was measured at 52 degrees below zero Wednesday in Burlington.

The sensor in the City of Racine malfunctioned for an unknown reason Wednesday and did not collect temperature data. It was so cold that the NWS was not able to get it repaired until Thursday morning, said meteorologist Andy Boxell.

Burlington’s sensor did not collect temperature data Thursday morning, but that sensor has had issues for several years, Boxell said. Air temperature Thursday morning in Racine was as low as 27 degrees below zero, with wind chills as low as 38 below.

Service outages

Some local AT&T and Spectrum customers experienced outages Wednesday and Thursday. Neither company shared how many customers were affected or for how long when asked.

Kimberly Noetzel, a spokeswoman for Spectrum parent company Charter Communications, wrote in an email that “some customers in parts of Racine County” had outages “due to technical and power-related issues.”

Phil Hayes, an AT&T spokesman, wrote that severe weather and power outages “may be affecting service for some customers.”

Both companies said they were working to restore service to affected customers.

At about 4 a.m. Thursday morning, a downed power line resulted in an outage for almost 1,100 We Energies customers in far southeast Racine and isolated areas in southeast Mount Pleasant and Elmwood Park. The affected area was roughly bordered by Webster Street to the north, Concord Drive to the south, Wheelock Drive to the west and Madison Street to the east.

Service was mostly restored by 8 a.m., according to We Energies spokeswoman Alison Trouy. By 9 a.m., only about 10 customers in the area were still without power.

“We’ve had a few isolated incidents, but overall everything has been reliable,” Trouy said. “Our system is designed to work in this extremely cold weather.”

Several power outages in Kenosha County also left about 4,500 residents temporarily without power on Wednesday. About 3,000 customers in Pleasant Prairie and 1,500 in Somers lost power.

The outage in Somers lasted from about 6:20 a.m. Wednesday to 9 a.m.

Residents OK for the most part

Apart from two isolated incidents on Saturday and Monday that saw two county residents die of weather-related causes, locals have been largely unscathed by the weather.

Despite the dangerous conditions, there has not been a huge number of emergency calls or hospital visits due to frostbite, hypothermia or other cold weather-related ailments.

Cheri Mantz, a spokeswoman for Aurora Health Care, said the county’s Aurora locations have seen “probably less than five” patients at urgent care centers for weather-related issues, and the emergency department at Aurora Medical Center in Burlington had no patients come in for weather-related issues.

Since Monday, Ascension All Saints’ Emergency Department has seen 15 patients with breathing problems exacerbated by the cold weather and two patients with hypothermia and cold exposure, according to an Ascension spokesperson. Another 15 patients came in with chest pain, but it is unclear how many of those issues were weather-related.

Several area fire departments also reported that there have not been any noteworthy weather-related rescue calls.


ADAM ROGAN, adam.rogan@journaltimes.com 

Hundreds of icicles cover trees and beach along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Wind Point.


Ortiz


Evers


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White House official comments on Foxconn plans

WASHINGTON — For some Wisconsin residents, the first time they heard about the Foxconn Technology Group came from a White House ceremony in July 2017.

At that ceremony, President Donald Trump was joined on stage in the East Room of the White House by then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence, then-Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn CEO and Chairman Terry Gou to make the historic announcement that Foxconn would be making at least $10 billion in capital investment in the state and as many as 13,000 jobs would be created here.

“This is a great day for American workers and for manufacturing, and for everyone who believes in the concept and the label of ‘Made in in the U.S.A,’” Trump said at the 2017 press event. “Today I’m pleased to announce that Foxconn, a world leader in manufacturing for computers, communications and consumer electronics, one of the truly great companies of the world will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products in Wisconsin.”

However, since that White House announcement just over 18 months ago, the plan for Foxconn in Wisconsin has taken a turn.

Foxconn announced this week that it plans to make adjustments regarding its development in Wisconsin, shifting more toward research and development but the company maintains that it is committed to long-term investment in Wisconsin.

Foxconn has cited global market conditions as a significant reason for this change and it’s possible the market will continue to change.

In its announcement, the company stated that the “global market environment has necessitated a reconsideration of which technology will best suit the needs of its customers, its commitment to the construction of the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park campus (in southwest Mount Pleasant) and the creation of 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin remain unchanged.”

Because of the recent developments with Foxconn, some throughout the area and throughout the state are concerned as to whether the project can live up to its hype.

A White House official, speaking on background to The Journal Times on Thursday, said “while it’s encouraging Foxconn would bring 13,000 new jobs and billions of dollars to Wisconsin, we would be disappointed by any reductions to the initial investment.”

Trade with China

Meanwhile, officials from the Trump administration are meeting with officials from China on trade policy.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted he plans to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping “to discuss and agree on some of the long standing more difficult points.”

Trump also said if a deal is not reached by March 1, tariffs on China plan to increase by 25 percent.

The Journal Times asked the White House official if the administration believes that trade negotiations with China will impact Foxconn’s investment in Wisconsin. Foxconn is based in Taiwan, a country that China considers a renegade province.

The official declined to comment.

“While it’s encouraging Foxconn would bring 13,000 new jobs and billions of dollars to Wisconsin, we would be disappointed by any reductions to the initial investment.” White House official, speaking on background