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Baldwin tours Kestrel, pledges support for aircraft facility in Superior
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin made a pit stop in Superior Thursday, to learn more about the future plans for Kestrel Aircraft. Brad Phenow reports.
Senator Tammy Baldwin and Kestrel CEO Alan Klapmeier discussed the future for the aircraft manufacturer in Superior. The focus is on finances in order to move forward.
If everything goes as planned like Klapmeier hopes, Kestrel Aircraft could create up to 600 jobs, but without finances to get the business moving forward the job total will be well short of that.
Kestrel Aircraft currently has 65 people working at its Superior location and another 40 in Maine. The Democrat Baldwin sat through a presentation that keyed her in on several different points to Kestrel’s K-350 aircraft. One of the most important is the composite technology of the aircraft. This composite technology keeps the majority of the plane seam and rivet free.
The K-350 will reach a cruise speed of 370 mph. At that speed the plane could be in Madison in less than an hour from Superior. The single-engine turbo prop could carry five passengers and one pilot. The aircraft is expected to sell for around $3 million.
Klapmeier says without the finances it makes it difficult to begin the production stage.
“The when is the hard part because it all depends upon financing, the what’s to come we think it’s about 600 people pick a point in time because we obviously think it continues to grows beyond that. It’s really just a question of getting into production, getting financing in place, the frustrating part of all of it.”
Klapmeier says if the finances become available they could be within a year of physical testing.
The Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College has joined forces with Krestel Aircraft to educate students with the skills needed to produce the new composite technology. The class has 12 registered students. That number is expected to jump to 20 next semesters. The students will be offered hands-on training for resulting in two different certifications, a one year technical diploma, or a two year degree program.
/////////////////Baldwin visits Port and St Mary’s Hospital
Senator Tammy Baldwin promised support to port officials and Superior’s hospital while visited the Superior today/yesterday (Thursday). Brad Phenow reports.
Baldwin is a supporter of the Water Resources Development Act which strengthens America’s ports and waterways. She says in order to give that support, she needs to get a closer look.
“As a new senator for the state of Wisconsin it was really important to me to learn, especially at the port, about some of the federal involvement in the commerce that goes on here. We talked about dredging which is a federal responsibility to keep the commerce in full throttle.”
Baldwin says also got the opportunity to talk to some of the top users of the port to help clue her in about some of the challenges they may face in the future.
Baldwin then made her way to Saint Mary’s Hospital to tour the Twin Ports VA Outpatient Clinic, the Fresenius Dialysis Unit and discuss the “Critical Access Hospital” designation.
She says Saint Mary’s is facing a very critical issue with their designation as a Critical Access Hospital.
“That’s a designation given to a safety net hospital, one that’s providing access to folks in a large area sometimes often rural area and they’re looking at the federal level of changing that definition in a way that might exclude Saint Mary’s . That would be a tragedy for the area because it really helps them attract some of the best talent in terms of health care providers as well provides certain services they other wise wouldn’t be able to.”
She says she is leading an effort in the Senate to keep the current definition so that a great network of safety net hospitals will stay.Previous KUWS Articles:
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