Tuesday Trends sample: Green Bay Packers rising, alternative energy mixed and Great Lakes falling
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Green Bay Packers: A Super Bowl victory and a 15-1 regular season will do wonders for a football team's bottom line, as the venerable franchise reports a record year. For the 12-month period ending March 31, team net income more than doubled from the previous year, rising from $17.1 million to $42.7 million. Profit from operations also jumped dramatically, from $7.8 million to $27.9 million. Total revenue also eclipsed $300 million for the first time, rising from $282.6 million the previous year to $302 million. The Packers' strong year was also helped by a decline in expenses, something team officials attributed to a lack of road playoff games last season as well as an emphasis on controlling costs during the NFL lockout. The team also noted a successful stock sale and new construction to expand Lambeau Field. And this week, officials say they're planning to further renovate the atrium inside the stadium, which could include moving the team's Hall of Fame, relocating a restaurant and improving the team's Pro Shop. As a publicly owned team, the Packers are the only NFL franchise that discloses its finances.
Alternative energy: The state's wind and solar energy industries hit the headlines, bolstered by a visit from the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Steven Chu tours Spanish wind energy manufacturer Ingeteam's U.S. headquarters in Milwaukee and calls for Congress to extend a tax credit for the industry. Chu says the industry needs a long-term commitment from the country, noting that some companies are already considering layoffs as the expiration of a tax credit looms at the end of the year. Many congressional Republicans, however, seem content to let the credit fall by the wayside. Meanwhile, state Sen. Frank Lasee -- a vocal opponent of large turbines used by the wind industry -- renews his call for more limits on the turbines, submitting to the Public Service Commission testimony from citizens about health problems they attribute to living in close proximity to the turbines. Wind energy advocates counter that the claims are baseless and are preventing economic growth. Also last week, the state Supreme Court says the PSC appropriately approved a massive wind farm in southern Minnesota. Critics had argued the agency should have used more stringent standards to evaluate the Wisconsin Power & Light project. On the solar front, Milwaukee's Northwest Side Community Development Corp. announces a loan of $652,079 in U.S. Health and Human Services funds to Helios Solar Works for expansion in the Menomonee Valley. Finally, a report from the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council says the state has the potential to excel in the green economy, but must focus on developing new technology in those sectors.
Great Lakes: A new report from the U.S. and Canadian governments says the invasive Asian carp could survive in the Great Lakes and that the government's response to the threat is lagging the geographic progress the species is already making. The report says the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal would be the likely point of entry for the carp, and that as few as 10 male and 10 female carp could create a breeding population in Lake Michigan or any other lake. Once established, the report says the fish would spread more rapidly to lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and potentially Superior. The carp would likely reach the farthest reach of the lake chain -- Ontario -- within 20 years of entry. Wisconsin officials say the report showcases the need for immediate action to combat the fish.