(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 15 Feb. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …
— Wisconsin housing sales fell last year, but prices rose, leaving the state’s real estate market in much better shape than many parts of the Midwest and the nation, according to the year-end analysis of existing home sales conducted by the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Badger State home sales declined in 2007 by 10.8 percent compared to 2006, but median prices actually rose 0.2 percent over the period to $164,000, according to the report.

Nationally, sales dropped nearly 13 percent.

“It’s a mistake to look at Wisconsin’s housing market through the lens of national indicators,” said WRA President William Malkasian.

“Housing in our state and throughout much of the Midwest is much less volatile than many markets in other parts of the country, especially the western United States,” he said.

See the story:


— Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday announced that the federal government has given the state Department of Natural Resources $764,790 for the Fox Riverfront development in downtown Green Bay.

The grant includes funding for transient docks for boats 26 feet and larger, fixed and floating gangways and piers, and a portion of the design, engineering and mobilization costs.

In its entirety, the Fox Riverfront project will cost an estimated $4 million and will feature an urban boardwalk along the river’s edge with boat landings, docks, fishing piers, overlooks, and a connection to the Fox River State Trail.

“See the release:


— Unitrin Business Insurance has notified state and local offiicals that it is being purchased by AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.

As a result, the Unitrin will close its Brookfield office and terminate the employment of 17 employees. The purchaser, AmTrust, says it plans to hire approximately 12 of these employees – meaning five will be laid off.

— The Milwaukee Press Club has announced that CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier will be the 2008 Sacred Cat Award honoree, and the club will also present Headliner Awards to philanthropist and real estate developer Joseph Zilber and former Green Bay Packers president Bob Harlan.

The Sacred Cat Award, which has been given annually since 1973, recognizes excellence in journalism at the national level.

Dozier will accept the award at the club’s annual Gridiron Dinner, April 26, at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The public is invited to attend the dinner, which also will honor Zilber and Harlan, and the winners of the 2007 Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism competition.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/2/14/#press-club-to-honor-dozier-zilber-and-harlan



–Open to Public–

Mark your calendars for these important upcoming WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness.com events.


New state Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer will be the guest at the Feb. 18 Madison Business Luncheon presented by The Madison Club, Madison Magazine and WisBusiness.com.

This event is open to the public and the price of $19 includes lunch.

Please call the Madison Club’s front desk to sign up: 608-255-4861.


WisPolitics Speaker Series Breakfast: Judge Michael Gableman Friday February 29, 7:45 a.m. at the Madison Club.


Burnett County Circuit Court Judge Michael Gableman has served as a Circuit Court Judge, District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney, Administrative Law Judge, Adjunct Professor of Law, Deputy Corporation Counsel and private practice attorney.  He is currently running for Wisconsin Supreme Court against Justice Louis Butler.


A WisPolitics Speaker Series Event with Justice Butler is currently being scheduled, check WisPolitics.com for details soon.


The WisPolitics Speaker Series is sponsored by AT&T, the Ho-Chunk Nation, WHD Government Affairs, Flaherty & Associates and Sonic Foundry.


Call the Madison Club to register at (608) 255-4861. The event costs $19 and includes breakfast.


Explore “The Issues and Science behind the Pending Great Lakes Water Compact” March 5 at a special Blueprint Briefing at Discovery World on Milwaukee’s lake front.

The briefing, open to the public, will feature “Great Lakes Water Wars” author Peter Annin; Todd Ambs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s water division chief and member of the board of the Great Lakes Commission; Matt Moroney, executive director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee; and UW-Milwaukee science experts.

The special briefing is being presented by WisPolitics.com-WisBusiness.com, UW-Milwaukee, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the Government of Canada, and Discovery World.

See more and register:







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Press Releases

– BCI Burke’s Intensity™ Playground Grant Draws Kids to Bear Creek Recreation Complex

– Caring Give Back A Smile Volunteer Dental Professionals Donate Over $5 Million in Services to Survivors of Domestic Violence

– Didion Ethanol takes steps to exceed environmental standards

– Fiserv Chosen by Leading Wealth Management Company for CheckFree FrontierTM Strategic Reconciliation Platform

– Governor Doyle Announces Grant Award of $764,790 to Help Develop Green Bay’s Fox Riverfront

– Harris Receives All Required Approvals for Wisconsin Acquisitions

– MGIC Investment Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter 2007 Results

– Minto Communities Inc. Switches from Eliant to AVID Ratings for Customer Loyalty Management Services

– Modine Wins Programs to Supply Approximately $125 Million Per Year in EPA 2010 and Tier 4 Engine Cooling Solutions Over Five Years

– NFIB Members Attend Bill Signing of the Economic Stimulus Package

– Obama Blames Bush For Economic Downturn In Wisconsin Stops

– Snap-on Incorporated Declares Quarterly Dividend

– Wildeck, Inc., Named Vendor of the Year

– Wisconsin home sales dip in 2007 but prices stable

– Wisconsin in Focus: Census Bureau Pre-Primary Snapshot

For these and more releases visit



Wisconsin Dells Resorts See Influx Of People Trying To Escape Winter: Wisconsin Dells tourism officials said it has been a record-breaking winter for them so far, and it’s not due to snow-related attractions. Those thinking about heading to Wisconsin Dells this weekend and haven’t booked a room yet might be out of luck. Most resorts are completely booked. The reason: With all the snow the area has gotten, many are looking to take their mind off of this crazy winter. Tourism officials said that Wisconsin Dells resorts are getting a lot of business because of all the snow the state has seen this winter. Joe Eck, of the Wilderness Resort, said it has been a winter like none other. He said the water parks are packed and rooms are booked. Most of the 8,000 hotel rooms in Wisconsin Dells are booked solid this weekend, WISC-TV reported.


Madison: Banks Say Urgent Action Needed In Condo Development Foreclosure: One of the two banks foreclosing on a downtown condo project said late Thursday that construction on it has “ground to a halt” and that the condo project is out of money and heavily in debt. Meantime, the key developer of Metropolitan Place Condos Phase II was a no-show in court Thursday as the two sides met for the first time. LaSalle Bank of Chicago told the court via telephone that Metro Place condo manager Cliff Fisher has been nowhere to be found and that he is evading bank officials to deliberately delay foreclosure actions. An attorney for Buckingham LLC, of which Fisher is a managing partner, later denied that. Buckingham LLC owns Metro Place condos.


Existing home sales fall in 45 states: Sales of existing homes fell in 45 states during the October-December quarter, with metropolitan areas showing growing weakness, a real estate trade group said today. The fourth-quarter data from the National Association of Realtors underscore the breadth of the housing market’s slump.



– State home sales down 10.8%


Plan panel suggests approval for Pabst Farms mall: After hearing 2 1/2 hours of testimony from area residents and business owners, the city’s Plan Commission voted late Thursday to recommend approval of a new proposal for a large outdoor shopping mall at Pabst Farms. The vote was 5-1. The Common Council is expected to take up the issue at its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.




GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant


TECHNOLOGY (back to top)

– Merge Technologies fires workers in India


– Internet security firm sold


– Game makers ready to play


– TomoTherapy 4Q sales up 32 percent


– Analog cellular service will end; An outdated law being dropped from the books next week means some cell phone users wont get service


ECONOMY (back to top)

– Milwaukee: Barrett seeks to boost minority contracting


– State deficit repair plans offered


MANUFACTURING (back to top)

– Modine wins $125 million in new contracts


– City of Racine eyes new manufacturing on former Jacobsen property


– Sheboygan: Snow damages roof at Joa plant


– Rockwell may be in firm’s sights


– Oshkosh beefs up armored military trucks


LABOR (back to top)

– Port Edwards: Union takes Domtar deal


– GM workers shine in spotlight


– GM workers caught up in Obama-mania


INVESTING (back to top)

– Help with your taxes; Its there for the asking


REAL ESTATE (back to top)

– Foreclosure hot water gets deeper for developer


– Despite fewer sales, home prices steady


– Milwaukee: City rejects settlement in condo tussle


– State Contributes More Funds to Green Bay’s Riverfront


AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)

– Price Mostly Lower on NASS Cheese Survey


– DATCP Announces Program to Help Boost Cattle Profits


TRANSPORTATION (back to top)

– Green Bay bridge closure will last longer than expected


– Airline passengers up 8.28 percent over last year at Austin Straubel


– Passenger traffic up for Air Wisconsin


RETAIL (back to top)

– Madison: Monroe Street Stores See Rash Of Break-Ins


– Future of proposed Wal-Mart uncertain


– Hobart shopping/service development set to open this spring


– FastCare to be part of Shopko store in Suamico


REGULATION (back to top)

– Feds impose conditions on Clear Channel sale


– Smoke-free legislation is meeting topic


TOURISM (back to top)

– Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners group set to travel on cultural tour


HEALTH CARE (back to top)

– Assembly Republicans Try To Revive Health Deduction


– St. Agnes emergency physicians on the move



– Past-due car loans highest in decade


MANAGEMENT (back to top)

– MGIC’s Culver gets $480,000 bonus


– Large MGIC loss shrinks executive bonuses


– Midwest names new board


– Ex-Rockwell CEO Davis retiring from Journal board


BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)

– Oncken: State dairying makes a mark in California


Media Partners


Small Business Times

Madison Magazine


National Business Roundups ( back to top)

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–CNBC BUSINESS NEWS: http://www.cnbc.com

–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/

–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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