(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 17 Oct. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman announced Thursday that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for September was 4.4 percent, down 0.3 percentage points from August. The national rate for September was 6.0, down 0.1 percentage point from August, and up 1.5 percentage points from September 2007.

“Wisconsin’s unemployment rate declined for the third consecutive month in September to 4.4 percent, following its usual season pattern,” Secretary Gassman said. “The September rate is well below the national rate of 6.0 percent. We are holding our own in these very challenging economic times at the national level. Our focus remains one of strengthening our workforce, assisting job seekers and connecting them with employers.”

See the DWD release: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2008/unemployment/0908_state_lmi.pdf

— Wisconsin has a long history of using wind-energy to pump water on the state’s plentiful farms and dairies — but not to produce electricity for the grid.

That changed a decade ago, when two big wind turbines were installed by four utilities near Green Bay as a demonstration project for the state’s Public Service Commission. The following year, 33 turbines went up in Fond du Lac and Kewaunee counties. And two years later, the Montfort project was built on land owned by several farmers east of Dodgeville. The project featured 20 GE wind turbines, producing 30 megawatts of energy.

Fast forward to 2008.

The state now has two more wind farms in Fond du Lac and Dodge counties that opened just this year. They are the 145-MW Blue Sky Green Field We Energies project and the 86-MW Forward Wind Energy Center near Horicon Marsh. Together, they can supply electricity to at least 50,000 homes.

Two more are under construction that will add another 122 MW this year for a total of 449 MW in the state. The industry is continuing to pick up speed with another 10 Wisconsin projects having received permits from state, local and federal agencies.

Read about the future of wind power in Wisconsin in a new interview with Michael Vickerman, head of RENEW Wisconsin, a 17-year-old group based in Madison that lobbies for wind, solar and other forms of clean energy: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=139165

— “Managing risk is really the key to success in business,” 3M corporate development manager Raymond B. Eby said Thursday, adding that “transparency is key to success in acquiring businesses in other countries.”

During a Thursday forum at Edgewood College, Eby discussed his experience in acquiring businesses in Latin America, Europe, and Africa, and the influence of local customs and traditions that pose risks for potential new owners.

A veteran acquisitions manager for the Minnesota-based 3M, Eby discussed the importance of business executives controlling the compliance of field operatives.

Read more about his address: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=139186

— Secretary Matt Frank of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other officials gathered near the banks of Timber Coulee in Vernon County Thursday to announce a major increase in stream habitat restoration for 2009.

Seven local chapters of Trout Unlimited have been granted more than $800,000 in federal funds for 10 stream projects in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, one of the most popular fishing destinations in the United States. The grants are part of the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

These new projects – featuring a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to stream rehabilitation – will focus not only on trout, but on the habitat needs of frogs, turtles, snakes, birds and invertebrates, including several endangered species such as the Wood turtle and Blanding’s turtle.

“This is very important for this part of the state, and the state as whole,” Frank said. “Fishing is very important to our economy of not only this area, but the entire state.

“Wisconsin is second to Florida in the number of fishers from outside the state. Trout fishing is a big part of that in Wisconsin.”

Read more about the grants: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=139187



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Press Releases
· Wisconsin Credit Union League: All consumers have reason to celebrate credit unions during October
· Wisconsin Medical Society: Board passes new physician gift policy

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


Bielinski plans $65M apartment project: With the southeast Wisconsin single-family home market in the doldrums, Bielinski Homes is moving ahead with a $65 million plan for a multifamily apartment and commercial complex in Oconomowoc that will add 352 rental units to the Waukesha County community.

Wisconsin group bars doctors from accepting gifts: The largest association of medical doctors in Wisconsin is barring its members from accepting gifts from drug companies, following a national trend to limit conflicts of interest, real or perceived. The ban includes the most common gifts to doctors such as food, mugs and pens, as well as reimbursements for travel, the Wisconsin Medical Society said in a statement released Thursday.

State unemployment rate at 4.4 percent: Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for September was 4.4 percent, down 0.3 percent from August. The Department of Workforce Development said the rate was 0.1 percent up from the rate in September of 2007. The national rate for September was 6 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from August, and up 1.5 percent from September 2007.

NewPage open to offers on Kimberly mill: NewPage officials may have changed their minds about either leasing or selling its mill in Kimberly, which employed as many as 600 people this year until it was closed on Sept. 8. Andy Nirchl, president of the United Steel Workers Local 2-9, said Thursday he received a letter from NewPage chief executive officer Mark Suwyn, which says the company is open to either option so long as the interested party made a viable offer.


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

ECONOMY (back to top)
– ODC expansion to help other businesses grow

-Report: state families earning less

– Index: Midwest consumer prices rise from last year

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Harley profit falls 37% on weaker sales

– Sensient ups forecast on profit growth

– A.O. Smith beats analysts’ outlook

– Briggs & Stratton cuts losses

LABOR (back to top)
– Pilots landing on the unemployment line

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Knuckles sports bar prepares for Wednesday opening in Green Bay

INVESTING (back to top)
– Retailers’ shares recover early trading losses

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Marathon County officials hold off on Holtz Krause soccer complex plan, want further study of landfill and possible liability

– Milwaukee: Aloft Hotel may break ground soon

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– NASS Cheese Survey Prices Lower

– Spring Green dairy farmers look forward to new barn

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Appleton’s Valley Transit lowers proposed fare hikes

RETAIL (back to top)
– The Buzz: Retailers hope season bright

– Madison: Odana Road Mac Shop is now Willy Street MacXprts

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Time Warner, WLUK owner squabble over money

– Integrys Energy notes quarterly dividend

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Doctors barred from accepting gifts from drug companies

– Should state fund universal health plan?

– UnitedHealth profit falls on costs

– Ashwaubenon’s Associated Banc-Corp says it’s handling risks of credit crisis

– Amcore, Associated and Capitol Bank report third-quarter earnings

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
–YAHOO FINANCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/
–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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