(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 27 June 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Worried that tourists may avoid Wisconsin this summer because of recent flooding, Gov. Jim Doyle has announced that he is providing $250,000 in grants to assist organizations in attracting visitors.

“The best thing visitors can do right now is support the tourism businesses they’ve come to know and love over the years by keeping their vacation plans and visiting Wisconsin,” said Doyle, who was in the hard-hit Wisconsin Dells to announce the money.

“In order to aid in the process, I am pleased to announce that I am providing $250,000 in one-time grants to assist groups in counties designated by FEMA as disaster areas in getting traffic back to their attractions,” added Doyle, who noted that Wisconsin’s Northwoods were not affected by severe weather.

See release:

— The Governor’s Global Warming Task Force has finalized recommendations aimed at cutting Wisconsin’s greenhouse gas emissions and developing a clean energy economy.

The proposals include a three- to four-fold increase in Wisconsin’s investment in energy efficiency; a renewable portfolio standard requiring utilities to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2013 and 25 percent by 2025; a 75 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2050; and the implementation of a clean cars standard.

The group also recommended modifying Wisconsin’s nuclear moratorium law to ensure that any nuclear plant must meet stringent waste disposal standards.

Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental organization, voted in favor of the final recommendations but vowed to push for stronger reform.

— Oshkosh Corp. officials say the economic slowdown and the rising costs for raw materials are taking a toll on the company, and it now expects a third-quarter loss of $1.22 to $1.32 per share.

The manufacturer of specialty vehicles and vehicle bodies had previously projected third-quarter earnings per share of $1.40 to $1.50.

The expected loss relates to a non-cash charge for the impairment of goodwill to be recorded in connection with the company’s European refuse collection vehicle manufacturer, the Geesink Norba Group. The impact of the impairment charge on third fiscal quarter earnings is estimated to be approximately $175 million, or $2.32 per share.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/6/26/#soft-economy-weighs-on-oshkosh-corp

— The Milwaukee County Board has approved a November advisory referendum on a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund parks, recreation, cultural programs, transportation and emergency medical services.

The advisory referendum says the plan would remove the $67 million now spent on these programs from the property tax rolls. The state would have to approve any increase.

Milwaukee County Exec. Scott Walker is expected to veto the measure.
The measure passed after several hours of debate on a 12 to 6 vote.
Thirteen votes are needed for a veto override.

The board was to vote on two separate resolutions that called for 0.5 percent tax increase referenda, with one for parks, recreation and cultural programs and the other for transit. The combined resolution, with EMS added, was introduced on the board floor.

Supporters noted funding has been slashed for the functions the tax would support and discussed the importance of approving the measure as a way to give residents a chance to make their voices heard and improve quality of life in the county. Opponents expressed concern about state funding levels, questioned whether the tax would truly provide property tax relief and complained about the level of taxation residents already face.

Opponents also argued the referendum is misleading because it doesn’t say how much it would raise overall.

— The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce will hold a forum on June 30 titled “Does America Need a Fiscal Wake Up Call” focusing on the challenges facing the U.S. in the new realities of the global economy.

The forum will be moderated by Mike Gousha and the panel will include U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

See details: http://wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=128977



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Press Releases
Airless Tire Project May Prove a Lifesaver in Military Combat
AT&T U-verse Arrives in Northeast Wisconsin
Company and lenders have great confidence in JHT’s future success; Lenders providing $25 million in Debtor-in-Possession financing.
Driving Design: Tony and Cruz Pedregon Spice up the Shop with Limited-Edition Tool Storage Units for Snap-on Tools
Global Warming Task Force Finalizes Recommendations
Governor Doyle Announces Funding to Boost Tourism Industry
Governor Doyle Announces New 2008 Main Street Communities
Governor DOyle Qualifies Two Technology Companies
Governor’s Task Force Reaches Agreement on Key Elements of Global Warming Strategy
JHT Holdings, Inc. Announces Plans for Financial Reorganization Under a Voluntary, Pre-Negotiated Chapter 11 Filing
Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat Boards Delta Flights Worldwide
SoftSwitching Technologies Introduces DySC Global
U.S. Patent Office Issues Certificates to Uphold WARF Stem Cell Patents
Working to Bring Individuals with Large-Animal Interest into Veterinary Medicine

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


Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation stem-cell patents upheld by federal government: The federal government has issued documents confirming its ruling in March that upheld two of three contested UW-Madison stem-cell patents. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued re-examination certificates for the patents, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation announced Thursday. The action is final. The patents, held by WARF, are based on discoveries by university scientist James Thomson. The patent office upheld the third patent in February, but that decision can be appealed. Dan Ravicher, executive director of the New York-based Public Patent Foundation — one of two groups whose challenge to the patents led to the federal review — said Thursday the groups will appeal the third patent within a month.

Wis. task force OKs global warming recommendations: Wisconsin utilities should slash greenhouse gas levels to only about one-quarter of 1990 levels by tracking emissions, considering nuclear power and joining cap-and-trade programs, Gov. Jim Doyle’s global warming task force recommended Thursday. The panel approved the plan on a 23-3 vote, but business and utility representatives warned it would lead to higher electric bills. “It’s not perfect. It’s not ideal. It’s as good as it can be,” said Margi Kindig, a citizen member from Madison. “It’s not easy to change.” Doyle created the task force in April 2007 to find ways to combat climate change in Wisconsin, saying higher temperatures could cause drought, destroy wetlands and reduce already-low Lake Michigan levels. The plan calls for utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 levels in the next six years.

Oshkosh Corp. stocks drop; company expects to post loss: Shares of specialty vehicle maker Oshkosh Corp. tumbled Thursday as the company said it expects to post a loss in its fiscal third quarter and will miss Wall Street expectations because of lower-than-expected sales and a non-cash charge. Oshkosh said it expects to report a loss per share ranging from $1.22 to $1.32 in the third quarter. The company had previously expected a profit of $1.40 per share to $1.50 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of $1.47 per share. Oshkosh estimated it will take a $175 million, or $2.32 per share, goodwill impairment charge to lower the value of its European refuse collection vehicle manufacturer, Geesink Norba Group.

State grants to help tourism in disaster-hit areas: Tourism in Wisconsin got a $250,000 boost today to help areas affected by the recent severe weather and flooding. Gov. Jim Doyle said one-time grants of up to $12,500 will be made to non-profit marketing organizations such as convention bureaus, chambers of commerce and economic development groups to assist them in attracting visitors this summer and fall. “The best thing visitors can do right now is support the tourism businesses they’ve come to know and love over the years, by keeping their vacation plans and visiting Wisconsin,” Doyle said. While the tourism industry has been affected by the bad weather and flooding, most of the state’s tourist attractions have not been affected and are open for business.

Epic Systems announces it will cut ties with vendors who support Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce: Epic Systems Corp., the Verona-based electronic medical records company, is threatening to pull its business from local vendors who support the state’s largest business lobby over a political disagreement with the group. In a statement to the State Journal, the company cited concern over Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s spending this year on behalf of state Supreme Court candidate Michael Gableman, estimated at $1.8 million, as a reason for working only with vendors whose officials oppose WMC’s agenda. “We believe that what we tolerate is what we stand for, and as corporate citizens, we stand for the preservation of the foundation of the judicial system,” said the statement, attributed to the Epic Management Team.

30 lawsuits filed against Waunakee-based SPL over heparin injuries: At least 30 lawsuits have been filed against Baxter International and Waunakee-based Scientific Protein Laboratories, or SPL, over deaths or medical injuries allegedly caused by contaminated heparin, a blood-thinning drug. The suits, the first of which was filed in February, were transferred this month to U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio. An initial meeting between lawyers for the plaintiffs and the defendants will be held July 9 in Toledo, David Zoll, the Toledo attorney who filed the first case, said Thursday. Zoll said 30 to 40 cases have been filed and many more are expected. At least 149 deaths have been linked in the past several months to heparin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


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)
– Madison tech company qualified for investor tax credits

– AT&T launches TV service in northeast Wisconsin

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Madison’s Cellular Dynamics named one of nation’s best biotechnology companies

– WARF stem cell patents officially affirmed

– Utica Energy to Settle Air Pollution Lawsuit at Ethanol Plant

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Commercial fishermen struggle with high fuel costs

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Oshkosh shares fall 33 percent on reduced outlook

– Former mill town ready to move on

LABOR (back to top)
– Janesville jobless rate jumps in May by 1 full percent

– Union bosses press for more ‘green’ jobs

– Midwest Airlines cuts may worsen

– BUS employees might go on strike Tuesday

– Border Patrol will recruit agents at Milwaukee job fair

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– New guide lists 300 local, independent businesses

– Monroe Street Bistro aims for August opening

INVESTING (back to top)
– Spectrum Brands shares sink on analyst’s downgrade

– Two local companies suffer all-time lows

– Sharp falls plague market

– Keep close watch on stocks, say local experts

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Oneidas’ land buys erode Hobart tax base

– Flats on the Fox project to offer views, variety

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

– Wisconsin State Fair Announces Ag Superintendent Hirings

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Reduction of American Airlines flights will have small impact on Dane County Airport

– American Eagle to maintain most of its service at Dane County airport

– Interstate 94 westbound to reopen after closure

– Meeting brings call for more mass transit and better pedestrian safety downtown

– Waukesha mayor wants new regional transit talks

– Railroads on track for expansion

RETAIL (back to top)
– Sephora at West Towne grand opening next Thursday

– Leinenkugel’s to sell Sunset Wheat on Delta flights

REGULATION (back to top)
– Board approves sales tax vote

– Students could be target of next illegal file-sharing lawsuit

TOURISM (back to top)
– AAA expects less July 4th travel

– Get ready for traffic, music and bugs at Rhythm & Booms

– Many rejoice over re-opened Devil’s Lake State Park

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Ease restrictions on nuclear power plants, state task force recommends

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– ThedaCare to open FastCare Clinic

– MGIC will pay down $100M in debt

– Anchor BanCorp reports income drop

– Workshop offers help in preventing foreclosure

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Doyle tells state agencies to cut budgets

– Sheltered Industries changes name to ProSolutions

– Waukesha County museum leader brings special skills

– Sampson leaves mark as Renaissance businessman

– A.O. Smith unit recalls water pump motors

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Jacque Georgia: Borrowers sometimes at fault in fraud

– John Oncken: Hazeltine’s passion is farming

Media Partners
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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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