(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 4 April 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The final report from the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming won’t be out until next month.

But the state’s Public Service Commission is opening five cases to explore interim recommendations, including increasing conservation and energy efficiency goals, assessing the wind power generation potential of lakes Michigan and Superior and electric rate design to promote conservation and efficiency advocacy by utilities.

In addition, the PSC will also look at the potential for geologic carbon sequestration of carbon dioxide produced by the state’s electricity generation fleet and price signals in rate design and load management options.

““The issue of global warming is one the biggest challenges our generation has faced, and clearly the time to act is now,” PSC chairman Dan Ebert said. “Today’s decision to open these five cases is a pivotal point in the state’s fight against global warming.”

See release:

— State cigarette tax collections tripled in February compared to a year ago, according to new state numbers provided to WisPolitics.

Department of Revenue numbers show cigarette tax revenue jumped from $22.2 million in February 2007 to more than $67 million in February of this year.

February is the first month in which the impact of the $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase shows up in revenue numbers because retailers were given a month delay before they had to file returns and pay the tax, said Rob Reinhardt, a program supervisor with the LFB analyzing the DOR numbers.

The tax increased from 77 cents a pack to $1.77 per pack. Preliminary numbers for March indicate the revenue boom has slowed, though.

According to Reinhardt, March collections were about $40 million, about a 77.5 percent jump from the $22.6 million collected in March ’07. See more on the collections in today’s WisPolitics Report.

— Clifton Gunderson, one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and consulting firms, has named Krista McMasters as chief executive officer, and the company plans to relocate its headquarters to Milwaukee from Peoria, Ill.

McMasters becomes the fourth CEO in Clifton Gunderson’s nearly 50-year history. She also becomes the first and only female to serve as CEO among the nation’s top 25 certified public accounting firms in the history of the profession.

The company said the decision will not result in the move of any additional jobs to Milwaukee.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/4/3/#clifton-gunderson-names-new-ceo-to-move-headquarters-to-milwaukee




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Press Releases
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin Announces Initiative Aimed at Preventing Serious Medical Errors
AT&T Launches 3G Wireless Broadband Network in Madison
Federal Reserve Bank’s Tara Rice to Discuss the Evolving Payment System at WAUSAU’s Customer Conference
New Fountainhead VibrAcoustic(TM) Bath Offers Unprecedented, Technology-Based Relaxation
PSC Opens Five Cases to Explore Recommendations by the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming
Wisconsin Energy’s Leverett to Present April 9 at 2008 Wall Street Access/Berenson Midwest Utilities Seminar

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


Wisconsin a growing ‘cyberstate’: Wisconsin’s high-tech industry added 1,600 jobs in 2006 to reach a total of 81,400, 21st most in the nation, according to a new report by the American Electronics Association, the nation’s largest technology trade association. The 2006 data was the most current available for Wisconsin, AeA said in releasing its 11th annual “Cyberstates” report today. The group does not cover biotech, a strength for Wisconsin, particularly the Madison area. Wisconsin had 4,800 high-tech firms, the 22nd most in the nation, which employed 34 of every 1,000 private sector workers in 2006, which ranked 35th nationally.

Miller to launch craft-style Miller Lite nationwide: Craft beer by its definition is small, both in batches and distribution. So, what does it mean when the nation’s second biggest brewer takes its most popular beer and does it up, craft-style? It’s confusing, analysts say, but it makes sense for a company like Miller Brewing Co. as it woos today’s drinker, who wants more flavorful brews. It also makes sense from a money standpoint because craft beers are growing faster than the overall beer segment, and they command higher prices.
Miller, hoping to latch on to part of that growth, announced this week it’s introducing a trio of different styles of Miller Lite, which it hopes will lure new drinkers to the craft segment.

Trials next for Navy ship built in state: Manitowoc Marine competing for contract… As the Navy moves forward with construction of a new type of smaller, speedy warship, a prototype from Manitowoc Co. will undergo sea trials on Lake Michigan as early as this month. The 337-foot vessel, named Freedom, is nearing completion at the company’s shipyard in Marinette. It is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy later this year. “We still have quite a bit of ice around us on the Menominee River, but as soon as that goes away we are going to take her out on the lake” for tests, Robert Herre, president of Manitowoc Marine Group, said Thursday. Wednesday, Navy officials said the warship project was back on track after the cancellation of two ships last year.

Four Northeastern Wisconsin businesses receive state grants: Money to improve employee skills… Four Northeastern Wisconsin businesses received money from the state Thursday to upgrade the skills of their employees. The state Department of Workforce Development, through the governor’s Emerging Industries Skills Partnership, allocated $89,179 for worker training for Coating Excellence International of Wrightstown, Georgia-Pacific Corp. of Green Bay, DCI Cheese of Suamico and Orion Energy Systems of Manitowoc. Along with $50,500 in resources from the Department of Workforce Development, the money will train 251 workers.

A.O. Smith recalls 1,500 water heaters: A unit of A.O. Smith Corp. of Milwaukee is voluntarily recalling 1,500 water heaters because the units may leak carbon monoxide and because high temperatures in the flue gas pose a fire hazard. The recall involves 75-gallon natural and propane gas water heaters manufactured by A.O. Smith Water Products Co., of Ashland City, Tenn. The units have “A.O. Smith” or “State” printed on the side. No injuries have been reported, according to a notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The units were sold by independent contractors and plumbers nationwide from November 2007 through January 2008 for $1,000 to $2,500.

Kind opposes cuts in Farm Bill: As Congress tries to fix the Farm Bill so President Bush won’t veto it, some members are pushing cuts to conservation programs. Two Wisconsin congressmen, Ron Kind and Paul Ryan, said at a joint news conference Thursday that would be a bad idea. “Conservation programs should not suffer because of misplaced spending priorities,” said Kind, D-La Crosse. “Increasing conservation funding is vital to address a tremendous unmet need and help more farmers be better stewards of the land.” Ryan, R-Janesville, asked, “Why should we be creating a new $5 billion duplicative program when there’s so much room for reform, so much waste in the farm program today?”


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)
– AT&T sets faster wireless

BIOTECH (back to top)
– UW-Platteville Implements New Renewable Energy Courses

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Sawdust is money

– Milwaukee Brewers extend pact with WTMJ

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Navy seeks to revive troubled ship program

– Owners of Oshkosh-based Marvel Manufacturing Co. honored

– Modine to close three out-of-state plants

– Oshkosh names new head of Geesink Norba

LABOR (back to top)
– A closer eye on jobs spending

– Teachers OK new contract in closest vote in JEA history

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Franchise brings resources, recognition to new business

– A little help from their friends

INVESTING (back to top)
– Donnelley declares quarterly dividend

– Dow climbs back in afternoon trading

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Downtown ideas emerge

– Baraboo riverfront development plan flows smoothly

– Charter Wire seeks Menomonee Valley land for relocation

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Farmers invest in big-ticket items

– Alto Dairy Sale to Saputo Cheese USA Now Final

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Taxi stand set up for late-night downtown crowd

– Merrimac ferry open for season

– Northwest March traffic up slightly

– Northwest offers to serve stranded ATA passengers

RETAIL (back to top)
– New Kohl’s will feature fresh design

– Bottled Pearl Street brew makes debut

REGULATION (back to top)
– Study links smoking bans to OWIs

– Some Ford owners to get free safety device

TOURISM (back to top)
– Art exhibit at Neville expected to bring in $500,000 for state, region

– $25 million convention center-resort complex planned near North Fond du Lac

– Riverwalk funding advances

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Wisconsin regulators agree to look into Great Lakes windmills

– $8.4 million for Alliant CEO

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– ThedaCare plans 2009 opening of Appleton center

– Thompson stresses need for organ donor awareness

– Diabetes up 27% in state since 2005

– Online mortgage map charts borrowers’ distress

– CEO Davis leads buyout of MWBank

– Limit credit lure, colleges urged

– Associated adds executives in Milwaukee, Chicago

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Speaker cites value of business mentors

– Grede directors survive uprising

– Clifton Gunderson names McMasters as CEO

– Former K-C exec will give keynote address

– Arketype in Green Bay promotes Kangas to manager

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– John Oncken: Farm shows equipped to showcase change

– Jacque Georgia: Lack of knowledge can hurt in the end

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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