(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 8 February 2008

From WisBusiness.com …
— Phillips Lighting Electronics has notified state and local officials that it plans to permanently close a plant in Boscobel beginning in early April and lay off 188 workers by Sept. 30, when all operations at the facility will cease.

The company said it will shift production to a factory in Juarez, Mexico. The affected employees have no bumping rights and are not represented by a union.

— A slowing economy is hitting Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp., which is reporting a fiscal January comparable store sales decline of 8.3 percent.

Many other major retailers say their sales were flat or off, too, though none of their drops were as large as Kohl’s.

Wal-Mart was up by 0.5 percent in January, Target down 1.1 percent, J.C. Penney’s down 1.9 percent, Nordstrom down 6.6 percent, and Macy’s off 7.1 percent.

Kohl’s officials said total sales for the fiscal month were $800 million, down 20.4 percent from the same month a year ago.

The company’s fourth quarter comparable store sales fell 4 percent.

For the year, total sales increased 5.6 percent over the same period a year ago while comparable store sales decreased 0.8 percent.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=117631

— Gov. Jim Doyle announced Thursday that AlliedPanels, an Austrian firm, will receive $250,000 in Technology Zone tax credits to help with locating its first U.S. plant in Madison.

The company reportedly will invest more than $2.2 million in the project, creating up to 56 jobs in Wisconsin over the next five years.

The company developed and contracted to build keyboards to customer specifications before expanding into medical equipment, mostly building ultrasound imagers.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=117633

— The final daily edition of the Capital Times, Madison’s progressive daily, will be published on April 26 as the afternoon newspaper moves to a twice-weekly publication schedule with a new emphasis on its Web site.

The move will result in downsizing of the Cap Times’ workforce in the newsroom and other areas, though details haven’t been finalized. Some employees will be offered a “voluntary separation agreement,” according to a press release.

The paper will now publish a Wednesday edition with news and opinion and a Thursday edition with arts, culture and entertainment news. The editions will be distributed in home delivery editions of the Cap Times’ sister paper, the Wisconsin State Journal, and offered free in boxes in Madison.

The publication change will increase the paper’s circulation from the current 17,702 to more than 80,000, according to the press release.

*See the press release from The Capital Times: http://wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=117663

*See the Capital Times story: http://www.madison.com/tct/mad/topstories/271414

— The UW Board of Regents Business, Finance and Audit Committee has approved an increase in salary ranges for the UW System president and chancellors at the comprehensive universities.

”It was actually a very quick item,” said UW spokesman David Giroux. He said System President Kevin Reilly made a very convincing case “to go to the market with a competitive scale.”

While the new ranges wouldn’t impact any current salaries, the Board is faced with hiring three new chancellors at the Madison, Whitewater and Parkside campuses. The new ranges will go before the full Board of Regents tomorrow.

The new salary range for the UW-Madison chancellor would be $370,000 to $452,000. Outgoing chancellor John Wiley currently makes $327,000 annually, well below that of chancellors at the Madison campus’ peer institutions, according to the System.

See the agenda: http://www.uwsa.edu/bor/agenda/2008/february-outline.pdf

— Small Business Times is accepting nominations for its annual IQ Awards program, which celebrates innovations in business.

The “Innovation Quotient” program honors southeastern Wisconsin businesses that have created innovative products, services or business processes.

The contest will be judged by the editorial staff of Small Business Times, which will consider how clever, innovative and unique the nominated product, service or process is.

The nominated companies must be based in Wisconsin and have a physical presence in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Sheboygan, Racine, Walworth or Kenosha County.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/2/7/#iq-awards-will-celebrate-innovations-in-business

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Press Releases

46 people die in Wisconsin traffic crashes in January
Advanced Smart Drive Solution Launched by DoxNow
Digi-Key Corporation and SSI Technologies, Inc. Announce Global Distribution Agreement
Economists Assess Markets, Business and Politics in Economic Outlook Session
Fiskars Announces Trademark on Iconic Orange Handles
Foley Elects New Partner In Madison
Governor Doyle Welcomes AlliedPanels to Wisconsin
Great Wolf Resorts Closes $55 Million Mortgage Loan
Interstate Power and Light Company to Expand Wind Generation Potential in Iowa
Kohl’s Corporation Reports January Sales
Marshfield Clinic Research Team Uses Affymetrix DMET Solution to Discover Genetic Variant Affecting Warfarin Metabolism in Patients
Midwest Air Group Reports January Performance
Midwest Airlines Selects Lockheed Martin Team to Provide Advanced Flight Planning Programs
Miller Lite to Wager $25,000 for Charity on #2 Blue Deuce, Challenges Bud to Place Same Wager on Its Car
Nearly 1,000 Local Broadcasters Hit 50 States in Five Days with Grassroots DTV Education Blitz
PictureWagon.com: America’s Newest Online Photo Superstore
PSC to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Rockdale to Paddock Transmission Line Between Beloit and Christiana
PSC to Investigate Level of Telecommunications Regulation
State “Young Entrepreneurs of the Year” Announced
UW-Whitewater students continue excellence on CPA exam
Warhawk Business Plan contest first-round deadline Feb. 15
WealthCounsel(R) Announces the Appointment of Randy Gardner, J.D. as Director of Education
Winners of Governor’s 2008 Financial Literacy Awards Announced

For these and more releases visit


Advance Transformer to close Boscobel plant: Philips Lighting Electronics North America will close its Advance Transformer lighting components plant in Boscobel later this year, which will leave 188 people without a job. In announcing the plant closing, the company cited changes in technology and the marketplace. Layoffs are expected to begin about April 6 and continue until about Sept. 30, the company said in the plant-closing notice received Thursday by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. As a result of the closure, Advance Transformer will move its remaining magnetic ballast manufacturing operations to Juarez, Mexico, it said in the notice.

Medical equipment firm coming to Madison: An Austrian company, AlliedPanels, plans to build a factory in Madison that could employ more than 200 people in a few years, its owner says. AlliedPanels contracts with major electronics manufacturers to produce parts for its equipment. Founded in 2000, the company is based in Hopfgarten and has three locations in Austria, a tiny operation in Minsk, Belarus, and a small plant that opened in Madison late last year and shipped its first products in November. AlliedPanels has 110 employees now and about $55 million in annual revenue. “In order to grow this, we decided to move to the U.S.,” chief executive and owner Hansjorg Weisskopf said.

Capital Times unveils major shift to Internet: Late this spring The Capital Times will dramatically enhance its Internet site as well as alter its print frequency from six days to two days per week to address changing habits of afternoon newspaper readers, company executives announced Thursday. Publisher Clayton Frink said the newspaper’s online site, captimes.com, will feature increased volume, depth and timeliness of news, opinion and other information. He said the printed edition of the newspaper will expand its distribution by about five times and switch from six-day publication to two weekly tabloid-size editions.

Full speed ahead: GM standing behind SUVs — and Janesville: General Motors officials expressed confidence Wednesday that sales will improve for full-size sport-utility vehicles built in Janesville; Arlington, Texas, and Silao, Mexico. That should allow the three GM plants to continue building the big trucks for the foreseeable future, they said. Mark LaNeve, GM North America vice president of vehicle sales, acknowledged the full-size SUV segment has been shrinking but said GM has continued to keep its market share at about 70 percent. “We’ve been fortunate that we have new products in the market that are the best products–the Tahoe, Yukon, Suburban and Escalade,” LaNeve said in an interview with The Janesville Gazette at the Chicago Auto Show.

Tax rebate plan zooms to Bush: Senate, House vote final approval to $168 billion stimulus package… Moving with uncommon speed, Congress gave final approval Thursday to a $168 billion economic rescue package, including rebates for taxpayers and tax breaks for businesses, that lawmakers and President Bush hope will set off a rush of springtime spending and spark the slowing economy. A day after the Senate seemed mired in a partisan feud over a more expensive stimulus plan favored by Democrats, lawmakers cast that quarrel aside and instead approved a plan nearly identical to one that the House adopted overwhelmingly last week.


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)
– New firm aims to microwave cancer

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Neuroscience Center prepared to debut

ECONOMY (back to top)
– UWGB joins initiative to keep talented students in the state

– 2nd transcript would tout outside work

– Retailers see sales slide in January

– Wausau Paper reports fourth-quarter loss

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Manitowoc Co. says sales increased over last year

– Magnetek back in the black for 2Q

LABOR (back to top)
– Boscobel plant to close, affecting 200 jobs

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Businessmen grow Hortonville company from ground up

– Cedarburg shop offers fair trade and Earth-friendly goods

– New area businesses showcased

INVESTING (back to top)
– Spectrum Brands posts wider loss

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Wisconsin foreclosures up 45 percent in January

– County foreclosures soar

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– PDPW to Hold Annual Business Conference in March

– All Price Fall on NASS Cheese Survey

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Doyle orders review of response to massive traffic backup

– On the road again

– Swallows and spawning to slow bridge project

– Report: Northwest/Delta could announce merger next week

RETAIL (back to top)
– Kohl’s same-store sales down 8.3 percent

– Bon-Ton January same-store sales slip

– 1,000-foot wall among Pabst Farms concerns at meeting

– Some businesses don’t mind latest round of bizarre winter

REGULATION (back to top)
– Officials: Glatfelter site has minor PCB contamination

– Wisconsin municipalities barred from joining lawsuit over gay rights

– Trek recalls 49,000 girls bikes

TOURISM (back to top)
– Great Wolf takes out $55M mortgage on resort

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Integrys Energy Group Reports Financial Implications of Illinois Rate Orders

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Bay would get clinic

– Affinity will sell nursing home

– Aging trend drives Aspirus growth

– Health care topic of Chamber session

– Fiserv quarterly earnings drop 8.8 percent

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Packers’ success spurs need for expansion

– M.A. Mortenson names Wisconsin native CEO

– Kohlers repeatedly aid environmental causes

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– John Oncken: Argyle dairy stays small, and likes it that way

– Jacque Georgia: Credit histories affect loan options

Media Partners


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