(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 24 March 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Wisconsin Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer has appointed Aggo Akyea as director of the agency’s bureau of minority business development.

From 2006-2008, Akyea was the minority business enterprise program manager at the Department of Transportation, providing consultation to minority businesses in order to maximize their prime and subcontracting opportunities within the department’s state-funded purchasing and construction projects.

He served as marketing and certification consultant for the Department of Commerce from 1991-2006, certifying minority firms for participation in public sector contracts and organizing and conducting the annual Marketplace Trade Fair.

— The state Public Service Commission has approved a monthly increase in 2008 electric rates for Wisconsin Public Service customers due to increased fuel and purchased power costs for the company.

The increase amounts to about $1.68 monthly for typical residential customers using 630 kilowatt hours of electricity. WPS is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Integrys Energy Group and serves northeastern and central Wisconsin.

The PSC said contributing factors in the rate change were increased purchased power costs due to a later start-up of the new Weston 4 power plant, increased coal and coal transportation costs, and increased natural gas costs.

— Thousands of Wisconsin businesses are owned and managed by baby boomers who will be reaching retirement over the next 20 years. What then? What will be the “Next Stage” for their business?

The Small Business Times will explore the answers to those questions when it conducts an M&A Forum, titled “The Next Stage,” on Thursday, March 27, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at The Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave.

The event will examine different exit strategies, including recapitalizations, employee stock ownership programs, management buyouts, sale to private equity firms, mergers with strategic partners and more.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/3/21/#what-is-your-exit-strategy



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The monthly “Checkpoint” survey of public opinion is a statewide random digit dial poll. The next survey will be going into the field later this month.

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Press Releases
‘Anyone can be Financially Free’: Easy-to-Follow Guide to Financial Planning Gives Readers Power Over Retirement
Check Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Fiserv Health Offers Family and Medical Leave Administration
Foley and Milwaukee Brewers Unveil First-Ever “K’s For A Cause” Charitable Partnership
Free tax assistance available across Wisconsin
Frozen road declaration ending statewide as spring thaw restrictions implemented
Governor Doyle Signs 28 Bills into Law
Johnson Controls’ Bruce McDonald Named America’s Best CFO
Medical Manufacturer TomoTherapy Implements SAP Solution in Only 16 Weeks
Modine Announces Key Senior Leadership Changes: Appointment of Thomas A. Burke and Bradley C. Richardson to Expanded Leadership Roles
Poetry Everywhere
Public Service Commission Approves Fuel Rate Increase for Wisconsin Public Service Electric Customers
Secretary Fischer Announces Executive Appointment
Third Wave, DCL Medical Laboratories Form Strategic Partnership

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


Big development plans divide Lake Geneva: Lake Geneva voters to advise aldermen… Residents who oppose real estate development in their communities often complain loudly, organize protests or circulate petitions. In this Walworth County tourist town, people are getting a chance to express their feelings a different way – at the ballot box. Faced with strong opposition to a 700-acre development that would be Lake Geneva’s largest ever, city officials have opted to give voters their say in an April 1 referendum. The advisory referendum will not be binding on aldermen, who still can vote later on whether to allow the mega-development.

Home mortgage standards getting tougher in Wisconsin: Mounting foreclosures and the subprime mortgage crisis have contributed to a national credit crunch, making it more difficult for borrowers to qualify for a mortgage loan. Standards for home mortgages also are getting tougher in Wisconsin, especially for loans that banks pass on to national mortgage wholesalers. Recent changes in Wisconsin lending standards include: The minimum FICO credit score of 700, once considered excellent, has crept upward at some banks to 720. Consumers with credit scores lower than 680 are having more difficulty getting a mortgage. (A FICO score is a credit score developed by Fair Isaac Corp.)

One year later, battle lines still drawn on ethanol plant: When Gina Frank found out about the ethanol plant going up in her neighborhood, she put her home of 19 years up for sale. The home at 6516 E. Highway 59 was on the market for six months with no offers, she said. After all, she asked, who would want to live with a noisy, smelly plant in the backyard? “Nineteen years, and now we can’t use our backyard,” she said. One year after the United Ethanol plant started production in Milton, the battle lines still are drawn. Neighbors still say their complaints are being brushed off by the plant and the city. The plant still touts the benefits it offers to the community—such as 34 new jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in future taxes—and to the environment by producing an alternative to gasoline.

Mining firm sees gold in U.P. hills: But some are wary of environmental effects… Deb Skubal looks out her living room window and sees a pristine forest, an occasional eagle or bear, and the Menominee River meandering through the woods on its way to Green Bay. Geologist Tom Quigley looks at the same scene and sees the same beauty. But he also envisions the riches beneath the ground: gold, silver and zinc, all trapped in rock nearly 2 billion years old. Their viewpoints appear to be on a collision course that illustrates a conflict between the needs of an increasingly global economy and the environmental disruption that can result from meeting those needs. Quigley is president of Aquila Resources Inc., a Canadian mining exploration company that’s searching for precious metals in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula…

Farm show spreads seeds, grows its way to fame: 48th event will host nearly 400 exhibitors in Oshkosh… The Green Bay Press-Gazette visits with newsmakers in the business world each week in its Monday Conversation feature. This week, Michael Kawleski, agriculture market leader with Wisconsin Public Service Corp., talks about the Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show, which takes place April 1 to 3 at the Experimental Aviation Association grounds in Oshkosh. Q. The Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show is holding its 48th edition this year. What was the early history of the show and how has it evolved over the last four decades? Why does WPS take an active role in the agricultural sector?


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)
– Entrepreneurclimate topic of Economic Indicators breakfast

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Wisconsin Rapids Ethanol Project Takes a Step Forward

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Bellevue looks ahead to growth in village

– Higher fuel prices will mean higher food prices

– Bowling Congress gets sweeter incentives from Texas

– With their own hands… These loggers rely more on man than machine

– Dollar’s fall drags economy

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Manufacturer may lay off 40 workers

LABOR (back to top)
– Survey: Employers planning to hire more new college graduates

– CEO: Some local jobs likely moving to new HUSCO plant

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Cycling is in his blood

– New tenant at Advance Business Development Center

INVESTING (back to top)
– Giving investors right to sue may lead to better-run plans

– BusinessWeek: Behind S&P’s Negative I-Bank Outlook

– BusinessWeek: Why Bear’s Shares Are Above $2

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Green condos in a red market?

– Real estate community rattled by murder

– Local home builders look forward to a better year

– Developer has big dreams for green village

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Rural Fresh Delivery: Popular CSA farm network ready for growing season

– UW-Madison to Host National Collegiate Dairy Management Contest

– Land deal could lead to agribusiness park

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Truckers worry about rising diesel costs

– BusinessWeek: The Bumpy Road to Fuel Efficiency

RETAIL (back to top)
– New Shopko stores seek niche in retail middle ground

– Returns keep bottlers afloat

– Downsized Villager Mall redevelopment plan has neighbors grumbling

REGULATION (back to top)
– State struggles on where to draw the line

TOURISM (back to top)
– Oshkosh preparing for movie crews

– UWSP’s natural history museum’s future in doubt

UTILITIES (back to top)
– New WPS coal plant produces electricity

– Green Bay utility fires up new power plant

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Seniors report illegal unsolicited calls concerning Medicare

– Aging bones can be a boom for some

– Jewelers Mutual plans $9.5M expansion

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Harris prepares for next challenge

– Nominees sought for state energy award

– Holschbach to Take Over as President of World Dairy Expo

– Abdoo nominated for NiSource board

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Tom Saler: It’s best to stay on the sidelines

– Mick Hager: Charisma counts in leadership

– Dana Kohlbeck: Online press kits are a cost-effective, versatile publicity tool

– John Torinus: Obama speech was full of anti-business rhetoric

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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