(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 28 April 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Wisconsin Power and Light Company, a subsidiary of Madison-based Alliant Energy Corporation has received permission from the state Public Service Commission to increase rates for electric service on by $15.6 million or 1.58 percent.

The company said the rate change went into effect Friday and will affect virtually all retail electric customers.

— The City of Shawano will receive a Blight Elimination and Brownfield Redevelopment grant of $400,000 from the state to help redevelop an unoccupied and underutilized downtown site.

“The cleanup and safe reuse of brownfield properties is about more than just renewing damaged or vacant land, it also helps spur additional reinvestment in these communities over the long haul,” Gov. Jim Doyle said. “I’m pleased to announce this grant that will help revitalize downtown Shawano and create jobs.”

The City of Shawano plans to redevelop the former ThedaCare Clinic and sell the property to Cooperative Resources International, Inc. (CRI). CRI is expanding its operations and will convert the 44,000-sq.-ft. space into the company’s international headquarters.

CRI is an international leader in cattle breeding genetics technology and assists producers with bovine reproduction, herd management, livestock marketing, and food testing. The company plans to create 31 full-time positions within five years of moving to its new headquarters. Total investment is roughly $1.7 million.

— The Gehl Co. is reporting a first quarter net loss of $822,000, or 7 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $6.3 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The company’s quarterly net sales fell to $82.2 million from $115.2 million a year earlier.

The company says its results were affected by the adoption of a change in accounting principles that included “fair value measurements.” Excluding those adjustments, the company’s quarterly income from continuing operations was $600,000, or 5 cents per share.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/4/25/#slow-construction-market-puts-ice-on-gehl



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Press Releases
Adelman Travel and Creative Group Form Mutual Referral Partnership
Baylake Corp. Reports Financial Results for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2008
Blackhawk Bancorp Announces Record Results in First Quarter 2008
Cars on State – Classic Car Show – May 10
Deadline to Apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans is May 23
Governor Doyle Announces $2 Million to 139 Diesel Truck Idling Grants
Governor Doyle Announces Funding for Multi-Purpose Community Center in Marquette County
Governor Doyle Announces Funding for Senior Center and Library in Ashland County
Governor Doyle Announces Grants to Aid Statewide Wisconsin Community Development Efforts
Governor Doyle Announces Job Creation
Ladish to Announce 1st Quarter 2008 Earnings
Pemex Orders Custom Fire-Fighting Rigs for Gulf Platforms
Regal Beloit Corporation to Hold First Quarter Earnings Conference Call on Thursday
Scheibel Halaska Earns Recognition With Clarion, Excellence Awards
Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek Expands Milwaukee Office
Wisconsin Energy, Wisconsin Electric Declare Quarterly Dividends
Wisconsin School of Business Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) Hosts Third MBA International Business Case Competition

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


Epic business booms: Medical software company starts building second Verona campus: If spring is here, it must be construction season at Epic Systems Corp. Two huge, red cranes tower over the campus of the rapidly growing technology company, signaling that construction is running full tilt on the second round of office buildings. Just one year shy of its 30th anniversary, Epic Systems has 3,000 employees — more than triple its size five years ago — and topped $500 million in annual revenue last year. For the Madison area, Epic is a phenomenal success story. But, strange as it may seem to those who have watched with awe as Epic ‘s staff has grown tenfold over the last 20 years, most of its competitors are even bigger and growing at least as quickly, with revenue well past the billion-dollar mark.

Tower Tech set to expand: It signs deals to supply wind towers to subsidiary of Spanish firm… More expansion is in the works for Tower Tech Systems Inc. of Manitowoc after its parent company raised $100 million in a stock sale. Tower Tech is a manufacturer of towers used in wind power projects, a growth area within the manufacturing sector given the record pace in the expansion of wind power generation projects across the country. For Tower Tech, growth is buoyed in part by an agreement it signed this month to supply wind towers to a subsidiary of the Spanish company Gamesa, a leading player in the global wind industry. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Broadwind says it is the largest single order for towers placed by Gamesa with a North American tower manufacturer.

Can federal stimulus checks shake up the local economy?: The La Crosse area’s economy will be getting an estimated $93 million cash infusion from the federal government in the next three months. But how much of a local stimulus the federal tax rebates provide depends on how we spend the money, economists said. The federal checks and direct deposits are scheduled to start this week, with the last of the mailed payments coming in July. How much you get depends on your tax-filing status, but they’ll average $877 each, according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Of the estimated $2.1 billion in rebates coming into Wisconsin, La Crosse County should get $41.7 million, according to a Tribune analysis based on 2007 population estimates.

Report: 37 percent of Milwaukee restaurants cited: Thirty-seven percent of Milwaukee’s restaurants had at least one “critical” health code violation last year, according to city records analyzed by a newspaper. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also said in a report in its Sunday edition that Milwaukee falls short of federal guidelines that recommend three inspections a year for full-service restaurants, typically inspecting restaurants once a year.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “critical” violations are those which are serious enough to put patrons at risk of getting sick. Budget cuts have resulted in cuts in the Milwaukee Health Department’s field inspection staff from about 26 inspectors during the 1980s to 16 today, the city said.

Investment questions raised: State opened way for riskier deals… After a change to state law in 2006 opened the door for school districts to get more aggressive in investing to pay for retiree health care, the measure proved so popular that the Legislature gave similar power to other governments this year. But since the Journal Sentinel reported this month on five school districts that put millions of borrowed dollars in controversial investments, some are questioning whether that expansion benefits taxpayers or puts public funds in danger. “People like to really do strange things to maximize their returns,” said Milwaukee City Comptroller W. Martin “Wally” Morics. Whether the five districts could have engaged in the investments without the law change is unclear. Officials of some of the districts and their broker insist they could have.

Farmers’ risk grows with gain: Commodity prices are good, but costs are up, too… Dairy farmers Lloyd and Daphne Holterman are like poker players pondering their next hand of cards. With record-high commodity prices, you might think every cut of the deck would bring prosperity. There’s strong demand for corn and other grains, coupled with an increased global appetite for dairy products. Good times for farmers should continue, at least for a while. But when all of the cards are on the table, it may end up costing farmers more to raise grain and produce milk than they’ll get paid for it at the markets. Soaring land costs, increased debt, and a reliance on government subsidies for ethanol production have prompted economists and bankers to warn that farmers’ recent prosperity could come to a sudden end.


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)
– Appleton robotics team revels in strong showing at event

BIOTECH (back to top)
– $450,000 grant to Viterbo seeks to decrease chronic disease

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Bubble or fact of life: Where’s the price of oil headed?

– Local Fair Trade startups hit hard by economy

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– 150 years and counting

– Local manufacturing scene a mixed bag

– A gloomy day all around for manufacturer Gehl

– DBT acquisition drives rise in Bucyrus sales and earnings

LABOR (back to top)
– Schneider National seeking drivers for hub

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Big Tomatoes restaurant recognized by Discover Wisconsin

– New Ashwaubenon shop looks to score with older collectibles

– Survey: Providing health care an increasing challenge for small business

INVESTING (back to top)
– Jewelers Mutual announces dividend

– Badger Meter plans to switch stock exchanges

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Developer says bank left him high, dry

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– U.S. milk production continues to rise

– Mixed reaction in Wisconsin to tentative farm bill deal

– Wisconsin Prepares to Host National Holstein Convention Tours

– Feingold Supports Plan to Eradicate Ash Borer, Pests

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– AirTran plans stock, note offering worth $136M

– Pabst highway funds awaited

RETAIL (back to top)
– New Festival Foods to open in Manitowoc

– Quality antiques hold value in volatile economy

– Lowe’s still not certain about joining Shoppes

– Prices eat away at grocery budgets

REGULATION (back to top)
– Tentative farm bill deal boosts nutrition programs

– Michels balks at lawsuit

TOURISM (back to top)
– ‘Public Enemies’ a friend to Wisconsin

– Point to host GOP, Dem conventions

– Sparta nixes troop hotel/ rec center at Fort McCoy

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Menasha’s steam utility net income up again

– Higher water rates proposed in town of Lawrence

– Shift sought in water quality focus

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Central Wis. doctors in charge of state physicians organization

– BadgerCare enrollment today

– New plate promotes organ donation

– Expo on autism highlights treatment

– Broad coalition decries health care dysfunction

– St. Mary’s, Pioneer credit unions to merge

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Laying foundations for small businesses

– Harley-Davidson’s chief executive calls decision to cut jobs ‘excruciating’

– Milton launches new effort to woo developers to industrial park

– Kraft wants to expand pizza-making plant by 25 percent

– UW-L offers training in global business

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Dave Willems: Up the ante to get the biggest bang from your promotions

– John Torinus: Director pay should be shareholders’ prerogative

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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