(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 3 March 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Wisconsin credit unions would be required to document efforts to serve lower-income and minority consumers in the market areas they serve under legislation (AB 897) introduced by Rep. Mark Gottlieb (R-Port Washington).

The bill is a reaction to reports critical of the credit union industry’s commitments to serving lower-income populations, according to the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA).
In 2005, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) issued a report that called the credit union industry’s service to lower income and minorities as “lackluster.”

The NCRC study concluded that credit unions “fail in their mission to serve people of modest means as they trail banks in making home loans to hard-working minorities, women and lower-income Americans.”

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/2/29/

— Sonic Foundry will hold its shareholders meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

The company will host a corporate webcast for analysts and investors using its patented rich media communications system, Mediasite, to webcast the presentation for live and on-demand viewing.

To access the presentation, go to http://www.sonicfoundry.com/annualmeeting on or after March 6. An archive of the conference call will be available for 30 days.

— Most Asian shares dropped today amid renewed fears of a U.S. recession with stocks in Tokyo plunging nearly 4.5 percent.

In addition to fears of recession in a major export market, investors are also concerned that the dollar has fallen to a three-year low against the yen. That hurts the country’s big exporters.

Markets in Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia are also down but stocks advanced in trading in mainland China. Asian markets, which have fallen much of the year so far, had staged a modest recovery through the middle of last week.

But pessimism returned Monday, sending markets sliding again.


Explore “The Issues and Science behind the Pending Great Lakes Water Compact” March 5 at a special Blueprint Briefing at Discovery World on Milwaukee?s lake front.

The briefing, open to the public, will feature “Great Lakes Water Wars” author Peter Annin; Kevin Wilson, assistant deputy minister of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; Todd Ambs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s water division chief and member of the board of the Great Lakes Commission; Matt Moroney, executive director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee; and Ann Beier, director, Office of Environmental Sustainability,
City of Milwaukee.

UW-Milwaukee officials also plan a briefing on the science and research behind the policy immediately following the panel discussion.

The special briefing is being presented by WisPolitics.com-WisBusiness.com, UW-Milwaukee, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the Government of Canada, and Discovery World.

See more and register:



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Press Releases
Dept. of Commerce: Gov. Doyle announces funding for waste water collection project in Clark County
Dept. of Employee Trust Funds: Department announces 6.6% core annuity dividend
Dept. of Natural Resources: New Green Tier charter encourages mercury reduction efforts by municipalities
Dept. of Revenue: Wisconsin Quarterly Economic Outlook released today
Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service: 19th Annual Organic Farming Conference highlights
New North: Businesses clean up at annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Awards
Wisconsin Alliance of Cities: Memo on AT&T video franchise application
WMC: Nine Wisconsin companies receive Manufacturer of the Year Awards

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


Actuant invests heavily in China: Engineering firm plans to open $15 million design and development center in Shanghai… Anyone who still argues that China’s engineers lack the skill and inventiveness of their Western counterparts hasn’t been paying close enough attention, says the chief executive of one of the Milwaukee area’s most globally connected companies. “The Chinese are as good as anyone in the world,” said Bob Arzbaecher, CEO of Actuant Corp., a $1.5 billion-a-year industrial engineering company that operates in more than 30 countries. Actuant is preparing to open its single biggest design and development center, which will serve its entire span of subsidiaries. But it won’t be in Wisconsin.

Despite snow, frigid weather, heating costs are about normal: WPS spokesman says winter has been abnormally normal… Heat this winter will cost about as much as expected. “Based on normal temperatures, the price is pretty close to what we estimated when winter began,” said Kerry Spees, spokesman for Wisconsin Public Service Corp. Spees said the typical customer using 900 therms of natural gas annually will pay $742. That compares with about $740 last year and $830 for the 2005-2006 heating season, when natural gas prices were significantly higher. The Green Bay-based utility predicted last fall that winter heating costs would be 2 percent to 5 percent more than last year.

The Manitowoc Co. lands Coast Guard contract: The Manitowoc Co. has been awarded a contract by the United States Coast Guard for an additional 18 response boat-medium boats. The contract was announced Friday at a press conference at Marinette Marine, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Manitowoc Co. The multiyear deal is worth about $35 million for The Manitowoc Co. and will sustain a significant number of high-wage jobs in the area. The new boats are part of a Coast Guard contract requiring the construction and delivery of up to 250 response boat-medium boats at a total contract value of up to $600 million, possibly lasting 10 years. Delivery of the 18 boats is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2009. This brings the total number of boats under contract to 30.

Additional assistance made available to laid-off Kohler workers: Up to 500 laid-off Kohler Co. workers will be able to receive additional unemployment assistance, the state Department of Workforce Development says. The agency said the workers will be eligible for re-employment services that include training in another line of work, income support, a job search allowance and a relocation allowance. Workers 50 or older can also receive a wage subsidy during up to 26 weeks of unemployment as part of a program that supports workers whose skills are not easily transferable and for whom other re-employment services may not be appropriate. The department said nearly 500 workers had been partially or completely laid off from Kohler since October of 2006.

Mortgage lawsuit may have big effect: Couple’s low interest rate lasted a month… A mortgage dispute between a giant Maryland bank and a Cedarburg couple has grown into a closely watched federal court battle with potentially far-reaching impact on the battered mortgage lending industry. At issue before the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago is whether a federal lawsuit won by Bryan and Susan Andrews last year can retain its class-action status. Kevin Demet, an attorney for the Andrewses, said a victory would open the door for some 8,000 other Chevy Chase Bank customers to cancel their refinanced mortgages and demand the return of their interest payments and closing costs.


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)
– Papermaker advances scientific technique

BIOTECH (back to top)
– A new frontier for young scientists

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Cutting back

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Office printer spells boon for parts dealer

LABOR (back to top)
– State worker pension increases set

– District to rule this week on grievance for same-sex marriage

– Unemployment tax increase approved

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Premium hosiery is their stocking trade

INVESTING (back to top)
– Baylake Corp. won’t OK stock dividend

– Stock market’s losing streak hits 4 months

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Prairie du Chien eyes $10 million downtown complex

– Juneau Village owners want buildings sold

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Wisconsin Cheeseman to consolidate facilities, lay off 23

– Urban farming goes global

– State Trout Sales Increased in 2007

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Valley Transit connects with riders

– Milwaukee County mass transit ridership down

– MTU buses cruise to 1 million served

RETAIL (back to top)
– Retailer has to shift gears

– Is growth of resale shops healthy?

REGULATION (back to top)
– Doyle, Armstrong unite on smoke ban

– Monona smoking ban ordinance goes to council

– NFL Network survey fights back

– Legislation Advances to Ensure DNR Board Has Farmer Representation

TOURISM (back to top)
– Famous Dave now cooking up a waterpark chain

UTILITIES (back to top)
– State assistance program helps heat homes

– Badger Energy buys Wagner Gas and Electric

– Proposed wind turbines may face new conditions

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Focusing on chronic disease can reduce health care costs

– Hospital bonds are latest credit casualty

– Striking back against strokes

– Subprime mess doesn’t tar all financials, adviser says

– Injury management focus of Blankenheim Services

– Self-funded insurance has ups and downs

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Area business partners promote green practices

– Magoon named Claymore president

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– John Torinus: Groups plot state’s path to a sounder economy

– Kathy Fredrickson: Keeping up with trends can close the knowledge divide

– Mick Hager: Maintain your chain of command

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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