(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 12 June 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Wisconsin added nearly 2,000 new foreclosures in May, bringing year-to-date foreclosures up to 10,644 and more than 38 percent higher than the first five months of 2007, according to new data from ForeclosuresWI.com.

Foreclosures have more than doubled from 2005 to 2008, with southeastern Wisconsin experiencing a 115 percent increase over the past three years, said Robert Jansen, president of ForeclosuresWI.com.

He said Dane County leads southeastern Wisconsin in year-over-year percentage increase, up 68.6 percent from the first five months of 2007.

Leading the state in the number of 2008 filings, Milwaukee County foreclosures are more than 40 percent higher compared to the first five months of 2007 (2,709 vs. 1,932).

See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=128471

— President George W. Bush has reached out to Gov. Jim Doyle via telephone to express his concern with the ongoing flooding here and to ensure that the state is getting adequate attention from FEMA personnel.

Doyle said he appreciated the call from the president and that FEMA has responded “very promptly.”

Doyle, speaking at a press conference near a threatened dam in Mukwonago, said there is “no doubt” the state will meet the standard for federal disaster relief.

— Doyle said state engineers are “working night and day” to fix south-central Wisconsin’s Lake Delton, which was virtually drained on Monday when waters circumvented a dam and spilled into the Wisconsin River.

Engineers are attempting “to get the river moving back the correct way and get barriers there to be able to rebuild Lake Delton,” he said before adding that the process of refilling the lake will take much of the year.

Monitoring continues on 19 dams across the state, Doyle said, and in some instances there have been evacuations.

Doyle praised residents for taking in those displaced by the rising waters. “To me that’s really the spirit of this state,” he said.

— The Milwaukee County Board’s Transportation Committee voted 4-3 yesterday to approve a resolution calling for an advisory referendum on a 0.5 percent sales tax to fund bus transit and remove funding of the transit system from the property rolls.

Should the resolution pass the full board and survive Milwaukee County Exec. Scott Walker’s likely veto, the referendum would appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. The state would have to approve any sales tax increase.

— The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s (MMAC) Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) has announced the winners of the annual Future 50 awards.

MMAC/COSBE began the Future 50 program in 1980 to recognize the outstanding achievements of local, fast-growing entrepreneurs. The program recognizes privately-owned companies in the seven county region that have been in business for at least three years and have shown significant revenue and employment growth.

“The Future 50 list is often a harbinger of what’s around the corner for the region’s economy,” said Tim Sheehy, president of the MMAC.

“We’re seeing encouraging signs that local, innovative manufacturers can, and will continue to, thrive here. The fact that much of their business is conducted outside the region means they are attracting outside investment into the region, growing the economic base for everyone.”

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/6/11/#mmac-announces-future-50-winners



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Press Releases
Foreclosure rates remain high
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin Expands Maternity Depression Program
Dedicated Computing Names Don Schlidt to CEO Post
UW-Whitewater freshman applications up 11 percent, highest in UW System
Madison Water Utility Working to Achieve
MTM International Expands Executive Management Team
PointOne Launches New Business Direction, Healthcare Analytics Beyond Hospitals
PointOne Launches New Business Direction, Healthcare Analytics Beyond Hospitals
Pork producer to speak to Optimists
Sonic Foundry to Webcast EduComm 2008

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


Wisconsin crop losses will total tens of millions, experts say: Flooded fields from recent rains will likely cause at least tens of millions of dollars in losses from ruined crops, lowered yields and delayed plantings, farm experts from across Wisconsin said Wednesday. And consumers will join farmers in taking the hit, as the flooding across the Midwest has helped push already high commodity prices to record levels, market watchers said. “This is just a record. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen corn prices above $7” per bushel, said Bruce Jones, an economist and farm management specialist at UW-Madison. “The further increases are going to put some more pressure on consumer food prices.” … In the Kickapoo River Valley in western Wisconsin, farmers struck by flash floods in August are once again getting “hammered” by intense rains, said Russell Hagen, Crawford County land conservationist.

Manufacturers among area’s fast-growing firms: 112-year-old Banker Wire in Future 50… A 112-year-old metal bender isn’t likely to top anyone’s list of 21st-century economic growth prospects, but that’s just what southeastern Wisconsin has in Banker Wire. Described by co-owner George Boxhorn with a touch of self-deprecation and a good deal of pride as an “antique business,” Banker basically does two things: crimp wire and weave it into “fabric.” “It goes together just like your shirt,” said Chief Financial Officer David Stout. And for the Muskego firm, things have gone together well enough to generate annual growth in the neighborhood of 20% the last two years. Which, in turn, landed Banker this week on the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce “Future 50” roster of rapidly rising local companies – a list that, perhaps surprisingly, features 15 manufacturers.

State execs worried about economy, WMC survey finds: The slowing economy is the top concern of CEOs of Wisconsin companies, according to a survey of state business leaders. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s 2008 Economic Outlook Survey found that 38 percent of state CEOs said the slowdown was the top problem for their business this year, up from 33.3 percent last year and only 8.8 percent two years ago, WMC said in a news release Wednesday. The survey is comprised of answers from the WMC Board of Directors to a 25-question survey about economic conditions in Wisconsin. None of the 32 respondents predicted good growth for Wisconsin, with 31 percent seeing moderate growth, down from 62.5 percent last year, 53 percent predicting the economy would remain flat and 16 percent foreseeing a decline.

Wisconsin firms may share in $96M defense contract: Johnson Outdoors Inc. of Racine and Schutt Industries Inc. of Clintonville have been named among 10 defense contractors approved to supply shelters, trailers or other components under a $96 million multivendor U.S. military contract. The companies could supply the products to U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies, the U.S. Department of Defense said Wednesday. The one-year contract includes four, one-year option periods. Johnson Outdoors (NASDAQ: JOUT) is a manufacturer of outdoor recreational equipment, including military tents manufactured at its plant in Binghamton, N.Y., where any work on the contract would take place. Schutt Industries is a manufacturer of high-performance and military trailers.

Bottom lines droop under rainfall: Flooding takes toll in damage, lost goods, lost business… Jackie Klehr was on a Minnesota lake on vacation when she returned to shore and found multiple messages on her cell phone. The news was not good: The parking lot and the first floor of the Country Inn & Suites she manages near Mitchell International Airport were taking on lots of water. By the time she got back to Milwaukee, 19 guest rooms had extensive water and sewer damage, and several cars in the parking lot were waterlogged. “I didn’t realize the magnitude of it until I got back. On Monday morning, it was definitely a surprise,” she said.

Madison’s Inacom rises in IT rankings: Madison-based Inacom Information Systems edged up slightly in the 2008 VarBusiness 500 listing of information technology companies in North America, as measured by gross worldwide revenues. Inacom rose to No. 304 from No. 319 in 2007, Inacom said in a news release. “Inacom is pleased to be included in such elite company with our national peers in the technology industry,” Inacom President and CEO Frank Albi said in a statement. “As a local Wisconsin business, we take great pride in the fact that Inacom consistently serves its customers well enough to make the annual ranking.” Inacom, which was founded in 1984, also has offices in Appleton and Brookfield.


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)
– Study: Companies are often in the dark when data are stolen

– Solar power store to open on east side

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Biodiesel plant plans scuttled

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Top dog: Rivalry between Kraft, Sara Lee heats up

– Belgian InBev SA offers $46 billion for Anheuser-Busch

– GM bet on cheap gas and lost

– Leinenkugel likely to keep autonomy

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– A new market for hybrids

– Amcor factory back to normal after evacuation incident

LABOR (back to top)
– State workers get $187.3 million in overtime in 3 years

– AFL-CIO members protest high gas prices

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Charter honors local small businesses

– Chamber honors 4 local firms

INVESTING (back to top)
– Stocks look to gain on gain in May retail sales

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Tribal company to run new hotel in Bellevue

– Office space developer signs on to Brookfield project

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Rain gave a boost to state crops

– Flooding latest woe for Midwestern crops

– DBA: Wisconsin’s Dairy Industry Plans for More Growth

– State Winter Wheat Production Unchanged from May

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Gas prices will linger around $4 per gallon through 2009, Energy Department reports

– Delta Airlines alters local flight schedule

– Milwaukee County transit tax plan revived

RETAIL (back to top)
– Bid to cut cheap booze sales expanded

– Otto’s Meats recalls beef

– Winona bridge closure hurts area businesses

– Zoning for Wal-Mart advances in Cudahy

– Kohl’s to revive Hang Ten brand

REGULATION (back to top)
– No date agreed upon for Middleton smoking ban

– City prepares for hands-free cell phone law

– County exec proposes ‘compromise’ with EDC

– ShopKo licensing agreement settles lawsuit

TOURISM (back to top)
– Wringing Bros: Rising floodwaters keep Circus World closed

– Wisconsin Dells Polynesian Water Park Resort unveils its expansion plan

– Bayfest bump equals $4.5M, organizers say

– Cultural center under way

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Take precautions to ensure safe drinking water, state advises

– Floodwater may carry sewage

– State’s biggest cities hot on solar power

– Power plant likely to get OK on pipe permit

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Wisconsin No. 12 in well-being of children

– Clinic set to open Wittenberg facility

– Health care gets election year push

– Lake Delton opted out of flood insurance plan

– Insurance claims mount for floodwater damage

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Center for Resilient Cities takes new director

– Former MACCI leader to head Centergy

– Behnke named firm chairman

– Former Air Wisconsin CEO joins AirTran board

– Survey finds about half of Wisconsin business executives expect no company growth for 6-12 months

– Energy savvy up, says Johnson Controls exec

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Gail MarksJarvis: Would $150 oil choke off U.S. growth?

Media Partners
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