(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 15 May 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Wisconsin scored an overall B-/C+ for its competitiveness with other states, according to a report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

The nonpartisan group graded 33 “subjects” in six categories — economic health, business climate, environmental quality, quality of life, workforce excellence, and public sector performance.

Of the 33 measures, Wisconsin had four grades in the A range, 12 each in the B and C ranges, and five in the D range. The average grade over all measures was just below 2.5, or a B-/C+. The two areas with the strongest grades were quality of life (averaging about a B) and workforce excellence (B- average). “A” grades included those for health insurance coverage (A-), student test scores, highway conditions (A-), and air emissions (pounds per capita). Wisconsin has one of the highest insured rates in the nation and is still improving.

See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=126202

— Two companies have announced that they will expand in southeastern Wisconsin and add a total of up to 375 new jobs.

Officials from Affiliated Foods Midwest Cooperative – the ninth largest grocery co-op in the country – said the firm plans to build a 731,000-square-foot high-tech distribution facility in Kenosha.

Gov. Jim Doyle said Affiliated will receive an $800,000 loan and a $400,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce for capital investment in the $99 million plant, which is expected to create 300 jobs.

Further north, executives with Cambridge Major Laboratories said the firm will expand its pharmaceutical plant in Germantown. The company will break ground June 5 on a 120,000-square-foot plant next to its headquarters on Washington Drive.

The expansion will enable the company to create 50 to 75 new jobs. The firm now employs 100 workers at its Germantown headquarters, which officials said is running at capacity.

*See Affiliated release:
http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=126138

*See Cambridge Major release:
http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=126149

— Shareholders arriving for Alliant Energy’s annual meeting today will be greeted by a two-story, black, inflatable coal plant and sign-waving demonstrators protesting the company’s plans to build a coal-burning facility in Cassville, representatives of Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club promise.

“We’ll be there to tell them that coal is a flat-out bad investment for Wisconsin, the environment and ratepayers,” said Jennifer Feyerherm of the Sierra Club. “Wall Street says coal is risky, and investors all over the nation are pulling the plug on coal plants.”

Rob Crain, a spokesman for Alliant, said his company “welcomes the input” from the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin. But he argued that the Cassville plant is a “flexible fuel” facility that will burn biofuels including wood waste and switchgrass.

“This is not the coal plant of yesteryear that people are walking away from around the country,” he said.

— Scott Lockard, U.S. Bank, Madison market president, James R. Imhoff, Jr., chairman/CEO. First Weber Group, Inc., and Bill Duddleston, director of the Center for Economic Education at Edgewood College will highlight “The Wisconsin Economy in a Time of Uncertainty” forum on June 3 at 7:45 a.m.

The WisBusiness.com-WisPolitics.com breakfast event at the Madison Club in downtown Madison will feature discussion of the impact of the nation’s economy on Wisconsin. With the looming presidential election and recent economic turmoil, find out how you should be safeguarding your financial security.

The event is exclusively sponsored by AARP.

Additions to the panel and other participants will be announced in coming days.

The event is open to the public. General public tickets cost $10, but tickets area only $5 for AARP members and WisPolitics & WisBusiness subscribers. The ticket price includes breakfast.

For ticket information, contact Jim Greer at 608-237-6296 and [email protected]

WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com are independent, non-partisan news services based in Madison. Go to http://www.wispolitics.com and http://www.wisbusiness.com for more on the services.

— After 30 years in the IT business (the last six with IBM), Sharon Kaminecki decided to hang up her keyboard and pursue her passion – bicycling.

“I knew there had to be something more,” said Kaminecki, 56.

“And I really wanted to do something different,” added the Chicago native, who opened the Earth Rider Cycling Boutique and Hotel in this Green County burg of 3,000 in the summer of 2005.

“A lot of my Baby Boomer friends were pondering retirement and they didn’t know what they wanted to do, but I did,” she said during an interview in her ground-floor Brodhead bike shop. The five-room boutique hotel takes up the second story of the restored, 1890s-era brick building.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=126203

— The state Supreme Court has declined to take a nuisance suit filed against a Sawyer County cranberry grower, a court spokesman said.

An appeals court earlier this year upheld a circuit court’s decision to dismiss the suit, which was originally filed by former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. A group of landowners then petitioned the court to take up the case, but the justices declined yesterday.

The Farm Bureau Federation, which opposed the suit, praised the decision.

See the release:
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=126126

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Press Releases
ACCE Selects Regional Sustainable Development Fellows
Agriculture Prevails as Supreme Court Protects Cranberry Grower’s Right to Farm
Appleton Earns Wisconsin’s Top International Trade Award
Cambridge Major Laboratories Breaks Ground on Manufacturing Site
Governor Doyle Breaks Ground on new Allied Foods plant
Leinie Brew Brothers Kick Off Summer with Madison “Sell Down” Competition and Chance to “Be a Leinenkugel for a Day”
Paragon Development Systems, Inc.: PDS continues to foster innovation with new I.T. magazine
Sajan Extends GCMS 4.0 with New Portal Interface, Extended Analytics and Enterprise Scalability
Sandra L. Lampman Appointed to First Business Bank Board of Directors
UW-Madison Geography Students Put Local Foods on the Map
Webcast Alert: Alliant Energy Corporation Annual Meeting of Shareowners

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


TOP STORIES
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Vietnamese connection: Wisconsin businesses aim to build fruitful ties with Asia’s next ‘tiger in the making.’ … Some of Wisconsin’s best-known companies, from Rockwell Automation Inc. to Oshkosh Corp., are lining up to do business in Vietnam, a country whose rapid growth is evidence that the economic success of China and India is spilling over into neighboring economies. “Vietnam is potentially the next growth engine in Asia,” said Gordon Pan, one of five executives from investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co.’s private equity group who visited Vietnam last month. “The country has a lot of similar qualities to those found in China five to 10 years ago.” A conference today in Milwaukee aims to connect local companies with business opportunities in Vietnam.
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751084

Cooperative to build distribution center in Kenosha: Affiliated Foods Midwest Cooperative Inc. will receive an $800,000 loan and a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Commerce for capital investment and training in a $99 million distribution center to be built in Kenosha. The expansion is expected to create 450 jobs, 300 of which will be filled by Wisconsin residents, Gov. Jim Doyle said Wednesday in making the announcement. Affiliated Foods Midwest, the ninth-largest grocery cooperative in the nation, is based in Nebraska. The cooperative distributes food products and other merchandise and equipment to grocery stores across the Midwest, including 25 grocery stores in Wisconsin. Affiliated Foods Midwest currently has two distribution centers and plans to use Kenosha County as the location for a third center.
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily31.html?surround=lfn

House passes $290 billion farm bill; Wisconsin agriculture offical calls legislation ‘mixed bag’ for state: The House passed a $290 billion farm bill Wednesday with a strong veto-proof majority, offering more subsidies for farmers, food stamps for the poor and special projects that lawmakers can bring home to voters this election year. The 318-106 vote for the five-year bill came despite President Bush’s promised veto. He says the measure is too expensive and gives too much money to wealthy farmers. About two-thirds of the bill would pay for nutrition programs such as food stamps and emergency food aid for the needy. An additional $40 billion is for farm subsidies while almost $30 billion would go to farmers to idle their land and to other environmental programs.
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/286423

Supreme Court: Case against cranberry producer is dismissed: A case that has threatened the state’s Right to Farm law, cost a former attorney general her job, and a law-abiding cranberry producer a lot of time and expense has finally been halted. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said it has refused to review a nuisance lawsuit filed against the Sawyer County farmer. The announcement comes just three months after the District 3 Court of Appeals upheld a judge’s dismissal of the case against William Zawistowski–who’s neighbors claim released phosphorus from the application of fertilizer into Musky Bay, which flows into the Lac Courte Oreilles.
http://wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=599&yr=2008

Wisconsin Legislature passes Great Lakes compact: Wisconsin lawmakers finally ratified an interstate treaty Wednesday that is designed to block arid states from getting access to Great Lakes water. The Great Lakes Compact now goes to Gov. Jim Doyle, who is expected to sign it, making Wisconsin the fifth Great Lakes state to approve the treaty. Legislators called the compact historic, saying it would preserve the Great Lakes and protect Wisconsin businesses and cities that depend on Great Lakes water for years to come. “We see the envy of this resource coming from other parts of the country,” said Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn. “This needs to be done. This is a day history is made.”
http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/MNH0101/80515016/1980

Ad agency to boost city’s image: Firm will work for Milwaukee 7… The Spirit of Milwaukee is a one-man civic promotion agency that has coordinated all the efforts to craft a modern image for the metro region on behalf of the Milwaukee 7 economic development group. That will change today when the M-7 brings in reinforcements. The Milwaukee office of the Cramer-Krasselt advertising agency has agreed to work as the “public relations agency of record” for the M-7. “Internationally, Milwaukee does not have an existing brand,” said John Mose, director of CKPR/Milwaukee. Cramer-Krasselt has no intention of creating advertisements or writing slogans. Instead, it will work to pique the interest of news outlets elsewhere to report on events in the Milwaukee region.
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751106

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WISBUSINESS FEATURED COLUMNISTS

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
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TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– UW climatologist’s research leads to polar bears being listed as threatened species
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286384

– Solar Olympics a sunny competition
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/GPG03/805150623/1247

– Tuning in the digital TV transition
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=750851

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Ethanol alternatives stuck in production slow lane
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/APC03/805150572/1028

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Experts divided on how to retool how the world gets food
http://www.madison.com/wsj/topstories/286436

– Regular gas close to $4 in Milwaukee
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286477

– Brunswick to eliminate boat brands, close plant
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily40.html?surround=lfn

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Marshfield Doors goes green
http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/WDH03/805150412/1618/WDHbusiness

– Orion meets analysts’ earnings expectations
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751005

– Standing up for its product
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751002

– Twin Disc names John Batten president
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily35.html?surround=lfn

LABOR (back to top)
– Baldwin calls for family/medical leave for part-time workers
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286364

– School union rejects offer
http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/WDH0101/805150523/1581/WDHnews

– Bader grant will help fund summer youth jobs
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily37.html?surround=lfn

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– 15 entrepreneurs awarded grants
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/GPG03/805150620/1247

– Sassy Cow Creamery to hold open house
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/286361

– Trudeau, Bull’s Eye lauded as small business, entrepreneur of the year
http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/MNH0101/805150353/1980

INVESTING (back to top)
– Charter escapes possible stock delisting
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/286359

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Controversial tax exemption for low-income housing providers survives in budget bill
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286409

– Input sought on downtown, river corridor planning
http://www.htrnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/MAN0101/805150437/1984

– Bielinski to seek approval of 74-home plat
http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2008/May_08/05142008_07.asp

– Waukesha County’s home prices down
http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2008/May_08/05142008_08.asp

– Construction trimmed on 2 hotel projects
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751000

– Developers vie for Associated bank job
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751001

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Most Wisconsin House members vote against farm bill
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WI_FARM_BILL_WISCONSIN_WIOL-?SITE=WIMAD&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

– State group claims dairy used by Dean fails organic standards
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/286375

– Feed prices are going hog wild; higher meat prices to come
http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/05/15/news/z04feed_prices.txt

– Corn planting is slow going as weather and expenses make planting risky
http://www.gazettextra.com/news/2008/may/14/corn-planting-slow-going-weather-and-expenses-make/

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Memorial Day travel expected to decline
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286472

RETAIL (back to top)
– Miller to import Grolsch, acquiring rights from Bud
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily32.html?surround=lfn

– Restaurants tighten belts
http://www.madison.com/tct/entertainment/77staging/285899

– American Girl to open store near Boston
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/286387

– Green lawn not just about grass: Madison homeowners pushing electric, manual lawn mowers
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/286408

REGULATION (back to top)
– Wisconsin’s budget passes Assembly, heads to Doyle
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286424

– Wisconsin pols OK Great Lakes pact; now it goes to gov
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286482

– Budget force feeds tax exemptions
http://www.dailyreporter.com/item.cfm?recid=20048600&snippet=t&forward=%2Fitem%2Ecfm%3Frecid%3D20048600%26snippet%3Df

TOURISM (back to top)
– State tourism secretary optimistic about summer
http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/05/15/news/z00tourism0515.txt

– Originality brands Wisconsin: Fun-loving people help make state different, attract tourists
http://www.htrnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/MAN0101/805150440/1984

– Rock County ranks 13th in tourism spending
http://www.gazettextra.com/weblogs/latest-news/2008/may/15/rock-county-ranks-13th-tourism-spending/

– Annual Milwaukee motorcycle rally in the works
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily33.html?surround=lfn

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Resident requests water plans
http://www.dailyreporter.com/item.cfm?recid=20048601&snippet=t&forward=%2Fitem%2Ecfm%3Frecid%3D20048601%26snippet%3Df

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Froedtert, Synergy officials: Affiliation good for patients
http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2008/May_08/05152008_02.asp

– Goal: Highest quality health care
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/APC03/805150567/1028

– UW Health takes down Web site in Med Flight memorial mix-up
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/286372

– Plea for Alzheimer’s funds from former Justice O’Connor
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751123

– SynergyHealth CEO Banaszynski leaving post after affiliation
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily34.html?surround=lfn

– Theda Clark foundation seeks $10M for ThedaCare project
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily27.html?surround=lfn

FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– Investment firm to join bank
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=751004

– Financial seminar for women Monday
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/APC03/805150557/1028

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Chancellor candidate Tim Mulcahy spent 20 years at UW-Madison
http://www.madison.com/wsj/topstories/286433

– Former Great Wolf Resorts CEO to receive $825,000 severance package
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/286412

– American Doll creator Rowland sells home design firm
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/286374

– J.J. Keller picks Xpedx as vendor of the year
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/APC03/805150553/1028

– Joy Global hires former Journal executive
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/05/12/daily38.html?surround=lfn

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mike Ivey: CEOs tout hard-working Wisconsin folks
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/286146

– Jeff Landin: Paper industry will be relevant into the future
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080515/GPG0703/805150617/1247/GPG03

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