(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 18 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Leaders of Wisconsin Way say the state is on the wrong track for economic growth and prosperity. In fact, one leader of the group says Wisconsin is digging itself into a fiscal hole that may be hard to correct without some big changes.

To redirect its course, Wisconsin needs to significantly beef up investment in fledgling businesses and regional development groups, revamp the state’s tax code and streamline government, according to the organization’s recently released “Draft Blueprint for Change.”

Among other proposals, the group has proposed two new investment funds that could pump several hundred million dollars into the economy in coming years.

“We have not put ourselves in a place to succeed in the years to come, so we need to take some action… if we want to be a successful and attractive state in 10, 20 or even 50 years down the road,” said Mark O’Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association, one of the participating interest groups.

See more in a new WisBusiness interview with O’Connell: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=143916

— Two companies have filed notice with the state about layoffs affecting more than 190 workers.

*Greatwide Truckload Management filed notice of plans to close its Pleasant Prairie facility beginning Feb. 16. The closure will affect 64 workers.

See the Greatwide filing: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/081217greatwide.pdf

*KCS International Inc. filed notice with DWD of an immediate permanent layoff of 60 workers and an extension of a current layoff for 68 other employees at the company’s Oconto facility.

See the KCS filing: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/large/081217KCS.pdf

— Gov. Jim Doyle has approved a $2.25 million project to make improvements at the J.F. Brennan Co., a full service marine contractor in La Crosse. The funds are provided through the state’s Harbor Assistance Program, which provides 80 percent of the needed funds. The company will provide the required 20 percent match.

See details: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=143857

— The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is now accepting entries online for the 2008 competition.

See details: http://www.govsbizplancontest.com

— Milwaukee businessman and long-time civic leader Frank Cumberbatch has been named the 2008 Wisconsin Collaborative Leader of the Year by the Collaborative Leadership Network, a state group focused on improving collaborative leadership skills. Cumberbatch, a 2004 Milwaukee mayoral primary candidate, is president of the Trinidad Group, serves on a number of Milwaukee-area boards, was a senior assistant to Mayor Tom Barrett and has served as a lobbyist with Broydrick and Associates.

— A Wisconsin firm’s innovative research and design is providing a solution to the type of chronic, debilitating back pain that sidelines many dentists. About 70 percent of dental practitioners in the United States suffer from back injuries. As a result, almost a third of dentists are forced to retire early, according to an industry survey.

Founded in 2004, Career Extenders Inc. has developed “AnterioRest,” which is similar to a recliner, allowing the dentist to maintain a position effortlessly. It is an adjustable, cushioned arm that allows dentists to lean over patients without having to suffer from muscle strain that otherwise would result. It attaches to any dental operatory chair and is very adjustable, allowing for dentists to use it from nearly any angle. The AnterioRest can also be adjusted to be used from a standing position.

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=143919



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Press Releases
· American Rivers: Green infrastructure projects in Wisconsin would create jobs, stimulate economy
· Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Wisconsin perspectives on the economic crisis
· Competitive Wisconsin: Marks elected next president of Competitive Wisconsin
· Dept. of Transportation: Frozen road law goes into effect Dec. 22
· Garvey McNeil & McGillivray: Judge upholds water quality restrictions on Rock County factory farm
· Gary Hubbell Consulting: To provide Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Foundations with consulting services to plan a capital campaign
· Gov. Doyle: Announces $2.26 million harbor grant for J. F. Brennan, La Crosse
· Gov. Doyle: Awards $107,500 transportation grant to City of Prescott
· Rep. Molepske: Statement on ballast water permit proposal
· Tushaus Computer Services: Acquires FastRoot
· UW-Madison: Cognitive computing — building a machine that can learn from experience
· UW-Stevens Point: Wisconsin’s number one sustainability campus moving to lessen electronic waste
· Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: President Bill Bruins’ statement on Vilsack as U.S. ag secretary
· Wisconsin Insurance Alliance: Study finds low auto insurance costs in Wisconsin place smaller financial burden on residents than most states
· Wisconsin Technology Council: Governor’s Business Plan Contest – Call for entries

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


Wausau Paper closing Appleton converting operation by end of 2009, 90 jobs lost: Wausau Paper announced today it will close its Appleton converting facility by the end of 2009, putting 90 people out of work. Workers at the Appleton site, 1117 W. Washington St, were told today, said Perry Grueber, spokesman for the Mosinee-based company. The closure will be done in phases, with the first group of workers being released by the summer. The Appleton site will be shuttered by Dec. 31, 2009.

Rising unemployment forceast: The economic downturn will continue in 2009 in the Upper Plains, with unemployment rates rising and recovery in the residential real estate market expected to take more than a year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said Wednesday. “All signs point to declining regional economic activity in 2009,” said Toby Madden, regional economist at the Minneapolis Fed, which covers Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, northwestern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Kenosha among plants idled : Chrysler is closing all 30 of its manufacturing plants for a month starting Friday as it deals with the most severe downturn in U.S. auto sales in more than two decades. The automaker is extending the traditional two-week holiday shutdown period so it can adjust production and conserve cash. The Kenosha plant is among the 30 being idled.

MPI International in Deerfield seeks buyer to stay open : Employees at MPI International, Deerfield’s largest employer, are hoping a buyer will come to the company’s rescue and keep its two plants open. The parent company, Precision Parts International of Rochester Hills, Mich., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday. Chief executive Joe Lefave cited “depressed conditions” in the auto industry and “continued tightening of credit markets.”

Oconto boat builder KCS to lay off 60; extend previous layoff: The Department of Workforce Development said Wednesday that Oconto boat builder KCS International Inc. blamed “the current unanticipated and dramatic major economic downturn” for its job cuts. The state agency also said Greatwide Truckload Management plans to close its Pleasant Prairie facility, affecting 64 workers, as of Feb. 16. The company said some workers might be offered a transfer to a location outside Wisconsin.

Journal Communications cuts 39 employees: Two of the newspaper groups within Journal Communications Inc. cut a combined 39 employees this month due in part to what newspaper group president Betsy Brenner called “restructurings.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “separated” 17 employees, Brenner said Wednesday. The newspaper closed an advertising group “which was no longer productive,” reduced headcount at its Milwaukee solo mail group, reduced staff in classified advertising due to lower volumes and cut staff in the production area, she said.


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

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Home builders seek help in down economy

– Home builders seek incentives to boost economy

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Joy Global posts strong 4th quarter

LABOR (back to top)
– New state jobless claims are up 15%

– Survey: Employee retention is top concern

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Companies still party, but with less

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Mortgage requests climb 2.9 percent

– Local leaders break ground on Allied Drive redevelopment project

– State’s housing industry seeks help for homebuyers

– M&I forecloses on unfinished Cudahy condo project

– Franklin industrial building sells for $6.8 million

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– State Officials Seem Pleased with Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– AAA: Christmas season travel to drop

RETAIL (back to top)
– Get moving if you need a snowblower

– Pabst Farms mall struggling to attract tenants

REGULATION (back to top)
– No beer here: City unanimously denies license to Quiznos in University Square

TOURISM (back to top)
– Area hotels will likely face rough 2009

– Chiefs take step toward moving training camp to St. Joseph

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Mpower Madison offers to help businesses improve energy efficiency

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Report: Wisconsin hospitals’ financial health worsening

– IRS eases rules on home liens

– State hits record for loan applications

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Teske taking team approach to leading Briggs

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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