(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 20 March 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Community Living Alliance has notified state and local officials that it will lay off 45 employees on April 30. The Alliance, which cares for people with disabilities, said none of the affected workers are represented by a union.

In another layoff filing with the state Workforce Development Department, Ultra Tool and Manufacturing of Menomonee Falls has announced it will furlough 40 workers for an indefinite period because a customer is facing a potential labor strike. Ultra did not identify the customer.

— The Marcus Corp. is reporting fiscal third quarter net earnings of $1.8 million, or 6 cents per share, which was down from $4.1 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Last year’s net earnings included pre-tax gains on the disposition of property, equipment and other assets of $5.5 million, related primarily to development gains on the sale of units at the company’s condominium hotel project in Las Vegas. Prior-year results also benefited from historic tax credits related to the renovation of the Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City.

The company’s total revenues for the third quarter were $86.0 million, up 20.5 percent from $71.4 million a year earlier.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/3/19/#marcus-corp-reports-strong-revenues

— Eight Wisconsin counties will receive federal disaster aid for a major early February snowstorm.

Under the declaration, FEMA will reimburse state and local governments for 75 percent of eligible costs stemming from emergency response for the February 5-6 storm. The declaration includes Dane, Dodge, Green, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Rock, Walworth, and Washington counties.

Gov. Jim Doyle had originally asked for 13 counties to be included in the disaster funding declaration, and asked FEMA to reconsider funds for Kenosha, Lafayette, Ozaukee, Racine, and Waukesha counties.

See the press release: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=121374

— The real estate agent charged with soliciting a kickback as part of the proposed sale of a downtown Madison state office building plans to call Martin Greenberg, chair of the Wisconsin State Fair Board, as an expert witness during a hearing today.

Greenberg is the managing member of Greenberg & Hoeschen LLC, which specializes in real estate and sports law. He is also an adjunct professor at Marquette University, where he has taught real estate and sports law for more than 30 years.

Larry Lupton faces federal charges of soliciting a kickback in connection to the sale of the DOA building and lying to an FBI agent. He has pleaded not guilty.

His attorney, Joseph Owens, said today the “only plea deal we’ll accept is dismissal.”

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Press Releases
Actuant Reports Record Second Quarter Results, Raises Full Year Guidance
Cardinal Health, GE Healthcare Broaden Relationship to Offer Greater Access to Myoview(TM) Imaging Agent
City, County Partner to Enhance Security for Madison Water Utility
De Pere consulting firm issues DOT compliance challenge
Didion Ethanol Announces New Hires
Fox River PCB Clean-up Still Long Way From Being Funded
Governor Doyle Announces Winter Storm Disaster Aid Approved for Eight Counties
It’s a Matter of Fact: Good Nutrition and Physical Activity for Better Health
Journal Communications Reports February Revenue for Its Publishing and Broadcast Groups
MGIC Announces Plans to Sell Common Shares in a Public Offering
MGIC Announces Plans to Sell Convertible Debentures in a Private Placement
Michael Bleadorn Joins Right Management As Vice President, Organizational Consulting
New Nanoparticle Catalyst Brings Fuel-Cell Cars Closer to Showroom
Oakwood Center expansion continues
Onvia to Help Streamline Purchasing Process for Local Governments in Wisconsin
Public Input Session Scheduled for Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming
Seminar to Provide Free Financial Counseling to UW-Madison Students
The Marcus Corporation Reports Increased Third Quarter Revenues and Operating Income
Tool Tote Survives All-Terrain Torture Test to Prove It’s Got Durability in the Bag
UW Geology Museum Receives More Than $100,000 in Minerals
Verizon Wireless Expands Coverage in Southern Wisconsin
Wisconsin Energy’s Leverett to Present March 25 at 2008 Edward Jones Mid-Cap Utility Conference

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


TOP STORIES
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Actuant boosts outlook as quarterly sales rise: Less than four years ago, leaders at Actuant Corp. were scouting for acquisitions, trying to pick up a company that made a good torque wrench. That pursuit for one more tool to add to its industrial-tools business opened the door to creating what is now the company’s second-largest business, serving the booming energy sector. Actuant Corp. posted earnings growth of 17% in its fiscal second quarter, topping analysts projections despite widespread investor concerns about slowing economic activity in the United States. The Butler-based firm said it’s on track for a record year and boosted its outlook, saying sales for the full year ending in August would grow by 14% to 16%, and earnings per share would rise by 16% to 20%.
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730231

Power plant faces day of reckoning: 50-year-old Oak Creek coal facility in need of updating… State regulators will soon decide whether Wisconsin’s largest utility should fix up or shut down its 50-year-old coal-fired power plant in Oak Creek, a decision that could cost ratepayers $750 million or more. We Energies says a $750 million retrofit, including pollution controls that would keep the plant running until 2030, is far more affordable than closing the plant and spending billions on a new, less-polluting plant to replace it. A retrofit also would buy time as regulators decide how hard to clamp down on power plants in response to concern about their contribution to global warming.
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730295

State joins health care value push: The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds is one of a group of employee benefit trust funds collaborating to push the adoption of innovations aimed at improving health care quality and lowering costs. “We’re going to be exploring best practices,” said Tom Korpady, division of insurance services administrator for ETF, which administers retirement and other benefit programs for more than 540,000 Wisconsin Retirement System participants and 1,400 employers. Korpady added that many things are on the table, “but it’s premature to say exactly what we’re doing,” as the group is just beginning its work.
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/277798

Forbes: Milwaukee an ‘up-and coming’ tech center: Citing the advanced technology and workplaces of Rockwell Automation Inc. and Johnson Controls Inc., a survey from a public policy professor at George Mason University ranked the city of Milwaukee fifth on a list of the ‘top 10 up-and-coming tech cities’ as reported in Forbes magazine. In its report, Forbes said that Philip Auerswald surveyed innovation trends and technologies, including advanced materials, polymers and plastics and cell microbiology, to determine a list of future technology centers. Milwaukee ranked among both big and small cities on the list.
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily37.html?surround=lfn

Church Mutual increases net worth: Two consecutive hurricane-free years have allowed Church Mutual Insurance Co. to increase its surplus, or net worth, by $100 million in 100 weeks, making it better able to respond to its customers when the next disaster strikes. That was one of the key messages to employees during the Merrill-based company’s annual meeting Wednesday. In 2007 alone, Church Mutual’s surplus grew by 18.5 percent from $328.6 million to $389.4 million, said Gerald Whitburn, chairman and chief executive officer. The two year gains come on the heels of 2004 and 2005, when seven of the 10 most costly hurricanes in history made landfall, Whitburn said.
http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/WDH03/803200424/1618/WDHbusiness

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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)
– 2 UW projects OK’d by state
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/277878

BIOTECH (back to top)
– UWGB study looks at vegetable waste
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/GPG03/803200644/1247/GPGbusiness

– Milton officials pledge openness after lawsuit over ethanol plant
http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/03/20/wi/6w.txt

– Sparta Ethanol Factory Will Not Be Located Near Food Plant
http://wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=358&yr=2008

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Planner links Brown Co. growth to quality of life
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/GPG0101/803200657/1207/GPGnews

– Marcus Corp. increases 3Q revenue and operating income
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily29.html?surround=lfn

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– GM announces shift changes
http://gazettextra.com/news/2008/mar/19/gm-announces-shift-changes/

– Owners sell Wisconsin Pride Stone
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily38.html?surround=lfn

– State promotes energy efficiency
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/APC03/803200532/1888/APCbusiness

LABOR (back to top)
– Ashley Health and Wellness Center to open this summer
http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/03/20/news/z06ashley.txt

– Milwaukee’s concrete supplier seeks firm contract
http://www.dailyreporter.com/item.cfm?recid=20048150&snippet=t&forward=%2Fitem%2Ecfm%3Frecid%3D20048150%26snippet%3Df

– Office madness
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730322

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Savvy businesses can cut shipping and mailing costs
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/277854

– De Pere residents upset over business permit
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/GPG0101/803200638/1207/GPGnews

– Bella’s Fat Cat closing Brady St. location
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily41.html?surround=lfn

INVESTING (back to top)
– Credit concerns sink stocks
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/277851

– Oil, gold futures stumble
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730249

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Century Foods will buy site, won’t have ethanol plant nearby
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WI_ETHANOL_FIGHT_WIOL-?SITE=WIMAD&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

– Wingra Shores condos delayed
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/277830

– Business pulls out of group home project
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730321

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Wisconsin DATCP Secretary Sends Ag Day Message
http://wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=357&yr=2008

– PDPW Hosts Herdsperson Training in Madison
http://wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=359&yr=2008

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Schneider National Inc. takes partner role in keeping roads safe
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/GPG03/803200633/1247/GPGbusiness

– Options exist for rail rehabilitation
http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-news_local.asp?id=BG3RJRSLBEG

RETAIL (back to top)
– Shoppes plan in Waukesha seeks $3.5M in TIF help
http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2008/March_08/03192008_03.asp

– Miller Brewing reaches new sponsorship deal with Milwaukee Bucks
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily28.html?surround=lfn

– Journal reports lower February revenue
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily39.html?surround=lfn

REGULATION (back to top)
– Tax rebates begin arriving by May
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/APC0101/803200533/1003/APCnews

– DNR ready to alter VHS rules
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/APC0101/803200570/1003/APCnews

– Dunn County looks at its sustainability
http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-news_local.asp?id=BG3TGU9KBEG

TOURISM (back to top)
– Sen. Herb Kohl says Bucks will stay despite revenue woes
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BKN_BUCKS_RELOCATION_WIOL-?SITE=WIMAD&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

– $163 million resort project approved for Wisconsin Dells
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/277852

– PCBs put plans for Green Bay park in peril
http://www.dailyreporter.com/item.cfm?recid=20048147&snippet=t&forward=%2Fitem%2Ecfm%3Frecid%3D20048147%26snippet%3Df

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Increased Water Utility security installed
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/277881

– Melrose water rates could go up 315 percent
http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/03/20/news/z02melrosewater0320.txt

– Sewer mapping decision gives park workers lay of the land
http://www.dailyreporter.com/item.cfm?recid=20048148&snippet=t&forward=%2Fitem%2Ecfm%3Frecid%3D20048148%26snippet%3Df

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Bellin Health plans to open Brillion site
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/APC03/803200529/1888/APCbusiness

– Couple sells local clinic to hospital in Oconto Falls
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/GPG03/803200643/1247/GPGbusiness

FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– First Business raises dividend
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily35.html?surround=lfn

– Savers feel pain of Fed rate cuts
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730250

– Centene to buy Celtic Group for $80M
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/03/17/daily34.html?surround=lfn

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– RedPrairie’s new CEO discusses how Milwaukee fits into the company’s future
http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2008/March_08/03192008_07.asp

– Coating Excellence International may grow with new partners
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/APC03/803200535/1888/APCbusiness

– Wisconsin economy focus of series
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/APC03/803200530/1888/APCbusiness

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Susan L. Porath: Take control of your own credit card debts
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080320/GPG03/803200640/1247/GPGbusiness

– Laurel Walker: Fans rally behind these golden oldies
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=730324

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