(WisBusiness) TUES News Summary — 12 Aug. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— A new Barack Obama ad running on Milwaukee radio hits John McCain for his opposition to “buy American” requirements for federal purchases, including a rule requiring the Secret Service to buy American-made motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson in headquartered in Milwaukee, and is the largest U.S. motorcycle manufacturer.

The ad begins with an announcer referring to McCain’s visit to the Sturgis, S.D., biker rally last week and plays audio of McCain addressing the crowd: “Not long ago a couple hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I’ll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day.”

The ad then criticizes McCain for opposing the motorcycle requirement.

“But when it comes to his record, American-made motorcycles like Harleys don’t matter to John McCain,” the announcer says.

The ad continues, faulting McCain for being opposed to “buy American” provisions and for supporting “billions in tax breaks for companies who ship American jobs overseas.”

Obama’s campaign said the ad was its first Wisconsin-specific spot and described the buy as “substantial.”

In excerpts of McCain floor speeches provided by the Obama campaign, McCain speaks out against “buy American” polices on the grounds that they cannot guarantee the government gets the best prices for goods and that free trade fosters competition and improves international relations.

In response to the ad, McCain spokeswoman Leah Yoon accused Obama on wavering in his approach to free trade, writing in an e-mail that he now claims to support free trade and has backed off his pledged to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement now that the Dem primary is over.

“Senator John McCain continues to support trade proposals that will help put our country first. Obama’s wavering approach to trade will isolate American companies and workers and make the U.S. economy vulnerable in this competitive global market.”

*Listen to the ad:
*See the Obama campaign release:

— Splendid summer weather and high gasoline prices that may have curtailed out-of-state traveling helped the Wisconsin State Fair to post its best year of attendance since 2004.

“The Grand Champion of Summer” in West Allis attracted 872,458 people this year, easily surpassing the 801,420 who attended in 2007. In contrast to the mild temperatures this year, attendance at the 2007 fair was adversely affected by extreme heat.

“Our message of family affordability, diverse programming and a fair experience to suit every age resonated with our fairgoers,” said Randy Prasse, executive director of Wisconsin State Fair.

“We are certainly thrilled with the safe, fun experience we were able to provide our guests and are thankful that Mother Nature provided great weather for all to enjoy.”

The Wisconsin Bakers Association reported the sale of 381,926 cream puffs this year, with single-day records being posted on eight of the 11 days of the fair.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/8/11/#weather-helps-wisconsin-state-fair-rebound

— Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has vetoed of a $20 vehicle registration fee for city residents, setting up a show down with the Common Council.

“This legislation is bad public policy,” Barrett wrote in his veto message. “It sets up Milwaukee to become a ‘tax island’ and unfairly places the sole burden of street repaving on residents when so many others benefit including commercial, non-profit and manufacturing properties and absentee landlords.”

Milwaukee aldermen approved the wheel tax two weeks ago by a veto-proof majority. The fee is intended to eliminate special assessments residents must pay for street repairs in front of their properties. Supporters argue that the tax would more evenly distribute the cost of those repairs and stop residents who can’t afford the assessments from blocking repair projects.

Barrett has a plan that would increase property taxes by $5.12 on an average-priced property by 2014 and include payment from commercial, manufacturing and tax exempt properties. Barrett’s plan would also reduce special assessments by 37 percent, or about $1,000 dollars on a typical concrete project.

Alex Runner, spokesman for Common Council President Willie Hines Jr., said Hines views the registration fee as a more equitable way to fund street repair than through special assessments, which can tack upward of $3,000 onto a resident’s property tax bill.

Runner said the city often gets requests from residents for road repairs, only to have them balk when they find out how much they’ll be billed. Runner also said the current system unfairly puts some of the cost of road repairs on the elderly and others who may not drive.

The Council will likely consider an override when it returns from its August recess on Sept. 2, unless a special meeting is called beforehand, Runner said.

Barrett asked that if the Council overrides his veto aldermen consider some form of a “roadway assessment” for property owners so all who benefit from improved streets help pay for them.

See Barrett’s veto message:

Remember your first college living experience?

Was it the stained, aging carpet in the hallways, the sweltering heat and lack of air conditioning or the fight for sinks in the shared bathrooms each morning that kept reminding you, “there’s no place like home….’’

These days, students also have come to dread the stress of moving every year in a relentless search for housing that accommodates their needs.

A major new apartment project on the UW-Madison campus reflects the changing expectations students and their parents have for living arrangements that can enhance academic life and provide a transition into the professional world.

As UW-Madison attracts a growing share of world-class intellectual talent, the bar is being raised on the amenities and housing options these savvy students are seeking.

See Jennifer Sereno column: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=205


WISBUSINESS LUNCHEON: Global Warming Task Force Co-Chairs
TODAY, 11:45 am, The Madison Club

WisBusiness.com, The Madison Club and Madison Magazine present “The Madison Business Luncheon” today, with featured guests Global Warming Task force Chairs Roy Thilly of the Wisconsin Public Power and Tia Nelson of the Board of Public Land Commissioners.

Learn more about the Global Warming Task Force: http://dnr.wi.gov/environmentprotect/gtfgw/

Sponsored by Xcel Energy.

This event is open to the public, and the price for lunch is $19. Call the Madison Club to register at (608) 255-4861. The luncheon starts at 11:45 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.




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Press Releases
Air Wisconsin Reports July Traffic
Alliant Energy Foundation provides $5,000 flood assistance grant to Friends of the 400 Trail
DCI Cheese Company Implements Robocom Supply Chain Software to Optimize Warehouse
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Honored By Wine Spectator Magazine with Award of Excellence
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Hosting Wine Tasting to Benefit Red Cross Flood Relief
Gentel Biosciences Obtains License from Agnitio
Georgia-Pacific Honors Schneider National with Carrier of the Year Award
Governor Doyle Announces $385,059 to Washington Apartments in Superior
Harley-Davidson Completes Acquisition of MV Agusta
International Code Council Conference to hold final action hearings on 2009 code
Sonic Foundry Named Finalist for Streaming Media Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards
Supply & Demand Chain Executive Announces Its 2008 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100
Union Employees Ratify New Labor Agreement at Appleton’s Pennsylvania Mill

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


Tyson in Jefferson reopens but cuts more than 200 workers: The flood-damaged Tyson Prepared Foods plant in Jefferson has resumed production of pepperoni and salami but with a permanent reduction in its work force. More than 200 of 480 jobs are being eliminated and the company has cut production. Mark Odom, vice president of operations, said Monday the company has analyzed the flood damage and won’t replace damaged equipment. Production, which resumed last week, was halted on June 11 upon the city’s request to reduce demands on the wastewater treatment system. A few days later, the plant’s first floor was flooded when the Rock River overflowed its banks. The company estimated its flooding losses at $7 million.

Company Appleton reports $42M loss: U.K. subsidiary blamed for most of quarterly drop… The company Appleton posted a net loss of $42.7 million in the second quarter, mostly due to impairment charges for its U.K. subsidiary, Bemrose Group Ltd. Last week, the maker of security and other specialty papers announced the sale of the Derby, England-based holdings for net proceeds announced Monday of $7.6 million. The company at 10 a.m. today will host a conference call to discuss its second- quarter results. The call will be broadcast on the company’s Web site. In anticipation of the sales proceeds, the company recorded impairment charges totaling $41.2 million related to goodwill and other long-lived assets in the three-month period ended June 29.

Union employees ratify new deal at Appleton’s Pennsylvania mill: Employees at Appleton Papers’ plant in Roaring Springs, Pa., have ratified a new four-year labor deal. The deal covers about 370 members of United Steelworkers Local 10-0422, who had been working without a contract since the previous agreement expired Nov. 17, 2007. Union-represented employees voted 222-73 on Friday in favor of the new contract. The agreement includes improvements in wages and benefits and addresses other issues that the company said will ensure its competitiveness in carbonless, thermal and security paper products markets. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Kenosha debates expanding city’s smoking bans, Becker says he favors statewide ban: While the city of Kenosha public safety committee mulled a possible expanded indoor smoking ban Monday night, Racine Mayor Gary Becker and others would like to see a statewide ban. “Being a smoker, I’m for a statewide ban,” Becker said. “It would cut down on everyone’s smoke. That is a good thing.” It might also help push him to quit smoking or at least cut back, he said. Becker is for a statewide ban, but he is not a fan of citywide bans because of the potential for patrons to take business to neighboring municipalities that don’t ban smoking. “I hesitate to do it in the city because it will have a negative impact on some smaller bars,” Becker said.

Johnson Controls lands $89 million energy savings contract: Johnson Controls Inc. has entered into an energy savings performance contract worth $89 million to apply advanced energy conservation solutions, including a biomass gasification system, to the campus of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The project is the first signed initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Transformational Energy Action Management Initiative, which is an action plan to dramatically transform the DOE’s energy, environmental and transportation management. The initiative aims to meet or exceed the aggressive energy efficiency goals set forth by the federal government laid out by President Bush, fundamentally transforming the way the DOE manages energy use in its facilities.

Neenah Foundry buys Pennsylvania firm: Neenah Enterprises Inc. and Neenah Foundry announced Monday that it has purchased Morgan’s Welding Inc. of Pennsylvania for $3.85 million. Morgan’s Welding is a steel fabricator. Representatives for Neenah Foundry said it purchased the company to better serve its municipal customers in the northeastern United States. In a separate statement, Neenah Enterprises said it would release its quarterly earnings on Wednesday.


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)
– Cities consider emergency phone notification systems

– Intel’s new chip to be called Core i7

BIOTECH (back to top)
– WBIA throws support to Cassville power plant

– Dairyland to remain after sale is completed

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Gas prices continue to drop

– Neenah Paper records $6M income in period

– June trade deficit shrinks to $56.8 billion

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Lavelle buys Connecticut rubber company

LABOR (back to top)
– Landing a promotion means going above and beyond

– Employers boost 401(k)s to meet workers’ demand

– Retiring baby boom teachers raise concern

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Framing with a passion

INVESTING (back to top)
– Dow rebounds as oil price falls

– Treasury Secretary: Wall Street to blame for economic woes

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Area housing market down 11%

– High gas prices raise home buying regrets among Madison’s suburbanites

– Troubled real estate market hits Anchor’s earnings

– Parade of Homes houses selling quickly

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– WI Farm Production Costs Up Nine Percent From Previous Year

– More rain needed for Wisconsin’s corn crops

– Most Crops Good to Excellent in Local Fields

– Agribusiness Council Raises $21,000 in Annual Showcase Auction

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Air Wisconsin July traffic up slightly

– County wants study of bridge on Yahara

– Tall ships sailing back into city in 2010

– SS Badger trips canceled for repairs

RETAIL (back to top)
– Limited answers for $55M RiverHeath project

– Back-to-school shoppers tighten belts

– Car sales up, truck sales still down

– Consumers shop closer to home to save gas

– Furnitureland opens Sealy area

– Montgomery Ward catalog to restart in January

REGULATION (back to top)
– Farmers Union to Tackle Farm Bill Questions Head-On

– ‘Wheel tax’ sponsor remains confident of veto override

TOURISM (back to top)
– Wisconsin State Fair sees attendance increase

– Badger State Trail set for final segment to Madison

– Museum price tag could be $7 million

– Waukesha BluesFest attendance spikes, organizer says

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Estimate for Oregon water tower repairs is $250,000

– Pewaukee warns residents about lead in water

– Nuclear option could get breathing room

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Health official: No cause yet for jail sickness

– Merge Healthcare reports 2Q sales decline

– Field narrows for Covenant director

– Net income falls at Anchor BanCorp

– $5.5 million grant targets race gap in Madison high schools

– FEMA renews call for flood victims to apply for aid

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Schneider wins carrier award

– Forward Janesville announces top economic ideas for city

– Illinois Tool to divest business units

– ThedaCare names Long new chief medical officer

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Arlen Boardman: U.S. should trim national debt sooner rather than later

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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