(WisBusiness) TUES News Summary — 8 April 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— A subsidiary of Opto Circuits Ltd. of Bangalore, India, announced today it has completed its tender offer to acquire the outstanding shares of common stock of Waukesha-based Criticare Systems Inc.

The offer expired Friday. Stockholders of Criticare have now tendered a total of approximately 11.5 million Criticare shares for $5.50 per share, representing approximately 93 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock of Criticare.

As a result of the merger, Criticare will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opto Circuits, and Criticare’s stock will no longer be listed on the AMEX.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/4/7/#indian-company-acquires-criticare-systems

— Gov. Jim Doyle is expressing optimism that the federal government will approve the second phase of his BadgerCare Plus plan after discussions with U.S. Health Secretary Mike Leavitt.

The next phase includes providing coverage for childless adults who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The governor, in Washington, D.C., said the program will “cover the basic essentials” like prescription drug purchases and doctor visits.

In addition to limited co-payments for various services, the cost to enroll in the plan would be between $50 and $100. “Even if these people want to go out to the private insurance companies, there really is nothing out there for them,” Doyle said.

Doyle predicts implementation of the program would result in 98 percent of Wisconsin residents having health insurance.

— The Department of Transportation’s prime contractor on a Rock County bridge project has been ordered to pay $100,000 to settle an environmental enforcement action filed by the Department of Justice for violations of state water pollution laws.

Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc. failed to put in place proper erosion control measures in 2005 and 2006 during construction of a bridge project on Highway 140 over Turtle Creek. That led to polluting sediment being discharged into the creek, according to DOJ.

The enforcement action was filed at the request of the DNR.

See the release:



WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com have four events scheduled for April and May.

— April 14: University Research Park Director Mark Bugher

— April 22: Dale Van Atta, author of the new biography “With Honor; Melvin Laird in War, Peace, and Politics.” (See an excerpt from the book: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=122814)

— May 5: Branding expert Marsha Lindsay

— May 6: Wis. Elections expert Robert Booth Fowler

See details on all the events:





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Press Releases
AIG Travel Guard Expands Free Assistance to Include Passengers Stranded by ATA Airlines’ Shut Down
Ashland University Selects Mediasite by Sonic Foundry for Web-Based Learning
City of Whitewater Delegated to Enforce Commercial Building Codes
Clean Wisconsin and Public Voice Need for Strong Mercury Reductions Rule
Harley-Davidson Employees in Wisconsin Approve New Labor Agreements
Markel American Insurance Company Announces the Introduction of the Markel Helmsman Yacht Program on the MAGIC System
Midwest Air Group Reports March Performance
Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, But Gasoline Might
Organic Valley Celebrates 20 Years of Progress Through Partnership
Plexus Announces Modest North American Expansions
Plexus Completes Previously Announced Debt Offering
Save Now, Save More Later
Secretary Fischer announces EPA recognition of Commerce Onsite Wastewater Program
Senatori Becomes Partner with DeWitt Ross & Stevens
The Popular Las Vegas Offer is Back!
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the I-94 Corridor Study
Village of Williams Bay Delegated to Enforce Commercial Building Codes
Watching the Birds: Agri-Tourism Could Help Save Colorful Prairie Chicken
What Would You Look Like Bald? Like a Hero to Kids With Cancer, Says the St. Baldrick’s Foundation
Winners Named in Sub-Zero and Wolf’s Kitchen Design Contest
Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Costs Per Claim Continued to Grow, WCRI Study Reports
World Languages Day to Draw 700-Plus Students from Across Wisconsin

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


Manufacturing conference in Milwaukee will show off new technology: Breathalyzers could eventually be used to check for cancer. Nonwrinkling fabrics are being manufactured from waste corn. Those are just a couple of examples of products resulting from the rapid changes in technology that are transforming the world, said Daniel Burrus of Pewaukee. A technology forecaster, serial entrepreneur, author of six books and chief executive of Burrus Research Associates in Hartland, Burrus will be a keynote speaker at the Manufacturing Matters Conference in Milwaukee on April 23. In an interview Monday, Burrus said he will tell manufacturing executives how to use technology to further their companies’ success.

Meter firm buys Israeli technology: Badger Meter Inc. said Monday it has purchased the technology for its Galaxy system of fixed-base automatic meter readers from Miltel Communications Ltd. in Givat Shmuel, Israel, for $25.7 million. Brown Deer-based Badger will move manufacturing and assembly of the product from Israel to plants in Brown Deer and Nogales, Mexico, said Dan Zandron, vice president for business development. Zandron said that while the deal itself will not result in an immediate increase in employment at either place, it might in the longer term. Badger already uses the technology in a line of meters used for large applications, such as factories. The Galaxy system does not require that a meter-reading employee drive by a customer’s meter, but rather sends a signal to a centralized reception point.

Production cuts cost jobs at GM plant: Production cuts at the General Motors plant in Janesville are translating into job cuts as the automaker laid off between 160 and 200 workers Monday. As a result of slowing sales of the full-size sport utility vehicles built in Janesville, the automaker announced late last year that it would trim production in Janesville from 52 jobs per hour to 44. That “re-rate,” as it’s called internally, takes effect this week. The plant’s assembly line and operations have been retooled to accommodate the production cuts, and workers on both shifts will gradually work their production up to 44 SUVs an hour. Those workers laid off Monday had the lowest seniority in the plant, spokeswoman Mary Fanning said.

Plexus to expand at two facilities: Plexus Corp. will expand two domestic facilities in response to customer demand. The electronics manufacturer, which employs about 1,800 in the Fox Cities, announced plans to relocate to a larger 46,000-square-foot facility in San Jose, Calif., and expand into an adjacent building in the Chicago area, bringing the site’s total footprint to 189,000 square feet. “We believe these strategic facility investments are vitally important to delivering a lowest cost value proposition to our customers,” said Mike Buseman, vice president-Global Manufacturing Operations, in a statement.

Schlitz puts a new spin on an old recipe: Brand owner Pabst markets bottled brew to those who drank it in its heyday… The beer that made Milwaukee famous hopes to stage a comeback by returning to a brewing formula discarded over 30 years ago. Louis Glunz Beer was the first distributor of Schlitz in Chicago, where a few taverns and liquor stores on Monday began carrying a classic version of the modern-day brand. Glunz, a fourth-generation family business, began distributing Schlitz in 1893. Schlitz had been available only in cans for several years until the brand’s owner, Pabst Brewing Co., began selling it in bottles last year in Minneapolis and Tampa, Fla. That bottled version of Schlitz, which uses a traditional recipe last used in the early ’70s, was snapped up by older baby boomers who remember the beer from its glory days, before Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. cheapened the formula.

Wisconsin farmers navigate Washington: They expect to press Congress on higher costs of operating… Pulaski dairy farmer Adam Kuczer wants Congress to know that strong milk and grain prices aren’t making farmers rich. “I want to get my point of view across and tell them about our struggles,” Kuczer said, anticipating a trip to Capitol Hill today. Fuel and other costs, he said, are escalating. Kuczer is one of 29 young dairy, livestock and crop farmers visiting Washington this week. On Monday, they got briefings at the American Farm Bureau Federation and Australian Embassy. Farm Bureau Federation officials also hope some in the group talk to lawmakers about legislation such as the Clean Water Restoration Act.


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)
– Yahoo wants better offer from Microsoft

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Wisconsin Corn Growers Spreading the News About Ethanol

ECONOMY (back to top)
– State sees fuel spike: Eau Claire hits record $3.46 a gallon

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Howard company’s sales growth up 40% in 2 years

– Modine decides to sell Thermacore

LABOR (back to top)
– Janesville GM plant returns to 2-shift schedule

– Companies on track to health

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Grocer files suit against ice supplier

INVESTING (back to top)
– Credit market not opening up quite yet, analysts say

– Kimberly school officials hope investment rebounds

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Madison mayor offers housing plan to make school districts economically diverse

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Ag experts predict state farmers will follow national trends and plant more soybeans, less corn

– Llama farm raises champions, provides vet services

– WFU Pleased with Turnout at Carbon Credit Meetings

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Airline stats in tailspin

– Fuel prices hammer truckers

– Midwest Air Group traffic rises

– Airlines offer to aid stranded Skybus passengers

RETAIL (back to top)
– Wisconsin craft brewers slip in sales rankings

– Ewald combines local Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge dealerships

– Grand Chute Exel Inn becomes Days Inn

– Losses continue at Dairyland Greyhound Park

– Falls board denies rezoning

REGULATION (back to top)
– Doyle Signs Ag Education & Workforce Development Council Bill

– State struggles to solve carbon dioxide equation

– European regulators clear Miller, Coors merger

– Contractor Edward Kraemer to pay $100,000 penalty

TOURISM (back to top)
– Local art museum’s most-storied painting getting prepped for return trip to Germany

– Travel agencies report consistent profits

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Refueling work starts on Point Beach reactor

– Xcel requests electric surcharge

– State tests water for wet wind farms

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Meriter gets low marks from patients

– Green Bay’s veterans clinic may get hefty expansion

– State hospitals rank No. 2 in U.S.

– Opto Circuits buys 93 percent of Criticare

– Overture trust fund falls below $100M

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Koss Corp. still innovating its stereo headphones after 50 years

– Fitness council targets adults under Trek CEO’s leadership

– Novelist, 4 from UW win Guggenheims

– Brown Co. corporation counsel plans to retire

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Gail MarksJarvis: Flashback to the ’70s may be in future

Media Partners
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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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