(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 14 May 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— After 30 years in the IT business (the last six with IBM), Sharon Kaminecki decided to hang up her pocket protector 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.

See story later at http://www.wisbusiness.com

— Gov. Jim Doyle, who visited Great Britain and Ireland on business last month, is headed for India this fall.

Speaking at the Wisconsin International Trade Conference in Milwaukee today, Doyle said he’ll lead a trade mission to India sometime in November. Doyle said while exports grew a healthy 11 percent overall last year, shipments to India’s rapidly expanding economy grew by 29 percent.

Doyle’s office said this will be the fifth trade mission while in office, not counting his trip to Great Britain and Ireland. The governor had planned to lead a trade mission to the British Isles last year but pulled out during budget negotiations; last month’s trip included some of the same priorities.

He called the upcoming visit to India “an outstanding opportunity for Wisconsin companies to meet the customers and business leaders that will help them build their sales in these important markets.

“It’s a good thing if a Wisconsin company finds a strong partner in a rapidly growing country like India and creates jobs in Wisconsin through exports,” he added.

Doyle’s office said the governor will be probably be accompanied by Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer, whose department is planning the trip. Dates and details are still being worked out on how the trade mission will be financed.

See the release:

— The four finalists for the chancellor position at UW-Madison will each have interviews before a Board of Regents committee today in Madison.

Following the interviews and a series of public receptions for the candidates this week, the Special Regent Committee for the UW-Madison Chancellor Search will meet with the UW-Madison Chancellor Search and Screen Committee on May 21 to discuss the finalists.

A decision on a preferred candidate to replace retiring Chancellor John Wiley will be made between that meeting and the start of the Board of Regents meeting on June 5. The Regents are expected to approve new chancellors at Madison, Parkside and Whitewater at the June meeting. A committee has already recommended that UW-Whitewater Interim Chancellor Richard Telfer stay on as permanent chancellor of that campus.

Public receptions for the Madison candidates began Monday with the UW-Madison College of Letters and Science Dean Gary Sandefur and continued this afternoon with Cornell University Provost Biddy Martin.

University of Minnesota Vice President for Research R. Timothy Mulcahy will hold his public reception tomorrow afternoon, after his interview with the Regent committee. Former University of Michigan Ford School Dean Rebecca M. Blank is scheduled for Thursday.

*See more on the interviews:
*See more on the chancellor search:

— Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit organization working to preserve affordable homeownership for low-income homeowners, will conduct National Rebuilding Day on Saturday.

Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee, along with more than 200 Rebuilding Together affiliates across the country and the help of thousands of volunteers, will rehabilitate and improve homes of low-income Americans at no cost. Recipients of services include the elderly, disabled, military veterans and families in need.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/5/13/#national-rebuilding-day-will-be-saturday

— The Wisconsin School of Business Graaskamp Center for Real Estate will host the conference “Challenges and Opportunities in Today’s Housing Markets” on Friday, June 6, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. at the Fluno Center for Executive Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jim Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will serve as the event’s featured keynote speaker, marking the new CEO’s first major public address since taking office in April.

The conference, held annually, will focus public attention on national industry trends as well as Wisconsin’s status relative to the rest of the nation. It will also provide an outline of what to expect in the housing market over the next five years.

See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=126009

— A Wisconsin real estate group is blaming nasty winter weather for declining home sales that dropped by 24.1 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Worries over a slow economy share some of the responsibility, analysts say.

The median sales price in the state fell 3.8 percent to $154,000 for the quarter, according to figures from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA).

Michael Spranger, chairman of the WRA, said he was expecting weak numbers. “People don’t like to look at houses when the weather is bad, and the weather was definitely bad in January and February this year,” he noted.

See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=125950




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Press Releases
America’s Largest Corporate Dairy Processor Muscles Its Way into Organics
Appleton Reports First Quarter 2008 Results
BIM drives record traffic to local advertiser and station websites
Class Works to Protect Wisconsin Lakes in Service Learning Project
DFI Supports First-Ever National Financial Literacy Challenge
Fiserv Tops Ranking of Anti-Money Laundering System Sales for NetEconomy Product
Governor Doyle Announces Steps to Reduce Racial Disparities
Governor Doyle to Lead Trade Mission to India
Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. and Hovde Capital Advisors LLC Agree to Settle Proxy Contest
Kalahari Waterpark Resort Takes Family Fun Beyond Travelers’ Expectations With 110,000-Square-Foot Entertainment Complex
Learn Spanish for Work – ONLINE!
Leinenkugel’s Toasts American Craft Beer Week With Adventure, Innovation and Growth
Marketing veteran joins WMEP to help manufacturers find new ways to grow
Marshall & Ilsley Corporation to Present at Baird’s 2008 Growth Stock Conference
Neenah Enterprises, Inc. and Neenah Foundry Company Schedule Conference Call to Discuss Quarterly Results
Real Estate Conference to Examine Challenges, Opportunities in Today’s Housing Markets
Sanimax Honored with Governor’s Export Achievement Award
Sonic Foundry Hosts Second Annual Mediasite User Conference
State Associations Adopting BuilderFusion Software at a Rapid Pace
Task Force on Global Warming to Discuss Policy Options
The AVANI Spa Debuts at the Abbey Resort
Ugly Yard? Request an Emergency House Call!
Wisconsin Farm Bureau Supports Farm Bill Passage
Wisconsin Home Prices Fall Modestly as Sales Decline

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


Land gets a new lease on life: The Menomonee Valley, once the gritty backbone of Milwaukee’s heavy industries, is being rejuvenated with new initiatives and growth… The Menomonee Valley is still dotted by landmarks – rows of railroad tracks, brick smokestacks and old-line companies such as Falk Corp. – that shaped Milwaukee’s role as a home to heavy industry as far back as the 1870s. Except today, the railroad tracks share space with walking and biking paths. The smokestacks help decorate a park. And gear manufacturer Falk rubs elbows with the valley’s newest businesses, such as frozen pizza maker Palermo Villa Inc. This is the 21st-century valley, where Harley-Davidson Inc.’s museum, soccer fields and light industrial buildings are replacing the stockyards, tanneries and other bygone businesses.

Gov. Doyle leading trade mission to India: Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle Tuesday announced that he will lead a trade mission in November to India, where state exports have grown 29 percent over the last year. Doyle, who said overall state exports grew 11 percent in 2007, made the announcement at the annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference in Milwaukee. “This trade mission to India is an outstanding opportunity for Wisconsin companies to meet the customers and business leaders that will help them build their sales in these important markets,” Doyle said. “It’s a good thing if a Wisconsin company finds a strong partner in a rapidly growing country like India and creates jobs in Wisconsin through exports.”

NewPage optimistic about future: With the announcement of the company’s first quarter earnings Tuesday, NewPage officials are looking ahead to the end of its integration process and a bright year in 2008. “From an operations perspective, we had a solid quarter and we didn’t take any market-related downtime,” President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Willett said. “We are working with our new employees to improve the culture.” First quarter results — the first full quarter since the company purchased Wisconsin Rapids-based Stora Enso North America — showed $7 million in net income — up from a $20 million loss in the first quarter of 2007. Net sales for the quarter were $1.2 billion compared to $476 million a year ago. “Overall, earnings were very good … primarily driven by the acquisition,” Willett said.

Different tactics to prevent ‘brain drain’ in Wisconsin: Lindsay Midtbo, a UW-Madison senior, is looking for a job — but not in Wisconsin. “I was born here, I’ve been here forever,” Midtbo, a Milwaukee native, said. “I want something new and different.” Midtbo, an economics major who graduates this month, is hoping for a job in Chicago. The city offers more financial services jobs and a change of pace, she said. Midtbo isn’t alone in wanting to leave the state. Each year, about half of UW-Madison’s recent graduates leave Wisconsin for Illinois, Minnesota and other states. That exodus costs Wisconsin more than $1.5 billion annually in lost tax revenues, according to Dennis Winters, chief economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Home sales, prices continue to fall: Even though the weather is warming, the tepid local housing market is showing little sign of heating up. But prices have fallen, giving hope that more buyers will be coming out of the woodwork this spring. Sales in Dane County during the first three months of 2008 were down 27 percent from the same period a year ago, with the median sales price falling three percent as well. The Wisconsin Realtors Association on Tuesday reported 906 sales in Dane County during the first quarter of 2008 compared to 1,244 sales for the first quarter in 2007. The median sales price was $209,000, down from $214,900 in 2007.

Italian aerospace company to buy DRS Technologies: Military contractor has Milwaukee plant… DRS Technologies Inc., a New Jersey-based military contractor with a plant in Milwaukee, is being acquired by an Italian aerospace and defense company for $4 billion. The acquisition, expected to close this year, will give the Italian firm Finmeccanica a strong position in the U.S. defense market. Finmeccanica will pay $81 per share in cash for DRS Technologies’ stock, representing a 32% premium over the 30-day average stock price. The company will also cover $1.2 billion in net debt. “They approached us, and we decided it could be a very compelling proposition for our shareholders,” Mark S. Newman, chairman, president and chief executive of DRS, said in a conference call.

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)
– NWTC aims for increased digital capabilities

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Cambridge Major to build plant

– State offers grants to expand sale of ethanol fuel

– A team sponsor emerges from the Sunshine State

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Regular unleaded gas price soars to $3.81 average

– Gas prices reach $4 a gallon in area

– Wisconsin foreclosures keep coming

– Tufco’s 2Q results improve

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– NewPage Corp. reports sales boost

– Settlement swings Appleton to 1Q profit

LABOR (back to top)
– Phil Woodman accused of trying to bust grocery workers union

– Union claims victory in worker exploitation case

– Milton teachers want to resume negotiations

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Change brews at Fox Cities’ Aspen coffee

– Historic Utica Store set to close

– Gun store in Racine closes with unfinished business

INVESTING (back to top)
– Markets have seen ‘some improvement,’ Bernanke says

– Great Wolf compromises, settles with stockholder

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Wisconsin home sales drop in first quarter

– High-rise pitched for Washington Commons site

– Mandel Group completing First Place

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Cool, wet weather slows fieldwork

– Wisconsin Farm Bureau Supports Farm Bill Passage

– State Winter Wheat Production Forecast Higher

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Fuel drives vehicle efficiencies

– WisDOT lags behind peers in setting safe work priorities

RETAIL (back to top)
– Food prices – Day 1: Wisconsin consumers feel the pinch

– A&W drive-in returns to Fox Cities

– Grafton has $4.5 million in place to replace Manchester Mall

REGULATION (back to top)
– Fiscal bureau: Wisconsin budget deal just delays problems

TOURISM (back to top)
– Wisconsin: An affordable place to vacation

– Museum adds legendary boat

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Protest planned at Alliant meeting

– Cooperstown residents demand answers to water woes

– Home heating costs hit all-time high for season

– Nuclear power plants face high costs

– DOE: Wind power could produce 20 percent of U.S. needs by 2030

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Community Memorial Hospital gets state health grant

– Thomas launches NEW Behavioral Medicine at Park Place

– Mental hospital move called cheapest way

– State to raise maximum EdVest account balance

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Bay Lakes Builders earns customer award

– Great Wolf sale may be nearer

– Retired alderman D’Amato to lead boarding school effort

– Journal’s CFO Bonaiuto to retire

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Tannette Johnson-Elie: LinkedIn is like MySpace for professional networkers

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