(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 26 March 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Gov. Jim Doyle on Tuesday committed the state to buying 92,000 megawatt hours of electrical energy from renewable sources over the next decade – enough power to light 15,600 homes annually.

The renewable energy purchase – which Doyle said is the equivalent of eliminating the tailpipe pollutants of 23,110 cars a year – is part of his new “Clean Energy Wisconsin” effort.

Doyle unveiled the program at C5-6, a young Middleton company that is developing enzymes to make corn, soybean and cellulosic ethanol. The governor said the plan, some of which has already been discussed, will move the state forward by promoting renewable energy, creating jobs, increasing energy security and efficiency and improving the environment.

Doyle also announced today that the Commerce Department will soon begin taking applications from businesses and researchers for financial assistance through the new Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund that will fund $15 million in grants a year over the next decade. The application period for the first round of funding will run from April 1 to June 2.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=121857

— For the second year in a row, ABC Supply Co. of Beloit is being honored with a Gallup Great Workplace Award. The company is one of only 20 worldwide to receive the 2008 award.

ABC was founded by entrepreneur and roofer Ken Hendricks, who died in a fall at his home in rural Rock County last December. He left behind a collection of 50-plus companies worth more than $3 billion.

“It was always Ken’s dream that ABC Supply would become the best company in America to work for,” said David Luck, CEO and President of ABC Supply. “He was so proud to receive this award last year and would have been thrilled to be recognized again. We will accept this award in his honor and celebrate collectively this milestone on the road to achieving his goal.”

See the release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=121836

— Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Weston, said Tuesday there are two teams in the battle to repair the state budget — those who side with Wisconsin families and businesses, and those who side with Wal-Mart.

Corporations like Wal-Mart and Microsoft are exploiting the “Las Vegas loophole” to the detriment of the tax bills of state businesses and residents, Decker said.

“Everyone should pay their fair share so Wisconsin businesses and families don’t have to pay more than theirs,” Decker said. He said the Assembly Republican plan would “drastically” cut into state services.

Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Senate Democrats are an “anti-business,” “anti-job” and “anti-living wage” caucus, and the Dems’ plan increases the size of government.

“What we have here today is growth,” he said. “We’re growing state government at a time we should be reducing state government.”

See more in the Budget Blog:

— A new report from Families USA says nearly five Wisconsinites died each week in 2006 because they didn’t have health insurance.

The group says its study is the first of its kind with state-specific information. It’s based on a national study the Institute of Medicine did in 2002 that found a link between a lack of health care coverage and deaths from health-related causes.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said uninsured adults are more likely to be diagnosed with a disease already in an advanced stage, greatly reducing their chances of survival.

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton and an allergist, used a conference call on the report yesterday morning to push what he calls the No Discrimination in Health Care Act, which he says would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Kagen says the legislation would also require insurance companies to openly disclose prices.

“It’s time to put discrimination where it belongs, and that is in our past,” Kagen said.

*Read the release:
*See the full report:

— Jack B. Reihl, president of the state AFL-CIO from 1986-1994 and secretary-treasurer and legislative liaison for the organization from 1970-1986, died Sunday.

Reihl is the father of Mark Reihl, executive director of the State Council of Carpenters.

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Schmidt and Bartelt, Notbohm-Kreutzmann 121 S. Cross St., Oconomowoc. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 120 Nashotah Rd., Nashotah.

— MGIC Investment Corp. announced yesterday that it has agreed to sell 37.3 million shares of its common stock in a public offering at a price of $11.25 per share, for gross proceeds of approximately $420 million.

The gross proceeds represent a 20-percent increase in the size of the offering over what MGIC had previously announced. Milwaukee-based MGIC also granted to the underwriters of the public offering an option to purchase an additional 5.6 million shares of common stock at the same price. Banc of America Securities LLC is acting as book-runner of the public offering.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/3/25/#cash-strapped-mgic-hopes-to-raise-420-million-with-stock-offering




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Press Releases
ABC Supply Co. Inc. Repeats as Gallup Great Workplace Award Winner
Dress for the Customers You Want, Impress the Ones You Have
Governor Doyle Launches Clean Energy Wisconsin, a Plan for Energy Independence
Kimberly-Clark Presents Schneider National with Innovator of the Year Award
Lean Leadership Series Kicks Off April 22 in Appleton
MGIC Announces Pricing and Upsizing of Common Stock Offering
MGIC Announces Pricing of Convertible Debenture Placement
New Law Going Into Effect Tomorrow Helps Police Stem Metal Thefts
Taste of Home Magazine Launches Healthy Cooking
UW-Madison Hosts 100-Hour Wiscontrepreneur Challenge on April 17
WARF, UW-Madison Influenza Researcher, Lentigen Agree to Donate Technology

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


Doyle pushes renewables: To further decrease the state’s reliance on foreign oil, Gov. Jim Doyle is calling on the state to generate 25 percent of Wisconsin’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Doyle, who also wants 25 percent of the vehicle fuel used in the state to be produced from renewable sources by 2025, said in a news release this morning that “Clean Energy Wisconsin is a plan that saves us money, creates jobs, helps secure our world and improves our air and water.” He also announced that new grants will soon be available from the Department of Commerce for businesses and researchers involved in developing new technologies aimed at reducing the state’s dependence on oil. The department expects to award $15 million annually. Interested parties can apply for the first round of funding from April 1 to June 2.

State refinances pension securities: Deal locks in lower interest rates outside auction-rate market… The State of Wisconsin has refinanced almost $800 million of pension securities it issued in 2003, a deal that will save taxpayers millions of dollars in interest, officials said. The refinanced items were auction-rate securities that had interest rates that reset every 28 days. As problems in the subprime mortgage market spread through the financial world, the market for such securities collapsed, causing the state to pay interest rates as high as 14.75%. The refinance bonds have much lower rates. In all, the state sold $798 million in new bonds, using the money to pay off some of the auction-rate securities. Of the new bonds, $498 million have a fixed interest rate of 6.1%.

NPS Corp. reportedly will buy tissue plant: Michigan facility has papermaking, converting capability… An Ashwaubenon-based company has signed a letter of intent to purchase Great Lakes Tissue Co. and U.S. Tissue in Cheboygan, Mich., according to the Cheboygan Tribune. NPS Corp. will run the plant in tandem with the local firm until the deal is closed, sometime in May, the paper quoted Great Lakes Tissue Co. President Clarence Roznowski as saying. “For many years, Great Lakes Tissue has been cash-strapped, undercapitalized and not in a position to make needed repairs and do the necessary maintenance to keep functioning properly,” he told the Cheboygan Tribune. “It’s time for me to step aside and give the reins to someone else. I think we have found the right individuals and corporation to step in and do that.”

Harley-Davidson says museum will open in July: Harley-Davidson says its new museum in Milwaukee will open in July. That’s the word Tuesday from the venerable motorcycle maker. Harley-Davidson had previously said its museum would open this summer. It says an exact date will be given in the coming months. Harley-Davidson also says it’s offering a membership program for its museum at a starting cost of $40. People who become members by June 1 will be invited to a pre-grand opening preview of the museum. Membership includes access to a members-only Web site, events throughout the year, and a discount at the retail store. General admission will cost $16 for adults with reduced rates for children and seniors.

UW gets $1.3 million grant for flu pandemic prevention: Prevention of a flu pandemic is the goal of a $1.3 million grant to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant announced Tuesday will support research aimed at understanding the molecular features that lead to influenza pandemics. The UW-Madison will collaborate with Maryland-based Lentigen Corp. on the project. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Lentigen have agreed to broadly disseminate the knowledge generated in the project to the scientific community. Key pieces of the intellectual property created during the project will be donated by WARF to the international research community to improve human health across the globe.


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)
– IT firm opens downtown Milwaukee office

– API adds to software offerings

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Doyle launches plan to boost renewable energy

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Stoughton needs more biz, foes say

– Consumer confidence takes dive

– NewPage sales up in quarter

– Wisconsin economy focus of series

– Stora Enso North America owner posts $4M loss

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Plexus will release earnings April 23

LABOR (back to top)
– Pension funds seek changes at Spectrum

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Grocery stores top list of calls for police

INVESTING (back to top)
– MGIC shares fall on sale

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Median home price in Madison area dropped 7 percent

– Racine weighs temptation of big-bang projects

– Home prices hit new lows

– Ready for the Green

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Farmers bracing for fertilizer expenses

– AgSource Announces State’s Top Dairy Herds

– FSA Announces Extension for 2008 Wool Program

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Weary of lost luggage, airport headaches, travelers ship bags ahead

– Outagamie County Board nixes ATVs from Seymour-New London trail

– Lenss accepts job as airport director

– Howard eyes new bus service

– SkipperLiner Marine Group moving Island Girl cruises to French Island

RETAIL (back to top)
– Wal-Mart considers smaller supercenter in Sturgeon Bay

– Pabst Farms puts nearby businesses on notice

REGULATION (back to top)
– New metal theft law effective Wednesday

– Proposal to change billboard ban stalls

– Madison won’t budge on billboard ban

TOURISM (back to top)
– Harley shrine invites faithful to join now

– Arts center favored for old Garver site

– Oshkosh council approves ‘Public Enemies’ filming in town

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Denmark voters to decide on underground utility issue

– Residents air concerns at permit hearing; Dairyland says it faces tough choices

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Thousands uninsured, face increased risks

– Pharmacist loses appeal on refusing contraceptive

– Naming rights open for Brown County’s new mental health center

– MGIC prices stock offering

– State to start issuing energy grants, loans

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Ex-bank official sentenced for theft

– Green Bay Packaging puts new spin on old process

– Schneider National gets Kimberly-Clark innovation award

– Packers’ Thompson wins NFL Executive of the Year in Sporting News poll

– Gehl hires IT executive

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Kenneth Hess: Take Social Security appeals to the Internet

– Tannette Johnson-Elie: Initiative strengthens links in networking chain

Media Partners
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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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