(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 3 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The Badger State is poised to boost its reputation as an international leader in personalized medicine, thanks to the recently launched Wisconsin Genomics Initiative, two program officials said at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association.

Jim Leonhart, executive director of the state’s biotech group, said Tuesday that WGI will advance Wisconsin’s position at the forefront of personalized healthcare research and treatment.

“This has been in the works for two years and is now ready to take off,” he said. “With each of the four institutions involved contributing to the initiative, it will really be a broad statewide effort and move things along to clinical applications to help people and boost the state’s economy.”

David Page, a professor in the departments of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics and Computer Science at UW-Madison, told the conference how algorithms combed from millions of bits of genetic data — combined with environmental and clinical information — could be used to make disease predictions, target treatments and even prevent ailments before they occur.

See more from the conference: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=142713

— With Democrats soon to control the state Assembly, as well as the Senate and governor’s office, the state’s largest business lobby is shifting gears to deal with what it calls the “new political landscape.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which has often been at odds with Gov. Jim Doyle, is reaching out to diverse groups — including labor — to develop plans to stimulate the state’s slumping economy.

“We’re facing some interesting economic times here in Wisconsin and nationally,” said WMC Vice President James Buchen in discussing the group’s new “Moving Wisconsin Forward” program.  

“Our board concluded we needed to make a broad effort to figure out what it is to move the state forward so that as we emerge from this recession, we can lead the parade as opposed to being at the end of it,” he said in a new WisBusiness interview.

Buchen said that philosophy grows out of what he called a “shared set of goals” that business has with labor, academic and political leaders.

“We have a unique opportunity to help Wisconsin be more competitive and more successful,” he said. “Regardless of whether you are Democrat or Republican, you want to see people employed in good paying jobs.

“That’s important for a wide variety of reasons, including having enough tax revenue to adequately fund schools and other government programs. We may disagree about the specifics, but I think we’d agree we have common goals.”

Buchen predicted fewer fireworks in Madison with Democrats running the show in both houses and the East Wing.

“There will be less conflict that leads to impasse. … because the Republicans are in the minority,” he said. “They can’t thwart the will of the majority. And I think that there may be less rancor because of that, though there will clearly be disagreement.”

See more from the interview with Buchen soon at http://www.wisbusiness.com

— Steve & Barry’s has officially notified the state about 274 layoffs resulting from the closing of the chain’s Wisconsin stores. The store closings were first announced in November.

And Wausau Homes Inc. is planning to lay off 81 production workers and office personnel at its Rothschild location beginning Jan. 30.

— Later this morning the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership is set to release the results of a study it commissioned to assess the global competitiveness of Wisconsin manufacturers.

Come to http://www.wisbusiness.com after 10:30 a.m. for coverage of the study results.

**************************

NEXT CHECKPOINT SURVEY QUESTIONS DUE DEC. 8 

Take advantage of an exclusive discount program for WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com Subscribers.

If you are a WisPolitics or WisBusiness subscriber, you’ll receive a 10 percent discount if you purchase two or more questions in the next monthly Checkpoint survey, a production of Wood Communications Group of Madison. That means the first question costs $900, and subsequent questions are $810 each.

The monthly “Checkpoint” survey of public opinion is a 500-person statewide random digit dial poll. The next survey is set to go into the field later this month.

Individual questions are due by Monday, Dec. 8. Contact Kennan Wood at Wood Communications Group. Call 608-259-0757 or e-mail [email protected]

*******************************

FEEDBACK, PLEASE

Please give us your feedback on the subscriber products and services you receive and let us know where we can improve.

Click this link to take the brief survey: http://www.esurveycentral.com/TakeSurvey.asp?SurveyID=3J26m321798KG

Thank you for subscribing.

****************************************
THANKS TO OUR WISBUSINESS SPONSORS

****************************************

QUICK LINKS
Use these links to jump directly to a news summary topic
Technology | Biotech | Economy | Manufacturing | Labor | Small Business | Investing | Real Estate | Agribusiness | Transportation | Retail | Regulation | Tourism | Utilities | Health Care | Financial Services | Management | Business Columns |

Press Releases
· Applied Tech: Clean Wisconsin announced as the Green IT Makeover Contest winner
· Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Real Christmas trees are good for Wisconsin’s economy, environment

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


TOP STORIES
*************

GM, Chrysler: Without aid, they could collapse by year’s end: Detroit’s automakers raised the cost of saving the industry Tuesday to $34 billion, with General Motors and Chrysler LLC warning of their collapse by the end of the year without aid, pressing Congress and the Bush administration to resolve a standoff threatening thousands of jobs.
http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20081203/OSH03/81202187/1167

Shopko lays off 43 at headquarters: Shopko said Tuesday it laid off 43 people from its headquarters staff. Shopko, which has about 1,700 employees in Brown County, said the “cost reduction action” was in response to the recession and a decrease in sales. “It is no secret that the nation’s current economic uncertainties have made consumers less optimistic and more cautious in their spending. We expect this difficult environment to continue well into 2009,” said Michael MacDonald, chairman and chief executive officer, in a written statement.
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081203/APC03/812030552/1028

Wausau Homes to cut 81 jobs: A manufacturer of prefabricated homes blames the nation’s financial crisis for its decision to permanently lay off 81 workers as of Jan. 30. Wausau Homes Inc. notified the state Department of Workforce Development of the plans that will affect about 81 production workers and other personnel.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WI_WAUSAU_HOMES_CUTS_WIOL-?SITE=WIMAD&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Weyauwega officials worry over Presto layoffs: City officials are expressing concern for workers facing layoffs from Presto Products Co. in Weyauwega – and for the impact the job cuts will have on the community. As reported Tuesday night by WLUK-TV of Green Bay, Presto plans to cut about 110 employees starting in the first quarter of 2009 and continuing into about the middle of the year. The company, which makes food storage and garbage bags, contends the cuts are needed to stay competitive.
http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-news.asp?id=BIGRBUS7H0I

************************************************************
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
************************************************************

TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Cost cutting helps Sonic Foundry lower loss
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316876

– Elite networking site connects female entrepreneurs
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35448259.html

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Madison area is feeling the recession, survey says
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/316929

– Car dealers worry state auction might depress prices
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35448254.html

– Milwaukee rises to 16th among best metro areas for business
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35375559.html

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Oshkosh metal fabricator driven to improve on quality
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081203/APC03/812030536/1028

– Harley XR1200 rolls into U.S.
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35370064.html

– Bucyrus completes purchase of Czech firm, OKD Bastro
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35370259.html

– RedPrairie lands St. Louis contract
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily18.html

LABOR (back to top)
– Milwaukee CFOs report stable first-quarter hiring outlook
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily17.html

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Dane County: Home sales decline in October
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/316863

– Nonprofit proposes 80-unit apartment for veterans
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35373074.html

– Sturtevant sports complex to begin construction
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35374719.html

– Industrial real estate vacancy rate hits 7.8%
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35368924.html

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Gold’n Plump Debuts Farm-of-Origin Labels
http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1451&yr=2008

– Real Christmas Trees Are Good for the Economy, Environment
http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1452&yr=2008

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– UWGB study looks at boosting Green Bay port’s freight capacity
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081203/GPG03/812030505/1247

RETAIL (back to top)
– What’s Up?: Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe comes to Rib Mountain
http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20081130/WDH03/811300639/1618/WDH03

– Madison: Tumbleweed restaurant closes
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/316792

REGULATION (back to top)
– Regulators hang up on cell tower backup rules
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316820

– Court stubs out restaurant’s effort to evade smoking ban
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/35371894.html

UTILITIES (back to top)
– We Energies sues former Northridge Mall owners
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35368329.html

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– New technologies are giving sight to eye trauma patients
http://www.madison.com/wsj/topstories/316656

FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– State failing in college aid
http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/35450659.html

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Ex-Banana Republic exec is new head of Lands’ End
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316767

Media Partners
Channel3000
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine
BusinessWeek

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

(c)2008 WisBusiness.com.
All rights reserved. Reproduction or retransmission of this publication, in whole or in part, without the express permission of WisBusiness.com is prohibited. Unauthorized reproduction violates United States copyright law (17 USC 101 et seq.), as does retransmission by facsimile or any other electronic means, including electronic mail.