(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 5 March 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Wisconsin foreclosure filings continue at escalated levels, according to newly released data compiled by ForeclosuresWI.com.

Badger State foreclosures in February totalled 2,800 and were up 34 percent over the same month in 2007, the company said. They have increased 70 percent over the last three years, rising from 12,311 in 2005 to 20,995 in 2007.

“These numbers are staggering,” said Robert Jansen, president of ForeclosuresWI.com.

“We expect foreclosures to remain at escalated levels well into 2008, with some experts not predicting a housing market recovery until 2010.” said Jansen.

Leading the state in the number of February filings, Milwaukee County foreclosures are over 33 percent higher compared to February 2007 (525 vs.393).

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=119941

— Wisconsin will soon have new travel brand, just not quite yet.

Speaking Tuesday night at the state’s annual Tourism Conference in Lake Geneva, Gov. Jim Doyle unveiled the state’s “brand platform,” from which a new slogan will be distilled and used to attract everyone from tourists to investors.

Doyle said the platform celebrates not only the state’s natural beauty, but its culture of original thinkers.

It reads: “Because of the passionate nature of the state’s people to create fun, express themselves in original ways and feel more comfortable doing it here than anywhere else, in Wisconsin originality rules.”

Doyle said the new brand platform “captures the people of Wisconsin and their legacy of originality, innovation, pride and passion.

“Whether it’s Georgia O’Keeffe or Aldo Leopold, the leaders of the state’s biotech industry or our beloved Packer fans decked out in cheeseheads, Wisconsin is a place where imagination and creativity abound.”

Tourism Secretary Kelli Trumble said the five-month effort her department led to create a brand platform had paid off “by coming up with what we believe is the ‘soul’ of Wisconsin.”

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=119938

— Gov. Jim Doyle is canceling a planned trade mission to Ireland and Great Britain next week, choosing instead to remain in Wisconsin while the Legislature is still in session.

Doyle had planned on leading the delegation from March 10 to 14.

Doyle spokeswoman Jessica Erickson said Department of Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer will lead the mission in Doyle’s place.

“He wants to stay here in Madison while the Assembly still in session. There are still some very important bills to be decided,” she said, citing legislation to mandate insurance coverage of children with autism and to ban smoking in taverns and workplaces.

Doyle led a trade mission to China last summer and was blasted by Republicans for being away while legislative leaders met in conference committee to iron out an agreement on the state budget.

— While many teens can be found in front of a TV mastering Guitar Hero on PlayStation after school, parents of students in St. Thomas More High School’s engineering program beam with pride as their enthusiastic students head straight to their computers to work on Engineering Design homework.

Each day, students like 17-year-old Sarah Wittman see their ideas become reality. Wittman, a junior at St. Thomas More, is one of the 25 percent of those attending the school who are taking part in its engineering program.

St. Thomas More will be the first school in the state to receive the prestigious MIT Special Award for providing “significant and innovative contributions in important fields in Wisconsin” at the Technology Achievement Awards Banquet to be held on Friday.

See story later at WisBusiness.com.

— Several Wisconsin companies are gaining recognition for excellence in national magazines this week.

Wisconsin Energy Corp., the Milwaukee-based parent company of We Energies, has been named one of the 15 best corporate citizens in the United States by Corporate Responsibility Officer (CRO) magazine’s annual ranking of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens.

Meanwhile, Fortune magazine released its 2008 list of the 100 “Most Admired Companies.” Fortune surveyed businesspeople to vote for the companies that they admired most, from any industry.

This year’s list included several Wisconsin-based companies: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Inc., Manpower Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., Marshall & Ilsley Corp., Bemis Company Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Rockwell Automation Inc. and Fiserv Inc.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/3/4/#wisconsin-companies-honored-by-national-magazines




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Press Releases
Appleton to Release Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2007 Financial Results
Fortune Ranks Johnson Controls #1 For Third Consecutive Year
Governor Doyle Unveils Wisconsin’s New Brand Platform
Milwaukee CFOs Forecast Increase in Second-Quarter Hiring
Sajan Innovates With Release of Language Translation Search Technology
State foreclosure rate remains high
UW-Whitewater accepting nominations for Environmental Achievement Award
Wisconsin Energy Named One of the 15 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine

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


Wisconsin brand touts originality, hospitality and Packer passion: You can’t fit it on a bumper sticker yet but Wisconsin’s new brand will promote the state’s history of creative and original thinking and hospitality. It also gives a thinly veiled nod to cheesehead-wearing Green Bay Packers fans. Gov. Jim Doyle unveiled the brand promise at a tourism convention in Lake Geneva on Tuesday evening. A brand promise is a strategic framework used to plan advertising — in this case, for tourism and economic development. Developed under a Department of Tourism initiative, the platform reads: “Because of the passionate nature of the state’s people to create fun, express themselves in original ways and feel more comfortable doing it here than anywhere else, in Wisconsin originality rules.”

Milk prices take dip for state farmers: But corn, soybeans and wheat increase… Wisconsin farmers saw the price they get for their milk soften last month, but continue to stay well above last year’s price. While dairy has softened, corn, soybeans and wheat all have been on the rise. On average, Wisconsin farmers got $19.30 per hundredweight for the milk in February, according to a monthly report released Tuesday by the Wisconsin Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Last month’s price is $1.80 less than January, but $3.70 more than the same time last year. Dairy experts have been forecasting a downturn in milk prices for 2008 in the face of increasing milk production around the nation.

Trade trip won’t include Doyle: A well-publicized state trade mission to the United Kingdom and Ireland will go on as scheduled next week — without its headline act. Gov. Jim Doyle has backed out of the four-day mission that begins Monday, the first time state officials can recall a Wisconsin governor not making a trade trip that bears his name. About 10 state companies have committed to the trip and already purchased airline tickets, said Mary Regel of the state Department of Commerce. “As far as I know everybody is still going,” she said. Regel said past state governors including Tommy Thompson sometimes had to change their schedules but at least made some of the trade mission events.

Pressed into service: Oilgear expands its business by rebuilding a huge machine… It was delivered Tuesday on a 199-foot trailer shadowed by police escorts. Almost immediately, Oilgear Co. will begin rebuilding the extrusion press that came from Tennessee and is bound for a manufacturing plant in northern Michigan. When finished, the press will weigh about 350,000 pounds – nearly as heavy as five Boeing 717 airliners. Rebuilding the 39-year-old machine represents a new line of work for Oilgear, a manufacturer of pumps, hydraulic systems and other power gear for industrial machinery and construction equipment. “It’s our hope that we could do two or three of these a year,” said Ted Versteeg, an executive vice president at the 87-year-old Milwaukee company.


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)
– Town clears ordinance, resident’s bid for solar power

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Behnke Promoted as Semex USA Central Region Manager

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Hedge fund looking into possibility of buying part of Spectrum Brands

– American Family Insurance profit up in 2007; will expand to Georgia in 2009

– Cable takes a hit

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Tower Tech changes name to Broadwind Energy

– Brady buys Connecticut’s DAWG Inc.

– MITC seeks $32 million from Milwaukee in Tower suit

LABOR (back to top)
– Milwaukee revisits minority business imbalance

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Sound choice: New pet store with focus on health opens here

– Urban Hope business plan winners announced

INVESTING (back to top)
– Joy Global shareholders vote down proposal to increase shares

– Reduce principal, Fed chief suggests

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Leaders upset over countywide growth plan

– Brutal weather keeps housing market weak

– It’s time to think spring at expo

– Park Place building sold to REIT

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– New rule goes into effect for spring growing season

– NER Farms gets Angus group honor

– State Cheese Production Rose Slightly During January

– Wisconsin Cheeseman closing plant

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– On-time rate at Milwaukee’s Mitchell improves

– Midwest Airlines to sell cookie dough in K.C.

RETAIL (back to top)
– Shopko takes expansion, stores’ new look to Council Bluffs, Iowa

– Sales of Brett Favre memorabilia swing into high gear

– Kolosso adds Dodge to mix

– GM’s sales plummet in February

– Kohl’s will sell Lavigne line

REGULATION (back to top)
– Armstrong calls for vote on state smoking ban bill

– Monona lit up over debate to ban smoking

– Cable providers in Wisconsin seek statewide franchises

TOURISM (back to top)
– Creative tack for tourism

– Waukesha festivities would coincide with Harley party

– Central Park plan priorities offered

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Wisconsin Energy Named One of the 15 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Senate panel will consider health bill

– Children’s Hospital leader Jon Vice to step down

– CHS pays $298M to co-op members

– Harris closes on Merchants, Ozaukee bank acquisitions

– American Family income increases

– Financial planning seminar March 12

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Kimberly-Clark CEO got $10.6M last year

– Bon-Ton executive Zant returns to Belk

– Herman Uihlein Jr., former Schlitz director, dies

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Tannette Johnson-Elie: Milwaukee native returns to head bank

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–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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