(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 6 February 2008

–Open to Public–

Mark your calendars for these important upcoming
WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness.com events.


 Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.,
former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair James Hoecker and
FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller will highlight a “Midwest Energy:
Coping with Climate Change” conference on Monday, Feb. 11 at the Monona
Terrace Convention Center in Madison.

 See details and register:

 Craig Samitt, CEO of Dean Health System, will be the guest at the Feb.
12 Madison Business Luncheon presented by The Madison Club, Madison
Magazine and WisBusiness.com.
 This event is open to the public and the price of $19 includes lunch.

 Please call the Madison Club’s front desk to sign up: 608-255-4861.

 New state Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer will be the guest at the
Feb. 18 Madison Business Luncheon presented by The Madison Club,
Madison Magazine and WisBusiness.com.
 This event is open to the public and the price of $19 includes lunch.

 Please call the Madison Club’s front desk to sign up: 608-255-4861.


 Explore “The Issues and Science behind the Pending Great Lakes Water
Compact” March 5 at a special Blueprint Briefing at Discovery World on
Milwaukee’s lake front.

 The briefing, open to the public, will feature “Great Lakes Water
Wars” author Peter Annin; Todd Ambs, Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resource’s water division chief and member of the board of the Great
Lakes Commission; Matt Moroney, executive director of the Metropolitan
Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee; and UW-Milwaukee science

 The special briefing is being presented by
WisPolitics.com-WisBusiness.com, UW-Milwaukee, the Metropolitan
Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the Government of Canada, and
Discovery World.

 See more and register:


From WisBusiness.com …
— The 3rd District Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a decision dismissing a controversial state lawsuit against a Sawyer County cranberry farmer.

The public nuisance lawsuit, initiated by then-AG Peg Lautenschlager, alleged that William Zawistowski was contaminating Musky Bay with phosphorous from his cranberry marshes.

The circuit court ruled the state failed to prove a nuisance in the case, and the Appeals Court upheld the decision.

J.B. Van Hollen blasted the case as frivolous during his campaign for attorney general and vowed to end it. He came under fire last year for acknowledging he worked for the law firm defending the Zawistowski and announced he would not participate in his agency’s review of the case.

Deputy Attorney General Ray Taffora recommended pulling out of the case to the governor’s office last year, but Gov. Jim Doyle decided to hire outside counsel to continue the appeal.

Doyle spokeswoman Jessica Erickson said the governor’s office has consulted with the outside counsel and has no plans to appeal. She said the state has spent $22,851 on the attorneys hired to handle the case.

*See the appeals court decision: http://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seqNo=31742

*See the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association statement: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=117449

*See the Farm Bureau Federation’s statement: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=117438

— The push toward alternative fuels and reducing carbon emissions should be viewed as a huge opportunity for Wisconsin businesses to become national leaders in the new technology, Doyle said Tuesday.

Speaking before the Green Tier Advantage conference at Madison’s Monona Terrace, Doyle said the old dichotomy of industry vs. the environment no longer applies and the two should come together to help make Wisconsin a leader in the growing field.

Initiatives like carbon capture will require an infrastructure that can be a boon for Wisconsin manufacturers. Doyle also said he believes the state can take advantage of its research capabilities to be a leader in alternative fuels and said the states doing the best 15 to 20 years from now will be the ones creating their own energy.

Doyle likened the opportunity to Wisconsin’s position as a leader in stem cell research, adding the state’s farm fields, forest and research resources have it primed to be a player.

“I don’t think there’s a state in the country better positioned to be the leader,” Doyle said.

— Wisconsin Energy finished a solid 2007 with fourth quarter net income of $94.3 million, or 80 cents per share, up from $77.0 million, or 65 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The Milwaukee utility’s quarterly operating revenues grew to $1.15 million from $1.10 million.For the full year, Wisconsin Energy’s 2007 earnings from continuing operations totaled $336 million, or $2.84 per share, up from $312 million, or $2.64 per share, in 2006.

Company officials said key factors for the increase in adjusted earnings from continuing operations in 2007 included favorable weather, improved natural gas margins and lower operating costs.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=117444

— Thousands of Wisconsin businesses are owned and managed by baby boomers who will be reaching retirement over the next 20 years. What then? What will be the “Next Stage” for their business?

The Small Business Times will conduct an M&A Forum, titled “The Next Stage,” on Thursday, March 27, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at The Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave. The event will examine different exit strategies, including recapitalizations, employee stock ownership programs, management buyouts, sale to private equity firms, mergers with strategic partners and more.

Business owners are invited to attend the conference to learn more about their options. In addition, professionals such as attorneys, accountants, bankers, consultants and others who provide services to business owners are invited to attend.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/2/5/#sbt-to-present-the-next-stage-m-a-forum

— Utah-based Flying J Inc. has filed suit in federal court seeking an injunction to prevent the state from enforcing the minimum markup law.

Last year, a federal magistrate judge ruled the law violated the U.S. Constitution in a lawsuit a competing gas chain had filed against the Flying J for failing to comply with the statute. The magistrate found the law violated the Sherman Act because the state had not adequately monitored the amount of the required markup.

But that decision did not include an injunction preventing the state from enforcing the law.

Flying J wrote in its suit filed Jan. 29 that the state continues to require the company to file reports to show it is complying with the law and threatens enforcement, which the chain says “has created a chilling effect on competition in the pricing of motor fuels in Wisconsin.”

The suit specifically names Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Rod Nilsestuen. Both agencies have enforcement powers with the statute.

The Department of Justice received the suit last week, agency spokesman Kevin St. John said. He said the agency had no comment, including whether Van Hollen would defend the law in the suit.

DATCP division administrator Janet Jenkins said the agency received the suit and turned it over to DOJ but had no comment. A response is due from the state by Feb. 19.

Read the suit: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/080205FlyingJComplaint.pdf





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Press Releases

A. O. Smith Receives Proposal From Smith Investment Company
Credit Unions’ Help for Low-Income Tax Filers is Part of Larger Effort to Offer Alternatives to Predatory Financial Practices That Hurt Wisconsin
Didion Ethanol Partners to Develop Software for Bio Fuel Industry
J. J. Keller Foundation Underwrites $100,000 for 2008 SHRM Foundation Regional Scholarship
Lt. Governor Lawton to Introduce New Economy Funding Initiative to County Leaders
Midwest Airlines Names Kolshak Chief Operating Officer
New Project to Address Climate Change Impacts on Wisconsin
PSC to Hold Public Outreach Meeting on Alliant Energy’s Proposed Power Plant
Regal-Beloit Announces First Quarter Dividend
The Manitowoc Company Reports Record Sales and Earnings for Fourth-Quarter and Full Year 2007
Wisconsin Energy Corporation Posts Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Results for 2007

For these and more releases visit


State sued over law designed to ensure gas station competition: The state of Wisconsin is being sued in federal court over a law designed to ensure fair competition among gas station owners. The filing comes after a federal magistrate judge ruled in another lawsuit last year that the law is unconstitutional. Flying J filed a new lawsuit Jan. 29 in light of the previous ruling asking the court to force the state to stop enforcing the minimum markup law. Flying J operates gas stations in Black River Falls and Oak Creek. The state did not appeal the earlier ruling but still is enforcing the law despite it being found unconstitutional, Flying J argues.

Appeals court dismisses lawsuit against cranberry grower: The legal headaches may finally be over for a Sawyer County cranberry grower who is being accused of polluting nearby waterways. On Tuesday, the District 3 Court of Appeals upheld a judge’s dismissal of the case against William Zawistowski, who’s neighbors claim released phosphorus from the application of fertilizer into Musky Bay, which flows into the Lac Courte Oreilles–the eighth largest natural lake in Wisconsin. As Wisconsin Ag Connection has reported, former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager filed charges in 2004 against Zawistowski on behalf of 15 out-of-state property owners over the issue. But two years ago, a judge shot down Lautenschlager’s suit because ‘the pollution hasn’t reached the point of being a public nuisance.’

Off-court diplomacy: Milwaukee’s business community is taking advantage of China’s interest in a new Buck… Diplomats caught up in U.S.-China relations typically wrestle with allegations of unfair trade practices, currency manipulation and unsafe food. They got a welcome respite last weekend when Chinese dignitaries from Washington and Chicago came to Milwaukee for a basketball game dubbed the “Chinese Super Bowl” and enjoyed back-to-back parties, diplomatic receptions and even an agreement to inaugurate an annual “Milwaukee-China dialogue.” “Why should we talk about those things?” said Ping Huang, the consulate general in Chicago, when asked about the hot-button issues that bedevil U.S.-China relations.

Oshkosh sees slide into ’09: It’s optimistic on military business, pessimistic on non-defense sales… Some of the non-military business at Oshkosh Corp., previously known as Oshkosh Truck, could remain depressed until 2009, company officials said Tuesday at the annual shareholders meeting. A recovery could come sooner, “but I doubt it,” Robert Bohn, chairman and chief executive officer, said at the Fox Valley Performing Arts Center. Bohn cautioned that a slowdown in U.S. residential and commercial construction has hurt sales of concrete mixers and other construction-related equipment. The company expects commercial vehicle sales to fall 15% to 20% this year.


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)
– Quintessence signs on supplier for first drug candidate

– High bid eclipses observatory restoration

BIOTECH (back to top)
– UW-Madison planning mice, rat building

– Dairyland boosts investment in methane-to-electricity plants

– Farm Technology Days Community Grants Available

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Big Ten Network cost? Go figure

– Kagen talks business on Green Bay tour

– Wausau Paper notes $27.6 million loss

– Ladish reports improved sales, earnings

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Oshkosh Truck retools its name

– Modine to close three U.S. plants

– Manitowoc doubles 4Q earnings

– Appleton security products firm acquired

– Magnetek buys wireless controls maker

LABOR (back to top)
– Unilever closing Green Bay office

– Unions around country try to help nonunion workers

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Middleton’s Club Tavern up for sale

– West Bend soapmaker honored by national magazine

INVESTING (back to top)
– Recession fear hits stocks

– Worries drive stocks lower

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– 2 banks seek foreclosure on Metropolitan Place II

– County home sales fall in 2007

– Value Place hotels planned

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– January soybean prices nearly double in 2008

– January Milk Prices Down Slightly From Last Month

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Deficiencies found in some area bridges

– Kohler drives for golf course interchange

RETAIL (back to top)
– Adding a new dimension to film viewing

REGULATION (back to top)
– 3 accused of harboring illegal workers

– Gas station owner accused of sales tax fraud

– Economic Census data due next week

TOURISM (back to top)
– Hotel-conference center proposed for Grafton

– Orpheum Theatre now on National Register of Historic Places

– Pleasant Prairie planning hotel, offices near Uline, Abbott sites

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Residents voice concern about power line

– New power line will reduce strain on local energy outlets

– Wisconsin Energy beats forecast

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Aspirus announces acquisition deal with nursing home

– Fiserv’s CheckFree to let consumers scan, deposit checks to banks

– Competing for payday loans

– Bank Mutual Corp. declares dividend

– Jorgensen named Associated Bank VP

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Bartlett named to Alliant Energy post

– New Urban League board chair named

– De Pere area chamber names executive director

– Equity firm buys stake in Bryant & Stratton

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mike Ivey: Milwaukee condo bust hits hometown bank

– Tannette Johnson-Elie: Through him, a bank reaches out to city

Media Partners


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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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