WisBusiness WED News Summary

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WED News Summary

10 Jul. 2013

Exclusively for WisBusiness Subscribers

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From WisBusiness.com …

— Dealing with large, established companies – which often have committees and layers of bureaucracy – can often be a tedious affair.

Not so with startups, says Melissa Turczyn, an attorney who co-chairs the “Venture Best” team at the Michael Best & Friedrich law firm in Madison.

“They can’t take weeks or months to make a decision like bigger companies do,” said Turczyn, a 2007 UW-Madison law school graduate who primarily represents early-stage and emerging growth companies in a variety of industries. “So for me, it’s a joy, an absolute passion, to work with these new companies because they move so fast.”

Turczyn said she was pleased with the recent passage – by an overwhelming bipartisan majority – of legislation to invest $25 million in state dollars in early stage companies. Though this fund is smaller than a proposal that failed last year, she said it should help nascent firms “take it to the next step to prove out their product, get to revenue and get them on their way to being successful.

“The other thing it will hopefully do is keep some of our entrepreneurs here in Wisconsin because there is always the pull to go out to California,” she said.

Read more in a new WisBusiness interview with Turczyn:

— A spokesman for Gogebic Taconite says a letter from two Dem lawmakers asking the company to removed armed guards at a planned mine site was a political stunt.

Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, wrote in the letter the images of what they described as “commando security forces” were “horrifying.”

Company spokesman Bob Seitz said the security guards are dressed “to not be visible if they don’t want to be visible” because they are gathering surveillance who have set up camps on the property the company owns and plans to mine. Seitz noted an earlier attack on company equipment by activists and said those at the camps continue to look for ways to harass the operation.

He said the company has decided to keep tabs on the camps rather than ask local authorities to expel them from the private property, believing it is better to have an idea where the protesters are.

Seitz declined to discuss details of the security arrangement at the Penokee Hills site because “protesters don’t tell us what their plans are.”

“We are a private company on private land, and we have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for our employees,” Seitz said, adding it was unlikely the company would respond to the letter. “We didn’t see outrage when masked people criminally attacked our place. We didn’t see that from Sen Jauch. He called it overexuberance.”

Read the Jauch and Bewley letter:

— The state Department of Justice has announced a settlement with Wisconsin Electric Power Company over alleged environmental violations stemming from a 2011 bluff collapse at its Oak Creek power plant.

Prosecutors originally alleged that We Energies violated state law in constructing a retention pond at the plant, including building the pond outside the area approved by the Department of Natural Resources, failing to notify DNR about completing 50 percent of the project and failing to revise erosion control plans.

DNR personnel discovered the violations following the bluff collapse, which involved the release of material, including coal ash, into Lake Michigan.

Under the agreement approved by Racine County Judge Gerald Ptacek, We Energies will pay a total of $146,603 — $100,000 to reimburse the DNR, $3,000 to DOJ, and the remainder for related costs and surcharges.

See the release:


Regal closing Springfield plant, costing 330 jobs: Regal Beloit Corporation says it will close its plant in east Springfield, causing a loss of 330 jobs. Regal officials said Tuesday that the plant, which manufactures small motors and components, will close over the next 18 months. A news release says the company will transfer the work done at the plant to other plants in the U.S. and Mexico.

Paramilitary-style guards ‘are going to stay,’ mining company vows: Despite harsh criticism from two northern legislators and an outcry from anti-mining activists, a spokesman for Gogebic Taconite said Tuesday that armed, paramilitary-style guards will continue to patrol the site deep in the Penokee Range where the company wants to build a large open pit iron mine. Bob Seitz, a Madison lobbyist representing Gogebic, said the guards are necessary because of a confrontation between 15 to 20 protesters and an unknown number of mine workers a month ago.

– Gogebic Taconite defends security measures

– Lawmakers call for removal of guards at mining site

– Jack Craver: Gogebic’s armed guards come from company that features military-style training, impressive firepower

Dairy, UWO launch waste to power project: A multi-million dollar project at the state’s largest dairy farm will not only produce green energy, it will also serve as a learning laboratory that will be able to help educate the state’s current and future farmers.

– State’s largest dairy farm kicks off waste-to-energy project

We Energies to pay $100,000 for bluff collapse: We Energies has agreed to pay $100,000 for violating state environmental regulations before a 2011 bluff collapse that sent a huge amount of coal ash and other sediment into Lake Michigan.

– Wisconsin Electric agrees to pay state $100,000 in bluff collapse

– We Energies pays $100,000 to settle state lawsuit over bluff collapse

– Power co. settles over Oak Creek bluff collapse

Wisconsin ranks 14th in private-equity financing: Wisconsin companies attracted $9.1 billion in private-equity financing in 2012, ranking it 14th in the nation, according to a report released recently by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. The ranking put Wisconsin in the top 20 states for the first time since the council started the report in 2010, according to a news release from Gov. Scott Walker’s office.

– Wisconsin ranks 14th in investment


See commentary from around the state and columns from WisBusiness contributors:


TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Briggs & Stratton pushes fuel additive for engines: Small engine maker Briggs & Stratton Co. has introduced a fuel additive that it says will help prevent problems in gasoline engines using ethanol.

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Cancer researcher accused of theft expected to plead guilty: Hua Jun Zhao was accused of stealing three vials of a possible cancer-fighting compound from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Capital Brewery named Grand National Champion: Capital Brewery was named Grand National Champion for winning three gold medals at this year’s U.S. Open Beer Championships. The Middleton Brewery took the top prize with their Capital Dark, Capital Pilsner and Lake House beers.

– Point Brewery wins 4 medals at U.S. championships

– MillerCoors’ craft unit launches beer-food pairing website

– Symmetry to open another Milwaukee location

LABOR (back to top)
– 2013 Laborfest, Labor Day parade canceled: Because of staff changes at Milwaukee’s labor council, which holds the annual celebration, the festival and parade are canceled.

– Chris Abele rejects Innovation Campus hotel wage condition: A hotel proposal at Wauwatosa’s Innovation Campus development, which includes a wage provision the developer says would kill the project, was vetoed Tuesday by County Executive Chris Abele.

– Wage requirements for proposed Innovation Park hotel to be discussed: The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is expected to meet Wednesday to consider County Executive Chris Abele’s veto of a resolution that attaches wage requirements to a hotel proposed for the Innovation Park campus in Wauwatosa.

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Restaurant News: Rachael Ray magazine picks Graze as No. 1 burger: Rachael Ray’s magazine named Chef Tory Miller’s bacon-in-the-patty Graze burger its top burger in a 52-burger competition.

– Former DBE director to face charges: The felony theft case against Freida Webb, Milwaukee County’s former disadvantaged business enterprise program director, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

– Madison iron artist kickstarts the American Skillet Company: Alisa Toninato, creator of state-shaped cast iron skillets, is using Kickstarter to raise funds for a new line of New York-shaped pans.

INVESTING (back to top)
– Nonprofit forming to invest in Wisconsin start-up companies: Eight businesspeople on Wednesday will announce the formation of BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc., an unusual nonprofit fund.

– TV holdings make Journal Communications’ stock attractive

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Council backs rental moratorium: The mayor’s proposal for a six-month halt on switching single-family homes to rental use in La Crosse survived a council move Tuesday to drop the moratorium part from the measure.

– After debate, Wausau OKs move of homeless shelter: A warming center for the homeless will be moved from downtown to Wausau’s west side at 540 S. Third Ave. despite objections of neighbors, the City Council decided Tuesday after a heated debate.

– Neighbors may petition after Monroe Street deal gets city’s OK: The Madison alderwoman whose district includes a controversial development proposal said neighbors unhappy with the deal may petition city leaders to take a second look.

– Mike Ivey: Monroe Street apartment approval sets new standard

– Church-affiliated group proposes Franklin apartments

– 3rd Ward warehouses to be restored for retail, offices, apartments: Interior Systems Inc. chairman Lindsey Bovinet has acquired two neighboring buildings on North Broadway in Milwaukee’s 3rd Ward and plans to restore them into offices, apartments and retail space.

– Old mental health center has official date with wrecking ball: The former Brown County Mental Health Center is set to meet the wrecking ball in mid October.

– St. Francis considers selling civic center: St. Francis officials know they can build a new civic center for their City Hall, historical society, and police and fire stations.

– Bids wanted for casino hotel finishing work: Bids are wanted for interior and hardscape work at the new Potawatomi Bingo Casino Hotel in Milwaukee.

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Wisconsin’s largest farm show is under way: The 60th annual Farm Technology Days runs through Thursday in northwest Wisconsin. Alex and Mary Olson are hosting the event at their Breezy Hill Farm near Dallas in Barron County. Dairy is the focus this year.

– Showers Fail to Spoil Farm Tech Opener

– USDA: Dried cranberries OK for school lunch: Wisconsin’s official state fruit is back on the menu in the nation’s schools.

– Source of listeria linked to Wis. cheese unknown: Inspectors haven’t yet determined the source of a Midwest listeria outbreak linked to a Wisconsin cheesemaker, the company’s president said.

– Rohrscheib Wins Tractor Safety Contest Held at FTD

– Ag Fraternity to Meet in Barron County Tonight

– Top Meat Products to be Auctioned Off at State Fair

– Badger State Pullers Holding Raffle to Benefit Children’s Hospital

– WSJ Editorial: Wisconsin dairy farmers need immigration bill

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– West side Beltline project to add lanes, noise wall, DOT says

– Bike sharing debuts in Milwaukee with hopes to grow: Bike sharing debuted this week in Milwaukee with the opening of a bike rental kiosk at Discovery World on the lakefront.

– WisDOT releases bid info for Hoan Bridge

RETAIL (back to top)
– Kohl’s, Roundy’s included in list of top 100 U.S. retailers: Three Wisconsin retailers made the National Retail Federation’s list of top 100 retailers for 2012: Kohl’s Corp., Menards and Roundy’s Inc. The list, included in the July issue of NRF’s Stores magazine, ranks retailers in order of their U.S. sales for the year.

– Boat owners aren’t abandoning ships: A shortage of late-model used boats has sent prices higher and dealerships seeking trade-ins to augment their inventory of new boats.

– Green Bay: New Leaf Market chooses site for downtown grocery store

– New frozen yogurt shop to open Friday: A fast-growing self-serve frozen yogurt chain will open its first Wisconsin franchise Friday at the Deer Trace shopping center in Kohler.

REGULATION (back to top)
– DNR: Sand mines violated stormwater permits: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says four Trempealeau County frac sand facilities violated stormwater permits when they allowed sand to run into nearby streams and wetlands.

– Builders, officials wait for state’s erosion rules

TOURISM (back to top)
– Summerfest credits family-friendly daytime events for success: Though Summerfest is known for having hundreds of bands play nearly a thousand shows over 11 days, what made this year different were family-friendly daytime activities that emphasized the beauty of the lake.

– Carsch takes helm at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa: Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corp., today announced that Michael Carsch has been appointed managing director of the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva.

– Marcus Hotels names new leader of Grand Geneva

– Iola car show draws enthusiasts to show off work

– Caboose leaves the rails to function as hotel room: Those looking to spend a night in an old-fashioned railroad caboose can now find that experience in the Dells.

– Harley adds Fogerty and Uncle Kracker to lineup: Harley-Davidson Inc. today announced that John Fogerty and Uncle Kracker have been added to the entertainment lineup for the company’s 110th anniversary celebration to be held over Labor Day weekend.

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Survey seeks ideas after Kewaunee Power Station shutdown: Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp. is conducting an online survey on development of a regional action plan in the wake of the Kewaunee Power Station closing.

– Board to vote on shifting water utility to ‘Tosa: The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Wednesday on an amended resolution that would shift a portion of the county’s water utility to the city of Wauwatosa.

– Petition aims to dissolve Oneida Seven Generations Corp.: Members of the Oneida Tribe of Indians are moving to dissolve the company that has attempted to lead the tribe into a new trash-recycling alternative energy venture.

– We Energies fixes gas line break in Grand Chute

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Moving abortion clinics doesn’t solve flawed law, Planned Parenthood says: Requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is unconstitutional, the group says, so moving clinics doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

– Madison-based Home Savings Bank plans to convert to public stock company

– CIB Marine Bank acquires Illinois mortgage company: CIB Marine Bank in Waukesha has reached an agreement to acquire a mortgage lending company in Illinois, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Skelton will be next CEO of Siebert Lutheran Foundation: The board of directors of Siebert Lutheran Foundation in Brookfield announced the selection of Brenda Skelton to be the next president and chief executive officer of the private foundation, beginning Aug. 1.

PRESS RELEASES (back to top)
* Gundersen Lutheran Health System: Gundersen CEO named Champion of Change by White House
* Integrity Insurance: Names Korey Klister as personal lines product manager
* Menasha Packaging: PrePrint group celebrates safety milestone
* Michael Best & Friedrich LLP: Attorney Paul R. Jonas joins Michael Best
* South Metropolitan Business Association: Elects new president
* Symmetry Corporation: Announces continued expansion with third building on Milwaukee’s East Side; projects doubling employee-base by end-of-year
* UW-Madison: Just a few drops of blood can save a baby’s life: celebrating 50 years of newborn screening
* UW-Madison: Study suggest some fishing regs aren’t in line with fishing reality
* Wisconsin Harley-Davidson: 110th Anniversary Celebration Bash August 28-September 1

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