Free Tuesday Trends sample: Green Bay rising, Kenosha casino mixed, Marinette Marine falling

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Green Bay: The business community of Wisconsin’s third-largest city sees a pair of positive developments in recent weeks. First, local entrepreneur Al Zeise, who’s founded or co-founded 10 companies over the last two decades — including IT services company ZyQuest Inc. — ramps up efforts to start an early-stage investment group targeting the Green Bay area, with an invitation-only meeting with potential members set for this week. Zeise says the ZyQuest Ventures Angel Investment Group aims to address the lack of people willing to invest in start-ups in northeastern Wisconsin. Then, St. Norbert College in nearby De Pere announces plans to establish the Donald J. Schneider School of Business and Economics on the campus after the late trucking magnate’s widow, Pat, donates $7 million to the college. The contribution — the largest gift for an academic endowment in the college’s history — will largely go toward combining St. Norbert’s business administration and economics departments and expanding them into the new college, while a portion will also be used to help launch an M.B.A. program in 2015.


Kenosha casino: The Menominee Tribe’s proposed casino and hotel on the site of the former Dairyland Greyhound Park appears set for a prolonged hiatus after the Walker administration requests an extension for making a final decision on approving the project. And although the request to move the deadline from Aug. 23 to Feb. 19 doesn’t come as a surprise — and would remove election-related pressure on the governor — the issues that have made the decision a tricky proposition haven’t gone away. Critics smell politics in the request, citing Walker’s originally steep hurdles for approval — most notably, that all 11 state tribes get on board — and the potential backlash from the swing counties of Racine and Kenosha. But the governor dismisses that talk, saying the law allows him to take his time and that the administration is doing its due diligence. Some observers maintain that Walker wants to eventually say yes to the project, but they note he’s no fan of the gaming industry and that working out a deal with the opposing tribes won’t be easy.


Marinette Marine: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirms what’s been expected for weeks: the department will seek to reduce its contract for littoral combat ships from 52 vessels to 32. Marinette has enjoyed a nice bump in business thanks to the LCS contract, which was split between the northeastern Wisconsin manufacturer and a company in Alabama. But the ship has faced questions over its performance at sea, and Hagel suggests the Navy could be relying too heavily on the LCS within its target fleet of more than 300 ships. Hagel hasn’t soured completely on the ship, and gives the Navy until year’s end to propose modifications. That gives hope to some who are pulling for Marinette, but most say it’s not a good sign that the starting point for negotiations is a nearly 40 percent reduction. There’s also concern from Marinette backers over the nomination of Robert Work as deputy Defense secretary. Work is a proponent of the LCS program — potentially giving the ships an ally in the upper reaches of the Pentagon — but U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., threatens to hold up his nomination after a contentious exchange on the ship’s various flaws and cost overruns.