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MadREP Report: March 19, 2014

 MADISON Area - 3/20/2014 Company Spotlight: GE Healthcare study shows $342 million economic impact...Advancing Talent, Opportunity & Prosperity: The Madison Region's Economic Development, Diversity & Leadership Summit...

Ken Notes: Thanks Betsy!
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Tomorrow - Joint summit to focus on economic development, leadership and diversity

 MADISON Area - 5/8/2014 Former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is among three high-profile keynote speakers to participate when two local organizations hold a first-ever joint summit in Madison. Advancing Talent, Opportunity and Prosperity: The Madison Regions Economic Development, Diversity and Leadership Summit combines the Madison Region Economic Partnerships annual State of the Madison Region Summit and the Urban League of Greater Madisons Workplace Diversity and Leadership Summit. The summit will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 9 at Monona Terrace. Its goal is to bring the public and private sectors together on economic development, diversity and leadership related issues....
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Robert Dunn shares an inside peek at the new Edgewater Hotel

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 On a sun-splashed morning, developer Robert Dunn stands atop the new Edgewater hotel, an army of construction workers shaping the roughly $100 million redevelopment into final luxurious form in preparation for a grand opening later this summer. The 15th-story rooftop space on the new building, called Sky Bar, with commanding views of Lake Mendota and the State Capitol, is among an array of public and private spaces that should drop jaws and offerings that sometimes will lighten wallets....

Ken Notes: Again great vision in foggy seas - congrats!
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Grand vision for John Nolen Drive gets city boost

 Madison - 9/4/2014 In 2011, the Metcalfe brothers of grocery store and Brat Fest fame floated a major redevelopment vision for John Nolen Drive between Monona Terrace and the Beltline.

Plans for the 400-acre corridor included new paths along the Lake Monona shoreline, a lakeside amphitheater for concerts and a pedestrian/bicycle land bridge crossing over the six lanes of traffic between Olin Park and the Alliant Energy Center.

Dubbed the "Nolen Centennial Project," the effort was meant to coincide with the 100th anniversary of famed urban planner John Nolen's 1911 publication of "Madison: A Model City."...

Ken Notes: I am a huge Metcalfe brothers fan and I hope they get a chance to bring part or all of this to reality. This is a significant and underutilized corridor with great potential. Can I pitch an urban campground on the Allient Energy site one more time. By the way now ALL the pieces are in place!
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Consultants building vision for Madison Municipal and City-County buildings and space between

 Madison - 9/18/2014 The city is thinking big about the heart of municipal government, now spread among the aging and energy-inefficient Madison Municipal and City-County buildings that face the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The city has hired a consultant, MSR Design of Minneapolis, to explore big ideas about how to best use the buildings and the space between, with preliminary concepts including a rearranging of city and Dane County agencies in the structures to make the spaces more inviting for customers and workers and removing vehicle traffic from the street to create a more vibrant and usable public space....

Ken Notes: I am very glad they did this -- but I ave suggested this in writing for the past several years and I did not get anywhere near 350K. Why must we spend so much to cull ideas from a community as bright as Madison. Oh and Minneapolis? If we NEED info from them it should be how do we clean up our lakes.
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East Wilson apartment foes: Density will ruin downtown Madison

 MADISON Area - 3/20/2014 Vocal critics of a $20 million, 14-story apartment building proposed for East Wilson Street arent sure what their next option is after the Madison Common Council gave final approval to the project Tuesday night. A lawsuit is always a possibility, of course, although no one was ready to play that card Wednesday. Still, opponents are saying the city is setting itself up for problems by rushing forward with so many new housing units in the downtown. They warn that the increased density as laid out in the 2012 zoning code is threatening the quality of life that has made Madison attractive in the first place....

Ken Notes: The bottom line is that the Madison area will grow, the question then becomes will the growth focus on the surrounding communities or a denser downtown. In the end this is market driven and right now the millennials and other want the lifestyle of downtown. They will age and opt for the schools and yards of Verona. We could plan for this but right now we don't even talk to each other so planning is a non starter.
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Meijer could get $5 million in tax credits for Pleasant Prairie distribution center

 Wisconsin - 3/20/2014 Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer Meijer Inc., which plans to open several stores in southeastern Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker announced this week. Meijer is expanding the former Supervalu distribution center in Pleasant Prairie. Once work is completed, the 770,000-square-foot facility is expected to employ 271 full-time workers and 42 part-time employees. Meijer Distribution Inc., is eligible for up to $5.25 million in tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) over the next eight years. The actual amount of the credits will be contingent upon the number of jobs created....

Ken Notes: Again why not make this a simple formula 20K per new full time employee over 10 years in tax credits. Simple and the results are identical except now the guy down the street gets nothing - not fair...
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Jadin says Madison region needs to brag more

 MADISON Area - 4/3/2014 If the Madison and the surrounding region want to compete with cities like Austin, Boulder, and Seattle, it needs to do a better job of selling itself. That was a major takeaway from a talk given by Paul Jadin, the former state economic development chief and current head of the eight-county economic development group known as MadREP. "We're already in a position where we can feel comfortable about how we stack up with them," he said, following a speech to a Madison Rotary group at the Inn at the Park hotel. "But we have to improve how we get the world to understand what's going on here. And that's all related to marketing. ...

Ken Notes: and complain less and work together and embrace diversity and grow responsibly and... ComeBackToMadison launching in June!!!
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Madison ranked greenest city in nation

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 With Earth Day just around the corner, a website has ranked Madison the greenest city in the nation.

VIEW GALLERY OF TOP 25 GREEN CITIES

The website Nerd Wallet looked at the 95 largest cities in America and measured air quality, alternative modes of travel and natural attributes like lakes, biking and hiking trails and local parks. Jessi Claringbole, community relations manager at Madison Environmental Group, a consulting firm that urges companies to build and think green, said shes not surprised Madison made the list, but theres even more the city can be doing. If we could expand the metro offerings, have it to be more available to outlying neighborhoods, and they maybe connect with other communities. Maybe starting in Dane County and then kind of expanding from there, Claringbole said. Claringbole said she hopes the ranking motivates people and companies around the city to become or continue to be environmentally friendly....

Ken Notes: And this is without a real transit system -- imagine the possibilities!
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Fill in the two big blanks on Madison`s East Side

 MADISON Area - 5/8/2014 Finally, it appears, two conspicuously barren sites on Madisons East Side will be transformed into thriving developments. Lets get these needed projects Union Corners and Royster Corners to the finish line at City Hall. Theyll be great for their neighborhoods, with amenities such as grocery stores and a library. And theyll help grow the tax base, which pays for city services. Union Corners is a major mixed-use project at the busy intersection of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street. Its been frustratingly dormant for about a decade. But revised plans and strong neighborhood support have opened the way to key city approvals this month....

Ken Notes: I may not have anything to write about if we actually break ground on Union Corners. It has been seven years. Congratulations all! Read all the Union Corners stories below, it is quite a tale...
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Summit looks at creating jobs, expanding diversity

 MADISON Area - 5/15/2014
A unified effort to boost the economy of the eight-county Madison region is starting to make headway, but theres still a long way to go to diversify the workforce, speakers told a conference on Friday.

The first Madison Regions Economic Development, Diversity and Leadership Summit a combined effort of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) and the Urban League of Greater Madison drew about 400 people to Monona Terrace for the daylong event.

In his State of the Region report, MadREP president Paul Jadin said an email blitz and a series of meetings with site selectors consultants who help companies choose locations for new and expanding businesses have resulted in 26 inquiries about potential sites in the past year, a significant increase over years prior....

Ken Notes: A great new start!
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Preferred option emerging for Judge Doyle Square hotel

 MADISON - 6/12/2014 A developer has offered a preliminary design for the massive Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square thats intrigued city officials and planners but raised concerns among city engineering staff. JDS Development has a proposal that sets part of a hotel tower above a portion of the Madison Municipal Building. It would rise above a single-floor area at the rear of the U-shaped landmark, between its two three-story wings, and extend to Pinckney Street....The proposal includes a corridor through the Municipal Building and hotel that would link Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Pinckney Street, and an atrium area between the first-floor rooftop and the bottom of the hotel tower above it. The development team also offered alternatives that do not use the Municipal Building space and push the height and massing of the hotel toward Pinckney Street...

Ken Notes: Keep reading, this project will be debated for many months if not years. The city Planning website for the project is here! You may want to save this link in that it has the most data and a very comprehensive set of files.
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A big boost for innovation

 UW Madison - 6/19/2014 Wisconsin manufacturers are hustling to stay ahead of global competition. This weeks $25 million grant to the UW-Madison College of Engineering will help the cause. The Grainger Foundation is donating the money to create the Grainger Institute for Engineering. It will hire 25 new faculty members to focus on manufacturing advances and collaboration across fields of study. The stated goal may sound grandiose: Solving some of the worlds biggest challenges in areas such as energy, transportation, water and health care. But, remember, this is the engineering college that helped advance MRI machines to save lives. Its the college that helped develop a faster and safer way to zap tumors. Its the college thats improved lots of manufacturing techniques and materials affecting our daily lives. The UW-Madison College of Engineering also graduates more than a thousand ambitious students each year....

Ken Notes: First to the Grainger Foundation - THANK YOU! Second to UW Engineering - lets kick some developmental @##!
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European style AC Hotel planned for Pahl Tire site in downtown Madison

 MADISON - 7/24/2014 While negotiations over a possible$50 million city subsidyfor a new downtown Madison luxury hotel to serve Monona Terrace continue in private, public attention is turning to a separate proposal for a boutique 10-story hotel with limited parking just off the Capitol Square.

TheNorth Central Group of Middletonhas updated its plans for a new hotel at the corner of East Washington Avenue and Webster Street, long-time site of thePahl Tire Company. The block includes the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed "Lamp House," a historic landmark that preservationists have fought to protect from development....

Ken Notes: Downtown is becoming a mecca for great development ideas, now we need to get a few other than apartments in the dirt. One of the things "corporate headquarters" look for is places for their customers to stay with a vibe that make the experience worth while. Madison has that vibe...
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Developer shows $4 million financing gap for second piece of Judge Doyle Square project

 MADISON - 7/24/2014 A developer has revealed details for a proposed $65.9 million piece of the massive Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square. A new tax incremental financing application submitted by JDS Development shows a roughly $4 million financing gap on the part of the project that would bring housing, retail, a bike center and new parking to replace the aging Government East parking garage bounded by South Pinckney, East Doty and East Wilson streets. JDS already submitted an application showing a $44.6 million financing gap on the centerpiece $111.2 million part of the project with a 318-room hotel to serve Monona Terrace, retail space and a 283-space underground parking garage across the street behind the Madison Municipal Building....

Ken Notes: Keep talking this will take a little time...
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Parking plan snags Wilson Street apartment proposal

 MADISON - 7/31/2014 Where to locate a half dozen surface parking spaces has snagged a downtown apartment project. Palladian Inc. and Kothe Real Estate Partners of Madison are looking to replace a worn 1950s-era office building at 330 E. Wilson St. with a mixed-used project that includes 30 apartment units above 1,300 square feet of first floor commercial space at the Hancock Street corner. While the project meets new city land use plans calling for more compact urban development and has been applauded for its mix of unit sizes, city planning officials remain skeptical of including five surface parking stalls under the building. The project was scheduled to go before the Madison Plan Commission Monday night but the developers have taken it off the agenda while they ponder the next step....

Ken Notes: Parking and development downtown will continue to be tough. We NEED a transit system that effectively moves people around the city. Our bus system does NOT work and it is NOT a transit system! We did not give Mayor Dave's light rail a fair hearing and my BRT (bus rapid transit) observations have fallen on deaf ears. Others will see this as a non-starter in Madison and the surrounding communities. Is anyone paying attention, because if not, we are almost done downtown which is too bad.
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Supreme Court upholds Act 10, voter ID, domestic partner registry

 Wisconsin - 7/31/2014 Live updates from the state's high court, which today upheld Act 10, voter ID and the domestic partner registry....

Ken Notes: I wrote about this when it happened I was pretty accurate then and now in hindsight I still am. We need to get rid of the partisanship in Madison and DC and focus on jobs, but it is getting worse not better. Please read my article, reprint or share it you want, call me an idiot, hell, take out TV adds -- just start talking about solutions not the damn problems and if you have to point -- point at yourself.
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Park Street public market boosters to make another pitch

 Madison - 8/14/2014 Although a city committee has voted in support of a consultants recommendation to site a taxpayer-backed public market on East Washington Avenue, advocates for a south side location are not giving up. Sheri Carter, chair of the South Metropolitan Planning Council, is urging supporters of a Park Street public market location to lobby members of the Local Food Committee at its meeting Thursday. The city has spent millions developing the East Washington Corridor over the last few years, Carter wrote in an email. Think what we could have in our neighborhoods if the city of Madison would commit to developing South Park Street?...

Ken Notes: I have seen nirvana - and it is in Grand Rapids MI. It is a great space and cover all the bases plus it looks cool!

Check out the vendors and website Here. They have classes and programs, greenhouses, outdoor markets... It is damn near perfect. Lets go visit... P.S. I still like close to downtown -- no offense south side, I just believe it should be part of the attraction to the downtown footprint. It would make central park - CENTRAL PARK...
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Madison seeks proposals to rehabilitate landmark Garver Feed Mill building

 Madison - 10/23/2014 Madison is asking developers for proposals to rehabilitate the landmark Garver Feed Mill building near Olbrich Gardens on the East Side. The City Council on Tuesday approved a request for a visionary proposal that captures the communitys imagination for rehabilitation and reuse of the 60,000-square-foot structure at 109 S. Fair Oaks Ave. The request for proposals makes available $1.82 million in city funds for a project, which is supposed to be sensitive to the neighborhood, environmentally friendly and encourage alternate forms of transportation. It also aims to have a use that complements Olbrich and asks for 14,000 square feet of storage to be used by Olbrich....

Ken Notes: I like Mayor/Citizen Dave's Idea... Citizen Dave: An idea for saving the Garver Feed Mill.
HERE is my idea --- Add a partial steel, fiberglass or clear roof to protect some of the structure and leave just the skeleton up on the rest (remove glass and hazards shore up the walls). Then create open air craft/art/antique market on Sunday afternoons... inexpensive permanent booths like the farmers market, maybe with some on site storage for vendors. Use a Green LED approach to light that building at night and tie everything into Olbrich. Even add an urban garden and a permanent coffee and maybe flower shop. Build the storage shed for Olbrich and smaller units for vendors and you have a VERY COOL SPACE. I could do this for 1.8 million with a little help for Gorman and Sean Cleary... I am just saying... photos HERE.
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A unified Wisconsin is a better Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 11/6/2014 Four years ago, I wrote an article titled "Rules for the next governor." Rather that review how well our new governor did, I thought I would set a new path for our leader taking the reins on Tuesday...
First, we need to improve our image.
Second, we need to play like a team.
Third, we need to run the state like a company.
Finally, we need to set goals based on building a Wisconsin for future generations.
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Ken Notes: My pre-election article from BizTimes, fairly basic but I do hope we can move forward. I still contend we need to work together -- but may have to wait a while for this, now that there is little need for middle ground... Too bad...
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City negotiating team defends extending talks on Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 11/6/2014 A city negotiating team on Monday defended its proposal to extend a deadline for a detailed plan for a scaled-back hotel and other changes that would slash public costs of the massive Judge Doyle Square project two blocks south of Capitol Square. The negotiating team is recommending the city continue talks with JDS Development, comprised of the Hammes Co. and Majestic Realty, with a final proposal to be ready by May 1. If the City Council takes that advice, final decisions would come after the spring elections....

Ken Notes: I have a lot of faith in team Austin Dunn, and this is a huge project or potential project. Keep reading there is even more that could be placed on the table...
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State officials to release names of Hill Farms redevelopment applicants

 Madison - 11/17/2014 Wisconsin state officials on Monday will release those who submitted proposals for redevelopment of the Hill Farms state property, along with a list of finalists for what is the largest public sector real estate project in Wisconsin since Miller Park. The Walker administration has been seeking a private developer to purchase the Hill Farms site and construct a $197 million, 600,000-square-foot office complex with 2,500 parking spaces to replace the current Wisconsin Department of Transportation building. The state would then own the building, but a private entity would hold the balance of the 21-acre site off Sheboygan Avenue on Madisons west side....
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Four groups in the running for massive Hill Farms development project

 Madison - 11/20/2014 Four development groups including one featuring a prominent Dane County real estate developer and Republican campaign contributor are in the running to buy and replace the home of the state Department of Transportation, a huge project that would become the largest state-owned office building in Wisconsin. Terrence Wall, a former Republican U.S. Senate candidate, leads one development group that includes other companies headquartered in Wisconsin. The three other development teams include companies with headquarters in Fond du Lac, Chicago and Minneapolis, with some Wisconsin-based partners. The state Department of Administration released the names of the developers Tuesday. They are:

McCaffery Interests (based in Chicago), Antunovich Associates, Plunkett Raysich Architects, Vandewalle & Associates, Ken Saiki Design, CG Schmidt, W.E. ONeil Construction Co

Mortenson (based in Minneapolis), Wangard, EUA

C.D. Smith (based in Fond du Lac), Gilbane, HGA, SmithGroup JJR

T. Wall Enterprises LLC (of Middleton), Potter Lawson Architects, Miron Construction Co.



Ken Notes: There are some very impressive names on this list and a few that may be missing...
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King Street entertainment district hatches a $12 million boutique hotel, restaurant and music venue

 Madison - 12/4/2014 The First Settlement District, specifically King and Main streets, has been on the rise for the past several years, thanks in part to the revitalization of the Majestic Theatre and upscale craft cocktail bars like Merchant. Now, those same entrepreneurs are proposing a bold new project for the tiny, triangular parking lot at King and Webster streets. The King Hotel at 118 King St. would be a seven-story flatiron building, including a restaurant, an underground music venue, a rooftop bar and 33 boutique hotel rooms. In the parlance of the hospitality industry, its a lifestyle boutique hotel, similar to the Ace Hotel based in Portland, Oregon....

Ken Notes: Could be amazing...
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Madison will redo process for Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 12/4/2014 Madison officials are quickly regrouping after the City Council early Wednesday moved to reopen to other developers the massive Judge Doyle Square project that includes a new hotel to serve Monona Terrace. The city had been negotiating with JDS Development since February, but a council majority felt the process should be reopened to others because the project especially the hotel had evolved dramatically amid concern about city costs. Mayor Paul Soglin said he and staff should have a new request for developer proposals ready for council review in January with the city issuing it the next month. The change of course means a new request for proposals can be crafted to attract a financially viable hotel that meets city objectives with minimum public investment, he said. Soglin said he was torn between continuing negotiations with JDS comprising the Hammes Co. of Madison and Majestic Realty of Los Angeles and reopening the process for the project on blocks that hold the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage....

Ken Notes: George Austin in now officially the busiest man in Madison. I still think there are HUGE questions to answer...City Hall...The county building...Homeless...TIF Support...Transit...Parking...Building a Convention Support Network...And now the State has entered the redevelopment fray just so I can mention the DHFS building...I love this city!!!
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T. Wall plan for Park Street dairy site lauded, rapped

 Madison - 12/18/2014 Its been more than a decade since Dean Foods closed the former Bancroft Dairy plant at Park Street and Fish Hatchery Road. While hardly a work of art, the old dairy served as a reminder of south Madisons glory days when the corridor was thriving with a curious mix of local businesses. About half of the 3.3-acre site has since been developed into UW Healths new 78,000 square foot Wingra Clinic. But the prominent triangular corner remains vacant. Now, Middleton-based T. Wall Enterprises is floating plans for a mixed-used development featuring 186 apartment units over 13,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Three six-story apartment buildings and a two-story townhouse would connect via a 173-space parking deck under a rooftop plaza....
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Census numbers show that more people go from Madison to Chicago than vice-versa

 Wisconsin - 3/6/2014 A often-heard thought, perhaps fueled by nearly 20-year-old stories that called this area "the new promised land," is that there is a pipeline of low-income, low-education people moving from Chicago to Madison. While it is true that the Chicago area is high on the list of areas from which new Dane County residents move, statistics show that more people migrate in the other direction....

Ken Notes: That said, we need not worry about the new apartment numbers, we need to worry about the jobs that will bring them back and keep them here. What is the next EPIC. I like craft beer and wine, organic foods, cheese, tourism, bio tech, insurance, investment, research, battery tech, energy, new home technology, and lets not forget manufacturing, and retail. Add to my list and tell the legislature that if we are truly Open For Business, we need to walk the walk!

I want a tax credit for every new job in the state. At 10K (2K per year) per job, we just threw away 50,000 thousand jobs. Just a thought...
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UW-Madison real estate center gets $2 million gift

 UW Madison - 3/13/2014 Milwaukee real estate developer and UW-Madison alumnus Mark Irgens has made a $2 million gift to advance the academic mission of the universitys James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. A 1977 graduate who double-majored in real estate and finance, Irgens founded a real estate services firm in 1983 that has developed more than 200 health care and commercial real estate buildings in Milwaukee, Chicago and Phoenix, the university said Wednesday. With a good education, you can become anything, said Irgens, whose wife, Susan, graduated from UW-Madison in 1978 with a masters degree in education. Making a gift to something that made such a big change in our lives was a natural choice....

Ken Notes: Wow.. thanks Mark! This will keep the program on the map for some time to come...
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Appraisal puts Judge Doyle Square properties in downtown Madison at $13.5 million

 MADISON - 3/27/2014 A couple of appraisals have answered a big question in the Judge Doyle Square project, putting the value of the real estate that would be at the disposal of a private developer at $13.5 million. The appraisals of downtown Madison blocks 88 and 105 the parcel behind the Madison Municipal Building where the city is proposing a hotel to complement the Monona Terrace Convention Center, and the land underneath the crumbling Government East Parking Ramp come to $6.5 million and $7 million respectively. The amounts reported by D.L. Evans Co. reflects what the real estate was worth on Feb. 5. The city has tabbed JDS Development to come up with a plan for the properties that includes rehabbing the Municipal Building, rebuilding the parking garage and building a 250-room hotel. JDS had proposed a $216 million plan for the ...

Ken Notes: That is a 200 Million dollar increment! So the 21 Million request is 10% which on my TIF scale is a fair request. Lots of work to be done here but I still like this project.
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Developer seeks up to $5.4 million in city support of East Washington Avenue project

 MADISON - 4/3/2014 A developer is seeking up to $5.4 million in city support for a much-anticipated 14-story project that could include city money for a pioneering rooftop farm and biodigester on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. Gebhardt Development wants a $4 million tax incremental financing (TIF) loan to cover a financing gap and an optional $1.4 million for a rooftop farm and a biodigester. The machine would make fuel from organic waste generated by the entire mixed-use project, which includes a grocery store, as well as Gebhardts massive new Constellation project next door. The city has never been asked for TIF money for either one of the sustainability elements, which are supported by the neighborhood and would be unique in the city...The $4 million request represents 54 percent of the new property taxes close to the citys former standard of 50 percent before an exception was needed but the extra $1.4 million pushes the total to 74 percent...

Ken Notes: I like the UW garden idea. It will be interesting to see the discussion on this...
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Northwestern Mutual selects general contractor for office tower

 Milwaukee- 4/17/2014 ...Gilbane Building Co. and C.G. Schmidt Inc. have been chosen to serve as general contractor for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.'s planned 32-story lakefront tower, putting companies with strong local ties at the center of one of Milwaukee's most important projects, the insurer said Wednesday. Northwestern Mutual said it vetted a broad range of contractors with the expertise and experience needed for the 1.1 million-square-foot, $450 million project. "From day one, we wanted to find a general contractor that shares our core values and believes strongly in the commitment we've made to the city of Milwaukee to provide opportunities to local residents and small business enterprises," Sandy Botcher, Northwestern Mutual vice president and project leader, said in a statement. "We found that in Gilbane and C.G. Schmidt, and we're excited to work side-by-side with them to make our vision a reality."...

Ken Notes: WOW!
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OPINION: Groups TIF referendum is more than fair for Judge Doyle Square

 MADISON - 5/1/2014 Direct democracy usually isnt the best way to run a city, state or country. Just look at California and the headaches caused by its many citizen initiatives. But in the case of the multimillion-dollar, city-backed Downtown redevelopment project known as Judge Doyle Square, an exception to that rule is in order...

Ken Notes: Chris is wrong and the Mayor is correct and here is why:

1. A referendum will delay the project and this costs money. Think about the office staff voting on if you get paid this week.

2. The economics here are tough at best, the council and commissions will spend countless days and hours being educated by both sides on this issue. It would be imposable to do the same with an electorate who will form an opinion is seconds.

3. The schools and the county have a very strong voice in the process.

4. The abuse of TIF law is found when the "But For" clause is ignored. In this case no project will ever materialize "But For" community participation.

5. The city, county, committees, and hundreds of others have worked hard to even get a project to the table, much less approved.

6. An up down vote would kill the project period.

A better solution, if there is a vote, should be an option to eliminate the cities risk using "pay as you go" (developers assumes risk based on future property tax credits) or a fixed percentage cap on TIF participation. I'm a fan of 10 years but in this case I think 15ish is fair.
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Edgewater a big boost for Downtown

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 The most outspoken opponent of The Edgewater hotel project in Downtown Madison now says he welcomes it. So should the rest of the city and region. The revitalized Edgewater will give area residents a fantastic new spot to relax along Lake Mendota. Our city of lakes needs more public access to food and fun on the water. The $100 million redevelopment nearing completion at the end of Wisconsin Avenue also will attract more high-end visitors to spend money Downtown....

Ken Notes: Do I get to mention that I predicted this a few year ago. I just hope that the waterfront is as public now as it was when the City had skin in the game. They could close the gates and we would have little recourse, Madison should have been a partner in this one.
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OPINION: Sign petition to stop hotel subsidy

 MADISON - 6/5/2014 Dear Editor: Standing on the corners of the Square during the Farmers' Market are activists, offering clipboards on Saturdays during the month of June. The clipboards contain a citizen petition for an ordinance that would help stop the subsidizing of a hotel south of the Square. Millions in public funds could be used to build that hotel. Some estimates are that the subsidy could cost $600 per household in Madison. Unless you want to subsidize a hotel, sign the petition. You can also download your own petition. Get your neighbors to sign it, then send it to the address on the petition. Nuts to this scam....

Ken Notes: So wrong on so many counts. This is a huge project that truly meets the "But For" clause in the law. No developer could afford to acquire this property and redevelop it with out using some of the NEW tax revenue they will generate to offset the costs or "gap". The question is simple, is this the right project and I believe that it is.
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Developer expands plans for project near Capitol Square

 MADISON - 7/10/2014 A dynamic proposal to remake the Downtown AnchorBank on the Capitol Square is getting far more ambitious. Urban Land Interests, which has received approvals to modernize and expand the dated, nine-story AnchorBank building at West Main and South Carroll streets, is now expanding redevelopment plans to include the banks aging, seven-floor parking garage across the street. The massive parking garage shares a triangular block bordered by South Hamilton, South Carroll and West Doty streets with the landmark Baskerville and Jackman buildings. The new proposal would:...

Ken Notes: ULI has done some amazing project in the region, I hope we can work with them on this one...
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Possible public cost raises concern about Judge Doyle Square project

 MADISON - 7/17/2014 While the city and developer are continuing to negotiate, a whopping request for taxpayer assistance could jeopardize the massive Judge Doyle Square project near Capitol Square, some city officials said Wednesday. An initial tax incremental financing (TIF) application submitted by JDS Development shows a $44.6 million financing gap on a $111.2 million redevelopment that would include a 318-room hotel to serve Monona Terrace, retail space and a 283-space underground parking garage on the Madison Municipal Building block. The TIF application from JDS, made up of the Hammes Co. of Madison and Majestic Realty Co. of Los Angeles, doesnt cover another piece of the project that would rise across Pinckney Street on the block holding the aging Government East parking garage. A less-refined concept for that block includes housing, retail, a bike center and parking...

Ken Notes: Again the cost of doing a project on this site -- replacing or remodeling city hall, demolition, creating parking and public space - comes with HUGE financial gaps. The question becomes how much is the project wanted and/or needed. I lean toward the potential for the Terrace to become a national convention site and the need for a more functional city hall. Without a project there will be NO tax increment and without committing much of the increment there will be NO project.
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Union Corners UW Health project up for final review

 Madison - 8/21/2014 Those looking to offer input on the initial phase of the Union Corners redevelopment will have a couple more opportunities. On Wednesday, the city Urban Design Commission will consider details on the proposed 60,000-square foot UW Health Clinic at 6th Street and East Washington Avenue. The clinic, which includes 245 parking spaces, 100 below grade, would be the first building constructed on the vacant 11.3 acre site....

Ken Notes: Thumbs Up!!!!
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Remembering 9-11 in Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 9/11/2014 The nation paused this morning to remember the tragic events of the September 11th terrorist attacks, with several observances going on in Wisconsin to honor the victims of the attacks 13 years later. On the UW-Madison campus, 2,977 small American flags were placed on Bascom Hill, symbolizing those killed after terrorist-hijacked airplanes crashed in to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a farm field in Pennsylvania. The flags were placed by the College Republicans of UW-Madison, along with College Democrats and the Vets for Vets organization....
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Wisconsin job growth 33rd in nation

 Wisconsin - 9/18/2014 Wisconsin's private sector job growth is 33rd nationwide and behind the national average.
New data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows private-sector job growth in Wisconsin grew nearly 1.3 percent for the 12-month period ending in March. The national average was just over 2 percent.
That ranked Wisconsin 33rd compared with all 50 states. The only Midwest states lower were Illinois and Minnesota.
The numbers show that Wisconsin added 28,712 private-sector jobs over that period.
Separately, the state reported that in August unemployment dropped from 5.8 percent to 5.6 percent....

Ken Notes: We can fix this:
1. Tie tax and other business incentives to new JOBS.
2. Enlist all development professionals to work with the state and give them the tools to make a difference.
3. Remove health care from the public sector bargaining table by paying for it at the state level.
4. Empower local units of government to work with business and industry to create new jobs (see tools and incentives above). And while we are at it tie shared revenue to regional cooperation to stimulate jobs.
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OPINION: Pull the artsy stones from top of State Street

 Madison - 10/2/2014 The philosophers can do their thinking somewhere else. The city should remove the granite stone seating at the top of State and West Mifflin streets that invite criminal elements to congregate and cause trouble. Installed as Philosophers Grove a decade ago, the artsy stones and landscaping were well-intentioned as a creative urban space for Downtown Madison. But as the late German philosopher Martin Heidegger once said: He who thinks great thoughts, often makes great errors....ARTICLE ON THIS TOPIC IS HERE....

Ken Notes: Let me get this straight, landscaping is the cause of our socioeconomic problems in Madison??? The fact that this person quotes German philosopher Martin Heidegger, Socrates, Hobbes, and Locke make this person a well read fool --- but a fool none the less..."A well-read fool is the most pestilent of blockheads; his learning is a flail which he knows not how to handle, and with which he breaks his neighbors shins as well as his own. Keep a fellow of this description at arms length, as you value the integrity of your bones." STANISLAUS LESZCZYNSKI...
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Downtown Madison housing boom shows few signs of slowing

 Madison - 10/30/2014 The downtown Madison apartment boom is in full swing, with hundreds of new units constructed each year. A question remains: When will the market hit saturation? Downtown Madison, Inc.s fourth annual State of the Downtown report paints a housing landscape with still-low vacancy rates, a large population of young renters and ongoing construction of new apartments, indicating that saturation isn't happening anytime soon. In the downtown area bounded by lakes Monona and Mendota, Blair Street and Park Street 86 percent of residents are between the ages of 15 and 34, and 93 percent of the units are occupied by renters....

Ken Notes: We need to focus now on baby boomers, tourism, conventions, and oh what the hell TRANSIT....
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Developer proposes more housing for East Washington Avenue

 Madison - 12/11/2014 A developer is proposing another significant housing redevelopment for the booming East Washington Avenue corridor, one of the citys hot spots for mixed-use projects.
McGrath Property Group is proposing to demolish several buildings for a roughly $10 million project with first-floor office space, 70 to 85 market rate apartments, a fitness room, landscaped courtyard and underground parking with 74 spaces at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Few Street....

Ken Notes: I wonder if some of these appartments in the city will become condos in the future so young professionals can build some equity. I also worry about the transient nature of professionals who have little or no skin in the game...
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Madison Central Library remodeling named top public works project in Wisconsin

 MADISON - 3/13/2014 Madisons $30 million transformation of its Central Library has been named a 2014 Project of the Year by the Wisconsin chapter of the American Public Works Association, and is in the running for a top prize from the national organization. Tyler Smith, chairman of the Wisconsin chapters awards committee, on Thursday confirmed the library projects top selection in the contests structural division, calling it an awesome project that stood a good chance of also getting national honors when those are announced, likely later this month....

Ken Notes: It is pretty cool...
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City gets first look at business concepts for Public Market

 MADISON - 3/27/2014 Madison is ready for a dynamic public market with an array of offerings and attractions, but it will have to carefully fit in with the citys already robust food economy, a new consultants study says. The markets success will also depend on how it can grow within its location and respond to changing desires, like Seattles Pike Place Market and the Eastern Market in Detroit, the draft business plan from Project for Public Spaces of New York City says. The market needs to be more than a food destination but an extraordinary, year-round destination for residents of Madison not only to shop but to gather, it says....

Ken Notes: I agree with the analysis here and would add that we need to educate the public far more on what a market is and can do for the area. From incubating new businesses to a outlet for street entertainment the markets can be a huge draw for business and tourism. I remain a fan and would be happy to take you to Bsoton, Milwaukee, Seattle, New Orleans, Napa, Philadelphia, Chattanooga...
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Snubbed developer: We`re done until Madison changes rules on historic districts

 MADISON - 4/10/2014 Reeling from the failure of the City Council to back a controversial project on West Gilman Street, Steve Brown Apartments says it will not pursue any development at the site until changes are made to the city landmarks ordinance.
We will not be developing a new proposal for the Mansion Hill site and do not believe that responsible proposals for any of the historic districts are likely to be developed until these issues have been explored and resolved, company CEO Margaret Watson said in a statement...

Ken Notes: There has to be middle ground here! State Street got their projects done after many of the same issues. Mansion Hill could be special and attract development congruent to a master plan or it can be a decaying version of what once was. That by the way is not "historic" it is the cause of sprawl and decline...
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Developer won`t make changes to pursue approval of Mansion Hill redevelopment

 MADISON - 4/10/2014 After another setback early Wednesday, Steve Brown Apartments will drop rather than reshape a controversial redevelopment in the Mansion Hill Historic District and may steer development away from other historic areas....
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Group launches effort for referendum on public investments in big private developments

 MADISON Area - 4/24/2014 A grassroots citizens group wants to put large city investments in private developments to a public vote, including the massive Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square. But Mayor Paul Soglin opposes the effort, saying the public has ample opportunity to participate and the City Council is fully capable of making decisions....

Ken Notes: The mayor is right, candidates should make their TIF tolerance know when the run and people should take that into consideration when they vote. Judge Doyle Square needs public input, but a project of this magnitude needs to also stay on track...
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Target`s interim CEO from Eau Claire

 Wisconsin - 5/8/2014 EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - The person heading one of the country's largest discount retail companies has roots firmly planted in Wisconsin.John Mulligan has assumed the role of interim president and CEO for the Target Corp., based in Minneapolis. He replaces Gregg Steinhafel who also happens to be from Wisconsin. Mulligan graduated from Eau Claire Regis High School in 1983 before earning a bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's of business administration at the University of Minnesota....

Ken Notes: Come Back To Madison!
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Could Madison become a hub for business innovation?

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 Ask anyone what Madison is known for, and it's likely they'll say the UW, the lakes, the Capitol, the Badgers.But what about businesses? Local leaders think the city -- the entire region -- could take it to another level and become a center of innovation, but only if people here start to realize the economic potential in their midst. Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon hopes to remedy that....

Ken Notes: I agree, Just for fun here is a list of article where I mentioned this in my comments!
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Ald. Rummel lauds Willy St. developers over scaled down apartment plan

 MADISON - 5/23/2014 East side Ald. Marsha Rummel hasnt yet taken an official position on the largest redevelopment ever proposed for Williamson Street. But shes crediting the Baldwin Development Group for showing a willingness to work with the neighborhood. The developer has listened to neighborhood concerns about the height and refined the design in positive ways, she said....

Ken Notes: See we can work together, now lets build a city...
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Huge hotel, new West End on agenda

 Verona - 6/5/2014 If youve lived in Verona a while, you might remember the days when T. Wall Properties and Clark Street Development were competing for the right to bring a Kohls-anchored commercial development to Verona. With big boxes all the rage in 2007-08 and each representing an area served by a high-capacity off-ramp from the U.S. 18-151 bypass, they sparred back and forth in separate appearances in front of the Plan Commission and Common Council and in the media. How times have changed. Both properties have major projects coming before the city next week, and not only are they not in competition, neither has a big box and the projects are not remotely similar....
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Judge Doyle Square opponents make strange bedfellows

 MADISON - 6/12/2014 A curious combination of political lefties, the local hospitality industry and free-market purists are finding some common ground this summer: opposition to a taxpayer subsidy for a new luxury hotel as part of the massive Judge Doyle Square project.

As closed-door negotiations between the city and a private developer continue, two groups have organized against the use of tax increment financing or other public money for the hotel portion of the plan.

One group is CASH or Citizens Against Subsidized Hotels Formed a year ago, the group initially was circulating a petition to force any TIF over $10 million be put to a voter referendum. It has recently changed strategy to focus on getting individual City Council members to vote against any hotel subsidy. But a lesser known and potentially more influential group called the Alliance for Madisons Future features a broad coalition of business interests. That group has taken a lower profile approach than CASH, working behind the scenes to influence key decision makers....

Ken Notes: The problem is that the message is both clouded and wrong. We need an advocate to explain both the project and the process, as well as the benefits to the community and convention center. This will be a tough one to sell without a very well educated public.
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This downtown hotel won't require TIF

 MADISON - 6/26/2014 While recent attention has focused on a convention center hotel as part of the Judge Doyle Square redevelopment, developers are moving forward quickly on plans for a separate 10-story hotel just off the Capitol Square. And this one wont require any public subsidy. The Middleton-based North Central Group has tweaked its design for a new 149-room "Courtyard by Marriott Hotel" at 202 E. Washington Ave., a site known to many as the long-time location of the Pahl Tire Co. The developers have changed the parking plans to accommodate 40 underground valet spots, added an outdoor dining area and stepped back the upper floors to reduce any conflicts with the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Lamp House that sits in the middle of the block....

Ken Notes: Nice project and the site was available for cost effective economic development. Be careful when talking TIF or no TIF -- the difference is the gap between project cost and potential returns. The tougher the project the more need for support. Remember TIF is a tool to promote the projects a community wants or needs and is supported by NEW tax revenue.
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Dane County Board could weigh in on Judge Doyle Square

 Dane County - 6/26/2014 In February, the Madison school board sent a letter to the city, asking it to close the tax incremental finance district that the city intends to use to pay for the Judge Doyle Square project. Soon the Dane County Board of Supervisors -- with the encouragement of CA$H -- will consider a similar measure. Supv. Heidi Wegleitner will introduce a resolution at the June 26 board meeting, requesting that the city close the district. In order to fund Judge Doyle Square, the city needs TIF financing, which diverts property taxes from an area to development grants. That means the school district, Dane County and Madison College will all have to give up portions of their tax revenue for several years. Wegleitner says the community has much higher priorities than this project. "We're entering into a really tough budget year, and we have all sorts of compelling needs in the community: huge racial disparities, problems with children in poverty, young people who need work and job training, growing homelessness. There are much better ways for this money to be spent."...
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Dane County jail price tag rises as high as $135 million in new study

 Dane County - 7/3/2014 The price of a new county jail could reach $135 million a whopping $50 million more than original estimates under a set of recommendations unveiled Thursday. Officials have said a new jail could cut operating costs, provide more humane surroundings for the large majority of inmates who are mentally ill or addicted, and reduce recidivism by delivering better counseling and training. Initial reactions...

Ken Notes: I have to ask, I wonder what the private sector could do this for???
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OPINION: No love for AnchorBank wouldn't mean less to love about Madison

 MADISON - 7/10/2014 Im one of those sentimental types who believes a citys heart lies in its downtown. No matter how attractive its neighborhoods and outlying commercial areas, a city with a half-empty and shoddy-looking downtown is a hard city to love....The negative response to an early proposal that included a $16.8 million TIF request from Judge Doyle Square developers also doesnt bode well for ULIs request. Judge Doyle Square and part of the AnchorBank property share the same TIF district...Binkowski said his firms already put a fair amount of energy, time and money into the AnchorBank redevelopment, but that without TIF assistance, it wont do anything with the property. That would be unfortunate for ULI, but it probably wouldnt make Madison any less lovable in the long run...

Ken Notes: Again, I see this one as a negotiation, and I believe we need to sit down and talk. Infill is difficult but essential to the vibrancy of the downtown.
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UW Health, five other providers enter statewide partnership

 Wisconsin - 8/7/2014 UW Health and five other major health institutions in Wisconsin have forged a statewide partnership to contract with insurers, improve care and drive down costs, the companies announced Wednesday. The members of the six care providers, whose service areas cover about 90 percent of the states population, intend to share ideas and resources to more rapidly improve quality and lower costs than we have in the past, said Jeff Thompson, CEO of Gundersen Health System....

Members of the alliance include Madison s UW Health and:

Gundersen, a physician-led nonprofit that serves 19 counties in western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northeast Iowa.

Aspirus, a nonprofit based in Wausau serving 14 counties in north and central Wisconsin, as well as Michigans western Upper Peninsula.

Aurora Health Care, a nonprofit headquartered in Milwaukee that has facilities in more than 90 communities in 15 counties in eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Bellin Health, a Green Bay  system that covers northeast Wisconsin and Michigans Upper Peninsula.

ThedaCare, an Appleton  system that has seven hospitals.

The members use electronic health record platforms from Verona s Epic Systems and, together, encompass 44 hospitals and 5,680 physicians....

Ken Notes: Wouldn't this be a great time to use the state health care plan in all public sectors (even teachers and local units of government). The state could pay for this by adjusting shared revenue and other programs and remove it from the bargaining table. More room for pay incentives -- good for teachers and public employees -- not having to struggle with healthcare costs good for boards and communities. We could also make the program or pool available to the private sector via all of the participating insurance companies. Good for jobs...
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Vision for a complete city: Ald. Lucas Dailey believes Madison should maximize its strengths

 Madison - 8/14/2014 Four months ago, while applying to fill the vacated District 13 seat on the Madison City Council, I was asked about my goals for the position. To make my district more livable, beautiful, welcoming and prosperous, I wrote. And to make the city more vibrant, economically competitive and accessible, just and sustainable....We wont get there by competing for conferences with the Dells, we get there by competing for conferences with San Francisco and New York. We dont get there by picking fights with innovators that offer products better than those from our established companies, we get there by building our own companies that threaten established players around the world...Madison should be a cultural mecca that delights visitors and residents alike...

Ken Notes: READ THIS... An inside look at what Madison can become! I wonder if he reads WDN because we sure share many of the same ideas!
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US home construction jumps 15.7 percent in July

 National - 8/21/2014 U.S. home construction rebounded in July, rising to an eight-month high and offering hope that housing has regained momentum after two months of declines. Construction increased 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million homes, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That was the fastest pace since November and followed declines of 4 percent in June and 7.4 percent in May....
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Mayor Paul Soglin proposes $20 million affordable housing initiative

 Madison - 8/28/2014 Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing an ambitious $20 million initiative to help deliver 750 to 1,000 units of affordable housing over the next five years. Soglin, who shared part of his capital budget for 2015 on Wednesday, wants the city to commit $20 million over five years to a new Affordable Housing Fund that would both add to and attract federal affordable housing tax credits and support at least 250 units of permanent housing with services for the homeless and 500 or more units for people making up to 60 percent of the areas median income. People with very low incomes would be helped, but the initiative also would benefit singles making up to $33,900 or a family of four taking in up to $48,480. The proposal would draw down the existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund, now at about $3 million, and direct repayments to the new, more flexible fund; borrow money for the new fund; and keep tax increment financing (TIF) districts that have repaid borrowing open an extra year allowed under state law to generate between $400,000 to several million dollars annually for the fund. Development also would be targeted to TIF districts....

Ken Notes: As long as we offer housing for he poor we will have poor who are housed. If we switch our focus to mixed neighborhoods with housing of all types, sizes, and affordability we will have communities striving to do better. We also need to maintain our housing stock rather than build new. Using TIF is a good idea but wouldn't the units need to be in the TIF districts, which sort of supports my statement. I applaud the efforts here but we really need to involve more of the community. I know many will point at the inclusionary zoning program and suggest we tried that but -- mandated affordability is different than embracing diversity and providing smaller denser cost effective housing for all income levels.
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The Edgewater readies for grand opening

 Madison - 9/25/2014 Opening a $100 million hotel isnt like flipping a basic light switch; its more like a dimmer switch that goes gradually from off to fully on. Developer Robert Dunn, who began renting the 202 rooms and holding events at The Edgewater hotel over Labor Day weekend, announced Tuesday that the grand opening celebration for the historic property overlooking Lake Mendota will take place the week of Oct. 20, which happens to be homecoming week at UW-Madison....

Ken Notes: Mr. Dunn can WDN readers get a sneak peak???
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Otto Gebhardt proposes another East Washington Avenue development

 Madison - 10/2/2014 After winning city approvals to redevelop the former Don Miller auto dealership properties on the north side of East Washington Avenue, Gebhardt Development will try its hand at the final piece on the south side of the 800 block. Otto Gebhardt who opened the 12-story, 220-unit Constellation building on the 700 block in 2013 and recently broke ground on a 14-story apartment, office and grocery store complex to be called Galaxie on the 800 block has switched his focus to the other side of the street. Gebhardt was the only developer to respond to a city request for proposals for the south side of the 800 block by Mondays deadline....

Ken Notes: On a roll!!!
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Paul Soglin offers $282.9M spending plan with nearly $60 tax increase on average home

 Madison - 10/9/2014 With Madison benefiting from an improved economy but still under strict state levy caps, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing a $282.9 million operating budget that increases taxes 2.2 percent, maintains services, delivers a wage increase, adds positions and fights the emerald ash borer. The proposed budget, which would raise city taxes on the average home by $59.78, helps ensure Madison stays one of the most livable places in the country, Soglin said. The citys growth definitely helps, city finance director David Schmiedicke said. Were seeing pretty significant increases in building permit and room tax revenues that is helping fund a cost-to-continue budget....
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City negotiators reveal concepts for downsized Monona Terrace hotel

 Madison - 10/16/2014 Amid concern about public costs, the city is considering a scaled-back hotel to serve Monona Terrace as part of the massive Judge Doyle Square project envisioned for two blocks south of Capitol Square. A new preferred option would provide 200 to 250 hotel rooms with potential for expansion, move the hotel tower away from the back of the Madison Municipal Building, eliminate most meeting and civic space in it, and shift from a full-service hotel like a Hilton recommended by consultants to an urban mixed-use hotel like a Radisson Blue or Aloft, project director George Austin told the citys Board of Estimates on Monday....

Ken Notes: I am an Aloft fan but we turned them down in the past. Why not invite feedback from existing hotel owners and managers, the two convention centers, the UW, developers, construction firms, and architects, as well as the planers and council.

Establish real needs and sound guidelines (say 10ish not 50ish %) and a definitive timeline for the project. I will be happy to facilitate if you would like. I may be as neutral as you will find in Madison. I just want a great project that is affordable and serves the community well. I may lobby for transit options that ties all the pieces together, but hey that is just common sense.
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Luxury apartments approved for Downtown

 Madison - 11/13/2014 A $3 million mechanical parking garage and a rooftop pool are among the amenities included in a Downtown luxury apartment project approved Monday. The Madison Plan Commission approved on a voice vote developer Les Oroszs proposal for a 12-story, 160-unit apartment building at 425-435 W. Johnson St. The curved building would replace three existing apartment buildings. The buildings most notable feature a roughly $3 million, 150-stall mechanical parking garage caused a variety of questions from commissioners....
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East Washington Avenue sees a smaller-scale development proposal at Few Street

 Madison - 12/11/2014 A few years ago, East Washington Avenue, often considered the gateway to the city, was a relatively empty and unremarkable street.
Today, it is hard to miss the Constellation, a new 12-story high-rise apartment building. Several other developments are in the works, including a Festival Foods grocery store.
Rebecca Cuningham, an eight-year resident of the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood says new residential and commercial space is good for the neighborhood, as long as the developers take into account the concerns of area residents.
"I think that good development is better as long as [the residents] have a little bit of say." Cuningham says. "It was strange for [East Washington Avenue] to be empty."...

Ken Notes: More details...
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Emmons Business Interiors


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Top WEDC exec threatened resignation, says boss was causing deep and lasting harm to agency

 Wisconsin - 9/11/2014 A high-ranking executive at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. tendered, then rescinded, his resignation late last month, but not before leveling a withering criticism of the agencys second-in-command, a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker. Lee Swindall, vice president of business and industry development, in a resignation letter submitted Aug. 25, criticized his boss, WEDC chief operations officer Ryan Murray, as lacking either the talent or experience to function in his position and causing deep and lasting harm to the organization. Murray confuses rigid control with stability and sound management, Swindall wrote to WEDC CEO Reed Hall....

Ken Notes: I have written about the potential for WEDC since day one. My friend Paul was a political sacrifice and politics has ever since steered the ship. It is time to sever the political cord and develop a network of economic development professionals across the state and then provide them with the tools they need to get the job done. Here is what I wrote in 2012 from BizTimes...Oh and this from 2011 when they created the new WEDC...and in 2010...
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Epic Systems Judy Faulkner: We're not the bad guy

 National - 10/30/2014 As it vies for the largest government contract to date for electronic health records, Epic Systems founder and CEO Judy Faulkner is defending the company from criticism it doesnt play nice with others. In an interview with Politico, the once press-shy Faulkner says Epic is not putting up obstacles to the creation of a national system where medical records can be easily shared...

Ken Notes: I remember when the same things were being said about Microsoft and ATT. These are very difficult system to build and in the end the market will sort things out but to suggest that success in building the "system" is the bad guy is not fair. As for politics I hate the way the game is now played on both sides. We need to get the money out and both Judy and the Koch brothers need to invest in something other than PACs and politicians... How about research and wilderness...
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Monona Terrace wins Governor`s Tourism Award

 3/6/2014 The Monona Terrace Convention Center received one of five Governor's Tourism Awards -- the Service Excellence Award -- Tuesday during the Governors Conference on Tourism in Lake Geneva. A statement from the governor's office noted, "The vision of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center is to deliver an exceptional and inspirational experience to the thousands of people who visit each year. The staff strives to consistently deliver great memories that keep people coming back and support the states growing economy."...

Ken Notes: Well deserved! Congrats...
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Where have all the condos gone in Madison?

 3/13/2014 The flurry of luxury apartments going up in downtown Madison is bringing up another interesting issue: What about people looking to buy rather than rent? Local Realtor Liz Lauer is cheering the number of new apartment projects that have come in the market over the past several years. Like the downtown condo boom of a decade ago, she says its helping to put more people on the street after work, boosting commercial activity and generating more restaurant and nightlife activity....

Ken Notes: She is right and condo / new urban housing will follow when we figure out how to build it right. On a 75K income a family needs a 150K - 200K home that is as cool as a 1,200 dollar apartment! That market is not there!
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Buying a house is riskier now, UW-Madison expert Morris Davis tells Wall Street Journal

 National - 3/13/2014 Morris Davis shares some hard truths about the housing market in this recent story from the Wall Street Journal's real estate section. The story by WSJ's Joe Light attempts to determine if real estate is still a good buy, and finds it's "no longer a no-brainer" as steeply rising prices nationally over the past year or so inevitably begin to stall. "You can't buy now and expect a big gain," said Davis, an associate professor in the real estate department at UW-Madison's School of Business...

Ken Notes: Homes still seem a stable investment, just not the growth market they once were. I suggest below, we need a new type of home to enter the market but builders are also looking for margins and profit not found in smaller homes. We will be in the apartment boom until we figure this out. Keep reading...
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Investor group hopes to build Mount Horeb hotel

 Mount Horeb - 4/3/2014 A group of investors is on the verge of bringing a brand name hotel to Mount Horeb, possibly by the end of the year. After several years of discussion and studies, an investor group is being assembled to finance a roughly $4.8 million hotel with around 50 rooms near the Highway 18-151 exit on the eastern edge of Mount Horeb, according to Brad Murphy, president of the Mount Horeb Area Economic Development Corp. A lot of the businesses told us that they really would support a hotel if there was one. Right now theyre having their people stay in Verona or Madison, Murphy said. Murphy said the hotel wouldnt rely on business from Verona-based Epic Systems, which has its campus located just 10 minutes away. Instead, he said the focus is on bolstering tourism and supporting existing businesses in the Mount Horeb area....

Ken Notes: This is a great place for a hotel and EPIC will not hurt even if the vision is local. They are continuing to look for investors...
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Madison real estate values show significant rise

 MADISON Area - 5/1/2014 Finally. After a relentless recession, Madison real estate values rose a solid 3.5 percent for this years tax assessments, including the first increase in the value of the average single-family home in six years. That average home saw an increase in value of 3 percent, to $237,678. Although a sign of strength, its well below the peak of $274,974 in 2008. Overall, 2014 residential assessments increased 3.2 percent, and commercial property which includes apartment buildings with more than four units, hotels, stores and offices jumped 4 percent.
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Many seek new homes near cities but are priced out

 National - 6/12/2014 City living has been a blessing for Tim Nelson. The Phoenix lawyer moved downtown a few months ago into a new $389,000 home with a warehouse-style floor plan, a Jacuzzi tub and kitchen counters made of Caesarstone quartz. His favorite coffee spot is three blocks away. When the Arizona Diamondbacks play on Friday nights, he can watch postgame fireworks from his deck. "I like the views," said Nelson, 50. "My commute is almost nonexistent." Nelson has plenty of company. Americans increasingly say they prefer to live near the centers of cities and towns, where commutes are typically shorter and culture, restaurants and entertainment close by. It marks a shift away from the yearning for open suburban space that drove U.S. home construction for decades.

Ken Notes: If Madison wants to stem the apartment boom, they need to address this issue.
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Verona Commission wavers on West End change

 6/12/2014 Later in the five-hour meeting, commissioners hesitated to support a plan that would reserve 40 acres of the West End for an undetermined school complex. Some took issue with the inclusion of yet more apartments (up to 68 beyond the 104 there now), others raised concerns about the tax-exempt status, and some were not yet ready to let go of earlier plans for a large commercial complex. Some also had reservations because they did not know what the school districts plan might be for the property, but not even the school district knows that yet. It only two weeks ago approved the $3.4 million purchase, and the Future Schools Committee a new group tasked with planning facilities years in advance had not been informed ahead of time and still has not met to discuss it....
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Madison alders question the price tag of Judge Doyle Square proposal

 MADISON - 7/31/2014 Madison Common Council members say the city simply can't afford what developer Bob Dunn wants it to pay for the controversial $174 million Judge Doyle Square project. Dunn is seeking $75.5 million from the city, including $47.2 million in tax incremental financing and $28.3 million to pay for building a new parking garage and a bike center. The combined TIF request is about $1.4 million less than Dunn sought two weeks ago. The proposal includes a 311-room hotel for Monona Terrace, 981 parking spaces, 140 high-end residential units, and more than 18,000 square feet of retail. The project is located behind the Madison Municipal Building on portions of two blocks owned by the city and includes the Government East parking garage. Dunn -- who left a message for Isthmus Monday -- could not be reached for comment. The city is expected to conclude negotiations with him by mid-August, in anticipation of including funding in next year's budget. The council's Board of Estimates got an overview of where things stand on Monday night. For many council members, the TIF request of more than $47 million is particularly hard to swallow. A decrease of just a few million is not likely to ease their concerns...

Ken Notes: Solutions??... 1. Make the TIF "Pay as you go." 2. Align the cost with the benefits. 3. Rethink City Hall and what about the county building not to mention DHFS. 4. Consider a referendum with a strong educational component informing the public. 5. Remember the investment is about $250 per person (and comes from NEW revenue that will not be there "but for" the Project) - a lot of money but if it spurs transit, jobs, growth, and our future --- is it worth it? I would vote yes but alas I actually do not live in the city.
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City finance committee wants to shave public cost of Judge Doyle Square project

 MADISON - 7/31/2014 Madisons finance committee wants to significantly reduce a proposed $47.2 million public investment for the massive Judge Doyle Square project to the south of Capitol Square. The city is looking to team with JDS Development on the $174.2 million project, which would include a new hotel to serve Monona Terrace, commercial space, housing, a bike center and parking on blocks that now host the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage....
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The poker underground: Players see an opening to legalize the game in Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 8/21/2014 Bellied up to a table in Players Sports Bar, the east-side tavern he's owned for a quarter-century, Mark Kroon adjusts his cap and points a thumb over his shoulder to a corner of the room. "We used to play right back here," he says. "This was about the mid-'80s. Phil probably wasn't even old enough to be in the bar at the time." He's talking about Phil Hellmuth, the Madison native and legendary University of Wisconsin dropout known as the Poker Brat. At 24, Hellmuth became the youngest ever to win the game's biggest prize and is now arguably the most famous -- if not the best -- poker player of all time...

Ken Notes: I have a great idea here and it would make a lot of money for the State! Create a progressive poker game that can be played at local bars with a Ten Dollar buy in plus a two dollar table fee (half to the bar half to the state). Winners of round one advance to round two and this continues through 12 rounds. The winner at level 12 gets an all expense paid trip to Las Vegas and the 10K needed to enter a WSP bracelet tournament (or 12K cash). Since you must start at round one this is very low stakes with huge potential. The bars would love it in that it increases business, the state makes some serious cash. The Republicans love it because you need a drivers license to play, The democrats love it because it is low cost blue collar entertainment. Police love it because they can find people they are looking for (shhhh keep that part under your hat). A website and database could be set up to track players and reserve a seat at higher level tables. Final tables could be televised. Tourists would come to play. I am serious -- this is so much better than a lottery where the odds are in the millions. Here 1 in 2000 goes to Vegas, it costs 34 bucks ($10 + 12 * $2 in fees) and it takes real skill to get there. I'd play.
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Plan Commission delays hotel proposal near Capitol Square

 Madison - 9/25/2014 A developer has a month to make changes to a proposed 10-story hotel near Capitol Square and next to a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, the citys Plan Commission decided early Tuesday. In a 5-4 vote, with Chairman Ken Opin breaking the tie, the commission rejected the 164-room hotel at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Webster Street proposed by the North Central Group of Middleton. The commission, concerned about a sidewalk easement, the buildings height and the impact it would have on both traffic and the shadows it would cast, referred the proposal to an Oct. 27 meeting to allow for revisions and more review by the citys Urban Design Commission....

Ken Notes: Too bad, I like this one but I am guessing we can find middle ground here...
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Madison council to decide on East Wilson apartment tower

 MADISON - 3/20/2014 Its decision time on a 14-story apartment proposed for East Wilson Street that is testing Madison s appetite for high-density development and potential negative impacts on current downtown residents. The Common Council on Tuesday is considering a protest petition filed by opponents of a project from McGrath Properties that would remove a long-vacant state office building at 149 E. Wilson St. and replace it with a 120-unit apartment. The McGrath project is sandwiched between two upscale condominium projects built by developer Kenton Peters, including the eye-catching metal-sided Marina Condominiums. Many residents in that building have complained about loss of views, increased traffic congestion and diminished property values should the apartment project go forward....

Ken Notes: Wow just call me Switzerland. Two great stories here so I will stay away, but if the City says no they should buy the building, put out an RFP for development and open it as a shelter while they wait for results...
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Citizen Dave: Madison Common Council does the right thing on East Wilson Street development

 MADISON - 3/20/2014 Last night, the Madison Common Council did the right thing when it overwhelmingly voted to approve a residential tower at 149 E. Wilson St. For one thing, it will replace a vacant eyesore of a building, and for another, it will add to the density that makes for a bona fide downtown. The residents of the two adjacent condo towers on East Wilson Street fought the project. There's a good deal of irony in that, as these residents occupy exactly the same type of structures as the new project. But they did have legitimate concerns that the new building would block their views and lower their property values. I can't blame them for trying, but their personal issues with the project paled in comparison with the public benefits....
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World Dairy Expo ranked 26th among U.S.trade shows

 Wisconsin - 4/3/2014 The World Dairy Expo was ranked 26th in Trade Show News Networks Top 250 Trade Shows in the United States list that was released on March 28. The list recognizes the nation's top trade shows for all industries in 2013. The Consumer Electronic Associations International CES show in Las Vegas was the top-ranked show for the second straight year. The International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition that was held in Louisville was ranked second. The World Dairy Expo was the only trade show from Wisconsin that was ranked....

Ken Notes: Did anyone else think that there are now 200+ shows that we might be able to attract -- we have that space it seems! One or to more on the list would help the region a great deal....
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Senate President Mike Ellis caught talking about illegal campaign tactics

 Wisconsin - 4/10/2014 A secretly recorded video produced by a conservative activist shows Senate President Mike Ellis talking about creating and raising money for a committee to run negative ads against his Democratic opponent which would be illegal for a candidate to do in Wisconsin. In the video, the Neenah Republican describes having friends contribute to an independent campaign committee run by Republican fundraiser Judi Rhodes to air attack ads against his Democratic opponent, Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber....

Ken Notes: I really do hate the PAC influence on partisanship and the political process. Senator Ellis is conducting business as usual by suggesting a PAC can do the "dirty work". This is not unusual -- what is unusual is that he was doing it in public and got caught. My guess is that he will retire comfortably and manage a PAC for others... It is a win win scenario...
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Award from American Public Works Association

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 The Madison Central Public Library Renovation and Expansion project has been awarded the prestigious "Public Works Projects of the Year" award for 2014. The American Public Works Association announced the Madison award in the category for structures in the $5 million but less than $25 million range today....
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Lawsuit over East Wilson apartment development has an angle

 MADISON - 4/24/2014 For private citizens, getting a court to overturn the action of elected officials is always an uphill fight. Daniel Olson, legal counsel for the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, says courts generally work from a presumption of validity that elected officials followed the law in making a decision....Rather than questioning a rezoning for the 121-unit apartment at 149 E. Wilson St., eight owners in the Marina Condominiums are arguing the City Council violated conditional use standards in granting a permit for the project, which would be built next door to the luxury condos...The lawsuit maintains the proposal from McGrath Property Group violates those standards because it fails to provide adequate access for fire trucks or for loading or unloading of moving trucks. It says the development would impact neighbors privacy and that its ventilation system will create excessive noise...

Ken Notes: I have see fire truck access squash a project, but that was before it got to the council. When I was a debater burning bodies was always a great argument. I still think it would be a great sight for City Hall and/or a public market...
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Royster Commons apartments land affordable housing credits, could break ground soon

 MADISON - 5/1/2014 The Royster Commons redevelopment on Madisons east side may finally break ground after developers landed $780,000 in affordable housing tax credits. 
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) this week announced the credits, which will be used to finance 70 new apartments in the Dempsey Place project on Cottage Grove Road.
The $11.7 million housing project part of the broader 27-acre redevelopment of the former Royster Clark fertilizer factory is being co-developed by Stone House Development and Movin Out Madison, a non-profit housing provider....

Ken Notes: This has the potential to be the mixed use / new urban model we have been looking for! Let's hope...
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UDC approves projects, but refers plan for South Park Street development

 MADISON - 5/8/2014 The Urban Design Commission advanced three projects Wednesday including plans for a 12-story apartment building on the West Side. The project, at 617 North Segoe Road, would remove ... The UDC also gave initial approval to the design of Union Corners, which now heads to the Plan Commission, and approved a $1.35 million project that would remove the gas station and convenience store at Woodman's... The UDC referred back to committee a plan for a six story mixed-use building on the former Lane's Bakery...

Ken Notes: Again apartments rule the day. We may need to turn a corner here before long.
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Madison gets huge infusion of federal tax credits for low-cost housing

 MADISON - 5/8/2014 Two projects on Madisons East Side that will provide housing for homeless and low-income residents are getting a total $13.1 million in state tax credits critical to the initiatives moving forward. These are two projects that mean a lot to us, Mayor Paul Soglin said, noting that one will add housing for low-income individuals and the other will help invigorate a neighborhood. The tax credits will deliver roughly 80 percent of the financing and make the projects possible, city Community Development Director Jim OKeefe said. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority will deliver $5.4 million in tax credits for a $7.5 million project to serve the chronically homeless with permanent supportive housing. It will provide 60 efficiency units, as well as case management, and possibly a commercial kitchen at 707 and 709 Rethke Ave., near East Washington Avenue and Highway 30....
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Could Madison create its own Millennium Park?

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 Should the city bury the messy intersection where John Nolen Drive, Blair Street and Willy Street converge to create a Madison version of Chicagos Millennium Park? It might prove difficult for a city this size. But a group of local architects and urban planners are urging people to give it some serious thought. The Madison Design Professionals Workgroup recently completed a report which calls for decking over the roadway and expanding Law Park to eventually include a boardwalk, boat docking and the long-discussed Frank Lloyd Wright Boathouse....

Ken Notes: Again, do I get to mention that I first talked about this several years ago as a potential for the public market after visiting Millennium Park, Navy Pier and San Fransisco. Even if we do not undertake a project of this magnitude it is worth talking about and don't forget the DHFS building while we are dreaming!
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Why is neighborhood plan tossed aside by city?

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 Regarding Mike Ivey's "Neighbors losing fight to limit University Avenue development," there is a too-familiar pattern of neighbors making a well-thought-out and agreed-upon plan that can then be tossed away when the will of "the city" wants other. I want to know why old alders like Robbie Webber, Ken Golden and Tom Powell view themselves as "the city." Am I not the city? I liked the plan with less density and more diversity. Am I less the city because I am over 50 and dislike the canyon? Why spend six years on a plan and then discard it? It seems pointless and disrespectful to me...

Ken Notes: The issue here is probably density. All neighborhood plans will call for less density and more diversity but when looking at urban renewal the cost of redevelopment does not always allow for this. It is a catch 22, but the numbers determine the outcomes, you simply can not charge enough for low density homes and businesses to acquire the existing properties and redevelop them. For the record your elected officials have very little to do with it but do not tell them it will slow the process even more...
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Controversial West Side apartment project will need supermajority City Council vote

 MADISON - 5/23/2014 It will take overwhelming support from the City Council to approve a controversial 12-story housing redevelopment proposed next to an existing condominium tower near the Hilldale Shopping Center on the West Side. Developer James Stopple has already won approval from the citys Plan and Urban Design commissions for the 12-story, 115-unit apartment project with four floors of underground parking at 617 N. Segoe Road, just west of Hilldale in the University Hill Farm neighborhood....

Ken Notes: In ten years Hilldale could be the new urban center of Madison... I wish we could do a more MKE Third Ward type project but hey all boats...
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Middleton gets new trolly service

 Middleton, Wisconsin - 6/5/2014 Mary Jo Ola from channel 3 learned more about a new trolley service available in Middleton....The Trolley Website is here!

Ken Notes: Very cool! One more time for the record, Madison needs one of these running from terrace to terrace down State street with a stop at the capitol! This is so obvious and I first mentioned it seven years ago, mention to MGE that a company in Northern Wisconsin makes a CNG Trolley.
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Entrepreneurs share their tales at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference

 Wisconsin - 6/5/2014 When to start your own company. Where to find potential customers. How to approach investors for money. Those were among the topics tackled at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference in Madison on Tuesday. The two-day event, held at the Alliant Energy Centers Exhibition Hall, is expected to draw as many as 500 people current and future entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers and more....

Ken Notes: Julia Henley and I have taken the Entrepreneurial plunge and started H2Integration. We have five newsletters and need your help building the professional networks behind them. Please check us out. Great exposure for a very low investment.
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Madison to consider controversial fire sprinkler law

 MADISON - 6/19/2014 Madison is considering a controversial proposal to require certain existing buildings including all fronting State Street to have automatic fire sprinklers by 2025. The requirement, which would require costly work to hundreds of buildings in the city, is raising concern among businesses and property owners who say theyre all for safety but criticize a lack of outreach before the ordinance was introduced to the City Council on Tuesday. They fear high costs, disruptions of tenants and workers, and delicate installations in State Streets historic buildings....

Ken Notes: When working through this it is imperative that businesses and contractors are at the table. These systems can save lives but they should not cause businesses to fail. Tax credits, zero interest loans, work with insurance companies... This is not a bad idea, we just need to implement it correctly...
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American Family Insurance, Microsoft partner to boost home automation startups

 Wisconsin - 6/19/2014 Fledgling companies with good ideas for using technology to make homes safer and more connected could get help finding their feet through a new mentoring program developed and publicly announced this week by American Family Insurance and Microsoft. Described as a business accelerator for startups focused on home automation, the first-of-its-kind program will take place from August through December at Microsofts corporate campus in Redmond, Washington. It will provide the selected companies with something like a crash course in networking and resource-sharing, with industry experts providing market data, business advice and introductions to investors and potential customers....

Ken Notes: Am Fam has been on the cutting edge of tech for safety and lowering insurance premiums. The cameras for cars comes to mind...
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Madison could be ripe for tech jobs from the coasts, a New York venture capitalist says

 MADISON Area - 6/26/2014 Bringing investment money to Madison-area startup companies from the East and West coasts has long been a tough sell. But convincing coastal tech companies to bring some of their jobs here is a real possibility, a partner in a New York venture capital firm told a Madison gathering Tuesday. Great Oaks Venture Capital, a New York firm that manages two funds totaling $100 million, already has Madison on its radar with investments in 15 local startups, including the mobile restaurant-ordering company EatStreet and Mdot Labs, which hunts for fake advertising traffic. Great Oaks partner John Philosophos said he has had informal talks with several companies on the coasts that would be willing to locate a tech office in Madison to take advantage of the talent pool and the lower cost of living and doing business here. As many as 40 to 60 jobs could eventually be created, he told the Wisconsin Innovation Network....

Ken Notes: I may have mentioned this...
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City to further examine 3 sites for market district

 MADISON - 6/26/2014 After a series of public forums and a city staff evaluation, a Madison committee selected three finalists from a group of 12 suggested locations for a public market and district. At its Monday meeting, the citys Local Food Committee chose three general areas to complete more in-depth feasibility studies for, including locations on the East, North and South sides. Committee members came to a clear consensus that a South Side location including but not limited to the former Thorstad Automotive at 1702 S. Park St and an East Side location near the intersection of East Washington Avenue and First Street, should be included in final considerations. The committee also sought a third option and included a potential North Side location, near the intersection of North Sherman Avenue and Northport Drive, as a wild card....

Ken Notes: The market should become a part of the Madison experience. Think Copley Square in Boston, Fisherman's Warf, Seattle...
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Madison may purchase remaining lots in stalled Owl Creek development

 MADISON - 7/3/2014 In a rare and possibly unprecedented move, Madison may soon buy the remaining lots in a failed residential development in a troubled Southeast Side neighborhood. Ald. Denise DeMarb, 16th District, on Tuesday will introduce a resolution that the city spend $550,000 for 49 lots and related expenses in the Owl Creek subdivision. The lots represent more than half of the total parcels in the subdivision southeast of the Beltline and Highway 51. The idea is to acquire the remaining lots, remove a half-built, graffiti-marred basement on one lot, and clean and maintain the others that are ungraded and overgrown in anticipation of working with a new developer to complete the project, DeMarb said....

Ken Notes: This is not a bad idea. If the city learns the issues of development first hand they may be a little more effective at working with developers. Plus I thing they could do something special here...
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Isthmus sold to Madison group, former Packer

 MADISON Area - 7/10/2014 The owner of Isthmus Publishing Company is selling to a group of owners who currently run a meal-card plan for students and includes a former Green Bay Packer....In a post on the Isthmus website, The Daily Page, on Thursday, Vince OHern announced the sale to the owners of Red Card Media: Jeff Haupt, Craig Bartlett and Mark Tauscher, who's a former Green Bay Packer. OHern said Haupt and Bartlett have Madison publishing experience with the Onion. Haupt is a UW marketing and management graduate. Bartlett has worked with the Mallards and Adams Outdoor Advertising....

Ken Notes: Wow, I wish the O`Herns the very best. They have done soooo much for the city!
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Aaron Olver hired to run UW Research Park

 MADISON Area - 7/17/2014 The University Research Park has hired city of Madison economic development chief Aaron Olver as its new managing director, replacing the retired Mark Bugher. Olver had previously served as secretary of the state Department of Commerce under former Gov. Jim Doyle before leaving following the election of Gov. Scott Walker. He joined the city in 2011 under former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. "Aaron has extensive experience as a leader on economic development in the Madison region and across the state. He has the skills to lead University Research Park as it grows and changes," said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who serves as chair of the URP Board of Trustees, in a statement Wednesday....

Ken Notes: A good choice, but I hope political ties from the past do not get in the way of a strong future for the Research Park. We need an non political pro development, pro research, keep the jobs in Madison approach here. Congrats Aaron!
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Bioscience co. breaks ground on future headquarters in Beloit

 Beloit - 7/17/2014 A bioscience company broke ground on a new planned 50,000-square-foot facility in Beloit Thursday. The building at 1800 Gateway Blvd., planned to be finished later this year, will serve as the NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes headquarters, the company said. The facility will develop a radioisotope used in medical diagnostic imaging. NorthStar said in a news release that the facility is the first part of a planned 32-acre corporate campus. A second and third phase of expansion could double the building's size and build up to two additional facilities on the site by 2018....

Ken Notes: Beloit is a happening place, the downtown is fun to visit the companies are growing and the beer is cold! Congrats!
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East Washington concert venue, high-rise plan before Tenney-Lapham neighborhood

 MADISON - 7/24/2014 A Madison developer proposing to combine a 10-story, mixed-use building with a 2,000-seat concert venue next to Breese Stevens Fieldon East Washington Avenue is looking for feedback on the plan.
Stone House Development,which has completed a series of successful projects including the Madison Mark and City Row Apartments,is holding a neighborhood meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in the John Wall Pavilion at Tenney Park.
Preliminary plans call for demolishing the Madison Dairy Produce building on the 1000 block of East Washington Avenue and constructing a 45,000-square-foot concert venue that would be operated by Frank Productions....

Ken Notes: Again all boats rise with the tide another venue of this size would be a great draw for the community. Take this week for example a $25 dollar YES concert vs a $100 dollar YES concert. Although seeing them in Overture will be nice!
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Large hotel wins approval in Verona

 Verona - 7/24/2014 Verona, home to Dane Countys largest privately owned company, will soon be home to one of its bigger hotels. On Monday, Veronas City Council unanimously approved a plan from developers David Reinke and KSW Construction for a four-story, 193,000-square-foot hotel complex to be built along Highway 151 in southeast Verona. The approval comes not long after Verona medical software giant Epic Systems a major buyer of hotel rooms in the Madison area revealed that it now employs 7,400 people, up 600 from February...The Hyatt complex will be located in a larger development called Liberty Business Park...The city also approved a 91-room Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites last year that will likely begin construction in the next month...
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Hilldale announces more new stores for redevelopment area

 Madison - 8/7/2014 When the $15 million redevelopment of the north side of Hilldale Shopping Center is completed, it will include some well-known stores that cater to the fashion crowd and a cafe and bar that specializes in Belgian beers. WS Development, the Massachusetts company that owns the shopping center, announced this week that kate spade new york, Lucky Brand, Michael Kors and Sperry Top-Sider will be among the stores that will occupy the 53,000-square-foot open-air streetscape corridors from Metcalfes Market to Macys on the northeast side of the mall and another that runs from the east side to the west side of the shopping center. The latest news is in addition to the May announcement that Cafe Hollander, a Milwaukee  restaurant known for European food and beer, would open on the west side of the mall....

Ken Notes: I have always said Hilldale can become very special... Still needs a hotel.
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Paul Soglin proposes moving ahead on public parts of Judge Doyle Square while negotiations on private elements continue

 Madison - 8/28/2014 Mayor Paul Soglin will propose renovating the landmark Madison Municipal Building and replacing the obsolete Government East parking garage public spaces next year, while the city continues negotiations with a developer to team on a much larger project on those two Downtown blocks. Soglin announced his strategy Monday during a meeting of the citys finance committee, the Board of Estimates, which authorized city staff to continue negotiations with JDS Development on the possibility of a down-scaled, less-costly version of the overall redevelopment, called Judge Doyle Square. The mayor did not immediately have cost details for the Municipal Building renovation and replacing public parking, which he said would be part of his proposed 2015 capital budget to be unveiled on Sept. 2....

Ken Notes: It will be tough to pull these projects apart. I hope all options are still on the table for city hall. Retrofitting an old building is always an uphill climb and there are a LOT of options downtown. Look up!
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No need for a city-funded public market, says Ald. Lauren Cnare

 Madison - 9/4/2014 While the City Council has put off a decision for at least a month on where to site a new public market, at least one prominent alder is against using taxpayer dollars to make it happen. I know it sounds hip and cool but I just dont think we need one, says far east-side Ald. Lauren Cnare. A former council president, Cnare says she appreciates all the hard work the various groups have put into the effort but calls a city-backed public market a vulnerable proposition. She says local food vendors are already overworked and worries that a large public market would only detract from existing farmers' markets through the community. By the time a lot of these small farmers get around to our little neighborhood market they are already pretty tired and often the vegetables are too, she says....

Ken Notes: Her comment suggest she has little or no idea what a public market is, or at least should be. We need to visit the great markets in existence and build on the best ideas. A market should provide: a new outlet for emerging businesses, a gathering place, an attraction for visitors, an opportunity for seasonal businesses, a showcase for local products, an outlet for street entertainment, and a catalyst for other economic development. Too many, like Cnare, see it as a farmers market with coffee. She should be wrong...
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City Council upholds OK of large Willy Street apartment project

 Madison - 9/18/2014 The City Council has upheld the approval of a six-story apartment building at the corner of Williamson and Blount streets thats been strongly opposed by the Marquette Neighborhood Association.

District 6 Ald. Marsha Rummel had filed an appeal of the city Plan Commission approval of the project from the Rifken Group, saying the panel failed to obtain enough details before granting the OK in July. She also criticized the 55-unit apartment with first floor retail as not complying with the adopted land use plan for the near east side...

Ken Notes: Great project, I still feel it will need a "hippie factor" to blend in with the neighborhood an I hope it achieves this.
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Developer puts proposal for hotel near Capitol Square on hold

 Madison - 10/2/2014 Amid continuing city requests for revisions, a developer has put on indefinite hold its proposal to build a 10-story hotel near Capitol Square and next to a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home. The North Central Groups architect, in a one-sentence memo on Tuesday, asked the city to remove the project from all upcoming city agendas. North Central Group officials could not be reached Wednesday, and it was unclear if the developer was intending major changes or dropping the project. Last week, the city Plan Commission narrowly failed to approve the developers proposal for a 164-room hotel at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Webster Street....

Ken Notes: Again I want us to get this right and we may need a master plan for the area. Keep reading for an update on the county building and jail, we have lots of work to do... One note we do not have a plan B for the hotel site which really should be developed so lets keep the developers in the loop...
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Madison in 100 objects

 Madison - 10/16/2014 Ancient civilizations are defined by their artifacts. If Madison were suddenly smothered by a Mount Vesuvius, or swallowed up by Lake Mendota like Atlantis, what would future archaeologists conclude about us? What would we want them to find and what would we wish had stayed buried forever? Theres the Capitol dome, to be sure, its solid granite mass standing in mute contrast to the noisy political battles that raged below. The colorful, sunburst-patterned chairs of the Union Terrace long since turned to rust would hint at carefree summer days by the lake. Paul Soglins mustache (were taking some liberties with the physics here) probably ought to be in there. Heck, Madisons Mayor for Life might still be in office then....

Ken Notes: Not bad - We should do 100 development projects that define Madison!
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Save Black Earth Meats $225K Kickstarter aims to reclaim the slaughterhouse

 Black Earth - 10/23/2014 The clock is ticking for Black Earth Meats.
By the end of November, The Bank of New Glarus is going to start selling off equipment and property to recover $1.1 million left on its loan.
In response, the business, which closed in July, has taken to Kickstarter. Bartlett Durand, founder of the organic butcher, lays out the vision for "Black Earth Meats 2.0" in a video attached to a $225,000 crowd-funding campaign that started on Monday...

Ken Notes: I am a fan of BEM and hope this campaign works, or the bank can work out a deal with them. I believe that the Village of Black Earth may have some problems if this is litigated since they used some sketchy tools to have the bank call the loan. I believe that they need to work this out especially if BEM is willing to move the slaughter off site. Just a peace of advise (spelling intentional).
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New parking spots to open soon at airport

 Madison - 10/30/2014 Finding a covered parking space at the Dane County Regional Airport will soon be easier as 700 new parking spots will open by the end of next week with another 800 to open later this year, according to airport spokesman Brent McHenry. The new parking spaces are part of a $20 million project, which was unveiled in February as part of a 20-year parking improvement plan to keep pace with rising airport use. The project added three levels of parking to the existing airport parking structure, adding nearly 1,500 parking spots and bringing the airports covered parking capacity to 4,465 spots....

Ken Notes: May I point out that the same 20 million would have purchased several BRT units, paid the drivers for life and delivered 100's of passengers per HOUR to the airport.
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Yahara Hills continues to keep city golf courses in the red

 Madison - 11/20/2014 With low revenues at Yahara Hills Golf Course expected to cause Madisons golf courses to lose money again this year, the future of the 36-hole facility may depend on an aggressive plan to increase rounds there in the future that includes the return of liquor sales, city officials said. Revenues at the citys four courses are expected to finish anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 short of its expenditures in 2014, said Charlie Romines, Parks operations manager. That disappointed Parks officials because Odana Hills and Glenway golf courses had strong years financially and Monona Golf Course was marginally competitive, Romines added....

Ken Notes: Have we ever thought about just leasing the course and some land to a private firm, they could run the course and develop a facility for banquets, dinning, and other events as well as office or other commercial space "think up not out". They would have to keep the course "public" say 50 or 75% of the time. I know a few developers who would jump at this...
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Salvation Army shelter crowded, but expansion prospects thwarted by politics

 Madison - 12/4/2014 Early cold weather this season swamped the Salvation Army's downtown Madison shelter with homeless women and families, but plans to improve shelter facilities are tied up in changing policy trends and city politics, says Major Loren Carter. There are rooms for 18 homeless families upstairs at the former school building at 630 E. Washington Ave., Carter says. But in cold weather, up to 75 additional people single women and families bunk for the night in the former gymnasium and in two additional rooms right off the main hallway....

Ken Notes: Read this... We can get this done but it will take a team effort. We could build one or more new shelters, develop urban campgrounds for tiny houses, upgrade older or inexpensive housing, and provide a public "rest room" which could be more like a health club with showers and other amenities. We could create a token system for panhandlers and an adopt a homeless person program to cover some of the costs. Put this in perspective, a full membership at the Princeton Club is only 50 to 100 dollars a month. Why can't we have a home free club downtown... and yes Brenda, members would have to behave to continue to have privileges... Safe, clean, secure, warm, and welcoming...
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Paul Soglin mulls options on business future of State Street, Capitol Square

 Madison - 12/11/2014 Mayor Paul Soglin believes the city needs a serious conversation about the future of State Street and Capitol Square and is now mulling options on how it can happen.
Soglin, who last week said he's concerned that beverage-related businesses may turn the city's most famed thoroughfare into "a street of mega-saloons," on Tuesday stressed that he isn't proposing anything yet but that options include study, creating a large ad-hoc committee, and interim measures to control new liquor licenses with certain exceptions.
"As mayor, I've got an obligation to report to the public when I see changes like this so that one day folks don't wake up and say, 'How did this happen? Who wasn't paying attention?" Soglin said after a press conference Tuesday morning....

Ken Notes: He is correct and I like his vision, but without incentives a bookstore or specialty shop will have a tough go where rents are at a premium. Limiting licenses will also reduce the newer upscale establishments from coming into the market. These venues attract people who might actually buy a book...
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More bars and restaurants proposed as Paul Soglin seeks conversation on State Street's future

 Madison - 12/18/2014 More drinking and eating establishments are being proposed for the State Street area as Mayor Paul Soglin pursues a hard look at the business future of the city's most famed thoroughfare. Core Campus, developers of the 12-story, mixed-use Hub project, envision eight commercial spaces on the 500 block of State Street and two on the 400 block of North Frances Street and on Monday got Plan Commission approval to make building facade changes needed for multiple restaurants. The approval, however, came with a condition -- accepted by Core Campus -- that one or more of the State Street spaces be for retail or service businesses, not beverage or food establishments....

Ken Notes: Developers will build anything that is potentially profitable. I promise.
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WEDC hires new VP of international business development

 Wisconsin - 12/18/2014 Wisconsin native Katy Sinnott has been named vice president of international business development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the states semi-private job creation agency.
Sinnott replaces Lora Klenke, who left the job over the summer to become managing director of international alumni relations for UW-Madison, according to WEDC spokesman Mark Maley. Sinnott, a UW-La Crosse graduate with a bachelors degree in finance, will earn $110,000 annually to oversee WEDC programs involved with helping state businesses export their goods and services, and with attracting foreign investment in Wisconsin businesses, Maley said....
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Middleton ordered to halt construction of Public Works building

 Middleton - 3/27/2014 The city of Middleton has been told to stop work on the construction of a public works building and could be forced to rebid the project, but the city says it followed state law and will fight to maintain its contract with the Madison construction company it selected...However, the city contends that it did take the lowest bid in the category. The city asked for bids for two different types of buildings, one with tilt-up concrete walls and the other with more traditional steel construction. The tilt-up concrete construction bid, which only was submitted by Newcomb, was about $60,000 more than the steel construction bids submitted by the other eight companies...

Ken Notes: Definitely two different types of buildings here this will be interesting...
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Apartment project at former Lane`s Bakery site on Park Street has been slow to develop

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 Redevelopment of the former Lanes Bakery site has been slowed after developers proposed some fairly significant changes to the project. JD McCormick Companies received final city approval last year for a five-story, 40-unit apartment building with commercial space on the bottom floor. The $5 million project is slated for 444 S. Park St., directly across Drake Street from the new Ideal Apartments....

Ken Notes: Prime property and a huge investment everyone needs to get this right!
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Developer rethinking big Williamson Street project

 Madison - 8/14/2014 A controversial, $44.5 million mixed-use project on the Near East Side will need roughly $5.9 million in public support to move forward, the developer said Tuesday. The Baldwin Group asked the city to pause land use review for the eight-story project which would offer 209 apartments, 7,800 square feet of retail space and 262 parking spaces at 722-734 Williamson St. to see if such a tax increment financing (TIF) loan is possible. The project still needs land use approvals from the Urban Design and Plan commissions and the City Council. An informal TIF request got a cool reaction from city staff, who want to see a detailed application that can be taken to policy makers for an initial review....

Ken Notes: Great site for the market???
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Wisconsin Democrats lean on Walker to approve Menominee Hard Rock Casino

 Wisconsin - 8/28/2014 Democratic lawmakers with ties to the Kenosha area are leaning on Gov. Scott Walker to approve an $800 million Menominee Hard Rock Casino in the city one year after the federal government gave it the green light, saying the project would bring much-needed jobs to an area with high unemployment rates. Racine has the highest unemployment rate in the state. An influx of new, family-supporting jobs would be a game-changer, said state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, at a Capitol press conference Wednesday. My constituents cant afford to wait any longer for the jobs at stake here. It is time for Gov. Walker to make his decision and approve the casino. Racine and Kenosha counties have unemployment rates higher than the state average....

Ken Notes: Why don't we report these stories for the "Politics" they are. Walker needs disenfranchised voters in Milwaukee to stay home Burk needs them lining up at the polls. Neither candidate right now is thinking Jobs, they are thinking votes. Even Potawatomi is playing the votes game by trying to put the issue on the table by withholding payment.
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Verona Liberty Park gets second TIF phase

 Verona - 10/2/2014 With momentum growing at Liberty Business Park, the city signed off Monday on a small second phase of road construction and a winning bid for the project. It will add 1,262 feet of paving, utilities, sidewalks and landscaping on three streets to the area around the short stub of Liberty Drive just off County Hwy. M at a cost of $764,122. The city has already spent $1.7 million in tax-increment financing on Liberty Park and has plans to eventually spend up to $6 million overall on the project, which would include extending Liberty Drive to Whalen Road and expanding Whalen. But that will be in a later phase. Mondays agreement, contingent on getting landowner David Reinkes signature by Wednesday, creates Laser and Clarity streets to the south and north, respectively, of the two buildings now under construction at the park and extends Liberty Drive to create an intersection with Clarity....
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If state`s economy is improving, many not sharing in it, notes the Wausau Daily Herald

 Wisconsin - 10/9/2014 If Wisconsin's economy is improving, a whole lot of people aren't sharing in it, notes the Wausau Daily Herald in an editorial today. The state's poverty rate has increased the past few years, but what's worse is that poverty among children has risen even faster. Obviously, what we're doing to combat poverty in the state isn't working, the paper adds.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette, meanwhile, notes that the unemployment rate in both the U.S. and the state has been falling. That's the good news, but a big problem remains unsolved -- businesses can't find employees who fit their job skill requirements. The paper announces it and other Gannett newspapers in the state will embark on a nine-month series that will seek to find solutions to this problem....

Ken Notes: This is WAY too politically skewed, but the facts are that we are not creating jobs as much as we are creating profits and wealth. We need to reverse this trend. EPIC is a great example of how to do this. Manufacturing is another. There are others...
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Downsized Judge Doyle Square project dramatically reduces public funding

 Madison - 11/6/2014 A scaled-back hotel and other changes would slash public costs of the massive Judge Doyle Square project two blocks south of Capitol Square, a new report says.
Changes would cut the tax increment financing (TIF) investment to about $20 million for a roughly $147 million project from the previous estimate of $47 million for a $174.2 million project on blocks that hold the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage, according to a 10-page report from the citys Judge Doyle Square negotiating team...

Ken Notes: I may have mentioned this, but lets get ALL the ideas on the table, prioritize, then explore the economic realities....
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From vision to reality: Computer renderings are shaping Madison development

 MADISON - 3/6/2014 When John Martens read in the newspaper about plans to renovate the Edgewater Hotel, he was thrilled. An illustration of the plans showed a grand public walkway extending from the hotel down to the shore of Lake Mendota -- and Martens has long advocated for more public access to the lakes. But as he stared at the illustrations for a while, he began to notice some peculiarities. A developer who has been trained as an architect, Martens began doing his own investigation and decided that this vision of the future was suspect. ...

Ken Notes: Fun read!
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City Council approves tower on East Wilson Street

 MADISON - 3/20/2014 A push by residents of a prominent Downtown condominium building to block redevelopment of an adjacent lot gained the support of a Downtown alderman Tuesday but fell short in the hands of the full City Council. Despite a plea from Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, to deny it, the City Council approved, 17-2, a rezoning of 149 E. Wilson St., paving the way for McGrath Property Group to go ahead with plans for a 14-story tower with 121 apartments. Council members also considered a certified petition from residents in the adjacent Marina and Union Transfer condominiums to appeal the Plan Commissions January decision to grant a conditional use permit for the property. The council denied the appeal and instead affirmed the Plan Commissions decision 15-4....

Ken Notes: Never mind the if they say no comment...Can we still talk about a second deck over John Nolen.. Indoor outdoor market, link to park, ties to conventions, I'm just saying...
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Will millennials ever buy houses?

 MADISON Area - 3/27/2014 If the people renting all those shiny new apartments in downtown Madison arent interested in buying real estate, what impact might that have on the broader housing market? Its a difficult question to quantify given that no one is keeping stats on recent arrival home buyers per se. But anecdotally, some in the real estate business do see less interest among young people today in buying a home or condo whether because of debt, a low-paying job or location choice....

Ken Notes: Great read... I would also add that both developers and residents will migrate toward the path of least resistance and buying a condo today is tough and "cool" homes in sub 200K range are non existent -- Whats left very very nice apartments!
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In response to video, Ellis says hes done nothing illegal

 Wisconsin - 4/10/2014 Neenah State Republican Sen. Mike Ellis is firing back after a hidden-camera video of him was posted online. A conservation activist known for his hidden-camera videos released audio on Wednesday of Ellis talking about raising money for a super Political Action Committee to attack his Democratic opponent, Rep. Penny Bernard-Schaber of Appleton. The video appears to show Ellis discussing campaign fundraising ideas that, if developed, would be illegal. However, Ellis says he has done nothing wrong....

Ken Notes: They do not have any idea of the bear they have poked. We have our own little "House of Cards"...
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Building commission backs UW hospital parking project

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 A $32.6 million expansion of the University of Wisconsin Hospital parking ramp approved Wednesday by the state Building Commission completes current parking projects for the campus west side, a university official said. The existing six-story ramp, located on Highland Avenue, is the only parking facility for hospital patients and visitors. It already is operating at 95 percent capacity daily. Demand has increased because of the loss of about 500 nearby parking spaces when the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, the Health Sciences Learning Center and the School of Nursing were built in recent years over those spaces. The project adds 780 spaces in a six-level horizontal expansion on the 1,410-stall ramps east and south sides...

Ken Notes: May I just mention that 32 million would more that pay for a pretty nice transit option into the UW Medical Center. 780 new spaces is not that many and if the UW demonstrated the value of BRT, Madison might get the idea. Just a thought.
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Red Card and Mark Tauscher team up to buy Isthmus

 MADISON Area - 7/10/2014 At first glance, the above headline appears to be straight out of The Onion. I should know -- I spent 15 years of my life working on America's Finest News Source: 10 owning the rights to The Onion in Colorado and five for Onion Inc. here in Madison. But I assure you, the Red Card meal-plan organization and former Badgers and Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Mark Tauscher really are teaming up to buy Isthmus. We are excited about it and hope you will be too...

Ken Notes: As an official news junkie I will continue to read, aggregate and support...
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Supporters, critics clash on need for new Monona Terrace hotel

 Madison - 8/14/2014 As the city nears a decision, supporters and critics sharply dispute the need for and impact of a proposed hotel which may need massive public support to serve Monona Terrace. Monona Terrace officials, the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau and others cite multiple city and consultant studies that say a hotel will lure more big events to ensure the convention centers future, fill hotel rooms and deliver a huge economic return. This is a unique opportunity, convention and visitors bureau president Deb Archer said. Monona Terrace started the story that revived our Downtown. This is the missing puzzle piece thats never been filled. This is the exclamation point....

Ken Notes: Talk this out, it is a huge project and tossing it out because it is difficult should not be an option!
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Members from Madison food policy council discuss public food market

 Madison - 9/4/2014 Members of the Madison Food Policy Council discussed possible options for the location of a public food market Wednesday after the citys Common Council declined to make a decision. City council members agreed to refer the project to the Economic Development Committee for further study Sept. 2. Council member Kathy Utley said public markets in other states such as Minnesota offer much more than strictly food. It really gave me an idea and understanding of what a public market is, Utley said. Its not a grocery store. That is something that has to be communicated to people who misunderstood what the public market is....

Ken Notes: I may have been saying that exact thing for the past 7 years. We need a road trip for the council and interested parties. I have hosted one to Milwaukee and now suggest Michigan and others...
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Consultant shares concepts for Madison Municipal and City-County buildings

 11/6/2014 A private consultant on Wednesday shared a series of concepts to better use space inside and between the aging and energy-inefficient Madison Municipal and City-County buildings that face the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The four main concepts all rearrange city offices in the structures to better serve the public and staff through a one-stop shop approach where people would go to large service counters for most services, and all remove traffic from the street to create a more attractive, vibrant and usable public space. The options preserve and restore historic elements of the landmark Municipal Building, including its exterior, the first-floor corridor, and the second-floor courtroom now called Room 260...

Ken Notes: Interesting, I was not paid to say the exact same thing two years ago. Also before we renovate please consider the functionality that comes with a new facility. 51 Million buys a very cool new building, more space, better public access, better use of energy, and the old building becomes the centerpiece of one hell of a new project...
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Cheesecake maker, others testify in support of funding Madison public market

 Madison - 11/13/2014 Madison is moving ahead with planning for a public market on the east side after the City Council decided to keep funding for the project intact Tuesday night. Three alders David Ahrens, Lauren Cnare and John Strasser had sponsored a capital budget amendment postponing $6.25 million in expenditures to 2016. At final budget deliberations, community members, farmers and potential vendors came out to protest that idea. 2015 is really going to be a critical year for this market, said Madison Local Food Committee chair Anne Reynolds....

Ken Notes: Thumbs up to the council, and to the Cheesecake maker. mmmmm... The market will provide an outlet for small vendors to have affordable space and putting a project together in the private sector of this magnitude would be difficult. lets go visit the Grand Rapids Market -- it is unreal!!!
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Madison: No. 2 of all U.S. cities for young entrepreneurs, NerdWallet says

 Madison - 11/20/2014 Madison is the second-best city in the nation -- behind only Arlington, Virginia -- for young entrepreneurs to make their mark, according to NerdWallet. The financial advice website says it looked at factors such as access to small-business loans; networking and mentorship; the local economy; and affordability. About Madison, the report says young entrepreneurs benefit from one of the highest per capita rates of small-business loans -- $799 -- of any major city....

Ken Notes: Yea!!!
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Evjue Foundation announces grants worth $358,600 for Madison area groups

 Madison Area - 12/11/2014 The Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of The Capital Times, announced 43 new grants to Dane County area charitable causes Wednesday, including an additional $100,000 contribution to the Henry Vilas Zoos soon-to-be-completed Arctic Passage exhibit.
The ambitious project seeks to replicate conditions in the Arctic and will feature wildlife including polar bears that reside there. In addition to the $100,000, the foundation will donate $50,000 more to the project when the zoo is able to raise money to match that smaller amount.
The Evjue Foundation has long been a major contributor to the zoo. Recent grants include a $50,000 contribution for the Arctic Passage exhibit in 2013 and a $100,000 grant in 2012 for the zoos animal health center.
Todays grants of $358,600 bring total 2014 donations to educational, cultural and civic organizations to more than $1.5 million, all made possible by the will of William T. Evjue, the founder and longtime editor and publisher of The Capital Times. Mr. Evjue directed that the proceeds from his controlling stock in The Capital Times Co. be returned to the community for worthy causes....

Ken Notes: THANK YOU!
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Findorff - Character Community Craftsmanship


Findorff, builders of Wisconsin's finest projects... ...Display And/Or Share This article

New UW economic development programs are off to a running start, leaders say

 UW - 3/27/2014 A program to turn UW-Madison discoveries into commercial companies, created just four months ago, already has more than five dozen prospects to consider. Meanwhile, a new state venture fund may be ready in about 90 days to start considering investments. The new leaders of four University of Wisconsin System economic development programs were the featured speakers Tuesday at a meeting of a Madison technology networking group. Discovery to Product, or D2P, is a partnership between UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) that was created last November. Already, 67 proposals have been submitted, said John Biondi, who this month was named director of the program....

Ken Notes: Yea Team, I have suggested this for years. WARF has some of the greatest patents on earth and the UW produces proven leaders... Now the trick is to keep the companies IN Wisconsin!!!
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The Changing Face of Madison - West Gilman Street

 MADISON - Developer Steve Brown proposes(ed) the demolition of two buildings and the move of another in the Mansion Hill Historic District, but historic preservation advocates have expressed concerns. In their place, plans call for three five-story brownstone buildings with a total of 59 apartments....

Ken Notes: I would like to see a before after rendering with the Landmarks group explaining the benefit of the current buildings. If they instead suggest alternatives, they are not preserving Landmarks the are becoming a De facto plan commission. We actually already have one of those as well as a planning staff that is pretty good and often ignored...
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Monroe Street businesses relocating to controversial new mixed-use development

 MADISON - 6/5/2014 Two longtime Monroe Street businesses will take the bottom floor commercial space in a new four-story development that created a firestorm of neighborhood opposition last year.
The Knitting Tree and Monroe Street Shoe Repair will move into The Monroe, at the corner of Knickerbocker and Monroe streets, when it opens later this summer. Its not a huge move distance-wise, as both stores are already located on the 2600 block of the street in a brick two-story commercial strip....

Ken Notes: Perfect! This will keep the Monroe Street vibe alive and well, open up two slots for new businesses, and give existing businesses a chance to grow. Why we have to be so confrontational to get to these solutions is beyond me but well done all...
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Embrace the Edgewater, if not its $60 steaks and four-figure suites

 Madison - 10/30/2014 The most important thing to know about the newly remodeled Edgewater hotel is that, contrary to what its developer spent months telling city residents, this monument to swank didnt need a multimillion-dollar city tax subsidy to become a reality. Just imagine if city officials allowed other deep-pocketed developers to similarly prove what awesomeness they could come up with given no less than a great location in a great city and the wonders of American capitalism say, at the Judge Doyle Square site. The second most important thing might be along the lines of the first thought I had upon reading about the Edgewaters $60 steaks, $9,000 television-equipped bathroom mirrors and a $1,250 suite: Were not in Kansas anymore....

Ken Notes: First there was a "but for" gap in the project, the private side just stepped in to fill it. Second, if I were to pay $60 dollars for a steak I would definitely choose Edgewater over, say, Ruth's Chris. Third, I hope we have events and business that attracts the $1,250 suit patron. We may very well see the private side take on Judge Doyle Square as well, but if they do we can't question the price of the beef!
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The Edgewater reopens and it is more than just a hotel

 Madison - 10/30/2014 For years, Robert Dunn has looked from his Maple Bluff home across the often choppy and sometimes frozen waters of Lake Mendota with envy and an idea...Now, more than 10 years after he began talks with the previous owner of The Edgewater hotel, Dunn, 48, has seen his vision for the iconic property become a $100 million reality on the west end of Wisconsin Avenue...Instead, the 202-room property, with 356,220 square feet of space under roof, has the feel and amenities of a resort. Unlike most hotels that generate 90 percent of revenue from room rentals, The Edgewaters business model relies on events to provide 40 percent of the hotels income....

Ken Notes: This is a true gem in the Madison Crown. Well done, oh and the steaks -- rare!
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Gener8tor raises $2.2 million fund to invest in start-ups

 Wisconsin - 11/20/2014 Gener8tor, which runs a start-up training program that operates in Milwaukee and Madison, has raised a $2.2 million fund, according to a filing with federal securities regulators. "This is the next step in our evolution of gener8tor and will help us continue attracting high-quality start-ups," said Troy Vosseller, a gener8tor co-founder. Since forming in 2012, gener8tor has invested in 28 companies, which have raised nearly $30 million from gener8tor's organizers and outside investors...
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WMC says right-to-work, tax cut are priorities

 Wisconsin - 12/11/2014 Wisconsin's most powerful business lobbying group is calling on the Legislature to pass a right-to-work law, something Republican Gov. Scott Walker has repeatedly said distracts from his agenda. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce president and CEO Kurt Bauer said in a column on the group's website dated Monday that a right-to-work law is needed to make the state competitive with 24 others that already have one. In general, right-to-work laws prohibit private-sector unions from requiring workers to join or pay dues as a condition of employment. Bauer also supported a "modest gas tax hike" and higher vehicle registration fees to pay for roads projects, as well as eliminating the highest income tax bracket....

Ken Notes: WOW -- WMC is now more conservative than the Governor??? I wish we could focus on real job issues which have little to do with right-to-work or lower taxes. Companies want tax and economic stability, infrastructure, good workers, opportunities for growth, and a great place to live. We can create that and WMC should say so!!!
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Photos: The Ideal Apartments

 MADISON - 3/6/2014
Since opening in December, the Ideal has rented 40 of 57 units. About one quarter of the tenants work at Epic Systems. ...

Ken Notes: These are way cool! Clearly not you grandparents apartment. I get why people want to live there -- I want to live there...
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Analysis finds homes on Madisons popular Near West Side selling well, holding value

 3/20/2014 Restaino & Associates agent Chad Sperry has a good blog post up now featuring a closer look at comparative annual sales data for four neighborhoods on Madison's Near West Side and West Side. The data, from the South Central Wisconsin MLS for listed properties, shows that homes in these popular neighborhoods -- known as University Hill Farms, Sunset Village, Midvale Heights and Westmorland -- tended to sell faster and for better average prices in 2013, compared to the same area in 2012 and to Dane County's 2013 average for single-family homes overall....
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Lands End will spin off from Sears on April 4

 Wisconsin - 3/20/2014 Dodgeville clothing retailer Lands End will split from Sears Holdings Corp. on April 4, making it an independent company again for the first time in 12 years. Documents filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission last Friday lay out details for spinning off Lands End from its Hoffman Estates, Ill., parent company. Sears board has approved the plan; it does not need a shareholder vote. Under terms of the separation, Sears stockholders, as of March 24 at 4:30 p.m., will receive about 0.3 shares of Lands End common stock for each share of Sears stock they own. The distribution is set for April 4, and Lands End shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq market on April 7, with the symbol likely to be LE. Sears chairman Edward Lampert and his ESL Investments will hold 48.4 percent of the stock in Sears and Lands End. In its SEC filings, Lands End preliminary fourth-quarter sales were reported at $530.4 million, down from $545.5 million in the previous years fourth quarter....

Ken Notes: YEA! They will grow exponentially because they get it and sears does not. Now we need a leadership team in place to move them forward and a legislature committed to keeping them in Wisconsin. They should pull out of Sears and partner with Kohls. I see a little New England Seaside lighthouse outlet in the corner of every store nation wide...
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Tiny houses help address nation's homeless problem

 National - 4/3/2014 While tiny houses have been attractive for those wanting to downsize or simplify their lives for financial or environmental reasons, there's another population benefiting from the small-dwelling movement: the homeless. There's a growing effort across the nation from advocates and religious groups to build these compact buildings because they are cheaper than a traditional large-scale shelter, help the recipients socially because they are built in communal settings and are environmentally friendly due to their size....

Ken Notes: What if our "inalienable rights" were amended to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and "100 sq feet of clean safe living space". Think about it, if you shoot someone we will do this for you, but if you agree to play by the rules all bets are off...
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Madison City Council upholds Landmarks Commission denial of project in historic district

 MADISON - 4/10/2014 After a passionate, sometimes testy debate, the Madison City Council early Wednesday upheld a city Landmarks Commission decision to refuse Steve Brown Apartments' proposal for a controversial redevelopment in the Mansion Hill Historic District. At 2:20 a.m., the council voted 12-6 to uphold the commission -- it would have taken a 14-vote supermajority to overturn -- meaning the project is stalled unless Brown makes changes acceptable to the commission....

Ken Notes: I would also like to make a motion that no city council meeting can last past midnight...
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Monona eyes redevelopment project along Yahara River

 4/17/2014 A rare opportunity to expand public lake access in an urban area of Dane County could begin in fall 2015, under a plan unveiled Thursday by Monona officials. Monona Mayor Bob Miller announced that the city for around $2 million has purchased two properties and obtained multiyear options on three others for a total of 7.4 acres along the Yahara River. Miller hopes to attract a developer that can bring to the site a large mixed-use project that will become a recognized waterfront destination. The projects top priorities are to maximize public access to the water, remove signific...

Ken Notes: Monona has a goldmine for infiill development.
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These Are the 10 Smartest Places in Wisconsin

 4/17/2014 When it comes to Wisconsinites, theres a lot of passion and pride going on. They drink their milk to get strong, they play and cheer hard for their sports teams, and they are moving ever forward. One thing that should be added to this reputation is that Wisconsin has some pretty smart cookies living there. So where all these smartypants residing? The Movoto Real Estate Blog decided it was high time somebody found out. Wed already ranked the the smartest cities in America, so it wasnt too difficult to switch gears and focus on one state in particular. We made a list of places, did a little math, and discovered the 10 smartest places of the badger state. Led by the certifiably brilliant Middleton, the brainiest places in Wisconsin were: 1. City of Middleton 2. City of Verona 3. City of Pewaukee 4. City of De Pere 5. City of Hudson 5. Village of Shorewood 7. City of Mequon 8. Village of Waunakee 9. Village of Sussex 10. Village of Whitefish Bay Wheres Madison, you may ask. Or Milwaukee? Fear not, we looked at them. too. You can find out how they ranked near the bottom of this article where we have our full list of places. How did we decide that these were our top 10? Grab yourself a glass of milk, sit back, and relax as we go over what factors we used to make our list....
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T. Wall Properties L.L.C has changed its name to Vanta Commercial Properties L.L.C.

 Middleton, Wisconsin - 4/23/2014 Middleton, Wisconsin - T. Wall Properties L.L.C has changed its name to Vanta Commercial Properties L.L.C. effective April 21st, 2014. The new name reinforces the company's exclusive commitment to commercial real estate and its mission to provide fully integrated real estate services to its customers. In addition, the new name is intended to differentiate the company from multi-family and residential companies which bear similar names. Vanta Commercial Properties has a local, experienced staff of licensed professionals who assist customers with their brokerage, property management, construction, development and service needs. Customers can focus on building their businesses while Vanta Commercial Properties handles their commercial real estate needs. The company's tagline, "Imagine It" supports its goal to turn customers envisioned office spaces into reality. Randy Guenther, CEO and CFO of Vanta Commercial Properties, stated, "We're excited and focused about the future of our company and our continued commitment to our customers. We wanted a name and look that reflects motion that expressed energy and moving forward. Vanta is derived from "advantage", which implies the success that our customers achieve when choosing Vanta Commercial Properties to grow their business with." For more information, please visit the new website at www.vantacp.com Vanta Commercial Properties (formerly T. Wall Properties) is a premier commercial real estate company, with a portfolio that consists of over 2.5 million square feet of commercial office and retail space with a wide range of options. Vanta delivers best in class management services each day to over 250 satisfied customers in Dane County. Imagine it....

Ken Notes: Link is to the new Website! Welcome Vanta...
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Proposed tiny house village for homeless can meet city zoning regulations, report says

 MADISON Area - 4/24/2014 Occupy Madisons plan for an east-side village of tiny houses for the homeless clustered around a workshop can meet city zoning requirements, city staff reports. The local grassroots nonprofit group wants to place nine tiny houses mounted on trailers about 100 square feet each around a former auto repair garage converted to a workshop to build them. The OM Village plan requires rezoning of the site at Johnson and Third streets....

Ken Notes: Why try to pigeon hole these units, instead adopt a clear ordinance that conforms to a master plan. They are a great solution and could be a special part of our community but only if we integrate them into the community. Remember the occupy camps, no control and they quickly morphed into something we could not live with. I am not being big brother here I just think the city needs to lead rather than follow.
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Union Corners plan gets total makeover

 MADISON - 5/1/2014 Gorman & Co. has made significant changes to its development plan for the long-vacant Union Corners site, including moving the UW Health clinic off of the corner of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street. Rather than anchoring the high-profile corner, the $20 million, two-story clinic building is now shown at the corner of East Wash and Sixth Street. Instead of the clinic, the new plan shows a pair of four to six story mixed-use buildings fronting on East Wash and Milwaukee Street....

Ken Notes: This is another project I would really like to see move forward. Gorman is clearly listening here and willing to make changes. If they walk away it will be a loss for the city and the neighborhood...
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Monona unveils waterfront redevelopment on Yahara River

 Monona - 5/1/2014 Monona Mayor Bob Miller announced plans to redevelop waterfront property on the Yahara River at a press conference Thursday. The city concluded negotiations with landowners to purchase five properties to redevelop in the Bridge Road/Broadway area into a large mix-use residential and commercial development with public access to the waterfront. The city envisions the 7.4 acres of land, ...

Ken Notes: Looks nice!
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Thermodata moves to Whitewater University Innovation Center

 UW Whitewater - 5/6/2014 Thermodata, an international corporation with clients on every continent, has moved its world headquarters to the Innovation Center at Whitewater University Technology Park. The company develops and markets temperature-monitoring systems for a wide range of industries, including health care, food service, scientific research and public health. "I am pleased to welcome Thermodata to the Innovation Center and to a growing community of technology companies in the area," said Richard Telfer, UW-Whitewater chancellor. "With only one unoccupied suite left, it is clear that entrepreneurs see the Innovation Center as an ideal place to start and grow their businesses." Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2001, Thermodata opened an office in Boston in 2010, and relocated to Wisconsin in April.

Ken Notes: A very nice park, I see a lot of growth coming from here...
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Dane County poverty rate remains above state average

 Dane County - 5/8/2014 Three pockets of high poverty exist in Wisconsin and Dane County is one of them. Dane County joins Milwaukee County and Superior, a geographic area that includes several rural northwestern Wisconsin counties, as having higher overall poverty rates and child poverty rates than the statewide average 10.2 percent and 11 percent respectively according to the 2012 Wisconsin Poverty Report authored by UW-Madisons Institute for Research and Poverty. The poverty rate varies widely throughout Dane County. The western portion of the county, outside Madison, has a poverty rate of 11.5 percent and a child poverty rate of 15.6 percent....

Ken Notes: This tends to support the case I have been making that it is hard for the socioeconomically challenged to cross the hurdles in Madison because the talent pool is so broad. We need to create educational paths to employment starting at much earlier ages. I publish WisconsinApprentice.com because I believe it is one of the best paths. I am sure there are others. We can no longer ignore this issue and pretend we are working on it. Until every 16 year old has a clear path to college or employment we have not begun to address the issue. Oh and for the record it is not their problem it is our problem.
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Duluth Trading Co. to be first tenant in Mount Horeb Innovation Center

 Mount Horeb - 5/15/2014 A growing Duluth Trading Co. will be the first tenant in a repurposed office, meant to serve as an innovation center in downtown Mount Horeb. The space, at First and Main streets, was most recently occupied by a BMO Harris Bank branch that closed last year. The building was purchased by Duluth Trading Co. owner Steve Schlecht with the idea of using it temporarily to alleviate crowding at the companys Belleville offices, and then eventually renting it to a group of smaller businesses..
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Groundbreaking held for luxury Monona apartments on Yahara River with 'destination' eatery

 5/23/2014 Another new restaurant from Tim Thompson will occupy the ground floor of a $22 million, mixed-use riverfront development in Monona featuring 121 luxury apartments and advanced erosion control strategies. Thompson co-owns the Free House Pub in Middleton and just opened The Flying Hound in Fitchburg. Both feature a European focus with a draft-beer focus and menus with German and English influences....

Ken Notes: We do not usually cove groundbreakings because at that point our work is done, but this is a nice project...
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Plans released for Menominee's Hard Rock casino

 Wisconsin - 5/29/2014 The developers of an unapproved casino in Kenosha released formal plans for the $810 million project Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Jeff Hook, vice president of marketing for Seminole Gaming that owns Hard Rock International, described additional components of the multi-phase project. According to the article, 2,700 slot machines, 100 table games and 24 poker games would be located in a 400,000-square-foot building. An entertainment venue and retail area also would be included in the space....

Ken Notes: A lot of money being spent if they are still in the dark about approval?? My guess is that they know something.
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Photos: Edgewater hotel - A look back

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 The Edgewater has had a storied history in downtown Madison since it opened in 1948. The historic structure has undergone an approximately $100 million renovation and will reopen to the public this summer. Before the Edgewater starts a new chapter, here are a few photos from its past....
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OPINION: Only 5,840 `actual` jobs from Walker`s WEDC

 Wisconsin - 6/12/2014 This July marks the three-year anniversary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Gov. Scott Walkers flagship economic development agency. WEDC has been mired in allegations of incompetence and skirting the law since 2012, but how has it performed when it comes to its top priority of creating jobs for the people of Wisconsin? Two official state data sets indicate that for every verifiable job Walkers WEDC managed to create, the state lost more than two to plant closings and layoffs...

Ken Notes: Again we were slow enter and will be slow exit... I will suggest - one more time - a plan to provide tax cuts to businesses new and old that expand their employment base. I like 2K per new employee for 10 years -- but hey pick a number ANY number and just do it! WEDC can then promote the plan, work with local EDC's, chambers, and communities. WEDC can alos provide the conduit for federal and other programs for business. If you have a plan we would love to post it as well. It does seem that there are a lot of complainers offering little in the way of solutions.
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Madison Catholic Diocese significantly alters plan to convert headquarters into housing

 MADISON - 6/12/2014 Officials with the Madison Catholic Diocese are moving forward with plans to redevelop the Bishop OConnor Catholic Pastoral Center, their historic headquarters, though the plan has changed significantly from the one announced last fall. The new concept calls for a mixed-use development, not solely rental housing. The diocese will keep all of its offices at the site not vacate the premises as originally planned co-existing with 54 apartments. In another big change, diocesan officials said they now assume the building will remain tax-exempt. Last fall, they said the redeveloped building would pay property taxes....

Ken Notes: I would ask for a payment in lieu of taxes but hey that's just me. I am guessing they will still want city services...
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Nearly 400 new apartments planned on far west side

 MADISON - 6/19/2014 Theres no slowing in the number of large apartment projects in downtown Madison but developers arent just focused on the urban core.
Two major apartment complexes are in the works on the citys far west side which would add nearly 400 more units to the local rental market.
East of Pleasant View Road at 302 Samuel Ave., the Gallina Companies is developing two four-story buildings for a total of 174 units in the Attic Angel-Prairie Point community. The project includes 174 underground parking stalls with another 102 surface parking spaces...

Ken Notes: WHY Why why will we not build smaller denser upscale affordable homes in the Madison area??? I moved to Evansville to find what should have been in Madison or Verona or Middleton or Sun....
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Gov. Walker: Attends construction launch for 833 East Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce: Announces early-stage companies joining summer delegation to pitch investors in Silicon Valley

 MADISON - 6/19/2014 The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced the remaining early-stage companies joining the summer delegation to pitch in front of prominent venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. The four fast-growing businesses were selected by partner organizations and join Brian Jensen, president of Fishidy and winner of the inaugural Pressure Chamber, which debuted at neXXpo: Business in Fast Forward. Trip participants include:...
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State awards $2.2M for youth apprentices statewide in upcoming school year

 Wisconsin - 6/26/2014 The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development this week announced the release of $2.2 million in youth apprenticeship grants for the 2014-15 school year. Dane County received the largest grant, at $341,276, for programs in south-central Wisconsin. Founded in 1991, the program trains hundreds of high school students each year in fields where employers face workforce shortages. It covers 40 occupations and includes a blend of on-the-job training with employers and technical college-level instruction at the participants' high schools. Students who finish the two-year program get a certificate and graduate with the skills needed for an entry-level position in their field. They also may receive technical college credits....

Ken Notes: Interested in Apprenticeship read WisconsinApprentice.com Every Tuesday!
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High cost keeps tiny house movement from taking root in Madison, says zoning admin

 MADISON - 7/3/2014 Tiny houses are a red-hot trend in sustainable and affordable living, but no one is building a permanently situated tiny house in Madison yet, because they are so expensive, says Matt Tucker...

Ken Notes: Switch the rules here to reduce costs. Site these projects as URBAN CAMPGROUNDS using existing state statutes. 400 sq ft max, 180 day occupancy on a site (thus no residency) but units could shift to another site. Schools will still take the children and addresses could be established at a mail center. Each campground could have strict design standards and campgrounds could work with the city on other specific regulations. By allowing campgrounds, you eliminate the density and zoning issues as well as permitting... I also see a mix of socioeconomic residents, I for one would love a place to have a small home in Madison and for the record we have often camped in the Milwaukee Area at state fair park. Charge me enough to supplement a homeless unit in the same campground. Let the residents know if they mess up they will be asked to leave and are once again homeless. You will be surprised to learn they will adjust very fast.
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Fire Department delays controversal sprinkler ordinance proposal

 MADISON - 7/3/2014 Amid complaints about cost and a lack of outreach by the city, Madison has put on hold a controversial proposal to require certain existing buildings to have automatic fire sprinklers by 2025. In a memo Tuesday, Fire Chief Steven Davis asked the City Council to kill the Fire Departments current proposal so it can do more study and work with interests in the community to forge a new plan. The council agreed on Tuesday evening without debate....

Ken Notes: Take some time and get this right. Consider requiring sprinklers with any substantial upgrades to existing facilities.
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Developer Bob Dunn asks for $44.6 million in city aid to build Judge Doyle Square hotel

 MADISON - 7/17/2014 Developer Bob Dunn wants the city to pony up $44.6 million in order to build a $111 million, 318-room hotel behind the Madison Municipal Building as part of the Judge Doyle Square project. Dunn is asking for almost three times more tax incremental financing for the hotel as he did for the controversial Edgewater Hotel redevelopment, which cost almost as much. The figures -- Dunn's formal request of the city -- were obtained Tuesday by Ald. David Ahrens, who provided them to Isthmus. The city is negotiating with Dunn over the project, which includes a hotel to complement Monona Terrace, parking, retail and high-end housing....

Ken Notes: This should be a negotiation and will be both well publicized and debated ---- lets not get ahead of the process here!
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Principal of Madison's Gompers Elementary says success comes from believing in all kids

 MADISON - 7/31/2014 You have to believe in the kids, says Sarah Chaja, principal of Gompers Elementary School on Madisons north side. It starts with having the belief that all children can learn, achieve and perform. If you dont believe that, its not going to happen, says Chaja, whose school was featured for its progress in improving student performance in 2013-14 in the first annual report under Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham released by the Madison Metropolitan School District this week. Under Chajas leadership, the school posted improvements in reading and math scores and growth by individual students. That included a 9 percent increase in students reading at proficiency levels and a 19 percent gain in students reaching their growth goals in reading skills overall....

Ken Notes: She is sooo right. We allow society, parents and to a lesser degree schools to teach our children what they must become instead of allowing them to dream about what they might be. When I was on the school board and mayor I loved visiting first grades and asking the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. I loved the answers, when I asked high school students the same question the answers were dismal at best. What happened?
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Support Trek despite politics, the Journal Sentinel insists 3 Print Email

 Wisconsin - 7/31/2014 Despite campaign politics, Gov. Scott Walker needs to be supporting Trek Bicycle even if his opponent in this fall's election comes from the family that owns it. Walker, who claims to be the state's biggest cheerleader for business, should know better than to attack outsourcing when it's so essential in today's economy, the paper says. Speaking of Trek, blogger James Rowen today posts a video from last year that sings Trek's praises in an ad produced by the Walker administration to show how Wisconsin is a good place to locate your business. Gov. Walker and his health officials promised last year that while they were not going to participate in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges and not accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, they would make sure that Wisconsin citizens got coverage, the Wausau Daily Herald reminds the administration. Now we discover there are at least 38,000 people without insurance and this is unacceptable, the paper editorializes. These uninsured need to be found and put in a health plan, it adds....

Ken Notes: I agree! Trek is good for Wisconsin. I would love to manufacture more here in the state, but I would be just as happy if we marketed, shipped and developed much of what is made elsewhere. Will we attack Kohl's, Shopko, Lands End, etc. because much of their products are made internationally. I hope not...
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Wisconsin invites companies to join trade trip

 Wisconsin - 8/7/2014 Gov. Scott Walker's economic development agency is inviting Wisconsin companies on an overseas trade trip later this year. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation plans to lead a trip to the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey in early November. Companies that join the agency on the trip will receive briefings on each country as well as WEDC-brokered one-on-one meetings with local partners the companies are seeking, including importers, distributors and retailers. The agency says companies involved in the manufacturing, medical equipment, aerospace, food and energy industries could find opportunities in the three countries. The cost of the trip is $9,595 per person, although participants may be eligible for a grant that would cover the fee. Registration information is available on WEDC's website. Registration ends on Aug. 29....

Ken Notes: I worked with the Czech Republic as a Mayor and was very impressed.
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Wollersheim breaks ground on $4 million distillery facility

 Wisconsin - 8/7/2014 Just over a year after releasing its first batch of brandy, Wollersheim Winery on Tuesday broke ground on a $4 million distillery facility that when completed will help the family-owned Dane County business greatly expand its line of spirits. And if the plan works as well as the improvements made to the historic winery over the past decade, there should be plenty of Coquard Brandy to make Old Fashioneds in supper clubs and corner bars around the state. The 25,000-square-foot distillery building that is under construction will be attached to the winerys fermentation buildings and will include two stills and an aging room for 20 5,800-gallon fermentation tanks and 400 oak barrels. The building, scheduled for completion by next summer, will also have retail space...

Ken Notes: Buy local...
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WMC exemplifies the power of greed

 Wisconsin - 8/14/2014 Greed raises its ugly head. I don't know how else to characterize remarks made recently by President and CEO Kurt Bauer of the never-satisfied Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's big-business lobby. Weighing in on the controversy over outsourcing jobs, which has put WMC's poster child Scott Walker in an uncomfortable light, Bauer tried to help out his group's favorite politician....

Ken Notes: Ahhhh the old cantankerous Dave is back. WMC is not that bad, they do go a bit overboard on the politics and as you know I am not a fan of the iron mine (we should push tourism instead). Poor Kurt is just trying to put on a good face and he is right about our exporting jobs. Of course my idea, a 20K tax incentive for new hires taken over 10 years has not been talked about because it has no potential political gain for either party, but it would create and keep jobs in Wisconsin! Tell me why I am wrong. -- So Dave here is my challenge to you -- find a program YOU believe will help and write about that. Stop blaming the other team and field one of your own. Change the debate... You but your ink buy the barrel USE IT...
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Study: state workers get richer benefits than national average

 Wisconsin - 8/14/2014 Even after changes made by Gov. Scott Walker, state employees in Wisconsin get richer benefits than the national average and pay a smaller share of the cost while taxpayers end up shelling more, a new national study has found.
The first of its kind analysis was carried out by two groups respected for nonpartisan research, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It focused only on health coverage and didn't seek to compare the salary and overall compensation of public employees across states...

Ken Notes: We do have great benefits, and should - they attract good people. Our system of bidding the program out to all insurers is also a good idea. We need a little more employee participation and I believe we should offer the plan to all public employees and PAY for it. If this sounds stupid realize that we pay for it now with far less control and it serves as the club over the head of every local school board, city council, and other government body EXCEPT the state. Making the "pool" available to the private sector would also bring small employers to the state in droves...
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OPINION: Burke, Still dance around Trek outsourcing

 Wisconsin - 8/21/2014 Nobody covers up for Mary Burkes boo-boo against outsourcing jobs as well as Tom Still in his Inside Wisconsin column July 27. Still writes a very informative article about why outsourcing jobs and selling our products overseas is a good thing for Wisconsin. I agree that sales help Wisconsin, but outsourcing jobs only helps the company. Still writes that Burke has 'chastised' the Walker administration because the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation awarded tax credits in 2011 and 2012 to two companies which later outsourced jobs abroad. He also mentions that Republican Walker has 'gone after' Democrat Burke over the 'supposed' outsourcing of jobs by Trek....

Ken Notes: Stop pointing fingers and blaming others WE Created the problem. OUR programs allow for this. WE are not addressing the problem. There ARE options -- tie investment to jobs in the state plain and simple, no jobs no money. This issue will be a political football through November but know one is actually playing the game. Ask the candidates how they plan to create and keep jobs in Wisconsin and watch them both double talk... The answer should be --- Invest in growth, tie investments to jobs, track the results, no politics, no campaign funds, no BS... Quote me!
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Reaping the consequences of not getting government out of the way

 Madison - 8/28/2014 Tuesdays front page featured two examples of what can go wrong when government aspires to be something more than a regulator of capitalism and starts acting like a capitalist itself. But at least in one of them, government is (belatedly) remembering its place. Madison officials missed an Aug. 15 deadline to reach a deal with developers on a massive Downtown project to replace a city parking garage, upgrade city offices, and build a hotel and other privately owned commercial space. Throwing a wrench in negotiations was the developers request for $47.2 million in tax increment financing that city officials thought was too large....

Ken Notes: Worth getting right hang in there!!!
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AUCTION - Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead

 Sturgeon Bay, WI 9/4/2014 Historic lighthouse for sale in Door County, Wisconsin. Register now to bid! Soft Close set for September 9th Please download the Invitation for Bids for more information on the property and sale terms and conditions.... Current Bid: 26,000 USD

Ken Notes: A FYI note, this auction is set to close soon. I see a great little B&B here...
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Mayor Paul Soglin proposes $247.6 million capital budget

 Madison - 9/4/2014 Madison Mayor Paul Soglin on Tuesday proposed a $247.6 million capital budget for 2015 that includes a major new commitment to building neighborhood centers, moves ahead on parts of the Judge Doyle Square project and delivers millions for a proposed public market and low-cost housing. The proposal envisions spending $8.3 million next year for as many as two new neighborhood centers, although more than half of the money would come from private sources that Soglin said havent been identified. Just $400,000 was budgeted for this year. Soglins six-year projection calls for a sustained increase in capital expenditures for centers $38.3 million, up from just $9.4 million estimated last year. He said neighborhood centers will help fight poverty and racial disparities....
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BrightStar Foundation to support gener8tor companies

 Wisconsin - 9/11/2014 The philanthropic BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation said it will partner with gener8tor, the Madison and Milwaukee business accelerator, and will invest $50,0000 in each company that meets BrightStar's main investment criteria: creating high-quality jobs in Wisconsin. Gener8tor holds classes twice a year, mentoring more than two dozen start-ups since June 2012....

Ken Notes: Thumbs Up!
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State seeks Marketplace Governors Awards applicants

 Wisconsin - 9/11/2014 The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is seeking nominations for the 2014 Marketplace Governors Awards, which honor minority, woman and service-disabled veteran business owners. The awards will include The Outstanding Business Award for established businesses that have demonstrated the capacity to grow over the past five years and have plans to expand in the future. And The Rising Star Award for newer businesses that have strong growth potential....

Ken Notes: MarketplaceWisconsin.com.
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New East Wash development will be a triple threat: Restaurant, wine bar and coffeehouse

 Madison - 9/18/2014 A new development that includes a Southern restaurant, a wine and tapas bar and a diner-style coffee shop will involve booze in every aspect. That is, pending approval from the Alcohol License Review Committee Wednesday. The entire building at 829 E. Washington Ave. (the former Lussier Teen Center), owned by the umbrella company Robinia LLC, hopes to be open for business by mid-November. ...

Ken Notes: A lot of pedigree in these venues, I think this spot could be a home run. Speaking of pedigree, I have a question from a reader who is moving to Madison, looking for dog friendly downtown living quarters near a dog park???? Any ideas...
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Dane County bests Madison on, ahem, sustainable government incentives

 Madison - 10/2/2014 Forget all that do-gooder mumbo jumbo about saving the Earth with recycling and more renewable energy. A plan to use tax dollars to help do more of both at the Dane County Landfill is not just about environmentalism. Its about a better approach to taxpayer-subsidized economic development that has largely been forgotten by Madison officials responsible for overseeing apartment and hotel building in the Downtown. County Executive Joe Parisi on Wednesday announced a $4 million plan to provide a site for construction materials recycling, study the feasibility of capping the landfill with solar collectors, and test technology that could allow the county to capture carbon dioxide produced by landfill operations....

Ken Notes: Why Chris uses this to take a poke at Madison is beyond me. "All those cranes" signal good paying jobs and the tax base to pay for Joe's new programs (which I also applaud). If you want to save the earth -- provide jobs and new energy efficient development, housing, and businesses. You know, for those of us who are into that sort of thing.
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High-speed bus system inches forward

 Madison - 10/9/2014 A faster, higher frequency bus system for Madison is moving into the next stages of planning with approval from the City Council Tuesday night. The proposed Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, system would run along east-west and north-south corridors, all funneling through the isthmus. The 60-foot buses would run every 10 or 15 minutes, have transit signal priority and drive in a designated lane or median corridor most of the time.
The goal is faster, easier transit, but it carries a steep price tag: about $138-192 million in capital costs and $9.2 million for annual operating...

Ken Notes: This is good to see. Imagine if we had added a BRT lane to East Wash and University Ave when they were recently redone. We need to visit Montreal and see how this works. We do not need to start off with everything. How about an airport to downtown run, terrace to terrace tourist shuttle, a "convention" system between the hotels and the two convention centers and the UW. We could do much of this tomorrow!
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MATC getting $1.2 million federal job training grant for health-related programs

 Madison - 10/9/2014 Madison Area Technical College will use a $1.2 million federal grant to help paramedics gain the skills needed to become nurses faster and to create a new medical certificate that can be earned in a summer and has long been desired by employers in the insurance industry. The local job training money is part of a total $19.9 million awarded to the 16 Wisconsin technical colleges statewide. It was announced recently by Vice President Joe Biden and other federal officials as a way to help higher education institutions across the country deliver career training for in-demand jobs in health care....

Ken Notes: Great program!
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Madison officials seek options for Allied Drive grocery store

 Madison - 10/16/2014 At one point, there was a SuperSaver Sentry. Then a Cub Foods. Now, Allied Drive and Dunn Marsh residents are shopping for groceries at a Walgreens and a gas station and, on Jan. 16, the Walgreens will close. We need a grocery store," said neighborhood resident Sina Davis. "I cant repeat it over enough." Its a cry thats been heard for years, ever since the neighborhood's Cub Foods closed in 2009. The interim brought multiple short-term solutions, including weekly bus runs to Woodmans and bringing in the Freshmobile, a truck with groceries. Both options have since stopped, however, due to various issues like underutilization and maintenance....

Ken Notes: We need to get the neighborhood involved so this will be seen as a great local neighborhood market. I would touch base with Millers and Metcalfe's who both do great things with local products.
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Madison gets six proposals to tap affordable housing fund

 Madison - 10/23/2014 The citys next phase of an affordable housing initiative looks promising, with six developers seeking city funds to help create hundreds of lower-cost rental units next year, officials said. The developers responded to a city request for proposals in August to use a new city Affordable Housing Fund to help secure federal low-income housing tax credits substantial enough to make a project work. City officials see the combination of city support and tax credits secured through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority as the most potent way to create quality housing for those with lower incomes in locations across the city near transportation, schools, groceries and other basic needs....

Ken Notes: A tip of the hat to Paul, this seems to have generated both interest and the mix of neighborhood properties I have talked about....
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Consultants building vision for Madison Municipal and City-County buildings and space between

 Madison - 11/6/2014 The city is thinking big about the heart of municipal government, now spread among the aging and energy-inefficient Madison Municipal and City-County buildings that face the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The city has hired a consultant, MSR Design of Minneapolis, to explore big ideas about how to best use the buildings and the space between, with preliminary concepts including a rearranging of city and Dane County agencies in the structures to make the spaces more inviting for customers and workers and removing vehicle traffic from the street to create a more vibrant and usable public space...

Ken Notes: Why are we hiring pricy outside consultants when we do not have a clear vision of what we want???
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At core of Judge Doyle Square debate, parking garage and landmark deteriorate

 Madison - 11/6/2014 Air conditioning units poke from original windows of the stately Madison Municipal Building, marring the landmarks historic look and symbolizing its aged and inefficient mechanical systems. Inside, city agencies are spread out in offices not designed for their current purpose, with the Planning Division jammed in the basement....

Ken Notes: At the core SHOULD be what the city needs by way of an efficient, accessible, functional city hall. Add in a jail, county building and more and you see the cart before the horse here.
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Developer proposes 10-story apartment building near Kohl Center

 Madison - 11/13/2014 A developer is proposing a twin-tower, 185-unit apartment project rising up to 10 stories near the Kohl Center, but the redevelopment wont include an intercity bus facility once eyed for the site. CA Ventures of Chicago is proposing a project with a 10-story housing tower aimed at students, townhouses and an eight-story apartment tower marketed to young professionals at 114 N. Bedford St....

Ken Notes: Can we ask that these new projects address the issue of future transit potential??
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Culinary training center the centerpiece of $27.6 million MATC development

 Madison - 11/20/2014 Madison Area Technical College will add a new $15.6 million culinary training center at its main Truax campus, allowing the school to increase enrollment in some degree-seeking programs and also expand offerings for other would-be gourmets, be they high school students or Top Chef-loving adults, college officials said. Right now we cant accommodate continuing education students in our kitchen, said Bryan Woodhouse, dean of the school of business and applied arts. We wanted to have a full array of offerings to serve all the people we aspire to serve....

Ken Notes: When I was a consultant in the Fox Cities I had the FVTC Culinary center cater all my events. I was famous for the amazing food - I still do not know if my success was related to that or the training.
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Mayor Paul Soglin wants to protect State Street from becoming - a street of megasaloons

 Madison - 12/4/2014 Mayor Paul Soglin, worried that beverage-related businesses may turn State Street into "a street of megasaloons," has floated a proposal that would shelter the retail businesses of Madison's signature street. Soglin is suggesting "a conversation" about a formal curtailment of places that sell food, booze, beer and coffee, such as an "overlay zone" for which regulations or incentives are attached to protect a specific resource. That sort of interim action would be coupled with a "city-wide long-term planning process, such as we did when we designed the State Street Mall," he said....

Ken Notes: What everyone has to remember is that any business needs to cash flow, restaurants and bars can sell a 50 cent product for 4 bucks... A plan is a good thing but can prove fatal if it is not business aware...
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Madison area high-tech CEOs consider: What if?

 Madison - 12/18/2014 Running a business rarely follows a straight line, from start to success. And as the saying goes: Hindsight is 20/20. So, with entrepreneurship getting showered with attention of late, and with more outside funding options than ever before, we posed a question to CEOs of some of the longer-established tech and biotech companies in the Madison area: What would you do differently if you knew then when you started what you know now? Todd Streicher, co-founder of 5Nines, an information technology consulting and infrastructure management company, founded in 2003: I went into business thinking about a long-term plan strategy not expecting to get rich quick. But Ive discovered that it takes even longer than I was expecting....

Ken Notes: These guys would make a great advisory panel on developing a Madison High Tech Market Place...
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$41 million Madison schools referendum proposal finalized

 Madison - 12/18/2014 The Madison School District will ask voters to approve a $41 million school facilities referendum in April. The Madison School Board finalized the project list Monday after months of discussion. It unanimously approved a substitute referendum that adds $2 million to the previously discussed $39 million referendum. The additional $2 million would go toward technology infrastructure improvements included in the districts technology plan that was adopted last school year. The proposal improves accessibility in 10 schools, adds classroom space to five school buildings considered to be too crowded to provide adequate learning environments and would renovate four schools that are in need of major upgrades, according to the district....

Ken Notes: WDN strongly supports this with the proviso that MSD look at apprenticeship, and working with socioeconomic challenged youth to find alternative paths to success and school to work transitions...
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There is no end in sight to new, upscale apartments downtown, but how much is too much?

 MADISON - 3/6/2014 When Marcus Higgins relocated from South Carolina to become vice president of sales at EatStreet, the local online restaurant ordering start-up, one of the first challenges was finding housing with his wife and young daughter. Higgins knew he wanted to live within walking distance of the EatStreet offices, which are located above Paisan's Restaurant at 131 W. Wilson St. He also liked the idea of being near a vibrant dining scene, farmers markets, museums and other downtown attractions....Whether working at Epic Systems in Verona or somewhere else, the chance to live in a thriving but manageable urban area is drawing hundreds of new residents to the downtown. And it's not just millennials snapping up the shiny units with stainless appliances and balconies, either; empty-nesters, people looking for second homes and suburbanites seeking a lifestyle change are also renting the new apartments. The market appears wide and deep. But all the apartment buildings, while a boon for the local construction industry and downtown nightspots, is also causing some hand-wringing over how many new units the city can absorb and the impact on the price of housing, not to mention overall density....

Ken Notes: I actually think we will see some of these convert to condo as that market rebounds and the inventory becomes tighter. I did predict that New Urban and downtown would become a hot bed in several op ed's I have written in the past. I was right, now the trick will be to KEEP the YP's and Boomers downtown. We will need great schools, entertainment, heath care, grocery, and lest you think I forgot --- TRANSPORTATION.
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THE PROPOSALS

 Madison - 10/23/2014 THE PROPOSALS
1. Gorman and Co. Union Corners, a multi-phase, mixed-use project that includes a health clinic, housing, grocery store, commercial space and more. Seeking $1.75 million for a $13.2 million housing component with 77 of 90 units in two buildings for lower-income tenants.
2. Tom Sather/Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Seeking $1.34 million for $13.9 million housing project with all 72 units for lower-income tenants.
3. East Prairie Square/Tom Landgraf. Seeking $1.93 million for a $19.5 million project with housing and day care with all 129 units for lower-income tenants.
4. Oakbrook Corp. Maple Grove Commons. Seeking $1.25 million for an $11.9 million housing project with 68 of 80 units for lower-income tenants.
5. Stone House Development. A two-phase, mixed-use project including office space, housing and a music venue. Seeking $2.15 million for a $19.8 million component providing 100 units for lower-income tenants.
6. Mirus Partners. Woodlands Park. Seeking $1.4 million for $13.8 million acquisition and rehabilitation of 128 units for lower-income tenants spread over multiple buildings.


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Wisconsin is one of top states in biotech job growth, report shows

 MADISON - 6/26/2014 Wisconsins bioscience industry is sizable and growing, and Madison is a significant hub in several specialty areas, a report on biotech in the U.S. said. Wisconsin was one of 12 states to gain at least 1,000 jobs in the biotech and life sciences field between 2007 and 2012, according to the biennial Battelle/BIO report on the bioscience industry in the U.S. The study was released Tuesday at the international BIO conference in San Diego....
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Visit Johnson Street during construction

 MADISON - 7/17/2014 The State Journal's recent feature on East Johnson Street and Waunakee road construction, "Doing business in a construction zone no easy task," was well done and timely. Road tear-ups pose frustrating challenges to everyone, but no one feels the pain, on a daily basis, like the businesses whose livelihoods depend on customer access and predictability....

Ken Notes: I agree, we should also allow "pop up" stores to temporarily occupy vacant spaces where there is no construction. What if the 100 block on State Street allowed temporary occupancy to some of the Johnson Street stores for even a few weeks or days. Win win!
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DOWNTOWN MADISON GAINS TWO KOHL CENTER AREA APARTMENT BUILDINGS

 Madison - 10/2/2014 Stevens Construction Corp., a full service, Wisconsin based general contractor, is pleased to announce the recent opening of two apartment buildings near the Kohl Center and UW-Madison campus.
Park Place, a five story concrete and wood frame apartment building located at 202-222 North Bassett St. will offer a total of 75 units as well as 54 underground parking stalls. City View, located at 313-315 North Francis St. replaces 2 small residential homes with 40 units in an impressive twelve story. The post-tensioned concrete building stands 140 tall on a footprint of merely 4,100 square feet. Both locations feature community study lounges with outdoor patios along with abundant bicycle parking and tenant storage....

Ken Notes: In keeping with the theme here the developer is FAUST. Scott Faust that is...
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Former Johannsen's site slated for Arbor Gate II office development

 MADISON - 3/13/2014 A multistory office building will likely rise on the site of the former Johannsens Greenhouses, rather than the car dealership expansion previously planned for the spot by its new owner, Pat Baxter. The lot at the Beltline and Todd Drive can accommodate a multistory building of up to 90,000 square feet, said Chris Caulum, an Oakbrook Corp. agent whos looking for tenants for the potential development for Baxter who in 2009, with Mortenson Investment Group, built Arbor Gate, the twin, six-story commercial development across the Beltline from Baxters Kayser Nissan, 2510 W. Beltline...

Ken Notes: Back to the beltline...
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2014 Money Smart Women Conference is Saturday

 MADISON - 4/3/2014 The 2014 Money Smart Women Conference is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Monona Terrace. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The event includes lunch, a pampering room, prizes and more while providing financial information. This conference is offered to promote National Money Smart Week. Cost is $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Scholarships are available. To register or for information, go to: www.moneysmartwomenwi.com....
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Accelerate Madison becomes part of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce

 5/23/2014 One of the first groups created in the Madison area to foster technology-sector growth is now under the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce umbrella. Accelerate Madison merged into the Chamber as of May 5, and is now a Chamber program. Part of the reason Accelerate Madison was founded in 2001 was the need for a business group that focused on the digital technology industry which, at the time, was small and not getting much attention outside its own little universe, executive director Mark Clear said. As the industry has grown, the Chamber has responded to that....

Ken Notes: Great idea - The chamber has resources that can assist many organizations - we often duplicate services unnecessarily...
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WEDC awards $250,000 grant to village of Mount Horeb for Innovation Center

 Mount Horeb - 6/5/2014 The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has awarded a $250,000 grant to the village of Mount Horeb. The grant will help the village with its $1.8 million redevelopment of a former bank building on South First Street that has been underused for more than two decades. The village is redeveloping the building into the Mount Horeb Innovation Center. The Duluth Trading Company will occupy about 23,000 square feet of office space there. The U.S. Postal Service, which has been a tenant since 1994, will continue to lease space in the building. Once the center is completed in September, Duluth Trading Company is expected to relocate about 75 to 80 salaried employees from its current offices in Belleville. The company also plans to hire an additional 30 employees through 2015...

Ken Notes: Great for the area. I live in DT clothes and predict they will be the next lands end.
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Madison considers $1 million program to improve Greenbush neighborhood housing

 MADISON - 7/10/2014 The city is poised to launch a $1 million program its most ambitious effort yet to help convert some of the worn student housing in the Greenbush neighborhood back to home ownership. Many homes in the Greenbush neighborhood south of UW-Madison have long been carved into student housing, and some have deteriorated and become harder to rent due to competition from new apartment buildings rising closer to campus. The fear is that some landlords could further delay maintenance and lower screening standards, and that the area could become blighted, Greenbush Neighborhood Association president John Perkins and Ald. Lucas Dailey said....

Ken Notes: This is tough. We need to reinvent the district and create an urban vibe here like Willy Street. The forgivable loans may not attract enough buyers if the neighborhood remains less desirable. Maybe work with Meriter and St. Mary's to create a housing mix for their employees. The area does have great potential.
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Hearing set for hotel, 3 other buildings

 Verona - 7/10/2014 As the Verona Press research indicated last month, a proposed hotel in Liberty Business Park would in fact be a Hyatt. Slightly revised plans submitted to the city on June 12 are intended to be reviewed at Mondays Plan Commission meeting, and developers have released the operation name, or flag, as well as increasing the size to 231 rooms and nearly 200,000 square feet. Its the biggest of three proposed building projects at Liberty Park, not including the 25,000-square-foot building already under construction. Next weeks meeting could end up with site plan approval for all three the hotel; a mixed use building with at least one restaurant, a studio and other retail on the bottom and offices on the top; and twin flex buildings that would accommodate various commercial users such as might normally found in a business park....
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New program to help seed up to 100 Wisconsin companies

 Wisconsin - 7/24/2014 The managers of the new Badger Fund of Funds say they can take $25 million of state money and turn it into as much as $100 million that could help build 100 companies around Wisconsin over the next few years.
Brian Birk and Lee Rand are managing partners of Sun Mountain Capital, a New Mexico firm that handles similar funds in New Mexico and in Mexico. They joined with Kegonsa Capital Partners, a Fitchburg venture capital management firm, to form Sun Mountain Kegonsa.
Sun Mountain Kegonsa was chosen earlier this year to manage the Badger Fund of Funds, for which the Legislature allocated $25 million...

Ken Notes: This sound fantastic, and as one trying to start a new business I can't tell you how hard it is to secure funds. Right now the sponsors of this pub are sustaining four other newer newsletters each having an impact on moving Wisconsin forward.
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Outreach to Asia a top WEDC priority, Hall says

 Wisconsin - 7/24/2014 WEDC CEO Reed Hall said one of the agency's top priorities is reaching overseas, especially to Asia. Hall, who spoke Tuesday to members of the Milwaukee Rotary Club, told the business professionals that by 2050, 54 percent of the world's population will reside in Asia. "The new reality is, over 95 percent of the world's population lives outside the United States," he said. "If you're involved in manufacturing and you're looking at 2050, which isn't that far away, you really have to look at a global economy, I think, to maintain your business."...

Ken Notes: I hope the Asian market is not watching our political ads... Just a thought...
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Prairie Lakes continues to fill in Sun Prairie

 Sun Prairie - 12/4/2014 The Shoppes at Prairie Lakes is continuing to grow. The shopping center at Highway 151 and Highway C in Sun Prairie, which had its first tenant in 2009, will see two new businesses open this week but more are on the way. Wisconsin Dells-based Monks Bar & Grill will open Thursday in the shopping center. It is the companys fifth location, joining others in Wisconsin Dells, Baraboo, Lake Delton and Middleton. On Saturday, a Beef Jerky Outlet will open in the shopping center. The stores, with 55 locations around the country, feature more than 200 varieties of jerky, including elk, kangaroo, alligator and venison, according to a press release....

Ken Notes: A BEEF JERKY OUTLET Neil Stechschulte now has EVERYTHING a man could want... Cabela's... Costco... Monks... Movies and jerky... I'll bet he has a man cave as well!
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East Washington Avenue project gains Plan Commission approval

 MADISON - 3/13/2014 Plans to redevelop a prominent stretch of East Washington Avenue received a major approval on Monday. The Madison Plan Commission unanimously granted a conditional use permit for Gebhardt Developments plans for a $70 million to $85 million redevelopment of the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. The plans call for a 14-story, 670,000-square-foot building on the 4.5-acre site, formerly occupied by the Don Miller auto dealership. The building would include a 55,000-square-foot Festival Foods grocery store, 77,500 square feet of additional commercial space, 246 residential units and a parking structure for 661 vehicles....

Ken Notes: and East Wash...
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Photos: Madison's Central Park update

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 A look at the construction of Central Park on Madison's near east side. The park is slated to open this summer after the grass is established on the great lawn and when the restroom pavilion is completed...

Ken Notes: Now we need a park, events, performers, art, a public market, and a vibe to make it special... The bathrooms are nice though...
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OPINION: We are donating our $13 in tax relief to public schools

 MADISON Area - 5/15/2014 Dear Editor: We have seen the results of the smoke-and-mirrors partisan legislative actions in Madison directed by the power of the purse of the special interests many who are not even from Wisconsin. A vivid example is the political payback and personal political gain legislation of the $100 million property tax cut over two years passed and touted by Gov. Walker, which provides an average tax cut of a whopping $13 on a median-valued home of $148,000. While it was designated for school aid for public schools, because of mandated revenue limits since 1993 the money could not be applied to the increased costs in our schools. ...

Ken Notes: I have to agree -- we are using tax cuts to gain headlines when what we need is a stable tax system, better (make that broader) education, and more entry level jobs and job training opportunities. And yes for the record I am still a fiscal conservative!
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New hub will boost Madison region

 Madison - 9/25/2014 The planned collision of people from diverse backgrounds is often the creative spark needed to solve difficult problems. In Madison, we have a special opportunity to encourage those collisions, fostering the innovation and excitement needed for our regions economic future, and the future of our children, too. Understanding this opportunity, a group of young technology entrepreneurs and community leaders has worked quietly for over a year to strategize and plan for an entrepreneurial center on the Near East Side along East Washington Avenue. The result is StartingBlock Madison, a nonprofit supporting entrepreneurism, education and economic growth....Our regions cluster of information technology businesses is large, strong and growing. Proven entrepreneurial leaders are shaping whats next to grow this sector and our economy. They include some familiar names: Sector 67, gener8tor, Capital Entrepreneurs, 100 State, the Doyenne Group, the annual Forward Technology Festival, MadWorks and Horizon...Madison has all of the pieces in place to be a world-class entrepreneurial city. National studies have shown small businesses are the engine that drives economic growth. Madison has one of the quickest growing information technology sectors in the country....

Ken Notes: I wonder if they need an ED Publication -- We will gladly trade sponsorship for a small office... Congrats this project sounds amazing! P.S. I may have mentioned that world-class entrepreneurial city thing before...
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Open records expert: State wrong on Hill Farms case

 Wisconsin - 11/13/2014 Open government advocates are blasting a move by the Walker administration to withhold the names of some 40 parties who toured the Hill Farms site last month in advance of a sale and redevelopment of the 21-acre property. Is the state contending that the parties seeking a slice of this multi-million dollar pie will lose their appetite if their identities are revealed prior to the completion of negotiations?...

Ken Notes: To be fair both Cap Times and I ran the story and link to the RFP prior to the deadline. If a developer has an issue with the process THEY should step up now! I would be happy to support their right to bid as opposed to a list of who may bid. Also the city will have an option to weigh in here as well.
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TIF, site plan changes wait for economic analysis debate

 Stoughton - 11/13/2014 Wait. That was the message Monday night during four public hearings related to Kettle Park West development projects. After just over five hours of testimony, debate and questions, the City of Stoughton Planning Commission voted three times to meet again on Monday, Nov. 3. A fourth decision to approve Kwik Trip plans still hinge on council action, as well. About a dozen residents spoke in opposition to plans for a tax-increment financing district that would encompass KPW, along with changes to the general development plan and specific plans for the planned Kwik Trip and 153,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter on the west side of the city. Many of the speakers rehashed their arguments repeatedly during the four public speaking opportunities. ...
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Wisconsin and Midwest slowly finding way on to investors radar screens

 Wisconsin - 3/27/2014 Inside the sparkling new offices of Nordic Consulting, a firm that has grown from a handful of health information technology experts to 400 employees and more than 90 customers, three venture capitalists from Boston sat down recently to talk about what theyre seeing in Wisconsin. So far, they said, its been worth the trips....

Ken Notes: We have the resources, offer a lower cost point, and have a wealth of success stories...now we need the state to make good on it's open for business campaign and clear the path for new growth...
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OPINON: Madison encouraging sustainability

 Madison - 10/23/2014 Chris Rickerts recent column, County has right plan for subsidies, somehow compared solar panels on a landfill to Downtown development and concluded the city of Madison isnt doing enough to promote sustainable government incentives. The city has invested millions in programs to become more energy efficient, sustainable and green. The city has approved a plan with goals and strategies....

Ken Notes: She is right, Chris is wrong. We could use a city department like Milwaukee's ME2....
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Engineered Construction Inc. / General Contractors


As always your go to resource for 24/7 Emergency Fire & Water Damage/Extraction!
24 HOUR IRP IMMEDIATE RESPONSE PROGRAM NUMBER (608) 657-2437
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Boom town infographic

 MADISON Area - 3/6/2014 Check out the charts and graphics relating to apartment and home construction and rental in Madison. Since it is large file, please give it time to load on the page, or download the pdf....

Ken Notes: You need this if you are in real estate or working with the down town.
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Dave Cieslewicz hits Madison Landmarks Commission; commission chair hits back

 MADISON - 3/13/2014 In his Isthmus column last week, former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz takes aim at the Madison Landmarks Commission for its decision to scrap developer Steve Brown's plan to put three five-story apartment buildings on Gilman Street. On the site's message board, the Landmarks Commission chairman strikes back. "I think the former mayor has gotten a little obsessive about the Landmarks Commission," writes Stuart Levitan. "His new posting is, again, replete with misrepresentations and lies. I guess he's still bitter about being fired."...

Ken Notes: Dave's column was right on and addressed the needs of our community vs. the use of committees to further an agenda outside the intended scope of their intended function. Remember Dave helped write the book on containing urban sprawl through more intelligent use of density. We didn't fire Dave we hired an old hippie to ensure our liberal ideals. Where will landmarks stand when they consider the city hall project? Oh for the record I am an old hippie as well so that was not a derogatory comment. Dave's column is here and below!
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Techline USA to close Waunakee plant

 Waunakee - 4/10/2014 Techline USA plans to close its plant at 500 S. Division St. in Waunakee by June 9, although a few employees might remain on longer... The closing will eliminate 93 jobs.... Marshall Erdman founded the company in 1969. It makes business office and storage cabinets, special work surface tops and landscape panel systems, among other products.

Ken Notes: This is a great opportunity to start a Green/Eco Office Furniture Production facility. Tools, skilled labor, brick and mortar at pennies on the dollar....
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West Towne Mall announces additions for later this year

 MADISON - 5/23/2014 Three businesses are starting new or moving to Madisons West Towne Mall. Bonefish Grill and Jasons Deli will open freestanding buildings this fall on the exterior of the mall along Mineral Point Road. Terese Zache Designs will move to the mall from its current location in Hilldale Mall in late summer. Bonefish Grill specializes in market-fresh fish from around the world and other wood-grilled specialties. In 13 years, Bonefish Grill has grown to 197 restaurants in 34 states....

Ken Notes: Even the malls are getting into the upscale act...
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Faced with criticism, Monona Terrace omits data from 2013 annual report

 MADISON - 6/5/2014 Every year, Monona Terrace releases a report touting the amount of economic activity the convention center generates here. Last year, Isthmus and others questioned the veracity of its data, pointing out inconsistencies and implausible assumptions. For instance, Monona Terrace reported that 5,000 people came to its largest convention, Ironman Wisconsin, in 2012, suggesting that most of them stayed in hotels for seven nights in a row -- despite the fact that the race lasts only one day. Another glaring issue: Only 2,827 people ran the race in 2012, and while many out-of-towners likely brought guests, they would probably not have stayed in separate hotel rooms, as the report implies....

Ken Notes: This should be no surprise. Economic development studies ALWAYS paint the brightest picture. The firms that are hired to do them tout their ability to do just that - and that is NOT a bad thing. This data creates a vision of the importance of these events and developments. The studies also can not count the ancillary business these events generate, like a person deciding to move here because he or she had a great time at the event and enjoyed the vibe of Madison. So we use our boldest brush to highlight the picture. When we fail to look at the big picture we run the risk of loosing events. I for example miss Blues Fest a great deal. Tell me the story and I'll read between the lines...
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City planners against Roundhouse apartment expansion

 MADISON - 6/12/2014 City planning staff is advising against an eight-story addition to the 13-story Roundhouse Apartments on Langdon Street, instead urging the owners to take down the 1960s-era building and start from scratch. The project at 626 Langdon St.from the Korb family calls for combining 35 new units with 84 existing units for a total of 119 apartments. Plans include a new basement, 140 indoor bicycle parking spaces and 27 moped spaces. Also part of the plan is a new management office and a new McTaggerts Market convenience store...

Ken Notes: Taking it down and starting over will create a large financing gap...
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Planning group grabs 76% tax increase in move called bold and illegal

 Dane County - 7/17/2014 Ignoring its own bylaws and the wishes of top local politicians, a controversial regional planning commission has laid claim to a 76 percent increase in its share of Dane County property tax revenues for 2015. The County Board will vote Thursday on whether to fight the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission as it did in 2011, when it persuaded arbitrators to reduce a 19 percent increase sought by the agency. The planning commission chair said the bold bid to take $1.3 million in taxes next year was necessary to save vital services that are on the verge of collapse because of years of underfunding....

Ken Notes: I should stay out of this one, CARPC has become less political of late, until now of course. I have suggested in the past that CARPC use more of the expertise in local planning departments rather than doing all the work on their own. A trust but verify approach. I also question the need for more staff when the commission, in the past, has ignored the recommendations of the staff it has now. I do like and ED position... Compromise???
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Watch Fitchburg`s TruScribe animate every Weird Al album cover

 Fitchburg - 7/31/2014 Once youve worked with Weird Al Yankovic, it must get into your blood. That may be why Fitchburgs TruScribe, which animated Yankovics Mission Statement video, last week, has gone back to the whiteboard. On Tuesday, to salute Yankovics new album Mandatory Fun debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard music charts, TruScribe released a new animated video. The video featured a TruScribe artist illustrating the covers of all 14 Weird Al albums, from 1983s Polka Party to Mandatory Fun....

Ken Notes: Here is the link! This is cool. HERE is Mission Statement. This is a little close to home - I have used most of these... and my new company H2Innovation.com ... of course!!!! If you have not seen Mission Statement. it is a MUST WATCH. You will laugh out loud I promise...
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Move over Uber and Lyft, Madtown Hopper gives rides for free

 MADISON - 7/31/2014 When you think taxi cab controversy, Uber and Lyft come most immediately to mind. But while the ride-share services that barged into the Madison market try to strike a deal with the city to operate, another upstart quietly snuck in the back door. Enter Madtown Hopper, a free electric transportation service that is quickly becoming a habit among tipsy college students looking for a ride home....

Ken Notes: This guy is smarter than the rest of us, in fact he is brilliant! I hope he grows to 100 vehicles...
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Renewable energy supporters: We Energies plan to cut buyback rate will stifle growth

 Wisconsin - 8/7/2014 Supporters of a surge in the construction of manure digesters and the non-fossil fuel bioenergy they produce say a proposed buyback rate cut by one of the states largest utilities would halt their growth. Milwaukee-based We Energies has submitted a rate filing change to the state's Public Service Commission that would drop the buyback rate for new customer-sited bioenergy products, like digesters that process manure and food waste, from 9.2 cents to 4.24 cents per kilowatt-hour. The amount utilities pay for the methane gas is critical in the financial viability of the emerging use of the digesters in Wisconsin and nationally....

Ken Notes: We HAVE to find the middle ground here, and we need to tie the results to an increase in renewables produced in Wisconsin. Remember solar and other sources just became cost effective -- make the energy companies invest in it themselves or get out of the way for others...
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Diverse workforce challenges require a mix of strategies for Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 8/21/2014 Workforce development means different things to different people which is why the term carries emotional and political weight across Wisconsin, from its small towns to its major cities. It also explains why policymakers must aspire to devise a balanced approach to meeting Wisconsins diverse workforce needs. If you live in a city where a significant percentage of young adults dont even graduate from high school, workforce development is about survival: Avoiding a lifetime of low-wage jobs and living on the edge....

Ken Notes: Good read, If you are interested in the issue you may want to subscribe to WisconsinApprentice.com.
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Of course, they only sell Spotted Cow in Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 8/28/2014 I was bemused with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Politifact report earlier this week checking on the veracity of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's statement that New Glarus Brewery's Spotted Cow is sold only in Wisconsin. Come on, now, surely Milwaukee isn't that cut off from the rest of the state. The report, written by a longtime journalistic friend of mine, Jim Nelson, decided to check on Burke's claim about Spotted Cow while on a TV program recently. She was asked to choose between Spotted Cow and Leinie's Summer Shanty, the popular brew by Leinenkugel's Brewery of Chippewa Falls....

Ken Notes: One more time, for the record, Deborah Carey is one of the world's greatest marketers. She put New Glarus on the front page of the Chicago Tribune buy "saying" Illinois bars can not sell the product. I bow before her brilliance. I also challenge the governor and or the candidate to get a positive story about Wisconsin products the same media attention...
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Milwaukee region needs more transportation options

 Milwaukee - 9/4/2014 A new report by the state Department of Transportation says that this past spring, eight of the city's 20 freeway segments were so congested that an average trip at peak travel hours took twice as long as it would on clear roads. That means time and gasoline wasted as drivers sit in their cars waiting for traffic to move, not to mention a possible loss in worker productivity and more greenhouse gas emissions to exacerbate climate change. Authorities are moving to reduce time spent on the freeways during commutes through such measures as traffic signal systems, ramp meters and work zone management, the report says, and some of those measures are already in place, Peg Schmitt, a public affairs officer for the DOT, told the Journal Sentinel. But state and local authorities also should be looking at other transportation options to ease congestion. More bike and pedestrian lanes, better transit service and, yes, even rail would provide a better mix for commuters and families who want to get around town for recreation and shopping....

Ken Notes: So does MADISON but it has left the radar screen with the changing of the guard. We need tourist friendly options if we are to become tourist/business friendly. We are good at getting and implementing federal dollars but the transit programs do not address real local needs. We may even need the private sector to step up and resolve issues -- like a shared hotel/business shuttle system between downtown and the airport. Also downtown to EPIC via Fitchburg.
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Developer proposes remake of dated Downtown office building

 Madison - 10/2/2014 As investment continues to pour into the Isthmus, a prominent developer is now proposing a $15 million to $18 million face-lift and renovation for a big but bland and dated Downtown office building. Hovde Properties has acquired the 10-story AT&T building and is seeking permission to add glass and windows to the facade to modernize and bring more light into the cream-colored, stone-paneled structure at 316 W. Washington Ave...
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Music venue project, parking for 1000 E. Washington, nixed by city

 Madison - 11/13/2014 City planners Friday nixed part of a developers plans to repurpose the Madison Dairy Produce Co. property in the 1000 block of East Washington Avenue, saying a proposed music venue is too big and the parking and traffic problems are not readily solved. Stone House Development, a familiar name in the area for its numerous housing projects including the City Row Apartments not far from the dairy plant site had hoped to raze the old dairy plant and replace it with a six-story office building and apartment buildings. The office building would include a music venue for Frank Productions....

Ken Notes: Too bad...
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Douglas County, Development Association moving different directions

 Wisconsin - 11/20/2014 A longstanding financial relationship between the Superior-based Development Association and Douglas County is in the process of changing. The Douglas County Board has decided not to fund the development group in its 2015 budget. The countys contribution was to be $25,000, about one-tenth of the Development Associations budget. ...

Ken Notes: Just a quick note, WEDC should fund the County EDO's and some Larger city EDO's using the UW Extension program as a model. Tie this funding to matching funds from the local communities and offer health care and retirement through the state. No where else will WEDC find more bang for their buck. If they spent 50K in salary and fringes per county the total would be 3.6 million. Or less that $1 per person -- for jobs, development, better reporting, better community relations, and a comprehensive Economic Development Program!
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Apartments with restaurant/brew pub eyed for 1200 block of East Wash

 Madison - 12/4/2014 Developer Lance McGrath is proposing a new 70- to 80-unit apartment project with a potential first-floor brewpub on the 1200 block of East Washington Avenue at North Few Street. McGrath is looking at a pair of options: a three-story building with demolition of the American Auto building, Mad Motors and Patriot Glass or a four-story building with a step back at the rear that would keep a portion of the Patriot Glass building. The site is two blocks east of where Stone House Development and Frank Productions were proposing a larger mixed-use project that includes a music venue. That plan remains on hold after city planners sided with neighbors opposed to the development over parking concerns....
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CARPC votes against Northeast Neighborhood

 Fitchburg - 12/4/2014 A regional planning body voted against a City of Fitchburg neighborhood proposal, leaving the final decision up to the states Department of Natural Resources. Commissioners on the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC), which advises the state on expansions to sewer service, voted 6-5 against the Northeast Neighborhood at the commissions meeting last Thursday. Two commissioners voting against the proposal cited concerns over how development could affect the nearby Waubesa Wetlands and the possibility of engineered protections failing, said deputy director Kamran Mesbah. That issue previously came up throughout the citys own approval process late last year and earlier in 2014. The other four commissioners voting against did not provide their reasoning at the meeting, Mesbah said. A CARPC staff report, which analyzed the potential effects of development, had recommended approval as long as the city pursued a list of additional stormwater management and erosion control protections, but the majority of speakers at the October public hearing on the development spoke in opposition, according to meeting minutes....

Ken Notes: I always get nervous when a commission ignores their own staff...
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High property taxes the top concern raised in tax reform roundtables

 Wisconsin - 12/11/2014 Top officials in Gov. Scott Walkers administration said in a report Tuesday that Wisconsin taxes are too high and too complicated but they offered no recommendations for making changes. The 19-page report from Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler comes after more than a year of study. It identifies property taxes as the top concern raised at 22 tax reform roundtables held across the state with some 500 people, but does not contain suggestions for lowering them....

Ken Notes: As a former school board member, mayor, and council member I can tell you that when the state "cuts taxes" it always robs Peter (the property tax supported local entities) to pay Paul (those receiving state tax cuts). I could fix this in a minute -- shift health care and retirement costs for all employees to the state --- establish long term support levels for schools and local units of government ----- establish realistic spending controls that do not require new revenue sources to be adopted ------ stabilize the state tax structure and spend less that you take in. Oh, and no borrowing for anything other than brick and mortar, create funds for everything else and save up for it. I still have 40 seconds left...
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Madison among the most livable cities for people 35 and younger

 Madison - 12/11/2014 Building on Madison's recent recognition as the most livable city in the U.S., a new report puts the Wisconsin capital among the 35 most livable cities for people age 35 and younger.
Madison ranks ninth on the list, which is based on research website Vocativ's mining of data related to salary and employment rates, rent and utility costs, and lifestyle factors such as public transportation, weather, restaurant prices and crime statistics....
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Gov. Scott Walker says agency, cabinet changes are on the way

 Wisconsin - 12/18/2014 Gov. Scott Walker said theres a whole number of agency and cabinet changes that are being discussed as he and the Republican-controlled Legislature prepare for the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January. He said they are looking at changes to six to seven different agencies, some would be consolidations, some would be major changes that lawmakers just brought up this week. Walker told reporters Wednesday after talking to the Senate Republican caucus that he was in meetings with lawmakers much of Monday and Tuesday, adding that many of them had ideas for changes to agencies in addition to the ones weve looked at previously....

Ken Notes: I hope we focus on departmental effectiveness with measurable outcomes. The WEDC experiment was rudderless and hung some very good people out to dry leaving other with little knowledge of economic development at the helm. We still do not have a comprehensive single entry point for new business to connect with local professionals, officials, banks, brokers, and state support. Do a simple test try looking for commercial property for a new business in our major metros, MKE, Mad, Fox. La Crosse, GB, Central...
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MadREP roundtables connect IT industry with workforce development

 MADISON - 3/6/2014
As we continue implementation of the five-year Advance Now Strategy, our efforts within the Human Capital goal area have hit their stride. With the aim of aligning education and workforce development efforts with target sector initiatives, MadREP and key partners are hosting a series of industry roundtables that connect workforce development professionals with business representatives to identify actionable human capital needs.

Ken Notes: I can not link to this article but try their website HERE.
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Panel seeks input on transit options south of Capitol Square

 MADISON - 3/13/2014 Imagine a stylish, 100-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian bridge spanning John Nolen Drive, with seating at canopied tables offering sweeping views of Lake Monona. A special city committee, staff and consultants are doing just that, refining plans for connecting Downtown with Law Park and making it easier to move around the booming area south of Capitol Square. The committee will hold a public meeting Thursday evening to present the proposals, which also include major changes to Wilson Street where it meets Blair Street, improvements to the paths at Law Park and creation of an intercity bus station....

Ken Notes: What about my indoor outdoor Public Market! I mentioned this months ago...
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American Superconductor to close Middleton plant

 Middleton - 3/20/2014 American Superconductor (AMSC) will close its Middleton plant by Dec. 31 and transfer those operations to its headquarters in Devens, Mass. The company declined to disclose the number of Middleton employees affected but said they will be offered positions in Devens. The plant, at 8401 Murphy Drive, makes a voltage regulation and control device for use on the electric transmission grid. The announcement is very unfortunate, said Mike Davis, Middleton city administrator. Theyve been a sound employer in Middleton as long as I can remember....

Ken Notes: Let's back-fill this plant ASAP. It should be great for battery tech and production ans would come complete with a skilled workforce! Attention legislators put together a save the jobs package NOW instead of waiting for a buyer! I suggest 20K per employee over ten years (2K year) as a tax credit. Share this -- forward this -- talk about this...
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Two Madison chefs make Food & Wine`s People`s Best poll

 MADISON - 3/27/2014 Two local chefs are in the running for Food & Wine Magazine's People's Best New Chef of the Midwest. Nostrano Chef Tim Dahl, who was on the list in both 2012 and 2013, returns to the competition, this time "because although he trained as a pastry chef, Dahl's Italian-inflected savory dishes are incredibly spot-on." And Dan Fox, chef and owner at Heritage Tavern, made the list "because not only is his Asian-accented cooking both hearty and refined, he also raises his own heritage pigs."...

Ken Notes: Congrats! Madison restaurants are putting Madison on the map. This summer we hope to put out a newsletter and website to promote this, ComeBackToMadison.com is looking for media and business partners now! Let us give you the elevator pitch and see what you think.
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New manager wants Dane County Farmers Market to be where Madison gets groceries

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 It's a good thing Bill Lubing is a morning person. For the forseeable future, Lubing must report for work to the Capitol Square every Saturday morning at 4:15 a.m. As the new manager of the Dane County Farmers' Market, it is Lubing's job to make sure the nearly 300 vendors that participate in the market can set up and start selling smoothly. "This is an early morning business," Lubing said. "There's no getting around that."...

Ken Notes: Opens Saturday!
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OPINION: Kudos to Landmarks Commission for nixing development

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 Nothing tugs at one's heartstrings like a "rebuffed developer." Poor Steve Brown -- spurned, scorned, left at the altar. Next stop, the poor house. One mega-landlord has one project nixed by the evil reactionaries on the Landmarks Commission, and suddenly the future of Madison is in jeopardy....

Ken Notes: The issue is are they a landmarks commission or something more... I contend the overstep their charter. The issue is also not about what Madison decides but rather how the decide...
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Madison Plan Commission approves tiny houses...

 MADISON - 5/1/2014 Occupy Madisons controversial effort to create a village of tiny houses on the East Side has cleared another hurdle. The city Plan Commission on Monday approved by voice vote rezoning of a property at 2046-50 E. Johnson St. and approved plans to let Occupy convert an auto repair facility there into a workshop with outdoor space for nine 7-by-14-foot trailer-mounted units. The Urban Design Commission has already given initial approval....
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Liberty Park getting first construction

 Verona - 5/1/2014 The wait time between the projected construction of the first building in Liberty Business Park and the actual start date was basically par for the course. After more than a decade of planning for a chunk of more than 200 acres at the corner of County Highways PB and M, sticking out a few extra months to get the first building started because of the long winter was no big deal to landowner David Reinke. Im excited to see a half-a-billion-dollar creation here, he told the Verona Press on Monday evening. Its better to do it right than to do it quick....

Ken Notes: Spec, I'm impressed!
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Murky Waters: How developer Terrence Wall plans to curb runoff into Madisons lakes

 MADISON - 5/8/2014 On a recent spring day, developer Terrence Wall pointed out the conservation techniques he is putting in place on a picturesque piece of property that borders Gov. Nelson State Park, prairie land and a small creek that drains into Lake Mendota. The 750-acre Community of Bishops Bay development is a hilly plot of land and includes the fifth-highest peak in Dane County, farmland and land that will sit dormant until the property is built out over the next decade....

Ken Notes: Great ideas here. We often treat storm water regs as a nuisance rather than an opportunity for design. I would still like to see some smaller sub 200K housing in the region to stem the apartment tide.
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Civil War-era building demolition could delay Bassett apartments

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 In a move that could delay construction of a four-story mixed-use project in the Bassett neighborhood, city planners say a Civil War-era building slated for demolition should be saved. The Keller Real Estate Group is proposing 18 apartment units over first floor commercial space at the corner of East Main and South Bassett streets. It would require demolishing the two-story painted brick building at 502 W. Main St. and another older house next door. But a new report from city planner Heather Stouder says the 502 building, while not a designated landmark, warrants some attention. Granting a demolition permit, she says, is potentially inconsistent with the 2012 city Downtown Plan which urges preserving historic buildings that contribute to the essential character of downtown and its neighborhoods."...

Ken Notes: Somewhere there needs to be a fund to restore Historic Buildings and return them to best use. The fund would then establish priorities on what to save and what to let go. We now "save" structures only to let them crumble away so the next generation can tear them down. This is neither preservation or economic development. It is like not repairing potholes in the street.
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Why does improvement require clearcutting UW Library Mall?

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 Warning: Do not bring lovers of The Lorax to UW Library Mall right now. I stopped by there last week and felt like I was being punched in the gut, watching construction workers slice away at stately maples and flowering crabs. In full bloom. Destroyed. Those trees are not part of the plan. I can't say I fully disagree with the UW news release that called Library Mall a "tired-looking concrete and streetscape." The illustrations of the new design look good. But trees take years to grow to their full glory, and some of the ones they're chopping are beauties. And as The Daily Cardinal pointed out in an excellent article on the history of Library Mall, some UW students have never experienced it not under construction. That's a bummer, because in my day, this open space where city and campus merge was a favorite meeting place and refuge from the fluorescent lights of classrooms....

Ken Notes: Madison should adopt a tree replacement plan. Cut one down plant one elsewhere. In fact make it a two for one deal win win... Also there is a guy who creates boards from the wood. Available at the Re Store...
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PerBlue lands $3 million investment; Forbes.com touts Madison for IT

 6/5/2014 Madison mobile gaming company PerBlue has raised just under $3 million with the funding led by Lightbank, a Chicago venture capital firm, in its first Wisconsin investment. PerBlues games include Parallel Kingdom; Greed for Glory; and Boardtastic. The company says more than 10 million players play its games, about 60 percent of them in the U.S....
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Storm-battered cities turn focus toward rebuilding

 Wisconsin - 6/19/2014 On the second day of cleanup work after a line of tornadoes ripped through southern Wisconsin, cities and homeowners continued their recovery efforts with an eye toward rebuilding even as another wet and windy storm caused more damage. At UW-Platteville, inspectors evaluated the damage done to campus buildings and the schools football stadium, while university officials worked on their plans for getting the campus back to normal before the fall semester....

Ken Notes: Please use local firms who will stand behind their work. Look for MABA membership or other local affiliations. Post your results to Angies List so others can learn about your contractors. Oh, and be careful out there!
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Madisons Central Park an intriguing work in progress

 MADISON - 6/19/2014 The notion of a Central Park on Madisons Near East Side has fueled imaginations for decades. And even now, two days before the parks official opening Wednesday morning, it still takes some imagination to see what the park eventually will become. Michael Jacob, president of the Marquette Neighborhood Association, was reminded of that on a recent jaunt past the park. My 13-year-old kid was like, So, wheres the park?  Jacob said. So you really do have to have a little bit of imagination still before it all comes together. While it figures to take years for the park to fulfill the vision set forth by the Central Park Master Plan, the long-awaited space the city has been planning for it for some 40 years should see plenty of action in its inaugural season....

Ken Notes: Progress, action - two of my favorite words!
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Madison`s Orbitec to become part of Sierra Nevada, maker of the Dream Chaser spacecraft

 MADISON - 6/26/2014 A Madison company thats all about rocket science and knows how to grow flowers and vegetables in space is joining forces with the maker of the Dream Chaser, a winged craft that could serve as a space taxi for astronauts. Orbital Technologies Corp., better known as Orbitec, is being purchased by Sierra Nevada Corp. Terms between the two privately owned companies are not being disclosed. Orbitec, of Madison, makes a wide variety of products for use in space, from specialized greenhouses to life-support systems for astronauts to rocket engines. Its Veggie plant system that can grow lettuce, tomatoes, radishes and flowers has been housed on the International Space Station since May....
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Weather conspires against property sought for Central Park

 MADISON - 7/3/2014 Its as if the weather gods looked down, saw that Madison had finally made some headway on the long-planned Central Park and decided to give the project their own little push. Not that the owners of the property included in the northeast end of the parks long-term development area and thus on the citys eventual to-buy list would see it that way. The storms that blew through early last week tore a section of roof off one of the propertys four buildings. Now a few city officials are wondering if the owners loss might eventually become the citys gain....

Ken Notes: Work with these guys and the insurance companies to create a win win...
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Beergate: Did Scott Walker serve Coors at the executive residence?

 7/10/2014 One Wisconsin Now, the liberal advocacy group, never misses a chance to take a shot at Gov. Scott Walker. So when a fan sent in a photo snapped of a beer caddy bearing the Coors logo parked on the lawn of the executive residence in Maple Bluff, the organization quickly relayed the news to its thousands of followers on Facebook: Looks like Wisconsin beer is no longer good enough for Scott Walker, OWN quoted the fan as saying. Would Walker, who rarely misses an opportunity to display his Sconsin cred he regularly dons Badger apparel, rides a Harley and tweets photos of himself deer hunting really choose Coors Light over a Miller Lite? First, a little beer history: Since 2008, Coors has been part of MillerCoors, a joint venture with the Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Company. MillerCoors is, in turn, owned by SABMiller, a British beer conglomerate....

Ken Notes: I don't really care, but I do believe we need to do far more to promote our own craft beers. I have said before, we need a craft beer marketing board patterned after the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. This should be a private sector venture with strong public sector support. We should point out fake craft beer products and promote the quality brews made locally.
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Older population growing faster in Dane County than in Wisconsin, U.S.

 MADISON - 7/17/2014 Dane County, much like the nation as a whole, is getting older. The rate of population growth in the 55-and-older category here, however, outpaces Wisconsin and the nation. Since 2000, the Dane County population of those aged 55 and older has increased 69 percent. That's more than the 39 percent for the state and the 42 percent for the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau this week released its 2013 estimates for race and age, and for Dane County they showed that older age groups are among the fastest growing....

Ken Notes: I'm one of "them". We have some great opportunities for youth though.
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Paul Soglin, Scott Resnick differ on response to homeless camped at City-County Building

 MADISON - 7/24/2014 Mayor Paul Soglin says a proposal to extend rules of behavior now enforced inside Madison's City-County Building to the porch overlooking Martin Luther King Boulevard was not intended to sweep homeless people who sleep there overnight from the area. The truth, says Soglin, is that the proposed rules would have benefited the homeless people who routinely bed down atop the front steps to the seat of city and county government each night. For the person who is homeless and sleeping there, this would not have interfered with their comfort," Soglin said Tuesay. "It would have improved it."...

Ken Notes: Once again I believe we need to work with developers, property owners, businesses, and government to address this problem. I think Tim Metcalf has a better handle on the issues than any elected official for example. Finally has anyone asked the homeless what they want, we might be surprised by their answers.
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MGE`s proposed rate change dismays conservationists

 MADISON Area - 7/24/2014 In 2006, Kurt Reinhold invested $20,000 installing solar panels on the roof of his home. A former high school science teacher, he was concerned about climate change and wanted to reduce his carbon emissions....The problem facing MGE -- and all other utilities -- is that people are increasingly conserving energy, and homes and appliances are becoming more efficient. That means utilities are selling less power, so revenues are down. However, the cost of maintaining an electric grid is not going down. So utilities are trying to charge customers higher fixed rates that will stay the same regardless of energy consumption. Steve Kraus, MGE's manager of media relations, argues the current system is unfair, with high-energy users subsidizing low-energy users. Whether you use a lot of energy or very little, the cost of connecting to the grid is the same, he says. "Customers who don't use very much power, they're not picking up their fair share of what it takes to bring electricity to their homes," Kraus says...

Ken Notes: This is the best and most in depth article I have seen on the subject -- well worth reading. It is not the Reinhold's MGE and other are worried about it is private companies taking advantage of the discrepancy in the rate structure to make large profits. Environmentalists are also entitled to be concerned because we do not want to impede solar production. We need to work this out...
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At least 25 companies have outsourced and received state funding award since 2005

 Wisconsin - 8/7/2014 In July 2012, Kohls Department Stores secured up to $62.5 million in state tax credits to keep its headquarters in Menomonee Falls. Three weeks later, the company began threatening layoffs, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Then in August 2013, the company notified the federal government it would be cutting 67 jobs and outsourcing its Milwaukee-based accounts payable and sales audit functions to India....

Ken Notes: Again, with my plan this would/could not have happened! 2K for ten years for new jobs based on total employment. Outsourcing is fine but if your Wisconsin employment base falls you loose the tax break.
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New fee aims to charge developers for subdivisions that extend urban boundaries

 Madison Area - 8/14/2014 Dane County developers soon will face a new fee when they seek to build subdivisions that extend sewer service into rural areas of local communities. Approved in May by the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, the fee which would run about $12,000 for a 100-acre project, with a decreasing charge for each additional acre would cover the commission staff planning work and could be used four times before years end for possible developments on the outskirts of Madison, Cambridge, Sun Prairie and Middleton....

Ken Notes: The question is will the commission listen to the staff recommendations, and will staff work with the local communities to get good plans????
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Meetings begin between tribes, EPA to discuss halting Northern Wisconsin mine

 Wisconsin - 8/21/2014 For the second time this year, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is being asked by Native American tribes to use its powers under the Clean Water Act to halt a mine and preserve the quality and habitat of nearby waterways. The EPA, at the request of Alaskan tribes, commercial fishermen and conservationists, issued a proposal in July that would limit the activity of a proposed gold and copper mine, known as Pebble Mine, next to Bristol Bay, according to a Washington Post article. Bristol Bay is home to a large fishery that supports nearly half of the worlds sockeye salmon....

Ken Notes: I have an idea for the tribes. If they were to focus on tourism and jobs instead of casinos and a "just say no" approach, they would get a lot of support for their efforts. The environmentalists are hoping they slow things down -- but are not rushing to sit along side them at the table... Just a thought... You may reprint or use my comments and I will run other opinions...
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Scott Walker says he won`t make another job creation promise

 Wisconsin - 9/4/2014 Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he won't make another job creation promise like he did four years ago, a pledge he's all but certain not to fulfill by the end of his term in December. Walker said his economic development plan to be unveiled in coming weeks will be a detailed proposal about how to grow quality jobs, but it won't include a specific promise of how many jobs would be created....

Ken Notes: I just wish they would say we will provide economic assistance to any company, new or old, creating new jobs through tax credits.
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Foreign direct investment plays growing role in Wisconsin economy

 Wisconsin - 9/11/2014 Waupaca Foundry can trace its roots in Wisconsin to 1871, when the Rosche family opened the company on the banks of the Waupaca River. Today, the firm operates three foundries in Waupaca and one in Marinette, but its ownership has turned to the east the Far East. The $1.3 billion purchase of Waupaca Foundry by Japans Hitachi Metals Ltd., part of a larger global conglomerate, will likely mean even more growth for a company that already describes itself as the worlds largest supplier of iron castings. The deal, announced last month, is the latest example of how foreign direct investment is globalizing Wisconsins economy in ways that create jobs, expand supply chains, open the doors to new markets and provide needed investment dollars....

Ken Notes: Wow I used to work at the Waupaca Foundry, my father was the Sales VP back in the 70's. Japan has been investing in the US for a while now. I remember my dad once asking a Japanese exec he was entertaining when he was at Budd/Ford, "Why is Japan becoming so interested in US manufacturing?" I will never forget the answer --- "Cheep labor!"
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GrandStay Hotel & Suites to be built in Mount Horeb

 Mount Horeb - 9/11/2014 NCI-Roberts Construction and Mount Horeb Hotel Partners will break ground at 10 a.m. Friday on a GrandStay Hotel and Suites in Mount Horeb. The hotel will include construction of a 61-unit wood-framed hotel with 16 extended-stay units, a pool, three spa rooms, a fitness center, breakfast room and meeting rooms. The ground-breaking event will be the site of the future hotel, Lot 160, Lillehammer Lane. The project is expected to be complete in spring 2015...

Ken Notes: Actually Mount Horeb has a lot to offer the Epic trainees looking for a rural rather than a downtown experience. I would still love to see a family resort style hotel catering to EPIC. Many are now communing from the Dells...
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UW-Madison tops global rankings in media, communications education

 UW Madison - 9/18/2014 UW-Madison ranked first in media and communications among 100 universities worldwide in the QS World University Rankings, which assess international reputation and draw, the Guardian reports from London.

The London School of Economics and Political Science, University of California-Berkeley, University of Southern California and University of Texas at Austin rounded out the top five in that ranking....

Ken Notes: Way cool, we are getting a lot of hits from Brittan lately and ideas why???
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Fairfield Inn & Suites to be built in Verona

 Verona - 9/18/2014 Ground was broken Wednesday for a $5.5 million, three-story Fairfield Inn & Suites at 613 West Verona Ave., Verona. Once built, the 90-room hotel will feature nearly 2,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a 24-hour business center, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access, an indoor pool, a fitness center, complimentary deluxe continental breakfast, outside and underground heated parking, and complimentary shuttle service....

Ken Notes: Still lots of room for growth in Verona...
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Mayor Soglin`s housing initiative bold and necessary

 Madison - 9/25/2014 With regard to Mayor Paul Soglins affordable housing initiative, we share the enthusiasm of former Ald. Brenda Konkel, the veteran housing advocate, who says: "Yes! The mayor and the staff that worked on this plan get a HUGE thumbs up." Soglin is proposing a $20 million initiative to make at least 750 units of affordable housing available to homeless and low-income Madisonians over the next five years. That is a bold proposal....Solid research and analysis by the citys Housing Strategy Committee  as outlined in the 2014 City of Madison Affordable Housing Strategy  leads to the stark conclusion on the part of officials: Madisons low-income population faces a large and persistent problem of a lack of affordable housing that results in high levels of housing cost burden and at the extreme, homelessness...

Ken Notes: We need a stronger advocate than Brenda, I nominate Mr. Metcalfe or Mr. Wray both have a better understanding of the real issues. We do need to focus our housing efforts on children and families. And as always the real solution is quality jobs. I am all in favor of guaranteeing a safe place to live to ANYONE willing to work in our community.
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Executive Q&A: Lou Masiello sees more development ahead for Hilldale

 Madison - 9/25/2014 When WS Development of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, purchased Hilldale Shopping Center in 2012, it did so because it saw an opportunity. The $52 million price tag for one of the citys oldest shopping centers was not the end of the investment in the property. Instead, it marks a continuation of the redevelopment of the property that was started 10 years ago by the former owner, Joseph Freed & Associates....

Ken Notes: No mention of a hotel which is too bad because the site needs one. Middle ground for EPIC Madison connection...
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High-priced Dane County Jail plan dies in Joe Parisi's 2015 budget

 Dane County - 10/2/2014 A controversial proposal for a new $150 million Dane County Jail is dead, County Executive Joe Parisi revealed while announcing his proposed 2015 budget Wednesday. We now know such a facility would require an enormous capital investment that would not result in sufficient savings, Parisi said in his budget statement. The proposed $532.4 million operating budget with $38.9 million in authorized capital spending would increase property taxes on the average Madison home by about $23. It would protect budget reserves, maintain most services and spend $4.5 million to address criticism of the 911 system by cranking up emergency radio signals to levels higher than any other countywide system in Wisconsin....

Ken Notes: We need a new jail and county building to go along with the new courthouse. This could create space for development near the Terrace. These are not easy projects but we have to live with the results for the next 100 years so lets get it right.
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Madison officials urge developers to - up their game - after hotel project stalls at Pahl Tire site

 Madison - 10/2/2014 Although a second developer has been unable to satisfy city officials with plans for a downtown hotel at the old Pahl Tire site, Madison officials insist the city is not hostile to development. "Clearly, we have high standards," says Ald. Ledell Zellers, who represents the district where North Central Group wanted to build a boutique Marriott hotel on the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Webster Street. "I want us to have high standards. I want us to have a good planning process and follow our plans and end up with wonderful developments." North Central Group had proposed a 10-story AC Hotels by Marriott, in the company's European-style line. But the city's Plan Commission narrowly rejected its plans last week....

Ken Notes: This is a tough site to develop on but we may need to work with developers to make it happen....
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One in four Wisconsin workers earning poverty wages, says report

 Wisconsin - 10/9/2014 Poverty-wage work is widespread in Wisconsin, particularly in food, retail, residential and in-home health care sectors, with roughly 700,000 workers earning less than a living wage in 2013, according to a report released Thursday by the Madison-based Center on Wisconsin Strategy and the Economic Policy Institute.

The Raise the Floor report based the number of Wisconsin workers who are not earning enough to support their families on the federal poverty benchmark for a family of four, or $11.36 an hour. Given that figure, 700,000, or one out of four, Wisconsin workers are employed but living in poverty...

Ken Notes: We have to fix this and it is not a political issue. We need to align education with jobs, create more jobs, and stimulate good jobs. It is not about minimum wage it is about better opportunities for workers, we need new manufacturing, new companies, more health care, and better school to work transition. Problem is no one is talking about the real issues because they don't bring votes and money to the table. We also don't sell Wisconsin and we air our dirty laundry in public. Let's run some positive campaign ads, talk about our great Tech and College systems, ask our successful companies how we can help them thrive. Sorry a bit of a rant, but we just don't get it in Wisconsin!
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Stoughton Split council OKs TIF project plan

 Stoughton - 10/9/2014 The Common Council took another step forward last week in making the proposed Kettle Park West (KPW) development a reality. In whats become a familiar pattern, a divided council voted 7-5 to authorize the city to prepare a tax-increment finance (TIF) project plan for the Wal-Mart-anchored commercial development on the citys west side. The project plan will determine the boundaries of a future TIF district and analyze its economic feasibility. It will be prepared by Springsted Incorporated and include an analysis of the citys ability to repay future debt service using tax increment revenues and to recover any proposed development incentives. Springsted will also evaluate various forms of development assistance incentives and identify the financial risk to the city under different TIF options....
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WEDC slammed in report on privatization of public services

 Wisconsin - 10/16/2014 From Florida to Wisconsin, governors have outsourced public services to private firms that have made healthy campaign contributions or hired powerful lobbyists. But the moves often pitched as a way to save taxpayer dollars have resulted in scandals, lawsuits and worse outcomes for the public, according to a new report from a Madison-based liberal research group....

Ken Notes: Biased yes, but why are we such an easy target? Can't jobs and economic development be a bipartisan all hands on deck issue. We are way too focused on campaign funding and not focused on working on the real problems. We could have a great economic development team in place if we only used the players we have on the field. This is sooo easy to solve... We have great employers great potential employees let get them together and start growing again.
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Ash tree removals in Madison parks spark neighborhood action

 Madison - 10/23/2014 As the emerald ash borer continues to spread across Madison, neighborhoods are becoming concerned about losing their parks' ash trees.
The city is focusing its funds for treatment of street ash trees, leaving the park trees to be cut down unless adopted and their treatment paid for by residents. So far, only a couple dozen trees have been adopted.
This is where the focus of our urban forestry has always been: the street trees, said Madison Parks spokeswoman Laura Whitmore. She said there is not sufficient funding to treat park trees as well, so even healthy ones will be removed....

Ken Notes: Tough one here. I hope at the very least the wood is used as lumber. At best we step up and aggressively treat the little buggers. Urban forestry in one of the things that makes Madison great, we just won't know that until it is too late. Also REPLANT at a two to one ration. Work with Bruce Co. to buy some trees, they have a surplus!!
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ThedaCare to build cancer center in Appleton

 Appleton: 10/23/2014 ThedaCare is moving forward on plans to build a $44 million cancer center in Appleton. ThedaCare oncology physician, Dr. Matthew Weiss, says the center will provide team-based, collaborative care for patients and their families. All areas of expertise will be available at one location including oncology, behavioral health, nutrition, therapy and more. Weiss says it will make it easier for cancer patients because they won't have to shuffle from specialist to specialist. Post-Crescent Media (http://post.cr/ZIXrpL) says the center is expected to be completed by 2016. The ThedaCare health care system includes seven hospitals....

Ken Notes: Wisconsin could become a health care mecca it we work together!
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Epics huge auditorium for more than just UGM

 Verona - 10/23/2014 Its deep and its space, chief administrative officer Steve Dickmann told the Verona Press as he walked around the 830,000-square-foot auditorium and office building in mid-September. Thats as literal as it gets. And there was born the name Deep Space, for the building that houses an 11,400-seat auditorium, one of the biggest indoor gathering facilities in the state. It continues a theme at Epics Galactic Headquarters on the west side of Verona that started with the first buildings on campus, the alphabetically named Andromeda, Borealis, Cassiopeia and Dened. It also makes a sci-fi reference (to a Star Trek spinoff series), as seen with names like Endor (the tree house building) and Yoda (the second parking garage)....

Ken Notes: You HAVE to see the photos!!!!
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Starting bid for Appleton hotel $7.5 million

 Appleton - 10/30/2014 An online listing says the starting bid for the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton is $7.5 million. An auction for the 388-room downtown hotel begins Dec. 1 and ends Dec. 3. The city has been talking with the hotel investors about plans for a $27 million Fox Cities Exhibition Center. Hotel general manager Jay Schumerth says the exhibition center is a priority for the Paper Valley Hotel because it will mean many more visitors for the area....

Ken Notes: The Post Crescent story is below...
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Boxed in: Fighting for changes, Sheriff Dave Mahoney calls his own jail - inhumane

 Madison / Dane County - 11/6/2014 "Ill be the first to admit we have a very inhumane jail, he said. Not because of the people who work here. We avert a lot of problems because of the people who work here. Its the physical plant of the facilities that are inhumane....

Ken Notes: This is a must read, and we do need to and CAN fix this for far less that 150 million. But it will take teamwork, a new focus on mental health, and officer training. This is NOT a throw money at it problem. It is a mental health care community problem. We can do this...
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State jobs agency launches $1.58M paid marketing effort to lure new business

 Wisconsin - 11/20/2014 The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will spend $1.58 million through next June on print, radio and online ads promoting the states business climate, workforce and innovation advances as part of a pitch to lure business to the state. The campaign, about one-quarter of WEDCs $5.75 million marketing budget for 2014-15, will feature the agencys first-ever radio spots and expanded use of online advertising. Unlike last year, it will include no television ads, WEDC spokesman Mark Maley confirmed....
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What will Yahara watershed look like in 2070? UW scientists lay out scenarios

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 Some scenarios for what life in Dane County and the greater Yahara watershed will be like in 2070 presented Wednesday by UW-Madison scientists read like a science fiction novel. In one, borders between states dissolve as communities locate around increasingly scarce bodies of water. Clean water becomes a crop and large, concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are no longer allowed. In another scenario, people collectively realize they need to step out of the rat race and start using and consuming less to protect the environment, generating a strong connection to nature....

Ken Notes: We can not ignore this. Minneapolis St. Paul addressed their watershed with spectacular results, if we ignore ours we will soon miss what we now take for granted. Our lakes are the soul of the Madison area. Isthmus good -- land mass across bowl of pea soup bad. You can use the graphic with a WDN Credit..
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Frank Productions stunned by city of Madison staff opposition to East Washington music club

 Madison - 11/13/2014 Larry and Fred Frank -- owners of Madison's concert promotion company, Frank Productions -- thought they had found the perfect location for a 2,000-seat entertainment and music venue on an old industrial street, the 1000 block of East Washington Avenue. And at first, city officials seemed solidly behind their concept, which would be paired with office space, parking and 100 units of affordable housing. But the Frank brothers were devastated this week when Madison planning staff informed them they do not support the club proposal. "We're just stunned," Larry Frank tells Isthmus. "We thought we were doing something the city wanted and that was good for the community." "What's the problem here?" Larry Frank asks. "If I read what development for East Washington is supposed to be [according to city plans], I thought we were providing that. It says, entertainment, it says, high density." Steve Cover, the city's director of planning, community and economic development wrote in a Nov. 7 letter, that parking and traffic were primary concerns for opposing the club....
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Better broadband coverage can create economic highways in rural Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 5/8/2014 Carl Ruedebusch is a veteran businessman who understands how high-speed Internet connections can make or break economic opportunity depending on where you live in Wisconsin. Ruedebusch owns a Madison development company that has built millions of square feet of commercial space , including parts of the Fitchburg Technology Campus and the TEC Center on the citys North Side near Madison Area Technical College. He also owns a small business incubator in the northern Wisconsin community of Manitowish Waters, which he leased for a song to the Vilas County Economic Development Corp. in 2013 to spur growth of companies and jobs near his second home....

Ken Notes: I have to agree, bandwidth wise, Lafayette County is today where Neenah was when I was on the School Board in the 90's. This gap is huge and actually forces development into the urban areas that could provide jobs in areas where they are needed most...
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Rhythm & Booms festivities heading for final approval

 MADISON - 6/12/2014 This year's Rhythm & Booms extravaganza, to be staged for the first time in the heart of downtown Madison, is down to the final details. On Thursday the city's Street Use Staff Commission will take a look at plans for activities on a portion of John Nolen Drive that will be closed for the event. The street will be a staging area for food and beverage vendors as well as entertainment....
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EDITORIAL: The free market, or political control

 Wisconsin - 6/26/2014 PRESIDENT OBAMA notes: Only three countries in the world report that they dont offer paid maternity leave three and the United States is one of them. Obama goes on to say, Its time to change that. Earlier this week the White House hosted a day-long session examining whether the United States could be considered family-friendly in its business environment. The presidents comments leave little doubt about his conclusion. The business community should be providing more for employees, he believes. LIKE, FOOTING THE BILL for paid maternity leave. And paying for a nearly 50 percent increase in the minimum wage. Also, paying higher costs for health benefits under Obamacare. Did we leave anything out? Look, we understand where Obama is coming from. Truth is, millions of Americans are obsessed with work, often to the detriment of their families...

Ken Notes: We need an economy that supports higher wages and better employment options not a government that tries to mandate them only to see companies take the jobs elsewhere. If we concentrate on the problems we will grow the solutions we are all looking for.
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Wisconsin companies invited to attend WEDC trade trip to Canada

 Wisconsin - 11/20/2014 Wisconsin companies looking to start or expand exports to Canada can get help with contacts, logistics, shipping and regulatory issues, border controls, markets, labeling rules and potential local partners on a trade venture from March 15-20 in Canada sponsored by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. With stops in Toronto and Montreal, the program is to include one-on-one meetings with potential customers, distributors and other market intermediaries selected by WEDC staff, the agency said in a news release. WEDC officials also said Canada had particular demand for products and services in the following sectors: power generation, automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, information and communications technology, pollution control and wastewater treatment, mining and mining equipment, agriculture and food processing....
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Wisconsin ninth among 10 Midwestern states in job growth under Walker

 Wisconsin - 3/20/2014 Despite an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, below the national rate of 6.6 percent, Wisconsin still lags the rest of the Midwest in job growth over the past three years. Wisconsin stands ninth out of 10 Midwestern states in private sector job growth since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January, 2011, according to the most recent Current Employment Statistics (CES) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)....

Ken Notes: I am not sure that the title should read "under Walker" -- we are all to blame here. We air our dirty laundry in public, we do not have a uniform incentive program for the creation of new jobs, we focus on contributions and votes over jobs, we refuse to work together, and we shoot at the messenger. Forward this to a friend or tell me what I got wrong...
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Co-op members reject proposal to sell Lothlorien house

 Wisconsin - 4/3/2014 The elves still cannot reclaim their castle, but they have bought themselves some time. Members of the Lothlorien Collective, whose iconic lakefront mansion, named in honor of the elf forest from The Lord of the Rings, has been uninhabitable since a fire last September, convinced members of the Madison Community Cooperative, the nonprofit that owns Lothlorien and ten other co-ops, to reject a proposal to sell the house they had occupied for 40 years. The proposal, which MCC leadership had argued was a painful but necessary cost-savings measure, was declared dead after five days of voting on Monday. 57 voted in favor, 64 against. The proposal to sell the house fell far short of the two-thirds majority required for passage....

Ken Notes: We need to repair this house or allow a new project on the site. doing nothing is no longer an option...
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Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce: Fishidy wins Pressure Chamber Pitch Contest at neXXpo

 Wisconsin - 4/10/2014 Fishidy won the first ever Pressure Chamber business pitch contest at the Alliant Energy Center Tuesday afternoon. The contest, similar to ABCs Shark Tank, drew a crowd of approximately 250 people at neXXpo: Business in Fast Forward, putting the finishing touches on a day that showcased business innovation in Greater Madison. Brian Jensen, the president at Fishidy said he is looking forward to the opportunity to represent Madison and its entrepreneurial community. I love this community, and I love the underdog mentality of the entrepreneurs here, said Jensen. I am excited to head to California and pitch our company to the venture capitalists and shed more exposure on Wisconsin. ...

Ken Notes: Cool, I wish we would have pitched:
Wisconsin Development News
WDNGreen
WisconsinApprentice.com
ComeBackToMadison.com
DriftlessNotes.com

...and more...
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Tax reform roundtable report

 Wisconsin - 12/11/2014 Title links to a copy of the report...
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Tory Miller debuts Sujeo`s menu, introduces Madison Area Chefs Network

 MADISON - 3/27/2014 When SloPig rolled around this year, Chef Tory Miller saw an opportunity....Miller, the James Beard Award-winning chef at L'Etoile and Graze, announced a few months ago that he and his team will join Star Bar and Cargo Coffee by opening Sujeo in the Constellation Building on the 700 block of East Washington Avenue...

Ken Notes: See...
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Lothlorien Housing Cooperative Seeks Help With Repair After Fire

 MADISON - 4/3/2014 After a fire last September rendered a popular and historic downtown housing co-operative uninhabitable, community members have created a group called Friends of Lothlorien to reach out for help repairing their home. Lothlorien is owned by Madison Community Cooperative (MCC), a cooperative organization managing eleven co-operative houses in Madison. At its March 5th board meeting, the board of MCC voted to propose selling the fire-damaged house instead of repairing it, citing a shortfall between insurance payments totalling $392,000, and the expected cost of repairs. The decision would need the approval of two-thirds of MCC membership to go forward. The referendum is scheduled for the week of March 25th....

Ken Notes: We do have an opportunity to offer solutions click the title...
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State firm latest Wall Street victim

 Wisconsin - 4/24/2014 The way those so-called hedge funds operate became a campaign issue in 2012 when it was revealed that GOP candidate Mitt Romney had become an even wealthier man because of them....It all happened because Jana was able to purchase a big chunk of Dominick's parent, Safeway, and like all hedge funds immediately demanded "reforms" from the corporation to maximize profits. One of its first "reforms" was to demand that Safeway exit "subscale and lower margin geographies." That placed Dominick's, which served many of the low income neighborhoods in Chicago, in the crosshairs. And sure enough, Safeway soon capitulated to Jana and announced it was closing its Chicago stores in an attempt to appease the hedge fund's greed...So it should come as no surprise that a Wisconsin company and its workers have become yet another victim of this ruthless money-driven world. The lead paragraph in a Wausau Daily Herald editorial last week was succinct. "Some day soon, Wausau Paper will be no more. There is no sense anymore in pretending otherwise," it read...

Ken Notes: Again Dave makes some interesting points, and I have to agree the Dominick's debacle was among the worst examples. Wausau Paper deserved better options. The problem may be that we need to encourage investment and growth not profits from destruction. So here again is my weekly soap box speech - Tie Tax incentives to creating new jobs and providing befits. Wisconsin should offer 20K per new job at 2K (Tax Credit) per year to any company large or small in the state that increases their employment. The feds will see the value and follow suit. Tap tap tap is this mic on...
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Top SWIB officials receive bonuses in excess of $600,000

 Wisconsin - 4/24/2014 Top officials with the state's investment board received bonuses well in excess of $600,000, according to figures released by the board Wednesday. David Villa, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board's chief investment officer, received a bonus of more than $660,000 -- exceeding his base salary of $415,000 -- while SWIB Executive Director Michael Williamson had the second largest incentive compensation bump at $648,643, more than double his $270,000 base level salary. SWIB announced late Friday that the bonuses had been approved, but did not distribute them to staff until Wednesday...

Ken Notes: I am huge fan of our investment board, but they are well paid and the market did well in this same time frame although they did outperform the benchmarks. For the record if they had invested the whole thing in Harley Davidson they would have done even better... I think we have too many fund managers - we should have all our little pools of cash under one well managed roof then paying for success is not the worst thing...
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Water-cleaning crustacean devoured by new predator in Lake Mendota

 MADISON Area - Tiny crustaceans in Lake Mendota are distant cousins of sea monkeys but they are more like the cattle of the lake. These creatures, Daphnia, improve the quality of the water as they graze on the algae that bedevils lake users and managers. On a boat in the middle of the lake, University of Madison-Wisconsin researcher Steve Carpenter holds up a jar of Daphnia and marvels at their power: "Those little animals in the jar are about the only thing that's keeping a lid on the algae.". But the Daphnia and their good works are in danger. Each year their population is now crashing in the late summer as they are decimated by a voracious new predator called the spiny waterflea...

Ken Notes: This article reads like science fiction but is true. Their is a galactic battle out there and we are clueless... Attention filmmakers great topic!
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Willy St. six-story apartment OK'd over neighborhood objections

 MADISON - 7/10/2014 Despite objections from the Marquette Neighborhood Association, the city Plan Commission has OKd a proposal for a six-story, 54-unit mixed-use apartment building at the edge of the Willy Street neighborhood. The project from the Rifken Group calls for razing an existing two-story commercial building at the corner of Williamson and Blount streets. The new building would have about 7,500 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and five levels of apartments above....

Ken Notes: Of course the one problem with creating a very cool neighborhood is that more people want to live there. The question now becomes the mix and how to preserve the vibe...
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Madison poised for next phase of Truax Park redevelopment

 8/14/2014 The improvements were just a vision in the late 2000s, but the city of Madison is now poised to begin the second phase of a $23 million-plus redevelopment of the low-income Truax Park apartments on the East Side. The effort, begun in 2011, is dramatically reshaping the publicly owned, worn, 147-unit apartment complex with its centerpiece East Madison Community Center near Madison Area Technical College. Its improving, its new, and were hoping its a better living environment, said Natalie Erdman, city Community Development Authority director. A $14.5 million first phase, completed in 2012, renovated and expanded 71 housing units in six three-story buildings. The renovated units were expanded and got new central heating and air conditioning, appliances, finishings, carpeting, porches, storage space and elevators to make apartments accessible for the disabled....
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Inn on the Park proposing major exterior, interior remake

 Madison - 11/6/2014 Capitol Squares only hotel is set for a $10 million-plus remake to transform the nine-story, 1960s-era building into a more gracious structure. The proposal for the Best Western Plus Inn on the Park marks another big investment on the Square and potential boost for Monona Terrace. The Mullins Group, which owns the Inn on the Park, is proposing an exterior renovation that will feature a three-story base, vertical middle, and refined top and extensive interior improvements to the hotel at the corner of South Carroll and West Main streets....

Ken Notes: This is a great idea, and would become another jewel in the downtown business / hospitality crown. Why don't we focus on tying all the hotels downtown into a functional unit for events at the UW, Terrace, AEC, Capitol, PAC, and more...
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MIG Commercial Real Estate

 1/8/2015
MIG Commercial Real Estate is a multidimensional development and private investment company. It builds new, renovates existing and leases class A office buildings for business and commercial tenants. ...Display And/Or Share This article

Here is where Madison has added apartment buildings

 MADISON Area - 3/6/2014 Between 2004 and 2012, apartment building in what Madison calls the core downtown area between Park and Blair streets included one to three new structures per year, generally consisting of fewer than 100 units each. Everything changed in 2013, as the map below indicates. There were seven projects approved in that core downtown area in 2013, eight if you include The Ideal Apartments at the corner of Park and Drake streets....

Ken Notes: While we are on the subject, I will mention that we need transitional housing as well, high density, affordable, smaller architecturally fantastic Houses. In walkable neighborhoods, with entertainment, transportation, and low maintenance. Veridian and others need a new neighborhood design, small if not tiny lots, affordable homes, great amenities in the surrounding neighborhoods and communities.
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WIAA boys basketball and Madison: an affair that has endured

 MADISON Area - 3/13/2014 Duane LaCrosse came here with his team in a caravan of cars from Rhinelander in 1950. His Hodags didnt win a game at the UW Field House, losing by three points to Eau Claire in the opening quarterfinal and by 13 the next day to Wauwatosa in the consolation semifinals....

Ken Notes: The WIAA Basketball Tournament is great for the area and the state, not to mention bars, restaurants and hotels. We need more events like this in the region.
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Kestrel Aircraft again missing loan payments to WEDC

 Wisconsin - 4/10/2014 One of the high profile companies to receive backing from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is again delinquent on its loans with the state. Superior-based Kestrel Aircraft Company a firm touted by Gov. Scott Walker as an example of his business recruitment efforts hasnt made any payment on its $4 million in loans since October. It is supposed to pay $6,600 monthly and is now over $26,000 in arrears....Kestrel has received two loans that are being administered by WEDC: a $2 million state loan and a $2 million state small business credit initiative loan, which is a federal loan. Kestrel also has a $2.4 million loan from the city of Superior with payments on that debt coming due in October. In addition, Kestrel is certified to receive up to $18 million in enterprise zone tax credits from WEDC, and $30 million in federal new market tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). Kestrel had collected $402,408 so far on those credits.

Ken Notes: They may come around but just a reminder - eggs... basket... Oh and have I ever mentioned linking incentives to JOBS... 20K per - via 2K per year in tax credits for ten years - any company is eligible. Forward this to your legislator...
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The search for a Madison Public Market site is on

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 Phase one of the Madison Public Market business plan revealed what people want to see in a year-round market: innovative food businesses, seasonal produce from local farms, prepared foods and complimentary retail outlets. 
Now it's time for phase two: Where to put it?
"It became clear in phase one (that) what were really talking about is an area that is able to support a variety of food-related business, including retail," said Mark Woulf, the city's food and alcohol policy coordinator. "Were talking about a market district with more space than stand-alone retail."...

Ken Notes: How about over John Nolen Drive?????
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Wisconsin looking again at self-insuring state workers

 Wisconsin - 5/29/2014 Wisconsin is looking again at self-insuring state employees, as the state Department of Employee Trust Funds seeks a consultant to study switching more than 200,000 state workers and family members from an HMO model to self-insurance. A request for proposals by ETF, issued Friday, revives a self-insurance proposition put on hold last year after the Wisconsin State Employees Union and the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans said they oppose it....

Ken Notes: I like the current plan in that it provides nice options for other public employees. That said self insured with a good administrator and some bridge insurance for big ticket procedures will save money. As a school board member in Neenah we did this and it was a good program, include PPO options, generic drugs vs. co-pay and other cost saving options. Include wellness and alternative options as well. Look at other successful programs DO NOT start from scratch the learning curve will kill you!
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Wisconsin Innovation Awards honor 10 companies

 Wisconsin - 8/28/2014 Three Madison companies are among 10 businesses honored in the first Wisconsin Innovation Awards. The three are: Isomark, whose Canary breath analyzer can help detect infections; Stemina Biomarker Discovery, whose devTox technology is used to gauge toxicity of drugs on human development; and Vitacycle, a modular way to grow food. Other awards went to: The Milwaukee Water Council's BREW Accelerator; the Design Futurist Internship Program at Discovery World; the Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic; Microbe Detectives; and Scanalytics, all of Milwaukee. Also honored were the Boldt Company, Appleton, and RAI Stone Analytics, Eau Claire. Awards were handed out Tuesday night during the Forward Festival. ...
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MGE rate plan sparks protest at utility HQ

 Wisconsin - 9/25/2014 Saying they expect better from a community energy company, a group of MGE customers plan to rally near the utility headquarters Thursday at noon to protest proposed billing and rate changes. MGE is looking to raise the fixed charges on customer bills and reduce charges for the amount of electricity used a move critics say will discourage energy conservation while hitting low-income and elderly residents the hardest....Under the compromise plan, the typical MGE residential customer using 550 kilowatt hours of electricity monthly would see a $2.80 increase in their monthly bill in 2015. The company has also taken steps to protect low-income and existing solar customers in its rate request....

Ken Notes: One more time there is middle ground here and we need to find it fast. MGE (a sponsor of this publication) has backed down quite a bit. If the status quo remains in place we will see many lease "solar space" because it is so profitable. I still advocate that in exchange for rate adjustments we see more renewables on the grid from the power companies.
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Local companies chosen to pitch for $100,000 from AOL cofounder Steve Case

 Madison Area - 10/2/2014 Nine companies, most of them in Madison, will vie for a $100,000 investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case as part of the Rise of the Rest Road Tour on Monday. The nine chosen to compete at the Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., at 4 p.m., are:...

Ken Notes: Speaking of the "Pitch", WDN and Now four other newsletters are seeking sponsors for 2015. Good value Great exposure... AND I quote Polish ruler LESZCZYNSKI STANISLAUS..."We rise to fortune by successive steps; we descend by only one."... you don't get that in the Wisconsin State Journal...
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State moving forward on Hill Farms land sale, redevelopment

 Madison - 10/30/2014 The Walker administration is moving forward with a sale and redevelopment of the sprawling Hills Farms site, seeking a private developer for a $197 million building project that would create the largest office complex in the city along with 2,500 parking stalls.
The state earlier this month quietly posted a request for proposals (RFP) for a developer to design and construct a 600,000 gross square foot office building on the 21-acre site along Sheboygan Avenue. Parking would be a mix of a ramp and surface spaces.
As part of the deal, the developer selected by a special committee would purchase the remaining land at Hills Farms along with the existing 400,000 square foot Department of Transportation office building that would be vacated.
In addition, the developer would be required to purchase the Badger Road State Office Building off of the Beltline at South Park Street currently used by the Department of Employee Trust Funds. The state is then planning to move all ETF staff from Badger Road to Hill Farms when the new building is completed.
Also, the Public Service Commission offices would move from a site on Whitney Way to the Hill Farms building...

Ken Notes: I forgot this story and it is one of the largest stories out there. The RFP is here and is due November 7th. Thus a special addition!
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State moves ahead with massive, $196 million Hill Farms project on West Side

 Madison - 11/6/2014 The state of Wisconsin is seeking a private developer to buy and rebuild the home of the state Department of Transportation, a project that would become the largest state-owned office building. The massive, 600,000-square-foot project at the site of the Hill Farms State Transportation Building could cost taxpayers up to $196 million, according to the request for proposals issued in October. The proposal calls for a developer to buy and replace the existing 400,000-square-foot building on Madisons West Side and turn it back to the state....

Ken Notes: Just a thought... what if this property became a Government Square with state local and county facilities. Up for consideration -- city hall, DHFS, the jail and county building, and of course transportation. It could also be the center of a new regional BRT transit hub. It is a great piece of property...
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OPINION: Do not flush energy dollars down transmission toilet

 Wisconsin - 11/13/2014 I am writing in response to Mark Hansons excellent guest column, which argues against building more transmission lines for electricity....It is within the publics right to ask hard questions, make requests and assert ratepayer values and priorities such as conservation, energy efficiency and locally produced electricity from businesses, homes and farms. Stop, listen, whats that sound? Its your energy dollars going down the transmission toilet. Hanson said the unneeded transmission lines were bridges to nowhere. That was putting it nicely.

Ken Notes: Well written, unfortunately I am almost sure the lines on the table will get built... (More on this in WDNGreen Monday)...If they do get built, I would like to see a campaign to offset the land required for the right-of-way with land for trails, conservation and recreational use. We have a shot at getting my option -- whereas just say no will most likely fail...
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Local developer builds sparkling-new lake house on Monona Bay after teardown

 Madison - 11/13/2014 Long-time Madison-area developer Pat McCaughey will hold a neighborhood open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday to unveil his latest project his own new home, built with an assist from the citys new zoning ordinance. The custom-built lake house, fronting Monona Bay at 702 West Shore Drive, was finished in five months this fall, following a teardown of the old house on the lot last year. McCaughey acted as his own general contractor for the home in the Greenbush neighborhood south of Downtown and helped design its custom features. He lives there with his son Maxwell, a UW-Madison junior....

Ken Notes: Wow! Photos HERE.
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Redfin brings lower-commission real estate sales to Madison, Milwaukee

 Madison - 12/11/2014 In a potential boon for cash-conscious consumers, the growing Seattle, Washington-based real estate firm Redfin has plunged into the Madison and Milwaukee housing markets, promising lower agent fees and improved technology for local home buyers and sellers. Representing what it calls a new business model in real estate, with an online database bolstered by boots on the ground, Redfin offers a kind of hybrid choice between local real estate companies and the national, third-party real estate aggregators, such as Zillow and Trulia....

Ken Notes: Careful a good broker can save a client money if he or she does there job well. It is clear that housing searches now start on the internet but they should still end across a desk, at least for now...
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Energy industry says CO2 is good for us

 Madison - 12/18/2014 For years, the fossil-fuel industries have been telling us that global warming is a hoax based on junk science. But now these industries are floating an intriguing new argument: Theyre admitting that human use of coal, oil and gas is causing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to rise but theyre saying this is a good thing. We need more CO2 in our lives, not less. CO2 is basically plant food, and the more CO2 in the environment the better plants do, proclaimed Roger Bezdek, a consultant to energy companies, at an event hosted Monday by the United States Energy Association, an industry trade group....

Ken Notes: Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh! and that is the edited version...
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Shopbop to close Bop store while expanding local presence

 Madison - 12/18/2014 Amazon-owned Shopbop is closing its sole retail store to focus on its growing online business. The store, Bop, 222 W. Gorham St., will close the last week in December, said Kim Fleissner, chief operating officer, who said the lease came up and the building owner had a tenant for the entire building. That was really the catalyst for the whole decision, Fleissner said....

Ken Notes: I wonder if Duluth Trading Company, (my personal valet) would consider a Madison Location???
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Majestic co-owners Matt Gerding, Scott Leslie buy Missouri music venues

 Wisconsin / Missouri - 7/10/2014 Two Columbia, Mo., music venues are about to get a little more majestic.Majestic Theatre co-owners Matt Gerding and Scott Leslie have signed a deal, expected to close in October, to buy Columbia's The Blue Note and Mojo's from owner Richard King.
King turned the duo down the first time they made an offer, about seven years ago. He wasn't ready to sell the 34-year-old club. But about a year ago, they approached him again....

Ken Notes: This could be good for the Madison Music scene as well. I hope they bring some Memphis Blues into the area...
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SVA Consulting Recognized Both Nationally and Regionally By BSI

 Wisconsin - 7/31/2014 SVA Consulting has been named to BSI's Top 100 VAR in 2014 list which ranks the top technology firms in the United States by revenue both nationally and regionally. SVA Consulting has moved up to #46. "We are proud to once again be recognized as a part of this elite group of peers," stated John Baltes, President of SVA Consulting. "SVA's steady rise in the rankings from year-to-year and overall firm's success can be attributed to the success of our clients. Our continued focus on their needs, both business and technology, while helping them achieve measurable results is our top priority."...

Ken Notes: Congrats!!!
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EPA to impose pollution rules if Wisconsin does not make changes in two years

 Wisconsin - 8/14/2014 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will impose rules for limiting fine particle pollution in Wisconsin if the state doesnt submit long-overdue plans for ensuring adequate controls on the smokestack emissions linked to respiratory ills. Critics of the state Department of Natural Resources say the EPA action highlights skewed DNR priorities. But EPA and DNR officials downplayed the federal finding of failure, which gives the state two more years to submit an adequate plan before federal officials write one of their own. Former DNR secretary George Meyer, who has sometimes been critical of the agency, said, Its a bad precedent for Wisconsin. Meyer, who is now executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said the state knows best how to write rules because it understands local conditions....

Ken Notes: George Meyer is well worth listening to. We need to bring business to the table ad resolve this now, the EPA does not manage projects well and it costs jobs and money!!!!
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Multiple centers for research will help Wisconsin`s high-growth economy

 Wisconsin - 9/18/2014 While economists dont often agree on much, its hard to find much dissent over the notion that major research universities contribute to the prosperity of cities, regions and states around them. Studies by the Federal Reserve Bank and others have cited the power of academic research and development in the economy, from direct spending tied to such research to the transfer of knowledge to companies of all sizes to the human capital that comes with creation of a highly skilled workforce. The UW-Madison is one of the nations leading research universities by several measures...

Ken Notes: We still need a plan to keep UW "projects" in Wisconsin....
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Wisconsin lags on renewable energy

 Wisconsin - 10/9/2014 Matt Neumann needs only one word to describe Wisconsins recent record on renewable energy. He calls it rotten. 

Neumann, president of the Wisconsin Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, is equally concise in ascribing blame: The big change happened in 2010, when the Republicans took control of the governorship and Legislature....

Ken Notes: For those who do not read WDNGreen.com, I have been advocating tying the rate change requests to a substantial increase in renewable energy. Sort of a win win option. So far both sides have responded favorably to me, how much the PSC is listening I am not sure.
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Know your Madisonian: Dan Kennelly

 Madison - 10/23/2014 The first thing Dan Kennelly did when he got a new job last year was resign as a public member of the Local Food Committee. That cleared the way for one of his first duties at his new job: Join the Local Food Committee. Kennelly, 36, is the city point person for the Madison Public Market District, the ambitious plan to place a many-faceted food-related center, or district, in the area around East Washington Avenue and First Street. In some cases, a job as economic development specialist for the city would ensure a professional tenure of near invisibility, but Kennelly, a Madison native and son of a pharmacist and English teacher, has been the opposite. Thats thanks to the topic. The locals get sensitive on the topic of food....

Ken Notes: Good read! We should note that there are some VERY talented people working for the city (in fact cities) in the region. We tend not to listen to them but they are very talented....Congrats Dan!
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State`s economic development structure in place -- Question is how best to use it

 Wisconsin - 10/30/2014 Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke have staked out major differences in their approach to job creation and economic growth, but the candidates appear to agree on one significant item: Reinventing the states flagship economic development agency was the right thing to do. Walker took heat early in his term when the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. ran into accounting troubles tied to its transition from a traditional state agency to a quasi-public authority, but stuck with the decision. Businesswoman Burke is a former Commerce Department secretary who could have called for turning back the clock to how things worked during her tenure but she has persistently declined to do so....

Ken Notes: We need to use the team on the field more. The new WEDC should invest a little more in the county and regional EDC's and make key employees an actual part of the system. A good model would be the University of Wisconsin-Extension system...
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Stoughton creates TIF district for Wal-Mart development

 Stoughton - 12/4/2014 A proposal for a large suburban development that would bring a Wal-Mart Supercenter to Stoughton cleared its last major hurdle this week, but opponents of the project are weighing their options in hope of disrupting it from breaking ground. Earlier this month, Stoughton City Council members approved an amended developer agreement that extended the time frame for Verona-based Forward Development Group to gain approvals for specific implementation plans and a tax increment financing (TIF) agreement worth up to $5 million for its Kettle Park West development at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highways 51 and 138....

Ken Notes: Again I am not a Walmart fan, but the title here is wrong. In this case Walmart is the economic engine that will fuel the rest of the development. This was my success formula as Mayor in Neenah and I still believe that using a major player to help fund the other things you want or need is a good idea. Just make sure you have a plan...
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Wisconsin among top 10 states for racial gap in pollution exposure

 Wisconsin - 4/17/2014 In the U.S., race affects educational and financial opportunity, poverty and unemployment rates. According to a University of Minnesota study released Tuesday, people of color are also exposed to nearly 40 percent more air pollution than white people. Wisconsin ranks among the top 10 states for racial disparity in pollution exposure, according to the study. Researchers paired census data with a map of outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is released from power plants and vehicle exhaust. They examined differences in pollution exposure between races...

Ken Notes: Imagine the good we could do if we spent the money we spend on these studies actually doing some good for people. I will say it again it is not about race, it is about opportunity.
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Fix the broken Madison Landmarks Commission

 4/3/2014 Last week, Madison Landmarks Commission chair Stu Levitan wrote a blistering response to my op-ed taking that body to task for its refusal to grant a certificate of appropriateness to tear down three tired buildings on Gilman Street and replace them with three much better ones. Stu concedes pretty much that the three existing buildings are bad. And he doesn't comment about the proposal for the new ones. He just says that they're too big. Stu makes my case for me. His response totally misses the point as he dwells on officious legalese, rather than common sense, to make his case. He rejects my suggestion that we judge each proposal to take down an old building by asking if what would replace it is better by pointing out that that's not what the landmarks ordinance uses as a standard....

Ken Notes: Go Dave!!!
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Airport height limit will keep East Wash from going all high-rise

 MADISON - 3/13/2014 Anybody who follows the Madison scene is probably familiar with the citys "Capitol View Preservation Ordinance" which prohibits any very tall buildings downtown. The ordinance was passed in 1966 in reaction to the 18-story Van Hise Hall on the UW campus. It prohibits any buildings within a mile of the state Capitol from exceeding the height of the base of the columns beneath the dome, roughly 180 feet high. Fearing the latest downtown building boom might also encroach on the Capitol view, State Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) recently introduced legislation to extend the height limit out to two miles...

Ken Notes: If we want to keep the Capitol from being buried, we need a master plan that addresses the need for density, transit, access and lifestyles...
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Soglin to new cab companies: Obey the rules or face fines

 MADISON - 3/20/2014 Madison Mayor Paul Soglin believes that if new cab companies are interested in doing business here, they have to follow the same rules he did when he drove for Checker Cab Company in the late 1960s...It might make better business sense to simply eliminate the unprofitable 80 percent, except city ordinance mandates that licensed cab companies operate 24/7. They are also required to serve every neighborhood in the city. Uber and Lyft, two national ride-sharing companies that connect customers through smart phone apps with part-time drivers operating their own vehicles, are currently making money in Madison but flaunting key regulations, including the 24/7 requirement. Lyft vehicles are typically adorned with large mustaches across the front...

Ken Notes: This one is very tough, but the Mayor is right, if we want transit we have to create a level playing field. This happens in education as well private schools can take the best and brightest students with no special needs and the system faces the challenges associated with educating the rest. Re the cabs, we should go to a New York token system - to have a paid fare you have to have a token...
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Dilapidated Garver is ripe for the hardest of hard-core preservationists

 MADISON - 3/20/2014 Madison sure does love its old buildings not that theres anything wrong with that. Old buildings are tangible symbols of our heritage, and saving them fits in nicely with a key component of the Madison lifestyle: reduce, reuse, recycle. Plus, old buildings are frequently better buildings. From plaster walls and real wood floors to cornices and wainscoting, old homes in particular seem to have the kinds of sturdy construction and purely aesthetic design features you dont much find in newly built homes that dont require a six-figure salary to own....

Ken Notes: We must think outside the box on this one and we have to have a sustainable business model behind it, not to mention the strong support of the gardens. We can all daydream but reality on this one is tough. Must combine the trail neighborhood partial renovation and other ideas to save this. Click this link for images.
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http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=42302

 Wisconsin - 3/20/2014 Wisconsin seems as synonymous with beer as it does with cheese. Milwaukee was long touted as the "Beer Capital of the World," and then there's Bernie Brewer. The brewing industry contributed $8.6 billion to Wisconsin's economic output in 2012, according to the Beer Institute. That figure comprised a higher percent of state GDP, relative to the size of Wisconsin's economy, than all other states except for Missouri and Colorado. And let's not forget Wisconsin's reputation for drinking....

Ken Notes: HEY this was my idea, I have been talking about it for years, a little credit here...
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Dane County second in nation in private sector wage increase

 Dane County - 3/27/2014 In what local officials call a sign of the areas robust recovery, private sector wages in Dane County jumped 9.3 percent over the past 12 months, the second largest increase in the nation.
Only San Mateo County, southwest of San Francisco, saw average wages grow at a faster rate, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week....Ken Harwood, who edits Wisconsin Development News, credits Epic Systems for contributing to the wage growth. The Verona-based medical records giant is the Dane Countys largest private sector employer with more than 6,000 staffers. Epic is bringing in all these kids and paying them $50,000 or $60,000 right out of college, he says...

Ken Notes: To follow up on my quotes in the article, EPIC also has the effect of raising the bar for wages across the region. I stand by my suggestion that the impact is huge...
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Wisconsin 2nd in U.S. in job losses last month, new estimates show

 Wisconsin - 4/3/2014 Wisconsin was second in the nation in total job losses last month, a somewhat surprising development considering the states unemployment rate has reached its lowest level since November 2008. Employers in Wisconsin shed an estimated 9,500 total public and private sector jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported late last week. Along with North Carolina (11,300 job losses) and Alaska (2,300 job losses), Wisconsin experienced a statistically significant decline in employment, according to a press release from the BLS.

Ken Notes: Regardless of politics, we need incentives for hiring. We do not understand that when we rebate taxes across the board everyone looses. Jobs make us all wealthier.
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Andy Platz leads Mead & Hunt into new markets, new building

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 Engineering and architectural firm Mead & Hunt is moving into its 110th year of business in Madison apparently without losing a step the company is moving into a new headquarters even as it continues to expand its services and national footprint. Founded in Chicago in 1900, Mead & Hunt relocated to Madison in 1904 and currently is ranked as Wisconsins largest engineering company, and was among the fastest-growing nationally every year from 2009 to 2013, according to the Zweig Letters Hot Firms list....

Ken Notes: Read this and note the new collaboration motivated design features...
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Ex-Thrive head Sean Robbins tapped by Oregon governor

 Oregon (The State) - 4/24/2014 Economic development wunderkind and UW-Madison graduate Sean Robbins, once the leader of Madison-based development group Thrive, has found huge success in the Pacific Northwest. Robbins served 18 months as executive vice president of Thrive (now called MadREP) before leaving in 2011 to take over at Greater Portland Inc. Now, Robbins has been named director of Business Oregon, the states economic development wing, by Gov. John Kitzhaber....

Ken Notes: This is why we need a Come Back To Madison Newsletter, we need to remind these guys that it all started here! Congrats Sean we miss you...
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Wisconsin needs ambitious clean energy goal

 Wisconsin - 4/24/2014 The paramount environmental issue this Earth Day, which arrived last Tuesday, is climate change. Wisconsin, our nation and the world need solid steps forward to stem the worst impacts of rising temperatures....

Ken Notes: I would still like to change the discussion from climate change, a global issue, to economics and our children and grandchildren a local issue. We need to make changes now to insure their future. Clean energy is good for our future...
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Talking equity is easy; living it is hard

 MADISON - 5/1/2014 The city of Madison is out to close the seemingly intractable gaps in income, education and other social welfare indicators between whites and people of color. Officials are characterizing the effort as a move toward equity. But its probably closer to affirmative action which, depending on ones politics, is either a logical strategy for righting historical wrongs or a nice way to say reverse discrimination. Regardless of what you call it, no amount of planning, study and recommendations will amount to a hill of beans if Madison city leaders cant make specific decisions to help those at the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum no matter what color they happen to be....

Ken Notes: Chris, liberal that he is, make a few point worth reading. He should note that Madison's lack of making specific decisions is clearly not limited to socioeconomics or color. I will once again stress the need for a plan here and a quick adoption of policy and regulation to support it. Also it is not about color in Madison it is about economics. It is a tough place to thrive unless you have an income. I suggest we focus on providing an income for adults and a marketable education for our youth. We also need to double or efforts on those not headed to college or tech school regardless of color. Do you read WisconsinApprentice.com - You should!
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Madison City Council unanimously approves tiny houses village for east side

 MADISON - 5/8/2014 The city of Madison has to do more, now, to house people who are homeless, Madison City Council members said Tuesday as they unanimously approved a plan to construct a village of tiny houses on Madisons east side. Southwest-side Ald. Lisa Subeck said she had gotten teary-eyed listening to proponents of the Occupy Madison project because she had seen the dilemma of homeless people up close while working in the local homeless shelter and transitional housing systems....

Ken Notes: Not a bad start but I still suggest we need to stay involved in the regulation, design, and administration to ensure these do not become just another occupy camp. I think the houses need to be something special that Madison is proud of. Also with 1,000+ estimated homeless we need to integrate these into the communities not segregate them into abandoned parking lots. Also I wonder if we could get some economic diversity in these units EPIC Employees, Journalists, Architects, Students, Visitors...
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Business Marcus to break ground on theater complex in Sun Prairie

 Sun Prairie - 5/8/2014 Marcus Theatres officials said Friday that the company will break ground May 14 on a state-of-the-art, 12-screen theater in Sun Prairie. Located next to Costco in the Prairie Lakes development at Highway 151 and Highway C, the Palace Cinema at Prairie Lakes will include an UltraScreen DLX theater that combines a 64-foot-wide, three-story-high UltraScreen with Dolby Atmos audio. The complex, on 11.6 acres, will also include four Big Screen Bistro auditoriums, a Zaffiros Express and a Take Five Lounge....

Ken Notes: And Niel is on vacation -- I wonder if he even knows???
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Focus on Energy claims record-breaking savings

 Wisconsin - 5/23/2014 Focus on Energy funding for renewable energy projects and energy efficiency changes resulted in record cost savings last year, according to a study released this week. Focus on Energy spent more than $63 million in 2013 for rebates and incentives toward projects ranging from solar and wind power installations to new furnaces, water heaters and light bulbs for residents and businesses....

Ken Notes: It is good to be green.!
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A toast to 25 years making wine

 Wisconsin - 5/23/2014 It was 1989 when Peter Botham began his romantic life in wine, except it took several years for the wine to appear, and a few years, too, for him to find romance. Dont worry, though it all ends happily. The enduring image of those first years after Botham planted vines on his familys cattle farm just south of Barneveld is of a man standing alone in a field, wondering at low moments what he got himself into....

Ken Notes: And he always had some mighty fine wine "Joy to the World"...
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Verona Board makes $3.4M land deal

 Verona - 5/29/2014 Its been clear for months that the Verona Area School District was looking to buy land for expansion. The only question was where. The first answer came Monday, as the district made a move to purchase 40 acres of land on the west side of the city for $3.4 million. The parcel is in an area long-planned for major commercial growth but just a few blocks of the massive Westridge subdivision, which sends children to Sugar Creek or Country View elementary schools further east....
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Years in the making, Madison's Central Park is finally ready

 MADISON - 6/5/2014 Its been more than 40 years in the making. Festivals have come and gone; plans have been drafted and abandoned. The skate punks who longed for a place to call their own are now skate dads. But at long last, Madisons Central Park will open this summer. The linear park, located on the citys near east side, stretches along East Wilson Street and a bike boulevard to the south and East Main Street to the north, nestled between South Brearly and South Baldwin streets. Its been part of the citys vision since the early 1970s, and the subject of a planning task force since 2007....

Ken Notes: I like this project but we have a ways to go. Events, daily use, community involvement, landscaping, transit, neighborhood development...
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Madison's tallest buildings by the numbers

 MADISON - 6/5/2014 As part of The Cap Times coverage on the Changing Face of Madison, we set out to compile a list of Madison's tallest buildings. As it turns out, the list varies depending on who is doing the measuring and what tool they are using.  Late last month, after publishing the list with a story about collecting the data, we received additional information on buildings to include. We updated the list again, and will continue to do so as Madison's building boom continues. A few in the works include the 14-story Ovation from Hovde Properties at 309 E. Johnson St.; the 12-story Johnson Bend at 433 W. Johnson St. from Les Orosz; and the 12-story Domain apartments at 415 W. Johnson St. from Dave Schutz...

Ken Notes: Mike we should do a photo op from the top of each of these, there is a guy doing this in Milwaukee very cool project.
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Talks scheduled to explore passenger rail line from Madison to Chicago

 Wisconsin - 6/12/2014 A group of rail advocates are organizing a train excursion to discuss a possible passenger rail line between Madison and Chicago. In an email provided to The Capital Times, a lobbyist who represents a variety of rail interests invited a number of community stakeholders, including government officials, on a train ride from Madison to Crawford, Wis., to highlight the potential of what was a once-great regional rail line stretching from Chicago to Minneapolis. Everyone involved is very excited about the opportunity to spend some time together and to spend some time talking about the possibilities of reestablishing passenger rail service from Madison to Chicago, said Gary Goyke, a lobbyist for All Aboard Wisconsin, a rail advocacy group, in the email....

Ken Notes: Dare we dream. I am not sure private will work but public / private could! We need a new vision for transit in the US and rail should be on the agenda.
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Tiny house occupant drawn to Occupy Madison village out of desire for community

 MADISON - 6/19/2014 Keith Valiquette says it was the sense of community that attracted him to Occupy Madisons tiny house movement. And he predicts that others, even people who can afford regular-sized houses, will be joining him. Valiquette, 65, now homeless after a long working career and owning a business as well as houses, is in line to live in the third tiny house constructed by Occupy Madison volunteers. His dog, Chip, will move in with him....

Ken Notes: If this were really done well we should see a mix of people, incomes, and backgrounds in these villages. This diversity will keep them neater, well managed, and attractive. If we only house those with cognitive, health or addiction issues we do not have the ability create the neighborhoods that support one an other. These should be a lifestyle, looks like we may be headed in the right direction with Keith.
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Harley-Davidson introduces electric motorcycle

 Wisconsin - 6/19/2014 Harley-Davidson will unveil its first electric motorcycle next week, and President Matt Levatich said he expects the company known for its big touring bikes and iconic brand to become a leader in developing technology and standards for electric vehicles. Harley will show handmade demonstration models Monday at an invitation-only event in New York. The company will then take several dozen riders on a 30-city tour to test drive the bikes and provide feedback. Harley will use the information it gathers to continue refining the bike, which might not hit the market for several more years. The venture is a risk for Harley because there's currently almost no market for full-size electric motorcycles. The millions of two-wheeled electric vehicles sold each year are almost exclusively scooters and low-powered bikes that appeal to Chinese commuters. But one analyst said investment by a major manufacturer could help create demand, and Levatich emphasized in an interview with The Associated Press that Harley is interested in the long-term potential, regardless of immediate demand....

Ken Notes: Can you imagine the global market for this product. I also found these accessories for the bikes MP3 player.
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Could Madison-to-Chicago service come quickly?

 MADISON - 6/26/2014 The proposed Madison-to-Chicago commuter train might not be an express train, but if one gentleman had his way, it would get here in express fashion. That gentleman is Gary Goyke, the former state lawmaker turned lobbyist, who could be the captain of the all-lobby team when it comes to the prospect of twice-daily commuter service between Madison and Chicago....

Ken Notes: Good read -- tough sell. The economics here are off the charts. I hope I am wrong but with 3 convenient bus like running the route I am not sure private rail can get the funding or passengers. For the record I hope I am wrong!
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Electric cars coming to UW-Madison

 UW Madison - 6/26/2014 Four mini-cars will be tooling around UW-Madison for the next year, fueled by electricity and available for short-term checkout by anyone with a university ID, including faculty, staff and students. The university is one of four campuses nationally and the only one in the Midwest to host the cars. Called new urban electric vehicles, the Innova Dash cars will include tablet-sized computers that will be connected to the universitys wireless network. Theyll feed data about position, speed and battery charge directly to the network. A number of research projects will then use the data....
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OPINION: Beware of state selling public property warns blogger

 Wisconsin - 7/3/2014 Beware of the Scott Walker administration's listing of state properties that could be sold to private interests, warns James Rowen on his blog today. Rowen notes that thanks to the GOP-controlled Legislature, Walker's people can sell everything from state office buildings to power plants with no bids. Expect lots of cronyism, he says...

Ken Notes: I agree that we we need to remove politics from this entirely but we do own many properties that would be better used in the private sector and on the tax roles. I suggest a bipartisan review committee, recommendation, public comment period and a bid process. Give the power plants a chance to offer best use proposals at a reduced acquisition rate, again subject to public review. If we can not get Doyle Square done I again suggest DHFC be turned into a world class hotel. State owned with far better public options...
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CUNA Mutual gives $1.2M to Madison School District, UW program for new teachers

 MADISON - 7/3/2014 CUNA Mutual Group has promised more than $1 million to a new program aimed at training and keeping new teachers developed by the Madison School District and the UW-Madison School of Education. Officials announced the companys $1.2 million commitment Thursday at Wright Middle School. It is the largest grant the organization has awarded, said CUNA Mutual Foundation executive director Steve Goldberg....

Ken Notes: Let's show then some bang for their buck by developing programs that have measurable outcomes...Uh and THANK YOU CUNA!!!
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New business awards program seeks nominations

 Wisconsin - 7/10/2014 Nominations are due Tuesday for the first Wisconsin Innovation Awards.
The new program is aimed at celebrating innovative programs, products and services at businesses of all ages and types, throughout Wisconsin, spokeswoman Molly Walsh said. Prizes have not yet been announced.

Winners will be named in ceremonies on Aug. 26, as part of the Forward Technology Festival at the UW Memorial Union, 900 Langdon St. Keynote speaker for the event will be Nolan Bushnell, founder of the Atari video game company and the Chuck E. Cheese pizza chain....
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OPINION: Scott Walkers job creation program is ineffective

 Wisconsin - 7/17/2014 Gov. Scott Walker's campaign promise of 250,000 jobs was cynical at best. Economists anticipated more jobs to be part of a normal economic recovery in Wisconsin. Walker's signature economic program, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, was recently described by One Wisconsin Now as ineffective. According to the group's report, Walker distributed $975 million in grants, loans and tax credits, resulting in limited job creation. Thirty percent of businesses receiving WEDC assistance contributed to Walker's campaign and received 60 percent of funds distributed....

Ken Notes: Have I mentioned lately that we need a bipartisan program to Incentivize (now a real word I looked it up) new jobs with a simple tax credit. Make this program available to companies old and new. Use WEDC to promote the program and encourage growth then TRACK THE RESULTS. My program is cheaper, more effective, and has no political benefits to either party - Alas it will therefor never be considered. At least rather than throwing stones I am offering alternatives.
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Governor Scott Walker Announces More Than $28 Million in Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants to State Technical Colleges

 Wisconsin - 7/17/2014 Governor Scott Walker today announced the intent to award more than $28 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to train more than 4,900 workers for in-demand jobs. All of the states 16 technical colleges will receive grant money to focus on training in multiple high demand fields. The awards are part of Governor Walker's Blueprint for Prosperity initiative, to move Wisconsin's working families along a path toward greater prosperity and independence....
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Longtime leader of charitable giving is ready for next chapter

 MADISON Area - 7/24/2014 Leslie Ann Howard, the face of the innovative United Way of Dane County for the last 25 years, announced Monday that she plans to retire at the end of next year. As president and chief executive officer, Howard built a national reputation by transforming the Madison organization from an agency that simply collected donations for charitable groups to one that pulled together government and business representatives to research the best ways to attack root causes of the communitys worst problems, then set goals for measurable progress and publicly evaluate the level of success and failure....

Ken Notes: Let us be one of many to say Thank You for all you have done! Mayor want some advice on homeless policy she would be a great place to start!!!
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MATC gets $5 million in workforce development grants from state

 MADISON Area - 7/24/2014 Madison Area Technical College got more than $5 million of the $28 million in grants to technical colleges statewide that have been awarded by the department of workforce development to train more workers in high-demand fields, Gov. Scott Walker's office announced Friday. MATC's award of $5,009,710 will allow the training of 934 more workers in the following areas:...

Ken Notes: They do nice work!
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State economy in worse shape because of tax cuts

 Wisconsin - 8/7/2014 The liberal Wisconsin Budget Project is out with a stinging new report arguing that state lawmakers through a series of unprecedented tax cuts that have gone largely to the upper 1 percent have actually put the state in a worse economic position going forward. The report contends that lawmakers have shortchanged public education and health care in exchange for tax cuts that havent led to any meaningful increases in job creation. Moreover, debt repayment costs are now consuming 5.3 percent of general fund tax revenues as Wisconsin has borrowed to pay for road building and other big capital projects. That level of debt service runs above the states traditional 4 percent target....

Ken Notes: We need neutral third party to get the real story here. And while you are at it why not look at a tax break for creating JOBS, new jobs should yield 2K per year for 10 years. That would grow the state, provide tax relief (much to the upper 10% -- but so what if it is tied to jobs) and stimulate interest in locating new business here in the state. Why is this idea not being talked about??
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R.A. Smith Nationals Grants & Funding e - newsletter

 Wisconsin - 7/31/2014 Welcome to the July 2014 issue of R.A. Smith Nationals Grants & Funding e - newsletter. As always, we hope you find the information useful and welcome your input. ...

Ken Notes: A great little resource!
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Convenience: Comedy, Opera and a Neighborhood Affair

 Madison - 8/7/2014 ...The story revolves around a real-estate developer and a grassroots activist who come up with competing plans for the shop's future. As tension between them grows, so does a romance. Other characters include conspiracy theorists, musicians and all sorts of eccentric store patrons... Aug. 1-10 in TAPIT's space at 1957 Winnebago St.

Ken Notes: A must see for developers...
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Edgewater Hotel races to finish for official September opening

 Madison - 8/14/2014 Since construction began on the Edgewater Hotel in the fall of 2012, its owners have projected an opening date of August 2014. But anyone who has seen the hotel would likely be skeptical that goal will be realized. Insulation on sections of upper floors remain exposed, as workers have yet to cover them with brick. The area surrounding the hotel is covered with dirt, scaffolding and various construction materials. And that's just the outside. Will the hotel really open this month? While it may not be a full-scale opening, Meredith Voller, the hotel's director of sales and marketing, says the Edgewater's first guests will arrive on Aug. 28 for an Aug. 30 wedding, which will serve as the hotel's soft opening....

Ken Notes: I can't wait!
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Winnebago County supervisor: BadgerCare referendums are - scare tactics - for the poor

 Wisconsin - 8/21/2014 Voters in at least 17 Wisconsin counties and one city will see a question on their November ballots allowing them to weigh in on whether the state should accept millions in federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage through its BadgerCare programs....

Ken Notes: I have to agree and BOTH sides do it. It gets worse, even legislation is passed to lock up a group of "on the border" voters. Concealed carry comes to mind. A stupid law that tips the scales by a point or two. Write ONLY if you are suggesting I'm wrong on the votes. My position on the law is just an opinion...
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Majestic will show - Good Will Hunting - to raise money for mental health awareness

 Madison - 8/21/2014 Robin Williams fans shocked and saddened by the actor-comedians death will get the chance to see him in his Oscar-winning role and raise money for mental health awareness. The owners of the Majestic Theatre announced Wednesday that their next Brew n View film event will be Good Will Hunting on Sept. 11. The price of admission is a $5 donation to a mental health awareness organization. Tickets will be available at the door....

Ken Notes: This is a good idea. I hope they can get an expert to talk for a minute or two before the movie. I actually believe Robin would approve. Mental health is a huge issue.
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UW-Madison student`s cancer research lights up social media

 UW Madison - 9/4/2014 Among the students returning to classes at UW-Madison this week is one whose cancer research is gaining national attention and lighting up social media.

A short Vine loop that features a headline about sophomore Keven Stonewall in the New York Daily News received more than a half-million views last week. But the microbiology students research on a colon cancer vaccine has been attracting media attention for a while...

Ken Notes: I issue a challenge, lets keep Keven, his research, and the company that could evolve in Wisconsin.
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Spencer Black: Marking 25 years of a great bipartisan law

 Wisconsin - 9/4/2014 Ill soon be celebrating a silver anniversary. And I plan to celebrate it with Tommy Thompson. Perhaps a further explanation is in order. On Sunday, Sept. 14, former Gov. Thompson and I will be the keynote speakers, along with Sen. Dale Schultz, at a celebration of the 25-year anniversary of the signing of legislation that created the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Thompson, Schultz and I played key roles in forging the bipartisan compromise that led to passage of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway law. The success of that law is well worth celebrating since it has protected one of Wisconsin's outdoor treasures....

Ken Notes: I NEVER thought I would be handing out accolades to Spencer Black, but in this case he is right on the mark and I must tip my hat, the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway was and is a gift to the State...
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Jake Leinenkugel retires from craft brewery

 Wisconsin - 9/11/2014 Jake Leinenkugel announced Tuesday that he is stepping down as president of the Wisconsin brewery started by his great-great-grandfather and will be succeeded by his younger brother Dick Leinenkugel, who formerly led economic development efforts in the state....

Ken Notes: They do get the marketplace I wish they were less tied to MillerCoors and more a made only in Wisconsin product but hey still a cool company.
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Manufacturing Summit to offer insight on global competition

 Wisconsin - 9/11/2014 A panel of accomplished chief executive officers will discuss the challenges and opportunities for competing in a global economy at the 2014 BizTimes Manufacturing Summit. Executives from manufacturing companies throughout Wisconsin are invited to attend the breakfast event, which will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Pewaukee headquarters of Harken Inc. ...
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Little Norway closes doors after 86 years

 BLUE MOUNDS, WI - 9/25/2014 Citing financial constraints, the owners of the Little Norway Norwegian homestead-turned-tourist attraction have closed the facility, put in on the market, and are donating or selling its artifacts.The historic site just outside of Mount Horeb was also closed last season. On its website, owner Scott Winner detailed his decision to shut down the facility. "For 75 years, four generations of my family have had the good fortune to share this charming valley with travelers from around the world," he wrote. "My mother said to me 'Werent we fortunate all these years to have Little Norway in our lives? When you close that gate for the last time, you do so knowing that three generations have their hands on yours.'"...

Ken Notes: This would be a GREAT location for an off the grid park/campground and could be crowd-funded by those wishing to develop small experimental housing. The site is perfect and the current building are an asset.
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Crawford County Economic Development Corporation receives 100K Grant!

 Crawford County - 10/2/2014 FY-2014 Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants

Wisconsin

$99,179 to the Crawford County Economic Development Corporation, Prairie du Chien, WI, to train vendors and promote three existing farmers markets in Crawford County.

$74,337 to the Janesville Farmers' Market, Janesville, WI, to conduct vendor training and increase outreach to the low- income community to improve redemption rates of Federal benefits and EBT awareness.

$60,505 to the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, Fond du Lac, WI, to promote its new location and expand educational and community market related activities.

$59,884 to the Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council, Independence, WI, to improve market management, business development, and vendor training at three farmers markets...

Ken Notes: Congrats David and others!
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Parking expected to be scarce at Public Service Commission during Thursday's MGE rate hearing

 Madison - 10/9/2014 The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin will host a public hearing on the proposed Madison Gas & Electric rate case at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at 610 N. Whitney Way. Those planning to attend are requested to use public transportation or charter buses as parking at the PSC building is limited. Ample street parking is available off of Whitney Way and staff will be on hand to help direct individuals to the very limited amount of visitor parking on hand....

Ken Notes: Lets hope that some of those waiting to speak offer real solutions or ideas. I feel the "just say no" mindset is not fair to the companies working on a rate structure designed years ago. Designed to offset the cost of solar not make it a cash cow for investors. If I can make something at 10 cents and sell it for 14 cents because my neighbor is forced to buy it something is wrong regardless of how good it is. Shouldn't the neighbor get it for a dime or even a small profit.
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On the Job: Stevens Point Brewery continues to grow

 STEVENS POINT 10/13/2014 The Stevens Point Brewery has announced it is producing almost 20 percent more beer than in the previous year, which has led to 10 new jobs being created. The new employees include a packaging manager, a fourth brewer, an inventory control materials planner, two maintenance workers and five more second-shift packaging employees, including a shift supervisor and quality technician. The brewery has about 40 employees. Operating Partner Joe Martino said in a news release that the growth in popularity of brands such as Ciderboys and favorable economic conditions in Wisconsin drove the brewerys growth. Located at 2617 Water St., the brewery has embarked on five expansions since 2009. The most recent, announced in January, included the purchase of three unitanks, 1,000 new kegs, and upgrades to the brewerys bottle-filler and electrical and cooling systems. Cost of the expansion was $1.5 million....

Ken Notes: We could see a lot more of this if we play our cards right!
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Agency backs down from 76 percent tax increase

 Dane County - 10/16/2014 A controversial regional planning agency in Dane County has settled a lawsuit by backing down from its bid for a 76 percent tax revenue increase in 2015. The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission sets its own tax levy, but twice since 2011 the Dane County Board has formally objected, forcing a reduction. The commission tax comes out of the total amount the county is permitted to collect under state-mandated limits. Created by the state in 2007, the regional planning commission brings together local government officials in Dane County to work out disputes about where and how new construction should occur and the measures necessary to protect natural resources...The commission has sparred with municipalities over proposed development zones that some commission members said did too little to protect water quality or prevent suburban sprawl. The state Department of Natural Resources has rejected commission recommendations twice...

Ken Notes: Again every community has great resources and the staff of CARPC has bee ignored in the past - the budget may not be the only problem here...
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Madison Public Market District Placemaking Workshop

 Madison - 10/23/2014 10/28/2014
4:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Dan Kennelly Peggy Yessa
Tenney Park Pavilion
(1414 E. Johnson)
The City is making progress on the Madison Public Market District. The next step will be an interactive "Placemaking Workshop" to brainstorm ideas for uses and activities to include as part of the District. The Workshop will start with a brief presentation in the Pavilion and then small groups will head outside to walk the site and identify opportunities and uses. All are welcome. Dress for the weather. Upcoming dates for Madison Public Market District Placemaking Workshop. Click a date link to register for an event....
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UW-Madison deans say Morgridges $100 million gift is a - game changer -

 UW Madison - 11/20/2014 The donation of $100 million to support development of UW-Madison faculty was big, blazon-it-on-the-Camp-Randall-scoreboard news. But its long-term impact will be even bigger, say University of Wisconsin-Madison deans. Its a game changer, said Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology. The Morgridges have made a difference on campus in a lot of ways. This is a game changer in terms of human capital....

Ken Notes: UW will remain on the world map for years to come. Now lets focus on building and keeping new businesses in the region. Again THANK YOU to the Morgridges'...
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OPINION: Fund public schools to develop great citizens

 Wisconsin - 11/20/2014 A great nation is built on great citizens. Great and responsible citizens are developed in great homes and great schools. Public schools need appropriate funding to produce great and responsible citizens for Wisconsin to maintain its status. This can't happen if funds are diverted from the public school budget to promote and support voucher, charter and other forms of schools. I suggest Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature approve and fund state Superintendent Tony Evers' budget request, in addition to funding voucher schools. This is a win-win solution for all Wisconsin children and for Wisconsin to remain great....

Ken Notes: As a school board member for many years, I concur with the public side, the voucher side still creates as many problems as it solves. You would be better off restructuring poor preforming schools, a far more difficult but rewarding option... Also lets get our Juniors and Seniors headed in the right direction. School to work is actually an easy fix if we work together.
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Trane building a new training center in Madison

 Madison - 12/4/2014 Trane, a provider of indoor comfort solutions and services, is building a new commercial sales office at 5302 Voges Road. All 56 employees working at the current location at 4801 Voges Road will move to the new facility with additional staff added later if needed. The new 10,000-square-foot commercial sales location will double the current training space capacity. Three customer planning/breakout spaces will be included in the project. ...

Ken Notes: This could be a great market for Madison. Companies like EPIC and others need to bring users and professionals to a facility and train them. If the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, hotels, the UW, and others promoted the use of our facilities or the building of new ones we could become a great Midwest destination for training, and other seminars. Welcome Trane!!!!
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The fight for Crandon: In Forest County, residents are taking action to revive the Northwoods economy

 Wisconsin - 3/3/2014 Snow is falling on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The snowmobiles are out, crisscrossing Crandon, mingling with the traffic. This winter has been brutally cold, but on the day I drive up Highway 55 it is mild; and after the light snow passes, the late-February sun will cause just enough melt to leave icicles....You have to have an economic cluster built among those forests, Schuessler said, or you cant manage. The economic health of the Northwoods is linked unavoidably with the forests. The forests are to this area, as Forest Countys University of Wisconsin-Extension agent, Steve Nelson, told me, as Lake Superior is to Bayfield or the orchards and lighthouses are to Door County. The natural bounty, the tourism draw and sense of identity of the landlocked, economically troubled Forest County is in the forest...

Ken Notes: Schuessler is among the best cheerleaders I know. He may very well put the great north back on the economic map in Wisconsin.
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Odyssey Project sets returning students on a path to a new future

 MADISON Area - 5/8/2014 Michael Martin says he is a different person than he was in September when he walked into the Odyssey Project. He's more self-aware, more at peace with himself and the world. I think differently, said Martin, 35, in a meeting room at the Goodman South Madison Branch Library last week where he and his classmates were gathering for their final class in the free humanities course for adults....

Ken Notes: Good ideas here!
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OPINION: Madison already has public market amenities

 MADISON Area - 5/15/2014 Madison has spent $250,000 for another consulting firm from New York to tell it the city is ready for a public market. If you are either from 50 miles away or from Portland, Ore., I guess you're an expert and know what we need. Give me $250,000 and I'll tell you what you want to hear....

Ken Notes: Wow I disagree with most of what he says but agree that we do not need to spend more on consultants to tell us what we want to hear.
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WEDC to host global trade mission to Singapore and Indonesia

 Wisconsin - 6/12/2014 Officials with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. are planning a global trade venture trip to Singapore and Indonesia and are inviting companies interested in exporting goods to Southeast Asia to attend. During the trip, business officials will have the opportunity to connect with decision-makers and identify business opportunities in the region. The world's fourth-largest country, Indonesia has more than 250 million residents. The country has plans to invest $150 billion into its infrastructure. Click here for more on the business opportunities in that nation....
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Ayres Associates - SAA Design Group


Landscape Architecture, Planning, Architecture, Engineering...Please see our blog here for updates... ...Display And/Or Share This article

OPINION: Wisconsins quiet transportation revolution

 Wisconsin - 4/3/2014 Madison is at the forefront of the quiet revolution in car use and vehicle technologies that is fundamentally changing transportation needs, infrastructure investments and traditional financing structures. Madison is third among the nations 100 largest cities for declining driving miles per person (18 percent decrease), and Milwaukee is second (21 percent decrease) from 2006 to 2011, according to the WISPIRG Foundation. As driving patterns change and gas tax revenues decline, Wisconsin should prioritize smart investments in transit and rail, which are gaining passengers, and fix it first when it comes to highways and bridges....

Ken Notes: I sort of agree, we need to segregate gas tax and earmark it for road repair and mass transit.
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Medical College to soon begin student recruitment

 DE PERE - 4/10/2014 The Medical College of Wisconsin hopes to begin recruiting students for its De Pere campus in June. Related Content Woman scammed into sending money to... Man robbed of prescriptions, cash... Bicyclist reports man in van as... Lockdown lifted at Madison College View More The college is waiting for accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. School officials say the first class will include 20 to 25 students. The college will train doctors in a three-year curriculum that uses medical professionals from the community as teachers. Press-Gazette Media reported the college's executive vice president, Dr. Joseph Kerschner, says mental health care will be a key component of the college's curriculum. College officials expect classes will begin in July 2015....
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Meet & Eat food carts return for third year with new sites at Warner and Brittingham parks

 MADISON - 6/19/2014 The third year for Madison's "Meet & Eat" event starts Thursday at the Meadowood Shopping Center on the city's south side. Started in 2012 and co-sponsored by Madison Parks, Meet & Eat is part of Mayor Paul Soglin's attempt to bring more food options to areas with few walkable restaurants. Twice a week, food carts like Caracas Empanadas (Venezuelan), Luang Prabang (Thai), FIB's (sausages and sandwiches) and Banzo (Mediterranean) gather for a few hours in a local park....

Ken Notes: Do we realize the entrepreneurial opportunities these carts present. For a small investment an individual can start and actually own a real business with a great earning potential. Yet it seems from an economic development perspective they are not even on the radar screen. I applaud Mayor Paul's effort to use these businesses as a social networking tool!
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Six-story apartment building to replace dairy at Park Street point

 Madison - 12/18/2014 A developer is advancing plans for a six-story, 186-unit housing and commercial complex on the triangular property at the heavily traveled intersection of South Park Street and Fish Hatchery Road. T. Wall Enterprises of Middleton is proposing four buildings connected by a rooftop plaza atop 13,156 square feet of commercial space, according to an application for planned unit development approval filed with the city of Madison. Plans call for 186 stalls of surface-level and enclosed parking on the former site of the Bancroft Dairy, with vehicle access from Fish Hatchery Road....
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Weston Place condo owners not backing down

 MADISON - 3/6/2014 Developers seeking city approval for a proposed 12-story apartment on Segoe Road behind the Hilldale Shopping Center have removed first floor commercial space and angled their building farther away from the Weston Place condominiums next door. But that good faith effort has done little to cool project opponents, who contend the building is out of character with the rest of the neighborhood, which includes a mix of senior housing and smaller-scale apartment complexes. Critics say the proposed apartment at 198 units per acre is more than twice as dense as the 12-story, 121-unit Weston Place and far more dense than any other building in the Hill Farms area....

Ken Notes: Weston, the Marina, we now have "Condo Wars" right here in little ole Mad Town. Attention writers, I want a credit if you use the phrase!!!!
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OPINION: Wisconsin Legislature is undermining local control

 Wisconsin - 3/13/2014 Cities, villages, counties, towns and school districts are the units of government closest to the people, most trusted by the people and best reflecting the will of the people. Yet the party that controls our state government continues an attack on the ability of those local governments to serve the people. It is ironic that the party that rants against the federal government and claims to support small and limited government is systematically limiting the powers of the governments that are most responsive to the people. Local officials are our friends and neighbors. They understand local issues and concerns. This attack on the ability of cities, villages, counties, towns and school districts to do their jobs, meeting the needs of the people, has to be stopped...

Ken Notes: Local control is like using the joker in a poker game, you get to play it anyway you want. No politician has earned the right to play this card in any capacity until the address local government by actually helping them. Start with health insurance for employees and teachers, fund economic development professionals, give the transportation funds back for our roads, encourage cooperation among communities. You train a dog by feeding it not poking at it with a stick.
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Mortenson Construction VP Mark Sherry sees renewed surge of projects coming in 2014

 MADISON Area - 3/13/2014 Its headquarters is in Minneapolis and its Milwaukee office is bigger, but the Madison roots of general contractor Mortenson Construction run deep. Tom Gunkel, the current CEO, is a Madison native, as is chief financial officer Sandy Sponem. Company chairman M.A. Mortensons wife, Alice, also is a Madison native, and throughout the company, about 190 employees are graduates of UW-Madison....
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Switzerland wins top prize but Wisconsin dominates the World Championship Cheese Contest

 World - 3/20/2014 An Emmentaler from Switzerland was named World Champion, but Wisconsin continued its dominance at the 30th biennial World Championship Cheese Contest. State cheesemakers took first-place honors in 34 of the 90 categories, swept the top three spots in 10 categories and placed four cheeses in the sweet 16 finals for Best of Show....

Ken Notes: And many of these from Lafayette County!! Congrats all!
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Sonic Foundry announces partnership with Chinese company

 Wisconsin / China - 3/27/2014 Sonic Foundry has signed a partnership agreement with Neusoft IT Services Co., in China. Neusoft will provide Mediasite services, including a Chinese-language Mediasite help desk. Sonic Foundry's Mediasite technology webcasts lectures and presentations and archives them. The publicly traded Madison company said the non-exclusive partnership with Neusoft will help expand its business in China....

Ken Notes: Once these connections have been made we need to work with the companies to see if we can grow the relationships into other areas.
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WisBusiness: The Show - John Biondi, director of UW-Madison's D2P initiative

 Wisconsin - 3/27/2014 Welcome to a new episode of "WisBusiness: The Show," a twice-a-month Web show covering state business news and issues. On this episode, Liz Schrum speaks with John Biondi about the new "Discovery to Product" initiative at UW-Madison; Tom Still discusses numerous ways to draw a younger population to Wisconsin; and the WisBusiness.com Stoc......
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Economic growth: How Wisconsin compares

 Wisconsin - 4/3/2014 Uses latest available numbers, updated April 1, 2014 -- Wisconsin compared to other states over the past three months and since January 2011, the beginning of Gov. Scott Walker's term in office:...
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Metro Market, not a Copps, to occupy Grandview Commons grocery site

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 When the grocery store in Grandview Commons opens in June, it wont be a Copps. Milwaukee-based Roundys announced Wednesday that the much-debated 58,000-square-foot store at 6002 Cottage Grove Road on the citys Far East Side will be a Metro Market. The store is smaller than most Copps stores with more of a focus on fresh produce, meat and prepared foods, said Jim Hyland, a company spokesman....

Ken Notes: I have been it these and I think the neighborhood will like it. We are seeing a shift to local fresh foods with Metcalf's, HyVee and Millers offering a great selection.
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Closures highlight algae, bacteria threats in Madison-area lakes

 MADISON Area - 4/24/2014 After one of Madisons longest, coldest winters ever, swimming season is almost here along with toxic algal blooms, bacteria, invasive milfoil and other pestilences of the lakes. The Yahara lakes Mendota, Monona, Wingra, Waubesa and Kegonsa are no clearer than they were 30 years ago, despite intensive efforts to improve them. During that time, lake scientists say, the increased heavy rainfalls that are part of climate change most likely offset gains from better land use practices, by washing giant volumes of pollution into the lakes....

Ken Notes: We NEED to fix this. Minneapolis did, so can we. These lakes are an asset that we ignore for the most part.
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New clinic brings Erdman family full circle

 MADISON - 4/24/2014 He first saw her descending a staircase in a stunning black dress. Some things you never forget, and Marshall Erdman remembered that dress. It was March 1946, a sorority house on Langdon Street. The young woman in the dress was Joyce Mickey, beautiful and formidable, the first female president of the Wisconsin Student Association. Marshall was either working at the sorority, doing maintenance, or there with his fraternity for a dance. Accounts vary. Not at issue is that they had a date the very next night. Inside of two weeks, they were engaged....

Ken Notes: Great people - well deserved...
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Group pushes for Wisconsin to return as innovator in renewable energy

 Wisconsin - 5/8/2014 Moving Wisconsin away from its reliance on fossil fuels and toward renewable energy could create jobs, save the state upwards of $16 billion a year in fossil fuel costs and provide a healthier environment. Thats the message panelists reiterated during Resilient Wisconsin Day, an event held Tuesday dedicated to food, water and energy issues affecting the state. Panelists pointed out that Wisconsin has a long history of environmental stewardship but lack of political will and policies are keeping it from moving forward as quickly as its Midwestern neighbors and the rest of the country....

Ken Notes: I agree with this... WDNGreen.com advocates for much the same thing. We would like to concurrently address economic feasibility at the same time, but for jobs, our future, our children GREEN IS GOOD...
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Madison Community Foundation gives $25,000 to Nehemiah Center to end racial inequities

 MADISON Area - 5/15/2014 The Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development has been awarded $25,000 by the Madison Community Foundation for strategic planning and infrastructure aimed at eliminating racial inequities in Madison. The goal of the project is to create a long-term plan which will unite leadership, vision, policy and strategy. The award to Rev. Alex Gee's organization is part of $438,800 in grants to 14 Dane County organizations in the foundation's spring round of funding announced Wednesday....

Ken Notes: I have no major problem with this grant, but I do believe that the Madison problem is more about socioeconomics than race. If you lack education and money this is a tough place to live regardless of color. We have master degree grads waiting tables in Madison. Any business can pick the best and the brightest. We need to focus on education, skill sets, and bridges across the economic divide. My guess is that Rev. Gee gets this and will be building that bridge -- we all need to help...
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Evjue Foundation distributes $1.1 million to UW and area nonprofts

 MADISON Area - 5/29/2014 Checks totaling nearly $1.1 million have been sent to 83 area nonprofits and to 25 project managers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by The Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of The Capital Times. Included in the grants, announced Wednesday by foundation President John H. "Jack" Lussier, is $318,000 to the university, including $26,000 to the Odyssey Project, which is in its 11th year of preparing adults in poverty to start college. The 83 community nonprofits shared in $784,500 grants voted on recently by the Foundation's 15-member board of directors....

Ken Notes: WOW - THANK YOU, Thank You, Thank You!
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says good environmental policy creates jobs

 Wisconsin - 6/5/2014 In the wake of the federal government releasing new carbon emission standards for review Monday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Wednesday that the idea of having to choose between a strong economy and environmental protection is a false choice....

Ken Notes: He may be right but businesses are concerned that the government will overlook the need for a sustainable economic model when imposing mandates. Production goes overseas and we are not winning the very battle we set out to win in the first place. We need business at the table!
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Verona Council OKs $10M fire station

 Verona - 6/5/2014 Its still a big price tag, but city officials are chipping away at the cost of the citys new fire and EMS station. After a little discussion last week, the council unanimously voted to approve updated plans for the new facility. Alders voted to keep an additional truck bay, but gave the go-ahead to trim an estimated $582,000 from the design and move forward with bidding later this month. The revised plans bring the station construction costs to around $10.3 million, but additional items could be added during the bid selection process, slated for selection at the end of June and mid-July....
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WMC needs to quit acting like Big Tobacco

 Wisconsin - 6/12/2014 You had to wonder whether the suits over at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce had even read the EPA carbon emissions plan before firing off a press release that essentially claimed it would doom Wisconsin. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy had barely finished explaining the plan to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030 when WMC President Kurt Bauer jumped in with both feet, claiming that this was just another piece of President Obama's continuous "war" on Wisconsin jobs....

Ken Notes: Dave Dave Dave, WMC is hardly Big Tobacco - they just want to point out that mandates are not the best answer, especially if they only relocate the problem to countries that do not have the restrictions in place. I am not a fan of the sky is falling approach -- but when we fail to mention the potential outcomes we are as bad as they are. So lets work together to make a real difference instead of throwing rocks at each other. As you do point out Wisconsin is already on the way to meeting the EPA's new goals not because of mandates but because of companies wanting to make a difference...
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A new brewery for Madison but with a different business model

 MADISON - 6/12/2014 Isaac Showaki sees a niche in the Midwest brewing market. Thats why Showaki, who helped co-found 5 Rabbit Cerveceria in Chicago in 2011 but left the company in 2013, has announced plans for a $5 million brewery on Madisons Southeast Side that will primarily make beer on contract for other beer companies. Wisconsin is home to Stevens Point Brewery, City Brewing Co. in La Crosse and Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, all significant players in the contract brewing scene. Showaki, however, believes his Octopi Brewing Co. can make a better product and provide management and marketing consulting services to strengthen the business models of the beer companies with which he works....

Ken Notes: This is an interesting phenomenon, many new start-ups across the state are now contracting for production so a company dedicated to this may be just the ticket.
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Capital Brewery close to breaking ground on $11 million Sauk City facility

 Sauk City- 6/19/2014 Drivers cruising down River Road near the intersection of Lueders Road on the southwest edge of Sauk City will see the newest side street in the village that will lead to the nine-acre location of Capital Brewery. The street still is under construction, but village administrator Vicky Breunig said the sewer and water service and electrical utilities recently were installed. She said the street is being built by A-1 Excavating of Bloomer, the same company that repaved Highway 12 last summer....

Ken Notes: mmmmmmm beeeeeeer....
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Clinic to give $10m dental grant back to state

 Wisconsin - 7/10/2014 Marshfield Clinic plans to return a $10 million state grant meant to help build a rural dental education facility. The clinic got the grant in 2010 to build the facility in Marshfield. But clinic officials say the grant is no longer needed because the clinic has addressed rural training needs in other ways, including opening 24 training centers in communities rather than in one building, creating a residency for training dentists to be rural practitioners and including training centers in dental facilities in Neillsville, Medford, Rice Lake, Marshfield, Rhinelander and Black River Falls....
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City committees consider buying building for new community center near Elver Park

 MADISON - 7/10/2014 The City of Madison is still considering whether to turn an abandoned restaurant on McKenna Boulevard into a neighborhood center serving Madison's southwest side. The proposal, originally introduced to the council last week by Ald. Lisa Subeck, calls for the city to spend roughly $469-thousand to buy the old Griff's restaurant across from Elver Park. Subeck said transforming the building into a neighborhood center would provide programs for local students, a place for adults and senior citizens to gather, and possibly even job training for those who seek it. The latter would take advantage of the former restaurant's commercial kitchen space, Subeck said...

Ken Notes: Interesting ideas, I wonder if the city could find some non profit partners for this project.
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Sometimes the market is the solution -- even in Madison

 MADISON - 7/17/2014 There have been a lot of swanky new apartments built in Madison recently, especially ones targeted toward UW-Madison students and especially in the central city. As a result, owners of older student housing in the historic Greenbush neighborhood especially less-swanky apartments carved out of what were once single-family homes could be faced with lowering their rents to attract tenants. Cheaper rents usually mean apartments that arent very nice and tenants that are, well, not very well off. Its another example of the market at work, and while the market is neither perfect nor perfectly fair, so far its the best method humans have been able to come up with for organizing the economy. Add some basic government oversight property maintenance rules and tenant protections in the case of rental markets and were good to go....

Ken Notes: Chris confuses me, and I am pretty informed here. The tax credits and loans are set aside to improve the neighborhood. They may eliminate some lower cost housing options but that is the definition of improved neighborhoods. What we need is diverse neighborhoods with a variety of quality options at various price points. Chris seems to suggest the solution is to let neighborhoods deteriorate to the low income housing we need. I believe we can do better that that.
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Website names Madison 8th hardest working city

 MADISON Area - 7/17/2014 A social media website has named Madison the eighth hardest working city in America, according to a release. MyLife analyzed percentage of families with two working parents, employment rate, commute time to work and the percentage of people enrolled in school....
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Outsourcing jobs... to low-wage Wisconsin

 Neenah - 7/31/2014 Mention outsourcing and many think of sweatshops in low-wage places like China or Mexico. And outsourcing has certainly become an issue in the Governors race, with incumbent Scott Walker charging challenger Mary Burke with outsourcing jobs during her time with Trek Bicycle Corp. But a Neenah-based company that is adding 600 new jobs here proudly touts itself as a leader in global corporate outsourcing. In the case of Alta Resources, it means bringing $10 an hour jobs to Wisconsin. Alta Resources operates call centers and other remote business services in health care, entertainment and manufacturing industries. It clients include Fortune 500 companies....

Ken Notes: As the former Mayor of Neenah, let me assure you Alta is a great employer. They have a nack for hiring bright articulate young people, providing a great starting point for individuals. The service sector is often overlooked in Wisconsin and Alta has proven it can provide jobs -- lots of jobs!
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Porchlight to buy MARC East facility passed over for Dane County homeless day shelter

 MADISON - 7/31/2014 Porchlight Inc., Dane Countys largest provider of services to the homeless community, plans to expand its offerings with the purchase of the former MARC East facility for redevelopment as housing and a commercial kitchen. The nonprofit organization has an accepted offer to buy the property at 3939 Lien Road for $575,000, Porchlight executive director Steve Schooler said Tuesday. Plans are to renovate the facility to include 16 efficiency units for permanent housing for homeless people and a commercial kitchen to produce Porchlight Products salsa, sauces and other food products, Schooler said....

Ken Notes: Good for Porchlight! And the price per bed seems OK. I still believe we need to offer a variety of shelter options for those who choose to be homeless. Also, for those who do not believe it is a choice for some - You have not asked them! Want to see some very cool uber cheap solutions read this!
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City to buy Owl Creek lots, fund new railroad quiet zone

 Madison - 8/7/2014 Madison will attempt to guide development in a failed Southeast Side development, following a Tuesday City Council decision. The City Council voted unanimously to spend $550,000 for 49 lots and related expenses in the Owl Creek subdivision, which lies southeast of the Beltline and Highway 51. The purchase represents more than half the total parcels in the subdivision. The city approved the development by brothers Doug and Marc Nelson for 69 single-family homes, 15 duplexes and four four-unit apartment buildings in the mid-2000s, but the project was never completed amid the recession....

Ken Notes: A great place to experiment with smaller lots, walkable neighborhood, low cost upscale homes to compete with the new apartment blitz! Add a transit connection to downtown...
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Oregon Board mulls options for green building

 Oregon 8/7/2014 With the clock ticking on deciding to pursue a school district referendum in November, school board members explored some green building possibilities at a special meeting July 23. Representatives from Bray Architects and Findorff Co. were on hand to talk about what district officials might want included in a potential Nov. 4 referendum something that board president Dan Krause said will decided on by Aug. 19. There are a lot of things to get done before November, and there are always arguments for going forward and arguments against going forward, he said. Lets try to move forward with the goal of doing this is November. Give your best efforts until Aug. 19 and then well decide if this is the right thing to do. The Aug. 19 special board meeting is the latest the board can authorize a November referendum....
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Badgers Bo Ryan pitches for state tourism

 Wisconsin - 8/14/2014 Bo Ryan was told to get angrier at an official and was instructed on how to properly pull out his white hair. One of the University of Wisconsin mens basketball coachs former players, Keaton Nankivil, was back in a Badgers uniform, and about 100 fans clad in cardinal and white and chomping popcorn were animated behind the home bench, but made no noise. The scoreboard above center court was off....

Ken Notes: Great idea, now we just need a wider array of tourism options!
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Photos: New Holland Pavilions at Alliant Center

 Madison - 8/21/2014 Media were given a hard-hat tour of the New Holland Pavilions at the Alliant Energy Center on Monday in Madison. The two huge barns are scheduled to be complete by mid-September...

Ken Notes: This is a great development and great for economic development. Bringing more ag related events to Madison is good for business. We need to see if any of the big players in ag are looking for new office locations not to mention production facilities.
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Madison consultant advances new design concepts in $60M Portland senior housing project

 Wisconsin / Portland - 8/28/2014 Construction has begun on a $60 million senior housing expansion in Portland, Oregon managed by Madison-based consultant Craig Witz and designed to appeal to younger, more active seniors, he said. "With so much of existing senior housing, you can drive by and think, 'Oh, that's senior housing,'" Witz said. "The current generation isn't thrilled with that and I know the next generation of seniors is not going to stand for it."...

Ken Notes: I have been preaching this sermon for a while now the boomers are not the seniors of the past. Hell I saw 72 year old Paul McCarthy play live for 3+ hours and not miss a beat. He is the new senior - we want a vibrant neighborhood, great health care, entertainment, walkability, independence, and DON'T call us seniors.
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Soglin budget delays Monroe Street rebuild

 Madison - 9/5/2014 Reconstruction of traffic-clogged Monroe Street is being pushed back two years under Mayor Paul Soglins $247.7 million capital budget proposal for 2015. The $10 million street project was expected to take place in two phases beginning next year but is being delayed until 2017 in order to limit city debt service, the mayor says. The work will be funded both with city borrowing and assessments on property owners....

Ken Notes: Tough call, this is needed but will have an impact on businesses. I wonder if we could replace some of on-street parking and do a more rapid grind and resurface with an extra lane or two?? Just a thought.
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Annual Epic Systems meeting will bring 10,000 visitors to Verona

 Verona - 9/11/2014 While the World Dairy Expo remains by far the biggest single business event in the Madison area, the annual Epic Systems Users Group Meeting is closing the gap. And with a nod to Wisconsins agricultural heritage, UGM 2014 will even feature cows and tractors at Epics sprawling campus on the west side of Verona. The electronic medical records firm is expecting nearly 10,000 customers from around the globe to visit for the 35th annual meeting that runs Monday through Thursday. Add in 8,100 Epic employees and you can imagine the scope of the event....

Ken Notes: Since Verona only has a few hundred hotel rooms this is truly a regional event!
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OPINION: Commission should let Fitchburg neighborhoods grow

 Fitchburg - 9/11/2014 Some Dane County residents are surprised to hear that Fitchburg has been a city for nearly 35 years. Fitchburg has this reputation of a young, upstart community, still trying to figure out how to manage our growth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fitchburg is a mature and robust community committed to environmental sustainability, responsible land use and high quality development....

Ken Notes: This will be interesting. fitch has a LOT of room to grow...
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Brenda Konkel could be fined for allowing homeless to sleep on her porch

 Madison - 9/18/2014 Brenda Konkel, a vocal Madison advocate for the homeless, and her partner, Robert Bloch, are facing potential fines of up to $300 a day if they dont stop allowing homeless people to sleep and store belongings in lockers on the porch of their North Hancock Street house. After a complaint from a neighbor, the city of Madisons Building and Zoning departments sent the couple notices of violation about the lockers, sleeping bags and other gear stored alongside the house, and people sleeping on the porch....

Ken Notes: This is not a great idea, but she at least is practicing what she preaches. We may need a new preacher. We can fix homelessness in Madison by listening to the homeless and not seeing the problem as either a nuisance or profit center. P.S. Brenda you need to fix your steps one of your "guests" is going to sue you...
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At The Statehouse at Edgewater Hotel, it is finally almost time for dinner

 Madison - 9/25/2014 The Statehouse, the new high end, lakefront restaurant inside the remodeled Edgewater Hotel, started taking reservations on Open Table on Aug. 31. But those dates quickly disappeared, as the $100 million luxury hotel project struggled to meet construction deadlines.  A press release went out: the new opening date for The Statehouse was Sept. 5. Then it was Sept. 12....

Ken Notes: Patience...
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WMC scrubs graphic depicting pay equity advocate as anti-business from website

 Wisconsin - 10/2/2014 Twenty-four hours after Democratic lawmakers slammed Wisconsin's primary corporate lobbying group for a fundraising plea that characterized a woman advocating for pay equity as "anti-business," Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce has scrubbed the graphic from its website, the Capital Times has discovered. A group of state lawmakers and others held a news conference Tuesday admonishing the GOP-aligned business group for its fundraising solicitation. The plea used a graphic that displayed the silhouettes of six protesters holding signs with a variety of slogans. One sign, held by the only female silhouette in the graphic, read, "Pay Equity NOW!" The silhouettes were accompanied by a call to action: "Anti-business voices are loud and clear! Make sure the business voice is heard in 2014!"...

Ken Notes: Have I mentioned that we need to get politics out of the business community and focus on quality jobs, training, and productivity. As long as there is the "us them" divide we will not move forward. Neither candidate is poised to make big changes so why don't we abandon the usual suspects and ask for specific changes. Lets start with a fair jobs incentive program that grants tax relief for actually providing jobs. Both old and new companies would be encouraged to grow right here in Wisconsin. And for the record any organization, newspaper, or candidate can have this idea no questions asked. Steal it, Share it, Post it -- just do it. We need jobs not rhetoric...
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Board of Estimates recommends $13.3 million TIF loan for AnchorBank project

 Madison - 10/2/2014 Madison intends to make a substantial public investment to support a dynamic remake of the Downtown AnchorBank building and redevelopment of its aging parking garage near Capitol Square. The citys financial committee, the Board of Estimates, on Tuesday instructed staff to negotiate final terms of a $13.3 million tax increment financing (TIF) loan mostly for expensive underground parking to support a $99 million project proposed by Urban Land Interests. ULI intends to modernize and expand the dated, nine-story AnchorBank building at West Main and South Carroll streets, create retail space with a landscaped rooftop behind that structure, demolish a 49-year-old parking garage at South Carroll and West Doty streets, and replace the garage with underground parking and a nine-story mixed-use building with retail space and housing....

Ken Notes: Again a high percentage of TIF vs. Value investment here, does Madison have guidelines on this. I do like the redesign a great deal. I also like the forestry proposal also in this article...
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UW student inventors advance to national competition

 UW Madison - 10/9/2014 Two teams of UW-Madison students are among only seven undergraduate and seven graduate teams that have been chosen as finalists in the 2014 National Collegiate Inventors Competition. Taylor Fahey, Chase Haider and Cedric Kovacs-Johnson have developed Spectrom, a device that allows more than one color at a time to be used in 3D printing....

Ken Notes: Now how do we keep them in Wisconsin!!!!
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OPINION: Soglin's affordable housing plan holds promise

 Madison - 10/16/2014 Dear Editor: When I first moved to Madison I was shocked by the high cost of housing. I moved into a cheap, mismanaged, 300-square-foot studio that reeked of secondhand smoke. My housing was not ideal, but the reality for numerous others in Madison is much worse. The high cost of housing in Madison forces many residents to either live beyond their means, leading them to financial instability, or becoming homeless. Madison is a great place to live, but it still has a long way to go in offering affordable housing to its citizens. I believe Mayor Soglins new Affordable Housing Strategy has potential. By offering long-term supportive housing to the homeless and providing affordable housing options to a variety of income levels, Soglins plan appears to be a comprehensive and well-thought-out approach to alleviating the burden of high-cost housing....

Ken Notes: Good perspective. We need a homogenous solution here. Allow neighborhoods to embrace socioeconomic diversity.
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City erects first single-family home in Allied Drive redevelopment

 Madison - 10/16/2014 Built by the hands of college students, the pre-made single-family home traveled 17 miles Thursday from Madison Area Technical College to its resting place on a foundation in the heart of Allied Drive. The home, built in two halves, was transported by truck to the neighborhood where a towering crane lifted it to its resting spot fronting Dunns Marsh Terrace. The move marks a successful partnership between the college and the citys Community Development Authority to erect the first single-family home in a bold redevelopment thats helping transform what was once the citys most notorious place...

Ken Notes: Lets tour these homes every year as a way of staying involved...
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One avenue, two concert venues: What gives?

 Madison - 10/23/2014 As a middle school student in Madison in 1992, Toffer Christensen made news complaining about how ticket sales for the U2 show at Camp Randall were dispersed. Christensen and a buddy had camped out 28 hours waiting for the best seats only to lose their spot in line when the crowd rushed the ticket office. They were so upset they wrote letters that were published in The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal. That youthful passion for music continued to adulthood. Today, Christensen is looking to develop a new 1,500 capacity performing arts venue as part of a redevelopment on the south side of the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. It's one of two new music venues proposed for the corridor, an area attracting a lot of interest from developers....

Ken Notes: This will in the end be market driven. Right now the 1 to 2K venue can get big names at reasonable rates. It is the sweet spot for smaller national and regional acts. The PAC is not affordable for promoters in this area so they are looking for other venues. A few shows a week will make the venues cash flow... It is a no brainer until the market is saturated -- which may happen.
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Homeless day shelter opening in Green Bay after years of trying

 Green Bay - 10/30/2014 After downtown Green Bay business owners and public library officials bridled at hosting scores of homeless people winter day after winter day, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay stepped up to buy a day shelter property. The Micah Center was scheduled to open Wednesday in a former professional offices building at 700 E. Walnut St., the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports. The diocese purchased the $300,000 property, but about two-thirds of the cost was covered by donations. Businesses downtown that have been feeling the burden of meeting the need over the past few years will now have a referral site, Alexia Wood, executive director of St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter, said at a news conference in August announcing plans for the full-service center....

Ken Notes: We could sooo do this in Madison... I have suggested using brick and mortar waiting for development...
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Forgivable loan program to encourage home-ownership in Tenney-Lapham neighborhood

 Madison - 10/30/2014 If not for a city loan program that recently expanded into an area east of James Madison Park, Alex Einsman might still be renting the East Gorham Street home where hes lived since he was an undergraduate at UW-Madison. This summer, Einsman bought the dwelling he had rented for about nine years. This program really did give me the opportunity to purchase the house, where I may not have had otherwise, Einsman said. He used a portion of his $90,000 loan for the down payment and the rest for renovations, such as replacing outdated electrical wiring. He rents out the two-unit houses upper flat....

Ken Notes: The city of Madison program is here...
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Tech and Biotech: Epic Systems Corp. goes live in the U.K.; Madison-Austin hackathon to help the world

 11/6/2014 Add the United Kingdom to Judy Faulkners IT kingdom.
Epic Systems Corp. went live this week with its first electronic health records installation in England: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The decision to choose Epic over competitors Allscripts and Cerner was seen as one of the most important National Health Service IT contracts in recent years, wrote EHealth Insider, a U.K. online health IT newsletter...

Ken Notes: I can't wait to see the office complex for this... Wembley Stadium... Hogwarts... Big Ben... A bridge... O wait -- the The London Eye...
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Royster Corners development up for final design approval

 Madison - 11/6/2014 The site of an abandoned fertilizer factory on Cottage Grove Road is nearing a rebirth as a mixed-use residential development. On Wednesday, plans for Phase 1 of Royster Corners goes before the city Urban Design Commission for final approval. The project from Ruedebusch Development & Construction will go to the city Plan Commission on Monday Nov. 10....
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Kraus-Anderson raising roof on new Sun Prairie Cabela`s store slated for spring opening

 Madison - 11/6/2014 Since 1998, and mostly through its small Madison-area office, Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. has gone far afield for one of its best customers: national outdoors outfitter Cabelas, a leading specialty retailer and direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping, shooting, boating and related gear that grossed $3.6 billion last year....
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PHOTOS: Edgewater Hotel`s new Statehouse restaurant

 Madison - 11/13/2014 A look at the newly opened Statehouse restaurant at the Edgewater Hotel....

Ken Notes: Wow, for the record Kathleen and I are available for dinner most evenings!!!!!
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Paul Soglin, concerned about future implications of just-passed budget, mulls veto

 Madison - 11/13/2014 Concerned about future impacts of spending and borrowing, Mayor Paul Soglin is mulling a veto of the 2015 operating and capital budgets approved by the City Council late Tuesday and early Wednesday. As a document for next year, its acceptable, Soglin said Wednesday afternoon, adding that he intends to closely analyze what the budget means for the future before deciding to sign or veto. The implications going out for five years, I have some serious concerns. Soglin discussed his concerns with council leaders at a previously planned meeting late Wednesday afternoon, and they now plan to meet again with staff on Thursday morning to discuss specific issues and how to proceed....
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Madison Mayor Soglin will not sign or veto city budget

 Madison - 11/20/2014 The 2015 Madison city budget is going to carry on without a signature of approval from Mayor Paul Soglin. After a week of back-and-forth between Soglin and the City Council over a series of financial concerns, the council stuck by its adopted budget Tuesday night and Soglin announced Wednesday morning he would not sign it. His statement reiterated points he brought up at the Tuesday meeting saying, After three years of steady progress in addressing the issues of fiscal responsibility and a commitment to solving the challenges of poverty and equity, the amendments made to the budget represent a step backwards. Council members have disagreed with his critiques and said their changes did not significantly alter the mayor's own proposed budgets....

Ken Notes: Will there be finger pointing throughout the year, because that is a problem. We have huge issues where we need to be on the same page...
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Sauk City, Prairie du Sac pull out of Sauk County Development Corporation

 Sauk County - 12/4/2014 The villages of Prairie du Sac and Sauk City are pulling their support from a countywide economic development organization. Village leaders have opted to not renew their paid memberships with the Sauk County Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote and retain business within the county and its communities. Village leaders cited their own budget constraints as well as concerns about SCDCs efficacy as an organization. An SCDC leader says those concerns are valid, but that the organization is striving to improve following a period of inactivity that coincided with a sputtering economy. It came down to a finance decision, Prairie du Sac Village Administrator Allen Wildman said about the villages withdrawal from SCDC....

Ken Notes: ONE MORE TIME --- WEDC should participate in local and county EDC's and EDO's. They would have a huge network of professionals, exponentially better tracking of investments, an opportunity to better serve remote communities, and they would create MORE JOBS. 30K to 50K per count would cost 2.2 to 3.6 million dollars. They gave more that that back to the state last year.
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MGE electric rates will rise, starting Jan. 1

 Madison - 12/4/2014 State regulators gave the go-ahead Wednesday for Madison Gas & Electric to change its rate structure for electricity in 2015, increasing fixed monthly charges and slightly decreasing the charge for power used. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 2-1 in support of the plan....

Ken Notes: See my comments on this in WDNGreen.com
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At the very least, Judge Doyle Square project becoming insanely long Print

 Milwaukee - 12/11/2014 .The Madison City Council had just decided to hit the reset button on the massive Downtown redevelopment headache known as Judge Doyle Square, and I couldnt help but think of that overused and probably fake Albert Einstein quote about how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. What else but insanity could explain the councils decision early Wednesday morning to create a new request for proposals, or RFP, that basically asks developers to do what the city and the developer chosen from the first crop of RFP respondents havent been able to do for nine months now?..

Ken Notes: Alas the city has to get this right... and in perspective Monona Terrace was designed by Frank Loyd Wright in 1938... that history is HERE.
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Wisconsin ranks 35th in job creation, federal numbers show

 Wisconsin - 3/20/2014 Wisconsin ranked 35th in private-sector job creation, according to the latest federal numbers released Wednesday. The quarterly numbers and others to be released in June and September widely viewed as the gold standard of jobs statistics are expected to be watched closely in the 2014 governors race as Republican Gov. Scott Walker faces off against his Democratic challenger, Mary Burke, especially because Walker made job creation a top campaign pledge when he won the governors race four years ago...
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Tiny houses help address nation's homeless problem

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 While tiny houses have been attractive for those wanting to downsize or simplify their lives for financial or environmental reasons, there's another population benefiting from the small-dwelling movement: the homeless. There's a growing effort across the nation from advocates and religious groups to build these compact buildings because they are cheaper than a traditional large-scale shelter, help the recipients socially because they are built in communal settings and are environmentally friendly due to their size. "You're out of the elements, you've got your own bed, you've got your own place to call your own," said Harold "Hap" Morgan, who is without a permanent home in Madison. "It gives you a little bit of self-pride: This is my own house."...

Ken Notes: NEW IDEA actually I have mentioned this before -- we need an urban campground, like Milwaukee's State fair park. We could easily do this on the Alliant Energy Center and adjacent city site. A few seasonal unit could be included for the Minis...
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Photos: A look at the 13 Madison fire stations

 MADISON - 5/1/2014 The 13th fire department in Madison is under construction on the east side at 6350 Town Center Drive. Cap Times photographer Michelle Stocker visited all 13 stations and got these photos...

Ken Notes: Another of my pipe dreams is that we develop a regional fire department with the surrounding communities. It would be far more efficient and provide better protection for the region. I know, not going to happen, but somebody should at least mention it.
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Once a leader, Wisconsin now lags in clean energy -- Keith Reopelle

 Wisconsin - 5/1/2014 Wisconsin spends more than $12 billion annually to import fossil fuels. Our money is supporting economic opportunity elsewhere when it could be creating jobs for Wisconsin families. Clean energy is a clear solution for public health, the environment and the economy. Last Sunday's editorial was right to call for legislative action and a more ambitious plan. A decade ago a bipartisan effort made Wisconsin a renewable energy leader. Our utilities quickly got on pace to meet the current Renewable Portfolio Standards goal of 10 percent renewable energy by 2015...

Ken Notes: do you read WDNGreen.com? We are trying. I am not sure our legislature could get bipartisan support suggesting puppies are cute!
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Internship effort aimed at helping teens get ahead in job market

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 In a move to boost job and career opportunities for youth, the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and an array of partners are sponsoring 160 internships that will pay 15- to 20-year-old employees a total of $250,000 this summer. The internships, mainly for students of color, low-income families or first-generation college students, will pay between $9 and $15 an hour to work for the city of Madison, Dane County, nonprofits and 33 businesses such as CUNA Mutual Group, Metcalfes Market, Saris Cycling Group, BMO Harris Bank and UW Hospital and Clinics....
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Shorewood Hills leads state in population growth in 2013; Verona third

 Shorewood Hills, Verona - 5/23/2014 Madison's rate of population growth slowed slightly in 2013, while a pair of Dane County municipalities experienced some of the state's biggest year-over-year percentage growth. The village of Shorewood Hills, located west of the UW-Madison campus on the city's west side, saw its population grow over 12 percent between 2012 and 2013, the biggest change in the state. And Verona was third, seeing its population change just over 5 percent. The figures were part of the U.S. Census Bureau's annual population estimates released Thursday....

Ken Notes: Still an affluent market. We need sub 200K smaller homes on smaller lots or we will sprawl into Iowa...
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Seed fund to commercialize UW medical school research

 Wisconsin - 6/26/2014 The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Technology Innovation Initiative have created a $1 million seed fund to commercialize medical technology developed by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. One of the first projects expected to be backed by the program is Alzheimers disease treatments developed through the medical school's Wisconsin Alzheimers Institute...

Ken Notes: This is a very good idea. We also need to keep the jobs steaming from these programs in Wisconsin.
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2,000 Seat Music Venue, 200 parking Spaces?

 MADISON - 7/3/2014 NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING
Please join us for a neighborhood meeting where we will hear about a proposal by Stone House Development to demolish the Madison Dairy Produce building on the 1000 block of E. Washington Avenue to construct a 45,000 square foot, 2,000 2,500 seat music venue (to be operated by Frank Productions), a 200-stall parking ramp, up to a 10-story mixed-use building (stepping back from 5-stories on E. Washington) and three to four stories of affordable housing on the E. Mifflin Street block face.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
7:00 p.m.
John Wall Family Pavilion in Tenney Park
402 N. Thornton Avenue ...

Ken Notes: I get very nervous posting from Brenda's Blog, but many of the comments on this are good and well reasoned. Of course many are NIMBY which is to be expected. This one deserves the discussion but delays are costly. Duke is out and make the call so the developers can start or look elsewhere.
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Middleton family to be featured on Treehouse Masters TV show

 Middleton - 7/24/2014 Growing up, the three children of Brad and Diane Duesler became well-known for building treehouses a bit too well-known. At one point, the city of Middleton ordered them to tear down one of their creations. It had become too elaborate, and the tree was on city property....The intimate knowledge of treehouses has now paid off for the family, and in a big way. Friday, the Middleton family will be featured on Treehouse Masters, a reality show on the Animal Planet cable network in which host Pete The Tree Whisperer Nelson and a crew travel the country designing and building blinged-out treehouses for a few lucky people...

Ken Notes: Cool Watch this Friday at 9PM on Animal Planet...
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Jump off Monona Terrace rooftop prompts safety talk

 MADISON - 7/24/2014 An incident in which a man jumped from the ledge of Monona Terrace into the lake below may prompt talks about more safety precautions at the Madison landmark.A YouTube video was posted Tuesday of a man jumping from the top of Monona Terrace into Lake Monona. The video shows the man standing on a ledge, which officials at Monona Terrace say is a finable offense. Monona Terrace spokesperson Fran Puleo said there is a city ordinance that makes standing on the ledge a finable offense, because it is trespassing to go past the railing on the rooftop. "The city has chimed in with creating that kind of ordinance preventing them and discouraging them because it's a hefty fine if and when you're caught," Puleo said....

Ken Notes: We do not need new restraints here, we need to realize that people will do stupid risky things. We need to fine the hell out of them and let others know that that is our intent. The video is very well produced lets charge him a few thousand for the violations he seems to be able to afford it.
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City approves East Washington Avenue as preferred site for public market

 Madison - 10/9/2014 The city will begin negotiations to acquire land for a public market and food district, following City Council approval Tuesday night. On a voice vote, the council authorized city staff to begin negotiating land deals, with the area around East Washington Avenue and First Street as the preferred location. The location came before the council last month with a recommendation from the citys Local Food Committee, but 14th District Ald. John Strasser, who represents the South Side, successfully lobbied his colleagues to delay a vote until the Economic Development Committee could further vet the viability of a South Side location, likely along Park Street....

Ken Notes: East Wash and First will be pricy, why not as a part of central park. Close cheaper and an addition to a great project. We could add street performers, activities for the kids, a garden... I am worried this project will be priced out of Madison, "We tried, but it was just too expensive."
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Madison hopes to extend East Campus Mall to Lake Monona

 MADISON - 3/13/2014 This year, Madison will begin looking at ways to improve the "Triangle neighborhood" and Brittingham Park on the near west side, and looking for a way to extend the campus mall all the way to Lake Monona. "Right now, the East Campus Mall stops at Regent Street," says Ald. Sue Ellingson, who represents the area. "It would be a really cool thing to have a connection from Lake Monona to Mendota, through campus." The planning process is being made possible with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, through its "Greening America's Capitals" program. The grant is for planning expertise, not money. The EPA will hire an architectural design firm that will come to Madison and offer advice for the neighborhood, which is bordered by Regent Street, Park Street and West Washington Avenue....

Ken Notes: This could be very cool!
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Lac du Flambeau vote against continuing to fund Shullsburg casino application process

 Shullsburg - 5/8/2014 A proposed casino in Shullsburg suffered a setback Thursday when a northern Wisconsin Indian tribe voted against continuing to fund the projects trust land application. A referendum vote by the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians was 140-138 against continuing to fund the Shullsburg Gaming Fee-To-Trust application for the development of the off-reservation casino in Shullsburg, a tribal spokesman said. The vote did not mean that the tribe was pulling its application for the proposed $132 million casino, according to tribal spokesman Brandon Thoms. But it is one of the options open to tribal leaders as they seek alternative sources for funding the application process, he added...

Ken Notes: Does this mean they may know something about the Governors decision on other sites??? My guess is yes...
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WDS Construction looks to develop in BD Business Park

 Beaver Dam - 5/29/2014 A local construction contractor is looking to develop a corporate office in the Beaver Dam Business Park on land south of Industrial Drive. The Community Development Committee discussed approximately 10 vacant acres next to Wyllow Pet Hospital, 126 Corporate Drive. Vandelay Industriesa limited liability corporation owned by Ben Westrais eying three acres of the area to develop WDS Constructions corporate office....
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Madison software developer Forte Research Systems receives $550,000 state loan to grow

 Madison - 9/4/2014 Madison-based Forte Research Systems, a growing developer of clinical research software, has received a $550,000 state loan to help it expand and add jobs. The loan comes through a program run by the states lead job creation agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Known as the Business Opportunity Loan Fund program, its for startups and early-stage companies and is designed to fill gaps between what private financing and the companies own investments can cover, WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said....Loan terms also require Forte to create 55 full-time jobs by August 2017 and to retain those jobs and its existing 69 positions until at least August 2019, Maley said, with clawback provisions if the job requirements arent met....

Ken Notes: I hope they do well, but if they fail we have no way to collect, I still favor a "pay as you go plan using tax credits". Of course this was my TIF strategy as well - Does it work -- One word EPIC!
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You want jobs, Wisconsin? They`re in tech, stupid!

 Wisconsin - 9/25/2014 At lunchtime on March 18, Rachel Keranen walked the two blocks from the Bendyworks office at 106 E. Doty St. to the Madison Club, the traditional gathering spot of Madison powerbrokers for 100-plus years. Keranen, 25, is part of the new wave of leaders transforming Dane County and perhaps Wisconsin. This is the tech vanguard and the millennial generation that is shaping up to challenge an old guard that largely sees the world through the lessons of the last century. Given Wisconsin's 30-plus years of economic malaise, these new faces represent the best hope for this state's and this town's future. ...

Ken Notes: Very nice job Marc... And don't call me stupid...
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Madison eyes 3 developers for affordable housing funds

 Madison - 11/20/2014 Madison may soon deliver up to $3 million in loans to three developers who want to create roughly 200 lower-cost rental units next year, the first use of the citys new Affordable Housing Fund. Ald. Maurice Cheeks and three other City Council members, representing the Community Development Block Grant Committee, are proposing loans go to Oakbrook Corp. for the Maple Grove Commons housing project on the Southwest Side; Tom Sather/Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan for the Tennyson Ridge housing project on the North Side; and Gorman and Co. for the first residential phase of the Union Corners mixed-use project on the East Side....

Ken Notes: We need these units and it is a loan, but three million would go a long way in helping those homeless who are homeless by choice. Shelter, facilities, in kind support for providers. If we created a "homeless health club" downtown, for less that $50 per month each we could provide a place to shower, warm up, and on the coldest nights sleep for a huge majority of the homeless downtown now. Will it work financially, just ask the Princeton Club... We could even sell "tokens" to the public for say a dollar or two and they could be given to the panhandlers instead of coins to enter the club or buy food. Bar and restaurant owners could hand out token to those cleaning up the street. The police could use tokens to reward good behavior. Will there be a token black market -- sure because the first myth about homeless is that the are stupid. Fact is, they are often smarter than us...
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Madison food carts scattering amid construction at Library Mall

 UW Madison - 3/6/2014 Big changes are coming this spring for Madison's food carts, stemming from the construction that will start in April on the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street, better known as Library Mall. It's the prime midday vending area (along with the Capitol Square) for carts with Mall-Concourse licenses, and none of the regular spots will be available for the majority of the year. Madison street vending coordinator Warren Hansen has been working since last fall to find alternate vending areas for the 20-some carts usually on the mall. The good news is things are falling into place to make that happen. Hansen has been collaborating with UW-Madison to place about six carts on the East Campus Mall between State and University (near the Chazen Art Museum), which will keep the vendors close to their normal locations. ...

Ken Notes: I'll still find them!
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Photos: Memorial Union west end renovations nearly complete

 UW Madison - 6/26/2014 Phase I of the renovation of Memorial Union is almost complete. The first phase included redesigning the Union Theater and the west end of the Union and fifth floor. Phase II includes an upgrade to the Union Terrace and the eastern side of the building and parking lot area....

Ken Notes: Two of the best unions in the country - both very public friendly - Well Done!
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Two Epic competitors join forces; and a Madison investment group gets national attention

 Madison Area - 8/14/2014 Electronic health records powerhouse Epic Systems Corp., Verona, doesnt usually say much about its competitors. But the company issued a brief statement late Friday about the news this week that Cerner Corp., of Kansas City, Missouri, is buying the health information technology business of Siemens, of Munich, Germany, for $1.3 billion in cash. Cerners most recent acquisition highlights two ways in which they and Epic are different. Epic builds all its own software and all development is done in the U.S., Epic spokesman Shawn Kiesau said in an email....
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Madison developers greatest fear: Death by tweaking

 Madison - 10/23/2014 The main overseer of Madisons historic properties reprised its role as developments wet blanket on Monday one it famously played during The Edgewater hotel debate, helping spark an effort to rewrite the ordinance under which it operates....Landmarks is only one culprit in Madisons habit of putting up roadblocks to central-city redevelopment, though. I dont know what mixture of NIMBYism, anti-developer sentiment and high standards is responsible for this habit, but it would seem to work against the kind of dense, infill development Madison says it wants...

Ken Notes: Good read! Thumbs up to Chris for writing this... we do tweak a number of project to death and that is not a good thing. I like negotiating projects but in the end you should arrive at a clear and timely yes or no. True confessions on the table I did use the death by 1,000 needles approach to keep a Walmart at bay when I was Mayor of Neenah and in the end I lost and they won -- I maybe should have just said no.
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Walker promises bold moves on agency consolidation

 Wisconsin - 12/11/2014 Gov. Scott Walker is promising some bold moves as he looks to consolidate state agencies and trim the size of government. But merging the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection with the Department of Safety and Professional Services likely wont be one of them, he told reporters Wednesday. Walker said he met with legislative leaders yesterday afternoon on a range of topics, including his plans to look at possible mergers of state agencies. Walker said the moves wouldnt likely save tens of millions, but his administration would be able to eliminate some top agency positions and duplication...

Ken Notes: There will be a real opportunity to downsize and consolidate over the next few years simply through attrition as many state employees approach retirement age.
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KELLER, INC. PLANNERS, ARCHITECTS, BUILDERS


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Madison moving ahead with next pieces of Central Park

 MADISON - 4/3/2014 After years of planning, Madisons much-anticipated Central Park on the Near East Side could be ready for public use later this year. Construction of the linear park, set in the East Rail Corridor between south Brearly and Baldwin streets, began in earnest last year and will resume as soon as weather permits this spring, Parks Division spokeswoman Laura Whitmore said. Although people are already using paved pathways to cross parts of the park, the grounds arent ready for full use, Whitmore said. The park will open once grass is established on the great lawn and other areas, and final work on the restrooms is completed....

Ken Notes: Big numbers we need big results and a few events to put it on the map and soon...
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Black Earth Meats gets extension to provide plans for new plant site

 Black Earth - 5/8/2014 The village of Black Earth last month granted Black Earth Meats an extension to find a plan to move its slaughter operation away from a residential area but perhaps keep it in the village. Black Earth Meats asked for the extension from the Village Board after they both agreed to hire an economic development group to find some potential options that could help both parties, company president Bartlett Durand said....
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New taxes, higher fees proposed by state transportation department

 Wisconsin - 11/20/2014 Drivers in Wisconsin would have to pay an additional $751 million in taxes and fees over the next two years if a new transportation budget request is approved. Faced with a looming budget shortfall, the state Department of Transportation wants to create a fee for new cars, increase fees on electric and hybrid vehicles, raise taxes on diesel fuel and add a new variable gas tax. The transportation departments 2015-17 budget request submitted late Friday also calls for an increase in the use of the states general fund revenue. It came just over a week after Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who touted tax cuts on the campaign trail, won re-election....

Ken Notes: Why don't we spend just a little time using the newly segregated funds before we increase the rates. Also the tax on hybrid cars is way premature. Finally how will local communities be impacted by all of this.... too soon...
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Salvatores Tomato Pies

 Madison - 12/11/2014 Salvatore's Tomato Pies opens on East Johnson Street Salvatore's Tomato Pies opened their E. Johnson St location on Dec. 4, 2014. A Verona location is in the works....

Ken Notes: Verona should be a hotbed fore new retail and dinning..
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CEO admits wage hike no big deal

 National - 6/5/2014 The front-page story about corporate CEO salaries last week wasn't a big surprise. Anyone who has been reading the business pages the past several months is well aware that pay packages for the big shots who run the nation's largest businesses have been skyrocketing....

Ken Notes: Careful! I believe that McDonald's and maybe Walmart could handle the bump to $10, but part of that is predicated on their desire to be the only game in town. I'll pay $20 per hour if I can force others to close increasing my business... Hmmmmmm... McD's CEO does not make north of 13 Million for being stupid!
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Wisconsin`s high-speed trains ready to roll... in Michigan

 Wisconsin - 9/18/2014 Even though Gov. Scott Walker axed high-speed rail in Wisconsin, the state's still having an impact on passenger rail travel and that's bad news for rail travelers. A Chicago Sun-Times story this week reports that Amtraks Empire Builder, a passenger train that runs from Chicago to Minneapolis before heading to the west coast, has been plagued with delays because of an increase in freight traffic carrying Wisconsin frac sand and North Dakota oil that results from fracking....

Ken Notes: I sat on the Tommy Thompson State Rail Advisory Commission and we knew this would become a huge issue. We have to rethink both passenger and freight systems in the US. High speed was politicized instead of evaluated for the corridor improvements it presented. We are failing at transit in the US and it will hurt in the long run and yes I am still a pro business fiscal conservative.
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Critics of transportation budget pounce on higher taxes and fees

 11/20/2014 The taxes and fees associated with buying a new vehicle in Wisconsin would jump ahead of neighboring states under a state Department of Transportation plan. On a $32,000 new vehicle purchase, the agency estimates the state would collect $2,544.50 in taxes and fees (excluding county or local sales taxes), up $800 because of a proposed 2.5 percent tax on the sticker price of all new vehicles. The department is calling the new tax a highway user fee....

Ken Notes: Hiniker is at least on the right track... This is the best read on the subject... One last thought we need to collect some funds from Chicagoans and others just passing through... A few toll roads may be a good thing????
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Newspaper has stood for public good -- for 175 years

 Madison - 12/4/2014 Which came first: the state of Wisconsin, or the Wisconsin State Journal? Its a close call. As many of us learned in grade school (and still remember, because it rhymes), Wisconsin became a state in 1848. You cant have a State Journal, I suppose, until you actually have a state. Yet on Tuesday, our newspaper will mark 175 years of operation, dating back to Dec. 2, 1839. Thats nine years before statehood, and seven before Madison incorporated as a village....

Ken Notes: Let me add my congrats. I am an online aggregator, but without great journalism I would have nothing to comment on or share with you! I hope they are here for another 175!!!!
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Wildlife Area named for former county exec

 Verona - 3/20/2014 The county is proposing naming hundreds of picturesque acres along the Sugar River recently acquired from the Bruce Company in honor of former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and her then- chief of staff, Topf Wells, Sup. Dianne Hesselbein announced last week. Pending final approval by the County Board, the area in the towns of Verona and Montrose would be known as the Falk Wells Sugar River Wildlife Area. Hesselbein, also the state Assembly representative for District 80, authored and introduced the resolution authorizing the naming at the March 6 meeting of the County Board....

Ken Notes: This is interesting, Kathleen Falk once suggested to me that Verona, Epic, and county Highway M were in fact urban sprawl. I love this park and do not really care what it is called as long as it gets done and done right but poking a stick at businesses who may step up to support it??? What about Bruce Park - they sold the land for pennies on the dollar!!!!
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Fire & Water Restoration, Design/Build, General Contracting - Engineered Construction, Inc.

 Midwest - 3/3/2014 From fire and water damage renovation and insurance company coordination to design-build and general contractor services, Engineered Construction Incorporated (ECI) has been helping homeowners and businesses in and around the Madison area meet their needs and achieve their goals for over 30 years.
For emergencies, call (608) 657 2437

Ken notes: EC uses media to share their business with you.
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Athletics says it contributes more than $8.2M a year to the rest of UW-Madison campus

 UW Madison - 3/6/2014 Justin Doherty, associate athletic director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says he wants to set the record straight on the question of how much money UW Athletics does or does not pitch in to support the UW-Madison campus. The department is contributing more than $8.2 million a year to the rest of campus, Doherty said in an email sent Monday. He said he wanted to clarify some things in response to an online debate generated by articles on the UW Recreational Sports divisions master plan for a $223 million rebuild of recreational sports facilities....

Ken Notes: We should give them credit for the economic impact in the community as well. Heads in beds, dinning, hell the beer alone should get everyone a raise! Go Bucky!!!
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Future bleak for influential, UW-based Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

 UW Madison - 3/13/2014 The future of the influential UW-Madison-based Center for Problem-Oriented Policing is in doubt after federal officials pulled funding after 13 years. The center's director and founder, Mike Scott, said the decision by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, came as a surprise. "I can't figure it out," he said. The federal government has funded the center since its inception in 2002 to the tune of $300,000 to $400,000 a year, depending on what projects the center was working on, Scott said. At one point the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing provided 60 percent of the policing literature sent out by the Justice Department's COPS program....

Ken Notes: Is this a programs that we could get direct support for from the actual police department nation wide. I see a Problem-Oriented Policing certificate program with officers from across the nation coming to Madison for a 3 or 4 day workshops. The EPIC of police science.
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State needs openness advocates

 Wisconsin - 3/20/2014 Careful readers may have noticed that, while many papers carry this column on their opinion pages, it is not an especially opinionated column. Thats because the columnist sees his mission as being to inform, not persuade. But there is one exception, which bears examination. The columnist, who works for a nonprofit investigative reporting center, is also the elected president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, which seeks to protect access to public meetings and records. Its sponsoring members include the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and Wisconsin Associated Press. In this capacity, the columnist has taken stands for and against legislation that affects these vital areas, including testifying at public hearings. Thats something his readers have a right to know....

Ken Notes: I agree with Bill here, but even with a far more open system the challenge remains how do we get the data to the public in a format that will pay attention to... we simply do not have the money to compete with the juggernaut that is the new political machine...
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Retailers unhappy with proposed downtown Madison alcohol policy

 MADISON - 3/27/2014 The proposed alcohol overlay district that would replace the downtown alcohol license density ordinance in place since 2007 passed unanimously through the Madison Plan Commission Monday and appears to have the momentum to win approval when it comes before the Common Council on April 8. City officials say the new alcohol policy will bring in new businesses that depend on alcohol sales, but focus on other things as well. Retailers say it could squeeze them out of business....

Ken Notes: Both the old and the new policy have serious flaws, although the new one is better. I would love to see an opportunity for the businesses downtown to make recommendations to the Alcohol License Review Commission on a case by case basis -- but this can NOT delay the process.
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The Changing Face of Madison

 MADISON - 3/27/2014 High-profile developments in Madison are not just changing the look of the city, but the way the city operates, feels and lives. The Capital Times is tracking the various major developments around town with the interactive map below. Click around, and youll find story links, photo galleries, renderings, and more information on the cost and scale of projects. Check changingfaceofmadison.com for regular updates....

Ken Notes: Not exactly new, but a great resource none the less...
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We need to start worrying about north`s population loss, Eau Claire editor warns

 Wisconsin - 4/10/2014 We need to start worrying about the declining population numbers in north woods Wisconsin, writes Eau Claire Leader-Telegram editor Don Huebscher. Fewer people is far from good news as schools and other governmental services struggle. Technology and other factors are causing the decline, he observes, and we need to start paying attention to it in ways other than 30-second campaign sound bites at election time. Wisconsin citizens other than hunters and fishermen need to get involved in the upcoming Conservation Congress meetings and balloting, argues Political Environment blogger James Rowen. He posts a comprehensive list of all that will be decided at the meetings and warns that much of it represents problems for the state's wildlife and migratory birds....

Ken Notes: Tourism Tourism Tourism! Create opportunities for Chicagoans to escape on a budget. What lies between camping and condos or cottages???
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Food carts rolling out to parks starting this week

 MADISON - 4/17/2014 Though some vend all year 'round, the official spring opening day for food carts on the Capitol Square and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library Mall is Tuesday. It's also the opening week for Let's Eat Out, a rotating schedule of food carts in Monona, Maple Bluff, Middleton and on the north side, among others. Participants include the Slide Food Cart, Porktropolis, Bubbles Doubles (cuisine from Trinidad), Curd Girl and Soho Gourmet Cuisines. Which carts will be vending in each place will vary by location, but diners can find out more by going to the Let's Eat Out Facebook page and following their favorite carts on social media....

Ken Notes: I'll find them, but it will be a challenge...
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12-story Frances Street building project update

 MADISON Area - 4/17/2014 The demolition of two smaller residential buildings to construct a 12-story, 31-unit apartment building with commercial space. The project was altered from 42-unit plans to include more four-bedroom apartments. There also were concerns about a lack of parking, although it is across the street from a parking garage. The estimated completion date is in August....
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Why a minimum wage hike is good for small biz

 National - 4/24/2014 Nine or 10 dollars an hour? Twelve? Or all the way to $15?
For much of the country, significant minimum wage hikes are coming at least in the areas where they haven't happened already. Public debate on the issue in many states and cities has been reduced to a disagreement between the forces that want to keep increases to a small amount and folks like Chicago's "Fight for 15" group that propose a $15 per hour target.
Here's why. A higher minimum wage helps reduce the structural advantages large corporations have over small businesses, and that in turn helps create a context where high-quality independent businesses can thrive by overdelivering compared to our better-capitalized, but mediocre, big competitors...

Ken Notes: I am not sure I agree, but a very interesting read. I support a tiered wage system with Those under 21 getting less but with incentives to stay in school or apprenticeship/training programs. I am not sure what Dotty Dumpling's Dowry pays but they have the price quality thing spot on!
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TIF law could help Dunn

 Town of Dunn - 4/24/2014 A new state law could help the Town of Dunn with new development projects. Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 338 earlier this month, which allows large, urbanized towns to create tax increment financing (TIF) districts as a way to encourage development. TIF is a development tool in which tax increments above a certain base value are placed in a special fund and used to pay for improvements inside the TIF district. Cities and villages have been able to create TIF districts for many years for revitalizing blighted areas, attracting lucrative industries and more recently to mix developments in ways that might not be possible otherwise. But critics say its too often used for projects that dont need the help. The law requires the town to have a population of at least 3,500 people and equalized values of at least $500 million. The Town of Dunn meets both criteria, but town officials said they have no specific plans to use TIF in the near future...

Ken Notes: I am not sure they want my help but my guess is that a few developers will at least take a look at working with Dunn. Location Location Location. Sewer? Water? Power?
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Citizen Koch documentary on Wisconsin protests to open in June

 National - 5/1/2014 More than a year after it played at the Wisconsin Film Festival, the documentary Citizen Koch will return to Madison theaters. The documentary, which looks at the effect of so-called dark money contributions in politics, and especially on politics in Wisconsin, will open in New York in June 6. Its distributor, Variance Films, said the film will travel to several cities from there, including opening in Madison sometime in June....

Ken Notes: I sooo want a Movie made about "New Tourism" (off the grid vacations in Wisconsin) or "Entrepreneurial Passion" (the EPIC Harley story) or "Political Compromise" (The day the citizens won) or "Homeless no More"...
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Toppling Goliath is taking over more than taps in Madison

 Wisconsin - 5/8/2014 The world of craft brewing is built on the idea -- or the hope, anyway -- that the little guys can stick it to the big guys. There are little breweries, incomparably tiny next to the big macrobreweries, that are creating a kind of brand loyalty among their devotees that's just as fierce as any Miller or Bud partisan. One such brewery has taken on a name befitting this fight: Iowa's Toppling Goliath. And let me tell you: In Madison's craft beer scene, this brewery is about as big as it gets. It's pretty amazing, when you think about how Toppling Goliath's bottle releases send Madison's beer geeks into high gear, that the brewery (founded in 2009) has only been hauling bottles up here from Decorah since February 2013. And I mean "hauling" literally: Toppling Goliath self-distributes in Wisconsin, driving from shop to shop, carrying cases of beers like pseudoSue, Sosus, and Dorothy's New World Lager in its own Sprinter van....

Ken Notes: I love the cottage industry feel of this. I am worried that the big guys are going to produce faux craft beers and go market and undercut the real players. I have said it before and I will say it again we need a Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for beer. In fact I believe beer should team up with the WMMB rather than start from scratch...
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What is Your Major? 4 Decades Of College Degrees, In 1 Graph

 National - 5/15/2014 In honor of college graduation season, we made a graph. It answers a few questions we had: What is the mix of bachelor's degrees awarded today, and how has the mix changed over the past several decades?...

Ken Notes: Take a look at this it is eye opening. We need one of these for tech skills and trends.
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It is time to take back the organic community

 5/15/2014 When Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, it included an important buffer assuring the organic community that we would never lose control over the true meaning of the organic label: a diverse 15-member stakeholder board that had true statutory authority and power the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Citizens and farmers created organics as an alternative to industrial-scale agriculture and food production. As companies like Dean Foods, General Mills (hiding behind the facades of WhiteWave and Small Planet Foods respectively), Smuckers and other agribusiness giants invested in gobbling up organic brands (Silk, Horizon, Cascadian Farms, Knutson, etc.), they sent their lobbyists and the Organic Trade Association to Washington....

Ken Notes: This is a huge deal, we need to protect the value of the Organic brand and require all players to follow the rules not change them...
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Dane County offering $500,000 to farmers who stop spreading manure in winter

 Dane County - 5/23/2014 A new program aims to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering lakes in Madison and the entire Yahara watershed by trying to get farmers to stop spreading manure during the winter. A partnership between Dane County, local farmers and the Sand County Foundation, a Madison-based non-profit private land conservation group, will provide farmers with $500,000 to build additional manure storage facilities in exchange for not spreading manure on their fields during winter months....

Ken Notes: This is a matter of storage capacity. I am not sure 500K will go that far. We need to develop smaller digestion technologies that heat the effluent to eliminate pathogens and make storage easy. This is also a marketable commodity.
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Dane County still leads state with lowest jobless rate

 Dane County - 5/23/2014 Dane Countys unemployment rate continues to be the lowest in the state, according to preliminary U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates released by the state Department of Workforce Development. The county has had the lowest state rate for the first four months of 2014....
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Home affordability: How does your region compare?

 National - 5/29/2014 In the first quarter ending March 2014, 66% of homes in the U.S. were affordable to families earning the national median income of $63,900. That's down from 74% of homes in the same quarter last year....
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Students win national grant with Styrofoam project

 UW Madison - 5/29/2014 A team of UW-Madison students all undergraduates won $90,000 to expand a program they developed to keep Styrofoam out of the trash, and therefore, out of the landfills. The project, called Styrocycle, was presented at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C., in late April through a student design competition called People, Prosperity and the Planet. It involves students Emily Baumann, Jenna Walsh, Katelyn Budke and Jared Ottmann...
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Baldwin pushes for student debt reform at Senate hearing

 Wisconsin - 6/5/2014 The United States has a student debt problem. It's a $1.2 trillion and growing problem, and its impact ripples far beyond the individuals paying back their loans. The burden of that debt on individual graduates and the U.S. economy has been the focus of legislation from both state and national Democrats, including a bill spearheaded by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis...

Ken Notes: This idea screams for bipartisan support...
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OPINION: Hiking minimum wage a win-win for Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 6/12/2014 Dear Editor: Elected officials around Wisconsin and the country are trying to make a difference on behalf of the common good, cooperatively and respectfully working together. Here in Eau Claire County, a resolution will be on the ballot providing our citizens a chance to express themselves as to raising the minimum wage in Wisconsin. Those writing the resolution made sure what was being put forward would pass the muster of truth and facts as to the impact of encouraging our state legislators to raise the floor of wages paid. No less than five extensive studies were cited, along with additional information, that showed that when the minimum wages have been raised, not only did the workers benefit, so did the overall economy! A truly win-win outcome....

Ken Notes: There will be winners AND LOSERS here. We need to be careful and I think the focus should be on skills that demand a higher wage. This skills gap if far more of a problem that the minimum wage.
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Governor Walker announces $1,000,000 transportation grant to city of Fitchburg

 Fitchburg - 6/12/2014 Award for design and construction of new streets helps retain more than 400 jobs...Governor Scott Walker announced today that the city of Fitchburg will receive a Transportation Economic Assistance (TEA) grant. The $1,000,000 award represents the Wisconsin Department of Transportations (WisDOT) contribution toward the design and construction of two new municipal streets: Sprocket and Spoke drives. The addition of these streets will provide safe and more convenient access to expanding Fitchburg businesses, Certco Inc. and Saris Cycling Group, Inc. Other growing businesses in the Arrowhead Neighborhood will also benefit from these improvements as the new streets will ease congestion and provide better access, particularly to shipping and receiving facilities...
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State grant changes threaten long-awaited Lower Yahara River Trail project

 Dane County - 6/19/2014 Dane County officials fear that a change in the way the state of Wisconsin doles out federal project dollars could threaten a multi-million-dollar bike path plan that would connect Madison with southern Dane County. The Lower Yahara River Trail would link McFarland with the Capital City Trail, allowing bicyclists to get from McFarland to Madison on a system of bridges and boardwalks across Lake Waubesa. The Capital City Trail then allows bicyclists to ride through a Beltline tunnel to connect up with the new Cannonball Path and the Southwest Commuter Trail. Ultimately, the trail would be fleshed out to provide a link from Lake Kegonsa State Park in southeastern Dane County to downtown Madison....

Ken Notes: These project can sit in limbo for years so I get the DOT issue here. There has to be a solution maybe a performance type bond to ensure the project will move forward.
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US homebuilder confidence up in June, remains low

 National - 6/19/2014 U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident about the housing market but don't think it is healthy yet. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose to 49 in June, highest since January and up from 45 in May. Readings below 50 indicate that builders view sales conditions are poor rather than good. The index has been stuck below 50 since January. The low numbers earlier this year reflected a bitter winter that chilled economic activity across much of the U.S. But warmer weather hasn't done much to help: Sales of new homes are running about half the rate of a healthy housing market....
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Wanted: A new site for a Civil War-era building

 MADISON Area - 6/26/2014 One of the oldest remaining commercial buildings in Madison could be spared from the wrecking ball but it wont prove to be a simple task. Someone needs to find a way to move the two-story brick structure from its current location at 502 W. Main St. by Aug. 30. With chairman Ken Opin breaking a tie vote, the Plan Commission on Monday narrowly approved a four-story, mixed-use redevelopment from the Keller Real Estate Group. Slated for the corner of South Bassett and West Main Street, the project calls for 18 apartment units over first floor commercial space....

Ken Notes: These are very tough projects and the building has little civil war architecture left.
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Star Wars creator selects Chicago for museum

 Chicago - 6/26/2014 "Star Wars" creator George Lucas announced Tuesday that he has picked Chicago to host his much-anticipated museum of art and movie memorabilia, in a major victory for the nation's third-largest city. San Francisco and Los Angeles also had sought the museum. Lucas said in a written statement that he hopes to open the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in 2018....

Ken Notes: I'll be in line day one...
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Going off the grid: How Dane County manure digesters are helping a hospital achieve energy independence

 MADISON - 7/3/2014 On a recent afternoon in June, a Wisconsin hospital took another big step away from the power grid and toward energy independence with the help of a Dane County manure digester. Standing side-by-side at the Maunesha River Dairy outside Sun Prairie, owner Dennis Ballweg, and Jeff Rich, director of La Crosse-based Gundersen Health System's energy efficiency program, watched as an operator made an adjustment to the farm's new digester...
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Wisconsin company plans paper plant in Mississippi

 Wisconsin / Mississippi - 7/10/2014 A Wisconsin company will open a $48 million plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to make paper towels, tissue and other projects, hiring 300 people over five years. Green Bay Converting and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant announced the plans Monday in Hattiesburg. State and local governments will contribute aid and tax incentives projected to be worth more than $12 million....

Ken Notes: I know we have closed the door on paper production in the State, I just wonder if we have a replacement plan in place? We may also start to see the admin functions of these companies seek more friendly states as well especially ans a new generation starts to move int senior management positions.
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Wisconsin Man Turns Star Wars Obsession Into Multimillion Dollar Business

 Wisconsin - 7/10/2014 The inspiration behind Brian Semlings 20-year-old Fountain City business came at an unlikely time during a visit to a friends house to watch Return of the Jedi. Fifteen years old at the time, he hadnt seen the movie since it came out in theaters nearly a decade earlier. He loved it....

Ken Notes: Read this if you missed it, it is very interesting.
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Cabela`s breaks ground in Sun Prairie

 Sun Prairie - 7/17/2014 Outdoors retailer Cabelas has broken ground on its 83,000-square-foot store in the Prairie Lakes Shopping Center at highways C and 151 in Sun Prairie. Cabelas purchased the 10.54 acres of land in June and expects to complete construction in 2015. The store will join other major retailers in the immediate area such as Target, Costco, Woodman's Market and a Marcus Cinemas that is under construction....

Ken Notes: Sun gets all the COOL toys.
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UW ranked 25th-best university in world

 UW Madison - 7/17/2014 The Center for World University Rankings has ranked the University of Wisconsin as the 25th-best university in the world. The rankings are based on eight criteria, including quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, publications, influence, citations, broad impact and patents...

Ken Notes: Congrats!
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Hayward hosts Lumberjack World Championships

 Hayward - 7/24/2014 International competition begins in Hayward where the very best lumberjacks are gathering. The U.S. Lumberjack World Championships get underway Thursday with log rolling, pole climbing and chopping events. The championships started in 1960. Organizers say it's a way to acknowledge the rich history of the logging industry across the United States.More than 12,000 spectators are expected to watch dozens of competitors from around the world vie for more than $50,000 in prize money. The events are held in the Lumberjack Bowl in Hayward, which was once a big holding pond for the North Wisconsin Lumber Co. Competition runs through Saturday....

Ken Notes: Think of the economic impact for a small community like Hayward.
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CARPC questions Fitchburg developments

 Fitchburg - 7/24/2014 Staff to bring final plan to commissioners on two neighborhoods...After getting some initial comments from a regional planning body, plans to prepare the city for development on its eastern and western fringes will go back for approval next month. The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, which advises the state on extensions of sewer service, heard preliminary presentations from staffers at the June CARPC meeting on expanding Fitchburgs urban service area (USA) into the Northeast and North Stoner Prairie neighborhoods. Discussion mainly centered on how the developments fit with city transportation plans, environmental effects on surrounding areas and stormwater. Commissioners asked staff to investigate further. A USA is the area within which a municipality can provide a set of services including sewer service, and CARPC advises the state Department of Natural Resources on approving extensions to that service. Most urban development is impossible without it. CARPC had been essentially the final word until a 2010 decision on a lawsuit from the Village of Mazomanie clarified that its decisions are only advisory to the DNR. Its decisions have often been highly political, in contrast to that of its predecessor, the Dane County Regional Planning Commission....

Ken Notes: I do not know enough to comment here. I just hope we keep politics out and get it right!
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Madison council members recommend special fee to pay for citys forestry program

 MADISON - 7/31/2014 Madison will soon consider a special fee to pay for the citys forestry program including fighting the emerald ash borer thats expected to cost $5.9 million next year. The fee is being proposed by a City Council work group that has spent more than a year studying alternative sources of revenue in light of state property tax caps. The fee, which could be based on linear street frontage, would replace property taxes as the funding source for the forestry program. Under the proposed ordinance, the method of collection would be decided later. But if the recommended street frontage method were used, it would cost the owner of an average city lot about $53 a year. The charge could also be based on the number of city-owned trees next to a property or other method such as a straight fee per resident or parcel....

Ken Notes: These fees are going to become fare more used across the state for a variety of services. Watch for public safety, forestry, street maintenance, storm water, community services and more fees to be considered. I like the cause and effect aspect of these but they never reduce the property taxes as much as they generate so the are a way around caps. The solution is community spending limits but do not tell the legislature because they will mess those up as well...
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A public service made possible by the members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association

 Wisconsin - 7/31/2014 WisconsinPublicNotices.org is designed to assist citizens who want to know more about the actions of local, county and state government as well as events occurring in the local and state court system.

The following are just some of the public notices
you will find:

  • adoptions
  • advertisements for bids
  • assessments
  • court proceedings
  • delinquent taxes
  • foreclosures
  • name changes
  • school & government finances
  • school board minutes
  • unclaimed property


  • Ken Notes: Thank you!
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Williamson Street Gateway Sculpture installation

 Madison - 8/7/2014 The Williamson Street Gateway Sculpture, by Erika Koivunen and Aaron Howard, was installed on Williamson Street on Sunday...

Ken Notes: Cool and VERY Willy Street, but I do like God's version better, and that starts with just a seed...
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Public money, public benefit, public market belong on Park

 Madison - 8/7/2014 As a resident of Madisons East Side, I would welcome a public market along East Washington Avenue. As a resident of Madison in toto, I know it belongs on Park Street on the citys South Side. In opting for the East Wash site, members of the citys Local Food Committee argued that for the market to be successful, its vendors needed to make money. And no doubt, theyd do a bang-up business along the newly revitalized corridor....

Ken Notes: I think a permanent structure on the Central Park site would be nice -- and we own that. Or over John Nolin Drive next to the terrace parking lot.
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July home sales drop by 8 percent, while median price rises by same margin

 Dane County - 8/14/2014 Amid continuing lean inventory, Dane County existing home and condo sales fell 8 percent year-over-year in July, even as median sale price rose by nearly the same margin. There were 856 sales of single-family homes and condos in Dane County in July, compared with 932 in July 2013, according to the latest South Central Wisconsin MLS report. Median price in July was $233,327, up 8.5 percent from $215,000 in July 2013....
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Entrepreneurship the answer for some with autism

 Wisconsin - 8/14/2014 When Matt Cottle asked his boss to let him work in the supermarket's bakery, she told him he'd never do anything more than collect grocery carts. After six years of bagging groceries and pushing carts, Cottle wanted more. He had already learned how to do some baking. Cottle is autistic. And today he's an entrepreneur, the owner of Stuttering King Bakery, turning out batches of cookies, brownies and scones for cafes and businesses and groups that need catering. "I was like, OK, I am destined to do something greater than that," Cottle says in the kitchen of his family's Scottsdale, Arizona, home, where he spends hours each day filling orders. He generates $1,200 monthly. He named the business for Britain's King George VI, whose struggles to speak were the subject of the film "The King's Speech."...

Ken Notes: Good read!
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A time capsule of tiny treasures is hidden in Willy Street`s newest sculpture

 Madison - 8/21/2014 Hidden in the base of the new Willy Street Gateway Sculpture is a small metal tube full of tiny treasures. This foot-long, two-and-a-half inch-wide time capsule, conceived by artist Erika Koivunen and documented by fellow welder Carol Bracewell, was placed in the base of the 32-foot gateway tree in early August, when the sculpture was installed in the 600 block of Williamson Street...

Ken Notes: Interestingly Willy Street residents have asked that Madison "drug dogs" avoid the area in until after the capsule is buried... Just kidding... I love Willy Street!
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Cranberry growers frustrated after feds reject production cuts Print Email

 Wisconsin - 8/21/2014 Despite a huge oversupply of cranberries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has rejected a recommendation to curb cranberry production, disappointing cranberry growers in Wisconsin. (The USDA) united us all, Linda Prehn, a Tomah grower, said. We walked in the room pointing fingers at each other, and now we are all pointing at the USDA. A growing oversupply of berries has driven down prices, in some cases to unsustainable levels. The industry is on the verge of implementing mandatory curbs on production just as Wisconsin tallies a record-breaking crop of more than 6 million barrels produced in 2013. ...

Ken Notes: We need to create a new demand for the fruit. Health Impact? Cranberry Coke or Pepsi? It's not just for thanksgiving any more???
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AOL cofounder Steve Case and Google head to Madison to hunt for hot start-ups

 Wisconsin - 8/28/2014 Local entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch to a pioneer Internet entrepreneur and win a $100,000 investment when Steve Case and Google for Entrepreneurs come to Madison in October with their Rise of the Rest road trip. Case co-founded America Online in 1985; 20 years later, in 2005, he co-founded Revolution, a Washington, D.C., investment firm, and since then chaired the Startup America Partnership, a White House push to support entrepreneurs. Case and his wife, Jean, also set up the philanthropic Case Foundation in 1997....

Ken Notes: Someone mention WDNews!!!!
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Madison`s new public art takes inspiration from the community

 Madison - 9/4/2014 When it comes to public art, Madison has moved way beyond statues of prominent figures and decorative fountains. And lately, new projects, of which there are plenty this late summer and early fall, are drawing directly from the community around them. Art pieces have become overwhelmingly neighborhood-led, with a level of public input that feels unprecedented. For these new works, artists are incorporating everything from old soup boxes (Victor Castros USGathering sculpture at Meadowridge Library) to silhouettes of nearby art lovers (Elizabeth Doyles Verona Road project). Artists may ask for volunteers to paint pavement in a colorful design or contribute objects to a time capsule inside Willy Streets 32-foot-tall CommuniTree....

Ken Notes: I love these projects and believe they help define a community.
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Madison officials propose nearly $250 million city budget for 2015

 Madison - 9/4/2014 City officials released a proposed budget Tuesday afternoon which, if passed, would allow for the replacement of aging infrastructure and a large investment in affordable housing. The 2015 Executive Capital Budget and five-year Capital Improvement Plan outline how funding is distributed for city projects and development. In addition to the larger budget points, the plans center on economic growth, servicing Madisons diverse population and effective use of energy and resources....
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Workforce development group hires Bill Clingan

 Madison Area - 9/4/2014 A former director of Madison's Community Development Division will head the local chapter of a workforce development intermediary group. Bill Clingan, who led the city agency from 2008 to 2012 and also served on the Madison School Board, was named program director for Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/Big Step in the Madison area Tuesday....
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Cohousing in the works at Union Corners

 Madison - 9/11/2014 Theres no sign of any construction yet at Union Corners, the long-awaited development at East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street. But that hasnt stopped a community-minded group from making plans for a major cohousing effort at the high-profile site....Long popular in Scandinavia but relatively new in the U.S., cohousing aims to create a community where residents share some facilities, make joint decisions with their neighbors and work together to live in a more sustainable manner. The projects often include a large group kitchen and meeting space in a community building...

Ken Notes: I really like what some of the interment communities have provided as amenities. It will be interesting to see if they can agree...
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Funk Factory Geuzeria to open a sour beer facility on Madison's south side

 Madison - 9/11/2014 It's never been a better time to be a sour beer lover in Madison. Levi Funk -- yes, that's his real name -- has just signed a lease on a building on the city's south side for his Funk Factory Geuzeria, where he plans to turn wort brewed all over Wisconsin into geuze and lambic-style beers. "It's a model that is not uncommon in Belgium and is similar to a contract brewing model here in the U.S.," Funk explains. "Essentially I will give breweries a recipe and they'll brew it, and I'll buy it." He then transforms the wort into sour beer. In this brewing process, the wort is left overnight in a "coolship," a stainless-steel open-top tank, in order to allow ambient wild yeasts to land in the liquid and start the fermentation process. "I built a coolship that I can take to breweries," says Funk, who then brings the vessel to a nearby outdoor area....

Ken Notes: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
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Zendesk finds Madison a good fit

 Madison - 9/25/2014 Add software maker Zendesk to the list of publicly traded technology companies setting up shop in Madison. The company unveiled its new offices on the sixth floor of the Glass Bank building at 1 S. Pinckney St. Wednesday to an enthusiastic crowd of local business leaders and politicians.

Zendesk offers its clients web-based "help desk" software for handling customer service issues. Among its 45,000 customers is ride-share company Uber....

Ken Notes: A perfect fit for Madison, I hope we see more of this...
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Madison brewery goes public under new law

 Madison - 9/25/2014 Crowdfunding regulations, cost, and paperwork changes over the summer... Henry Schwartz and his two UW Whitewater buddies knew they couldnt just brew beer and be successful. So Schwartz and the young men of MobCraft set out to do something different with a concept thats growing in popularity. We crowd source our beer recipes. We get this great emotional connection with our consumers. Why can't they be part owners? And we thought it was a great route for us to go, Schwartz said. Schwartz is looking to grow the microbrewery, hoping to move into a new space next year and hire on more staff. To do any of that, Schwartz realized he needs capital investments. Then, Schwartz heard about a new law in Wisconsin that went into effect this summer, which cuts the cost and paperwork of going public within the state. MobCraft went public Wednesday morning....

Ken Notes: Went to Chicago with these guys ... Great product ... Great ideas!
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Madison-based nonprofit lands nearly $900,000 investment to address racial disparities

 Wisconsin - 10/2/2014 The Madison-based National Council on Crime and Delinquency learned this week it is the recipient of a nearly $900,000 "Pay for Success" investment from the Social Innovation Fund, a key White House initiative aiming to improve social disparities through evidence-based programs. The NCCD, a nonprofit that promotes equitable justice systems through research and public policy, was awarded the funds as part of a proposal to explore Pay for Success financing in jurisdictions located in the top areas of the country with the highest rates of disparities in their child welfare and juvenile justice systems....

Ken Notes: I would again ask that we look at this a a socioeconomic issue rather than just race, bu applaud the efforts of the organizations trying to make a dent! I want us to explore the statistics form all angles, income, education, parenting, and race. It is a big issue and will require big solutions.
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UW's School of Business, Baird teaming up to prepare financial managers

 UW Madison - 10/2/2014 UW-Madisons Wisconsin School of Business and Baird, a Milwaukee-based wealth management firm, are teaming up to prepare undergraduate business majors for careers in wealth and financial planning. A shortage is looming in the field. Cerulli Associates, which specializes in worldwide asset management and distribution analytics, reports the average age of financial advisers is 50.9, and 43 percent are over age 55 with the same percentage nearing retirement. Money magazine reported in 2013 that the demand for wealth managers and financial managers will grow at least 30 percent in the next 30 years...

Ken Notes: Business working with the educational system is the ONLY solution...
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Whose phrase is it? Wisconsin is Open for Business

 Wisconsin - 10/9/2014 On her campaign website, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch says she is widely credited with coming up with the phrase, Wisconsin is Open for Business. But her boss, Gov. Scott Walker, used the exact phrase in his inaugural address Jan. 3, 2011: And as your governor, I make this pledge: Wisconsin is open for business. We will work tirelessly to restore economic growth and vibrancy to our state. My top three priorities are jobs, jobs and jobs....

Ken Notes: WHO CARES? The fact is we are not open for business. We have seen new companies in Dubuque, Chicago, and elsewhere that should be in Wisconsin. Little companies like IBM and Miller Coors. Now that I care about!
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Stagnant federal spending on R&D could lead to big problems later

 Wisconsin - 10/9/2014 Yoshi Kawaoka is known worldwide for his work on avian influenza viruses, the likes of which wiped out 40 million people in 1918. This talented UW-Madison researcher has also spent time studying strains of the Ebola virus, which has now found its way to the United States from West Africa, where thousands have died from its devastating effects. Trouble is, Kawaokas Ebola research is largely in the past tense because federal funding for the project ran out just as some promising results were reported. Its a close-to-home example of how stagnant and even dwindling federal support for academic research especially in the life sciences can hamper societys ability to address public health challenges....

Ken Notes: I agree with Tom, but I wonder if the private sector may need to jump in here as well. If the Feds need leadership, couldn't they follow the money as it were...
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Madison police among best in nation for inclusion of women, but chief eyes improvement

 Madison - 10/16/2014 When we recently looked at how representative the Madison Police Department is compared to the city's racial makeup, Chief Mike Koval conceded that he needed more people of color in his command staff. That group of 37 officers at the lieutenant level and above is 87 percent white, while non-Hispanic whites make up 76 percent of Madison's population. Women also need to play a greater role in the upper levels of the department, Koval said....

Ken Notes: I think Madison does a good job here. We had a respected black chief, many women, and a fair representation from the community. Let's continue to hire the best and brightest and reach out to the schools for inclusion and diversity so we can continue to bring great officers into the ranks. Also lets make sure ALL of our officers work well with ALL of our citizens. It is tough out there...
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Verona schools to seek money for land purchases

 Verona - 10/16/2014 The Verona School District will likely ask voters in April for up to $10 million in land purchases for future expansion. The School Board has already approved land purchases for three parcels, totaling 129 acres, for around $8.5 million. Superintendent Dean Gorrell said the district is hoping to reach an agreement on a fourth property that would be added onto a referendum to authorize the purchases. The district began studying growth areas in 2006, but the 2008 housing market crash put expansion concerns on the back burner. With new home permits rebounding in Verona, Gorrell said the issue has returned to the forefront....
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Cap Times urges a NO vote on transportation referendum

 Wisconsin - 10/23/2014 The Cap Times thinks the constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot that would limit the use of state transportation revenues to transportation projects is a bad idea. It would remove flexibility our legislators and governor may need to deal with budget shortfalls. Read our editorial here. ...

Ken Notes: Tough call, I would love to see lobbying removed from transit and all projects scored and prioritized scheduled and bid. If this were done well, then I strongly favor a segregated fund, I would go so far as to have a local portion. In this case we may have the cart before the horse. Projects are heavily lobbied we reject alternatives, and we grease the squeaky wheel while ignoring the one with the broken spokes... Vote you conscience here...
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Murals in Wittenberg

 Wittenberg - 10/23/2014 At the heart of Wittenberg's downtown is the Village Inn. Its mural features images of those who worked and frequented the tavern. The mural was painted in 2007 by Milwaukee artist Reynaldo Hernandez....

Ken Notes: Very cool...
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Epic Systems vying for massive defense contract

 Madison - 10/30/2014 Epic Systems, the states largest information technology company, is trying to land an $11 billion, 10-year contract with the Defense Departmentto update its electronic health records.
For comparison, Epic's total revenues last year were$1.66 billion.
Over the next several months, military officials will sift through proposals from some of the biggest names in technology. The deadline to apply is Friday.
Whoever gets the contract will face a daunting task: retooling the Defense Departments existing health IT system which covers more than 6 million veterans and 9 million active members so patient records are easily transferable between the military and outside health systems...

Ken Notes: Politics aside, lets support a Wisconsin business in this effort. Also remember Judy is only a billionaire if she sells EPIC -- we need to keep her vision, company and employees in Wisconsin.
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Interactive galley tells the story of Madison and more

 Madison - 10/30/2014 Donna Shalala, the former UW-Madison chancellor, has a spot on the wall along with a milk bottle from the old Bancroft Dairy and a photograph of jazz musician Ben Sidran at a soundboard. Part of the $100 million redevelopment of The Edgewater hotel includes a more than $1 million interactive gallery on the seventh level of the hotels Wisconsin Building that helps tell the story of Madison. The 100-foot-long display that connects the east entrance of the hotel with The Statehouse restaurant is a combination of 50 back-lit photographs, 48 video screens that play 14 stories and artifacts that have a Madison touch....
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Dells development company changes name to Stand Rock Hospitality

 Wisconsin Dells - 11/6/2014 Waterpark Ventures Management Services, a hotel and waterpark resort development and management company in Wisconsin Dells, has changed its name to Stand Rock Hospitality. The name change more adequately reflects the companys growth, expanded services and hotel portfolio, the partners of the company say. What is now Stand Rock Hospitality was formed in 2007 and is comprised of brothers Pete and Pat Helland and their cousin Tim Lucke, who developed and managed Wilderness at the Smokies Resort in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and were part of a group that developed Wilderness Resort in Lake Delton...

Ken Notes: Still think we need a Madison area Waterpark/Resort Project.
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City to see numerous improvements to building exteriors

 11/6/2014 Madisons Urban Design Commission members approved plans Wednesday for exterior improvements to both the 306 West mixed-use development and the Concourse Hotel, which will include a new Starbucks, as well as provide recommendations for renovations to the Park Hotel. Commission members unanimously approved amendments to the Concourse Hotel design plans, initially presented to UDC last year, to install a sign on the Wisconsin Avenue entrance with LED-lit wording on a golden-colored background. The hotel, located on 1 W. Dayton St., will also replace the grill restaurant inside the establishment with a Starbucks cafe as part of its comprehensive design review....
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Touting investment in technology start-ups at the Early Stage Symposium

 Wisconsin - 11/13/2014 Wisconsin could take a page from Michigans book if it wants to spur the states tech economy. That was the message to a room full of investors at the Early Stage Symposium at Monona Terrace on Wednesday. Twelve years ago, when Michigans Legislature passed the bipartisan 21st Century Jobs Fund bill, Michigan had 50 to 80 young technology businesses. Today, that state has nearly 3,000 early-stage tech companies, said Paula Sorrell, vice president for entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital at Michigan Economic Development Corp....

Ken Notes: We have much to learn...
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City efforts to build new Downtown park could start soon

 Madison - 11/13/2014 A long-simmering drive to mix in a little green space with the sparkling new high-rises Downtown could get a boost next week with the introduction of a resolution to let city staff start spending money to build a new park there. The measure, with four co-sponsors including Mayor Paul Soglin and Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, would authorize staff to begin negotiations with property owners in the general area of West Johnson and North Bassett streets, and let them pay for pre-acquisition expenses such as appraisals and title searches. With a price tag between $4 million and $7 million, the park would be relatively small between 1.5 and 2 acres and paid for by developer fees, not tax dollars....
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Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit to be held Dec. 4-5 in Minocqua

 Wisconsin - 11/20/2014 Registration is now open for the eighth annual Governors Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit, December 4-5 in Minocqua. The annual summit provides an opportunity to address the unique challenges and opportunities of Northern Wisconsins economy through a forum with the Governor's Cabinet, keynote speakers, and a series of workshops. This years agenda includes information on workforce development, technology, and regulatory reform. "Growing jobs means listening to the needs of employers across the state," said Governor Walker. "That's why we've made workforce development and reforming government top priorities in order to help businesses grow and thrive. I look forward to more productive discussions on how we can continue moving Wisconsin forward, especially in Northern Wisconsin."...
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Developers propose lower-income housing on South Side

 Madison Area - 12/4/2014 In the latest bid to create more affordable housing in Madisons tight market, a development team is securing city assistance and seeking federal tax credits to build a $6.5 million lower-income project in an improving area on the South Side. Nonprofit Movin Out and Mirus Partners are proposing a 36-unit rental housing project with surface and underground parking and other amenities on a vacant lot at 2230 W. Broadway, across the street from the South Towne shopping mall....
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Scott Walker touts property tax relief throughout Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 12/18/2014 Gov. Scott Walker embarked on a "property tax relief" tour throughout Wisconsin on Wednesday, stopping in Madison to address the Senate Republican caucus. Walker commended lawmakers for their role in lowering taxes, focusing heavily on the property tax relief provided through aid to schools and technical colleges. The governor signed into law last spring $400 million in relief to technical schools in hopes of lowering their levies....
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Kraemer Brothers Construction


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UW-Madison graduate School of Education ranked 5th by U.S. News and World Report

 UW Madison - 3/13/2014 UW-Madisons School of Education graduate program is ranked fifth overall in the nation in the 2015 edition of U.S. News and World Reports Best Graduate Schools. The UW School of Educations curriculum and instruction specialty is ranked first in the nation while seven other specialties finished in the top 10, UW News reports. Education was just one of many UW graduate programs ranked among the nations best, including chemistry (9th), computer science (11th), statistics (tied for 12th) and earth sciences (tied for 13th)....

Ken Notes: Congrats! Again can we use these resources to bring people to Madison for seminars and special events.
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Database: Every Wisconsin Badgers football game record since 1899

 UW Madison - 5/1/2014 Search through our records of every win and loss the Badgers football team has experienced in the last 115 years....

Ken Notes: This is cool. Of course if you click on it I will have to report to your boss that you have too much time on your hands... but still... who one the 1902 Michigan Game Priceless!
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Cooks at Epic Systems create haute cuisine on a grand scale

 Verona - 12/11/2014 Chef Eric Rupert was, for a time, Odessa Piper's co-chef at L'Etoile. He has cooked at the Madison Club and the late Ovens of Brittany, which influences Madison cuisine to this day. He ran his own restaurant, Kafe Kohoutek, for two years. But the best experience, Rupert says, is now in Epic's corporate cafeteria. "I've been in the business since 1979, and I've never worked with a more talented group of cooks," Rupert said. "These cooks know they can go anywhere, do anything, after they work here. "Nobody else in the country is doing what we're doing."...

Ken Notes: Of course the EPIC employees don't need a restaurant they have the best food in Madison NOW... mmmmmmmmmmmm......
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Declining north woods numbers a concern

 Wisconsin - 4/10/2014 If you like to vacation in Wisconsin's northwoods, the latest census estimates showing that 14 of Wisconsin's 16 northernmost counties lost population the past three years can be seen as a positive. After all, fewer people means more wide open spaces for hunting, fishing, boating, etc. But those numbers are far less comforting to those living in northern Wisconsin. Fewer people in those communities means fewer jobs, smaller and maybe fewer schools and a less attractive future for young people contemplating where they want to spend their adult lives. ...

Ken Notes: Here is the original post...
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The Gialamas Company, Inc.


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Wolf Hollow seen as possible TIF site

 Windsor - 7/31/2014 Windsors financial advisors have found that the Windsor Crossing/Wolf Hollow area would likely be a fitting site for tax increment financing to help encourage future development. Ehlers Vice President Jim Mann recently presented town supervisors with the firms findings from a feasibility analysis of creating a 48-acre tax increment district (TID) to include Wolf Hollows 54 units and a portion of Windsor Crossing. The area, which is slated to include a mix of commercial and residential development, could benefit from the financing to fund storm water, sanitary, sewer, water and road infrastructure, Mann said. He also recommended the town consider using the financing for development incentives. ...
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Aero-Stream LLC among those tapped for next round of ABC`s Shark Tank

 Wisconsin - 8/7/2014 The impetus for Karl Holt to start Aero-Stream LLC, which makes an alternative product to restore failed septic systems, was his own experience with a septic system in 2002. As a mechanical engineer, Holt didn't have the $15,000 needed to replace his own system so he designed his own solution, which took its cues from how municipalities deal with the problem. The machine works to get rid of the wastewater using fast-acting aerobic bacteria. Bottom line, Holt's patented $1,500 product saves the homeowner money, time and hassle....

Ken Notes: Congrats...
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Middleton school district unveils improvements financed by $60 million referendum

 Middleton - 8/14/2014 Its not your fathers middle school, and probably not yours, either. The newly rebuilt Kromrey Middle School in Middleton boasts an airy entry area, whiteboard walls where students can doodle ideas and an outdoor stone amphitheater for performances and other gatherings. The building is heated and cooled with a geothermal system. Its a nice facility, no doubt about it, says Perry Hibner, communications director for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. Were proud of it. School officials will unveil the new Kromrey, as well as improvements at Glacier Creek Middle School, at open houses Tuesday and Wednesday....
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OPINION: Poll supports casino

 Wisconsin - 9/4/2014 WHEN THE FEDERAL government gave its approval to the Kenosha casino plan and sent it to Gov. Scott Walkers desk for a final decision, Beloiters watched closely to see which way the governor might lean. That was months ago and everyone is still watching.No surprise. The question of off-reservation casino developments is caught up in Wisconsins toxic politics. Facing what has turned out to be a tough re-election campaign, Walker punted the casino question until after November. Its hard to blame him. Incumbents seeking re-election are reluctant for good reason to throw red meat into a campaign by making decisions likely to be controversial in the days leading up to balloting. BUT WE HOPE the governor and his opponent, Democrat Mary Burke took notice of the latest Marquette Law School Poll, which in addition to political questions posed to respondents a number of policy issues, including the casino question....

Ken Notes: You have to assume that this issue will be pushed off until after the election, because a decision now will effect state wide voting in November in what will be a close race. We are seeing the politics of this at it's worst...
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Anonymous complaint means memorial to Sun Prairie crash victim must go, state says

 Wisconsin - 9/18/2014 A professionally designed and installed memorial honoring a Sun Prairie woman killed by a drunken driver must be removed because an anonymous resident complained about it, the state said. Department of Transportation guidelines say that if even one person complains about a roadside memorial, it must go. The lead organizer of the memorial to Maureen Mengelt said he was made aware of the rule by a DOT official before embarking on the effort but never dreamed anyone would actually complain....

Ken Notes: We should revisit this and create a State policy for such memorials. Other states that have programs have found they serve as a great reminder to pay attention while driving. We spend money on ads and billboards, yet won't create a policy for free and stark reminders of the consequences of drunken or inattentive driving.
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Public meeting to be held on Menard`s proposal

 Sun Prairie - 11/6/2014 A public meeting will be held Nov. 11 based on a request by Menard Inc. for approval of plan to construct a new home improvement store on the southeast corner of South Grand Avenue and South City Station Drive, according to the Sun Prairie Star....

Ken Notes: I can not comment because my wife took my Menard's card away. I am in mourning...
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DNR asks for 24/7 staffing a troubled manure digester

 Wisconsin - 3/27/2014 The Department of Natural Resources is taking a closer look at a Dane County manure digest that has had three spills in the last six months....The Clear Horizons facility has to come up with an updated phosphorus removal plan. DNR officials said they sent the company a permit violation notice after the most recent spill of 35,000 gallons of manure from a ruptured pipe. You know, spills do happen. We want to have some process in place to contain a spill, DNR waste water engineer Mark Cain said. All of those things are being evaluated as part of this process, and being a permitted operation...

Ken Notes: I remain a fan of digestion and suggest we head over to Germany to look at systems that have been in place for a long time and see where we went wrong...
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Craft Beer Week amps up Thursday with more events

 MADISON Area - 5/8/2014 Is there anything more Wisconsin than a bunch of people waiting in line for the chance to drink beer? How about a bunch of people sporting Badgers and Brewers hats and sweatshirts, firing up the grill while wrapped in blankets, waiting in line for the chance to drink beer? This was the scene in Madison on Sunday morning, while beer enthusiasts that is, people more enthusiastic about beer than the average Wisconsinite waited for tickets for the 2014 Great Taste of the Midwest to go on sale...

Ken Notes: Want to know what is going on in Madison, check out our newest newsletter, MadisonNotes.com, and see why we like it here so much...
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Madisons Central Park is officially open

 MADISON - 6/26/2014 After decades of dreams and years of anticipation, Madison's Central Park is officially open today. The linear park is located on the citys near east side. It stretches along East Wilson Street and a bike boulevard to the south and East Main Street to the north, nestled between South Brearly and South Baldwin streets. Its been part of the citys vision since the early 1970s, and the subject of a planning task force since 2007....
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Paul Soglin asks managers to propose flat budgets

 MADISON - 7/10/2014 Despite an improving economy, Mayor Paul Soglin once again is asking managers to offer budgets for 2015 with no growth, except to fund commitments and certain cost-to-continue items. Soglin, in a message to managers on Monday, is also again asking for alternate operating budgets that identify 3 percent cuts while permitting supplemental spending requests. The city, which has a $276.2 million operating budget for 2014, is projecting a $4.3 million budget gap next year. The gap, which could change, is a result of advance commitments, revenue estimates, and state limits on new tax collections....
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TIF report refuted, lauded

 Stoughton - 7/10/2014 A study conducted by two area residents of the tax-increment financing deal for the proposed Kettle Park West development has not appeared to sway opinions of the controversial projects supporters or opponents. Stoughton resident Roger Springman and Town of Pleasant Springs resident Russ Reppen said they spent three months studying the citys TIF proposal and issued their report about two weeks ago. The men charged that the citys numbers supporting the project dont add up....

Ken Notes: TIF is at best confusing and the key in my opinion is a workable development agreement. This should remove the variables and guarantee sufficient returns to secure the project.
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UW plans to ask for $95 million boost in next budget

 UW Madison - 8/21/2014 New University of Wisconsin System president Ray Cross plans to ask lawmakers for a $95 million funding increase in the next two-year budget cycle to pay for some new initiatives and continue others that he said will help power up the statewide systems economic development engine. Cross acknowledged in an interview Wednesday that the increase for the 2015-2017 budget is a tough request given that Gov. Scott Walker has told state agencies to expect no increases. The systems icy recent past with lawmakers doesnt help either, although Cross has made repairing relationships a foundation of his presidency since starting in February....

Ken Notes: I am for the spending, BUT we have to address keeping graduates in the State. I still like forgiving interest on student loans via state income tax. We borrow, lend and cover the interest for resident Graduates, Simple cost effective and a significant motivation to stay in the state -- and if they leave it is actually slightly profitable.
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Milwaukee gets $3.9M grant for lead paint removal

 Milwaukee - 10/2/2014 Milwaukee has received a $3.9 million federal grant to remove lead-based paint hazards from about 700 homes in the next three years. City officials announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday. The Milwaukee Health Department will use the grant for its childhood lead poising prevention program. Milwaukee's disease control and environmental health director tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the money will help officials remove contamination from city-owned, tax-foreclosed properties on the city's north side. He says that's the area with the highest incidence of lead poising in children...

Ken Notes: This is good news but the economic impact of mandatory remediation across the board could be very problematic. A problem we must solve, but we can not loose jobs, businesses, or residents in the process.
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Sun Prairie company to get $750K in state tax credits to expand plant, create 199 jobs

 Sun Prairie - 10/9/2014 Thermal Spray Technologies, a developer of protective spray coatings for some of the worlds top manufacturers, will get up to $750,000 in state tax credits to create 199 jobs more than doubling its workforce in three years as part of an $11.5 million expansion in the Sun Prairie Business Park. Founded in 1992, Thermal Spray currently employs about 125 people at its existing building at 515 Progress Way. The company purchased a nearby 92,000-square-foot building for the expansion, with a renovation underway now and due to finish early next year....

Ken Notes: If we get the 200 jobs this (750K) is a bargain. My idea would have given them 4 Million over 10 years but only on a "per new job tax" credit. 2K credit per new employee for ten years.
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Madison water utility requests rate increase, conservation rate

 Madison - 10/23/2014 The Madison Water Utility is hoping to increase water rates next year and add a conservation rate rewarding residents who use less water. If approved, it would be the first increase in four years and would provide a 30 percent revenue increase for the utility, covering rising maintenance and operation costs. The utility submitted an application for the changes to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Monday and will present before the Water Utility Board Oct. 28. If approved, it would likely take effect next spring....

Ken Notes: Could we set up a small fund to work with the UW and MSP to see if we can clean up and protect the watershed????
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Businesses on edge after pair of State Street robberies

 Madison - 11/20/2014 A pair of armed robberies targeting State Street stores has merchants concerned and police trying to figure out if the crimes are related. The first robbery happened around 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13, when a man with a gun robbed Madison Modern Market, a home store at 310 State St.,  according to police. The second was just before 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Life Is Good, a clothing and accessories shop at 514 State St., and also involved a man armed with a handgun, police said....
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Project of the Week - WEDC

 MADISON- WEDC...

Ken Notes: A weekly feature with links to all the stories and notes on a specific project or topic. Or you can search for your favorite project here.
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Someone has got to say it

 Madison - 3/20/2014 Its so obvious. So, Ill be the bad guy, again... Homeless people (which must mean they are drunk) = bad... Epic employees drinking = good... Ok for traumatized kids to be next to a bar, just not a homeless shelter?.. Cheap vodka and ice beer = bad... Bourbon and mint Juleps with silver cups = good... I wonder if they really mean that they will have a menu so as not to exclude anyone. I have 150 friends I can send over for lunch on one of the days when it is -25 degrees out and the library is closed... In case you havent caught on, Im talking about the Old Lussier Teen Center to becoming a restaurant complex. a building that has sat vacant for 5 years in the downtown but couldnt be used for a warming shelter again . . . so it can become an upscale brunch with fried-green tomatoes and baked oysters, shrimp and grits kinda place... Dont worry, no one will be excluded....

Ken Notes: Has anyone else ever thought that Brenda's aggressive and in your face attitude does more harm than good. I have advocated for using vacant properties as homeless shelters, building small houses, and other homeless solutions and developers listen -- then Brenda calls them names and they say Ken we can't work with these people????
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Wherever it may go, alders on board with VACT move

 Verona - 7/24/2014 While there remains some question about the choice of location, there can be no doubt the city wants to help Verona Area Community Theater build a new home. The latest plan, after considering a few other options over the past year, would put a new, 10,000-square-foot facility with a 148-seat theater on the same plot of land as the fire station thats being built in 2015. Asked for feedback Monday but not a vote all seven alders present and the mayor were unequivocal about their support for providing some sort of public land for the nonprofit group to relocate to. Its current home is 5,000 square feet and is next to the citys crammed public works facility, making for a natural, mutually beneficial land swap if the two sides can agree on a price for the 10-year-old building. ...
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DNR cites Dane County biodigester with violations, report says spills could have been prevented

 Dane County - 3/6/2014 A 3.75-million-gallon manure biodigester was built without several crucial pollution prevention features, any one of which would have prevented a nearly 400,000-gallon spill in November and a smaller breach in January, a newly released report shows. Operators of the Clear Horizons facility near Waunakee are meeting next week with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials who cited the company with five violations of state water pollution laws. The DNR and company officials said Wednesday that they couldnt immediately explain why contractors and engineers for the Milwaukee-based Clear Horizons and state engineers approved plans without the safety features....

Ken Notes: Let's use this as a learning experience and focus on the future! We need more digesters in the state, so lets move forward and get them right.
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Arts Day 2014 to focus on building creative businesses

 Wisconsin - 3/13/2014 A new initiative moving through the Legislature wants to use public art and music education to grow the state economy. The Creative Economy Development Initiative will be a major topic of discussion Wednesday at Arts Day 2014, an annual day of legislative lobbying by artists, arts administrators and educators throughout the state. This year's event is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Central Library....

Ken Notes: May I point out that I try to be creative in stimulating the discussion about our development economy. We need a nonpartisan government focused on quality jobs, or existing and new businesses, and the future of Wisconsin. If we focus on our actions the "future" seems to be about no more than the next election cycle.
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Wind gives small towns a boost

 Wisconsin - 4/3/2014 The wind energy industry has been a big boost to communities across the country, providing a new income source to farmers and ranchers that host projects and reinvigorating small communities by providing new economic opportunities and funding for fire and police departments, schools, infrastructure, and other public services. State renewable energy standards and the national Production Tax Credit have been major drivers of wind energy development in the U.S. Renewable energy standards require utilities to generate a certain percentage of their power from renewables, while the PTC gives project developers 2.3 cents for every kilowatt of power their projects produce...

Ken Notes: We have allowed NIMBY and big money to cloud the discussion here. We need to create a new policy and find higher ground!
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Dane County unemployment rate continues as lowest in the state

 MADISON - 4/3/2014 Dane Countys unemployment rate continues to be the lowest in the state, according to preliminary U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates released Wednesday by the state Department of Workforce Development. Rates increased in all but three of Wisconsins 72 counties. Dane County recorded a 4.6 percent unemployment rate in February compared to a 4.3 percent rate in January and a 5.3 percent rate in February 2013. Calumet County had the second-lowest unemployment rate at 5.2 percent while Bayfield County had the highest at 12.7 percent....
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By design, Madison has no tall buildings

 MADISON - 4/10/2014 Standing by its lonesome on the 700 block of East Washington Avenue, the 12-story Constellation apartment sure looks like one of the tallest buildings in Madison....Meanwhile, a bill introduced in January by Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) to expand the 1989 state version of the Capitol View protection zone from one to two-miles hasn't found much support. ... While Rissers bill appears dead, the combination of the airport height limit and historic precedent make it seem unlikely any true high-rise proposals will come forward. On the other hand, if Donald Trump wanted to build a tower in Madison outside the airport and Capitol view restricted areas, whos going to stop him?

Ken Notes: The landmarks commission of course... but Verona might take it...
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Wisconsin ranks 8th in the country for supporting local food

 Wisconsin - 4/17/2014 When it comes to supporting local food, Wisconsin walks the walk. According to the 2014 Locavore Index released last week by Strolling of the Heifers, a Vermont-based nonprofit that promotes local and sustainable food systems, Wisconsin ranks eighth in the country for its commitment to locally grown food. EcoWatch reported that "the rankings take the per-capita number of farmers' markets, consumer-supported agriculture operations (CSAs) and food hubs into account, along with the percentage of school districts with active farm-to-school programs."...

Ken Notes: We also need to be Chicago's local food source. We need to sell this!
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Gov. Scott Walker sticks with 250,000 jobs promise

 Wisconsin - 4/17/2014 Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he doesnt think voters will punish him if he doesnt meet his 2010 campaign pledge to create 250,000 private sector jobs by 2015. I dont think the people of this state, come November, are going to penalize somebody for aiming big, Walker told reporters after speaking at a Wisconsin Hospital Association event at Monona Terrace. Also Wednesday, Walker who officially launched his re-election campaign Tuesday declined to say whether he would serve a full four-year term if he is re-elected in November....

Ken Notes: This is of course campaign rhetoric, but is does give me a chance to remind everyone of The Wisconsin Development Tax Incentive Jobs Program - 20K tax break per NEW job over 10 years - available to companies old and new. Come grow in Wisconsin.... If you like math the cost would be about 100 / year per taxpayer minus the social costs we pay now for the unemployed... I'll present this at your Rotary if you would like...
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Help name the UW-Madison family of foxes

 UW Madison - 4/24/2014 Seen any foxes on campus lately? Plenty of folks who study and work at UW-Madison have. And fans of a resident family of red foxes are having a field day chronicling their sightings and the antics of the bundle of kits that appeared this spring. There is a video on You Tube and a tumblr page. You can even suggest a name for the mother fox and her eight kits on Twitter and Facebook....

Ken Notes: How about Walker, Burk and the "PAC"...
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From disco to bluegrass, Madison Craft Beer Week pairs brews with tunes

 MADISON Area - 5/1/2014 Madison Craft Beer Week offers a host of "beer and ____" pairings, from burgers to oysters, cheese to desserts, fish fries to brunches. But the most natural pairing of all beer and music gets plenty of play on the celebrations schedule. In its fourth year, Beer Week runs from May 2-11, with more than 350 events spanning at least 85 local venues. It's a chance to experience brew debuts, tap takeovers, collaborations between breweries, beer and food pairings, meet-the-brewer events and more....

Ken Notes: Just say no to disco... It pairs with no beer... this music must go... We need not fear... Rock and Bluegrass shall fill... our need to dance with swill... I had a suds buds stanza but I'll save that one for Colorado Development News... Thanks for reading!
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Stoughton Kettle Park West economic analysis due in June

 Stoughton - 5/1/2014 Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis requirements 1. Estimate the types of jobs created, including the number of full- and part-time jobs created. 2. Estimate the amount of local labor to be used in the construction of the project and in employment. 3. Include an analysis indicating the market proposed for the project and the area from which patrons will be attracted. 4. Compare and evaluate the projected costs and benefits to the community resulting from the project including: a. Projected costs arising from increased demand for and required improvements to public services and infrastructure. b. Value of improvements to public services and infrastructure to be provided by the project. c. Projected tax revenues to the city to be generated by the project in the first five years....
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Photos: State Street, then and now: 600 block

 MADISON - 5/23/2014 The buildings and businesses on State Street continue to evolve. The Capital Times took a look back to see how things along the downtown street have changed through time. Today's gallery features the 600 block of State Street buildings and businesses. ...

Ken Notes: I want to see a spread like this comparing 1975 to today, but I am old very old....
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Business, community leaders laud the updated Edgewater Hotel even the neighbors like it now

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 As the nearly two-year Edgewater Hotel renovation nears completion, neighbors who had bitterly fought the $100 million project now say they are happy with it, and supporters say it will help make Madison a destination city for visitors. But a former city council member said she is concerned that the opening of the fancy hotel in August may spark a rush of upscale development that eventually will shut out middle-income residents....
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Email, website access lost all day Wednesday at UW-Madison

 UW Madison - 6/19/2014 It was throwback Wednesday at UW-Madison. No emails to read. No voicemails to hear. No websites to check.I cant remember an outage of this size, said Mark Nessel, manager of systems engineering whos been at the university since 1998. The outage occurred at 7:55 a.m. Wednesday when the power source quit to the universal power supply a roomful of batteries that power a data center on Dayton Street. The data center is the largest at the university although its supplemented by dozens of smaller centers across campus...

Ken Notes: What amazes me is that many on campus have no memory of working without computers and the internet. I was not that long ago, 1982 in fact when I started working with PC's at KC and was told by many that this was all just a fad.
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US home building declined 6.5 percent in May

 National - 6/19/2014 The pace of U.S home construction slipped in May with many Americans still struggling to afford new houses. Builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate on 1.01 million homes last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down 6.5 percent from 1.07 million in April. Construction firms began work on fewer single-family houses, condominiums and apartments last month....
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Icelandic design branches out

 World - 7/3/2014 Being a small, sparsely populated island nudged up against the edge of the Arctic Circle hasnt stopped Iceland from nurturing a rich and varied design industry. While Viking runes, vintage Northern architecture and eons-old natural elements inspire much of the countrys design and craft work, the field is young, and weve taken steps to develop the industry as a whole, says Sari Peltonen, spokeswoman for the Icelandic Design Center. The first national design policy was published this spring, and the Iceland Academy of the Arts gave its first masters degrees in design....
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OPINION: Reject MGEs regressive rate proposal

 MADISON Area - 7/17/2014 As an energy engineer and a Madison Gas and Electric stockholder for more than 20 years, I am appalled at MGEs new rate proposal that would stymie solar energy development, shift costs from corporations to residential customers, and reduce customer options to reduce their bills through energy efficiency. MGE wants the Public Service Commission to let them raise fixed costs that cannot be reduced with energy savings. This penalizes low energy users and rewards high energy users....

Ken Notes: This in not JUST an MGE issue - all of the companies have rate structures that now afford a slight advantage, based on per kilowatt payments, to new low cost solar options and are all looking to change this. The solution lies in the middle ground and compromise that encourages solar while not penalizing those who do not have the option. MGE has led the charge when it comes to cleaning up their act, less coal, more gas, CNG vehicles, Electric Charging incentives. Why not base rate structure changes on commitments from companies to use more solar and wind. MGE does sponsor WDN but if they try to move backwards on Green I will be among the first to call them out on it. Also if we are looking at impediments to solar and wind we may want to look at the building in town with the dome on it.
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Black Earth Meats to close after village decides to sue

 Black Earth - 7/24/2014 A dispute between Black Earth Meats and village of Black Earth officials that appears destined for a courtroom has forced the popular organic meat processing facility to close, its owner said Tuesday. Black Earth Meats expects to close by the end of July after it lost its loan with the Bank of New Glarus following the Village Boards decision last month to pursue legal action to stop the companys operations at its present site rather than work with it to find a new facility site, owner Bartlett Durand said....

Ken Notes: This is too bad and both sides have a case but one hopes reasonable minds can sit down and work this out. I know other communities are interested.
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Wisconsin homeowners mostly optimistic on home values in coming year, survey finds

 Wisconsin - 7/31/2014 A new survey of Wisconsin residents by Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank found most homeowners were upbeat about their own home values, despite a clear slowing in the rate of home-price appreciation in recent months. The online survey of 250 state residents, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 6.2%, took place between April 1 and April 7. It was part of a larger national survey commissioned by the bank of 2,500 Americans. The margin of error for the national results was 1.96 percent. Survey highlights included: A bit more than half, or 53 percent, of Wisconsin homeowners predicted their home's value would rise in the next year, with half noting it was up over last year....

Ken Notes: ahhhh the optimism of the marketplace how quickly the forget...
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Investment in education, technology aim to ensure manufacturing's future in Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 8/14/2014 An interactive map posted online this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms what you probably already knew about Wisconsins economy: Manufacturing and the jobs it produces are vital to the state. The map reveals that while many state economies have shifted away from manufacturing, Wisconsin and most of its Midwest neighbors have remained somewhat reliant on that sector. The state is home to about 9,400 manufacturers who collectively employ about 450,000 people, or nearly 17 percent of the states workforce. It was fifth among the 50 states in manufacturing job growth from 2009 through 2012....

Ken Notes: Yep!
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Massive Williamson Street project on hold over lack of TIF

 Madison - 8/14/2014 The largest redevelopment ever proposed along Williamson Street is on indefinite hold. Baldwin Development Group has been pursuing a $46 million 8- to 10-story mixed-use building with ground floor commercial space, underground parking and more than 200 apartment units at 722-734 Williamson St. But east side Ald. Marsha Rummel says the project wont happen any time soon because of the lack of available TIF funds to help pay for underground parking. The developers have been seeking some $5.9 million in tax increment financing for the project but only $1.5 million remains available in tax increment district (TID) No. 36, she says....
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Ale Asylum to expand brand with Milwaukee bar, restaurant

 Wisconsin - 10/2/2014 Ale Asylum will soon have a physical presence in downtown Milwaukee. The Madison company known for its 45,000-square-foot brewery near the Dane County Regional Airport and its Hopalicious beer will have a pub and eatery named after it at 1110 N. Old World Third St. The business will not brew beer, nor will the brewery own it. Tim Thompson, who is full or part owner of several Dane County establishments that feature craft beer, is the owner. Thompson has known Ale Asylum co-founder Otto Dilba for years after they met while working at Angelic Brewing Co. in Madison nearly 15 years ago....

Ken Notes: It's about time Madison invaded Milwaukee... Good luck, you have great products!!!!
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Sun Prairie product design firm tripling its space, expanding biotech services

 Sun Prairie - 10/2/2014 Betting in large part on the booming biotech sector, engineering design firm InForm Product Development will spend $2.8 million to dramatically expand its footprint in Sun Prairie and nearly double its workforce, enabling new services including niche manufacturing for customers in the bioscience and lab equipment fields...
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Economists say higher minimum wages help, not hurt, economy

 National - 10/9/2014 Raising the minimum wage would help not only workers but the states economy, the UW-Madisons Center on Wisconsin Strategy said Wednesday. Gov. Scott Walker and other opponents of raising Wisconsins $7.25-an-hour minimum wage argue that any increase would lead employers to cut jobs. But COWS and the Economic Policy Institute, in a jointly written report, found the opposite. The groups advocate for liberal economic policies. The 13 states that raised the minimum wage at the beginning of 2014 experienced subsequent job growth equal to or better than states that did not, the report said....

Ken Notes: Both sides may be right here. We may need a two tier wage system or more apprenticeship like opportunities. I want my dollar cheeseburger and my grandchildren to be able to work for some spending money after school. I do not want to see people having to work for 7.25, or 10.40 for that matter, trying to raise a family.
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InfoGraphic: America's Dairyland, by the numbers

 Wisconsin - 10/23/2014 Look at these figures...Thanks Jason Klien and WSJ for this snapshot!
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Economic growth: How Wisconsin compares

 Wisconsin - 10/30/2014 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE -- Uses latest available numbers, updated Oct. 24, 2014 -- Wisconsin compared to other states over the past three months and since January 2011...

Ken Notes: I have mentioned before that Wisconsin was slow to enter the recession and will be slow to recover. This has little to do with politics and much to do with a more cautious economy. The "Wisconsin is bad for business mantra" has not helped.... Actually Wisconsin is good for business.
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City Council members offer changes to mayor`s budget

 Madison - 11/6/2014 Madison City Council members are seeking changes to Mayor Paul Soglins proposed $282.9 million operating budget for 2015, including three more neighborhood police officers, less money than Soglin offered for Overture Center and the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, and increased fines for parking violations....

Ken Notes: I am confused didn't the Mayor once try to reduce the Overture outlay?
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Health hazard ruling settles nothing

 Brown County - 11/13/2014 On Oct. 14, the Brown County Board of Health declared the Shirley Wind Farm in the town of Glenmore to be a human health hazard. The board then handed off the ruling to the county Health Department and the county corporation counsel. In the meantime, neither Duke Energy Renewables nor county residents know what the declaration means for them. We basically have a statement without an accompanying policy or action plan or something that resembles a way forward....

Ken Notes: We need to get this right and fast. Will I be able to sue the manufacturer of my refrigerator because of the noise it makes?
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Fitchburg restaurateur gets 7 years in prison for bank fraud, other convictions

 Fitchburg - 12/4/2014 A Fitchburg businessman who was convicted of lying to banks in order to get millions of dollars in loans, then used much of the money to gamble in Las Vegas, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in federal prison. Christian Peterson, 45, known to many as the owner of the Pancake Cafe, was taken into custody immediately after sentencing, unusual for someone who was free for the past 2  years while his case was pending....

Ken Notes: Ah, but the pension funds were just sitting there... Actually I feel sort of bad for Mr. P....
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OPINION: City should redevelop Yahara golf course

 Madison - 12/4/2014 A recent State Journal article "Yahara keeps city courses in the red" reported that all of Madison's city golf courses made money last year with one glaring exception: the 36-hole Yahara Hills municipal golf course. Both bowling and golf have lost lots of their participants over the years, so I have a suggestion how to remedy the Yahara Hills money-losing operation. The city should put out a request for proposals to sell off 18 holes of Yahara Hills for residential and commercial development....

Ken Notes: My idea was better, sell (or give away) a little land for a hotel and clubhouse and then lease the course to a this new private concern. Require an option for public play. You make money, get the tax revenues from the development and keep a nice 18 hole course. I see many trainees from EPIC playing from 5 to 9 then heading into town for a late bite...
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Hill Farms redevelopment project bidder paid $4 million to settle school overbilling claims

 Wisconsin - 12/11/2014 A firm in the running for the redevelopment of the Hill Farms state office building and surrounding land paid a $4 million settlement earlier this year to avoid federal prosecution for allegedly over-billing public school districts in Wisconsin on building projects.
Miron Construction Co. of Neenah -- which is partnering with T. Wall Enterprises of Middleton in seeking the $197 million Hill Farms state office building contract -- was the subject of a multi-year investigation into billing practices for projects in the Waunakee, De Pere, Marathon, Abbotsford and D.C. Everest school districts...

Ken Notes: Before we get excited about this, know that Miron is a good company that was trying to save money on projects. They now operate under an independent monitor for the next three years and have a new accounting firm. As a former Mayor in Neenah I followed this closely -- Miron made mistakes, corrected them and is among the elite in Wisconsin construction. I would hire them in a second...
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SAIL can help older adults solve problems to live independently

 12/18/2014 Who is going to take care of you? a friend recently asked me when she learned that my husband Dave had a ruptured disc. It wasnt as if we hadnt faced challenges before. Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and my severe disability had limited my mobility and increased my need for physical assistance. Dave has always been there to help. But the rules had changed and I could not let Dave lift me anymore. Dave and I were still reeling from this new development and my friends question was like another sock in the gut....

Ken Notes: I would love to see downtown Madison develop a network like this to encourage people to retire in the city. We have the perfect mix for boomers to have an active and enjoyable life.
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Engineered Construction / Alexander - Ping Pong

 MADISON Area - 3/20/2014 I've got Joe Alexander in the pool...
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VAHS grad grows tech business

 Verona - 3/27/2014 University of Minnesota sophomore Austin White-Pentony might just be starting his first full semester of business courses, but hes got plenty of first-hand knowledge with his technology resale business. White-Pentony, a 2012 Verona Area High School graduate, along with business partners Tony Grisham and Aklilu Dimore, has opened a second mall kiosk in Madison and the group is making its way into business-to-business sales in the Minneapolis area....
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Spectrum Brands reports higher earnings

 MADISON Area - 5/8/2014 Spectrum Brands reported net income of $33.8 million, or 64 cents a share, on revenues of $1 billion for the company's second fiscal quarter that ended March 30 compared with a net loss of $41.2 million, or 79 cents a share, on revenues of $987.8 million for the same period last year....

Ken Notes: I am an LED gadget guy and for the record they have some very cool products...
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Veridian to build homes in Menomonee Falls, its first neighborhood outside Dane County

 Menomonee Falls - 5/23/2014 Madison-based Veridian Homes, already Dane Countys largest home builder, will expand to the west suburbs of Milwaukee with the construction of a 137-lot neighborhood of move-up style homes valued at an expected $58 million upon completion in five years. Located along Town Line Road in Menomonee Falls, the 105-acre site, formerly part of Lieds Nursery, features rolling topography and many mature trees that are slated to be relocated on the property after construction. The land is just east of Hamilton High School and west of the existing Silver Spring Golf Club. David Simon, president of operations for Veridian, said he expected crews to start moving dirt over the next several weeks for preparatory groundwork, with a goal of starting home building in the fall....
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Photos: Edgewater hotel - Construction update

 MADISON - 5/29/2014 The new Edgewater Hotel's Wisconsin building is seen through an original 1940's era porthole window of the hotel's Langdon Building as project construction continues at the site....

Ken Notes: Great pics here, this is a very cool project. - Congrats to all...
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Alliant Energy seeks proposals for new generation

 Wisconsin - 6/5/2014 Wisconsin Power & Light is asking for proposals that would supply the Madison utility with up to 600 megawatts of power -- enough for 600,000 homes -- by 2019. WPL issued a request for proposals on Tuesday, saying they could include a wide variety of possibilities, such as building a power plant; buying part of an existing power plant; or adding wind or solar power as part of the deal. The utility -- a subsidiary of Alliant Energy, Madison -- said it needs the new power to replace coal-fired power plants scheduled to close by the end of 2015. Proposals are due July 25, and WPL is expected to make a decision and submit a proposal to state regulators by the end of this year...

Ken Notes: I vote for wind from Lafayette County - Site is approved and project is owned by Alliant!
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Neighborhood review process good for Madison

 Madison - 6/5/2014 Madison is fortunate to have a robust review process for proposed developments. It provides a specified role for city commissions and committees, the City Council and neighborhood associations. In terms of neighborhood involvement, this process encourages early and frequent communication between the developer, the neighborhoods City Council member, the neighborhood association and adjacent residents and property owners. Some developers embrace the process. Some begrudgingly follow it, and some oppose it. Likewise, some neighborhood associations actively engage, some lack the organization to evaluate new developments, and some choose not to participate....

Ken Notes: Reduce the delay but let the neighbors have a say. Remember these groups have little or no understanding of the economics of project development.
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Keep Edgewater struggles in perspective

 Madison - 6/12/2014 A recent letter by Tom Mohs, younger brother of Fred Mohs, wants us all to pay homage to the great crusader against evil land developers and protector of the citizenry. The only thing missing from his sibling ode was a proposal to erect a bronze statue in recognition of Freds tireless efforts. To be fair, some design changes and financing efficiencies were realized. However, despite his protestations to the contrary, this was all about "pleasing Fred." He described his endless lawsuits in court, along with his refusal to accept a decision that overturned a Landmarks Commission recommendation as attempts to reach a compromise. What chutzpah. If not for financial support from philanthropists W. Jerome Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland and the iron will of developer Robert Dunn to "get this done," this project would have never happened...
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WholeTrees wants builders to skip the mill with stronger, greener timber

 6/12/2014 Faced with the threat of decimation by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, the city has started taking down some 8,500 ash trees around Madison. The city plans to mulch some of these trees for use on public playgrounds, which are due for a collective overhaul over the next 10 years. But some, depending on where they are, could become beams in new homes or offices, thanks to work by an innovative Madison business. WholeTrees was founded in 2007 by architect Roald Gundersen and Amelia Baxter in Stoddard, near La Crosse. They moved the business to an office on Williamson Street in April 2013. ...
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WEDC puts moratorium on historic tax credits

 Wisconsin - 6/26/2014 A historic tax credit program that could spur over $180 million in economic development is on hold, because it was on pace to cost eighteen times what the state originally budgeted for it. Governor Scott Walker signed an expansion of the state's historic tax credit program into law last December, effectively doubling the amount of tax credits available for renovation projects of state historical sites. The Orpheum Theater restoration project is one of 29 already approved, as is a project that would transform Longfellow School into an apartment building. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is in charge of approving the projects eligible for the credits. On Monday, WEDC Chief Executive Officer Reed Hall sent a letter to Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Jon Nygren (R-Marinette) telling them he was placing a moratorium on awarding any more historic tax credits for the year....
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New county park promises to make lucky Paoli more popular

 Paoli - 7/10/2014 Ever since a commercial artist ruined a mans plans to turn the old grain mill here into a colossal car-crushing enterprise about 35 years ago, good luck has graced this quirky unincorporated village that draws an eclectic mixture of artists, bicyclists and nature lovers. Bill Hastings saved Paoli when he outbid a scrap metal salesman for the historic mill buildings at a sheriffs auction and then turned the structures and two other Civil War-era buildings into unique shops, art galleries and restaurants that have helped give the village its special ambiance....
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Town of Madison committee approves day shelter plan

 MADISON - 7/10/2014 The plan for the Dane County homeless day center is moving forward, after the Town of Madison planning committee approved the building plans Monday night. The county wants to buy the current Porchlight Hospitality site on Martin Street, and convert it into a larger space that will include laundry and shower facilities for the homeless. The plan has been met with objections by those living near the proposed location. The building plan passed with three votes in favor, one opposed and one abstaining. The approval of the plan does come with an extensive list of conditions, according to the towns director of public works, Rick Rose. He says those conditions will require approval of the full Town Board....
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CARPC questions Fitchburg developments

 Fitchburg - 7/17/2014 After getting some initial comments from a regional planning body, plans to prepare the city for development on its eastern and western fringes will go back for approval next month. The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, which advises the state on extensions of sewer service, heard preliminary presentations from staffers at the June CARPC meeting on expanding Fitchburgs urban service area (USA) into the Northeast and North Stoner Prairie neighborhoods....
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US economy likely showed big rebound last quarter

 MADISON Area - 7/31/2014 After a dismal start to the year reflecting a harsh winter, the U.S. economy showed signs of rebounding in the spring, with many forecasters expecting growth to be even stronger in the second half of the year. The government on Wednesday will provide its first estimate of how much the gross domestic product the economy's total output of goods and services grew in the April-June quarter. The consensus forecast is that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.9 percent, according to a survey of economists by data firm FactSet....
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Developer seeks city loan to help renovate low-income housing

 Madison - 8/7/2014 A developer wants public assistance to buy, renovate and save housing for perhaps 100 families in a deteriorating, low-cost apartment complex on the North Side. Mirus Partners Inc., of Middleton, is asking the city for up to $1.3 million in loans and requesting $5.2 million in Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority tax credits to buy and start a major makeover of the 128-unit Woodland Terrace Apartments, spread over four two-story buildings at 523 Northport Drive....
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Verona - $10M fire station mostly approved

 Verona - 8/7/2014 With bids for the new Verona fire and EMS station coming in higher than anticipated, alders looked hard for ways to cut costs Monday night. They came to consensus on only a handful of them, and theyll be hard-pressed to come close to last months estimate of $10.4 million. A few strategies were suggested by Tri-North Builders, the citys construction manager for the project. With the city following new procedures, it has the ability accept bids from individual subcontractors, rather than just take one general contractors price. That means some additional cost and quality control, but it also makes for some complicated discussions to get there....
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Blighted Maple Bluff? Yes, and they have an $8.7 million plan to wipe it out

 Maple Bluff? 8/21/2014 One of the wealthiest communities in Dane County has spotted blight within its borders. And the village of Maple Bluff aims to do something about it by capturing up to $8.7 million in tax dollars to lure developers to fix things up. The village board on Tuesday voted to create its first tax increment financing district. If other government entities that draw property taxes from the short section of Sherman Avenue approve, the plan will go to the state for final approval in October, said Maple Bluff Village Administrator and Police Chief Tim Krueger....

Ken Notes: Every college student knows this is the only place to buy beer after 9PM, there is usually a line...
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Madison in 100 objects: Bike elevator

 Madison - 8/28/2014 How much does Madison love bicycles? The city has 51 miles of bike paths and 113 miles of bicycle lanes. We put bike racks on city buses, and incorporate bicycle parking into new developments. All over town youll see red bikes (rentals) and white bikes (the ghost bikes installed as memorials to bicyclists who have been killed on the road). Weve painted sharrows on side streets double arrows that indicate bikes and cars are expected to share the full lane and bike boxes at some intersections that let bicyclists pull in front of motor vehicles, like royalty, to wait for the light to change (the easier to see them by)....

Ken Notes: Dave should be proud, and I mean that in the very best way!!
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Plant gets Tesla closer to electric car for masses

 Reno - 9/4/2014 To bring electric cars to the masses, Tesla Motors will use an expanse of desert where wild mustangs still roam for a factory that the company projects will crank out enough batteries to power 500,000 vehicles annually by decade's end. Tesla chose Nevada as the site for the $5 billion facility, a person familiar with car maker's plans said Wednesday...

Ken Notes: Did you know that we have are own potential Tesla here in Madison. Flux Mopeds are Madison designed and marketed Mopeds made in China. The guys would love to do more stateside but need more sales and support - This is a very cool product PLEASE check it out! HERE. -- www.fluxmopeds.com
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Hilldale starts redevelopment project; 2 more stores announced

 Madison - 9/4/2014 Work on a $15 million redevelopment project is officially underway after a kick-off event at Hilldale Mall Thursday morning. The project is focused on adding 53,000 square feet in an area between Metcalfs and Macys on the malls north end and making room for a new restaurant and numerous new retailers. The design features an open-air center with outward facing storefronts....
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Focus on Dane County: Major Middleton redevelopment to begin this month

 Middleton - 9/11/2014 A rehabilitation of one of Middletons prominent streets will begin in about two weeks, following the City Councils approval this week of a developer agreement. On Tuesday, council members gave the go-ahead for MIG Commercial Real Estate and Food Concepts Real Estate to build Parmenter Center, a 40,000-square-foot office building that will serve as the the first phase of multi-year, $40 million-plus overhaul of the former Highway 12 corridor....
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Know Your Madisonian: Near-death experience taught Aaron Olver power of relationships

 Wisconsin - 9/18/2014 Aaron Olver, the new director of University Research Park, nearly had his promising career cut short, but for a little luck and his new wifes unwavering support. Olver, 40, was born and raised in Middleton. He studied economics at UW-Madison, where he got his first taste of politics staffing the Legislatures budget committee for the Senate Democratic Caucus. After graduation, he received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University....

Ken Notes: Interesting story and a good choice for the UW park...
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Middleton positions itself for possible new runway

 Madison - 9/25/2014 Nine years after completion of a major project that included a new, paved runway, Middleton continues to eye improvements for its airport. While no timetable has been set, the Middleton City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution outlining to the state Department of Transportation improvements it may pursue at Middleton Municipal Airport-Morey Field in the near future....
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Tech leaders get little help from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

 Madison - 9/25/2014 This is a problem. The state's most powerful business voice has conspicuously little contact with Wisconsin's rising technology industry. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which claims more than 3,500 businesses as members, brags that "the success of the WMC government relations team in projecting and accomplishing a proactive business agenda has been second to none." Well, yeah. On the surface, WMC has never been stronger. The support WMC has thrown to small-government, pro-business Republicans has paid off big time, to say the obvious. Wisconsin has a Republican governor, a Republican Assembly, a Republican Senate, a Republican-favoring Supreme Court and a Republican-dominated congressional delegation. But critics say that WMC's success is mostly in pursuing a savvy political agenda -- not a savvy growth agenda. And the group's legislative wish list tilts heavily to helping Wisconsin's legacy manufacturers. The problem: These venerable corporate citizens usually burnish their bottom lines by adopting strategies that emphasize tax avoidance, lessened regulatory costs and dampened labor costs. Do they add new jobs to the payroll? Not so much. ...

Ken Notes: I may have mentioned my strategy of offering incentives based solely on jobs created. 20K per over ten years in tax relief...
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Nehemiahs BROTHER program to serve African-American boys in Madison middle schools

 Madison - 10/16/2014 Middle school: the phase between being a cute kid and a proper teenager, where physical and emotional changes take hold and social pressures abound. That complex phase is exactly where Nehemiahs new BROTHER program is planning to intervene, filling the gap between its elementary and high school programs with mentoring for African-American males. Middle school is where you kind of start to think you know yourself, said BROTHER Director Anthony Ward. Its just a real crucial time for their development emotionally, physically....

Ken Notes: This is a great idea. I still suggest the "gap" in Madison is more socioeconomic than color, but this is a great idea. Any mentor leadership in our system will help a great deal...
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WPS hiring up to 280 in Wausau, Madison for expanded veterans' health program

 Wausau - 11/6/2014 Monona-based WPS Health Insurance may hire up to 280 people -- as many as 250 in Wausau and the rest in Madison -- to help administer a new health care program for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. WPS currently is a subcontractor for TriWest Healthcare Alliance of Phoenix for the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) program for veterans in 28 states. WPS' partnership with TriWest is expanding to handle implementation of new federal legislation that allows eligible veterans to receive their health care outside the VA system if they ever have to wait more than 30 days for a VA appointment or if they would have to travel more than 40 miles to a VA medical facility, according to a news release issued by WPS on Wednesday....

Ken Notes: Great company!
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Dane County Board will weigh adding $2 million for affordable housing

 Dane County - 11/13/2014 The Dane County Board will consider borrowing $2 million next year to help provide housing for low-income people. The board meets Monday to deliberate on amendments to County Executive Joe Parisis proposed 2015 capital budget....
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Wal-Mart site plan moves forward

 Stoughton - 11/20/2014 A large piece of the proposed Kettle Park West development advanced Monday to the Common Council for discussion Tuesday and a vote likely later in the month. The citys Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Specific Implementation Plan (SIP) for Wal-Mart. The plan contains details about the site, including landscaping points, parking lot layouts and some exemptions from the citys big box ordinance. The commission first reviewed the SIP about two weeks ago at a special meeting, but action was deferred twice while company representatives made changes requested by the commission members. Those were linked to adjustments to the general development plan approved the previous week that had added roughly 1.8 acres to the Wal-Mart lot. ...

Ken Notes: As one who is clearly not Wal-Marts biggest fan, here they are being used as a seed for growth that will benefit the community. Plus there is already a store in town so we are talking bigger and better rather than destructive here....
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Know Your Madisonian: Tom Jackson

 Wisconsin - 3/20/2014 Legislative research assistant Tom Jackson, much like his boss Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, considers himself a rare breed in the Capitol these days. After 25 years working for Schultz, who is stepping down after this session, Jackson, 61, is planning to retire. He doesnt have any specific plans for retirement other than traveling more often to warmer climates, but he feels somewhat disheartened by the way things have changed....

Ken Notes: Tom is a great guy, even better legislator, and a friend. He and Dale bucked the tide and were chastised for it. They reached across the isle, listened to their constituents, and voted their conscious. Both will be missed. Tom want to write some op-eds for me???
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Tech and Biotech: gener8tor grads Abodo and Understory raise funds

 MADISON Area - 5/8/2014 Two young companies both launched in Madison in 2012 and graduates of the gener8tor tech accelerator in Madison and Milwaukee have landed a total of nearly $3 million in funding. But one company is no longer in Madison, and the path it has taken may raise some questions about how well the state is preparing for a variety of new industries beyond tech startups....
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Madison Sourdough is expanding next door, adding patisserie

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 Madison Sourdough, with its cafe plus retail and wholesale bakeries at 916 Williamson St., is expanding next door into the space that formerly housed Midwest Clay Project. With the expansion, Madison Sourdough is adding a French-style patisserie and a new stone mill for grinding its own flour....
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Economic growth: How Wisconsin compares

 Wisconsin - 6/26/2014 Economic growth index The coincident index combines four components of economic growth nonfarm employment, average manufacturing hours worked, unemployment rate, and real wages into a single measure of broad economic activity....

Ken Notes: Online Only resource...
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Alliant wants $150M pollution upgrade at power plant near Portage

 Wisconsin - 7/3/2014 Alliant Energy is seeking state approval to install equipment valued at $150 million to bring the Columbia Energy Center south of Portage, in the town of Pacific, in compliance with an existing consent decree and anticipated stricter pollution regulations. The CEC is one of largest coal-fired generating plants in the state and has two generating units capable of producing a combined 1,023 megawatts of power, enough to serve about 1 million homes. The application filed Wednesday with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission addresses changes to Unit 2....

Ken Notes: That will keep them using coal for quite awhile.
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Dairy initiative gets Dean Foods grant

 Wisconsin - 7/24/2014 The Dairyland Initiative, a UW School of Veterinary Medicine program that works with farmers to boost cow comfort, health and milk production, has received a $50,000 renewal grant from the Dean Foods Foundation. The grant will allow the initiative to continue providing free access to its web-based resources for dairy farmers across the country and create a network of trained, certified consultants for developing welfare-friendly designs....

Ken Notes: Thanks Dean!
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Mead & Hunt relocates to new $12M headquarters in Middleton

 Middleton - 9/11/2014 Engineering and architectural firm Mead & Hunt has moved its corporate home from the Madison address where it had been located for nearly three decades into newly built, larger company headquarters in Middleton. Founded in 1900, and currently ranked as Wisconsin's largest engineering company, Mead & Hunt moved its 200-some local employees into the new space at 2440 Deming Way during the first week of September. The growing company had long needed more and different space than its 6501 Watts Road location could provide...

Ken Notes: Very cool digs... Van toss the rest of us a bone will ya.
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Madison startup activity bucking alleged decline? Let's hope so

 Madison - 10/9/2014 It can appear from the local news that every week brings a new business plan contest, venture capital investment or accelerator organization aimed at helping startups succeed. Former Epic employees are launching their own businesses, app-enabled ride-share services Uber and Lyft and trying to unleash a little creative destruction in Madisons taxi market, and developers are busy building high-end apartment units in hip parts of Madison for the allegedly entrepreneurial members of the Millennial generation. Maybe it all reflects an economy on the verge of explosive, tech-sector-fueled growth....

Ken Notes: We need to market what we have and the success stories coming out of the region. We allow politics to cloud our success, we need to refocus so that when the attention is on Wisconsin we are talking about the UW, Tech, EPIC, HD, Kohls, Kohler, JC and so many more. And we need to do this while drinking real beer and eating real cheese...
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City Council president proposes big hike in positions pay, benefits next year

 Madison - 10/23/2014 To compensate for growing demands, Madison City Council President Chris Schmidt is proposing to increase the positions salary nearly sixfold to more than $65,000 and add benefits next spring. Schmidt, who is serving his second straight year as council president but is not seeking a third leadership term, said demands on council members are significant and that the president must often devote 40 hours a week, which creates strains for those in leadership who have day jobs. It adds up fast, said Schmidt, a researcher at UW-Madison. It does turn into a full-time job....

Ken Notes: I am moving to Madison!!! They would also need a new city hall to support this...
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Audit committee to vote on new UW surplus policy

 UW System - 4/24/2014 The Legislature's audit committee is set to vote on the University of Wisconsin System's new policy for reporting surpluses. The 2013-15 state budget required the regents to write a policy governing how much cash campuses can have on hand after word broke last year that campuses finished fiscal year 2012 with huge surpluses.The regents' plan calls for campuses to finish each fiscal year with cash on hand totaling at least 10 percent of annual expenditures. The campuses would need regent approval to finish with more than 15 percent....

Ken Notes: I ma not a cynic here, but I promise that as soon as this passes ever UW accounting department will show you how they can get to 9.8% regardless of the actual cash balance they have. Ask me to tell you the umbrella story...
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Madison Plan Commission approves new Union Corners layout

 MADISON - 5/15/2014 Monday night, Madison's Plan Commission gave its unanimous approval to a general development plan (GDP) for the long-awaited Union Corners redevelopment. Developer Gorman & Co. recently made several major adjustments to its plan for the 11.5 acre site at East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street. That included relocating a two-story UW Health clinic from the high-profile corner and proposing a pair of four- to six-story mixed-use buildings there....
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Madisons tallest buildings