Wisconsin Development News (click here to read online)

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Madison MSA ranks among top metros nationally for new, expanded corporate facilities

 Madison Area - 3/19/2015 The Madison Metropolitan Service Area made up of Dane, Iowa, Columbia and Green counties ranked No. 5 for corporate facility investment last year among metro areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million, in annual rankings by Site Selection magazine.

The Madison metro area had 33 new and expanded corporate facilities in 2014 to earn the No. 5 ranking. Thats up from No. 8 in 2013, according to the magazine.

This ranking marks a positive trend in economic growth for the Madison region, Paul Jadin, president of the Madison Region Economic Partnership, said in a news release...

Ken Notes: This is great news and needs to be shared!
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Racial disparities in Madison and Dane County might be getting worse

 Madison - 4/2/2015 In debates during the Madison mayoral campaign, incumbent Mayor Paul Soglin has frequently highlighted the fact that data illustrating extreme racial disparities outlined in the Wisconsin Council for Children and Families' Race to Equity report was taken from 2011 and insisting that conditions for minorities have improved during his time in office.
In reality, thats not the full picture.
Data released Tuesday by the mayor's office combined with the Race to Equity report show a complex picture of racial disparities in Madison and Dane County....

Ken Notes: Tell me if I am wrong, but I believe that the issue is educational opportunity and mentorship for those transitioning from school to work without any training.

What if Madison Schools partnered with MATC and offered a Junior/Senior year opportunity to transition to a trade program resulting in a HS / Tech degree after two years. Working with local businesses in an apprenticeship like program, youth could enter the workforce at a living wage level. To qualify students would need to be in "Good Standing" at the end of their Sophomore year. Small group mentors would meet regularly with students starting as Freshman. While many may be of color, the program would focus on school to work not race. Remember opportunities already abound for college bound students regardless of color. Also Madison demonstrates little hiring bias actually based on color -- but a strong bias based on skill levels and work ethic.

For one year my business partner and I published WisconsinApprentice.com (now on hiatus due to lack of funding), every week we were able to find great Wisconsin programs offering students real opportunities in the state. Madison is no exception -- but the wealth of talent in the work pool make jobs in the region very competitive. We need to provide the skill set required to compete.

I will be happy to share my ideas with your group, business, or institution. Please feel free, to share expand upon or dispute these ideas. Doing nothing is NOT an option.
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Construction of multi-tenant office building set for mid-April in American Center

 Madison Area - 4/9/2015 Construction will start within a week for a single-story office building on four acres of farmland in the American Center business park on Madisons Far East Side.

The 35,440-square-foot building will be the final piece of St. John Properties four-building Madison East Business Center at South Biltmore Lane and Eastpark Boulevard a sort-of mini-office park within the 447-acre business park being developed by American Family Insurance....

Ken Notes: We tend to forget the giant impact the American Center has had on growth in the region. This development has encouraged new business growth and expansion of existing ones. With the new Children`s Hospital and other projects, the American Center is putting the "East Side" on the global map.

I think we need to revive the WDN TOURS and spend an afternoon on the site. Any Sponsors???
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Capital Times announces staff cuts

 Madison - 8/6/2015 Four veteran staff members of the already significantly downsized Capital Times staff are leaving the paper, according to an email to staff sent Monday by Editor Paul Fanlund... ...These cuts come on the heels of high-profile involuntary layoffs at the jointly owned Wisconsin State Journal, including columnist Doug Moe and sports writers Andy Baggot and Dennis Semrau. At the time, in June, sources said the Capital Times was offering buyouts to employees age 40 and older who have been at the paper at least 10 years. They were promised one week of severance pay for every year of service, up to 26 weeks....

Ken Notes: I hate this. These are great people who have helped shape Madison. I am an aggregator and without quality content to refer you to, you will have to rely on what is available from less experienced reporters and sources.

I often disagree with many of my colleagues and that is a GOOD thing! It is this discussion that makes Madison a better place. I have always encouraged my readers to subscribe to a newspaper in their local market and will continue to do so. A knowledgeable writer at a city council, plan commission, or other meeting is often the most valuable asset in the room. If you read my comments you also know how valuable a good editor is -- because I DO NOT HAVE ONE. I do try to get the facts straight but grammar will always elude me.

To those now without an outlet, I will always be happy to include anything you send my way. I truly wish I had the funds to pay you all -- alas I do not...
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StartingBlock startup hub already securing tenants, looking toward 2016 opening in Madison

 Madison - 9/3/2015 StartingBlock, an entrepreneurial hub slated to open next year on Madisons near east side, has already secured a healthy number of startup business tenants, according to StartingBlock executive director Scott Resnick.
At this point, I believe we will be at about 80 percent capacity from day one, Resnick said at Wednesday mornings 1 Million Cups meeting at Madison's Central Library.


Ken Notes: WOW...
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Janesville to get Dollar General distribution center, 552 jobs

 Wisconsin - 9/10/2015 State and local officials announced Wednesday that Dollar General will build a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Janesville that by 2019 would employ 552 people.

While the jobs will pay less ? $15 an hour ? than what had been offered at the now-idle General Motors Assembly plant, the news, coupled with an aggressive building schedule, was welcomed by economic development leaders in Rock County and at the state level who say the project will have an impact not only within the city but the region.

?Dollar General will put the equivalent of nearly 1 percent of Janesville?s population to work,? said Mark Freitag, Janesville?s city manager. ?While many businesses have recently chosen to call Janesville home, the scale of the Dollar General project will give a strong boost to the growth of our local economy. This is a great example of collaboration between the private sector and state, county and city government.?...

Ken Notes: This is great! -- And we can do more, the I39 corridor is considered a mecca for distribution and Illinois has been capitalizing on this since I was working on projects in Deforest a decade ago. There is an organization and a website http://www.i39logisticscorridor.com/ and WISCONSIN should be better represented! I have talked to the organization (The I-39 Logistics Corridor Association) and they would love to work with Wisconsin, in fact the Rock County Planning, Economic & Community Development Agency, and Helgesen Development ARE members. Our Illinois is the enemy and anti rail approach is not helping though. With Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi as prime targets -- I39 and Madison are right in the middle, a distribution home run of sorts. I challenge the state and legislature to strengthen our presence to bring even more Dollar General like centers to the area! Please feel free to reprint or forward this to those who matter...
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Madison City Council approves deal for massive Judge Doyle Square project

 Madison - 10/1/2015 After nine hours of testimony and debate, the City Council early Wednesday morning narrowly approved a development agreement for the massive Judge Doyle Square project, deciding the benefits outweighed concerns about a $46.7 million public cost and other risks.

The city has spent the past four months negotiating at breakneck speed on an agreement with JDS Development for the controversial $200 million project.

At about 3:15 a.m., the council voted 12-6 with 11 votes needed among the 18 members who were present and voted. One council member recused himself and another was absent.

Mayor Paul Soglin, in a detailed, passionate appeal, called the project vital to "the future of the Downtown and the city" with a defeat "the greatest failure imaginable....

Ken Notes: I know old news, but chalk one up for the Mayor this could have slipped away on a number of occasions. Now about the County Building, City Hall, and the DHFS building...
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Paul Ryan elected House speaker

 National - 10/29/2015 Rep. Paul Ryan captured enough House votes Thursday to become the chamber`s next speaker, as a splintered Republican Party turned to the youthful but seasoned lawmaker to mend its self-inflicted wounds and craft a conservative message to woo voters in next year`s elections.

In a slow-moving roll call that mixed politics with pageantry, 218 lawmakers - a majority - called out the Wisconsin Republican`s name as their pick for the job. That assured that Ryan will become the 54th speaker, presiding over a chamber that has been awash in tumult ever since defiant conservatives hounded John Boehner, R-Ohio, into announcing his resignation from that post last month....

Ken Notes: This will be good for Wisconsin and his work together mantra may slowly chip away at the walls that divide us all. On can only hope...
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Oscar Mayer plant in Madison will close; headquarters to move to Chicago

 Madison - 11/5/2015 Madison's Oscar Mayer plant a fixture on the East Side for nearly 100 years will close and its headquarters will move to Chicago, putting 1,000 employees out of work, parent company Kraft Heinz announced Wednesday. The loss of one of Madison's signature companies is part of a plan by parent company Kraft Heinz to close seven factories in the U.S. and Canada, four months after the two food giants merged. Our decision to consolidate manufacturing across the Kraft Heinz North American network is a critical step in our plan to eliminate excess capacity and reduce operational redundancies for the new combined company, Kraft Heinz said in a statement. We have reached this difficult but necessary decision after thoroughly exploring extensive alternatives and options...

Ken Notes: This is too bad. I wonder if this would be a good opportunity for another regional operation to start or expand. There is a huge new market for organic beef, China and Japan are looking for protein from dried or cured products, dry aged beef is a luxury for restaurants. This will also provide Madison with a huge development site with some serious cleanup issues. We need to start planing for this TODAY or we will be left with it in the future. Our best wishes to the employees and please let us know how we can help!
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Editorial: No state has been so ill-served by its governor as Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 12/10/2015 As he reacquaints himself with Wisconsin after three years of positioning himself as a presidential prospect in states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, Gov. Scott Walker traveled to rural northern Wisconsin. The governor announced a plan to expand broadband access for several communities, which was a good thing.

Unfortunately, the plan comes very late, and with far fewer resources than if the governor was serious about developing the economy of Wisconsin....

Ken Notes: ONLY THE MESSENGER!! Alas there are many areas in which we could improve -- and broadband is one for sure. Economic development is another.

It is fair to educate the public on these issues. I prefer not to point fingers but rather offer solutions moving forward. So here are my suggestions:

1) Bring high speed internet to every school in the state. Use this new backbone expand offerings to area businesses.
2)Market Wisconsin products to the world. Ask the Milk Marketing Board to show you how.
3)Restructure and improve WEDC, I have outlined the steps for this often in other publications.
4)Use tax incentives to create new jobs in BOTH new and old businesses.
5)Examine and improve school to work and job training in the state through apprenticeship and working with the Wisconsin Tech and UW systems to expand opportunities.
6)Create a student retention program by offering a tax credit on interest paid on tuition loans in the state.
7)Improve infrastructure to make Wisconsin a hub for the new E-economy.
8)Work with local units of government to address issues rather than try to mandate change from Madison.
9)Create a more open government so the taxpayers have a better idea of what is going one.
10)Work toward improving bipartisan communication and compromise regardless of the vote count.

Pretty simple ideas really and I have no ownership on any of this except the fact that I have said all this before and will continue to advocate for these changes in the future. I hope you keep reading -- and for the record you may call me anything you want as long as you include an idea or two of your own...
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T. Wall revises Park Street apartment proposal

 Madison - 3/5/2015 After waiting years for something to go in at the triangular intersection of Park Street and Fish Hatchery Road, some south-side residents are looking to wait a bit longer to digest a major apartment proposal. Middleton-based developer T. Wall Enterprises is scheduled to present updated plans Thursday for Wingra Point 2, a six-story, mixed-use project with lower level parking and a second level roof garden terrace....

Ken Notes: This space is ready for a great project! The rendering at the link looks nice...
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Madison considers $2 million TIF loan for AT&T building remodeling

 Madison - 3/5/2015 Madison is considering a $2 million investment in a $29.2 million face-lift and renovation of the massive AT&T building Downtown.
Hovde Properties, which acquired the 10-story building, intends 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. Hovde also wants to add fire sprinklers to floors six through 10, improve elevators, deal with asbestos, renovate the interior to create space for future tenants, redo the front entrance plaza and side entrance, and upgrade landscaping....

Ken Notes: This is actually a very good investment. The remaining 45% of the increment could fund other project downtown or be use to expedite the closing of the District... I wish more people understood how TIF works or should work as the case may be. This one works well!!!
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Judy Faulkner creates foundation to inherit her stock in Epic Systems Corp.

 Wisconsin - 3/12/2015 Judy Faulkner says she has decided to create a charitable foundation to, eventually, receive most of her stock in Epic Systems Corp.

In an interview with Modern Healthcare magazine, the Epic co-founder said she wants the foundation tentatively called the Epic Heritage Foundation to operate and fund nonprofit organizations in health care and other fields, and to serve as a vehicle to keep the Verona electronic health records software company privately owned....
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GMCC`s Brandon selling Madison as `innovation hub`

 Madison Area - 3/19/2015 Zach Brandon, who took over as president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce more than two years ago, says Dane County needs more entrepreneurial-minded people like him. "I am exactly what we want," said the 41-year-old Brandon, a former Madison city council member and state Commerce Department deputy who has started three companies and raised several million dollars from investors. "We need more 25-year-old business owners from Ohio to look at Wisconsin, say 'I should put my next business there' and then fall in love with this place and stay here. I'm the prototype of what we need to find more of." Brandon, who took over as head of the chamber from Jennifer Alexander in November of 2012, praised her leadership. He said he's now focused on adapting the chamber to an ever-changing marketplace, applying entrepreneurial thinking to a 102-year-old institution with 1,300 members and recruiting more high-growth- potential companies like Epic. ...

Ken Notes: Smart guy!!!!
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City committee selects developer for Garver Feed Mill property

 Madison - 3/26/2015 A city committee has selected a developer and its plan to redevelop the crumbling Garver Feed Mill and its surrounding five acres into an artisan food production facility. Five of the Garver Feed Mill Criteria and Selection Committee members voted Wednesday in favor of Baum Developments $19.8 million proposal to restore Garver Feed Mills core function as an artisan food production facility, a reference to a sugar beet factory of a century ago. Ald. David Ahrens, District 15, was the only member voting against the proposal selection. The City Council will review the proposal March 31....

Ken Notes: I hope we get a project this time it is a very cool building and site. I have also been to Braum's Green Exchange and was very impressed..
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Wisconsin DNR approves less than half of Fitchburg`s proposed development land

 Fitchburg - 4/16/2015 The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reached a decision on the future of development near Lake Waubesa and its wetlands this week, approving an urban service area expansion for less than half the requested land.

Fitchburg had plans to develop a 985.9-acre area in the northeast corner of the city, a proposal that spurred environmental concerns about its proximity to the wetlands. To enable development, the city applied for an expansion of the Central Urban Service Area to extend sewers and necessary infrastructure to the area.

That application has been drawn out for months, with the city appealing to the DNR after the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission denied its request. On Tuesday, the DNR reached a decision to approve some of the expansion, totaling 375 acres instead of the requested 985...

Ken Notes: The NEW area is tight to 14 and MM "new urban" maybe but not great for residential. It is interesting that the DNR did not extend the existing residential there now to MM. A little confusing. Someone needs to improve the wetlands and green space -- trails and Public access like Middleton did. The Developers or city now may not have the revenues to do this... Here is the Google Map of the area.
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No deal reached on new arena; another meeting planned Thursday

 Wisconsin - 4/23/2015 The Milwaukee Bucks and state and local officials did not reach a financing deal for a new $500 million arena during a closed-door meeting Wednesday in the state Capitol, though those who attended described it as productive and planned to meet again Thursday.

The team, state and local leaders are trying to come up with a plan to split the costs of the new arena in downtown Milwaukee that would be put of a larger $1 billion entertainment district. Without a new stadium by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy back the team and relocate it....

Ken Notes: I do not like at all the threat implied here...
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City finance committee OKs immediate negotiations with JDS Development on Judge Doyle Squars

 Madison - 5/14/2015 Despite concerns about moving too fast, Madisons finance committee on Monday authorized staff to begin exclusive negotiations with JDS Development/Exact Sciences Corp. for the massive Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square.

The Board of Estimates voted unanimously to move ahead with JDS/Exact Sciences despite getting three other proposals on May 1 for the redevelopment of the blocks that encompass the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage.

The project will have a major effect from Blair Street to Regent Street and everything between, Mayor Paul Soglin said in support of the move.

Ken Notes: This project is complete with tenants...
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City, Gorman & Co. reach tentative public financing deal for Union Corners

 Madison - 5/21/2015 After more than a year of negotiation, the city and Gorman & Co. have a tentative deal on public support for the long-stalled Union Corners redevelopment on the East Side.

The agreement, which conveys 7.6 acres to Gorman for $1 and needs City Council approval, would let Gorman proceed on the first four phases of the six-phase redevelopment at the blighted, vacant corner of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street.

The initial phases include:
A $20 million, two-story, 60,000-square-foot UW Health clinic at East Washington Avenue and Sixth Street, with construction expected to start in July or August.
A $13.1 million initial housing development with 90 rental units 76 for people with lower incomes and 22,240 square feet of commercial space in two buildings each considered a separate phase north of Winnebago Street. Construction could start in November.
A proposed $20 million, five-story, mixed-use building with a 28,000-square-foot Fresh Thyme grocery store, 9,000 square feet of retail space, 102 apartments and parking at the corner of East Washington and Milwaukee Street. The phase needs specific land use approvals but construction could begin in December or the spring....

Ken Notes: Well done!!!
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Bucks arena deal imminent; Walker reportedly supports new public funding plan

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 14 months of proposals and public debate appear to have led to the moment where the Milwaukee Bucks and government officials have come together on an arena financing plan to keep the team in the Brew City. TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson has learned that a new deal is imminent. State Senator Alberta Darling tells him there's no formalized deal yet, but that should come soon. Lawmakers on the state budget-writing committee are expected to vote on the plan Friday....

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For state`s sake, stop beating up on Madison

 Madison - 6/4/2015 Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon tells the story of the California high-tech company that was contemplating moving its operations to Texas.

It was seeking incentives from the state for the move and was favoring Austin, the state capital and university town that has been an economic star for years...

....So it's time to stop beating up on Madison, the chamber president says. The city is an example of how Wisconsin's economy can grow, and instead of portraying the city as a leech on the rest of the state, there's an opportunity to learn from each other.

That might be harder than it should be, but give the chamber credit for giving it a try...

Ken Notes: Interesting -- I agree with Zach but not as much with Dave (the author). Madison is a great place for business and so are other places in the State and WEDC has to start working as a partner with ALL of them and get out of the political arena as well as establish a level playing field, I would mention my ideas but no one cares. It is so much easier to point fingers than to actually fix the system...
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Madison moving into more detailed phase with JDS Development and Exact Sciences

 Madison - 7/9/2015 A divided Madison City Council approved framework for a preliminary development agreement for the Judge Doyle Square project Tuesday evening after more than two hours of debate, allowing negotiators to move forward on hashing out key details.

The almost $200 million project involves developing two downtown blocks into headquarters and a research facility for biotech company Exact Sciences, along with a hotel, parking, retail and a bicycle center....The deadline, however, has left council members with many questions and concerns about the project.

Ken Notes: I like the staff reviews so far. The preliminary agreement is here.
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They are playing NOW at Whistling Straits for the PGA Championship

 Wisconsin - 8/13/2015 Watch live at the link... Because work should be a place to study economic development and landscape architecture in Wisconsin. Feel free to share this story with your friends but be sure to include an appropriate comment like, "Bob we should make sure our commercial properties have good bandwidth, I found this link to test it out."

Ken Notes: In case you are wondering, the economic development value of this event in Wisconsin is HUGE!
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EDITORIAL: Get deal done for Downtown

 Madison - 8/20/2015 Its crunch time for what could be Downtown Madisons most significant development since the Overture Center and one of the biggest private-public partnerships in city history.

Exact Sciences, the innovative biotechnology company with a rapidly increasing $35 million payroll, is approaching its deadline and, we hope, a final deal with the city to get this done.

Were rooting for city and company officials to pull this off in a timely and responsible way that properly balances public investment with the projects huge potential for public good....

Ken Notes: I half agree, this needs to be done right. We need a long term agreement that is sustainable so that the City is not reinvesting in the future. Think Convention Center and PAC here. I believe this is a great project, but the devil is in the details and there are a lot of details to get right.
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WEDC CEO Reed Hall to leave troubled agency on Sept. 25

 Wisconsin - 8/27/2015 The states top economic development agency, stung by a series of scathing audits, media reports about questionable loans and accusations of mismanagement, is once again seeking new leadership.

After three years steering Gov. Scott Walkers flagship job-creation agency through troubled waters, Reed Hall announced Tuesday he is retiring as Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO on Sept. 25.

In a statement, Hall thanked Walker, the WEDC board, other Cabinet secretaries and agency staff in saying it is time for me to return to my previous retired status....

Ken Notes: As I have mentioned several times before, this is not a solution to WEDC`s problems. The solution is to revisit how all distributions are made, tracked and reported. We need to focus on not only new companies but old ones that are growing our economy. We need the public private partnership that was promised when the new WEDC was created. In fact my 2012 article stands up pretty well...
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Paul Soglin is determined to see Judge Doyle Square project pass

 Madison - 9/24/2015 With a vote on the major Judge Doyle Square project approaching, City Council members now have a full development agreement and updated financing report to make their final decisions.

Released Wednesday, the negotiating team's latest report resolves some lingering pieces of the agreement with JDS Development, but the updated tax increment financing report lays out significant concerns with the city's $46.7 million investment in the private portions of the development.

The total $200.7 million project would locate biotech company Exact Sciences Corp.'s headquarters downtown, along with a 216-room hotel, public and private parking, a bicycle center and commercial space. The new development would replace the Government East parking garage on Block 105 and would sit alongside the Madison Municipal Building on Block 88....

Ken Notes: A lot of good ideas, but a 25% investment will be a tough sell to the council. I would argue that the support for Exact Science is a good investment because for any company that size, green field investment is always less expensive and investors would stand in line to do a project of this size for a ten year lease in Fitchburg, Verona, Middleton, Sun Prairie...
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Madison needs to build over 1,000 rental units each year to keep up with demand

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Think there have been too many large apartment buildings sprouting up around Madison over the past few years?

Turns out, there haven?t been enough.

According to Matt Wachter of the city?s planning and development department, Madison would have to add more than 1,000 apartments a year, indefinitely, to keep up with current demand. And that wouldn?t even begin to address the low vacancy rates that have plagued the city for years and give landlords the upper hand....

Ken Notes: Great read. I think the planners at city hall have been on the right track by requiring these units are built to condo standards because as the millennials age they will learn about equity and seek purchasable units -- in fact if I were in the market I would look for a still discounted condo and invest rather than rent. Financing is loosening up and rates will start to rise eventually...
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Consultants share design for Madison Municipal Building renovation - like solving a Rubik`s cube

 Madison - 10/22/2015 Renovating the stately but worn Madison Municipal Building into an inviting space for staff and the public while preserving the landmark's historic elements is like solving a Rubik's cube, the city's private consultants say.

But the consultants, MSR Design of Minneapolis, are presenting a design that they believe solves the puzzle.

The schematic design, shared with Mayor Paul Soglin and the City Council this week, restores historic qualities, overhauls the building's aged and woefully inefficient mechanical systems and improves staff working conditions, customer experience and public meeting spaces....

Ken Notes: What we need is NEW a Madison Municipal Building and a gateway structure to a new hotel office complex. We will spend less get far mores and have the function we need in our city offices. Also the Mayor is wrong on long term operating costs - you could uses some of the extra money to make the new building a model of energy efficiency and sustainability. MG&E will help along with others I promise. We could even partner with the county and build it across the street.
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Students look for affordable housing as roofs, rent prices rise

 Madison - 11/12/2015 On the corner of North Bedford and West Mifflin Street, a crane towers over the steel and concrete skeleton of Uncommon, Madison's next apartment complex - just one of the many high-rise housing projects marking the downtown skyline.

According to a recent housing market report compiled by the city, the complexes like Uncommon filling downtown Madison with cranes and beams are actually responding to high demand fueled by incoming young professionals and baby boomers, which has led to rising prices and low vacancy....

Ken Notes: Great Read from the DAILY Cardinal soon to be not so daily which is not a good thing. Real press needs to survive and thrive and I will say so even if it means my demise as an aggregator/blogger.
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At Sun Prairie`s new Marcus Palace Cinema, get burgers and margaritas delivered right to your seat

 Sun Prairie - 4/30/2015 Its a classic date-night dilemma. How can you make sure you finish at the restaurant in time to head over to the theater for the movie?

Increasingly, the new wave of movie theaters lets you get both dinner and a show in the same place. Sundance Cinemas started the trend in Madison in 2007, selling wraps and sandwiches (and wine, beer and cocktails) at the concession stand that you can take into the theater.

But the new Marcus Palace Cinema, which opens Thursday in Sun Prairie, ups the ante. In four of its 12 screens, customers can have a full menu of food burgers, appetizers, salads, even a slice of chocolate lava cake delivered by a server directly to their seat....

Ken Notes: OK I'm in -- and Avengers opens THIS Weekend... And Cabela's... Dang Neil give it a rest!!!!
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Open air Hilldale has grand reopening Tuesday

 Madison - 6/4/2015 The $18 million first phase makeover of the Hilldale Shopping Center is kicking off Tuesday with the opening of a new location for Morgan Shoes and a half-dozen other retail spaces.
Billed as the largest retail development in city history, the changes over the past year from owners WS Development of Boston include opening up the entire north center between Metcalfes Market and Macys department store and creating an open air environment....

Ken Notes: See the photos here.
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Plan Commission approves massive Hub II housing project near UW-Madison

 UW Madison - 6/11/2015 Downtown Madison is getting another huge mixed-use project.
The city Plan Commission on Monday night approved a 12-story project proposed by developer Core Campus with 11,740 square feet of commercial and flex space, 367 apartments, and parking for 152 cars, 66 mopeds and 408 bicycles at 510 University Ave.
Core Campus would also preserve the front facade of a two-story building at 435 W. Gilman St. once home to Laundry 101 that was built in 1929...
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East Wash development including StartingBlock entrepreneurial hub grows in scale

 Madison - 6/25/2015 It started as a dream to create an entrepreneurial hub, somewhere in the central city.

Now, StartingBlock Madison will be the anchor for a project that has grown to a proposed two towers of commercial space in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue some of it, to be occupied by American Family Insurance plus a city-owned parking ramp that might be built a block away.

The total project cost could top $60 million....

Ken Notes: This hub will define Madison growth. One block from the hippies of Willy Street and the new Central Park - The gateway entrance to the City - some old infrastructure worth preserving - land for lots of new development - and a great rapid transit line down the center... oops...
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Madison moves toward deal with Gebhardt Development on East Washington Avenue project

 Madison - 7/16/2015 The city and Gebhardt Development took a key step Tuesday toward another major redevelopment on booming East Washington Avenue.
After seeing new details, a special city committee on a voice vote authorized staff to negotiate the sale of property to Gebhardt Development for a $69 million mixed-use project offering office and retail space, a 2,300-seat performing arts venue, culinary center and parking on the 800 block of the thoroughfare.
Gebhardt presented changes and new details to the Capitol East District Committee for the Cosmos redevelopment, which now includes:

  • $45.5 million in Gebhardt building featuring 104,000 square feet of offices and a 2,300-seat, 35,000-square-foot performing arts venue at the corner of East Washington Avenue and Livingston Street. Facades offering 12,000 square feet of retail space and a 6,000-square-foot culinary center will face East Main Street.
  • A $10 million American Family Insurance building with up to 50,000 square feet of space for the entrepreneurial hub StartingBlock Madison, another 50,000 square feet of office space for American Family, and 4,000 square feet of retail space facing East Washington Avenue.
  • A potential $12 million structure built by the city on Madison Gas and Electric property across East Main Street with 600 parking stalls and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Ken Notes: East Wash will continue to grow for a while... I sooo wish it had a BRT lane down the middle :(
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City, JDS Development reach development agreement for Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 7/23/2015 Barely beating a tight deadline, the city and JDS Development have signed a development agreement on the roughly $188 million Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square.

The agreement sets key pieces of the project a headquarters for booming Exact Sciences Corp., a hotel for Monona Terrace, a bicycle center and 1,250 parking spaces on blocks that hold the Madison Municipal Building and Government East parking garage. Included in the deal is a review of $42.5 million in city investments.

In late May, the City Council voted to pursue exclusive negotiations with JDS, composed of the Hammes Co. of Madison and Majestic Realty of Los Angeles, despite getting three other proposals...

Ken Notes: This articles list many of the details, I would file the for future reference. On the surface it looks pretty good of course the devil is in the details and city counsel has yet to weigh in.
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JDS Development details TIF request for Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 7/30/2015 JDS Development has delivered new financing details for the roughly $202 million Judge Doyle Square redevelopment Downtown, but it has only scant information about parking, a major piece of the project.

The developers submitted a tax increment financing (TIF) application Wednesday offering detail about the cost and property tax value of private elements a new headquarters for booming Exact Sciences Corp. and a hotel to serve Monona Terrace on blocks that hold the Madison Municipal Building and Government East parking garage.

The information is critical to the city in making decisions about public investment in the project....

Ken Notes: 42.5 Million is high for a 202 Million project but the city had a lot of fingers in the pie and that is expensive. I was always a 10%ish mayor which could be repaid in 7 to 10 years. Then I had funds for other projects or infrastructure improvements. This one is different though it is a cornerstone for the community and if it is done perfectly it will flow and stimulate other projects. Have I ever mentioned the DHFS building???
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Wisconsin loses 6,300 construction jobs in two months, estimates show

 Wisconsin - 8/6/2015 It may turn out to be only a brief tangent from a trend of positive growth, but construction job losses in Wisconsin in the last two months have been notable.

The state lost 6,300 construction jobs between April and June, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state's Department of Workforce Development.

That's the largest two-month drop by number and percentage (5.67 percent) in the 25-plus years of state data in the Current Employment Statistics program, which samples a small percentage of employers monthly....

Ken Notes: This we need to turn around ASAP. Some of this is seasonal but some is due to restraints on budgets and spending which may signal tougher times ahead. We need to start thinking about the millennials and boomers who will soon be making lifestyle changes...
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Madison health IT startup wins national award

 Madison - 10/15/2015 Madison healthcare IT startup Redox won a prestigious award at a national healthcare technology conference this week. Redox, which helps app developers get access to electronic health records and health systems manage their connections to the cloud, beat out nearly 100 startups to win a pitch competition at Health 2.0, a leading healthcare technology conference in San Francisco....

Ken Notes: Thumbs Up Niko and George!!!!
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WEDC may have illegally awarded $21 million in tax credits

 Wisconsin - 11/19/2015 In the latest challenge for Wisconsin`s top jobs agency, its officials awarded $21 million in tax credits to companies but likely lacked the legal authority to do so, the Legislature`s non-partisan budget office and attorneys have concluded.

The finding by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau came in a private Aug. 19 letter to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting on for the first time.

But other state attorneys from WEDC, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Administration disagree, leaving the question in legal limbo for now. ...

Ken Notes: Arghhh! First I want to thank The WSJ and Cap Times for running my comments - Only thing worse than WEDC is no WEDC. - and I stand by them. But wouldn`t a simple public data base outlining: what was lent, who it was lent to, why it was lent, Where the money came from, and the current status of the loan or grant - make sense. We know that the press, legislature, and others will not rest until every stone is turned, so why not come clean all at once, admit mistakes, correct errors, develop new policy, and get on with the business at hand. The WEDC head has to make a strong statement to save the organization.
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Assembly Democrats call for extraordinary session on jobs, economic development

 Wisconsin - 12/3/2015 As Wisconsin approaches 11,000 layoff notices issued in 2015, Democrats in the state Assembly are calling for an extraordinary session dedicated to jobs and economic development.

"It's so clear there is a crying need for this," said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.

Democrats have criticized their Republican colleagues for calling two extraordinary sessions this year: one to pass right-to-work legislation and another to pass a trio of bills related to campaign finance, ethics and elections oversight. Democrats argue those bills did nothing to help the middle class, while they have suggested more than 15 bills they believe would do just that...

Ken Notes: I will get yelled at by both parties here, but this is partisan finger pointing and not much more. We should have a session on development and jobs and surprise - WEDC should ask for it. They should also provide a program/legislative driven agenda to go with it. Here I start the ball rolling:

1) Incentives should be in the form of tax credits for new jobs created by businesses both old and new.

2) Each county and large city should have an Economic Development professional that is partially funded by and works with WEDC directly. (think UW Extension program)

3) WEDC will create a public data base showing every state, local, and federal dollar invested both old and new, who got it and why, along with the current status of the company, program or project updated quarterly.

4) WEDC will work with the private sector to bring both expertise and opportunity to the marketplace especially in the areas of entrepreneurship, job training, apprenticeship, and market development.

4)WEDC will work with vertical markets to collaborate on promoting their product to a national and international marketplace. (Please use the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board as an example here)

... Well there is a start - nonpartisan, specific, covers the spectrum from craft beer to high tech, and would return Wisconsin to a leadership role in the nation...
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Building Downtown Wisconsin: Exact Sciences plan right for the times

 Madison - 5/14/2015 There was a time when Madisons nickname, and a well-deserved one, was The city that cant put two bricks together.

Wisconsins capital city was legendary and ridiculed for its ability to kill, delay and otherwise bureaucratize construction projects of all descriptions, often to the advantage of cities outside Wisconsin or even those communities close by in the Badger state....

Ken Notes: READ THIS!!!
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Residents oppose size of apartment project on Far East Side

 Madison - 5/28/2015 A group of neighbors are fighting to cut the size and make other changes to a proposed apartment complex on the Far East Side.

T. Wall Enterprises is seeking to demolish a single-family home and detached barn/garage to build three four-story buildings with a total of 284 rental units plus a clubhouse and pool on a 14.6-acre site at 4013-4119 Portage Road.

The project, to be built in three phases, has won preliminary approval from the Urban Design Commission and a recommendation for a rezoning from the Plan Commission....

Ken Notes: As land values rise density is the way to share the cost. Terrance is good at this (not a bad thing). Without density there is a gap that has to be filled with other revenue or lower prices. Did I mention that he would be back in the news??? The project looks nice actually...
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Phill Mickelson Leads US Open

 US - 6/18/2015 Not a day has gone by at this U.S. Open without seeing something new on the young course at Chambers Bay. ...

Ken Notes: Just thought you would like to know!
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Keep talking, city finance committee tells Judge Doyle Square negotiators

 Madison - 7/2/2015 Despite concerns about many details and the fast pace of negotiations, Madisons finance committee on Monday endorsed the basic terms of a complicated deal to move ahead with the massive Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square.

The city is engaged in exclusive negotiations with JDS Development and Exact Sciences Corp. on a roughly $192 million redevelopment eyed for blocks that now hold the landmark Madison Municipal Building East and crumbling Government East parking garage...
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July 2, 2015 LGB Budget review....

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 Current budget review docs...

Ken Notes: and the latest on the new Arena is here...
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Potential Madison financial investments aimed at bringing Exact Sciences Corp. Downtown

 Madison - 7/9/2015 As it shapes up, an agreement between the city and JDS Development and booming Exact Sciences for the massive Judge Doyle Square project Downtown is demanding hard scrutiny and leaps of faith.
Negotiations continue under a very tight deadline, but the framework of a deal that emerged last week is complex. It includes the citys first ever tax increment financing (TIF) support to an employer to preserve and create jobs, investments with guarantees of repayment through property taxes still in discussion, and a host of exemptions to the citys relatively new TIF policy...
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Madison equipped to become a startup city

 Madison - 7/30/2015 In case you havent noticed, a startup scene is surging all across Madison. Ideas are taking shape at coffee shops and on campuses, in coworking spaces and accelerators. Emerging new companies and academic spinoffs are launching products and services. Theyre attracting consumers and clients and finding and growing resources to give their dreams a go. If local entrepreneurs and civic and business leaders capitalize on the citys size, location and unique cultureand make inclusivity a priorityMadison has all the makings of becoming a startup city....
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The mayor vs. the homeless

 Madison - 8/13/2015 Abigail Julius has been in Madison about a month. The 54-year-old came to Madison from Menominee looking for help. There were no resources up there like they have down here.

Since shes been here, shes staked a spot out in front of the City County Building, where she keeps her stuff and sleeps on a concrete bench each night. Although she feels safe, she does worry about people taking her things. Sometimes, drunk people will steal her bedding, she says.

Julius has grown increasingly wary of another person, as well. Mayor Paul Soglin has escalated his campaign against a segment of the homeless population, pushing draconian measures intended to disperse them.

Hes proposed an ordinance that would limit the time spent sitting on public benches or sidewalks in downtown to one hour between 5:30 a.m. and 1 a.m., with a $100 fine for a first offense. And on Monday, he ordered city workers to remove the art installation in Philosophers Grove at the top of State Street, where many homeless individuals and others congregate....

Ken Notes: I hope it is not a war, but rather a search for solutions and I have a few of my own. The first step is to identify the needs and we have failed to do this. The fact that the Mayor (see photo) is a cat person does worry me...
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Madison on its way to being startup fly-over no more, Forward Fest panelists say

 Madison - 8/27/2015 Madisons startup-related street cred is growing, but theres still room for improvement, according to a group of industry insiders speaking on a Badger Startup Summit panel at the Forward Festival on Wednesday morning.

I think Madison is absolutely up-and-coming, said Troy Vosseller, panelist and co-founder of local startup incubator gener8tor. I truly believe, from a ground-level perspective, that Madison is punching above its weight class.

The subject of the panel was Transitioning Madison from Fly-Over to Fly-Into. Panelists answered several questions, but themes emerged around the subjects of uniting Madisons startup network with similar state and nationwide communities and the local need for additional late-stage funding sources....

Ken Notes: I agree and my subscription base is seeing requests from outside the region every day. We need to work together to share the stories and opportunities with those that may want to start a business. I also believe we need to intensify our relation with potential startup coming out of the UW System. This done we could visit campuses like Northwestern and the University that we have reciprocity with and talk about Madison. The new Research Park could house an incubator for a variety of small startups with funding to make it a very attractive starting point. We are VERY CLOSE... EPIC could be asked to help here as philanthropy is now on their bucket list and the article mentions this as well.
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Paul Soglin predicts close vote on Judge Doyle Square development

 Madison - 9/17/2015 At a Rotary Club of Madison luncheon at the Alliant Energy Center on Wednesday, Mayor Paul Soglin shared his current prediction for the upcoming City Council decision on the Judge Doyle Square development agreement: Seven alders support the project, eight are firmly opposed, one will abstain and four are on the fence.

My guess is that it is going to be very, very challenging to get three of those four to support this project, Soglin said.

The major project would site biotech company Exact Sciences Corp.`s headquarters along with parking, a bicycle center, a hotel and commercial space on the two downtown blocks housing the Madison Municipal Building and the Government East parking ramp. It would total $200.7 million, with about a third of that coming from public funding....

Ken Notes: 33% would have been way over my comfort level, BUT this is a very tough project with real gaps. The `but for` clause is clearly there and the project would bring even more development to the area. I wish the City Hall had been an option for relocation or the renovations part of the project, but in the end I do not see a plan B on the table and plan A is pretty cool and does in fact cash flow. Plus the state now allows districts to rob Peter to Pay Paul.
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Exact Sciences stock plummets, renewing critique of Judge Doyle Square project

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Exact Sciences Corp. shares plunged 46 percent Tuesday, renewing critiques of Madison`s investment to bring the biotech company downtown with the Judge Doyle Square project.

The shares dropped after the company`s non-invasive, DNA-based stool test, Cologuard, was not included as a recommended test for colorectal cancer screening by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. It was instead included as an "alternative" test, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

In a conference call Tuesday, CEO Kevin Conroy said the decision to omit Cologuard from its draft list of recommended colon cancer screening tests was "different from what we and most people expected," TheStreet.com reported....

Ken Notes: This can change, the medical community has been slow in the past to embrace new technologies. Investors in the field are looking for quick home runs because the market is unstable. They can jump back in as quickly as they left.

The huge question is then, how was ESC financing their growth and staffing levels? If on sales we are good -- if on profit from public offerings not yet banked and they will need to adjust.

Not to poor gas on the flame but they are now below nine bucks from a high of 30...
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Mayor Paul Soglin wants answers on decrease in Exact Sciences market value

 Madison - 10/15/2015 Mayor Paul Soglin is demanding answers on how the recent sharp decline in the stock value of Exact Sciences will affect the proposed $200 million Judge Doyle Square project, where the company would be a key tenant.

A week ago, the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force issued draft recommendations on Exact Sciences - Cologuard screening test for colon cancer that triggered a large drop in the value of the company's stock. Valued at $18.53 on Oct. 5, Exact Sciences stock dropped to $8.50 by the end of that week. It closed Wednesday at $7.13....

Ken Notes: So do I but it is really none of my business, the developer is the one signing the development agreement so if they are still comfortable then they are on the hook, not Exact Science who is only a tenant -- a very important tenant but still...
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New web tool streamlines business startup process

 Wisconsin - 10/29/2015 Wisconsin entrepreneurs will have access to a host of new business development resources with the launch of One Stop Business Portal.

The website, a project of the State of Wisconsin, is going live with its first phase today, opening entrepreneurs up to a central hub that can walk them through steps necessary to bringing their ideas to market....
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Republican Assembly speaker says he`s receptive to overhauling WEDC

 11/12/2015 Republican lawmakers are receptive to overhauling the state's embattled job creation agency after years of problems, including being caught flat-footed by last week's announced closure of Madison's Oscar Mayer plant. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Tuesday he plans to discuss with Democrats their concerns about the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and is interested in addressing sincere, legitimate problems, but he isn't proposing his own plan yet....

Ken Notes: Since I have only been writing about this for seven years, I obviously need a larger platform. Keep reading, WEDC seems to be a theme this week...
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MadREP Report: November 18 , 2015

 Madison Area - 11/19/2015

Despite Disappointment, Optimism Surrounds Oscar Mayer News
WEDC Insights: International Opportunities in Japan
Exploring Entrepreneurship: Do you have what it takes?
Wisconsin Creative Summit - December 3, 10am - 4pm

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Emmons Business Interiors

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Police Chief Mike Koval blasts council for collective silence when department attacked

 Madison - 3/19/2015 In a sharply worded letter Wednesday, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval chastised City Council members for their collective silence while segments of the community verbally bash the citys police officers. The letter followed a Tuesday night council meeting where citizens weighed in, often harshly, on the March 6 shooting death of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black 19-year-old, by Officer Matt Kenny, who is white....

Ken Notes: I once again need to applaud Chief Koval for his grace under fire and his ownership of the issue. I also believe that we can express our sorrow and even outrage without prematurely blaming a police officer who was facing circumstances we do not yet fully understand. In fact the new information regarding mushrooms causing distortions in reality makes this even more sad and even harder to understand. I believe we are an accepting and embracing community, I believe our police force reflects this philosophy. We do have a socioeconomic problem that should be addressed and youth who are capable of more than we expect or foster in them. Our police may be more aware of this than most because they have to deal with it every day. Their job is tough and they do it well, they make a difference and we see that in the community.

Is this an economic development issue, yes in that it reflects our community and for the record with a Chief like Koval the image is pretty good.
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New construction, restaurants coming to Greenway Station

 3/19/2015 A new 4,000-square-foot building will be built on the southern edge of the property near Tanners Bar & Grill. The building will house two new tenants, including a 2,600-square-foot Noodles & Company, and a 1,400-square-foot retailer that will be announced in the near future. Noodles & Company is scheduled to open in the late fall. The shopping center is also welcoming Fuji Sushi & Hibachi, which is scheduled to open in late summer. The restaurant is under construction in a 5,692-square-foot space along Deming Way and will include a sushi bar and 12 hibachi grills....

Ken Notes: mmmmmm....
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A giant dorm for grownups: Cohousing developments on the rise in Madison

 Madison - 7/2/2015 About 40 people toddlers, divorcees, young couples and teenagers crowd into a massive dining room, where enticing smells drift out of a restaurant-grade kitchen.

A few adults trickle in, laughing and holding after-work beers. They came from a chicken coop in the garden, where they were watching what they called Chicken TV. The four people who were assigned dinner duty set out food, and the twice-a-week communal meal begins.

Thats a typical evening at the Arboretum Cohousing development on Madisons Near West Side, according to resident Janet Kelly....

Ken Notes: The key to a vibrant community and housing for all -- is DIVERSITY -- and this is a great example! I am still advocating for smaller low cost single family on tighter lots but codes and history are in my way.
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Madison College president proposes sale of downtown campus

 Madison - 4/9/2015 The downtown campus of Madison College has meant the world to Katarina Brown. This campus has made it possible for me to work and go to school at the same time, the art student told the colleges board Thursday night. Which is why Brown and many other people are alarmed that the colleges president, Jack Daniels, is recommending the college sell the building, located just two blocks from Capitol Square on Wisconsin Avenue. The board has been asked to make a decision at its May 13 meeting. Daniels recommendation comes as the college contemplates what to do with three of its campuses: Downtown, West, 302 S. Gammon Road, and South, at The Village on Park, 2238 South Park St. The college owns the Downtown campus (often called DTEC in the college community), but rents South and West....

Ken Notes: Interesting!!!
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Landmarks Commission clears Downtown Hub 2 project

 Madison - 5/14/2015 Preservation of a historic former auto dealership won't be an obstacle for a developer pitching yet another large Downtown apartment complex.

The Landmarks Commission approved an advisory resolution Monday that said the commission regrets the loss of the 1929 Art Deco-style building at 435 W. Gilman St., but welcomes preservation of its facade as outlined in revised plans the developer submitted last month....
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Joint Finance Committee set to take up WEDC, Medicaid changes Thursday

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 Barring any changes to the agenda, the Legislature's budget committee is set to take up hot-button items including medical assistance and the embattled Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on Thursday....A Wisconsin State Journal investigation, published Sunday, revealed that Mike Huebsch, Walker's former secretary of Administration, pushed for a $4.3 million WEDC loan for Building Committee Inc. eventually reduced to $500,000, which was not repaid even as the company was collapsing. Walker's move to halt loans came hours after the state released records relating to BCI's loan on Friday....

Ken Notes: This remains very political which is too bad. My plan, a tax credit for new job creations open to all companies, would eliminate the politics and the need for monitoring, the companies would have to only prove their employment levels are up form an established baseline and the credits would fall to the corporate income tax. A friend suggested a friendly amendment that the jobs pay a sustainable wage (i.e. $15/hour ish)and that seems fair to me. You could still draft the whole plan on a postcard. We have also suggested that WEDC bring local ED professionals into the system via a program like the UW Extension.
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Walker to lead business development mission to Canada

 Madison - 6/4/2015 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is planning another trade mission, this time up north.

The Republican governor will lead a business development mission to Canada in June.

Walker led a trade mission to London in February and headed a weeklong European trade mission in April.

The Canadian trip runs from June 12-17. Walker and representatives of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation will talk to leaders of Canadian companies about establishing new operations in Wisconsin....

Ken Notes: He should attend Canoecopia where we do tons of business with the Canadians. By the way they get tourism, love our beer (much of theirs is made in Monroe), and understand business ventures ehhhh... P.S. Here is a video from a good friend who is actually paid by the Canadian government (at times) to promote the countries wilderness. We need Wisconsin Ambassadors..
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Sundance Cinemas chain is up for sale

 Madison - 6/11/2015 The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that the five-theater Los Angeles-based chain has hired the investment bank Salem Partners to find a buyer for the company, partly owned by Robert Redford. Executives declined to give a reason, but a source close to the company told the Los Angeles Times the firms private equity investors were looking to cash out.

Sundance owns theaters in Madison, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Seattle. Madisons theater opened in 2007 at Hilldale Mall, the second in the chain and the first to be built from scratch. All five theaters specialize in a mix of independent and mainstream films, emphasizing high-end accommodations and concessions...

Ken Notes: Someone buy this and reopen the restaurant and the rooftop. It is a great venue across the board we just need to identify the market better. We need an arts film venue and this one is great. lower the price just a bit, get a great food venue -- food fight maybe -- and some light jazz on the roof...
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OPINION: Scott Walker`s Jobs Program Didn`t Work

 Wisconsin - 6/25/2015 Scott Walker, Wisconsins conservative governor, is reputed to be one of the most divisive politicians in America. But in one complicated situation, hes brought people together: Wisconsinites of every political stripe agree that his cumbersomely named Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, or WEDC, is a big mess....

Ken Notes: It could! Change WEDC the focus from pick and choose favoritism to new jobs:

  • Offer growing companies incentives based on growth.
  • Include local ED professionals in the WEDC tent.
  • Empower local units of government to create both new jobs and increased property tax revenue.
  • A publicly accessible data base of outstanding loans and grants and their status.
  • Recognize all businesses in the State.
  • Encourage emerging markets without betting the farm on them.
  • Bring all developers, business leaders, the private sector and local officials into the game...
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Mary Carbine departs BID

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Mary Carbine is leaving the Madison Central Business Improvement District, where she has been its executive director since 2006.

But despite her departure to the Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association for a role as its managing director of Alumni Park, One Alumni Place and Pier, next to the Memorial Union, Carbine remains bullish on retail in the BID, which includes State and King streets and the Capitol Square....

Ken Notes: I am a Mary fan. I hope they find someone with the same energy to fill the slot...
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As Oscar Mayer news spreads, ripple effects big and small mount for community

 Madison - 11/5/2015 At a luncheon last month at Alliant Energy Center, community leaders taking part in a principal-for-a-day event watched a touching video about Oscar Mayer workers changing the lives of Madison East High School students.

The company had adopted the school, and its employees were doing everything from mentoring students in a club for African-American boys to paying for a record number of students in a business club to attend a state competition.

When news hit Wednesday that Oscar Mayer will be pulling out of Madison, East Principal Michael Hernandez thought of all of those connections, plus the sheer human toll....

Ken Notes: Again we are blessed with some time here, so lets start today! We can make thinks work out for the better if we are positive and proactive.
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MoolaPitch wants to make investing in Wisconsin startups easier

 Wisconsin - 11/12/2015 Invest a few hundred (or thousand, if that's your game) dollars in a startup through a crowdfunding site, see a return. Take that return, survey more investment options. Repeat.

That's the idea behind a Wisconsin startup, MoolaPitch, helmed by a former investment banker.

MoolaPitch, currently in a beta testing phase, is a crowdfunding site designed to help Wisconsin entrepreneurs raise money from fellow Wisconsinites. Due to legal regulations, the company only operates within state lines, a sort of buy local opportunity for the entrepreneurial fundraising community....

Ken Notes: Here is a simple idea for WEDC. Create a Wisconsin Ideas Website that allows startups to post there ideas for investors to view. Vet the projects as to feasibility, degree of progress, and need for funds. Provide contact information and detailed financial data to investors that have secure access based on application and background check. Work with WARF, The UW, Tech, Coworking spaces, and others to identify projects. TRACK THE PROGRESS and RESULTS. The governors business plan contest would be a great place to start. The application process is already on line as well as all the existing application data. If you do not see value in this provide H2Integration a grant and we will have it up and running buy January 1st.
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EDITORIAL: Shut down Scott Walker`s WEDC before the next jobs fiasco

 11/12/2015 It is completely appropriate to point fingers of blame at politicians and so-called economic development agencies - especially the failed Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. that were asleep at the switch as the Kraft Heinz food-processing conglomerate prepared to shutter its almost 100-year-old Oscar Mayer plant in Madison.

Officials in Iowa and New York had their act together and scrambled successfully to keep production facilities and jobs in their states.

Wisconsin, once again, was playing catch-up....

Ken Notes: I have suggested dramatic change for WEDC since before it was created. But when a company was hinting at leaving Lafayette County WEDC was still my first call. The Lafayette Company stayed and WEDC did help. I do suggest that WEDC should have been in a more communicative. WEDC needs to be fixed and I will not even point to one the articles I have written in the past that suggests this. That said, the only thing worse the the WEDC that we have is no WEDC at all. The ability to direct funds in a timely manner is imperative. A link to federal funds is crucial. Even the communication to the legislature is needed. The BAD: WEDC does not track the loans or grants they make, the communication is partisan, they do not work closely enough with the development professionals or elected officials at the local level, and they shoot their wounded. It is a mess but a strong leader could fix it. Should fix it. And if fixed, it would be a needed tool in a State with few tools at is disposal. The new mantra should be Prioritize, Justify, Track, Communicate...
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Madison`s Judge Doyle Square has seen several iterations over 10 years. What will finally click?

 Madison - 11/19/2015 It all started with an aging parking ramp.

Repairs were becoming more frequent at the Government East ramp on Block 105 in downtown Madison, bordered by East Doty, South Pinckney and East Wilson streets. Madison officials knew they would soon have to replace the structure, so they began planning for demolition and reconstruction within a decade, a $15 million project.

That was 2005....

Ten years later, the parking ramp is still in use and plans for its replacement along with the development of Block 88, located across South Pinckney Street, a project collectively known as Judge Doyle Square, have seen at least six different iterations...

Ken Notes: First a quick economic lesson. A project of this magnitude with the gaps in financing it contains will need a number of economic engines to succeed. This will include tenants, TIF, loan support, public segments of the project and much more.

None of this is simple and George Austin is well aware of this. It may take even more years to resolve all of this but, it is a huge project and worth getting right. In fact getting it wrong will make the PAC and Terrace seem downright profitable (and for the record, all economic impact included they may well be profitable -- or at least not the drain we see them as). We also have unanswered questions like: What about city hall? How much support is too much support? Exactly what public components are desired? How high can we go? Can we use John Nolen Drive? What tenant or tenants may be able to support the private side of the equation?

If JDS needs to rethink let them. If other have ideas, reopen the door. I would also establish TIF guidelines and a laundry list of public amenities (and as you know I personally would include the City Hall if not the County Building).

I hope when we have the grand opening, I am invited and we have a project that defines Madison.
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Kenton Peters has tried for 40 years to build a downtown lakefront park. Is Madison finally ready?

 Madison - 12/3/2015 When Kenton Peters' son was growing up in Madison in the 1970s, he'd go watch water ski shows on Lake Monona at Law Park.

Kenton Peters Jr. remembers the setting as a bit strange, watching skiers from a narrow patch of green space as cars whizzed back and forth behind him on John Nolen Drive.

It just seemed weird to have the road and all the traffic back behind you, and then just that little narrow strip of grass, Peters says. We lived over on Lake Mendota, where it was all houses, so if you didn't own a house on the lake, you really couldn't get to the lake. Here you could get to the lake, but you just had a little strip of grass and a highway behind you...

Ken Notes: YES it is! I have been writing and advocating for this for several years now. Google Earth the area and look at Kenton`s model. This will work. The space and a few projects on West Wilson St. would present a great opportunity for a new city hall and public market as well as his vision in fact my challenge to the Mayor and City Council it to add their vision here. We would have access for thousands of people along the shore. The structure would include parking so we can actually increase the green space along the water now covered in blacktop. As for cost -- think parking ramp with some development space on top, on Wilson and on the lakefront. Also by working with the existing buildings we could maintain views and access for far more units than we would ever obstruct. Well done this is a game changer for the city and could offer much for conventions, government, development, park space and public access.
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Next steps for the public market

 Madison - 12/3/2015 A new friends group has formed to help with fundraising...Just a few months ago it looked like Madison`s long-awaited public market would be delayed until the next decade. Citing other priorities, Mayor Paul Soglin failed to include any funds for the facility in his capital budget. But recent events, including the announcement that the city's Oscar Mayer plant will close in early 2017, spurred city leaders to move the project forward with a pledge of $4.25 million in city borrowing for the $14 million project.

The city`s investment, however, is contingent on securing $9.75 million in additional funding from grants, tax credits and donors. And supporters of the project are mobilizing, forming a fledging Friends of the Madison Public Market group, whose members are ready to step up and raise funds.

"There`s definitely lots of interest from all avenues of the community," says Meghan Blake-Horst, a lead organizer of the new friends group, which already has more than 100 members...

Ken Notes: A lot of great ideas here. The one challenge with a Public Market is the economic drivers to help fund it. If we look at the market as part of a larger project and vision and the project becomes much more reasonable and is easily fundable. Developers are very good at bundling a project so that it all works, we need to think about bundling in the public sector. This is why I believe the City Hall should be a part of the Doyle Square project and also why the Market should be a part of a larger vision. I thus like the district plan. Also there needs to be an umbrella for the project under a 501(c)3 so pledges and contributions are tax deductible now.
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Imagine five years from now: Insiders at Cap Times Talk discuss Madison`s growing startup scene

 Madison - 12/10/2015 Lighthouses and force fields are perhaps unexpected references at a panel discussion about startup communities.

But both made appearances at Tuesday evening's Cap Times Talk, What Madison does well and could do better for startups.

The hour-long panel, held at downtown coworking hub 100state, covered a variety of topics, from the identity of Madison's startup scene to its relationship with government, but discussions of inclusiveness and retention of talent dominated the conversation....Retaining more University of Wisconsin-Madison students after graduation, as well as twentysomething Epic employees who may be ready to move on, is another goal, according to Greg St. Fort, executive director of 100state.

This is one of the best schools in the world how do you retain that talent?? he asked.

Ken Notes: We need to grow new companies from the ground up as well as expand existing ones. The ideas of attracting out of state businesses is not working as well as we need. In fact we are losing a few large ones as other states consolidate their businesses.
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How many new apartments does Madison need?

 Madison - 12/10/2015 To longtime Madison residents, the city seems to be experiencing an apartment building boom like never before, yet a recent report from city planners says more than 1,000 new units will be needed each year to keep up with current demand....Is that true, and if so, how should Madison go about meeting that need? The Cap Times will bring together a first-rate panel of experts from multiple points of view to talk about those questions on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Ave. Cap Times reporter Bryna Godar, who covers city politics and frequently writes about housing and development, will moderate the panel. Its members will be:...

Ken Notes: The real issue is what kind of apartments are we building my talks with Planning suggests that many of these are being built to "condo" standards and could be sold in the future as the economy swings back into a position requiring that equity be a part of everyone`s portfolio.
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Developer aiming newest 12-story apartment tower at college students with less money

 UW Madison - 3/26/2015 A second 12-story Downtown apartment building planned by Core Campus would offer middle-rate rents in most of the projects 348 units, the developer said. To be known as Hub Squared, it would be built at 510 University Ave., across the street from Core Campus first 12-story development, an upscale, amenity-rich building aimed at young professionals and students with more money. Known as Hub Madison, that 313-unit building will open in August at 437 N. Frances St....

Ken Notes: This would be cool if the can maintain the quality of the building...
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Meriter prepares for its largest clinic in Middleton

 Middleton - 4/2/2015 After recently opening clinics in Monona and DeForest, Meriter Health Services is preparing to build its largest clinic in Middleton.
Meriter plans to build its latest clinic on 13 acres, west of Laura Lane, just off the rapidly redeveloping Parmenter Street corridor. The health care provider has a 20-year plan for the site that could eventually deliver as much as 250,000 square feet of outpatient health care facilities, said Kevin Snitchler, assistant vice president of facilities development for Meriter-UnityPoint Health....
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New Terrence Wall development on East Mifflin closes in on approval

 Madison - 4/16/2015 An apartment complex proposed for 710 E. Mifflin St. is gradually moving ahead with little controversy.

The project, coming from developer Terrence Wall, has been in the works for months and is slated for the Reynolds construction crane storage lot at the intersection of East Mifflin and North Livingston Streets.

The plans are going before the Madison Landmarks Commission Monday and detail a four-story, multi-family building called Veritas Village, containing 189 dwelling units. The four stories sit on a single level of parking that includes 192 parking spaces and 214 bicycle spaces...
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What will become of King Street?

 Madison - 4/16/2015 This past summer Marty Rifken approached Tori Johnson, the co-owner of Ancora Coffee Roasters, to see if shed be willing to cut short the lease on her flagship cafe at 112 King St. She wasnt....
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Full service schools coming to Madison

 Madison - 4/23/2015 Full service schools, which integrate community services like health care, tutoring and access to food into school sites, are coming to Madison.

The Madison Metropolitan School District has been awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Madison Community Foundation to develop four full-service schools in the district, according to information released Thursday.

"Full service schools take our support for children and families in Madison to a new level," said Madison Schools Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham....

Ken Notes: I love this idea, BUT the PARTNERS and PARENTS or MENTORS are the most important component. Schools have become -- Transit Experts, Food Service Providers, Gifted Programs specialists, Construction Management Teams, Social Workers, Mental Health Providers, Cognition Experts and more now. In fact the worst thing you can be in our school systems right now is average. I think this may be a HUGE part of the problem we see with children of color and or socioeconomic disadvantage. We allow many to pass through the system because they do not fall into a special needs category and are not creating problems. They do NOT go on to advanced programs and are NOT really ready for the workforce. I was on a school board for a decade and I am NOT pointing fingers here, in fact if I am wrong tell me - but first track the passing HS student who directly enters the workforce a let me know how they are doing say 10 years later...
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City committee delays Hub II, denies Madison College construction

 Madison - 4/23/2015 Madisons Urban Design Commission delayed approval for the Hub at Madison II and heard new plans from the developers of construction for Madison College in a meeting Wednesday.

UDC delayed approval after the project management requested more time to improve design.

"Hopefully they will have improved the design on a couple areas that looked difficult," UDC Chair Dick Wagner said. "They didn't really tell us exactly what would be improved, but part of it I guess is the top part and how it presents itself."...
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Campus Inn ready to reopen as Graduate Madison

 Madison - 5/14/2015 Wooden canoes hang from the lobby ceiling. The hallway carpeting has a pattern that resembles an aerial view of the State Capitol. And some of the suites are named after Grand Lakes University, the fictitious college made famous in the 1986 Rodney Dangerfield comedy Back to School, a movie filmed in part on the UW-Madison campus.

And for those who need a little more Madison in their stay, ink drawings of Scanner Dan Mathison, a recognizable fringe character, hang in every guest room....

Ken Notes: WOW!
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City Council approves exclusive negotiations for Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 5/21/2015 City staff will begin exclusive negotiations with JDS Development/Exact Sciences Corp. for the massive Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square following City Council approval. Late Tuesday, the City Council rejected 16-2 an alternate resolution from Ald. David Ahrens that aimed to open negotiations to developers besides JDS/Exact Sciences. Ald. Samba Baldeh joined Ahrens and Alds. Maurice Cheeks and Barbara Harrington-McKinney abstained from the vote. The move follows a unanimous recommendation from the city's finance committee to move ahead with JDS/Exact Sciences despite getting three other proposals on May 1 for the redevelopment of the blocks that encompass the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage....

Ken Notes: Keep the ball in the air!!!
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Uncertain about mission of state economic agency? It is called competition

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 During a debate over what to do next about Wisconsins lead economic development agency, a Republican member of the Legislatures budget-writing committee took an openly skeptical stance.

I dont really agree with the main mission of (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.), said Rep. Dean Knudson, R-Hudson. I never did. Its really not a proper role of government to be doing this....

Ken Notes: Ending WEDC is not the answer, but a non-political agency actually promoting the state and helping all businesses is not even on the table which is too bad!!!
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Republicans have concerns about 2011 WEDC loan to struggling business

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 The states Republican-led budget committee Thursday retained legislative oversight of Gov. Scott Walkers troubled job-creation agency, removed the governor from its board and pledged further changes later this fall in the wake of a recent critical audit and a State Journal investigation.

The Legislatures Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines for the changes to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., but only after rejecting a series of Democratic ideas to reform the agency and more than an hour of debate during which even Republicans conceded that the agency needs fixing....

Ken Notes: Why yes, yes it does -- and it would not be that hard... My 2012, yep 2012, plan is HERE. Share this, I think it stands up well...
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Allied Drive residents move forward with buying club to address food access

 Madison - 6/4/2015 As the city of Madison solicits proposals for establishing a grocery store in the Allied Drive neighborhood, it has not drawn much interest from full-scale grocers. But the Allied Community Cooperative is already moving forward with a creative way to address the neighborhoods long-standing struggle with food access.

The cooperative has been working with the Williamson Street Grocery Co-op and Divine Orders Catering to develop a purchasing club of neighborhood residents and to eventually establish a small grocery cooperative store....

Ken Notes: Why not just use the buying website mentioned below. I also still think the city should just buy the old Walgreens and cut a deal with Millers or Metcalfs to open an outlet store. Also a food bank like discount store would be perfect there.
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Madison skatepark promises to draw skateboarders from far and wide

 Madison - 6/18/2015 One of the largest skateboard parks in the state is taking shape in Madison's Central Park, and skateboarders say they are ready to roll.

Construction of the $1 million skatepark at 201 S. Ingersoll St. began in April and has been progressing rapidly, a Madison Parks Division spokeswoman said.

Major earthwork operations have been completed and the supporting retaining walls have been constructed, spokeswoman Ann Shea said. The two primary bowls have been poured, and form work and concrete pouring continues on the remaining skatepark features.
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After a decade of challenges, Alexander Co. completes $150 million redevelopment of prime Downtown block

 Madison - 7/2/2015


Its taken a decade, but the Alexander Co. has survived the Great Recession, a saturated condo market, a demanding but now defunct affordable housing ordinance and even a hurricane to finish a much-anticipated redevelopment of a prized block just west of Capitol Square.

The roughly $150 million, multiphase project is now complete with the opening of the last piece, the 11-story 306 West apartments at the corner of South Henry and West Main streets....

Ken Notes: Nothing worthwhile is easy!
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City Council will consider changes to Landmarks Ordinance

 Madison - 7/9/2015 Developers and historic preservationists have long had problems with the citys four-decade-old Landmarks Ordinance, the sometimes fuzzy rulebook for a high-stakes game of urban growth with millions of dollars and the citys historic heritage at stake.

Now, after more than a year of effort, a special committee of five City Council members is forwarding a comprehensive overhaul of the ordinance with far more clear and precise standards and processes....

Ken Notes: This is a GREAT idea!!
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Monona Terrace: Debated, denigrated but eventually delivered

 Madison - 7/9/2015 Some of Madisons earliest inhabitants realized the significance of the site right away.

Between 700 and 1,600 years ago, Native Americans chose the bluff overlooking Lake Monona to build something monumental, a 318-foot-long, turtle-shaped effigy mound.

Fast forward to the early 1900s, when the countrys foremost landscape architect and city planner, John Nolen, arrived from Boston to survey the city and prepare plans for building a better Madison....

Ken Notes: I am a fan, but would like to see Madison marketed as a "package deal" using the terraces, UW, Overture, AEC, hotels and more to serve groups from 10 to 10,000 or more...
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Epic Systems gets passed over for government contract worth billions

 Madison - 7/30/2015 Epic Systems Corp., Verona, has lost out on a huge, multi-year, multibillion-dollar contract to update electronic health records for the U.S. military.

The Department of Defense on Wednesday named Leidos, of Reston, Virginia, the winner of a $4.3 billion, 10-year contract.

Epic competitors Cerner and Accenture will be working with Leidos.

The decision is an opportunity to save money, save time and most importantly, save lives, said Christopher Miller, executive officer of the Defense Healthcare Management Systems....

Ken Notes: I was at Kimberly-Clark when the US Government said no to Microsoft and Apple...also for the record

Leidos Holdg
NYSE: LDOS - Jul 30 11:08 AM EDT
39.36 Price decrease 1.04 (2.57%)
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Sub-Zero/Wolf to build $62M plant addition

 Fitchburg - 8/6/2015 Sub-Zero Group, maker of the upscale Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen appliances, will build a $62 million addition onto one of its Fitchburg plants and plans to hire 300 employees over the next three years.

Sub-Zero officials chose the Fitchburg site in July over a location in Kentucky that has been the anticipated home of a new dishwasher line for eight years.

Instead, the companys new Cove dishwashers will be built here, along with expanded production for Wolf ranges....

Ken Notes: YES! For the record they got 5 million in state and local incentives. In my tax credit plan they would have gotten 6 Million over ten years with far less risk to the state. 300 jobs 2K tax credit per new job for ten years... Just a thought....
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Liberty Park proposes more growing, changing

 VERONA - 8/6/2015 Big plans in a couple of spots in Verona are likely to bring some heavy discussions next week at the citys Plan Commission meeting.

The most significant are in Liberty Business Park, on the citys southeast side, where, in addition to a public hearing for a 600-person banquet center and a review of three other proposed buildings, the developer is looking to change zoning on nearly 30 acres to a more commercial-friendly designation.

That change would shift the park somewhat back toward the vision presented eight years ago, when Liberty landowner David Reinke and former T. Wall Properties CEO Terrence Wall were dueling over who could bring the first big box stores to Verona (and got beaten to the punch by Farm and Fleet). The commission and the Common Council resisted until the bottom fell out of the retail market and Reinke proposed making the majority of his 240 acres into industrial and office uses....

Ken Notes: I miss a seat at the table in Verona, there is sooo much potential there...
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Dane County to purchase East Washington Avenue site for day homeless resource center

 Madison - 9/24/2015 A long-awaited day resource center for Dane County's homeless could finally materialize on Madison's near east side this time next year.

The county has been pursuing a site for years and, on Wednesday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that the county has an accepted offer to purchase the former Messner Inc. property at 1326 E. Washington Ave. for $1.42 million.

This community has waited many years for a one-stop-shop containing critical services to help those in need, Parisi said in a press release.

The 19,000-square-foot building would have to be renovated and would include private offices for service providers, meeting rooms, showers, storage space, laundry facilities, meals and other services and facilities. It would focus both on meeting basic needs and providing services like training, mental health services and drug addiction treatment....

Ken Notes: A lot to spend but a good idea. With this in place the Mayor would have much stronger grounds for asking homeless not to congregate at the county building. I would go one step further and get the homeless to get involved in the planning and eventual policing of the property. A take care of it or lose it mentality will eliminate many of the issues that are now problematic at the County Building...
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Finance committee gives final OK to new Hill Farms state office building

 Madison - 10/15/2015 A massive new state office building project on Madison`s West Side passed its final regulatory hurdle Thursday, clearing the way for groundbreaking on the $177 million project in the coming weeks.

The Legislature`s Joint Finance Committee approved the sale of 13.87 acres of the Hill Farms site and 4.35 acres at 801 W. Badger Road, both of which would be developed privately as part of a master agreement with developer Smith Gilbane. The committee voted 14-1 with one member absent....

Ken Notes: No property tax so we now need the area around this development to prosper. Also we need to have a HUGE implosion party for the current building -- fireworks -- brats -- beer -- live tv -- celeb at the plunger (Bob Uker??) -- I digress...
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Warrants allege Green Bay businessman defrauded WEDC for more than $1 million

 Wisconsin - 10/15/2015 A Green Bay businessman is under criminal investigation for allegedly defrauding the state's job creation agency of more than $1 million, according to search warrants obtained by the State Journal.

Ron Van Den Heuvel has not been charged with a crime, but he is suspected of committing theft and securities fraud against several parties, including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., according to six search warrants the Brown County Sheriff's Office executed at Van Den Heuvel's home and businesses in De Pere and Ashwaubenon in July....

Ken Notes: OUCH! We have to create a VERY PUBLIC data base of all WEDC loans, grants, and expenditures. We must track the current status of every penny. We have to have LOCAL field representatives doing some of the due diligence withe their reports and records on file. The process is too political and too closeted. That said I STILL support the ideas and mission behind WEDC. Why? because run correctly we can use the organization to create a level playing field supportive on new business, growing old businesses, and JOBS...
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OPINION: Public market should not be a priority

 Madison - 10/29/2015 Regarding the mayor`s obsession with a public market, if it`s such a great thing, wouldn`t some developer be all over it?

Seems like this is another Monona Terrace or Overture Center -- a city-run money pit disguised as a city amenity that should be further down the priority list....

Ken Notes: The answer here is simple -- the private sector would do a public market if they could afford the land and had tax incentives that come with a PUBLIC market. Give me land and parking in Central Park, no property tax, and I will bring a developer to the table tomorrow to build it. It is a partnership between the community and the developer that makes a PUBLIC market work... Get it??
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Ayres Acquires SAA; Planners and Landscape Architects to Complement Trusted Engineers

 Wisconsin - 3/5/2015 EAU CLAIRE, Wis. The planning and landscape architecture experts at SAA Design Group are joining the engineering and architecture professionals at Ayres Associates through Ayres acquisition of SAA. As a result, Ayres is able to deliver consultant services for the entire project cycle, from early planning through construction.

The former SAA staff brings a reputation for leadership in planning and design of urban spaces, parks, campuses, and other open spaces, as well as providing expertise in ecology and bike/pedestrian facilities. These strengths dovetail with Ayres Associates core services in civil, transportation, traffic, structural, and water resources engineering, as well as services in architecture, environmental science, surveying, grant writing, geospatial services, and GIS.

The acquisition was finalized on Friday, bringing together Wisconsin-based firms that have teamed on past projects and that share a culture in which smart project managers forge long-term relationships with clients while helping them get the most out of their resources and nimbly handling technical and regulatory hurdles.

The acquisition results in broader and deeper capabilities to serve clients need for comprehensive, creative, place-sensitive, and cost-efficient solutions for the natural and built environments. Ayres now delivers the complete package planning, funding, survey, engineering design, and construction oversight. Ayres has a track record of excelling in the science of engineering quality projects, and this acquisition brings in professionals who know the art of weaving projects skillfully into the fabric of the communities and clients they serve.

Ayres Associates is based in Eau Claire, Wis., and serves public and private sector clients from 13 offices in five states Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado, Wyoming, and Arizona. The former SAA office in Madison is now Ayres sixth Wisconsin office. For more information see www.AyresAssociates.com and www.saa-madison.com....

Ken Notes: Two GREAT companies.
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Hill Farms secrecy earns Wisconsin Department of Administration black mark for openness

 Wisconsin - 3/12/2015 Secrecy surrounding the proposed $200 million Hill Farms redevelopment project the largest public sector real estate project in state history has earned the Wisconsin Department of Administration a black eye award from a statewide open records watchdog group.

The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council on Wednesday announced its 9th annual Opee winners. Released in advance of national Sunshine Week March 15-21, the awards go to those whove worked either for or against the release of public information....

Ken Notes: I disagree here. This is a huge project that will impact the area in a positive way. I had information as did most developers that could put a project of this magnitude together. Wanting ideas on the table before the public weighed in make some sense to avoid the inevitable "best use" scenarios that would be brought to the table, but could not move forward (think Garver Mill here). If a qualified developer or firm was out of the loop I take issue, if those qualified were asked to create a platform for the debate that will now take place to begin I am OK. The key here is we did get multiple plans to review and they were reviewed on merit and feasibility. Not a bad starting point. Now lets move forward and allow the debate to continue!
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Sub-Zero/Wolf considering Fitchburg plant expansion

 Fitchburg - 4/9/2015 Sub-Zero/Wolf is considering a $50 million to $60 million expansion of its Fitchburg facility that could add around 100 jobs.

Last week, officials from the manufacturer of high-end kitchen appliances presented plans for a 250,000- to 300,000-square-foot expansion of its Basswood Road facility to members of Fitchburgs City Council.

After hearing the presentation, the council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the citys financial consultant, Ehlers Inc., to study the feasibility of creating a tax increment financing (TIF) district around the site, which would be used to help cover a portion of the infrastructure costs associated with the project.

In addition to facilities in Madison and Fitchburg, Sub-Zero/Wolf has a presence in Phoenix and Goodyear, Arizona, and in Richmond, Kentucky. Its unclear whether Sub-Zero/Wolf is currently negotiating with multiple cities about its expansion plans...

Ken Notes: I am sure WEDC is working on this, but wouldn't it be nice to have a tax incentive in place for job creation to help Sub Zero make up its mind. I am just saying...
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Plan Commission bucks Landmarks recommendation, approves Monroe Street project

 Madison - 4/30/2015 A revised plan for an apartment and retail building along Monroe Street received its necessary approvals after the Madison Landmarks Commission recommended against the project.

The Plan Commission on Monday approved 5-4 Patrick Properties' proposal for a four-story, 41,000-square-foot building at the corner of Monroe and Glenway streets.

The Landmarks Commission, which serves as an advisory to the Plan Commission, had voted 4-0 in March to recommend against the project because it deemed it large enough to adversely affect the historic integrity of the neighboring site. ...
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State Senate passes arena deal in rare bipartisan vote

 Wisconsin - 7/16/2015 The Wisconsin state Senate approved a significant public financing deal for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena Wednesday after members struck a rare bipartisan agreement to include a ticket surcharge and wipe out a debt collection provision.

The Republican-authored bill would devote $250 million in public dollars to the $500 million project for the NBA team over the next 20 years. The Bucks' owners would contribute $150 million and former owner Herb Kohl would contribute $100 million.

Bucks President Peter Feigin told the Legislature's finance committee earlier this month that if construction doesn't begin this year, the NBA will move the team, possibly to Las Vegas or Seattle. He said he was overjoyed to see the Senate pass the bill....

Ken Notes: Not over yet Milwaukee County will still have to fill some gaps created by the changes but it does look good for Milwaukee. Now lets find a great point guard who can run the floor and hit 3's...
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City, Dane County considering Bellini Italian Restaurant site for homeless day center

 Madison - 7/23/2015 The city and Dane County are considering a historic former church that now houses an Italian restaurant three blocks from Capitol Square for a long-sought homeless day shelter, officials confirmed on Wednesday. City and county officials have already done a walk through of the Bellini Italian Restaurant and the county is conducting a feasibility study, said Josh Wescott, chief of staff to County Executive Joe Parisi. You need to make sure the space makes sense, he said. We dont know yet....

Ken Notes: This is very nice space and not that the homeless do no deserve nice space they need more space. Why not do a public private development and build a functional day shelter and use the restaurant as a restaurant. In fact some jobs may be in the works as well. Also are we talking to the homeless (who would rather be called home free by the way). First each individual has a different story to tell and chooses a different lifestyle. If we are not listening we can not solve any of the real problems that exist. I would start by talking to Michael Johnson, Tim Metcalfe, myself or others who want to quietly help behind the scenes. We can fix this...
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60-unit apartment building proposed for corner of Fordem and Sherman avenues

 Madison - 8/13/2015 John Fish worked near the corner of Fordem and Sherman avenues on Madison's east side for years. Now he said he wants to help bring the area up to date with a new apartment and retail development.

Fish has proposed a four-story building to replace three vacant properties, including the former Fish & Schulkamp Insurance location, on the triangular piece of land where Fordem and Sherman meet.

The project, known as McKenzie Place, includes 60 market-rate apartments, a 62-stall underground parking garage and around 6,700 square feet for retail....

Ken Notes: More apartments, I hope that all of these are being built to condo like standards so that when ownership returns to the mainstream we can convert some of this inventory...
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Fitchburg officials push option for Exact Sciences if talks with Madison fail

 Fitchburg - 8/20/2015 As negotiations between Madison and JDS Development proceed on a deal to bring booming Exact Sciences Corp. to the proposed Judge Doyle Square project Downtown, Fitchburg is touting an alternative if talks collapse.

Three Fitchburg City Council members on Tuesday said they are offering a resolution to make preparations so Exact Sciences could break ground next month for new corporate offices in the Uptown Neighborhood near the crossroads of Highway 14 and Lacy Road....

Ken Notes: This seems more political then development related to me. JDS should instead create a reasonable window of time to work out the details. They could even set a holding cost figure to demonstrate time is money in development.
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Vote on Judge Doyle Square could prove whether fools rush in

 Madison - 8/27/2015 The deal Madison is crafting to bring a hotel, corporate headquarters, parking and other improvements to Judge Doyle Square is moving too quickly and is too complex for me to understand, much less form a defensible opinion on.

More important is whether the citys 20 part-time alders who often have jobs and lives outside of the council and were already putting in tons of time for $12,692 a year will be able to do what I cant....The question now is: If the council approves the Exact Sciences agreement Tuesday or Sept. 15, will it still be able to respect itself in the morning?

Ken Notes: What Chris fails to mention is the hard work the Madison staff (full timers by the way) have put into this project to get it right. These are bright people with a great deal of information. And they have to work in a fish bowl where Chris Rickert and the Council stand hovering with shotguns. Why he gets ink and they are not even mentioned is beyond me. Also this is a marriage not a one night stand.
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Groundbreaking held at site of new hotel in downtown Madison

 Madison - 8/31/2015 A new hotel is coming to downtown Madison. City officials say they hope it brings big business to both the city and the state.

Crews broke ground on the AC Hotel on Webster Street Wednesday afternoon. The hotel will be the first Marriott hotel in the downtown area.

The Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau says it was a dream for the North Central Group to build the hotel in such a popular space near the Capitol and the Monona Terrace.

We believe that this helps create capacity in the part of the city where people want to stay, said Deb Archer with the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau. And so we absolutely believe that new dollars will be brought into the city, room tax dollars, tax dollars and visitor dollars into our downtown because of the new AC Hotel.

The hotel will include more than 150 guest rooms, valet parking, public meeting space, and a restaurant. It's expected to open in late 2016....

Ken Notes: Great news, now we need to get all the hotels and convention space to work together as a cohesive unit to promote Madison as a great place for their events...
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WEDC did not track job creation, auditors tell panel

 Wisconsin - 9/10/2015 Wisconsin's troubled jobs agency did not independently verify whether businesses receiving tax dollars created the jobs they promised, state auditors told a panel of lawmakers on Wednesday. Addressing the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, officials with the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau detailed a May audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The audit found cases in which WEDC didn't comply with state law or its own policies, made awards without the proper review and didn't require confirmation that jobs were created after businesses received awards. The day after the audit was released, Gov. Scott Walker abandoned a proposal in the state budget that would have merged his flagship jobs agency with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. ...

Ken Notes: ONE MORE TIME, enlist the local ED professionals as part of the WEDC team(Pay part of their salary and benefits), Develop a simple grant tracking system, use tax credits more effectively (job based), and build strong regional and local ED teams... This can be done, is done elsewhere, and works in those states recognized for outstanding development support and job growth...
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Madison City Council overrides Soglin Frites veto

 Madison - 9/17/2015 "Inch by inch, foot by foot, store by store, block by block, we are succumbing to the deterioration not just of our downtown, but, as we all know, our city."

- Mayor Paul Soglin...

To some, downtown Madison has never been more vibrant. Try to find a parking spot around the Square at 8 pm some night and compare the activity to what it was like down there 20 years ago. But Soglin thinks that vibrancy is in danger due to a growing number of bars and restaurants taking over storefronts previously occupied by retail "dry goods" purveyors. That's why he vetoed a beer license for Mad City Frites earlier this month. The City Council overrode that veto Tuesday night.

Ken Notes: Paul is laying the groundwork for State Street and Downtown, it will be an uphill battle because, as I have pointed out before, it is about the money. Retail is struggling - We can help and the city is moving in that direction but it is an expensive problem. Some things to consider in addition to the current efforts might include

Co-op retail brick and mortar so many small entrepreneurs can share a single space, labor and accounting...

The Public Market needs a new fire under it and should be closer to downtown to serve as a tourist attraction...

State Street may benefit from a stronger shared marketing and management program - The BID could do this and in fact does a pretty good job now...

The pop up markets are perfect, but winter will slow this. I wish we had a warm space with 10x10 booths...

Also this should be a `heads in beds` issue as we promote the area as an entertainment district. That would allow the Greater Madison Visitors and Convention Bureau to play a larger role...
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City banking on Exact Sciences Corp. to deliver for Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 10/1/2015 In committing to the massive Judge Doyle Square project, Madison is investing not only in its Downtown; it's also banking on the continued growth and market dominance of the project's principal tenant, Exact Sciences Corp. In a 12-6 vote with one member absent and another recusing himself, the City Council approved an agreement with JDS Development at 3:15 a.m. Wednesday. The $200 million redevelopment relies on $46.7 million in public investment, including a $12 million grant to Exact Sciences to help it create at least 400 jobs Downtown. Given the company's explosive growth since developing the first and only FDA-approved noninvasive stool DNA screening test for colorectal cancer, it's a bet the council was willing to make....

Ken Notes: They should continue to grow, if they continue to find less invasive cancer detection and other tests and treatments they will grow exponentially. They are monetizing these discoveries as well...
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Green Bay businessman denies fraud involved in state loan

 Wisconsin - 10/15/2015 A Green Bay-area businessman suspected of defrauding Wisconsin`s economic development agency says he`s behind on loan repayments to the state but hasn`t committed any crimes....
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New Wisconsin business portal to streamline state paper trail

 Wisconsin - 10/22/2015 Prospective small-business owners who find working through Wisconsin government forms a bit daunting have a new tool to help get their dreams rolling.

Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday announced the launch of One Stop Business Portal on Wednesday, an online site that`s a joint venture of the state and the Wisconsin Interactive Network.

The portal, OpenForBusinessWI.com, pulls in forms from the Department of Financial Institutions, the Department of Revenue and the Department of Workforce Development so business neophytes have a streamlined way of getting their businesses up and running....

Ken Notes: Cool I wrote about needing this in a series of articles in 2007. I do like the site!...
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Watch Timelapse of Fina lFour floor being assembled

 National - 4/2/2015
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Madison closes storage area for homeless belongings

 Madison - 7/23/2015 After just three months, Madison is closing its primitive storage area for belongings of homeless people behind the Madison Municipal Building due to alleged illicit activity and health concerns.

The homeless and their advocates criticized the move, noting the homeless now have no place Downtown to store personal belongings, with the closest location now the supervised storage the city pays for at the Social Justice Center, 1202 Williamson St....

Ken Notes: I have a solution for this. Inexpensive and could be an attraction for the city. I may build one to show how it could be done...
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Epic exes: Former employees of the booming tech company strike out on their own

 Madison - 7/30/2015 Christie Low used to be one of them: the (not so) few, the (usually) proud, the twentysomething Epic employees.

She used to fly to Syracuse and Toledo on business trips for the Verona health care technology company, clocking 40- to 60-hour work weeks and racking up a hefty amount of frequent flier miles.

But she doesnt do that anymore. Last year, after about three-and-a-half years at the company, she was ready to go.

Armed with an idea for her own small business, the 25-year-old gave her notice and watched the companys famously flamboyant campus, with its Harry Potter-themed hall and treehouse conference rooms, fade in her rearview mirror....

Ken Notes: Epic hires the best and brightest and no doubt some these creatives will spin off. EPIC should embrace this, in fact an entrepreneurial center on campus would attract even brighter stars...
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Scott Walker signs bill to fund new Milwaukee Bucks arena

 Wisconsin - 8/13/2015 Gov. Scott Walker took a break from the presidential campaign trail Wednesday to commit $250 million in taxpayer money to pay for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Calling the new NBA arena a dynamic attraction for the entire state of Wisconsin, Walker signed the bill at the Wisconsin State Fair Park surrounded by state lawmakers, local officials and Bucks team president Peter Feigin....
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Two Minutes with Mitch Henck: Judge Doyle Square plan flawed?

 Madison - 8/27/2015 In "Two Minutes with Mitch" local radio personality Mitch Henck says a Judge Doyle Square parking lot should be above ground over John Nolen Drive....

HERE is a google map street view of what we are talking about.

Ken Notes: On the other hand, rather than complain, Mitch is presenting an interesting alternative. I have long been an advocate of an extension of the terrace parking structure over John Nolen Drive, In fact when Mayor Dave, remember Mayor Dave, first suggested the Marketplace, I suggested the idea then for the Marketplace. Cover the drive with parking and a park, use the lake, and create something special.
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City waits for JDS developer`s answers after Exact Sciences stock drop

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Video report here...
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Assembly passes Lambeau Field tax return bill

 Wisconsin - 10/29/2015 The state Assembly has approved a bill that would return $17 million in excess Lambeau Field taxes to Brown County taxpayers and local government. The bill passed Tuesday calls for 25 percent of the money to go to Brown County. The county`s municipalities would use the rest to lower property taxes, debt relief or for economic development. The Assembly approved the bill 89-2. The Senate passed it in September and it now goes to Gov. Scott Walker....

Ken Notes: Like this partnership...
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Findorff - Character Community Craftsmanship

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

Wisconsin housing market has strongest summer in 10 years

 Wisconsin - 9/24/2015 August housing sales were not as strong as June and July, but were still higher than the same month last year, according to the most recent analysis of the existing home market conducted by the Wisconsin Realtors Association....
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State Street could shine as urban park

 Madison - 4/30/2015 Walk down State Street on a busy afternoon or evening and the foot traffic and cafe tables are jammed along the sidewalks.

The street itself is mostly empty other than buses rumbling by, spewing exhaust and sometimes screeching their brakes.

Its wasted space right in the middle of one of Madisons most prominent and popular attractions.

Katherine Cornwall of the citys planning department just floated an intriguing idea: What if the city made State Street a true pedestrian mall by eliminating all vehicle traffic on the corridor? That would allow a lot more room for outdoor dining, events and for shoppers to mingle, window shop and people watch....

Ken Notes: Pretty close now. I would love to see unique vehicles only on the street. Small Electric Utility Vehicles -- Trolly Style Transit -- Human Powered Options...
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Taxing entities create new Downtown TIF district

 Madison - 7/23/2015 The city, Madison School District and other taxing entities on Monday approved a new tax incremental financing district that will support three big redevelopment projects valued at $130.7 million on the West Side of Capitol Square.

The TIF Review Board composed of the city, school district, Dane County, Madison Area Technical College and a citizen representative voted unanimously to create the district and approve a project plan, which shows investments of $3.4 million for street construction on Capitol Square next year and $25.1 million in loans for three private redevelopments.

The district fits our new TIF policy to a T with loans to encourage economic development that will be repaid in a relatively short period of time, Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, who represents the area, said later....

Ken Notes: Note that the city has been working with the school district to share any extra funds in the district so TIFs are win win as they should be!
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MadRep Monthy report...

 7/30/2015 Lots of good info this month!!
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Paul Soglin recommends delay in City Council vote on Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 9/3/2015 A City Council showdown on the $200 million Judge Doyle Square project will likely be delayed from a Tuesday deadline to Sept. 15.
Mayor Paul Soglin on Monday recommended the delay because negotiators for the city and JDS Development havent fully resolved five remaining issues in an amended development agreement on the massive redevelopment south of Capitol Square.
The City Council is likely to follow the mayors recommendation, which reflects a recent vote by the citys finance committee that the issues be resolved or the matter delayed for two weeks....

Ken Notes: No problem just get it right!!!
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UW is (finally) learning how to push its research to market

 Wisconsin - 10/15/2015 This could be big for UW-Madison. It's exactly the sort of transformative discovery you would expect from a great research university. Like Harry Steenbock fortifying the vitamin D content of milk. Like James Thomson unlocking the mystery and promise of stem cells. In this case, two UW researchers have pioneered a breakthrough that could end the flood of human antibiotics into animal feed....

...In an expansive moment, Biondi summed up the university's challenge and its promise.

We've got cool stuff here at the university. We just have to continue to make companies out of it, - he said. You know, we're learning. We don't have it figured out yet, but we're putting some stuff out that's pretty damn cool. It's not just another mobile app or a consumer doodad. It's stuff that makes a difference for society.-...

Ken Notes: READ THIS ARTICLE! The UW can easily place Wisconsin back at the front of the research & development pack -- And they can do it in WISCONSIN. The legislature should help a little or get out of the way. WEDC needs to reform to offer opportunities for funding based on jobs and growth. (I may have mentioned a tax credit program). Finally WARF encourages businesses in Wisconsin to use the vast resource of patents and ideas to develop product in Wisconsin. This is !@#$ near perfect!!!
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Developer study: New arena should be part of new destination at Alliant Energy Center

 Madison - 10/29/2015 A new multipurpose arena that would replace the aging Dane County Coliseum and new areas for retail, entertainment, dining and hotels are part of a recommended plan for the county that would turn the Alliant Energy Center complex into a $500 million destination development.

The plan was one of three options included in a new study by Hammes Co. that outlined the future options of the complex and its past and present problems that have made it a financial burden for the county....

Ken Notes: I agree -- but keep reading because how we pay for this is an issue. Also do we want a new arena or improvements and better marketing for what we have now. I want to become the best place in the world for livestock, farm, and food shows. I agree, we can not afford to loose money but would ask how do we want to make money! I would once again like to throw an urban campground into the mix like at State Fair Park. Also I think we need to tie all of our venues into one marketing arm so an AEC event might have a dinner at the Terrace or a concert at the the PAC. Also we lack hands on training facilities in the city for mini EPICs to train customers or host demonstrations...
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Venture capitalists nod to Epic, UW-Madison for Madison`s burgeoning startup scene

 Wisconsin - 11/5/2015 Venture capitalists are optimistic about Madison's future as a startup hub, according to a panel of experts speaking at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium on Wednesday.

I think there's a high number of scrappy, quality companies based here, said Ablorde Ashigbi, of Pritzker Group Venture Capital, a Chicago-based venture capital company. We think there's a significant amount of opportunity here that isn't being covered like Silicon Valley.

Ashigbi said he's spent quite a bit of time scouting Madison-based startups over the past couple months about five visits in the last 60 days....
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Building a coworking community

 Madison - 11/12/2015 Gregory St. Fort is a New Yorker, through and through....By November 2014, St. Fort had joined 100state, at 30 W. Mifflin St., an entrepreneurial gathering space that calls itself Wisconsin's largest coworking community, and in September, he took the helm as executive director.

It's a place where members can rent space ranging from a laptop-sized spot at a long table to an individual, private office.

Ken Notes: I now work out of 100State a few days a week (easy to spot I am the OLD guy). The energy, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship is fantastic. I leave energized, I used to work for a previous governor and I left the Capitol drained. We need creative thinking on the hill as well as across from it. Thanks Greg for letting me play in your sand box...
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Landmarks Commission again rejects Monroe Street development

 Madison - 3/5/2015 A revised plan for an apartment and retail building along Monroe Street was again deemed inappropriate by the Madison Landmarks Commission on Monday. The commission voted 4-0 that a revised proposal from Patrick Properties for a four-story, 41,000-square-foot building at the corner of Monroe and Glenway streets would still be large enough to adversely affect the historic integrity of the neighboring landmark site. The adjacent site is owned by John and Cathie Imes, who operate Arbor House, a bed and breakfast. The property contains two buildings, including the 162-year-old Plough Inn, which was a favorite tavern for soldiers at Camp Randall and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975....

Ken Notes: Why work with the Arbor House/Plough Inn to create an acceptable co blending for the project. There were 4 story hotels and building is 1850... This could be cool...
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Wisconsin Dells waterpark sale, land for Cabelas among top commercial real estate deals of 2014

 Madison Area - 3/5/2015 The $6.25 million sale of a Wisconsin Dells waterpark, a million-dollar land sale in Sun Prairie, and the sale of a former pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in University Research Park for $11.75 million were among the 2014 Deals of the Year recognized recently by the Commercial Brokers Group of Madison.

Featuring land and building sales, redevelopments and new construction, plus one major new lease, the fifth-annual contest was aimed at recognizing the most notable commercial real estate transactions in the Madison area. It also serves the broader purpose of helping to take the local economys temperature....

Ken Notes: Again Congrats...
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Epic Systems CEO Judy Faulkner: I am leaving it all to charity

 Wisconsin - 3/12/2015 To Epic Systems founder Judy Faulkner, its never been about the money. For that reason, the CEO of Wisconsins largest information technology company has decided to leave most of her holdings of the closely held company in a charitable foundation following her death. The foundation would operate and fund not-for-profit organizations in healthcare and other areas.

Nearly every share of stock that I own will be put in there, Faulkner told Modern Healthcare in a story posted Tuesday.

Faulkner, 71, joked that the donation might come earlier, however.

It could be triggered before that, if I wish, or when I die, which could be hundreds of years from now, quipped Faulkner adding she is in great health....

Ken Notes: Wow! I would love to see her manage some of this philanthropy now, EPIC has don so much for the region and I would love to see her see some of the legacy she will leave behind. In any case I just want to say thank you for what you have done already!
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Who is running Wisconsin these days?, asks columnist, blogger John Torinus

 Wisconsin - 3/19/2015 Business blogger and veteran Wisconsin commentator John Torinus poses a rhetorical question: Who is running the good ship Wisconsin? He complains that Scott Walker is busy campaigning for president, but his staff isn't picking up the slack. Walker promised Wisconsin would come first as he took on his second term. That hasn't been the case, he insists.

Meanwhile, Political Environment blogger James Rowen is wondering if Scott Walker's use of his office for campaigning is a violation of Wisconsin's ethics code. While drawing a full-time state salary, Walker uses his office to make campaign points in his quest for the GOP nomination for president, Rowen points out, and cites what the ethics code reads....

Ken Notes: We do have a communications problem. We need to work together to tighten the budget, pay down debt, improve infrastructure, streamline social programs, and find systemic opportunities for better use of funds. But we need the players on the field (UW, Local Gov., Schools, State Departments, social programs) to work with the coaches, as it stands now we (the State) are yelling score or get off the court --- but we are not coaching. I wonder if Bo has considered politics???
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State Senate leader exploring new plans for Bucks arena

 Wisconsin - 3/19/2015 The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Senate says he is looking at alternatives to Gov. Scott Walker's plan to help pay for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team.Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Thursday that Walker's plan calling for issuing $220 million in bonds is "pretty much dead." Fitzgerald says he is talking with Milwaukee city and county leaders about other options that may or may not include state borrowing. Fitzgerald says he believes a deal can be reached that doesn't include state borrowing, but he'll do "whatever gets the deal done."...
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Kraus-Anderson to build Cabela stores in New York and Ohio next

 Madison - 3/26/2015 The Madison office of Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. will build two more retail stores in Woodbury, New York, and Centerville, Ohio for national outdoors outfitter Cabelas. The two locations will be the 25th and 26th Cabelas locations for Kraus-Anderson, which also built the Sun Prairie store, opening April 30. A commercial general contractor and construction manager, Kraus-Anderson is headquartered in Minneapolis. Since 1998, it has built close to 40 percent of the Cabelas stores in the U.S. and Canada, most of them through its Madison office, working in a dozen states including Texas, Kansas, Illinois, South Dakota, Montana and New York...

Ken Notes: CONGRATS!!!
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Thinking regionally key to retaining young professionals

 Wisconsin - 4/2/2015 Wisconsins universities, colleges and technical schools provide young people the opportunity to get a high-quality education.

But what happens after students flip their tassels and grab their sheepskins? Will they make a run for the borders? And what about those established in careers here? Will the grass seem greener elsewhere?

Retaining Wisconsins young, educated workforce will be essential to fill increasing openings in blue- and white-collar jobs, especially as the Baby Boomers many of whom delayed retirement due to economic factors decide they are ready to punch the clock for a final time....

Ken Notes: I may have mentioned this as well... I still also believe we should offer a tax incentive to pay off student loans for students remaining in the state...
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City of Racine Receives $ 1 Million State Grant for Machinery Row Redevelopment Project

 Wisconsin - 4/2/2015 The City of Racine has been awarded a $1 million grant from the states Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program, an initiative that helps help spur the redevelopment of abandoned properties throughout Wisconsin. The grant, awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation ( WEDC), will be used to help fund a $6 5 mi llion projec t that calls for transforming 20 acres of idle industrial property along the Root River into a mixed - used development that will include commercial, retail and residential space...
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MATC pushes plan to sell Downtown campus amid criticism

 Madison - 4/23/2015 Madison Area Technical College is pushing a plan to sell its original Downtown campus, abandon its leased West Side campus and focus on expanding its presence on the economically depressed and growing South Side.

College officials say the plan is necessary to meet the needs of a changing community, but critics say it is unjustified and in need of more study....

Ken Notes: Let's take our time and get this right. But if the building is no longer functioning as it should we should be open to ideas...
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Madison gets $23.3 million from state for low-cost housing projects

 Madison - 4/30/2015 Madisons new Affordable Housing Fund is helping secure $23.3 million in federal tax credits for three housing projects with more than 200 low-income units.

The city had committed $3 million from the fund to help developers get critical federal low-income housing tax credits for the projects Union Corners on the East Side, Maple Grove Commons on the Southwest Side, and Tennyson Ridge on the North Side....

Ken Notes: Thumbs up to Gorman and Co., Oakbrook Corp., and T.W. Sather Co. for putting these projects together.
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MATC officials spar with staff hoping to thwart plan to close, sell downtown campus

 Madison - 5/14/2015 A group of faculty and staff at Madison Area Technical College wasted no time organizing to thwart his proposal to sell the colleges downtown campus and invest in South Madison to serve the citys neediest residents, MATC president Jack Daniels told college trustees last month.

A group of our faculty/staff is lobbying to keep DTEC (the Downtown Education Center) and is trying to rally the students and the public about the issues, Daniels told top administrators and members of the college board of trustees in an email obtained by the Capital Times through an open records request....

Ken Notes: This should be discussed by staff, faculty and the community and that is a good thing. MACT could possibly grow new programs to service South Madison and other needs as well as maintain a downtown presence. We have several private options with programs for vertical markets so there is clearly room for growth. I think MATC working with the High Schools, UW and area businesses could "fill" at lot of space nad meet a lot of needs.
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City staff recommends full, $30 million rehabilitation of landmark Madison Municipal Building

 Madison - 5/14/2015 The city should do a full, $30 million rehabilitation of the landmark but aging Madison Municipal Building at one time, a new staff report says.

The citys Engineering Division explored three options basic upgrades, phased rehabilitation and full rehabilitation and found complete rehabilitation at one time to be the best long-term solution for a quality building for staff, elected officials and the community, the nine-page report by staff and outside consultants says....

Ken Notes: That is a Large chunk of change and would buy a lot even in Madison. I still think I would take a look at a more functional building that better serves the city and let the developers rework this one.
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City did not request major employer Downtown

 Madison - 5/21/2015 Isn't it amazing that JDS Development landed the Exact Sciences headquarters for Judge Doyle Square?

Brilliant? Yes. Amazing? No. Only a local developer with intimate knowledge of the powers that be could have done it. The timing is no accident, either. Exact Sciences will look for sites outside the city after June 15....

Ken Notes: One thing that many elected officials fail to realize is that all development projects (except publicly funded ones) need an economic engine. Like gas for a car, without a revenue stream projects can not get done. The days of spec are limited if not over, so landing a major tenant at the onset is just good business. Growing communities can use TIF in the same way, get the engine and then create the rest of the project around the revenue stream. Need details ask me, or Neil (sun Prairie) or Mike (Middleton)...
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Judge Doyle Square proposal banks on growth of Exact Sciences, public money for civic core

 Madison - 5/28/2015 JDS Developments bid to bring booming Exact Sciences Corp. to the massive Judge Doyle Square redevelopment Downtown has captured the imagination of city leaders but carries big questions, including substantial public support for the project.

JDS, composed of the Hammes Co. of Madison and Majestic Realty of Los Angeles, has proposed a $186.4 million to $203.2 million redevelopment featuring a 210- to 250-room hotel, a Civic Core with a public food hall, conference center and more, up to 350,000 square feet of office space for Exact Sciences, and parking....

Ken Notes: This will be tough to get right, I am a little worried about the civic core part. I think Madison might be in for a bit of sticker shock, but I would love to see the project move forward...
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Goodman Foundation donates $6 million to MATC for soccer, softball field renovations

 Madison - 6/4/2015 The Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Foundation has donated$6 million to Madison Area Technical College to renovate soccer and softball fields at its Truax campus on Madisons North Side, school officials said Wednesday. The donation is the largest the Goodman Foundation has ever given, and the largest that MATC has ever received....

Ken Notes: THANK YOU!!!
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Madison reopens application process for director of Planning, Community and Economic Development

 Madison - 6/4/2015 Despite a national search, the city has reopened the application process for the next director of Planning, Community and Economic Development, one of the citys top management positions. The city received 50 applications from candidates around the country to succeed former director Steve Cover, who left in early January to take a similar job in Arlington County, Virginia, near Washington, D.C....

Ken Notes: I wonder if they would want an old hippie Mayor with a ton of ideas, oh wait they have one of those...
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Madison will continue negotiations with JDS/Exact Sciences on Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 6/11/2015 Encouraged by progress so far, Madisons finance committee on Monday supported more exclusive negotiations with JDS Development and Exact Sciences Corp. on the massive Judge Doyle Square redevelopment Downtown. The citys powerful Board of Estimates encouraged more talks after JDS publicly offered a new approach to some elements of city investment in the redevelopment and the board got a private briefing from a special city negotiating team. JDS, composed of the Hammes Co. of Madison and Majestic Realty of Los Angeles, has proposed a $186.4 million to $203.2 million redevelopment featuring a 210- to 250-room hotel, a Civic Core with a public food hall, conference center and more, up to 350,000 square feet of office space for Exact Sciences, and parking....
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Grant program to aid retail progressing; support urged for grocery store

 Madison - 10/1/2015 Efforts to retain and improve retail space along the State Street corridor, around the Capitol Square and on King Street could soon get a boost from the city.

A proposed grant program working its way through city committees would make available $540,000 over the next two years for interior improvements to businesses in the designated area, that roughly matches the Downtown Business Improvement District.

The goal of the program, capped at $50,000 per applicant, is to improve retail space and make it viable for future retail tenants, too. The program is open to both building owners and tenants with leases of more than five years....

Ken Notes: Another downtown grocery on State Street may work, but we need to get our groceries home so parking is in the mix and State Street is expensive. There are a few chasing the Trader Joe`s model and this could be a winner for State Street. I like Sendik`s Market MKE, Pete`s Fresh Market CHI, and others. But if the mayor wants a home run ask Tim Metcalfe to anchor a Public Market on State Street. Allow space for pop-up retail and other temporary markets and I promise State Street will be on everyone`s list of cool places. We could go up over the Johnson Street ramp and not to complain -- but if we had been on our toes we could have use the old BOP space instead of Hop Cat - Nothing against Hop Cat...
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Proposed cuts could hurt parks

 Wisconsin - 6/11/2015 Wisconsins state parks attract fourteen million visits a year. Many of those trips happen during the summer months, when people spend the days exploring the natural beauty and nights gathered around campfires drinking beer and toasting marshmallows under the stars to the soundtrack of chirping crickets.

This year, those campgrounds have become a battleground of sorts. Governor Scott Walkers budget proposal removes all state funding for operating the park system. In the most recent budget, tax dollars covered twenty-eight percent of the state parks operations budget. That comes out to $4.6 million a year less for parks to work with. Parks would instead have to rely on a combination of increased user fees and the potential for corporate sponsorships to make up the difference. The state Joint Finance Committee has since adopted Walkers $4.6 million cut and increased some fees beyond the governors budget....

Ken Notes: 4.6 million is ONE DOLLAR per person for the revenues associated with 14 million visitors. The State General Purpose Revenue for WEDC last year was 39,024,400 and they ARE a public private partnership already. My guess is that 14 million visitors or "in state" vacations generate more jobs than WEDC did. Just a thought...
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Lucky owner proposes brewpub, apartments for Regent Street

 Madison - 6/18/2015 A new brewpub and three-story apartment building could be coming to Regent Street on the site of Foreign Car Specialists and its parking lot. Luckys Bar and Grille Owner Rod Ripley is proposing the renovation, turning the existing building into a brewpub and banquet hall with a patio and adding a three-story, 26-unit apartment building behind it facing Bowen Court. Its a pretty neat proposal maintaining a lot of the character of that building, said District 13 Ald. Sara Eskrich....
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Scott Walker, Democrats at odds over call for WEDC chief to resign

 Wisconsin - 6/25/2015 Democratic lawmakers and Republican Gov. Scott Walker continue to spar over the governor's flagship jobs agency, with each accusing the other of spreading misinformation. 

Citing a list of concerns with the agency and its management, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and state Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, on Wednesday called for Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Reed Hall to step down.

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said their press conference was "both disingenuous and troubling."...

Ken Notes: Arghhhh!!! It is not about the CEO unless he or she can change the direction of the organization and restructure the mission. This is all budget/board driven so the CEO`s hands are tied. In the past, it was when the organization tried to change course that the CEO asked to leave. So now dismissing one who is at the helm steering through the storm they were told to makes little sense. The board, legislature and executive office needs to chart a new course and the CEO needs to implement it.
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State of Wisconsin economy draws concern from opinion writers

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 Political Environment blogger James Rowen says that Scott Walker has had his "Illinois moment" in the sun. The Chicago media gave Walker plenty of space when he claimed that Wisconsin, unlike Illinois, was all set to build more jobs and attract more businesses following the 2012 recall election. Now the Chicago Tribune alone has published two highly critical stories of Walker's economic record in Wisconsin, Rowen notes. ...

Ken Notes: Funny WDN is one of the most widely read blogs in the State and know one quotes me. But for the record, "The Wisconsin economy needs a stable fiscal environment with incentives and tax relief for providing jobs. Companies both old and new large and small should be able to participate and the opportunity should be based on jobs not politics." Why this is perceived as such a radical idea is beyond me.
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After bomb threat and beer summit, Wisconsin Assembly passes budget

 7/9/2015 After a bomb threat, an impromptu beer summit and more than 10 hours of debate, the Wisconsin Assembly passed the state budget on a 52-46 vote.
The $70 billion, two-year spending plan is now Gov. Scott Walker's to modify with his powerful veto authority, and ultimately sign. No word has been given on when that might occur, but the governor plans to formally announce his candidacy for president on Monday...
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Quick read: Key provisions of the 2015-17 Wisconsin budget

 Wisconsin - 7/9/2015 The Republican-controlled state Assembly voted 52-46 to pass the state budget early Thursday morning more than 12 hours after debate began, sending the $73 billion two-year spending plan to Gov. Scott Walker. Walker can use his powerful veto authority to edit or remove items before he signs it into law. Here are some highlights of how the budget affects you:...
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Residents weigh in on Madison`s needs during community budget meeting

 Madison Area - 7/16/2015 In an effort to better address the needs and concerns of local residents, Mayor Paul Soglin held a meeting Tuesday evening at the Central Library to discuss the citys budget plan.

Among the 80 or so people who attended were members of the Young, Gifted and Black coalition, which asked that the city invest in more black-led resources like Sankofa Behavioral & Community Health and Freedom Inc. The group also wants the city to create a Tony Robinson Community Center in Owl Creek, the home neighborhood of the teen who was killed by police earlier this year...

Ken Notes: These are great ideas but we need priorities and budget restraints. The solution is public private partnerships and business involvement.
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City, Ho-Chunk advance discussions on cultural, sports, entertainment project

 Madison - 7/16/2015 Madison and the Ho-Chunk Nation see a tribal cultural center and major sports complex with indoor and outdoor fields, lighting and grandstands as keys to a rare collaboration to develop city and tribal lands on the Southeast Side.

Details are still to come, but the sides are voicing optimism and see momentum for a collaboration between sides that have had strained relations in the past. The effort also could include lodging, entertainment and retail, mostly on the tribes property.

The tribe is working with city officials, neighboring property owners and others to identify and shape potential uses for almost 48 acres next to its Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison casino, near the Beltline-Interstate interchange....

Ken Notes: I love the idea of working with the tribe to create a destination attraction in the area. Since the state will not allow new casinos why not capitalize on the ones we have now. They have land, a golf course, and did I mention MONEY to spend. Lets make them our best friends, sign a development agreement that guarantees revenue and let them go nuts.
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David Walsh leaves Board of Regents with plea to build grassroots support for UW

 Wisconsin - 7/30/2015 One of the few remaining University of Wisconsin System regents not appointed by Gov. Scott Walker urged colleagues to take the issue of state funding for higher education to the people in his final remarks to the board this month.

Madison attorney David Walsh said he was a good soldier when UW System leadership and his fellow regents opted not to go to the public but negotiate with legislators over the state budget this year.

But its not too late to build grassroots support for increased funding to the UW, by taking the issue to the people, Walsh urged Regents at their July 9 meeting....

Ken Notes: I have to agree, if we start to get the reputation that the UW system is micromanaged by the legislature and the Governors office, our reputation as one of the very best systems in the world is at risk. The legislature can manage taxes and spending without managing the UW. Also a predictable revenue stream makes a great deal of sense. My guess is that the Governor will use the reputation of our educational system in his presidential bid, so it would not be smart to be seen as dismantling it at the same time.
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Skepticism from council greets Soglin proposal on loitering aimed at homeless

 Madison - 8/6/2015 In his first meeting Friday with City Council members since he proposed limits on loitering Downtown, aimed at curbing bad behavior by some of the citys homeless people, Mayor Paul Soglin heard a good share of skepticism about the proposal.

Meeting at lunchtime with about half of Madisons 20 City Council members, Soglin said the ordinance which strictly limits the amount of time from early morning until late at night that people can spend sitting or sleeping on benches or sidewalks is one part of an overall approach the city must take to discourage bad behavior and to discourage drifters from coming to Madison....

Ken Notes: I can fix this and everyone would be happy!
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Madison representatives divided on Milwaukee Bucks arena deal

 Madison - 8/6/2015 In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Wisconsin Assembly voted overwhelmingly to support publicly financing a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

The proposal, which cleared the Senate earlier this month on a 21-10 vote, passed the Assembly on Tuesday with a 52-34 margin. Thirty-five Republicans and 17 Democrats voted to support the deal, while 20 Republicans and 14 Democrats voted against it.

The bill now heads to Gov. Scott Walker, who has not yet announced when he will sign it....
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Debate on Paul Soglin`s downtown Madison bench ordinance to begin this week

 Madison - 8/13/2015 This week, Madison Mayor Paul Soglins proposal to impose time limits on public benches downtown will go before two committees, starting a lengthy community debate on the controversial ordinance.

Soglin introduced the ordinance in July in his latest attempt to address issues with homelessness and disruptive behavior downtown. The ordinance would limit use of downtown public benches to one hour and would prohibit people from lying on any public bench or sitting, lying or lodging on any public sidewalk or right-of-way from 5:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m...

Ken Notes: I have the solution and it is simple, build a better bench that the homeless can sleep on in fact BOTH the city and the homeless will love it. You need to ask me about this and I will show you a real solution that will put Madison on the map.
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Developer proposing mixed-use project for Marling Lumber property

 Madison - 8/20/2015 The East Washington Avenue renaissance is continuing with a proposal for a mixed-use redevelopment with 240 housing units at the Marling Lumber Co. site near the Yahara River.

Campbell Capital Group of Atlanta and M-M Properties of Houston are proposing to demolish 11 buildings for a four-story project with retail and office space, housing, and a 340-space parking garage at 1801 E. Washington Ave., a 3.9-acre site....

Ken Notes: Almost Perfect! I soooo wish that a mass transit option was built into the corridor improvements when East Wash was done. I do like the quality of the projects that are getting done.
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Army awards tactical vehicle contract to Wisconsin firm

 Wisconsin - 8/27/2015 Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. won a major contract Tuesday to build a new combat vehicle to replace a large share of the U.S. military's Humvee troop carriers.

The Department of Defense awarded the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle contract to Oshkosh Defense, one of three firms that were finalists for the work. The $6.7 billion contract is expected to support thousands of jobs.

The Army and Marine Corps plan to buy as many as 55,000 JLTVs by 2040. Nearly 49,100 would be built for the Army with 5,500 going to the Marines. The vehicle is designed to provide more protection against roadside bombs and mines than Humvees without being as big as another military vehicle produced by Oshkosh, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP....

Ken Notes: Yea! This is huge, I wonder if Arnold will buy one and convert it to hydrogen???
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MadREP Report: August 26, 2015

 Madison Area - 8/27/2015 Positioned to Win: Madison Region gaming industry headed toward first place...
FaB Wisconsin Accelerator Now Accepting Applications...
State to offer anaerobic digester funding for dairies...
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Paul Soglin`s $295 million Madison capital budget proposal includes major project delays

 Madison - 9/3/2015 Mayor Paul Soglin introduced a $294.9 million capital budget Tuesday that includes the massive Judge Doyle Square project, funds affordable housing and delays neighborhood centers, the Midtown District police station and an east side public market. The budget with its delays for major projects comes after a year of grappling with how to rein in the citys finances, with Soglin and others saying the capital improvement plan that passed the City Council last year included too many projects and was unaffordable....

Ken Notes: Ah the negotiations begin keep reading!!!
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Soglin releases his city budget proposal

 Madison - 9/3/2015 Madison Mayor Paul Soglin presented the 2016 Executive Capital Budget Tuesday, which aims to improve infrastructure and drive economic growth while accommodating a diverse community.

The budget totals $295 million and requires $133 million in borrowing. However, Soglin received $200 million in requests from city agencies over the summer, but only allocated $130 million worth of requests in his proposal....
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Walker job-creation officials promise to do better

 Wisconsin - 9/10/2015 MADISON, Wis. (AP) ? Officials with Republican Gov. Scott Walker's floundering job-creation agency promised again to do a better job in the wake of another scathing audit and the departure of their second chief officer in just four years. Tricia Braun, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's deputy secretary and chief operating officer, told the Legislature's audit committee on Wednesday that the agency has hired an outside consultant and is constantly evaluating its operations. Dan Ariens, chairman of WEDC's board, said he likens the agency's issues to problems a typical start-up company experiences. "I am confident we are poised to become an organization you will be proud to call your economic development engine," Ariens said....
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A fifth of Madison City Council alders could be absent for Judge Doyle Square vote

 Madison - 9/17/2015 The Madison City Council has scheduled a special meeting next week to vote on the major Judge Doyle Square development, but at least four of 20 alders will miss it.

Mayor Paul Soglin and council leadership plan to move the vote on a development agreement with JDS Development and Exact Sciences Corp. from this week's regular Tuesday council meeting to a special meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 23, due to a crowded agenda and a late meeting start....

Ken Notes: OUCH!
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Mayor Paul Soglin proposes $289 million operating budget for 2016

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Mayor Paul Soglin proposed a $289 million stay-the-course budget Tuesday that he said preserves basic services, provides raises for city workers and extends more opportunities to the poor and minority residents while coming in under state levy limits. The budget, which raises property tax collections by 3.24 percent overall, would cost the average homeowner about $65.65 more in property taxes to the city....
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Housing is key to a vibrant Downtown

 Madison - 10/8/2015 In -Two Minutes with Mitch- local radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on the latest developments on the Judge Doyle Square project in Downtown Madison...

Ken Notes: He is half right -- but part of development is the economic engines that drive growth. Creating more vibrant nightlife and retail centers is a good idea and there is lots of room for more housing but balance is the key.

If we really want a vibrant downtown we should start with a TRANSIT system that is tourist and business friendly. I can not believe that the hotels and convention centers are not all over this...I need two more minutes...
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Will D2P be the key to unlock UW-Madison`s potential as an economic engine?

 Madison - 10/15/2015 UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank's Discovery 2 Product initiative, D2P, may be the catalyst to transform the university into a real economic engine, Marc Eisen writes in Isthmus.

D2P, led by start-up veteran John Biondi, has the business perspective to overcome the resistance of academics and the indifference of university administrators, say observers....
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Mallards executives near deal to manage Breese Stevens Field

 Madison - 11/19/2015 In the last five years, Vern Stenman and Conor Caloia have had a hand in refurbishing old stadiums around Wisconsin.

Now they`re ready to take on a similar challenge closer to home.

Big Top Baseball - a partnership that includes longtime Madison Mallards executives Stenman, Caloia and founder Steve Schmitt - is in final negotiations with the city of Madison over a lease contract through which Big Top will manage operations of Breese Stevens Field on the near east side....

Ken Notes: They have resources, staff, ideas, and proven talent. Since you need new restrooms and will have sporting events, why not showers that could be used AND MAINTAINED by the homeless. They stay nice and clean or are closed to the public.
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Household income takes sharp downturn in most of Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 12/3/2015 Median household income fell by a significant margin in two-thirds of Wisconsin counties from 2009 to 2014, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In Milwaukee County, the median income fell by 10.3% to $43,385. Waukesha County, which had the highest median income in the state at $76,319, saw a 7.1% drop. Washington (-5.2%), Ozaukee (-7.7%) and Racine (-7.9%) counties all experienced declining incomes, as well....

Ken Notes: This is not good. We need to refocus on good jobs, education and training. We can turn this around with a real effort and less of the political rhetoric that has us focused on some issues that should be way down on the scale of importance. Lets start a JOBS party...
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Ho-Chunk Nation envisions sports complex

 Madison - 12/3/2015 Can you see it? Dan Brown certainly can. The executive manager of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison has held a vision for many years to develop 47.75 acres of vacant, tribally owned land adjacent to the casino. With all that undeveloped land and money to build, it's just a matter of finding the big idea and the right partners. We considered building a big-box retail store, an industrial park and even a corporate headquarters, says Brown, who hired Urban Assets, a local planning and community development firm, to conduct a high-level study on what type of development made the most sense for both the Ho-Chunk Nation and the city of Madison. At the end of the day, we are looking for a regional destination,...

Ken Notes: Smart move on their part...
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Dane County towns split on bill that would allow opt-out of county zoning control

 Dane County - 12/10/2015 Eight Dane County towns have formally opposed a state bill advocated for by Dane County Towns Association leadership that would allow towns to opt out of Dane County`s zoning authority. The proposed legislation is among a handful of bills scheduled for public hearings today before the Assembly`s Committee on Housing and Real Estate, but prior to its hearing, leaders from the towns of Dunn, Cross Plains, Montrose, Perry, Christiana, Oregon, Pleasant Springs and Springdale sent a letter to Chairman Rep. John Jagler, R-Watertown, opposing the bill....
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WSJ Business Roundtable: Affordable housing is needed but a challenge to build

 Madison - 12/10/2015 Affordable housing is needed in Dane County, but creating enough to not only offset current growing demand but also help catch up from a lack of building activity during the Great Recession is a challenge. That's according to a panel of affordable housing experts who discussed the issue during a recent Wisconsin State Journal Business Roundtable discussion....

Ken Notes: Affordable requires a partnership between the community and the developer...
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Find a way to make it happen Downtown

 Madison - 5/28/2015 Imagine what an infusion of 400 employees making an average of $90,000 a year would do for Downtown Madison. Thats a lot of business for restaurants, retailers, service providers and property owners.

Exact Sciences, which developed the first and only federally approved, DNA-based, noninvasive colorectal cancer screening test, wants to move its rapidly increasing $35 million payroll to Judge Doyle Square near Monona Terrace and City Hall.

The technology company, projected to have 650 workers by 2023, would anchor a dramatic $200 million reconstruction project with a hotel, public food hall, conference center and lots of underground parking two blocks off the Capitol ...

Ken Notes: I love this project, but betting on the come can be dangerous. The agreement for this project has to be perfectly written and iron clad.
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Cut deal to build new arena in Milwaukee

 Milwaukee - 4/9/2015 In the fog of the day-to-day debate, its easy to lose sight of an important fact: Everyone is still talking about a new arena in Milwaukee. And when everyone talks, something usually happens.

We support building an arena but we do not support it at any cost. Republicans in the Legislature are right to insist on alternatives now that Gov. Scott Walkers proposal to set aside tax revenue from NBA players to support bonding got such a poor review from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The fiscal hit on taxpayers could be as high as $488 million to generate the $220 million in arena financing the governor promised in his budget proposal, the bureau reported....

Ken Notes: With the loss of Marc, we need to keep this on track. Herb has stepped up as well as the new owners. We now need a bipartisan solution that the citizens can live with or better yet benefit from! How about a Badger Duke benefit game next year... forgive my sins, but I crave revenge...
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UW-Madison economic impact study

 UW Madison - 4/16/2015 The University of Wisconsins $15 billion Impact On the Wisconsin Economy...

Ken Notes: I may have mentioned this a few hundred times... And I did not get paid to say it - The UW is our greatest asset and the legislature should encourage a supportive sustainable position.
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Building permits show little slowdown for Madison apartment projects

 Madison - 10/22/2015 New apartment construction is still going strong in Madison.

In the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, the city approved 30 permits for new construction of buildings with five or more housing units - the city`s designation for apartments. That`s unchanged from the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2014.

According to the permits, those buildings approved in the last 12 months include 1,804 individual apartment units, a decrease from the 12 months before but still well above the total for most other years....

Ken Notes: Much data at the link!!!
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County Executive Joe Parisi does not support expensive new plan for Alliant Energy Center

 Dane County - 10/29/2015 Dane County`s top elected official will not support a recommended private-public redevelopment plan for the Alliant Energy Center, saying the $117 million price tag for the county is unaffordable.

Spending all that money for a concert venue is a nonstarter for me, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Tuesday, a day after the release of a study by the Hammes Co. recommending that the county spend that amount to replace the aging Dane County Coliseum with a new arena, add a parking ramp and improve Exhibition Hall....

Ken Notes: I like that he is looking at this in light of other projects. I believe we can get this right with a little more discussion. Has the World Dairy Expo been involved in the process yet?
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Developer very hesitant to continue if Madison opens Judge Doyle Square for new proposals

 Madison - 11/19/2015 One of the four developers that submitted proposals for the major Judge Doyle Square redevelopment process in May has sent a letter to city officials urging them not to open the process to new developers again, suggesting it might not continue in the process if that happens.

From Chicago-based Vermilion Development president David Cocagne, the letter notes the divergences the city has taken from its original process and says if the city moves to accept new proposals again, his company will be 'very hesitant' to continue.

Madison sent out a request for proposals in March 2014, receiving four proposals from Beitler Real Estate Services, Vermilion Enterprises, JDS Development (a joint venture of Hammes Company and Majestic Realty Co.) and Doyle Square Development (a joint venture of Urban Land Interests and North Central Group)....

Ken Notes: Even though only a proposal, there is a cost to putting together a serious proposal. If the original four want to move forward with out reopening the process, ask for two things: one an in the dirt by date, and two a performance bond upon a developers agreement being signed.
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Has WEDC created jobs? We don`t know

 Wisconsin - 8/13/2015 Imagine how private firms do business with the state of Wisconsin. The companies provide something of value for taxpayers and, in return, receive state money.

This happens all the time in state government: Private companies build roads and computer systems, pay Medicaid bills, and even educate children....So, what is the answer to questions about job creation or if the 29 programs were successful? The answer is We dont know. Early in WEDCs existence, zero jobs were independently verified which was in direct conflict with state law...

Ken Notes: Why don`t we demand our leaders offer solutions or ideas before we allow them to openly throw stones at the programs they are managing. I have suggested the following for WEDC:

1. Tax incentives based on new jobs.
2. A database or report detailing loans made, status, and repayment or forgiveness
3. Bring local ED professionals into WEDC like the UW Extension program.
4. Work with private sector lenders to guarantee a portion of loans to improve due diligence and share risk

I at least am trying to make positive suggestions, it seems our elected officials are shilling for votes and control and do no care about actual improvement. Oh and if a senator does not know an answer he or she better find out - ignorance has never been an excuse.
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Urban League of Greater Madison: Graduates of construction apprenticeship readiness training programs to be honored

 Madison Area - 4/9/2015 MADISON-Nearly 60 Madison-area residents will take the stage on the evening of Wednesday, April 8 to receive their graduation certificates in their next step toward pursuing careers in the construction industry. The graduates participated in apprenticeship readiness training programs sponsored by the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin and its partners in the Construction Employment Initiative (CEI).

The event marks the first-ever combined graduation ceremony for the three City of Madison-supported construction training programs including Construct-U, Foundations for the Trades Academy and the Latino Academy Bi-Lingual Construction Program. The CEI programs align with City of Madison Mayor Soglin's initiative to increase career opportunities in the construction industry for low-income and disenfranchised individuals. The Mayor is slated to deliver the keynote to the graduates at the ceremony. ...

Ken Notes: We need more press on this!!
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MadREP adopts resolution opposing UW System cuts

 Madison Area - 4/16/2015 In a rare move for the normally nonpolitical organization, the Madison areas lead economic development agency on Tuesday came out against Gov. Scott Walkers proposed $300 million budget cut to the University of Wisconsin System. Though the MadREP board of directors rarely weighs in on legislative matters, we determined that the threat facing the UW System by these proposed funding cuts is so profound that such an action is warranted, said Bill White, chairman of the Madison Region Economic Partnerships board. The University of Wisconsin is a dynamic economic engine that represents one of the region and states most important competitive advantages for its role educating our workforce, performing world-class research and creating new jobs and companies....

Ken Notes: See others agree. Paul is a conservative, and the board is a great mix of Madison's best minds. Why not ask the UW to prioritize programs and spending and see if we can work together to trim a little spending????
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Investment in brewery helps Leinenkugel`s trot out more beers

 Wisconsin - 6/25/2015 Dick Leinenkugel can run with his love of the outdoors, that has never been a problem but he can no longer hide. Never was that more apparent than last weekend.

On Friday morning at Avalon Hotel & Conference Center he welcomed beer distributors and others in the industry from across the country who were attending Camp Leinenkugel. He presided over an employees meeting that afternoon, and hosted Scott Whitley, CEO of MillerCoors craft and import division, at the Stanley Rodeo that evening....

Ken Notes: May I point out Dick was the leader of commerce and could effect little change at the organization. With a BOARD and MillerCoors behind him is is taking Linnie world wide by storm!!!
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WEDC from the private side

 Wisconsin - 6/25/2015 While much has been written and numerous opinions have been expressed about the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, there has been little public comment from those of us who serve on the board of the organization, many of whom have been involved with WEDC since its inception. It's time the public and the business community hear from us. ...

Ken Notes: Read This!!!!
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Big project Downtown worth city investment

 Madison - 9/17/2015 Any City of Madison decision to proceed with an investment of public funds must meet a stringent test. The value of the benefit to the city and its citizens must exceed the cost of the financial support for the project.

The proposed investment in the Judge Doyle Square development meets this test and deserves our support.... Mayor Paul Soglin
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Engineered Construction Inc. / General Contractors

As always your go to resource for 24/7 Emergency Fire & Water Damage/Extraction!
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Life in Madison way back when was cheaper, simpler and still fun

 Madison - 3/12/2015 I was intrigued with a recent story by our crackerjack arts and food reporter Lindsay Christians about the new student apartment building going up in the 500 block of State Street. She told of the 960 "posh new beds" in the building called The Hub and the several restaurants a falafel place, a juice bar, a high-end Mexican spot and a teriyaki restaurant which will all share space in the 12-story, $70 million structure expected to be open by the 2015-16 school year.
What caught my attention, though, was the description of the amenities multiple swimming pools (including one on the rooftop), hot tubs, tanning rooms, an outdoor grilling area and a volleyball court. A 300-square-foot studio will go for $1,000 a month, one bedroom in a four-bedroom apartment will cost about $900.
Wow!, I muttered to myself. This sure ain't 1958....

Ken Notes: We do need some housing diversity in Madison. We need to look at low cost micro apartments and shared tenancy. Watch this story from Austin.
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Close call for Downtown Madison hotel

 Madison - 3/12/2015 Madisons complicated and fussy approval process for building projects wont stop a stylish Downtown hotel from going up.
Thats a relief.
After a slew of city meetings, multiple revisions by the developer and close votes, North Central Group just won City Council permission for a 164-room Marriott AC hotel a block off the Capitol Square.
The hotel with a lounge, restaurant and other public spaces some high up in the building with great views of the Capitol will be a huge improvement on the vacant Pahl Tire Co. site at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Webster Street....
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Great Wolf Resorts to be sold

 Wisconsin - 3/26/2015 Great Wolf Resorts is about to have new owners.

Three years after Apollo Global Management bought the Madison indoor waterpark company for a package valued at $798 million, the New York investment firm is selling Great Wolf to another New York investment firm, Centerbridge Partners, the companies said Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed but Reuters and Bloomberg news services quote sources familiar with the matter as saying the purchase price is $1.35 billion about 70 percent higher than Apollo paid after a seven-week bidding war with KSL Capital Partners, Denver....
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Activists for a higher minimum wage take the Fight for $15 to UW-Madison campus

 Madison - 4/16/2015 Low-wage workers in Madison joined fast food, retail and student workers walking off the job and onto protest lines across the country Wednesday in a national day of action for the "Fight for $15" movement.

$15 and a union! protesters shouted as they gathered at Library Mall on the UW-Madison campus. The demonstrators, organized by Wisconsin Jobs Now, AFSCME, Industrial Workers of the World and the Workers Right Center, earlier marched down East Washington Avenue, where they were joined by workers from fast food outlets.

Im sick and tired of making $8.50 an hour, Taco Bell worker Corneil White said through a megaphone to a group of about 50 on the mall....

Ken Notes: I have a win win here.

Under 18 - $ 8.00

18 to 20 - $ 15.00 BUT $ 5.00 of this goes to a school, apprenticeship program, or other training institute of the employees choosing for tuition. If they are not enrolled it is available to them for 10 years, then reverts to the schools general fund.

21 + - $ 15.00 if they have one year of post high school education or training. $ 10 if they do not.

Attention legislators - you may have this idea for free, Draft a bill and you will be immediately on the national stage with bipartisan support.
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Working 9-to-5 becoming a less popular way to make a living

 Wisconsin - 6/4/2015 If you want an income, or you're an employer looking for help, it may be time to scrap the idea of the traditional 9-to-5 arrangement.

For workers, it's become easier and less risky to go solo. Affordable health insurance plans, which kept many workers shackled to traditional jobs, are more accessible because of the Affordable Care Act. And companies are increasingly open to hiring freelancers and independent contractors. Many say independent workers bring fresh ideas without the long-term commitment....

Ken Notes: I have always been an advocate for the nontraditional work week. I would love to see "Fridays Off" during the summer for example. I promise employees would actually get more work done to maintain the privilege...
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Legislative Audit Bureau Report on WEDC

 Wisconsin - 6/11/2015 2011 Wisconsin Act7 created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) as the States lead economic development organization. WEDC became fully operational in July2011. Statutes require WEDC to develop and implement economic programs that provide support, expertise, and financial assistance to businesses that are investing and creating jobs in Wisconsin, as well as programs that support new business start-ups and business expansion and growth in the state. WEDC may also develop and implement any other programs related to economic development. Although WEDC is not a state agency, it is funded almost entirely with state funds.

In fiscal year (FY) 2013-14, WEDC administered 29economic development programs that provided grants, loans, tax credits, and other assistance to businesses, local governments, and other organizations....

Ken Notes: Please read the brief report so you know what everyone is talking about. Do not rely on the press, or me for that matter, to fill you in...
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City may provide $9 million loan to school district with repayment through TIF district surplus

 Madison - 6/25/2015 The city may loan $9 million to the Madison School District with the funds to be repaid through a surplus in a booming Downtown tax increment financing district when it closes.

The arrangement would deliver a hefty infusion of cash to the school district, which is looking to close a $14.8 million budget deficit for the coming fiscal year....

Ken Notes: This is a VERY smart move. Schools are a key partner in TIF development and forcing them to wait for new revenue when there is a surplus of funds is not good for the community. Not closing the TIF, in this case is good for development. This "loan" bridges the gap.
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WEDC board member: I don't think there is any smoking gun here

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 A key board member of Gov. Scott Walkers economic development agency said Tuesday that failed loans to businesses that werent properly reviewed shouldnt trigger the resignation of the agencys top official, as Democratic critics have sought.

Raymond Dreger, a board member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and chairman of the agencys audit committee, said some of the agencys biggest problems have been resolved....

Ken Notes: Using the metaphor I used last time. "When you need to change the ships course firing the captain is not always the best option."
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EDITORIAL: Reed Hall should not take fall for WEDC

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 The governors economic development agency has repeatedly failed to protect public money. But getting rid of its leader, Reed Hall, who wasnt around when the worst mistakes were made, would be rash and exacerbate high turnover in the organization....

Ken Notes: Yep...
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Homeless Union Corners homesteaders set to roll quietly away

 Madison - 7/30/2015 Five years after the city of Madison purchased a blighted 11.4-acre site along a major thoroughfare on the East Side, its renewal is imminent.

Construction of a medical clinic at East Washington Avenue and Sixth Street on the so-called Union Corners property is expected to start next month. Residential and other commercial development is next.

For the people who in the meantime have turned the site into a kind of vehicle-based homeless encampment, the future is less certain....

Ken Notes: One more time we can fix this but it need to be a working together solution, not a program, Brenda`s proch, or one size fits all solution...I love talking about ideas that are working elsewhere and how we can bring them to Madison - ask me...
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Madison finance committee voices questions on Judge Doyle Square project

 Madison - 8/13/2015 Madisons finance committee is scrutinizing pieces of a complex, emerging deal with JDS Development on the massive Judge Doyle Square project south of Capitol Square. During an update from city negotiators Monday, the Board of Estimates raised a series of questions about financing and parking for the $202 million redevelopment that would bring a new headquarters for booming Exact Sciences Corp. and a hotel for Monona Terrace to blocks that hold the Madison Municipal Building and Government East parking garage. Board members questioned the completeness of JDS recently submitted tax increment financing (TIF) application, the developers submissions on equity and debt, the loss of Government East parking during construction, and the design and uses of parking....
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Paul Soglin: New Hill Farms building could spur Downtown redevelopment

 Madison Area - 8/27/2015 A massive new state office building on Madisons West Side could spur additional redevelopment opportunities Downtown as the state moves and consolidates its agencies, Mayor Paul Soglin said in an interview Wednesday.

The Department of Administration is close to finalizing a $177 million redevelopment of its Hill Farms office building on University Avenue.

DOA officials are emphasizing not only how the original estimated $197 million cost to taxpayers has come down more than 9 percent, but also the economic benefit to the state and city.

According to a Baker Tilly economic impact analysis, the entire redevelopment of the site will generate 1,943 construction jobs, 1,359 private-sector jobs, $15.4 million in additional state and local taxes related to construction, and an annual boost in local and state taxes of $11.4 million....

Ken Notes: This could be huge and freeing up downtown sites would be perfect for new development. Have I ever mentioned using the DHFS building as a hotel? Of course they are not scheduled to move but they coooouuuullldddd???
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Bucks: Milwaukee leaders announce arena land sale to Bucks for $1

 Milwaukee - 9/10/2015 MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee leaders plan to announce that a chunk of downtown land has been sold to the city's NBA team for $1 as part of the drive to build the Bucks a new arena complex. County Executive Chris Abele said in a statement Wednesday that the sale will transform a vacant space into a development that will create thousands of jobs and generate millions in revenue....
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Wisconsin Democrats propose new economic development model to replace WEDC

 Wisconsin - 9/17/2015 A proposal from the two Democrats on the board of Wisconsin's flagship jobs agency would abolish the existing Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and replace it with a new model.

Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, and Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, announced plans on Tuesday to introduce legislation that would replace WEDC with a public-private hybrid economic development engine.

The proposal would bring most of the state's economic development efforts back under the authority of state government, which Lassa and Barca say would lead to increased transparency and cut down on opportunities for cronyism in the awarding of tax dollars to businesses....

Ken Notes: I may have mentioned the need for a bi-partisan effort, alas this is not it. Why not a bi-partisan committee to review ED practices and make recommendations with the outcome being a bill supported by a super majority of the committee.
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Kettle Park West Commercial Center Moves Forward!

 Stoughton - 10/1/2015 Verona-based Forward Development Group announced the successful completion of the real estate transactions necessary to launch the Kettle Park West Commercial Center, a long-planned development in the City of Stoughton.

The Kettle Park West Commercial Center is the cornerstone of the planned mixed-use neighborhood located on the city`s west side at the intersection of US Highway 51 and State Highway 138. With today`s real estate closing, we have satisfied all of the conditions in the development agreement with the city, allowing the project to move forward, said Dennis Steinkraus, development manager at Forward Development Group. Construction of the streets and utilities for the new development will begin in September and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

The project is anchored by a 152,000 square foot Walmart Supercenter. The first phase of the project...

Ken Notes: Talked to Dave yesterday and they are in the dirt!!!
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Madison-Kipp Corp. announced $3.5M expansion in Sun Prairie

 Sun Prairie - 11/5/2015 The project will include an estimated $3.5 million in construction and will consolidate off-site warehousing as well as add additional manufacturing space, according to a release. The city of Sun Prairie is providing TIF assistance to reimburse the developer for $274,000 for several onsite improvements, which is one of the reasons the location was selected, officials said....
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No daily newspaper left at UW-Madison as Cardinal cuts production

 UW Madison - 11/12/2015 The Daily Cardinal plans to cut production of its print edition to two days per week, leaving UW-Madison without a daily student newspaper only a few years after the campus had two of them.

The Cardinal will print on Mondays and Thursdays next semester, dropping from four editions per week as part of a shift that will see the 123-year-old company focus more on its web and mobile products, editor in chief Jim Dayton said....

Ken Notes: Nooooooooooooo....
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Cap Times and 100state to host panel on growing, improving the Madison startup scene

 Wisconsin - 12/3/2015 Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at 100state

Though Wisconsin is ranked 50th in the country for startup activity, the Madison startup scene is growing. Startup hub 100state now houses a wide array of budding businesses from the guerrilla marketing Startup Rangers, to a startup aiming to bring yoga to educators and a company that recently visited the White House.

Gener8tor, a startup incubator based in Madison, has been named one of the top incubators in the country. And StartingBlock, a startup hub set to open on East Washington Avenue next year, has raised millions for its construction.

Now`s the time to talk about what Madison is doing right in the startup space - and what it can do better...
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Research grants awarded to UW professors

 UW System - 3/5/2015 Nine UW-Madison professors have been awarded $50,000 grants for research from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The Romnes Faculty Fellowships recognize exceptional faculty members who have earned tenure within the last six years, the university said in a news release. The award is named for the late H.I. Romnes, former chairman of the board of ATT and former president of the WARF Board of Trustees....

Ken Notes: And this research creates JOBS...
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Monona Chamber of Commerce changes name, brand identity

 Madison - 3/5/2015 The Monona Chamber of Commerce has a new name and brand identity, the Monona East Side Business Alliance.

The new brand aims to broaden the organizations mission to build a stronger community through member promotion and engagement, networking activities, economic development initiatives, and to help foster job creation through business recruitment, according to a news release.

The organization has about 300 members of all sizes, industries and locations primarily from Monona and Madison's East Side....

Ken Notes: Congrats!
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In the Madison Concourse, Dayton Street Grille remodels and emerges as CIRC

 Madison - 3/19/2015 Dayton Street Grille in the Madison Concourse Hotel has remodeled and rebranded itself as CIRC. The new name reflects the new lobby design, which is full of circular and semi-circle shapes, as well as the Concourse's location on West Dayton Street. "That played into the naming of the restaurant," said Madison Concourse marketing director Tim Brechlin. "We are in the hub of downtown Madison."...

Ken Notes: This and the new bar in the Concourse are really special. Until more people discover it the bar is perfect for meetings.
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Towns push lawmakers to strip Dane County`s land use powers

 Dane County - 3/19/2015 The Wisconsin Towns Association is helping several Dane County towns drum up support for legislation that would strip the states fastest growing county of its zoning authority.

The law would open the door to towns that have chafed for decades because the county has insisted on concentrating development in existing population centers. But county officials fear it would unleash costly, unsightly suburban sprawl by allowing towns to approve new construction without the possibility of being overruled by the county....

Ken Notes: There are a lot of variables here, we need master planning from the towns cooperation with the cities, and impact research on development. The county is as guilty of bad planning as anyone so we need a state or regional development department with actual non political oversight. The CARPC is not helping here although the staff is impressive.
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Population down in 35 Wisconsin counties

 3/26/2015 New census figures show the population dropping in nearly half of Wisconsin's 72 counties. The population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show 35 counties lost people from 2013 to 2014. Manitowoc County lost 463 people during that time, the largest decline among counties. Next was Wood County with a decline of 336 people and then Adams which lost 289....

Ken Notes: Interesting almost half of the entire state population growth took place in Dane county. Dane has less than 10% of the population...
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Brandon Duck to take over WEDC CFO job

 Wisconsin - 4/2/2015 Brandon Duck will be the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. chief financial officer, effective April 27. Duck is currently CFO with an educational institution in Dallas. Previous to his current position, he worked for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board for nine years as enterprise risk and compliance director and also internal audit director. Duck was also with KPMG for several years....

Ken Notes: Welcome home!
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Madison School District has big renovation plans, but only if voters give OK to April 7 referendum

 Madison - 4/2/2015 Its third period at Jefferson Middle School and language arts teacher Jay Brazeau asks his seventh-grade students to turn to Chapter 12 in Rosa Parks autobiography. In a nearby classroom, math teacher Kelly OMalley is asking her students to quiet down. But unlike in other schools, Brazeaus students can hear practically every word uttered in OMalleys classroom. As they follow along with Brazeau, his students also are trying to tune out the math lesson just a few feet away with nothing but bookcases and portable dividers to mute the sound. ...
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Condolences on death of Marc Marotta

 Wisconsin - 4/9/2015 Former Gov. Jim Doyle is remembering his administrative cabinet member as someone who was motivated by his selfless and caring nature.

Marc Marotta died suddenly Wednesday at age 52. Marotta served as secretary of the Department of Administration under Doyle. The former governor said in a statement that Marotta "worked tirelessly to see that schools were funded, that kids received health care, that older people could stay in their homes, and much more."...

Ken Notes: I add my condolences as well. My expedience with Marc was positive and he was more "conservative" than we give him credit for. He may have had a better understanding of educational funding than most I know...
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Madison public market could pump $22 million a year into local economy

 Madison - 4/30/2015 A proposed public market on Madisons East Side could become a regional food destination, offer residents a vibrant new civic space and pump nearly $22 million a year into the local economy, a consultants report released Friday said. The draft business plan by Project for Public Spaces of New York City outlines three options centered on repurposing the citys aging Fleet Services garage at the intersection of North First and East Johnson streets to create a retail, wholesale and food production facility complete with a demonstration kitchen, restaurants, brewery, wine bar and other offerings....

Ken Notes: I still like a downtown transit center combo approach. The market like the Terraces and state needs to be a gathering place...
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Advocate Mike McCabe launches new party for the -- politically homeless

 Wisconsin - 4/23/2015 For 15 years, Mike McCabe headed Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the states foremost and feistiest sentinel of the role of money in politics. He brought equal amounts of anger and optimism to the groups nonpartisan mission, skewering Democrats and Republicans alike and sounding a clarion call for reform. 

I loved that job, McCabe says wistfully. I could have very easily done it for another 15 years.

But McCabe decided he needed to try a new approach. His 2014 book, Blue Jeans in High Places, calls for the creation of a new political movement for people like himself who feel politically homeless, alienated from both major parties...

Ken Notes: Could this be the "Flaming Conservatives" of my dreams... One can only hope! I like the creed HERE....
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Plan Commission signs off on 8Twenty Park affordable housing proposal

 Madison - 12/10/2015 .An affordable housing development for South Park Street moved a step closer to final approval on Monday.

After nearly two hours of a public hearing and discussion, Madison`s Plan Commission approved developer J.T. Klein Company`s revised plans for a 95-unit apartment building at 820 S. Park St. and associated zoning changes...

Ken Notes: Read this we negotiated a better project for a change...
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Cabela`s sets opening date in Sun Prairie

 Sun Prairie - 4/30/2015 The grand opening of the new store will include a weekend full of events, company officials said Thursday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. The ribbon will be cut by an arrow shot from a bow. The 90,000 square-foot store and indoor archery range is located on Grand Avenue in Sun Prairie. The store will employ about 225 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers. This will be Cabela's fourth store in Wisconsin....
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New report showing state will continue to lag on jobs upsets bloggers of all stripes

 Wisconsin - 5/14/2015 Political Environment blogger James Rowen posts an official Wisconsin Department of Revenue report that predicts the state will grow jobs at a rate that's 50 percent below the rest of the country. Coming from a state agency controlled by the administration of Scott Walker, this is a report that ought to be reported by all national and state media, he says. It's further proof that this man should not be president, he adds....

Ken Notes: I Don't exactly remember what I said, but wasn't quoted anyway. This is probably because I try not to point fingers bur rather offer solutions. Here are a couple:
1. Use development funds to fund jobs across the board. This is easy if you offer a tax rebate on new job creation. We try this now but the program is limited and complex. Every new job should come with a tax credit for the company, all companies can participate.
2. Offer student loans and use a tax credit to fund the interest on these loans as long as the base payments are made and the graduate remains in the state.

See no complaints other that the fact that we are falling behind because we refuse to do anything. Share this with your elected officials. Oh and fellow press WDN is a blog just don't tell my readers because they think it is a newsletter which it is... Wink wink...
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Scott Walker defends troubled state economic development agency

 Wisconsin - 5/14/2015 Gov. Scott Walker said Saturday that his troubled economic development agency absolutely has been a good steward of taxpayer dollars.

You look at their percentage in terms of loans has gone down to 0.2 percent in terms of their failure to collect, Walker said. Its actually been a very good rate..

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau reported Friday that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. failed to consistently require businesses to comply with key requirements in exchange for state funding, including documenting jobs it helped create...

Ken Notes: So WEDC will now take less risks, fund projects that do not need the support as much so they look better??? I am confused. Why not create an incentive program that is fair to all and is administered through the tax system. Turn WEDC into an advocacy advisory entity that works with local EDC's, Communities, Banks and businesses.
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Lipstick on WEDC

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015
Gov. Scott Walker's signature job-creation agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., has been plagued by scandals and disastrous loans. ...

Ken Notes: Ouch...
In 2012 I wrote A new role for the WEDC
...Before that, at the time the "New WEDC" was created I championed the concept and supported an old friend and good businessman Paul Jadin, but did suggest a bigger tent and a level playing field. Alas politics won out, I was ignored (so was Paul by the way), and four years later we still have the SAME problems. It is time to restructure and redefine the role of WEDC in Wisconsin.
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What`s old is new again at lovingly renovated Stamm House in Middleton

 Middleton - 5/28/2015 The renovations to the historic Stamm House in Middleton took nearly two years, more than half a million dollars and months of hands-on tiling and jack-hammering by the owners and managers of the property. But don't call it a labor of love. 1847 at the Stamm House, which opened to the public on Tuesday, may be built on a lot of sweat equity, but it's also a shrewd business proposition. ...

Ken Notes: Check out the photos at the link. This is impressive!!
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City finance committee recommends parkland purchase

 Madison - 6/11/2015 Madison is likely to acquire almost 17 acres to add to a park on Madisons Far West Side to satisfy land use requirements related to the redevelopment of the historic Garver Feed Mill.

The citys Board of Estimates recommended on Monday using nearly $3.2 million to buy the parkland and about 50 additional acres west of the Hawks Landing Golf Club and neighborhood from LB Land Investment Inc....

Ken Notes: Good purchase...
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Average US rate on 30-year mortgage eases to 4 percent

 National - 6/18/2015 Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates eased this week after hitting their highest levels this year in the previous week. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4 percent this week from 4.04 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.23 percent from 3.25 percent. Mortgage rates have been surging in recent weeks amid signs of improvement in the economy....
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Supreme Court upholds nationwide Obamacare subsidies

 National - 6/25/2015 The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies underpinning President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, rejecting a major challenge to the landmark law in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, as opponents contended....

Ken Notes: FYI Breaking News...
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Madison`s finance committee works to rein in - unaffordable - budget

 Madison - 7/9/2015 For months, Madisons finance committee has been delving into its capital budget in an attempt to rein in spending in coming years and keep property taxes from jumping by more than $100 on the average home in a single year.

Wednesday evening, that body, the Board of Estimates, made some initial decisions about which projects to remove or delay, laying out a possible plan that would help the citys financial situation, but wouldnt solve it....

Ken Notes: 9% would be huge... We can do better.
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Federal funds to bolster food manufacturing, biotech headed to Madison region

 Madison Area - 7/16/2015 A new federal designation awarded Wednesday will move 14 counties in south-central and southwestern Wisconsin to the front of the line for perhaps $75 million in federal grants over the next two years for a series of projects to help grow jobs and bolster business in the food-processing, biotech and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The application to the competitive U.S. Commerce Department program selecting 12 such sites around the country was one of the biggest initiatives undertaken by the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), in the past year, with input from the city of Madison....

Ken Notes: Brilliant -- now lets create long lasting sustainable businesses in this area!
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Commercial development proposed for Grandview Commons

 Madison - 7/23/2015 Commercial development in Grandview Commons may be about to take another major step. By next summer, a three-acre vacant lot between the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. and the Metro Market could be home to more than 30,000 square feet of commercial space for a coffee shop, up to two restaurants, spa, dry cleaners, offices and other service businesses. The $6.7 million project on the Far East Side proposed by DSI Real Estate Group is set to go before the citys Urban Design Commission July 29 and includes five buildings and public plaza space....
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Beer`s economic impact in Wisconsin declines to $8 billion

 Wisconsin - 7/30/2015 The business of beer in Wisconsin is no small number but down when compared to 2012.

A report released Tuesday by the Beer Institute, a Washington, D.C., lobbying group, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, shows that in 2014, beer had an $8 billion impact on the states economy, down from $8.6 billion in 2012.

The study included not only production, retail sales and taxes generated but also suppliers to the industry, including farmers who grow grains and hops, trucking firms that deliver products, and manufacturing companies that make brewing equipment and packaging for beer....

Ken Notes: This is crazy, we have distribution in place, can improve manufacturing, should be the leader in micro and craft brews and yet we are letting the market slip away. Wrong wrong wrong. We can and must fix this!!!!
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With surging need for bandwidth, top public CIOs see urgent need for cooperation

 Wisconsin - 8/6/2015 State of Wisconsin Chief Information Officer David Cagigal has a simple goal: To never spend another dollar on laying optical fiber cable for data projects involving state government and its partners.

If that sounds unrealistic, consider that millions of miles of dark fiber meaning, high-bandwidth fiber not in use already exist in the United States. Even thats just an estimate because the fiber installation glut of the early 2000s led to myriad network bankruptcies, and todays successor companies dont always know where all the fiber is buried.

Finding and lighting dark fiber will help Wisconsin prepare for the predicted bandwidth crunch brought on by the Internet of Things and the explosion in mobile devices, Cagigal and UW-Madison Chief Information Officer Bruce Maas told a July 28 meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network....

Ken Notes: We need a partnership now that serves the best interest of all Wisconsin or we will become the have and have nots of the future. This truly is a build it and they will come phenomenon...
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MadREP Report: August 13, 2015

 Madison Area - 8/13/2015 Growth in Every Corner of the Region...Video Game Industry & Higher Ed Meet Up...EVENTS & OPPORTUNITIES... REGIONAL NEWS...and more
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WEDC committee recommends additional checks for award recipients

 Wisconsin - 8/20/2015 Companies seeking public assistance from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. would face an additional layer of scrutiny under a policy change working its way through the troubled agencys board review process.

The policy would require the agency to conduct updated staff reviews and background checks on companies every six months before offering new awards or amending existing contracts....

Ken Notes: This sounds like more work, more cost, and what happens when the company is not in compliance? If we used tax breaks based on employment we would not need the extra layers of inspection because a company that dose not maintain the prescribed employment level would simply lose the credits.
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Madison Plan Commission approves contentious Nakoma house demolition proposal

 Madison - 8/27/2015 A contentious house demolition and reconstruction proposal in the Nakoma neighborhood got final approval from the Madison Plan Commission on Monday, six weeks after the body referred it for more consideration.

The property owners, Sean and Jerilyn Shannahan, and their design team adjusted the proposal to address concerns with the setback from the street for a new house at 4022 Manitou Way...

Ken Notes: Tough decisions, but when there is no plan B for the preservation of the existing property we are often delaying the inevitable. Landmarks may want to reach out like the Sierra Club to encourage others to purchase and renovate properties in a more proactive role. Also we need to establish a priority system for the commission that would allow a trade off to protect the most historically valuable properties...
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Quote of the Day:

 Madison - 9/3/2015 People are not coming downtown because as you take the walk down State Street, like missing teeth, all of those stores that have licenses are gaps, further deteriorating the future viability of the existing retail.

Mayor Paul Soglin

Soglin went off on a tear at Tuesday nights City Council meeting over a seemingly innocuous liquor license application from Mad City Frites, asking to be able to serve beer with their fries. Some City Council members said they were deeply uncomfortable with Soglin using a local business to make a larger political point. Maybe they can all get together and make peace over a cone of frites.

Ken Notes: He is half right State Street will need a mix, but the prices for rent demand high profits per square foot and retail becomes a very tough sell. This is a pure economic issue and will require economic solutions. The grants to retail will help...
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2016 capital budget

 Madison - 9/3/2015 Download the actual budget here...
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OPINION: Heavy hand squashing conservation potential at Badger

 Wisconsin - 9/17/2015 There is a heavy hand at work when land use planners at the DNR propose on/off road motorcycles through a prairie teeming with grassland birds. In a conservation plan that biologists have otherwise deemed stellar, the recently released draft Master Plan for the future Sauk Prairie Recreation Area proposes a multitude of activities from on/off-road motorcycles and mountain bikes to sport rocketry. A future gun range is also discussed. Really?...

Ken Notes The DNR is under a lot of pressure to create a number of special use environments in the state. This could be a great thing for Wisconsin in that these attractions would bring a new breed of tourists to the state. Where they go will be tough as there is limited land and the DNR is actually divesting of some. We also have the land trust lands which are not even on the radar screen yet. We need a statewide study to recommend best use scenarios for both public and land trust lands. We could even acquire more lands, trade public for privately held properties, and develop those that best fit their adaptive reuse... What do you think... Editor[at]WisconsinDevelopment.com
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Mayor Paul Soglin promotes deal as City Council nears vote on Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 9/24/2015 A determined and cautiously confident Mayor Paul Soglin on Wednesday accused critics of distortions and misinformation and promoted a proposed development agreement on the massive Judge Doyle Square project Downtown.

Meanwhile, negotiators for the city and JDS Development have resolved more key issues as the City Council nears a vote Tuesday on the roughly $200 million redevelopment on blocks that now hold the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage....

Ken Notes: This is fascinating after YEARS of trying to educate the public as to how TIF actually works and why it is needed for projects with a gap or on difficult sites, a liberal hippy type steps to the front to lead the charge. I am smiling from ear to ear. I agree with the mayor but it could be a tough sell. Toss in some City Hall renovations and I think you have a home run....
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Student loan refinancing bill set for Wednesday hearing

 Wisconsin - 10/8/2015 A bill that would make Wisconsin the first state to allow student loans to be refinanced at lower interest rates will be given its second public hearing in as many legislative sessions on Wednesday.

The bill would create a Wisconsin Student Loan Refinancing Authority, modeled after the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

The authority would be charged with creating a system to buy federal and private loans and refinance them at lower rates. Under the bill, borrowers would also be able to deduct student loan payments from their income taxes....

Ken Notes: All good ideas. I proposed something similar a few years back. I would have allowed the interest on student loans to offset actual state tax payments. This would make borrowing for student loans interest free as long as you stayed in the state...
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Madison Metro Transit adds another bus to Epic Systems campus route as ridership climbs

 Madison Area - 10/15/2015 Every weekday morning, young professionals, many of them wearing ear buds, line up at Madison Metro bus stops throughout downtown Madison to catch the 35-minute ride out to healthcare software company Epic Systems in Verona.

The route 75 bus runs four times each morning, starting with a loop around the Capitol Square and heading down West Washington Avenue to Broom Street, where an orderly line sometimes stretches across the sidewalk and into a neighbor's yard.

By the time it reaches Broom - less than one mile into its route - few, if any, empty seats are left on the bus....

Ken Notes: This is good but we really need to revisit the entire transit system in the interest of making it business, tourist, and commuter friendly. I wrote about this in 2010 and the article and ideas still hold up today. If Madison wants to take the next step in becoming an urban hub for entrepreneurship, conventions, and tourism -- transit has to be on the table.
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Wisconsin Democrats recuse themselves from vote on GOP campaign finance bill

 Wisconsin - 10/22/2015 Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly recused themselves en masse from a Wednesday evening vote on a contentious GOP proposal to reshape the state`s campaign finance laws. The bill passed shortly before 8 p.m. with the unanimous support of the chamber`s Republican members, with no Democrats casting votes.

The minority party has staunchly opposed the bill from the outset, arguing it would open the door for corruption and expand the influence of money in politics. Democrats cited state statute 19.46, which prevents public officials from "taking any official action substantially affecting a matter in which the official ... has a substantial financial interest."...

Another article on the subject is here: Wisconsin Assembly debates campaign finance laws, GAB overhaul

Ken Notes: The door is wide open now with the laws governing PAC`s. This bill is an attempt to bring some of that money under the tent openly so the revenue is more controlled by the candidate. I am NOT a fan of the legislation but I am not a fan of the current system either. What we really need is to address the issue by allowing a level platform for all candidates to clearly state their positions on the issues. Lets get the media to create a Website where candidates can post their current positions on questions posed by the media. Limit the response to say 100 words, allow all registered candidates to participate and allow any media outlet to quote from the site. You would have a virtual debate with no grandstanding or misdirection available to the public and the press. I could have this up in a weekend...
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Democrats join Assembly Republicans in approving $350M in borrowing for roads

 Wisconsin - 11/5/2015 All four Democrats on the Legislature's budget committee joined six Assembly Republicans on Wednesday to approve borrowing $350 million for big-ticket road projects including the Verona Road/Beltline Highway project and widening Interstate 39/90.

Six Senate Republicans voted against the plan.

At the same time, Democrats slammed Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican majority for not developing a long-term plan sooner to pay for major road projects, including raising the state's gas tax....
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MGE to add renewable power and reduce harmful emissions in 15-year plan

 Madison - 11/19/2015 Madison Gas & Electric says it will add solar or wind power and will further reduce harmful emissions from its power plants as part of a plan for the next 15 years.

The Madison utility company also says it will not ask for a hike next year in the fixed rate that customers pay for electricity - an issue that sparked citizen protests in the summer of 2014.

The proposals are part of MGE's Energy 2030 plan, a framework for meeting the area's energy needs through 2030, released on Wednesday....

Ken Notes: When MG&E contacted me about the rate hikes they promised that they were committed to clean energy. This plan is a huge step in fulfilling that promise. Much more on this Monday in WDNGreen.com...
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Central Wisconsin can empathize with loss of Oscar Mayer

 Wisconsin - 11/19/2015 The paper mill, owned by Canadian-based Domtar since 2001, has been a fixture in this community of just over 2,500 people since 1883. But over the last 15 years, Beaver has watched as the state's paper industry has shed thousands of jobs and in some cases, closed mills....Manufacturing is one of the pillars of the state's economy but dozens of communities around the state have seen large, legacy employers close or leave the state over the last 30 years. They include the General Motors Assembly plant in Janesville, Uniroyal in Eau Claire, Mirro Aluminum Company in Manitowoc and Kenosha Engine Company in Kenosha...

Ken Notes: It does seem we are not in tune with our existing businesses. I would think keeping and growing these is just, if not more, important then attracting new companies...
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Wisconsin Companies Invited to Join Trade Venture to Germany

 Wisconsin - 12/10/2015 Business development trip coincides with the world?s premier industrial technology trade show, financial assistance available for small businesses to help with exhibit costs

MADISON, WI, Dec. 10, 2015 ? The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) invites companies to join the Wisconsin delegation at Hannover Messe, the world?s leading industrial technology event, taking place in Germany in April.

Participation options include taking part in WEDC?s global trade venture to explore export expansion opportunities and subsidized tradeshow exhibition space at the show for small businesses that meet certain criteria....
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Photos: Madison area construction update

 Madison - 5/28/2015 With the winter weather in the rear view mirror, construction has picked up again in the Madison area. Check out the Cap Times' Changing Face of Madison site at changingfaceofmadison.com....
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Businesses protest Paul Soglin`s proposal for sharp fee increase for sidewalk cafes

 Madison - 7/16/2015 Owners of bars, restaurants and coffee shops around Capitol Square and State Street are protesting Mayor Paul Soglins proposal to dramatically raise fees for sidewalk cafes, but Soglin says hes willing to negotiate the size of a potential increase.

Soglin, concerned about a proliferation of bars, cafes and restaurants and loss of retail Downtown, has proposed evening the economic playing field by shifting from a fee system based on the number of chairs outside to square footage, which would raise the fee for an average 250-square-foot sidewalk cafe from $750 to $3,250 in 2018....

Ken Notes: If you want retail, allow non restaurant/bar frontage to be sublet as a sidewalk cafe with a cart vendor. Even at 3K for the 250 sq. ft. is a bargain.
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Soglin says city to pay one-quarter of Judge Doyle Square costs

 Madison - 9/24/2015 Madison Mayor Paul Soglin released details on the public funding for the downtown Judge Doyle Square project, saying the city's investment represents 25 percent of the total development costs.

The Judge Doyle Square project, a proposed plan to renovate the area between the 200 block of South Pinckney Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, aims to replace older buildings with a new hotel and an office building for the bioscience company Exact Sciences. The project also includes plans for a parking garage and retail space.

Soglin said $46.7 million of the $180 million plan is publicly funded. A large portion of the public money for the project comes from the Tax Incremental District No. 25 property tax, according to a report released by Soglin....

Ken Notes: Like I said...
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Bucks: Proposal has new arena at center of entertainment district

 Milwaukee - 4/9/2015 The Milwaukee Bucks unveiled a preliminary architectural design Wednesday for a $500 million arena, which they hope will spur another $500 million in downtown development by creating an entertainment district that draws people to live, work and play. The Bucks owners revealed the design renderings for about 30 acres of largely vacant land next to the existing arena, the Bradley Center, which opened in 1988. The Bradley Center would be demolished under the plan to make way for a new mix of entertainment, retail, hotel, residential, office and parking space around the new 17,000-seat arena and plaza....
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Blair Street Gardens to undergo major renovations beginning this fall

 Madison - 9/10/2015 The Blair Street Gardens, a community space located at the intersection of Williamson St., E. Wilson St. and S. Blair St., across from Machinery Row, will begin undergoing a major makeover this fall.

?We?re trying to create a natural landscape for people to enjoy that uses less volunteer time and less water,? said Ellen Henningsen, president of the Blair Street Gardens Committee Inc., which began caring for the space in 1987. ?We wanted it to be a place in the busy city where people can pause and enjoy the beauty of Madison.?...

Ken Notes: Looks very nice!!!!
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OPINION: Dane County Coliseum ripe for remake

 Madison Area - 10/29/2015 The Dane County Coliseum was a state-of-the-art concert venue when the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and The Doors performed there in the late 1960s.

A lot has changed since then, and the Coliseum hasn't kept up. The big shows rarely come to the outdated facility along the city's South Side.

A task force report this week points toward rebuilding the arena to invigorate the larger Alliant Energy Center property with private investment.

We're not about to endorse a more than $100 million public investment, given the preliminary nature of the report's findings and suggestions. Another option, the report notes, is renovating the existing building at substantially less cost....

Ken Notes: We may even be on the same page here, but I want to know if cows and Imagine Dragons fit in the same space and why are we not seeing more music events in the Kohls center. P.S. saw Dragons this summer and we need to book them!
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City gives JDS Development/Exact Sciences Corp. brief delay to exp(l)ain impacts of drop in stock value on Judge Doyle Square project

 Madison - 10/29/2015 Mayor Paul Soglin is giving JDS Development and Exact Sciences Corp. more time to explain how a recent sharp decline in the stock value of Exact Sciences will affect the proposed $200 million Judge Doyle Square project, where the company would be a key tenant.

JDS/Exact Sciences was supposed to submit much-anticipated answers on Wednesday, but Soglin is granting a request from the developer and growing biotech company to submit a report on Monday.

The mayor's office sent out a brief statement on the delay on Wednesday with no explanation beyond the request from JDS/Exact Sciences....

Ken Notes: Deep breaths... Can I point that the WSJ had a typo in the title of this article. It does not offset my dozens per week but it does help...
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MadREP Report December

 Madison Area - 12/3/2015 ...Community Highlight: Rising Tides in Watertown ... WEDC Insights: International Opportunities in United Arab Emirates... REGIONAL NEWS ...Evansville I&E Club December 9, 6:30pm Creekside Place, Evansville...The Future Wisconsin Economic Summit 2015 December 9, 8:30am-3pm Monona Terrace, Madison ...2015 BioForward Annual Member Meeting December 9, 5-7:30pm Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, Madison ...Funding Opportunity: Idle Industrial Site Competition Deadline: December 11...gener8tor Madison 2016 Early Application Deadline: December 13 Final Deadline: January 2 ...Request for Proposals: Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development Resource Fund Deadline: December 21, 2pm...
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MIG Commercial Real Estate

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

Wisconsin utilities lead in fighting solar energy

 Wisconsin - 3/12/2015 Once considered a Midwestern leader in clean energy development, Wisconsin is now referenced as one state where electric utilities with the backing of regulators are putting up financial roadblocks against the solar industry. A stinging new report in the Washington Post mentions Wisconsin along with New Mexico and Arizona as states where traditional utilities like WE Energies and Madison Gas & Electric are fighting to maintain electric sales in the face of a changing marketplace....

Ken Notes: I hope this is not the case and I will continue to push for more solar and wind from the power companies. I did suggest including this in the rate restructuring. WDNGreen.com covers this issue in far more depth. We need to now stay vigilant in our request that Wisconsin create and maintain an affordable, sustainable, cleaner, power grid for our future. The companies were worried about "unfair" competition now the playing field is level and they need to step up and get in the game. The legislative agenda to ban wind and reduce solar would be a good place to start!
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Cabelas and Marcus movie theaters in Sun Prairie to open April 30

 Sun Prairie - 3/12/2015 The opening of two major additions to the Shoppes at Prairie Lakes has been set.
Cabela's and Marcus Theatres' Palace Cinema of Sun Prairie will both open on April 30, according to officials with the city.
The Cabela's is an 86,000-square-foot store that features hunting, fishing and other outdoor gear and clothing and will become the fourth Wisconsin store for the retailer. It joins stores in Richfield, Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. ...

Ken Notes: Neil toss the rest of us a bone will ya...
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Miron Construction building Monroe infant formula plant for Chinese company

 3/19/2015 Neenah-based Miron Construction will partner with Power Engineers to design and build an infant formula plant in Monroe for Amlat, a Chinese-owned company headquartered in Madison. To start in June at a site in the Monroe Business and Industrial Park in Green County, the 60,000-square-foot greenfield construction will consist of a precast dryer tower, a wet processing area, a small warehouse and office space, according to a news release. Powdered infant formula made at the plant will be exported to meet growing demand for formula in China....
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Epic System auditorium, contractor win national award

 VERONA - 3/26/2015 Epic Systems Corp.s Deep Space auditorium was judged best new building over $200 million Thursday by the Associated General Contractors of America, while the contractor that built it, Madison-based JP Cullen, was named the Alliant Build America Grand Award winner.

Located 73 feet underground, the auditorium was designed to blend with the rural landscape via a rock-and-cave-style facade and six acres of green roofing. With 11,400 seats spread over 800,000 square feet, and a 70-by-40-foot screen, the structure took 1,400 employees to build and is bolstered by 33.3 million pounds of steel....

Ken Notes: 11,400 seats and NO basketball court, do you have any idea how big that is!!!!
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Scott Walker dumps budget proposal that would have exempted WEDC records

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 Gov. Scott Walkers office said Wednesday the Legislatures budget committee should drop two new exemptions to the states open records law for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The troubled job-creation agency is scheduled to be discussed Thursday by the Legislatures Joint Finance Committee. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau prepared a memo for the committee suggesting the records exemptions could be wide-ranging....
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Massive Verona hotel proposal revised

 VERONA - 6/11/2015 Plans to build one of the areas largest hotels in Verona have shifted and now call for two hotels and a large banquet hall.

Developers David Reinke and KSW Construction are seeking approval to built a four-story, 136-room Hyatt Place hotel with an adjacent banquet facility that could accommodate up to 600 people.

The proposed 91,000-square-foot hotel and roughly 14,800-square-foot banquet hall make up the developers second plans for a hotel development along Highway 151 in southeast Verona....
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Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy to celebrate 20-year anniversary Saturday

 Middleton - 6/25/2015 Two decades have passed since a Middleton non-profit formed to stop construction of sewers in a local nature conservancy.

Since then, the groups mission has morphed it now focuses on education and restoration.

On Saturday, the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy celebrates its 20th anniversary with activities ranging from bird watching to live music....

Ken Notes: What a great space. This is what development should be. Small lots, a mix of homes, and great use of green-space.
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Madison slated for more than 5,500 new apartments through 2017

 Madison - 7/9/2015 Just how many apartments have gone up in Madison recently, and how many more are on the way?

Its a somewhat complicated question, but the latest available figures from the city of Madisons planning division showed nearly 1,800 apartments were built in the city from 2012 to 2014 with more than 800 of those units in and around the Downtown, according to Matt Wachter, the citys housing initiatives specialist.

Another 3,712 apartments were expected to be built between 2015 and 2017, with more than half or 2,051 units slated for the core Downtown, or roughly between Park and Blair streets, city planners said....
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Legislature approves Milwaukee Bucks arena deal

 Madison - 7/30/2015 The Wisconsin state Assembly voted Tuesday to spend $250 million in public funds on a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, a deal that both Republicans and Democrats lauded as good for the state and city.

No one spoke against the measure, which passed on a bipartisan 52-34 vote as Bucks coach Jason Kidd and team president Peter Feigin watched from the gallery. They made the rounds before and after the roughly hourlong debate, posing for pictures with both lawmakers and members of the public....

Ken Notes: Game on...
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Filament Games moves cool workspace into old AT&T Building downtown

 Madison - 8/13/2015 The AT&T Building in downtown Madison is still undergoing its $30 million renovations. Upon entering the dusty main floor, Brandon Pittser, marketing director for Filament Games, a 10-year-old educational video game company that relocated from Madisons Atwood neighborhood to the building last month, makes a joke about the space resembling a post-apocalyptic wasteland....

Ken Notes: The key is simple, improve performance and output through design. Fine the right combination and the space is in essence free. Get it wrong and employees leave to find a work environment that empowers them...
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Everyone should have a chance to start a business, speakers say

 Madison - 8/27/2015 Madison is creating a lot of opportunities for people who want to start a business, but not everyone is getting access to them. Thats what several speakers told the Social Good Summit, one of the opening events of the 2015 Forward Festival on Thursday. There are two dialogues surrounding entrepreneurship in Madison, said Preston Austin, co-organizer of Forward Fest. One is for people who have access to (tools to create) startups. The other is for people of color and, to a lesser degree, women, who feel they are living in a different world....

Ken Notes: Yep...
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Huge Morgridge gift grows beyond UW expectations

 UW Madison - 9/10/2015 The largest-ever gift to UW-Madison has turned out bigger than expected.

Endowments of nearly $250 million have been pledged in the ?Morgridge Match? campaign that began in November, officials announced Tuesday.

The money is expected to produce interest income of $11 million annually to make faculty salaries more competitive and fund research that will help in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty members.

It couldn?t have come at a more crucial time, said Chancellor Rebecca Blank....

Ken Notes: THANK YOU all...
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New plans unveiled for Madison Dairy site on East Washington Avenue

 Madison - 9/17/2015 The developer that had proposed an office and apartment building along with a concert hall along East Washington Avenue is offering a new plan for the site.

Stone House Development has submitted plans with the city for a 10-story building that would include 200 apartments, more than 12,000 square feet of retail space and a parking facility for 355 vehicles on the former Madison Dairy Produce Co. site, 1000 East Washington Ave....

Ken Notes: Again a simple question - Is this better than the original proposal or just more conforming???
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Union Corners grocery, apartment development gets Plan Commission approval

 Madison - 9/24/2015 Another piece of the Union Corners puzzle is closer to being put in place.

Madison`s Plan Commission on Monday voted unanimously to forward to the City Council a proposal for a building containing a grocery store, commercial space and 100 apartments.

The five-story, L-shaped building at the corner of East Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street takes up about 3 acres of the larger, 11.5-acre Union Corners development that has been in the planning process for more than a decade....
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Apple could owe UW-Madison $862M in patent lawsuit

 UW Madison - 10/15/2015 A federal jury found on Tuesday that Apple Inc. could owe the University of Wisconsin-Madison up to $862 million in damages after it used technology owned by the university's licensing arm without permission in chips found in iPhones and iPads. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) sued Apple in January of 2014 for alleged infringement of its 1998 patent that improves processor efficiency. The U.S. District Court jury in Madison had to determine if Apple's A7, A8 and A8X processors, which can be found in iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus and several versions of the iPad, violate the patent. Court papers indicate Apple contended the patent is invalid, but the jury found otherwise....

Ken Notes: Lets cut a deal for 100 million per year over ten years and student computers at cost for the same time-frame. Everyone wins and Apple becomes a UW supporter for at least a decade...
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Don`t subsidize Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 11/5/2015 The recent setback to the Judge Doyle Square project has solidified my opposition to using any more tax dollars to subsidize Downtown private projects.

We have already spent enough public money, maybe more than enough, on Downtown. If private investors wish to develop Judge Doyle Square, fine. Let them do so with private money. Let them take the risks, and make the profits -- if any. I suspect Downtown investment has reached the diminishing returns level, but let`s let private investors decide this....

Ken Notes: Remember TIF is designed to be a "but for" gap solution. The site will be difficult to develop and there are a number of gaps and needs to addressed. So TIF becomes a solution NOT a subsidy. I continue to believe if The City Hall Building (and the County Building for that matter) is not on the table as a part of the project the square becomes that much more difficult to develop. There are great opportunities out there but you need to all the options and solutions, pick one and address the gaps in financing and the value of that investment to the community.
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OPINION: City should pursue Downtown dream

 Madison - 11/12/2015 Madison has a rare second chance to save Downtown Madison.

Now that Exact Sciences has pulled out of the Judge Doyle Square project, it is time to get started making the area between the Capitol Square and Lake Monona every bit as electric as State Street with a better view.

Renaissance man and veteran architect Kenton Peters believes as I (Mitch Henck) do that people have to live Downtown to have vibrant energy at all hours of the day....

Ken Notes: Peters has some great ideas. Monetizing them will be the challenge and one I hope we look at. I am a fan of building over John Nolen and growing the downtown. I firmly believe we need a new City Hall that is both functional and aesthetic. We also should throw other building into the mix, DHFS, the County Building and others...
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Cap Times reporter Bryna Godar talks Judge Doyle Square on WORT

 Madison - 12/3/2015 The ambitious downtown project now known as Judge Doyle Square has been through multiple iterations over the past decade, including parking, a hotel, a train station, a public market and headquarters for biotech company Exact Sciences Corp.

After a deal with Exact Sciences and developer JDS Development fell through in early November, the city returned to three other developers who submitted proposals for the project in May...

Ken Notes: I like WORT but we need these discussions on our TV News and in the large state newspapers, the idea of the internet and public supported outlets replacing mainstream media is fraught with problems. And I am an internet based publicly supported outlet...
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Landlord-tenant bill draws concerns from city officials throughout Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 12/10/2015 A wide-reaching bill regulating the rights of landlords, tenants and municipalities is set for a public hearing in front of an Assembly committee Thursday, about a week after it was introduced.

The bill has drawn objections from city officials and tenants` rights advocates, while two regional apartment associations are registered to lobby in favor of it.

Its authors, Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Rep. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville, described it in a cosponsorship memo as "a technical bill designed to make it easier for landlords to provide Wisconsin residents with quality housing." ...

Ken Notes: I am confused don`t we need to work with the local communities to create the best housing markets for there communities?
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Metro Transit bus facility to cost city $10 million more than planned

 Madison - 4/16/2015 Madison`s finance committee approved a proposal Monday afternoon that would move up construction of a Metro Transit bus facility from 2018 to 2016 and cost the city $10 million more than anticipated. The change is spurred by uncertainty about how much money the federal government is willing to contribute to the project coupled with an imminent need for more bus storage, but the increased borrowing will add stress to an already tight budget....

Ken Notes: This is a PERFECT opportunity for a public private partnership. Other Bus Co's, Cabs, airport, hotels and more...
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A Great Business Idea!!!

 Madison - 4/23/2015 Smart markers could soon help forest rangers in national parks find lost hikers, or they could give engineers data on bridge corrosion.

They could offer tourists more details about historic sites, or show construction crews what types of utility lines are buried at a digging site all by checking a smartphone app....

Ken Notes: I so wish I had thought of this!!!!
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National focus on UW System sharpening over tenure, governance

 Wisconsin - 6/4/2015 Already dismayed by prospective cuts to the University of Wisconsin System, higher education observers now suggest the state could become an academic pariah if the Legislature scales back two treasured tenets of academia tenure and shared governance.

The impact would be far-reaching if language in a GOP plan that expands the reasons tenured faculty could be laid off or terminated wins support of the full Legislature and becomes law, said Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors.

Ken Notes: The legislature should not run UW system. Tell them what is available financially from the State, cut if you must, and then get out of the way. Let the UW establish priorities and make the cuts, find new revenue, and adjust. I would also establish a long term budget so they can plan ahead. May I suggest for the hundredth time that the stake could take over huge expenditure items, like health care, to remove these items from the bargaining table for ALL units of government receiving state funds...
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Octopi announces brewmaster, brewery nearing completion

 Waunakee - 7/16/2015 Isaac Showaki has invested heavily in water-related equipment for his new brewery here.

Hes found a brewmaster with an impressive resume, too.

Michael Krause, former brewmaster at Oso Brewing Co. in Plover, will oversee the brewing operation at the $5 million Octopi Brewing Co. scheduled to open in September in the Waunakee Industrial Park....

Ken Notes: The room for craft beer growth is huge, I was in Michigan a great deal this summer and other that Linie there was little if any craft product on the shelves. Like cheese now Wisconsin could become the mecca for craft brewed small batch beers nation wide....

Here is a link worth looking at. This graph shows the sales of the leading domestic beer brands of the United States in 2015.
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OPINION: To get economic development right, shut down WEDC

 Wisconsin - 9/3/2015 Scott Walker created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. with much fanfare after his election as governor in 2010. The governor claimed that Wisconsin needed to distribute tax dollars to private corporations through a secretive new agency that did not operate according to traditional economic development rules and standards in order to meet the promise on which he was elected: to create 250,000 new jobs. To ensure that all went as planned, Walker made himself the chairman of the WEDC board. Walker appointed his cronies to top positions and set the tone for an agency that was supposedly going to function more efficiently and more effectively than the old state Department of Commerce....

Ken Notes: Nope, keep WEDC and draft legislation governing the operation.
1. Track everything.
2. Employee (partial) and partner with Local ED Professionals.
3. Use tax credits to base grants on new employment.
4. Work with developers to generate new projects.
5. Work with legislature and UW system to keep grads in the state...
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R.A. Smith Nationals -- Grants & Funding

 Wisconsin - 3/5/2015 Welcome to the March 2015 issue of R.A. Smith Nationals Grants & Funding e-newsletter. As always, we hope you find the information useful and welcome your input. If you require assistance with grant research or application preparation for a specific project, please contact Karen Wiesneski at 262-317-3292 or karen.wiesneski@rasmithnational.com....

Ken Notes: Great resource I will include a link from time to time. Thanks Karen!
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Cool Workspaces - Bendyworks

 Madison - 3/19/2015 Large windows at Bendyworks overlook King Street, which is perfect for the company's Live on King Street parties. Employees and friends open the windows and enjoy the sounds of the free concert and a bird's-eye view....

Ken Notes: I would love an office like this!!
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Wisconsin chamber of commerce backs eliminating tax

 Wisconsin - 3/26/2015 Wisconsin's chamber of commerce is backing a Republican plan in the state Legislature to repeal the personal property tax on business equipment.

The proposal is meeting resistance because homeowners would have to make up for the lost revenue, which comes to about $80 a year for the owner of a typical home.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobbyist Scott Manley said in a statement Thursday that the personal property tax on business equipment is antiquated and needs to be eliminated. He says doing that will make the state more competitive.

Real estate agents and local government officials are urging rejection of the idea, saying the shift in the tax burden is unacceptable....

Ken Notes: Tough issue because every company reports a little differently and many not at all. I would repeal the tax and create an offsetting income tax that would be distributed as local revenue to the communities. Or better yet remove a local expense from communities like health benefits for public employees. One state system for all employees and an option for the private sector to participate.
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Federal fraud trial of former Anchor Bank executive begins

 Madison - 4/2/2015 AnchorBank officials knew about a former executives financial stake in the sale of Anchors interest in a Texas industrial park development and didnt speak out against it at the time, the lawyer for former executive David Weimert told jurors as Weimerts wire fraud trial began Monday. Weimert, 64, of Madison, is being tried on six counts of federal wire fraud....
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Board of Commissioners of Public Lands bans staff from climate change work

 Wisconsin - 4/9/2015 The state Board of Commissioners of Public Lands Tuesday voted to prohibit staff from addressing climate change, even if it's just responding to emails on the subject, according to a Bloomberg news report.

State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, who sits on the board, raised the issue on Tuesday, pointing to climate change work done by the board's exectuve director, Tia Nelson.

Nelson, the daughter of Gaylord Nelson, the U.S. senator who founded Earth Day, worked on climate changes issues in 2007 and 2008 after being appointed to a global warming task force by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle....

Ken Notes: Isn't that like asking The Governor not to address conservative issues while in office??? The Board of Public Lands is off the radar screen as far as the state`s citizens know. They manage huge tracts of land for the benefit of schools and low cost loans to government entities. I personally believe the land management should move to the DNR and the financial end should move to a trust managed by ETF or Treasures Office. I like Tia, but the department and staff is duplicative. The board could still oversee the funds and assure that they are managed for the schools...
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Regent Market eyes major expansion including beer, wine

 Madison - 4/16/2015 Major changes are coming for the tiny Regent Market Co-op.

The historic neighborhood grocery at 2136 Regent St. is moving to purchase the building next door, currently home to Mikes Wine Shop, and connecting it to the 1,500 square foot store, nearly doubling the available space.

Plans then call for remodeling the liquor store, expanding the butcher shop and adding a lunch counter geared toward students from nearby Madison West High School....

Ken Notes: One of my favorite little markets. Note Beer and Wine are the engine that can provide revenue for other quality service. So I am OK with this. In fact better Regent than a gas station that does little for me. Just a note you can not by liquor in a Neenah gas station and this is a brilliant idea....
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Madison leaders urge peaceful, respectful protests following Tony Robinson decision in PSA

 Madison Area - 4/23/2015 Three influential leaders in Madisons African-American community put out a public service announcement Tuesday urging parents to have a dialogue with their children ahead of Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozannes decision on whether to charge the Madison police officer involved in the shooting of Tony Robinson.

Robinson, a 19-year-old black male, was shot and killed by officer Matt Kenny on March 6 on Madisons east side. The state Department of Criminal Investigation investigated the shooting and turned over a report to Ozanne at the end of March. Ozanne has said he will give 48 hours notice before he announces his decision on whether to charge Kenny....

Ken Notes: We have GREAT leadership in Madison. I just finished a book, "The Quaker Cafe" I highly recommend it the ending is exactly what we need. Watch the VIDEO here!
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Jim Berbee to be honored at Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference

 Wisconsin - 4/30/2015 Jim Berbee will be honored with the "Seize the Day" award at the 2015 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference in Madison in June.

Berbee founded Berbee Information Networks Corp., a Fitchburg information technology company started in 1993. It was sold to CDW, Vernon Hills, Illinois, for $175 million in 2006.

Berbee had 11 offices, two data centers, and 800 employees around the Midwest -- including 300 local employees -- when it was sold.

Berbee also started the Berbee Derby Thanksgiving Day run/walk in 2004 to raise funds for the Technology Education Foundation....

Ken Notes: Congrats!!
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Information sector sees greatest wage growth in Dane County

 Madison Area - 5/14/2015 Wage growth has been greater in Dane County than in Wisconsin as a whole in almost every job sector over the last 10 years, but one industry in particular has seen a large improvement.
The average weekly wage for jobs in the information sector in Dane County in the third quarter of 2014 was $1,507, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's up 28 percent from the inflation-adjusted wage in 2004....

Ken Notes: The tech sector may be a bit skewed by EPIC but Madison is a great place for business...
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Fiskars to build new Americas headquarters in Middleton, add 55 jobs

 Middleton - 5/14/2015 Fiskars, the Finnish consumer products company best known for its orange-handled scissors, announced Wednesday it would build a new base of operations for North, Central and South America in Middleton and create 55 jobs as part of a $26.3 million project that also will move a longtime Fiskars location out of Madison. Expected to open in fall 2016, the new building could employ up to 400 people in 108,000 square feet of office, research and development space. Wisconsin also sweetened the pot for Fiskars, pledging up to $800,000 in state tax credits tied to the new jobs through 2018 and $3.15 million in tax increment financing from Middleton to help with site development, a statement from Gov. Scott Walkers office said...

Ken Notes: Fiskars gets 14K per employee while others get nothing? See why we need a uniform tax credit for new jobs...
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Democrats to call for legislative oversight of troubled job-creation agency

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 Democrats plan to call Thursday for legislative oversight of Gov. Scott Walker's flagship job-creation agency in the wake of another scathing audit and a State Journal report that found Walker's top aides pushed for a questionable loan deal in 2011.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said in an interview Thursday he has concerns that agency employees have been under political pressure to "do things they wouldn't be doing normally." He said the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is "failing miserably."...
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UW-Madison faculty: Eroding tenure will squelch core of Wisconsin Idea

 Wisconsin - 6/4/2015 The fearless sifting and winnowing that is the core of the Wisconsin Idea would be squelched by the erosion of support for tenure in state law proposed by legislative Republicans, say leaders of a lobbying organization of UW-Madison faculty.

It is above all the promise of academic freedom directly afforded by tenure that provides the fertile ground for independent scholarly inquiry, leaders of PROFS wrote in a strongly worded statement released Tuesday. That promise would be rendered hollow by the provision in the omnibus motion on faculty and staff dismissals. The fearless sifting and winnowing central to the Wisconsin Idea would be no more....

Ken Notes: Tenure is a determining factor in where professors land for sure. As is pay and some are paid way too well others not enough. Again I would let the UW's figure out the solutions based on what they get from the state and can charge for tuition. I would also mandate a % of Wisconsin students and create incentives to keep students here when they graduate.
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Brewpub planned for South Park Street

 Madison - 6/11/2015 Lanes Bakery has moved south to the Villager Mall but yeast and grains may be returning to the bakerys former site in the shape of the Rockhound Brewing Co.

Nate Warnke, a Madison native and homebrewer for the last 10 years, has proposed a 4,000-square-foot brewpub at 444 S. Park St. that will serve food and brew 15 to 20 barrels of beer a week....
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Kaleem Caire pushes conversations with homeless on revamping top of State Street

 Madison - 6/18/2015 As the city of Madison grapples with complaints about negative behaviors and crime at the top of State Street, community leader Kaleem Caire wants to ensure the individuals at the center of the issue are being included in the conversation.

We should be willing to go down there and talk to people about the challenges that we have and deal with them as human beings, Caire said. Theyre still citizens of our community and they just deserve respect....

Ken Notes: I believe Kaleem is on the right track and bringing all the parties to the table is exactly what is needed. I have suggested this for a few year now. We need to remember there will have to be MANY solutions and some may need to be outside the box ideas while others may be mainstream. I believe we need to bring the actual homeless (and homefree) to the table and have them suggest solutions and way to enforce good behavior. Homefree by the way are those who choose a homeless lifestyle over any other option. They do not want to be rescued or sheltered, they want a lifestyle that allows them the freedom they crave.
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Collaboration key in designing new Southwest Side community facilities

 Madison - 6/25/2015 Residents on Madisons Southwest Side will celebrate new educational and employment opportunities Wednesday, when the second of two neighborhood centers in the area officially opens its doors. Its finally here, said Ald. Matthew Phair, 20th District, who represents the Meadowood neighborhood. All the neighbors labor (has) come to fruition....
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UW-Madison academic units to cut $23 million under Scott Walker budget

 UW Madison - 7/2/2015 UW-Madison academic units are preparing to absorb nearly $23 million in cuts under Gov. Scott Walkers 2015-2017 budget, a campus spokesperson said this week. Administrative units will cut $9 million in expenses.

The College of Letters and Science, the campus largest, will make the largest cut at $7.4 million followed by the School of Medicine and Public Health ($3.3 million) and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ($2.76 million)....

Ken Notes: I hope we find ways to do more with less revenue. I promise there is room to make some cuts without harming the system, students, or the economy. I just do not think we will find them unless we are working together on the solutions...
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Madison-area apartment construction still booming

 Madison - 7/9/2015 Tired of visiting Madison only on weekends, and paying for a hotel room to do it, Todd Grubofski decided to rent a place here after seeing a big hole in the ground while driving around Downtown with friends in 2013.

A billboard at the site read Domain luxury apartments coming soon, and Grubofski, 41, was intrigued....

Ken Notes: Wow $2,300 is a lot to pay for lifestyle with no equity but it seems to be working. I never argue with success...
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For one week, Madison will be the center of the unicycling world

 Madison - 7/23/2015 If youre out and about in the coming week at the Farmers' Market, AtwoodFest, the Arboretum or just hanging out at Tenney Park youre likely to encounter young people doing things you never thought possible on one wheel.

Thats because from Saturday to Aug. 1, Madison will play host to the North American Unicycle Convention and Championships, which will field more than 200 unicyclists from over 30 states and Canada. And many of those competitors will be making the rounds at various local venues to draw attention to one of the worlds rapidly growing sports...

Ken Notes: These events are great for Madison. There are so many mid size conventions that we can host. We need to market the city and all the venue and hotel space as a pick and choose package. We also need to expand our camping options. The FAMILY MOTOR COACH ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION event this weekend will demonstrate this well.
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Cap Times editorial: Scott Walker is just plain wrong about Clean Power Plan

 Wisconsin - 8/6/2015 Gov. Scott Walker greeted the Obama administration's release Monday of the final version of the Clean Power Plan with this: "President Obama's plan should be called the Costly Power Plan because it will cost hardworking Americans jobs and raise their energy rates. It will be like a buzz saw on the nation's economy. I will stand up for American workers and stop the Costly Power Plan." And almost immediately his attorney general, Brad Schimel, said Wisconsin would join other states in a lawsuit seeking to stop the rule's implementation....

Ken Notes: This is more an article for our sister publication WDNGreen.com but the issue will impact the state. I may be missing something, but I hear a lot of business professionals and energy experts saying the new goals are attainable without impacting business. If I am wrong let me know. I also hear about jobs in the coal industry, but do we have a clue as to how many jobs were displaced by computer technology. I suggest we ban the use of computers to put people back to work, oh and ban cars to get the stable jobs back... Also a thumbs up to CAP Times for including so much data in their article!!!
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UW-Marshfield prof says cuts at colleges could slam door to education for many

 Wisconsin - 8/13/2015 A proposal to merge University of Wisconsin System colleges with the state technical college system on top of a plan to regionalize the UW colleges threatens to slam the door to education for Wisconsin students who need it most, said UW-Marshfield/Wood County associate professor Kelly Wilz.

The contraction of the two-year school system through cuts in state funding to the UW System is sparking an exodus among the skilled and dedicated instructors who are her colleagues, Wilz wrote on her blog, Dissent and Cookies, in a post picked up by The Academe Blog of the American Association of University Professors...

Ken Notes: I truly wish we could sit down and discuss creating a world class post secondary system in Wisconsin. No disrespect intended but the fact that we have so many private options suggests we could offer more for less. Crying the sky is falling at this point is premature - cloudy yes falling no.
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Guide to beer gardens in Milwaukee-area parks

 Milwaukee - 8/13/2015 Getting a beer in Milwaukee is as easy as a walk in the park. That must be what our forefathers had in mind when they introduced the beer garden to America. Beer gardens use nature as the backdrop to enjoy a freshly poured stein of suds you know, like tailgating without the game. Four years ago, Hans Weissgerber III, whose company runs Estabrook Beer Garden, brought the Milwaukee County Parks his idea, insight and floor plan for what a modern-day beer garden might look like to Estabrook. The Landing at Hoyt Park, sparked by the group Friends of Hoyt Park, followed; then Humboldt Park, which is operated by St. Francis Brewing; and the Traveling Beer Gardens, which serve Sprecher beer out of re-imagined emergency vehicles....

Ken Notes: This would work in Madison as well... Allow local breweries to build a kiosk at select parks control age and abuse with a vengeance and Madison becomes a regular destination for tourists...
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Officials look to solve a yearslong homeless problem in a few weeks

 Madison - 8/20/2015 Madison and Dane County officials who want to bar the chronic homeless from the City-County Building by this fall are looking to sweeten the deal by first ramping up efforts to get them the treatment and shelter they need.

Its not a bad idea. I wonder why Madison Mayor Paul Soglin didnt try that the first two times he tried to kick them out....

Ken Notes: We are still not communicating with the client (the homeless). They know they can go to Porchlight if the need to they CHOOSE not to. Why are we thinking a cattle herding mentality will work here. It won't. Each case is different and will require a different solution. We need more options and solutions that fit the needs of the client. The Mayor is doing his best to address a specific problem and will work with others to address solutions. We need to put a number of solutions on the street as see which work and which do not. Blaming the Mayor is simply not fair unless he is rejecting real solutions an he works to address the issue....
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Photos: Union Corners construction

 Madison - 8/27/2015 ...A construction crew member bulldozes dirt into place at the Union Corners site along East Washington Avenue....

Ken Notes: I love it when they are in the dirt....
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Proposed Madison public market will have to be delayed until 2021

 Madison - 9/3/2015 A much-anticipated public market planned for the citys East Side next year will be delayed until 2021, Mayor Paul Soglin said, blaming the rising cost of city borrowing.

The public market is of great importance to the city, Soglin said Monday. It will provide employment to a significant number of people with a wide variety of job skills. It will be a major contributor to the regional economy. I cant think of a greater disappointment over a capital project.

A draft business plan would repurpose the citys aging Fleet Services garage at North First and East Johnson streets into a $9.5 million to $13.5 million public market with retail, wholesale and food production facilities with the potential for a demonstration kitchen, restaurants, brewery, wine bar and other offerings....

WAIT look at the Grand Rapids Market! HERE. Google Grand Rapids Market and view the images! WE CAN DO THIS NOW!

Ken Notes: Arghhhhh!!! Move the market to the new Central Park, Create an indoor outdoor space for it, Look at the one in Grand Rapids above. I will charter a bus if anyone wants to drive over and see it. Enlist a public private partnership to get it done...
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Taylor Beebe: I am Mad City Frites owner, and I love Madison too

 Madison - 9/10/2015 My dream has been to operate a restaurant, and I have been extremely fortunate to realize my goal. I am also dedicated to the well-being and continued growth of my hometown and the city I dearly love ? Madison, Wisconsin.

As a small-business owner and Madison native, I understand that I have a unique set of responsibilities. As many of you know, at a recent City Council meeting the vote on my restaurant?s liquor license was on clear display for all to see....

Ken Notes: This is less than brilliant on the part of Madison. We can not punish current businesses to attract the businesses we want. We need to work with developers and owners to establish a positive and cost effective environment for retail. This will require co-ops, an online presence, pop ups, and retail incubator space. Also an increase in destination traffic must be high in the list.
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Gener8tor focuses on growing Wisconsin-made startups

 Madison - 9/17/2015 A new program from Madison startup accelerator gener8tor is focusing on fostering growth in Wisconsin-born startups.

According to its director, gBeta, which graduated its first class last month, was created in part because gener8tor began fielding a huge number of applications from businesses outside of Wisconsin.

It's becoming increasingly more competitive for Wisconsin-based companies to get into the program, said Sara Woldt, director of gBeta.

Gener8tor's program offers mentorship and financial support to early-stage companies. It takes five companies per session, which is a 1 percent acceptance rate, Woldt said. There are two sessions per year....

Ken Notes: There are a number of these in the area, we need a retail space version to create the same opportunities. We could create a physical site and a online store featuring a variety of retail offerings.
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Paul Soglin reveals inner conservative with dubious take on the homeless

 Madison - 9/24/2015 Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has again aired his view that the reward for being compassionate and trying to help the homeless is, well, more homelessness.

It's a version of a refrain popular among conservatives: People are wont to take advantage of welfare, and providing too much of it serves to sap their work ethic and facilitates a life of government dependency....

Ken Notes: Hardly conservative, Paul is in management mode. I agree it is a problem in need of management, I also believe a wider array of solutions and some ownership on the part of the homeless is needed. They need to be a part of the solution as well as the problem.
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Increased demand packing UW-Madison computer science classes

 UW Madison - 10/1/2015 A growing appreciation for the value of learning how to code has led to skyrocketing enrollments in computer science courses at UW-Madison that are stretching resources, says department chairman Mark Hill.

Classes once populated by students majoring in computer science or closely related fields like engineering or physics now include those preparing to do research in any number of science fields or prepare for careers in business, journalism and many other areas, Hill said....

Ken Notes: Now we need to keep them in the state after they graduate. We (UW Milwaukee) trained the CEO of Microsoft, and other fortune 500 companies now lets work with them and others to create jobs in the state.
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Cap Times and 100state to host panel on growing, improving the Madison startup scene

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Though Wisconsin is ranked 50th in the country for startup activity, the Madison startup scene is growing. Startup hub 100state now houses a wide array of budding businesses from the guerrilla marketing Startup Rangers, to a startup aiming to bring yoga to educators and a company that recently visited the White House.

Gener8tor, a startup incubator based in Madison, has been named one of the top incubators in the country. And StartingBlock, a startup hub set to open on East Washington Avenue next year, has raised millions for its construction.

Now`s the time to talk about what Madison is doing right in the startup space ? and what it can do better.

The Cap Times and 100state will host a Cap Times Talk, "What Madison does well ? and could do better ? for startups," on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at 100state, 30 W. Mifflin St. The panel will be preceded by a meet-and-greet starting at 6:30 p.m....

Ken Notes: I am now a member of 100State and think they can do much for startups in the area, but the real key will be legislative efforts to keep graduates and entrepreneurs in the state.
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UW-Madison launching major fundraising campaign

 Wisconsin - 10/15/2015
With alumni returning to campus for Homecoming weekend, UW-Madison is set to announce the public launch of a major multi-year fundraising campaign Thursday night.

Called the Comprehensive Campaign, it will be the fourth and, Chancellor Rebecca Blank says, most ambitious such drive in UW-Madison`s history, with the goal of raising an amount of money officials have not yet publicly disclosed to support students and faculty at the university....

Ken Notes: I here Apple is considering a MAJOR contribution...
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Let`s move ahead on day resource center for the homeless

 Madison - 10/22/2015 Here Dane County government is again, talking about a daytime resource center. Honestly, I've lost count of how many times it feels like we've finally got something going. I'm sure at this point many of us know why this dream is one we've pursued for so long. Homeless folks have no place to stay during the day. Wisconsin winters are brutal enough as it is. The time and money it takes to travel and find all the various services available to homeless folks is a full-time job....

Ken Notes: I half agree, but the real value in this corridor is height and my guess is that they (the county board) could trade the air space to a developer in exchange for a completed facility with showers, laundry, storage, day space, and a storm/weather shelter. Allowing the cultures to coexist is good for both as well. You will get better design, function, and appearance from those working to protect their interest in the entire site. Just a thought...
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Is food tech Madison`s next startup trend -- Industry

 Madison - 10/29/2015 The Madison area is known for its health IT startups, but there may be another game in town soon, according to some industry insiders: food tech, technology that connects users with their favorite restaurants and grocery stores.

Tom Still, director of the Wisconsin Technology Council, asked a set of panelists on Tuesday afternoon in Madison if they thought Madison ? or Wisconsin in general ? could become a hub for restaurant and grocery store-focused technology companies....

Ken Notes: Madison needs incubator space for several vertical markets we have IT, CoWorking, and Manufacturing and design -- but wet lab, food research, food prep/kitchen, and other science related spaces are expensive and hard to come by. Our grads with great ideas are forced to work for large bio or food companies so the have the space needed to be creative. Working out of 100 State has introduced me to a number of very bright people with good ideas and no lab space to grow...
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How Walmart Became a Sustainability Leader

 National - 11/19/2015 On Oct. 23, 2005, Lee Scott, at the time CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., spoke from the auditorium of the company's Home Office in Bentonville, Ark., the first time a company speech had been livecast to every one of the company's stores, clubs and distribution centers....

One store manager in Waveland, Mississippi, took a bulldozer to clear a path into and through her store, finding every dry item she could to give to neighbors who needed shoes, socks, food and water. "She didn't call the Home Office and ask permission," Scott noted. "She just did the right thing."...Katrina asked this critical question, and I want to ask it of you: What would it take for Walmart to be that company, at our best, all the time? What if we used our size and resources to make this country and this earth an even better place for all of us: customers, associates, our children and generations unborn? What would that mean? Could we do it? Is this consistent with our business model? What if the very things that many people criticize us for - our size and reach - became a trusted friend and ally to all, just as it did in Katrina?

Ken Notes: Interesting read. I have often been critical of Walmart, and still am, but I would love to see companies like this lead the way to a more sustainable future. They are marketing brilliance so we have to do the due diligence required to see if they practice what they preach. I remember the made in America campaign which was used to bring people into the store only to sell them the less expensive stuff made over seas...
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Kraft Heinz subsidy for net loss of jobs stirs debate in Iowa

 Wisconsin - 11/19/2015 Next year, Kraft Heinz will begin work on a new $200 million plant near Eldridgem Iowa. But when the company moves from its longtime location in downtown Davenport, it guarantees taking only 475 workers with it. Possibly hundreds more will lose their jobs. Yet, Kraft Heinz, a company that reported nearly $6.4 billion in sales last quarter, will pocket millions of dollars in state and local incentives....

Ken Notes: Have I ever mentioned a tax credit for job creation instead of incentives???
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Project Home seeks recipients for Dane County program that pays for major home repairs

 Dane County - 4/9/2015 Having a roof over your head is a good start, but making sure it doesnt fall in on you matters, too. A program offered to Dane County residents living outside the city of Madison can help lower-income families make those kinds of major home repairs. Paid for through part of Dane Countys annual federal Community Development Block Grant funds, the rehabilitation program has been operated for more than 20 years by Project Home, a Madison-based nonprofit....
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Tiny Houses For The Homeless In Madison, WI

 Madison - 5/28/2015 Madison, Wisconsin, often ranks high on the those best places to live lists that come out from time to time. According to livability.com, Wisconsins state capital has a hip college atmosphere, great schools and health care and affordable housing and yet the number of homeless people is on the rise. From the Here & Now Contributors Newtork, Susan Bence with Milwaukee Public Radio reports on a program aimed at tackling the problem of homelessness in a small, but profound way....

Ken Notes: Listen to this! By the way if Madison is interested, WisconsinDevelopment.com and MadisonNotes.com will be happy to partner with others to publish a weekly street pub for the homeless to sell...
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Leading the Way to End Veteran Homelessness

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 One home at a timethat's how the nation is going to end to homelessness among Veterans. Yet the persistent shortage of low-cost housing across the country is a challenge too many communities face. Success depends in large part on housing providers being willing to generate more permanent housing for Veterans...

...Executive Director Michael Goldberg said Heartland Housing will soon break ground on a new 60-unit permanent supportive housing building in Madison, Wisconsin, where 20 of the units will be reserved for homeless Veterans.
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Paul Soglin mean to homeless?

 Madison - 6/18/2015 In "Two Minutes with Mitch" local radio personality Mitch Henck gives his two cents on Madison's ongoing homelessness saga...

Ken Notes: I sort of agree here, the Mayor in not the bad guy, but we need to get the homeless to recognize if they want to be homefree they need to play buy the rules, and further they should have a voice in establishing the rules.
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Pabst will brew beer again in Milwaukee at site of historic brewery

 Milwaukee - 7/16/2015 Pabst Brewing Co. will again brew beer in Milwaukee at the site of its historic former brewery, which the company shut down nearly 20 years ago.

The company will open a microbrewery, including a tasting room, at the former Pabst Brewing complex on downtown's west side. Most of the former brewery buildings have been redeveloped into a hotel, apartments, offices and other new uses, with more projects in the works.

The new brewery and tasting room will open in a former church, at the southeast corner of W. Juneau Ave. and N. 11th St., that was later used as an employee training and conference center by Pabst Brewing....

Ken Notes: see...
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Republicans propose eliminating legislators from WEDC Board

 Wisconsin - 8/6/2015 Two GOP lawmakers want to remove themselves and their Democratic counterparts from the board of the states troubled job-creation agency.

The proposal circulated Friday by Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, and Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, would replace the four legislators on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board with private-sector members, two appointed by the governor with Senate approval and one each appointed by the Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker....

Ken Notes: At the very least the liaison role is worth staying on the board. Instead of jumping ship, I would be asking my legislative board members to ask their colleagues to recommend new goals and programmatic changes to change the course. Have I ever mentioned a new jobs tax credit????
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Madison, Dane County reaching out to homeless on City-County Building`s front porch

 Madison - 8/20/2015 .Madison and Dane County are stepping up efforts to connect the homeless people sleeping on the City-County Buildings front porch to housing and services with the hope of ending the encampments soon.

City and county officials have been struggling with behavior problems on the buildings front porch that faces Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and at the Madison Municipal Building across the street.

The initiative to link the homeless to shelter and services follows a late-night knife fight and stabbing on Aug. 11 in front of the Municipal Building. Neither man involved was seriously wounded; both now face disorderly conduct charges and one faces a felony bail jumping charge...

Ken Notes: Have I mentioned we need lots of options to address this. Rules for conduct is NOT a bad thing. In fact, regarding those using the porch, if we can empower their peers to enforce behavior to maintain certain rights we may get better results. For example if we vacated the entire space for a few days as a crime scene we may see less tolerance among the residents for bad behavior by those who intend no harm.
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OPINION: Stop strangling the great UW System

 UW System - 10/1/2015 ...directed at the DNR, the Government Accountability Board, the state Retirement System, and especially the UW System.

For heaven`s sake dear Gov. Walker and Wisconsin Legislators, kindly take your fingers off the throat of Wisconsin`s best and greatest source of economic growth, namely our UW System. Travel anywhere in the world. Then mention UW-Madison. The universal response is generous praise for the teaching, research, and outreach achievements of UW-Madison along with genuine amazement regarding what this state of Wisconsin educational gem has done to benefit people all across the globe....

Ken Notes: I am a strong supporter of the UW System, that said I believe we could have sat down with the leadership and worked together to find the efficiencies we needed to reduce spending and create an even better system. We did not ask we told and now each part of the system is addressing the issue in their own way some looking for efficiencies and other cutting the programs to create the largest outcry. Have I mentioned this is a communication issue...
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UW-Madison eyes participation in Dane County homeless resource center

 UW Madison - 10/22/2015 The University of Wisconsin-Madison may be among the organizations to provide services at Dane County's planned homeless day resource center as part of an initiative that would also bring students the opportunity to work with others across disciplines.

Ruthanne Chun, a clinical professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, said Tuesday that UW-Madison intends to respond to a request for proposals Dane County is expected to issue within weeks....

Ken Notes: PLEASE we need all the help we can get!!!!
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Exactly wrong project is no big loss

 Madison - 11/5/2015 It would have been cool if Exact Sciences had moved downtown.

But it was never as important, never as much of a game changer, as city leaders said it was. The downtown is doing fine and it will continue to prosper even now that the company has retrenched into an expansion at its existing facility in the University Research Park.

There was always a curious air of desperation about the city's chasing of Exact Sciences. It put the taxpayers in a weak position as the city negotiated with the hard-driving developer, Bob Dunn, over the project.

Now that the whole project has crumbled the proposal included space for Exact Sciences, a new hotel to serve Monona Terrace, a refurbished Madison Municipal Building, lots of new parking and more the city is going back to the drawing board....

Ken Notes: Mayor Dave brings some great perspective and background here. It would be easy to suggest sour grapes, but he offers ideas and solutions well beyond that. Latter in the article he does talk about parking in Paris which is not fair as they have a real transit system. We do NOT....
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Ayres Associates - SAA Design Group

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Scott Walker`s plan to kill Stewardship Program is foolish

 Wisconsin - 3/5/2015 The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program has protected the glory of Wisconsin: our lakes, streams and rivers, our hills and wetlands, our wildlife and scenic beauty. The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program has provided the opportunity for millions of Wisconsin residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors bike paths, lakes, state parks and forests, campgrounds, hiking trails, and wildlife areas.

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is named after two governors: Republican Warren Knowles and Democrat Gaylord Nelson. It was signed into law by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, and reauthorized by Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat.

....I authored the Stewardship Program in 1989 with the advice of former Govs. Nelson and Knowles because I believe we have an obligation to make sure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty, wildlife, biological diversity and outdoor recreation that make Wisconsin so special. Overwhelmingly, the good people of our state share that belief. It is a shame the governor does not...

Ken Notes: I have to agree here, the program needs some tweaks, but killing it is like fixing a sore toe with a shotgun... I will print opinions supporting killing the program until 20208 just send them my way... Also tourism is a huge job producing industry in the state why not tie the Stewardship program to tourism and CREATE NEW JOBS...
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Wisconsin adds 7,500 construction jobs over past year, loses 1,300 jobs January to February

 Wisconsin - 4/2/2015 Wisconsin was among 45 states and the District of Columbia to add construction jobs between February 2014 and February 2015, though it gave back some of the gain between January and February of this year, according to an analysis of federal data released Friday by the Associated General Contractors of America. Jobs tracked by AGC for this data are both union and non-union and fall into both the broad commercial building sector and the residential construction, or single-family home, sector, AGC spokesman Brian Turmail said Monday. The association represents more than 26,000 firms nationally, including over 6,500 general contractors and 9,000 specialty contractors, plus more than 10,500 service providers and suppliers to the industry, through a nationwide network of chapters....
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How to harness the power of UW System for economic growth

 Wisconsin - 6/11/2015 A core reason lawmakers have so far softened budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin System is their realization its a statewide economic engine with the potential to produce even more regional horsepower. That message has come through in many ways, from independent economic studies to hands-on examples of how the UW System is a catalyst for job creation and growth. Consider the recent Posters in the Rotunda exhibit in the Capitol, which showcased undergraduate research projects from 19 of the UW Systems 26 four-year and two-year campuses. Lawmakers who strolled through the 12th annual event could sense they were mingling with next-generation entrepreneurs, technicians and scientists who will prove essential to Wisconsins workforce....

Ken Notes: Read this!
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POINION: Paul Soglin avoids the H word, focuses on behavior, drifters, the 'transient

 Madison - 8/20/2015 Madison Mayor Paul Soglin doesnt want to crack down on the homeless who camp out on State Street and at the City-County Building; he just wants to crack down on their occasional bad behavior....

Ken Notes: Aging much finger pointing not a lot of suggestions. Steven Schooler has a good handle on the issues. We may need more creative solutions though...
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Madison City Council rejects Mayor Paul Soglin`s proposal to limit time on benches

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Madison City Council rejected a proposal from Mayor Paul Soglin Tuesday that would have imposed time limits on public benches downtown and prohibited people from sleeping on sidewalks or benches.

Soglin introduced the ordinance in July, citing a "circus atmosphere where anything goes" regarding homelessness downtown and calling for rules to address negative behaviors like drinking, sexual assault and drug abuse....

Ken Notes: We need to build a better bench for those who want to be on the street. I actually have one in my garage I will bring it downtown soon... I am a fiscal conservative but if we spend just a little to provide safety and warmth we will save on the backside -- where crime will buy you three hots and a cot. We are not using our heads here. Lets create an ultra low income society for those who choose not to participate in our regular or even low income programs. Also some street health and mental health care is needed. There is sooo much more to talk about but I must limit my posts...
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Two initiatives for Allied Drive food access moving forward

 Madison - 3/12/2015 Residents of Allied Drive neighborhood will soon have some relief after struggling for greater food access for years.

Two initiatives spearheaded by community members and city officials are moving toward reality, with one offering transportation funding for residents to get to existing grocery stores and the other providing financial support for a long-term solution.

The Cub Foods in the area closed in 2009, and residents have since been making do with a Walgreens and a gas station. With the Walgreens now closed, the cry for a grocery store has become much more desperate....

Ken Notes: My idea one more time:

1. Buy the Walgreens Building.
2. Partner with a quality local grocer as a mentor supplier. I like Millers or Metcalffs.
3. Hire a manager to run the business.

OPTION B: - Call Don or Hans Zietlow at Kwik Trip and ask him to develop a store on the site. Tell him Mayor Harwood sent you -- they owe me a favor...
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Marcus to hire 100 more for Sun Prairie cinema

 Sun Prairie - 3/19/2015 A new cinema from Marcus Theatres in Sun Prairie will employ double the number of people compared to the Eastgate Cinema in Madison. The Milwaukee-based company said Tuesday that the Palace Cinema in the Shoppes at Prairie Lakes will employ 200 people, 100 of whom are expected to transfer from Eastgate, 5202 High Crossing Blvd. No closing date has been set for the Madison theater complex but the Sun Prairie cinema is scheduled to open April 30 along with a nearby 86,000-square-foot Cabela's....
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Parking fees, health insurance, hiring freeze on tap as MATC faces multimillion-dollar budget hole

 Madison Area - 3/26/2015 No layoffs would happen but employees would pay parking fees and higher health insurance costs under a proposal by Madison Area Technical College to plug a budget hole expected to be from $5 million to $8 million in the fiscal year that starts in July. Because of uncertainty about funding from the state and from the state technical college system, the college has delayed its annual budget presentation to its district board by a month, said Tim Casper, senior executive and special assistant to president Jack Daniels. Typically, the board gets a budget to consider in April with passage in May....

Ken Notes: Interesting, MATC seems to actually be working on the issue rather than pointing fingers.
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Badger Coulee transmission line wins PSC approval

 Wisconsin - 4/2/2015 The Badger Coulee high-voltage transmission line will be built, and it will follow a route from a substation near Holmen, north of La Crosse, to the Madison area, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) decided in a unanimous preliminary vote Thursday. The 345-kilovolt line will keep the electricity supply reliable and sufficient, and will bring economic benefits to the region, agreed the three-member panel, all appointees of Gov. Scott Walker....

Ken Notes: If we can do a 180 mile transmission line shouldn`t the Ice Age Trail be easy???
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ALEC says Wisconsin`s economic outlook is promising, critics question the claim

 Wisconsin - 4/9/2015 A conservative state policy network says Wisconsin has never been more economically competitive, but critics question the soundness of that claim.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released its 2015 "Rich States, Poor States" report on Tuesday, ranking each state's economic outlook based on 15 policy variables including tax rates and labor policies.

Wisconsin ranked 13th in economic outlook for 2015, up from 17th last year. But because right-to-work is one of the criteria used to judge states, Wisconsin's passage of such a law is likely to move it up the list next year, the report's organizers said....

Ken Notes: I am not sure, we have been slow to bounce back but we seem stable. I would like to see a few changes:
1. A simple tax incentive for the creation of new jobs.
2. A focus on School to work and job training.
3. Empowering local governments to work cooperatively to reduce costs and attract (or grow) new businesses and tourism.

I have a few other ideas ask me and I will share...
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Jon Rozenfeld new president of St. Mary`s Hospital

 Madison - 4/16/2015 Jon Rozenfeld is returning to SSM Health Care of Wisconsin as president of St. Marys Hospital.

He will lead St. Marys operations as well as work with Damond Boatwright, regional president and CEO of hospital operations, to grow and manage SSM Health Care hospital services and ambulatory operations across southern Wisconsin.

Rozenfeld has 25 years of executive leadership in the industry. Most recently, he was chief operating officer for Alexian Brothers Health System in the Chicago metro area.

In this role, he successfully restructured the operations team across two acute care hospitals to ensure standardization.

Ken Notes: I hope Jon continues Dr. Frank Byrne's tradition of having breakfast with community leaders. I loved attending and the no agenda approach was so refreshing.
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Inventory crunch hits condos

 Madison - 4/16/2015 Dane County condominium sales in March were up by 30.3 percent over last year, while single-family home sales rose 11.5 percent, according to early Multiple Listing Service data.

And while some of the increased demand is simply seasonal April traditionally is the month with the most accepted offers, followed closely by May and then March Dane County monthly home sales have been greater than the previous year since December 2014, while available inventory for sale continues to fall....

Ken Notes: I predict we will see some of the apartment complexes enter the condo market in the future. It is still very difficult to get a condo project financed. I would also love to see some of the older apartment project flip into the condo market. Especially those needing a little work. Great opportunity for those looking for affordable ownership in the downtown.
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Madison homeless services advocates plan rally, sleep-in

 Madison - 4/30/2015 Homeless people and their advocates are organizing a rally and sleep-in in downtown Madison Thursday to build support for improvements to a services system they say leaves a growing number of people sleeping in the streets.

Mayor Paul Soglin noted a serious increase in the number of drifters in downtown Madison in a memo to city officials Friday declaring that the City-County Building would be the only outdoor place where homeless people could spend the night or be fed.

Advocates say the uptick in homeless on the street is due to people exhausting the maximum number of days they're allowed to sleep in shelters each year under service agency policy....

Ken Notes: We could eliminate this by creating more spaces and small houses that require some work and self management. Our truly needy would eliminate the bad element to maintain a lifestyle they enjoy. This has worked elsewhere we just need leadership that wants to address the issues, not let the homeless sleep on their porch. Hand up not hand out???
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With election over, Paul Soglin feels free to crack down on homeless

 Madison - 4/30/2015 A longtime politician in the heat of a campaign says little to nothing about major policy changes affecting a group of people who are especially numerous in Madison and whose prospects are largely dependent on government.

Then, after the election, he drops the bomb.

On Friday, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin announced plans to clear all but one of the citys homeless encampments, limit free food distribution, penalize people for sitting for long periods on public benches, and make other changes affecting the lives of people he euphemistically calls drifters..

We are losing control of our city, Soglin says in a letter to the City Council, and enough is enough...

Ken Notes: Really??? My guess is the new plan would have gotten him even more votes... And his housing first approach is fine by me. Madison should expect more from all of it's citizens and work together to solve problems. We are treating our homeless like stray dogs rather that people.
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West Towne to reshuffle and add for Cheesecake Factory

 Madison - 5/14/2015 The addition of a Cheesecake Factory to the east side of West Towne Mall will mean other changes to the shopping center.

The 8,900-square-foot restaurant, scheduled to open this fall, will force Apricot Lane, Hot Topic, Landmark Luggage and LensCrafters to relocate to other spaces in the mall, said Tiffany Bernhardt Schultz, a West Towne spokeswoman. ...
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Philosopher`s Grove in downtown Madison undergoes physical, programming changes

 Madison - 5/28/2015 In the month since the Madison City Council approved a resolution aiming to address negative behavior and crime at the intersection of State Street and West Mifflin Street, planners have been moving quickly to make those initiatives a reality... To implement the programming on such short notice, the city approved a contract with the Business Improvement District to administer the funding of up to $25,000. If they plan to continue similar programming in the future, Cnare said, they will have to look at changing some ordinances related to street use...

Ken Notes: I was a street performer for 20 years, and was often invited to performance venues where I could busk on a schedule and pass a hat. In Chicago this was used to draw people to areas that were otherwise havens for homeless. It worked well and while I was not paid by the venue the guarantee of a crowd led to a good hat!! The schedule was also printed in a news flyer with coupons and stories that the homeless sold for fifty cents and bought for a dime...
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Dane County Board unanimously approves measure aimed at comprehensive jail reform

 Madison - 5/28/2015 Black men are less than 5 percent of Dane Countys adult male population, but make up 43 percent of the countys jail population.
Dane County Board member Leland Pan says thats unacceptable. Also unacceptable, board members say, are conditions in the Dane County Jail....

Ken Notes: I would start by MOVING it out of downtown. A great facility could be build for pennies on the dollar elsewhere in the county. This could be tied to mental health, work release, on site programs and address other issues. For example inmates could build a tiny house every day and in three years we would have no homeless in the city...
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Welcome to Petersonville: Madison landlord says he is providing a service; others call him a slumlord

 Madison - 6/4/2015 Ray Petersons houses are easy to spot. The siding is often peeling, the windows are boarded up, or a wooden house for rent sign occupies the yard for weeks.

At one house, the front door has been stuck shut for months. At another, the tenant placed bags of leaves along one side to provide extra insulation in winter. In the backyard, a toilet sits discarded, never disposed of after a repairman replaced it.

This is Petersonville, as one tenant calls it....

Ken Notes: Why do people not understand this is a business. An owner is interested in cash flow regardless of the product or customer. Some make money renting yuppie apartments to EPIC employees for huge sums of cash, others buy cheap leftovers and rent them to those who can afford little. The solution is to provide a better product at a lower price point. Walmart gets this, and while I am not a fan, I respect their model. If Madison wants to put Peterson out of business build nice simple (micro and micro+) housing units on very dense plots and rent them for very little. Since the city owns land (the most expensive part) they could actually make a little money and create a hand up not a hand out. In Neenah as Mayor I "inspected" my slumlords out of the community. I signed a bunch of raze or repair orders and the market changed overnight.
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OP ED: Walker: We changed broken education system

 Wisconsin - 6/11/2015 Megan Sampson was named the outstanding first-year teacher by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English in June of 2010. A week later, she received another certificate: a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools system.

Why would they get rid of a new teacher like Sampson especially in Milwaukee, which was one of the most troubled urban school districts in the nation? Well, under the old union contracts, the last hired was first fired....

Ken Notes: As a long term school board member, I appreciate some of the changes, but the adversarial relationships that were created in the process could have been avoided. We do need the opportunity to hire the best fire the worst and advance systems and ideas that work, but to do this we need a workforce that is excited about the opportunities. I am definitely in the middle here and wish we could come together but I have but a pen...
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Madison-based Iconica to build $12M senior housing community in Fort Atkinson

 Fort Atkinson - 6/25/2015 Madison design-build firm Iconica is starting construction this week on a $12 million Aster Assisted Living senior housing community to open next spring in Fort Atkinson.

Managed by Appleton-based Ashford Martin Corp., the 89,000-square-foot, three-story building will offer 60 one- and two-bedroom apartments, Iconica spokeswoman Kathy Pientka said Tuesday. The project features several planned community spaces, including a library, exercise and activity area, dining room, pub and coffee bar, and outdoor features such as walking paths and gardens. An estimated 30 full- and part-time jobs will be created...

Ken Notes: Not your grandpas retirement home. With boomers now 60+ the next twenty years will see huge growth in retirement housing. We need to watch this market and look to attract this vibrant group to the area. I would love to see downtown become very boomer friendly!
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Community of Bishops Bay`s first apartment building to join first few dozen homes in planned mega-subdivision

 Middleton - 6/25/2015 Three years after the first lots in Terrence Walls planned super-subdivision went on sale in the rolling hills northeast of Middleton, 22 families have moved into new single-family homes and the developer has just broken ground for the communitys first apartment building.

At that rate, it would take many decades for the 780-acre parcel known as the Community of Bishops Bay to be built out as envisioned. Its slated to have seven neighborhoods boasting some 6,000 residents in an intricate mix of open space, special features and nearly 3,000 houses, town homes, condos and apartments....
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UpStart program supports women, minority community entrepreneurs in Madison

 Madison - 7/2/2015 Sara Parthasarathy said she wouldve started her business  Flavor Temptations, a service that helps people acquire spices for ethnic recipes without the extra help. But the support she got from the UpStart Program for Minority and Womens Entrepreneurship made things a lot easier.

UpStart, which launched in 2013, is a collaborative project of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and UW-Madison Small Business Development Center. Its goal is to support women and members of minority communities (too often, entrepreneurial success eludes minorities and women, the program contends) as they launch new businesses....
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Verona, home of Epic Systems, bucks apartment trend with limiting policy

 VERONA - 7/9/2015 Verona is home to tech giant Epic Systems Corp., but most of the thousands of Millennials hired to work at the company in recent years will never live there.

Thats partly because many of those well-paid, 20- and 30-somethings are drawn to the more vibrant night life and wealth of activities in Downtown Madison, where some are flocking to new high-end apartments. But even if they werent, theyd likely have a tougher time finding a place to live in Verona, and not just because the city is much smaller, at around 10,600 residents...

Ken Notes: Verona needs to up the anti regarding what they offer new residents. Both in homes and entertainment options. They need a plan or Madison, Middleton and Sun Prairie will attract the people who work in Verona...
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Verona Candinas center move brings concerns

 VERONA - 7/16/2015 A plan to bring the Candinas Chocolatier shop into the city and surround it with retail buildings, restaurants and apartments might need some changes before it can get the citys approval.

But what city leaders are saying it most needs is direct feedback from neighbors.

The nationally known niche retailer has been on a 5-acre plot in the Town of Verona off Old PB for more than 20 years. During that time, the Military Ridge neighborhood has grown up around it.

And with developers and businesses all over the area courting young, affluent Epic employees, owner Markus Candinas is aiming to create a mini neighborhood that would draw that demographic to live and spend time there with complementary businesses.

But neighbors expressed major concerns to the Common Council on Monday, a week after Plan Commission members delivered the same feedback. And both the commission and council encouraged Candinas to reach out to neighbors in a similar way to what Epic did three years ago when it asked Westridge residents for their blessing to expand eastward into an area formerly planned for homes....

Ken Notes: No good deed...
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WEDC debates whether to change policies to reflect current practices

 Wisconsin - 7/23/2015 The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is still not following its policies for ensuring companies that receive millions in taxpayer-backed awards are creating promised jobs, agency officials acknowledged Thursday.

But rather than comply with existing policy, officials at the troubled job-creation agency are recommending changing policy to reflect current practice.

A recent Legislative Audit Bureau report noted that the agency wasnt following its own policies, and the WEDC board will discuss it for the first time on Monday in Oshkosh....

Ken Notes: Arghhhhhhh! Please please please consider tax credits for NEW jobs for all companies old and new! No jobs no credits need the money up front work with the private sector to create partial loan guarantees. Allow non profitable companies with increased employee base to sell or trade the credits...
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Cree bulbs get state rebates

 Wisconsin - 7/30/2015 For the first time, Cree household LED bulbs are being sold with Focus on Energy incentives that trim their price at the cash register.

Cree has local operations and a manufacturing plant at 9201 Washington Ave. The company maintains it is the only fully vertically integrated LED lighting company in the world and Americas top LED bulb seller.

Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities statewide energy-efficiency and renewable-resource program. Since 2001, it has worked with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects....

Ken Notes: Yea! I am a huge fan of LED and hope that Wisconsin can produce the tech as well as support it. Want to know the potential impact of LED -- ask ELECTRONIC THEATRE CONTROLS in Middleton -- oh and when you write the article credit me and WDN.
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Madison begins program to boost healthy food choices in needy areas

 Madison - 8/6/2015 After nearly two years of preparation, the city is launching a program to increase access to healthy, reasonably priced foods in underserved areas across Madison.

The Healthy Retail Access Program, developed by the Madison Food Policy Council, makes $100,000 available this year to help smaller grocers expand and market their businesses, support transportation, and even help attract larger stores....

Ken Notes: I still suggest the City buy the Walgreens on Verona Road and partner with Millers or Metcalfs to stock and run it... I'll bet with a little up front support it would cash flow...
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Paul Soglin`s proposal can open honest dialogue on homelessness

 Madison - 8/13/2015 In June the city of Madison designated homeless people as a protected class of citizens, which was the right thing to do.

We were pleased when the City Council voted overwhelmingly to override Mayor Paul Soglins veto of the move to prevent discrimination against the homeless. History informs us, as does contemporary experience, that people who live on the streets rarely do so by choice. In some cases, they are victims of economic hardship; in other instances they are people with handicaps or mental health issues who have fallen through a safety net that has been shredded by austerity cuts and misguided reforms.

Members of the council do not have to agree with everything Soglin is proposing now, but they should recognize that he is providing leadership and engage with that leadership. What Soglin has proposed does not need to be the end of the process. It can be the beginning of something bigger, and better. But the mayor is right that it is time to get focused on specific responses that involve smart and humane action as opposed to neglect...

Ken Notes: Paul`s proactive approach is what we need to make a real difference in the options we have for the homeless in Madison.
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Developer eyes affordable housing project on South Side

 Madison - 8/13/2015 Amid calls for more affordable housing in Madison, a developer is proposing a roughly $20 million project with 135 mostly lower-cost units for families and seniors on much of a full city block in the Greenbush neighborhood.

The proposal by J.T. Klein Co. of Madison continues a housing boom in the South Park Street corridor between Fish Hatchery Road and Regent Street but would be the first to offer dedicated low-cost apartments, with 85 percent of the units reserved for those making less than 60 percent of the area median income, or $39,660 for a family of two....

Ken Notes: We need this but again I suggest we also need small starter/retirement homes in the sub 200K range. What if we allowed 2 sub 1500 foot homes on any lot designated single family. Covenants could demand high building standards and we could also mandate landscaping and environmental land use and energy conservation.
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State to pay $9.75M to Spanish company to settle train lawsuit

 Wisconsin - 8/20/2015 A Spanish train manufacturer will get nearly $10 million from the state as part of a settlement in a lawsuit over two trains the company built for a rail project that Gov. Scott Walker abandoned after being elected.

The state and Talgo Inc. have settled the lawsuit Talgo filed in 2012 over the two passenger trains the company manufactured to run between Milwaukee and Chicago, said Madison attorney Lester Pines, who represents the train manufacturer.

The settlement ends a dispute over ownership of the trains. Talgo will keep the titles and receive $9.75 million from the state to close out the contract, Pines said....

Ken Notes: Ouch!
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Six of 10 Wisconsin Innovation Award winners from Madison

 Wisconsin - 8/27/2015 Madison-area companies had a strong showing in the 2015 Wisconsin Innovation Awards competition, capturing six of 10 awards out of the 33 finalists.

Awards were presented Wednesday in Milwaukee. Winners were determined by a panel of 18 industry experts from around Wisconsin, in multiple rounds of judging.
Madison winners include:

Manufacturing: Alfalight Inc.
Exact Sciences
Red Card Media
The Bubbler at Madison Public Library
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Hilldale`s Grand Wide Open! Friday, August 28th - Sunday, August, 30th

 Madison - 8/27/2015 Hilldale Mall is officially celebrating the opening of 13 new stores this weekend with a customer grand opening event.

Ken Notes: As a rule I do not publish grand opening requests but this is a noteworthy exception...
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Hinterland teams up with Packers for new brewery

 Green Bay Area - 9/3/2015 When youre a mid-size craft brewery and youre out of room, you look for a new space to continue growing.
And when the Green Bay Packers come ca lling, you stop looking.
In a deal announced last month, Hinterlands brewery will move from downtown Green Bay to the Packers new Titletown District across the street from Lambeau Field.
The development also will include a Kohler hotel and spa, Bellin Health sports medicine clinic and a 10-acre public plaza that figures to be hopping on game days. The announcement came a little more than a week ahead of Hinterlands 20th anniversary party on Saturday....

Ken Notes: Can we do a version by Camp Randal ... also that is a LOT of development for 10 to 12 games a year!!!!
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Tony Robinson PEACE mural and art project is underway

 Madison - 9/10/2015 Work on the "PEACE" mural/mosaic/photo project continued at the Social Justice Center, 1202 Williamson St., on Thursday. The project, led by muralist Sharon Kilfoy, honors the life of Tony Robinson and those connected to the Williamson Street area who died through violence. Members of the public are invited to come help paint the background of the mural from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday....

Ken Notes: Pretty cool, public art could be a major draw for Madison... Sculpture is Central Park... Willy Street, and State Street of course. Lets start a bring back the blackboards campaign...
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Pasqual`s on East Washington Avenue gives boost to Capitol East Corridor

 Madison - 9/17/2015 The fourth location of Pasqual's Cantina opened quietly at the end of July at 1344 E. Washington Ave. It took over the long-empty space of the former Fyfe's Corner Bistro. Here's a glimpse of what the restaurant looks like now....

Ken Notes: I am so glad to see this space reopen. Remember the Whad`Ya Know Band playing at Fyfe`s...
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Madison eyes downtown site for a new park

 Madison - 9/17/2015 In a few years, downtown Madison could have a new park.

It would sit on the corner of West Mifflin and North Bassett streets, stretching across a quarter of the block and addressing a deficiency in park space the city has identified in that area for more than a decade.

But the process to get there could be lengthy and may take the city down a legal route it doesn't frequently employ: acquisition by condemnation....

Ken Notes: It will be expensive... Why not partner with a developer to do the whole block wit a park is is a great location...
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Madison, Dane County prepare to close City-County Building`s front porch to homeless sleeping overnight

 Madison - 10/1/2015 After months of debate, Madison and Dane County are ready to ban homeless people from sleeping on the City-County Building's front porch starting Thursday.

The move comes as a relief to those raising concerns about behavior problems and health issues on the front porch that faces Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and at the Madison Municipal Building across the street, but homeless advocates fear many of the dozens who sleep there will scatter to places that are less safe.

The front porch has been viewed as a shelter of last resort and attractive to the homeless because it's lit, has a roof and is near police....

Ken Notes: I believe we will need to replace this option with another. Many choose the outdoor option because of issues that keep them from wanting a shelter, or home. We need to recognize this and provide options. As always I have an idea...
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National media turn attention to Madison`s homeless problems

 Madison - 10/8/2015 With Madison?s decision to ban homeless people from sleeping on the steps of the City County Building, national media have turned their eyes on the city and its problems with homelessness.

The New York Times called it a ?surge in homelessness? and an Al Jazeera report said Madison?s homeless population has been increasing since the recession bottomed out, climbing about 40 percent since 2010....

Ken Notes: If we have a national spotlight would not now be a great time to show how a non political solution can be found...
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Anheuser-Busch InBev agrees to buy SABMiller in biggest beer deal ever

 Wisconsin / World - 10/15/2015 AB InBev (BUD) will offer most SABMiller (SBMRY) shareholders - $44 ($67.59) per share for the maker of Miller Lite, Pilsner Urquell and Peroni, a premium of roughly 50% over the share price before acquisition rumors started flying.

The two biggest shareholders -- Altria (MO) and Colombia`s Santo Domingo family -- will have to opt for a cash and shares alternative worth $39.03 ($60) a share. Altria, a U.S.-based cigarette maker, had been pushing SABMiller`s board to make a deal with AB InBev. ...

Ken Notes: This WILL have a huge impact on Wisconsin. Whether good or bad remains to be seen, but cost of productions will be key. We need to be proactive in suggesting beer be brewed in Wisconsin... Keep Reading...
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51 percent of Madison renters are cost-burdened, just below national average

 Madison - 10/29/2015 More than half of Madison`s renters are considered cost-burdened, but the percentage has been falling slightly for the last five years.

And in 2014, Madison`s share of renters who pay 30 percent or more of their household income toward housing fell below the national average.

The drop, however, may be more indicative of an introduction of more high-income renters than a decrease in the actual number of cost-burdened renters, said Matt Wachter, the housing initiatives specialist for Madison`s Community Development Authority....

Ken Notes: A great report. We need more unique moderately priced or creative housing but when a developer can put up a high end apartment unit and charge enough to cash flow and make money there is little incentive to build anything else. Government subsidy make the problem worse because the majority does not qualify and they are left with little inventory to buy or rent. These in the gap may become a real problem for Madison and other urban markets. The person who cuts my hair in Madison drives 30 miles to work so her family can afford a nice home. This will catch up to us all if we do nothing about it now. The key - small, affordable, dense, new urban, is not even on the radar screen...
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OPINION: Judge Doyle Square still has lots of potential

 Madison - 11/5/2015 Exact Sciences proposal for a high-tech headquarters in Downtown Madison was never a make-or-break prospect for the city.

So the mayor and City Council shouldn't feel too bad about the rapidly growing biotechnology company pulling the plug this week on what would have been a $200 million development in the heart of the city....

Ken Notes: Yep...
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City Council approves extension for Judge Doyle Square director

 Madison - 11/5/2015 A day after plans for a $200 million redevelopment of Judge Doyle Square collapsed, Madison City Council members reaffirmed their faith in the consultant who led negotiations on the city's behalf.

Council members voted 15-4 to approve up to a $30,000 contract extension for Judge Doyle Square project director George Austin to compensate for the expedited negotiating timeline that Austin had to work under to accommodate Exact Sciences Corp. and to continue his service through January 2016....

Ken Notes: George Austin is perfect for these negotiations, he is connected, respected, and smarter than any developer I know -- which is what you need on your side...
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Tech and Biotech: Elevator Pitch picks winners; Pegasus lands funding

 Wisconsin - 11/12/2015 Companies touting a new type of sports helmet and a device to prevent hearing loss won wows from the judges and the audience at the Elevator Pitch Olympics on Thursday.

Always a highlight of the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, the Elevator Pitch Olympics features very young startups, and each leader has 90 seconds to sum up why the company's product or service has gangbuster potential.

Fifteen startups gave their spiel, eight of them from the Madison area.

Ken Notes: All should get space on the new WEDC website... if there were a new WEDC website...
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Continued development means more retail spaces

 Madison - 11/19/2015 When Gail Ambrosius opened her chocolate shop in 2004, she wasn't sure how many people would visit her 600-square-foot space at Main and First streets. Any worries she had quickly faded as her business moved in 2006 into a 2,000-square-foot space at 2086 Atwood Ave. And now Ambrosius, 56, is planning another move into yet another larger space....

Ken Notes: This is a good thing, but we may need a Public Market to incubate these retailers. Most startups fail and downtown is brutal on those that try. Gail is brilliant and talented by the way...
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Mayor Paul Soglin, City Council members want close look at city building for men`s homeless shelter

 Madison - 12/3/2015 Madison officials want to take a close look at renovating an aging city building for a Downtown men's homeless shelter.

Mayor Paul Soglin and six City Council members on Tuesday proposed the city spend $64,000 to hire an architect to see if the city's Fairchild Building, 120 S. Fairchild St., has potential to hold an overnight shelter for homeless men. The council will decide whether to hire the firm at a later date....

Ken Notes: Why don`t we approach this like a health or social club. Why label those entering a facility as something with negative connotations. Lets build an opportunity center where people can sleep, get cleaned up, wash some clothes, get a meal, put their feet up, get online, call friends, workout... Also lets ask them to take care of it, clean it, design it, and own it.

Perspective -- I am a member of 100State, I have an office with a view of the capitol, a place to plug in and kick back, can invite my friends and business associates to join me, and off the record there is free beer. I am cool - not homeless. Why should others be homeless and not cool...
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Madison`s Tenant Resource Center uncertain about future funding

 Madison - 12/10/2015 Following two heated Dane County budget cycles, a few housing services long provided by the Tenant Resource Center will switch over to the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, leaving the TRC less certain about its future funding.

Starting Jan. 1, 2016, the CAC will take over publishing a housing vacancy list for the county and will staff the Housing Help Desk at the Dane County Job Center.

For users of the service, the main change will be expanded hours - while the TRC previously staffed the desk from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., CAC will run it from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The same phone number - (608) 242-7406 - will still work....

Ken Notes: I have to believe the City and County have far better resources and staffing in house for some of these services. Using outside resources when projects can be better handled by existing staff is not economically sound. This becomes far more complicated when the service you are contracting with has a clear political agenda in addition to the services they provide.
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Wisconsin Democratic lawmaker joins national push for debt-free college

 Wisconsin - 12/10/2015 Wisconsin would form a commission to study how to make college debt-free for prospective students under a proposal Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, plans to introduce next week....

Ken Notes: The numbers for free college do not work, but look at a loan program that allows EVERY Wisconsin graduate to enter the tech or UW System using loans and wave interest payments if they remain Wisconsin residents. This does work and we could do it tomorrow...
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Historic mill has been talked to death

 Madison - 3/5/2015 If the landmark Garver Feed Mill crumbles to the ground and parts of it already have Madison will be to blame, not Gov. Scott Walker.

Garver is truly historic and intriguing, unlike some of the old buildings Madison preservationists fight to save. The problem is, its been deteriorating and vacant for so long, it will be extremely expensive to rehabilitate for modern use.

City reports for years have warned of massive holes, open pits and the risk of collapse. The dangers inside includes asbestos, lead paint and soil contamination....

Ken Notes: I sort of agree here we need to adopt a plan and move forward...
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$41M MMSD referendum will fund improvements at 16 schools

 Madison Area - 3/19/2015 Residents in the Madison Metropolitan School District will be asked to vote on a $41 million referendum April 7. Its an investment the district and its supporters said is needed to ensure the success of students in the area...."These have been longstanding issues that we have to take care of," Cheatham said. If passed, the referendum would increase taxes for an average homeowner by $60 a year. Cheatham said it's an investment that would affect everyone. "We graduate children who are ready to enter the workforce and the community, who as participants in that community the better off the entire community is in the long run," Cheatham said. Bayrd said the price tag is well worth the money, and she hopes others will support it too. "This is the most important thing in our community, and if we lose support for our public schools now, we can never get it back. The state budget proposal cuts even further into Madison Public Schools and if there is ever a time to show that we support public education, now is the time," Bayrd said. CAST is hosting a public forum to provide for information about the referendum Monday from 6:30-8 p.m. at Sequoya Library on Midvale Boulevard.
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Stoughton Wal-Mart developer says it has funding to break ground in July

 Stoughton - 5/14/2015 After a month of questions about financing, the developer of a controversial Stoughton project that would include a Wal-Mart SuperCenter says it has the guarantees necessary to break ground in July.

This week, Verona-based Forward Development Group secured commitments from McFarland State Bank to provide financing for the non-public aspects of its planned Kettle Park West project, and a letter of credit for the public portion....

Ken Notes: Verona uses "pay as you go" TIF financing with EPIC and it works well. But it also takes some of the control away from the city. Make sure this is what you want as the project moves forward, you now have no guarantees that the project will mature in the direction or as fast as you may want.
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MGE unveils new renewable projects as foes protest its use of coal

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 Madison Gas & Electric has drawn flak in the past year for a big jump in its fixed monthly electric rate and, recently, for its dependence on coal as a fuel source. But in spite of the controversies, the 1,800 shareholders who gathered Tuesday for the Madison utility companys annual luncheon meeting seemed a happy bunch. They filed into the Marriott Madison West hotel in Middleton, past about 20 protesters who held signs that read, Coal is risky and Time to come clean....

Ken Notes: Full disclosure,MGE supports WDN. I did have some talks with MGE and was told they were going to surprise us with their efforts at renewable. And while not surprised I do feel they are headed in the right direction...
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State housing sales at highest level since 2006

 Wisconsin - 7/23/2015 Year-to-date home sales are at the highest level since 2006, before the Great Recession, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association....
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Two companies fail after getting $1.4 million from Gov. Scott Walker`s jobs agency

 Wisconsin - 7/30/2015 Despite signs of trouble within the companies, Gov. Scott Walkers jobs agency loaned about $1.4 million in taxpayer money to two northern Wisconsin firms that have failed to fully repay the loans or create hundreds of promised jobs.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. sued the companies Tomahawk Metal Products of Tomahawk and North American Finishing of Suring along with four others for failure to repay state taxpayer-funded loans or comply with grant terms.

The others sued since 2014 are TJs Taylors One Price Cleaners of Madison, Ratio Inc. of Monona, Building Committee Inc. of Milwaukee and Green Box NA Green Bay of De Pere....

Ken Notes: More than half of all new businesses fail, if we based our funding on job credits we would not need to be repaid. Also why is WEDC not partnering with the private sector like the federal government does to secure loans while sharing the risk? We need bold new direction for WEDC and the understanding that the way we did things in the past did not work and we should have known that going in....
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Shareholder battle brewing at Promega Corp.

 Fitchburg - 8/6/2015 Promega Corp., one of the Madison areas most successful, homegrown and fiercely independent biotechnology companies, is in the midst of a hostile takeover attempt by two shareholders who want to buy a majority of shares and boot Promegas founder and CEO Bill Linton.

Ted Kellner, of Milwaukee, and Nathan Brand, of Miami, sent a letter to shareholders, dated July 24, offering to buy outstanding shares of Promega Corp. for $625 a share, about two and a half times what the company was valued at recently by Linton and the board of directors....

Ken Notes: This is a great company with great ideas and they are profitable in a very difficult market.
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OPINION: Wisconsin needs bridges, not more walls

 Madison - 9/24/2015 It's easy to pick apart Gov. Scott Walker's failed bid for president now that it's over.

He was overconfident when up in the polls. He was unprepared to talk about foreign policy. He was far too eager to please the most conservative elements of his Republican Party for political advantage, rather than displaying the authenticity so many voters this election cycle seem to crave..
...Wisconsin needs more pragmatism and less political calculation. Wisconsin needs a can-do spirit that pulls people together around common goals.

Welcome back to Wisconsin, Gov. Walker. Despite your failed bid for the White House, you've shown a lot of energy and resilience during the last four years. Put that to work for the public good here in your home state.

Ken Notes: This time it is WSJ with positive things to say. I am glad these opinions are gaining new traction. What if we got WEDC on track, created new jobs, worked with the UW and Tech System to create a ready to work workforce and kept graduates in Wisconsin, created a better health care system, developed better infrastructure for transit and shipping, worked with EPA on workable sustainable environmental standards, became even more tourist friendly, stabilized taxes.. heck he would have one by 30 points - lets shoot for next time....
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Wisconsin senators cross the aisle in support of beer bill

 Wisconsin - 10/15/2015 Wisconsin senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson don't agree on much, but apparently beer is a unifying force.

Sen. Johnson, a Republican, announced his co-sponsorship of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act on Tuesday. Baldwin, a Democrat, had signed on as an original co-sponsor of the bill in July. As of Johnson's declaration, Wisconsin is one of just three states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, with Senate co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle.

As we start reforming our tax system, we need to find areas of agreement. This bill is one of them, as its bipartisan support shows, Johnson said in a prepared statement.

The bill would implement a variety of fairly wonky beer and alcohol-related regulations, including modernizing the tax code, simplifying label requirements, expanding a wine producer tax credit and reducing excise taxes for breweries and distilleries....

Ken Notes: A good start at the federal level, but I believe we could create a two tier program at the state level to slightly increase tax on all beer and then provide marketing, employment, and infrastructure credits or grants for beer produced in the state. The net effect would be lower price points on craft and mass produced Wisconsin products, more companies wanting to produce in Wisconsin, and the support for our growing craft and regional breweries. I would be glad to show any group or political staffer how this could work. It is win win unless of course you are selling beer made in St. Louis in Wisconsin.

you may also want to read - Why beer drinkers lose in the SABMiller-AB InBev merger...
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Funding research is vital to Wisconsin

 UW Madison - 11/19/2015 Scientific research is the most powerful tool we have to promote human and animal health and guard against disease. Incremental discoveries made in the lab today are vital in developing new treatments for cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and other conditions affecting the people of Wisconsin and the rest of the country. Without a doubt, federal funding fuels life-saving research in Wisconsin. In 2014, our state received $386 million from the National Institutes of Health, $108 million from the National Science Foundation, $29 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and $53 million from the Department of Energy Office of Science in research grants. Scientists, students and support staff rely on these funds. Their efforts yield new discoveries and train our high-skill workers....
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Blacks gain historic presence on Madison City Council

 Madison - 4/9/2015 The new Madison City Council with four black members will broaden the councils cultural perspective and potentially impact priorities and how issues are discussed, attract new community voices to City Hall and strengthen outreach, members and observers said Wednesday....

Ken Notes: I hope this is about good council members and I believe it is. We need to create opportunities in the city by working with business and education to provide mentorship, training and leadership for all citizens in Madison...Welcome... P.S. someone subscribe them to WDN...
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Patent director`s visit to Wisconsin underscores value of innovation economy

 Wisconsin - 4/23/2015 When computer scientist Michelle Lee joined Google as its first head of patent strategy, the company held a few dozen intellectual property grants. When she left eight years later, Googles portfolio spanned 10,500 patents.

The patent explosion inside Google during Lees tenure there is emblematic of how much the U.S. economy relies on innovation and how protection of intellectual property is essential to perpetuating that cycle....

Ken Notes: WARF is our diamond in the rough.
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Downtown city building could be key to delivering homeless services

 Madison - 6/4/2015 After repeated failures, Madison and Dane County are exploring a new Downtown site for a much-needed day resource center for the homeless.

The city is preparing to study using part of a three-story, 43,340-square-foot storage and parking facility on West Doty and South Fairchild streets for the day center, a night shelter for homeless men to replace the shelter at Grace Episcopal Church on the Capitol Square, or a wet shelter for those who have been drinking....

Ken Notes: I love the ideas here but the numbers may be huge. We need showers, storage, and shelter from the storm for the chronically homeless. I would also love to see MICRO Apartments to go along with the micro homes idea. I believe Madison could be a national model for homelessness solutions with very little effort. I like the idea of a street newspaper to be sold instead of panhandling. I am also not sure why we have not reached out to developers who could offer many temporary solutions...
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City Council overrides Paul Soglin veto, adds homeless as protected class

 Madison - 6/18/2015 Homeless people are included as a protected class in Madison following an overwhelming City Council override of Mayor Paul Soglins veto.

Soglin vetoed the councils June 2 action that added homeless people as a class protected against discrimination. The city already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, natural origin, citizenship status, age, handicap/disability, marital status, source of income, arrest or conviction records and more....

Ken Notes: Again the council does not understand the issues at hand here. What if we now resort to strictly enforcing standing laws, public intoxication and drinking, trespassing, loitering, littering, harassment, substance abuse... Our jails would be full, our courts overburdened and our problems would be worse. Give the mayor a chance to fix this. As for the council offer solutions that address real issues not suggest we ignore them and punish those who may try to help.
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Paul Soglin says compassion without rules harms city and the homeless

 Madison - 6/18/2015 Mayor Paul Soglin says compassion without rules most critically, letting dozens sleep nightly on the front porch of the City-County Building, creating health and safety problems is harming the city and its homeless residents.

But others say the mayor is offering bombast without immediate solutions....

Ken Notes: Each story in this article would require a uniquely different solution. So isn't Paul on the right track. Create some rules that will require solutions and then solve the issues as they arise. This is not a policy problem it is a people problem. Finally the article ends with Nobody chooses to be homeless which is wrong MANY choose to be homeless. It is the lifestyle they actually want or need to sustain mental stability. Ask me why I know this....
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J.H. Findorff & Son files $16.3 million construction lien against Edgewater hotel

 Madison - 7/2/2015 A prominent Madison builder has filed a $16.3 million construction lien against the owners of the $100 million Edgewater hotel on the shores of Lake Mendota.

But The Edgewaters owners place any blame squarely in the hands of the contractor for cost overruns, missed deadlines and quality problems.

The claim, filed Monday by J.H. Findorff & Son in Dane County Circuit Court, is among 16 construction liens filed against The Edgewater totaling $23.7 million since last December....

Ken Notes: Did I mention the not easy part???
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EPA: Up to $13.9M available for Great Lakes restoration

 Wisconsin - 7/30/2015 The agency says it's seeking proposals for new projects for the 2015 funding cycle. They're available to state, tribal, interstate and local governmental agencies, as well as colleges, universities and nonprofits. Applications are due Sept. 28. EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman says in a statement this round of funding will be used to target invasive species and to reduce runoff in urban and agricultural watersheds....
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Forbes says UW-Madison is 11th best public college in the country

 Wisconsin - 9/3/2015 UW-Madison is the 11th best public college in the country and the 69th top college overall, according to Forbes Magazine. The magazine is out this week with "The Smarter College Guide," a 360-page book that ranks colleges and universities in the U.S. This is the second year in a row UW-Madison placed 11th among public colleges. It's up one notch overall, having placed 70th last year. Elsewhere in Wisconsin, Lawrence University in Appleton placed 129th overall, Marquette University in Milwaukee 157th overall and Beloit College 158th overall....

Ken Notes: Congrats to all. We have an amazing system and great private colleges as well!!!
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Photos: Madison`s Skatepark is nearly ready for shredding

 Madison - 9/10/2015 The Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Skatepark at Madison's Central Park will officially open on Thursday, Sept. 10. The park ? free to the public and lit until 10 pm each day ? features two skating bowls and several skating obstacles....
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Park Street`s Mayland Printing building proposed for demolition

 Madison - 10/22/2015 Owners of a 66-year-old building on South Park Street want to tear it down to try to sell the land, saying renovation would be too costly.

The former home of Mayland Printing at 1202 S. Park St. has fallen into disrepair, according to an email written by Dave Mayland, the son of the company`s late former owner.

The building, constructed in 1949 as a National Tea Co. Food Store and later expanded to include second-floor offices over a driveway, housed the press for Mayland, once one of Madison`s largest printing companies....

Ken Notes: Park Street has the potential to become a health care corridor. We could use this to attract specialists in areas to locate their practices here in Madison. The boomer market is huge- hip, cancer, lifestyle....
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CDA to MATC: We will put up a building, parking ramp for you in south Madison

 Madison - 10/22/2015 The Community Development Authority wants Madison Area Technical College to develop a comprehensive campus in a South Park Street mall it has been working to revitalize for years.

CDA is proposing to build a new 33,000-square-foot building for the college and connect it to 12,287 square feet of space at The Village on Park that it already is leasing to MATC, as well as an additional 4,370 square feet of newly renovated space.

A three-story 210-space parking ramp to serve the college exclusively also is proposed in the plan outlined in a Sept. 22 letter signed by CDA executive director Natalie Erdman....

Ken Notes: Nursing???
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Ray Cross says he will resign if UW budget cuts, loss of shared governance maintained by Legislature

 Wisconsin - 3/26/2015 In early January, University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross wrote to UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone that the coming fight over Gov. Scott Walkers proposal to slash System funding and spin it off from state control then known only to the highest-level UW officials and some high-ranking lawmakers would be bruising but necessary. This will not be easy and we will get consider(able) push back from our faculty and staff, Cross wrote to Mone on Jan. 6 in an email obtained by the State Journal. However, this is something we might not get a shot at for another 20-30 years. Wednesday, the early warning proved prophetic. Cross, facing withering criticism, told a UW-Milwaukee gathering of employees and students that hed resign if he cant substantially reduce the $300 million cut and preserve cherished employee protections including shared governance, tenure and academic freedom...

Ken Notes: On the other hand...
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Madworks graduates third accelerator class

 Madison - 4/23/2015 Their products ranged from baby wraps to shower tools for older people, from yoga music to event promotion.

Eight teams of entrepreneurs including one trio from as far as Brazil wrapped up a 10-week program with the Madworks accelerator Monday, presenting their companies and celebrating afterward with beer, wine and munchies at the (unrelated) Madworks co-working space at University Research Park...
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Focus on Dane County: Large mixed-income apartment complex planned for Middleton

 Middleton - 7/9/2015 Amid a boom in luxury apartments in the Madison area, Middleton officials are considering a proposal for a large apartment complex that would provide housing earmarked for low- to moderate-income tenants. Developer Jacob Klein is proposing to use Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority tax credits to help build a $16.2 million mixed-income apartment complex called Meadow Ridge Middleton on the 2.5-acre site of the former Bowling Green Recreation Center bowling alley, 7625 and 7635 Lisa Lane....

Ken Notes: I rest my case!
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Madison homeless advocates ask Catholic Diocese to allow camp on former cathedral site

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Homeless services advocates are invoking Pope Francis` name in pressing the Madison Diocese to allow homeless people barred from sleeping outside the entrance to the City-County Building to camp out on the former site of St. Raphael Cathedral a few blocks away.

?We are writing to ask you grant sanctuary or forward our request for sanctuary at Cathedral Square to Pope Francis. We are asking for sanctuary for homeless people who are being displaced from the City County Building steps,? says an Oct. 1 letter addressed to Msgr. Kevin Holmes of the Cathedral Parish....

Ken Notes: Arrrrrrghhhhh! The LAST thing we need is another camp! We need a community, ownership, peer review, structure, and structures. If we say just go here we fail -- if we say you can come here if you help us build something special we win. I can not believe no one has seen what works in other areas and says we can do that here...
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Norske Nook coming to DeForest

 Wisconsin - 3/5/2015 Pie lovers beware: Norske Nook is coming to Dane County.
The popular Osseo-based restaurant and bakery is expected to open a DeForest location later this year after a development agreement for a location at 100 E. Holum St. was approved by the Village Board Tuesday night.
Norske Nook, known for its pies and Scandinavian specialties, was founded in 1973 and also has locations in Rice Lake, Hayward and Eau Claire....

Ken Notes: Two friends of mine (Dave and Russ -- they know who they are) could never drive past Osseo without stopping in. De Forest may be - Way To Close...
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Norske Nook looking for second Dane County location

 Dane County - 3/12/2015 Not only is the Norske Nook opening a location in DeForest, its owner is scouting for a second one in the area. The Osseo restaurant and pie purveyor has long been a convenient stop and quick detour off I-94 for travelers between Madison and Minneapolis with the restaurant's famous pies making a celebrity chef of original owner Helen Myhre....

Ken Notes: ooh ooh pick me, pick me.
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Business forecasters boost 2-year outlook for US economy

 National - 4/2/2015 A business economics group has boosted its outlook for U.S. economic improvement this year and next, particularly for job growth. The March report from the National Association for Business Economics forecasts more hiring, a lower unemployment rate, a lower inflation rate and more growth in consumer spending in 2015, compared to the group's forecast in December 2014....
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 As reported late last week by Dean Mosiman of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Ho-Chunk Nation is proposing a large development on Madisons southeast side near Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison.

(On a side note, I neglected to mention Mosimans solid work covering the mayoral race when I did my survey of local media coverage a few weeks ago. It was not an intentional omission my apologies.)

Getting back to the Ho-Chunk news, the new development could potentially include an entertainment venue and sports complex. This is an opportunity to take advantage of one of Madisons great untapped strengths the I-90/94 interchange. The vast majority of Wisconsins population lives in communities within a two-and-a-half-hour drive of that interchange: La Crosse, Wausau, the Fox Valley, Janesville, Waukesha, Milwaukee and Kenosha, to name a few...
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Benjamin Plumbing plans overhaul of Fitchburg properties

 Fitchburg - 6/25/2015 After more than two decades near the corner of Verona Road and Highway PD, Benjamin Plumbing plans to move and redevelop two properties in Fitchburg. Founded in 1962, Benjamin Plumbing is developing plans to move from the building it has occupied since 1987 and redevelop a neighboring building into high-end office and retail space.

Ken Notes: We have a huge market for redevelopment in the area...
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Verona retail building breaks ground

 VERONA - 7/9/2015 David Reinke has broken ground three times for new buildings in Veronas Liberty Business Park.

And for the third time it was another rainy, ugly day outside, making the business parks owner zero for three, he joked.

But that didnt stop him, city officials and business owners that will move into the first retail building in the park from celebrating with a groundbreaking ceremony June 11. The building is expected to house four retail outlets, including a pizza place and ale house, along with five professional services using office space....

Ken Notes: Done right, this park could become the "downtown" that Terrence promised and Verona needs...
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Judge shoots down effort to legalize poker in Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 8/13/2015 A yearlong effort to legalize poker in Wisconsin was shot down in about four minutes Wednesday in a Dane County courtroom. In a brief oral ruling, Circuit Judge Richard Niess said the decks were stacked against the plaintiffs, who had argued that poker is mostly a game of skill and shouldnt be considered illegal. Poker is as much a part of the American fabric as baseball and apple pie, Niess told a crowd of about 20 area players in the audience. But having said that, I cant ignore the law....

Ken Notes: This is easy to fix, pass legislation that allows low stakes progressive tournaments at all licensed taverns and establishments (liquor). Limit entry fees to ten dollars plus a $1 dollar tax and an optional $1 service fee per game for the establishment (cards, chips, registration, computer, etc.). If you win at 6 levels - assuming 5 players per - you get 10K cash or a trip to Vegas and a 10K entry fee for a WSOP tournament. Winnings are taxable. Bars get customers. You can only loose 10 or maybe 20 dollars a night. And to get to Vegas you need skill, lots of skill, trust me -- you would need to beat (indirectly) 2,000+ players.
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High hopes for new UW science buildings

 UW Madison - 9/3/2015 The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the university's Madison campus will get a new chemistry building that's estimated to cost $107.8 million. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and wrap up in 2020. At the Stevens Point campus, groundbreaking is scheduled to take place this year on a four-story chemistry and biology building that will cost about $75 million and should be ready for use in November 2017. Construction on an $82 million science labs building at the La Crosse campus will begin in the spring with a goal of completion in winter 2018....
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State Debate: We have got a people problem, not a jobs problems, professor insists in op-ed

 Wisconsin - 10/1/2015 UW-Oshkosh professor M. Kevin McGee, in a op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, argues that Wisconsin doesn`t have a jobs problem, it`s got a people problem. Our unemployment rate is going down even though our job growth is abysmal because we have too few people in the employment pool, he says. Instead of throwing tax incentives and breaks at corporations, we need to work on making Wisconsin a place where people want to live and work....

Ken Notes: We do not have a people problem nor a real jobs problem - WE HAVE A COMMUNICATION PROBLEM. As we throw darts at those who disagree with us the rest of the world hears the negative rhetoric and not the positive message. We are a good place for business, we have a good workforce, companies thrive here, alas you will have to look hard to find this in the national media because we enjoy pointing out the negatives and blaming the other guy. So to others we are a union hating, high tax, non diverse, destroyer of the environment, with nothing to do on a Friday night. All false, yet ask someone from Texas or New York and that is what you will hear. Ask about EPIC, Kohls, Harley, Kohler, or many other successes and the answer is often - Are they in Wisconsin?
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Homeless day shelter met with concern, enthusiasm at neighborhood meeting

 Madison - 10/8/2015 Enthusiasm over providing a daytime homeless resource center along East Washington Avenue was met Wednesday with sharp concerns and reminders of problems with the city`s last daytime shelter.

More than 100 people attended a neighborhood meeting on Dane County`s proposal to put a permanent homeless day shelter on the former Messner Inc. property at 1326 E. Washington Ave....

Ken Notes: Why not develop this (or better yet these) as Health club/Co-working centers and encourage the homeless to join. I would even charge a few bucks so they had ownership and would respect the facility. Exact same purpose but marketed with dignity. Showers, laundry, and technology to grow - an address so you are not seen as homeless and shelter from the elements.
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Madison City Council approves affordable housing funding

 Madison - 12/3/2015 Madison City Council voted Tuesday night to spend nearly $2.8 million from the city's Affordable Housing Fund to help provide 159 units reserved for renters with lower incomes. Council members unanimously approved funding on a voice vote for three applicants who submitted development proposals to the city using low-income tax credits....

Ken Notes: Above I mentioned my 100State perks -- at $50 per month (my dues), we could provide the same brick and mortar for 1,666 homeless for four years with the same 2.8 million and hire staff to run it.
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Plans give a look at building, intersections in Hill Farms redevelopment

 Madison - 12/3/2015 Plans for a new state office complex at Hill Farms show a nine-story building and a seven-level parking ramp on the west side of the property. They also show a new intersection on University Avenue for access to what is expected to be a blend of housing, offices and commercial development. The drawings, labeled as from late October and done by the Madison office of national architecture firm SmithGroupJJR, offer a look into what the state and developer Smith Gilbane have planned for the first part of the redevelopment of the Hill Farms area on Madison`s west side...
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Angel, venture investments in Wisconsin took healthy jump in 2014

 Wisconsin - 7/16/2015 One of the enduring gripes about Wisconsins startup and scale-up climate has been the lack of enough angel and venture capital.

Perhaps, well look back on 2014 as the year Wisconsin finally turned the corner.

At least 113 Wisconsin early-stage companies raised investment capital in 2014, a 31 percent jump from the prior year, when 86 companies landed angel or venture dollars.

More than $346 million was raised by those 113 companies, nearly three times more than the 2013 total of about $128 million....
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Dane County towns push for zoning autonomy stalled for now

 Dane County - 7/16/2015 Despite feeling singled out in the budget the state Legislature sent to Gov. Scott Walkers desk early Thursday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi was relieved to see one rumored provision omitted.
Republican legislators added last-minute provisions to the state budget which is expected to be signed by Walker on Sunday that eased Dane Countys insurance requirements for Enbridge Energys Line 61 pipeline and shifted control over governance of the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District away from the county. But they did not add a provision that would have allowed towns to opt-out of Dane Countys shared zoning authority...
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SuperCharge Foods raises microgreens and mixes smoothies on East Washington Avenue

 Madison - 7/30/2015 A few blocks away from what will become Madison's first aquaponics farm, another kind of farm has opened, specializing in microgreens, juices and smoothies. TJ DiCiaula and P.T. Bjerke co-own SuperCharge Foods Wellness Center, Urban Farm and Juice Bar, which has its grand opening on Saturday at 1902 E. Washington Ave. The building used to be home to Tranquil Tattoo and a cat tree shop called Cat Climberz. ...
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Response to Dane County opening Section 8 waiting list overwhelming

 Madison - 8/6/2015 At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the Dane County Housing Authority opened its waiting list for Section 8 housing vouchers for the first time in seven years.

Four hours and 39 minutes later, the list closed, having already received 2,212 applications.

Those applications represent more than 4,800 family members who are in need of rental assistance, a level of demand housing advocates say indicates just how strong the need is for affordable housing in Madison and Dane County.

It was not what we expected at all," said DCHA Executive Director Rob Dicke. "It way exceeded the expectations."...

Ken Notes: We may need to rethink the neighborhood inclusion idea and develop some truly affordable quality housing. This time lest work WITH the developers and not just tell them what to do, because the elected officials have no clue as to how to get this done right...
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Man climbs Madison construction crane to take selfie

 Madison - 8/13/2015 Police arrested a 25-year-old man after he climbed a 10-story construction crane in downtown Madison and took a selfie Sunday.

Madison police say a concerned passerby spotted the man climbing the crane at a construction site on N. Bedford Street around 6:20 a.m. and called police. Officers arrived at the scene and the man waved from the top of the crane, but he stopped during his descent.

According to police, officers got the man to come down, and he told them that he wanted to take pictures from the high vantage point....

Ken Notes: I did mention that the view from above the isthmus is coo but we need to obey the laws. I do want to see the picture though...
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Board of Estimates talks financials of Soglin`s 2016 budget

 Madison - 9/10/2015 ...The Board of Estimates convened Wednesday to formally discuss Madison Mayor Paul Soglin?s proposed 2016 Capital Budget, focusing on ongoing projects such as the Madison Municipal Building renovations and a new library project. The 2016 proposal totaling $295 million provides $4.8 million in funding for renovations of the municipal building and reauthorizes $3 million in borrowing.
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Scott Walker very interested in helping create Madison public market

 Madison - 11/12/2015 Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he is very interested in helping the city of Madison develop a public market.

Walker's comments come a day after Mayor Paul Soglin said he and Walker spoke Friday during which Soglin asked for the governor's help in creating the market. The mayor's request came in the wake of the impending closure of Oscar Mayer's Madison headquarters....

Ken Notes: Jobs, new business incubation, fresh produce, temporary space, event space... What`s not to like...
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Documentary tells New Glarus -- Tale of the Spotted Cow

 New Glarus - 3/5/2015 Deb and Dan Carey were in England when the name for the beer thatd change their lives leaped into being. They were driving through the countryside, laughing at themselves for being captivated by fields of jumping sheep. They asked themselves, What do tourists in Wisconsin look at like this? Spotted cows? And there it was. Spotted Cow has, since its debut in the late 90s, become New Glarus flagship beer. ...

Ken Notes: Deb and Dan are brilliant! - and the perfect pair. One Talented one with Chutzpah, and I am not saying who is who...
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UW 38th in world university reputation rankings

 UW Madison - 3/12/2015 UW-Madison has a reputation to uphold, and does so convincingly among the world's top schools. The university is ranked 38th in the world when it comes to reputation, according to British website Times Higher Education. The reputation ranking is based on an academic opinion survey made of 10,500 invited participants from 142 countries. The reputation ranking, intended to be a list of the most powerful global university brands, is a subsidiary of the annual World University Rankings, which come out in the fall. UW-Madison tied for 38th with the University of California-San Francisco....

Ken Notes: Not bad and we will continue to move up the list. Our legislature needs to work with the UW to keep the UW and the State in the public eye in such a positive light.
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Dane County committee votes to lower marijuana possession fine to $10

 Dane County - 3/19/2015 As part of Dane County Executive Joe Parisis initiatives to remove barriers and address disparities, a county committee voted Tuesday evening to lower the county fine for possession of marijuana, with hopes municipalities will follow suit. The current ordinance allows a forfeiture of up to $1,000 for possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana, although the average forfeiture actually imposed in 2014 was about $110 plus court costs, according to the fiscal note on the resolution. On Tuesday, the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee voted to lower that to a mere $10, or about $70 with court costs. The proposal will move on to the County Board for final approval....

Ken Notes: I have a question, since it is our children we need to protect from the influence of other until they can make better decisions, why not legalize marijuana and substantially increase the penalties for making drugs, alcohol, and tobacco available to those under age?? When my community told tobacco outlets that we were enforcing zero tolerance on tobacco and alcohol sales to minors we saw a dramatic decrease in use in the schools and parties...
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Wisconsin tops nation in black joblessness, study finds

 Wisconsin - 3/26/2015 Unemployment among African-Americans in Wisconsin last year was the highest of any of the 50 states, according to a study released Thursday by the center-left Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

At 19.9% or 1 in 5 working-age people the black unemployment rate in Wisconsin is nearly three times higher than the highest state white unemployment rate (7% in Nevada) and significantly higher than the national black unemployment rate of 11%, the think tank found.

Wisconsin's black unemployment rate is twice the overall national unemployment rate at the peak of the recession 9.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The findings are consistent with more than a decade of statistics and studies that show that African-Americans in Wisconsin and its largest city, Milwaukee, often find themselves at the economic and social extremes compared with the rest of the nation. That has been the case with a broad range of social distress indicators, from infant mortality and poverty to high school dropouts and incarceration....

Ken Notes: We need to provide an educational opportunity and job training that addresses socioeconomic and Societal issues. We have a very good, but "one size fits all" educational system. We need apprenticeship, school to work programs, and nontraditional schools for those who don't fit the mold -- regardless of color...
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Prevailing wage repeal may be tucked into state budget

 Wisconsin - 4/2/2015 Repeal of Wisconsins requirement that workers on government projects be paid state-mandated wages may be added to the state budget rather than debated as separate legislation, its Assembly sponsor said Wednesday.
Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, told reporters that Republicans who control the Legislature are debating whether to add repeal of the states prevailing wage laws to the 2013-15 budget. He said the move would not be aimed at limiting public scrutiny of Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 49 but because the measures fiscal impact may make the budget a better home for it....

Ken Notes: This should be discussed openly and separately. I think the program needs work and could be used to provide opportunities for more workers. I know that contractors are hesitant to use unskilled and in training labor where they must pay the "prevailing wage" but a fix not a abandonment is in order...
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Sheriff Dave Mahoney, Chief Mike Koval should debate merits of marijuana legalization

 Wisconsin - 4/9/2015 Dear Editor: The recent brouhaha over what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney discussed about pot legalization has once again exposed the sheriff's outdated position. The so-called "gateway theory" he cites has been repeatedly dismissed, including in the 1999 Institute of Medicine report on medical cannabis commissioned by then-president Bill Clinton. Perhaps Sheriff Mahoney and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval should have a public debate regarding the merits of legalization. Last September, Koval spoke out in favor of Wisconsin taxing and regulating adult use of cannabis, as states like Washington and Colorado, and more recently Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., have done. Koval stated cannabis prohibition was an "abject failure," and, "We've done such an abysmal job using marijuana as a centerpiece of drug enforcement, that it's time to reorder and triage the necessities of what's more important now."...

Ken Notes: I have some questions that never seem to be introduced into the debate and I need to know the answers:
1. how has economic development, jobs, and employment rates been affected by legalization?
2. How has legalization impacted teen usage and availability?
3. Has legalization impacted crime in areas other other than possession and sales.
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Yes, state should legalize marijuana

 Wisconsin - 4/16/2015 Dear Editor: I'm behind Rep. Melissa Sargent 110 percent in her effort to legalize marijuana. Also, a large number of my friends and family who are afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation due to their current job are hopeful this great state will soon come to its senses and join in legalizing marijuana. Fred...

Ken Notes: I agree BUT substantially tax it and spend ALL the proceeds keeping drugs and alcohol out of the hands of our youth and in away from our schools.
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Scott Walker embarking on second trade mission of year

 Wisconsin - 4/16/2015 Gov. Scott Walker embarks on his second European trade mission of the year Friday, as he considers a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The weeklong visit to Germany, France and Spain is being organized by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., and Walkers schedule doesnt include visits with those nations top leaders....
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Earth Day founder daughter leaves gag behind in Wisconsin

 National - 4/23/2015 The daughter of Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson is banned from talking about climate change in her job as a Wisconsin state lands administrator, but on Wednesday she delivered a speech on the topic.

Tia Nelson spoke at her fathers alma mater, San Jose State University, in an appearance she said was planned long before the controversial April 7 Board of Commissioners of Public Lands vote to bar her and her staff from discussing climate change on the job....

Ken Notes: Good and for the record the gag order is wrong. I am a conservative I believe we need to know far more about global warming. Since Wisconsin was once a glacier I am pretty sure climates change for any number of reasons. I am not sure we can control this - but if we can help, or better yet just make the planet a better place for our children and grandchildren I do believe we should talk about it!
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US new-home sales collapse in March

 National - 4/23/2015 Sales of new U.S. homes plummeted in March, as the spring buying season opened with sharp declines in the Northeast and South.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that new-home sales fell 11.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000. This marks a swift reversal from an annual sales pace of 543,000 in February, which had been the strongest performance in seven years....
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New $3 million bike overpass part of Verona Road improvements

 Madison - 4/30/2015 The end is coming for the oldest bridge that gives pedestrians and bicyclists safe passage over Madisons Beltline Highway.

Because of the Verona Road interchange improvements, the bridge just west of Seminole Highway will be closed for at least four months starting Wednesday.

Now Ill have to take the long way to work, joked Brian Turany, an avid Madison bicyclist who uses the bridge regularly on his commute to Saris Cycling Group....

Ken Notes: Just a thought, what if we bought 12,000 $250 bikes for use buy tourists visiting the city to use for free...
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Stave church at Little Norway a step closer to heading back to its Norwegian homeland

 Wisconsin - 4/30/2015 TOWN OF BLUE MOUNDS One of the most well-traveled churches on the planet may be on the move again.

Armed with flashlights, wooden folding rulers and cameras, a four-man delegation from Norway is spending this week checking out every nook and cranny and evaluating the condition of a replica of a Christian Norwegian stave church that has called western Dane County its home for the past 80 years.

On Thursday, the group liked what it saw. And if all goes well, a centerpiece of the now-closed Little Norway tourist attraction could be taken apart by this summer, packed into shipping containers and sent back to Norway. Thats where it was originally built and then taken apart and shipped for an exhibit at the Worlds Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893....

Ken Notes: I see an opportunity for a local construction firm to get some great PR...
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Dane County airfares highest of 100 busiest airports in country, but passenger counts keep growing

 Madison - 5/14/2015 Dane County Regional Airport reached the top of a rather ignominious list late last year, ranking first in highest average airfare among the nation's 100 busiest airports.

The average fare of $504.75 in the fourth quarter of 2014 was the Madison airport's highest in six years when past fares are adjusted for inflation, according to figures compiled by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Still, passenger counts for final three months of last year indicate that the higher prices are within the range of what travelers or their businesses are willing to pay....

Ken Notes: We need a regional carrier to hub out of Madison like Air Wisconsin and Midwest Express did in the past for MKE and ATW. These were great providers and very profitable in there day. A Madison visionary could build one with a little vision and capital. I bet my friend Tim Hoeksema may have ideas.
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State budget committee votes to keep Dane County out of water quality decisions

 Madison - 5/14/2015 Dane County would be the only county in the state prohibited from providing input to the state Department of Natural Resources on its water quality standards under a last-minute motion approved Tuesday by the state Legislatures budget committee.

The Joint Finance Committee voted to ban the DNR from contracting with Dane County or any of its subsidiaries, including the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, to provide input on extending sewage service to proposed developments or other issues related to its water quality management plan....

Ken Notes: This was not at all politically motivated I am sure...
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Construction may begin at long-vacant Union Corners this summer, but a challenge remains

 Madison - 5/14/2015 So close.

After a decade of hope and delay, construction could start this summer at the blighted, long-vacant Union Corners site on the East Side.

But a major financial hurdle on city financial investment remains before work starts on even the first piece a UW Health clinic of the multi-phase redevelopment with housing, commercial space and grocery store, pedestrian and bicycle connections and mostly underground parking.

To do the project, the city intends to convey its 11.4-acre site worth $6 million for land and infrastructure improvements to the developer, Gorman & Co., for $1.

But to do that transaction, Gorman must demonstrate a financing gap for the redevelopment of at least $6 million. The city and Gorman have been negotiating on the gap since late 2013 but have not come to a resolution....

Ken Notes: Off the record, the state statute make the city responsible for enforcing the agreement and justifying the gap. So couldn't we just call it 6 million and move forward here. The real gap is no project on the site for the next decade!!!
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GOP extreme education plan caters to special interests

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 Tuesday night, legislative Republicans proposed an extreme plan for dismantling our public education system that not only harms education it also undermines the will of voters. As part of an extreme budget proposal approved by the Joint Finance Committee, Republicans will drastically change the system of educating children with disabilities without even holding a public hearing to shovel more funds to the private voucher school community. Overall, the net effect of the changes is the millionaires who fund Republican campaigns were popping champagne corks celebrating their great fortune last night....

Ken Notes: A decidedly biased viewpoint, but I am worried that the rob Peter ti pay Paul voucher program could leave many public schools with the most difficult and challenging students without the funds they need. Also since salaries and services are dramatically different this is not a 1 to 1 relationship. I have worked in BOTH systems and was a school board member for a decade. I doubt the legislature has enough data to make the changes they propose...
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Safety concerns close observation tower in Peninsula State Park

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 The observation tower in one of the state's most popular parks is closed after an inspection showed structural deficiencies in the tower. Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park is closed until further notice, the Department of Natural Resources said....

Ken Notes: Too bad. I am currently in Blue Mounds State Park because I like being up in the air, and the Eagle Tower was one of the best... I wonder if one of the construction companies might adopt the tower or build a steal one to replace it.
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Scott Walker says he would sign prevailing wage repeal

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 Gov. Scott Walker would sign a bill repealing the states prevailing wage if it passes the Legislature, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Laurel Patrick made the comments as an Assembly committee heard testimony on a repeal bill, which the committee later approved 5-4.

Walker has said prevailing wage wasnt a priority, and he has faced criticism from fellow Republicans for not more forcefully backing the legislation....

Ken Notes: Would it not make more sense to fix this law rather than repeal it? Exceptions for "apprentice" and "in training" laborers for example...
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Madison - oldest VFW Post, shrinking in members, votes to sell its headquarters 17 Print Email

 Madison - 5/28/2015 Faced with an aging building and fewer veterans, members of the oldest VFW post in Madison have voted to sell their longtime headquarters. Nothing is expected to change immediately, but the vote sets in motion a process that will lead Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1318 to vacate its home at 133 E. Lakeside St., probably within three years, said Bob Evans, post commander....

Ken Notes: Location, Location, Location.
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Madison startup GrocerKey bringing online shopping to Woodman

 Madison - 6/4/2015 For the vast majority of people, grocery shopping remains a hands-on experience.

Shoppers sort through the produce, cruise the snack aisle or seek out the perfect cut of meat.

But a Madison start-up which just signed a major deal with Woodman's Markets is looking to grow the online grocery shopping business.

GrocerKey offers a free software platform that lets grocers create their own online branded stores. The technology allows grocers to not only post their products but also to coordinate with staff to make timely deliveries to customers....

Ken Notes: Great Idea!!!
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Rhythm and Booms replacement - Shake the Lake - includes human cannonball, music and food

 Madison - 6/4/2015 Before fireworks light up the sky over Lake Monona at the first annual Shake the Lake near Monona Terrace on June 27, a human cannonball will fly.

David The Bullet Smith, who has performed at the Madison Mallards games for 10 years, will perform his first-ever aquatic launch, flying 150 feet over the waters of Lake Monona, organizers say. Smith currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest shot out of a cannon....

Ken Notes: Ever notice the Mallards give a lot to the community???
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Liliana's to turn Mason`s on Main in Oregon into a banquet hall, restaurant and speakeasy

 Oregon - 6/11/2015 The demand for catering from Liliana's Restaurant, 2951 Triverton Pike Drive in Fitchburg, has led chef/owner Dave Heide to open his own banquet space.

Heide has plans to turn the former Mason's on Main, 113 S. Main St. in Oregon, into a combination restaurant, banquet hall and underground speakeasy. Heide will be the chef and Kirsten Donkle will be the event manager.

Liliana's has been catering weddings for just three years, but in that time grew from two in 2012 to 14 the next year and 47 in 2014. ...

Ken Notes: Too bad we can't get him into the Sundance Space.... Dave is brilliant by the way. oh and he has light jazz....
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Commission pushes Pizza Ranch for better look

 VERONA - 6/11/2015 Verona has been clamoring for new restaurants for years, and the Plan Commission has been waiting just as long for a proposal to actually come through on the citys easternmost Verona Avenue parcel.

But Monday night the commission and a team representing Pizza Ranch and the developer of the six-acre parcel it would be part of had trouble coming to a consensus on what the building will look like....

Ken Notes: I would push for better pizza. It is difficult to explain that with restaurants all boat rise with the tide. One great restaurant may not have an impact or even succeed but several restaurants of any ilk create a demand and destination. Name a restaurant on State Street, Greenway Station, Middleton Downtown, Middleton by Costco, The Square, Fitchburg. Now name one in Verona??? There are no unique boats thus Verona is destined to be the fast food and bar food jungle jungle. They may get an Applebys but not a Lilliana's... Get it???
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OPINION: Watch your back if you work for the state

 Wisconsin - 6/18/2015 If you do work for the state, just be careful what you say or do nowadays.

Cross the current powers that be and because they control both houses of the Legislature plus the governor's office, they indeed are powers and be prepared to face the consequences. They'll be out to get you.

It's not a stretch to say that we're experiencing the most vindictive period in Wisconsin political history....

Ken Notes: This is not new. We saw this when there was a changing of the guard after Thompson-McCallum. I was there. Also individual legislators have often floated politically motivated attack bills it just is a little more scary when they hold all the cards. The style is also now far more different than in the past when all the parties were pulled into a room and told what was going to happen before it just happened. For a comparison look at QEO vs. ACT 10. I was there for both and the style was dramatically different but the results were the same.
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Construction company will plea guilty to fraud

 Wisconsin - 6/18/2015 Documents filed in federal court in Milwaukee show a construction company owner has agreed to plead guilty to defrauding the government and to pay $1.6 million to resolve a whistle blower lawsuit. Scott Watry, of Watry Homes, is accused of paying employees less than the mandated prevailing wage to do federally funded work at a public housing project in Milwaukee. He's accused of telling federal officials he was paying the proper rate and then pocketing the difference....
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Conservative profs fear Scott Walker's UW changes will hurt them; more calls for Walker to come home

 Wisconsin - 6/25/2015 In a column for Politco magazine, two UW-Madison professors known for their conservative views contend that Gov. Scott Walker's proposed changes to tenure and faculty governance are going to silence campus Republicans. We're an endangered species now, the two profs claim, and ironically Republican Walker is going to make things tougher for folks like them.

On the subject of the UW, Gayle Miller, an emeritus professor at Marquette University, pens a column for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel proposing that Wisconsin change the way it selects regents for the UW System. The system of political appointees, and intrigue over who gets offered the positions, is out of date and a more transparent method is needed, she insists.


Ken Notes: I sort of get this, I am a conservative, yet many suggest my comments are not "in line" with the agenda. Really, I can't suggest conservative compassionate citizen based ideas for homelessness, job creation, health care, and the environment? We used to discuss issues, now we try and build teams to forward our ideals without compromise. Leaving conservative teachers in the void is not good for our future...
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Aquaponics business aims to set up in an East Wash basement

 Madison - 6/25/2015 An aquaponics farm growing vegetables and tilapia is coming into a basement space on East Washington Avenue, possibly as soon as this fall. Shown here, Nelson and Pade in Montello sell raft systems like this one at KP's Simply Fresh in North Freedom; owners of The Cube Farm plan to build their own....
This fall, watch for a farm to crop up in a very unlikely place: a basement on East Washington Avenue.
Madisons first aquaponics venture, cleverly named The Cube Farm, recently got city approval to set up fish tanks and grow lights at 1444 E. Washington Ave. In the spaces above are the Art In gallery and artists' studios.
The Cube Farm venture has three partners, Kevin Spaulding and Craig Spaulding, brothers with a background at the former downtown restaurant Caf Montmartre, and Kevins girlfriend, Pam Prince, who owns a horse farm in Deerfield.

Ken Notes: Speaking of emerging markets. Of course Disney had the ideas in the 70`s....
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55 percent of Wisconsin school districts will get less state aid next year

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 More than half of the states public school districts will receive less general state aid in the coming school year, state estimates released Wednesday show.

Of the states 424 school districts, 55 percent or 234 districts are projected to receive less aid in the 2015-16 school year, while 44 percent or 188 districts are expected to receive more, according to the Department of Public Instruction.

The DPI estimates show Madison schools receiving about $52.5 million in state aid next school year, a 3.5 percent drop. The district had budgeted for a slightly larger decrease, so the estimate released Wednesday is good news, district officials said....

Ken Notes: Again as a 10year+ member of a school board (Neenah), stability is the strongest tool we have to manage the systems. A yo-yo contribution from the state means that long term cuts or program improvements are difficult to make. Also taking something like health insurance off the negotiating table would be HUGE.
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OPINION: Someone should pay for bad WEDC loans

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 Negative consequences are needed for the behavior of political operatives involved in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Recent revelations have shown WEDC has in essence been used to solicit campaign contributions for the governor. One of the governor's staff crossed the line in seeking funds for Building Committee Inc. No research was done into the company's solvency. The only requirement for WEDC funds seemed to be a $10,000 contribution to the governor's war chest. Once the money was given to BCI, the company was out of business. The owner of BCI had actually promised the WEDC grant would be used to pay for his overdue car rentals. The money provided no economic stimulus for our state...

Ken Notes: I definitely have opinions on WEDC, but repaying loans for companies that fail is NOT one of them. It remains clear that around 50% of new businesses are not in business five years latter. banks know this and survive and so should the state. I still like incentives based on tax breaks for job creation. We would both fund successful business and give startups help regardless of what side of the survival coin they fall.
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Madison considering pilot program to allow dogs in parks

 Madison - 7/9/2015 For decades, dogs have not been allowed in most Madison parks, a law some dog owners ignore, others protest and some dont know about.

In the coming months, the city may take steps to change that status quo with a pilot program allowing dogs on paths in 13 parks throughout the city.

It seems like a natural place for dogs to be, doesnt it? said City Council President Denise DeMarb, who is the lead sponsor on the action introduced to the council Tuesday evening....

Ken Notes: I like this and to attract boomers and millennials this could be huge...
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Madison tops Green Bay, Milwaukee

 Madison - 7/23/2015 In "Two Minutes with Mitch" local radio personality Mitch Henck defends Madison as a better place to live than Green Bay or Milwaukee....
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OPINION: Madison developer could be giving tree another 100 years

 Madison - 7/23/2015 Im no expert on the psychology of trees, so I cant say whether the 250-year-old oak on the site of the proposed Grandview Commons Town Center is happy. It definitely has cause for gratitude, though, and maybe a little relief, given that the developer of the site on Madisons Far East Side is making room for it in the proposed 30,000-square-foot commercial development. I had assumed that the trees preservation meant pressure of the local tree-hugging variety had been brought to bear on the city and the developer, DSI Real Estate Group. An artists rendering of the project suggests preservation wasnt the natural choice (so to speak), as the oak appears as something of an empty spot in a row of storefronts like a gap in a 6-year-olds front teeth....

Ken Notes: Please remember developers are not evil tree killing blacktop paving monsters. They are business professionals who develop projects based on cash flow. This can mean taller buildings, less parking, and fewer or more trees, but in the end it MUST mean cash flow. If others keep that in mind when advocating for changes in a project we can do great things.
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Festival Foods opening on East Washington Avenue moved back

 Madison - 7/30/2015 A grocery store in the Galaxie development on East Washington Avenue has pushed back its target opening date.

Festival Foods had hoped to open in late September at 810 E. Washington Ave. but now is looking at early December, according to public relations director Nick Arlt.

The 55,000-square-foot store is in the full-block development on the north side of East Washington Avenue that broke ground last September....

Ken Notes: East Wash is going to be the place to be in Madison...
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165 layoffs at Oscar Mayer expected with Kraft Heinz cutting 2,500 jobs

 Wisconsin - 8/13/2015 In the wake of its merger, Kraft Heinz is cutting approximately 2,500 jobs across the U.S. and Canada, 165 of which will come at Oscar Mayer's corporate office in Madison.

According to Madison Ald. Larry Palm's blog, the city was notified Wednesday morning about the 165 layoffs.

"This is a tough day for all us, my thoughts are with the employees of Oscar Mayer," Palm wrote. "Oscar Mayer is a cherished, multigenerational company that has been in Madison over 100 years....

Ken Notes: Madison should be able to absorb this but we do need to respect our old core businesses. We tend to get tech obsessed but they state would do well to remember that no matter what happens, people need to eat, drink and poop. (sorry but when I was with KC this "poop" was a driving factor)
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Worker killed in fall at Downtown Madison construction site

 Madison - 8/20/2015 A 25-year-old construction worker died Monday from injuries he suffered in a fall at the site of a future apartment building one block off Capitol Square in Madison.

Chris Lord of Dane was working as a framer at the site for the projects general contractor, McGann Construction, said company president Bryan McGann....

Ken Notes: Such a sad story. We work hard to protect our workers and construction sites, but in the end it can be a very dangerous job. Our sincere sympathy to both the family and fellow workers.
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Wisconsin tax collections up slightly from previous estimates

 Wisconsin - 8/27/2015 State tax collections for the 2014-15 fiscal year slightly exceeded expectations, according to a memo from Wisconsin's nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released Wednesday.
Wisconsin collected about $14.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June, putting about $71 million or 0.5 percent more in the state's general fund than previously projected. It was an increase of 4.3 percent over the previous year....
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Don`t banish homeless, help them

 Madison - 9/3/2015 Dear Editor: It appalls me that the right to sleep anywhere is being legislated away from people who have nowhere to sleep. Please, please don't vote for that abomination!

Studies show that putting $67 million into Housing First-type housing would pay back faster than the TIF loan of tax money for the Judge Doyle Square development. So why subsidize a luxury hotel rather than the needs of the homeless? It's so cruel and self-defeating it makes me want to cry.

Do we have to drag on year after year with thousands of people mentally ill and addicted, or just people down on their luck living in the open, exhausted, depressed and physically endangered because they can't even find a place to sleep?...

Ken Notes: We do need a balanced plan with some options not yet in the hopper...
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Epic, I`m home! Epic Systems kicks off annual Users Group Meeting with nods to classic TV

 9/3/2015 On Tuesday morning, Epic Systems CEO and founder Judy Faulkner stood before an audience of thousands at the healthcare technology companys intergalactic headquarters in Verona dressed as Lucille Balls character from the classic television comedy I Love Lucy. In what might have seemed like a twentysomething Epic employees fever dream, Faulkner walked across the stage of Epics massive Deep Space auditorium, alternating between sharing hard facts about her company and introducing I Love Lucy clips....

Ken Notes: Lucy you got some splainin to do. With this cool a space why can`t we book the Stones??? Am Fam gave us Philip Philips for free... Congrats by the way!!!
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Goodbye home offices: shared workspaces gaining ground

 National - 9/10/2015 Ten years ago, co-working spaces were a new concept, providing shared desks for freelancers and entrepreneurs as single "mom and pop" shops. Today, the one-off, mom and pop spaces have been mostly replaced with chain companies, providing real estate developers a new way to lease traditional office space and to make connections with potential tenants....

Ken Notes: Madison has several great options!!!
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State is too humble in marketing itself as industry hub

 Wisconsin - 9/17/2015 Wisconsin businesses are just too humble, according to a panel of CEOs assembled at Monona Terrace on Wednesday afternoon. We have this serious inferiority complex and it's so unjustified, said Cynthia LaConte, CEO of Dohmen Life Science Services, a Milwaukee business that does staffing and consulting work with entrepreneurial life sciences firms. We not only have great people, we have a fantastic quality of life in this state and we're not telling our story to prospective investors. LaConte was joined by three other CEOs Matt Jennings of Phillips-Medisize, Kevin Conroy of Exact Sciences and James Dias of Will Be for a featured event at the 2015 Bioscience Summit, a Wisconsin bioscience industry conference put on by BioForward, the Wisconsin chapter of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization....
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Neighbors criticize proposed apartment building at Sherman and Fordem: `It`s just way too big`

 Madison - 9/17/2015 A proposed five-story apartment building at the corner of Sherman and Fordem avenues on Madison's east side has been criticized by some nearby residents as too big.
The 61-apartment project with retail space exceeds the three-story and 40-foot limits for which the property is zoned, and that's the standard that some who live in the Burrows Park area want to see upheld....

Ken Notes: Again you divide the price of acquisition into the per unit costs and bigger makes the project affordable. This is close to the new park - work something out...
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StartingBlock selling 'virtual blocks' to fund new startup hub

 Madison - 9/24/2015 Donors can buy themselves a piece of the entrepreneurial hub StartingBlock virtually, at least. StartingBlock, slated to open next year on Madison's near east side, launched a crowdfunding campaign Wednesday to meet a $1.5 million fundraising goal. The campaign is selling $25 virtual blocks on the space's 50,000-square-foot floor plan. Donors can upload a logo or image to display in the block. When the space is built, the virtual mosaic of donor images will be projected on the wall of StartingBlock's entryway....
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Isthmus on WORT: Signs of the times

 Madison - 9/24/2015 Regulars on State Street probably notice that Madison's most famous street looks a little different these days. Earlier this month, Gus Paras, owner of the Orpheum Theater, had the building's iconic sign removed. As Jay Rath reported in last week's Isthmus, that sign wasn't the original. Craftsmen are now at work building one that will look like 1927 version, the one used when the theater opened. He spoke to Dylan Brogan, producer at WORT-FM's In Our Backyard, about the story. Listen to the interview here:...

Ken Notes: Fun listen...
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Sundance Cinemas Madison bought by Carmike theater chain

 Madison - 10/8/2015 The nation?s fourth largest movie theater chain will buy Sundance Cinemas, including the six-screen theater in Madison.

Carmike Cinemas is buying the entire Sundance Cinemas chain, including five theaters around the country, for $36 million, the company reported Tuesday. The Georgia-based Carmike currently owns 269 theaters in the United States....

Ken Notes: This could be a great fit in that their model is not high prices but good shows. I hope they lease out or reopen the restaurant and the rooftop bar. This is a great theatre and we need an art film venue -- but it does have to make money.
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Acclaimed Italian restaurant Nostrano is up for sale

 Madison - 10/15/2015 Nostrano, Tim and Elizabeth Dahl`s cozy Italian restaurant at 111 S. Hamilton St., is up for sale.

The restaurant, which celebrated its five-year anniversary last week, has earned accolades for its owners, including mentions in Food and Wine`s People`s Best New Chef competition (Tim Dahl) and the James Beard Awards (Elizabeth Dahl).

But the difficulties of running the kitchen as well as every other aspect of their restaurant has been tough for the Dahls, who now have three young children. ...

Ken Notes: Hey FoodFight this would put you on the international map, you have the skill set to run, staff and market it, you might be able to keep the Dahls, and I haven`t eaten there yet. Use the share link to forward this to FF investors and staff...
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Local startups to meet next week with Silicon Valley investors

 Wisconsin - 10/15/2015 The regional business delegation led by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce will meet next week with prominent venture capitalists. It is the second consecutive year a delegation has traveled to California to promote the area and the startup companies. Greater Madison is entering a new Golden Era in business, led by competitive innovation sectors and a rapidly scaling entrepreneurial landscape, said chamber president Zach Brandon, in a news release. As we continue to build and compete with cities across the globe, it is imperative that we travel with purpose and actively tell our story as a world-class place to build and invest....
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Koch Industries sponsors Badgers football under contract that bars - adverse interests

 UW Madison - 10/22/2015 The Wisconsin Badgers Oct. 31 football game against Rutgers at Camp Randall Stadium will be sponsored by Koch Industries, the energy company run by billionaire political players David and Charles Koch. The game sponsorship is part of UW's multi-year contract with a collegiate sports marketing company worth more than $111 million in guaranteed payments alone.

A 2012 UW Board of Regents contract, obtained by the Capital Times through an open records request, gives Badger Sports Properties, a subsidiary of Learfield Communications, Inc., the right to sell game sponsorships and advertisements to be displayed at UW-Madison athletic venues through 2026....

Ken Notes: Why should this be different from any other sponsor. It is a financial boon to the program to have companies willing to invest millions in UW Athletics. Now if Koch expects more than advertising and good will in return, that is a crime. We are actually giving them more attention than the need by suggesting this is wrong and in the end we will not change the policy. Am Fam, UWHealth, Ho-Chunck, Ray o Vac, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and all the rest THANK YOU for supporting UW athletics...
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Johnson is jumping: The East Johnson Street neighborhood is back (again!)

 Madison - 10/29/2015 When Johnson Public House opened in April 2011, that stretch of East Johnson Street was pretty quiet.

Gwen and Kyle Johnson, Chicago transplants with young children, chose the In the Company of Thieves location at 908 E. Johnson to develop a more contemporary concept, serving pour-over, single-origin coffees and hosting music and storytelling events.

To the Johnsons, finding the cafe on a street with their name felt like fate, even if they were among just a handful of businesses...

...The uptick in new businesses says that East Johnson, technically part of the larger Capitol East District, is developing its own identity as a shopping and dining destination. It has a different feel from spots like Sujeo and Cargo Coffee or the new Julep, Barolo and A-OK restaurant group, all on East Washington Avenue...

Ken Notes: I hope we continue to see the neighborhood vibe grow and thrive in Madison. I love Willy Street, State, Monroe, Regent, and all the rest... Each with it`s own vibe and style... We may not promote this enough especially to tourists and visitors. I met a hotel guest the other day asking for pizza, he mentioned Pizza Hut - I walked him to Ian`s...
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OPINION: Why the time has come for cannabis in Madison

 Wisconsin - 11/5/2015 Madison is a community of thinking people. It has a reputation of studying issues and buying in when something makes sense. And nothing makes more sense than the legalization of cannabis (marijuana). By every standard of truth, cannabis has proven itself to be a benefit to any governmental body that legalizes it.

In Colorado, where I visit often, cannabis is a key news topic year round. Its legalization has raised a remarkable amount of money for the state?s schools. Patient studies call it the best seizure medicine in history. Legalization has helped spur a massive drop in crime, murder and hard drug overdoses. Even the tourism industry has benefited as the curious come to observe....

Ken Notes: What if we changed the focus to our youth. Imaging Colorado taking 100% of cannabis revenues and focusing on preventing youth from accessing drugs, including cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco and nicotine. Also programs could be funded that provide kids with opportunities to socialize, study, and mature. Finally education could receive additional income for programs that prepare students to transitioning to the workplace and advanced education.

I firmly believe we need to restructure our laws to punish those harming our youth and become more lax on the activities of consenting adults. After a generation or two we will see a shift to more responsible adults.
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​Craft brewery slowdown

 Wisconsin - 11/5/2015 Owners says an arcane 2011 state law is impeding growth...

By most accounts, Wisconsin?s craft beer industry is still booming. It?s an economic development bright spot in a state struggling to create new jobs and boost private-sector investment.

But unfortunately, the number of new breweries opening in Wisconsin is now lagging the rest of the nation by some 50%, according to the latest figures from the Brewers Association, based in Boulder, Colo. And some entrepreneurs are blaming lawmakers for arcane rules slipped into the 2011 budget that make it harder for smaller players to expand or grow their business.

Ken Notes: We NEED and advocacy group for craft beer in Wisconsin. The industry will be huge!!!
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WEDC should have seen bread crumbs of Oscar Mayer closing, Mark Pocan says

 Wisconsin - 11/12/2015 U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said he thinks Wisconsin`s economic development agency should have seen signs leading to last week`s announcement of the impending closing of Oscar Mayer`s Madison plant.

When Oscar Mayer parent company Kraft completed a merger with Heinz in July, there were hints that changes were coming for Oscar Mayer.

And when Kraft Heinz announced 165 layoffs at the Oscar Mayer Madison corporate office in August, it was another sign of things to come, Pocan, a Democrat from Madison, said in an interview broadcast on WKOW-TV`s "Capitol City Sunday."

He said the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. should have picked up on them and made contact with the company to find out its plans for the Madison location....

Ken Notes: Why are not WEDC and Mark communicating with all major employees in the state and his district. It seems to me the company in this case was looking to consolidate for efficiencies and improvements. The Madison site did not offer what they needed and I am not sure cash was the issue. I have mentioned a few times that if we offered tax breaks based on new jobs we would create a level playing field for all companies in the state. Mark rather than blame WEDC, pick up a pen and draft meaningful legislation that creates real incentives for real jobs.
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Cap Times reporter Bryna Godar talks public market, Oscar Mayer closing on WORT

 Madison - 11/19/2015 With the impending closure of Madison`s Oscar Mayer plant, some in the city and state are turning to a planned public market as a needed boost for food-production jobs. Cap Times reporter Bryna Godar joined Kristian Knutsen on WORT`s In Our Backyard news program Tuesday evening to talk about what the public market entails, some of the debate over location and timing and whether Gov. Scott Walker might provide funding for the plan....

Ken Notes: If you Rotary or other group would like to have a discussion about these or other projects, give me a call. I will be happy to provide a little background and moderate. Remember your voice is needed to move these project forward...
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Cricket Design Works offers a Cool Workspace home away from home

 Madison - 12/10/2015 The Cricket Design Works office looks and feels like a modern urban loft apartment.

Light hardwood floors, an exposed brick wall and a handmade sliding barn door are among the d'cor choices that make the space feel more like a home than an office.

That lived-in feel was what appealed to Kristin Cricket Redman, founder of the visual communications agency. Redman had frequented the space, located at 1925 Monroe St., when it was a tea shop, and jumped on the chance to rent it when her growing agency was looking for a home in 2006....

Ken Notes: The photos HERE. ar fantastic. I love 100State but we could use some design sense and some comfortable work spaces. Greg I`ll bet we could tour this space for some ideas... Also having a dog in the office PERFECT!
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Kraemer Brothers Construction

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Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance prevailing wage report

 Wisconsin - 4/2/2015 PDF worth reading...

Ken Notes: Todd gets it...
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WEDC awards increase as job creation numbers fall

 Wisconsin - 9/24/2015 The state's flagship job-creation agency handed out nearly $90 million more in economic development awards last year than the previous year, yet those awards are expected to create or retain almost 6,000 fewer jobs and result in $400 million less in capital investment.

Most of the additional award funding resulted from a historic rehabilitation tax credit that Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature expanded in 2013. The agency gave out $2.9 million in 2013-14, but that jumped to $78.1 million last year....

Ken Notes: Again, I believe a change of course is necessary but the tools seem to me in place... Bipartisan is the key but still not even on the agenda...
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Workforce Development secretary touts moving functions to insurance office

 Madison - 3/5/2015 Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said Tuesday that he would speak to the Attorney General's Office about increasing legal action in response to overpayments on unemployment claims.

But Newson also said there needed to be a balance so law enforcement officials weren't overburdened by referrals from his department.

Newson answered questions about a 2014 Legislative Audit Bureau report that found the department overpaid $167.9 million in claims over the past three years, saying that every DWD employee was on the lookout for waste and fraud....

Ken Notes: We need a legislative fiscal tracking system for ALL our investments with the intention of catching potential problems early instead of after the fact. The spend it or lose it mindset has to change. But as a former Mayor let me tell you this is tough because the way out budget works saving money one year can and does bite you in the ... the next year.
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Epic Systems Corp. takes on Indian IT giant Tata

 National - 3/5/2015 Health IT blogs are starting to buzz about the Goliath vs. Goliath lawsuit that is, Epics claims against two divisions of Tata, the huge conglomerate in India.

Epic Systems Corp., of Verona, a giant in electronic health records, filed suit Oct. 31 in U.S. District Court in Madison against Tata Consultancy Services, of Mumbai, and Tata America International Corp., in New York. Details were added in an amended lawsuit filed Jan. 26.

Epic wants an injunction and undetermined damages, accusing Tata Consultancy of brazenly stealing Epics trade secrets in what appears to be an elaborate campaign of deception. ...

Ken Notes: Very Interesting! I see EPIC Global in the very near future!
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Wisconsin Brewing Co. to produce UW student-created amber lager

 Wisconsin - 3/12/2015 Ice cream wont be the only indulgence developed at Babcock Hall and enjoyed on the Memorial Union terrace this spring.
An amber lager, created by a trio of UW-Madison students on a pilot brewing system in the Department of Food Science and the Center for Dairy Research, was selected Thursday as the winning brew in a competition to have a beer from the university commercially produced and distributed statewide by Wisconsin Brewing Co. in Verona....

Ken Notes: I LOVE this State!!!!
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Apartment building postponed for traffic study

 VERONA - 3/12/2015 Concerns from residents about the potential of increased traffic in the Scenic Ridge neighborhood as well as the existing traffic led the Common Council to postpone approval of a third set of apartments there Monday night.

While a few alders acknowledged that the city is essentially legally bound to approve a permit for the apartments and some said they favored bringing more diversity to the citys housing stock, the vote was unanimous. Ald. Luke Diazs motion asked for a traffic study and appropriate city action to deal with the findings. ...
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City finances key to progress on other priorities

 Madison - 3/19/2015 Amid strict state levy limits, the city is struggling to meet service demands, replace aging streets and other infrastructure, and handle costly special challenges like the invasion of the emerald ash borer.

It makes finances a key issue for Mayor Paul Soglin and challenger Ald. Scott Resnick in the April 7 general election.

In the last four years, the city has maintained basic services and avoided layoffs while tax collections rose at a lower average rate than the average between 2001 and 2011.

The city quit using a cash premium from lenders essentially one-time money to indirectly support the operating budget....

Ken Notes: I like the one time money policy, we need to invest in infrastructure and establish clear priorities for our services...
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Fitchburg development zone

 Fitchburg - 3/26/2015 The state Department of Natural Resources expects to decide during the spring whether to overrule a regional planning commission by approving a controversial development plan in Fitchburg. The DNR is accepting public comments on the proposal through April 3. Comments may be sent to Lisa Helmuth at lisa.helmuth@wisconsin.gov or Fitchburg NE Neighborhood Public Comment, Wisconsin DNR, c/o Ms. L. Helmuth, WQ/3, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921. Developers and Fitchburg city officials want the county water quality plan amended to allow extension of sewer services for construction in a 924-acre area on the citys northeast side near Lake Waubesa....
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Sky-high expectations for Willis Tower

 Chicago - 3/26/2015 If youre interested in the economic future of Chicago, you want to know what the smart money thinks. And some of the smartest just bought something very big, right here, near the corner of Wacker and Adams Willis Tower, for $1.3 billion. The buyer is Blackstone Group, a New York-based private equity investor that manages $81 billion in real estate assets. Were bullish on Chicago as companies expand within and move into the city, Blackstones Jacob Werner said in the announcement a few days ago.......
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Japan`s Fujifilm to buy Madison stem cell company Cellular Dynamics for $307 million

 Madison - 4/2/2015 Madisons biotech community and its supporters cheered the news Monday that Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) founded by UW-Madison stem cell pioneer James Thomson in 2004 will be purchased by Fujifilm Holdings Corp., of Tokyo, for $307 million.

I wish every Monday was like this. This is a really nice surprise, said Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. WARF owns a small percentage of CDI stock and holds patents on some of Thomsons technology, drawing licensing fees and royalties from Cellular Dynamics....

Ken Notes: Why do American companies like Kodak and Polaroid die whild Japanese companies like Fuji thrive???
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Paul Robbins Director of the Nelson Institute

 UW Madison - 4/16/2015 Paul Robbins has been director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison since 2012.

Born in Washington, D.C., Robbins grew up in Denver and came to UW-Madison for undergraduate study because, in his words, this is the worlds finest educational institution, with an unbeatable record for public service and engagement. Plus, it was a lot of fun in the 1980s.

Robbins, 47, earned his bachelors degree in anthropology, got a masters and doctorate in geography from Clark University, and taught at the University of Iowa, Ohio State University and the University of Arizona, where he led the School of Geography and Development, before returning to Madison....
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Walker says there won`t be huge amount of new revenue

 Madison - 4/23/2015 Walker commented Wednesday in Appleton. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau is expected to release new revenue projections the week of May 4. Positive projections will give the Legislature more money to spend or reduce cuts as it works on the state budget. Walker says he does not think there will be a "huge amount" of additional money. But he says the priority will be filling a $127 million cut in funding to public schools he proposed in the first year of the budget....
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Sun Prairie retail hub reaches critical mass

 Sun Prairie - 5/14/2015 Tommy Millner leads a company that sells bass baits, bullets and backpacks. Rolando Rodriguez heads up a cinema chain with reclining lounge chairs, fresh pizza and gelato stands.
But Millner, of Nebraska-based Cabelas, and Rodriguez, of Marcus Theatres in Milwaukee, are similar in that they both require high-traffic, easily accessible locations for their businesses to thrive....
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Why Exact Sciences wants to move Downtown

 Madison - 5/21/2015 At Exact Sciences, were on a mission to help eradicate colon cancer, the most preventable yet least prevented form of cancer. To achieve this goal, we developed Cologuard, the first FDA-approved, non-invasive colon cancer screening test that uses the power of DNA technologies to change the way we screen for a preventable disease that will kill 50,000 Americans this year. We employ nearly 600 people, including some of the best scientists and engineers focused on developing advanced cancer diagnostic tests. The majority of our team is based in Wisconsin, and we now want to bring our passion for our mission to Downtown Madison by building a headquarters that can invigorate a dormant area of our city....
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Marcus investing in theaters in its current markets

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 Rolando Rodriguez came to the U.S. from Cuba with his family when he was 10, started tearing movie tickets when he was in high school and has risen to the top of one of the largest theater chains in the country.

In 2013, Rodriguez was named president and CEO of Marcus Theatres and executive vice president of Marcus Corp., its parent company based in Milwaukee. He spent 30 years with AMC Theatres, two years as president and CEO of Rave Cinemas in Dallas, and five years in a variety of roles with Wal-Mart, including as a vice president and a regional general manager for four states....

Ken Notes: I vote to place him on the WEDC board today!!!
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Health tech boom is no bubble, speakers tell Madison conference

 Madison - 6/4/2015 Physicians today are getting burned out on their jobs, and electronic health records while useful are part of the problem, Sanaz Cordes, a former physician, told a conference in Madison on Tuesday. Many doctors spend two to four hours a day clicking and documenting details about patient visits, Cordes said, cutting into time spent in actual patient care. Physicians are inundated ... They open their computers and they have 100 tasks. And it will only get worse, shesaid....

Ken Notes: Once again, Madison could be the Mecca for this, but government needs to stay out of the way because there will be winners and losers. The UW, WARF, and the new West side Research Park will play a huge role in this.
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$700,000 WEDC loan to aviation company unpaid

 Wisconsin - 6/11/2015 Months after Gov. Scott Walkers flagship job-creation agency was formed in 2011, it gave a forgivable $686,000 taxpayer loan to a Sheboygan company planning to build a combination helicopter and corporate jet even though the company had no experience in aircraft manufacturing and underwriters hadnt reviewed the companys finances in years.

But Morgan Aircraft hasnt created the 340 jobs it promised by the end of 2015, did not make the promised $105 million investment and is not expected to repay the loan....

Ken Notes: I actually have no comment...
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US homebuilding drops in May, but pace stronger than in 2014

 National - 6/18/2015 U.S. builders broke ground on fewer homes in May, but the pace of construction remains significantly higher than a year ago as the real estate sector increasingly reflects the stronger job market. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts last month fell 11.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.04 million homes. Economists say that starts increased so sharply in April surging 22 percent to an annual rate of 1.17 million that some giveback was inevitable in May. And in a promising sign for the months ahead, approved building permits rose increased 11.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million the highest level since August 2007....
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Why Wisconsin doesnt fare well in most business startup rankings and how to improve

 Wisconsin - 6/18/2015 Theres something counter-intuitive about Wisconsin dropping to dead last among the 50 states in the latest business startup index published by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Really? The Badger State has fewer entrepreneurs than Mississippi, West Virginia or Alabama, just to mention three states that often top Americas economic 911 call list?...

Ken Notes: Read this!
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Tony Frank`s closes under weight of money troubles

 Madison - 6/25/2015 Tony Frank's Tavern closed Monday after 86 years, its owner saying it just got too tough to hang on. Jim Frank said his family tavern at 1612 Seminole Highway began suffering with bridge construction more than two years ago, and after that, a "real tough winter" contributed to the bar's troubles.

Ken Notes: Too bad, just had dinner there a few weeks ago Great food - Great Staff...
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Scott Walker set to file papers today for presidential bid

 Madison - 7/2/2015 According to multiple reports, Gov. Scott Walker will file papers today to run for president. Walker is set to file papers with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, and will officially announce his candidacy on July 13, several outlets reported Thursday morning. According to a WisPolitics report, the governor has reserved the Waukesha County Expo Center for his announcement. That's where he awaited results from the 2012 recall election...

Ken Notes: We need to create a legislative agenda for economic development in the State. We can tie this agenda to a campaign for governor if Scott leaves the governors office...
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Mayor Paul Soglin proposes city certification program for living wages, landlords taxis

 Madison - 7/9/2015 Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing a voluntary city certification program for a living wage, landlord best practices and taxi industry.

The program would have businesses earn certification based on standards, such as paying a certain minimum wage, a process for tenant rental deposits, or driver background checks, Soglin said, and be similar to a longstanding city program accrediting child care operations....

Ken Notes: Not a bad idea.
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KSW celebrates anniversary in new Verona office

 VERONA - 7/9/2015 KSW Construction celebrated making it a decade in an up and down industry this year, and did so in a new building that opened in Liberty Business Park in March. It can be right here, said KSW president Dean Slaby, who has been a Verona resident for more than 20 years, of the decision to move the business to Verona. The company, which had been in Fitchburg until the recent move, has been a blessing for Slaby and his brother, KSW vice president Doug Slaby. Dean said the key to making it to this point has been the repeated business they get from clients. Its all about relationships, he said....

Ken Notes: Welcome and Happy Anniversary...
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Buzzing with new businesses, Madison`s coffee scene booms

 Madison - 7/16/2015 Well-caffeinated entrepreneurs have surveyed Madisons coffee scene and found it a little weak. Within the past few months, several new operations have percolated, adding to an already crowded field of coffee shops and roasters. This new wave of coffee businesses is taking aim at budding connoisseurs, drinkers who want to take their cups to the next level with specialty cold brew and single origin beans from Central America. This weekend marked the launch of Velostein, a bike trailer that serves cold brew coffee in a pressurized keg....

Ken Notes: Wow and I thought I was a coffee snob because I like Peets and am not a fan of Starbucks. These guys take it to a new level, I will have to try "cold brew" soon... Fun read...
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We probably want policy in the state budget

 Madison - 7/16/2015 One of the things that interests me most about politics is the intersection between principle and practice, between idealism and realism, between the high-minded way that we wish government would work and the sometimes sleazy way in which things actually get accomplished.

My biggest complaint (among many) with my fellow liberals is that they are stubbornly nave about the ways of politics, and by refusing to embrace the game as it is played, they lose policy debates that they could be winning. An obsession with process over results is a fatal flaw in liberal DNA....

Ken Notes: Dave may be one of the smartest politicians in the state. But is is wrong here --- at least sort of wrong. The budget is used to hide many policy issues from the unimportant to the dramatic. It is a great place to get a lot done with one vote but it means we do not get to discuss items that should be discussed. I have a better idea, the state could develop a consent agenda bill periodically with several policy issues in it -- like the the budget now contains. Items could be removed or modified by a majority vote or consensus from the floor before adoption and the results would be much the same. Items removed could be debated separately and still passed. The budget would then be a financial document only and could even have a consent policy agenda concurrently up for consideration. This is not the same thing as the current process. For example the budget may make cuts to the DNR allotment but the provision to trim a specific DNR department may be removed from the consent agenda. The DNR would then have to adjust spending accordingly but may find other ways to make the fiscal cuts. If both pass the results are the same but now the item can be debated without the fiscal impacts driving the decision or vise versa. So Dave would this work???
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Months after climate change gag, Earth Day founder`s daughter moves on

 Wisconsin - 7/23/2015 Four months after her new Republican bosses drew national attention by ordering her not to discuss climate change on the job, the daughter of Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson announced she is resigning as Wisconsins public lands administrator. Tia Nelson said Tuesday she has accepted a new science and education position that will be announced Wednesday by a Madison-based foundation. Nelson was upbeat and said she saw silver linings in the adversity she and her staff have faced this year as one of her new Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) members has questioned and criticized a multitude of details about the agencys operations....

Ken Notes: The BCPL flew under the radar screen until Tia came into the picture. It is a hugely important Wisconsin asset that few still know about. Both the lands and the income available to schools and communities is something we should be more aware of. Also telling Tia not to talk about environmental issues while our Governor stumps for president was hypocritical. Please tell me why I am wrong??? I wish Tia the best and thank her father for being a true public servant.
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Prosecutors believed Scott Walker committed a felony while county executive

 Wisconsin - 8/6/2015 Prosecutors believed Gov. Scott Walker committed a felony when he was Milwaukee County executive for his role in the rejection of a lease extension for county office space, a Wednesday court filing shows. Walker, who is seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, was never charged with a crime, and has long said he was never a target of the secret 2011 John Doe investigation into his county office....

Ken Notes: I am only the messenger here and to be honest I was thinking about skipping this one, but it is new and involves a real estate transaction. As a former elected official I have to tell you the bidding process is a slippery slope. I have been involved with 12 school additions, two new libraries, a new city hall, dozens of roads, a highway, an overpass and more. Every time the temptation to manipulate the process presents itself and you can't. I will say in hindsight there were architects and construction companies who got the bid and shouldn`t have. The state should rethink design build, and picking the best qualifying bidder not just the lowest priced. Again we are regulated by a body that knows nothing about what developers actually do....
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Generations of Madison skaters welcome a new park, era

 Madison - 8/13/2015 Members of the Madison Skatepark Fund, who have been advocating for a park for more than a decade, are looking forward to Madison's first skatepark opening later this month in Central Park...Todd Herritz remembers being 11 years old and signing a petition for a Madison skate park. Hes in his fifties now....The roughly 20,000-square-foot park is scheduled for an unofficial opening on Aug. 19, with an official ribbon cutting on Sept. 10...

Ken Notes: cool!
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OPINION: Merger might be best for UW Colleges

 Wisconsin - 8/20/2015 The latest development in the saga of the UW Colleges is a possible merger of the 13 two-year campuses in the University of Wisconsin System with the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Do it.

I never thought Id hear myself say that, but that may be the only salvation for communities such as ours that value the presence of a higher education facility. ...

Ken Notes: We need to do state wide what the UW is doing internally. Examine how our systems work and how they could work better while spening less. I published WisconsinApprentice.com for a year (until the money ran) out and we found a number of great programs and solutions from around the world as well as the state. We have great opportunities, great educators, and great systems - we can do more while spending less. We can work with the private sector to create better employees. We may need the legislature to step back and let our institutions discover the solutions.
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CEO Reed Hall`s departure latest shake-up in WEDC`s top ranks

 Wisconsin - 8/27/2015 Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO Reed Hall is the fourth top official in the past three months to announce his departure from the agency.

Controller Paul Labonte and spokesman Mark Maley both left the agency earlier this month after nearly two years. In June, Greg Beach, the agencys chief information officer since its creation in July 2011, took a job with the Department of Administration....
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Paul Soglin renews call for downtown liquor license moratorium in Mad City Frites license debate

 A discussion over a new beer license for State Street restaurant Mad City Frites Tuesday evening quickly turned into a lengthy and heated debate as Mayor Paul Soglin lectured the City Council on the demise of downtown Madison retail.

We are going to end up, if we dont do something, like Bourbon Street and other streets in this country which are predominantly entertainment, Soglin said. People are not coming downtown because as you take the walk down State Street, like missing teeth, all of those stores that have licenses are gaps, further deteriorating the future viability of the existing retail....

Ken Notes: Being Bourbon Street North would not be such a bad thing!!
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Wisconsin unemployment rate drops to 4.5 percent

 Wisconsin - 9/17/2015 Wisconsin unemployment rate drops slightly to 4.5 percent in August, 7,200 jobs added...The state Department of Workforce Development reported Friday that the state added 7,200 private-sector jobs between July and August. The unemployment rate was down from 4.6 percent in July. Wisconsin's 4.5 percent unemployment remains below the national unemployment rate of 5.1 percent last month. The monthly numbers are based on a survey of just 3.5 percent of the state's businesses. New quarterly jobs numbers based on a more comprehensive census of nearly every business were also to be released Thursday.
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Neighbors criticize proposed height of South Park Street affordable housing project

 Madison - 10/1/2015 A Madison developer will present a new site plan for an affordable housing project on South Park Street to a neighborhood steering committee this week. But residents say that the plan doesn`t solve concerns they have about the height of the project.

J.T. Klein Co.`s project at 820 S. Park St. originally involved constructing two five-story apartment towers connected by an underground parking garage. One tower was for senior housing and one for affordable family housing....

Ken Notes: I hope everyone knows that this is a math problem. If ground/land costs X the cost per unit is X/Units to get more Units and thus lower costs you go up to get more units on the land. If you can not go up then you have higher unit costs.
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See it? Buy it! Fashion-turned-tech startup Markable taps Madison resources

 UW Madison - 10/8/2015 Joy Tang only works out of Madison one week of every month, but she can easily imagine growing her tech startup, Markable, here. ?I?m definitely looking forward to more collaboration with the UW,? Tang said, calling out the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the well-regarded image recognition work of its computer science department....
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WARF awards UW-Madison inventors for changes to cancer screening, bioplastic development

 Madison - 10/15/2015 The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation announced the winners of its annual Innovation Awards Tuesday, according to a university release. This year's winning inventions, a colon cancer screening blood test and a solar-powered way to possibly develop plant-based plastics, were selected from more than 380 inventions disclosed to WARF over the past 12 months. The Innovation Awards showcase the people and ideas that make the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the leading edge of scientific research in the nation and world, Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF, said in the release....
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Shabazz lets students take control of how they learn

 Madison - 10/22/2015 When Gene Delcourt was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a visit with teachers and students from Malcolm Shabazz City High School ended up altering his career path. I was so impressed by what they had to say and how articulate the students were, I just told myself, That's where I need to student teach. I really have to be there, said Delcourt, a social studies teacher at Shabazz. Next spring, Delcourt will retire after 18 years at the school. Reflecting on what drew him there, Delcourt said it was a more flexible approach to learning....

Ken Notes: We need so many more options like this. After years on a school board I still question why we train our next bakers, mechanics, engineers, musicians, and all the rest in a system specifically designed to advance students into a general education program at the UW.
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Scott Walker can do what he wants

 Wisconsin - 10/29/2015 In "Two Minutes with Mitch" local radio personality Mitch Henck says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans have the votes to do what they want...

Ken Notes: I wrote about the exact same thing in 2011. Right now, state has Team W, Team U and Team D; I am on Team J....
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MATC still pursuing plan to sell Downtown campus, grow on South Side

 Madison MATC - 10/29/2015 Madison Area Technical College is still eyeing a plan to sell its Downtown campus and shift much of its operations to the city's South Side, several months after the college's board deadlocked on the controversial proposal.

College officials have started a pair of studies - one to gauge developers - interest in buying its historic Downtown buildings, and another to see what sites could be home to its expanded presence on the South Side. They plan to bring a proposal back to the board next spring, a year after the first attempt failed to gain approval....

Ken Notes: Why not find a buyer/developer for the downtown property and put a package together for the board. Here is what what we have in mind - sell this for this - build this for this ---
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Cellular Dynamics lands big contract with a major pharmaceutical company

 Madison - 11/12/2015 Cellular Dynamics International will supply its stem cell products to Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche in a contract that could bring more than $80 million to Madison-based CDI and play a role in the addition of more than a dozen jobs.

The agreement is the largest single collaboration for CDI to date, said chairman and CEO Kaz Hirao, in a written statement....Cellular Dynamics has 156 employees, with 133 in Madison and 23 in Novato. Parker said the company hopes to be up to 175 by next March, with at least 15 of the new positions in Madison.

Ken Notes: Attention WEDC and Legislators one worth keeping. Tax credit for new jobs may do it???
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Madison one of 5 platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Communities

 Madison - 11/19/2015 After seven years of effort, Madison has become one of only five cities to reach platinum-level status as Bicycle Friendly Communities, the League of American Bicyclists announced Monday. Wisconsin's capital city joins Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado; Davis, California; and Portland, Oregon, in achieving the top recognition awarded so far from the group's Bicycle Friendly Communities program. No city has reached the highest level possible, diamond....

Ken Notes: This is with a Mayor who once blogged about Bicycling Madison Style: As Dumb As It Gets... My guess is we will get to Diamond at some point...
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Madison holds off on police body cameras, will first look to build trust between police and community

 Madison - 11/19/2015 Following advice of a citizen-led panel, Madison police officers won't start wearing body cameras any time soon, the City Council decided Tuesday. Instead, the city will first focus on another citizen-led effort looking at how to build trust between police and the community, especially vulnerable populations. A body camera pilot program could be part of later efforts....

Ken Notes: Again Madison is a class act when it comes to policing...
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Scott Walker on Syrian refugees

 Wisconsin - 12/3/2015 Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday acknowledged that legally, he cannot prevent Syrian refugees from entering Wisconsin, but said he has instructed his administration not to be involved in the process of bringing them to the state.

"Legally, I can`t put up a wall at the border," he told reporters.

Walker`s call to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Wisconsin came days after more than 120 people were killed in Paris, the result of coordinated terrorist attacks. The Islamic State has since claimed responsibility, prompting several states to say they would stop accepting Syrian refugees....

Ken Notes: I met my first Syrian at the King of Falafel on Park Street last night. If the rest can cook like he can I saw bring em in - it was delicious!!! The secret to fighting terrorism is know thy neighbor...
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Ryan wants complete alternative, not just anti-Obama stance

 National - 12/3/2015 In his first big political address as Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan said Republicans have to stand for more than just undoing what President Barack Obama has done.

"If we want to save the country, then we need a mandate from the people. And if we want a mandate, then we need to offer ideas," said Ryan, speaking from the Library of Congress across the street from the U.S. Capitol. ...

Ken Notes: Wow where is he from? Oh yea here. Think he could talk to the Governor?
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Turning brain drain into brain gain: Growth strategies for rural Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 4/30/2015 Looking back on a litany of grant announcements by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the past six months or so, I reached this conclusion: Wisconsin leaves a lot of federal money on the table.

In fairness, thats true for programs well beyond those tied to rural development. Wisconsin has a long, across-the-board history of being a donor state when it comes to recouping tax dollars sent to Washington, D.C.

Its nonetheless striking when the state fails to earn its fair share in an area in which it should be a national leader agriculture and the rural economy. Here are some examples of USDA grant programs I mentioned at last weeks Wisconsin Rural Partners summit in Green Lake:

The $16 billion StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth is active in 21 states, but not Wisconsin....

Ken Notes: Yep... and for the record why doesn't WEDC work with local ED professionals to apply for and secure some of these grants. Their track record for divvying out what little there is is not that great. As a local ED professional I was often told you have to hire a grant writer to apply for this --- WHY???
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Local produce makes 100 Mile Sauce Company products fresh, sustainable

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 Jeff Cullen, Scott Kesling and Bobby Marshment-Howell met while working in food service at the Memorial Union and at Union South. They developed a passion for local foods, which translated into their decision to start 100 Mile Sauce Co in fall 2013. The trio began making retail products the following spring.

The entrepreneurs strive to source 95 percent of the ingredients used to create the products from within 100 miles of Madison....

Ken Notes: The website is www.100milesauce.com...
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Health-care delivery, cost and access is piece of growth puzzle in rural Wisconsin

 Wisconsin - 7/30/2015 If you live north of Highway 10 in Wisconsin and you need health care, the chances are high you are, or will be, a patient at Marshfield Clinic.

With 55 clinical sites and more than 700 physicians, Marshfield Clinic is a dominant source of health care in northern, central and much of western Wisconsin. From dental clinics to food safety testing to research in about 400 active studies, the clinic offers a surprising array of services to its 400,000 or so patients....

Ken Notes: Tom is right and the best solution is regional system where rural facilities can feed patients to larger centers. We will go broke trying to equip all our small hospitals and clinics for every contingency and when we don't people die...
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Wisconsin Idea goes high-tech with demand for training by working professionals

 Madison - 8/13/2015 The Wisconsin Idea is going high-tech, as UW-Madison works to leverage distance education to reach more students and generate more revenue.

Outreach to non-traditional students reflects a bedrock value of the university and responds to a national trend in higher education, say UW-Madison officials....

Ken Notes: Great ideas, I also advise a cautionary note that we not diminish our face to face programs.
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Stoughton District hosting listening sessions on old High School building

 Stoughton - 11/5/2015 Is it worth the time, money and effort to salvage and restore the old Stoughton High School? That?s the question Stoughton Area School District officials hope to answer, and are looking for peoples? opinions on what they should do. The district will host two listening sessions in November to gather public input about the future of the ?1892 building,? located at the corner of Forrest and North streets near River Bluff Middle School and the district administration building...

Ken Notes: If the structure is sound, why not lease or sell it as is to artists, or others looking for work or living space and then let them rehab the space according to code to address their needs.
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Terrace Chairs return

 UW Madison - 4/9/2015 The chairs are back. Memorial Union's beloved Terrace Chairs have begun their return Wednesday morning....Roughly 40 or 50 chairs have been put out as a preview before the full amount will be returned at an undisclosed time. The Terrace and its iconic chairs will close early, at the beginning of September, this year for construction purposes...

Ken Notes: Hope SPRINGS eternal!
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Voters say yes to $41 million referendum for Madison schools

 Madison - 4/9/2015 Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly chose to support a $41 million referendum that will upgrade and expand 16 schools in the Madison School District. More than 80 percent of voters approved the proposal, which expands five significantly crowded school buildings and makes upgrades in accessibility and major renovations to others....
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Homemade computers, steampunk flair at Scooter Software

 Madison - 4/23/2015 Intrepid, a computer made by Scooter Software employees, stands on a wooden tripod (also made by employees) in the lounge area of "Scooter's," a bar and lounge built inside the office. Intrepid is hooked up to the flat screen TV in the lounge...

Ken Notes: I love this space!!!
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Assembly Democrats offer resolution calling on WEDC to produce loan documents

 Wisconsin - 6/11/2015 Assembly Democrats on Tuesday called on Gov. Scott Walkers job-creation agency to release documents relating to loans the agency gave businesses, in light of recent revelations that the agency issued such loans without proper scrutiny. Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha accused the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. of stonewalling his requests for the documents. WEDC has faced heightened scrutiny since a State Journal investigation last month revealed that, after being pressed by Walkers top aides, the agency gave a $500,000 loan that was never repaid to a business that created no jobs. The newspaper found at least two other businesses got WEDC loans without sufficient financial scrutiny....
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WEDC needs private sector solutions

 Madison - 9/10/2015 Does anyone really believe bashing, allegations and name-calling of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will solve anything? WEDC appears to be the subject of poor financial management. Government at any level has rarely demonstrated safe and productive money management. The federal government?s deficit of $19 trillion is proof of that poor behavior....

Ken Notes: Interesting!
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Developer`s proposed changes to Grandview Commons retail block called `serious hurdles` for project

 Madison - 9/17/2015 A developer's plans for retail buildings on vacant land in Grandview Commons on the far east side has met with opposition over the use and height of the structures. Property owner DSI Real Estate Group wants to construct five buildings with up to 35,000 square feet of retail or office space on the block between the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. and Metro Market along Cottage Grove Road....
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MadREP officials to promote international trade in Argentina

 Madison - 10/15/2015 The Madison Region Economic Partnership will promote trade opportunities in the province of Crdoba, Argentina, as part of the Fourth Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

MadREP president Paul Jadin and senior vice president of economic development Michael Gay are among five U.S. delegates selected for the Oct. 26-30 tour....
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OPINION: Soglin slips in tackling homelessness issue

 Madison - 11/5/2015 Mayor Paul Soglin, since his landslide re-election victory in April 2015, has once again taken it upon himself to address Madison?s homeless problem with rhetoric rather than substantial policy. Over the summer, Mayor Soglin proposed a new city ordinance which would tackle problematic loitering and lodging in Madison?s Central Business District. While not directly mentioning the homeless, the ordinance, which Madison?s Common Council has since voted down, attempted to clear out downtown of individuals who were causing an undue nuisance to both city residents and the various businesses of downtown Madison....

Ken Notes: A very tough issue with not one but many solutions required. This will not be resolved until the homeless are a part of the solutions and not seen as the problem. Paul is at the very least calling attention to the issues, my guess is that he is hoping others will offer solutions...
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Growing pains: As Madison adds housing, neighbors fear zoning and established plans aren`t being honored

 Madison - 12/10/2015 Kitty Kocol and Carrie Rothburd aren't NIMBYs, they insist. The pair of south side residents are in favor of bringing affordable housing to their neighborhood and don't subscribe to the Not In My Backyard school of thought about development.

The disregard, however, they said that a proposed five-story apartment building on South Park Street has shown to the neighborhood plans and established zoning has been hard for them to stomach....

Ken Notes: We develop these plans and then shelve them only to dust them off when we don`t like a proposal. To work they need to be reviewed revised and a proactive part of encouraging development in the neighborhood.
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VAHS grad tops record-setting poker tourney

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 Poker can be a cruel pastime. Jason Mirza knows that all too well.
But last month, the 2000 Verona Area High School grad scored a huge win in the game hes played competitively for more than a decade.
Mirza, a Fitchburg native, beat a field of 635 players at the 2015 Mid-States Poker Tour Potawatomi Casino Main Event, a Texas Hold Em poker tournament held in Milwaukee....

Ken Notes: I would love to see a progressive low stake game to be played at local taverns. A single $ 10 entry fee could result in a $20K grand prize or a free trip to Vegas and a stake in a major tournament... This would also be great for the tavern industry by bringing in new guests and not encouraging drinking but rather a social activity... Oh and the state would make millions as well... Odds are FAAAAR better than the lottery... The winner in the article one guy from Verona and the Potawatomi tribe...
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Bo Ryan featured in new Travel Wisconsin ad

 Wisconsin - 3/12/2015

Ken Notes: It will be better when we win the NCAA tournament...
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Keeping the pipeline filled with engineers essential for Wisconsin business

 Wisconsin - 3/26/2015 If you want to know why engineering appears, once again, on the rise as a career choice, just check out Education News and its Career Path database for average salaries for engineers.

Several leading categories of engineers biomedical, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical and software show Wisconsin salaries well above the states private-sector salary average. Those average salaries ranged from $54,600 for a civil engineer to $76,500 for a biomedical engineer....

Ken Notes: Yep...
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Madison Police moving forward on west side Midtown station

 Madison - 4/9/2015 The Madison Police Department is getting serious about opening a new Midtown District station at 4018 Mineral Point Road. The new district and station will aim to relieve the burden on existing stations, particularly the West District. The $9 million proposed station became point of contention in the budgeting process for this year, however, with members of the City Council wanting to move forward with the project in 2015 and Mayor Paul Soglin planning to delay it to 2017. It ultimately stayed on the sooner timeline and should be operational by 2017....
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Tight spring inventory pushes home buyers to look beyond listings

 Madison Area - 4/16/2015 In a busy and competitive spring housing market, with the fewest homes for sale in the past three years, the biggest challenge facing many Madison-area residents may be finding a good home to buy in the first place. In most areas right now, inventory is historically low and demand from buyers is very high, said Dan Miller, a Madison-based Keller Williams agent. Its very common to see multiple offers on the same property, and very common to see full-price or even above offers....
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City eyes TIF for Sub-Zero/Wolf

 Fitchburg - 4/16/2015 The City of Fitchburg is considering tax-increment financing to help expand manufacturing facilities at Sub-Zero/Wolf.

The Common Council voted unanimously at its March 24 meeting to consider using TIF, a financing tool used by municipalities to encourage development and improve infrastructure, to help the company expand its North Stoner Prairie Neighborhood facility. If recommended by the company and approved by the state, it would be the fifth such district within the city.

The company plans to make a decision on whether to build in May, according to a presentation given at the March 24 Common Council meeting. A representative of Sub-Zero/Wolf said the company had no public comment on the plan at this time...

Ken Notes: Great use of TIF!
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Video: Panel says retail still alive in Madison

 Madison - 4/23/2015 A recent panel discussion tackled retail challenges and opportunities in Madison and Dane County. Panelists were Laurel Sibert of WS Development, owner of Hilldale; Katherine Cornwall of the Madison planning department; Susan Schmitz, president of Downtown Madison Inc.; Ryan Huber, co-owner of Context on King Street; and Betty Hurd, a Madison College retail expert. (Video / Jeff Bauer)...

Ken Notes: I agree...
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Great Wolf sale is finalized

 Wisconsin - 5/14/2015 Great Wolf Resorts' new owner is promising to grow the Madison indoor waterpark company.

Centerbridge Partners, a New York investment firm, said Wednesday it has completed the purchase of Great Wolf from Apollo Global Management, another New York investment firm.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but when it was announced in March, Reuters and Bloomberg news services quoted sources "familiar with the matter" as saying Centerbridge would pay $1.35 billion for Great Wolf, three years after Apollo bought the company in a $798 million transaction...

Ken Notes: Maybe now they will build one in Madison!!!
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Scott Walker still not receiving WEDC award letters

 Wisconsin - 5/21/2015 Gov. Scott Walker does not routinely get copies of economic development award letters issued by the state, even though he was criticized for that practice in 2012.

Walker, chairman of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board, said in June 2012 that he would change the agencys practice of noting on award letters that he is copied but not actually forwarding the letters to his office....

Ken Notes: Why do we let so many little things fall through the cracks like this???
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Charter purchase of Time Warner Cable will cost state jobs, UW expert says

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 As TV watchers increasingly look online for their fix, cable companies are bulking up. In the latest round, Charter Communications is buying Time Warner Cable for $55.33 billion.

Executives say theyre confident regulators will allow the creation of another U.S. TV and Internet giant.

But at least one UW-Madison expert predicts the result in Wisconsin will be a loss of jobs....

Ken Notes: No offense, but this is not rocket science. Charter will look to run the new system more cost effectively to improve the bottom line. Jobs will be at the top of the cut list. I am also pretty sure your phone tech support person will have an accent...
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Awaken the Entrepreneur Within with Help from Your Current Employer

 6/4/2015 Are you dreaming of starting a business while you're logging time at a corporate job? You don't have to count the days until you can leave -- make the most of your position. You can leverage your corporate experience to sharpen the skills you'll need to launch your own business. For Twyler Jenkins, founder of Chicago-based Creative Event Solutions, opportunity came knocking when she was still at her corporate job. Someone had recommended Jenkins as a new vendor for a client who needed one ASAP. "I had six weeks to pull everything together, and this was my very first assignment on my own," Jenkins says...

Ken Notes: I have to laugh, I offered a publication similar to this one and some other online ideas to market the business I was working for and I was fired, sued, and had to leave the Madison market.

The article is great, but remember regardless of your best intentions, your employer may not see the benefit of your ideas or insight.
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Oregon Board considers TIF for banquet hall

 6/18/2015 The Village Board Monday considered a request for taxpayer assistance for the construction of a banquet facility at Headquarters Restaurant and Bar. It did not make a decision after a closed-session discussion on the project, which was a required component of a previous deal with the village. Owner Jamie Bush told the board he needs $68,000 in tax-increment financing assistance in order to immediately begin building a 2,400-square-foot banquet addition to his business. HQ is located at the corner of Concord Drive and Wolfe Street in the villages TIF 4Redevelopment District and opened in February 2014 with the help of TIF...
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Owners of Mount Horeb golf course planning to sell it to

 Mount Horeb - 6/25/2015 The owners of one of Dane Countys oldest public golf courses have put it up for sale and are planning to ask the Mount Horeb Village Board for a third time to approve re-zoning the property so it can be developed into businesses and residences.

Attempts to re-zone the 9-hole Norsk Golf Club were voted down in 1995 and 2009 when the village bowed to the pressures of a vocal group of residents, but Village Board president David Becker said hes optimistic board members would approve it this time around....
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Wisconsin joins other states suing EPA to stop clean water rule

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 Wisconsin has joined dozens of other states in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to block a proposed rule detailing federal authority to prevent degradation of water quality, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced Wednesday.

A news release from Schimels office predicted the rule would cause dire consequences for homeowners, farmers and others who would face fines if they didnt obtain federal permits for everyday tasks like digging ditches, building fences and spraying fertilizers. The EPA has overstepped its constitutional authority, Schimel said....
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Amazon center

 Wisconsin - 7/16/2015 After just one month of operations at its new fulfillment center here, Amazon announced it will double its workforce by hiring more than 1,000 additional people.

The online retailer made the announcement Monday, saying it will hire to fill more than 1,000 additional full-time positions at its 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center at 11211 Highway S/Burlington Road.

Amazon also announced a job fair Thursday during which qualified applicants will receive job offers on the spot. The jobs involve picking, packing and shipping customer orders at the huge fulfillment center....
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Floating in a human-sized womb: Flotation therapy coming soon to Madison

 Madison - 8/13/2015 Floating on 10 inches of skin temperature water loaded with Epsom Salt in a human-sized, egg-shaped pod (or a small enclosed room) is the main gist of flotation therapy, a service soon returning to Madison....

Ken Notes: Also cool...
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Orbitec greenhouse helps NASA grow lettuce in space

 Wisconsin - 8/20/2015 ORBITEC: Madisons Orbitec celebrated a milestone in its development of a greenhouse used aboard the International Space Station. On Monday, astronauts had their first taste of lettuce grown in space in a climate-controlled greenhouse unit made by Orbitec. NASA released a video of astronauts munching on the Outredgeous red romaine and voicing their approval....

Ken Notes: I think I heard about space lettuce in the late 60's - I am sure it is not the same thing...
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Alliant to study solar-energy generation with a multi-year project

 Midwest - 8/27/2015 Solar-energy generation is a natural fit for warm-weather locations, but can it work in Wisconsin? Alliant Energy believes it can. To verify that, the company will study solar energy generation in Madison in a multi-year project. Construction on the projects $5 million first phase started Monday on the 25 acres of land that houses Alliants 326,000-square-foot headquarters at 4902 N. Biltmore Lane, and is expected to be complete by years end....
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City-county committee approves CCB sleeping ban

 Madison - 9/3/2015 A joint committee that oversees the City-County Building approved a ban Monday night on homeless people sleeping outside the buildings front entrance, after about three hours of testimony almost entirely from people who oppose the ban.

In a voice vote, with only one apparent vote opposed, the City-County Liaison Committee approved a ban that will keep people with no apparent business at the building from loitering there after hours. A ban already exists keeping people from loitering inside the building after hours, and this extends the ban to the outside.

The ban will take effect Oct. 1....

Ken Notes: I have an idea....
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Commercial request gives council pause

 VERONA - 9/17/2015 Liberty Park had asked to nearly double its retail options...For all the economic development activity at Liberty Business Park this year, some city leaders are concerned about the direction it`s headed.

And one with a particularly intimate knowledge of the area and the development team running it pushed to deny rezoning in the park Monday. He wound up with a delay, at least until its ownership could give the city a better sense of what`s to come.

Ald. Mac McGilvray (Dist. 4) started off sounding a bit like Henry Fonda/s Juror 8 from 12 Angry Men, aghast when the rest of the Common Council almost took a vote with no discussion on the Plan Commission's 4-0 recommendation to rezone four lots to a commercial, rather than industrial designation. Later, he alluded to former presidential candidate Ross Perot with his concern about retail jobs going to the wrong city.
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Grainger Foundation pledges $22 million to UW-Madison engineering

 UW Madison - 9/24/2015 A $22 million donation to the UW-Madison College of Engineering will be aimed at helping undergraduate students by supporting a tutoring center and giving them more opportunities for hands-on learning, officials said Thursday.

The gift comes to the college from the Grainger Foundation, which is led by UW engineering alumnus David W. Grainger. The same foundation pledged $25 million last year to create the Grainger Institute supporting research at the college....

Ken Notes: THANK YOU!!
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MGE wants to add solar power in two Middleton projects

 Middleton - 10/1/2015 Madison Gas & Electric is asking state regulators to approve two solar energy projects in Middleton totaling $1.2 million.

One project, estimated to cost $950,000, involves installing 1,700 solar panels on the Middleton Municipal Operations Center, 4330 Parmenter St.

MGE calls it a - community solar pilot project, - capable of producing 500 kilowatts of electricity that would feed into the area's power grid. About 250 MGE customers could sign up for some of that power....

Ken Notes: I did suggest they promised me more developments like this, I am very glad to see them actually commit! Thumbs Up!!!
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China`s economic growth declines to 6-year low

 World - 10/22/2015 China`s economy decelerated in the latest quarter but stronger spending by consumers who are emerging as an important pillar of growth helped to avert a deeper downturn.

The world`s second-largest economy grew by 6.9 percent in the three months ended in September, the slowest since early 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, data showed Monday. That was down from the previous quarter`s 7 percent....
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Developer files plans for South Park Street, neighbors still have concerns

 10/22/2015 J.T. Klein, Inc. filed the plan with the city for the multi-family affordable housing development at 820 South Park St. on Oct. 7. Several months of meetings with neighborhood residents and multiple iterations of the proposed development whittled down the proposed two large buildings to one. The final plan, which covers most of the block, includes a 103-unit apartment building with a four and a five-story wing and seven single-family homes. The apartment building will face Delaplaine Court, Park Street and Haywood Drive. Located along Brooks Street, the seven houses are existing homes that will be updated or moved from different lots. The plan would require changing the zoning in two portions of the block....
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Local community leaders prepare to rock in lip sync battle for Madison schools

 Madison - 11/5/2015 If you?d like to see local community leaders and principals tap their inner rock star, Friday night is your chance.

In the first-ever Lip Sync for Schools, hosted by the Foundation for Madison?s Public Schools, community leaders and educators will take part in lip sync battles and audience members will pick winners throughout the night. The event, from 7 p.m. to 11p.m. at the Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave., raises money for students and public education in Madison. The night will feature a silent auction, cash bar, photo booth and food. Tickets are $40....

Ken Notes: Michael and Tim will be fun to watch. Next year let me know if you need a juggler...
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OPINION: Let`s have an `extraordinary` session on Wisconsin job creation

 Wisconsin - 11/19/2015 When the Legislature convenes an extraordinary session, it should be focused on urgent issues that will improve the lives of everyday citizens across Wisconsin.

Yet the Assembly Republicans` plan for their upcoming extraordinary session is to focus not on jobs, middle-class empowerment or any other issues that represent the top priorities of the people of our state, but on allowing more secretive money in politics, enabling more corporate influence over our government and increasing opportunities for political corruption. ...

Ken Notes: When you begin an editorial with a bashing of the opposition who are in the majority do you really expect to accomplish much. I want to see a bipartisan group come forward with some sound ideas on moving the economy forward.
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OneNeck expands Fitchburg data facility

 Fitchburg - 11/19/2015 Eric Patterson waited for one door to shut behind him before scanning his ID card and leaning toward a retinal scanning machine to get through the next. Behind that second door were more security features, and the data center's prized possessions: servers. Companies come to us when they have, at the very core of their business, some sort of technology server or system that absolutely, positively can't ever go down, Patterson, OneNeck IT Solutions' facility manager, explained. Those companies realize that if their server goes down, they simply have to tell their customers, Sorry, you can't make any transactions.That goes over pretty poorly...

Ken Notes: With more threats to major metros Madison may be perfect for many more of these...
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MATC sees interest from developers in buying Downtown campus site and expansion in South Side

 Madison - 12/3/2015 Developers have responded to a Madison Area Technical College request for interest in purchasing the college's Downtown campus and in providing sites to shift those operations to the city's South Side, president Jack E. Daniels said Wednesday. The college, which made informal requests for developer information earlier this year, received responses from 15 developers interested in purchasing the Downtown campus at 211 N. Carroll St., just off Capitol Square, and from eight parties interested in selling or leasing land and/or buildings for expanded operations on the South Side, Daniels said.

Daniels has called for a shift of operations, saying it would cost millions of dollars to repair the aging Downtown campus and that MATC should further invest in South Madison, where the college currently operates a small campus inside the Village on Park shopping Center, 2300 S. Park St....

Ken Notes: This make much sense to me, put the entire project in front of the board and community and you will get a different opinion - trust me!
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Agricultural education a focus of new county park plan

 12/10/2015 A new plan for more than 300 acres of donated farmland outlines long-term plans to create a hybrid park and agricultural education center in southeastern Dane County.... I think it can be more than a Dane County park. I think it can be a regional attraction and an economic engine, said Greg Markle, executive director of the Madison-based nonprofit group Operation Fresh Start.

Ken Notes: I agree...
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OPINION: Ability to earn a living wage in jeopardy

 Wisconsin - 4/9/2015 The recent Wisconsin State Journal article about legislation to end prevailing wage laws was an informative and a necessary read. State Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, has said, "I find very few taxpayers who support paying wages that are above the market." This statement reveals the Republican concern for "taxpayers," or moneyed interests and campaign donors. It belies a cool indifference to the dwindling middle class in Wisconsin....

Ken Notes: Not exactly. Here is what happens:
Project (Non PW) A:
One Brick layer $32
One Apprentice $15
One Unskilled mortar guy $12
One general labor unskilled $12

Project (PW) 5:
One Brick layer $32
One (possibly two) Apprentice/General laborer $21.62
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Is the US starting to turn the corner on urban sprawl?

 Wisconsin - 6/18/2015 Once the signature of an era of pell-mell development, American sprawl has slowed to a crawl in recent years, a new study finds. New streets in metro areas are being built more densely packed and less spread out, according to a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that looked at a nearly century of sprawl in U.S. street construction. Researchers from Canada and California found sprawl steadily increased in new street construction from 1920 until it peaked in 1994 and has dropped 9 percent since....
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Project of the Week - 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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Footgolf returns to local course for season

 Madison - 4/16/2015 Footgolf is a hybrid of soccer and golf, and has been growing in popularity as footgolf courses continue to pop up across the country.

Door Creek Golf Course in Cottage Grove owner Phil Frederickson said they installed a footgolf course on their nine-hole executive course last year.

Since then, Frederickson said they've seen business go up 15 to 20 percent.

The game is played with the same rules as golf, but without clubs or golf balls.

Instead, players kick a soccer ball into 21-inch holes....

Ken Notes: Watch the video...
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Calliope Ice Cream made locally for adult tastes

 Madison Area - 4/23/2015 Add Staci Fritz to the ever-growing list of local food producers.

Only Fritz isnt making salsa, pasta, chocolate, cheese, crackers or craft beer. Instead, she has created a unique line of specialty ice cream that over the last year has continued to grow in sales and flavors. Ultimately, shed like to open her own scoop shop and sell more of her ice cream in other shops around the state.

Fritz is founder of Calliope Ice Cream, a Madison-based company with five flavors including one that tastes like a brandy old fashioned and is made with bitters...

Ken Notes: mmmmmmmmmmmmm...
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US cuts estimates for economic growth over past 3 years

 National - 7/30/2015 The U.S. economy grew more slowly over the past three years than the government had previously estimated, held back by more frugal consumers and steeper spending cuts by state and local governments.

The economy expanded at just a 2 percent annual rate from 2012 through 2014, down from a previous estimate of 2.3 percent, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Nearly all the weaker-than-expected growth occurred in 2013, when the government now says the economy expanded just 1.5 percent, much less than its previous 2.2 percent estimate.

The changes result from Commerce's annual revisions to its growth data, which are based on updated data from the Census Bureau, IRS and other agencies....
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Windsor Building Systems recovers from fire with bigger, better manufacturing plant

 Madison - 4/30/2015 Sales director Richard Hills was on his way to work at Windsor Building Systems in Madison early on a frigid January morning when he saw the plume. It would take a few more minutes before he knew what it meant. I saw the fire on the horizon, but I didnt know it was us. Then I got a call from work I was just turning the corner (onto the service drive to the plant off Stoughton Road) and they said, Were on fire, Hills said, recalling the first few minutes of the fast-moving fire that would soon melt to scrap metal half of Windsors two-building manufacturing plant on Jan. 28, 2014....
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US retail sales fall in June as consumers stay cautious Print Email

 National - 7/16/2015 Americans cut back their spending at stores and restaurants last month, a sign that they remain cautious despite robust job growth in the past year. Retail sales fell 0.3 percent in June, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, the weakest showing since February's harsh winter weather kept shoppers indoors. That followed a robust 1 percent jump in May, though that was revised down from a previous estimate of 1.2 percent. Economists had expected that consumers would rein in their spending after May's large gain. But the reversal was much sharper than projected....
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Ashley Furniture turns down controversial $6 million tax credit

 Wisconsin - 3/5/2015 Arcadia-based Ashley Furniture has decided not to pursue a $6 million tax credit that the states job-creation agency board approved last year with terms that would have allowed the company to cut its state workforce in half.

Our decision to no longer pursue the proposed agreement with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) will not affect Ashleys Arcadia operations or employees, company president Todd Wanek said in a statement. Ashley will continue to grow in Arcadia, is committed to continuing a strong presence in Wisconsin, and will continue to meet with the city of Arcadia to assist it in finding other sources for funding its much-needed flood control project.

The company also has decided voluntarily to return $256,706 in tax credits for a separate project that was supposed to create 225 jobs by this year....

Ken Notes: I would like to see us keep Ashley. My tax credit idea -- (20K over 10 years per new employee) would help here... There would need to be a waiting period of a few years (so you could not layoff just to rehire) but eventually as they rebuild they could offset some of those costs through the credits.
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We need Dale Schultz critique of fellow Republicans

 Wisconsin - 3/12/2015 The spring of 2001 was a heady one for newly energized right-wing congressional Republicans, who wasted no time stamping their approval on tax cut after tax cut drawn up by new President George W. Bush. Republican Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords grew increasingly uncomfortable with the unthinking approval of extreme measures passed that winter and spring. In May, with a Republican majority of just one vote in the Senate, he announced that he would leave the Republican party, become an independent, and vote with the Democrats, shifting the Senate majority to the Democrats. Though vilified by other Republicans, he maintained that he hadnt left the party as much as it had left him when it took its sudden turn to the extreme right....

Ken Notes: I am a fiscal conservative and I am not sure we are listening to the business community as we move forward. I remain committed to working together and compromise but alas compromise is simply not needed....
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Madison Mallards, Festival Foods save Downtown Independence Day fireworks show

 Madison - 4/2/2015 Rhythm & Booms is history, but bring on Shake the Lake.
After months of uncertainty, Downtown Madison will see a major fireworks display the Saturday before Independence Day after all.
Festival Foods, the Madison Mallards and charitable partner the Madison Parks Foundation are teaming on the free, privately funded event, to be called Shake the Lake. The event will have live music, entertainment, food and drink on John Nolen Drive between Blair and Broom streets with fireworks shot from seven barges on Lake Monona on June 27....
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U.S. construction spending slipped for the second month

 National - 4/2/2015 U.S. construction spending slipped for the second month in February, pulled down by a drop in single-family home building. Construction spending fell 0.1 percent in February after a revised 1.7 percent drop in January, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The result in part reflects bitter winter weather that constrained construction in many parts of the country during the month. Economists are hopeful for a rebound in the spring and summer as the economy strengthens....
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WEDC`s Lisa Johnson to become CEO of BIOforward

 Madison Area - 4/9/2015 Lisa Johnson will be the CEO of BIOforward, a Madison-based nonprofit association that represents Wisconsin's bioscience industry, as of May 4. Johnson succeeds Laura Bray, who has held the position since mid-November 2014. Johnson has served as vice president, entrepreneurship and innovation, of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. since 2011. Before that, she held management-level positions in several Madison biotechs, including Semba Biosciences and EMD Biosciences. ...

Ken Notes: A loss for WEDC - congrats Laura!
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OPINION: Budget goes wrong way on natural resources

 Wisconsin - 4/16/2015 Dear Editor: I am a paddler, a sailor, a fisherman, a lake swimmer, a birder, and a hiker. All of these activities will be negatively affected by the Walker administration budget. If the Legislature blocks land purchase through the Knowles-Nelson program through 2028, tremendous acres of good potential conservation land will not be acquired for future generations. Or speculators will buy up the land and make the state pay exorbitant prices when it becomes available after the fund is restored....

Ken Notes: I am in this camp although I would like DNR to propose efficiencies to reduce costs.
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Photos: Repurposed gym floor, a 1950s bar and skylights highlight Shine's workspace

 Madison - 4/30/2015 Shine United, an advertising firm located off of State Street in downtown Madison, is housed in a building many longtime Madisonians know as "the White Horse building."...

Ken Notes: WAY COOL!!!!
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MCC to renovate Lothlorien Co-op

 Madison - 4/30/2015 Nick Simmons is ecstatic. If everything goes as planned, in a few months he will be moving back into the Lothlorien housing co-op, the massive house on the shore of Lake Mendota that burned in September 2013, leaving 34 people temporarily homeless.

I look forward to swimming in the lake, to replanting our vegetable garden and raspberry bushes, to cooking dinner and eating it on the picnic tables in the backyard, Simmons writes in an email. And I especially look forward to those kitchen-table conversations.

Last weekend, members of Madison Community Cooperative which includes 11 housing co-ops, including Lothlorien voted to rebuild the damaged house. The move ends a year and a half of uncertainty and conflict over its fate....
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Giving credit to tax credits in fight to balance the state budget

 Wisconsin - 5/14/2015 The Democratic stronghold of Middleton is excited about consumer products company Fiskars plan to build its American headquarters there with the help of $800,000 in state business tax credits.

The Democratic stronghold of Madisons East Side is excited about plans to convert the crumbling, 109-year-old Garver Feed Mill into an artisan food production facility with the help of some $1.9 million in business tax credits.

But over at the state Capitol, Democratic lawmakers want to ease proposed cuts to K-12 education and the University of Wisconsin System in part by delaying $226 million in, you guessed it, business tax credits.

Granted, the types of credits Democrats want to delay are not the same types of credits in the Middleton and Madison projects although for budgeting purposes, theyre pretty similar. ....

Ken Notes: If the no new tax pledge stands, this budget cycle will be very interesting...
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After a decade, major housing development with man-made lake poised to move forward

 Madison - 5/14/2015 The Madison areas biggest man-made lake sits amid 285 bucolic acres, the centerpiece of a long-stalled development that was supposed to bring New Urbanism to the citys Far East Side more than a decade ago.

Now, with the Great Recession past, Veridian Homes has revised plans and is securing approvals for a $300 million Village at Autumn Lake that could bring nearly 1,000 households to Lien and Felland roads....
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Photos: More windows of Madison

 Madison - 5/21/2015 Windows on new Ovation 309 apartment building near intersection of West Johnson and State streets in downtown Madison....Overture Center and Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts as seen reflected in the window of Short Stack Eatery in downtown Madison...The sky is reflected on a window of The Hub, a new apartment building at West Gilman Street in downtown Madison....

Ken Notes: MIKE DeVRIES took these great images!!!
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State could lease buildings outside Dane County under GOP plan

 Wisconsin - 5/28/2015 The state would have to consider relocating its agencies to buildings outside of Dane and Milwaukee counties before renewing current leases under a Republican budget proposal unveiled Wednesday.

The move could have a dramatic effect on Madisons commercial office market, workforce and retail economy....

Also, the Legislatures GOP-led budget committee exempted a redevelopment of the Hill Farms state office building from Madison zoning ordinances; provided $86.2 million to renovate and expand UW-Madisons outdated chemistry building; and altered Madisons ability to direct the use of its room tax...

Ken Notes: One wonders how the State legislature knows it can improve on local government so effectively???
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Wisconsin service groups are awarded $12 million in AmeriCorps jobs grants

 Wisconsin - 6/4/2015 U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Wednesday announced more than $600,000 in new grants supporting AmeriCorps workers in Dane County, part of $12 million awarded statewide. Dane County human services department's Partners for Afterschool Success was granted $344,451 for 35 AmeriCorps workers to tutor at-risk middle and high school students and run extended learning programs at school and community centers. The program's aim is increased literacy skills and better school performance, according to a press release from Baldwin's office....
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Employees feel free to - flip out - at Shoutlet, another Madison cool workspace

 Madison - 6/4/2015 Wedged between sterile-looking corporate buildings on the west side, the exterior of social marketing firm Shoutlet at 1 Erdman Place isnt terribly inspiring. But inside the office, things are hopping. Or flying. Or careening into walls. Conventional wisdom is you have to be downtown to be cool but you can be cool on the west side. You just have to work at it, said David Prohaska, vice president of marketing...

Ken Notes: Has anyone but together an office space model based on the $10/month Planet Fitness concept. A bunch of meeting rooms, 50 to 100ish desks or workspaces, great wifi and good coffee. I'd pay $50 to have a desk downtown...
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American Players Theatre announces $5.1 million upgrade to - up the hill - amphitheater

 Spring Green - 6/11/2015 As the 2015 season starts at American Players Theatre, plans have gone public about a major rehaul and renovation at the classical company in Spring Green. The stage, which has been used for more than 35 years, was last renovated in 1995, a limited repair meant to last just a few years. Now, architects are saying it will soon be unsafe if not rebuilt in the next few years. (The theater's 1,100 seats were updated in 2000; very few changes are planned for them.)...

Ken Notes: I love the idea of a new stage but 5.1 million?? I wonder if a few local contractors and ETC in Middleton could get this done with some local support?? Just a thought...
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Beestock Festival to celebrate sustainability, pollination at Capital Brewery Saturday

 Madison - 6/18/2015 Middleton's Capital Brewery will host its first ever Beestock event Sat. June 20 from noon until 6 pm. Known as "The Festival for the Environment," Beestock promises to be a family-friendly event designed to create awareness of the environment and sustainability, focusing on the disappearance of bees and colony collapse disorder. Due to certain chemicals and pesticides, thousands of beehives around the world have dramatically disappeared. The Willy Street Co-op, Middleton Public Library and others have been supporters of Beestock and tout its importance....
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Head of targeted DNR science bureau departing

 Wisconsin - 6/25/2015 The director of a state science office facing severe budget cuts after riling Republicans with research on topics such as climate change has confirmed that he is retiring, with some predicting additional departures.

Jack Sullivan, 62, said Wednesday he has been told not to talk about budget cuts that will eliminate more than half of the senior scientist positions from the state Department of Natural Resources Science Services Bureau. But he said this budget had been the most challenging of his 36-year career and the impending cuts played a role in his decision to leave now....

Ken Notes: This is not good...
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Memorial Union added to National Register of Historic Places

 UW Madison - 6/25/2015 The UW-Madison Memorial Union has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the Wisconsin Historical Society announced Thursday.

The designation has various benefits, including qualifying for grants and for rehabilitation income tax credits.

The stately building was designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, and constructed in 1926-1928. Its iconic Terrace, a lakeside gathering place, quickly became the social heart of the campus. In 1928-39 a theater wing was constructed in the International style....

Ken Notes: Brilliant move here, rehab the building then list it to preserve the old bones...
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OPINION: Favoring urban sprawl by not allowing development

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 The Madison Landmarks Commission made a bad choice when it favored urban sprawl by voting against development on the corner of Paterson and Williamson streets. Hopefully the City Council will have the wisdom to correct this mistake.

I live three blocks from that corner. The developer who wanted to replace an unattractive old house met with the Marquette Neighborhood Association, which voted for the development, after getting agreement on including affordable housing.

The Landmarks Commission voted against neighborhood support because the house is old. Not architecturally interesting, just old....

Ken Notes: We need to charge the Landmarks commission with coming up with an economically sustainable alternative when "saving" a building. We can not ignore reality to preserve history. At the very least they should be given a preservation budget so they would have to prioritize their decisions.
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Revisiting recent topics: Startups, innovation, trade, cybersecurity and more

 Wisconsin - 7/2/2015 Columnists often play recurring melodies. Just following up on a few of my own tunes

On Wisconsins startup climate: A prime example of why business rankings can depend on whats being measured and how comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agencys Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages noted that Wisconsin stood 35th among the 50 states in jobs created between 2010 and 2014, a relatively lackluster standing....

Ken Notes: I miss actually writing a column.
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State should pursue any means necessary to recover questionable loan

 Wisconsin - 7/23/2015 Gov. Scott Walker said Monday that the state should pursue every avenue to recover an unpaid $500,000 loan to a struggling Milwaukee construction company owned by a millionaire campaign donor, though he wouldnt say whether there should be a criminal investigation.

A State Journal investigation reported on the questionable loan in May, including that the company received the loan without a formal staff review of its application, which stated that the company had not been sued in the past five years, even though it faced three such lawsuits....

Ken Notes: Wow this is interesting - any banker will tell you you can not get money from a failed company or llc. Any lawyer would be happy to earn a fee for showing the state why this is the case. Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. The key word being corporate! The creditors can not touch his wealth. Why our Governor is suggesting otherwise is not brilliant...
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Stoughton council OKs deal with Wal-Mart

 Stoughton - 7/23/2015 The Common Council last week remained divided over the proposed Kettle Park West commercial development, with a narrow majority pushing the project forward another step or two.

With KPW opponent Ald. Tim Swadley absent, the council approved two key resolutions on 6-5 votes at its July 14 meeting. The first vote authorized the developer to use contingency funds at the start of the project instead of waiting until the work is substantially complete, as Swadley and other KPW opponents had wanted.

The majority also voted to authorize the city to enter a three-party agreement between the developer, Forward Development Group, the city and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart officials and the developers lender, McFarland State Bank, wanted the arrangement as security in the event that FDG should default on the project. The agreement would require the city to complete off-site public improvements if the developer is unable to follow through on its commitment, or would allow Wal-Mart to take charge of the work using the citys borrowing and performance bonds....
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NeuWave Medical gets FDA OK for software to pair with its cancer-fighting device

 Madison - 7/30/2015 For more than four years, NeuWave Medicals Certus 140 system has been used at hospitals around the U.S. to attack lesions and cancerous tumors through ablation, destroying them with microwave energy. Now, the Madison medical device company will be able to sell a tool to go along with the device to make the treatment faster and more accurate, and to digitally archive the results. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for use of NeuWaves Ablation Confirmation, a software package to pair with the Certus 140 ablation instrument....
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Amazon`s value surpasses Wal-Mart after surprise 2Q profit

 National - 7/30/2015 It's official: Amazon is bigger than Wal-Mart. Amazon shares surged almost 10 percent on Friday after the e-commerce powerhouse reported a surprise second-quarter profit and a better-than-expected 20 percent jump in revenue. The sharp increase in shares brought Amazon's market value to $247.77 billion, more than its biggest rival, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., signaling a sea change in retailing. Amazon, which just turned 20, is now valued higher than the world's largest retailer....

Ken Notes: I did not see that happening. I do see a war in the future and the winners may be the consumer bit small and midsize businesses may become collateral damage.
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We Energies wants to stop Alliant Energy`s plan to build a power plant near Beloit

 Wisconsin - 8/6/2015 Alliant Energy is facing a fight over its proposal to build a power plant in the Beloit area. We Energies, Milwaukee, says now that it has merged with Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Green Bay, the combined utility company appears to have a big enough power supply to serve its own customers and to handle any of Alliants needs for nearly a decade to come. Madison-based Alliant wants to construct a 650-megawatt, natural gas-fueled power plant at an estimated cost of $750 million, big enough to serve more than 500,000 homes. It would sit next to an existing power plant of nearly the same size and nature the 675-megawatt Riverside natural gas-fueled power plant in the town of Beloit...
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Scott Walker should rethink position on energy

 Wisconsin - 8/13/2015 The issue of President Obama's Clean Power Plan will impact the state and it is too bad that we have lost the bipartisan pro-environment position once so strongly a part of Wisconsin. If our governor truly wants to stand out in the crowd, he would do well to rethink his position on energy.

I may be missing something, but I hear a lot of business professionals and energy experts saying the new goals are attainable without impacting business. If I am wrong, let me know. I also hear about jobs in the coal industry, but do we have a clue as to how many jobs were displaced by computer technology? I suggest we ban the use of computers to put people back to work, oh and ban cars to get the stable jobs back.

Also a thumbs up to Cap Times for including so much data in their editorial....

Ken Notes: My comments from WDNGreen.com made the paper and I stand by them. This was an honest request for the Governor to rethink his just say no position. I believe we can work with power companies and businesses to move forward here, especially in an area where Wisconsin was once a leader.
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At new Hub Madison apartment complex, detailed move-in process planned to prevent chaos

 Madison - 8/13/2015 Moving days are approaching around the UW-Madison campus, and for one new building that has reshaped the State Street landscape, the process involves street-use permits, a tight schedule and a few extra set of hands....

Ken Notes: alas what happened to summer!!!
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Madison-based Shoutlet sold to Spredfast

 Madison - 8/20/2015 Two former competitors in the social technology industry Madison-based Shoutlet and Austin, Texas-based Spredfast are now on the same team. Spredfasts acquisition of Shoutlet was announced Wednesday morning. The sale price was not disclosed. Aaron Everson, Shoutlet president and co-founder, said the companies will complement each other. Together, were going to be the dominant player in the social technology space, said Everson, who will become general manager of Shoutlets Madisonfacility....
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Alliant unveils new solar plans

 Wisconsin - 8/20/2015 Alliant Energy has signed an agreement with a South Korean firm that will build a solar power installation on Alliant's property in the town of Beloit. Hanwha Q Cells USA will erect a 2.25 megawatt solar field -- enough to power up to 2,000 homes -- in a $5 million project that it will own. Alliant has signed a 10-year contract to buy the electricity created by the solar units....

Ken Notes: May I mention without getting yelled at that Alliant is a very pro business company. In the past they have lobbied to slow green mandates so it is interesting they are doing this now. May I also suggest that it may be because it make business sense and may even be, dare I say it, PROFITABLE...
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Cool cities are hot cities: Smaller communities can compete for talent

 National - 8/27/2015 Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna is direct when hes asked why Appleton and its neighbors collaborated with private supporters to build the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in the early 2000s. It was done primarily to attract talent, Hanna told a League of Wisconsin Municipalities meeting Thursday in Elkhart Lake....Cool cities are hot cities when it comes to company and job creation. While many people think that largely a big-city phenomenon, with places like Californias Silicon Valley leading the way, it has increasingly become true for mid-sized and even small cities...
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California stem cell bank opens, stocked with cells made by Madison CDI

 Madison - 9/3/2015 The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine hPSC Repository is starting with 300 stem cell lines, aimed at 11 common diseases and disorders, and expects to have 750 lines available by February 2016. We believe the bank will be an extraordinarily important resource in helping advance the use of stem cell tools for the study of diseases and finding new ways to treat them, said Jonathan Thomas, head of the governing board of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Californias stem cell agency....
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Russ Feingold: College students should be able to graduate without debt

 Wisconsin - 9/10/2015 It was the middle of August, 1971. And after my parents and I loaded up their car, we left the house in my hometown of Janesville and drove up to Madison, where I moved into a dorm room in Sellery Hall.

As an incoming freshman at UW-Madison, I was 18 years old, the Bee Gees had the No. 1 single, ?All in the Family? had just debuted earlier that year, and my college tuition bill was $451.

Ken Notes: At the very least make loans for students who remain in the state Tax Free... Pretty simple really....
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UW System launching accountability website; controversial professor honored

 UW Madison - 9/10/2015 The University of Wisconsin System is rolling out a new website it says will make it easier for parents, legislators and others to track data about the state?s public universities and colleges.

Called the Accountability Dashboard, the website will include data on a wide variety of topics, such as cost, access and economic development.

Someone looking to find out what percentage of UW graduates stay in the state, or how many degrees are granted in health-related fields, or the graduation rates at different UW campuses will be able to find those answers on the new site, System spokesman Alex Hummel said....

Ken Notes: I wonder if they would build one for WEDC...
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The Bodgery expands, can now host more Madisonian `makers`

 Madison - 9/17/2015 On Mondays, they craft at The Bodgery. Well, it`s officially a public `craft night` at the new `makerspace` located at 4444 Roberston Rd., on Madison`s east side, but there`s more than hot glue guns or knitting needles being deployed at the hands of Madison `makers.` (`Makers` are members of a contemporary, tech-influenced subculture of people who love creating new things, from electronics to crafts.)...

Ken Notes: closer...
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Wisconsin fares better in first-quarter job growth in 2015 than in past two years

 Wisconsin - 9/17/2015 Wisconsin added just more than 40,000 private sector jobs between March 2014 and March 2015, an increase better than in the same period in the two previous years.

The addition of 40,210 private jobs represented 12-month growth of 1.74 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Development as part of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program....
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Local unemployment drops in Wisconsin cities, counties

 Wisconsin - 9/24/2015 Unemployment rates have dropped between July and August in every Wisconsin county and large city.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development reported the latest figures Wednesday. They show that unemployment rates dropped in each of the 32 largest cities and in all 72 counties between July and August.

Racine has the highest unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, down from 8.3 percent in July. Milwaukee was second highest at 6.4 percent.

Madison had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.7 percent, down from 3.2 percent in July....
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Madison council should approve Judge Doyle Square funding

 Madison - 9/24/2015 The point of electing a city council is to bring together a group of engaged local citizens who can sort through complicated issues and make sound decisions. Madison currently has a solid council that is made up savvy leaders - some veterans, some recently elected - who understand the city's values and ideals. For the most part, they get that Madison is not a one-size-fits-all town that rigidly follows doctrines and dogmas. This is a town that recognizes how to make distinctions between bad ideas and good ideas, between cookie-cutter schemes that ought to be discarded and bold initiatives that make sense.

This is why we believe the council can and should approve the project agreement for the redevelopment of Judge Doyle Square in downtown Madison....

Ken Notes: Cap Times is on board, this says something...
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New bike trail linking Madison to McFarland in 2016 budget proposal

 Madison Area - 10/1/2015 The completion of a $10.5 million bike trail connecting Madison with McFarland that includes a bridge with an accessible fishing pier and a floating boardwalk over wetlands leads the capital projects that Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has included in his proposed 2016 budget....

Ken Notes: Could be very cool, but priorities may need to intervene.
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Frank Lloyd Wright house found in Madison

 Madison - 10/8/2015 For nearly 30 years, Mary Jane Hamilton had a curious feeling about the house at 2107 West Lawn Ave.

Today, the Frank Lloyd Wright scholar and author finally reveals her hunch: That the two-story house was designed by Wright himself.

The West Lawn home is being announced as only the 16th known example of the American System-Built House, a short-lived venture by Wright meant to provide affordable housing through predesigned homes built with factory-cut materials....
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Giving back to the community through the Madison Community Foundation

 Madison Area - 10/8/2015 Bob Sorge is in charge of a big pot of money that has given its support to projects as diverse as establishing a computer lab at Centro Hispano of Dane County to creating the new Madison Opera Center to providing a permanent fund for outdoor education at the county?s parks.

Sorge is president of the Madison Community Foundation, a nonprofit that manages more than $160 million and handed out $10 million in grants in 2014....

Ken Notes: Great interview!!!
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Eminent domain proceedings for proposed park come to halt

 Madison - 10/15/2015 Hours before a resolution to condemn six properties on West Mifflin Street to build a park came to a vote of the Board of Park Commissioners, a property owner in the neighborhood of the proposed park offered to sell their properties. Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he and co-sponsor of the resolution Madison Mayor Paul Soglin plan to ask the Common Council to delay proceedings on the resolution. This abrupt halt comes after the Plan Commission and the Board of Estimates cleared the resolution, which would permit the City of Madison to seize six private housing properties for the purposes of a public park....

Ken Notes: I may have suggested this approach...
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In war on Dane County lake algae, company emerges to produce drinkable water from manure

 Dane County - 10/22/2015 You've heard about turning water into wine. How about making cow poop into water that's clean enough to drink'

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi Tuesday announced a contract with a company that claims it can do just that.

Pending County Board approval, Beloit-based Aqua Innovations will soon be treating cow manure at the year-old ' Cow Power manure digester outside Middleton to the point that it contains zero phosphorus, the nutrient that causes algae in area lakes.

It gets to the root cause of algae in our lakes, which is phosphorus, said Parisi at a Wednesday news conference announcing the tentative contract....

Ken Notes: I have a love hate relationship with this project, I love the Idea and even the technology, I hate spending $ 1.8 million of tax dollars on it. Why not draft legislation to require mega farms to embrace technologies that treat and pasteurize manure from their facilities. Not our dime but MORE of our citizens would benefit. It would also push for more affordable treatment facilities. With the taxpayer footing the bill companies have no incentive to control costs...
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Senate confirms new WEDC chief officer

 Wisconsin - 10/22/2015 The state Senate has confirmed Gov. Scott Walker`s decision to appoint a campaign donor to lead his troubled economic development agency.

Walker appointed Mark Hogan to replace Reed Hall as CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in September. The Senate confirmed the appointment on a 23-9 vote Tuesday.

According to government watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Hogan has given Walker`s campaign $24,375 since 2005. Federal campaign finance records show he gave $10,000 to Unintimidated PAC, a super PAC that Walker`s former campaign managers formed to support Walker`s 2016 Republican presidential bid....

Ken Notes: I have written a lengthy article for the last several with little avail so I will leave this on alone. Google my name and WEDC for articles from the past....
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Madison Chocolate Company to seek new space

 Madison - 10/29/2015 Madison Chocolate Company, which had originally planned to share a space with Macha Tea Company on East Johnson Street, has made other plans to move into a different space elsewhere.

"Unfortunately, we realized that there was not enough kitchen space for both businesses to grow effectively over the next several years," said Megan Hile, the owner of Madison Chocolate Co....

Ken Notes: Heads up let`s get her a great space asap....
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Apple TV brings iPhone-like apps to the big screen

 World - 10/29/2015 It turns out that Apple`s streaming-TV box - aptly named Apple TV - isn`t just for streaming anymore. Its latest incarnation, which ships this week, offers on the big screen just about anything you could previously only do on an iPhone or iPad.

Whether that`s good may depend on whether you really want to buy shoes, browse home listings or read comic books on your TV. The new Apple TV looks to be a capable device for those purposes, although it`s not flawless. Its streaming-TV features also trump those of its predecessor....

Ken Notes: Watch this market space it will be huge very quickly.
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OPINION: How is your meat raised?

 Wisconsin - 11/5/2015 Following significant pressure from consumers nationwide, Subway just served up a major victory for public health by announcing that its restaurants will no longer sell meat raised with antibiotics. This comes on the heels of similar commitments by McDonald?s, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A and others.

So, why should this matter to you?

It matters because the overuse of antibiotics in Big Ag makes each and every one of us less safe. Factory farms that supply companies like McDonalds and Subway give their livestock antibiotics on a routine basis. In fact, 70 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. go to livestock ? most of the time these animals aren?t even sick ? to make them gain weight and to prevent disease caused by unhealthy and unsanitary conditions on factory farms....

Ken Notes: Wisconsin and the Driftless region could become world leaders in organic produce, beef, pork and poultry. We need a regional or state effort to promote and market the products. I would love to see a Milk Marketing Board for Organics, and Craft Beer.
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State funds for climate change research sponsor criticized

 Wisconsin - 11/5/2015 State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk condemned the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands? use of interest earnings toward UW-Madison?s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in a Monday press release.

The BCPL manages roughly $1 billion worth of investments in acres of Wisconsin land and a trust fund which distributes educational grants throughout the state, including the Nelson Institute since 2009. According to Adamczyk, who oversees the agency, the trust is prohibited from distributing funds to any institution except the state?s teaching schools.

?In my opinion not only is this unconstitutional, but also improper,? Adamczyk said in the release. ?This money should be given as general aid to the UW System or designated for teacher training as prescribed in the state Constitution.?...

Ken Notes: The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands for the most par does fly under the radar screen, but I can not agree with only funding those issues that we have no political concerns over. Also Read: Divided lands board delays hiring decision for anonymous candidates... This should relay be a NONPARTISAN appointment.
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Epic Systems insiders say so-called feuds are greatly exaggerated

 Wisconsin - 11/12/2015 Rumors of feuds between Epic and other electronic health care records vendors like Cerner are greatly exaggerated, according to company insiders.

Those supposed feuds have been made famous by several high-profile media reports, including an article last month in Mother Jones, a liberal-leaning newsmagazine. That article defined the CommonWell Health Alliance, a trade group of which Cerner is a member, as a coalition of Epic's rivals.

The fact is, we've made good with CommonWell, Peter DeVault, vice president and director of interoperability at Epic, said at a panel during the Disruptive Healthcare Conference in Madison on Tuesday. Executives and healthcare providers representing Epic, Cerner, UW Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin were on the panel....

Ken Notes: This is not new or worthy of press. Companies compete and it is not always pretty. A good friend of mine was CEO of WordPerfect (anyone remember WordPerfect) and Microsoft declared war on the product. To this day I use Libre and Open Office rather than MS Word. Business is tough and to survive you have to be good affordable and quick to respond to market demands. EPIC is all of the above and then some. Others will either keep them on their toes or eat them. I hope they become to big to swallow...
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Developer may demolish long-vacant building near UW-Madison for housing project

 Madison - 11/19/2015 Despite demand for housing, a seven-story building with rooms to hold more than 300 beds near the heart of UW-Madison and a stone's throw from Lake Mendota has sat vacant for years.

But that soon may change....

Ken Notes: Pricey GAP for these projects...
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Badgers men`s basketball: UW goes overtime to beat Syracuse

 Wisconsin - 12/3/2015 Say this for a University of Wisconsin men's basketball team that is lacking in a lot of areas at this stage of the season, with experience topping that list: Just when it might seem like they're down for the count, the Badgers have shown the ability to pick themselves up off the mat and continue fighting. UW has followed all three of its losses this season with victories, the most surprising of which came Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome.

Ken Notes: Not development? tough it is my publication and this is great news. A young Badger team capable of greatness - if not this year soon - Now that is DEVELOPMENT...
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Madison landlord Ray Peterson aims to sell 48 properties following court ruling

 Madison - 12/10/2015 Forty-eight properties throughout the city of Madison could soon be for sale as landlord Ray Peterson deals with a court order to bring them up to city standards.

On Friday, a Dane County judge said that 45 of 48 properties Peterson owns constitute a public nuisance, ordering him to hire a professional property management company within 30 days to bring the properties up to code.

Peterson, 90, said he instead plans to sell all 48 of his properties as soon as possible. About a dozen are already listed with Stark Company Realtors including one where the front door hasn't opened for months and Peterson said another dozen will soon be listed with First Weber Realtors....

Ken Notes: While Mayor in Neenah we had a similar situation and were able to buy the properties as a bundle and then re-market them ensuring the type of development or adaptive reuses we wanted. We also could allow existing tenants options which included free rent for bringing the properties we wanted to save up to code. We had a number of (crafty unemployed) types applying to move in and make improvements which we inspected...
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Madison start-up GrocerKey wants to put grocery buying at shoppers fingertips

 Madison - 3/5/2015 A Madison entrepreneur wants to make it easier to shop for groceries with the click of a mouse instead of walking through long aisles, and to help independent grocers at the same time.
Jeremy Neren launched the website GrocerKey.com this week, and hopes it will become the EatStreet of the grocery business....
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Jobless rates for Dane County largest communities lowest in the state

 Dane County - 3/26/2015 Unemployment was up in most major Wisconsin cities and counties between January and February. But the three Dane County communities included in the states largest 32 fared well. The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that Madison and Fitchburg both had jobless rates of 3.4 percent, lowest in the state. Madisons rate increased from 3.3 percent in January but was lower than the 4.2 percent recorded in February 2014....
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What makes the Garver Feed Mill historic?

 Madison - 3/26/2015 What makes the Garver Feed Mill historic?

Although the Garver Feed Mill is now crumbling, at the time of its construction it was reputed to be the largest factory built in Wisconsin, according to the city of Madison Planning Division.
The industrial complex was built in 1906 with the purpose of operating as a sugar beet processing factory for the United States Sugar Company, according to its landmark nominations form....
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CBRE Group, Inc. Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire the Global Workplace Solutions Business of Johnson Controls, Inc.

 National - 4/9/2015 CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Global WorkPlace Solutions (GWS) business of Johnson Controls, Inc. (NYSE:JCI). GWS is a market-leading provider of Integrated Facilities Management solutions for major occupiers of commercial real estate and has significant operations around the world. The purchase price is $1.475 billion, payable in cash, or $1.3 billion net of the present value of estimated tax benefits, and with customary post-closing adjustments for working capital and other items. GWS will operate as part of CBREs Global Corporate Services (GCS) business, which has increased revenue at a double-digit compound annual growth...
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Algorithms and the human factor: How will society strike balance?

 Wisconsin - 4/16/2015 Data science is a fancy term for statistics. Its the extraction of knowledge from data, which can be derived from multiple digital sources and turned into a resource to make business decisions.

Sounds simple enough, right? But the complex formulas behind data science can involve artificial intelligence, information theory, machine learning, computer programming, data warehousing and high-performance computing, along with other disciplines most people hadnt heard of a decade ago....
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International delegation visits Madison-area centers of innovation, technology

 Madison Area - 4/23/2015 A foreign delegation featuring 47 government ministers from 28 countries spent Wednesday touring Madison-area centers of technology and entrepreneurship, starting with a tour of healthcare software giant Epic Systems Corp. in Verona and moving on to many examples of UW-Madison-related innovations.

Its an opportunity to show off the Madison region, said Paul Jadin, president of the Madison Region Economic Partnership, which authored the application to include the area in the three-state exchange tour highlighting sectors such as agriculture, information technology and biomedical devices. We want to show what were doing with respect to our partnerships in economic development, and also with respect to the extraordinary research and development going on at the university. ...

Ken Notes: Anyone else think Paul may have been a pretty good governor?
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Federal funds to bolster food manufacturing, biotech headed to Madison region

 Madison Area - 7/9/2015 A new federal designation awarded Wednesday will move 14 counties in south-central and southwestern Wisconsin to the front of the line for perhaps $75 million in federal grants over the next two years for a series of projects to help grow jobs and bolster business in the food-processing, biotech and advanced manufacturing sectors.
The application to the competitive U.S. Commerce Department program selecting 12 such sites around the country was one of the biggest initiatives undertaken by the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), in the past year, with input from the city of Madison....

Ken Notes: Well done MadREP.
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Realtime Utility Engineers relocates from west Madison

 Fitchburg - 7/16/2015 A national engineering firm recently moved its headquarters in January from its home on Madisons west side to a site in Fitchburg. The new location not only comes on the end of Realtime Utility Engineers 10-year lease, but also facilitates the companys upcoming plans for growth, the companys president and original co-founder Robert Strycharske said. I thought that we would end up at eventually $5 million dollars with maybe 30 to 50 people, Strycharske said. Right now, with our last hires, were at 110 (employees) I envision us being at 200 employees in the next five years or so....
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Palmer Johnson Yachts in Sturgeon Bay closing; 100 jobs lost

 Sturgeon Bay - 9/3/2015 Luxury boat builder Palmer Johnson Yachts of Sturgeon Bay is closing, resulting in the loss of more than 100 jobs. In a plant closing notice filed Wednesday with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the company said sales had fallen and offshore competition had escalated. "We are disappointed and saddened by this business closing, and yet realize that there is no alternative," the company said....

Ken Notes: This is because many of the people that can afford one of these boat are running for office... It is beautiful though....
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Developer asks for $1 million in TIF for Oregon hotel

 Oregon - 12/3/2015 A developer proposing to build Oregon's first hotel has asked the city for $1 million in public assistance for the project.

S&L Hospitality, of Verona, introduced a proposal last month to build a 75-room Sleep Inn by Choice Hotels at the corner of Janesville and Park streets, just off Highway 14 in southeast Oregon....

Ken Notes: One million on a less than 5 million project is very high, of course you have to ask but I am a 10% guideline guy and if they can make an epic connection they should be ok with half of what they are asking. Also where is the gap and "but for" on this project???
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Parched Eagle brewpub opens without the keys

 Westport - 4/30/2015 For anyone who gave away a piano over the past six months, theres a chance it is now in the newest brewpub in Dane County. But leave any hopes of playing the instrument at home along with your music. At the Parched Eagle, 5440 Willow Road, located along Highway M north of Middleton, four pianos have been put to good use as they were cut into pieces and used to create the bar at the 45-seat establishment scheduled to open at 3 p.m. Thursday. The backs of the pianos create the base of the bars counter while other parts helped form the back of the bar. Rob Rivan, the projects carpenter, even salvaged foot pedals that are now handles on cabinet doors....

Ken Notes: cool ideas - photos at the link...
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It is like Colectivo...with more beer

 Madison - 10/22/2015 It's tempting to think of Cafe Hollander as the Colectivo of Belgian beer.

Like Colectivo, Cafe Hollander is from Milwaukee. It's part of a five-restaurant group there, with two Cafe Hollanders, a Cafe Benelux, a Cafe Bavaria and a Cafe Centraal.

Like Colectivo, Cafe Hollander's first expansion outside of greater Milwaukee has been to Madison. Like Colectivo, it brings the urban-casual vibe of a slightly bigger city, without seeming like an interloper to Madisonians. Madison's Cafe Hollander opened officially on Oct. 19 at Hilldale, after a series of soft-open events that had the interwebs buzzing....
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Downtown Dells to get a makeover

 Wisconsin Dells - 3/12/2015 Evolution is in the DNA here. The entrepreneurs that have built the waterparks, restaurants, attractions, sports facilities and scores of shopping opportunities thrive on change. Thats why this destination along the Wisconsin River and with more than 8,000 hotel rooms now accounts for more than $1 billion in tourism spending a year. And if the latest idea comes to fruition, the Wisconsin Dells area will take another step into becoming more of a year-round destination, something it has been gradually building since the Polynesian Hotel opened the first indoor waterpark in 1995....

Ken Notes: Think about it 1995 to now...
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Garver Feed Mill committee to give recommendation this week

 Madison - 3/19/2015 Public comments submitted on the Garver Feed Mill redevelopment project show strong community support for an artisan food production facility on the historic site, but preliminary scores from the selection committee show divided opinions among its members. About 25 people spoke at a meeting last month and more than 60 others gave their opinions via email. The majority favor the proposal submitted by the Chicago-based Baum Development, which would transform the historic building into a workspace that caters to "local, mid-sized and established craftspersons" who have outgrown their current facilities....

Ken Notes: Good read!
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Photos: Waypoint Public House

 Madison - 6/18/2015 Bar with seating for 35 at Waypoint Public House. The restaurant, which opened on May 11, is located in a new four-story apartment building along the Yahara River at 320 W. Broadway in Monona....

Ken Notes: Nicely done!
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Madison Gas and Electric

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Risk assessment

 Madison - 8/27/2015 Ald. Barbara McKinney describes it as trying to make a decision while were already off the diving board in mid-air. As the Common Council careens towards a decision on the controversial and lingering Judge Doyle Square project, many are grappling with what they see as insufficient information on the project and a rushed timetable that has been set by the developer. The proposal by developer Bob Dunn would build a corporate headquarters for Exact Sciences, the nascent biotech firm, next to the citys Municipal Building and construct 1,250 parking spaces and a hotel....

Ken Notes: From Isthmus...
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Legislators plan to talk with businesses on economic tour

 Wisconsin - 9/17/2015 The state Senate's economic development committee plans to visit with business leaders during a statewide tour over the next few weeks.

The committee's chairman, Sen. Rick Gudex, said Wednesday the panel will visit Oak Creek, Rhinelander, Appleton, Menomonie and Platteville between Sept. 24 and Oct. 26. The committee will take testimony from invited guests from the areas' business sectors and chambers of commerce.

Gudex says the goal is to gather information that could lead to legislation....
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Cap Times` Evjue Foundation has awarded more than $53M to the community since 1970

 Madison - 12/10/2015 The Evjue Foundation, Inc. is the charitable arm of The Capital Times, a progressive voice for news, information and opinion for more than 97 years. William T. Evjue founded the paper in 1917 to ensure that those without the power of wealth and station would have a champion in the never-ending quest for clean and just government. The foundation provides funds derived from the profits of The Capital Times to many educational, cultural, and charitable causes that add so much to the quality of life in Madison and Dane County. Since the foundation`s creation in 1970, it has distributed more than $53 million to those causes....

Ken Notes: THANK YOU!!!!
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Breaking down the numbers on Judge Doyle Square

 Madison - 8/27/2015 That is how much the city of Madison is planning to invest in private portions of the Judge Doyle Square project. This project isnt a regular TIF loan, where the city gets a return on its investment sometime in the distant future. A lot of these dollars are in the form of grants that taxpayers wont get back.

Judge Doyle Square has a big public price tag on it and it comes at a time when the city and Madison Metropolitan School District are strapped for cash. It is important for people to understand exactly what this deal is and what is included.

Lets start with the grant to Exact Sciences. If this deal goes through, Exact Sciences will get a $12 million grant from the city. In return, they have to retain or create 300 jobs by summer 2017 and an additional 100 jobs by the beginning of 2019....
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State to repay $16M for past economic development projects

 Wisconsin - 3/5/2015 Gov. Scott Walkers proposed budget includes $16.2 million of federal funds to be forfeited or rebated to the federal government for four economic development projects approved under the administration of former Gov. Jim Doyle.

Walker has blamed the forced return of federal dollars on mistakes made by his Democratic predecessor. But Walkers own efforts to boost business in Wisconsin using financial incentives managed or paid for by the state have also been plagued by missteps....
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Madisons university evolves into a leader

 Wisconsin - 3/5/2015 The end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th saw times of transition for the Wisconsin State Journal and the University of Wisconsin.

For the State Journal, the death of David Atwood in 1889 marked the end of an era. As founder and, for 42 years the newspapers editor and publisher, Atwood not only guided the newspaper but held many public offices, including stints in the state Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives, as Madisons mayor, and as a member of numerous boards and committees....

Ken Notes: Truly on of the better things about Wisconsin..
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Plan to combine UW Hospital, doctor group continues

 Madison - 3/12/2015 A committee working on the integration of UW Hospital and UW Medical Foundation plans to release a reorganization proposal by April, with the goal of approving it by July, said David Walsh, chairman of the UW Hospital board. The 592-bed hospital and the medical foundation, UW-Madisons 1,300-member doctor group, are separate entities that fall under the umbrella of UW Health. UW Health also includes UW School of Medicine and Public Health and Unity, a health insurance company....
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Bike advocates, residents say proposed gravel pit could blemish Elroy-Sparta trail

 Wisconsin - 3/19/2015 Fifty years ago Wisconsin converted an abandoned rail corridor into a scenic recreational trail, creating the Elroy-Sparta State Trail, starting a rails to trails initiative that would spark a nationw