Wisconsin roads third-worst in nation, study finds
Wisconsin's roads are the third-worst in the nation and the potholes and other problems that plague them cost drivers in some cities almost twice the national average in repairs and associated costs, according to a new study of the state's highway system.

The numbers mark a dramatic decline in road quality. As recently as 11 years ago, Wisconsin's roads ranked No. 22 in the nation, and their deterioration affects almost every industry and motorist in the state, according to the study commissioned by the Local Government of Wisconsin Institute.

The primary culprit: State budget cuts that have slashed the amount of money dedicated to repairing both state highways and local roads, which has left fewer than half of Wisconsin's roads rated as "good" or better, the report found.

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HUDSON - Two new hotels planned
The Hudson Plan Commission recently approved concept development plans for a Hampton Inn & Suites that was previously approved back in 2008.

The footings for the four-story, 83-unit hotel were poured, and then the financial crisis and subsequent recession put the project on hold. Business partners David Robson and Brian Zeller said the project is ready to move forward again.

In March, GrandStay Hospitality LLC announced that it intends to build a four-story, 70-unit hotel in the Hudson Center development. Robson and Zeller also have a financial interest in that development, located along Crest View Drive and I-94, on the former freeway rest stop property.

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GREEN BAY - Power struggle over tribal land hits Green Bay
A jurisdictional checkerboard has emerged on Green Bay's west side as the city and Oneida Tribe of Indians vie for authority over former reservation lands.

The Oneida, fueled by casino revenue, are aggressively reclaiming property they consider their rightful homeland.

But some Green Bay aldermen fear the city, which has controlled the land for decades, could lose a critical chunk of its tax base along with the ability to equitably enforce ordinances.

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MADISON - Windsor Building Systems recovers from fire with bigger, better manufacturing plant
Fifteen months after a fast-moving fire destroyed half of Windsor Building Systems’ two-building manufacturing plant is more than mended, the company has completed a $3.5 million project featuring construction of a building that’s 5,000 square feet larger, and with new equipment that’s faster and more efficient.

It’s been a timely rebuild, too, as Windsor expands its production capacity on track with an improving housing market featuring increased demand for new single-family homes and apartment construction.

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BELOIT - New Alliant Energy power plant would be partly solar powered
The new power plant Alliant Energy plans to build in the town of Beloit will use natural gas to create electricity for its customers, but the plant itself will be run, in part, by solar power.

The Madison utility company released specifics Friday on the proposal initially revealed last November. It calls for building a 650-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant, able to serve more than 500,000 homes, fronted by an array of solar panels — a new element of the plan.
The new power plant would be built next to the existing 675-megawatt, natural gas-fueled Riverside power plant. Its waste heat from the generation process would be captured and turned into additional electricity.

The project would cost an estimated $750 million.

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HOWARD – Village looks to re-launch village center project
Howard officials have revived a plan to develop a community center in the hope it spurs commercial and residential development in the heart of the village.

The Howard Village Board will take the first step toward the plan Monday when it meets to consider creating a tax incremental financing district, or TIF, to fund $12.8 million in infrastructure improvements and construction of a community plaza that would include a pavilion, water features and green space for concerts and recreation.

Village President Burt McIntyre said the project was proposed more than a decade ago in response to the the village's growth and expansion beyond its rural roots.

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MADISON - Double S BBQ moving from Cambridge to Monroe Street
Double S BBQ, which has spent the past three years in Cambridge, recently closed that location and is moving to Monroe Street in Madison, into the area where co-owner Sarah Jones grew up.

The restaurant is going into the floral shop J. Kinney, at 1835 Monroe St., which is scheduled to close June 1. The location is next to the old Barriques.

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STEVENS POINT - Portage County plans new $85 million downtown jail, courthouse
Portage County may build a new $85 million jail and courthouse in downtown Stevens Point, that would be connected to the existing County Annex on Strongs Avenue.

The county's Space and Properties Committee voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that the County Board move forward with a new government facility in the heart of the city. The committee discussed but rejected proposals to remodel the current jail to make it compliant with state requirements, remodeling other downtown facilities as well, or building an all-new facility to house county operations.

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MADISON - Unemployment rates fall statewide
Unemployment rates fell everywhere in Wisconsin in March.

The state Department of Workforce Development said this week that unemployment rates were down in all 12 metro areas, all 32 major cities and all 72 counties.

The highest unadjusted unemployment rate for a Metropolitan Statistical Area was Racine at 6.2 percent.

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LAKE MILLS - Daybreak Foods dealing with bird flu
An executive of one of Wisconsin’s largest egg-production companies said he is committed to saving its facility near Lake Mills that received confirmation this week that a highly contagious avian influenza virus was found in its flock of 800,000 chickens.

The egg-laying facility with 60 employees will become productive again after a difficult and emotional cleanup process is finished that will include euthanizing all 800,000 chickens, Rehm said. The virus also hit another commercial chicken facility with 200,000 hens in Jefferson County as well as one each in Minnesota and Iowa.

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MADISON - Plan Commission bucks Landmarks recommendation, approves Monroe Street project
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.

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MT. HOREB - Grocery co-op to close as losses mount
The Trillium Community Grocery Co-op has run out of time and money.

Efforts to create a new business model, move to a larger and more visible space and increase membership have ended. The co-op’s board of directors voted Tuesday to close the store, located on the east end of the village’s downtown. The final date of operation was unclear but the store’s manager, Lynn Olson, asked the landlord to end the lease by May 31. On Wednesday, Olson had to fire her staff of six. She will be the sole employee until the store closes.

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WAUSAU - Red Wing Shoes to open store in Wausau
Red Wing Shoes will open a Wausau location on Stewart Avenue around the end of May.

The Minnesota-based company will be the first occupants in the space at 2111 Stewart Ave., said Margaret Ghidorzi, director of business development with Ghidorzi Companies, which owns the property.

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WATERLOO - Trek recalls nearly 1 million bicycles
Waterloo-based Trek is voluntarily recalling just under 1 million bicycles from model years 2000 to 2015, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

An open quick-release lever on the bicycle’s front disc-brake assembly can come into contact with the assembly, causing the front wheel to come to a sudden stop or separate from the bicycle.

Trek, which said it was taking a “proactive” measure with the recall, reported three injuries as a result of the hazard. One resulted in quadriplegia, one resulted in facial injuries and one a broken wrist.

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Avian flu found at another Jefferson County egg facility and Chippewa County turkey flock
Nearly one in five Wisconsin egg-laying chickens have been or will be euthanized following an outbreak of bird flu at a second commercial egg facility in Jefferson County.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said Wednesday that the 800,000-bird Jefferson County flock and an 87,000-turkey flock in Chippewa County have become the state’s fourth and fifth cases of bird flu. All birds that haven’t died already will be euthanized.

The Jefferson County facility is among the state’s largest chicken farms. Its outbreak follows that of another 180,000-bird egg farm in Jefferson County, where the virus appeared on April 12.

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