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MADISON - Republicans reach deal to end state budget impasse
Republican legislative leaders have reached a deal on a new state budget that drops a financing plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena and changes to the prevailing wage law, co-chairs of the Legislature's budget committee said Tuesday.

Joint Finance Committee co-chairs Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling told The Associated Press that both of those issues — which had contributed to a month-long delay on passing the budget — will be taken up later as separate bills, perhaps in a special session. Darling said there is an urgency to pass the Bucks arena plan, given that the NBA has an option to relocate the team if no new arena is built. Darling said the bill could be taken up in a special session later this summer.

The budget deal to be announced formally Wednesday also includes agreement on how to distribute cuts in road funding, the third major issue stalling budget passage, Nygren said.

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NEENAH - J. J. Keller plans to add 100 technology positions
J. J. Keller is seeking to fill 100 new positions in technology and sales over the next several months.

The expansion is the result of the company's increased focus on its technology solutions. J. J. Keller currently employs more than 170 technology associates across a number of departments, including corporate information technology, e-commerce and technology services commercial software development.

The technology services team builds and supports the development of mobile and web-based applications for professionals in transportation, workplace safety and human resources. The rapid expansion of this team led J. J. Keller to open a new office at 5 Innovation Drive in Appleton this spring.

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MENASHA - Town approves its first TIF district for Community First Credit Union project
Town of Menasha officials unanimously approved the creation of the community's first tax incremental financing district, which is expected to bring in $25-$35 million in new tax base.

Community First Credit Union requested the creation of the TIF, and will build a 120,000-square-foot facility in the district, town officials said. The land is along Winnebago County CB and W. American Drive.

Nearly 250 employees will relocate to the new facility. Twenty-two positions are expected to be added, with 10 to 15 positions added each year for the next five years.

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LA CROSSE - Public to help pare down $75 million in potential La Crosse Center changes
It would cost the city an estimated $75 million to do the full “wish list” of potential renovations and expansion work at the downtown La Crosse Center.

Realistically, it won’t all happen, members of the La Crosse Center Board noted Tuesday. But they wanted consultant David Greusel of Convengence Design to provide figures on all possible options, no matter the cost, before the board seeks the public’s opinion on what actually should be done at the city’s main convention and events venue.

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MADISON - DNR plans full environmental study on huge pig farm proposed Up North
The state Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that it will require a full environmental impact study of a proposal for a huge pig farm in Bayfield County.

Iowa-based Riecks View Farms, and critics of the company’s planned pig farm, welcomed the DNR’s decision to give close scrutiny to what would be the largest hog farm in Wisconsin and the first animal feeding operation of its scale in the Lake Superior basin.

The $17.7 million facility, called Badgerwood, would house about 7,500 sows, 18,750 pigs and 100 boars in three barns with concrete manure storage structures located under three barns to provide more than 180 days of liquid manure storage, according to a DNR summary of plans. Manure would be removed periodically and applied to farm land, the agency said.

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KAUKAUNA - Work continues to shrink skills gap in Wisconsin
Welding equipment casts a cobalt blue light as sections of pipe move through recently expanded production facilities of Team Industries, Inc.

The pipe sections, ranging from a few inches to a few feet in diameter, are destined for use in oil refineries and power and fertilizer plants. Many will be used under high pressure, some moving volatile substances. The precise craftsmanship of the weld seams is a necessity, not a luxury.

Team Industries is putting the final touches on a multiphase plant expansion that has seen production and storage space grow exponentially along with the addition of about 135 jobs since the start of the year. Like many employers around Wisconsin, Team is hiring skilled workers.

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MADISON – State Supreme Court says wind turbine rules can stand
The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the state’s wind turbine construction rules Tuesday, saying they’re valid even though regulators didn’t develop a report on how the regulations would affect the housing industry.

The Public Service Commission in 2012 implemented rules establishing uniform limits on sound levels and shadow flicker, minimum distances between homes and turbines and other construction standards.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association, the Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Towns Association filed a lawsuit in Brown County challenging those regulations that year, arguing that state law requires a report on rule proposals that would directly or substantially affect the housing industry. The groups also said housing was directly affected because of the distance turbines must be set back from homes and limits on noise and shadow flicker.

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MONONA - SHINE gets grant for cancer-treatment isotope
SHINE Medical Technologies, the company that plans a radioisotope production plant in Janesville, has been awarded a grant it will use to develop new ways to produce a cancer-treatment isotope.

Tuesday, SHINE announced it was awarded $150,000 from the National Science Foundation for early phase research in small business innovation.

SHINE says it will use the grant to fast track its development of methods to extract and purify iodine 131, a radioisotope used to treat Grave's disease, an immune disorder that affects the production of thyroid hormones.

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MADISON - Architect Arlan Kay hands his firm over to Kontext
Without Arlan Kay’s intervention, Quivey’s Grove, the old Fess Hotel (now the Great Dane Downtown), the Cardinal Bar and many other Madison buildings would have met the wrecking ball.

Kay sold his firm, Architecture Network, to Kontext Architects last July, and this year, after a 49-year career in Madison, Kay will slowly hand the firm’s day-to-day operations to Kontext’s principal architect, Kelly Thompson.

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GREEN BAY - 'Farmory' project wins award from U.S. mayors
The United States Conference of Mayors has awarded a $50,000 grant to NeighborWorks Green Bay to a stalled project to convert an aging building into an urban, indoor farm.

NeighborWorks Green Bay wants to turn the long-neglected armory building at 815 Chicago St. into "The Farmory," an indoor farm and agribusiness. The plan would be to grow produce inside the building and sell it to fund ongoing operations. Urban farms like the Farmory would also emphasize education and training for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

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GREEN BAY - Ross Dress for Less to open on Military Avenue
Ross Dress for Less will open its first Green Bay store on Military Avenue in the first quarter of 2016.

Ross, a discount retailer of name-brand clothing and housewares, signed a lease to occupy 23,000 square feet at 801 S. Military Ave., in the Green Bay Plaza, real estate firm NAI MLG Commercial announced Monday. The space was previously home to a Michaels store.

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JANESVILLE - Denny's plans return to Janesville along Milton Avenue
Denny's plans to dish out Grand Slam breakfasts again in Janesville with a planned restaurant that would fill the former Ponderosa Steakhouse building on Milton Avenue, a local real estate broker said.

Barry Badertscher, who owns Badertscher Real Estate, confirmed Tuesday that an owner of dozens of Denny's Restaurant franchises nationwide has signed a 10-year lease at 2020 Milton Ave.

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MADISON – City panel approves development plan to bring Exact Sciences downtown
The City of Madison is continuing to move forward with JDS Development to develop two downtown blocks into a hotel, parking ramp and headquarters for the growing biotech company Exact Sciences.

The city’s finance committee approved a preliminary development agreement with the parties Monday evening, setting the stage for JDS to take control of the properties by September and begin construction by the end of the year.

Exact Sciences wants to occupy its new offices by July 2017, so the city’s negotiating team has operated on a sped-up timeline, holding 10 negotiating sessions since May 19, according to project manager George Austin. The City Council will take up the preliminary development agreement next week and, if approved, the negotiating team will develop a final development agreement and additional groundwork by Aug. 24.

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MANITOWOC - Broadwind Energy receives $50 million order
Broadwind Energy, Inc., with production facilities in Manitowoc and Abilene, Texas, has received a wind tower order totaling $50 million.

The wind towers, purchased by an undisclosed buyer, will be produced at both factories beginning in early 2016 and continuing throughout the year.

Joni Konstantelos, Broadwind's director of investor relations and corporate communications, said the company hopes the order will sell out Broadwind's total capacity of 500 wind towers for the year. The Manitowoc facility has an annual capacity of 350 wind towers, while the factory in Abilene has an annual capacity of 150.

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OSHKOSH - Call center lays off 153
An Oshkosh firm closed its doors Monday, June 29, and 153 workers lost their jobs, according to a press release from the state Department of Workforce Development.

A spokesman from Strategic Fundraising at 350 City Center notified the workers in a letter that cited the faltering economy and unforeseen circumstances.

The call center seeks to raise cash for Republican political organizations, mainly, but also heads fundraising for non-profits fighting leukemia and other illnesses.

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