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MADISON - State faces $281 million budget shortfall
Wisconsin tax collections for the past year came in 2 percent short of estimates, the state Department of Revenue reported Thursday, news that won't require immediate emergency action by the Legislature but that puts the state's budget on track to be out of balance next year.
 
The figures show the state collected $281.2 million less for the fiscal year that ended in June than was anticipated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

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MADISON - MGE considers buying the rest of UW campus power plant
MGE Energy has entered into a joint venture with Wisconsin Energy, Milwaukee, to consider bidding on power plant assets owned by the state. That could include the UW-Madison's West Campus cogeneration plant, on Walnut Street, according to a document filed by the Madison utility company with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
 
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GREEN BAY - Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay loses a partner
Aurora BayCare Medical Center has walked away from a contributing role with the development of a Green Bay area campus for the Medical College of Wisconsin.
 
The decision won’t affect the 2015 launch date of the satellite campus, which has received 1,200 applications for the initial 20 to 25 Green Bay slots, according to John R. Raymond, president and CEO of the Milwaukee-based medical college.

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LA CROSSE - City denies developer's $2.9 million request
A city panel Thursday turned down a local company’s request for $2.9 million to help finance a mixed-use development at the former Trane Plant 6 site in north La Crosse.
 
Stizo Development LLC, a partnership of Borton Construction and Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions, has plans for the 10-acre site that include a pharmacy, grocery store, affordable housing complex and medical offices with market-rate housing above. Total value when completed would be about $12 million, city officials said.

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ARCADIA - Arcadia Co-op to merge with Allied Cooperative
Allied Cooperative announced Thursday that the members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied. The vote paves the way for a consolidation effective Dec. 1.
 
“We are very pleased with the result of today’s votes,” said Bob Boberg, Arcadia Co-op General Manager. “Our members have recognized the opportunities that a combined cooperative can provide and we are eager to move forward as part of Allied Cooperative.”

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - State cranberry industry looks to China
If there's too much of a product and not enough buyers are willing to purchase, prices decrease. It's the simple law of supply and demand.
 
And the Wisconsin cranberry industry presently is struggling with this economic reality as the recent overproduction of the fruit has forced prices to tumble. Now, in order to ramp up demand, the U.S. industry is looking to expand its reach to countries far beyond its borders, such as China.

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ASHLAND - EMT shortage looms large
Car accidents, sports injuries, farming accidents, drowning and childbirth are emergencies that do not conveniently wait to occur after regular workday hours.
 
This truth is what concerns Dan Clark, director of the Washburn Area Ambulance Service, who is currently struggling to schedule volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) to fill on-call spots Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the Washburn Area Ambulance service.

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BELOIT - Grant will fund after-school activities
Cunningham Intermediate School will receive about $480,000 over the next five years to a start before-and-after-school program.
 
Cunningham Co-principal Brice Gustafson said in the spring the school was told of the grant, which in the first year will provide the school with $100,000, Gustafson said. The school will work with the Stateline Boys and Girls Club to create the program.

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KAUKAUNA - Team Industries to add 155 jobs in expansion
Team Industries is expanding its main fabrication building in Kaukauna to add equipment and expand its welding/fabrication capabilities.

The increase in fabrication space will result in the creation of about 155 new jobs over the next three years, Team Industries said in a news release.

The project, scheduled for completion by mid-November, will add 54,000 square feet to Team Industries' existing 100,000-square-foot facility.

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GREEN BAY – Walker says Kenosha casino could cost taxpayers $100 million
Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he is using "extreme caution" to avoid what he says could be contractual "landmines" costing taxpayers upwards of $100 million if he rushes to approve the Menominee tribe's proposed casino in Kenosha.

Walker offered his first public comments on the issue during a stop Wednesday in Green Bay.
The day before, Forest County Potawatomi confirmed it is withholding the tribe's annual casino revenue payment of at least $25 million to the state while talks continue about the additional gambling operation in southeastern Wisconsin.

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MADISON – Kenosha casino supporters urge Walker to approve
Labor and political leaders from southeastern Wisconsin called on Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday to immediately approve the Menominee tribe's proposed casino in Kenosha because it would put people to work.

Pressure has been building on Walker to make a decision about whether to approve the proposed $810 million casino and Hard Rock Cafe before the Nov. 4 election. The Bureau of Indian Affairs gave its approval for the casino a year ago, but Walker has until Feb. 19 to sign off on it.

Walker ordered an economic impact study and has been negotiating with the two tribes that oppose the project — the Ho-Chunk and Forest County Potawatomi.

Walker, in a letter Tuesday to Democratic lawmakers who were calling on him to act, did not indicate when he would make a decision, saying only that he would take the "appropriate time necessary" while taking into consideration how the state budget could be affected by approving the casino.

Walker revealed in the letter that the Potawatomi has refused to make its annual casino revenue payment to the state while talks continued, a decision that Walker said would have a "significant impact" on the state budget.

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MADISON – Mayor proposes $20 million affordable housing initiative
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing an ambitious $20 million initiative to help deliver 750 to 1,000 units of affordable housing over the next five years.

Soglin, who shared part of his capital budget for 2015 on Wednesday, wants the city to commit $20 million over five years to a new Affordable Housing Fund that would both add to and attract federal affordable housing tax credits and support at least 250 units of permanent housing with services for the homeless and 500 or more units for people making up to 60 percent of the area’s median income.

People with very low incomes would be helped, but the initiative also would benefit singles making up to $33,900 or a family of four taking in up to $48,480.

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WAUSAU - Proposal would turn Sav-O building into apartments
A proposal by a Minneapolis-based developer to transform the historic Sav-O Supply warehouse on Wausau’s northeast side into loft-style apartments has been given the go-ahead by a citizens selection committee and will be formally presented to city officials next month.

The citizens panel — created to pick between the two development proposals the city received for the building at 1418 First St. — “really liked” the MetroPlains plan, said Wausau Economic Development Manager Megan Lawrence.

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EAU CLAIRE - Commission seeks more details on Confluence's mixed-use building
The city’s Waterways and Parks Commission got its first look Wednesday at plans for the mixed-use building proposed for the Confluence Project and decided it needed more information before making a decision on the project.

The commission unanimously voted to seek more information on the proposed walkway/bicycle path between the building and the Eau Claire River, a definition of the proposed historic characteristics of the building and the appearance of the facade facing the river.

Developer Haymarket Concepts has submitted a site plan for the six-story building that would be located at the northwest corner of South Barstow and Eau Claire streets as part of the proposed $77.2 million Confluence Project.

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MADISON - Potawatomi withholds state payment over Kenosha casino proposal
The Forest County Potawatomi has refused to make its annual casino revenue payment to the state as Gov. Scott Walker mulls whether to approve a competing facility in Kenosha, causing what the governor is calling a "significant" impact on the state budget.

A tribal spokesman issued a terse statement Tuesday evening saying the tribe made the move because the state may end up owing the Potawatomi money if Walker approves the Menominee Nation's plans for an off-reservation casino in Kenosha. The Potawatomi runs a lucrative casino in Milwaukee and opposes the proposed Kenosha facility, fearing it could suck customers away.

The Potawatomi's gambling compact with the state requires Wisconsin to reimburse the tribe for any losses it suffers due to a Kenosha casino. Walker's administration is trying to negotiate a deal with the tribe on how to offset losses.

It's unclear how much money the Potawatomi owes the state. The tribe's compact calls for it to pay the state 6.5 percent of its net win in Milwaukee, but those winnings are confidential and a Walker administration spokesman had no immediate response when pressed for details Tuesday.

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