RIB MOUNTAIN - Plasma collection center will create 50 to 70 jobs
A busy area near Wausau is getting a new business that will have dozens of employees.

The vacant parcel at 3201 Rib Mountain Drive will be the new home of a plasma collection center. BioLife Plasma Services, a subsidiary of Baxter Healthcare Corp., plans to build a new 15,000-square-foot facility on the site.

The facility — which will employ 50 to 70 workers — is expected to open in fall 2015.

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MADISON - Controversial proposal in Dodgeville highlights area referendums
The question before voters in the Dodgeville School District comes with an economic and emotional price tag. The Nov. 4 referendum will ask for $48 million to build a high school, convert the old high school to a middle school and turn the middle school into an intermediate school.

Dodgeville is among 38 school districts in the state with referendums on the ballot next month. The largest is in Racine, where a $127 million spending plan would upgrade schools over 15 years.

Seven of the referendums are in the area around Madison. The largest is a $54.6 million proposal for additions and improvements in the Oregon School District.

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ASHLAND - Visitors to ice caves this winter may be charged new fee
Visitors traveling to Lake Superior’s ice caves this winter could wind up paying more to see the natural wonders if the U.S. National Park Service introduces a new fee to help cover staffing and maintenance costs.

The Park Service is proposing a $5 special recreation permit fee for anyone over 12 years old visiting Lake Superior’s ice caves near the northern Wisconsin towns of Cornucopia and Bell.

Last winter’s polar vortex and social media frenzy drew record crowds to the ice caves, with 138,000 visitors recorded in a three-month period. Chris Smith, chief of protection for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, said the Park Service was caught off-guard.

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GREEN BAY - Ned Kelly's owner buys three downtown Green Bay buildings
Bill Widmer, co-owner of Ned Kelly's bar and House of Homebrew, on Friday bought three downtown buildings on North Washington Street.

Widmer acquired 223, 225 and 227-229 N. Washington Street. Ned Kelly's is a tenant in 223 and 225 N. Washington St., and Kentro Gyro's is a tenant in 229 N. Washington St. The buildings were owned by an out-of-town investment group.

The 227-229 building has two floors of office space available for lease and one street-level storefront. Widmer said the third floor was renovated in 2001 and the second floor has been empty, but is available for buildout.

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FOND DU LAC - Fabrication has impact on Fond du Lac economy
The Fond du Lac area is part of a unique corridor of the state — roughly from Milwaukee to Appleton — that is considered a hotbed for metal fabrication.

An ability to form, cut and join metal is a skill set in high demand in the area where dozens of fabricating companies use the skills of fabricators.

Marcia Arndt, associate dean of manufacturing at Moraine Park Technical College, said the school is focused on getting the word out about potential careers.

A few years ago, she reviewed companies in the Moraine Park district and found that demand was strong for metal fabricators.

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GALESVILLE - Online retailer opens downtown Galesville toy store
Mark Hansen enjoys retailing, especially when it’s something — toys — that children and their parents have fun buying.

That’s why the Beaches Corner resident started his Peanuts Toy Barn online toy store in the spring of 2013. And it’s why he opened his Peanuts Toy Barn retail storefront June 24 at 19892 W. Gale Ave., near United Auto Parts in Galesville.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Aspirus chooses Wisconsin Rapids for expansion
Wisconsin Rapids residents soon will have the option of choosing between two hospitals within city limits.

After weeks of uncertainty over whether Aspirus Doctors Clinic would expand its operations into Wisconsin Rapids or Biron, the health care provider announced Thursday it will proceed with its original plan of adding a roughly $30 million hospital facility to its Wisconsin Rapids location, 2031 Peach St.

Aspirus leaders have referred to the new facility as a "super clinic" or a "hospital of the future" as it will feature 10 to 25 hospital beds for in-patient care. The increased amount of space — between 75,000 and 110,00 square feet — will allow Aspirus to provide advanced heart care services and surgical care, as well as be equipped with a helicopter pad and an emergency room.

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MADISON - Hospitals prepare for Ebola
In a training drill Thursday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, a woman came into the emergency room and said she had a 102-degree fever and recently traveled to Sierra Leone. Hospital staff promptly put on protective gear and took her to an isolation room with negative air pressure, where, in an actual scenario, they would draw blood to see if she had Ebola virus.

With two nurses in Dallas sickened this month with Ebola after treating the first patient in the U.S. with the virus, hospitals across the country are stepping up precautions.

Meriter Hospital staff met Thursday to review Ebola protocols and scenarios, and staff are being trained how to use protective gear, spokeswoman Leah Huibregtse said.

Concern about Ebola led UW Hospital to activate its incident command center this week to level 2, meaning daily meetings are held among all departments potentially affected, spokeswoman Lisa Brunette said.

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MADISON - WEDC slammed in report on privatization of public services
From Florida to Wisconsin, governors have outsourced public services to private firms that have made healthy campaign contributions or hired powerful lobbyists.

But the moves — often pitched as a way to save taxpayer dollars — have resulted in scandals, lawsuits and worse outcomes for the public, according to a new report from a Madison-based liberal research group.

The Center for Media and Democracy in its report "Pay to Prey: Governors Facilitate the Predatory Outsourcing of Public Services," argues that the national trend of outsourcing is an experiment gone badly wrong.

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MADISON - One avenue, two proposed concert venues
A pair of developments proposed for opposite sides of East Washington Avenue both include new music clubs.

Toffer Christensen is looking to develop a new 1,500 capacity performing arts venue as part of a redevelopment on the south side of the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. It's one of two new music venues proposed for the corridor, an area attracting a lot of interest from developers.

Stone House Development is pursuing a separate project on the other side of East Washington Avenue. That development on the former site of Madison Dairy Produce calls for a six-story office building that would include a music venue from Frank Productions with room for 2,000 to 2,500 people. The project also includes a pair of four-story apartment buildings fronting on East Mifflin Street.

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MIDDLETON - City to consider TIF for apartment development
A Middleton committee is recommending nearly $250,000 in public assistance for an apartment development on the city’s northern edge.

The Plan Commission on Tuesday unanimously recommended $233,108 in tax increment financing (TIF) to support energy-efficient features in the third building of T. Wall Enterprises’ Tribeca Village.

The TIF recommendation will now move to the City Council.
Tribeca Village, located on the city’s northern border between Highway 12 and Parmenter Street, had its development slowed because of the economic recession. Only two apartment buildings stand completed, but the development is intended to eventually grow into a 31-acre retail, office and residential center.

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KIMBERLY - Village expects development on paper mill site in 2015
Village officials know the former NewPage paper mill site is an eyesore, but they're asking Kimberly residents for patience as they continue to work on its redevelopment.

The rock piles and rundown buildings aren't going anywhere soon, but efforts are ongoing to transform the 98-acre property into the Cedars at Kimberly, which will host commercial, residential and green space corridors along the Fox River.

Kimberly Administrator Adam Hammatt said the project recently took a big step forward when the Village Board inked a development agreement coordinating a public/private partnership with local developer Stadtmueller & Associates and AIM Development.

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HORTONVILLE - Piping Systems to add 100 jobs in expansion
Piping Systems Inc. president Jeff Bunker says the company has been conservative in growth since 1990, investing only due to customer demand. This year, it landed a whopper and bet big on the future.

A multi-year contract from an East Coast energy company means a $5.5 million expansion and tripling of employees at the pipe fitter and manufacturer on the southern skirts of Hortonville.

The job means expanding the facility's footprint from 50,000 square feet to about 115,000 square feet. The company will also add about 100 jobs.

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DELAVAN - Appeals court declares Delavan room fee illegal
The fee in lieu of room tax the city of Delavan collects from certain owners at the Lodges at Lake Lawn Resort Condominium is an illegal tax and must be refunded, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The District III Court of Appeals reversed Walworth County Judge Phillip Koss, who dismissed the lawsuit brought by six unit owners who have paid the city a $250 monthly base fee since 2005 for months they did not rent out their condos.

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EAU CLAIRE - Confluence Project backers give city $4 million guarantee on mixed-use building
The three Confluence Project backers put their names as established Eau Claire institutions on a $4 million guarantee added Tuesday to the city-approved development agreement for a downtown mixed-use building.

To reduce concerns that the city wouldn’t recoup its $5.9 million incentive if the apartment-style student housing, restaurants and retail shops planned for South Barstow Street would go under, the financial guarantee created through last-minute negotiations was added to the agreement approved Tuesday night by the City Council in a 7-4 vote.

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