VERONA – Fairfield Inn & Suites to be built in Verona
Ground was broken Wednesday for a $5.5 million, three-story Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel development at 613 West Verona Ave., Verona.

Once built, the 90-room hotel will feature nearly 2,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
The hotel is expected to open in spring of 2015 and will create 50 new jobs.

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VERONA - Epic CEO horses around at company's annual meeting
In the future, look for more competition for patients, more patient involvement in their own care, and fewer electronic health records providers, Epic Systems Corp. chief executive Judy Faulkner told the company's annual users group meeting Tuesday.

Acquisitions of health IT companies will mushroom, she said, and then announced one of her own: Epic is buying GE, she said, and it will become General Epic.

There were some surprised gasps and a bit of applause. Then Faulkner ’fessed up. “Just kidding,” she said with a laugh, adding, “I hope no one tweeted this.”

Faulkner, who has staunchly maintained the independence of the privately owned Verona electronic health records giant, reiterated she has no plans to join with any other company.
In August, one of Epic’s biggest competitors, Cerner Corp., said it will buy Siemens’ health IT unit for $1.3 billion.

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LA CROSSE - Riverside Center buildings officially sold to UnitedHealth Group
The three Riverside Center buildings in downtown La Crosse officially have been sold to UnitedHealth Group, whose subsidiary OptumHealth owns Logistics Health Inc.

The sale was finalized Monday night, LHI founder and CEO Don Weber announced Tuesday. The price was not disclosed.

Weber’s development company built and owned all three buildings, which have a combined assessed value of about $44.3 million. After OptumHealth acquired LHI in 2011 and retained Weber as CEO, he was advised to sell the buildings to eliminate any appearance of conflict of interest in collecting both salary and rent from UnitedHealth.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS – City Council reverses course, OKs Aspirus expansion
Residents could have a choice of hospitals in Wisconsin Rapids as a result of the City Council's decision Tuesday to reverse itself and clear the way for Aspirus Doctors Clinic to expand.

City Council member Gregg Hepp, who voted in August against a land annexation necessary for the project, changing his vote to yes, and the council majority approved the annexation of 16.85 acres from Grand Rapids. Council members then changed the zoning of the annexed land to general mixed use and granted a conditional-use permit for Aspirus to proceed with its expansion.

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SHEBOYGAN - PGA Tourney organizers unveil course-side chalets
Customized apparel with their own logos. Climate controlled course-side chalets. Fully catered spreads and a bar to boot.

These are the things that certain corporations can look forward to at next year's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

On Tuesday, the PGA rolled out for the media and other interested parties its model of the chalets that corporations can purchase in advance of the 2015 PGA Tournament next August, trying to show potential clients what merchandise can be offered and how customized the chalets can be.

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MADISON - NASA commercial space announcement 'very disappointing' for Madison's Orbitec
A Madison-based company is getting in on NASA's first commercial space launches to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, but not as closely as it had hoped.

NASA announced Tuesday that it picked Boeing and SpaceX for the contracts, worth $6.8 billion.
That left SpaceX competitor Dream Chaser, which is tied in with Madison-based Orbital Technologies Corp., on the outside looking in.

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MARSHFIELD - Seehafer Farm Creamery opens
From getting licensed to process milk on-site to creating a welcoming place to shop, the opening of Seehafer Farm Creamery has been a year in progress, but the store’s owners and manager say it was time well spent.

One of the store’s points of pride is its rbST-free milk, which is processed on site. The creamery currently has whole milk in plastic jugs, but 2 percent, skim and chocolate milk will be available soon.

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APPLETON - $7 million in private fundraising expected for library
A library consultant said Tuesday that private Fox Cities donors expect to contribute $7 million for a new $42 library project in Appleton's downtown.

A Friends of Appleton Public Library consultant from Minnesota told the city's library board that in-person meetings with 28 people indicated the contribution target.

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BARABOO - Shoe Box to close Baraboo store, expand in Black Earth
The Shoe Box is closing its Baraboo store but expanding its flagship store in Black Earth.

The Baraboo Shoe Box opened 20 years ago downtown before moving to the intersection of highways 12 and 33 a decade ago. Owner Steve Schmitt said the building’s owners sought a long-term lease, and the impending construction of a Highway 12 bypass around Baraboo made him skittish.

Rather than commit to Baraboo, Schmitt opted to expand in Black Earth, where he’s building a two-level, 6,500-square-foot store across the street from the Shoe Box. The lower level will offer storage, and the upper level will become the Bargain Box, alleviating congestion at the main store and its crowded bargain area.

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GREEN BAY - Packers may be buying more land near Lambeau
The Green Bay Packers might be acquiring more land around Lambeau Field.

A sign on the Citgo at 1922 S. Ridge Road, across the street from Lambeau Field, says the service station is closing.

The gas station is one of four parcels the team would need to give it unbroken ownership from South Ridge Road to Marleee Lane one-half mile west. As of June, the Packers owned more than 42 acres in that stretch.

The team plans on developing land along Lombardi Avenue in much the same way it did the Cabella's outdoor sports store site at Lombardi Avenue and Argonne Street, near U.S. 41.

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LA CROSSE - Weber to sell Riverside Center buildings to UnitedHealth Group
Logistics Health Inc. CEO Don Weber plans to sell his three Riverside Center buildings in downtown La Crosse to health care giant UnitedHealth Group for an undisclosed price.

Giving up ownership of the three buildings will eliminate any appearance of conflict of interest in earning both salary and rent from UnitedHealth, whose subsidiary OptumHealth of Golden Valley, Minn., acquired LHI in 2011, Weber said Monday.

As part of the deal, UnitedHealth will assume the 2,000-job goal and any other obligations that were part of Weber’s development agreements to receive city financial assistance for the three buildings.

It also secures UnitedHealth’s commitment to remain in La Crosse, said Weber, who established the company here in 2001.

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SHEBOYGAN – International Autos buys Lakeland Automotive
Sheboygan’s Lakeland Automotive soon will be under new ownership.

Owner Dave Heather said he’s selling the company to Milwaukee-based International Autos. He and International Autos officials are scheduled to close on the deal in early October.

Lakeland Automotive, 4120 N Frontage Road,just off Highway 23 near the Interstate 43 exit, sells Toyota, Honda, Scion and Subaru vehicles.

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MADISON - Decision time on 10-story hotel proposed in downtown Madison
A top Wisconsin hotel developer is facing a showdown with the city over a proposed 10-story, 165-room hotel that would cast shadows on the landmark Frank Lloyd Wright Lamp House in downtown Madison.

The North Central Group of Middleton is looking to build the state’s first “AC Hotel” at the corner of East Washington Avenue and North Webster Street at the site of the vacant Pahl Tire Co.
AC Hotels are described as “very upscale properties” aimed at millennials who might choose a bicycle or mass transit over an automobile for their transportation needs while visiting a city.

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MADISON – Public meetings scheduled on proposed Middleton to Dubuque transmission line
Residents will have their first chance to find out more about plans by two Midwest utility companies to build a high-powered transmission line from the Madison area to Dubuque, Iowa.

The proposed 345-kilovolt Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line will run about 125 miles and cost an estimated $450 million. Pewaukee-based American Transmission Co. and Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based ITC Midwest will be the owners of the line.

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MENOMONIE - City Council rejects proposed development
Neighbors opposed a proposed 18-twin home development that failed to get City Council support Monday to even get reviewed by the Plan Commission.

Council members defeated an attempt to send the proposed development on Dairyland Road by a vote of 6-4.

David and Joyce Johnson of Menomonie asked to have the 12.8 acres owned by Matthew and Cynthia Berry rezoned from agricultural to residential 4, which is twin home zoning. They had proposed 18 twin homes for a total of 36 homes.

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