Charter makes offer to acquire Time Warner Cable
May 26, 2015 10:04 AM
Charter Communications Inc. is attempting to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. in a merger that would create the second-largest cable television and broadband provider.

Stamford, Conn.-based Charter is offering between $55 billion and $56.7 billion in cash and stock, according to news accounts of the deal.

Both Charter and New York City-based Time Warner Cable have service territories in Wisconsin.

Charter also intends buy Bright House Networks LLC and then merge it into the combined company. Bright House is owned by Advance Communication Corp.

The combined company would have 23 million cable and broadband customers, behind only Comcast's 27 million.

Investor John Malone's Liberty Broadcast Corp., which owns more than a quarter of Charter's stock, as well as some Time Warner Cable stock, is backing the acquisition.

In a statement on Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said the FCC weighs every merger on its own merits to determine if it will be in the public’s interest and that "an absence of harm is not sufficient" as a basis of approval. Wheeler said the FCC "will look to see how American consumers would benefit" from the acquisition.

The Charter proposal comes in the wake of Comcast’s failed attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable after meeting resistance from federal regulators.

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State and local officials closing in on arena deal
May 26, 2015 10:55 AM
Leaders in the state Legislature, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and representatives of Gov. Scott Walker met this morning to continue negotiations for a financing deal for a downtown Milwaukee arena.

“We’re working through the documents with the hope of getting something done within the next 48 hours,” said Patrick Curley, Barrett’s chief of staff. “I think we’re confident something will get done. I think this is going to be one of those deals where nobody feels great (about it), but we all know what the goal is.”

The NBA says that Milwaukee needs a new arena to keep the Milwaukee Bucks long term. The current owners of the Bucks and former owner Herb Kohl have pledged to provide $250 million toward the project and are asking public officials to provide funds for the other half of the project.

Curley declined to disclose any information about the developing arena financing deal between state and local officials.

Legislative leaders want to complete the budget writing process this week and one goal is to have an arena funding deal finalized and inserted into the budget, said Kit Beyer, spokeswoman for state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

“Our budget process is in high gear this week,” Beyer said.

Legislative leaders want to have the budget completed and approved by the Joint Finance Committee by Friday or Saturday, she said.

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Oilgear to cease manufacturing operations
May 26, 2015 11:05 AM
Milwaukee-based The Oilgear Company will shut down manufacturing operations by Aug. 1, affecting approximately 45 production and support employees.

The company expects some permanent layoffs to occur prior to Aug. 1, according to a notice filed with the state. Affected employees will receive individual notices and will receive their regular salary and benefits through July 21. Certain positions will have an opportunity for relocation.

The Oilgear Company said in a statement that the closure is due to realigning its manufacturing capabilities and services in the U.S. in order “to maximize the competencies and strengths of the entire Oilgear team as part of a broader vision to be a worldwide leader in hydraulic solutions.”

Manufacturing will be streamlined to two manufacturing centers in Traverse City, Mich., and Fremont, Neb. The company’s headquarters, along with its engineering, customer service, service, and other administrative functions, will remain in Milwaukee. The company tentatively plans to move to a “new, more modern facility” in 2016.

“The realignment allows Oilgear to maximize its operating efficiencies and continue ongoing capital investments as part of a global growth strategy,” the company said in a statement. “Focused centers of excellence also maximize the ability to share expertise and knowledge to enhance product development efforts and speed customer responsiveness.”

Located at 2300 S. 51st St., The Oilgear Company is a worldwide fluid technology provider, with a focus on integrated hydraulic/electric systems, large press retrofits and detailed and hi-tech solutions. It has approximately 475 employees worldwide.

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Senior apartment complex in Pewaukee sold for $13.4 million
May 26, 2015 11:06 AM
The 135-unit Quail Pointe Senior Apartments complex in Pewaukee was sold last week for $13.4 million, according to state records.

Brookfield-based KKNN Quail LLC, an affiliate of Watercrest Investments LLC, purchased the complex, located at 1088 Quail Ct., from Pewaukee-based Quail Development LLC. The agent for KKNN Quail is James Cadd. The agent for Quail Development is Russell Maticek, according to state records.

Quail Pointe is a luxury apartment complex for residents that are 50 and older. It was built in phases, with three connected buildings, and completed about 10 years ago.

The property has an assessed value of $9.35 million, according to Waukesha County records.

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New business accelerator program will be FaB
May 26, 2015 11:28 AM
FaB (Food and Beverage) Wisconsin has worked in collaboration with the Food Finance Institute at the University of Wisconsin Extension and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to create FaBcap, an accelerator grant program.

FaB, working with its 135 member companies in collaboration with the Institute, had identified a need in the burgeoning food and beverage manufacturing space for those companies ready to scale-up and increase production to expand their market reach and potential.   

The selected businesses must be Wisconsin-based and generating revenue in food, beverage, ingredients, equipment manufacturing or technologies to participate in the one-year program, which provides: a Certified Financial Coach, access to FaB Member Mentors; monthly cohort meetings at area food companies — all culminating in a $10,000 FaBcap Cash Award; and a pitch to investors/funders in the program’s closing ceremony.  

The WEDC is supporting the program with a $115,000 grant through its Seed Accelerator Program, with additional support coming from Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Milwaukee 7 and corporate sponsors, including Chortek LLP and Reinhardt Boerner Van Deuren s.c.

“FaBcap is designed to build the capacity and capitalization of 10 pre-screened and scaling food or beverage business through a one-year program on how to grow and fund a sustainable food or beverage enterprise,” said Shelley Jurewicz, executive director of FaB Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin is home to more than 1,000 food, beverage and ingredient manufacturers. Nearly two-thirds have fewer than 10 employees. We have a great opportunity to grow these companies and innovate the industry with the support being offered through FaBcap,” said Reed Hall, secretary and chief executive officer of the WEDC. “Supporting those with ambitions to grow and helping them succeed will strengthen our industry’s innovative core.”

“We’ve learned that food businesses make money, and don’t, in predictable ways. Those that succeed use the right kind of financing at the right time as their business evolves,” said Tera Johnson, founding director of the UW Extension Food Finance Institute.

FaB plans to announce the call for accelerator program applicants in late June, and will select the final 10 in July, with the program slated to kick off in late August. Interested applicants can visit
FaB Wisconsin is a statewide cluster network supporting food and beverage industry growth and awareness.

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Dallas-based senior living firm buys two facilities in Washington County
May 26, 2015 11:48 AM
Afiliates of Dallas-based Capital Senior Living Corp. purchased The Waterford of West Bend, formerly known as Emerald Way Assisted Living & Memory Care, and the Emerald Ridge Assisted Living facility in Hartford, according to state records.

The facilities were sold by SCR Properties LLC and SCRP West Bend LLC. The Waterford of West Bend was sold for $2.1 million and the Emerald Ridge Assisted Living facility in Hartford was sold for $2.2 million.

Emerald Ridge Assisted Living, built in 2004, has 34 one- and two-bedroom apartments for residents 65 and older and serves 20 memory care residents with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.

Capital Senior Living Corp. is one of the nation’s largest operators of residential communities for senior adults. The Company operates 115 senior living communities with an aggregate capacity of approximately 15,000 residents.

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Badger Meter execs to ring Closing Bell on Wall Street
May 26, 2015 11:35 AM
Members of the Badger Meter Inc. executive management team will ring the Closing Bell today at the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the company’s 110th anniversary.

“The two Milwaukee entrepreneurs who invented the first ‘frost proof’ water meter in 1905 never imagined their original invention would be the foundation for a company that has grown to become a worldwide leader in flow measurement technology,” said Richard Meeusen, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Badger Meter. “Ringing the Closing Bell today recognizes both our 110 years of industry-leading technology and product innovation, as well as our growth and success as a public company.”

Members of Badger Meter’s executive management team participating in the bell ringing ceremony are Meeusen; Richard Johnson, senior vice president - finance, chief financial officer and treasurer; Fred Begale, vice president - engineering; William Bergum, vice president - general counsel and secretary; Raymond Serdynski, vice president-manufacturing; Kimberly Stoll, vice president – sales and marketing; and Dawn O’Neill, manager - investor relations.

Milwaukee-based Badger Meter specializes in flow measurement and control products, serving water utilities, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers worldwide. The company’s products measure water, oil, chemicals and other fluids.

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Gitomer: The BIG secrets of enthusiastic emotional engagement
May 26, 2015 09:22 AM
What is engagement?

Better stated, how can you engage other people to become interested in you and your product or service? Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) says by becoming interested in them. And he’s partially right.

The reality, and the secret of engagement is that BOTH people must be mutually engaged and mutually interested, and BOTH people must be intellectually stimulated and emotionally connected. Otherwise it’s just a conversation that will be forgotten, unless the salesperson is taking notes. #notlikely.

Read more in today’s Small Biz Strategies column by Jeffrey Gitomer.

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Morning Headlines: Health tech leaders tout Madison
May 26, 2015 11:35 AM
The Madison area has nearly everything it takes to become a national health technology hub, but there are still some missing pieces, speakers told a meeting in Madison last week.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Money Weekly: HUD finished investigating Associated Bank lending practices
May 26, 2015 11:38 AM
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has completed its investigation of Associated Bank N.A.’s lending practices between 2008 and 2011.

Read more in today’s Money Weekly.

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City panel backs funds to study lakefront site for Johnson Controls
May 22, 2015 11:49 AM
The city of Milwaukee's Redevelopment Authority on Thursday endorsed a plan to provide a $250,000 grant to pay for half of the cost to study the development feasibility of a lakefront site where Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. might build a new office building.

The 2.5-acre site is located southwest of East Clybourn Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive. The state Department of Transportation plans to reconfigure the Lake Interchange and will remove freeway ramps from the site, which will open it up for possible development.

Johnson Controls has indicated that is considering plans to build a new building on the site. It has not disclosed information about the project publicly, but earlier this year Alderman Robert Bauman told BizTimes Milwaukee that the company was considering plans for a 50-story office building on the site.

The city has been promoting and marketing the site as a potentially “monumental project.”

“JCI is evaluating opportunities to accommodate their growth,” states a city document on the site study grant proposal. “One opportunity that they wish to explore is construction of a new building on the Clybourn site. JCI projects that they need to expend $500,000 for site investigation and due diligence in order to obtain more information on the Clybourn site and determine whether it is a suitable site for their needs. In the event JCI decided to not pursue the Clybourn site, the due diligence documentation provided by JCI to the city in return for the Clybourn site cash grant will help the city’s efforts in marketing the Clybourn site to other prospective developers.”

One issue facing the site is the ongoing battle between parks advocacy group Preserve Our Parks and Milwaukee County over the development rights of the Downtown Transit Center site, located northeast of the possible Johnson Controls building site. County officials want to sell the Downtown Transit Center site to Barrett Lo Visionary Development, which would build a 44-story luxury apartment tower, called The Couture. But Preserve Our Parks says the site was originally part of Lake Michigan and therefore private development is not permitted there by the state’s public trust doctrine.

The matter will ultimately be settled in court. The county is suing Preserve Our Parks in an attempt to establish its development rights for the site so it can obtain title insurance. The results of that legal fight could also impact the possible Johnson Controls site, part of which also may have originally been in the lakebed so it too could also be subject to the public trust doctrine.

The city funds for the Clybourn site study would come from the tax incremental financing district created to subsidize the new 32-story office tower at the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. corporate headquarters campus. The funding still is subject to approval of the full Common Council.

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Dudzik remembered for dedication to district
May 22, 2015 10:28 AM
Milwaukee alderman Joe Dudzik, who represented the city's 11th District, was remembered by colleagues for his dedication to public service this morning.

Dudzik, 56, died following a motorcycle crash in a construction zone near 75th and Morgan overnight.

Common Council president Michael Murphy released the following statement about Dudzik’s passing:

“It is with a heavy hear that I learned of the passing of my friend and colleague Alderman Joe Dudzik last night. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, his constituents, his family and his many, many friends.

“Joe made a career as a dedicated public servant, serving with great distinction for more than 20 years in the Department of Public Works before he was elected alderman in 2002. As an elected official, he very able represented the south side district where he lived most of his life. He was a passionate advocate for the south side, and took great delight in repeatedly telling those of us on the council that his was, in fact, the best district in the city.

“Joe’s zeal for public service was outshined only by his love for his wife Lynn and his sons, Jeffrey and Jake. While he achieved many things, his family was by far his proudest accomplishment. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said:

“Alderman Joe Dudzik’s passing marks a very sad day in Milwaukee.
“Through his work as a city employee and, ultimately, as an alderman, Joe dedicated his professional life to the people of this city.

“He held strong opinions that matched his constituents' concerns. And, he was never shy about sharing those opinions with me or his colleagues.

“Joe was passionate about the services Milwaukee provides its residents.  He was an advocate for City employees.  And, no alderman surpassed his day-to-day commitment to making his district a better place.

“I offer my condolences to Joe's family and friends.”

Fellow Alderman Bob Donovan released the following:

“This morning, I’m deeply saddened to join my Common Council colleagues in mourning the tragic loss of Alderman Joe Dudzik. Joe and I have been friends for many years, and his dedication and commitment to his community and his constituents was unmatched.

“Seeing the life of such an upstanding man cut short like this makes one pause and take stock of the things that are truly important—life itself, family, good health and God. At the end of the day, it sure as hell isn’t politics.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Joe, his wife and his boys, his mother and everyone who knew and cared for this proud south side Milwaukeean.”

Alderman Jose Perez said:

“As a colleague, as a friend and as a fellow south-sider, I offer my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Alderman Joe Dudzik, who passed away last night.

“Joe was a vocal advocate for the South Side, and it was my pleasure to serve with him. In person or in committee meetings, his personality, his zest for life and his sense of humor stand out as some of his defining features. He will be deeply missed here at City Hall.

“Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Ghassan Korban, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, said:

"The Department of Public Works is deeply saddened at the passing of our friend and colleague Ald. Joe Dudzik.

"Ald. Dudzik served the City of Milwaukee first as a dedicated DPW staff member for 20 years. He held positions in our Street Maintenance division and was promoted several times during his tenure.

"After his election to Alderman of the 11th District, DPW staff worked closely with him on many projects and service requests. We appreciated his leadership on the Common Council and his commitment to serving his constituents in his district as well as all City residents.

"Joe Dudzik will be missed, and we offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Lynn, his sons Jake and Jeffrey, his extended family and to his many friends."

Alderman Joe Davis, Sr. said:

"Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated the gift of life my parents gave me. So as you can imagine, when I woke up this morning and heard the sad news of my colleague Alderman Joe Dudzik's passing, it was a shock.

"He fondly referred to me as his twin, and I would always shoot back that you could tell us apart by the fact that he had been blessed with hair."

"Life's journey can hit you when you least expect it. So now, as I continue to celebrate my gift of life, I will always cherish Joe’s memory.

"Be blessed, brother. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has seen your work, and he is well pleased. Much love to Lynn and the family."

Alderman Robert Puente said:

"It is with a heavy heart that I offer my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Alderman Joe Dudzik, a dedicated friend and colleague whom I will miss greatly.

"I had the pleasure of serving with Joe on the Public Works Committee, the Public Safety Committee and the Licenses Committee. His insight and expertise, particularly pertaining to public works matters, were invaluable and unmatched, and the city will be worse for his absence. I will truly miss working with him.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family during this difficult time."

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Bader Rutter receives Best of Show at Paragon Awards
May 22, 2015 10:24 AM
Bader Rutter of Brookfield received the Best of Show Award at the Public Relations Society of America Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter Paragon Awards ceremony Thursday.

The awards program for high-level work in public relations was held at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.

Bader Rutter was honored for its work with Zoetis on the Hoof-Tec New Product Introduction. The creative “Too Much Metal” campaign introduced a new footbath product to dairy farmers and veterinarians used for bathing cow hooves. Results included an increased awareness of 50 percent in just nine months after the campaign and increased product sales. Print and online placements attracted nearly 1.5 million impressions. The launch news release received 447,848 impressions, and it was the most-clicked story of the March Inside Dairy Wellness e-newsletter.
Other Best of Show finalists included Bader Rutter for its work for Sauder, BVK for its work with Weddings by Funjet and Hawai’i Health Connector, and Celtic Inc. for its work with Edvest.
This year’s entries were judged by the Greater Kansas PRSA Chapter and were evaluated based on five criteria: objectives, research and planning, execution, budgets and results.
“It’s wonderful to see the volume of great public relations work produced right here in Southeastern Wisconsin,” said Bill Bussler, Wisconsin Chapter president. “Our members are creative, resourceful and savvy. The work featured at the Paragon Awards gets better each year, and we look forward to continuing to see the outstanding work our members produce.”
The events also recognized two established professionals for their work in the local community. The Communicator of the Year Award was presented to Stephanie Klett, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Under her leadership, the Department of Tourism has earned an unprecedented 65 regional, national and international awards. The Dorothy Thomas Black Award was presented to Carol Seeger Weber, APR, director of communications and marketing at the Wisconsin Dental Association.
Other Paragon Award winners included:
  • Merit Awards for Ongoing Social Media Campaigns: BVK – Alex Boeder and Lauren Wagner for Guitars for Vets’ Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Alex Boeder and Jackie Hribar for Foresters’ Tech Timeout Challenge Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Lisa Lach and AJ Trela for The Funjet Insider Social Media Campaign; and  BVK – Rob Ebert for Mystik Lubricants’ Lubrication Domination Social Media Campaign.
  • Awards of Excellence for Social Media Campaigns: Bader Rutter – Liesel Olson, Megan Price, Katie Shafer and Olivia Johnson for Sauder’s Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Bruce Dierbeck and Alex Boeder for the Hawai’i Health Connector Social Media Campaign;  BVK – Lisa Lach and AJ Trela for the Weddings by Funjet Launch Social Media Campaign; and  BVK – Rob Ebert and AJ Trela for the CITGO Fueling Good Road Trip Social Media Campaign.
  • Merit Award for Community Relations Programs: State Farm – Kelly Savage for Neighborhood Assist Community Relations Program.
  • Merit Award for Public Service Program: State Farm – Kelly Savage for Celebrate My Drive Public Service Program.
  • Merit Awards for Integrated Communications Programs – Business or Industry:  Wisconsin Dental Association and Group One Marketing for the “Own Your Smile” Oral Health Literacy, Public Awareness Campaign; and American Transmission Co. – Anne Spaltholz and Alissa Braatz for the American Transmission Co. Helps Landowners to Grow Smart Campaign.
  • Award of Excellence for Integrated Communications Programs – Business or Industry: Bader Rutter – Cheryl O’Brien for the 2014 Honoring Caregivers Program; Celtic Inc. for Edvest’s Big Apple Giveaway; Bader Rutter – Kristina Hopkins, Mandy Witt and Jared Bramer for the Hoof-Tec New Product Introduction.
  • Merit Award for Integrated Communications Programs – Government or Nonprofit: Lisa Todd of Laughlin Constable and Lisa Marshall of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for the 2014 Wisconsin Department of Tourism Campaign.
  • Award of Excellence for Integrated Communications Programs – Government or Nonprofit: Bethesda for the Peoria Community Engagement Campaign.
  • Award of Excellence for PR Tactics: Media Relations Tactic – Press Kit, Product: Cramer-Krasselt – John Mose, Heather Gaedtke and Tanya Pinsoneault for the Alpha Free Multimedia News Release.
  • Merit Award for PR Tactics: Media Relations Tactic – Press Kit, Services/Events/Other: Lisa Todd from Laughlin Constable and Danielle Johns from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for the Wisconsin Tourism 2014 Press Kit.
  • Merit Awards Media Relations Tactic – Press Release or Other Tactic: Brian Knox and the Laughlin Constable team for the School Nurses Vaccination Effort – “No Shots, No School!”; and Bader Rutter – Bruce Herz, Claire Haupt and Nina Lewis for the Case IH Media Event and Farm Progress Show.
  • Award of Excellence for Media Relations Tactic – Press Release or Other Tactic: Kohler Engines – Anne Smith and Bill Bussler for Kohler Engines’ Trade Editors’ Conference.
  • Merit Award for Posters: Cramer-Krasselt – John Mose, Julie Ferris, Dave Racine, JC Maldonado, Tim Halverson and Heather Gaedtke for The Power to Choose Evinrude.
  • Merit Award for Special Events: Cramer-Krasselt – John Mose, Julie Ferris, Dave Racine, JC Maldonado, Tim Halverson and Heather Gaedtke for Club Evinrude.
  • Award of Excellence for Brochures: Carroll University for its Admission General Brochure.
  • Merit Award for Social Media Tactic: Cramer-Krasselt – Marlaina Quintana and Maureen Falkner for their TIKI Brand Outdoor Entertaining Blogger Program.
  • Award of Excellence for Online Tactics – Website: Bader Rutter for the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council’s
  • Award of Excellence for Online Tactics – E-Newsletters: Brenna Sadler and the Laughlin Constable team for the Spreading the Word: Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association’s E-Newsletter.

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The Previant Law Firm to move from Schlitz Park to Wisconsin Avenue
May 22, 2015 10:54 AM
The Previant Law Firm plans to move its office from the Rivercenter building at 1555 N. Rivercenter Dr., Milwaukee, in the Schlitz Park complex, to 310 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.

The firm recently leased 15,081 square feet of office space at 310 W. Wisconsin Ave. The building, now known as The Blue @310 West, was formerly known as the Reuss Federal Plaza.
David Pudlosky of JLL brokered the lease for The Previant Law Firm. The owner of the building, Rait Commercial, is represented by Colliers International|Wisconsin.

The lease is a boost for The Blue @310 West, which has struggled for years with a high vacancy rate. Rait has invested more than $3 million into building improvements in the last year and a half including upgrades to including mechanical systems, common areas, parking structure, and wifi service.

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Around Town: Rogers Foundation's Women's Gathering
May 22, 2015 10:42 AM
More than 325 women from across the metro Milwaukee area attended the May 19 Rogers Foundation's Women's Gathering held at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. Themed "The Power of Nature - Restoring Mind, Body and Soul," the event raised more than $50,000 in support of the spiritual care program at Rogers Memorial Hospital.

Click here to view the photos.

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