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CHIPPEWA FALLS - Dick Leinenkugel's time arrives
Dick Leinenkugel will become the eighth president of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. Every job he has held, including time in state government, has prepared him for this day. It also made him the obvious choice to lead Leinenkugel’s into the future.

He has worked in many capacities for Leinenkugel’s and its parent company, now MillerCoors. That includes a decade as vice president of marketing.

He also served in state politics as Wisconsin’s commerce secretary under Gov. Jim Doyle, and made a brief run for national office as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate before returning to the Leinenkugel’s fold in 2010.

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CHIPPEWA FALLS - Summer Shandy takes Leinenkugel's national
The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. has been brewing beer in Chippewa Falls since 1867. It turned to craft brewing a couple of decades ago and began producing several varieties of beer.

But none has compared to Summer Shandy. It was such a runaway success, tapping into a market previously untouched, that it has become by all accounts a national phenomenon.

Taking the beer industry by storm, it quickly became it’s No. 1-selling beer, and the most successful launch in Leinenkugel’s history. Summer Shandy was a hit of such proportions that it propelled the brewery to do something it had never done before: Go national.

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MADISON - New coalition pushes for transportation spending as $680 million gap looms
Wisconsin’s highways are aging, congestion is worsening in Milwaukee, Madison and other urban areas, and there is demand for public transit, even in rural areas, that isn’t being met.

Meanwhile, the state faces a projected $680 million deficit in its 2015-17 transportation budget, meaning there won’t be enough money to pay for existing needs and projects, let alone new ones.

With that deficit expected to grow to more than $15 billion over the next 10 years, road builders, economic development leaders, local government officials and others with an interest in Wisconsin’s transportation priorities have banded together. They have been meeting with state office holders and candidates in the weeks before the Nov. 4 election to make sure policymakers understand the severity of the issue and don’t rule out any possible solution, including raising taxes.

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MT. HOREB - Work underway on new hotel
Mt. Horeb is getting a new hotel.

Work began Friday on a 61-room GrandStay Hotel & Suites on Lillehammer Lane on the city’s far east side off business U.S. 18 near Symdon Motors.

Madison-based NCI-Roberts Construction and Mt. Horeb Hotel Partners LLC are teaming up on the project, which is due for completion next spring.

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COLUMBUS – Enerpac celebrates grand opening of new factory
Enerpac has been a part of Columbus since 1948 and with the grand opening of its new factory, it’s surely here to stay for a long time.

In May 2013, the company broke ground on a $17 million, 167,100-square-foot manufacturing facility that’s a visibly striking yellow and black — a nod to the company’s premier line of products — that’s viewed by thousands of motorists daily as they drive Highway 151. On Sept. 6, the company opened its doors to friends and family of past and present workers to take a tour of the new facility.

The original plant was on James Street in a 135,000 square foot leased facility which the company had outgrown.

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MADISON - Epic Systems Users Group meeting could cause significant traffic delays
Madison area drivers are being warned to prepare for significant traffic delays on major roadways this week, as thousands flock to the city for the annual Epic Systems Users Group meeting.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation expects the worst backups to occur on the Beltline, Verona Road and other major roadways, especially with numerous construction projects in the area.

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FOND DU LAC - Additional hangar spaces designed at airport
Creation of spaces for additional corporate airplane hangars and the repair and reconstruction of taxiways are part of a $1.2 million improvement project at the Fond du Lac County Airport.

With a redesign of space, five more corporate hangar spaces are available in an area near the existing Flight for Life and the Michels Corp. hangar.

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MADISON – California biotech firm to make cancer drugs in University Research Park
A California biotech consulting firm has pledged to create at least 103 jobs in Madison by 2017 and will get a $1 million low-interest loan from the state to help it buy an under-used pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in University Research Park, where it plans to make cancer-fighting and other types of drugs for other companies.

The former Mentor Biologics building, originally designed to produce an anti-wrinkle compound but never used for that purpose, had been owned by the Morgridge Institute for Research since 2010. It was sold June 30 to Pomona, California-based PSC Biotech Corp., about one year after the Morgridge Institute — a private research partner of UW-Madison — put it on the market, officials said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday at the facility at 5501 Research Park Boulevard, though drug production isn’t slated to begin there until 2015.

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CHIPPEWA FALLS - Three more companies want sand mines in Chippewa County
Three more sand companies want to set up shop in Chippewa County, with one looking to have the county’s largest frac sand mine with more than 2,000 acres.

The companies are Northern Sands of Winona, Minnesota, PurFrac of New Auburn, and DRT Sands of Bloomer.

The Northern Sands proposed site in the town of Howard would be the county’s largest with more than 2,000 acres.

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ASHLAND - GTAC finds more wetlands than it initially expected in Penokees
Gogebic Taconite has announced that it may again have to readjust its plan for mining iron ore in northern Wisconsin after discovering more wetlands in the Penokee Hills than it initially expected.

The announcement comes a week after GTAC said it was pushing back its timeline to apply for a mining permit from next spring to next fall.

GTAC Spokesman Bob Seitz said the company will need to do more drilling and configuring.

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MIDDLETON - Mead & Hunt relocates to new $12 million HQ
Engineering and architectural firm Mead & Hunt has moved its corporate home from the Madison address where it had been located for nearly three decades into a new, larger company headquarters in Middleton.

Founded in 1900 and currently ranked as Wisconsin’s largest engineering company, Mead & Hunt moved its 200-some local employees into the new space at 2440 Deming Way during the first week of September.

The growing company had long needed more and different space than its 6501 Watts Road location could provide.

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CHIPPEWA FALLS – Leinenkugel oversaw start of craft beer craze
So much has happened in the quarter of a century that Jake Leinenkugel has been running the Chippewa Falls brewery named after his great-great-grandfather that the well-known brewery president hardly knows where to begin.

For starters, he has led the renaissance that has made the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. one of the fastest-growing beer companies in the nation. His years as Leinie’s spokesman on high-profile advertising campaigns over the years have made him one of the most visible beer executives anywhere.

He has overseen the building of an impressive Leinie Lodge that has become a tourist destination in its own right, and three multi-million dollar expansions of the brewery and a new brewhouse that have cemented the brewery’s future in Chippewa Falls for generations to come.

Then there’s maintaining the family’s local control over its product and the brewery’s identity after the company was sold to Miller Brewing in 1988. At that time, Leinenkugel’s was a traditional brewer, selling Leinie’s original beer, a bock beer in the springtime, and Leinie’s Light, which only was for sale in the Chippewa area.

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LA CROSSE - Opponents speak out against BNSF line
Opponents of a second BNSF Railway line along La Crosse’s east side called on the city council Thursday to delay any agreement with the company until federal officials decide whether a public hearing is needed on the plan.

The group, many aligned with Citizens Acting for Rail Safety, or CARS, also want a separate city forum to let the public voice their concerns about the risks the added track and rail traffic might pose to their homes, property values and the La Crosse River Marsh.

They fear the proposed 4 miles of parallel track from Gillette Street in north La Crosse to just south of Farnam Street — roughly from Logan High School almost to Central High School – will allow more trains carrying volatile Bakken crude oil from the west to pass at higher speeds through La Crosse’s neighborhoods and the sensitive wetlands.

About 18 percent of homes in the city are close enough to the tracks to see some effects from the increased rail traffic, which has risen from about 33 trains a day in 2000 to about 50 today.

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MADISON - Willy Street Co-op completes its renovation and narrows its sites for third store
The $4 million renovation of Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., includes higher shelving for more product display, an expanded courtyard, a pizza oven and more room in the back of the store for dry storage, and refrigerated and frozen foods.

But the work is far from over.

While the 10 months of construction at Willy Street East is completed, attention is now being focused on possible expansion of the Willy West Store in Middleton and on selecting a site for a long-talked-about third location.

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VERONA - Epic Systems annual meeting will bring 10,000 visitors
Epic Systems is expecting nearly 10,000 customers from around the globe to visit for the 35th annual Epic Systems Users Group Meeting that runs Monday through Thursday. Add in 8,100 Epic employees and you can imagine the scope of the event.

Thousands of hotel rooms have been booked and with space tight, some attendees might find themselves as far away as Wisconsin Dells.

All told, the Epic meeting accounts for $6.8 million in direct visitor spending on lodging, food and other travel activity, according to the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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