August 31, 2015

Risser bill would prohibit teen tanning

fredrisserA state lawmaker wants to keep teens out of tanning salons. Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) said his proposed legislation would address a serious public health issue, “Statistically, melanoma is a very serious and deadly disease, and it’s often caused by over use of tanning by young adults,” he said.

Risser believes that prohibiting teens from tanning salons shouldn’t be any different than banning them from smoking and drinking. “I think society has an obligation to try to treat and advise young minors in such a way that they arrive at adulthood in pretty good shape.”

Cases of melanoma skin cancer in the U.S. have jumped 200-percent since 1973, and the Surgeon General blames excessive tanning.

Oshkosh Defense tapped to build new military vehicle

PHOTO: Oshkosh Defense

PHOTO: Oshkosh Defense

A major military contract could help create new jobs in northeastern Wisconsin.

Oshkosh Defense was awarded a $6.7 billion US Military contract on Tuesday to build the next generation of armored vehicle to replace the Humvee. The deal calls for the company to produce 17,000 vehicles by 2018, although the order could grow to $30 billion and 55,000 vehicles over the next eight years.

Jerry Murphy is the executive director of New North, an economic development organization focused on the northeastern region of Wisconsin. He says the deal is great news for Oshkosh and surrounding areas, with the added business likely helping to secure jobs at the defense contractor and its suppliers for several years.

Oshkosh had previously cut nearly 2,000 jobs because of dwindling military orders. Murphy says this new contract should give them stability for several years. In addition to building the trucks, he notes the company will also bring in revenue through servicing the vehicles.


Packers unveil Titletown District project

ttdistrictA 10-acre public plaza is the centerpiece of the Titletown District that the Green Bay Packers announced on Thursday. Team President Mark Murphy said the 34-acre development will be anchored by a luxury hotel called Lodge Kohler, a Bellin Health sports medicine clinic, and the Hinterland Brewery and restaurant.

Year-round activities in the park will include a football field in the summer and an ice skating rink in the winter. Murphy sees the Titletown District as an economic driver for the Green Bay area. Packers officials say the initial investment by the Packers, and the three anchor businesses, will be between $120 million and $130 million. The park, and first businesses, should be open by the fall of 2017.


State of Wisconsin settles Talgo lawsuit

File photo

File photo

The state of Wisconsin has settled a lawsuit with train manufacturer Talgo. Spanish-based Talgo filed the lawsuit in late 2012 against Governor Scott Walker and Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, over two passenger trains the company manufactured to run between Milwaukee and Chicago.

The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that under the agreement, Talgo will keep the two trains it built for the state, and receive a $9.75 million payment from the state to close out the contract.

Lester Pines, attorney for Talgo, said the firm will attempt to sell the trains, and the state can collect a portion of the revenue from that sale to recoup up to $9.75 million. Walker’s administration cancelled a contract for Talgo to manufacture and maintain four trains shortly after he was elected in 2010. Two were intended for a high-speed passenger rail route between Milwaukee and Madison, the other two for the existing Hiawatha route between Milwaukee and Chicago.

Schimel moves to postpone new EPA emissions rules

Madison's Charter Street plant burns natural gas

Madison’s Charter Street plant burns natural gas

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has signed on to a request for a federal court to stay implementation of the Obama Administration’s clean power plan until courts decide whether the plan is legal. Wisconsin is one of 16 states asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to postpone compliance deadlines for new rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan includes targeted reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants of 32 percent by 2030. The goal would be met by requiring less coal generation, while increasing the use of natural gas, solar and wind power

The first deadline to comply with the plan’s rules is in 2022, but Patrick Stevens, Administrator of the Environmental Management Division of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said that in the absence of a court ordered stay, it would not be practical for the DNR to wait for the completion of litigation to begin working with utilities on compliance. He said it was doubtful that the state would have a plan approved and implemented in time for the initial deadline.

The 16 states have also argued that the rules exceed the Obama administration’s authority. The EPA and the White House both believe the limits are legal and have no plans to put them on hold.