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020316-business-pix-1Inventor of the Super Soaker Receives $72.9M in Unpaid Royalties From Hasbro

The Atlanta-based company behind the Super Soaker water gun and Nerf toy guns has been awarded nearly $73 million in royalties from toymaker Hasbro Inc., according to the law firm King & Spalding.

Johnson Research and Development Co. and founder Lonnie Johnson have been in a royalty dispute with Hasbro since February, when the company filed a claim against the giant toy company. According to King & Spalding, which along with the A. Leigh Baier P.C. law firm represented Johnson, Hasbro underpaid royalties for the Nerf line toys from 2007 to 2012.

“In the arbitration we got everything we asked for,” said Atlanta attorney Leigh Baier. “The arbitrator ruled totally in Lonnie’s favor.” The attorney also said Johnson “is very pleased” with the outcome.

Johnson could not be reached for comment Wednesday, nor could Pawtucket, RI.-based Hasbro.

The arbitration agreement resolves a 2001 inventors dispute in which Hasbro agreed to pay Johnson royalties for products covered by his Nerf line of toys, specifically the N-Strike and Dart Tag brands, King & Spalding attorney Ben Easterlin said.

In a separate breach of contract suit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta in February, Johnson accuses Hasbro of violating a 1996 agreement to pay him Super Soaker royalties of 2 percent for “three-dimensional products” based on the appearance of the toy and 1 percent for “two-dimensional visual representations.”

The suit says Hasbro sold water guns that were “visually similar and based upon the appearance of Super Soaker water guns that incorporate Johnson’s technology.” Johnson also wanted the court to force Hasbro to open its books to determine sales of Super Soaker products from 2006 to 2012.

Johnson, a nuclear engineer, Tuskegee University Ph.D. and former NASA scientist, founded his company in 1989. It was the same year he first licensed the Super Soaker, which generated more than $200 million in retail sales two years later, the company said. The toy was licensed to Larami Corp., which was later purchased by Hasbro.

Johnson holds more than 80 patents, with more than 20 pending, the company said, which said sales of the Super Soaker have approached nearly $1 billion.

As an Alabama high school senior, Johnson finished building a remote-controlled robot with a reel-to-reel tape player for a brain and jukebox solenoids controlling its pneumatic limbs, according to a 2008 profile in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

After graduating from Tuskegee he joined the Air Force, worked at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Sandia, worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab on the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Mars Observer project, among others. He also helped design the Cassini robot probe that flew 740 million miles to Saturn

.He moved to Atlanta in 1990 before his Super Soaker invention made him wealthy. His inventions have included rechargeable battery technology and thermodynamic energy conversion technology.

12716-business-pix-1Milwaukee children to receive free dental exams this Saturday, Jan. 30

Who: 38 Greater Milwaukee Dental Association dentists, along with 200+ other volunteers (dental hygienists and assistants, dental and hygiene students and other helpers) will provide dental exams, teeth cleanings and fluoride treatments to children (ages 3 to 16) from low-income families facing barriers to oral health care.

Value of care provided on screening day and during subsequent treatment appointments valued at $50,000.

Children must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian.

What: 14th annual Give Kids A Smile® Screening Day 

When: Saturday, Jan. 30 from 7:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Marquette University School of Dentistry, 1801 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee (enter from the south side of the building)

Contacts: Prior to Saturday – WDA Communications and Public Relations Coordinator Emily Bultman, 414-755-4110(direct).

Onsite at MUSOD – GKAS® Co-Chair Dr. Cheska Avery-Stafford, 773-331-6422 (cell), GKAS® Co-Chair Dr. Kisha Arif-Holmes, 219-741-1687(cell) or GKAS® Committee member Dr. Estella Irelan, 231-613-5069 (cell).


012015-business--pix-1Oro cierra con pérdida de 0.21 por ciento

En la jornada de este martes el oro cerró con una pérdida de 0.21 por ciento, al vender de en mil 86.62 dólares por onza, luego de que los indicadores económicos de China estuvieron en línea con las expectativas del mercado impulsando la demanda por activos más riesgosos.

De acuerdo con Banco Base, en lo que va del año el precio del oro ha mostrado una recuperación debido al incremento en la demanda por activos refugio, derivado de la desaceleración económica en China.

Por ello, las presiones deflacionarias a la economía de Estados Unidos impulsadas por los bajos precios de los energéticos, han ocasionado un incremento en las expectativas sobre un menor número de alzas en las tasas de referencia por parte de la Reserva Federal (Fed).

Así, la plata avanzó 0.54 por ciento al ofrecerse en 14.02 dólares por onza, mientras que el cobre incrementó 0.84 por ciento al ubicarse en cuatro mil 414.75 dólares por tonelada métrica, ante la publicación de los datos económicos de China.

Durante 2015 el PIB de China creció 6.9 por ciento, lo cual sugiere que la economía del país se encuentra mejor de lo anticipado por el mercado y se espera que el gobierno chino otorgue estímulos económicos a los mercados financieros.

Ello, aunque los precios de los metales industriales continuarán presionados a la baja ante cualquier señal de un debilitamiento en la demanda china.

Por su parte el aluminio perdió 0.47 por ciento, al quedar en mil 482.25 dólares por tonelada métrica, y el plomo aumentó 1.44 por ciento al cotizarse en mil 634.50 dólares por tonelada métrica.

En el mercado energético internacional, el crudo Brent del Mar del Norte avanzó 1.09 por ciento al ofertarse en 28.86 dólares por barril, y el West Texas Intermediate (WTI) bajó 3.40 por ciento al venderse en 28.42 dólar.

11316-business-pix-2AT&T Lanza Un Nuevo Plan Ilimitado

DALLAS – AT&T comienza el Año Nuevo con una nueva oferta de datos móviles ilimitados para los suscriptores nuevos y actuales del servicio de TV que gustan ver sus videos favoritos y programas de TV de casi cualquier lugartelevisión en todos lados. A partir de mañana, los clientes nuevos y actuales del servicio móvil de AT&T que ya tengan o añadan AT&T DIRECTV® o AT&T U-Verse TV podrán obtener el nuevo Plan Ilimitado de AT&T, que ofrece a clientes más datos móviles para la posibilidad de hacer más streaming de videos, juegos y navegar por Internet en sus equipos móviles.

El nuevo Plan Ilimitado de AT&T incluye datos ilimitados así como llamadas y mensajes de texto ilimitados. Los clientes pueden obtener el Plan Ilimitado de AT&T con un smartphone por $100 al mes. Se cobra $40 al mes por cada smartphone adicional, y el cuarto smartphone se puede añadir sin costo adicional*

El nuevo Plan Ilimitado de AT&T es la primera de varias ofertas de video y servicio móvil integradas que la compañía planea anunciar en 2016. Además, AT&T planea lanzar una amplia gama de opciones de entretenimiento en video más adelante este año.

Si usted está suscripto al servicio de DIRECTV o U-Verse TV pero no al servicio móvil de AT&T, por un tiempo limitado, podrá recibir $500 en créditos cuando se cambie al Plan Ilimitado de AT&T con un intercambio elegible que califique, y comprar un smartphone enAT&T NextSM. Asimismo, si es un cliente del servicio móvil de AT&T, pero no está suscripto al servicio de DIRECTV, podrá añadir un paquete de televisión empezando por tan solo $19.99 al mes por 12 meses, con un contrato de 24 meses.

“Nuestro nuevo plan ilimitado es nuestra mejor oferta hasta la fecha. Es la recompensa perfecta para nuestros apreciados clientes a quienes les gusta aprovechar nuestras ofertas integradas de servicio móvil y TV”, señaló Ralph de la Vega, Ejecutivo Principal de AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions. “El tráfico de contenido en video continúa creciendo en nuestra red más rápidamente que nunca antes, debido a que las personas quieren ver su contenido de video favorito en sus equipos favoritos.”

“Tenemos el contenido que los consumidores quieren, lo hacemos llegar a los equipos que desean y lo estamos haciendo fácil que consuman todo lo que quieran,” dijo. “Además, tendrán una experiencia de alta calidad de video desde el principio. Sin compromisos en la calidad del video.”

También puede añadir equipos adicionales al plan. Por ejemplo, agregue un smartphone o un tablet por $40 al mes o $10 por un smartwatch. Si no necesita datos móviles ilimitados para su tablet, puede tomar ventaja de nuestro nuevo plan de tablet de 1GB por $10 al mes, exclusivamente para clientes en el Plan Ilimitado de AT&T. 

PLAN ILIMITADO DE AT&T

Tipo de Dispositivo

Tarifa Mensual de Acceso Por Dispositivo

1er Smartphone

$100

Smartphones Adicionales

(Cuarta línea gratis después del crédito en la factura)

• $40

Tablets

• $40 (o $10 por 1GB)

Relojes

• $10

Télefonos Básicos/de mensajes

• $25

Determinados dispositivos conectados

• $10

5Precio por SELECT™ Package, valido hasta 1/27/16. Después de 12 meses, la tarifa predominante por paquetes básicos aplica (actualmente $49.99/mes por SELECT) a menos que sea cancelado o cambiado por el cliente antes del final del periodo promocional. Algunas ofertas podrían no estar disponibles mediante todos los medios y en áreas selectas.

6Plan no disponible en las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. Requiere Plan Ilimitado de AT&T. Si no es elegible, AT&T lo cambiará a un plan de datos para tablets AT&T DataConnect con 250 MB de datos por mes y el cargo actual por el plan de $14.99 al mes más impuestos y cargos que apliquen, y cargos por sobreuso de $14.99 por 250 MB. Vea https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/wireless/KM1044844para detalles sobre DataConnect plan. Restricciones adicionales aplican. Vea att.com/unlimitedplan para detalles.

Como un beneficio adicional, al combinar sus facturas del servicio móvil de AT&T y de DIRECTV o U-verse, ahorrará $10 adicionales por mes.

Los clientes del Plan Ilimitado de AT&T también tienen la opción de añadir llamadas y mensajes de texto ilimitados, además de 1GB de datos para el Internet móvil roaming de alta velocidad en México.

El Plan Ilimitado de AT&T podría estar disponible por tiempo limitado. 

010616-business-pix-1Sargento Foods Inc. Hiring

Sargento Foods Inc. expects to fill 165 new positions this year, in addition to filling about 130 positions due to turnover. CEO Louie Gentineannounced the growth at an event in Sheboygan County focusing on new efforts the county’s economic development group is taking to help companies fill job openings. Many of those positions will open up after employees retire after more than 30 years with the company, said spokeswoman Portia Young.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the last five years,” Young said. “We’re one of the top national brands and we’re following our plan for growth.”

The new positions will include 120 new manufacturing jobs. Sargento currently has expansion projects underway at three of its Wisconsin facilities, which will help accommodate some of the new employees. There are no current plans for expansion at the Plymouth headquarters, but in 2015 Sargento announced expansions at the Kiel, Elkhart Lake and Hilbert locations. Elkhart Lake was the company’s original headquarters in the 1950s, and it now serves as the technical center for engineering, research and development.

Some of those expansions have room to accommodate several hundred additional employees over the next five years, in line with the company’s strategic planning. Sargento currently employs 1,800, and has net sales of more than $1 billion.

Can Anything Slow Technology’s Job Takeover?

The rapid advance of technological innovations that make everyday tasks simpler and faster also comes with a downside.

Such progress continues to be a threat to jobs as companies learn they can be more efficient and cost effective if they let robots and computer software perform tasks traditionally handled by humans.

“The reality is that technology is eliminating many jobs through automation at a rate too fast for society to adjust,” says William Meisel, a technology analyst, entrepreneur and author of “Technically Dead” (www.thesoftwaresociety.com), a mystery with technological themes.

“Mandating higher wages by increasing the minimum wage, as some politicians have suggested, doesn’t address the core economic problem. It can even make things worse by encouraging more automation.”

A better solution, Meisel says, is for the government to craft a mechanism that would encourage companies to create, rather than eliminate, jobs. He suggests a potential answer is an “automation tax” that would be part of the corporate taxes companies pay and would give them an incentive to keep humans employed.

“The amount that companies are taxed would be based on the ratio of employees to company revenue,” Meisel says. “A company that has high revenue relative to the number of employees would pay a higher tax than a company that uses more people to generate the same revenue.”

Unprofitable companies and small companies could be excluded from the tax, he says, and rates on other taxes, such as profits, could be lowered to generate the same amount of revenue.

“Companies might be tempted to fight such legislation, especially if they would face higher taxes, but I would argue that they could come out ahead,” Meisel says. “People with jobs are consumers. When the number of jobs declines or average income declines, those consumers buy less. That hurts the overall economy.”

At the moment, though, worldwide trends point toward industrial robots becoming even more commonplace and jobs for humans less so, according to a recent Boston Consulting Group analysis that looked at 21 industries in the world’s top 25 leading manufacturing export economies.

The analysis determined that about 1.4 million industrial robots are in use around the world today, but that could grow to 4 million in the next decade.

“I do worry about job-killing robots,” Meisel says. “But that’s not the only concern when it comes to technology replacing people.”

He points out that a recent Wall Street Journal article said just 9 percent of American jobs are in manufacturing, so robots might not be as great a threat to jobs in the U.S. as they are in some other countries.

A greater problem, Meisel says, is that technologies such as speech-recognition software are automating jobs that previously required humans to converse with other humans.

“Jobs that required understanding human speech, such as call-center agents and medical transcriptionists, are being replaced by software,” Meisel says. “Trends like that are why we need to understand that our current economic doldrums aren’t just a cycle that will correct itself.”

That point is reinforced by research by the McKinsey Global Institute, which suggests that 45 percent of activities people are paid to perform can be automated by adapting current technologies. That represents about $2 trillion in annual wages in the U.S. The research further indicated that if technologies can achieve a median level of human ability to process and understand natural language, an additional 13 percent of activities could be automated.

“A full recovery requires our leaders to recognize that over-automation is a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed,” Meisel says. “Otherwise, we will continue the downward spiral of fewer well-paying jobs.”

12915-business-pix-1AT&T Expanding GigaPower in Milwaukee

AT&T is expanding its gigabit internet service, GigaPower, to “parts of” 38 additional metropolitan areas, the company announced. Whenever those installations conclude, it’ll bring the total list of cities with GigaPower to around 56. AT&T says it’s aiming to double its fiber internet footprint by the end of 2016. GigaPower is already live in 18 areas now, with today’s addition of Los Angeles and West Palm Beach, according to the company. Again, those are parts of each city — not the entire region.

The service competes with Google Fiber, and AT&T has made a habit of charging less money for GigaPower in cities where both are available to consumers, like Kansas City and Austin — and more in areas where they’re not. Both companies have a growing list of cities where fiber connectivity is planned, but customers in most of those cities will still be waiting awhile before the super-fast, 1-gigabit-per-second internet data speeds are actually made available. AT&T’s full list of current and coming GigaPower cities, which notably includes the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, follows below.

Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobileand Montgomery

Arkansas: Fort Smith/Northwest Arkansasand Little Rock

California: Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose

Florida: Pensacola and West Palm Beach

Georgia: Augusta

Indiana: Indianapolis

Kansas: Wichita

Kentucky: Louisville

Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Shreveport-Bossier, Jefferson Parish region and the Northshore

Mississippi: Jackson

Missouri: St. Louis5

Michigan: Detroit

Nevada: Reno

North Carolina: Asheville

Ohio: Cleveland and Columbus

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City and Tulsa

South Carolina: Charleston, Columbiaand Greenville

Tennessee: Memphis

Texas: El Paso and Lubbock

Wisconsin: Milwaukee

120215-business-pix-1Public Market Announces Grant to Penfield Children’s Center

Milwaukee –   Penfield Children’s Center, a leader in child development, will receive a $5,000 grant to fund the purchase of equipment to assist special needs children living in Milwaukee’s most challenged areas, the public market announced today.

“This generous gift from the Milwaukee Public Market will have a profound impact on the children we serve at Penfield Children’s Center,” said Chris Holmes, president/CEO at Penfield Children’s Center. “Specialized equipment made possible through this grant will help ensure positive developmental gains and safe positioning for children in our Special Care Nursery while allowing them to interact with their peers.”

The $5,000 gift from the market will enable Penfield to purchase one Leckey Squiggles Early Sitting System (ESS) and nine KAYE Low Kinder Chairs with trays. The Leckey Squiggles ESS is a chair specifically-designed for children with profound medical conditions. It can be adjusted to promote safe positioning for children with respiratory distress, seizures or feeding disorders.

The Kinder Chairs help children achieve stable sitting positions and upright posture so they can participate in activities with their peers. They also allow for the development of fine motor and feeding skills. This specialized equipment will allow nurses, as well as physical and occupational therapists, to better serve children in Penfield’s Special Care Nursery.

“One of the market’s founding principles is to partner with local organizations who support children with special needs and try to improve their quality of life,” said market spokesperson, Paul Schwartz.  “With Penfield we are fulfilling that promise.  They are a leader in child development within our community and we are proud to provide resources that will have a positive impact on their mission.”

For more information about the Milwaukee Public Market, visit their website or call 414-336-1111.

112515-business-pix-1Vierra bolsa de NY su mejor semana del año

Nueva York l El mercado bursátil de Nueva York cerró su mejor semana del año el viernes después de que fuertes ganancias de tiendas minoristas y compañías de la tecnología impulsaron a los principales índices.

Las acciones fueron bajando a lo largo del día, pero aun así cerraron en alza. El índice S&P 500 subió casi 3.3% esta semana. Por muy poco, esta fue su mayor ganancia semanal en 2015.

El S&P 500 mejoró el lunes y el miércoles después de que el mercado estadunidense no pareció verse afectado por una serie de inquietantes acontecimientos internacionales, entre ellos los ataques terroristas del viernes en París. En vez de ello, los inversionistas detectaron señales de que la economía estadunidense permanece fuerte.

El promedio industrial Dow Jones subió 91.06 puntos, el 0.5%, a 17.823,81, mientras que el índice Standard & Poor’s 500 ascendió 7.93 unidades, el 0.4%, a 2.089,17. El compuesto Nasdaq ganó 31.28 puntos, el 0.6%, colocándose en 5.104,92. El Dow entró a terreno positivo para el año por una fracción de punto.

“A lo largo de la semana recibimos más y más noticias de que la Reserva Federal estaba evaluando la economía de manera favorable”, comentó Erik Davidson, jefe de inversiones en el Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Davidson dijo que los inversionistas lentamente se han hecho a la idea de que la Fed va a incrementar las tasas de interés. Esa posibilidad les preocupó bastante hace un par de meses, pero ahora las acciones suben porque los inversionistas se muestran entusiasmados de que el banco central cree que la economía va por camino sólido. Mientras tanto, los nuevos estímulos económicos en Europa podrían fortalecer la economía global.

Los minoristas remontaron tras la presentación de sólidos informes de ganancias de la cadena de descuento Ross Stores y la vendedora de calzado Foot Locker. Las acciones de las minoristas se desplomaron este mes después de que los débiles reportes de Macy’s y Nordstrom generaron preocupación entre los inversionistas de que la temporada de compras navideñas podría resultar un fracaso. Pero a algunos minoristas les está yendo bien.

Ken Perkins, presidente de la compañía de investigación Retail Metrics, dijo que los consumidores están en busca de descuentos y acuden a tiendas minoristas de precios rebajados como TJ Maxx y Ross Stores, así como a minoristas de “moda rápida” que ofrecen las últimas tendencias.

“Todo eso no favorece a los minoristas de centros comerciales”, señaló Perkins.

La cadena Ross Stores ganó 4.64 dólares, 10%, para cerrar en 50.84 dólares, mientras que Foot Locker subió 3.49 dólares, 5.7%, a 65.02 dólares. Gap aumentó 1.89 dólares, o 7.5%, a 26.98 y Urban Outfitters creció 71 centavos de dólar, o 3.2%, al quedar en 23 dólares.

El fabricante de calzado y ropa deportiva Nike indicó que aumentará sus dividendos.

El crudo estadunidense perdió 15 centavos a 40.39 dólares el barril en la Bolsa Mercantil de Nueva York. El Brent, utilizado para establecer el precio de los petróleos internacionales, subió 48 centavos, el 1.1%, a 44.66 dólares el barril en Londres.

Los precios de los bonos bajaron. El rendimiento en la nota del Tesoro a 10 años aumentó a 2.26% de 2.25% el jueves por la tarde.

El precio del oro cayó 1.60 dólares a 1.076,30 dólares la onza.

111815businessShould you repair or replace your appliance?

When an appliance isn’t working properly anymore – stove, dishwasher, fridge, washing machine, dryer – does it make more sense to call a repairman or replace it? Appliance Gallery, Wisconsin’s premier appliance store, offers some advice.

“It helps to know how long appliances are expected to last. Lifespans vary, depending on the brand and model,” said Stephen Erb, appliance manager. “As a rule of thumb, appliances run their course from 10 to 15 years. When your appliance is approaching that mark, or, if the repair costs 50 percent of a new appliance, replacement rather than repair is the better option.

“It’s almost always not cost effective to repair a microwave,” Erb said. “When replacing a microwave, consumers will be surprised at all the upgrades that make cooking easier including convection options, steam cooking, keep warm controls, and more.”

Energy Savings

Among the advantages of replacing an old appliance are water-saving or energy-saving technologies. For example, replacing a washing machine that is not Energy Star rated with one that is means less water usage, less detergent, and shorter cycle options. Improved, faster spin cycles mean less time in the dryer and the amount of energy that consumes. Energy Star rated dishwashers also use less water and have options to control the length of the wash and heat/dry cycles. A new fridge with Energy Star uses at least 40 percent less energy than conventional models sold in 2001. Better sealed and insulated, new units keep a more precise temperature.

Tips to Keep

Appliances Running Smoothly

Below are some preventative tips to keep your appliances lasting longer. However, every appliance has unique features so it’s important before you try to “fix-it” yourself, you read the owner’s manual for detailed cleaning and trouble-shooting advice. Keep in mind that if you don’t know how to move, open, or lift an appliance properly, you risk injury.

“If your appliance is still under factory/manufacturer’s warranty, then, of course, call the authorized dealer first to assess any issues you may be having,” Erb said. “Also, some appliance warranties are voided if other than an authorized technician does the repair.”

Clothes dryer: Clothes not drying well can mean the dryer vent is clogged. This is a simple fix and can save you from buying a new dryer. However, clogged vents are a fire hazard so have a professional do the job for a thorough cleaning.

Stove: Cleaning a clogged gas burner or replacing a cooktop element can often solve cooking problems. But other electronic components can be an expensive fix, and that may be when you need to pull the trigger and get a new range or cooktop.

Refrigerator: Keep the condenser coils clean with regular vacuuming. These are typically located along the back of the machine or behind the front grill vent. Many refrigerator maintenance contracts offer an annual cleaning by professional technicians. Take advantage of that, particularly if your coils are on the back of a large model that can be difficult to move. Dirty coils can lead to compressor damage or failure. At that point, replacing rather than repairing is the better choice.

Washing machines: Unless they are stainless steel, fill hoses will deteriorate over time. A burst hose can cost you thousands in damage, so the recommendation is to have the fill hose replaced at least every five years.

When in doubt about whether you should repair or replace, a professional at a reputable appliance store can help you decide.

111115-business-pix-1Shakers’ Haunted Bar to Give Ghost Tours in Spanish

Shaker’s Cigar Bar and World Café, 422 S. 2nd St. in Milwaukee, will have guides giving its popular Ghost Tours in Spanish beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, a first for the city of Milwaukee.

Shaker’s is known as one of the five most haunted restaurants in the country and the most haunted building in Milwaukee. The building was built on a cemetery in 1894 and has had a paranormal presence since.

It has been featured on the Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel among others. There are 11 active “resident” paranormal beings in the building that have been identified by experts. The tour encompasses the history of the residents and the building and oftentimes encounters happen.

“We’ve always had a large Hispanic clientele coming for the tours and this seems as a natural progression to make it so more people can easily share the Shaker’s haunted history,” says owner Bob Weiss.

Shaker’s has been at 422 S. 2nd St. since 1986. It currently hosts Ghost Tours Wed. through Sat. at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. Shaker’s also offers what is called a “2.0 Tour” at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday where guides use divining rods to speak to the ghosts that are present. It is the perfect compliment to the original Ghost Tour.

To make reservations, go to www.hangmantours.com.

WERCBench Labs to expand program offerings

Milwaukee – The Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) announced today that it has expanded the WERCBench Labs program to a year-round cycle of programs and events focused on supporting new engineering-based business start-ups.

Under the direction of Greg Meier, co-founder of the Global Entrepreneurship Collective, WERCBench labs is excited to announce a series of quarterly programs open to engineering-based startups and early-stage companies. These events will provide an introduction to the Lean Start-Up Curriculum and overview of WERCBench Labs for entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking support.

“We are building on the success we had this summer and announcing the next phases of WERCBench Labs rolling out over the next few months to create an annual and ongoing cycle of programs and events,” noted Jeff Anthony, co-leader of the WERCBench Labs initiative for M-WERC with Greg Meier.

“Our underlying theme for these efforts is to restore Milwaukee as ‘The Machine Shop of the World’ and work closely with our partner organizations; Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee  to collaboratively produce programs that foster entrepreneurial activities and innovation in general,” said Greg Meier. “To create a culture aligned with advanced manufacturing and building products.”

M-WERC will be holding a workshop on November 13th to lay out the upcoming events and workshops on a year-round cycle focused on re-establishing the engineering community in SE Wisconsin, including:

- A quarterly open-innovationintroduction to the Lean Start-Up Curriculum and overview of WERCBench Labs and underlying/key principles, as an entry point and foundational learning introduction to WERCBench Labs.

- A new advanced business model program that will launch soon and convene in early 2016, focusing on investment and financial aspects of new start-up businesses.  Look for an application period and announcement very soon.

- A repeat of the early-stage technology-immersive program in 2016, again to occur in the summer months, with applications being sought in early 2016.

- Events and workshops on a year-round cycle to tie the elements above together and to provide the “glue” that keeps all activities and program focused on re-establishing the engineering community in SE Wisconsin.

In addition, WERCBench Labs is looking forward to its second annual class of start-ups through the intensive, technology-driven program in which nine teams graduated. Applications can be submitted in January, 2015 at WERBenchLabs.com. “Based on the interest generated during our first class, we were convinced to expand our offering of events and workshops on a year-round cycle,” said M-WERC Executive Director and CEO Alan Perlstein.

To learn more about the November 13thevent and the rollout of WERCBench Labs activities, send a note toWERCBench@m-werc.org for more information.

102815-business-pix-1Businesses Named Finalists for 2015 Marketplace Governor’s Awards

MADISON —Twenty-one Wisconsin companies have been named finalists for the 2015 Marketplace Governor’s Awards, which honors outstanding Wisconsin businesses owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans.

Nearly 200 businesses of all sizes and industries applied for the awards. Winners will be announced at a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 30, at Marketplace 2015, the Governor’s Conference on Minority Business Development, which will be held at the Potawatomi Expo Center in Milwaukee.

Small and large businesses are being honored in two categories: the Outstanding Business Award, which recognizes established businesses that have demonstrated the capacity to grow over the past five years and have plans for continued expansion in the future; and the Rising Star Award, which honors businesses established after 2010 that have demonstrated strong growth potential.

Awards are given to minority-owned business enterprises (MBE), women-owned business enterprises (WBE) and service-disabled veteran businesses (DVB).

The finalists for the Outstanding Large Business Awards are:

Hurt Electric Inc. of Menomonee Falls, providing electrical installation, service, repairs and maintenance to commercial, industrial and institutional businesses throughout southeastern Wisconsin (MBE)

Wangard Partners Inc. of Wauwatosa, a commercial real estate firm providing sustainable products to the Midwest real estate market (MBE)

KL Engineering, with offices in Madison, Green Bay and Menomonie, providing professional services built around a core specialization in transportation engineering (MBE)

Great Lakes Power Vac LLC of Waukesha, providing industrial and environmental cleaning services to the manufacturing, construction, municipal, engineering, roofing, utilities and power plant industries (WBE)

IBC Engineering Services Inc. of Waukesha, specializing in the design and commissioning of energy-efficient and sustainable HVAC, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems (WBE)

Share Corp. of Milwaukee, offering its customers high-quality, affordable chemical products (WBE)

Applied Fab and Machining of Wausau, specializing in custom metal manufacturing and assembly for the original equipment manufacturing and military markets (DVB)

The finalists for the Outstanding Small Business Awards are:

Weatherization Services LLC of Milwaukee, a one-stop shop for home insulation needs (MBE)

Innovative Dynamic Networks Inc.of Racine, an information technology company dedicated to growing the area’s small and midsize businesses and nonprofits (MBE)

Moore & Associates Inc. of Kenosha, providing group and educational services to individuals affected by substance abuse in preparation for their return to their home environments (MBE)

M Squared Engineering LLC of Cedarburg, a full-service civil engineering firm (WBE)

L.P. Mooradian Flooring Co. of Green Bay, a family-owned company offering nationwide sales and installation of all types of flooring as well as cleaning equipment and supplies (WBE)

Allcon LLC of Butler, a contracting firm specializing in carpentry and electrical disciplines (WBE)

US Vet LLC of Madison, providing general construction, subcontracting and construction management services (DVB)

The finalists for the Rising Star Awards are:

Pino & Sons Remodeling LLC of Sun Prairie, a full-service residential and commercial remodeling company (MBE)

Physical Therapy of Milwaukee LLC, providing physical therapy services to the English/Spanish speaking community in the greater Milwaukee area (MBE)

Sanchez Coating & Environmental LLC of Wausau, providing lead paint testing; removal and abatement; and painting services (MBE)

P3 Development Group of Milwaukee, providing consulting services to assist clients in the development and execution of social programs (WBE)

Attract of Saint Croix Falls, providing custom commercial furniture design, production and installation services (WBE)

Wonderist Agency of Germantown, a full-service marketing agency specializing in growing dental practices through branding and online marketing (WBE)

HB Laser Art LLC of Kenosha, offering trophies, awards and personalized recognition items (DVB)

Award finalists will benefit from publicity at the event as well as through media promotion.

Marketplace 2015, which takes place Oct. 29-30, is the premier business capacity-building conference of the year for minority, women and veteran business entrepreneurs looking to do business with state, federal and local agencies as well as corporations. This year’s conference is sold out, with about 600 attendees expected. For more than 30 years, the conference has provided opportunities for businesses to meet with potential buyers, identify funding sources, connect with business assistance resources and network with other businesses.

Dohmen Company Foundation Tournavation Announces Semi-finalists

Milwaukee – The Dohmen Company Foundation in partnership with NEWaukee, Red Arrow Labs, the City of Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County today announce the semi-finalists for the 2015 Tournavation are Health STEMHereos by Nate Conroy as well as Wisconsin FoodShare Application from Beth Bogadi.

The Tournavation hosted a public call for catalytic software solutions that improve the health of Milwaukee’s women and children, fathers and families. On Tuesday, October 20, 2015, the panel of expert jurors at the live Tournavation event chose the semi-finalists from a group of 10 presenters. The top two ideas will enter an assessment period of technical viability to determine, which project will be developed as a software solution by a coalition of volunteer IT professionals led by Red Arrow Labs, a Dohmen Company. The software will be gifted to the community as a single, tangible step toward improving the health of Milwaukee residents.

“The volume and the quality of ideas presented at the Tournavation demonstrates how deeply people care about our community,” said Cynthia LaConte, CEO of Dohmen and President of The Dohmen Company Foundation. “We have relied on our esteemed project advisers and jurors from both the public health and IT sectors to select two ideas that empower Milwaukeeans in meaningful ways. We look forward to the results of the technical viability assessment and to continuing the momentum in the months and years to come as we find inventive new ways to create a healthier Milwaukee.”

Tournavation is a crowd-sourced idea generation platform that addresses important issues that face urban communities like Milwaukee. This is the third Tournavation NEWaukee has hosted with the City of Milwaukee, though the topic is new the process remains the same: an open call for inventive solutions to a community challenge, vetting of the strongest ideas, a live presentation of the top 10 ideas and the most viable idea is brought to life.

Now that the most viable, scalable and concrete idea has been selected, a team of volunteer IT development professionals led by Red Arrow Labs will enter a design and development period to produce a software solution for the community. The volunteer IT development team will meet at the Hudson Business Lounge from 3-7pm on the following dates: October 28th, November 4th, 11th, 18th, and 24th. Participation in the volunteer IT development team is also open to the public; creatives, developers, and advocacy works are encouraged to bring the software idea to life.

To follow the development of the software solution or to receive updates about the Tournavation process, please visit: www.newaukee.com.

Credit-Anastasia-Sierra-21Latin-Baroque Fusion Opens Early Music Now Season

The exuberant sounds of Latin-American music will meld with glorious Renaissance and Baroque compositions for the opening of Early Music Now’s 29th season, 5:00 Saturday, October 17, at the UWM Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.

Milwaukee’s preeminent early music presenter has imported the Boston-based Latin/Baroque fusion ensemble Rumbarroco for Fiesta: A Hispanic Heritage Celebration, honoring the conclusion of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Director Laury Gutiérrez, a Venezuelan-born scholar/musician who specializes in Ibero-American music, brings along a band of eight prize-winning musicians from Columbia, Brazil, and Venezuela.    (Rumbarroco.org)

Rumbarroco’s performance style is based on the transformative passion of Iberian and Latin-American music, incorporating the rhythmic vitality that has persisted in this music in its many diverse genres from the 1100s to today. Their unique approach reveals how European Classical music is revitalized by African rhythms and instruments, while also highlighting the European influence on Latin American folk music and Afro-Hispanic music through performance with Baroque instruments.

The ensemble will demonstrate their unique style at several residency programs between October 15 and 18, including activities at St. Anthony School, Escuela Fratney, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Milwaukee Catholic Home, String Academy of Wisconsin, and UW-Parkside.

The Milwaukee residency is supported by generous grants from the City of Milwaukee Arts Board and the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, which also supports the UW-Parkside program.

Ms. Gutiérrez will provide insights into the ensemble’s style at a 4:00 lecture preceding the 5:00 concert. When asked for a perspective on the cultural significance of this program, she had this to say:

“In present-day Spain, cities such as Seville, Granada, and Cordoba still reflect the hybrid culture of medieval Christians, Sephardic Jews, and Moors that once flourished throughout the region known as Andalusia. North African Moors (Muslims) conquered Spain in the early 8th century. Over the next seven centuries, they created a thriving melting pot of culture: science, philosophy, agriculture, art, architecture, and music. This socio-religious convivencia (“live and let live”) started to come apart in the 1480s, when one of the largest diasporas in history began. Many Jews and Muslims were exiled or forced to convert to Christianity. Others migrated to Central and South America in the late 15th and early 16th century. Muslims were among the first Africans traded as slaves in the New World. These individuals brought with them their native hybrid culture, which then blended with that of the indigenous tribes already in Latin America, creating a second unique cultural melting pot.

“Our concert celebrates this musical fusion of races and cultures, called mestizaje, from its roots in medieval Spain to modem Latin America. We would like especially to illustrate the influence of Spanish Early Music in Mexico and Venezuela, the parallel genres developed, and the re-creation of Early Music in a Caribbean interpretation.”

Ticket prices for this 5:00 October 17th concert at the UWM Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts range from $29-$46 for adults, and $10-$15 for students, and are available online at www.earlymusicnow.org, or by phone at 414.225.3113. Online and phone orders close Friday at noon, but general admission tickets may be available at the door.

10715-business-pix-1Callen Says Weatherize Now to Save Energy in Winter

MUSKEGO – Wisconsin homeowners who want to save money and stay warm this winter should prepare their homes for cold weather now, according to Christopher Wittmann, a Certified Remodeler and senior exterior products specialist with Callen Construction, Inc. in Muskego, a full service and award winning remodeling company serving southeastern Wisconsin since 1986.

Proper weatherization happens in two phases—insulating and air sealing. It’s the same as getting dressed for a winter day, Wittmann said. “You wear a sweater for ‘insulating’ but you wear an outer layer for ‘air sealing.’”

Insulation & Roof Ventilation

Inadequate attic insulation can contribute to as much as a 20 percent loss in heat in the cold months. Paired with poor roof ventilation, it’s also a leading factor in ice damming.

Homeowners should inspect the attic space for properly installed insulation. “The recommended amount based on today’s standards is 16 inches to 20 inches total—R-49 to R-60,” Wittmann said. Although this can be achieved with rolled insulation, he prefers professionally installed blown-in fiberglass insulation, which can also prevent the growth of mold when moisture is present in the attic space.

Using baffles in the rafter spaces will help promote the draw of outside air from the eaves or soffits and can help ensure that insulation is pulled back away from intake ventilation so that it covers the warm inside wall space.

“Inspect bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan pipes and damper vents to be sure they’re in proper working order,” he said. “Insulated exhaust fan pipes can help reduce the heat-cold transfer of energies.”

Roof ventilation is a key factor to ensure that the attic space keeps a cold temperature in the winter. Although a properly balanced intake and exhaust system can be achieved with additional vents, Wittmann recommends working with a skilled professional due to the formulas used to determine the balance and the materials that can be installed.

Windows

It’s tough to predict when open-window weather is done in Wisconsin, but at that time, homeowners are advised to walk through the inside of the house to ensure that every window and storm window is shut and locked. “This is a good time to address any issues or deficiencies with the windows such as leaks, deteriorated or missing weather stripping, or window seals that are compromised,” Wittmann said. A hazing or cloudy appearance between the panes shows a window seal problem. “If seals are broken, it will usually means that the window itself is compromised and will require replacement.”

If the windows are wood, homeowners should check that the interior and exterior wood is in good shape and not deteriorated or rotting. “Also be sure that the interior of the wood window is clean of dust and debris, since condensation on the glass in the wintertime can react with the dust and wood and cause the growth of mildew and mold,” he said.

If the windows are old, drafty, or deteriorated, new windows made of fiberglass, like Marvin’s Infinity fiberglass replacement windows, can help improve the functionality, energy savings, strength, and appearance.

Doors

Check entry doors for any deficiencies such as opening and closing issues, deteriorated or missing weather stripping on the bottom threshold and sides, loose hinges, or cracks in the panels (if the doors are wood). Newer doors tend to have replaceable weather stripping, but older units may require aftermarket or universal kits. “Most new entry doors come equipped with better weather stripping—some even magnetic-based, just like a refrigerator door—and insulated cores,” Wittmann said.

Interior

Next, homeowners should take a look in the lower level (basement) of the house. “Air sealing and insulating the area where the top of the basement wall and house foundation meet will reduce the ‘stack effect’ where air from a lower section of the house is pulled from openings located from the upper sections of the house, causing a loss in heat”, he said. “It will also help to reduce and eliminate gaps or holes that small rodents can get in through.”

Finally, homeowners are advised to ensure that fireplace dampers are closed until the fireplace is used. “If the fireplace isn’t used on a regular basis, there are devices that can be purchased to temporarily seal the chimney flue to retain the warm air inside the house.”

A professional home energy audit would provide homeowners with detailed knowledge about the house’s deficiencies and areas that could be improved. “These tests can result in a rather long list of areas for improvement,” Wittmann said, “so it’s best to consider which projects will make the most sense and provide the best return on investment.”

093015-business-pix-1Donation from AT&T Pioneers to Help Provide Free Meals to Milwaukee’s Needy

 MILWAUKEE – The Open Door Café received a $3,000 donation from the AT&T Wisconsin Pioneers to help provide free meals for Milwaukee’s homeless and needy families during an event at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist today.  The donation is from the Pioneers’ Charitable Foundation.

The Open Door Café is the heart of the Cathedral’s commitment to outreach, providing a free hot lunch to approximately 180 people a day, 6 days a week.  In addition, the Open Door Café provides transportation assistance, hygiene kits, and medical, veteran and housing-related outreach to its meal guests.

“The Open Door Café helps fill a great need in Milwaukee by providing a hot meal to the homeless and to those struggling,” said Gloria Van Aacken, president of the AT&T Wisconsin Pioneers.  “We are very proud to support their mission through this financial donation and volunteer efforts.”

After the check presentation, the AT&T Pioneers joined other volunteers in serving food to guests.  The Pioneers have been serving lunches at the Open Door Café for two to three days a month since April 2007.

The Open Door Café serves any guests who are hungry and hasn’t turned anyone away in its history.

“The Open Door Café is a wonderful ministry that shows compassion to those in need in Milwaukee through a hot meal,” said State Senator Lena Taylor.  “We are fortunate to have so many great volunteers like the AT&T Pioneers giving of themselves to support our community.”

The Pioneers are a local organization of AT&T employees and retirees who are dedicated to volunteering their time to various community causes.

 

092315-business-pix-1Revisarán Semarnat y Profepa autos de VW

Distrito Federal— Luego de que Volkswagen admitiera haber equipado 11 millones de coches en todo el mundo con un software destinado a manipular los resultados de los controles de contaminación, la Semarnat y la Profepa someterán a revisión las unidades en México.

El secretario de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Semarnat), Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, informó que hay 11 tipos de motores que han sido señalados de tener este problema por lo que se están analizando en conjunto con la Profepa los certificados de emisiones que presentó Volkswagen desde 2009 para ver si cumplen o no cumplen con los estándares nacionales.

“Habría que esperar cuáles son los resultados de todos estos certificados que ellos han presentado para ver si existe alguna falla; si existe alguna falla creo que habrá una sanción”, refirió.

La revelación se dio luego de que las autoridades ambientales de Estados Unidos (EPA) acusaran que 482 mil vehículos de las marcas Volkswagen y Audi, fabricados entre 2009 y 2015 y vendidos en ese mercados, estaban equipados con un programa informático que detectaba automáticamente los controles de contaminación con el objetivo de falsear los resultados.

Como consecuencia la firma alemana anunció el lunes la suspensión de la comercialización en Estados Unidos de sus autos diésel de cuatro cilindros de las marcas VW y Audi, que representan 23 por ciento de sus ventas en ese mercado.

Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo, subsecretario de Planeación y Política Ambiental de la Semarnat, detalló que en la próxima semana ya tendrán un avance de la evaluación documental y técnica de los unidades de VW.

“Estamos viendo si los motores que fueron falseados en Estados Unidos se vendieron en México, en qué modelos y bajo qué condiciones, si hay coincidencias se tomará una decisión”, mencionó.

La Semarnat aún desconoce a cuánto asciende el parque vehicular nacional que estaría susceptible al falseo del software sobre las emisiones contaminantes de los motores.