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Centergy News
Updates from your regional economic development alliance
January  2011- Vol 2, Issue 1
In This Issue
Central WI wins healthcare training grant
Online atlas for bioenergy resources now available
Central WI Airport key to region's economic growth

A major focus of Centergy is to address infrastructure issues. This takes on various forms, such as multi-modal transportation and broadband connectivity.  With regard to air travel, having a regional airport that can get business leaders and their customers in and out of the area at the speed in which business transactions require, is critically important.  


The Central Wisconsin Joint Airport Board approved a $250,000 Small Community Air Service Development Program grant for the Central Wisconsin Airport from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This grant is designed to help smaller communities enhance their air service. 


Central Wisconsin Airport plans to use the funds to attract both new service to the area via Frontier Airlines, and upgrade service on Delta Air Lines through airline equipment changes.  The addition of Frontier Airlines would reinstate service to Milwaukee and provide access to a fourth hub from Central Wisconsin.   Frontier Airlines is owned by parent company Republic Airways, which also owns Midwest Airlines.  The three companies are being combined to form one airline using the Frontier name. 


Negotiations are also underway with Delta to upgrade aircrafts to 50 seat regional jets and to maintain flight frequency with the larger equipment. 


Airport carriers into Central Wisconsin Airport serve the hubs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, and Chicago with 14 daily flights from Central Wisconsin.  Before booking your next flight, we ask that you first check availability through our own regional Central Wisconsin Airport.   

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Barb FleisnerCentral Wisconsin Days Set for March 9-10

No surprise to anyone, the upcoming state budget process will be actively debated with severe budget cuts, policy changes, and organizational reform. Centergy annually takes a group of business, educational and civic leaders to Madison where meetings are held with the Governor, his cabinet, and State legislators to articulate the needs of the region and discuss the merits of current legislative activity.

Central Wisconsin Days' Tentative Itinerary
Wednesday, March 9

11:00 a.m. - Briefing session with team members to go over issues and assignments (participants will be prescheduled to make their visits in teams of four)

12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Team visits with Governor, Cabinet, Members of State Legislature

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.  - Reception


Thursday, March 10

7:30 a.m. - Team Breakfast briefing

9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Team visits with State Leadership

2:30 p.m. - Team Debriefing - issue follow-up

This year's event will be extremely important as we enlighten our newly elected Governor, his cabinet, and a large number of newly elected State Senators and Representatives on the strengths and needs of our region.  While our agenda and supporting documents will be released in the next few weeks, we are paying close attention to Governor Walker's proposals and his priority agenda items:

- Civil Liability Reform: Lawsuit reform bill to change the legal environment by requiring plaintiffs to prove that damages were actually caused by a manufacturer's product and protecting retailers from liability of defects caused by manufacturers or distributors.  The legislation would require a plaintiff to prove that the defendant acted with the intent to cause injury to collect punitive damages.  It would also discourage plaintiffs from filing frivolous claims, cap non-economic damages for medical malpractice, improve rules of evidence, and protect best practices peer review information from being subpoenaed. 

- Make health savings accounts more affordable by creating a non-refundable tax credit for income deposited in a health savings account.

- Grant income and franchise tax credits for two years for businesses that have done business in Wisconsin for ten years or more.

- Increase the amount available for economic development tax credits from $75 million to $100 million.

- Legislation that would require 60 votes in the Assembly and 20 votes in the Senate to pass any bill that raises taxes. 

- Draft legislation to transform the Department of Commerce into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).  This new authority would be led by a "chief executive officer" and a twelve member board of directors.  The board of directors would be comprised of the Governor, who would serve as chairman, and eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. WEDC would be required to report to the legislature annually and subject to annual audits by the Legislative Audit Bureau.  

- Small business legislation that would provide tax relief for businesses with gross receipts of less than $50,000 per year.  The legislation would allow a business with gross receipts of $250,000 or less to claim a tax credit of 15 percent of its total tax liability.  The credit fades gradually until a business reaches gross receipts of $500,000.  Businesses would be able to claim the credit on income earned starting on 1/01/11.

 - Executive Order #2: Create Governor's Commission on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse.

- Regulatory reform in which the draft legislation would state that an agency may not create rules more restrictive than the regulatory standards or thresholds provided by the legislature, that it will allow rules to be challenged in the county circuit court where the plaintiff resides, and that it would require the Governor to approve proposed rules.   


We encourage a good mix of business, educational, community and civic leaders to join us. Please contact the Centergy office to register for the event.

We look forward to seeing you at Central WI Days!


Barb Fleisner
Executive Director
Central WI to receive healthcare training grant
Medical News Update
Central Wisconsin has a national prominence in medical sciences, clinical care and advanced biological research. To maintain this esteemed distinction, healthcare professionals at all levels are afforded personal growth opportunities to stay on 'top of their game'. 


An area of focus for Centergy is to increase the skill levels of entry level healthcare workers, encourage employment with increased responsibility, keep them in the profession, and maintain professionals in our region.  To accomplish this, a grant was written to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.  Centergy will be receiving a $103,600 healthcare training grant through the State working in concert with the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.  The funds will be used to identify entry-level healthcare employees who have a demonstrated interest in advancing to higher level careers in the healthcare field.  Aspirus, Marshfield Clinic, and Ministry Health Care are regional healthcare providers that are taking part in this initiative to boost the skills, employment and retention of their respective employees.  The initiative will use a healthcare specialized National Career Readiness Certification program, which will demonstrate their mastery of fundamental workplace skills.  In addition, Mid-State Technical College and Northcentral Technical College will offer a Healthcare Career Exploration course, career interest tests and associate degree coursework in medical terminology.

A total of 30 participants will be selected to be part of this year-long pilot project. While the majority of participants will be existing employees of Centergy's healthcare partners, those not currently employed but wishing to learn more about participating in the training program should contact the Centergy office at 715.843.9563 or email

Centergy partners develop website atlas for bionergy resources
Alternative Fuels Graphic

A website/GIS platform has been developed entitled the Wisconsin Bioenergy Information and Outreach Network. The site provides a comprehensive source of information for entrepreneurs, businesses, researchers and policymakers to find resources and technologies to develop and grow the bioenergy sector in Wisconsin.  The tool is a collaborative knowledge project developed by UW-Madison Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility, UW-Extension, the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative and the Energy Center of Wisconsin.  Throughout the phases of development, Centergy's alternative energy committee was consulted to aid in the site's release, which will help develop the market for the state's most abundant, native renewable energy sources. 


The atlas supplements national data sets with data unique to Wisconsin. The tool will help utilities and municipalities assess forest biomass supply potential, give entrepreneurs access to supply and technology networks, and provide policymakers with statewide information on bioenergy and environmental resources.  


"In Wisconsin we have all of the natural resources we need to develop a thriving bioenergy market, including the knowledge and ingenuity to pull it together," said Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative Director Troy Runge.  "This portal will help market participants and policymakers to do just that."


While Wisconsin relies on out-of-state fossil fuels for energy, potential bioenergy fuel sources are abundant in the state.  Harnessing the powerful stores of energy in biomass for electricity, heating and liquid transportation fuels would give the state a competitive advantage to manage energy costs when fossil fuel prices spike.


"Central Wisconsin is heavily based in agriculture, food processing, forestry and paper production, making this tool an extremely valuable asset as local companies plan production and develop new markets," said Centergy Executive Director Barb Fleisner.  Our local workforce development board also realized the potential for increased employment in the alternative energy industry and helped Centergy financially support this project."


Centergy will also assist in the next phase of the project which would add an online marketplace for suppliers, aggregators, buyers and consultants to conduct business.  The website address to the online tool is For more information about how to get involved with Centergy's alternative energy committee, please contact Centergy Executive Director Barb Fleisner at 715.843.9563 or To learn more about Centergy, please visit the web site at

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