Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Being Purchased by Kansas Company (JSOnline.com)


Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Being Purchased by Kansas Company

Link to Full Article: http://www.jsonline.com/business/wisconsin--southern-railroad-being-purchased-by-kansas-company-7p38943-134679018.html

Blogger's Note: To the best of our knowledge, this will not affect the operation of the rail line through Sun Prairie, but we will continue to monitor this as we move forward.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sun Prairie's Tony Rodriguez Featured as Professional of the Week (IBMadison.com)

Professional of the Week – November 29, 2011 - Tony Rodriguez, Mad City Ads LLC

Phone: 608-561-1690
Email: tony@madcityads.com
Website: http://www.madcityads.com
Birthplace: Chicago
Spouse/Partner: Anne
Organizations: Sun Prairie Optimists, Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce, Social Media Breakfast Madison
Education: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, B.A. in sociology, 1997

How long have you been at MadCityAds, and how would you describe your role?
I started my company in 1997 as ABC Web Designs and have been providing freelance Web design services to my clients for 14 years. In 2002, I changed my company name to MadCityAds and in 2009 I formed MadCityAds, LLC. I provide Web design, development, and social media consulting services. I pride myself on the relationships I build with my customers and on providing an excellent product for a competitive price.

Who would you most like to be a mentor to, or have the most influence on?
I would love to be a mentor to one or several troubled youths who have an interest in a career in Internet development. Oddly, I have the opportunity to work with this population through the Prairie Phoenix Academy in Sun Prairie and am looking forward to working with the students there.

What was a personal high point in your career?
What started out as a low point for me after a job loss in 2009 turned into the best year for my business and my personal life. Being 100% freelance was a leap I did not make voluntarily, but once I made the leap, I really learned to love it.

Do you have any long-range goals that you’d like to achieve before leaving your company?
I feel I am well on my way to my goal of being seen as a thought leader in the Madison market in the area of social media.

What do you read to help keep you current in your field or industry? What trade associations or training do you belong to that you feel are a good referral?
I subscribe to the blogs of Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, and Scott Stratten, and I read Website Magazine each month. I attend and co-manage the Social Media Breakfast Madison group and attend the Social Media Club of Madison as well as High Tech Happy Hour and find all of these groups to be a great resource for both education and networking.

What were your career aspirations when you were in high school?

When I was in high school, I dreamed of being a computer programmer, and upon my arrival at UW-Whitewater, I decided to go another route and studied sociology with the intent of working with troubled teens. When I graduated I worked as a mentor for several teens in the Walworth County area, but also worked as a webmaster for a small Internet service provider. While I still do volunteer work with youth through the Sun Prairie Optimist Club and other avenues, ultimately I still landed in the technology field.

What brought you to Madison?
In 2002 I received a job offer from American TV working in their corporate headquarters on the west side of Madison as part of their Web development team. I remained part of that team for nearly seven years and still stay in contact with my former supervisor and coworkers.

Is there anything you’d like to share about your family?
I am a first-generation American citizen and a first-generation college graduate. I am half Puerto Rican and half Ukrainian.

What do you do outside of the office to relax?
My wife and I love to go camping and to travel to warm weather climates. I have a great interest in all things cinema and consider myself a movie buff.

What is your favorite place to travel to, and why?
So far my favorite vacation spot is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We love the weather, the people, and of course the food. Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful destination with people as warm as the climate, magnificent sunsets, and five-star dining that can't be beat.

What kinds of books do you read for pleasure? What’s a recent title that might give us the flavor of what you like to read?
I enjoy reading any good fiction, but am partial to science fiction and fantasy as well as horror books. I recently read The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

Finally, list three words you think best describe you:
Honest, sincere, funny.

Source: http://www.ibmadison.com/professional-of-the-week

Blogger's Note: I copied the full article, as it appears that the linked page will change content.  Congratulations Tony.  Well deserved write up.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Buck & Honey's to Host LeRoy Butler and ESPN Radio Tues. Nov. 29th (Buck & Honey's)

Photo by Johnathan Daniel/Getty Images

Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Ain't got NOTHIN on Buck & Honey Tuesday! Odds are something around 100% that you are, or you know a, Packers fan. Want to get them something great for the Holidays? Stop in to Buck & Honey's on Tuesday Nov. 29th between 5-7 p.m. to meet Green Bay Packer great LeRoy Butler as hi joins ESPN radio for "The Badger Hour."

Get a photo taken with Leroy - $5
Signature on anything you bring - $10
8X10's signed for $20

All proceeds go to support the LeRoy Butler Foundation, who's mission is to help women going through breast cancer treatment obtain the assistance they need to focus on the job of healing verses the financial impact to their families.

Click here for more information on the LeRoy Butler Foundation.

For additional information, contact Buck & Honey's at  (608) 837-3131

Blogger's Note:  A great guy, from a great team, for a great cause.   And a great reason to stop down to Buck & Honey's for some refreshment.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

General Casualty to Start Selling Insurance in Massachusetts (Boston Globe)

State Farm Stays out of Massachusetts

Link to Full Article: http://bostonglobe.com/business/2011/11/26/mass-draws-many-new-auto-insurers-but-not-state-farm/4hRk9ElWTcuFCo1etdaZ5J/story.html

Blogger's Note:  Not sure which is more interesting...the fact that this is still being rolled out under the General Casualty name (not QBE), or the fact that they are expanding their sales regions to new states.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Local Attorneys Named to 'Super Lawyers' Lists (Sun Prairie Star)


Local Attorneys Named to 'Super Lawyers' Lists

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=50&ArticleID=8987

Blogger's Note: Congratulations to Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek and Auby for these three attorneys being recognized by their peers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wired Wisconsin Highlights Black Friday Apps (Wired Wisconsin)

Wired Wisconsin Highlights Black Friday Apps

Link to Video and Article: http://www.wiredwisconsin.org/blackfridayapps/

Blogger's Note: Anyone else remember the days of the 4" thick Sears catalog? Wow.

Local Small Businesses Hope You'll Skip Black Friday for Small Business Saturday (Madison.com)


Local Small Businesses Hope You'll Skip Black Friday for Small Business Saturday

Link to Full Article: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/local-small-businesses-hope-you-ll-skip-black-friday-for/article_de119310-1614-11e1-a3ae-001cc4c002e0.html

Blogger's Note: According to Dane County, 86% of businesses employ 10 or fewer people, so buying local is serious business.  Serious enough that Dane County is working on a preferred purchasing ordinance amendment to help local businesses compete for contracts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Catching Up: One Hundred Dinners and Counting for Sunshine Supper (Madison.com)

Catching Up: One Hundred Dinners and Counting for Sunshine Supper

Link to Full Article: http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ask/catching-up-one-hundred-dinners-and-counting-for-sunshine-supper/article_dcf98c80-1448-11e1-a0c5-001cc4c002e0.html

Blogger's Note:  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  And thanks to all the businesses and volunteers that help with this great community service every week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Remember to Shop Small, Shop Local This Holiday Season (City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development)

While there will be a lot of folks braving the national retail chains for Black Friday and even more burning up bandwidth while they shop online, don't forget to shop at your local, small retailers too.  Here are a few great resources on the advantages and reasons to shop close to home:

Small Business Saturday - November 26th
Dane County Buy Local

The 3/50 Project
Downtown Sun Prairie

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DATCP: Producers First Technical Assistance Available (WisBusiness.com)


DATCP: Producers First Technical Assistance Available

Link to Full Press Release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=253411

Click here for more information on the Jen Ehr family farm.

Blogger's Note: Getting this sort of technical assistance to agriculturally based businesses is key to facilitating new business growth in this sector.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Buck and Honey's in Sun Prairie has a Posh Tavern Atmosphere (Madison Magazine)


Buck and Honey's in Sun Prairie has a Posh Tavern Atmosphere 

Link to Full Article: http://www.madisonmagazine.com/Madison-Magazine/December-2011/Buck-and-Honeys-in-Sun-Prairie-has-a-Posh-Tavern-Atmosphere/

Blogger's Note: Because just being in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel isn't enough for these guys...Congratulations B&H!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Getaway - Sun Prairie Offers More Than O'Keeffe Cachet (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Weekend Getaway - Sun Prairie Offers More Than O'Keeffe Cachet

Link to Full Article: http://www.jsonline.com/features/travel/sun-prairie-offers-more-than-okeeffe-cachet-1e323d2-134087038.html

Blogger's Note: Thanks to Brian Clark for spending an afternoon with us, and for a great write up in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Duane Sprecher Named 2011 Community Business Leader by the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce (City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development)

Rebecca Price and Natasha Lang of the City of Sun Prairie Recreation Department pose with Duane Sprecher of Culver's of Sun Prairie.  Rebecca and Natasha nominated Duane for the 2011 Community Business Leader Award through the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce.  In addition to a plaque commemorating the award, the recipient receives a check for $200 to be donated in their name to a cause of their choice.  Sprecher elected to donate his $200 to the Sun Prairie Recreation Department.  (Photo by Neil Stechschulte)

Blogger's Note:  Thanks to Duane Sprecher for all that he does for the Sun Prairie community.  As if that wasn't enough, he is also currently in the midst of expanding the Culver's restaurant in Sun Prairie.  Also, special thanks to the Sun Prairie Recreation Department for nominating Duane.  Good choice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stechschulte Responds to Media Inquiries on Famous Footwear Closing (City of Sun Prairie Office of Econoimc Development)

City Economic Development Director Neil Stechschulte issued the following statement in response to several media inquiries regarding the announcement from Brown Shoe Company that they will be closing the Sun Prairie Famous Footwear Distribution Center by April 2012:

"The City of Sun Prairie has been formally notified Brown Shoe’s intention to close their Sun Prairie Distribution Center by April 2012, affecting 144 positions.

Despite the reduced corporate presence in the Madison area the past couple years, Famous Footwear operations team here in Sun Prairie had indicated to the City that there were no known plans to relocate or close the Sun Prairie distribution center at that time.  As recently as two months ago, the City visited with the Operations Manager at the facility, and all indicators  seemed to point towards a continuing presence here including a growing role for their shoes.com operation.  The announcement appears to have been a surprise to employees as well as the City as a whole.

We have requested additional information from officials at Brown Shoe as to why they have chosen to close this facility and whether or not there is anything that can be done to persuade them to continue and grow their operations here.  However, this decision is most likely final and we must be ready to move decisively to find a new user for that space in the event they truly have decided to cease operations here.

The City of Sun Prairie is grateful to Brown Shoe and Famous Footwear for their past investment in our community.  Our focus is now ensuring that displaced employees have all the necessary tools at their disposal, and we  are beginning work immediately to find a new business for that space."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Georgia O'Keeffe! (Who2.com)


Happy Birthday, Georgia O'Keeffe!

Link to Full Story: http://www.who2.com/blog/2011/11/happy-birthday-georgia-okeeffe

Click here for Georgia O'Keeffe's biography at Biography.com.

Blogger's Note: Watch for some events celebrating Georgia's 125th birthday along with Sun Prairie's 175th birthday next year!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sun Prairie Varsity Baseball Field Earns Award for Excellence in Design and Construction (Wausau Daily Herald/Central Wisconsin Business))

Photo courtesy of Sun Prairie High School

Sun Prairie Varsity Baseball Field Earns Award for Excellence in Design and Construction

Rettler Corporation has received an award from the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) for excellence in design and construction of the Varsity Baseball Facility Project at the new Sun Prairie High School (Single Field category). The project involved the design and construction of a high school varsity baseball facility on the campus of a new, $80 million high school in Sun Prairie, including natural turf outfield and a synthetic turf, masonry dugouts, synthetic turf-surfaced double batting cage area and bullpen, and elevated spectator seating. The project is now eligible for "Facility of The Year."  The design team members will be presented their awards at the ASBA Annual Technical Meeting on December 4th in Palm Desert, California.

Source: http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20111113/CWS03/311130045/Taking-Stock-Appointments-Promotions-Achievements

Blogger's Note: This is a great place for a game...one fitting for Sun Prairie's baseball team which has high expectations every year.  Go Cardinals!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Culver's Hosts Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) Fundraiser for Patrick Marsh Middle School (Sun Prairie Star)

Pictured above from left to right: Kate Boyes, Kayla Gauwitz, Nikki Zimbric, Sprecher and Emmi Good. Loren Glasbrenner is kneeling in front. (Photo by Rachel Wittrock)

Culver's Hosts PBIS Fundraiser 

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&subsectionID=21&articleID=8861

Blogger's Note: Special thanks to Duane Sprecher and the whole crew at Culver's for their continuing support of our schools and our community.

Culver's Expansion Under Way (Sun Prairie Star)

The expansion at Culver’s Frozen Custard, 1501 W. Main is expected to be completed in mid-December. (Photo by Chris Mertes)

Culver's Expansion Under Way

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=50&ArticleID=8876&TM=51307.92

Blogger's Note: Just don't deny me my Double Butterburger any longer than you have to.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Costco on November 22 Plan Commission Agenda (Sun Prairie Star)

Costco on November 22 Plan Commission Agenda

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=50&ArticleID=8875&TM=1900.056

Blogger's Note: The west side of Madison is looking less and less necessary all the time...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Downtown Sun Prairie Hosts Ladies Night Out December 1st (Sun Prairie Business Improvement District)

Ladies, get ready for Downtown Sun Prairie's Ladies Night Out!  With over 25 downtown businesses participating, you'll be sure to have a great time.  Gather your best girl friends on Thursday evening, December 1st, starting at 5 pm and hit the town shopping, eating, drinking, and more!

Downtown businesses want to pamper you while they show you what they're all about....and it's all free!  Each business will offer goodies for the evening including food, beverages and lots of giveaways, coupons and prizes for the drawing.  There will be a drawing the next day.  A checklist of businesses will be provided and ladies must visit at least 10 businesses and have a punch card validated.  Preregistration is not necessary.  Start at Prairie Flowers & Gifts or at Beans 'n Cream Coffeehouse to receive your goodie bag.


Watch for additional information in the coming weeks on Downtown Sun Prairie's Facebook Page.

Click here for more information on Downtown Sun Prairie and the Business Improvement District.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sun Prairie Stark Company Agents Named Unsung Heroes (Sun Prairie Star)

Sun Prairie Education Foundation President Matt Harms presents the Unsung Hero Award to the Realtors of Stark Company Real Estate.  This award is sponsored by the Star and Harms Insurance. (Photo by Chris Mertes)

Company Agents Named Unsung Heroes

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=52&ArticleID=8874

Blogger's Note: Special thanks to the Sun Prairie Education Foundation for all they do for our community, and congratulations to Stark Company for earning this well-deserved community recognition.  Last but not least, thanks to Harms Insurance and the Star for shining a light on some of Sun Prairie's best.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

151-Main Street Interchange To Open November 14th (City of Sun Prairie Engineering Department)


151-Main Street Interchange To Open November 14th - Final Update

Here is the final project update on the 151-Main Street Interchange project:

With weather conditions over the past couple days slowing the work onsite and efforts that are still needed to get the signals into operation, the project team is planning to have the signals ready to operate on Monday November 14th in conjunction with opening the roadway. This should allow time to finish the cabinet wiring, signs, pavement marking and other miscellaneous items on the site.

Blogger's Note: And there was much rejoicing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Business Appreciation Luncheon Set for November 17 at The Oaks Golf Course (Sun Prairie Star)

Business Appreciation Luncheon Set for November 17 at The Oaks Golf Course

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=50&ArticleID=8825

Blogger's Note: To think...this was the meeting we announced Project 365 last year!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Business Plan Contest Open for Middle, High School Entries Through December 5 (Sun Prairie Star)

Business Plan Contest Open for Middle, High School Entries Through December 5

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=52&ArticleID=8832

Click here for more information or to register.

Blogger's Note: A great opportunity for local students to learn about the role of science in business, as well as the role of business in science.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Landmark Services Now Biggest Co-op in State; Design of New HQ by Transcend Architects (Madison.com)


Landmark Services Now Biggest Co-op in State; Design of New HQ by Transcend Architects

Link to Full Article: http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/article_52224f10-0242-11e1-b174-001cc4c002e0.html

Click here for more information on Transcend Architects.

Blogger's Note: A good east side business...and helping them grow is Transcend Architects from right here in Sun Prairie.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Local Ingredients Come to Life at New Salvatore's Tomato Pies (Sun Prairie Star)

Pat DePula, owner of Salvatore’s Tomato Pies, stands in front of the restaurant’s new home on Sun Prairie’s main strip. (Photo by Tim Neuenschwander)

Local Ingredients Come to Life at New Salvatore's Tomato Pies

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=50&ArticleID=8812

Blogger's Note: Have to give this one a personal thumbs up.  Anyone looking to bet on a successful business start up, this one should be a good pick. Sal's just had their beer & wine license approved too! They also do a great job of using Facebook to promote their business.  Check it out!

Sun Prairie Mounds Store Wins National Award (Sun Prairie Star)


Sun Prairie Mounds Store Wins National Award

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=50&ArticleID=8817&TM=47857.63  

Blogger's Note: Don't forget your free Mounds candy bar!  Congratulations on this award.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo of the Day: Sun Prairie Economic Development Director Neil Stechschulte and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi at the 2011 Community Expo

Photo by Chris Mertes: Sun Prairie Economic Development Director Neil Stechschulte (left) introduced Dane County Executive Joe Parisi (right) to many of the exhibitors at this year's Community Expo hosted by the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce.  They were also treated to a company tour of Wisconsin Distributors by Human Resources Director Shane McPeak.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

KIDS-4 Gets Madison Civics Club Grant (Sun Prairie Star)

KIDS-4 Gets Madison Civics Club Grant

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=52&ArticleID=8803

With the $1,000 grant awarded by the Madison Civics Club plus matching funds, the Sun Prairie Media Center will add another video-production workstation, so that students can have a more in-depth learning experience. The workstation also will be available for use by community members. For more information about the KIDS-4 Program and the Sun Prairie Media Center, visit www.sunprairiemediacenter.com.

Blogger's Note: Congratulations to Cameron Thompson and his crew for winning this grant!  KIDS-4 is a great example of our community's uniqueness, as well as being yet another factor why Sun Prairie is a great place to live.

Costco Proposes Store in Sun Prairie (Madison.com)


Costco Proposes Store in Sun Prairie

Link to Full Article: http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/article_085174b6-059d-11e1-aa33-001cc4c002e0.html?mode=story

Blogger's Note: Thanks to Barry Adams at the Wisconsin State Journal for noticing we've got a lot going on out here in Sun Prairie.

Small Biz Webinar: The Benefits of Running Your Business in the Cloud (FrontierWisconsin.com)


Small Biz Webinar: The Benefits of Running Your Business in the Cloud

Link to Full Event Announcement: http://www.frontierwisconsin.com/2011/11/benefits-of-running-your-business-in.html

Blogger's Note: Another great informational event from Frontier Communications...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SPASD One of 367 to be Named 2011-12 AP Achievement District (Sun Prairie Star)

SPASD One of 367 to be Named 2011-12 AP Achievement District

Link to Full Article: http://www.sunprairiestar.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=52&ArticleID=8782&TM=79573.74 

Blogger's Note: Evidence that Sun Prairie Area School District's curriculum and quality of teachers matches the quality of the facilities--top notch!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Navigating the Social Media Landscape of Government 2.0 (Social Media Breakfast Madison)

Navigating the Social Media Landscape of Government 2.0

Link to Blog: http://socialmediabreakfastmadison.com/navigating-the-social-media-landscape-of-government-2-0-recap-smb-madison-oct-2011/

Blogger's Note: Thanks to Doug Tangwall for his summary of the meeting, and thanks to SMB Madison for the invitation to participate. For anyone considering how to use social media or how to use it more effectively, I strongly recommend attending these monthly events.