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State Fair Exposition Center loss expected

West Allis (AP) – The Exposition  Center at Wisconsin’s State Fair Park is expected to lose about $565,000  this year, according to the chairman of both the park and center boards.

Martin  Greenberg said Monday that loss, combined with a projected shortfall of $175,000  next year, could force the privately run exhibition hall to default as early as  next December on $45 million in industrial revenue bonds borrowed to build the  facility.

Greenberg said he was working on a plan to avoid that, but he  declined to elaborate except to say it involved a restructuring of management  and refinancing of the bonds.

The fair park board named Randy S. Prasse,  executive director of the East Town Association, as the new director of the 200-acre  park Monday. Prasse succeeds Joe Chrnelich, who stepped down in August.

Greenberg  also released a plan for turning around the finances of the fair park, which has  posted deficits totaling $6 million during the last two years.

The plan,  most of which was disclosed previously, includes asking the state to assume responsibility  for the Pettit National Ice Center debt and finding a promoter to run the Milwaukee  Mile race track.

But it does not make any mention of the Exposition Center,  which has operated in the red since opening in August 2002.

State officials  and the fair park board have maintained they do not have any financial responsibility  for the exhibition center, although the park board created the nonprofit corporation  that financed and runs it with legislative approval.

AAA: Wisconsin gas  prices dropped

Madison (AP) – Gasoline prices have dropped more than a  dime a gallon in Wisconsin during the last month but still remain considerably  higher than at the same time last year, AAA Wisconsin said Friday in its daily  fuel gauge report.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline  averaged $1.918, down from $2.056 a month ago and a high of $2.135 on June 2 but up from $1.536 a year ago.

AAA Wisconsin spokesman Michael Bie said  it is unclear if prices will continue to drop.

Bie said weather was expected  to have a big impact on gasoline and oil prices during the first quarter of 2005.

“So  far, the United States has avoided any severe winter-like conditions,” he  said.

AAA fuel gauge prices around the state Friday varied from $1.859 at  La Crosse to $1.896 at Madison, $1.899 at Green Bay, $1.909 at Janesville-Beloit,  $1.921 at Milwaukee-Waukesha and $1.948 at Eau Claire.

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