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Milwaukee County to consider limiting options for Hoan Bridge

Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik released a resolution Thursday that would order the state to study renovating the Hoan Bridge before considering replacement.

Jursik opposes tearing down the bridge in Milwaukee and replacing it with an at-grade, four-lane boulevard.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation in June 2008 hired HNTB Corp. to study reconstruction options for the aging Hoan Bridge, according to documents Jursik received after filing an open records request to WisDOT. In December 2008, WisDOT expanded the contract to include a study of the economic potential of removing the Hoan Bridge.

Jursik’s County Board resolution requests WisDOT complete engineering studies for the option to build new bridge decks on the Hoan and maintain its structural elements before considering other options. It also requests the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission review HNTB’s studies of how reconstruction options would affect traffic flow.

The Milwaukee County Board’s Committee on Transportation, Public Works and Transit will consider the resolution on Sept. 9

Oshkosh Corp. division, Air Force sign $20 million deal for vehicles

Oshkosh (AP) — The airport-related division of Oshkosh Corp. will provide 36 vehicles to the U.S. Air Force in a deal worth nearly $20 million.

According to Oshkosh Airport Products Group, the vehicles will be deployed at Air Force bases around the world starting in January.

The deal calls for 15 Striker vehicles, which are large firefighting trucks equipped to handle emergencies involving airports and aircraft.

It also calls for 21 snow-clearing vehicles, which are huge trucks designed to remove snow from miles of runways. They can throw as much as 5,000 tons of snow per hour.

Oshkosh Corp. makes large vehicles including armored military trucks and fire and rescue equipment.

Cardinal opens in Mazomanie, receives expansion grant for Portage

Gov. Jim Doyle this week helped open the Cardinal Solar Technologies building in Mazomanie.

The governor also announced a $500,000 loan to Cardinal Glass Industries, Portage, to upgrade production capacity at that facility.

The new 180,000-square-foot facility in Mazomanie will grind, drill and temper two types of glass for use in photovoltaic solar panels. At full capacity, the plant will produce 64 million square feet of tempered glass annually.

The money for the Portage facility, financed through federal stimulus money, will help upgrade photovoltaic glass production capabilities.

Professor says bones at home site are American Indian

Warren, MN (AP) — Bones found last month at a home construction site in the town of Warren belonged to an American Indian adult.

That’s according to Phoebe Stubblefield, an anthropology professor at the University of North Dakota. She says the bones have been there more than 50 years and could not belong to a victim of known crimes of the past few decades.

But Stubblefield says she can’t say exactly how old the bones are. They were discovered on Aug. 18.

Stubblefield says she is talking to tribal officials about doing more recovery work to gain more information about the bones. An agent of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation says a few molars on the skull indicated no modern dental work.

Warren is about 30 miles northeast of Grand Forks, N.D.

Rates for 30-year home mortgages fall to 5.08 percent

Washington (AP) — Rates for 30-year home loans edged down this week, remaining close to record lows reached over the spring.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.08 percent, down from 5.14 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday. Rates, while above the record low of 4.78 percent hit in the spring, are still at attractive levels for people looking to buy a home or refinance.

“Low mortgage rates are helping to keep housing very affordable,” according to a statement attributed to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.54 percent, from 4.58 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.59 percent, down from 4.67 percent a week earlier.

Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.62 percent from 4.69 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for all loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year loans and 0.6 point for 15-year, five-year and one-year loans.

Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises’ third-quarter loss narrows

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. trimmed its loss in the third quarter as the homebuilder slashed costs and benefited from a swell in signed contracts for new homes, but the results fell short of Wall Street estimates.

The results echoed the performance by most major homebuilders: New orders are picking up as buyers respond to lower prices and other incentives, but sales remain well below year-ago levels and profitability is elusive.

For Red Bank, N.J.-based Hovnanian, the latest period marks its 12th consecutive quarterly loss.

Hovnanian lost $168.9 million, or $2.16 a share, in the three months ended July 31. That compares with a loss of $202.5 million, or $2.67 a share, in the year-earlier period.

The results included $105.7 million in pretax charges to reflect the declining value of land and other assets.
Revenue dropped by 45 percent to $387.1 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a loss of $1.52 a share on revenue of about $392.2 million.

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