(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 12 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The auto company bailout passed by the U.S. House Wednesday night is essentially dead after the U.S. Senate failed to take action on it last night. Supporters needed 60 Senate votes to end debate and bring the measure to the floor for a vote. The vote to end debate failed by a 52-35 margin.

See more below in TOP STORIES

— Kohl’s Corp. announced that it has prevailed in a joint bid with Forever 21 Inc. in an auction for 46 sites formerly occupied by the Mervyns department store chain. Together, the retailers acquired the 46 locations for approximately $6.25 million. Kohl’s will assume 31 of the locations while Forever 21, Inc. will assume 15, pending approval by the court overseeing Mervyns bankruptcy proceedings.

In fiscal 2009, Kohl’s continues to expect to open approximately 50 stores, including the majority of the 31 former Mervyns locations.

See more: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20081212005121/en

— JPMorgan Chase has filed notice with the state about 402 planned layoffs in Milwaukee — 168 loan officers, 183 support personnel and 51 people in management. The state filing comes after initial reports pegged the number of layoffs at 270.

See the filing: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/081211chase.pdf

— When Xcel Energy filed for a multi-million rate increase this summer, natural gas cost around $14 a decatherm. Since then, as the economy has tanked, that price has fallen by more than 50 percent. So when the state’s Public Service Commission took up the utility’s rate request Thursday, it decided Xcel’s rates would not increase in 2009.

The ruling was part of an agreement reached by Xcel, the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group, which represents major manufacturers; and the Citizens Utility Board, representing consumers.

“As the economy has slowed, the price of natural gas has dramatically decreased,” said Brian Elwood, a spokesman for Xcel. “It’s almost like what has happened with gasoline.”

Todd Stuart, executive director of the industrial group, praised the PSC decision, which affects Xcel customers in northwest Wisconsin.

“Well, any time you have a zero rate increase it is a good thing,” he said.

“But you have to put matters into context. This is a short-term victory … a function of rapidly declining fuel price from the slumping economy.

See more on the PSC decision: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.Iml?Article=143428

— A panel of water technology experts told a roomful of industry players that with cooperative efforts from area universities, businesses and the government, Milwaukee can take the lead in water industry and research.

“We have a great base,” said Richard Meeusen, Badger Meter CEO and Milwaukee 7 Water Council co-chair, adding that there are more than 120 companies in the area that are involved in water technology.

He said that the “beauty” of the area’s water-related companies is that they cooperate with each other instead of getting mired in business competition.

“I don’t compete with A.O. Smith,” he said. “If A.O. Smith’s engineers want to use my flow lab at night, come and use it.”

The remarks came during a Wisconsin Innovation Network luncheon Thursday at the Brookfield Suites Hotel.

See more from the luncheon: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.Iml?Article=143442



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Press Releases
· 1000 Friends of Wisconsin: Governor Doyle proposes “greenest” Wisconsin
· AT&T: Awards $560,000 in grants to help at-risk students in metro Milwaukee
· Department of Natural Resources: New Berlin-based manufacturer leader joins Green Tier
· Dept. of Revenue: November revenue collections
· Eco-friendly practices at the Pfister Hotel earn “Travel Green Wisconsin” certification
· First Business: To release annual survey report on northeast Wisconsin economic performance
· Rep. Nass: The Wisconsin Way: A blueprint to higher taxes and government bloat
· TEMPO Milwaukee: Announces its 19th Annual TEMPO Mentor Award recipients
· UW-Madison: Patrick Farrell to return to faculty, interim named to Office of the Provost
· Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek: Michelle Manning joins Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek intellectual property team
· Wisconsin Bankers Association: Wisconsin banks have money to lend
· Wisconsin Better Business Bureau: BBB Alert – Scam electronics websites require money wire transfer upfront
· Wisconsin Emergency Management: Public hearings set for fee change for facilities reporting hazardous chemicals & extremely hazardous substances
· Wisconsin Environment: Use stimulus to promote clean energy and green economy
· Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Sets policy for 2009
· WISPIRG: Doyle stimulus proposal would move some key projects for 21st century
· WPPI Energy: Wisconsin Public Power Inc. becomes WPPI Energy
· Wisconsin Way: Wisconsin Way initiative releases Blueprint for Change
– See the Blueprint

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


$14B auto bailout dies in Senate: A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts. The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.

160 job cuts expected at Mercury Marine: Mercury Marine has informed its employees that it will reduce its hourly work force in Fond du Lac by approximately 160 positions in response to current marine market conditions. The company expects to complete these reductions by the end of January, said Dan Kubera, director of media relations and corporate communications for Brunswick Corporation in Lake Forest, Ill., in a press release. Brunswick is the parent company of Mercury Marine. He declined to specify which plants or jobs were impacted by the layoffs.

Bombardier announces layoff: The power sports industry is among those hit hard by the global economic recession, causing Bombardier Recreational Products to layoff about a fifth of its work force — or about 100 jobs. About 40 white-collar jobs and 60 hourly workers will be cut this week and next.

Water discharge regulations at center of dispute: A dispute over the state’s process for establishing regulation of ballast and other water discharges from lake-going ships has several agencies and groups working to head off a scenario no one wants to see. At the heart of the issue is the possibility that ships operating in Wisconsin waters could be open to litigation from environmental groups and citizens or enforcement of federal rules for discharges “incidental to the normal operation of a vessel” beginning Dec. 19.

SGI to slash 15 percent of its workforce: SGI, a California-based high-performance computing business, announced Thursday it is reducing its workforce by about 15 percent, but company officials said its Chippewa Falls manufacturing facility will continue to play a key role after the restructuring. “While some positions were affected in our Chippewa Falls facility, the company plans to remain in Chippewa Falls and considers the locale a strategic one for us,” said Marla Sims-Robinson, public relations programs manager for SGI.

Heartland Financial to get $81 million in federal funds: The parent company of Wisconsin Community Bank in Madison said it has been selected for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Capital Program and anticipates an $81.7 million capital infusion. Heartland Financial USA Inc., of Dubuque, Iowa (NASDAQ: HTLF), said it will use funds for lending and possible acquisitions. The approval is preliminary and subject to the execution of definitive agreements. Heartland, a $3.4 billion multi-bank holding company, has 61 locations in 42 communities in eight states.


GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant

TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Marquette students take project global

– Strattec buys power systems business from Delphi

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Co-founder, president of TomoTherapy to leave

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Doyle among governors pressing Congress for state fiscal relief

– More jobs carnage: 573,000 file for unemployment

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– NewPage says reopening Kimberly mill possible

– Ripple effect felt in closing of GM’s Janesville plant

– Mexican firm buying Brownberry bakery

LABOR (back to top)
– As layoffs spread, advice on surviving if you’re hit

– Bucyrus steelworkers ratify contract extension

– Report: Three times more job seekers than jobs

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Jerk attire: T-shirt firm goes national

– Surviving in a recession

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Oshkosh Community Pantry, Saint Vincent De Paul to relocate to vacant Copps Food store

– Pabst Centre to open in 2010?

– RedPrairie prompts new project

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Cash Cheese Price Crash After Release of World Demand Report

– Cross Country: This isn’t your father’s ag class

REGULATION (back to top)
– WPL will not appeal PSC rejection of building plant in Cassville

– Panel approves Zimmerman Architectural Studio’s move to valley

TOURISM (back to top)
– Kids Expo sold to Madison Festivals Inc.

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Xcel ratepayers score temporary reprieve

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– GE Healthcare plans job cuts

– U.S. Bank to post $1.2B in credit losses for 4Q

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Haddad to take over at Schreiber Foods; Pozniak to retire as president and CEO

– UW-Madison provost to return to faculty

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
–YAHOO FINANCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/
–CNBC BUSINESS NEWS: http://www.cnbc.com
–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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