(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 21 Nov. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Viasystems Milwaukee Inc. has notified the state about 238 permanent layoffs resulting from the planned January closure of a manufacturing and distribution facility in Oak Creek.

See the company’s filing with the state:

— PSC commissioners on Thursday turned down an AT&T request to close the docket on the commission’s annual review of the AT&T’s basic local exchange service.

PSC Commissioner Eric Callisto argued that because, “AT&T continues to lose market share, and AT&T continued to raise rates as expected. … staff can monitor these issues and [this issue] does not warrant an annual report,” so the agency could close the docket.

PSC Chair Mark Meyer successfully argued to keep the docket open and require an annual review of AT&T “because in 2005 I was part of the group that presented the petition, so that other providers would enter the market and AT&T would lose market share,” as part of the agency deregulation of that portion of the telecommunications market.

“The arguments haven’t changed,” Meyer asserted, “ in 2005 AT&T was the largest provider in Wisconsin. Since then they’ve lost market share, but they are still the largest provider.”

Commisisoner Lauren Azar agreed with Meyer and Callisto agreed to extend the report on AT&T conditional on the telephone utility hiking rates by June 30, 2009.

— PSC commissioners also instructed staff to begin a review of the “Emergency Economic Stablilization Act of 2008” as it affects Wisconsin utilities. The bill contains “The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008” which contains hundreds of provisions designed to reduce carbon emissions, encourage alternative energy production, set rebates and tax incentives designed to reduce the cost of developing “green” technologies, and it is the hope of Public Service commissioners that the Act will “reduce the cost of providing utility service.”

Approved on a voice vote, the action directs PSC staff to develop a comprehensive means of determining how Wisconsin’s major utilities can adopt the “EESA 2008” provisions, which include tax incentives related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and efforts to reduce carbon emissions, according to PSC staff.

— This year’s Thanksgiving meal will cost $2.72 more than last year, with higher prices for potatoes, cranberries, and processed foods according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. All items surveyed saw increases with the exception of carrots and peas.

In the Farm Bureau’s 17th annual informal survey for the traditional holiday meal for a family of eight, the cost of this year’s feast is $42.37, compared to $39.66 for last year’s meal. The Farm Bureau conducted the survey of 14-food-items of the traditional Thanksgiving meal in 25 communities across Wisconsin.

See details:

— Joe Plasterer knows “new media.” He helped develop Sonic Foundry’s first $1 million account, MediaSite, and he hasn’t stopped thinking about other innovative ways to crack media markets.

Desktop Media Channels, Plasterer’s latest idea, may be the solution to reaching potential and current customers as segmented audiences and changing media channels pose a continually complex and ever-changing problem. According to Plasterer, Desktop Media Channels also offer communication with “the 20 percent of consumers that do 80 percent of your business, similar to a VIP pass for passionate fans at a concert.”

Read more about Brainfruit, the company behind Desktop Media Channels:



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Press Releases
· Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin: Urges swift action on infrastructure investments
· Dept. of Revenue: October revenue collections
· Plum Creek: Honored with Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education award
· St. Croix EDC: Regional health cooperative honored at Synergy Conference
· Sub-Zero Inc., Wolf Appliance Inc.: Kitcheninspiration.com launches, offers personal designer experience at the click of a mouse
· U.S. Sen. Kohl: Calls on Treasury to help distressed homeowners as it moves to stabilize the economy
· Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: 2008 Thanksgiving meal price survey

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


Appleton to lay off 75 more: The company Appleton will cut 75 more positions from its work force, most at its headquarters and plant here, the company announced Thursday. All the positions are salaried. The reductions will include voluntary and involuntary terminations and will be concluded by Dec. 31, said Bill Van Den Brandt, manager of corporate communications.

Brady to cut work force, lowers outlook: Brady Corp. of Milwaukee said Thursday that it is reducing its earnings outlook for fiscal 2009 and that it will cut 10 percent of its global work force, or about 800 jobs, under a restructuring driven by the deteriorating economy. Brady president and CEO Frank Jaehnert said the layoffs will occur in its fiscal second quarter, which began Nov. 1, and will be accompanied by a companywide salary freeze. The moves are expected to result in $30 million in pre-tax charges during fiscal 2009, while saving the company a total of $30 million for the year.

Viasystems to close Oak Creek plant: Viasystems Group Inc., a supplier of printed circuit boards and metal cabinets and components, has informed state of Wisconsin officials that it plans to close its plant in Oak Creek, resulting in the loss of 238 jobs. The St. Louis-based company said it will close the entire Viasystems Milwaukee manufacturing and distribution facility at 10001 S. Howell Ave. in phases, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) letter received by the Department of Workforce Development.

Detroit’s fight hits home in Wisconsin : If Congress cannot agree soon on a plan to provide taxpayer-funded loans to the auto industry, the effects will be felt far beyond Detroit, Kenosha car dealer Andy Palmen said Thursday.


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)
– Cellcom gets certification from National Communications Service

– School Specialty revenue declines

– Local tech firm hits it big

– Area commands up to 4% of water technology market

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Wisconsin deficit may rocket to $5.4 billion

– Bankruptcy filings increase in state

– Milwaukee 7 to recruit two industry sectors to state

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Cross Country: Family-owned Mill Creek Cheese going strong

– Refusing to give up the High Life

LABOR (back to top)
– Chapman: Focus on workers’ satisfaction

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– The Buzz: Small Fox Cities coffee shops buck national woes

– Small firms prepare for Obama tax

– State draws up small biz health plan

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Air Wisconsin reports usage down 7.1%

RETAIL (back to top)
– Steve & Barry’s will liquidate all stores

REGULATION (back to top)
– Darrow, BMW agree to order in default action

TOURISM (back to top)
– Summerfest names Nonbox agency of record

– UPAF allocates $8.3M for the arts

– Milwaukee tourism agency loses money under Glendale plan

– Group offers to give up racetrack promotions

UTILITIES (back to top)
– After Cassville rejection, WPL says all options on the table

– Wisconsin home to two top-polluting power plants

– Madison Gas & Electric and group team up with UW for environmental Web site

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– GE launches $200M health care IT effort

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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