(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 1 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Two top state economic officials say there’s reason to be optimistic despite the downturn in the state and national economy.

Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel says conditions will be tough over the next six months or so with plant closings and layoffs. But he says he’s optimistic that his streamlined department can seize opportunities that come along. “We’re going to have to do it with fewer resources,” conceded Leinenkugel in reference to mandated agency cuts to help fill an estimated $5.4 billion budget hole.

Antonio Riley, head of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, says there’s “reason to be optimistic” despite a  halt in WHEDA lending because of turmoil in the Wall Street bond market.

WHEDA continues to educate and refer consumers to avert bankruptcy and foreclosure.  “There is hope,” Riley said.

Also on the show, state Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, predicts passage of a statewide smoking ban.

Find video, audio links:

http://www.wisn.com/upfront/18173738/detail.html

— Three businesses have notified the state about plans to lay off a total of more than 200 people.

*Hexicon in Pleasant Prairie is planning a permanent layoff and ultimate closing of the facility with layoff affecting approximately 110 individuals by Sept. 2009.

*The Wisconsin Box Company plans to close its facility at 929 Townline Road in Wausau and permanently lay off 64 employees beginning in January.

*Roundy’s filed notice that it will close its Copps supermarket in Hurley, resulting in the permanent layoff of 29 full-time and 27 part-time employees for a total of 56 affected workers by the end of January.

— Businesses are already reconsidering decisions to expand in or move to Milwaukee in light of a paid sick day requirement scheduled to take effect in February, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy says.

On one recent morning, Sheehy said he received two calls from business owners who said they decided to abandon efforts to seek space in Milwaukee due to the sick pay requirement.

“I haven’t seen a single issue in the last 20 years that has had such a chilling impact on decisions to expand in Milwaukee or decisions to move to Milwaukee,” Sheehy says in a new WisBusiness interview.

A referendum enacting the requirement passed with 68 percent of the vote Nov. 4. Under the ordinance, businesses would have to provide their employees with one hour of sick pay per 30 hours worked in Milwaukee. Businesses with 10 or more employees would have to provide up to nine days of leave, and smaller businesses would have to provide up to five days.

The MMAC announced last week it is filing a legal challenge to the ordinance. Sheehy says the suit is based on the grounds that the city doesn’t have the jurisdiction to impose the requirement.

Read more from the interview:

http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=142445

— Wisconsin residents oppose raising taxes on business profits by a range of 73 percent opposing it while only 19 percent supported raising taxes. These findings come from a poll of 600 Wisconsin residents conducted by the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Inc. and Diversified Research between Nov. 9-10, 2008.

See more on the poll results:

http://www.wpri.org/Commentary/2008/11.08/Poll11.28.08/WCS11%2008Rel5.pdf

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Press Releases
· Burger Boat Company: Announces the commencement of Hull 508
· Planet Propaganda: Aids “Go by Bike” effort
· Upper Peninsula Power Company: Make the Holidays Warm, Bright and Affordable
· WisBusiness.com: Poll finds Favre favorability plummets in Wisconsin
· Wisconsin Public Service Corp.: Holiday message
· Alliant Energy: Encourages customers to enjoy the value of energy and use energy-efficient practices on Thanksgiving Day
· Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Alligator Creek white-tail herd destroyed; to be tested for chronic wasting disease
· Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: USDA wants input on updating national TB program; Ehlenfeldt urges Wisconsin producers to comment
· Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin: Menominee Casino will help state’s least healthy county
· Overture Center: Releases 2007-2008 annual report
· Wisconsin Environment: Renew America with clean energy
· Wisconsin Petroleum Council: Letter to Gov. Doyle re: Oil assessment tax
· Wisconsin Way: Update: Draft Blueprint for Change, December
· WISPIRG: Consumer group alerts shoppers to hidden toy hazards

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


TOP STORIES
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Refill of drained Lake Delton about to begin: The road is back. The shoreline is reinforced. The dam is stronger. And maybe the dollar signs won’t be far behind.
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081201/GPG03/812010502/1247

Black Friday ‘crazier than last year’ despite bad economy: Hordes of area residents showed up before dawn to take advantage of deep discounts on “Black Friday” despite grim economic news and meager sales forecasts. “It was crazier than last year …. We all want cheap stuff,” said Middleton resident Kelly Conway, who finished her shopping at the west side Wal-Mart by 7 a.m. Describing the scene inside as “pure mayhem,” Conway said she had to wait in line for nearly an hour just to check out.
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/316326

Army awards $51 million contract to Oshkosh Corp.: The defense-related division of Oshkosh Corp. has been awarded a $51 million contract to provide armor upgrades for military vehicles. Oshkosh Defense said Wednesday the contract calls for 660 armor kits to protect a specific type of heavy Army truck.
http://www.gazettextra.com/weblogs/latest-news/2008/nov/26/army-awards-51-million-contract-oshkosh-corp/

Two more Wisconsin manufacturing plants will close: Two more manufacturing companies have notified the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development that they will close their plants in the state. Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc. will close its plant in Pleasant Prairie at 8601 95th St., eliminating 110 jobs. The company said the layoffs will be implemented over time between Jan. 30 and Sept. 25, 2009. The company said the closure and layoffs are part of a “recommended change in business strategy involving the exiting of a major product line and relocation of the remaining work.” Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Box Co. informed the state today it will close its production plant in Wausau at 929 Townline Road, eliminating 64 jobs.
http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/11/26/#two-more-wisconsin-manufacturing-plants-will-close

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WISBUSINESS FEATURED COLUMNISTS

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
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TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Workers surf for bargains on the job
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/11/24/daily30.html

– Cheap cell phones – no strings attached
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35239684.html

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Rejection of WARF patent is upheld
http://www.madison.com/wsj/mad/breaking_news/316302

– Heartbeat of a new industry
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35239694.html

ECONOMY (back to top)
– West-central Wisconsin small towns make best of economic hard times
http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-news.asp?id=BIEUK3K6GS8

– Range of moneymakers may be tapped to plug budget hole
http://www.madison.com/wsj/arch_local/316342

– U.S. economy in search of new direction, ideas
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081130/APC03/811300609/1028

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– MillerCoors hires Bromley as Hispanic agency
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/11/24/daily37.html

– Hormel shares $14.8M in profits
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/11/24/daily31.html

LABOR (back to top)
– Unemployment claims on rise in Wisconsin; benefits fund may run empty by next year
http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com/article/20081130/CWS0101/811300621/1980

– Some Dane County domestic partners to get benefits
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WI_PARTNER_BENEFITS_WIOL-?SITE=WIMAD&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Economy doesn’t wilt Oconto flower shop
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081201/GPG03/812010499/1247

– Area’s small-town store owners optimistic, determined
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081130/GPG03/811300399/1247

INVESTING (back to top)
– Rebalancing portfolio is best defense during bear markets
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35290319.html

– Confessions of a Money Manager: Stock market’s Thanksgiving turkeys could turn out OK
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316343

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Mortgage meltdown fuels demand for rentals
http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20081130/OSH0101/811300708/1128/OSH01

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– The big cheese: The four Crave brothers of Waterloo are the year’s top dairy operators
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/316394

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Transit backers’ quest for financing may get results soon
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/35266869.html

RETAIL (back to top)
– Shoppers pack area stores in search of deals
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081129/GPG0101/811290604/-1/archive

– Linen N Things in Green Bay may close before ’09
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081201/GPG03/812010500/1247

– Lakeshore area’s largest employer opens new company store
http://www.htrnews.com/article/20081130/MAN03/811300478/1397

– Columbia Sports coming to 5th Ward
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/story4.html?b=1228107600^1740555

– Bon-Ton: Retailer strong despite negative speculation
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/story5.html?b=1228107600^1740556

– Meltdown fallout: some parents rethink toy-buying
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/316519

REGULATION (back to top)
– Menominee Nation files restraining order over Kenosha casino decision
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081127/APC0101/811270613/1003/APC01

– Deadline is Sunday for state’s next do-not-call list
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/316327

TOURISM (back to top)
– Great Wolf still talking with lenders
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/316372

– Tundra Lodge completes addition
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081201/GPG03/812010505/1247

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Water firm at low ebb may be part of rising tide
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35240974.html

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Bellin completes ER financing
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081201/GPG03/812010503/1247

FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– Associated Bank leads state in SBA loans
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/316388

– College students not getting enough financial aid forced to drop out
http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/35266854.html

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Camera Corner’s Chernick among nation’s top 25 execs of year
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081130/GPG03/811300405/1247

– Harley hires former Kohl’s, Miller exec
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/11/24/daily28.html

Media Partners
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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–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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