(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 5 May 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Logistics Services Inc., which works closely with General Motors, has told state and local officials it will lay off 132 workers at its Janesville distribution center around July 3. The move follows by less than a week the news that GM will end one of its two shifts and terminate more than 750 employees because of lagging sales of heavy SUVs.

According to Janesville economic development director Doug Venable, Logistics Services is a primary provider to the GM plant, bringing over parts as they are needed. Earlier this year, the company had nearly 400 employees in Janesville.

Venable said he expects other GM suppliers to cut their staffs, too. He said a likely candidate is Lear, which makes seats. That company reported it had 840 Janesville employees earlier this year.

In other layoff news, Sitel Corp. has announced it will lay off 105 workers at its telemarketing center starting June 1. The company said it has had difficulty securing business and that the workforce reduction is permanent. It provided no further details.

— The Dane County Regional Airport has been awarded $9.2 million from the federal government buy equipment, make airfield improvements, and treat water contaminated by aircraft de-icing fluids.

U.S. Rep Tammy Baldwin said the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement grants include almost $5 million in entitlement funding, plus another $4.2 million in discretionary funding. The state will provide another $460,000 for the airport projects.

— Linens Holding Co. says it will shut three Wisconsin Linens ‘n Things stores (120 will close nationally) as part of a Chapter 11 bankcruptcy filing.

The announcement follows last weeks decision by The Home Depot to shut 15 stores around the country, including three in the Badger State. The three Wisconsin Linens ‘n Things in Wisconsin are in Milwaukee, Racine and at the Greenway Station in Middleton.

Clifton, N.J.-based Linens Holding Co. blamed its bankruptcy and the store closings on the sour economy.



Today, 11:45 am, The Madison Club

WisBusiness.com, The Madison Club and Madison Magazine present “The Madison Business Luncheon” on Monday, May 5, Lindsay, Stone & Briggs CEO Marsha Lindsay.

See a recent profile on Lindsay from Madison Magazine: http://www.madisonmagazine.com/article.php?section_id=918&xstate=view_story&story_id=235830




Use these links to jump directly to a news summary topic
Technology | Biotech | Economy | Manufacturing | Labor | Small Business | Investing | Real Estate | Agribusiness | Transportation | Retail | Regulation | Tourism | Utilities | Health Care | Financial Services | Management | Business Columns |

Press Releases
Building Safety Week to be Held May 5 – 11
Clyde Stubblefield joins Celebrity Judges lineup
Dane County Regional Airport Secures $9.2 Million in Federal Funds for Improvement
Governor Doyle Announces Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Production Sets New Record
Governor Doyle Breaks Ground on Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
Linens ‘n Things Files Voluntary Petition Under Chapter 11 to Complete Financial Restructuring
New North Cheese Manufacturers Help Set New Production Record
SC Johnson Alerts Consumers to Protect Them From a Fake Check Scam
Sonic Foundry Reports Second Quarter 2008 Results
Traffic deaths last month were second lowest for month of April
United Vacations Announces SALE on Coast to Coast Vacations
Webcast Alert: Alliant Energy Corporation Annual Meeting of Shareowners
Wisconsin Energy Cites Customer Satisfaction, Construction Progress, Improved Earnings in Annual Meeting Review of 2007 Highlights
Wisconsin Toyota Dealers Offer Brewers Fans a Shot at Miller Park’s New Tundra Territory

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


Menards hopes homes pay off: Retailer hopes developing subdivisions will pay off… People typically run to Menards to buy stuff for their weekend projects: a new drill, maybe a toilet seat. But lately, the company is stocking something a bit more unusual: home sites. Eau Claire-based Menard Inc. is becoming more active as a developer of residential subdivisions – an extension of the company’s role as the nation’s third-largest home improvement retailer. Menard is proceeding with plans to develop two large subdivisions, in Warsaw, Ind., and Urbana, Ill., and is currently developing another subdivision in Yorkville, Ill. The company also owns land set aside for a small condominium development that might someday be built near its Oak Creek store.

Sitel laying off 105 at Madison call center: Sitel Corp. has informed state officials that it is laying off 105 workers at its call center at 1117 Deming Way. The cuts, which are effective June 1, are due to “an unexpected business slowdown” and could be permanent, Sitel said in a letter to state officials. Sitel’s notice indicates that it is closing its wireless customer care business unit due to the loss of a client account. Under state law, employers with 50 or more employees must give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or closing. The letter from Nashville, Tenn.-based Sitel is dated May 2, which indicates a June 1 date for the cuts would violate state law. Efforts to reach officials with Sitel or the state Department of Workforce Development were unsuccessful.

Campaign spits in face of fears: New Harley-Davidson ad assures consumers skittish about economic downturn that bad times won’t last forever: ‘So screw it, let’s ride’… Forget inflation, the economy, your unpaid bills, that pink slip in your locker. An edgy new Harley-Davidson ad campaign reflects on today’s difficult times, finishing with the tag line, “So screw it, let’s ride.” The campaign, launched this week with a full-page ad in USA Today, also reminds people that the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker and the nation in general have endured plenty of pain – and not just lately. “Over the last 105 years in the saddle, we’ve seen wars, conflicts, depression, recession, resistance and revolutions,” the ad says.

State farm groups watching farm bill progress: Following the Senate-House Farm Bill Conference Committee meeting that went late into the night last Thursday, the Wisconsin Farmers Union said it is encouraged to see the panel getting closer to a final policy that will benefit all Americans. WFU President Sue Beitlich says with the planting season upon us, her group is urging Congress and President Bush to act quickly to pass and sign the new farm bill into law. “After months of negotiation over the 2007 Farm Bill and several extensions of the farm bill deadline, the committee broke through many of the barriers challenging a final draft of the bill, coming to agreements on major elements of the bill Thursday night,” Beitlich reported to her members. “We cannot afford to waste any more time. Our legislators have worked hard to create a farm bill for the President to sign.”

A.O. Smith still here and making motors: People at A.O. Smith Corp. hear it all the time: “Didn’t your company go out of business?” It’s understandable: In 1997, A.O. Smith sold its 148-acre flagship factory on Milwaukee’s northwest side, where it once welded undercarriages for nearly every American-made passenger car. Its buyer, Tower Automotive Inc., filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and closed the Milwaukee factories. For A.O. Smith, which now makes water heaters and electric motors, dumping the auto business proved prescient. It finished 2007 with record earnings and sales. Chief Executive Paul W. Jones sat down for an interview with Journal Sentinel reporter John Schmid: Q. If you’ve done so well in recent years, why do you have such a low profile in your hometown?

Madison not seen as ‘recession-proof’: Madison is not on a list of “recession-proof ” cities compiled by business consultant Mark Hovind, president of JobBait.com. That ‘s because during the recessions of 1990 and 2001, the number of additional jobs didn ‘t keep up with the Madison area ‘s population growth, said Hovind, of Las Vegas. The outcome was a bit better in 2007, he said. “You weren ‘t losing jobs, but you just weren ‘t keeping up with the population growth ” in 1990 and 2001, Hovind said. “In 2007, you were.” But David J. Ward, president of NorthStar Economics in Madison, questioned Hovind ‘s methodology. “It seems you would want to look at overall unemployment, ” said Ward.


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)
– Digital media hits road

– Drug-testing firm purchases ex-hospital site

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Industry holds breath for biotech building boom

– Cellectar, state in new territory

– Energy conference puts focus on paper industry

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Money train runs from here to Mexico

– GM layoffs will create short term struggles

– MMAC: Local economy slows in March

– Will it work?

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Tramontina to add third shift in Manitowoc

– Modine sells Thermacore for $13.25M

LABOR (back to top)
– Better benefits or higher wages?

– Overtime, sick leave lucrative for some corrections officers

– UAW Local 95 election this week

– Vendor to GM plans layoffs

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Comfortable feel lures customers into Lawrence fly shop

– Couple finds niche with pair of B&Bs in Appleton

INVESTING (back to top)
– Illinois Tool Works declares dividend

– Soaring food prices cook up new opportunities for investors

– EdVest has tough start to 2008

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Plan for Regent and Monroe to be considered

– Area home sales lag, listings grow

– Grant will help Shawano redevelopment

– Habitat for Humanity to build homes in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– State farmers earning more, but costs also rising

– Wisconsin farmers see increase in dairy, crop prices in April

– Farm bill negotiators agree to changes in dairy program

– Wisconsin’s specialty cheeses continue growth

– Class III Milk Price Announced at $16.76

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Hy Cite Corp. considering Middleton site

– Pioneer Airport opens for the season

– Group calls for county wheel tax

RETAIL (back to top)
– Middleton’s Linens ‘n Things to close

REGULATION (back to top)
– Pawnshop rules come up tonight in Suamico

– Sweatshop complaint: Student group pressures UW over adidas deal

– Lawsuit gives mercury rule cold welcome

– Photo ID may be required for state’s boaters

– Killing of mute swans shelved

TOURISM (back to top)
– Tourists expected to travel locally

– This Mifflin Street party is different

UTILITIES (back to top)
– State Public Service chairman leaving

– Utility agrees to penalty in power plant permit case

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Wal-Mart expands low-priced drug program

– Administrator helps Bellin Health prosper

– Few problems finding medical professionals

– Heyka joins Bellin Health in Oconto Falls

– CUNA opens European headquarters in Dublin

– Appleton native named vice president of investment firm

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Spectrum no longer seeking sale of unit

– CEO: Journal Communications has no plans to go private

– IntelliCAM finds ways to stand out in sign industry

– Madison’s development positions draw zero interest

– Better pay luring UW chancellors

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Scott Smet: Do your research, then pick builder

– Tom Saler: Consumers’ exhaustion leaves Fed in a quandary

– John Torinus: Identifying ‘clusters’ helps align funding priorities

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

(c)2008 WisBusiness.com.
All rights reserved. Reproduction or retransmission of this publication, in whole or in part, without the express permission of WisBusiness.com is prohibited. Unauthorized reproduction violates United States copyright law (17 USC 101 et seq.), as does retransmission by facsimile or any other electronic means, including electronic mail.