(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 7 April 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Retired UW-Madison Economist Don Nichols says Wisconsin should weather the current recession better than many other states.

Speaking at an Economic Outlook conference at the Fluno Center, Nichols said the state’s economic activity should decline slightly over the next two quarters, but may rebound somewhat toward the end of the year.

He said housing state housing prices may actually rise slightly, unlike states such as California, which may see a 30 percent decline this year.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=122836

— Green Bay-based LDI Composites has notified state and local officials that it plans to terminate 34 of 55 employees beginning June 4. The company said it expects the dismissals to be permanent.

In other layoff news, South Carolina-based Sonoco has announced it will permanently closed its rigid paper and plastic plant in Wausau near the end of June and terminate 29 workers. The company said the shutdown will be permanent.

— Southeastern Wisconsin businesses’ expectations for sales, profits and employment levels continue to slide, according to the latest Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC).

Local employer economic expectations for the second quarter are down from expectations expressed in the first quarter.

Fifty-eight percent of the surveyed businesses see rising real sales levels for the second quarter (vs. the second quarter of 2007), down from the 62 percent who forecast first-quarter gains. Thirteen percent see declines in second-quarter sales levels, while 29 percent expect no change.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/4/4/#mmac-survey-cites-weakened-economic-outlook

— The average workers’ compensation total cost per claim in Wisconsin grew rapidly for four of the five years in the study including 8 percent in 2005/2006 claims, according to a new report by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). This growth was driven primarily by the increase in the medical payments per claim.

The study covered claims filed from 2000 through 2005, officials said.

Medical costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time grew throughout the study period, with double-digit growth in four of the five years in the study, including 14 percent in 2005/2006.

The study by the Cambridge, Mass.-based WCRI also noted that the average total cost per claim in Wisconsin was among the lowest of 14 states – 36 percent lower than the median of the study states for 2003/2006 claims.

On nearly all measures examined in the study, Wisconsin was lower than typical. An exception was that medical costs per claim with more than seven days of lost time were fairly typical for 2003/2006 claims. According to another WCRI study, Wisconsin had the highest average prices paid among the study states, but this was offset by lower utilization of medical services.

See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=122871



WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com have four events scheduled for April and May.

— April 14: University Research Park Director Mark Bugher

— April 22: Dale Van Atta, author of the new biography “With Honor; Melvin Laird in War, Peace, and Politics.” (See an excerpt from the book: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=122814)

— May 5: Branding expert Marsha Lindsay

— May 6: Wis. Elections expert Robert Booth Fowler

See details on all the events:





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Press Releases
New press release service targets online, offline media outlets
Alliant Energy to Present at Wall Street Access/Berenson & Company Midwest Utilities Seminar
Clifton Gunderson Names Krista McMasters New CEO
Continental Airlines Begins New Nonstop Service From Cleveland to Four New Cities
Dahl Automotive makes strides in becoming a “greener” dealership
Dells Raceway Park Marks New Era with Major Rebuilding Project;
Good To Go ECOnvenience Center Launches First Outlet
LLPC Works Toward Hermosa Resolution
Mach One Corporation Announces Completion of Final Tests Prior to Full Scale Production
Markel American Insurance Company Announces Completion of Markel Builds Fun Project
New North Center Court at the Final Four
Notification by Briggs & Stratton Corporation of Counterfeit Battery Chargers
Simplify School Activity Accounting and Eliminate the Risk of Fraud With Skyward
SoftSwitching Technologies Opens Asia Office
Technology brings International Expert to Sustainable Industry Conference & Expo in Beloit, Wisconsin
Trig’s to support Autism awareness
Warehouse Specialists Extend $1.1 Million Networking Services Deal With AT&T
Winners Named in Sub-Zero and Wolf’s Kitchen Design Contest

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


Midwest finalizes 380 job cuts from subsidiary Skyway: Midwest Airlines officially cut about 380 jobs from subsidiary Skyway Airlines on Saturday, a move Midwest warned of in January. Skyway used to fly regional flights for the Milwaukee company under a service called Midwest Connect. Those flights are being turned over to SkyWest Airlines, based in St. George, Utah. The Skyway company will still exist. Remaining employees will handle catering and other services for Midwest. Skyway gave severance packages to its flight attendants, dispatchers and mechanics, but pilots got nothing. The pilots allege that Skyway is denying them payments because of their union membership.

Jobs, energy on minds of leaders heading to Madison: A delegation of representatives from Marathon, Portage and Wood counties will travel to the state Capitol on Wednesday to encourage investment in renewable energies and the creation of incentives to spur collaboration among local units of government. The members of Centergy, the Central Wisconsin Alliance for Economic Development, chose to focus their message to policymakers on two issues of statewide concern that are of particular interest in the three-county area. The goal of the fourth annual Central Wisconsin Day is a departure from previous years, when the group used its unified voice to lobby for state funding for specific programs or projects in north central Wisconsin.

Hospital spending varies widely, study says: Study findings on end-of-life care have broad implications… The cost of treating similar patients and achieving the same results can vary more than 30% in Wisconsin and more than 20% in the Milwaukee area alone, according to the country’s most extensive study on how efficiently hospitals treat patients. Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Froedtert Hospital and Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, for example, spend roughly 20% more on treating chronically ill patients in the last two years of life than do Columbia St. Mary’s and ProHealth Care hospitals in the Milwaukee area. The difference stems from the volume and intensity of services, such as the number of days spent in the hospital and the number of physicians involved in the patient’s care.

Town, county push to save farmland: Debate over subdivisions highlights preservation efforts… When a developer decided that he’d rather put an access road to his high-end subdivision through a grove of pine trees instead of where it had originally been approved, the Town Board refused to allow it. Last month, the Waukesha County Board sided with the town and rejected the developer’s request for a change in plans. It was the latest skirmish in an ongoing battle to preserve farmland and open space by a county with precious little left and a town that finds itself the protector of much of what survives. “The proposed development is misplaced, as it is an island of residential development in the farming community,” the Town Board said flatly in the resolution that it approved unanimously, rejecting the developer’s request for a plan change.

State seeking back pay for laid-off Wisconsin Die workers: The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is requesting that a wage claim lien be filed against Wisconsin Die Casting seeking nearly $1.5 million in unpaid wages for employees who lost their jobs when the south side Milwaukee firm abruptly shut down earlier this month. Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman said in a letter to state Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) that her agency made the wage claim lien request to the state Department of Justice. Zepnick, who represents the south side, had previously written to Gassman calling for action to support the nearly 100 workers who lost their jobs and their health insurance coverage.

Schools in risky business?: 5 districts may need taxpayers’ help to avoid default if investment schemes sour… Five Wisconsin public school districts have made an investment gamble that could force taxpayers to finance multimillion-dollar bailouts. The districts – Kenosha, Kimberly Area, Waukesha, West Allis-West Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay – have piled up debt in deals to help fund health insurance and other non-pension benefits for retirees. But as global financial markets have seized up, the districts have been told the value of their investments has fallen so much that they might need to come up with a combined $53 million to avoid default.


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)
– Audit: UW campuses must do more to protect data

– Virtual reality gives Kimberly-Clark a heads-up

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Teen’s flu research could net her $50,000 scholarship

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Economic census to be conducted nationwide

– MMAC: Milwaukee-area business confidence waning

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Plexus finalizes $350M credit agreement

– Briggs & Stratton warns of fake UL labels on chargers

LABOR (back to top)
– Dean: Engineering program meets fundamental need

– Harley-Davidson unions approve new labor deals

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Madison company LaserTech closes

INVESTING (back to top)
– Kimberly school district cited in report on risky investments

– Placing bets on the long term

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Area home sales, prices fall in February

– Thomsen Realty merges with Madison company

– Are many apartments bad for cities?

– Energy efficiency on minds of many at Home Builders Expo

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Boost for the UW-Madison dairy school

– Hightower rallies crowd against corporate agriculture

– Corn prices hit record high

– Farmers find value in selling locally

– State & National Cheese Production Rose During February

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Plan to expand Milwaukee to Illinois interstate moves forward

– Winter puts a chill on traffic at Outagamie airport

– Austin Straubel offers free Wi-Fi

RETAIL (back to top)
– Goodwill hunting: Thrift store returns to State Street after 10 years

– Miller plans to launch craft-style Miller Lite nationwide

– Wal-Mart pushing ‘green’ partnerships at Wisconsin stores

– Road work sets road block to retailers

– Kohl’s opens model facility

– Marcus Theatres closes deal for Nebraska cinemas

– Malls, retailers hunker down

REGULATION (back to top)
– Lawmakers extend VHS rules in Wisconsin

TOURISM (back to top)
– Stockholders demand performance, other reviews at Great Wolf Resorts

– Neville Museum’s low attendance worries county

– Final cost of resort estimated at $35 million

UTILITIES (back to top)
– PSC expands reach of regulatory duties

– Nuclear shutdown takes lots of planning

– Power outages affect thousands in Green Bay

– Company seeks to install turbines in Mississippi River bed to generate electricity

– Solar power experiences its day in the sun

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Health fair attracts 150

– New practice keys on overall health

– Efficiency is the cure

– Overture trust in partial default

– Lumped in with banks?

– CIB Marine selling Citrus Bank to 1st United

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Framed for big success

– Brilli joins Hudson-Sharp

– Graebel receives lifetime achievement

– JohnsonDiversey executive Gartland resigns

– Surviving tough times

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mick Hager: Embrace Internet business

– John Torinus: Outsourcing health care may be a thrifty alternative

– Tom Saler: Fed bailout was needed, but so is regulation

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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