(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 10 July 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Barely one week old, MillerCoors LLC is close to picking either downtown Chicago or the Dallas area as its headquarters, with a decision expected within weeks.

MillerCoors, a joint venture of Molson Coors Brewing Co. and SABMiller PLC, has been looking for 100,000 to 150,000 square feet and could employ as many as 400 people at the headquarters, according to the Chicago business publication Crain’s.

MillerCoors, which began operations July 1, expects to be in its new headquarters in less than a year, a factor that has put the search on a tight timetable. Should MillerCoors pick Chicago, the joint venture has already focused on three buildings on New Orleans Street., Wacker Drive and State Street.

See story:

— Northwest Airlines Corp. says it will cut 2,500 jobs because of high oil prices, and will soon begin charging $15 to check luggage and up to $100 to redeem a frequent-flier award ticket.

A spokesman said he did not know how many positions would be eliminated in Wisconsin.

The airline said it expects the new fees to add $250 million to $300 million a year in revenue.

Northwest said the job cuts – which represent about 8.3 percent of its work force – will include front-line and management workers. It said it will start with voluntary departures and leaving open jobs unfilled before moving to furloughs to reach the 2,500 total.

— Gov. Jim Doyle has announced a record purchase of renewable electrical energy from state utilities as part of his Clean Energy Wisconsin agenda.

Doyle said the purchase of more than 92,400 megawatt hours of electricity from Madison Gas and Electric, We Energies and Wisconsin Public Power Inc. was one of the largest government acquisitions of renewable energy in the country.

“We have one of the greatest research engines in the world in our university system in this state, and we have a state that is blessed with rich forests, farms and industry. When we put these together, we can define an energy future that leaves our air cleaner, our water purer and our energy dollars here in our own pockets and not going overseas to countries that don’t even like us very much,” Doyle said.

Doyle said that Wisconsin’s economic future is tied to clean energy production. With today’s purchase, the state is now buying electricity from renewable sources to cover 10 percent of the energy consumed by the DHFS, DOC, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, DOA, DPI and the UW System. Doyle said that by 2011, the state would be purchasing 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

Doyle said that in addition to today’s renewable energy purchase, state agencies are also working to reduce carbon emissions and use energy more efficiently.

“Through better buildings, smarter vehicle fleets and more efficient practices, state agencies have cut their energy consumption by 8 percent over the last three years,” said Doyle.

Doyle explained that purchasing electricity from renewable sources will cost the state an additional $1 million per year, but added that he expects Wisconsin to begin saving money from this investment within seven years.

“We will need people from all walks of life to work with us to build an infrastructure for a clean tomorrow,” said Doyle.

“Together we can trade Mideast oil for Midwest know-how.”

*Listen to audio of the press conference:
*Watch a WisconsinEye interview with Doyle from this morning:

— Speaking with reporters after the press conference, Doyle defended the travel expenses of Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer following reports of the expenses he charged to the state for meals and hotels during a recent trade mission.

“I want a Commerce secretary who’s out promoting Wisconsin products. The trip to Ireland and the U.K. was a well-organized trade mission,” Doyle said, adding that Fischer has “properly paid back anything that would be of a personal nature.”

Doyle bristled when asked if it was proper for Fischer to travel with an aide.

“It’s perfectly appropriate for a cabinet secretary when they travel to have an assistant with them helping them do it,” he said.

He told a reporter, “I’m not going to respond to your innuendoes.”

Listen to the audio of Doyle’s Q&A with reporters:

— The AFL-CIO announced it will begin running a TV ad tomorrow in Green Bay, La Crosse and Wausau in which a Vietnam veteran asks viewers to let John McCain know that his economic agenda is “not what we need.”

The ad, which will run through the end of July, is from the new Union Veterans Council, which will be unveiled tomorrow. The council was created to enlist veterans to “expose the records of candidates for office at every level,” according to a release.

In the TV ad, Jim Wasser, a Vietnam combat veteran and union electrician, says: “Every vet respects John McCain’s war record. It’s his record in the Senate I have a problem with.”

See the release:

— Target has filed a notice with the state that it plans to close its store located in Kenosha on Oct. 7. The closing will affect approximately 150 employees.

However, Target says it will opening a new store in nearby Pleasant Prairie, so no workers are expected to be laid off because of the move.

— The new Harley-Davidson Museum will open this weekend at the east end of the Menomonee River Valley, just south of downtown Milwaukee.

The three-building, 130,000-square-foot museum complex includes a main museum building, an archives building and a building with a retail store (called “The Shop”), a café and a restaurant. The restaurant will serve American cuisine “inspired by the road,” according to Harley spokeswoman Amanda Lee.

Read more and view photos of the museum in the new edition of the BizTimes Real Estate Weekly bulletin: http://www.biztimes.com/realestateweekly/2008/7/9/#harley-museum-opens-this-weekend

— The state Supreme Court is scheduled to release its decision Friday in the dispute between the Department of Revenue and the Menasha Corp. over the sales tax applied to a software system.



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Press Releases
A ‘Red Flad’ for Expanding Biofuels in the Tropics
Air Wisconsin Reports June Traffic
Alliant Energy Foundation announces $1 million Rebuilding Our Communities Grant program to help with flood recovery
Alliant to Public Service Commission: Don’t Consider Global Warming in Coal Plant Proposal
Community Bank & Trust Enhances Customer Service, Lowers Toll Charges, Eases System Management With ShoreTel’s Unified Communications Solutions
Flu-Infected Fly Cells Reveal Dependencies of the Virus
Governor Doyle Announces Record State Clean Energy Purchase
JerseyNaps(R) Designated ‘Starter’ for Major League Baseball(R) All-Star Game
Maxwell Street Days Summer Sidewalk Sale
Northwest Airlines Announces Personnel Reductions and Added Fees to Help Offset Record Fuel Costs
SBA Approves More Than $2 Million in Disaster Loans; Urges Return of Disaster Loan Applications
Schneider National and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Join Forces to Put Vets in Drivers’ Seats
The Harley-Davidson Museum Reveals Its Best Kept Secret: Motor and Cafe Racer

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


Bigger MillerCoors headquarters may bring more job losses: The corporate headquarters for MillerCoors LLC, which appears headed for either Chicago or Dallas, may end up larger than initially anticipated — and that could result in a higher number of job losses for Milwaukee. Executives from the newly formed joint venture of Miller Brewing Co. and Coors Brewing Co. are considering a headquarters building that would house the top executives of MillerCoors, along with the company’s marketing operations, according to a source with information about the search process. That source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said the headquarters could house about 300 employees. The source, along with another, both think MillerCoors will put its headquarters in Chicago.

Fischer’s role on trade mission criticized: 2 businessmen say commerce chief didn’t help trade mission… At least two businessmen who went on the state’s March trade mission to Ireland and the United Kingdom said they were disappointed with Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer, one even saying Fischer hurt his efforts. “I’m not sure of Jack’s purpose on the trip but it did nothing to help any of the participants’ businesses,” Chris Frigo of Forte Composites wrote in his official evaluation of the trade mission. Frigo said the trade mission overall was effective and handled well, but that Fischer himself was not helpful. “Jack Fischer’s participation of the mission was not representative or positive for Wisconsin business,” Frigo wrote in the evaluation, released to the Journal Sentinel under the state’s open records law. “On several occasions during the trip I was embarrassed that he was our leader.”

State pledges annual renewable energy buy: Gov. Jim Doyle announced Wednesday state plans for an annual purchase of renewable energy, which he said will make Wisconsin a nationwide leader in clean energy. The state will purchase 92,400 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electrical energy each year over 10 years from MG&E (40,000 MWh) and Wisconsin Public Power Inc. (33,000 MWh) and over 15 years from We Energies (19,400 MWh). Doyle made the announcement at a news conference at WPPI’s headquarters in Sun Prairie. According to the governor’s office, it is one of the largest government purchases of renewable energy in the country. The majority of the renewable electric energy will come from wind, solar and water sources from Wisconsin, though some of the energy will come from a wind farm in Iowa owned by MG&E.

Harley-Davidson museum draws attention to Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley: Consider it a $75 million billboard for development opportunities in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. That’s one of the less obvious roles that Harley-Davidson Inc.’s new museum will play as it opens Saturday. Harley expects the 130,000-square-foot museum to draw 350,000 visitors a year – and a huge amount of media attention – to its location at W. Canal and S. 6th streets. And that has already helped showcase other valley development sites, said Laura Bray, executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners Inc. “Just the exposure for the valley, and for Milwaukee, has just been huge,” said Bray, whose nonprofit group promotes the valley, which runs from east of Miller Park to the confluence of the Menomonee and Milwaukee rivers.

State will rethink cut in job centers: State officials have taken a step back from their plan to pull staffers who help the unemployed out of dozens of job centers around the state. Officials have said the move would more efficiently use shrinking federal dollars to serve more workers in need. But the plan drew heavy criticism at a legislative hearing Tuesday from lawmakers and local leaders who said the move could hurt unemployed people in rural and poor communities facing mounting economic woes. “I want to do some more work with our regional work force partners and our staff to identify some additional options for meeting our shared fiscal pressures as well as our commitment to serve more workers and more employers, ” Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman said in an interview Wednesday.

Midwest Airlines senior VP Dickson resigns: Scott Dickson, Midwest Air Group Inc.’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has resigned his position at the Oak Creek airline. Dickson announced his plans to leave the company to Midwest staff on Wednesday, Midwest spokesman Michael Brophy said. Brophy described the departure as “amicable” and said Dickson plans to remain with Midwest for a few weeks in a “transitional role.” Dickson, 54, informed Midwest management that he was resigning in order to “spend more time with his family,” Brophy said. Dickson plans to move to the Dallas area, he said. “I think he wants to look at other kinds of work, perhaps consulting,” Brophy said.

UW team battles evolving viruses: A team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one step ahead of a quickly evolving influenza virus that’s been threatening the planet with pandemic disease for the past five years. The team, led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, is leading the charge to find new drugs and weapons to fight a virus that has evolved to resist the only drugs known to beat it. Using a novel approach to screen for genes that aid and abet flu viruses, Kawaoka’s team has opened the door for the rapid development of new anti-viral drugs — drugs needed to combat quickly evolving viruses, such as avian flu, that threaten to cause widespread sickness and economic devastation. The paper is published today in the journal Nature.


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)
– Internet coupons: Theft at checkout counter?

– Curbing underage drinking with high-tech scanners

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Scientists use fruit flies to find new flu drug targets

– Madison firm to start Alzheimer’s drug trials

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Main St. gets facelift after years of planning

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Bemis Co. to issue earnings July 29

LABOR (back to top)
– Four-day workweek seen as cost-saving move in Outagamie

– Airline will cut 2,500 jobs

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Madison company wants software for, and by, the masses

– Fitchburg online marketers expand with City Dictionary

INVESTING (back to top)
– Dow falls more than 230 points

– School districts misled on risks of investments, lawyer says

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Park board meeting gets testy over sale of land

– Housing issue hearing today

– Aldermen attack Madison development

– Green monastery planned

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Cattle to graze on conservation land

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Work progressing on flooded rail lines

– City to borrow $500,000 for road repair projects

– Northwest job cuts no impact on Outagamie

– Air Wisconsin June traffic down

RETAIL (back to top)
– Developer breaks ground on Waukesha’s largest retail center

– MillerCoors import deal for Grolsch closes

– A niche carved in furniture

– Steve & Barry’s files for bankruptcy

REGULATION (back to top)
– Want county money for a town bridge? Court says build the road first

– All Great Lakes states have approved water compact

– Delafield to probe unusual $750K fund transfer

TOURISM (back to top)
– Harley museum set to rev into action Saturday

– Office plans at Harley-Davidson museum site have stalled

– Hodag organizers plan to continue without founders

– CVB Grant will help promote Oshkosh tourism

– Milwaukee lags behind on parks spending

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Doyle to buy more state electricity from renewable sources

– Alliant to give $1M in flood grants

– DNR orders boiling of water for some Bellevue residents

– Despite steep upfront cost, geothermal systems sharply cut energy bills

– Pewaukee to study creation of storm-water utility

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Study: Many seniors can’t afford basic necessities

– Mortgage industry tightens reins on loan risks

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Report: MillerCoors to tap Chicago or Dallas for headquarters

– New interim UW-Parkside chancellor endorsed

– Lakeside Foods changes CEOs, creates diversified products

– Stevens receives gaming honor

– Stauffacher to Lead WMMB Board for Another Year

– Doral Dental seeks new headquarters campus

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Gail MarksJarvis: Ignoring sign of slow global growth foolish

Media Partners
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