(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 26 June 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has unanimously approved a rule that will require utilities to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired plants by 90 percent by 2015.

The move should also significantly reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, lowering ozone and particulate matter levels, and leading to major improvements in air quality beyond those already achieved, officials said. The rule now goes to the Legislature for consideration.

The approval comes after Dane County Circuit Judge Steven Ebert earlier this week rejected a lawsuit by business groups that attempted to stop the state from moving ahead with new rules restricting mercury emissions.

DNR Secretary Matt Frank and environmental groups lauded the move.

But Scott Manley, environmental policy director for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, said the rule would cost utility rate payers billions of dollars. He said his group would first take its case to the Legislature in an attempt to block implementation of the rule.

See the full story:

— The state’s local unemployment rates for May show declines in the majority of Wisconsin’s counties accompanied by job gains across all major metro areas.

Unemployment rates decreased in five of the state’s twelve Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in May compared to April. The Madison MSA had the lowest rate in May at 3.2 percent, followed by La Crosse at 3.6 percent. Janesville’s rate increased 1 percentage point to 6.1 percent for the highest rate among metro areas in the state. The Racine MSA rate declined for the third straight month, this time by .2 percentage points to 5.1 percent. Rates fell in ten MSAs when comparing year-ago figures.

For the third consecutive month, preliminary nonfarm wage and salary jobs increased in all 11 recorded metro areas. When May’s preliminary job numbers are compared to the May 2007 totals, the results show five metro areas increasing jobs, and six decreasing.

See release: http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=129736

— The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce will hold a forum on June 30 titled “Does America Need a Fiscal Wake Up Call” focusing on the challenges facing the U.S. in the new realities of the global economy.

The forum will be moderated by Mike Gousha and the panel will include U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

See details:

— Lobbyist Tom Moore, executive director of the Wisconsin Cable Communications Association, is in line for a Harley-Davidson after hitting a hole-in-one at this week’s golf outing sponsored by the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee.

Lobbyist Scott Tyre paid for a promotion that offered a Harley for a hole-in-one on the 184-yard second hole at Glen Erin Golf Course in Janesville.

Moore, who said he has a 24 handicap, said he hit a 5-iron just hoping to make the green only to watch it roll up and in.

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, is poised to introduce legislation designed to prevent the fraudulent spending of federal disaster-relief money.

Sensenbrenner’s bill comes on the heels of major flooding in Wisconsin and Iowa.

In a press release, the congressman said he is seeking to prevent incidents like one that occurred this week in Milwaukee, in which several thousand lined up to obtain federal food vouchers and reportedly got into scuffles.

Milwaukee County officials said they were overwhelmed by the number of people who lined up to apply for emergency food aid. They said some may have been under the belief that everyone in the county was eligible for the help because of Milwaukee’s disaster area declaration. But applicants have to have some type of loss due to flood damage to be eligible.

Still, they also noted that guidelines only require applicants to show identification and proof of residency along with declaring they suffered flood damage. There was no requirement to verify any flood damage, and officials said they were relying on people to be honest in applying for benefits.

See more in DC Wrap:

— U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, will make a joint appearance at Blackhawk Technical College next week to introduce a free workshop for homeowners facing foreclosure.

The six-hour workshop is set for Monday, June 30, and will also feature representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the University of Wisconsin Extension, and various financial institutions.

— Rockwell Automation Inc. says “less favorable market conditions” are causing the Milwaukee company to reduce its previous earnings guidance.

The company said it expects to report third quarter diluted earnings per share of 93 cents to $1.00, and that that “no longer believes” that full-year EPS will fall within the previous annual guidance range of $4.25 to $4.45.

The company’s revenue for the month of April was consistent with original expectations. However, for the past several weeks, Rockwell has experienced slower-than-expected growth in the United States and Europe, primarily in its product businesses.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/6/25/#rockwell-warns-of-reduced-earnings



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Press Releases
Adecco Engineering & Technical Honored by GE Healthcare Division
Cardiologist Praises Latest Resveratrol/Red Wine Research
Erie Insurance Group Extends Special Consideration to Policyholders Affected by Weather Emergency in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin
Governor Doyle Announces Disaster Unemployment Assistance for Six More Counties
Harris Supports Midwest Flood Relief Efforts
Natural Resources Board Adopts Mercury Rule
Natural Resources Board approves major mercury reduction rule
NewPage Taking Additional Downtime, Closing Paper Machines at Its Niagara Facility and Curtailing Converting Operations in Chillicothe
Public Events Slated at UW-Madison Research Stations
Rising Fuel Prices Prompt Students to Call for Greater Adoption of Lecture Capture
SoftSwitching Technologies Introduces DySC Global
Visant to Consolidate Manufacturing Operations
Wisconsin Students Win Ford/AAA Auto Skills National Title and a Week with Roush Fenway Racing

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


Natural Resources Board approves mercury reduction rule: The state Natural Resources Board approved a rule Wednesday that would require a reduction in the amount of mercury sent into the environment by coal-powered power plants by 90 percent by 2015. Coal plants are a major producer of the toxic substance. Business organizations including Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Wisconsin Utility Investors and the Wisconsin Paper Council tried unsuccessfully to obtain a court order blocking the rule before the board acted. A Dane County Circuit Court judge dismissed the lawsuit. The rule will not be final until committees of the state Legislature review it, and Scott Manley of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce said the organization will take their concerns to the Legislature.

More Midwest jobs to be cut, pilots union says: The head of Midwest Air Group Inc.’s pilot union says pending job and route cuts will be deeper than initially thought. Jay Schnedorf is chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association’s Midwest chapter. He says there will be hundreds of jobs lost because Midwest Airlines plans to cut its number of jets by nearly half. The company said last week it’ll ground its dozen gas-guzzling MD-80s to save on fuel costs. Schnedorf says he’s hearing reports that the company plans to phase out five of its 25 Boeing 717s and that would reduce the airline’s fleet by 46 percent. He also says the company wants to cut pilot pay by as much as 65 percent. Midwest spokesman Michael Brophy says the company continues to have discussions with the union but won’t comment publicly on the talks.

Rockwell Automation to miss 2008 forecast: Industrial parts manufacturer Rockwell Automation Inc. said Wednesday its full-year earnings will fall short of expectations because of slower-than expected growth in the U.S. and Europe. The Milwaukee-based company also said third-quarter earnings will miss Wall Street projections as well. The company’s shares tumbled on the news, falling $6.42, or more than 12 percent, to close at $45.77. Shares fell to a new 52-week low of $44.89. Shares have traded as high as $75.60 in the past 52 weeks. Rockwell had previously forecast fiscal 2008 profit between $4.25 per share and $4.45 per share. The company didn’t give new guidance other than to say it won’t meet its previous forecast. For the full-year, analysts polled by Thomson Financial expect $4.29 per share.

Milwaukee agencies move to attract big conventions: The Wisconsin Center District, which operates the Midwest Airlines Center, and Visit Milwaukee, the area’s main tourism marketing arm, are redoubling their efforts to entice large conventions to Milwaukee. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Center District board went along with a proposal to dedicate $400,000 of its $4.6 million commitment to Visit Milwaukee to a new set of initiatives aimed at securing larger and more lucrative conventions. “We have to put the lights on more,” said Doug Neilson, president and CEO of Visit Milwaukee, referring to the convention center, the U.S. Cellular Arena and the Milwaukee Theatre. The money is being used for a new convention development manager who was recently hired to prospect for large national conventions.

Report: SABMiller talking merger with Modelo, InBev: SABMiller plc has held discussions with Grupo Modelo, the Mexican brewer half-owned by Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., and InBev about possibly merging Modelo with SABMiller if InBev’s $46.3 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch is successful, according to a Reuters article. The Reuters article, which quoted sources familiar with the situation, said InBev has assured Modelo that if InBev does acquire Anheuser-Busch, then Modelo would be able to buy back Anheuser-Busch’s stake and even put itself up for sale. SABMiller, the parent of Miller Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, raised the possibility of possibly acquiring part or all of Modelo in that scenario, the article said. Officials at Modelo, SABMiller and InBev all declined to comment.

Taming the beast of health-care hyperinflation: Aggressive employees-consumers can help lower costs, speaker says… When a hip replacement is required, Serigraph employees may travel to India from West Bend for the operation. Taming the Beast of Health Care Hyperinflation was the focus of remarks Wednesday by John Torinus, chairman of Serigraph Inc., a West Bend-based specialty printer employing 1,200 people at plants in the U.S., Mexico and Asia. “I’ve got a $6 million bill for health care … that’s what has driven me to get involved,” Torinus told members of the local business and health-care industry at the forum sponsored by Bank First National and the George V. Reis Investment Group.

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)
– Hologic buy of Third Wave moves through antitrust step

– Survey: U.S. broadband subscribers generally satisfied

– AT&T rolls out TV, Web services in Fox Valley

BIOTECH (back to top)
– TomoTherapy stock soars 20% on heavy trading

– Stratford business to make ethanol from whey

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Economists worry about consumer spending for holiday season

– Tribal gaming rings up revenue across nation

– Stadium district sales tax payouts lag

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Valley Packaging Supply to get $3.5 million for expansion

– Durable goods orders steady

– Welding work grows solid

LABOR (back to top)
– Seasonal hiring boosts local jobs

– Helping labor helps economy, Bernstein says

– Milwaukee loses jobs, but unemployment rate is down

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– New cafe to open in Paoli

– Building a Web presence

– Small business owners curtail spending

INVESTING (back to top)
– Key interest rate unchanged

– Rockwell Automation shares dive on earnings outlook

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– County Web site protects against property fraud

– $10 million hotel on Madison’s West Side nearly ready to welcome guests

– New home sales, prices fall in May

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– ABS Sexation Product Reaches 500,000 Units Sold

– Free Well Water Testing at Farm Technology Days

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Midwest Airlines to reduce fleet, cut jobs drastically

– Coalition: La Crosse could lose airline service

– U.S. gas use may have peaked

RETAIL (back to top)
– Madison’s two Golf Shacks to close

– High gas prices mean retailers feel pinch of credit card fees

– Darrow buys five Georgia dealerships

REGULATION (back to top)
– Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board approves rule to cut mercury

– Kohl asks feds to nix Smithfield Beef buy

– Climate change question over Starbucks drive-through gains media attention

– Court slashes Exxon damages award

– Cities seek better safety standards

TOURISM (back to top)
– Great Wolf Resorts shares rebound from low

– Marcus supports Wisconsin Dells tourism

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Power-line company plans to rebuild line

– Rain lowers production for Kaukauna Utilities

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Bellin clinic called a great fit for Bellevue

– Senator: Medicare cards leave seniors vulnerable to ID theft

– 3 nonprofits get part of $1 million

– LHI to break ground for third building in spring

– Cornerstone closes Onalaska clinic

– Federal help not likely to be enough for flooded homeowners

– Associated Banc-Corp is donating to disaster relief

– USDA official: Rural businesses, communities eligible for flood help

– Prospera opens new GoodMoney store

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Troha trucking firm restructures under Chapter 11

– Kenosha’s Jockey to sponsor Underwear Affair fund-raiser

– Waukesha County museum hires executive director

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Gail MarksJarvis: Inaction speaks to uncharted territory

Media Partners
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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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