(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 31 July 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— NewPage Corp. says it will close its paper mill in Kimberly in August and lay off 475 employees. Three months ago, it silenced one of the three machines at the mill and terminated 125 employees.

NewPage is also shutting down is closing a mill in Niagara. It still has plants in Wisconsin Rapids, Biron, Stevens Point and Whiting.

Officials of the Ohio-based company blamed a downturn in print advertising and rising costs for fuel and raw materials for the Kimberly shutdown. NewPage bought the Kimberly mill as part of its $2.6 billion purchase of Stora Enso North America, formerly known as Consolidated Papers Inc.

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen ripped the decision to close the mill.

“The pain felt throughout the Fox Valley… will affect all of us. As Niagara goes – and as Kimberly goes – so goes our nation,” he said.

“I call upon President Bush to immediately consider imposing a tariff on all paper imported from Communist China. NAFTA and CAFTA are
nothing more than a free giveaway of our jobs.”

See release: http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=132417

— Briggs & Stratton has notified state and local officials that it plans to lay off 81 workers when it shuts down its Port Washington plant on Oct. 2.

— The House Judiciary Committee approved the Great Lakes Compact Wednesday, while Gov. Jim Doyle testified before a Senate committee on the water accord.

Doyle said the Great Lakes could become a great source of economic renewal for the region, and the resource must be protected.

“With the cost of gasoline, I believe shipping in the Great Lakes is going to see a great resurgence,” he said. “The states have come to understand that we are in this together.”

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who chaired the hearing, said water withdrawals have become an increasing threat to the Great Lakes.

“Pressures on the Great Lakes will only intensify with population growth, climatic changes, and contaminated or exhausted water supplies,” Feingold, D-Middleton, said in his opening remarks. “I strongly support putting in place management practices now to safeguard the Great Lakes against future stresses.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said in a statement following the House committee approval that the compact will “provide unprecedented protection for the Great Lakes.

“This agreement will also strictly regulate the use of water, but will allow for communities with water quality issues to divert water from the lakes for public usage,” he said in a statement.

See more on the hearing in DC Wrap:

— In a teleconference following the hearing, Doyle said he hasn’t encountered any opposition to the compact.

“As one member of Congress said when the resolution was being introduced; this would smoke out the opposition if there was any. But we really just haven’t seen any emerge,” Doyle said.

“I think other states in the country are respecting the compact process,” he said.

Once the compact is ratified by Congress and the president, Doyle said the “real work” begins, such as the creation of a Great Lakes Commission to share information on environmental impacts to the Great Lakes. The states will also develop water conservation plans that will be submitted to the commission, he said.

— Madison Ald. Zach Brandon is the new executive assistant at the Department of Commerce. He was appointed to the post by Doyle.

Brandon replaces Chandra Miller Fienen, who left the agency earlier this month to take the position of legal counsel in Doyle’s office.

Brandon has served on the Madison Common Council since 2003 and has been involved with three start-up businesses, including Laundry 101 in downtown Madison. Brandon, 35, also serves on the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission.

Doyle is still searching for a Commerce secretary following the departure of Jack Fischer. Deputy Secretary Aaron Olver is leading the agency until a replacement is found.

See the press release:

— This is a lousy time to be running a business connected with the automotive industry.

Strattec Security Corp., a vehicle lock supplier, says it’s feeling the effects of the slowdown in Detroit and reporting a fiscal-fourth quarter net loss of $921,000, compared with net income of $3.4 million for the same period a year ago.

Net sales for the Milwaukee company’s fourth quarter were $38.6 million, down from $46.1 million a year earlier.

Strattec says its lower sales and net loss for the quarter primarily resulted from two factors: a 12-week strike against a major supplier to General Motors and a dramatic shift in demand by consumers to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

See the release:

— Despite some strong headwinds in the economy, Wisconsin manufacturers say the assistance they received from the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) produced an economic impact of $226 million, most of it in sales growth and business expansion.

The fiscal year 2008 economic impact is based on 185 surveys completed by WMEP-assisted companies and compiled by an independent national research firm.

“This year’s impact sends a strong message about the substantial gains that can be realized by manufacturers who invest in change and transformation,” said Michael Klonsinski, executive director of WMEP, a non-profit organization that provides expertise and business assistance to help small and mid-size manufacturers grow and succeed.

“Clearly it’s another sign that Wisconsin manufacturers can compete and win in the global economy.”

See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=132429


WISBUSINESS LUNCHEON: Global Warming Task Force Co-Chairs
Tuesday, August 12, 11:45 am, The Madison Club

WisBusiness.com, The Madison Club and Madison Magazine present “The Madison Business Luncheon” on Tuesday, August 12, with featured guests Global Warming Task force Chairs Roy Thilly of the Wisconsin Public Power and Tia Nelson of the Board of Public Land Commissioners.

Learn more about the Global Warming Task Force: http://dnr.wi.gov/environmentprotect/gtfgw/

Sponsored by Xcel Energy.

This event is open to the public, and the price for lunch is $19. Call the Madison Club to register at (608) 255-4861. The luncheon starts at 11:45 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.



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
Announcing – The Bendix/King AV8OR(TM) Series
Applied Tech, Focus on Energy and the Capital Region Business Journal Announce Green IT Makeover Contest
Governor Doyle Names Zach Brandon Executive Assistant of Department of Commerce
Harley-Davidson, Inc. Adds Director
James C. Powell Joins Nerites Board of Directors
Kagen Calls on President Bush to Secure Our Jobs
Rocket Racing League(R) Takes Flight!
Strattec Security Corporation Reports Fiscal Fourth Quarter Results
Xceligent Successfully Launches Commercial Real Estate Database in Madison, Wisconsin

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


NewPage shutdown will leave 470 jobless: Workers will be on payroll until Sept. 30… NewPage Corp. will shut its doors in September, putting about 470 employees out of work. The Miamisburg, Ohio-based company announced plans for the shutdown to employees Wednesday morning, said Andy Nirschl, president of Local 2-9 of the United Steelworkers. “They’re shutting us down permanently,” Nirschl said. “We’ve heard rumors they had this in mind. We think they set us up for this right from the beginning when they bought us.” NewPage bought the mill as part of the acquisition of Finnish Stora Enso’s North American assets last December. Nirschl said the company did not seem receptive to the idea of offering the mill at 433 N. Main St. to another buyer.

Foundry lands Daimler order: Grede’s European contracts curb deeper staff cuts… Grede Foundries Inc. has received a $45 million order to build truck axle castings for Daimler Truck assembly plants in Germany, even as Grede eliminates about 90 jobs at its Reedsburg foundry, where some of the work will be done. The Milwaukee-based company also anticipates finalizing another $20 million in sales from European customers in coming weeks. Combined, the contracts would represent a significant portion of Grede’s approximately $500 million in annual sales. “The opportunity to export profitably couldn’t come at a better time,” said Bruce Jacobs, Grede president. “The market is extremely difficult for the foundry industry as we try to manage volatile costs and reduced demand. The new Daimler work will help fill open capacity at our plants in Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota, and our hope is that additional work fills some of the gaps at our other plants.”

Janesville area among nation’s worst in job losses: The Janesville area in south central Wisconsin is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to job losses. Federal data released Wednesday shows payrolls in the Janesville area dropped by 3.1 percent in the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report says that’s one of the 10 highest rates of job loss among 310 metropolitan areas nationwide. The highest rate was in Cape Coral-Fort Myers area in Florida, where payrolls dropped by 5.1 percent. The Janesville area has been hurt by layoffs at the General Motors Corp. assembly plant there. The state Department of Workforce Development said Tuesday it is seeking $3.8 million in emergency federal funds to help workers laid off by GM and its suppliers.

Appleton raising prices for overseas markets: Paper and packaging products manufacturer Appleton said Wednesday that its international division is raising prices to offset the increasing cost of raw materials, energy and transportation. The Appleton-based company said the division has notified its customers that the company has raised prices 7 percent for carbonless sheet products sold into Mexico. The company also raised prices 6 percent for all its direct thermal products sold to all international markets. The company said it is seeing an “extraordinary escalation” of costs for raw materials, energy and transportation. Appleton produces carbonless, thermal, security and performance packaging products. It employs approximately 3,000 workers and is 100 percent employee owned.

Report: China trade costs 59,100 Wisconsin jobs: A new report suggests the growing trade deficit with China since the two normalized trade relations has cost the United States some 2.3 million jobs, including 59,100 jobs in Wisconsin. The state ranks 12th in terms of total jobs lost and ninth when compared with the total number of jobs in the state. The total number of jobs lost represents 2.1 precent of the state’s jobs. The job loss since 2001 — when China was accepted into the World Trade Organization — is a result of the U.S. importing cheaper Chinese goods rather than having those products manufactured domestically, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank. It says in 2007 employees nationwide displaced by Chinese trade lost a total of $19.4 billion in diminished wages.


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)
– One-fifth of Madison-area homes will need to worry about transition from analog

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Plant neighbor launches sign campaign

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Gas dribbles down, oil bubbles up

– Fire damages meat processing plant

– Shipbuilder sale rumored

– Meatpacker Excel must pay Sizzler $7.1M:

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– NewPage announces plans to close Kimberly mill

– Strattec reports 4Q loss

LABOR (back to top)
– A loss of 244 jobs? Warrens resort, nation’s largest Jellystone Park, may close

– Flight attendants union seeks severance package from Midwest

– Marshfield Job Center will stay open

– State seeks funds for displaced workers

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Clayton business hopes to corner glow-in-dark market

– De Pere bed and breakfast to open doors Friday

INVESTING (back to top)
– Stocks head for lower open following GDP reading

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Fitchburg considers buying property in Madison

– Housing bill targets first-time home buyers

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Farmer sentenced for selling cows pledged as collateral

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Year after tragedy, most deficient bridges still not fixed

RETAIL (back to top)
– Grede wins $45M Daimler Truck order

REGULATION (back to top)
– U.S. House committee approves Great Lakes compact

– OSHA had cited mill 3 times before fatal explosion

– Council passes $20 wheel tax, sets referendum on sick leave

– Mayor pleads with council for budget cuts

– New commercial fishing rules draw positive reviews

TOURISM (back to top)
– Milwaukee’s Black Holocaust Museum to close

– Clarke Hotel opening delayed yet again

– GrandStay hotel open, booked to capacity

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Milwaukee OKs New Berlin water

– Coming soon to a neighbor near you, a 200-foot wind tower?

– One-stop solar power shopping

– Stratford utility seeks rate increase

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Franciscan Skemp breaks ground in Holmen

– FEMA extends individual assistance application deadline

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Ald. Brandon tabbed as executive assistant in Department of Commerce

– Blanchardville businessman admits to writing $15M in bad checks, connection in loan fraud

– Wisconsin School Grainger Hall addition almost done

– Great Wolf hires PR agency Fleishman-Hillard

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mike Ivey: Weak dollar boosts biotech buyouts

– Tannette Johnson-Elie: Bazaar aims to boost inner city businesses

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.