(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 6 Aug. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Self-funded companies that are members of the Business Health Care Group in southeastern Wisconsin saw a two-year aggregate decrease of 4.5 percent per health plan member when compared with 2005 base year costs.

In 2007, the self-funded member companies experienced a 6.1-percent increase in medical costs (prior to benefit application), which was approximately 4 percent less than the Milwaukee market trend.

This result, coupled with the 13.7-percent reduction reported for 2006, produced a cumulative two-year savings of $32 million for the self-funded member companies. When taking into account southeastern Wisconsin’s medical cost trend, the program produced even greater savings, totaling an estimated $103 million, according to the BHCG.

See the release:

— Wisconsin residents support repealing the state’s minimum mark-up law on gasoline by a better than 2-to-1 margin, according to a new poll by the Wood Communications Group.

The survey also found mixed opinions among respondents about what a “fair” profit on a gallon of gas should be.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said they supported repealing the law, compared to 28 percent who supported i. The survey was conducted July 29 through Sunday. The poll of 400 residents had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The survey also found 82 percent of respondents answered “yes” when asked if they would repeal the law if it was costing them 10 cents a gallon. Ninety-one percent said yes when asked if they’re support repealing it if the law were costing them 25 cents a gallon.

A report earlier this summer from the conservative-leaning Wisconsin Policy Research Institute found the law added 30.2 cents per gallon to the cost of gas, a figure that convenience store owners and others have disputed.

Here are the responses when asked, “How much profit do you think would be fair for retail gasoline station owners to earn on each gallon of gasoline they sell?”

Less than 5 cents 14%
5 cents 25%
8 cents 12%
10 cents 20%
12 cents 2%
15 cents 5%
20 cents 4%
More than 20 cents 4%
NS 13%

See more on the poll:

— Waukesha-based Electronic Tele-Communications Inc. (ETC) is reporting second-quarter net earnings of $24,932, or 1 cent per Class A common share, which is an improvement over a net loss of $178,320, or 7 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. The company’s quarterly sales grew to $550,507 from $524,202 a year earlier.

Electronic Tele-Communications supplies voice announcers and voice application platforms to domestic and foreign telephone utilities under the Audichron and Digicept brand names.

The company’s thinly traded stock is sold through pink sheets over the counter.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/8/5/#waukesha-telecom-company-posts-a-thin-profit


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.



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Press Releases
· Americans Are in a Grilling Rut
· Appleton Completes Sale of BemroseBooth
· Appleton to Release Second Quarter 2008 Financial Results
· Audi of America Joins Local Dealer Partner Audi North Shore to Host Audi Sport Race Car Drivers Marco Werner and Lucas Luhr in Milwaukee, Wisc. on Wed. August 6
· Business Health Care Group Reports Second-Year Savings
· Calling All Hotel and Food Service Staff
· Congressman Kind Plays Key Role in Passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act
· DeWitt Ross & Stevens Conduct Free Business Seminar September 10 about Non-Compete Agreements
· DeWitt Ross & Stevens Conduct Free Business Seminar September 11 about Non-Compete Agreements
· Fincantieri to Acquire the Manitowoc Marine Group
· Great Wolf Resorts Reports Second Quarter 2008 Results
· Higher Performance Bridges Goal Of UW, DOT Team
· Manpower Inc. Named One of PINK Magazine’s Top Companies for Women
· Mobile Web offers instant access to wine list on the go
· National Institute Attendees to Take Part in Historic Presidential Advisory Council Listening Session
· NewPage Receives Environmental Stewardship Award for Lighting Project at Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, Mill
· Rocket Racing League(R) Conducts Successful Rocket Racer Flights at EAA AirVenture
· U.K. Court and Shareholders Approve Sale of Enodis to The Manitowoc Company
· UW-Madison Ecologist Receives MacArthur Award
· WindConnect(R) Joins BP Alternative Energy and Dominion for Wind Farm Ceremony
· Wisconsin Industrial Guide’s Report Shows 2.1% Loss in Manufacturing Jobs
· Wisconsin REALTORS® Association announcess FACEBOOK AND LINKEDIN groups

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


NewPage workers plan picket in Kimberly: Workers at the NewPage paper plant in Kimberly are now asking state leaders to persuade the company to keep the plant open or sell it off. The fight could start Thursday. By late September, 475 workers are expected to be out of a job and without a paycheck after NewPage closes its plant in Kimberly. But some are asking the State to fight back. “We know this is an uphill battle and a long shot, but I tell you what, the Kimberly mill is one of the best paper mills and has two of the biggest paper machines in the industry. There is no reason this mill should be shut down,” Jim Dercks, an employee at the mill for 29 years, said. That’s why workers want the plant to be sold– an option, Dercks says, the company refuses to explore. A company official has told Action 2 News it’s closing the mill because there’s too much coated paper, which the mill makes, on the market.

– Kagen, Petri to discuss NewPage

Paying More At Pump Could Keep Shoppers Local: Some small-town businesses may have a competitive advantage over big box stores, simply because they’re closer to home. It’s impossible to pinpoint why many Evansville businesses are booming, but one theory is that shoppers could be saving on gas by not traveling as far — and shopping locally , WISC-TV reported. “A lot of people look and they can say, ‘I can buy it cheaper 30 miles away,” said Dave’s Ace Hardware general manager Todd Hesgard. Once upon a time that was the case but this summer in the city of Evansville, making the trip to the big box stores in Janesville or Madison means spending a lot more on gas, WISC-TV reported. As shoppers stay local, stores like the Evansville Pharmacy are feeling a boost at the register.

Great Wolf CEO says Blue Harbor results improving: The parent company of Sheboygan’s Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center said Tuesday that the facility has seen improved results this year, despite a soft economy. The comments came during a conference call with analysts, where the company, Madison-based Great Wolf Resorts, discussed the second quarter performance of the 11 resorts it owns in the United States and Canada. … The company does not disclose financial results of its individual resorts. Thus, it’s unclear whether the four-year-old Blue Harbor Resort is profitable, or not. Asked to comment on the performance of the Blue Harbor property, Jim Calder, the company’s chief financial officer, said things were looking up for the $54 million, 182-room facility, which in the past had been failing to live up to their expectations.

Oshkosh: Business growing, 4imprint to build new distribution center: Oshkosh promotional products company 4imprint will build a new 98,000-square-foot distribution center in Oshkosh. “We’re running tight on space,” said John Lord, vice president of commercial operations. “And we certainly need the additional space as we’ve grown to support our customers’ needs.” … Over the last three years, 4imprint has added 140 jobs to its workforce. Fifty employees work at the distribution center and 350 work at the corporate headquarters in City Center, Lord said. With the completion of the new distribution center, Lord said, the company anticipates hiring an undetermined number of additional employees at both locations.

Mill under safety review; Violations unrelated to blast subject to fines: The investigation of what might have caused the deadly explosion July 29 at a local mill will subject the facility to a wide-ranging search for health and safety violations. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will act upon any violations it uncovers, including those unrelated to the explosion that killed three men at the Packaging Corp. of America Mill near Tomahawk, OSHA spokesman Brad Mitchell said.


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

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