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Green Bay: NFL owners and players reach a deal to end the longest work stoppage in league history, and the Packers — along with their economic clout — quickly return to northeastern Wisconsin. Local businesses breathe a sigh of relief that no preseason or regular season games were lost due to the lockout, with the head of the Greater Green Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau acknowledging there would have been no way to offset the revenue losses from an absence of games. In addition, team officials report a $12 million profit from team operations last year. Combined with investments, the Packers’ net income was more than $17 million — a $12 million increase over the previous year. The team’s total revenue set a record at more than $282 million, $11.3 million of which came from the Packers Pro Shop as the team also led the NFL in apparel sales. Team president Mark Murphy quips of the numbers, “It appears the Super Bowl trumps the lockout.”
Dairy: Milk prices in July are expected to be up nearly $7 per hundredweight over last year’s July totals, according to a new government report, and some analysts expect prices to remain favorable well into the future. That’s led to tempered optimism from the state’s dairy farmers after they weathered low prices in 2009 and 2010. Things are uneasy, however, for a prospective large dairy operation in central Wisconsin. A nearby homeowner and Madison-based Family Farm Defenders have filed suit in Dane County court seeking a review of the Department Natural Resources’ approval of a 4,300-cow farm in Adams County. The groups cite environmental concerns and argue that the increased production would lower costs across the dairy market, but the head of Family Farm Defenders acknowledges the suit likely won’t succeed. Meanwhile, a report from a former UW-Madison food scientist shows milk quality at large Wisconsin dairy operations is generally better than the quality from smaller farms.
Milwaukee sick leave ordinance: A Milwaukee County judge rules the city’s controversial ordinance requiring paid sick days for employees is “over” after state lawmakers enacted legislation prohibiting that local law in May. In issuing his ruling, Judge Thomas Cooper says he doesn’t “feel real good about how this happened politically,” saying the state essentially removed the city’s power in passing the new state bill. The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which had successfully kept the ordinance from taking effect through legal challenges after it was passed by 69 percent of Milwaukee votes in November of 2008, hails the decision as “an official end to a nearly 3-year legal and legislative battle led by MMAC to protect workers and employers from this job-killing mandate.” The group requesting that the law take effect — 9to5, National Association of Working Women — vows to continue fighting for the law, saying they’re “sick and tired of the corporate lobbyists running this town and now state.”