Free Tuesday Trends sample: Kenosha casino rising, Mercury Marine mixed, iron mine access falling

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Kenosha casino: Every day that goes by without a rejection of the Menominee tribe’s proposed casino by Gov. Scott Walker, observers say, makes it that much more likely that the answer will ultimately be “yes” — or some compromise that allows the project to be built. Thus, expectations are growing that the impoverished tribe will eventually get to build on the site of the former Dairyland Greyhound Park after years of trying to get approval for the project. Supporters of the Kenosha project warn it’s still not a done deal, but some have a hard time seeing how the governor says no after pushing back a final decision several times. The latest word from the governor’s office is an announcement on new negotiations with the tribes to “maximize job creation in our state.” But some also say Walker’s answer won’t be an unconditional “yes.” The Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk tribes have both been vocal critics of the Menominee proposal, fearing it would drain revenue from their casinos. But the Menominee continue to increase their financial offers to make everyone whole — the state and rival tribes included — if the casino moves forward. That leads to speculation on what kind of arrangement could win over the Potawatomi and their supporters in Milwaukee.


Mercury Marine: The Fond du Lac manufacturer of outboard boat motors announces plans for a $30 million expansion, but efforts to secure $10 million from the county to help the expansion fall short after county supervisors reject a resolution authorizing the low-interest loan. Mercury had threatened to leave Wisconsin in the wake of the economic downturn, but after public dollars and union concessions helped keep it in the Fox Valley, the company began a $20 million expansion last year. The newly proposed expansion comes amid an improved economy and rising sales for Mercury. Under the terms of the proposed loan from Fond du Lac County, the company’s loan would allow for complete forgiveness of the $10 million if 300 jobs are created. But only 17 members of the 25-member county board vote for the loan, falling short of the three-fourths margin needed to move forward. One supervisor who opposed the resolution said he felt it was something Mercury “wanted” but didn’t need; the company says it’s disappointed and that the expansion will move forward much more slowly without the funding.


Iron mine access: Senate Republicans reach a deal on limiting public access to a northern Wisconsin mine site, and Assembly Republicans indicate they intend to pass the measure later this week. The bill, as originally crafted, would have allowed mining company Gogebic Taconite to restrict public access to the site, which is in the state’s managed forest land program. Currently, the site is open to the public. But an amendment from state Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, would restrict that public access within 600 feet of roads and mining equipment in the area, and require the company to pay for land removed from the managed forest program. Democrats knock the bill as another sweetheart deal for G-Tac, but Cowles counters it’s a good compromise that keeps the public interest in mind while protecting those working at the site.