June 29, 2016
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Local roundtable a forum for regulatory concerns

Representatives from three health care provider organizations are concerned that slow Medicare reimbursements, cutbacks and tighter controls are affecting their business and will likely curtail providing services and devices to their clients.

The health care providers were among a group of business owners who attended a small-business roundtable Wednesday at Southwest Library.

They noted that problems with the level of reimbursement would ultimately affect the clients they serve and could eventually cause them to lay off home healthcare providers or even cease operations. The organizations provide devices and home health care assistance to patients.

This summer is the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, which draws millions of visitors every year. It also creates jobs and draws tourist dollars, which support hundreds of communities. And, without the NPS, where would this column⁳ author and his wife, Elizabeth Snyder, take photos like this? ( )

The Agenda: Times are tough for National Parks Service


I was intrigued this week when I read an article about a young couple who had put aside a bit of money, then quit their jobs to spend a year visiting every national park in the United States. It was a bold effort, and they will wrap up their tour in August.

They planned well, according to the article, relying on camping and sleeping on the sofas of friends to save money. They seriously miscalculated how much they would spend on food, however. Hiking and dragging yourself around the nation’s 59 national parks is bound to give you a big appetite.

The pictures were fun to see, as they photgraphed themselves in many of the same places my wife and I have stood on our own 25-year effort to visit as many national parks — and national monuments — as possible. My favorite was a photo of the couple in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I have a photo of my wife in the same spot on a rock outcropping with the ocean in the background.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation ( Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation )

Two companies expected to get WEDC tax credits


Two Kenosha County companies are actively negotiating with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on the terms of business development tax credit contracts that could commit the firms to create new full time jobs.

The job guarantees would be in exchange for funds to expand their business operations.

WEDC has declined to name the companies, disclose the value of the tax credits or the length of the tax credit period until negotiations are completed. Negotiations have been ongoing will be finalized as soon as the companies and the agency agree on the terms.

Jacob Turowski ( )

CCB Technology adds Turowski


Jacob Turowski has joined CCB Technology as director of services. He joined the company in 2014 as a systems engineer. Turowski has over seven years of experience in IT, with a background in virtualization. He holds technical certifications with Microsoft, VMWare, Cisco, WatchGuard and other industry leading companies.

“Jacob’s experience and technical expertise in project management, workflow, and client relations make him a wonderful fit for this new position,” said Logan McCoy, vice president of services.

CCB Technology is a nationwide business IT provider that specializes in the planning, design, implementation, and management of a complete range of solutions that includes hardware, software, and IT services.

CNC operator Charles Shipman, of Kenosha, inspects an oil filter adapter for a Ford truck while on the job at American Metal Technologies in Sturtevant. Shipman, 18, graduated this month from Reuther Central High School after completing Gateway Technical College's high school CNC Boot Camp, which included his paid internship with AMT, who then hired him full time June 16. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

KUSD-Gateway partnership links students with employers


Charles Shipman graduated this month from Reuther Central High School with 16 college credits already under his belt — and a skilled job with Sturtevant’s American Metal Technologies.

Shipman began earning the credits last July through Gateway Technical College’s rigorous “boot camp” in computer-numeric-controlled machining.

It’s taught at Gateway’s S.C. Johnson Integrated Manufacturing Engineering and Technology Center (iMET) in Sturtevant, where lab designs reflect modern factory settings with state-of-the-art equipment, machinery and instructors with real-life experience in the expectations that employers have for prospective employees.

Forever 21 is coming to the Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, with an opening date later this month. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO )

Forever 21 opening this month at outlet mall


Forever 21 is slated to open later this month at the Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets.

The 5,900-square-foot store will offer current fashion trends for men, women and children, with new merchandise brought in daily. The store will be located next to Kitchen Collection and Christopher & Banks.

“We are thrilled to bring one of the most recognized and largest independent fashion retailers in the world to our center this summer,” said Cristin Newton, director of marketing and business development at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, in a statement released Monday. “Forever 21 will join the roster of top-name, stylish brands that we promise to provide to our loyal customers.”

At 22, Luke Maier, right, is one of Culver's youngest owner-operators of. Like his brother Bobby, left, he started as a 15-year-old at the restaurant on Green Bay Road while still a student at Bradford High School. ( SUBMITTED PHOTO )

The Agenda: Cut out for Culver’s


For many of us, our first job was at a restaurant or fast-food franchise. We learned a little about showing up on time, cooperating with others and treating customers properly. Eventually, most of us moved on.

Most of us aren’t Luke Maier, who began his working career as a 15-year-old student at Bradford High School.

Based on a recommendation from his brother, Bobby, Luke was hired to work one day a week at the Culver’s at 5220 Green Bay Road. Then-owner Tony Milazzo had hired Bobby a few years earlier.

Festival Foods to hold second hiring sessions

Festival Foods will hold a second round of open interviews for positions at its new Somers store, 6000 31st St.

The store is scheduled to open July 22. Part-time and full-time opportunities, as well as leadership positions, are available.

The interviews will be held at Parkway Chateau/Brat Stop, 12304 75th St.

Pleasant Prairie project to feature 227 apartments

A project that would bring 227 new apartments and single-family residences to Pleasant Prairie was considered by the village’s Plan Commission Monday.

Green Bay builder Lexington Homes presented the conceptual plan for Fountain Ridge, to be built west and north of Bain Station Road and Highway H.

Fountain Ridge will consist of three 49-unit two-story buildings and 10 eight-unit buildings, as well as a clubhouse and 19 single-family residential lots. The eight-unit buildings will feature two bedrooms each with private attached garages. Those units will be up to nearly 1,600 square feet.

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The Agenda: Attention car guys, you’ve got a new hangout


I’m a car guy, sort of. Maybe I’m just a car guy wannabe. But I’m definitely a car lover.

I realized many decades ago I don’t have the skills or manual dexterity — or patience — to spend a lot of time fixing or tending to my car. And, unlike my brother-in-law, who has brought any number of classic Fords back from the grave, I am completely lacking in the desire to rebuild cars.

When I was a teenager, my dad bought a series of wrecks and dumped them next to our garage. It was a free car for me — if I could make it run and keep it running. My dad had less mechanical skill than I did, so it was a lose-lose proposition.

Border War Beer Fest gets state funds boost

The upcoming Border War Beer Fest will be supported in part by a $30,000 boost from the state. The Joint Effort Marketing Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism will help underwrite marketing and promotion efforts for the new event.

The June 25 festival at HarborPark will showcase the best of 28 Wisconsin and Illinois breweries in a friendly “battle of the beers.” Attendees will sample craft beer and cider from both states and vote for their favorites. One state will take home the “Willy,” the official festival trophy.

The event will also include home brew sampling, food and live music, as well as a Border War Fun Run 5K to kick off the event.

The Ladder: Aurora Employer Solutions adds Brian Joyce

Aurora Employer Solutions, the employer-focused service arm of Aurora Health Care, has added Brian Joyce to work with organizations in the Kenosha, Racine, and northern Illinois markets.

Joyce, a 14-year veteran in health care sales, will serve as a market sales executive to work with employers of all sizes to provide customized solutions to support health management needs. He will help identify wellness services for companies that fit their needs, including assessment programs, on-site clinics, smoking cessation initiatives and drug and alcohol screening programs.

Prior to his role at Aurora Employer Solutions, Joyce held positions at UnitedHealth Group, Sensia Health Care and Humana Inc. Joyce is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Monica and Tom Karnes, owners of LaMacchia Travel, are celebrating the 85th anniversary of the company. Tom is a third generation owner of the company and the fourth generation of the LaMacchia family involved in the travel business. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

The Agenda: Traveling the World


We may not give it much thought, but Kenosha is a bit different than some places in the number of longstanding multi-generational businesses in our community.

In the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with a lot of the current family members who run some of these long-standing businesses.

LaMacchia travel turns 85 this year, and a fourth-generation family member runs the business that grew out of the extra services provided by a family grocery store in Kenosha’s Italian neighborhood.

Jeffrey Ehrhart ( )

The Ladder: Ehrhart newest CSB director


Jeffrey Ehrhart, owner of Ehrhart Farms Inc., has been appointed to the board of directors of Community State Bank, a Union Grove-based $322 million independent community bank.

“Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge to our board,” said CSB president Scott Huedepohl. “He’s a business owner, he’s a leader in the agricultural community, and we’re very proud and excited to welcome him to CSB.”

Ehrhart resides in the Town of Dover, where he owns and operates the family farm where he was raised.

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Growth stresses local labor market, study says


Kenosha County employers benefit from an economy and business conditions that help their bottom line, but at the same time put an element of the unknown into business operations.

Those were just some of the indications in a newly released labor market analysis of the Kenosha region.

Highlights from the report, conducted over a five-month period by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, were unveiled Tuesday as part of the Let’s Talk Talent Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

The great room at the Addison of Pleasant Prairie serves as not only a gathering pace for its residents, but also a place for families to spend time with their relatives and a pre-dining social space. ( SUBMITTED PHOTO )

The Agenda: The Addison changes the nature of its neighborhood


The well-planned streets of Pleasant Prairie, especially those that radiate away from the area around Costco, are a marvel and a mystery.

A credit to the village’s plans, ordinances, and, I suppose, its vision; these gently winding boulevards have, for many many years, been paths to nothing. But that’s the way planned communities work.

But until people live in such a place, it’s something other than a community.

Ron Nickel ( )

The Ladder: Nickel joins Johnson Bank


Ron Nickel has been appointed vice president and regional sales mager at Johnson Bank. Nickel will lead the delivery of retail banking services to clients in Racine and Kenosha.

Nickel comes to Johnson Bank with 23 years of experience in the financial services industry. Most recently he served as private client lending manager for consumer banking at JP Morgan Chase.

A resident of Libertyville, Ill., Nickel holds a bachelor's degree in business economics and an MBA in finance from DePaul University. Nickel is treasurer for Carmel Catholic Center for the Arts and a coordinator and leader of the annual Appalachian mission trip for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

United Hospital System's Kenosha Medical Center campus, photographed in 2013, has the busiest emergency room in Kenosha County and one of the busiest in southeastern Wisconsin, according to a recent regional ranking. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY SEAN KRAJACIC )

The Agenda: Ouch! Two local emergency rooms rack up big patient visit numbers


Are we particularly clumsy or injury-prone around here? Do we run to the emergency room for a severe cold when, maybe, we should seek treatment at a clinic or in our doctor’s office?

Whatever the reason, it appears we use the emergency room quite a bit. According to data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association Guide to Wisconsin Hospitals, United Hospital System’s Kenosha Medical Center ranked seventh on the list for ER visits in 2015.

This ranking is among hospitals in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Walworth, Ozaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties.

Gordon Food Service has agreed to pay $1.85 million after a federal ruling found the company discriminated against hundreds of female job applicants at its Kenosha distribution center, shown in 2010, and elsewhere. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY BRIAN PASSINO )

GFS to pay for hiring inequity


One of the nation’s largest food distribution companies will pay $1.85 million after a federal ruling determined it discriminated against hundreds of female applicants — including more than 400 local job-seekers — during a 2010-12 hiring process.

Michigan-based Gordon Food Service Inc. resolved the issue this week through a conciliation agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor. A compliance review ruled the company discriminated against 424 qualified women for entry-level warehouse jobs at the GFS Kenosha Distribution Center, 10901 38th St.

The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program noticed GFS’s unbalanced hiring rate, with almost 300 males and six females selected from 926 applicants from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. An investigation found GFS systematically eliminated qualified women from the hiring process through various discriminatory means, including the unlawful use of a strength test.

Packers star teams up with Jockey foundation

The Jockey Being Family Foundation has added Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson as one of its ambassadors to help build awareness for the foundation and the need for post-adoption services.

The foundation is a corporate initiative of Kenosha-based Jockey International Inc. It provides resources and support to post-adoption organizations to help strengthen families once an adoption is finalized.

Nelson and his wife, Emily, recently grew their family through an adoption, according to a Jockey Being Family news release.

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