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WISCONSIN BUSINESS BRIEFS: BP to pay $7 million in tainted gas settlement

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CHICAGO - British Petroleum has agreed to pay a $7-million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit filed in four states, including Wisconsin.

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The lawsuit stems from the recall of 4.7 million gallons of tainted gasoline at 575 stations and retailers in 2012. The lawsuit claims that fuel from a BP Whiting, Indiana refinery caused vehicles to stall, hard start and cause mechanical damage. Indiana, Illinois and Ohio were the other states where recalls were issued. A federal judge must approve any legitimate claims up to a total of $5 million. 

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Triple-A Wisconsin says the average price for gas has dropped considerably over the past two weeks. A spokesperson for the company says prices are averaging three-dollars, forty-six cents a gallon – 20-cents lower from last week and 40-cents lower from a month ago. Refineries in Chicago shut down for maintenance have since reopened. Triple-A expects prices to remain stable, but any unexpected events could impact prices. 

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ABC Supply of Beloit said today that it bought the distribution assets of Sellmore Industries – a siding, roofing, and window company with four large locations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sellmore has locations in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Hagerstown, Maryland. It also has a location in Buffalo, which will still function as a separate business. ABC Supply is the largest wholesale distributor of roofing products in the U.S., with 450 locations in 45 states. It’s also one of the country’s largest suppliers of windows, siding, and other building products. 

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About one-of-every-20 jobs created in Metro Milwaukee is in the health care industry. That’s according to the Brookings Institution. Its “Metro Monitor Index” shows that just over a-thousand health care jobs were among 21-thousand total jobs created in the Milwaukee area from the time the recession ended until March of this year. Other cities had even higher percentages of health care jobs created. Brookings says Milwaukee ranks 89th in that department, among the country’s top-100 metros. Nationally, about one-of-every-10 employees are now in the health care field.

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Milwaukee’s Fox TV station will soon be owned by a Chicago firm. The Tribune Company said today that it struck a deal to buy Milwaukee’s WITI-TV and 18 other stations around the country owned by Local TV Holdings. The total purchase price is almost $2.34 billion. The Tribune Company now owns 23 stations, plus cable network WGN America and two of the nation’s largest newspapers – the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. The deal must still be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. It’s scheduled to be finalized by the end of the year. The Tribune Company says it would become the nation’s largest owner of commercial TV stations, thus making it easier to attract national ad sales. Another goal is to increase the Tribune’s overall vehicle for distributing video and digital content. The Tribune joins other large newspapers in acquiring more local TV outlets, as fewer people read papers and print advertising has dropped.   

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It’s been five years since Miller and Coors merged their U.S. beer-making operations. Milwaukee lost Miller’s headquarters to a combined office in Chicago – but even after all this time, Miller still has a huge presence in the city where it was born 160 years ago. The number of brewery employees has not changed since the merger, although 40-percent of the office jobs moved to Chicago. Miller Lite still sponsors a number of prominent events in Milwaukee, and Miller never took its name off the stadium where Brewers play baseball. Analysts say the merger succeeded in its mission of cutting costs. Sales volume dropped by six-percent, after more craft beers entered the market. Miller-Coors had 28-percent of the U-S beer market at the end of 2012, down by almost two-percent from 2008. Still, the company remains profitable. Its annual net income has jumped by 37-percent since the merger five years ago – due to the cost savings and higher beer prices. 

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Sean Scallon
Sean Scallon has been a reporter and Sports Editor at the Pierce County Herald newspaper in Ellsworth since 1998. He holds a bachelors degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's also worked at newspapers in Glenwood City, Wisconsin; Marion, Illinois and Shawano, Wisconsin. Sean also works as a sports reporter for other newspapers and websites in RiverTown Multimedia from River Falls to Hudson to New Richmond and Red Wing.
(715) 273-4334
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