Local news roundups

Energizer Battery Plans to Close Plants in Fennimore & Portage

Energizer Rayovac has two production plants represented by Teamsters 695. Energizer is planning on “consolidating”, closing the Wisconsin plants and moving production to non-union plants in North Carolina. “Once they’re closed, then Rayovac Wisconsin is done,” says worker John Jerome.


PORTAGE, Wis. — Union representatives set up outside the Energizer plant in Portage Thursday, a week after the International Brotherhood of Teamsters claimed the battery manufacturer plans to close the facility and another in Fennimore.

As uncertainty swirls within both communities, John Jerome, a longtime employee at the Portage plant, is concerned about what might happen to him and hundreds of his coworkers.

Energizer has not confirmed plans for the two plants, but Jerome said he and other workers got a message from the company that it wants to consolidate plants. The Teamsters union has said Energizer wants to close both plants, moving some operations to a non-union plant in North Carolina and other jobs overseas in the process.

Portage and Fennimore mark the Wisconsin-born company’s last two footholds in the state, and, “Once they’re closed,” Jerome said, “then Rayovac Wisconsin’s done.”

River of Melted Butter at Associated Milk, Portage

On January 2, 2023, a fire at the Associated Milk Producers Inc. in Portage, Wisconsin, created another river of melted butter. Luckily, NBC15 reports that there were no injuries due to the fire, and firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze by the night of January 3.

However, the Wisconsin State Farmer reports that this time, firefighters were unable to keep the melted butter out of the urban waterways, and the river of butter spilled into the Portage Canal. Although 99% of the melted butter was contained, a patch of melted butter roughly 30 by 20 feet wide ended up in the Portage Canal. And spills involving animal fats have detrimental effects on the environment similar to those of petroleum oil spills, which is why it’s imperative for the butter spill to be cleaned up as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/1179852/the-butter-river-fire-wisconsins-dairy-disaster/

Portage officials continue working to control the fallout from the Associated Milk Producers Inc. fire that released butter into the city sewer system.

Public Works director Phil Livingston said the city is working with a number of consultants and cleaning companies to clean up the product that entered the sewer system as a melted liquid but solidified in the city sewers. It now needs to be physically broken up and removed.

The structure fire required an additional eight fire departments to help the Portage Fire Department Jan. 2 around 9:15 p.m. The fire started in a storage area in the AMPI building, 301 Brooks St., where there was butter being stored. It melted and began to run through the building and into the Portage Canal and sewers.


City Brewing Expansion

City Brewery Co. is expanding its warehouse space at the former Sony Corp. plant outside New Stanton and will add more than 20 jobs at the site, the Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania said Wednesday.

The La Crosse, Wis.-based company brews beer at the former Latrobe Brewing Co. in Latrobe.

It is adding 111,500 square feet to its existing 255,587 square feet and extending its lease by 10 years to 2033 for the current and expanded space, RIDC said in a statement.

The expansion is scheduled to begin next month, with the RIDC improving the lighting, dock areas and electrical power. The RIDC did not release details of the lease agreement on the space at the 350-acre property, which is owned by Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.

City Brewery had been using space at the 2.8 million-square-foot Westmoreland Innovation Center in East Huntingdon and Hempfield for about a year. It is now expanding its operation by more than 40% and doubling its lease, said Jason Rigone, Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. executive director.

Anita Hernandez, a spokeswoman for City Brewery, could not be reached for comment.

“City Brewery has made such significant strides in the growth of their business since they became a RIDC Westmoreland tenant,” RIDC President Donald F. Smith Jr. said.


City Brewing is also opening a site in Pennsylvania: https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2023/01/25/city-brewery-ridc-westmoreland-beer-warehousing.html