Contaminants found in multiple test sites on Wolverine property by BETH ALTENA About a hundred residents, including city officials and Wolverine Worldwide representatives, attended a public meeting held jointly by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) on Tuesday, April 24 at the Rockford Freshman Center. A presentation by a team of four representatives of the environmental agencies detailed the background of their investigation, where the testing stands to date, what possible future outcomes of the process may be, and answered questions well after the 9 p.m. expected close of the meeting. Comments from the public regarding the situation were about evenly mixed among those supporting Wolverine in their actions in removing the former tannery and those who appeared skeptical of the company’s actions or worried about contamination. Dave Novak, community involvement coordinator of the Superfund Division of the EPA, began the evening’s presentation, introducing the other representatives. “We are looking for conclusions based on good science, not speculation,” he stated. “We have a great deal of information in a relatively short period of time. We are letting good science lead us on our journey.” He then gave the floor to Naria Nunez of the EPA. Nunez said the EPA was contacted by a citizens’ petition June 21, 2011 describing concerns over releases during the demolition of the former tannery at 123 N. Main Street, Rockford. She said the petition indicated the demolition was of community concern and included photographs of discolored water running off the property and questions about the past use of chromium at the property. The EPA decided to investigate the site, and began testing in October of last year. Nunez said preliminary testing results found some contamination with potential of offsite contact. The investigation is still underway and is in the preliminary stages. At any time the EPA could decide no further response is necessary; could call for removal of contaminates or could refer the investigation to another government program. The EPA could also continue to investigate and at the end of the process could rank the site based on a system called a Hazardous Ranking System. This is an evaluation of the property based on evaluations of groundwater, surface water, air, ground, or […]
Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) recently reported record revenue for both the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, as well as record earnings per share for the full year. Highlights for the year include: • Revenue rose 12.9% to a record $1,409.1 million, driven by double-digit growth from each of the company’s branded operating groups: the Outdoor Group, Lifestyle Group and Heritage Group. Foreign exchange contributed $17.3 million, or 1.4%, to reported revenue growth. This year’s revenue represents the second consecutive year of double-digit growth, reflecting strong momentum for the company’s brand portfolio in almost all major geographies. • Gross margin of 39.5% was equal to the prior year’s reported gross margin, representing outstanding performance in a challenging sourcing and product cost environment. • Operating margin expanded to a record 12.1%, compared to prior year reported operating margin of 11.4%. • Diluted earnings per share increased 14.3%, to $2.48, compared to prior year adjusted earnings per share of $2.17. Reported full-year earnings per share in 2010 were $2.11. • The excellent free cash flow generated in 2011 was used to invest for future growth, fund benefit plans for employees and return value to shareholders through the payout of $22.7 million in dividends and the repurchase of 1.8 million shares for $65.3 million. “Our portfolio of strong, global lifestyle brands combined to deliver another year of record performance,” said Blake W. Krueger, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Each of our three branded operating groups and our direct-to-consumer business contributed to the year’s outstanding results. Additionally, all major international regions reported double-digit revenue growth, as our newly created International Group focused on the significant opportunities outside of North America. Our distributor and licensee business, which markets our brands in nearly 190 countries, also had an exceptional year, with revenue up nearly 40%. We are very proud of the record performance in 2011 and are excited about the global momentum of our brands, our continued geographic expansion and the impressive product innovations we have planned for 2012.” Highlights for the fourth quarter 2011 include: • On top of the prior year’s 23.2% fourth quarter revenue growth, revenue in this year’s fourth quarter rose 5.6% to $406.5 million, representing the sixth consecutive quarter of record […]
Wolverine Worldwide (WWW) recently announced the opening of a very special retail location for its Sebago brand, a flagship location on the celebrated Regent Street in London. This particular Sebago store is the brand’s 44th store to open, as the brand already has a wide variety of retail location spanning the globe in locations such as Paris, Oslo and the Philippines. This is the first Sebago flagship store opened by the parent company, Wolverine Worldwide. The flagship Regent Street location opened this November to an enthusiastic consumer response. Sebago has been a well-known premium footwear brand in Europe for years and the opening of this flagship store with one of Europe’s most prestigious retail addresses cements the brand’s status as a must-have brand in the mind and hearts of consumers. Of course, the recent buzz around the brand after Kate Middleton has been spotted several times in her Sebago shoes has certainly helped elevate the profile of Sebago around the globe as well. The store itself is located at 78 Regent Street in London and boasts more than 1,600 square feet of retail space encompassing two spacious floors. The inspiration for the design of the store draws upon Sebago’s New England heritage accented with nautical influences. There is an exceptionally impressive, true-to-life and yacht-inspired staircase that connects the floors. The staircase has brass accents, inset portholes and wall-to-wall wraparound graphics that inspire and place the customers’ state of mind firmly on the New England coast. The Sebago flagship store is providing customers with the ultimate Sebago heritage experience in a personal fashion lead by the first-hand craftsmanship and premium quality of the Sebago footwear and apparel items. The Regent Street location offers the widest range of Sebago product in the United Kingdom and also features some very unique product collaborations including the brand’s Artisan and Filson collections.
by ROCKFORD CITY MANAGER MICHAEL YOUNG Financial Outlook Over the past several years, the City Council has implemented numerous cost cutting measures to ensure that the City of Rockford budget is maintained within our budget constraints. One of the many cuts that were made included the elimination of the publication of the Rockford Outlook Newsletter. As an alternative, Council has asked that I coordinate periodic articles in the Rockford Squire to update the community on all that is the City of Rockford. The following information will represent the first installment of the Rockford Outlook in the Squire Newspaper. As mentioned above, the City Council has implemented many cost cutting measures over the last several years to ensure that our budget is balanced. We have cut staff by 25% and have reorganized virtually every department to ensure that we are working within our budget framework. On July 1st of this year, the City’s new fiscal year began and I am very pleased to announce we are working on a balanced budget, which maintains expenditures in check with revenues. This, quite frankly is a significant task in that we have seen major reductions in State shared revenue, property tax revenue, and investment income while many expenditures continue to increase. We have put together a multi-year budget strategy, which will ensure that the City’s fiscal position remains strong. One indicator of our strong position is the recent review of the City’s bond rating. Two (2) years ago, we received an upgrade in our bond rating to AA, which was recently confirmed by Standard and Poors. As we look to the future, our main focus will be preservation and enhancements to our public infrastructure including water, sewer and streets and an eye towards maintaining quality services that our residents have grown accustomed to. Our forecast is that property values will continue to decline for at least the next year at a rate of around 4%. Even with this news, we have developed a budget framework that will take us to 2013. Our budget projections will be updated as we work through the new budget process in February of next year. The new budget maintained the City’s millage rate at 10.9 mils, one of the lowest in the County for cities and […]
‘Light use’ could include hotel, research facility by BETH ALTENA Wolverine Worldwide attorney Ken Grady described himself as a “tour guide” through a presentation designed to educate the public on the company’s efforts to redevelop riverfront acreage in downtown Rockford. On Wednesday, Sept. 21 he spent two hours outlining the steps the company made prior and during the demolition, as well as speculating on possible future use of the property. He said there was no definitive plan yet for the site, and the ideas the company had for future use would depend on needs to the community as time progresses. Addressing first and foremost safety concerns, Grady pointed out to the crowd of about 100 residents that Wolverine partnered with experts and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources with each step of demolition of the 100-year-old tannery, warehouse, mechanical building, offices and water treatment facility, as well as conducting ongoing environmental hazard testing during the process. Further testing is being conducted on three test wells where substances—ammonia and cyanide—were found. Grady pointed out that this is no threat to city water, which comes from aquifers east of town and are not connected to water from the Rogue River. Grady said the results of their tests are available to the public and results of further tests will also be made available to the public. He said the arsenic found in one well and cyanide found in two wells were “really small to slightly low exceedences. We believe these are not going to be issues going forward and there is no risk to people at the site,” he stated. Grady described how crews spent 16 months cleaning any potential hazards within the properties prior to beginning any actual demolition and had testing done to ensure the components within the buildings—pipes, walls, floors and tanks—were uncontaminated before demolition or removal. He said the company focused on the trilogy of “reduce, reuse and recycle” in the disposal of the buildings. Any historic artifacts were retained, perhaps for reuse in the design of future shoe stores, but Grady said items had been replaced during the 100-year-old life of the tannery and buildings and experts found fewer significantly historical memorabilia than expected. Grady also explained the […]