700 former, current Shopko workers seek severance payments

GREEN BAY, Wis. — More than 700 former and current Shopko workers have signed a letter seeking severance payments.

The move comes after a federal judge on Friday approved the Wisconsin-based retailer’s plan to exit bankruptcy protection and wind down its operations. The approval clears the way for Shopko to shut down its remaining stores this month.

Employees are seeking severance from Sun Capital Partners, a private equity firm that bought Shopko for $1 billion in 2005.

The employees say they were promised severance pay after Shopko filed for bankruptcy in January, but the payments were taken out of the budget during court proceedings.

CHARLES CITY, Iowa — Officials at a chicken processing plant in northeastern Iowa announced the plant will close in August, taking 500 jobs with it.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reported that the Simply Essentials chicken processing plant in Charles City closes on Aug. 5.

Employees were told Thursday in a letter that 479 plant workers, 22 administrators and 12 field operations workers would be laid off. The letter says the layoffs are expected to be permanent.

Simply Essentials has been in business since 2013, with a primary focus on health and wellness foods. It bought the Charles City plant in 2016.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board awarded the company $1 million in investment tax credits and $66,000 through a refund of sales and other taxes paid during construction.

Wet spring delays Illinois corn planting

CHICAGO — An unusually wet spring resulted in a delay in the planting of the Illinois corn crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that as of June 2, Illinois farmers had sown corn seed in 45% of the acreage dedicated to the crop. That is 53% below the five-year average. Of the seeds that have been laid, only 32% have emerged.

Rodney Weinzierl, of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, has 500 acres of farmland in the Bloomington area. He expects most farmers to follow his lead and eventually plant corn. However, farmers can choose to switch to less profitable but easier to grow soybeans. Farmers could also elect not to plant altogether.

Milwaukee man hit with 70-year sentence

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for fatally shooting two teens.

Terrance Mason Jr., 21, was sentenced Friday.

Mason pleaded guilty in March to two counts of first-degree reckless homicide for the June 2018 shooting.

The Associated Press

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