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NEWBURGH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Tennessee-based Kaiser Aluminum Corp. (Nasdaq: KALU) announced Thursday it has declared force majeure at its Warrick Rolling Mill in Newburgh. The company says the move is due to the limited availability of magnesium used in the production of some of its aluminum beverage and food packaging products.

Kaiser, which acquired the Warrick Rolling Mill business from Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) in April 2021, says the lack of magnesium has reduced its ability to make the products at this time.

Force majeure is a legal provision in a contract that “frees both parties from obligation if an extraordinary event directly prevents one or both parties from performing,” according to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School.

Kaiser says its largest magnesium supplier, US Magnesium LLC, declared force majeure in September 2021, but continued to supply about 50% of its contractual commitment to Kaiser Warrick. However, the company says deliveries have recently stopped.

“Kaiser Warrick has been unable to immediately source additional magnesium from alternative sources and has begun adjusting production levels based on the amount of magnesium currently available and otherwise scheduled for delivery from other suppliers,” the company said Thursday in a news release. “Kaiser Warrick is working with its customers to minimize the impact on planned deliveries.”

The company says it expects production and deliveries to be reduced by 30% to 40% for July, and approximately 50% during the remainder of the third quarter. Those numbers are based on currently contracted deliveries of magnesium and assuming it will not receive further deliveries from US Mag.

Kaiser Warrick, the company says, will continue to operate at lower production levels until US mag resumes deliveries or another magnesium replacement becomes available.

The company did not specify if any jobs would be affected.

Earlier this month, Alcoa announced it had curtailed one of three operating smelting lines at its Warrick Operations facility due to “operational challenges.” Kaiser says it does not expect Alcoa’s move to affect the current or anticipated output at Kaiser Warrick.

Kaiser says it will provide an update during its second quarter earnings call, which is scheduled for July 26.

In March, Kaiser broke ground on a $150 million addition to its Warrick operation. The project includes a 100,000-square-foot production bay that will house a new coating line and is expected to create 10 jobs.

NEWBURGH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — California-based Kaiser Aluminum Corp. (Nasdaq: KALU) is making a major investment in its Warrick County operation. Our partners at WEHT-TV report the company will break ground Wednesday on a new $150 million addition at its plant in Newburgh.

The project will include a 100,000-square-foot production bay to house a new coating line totaling 665 feet in length. The station says the project represents the third largest capital investment in Warrick County history.

Kaiser acquired the rolling mill business from Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) one year ago this week. The facility employs more than 1,100 workers and produces about 310,000 metric tons of flat-rolled aluminum each year for the beverage and food packaging industry.

It was not immediately clear if any new jobs would be created as a result of the investment.

Kaiser Aluminum President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Harvey will be among the officials in attendance for the groundbreaking.

NEWBURGH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) has completed the sale of its rolling mill business in Newburgh. The deal with Kaiser Aluminum Corp. (Nasdaq: KALU) in California is valued at $670 million. 

Plans for the sale were first announced in December. Officials said when the deal was completed, the plant’s 1,170 would become employees of Kaiser.

As part of the agreement, Alcoa will retain ownership of the smelter and electric generating units at the site, which employ about 660 people. Alcoa will also continue to serve as owner of the property and has entered into a long-term ground lease agreement with Kaiser. 

The rolling mill produces some 310,000 metric tons of flat-rolled aluminum each year for the packaging industry. Additionally, Alcoa says it has reached a market-based metal supply agreement and transition services agreement with Kaiser. 

NEWBURGH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Newburgh-based Heritage Federal Credit Union has acquired Elberfeld State Bank in Warrick County. The credit union expects to complete the integration of the bank during the first quarter of 2021.

HFCU currently operates nine branches in Vanderburgh, Warrick, and Posey counties and one branch in Kentucky. With the completion of the acquisition, the credit union says it will have 13 locations in the Evansville metro area.

“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with The Elberfeld State Bank to further help our communities grow and flourish,” said David Milligan, chief executive officer of HFCU. “We are truly honored that the Board of Directors and executive officers of the Bank would recommend our institution and our proposed combination to their shareholders. Heritage’s strong consumer loan and mortgage loan business will nicely complement the extensive commercial loan business that the Bank has been so successful in building over the years.”

The credit union says it expects to have combined assets of over $810 million.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

NEWBURGH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for the Lou Dennis Community Park in Newburgh. Our partners at WEHT-TV report the first phase of renovations have begun, including the demolition of a pool that closed in 2018.

The city says the Newburgh Community Pool, which had been in operation for 45 years, was closed due to age-related infrastructure issues. The renovation project will include the removal of the concrete pool shell.

The project will also include the demolition of existing basketball courts, renovation of the pool house into a rentable event space with public restrooms, building a new splash pad and playground area and constructing a new basketball court.

Town officials say the project is the largest renovation for the park since the land was acquired in 1971.

The 11.6-acre park features the Fortress of Fun, two tennis courts, a basketball court, a sand volleyball court, a soccer field, a rentable shelter house and an outdoor ping pong table.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The number of home sales in central Indiana increased for the first time in two months. F.C. Tucker Co. says pended home sales rose 2.8% in May, compared to the same month last year. The year-to-date average home price increased 8.1% to $235,918.

The company says 4,340 homes were purchased in the 16-county region last month, up from 4,221 sold in May 2019. Of the counties tracked by F.C. Tucker, four saw decreases in home sales with Shelby County leading the way at 15.9%, followed by Montgomery County at 9%.

“Despite the economic challenges of the last couple of months, the residential real estate market saw a remarkable rebound in May,” said Jim Litten, chief executive officer of F.C. Tucker Co. “With the steady re-opening of the city and state, we’re hopeful residents will feel more comfortable showing and selling their homes, opening up much-needed additional inventory for home buyers.”

F.C. Tucker says the number of active listings dropped 31% in May to 3,933. Decatur and Jennings counties saw the biggest drops in active listings at 61.9% and 45.5%, respectively.

PITTSBURGH (Inside INdiana Business) — Members of the United Steelworkers union have ratified a new labor agreement with Pennsylvania-based Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA). The four-year deal covers some 1,700 active employees in the U.S., the majority of whom are employed at the steelmaker’s Warrick Operations in southwest Indiana.

The ratification comes less than a month after the two sides reached a tentative agreement. The new contract includes annual wage increases of more than 12 percent over the four-year period. The union says the deal also “maintains high-quality, affordable health care coverage.”

“This is a challenging time for these workers, with unfair trade and declining prices taking their toll on the U.S. aluminum industry,” USW International President Thomas Conway said in a news release. “Thanks to their strength and solidarity, they were able to achieve a fair agreement, one that makes sure they can continue to care for their families and also positions the company for future success.”

In addition to the Warrick location, the contract also covers employees at Alcoa’s facilities in New York, Arkansas, Washington, and Texas.

“We appreciate the contributions from our union employees at each of these locations,” Leigh Ann Fisher, chief administrative officer of Alcoa, said in a news release. “We are pleased to have in place an agreement that will position our Company and employees for future success.”

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Inside INdiana Business) – Pennsylvania-based Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) and the United Steelworkers union have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract. The steelmaker says the four-year contract would cover some 1,700 workers at five U.S. locations, the majority of whom are located at its Warrick Operations in southwest Indiana.

The USW says negotiating committee delegates will now return to their local unions to conduct membership information meetings and arrange ratification votes. The union did not provide a timeline for those votes.

Details of the proposed contract are not being made public by the union until members have had an opportunity to review it with their representatives, according to the USW.

“The proposed contract builds on decades of collective bargaining progress with hard-fought economic and non-economic improvements,” Michael Millsap, director of USW District 7, said in a news release. “Our members have earned and deserve fair wages, benefits and working conditions.”

Alcoa says the two parties agreed in May to honor the existing contract while negotiations for a new one could continue without a work stoppage. 

The USW also represents Alcoa employees in New York, Arkansas, Washington and Texas.

NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT) — An untrained eye might look at the massive tree canopy of Newburgh’s Overlook Park and see a beautiful forest, crawling with wildlife along the Ohio River.

While it’s true that the park boats plenty of wild animals, the forest is crawling with wild vines, too, choking the trees growing there.

Town manager Christy Powell said the problem is already out of control, and it’s likely too much work for human hands to fix.

But the mouth of a goat could help.

Down on the farm for the last eight years, Jill Ingram at Blue Heron Farm has goats that are good for milk and soap, but Ingram and her husband Curtis have bigger plans.

They’re raising a herd of landscapers, fit to clear mountains of brush because they love to eat.

“They really enjoy wild honeysuckle, wild rose, grapevine; they can eat blackberry bushes; they can eat poison oak,” Ingram said.

That is good for Newburgh, where hungry goat bellies might save the park from the vine growth.

“Grapevines are growing quite uncontrollably out there,” Ingram said. She took samples of the vines from Overlook Park to the farm and said the goats loved it.

Ingram said a crew of six goats can eat their way through an acre of forest in a couple of weeks, cutting down the thick undergrowth.

The hope is that the goats will carve a path through the dense vines, either sufficient to kill them at the root, or enough that the vines can be ripped down by hand.

Ingram said goats like eating weeds and thorny vines more than grass, so the overgrowth in Overlook Park would be a perfect feast.

Ingram is putting together a proposal the town will review. If the goats get the go-ahead, some fencing, shelter and water is all that stands between them and their eating extravaganza.