Barger pleads guilty in Zimmerman arson
TYLER, TEXAS — A former plastics industry employee will serve at least five years in prison after pleading guilty to arson Feb. 12 in U.S. District Court in Tyler.
Robert Carl Barger, 29, has not been sentenced for the May 21, 1999, fire at Zimmerman Sign Co. in Longview, Texas, said Duncan Woodford, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tyler.
"He is in custody now," Woodford said in a Feb. 13 telephone interview.
On Jan. 9, Barger was acquitted of arson in another case, one involving a 1997 blaze that destroyed injection molder Supreme Plastics Inc.'s facility in White Oak, Texas. That fire killed one employee. Barger had been a materials handler at Supreme at the time of that fire.
Gregg County District Attorney Bill Jennings said state charges for that case are not likely.
"Assuming the plea and sentencing goes through, there will be no additional state charges," he said.
At the time of the Zimmerman fire, Barger was on parole after serving time for arson in connection with a 1991 fire.
Dow Europe slates PE facility for 2003
TERNEUZEN, NETHERLANDS — Dow Europe SA intends to boost its polyethylene capacity in Europe with a new 600 million-pound-per-year plant at its existing production site in Terneuzen.
The project, to employ Dow's new solution production process, still needs formal approval from the Dutch provincial authority, the College van Gedeputeerde Staten van Zeeland. But Dow announced that it expects the new plant to begin operating in the first half of 2003.
Output will include a range of PE grades including Dow's Elite-brand enhanced PE resin, plus high and linear low density PE, according to Dow Europe, part of Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co.
The new facility will bring Dow's European regional PE capacity total to almost 4.4 billion pounds per year.
Union strikes two Toronto Polyair sites
TORONTO — The Communications Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada are striking two Polyair Inter Pack Inc. plants in Toronto.
The plants, part of Polyair's Cantar/Polyair Canada Ltd. subsidiary, make bubble packaging and solar swimming pool covers. Polyair President and Chief Executive Officer Henry Schnurbach said the firm is shipping product from its U.S. plants to meet customer needs, and replacement workers are being trained to get the struck plants back into production.
As of Feb. 15, all lines in the struck plants were in partial production.
The strike began Feb. 7, after workers voted down a bargaining agreement Polyair had reached with union officials. Schnurbach said CEPU and the company reached the agreement about a month ago. He would not provide details, but he said terms were better than average compared with bargaining agreements in the province of Ontario in the past year. The union and company officials met Feb. 14 but were unable to resolve outstanding issues of wages and benefits, according to Schnurbach.
Polyair has another Canadian plant and seven in the United States.
Officials with CEPU's Local 333 were unavailable for comment.
Brentwood adding thermoforming plant
READING, PA. — Brentwood Industries Inc. is spending $7.2 million to expand its specialty products thermoforming division.
The Reading firm has broken ground on a new plant across the street from its existing thermoforming plant and headquarters. Brentwood expects to complete the 205,000-square-foot facility by midyear.
Brentwood's specialty products division custom thermoforms parts for transportation, industrial battery, medical packaging and construction markets. The division's existing facility is 116,000 square feet.
Brentwood's Watertech division thermoforms PVC sheet in Hope, Ark., and extrudes PVC sheet in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Lebanon, Pa., for captive use.
Jose Domingos, Brentwood's director of sales and marketing, said in a telephone interview that his company plans to add injection molding to its slate of processes later this year. The firm, owned by Rita Rye, has sales exceeding $45 million a year, Domingos said.