Cover Story

Featured Stories

Bend the Insurance Cost Curve

Frustrated by their annual wrangling over health care reimbursement rates, care provider Fairview Health Systems and insurer Medica decided to try something more collaborative. They didn’t know it two years ago, but they were forming



Want a jobs program with sustained benefits for the state? Invest in the U.

Seen on Site

Red Wing is using online video to convey “brand authenticity.”

More Stories

Preparing For Reform

Health care reform is a moving target, but benefit managers still have some changes to aim at.

Dairy Queen Successfully Launches Mini Treats

Consumers have reportedly responded favorably to smaller versions of Dairy Queen Blizzards, which launched last month; the company's chief brand officer says that "consumers are willing to pay a little bit of a premium" for

Itasca Project to Connect Area’s Large and Small Cos.

The first Minnesota Suppliers Showcase will kick off on May 24; it will convene small suppliers and sourcing departments with large corporate and government purchasers in the hopes that the two parties may form partnerships.

Lunds Reveals Downtown Grocery, Liquor Store Plans

Lunds, which has long considered opening a grocery store in downtown Minneapolis, is now moving forward with plans for a 20,000-square-foot supermarket and a 5,639-square-foot liquor store, pending approval from the city.

Pentair Co-Founder, Former CEO Harpole Dies at 89

Murray J. Harpole started the company in 1966 and became its first CEO; 20 years later, after 15 at the helm and another five on its board, Pentair's revenues totaled $1.2 billion and it employed

Did You Know? A Tornado Gave Best Buy Its Name

June 14th marks the 30th anniversary of a tornado that tore through Sound of Music's flagship Roseville store. The company responded with a "tornado sale"-promoted as a "best buy"-and its success prompted a name change

Hecker’s Bad Business Deal Set for $4.1M Settlement

Eden Prairie-based Gelco has agreed to pay the money in connection with a business deal that dates back to 2005; $2.1 million would go to Hecker's bankruptcy trustee on behalf of Hecker's creditors, $1.5 million

MN Tech Start-Ups Got $27M in Fed R&D Grants in 2010

Recently released data shows that Minnesota businesses received more than $27 million in 2010 through two federal grant programs-the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

Mpls Fed: Regional Bank Recovery Is “Weak”

The Minneapolis Fed said that banking conditions in the Midwest remained relatively flat during the first quarter, but Senior Vice President Ron Feldman expects improvement during the rest of the year.

U.S. Bank to Pay $1.2M to Settle FHA Violations

The Minneapolis-based bank will pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations that it failed to comply with FHA requirements in connection with 27 mortgage loans that resulted in losses of more than $465,000.

Burnsville Man Guilty in $43M Mortgage Fraud

Troy Chaika was found guilty of charges related to a mortgage fraud scheme, through which he and co-conspirators fraudulently obtained money from more than 100 residential property deals.

Local Cos. Reward Employees With a Good Time

The Star Tribune reported that an increasing number of local companies are experimenting with ways to make work fun for their employees; efforts include everything from reviving company picnics to daily in-house foosball games and

Strong Profits Prompt Hormel to Raise Expectations

The Austin-based food maker saw a 20 percent jump in second-quarter profit, prompting it to raise its earnings guidance for the fiscal year that ends in October; but the company's stock price decreased almost 5

Study: Medtronic Product Increases Sterility in Men

A study that appeared in the June issue of The Spine Journal found that back surgery patients treated with Medtronic's Infuse product experienced higher rates of sterility; Medtronic and two surgeons involved in the original

U.S. Bancorp Gets Low Ranking for Reputation

Major Minnesota employer Wells Fargo ranked 26th out of the 30 banks on the list, two spots below U.S. Bancorp; meanwhile, M&I Bank, which has 27 Minnesota offices, ranked sixth.

Why MN May Attract Med-Tech Jobs from Overseas

A recent report says that the cost of running a medical device production facility in the Twin Cities is competitive with other domestic locations, and there are a lot of other factors that can attract

Former Bank CEO Gets 4 Mos., $30K Fine for Fraud

William Garfield Sandison, the former CEO of Community National Bank, is one of three executives from the bank who executed a scheme to defraud other financial institutions through the financing of Ramsey Town Center.

3M Invests in German E-Reading Company

The company said that e-reading opportunities are becoming increasingly important to it-and that it sees business possibilities in the education, library, and automotive sectors.

MN Lawyer Gets 18 Mos. for Tax Evasion

Samuel Alfred McCloud was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for intentionally concealing at least $595,000 in income when reporting his taxes.

Xcel Goes to Trial Over 5 Worker Deaths

The trial, which started Tuesday and relates to the 2007 deaths of five workers at a hydroelectric plant in Colorado, marks a rare instance when federal prosecutors have brought criminal charges against a company.

3M Makes List of Top 9 Company Names

Inc. magazine, which published the list, said that the company's original name-Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company-sounded "robotic and dull," but a nickname coined by the founders was just the ticket.

AG: CenterPoint’s Pricing System Unfair

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to assess the effects of CenterPoint Energy's tiered pricing structure, which charges customers higher rates as their gas usage increases.

Appellate Court: Pension Funds Overcharged City

In the latest decision in a long legal dispute between two pension funds and the City of Minneapolis, an appellate court agreed with a district court ruling that said the funds miscalculated benefits and overcharged

Report: PolyMet Needs More Cash for MN Mining

A review of PolyMet's financial condition indicates that the company is low on cash-but it's in discussions about receiving early payments related to a previously planned financing deal.

Sun Country Gets Travelers Through Groupon

A media representative of the local airline told the Star Tribune that its promotion via deal-of-the-day Web site Groupon "will allow us to reach new travelers who might not have tried Sun Country in the

Twin Cities Top List of Healthiest, Fittest Metros

Among the country's 50 most populous metro areas, Minneapolis and St. Paul together ranked first on the American College of Sports Medicine's list; the ranking is attributed to the area's relatively low smoking rate, above-average

American Medical Systems Settles Suits Over Merger

American Medical Systems has settled two separate lawsuits alleging that its board breached its fiduciary duties in connection with the company's $2.9 billion merger agreement with Endo Pharmaceuticals.

Capella Mulls Adopted Rules for For-Profit Schools

New regulations require for-profit schools like Capella University to demonstrate that they prepare students for employment-but they have been altered from an earlier draft to allow colleges multiple chances to improve their performance before losing

Tennant Acquires Ohio-Based Water Star

Tennant said that the acquisition will add to its intellectual property portfolio, as well as its existing lineup of environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Best Buy Prevails in Geek Squad Trademark Suit

Best Buy sued Andrew Clayton last year and reached a settlement under which Clayton was required to cease infringing on the Geek Squad trademark-but the electronics retailer took him back to court after discovering continued

Medica Launches New Health Plan Offering

My Plan by Medica allows companies to contribute to employees' health plans while offering flexibility on how much coverage employees have and the amount that they will spend out of their own pockets.

Rep. Paulsen: FDA’s Device Regs Are Inconsistent

Congressman Erik Paulsen said Thursday that the FDA's pre-market review processes lack "consistency, predictability, and transparency," which is making it difficult for firms to bring their products to market in the United States.

State Changes, Eases Angel Tax Credit Requirements

Three key changes will now make it easier for companies seeking to participate in the program, which gives a 25 percent tax break to individuals and investment funds that provide seed money to businesses focused

UnitedHealth Buys Former ADC Campus for Optum HQ

The Minnetonka-based company will use the 450,000-square-foot Eden Prairie complex to house the headquarters of its recently-unified Optum health services businesses-OptumHealth, OptumInsight, and OptumRx.

Banks, Biz Owners at Odds Over Debit-Card Fee Limits

U.S. Bancorp and TCF Financial Corporation have voiced opposition to proposed federal rules that would limit debit-card swipe fees-but some of Minnesota's small business owners are heading to nation's capitol to give their support.

Mpls., IBM Invest $1.65M to Improve Tech Services

IBM will invest $1.5 million in researchers' time that will be spent on exploring ways in which the city can improve services and cut costs; Minneapolis will contribute $150,000 to cover project management and IT

Delta Moving a “Few Hundred” Jobs Out of MN

Delta CEO Richard Anderson wrote a letter to employees indicating that despite moving Minnesota jobs to Atlanta, the airline is still committed to its hub at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Feds Investigate Delta Union Elections

The National Mediation Board is reportedly planning on-site investigations into whether the airline interfered with a series of elections through which its employees rejected union representation.

Vikings Stadium Funding Approaches “Stalemate”

As negotiations continue about who would pay for $131 million in road construction associated with an Arden Hills stadium, Ted Mondale, who's leading negotiations for the state, reportedly said that the parties involved are "kind

Best Buy’s Patel Left for Venture Capital Firm

Kal Patel recently left his executive posts at Best Buy to become a partner at VantagePoint Capital Partners-where he will help expand global investments by the venture capital firm and lead initiatives involving "strategic partners,"

Cargill CEO Pushes for South Korea Free Trade Agmt.

Cargill is invested in numerous U.S. businesses that export directly to South Korea, and the trade agreement awaiting ratification "is critical from both an economic and agricultural industry standpoint," according to Cargill Chairman and CEO

Gov’t Halts Incentives for Wells Fargo, Other Banks

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is withholding financial incentives for Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, and J.P Morgan Chase Bank until they improve their efforts in a federal initiative called the Making Home

Target Pushed to Stop Making Political Contributions

Bill de Blasio, who sits on the board of a major Target shareholder-the New York City Employees Retirement System-wants the company to change its policy on political donations; Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel told shareholders that

5,132 MN Nonprofits Lose Tax-Exempt Status

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits said that the bulk of Minnesota nonprofits that recently lost federal tax-exempt status are defunct; those that are active but failed to meet new reporting requirements can reapply to have

State Could Pay Out Millions with Gov’t Shutdown

The state is reportedly required to issue severance payments and cash for unused time off to the 36,000 employees that could be laid off under a government shutdown this summer-which will cost the state millions.

EnXco Wants to Settle Suit With Xcel Over Wind Farm

EnXco's Merricourt Wind Project recently received final approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission-but in order to move forward with the project, the company needs Xcel to settle a lawsuit and resume its contract

Felhaber Buys St. Paul Law Firm

Rosene, Haugrud & Staab brings five employees to Felhaber, Larson, Fenlon & Vogt's practice, including three lawyers who will join the firm's employee benefits group.

Judge Sides with U.S. Bank in Data Breach Suit

U.S. District Judge David Doty said that E-Shops Corporation's lawsuit was missing key information to back up its claims that it lost money as a result of U.S. Bank concealing a breach of its data.

List Ranks Twin Cities Fourth Best Metro for Jobs

Job resource Web site indicated that industries to watch locally include health care (practitioners as well as technical and support workers), business and financial, and information technology (IT).

Report: St. Paul Company Raided by Commerce Dept.

The St. Paul offices of BeneVento Capital, which analyzes life insurance policies for clients, were reportedly raided on Wednesday by investigators from the Minnesota Commerce Department's insurance fraud division.

Two Men Sentenced in Investment Fraud Scheme

Mark Sutton and Joseph Finney each received prison sentences for enticing investors to buy shares in an investment dubbed "Envestclub," which they said offered high returns. But they didn't disclose that they were taking portions

Who’s Betting on the Lawson Acquisition?

As shareholders prepare to vote on the proposed acquisition of Lawson Software, recent market activity indicates that investors have attempted to profit from the deal in a variety of ways-sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Best Buy Sidesteps U.K. Rumors

The electronics retailer reported a decline in first-quarter earnings but outperformed analysts' expectations, sending its stock price up on Tuesday morning. And the company said that it doesn't comment on rumors like one that suggested

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal from Petters’ Victims

Investment funds that together lost $165 million in Tom Petters' massive fraud scheme sought repayment of their losses, but the Supreme Court rejected an appeal that challenged a federal judge's order denying restitution.

3M Prevails in Two Foreign Patent Cases

Two manufacturers-one in Canada and another in China-were separately ordered to pay 3M Company a combined $72,950 in damages for infringing on its patents; the Chinese company has appealed.

Gov’t Shutdown Could Cost Canterbury Millions

If a government shutdown occurs at the end of this month, Canterbury may be forced to suspend substantially all operations-a move that would cost it more than $1 million per week in lost sales.

Lawyer: No Charges to Be Filed Against Norm Coleman

Attorney Louis Freeh on Tuesday announced that neither former Senator Norm Coleman nor businessman Nasser Kazeminy-who was accused of funneling $75,000 to Coleman-will face charges, as the Justice Department has concluded its investigation.

NY Target Store to Vote Friday to Join Union

Workers at a Target store in New York will vote Friday to decide whether to join the largest retail union in the country, which could reportedly have ramifications for Target Corporation and the retail industry.

St. Paul, Minneapolis YMCAs to Merge

The new Y-which will be called the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities-will be able to better serve member needs and expand into new service areas, the organizations said.

Commercial Real Estate Pros. More Optimistic

A recent survey of 50 local real estate professionals showed signs of optimism about the commercial real estate market during the next two years, despite an anticipated increase in land prices and building materials.

Dayton Releases Shutdown Plan for MN Agencies

Governor Dayton released his recommendations about which state agencies should continue offering services with limited staff during a government shutdown; MnSCU was spared, but many others were not.

MN Cos. Affected as J&J Exits Stent Market

As Johnson & Johnson prepares to stop manufacturing drug-coated stents, competitors like Medtronic and Boston Scientific could see a boost in sales. Surmodics, however, a supplier to Johnson & Johnson, said that it is "disappointed"

MN Med-Tech Cos. Dispute New Heart Device Study

Roughly 40 percent of patients implanted with cardiac resynchronization therapy devices may not reap benefits from the expensive treatment, according to a new study. But med-tech giants Medtronic and St. Jude disagree, stating that current

Mpls. Complex on Most Endangered Historic Places List

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Pillsbury "A" Mill Complex in Minneapolis was foreclosed on late last year, and local residents fear that the site will be broken up for development.

Polaris to Close Fargo Plant; 80 Workers Affected

The recreational vehicle manufacturer said that some employees are being offered jobs at locations where work is being transferred-including Wyoming, Minnesota; Spirit Lake, Iowa; and office locations in the Twin Cities.

Multiband Offers $22.7M to Buy PA Company

If a merger agreement is reached, Multiband said that the acquisition of Pennsylvania-based WPCS International would add more than $100 million in revenue and between $5 million and $8 million in earnings annually.

Welsh Companies to Join Colliers International

Starting August 1, Welsh Companies' brokerage and property management divisions will begin operating under the Colliers International organization-marking Colliers' reentrance into the Twin Cities market.

Which MN Housing Markets Are Most and Least Expensive?

According to a new real estate report, Red Wing is the most expensive Minnesota housing market, and Owatonna is the least expensive; with an average listing price of $329,782 for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home, St.