[Star Tribune] Southern Minnesota Could be Poised for Economic Transformation

Gov. Mark Dayton says a $6 billion Destination Medical Center could transform Rochester and become a powerful economic engine for the state.

Fueled by Mayo Clinic’s dramatic expansion plans in Rochester, southeast Minnesota is poised to become a linchpin in the state’s efforts to revitalize its medical economy.

Billions of dollars in new development in Rochester — along with the doubling of a cancer research center in Austin — has Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration eyeing a dramatic transformation of the area, creating an even tighter link between Mayo, the Twin Cities’ medical and research facilities and the private sector. The plan could, at some point, include high-speed rail between the Twin Cities and Rochester and a host of other amenities.

Taken together, such changes “will be a cornerstone of Minnesota’s future economy,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in an interview with the Star Tribune. [Read More]


[Pioneer Press] Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Star in MNsure Ads

Paul Bunyan seldom is thought of as an insurance salesman. But the Minnesota icon and his sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox, play lead roles in a new $9 million campaign to promote a state-operated health insurance exchange, where roughly 1 million residents will be encouraged to obtain coverage over the next several months.

On Sunday, executives with the state's insurance marketplace, which is called MNsure, unveiled an awareness campaign that features the folklore characters suffering humorous mishaps while waterskiing, ice skating and chopping trees.

The injuries are meant to lightly illustrate the campaign's tagline, which calls Minnesota the "Land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance." 

Minnesota has received $110 million in federal grants to create its own health exchange, and a portion of the grant money is going to the awareness campaign, said April Todd-Malmlov, the executive director of MNsure. 

[Read More]


[Rochester Post Bulletin] Red Wing Looking to 'Ignite' Entrepreneurial Spirit

It's that creative exchange of ideas that Red Wing officials are hoping will help make the river city of 16,400 a leader in innovation. On Tuesday, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton joined local officials and business leaders in celebrating the grand opening of Red Wing Ignite, a space where entrepreneurs and innovators can take advantage of a new ultra-fast broadband networkto create new applications and test products.

"I am here to thank you for your vision, your courage to take this step forward," Dayton told a crowd of more than 100 gathered for the celebration. "It's put Red Wing, and by association all of Minnesota, on the cutting edge of this transformative technology."

These efforts started more than a year ago when Hiawatha Broadband Communications nominated Red Wing to be a US Ignite community. The city was one of 25 communities nationwide to be chosen for the initiative. US Ignite is a nonprofit organized by the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology to help promote the development of next generation applications in areas such as health, public safety, education and transportation.[Read More]

                  August 19, 2013  |  News Alerts


[Rochester Post-Bulletin] Mark Dayton: With Congress Stuck in Mud, Minnesota Farmers Plow Ahead

Throughout Minnesota's 155 years of statehood, through all kinds of weather and politics, two things have remained unchanged.

First, agriculture has remained the life-giving bedrock of our state's economy — supporting more than 340,000 people and delivering more than $7 billion in high-quality agricultural and food exports last year alone. When farmers do well, businesses on Minnesota's main streets do well, and our entire state economy grows stronger. Second, farmers remain among Minnesota's great heroes — for their willingness to plow through adversity, for their endurance of Mother Nature's misfortunes and for their faith and courage to do it all again next spring.

Farmers have been essential to our state's past success, and they will be even more crucial in the future. That is why the triumph of American agriculture in today's competitive, cut-throat world economy has been so extraordinary — and so important. Farmers' costs of production continue to rise, from wages, to machinery, to energy. Yet, through their quality, innovation and plain hard work, they continue to outperform the rest of the world.

Last spring, we agreed to invest an additional $18.5 million in the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Fund — a fund dedicated to keeping Minnesota farm production on the leading edge in an ever-changing world. Our investments will aid farmers in developing new methods of production, support research on the next generation of biofuels and help our schools to purchase more high-quality food from local farmers.

We also passed a first-in-the-nation voluntary Ag Water Quality Certification Program to partner with farmers to improve our state's water resources. Farmers are our first and foremost stewards of the land. Here in Minnesota, we are working together to keep our agricultural production the world's best, while also protecting and enhancing our environment.

That kind of cooperation and innovation is the Minnesota way. It's why our farmers are national champions.[Read More]

[West Central Tribune] MNsure Plan Heads in Right Direction

As Minnesota embarks on its plan to open the state health insurance exchange Oct. 1, public buy-in will be key to its success and that buy-in will be driven by the quantity and quality of information the public is able to acquire.

So the recent push to offer information on health insurance plans slated to be offered on the state's insurance exchange a month or so earlier than planned stands as a step in the right direction.

At the end of July, the Minnesota departments of commerce and health asked the health insurance plans participating in the health exchange to provide information on their plans, including pricing information about a month before the exchange is expected to be open for business.

Officials say providing the information a month before people can purchase plans simply makes sense and gives people and small businesses a little more time to study hundreds of products to be offered on the exchange. [Read More]


[Shakopee Valley News] Shakopee Pursues All-Day Kindergarten

Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $15.7 billion education funding bill in May, which provides funds for all-day, everyday kindergarten as an option for school districts. Superintendent Rod Thompson said immediately after the bill passed that the school district wanted to take advantage of the new funds and do some research into how best to get the space the district would need for about 600 all-day kindergarten students.

The Shakopee School Board will use a good portion of a learning session on Monday night discussing options for adding all-day, everyday kindergarten into the Shakopee School District. [Read More]

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