News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping

Search PB Blogs



38 posts categorized "Pine Island news"

January 10, 2013

S.E. Minn. is a pretty inventive area

Wrote the latest version of the annual IBM leads all other companies with U.S. patents story for today's paper.

I always enjoy the change to chat with some of IBM's master inventors and look at their patents. I often don't understand much, but I enjoy it. Heh.

This year I decided to see how many patents issued in 2012 included residents from area cities. I found some interesting stuff, including the fact a group of guys from Hormel in Austin were issued a new patent on a bacon bits making process on Christmas Day.

I hadn't look at these community numbers, since I wrote a big package in early 2010, where I determined that Rochester was the most inventive city inMinnesota and probably the U.S. (per 100,000 residents).

It is interesting to note that Rochester people had 488 patents issued to them in 2009, so the numbers have gone up considerably since then. I may need to take a run at this story again.


This is a breakdown of how many patents issued in 2012 included at least one inventor from these southeastern Minnesota cities:

• Rochester — 652 patents

• Byron — 42 patents.
• Stewartville — 10 patents

• Austin — 75 patents

• Mantorville — 27 patents

• Zumbrota — 12 patents

• Pine Island — 36 patents

• Dodge Center — 10 patents

• Lewiston — 14 patents

• Oronoco — 38 patents

October 14, 2011

The 'Boyz' are back in town and serving breakfast

The 'Boyz' in Pine Island will soon be getting up early to start cooking breakfast.

Borgy Boyz Pizzeria & Cafe is gearing up to step into the downtown Pine Island location as well as the breakfast and pizza niches left empty by the closing of Dominic's Pizzeria & More this summer.

27317677_tz47Owner Dan Borgschatz hopes to soon open the doors of the refreshed Pine Island eatery at 200 S. Main St., possibly as early as Saturday.

"Borgy" is a longtime nickname playing off his last name. The "Boyz" part of the business name comes from Dan Borgschatz teaming up with his son, Jeremy Borgschatz, to cook up this new project.

"I've always wanted to work for myself," says the elder Borgschatz. "This opportunity popped up, and I talked it over with my son. He said, 'Dad, we need to do this.'"

The younger Borgschatz is not a stranger to the restaurant business. He left his position as kitchen manager/cook at the Green Mill Restaurant in Rochester to help his dad run this new place.

Dan Borgchatz says the closing of Dominic's left a big hole in his town of Pine Island.

"There has been no place in Pine Island to get breakfast, since it closed. He had a very good breakfast crowd. So we'll open at 6 a.m. every day and serve breakfast," he says.

Borgy Boyz will also offer a lunch menu that will include hamburgers, broasted chicken and pizza by the slice, which they hope will bring in hungry students from nearby Pine Island High School.

Being a pizzeria, the new Pine Island eatery will, of course, have a menu pf pizza options for customers to eat in, take out or have delivered.

They recently put the finishing touches on their signature, eight-topping pizza, the Borglicious.

The restaurant seats 36 to 40. Borgschatz hopes to build the staff up to nine or 10.

September 21, 2011

Start-up's Elk Run BioPark plans have farm feel

Here's some from an article by Jeff Hansel about the first business pledging to open in Pine Island's planned Elk Run biobusiness park.

This is an interesting project. Of course, the company still needs about $3.5 million to make this happen, but it is more of a commitment than we've heard before.

Hansel first wrote about this in the weekend paper and this is a follow-up from a state biotech conference Tuesday. The whole article is in the print edition.

For the record, I did not write this lead. However, I wish I had. Heh.

A Minnesota researcher wants to make dairy cattle less horny.

Scott Fahrenkrug, CEO of biotech startup Recombinetics, told more than 200 of the state's biotech leaders that his company recently signed a mutli-year contract to develop hornless dairy cattle so they're safer to work with.

Get_photo --------

Recombinetics is also the first company to publicly announce it's in talks to base its business at Pine Island's planned Elk Run biobusiness park.

However, Fahrenkrug emphasizes that the letter of intent means simply that there's an "intent to explore the design and financing of the facility." That means no money has thus far changed hands, and neither Elk Run nor Recombinetics is contractually obligated to build the facility.


Recombinetics scientists plan to add the naturally occurring beef cattle gene to dairy cows to elimnate the horns.

15510083_BG1 -------

Recombinetics also plans to house 50 to 100 pigs at Elk Run.


Elk Run is perfect for a swine "nucleus herd," Fahrenkrug said, because it's five miles from any other swine production. The Pine Island laboratory will work on the development of pigs that are genetically susceptible to some of the major chronic human diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. 

Once a line of pigs gets developed, Recombinetics will seek farmers able to raise them for sale to research labs nationwide — the same way farmers raise hybrid pigs.

The company needs to raise $3.5 million to jumpstart its Elk Run plans, and it's looking for investors.

"We're ready to get serious here in Minnesota," Fahrenkrug said. But he was blunt about the need for Minnesota funding, and its availability elsewhere.

"If we can't get what we need here, we'll go someplace else," he said, noting other states are courting the company.

February 07, 2011

Pine Island A&W closed, up for sale

4010858_2 My weekend column focused on Pine Island's beloved A&W Restaurant closing last week.

Since that ran, a reader showed me a real estate listing for the 2,072-square-foot building AND  the business at 703 N. Main St. It was listed at $450,000.

That tidbit is in my column today.

Here's the weekend column about the closure:

Pine Island has one less restaurant, at least temporarily.

A hand-written closed sign went up Monday night on the door at the popular A&W Restaurant at 703 N. Main St. It says the drive-in known for its root beer is closed until further notice.

Photo 2Customers in the restaurant at the time said the closure was abrupt and was a surprise to the employees. A man, possibly the owner, had stopped by the restaurant and told the staff that the restaurant was closing immediately.

Calls to the restaurant went unanswered Friday, as did attempts to contact the restaurant owner, Patrick Nickelson of Cottage Grove.

Nickelson and his wife, Patti, own several A&Ws in Minnesota. The most recent one opened in Inver Grove Heights in 2009.

They run the franchises through companies called Patrick Nickelson Enterprises and PBJ Enterprises.

It is unclear how many employees were working at the Pine Island restaurant, but in an article he was quoted as saying the Inver Grove one would have 60 to 70 on staff when it opened.

I'll keep checking on this. If anyone has more information, please contact me at

September 15, 2010

Burrill: $1B Elk Run fund deal is close

BurrillHere's a tidbit from the Star Tribune's high tech biz blog.

 Steve Burrill, the biotech bigwig who has plans for Pine Island's proposed Elk Run biotechnology park. told Wendy Lee of the Strib that he has a "firm commitment" from a single investor to cover the $1 billion fund he is creating to fuel the Elk Run project.

Here's a bit from Lee's blog:

"We have a firm commitment for that billion dollars from a single investor," said Burrill, who is the CEO of San Francisco-based life sciences merchant bank Burrill & Co.


Elk run1 The $1 billion will go toward providing financing for companies moving into the biobusiness park and to help with the development of Elk Run, which encompasses 2,325 acres.

Burrill said the investor is a sovereign wealth fund from overseas, but declined to go into more detail. He said he hopes the fund will close by the end of the year.


Burrill said there has been an underlying current in the state of people who wish he would fail. He said he has been surprised at some Minnesotans' "lack of support, instead of (them) wrapping their arms around us."

April 30, 2010

Permit for $6M building issued for Elk Run

Here's a little from an article by Jeff Hansel about the first building permit being issued for construction at the proposed Elk Run biobusiness park.

For more on this, follow this link.

Elk_run_banner-266x300 A $6 million building at the Elk Run biobusiness park in Pine Island should begin to rise within weeks.

Advocates of the bold $1 billion effort to construct, and draw businesses to, the park believe the first building will start a "chain reaction" of construction, jobs and spending as workers stop to buy meals, gasoline and other products.

"We did issue the building permit for the first building at the bioscience park at Elk Run," Pine Island City Administrator Abraham Algadi told the Post-Bulletin late Thursday.
Algadi said a "biomedical business" will be the first occupant of 8,000 square feet in the 50,400-square-foot building.

April 28, 2010

Elk Run developer land dispute

Here's my take on the recent land dispute between Tower Investments, the developer of Pine Island's massive Elk Run biobusiness community, and a local farmer:

Aerial_highway A contract dispute is kicking up some dust across the highway from Elk Run, Pine Island's proposed biotechnology park.

At issue is part of the farmland that Tower Investments of California is acquiring from land owners, Elmer and Judy Stock.

The land is across U.S. 52 to the west from the primary 2,000 acres Tower has slated for the planned commercial, residential and biotechnology development called Elk Run. Tower describes the parcel in question as "excess agricultural land" that came with the purchase of the Stock farm.

On Tuesday, Elmer Stock, who is now divorced from Judy Stock, reportedly initiated foreclosure proceedings on a portion of the land, claiming Tower was behind in its mortgage payments to him.

Stock could not be reached to comment on this story.

Tower says the fault lies with Stock.

Elk_run_banner "The Stocks breached our mortgage agreement in 2008. We held back payment of the interest in 2009 because of that breach," said Geoff Griffin, the Elk Run project manager based in Chatfield.

Tower paid all of the outstanding interest in late 2009, when the Stocks "…promised to cooperate in the future and abide by the terms of the agreement."

But that did not last for long.

"Almost immediately they breached the agreement again. Therefore we are in this current dispute," Griffin said.

How does this land conflict affect the planned Elk Run development that includes a 1.7-million-square-foot bioscience research park, along with hotels, restaurants, stores, offices, a medical clinic and a residential neighborhood built around parks and lakes?

It doesn't, according to Tower and the Pine Island City Administrator Abraham Algadi.

"This is an issue that is private, I want to super emphasize that," says Algadi. " It is between two private parties that have no impact whatsoever on progress of the remainder of Elk Run, the interchange or the biotech park."

December 31, 2009

Biotech, RAEDI, Burrill, Elk Run and raising money

I've already reported here on the blog that G. Steven Burrill, national biotech guru, will speak at the upcoming RAEDI meeting.

Here's some from the Biz buzz in today's print column that covers some about Burrill's efforts to raise $1 billion for the proposed massive Elk Run community by Pine Island.

Burrill At the Rochester Area Economic Development’s past several annual meetings, biobusiness was the hot topic.

And it will be again at the next meeting on Feb. 12.

G. Steven Burrill, one of the top biotechnology evangelists in the U.S. and a backer of the proposed Elk Run biobusiness park by Pine Island, is headlining the meeting.

In May, Burrill joined forces with Tower Investment, Elk Run’s developer. He pledged to raise $1 billion in funding.

Last week, the medical and bioscience Web site, Medcity News, reported that Burrill in not making progress on his goal.“… Sources say he’s nowhere near $1 billion. Depending on whom you ask, Burrill has secured anywhere from zero dollars to $250 million,” wrote Thomas Lee, former Star Tribune reporter now working for Medcity News.

Lee went on to write that he doubts Burrill will be able to raise that much.

“But in some ways, the amount of money is beside the point. Where it comes from matters far more. To build local support for such an audacious project, Burrill needs local money. Good luck with that one.”

Maybe Burrill will able to say just how much he has raised at the RAEDI meeting.

October 26, 2009

AWD Cars + ex-Mill's Fleet Farm

Here's the follow-up to the tease about a used car dealership in south Rochester from a while back:

Building Front After Friday’s slippery snowstorm, Fran Fox feels he is steering his Rochester auto sales lot in the right direction.

Fox is revving up a used vehicle dealership called AWD Cars to open in a new auto mall project being developed in part of the former Mill’s Fleet Farm building along south U.S. 63.

AWD stands for All-Wheel Drive, which is the only type of late model cars and trucks it will sell.

“I felt like I needed a niche. With all of the snow and ice around here, I always see people sliding around in it,” said Fox, before Friday’s 4-inch snowfall in Rochester. “It think it is important. I firmly believe Minnesota winters mandate AWD or four-wheel drive.”

He plans on having the first vehicles on the lot this week with plans to ramp up the inventory throughout the winter.

Car bays -North Side of Bldg AWD is located in the north end of the former Fleet Farm. Tom Hexum of Hexum Cos. is developing that section of the complex into an auto mart to house a variety of vehicle-related businesses.

Fox, who owns Pine Island Auto Glass in Pine Island, plans to have a major online presence for his new business that will include “virtual” test drives on the Web.

He plans on driving vehicles with a camera in the back seat recording while he comments on the vehicle’s features.

“We will be Tweeting, blogging, chatting and Facebooking away,” he says.

May 06, 2009

Elk Run and hospital tax @ Legislature

Some hot local topics are cooking at the state legislature. Here's some from two of the stories filed for today by our eyes at the state house, Heather Carlson:

Pine Island’s Elk Run development would be eligible for $2 million in state grants as part of an economic development bill headed to the governor’s desk.

Elkrun_minnesota_rochester The House on Tuesday approved the $263 million bill that funds a wide range of programs including workforce training, business development and housing. It passed by a vote of 74-54. The Senate approved the measure 38-28 on Monday night.

Within that larger bill is language aimed at making sure the 2,300-acre Elk Run project is eligible for the state grant money. It allows this grant money from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to be used for projects that include residential development — such as Elk Run. A biobusiness park is also planned at Elk Run, along with other commercial development.

The bill also includes $300,000 for job-training programs for immigrants and refugees. It specifically notes that these dollars can be spent in Rochester.

Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, said she had been pushing to make sure that funding was included. In the past, Rochester’s Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association has received grant funding. It also includes $1 million for the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota.
Those voting against the bill included Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Wabasha, Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona and Rep. Andy Welti, DFL-Plainview. In the Senate, Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona, and Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, voted against the bill.

Liebling said she was deeply troubled with the state forgiving the loan so the city can build a new project.

“If we’re going to start forgiving loans, we need to discuss loan forgiveness for other projects around the state,” she said.

But Norton voted in favor of the bill. While she said she is concerned about the loan forgiveness, “it wasn’t worth taking the whole bill down.” 


 Mayo Clinic is preparing to fight a proposed increase to the state’s provider tax on hospitals, even as the Minnesota Hospital Association backs the idea.
With hospitals facing millions of dollars in potential cuts this budget year, the hospital association is offering a last resort to lawmakers — consider boosting the tax charged to hospitals. 

Association president Lawrence Massa said the organization’s board agreed to boost the provider tax from 2 percent to 3 percent, generating an estimated $500 million in new revenue for the state. The tax helps fund MinnesotaCare, a state-subsidized insurance program for low-income individuals and families.

The hospital association has stipulated that if the tax is increased, the money would have to go toward health care spending — not plugging the state deficit.

Mayo Clinic opposes any increase to the provider tax, said Frank Iossi, the clinic’s director of state government relations. Last year, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Health Systems paid $53 million in provider taxes. And while most hospitals in the state are able to pass that tax on to insurance companies through contracts, Mayo Clinic is different, Iossi says. 

Since more than half of the clinic’s patients are from out of state, the clinic ends up absorbing those costs. Iossi said that is a big deal when you consider last year the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Health Systems broke even.

“That is real money that comes off our bottom line,” Iossi said. “That would have given us $53 million net income, so it’s a big deal.”

Olmsted Medical Center also opposes the idea of raising the provider tax, according to OMC President Dr. Roy Yawn. Last year, he said OMC paid $2.1 million in provider taxes. If the tax is raised to 3 percent, he said that would likely bring the center’s total to $3 million — the same amount it spends on capital improvements for a year.