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43 posts categorized "Tips for getting in the paper"

April 16, 2013

Appeals Court reverses ruling on Rochester Buffalo Wild Wings dispute

The owners of Rochester's Crossroads Shopping Center feel vindicated by a  Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling in their favor in a long-running battle over a proposed Buffalo Wild Wings.
Crossroadsbww"I've always said, 'If anyone in the courts follow the law, we'll win,'" says Bob Meek, who owns Crossroads with Vic Scott. "It gives me faith that the judicial system is functioning properly. I was starting to have my doubts."

After losing three battles at the planning commission, the Rochester City Council and then in Olmsted County District Court, Crossroads won the legal war in the end.

Monday's ruling reversed a June ruling by Olmsted County Judge Nancy Buytendorp that dismissed Crossroads' lawsuit against BWW owner Graf Enterprises and the city of Rochester.

The dispute was over the city's approval of  Rochester businessman Tom Graf's plan to build a 7,000-square-foot Buffalo Wild Wings in the lot in front of the Crossroads center. Graf introduced the development plan in 2011, when he purchased Pannekoeken Huis restaurant, demolished it and then filed to build his second Rochester BWW on the site.

"We are extremely disappointed in the appellate court ruling," Graf said Monday afternoon.

What does this mean for his plans to build a second Buffalo Wild Wings and his ownership of the land surrounded by Crossroads property?

"We are taking a look at our options," he said.

Parking is at the heart of this dispute . The city-approved plan called for 55 parking spaces — 35 on Graf's plot of land and 20 spaces in the surrounding Crossroads parking lot.

That calculation was made with the understanding that the proposed restaurant is part of the business center. Otherwise the proposed restaurant would require 88 parking spaces.

The Crossroads owners long have said that the city ordinances were not being followed and that the plan took their property away and gave it to Graf for his use.

"For a developer and a shopping center, excess parking is money in the bank," said Meek.

In the appeals court ruling, the judges sided with Crossroads' position, writing "Because Crossroads' protectable right to the parking spaces on its property is placed in jeopardy by the city's actions, Crossroads has standing, its claim is ripe and the district court erred by dismissing the claim on justiciability grounds."

The ruling stated that the city staff did not follow Rochester's own ordinances in regards to what is part of a business center and if Graf had enough control of the Crossroads' parking spaces to warrant allowing him to use 22 of them.

City Attorney Terry Adkins said that the ruling means that the city planning department will now need to "strictly" apply the ordinances.

For his part, Meek said he was relieved to have the case resolved after so long, though he still feels it should not have played out the way it did.

"I think it is terrible that a private party like us had to spend so much on a lengthy case just to prove the city wasn't following their own rules," he said.

April 11, 2011

Help a bored journalist out

Every year we do stories about things like tax filing deadline.

I have to confess that topic as well as many other similar ones bore me silly.

Reporter So this year, the IRS has bumped the usual tax filing deadline back to April 18 due to a holiday (Emanicpation Day) on April 15.

I'm writing an article on this for Friday. What would it take to interest YOU in reading such a piece? You've probably seen hundreds of pieces in print, online and on TV over the years.

Surprise me a personal or whimisical or pointant angle that I have never seen or heard before.

And it should go without saying that political sniping, bickering or grandstanding are NOT interesting. So don't say I should blame taxes on some political talking head on one side of the aisle or the other. I'll be asleep before I get though reading your email or listening to your phone message.

Help me out.

jkiger@postbuletin

507-285-7798

 

October 25, 2010

What do you want from me?

Well… more specificly, what do you want me to write about as my Heard on the Street column become a daily feature in the Post-Bulletin?

Photo 38Chunks of "Street" will now be in every issue of the Post-Bulletin starting with this 
weekend's edition.

While print and TV promotions of this move are starting to roll out, I'm still working out of the details this new daily version of Street.

This column started out as a short brief in the weekly Business and Professional Notes column in 2002. Then it morphed into this blog in 2005 and then it became a twice a week print column in 2008.

And now this ongoing experiment is entering a new phase.

I tend to favor the "Work It Out On The Fly" method for new projects versus the more commonly used "Strategic Vision and Implementation Planning Process" that many Rochester institutions use.

As usual, I'm turning to my readers for help.

What topics would you like to read about daily in the Post-Bulletin?

More commercial real estate news? More about restaurant and bar news?

How about more business tidbits from communities like Byron, Chatfield, Stewartville, Pine Island, Taopi or wherever?

Are you interested in more stocks/earnings news about local companies like Hormel Foods or Rochester Medical?

Of course, I will still have plenty of updates on insanely popular businesses like Trader Joe's/ White Castle/ Chuck E. Cheese/ Sonic Drive-in.

And I'll continue to roll out the speculative and intentionally obscure Biz Buzz items.

Bottomline?

Tell me what you want me to write.

July 06, 2010

Fat Willy's revving up

This time around Bill Henderson is in the driver's seat as he gears up a new hot rod of a bar-and-grill in south Rochester.

Henderson, who has managed the Mayo Civic Center concessions for Canadian Honker owner Joe Powers for the past seven years, is cooking up a place of his own called Fat Willy's.

It's being put together in a commercial building across from the Wehrenberg Galaxy Theater in the Shoppes on Maine development along U.S. 63 South.  "This something I've always wanted to do," said Henderson, who is retired from Mayo Clinic and has worked with Powers since he opened the Honker in 1985.

With a hot-rod garage theme, the 3,500-square-foot Fat Willy's is expected to take off from the starting line in September. Look for the menu to feature hamburgers, fries and sandwiches.

"Basically we'll be 092607shoppes onmainelampsjkserving bar food, but we'll also do some unique stuff like shrimp boil specials and broasted chicken," he said. "We just want to make it a fun place where people can sit down, have a beer, good food and shoot the breeze."

092607galaxycinejk Inside it will seat about 125 to 130 people and another 65 to 70 on a large patio that has a fire pit and outdoor bar.

"With that pond and waterfall out there, it is just a heck of a nice atmosphere," Henderson said.

Why the name?

"Everybody has always called me Willy," he said with a chuckle. "

And, well, I'm not the slimmest guy in the world."

Fat Willy's is also an homage to the classic 1941 Willys Coupe, known for its wide rear end. Henderson estimates that he'll have about 15 on staff.

March 12, 2009

And yet more on Mayo's #s: Layoffs? = 'Last resort'

Despite tough economic times and a fiscal year that ended in a break-even result, Mayo Clinic officials today said that layoffs are not on currently on the agenda.

Jeff Bolton, Mayo’s chief financial officer, describes layoffs as a “last resort.” 

IMG_2168

The other core value for us – the needs of the patient comes first number one – but the needs of… the well-being of our employees is also central. It is our physicians, our scientists, our allied health staff, our nurses that really make a difference,” said Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Weis at a news conference this morning. “We are very committed to job security. We’ll do everything we possibly can to preserve jobs. Of course, we can’t guarantee anything.”

However, the clinic has “essentially”  frozen saleries for physicians and senior leadship for 2009, Weis said.

The year was tough, with costs that “significantly outpaced increases in revenue,” according to a Mayo statement. Costs grew by 7.6 percent while revenue increased by only 4.5 percent.

Mayo noted, however, that it fared “better than industry benchmarks.”

Health care economic expert Jeffrey C. Bauer, of ACS Healthcare Solutions in Chicago, said this week that break-even is a good result for the current economy and Mayo probably remains in the top 25 health-care institutions in the country in terms of financial health.

While the patient volume remained relatively flat for 2008, income from patient care plummeted by $88 million from 2007’s $293 million income to $205 million.

A major part of that loss due to not fully funded care for Medicare patients, said Bolton. That accounted for $605.1 million in lossesin 2008. And that number is growing as percentage of Medicare patients is growing.

Will Mayo change its policy on Medicare patients?

“No. At this point we are accepting all patients,” answered Weis. “The needs of thepatients come first.”

But the 2008 results put “significant pressure on funding for our research and education missions,” Bolton, said in a clinic statement.

The value of Mayo’s investment portfolio dropped 18 percent, or about $700 million. The clinic investment portfolio lost exactly as much during the last quarter of 2008 as it gained for the entire two-year period of 2006 through 2007, $693 million.

The Mayo pension fund remains $1.2 billion underfunded. Administrators say they expect to continue making “multi-million dollar payments in addition to its annual $210 million pension fund contribution.” 

Mayo has asked employees to help by working at the departmental level to cut costs and increase revenue.

“We have been preparing for financial challenges caused by rising costs, reduced reimbursement and demographic shifts resulting in more Medicare patients,” Weis said in the clinic statement. “The recent economic downturn has dramatically accelerated our need to act. Our efforts to reduce expenses and increase revenue are intended not only to help us weather the current storm but to provide a platform for transformation.”


August 20, 2007

Flood + business

Anyone know of businesses that were effected by the weekend flood?
Stockton

I'd like to talk to businesses that were damaged as well as ones that have been swamped with business, like basement workers, roofers and whatnot.

The DM&E got in the devasted city of Stockton. Here's a pic from the DME Rail group on the bridge. We have our own coming in print.

July 27, 2007

500,000 thank yous

I just want to thank everyone that reads and comments on this blog. It would not be what it is without you.
Kigers_notebook_blogo_2x
On Thursday, the number of page views for this blog hit 500,000. It was at 400,000 at the end of May this year. Actually, at the end of May 2006, it was at 100,000.

Number don't really tell the story, but I use them as gauge to track interest.

And they seem to show that this experiment just keeps growing. It is your comments, feedback, tips and criticisms that is feeding that growth. Since this is a collaboration, please keep telling me what you are interested in and what bores you.

I started this thing in March 2004 without any clear goals or expectations. I did know, however, to be successful it had to be truly interactive. But you never know when you send out invitations to a party if anyone will actually show up.

Thanks for showing up.

April 18, 2007

Charter blocking Qwest #s?

Here's the story I was working on when I asked for Charter telephone customers for help earlier this week.
Cablephone_battle

Basically, Qwest Corp. believes the telephone side of Charter Communications has been blocking its customers from calling Qwest. Charter says no way. A volunteer called me a few minutes after putting out my request. They called a Qwest at customer service number and got through. Qwest says Charter lifted the blocks on Rochester on Friday, but they are still mad.

Here's some from the story. I'll have more in print Thursday:

Is it a case of just crossed wires or a business putting up a roadblock to hurt its competitors?

Telecommunications giant Qwest Corp. believes the telephone service arm of Charter Communications in Minnesota blocked Qwest’s customer service numbers in Rochester and Duluth so Charter customers could not call to switch.

“Charter customers calling a Qwest toll free number are greeted with a message that informs them, ‘the toll free number you have dials is not accessible from this line,” wrote Qwest corporate counsel Jason Topp in a letter to Charter threatening legal action. It was dated April 13.

“Charter doesn’t block 800 numbers,” said Anita Lamont, a Charter spokeswoman in St. Louis. “This came out left field.”

The Topp letter says Qwest contacted Charter on March 29 about the issue after the company had checked out a report from a customer trying to switch to Qwest.

“…Charter confirmed the blocking was occurring,” Topp wrote in the letter.. Lamont denies that.
“We first heard of this alleged issue when we got a call late Friday (April 13). Then we got the letter. When we tried to get in touch with the sender, his voice message said he would be out of the office until Thursday (today),” she says.

Charter says complaints between companies typically go through account managers to be worked out, before attorneys become involved.

“That didn’t happen,” Lamont says. “It is highly unusual how the escalation went from point A right to point Z.”

While the Qwest numbers are available to Charter telephone customers, Charter is not satisfied. Joanna Hjelmeland of Qwest says Charter made the Rochester numbers accessible on Friday.

April 13, 2007

Kiger's ice cream eating duel

OK, I need some help (Yeah, I realize you all already know that. Heh) Anyway, I'm signed up for a ice cream eating competition at Hy-Vee South for later this month.

Dave Berg of 102.5 The Fox is another of the hapless media folks slated for this battle. Dave is under the mistaken belief that he can beat me in this. He has no idea what he is facing. I'm good with "scoops" and I "dish" the news. It will be no contest.

We are working on bet where the loser (Berg) has to be humiliated in public. Kind of like the Donald Trump/ Vince MacMahon deal.

So I'm looking for suggestions. Please keep it within in reason, but it should be a truly embarrasing spectacle.

Dave and I will consider the suggestions and then make the bet. And yes, no mater if I win or lose, look for photos on here. If you think the Jessica Irhke pic was bad, my guess is that this will top that by a few levels of humilation.

March 29, 2007

More on Floors and Beyond

Couple things on Floors and Beyond, the flooring business that abruptly closed in Rochester:

• As Lando pointed out, the entire comment thread on the Floors discussion was pulled this morning. Unfortunately, I was out of the office this morning when this happened. My bosses, of course, have the power to police comments.

The latest comment included some nasty name-calling. I love the free-wheeling nature of the discussions on here. However, I deem that kind of posting as unacceptable as does the management of the newspaper.

Now, if I had been here, I would have either just pulled that one comment or edited it. And like with the James and Cori comment, I would have just unpublished it. That means it still exists and could be posted again.

Unfortunately, my computer is somehow more powerful than our technical department's computers. No one else can seem to do that. And it is deemed "simpler" to delete all of the comments, not just the offensive one.

Sigh. That's the story behind this one. It seems I should not be out of the office in the mornings.

• Many have asked if any other customers are upset with Floors and Beyond. I got a note from a guy whose homeowners association paid a $1,500 deposit through a bill pay service on 3/12. It was cashed on 3/13. The store closed on march 9, according to owner Chad Tufty. The home owners association is looking into its legal options.