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June 18, 2014

Baker turned pizza maker hits hits the road with wood-fire oven

Have wood-fire oven. Will travel.

That could be Stephan Jennebach's new motto now that he's added a mobile pizza o10329915_10152411609534524_707966481405501891_oven to his Firebrick Bread business in Zumbrota.

About a month ago, he hit the road with a new custom trailer featuring a wood-fire oven and prep kitchen to make and sell pizzas wherever he'd like. Right now, Jennebach can be found at the Zumbrota Farmers Market on Tuesdays and the Red Wing Farmers Market on Saturdays.

The new offering has gone over so well that he needed to hire three employees to keep the pizzas moving. However, he's still remaining true to the original vision of Firebrick Bread and continues to bake an array of hand-made breads in his wood-fired oven at his home. He first fired up the bakery business in 2012.

His menu includes five types of pizzas. He's using some local produce on them now and hopes to do more of that as the project progresses. It takes about five minutes to make and then bake a pizza in the 700-degree wood-fired oven.

Jennebach says adding the kitchen-on-wheels made sense given the local hunger for wood-fired pizza.

"When I told people about Firebrick Bread, the first question always was, 'Do you make pizzas, too?,'" he said.

Since regulations wouldn't allow him to do that at his home, Jennebach started looking into putting an oven on a trailer and eventually turned to a company that specialized in them.

"It was a big investment, but it's one I believe will pay for itself," he said. "I can take it anywhere in Minnesota."

Right now he's sticking to weekly appearances at the two farmers markets and an occasional special event. That, combined with his weekly bread baking, has pretty much filled up his schedule at this point.


101207jennebachonaballLong-time readers may recognize the Jennebach name, since Stephen was a very enthusiastic commenter on this blog during its early years.

He was also pretty much the only one who would act on my goofy attempts at photo contests. I was just ahead of my time with 'selfies.' Heh. His best submission involved the big red balls in front of what was then the brand-new south Target store.

December 21, 2012

Oregon hospital says "No" to proton beam therapy, cites studies

This is some from an interesting story in The Oregonian by Nick Budnick. The context is, of course, that Mayo Clinic is building a proton beam center in downtwon Rochester as well as one in Arizona.

Gary Schwitzer, former Mayo Clinic executive, pointed out the article on the website. Schwitzer characterized the trend of hospitals building proton beam centers with the very evocative and provocative phrase -  a "medical arms race."

Here's some from Budnick's article:

In recent years, large medical centers around the country have been building massive proton therapy machines costing $100 million and up, marketing them to men with prostate cancer.

For now, Oregon Health & Science University won't be one of them, with officials saying the treatment's cost and continued debate over its benefit have caused them to scrap a push to build one here.

06112012protonbeammayoconstruction"All of us were interested in exploring it," said Tomasz Beer, deputy director of OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute. But as conventional radiation therapy has improved, "it's not clear today whether proton therapy offers a meaningful and substantial clinical advantage."

University officials have mulled the idea for some time, even hiring an outside consultant about two years ago. Plans to hire another consultant were dropped earlier this year, with officials instead inviting two experts to university leaders, Beer said. Officials made their final decision in the last month or so.

Though the technology is considered useful in some pediatric cancers, studies continue to question its benefit for adults. "It is a technology that for adult tumors may have some advantages but those advantages have not been proven in head to head studies," Beer said. Things could change as the therapy evolves, but "We felt that we couldn't really justify this sort of investment based on the promise that this technology offers as it stands today."

Proton therapy centers can be as big as a football field, but OHSU had been considering a smaller, more recent version that would have cost about $30 million.

The treatment costs significantly more than conventional radiation therapy. Supporters say the therapy offers fewer side effects, but that claim has been undermined by studies released this year, most recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Critics call proton therapy an example of profit-driven medicine gone awry.

Proton therapy center operators have received other bad news this year. The federal government recently announced that it will follow through on plans issued this summer to cut Medicare reimbursement for proton therapy by nearly a third. That means centers' per-patient revenue dropped from an estimated $36,000 to $25,000.

July 20, 2011

Mayo Clinic loses brand scrap

Not a good week for Mayo Clinic's collective ego.

After losing its longtime #2 spot on a national best hospitals list, the scrappy Creative Memories company defeated Mother Mayo in the finals of a Minnesota brand smackdown.

800px-Gonda_building,_closer_up Hoards of scrapbookers turned out to defend their St. Cloud-based Creative Memories in an online poll called Minnesota Brand Madness.

Out of the 77,245 votes cast, Creative Memories tallied 58 percent in its favor verus Mayo Clinic's 42 percent.

This Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Brand Madness poll has been a online battleground for weeks.

View Managed like college basketball's March Madness tournament,124 Minnesota brands were paired off in its round and people cast their votes for their favorites.

It included the state's top corporate and product names, such as Target, Mall of America, Schwan's, Post-it Notes, Wheaties and Dairy Queen.

In the path to the final two, Mayo Clinic defeated Tastefully Simple, Summit Brewing, General Mills, Lunds/Byerly's and finally Schwan's.

Tapping an unexpected mobilization of its fans, Creative Memories defeated such more well-known names as Target, Arctic Cat, Wheaties and Mall of America to make it to the championship.

August 10, 2010

Cascade Meadows photos, request for more construction pics

Cascademeadowsbanks2 Remember last week when I posted a crude construction update snapshot of the Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center off of Rochester's 19th Street Northwest?Cascademeadowsbanks1

 Well, long-time Kiger's Notebook contributor Josh Banks sent me some real photos of the project as well as one of the dirt moving at the Lourdes High School construction site.

Way to show me up, Josh. Heh.

Lourdeshighschoolbanks Josh has always snapped great shots around the area for this blog.

It looks like he is stepping that up with Banks Photography.

I thought I'd share the pics he sent me and open up the invitation to everyone else to help me document construction and demolition projects in the area.

I'd love to see any pics you feel like sharing. If I use any photo for the blog, Facebook, print or elsewhere, I will attribute the photo to whoever took it and shared it with me.

March 04, 2010

This day in blog history - Kiger's Notebook 5th anniversary

Here is a very obscure "This Day in History" moment.

Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x On this day  in 2005, I launched an informal online column (also known by the then-newfangled name of "blog") called Kiger's Notebook on

Remember the big head Jeff logo and when my mustache was brown? Ah, those were the days.

Since then I've posted almost 5,000 tidbits of southeastern Minnesota business news along with random things that interested or amused me.

It is continually a fun and entertaining personal project that has never felt like work. 

Eye of the Kiger

Despite all of the typos, bad puns and silly jokes, readers keep coming to see what I'm doing.

 The page views that topped out at 100,000 at the end of the first year have now climbed to a total of 4.1 million four years later. An average of about 2,250 people look at the site each day now.

Thank you all for the time you have spent reading and sometimes commenting on my work.

February 08, 2010

Roch. Web design firm adds marketing services

Here's some from a piece I have in today's paper about Corporate Web Service's expansion into marketing.

After 12 years online, Alan De Keyrel is extending his Rochester company's reach beyond the Web.

 More and more clients have bigger needs these days. In today's world, "more and more of people's marketing is integrated," says De Keyrel, the owner and founder of Corporate Web Services.

That trend inspired De Keyrel to expand CWS' services beyond Web design and application development.

"We're taking it to another level," he says.K7coun85658x372820108458

He is adding strategy-led marketing, communication plans, video production, graphic design, media placement and social media marketing to the services the company offers.


CWS launched its marketing department this month with the hiring of Sheryl Barlow, who previously directed ABC-6 KAAL's Web presence and was co-founder of the Rochester firm of mark it! advertising. She is now business development director for CWS.

Laura Archbold, a public relations veteran who recently joined CWS, now serves as the director of the brand new marketing department.

"I think there is really great need for this," says Archbold, who is a former television reporter. "This is a natural evolution."


Adding marketing strategies as a service to his company, now with 14 on staff, is the latest turn in the road that De Keyrel started on as a one man-onBook-cover-front2-200x300-1e computer business working in his basement in 1998.

"We continue to grow. 2009 was our best year ever," he says. "In the last two years, our revenue is up 50 percent."

How does he explain that when most companies have struggled to just survive those years?

"I'd like to say I'm genius, but the truth is we have really stable clients and a great staff. And this sector is really benefiting from the downturn," De Keyrel said.


Following his own advice, De Keyrel is using a new twist on the book publishing model to share his own story.

His book, "Jobless: How to Quit Your Day Job and Start Your Climb to the Top," will be available March 1 through the on-demand book publishing site,

March 02, 2009

Blog anniversary = Networking?

Time flies when you're blogging.

Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x On Wednesday, Kiger's Notebook turns four. That means it is old enough now to really get into trouble. Heh.

The very first post of what is now up to a total of 3,378 posts went up on March 4, 2005.

I have not made plans for anything to acknowledge the day, but I thought maybe some sort of lunch gathering or maybe a Happy Hour on Wednesday might be nice.

Or I'd be willing to host a tour of the spacious Kiger's Notebook complex (Heh) as well as the Post-Bulletin for anybody that is interested. After the extensive tour, we could hang out with all of the media professionals 

Another option, we could skip a celebration as a silent memorial to all of the businesses that have been featured on the blog that have passed on to the Free Market afterlife.
Anyone have  favorite (or least favorite) post, typo, headline or whatever? If so, this is the time to share. Let me know and I'll it with the world.Or at least with the mob that reads this blog.

Any ideas? Feedback? Insults?

Thank you all for reading. This blog is not popular because of me. It is because of everyone out there who give it life and personality.

This is your community. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.