Sanimax, an animal rendering and waste oil processor in South St. Paul, says it plans to build a $30 million bioenergy plant there to produce methane from food waste.

The facility called SaniGreen Bioenergy, a partnership with Green Energy Partners of Denmark, Wis., also would generate electricity, the company said last week.

Dan Ostrenga, director of organic solutions for Sanimax, said the company is seeking financing, grants and permits for the project, and that construction could begin by the end of this year or early in 2014

He said the facility would charge a fee to accept waste from food processors, restaurants and other sources, and sell the methane as a replacement for natural gas. The electricity would be used in the nearby Sanimax plant. The biogas production would take place in an enclosed building with negative pressure to reduce odor, Ostrenga said. About 20 permanent jobs would be created, the company said.




Amcom gets ‘E’ for exports

Amcom Software, the Eden Prairie-based subsidiary of USA Mobility, is one of only 57 companies nationally this year to receive the U.S. Commerce Department’s highest award for exports for its efforts of the last four years. Amcom president Colin Balmforth said in an interview that international sales grew by 29 percent between 2009 and 2012, outpacing overall sales growth. The company has established offices in London and Dubai and is “deployed” in 200 hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

“The Middle East is getting very interesting for us,” Balmforth said. “And we were just selected by a major hospital in Australia, a mining concern in Australia and the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. Only three other software companies received an ‘E’ award and we are the only health care communications company.’’

Amcom, which had sales of $57.8 million last year, just won a software contract for a new $6 billion regional heath care and research complex in Qatar.

Amcom was acquired by Virginia-based USA Mobility for $163 million in 2011. Amcom provides “urgent communications” software for the medical and public safety industries.

Landowners gain rights over power line land taking

Farmers and homeowners who don’t want to live near new high-voltage transmission lines have won new rights under amendments to a 35-year-old Minnesota law that is unique in the nation.

The “buy the farm” law was enacted in 1977 after violent protests erupted against a power line project in west-central Minnesota. The law allows property owners to demand that utilities purchase their entire property, rather than a 150-feet-wide easement, when building high-voltage lines.

Nearly 100 landowners have invoked the seldom-used law to avoid CapX2020 transmission projects now being completed across the state. But some people complained that courts and utilities restricted how the law was applied. The Minnesota Legislature passed a measure last week giving property owners more rights — and likely greater compensation — when invoking the law.

David Shaffer

rose McGee Can stay in her home

Rose McGee, a Golden Valley woman who led a public fight against her foreclosure, has struck an agreement with Fannie Mae and CitiMortgage to stay in her Golden Valley home.

McGee, who fell behind on her CitiMortgage Inc. mortgage after losing her job with Achieve Minneapolis in 2011, eventually sued CitiMortgage and Fannie Mae for wrongful foreclosure as she was trying to arrange a loan modification. McGee’s attorney, Jonathan Drewes in Minneapolis, said the parties are now close to settling the case in a way that allows her to remain in her home.

“Rose is thrilled at the outcome and my law firm is happy that we’re able to help Rose and others like her facing foreclosure,” Drewes said in an interview.

McGee was married to William McGee, Hennepin County’s chief public defender, until his death in 2000.

Jennifer Bjorhus

lindquist’s Pham wins diversity award

Chris Pham, an attorney with Lindquist & Vennum, has been named this year’s recipient of the Hennepin County Bar Diversity Award.

Pham works with the Young Lawyers Group of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice for leadership in advancing Diversity’s mission of attracting, recruiting, retaining and advancing young lawyers of color in local law firms and corporate legal departments.

Pham also serves as a board member of nonprofit youth enterprises Cookie Cart and Minnesota Girls Rock. He regularly volunteers with at-risk inner-city youth and minorities interested in the legal profession. He also participates in diversity work with William Mitchell College of Law and represents needy minority clients through Children’s Law Center of Minnesota.

“Diversity in the legal profession may have come a long way, but it has a long way to go,” said Pham. “I’m proud to be at a law firm that supports my passionate and sincere approach to improving diversity by allowing me to serve historically underrepresented individuals … and be involved with an organization like Twin Cities Diversity in Practice.”





advocate bemoans 2013 legislative session

Mike Hickey of the National Federation of Independent Business Minnesota chapter said that the $2.1 billion tax increase enacted by the Legislature hurts Minnesota’s reputation as a place to do business. Lawmakers approved a 9.85 percent marginal income tax rate on taxable household income over $250,000. Proponents said it would affect only the top 2 percent of Minnesota earners. Lawmakers also added a sales tax on some business services.

“Some businesses are really going to get clobbered due to this new sales tax on some essential business services, and the impact may be far worse than expected,” Hickey said.

Democrats and Gov. Mark Dayton called the boosts in spending for preschool-to-post-secondary education an investment in workforce training.

Businesspeople, some of whom supported increased education and transportation funding, got estate tax relief on small-business or farm property that is placed in a trust, plus a front-end exemption from the sales tax on the purchase of capital equipment. Hickey, saying the session proved negative for small business overall, applauded passage of a “significant unemployment insurance tax reduction.’’