Staff Directory 89522247

Mike Hughlett

Reporter | Food industry
phone: 612-673-7003
Mike Hughlett covers the food industry for the Star Tribune,.including General Mills and Supervalu. Previously, he was a food reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Recent content from Mike Hughlett
Long, complicated road led to the standoff at Standing Rock

Long, complicated road led to the standoff at Standing Rock

The increasingly tense standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota boils down to a clash between economic and cultural interests.
St. Paul Park refinery part of $4.1B sale to Tesoro

St. Paul Park refinery part of $4.1B sale to Tesoro

How the sale will affect SuperAmerica brand remains to be seen.
New federal mandate a victory for Minnesota's ethanol producers

New federal mandate a victory for Minnesota's ethanol producers

The EPA is requiring a 6.4 percent increase of biofuels in 2017.
Obituary: Peter Meintsma, former mayor of Crystal, brought civil tone to civic discourse

Obituary: Peter Meintsma, former mayor of Crystal, brought civil tone to civic discourse

He loved music and taught history and political science for more than 30 years, but Peter Meintsma will best be remembered in Crystal as the…

Otter Tail plans a new $250 million wind farm in southeastern North Dakota

The $250 million project would more than double the firm's wind-energy generation.
North Dakota oil production inches down again

North Dakota oil production inches down again

For second month, per day production is under 1 million barrels.

St. Paul man convicted of fraud and conspiracy in trade case

After a five-week trial, a St. Paul man has been found guilty of fraud and conspiracy in connection with multimillion-dollar trade deals backed by a…
Minnesota Power asks state for 19 percent rate hike for residential customers

Minnesota Power asks state for 19 percent rate hike for residential customers

The increase would be on top of another proposed hike to cover an industrial rate cut.

SEC comes down on Dakota Plains founders

Ryan Gilbertson to contest claims; Michael Reger reaches a settlement.

PUC rejects request to reopen public comment on Enbridge pipeline project

Controversial, delayed pipeline would move oil from Canada across northern Minnesota.
Xcel's profit jump beats expectations, but executives trim outlook slightly

Xcel's profit jump beats expectations, but executives trim outlook slightly

Officials also point to long-term positive impact of wind farms.

Xcel wants to build four more wind farms in Minn., N.D.

It's part of a larger program to increase its wind generation capacity by 60 percent in the Upper Midwest.

Target ranked No. 1 in corporate solar energy capacity

It has added more capacity than any other retailer.

Minnesota Power will close two Iron Range coal-fired plants

Two larger generators on the same site in Cohasset will remain open.
Save-A-Lot's sale raises questions about Cub's future

Save-A-Lot's sale raises questions about Cub's future

Save-A-Lot's sale raises questions about Cub's future, analysts say.
Minn. regulators approve Xcel plan to shut down Becker coal-fired plants

Minn. regulators approve Xcel plan to shut down Becker coal-fired plants

The move, by 2026, will eventually eliminate the state's largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Protest results in temporary shutdown of Enbridge pipelines in northern Minnesota

The protest by Direct Climate Action was in four states.
Buffalo Wild Wings, under investor pressure, appoints new directors

Buffalo Wild Wings, under investor pressure, appoints new directors

Restaurant chain appoints new directors without consulting Marcato Capital.
Life Time Fitness CEO Bahram Akradi buys stake in Northern Oil

Life Time Fitness CEO Bahram Akradi buys stake in Northern Oil

Akradi bought 3.4 million shares, or a 5.3 percent stake, for $16 million, according to an SEC filing.
Trucking, oil industry groups lose challenge to Minnesota biodiesel mandate

Trucking, oil industry groups lose challenge to Minnesota biodiesel mandate

U.S. district judge says federal laws do not pre-empt state law in this case.

Dakota Plains accused of defrauding financier

Lawsuit surrounds loan at the center of federal investigation.

Dakota Plains CEO Craig McKenzie resigns to help oil company reduce expenses

Company says the resignation was not the result of a disagreement.
Last Minnesota leg of $2.1 billion electricity mega-project done

Last Minnesota leg of $2.1 billion electricity mega-project done

Growth in renewable energy, especially wind, driving multistate project, Xcel says.
Microgrids like new one at OATI a trend in electricity

Microgrids like new one at OATI a trend in electricity

Systems like OATI's can serve as alternatives or backups to the general electrical grid
Xcel plans big expansion in wind power, adding enough capacity for 750,000 homes

Xcel plans big expansion in wind power, adding enough capacity for 750,000 homes

The company will add eight to 10 new wind farms in the Upper Midwest.

Headway made in solar garden disputes between Xcel, developers

However, it's still uncertain how many gardens will be online by the end of 2016.
Gerdau Ameristeel, operating at half speed, gets Xcel discount

Gerdau Ameristeel, operating at half speed, gets Xcel discount

The PUC votes in favor of amending a 2012 deal.
North Dakota oil production outlook poor for rest of 2016

North Dakota oil production outlook poor for rest of 2016

Production outlook for rest of 2016 looks poor after a flat July, as world continues to have a supply glut.

Minnesota Power receives permission to cut industrial customers' rates by 5 percent

Decision put off on plan to fund Minnesota Power's reduction.

Minnesota solar incentive program part of WTO dispute with India

The "Made in Minnesota" program is included in India's complaint.
Former Granite Falls executive gets prison for embezzling $5.77M

Former Granite Falls executive gets prison for embezzling $5.77M

Kirsten Ann Tjosaas plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering while serving as corporate controller and CFO at Fagen Inc.
Tesla supercharging station opens in Oakdale

Tesla supercharging station opens in Oakdale

Tesla drivers Tuesday marked the opening of the electric car company’s first supercharging station in the Twin Cities. Tesla’s superchargers provide enough juice in 30…
Enbridge Energy is pulling plug on the Sandpiper pipeline in state

Enbridge Energy is pulling plug on the Sandpiper pipeline in state

Calgary-based firm is withdrawing its application for the pipeline from the state. The move comes weeks after it announced buying a stake in a different pipeline that doesn't cross Minnesota.

C.H. Robinson buys Australian firm for $225 million

C.H. Robinson purchased a major Australian freight forwarder for $225 million, the logistics company’s third-largest acquisition in five years. Eden Prairie-based C.H. Robinson announced Wednesday…
CenturyLink, heir to old Bell system, wants to be freed from state oversight

CenturyLink, heir to old Bell system, wants to be freed from state oversight

The phone carrier says it should be deregulated, but state agencies aren't so sure.
Analyst: Texas investor might be suitor for Northern Oil and Gas

Analyst: Texas investor might be suitor for Northern Oil and Gas

TRT and related companies own almost 20 percent of Northern's stock.

Minnesota will not appeal ruling against clean energy law

It turns out Minnesota will not appeal a federal appellate court's decision to quash part of the state's 2007 clean energy law, conceding a victory to North Dakota and officially ending a five-year legal battle.
Manitoba Hydro CEO Kelvin Shepherd talks about Minnesota's hydro needs

Manitoba Hydro CEO Kelvin Shepherd talks about Minnesota's hydro needs

Minnesota is a key consumer for Manitoba Hydro, with demand on the rise.
Ousted CEO Michael Reger sues Northern Oil claiming wrongful termination

Ousted CEO Michael Reger sues Northern Oil claiming wrongful termination

Reger is being investigated in connection with another company, Dakota Plains Holdings.

Xcel Energy agrees to reduce its rate increase request

The settlement is a big step, but final deal isn't likely until 2017.
Northern Oil and Gas fires CEO Michael Reger, who is under federal investigation

Northern Oil and Gas fires CEO Michael Reger, who is under federal investigation

CFO Thomas Stoelk was appointed interim CEO.
Xcel Energy's challenge: remake itself and boost profits amid flat demand

Xcel Energy's challenge: remake itself and boost profits amid flat demand

Xcel Energy balances coal, wind and solar in an evolving industry.
Oil production continues to drop in North Dakota

Oil production continues to drop in North Dakota

North Dakota’s oil production dropped 2 percent from May to June as low oil prices continued to take their toll. And there’s no quick turnaround…
Members question motives for hikes in electric co-op solar fees

Members question motives for hikes in electric co-op solar fees

Co-ops' motives for hikes in electric solar fees is fueling the debate.
PUC rejects CenterPoint's appeal of rate hike decision

PUC rejects CenterPoint's appeal of rate hike decision

Regulators on Friday denied a review of decision that cut utility's request by nearly half.
Enbridge purchase of stake in Bakken pipeline throws Sandpiper project up in the air

Enbridge purchase of stake in Bakken pipeline throws Sandpiper project up in the air

The Sandpiper project, still being evaluated by Minnesota regulators, appears on verge of losing its two backers.
Xcel reports flat profit; execs stick to full-year outlook

Xcel reports flat profit; execs stick to full-year outlook

The state's biggest energy utility missed analysts' expectations slightly.

OSHA cites Fraser Shipyards after workers exposed to lead during retrofitting

OSHA team says 14 workers at Superior, Wis., yard were overexposed; dozens more had high levels of the toxic metal in their blood.

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves size caps, rate structure for solar projects

Developers fear the output limit mixed with a reduced rate paid to generators will limit growth.

Federal Enbridge settlement could affect timelines of Minnesota pipelines

Enbridge Energy's consent decree settled claims surrounding oil spills in Illinois and Michigan.
North Dakota oil production sees slight increase in May

North Dakota oil production sees slight increase in May

May's increase was welcomed, but analysts aren't predicting an industry resurgence soon.

Great River Energy to close North Dakota power plant

Great River Energy will close its Stanton, N.D., power station in May 2017, saying the coal-fired plant is no longer economical to operate.The relatively small…

Mosaic Co. idles potash mine in Canada, 330 workers affected

Citing “challenging” market conditions, Mosaic Co. said Wednesday it will idle one of its Saskatchewan potash mines for the rest of 2016, laying off about…
Cliffs CEO paints upbeat picture of potential for disputed Essar Steel site

Cliffs CEO paints upbeat picture of potential for disputed Essar Steel site

CEO says firm would build "direct- reduced iron" plant; Essar has vowed to fight its ouster in court.
Minnesota solar energy development caught in delays

Minnesota solar energy development caught in delays

Problems persist in hooking into grid, but Xcel says build-out is at hand.

Xcel scores well in energy report card by nonprofit Ceres

Utility ranked fourth in study, getting 21 percent of electricity sales from renewables in 2014.

Regulators say Xcel's 9.8 percent rate hike isn't justified

A final decision won't be made on the proposal until 2017, but Xcel has said the major drivers of the rate increase include upgrades to its power grid and nuclear power plants; and investments in cleaner energy.
Appeals court upholds ruling blocking Minn. clean energy law

Appeals court upholds ruling blocking Minn. clean energy law

North Dakota challenged the 2007 law restricting imports from power plants that increase greenhouse gases.
North Dakota oil production posts biggest drop in state's history

North Dakota oil production posts biggest drop in state's history

Bakken fields have been battered by lower prices.
Obituary: Engineer and inventor Frank Werner's sensors were used in moon landing

Obituary: Engineer and inventor Frank Werner's sensors were used in moon landing

Frank D. Werner Sr. grew up on a Kansas farm, but he didn’t care much for farm life — except for machinery repair. His love…

Regulators to review fees on residential solar arrays

After fielding complaints about high fees on residential solar arrays, Minnesota regulators will review charges set by the state's electric utility co-ops.The review pivots on…
2 Alaska Airlines flights to use Minnesota-made corn-based jet fuel

2 Alaska Airlines flights to use Minnesota-made corn-based jet fuel

Gevo Inc. is betting big on isobutanol produced at its plant in southwest Minnesota.
General Mills rolls out first new cereal brand in 15 years

General Mills rolls out first new cereal brand in 15 years

Trying to counter squishy cereal sales, General Mills is launching its first totally new brand in 15 years, a fruity oat and corn concoction dubbed…

CenterPoint Energy gets 3.5 percent rate increase

Customers to receive refund of interim hike from last fall.

SunOpta sunflower nut recall grows bigger

It now involves some Nature Valley, Quaker and Kashi granola bars.
Size limit upheld for Xcel community solar gardens

Size limit upheld for Xcel community solar gardens

Xcel Energy said the appellate decision allows program to move forward.
Spam Snacks not the 'miracle in a can' of its predecessor

Spam Snacks not the 'miracle in a can' of its predecessor

Spam Snacks, introduced by Hormel last fall, will disappear from store shelves by summer's end.
General Mills recalls 10 million pounds of flour over E. coli scare

General Mills recalls 10 million pounds of flour over E. coli scare

General Mills is recalling the flour in an "abundance of caution" over the possibility that it's linked to an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 38 people in 20 states.
New owners of Gold'n Plump chicken investing up to $80M in company

New owners of Gold'n Plump chicken investing up to $80M in company

GNP is riding a chicken boom, its sales growing 14 percent over the past three years, hitting $470 million in 2015.
Memorial Day weekend gas prices lowest in at least seven years

Memorial Day weekend gas prices lowest in at least seven years

Prices ahead of the holiday remain a relative bargain despite a recent increases that reflect rising demand.

Boys on bike hit by car in St. Paul

Two boys riding on one bicycle in St. Paul were hit by a car Sunday, with one suffering critical injuries. The incident occurred about 6…

Fire damages restaurant, coffee shop near Lake Calhoun

Sunday afternoon fire damaged a Noodles & Co. and a Caribou Coffee shop.

Man critically injured in St. Paul bar shooting

Injured suspect called police and was arrested.
Young woman stole squad car, drove it 25 miles, then crashed

Young woman stole squad car, drove it 25 miles, then crashed

An apparently intoxicated young woman stole a University of North Dakota squad car on Sunday, police say, driving it from Grand Forks to Crookston where…
Minn. public company profits down 11%, first big dip since recession

Minn. public company profits down 11%, first big dip since recession

Strong dollar, oil slump are putting a drag on Minnesota corporate profits.
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