Lawmakers fix confusing language in project bill

Rochester planners breathed a sigh of relief Thursday as the Legislature fixed fuzzy language in the legislation that greenlighted the massive Destination Medical Center project, sparing them a $6 billion headache.

The fix sailed through both the House and Senate as part of a tax conformity bill that brings other quirks in the Minnesota tax code in line with new federal tax breaks.

The fix clears up language in the 2013 legislation committing the state to steer half a billion dollars in tax breaks to downtown Rochester’s massive $6 billion redevelopment project. A mistaken multiplier could have blocked the project from access to the full tax breaks until $12 billion in private investment was spent — double the $6 billion lawmakers intended.

Mayo has pledged $3.5 billion to the project, and promised to bring in another $2 billion in private investment to turn Rochester into a destination in its own right, full of gleaming new shops, restaurants, hotels and cultural amenities designed to attract patients and doctors alike.

Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks



Rural Internet goes giga

Lightning-fast Internet service came to Bemidji last week when Paul Bunyan Communications linked its first customer to its new $150 million 1-gigabit fiber-optic network.

The rural communication cooperative has spent the past decade quietly laying the foundation for one of the nation’s largest and fastest rural high-speed networks. Customers across the company’s 5,000-mile service area in northern Minnesota will have access to the sort of blazing-fast Internet service not usually found outside major metropolitan areas. Companies in the Twin Cities have also begun offering 1-gigabit Internet service — 100 times faster than regular broadband speeds — and one, US Internet, recently announced 10-gigabit service.

The first customer to tap into Bemidji’s new service is Mike Beard, who told the company: “I wanted to be able to watch movies and TV shows online without everybody else in the house slowing me down.”

Jennifer Brooks @stribrooks



Adult jailed for selling gun to teen held in school plot

A Waseca man was sentenced to 90 days in jail for selling a pistol to a teen who was later accused of planning a school massacre.

Michael S. Jacobs, 41, had pleaded guilty to one count of transferring a pistol to a person under 18 without notifying authorities.

Charging documents said Jacobs sold a .45 caliber Llama handgun to John LaDue in summer or early fall of 2013. LaDue, who was 17 at the time, was arrested in April on suspicion of planning a school attack.

Jacobs was also sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years’ probation in a separate case involving gross misdemeanor sexual contact. He will serve the sentences concurrently.

pam louwagie @pamlouwagie