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Business Notebook: Treasure Island chef honored

Treasure Island Resort and Casino chef James Powers (left) poses with National Kidney Foundation Board Vice-Chair Mark Vukelich and Chair Jodi Lang.

Treasure Island Resort & Casino’s executive chef James Powers received the 2014 Patrick Murray Friend of the Foundation Award to acknowledge his years of supporting the National Kidney Foundation. The award was presented to Powers at the Great Chefs of Minnesota Dinner late last month.

Powers studied at the Culinary Institute of America and brings more than 25 years of experience across several disciplines, Treasure Island said, and has earned many awards for his culinary creations. He has worked at the resort and casino for the past 11 years, where his influence is evident at the restaurants, private events and on the Spirit of the Water cruise ship, Treasure Island said.

• Red Wing Shoe’s iconic giant boot is one of the sights featured in Explore Minnesota’s recent set of TV ads is part of its “Only in Minnesota” campaign. The advertisements feature Minnesota landmarks and activities, including museums, outdoor sites, restaurants and more.

The commercials also can be found at Explore Minnesota’s YouTube channel,

• Zumbrota farmer Marty Amundson recently was re-elected to serve another three-year term on the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council.

The 11-member council administers the “efficient and effective investment of Minnesota’s corn check-off,” a way for corn farmers to voluntarily invest in the industry through a self-imposed fee paid at the first point of sale for every bushel of corn sold, the organization said.

“I want to thank my fellow corn farmers for the opportunity to serve another three years,” Amundson said. “It is more important today than ever before for corn farmers to be proactive and continuously work to improve their operations. The Minnesota corn check-off is one tool corn farmers have to make that happen, as well as open new markets, expand the use of homegrown renewable fuels and improve environmental stewardship.”

• Xcel Energy hit a record in April with wind power meeting 46 percent of customers’ needs in the upper Midwest territory.

“This record reinforces Xcel Energy’s position as the No. 1 wind energy provider in the nation,” said Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company.

The previous record was set in April 2013, when wind generation met 42 percent of customer demand, Xcel said.

At the time the company’s Upper Midwest record was set, wind resources provided 1,622 megawatts of the 3,512 megawatts Xcel’s customers were using in Minnesota and neighboring states.

Xcel is working to expand its wind resources, and four wind projects have been approved by Minnesota regulators. The projects — two in Minnesota and two in North Dakota — will represent a 42 percent increase in the company’s wind power capacity in the region, Xcel said, and are scheduled to be in service by the end of 2015.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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