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Mayo's expansion plans, Dayton's job creation claims, and the newest food trends

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Mayo Clinic Proton Beam Therapy project
Construction of the Mayo Clinic Proton Beam Therapy project is well underway in Rochester Minn. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. The $240 million project is one of two proton beam centers Mayo expects to be treating patients by the summer of 2015. The Mayo Clinic, Minnesota's largest private employer, pressed state lawmakers Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 to commit more than $500 million toward an ambitious development project tied to the renowned medical center.
AP Photo/Rochester Post-Bulletin, Jerry Olson

Welcome to the MPR News Update. In the news today, the Mayo Clinic's multi-billion-dollar expansion plan for the city of Rochester; Gov. Dayton's budget proposal, and its claims about job creation, are getting more pushback; the race for Minneapolis mayor is already getting crowded; and a look at the hot food trends of 2013.  

MAYO EXPANSION PLANS: The Mayo Clinic has proposed  a $5 billion investment in Rochester and surrounding communities designed to make the region a "Destination Medical Center" and create up to 45,000 jobs statewide. 

The plan calls for $3.5 billion in capital investments at its Rochester campus over the next 20 years. Mayo Clinic officials also say they expect an estimated $2.1 billion in additional private investment. The clinic is seeking $585 million in public spending to pay for public parking, transportation, transit, utilities, skyways, bridges, public meeting spaces and other improvements.

Mayo CEO John Noseworthy expanded on the proposal in an interview with MPR's Tom Crann.

City officials in Rochester support the plan, but others are more skeptical, as MPR's Elizabeth Baier reports.    

GUN CONTROL HEARING IN DC:  Congress held its first hearings on gun violence Wednesday  following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard from advocates and critics of stronger gun control laws. Both of Minnesota's U.S. senators sit on the committee, and they used the opportunity to bring up their priorities for reducing gun violence. 

WILL DAYTON'S BUDGET BRING NEW JOBS?  Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing to spend nearly $90 million over the next two years on programs that he says will result in thousands of new well-paying jobs across the state.  But Republicans warn the tax changes in Dayton's budget will mean fewer jobs, not more.    

ENERGY NEWS: Environmental groups are cheering Minnesota Power's decision to move away from coal-based electricity at two small old plants in northeastern Minnesota.  The two plants will be converted to natural gas. The company recently built a large wind farm in North Dakota.  It plans to add more hydropower from Canada, and another natural gas generator sometime after 2020.   

At the same time, Minnesota has gone down two notches in state rankings of wind power production -- to seventh place. 

VERSO PAPER MILL SOLD: A shuttered paper mill in the central Minnesota town of Sartell won't be reopening under new ownership. The Verso paper mill was heavily damaged in an explosion and fire in May 2012.

  MINNEAPOLIS POLITICS: At least six people are running so far to succeed Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who is not seeking re-election. Their campaigns will likely need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the fundraising is just getting started.

Meantime, Four members of the Minneapolis City Council have endorsed the challenger trying to unseat City Council Member Dianne Hofstede.  Jacob Frey says he's secured endorsements from Council Members Robert Lilligren, Elizabeth Glidden, Lisa Goodman and Gary Schiff. Frey says he won their support because of his "forward-thinking vision."   The announcement is a major blow to Hofstede, who's served on the council for seven years. She has a famous name in Minneapolis politics. Her brother-in-law Al Hofstede served as mayor in the 1970s. Frey, 31, is a lawyer and community organizer. 

ST. PAUL NEIGHBORHOOD PONDERS FUTURE: St. Paul has suffered another setback in its experiment to improve educational outcomes for children in a high-poverty area. For the second year in a row, the St. Paul Promise Neighborhood did not receive a coveted grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The local effort aims to build stronger neighborhoods and chip away at the achievement gap between whites and students of color. 

APPETITES:  On this week's edition of Appetites, we take a look at some hot food trends for 2013 with Rachel Hutton, senior editor at Minnesota Monthly.