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Wednesday A.M. Report

Residential building activity increases in March, Cook charged in $190M Ponzi scheme, U.S. Bank launches new Visa for small businesses and U of M study: light-rail line helping job access

Residential building activity increases in March: Residential permit activity increased sharply in March, helped by four large multifamily projects, according to statistics compiled by the Keystone Report for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. There were 236 permits issued in March for a total of 733 units — an increase of 109 percent for permits and 413 percent for units as compared to a year ago. More than two-thirds of the units this month are for mutlifamily homes. Read full story

Cook charged in $190M Ponzi scheme: Twin Cities businessman Trevor Cook was charged Tuesday with allegedly orchestrating a $190 million Ponzi scheme. Cook, 37, faces one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota B. Todd Jones. Read full story 

U.S. Bank launches new Visa for small businesses: U.S. Bank has introduced a new customizable credit card for small-business clients through a partnership with digital printing company Vistaprint. The Vistaprint Visa Business credit card allows Vistaprint’s small business customers to design and personalize their own card online, matching it to existing business marketing materials. Read full story 

U of M study: light-rail line helping job access: The Hiawatha light-rail line provides low-wage workers with improved job access, according to a University of Minnesota study. The Hiawatha light-rail line, which runs between downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America (stopping at, among other places, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport), opened in 2004. The study found that since its opening, the number of low-wage jobs in light-rail station areas has increased by 14,000 or 50 percent and by 4,000 or 25 percent in areas with light-rail-connecting bus routes. Read full story