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Country Inns offer help for road-trip travelers; also: upbeat med-tech news, and website users rate General Mills, UnitedHealth bosses

Country Inns & Suites wants to help sedate your road-trip passengers this summer — and combat global hunger. The Carlson Cos.‘ hotel chain has partnered with an organization called Feed Them With Music to sell a pair of road-trip compilation CDs. Sales will benefit a program that provides meals to needy children around the world. No AC/DC or Night Ranger, though. One disc is a collection of “beautiful and expressive piano,” and the other is a batch of acoustic tracks, including some solid local performers like Gary Louris and The Pines.

With the economy slumping, there might be at least one sector of Minnesota’s that is recession-proof: medical devices. The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press both report on how St. Jude Medical‘s latest profit announcement bucks overall economic trends. The St. Paul-based company makes such heart devices as pacemakers and defibrillators. Chief Financial Officer John Heinmiller tells the Star Tribune: “It’s not like this is cosmetic surgery, or even elective surgery.”

More good news for medical-device makers: The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog reports that the use of drug-coated stents is climbing again, following a safety scare that collapsed sales. A new survey of U.S. hospitals shows that 73 percent of stents implanted last month were drug-coated, compared with a low of 62 percent in December. Medtronic has had success this year with its new Endevour drug-coated stent.

I missed this one a couple of days ago, so your employer might already have blocked the site by now: The Minnesota Independent’s Molly Priesmeyer writes about a website called, where employees can anonymously rate their bosses and dish dirt about their work experiences. General Mills CEO Ken Powell gets glowing reviews; UnitedHealth Group‘s Steve Hemsley, not so much.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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