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State tribe wins $18 million judgment

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Murmurs of Bachmann for Senate in ’12, Klobuchar on jobs strategy, a bunch of business world exits, and your neighborhood Nanny State store.
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A Tribal Court has awarded a local Chippewa tribe $18 million in a long-running case against a Pittsburgh investor/developer. The Strib’s Rochelle Olson says: “A tribal news release said the judgment caps a 14-year fight by the band to collect from [Angelo] Medure, who invested $42,000 to remodel temporary bathrooms at the Mahnomen casino but took nearly $11 million from the tribe. The amount of the judgment reflects interest since 1996. Under Medure’s watch, Wadena and others ‘committed misapplication of tribal funds, theft, bribery,’ the news release said. Tribe lawyer Zenas Baer said he believes Medure still has assets. ‘Am I optimistic that he will fork it over and say, ‘When can I write the check?’ No. He’s had 14 years,’ Baer said, adding that he expects Medure to appeal the tribal decision to the federal courts.” Olson quotes former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger saying he likes the tribe’s chances to collect.

Hannah Brenton of “the Hill” political blog gooses the “Bachmann for Senate 2012” murmurings by writing: “Bachmann, a media-savvy conservative who has seized the mantle of the Tea Party movement, cruised to reelection in the midterms and reclaimed her 6th district seat with a nearly 13-point win over state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Bachmann brought in an eye-popping $13.2 million during the campaign, shattering the previous fundraising record for House candidates and eclipsing even the totals for many Senate campaigns, which are typically more expensive to run. [Sen. Amy] Klobuchar, for instance, raised just more than $9 million for her successful Senate run in 2006.” The ever-quotable Tony Sutton, state GOP chair, pipes in: “ ‘I think she’d be a very powerful candidate and could definitely beat Amy Klobuchar. She’s certainly got the fundraising horsepower, the political organization skills, and she’s a great spokesperson.’ “

For her part, Klobuchar was on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. Kevin Diaz of the Strib posts: “Klobuchar, generally viewed by her colleagues in the Senate as a moderate, acknowledged that Democrats might have lost the jobs argument with Republicans. ‘We need a major focus on private sector jobs,’ she said. ‘I think that focus has been there, but the truth is, when you ask people in the last year, when Democrats would talk about jobs, whether it was fair or not, they thought it meant government jobs. We need to talk about private sector jobs.’ ” Are the Democrats about as hapless as you get when it comes to 21st century branding, or what?

One of the grand old men of Twin Cities business and philanthrophy has died. The Strib story, by Janet Moore, says: “R. Winston Wallin, a former executive at Medtronic and Pillsbury … died Monday morning after being ill for several months. He was 84. A Minneapolis native, Wallin rose from a grain buyer’s position at Pillsbury to high corporate positions there and at Medtronic Inc., where he served as chairman and chief executive beginning in 1985. Wallin is credited with creating the underpinnings for Medtronic’s spectacular growth spurt that began in the late 1980s and continued for more than a decade. Today, the Fridley-based company is the largest medical technology company in the world with $16 billion in annual revenue. ‘Win really saved Medtronic,’ said the company’s co-founder Earl Bakken in an interview earlier this year. ‘He was also a kind, gentle gentleman.’ “

Entirely coincidentally, we think, Medtronics’ current CEO announced he’ll retire this April after only three years. Moore, again, reports: “Chairman and CEO William Hawkins III will retire at the end of its fiscal year in April.” Adding: “Wall Street analysts said the change represents an impending transition period for the $16 billion company and for a maturing industry. Rick Wise, an analyst with Leerink Swann Research, called the news ‘astonishing and unexpected’ in a report to investors Monday.” Moore notes the company’s various legal issues, including that funky paid consulting thing with doctors.

Also … entirely by coincidence, really, maybe, Bloomberg is reporting that 3M’s CEO is planning an earlier-than-imagined retirement. “3M Co. directors are preparing for the earlier-than-expected departure of Chief Executive Officer George Buckley next year and have begun evaluating internal candidates for the top job, said three people with knowledge of the matter. Buckley, whose contract expires when he turns 65 in February 2012, has told 3M board members and senior officers he would like to resign next year, said the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions are private.” Do these guys know something we don’t? When does that Mayan calendar thing go down?

Richard Chin’s PiPress story, titled “Traditions make way as death goes green,” is worth your time, especially if you’re in a kind of Tim Burton mood. He opens by writing: “How many houses could you heat from burning dead bodies? That’s a question Americans could be asking themselves in the future, according to John Troyer, a self-described professor of death. Troyer, a Minneapolis native whose doctorate dissertation at the University of Minnesota was titled ‘Technologies of the Human Corpse,’ is the deputy director of Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath in England. But the academic is back in the Twin Cities for the holidays, where he’ll give a couple of talks, one sponsored by the university’s Bell Museum about green options for body disposal and another for the Minnesota Historical Society based on his research on memorial tattoos — tattoos in remembrance of a dead person or pet.” Tattoos for … your dead pet? Good lord, man, don’t give ’em ideas.

I can already hear the howls about “The Nanny State.” MPR’s Madaleine Baran files a story on the city of Minneapolis’ program to get more fresh produce into neighborhood corner stores notorious for their sugar and fatty carb treats: “The Roosevelt High School junior unwittingly stepped into the kickoff of the city’s Healthy Corner Store Initiative, a six-month pilot project to help 10 corner stores sell more fruits and vegetables.” She goes on to say: “Over the last month, the stores have undergone healthy food makeovers, in an effort to encourage healthier eating habits and decrease obesity. A grocery store manager hired by the city helped store owners turn unused soda coolers into produce refrigerators, and nudged aside some of the candy and chip displays to make room for new wire racks and straw baskets holding apples, oranges, onions, and other fresh food. In exchange for the help, store owners have agreed to stock more produce and keep track of sales. The city’s Staple Foods Ordinance, passed in 2008, already requires grocers to stock at least five varieties of fruits and vegetables, but many stores struggle to meet the requirement or don’t bother trying.”

Once again, entirely by coincidence, Martin Moylan,  Baran’s MPR colleague, has a story up  reporting that  Dunkin Donuts is planning to expand big in the Twin Cities metro: “The coffee shop chain plans to open between 110 and 120 shops in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Peter Turner, a former Minnetonka resident now living in North Carolina, will be part of the ownership group for those shops. Turner says he and his business partners expect to open 23 shops next year in Minnetonka, Edina, Bloomington and other suburbs south and west of Minneapolis.” Oh yeah, I can just see all those 105-pound Edina soccer moms lining up at a Dunkin Donuts.