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Ten die in terrible weekend on Minnesota roads

MORNING EDITION ALSO: OccupyMN “agenda” forming; Bachmann on poll numbers and religion; Norway’s royal couple to visit; another year of record pumpkins; and more.
Read Friday Afternoon Edition


It was a very nasty weekend on Minnesota roads. Ten people are dead. WCCO radio reports: “Authorities say seven people were killed in five separate crashes on Saturday. Two people are dead and and two others are injured after a crash at the intersection of County Road 40 and County Road 5, west of New London. … Two were killed after three vehicles collided in Goodhue County, where another man was injured. … Thirty-seven-year-old Jeremy Topper, of Cohasset, was killed when his pick-up truck went off the road on Highway 169, ejecting him from the vehicle. … Another crash occurred in Faribault when a southbound car went off Lyndale Avenue, near Division Street, and hit a metal power pole, killing the driver. …  Finally, one person was killed in an overnight crash on Highway 210 and County Road 33 in Otter Tail County, after two vehicles crashed.”

The Strib’s Joy Powell adds:At least two more died on Minnesota highways on Friday. Abigail Wendland, 16, of Waseca, was driving west on 22nd Avenue at 4 p.m. when she entered an intersection and was struck by a northbound semi-trailer truck. The 32-year-old truck driver was not hurt. Samuel Grossman, 55, of Cohasset, was killed when his truck, traveling east on Highway 169 at Calumet, drifted across the center line and struck a semi-trailer truck parked on the westbound shoulder.”

The OccupyMN protesters are trying to coalesce their message. Rupa Shenoy of MPR writes: “OccupyMN organizers say demonstrators agreed on a formal structure and voting process for making decisions on Saturday night. … ‘If all the Occupy movements put clear demands on Congress saying no cuts to working people, tax the rich, cut the Pentagon budget, expand the social safety net, which I think are majoritarian positions, that could have a major impact the way this movement is spreading,’ organizer Ty Moore said. ‘But that takes a lot of political cohesion and coordination to do. I don’t know if it will happen, but I think we should try.’ “

A Strib editorial demands faster forward movement on The Sunshine Act.: “Inexcusable federal foot-dragging is delaying the rollout of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act — a landmark law outing doctors’ often lucrative financial ties to industry. Less than three months before drug and medical device manufacturers are slated to start complying with the law, it’s become clear that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has not made this important accountability measure an agency priority. CMS is charged with writing the rules and regulations that translate the law’s language into practical guidelines. The agency is woefully behind. … The law, which languished as a standalone bill for several years, was tucked into the 2010 federal health reform law, the Affordable Care Act. Some might be tempted to applaud the delay of any new industry regulations. That’s shortsighted. The Sunshine Act will require public disclosure of the large sums sometimes paid to medical professionals by industry. That collaboration is important for medical innovation, but there are also concerns about whether money influences doctors when it comes time to choose between new products and older drugs or devices.” I smell lobbying money.
Today in Bachmannia: To the surprise of no one, Our Favorite Congresswoman sees only good news in low poll numbers. On CNN she said: “ ‘I think we are doing a good job getting our message out on job growth and on turning the economy around,’ Bachmann said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘That’s what we’re working on. We’re not focusing on the day-to-day. Because as you have seen with many of the other candidates, candidates go up, candidates go down and what we’re very concerned about is making sure that the message gets out there, because it is not about any one of us, it is about turning the economy around and creating jobs.’ When presented with poll numbers that show her sliding among the GOP candidates, Bachmann said she wasn’t disheartened. ‘We’re just starting a kick-off today of four days here in New Hampshire and we’ve got a wonderful experience in Iowa and we’ve been in South Carolina, Florida, we’ve worked very hard and we have very strong numbers in those states.”

Over at Jezebel, Cassie Murdoch watches the CNN interview and comes away saying: “[O]ur old pal Republican Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann stopped by CNN’s State of the Union to talk with Candy Crowley. When asked whether Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, can be called a Christian, Bachmann did not feel like going into it. ‘This is so inconsequential as far as this campaign is concerned. We have religious tolerance in this country, and we understand that people have different views on their faith.’ Ohhhh, we do?? Tell us more, Michelle, because it sort of seems like you and many of your fellow candidates haven’t been that into the religious freedoms of certain groups of people, like, say, Muslims. To be fair, she also likes to dodge questions about whether she thinks Barack Obama is a Christian, so at least she’s consistent! When Candy Crowley pressed her, saying that the issue is not inconsequential given that conservative Christians have lots of sway in the Republican primaries, Bachmann went even further. ‘Candidates can have the faith that they want, but the beauty about America is that we do have tolerance for each one’s faith and that’s where it’s at.’ ” I dare her to say that to the Values Voters crowd.

The Wall Street Journal runs an AP story on the visit of Norway’s royal couple to Minnesota: “Norway pride is bursting ahead of an extended U.S. visit beginning this week by King Harald V and Queen Sonja. … In the Midwest, receptions featuring the royal couple quickly filled up and organizers said turnout should reach into the thousands at other appearances. The anticipation is understandable given that the region has the deepest Norwegian heritage, where former immigrants or their descendants are treating the royal visit as a can’t-miss event. … The royal itinerary is built around college campuses, landmarks and art galleries with cultural or personal significance to the king. The royal couple will be on hand for the rededication of the Enger Tower in Duluth, Minn., a five-story monument to an immigrant who became a prominent businessman; King Harald’s father first dedicated the tower in 1939. The king will spend time with the head of Minnesota’s National Guard to thank him for a 39-year troop exchange facilitating training for the Norwegian Home Guard. And they’ll help punctuate the 150-year anniversary of Luther College, a school in Decorah, Iowa, founded by Norwegian immigrants.” But … will the tabloids swoon over their fashions? Will they provide even a whiff of scandal?

The BBC notes the passing of a “giant” in medicine. “A Belfast-born physician involved in many breakthroughs in medical research spanning several decades has died. Dr. John Shepherd’s discoveries have led to new ways to treat high blood pressure and have helped astronauts withstand the rigours of space travel. The 92-year-old who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease died on Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester … He worked there since emigrating from Northern Ireland in 1957. … Colleague Dr Michael Joyner said Dr. Shepherd was one of the top cardiovascular researchers of the past half-century. ‘John Shepherd was a giant in cardiovascular physiology who built the academic medical centre at Mayo Clinic,’ he said. Dr Joyner said his work revealed how the nervous system, and not just the kidneys, was vital to blood pressure regulation. ‘He made fundamental observations about how the nerves control blood pressure, and that has led to all kinds of ideas and therapies for hypertension’, Mr. Joyner said.”

Order your pies now. A new (state) record holder is in the books. Mary Divine of the PiPress reports: “Pumpkin grower extraordinaire Chad Revier, of New London, Minn., broke the state record in pumpkin growing Saturday at Stillwater’s Harvest Fest. Revier’s pumpkin weighed 1,630 pounds — 51 pounds heavier than the state record holder he grew in 2009. But the winner of the grand prize in pumpkin weigh-off on Saturday went to Kevin Marsh, a mailman from Parker, S.D. Marsh’s pumpkin weighed 1,657 pounds and earned him a $5,000 prize. Revier’s pumpkin earned him second place and $3,500. World record holder Chris Stevens, of New Richmond, Wis., came in third this year with a 1,575-pound pumpkin. He won $2,000. Stevens set a world record at last year’s Stillwater Harvest Fest with a 1,810 1/2 pound pumpkin.”

I only wonder if he regards these as billable hours? The PiPress says: “A La Crosse attorney damaged several cars with a knife and was later spotted naked outside a hotel room, prosecutors say. On surveillance video from the Adriatic Motel, Theodore Blackey, 66, can be seen scratching seven vehicles with a knife early Sept. 10, according to a complaint filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court. He also tried to cut a mailbox and the hotel’s doors and windows, police say. Blackey retreated to his hotel room and later emerged nude, the complaint states. Officers found a large knife stuck in his room’s bathroom wall. Blackey admitted damaging the cars but did not remember being naked.”