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Accretive asks judge to dump AG Swanson’s charges

Target execs cash in; Paul Douglas’ warning on heat wave; even half-marathon “shrinks”; Sen. Nienow opposes Medicaid expansion without audit; and more.

What’s the worst he can do? Say, “No”? Elizabeth Stawicki of MPR reports that “Fairview Health Service’s former debt collector, Accretive Health, on Monday asked a federal judge to dismiss Attorney General Lori Swanson’s complaint against the company. Swanson has accused Accretive of misconduct, including losing a laptop that contained more than 23,000 unencrypted patient records; collected debts for a period of time without a proper license; and sending collection letters to patients that were signed by fictitious individuals who posed as ‘patient financial advisors.’ In its motion, Accretive said there’s no evidence that the data on the laptop has been compromised, and calls it an ‘isolated incident’ that allows the attorney general to ‘pursue a wide-ranging, legally meritless attack on Accretive Health’s business practices.’ “

Target’s top execs and, most likely, a few other large shareholders have gotten a bit wealthier in recent times. Thomas Lee of the Strib writes: “Over the past several weeks, four of its top leaders, including CEO Gregg Steinhafel, have reaped millions of dollars from selling shares in the Minneapolis-based retailer. Target stock has jumped about 130 percent since late 2009 and closed Monday at $58.27, up 20 percent since the start of the year. Shares have soared as Target’s P-Fresh grocery format, Red Card program and exclusive merchandising partnerships have led to higher traffic and bigger purchases per visit. The last time Target shares crossed the $60 mark was in 2007. Jeremy Brunelli, a veteran Wall Street analyst, said Target executives may be reaping the financial windfall of their stock’s strong performance. Or it may be that they believe that shares have hit a ceiling. A Target spokesman declined to comment on the sales beyond the SEC filings.”

As hot as it was Monday — 99 degrees — the Fourth could be even warmer. On his blog, Paul Douglas writes: “In 1995 I was working in Chicago (long story — not one of my better decisions), when a sudden spike in temperature and humidity approached. I’ll take this to my grave. The Executive Producer at the TV station wanted to do schtick. ‘Which city will be hotter, Chicago or Phoenix? C’mon Paul, let’s have some FUN with this segment!’ I told her that people were going to die, that this was no time for happy-talk-news. Within 3 days a total of 750 people had perished, mostly elderly and shut-ins. Researchers found it wasn’t the afternoon heat — but the relentless nighttime warmth. People just couldn’t find any relief as ‘lows’ stayed above 83F for a few nights. NOAA has issued an Excessive Heat Warning thru Thursday night. Temperatures ‘cool’ into the mid-90s today, but bounce back up to near 100 on the 4th and Thursday. Dew points above 70 will make it feel like 110F. Check on friends, neighbors and family. The elderly and sick are most at risk of heat-related ailments.”

When is a half-marathon only five miles? When it’s 100 degrees, plus humidity. The PiPress story by Andy Greder says: “The third annual Red, White & Boom Twin Cities Half-Marathon set for the Fourth of July was shortened Monday to five miles in a precautionary step to reduce exposure to extreme heat, race officials said. The race will start at 6:30 a.m. in Minneapolis as planned, but will finish hours earlier to limit the chance of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Funny piece by Fergus Falls Journal publisher Joel Myhre on the probably more common than the ranters would like you to believe reaction to news about “Obamacare”: “So the Supreme Court decided to uphold the law, which Tea Party conservatives are arguing is a problem because we are going to force everyone to buy health insurance. OK, but how does this affect me? I already have health insurance, as does my wife (who, unlike [Tom] Cruise, I’m still married to) and child. My rates may go up, but they haven’t yet. I’m told that they will, but I’ll have to click on another story to get into the gory details of why they will. Wait, the Wolves want to trade for Pau Gasol? But why would they want to do that? I mean, they’ve got this dynamic core with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, and they want to give up a young dynamic player in Derek Williams for a thirty-something dude with a massive contract? I don’t get it. Right. So based on what I read, as the manager of a business, I should care about the health care bill, because the law imposes fines on employers that do not offer coverage. However, companies with fewer than 50 workers are exempt, and The Journal has fewer than 50 workers and it offers health insurance coverage, and that means most small businesses will not have to worry about the mandate.”

There’s been an arrest in the shooting of little Nizzel George. Say Abby Simons and Paul Walsh in the Strib: “Stephon Terrell Shannon, 17, of Minneapolis, is charged with aiding and abetting murder in the death of Nizzel George. The criminal complaint said Shannon is one of two people who fired several times at the home in the 4500 block of Bryant Avenue N. Even though he is a minor, Shannon is subject to adult court jurisdiction. There is no immediate word on the fate of the second teen, a 15-year-old boy, though the complaint against Shannon said that the younger suspect played a role in setting off the conflict that led to Nizzel’s death and was one of the shooters.”

Exciting day for a Schwan’s driver. Mara Gottfried of the PiPress reports: “A Schwan’s delivery truck driver said a man had waved him down and he made a U-turn, thinking he wanted to buy something, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, police spokesman. The man jumped on board, telling the driver to get out of the truck. The driver punched him in the face four times to keep him away, Paulos said. There was about $13,000 worth of product in the truck, he said. It doesn’t appear the man got into the truck, said Howie Padilla, another police spokesman. The driver accelerated and, as he tried to avoid other vehicles, slammed into a medium-sized pine tree, Paulos said.” Can I still get a five quart pail of Rocky Road and three pounds of burgers?

In a Strib commentary, GOP Sen. Sean Nienow says … the state should put the brakes on Medicaid expansion without an audit. Why? Kind of like Voter ID, because of all the fraud: “A significant part of this federal law includes a large expansion of Medicaid — subsidized health insurance for the poor — a program riddled with fraud. Over the last several years, allegations have been made that Minnesota inflated Medicaid spending figures in order to receive additional, unwarranted taxpayer dollars from the federal government. Congressional subcommittees of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings regarding the lack of transparency, accountability and oversight of Medicaid funding in Minnesota and around the country. The final report from the hearings specifically cites Minnesota as an example of ‘how states are failing to properly ensure the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars spent’.”

Even without an organized event, riding around without pants might sound like a good idea in this heat. Patrick Strait of City Pages writes: “FACT: There are three (and only three) acceptable ways to celebrate your independence this July 4:

1) Competitive eating competitions
2) Watching an all-day Die Hard marathon on TNT
3) Pants-free athletics.

While the first two are super patriotic, there is no greater feeling than shedding those terribly constrictive pants, hopping on your bike, and rocking out with your (FILL IN THE BLANK) out. This Wednesday, you’ll have the chance to do just that as part of the annual Freedom From Pants Ride in downtown Minneapolis. Last year’s event attracted over 200 riders, and the organizers expect an even bigger turnout this year. The event is open to all ages and athletic abilities, making it the perfect patriotic celebration for any proud American.” Dear, is my Star Spangled flannel thong at the cleaners?