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Bachmann still seeing ‘political motivations’ in investigations

Mayo CEO makes pitch; tentative deal for SPCO; pilot charged; Minnesota’s popular baby names; Duluth to study stadium rehab; and more.

It’s the work of Satan, I tell you! Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “Addressing the legal and ethical questions swirling about her 2012 campaign personally for the first time, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said: ‘I’m thoroughly convinced that I’ll be cleared.’ Congressional ethics watchdogs are looking into allegations of financial misdeeds in her presidential campaign. Separately, a former Bachmann Iowa campaign worker has sued over her campaign’s use of an email list. That matter has also resulted in a criminal investigation. In answer to a question about the concerns, Bachmann said on Tuesday that none of the allegations are true.  ‘There’s political motivations that are involved because I’ve been named as the number one target (for) defeat by the Democrat Party, by Nancy Pelosi and also by SuperPACs so, you know no one can know anyone’s thoughts or intents, but clearly it looks like it’s politically motivated.’ ” By her own staff?  

Here comes the squeeze … Kevin Diaz of the Strib says: “The future growth of the iconic Mayo Clinic in Minnesota depends largely on the state’s answer to Rochester’s request for a half a billion dollars in infrastructure improvements, Dr. John Noseworthy, the clinic’s president and CEO, said Tuesday. ‘We’re never going to leave Minnesota, and we don’t want to leave Minnesota,’ he said in an interview at the National Press Club, where he made a pitch for federal investment in health care and medical research. ‘But we’ve got to decide where we’re going to put the next $3 billion’ in projected Mayo expansion.” MinnPost’s Devin Henry has more on the speech here.

The SPCO may have a deal that ends its lockout. Euan Kerr at MPR says: “The two sides in the long-running labor dispute at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Tuesday reached a tentative deal. Musician negotiator Carole Mason Smith said her committee now will recommend musicians accept a proposal made by SPCO management last week. The tentative deal between the musicians and SPCO management will require a vote. If approved, the musicians’ annual pay will be cut by $15,000, and the orchestra will be reduced by six players to 24. However the musicians will have greater artistic control over the SPCO’s performances and repertoire.”                    

That American Eagle pilot grabbed before takeoff back in January has been formally charged. Paul Walsh’s Strib story says, “Suspended American Eagle pilot Kolbjorn J. Kristiansen, 48, was charged in Hennepin County District Court this week with attempting to operate an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol on Jan. 4 and two other gross-misdemeanor counts. The charges say that a preliminary breath test measured his alcohol content at 0.107 percent, with follow-up blood testing coming back at 0.09 percent, after his removal from the airliner’s jetway before its departure for New York’s LaGuardia Airport. … Officers met up with Kristiansen in the jetway and saw that he smelled of liquor, had glassy and watery eyes and ‘was slow in responses to officer questions,’ the complaint read.”

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But no “Roscoe” or “Beulah”?  Kelly Smith of the Strib has a story about the state’s favorite (current) baby names: “For the first time, Mohamed has made the list of the state’s most popular baby boy names, in at No. 98. The updated list, released Tuesday by the U.S. Social Security Administration, ranks Minnesota’s top 100 baby names for boys and girls. … Among this year’s trends: surnames as first names such as Bentley and Griffin and girls’ names that end in ‘a.’ Olivia, Sophia, Emma, Ava and Isabella all make the top five girl names on the list, which draws from 2011 social security data, while the top boy names are more traditional — Mason, William, Jacob and Liam.”

Here’s MPR’s Brandt Williams on where we’re at with new gun controls at the Legislature. “Several other states, including Colorado and Connecticut, recently passed universal background check laws. Some Minnesota legislators believe the same is possible here. ‘I remain confident that we can pass a universal background check provision in the Senate,’ said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park. Latz is the sponsor of a bill that would require most private gun sales to be subject to a background check. … Latz’s bill, SF458, would require a person selling a handgun or a so-called semi-automatic military-style assault weapon to conduct a background check on the buyer before completing the sale. Under this proposal, the seller would transfer the gun to a federally licensed dealer. The dealer would conduct the background check and transfer the gun to the buyer provided they are legally able to possess the gun.” And who carries negligent-use insurance?

So he’ll have it paid off in … 57,000 months. Dee DePass of the Strib reports: “Denny Hecker’s former auto business partner and co-defendant Steven Leach received a break Tuesday when a judge reduced the restitution he must pay the court from $2,500 to $200 a month. Leach, former president of Hecker’s defunct Rosedale Leasing operation, was imprisoned in March 2011 and served a 20-month sentence for his part in helping former auto dealer Hecker defraud Chrysler Financial out of millions of dollars in ill-gotten auto loans. Originally Leach, 57, was ordered to repay $14.2 million. He still owes $11.4 million and was supposed to repay it in $2,500 monthly installments.”

Along with a couple of comments from charitable gambling sources regarding Vikings stadium finances, Tim Nelson of MPR reports: “[T]here was a sign of movement on another stadium matter: the proposed rehab at Duluth’s Wade Stadium. The city is asking for $250,000 in planning money to do a study of what the 1941 ballpark needs, and the House DFL bonding bill has precisely that amount listed in its spreadsheet … Gov. Mark Dayton offered a slightly lesser amount — $200,000 — in his recommendations [Monday]. Duluth Mayor Don Ness says the study will scope out what the stadium might need. He also hopes the city will be able to identify some possible funding sources for $8 to $10 million in construction work.”

Oh, good lord … Paul Huttner at MPR on what’s coming: “The next 48 hours will bring rain, sleet, ice, snow and even some thundersnow to parts of Minnesota. High winds may snap snow and ice laden trees and power lines in southern Minnesota, and power outages are likely tonight through Thursday. How much? … let’s put it this way. It’s not out of the question as some models suggest that the metro may end up with a top 5 (9.6″) … or even a shot at the biggest April snowfall on record (13.6″) by Thursday evening.