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Treasury decision could make Medtronic deal ‘untenable’

PLUS: General Mills buy’s Annie’s organics; Johnson and Dayton agree to five debates; a group of U profs are concerned about human testing; and more. 

Wikimedia Commons/Bobak Ha'Eri

Bad news for Medtronic. The Star Tribune’s Jim Spencer and Joe Carlson report on comments made Monday by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who said the Treasury Department will decide soon if it has the power to take away the tax advantages of “inversion” deals. “Lew believes action is required now to control the rising number of U.S. corporations shifting their legal residences abroad to avoid taxes while keeping operational headquarters here. If that action is retroactive, as the Obama administration says it should be, it could make Medtronic Inc.’s pending $43 billion acquisition of Covidien untenable in its current form. ‘The Treasury Department is completing an evaluation of what we can do to make these deals less economically appealing, and we plan to make a decision in the very near future,’ Lew said in a speech at a business tax reform seminar at the Urban Institute.’”

Inaction makes for strange bedfellows. Also in the Strib, Allison Sherry says Minnesota’s congressional delegation is pressing the Obama administration to explain exactly what its doing about ISIL, which is actively recruiting fighters from Minnesota: “Both Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have called on the Justice Department to fortify resources in Minnesota as details emerge that between 20 and 30 Minnesotans have been actively recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq … . GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann on Monday introduced a bill that would revoke passports and re-entry privileges of those fighting against the United States. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents an area heavily populated by Somalis, asked that the administration continue engaging with the state’s local Muslim community.”

The cheese stands … to get rich. General Mills is shelling out $820 million for Annie’s, the Berkeley, California-based organic food manufacturer best known for its mac and cheese. Clare Kennedy from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has the details: “Annie’s will be absorbed into General Mills’ Small Planet Foods division, which includes other natural and organic brands bought by General Mills such as Cascadian Farms, Larabar, Muir Glen and Food Should Taste Good. Founded in 1989, Annie’s reported $204 million in net sales during its latest fiscal year, which ended in March.”

Party of Five? The Star Tribune’s Patrick Condon says that GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton have finally agreed on the number of debate they’ll have: five — all during the month of October. “The first debate between the two is scheduled for Oct. 1 in Rochester. The last will be Oct. 31 on the public television program ‘Almanac.’ … The Dayton campaign identified six that the governor would attend — those five listed above and a final, Nov. 2 debate in St. Paul on Minnesota Public Radio. Johnson was critical of Dayton for not agreeing to the full schedule. But late last week, the Johnson campaign put out a press release signing off on the five October debates but declining the MPR debate.”

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The long tail of the Dan Markingon case: The Pioneer Press’ Doug Beldon has a piece on a group of professors at the University of Minnesota concerned about the U’s practices regarding clinical research on humans. “Twelve members of the U Faculty Senate who called for [a] probe in December have sent a letter to U officials also expressing concern that the investigation needs to examine past missteps … . That will be problematic, they argue, given conflicts involving the organization hired to do the review, the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs Inc., and several individuals associated with it. AAHRPP is not a disinterested party, the professors argue, given that it also accredits the U’s research protection programs.”

That’s a big tomato. Matt McKinney from the Star Tribune has the story of Dan MacCoy, who claims to have grown the heaviest tomato. Ever: “The deli scale at the grocery store in Ely, Minn., confirmed the tomato’s monster status: 8.41 pounds, enough that MacCoy expects the Guinness World Records to eventually certify it as the heaviest tomato ever grown. ‘It was pretty amazing to see that number come up,’ MacCoy said Monday. The weigh-in at Ely’s Northland Market prompted ‘jumping and cheering’ among people in the grocery store that day, he said. The weigh-in was witnessed by a representative of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, the non-profit organization that oversees the hobby of world-record fruit growing.”

New Ordway: The Ordway has announced a monthlong series of concerts to celebrate the opening of its new, $75 million concert hall next March, MPR’s Euan Kerr reports. “‘Twenty-two days of opening nights,’ Ordway President Patricia Mitchell said in describing the month-long celebration.  … The invited artists include two South African legends in singer Vusi Mahlasela and flugelhornist Hugh Masekela, who on March 7 will perform together in the Concert Hall. ‘Those two artists in that intimate space will be extraordinary,’ Mitchell said. A host of local artists also will perform, among them singer Haley Bonar, the Sounds of Blackness, Cantus, and Ananya Dance Theatre, which will perform a piece created for the Concert Hall.”

‘Peeping’ makes it sound like a bad thing.  Travel & Leisure magazine just named Stillwater one of the best towns in the United States for leaf peeping.’ The magazine recently ranked the St. Croix River Valley town third among the Top 20 ‘America’s Best Towns for Fall Colors.’ Only Oakland, Md., and Lake Placid, N.Y., ranked higher in the magazine’s September issue. … ‘This is a really big deal,’ said Barb Trueman, a spokeswoman for the bureau. ‘Anytime we are awarded with something, it just helps us get people excited about coming to the Birthplace of Minnesota.’”