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Michelle Obama rallies Democrats in Minnesota

Plus: Former Boston Scientific engineer indicted; St. Paul woman thought to be one of suspected serial killer’s victims; Wet Willy bandit agrees to plea deal; and more.

First Lady Michelle Obama addressing attendees at a rally at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen

On First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit: Kyle Potter of the AP says, “Republicans in both [Iowa and Minnesota] used Mrs. Obama’s visits to tie Democratic candidates to the president and his waning approval ratings. The campaign of Mike McFadden, Franken’s Republican challenger, called Tuesday ‘a reminder that President Obama’s policies are on Minnesota ballots this fall in the form of Al Franken.’ On both stops, the first lady defended her husband’s record. In Minneapolis, she reminded voters of ‘the mess he’d been handed’ when he took office in 2009.”

Matt Sepic of MPR says, “Both Franken and Dayton enjoy leads in the polls. But Obama said Democrats shouldn’t be complacent. ‘When the midterms came along, too many of our people just tuned out,’ she said. ‘And that’s what folks on the other side are counting on this year. Because they know when we stay home, they win.’”

For the Strib, Abby Simons says, “Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downey said the parade of big-name Democrats can be taken as an acknowledgment of momentum for his party’s top candidates: Dayton challenger Jeff Johnson and Franken challenger Mike McFadden. ‘Clearly you wouldn’t have an army of Democrat leaders coming through Minnesota if this state and these races weren’t in play,’ Downey said.” They pay him to say something, you know.

Pop quiz. Who is Joe Perske? If you said the back-up catcher for the Kansas City Royals you’re way off. An AP story tells us, “A DFL congressional candidate attacked Republican hopeful Tom Emmer’s record as a state lawmaker, calling him divisive and uncooperative during a debate Tuesday in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann. Joe Perske, who is the mayor of Sartell, said that Minnesota’s 6th District has been ill-served by Bachmann, a tea party favorite who is not seeking re-election this year after winning four terms, and that Emmer’s record in the Minnesota House, where he served six years, shows he would deliver more of the same.” The obvious response is that that is what the voters want.

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KSTP-TV’s Todd Wilson reports on a U of M study on the prevalence of C-section births. “A University of Minnesota study has found that C-section rates across U.S. hospitals vary widely. … According to a University of Minnesota study published this week, in 2011, C-sections made up 32.8 percent of all deliveries and more than 1.3 million births in the U.S. Dr. Katy Kezhimannil, of the U of M’s School of Public Health, co-led the study with colleagues from Harvard. She says C-section rates vary 10-fold across hospitals in the U.S.”

Indicted. Peter Cox of MPR says, “A federal grand jury has indicted a former Minnesota engineer at Boston Scientific alleging he stole trade secrets from the medical device company using thumb drives. … The indictment alleges that [Aaron Quoc Khieu] planned to use Boston Scientific trade secrets to manufacture and sell his own brand of catheters under the company name Snowflake Medical. He would have the devices manufactured in Vietnam and sell them to physicians and hospitals in Vietnam, the United States and other countries.”

A St. Paul woman is among the victims of that northern Indiana serial killer. A trio of Chicago Tribune reporters says, “Teaira Batey, 28, who was born in Chicago and raised in St. Paul, had recently spent time in jail for a felony drug conviction, court records showed. Her body was found with two others in an abandoned home in Gary, Ind. … Batey was a kind-hearted and giving woman who lived a troubled life, family members said. She had used drugs in the past, according to Clinton and her mother, Gloria Cullom, of St. Paul. But they both said they thought she was clean around the time she disappeared.”

Another example of why we need immigration reform. Jim Anderson of the Strib writes, “A Forest Lake man accused of coming to the United States under false cover as a refugee while hiding war crimes he committed during the Bosnian conflict may have been involved in as many as three murders there, according to new documents filed in a federal case which could lead to his deportation. Zdenko Jakisa, 46, was indicted by a grand jury in April on a charge of immigration fraud for allegedly lying on documents that allowed him and his wife, Anna, to emigrate to Minnesota in 1998 as refugees sponsored by a local church.”

GOP 7th District congressional candidate Torrey Westrum has been supported by ads ripping DFL incumbent Collin Peterson for availing himself of government perks. Now the Dems are smacking back. Allison Sherry of the Strib reports, “From 2002 to 2014, Westrom received $98,477 in per diem payments, according to state House and Senate records compiled by Democrats. In that same timeframe, he received $54,000 in district travel expenses and $119,000 on lodging expenses and $47,000 on mileage expenses. The National Republican Congressional Committee said from 2005 to 2013, Peterson, who is running for his 13th term, spent $73,976 on money to lease two vehicles. In that same time period, Peterson reimbursed himself $139,481 in private auto mileage and gasoline, which includes $21,535 in rembursements for his plane. Polls have been up and down in this race, but most show Westrom and Peterson within a few points of each other.”

Assault? Aaron Rupar of City Pages says, “Sure, it’s no fun to be on the receiving end of a ‘wet willy,’ but you wouldn’t think one would constitute felony assault, right? But that’s one charge among a few 24-year-old Riley Swearingen faced for putting his saliva-dampened fingers in the ears of a Mankato cop during the course of drunken shenanigans just after bar close Saturday morning. (As this post was being finalized, we learned that after three days in jail, Swearingen agreed to a plea deal yesterday whereby he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disruptive intoxication in order to have the felony charge dropped.)”