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New accuser says Franken groped her

Sen. Al Franken
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Sen. Al Franken

Another accusation against Franken. CNN’s MJ Lee reports: “An Army veteran says Sen. Al Franken groped her in December 2003, telling CNN that while she was deployed in Kuwait, the Minnesota Democrat cupped her breast during a photo op. … Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, is the fifth woman in two weeks to accuse Franken of inappropriate touching, and the second person to allege that such behavior took place while Franken was on a USO tour. Three of the five women have been identified by name.”

Could be big. The Star Tribune’s Pam Louwagie reports: “County attorneys in Minnesota announced lawsuits Thursday against opioid manufacturers and distributors, partly blaming the companies for the addiction crisis sweeping the nation. … They are joining scores of county and local governments throughout the country alleging manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids are largely responsible for an epidemic of dangerous addiction that has caused thousands of deaths and strained public resources. … About a half dozen county attorneys from across the state formally announced the legal action at a news conference Thursday morning at the Minnesota County Attorney’s Association offices in St. Paul.”

Big medical cost report. The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson writes: “If clinics in Minnesota want to be viewed as economical, here’s an easy solution: Keep your patients out of the ER. … A new state report finds that spending on total medical care for privately insured patients in Minnesota averaged $490 per member per month in 2016, a 3 percent increase from 2015. … But medical groups varied by 90 percent in their prices and 70 percent in the frequency with which their patients sought care. And the variation was most dramatic in emergency department visits. Even after factoring out the reality that some clinics have sicker populations, the study found that patients from some clinics were three times more likely to go to the ER than patients from other clinics.”

Also from the same report, The Duluth News Tribune’s John Lundy reports: “An eye exam for a new patient in Essentia Health's East Region facilities costs more, on average, than anywhere else in Minnesota, according to an annual cost comparison report released today. … The report, issued by the nonprofit MN Community Measurement, shows that the cost of medical care overall rose 3.4 percent from 2015 to 2016 in Minnesota — a slower growth rate than the 5.6 percent of the year before. … It also showed, as it has in previous years, that the cost of medical care tends to run higher in the Northland than it does in the state as a whole.

In other news…

Note, the $15 wage kicks in in … 2024:Whiskey Junction To Close; Owners Cite Mpls. Minimum Wage Increase” [WCCO]

He’s a big fundraiser:Wis. Democrat Baldwin to divest of Garrison Keillor donations” [MPR]

Congrats:Maya Moore wins SI's Performer of the Year award” [Sports Illustrated]

Sometimes it’s the simple explanation:

Also in racist tweets:Rice County official tweets racist reaction to Diamond Reynolds' settlement” [City Pages]

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