U of M Regents clamp down on sweet pay packages

In response to the flap over juicy pay packages for former administrators, the U of M’s Board of Regents has a new plan. Says Jana Hollingsworth at the Duluth News Tribune: “The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved changes to its executive compensation policies Wednesday to eliminate generous transitional leave provisions that allowed some former leaders to collect their executive salaries for as much as a year after their departures. … Former University of Minnesota Duluth chancellor Kathryn A. Martin is one executive who departed with a large sum of money — more than $500,000. Martin’s departure pay included a two-month sabbatical worth $38,875, a year’s pay of $233,250 as severance, another $30,000 in retirement payments and a 15-month ‘transitional leave,’ that amounted to another year’s pay. U of M policy has said that if employees don’t return as faculty, they are to pay back all or some of what they earned during their transitional leave. But that could be waived by the president, and routinely was by former U of M President Robert Bruininks. … Bruininks also signed compensation agreements that allowed executives leaves at their administrative salaries rather than a lower rate recommended by university policy. Current President Eric Kaler and lawmakers have criticized the practice.”

Supporters of the GOP’s anti-gay-marriage amendment may have to step up their displays of grassroots support. Up in Bemidji, Brian Matthews of the Pioneer reports: “Nearly 150 members of the Bemidji community gathered to show their unity in opposition of the proposed amendment that would ban same-sex couples from marrying in Minnesota. ‘We must say a resounding ‘NO’ to the proposed constitutional amendment that would, for all intents and purposes, end any meaningful discussion about extending the wonders of the marital relationship to all members of our society,’ the Rev. Steve Schmit of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church said at Wednesday evening’s Vote No! Community Kickoff at Bemidji State University.”

You’ll have three additional weeks to bag your wolf next winter. Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “Minnesota’s first regulated wolf hunt will be longer than earlier announced, with a late season ending Jan. 31 instead of Jan. 6, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said today. Final details of the hunt were unveiled after DNR wildlife officials had weighed the results from an online survey. The DNR received more than 7,000 responses to the survey, which ended June 20. Among other changes announced today, hunters and trappers must register the wolves they take more promptly so that DNR officials can more quickly close a zone if harvest quotas are reached. Hunters and trappers must register their wolves by 10 p.m. the day of harvest rather than by 8 p.m. the following day, as had originally been planned.”

The GleanThat local government rule thing only goes so far. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled against towns setting up stricter environmental laws than the state. Dinesh Ramde of the AP writes: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court dealt a blow to environmentalists concerned about water pollution from huge livestock farms Wednesday, when it said communities couldn’t set stricter standards than the state. The ruling was believed to be the first decision by a state Supreme Court in about a half-dozen cases pitting neighbors and small farmers throughout the Midwest against so-called factory farms, which can have hundreds or even thousands of animals. Similar cases have been filed in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma, and the decision was closely watched.  Farm groups cheered the ruling, saying it will allow farms to grow and expand under predictable and consistent terms applied statewide. But clean water activists said it will only encourage the growth of huge farms, with thousands of animals producing more manure than the land can handle and runoff that contaminates rivers and underground water sources.” Manure in the water supply. What’s the problem?

Sanford Health has made its move on North Dakota’s oil patch. Dave Peters at MPR says: “Sanford Health, based in the Dakotas but owner and manager of a growing string of hospitals and clinics in western Minnesota, announced today it has taken over Bismarck-based Medcenter One, taking advantage of the oil boom in the state. The company said it plans to invest $200 million over 10 years to improve health care in the Bismarck-Mandan area and throughout western North Dakota. That includes plans for a new ‘super clinic’ in Dickinson, not far from the heart of the oil boom.”

“Being explored” is a long ways from even “under active consideration,” but Bob Sansevere at the PiPress interviews Vikings VP Lester Bagley.

Sansevere: Any additions or subtractions the team would like to see since the stadium became a done deal?
Bagley: There’s clearly going to be a need to make sure it’s a people’s stadium and the public is represented. It has to be programmed for baseball — college, amateur and high school — as well as soccer and basketball. All those program elements drive costs. We need to make sure this facility works for our fans and our organization. We have to make sure we get everything with a $975 million budget. It’s a fixed-roof facility, but if we can cut costs, manage costs, our goal is to have a retractable feature (such as a portion of the roof that can be opened to view downtown). Some retractable feature, we think, is important. That’s the one thing we’re working on.” How about an espresso machine and a manicurist at the end of each row?

Remember KSTP-TV’s breathless story of “The Smiley Face Killer” supposedly attacking college-age men and pitching them in the river? The AP reports: “Two drunken men were rescued from the Mississippi River at Riverside Park early Sunday, according to La Crosse police. Riverfest security guards and police reserves helped Justin Gruna, 24, of Holmen and Joshua Klug, 23, of Merrill, Wis., from the water about 1:30 a.m. Gruna, who had a 0.18 percent blood-alcohol level, told police he decided to ‘take a swim,’ reports state. Klug had a 0.22 percent blood-alcohol level (well above the state’s legal driving limit of .08.”

There’s no spanking in foster care. John Lundy and Lareesa Sandretsky of the Forum papers report: “A Two Harbors couple’s child foster care license was revoked because the foster mother spanked a foster child in violation of state rules, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Kirk and Beth Schield were issued a license to care for up to four foster children in their home on Dec. 1, 2010. The revocation was announced in a letter to the Schields dated July 6 and was posted on Tuesday on the department’s website. No criminal charges were filed. The Schields have the right to repeal the revocation. Kirk Schield is pastor of Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Two Harbors.”

Yeah, that was a Russian MiG crashing at Flying Cloud airport this morning. Says Kelly Smith of the Strib: “A vintage Russian jet was destroyed after crashing Thursday morning in Eden Prairie as it attempted to land for this weekend’s annual air show. The pilot, who hasn’t been identified, was landing his 1975 MiG-21 at 10 a.m. at Flying Cloud Airport for this weekend’s Wings of the North AirExpo. Officials said the jet’s parachute, which helps slow the aircraft, was deployed, but appeared to collapse and detach, causing the plane to overshoot the runway. The nose of the plane came to a rest in a roadside ditch on Flying Cloud Drive near the intersection of Pioneer Trail. No fire started, but the plane was heavily damaged. ‘I don’t think it will be usable ever [again],’ police spokeswoman Katie Beal said after talking to a mechanic at the scene.”  In the old days, the Soviets would have glued the thing back together and selected a volunteer to take it back up.

Oh, man … Chao Xiong of the Strib gets the job of reporting: “The three girls found dead in their River Falls, Wis., home this week had their throats slashed, according to a criminal complaint Thursday charging their father, Aaron Schaffhausen, with first-degree intentional homicide. Each of the girls was found lying in a bed with what appeared to be dried blood on their faces, the complaint said. Each had a blanket covering them up to their necks. According to preliminary autopsy results, the two older girls, Amara, 11, and Sophie, 8, died from having their throats slashed. The youngest, Cecilia, 5, had her throat slashed and was strangled. According to the complaint, Aaron Schaffhausen called his ex-wife, Jessica, and said: ‘You can come home now because I killed the kids.’ That’s when she called police.”

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