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Faculty union votes ‘no confidence’ in MCTC president

Drought affecting residential wells, too; school staffer’s handgun confiscated; Wisconsin’s gun attitudes; Horse Council member suspended; and more.

Here’s someone with a people problem. Jenna Ross of the Strib says, “The faculty union at Minneapolis Community and Technical College voted “no confidence” in college President Phil Davis on Tuesday, saying they don’t trust him to better the campus culture. The union had been poised to take such a vote in April but tabled it when administrators promised an outside review to address faculty concerns. This month, consultants released their report, which found that ‘the current cultural climate at MCTC needs to change’ and issued recommendations. Barbara Hager, president of the faculty union at MCTC, said members don’t believe that the process suggested by the consultants will work with Davis as president. … Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, has supported Davis. In a letter Wednesday to college faculty and staff members, he said that ‘it is disappointing that a disgruntled minority of 44 of the college’s 378 faculty … have decided to take the confrontational approach.’ Rosenstone praised Davis for recruiting the system’s most diverse workforce, keeping the college financially healthy and overseeing the system’s lowest tuition increase in 2011-12.”

The drought got serious weeks ago. But now … Mark Steil of MPR says: “As severe drought continues across most of the state, residential wells are going dry in parts of Minnesota. The southwest region of the state has been especially hard-hit, making residents and officials scramble to find new water sources as underground aquifers shrink. … Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water, a major supplier in the region, is getting lots of calls for help. The company pipes water to 35 towns and 4,200 farms and rural households. CEO Dennis Healy said about 30 people contacted him this fall to connect to the company’s water service, something he calls an unusually large number.”

And you wonder how many weren’t found … Paul Walsh and Steve Brandt of the Strib report: “A loaded .357 Magnum handgun was confiscated Wednesday from a staff member’s locker soon after instruction began at an elementary magnet school in Minneapolis, police said. The gun was recovered at about 8:30 a.m. from inside the locked locker in the staff locker room at the 900-student Seward Montessori School at 2309 28th Av. S., said police Sgt. William Palmer. The female staffer at the K-8 school has a permit to carry a weapon, ‘but you still can’t have it in the school,’ Palmer said. A criminal investigation has begun into what is a potential misdemeanor, Palmer added. He said the staffer’s decision to bring the gun was connected to the Newtown, Conn., school killings last week, but he declined to say anything more specific about the motive.” And since there was no shooting spree at Seward Montessori, the “arm the teachers” crowd will declare themselves affirmed.

But that lady has a brother in arms … In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Steve Schultze writes: “Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. calls for placing armed tactical officers or security officers ‘in every school and public place in America,’ in a commentary piece posted on a tea party website. Clarke also condemns calls for gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook School mass killings in Newtown … and says, ‘We have to resist with the ferociousness of a junk yard dog any — any — attempt by liberals to make us less free by chipping away at our constitutional freedoms.’ He berates ‘liberals for exploiting tragedy once again in our country and try(ing) to use tragedy as a reason to take our rights away.” Suggestions of gun control ‘are the mind-set of sheep,’ Clarke says. ‘Sure run and hide from a sociopathic killer. See how far that gets you. You know where that’ll get you — 26 dead at Sandy Hook School,’ says Clarke’s article posted on the website ‘Tea Party Perspective’.” Well, the “junk yard dog” analogy is certainly apt.

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But then it is Tea Party Wisconsin … Suevon Lee of the investigative journalism initiative ProPublica writes: “Friday’s deadly rampage at a Connecticut elementary school marked the 13th mass shooting in the United States this year. Among the 11 deadliest shootings in U.S. history, more than half took place in the last five years. During the same period, states have often relaxed their gun laws, making it easier for individuals to obtain guns, extending the places where concealed guns are permitted, or giving gun owners more robust protections. We take a closer look at some of the more striking measures: 1. Five states allow students to carry concealed guns on college campuses … Wisconsin passed legislation in 2011 allowing college students in the University of Wisconsin school system to bring a concealed weapon on campus grounds, parking lots and ‘other spaces that aren’t enclosed,’ according to the Wisconsin State Journal. The school can prohibit guns in buildings, but only if signs are posted at each entrance.” So kids, when crossing The Quad, I suggest running in an erratic zig-zag pattern.

According to Forbes magazine, Hopkins is the 13th Friendliest Town in America: “[T]his historic small suburban city hosts an array of festivals throughout the year including Hopkins Mainstreet Days and the annual Raspberry Festival, which offers sporting events, live music and a parade. Despite a low rate of homeownership, Hopkins has a low crime rate compared to the rest of the country.” And … they sell mini-donuts at the movie theater.

Nick Ferraro of the PiPress writes: “A road-rage incident last weekend in Eagan started with a honk and ended with a driver who was hospitalized with a broken nose and wrist. The victim is a 62-year-old Inver Grove Heights man and Vietnam veteran ‘who was not able to defend himself at all’ from the male suspect, who fled the scene before authorities arrived, said Lisa Fancher, an Eagan police detective. … According to the victim and witnesses, Fancher said, the suspect bashed the victim’s head into the side of his car and punched him several times. When witnesses ran to help the man, the suspect took off. … A woman was in the front passenger seat [of the attacker’s SUV].” She must have been so proud. You know, standing up for his rights and all that.

Paul Levy of the Strib says: “A member of the Minnesota Horse Council, the state’s most influential equine group, has been charged with felony animal cruelty for the mistreatment of her horses, two of which were so emaciated they had to be put down. Carol Dobbelaire, 63, of Buffalo, was suspended Wednesday by the council, an umbrella organization that represents all facets of the state’s horse industry. … Dobbelaire told authorities that she and her husband were struggling financially to feed their 16 horses. However, [council President Dr. Tracy] Turner pointed out, ‘she’s the chairman of a [council] fund that provides hay for those who need it.’ ”

The Southwest Corridor LRT has a couple of design firms on the payroll. Jessica Mador at MPR says: “The council voted to award two contracts of nearly $17 million each to North Carolina-based Kimley-Horn & Associates and Los Angeles-based AECOM. AECOM will design the western part of the line, beginning in Eden Prairie and running through Minnetonka. Kimley-Horn will design the eastern half, which includes Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis.  The council previously sought one contractor to design the entire line. That plan was scrapped over concerns about front-runner URS Corp., which designed the failed Sabo Bridge in Minneapolis. … The project still needs $118 million over the next two years to continue.”