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Tough night at Augsburg for Stanley Hubbard

Plus: another day, another ‘no confidence’ vote for MnSCU Chancellor; Maple Plain mayor abandons office; Give to the Max nets more than $18 million; and more.

An unusual moment in a long career for Mr. Hubbard. Libor Jany at the Strib says, “About 30 protesters, some waggling large red foam fingers typical at sporting events, stood up and roared at Hubbard, whose television station, KSTP-TV, had come under fire for airing a story claiming that Mayor Betsy Hodges was making a gang sign in a photograph with a young, black canvasser. … Hubbard, whose responses were at times drowned out by the protesters, refused to apologize, defending KSTP’s decision to air the story after being approached by ‘multiple law enforcement’ officials. At one point, he told the protesters that they had been ‘been sucked in’ by media coverage of the fallout from the original story.” Stanley’s a decent guy, but he should drop the second half of that explanation.

For MPR, Peter Cox writes, “While Hubbard took questions from the audience, a protester interrupted and asked if the station would give an on-air apology. ‘No, of course not, that’s ridiculous,’ Hubbard responded. Hubbard said the station reached out to the mayor’s office and the community group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change two days before the story aired.” And what did you ask them?

Also at MPR, Laura Yuen says of the FBI probe for “terrorist recruiters,” “FBI officials won’t share everything they know about who they are looking for. That is standard procedure, but it’s created a vacuum in which suspicions and speculation flourish. Some local Muslims say they’re struggling to understand who might be dangerous and who’s simply opinionated. They warn of a hyper-vigilant environment where even innocent people are creating unease in their community.”

The latest in the “congested railroads” saga. Dan Gunderson at MPR says, “Minnesota’s agricultural exporters are having a hard time moving their products to the international market. Labor contract disputes at West Coast seaports are compounding shipping delays for farmers already hampered by railroad congestion. Nothing is moving. … Complicating matters for farmers is the perennial lack of empty shipping containers in Minnesota. The region exports far more than it imports, and it is costly for railroads to transport empty containers back to the Midwest. But the situation has dramatically worsened in recent weeks.”

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According to my thesaurus, this is pretty much like “unanimous.” MPR’s Alex Friedrich reports, “Faculty at Metropolitan State University passed a vote of “no confidence” in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system Chancellor Steven Rosenstone Thursday — meaning all seven state universities have now formally questioned his leadership. … Students at Winona State University and Metropolitan State also questioned Rosenstone’s leadership earlier this month.”

So, sort of like abandon ship? Kelly Smith at the Strib says, “City leaders in Maple Plain have determined that their mayor ‘abandoned office’ and appointed a replacement. The small west metro town named a new mayor this week after Mayor Roger Hackbarth stopped attending city meetings in July, just before the City Council censured him a second time for his behavior.”

The GleanXcel is calling someone’s bluff. Says Dave Shaffer in the Strib, “One of the nation’s top power plant contractors is alleging $45 million in unpaid cost overruns during Xcel Energy Inc.’s 18-month overhaul of its Prairie Island nuclear power plant in Red Wing, Minn. Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, a Charlotte, N.C.-based contractor, says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that Xcel has refused to pay the full cost for the complex job of replacing a pair of massive steam generators. … Spokeswoman Mary Sandok … said the Prairie Island lawsuit is solely about claims for additional payment that the company considers without merit. Xcel will file a response within 20 days, she said.”

Pretty good on that giving thing. The PiPress says of Give to the Max Day: “As of midnight Thursday, the 24-hour online donation drive had netted $18.2 million for thousands of Minnesota nonprofits and schools. Last year, donors gave a record $17.1 million; in 2012, the total was $16.4 million, the previous record.”

Finally, the Strib … excuse me, Mother Strib, is quite upset about cynicism in public life. These are some of the self-inflicted wounds that continue to spread cynicism among potential candidates and voters:  “Failure to value public service. The many blank ballots for local offices and high proportion of uncontested elections in Minnesota, including for the Legislature, suggest that those jobs aren’t as appealing as they once were. In some cases, low compensation is part of the problem. Public-sector salaries that were frozen during the Great Recession should now thaw. But we suspect that a lack of respect engendered by years of government-bashing is also taking a toll. Even when compensation is reasonable, service in elective office requires personal sacrifice. It deserves appreciation, not scorn.” Hmm. So here’s a thought, how about pointing out, specifically, who is practicing this government-bashing. If it’s an offense, say so.