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U of M President Joan Gabel resigns from Securian Financial board

Plus: Bill to extend mineworker unemployment heads to governor’s desk; search warrant alleges org that serves Minnesotans with disabilities cheated state insurance program; Fanni’s Mini Market owner dies; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s office says her cell phone was hacked; and more.

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel.
MinnPost photo by Erin Hinrichs

A Strib story by Liz Navratil says, “University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel announced Monday that she would resign from her position on Securian Financial’s board of directors. Describing the last several weeks as ‘extremely painful for me’ and ‘very uncomfortable for you,’ Gabel informed the university’s Board of Regents that she would no longer serve on the board for Securian, which has more than $1 billion worth of business with the university. Her decision came after multiple high-profile officials — including the governor and state attorney general — expressed concerns about the arrangement and after Regent Darrin Rosha asked his colleagues to call a special meeting to consider rescinding their decision to allow Gabel to serve on the company’s board.”

For MPR, Dan Kraker says, “A bill to extend unemployment benefits for more than 400 laid off mineworkers on the Iron Range is headed to DFL Governor Tim Walz for his expected signature, after it passed the Minnesota House Monday by a vote of 127-7. The bill extends benefits for an additional 26 weeks for workers who were laid off last May at Northshore Mining, which operates an open pit taconite mine in Babbitt and a processing plant in Silver Bay along the North Shore of Lake Superior.” MinnPost reporter Walker Orenstein has background on the bill here.

Stribber Chris Serres says, “State investigators searched the offices of a troubled organization that serves Minnesotans with disabilities, after finding evidence it had bilked the state’s publicly funded health insurance program by more than $4 million. A search warrant application alleges that Bridges MN, which at one point had about 400 clients and 90 group homes statewide, violated state and federal laws by billing the state Medicaid program for services designed to help people live in their own homes, when in fact the services were provided by entities owned or operated by Bridges MN or its affiliates.”

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At KSTP-TV Brittney Ermon writes, “A Minneapolis community is mourning the loss of a beloved woman who owned a Latino grocery store in the Standish-Ericsson community. If you took a trip to Fanni’s Mini Market, you might’ve run into owner Fanni Yadaycela herself. … Besides bringing her personality, Fanni filled her store with Ecuadorian food, bringing a piece of home to Minneapolis.”

In South Dakota KELO-TV reports, “(South Dakota Gov.) Kristi Noem’s office announced via news release Monday that her personal cell phone had been hacked. ‘Governor Noem’s personal cell phone number has been hacked and used to make hoax calls’, read the release in part.'”

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In an Al Jazeera opinion piece, Sahar Aziz argues, “Over the past few weeks, there has been much debate about academic freedom in the United States. It was sparked by the decision of Hamline University not to renew the contract of an adjunct professor who showed a famous 14th-century Persian painting of the Prophet Muhammad and Angel Gabriel in her art history class. … Academic freedom defenders have condemned the non-renewal of the adjunct professor, while equity advocates have reiterated the importance of creating university environments that are welcoming and inclusive to America’s rapidly diversifying student population, including Muslims. Speaking past each other, these two camps miss the real problem here: the commercialisation of higher education to the detriment of students and faculty alike. Facing financial pressures to cut costs, even as tuition skyrockets, administrators in both public and private schools have been replacing tenure-track lines with adjuncts since the 1970s. In 2020, two out of every four faculty in the US were adjunct professors on short-term contracts with no guarantee of renewal, getting paid just a few thousand dollars per class. About 25 percent of adjunct professors rely on public assistance and 40 percent cannot meet basic expenses, according to the American Federation of Teachers.”

At The Current Macie Rasmussen says, “The name ‘creeping charlie’ commonly refers to a perennial evergreen that grows purple flowers that’s both an invasive species and a resilient wildflower. That dichotomy intrigued Julia Eubanks, founder and singer-songwriter for the Twin Cities-based band Creeping Charlie. … Word of Creeping Charlie has spread over the Twin Cities music scene as quick as the evergreen creeper.”

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