- Associated Press - Sunday, April 20, 2014
Minnesota town copes without commercial flights

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. (AP) - Heather Borgen’s in limbo.

After working 40-plus hours a week for five years at Hertz Car Rental in this northern Minnesota town, Borgen was laid off when the airport’s only commercial airline was grounded in February. If and when the airline returns, she plans to do the same - but that means she’s out of work for at least four months.

“You have no idea how you’re supposed to act, what you’re supposed to be doing - you know, you try to find work and nobody’s going to hire you for two or three months at max,” she said. “They know you’re going to go back to the job that you like; the job that you know.”

Great Lakes Airlines, a small regional carrier, suspended its service in February to Thief River Falls, where employees and employers said the air service was a crucial link to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and beyond. The airline also suspended service to other small towns across the Midwest such as Jamestown and Devils Lake, N.D., Ironwood, Mich., and Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Many others, including Pierre and Watertown, S.D., have seen diminished service as cancellation rates soared. The regional airline industry blames new federal regulations for pilots aimed at increasing airline safety.

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Minnesota runners head to Boston in unity, tribute

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - More than 600 Minnesota runners will line up for the start of the Boston Marathon this year, including 212 who ran last year and say they’re going back to finish what they started.

“The running community will support and will come back bigger and stronger than ever in defiance of what happened and in tribute and support for the victims,” said Jim Driscoll, a Medina resident who finished his 26th straight Boston before two bombs went off, killing three and injuring 260. “I have no doubt about it. That is the No. 1 reason for that race to be run.”

From Warroad to Austin and Fergus Falls to Stillwater, the 615 Minnesota runners are part of a near-record field of 37,000-plus participants for Monday’s race, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported (http://strib.mn/1fcI4HZhttp://strib.mn/1fcI4HZ ). The runners will be united with half a million spectators in a display of pride and unity.

Some of the runners making the return trip are among the 5,600 or so who were unable to finish after Boston police barricaded the finish area. All of those runners were invited back this year without having to qualify.

Mike Johnson of Stillwater was running his first Boston Marathon last year and was about a mile from the finish line when he heard sirens and saw the scene break down into chaos.

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St. Paul to settle police lawsuit for $45,000

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