- 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.


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 (https://strib.mn/1fcI4HZhttps://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.


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

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A man who claimed in a federal lawsuit that a St. Paul police officer slammed him into a wall and knocked him unconscious has reached a $45,000 settlement with the city.

The City Council is expected to approve a $45,000 settlement on Wednesday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported (https://bit.ly/1i79WNBhttps://bit.ly/1i79WNB ).

The settlement agreement says the deal is the compromise of a “disputed claim” and isn’t an admission of liability by police or the city.

Stephen M. Wolfe, 42, said he had guests at his downtown St. Paul apartment in October 2011 when he heard aggressive pounding on the door. He said he asked someone to call police and he opened the door while holding a rifle, although he lowered it when he realized the threat wasn’t deadly.

In its answer to the lawsuit, the city said police responded to a 911 call from a man who said his girlfriend had been pulled into Wolfe’s apartment and that Wolfe pulled a shotgun on him.


Vacant fire station becomes roller-sports park

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - A former fire station in Mankato that’s been transformed into a temporary skateboard park is drawing raves from teens who say it turned out better than they expected and from neighbors who say their early concerns have faded.

The park opened Saturday to positive reviews. The fire station was vacated by the city and is up for sale, so officials figured it’d be a good place for a temporary park until a new roller-sports park is finished later this year, the Mankato Free Press reported (https://bit.ly/1i7f8kwhttps://bit.ly/1i7f8kw ).

The park was packed this weekend with children on skateboards, inline skates and scooters.

Connor Hopkins, 18, said he was pleased with how smooth the ramps are.

“I’m really happy with the way it turned out,” Hopkins said.

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