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Minnesota National Guard
148th Fighter Wing wins big in House spending bill; other Northland projects get money

Just in time for the holidays, the US House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill Thursday laced with goodies for the Northland

148th Fighter Wing

Just in time for the holidays, the US House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill Thursday laced with goodies for the Northland

The Senate is expected to pass the bill this weekend, and then it will go to President Obama for his signature The legislation promises to deliver appropriations for a rail line, a recreational path, law enforcement initiatives and educational programs in Northeastern Minnesota

However, the largest single beneficiary will be the 148th Air National Guard Fighter Wing Barring a presidential veto, the unit will receive $15 million in federal funding to replace aging jet fuel tanks at the Duluth International Airport during the coming fiscal year

The project will result in the removal of 50-year-old tanks to the west of Cirrus Aircraft, removing an impediment to the company’s future growth in the community, according to Brian Ryks, executive director of the Duluth Airport Authority

Although the recession has forced Cirrus to make painful and deep cuts in 2009, Ryks said he believes the company remains well-positioned to seize new opportunities when the economy rebounds In anticipation of better times, Cirrus continues to develop its first jet aircraft, and when it goes into production, Ryks contends Duluth should be in a solid position to hold onto that work, which probably would require a new facility

“We want those jobs,” Ryks said

He contends that the relocation of the fuel storage tanks, and plans to open the north side of Duluth International’s airfield to future development, increases the city’s odds of being able to retain Cirrus’ aircraft production in the future
“Prior to this, Cirrus was really locked in But in the future, this should allow them to grow in a well-planned fashion,” Ryks said

Cirrus assembles all its airplanes in Duluth, but it also operates a plant in Grand Forks, ND, that specializes in producing parts out of fiberglass composite materials
New jet fuel tanks will be installed adjacent to the airfield on the 148th’s existing campus, eliminating the need for the unit to shuttle fuel tankers from the storage tanks on the west end of the airfield to aircraft on the east

“It will provide a more timely, efficient and smarter fueling process,” said Maj Audra Flanagan, the wing’s executive officer, describing the advantages of the new system “Our goal is to have all our facilities on one campus”

The investment of $15 million in the 148th’s fueling operations also could bode well for the continued operation of the military base, Ryks said

The House passed the 1,088-page, $11 trillion measure — combining $447 billion in operating budgets with about $650 billion in payments for federal benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid — by a 221-202 vote Not a single House Republican voted for the bill About 28 Democrats, chiefly moderates and abortion opponents, opposed the measure

The measure also contains 5,224 so-called earmarks totaling $39 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group

Republicans and Democrats alike share in the largesse, which includes money for local police departments, road and bridge projects, and community and economic development grants

Other Northland projects are on tap to receive omnibus funding, too, according to reports from Sen Amy Klobuchar and Rep Jim Oberstar, including:

* $600,000 to link recreational trails between the Twin Ports and the Twin Cities

* $500,000 for the Northern Lights Express rail project

* $450,000 for the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute

* $500,000 for the Northeast Law Enforcement
Administrators Council Meth Reduction Project

* $500,000 for a new 911 emergency radio system in Itasca County

* $500,000 for the St Louis County Sheriff regional interoperability data system

* $35,000 for an integrated radio system serving the city of Gilbert

* $200,000 to fund the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund’s Greenstone Group

* $200,000 for Lake Superior College’s new aviation certification and degree program

* $550,000 for the College of St Scholastica’s Rural Health Technology initiative

* $500,000 for the Range Regional Health Services’ Pulmonary Center of Excellence

The Associated Press contributed to this report

By: Peter Passi, Associated Press

Article source: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/154451/

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Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

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Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

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Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
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The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

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Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
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"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

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