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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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148th Fighter Wing hosts STEM program for Duluth-area students

Posted: 2018-06-05  08:52 AM
Starbase Duluth DULUTH, Minn. - Dozens of community and industry leaders passionate about helping children become more engaged in science, technology, engineering and math gathered at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., May 24, 2018, to see what STARBASE Minnesota Duluth is doing for young students in the area.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program that engages students in STEM studies. The program began in 1991, and STARBASE Minnesota was founded in 1993 in St. Paul, which expanded to Duluth in July 2017.

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Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
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The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

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