The state’s second-busiest airport needs one of its two runways replaced, and officials there have asked the state to kick in $7 million to help pay for it.

The Rochester International Airport (RST) also needs to upgrade lighting and electronics for guiding planes when visibility is poor, said executive director John Reed.

Nearly 375,000 people passed through the airport in 2018. RST also handles huge volumes of patient specimens destined for the Mayo Clinic, and Mayo officials added their letters of support to Reed’s request for state funds.

Some $40 million from the Federal Aviation Authority and $5 million from the city of Rochester has already been set aside for the runway work.

Matt McKinney


Mayor Emily Larson seeks re-election

Duluth residents shouldn’t be surprised if the mayor comes knocking at their door soon. Mayor Emily Larson announced last week that she is seeking a second term this fall.

In an announcement speech, Larson cited a long list of her administration’s work as the foundation for better things ahead, including further reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring more affordable housing, improving street maintenance and solving regional problems as well as fostering economic growth.

Larson said she looks forward to campaigning.

“The best part of the job is meeting with people on their doorstep where they’re comfortable and hearing what’s important to them,” she said.

Pam Louwagie

Red River

Study examines river water quality

A new study of the Red River’s water quality found that fish and insect communities are “OK” but more needs to be done to protect the river’s health, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported.

The river drains some 40,000 square miles of land in northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota, a heavy farming region.

The Red’s water quality problems are caused in large part by huge fluctuations in flow rates, with springtime floods flushing sediment, nutrients and bacteria downstream, the report said. The river is one of the most artificially drained regions in the world, with ditches, altered streams and agricultural tiling systems in place. The report called for new investment in water storage, better fertilizer and manure management, improved soil health, better wastewater treatment and more flood mitigation projects.

Matt McKinney