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Willmar brother of Flight 17 victim has message of forgiveness

REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Later in this column is a note that the television show “Fargo” has been renewed for another season. It will no doubt once again play on how East and West Coast-ers believe corn-fed Midwesterners behave. While it’s all in good fun, it’s too bad they don’t write about people like Drew Ryder of Willmar. Carolyn Lange of the West Central Tribune writes about how Ryder has already forgiven the people who shot down the plane carrying his brother and sister-in-law, Arien and Yvonne Rider, as they were traveling from the Netherlands to their native Australia on Malaysia Airlines flight 17. The jet was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard. Now Ryder is on his way to Australia for a memorial service for his family. Ryder, who was born and raised in Australia and moved to Willmar seven years ago to start his business, Feedlogic, does not want answers or retribution. Forgiveness is a core component of his faith. Ryder said the details of the crash aren’t important to him. Lange writes that Ryder said his family is more concerned with “issues of the spirit, not the body” and having a faith that’s “completely infiltrated in your life.” His hope is that his message of forgiveness softens some hearts in Eastern Europe.

Local Duluth employers AAR and Cirrus Aircraft are growing and they have had to recruit airframe and power plant mechanics to come to Minnesota to work. They may not have to recruit as hard now that Lake Superior College’s aviation maintenance program has been approved, writes Jana Hollingsworth of the Duluth News Tribune. The Federal Aviation Administration signed off on the 103-credit lab-intensive training program last week, she reports. The college expects more than 20 students will enroll this year.

The Mankato Free Press has issued its obligatory “Welcome Vikings pre-season training” group of stories. In this one, Tim Krohn reports that nearby businesses like Massad’s Mediterranean Grille and Weggy’s on Campus are anxious for the influx of customers. “We see an average of 30 to 40 percent increase in business,” said Weggies owner Steve Wegman. “It’s fun having the coaches and players come in — you feel like a little kid again, even though they’re half my age.”

Over in Waseca, Josh Moniz of the Free Press writes of a man who believed his girlfriend was in league with the devil. Michael Seys, 36, of Mankato, followed her around for a while and the two returned to their room at the Lake Aire Motel in Waseca. She didn’t want any more confrontation so she left. When she returned, Seys had allegedly taken lighter fluid to her $600 computer and set it ablaze in the room’s shower. She called the cops and now Seys faces charges of felony third-degree arson, gross misdemeanor fourth-degree arson and gross misdemeanor third-degree criminal damage to property.

The state Legislature gave local government the ability to raise some taxes, so that’s just what Duluth did Monday night, assessing a half-percent tax on hotel rooms and food and beverage purchases in the city, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The “half-and-half” tax is a reinstatement of a hospitality tax that expired in 2012.  “The new tax is expected to generate $1.4 million annually,” said Peg Spehar, the city’s chief financial officer, in a previous News Tribune report.

After deciding last week that they didn’t like the idea of a home for the homeless in the city, the Moorhead City Council voted Monday to give their seal of approval to the project. As Eric Burgess of the Fargo Forum points out, the council’s resolution means nothing. Churches United owns the property and it is zoned for an apartment building. Councilmembers said they voted against it before because their constituents were against it. When news broke of their decision, they heard from many in their wards and four council members reversed their decisions. The 41-unit apartment building will be on Moorhead’s north side and will help those who have nowhere to live.

When you don’t know much about a man, you grab what information you can. Former Winona mayor John Latsch was an important figure in Winona’s early days. He was instrumental in setting aside tens of thousands of acres for public use and city leaders want to celebrate his contribution, but unfortunately they know little about him. There are only a couple photos of him, and in one, he wears a bow tie. That’s good enough for Mary Farrell, the Visit Winona visitor services coordinator, writes Abby Eisenberg of the Winona Daily News. As part of the city’s week-long John Latsch Day celebrations, she is organizing a run at the Guinness Book of World Records record of number of people wearing a bow tie at the same time. The magic number is 850, but organizers hope to have more than 1,000 bow tie-wearing John Latsch fans at Levee Park Saturday afternoon for a group photo.

FX has given the go-ahead to the producers of “Fargo” to start planning a second season. According to a report from that appeared in the Fargo Forum, executive producer Noah Hawley will set the series in 1979. The new season will take Keith Carradine’s character of Lou Solverson and show him as a 33-year-old newly arrived home from Vietnam. (No word yet on why he’s newly arrived when the Vietnam War ended in 1975, or why he’s 33 when most vets ended their service in their early or mid-20s). None of the actors who appeared in the first season of “Fargo” will return. Like the first season, the show will be shot in Canada. While much of the first-season action was set in Bemidji and Duluth, the second season will be set in Fargo, Luverne and Sioux Falls. While much of the action will occur in winter, Hawley said some of the episodes might feature warmer days. “Believe me, we would do ‘Fargo’ in Honolulu if we could get away with it, but we can’t,” he said.

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