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This week’s Minnesota news from other media

Compiled by Laura Crooks

Becker County’s child-welfare programs could lose up to $300,000 of funding as a result of the federal Deficit Reduction Act, reports Vicki L. Gerdes of the Detroit Lakes Tribune & Becker County Record (requires registration).

Five people were arrested by Duluth police and federal authorities for allegedly passing forged checks at local banks and businesses, reports the Duluth News Tribune (requires registration).  A federal grand jury in Minneapolis had indicted the five on Sept. 18. The fraudulent checks added up to more than $80,000.

Steve Morris of the Stillwater Gazette writes that the Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to build a new bridge across the St. Croix River regardless of whether or not the project receives federal funding. Noting that the cost of building the bridge increases by $1 million each month, Stillwater Administrator Larry Hanson calls the project “the poster child for government inefficiency.”

According to the Ely Timberjay, borrowers and lenders in Northeastern Minnesota remain largely unaffected by the national credit crisis.  Reporter Marshall Helmberger attributes part of this stability to various mining projects in the area, especially the strong demand for taconite.  

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Similarly, Lisa Brainard reports in Harmony’s News-Record that local banks are seeing no cause for financial concern. She quotes Chris Skaalen, president of First Southeast Bank of Harmony and Canton State Bank: “We didn’t get caught up in the mess. We’re very strong, as I think most local banks are. We’re well capitalized, at the highest level.”

The Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant has been “eased” back online after a power outage occurred on Sept. 11.  The plant also experienced its first fatality since 1970 when a contracted repair worker hit a power line with a piece of equipment, writes Mike Schoemer in the Monticello Times.