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01/08: This week’s Minnesota news from other media

Compiled by Laura Crooks

Commuter buses that service Crookston, Thief River Falls and neighboring towns have been approved despite falling gas prices, writes Mike Christopherson of the Crookston Daily Times.  High gas prices in 2008 spurred the project.

More towns may be following in the city of Cook’s footsteps after it eliminated its police force to help balance the budget, reports Tom Klein of the Timberjay.  At least 30 Minnesota communities have either cut or consolidated their police forces since 2003.

The expanding health-care industry has provided Mankato with a buffer against the economic downturn, writes Tim Krohn of the Mankato Free Press.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System has announced its purchase of the Owatonna College and University Center, making it the 54th campus location, reports Jeff Cagle of the Owatonna People’s Press. It is the first new MnSCU campus since the system was created in 1995.

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Winona State University has instituted a campuswide smoking ban that will take effect Jan. 12, according to an Associated Press story in the Rochester Post-Bulletin.  The campus is the second in the state to institute such a ban; Minnesota State University in Moorhead passed one last January.