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06/17/09: This week’s Minnesota news from other media

More than 1,200 family members and friends gathered Sunday in Duluth to send off the 187-member 114th Transportation Company, a Duluth-based National Guard unit bound for convoy duty in Afghanistan, reports John Myers in the Duluth News Tribune. “The unit is expected to be deployed for one year,” the story reports, “providing convoy security and ground transportation of supplies to U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.”

Tensions are growing between Gov. Tim Pawlenty and city officials around the state, according to Mark Fischenich, writing in the Mankato Free Press: “City officials say Pawlenty — proposing deep cuts in state aid to cities — is unfairly pushing the state’s budget problem down the line, and that he is going to be responsible for idled snowplows after blizzards, laid-off cops and firemen, and higher property taxes.”

Water may soon be producing more clean energy in southeastern Minnesota, reports Sarah Doty in the Rochester Post-Bulletin. “Lock and Dam No. 7 in Dresbach, 65 miles east of Rochester on the Mississippi River, is the latest target,” she writes, “with two companies competing for the rights to construct a hydropower turbine system to generate electricity.”

The Albert Lea Economic Development Agency and Greater Jobs Inc. has received a $75,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant “that will be used to develop a loan program for small and emerging businesses in Freeborn County,” Sarah Stultz reports in the Albert Lea Tribune.

The Suzlon Rotor Corp., which manufactures wind turbine blades, will lay off half of its Pipestone workforce in August, reports Debra Fitzgerald in the Pipestone County Star. By fall the company — citing the downturn in the economy — expects to have permanently laid off 160 employees.

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