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Salminen blasts critics of runway extension plan

At least one member of the Detroit Lakes-Becker County Airport Commission is unhappy with comments about a proposed runway extension project that have been posted on an online newspaper site.

Now that this newspaper's online edition -- -- is equipped to take comments on stories and blogs, some readers penned their opinions about the proposed runway expansion, saying it isn't needed and that the airport should be moved outside of town.

Unlike letters to the editor in the regular newspaper, online comments do not require a full name and city of residence in order for opinions to be published.

County board and airport commission member Harry Salminen called the responders "idiots" and said they were wrong in their information.

He said if people are posting comments, they should have to sign their compete name so he can call them and set them straight on airport matters.

When another committee member suggested he log on and respond to the comments, he said he didn't have time for that.

Also at the meeting, according to airport manager Darrell Lowe, he reported a state inspector tagged the airport pumps as needing repairs.

"They're not reading accurately, and they're starting to growl," he said.

He has given a repair company permission to go ahead, order parts and update the pumps. Different nozzles will also be installed to bring them up to code.

He also said United Parcel Service has expressed concern about security at the airport.

A UPS plane sometimes sit at the airport, and the business wants to know if there are any security measures being taken by the airport to provide protection of the plane and its contents.

"I'm developing procedures for security and other emergency procedures," Lowe said.

City Administrator Rich Grabow said he hasn't received any new information on the EI/EAW process regarding the proposed runway extension project at this point.

Letters of support from the city and county have been sent with the environmental impact study, and the commission is waiting for the EI/EAW to be accepted and move onto the next step.

Grabow said it's in the hands of Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"So much of it is up in the air until we sit down and talk with MnDOT and the FAA," Chairman Duane Wething agreed.