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Salminen apologizes to online critics

Becker County Commissioner Harry Salminen wants to apologize for insulting opponents of a runway extension project at the Becker County-Detroit Lakes Airport.

At an Airport Commission meeting earlier this month, he questioned the intelligence of people who posted comments about the proposed project on this newspaper's Web site.

"I just want them to know I apologize for the use of the word 'idiot,' it was a very poor choice of words," Salminen said in an interview. "But the (runway expansion) issue is very complicated, it's even hard for us sometimes on the Airport Commission to get a grasp on it."

The Environmental Impact Statement report on the proposed project is available at both the county administrator's and city administrator's office. He urged people to read it.

"A lot of time was put into that study, if people are really concerned about it and really want to know why we need to stay where we're at, they should look at it."

Salminen said he spoke out of frustration at rumors and misinformation making the rounds that Airport Commission members feel they must respond to.

"There are people who think we're trying to hide something from them," he said. Anonymous comments, such as those on newspapers Web sites, are frustrating, Salminen said, because he likes to talk one-on-one with people.

"I appreciate people asking questions and wanting to know the facts on this, that's what makes government work," he said.