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Cheers to new businesses, jeers to airlines

Cheers to new businesses in Minnesota.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said the state will set a record in new business filings by the end of the 2009 calendar year.

 Ritchie said his office has been averaging 5,400 new business filings per month this year, significantly outpacing filing rates in 2007 when the current record was set.

Business filings include Minnesota-based companies and entities based outside of the state conducting business in Minnesota.

If current trends hold, the office will top 63,000 --a 15 percent increase over 2008 totals. This new state record would also be the largest one-year gain in new business filings since 2002.

In 2007 the office handled 55,782 filings and in 2008 the total was 55,137.

The Secretary of State's Office is a key contact point in state government for new businesses, and Ritchie says it's important that Minnesota's entrepreneurs receive fast and efficient service from his office.

The office has expanded its resources to help new businesses get the support they need from a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit agencies.

Small businesses remain the No. 1 engine for new job creation, so everything done to help those business helps with the economic recovery.


Jeers to the three airlines that were fined a total of $175,000 for their roles in the stranding of passengers overnight on the Rochester airport tarmac this summer.

The U.S. Department of Transportation levied the fines -- the first time airlines had been fined for stranding passengers.

The DOT says it fined Continental Airlines and its regional airline partner ExpressJet a combined $100,000 for their part in keeping passengers aboard Continental Express Flight 2816 on Aug. 8.

DOT also said in a statement that Mesaba Airlines, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, was fined $75,000.

Flight 2816 was en route from Houston to Minneapolis when thunderstorms forced it to divert to Rochester. The airport was closed and a Mesaba employee refused to open the terminal for the passengers on the plane.

Passengers complained about overtaxed toilets and general physical discomfort.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is using the instance to push for a badly needed Passengers Bill of Rights.

Among other things, the bill would require airlines to return to a gate if they have sat on the tarmac for three hours after the plane door is closed.