Updated: 05/05/2014 6:13 PM
Created: 05/05/2014 3:24 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Leaders at Cirrus Aircraft reacted on Monday to the death of former 8th District Representative Jim Oberstar. They said the aviation industry in the Twin Ports owes much success to his passion for transportation.
William King, Vice President of Business Administration at Cirrus Aircraft, said he was stunned to hear of Oberstar's death on Saturday. King said he lost more than a congressman and aviation supporter; he lost a friend.
“We'd give each other big bear hugs when we said hello instead of shaking hands, and the standing joke was, 'Have you hugged your congressman today?' And it was great fun,” King said.
He said Oberstar's personality and passion for aerospace helped convince Cirrus to move to Duluth over 20 years ago.
“We had actually flown out and sat down with him in his office in 1993 with, then mayor, Gary Doty and had a long conversation about where we were looking to locate our company. And his response was, 'Well, that's an easy decision. You can locate anywhere you want as long as it's Duluth,'” King said.
He said Oberstar also helped bring together the Northern Aero Alliance. The group of 35 aerospace companies bond together to sustain a strong local industry according to King.
“2,500 jobs isn't insignificant when you think about 2,500 jobs as 2,500 families that are enjoying a meaningful livelihood because of much of the work that Jim had his hand in,” King said.
He said Oberstar helped create at least 10,000 more jobs across the country by helping pass the General Aviation Revitalization Act in 1994. King said that reform reinvigorated the industry nationwide.
King said Oberstar has helped the aviation industry soar in the Northland, but said Oberstar would not be satisfied to glide on that success.
“He would look at that and he would tell you today, 'Don't stop now. This is just a really good start.' That's how he would define this discussion today,” King said.
He said the industry will feel Oberstar's absence, and they'll tip their wings in his memory.
For more coverage of Oberstar's accomplishments and reaction to his death click here.
Scannell Convicted on Both Counts
A jury has convicted Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The verdict comes after about nine hours of deliberations yesterday evening and today.
Spirit Mountain Seeing Big Changes
Just months into a new executive director, Spirit Mountain is seeing some big changes. Daniel Fanning with the mayor's office says three positions are being discontinued, including the director of marketing, director of operations, and director of skier services.
Free Range Film Festival in Wrenshall
Annie Dugan and her husband call it the Free Range Film Festival, and they are hold it in a barn where they've showing independent movies for 11 years. The Dugan's bill the festival as "a farm fresh alternative to stale cinema."
Cider House Opens in Historic Duluth Building
In a city of craft beer, Endion Station is Duluth's first cider house. The group behind Fitger's Brewhouse bought the old train depot, which now sits in Canal Park, two years ago and reopened the piece of history Friday.
Engineering Firms Expanding in Twin Ports
Duluth and Superior are winning awards for the best places to live, and the Twin Ports economy is looking good as two engineering firms expand in both cities. Company leader say new offices opening on Friday mean more local jobs.