Weather Forecast


Obama grants disaster aid request

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota leaders applauded President Barack Obama's decision to grant the state's request for federal disaster aid as Red River Valley communities fight rising floodwaters.

The federal declaration, sought by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in a Wednesday letter to Obama, is important because with it comes money and flood-relief resources from Washington.

"Our local officials, first responders, citizens and volunteers from the region are doing incredible work, but it was clear that we need the full resources of the federal government to support the communities threatened by floodwaters," said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, in a statement late Thursday.

Federal aid could include disaster unemployment assistance, small business disaster loans and low-interest loans for flooded farmers.

Earlier Thursday, Pawlenty said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had assured him that his request for seven northwest Minnesota counties to be declared federal disaster areas would be put on the fast tract.

The state will continue to provide whatever aid it can to Red River Valley communities, Pawlenty said. About 450 National Guard members are working on the flood fight, with more expected.

Wente and Davis work for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.