A BUSY PLACE Drive past the Minot International Airport nearly any time of the day and it's easy to tell the facility is busy. Just how busy? Minot was the second busiest airport in the state in April, trailing only Fargo. April's report shows that 18,366 passengers boarded in Minot, a 68.9 percent increase over April 2011. Fargo boarded 27,373 passengers in April. Dickinson saw a 74 percent growth from last April, with Williston growing by 36 percent. There's no expectation that Minot, Dickinson and Williston will slow down any time soon thanks to the booming oil industry. Williston is discussing major changes to its airport, and Minot continues to discuss building a new terminal three times the size of the current facility. Parking at the Minot facility has spread across pretty much any empty spot near the terminal, including ditches and in empty fields. A new terminal with greatly expanded parking facilities can't come soon enough for Minot airline customers.
MINOT OFF THE LIST The U.S. Postal Service is moving ahead with plans to close nearly 250 mail processing centers between now and 2014, but the Minot facility is no longer on the closure list. Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., told The Minot Daily News last week that the state's congressional delegation had stressed the situation in western North Dakota to the Postal Service, with a booming oil industry and steadily growing population. Postal?Service officials said they could not wait any longer for Congress to help solve their problems. Congress remains deadlocked on the issue, with separate plans in the Senate and the House. The processing facility in?Devils Lake is scheduled to be merged with Grand Forks. Postal officials said that 80 percent of the U.S. areas that currently have overnight first-class mail delivery will maintain that service through the end of next year. But things could change after that if Congress hasn't acted. We're glad the Minot facility is no longer on the closure list, but we hope Congress and the Postal Service work together on more changes that will maintain the levels of service in North Dakota, including rural areas.