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Ventura responds to terrorist attacks
By Bill Catlin
Minnesota Public Radio
September 11, 2001
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In Minnesota Ventura administration officials say they have no indication that there are any targets of attack in the state. State buildings remained open, with restricted access. The primary election continued, as well. Several high-profile private buildings were closed as precautions. Twin Cities International Airport was shut down as the FAA grounded the nation's air transportation system.

Gov. Jesse Ventura, right, and Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver discussed the state's precautions, in the wake of the terrorist attacks Tuesday in New York and Washington D.C.
(MPR Photo/Bill Catlin)

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AT MIDMORNING, A SOMBER-LOOKING JESSE VENTURA APPEARED at a news conference in front of the State Capitol building.

"This is a time of great shock, great sorrow and great concern. But this is a time when we must be confident that we can meet the very difficult challenges put forth by these senseless and tragic acts," says Ventura.

Ventura urged Minnesotans to stay calm but alert. He likened the attacks on the east coast to Pearl Harbor, labelling them extremely vicious and cowardly.

State buildings remained open, though access was limited to one entry. The state also partially activated the emergency operations center to handle a flood of calls. The National Guard is on heightened alert, but not formally activated. A number of private buildings closed as a precaution, including St. Paul's World Trade Center, the IDS Center in Minneapolis - the state's tallest building - and the Mall of America. Charlie Weaver, State Commissioner of Public Safety, said state officials were in continuing contact with the FBI and other federal agencies responsible for dealing with disasters and terrorism. He says there no indications any Minnesota properties are targets.

"There is absolutely no hint of any target in Minnesota," says Weaver. I can't emphasize that enough. There's no hint of any Minnesota targets."

Weaver says officials would consider closing Capitol buildings if they received what he called any verified threat. Weaver stressed the state is thoroughly prepared - with an anti-terrorism handbook, weekly meetings with federal officials to prepare for any such attacks, and training at least every two weeks.

"Two years ago we had a run-through of a drill where there was a bomb in the IDS Center. And we prepared for an evacuation of the IDS and a terrorist attack on the IDS Center. Two weeks ago we had a simulated terrorist attack on a school in Glencoe. About every two weeks we have significant preparations, throughout rural Minnesota as well, for terrorist activity," Weaver says.

The attacks come less than a week before Monday's strike deadline involving nearly 30,000 state workers. Gov. Ventura's spokesman John Wodele says he expects a negotiation session scheduled for Thursday will remain on the calendar.

To honor victims of the attacks, the governor has ordered Minnesota state flags at government buildings be flown at half staff until further notice.