Dayton makes first public comments about Minn. Orchestra lockout

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Gov. Mark Dayton says he has been working behind-the-scenes in trying to find a solution to end the 11-month-long lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Star Tribune reports.

Dayton made his first public comments about the lingering contract dispute after being approached by the paper its booth at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday. He says his most significant contribution was getting former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell to help as a potential mediator in the dispute, but there have also been "several" meetings with both sides.

The governor says both board members and representative of musician that he could be "most effective" with a "behind-the-scenes out-of-sight" kind of role, "rather than a publicly prominent role."

Dayton added that he is "hoping, and this is just my own assumption, that they both want to get it solved, and they have until basically Labor Day to do so."

He also noted that he thought the sides were in their "last window of opportunity."

Dayton's comments come after hundreds of people gathered in Minneapolis earlier this week at a forum presented by the citizens group Orchestrate Excellence to brainstorm solutions to end the lockout.

Aspen Music Festival director Alan Fletcher, who was the keynote speaker presented at the forum, said he hoped the meeting would spur lawmakers to get involved and say, ‘OK, we cannot sit this out. That’s just not a choice.”

In addition, a new website was launched Thursday called Save Our Symphony Minnesota, with organizers saying it was their intention is to end the lockout.

The blog Song of the Lark says securing the URL for the site wasn't easy.

In a post earlier this week, author Emily Hogstad accused management of circumventing citizens' efforts to register an an effective name for a website by purchasing more than a dozen similarly-titled URLs months before the lockout began.

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