International Festival of Burnsville-2014

The weather for the eighth International Festival of Burnsville was perfect after the clouds finally disappeared. There were lots of people to appreciate the exhibits, food, and entertainment this Saturday evening.

The final act was a marvelous band that had many adults and kids dancing.  Two girls tried to teach a couple of us the “SALSA”  steps,  I think I need a little more practice before I try that on my own.

I  noticed a young woman with a SEGWAY.  She said she has MS and this vehicle allows her a lot more flexibility than a wheelchair.    I thought that was very resourceful!

This is a great community event.








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Great Day For Celebrations

On the morning of Friday the 13th, Blue Cross employees gathered around the flagpole in front of their facility on Yankee Doodle Road to celebrate Flag Day.  The intent was to honor the flag and recognize the service Blue Cross employees have provided to their communities through civic engagement and military service.

The Blue Cross CEO commended the employees for their activity and U.S. Congressman John Kline delivered remarks on the flag.  A military contingent then retired the flag that was flying and a new flag was posted.  There was a reception in the courtyard afterward.

In the evening, I attended the Grand Opening of the Minnesota Zoo’s Conservation Carousel.  The carousel has hand-carved  wooden animals such as tigers, bears, and even a lady bug.  The revenue generated from the ride will finance conservation programs. The BIG BUG exhibit was on the trail to the carousel.  That is pretty amazing, too.  We encountered a life-size praying mantis on stilts on the trail, very friendly.  A very special evening and the weather was perfect!




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A graduation celebration!

On Tuesday evening, I attended the graduation of adults learners who have completed their courses to receive a high school diploma or their GED.  The graduates attended programs under the auspices of  the Rosemount-AppleValley-Eagan School District’s  Community Education Department. The ceremony was held at Falcon Ridge Middle School in Apple Valley  and the auditorium was filled with family and friends who cheered the graduates’s achievements.

It is always inspiring to attend an Adult Basic Education graduation because the stories of some of the graduates are shared as are their future plans.  Many have overcome huge obstacles to attain this goal.  One woman has a husband and four children.  The graduates who have children usually say they have done this for their children and they want to be good role models.  One young man said he wants to work  in the railroad industry, others are going to Cordon Bleu, some already have jobs, and one woman wants to  be an engineer. 

Tom French, who is a volunteer at the Rahncliff Learning Center gave the commencement dress.  He stressed the importance of setting goals and life-long learning.

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Memorial Day Observance in Eagan

The Memorial Day observance in Eagan took place at the Tribute Plaza this afternoon.  Music was provided by the Royal Brass Quintet, the Eagan Men’s Chorus, and Joe Swierczek played TAPS. Dan Seanoa moderated the event and the guest speaker was Pastor Al Pruis from Peace Church.  The Eagan Police and Fire Honor Guard did the Presentation Of The Colors. Participants also inluded Police Chaplain Debbie Brown,and Eagan Council Member Gary Hansen.  Wayne Olsen and his daughter, Shelcy Kamrud, presented the wreath.  Dan Olsen, their son and brother,  was killed in action.   

Pastor Pruis commented that he had served in Viet Nam and had the opportunity to visit that country a few years back with another minister.  They visited both Saigon and Hanoi. Saigon is a modern city that seems to be doing well.  While in Hanoi, he had the opportunity to worship in a church and to visit a museum that commemorates the war.   The museum had been used to hold prisoners during the war.  He also read the poem “Flanders Field.”

This is the fourth year the cermony has been held at this site.  The event is sponsored by many community organizations, businesses and volunteers.


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Burnsville’s Memorial Day Program

Burnsville held their Memorial Day Program in Bi-Centennial Park.  It was a lovely setting and a lovely morning for this observance.   Program participants included Greg Sylvester playing the bugle, Carol Oeltjenbruns as moderator,  Boy Scout Troop 336, the South Metro Chorale,  Blue Star Mom Lori Challans,  and Mayor Elizabeth Kautz.  This event has been sponsored by the Sweet Sioux Garden Club for the past eleven years.

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Burnsville Celebration

I attended a very special celebration Wednesday evening at the AMES CENTER in Burnsville.

First, to celebrate the fifty years of the City of Burnsville.  Mayor Kautz  had all the past and present council members come on stage.  Then all the city managers joined them.  She gave a brief history of the city.  Part of the story is that Bloomington at one point wanted to annex Burnsville.  Burnsville was once a farming community and there is a statue to commemorate that beginning. The mayor mentioned that there are currently 2600 businesses in Burnsville.  Ames Construction was actually formed a year before the city incorporated.  Abdallah Candies moved to Burnsville from Minneapolis about fifty years ago.  It is a family owned company that goes back a hundred years.

The second part of the celebration was to celebrate the name change from The Burnsville Performing Art Center to the Ames Center.  The Ames Family was recognized for their contribution to the facility and then Dick Ames told how they first started working in Burnsville and how they came to move their business to Burnsville.

The evening was topped of by the performance of Hitchville, a very talented country music band, and some members are Burnsville residents.


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Last Day of 2014 Session

Thursday’s  agenda ended when we passed the bonding bill around 2:30 this morning and then went home.

We were back at 11:00 to work on the bills we needed to pass to end the session.  One of the major bills we passed was TAX BILL 2.  It includes property tax relief, expands local government sales tax exemptions by including joint powers agreements, and puts money into a program to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The conference committee bill for the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act was passed.

It is 8:22 P.M. and we are discussing the Supplemental Budget Bill (HF 3172).  This legislation covers all of our committee areas.

It is 9:12, we have officially adjourned and are now listening to our colleagues’ farewell comments.




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Celebrating Mother’s Day

Governor Dayton signed the Women’s Economic Security Act this morning in the Governor’s Reception Room in the Minnesota State Capitol.  The room was filled with legislators, advocates, and their families.

“The Act will provides access to higher wages jobs, wage disclosure protections, pregnancy and nursing accommodations, ensure that women have opportunities to increase their economic security, and more.  It tries to address some of the issues that have prevented many women in Minnesota from gaining an economic foothold and helps provide a pathway to prosperity.  This is long overdue!

Mother’s Day is a great time to celebrate legislation that will help all women, their families, our communities and the state of Minnesota.

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Bills Passed Week of May 5-9, 2013

This has  been another busy week and we have been on the floor every day.

House File 2881, my bill that addresses the safety of railroad employees and  the public-at-large, as well as adding clarifications to existing law was heard on Tuesday and it passed.  The legislation upgrades requirements regarding the drivers and the vehicles used to transport railroad employees. Railroads use outside vendors for most train crew transportation services.  These  contract carriers transport operating crews to and from trains and between terminals, in all kinds of weather and road conditions.

On Friday , I presented SF 2614, a bill that gives MnDOT more flexibility in contracts that involve projects with bordering states and changes some advertising precedures. For example, it removes the requirement that MnDOT  mail advertisements for contracts mentioned in the legislation since  MnDOT now does all its bid advertising on the web. It passed 122-0.  My HF 3038 was the companion to this Senate file. This bill will go to the Governor now for signing.

On Thursday, the House passed Rep. Schoen’s bill, SF511/ HF 435, that made modifications to the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse statute.  This should be helpful in extending health care access.

On Friday, the House passed Rep. Melin’s Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act.  This version of “medical marijuana act”  is important because it is not opposed by law enforcement or the medical community.  This is a more restrictive version than passed by the Senate, so it will probably go to a Conerence Committee,

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Women’s Economic Security Act Passes

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Conference Committee Report on The Women’s Economic Security Act, 104-24.

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