In spite of all the problems and challenges we face daily, we who live in the United States of America have much for which to be grateful. Regardless of religion, Thanksgiving is one day in which we can all take time to meditate and count our blessings. It is a good time to extend gratitude those who have helped us personally or helped our community.
Our church holds a Thanksgiving Eve service. One of the highlights of the service is the music during the offering because all past and present choir members gather at the front to sing, and that is almost half the congregation.
The refrain of that song tonight was:
Praise to thee, O Lord of all creation. Give us thankful hearts that we may see All the gifts we share and every blessing, All things, come of thee.
The State of Minnesota Veterans Day Event was celebrated at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. There were veterans in attendance who have served our country in many different ways and in different places, it is very interesting to listen to the details of their experiences.
Dick Carroll [left], an Eagan resident and a POW from World War II was there. I had the privilege of serving on the Eagan Parks Commission with Dick. He has been active in our community for many years and we are fortunate that his involvement continues.
Governor Dayton was there to give the keynote address. Other officials, including U. S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and U.S Representative Betty McCollum, were in attendance to express their gratitude for the service and sacrifice by those who served our country in the past as well as those currently serving in the military.
One comment that sticks in my mind is that we should remember those that have served their country every day. Many have returned with injuries and other issues that require daily attention, and our charge is to help. It is our way of honoring the sacrifices that were made.
Miss Minnesota 2013, Rebecca Yeh, played a moving rendition of “God Bless America” on her violin. Here are several pictures from the event.
The 34th ID “Red Bull” Band Brass Quintet provided the music for the event including “Taps” at the close of the program.
On Thursday evening, November 14, the Burnsville Police Department held a community meeting at Mary, Mother of the Church to address concerns about crime in the community. Hundreds of people filled the church that evening.
Burnsville Police Chief, Eric Gieseke, gave the opening remarks. Then Dakota County Attorney, Jim Backstrom, talked about crime trends in Dakota County. Drew Evans of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension followed up with remarks on crime trends statewide.
There were about a dozen people who came forward with comments or questions from the floor. One gentleman had some statistics on bail procedures and he felt that bail for recidivists needs to be examined. The bail issue was also raised by others. The County Attorney responded that the Minnesota Constitution prohibits the denial of bail. Another resident wanted to have more access to the location of criminals in the community. Substance abuse was another topic that was brought up.
A young man who lives in the River Hills area read a statement in which he strongly supported the Burnsville Police. He said it was impossible for 75 officers to closely watch 60,000 people and encouraged people in the community to step up when they see something going on.
Once the meeting was closed, the discussion continued as people talked in small groups for quite some time afterward.
On Friday evening, Pilot Knob Elementary School in Eagan held its Fall Family Dance. Students and adults were encouraged to come in costume. In addition to a parade to show off the costumes, there was a lot of music, dancing, and shouting. Disc jockeys played energetic music and kept the students moving and shouting. Adults were also seen on the floor keeping pace with the students. Lots of creative costumes and some familiar favorites like a pirate, Super Mario, and Harry Potter.
This is the second year that they have held this event and it sure looks likes it could be a tradition. Here’s a fun photo I took with a box of crayons!
Students from William Byrne Elementary School in Burnsville toured the Capitol on Friday. They were escorted by teachers and parents.
I talked with them afterwards and they were very impressed with the building. Senator Jim Carlson and I told them about some of our responsibilities and answered their questions. It is always so energizing to see the enthusiasm of visitors to the Capitol.
The Minnesota House Small Business Caucus visited some of the small businesses in the Monticello area today. Our first stop was at iRT (Integrated Recycling Technologies, Inc.), a company that does a remarkable job of recycling electronic scrap and catalytic converters. This is a Minnesota company that works on a global basis.
Next was umc (Ultra Machining Company), a precision manufacturing company that has clients in the medical, aerospace, defense, commercial, and energy fields. Their new facility is modern and has state of the art equipment that allows them to make very precise products. It was started in 1968 in the founder’s garage.
We had lunch at the Cornerstone Café in Monticello. The restaurant was recently remodeled and has an extensive menu. I highly recommend the Wild Rice Soup! Catering is also part of their operation. In preparation for Halloween, the posts outside the restaurant have some decorative characters attached.
Our final visit was the Shangri La Nook in the Albertville Outlets. This shop has many items made in Nepal and other countries in Asia. Lots of clothing items, but also some interesting jewelry as well.
We had the opportunity to meet some very resourceful people who are quite passionate about their work. In addition to learning about the businesses, we were also asking what problems they were encountering.
On October 19th, I attended a screening of “Who Built Our Capitol?” at the Minnesota State Capitol. This documentary was done under the auspices of the Labor Education Service, University of Minnesota. This movie explains the background of some of the artisans and other workers who built our current State Capitol. It also has interviews with some of their family members as well as people who are currently working on the Capitol restoration.
In the audience were some of the descendants of the people who were responsible for the construction of Minnesota’s current Capitol. They are extremely proud of their ancestors and rightfully so. It was also interesting to get perspectives from those who are currently involved with the restoration in progress.
It is a legacy that is a source of pride for all Minnesotans and it is our responsibility to pass on that legacy by making sure the building is maintained.
Senator Carlson, Representative Halverson and I met with city officials, financial consultants, and developers yesterday to go over the progress of the new development taking place near Rahn Road and Highway 13 and some of the major funding needs that still need to be addressed. Afterwards, we did a tour of the area being developed. The Paragon Outlet Center is scheduled to open next year. As you can see in the photos below, there is a lot of activity in that area.
I was at the Intergenerational Learning Center in Eagan this morning when the Zoomobile visited the facility. Chris, the Zoomobile Naturalist, presented a variety of interesting animals to her young audience. It included an African gray parrot, a very large cockroach, a blue-tongued skink, and a red-footed tortoise that loves to eat bananas. Each child was allowed to pet the tortoise, Luna, who seems to take all the attention is stride. Chris emphasized some of the characteristics of each animal as she interacted with the children.
The Zoomobile travels throughout the state, so even those who may not be able to visit the Minnesota Zoo are able to share in some of the many assets it has to offer.
I had the opportunity to tour the Prairie Island Nuclear facility today, it included the generating plant as well as the dry cask storage facility. As a member of the Minnesota House ENERGY POLICY COMMITTEE, I know the information will be useful in the future.
The facility has two pressurized water reactors, one started operation in 1973 and the other in 1974. The security here is extensive and impressive!
One benefit of nuclear power is that it is carbon free. Nuclear power plants are on-line providing electricity 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The efficiency of these plants is extremely high.