Project Medical Education

I had a very interesting afternoon at the University of Minnesota learning about their medical training programs. Along with other legislators, I had the opportunity to meet with doctors and students who shared their expertise and experiences. The presentations took place in the Mayo Building where we had overviews of the numerous programs.  We also had some of the med students talked about their backgrounds and the paths they intend to follow.

One of the ways the U is trying to address the needs of rural areas is with the Rural Physician Associate Program.  The mission of the U of M at Duluth is to concentrate on rural, American Indian and primary care areas.

The mission of the Twin Cities program is to serve the state and nation as well as concentrate on primary care, specialties and research.

After the presentations, we were able to tour portions of the hospital -in the white jackets we were given to wear for the occasion.  They do amazing work here!

The University of Minnesota Medical School has an impressive history and we should take great pride in this institution.

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Representatives Carlson & Kahn Set Record

This Wednesday, I attended an event that recognized the record set by Representative Lyndon Carlson and Representative Phyllis Kahn. They are now the longest serving members of the House of Representatives.  The duo was elected in 1972.

It truly is a privilege to serve with them. Their knowledge, their caring,  and their mentoring make them extremely valuable assets to the legislature and to Minnesota.

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Busy Weekend

Lots to do this weekend.  The Burnsville Firemuster had the ccommunity booths, carnival and the parade. I had fun riding a bike in the parade. I was really impressed with all the parade units from School District 191. There was also a very nice fireworks display on Saturday evening,

The Eagan STREETS ALIVE event took place at the Outlet Mall this year on Saturday afternoon. The City of Eagan departments had booths displaying their activities.  Numerous community organizations churches, and businesses also  had booths and activities. The Eagan Senior Group had set up a table to play Bingo.  I tried that, and had my usual results. However, it was a beautiful afternoon to be out having fun and acquiring some good information.


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Friday at the State Fair

Spent a good part of  Friday at the State Fair and it was a hot day.  Started by taking the MVTA bus from the Eagan Station to the fairgrounds.  It was standing room only on the  bus, so that should have have given me an idea of the attendance that day.  Later that day, a visitor from a Southern state told me that she had never seen so many people.

I started at the House of Representatives’ Booth in the Education Building.  We had  a number of people stop by to take our poll.  I was impressed by how many said they had tickets for Prairie Home Companion  in the Grandstand that night.

That is where I finished the day.  It was a marvelous show and the place was packed. Garrison stared the evening off by having everyone sing the ” The Star-Spangled Banner.” In addition to some of show’s standard acts, there were  outstanding guest performers that included Jearlyn & Jevetta Steele and a bluegrass group, the Steve Canyon Rangers.  One of the band members said he had an idea for a new group- the Steele Sisters/Canyon Rangers.  During the intermission, Garrison walked through the audience leading them in songs- patriotic, religious and old standards.  What a great way to end the day!

Then hopped onto the MVTA bus for a relaxing ride home.

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PAIN.PILL. PROBLEM.- Moving Minnesota Forward Together

I attended a program at the University of Minnesota today that presented information on  the abuse of prescription pain killers.  One speaker said the problem is epidemic.  The event was an extensive collaborative effort that included the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Hazeleden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy, the U.S. Department of Justice, and others.

Some startling statistics that were brought out by the Law Enforcement Panel were that 1 in 4 teens uses illicit drugs and that pain pills kill more than heroin and some other drugs. Many of the abusers get the pills from families and friends.  The panelists suggested that drug counselors should be in schools.  Demand is the problem, thus it is a public health problem.

The Pharmacy and Distribution Panel also said this is a community problem.  People need to speak out when they see the abuse happening.

Patrice Salmeri is involved with providing support on college campuses, she said ” Nobody should have to choose between recovery and a college education.”  The problem on college campuses had been brought up several times during the day.

Commissioner Jesson closed by saying that there are opportunities to get involved and encouraged everyone to do so.

This program went from 8:00 to 5:00, so I have only given some of the highlights. For additional information, check out




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Next Generation National Network Kick-off

The National Institute for Civil Discourse  was founded after the attempted assassination of  Congresswoman Giffords  and is based at the University of Arizona.  Next Generation is a program under the auspices of NICD that will focus on state legislators and provide them with resources and skills to resolve their differences in a civil manner.  The launch for the Next Generation National Network took place on August 2.

It was a privilege to be part of the group and to work on plans that will help produce an environment that is conducive to good governance.  I am hopeful that this organization will provide the platform to encourage positive behavior  of all elected officials.

In the evening, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly presented the inaugural Gabrielle Giffords Award for Civility in State Governance to Washington State Representatives Hans Zeiger and Sam Hunt.  Representative Hunt was part of the team that met with Minnesota legislators this past January in St. Paul to provide background on the civil discourse program. He mentioned the extreme weather conditions that day during his acceptance speech.

For more information on the National Institute for Civil Discourse and Next Generation, please visit the website:


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Celebrating July 4, 2015

July 4th was a perfect day for a parade.  I want to express my appreciation to all who took the time to participate and to observe this holiday.  Crowds were there from the beginning of the parade to the fireworks at the end.  And they were spectacular!

We have a number of photos to show – checks out the special guest hiding under the seats on the vehicle – towards the end… A stowaway???

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World Peace and Prayer Day

In a letter by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, he states that they will light their fire of 20 years. He will be observing World Peace Day in Ashland, Oregon.  He says “it feels as though humanity has gone too far” and “we would have to unite at our Sacred Sites once again to bring back healing. The future of our children’s health and wellbeing is dependent on our efforts. They need every person’s prayer from the Global Community.”

“We are sincerely asking prayers for the People that are spirtually disconnected who are making decisions that only last in their life time of survival for profit off Mother Earth. Mother Earth is the source of life not a resource. Many Sacred Sites have been abused and controlled by People who do not know Spirit.”

In keeping with the theme of recognizing the importance of nature, local residents tied into this observance at Schaar’s Bluff Spring Lake Park Reserve this afternoon. This site was chosen “to bring awareness to the fact that Legacy Funds were used to fragment forests and blast ancient bluffs, even though the Minnesota DNR recommended against the route because Dry Creek Bluff Prairie is on the verge of extirpation.”

Supporters of the event included: DUUC Food Freedom Radio, Interfaith Power and Light of Minnesota, Bioneers, Minnesota Pachamama Community, Alliance for Sustainability and AM950.

The concern is the damage being done to the Earth impacts us all and especially future generations. We need to question whether we are being good stewards of the gifts we have been given.

“Holy Mother Earth, the trees and all nature, are witnesses of your thoughts and deeds.”

A Winnebago wise saying found in Touch The Earth, compiled by T.C. McLuhan.


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Sixth Grade Perspective On Legislation

I have been receiving letters from sixth grade students at Sioux Trail School on legislation that they would like to see enacted.  Their main topics were: prohibiting smoking around children and in parks, helping the homeless, and lots on distracted driving behaviors. Another idea was to make it illegal to drop cigarette butts around trails and in parks. Yet another wants more containers for plastic bags available so there wouldn’t be so much litter.

As a follow-up, I had the privilege of meeting with the students at their school this morning.  I asked how many of them did see people smoking in parks and I was shocked when most of the students raised their hands.  I guess we still have a lot of educating to do with adults. It certainly seems like sixth graders understand the problems caused by second-hand smoke.   It is impressive to receive the letters and see how aware these young people are about the environment in which they live.

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Westview Pre-K

On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the afternoon Pre-K class at Westview Elementary in Apple Valley along with Governor Dayton,  Commissioner Cassellius, other education officials and legislators.  It is so amazing to see how much these early learners have already accomplished and how quick they are to adjust to something new.  Governor Dayton did a great job of interacting with the students, and that was sometimes a challenge because there were also three new little chicks in the room that got a lot of attention.

After watching the children in class, the adults went to another to discuss the program.  Superintendent Berenz talked about the way School District  #196 is trying to ensure that children will be prepared for kindergarten.  One of the teachers mentioned how much progress some of the children had made since the beginning of the year.  A kindergarten teacher said that the children who had been in the program previously come into kindergarten with more confidence and learning skills.  A mother commented that even though she thought she had prepared her child with basic knowledge, she noticed the improvement in social skills and leadership ability.  The principal said the students and their families become a community.   The visit allowed us to see some of the remarkable experiences children have in our public schools.  Shouldn’t all children who would benefit from this training be eligible?


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