Celebrating Thanksgiving

While challenges and problems abound, it is helpful to take time to reflect on the blessings we have received.

“Look at the World” by John Rutter does a great job of that.  I love the refrain:

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.

Wishing you, your family and friends a great Thanksgiving.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Raising kids is hard!

This article, by Pamela Druckerman was published on October 13, 2016 in the New York Times was [See link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/opinion/the-perpetual-panic-of-american-parenthood.html]. It was titled The Perpetual Panic of American Parenthood.

Here is my reaction: Raising kids is difficult and that experience is shared among parents all over the world. But in the USA, and in American politics, the topic seems to get less traction, although in this election season it gets some attention.

Parents receive government supports of varying degrees to raise their kids, but that support in the USA is much lower than elsewhere, nearly non-existent.

The outcome of this is outlined in a study to be published in the American Journal of Sociology which finds that “Americans with children are 12 percent less happy than non-parents, the largest “happiness gap” of 22 rich countries surveyed.” That is, among 22 countries surveyed, American parents with children are the most unhappy by comparison to American who are not parents. This is a rebuke of the US culture and society values.

The author traveled and lived in other countries, and has some base to compare the issues involved in raising kids in those countries and in the USA. Other countries offer supports such as high-quality day case, after-school activities which allow kids to both socialize and for the parents to have time for themselves or to carry out needed chores without the kids underfoot. College costs are significantly less, in some cases the annual cost is less than the cost of a single week in an American college! American realities can be a shock to people from other countries, and in some cases shock them in a very real way.

The author tells of her own experience how the opposite effect was true fro her: Leaving the US created some palpable sense of relief insofar as motherhood was concerned.

The article also provides a bit of analysis and contrast of the approaches and solutions proposed by the two candidates for President.

Thank you, Pamela Druckman, for shining a light on this issue.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Memorial for Jacob Wetterling

The memorial for Jacob Wetterling was inspiring!  It truly showed that each life makes a difference.

In the search to find Jacob, there are so many children and families that have been helped.  Jacob’s life here may have been short, but he is extremely well-known  and has had a profound influence on all of us.

Jacob will always be connected with hope.  Patty and Jerry Wetterling are shining examples of  faith, love, determination, courage and grace. May God bless Patty and Jerry Wetterling, the Wetterling Family, and all those who were part of the the quest to find Jacob.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Burnsville Fire Muster 2016

Today was perfect for a parade!  We had a great time in the Burnsville Fire Muster Parade.  Many thanks to all who participated in our unit.  My appreciation to all the spectators who lined the route and made this so much fun.  A special note of appreciation to the volunteers whose efforts make this event possible.

The booths and carnival are part of the the Fire Muster and continue on to Sunday.  I was impressed by the Boy Scouts that came to the various booths and said they would deliver the food from their booth. I highly recommend their corn on the cob.

The Burnsville Fire Muster has been a community tradition for decades.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Governor’s SWLRT Discussion

I attended the Governor’s SWLRT Discussion today in St. Paul, the room was packed.  Initially, an overview of the process and current statistics was presented,  The problem is that there is currently a need for $144.5 million and a decision needs to be made before August 31. Two options were given.  One option has local governments and agencies providing the money.  Option 2 is to shut down the project.

There were numerous comments, pro and con, afterwards.  Most of the comments wanted the Southwest Light Rail project to proceed.  Most opponents seemed mainly concerned about the cost of the project. The primary exception is the group that has the lawsuit against the project.  The issue is the environmental damage and the lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in September 2017.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Does Minnesota Need To Be Healthy?

On Thursday, August 18, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health was in Dakota County to talk about ways to improve the health of the people in Dakota County as well as in Minnesota.  He talked about the improvements of health is some areas and virtually the lack in some areas. Dr. Ehlinger related the improvement in childbirth statistics once women had the right to vote. He emphasized the concept of health equity and the importance of including health in all policies.

He said he once talked with Governor Anderson about the major achievements that took place during his administration.  The Governor attributed these achievements to Social Conscience, Investing in the Common Good, and Cooperation.  Attributes which seem to be lacking today.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bell Labs Coming To Eagan

Bell Labs celebrated its new location in Eagan on Monday.  Governor Dayton was among the officials present at the ceremony.  Since Bell Labs is taking over an existing building, their CEO, swung a sledgehammer into a wall to commemorate the construction that will take place to provide their new home.

For over twenty years, Bell Labs has been a Minnesota-based contract manufacturer for the health and beauty industry.  In addition to having more space, Bell Labs plans to hire 100 more people as part of their expansion. Good news for our economy!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wendy Davis in Eagan

Wendy Davis addressed a group in Eagan yesterday. As a Texas state senator, she received a lot of attention when she did an 11-hour filibuster protesting legislation that would restrict abortion access for women. The Supreme Court recently confirmed that the state law was unconstitutional.

Ms. Davis initially talked about her life and the problems she faced and overcame. She also shared why she holds Hillary Clinton in high regard and that she was a strong supporter during the first presidential campaign and continues that enthusiasm this time around,

She is very warm and articulate. She is quite passionate about the need to have more women in leadership positions and as role models. I think many look on Wendy Davis as a modern day hero.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Little Mermaid

I attended the opening night performance of THE LITTLE MERMAID at Eagan High School with Tammy and Olivia, my five-year old granddaughter.  Looked like a packed house and the performers did a great job!  There was a standing ovation at the end. I was also impressed with the clever costumes. I highly recommend this production, especially if you have some young people that you would like to show a good time.

Afterwards, we each named our favorite character.  We each picked a different one.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders

Women In Government is holding a Summit on Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders today and tomorrow in Bloomington.  William Moyers, Vice President of Public Affairs, at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation talked about “Eliminating Barriers to Success.”  He said that he appreciates the use of “Substance Use Disorders” over  “Substance Abuse.” He said we need to eliminate the stigma attached to the problem and repeatedly said that “addiction doesn’t discriminate.”  People need to know that it is okay to ask for help.

Kelly O’Brien, the Executive Director of The Kennedy Forum started her presentation with a video about ” The System We Need.”  Both she and Sue Abderholden, the Executive Director of NAMI Minnesota, concentrated on the parity of mental health treatment  to physical health treatment. Basically, it sounds like mental health has a ways to go.

Senator Barb Goodwin of Minnesota and Ira Burnim, Legal Director of Judge David Bazelon Center on Mental Health talked about mental health concerns in the Criminal Justice System.  The sad fact is that we are imprisoning people that should be treated in mental health facilities.  Not only is this barbaric, it is more costly and it hardly achieves a positive outcome.

The evening concluded with a screening of If Only, a movie about drug addiction among teens.  Two men who worked on this project gave passionate presentations about the need to have community discussions on this issue because so many children are dying from this addiction.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment