Veterans’ Day Observance at Keystone Communities

Keystone Communities in Eagan held a very special observance of Veterans’s Day.  Their featured speaker was a Korean War Veteran who gave a detailed talk on that confrontation. 

Then each resident who was a veteran was recognized and some background on their military experience was provided. Every veteran received a flower after the reading.  Their names were called according to the branch in which they served.  First, the Army veterans were identified and then the Eagan Men’s Chorus sang the their song.  Next the Navy veterans were recognized and then the chorus sang the Navy theme.  And so the program continued until all branches were covered. There were quite a few veterans in the group.

The event concluded with pie, coffee and a lot of socializing. 


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Intergenerational Working Group Forum

This past Tuesday, I participated in a forum sponsored by the Intergenerational Working Group at DARTS.  Members includes the Children’s Defense Fund, AARP and several other organizations .   Here is the link:       











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Mammoth Meeting On Railroads

On Tuesday morning, a joint meeting of the House Transportation Policy, Transportation Finance, Commerce and Consumer Protection , and Agriculture Committees along with the Senate Transportation and Public Safety,Commerce, and the Jobs,Agriculture and Rural Develpment  Committees met in the State Office Building.  The meeting started at 10:00 in the morning  and adjourned about 2:30 in the afternoon.

We heard from every perpective on the state of the railroads, particularly those that run in Minnesota.  Commission Zelle and Dave Christiansen of  the Minnesota Department of Transportation started off with their report on railroads.  Businesses impacted by the railroads talked about their experiences and expectations.  Representatives of the employees talked about their experiences and challenges.  An Amtrak official explained that almost all their routes are coming in behind schedule because of the huge problems caused by the trains carrying oil. They are seeing a reduction in passengers as a result. Last were the officials from the railroads who explained their operations.  

It appears that that the main problem centers on train operations in North Dakota. While the railroads are expanding their rail infrastructure, ordering new equipment and hiring new personnel, all that will take a few years to accomplish and not much improvement is seen until then.   That means the crisis will continue unless some extraordinary measures are taken.

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Union Pacific

IMG_20140911_111531I recenty met with some officials from the Union Pacific and this car definitely attracted my attention.  

They said that their business has increased in all areas and they are ordering new cars as well as training new personnel every month. These are good-paying jobs.  I recently talked with a retired engineer who told me that his income enabled his family to live comfortably and both his sons now work for the railroad.


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This week, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is meeting in Minneapolis. The agenda is brimming with interesting workshops and speakers. One session featured Sir Ken Robinson. He advocates an educational system where creativity and individual talents flourish. He has authored some books that can provide details on his approach.

NCSL_Yo_Yo_MaWorld renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma was one of the presenters on Turnaround Schools. He played a musical selection prior to the presentation. That was a real treat!

The speakers talked about the positive impact that happens in schools that have incorporated art in their curriculum. This program is going to be used in some schools in Minnesota.

There were so many compliments about the Summit, visitors were impressed with Minneapolis, the Convention Center, the friendliness of everyone. So whether you were on the planning team, staff, legislators, volunteers, or providing assistance in any manner to the Legislative Summit Attendees and their families, know that your efforts were very much appreciated.




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Twin Cities’ Premium Outlets

This was an exciting morning in Eagan! The Twin Cities’ Premium Outlets  officially opened at 10:00 A.M. The opening ceremony featured speeches by Mayor Mike Maguire, Governor Mark Dayton and officials representing the developer and management company. It was a beautiful day and lots of people were there.

There are woo stores there, but Coach and a few other establishments had waiting lines. Good buys to be had and so much to see.

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Great Gift!

I attended the DFL Second Congressional District’s Fundraiser on Sunday and, as always, had a great time.   United States Senator Al Franken and Representative Betty McCollum were the featured speakers. We are so fortunate to have such capable and caring individuals representing Minnesota.

One of the items in the live auction was 36 volunteer hours on November 1.  After spirited bidding, Angie Craig, a resident of House District 51A, was the winning bidder.  She graciously donated that to my campaign. What a great gift! That definitely made my day, and week  and then some.



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Civil Air Patrol

Update:  8/12/2014 – We just received another picture from the flight I took on August 4th with Civil Air Patrol. Check out the Pre-flight, pre-taxi picture at the end.

August 4th is a day I shall remember for a long time. For the first time ever, I flew in a very small plane. It  was a Cessna, a plane used by the Civil Air Patrol. It was a beautiful day to be out and about and aloft. Our flight included flying over four of the smaller or reliever airports in the Metro area. The pilot, Lt. Colonel Kevin Dunlevy did a great job of providing an incredibly smooth ride. Since this was my first time in a small plane, I wasn’t quite sure that was possible.

I am a legislative member of the Civil Air Patrol and after the flight I attended the monthly Wing meeting in the Terminal at Fleming Field.

The CAP Mission Statement is “Supporting America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development, and promotion of air, space and cyber power.”

This is a volunteer organization that operates as the United States Air Force Auxiliary. Membership is open to those 12 years and up.

This organization has a long history of providing service to our communities and we are very fortunate to have so many people committed to making sure that the legacy continues.

Preflight tail assembly

Checking the tail assembly (“Empannage”)

Preflight flaps

Checking the flaps

Preflight engine

Checking the engine

New Picture

Preparing to taxi

Preparing to taxi


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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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