Last week, the folks from the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District showed us some of the projects that have been done in the county to help with water quality. One was streambank stabilization on a stream very near the Fairgrounds. As it happens, this stream does have good-sized trout in it.
We also visited a homeowner who has put in a raingarden in her front yard as well as some other conservation projects in the back yard that is on a lake. It is great to see individuals taking responsibility to improve water quality. We looked at a church that put a raingarden on the front of its property to help with water quality.
The Minnesota Zoo has a number of projects on its property to mitigate stormwater runoff.
It is exciting to see so many projects that will help us in our quest for good water quality. Clean Water is essential for life!
Our last stop was at the prairie restoration area on the Fairgrounds where the annual Outdoor Education Days for 5th graders was taking place. There are sites set up where the students can learn about water quality, native plants, and so on. Adults learn a lot, too.
I attended The 2017 Minnesota Election Summit: The Impact of Social Media on Modern Elections at the Humphrey School.
Sharon Yang, the Government and Politics Associate Manager at Facebook gave an interesting presentation on some of the activity that took place on Facebook during the 2016 campaign. She provided information on their Civic Engagement Tools such as an Issue Page and a Voting Plan Page. The millions of unique addresses on Facebook and the resulting number of messages during the 2016 election is staggering. Since the 2016 election, they have been sending out reminders on local elections. It seems Facebook has programs for constituents to interact with elected officials. Ms. Yang also talked about some of the programs being used in the United Kingdom and France for their elections.
Afterwards, there was a panel that included MN Secretary of State Steve Simon, Mike Dean, the Executive Director of LeadMN, and Aly Hagglund, the Director of Communications of Students United, and Doug Chapin, the Director of the Elections Academy at the Humphrey School.
The impact that social media can have on elections is huge and will probably increase in the future. Something to think about!
On Friday, I attended a presentation on the future of automated cars at VSI in St. Louis Park. We were told about the status of current technology and expectations going forward. For the most part, current self-driving vehicles are at a level 2 and it is level 4 vehicles that will be the ones that will provide the performance we really need.
In another room, there were screens showing simulations of a car driving on a roadway under a variety of conditions. One fact that is important, the camera shows essentially what we see, so we still need to concentrate on decent striping, adequate signage, and good infrastructure.
One question to consider is whether the use of automated cars will increase the number of cars on the road and what will that mean to our transportation system. Another is how long will it for autonomous cars to be widely accepted.
A screening of EQUAL MEANS EQUAL was held at the Humphrey School on Saturday evening to observe Women’s Equality Day. It illustrated the many injustices that confront women and the importance of passing the Equal Rights Amendment.
It also mentioned that on the international level, only seven countries have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Unfortunately, the United States is one of them.
It is time for action. For more information, go to www.equalmeansequal.com
I went to see Cole Porter’s ANYTHING GOES tonight at Burnsville High School. It was a fun evening. An entertaining story with great music. The cast is very talented and did a really good job with this production.
It is nice to see this musical revived. ANYTHING GOES was on Broadway in the 1930’s and was later made into a movie.
I went to the Eagan Food Truck Festival on Friday evening. This year, it was held at the Eagan Festival Grounds. There were over twenty trucks on the site representing a host of different cultures and foods. Lots of interesting food choices! I was just amazed at the number of people in attendance and the long lines, but everyone seemed to be enjoying the event.
There was also live music to listen to once you settled down with your selections. Nice way to end the week.
Don’t forget there’s an entire weekend’s worth of fun: Capitol Restoration Celebrations this Summer!
After four years of repairs and restorations, our State Capitol is now fully open to the public once again! This beautiful building has been returned to its former glory, and there will be events this August to celebrate this beautiful edifice of our democracy. You and your family are encouraged to attend any of the fun events that are planned.
It is the People’s House – remember that!
On Friday morning we had the ribbon cutting ceremony and a color guard presentation as we reopened the State Capitol.
Most of the events are free, or offered at very low cost. You can learn more by visiting www.mn.gov/mymncapitol
WHEN: Friday, Saturday & Sunday Aug 11-13
WHERE: Minnesota State Capitol Grounds
75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Learn more about tours, live music, children’s events, and fireworks by www.mn.gov/mymncapitol
Last night, I attended the Community Forum: Homelessness in Dakota County at Shepherd of the Valley Church in Apple Valley. There were well over two hundred people in attendance. Ann Ryberg, Communities of Faith Volunteer Organizer, went over the temporary shelter effort that took place this past winter. The Dakota County Housing Manager went over the activities to again have a temporary shelter this winter, November 1 is the target opening date. The County put out a bid for a service provider and Matrix Housing Services was chosen. This is intended to be an overnight shelter with extended hours during times of extreme cold.
Representative from Matrix Housing went over expectations and needs. For suggestions or information, they can be contacted at shelter@matrixhousingservices. org
The Shelter Leadership Work Group is working on options for a permanent shelter that should be presented to the Dakota Board of Commissioners by October. This has been a need for some time.
August 2 was a lovely evening to be out and celebrating Neighborhood Night Out in Eagan and Night to Unite in Burnsville. My appreciation to all who participated in these events. These activities provided a great opportunity for neighbors to talk and also learn more about community resources.
I went to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Eagan High School tonight. It was a musical version with songs from the Disney film and it was outstanding. I was particularly impressed with the costumes for the gargoyles and statues. We are so fortunate to have this level of talent in our community.