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Notes From The Capital

Comments from Paul Anderson State Representative Dist 12B
paul anderson 150June 1, 2015
The topic of buffer strips has been off and on for most of the recently completed legislative session.  Brought up by Gov. Dayton at a pheasant summit in Marshall early this year, the thought of mandatory 50-foot vegetative strips along waterways has caused sharp disagreement among those who would be affected.  It was first sold as a “one size fits all” proposal, which quickly raised the ire of many involved in production agriculture.

The governor’s plan was heard in the Environment Committee with no vote taken.  It was held over and not sent on to any other committees.  So, even though it greatly affected farmers, it didn’t receive a hearing in either my ag policy committee or the finance committee.  Most rural legislators were against the plan, with reasons almost too numerous to mention.  One size doesn’t fit all situations, questions about compensation for land owners, and the mandating of a particular use on private property were among the main concerns raised.

It looked as if the buffer bill was dead, but the suspicion remained that if this was something the governor really wanted, he would get it in some form or other.  And that’s basically what has happened, with a much scaled-back version in the final environment bill passed out of both the House and Senate.  The 50-foot mandate is gone, except on public waters, which is already current law.  Also gone is any mention of DNR enforcement, one of the key provisions demanded by those of us who represent rural interests.

The main provision of the new language is the requirement of 16.5 foot (one rod) buffers on all public ditches.  Current law says these ditches, also called county ditches or judicial ditches, must be buffered after they have undergone a legal process known as “re-determination.”  With this new language, these ditches will now need buffers by late 2018 with or without having gone through a re-determination.

A big focus has been on local control of this process.  Additional state funding will go to county Soil and Water Conservation Districts to assist farmers in planning and implementing buffers.  The counties will also have enforcement powers with the ability to levy fines up to $500 for non-compliance.  It will also be up to local SWCDs to determine if private ditches should be buffered.  They will also have the ability to allow farmers to implement “alternative practices” that would accomplish much the same thing as buffers.

I write this as if these new provisions have already become law.  They haven’t.  This language was part of the larger environment/ag bill that Gov. Dayton vetoed.  However, he has said he approves of the buffer language and it will, in all likelihood, be part of the bill sent to him during the upcoming special session.  Speaking of that, we haven’t received word yet on when it will be.  We have been told it will be held in the State Office Building, in two of the larger committee rooms.

In all, the governor vetoed three spending bills.  In addition to the environment/ag bill, he also rejected the K-12 education bill and the one pertaining to jobs and energy.  It’s thought agreement must be reached on all three bills before we are called back. 

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Glimses From The Past

From the Glenwood Herald May 20, 1915

A bunch of ball tossers known as the High School Left Overs went to Lowry Friday and came home with with the scalp of the Lowry high school team buckled to their belt. From results which were 26 to 3, it seems as though the Left Overs ought to start in on something a little tougher.

The Park Board asks the Herald to state that driving or permitting stock on the park will not be tolerated under any circumstances. A large part of the park has recently been seeded to grass and if people will keep off there will soon be a fine lawn. The Park Board also wishes to have it perfectly understood that booze parties must stay away from the park. Or they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In a nut shell the Park Board wants the people of the city to co-operate with it in making the park a beauty spot and a joy to everybody.

Do not forget the Grand Opening Ball at the Lakeside Pavilion to-morrow evening. Good music, good floor management and a genuine good time is assured.

Dr. Alexander is moving into his new quarters in the rear of the First National Bank. The room has been remodeled and now has a private office and waiting room.

Happiness reigned supreme yesterday noon among the school children of the six lower grades when announcement was made that these grades would be closed for the rest of the year. This action was taken by the Board of Education in order to help check the spread of scarlet fever of which there are about half a dozen cases in the city. In order that this action may become effective parents should keep their children at home as much as possible and prevent them from gathering in bunches.

A transient on train No. 112 was robbed of a purse containing sixty dollars while on the train about half a mile out of Brooten yesterday. Three men are supposed to have committed the robbery. They jumped off from the train immediately after they had committed the robbery and are said to have returned to Brooten where they bought tickets for Glenwood. It is reported that three men who answer the very meager description which had been obtained at the time this was written came to Glenwood on train No. 111 and left the train at the east end of the Soo yards. Marshall Bogie was informed immediately and he began work on the case.

The three men who are suspected of having robbed a transient on train No. 112 out of Brooten yesterday afternoon were arrested at Morris last evening and held there for the local authorities upon request by special officer P. J. Burns. The three men held at Morris are said to have relieved a Morris resident of ten dollars. It is also thought that the same men visited some of the Glenwood stores yesterday afternoon about four o’clock. No article of any considerable value was however missing.

Corn planting is very late this year on account of of last week’s cold and rain.

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Glenwood Artist Featured On Public TV’s ‘Postcards’

Glenwood Artist Featured On Public TV’s ‘Postcards’

FaytheMillsAn upcoming broadcast on Pioneer Public Television on Sunday, May 17 at 7 p.m. will feature a mysterious 500-year-old dugout canoe in Montevideo, chainsaw artist Scott Hanson from Madison and Glenwood artist and illustrator Faythe Thomas Mills. The award-winning Postcards is a weekly art, culture and history program showcasing the people and communities of western and southwestern Minnesota. The episode will be repeated on Monday, May 18 at 1:30 p.m. and on Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m. The program will also be available for online viewing on the morning of May 18 through the station’s website:  www.pioneer.org/postcards.

About Faythe Mills

Faythe Thomas Mills graduated from high school in Buffalo and graduated in 1990 from North Hennepin Community College with a graphic design degree.  She started her own business soon thereafter and has been creating fine art ever since. Her passion lies in working in pastels, watercolor, ink wash, pencil, and acrylic, and she has illustrated three children’s books.  She now lives in Glenwood on Lake Minnewaska.

“If you can bring something out of somebody that’s already there to make them more confident or believe in themselves, I think is important,” said Mills when describing some of her portraits. “If anyone has the love for art or wants to get into art I would encourage them to just start practicing, she added.

About Pioneer Public Television

Established in 1966, Pioneer Public TV is an award-winning, viewer-supported television station dedicated to sharing local stories of the region with the world. For more information visit: www.pioneer.org.

Contributed photo

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MAS Teacher of Excellence Chosen

MAS Teacher of Excellence chosen

GordyGordy Moeller, director of choirs at Minnewaska Area High School, received this year’s PTA Teacher of Excellence award. Moeller was surprised with the honor at MAHS on Friday, capping off the district-wide Teacher Appreciation Week sponsored by the PTA. Dawn Jensen (left), PTA president, and Kristi Gruber, PTA vice president, presented Moeller with a trophy and a $500 check to be used for his classroom. After receiving the award, Moeller told his students it was much more about them than about him. “Without you out there trying your hardest, this would never happen,” said Moeller

Photo by Tribune

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Local Officials Testify For Hwy. 29 Overpass

 Local officials testify at Legislature for Hwy. 29 overpass of CP railroad

Momentum continues to build for an overpass of the railroad tracks north of Glenwood.

Pope County Commissioner Gordy Wagner and Pope County Highway Engineer Brian Giese testified April 15 before the Minnesota Senate’s Transportation and Public Safety Budget Division in favor of Senate File 458, a bill sponsored by Sen. Torrey Westrom which seeks funding for the overpass.  

The proposed project, according to a conceptual design furnished by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), would consist of a 500-foot bridge on Hwy. 29 spanning Hwy. 55 and the Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks.

Sen. Westrom said, “This project fixes a dangerous intersection, which has been the site of many accidents and has delayed first responders from reaching those in need.  There have been 55-minute backups at this crossing.  My proposal will solve this problem in a cost effective manner.”  

In addition to safety improvements, the project is also designed to help traffic move more efficiently and will benefit those traveling through Glenwood and other areas of Pope County.

Citing the lack of funds available to MnDOT District 4, both Giese and Wagner stressed the need for special funding for this much-needed project to address the safety needs of Pope County’s citizens and the traveling public.  

Giese highlighted three major issues related to this project in his testimony: The need for more adequate and improved emergency response times for the ambulance and fire department agencies; the safe and efficient flow of everyday traffic; and the impact on economic development in Pope County.  

Wagner stressed the fact that, as opposed to cities where the trains run directly through the heart of the city, this project is much more feasible. He feels strongly that this intersection is a serious accident waiting to happen, and should be fixed for us today and for our children in the future.

Both Giese and Wagner thanked Sen. Westrom for carrying the bill; Senate File 458 is awaiting further action in the Senate.

Photo by Senate Media Services

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Notes From The Capital

From Paul Anderson - State House Representive 12B
Monday, April 27, 2015

paul anderson 150Action has switched from daily committee meeting to long floor sessions in the Minnesota House as we debate and pass the major omnibus spending bills that will provide the funding to operate state budgets for the next two years beginning July 1.  In all, there are ten spending bills that need approval, and we worked through half of them in the past week.  The others, including House Republicans’ nearly $2 billion tax cut bill, will be up for debate this week.

One of the spending bills passed last week was the transportation bill, which will now go to a conference committee with the Senate.  Included in House plan is a $25 million appropriation for cities under 5,000 population that will assist them with their local transportation needs.  In total, it raises $7 billion over the next ten years without any additional gas taxes.  Currently, both the Senate and Gov. Dayton have a different plan in that they are proposing a sales tax increase on fuel, which would go up or down annually, based on the wholesale price of gas. Sixteen cents per gallon would be the minimum increase under their plan, with additional hikes as the price of fuel goes up.

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Friendly Garden Club Looking For Donations

Friendly Garden Club looking for donations for flowers at Starbuck beach

Friendly Garden ClubOver the years the Starbuck Beautification Committee and the Friendly Garden Club have beautified and enlivened Starbuck with hanging flower baskets, flower planters and flower beds in the downtown area, the park and the beach.
Last year with the help of the city, the VFW Men’s Auxiliary and members of the Friendly Garden Club created the flower beds by the beach house (which was renovated and the snack shack open) were expanded and a tiered flower/rock garden was built and planted at the south end of the beach by the boat landing. They received many compliments and saw a much increased use of the beach during the summer. The necessary funds were raised from local businesses and organizations to cover the increased flower planting, watering and fertilizing.

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