By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 2/1/2019
Hello from St. Paul,
Last week I talked to you about the homeless residents in Hastings, a population few of us were aware existed.
A brief update on that story. With some of the coldest temperatures in decades hitting Minnesota this week, the need to provide shelter to these folks in need was critical. I spoke to Amber from Ally Supportive Services earlier in the week, where I learned a church in Mahtomedi was opening its doors for several days to anyone who needed to escape the cold. What was needed: transportation.
I put in a call to Pat Regan of the Hastings Bus Company to see what they could do to help. I’m pleased to report that details were worked out and several homeless residents were able to get a break from the deadly winter temperatures at the church – and those that didn’t go to the church did find shelter. My thanks to Mike Karlen at Hastings Bus Company and to all involved who made this happen.
In other news, our House Capital Investment Committee approved a bill that ensures a clean water fund will be moving forward. Last session we approved a bonding bill that allocated $98 million to clean water grant programs. Under the proposal, the funding was scheduled to come from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust fund rather than general obligation bonds. But that met with some resistance and resulted in a lawsuit that delayed the projects. To expedite the process the committee voted to use general obligation bonds instead of ENRT appropriation bonds. I expect it will be debated on the House floor in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, I was pleased to attend a ribbon-cutting at Planet Fitness in Cottage Grove.
Planet Fitness is operating in part of the former Home Depot building. I was on the Cottage Grove Economic Development Authority when agreements were negotiated to redevelop this site that now includes Hy Vee, TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Planet Fitness, with more still to come.
Cottage Grove Fire Chief Rick Redenius was at the Capitol for Fire Service Day to talk about issues important to Minnesota Fire Fighters like phasing out carcinogenic flame retardants and allowing municipalities the ability to create fire protection districts.
A.B.A.T.E. of Minnesota, Inc. held “Biker Day at the Capitol” on Wednesday, always one of my favorites.
Several members of the St. Croix Valley Riders stopped in to advocate for tougher distracted driving laws, 3-wheel endorsement laws and more.
On Thursday, Reverend Dan Yeazel of First Presbyterian Church of Hastings served as “Chaplain for the Day” during our House floor session and did a great job.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton 5th grader Henry Marthaler invited me to Hastings to visit his school as part of Catholic Schools week.
As the weather shortened the week, today was the only day I could make it. But it was a good day to visit as I was able to watch students take part in a Geography Bee.
As both of my girls attended SEAS, its always fun for me to visit and see some of the teachers and staff who were there when my daughters attended, and to learn about the exciting things that are currently happening at the school.
I also spoke with KDWA this week on a number of topics, including education and homelessness. Click here to listen.
Finally, the Hastings High School Varsity Show Choir Riverside Company was awarded Best Band, Best Choreography, and Best Vocals at an event in Omaha, Nebraska. Congratulations on your Grand Champion win!
Have a good weekend,
Representative Tony Jurgens
351 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155