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Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 1/22/2016
Improvements to Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure not only strengthen our economy, but also help protect our communities. I met with Willmar city officials and members of the Highway 23 Coalition this week to discuss ongoing efforts to improve safety and efficiency along the district’s highways and rail corridors. I also visited with the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce to review policy of importance to regional business leaders. Finally, USDA released new information regarding its Farm Microloans Program.
Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District
Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce
Brad Gruhot (Director, Marshall Area Chamber), Connie Gores (President, SMSU), and Darin Rahm (Director, Marshall Convention and Visitor Bureau)
I met with the Marshall Area chamber of Commerce and regional business leaders this week to discuss a range of federal issues including the Americans with Disabilities Act, FAA reauthorization, changes to the school lunch program, GMO labeling, and the Marshall Merit Center. I look forward to working with the Chamber on behalf of Marshall Community businesses in the year ahead.
Investing in Transportation
Jon Huseby (District Highway Engineer)
I met with District Highway Engineer Jon Huseby and members of the Highway 23 Coalition in Willmar this week regarding efforts to expand Highway 23 from two to four lanes. Extending from Interstate 90 to Interstate 35, Highway 23 is a critical route for residential and freight traffic. With the recent passage of the long-term transportation bill, it is my hope that this project will help improve safety and efficiency along the corridor.
I also met with Willmar officials about the city’s $10 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant to help construct a railroad bypass on the west side of the city. This long-standing local effort to improve rail congestion in Willmar will help keep residents safe and create opportunities for economic growth.
Sioux Falls VA
My staff assistant Meg Louwagie attended the opening of the Phase 1 Acute Inpatient Medical and Surgical Unit at the Sioux Falls VA this week. The Medical and Surgical Unit project started in December of 2013, and will provide acute admission with diagnoses ranging from pneumonia and congestive heart failure to post-surgery care. Once the renovations are complete, there will be 28 private rooms and 2 bariatric rooms that will accommodate additional equipment. Phase 2 of the project is expected to be completed in late summer, 2016.
Tax Season 2016
In preparation for this year’s tax season, the IRS has released online tax-filing tools and resources for public use. In addition, the agency launched its Security Summit Initiative to provide taxpayers with stronger protections against identity theft. As a general rule, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages, or any social media to discuss personal tax matters.
NOAA Corps Recruitment
On Tuesday, February 2nd, recruiting officers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps will be present at the University of Minnesota career fair from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. The NOAA Corps, one of the seven Uniformed Services in the United States, combines commissioned service and scientific expertise in oceanographic and atmospheric operations. Officer candidates with backgrounds in environmental science, marine biology, geology, and aeronautical science are especially encouraged to attend the event.
Farm Microloans Program
USDA announced that it will offer farm microloans to assist with property requisition and improvement this week, providing beginning and underserved farmers underserved farmers with a new financing avenue to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. The FSA Microloans Program, celebrating its third anniversary this week, has provided more than 16,800 low-interest loans (totaling more than $373 million) to producers across the country. General eligibility requirements are available online.
Discovering the 7th
The 5,600 square-foot Polaris Experience Center in Roseau offers visitors a self-guided tour through the history of the celebrated power-vehicle manufacturer. In addition to snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle displays from the company’s 50 years of production, visitors are encouraged to tour the manufacturing plant itself for live engineering demonstrations.
This Week in American History
KSJR-FM, known at the time as Saint John’s Radio, began broadcasting from Saint John’s University in Collegeville on January 22, 1967. Devoted to classical music and the fine arts, Saint John’s Radio attracted an audience in Saint Cloud and surrounding Stearns, Todd, Douglass, and Pope Counties. After relocating to St. Paul and changing its name, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) expanded its services to include news and helped lay the foundation of National Public Radio as a charter member in 1971. MPR, now the nation’s second largest distributer of national public radio programs, has won more than 875 journalism awards including the Peabody and Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Kristina-Maria Christopherson (LITCHFIELD)
2015 Congressional Art Competition