Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/17/2014

Dear Friends,

Maintaining quality roads and bridges by investing in infrastructure is vital to keep our local business and rural community strong. This week, I pledged my support to the efforts of the Cottonwood County Board of Commissioners and Windom City leaders to upgrade, expand, and improve rural infrastructure in the region. While in Windom I also toured Fast Manufacturing’s new sprayer and liquid fertilizer equipment production facility, before traveling to the groundbreaking of the Pipestone County Medical Center facility expansion. On Friday I visited Granite Falls to join with the community to celebrate the construction of the Granite Falls Manor and in Hendricks I met with a local pharmacist before attending the groundbreaking of the Hendricks Community Hospital with USDA Rural Development Minnesota State Director Colleen Landkamer. Finally, MEA week brought many visitors from the District to my office to enjoy autumn in Washington.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Cottonwood County Board of Commissioners

Commissioners Norm Holmen and Kevin Stevens, Coordinator/HR Kelly Thongvivong, Commissioners Tom White and John Oeltjenbruns

While in Windom Tuesday, I attended the board meeting of the Cottonwood County Board of Commissioners to discuss the county’s transportation needs for roads and bridges. I pledged my total support for the passage of a federal multiyear transportation bill that would strengthen rural infrastructure. I also heard local concerns about the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers attempts to further regulate waters of the United States, and explained my strong opposition to expand their scope beyond navigable waters.

Windom City Leaders

Brian Cooley (Windom City Councilman), Dominic Jones (Manager, Red Rock Rural Water), Corey Maricle (Mayor, Windom) Brad Powers (Windom City Councilman), Aaron Backman (Executive Director, Windom EDA)

Following the board meeting, I met with Windom City officials and talked about completing the upgrade of Highway 60 to a 4-lane route. I offered my support for Windom's efforts to access federal funding for the city's industrial park. Like many communities in the 7th District, Windom struggles to find enough skilled workers to meet the needs of local employers. We discussed the importance of coordinated training between schools and industry.

Correctional Officer of the Year

Jason Purrington (Cottonwood County Sheriff), Jason Rupp (Cottonwood County Jailor/Dispatcher)

Officer Jason Rupp was named the recipient of the 2014 Minnesota Sheriff's Association Correctional Officer of the Year award earlier this year. Officer Rupp has dependably served his community as an officer, defensive tactics, ground avoidance escape, and TASER instructor. He has also served on the Cornerstone Drug Court Board and County Wellness Committee. Rupp is currently helping facilitate the county transition to a new records management system.

Fast Manufacturing

Cody Fast (CFO), Aaron Backman (Executive Director, Windom EDA)

I met with Fast Manufacturing in Windom to tour the company's new 72,000 square foot production facility. Fast Manufacturing is a family-owned business that designs and builds high-quality agricultural sprayers and liquid fertilizer equipment. Founded in 1990, Fast Manufacturing has a nationwide market and is expanding overseas. As the first occupant of Windom's Industrial Park, Fast plans to double in size over the next year. A USDA Rural Development loan has helped this company to expand, create jobs and grow the local economy.

Pipestone USDA Rural Development

On Tuesday, I attended a groundbreaking reception for the Pipestone County Medical Center facility expansion project. Funding for the expansion and remodeling of the existing hospital comes in the form of a direct loan and a conditional commitment for a guaranteed loan from the USDA Rural Development Community Facility Loan and Grant Program. I was honored to attend the event in Pipestone, and I look forward to watching the progress made on the facility. 

Bethesda Senior Care Facility

Kevin Friesen (USDA Rural Development, Willmar Office), Lisa Fobbe (Office of Senator Franken), Colleen Landkamer (State Director, USDA Rural Development), Michelle Haefner (President & CEO, Bethesda),

Bethesda, a senior care facility in Willmar, is updating facilities using a "full continuum care" concept with the help of an $18 million direct loan from the USDA Rural Development Community Development Program. Michelle Haefner, President and CEO of Bethesda, discussed the plans for updating and replacement of long-term and short-term facilities at the Willmar care center. Construction of a new 80 resident long-term facility, broken down into 20 person "neighborhoods" is designed to facilitate increased independence and socialization among residents. Another 36 person short-term facility is also in process. The wellness center has over 600 members from the Willmar Community.  With over 400 employees, Bethesda is one of Willmar's largest employers. I am pleased that USDA was able to help this facility meet the needs of an aging rural population.

Granite Falls Manor

I attended an event in Granite Falls on Friday in celebration of the construction of Granite Falls Manor, a new nursing home for which the City of Granite Falls broke ground in August. The 48-bed, single story facility will be located on the east side of Granite Falls. The project is expected to be completed in approximately one year. Funding for the new infrastructure comes from USDA Rural Development Community Facility direct loans. Since 2009, more than $353 million has been invested in rural Minnesota communities to build or improve essential community facilities, according to USDA Rural Development. 


Friday afternoon I joined Colleen Landkamer, USDA Rural Development Minnesota State Director in Hendricks for the expansion and remodeling groundbreaking of the Hendricks Community Hospital. The project will make the facility more efficient for patients and the employees. The Hendricks Community Hospital Association operates a 24 bed acute care hospital, a 58-bed skilled nursing facility, clinic, 16-unit senior rental housing facility, home health and a hospice agency. USDA Rural Development provided the organization with a Community Facility Direct Loan of $5,192,000 for the renovation. These endeavors are a significant step to make the community hospital attractive to new physicians, support staff and community residents.

Siverson Pharmacy

Today I met with Slade Siverson, a small business owner who owns and operates a pharmacy in Hendricks. Local pharmacies serve many rural communities in the 7th District, when often folks would otherwise find themselves miles away from the nearest mega-chain store. That’s why I have cosponsored numerous bills to support them, like the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act, which decreases costs for seniors prescriptions, supports access to care, and promotes competition to keep drug prices low. Everyone should have access to quality and affordable healthcare, and our local pharmacies play an important role in helping patients get the care they deserve.

 Military Matters

MACV Stand-Down

The 2nd Annual Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans Stand Down took place at the Marshall YMCA this week. Over 70 Veterans from around the area attended. A variety of services were available at the Stand Down, including meeting with legal aid workers, flu shots, and booths about housing, jobs, veterans services and continuing education. Newsstand

Ebola Virus

Attached for your review is information from the MN Department of Health regarding the Ebola virus.

Rural Electric Infrastructure Guaranteed Loan

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $1.4 billion USDA loan guarantee to improve the delivery of electric power to rural communities in 21 states, including Minnesota. The investment will upgrade the power grid, diversify energy portfolios, and lessen reliance on carbon-based fuel sources. The announcement will also feature $106 million for smart grid technology, which helps rural electric utilities manage power use more effectively. USDA’s collaboration with rural electric cooperatives will bring jobs and increased economic opportunities to rural communities in Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Renville, Stevens, Traverse, Wilkin, and Yellow Medicine Counties.

County Courthouse Tour

Clearwater County Courthouse 1938/Present

The first Clearwater County courthouse stood on the same site as the current courthouse in Bagley. Acquired in 1903 when the county was established, the original two-story frame building had a small square tower and a single-gabled roof. The current three-story brick building was designed by Foss & Company of Fargo, and was constructed at a cost of $92,606. The entrance is defined by large glass windows and sidelights that rise two stories. Inside, the building has plastered walls, and the courtroom is finished in mahogany veneer.

This Week in American History

The Constitution of the State of Minnesota was ratified by the residents of the Minnesota Territory in a special election held on October 13, 1857. Approval of the document marked the admittance of Minnesota to the Union, and the assumption of public office by elected officials. A Bill of Rights holds a prominent position in the Constitution as Article I, featuring many sections that mirror the amendments to the United States Constitution. A 1971 commission to study the Minnesota Constitution recommended that it be rewritten in modern language to allow for easier reference. The amendment, though approved by voters, did not alter the meaning of the content in the document.

Visitors from the 7th

Bobby, Natalie, Carter, and Quinn Baird (CROOKSTON)

Kathy and Lyle Wiste (GAYLORD)

Christina, Olivia, Jason, Gregory, Nathan, and Isaac Clark (DASSEL), Susan Yates (Cokato), Mark Gunstenson (MOORHEAD), Deena Osland (DILWORTH)

Steve abd Virginia Bren (EAST GRAND FORKS)

Sharon and Bob Foley (WILLMAR)

Steven, Thoedore, George, and Julie Pasche (MOORHEAD)


Ali Siverhus (MAYNARD)
2014 Congressional Art Competition