Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/19

Oct 19, 2012 Issues: Education, Health, Veterans

The Red River

Dear Friends,

I'd like to bring an important project on the National Mall to your attention this week as we prepare for the groundbreaking and construction of The Education Center at The Wall, a memorial for our servicemembers and their legacy.  Recently we celebrated National School Bus Safety Week, and I have introduced legislation to recognize National School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day as well.  An important notice for seniors: the Medicare open enrollment period began this week, and you can find more information below about reviewing your health and prescription drug coverage for the upcoming year.  Finally, some snapshots from my work in the 7th District this week include the Staples Bridge Dedication, Pheasant Opener in Marshall, meetings with Felling Trailers, Central Bi-Products, and a number of additional organizations and businesses.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

The Education Center at The Wall

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's mission to honor, educate, and heal continues through the construction of The Education Center at The Wall.  This memorial seeks to celebrate our Nation's servicemembers and their legacy from 1775 to the present.  It will be a special place for the Nation and our returning Vets.  I am a member of the Host Committee that supports the construction of this important memorial facility, which will be located on the National Mall.  The groundbreaking at the future site for the Education Center at The Wall is scheduled for Wednesday, 11/28/2012 at 10:00 a.m. and construction completion is scheduled in 2014.

National School Bus Safety Week

This week many school districts across the country celebrated National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 15-19, 2012.  As a nation, school buses provide an estimated 10 billion student trips every year. Every school day, more than 480,000 school buses transport 25 million children to and from schools and school-related activities; over half of the country's student population is transported by school bus.  School Bus Safety Week is also a time to show appreciation to your student’s bus driver, that's why I have introduced legislation to recognize National School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day. There are many people that have an impact on your child's daily lives, whether it be getting to school, sporting events, or other activities so it's important to honor bus drivers and celebrate their positive influence and thank them for their work.

Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period began October 15

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced this week the start of Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, which began Oct. 15 and ends December 7.  The Open Enrollment Period offers Medicare recipients the opportunity to review and change their health and prescription drug coverage for the coming year. Coverage and prices vary from county to county and from year to year, so this is a good opportunity to take the time to read up on all the different options available to you. If you are satisfied with the coverage you have, you don’t need to do anything at all.  If you are a caregiver, sit down with your family members and help them sort through the different plans available, and help them choose the best option for their health needs and their finances.  Use the Medicare Plan Finder to do a personalized search and see all the health care plans available.  Remember, this is the only time you can change your plan, so take this opportunity to find something that works for you.


Peterson Pics

Staples Bridge Dedication

Pictured above with Derrell Turner (Minnesota Division Administrator of the US DOT Federal Highway Administration), Senator Amy Klobuchar, Bud Haskins (a long time south side resident, business owner and past council member who fought tirelessly over the years for the completion of this project), Mark Blessing (Todd County Commissioner) Jerel Nelsen (Staples Community Development Director).  Pictured at right with Jerel Nelsen (Staples Community Development Director) at the community reception following the Bridge dedication.

On Wednesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar and I were honored to attend the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Staples North/South Corridor Railroad Overpass Project.  This project is a two-lane north/south roadway with a bridge over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad and U.S. Highway 10 in Staples.  A 10-foot pedestrian and bicycle trail is also incorporated for the entire length of the project.   Trains were blocking entry into the community from the south for over 4 hours per day, hindering ambulance, fire and emergency vehicle access.  Transportation projects such as this bring economic development success and safety to our rural communities. I have supported this project for years and was glad to attend the celebration of its completion. (10/17)

Pheasant Opener

Pictured above with Riley Alcorn (10/13)

Last weekend the city of Marshall welcomed fellow Minnesotans to their town for the Pheasant Opener.  This year's event was a big success drawing a large crowd, and it was great to see so many folks come out and enjoy the tremendous pheasant hunting in western Minnesota.  I always enjoy participating in this Opener, and I congratulate the city of Marshall on a job well done!

Felling Trailers

Pictured above with Merle and Kathy Felling

I met with Merle and Kathy Felling this week to tour the Felling Trailer facility in Sauk Centre.  Felling Trailers is a trailer manufacturer that sells their standard and custom products through dealerships located around North America and Canada.    Merle Felling built his first trailer at the age of 12, started the company as a small shop in 1954 and has grown the company to factory and office complexes that today cover over 200,000 square feet in Sauk Centre and Litchfield. (10/15)

Central Bi-Products

Pictured above with Don Davis (CEO) and Duane Anderson (COO)

I visited with Don Davis (CEO) and Duane Anderson (COO) of Central Bi-Products while touring their Long Prairie complex on October 15.  Central Bi-Products is a full service rendering company with two locations.  In Long Prairie, there is a facility for multi-species material and one for poultry raw materials.  The company also has a second complex located in Redwood Falls. (10/15)

Todd County Fiberband Project

On Monday I met with the Todd County Fiberband Committee in Long Prairie at the historic courthouse.  The committee was formed as a cooperative initiative between many partners to bring fiber to the home and high speed broadband services to Todd County.  Partners include the Todd County Board of Commissioners, the Todd County Development Corporation, the Long Prairie Healthy Communities Partnership, the Todd County Healthy Communities Partnership and the Todd County Livestock Advisory Committee.  High quality high-speed services are becoming a necessary infrastructure for any rural area that wants to be competitive in the future.  (10/15)

Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Elementary School

Pictured above with Pastor Lyle Snyder, Superintendent Bruce Houck, School Board Chair Paul Henricksen, Principal Amy Christensen and in front Assistant Education Commissioner Rose Chu

I was invited to visit the Blue Ribbon Celebration at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Elementary School this week to celebrate some of our state’s finest schools. Two 7th District schools were awarded this distinction this year, which highlights outstanding achievement and/or significant improvement. Dassel Elementary and RTR Elementary were both designated Blue Ribbon schools this year by the Department of Education, and will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November. Congratulations to the parents, teachers, administrators, and students for all their hard work! (10/17)

MMCDC Annual Meeting

The Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC) held their annual meeting this week at the Shooting Star Convention Center in Mahnomen.  MMCDC is a nonprofit organization which provides capital resources for business and community development opportunities throughout Minnesota and the Midwest.  This and other programs utilized by the organization greatly benefit low-income communities, create jobs and affordable housing. (10/18)

Ottertail Power Company

This week I met with Ottertail Power Company based in Fergus Falls to discuss their concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency regulations and tax reform. (10/16)

Taste of Fergus Falls

Pictured above with Buzz Lundeen

On Tuesday I attended the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce's annual Taste of Fergus Falls.  The event sold out with over 400 folks in attendance and highlighted food samples from many local restaurants and food vendors as well as an auction and music. (10/16)