Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 6/6/2014

Soldiers coming home in Litchfield

Dear Friends,

Friday of this week marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day when over 150,000 Allied forces stormed the beaches in Normandy. As we remember those who served in wars past, we also welcomed soldiers home from their tour in Afghanistan. I visited Moorhead to give an update on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program roll out. On Thursday I met with city, county, and airport officials in Detroit Lakes, and today I headed down to Hutchinson to participate in Dairy Days.



Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


Top photos: Pat Minette (Mother), Chris Scepaniak (Aunt), Alex Minette (Brother), Janet Minette (Aunt), Staff Sgt. Adam Minette, Rita Loxtercamp (Grandmother), Rick Minette (Father), Carla Moritz (Aunt), and Boni Leukam (Aunt). Veteran of Foreign Wars Bruce Cottington and Executive Director of the Litchfield Area Chamber of Commerce Dee Schutte.Bottom right photo: First Sgt. Michael Mannz

On Tuesday I had the privilege of attending the Troop Homecoming in Litchfield to welcome the National Guard’s 849th Mobility Augmentation Company. After serving 11 months in Afghanistan, 86 soldiers from 28 communities returned home to greet their families. For 78 of the 86 soldiers, it was their first deployment. Their jobs in Afghanistan included clearing roads and identifying and removing Improvised Explosive Devices.

Captain Matthew Jukkala explained that the effort is not over and emphasized that the first 90 days back from deployment are statistically more dangerous than the entire deployment, as reintegration into society can be extremely difficult. Now that these soldiers are reunited with their families, it is incredibly important that we take care of them.

This Week in American History

Seventy years ago today, over 150,000 American, British, Canadian, and Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France to begin liberating Europe from Nazi Germany forces. D-Day was the largest amphibious military operation in history. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe, gave the go-ahead order for Operation Overlord. In total, 6,000 ships carrying 176,000 troops crossed the English Channel for drop zones for the invasion.

By dawn of June 6th, 1944, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground. The Allied forces overcame enemy fire to capture Gold, Juno, Sword, and Utah beaches. Omaha beach had much heavier defenses, and the Allies suffered more casualties storming that drop zone. In the end, it was considered a major victory for the Allies as they took away Hitler’s foothold on the western front. The heroism and bravery of American, British, and Canadian soldiers are honored each year on June 6th, and seventy years later D-Day remains in the greatest pages of our history.

On June 4th, 2000, a statue was unveiled in Periers, Normandy, France, of four American soldiers who died trying to free the French town from German control during World War II. The statue is called the 90th Division Monument (Les Quatre Braves). Citizens of the town and veterans of the 90th Division raised funds for the statue. Two of the soldiers were Minnesotans: Virgil Tangborn of BEMIDJI and Richard Richtman of Minneapolis. Although four soldiers are honored with the statue in Periers, more than 1,000 men lost their lives in several battles to liberate the Normandy town.

Coffee on Main Street

Monday I sat down with the morning coffee club at Main Street Restaurant in Detroit Lakes. It was good to catch up on the latest news and views from the group.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program Rollout

On Thursday, I was in Moorhead to give an update on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and how it can be used to help with locally-led storage and retention projects in the Red River Valley.  I was joined by Minnesota State Conservationist Don Baloun and North Dakota State Conservationist Mary Podoll.  I also met with the Red River Retention Authority to bring them up to speed on the application process for the RCPP.

Last week, the Red River Valley of the North was named as part of the Prairie Grasslands Critical Conservation Area under USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The RCPP will allow USDA to partner with third parties or work directly with producers in watersheds and other critical conservation areas. I worked to include this program in the 2014 Farm Bill in order to help implement water retention in the Red River Valley and other parts of the country.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is holding public RCPP Q&A sessions for potential partners and applicants to clarify any questions about the Announcement for Public Funding (APF).  The upcoming online sessions are Monday, June 9 at 1 p.m. CDT and Wednesday, June 18 at 10 a.m. CDT. For Q&A session information on RCPP click here.

Click here to read an article about the RCPP rollout.

Dairy Days

Center photo: Dairy farmers Jon Christensen and Garrett Luthens
Right photo: Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Hodson
Bottom left photo: Bill Arndt, Scott Lang, Dean Winters, and David Resch

Today I was in Hutchinson to attend Dairy Days which was sponsored by the Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and the Agri-Business Committee.  The annual event held in Library Square had music, children activities, the Cow Milking Contest, live animals, and an antique tractor on display. Dairy Days is a salute to local dairy farmers, and it was great to talk with folks in McLeod County on a perfect day for barbeque.

Detroit Lakes Airport

Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk, Becker County Commissioner John Okeson, Detroit Lakes City Administrator Bob Louiseau, and Detroit Lakes Airport Commissioner Mark Hagen.

On Thursday I stopped in at the Detroit Lakes airport to discuss the progress on the airport runway project and their work with various State and Federal agencies. The local community would benefit from more planes landing in Detroit Lakes, so I have been a supporter of this expansion since the beginning. 

Center for Small Towns Symposium

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns held its 2014 Symposium on Small Towns this week.  The two day event was well attended and focused on Understanding Rural Migration – Myths, Trends and Opportunities.  A majority of rural counties across the state are experiencing an influx of newcomers between the ages of 30 and 49.  Research was presented on migration trends and impacts these have on human, social and financial capital. 

For more information on the Center and the symposium, click here.

Habitat for Humanity

Homeowner Kayla Gebhardt, Alexandria Habitat for Humanity Director Lori Anderson, USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer, and homeowner Karmen Lemm

On Tuesday, USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer met with Lori Anderson, the Alexandria Habitat for Humanity Executive Director to view two homes under construction in Alexandria that will be financed by USDA Rural Development funds. Rural development programs have a direct impact on our rural communities and have been a long-time priority for me. As Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, I am a supporter of Rural Development and I am pleased to see results in action. Over the last three years USDA Rural Development has financed six Habitat homes in Alexandria and three are currently in processing. Alexandria Habitat Homes all include garages and are built to meet the Energy Star home rating.

Detroit Mountain

Former Detroit Lakes Mayor Larry Buboltz

When my kids were younger they used to spend nearly every winter weekend skiing at Detroit Mountain, so it was good to get together with Detroit Lakes city officials, Becker County officials and others to see the progress on the new Detroit Mountain Recreation Area. When it's complete, the facility will offer access to downhill and cross country skiing as well as bike trails. This is a great example of a public-private partnership that's going to help bring more outdoor recreational opportunities to the region.

Visitors from the 7th

Paul and Ashley Marquart (DILWORTH), Teren Van Zuilen (SPICER), Emma Ostby (SPICER), Abbey Knisely (NEW LONDON), and Emily Indreke (Fargo)

Evan Suter (CLARA CITY)
2014 Congressional Art Competition