Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 9/28

Sep 28, 2012 Issues: Health

U.S. Capitol
Artist: Constantino Brumidi (1805 - 1880)
depicting Harvest in America

Dear Friends,

On Saturday the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum in Granite Falls hosts their grand opening.  New funds for rural health care in Minnesota were recently approved by USDA Rural Development for the construction of a new critical access hospital in Elbow Lake and the purchase of a clinic in Morris.  In addition, the city of Dawson received an Economic Development Administration grant for the construction of critical infrastructure.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


Fagen Fighters WWII Museum in Granite Falls
Grand Opening 9/29
Lenzen-Roe Memorial Airport

Fagen Fighters World War II Museum is the newest museum in Granite Falls.  The museum consists of two hangars, a WWII Quonset hut, and a WWII control tower.  Visitors will learn about the 1940's era and WWII experience.  The collection includes WWII trainer and fighter aircraft restored and owned by Fagen Fighters.  Fully operational ground vehicles are displayed, as well as a mural depicting D-Day and bronze sculptures of the Army's 4th Infantry soldiers landing in a Higgins' boat.  Visitors can also see sand from the beaches of Normandy.

The museum is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  Tours are available by appointment.  To learn more you can visit their website at

Military Matters

Too many of our vets are returning home and struggling to find employment.  I'd like to share a video recently released by the Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development, highlighting the skills of returning veterans.

Video: Why You Should Hire A Veteran

USDA Disaster Declaration Opens Door to Emergency Loan Assistance

I joined our Minnesota Senators and Rep. Walz in announcing the USDA has issued a disaster declaration for counties in Minnesota affected by the ongoing drought. This declaration means that farmers in these counties are now eligible for emergency loan assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to help cover crop or livestock losses.

I am pleased that USDA will be able to provide some relief to Minnesota’s farmers and ranchers who, much like farmers across the country, have been devastated by this summer’s drought conditions.  Farmers need a strong safety net when disaster strikes which is why I am continuing to urge Congress to pass the five-year farm bill this year.  The declaration designates Lac Qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties as a primary disaster area. Big Stone, Chippewa, Sibley, Lincoln, Lyon, Redwood, Renville and Swift have also been designated as contiguous disaster counties.

Celebrating Transportation Economic Development (PERHAM)

Pictured above with Doug Huesbch and Kenny Nelson

I was pleased to attend an event in Perham this week (9/24) to congratulate community members on the completion of a new $3 million interchange ramp for an existing overpass at Highway 10 and County Road 34.  This new exit ramp will provide direct access to the new hospital and other businesses in Perham and will result in the creation of new jobs for the community.  This project was public/private funding at its best and included the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, the Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development, Ottertail County, the City of Perham, Perham Health, KLN Enterprises and RDO.  The way to get the economy moving again is through infrastructure improvements and this project is a shining example of how public/private partnerships improve our rural communities and create jobs.

Funds for Rural Health Care (ELBOW LAKE, MORRIS)

I am happy to announce that Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services has been selected to receive more than $24 million from USDA Rural Development to build a new critical access hospital in Elbow Lake and purchase a clinic in Morris.  Critical access hospitals play a vital role by ensuring that all Minnesotans, especially those in rural areas, have access to high quality care.  This project will also provide an economic boost to the local communities.  The funding comes in the form of a $20,047,000 direct loan and a $4,030,000 loan guarantee through Rural Development’s community facilities program. The current Prairie Ridge hospital and clinic facility was built in the early 1960s and no longer fully meets the community’s healthcare needs. The new facility will be approximately 53,000 square feet and will include 10 private rooms, an emergency department, operating room, imaging lab, pharmacy, clinic and support areas.  The facility will be fully handicap accessible and designed to improve the safety of patients and increase staff efficiency. It will be located on a 24-acre site.

Dawson Receives Economic Development Grant

The city of Dawson has received an Economic Development Administration grant of $1,189,500 to aid in the construction of critical infrastructure. The grant is expected to create 137 jobs and leverage more than $35 million in private investment.  This funding is a huge boost to Dawson and the surrounding area. Investing in our rural communities, creating jobs and making infrastructure improvements, is important to getting our nation’s economy back on track.  I commend the city for their hard work in obtaining this grant and wish them continued success.  The grant will allow the city to construct critical roadway and related infrastructure to make upgrades to the existing 40-acre industrial park as well as construct a new 65-acre industrial park nearby. The project also includes a new wastewater pretreatment facility to allow industrial expansion and make possible growth in the city’s agricultural processing center.

Minnesota Senior Corps RSVP

It was an honor to have lunch with and say thanks to the many volunteers being recognized at the Hallock Senior Center for their work in the Minnesota Senior Corps RSVP program (9/23).  To learn more about the organization, visit

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

35W / St. Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis
Photo courtesy of flickr and Collapse The Light

Each year, thousands of American children are diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, due to advances in technology and research, childhood cancer survival rates have increased significantly over the past few decades. Although we have come far, there is still work to be done. This month it is important to remember the young lives lost, offer support to children and families battling the disease and continue efforts to raise awareness and find a cure.  I also want to acknowledge the families affected by childhood cancer, especially the good work done by Minnesota Momcologists, more than 125 Minnesota mothers of children with cancer, who provide support and encouragement to other Minnesota families.

On Thursday of this week, the 35W / St. Anthony Falls Bridge was lit gold in honor of all those affected by childhood cancer.  This was part of the Goin' Gold campaign to promote Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September.

Peterson Talks Farm Bill

Click HERE to listen to Congressman Peterson discussing the Farm Bill on AgriTalk (9/25)