Music in Our Schools Month is recognized every March. But the celebration of all that music adds to life is boundless. It echoes through living rooms, gyms and recital halls, football fields and fairgrounds season after season. We're so grateful for the opportunities our daughters have had to learn and play music here. When we moved to Farmington 14 years ago, we couldn't have imagined how music education would lift them. Their interests vary, but band lights the way. Music defies stereotypes we too often place on one another.
The month of April marks the celebration of Community Banking Month. I want to take this opportunity to educate our communities on what sets community banks apart: • Local focus: Unlike larger banks that may take deposits in one state and lend in others, community banks channel their loans to the neighborhoods where their depositors live and work, which helps local businesses and communities thrive.
Even though health cannot be purchased, smart decisions can be made when purchasing foods. With the increasing amount of information on new food trends and food items, trying to choose products when shopping can be overwhelming. To make matters worse, people now have to worry about buying items in the store at an expensive price with low quality. Luckily, local farmers markets provide fresh produce that make shopping worthwhile.
As Earth Day approaches, let us all remember to be good to our Earth! I challenge you to help stop plastic pollution. Please join me in using only reusable water bottles. Here is why: "Out of the 50 billion bottles of water being bought each year, 80 percent end up in a landfill, even though recycling programs exist. Seventeen million barrels of oil are used in producing bottled water each year. Bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water. Drinking 2 liters of tap water a day only costs 50 cents per year," according to www.treehugger.com .
A letter Don Slaten wrote against state Rep. Tony Jurgens was predictable drivel. Amazing that Slaten, who was once defeated by Jurgens and has deep connections to the local DFL party, would take shots at his former opponent, isn't it? The letter reads like it was written by a DFL Capitol insider, which Slaten is not, with all sorts of statistics relating to budget surplus projections, future state growth and inflation. Hey Don, just because the state has a surplus doesn't mean we need a bloated budget. I am with Jurgens, rein in the spending.
Health care is undoubtedly the No. 1 concern for Minnesota residents. We're worried about our coverage, affordability and accessibility — all of which were major focuses during the election. So, it's concerning that there is renewed interest in a legislative proposal that could disrupt our health care system, increase costs and jeopardize access to care.
In Minnesota, we are blessed to have beautiful natural resources like lakes, parks, forests and wilderness as well as access to a network of public lands unrivaled in the eastern half of the country. Just like you put dollars toward the maintenance of your home, we have to spend money to make sure our state's natural resources remain healthy and vibrant for current and future generations. That's why it's so critical that Congress reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired Sept. 30.
Earlier this year, Shane McAllister grew worried when his 9-month-old son, Andrew, developed a 102 degree fever. Shane is a Minnesota doctor, but even with his medical training, he was surprised to see his son quickly lose his cheerful energy and spirit. It scared him, so he rushed Andrew to the emergency room. It didn't take doctors long to diagnose Andrew with a severe case of the flu. Thankfully, treatment returned the little boy to his normal self within a few days.
I've been following the story of the international sex-trafficking ring in the papers over the last few months. As horrifying as it is to read about, I'm grateful for the coverage to raise awareness to this tragic phenomenon. I am a social worker in St. Paul, and I have worked with several women who have been pressured into the sex industry, many of whom are foreign-born and do not have the resources or knowledge to advocate for themselves.
The City of Rosemount is moving forward on a project that will meet long-time goals of the community and keep us at the forefront as one of the best places to live. As always, we need the citizens' views to make it work. This fall, Rosemount City Council hired 292 Design Group to study the needs for new indoor recreational facilities. The company is based in Minnesota and has long experience here and in other states with the careful planning needed for successful facilities.