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.
Akin Road Elementary School celebrated 30 years of educating children from Farmington and surrounding areas with a special assembly Jan. 4. Local businesses and benefactors made donations enabling the purchase of matching T-shirts for all students and staff. Fifth grade students participated in a contest to create the design of the shirts. The winning design was revealed during the Jan. 4 assembly. Students then gathered outside in the unusually warm weather to form the number 30 for a commemorative picture. A picnic is planned for later in the spring to continue the celebration.
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.
While students are gearing up for winter break, I'm looking ahead to the remainder of the school year. As a Reading Corps tutor at Meadowview Elementary, I've been amazed by the significant strides students make in reading. I've seen children transform from shy, struggling students into confident learners. But many more need support. In fact, 1-in-3 Minnesota third-graders is not reading at grade level.
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.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, the third annual Trunk-or-Treat community event was held in Farmington. We were lucky to have three wonderful churches involved this year, Faith United Methodist Church, Trinity Lutheran Church and Bible Baptist Church. Thank you to all volunteers at each church who made this evening possible. It could not be done without you.
The opioid epidemic in Minnesota has rightfully stirred policy reactions from legislators and government agencies. But sadly, many with severe injuries, rare diseases, chronic and intractable pain have been overlooked in the pursuit of a solution. Prescription opioids administered by trusted doctors and pharmacists are important for those suffering with pain, and policies that restrict access to these medically necessary treatments seriously endanger their livelihood and are equating to suicides in the pain community.
It's been gratifying to see the progress our society has made to be more inclusive of people with disabilities. I expect opportunities for employment, independent living and community involvement to continue to increase. There are many reasons for this, but one that's worth noting is the role of direct-support professionals. These are caring people who work hard to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve their goals. They make their lives better in many ways. ProAct employs more than 100 direct support professionals across its six locations.