Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cravaack Votes to Stop Health Care Reform Spending

Congressman Chip Cravaack voted to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund from within the health care reform legislation. The Fund provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services almost $18 billion over the next decade for increased federal spending on various public health programs.

The 8th District Republican says, “Giving Secretary Sebelius and the unelected bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services an $18 billion check to fund just about anything that could loosely be described as benefiting public health – such as jungle gyms and bike paths – is a complete abandonment of Congress’ duty to control the federal government’s purse strings.”

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Burning Restrictions for Brainerd Area

Burning restrictions on open burning in the Brainerd Lakes Area go into effect Friday April 15.

Rapid snowmelt across much of the state has increased the risk of wildfires, particularly in grassy areas. These fine fuels can ignite easily and spread quickly.

 DNR Fire Prevention Specialist Larry Himanga says, “The lack of snow on the ground allows the vegetation to dry out much faster, which increases the likelihood that a fire will start.  The rapid snow melt this past week has increased drastically the risk for wildfires.”

Burning restrictions begin at 8 a.m. on April 15 in the following counties: Anoka, Benton, Cass south of the border of the Chippewa National Forest, Crow Wing, Chisago, Dakota, Douglas, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington, and Wright.

The DNR will add counties as the snow cover recedes northward. For those who plan to burn in counties that still allow open burning with a permit, the window of opportunity will be brief. Most of Minnesota will be under restrictions soon.

Once restrictions are in place, special permits will be written for extenuating circumstances only. The DNR encourages the use of composting, recycling, and chipping as alternatives to burning.
While debris burning will be curtailed, the use of campfires – if smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height – will continue to be allowed.

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Voter ID Debate Comes to Brainerd

A debate on the pros and cons of a proposed voter ID program for Minnesota will feature two state legislators at Central Lakes College Wednesday.

Sponsored by the Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government, the event starts at 7 p.m. in Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

Speakers will be State Representatives Steve Simon and Mary Kiffmeyer, who will present opposing views on the bill that, if it became law, would require voters to have photo ID cards in order to cast a ballot in future elections.

A special invitation is extended to city, county, and township officials to attend. A question-answer period concludes the forum.

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