Friday, April 29, 2011

Gazelka Spearheads Gay Marriage Ban

The Marriage Amendment is making headway at the state capitol.  It would allow voters to constitutionally ban gay unions. 

State Senator Paul Gazelka of Brainerd is among the Republicans spearheading the effort on an issue that is already outlawed by statute. 

Gazelka tells KLKS News, there is a lull in legislative action now, so the effort is not a distraction to the bigger issue of balancing the budget.

Gazelka says if voters turn back the amendment, he would not support an effort to repeal current statutes.  He says it is a matter of children's rights, stating that kids are better off in a family with a mom and a dad.

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Wadena To Replant Lost Trees

(AP)  Folks in Wadena are using this Arbor Day weekend to replant trees splintered by last year's tornado.

In addition to widespread property damage, the twister June 17th destroyed thousand of trees.  Volunteers will spend their Saturday replanting with donations from the DNR.

The Lions, Boy Scouts and Rotarians will be heading off to the voids with spades in hand to bring the green back to Wadena.

Organizers know it will take a long time to get their stately trees back, but Arbor Day weekend is a good start.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Area Highway Construction Begins Monday

Motorists will encounter weekday intermittent lane closures on Highway 10 starting Monday, May 2, when a resurfacing project begins north of Highway 115 at Randall to just south of the Little Falls bypass.

This project also includes constructing turn lanes and culvert work. Local access will be maintained.

When completed, motorists should experience a smoother, safer road, according to MnDOT.

Hardrives, Inc., of Rogers is the prime contractor for this $9.7 million roadway improvement project. The project is scheduled to be completed by early September, weather permitting.

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Financial Help for Old Septics

The State of MN, Department of Agriculture and the Region Five Development Commission continue to offer low interest (3% for 60 months) funding to landowners to replace, repair or service existing individual septic systems. New construction does not qualify. 

The program is available to landowners in Cass, Crow Wing and Wadena counties. There are no income limits but applicants must show repayment ability.  To date this ongoing program has provided over $600,000 in funding to qualified landowners.  

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CLC Compete for Prize

Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples, is one of 120 colleges competing for a share of $1 million to be awarded by the Aspen Institute for innovative strategies and student success.

The first Prize for Community College Excellence will be awarded to an unspecified number of colleges from the 120 listed after the first round of competition.

It will use data on colleges in 32 states which demonstrate strong outcomes in three areas of student success: persistence and completion,  consistent improvement in outcomes over time, and equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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Gazelka Champions Marriage Amendment

State Senator Paul Gazelka of Brainerd is joining fellow Republicans for the introduction of a constitutional amendment that would give Minnesotans the opportunity to stop gay marriage.  Current state law already prevents marriage of same sex partners.

The freshman Senator says there are a variety of perspectives on this issue, and he simply wants to give people the chance to express their opinion at the polls.
The proposed constitutional amendment would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman in Minnesota.

Governor Dayton opposes the legislation, but cannot prevent the legislature from putting the question on a state-wide ballot.

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Cravaack Under Fire

(AP)  In a little over 12 months, the 2012 political season will be getting into high gear. 

In Duluth, the fire storm of political ads has already begun.  The airwaves are being flooded with ads criticising and supporting freshman Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack for his vote on the Republican budget plan.

One ad paid for by a group backed by labor Unions says Cravaack's voted to end Medicare.  A conservative group countered the ads with some of their own in support of the freshman.

The Republican plan would convert Medicare to a voucher system for those who are now under 55 years of age.

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