Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative Anna Wills

491 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809

Posted: Oct 4 2013 12:32PM
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News from Representative Wills 10-04-2013

Dear Friends,

Fall is officially here and I hope you are enjoying the crisp air and beautiful fall colors! It’s been another busy couple of weeks for me here in our community and I wanted to share a quick update with you:

Dakota Wood-Grinding Inc. Tour

Last Wednesday, September 25th, I took a tour of Dakota Wood-Grinding Inc. in Rosemount with owner John Guillemette. Dakota Wood-Grinding Inc. is the supplier of wood chips to the city of St. Paul that help to power the city's heating system. We spoke at length about the impact of the new commercial machinery repair tax that he now has to pay to fix the grinders every 2-3 months. The 1,050 pound horsepower engines easily cost about $900 to repair each time, which means he will have pay about $64 on top of that just for the new taxes. With multiple machines and frequent repairs, this hits John's business very hard.

It is very helpful for me to hear feedback from local businesses on how the decisions we make at the legislature impact them. I am hopeful that my colleagues and I will be able to work together next session to address the new repair tax that is negatively impacting businesses across the state, not just Dakota Wood-Grinding Inc.


Kindergarten Class Visit

On Tuesday, October 1st, I had the chance to visit Mary Snyder's full-day kindergarten class at Shannon Park Elementary in Rosemount to see first-hand what our amazing teachers do every day with our youngest learners.

It was great to watch Mrs. Snyder engage students using music, visuals, and technology. I enjoyed learning the songs and singing along with the children. Mrs. Snyder also showed me the assessments that allow her to track the progress of individual students and see which areas she needs to focus on in their instruction.

One way she can see where students are at in their reading skills is by letting the students choose their own books to read from a couple of different skill levels. It was a wonderful experience to sit with the children and listen to them read their books out loud to me. To learn more about Shannon Park Elementary and all of the great work that they do, please visit: http://www.district196.org/sp/

Minnesota Zoo Educational Opportunities

On Wednesday, October 2nd, I met with Beth Burns, Chief External Relations Officer with the Minnesota Zoo, to talk about the Zoo’s work to engage students in our community and how trips to the Zoo can complement lessons being taught in the classroom.

As a member of the Education Finance and Policy committees, it was helpful for me to hear how the Zoo is actively working to stay current with the curriculum being taught in our local schools so that students get a supplemental experience at the Zoo to what they are already learning in school. To learn more about the Zoo's educational opportunities, please visit: http://www.mnzoo.com/education/education.asp

Falcon Ridge Middle School Visit

Yesterday, October 3rd, I stopped by Falcon Ridge Middle School to talk with Principal Noel Mehus and tour the school. Principal Mehus told me about how the teachers are sharing best practices so that students receive the best education possible.

We also discussed how the State Legislature can work together with local school districts to promote bully prevention and safety improvements at schools, but Principal Mehus also pointed out his concern that if the state is too prescriptive it can be an unrealistic expectation and burden for schools to implement.

Communication and collaboration while ensuring a level of flexibility for local school districts are key aspects to this relationship between the state and the schools. As Principal Mehus showed me around the classrooms, I had the opportunity to meet several staff and students and answer students' questions about my job as a legislator.

I was so impressed by the students at Falcon Ridge; they are very focused and engaged in their studies and that is sure to pay off for them in the future. To learn more about Falcon Ridge Middle School, visit: http://www.district196.org/frms/

Fraud Alert

I received this notice from the State of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that I wanted to pass along. There have been reports recently of criminals calling citizens seeking payment for an overdue utility bill. Scammers are using a process known as “spoofing” to make the Caller ID appear as if it is coming from the Utility Company, threatening that their electricity or gas will be discontinued unless they make an immediate payment. If you have been a victim of this activity, or have received a call of this nature, you can contact The Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs Office can be reach in the metropolitan area at 651-296-0406, toll free at 1-800-657-3782 or by email at consumer.puc@state.mn.us. You can read the entire alert from the PUC here: http://bit.ly/GBgw4t.

I encourage you to alert your friends and neighbors, particularly if they are elderly, about this scam. Criminals often target our most vulnerable citizens, and increased awareness can help put a stop to this activity.

As always, please don’t hesitate if you are interested in scheduling a coffee meeting in Rosemount, Apple Valley or at my office in St. Paul. You can reach my office via email at rep.anna.wills@house.mn or by phone at 651-296-4306. My door is always open, and I welcome and value your input, comments and questions. 

Have a great weekend,


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