The Legislature is on Easter/Passover break this week. It’s a great opportunity to spend some time back in the district. This past Saturday I was privileged to attend the Pine Tree District Volunteer and Eagle Scouts Recognition Dinner.
A total of 16 scouts were recognized from the region as having attained the qualification of Eagle Scout. Those from our immediate area included Alan Gruhlke Troop 52, Zach Cory Troop 52, Hunter Miller Troop 52, Griffin Young Troop 43, Trey Soderman Troop 43 and Zachary Lockwood Troop 45.
Congratulations to these impressive young men on attaining a major achievement that will stand them in good stead as they move forward as young leaders within our community. Also, congratulations to the many adult volunteer scout leaders that work so hard to provide both our young men and women this opportunity to learn the way of the Scout and develop into young leaders.
This week was also an opportunity to meet for coffee with Rep. Marvin Bruneau, who represents District 2 of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. It was time well spent to compare notes on how we can continue to work together to improve the opportunities for our communities here in rural Minnesota.
One of the items I hope will move forward is a federal Community Connect Broadband Grant Application that Consolidated Telecommunication Company and the Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative have jointly applied for. The application requests matching funds for a project to improve broad band services in the area immediately south of McGregor in the East Lake Community area. I provided a letter of support for the project. Hopefully it won’t take to long for a decision to be made on that project.
Both rural Aitkin and Crow Wing counties have significant areas with little or no effective broad band coverage. We are making progress, but not as fast I would like. This year’s state budget proposal includes significant funding to continue the state’s broad band program. We need to make sure we get that proposal to the governor’s desk for signature. The state broadband program, like the federal program, specifically targets unserved and underserved areas of the state of which we in Aitkin and Crow Wing are part of.
As many of us pause on Good Friday, please accept Linda and my best wishes to those families that celebrate the Easter and Passover season.