Last week, I was able to escape St. Paul on Thursday evening and finished the week with a full day on Friday back home in our district.
I was able to broadcast in studio at KKIN for the weekly 7:30 a.m. Community Connection segment. Most of the time I have to call the station from St. Paul to provide the weekly radio update. That Community Connection segment is broadcast from 7:30 to 8 a.m. Fridays on KKIN FM 109.3/AM 930 and KFGI FM 101.5.
Shortly after the leaving the radio station on Friday morning, I joined Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Agency Deputy Commissioner Jason Metsa and staff during their visit to the Aitkin area. We started the day at City Hall with Mayor Tibbitts to discuss some infrastructure projects that are in the works that will involve some IRRRB funding.
We then toured of the River’s Edge Assisted Living Facility. Scott and Monica Duffney have repurposed the Aitkin National Guard Armory into a first-rate assisted living facility. As one who many years ago shot on the indoor small arms range in the Armory, what an amazing transformation into a warm, welcoming and comfortable residential facility.
IRRRB supported part of the package that helped make this wonderful facility possible. For lunch we stopped by the newly opened Block North Brew Pub and visited with Barb Carr and Jeanie Collins from Aitkin County Growth. Then the group was off to the Beanery Café for an informal listening session.
We finished the afternoon at American Peat Technology Plant at Kimberly. This operation continues to grow as the demand for their unique products have become a fundamental part of both our agriculture and environmental industries.
As for the first four days of last week, the House and Senate finished passing their versions of each of the major agency budget bills. There is quite a difference between the Senate and House bills. The Senate versions do not include the huge tax increases that are found in the governor’s proposed budget and the House budget bills.
House-Senate conference committees will now reconcile the differences as we move toward the final stages of passing the state’s next two year budget. I will address the details of the conference committees in another update very soon.