It was a privilege to participate in two important events this week, both taking place at Aitkin County’s Long Lake Conservation Camp (LLCC). The first was the annual gathering for BEACON, which stands for “Building Effective and Collaborative Organizational Networks.”
Over 80 individuals representing about 50 different government, non-profit and private sector community service groups spent the morning discussing the many issues and solutions to the challenges we face here in our region. This session provided an excellent opportunity to connect with the broad range of community services that are available.
Sometimes the toughest thing about solving a problem is simply connecting people with the right service that can provide the needed assistance. Services are available to assist individuals with health, income, mental illness, senior services, addiction, shelter, education and nutrition related issues. This event provided an excellent refresher on the portfolio of services that are available to those that need assistance. Well done to all involved!
Later that day the Aitkin Area Chamber and Aitkin County Growth hosted a legislative listening session also at LLCC. State Sen. Carrie Ruud, myself and staff from Congressman Pete Stauber, U.S. Sen. Klobuchar and U.S. Sen. Smith’s office participated in a panel discussion and then we took questions from the audience.
The discussion was far-ranging including questions on broadband, day care, permitting, Enbridge Line #3, substance abuse, housing, mental health treatment, job training, and natural resources based economic opportunities including forestry, mining and outdoor recreation.
This was an excellent opportunity to hear directly from our area businesses on issues they face as we continue to move our local and regional economy forward. Thank you for this great opportunity.
This week, we received news on the Enbridge Line #3 Project. The Court of Appeals recently struck down a host of legal challenges to the project and remanded the matter back to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, directing it to reopen the Environmental Impact Statement to include additional spill modeling pertaining to the Lake Superior Watershed.
On Tuesday the PUC voted to request the Minn. Department of Commerce to revise the modeling pertaining to the Lake Superior Watershed. The Department has 60 days to report back to the PUC. This action moves the environmental assessment portion of the project forward again and once completed should result in work starting on replacing the old line.