Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 12.05.2013

December 4, 2013

Today: – Mark and Sara Hewitt, Farming Today (Prichard)

Birthdays: Rodolfo Ramirez (12/4), Jim Pokorney (12/7)

Next Week: Rodolfo, Exchange Student Presentation (O’Neill)

Last Week:

David Bly, House Representative for District 20B, said the challenge of our times is to figure out how we pay for the government we need and want. We’ve been avoiding that question for the past 10 years, he said.

In his legislative update, he pointed with pride to last session’s balanced budget, one that was balanced “honestly,” he said, no budgetary shifts, no borrowing and no accounting gimmicks. Of course, the “honest” part of that exercise required enacting some taxes to make it all work. There’s been pushback on some of them, the warehouse tax for one. David said the legislature would revisit a select few next session.

Last year’s legislature also made significant investments in public education. Funds were committed to support early education, all-day kindergarten and class size reduction, and to address the rising costs of post-secondary education. The legislature also is accelerating the pay back of funds the state previously borrowed from school districts to balance the budget. Schools should be made whole by 2014, he said.

David said there is growing support in St. Paul for renewable energy, for addressing concerns about Minnesota’s waterways and aquifers and for dealing with the growing economic inequality in our society. He said the minimum wage needs to be raised.

The passage of the same-sex marriage bill was a historic civil rights issue, David said, one that needed to be addressed.

Back to education, David said recent research suggests that our emphasis on standardized testing has been counter-productive. It has been costly and inhibited both classroom creativity and hands-on learning. He is working on legislation that will bring schools and business together to create the world’s best workforce.

Public support of the new Vikings stadium is a many-layered issue, he said. Some see it as corporate welfare, others as a catalyst for economic development. He said had he been in the legislature when it was debated, he would have supported its passage, given the project’s prospect of creating jobs in a tough economic environment.

Last Week’s Guests: Our exchange students, Yoshino, Gunho, Rodolfo and Lucas, Leah Rich (Rich), Kathy Ness (J. Larson).

Scholarship Enhancement: James Schlichting

Announcements:

A big thank you to the Turkey Trot Committee and all who volunteered their Thanksgiving morning to the event. Preliminary reports suggest we had a record 1,050 participate in this year’s trot, a huge success. We’ll get the details at today’s meeting.

Club members have already contributed $1,500 to Philippine relief efforts. The club has thrown in another $500. If you still can contribute, contact Mark Abbott or treasurer David Wolf. The funds will go directly to Rotary clubs in the Philippines.

Coming Up:

Dec. 19 – Christopher Sawyer, President of College City Beverage (Taylor)

Dec. 26 – No meeting

Jan. 2 — No Meeting

Jan. 9 — Meeting