Mr. Dahle Goes to St. Paul


Archive for September, 2008

Service to Mankind

September 28, 2008 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Education, Health Care, Rice County No Comments →

The neighbor girl brought her new boyfriend home to meet her parents and they were horrified by his greasy hair, tattoos, dirty language, and air of hostility. As he left, the mother said, “Dear, he doesn’t seem like a very nice person.” And the daughter said, “Mother, if he wasn’t a nice person, why would he be doing 500 hours of community service?”

This past Saturday I addressed the statewide Fall Conference of the Sertoma Club at the Academy for the Deaf in Faribault. Sertoma stands for Service to Mankind. They sponsor a different type of community service: community projects to promote freedom and democracy, to assist youth with hearing loss, and a fill a variety of other local community needs.

The idea that a service organization promotes freedom and democracy is especially important to me. As a Civics teacher I promote civic responsibility with my students. We talk about the important qualities of a citizen essential in any democracy:

a responsible family member
Respects and obeys laws
Respects rights and property of others
loyal to the nation and proud of it
Uses natural resources wisely
Stays informed on important issues
Takes an active part in government
Believes in equal opportunity for all
respects individual differences and ways of life different from their own.
Takes part in and improves the life of their community
If there were more service organizations like Sertoma, there would be less of a need for the government to take up social issues of poverty, welfare, health and human service shortfalls.

The Sertomans also support hearing health and assist students with hearing loss by making their dream of an education a reality. They support advanced education to improve the lives of people with communicative disorders and support professionals through education grants so they may help those in need.

Local service clubs attract the very best of our citizens. Through clubs like the Lions, Jaycees, Rotary, Sertoma, and others, there are so many opportunities to better our communities and impact lives. Thanks for the Saturday, Sertoma! Thanks for believing in citizenship, and the ideals of democracy and freedom we cherish.

Cannon Valley Uniserv Valley Rally

September 22, 2008 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Event No Comments →

Senator Dahle will speak between 5:30 and 5:55 PM at the Cannon Valley UniServ fall workshop for area members.   The event will be held at the Middle School in Faribault.

Region 9 Development Commission Meeting

September 22, 2008 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Event No Comments →

Region 9 Development Commission

Meet with Reggie Edwards and Ronda Allis, Executive Director and Community Development Director of Region 9 Development Commission to discuss supporting legislation to increase development planning and technical assistance to R9.

Mill Towns Trail

September 11, 2008 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Economy, Environment, Rice County, Transportation 1 Comment →

The Friends of the Mill Towns Trail are excited about projects that may come to fruition by this time next year. I attended a meeting last night in Dundas with some of the Trails faithful describing what’s next for the trail.

There are 3 projects on the horizon. A bridge will be erected across the Cannon River in Northfield near Walgreen’s connecting to an underpass of Hwy 3. Some additional trail will be built west of Cannon Falls and another bridge will be built in Faribault which will include underpass access for both Hwys. 21 and Hwy 3 north of town. This is exciting stuff for trail enthusiasts. They have worked tirelessly to raise money to complete a trail providing the missing link between Mankato and Red Wing.

Money has come from several sources. The Northfield Bike tour this past weekend, as part of the Defeat of Jesse James Day celebration, netted nearly $16,000, two thirds of which will go to the Mill Towns trail.   Over 1300 riders took part.  Hats off to the Northfield Rotary club for organizing the event and for their generous donations over the years to the trail group. Local initiatives and cooperation are very effective in leveraging federal dollars and grant money. The trail received a federal grant several years ago. State money from the capital bonding bill brought in about $650,000 from the last session. And the DNR, an advocate for completion of the trail, has recently come through with lottery money for the trail.

There is still much to be done. Accessing right of ways, purchasing abandoned rail, completing trail heads and facilities, and maintaining existing trail is costly and involves long term commitment. The economic and recreational benefits for towns like Dundas and Northfield are worth the effort. We should all get behind these types of partnerships.

For more info about the trail:

School Year Off and Running!

September 02, 2008 By: Kevin Dahle Category: Education No Comments →

Across Minnesota today, the school day began with excitement and optimism. Students and teachers were in good spirits as they set their sights on another school year. I also settled into my classroom, this, my 25th year of teaching, business as usual. However, my perspective has changed. While I look at my own classrooms and the climate around me, I am aware of a much bigger challenge we face as a State. The next legislative session will face the task of producing an education funding bill for the next two years during a time of economic uncertainty. And many school districts will look to the legislature to shore up some real funding issues that have surfaced over the past 5-8 years.

  • Reliability Schools want a funding formula that is predictable. Districts have to prepare budgets years in advance. Declining enrollment, voter approved levies (or not), and unfunded mandates put serious strain on a district’s resources
  • Stability While a district’s revenue source should be reliable, it should also be stable over time. Long range planning is essential for a district to meet its educational goals and its capital needs.
  • Equity There has been a lot of discussion around the state about the funding inequity between metro and out-state schools. This is one part of the funding formula that needs serious scrutiny. We cannot have an education culture of haves and have-nots. Our students and staff need every resource available and an equal opportunity to tap into those resources.

In a few weeks I will be attending an E-12 Finance Committee retreat to take a serious look at the funding formula for our schools. While the Legislature will not officially tackle this issue until January, we are doing the legwork now to make sure we hit the ground running in 2009.

In the meantime I look forward to teaching Civics to a new batch of eager 9th grade students. And this semester, I may spend an extra few days on state and local government. I seem to have some new insight on the topic, even after 24 years.