ST. PAUL - The Minnesota House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee on Wednesday altered the way House members are paid for housing but Rep. Larry Howes said he's not certain it will save money.
Howes, a member of the rules committee, said members who live more than 50 miles from the Capitol previously were reimbursed for rent expenditures up to $1,200 a month, year-round.
With Wednesday's changes, starting in 2010, reimbursement will only be paid while the Legislature is in session with the exceptions of special sessions and the conducting of state business in off-session months.
Howes said that if the Legislature has to conduct multiple special sessions there might not be any savings to taxpayers.
"I'm not 100 percent sure it will (save money)," he said. "I think it's worth a try."
He voted for the change in housing reimbursement. He also voted in favor of decreasing the House members' stationery and postage allowances. The latter two proposals failed.
The rules committee's housing payment changes become temporary rules, Howes explained and likely will become part of the permanent rules package adopted by the House later in the session.
Give Kids a Smile returns to Aitkin
AITKIN - Dr. A.C. Swanstrom of Aitkin will once again participate in the Give Kids a Smile program this year. He and his staff will be volunteering their time to provide dental evaluations and treatment to children who otherwise can't afford it. They've expanded their available time into two days this year and hope this will increase the number of smiles they can improve.
The free program will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Feb. 6 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 7.
The American Dental Association sponsors this event every year by providing encouragement, organization and information to dentists across the country. Many dental suppliers donate supplies and equipment and volunteers include dentists, hygienists, assistants and front office staff, as well as members of the community who want to help.
If you know of a child who could benefit from this program, or if you or someone you know would like to participate in some way, call (218) 927-6374.
Tuition-free arts high school applications due Feb. 1
Applications for Minnesota's Arts High School are due Feb. 1.
Arts High School is a comprehensive, tuition-free public high school open to all Minnesota residents entering the 11th or 12th grade.
The Perpich Center for Arts Education will conduct information sessions for educators, students and parents interested in the school.
Sessions are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Jan. 24 at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, 6125 Olson Memorial Highway, Golden Valley.
Applications are due Feb. 1. Interested persons may call (763) 591-4710 or (800) 657-3515, or visit www.pcae.k12.mn.us for more information.
Chess team members wanted
Chess players of all ages and levels are welcome to join the Brainerd Warriors Chess Team. Instructor is Chris Hanson. Players will have time to develop strategies and scrimmage and will receive a team shirt. Tournament day will be announced at a later date. The club meets from school dismissal time until 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays on Jan. 20-29, Feb. 3-26, March 5-26 at the Forestview Middle School.
Cost is $50. For more information or to register, contact Brainerd Community Education at 454-6924.
Ward announces that grant is coming
Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, announced this week that the city of Brainerd has been awarded a grant in the amount of $199,000 from the Minnesota Investment Program Fund.
Ward said the money will be used to create critical new jobs in the area. The city will loan $199,000 to Wausau Paper and Printing to support its expansion. As a result of this loan, eight new jobs will be established in the next two years, according to Ward's statement.
Ward congratulated Brainerd on its efforts developing the proposal and noted the importance of creating new employment opportunities in this economy.
The grant Brainerd received is administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
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