I'm writing in sympathy for the Brainerd boys' soccer program which must forfeit the games they won this year due to an ineligible player. There may have been occasions in the past when schools or coaches have recruited foreign students for certain sports. However, I think it is unfair that the MSHSL paint all exchange students who ask to come to a particular state or city with the same brush. Five years ago a foreign student came to my home, attended Pequot High School, participated in no sports, and had an enjoyable year. Upon his return to Brazil, he related his experience to his neighbor. Two years later the neighbor boy joined an exchange program asking to come to my house and attend the Pequot school. He decided to tryout for football. The MSHSL immediately notified the school he was ineligible to play varsity ball because he could have been recruited. Imagine the Pequot coach going to Brazil and recruiting a boy 5'3" tall, weighing 135 pounds, and had never had a football in his hands. When I contacted the MSHSL, I was told they didn't have time to review the case.
Instead of agreeing with the MSHSL, the schools and coaches should be pressing them to review this rule. Minnesota has open enrollment with students attending out of district schools for various reasons, perhaps even for athletic reasons. The double standard should be questioned. It's a lousy image to project to these foreign students and their families and unfair to the schools which want the students to enjoy all the benefits of attending a Minnesota school.
A leader in renewable energy
Minnesota remains a leader in renewable energy As I visit with constituents throughout the district, the No. 1 issue that is brought up is the rising energy costs. People are concerned about heating their homes, filling up their gas tanks and turning on their lights. I share your concerns, and as your state legislator, I am committed to addressing this issue.
As a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, I participated in a joint hearing last week with members of the Regulated Industries Committee to discuss proposed legislation for a Renewable Energy Standard (RES). This standard would mandate that 20 percent of the state's electrical power comes from renewable energy by the year 2020.
The standard would apply predominantly to wind, but would also include biomass from plant matter and animal waste, solar, small-scale hydro and municipal waste-to-energy.
Also last week, the new biodiesel mandate went into effect in Minnesota. This mandate will require diesel fuel sold in the state to be blended with 2 percent biodiesel, providing a significant boost to soybean farmers.
This new law has the potential to make Minnesota a leader in the Midwest, and throughout the country, when it comes to alternative fuels. Coupled with our new ethanol standard and, hopefully in the near future, with the proposed Renewable Energy Standard, these laws strengthen our commitment in this state to value-added agriculture and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.
As Minnesotans, we can be proud of our efforts to remain a world leader in renewable energy. We are working to protect our environment, create jobs and economic growth, and lower the cost of heating our homes and running our vehicles. Minnesota is on the way to being recognized as a center of the new energy market.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba
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