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House remembers region in bonding package

WORTHINGTON -- Before the Minnesota Legislature reconvened for 2006 and began taking up a bonding bill, Minnesota West Community and Technical College president Ron Wood wasn't ready to pronounce victory in the college's bid to gain necessary funds for repairs to the Pipestone campus.

But now, bolstered by the fact that the Legislature has increased the state bonding set-aside that Gov. Tim Pawlenty had earlier proposed, he's more confident that the money will ultimately be included in the final package.

"We're pretty sure we're getting $1.1 million or $1.5 million," Wood said Wednesday. "I'm not sure what the exact amount will be, depending upon conference (committees)."

Rep. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, announced Wednesday that several southwest Minnesota projects are included in the House Capital Investment bill -- including $1.15 million to Minnesota West-Pipestone for much-needed roof repairs.

Also included is the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System, which would receive $3.2 million in funding from the state. The Dementia Wander Area at the Luverne Veterans Home would receive $599,000 under the House plan, with $5 million going for bioscience development in rural Minnesota, $500,000 for Minnesota River floodwater retention and $500,000 for the Casey Jones Trail.

The House bill sets aside $949 million. Magnus said he is especially pleased with the set-aside for the Lewis and Clark project, which provides water service to more than 200,000 people in South Dakota, Iowa and southwest Minnesota.

"This is important, because the $3.2 million the House is allocating would fully cover Minnesota's share of the project," he said in a press release, adding that he's "hopeful" all of the projects affecting southwest Minnesota will be included in the final House and Senate cut.

As for Minnesota West's share of the pie for Pipestone repairs, Wood now believes it will survive intact -- like repairs to the Jackson campus survived previously.

"It's just like in Jackson during the last bonding bill -- they did take care of that," he said.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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