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49er Mike Gray: A jack-of-all-trades

49er Mike Gray at Resurrection Cemetery

Brother Mike Gray of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 does a lot of everything at Resurrection Cemetery. Or as he puts it, “I’m a jack-of-all-trades here.”

A member of the staff of The Catholic Cemeteries since 2005, Gray oversees the seasonal field staff in the maintenance of cemetery grounds and assorted field duties. He’s a skilled mechanic who keeps the cemetery equipment serviced and operational. And of course, he handles the opening and closing of graves.

While his day-to-day work is largely physical, Gray sees it as much more.

“When I started this job I began meeting the people we serve and it became clear that this is a ministry,” Gray said.  “We are here with people at times of great sorrow and sadness, and I realized the importance of our presence.”

The preparation of a grave for burial — locating the site, digging the space, putting up the tent, and related tasks — is sacred work, Gray says.

“I think of each burial as if it were for my mother or father, because I know the person to be buried is loved by many. This is a very fulfilling job.”

Whether standing by at the burial services or doing dauily fieldwork, Gray has come to know many families at Resurrection.

Gray’s spare time is filled with family, faith, and powerlifting – he can bench-press more than 400 pounds!

Several years ago, after his pastor was diagnosed with cancer, Gray helped start a competitive powerlifting benefit, called Relentless, which drew weightlifters from all across the country.  The event was such a success that it is now held annually and supports HopeKids, which offers support to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“Mike gives a lot of himself to his job and his community. He is a real asset to our team at Resurrection,” said John Cherek, Director of The Catholic Cemeteries.

Glen Johnson says Local 49 is pleased Vikings stadium deal reached.

Improving the regional business climate fosters shared economic prosperity.

Minnesotans will benefit quickly from the work on this Vikings stadium project just as they would by working everything from highways and light rail transit projects to civic centers and educational facilities as proposed by Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal. Productive labor by workers in Minnesota will not only get money circulating – stimulating demand, growth and more hiring within our communities – but also set the stage for the future while helping the state budget by increasing near-term revenue without raising taxes, just by putting more Minnesotans to work.

Keeping the team here in Minnesota is a win for the players and the local economy. Thousands are employed working in the stadium, and we’re not only keeping their jobs in the midwest, Read the rest of this entry

MN State Sen. Jeremy Miller of Winona gets it

Jeremy Miller on the way legislators should work

In advance of the redistricting deadline yesterday, Minnesota State Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) was described by the Winona Daily news as “increasingly reluctant to support constitutional amendments” lately favored by MN’s GOP legislative majority.

Miller seems to prefer cooperation and negotiation to brinksmanship, which shows a respect for both the legislative process and hard-working families of Minnesota who mostly find the partisan posturing and political maneuvering in St. Paul isn’t creating jobs quickly, let alone helping friends and neighbors thrive in any visible way.

“My goal this session is jobs, the economy, and making our government more effective and efficient. I’m convinced we can do that in a bipartisan way.”
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Your Voice, Your Vote, American Made Clothing

The All American Clothing Company of Arcanum, Ohio believes in supporting American workers and their families by keeping all of their manufacturing in the USA. They specialize in USA made clothes, jeans and shirts, but they’re growing…

Follow the link to vote for the new items you would like the All American Clothing company to add to their line: Your Voice, Your Vote, Right Now..

Sample Middle Class Caucus Resolution

Suitable for either the MN GOP or the DFL.

First, you really can skip the “whereas” bits if you want to, all that’s necessary for a resolution is a sentence stating what you want the party to do.  Second, this doesn’t need to be a law, let alone a Constitutional Amendment to have a lot of impact.  The Constitution is a framework for how we conduct the business of the state, but the specific rules for Minnesota have plenty of impact as regular laws, and meanwhile this is about trying to get your party to adopt a principle that will help restore the middle-class Read the rest of this entry

Rep. John Kline (MN-2) not interested in job creation

John Kline, job killerKline flatly opposed creating jobs by repairing dangerous bridges and infrastructure

When asked by a constituent about a jobs bill during a Town Hall meeting on Monday, January 30, 2012 in Shakopee, MN, U.S. House Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline said he s didn’t agree with the President about jobs bills.

Rod Hunter of Red Wing, Minnesota, drew applause from much of the audience when he asked Kline to support an extension of unemployment insurance and support a jobs bill to get people back to work. “With millions of people unemployed still and their benefits going to run out at the end of February will you be in favor of extending them unemployment benefits for the rest of the year with no strings attached? Will you going to support a jobs bill to help people get back [to work]? Our infrastructure’s decapitated and with our highways and bridges there is a lot of work to be done.”

Representative Kline flatly opposed creating jobs by repairing dangerous bridges and infrastructure, preferring partisan posturing during an election year over the sort of leadership he could be showing in DC on behalf of his constituents, having attained influential position as a Committee Chair in the 2010 elections. Read the rest of this entry

Unanimous Senate Approves Klobuchar’s “St. Croix River Crossing Authorization Act”

Stillwater Lift BridgeSenate passes Amy Klobuchar’s Stillwater bridge bill unanimously.

Of course, it’s not a done deal, especially with the lingering opposition from Representatives McCollum & Ellison, but think about that word “unanimous.” When was the last time anything passed either house of Congress without a single dissenting vote?

Senator Klobuchar’s success winning not just bi-partisan support but a unanimous vote to move the “St. Croix River Crossing Authorization Act” forward signals two key facts:
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