Granite Falls hosted the statewide meeting of the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Partnerships this past week. The group began at Memorial Park with a planned picnic, music and boat rides on the river. Patrick Moore presented Minnesota River history and Audrey Arner introduced the "water blessing event." However, the weather moved most of the evening into the Legion where the group enjoyed a dinner and entertainment by Jerry Ostensoe. The main event on Wednesday at the American Legion started with a welcome by Granite Falls Mayor, Dave Smiglewski as well as Mary Gillespie, Chamber Director and David Fluegel, head of the Southwest division. Lunch featured local foods and was catered by Donna Grieger, the fantastic cook at the Legion. A lunchtime visit to the Farmer's Market right outside the Legion was included in the schedule.

Every year, this meeting is in a different section of the state and features the projects the partnership has been working on in that area. The southwest area had a variety of interesting projects including Fairmont Market Square design, Clean Energy Projects, Sustainable Agriculture Case Study Research and website, Deep Winter Greenhouses and explanation of how the Center for Small Towns in Morris operates.

Milan's Micronesian population was the focus of a housing project and the topic of a project by Vincente Diaz, a Filipino-Phnpeian scholar and writer from Guam. He explained the long history of navigation by Micronesian people using outrigger canoes. The project is to celebrate the Micronesian population in Milan using this history of the outriggers with the addition of Viking and Native American canoes on the Minnesota River.