It was great to see Senator Amy Klobuchar during her stop in Granite last Thursday afternoon. She was here to learn more about the Living at Home/ Block Nurse Program’s efforts to make the community more Alzheimer’s friendly and to hear about the organization’s work to keep senior citizens and disabled folks in their own homes, as long as possible.

The “Act on Alzheimer’s” effort is focused on exploring ways for our community to be better prepared to support those who care for patients who are in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease and also train the community to be more appropriately responsive to Alzheimer’s patients. It’s a wonderful calling that will prove valuable for helping families and the community itself. The once a month Memory Café that takes place at the Granite Falls Senior Center and the newly formed Memory Choir are examples of creative thinking and helpful action.

The good Senator jotted down many notes and seemed deeply interested in this topic that is touching more and more families, all over the country, no matter what political stripe they may be. This is a program that provides an attractive and innovative solution to a community-wide challenge and uses dedicated volunteers to accomplish their goals. You could tell that she was mightily impressed with those efforts.

Senator Klobuchar also took a few minutes to talk about what all is happening in Washington these days and how she is trying to work across the aisle with Senate colleagues on a whole host of human service and infrastructure issues.

There are only 100 U.S. Senators in the country and each of them have great sway over federal policy and spending priorities. Having her ear for an hour or so while she visits our community is incredibly valuable. She has made several stops here during her time in the Senate and will be back again. She is planning her campaign for the election later this year and will be all over Minnesota during that campaign. She seems like a slam dunk to get reelected.

We drove into the Twin Cities on Saturday to hear the legendary blues guitar great Buddy Guy at Mystic Lake Casino, just south of the boom town of Shakopee. Seeing and hearing some great music from the always entertaining and lively guitarist and his band made for a fun evening. He has boundless energy and seems 10 to 15 years younger than his 81 years. He also knows how to work the crowd and share stories about playing music with so many other legendary musicians.

The evening started off on a fun note when we connected with Granite folks Craig and Sheryl Opdahl and Mike and Gail Aus. Craig also has a passion for blues music and was early at the on-line ticket sale, landing front row seats. Mike and Gail got tickets for their son Seth and daughter-in-law Deena for Christmas and we were able to find them all before the show and chat it up a bit.

We’ve never spent any amount of time at Mystic Lake Casino but we were was impressed with their large spacious performance theater. The gaming hall is huge, too and so were the crowds on Saturday night. I bought some refreshments while we were there but spent exactly zero on slot machines or other gambling. The music was our draw and spotting four other folks from back home in a crowd of 2,000 added some more fun to the evening, despite the chilly air outside. 

The call came a bit into the game, so I missed seeing the Air Force planes flying over Citi-Field in Queens, New York City on New Year’s Day. It was still fun to hear that Granite native Emily (Benson) Breck’s husband Tony was one of the pilots that did the fly-over during the National Anthem at the start of the NHL”s annual New Year’s Day outdoor game, this year between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres.

I suppose if we had seen the fly-over we wouldn’t have known it was him but it was nice to get the call and hear about the local connection. After living in Washington State, Washington D.C. Idaho and other places, Emily and Tony and their three kids are stationed in North Carolina for now but his Air Force career will likely take them other places in the world. It was an honor for him to do that fly-over on national television.