Saturday, November 29, 2008

Week of November 23, 2008

Sick and tired of unwanted phone books (or want more?): While I spent time knocking on doors this fall, constituents had just received a new phone book and many asked how to avoid getting them. I worked on legislation on this issue in 2008 to give consumers the option to "opt out" of getting a phonebook. Since Dex has created a solution to give consumers the option of controlling how many, if any, phone books you would like to receive, I thought I would like to know how to go about it.

Dex has developed an online web page which allows users to find out which directories they are currently receiving and alter what type and how many they would like to receive in the future. There is also a link to the phone numbers for other directory publishers.

Here are the steps required to alter the amount of directories you receive.

Step # 1 - Go to
Step # 2 - On right hand side of the screen, enter your zip code
Step #3 - Near bottom of the screen click “Proceed to select your Dex link”
Step #4 - Fill out information on right side of screen. Under “Available Directories in Your Area” make sure you’ve checked the number “0” next to each listed directory if you do not want to receive anymore phone books. (You can also order additional directories if you choose.

Dex has a toll-free number (1-866-547-5100) available for anyone who would rather change their phonebook service via telephone rather than use the Internet. Other publications include Yellow Book (800-YB-YELLOW) and Verizon (800-555-4833).

Visit to District Court in Anoka: One of my constituents is a district court judge in Anoka, and she invited me to observe the court system at the Tenth Judicial District on Tuesday, November 25th. During the morning, I sat through about a dozen probation violation hearings, three short trials where drivers were contesting their tickets, and a few felony hearings for drug violations. There were plenty of defendants who I think probably were scared straight because of their experience with the criminal justice system, and there were a few people who were never going to get their act together. Two years ago I had the opportunity to tour the Lino Lakes prison, and I plan to do a ride-along with some local law enforcement agency soon, so I'll have the complete picture!

Centennial Community Education: I met with staff from Centennial School District regarding community education initiatives, such as "educational, recreational, social, and cultural programs [that] include enrichment classes, outings, drivers education, swimming lessons, and more." I was particularly interested in the Adult Continuing Education program, which includes help with GED preparation among other opportunities. Statistics about who is going back for a GED were particularly enlightening.

Schedule: No committee or working group meetings during this short holiday week

Visitors: A Senator regarding paratransit issues; constituent dentist about dental licensing policy; Centennial School District community education staff regarding their programs

Constituent contacts: Lino Lakes resident supporting Rule of 90 teacher pension legislation; two constituents reporting that pollsters called them asking about why they voted the way they did for the 53A race earlier this month; North Oaks resident reacting to story about the Fergus Falls school superintendent recruiting Chinese students; Shoreview resident about upcoming reconstruction of Highway 49 through Shoreview; Shoreview resident about the hazards of buying gift cards for retailers who are entering bankruptcy or who are closing for good; Shoreview resident supporting Wine with Dinner legislation to allow wine sales in grocery stores; Shoreview resident asking if I am a member of ISAIAH and whether I endorse its views (see link to organization on the right); Shoreview resident supportive of Blaine airport runway extension; Lino Lakes resident seeking additional financial support for K-12 education; Circle Pines resident supporting legislation to increase recycling of cans and bottles