What's New In The Community: May 2014
Thursday, May 01 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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ain dah yung center honored by aauw.jpg

AAUW Honors Ayn Dah Yung Center
(Photo by Verylnn Agrimonti)

Deb Foster, executive director of Ain Dah Yung Center, accepted a generous donation from AAUW (American Association of University Women) president, Mary Chorewyez and president-elect, Carol Oeltjenbruns on April 8 at 990 Summit Avenue in St. Paul. Ain Dah Yung (Our Home) Center provides a healing place within the community for American Indian youth – all ethnicities – and families to thrive in safety and wholeness.

flanagan named co-chair of cradle-to-k cabinet.jpgFlanagan named Co-Chair of Cradle-to-K Cabinet 

In her State of the City Address at the Minneapolis American Indian Center on April 24, Mayor Betsy Hodges announced that Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation citizen and Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota executive director, would co-chair Hodges' Cradle-To-K Initiative.

According to Hodges, research shows that disparities can be prevented by effective early-childhood interventions. Along with Way to Grow executive director Carolyn Smallwood, the initiative aims to align work to to maximize a child's readiness for early education.

Citing the link between low Kindergarten readiness rates and high school graduation rates for Minneapolis students, Hodges formed her Cradle-To-K program in her mayoral campaign in August of last year.

The effort identified components that it will work to support, including the expansion of the Healthy Start program, which serves low-income and vulnerable families with the skills and resources to care for pregnant mothers and infants in the city; expand access to stable, high quality, child-centered childcare; and serve as the hub for stakeholders, ensuring no early childhood programming or coverage gaps and facilitate resource-sharing.

Susan Klapel named environmental commissioner for Mille Lacs Band

ONAMIA, Minn. – The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe announced April 15 that Susan Klapel was appointed as the new commissioner of Natural Resources and Environment.

Her responsibilities cover a wide range of issues, including overseeing tribal conservation efforts and managing the band’s hunting, fishing and harvesting activities.

As commissioner, Klapel will oversee the staff of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, including Mille Lacs Band conservation officers and tribal biologists. She will also work collaboratively with the state of Minnesota DNR and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

“Susan will be a strong addition to the Mille Lacs Band government,” Melanie Benjamin, chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band said. “She brings experience in the environment and law enforcement as well as a commitment to preserving and protecting our natural resources for future generations.”

Previously, Klapel has served as an investigator for the Mille Lacs Band Gaming Regulatory Authority as well as a police officer and conservation officer with the Mille Lacs Band. She is also a member of the Woodlands Bank Board of Directors.


Thunder Rocketry team wins launch competition

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The Thunder Rocketry Club Team representing Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College soared to a first place finish in the Altitude Prediction Competition at the fifth annual First Nations Tribal Rocket Launch Competition held April 3-5 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This year’s win by the Thunder Rocketry Team was the team’s highest finish in four years of participation. The team’s previous best finish was third place in 2013. Team members traveling to Milwaukee included students Gordon Loree and Cheryl Foss, both of Cloquet, Minn. and club advisor Steve Highland.

“We had two rockets, both launched and landed successfully,” Loree said. “It was great to see everyone so excited about the successful launch and landing of the rockets they designed. This is better than playing a video game because we actually designed, built and flew real rockets.”

The team captured first place in the Altitude Prediction Competition for tribal college teams, estimating 3,000 feet and then flying their winning rocket to 3,027 feet for a margin less than 1 percent, which was the best of all teams entered in the competition.

Team members didn’t expect to win the competition as their primary goal was to have a successful launch and gather data about the rockets. Each rocket was over six feet in length, one with a six-inch diameter and one with a four-inch diameter and weighed about 16 pounds.

The rockets carried on-board altimeters, electronics, an engine and parachute. The team plans future enhancements to the rockets, including external decorations, additional on-board electronics, and a camera to document the flight and return trip to the ground. “We thought that it might fly higher and that we would need to engineer ways to slow it down,” Loree said. “It was strictly a test flight but everything worked out just right. Since the goal of the regional competition is to reach three thousand feet, we are not going to tinker much with the design of the rocket.”

The Thunder Rocketry Club attributes some of their near flawless success to the use of a program called ROCKSIM, which aided them in design through simulated launches and flights under different conditions. Teams were expected to construct a rocket that would launch, fly straight, deploy a parachute and safely float back to the ground with little to no damage.

Part of the competition included a team presentation about how they designed and built the rockets. Participants were required to answer technical questions from contest organizers and members of competing teams. “Students learn how to apply math, sequencing of events, attention to detail, construction techniques, safety, passing inspection, and problem-solving on the fly,” Highland said. “These are not children’s rockets, they are powerful and can fly up to 21,000 feet in competitions where top altitudes are allowed. Launches require FAA approval and rockets must pass a strict inspection and numerous safety checks.”

The contest was sponsored by the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium and was hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The Thunder Rocketry Club is open to anyone interested and welcomes both students and community members to join them as they prepare for and participate in future launches. Previous student participants have gone on to NASA summer internships and related career areas such as physics, engineering, and computer programming. For more information about the Thunder Rocketry Club Team and future launch competitions, contact club advisor Steve Highland via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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