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PR-B Boy Scouts visit State Capitol, meet with Rep. Layman

Seven Boy Scouts and three Scout leaders from Pine River-Backus Troop 73 made a day trip to the Twin Cities on Saturday, March 18. The first stop of the day was a tour of the newly restored Minnesota State Capitol building where they were struck ...

Pine River-Backus Scout Troop 73 meets with its state representative on the steps near the State Capitol rotunda. Front: Darren Nelson, Rep. Sandy Layman, Logan Wipper, Matthew Melberg. Middle row: Marshall , Corbin Knapp, Malachi Wipper, Cody Deplazes. Back row: Darren Deplazes, Asst. Scoutmaster, Clyde Oliver Asst. Scoutmaster. Not Pictured: Denton Newman Jr., Scoutmaster.
Pine River-Backus Scout Troop 73 meets with its state representative on the steps near the State Capitol rotunda. Front: Darren Nelson, Rep. Sandy Layman, Logan Wipper, Matthew Melberg. Middle row: Marshall , Corbin Knapp, Malachi Wipper, Cody Deplazes. Back row: Darren Deplazes, Asst. Scoutmaster, Clyde Oliver Asst. Scoutmaster. Not Pictured: Denton Newman Jr., Scoutmaster.

Seven Boy Scouts and three Scout leaders from Pine River-Backus Troop 73 made a day trip to the Twin Cities on Saturday, March 18.

The first stop of the day was a tour of the newly restored Minnesota State Capitol building where they were struck by the difference since their last visit (two years ago), when the Capitol building was covered with scaffolding, plywood and plastic while undergoing restoration.

The State Capitol looks brand new again. The water stains on the ceilings are gone. The marble, granite and wood have been cleaned and polished. The colors of the interior mural paintings, stencil work and original wall paint colors are much more vibrant than previously (when they were under 100 years of grime and cigarette smoke).

Outside, the exterior marble, limestone and gold has been cleaned and now gleams against the blue Minnesota sky on a sunny day.

The Scouts met in the Capitol with their area's state representative, Sandy Layman, R-Cohasset, and were treated to an explanation of the legislative process along with a lengthy question and answer period where Layman answered numerous questions from the Scouts, including some on her experiences as a newly elected representative and on a few pieces of current and proposed legislation this session.

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In an informal hand poll after a question regarding cell phone use in cars, Layman asked the Scouts if cell phone use should be limited to hands-free only, and the Scouts unanimously signaled yes.

In response to one question, Layman told the Scouts they were the very first Boy Scout Troop she has met with since being elected. Later that day the representative posted a photo taken with the Scouts from Troop 73 on her Facebook page with the accompanying message: "Saturday at the Capitol with Pine River/Backus Boy Scouts, Troop 73. Smart kids, great questions. Our future leaders!"

After the State Capitol tour the Scouts walked to the Minnesota History Center and visited four of the current museum exhibits - "The Greatest Generation," Then, Now, Wow," "Grainland" and "Weather Permitting."

On the way back home the group stopped at Cabela's in Rogers to view the aquarium and big game exhibits and also tried their luck in the "Northwoods Shooting Gallery."

Troop 73's annual pancake breakfast fundraiser will be held April 9 (Palm Sunday) at the Pine River American Legion. The community is invited to come and meet all the scouts and ask them about Boy Scouts, which provides a learning and growing experience for ages 11-17.

For more information on all the Scouting opportunities in the area - Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturing - visit www.bsacmc.org/are-you-new .

Denton Newman Jr. is Scoutmaster for Troop 73.

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