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Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. “People Helping People”



It appears that most of the news of late has been about Sequestration at the national level and about the state of Minnesota’s budget here at home. Needless to say, the gridlock in Washington, D.C. is clearly about politics and election cycle positioning. The sequestration is an imperfect way of initiating policy by our elected officials but it will, within sixty days or so, force the Congress and the Administration into some sort of “deal,” that looks like sausage, smells like rotten eggs, and does little to fix the problem. In Minnesota the budget forecast came out and it appears that our deficit is somewhat smaller than anticipated. Still, there is a real deficit that needs balancing and we need to remember that in order to keep our state government operating we have had to borrow from our schools, our trust funds and “rainy day fund.” All in all we have an unbalanced budget when you consider where we really need to be to move our state forward and to invest in our future. When I was very young (a long, long time ago) I played a game behind our house in the alley. We called it, Tin Can Alley, and the purpose was to hide and kick a can before the person guarding the can was able to catch us. It was fun, took up many hours of our summer nights and encouraged running, hiding, and enriching our neighborhood relationships. Today, the policy makers in Washington, D.C. and in St. Paul play the same “kick the can down the road,” game but do so by denting both the can and the relationships necessary to find common ground. Maybe it is because I am from the Midwest and see our country from the middle out rather than from the east coast or west coast to the middle. But, the fiscal and policy extremes that are played out by our policy makers seem to create polarized positions in order to find ways of winning “the game,” rather than defining the real goal of producing a better future for the next generation. To me the budget debates are about winners and losers rather than about a common direction for all of us. I believe we have ample ability to raise taxes for everyone but we should do so only when we have a plan in place to address the underlying problems with our budget – it is structurally imbalanced and can only come into balance when we get military spending and entitlements on realistic trajectories with our Gross National Product. So, you wonder, “What can we expect with the Sequestration and the State Budget.” Management at Tri-Valley has been planning for this event for many months. We have plans in place to make strategic cuts within the limits of our funding sources. We will keep our Mission in mind and make appropriate adjustments to program operations as needed to weather this storm as it unfolds over the next weeks and months. We do expect that services will be reduced or realigned. Staff will continue to meet goals, objectives and timelines but will experience some pinching of the tools they have to meet them. And, in the final analysis we will continue to provide opportunities and the quality of life in our area will improve. These March snow storms do little to brighten our outlook. If I can, let me just remind you of the great March storm of 1966. It started on March 1 and raged for three days. Nothing seemed to be moving for the entire blizzard. I was called to duty by the local fuel oil dealer in East Grand Forks – Dunlevy Oil. For three days I was the idiot who rolled in the snow to bring the heating oil into the homes of families who were running out of fuel. The snow was so deep that you couldn’t walk to the back of homes to find the “bung hole,” for the fuel oil. Instead, I would take the hose and rolled on top of the snow while dragging the hose behind me until I could get the nozzle into the spigot. Once inserted I would roll back to the truck let Mr. Stinar know that we were ready and he would pump the 200 gallons or so into an awaiting tank. That was a blizzard that will never be forgotten. From the 4th of March until about a week later we young toughs found ourselves on roofs shoveling the heavy loads of collected snow to the ground below. Never was there a better use of a good grain shovel. Let us hope we don’t see one like it again this year and that spring comes in with a quiet and slow thaw while we warm to our spring and summer ahead. I pray that you are warm, healthy and comfortable with family and friends. To paraphrase the Hasidic philosopher Martin Buber, “It is only in relationship with others that we become fully ourselves.”

In This Issue:

In This Issue:

* From My View- Report from CEO Dennis P. DeMers * Valley Housekeeping Provides Beneficial In-Home * Transportation Service & Maintenance Services and Peace of Mind * West Adventure Center Chili Cook-Off Results * Upcoming March Calendar Items

Transportation Service & Maintenance

(Tom Bray, Transportation Fleet Supervisor) It’s another cold and windy day in Northwestern Minnesota. The ridership for the year has increased nine percent. With the cold winter weather, it’s understood that ridership and demands for the buses will increase. As the drivers put more miles on and with the harsh weather, the buses need more service to keep them safe and dependable. At the shop we are always working to keep the buses in tip-top shape for the safety and security of all involved. Having so many routes and a high ridership T.H.E. Bus has to be ready to go. Sometimes there are some long days but knowing that everyone has a safe and dependable ride on T.H.E. Bus makes it all worthwhile. It is nice to hear about the numbers of rides a route had and knowing that they had a safe and dependable ride to get to their destination. Keeping up with the growing ridership is a fun challenge for all of us in transportation.

Valley Housekeeping Provides Beneficial In-Home Services and Peace of Mind A clean house can be a much happier place to live. However, if housekeeping becomes too much of a chore because of a hectic schedule, age, disability, etc. there is help out there to assist you with your needs. Did you know that Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. offers Valley Housekeeping in Clay, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau Counties. The Valley Housekeeping Program provides services to all citizens through a private pay rate. This option makes a great gift and peace of mind for families who have parents living in the service area but children who live far enough away to not be of assistance as needed. Tri-Valley also provides needed in-home services to senior citizens and handicapped individuals, making it possible for them to remain living in their own homes independently without the need for premature nursing home placements. Valley Housekeeping is dedicated to assisting clients in everyday household chores such as vacuuming, dusting, laundry, and light meal preparation as well as fall and spring cleaning. The benefits of having Valley Housekeeping assistance include enriched living conditions, better health, more personal time, lower stress levels, and knowing that a loved one will have assistance with tasks when needed. For more information on how the Valley Housekeeping Program can benefit you or a loved one or to become a housekeeper call 1-800-584-7020 or 218-281-5832 or visit

Upcoming March Calendar Items:

* March 1- Family Voice and Choice Steering Committee Meeting 9 am * March 4- Region V Head Start/ Early Head Start Policy Council 6:30 pm

* March 9- Norman County Parent Workshop 9 am * March 12- Twin Valley Parent Support Group 6:30 pm * March 12- Twin Valley Parent Leadership Training 6:30 pm * March 12- Tri-Valley Board of Directors Meeting 7 pm * March 14- Parent Further Webinar 12 pm ( * March 15- EGF Parent Support Group 6 pm * March 18- Mahnomen Parent Support Group 6:30 pm * March 18- Mahnomen Parent Leadership Training 6:30 pm * March 20- Fosston Parent Support Group 12 pm * March 25- March Musical Madness (Sponsored by CFSC) 6:30 pm For more information on these events visit

West Adventure Center in Hendrum, MN held its 3rd Annual Chili Cook Off. It was a big success with six chili entries and a wonderful turn out. The local judges had the difficult job of deciding the winner but ultimately Jessica Karstens took the top prize with Rita Olson finishing in second place and Angie Nelson finishing in third place. (L-R)- Angie Nelson, Jessica Karstens, Rita Olson.

This information is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities. Contact us at 1-800-5847020 or by calling the Telecommunication Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-627-3529. Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer/provider. EOE/M/F/D/V

Did You Know?... * You can receive more information on Tri-Valley’s programs and services by calling 218-281-5832 or 800-584-7020. * You can keep up with Tri-Valley news on the TVOC website at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TriValley_TVOC. * Everyone can receive the Tri-Valley Newsletter. If you know of anyone who would like a copy please have them contact Mitch Bakken at 218-281-5832 or

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. (TVOC) is a community action agency headquartered in Crookston, MN. It is our Mission to provide opportunities to individuals and communities in order to improve the quality of our lives. In existence since 1965, TVOC provides services in 84 counties in Minnesota and Northeast North Dakota. For more information on services offered by TVOC please call 218-281-5832 or 800-584-7020.

2013 FebruaryTri-Valley Newsletter  
2013 FebruaryTri-Valley Newsletter  

2013 February Tri-Valley Newsletter