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


FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER The time has come for me to write my first article for the newsletter. I expect to use this space to update Tri-Valley staff and stakeholders about things I feel are important to share. I am not the writer Denny is so you may not be entertained but you should feel informed. On the third try (due to bad weather) I was able to get out to the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA) conference on Saturday, February 22nd. I missed the association meetings and the opportunity to network with my new peers but was able to make it in time for the conference itself. Upon arriving at the conference I was greeted with the news that Maria Gonzalez, our Migrant and Seasonal Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council President, was elected Vice President of the NMSHSA Parent Affiliate. This is great news and I was given even better news when I was told that Maria was also selected to be an At-Large Member of the NMSHSA board. This means that Tri-Valley has a seat at the table when it comes to setting policy for the association. After having the chance to visit with Maria over the weekend I am convinced she will do a great job on the board and will represent Tri-Valley well. In addition to the opportunity to interact with officials from the Office of Head Start and gathering the information you expect to gather at a conference, a couple of momentous things occurred. The first momentous item was that Denny received the Plate of Bounty award. This is the highest honor bestowed by NMSHSA and is not given out lightly. Congratulations Denny! The second item of note was a keynote address delivered by Nefertiti Bruce. The talk was about attitude, taking care of yourself, focusing on the positives, etc. I was fired up during her speech thinking “Man, I used to send out notes to staff about this when I first became Operations Officer”. Then I became rather bummed out when I thought “Man, I USED to send out notes to staff about this when I first became Operations Officer”. As the message is so important I will find ways to share it over time. Wipfli will be here the week of March 3rd to complete fieldwork for our 2013 audit. Please be responsive in answering requests for information and be patient if the folks in Fiscal seem a little preoccupied. The Minnesota State Legislature convened on February 25th. Of particular note to Tri-Valley in this bonding year is an appropriation for Energy Assistance and the Early Childhood facility bonding request that Denny has been working on. Speaking of Energy Assistance, I know that many wonderful things happen at Tri-Valley daily and many of our coworkers have extremely heavy workloads but I want to single out a particular group this month. The Community Assistance Program staff members have really shined in helping clients with Energy Assistance, especially in light of the propane shortage and attendant price hike. Clients in need of propane have been calling in to the office very distressed and the folks involved with Energy Assistance have done a great job in assisting propane customers while continuing to process the applications of clients with other fuel sources who also need our help. (CEO News & Happenings continued on next page)

In This Issue: * CEO News & Happenings * Possible Increase in Transportation Taxes * Upcoming Events in March *DeMers Plate of Bounty Award

In This Issue: * Did you Know? * EGF Snowball * Chamber Ambassador Visit * Gov. Dayton Expands Heating Assistance

(CEO News & Happenings continued) There

is one other group that I think deserve some recognition. The Wellness Committee continues to do a great job of reminding us to eat healthy, exercise, manage our stress and generally take care of ourselves. All of their work is voluntary and should be recognized. Thank you to Mary Johnson, Marcia Haglund, Ashley Peterson and Emily Karel for your efforts. I want to deliver one last note on the CEO transition. Even though the planned change happened ahead of schedule Denny is still employed by Tri-Valley through the end of September. He is here as a resource and I encourage all staff to utilize that resource as needed. Denny has been at Tri-Valley since Richard Nixon was President and has a wealth of knowledge spanning many areas related to our work. Don’t be shy in contacting him if you think he can help you in any way. That is all for this month. In the coming months I expect to share news about happenings in Transportation and Senior Programs. I will also be sharing information about the evolution of our corporate Management Team. If anyone has news to share for future newsletters please let me know. I am happy to help share pertinent information.

DFL Lawmakers Want to Increase Transportation Taxes By: Don Davis, Forum News Service

ST. PAUL -- Many northwest Minnesotans depend on volunteer bus drivers to get them around, a Crookston woman told a legislative committee hearing Monday, saying that her organization needs continued state support to keep the service operating.

Cindy Pic

"We want to provide service to everyone, from birth to death," Cynthia Pic of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council told legislators on House and Senate transportation funding committees, whose chairmen are looking at ways to raise taxes to give transportation and transit fiscal boosts. Like in large cities, many depend on Tri-Valley to get them to and from work at businesses such as electronics system manufacturer Digi-Key Corp. in Thief River Falls, she said. The transit system that serves seven counties is just a small part of the transportation picture that two key Democratic state legislators said demands that the state increase revenue to improve transportation. To begin to fix transportation funding woes they say plague Minnesota, Rep. Frank Hornstein and Sen. Scott Dibble, both of Minneapolis, plan to announce in a week a plan that apparently relies on adding a sales tax to motor vehicle fuel sales. Much like the existing "gas tax," their proposal would add a few pennies tax onto each gallon of fuel sold. Dibble said that he wants a major revenue increase to boost transportation this year. "I just don't want to put my toe in the water." Hornstein and Dibble refused to discuss details of their tax plan, which they said is not final. Rep. Michael Beard, R-Shakopee, said that it relies on a new fuel sales tax and many Republicans probably would not vote for any kind of tax increase. “There may be a couple of us,” Beard said. (Transportation continued on next page)

Beard said he could accept a nickel a gallon increase over five years, but nothing larger. (Transportation continued)

Politically, Beard added, a tax increase would be difficult for members of either party to support, given $2 billion in higher taxes approved last year. "I think it is pretty unrealistic for it to pass this year." House Speaker Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, recently questioned whether this is the year for voting in higher taxes. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he expects election-year politics to provide a roadblock to a tax increase. However, Dayton Press Secretary Matt Swenson said that the governor several times has said he would like to see transportation funding increased this legislative session, which begins Feb. 25. "Transportation challenges and projects don't go away, they just get more expensive," Hornstein said. Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle told lawmakers that fuel taxes are becoming a less important source of funds. He blamed higher fuel mileage and miles driven remaining static. Monday's new twist to transportation funding was state and federal officials agreeing that federal contributions to state funding needs likely will dry up later this year. Hornstein and Dibble used that as a reason to bring in more revenue soon. "I think we are going off the cliff," Dibble said. Federal funds make up 20 percent of the Minnesota Department of Transportation budget, Zelle said.

DeMers with Yasmina Vinci (Executive Director, National Head Start Association) DeMers Honored with Plate of Bounty Award from the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association Dennis P. DeMers, President of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. was honored with the 2014 Plate of Bounty Award on Monday, February 24. The award was bestowed on him by the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association at the 2014 Annual Conference Luncheon held in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The Plate of Bounty Award acknowledges an individual who have made significant contributions to migrant and seasonal farm worker families. Today, through DeMers’ work, Tri-Valley is the exclusive provider of Migrant & Seasonal Head Start/Early Head Start in Minnesota and North Dakota and Migrant Child Care in Minnesota. Due to continued success in its endeavors, the Minnesota Department of Education and the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction partnership with Tri-Valley to provide Migrant Education services to migrant children who are school aged and in need of services while providing added administrative, recruitment, training and health services to this population.

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.

Upcoming March Calendar Items: * March 8- Migrant and Seasonal Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council meeting. * March 11- Tri-Valley Board of Directors Meeting. * March 17- Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council meeting. * March 31- MNsure Open Enrollment Deadline

* 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. 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

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.

A Snow Ball Dance was held on Friday, January 31st at the EGF Family Service Center. The dance was selected by the parents for the Family Fun Activity. A committee of parents did all the planning which included a meal donated by Mama Maria's, DJ Ryan Kaste, door prizes received from area businesses and a photo booth in which all the families were able to have a family portrait done. Over 160 parents and children attend and everybody had a great time!

The Crookston Chamber Ambassadors made their way to Tri-Valley Opportunity Council to welcome Jason Carlson to his new role of CEO. (Pictured L/R- Lindsey Goering (Bremer Bank), Patty Hajostek (Aflac – Agent), Jason Carlson (CEO Tri-Valley), Donna Christianson (Greenberg Realty), Carrie Michalski (RiverView Health), and Ryan Palm (AgCountry Farm Credit Services).

Governor Dayton Expands Heating Assistance Program to Help More Minnesotans St. Paul- As Minnesota’s propane emergency continues – with heating fuel prices now three to four times their usual level – Governor Mark Dayton has taken executive action to expand eligibility for the state’s heating assistance program. That action, which was implemented this morning by the state’s Commissioner of Commerce, means an estimated 120,000 more Minnesota households will now qualify for assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Minnesota Department of Commerce estimates that because of this change, an additional 30,000 to 40,000 newly-eligible Minnesotans will apply for heating assistance this winter. The executive action announced by Governor Dayton today extends eligibility for heating assistance from 50 percent of the state median income (SMI) to 60 percent of SMI. Under these new income guidelines, households of four earning less than $52,370 per year, for example, will now be eligible for heating assistance. A household of two earning less than $35,612 per year would qualify. By expanding the LIHEAP program, Governor Dayton hopes to provide needed financial assistance for tens of thousands of Minnesota families who are now struggling to pay for the rising price of propane and other heating fuels. The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced that LIHEAP crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants who heat their homes with propane and heating oil. These increased allocations will apply to all Minnesota households now eligible for LIHEAP assistance under the executive action announced today. (Full release at pressreleasedetail.jsp?id=102-113909)

Profile for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.

Februarynewsletter 2014  

Tri-Valley February 2014 Newsletter

Februarynewsletter 2014  

Tri-Valley February 2014 Newsletter