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



This past weekend I was asked to prepare a presentation to an individual who is retiring as a staff member of the United States House of Representatives. Dr. Ruth J. Friedman is retiring after nearly twenty years working on early childhood education issues. I was honored to be asked to make the presentation and I take the responsibility very seriously. Amazingly, I hardly know the individual but our paths crossed many times regarding early childhood education issues over these many years mostly through electronic communications. And, this is the way relationships are developed and must be nurtured by those of us in a business that works within scarcity challenges. Dr. Friedman was probably the most important player in the reauthorization of Head Start in 2007 and was the architect of the Early Childhood Challenge grants. She worked for Rep. Georg Miller (D – California) and later became the Senior Education Policy Advisor for the House Education and Labor Committee. While debate was playing out in the halls of Congress and within the stakeholder community, Dr. Friedman had the daunting task of juggling disparate views about the outcome of the legislative process. There were, at any given time, over one hundred different versions of the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007. I can share that there were strong and bitter arguments as to whether the final version of the bill should move before the House and Senate. And, a presidential veto was readily available to destroy the outcome. The bill passed and became law in December of 2007. Dr. Friedman pulled it off. Still, there were few who were happy or satisfied with the final version of the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007. Some thought there were too many new rules and regulations. Other thought that there were too few. Some wanted more of the discretion to be with the states instead of the federal government. Some wanted less accountability but more direct service. Some wanted more health services and others training and technical assistance. Overall, I think it is fair to say, “Nobody was happy.” And that is the moral of the story! As we argue, compete, and fight - the end results are often times best when all sides get a little but no side gets most of what they want. This is true at home with our relationships as well as high stakes political maneuvering. So, this Friday I will make a presentation to Dr. Ruth J. Friedman for her many contributions to the children and families in America. But, behind my remarks will be the knowledge that she taught me a lesson that can be used by us all and throughout our lives – winning is not getting everything you wanted or needed but instead getting some of what you wanted or needed.

In This Issue:

In This Issue:

* From My View- Report from CEO Dennis P. DeMers * Governor Proclaims January SNAP Outreach Month * Childcare Resource and Referral Name Change

* T.H.E. Bus Ridership Increases

* T.H.E. Bus Donation

*Upcoming February Calendar Items

Child Care Resource and Referral Reintroduced as Child Care Aware of Minnesota (St. Paul, Minn.)- Child Care Resource and Referral is changing its name to Child Care Aware of Minnesota. Since opening its doors 25 years ago, the statewide system of agencies has served over 60,000 parents looking for child care and more than 100,000 child care professionals seeking education and professional development. Locally, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. delivers Child Care Aware services to seven counties in Region 1 (Roseau, Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Polk and Norman).

Chuck Larson hands two checks to Marcia Haglund, RTC Program Coordinator at Tri-Valley for the Tri-Valley Heartland Express (T.H.E.) Sunday Bus Program in the Crookston area. Thrivent provided $1,000 in supplemental funds to the $1,055 raised by the Dawn to Dusk Lions from a fundraiser the club put on in December. (The photo is courtesy of Chuck Larson and the article is courtesy of the Crookston Daily Times).

With well over half of Minnesota’s children spending some portion of their day in child care and over 13,000 licensed/regulated care facilities Governor Proclaims January SNAP Outreach Month operating in the state, child care is a key component of Minnesota’s economic, social and educational picture. Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed Mounting research suggests that the early years repreJanuary Supplemental Nutrition Assissent a time of profound brain growth and development tance Program (SNAP) Outreach Month for children. Growing numbers of parents and policyin Minnesota. A copy of the proclamation makers understand the need to connect children with is posted on the governor's website. Acwell-trained caregivers and high-quality programs to cording to the proclamation, 65 percent stimulate learning. Child Care Aware of Minnesota is of all Minnesotans and 44 percent of seleading this conversation by helping families find the niors age 60 and older eligible for SNAP type of quality child care their children need to grow are enrolled in the program that helps people with low incomes and supporting the professional growth of child care access nutritious food. professionals. On January 1, Minnesota became the fifth state to join Child Care Aware of America in a name and identity change. Formerly the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), Child Care Aware of America is leading efforts to create a unified national brand for their affiliate organizations. Ann McCully, executive director of Minnesota’s coordinating Child Care Aware office explains the move, “We play an active role in supporting our current workforce and educating our future workforce. We feel the name ‘Child Care Aware’ better reflects this mission and sets us up for another 25 years of work to grow Minnesota. We look forward to meeting another generation of Minnesota families and professionals and building Child Care Aware communities.”

For more than 40 years, SNAP has served as the foundation of America’s national nutrition safety net. It is the nation’s first line of defense against hunger and offers a powerful tool to improve nutrition among low-income people. In fiscal year 2011, SNAP served nearly 45 million people, about one in seven Americans. Over the course of four decades, researchers and analysts—inside government and out—have built a substantial body of evidence that SNAP makes an important difference in the lives of low-income people. For children, a better diet means better learning in school. For adults, it means better performance on the job or a better foundation for developing the job skill that can give them and their families’ independence. For seniors, it means access to a balanced diet vital to their nutritional well-being. For everyone, participation in SNAP can help stretch limited budgets, improve nutrition, and reduce the risk of diet-related health problems. For more information on SNAP visit the Tri-Valley website at or call 218-281-5832.

Ridership on T.H.E. Bus increases by 9 percent

(Article courtesy of the TRF Times & Northern Watch, About 78,700 rides were given by Tri-Valley Heartland Express (T.H.E.) Bus in 2012, an increase of about 9 percent. Jennifer Booth, Transit Program Coordinator, attributes the increase to T.H.E. Bus offering more rural service. She also pointed to an increase in the number of kids riding the summer rec bus last year in Thief River Falls. Twenty-five kids rode the summer rec bus in 2011. Last year, that number jumped to 60. Besides the summer rec bus, T.H.E. Bus offers two city routes in both Thief River Falls and Crookston, a route in Bagley/ Clearwater County, and rural routes in Pennington, Kittson, Marshall, Polk, Red Lake, Norman and Clearwater counties. It offers routes between the two campuses of Northland Community and Technical College, and a full-time University of Minnesota, Crookston route. It also offers dial-a-ride curb-to-curb service in both Thief River Falls and Crookston. Currently, a rider calls T.H.E. Bus to reserve a seat. The dispatcher then types or writes the information onto an Excel spreadsheet, which is then given to the driver. If there are any changes while the driver is on the bus, the dispatcher radios that change to the driver. However, that will soon change. By August 1, 2013, T.H.E. Bus plans to install a new computer system that will feature a tablet on each bus. Dispatchers will be able to type an additional stop onto or remove a stop from a particular driver’s route, which will soon show up on the driver’s tablet and schedule. Dispatchers will also be able to see via GPS if the bus breaks down. This will make it easier to see which driver is closer to where an added rider needs to be picked up. T.H.E. Bus expects this computer system will save money. “We should be able to save, we figure, about three to five gallons of fuel per bus,” Booth said.

(Cont’d)- To ride T.H.E. Bus in Pennington County, call the Thief River Falls office at 218-681-6760. To ride T.H.E. Bus in Polk or Red Lake counties, call the Crookston office at 218-281-0700. The cost is $2 each way if a rider calls the day prior to riding the bus. If the rider calls the same day, the cost is $3 to a destination and $2 to return. NCTC students ride the bus for $1 each way if they present their college ID. Bus passes are available for $10 from the drivers. The passes are worth $12 in bus rides. To ride the NCTC bus, the cost is $12 round-trip. Booth noted many people ride that bus to visit family or shop in the Grand Forks area. The cost of rural bus service is pro-rated based on mileage. To ride the summer rec bus in Thief River Falls, the cost is $55 for one student or $125 per family. The pass includes unlimited bus rides during June, July and August. Booth noted students may ride the summer rec bus to baseball, tennis or swimming lessons. They may also ride the bus, for example, from daycare to Grandma’s house or from their home to the library. Students have a badge attached to a lanyard that they present to the driver when getting onto the bus. T.H.E. Bus in Crookston serves as a stopping point for Jefferson Lines. Riders may purchase a ticket there for Jefferson Lines and ride that bus line from Crookston to their destination.

Upcoming February Calendar Items:

*Feb. 4- Region V Head Start / Early Head Start Policy Council Meeting (6:30 pm) *Feb. 7- Detroit Lakes Shopping Day *Feb. 8- Bemidji Shopping Day *Feb. 12- Twin Valley Parent Support Group (6:30 pm) *Feb. 12- Tri-Valley Board of Directors Meeting (7 pm) *Feb. 13- Mahnomen Shopping Day *Feb. 14- Evening Out on the Town (Thief River Falls) *Feb. 20- Fosston Parent Support Group (12 pm) *Feb. 21- EGF Parent Support Group (6 pm)\ *Feb. 22- Mahnomen Shopping Day *Feb. 23- Region XII Head Start Early Head Start Policy Council (9:00 am) *Feb. 25- Build a Wood Project (6:30 pm)

The buses and dispatch will continue to have two-way radios in case there is an emergency or a bus breakdown. The change will make it easier for Booth to fill out required reports related to the number of elderly or kids riding T.H.E. Bus, and whether individuals are using the buses’ lifts.

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.

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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.

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

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Tri-Valley January 2013 Newsletter  

Tri-Valley January 2013 Newsletter

Tri-Valley January 2013 Newsletter  

Tri-Valley January 2013 Newsletter