Tri-Valley Foster Grandparent Program Holds Recognition Luncheon

Posted by Mitch on November 8, 2018 9:00 AM in Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Programs

Art Wood, Kathryn Haider, Mary Steinbrenner, Doris Pontow, Linda Stelzer

The Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. Foster Grandparent Program held its annual recognition luncheon at the Crookston Eagles Club on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

Jeanette Larson, Senior Programs Manager began the event by welcoming the Foster Grandparents and guests to the banquet. Jason Carlson, Tri-Valley’s CEO thanked all of the volunteers for the difference they are making in the lives of others in our communities.  Jason then introduced the newly hired Director of Senior Programs, Marley Melbye. Marley shared about herself and how excited she is to begin this position and how she is looking forward to working with the Foster Grandparent Program.  Kristal Abrahamson then introduced the Advisory Board members.

Sally Erickson was the speaker for the day.  Sally Erickson holds degrees in Business and English Writing from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. She has spent most of her career as a technical writer in the software industry.  She has also written a book entitled Letters to HEAVEN.  This is Sally’s story about cancer, death, and hope.  The volunteers really enjoyed her presentation.

Following Sally’s message, the “World of Difference” awards were given to individuals who were nominated by professional staff at their volunteer site. “With the little things you do every day, your impact spreads far and wide. Your commitment to improving lives inspires and motivates us all… You make a world of difference.” is engraved on the award along with the recipients’ name.

Milo Trangsrud and Jean Halvorson (Foster Grandparent Coordinator)

Recipients of the World of Difference Award are Grandma Doris Pontow (Discovery Place Early Learning Center, Thief River Falls, 6 year volunteer), Grandpa Milo Trangsrud (Challenger Elementary School, Thief River Falls, 2 year volunteer), Grandma Kathryn Haider (St, Michaels School, Mahnomen, 6 year volunteer),  Grandma Mary Steinbrenner (Magelssen Elementary, Fosston, 4 year volunteer),  Grandma Linda Stelzer (St. Joseph’s Elementary, Moorhead 2 year volunteer) and Grandpa Art Wood (Dorothy Dodds Elementary School, Moorhead 1 year volunteer) .

For more information on how to become a Foster Grandparent, Caring Companion or how to receive Caring Companion services, please call Marley, Jeanette, Jean, or Kristal at 1-800-584-7020.

Stakeholders, partners and reps of Crookston’s new Agassiz Townhomes gathered Thursday to celebrate the near completion of the project

Posted by Mitch on November 1, 2018 3:23 PM in Uncategorized

(Courtesy of the Crookston Times)

Although a scheduling conflict led to the postponement of public tours of Crookston’s new, 30-unit townhome complex on North Broadway, various stakeholders, partners and representatives of other agencies who helped make the project a reality gathered in the U of M Crookston’s Bede Ballroom on Thursday to celebration the (near) completion of the project.

Informational Session on Need for Child Care to be Held on Monday, November 5

Posted by Mitch on October 23, 2018 2:09 PM in Community Assistance Programs

(Crookston, Minn.)- At a recent Crookston city council meeting, the topic of lack of child care and licensed child care options in in the city went from important to urgent and has become one of the community’s “most pressing issues”. But how do we change this?

Have you ever thought about opening your own child care business but have some questions? If so, you’re in luck. There will be an informational session on Monday, November 5 at 6:30 pm in the Tri-Valley boardroom located at 102 N. Broadway in Crookston.

Did you know? There are multiple options in the field of child care. You can provide child care in your home. You can open a family child care business in a space other than your home.  You can partner with someone or be on your own. To answer some of those questions, staff from Child Care Aware and the Polk County Child Care Licensor will provide information on family child care licensing. There will also be information on startup grants to help you get into the business and door prizes!

If you cannot attend the meeting but have an interest in child care and you would like to ask some questions, please contact Maureen Hams at 218-281-5832 or

NW MN Council of Collaboratives holds biannual gathering in Crookston

Posted by Mitch on October 22, 2018 9:23 AM in Uncategorized

(Crookston Times Report)

Grants, program impact discussed.

Grant funding and the impact of local and area programming were spotlighted at the biannual meeting of the Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives held Wednesday in the U of M Crookston’s Bede Ballroom.

Highlights of the day included:

‒ Stephen-Argyle School District Superintendent Chris Mills speaking on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant awarded to his district and three others in 2017 for programming outside the normal school day

‒ Tri-Valley Opportunity Council CEO Jason Carlson presenting on the Minnesota System of Care “Family Navigator” grant

‒ Joe Rand, University of Minnesota Extension educator, presenting on “Working with LGBTQ+ Youth and Families in Rural Communities.” Rand provided data regarding the percentage of school-age population that identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in rural areas. Rand tried to increase understanding of “what children in this group think and feel, realize the lack of access to role models or safe spaces where youth can ask questions and develop relationships with other people who are like them, and gain insight into better policies and training.”

‒ Polk County Public Health Director Sarah Reese detailing the results of the Northwest Minnesota Community Health Assessment

‒ Catherine Johnson, executive director of the Inter-County Community Council, presenting on the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Grant. To help end youth homelessness, HUD awarded $43 million to 11 communities across the country, including nearly $1.41 million to the Inter-County Community Council, on behalf of the Northwest Minnesota Continuum of Care, through its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). This HUD program supports a wide range of housing interventions including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes.

Randy Bruer is the current chair of the Northwest Minnesota Council of Collaboratives, and he provided greetings at Wednesday’s gathering.

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Invites Public to Agassiz Townhomes Open House on October 18

Posted by Mitch on October 10, 2018 8:38 AM in Uncategorized

The public is invited to an open house for Agassiz Townhomes on Thursday, October 18 at 11:00 am (weather permitting). The townhomes are located at the junction of North Broadway and Fisher Avenue (across the street from Casey’s General Store).

Agassiz Townhomes features 30 rental units consisting of two and three bedrooms. Property features include professional management, central air, washer and dryer in each unit, attached garage and a playground area. Income restrictions apply.

For more information on Agassiz Townhomes and to apply to see if you qualify, please visit or call 218-547-3307.


Poverty Simulation Held in Crookston

Posted by Mitch on September 25, 2018 8:28 AM in Uncategorized

A poverty simulation was held on Thursday, September 13 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston. The event was sponsored by Polk-Norman-Mahnomen Community Health Services, including Polk County Public Health and Norman-Mahnomen Public Health, and Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. The simulation was facilitated by Minnesota Community Action Partnership (MinnCAP).

The poverty simulation tool was utilized since decreasing persistent poverty is one of three Polk-Norman-Mahnomen Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) priorities. We know that poverty level is one of the most critical characteristics that contributes to the number of people experiencing preventable chronic diseases. The collaboration between agencies allows communities to solve problems that cannot be solved, or easily solved, by single organizations.

A poverty simulation is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family. The object is to sensitize audiences to the realities faced by low-income people. In the simulation, participants assume roles of up to 20+ different families facing poverty. The task of the families is to provide for necessities and shelter during the course of four 15-minute “weeks”. Throughout the event it is stressed that it is a simulation, not a game and those involved should take it very seriously.

If you would like more information on the poverty simulation, please contact Leah Pauletti at

Area Organizations are Invited to a “Quality of Place” Brainstorming Session at Tri-Valley on Wednesday, September 19

Posted by Mitch on September 15, 2018 9:45 AM in Uncategorized

The University of Minnesota Crookston, Crookston School District, City of Crookston, Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority (CHEDA), Crookston Youth Foundation, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc., Crookston Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau, Polk County Public Health, Polk County Wellness Coalition, Downtown Crookston Development Partnership, Bike Crookston invite area community members and organizations to a “Quality of Place” brainstorming session on Wednesday, September 19. The event will be held at the Tri-Valley Administrative Office at 102. N Broadway in Crookston at 4 pm. The session will focus on recruitment and retention of talent (people).

Urban Land Magazine describes “Quality of Place” as cutting across three key dimensions:

  • What’s there: the combination of the built environment and the natural environment; a stimulating, appealing setting for the pursuit of creative lives.
  • Who’s there: diverse people of all ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations, interacting and providing clear cues that this is a community where anyone can fit in and make a life.
  • What’s going on: the vibrancy of the street life, café culture, arts, and music; the visible presence of people engaging in outdoor activities—altogether a lot of active, exciting, creative goings-ons.

If you have any questions about the brainstorming session, or if your organization would like to be included as part of the invitation as a community partner, please contact Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen at

Tri-Valley – Between 2 programs, almost 9K meals served this summer

Posted by Mitch on August 31, 2018 8:09 AM in Uncategorized

By Mike Christopherson (Crookston Daily Times)

Posted Aug 30, 2018 at 11:08 AM

Tri-Valley program wrapped up Aug. 24 at Community Family Service Center

Between the Summer Food Service Program coordinated by the Crookston School District, which wrapped up Aug. 9, and a similar program put on by Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, which concluded on Aug. 24, almost 9,000 free lunches were served to local youth up to age 18 this summer.

The school district’s program operated at serving sites in Highland Park and Wildwood Park, Mondays through Thursdays, while Tri-Valley’s program was headquartered at the Community Family Service Center/Head Start building, formerly Carman School, and served Monday through Friday.

Jami Lee, child nutrition services manager at Tri-Valley, tells the Times that 4,108 youth meals were served at the CFSC. She hadn’t calculated the number of adult meals served. The 2018 number marks an increase of around 500 meals served by Tri-Valley in the summer of 2017, Lee noted.

The Tri-Valley program implemented the “Farm to Early Care” initiative, she added, meaning that kids had fresh, local produce included in their meals.

“I am a firm believer that working together in the community to outreach and let everyone know of each other’s programs, we can make an impact on the community and reach out to those in need that may not know what services are available to them,” Lee said.

Catch T.H.E. Bus to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion on Friday, August 31

Posted by Mitch on August 22, 2018 11:54 AM in Uncategorized

Tri-Valley Transportation Programs is offering a convenient way to get to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn. on Friday, August 31. T.H.E. Bus will be giving rides to the event from Crookston and Thief River Falls for only $10 round trip! T.H.E. Bus will arrive in Rollag at 10 am and depart at 4 pm. To reserve your seat or ask a question, please call 1-800-201-3432 (Option 4).

To learn more about the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion please visit

T.H.E. Bus is a curb to curb service and provides public transportation services to the general public in eight Minnesota counties, Polk, Red Lake, Norman, Marshall, Kittson, Pennington, Mahnomen, and Clearwater. Buses run through these counties on various days with various destinations. Our public transit buses are available with no age limits or income guidelines.

Brekken says the support of many made for a successful summer

Posted by Mitch on August 20, 2018 11:01 AM in Uncategorized

Courtesy of Mike Christopherson (Crookston Daily Times)

Crookston Public Schools’ Eat United Summer Food Service Program wrapped up its season on Aug. 9, and Crookston School District Food Services Director Anna Brekken reports that 4,725 meals were served at two sites, with 4,580 of those being free meals served to youth from birth to age 18 and 145 meals served to paying adults.

“It was fun to see all the new and familiar faces come out to both Highland and Wildwood parks,” Brekken said.

The program ran for 32 days over eight weeks, with one day at Wildwood Park being cancelled due to severe weather.

Many made this summer’s program a success, Brekken said.

She elaborates: “We had a great group of volunteers that helped serve the students daily from varying organizations which include Cathedral School, Crookston Public Schools, Trinity Lutheran Church, Tri-Valley Foster Grandparent Program, Polk County Public Health, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, American Crystal Sugar, University of Minnesota Extension, Riverview Health, and the United Way of Crookston,” Brekken said. “It’s also important for me to recognize Scott Riopelle and the Parks and Recreation Department for allowing us to use their beautiful parks all summer to run this program. They did a wonderful job keeping the facilities clean and helped with any questions or concerns I had this summer. We could not have ran this program without the support of our volunteers and Crookston Parks and Recreation Department.”

An important component of the program is Tri-Valley Opportunity Council providing free transportation to and from the meal sites on T.H.E. Bus.

“This allowed students to participate in this program from neighborhoods outside of our service sites,” Brekken said.

A grant from the United Way of Crookston covered some of the labor costs this summer, she added.

The Summer Food Service Program is a nationally funded program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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