Available Childcare… A Growing Concern in Our Communities

Posted by Mitch on November 30, 2016 3:12 PM in Uncategorized

033Although the cost of childcare garners most of the attention from the media, did you know that there is a severe lack of licensed childcare providers in Northwestern Minnesota? This lack of childcare puts extreme stress on families, potential employees, employers, and our communities in general.

So what are the numbers? Northwestern Minnesota has a licensed childcare capacity of 7,116 with a 2,623 shortfall with a critical shortage in infant care. A 37% growth in capacity is needed to fill the shortfall. A major cause of this shortfall is that the numbers and capacity of family providers has dropped by more than 25% since 2006. (MN Dept. of Human Services; U.S. Census Bureau)

Quality childcare ranked third in “Community Needs” on the 2016 Tri-Valley Community Needs Assessment Survey. The survey collects data from Tri-Valley’s primary service area of west Marshall, west Polk, and Norman counties. In Crookston alone, there are 266 children aged birth to three years old. Unfortunately, there are only 116 licensed spaces for that age group. That leaves 150 children birth to three years at home with a parent or with an unlicensed childcare provider such as a family member or a friend.

Continued discussion is needed now more than ever to start looking for possible solutions to this potential crisis. If you would like to join the childcare conversation, have questions about childcare in our communities, or would like more information on becoming a licensed childcare provider, please contact Maureen Hams (Tri-Valley Community Assistance Program Director) at 1-800-543-7382.

Minnesota Housing Board Approves Agassiz Townhomes Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Application

Posted by Mitch on October 19, 2016 3:11 PM in Uncategorized

Agassiz-Townhomes-Drawing-e1476906907736Minnesota Housing, Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority (CHEDA), the City of Crookston, and Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc., announced today that the Minnesota Housing board has approved the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit application for Agassiz Townhomes in Crookston. Agassiz Townhomes will serve Crookston’s lower income workforce, addressing a need of many employers and allowing more workers to live in the community. more »

Tri-Valley Foster Grandparent Program Holds Recognition Luncheon

Posted by Mitch on October 13, 2016 3:10 PM in Senior Programs

(L-R) Sharon Baity, Ron Evans and Adeline Woinarowicz

(L-R) Sharon Baity, Ron Evans and Adeline Woinarowicz

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. Foster Grandparent Program held its annual recognition luncheon at the Crookston Eagles Club on Wednesday, October 5. Heidi Simmons, Senior Programs Director began the event by welcoming the Foster Grandparents and guests to the banquet. Jason Carlson, Tri-Valley’s CEO then thanked all of the volunteers for the difference they are making in the lives of others in our communities. more »

Pic Receives Years of Service Recognition from MinnCAP

Posted by Mitch on October 11, 2016 3:09 PM in Transportation

(Photo L-R): Cindy Pic (Transportation Programs Director) and Francie Mathes (Office of Economic Opportunity)

(Photo L-R): Cindy Pic (Transportation Programs Director) and Francie Mathes (Office of Economic Opportunity)

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. staff attended the Minnesota Community Action Partnership (MinnCAP) Annual Training Conference held on September 20-22 at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, Minn. Staff took part in a Legislative General Session, listened to speakers on various topics, and took part in several breakout sessions.

In conjunction with the annual training conference, 25 Year Honorees were recognized for their dedicated service and commitment to community action. Tri-Valley’s Cindy Pic (Transportation Programs Director) was honored for her 25 years of work with Tri-Valley in Crookston.

(A short bio on Cindy from the event): Cindy  started  working  at  Tri-Valley as  the  Program  Manager  for  Child  Care  Resource  & Referral serving northeast North Dakota. She then directed the Community Services Division of the corporation. Cindy is currently the director of the Transportation Division. A major highlight of Cindy’s work is how the Flood of 1997 impacted the child care community throughout the service area. Tri-Valley  received  several  million  dollars  in  grants  to build  the  child  care  infrastructure  in  Grand  Forks  and  East  Grand  Forks.  She  is  also  very proud  of  the  growth  the  Transportation  Programs  have  seen  in  recent  years.  This is because of the staff working together and believing in the motto of “people helping people.”

FTA Recognizes Three Outstanding Rural Transit Agencies

Posted by Mitch on October 6, 2016 3:06 PM in Transportation

(L-R) Cindy Pic (Tri-Valley Transportation Programs Director), Carolyn Flowers (Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration), Elizabeth Hensrud (Tri-Valley Transportation Fleet Maintenance Coordinator)

(L-R) Cindy Pic (Tri-Valley Transportation Programs Director), Carolyn Flowers (Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration), Elizabeth Hensrud (Tri-Valley Transportation Fleet Maintenance Coordinator)

(News Release Courtesy of the Federal Transit Administration)

ASHEVILLE, NC – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers today announced three Administrator’s Awards for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation. The announcement was made at the 22nd National Rural and Intercity Bus Conference in Asheville, NC.

“The Obama Administration is proud to partner with public transportation services that provide a lifeline for many people in America’s rural communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “By enhancing mobility and increasing access to employment, these unsung heroes of transportation have done an exceptional job of connecting rural residents to ladders of opportunity.” more »

MNsure Urges Minnesotans to Shop, Compare and Save on Health Insurance

Posted by Mitch on September 30, 2016 3:05 PM in MNsure

Financial help available only through MNsure for individuals earning up to $47,520; family of four earning up to $97,200

mnsure_logoSeptember 30, 2016


CONTACT: Shane Delaney
Director of Communications and Marketing

ST. PAUL, Minn.—As final 2017 individual market health insurance rates are released by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, MNsure is encouraging Minnesotans to learn about important cost-saving opportunities available only through the state’s online health insurance marketplace.

The cost savings comes in the form of an advanced premium tax credit. These federal tax credits act like instant discounts, reducing the monthly out-of-pocket cost a Minnesotan pays for their health insurance coverage. An individual earning up to $47,520 a year or a family of four earning up to $97,200 a year could qualify. Additional income thresholds are available on the MNsure website.
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A new option for child care coming to Sleepy Eye

Posted by Mitch on September 6, 2016 8:38 AM in Head Start

By Deb Moldaschel, Editor / Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch

Kurk Kramer, Sleepy Eye EDA Coordinator, said that the shortage of child care options in Sleepy Eye was an issue that came up at the EDA’s planning meeting in January of 2015.

“We have a planning meeting each year and the EDA members bring up issues of importance to the community,” said Kramer. “Some might be issues they or their business has experienced; some are issues that citizens have asked them about.” In 2015 the issue of a child care shortage was one of the issues identified.

“A committee of a couple EDA members was formed and we started looking into the issue and possible solutions,” said Kramer. “In May of 2015, we started discussions with the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council to determine if the building where they operate the migrant and seasonal head start program would be appropriate as a child care center.”
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Thank You Linda!

Posted by Mitch on August 11, 2016 10:33 AM in Administration

Linda Grinde, Board member, Polk County Low-Income Sector was recognized at the Tri-Valley Board meeting on Tuesday, August 9. Linda resigned her position on the Tri-Valley Board of Directors after 36 years. Thank you for your years of service and dedication Linda!

Tri-Valley Receives $128,000 Otto Bremer Trust Grant for Agassiz Townhomes Project and Two Year Pilot Project

Posted by Mitch on July 7, 2016 11:04 AM in Administration

(L-R) Jim Snyder (Crookston Bremer Bank President and Market Manager) and Jason Carlson (CEO Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.)

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. has received an Otto Bremer Trust Grant of more than $128,000 for the Agassiz Townhome project and a two year housing pilot project. Agassiz Townhomes will serve Crookston’s lower income workforce, addressing a need of many employers and allowing more workers to live in the community.

The Otto Bremer Trust Grant for the project consists of two direct grants and a $35,000 one-to-one match. The goal was to leverage local employer contributions and coordinate with other public funds to enhance the ability to address housing needs in our area. The goal was met with $17,500 provided by local employers and $17,500 provided by the Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority (CHEDA). The additional grant dollars will be used to fund a two year pilot project primarily in East Grand Forks that will assist landlords and New Americans in creating successful housing relationships.

“We at Bremer Bank are very proud when our major stockholder, Otto Bremer Trust, provides grants in our trade area,” says Jim Snyder, Crookston Bremer Bank President and Market Manager. “The Otto Bremer Trust welcomes opportunities consistent with Tri-Valley’s Mission, and Bremer Bank’s Vision, to improve the quality of life for people and strengthen the communities we serve,” Snyder adds.

10,000 free books awarded through SMIF’s BookStart Program

Posted by Mitch on July 6, 2016 2:10 PM in Uncategorized

Jenn Derry, Winnebago Center Manager is pictured holding a book from the event.

SMIF on 06/23/2016

OWATONNA, Minn., June 23, 2016 – Representatives from early childhood organizations gathered at the office of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) in Owatonna today to celebrate 14 years of the BookStart program and 26 new BookStart awardees.

This year, SMIF awarded 10,000 books with a total value of $172,650 in partnership with Capstone, a leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services. Together, the organizations have placed approximately 89,000 books into the homes of children across southern Minnesota. The goal is that every child has a book of his or her own at home to read or be read to by family members, which promotes a life-long love for reading.

Studies consistently show that reading at a young age drastically improves a child’s educational trajectory. Not only does reading aloud help children acquire early language skills, it fosters curiosity and memory and helps children develop positive associations with reading.
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