Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a newly redesigned website.In our continuing effort to be in the forefront of providing the best service and care to our state’s Veterans, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a newly redesigned website. Nearly 370,000 Veterans call Minnesota home and they can now access information through this comprehensive and exciting new resource at MinnesotaVeteran.org.
The MPCA is a major partner of Clean Air Minnesota’s Project Green Fleet (PGF). Since it began in 2005, PGF has worked with school districts and school bus fleet operators to retrofit buses with Diesel Oxidation Catalysts and closed crankcase filtration systems.
After two years in office, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing to make important progress toward building a Better Minnesota.
One crucial measure of that progress is improving the health of Minnesotans, which is essential to a high quality of life in Minnesota. Governor Dayton is pursuing a variety of strategies to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities across our state, including increasing access to high quality, affordable health insurance and promoting strong community health programs. The Dayton Administration is focused on improving the quality of life for all Minnesotans, and lowering the cost of health care in our great state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has worked to reduce diesel emission in school buses, snowplows, fire trucks, and other large vehicles. Emissions retrofits on school buses alone have improved air quality for nearly 85,000 kids in 91 school districts statewide.
In 2012, MPCA focused on reducing diesel emission in long-haul semi-trucks. At current fuel prices, retrofits made to 282 vehicle engines, and reduced idling on 155 trucks, will save trucking companies $600,000 each year in fuel costs. Health benefits derived from these emissions reductions are estimated to total $123.5 million.
Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon recently visited the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minnesota and experienced the full-workings of the facility, including a tour, safety and survival skills training. The visit culminated in a ride in an F-16 Fighter Jet. The Lieutenant Governor donned an anti-gravity suit, or G suit, and rode in the F16, experiencing complex aerial maneuvers – even taking the wheel at one point.
The Lieutenant Governor said she was impressed with “the precision, expertise and professional capabilities of both ground and air personnel” and that she feels “confident that Minnesota has a superior National Guard”.
Rendering for new homeless veterans supportive housing development on the VA Medical Campus in St. Cloud
The Dayton Administration recently announced a $20.4 million Minnesota Housing Finance project that will help homeless veterans find support and housing. The grant will create nearly 100 units of permanent supportive rental housing for veterans who have experienced homelessness. In St. Cloud, the funding will create 35 new housing units on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical campus and another 58 units will be created by renovating five historic buildings at Fort Snelling's upper post in Minneapolis.
The veterans housing developments are part of $134 million in housing awards from Minnesota Housing to build, preserve and support affordable housing across the state. These developments were made possible in part by the 2012 bonding bill, which included $30 million in Housing Infrastructure bond proceeds, including more than $9 million to build the veterans developments.
“From rehabilitating historic buildings at Fort Snelling for homeless veterans to preserving critical affordable housing in greater Minnesota, we are able to help fill critical gaps in housing,” said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal. “The impact of the total leverage created by the $134 million housing investment will create more than 4,500 jobs and will assist nearly 3,100 households across the state.”
Jason J. Anderson, a captain in the Minnesota National Guard, is a Veteran Employment Success Story and showcases the Dayton Administration’s commitment to unify state government in hiring Minnesota’s veterans. Capt. Anderson does more than just preach his best practices for finding employment – he lives them every day, even while running the most mundane of errands.
Once, while Anderson was out shopping for a blender, a conversation with another customer at a common bed and bath products store turned into a prime networking opportunity. After discussing the merits of different blenders, the spontaneous encounter transitioned to employment, and Anderson was ready to hand his contact information over to the other customer, whose husband was a well-connected businessman.
“Always leave the house dressed professionally, and carry your business cards,” Anderson said. “I almost landed a job while buying a blender!”
Those two tips were just two of many Anderson used as part of a complete employment strategy after he was laid off from his previous employer. In addition to his list of best practices, Anderson reached out and built a working relationship with a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Veterans Employment Representative. Both efforts were essential in him landing a project management position with U.S. Bank in August.
If you are a soldier or veteran from Minnesota who served in a combat zone or hazardous duty area during 2008, you are eligible for a refundable tax credit that could be worth hundreds of dollars. Unfortunately, that tax credit expires on October 15, 2012, and thousands of soldiers and veterans who qualify have not yet taken advantage of this benefit.
As part of a tax credit that was enacted in 2006, the Minnesota Department of Revenue is paying $59 per month served in a combat zone or hazardous duty area during 2008 (the credit extends beyond 2008, but the credit that applies to 2008 is the part that will expire in October). To be eligible, individuals must have served in a combat zone or hazardous duty area at some point in 2008, and Minnesota must have been his or her home state at the time.
Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans is urging all eligible Minnesota veterans to claim this tax credit, as well as for anyone who knows an eligible veteran to pass this information along to him or her. The Department of Revenue has been working to promote information about the tax credit, including promoting it at the recent “Heroes Day” celebration in Minneapolis, but Commissioner Frans says they can use your help in ensuring as many veterans as possible receive this tax benefit as a thank-you from the state of Minnesota to those who have served overseas.
On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women of our Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States. These heroes include many Minnesotans, who have paid the supreme price to protect the freedom and liberty that we enjoy every day and which people around the world long for. We remember these men and women, who served with selflessness, distinction, and bravery in order to secure our democracy.
This is why Governor Dayton has proclaimed Monday, May 28, 2012 Memorial Day in Minnesota. Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to thank those who undertake the great responsibility of defending our freedom and democracy. It is a time to gratefully recognize and appreciate all that has been nobly given by those Americans and Minnesotans, as well as their families, who dedicated their lives to defending our country and its principles.
Located on 53,000 acres of forest and grassland in Central Minnesota, Camp Ripley is more than just the primary training facility for the Minnesota National Guard. With over 125 different bird species, 600 plant species, and a thriving deer population, Camp Ripley is also an important nature reserve. The National Guard has won numerous awards for its environmental preservation at Camp Ripley, including a new environmental award. To celebrate this award and highlight its most important initiatives, Camp Ripley held an Earth Day celebration on Friday.
Though Camp Ripley is primarily a training facility for Minnesota’s National Guard, environmental preservation has been a complementary function for decades. Camp Ripley incorporates their environmental mission into military training exercises; for example, exercises that track deer populations, locate tracked animals, and identify land in need of rehabilitation allow trainees to develop essential skills while promoting effective land preservation. Camp Ripley selectively harvests timber both to create space for military vehicle maneuvers and to maintain a healthy ecosystem. These trees then go on to provide a source of wood fiber for alternative fuel research.
This week, America celebrated Military Saves Week – a week-long campaign focused on encouraging the men and women of our armed forces to learn more about their finances, take full advantage of military benefits, and avoid financial fraud that targets military servicemembers.
In recognition of Military Saves Week, the Minnesota Department of Commerce launched a new section of our website dedicated exclusively to providing financial tips and tools for military servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Knowledge is power, and oftentimes information is the best defense for the financial wellbeing of any family – including military families.
At the Department of Commerce, we know the stresses of deployment can have a significant impact on the budgets of military personnel and their families. With a long list of uncertainties to navigate, it is essential for military servicemembers to utilize all available resources to make informed financial decisions before, and after deployment. That’s what this effort is all about.