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Showing posts from April 2013. Show all posts

Governor Dayton Appoints Seven-Member Board to Manage MNsure

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Categories: Health


Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of a seven-member board responsible for managing and operating MNsure – a new health insurance marketplace where Minnesotans can choose quality, affordable health insurance. The board, which was established by law earlier this legislative session, was chosen through the state’s open appointments process from a pool of 112 candidates. Board members will serve staggered four-year terms. With the exception of the Commissioner of Human Services, all members are limited to two terms of service.

“The individuals chosen to serve on this board represent a broad diversity of experience and expertise,” said Governor Dayton. “Their collective breadth of knowledge, and each board member’s shared commitment to the successful development and delivery of this new health care marketplace, will serve the best interests of all Minnesotans.”

According to state law, membership on the board must include representation from outside the seven-county Metro area. One of the six members must have experience representing the needs of vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities. All appointed members of the board have demonstrated that they do not have any conflicts of interest. Board members appointed today by Governor Dayton include:

Thompson Aderinkomi , Founder and CEO, RetraceHealth. Mr. Aderinkomi has more than 14 years of experience helping health care organizations use their data effectively. Currently, he is the founder and CEO of RetraceHealth, which is an innovative technology provider that delivers primary care services to members. He began his career managing the finance department of CareMate Home Healthcare. From there, he performed program evaluations, created predictive models, and studied health insurance reimbursement for Ingenix (which is now Optum Health) and Medica Health Plans. In 2009, Aderinkomi co-founded Evidity, which is a health-care data analytics firm that serves the physician market. He is also serves as the board chair for WATCH MN, a domestic abuse monitoring agency, and as a board member of Youthprise, an education focused group working to increase the quality, accessibility, sustainability, and innovation of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.

Pete Benner, Independent Consultant. Mr. Benner is a consultant on health care, labor relations, and public policy. Prior to consulting, he worked for many years with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). Benner is the former Executive Director of AFSCME Council 6, where he was the lead negotiator with the State of Minnesota in designing the insurance benefits for state employees and their families. He also sat on many boards and commissions relating to health care including: Minnesota Health Care Access Commission, Minnesota Health Care Commission, Minnesota Citizen’s Forum on Health Care Costs, Governor’s Health Care Transformation Task Force, Governor’s Health Care Reform Task Force, Minnesota Community Measurement, and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.

Brian Beutner, CEO, mPay Gateway. Mr. Beutner is a consultant working with start-ups and their founders as they try to expand their innovative concepts into viable businesses. Until April 2013, Mr. Beutner was the CEO of mPay Gateway, a venture-banked healthcare software company that has developed financial products and services to support healthcare payments. In the past, Mr. Beutner spent seven years with UnitedHealth Group working in various capacities, including General Counsel of UnitedHealthcare. At UnitedHealth Group, he helped found its financial services business and chartered Exante Bank, now Optum Health Bank, which is the first successful bank built by a healthcare company. Mr. Beutner previously served as General Counsel of Jostens and practiced law with Oppenheimer Wolff and Donnelly. Beutner served as an adjunct professor at Hamline University Law School, where he created and taught courses on business and healthcare. He currently serves on the Hamline University School of Law Health Law Institute Advisory Board. Mr. Beutner previously served on the board of directors of the Courage Center Foundation; the foundation is a supporting organization to the Courage Center.

Kathryn Duevel, OBGYN, Affiliated Community Medical Care (retired). Dr. Duevel is an OBGYN physician. She worked at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar, Minnesota for more than 20 years until June 2012. In addition to her MD degree from the University of MN, she has a Master of Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College. Dr. Duevel was previously a member of the executive board of the MN ACOG(American College of OBGYN) and Rice Memorial Hospital's Medical Staff Executive Committee while also serving as Vice Chief of Staff and Credentials Chair. She currently leads Rice Memorial Hospital’s OB Patient Safety Committee and was a founding board member for the Kandiyohi Area Family YMCA. She has served as a volunteer physician with the Remote Area Medical Women’s Health Program in Guyana, South America and African Medical Mission in South Africa.

Tom Forsythe, Vice President of Global Communications, General Mills. Mr. Forsythe has worked for General Mills for the past 22 years, where he is currently Vice President of Global Communications. He has served as a board member of Twin Cities Public Television, Twin West Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota State University Board, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, where he also served for a year as Chairman of the Board. In 1991, Forsythe worked on behalf of the business community advancing health care reform, including the legislation that created Minnesota Care. Forsythe was later appointed by Governor Arne Carlson to the Minnesota Health Care Commission, and by Governor Tim Pawlenty to the Minnesota Health Care Transformation Task Force, where he advocated for market-based, consumer-oriented health care.


The Central Corridor is One Step Closer to Completion

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Blog_GreenLineThe Green Line LRV made its way past the Minnesota State Capitol.

The first light rail vehicle made its inaugural appearance on the Green Line (Central Corridor LRT) this past weekend, albeit not under its own power. A railcar mover that resembles a semitrailer cab towed a new Green Line LRV at walking speed on the tracks from Minneapolis to the new operations and maintenance facility in St. Paul to verify clearance for the LRVs. Towing the LRV is necessary because crews are still installing the wires and the rest of the systems to electrify the line. The LRV was accompanied by several Metro Transit police and employees.

Before the clearance verification was conducted, a large truck outfitted with attachments that are the same dimensions as the LRVs traveled last week along the tracks to simulate a train. This pre-verification was done to ensure the new LRVs can traverse the corridor without any impediments. Overall construction of the Green Line LRV is now 92 percent complete and is anticipated to open in mid-2014.


Celebrating Arbor Day in Minnesota

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM
Categories: Greater Minnesota, Environment, Outdoors

April 26th is Arbor Month in Minnesota.

Arbor Day - plant trees for a brighter MinnesotaGovernor Dayton has proclaimed today to be Arbor Day in Minnesota. Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of each April to celebrate the importance of trees worldwide. Today kicks off an entire month for celebrating trees in Minnesota that will continue for the entire month of May.

Trees and forests brighten Minnesota in a number of ways, from providing recreational setting and increasing property values, to making cities more beautiful and livable. Trees also bring communities together and reduce crime when they are planted. Minnesota’s trees are crucial to brightening the environment by improving air and water quality as well.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is leading this year’s Arbor Day initiative. This year’s theme for Arbor Day and Arbor Month is “Plant Trees for a Brighter Minnesota.” The DNR is encouraging Minnesotans to replace trees lost during the past year due to severe weather or any other reason. For information on how to get the DNR’s guide for Arbor Day and Arbor Month, check out their Arbor Month website here.


Preventing Senior Financial Fraud

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Categories: Seniors

Lt. Governor Prettner Solon & Commissioner Rothman speak about senior fraud prevention

Lt Governor Prettner Solon and Commissioner Mike Rothman held a Town Hall meeting this Thursday to discuss financial fraud and abuse.

On Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon and Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman met with seniors in Duluth to talk about senior fraud prevention. Governor Dayton has proclaimed April Financial Literacy Month, with agencies and organizations across the state meeting with Minnesotans to promote strong personal finance education.


Governor Dayton to hold ‘Meeting with Mark’ in Shakopee

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Downtown Shakopee

Next week, Governor Dayton will travel the state to make the case for his Budget for a Better Minnesota in Shakopee.

Over the last several weeks, more than 1,000 Minnesotans gathered at town hall meetings hosted by Governor Mark Dayton in Duluth, Moorhead, St. Cloud, Rochester, Mankato, and Virginia. The Governor’s ‘Meetings with Mark’ are an effort to engage Minnesotans in personal conversations about his proposed investments in education, job creation, and improving the lives of middle-class families. Another Meeting with Mark has been scheduled for next week in Shakopee at the following time and location:
When: Monday, April 29 at 6:00pm
Where: Shakopee High School Auditorium
100 17th Avenue West
Shakopee, MN
Meetings with Mark give Minnesotans the opportunity to weigh-in on the state’s ongoing budget conversation – offering ideas, questions, and concerns about the state’s education system, our economy, and our shared future. Governor Dayton welcomes all viewpoints and invites all Minnesotans to join him in conversation about the budget challenges facing our state and the investments we need to make in order to build a Better Minnesota. All ‘Meetings with Mark’ are free and open to the public and press.
Governor Dayton has proposed a fair and balanced budget that will responsibly resolve the state’s deficit and make crucial investments in Minnesota’s future. The Governor’s proposal focuses on improving the lives of Minnesotans by making major investments in education, job creation, and a stronger middle class. Those investments include $640 million in new funding for education, $86.5 million for job creation and economic development, and $120 million in aid to local governments that will help provide property tax relief to Minnesota homeowners, renters, and businesses.
More information about the governor’s Budget for a Better Minnesota is available here. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #BetterMN.


Commissioner Cassellius Holds Early Education Roundtable in Brainerd

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 2:53 PM


On Monday, Education Commissioner Cassellius held the latest in a series of roundtables across Minnesota on the state of early education. The Commissioner joined Brainerd Superintendent Steve Razidlo, teachers and administrators to talk about the importance of supporting investments in young learners as a critical way to close achievement gaps and improve student outcomes.

Numerous studies have shown that investments in early learning pay strong dividends for our students. Early learning, including programs like pre-Kindergarten and high equality child care, allow children to develop school readiness skills and a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. Children who participate in early learning programs have stronger “soft skills,” allowing them to pay attention in class, stay on task, and develop strong work skills.

By preparing children for educational success down the road, Minnesota can realize important cost saving measures down the road. Every $1 invested in early learning yields a $16 return on our investment, in the form of cost savings in education, human services, and the court system, as well as increased future tax revenues from students who participate in early education programs. 

Governor Dayton and Commissioner Cassellius are committed to ensuring all Minnesota kids have access to quality learning programs. The Governor’s proposed budget includes $44 million to expand early education scholarships, providing 10,000 more students with access to high quality child care and preschool. Governor Dayton has also proposed $40 million to help Minnesota school districts provide optional all-day kindergarten to students free of charge.


Putting Minnesota’s Kids on the Path to Success

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Budget, Education

Blog-Rally_for_MN-future Minnesotans came out to the "Pep Rally for Minnesota's Future."

This weekend, Governor Dayton joined House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy and education advocates to rally for Minnesota’s future. The cafeteria at St. Paul Central High Schools was filled with Minnesotans who came out to show their support for investing in education at all levels.

Jason Bolt, a father of five daughters, spoke about the importance of providing funding for All Day Kindergarten. His youngest daughter is currently in all-day Kindergarten, his oldest a freshman in college. He sees providing funding for all-day Kindergarten as a way to close the achievement gap, noting that he can see a night and day difference between his two youngest daughters who have benefited from all-day Kindergarten to his oldest daughters who only attended half-day Kindergarten.

“I believe that every single child in Minnesota deserves the right to go to Kindergarten all day to get that educational experience that they need.” Said Bolt, adding that middle class parents should not have to pay $3,500-$4,000 a year to have their kids go to school.


Celebrate Earth Day with the MPCA

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM
Categories: Earth Day, Health

Every day is Earth Day

On Earth Day this year it is especially noticeable how polar our planet can be. Unseasonable temperatures last year gave way to one of the wettest, coldest, and longest, springs this year. While this could be interpreted as Mother Nature’s cruelty, it’s more a sign of our planet’s fragility.

While the MPCA stresses “Every day is Earth Day”, April 22 is the one time a year that everyone should take notice of our environment. For those hoping to celebrate proactively, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has 5 ways you can go a little greener this year.


Four Minnesota Schools Recognized by U.S. Department of Education for Green Efforts

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Categories: Earth Day, Environment, Education

Blog-Four_Minnesota_Schools_RecognizedMinnesota is one of forty states with schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools. 

Today, the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to announce the second annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Three Minnesota schools and one Minnesota district are among the 64 schools and 14 districts from across the nation to be honored for their efforts to cut utility costs, implement smart conservation strategies and cultivate healthy and productive classrooms.

“Minnesota has a rich environmental tradition and outdoor heritage embedded in our history, and it’s fitting that our schools play a significant role in carrying on that tradition,“ said Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “I’m so proud of the work these schools are doing. Not only are they teaching students to be better stewards of the earth, but they are putting those lessons into practice in their school buildings.” 

The recognized schools are: Jeffers Pond Elementary School in Prior Lake, Heritage E-STEM Middle School in West St. Paul, and the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley. The entire Prior Lake-Savage Area School District was recognized for their green efforts. This is the first year districts were recognized in addition to individual schools.


Join Governor Dayton at a Pep Rally for Minnesota's Future

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM
Categories: Education

Join Governor Dayton at a Pep Rally for Minnesota's Future!

Join Governor Dayton, Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy and education advocates this Sunday at a Pep Rally for Minnesota's Future!

Minnesotans take pride in our world-schools. But over the past decade, Minnesota has suffered from a decade of disinvestments in education.
Come show your “Minnesota pride” and lend your voice to our efforts at the State Capitol to make new investments to put Minnesota’s kids on the path to success.

WHO: Governor Mark Dayton, Speaker Paul Thissen,
Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL legislators and education advocates
WHAT: Invest in Education “Pep Rally”
WHEN: Sunday, April 21st at 2:30 PM
WHERE: St. Paul Central High School, Cafeteria/Commons
275 Lexington Parkway North, St. Paul, MN 55104

For more information, contact Michael Howard at


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