Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beyond The Yellow Ribbon

Hastings Beyond The Yellow Ribbon coordinates existing programs to serve our veterans and their families. Our goal is to make it easier in directing our veterans and their families to resources already available in the community for their support. Community residents, businesses, schools, political leaders, civic, and faith-based organizations have positively influenced the lives of many.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Military Support Group
A special meeting will be held January 9th, 10 a.m., St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Parish. The purpose of the meeting is to continue the ministry started by Peggy Nicholas. There is no requirement to be Catholic, open to anyone interested in serving, supporting, and recognizing our military, veterans, and their families. There will be a light lunch and refreshments.

Dean W. Markuson, 436 Tiffany Drive, Hastings, MN 55033 (651) 438-2208, E-mail

Dedicated to the brave and courageous men and women
Who served in the past,
Are serving in the present,
And will serve in the future
To protect our country
And the principles on which it was founded.
We pray for their safety and well-being.
For their loved ones.
And for peace in our world

Military/Veterans Services-You Serve Your Country, Let us Serve You!
You deserve a lot and it's there for you: The benefits for those who serve our country are earned and great, but not if you don't know how to get them. That's where Dakota County Veteran Services steps in. They know how to get benefits for veterans, dependents, reservists and guardsmen. They take care of identifying what benefits you're eligible for, connect you with those resources and help you understand and fill out all the paperwork necessary. All this at no charge to you. Let the Dakota County Veterans Service officer help you!! They know the benefits available to you and the rules, regulations and laws that apply. And, they're here to help you access benefits and resources available to you. Make an appointment with one of the County's Veteran Service Officers today, for a check-up, (651) 554-5601.
Aid and Attendance. Many families are unaware of the pension for ailing veterans and their dependents, footing the bill for their care as up to $24,039 a year for each veteran sits unused. Families that do know about Aid and Attendance pension, sometimes called the widows' pension find themselves confronted with daunting paperwork. The application once submitted can take more than a year to approve. The benefits are a kind of last "thank you" for low-income veterans, or their spouses or dependent children – who are older than 65 and rely on others for daily care. Veterans are encouraged to call upon the County Veteran Service Office. It is free, and can help you do the paperwork!!!
The objectives of Veteran Service organizations are To ensure the national security; to speed the rehabilitation; To assist the widows and orphans, and to promote Americanism. Everyday should be a reminder, not just holidays. Have we lost touch with the symbolism of the holidays, anniversaries and the Stars & Stripes? What is at the heart of all the four war anniversaries, freedom from some sort of threat? Our warriors fought under the colors of the American flag. So please respect the flag and the independence it represents. Stop in to your local Veterans Service organization, to meet and greet your servicemembers, veterans and families whose sacrifices and service should be remembered. Learn more about your local veteran service organizations at: and

The area Veterans Employment Representative is: Harry Ostendorf,, 952 895-7656. You are encouraged to visit to sign up for the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon newsletter. You can also access the Jobs pages from their homepage.
Aerotek – Machine Operator – General Labor, $12.00 - $12.50 per hour.
Humana to Launch Far-Reaching National Initiative in Support of U.S. Military Veterans. Humana recognized by President Obama for the company's support of the Administration's new national veteran-employment campaign. Humana set a goal to hire 1,000 veterans and their spouse over three years; contribute $1 million to entrepreneurship programs and introduce a new suite of health-plan and financial-protection-products specifically for veterans. Humana will also contribute $1 million to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a national program that offers cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small-business management at no cost to post-era 9/11 veterans. Their commitment to the military, veterans and their families is every day.  Information about Humana can be located at or contact Jim Turner at or (502) 580-3221.
VA Gulf War Task Force Report. VA has released the second in a series of annual reports from its Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Task Force, outlining how the department will address the concerns of Veterans deployed during the Gulf War of 1990-1991. The report focuses on efforts to improve the delivery of health care for Gulf War Veterans, including the launch of a prototype clinical care model specifically for Gulf War Veterans.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) can result in many visual problems such as binocular vision dysfunction, light sensitivity and visual field defects. The pathophysiology of the injuries is not well understood and continues to affect soldiers in their activities of daily living. 
How is Good Oral Hygiene Practiced? Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look good and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and is much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progressl. In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems: These include: Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily; eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals; using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste; and rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse if your dentist tells you to. The Veterans Administration Dental Department telephone number is (612) 467-2039.
Pertussis Vaccinations. It is important that people of all ages be up to date on their pertussis vaccinations. Pertussis, or "whopping cough" remains a concern with over 260 cases reported in Dakota County this year. Dakota County Public Health provides reduced fee immunizations for eligible children and adults. Call (952) 891-7528 for eligibility guidelines and vaccine availability or log on to

Strengthening Financial Security.
Many families could benefit from a financial plan that they believe should be established only after they pay down their debt. But a financial plan, and the assistance of a knowledgeable Financial planner can encourage disciplined, lifelong behaviors that enhance financial well-being and long-term security, and it's never too early or late to start. Military families having a financial plan thorough a financial advisor feet more comfortable with their savings and debt, less financially stretched, and more confident with their ability to retire into the lifestyle they choose.

Charity Watch Resources evaluates a charity before deciding whether to give your money.
Fully Developed Claim (FDC) a new and innovative program designed to provide swift and expeditious settlement of "fully developed" compensation and pension claims.

Since our beginning in October 2008, the initiative in Hastings would not have been possible without the caring spirit, generosity and gratitude of the few steadfast volunteers and the community,

In the past several months, numerous businesses/organizations/individuals have stepped up to the challenge: Area Nursing Homes, Dakota County Historical Society-LeDuc Mansion; Dakota County Pleasant Hill Library System; Defending The Blue Line; Eagles Aeries 2212; Green Mill Restaurant and Bar; Hastings Area Professional Network; Hastings Automotive; Hastings Chamber of Commerce; Hastings Community Education/Senior Center; Hastings Community Television; Hastings Family Services: Hastings Public School District; Hastings Star Gazette; Dollar Tree Stores; Dust Jackets Book; Kings Place; KDWA 1460; Lifeworks; Lyle Russell VFW Post 1210; Minnesota Department of Military Affairs; Minnesota National Guard; Nelson Lucking American Legion Post 47; Operation Christmas; Veterans Administration Medical Center; St John the Baptist School; Quilts of Valor; and other generous unnamed individuals.

Support and Services
A complete listing can be obtained from DARTS, Hastings Senior Center, United Way of Hastings, Hastings Family Services, in the Hastings Star Gazette "Bulletin Board-Meetings" or go to the Hastings Chamber of Commerce website:
Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Thank you for your outstanding community service, Hastings has always been known for being generous and gracious. We have taken care of our families in the past and may we continue in the future. Even though there are fewer deployments, we are still seeing families in need here at home. No need is too small – a simple gesture of cleaning the driveway that has been covered with snow, helping the children stay occupied as mom and dad have a date, or even a nice dinner for a family to show that they are appreciated. Don't forget by offering services or discounts, you are showing your concern and appreciation. Search for help or register at:
Hastings Family Services,
United Way of Hastings, E-Volunteer, or 
Sittercity can find you the help you need with: School Holidays; Child care; Pet sitting; Senior care; last minute needs; holiday parties and etc. The Department of Defense pays for memberships to Sittercity for Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force families, including active duty. Reserve and Guard Families can activate their paid memberships at If you have any questions about the program you can contact, (312) 324-0757 or cell (630) 248-7371.
Caregiver Session. If you are a caregiver for an older adult, please plan to join in on Wednesday, 6 Feb, 6 pm – 7:30 pm at Tilden Community Center for a light dinner and conversation. Please RSVP by Jan 31st to (651) 480-7670. 
Stay-N-Tuned. A support group for parents, grandparents, family and friends of someone who has depression, grief or mental illness is meeting on the first and third Monday of every month, 6:30 pm to 8 pm. at the Green Mill Restaurant and Bar in Hastings. I attended the first session, a very friendly group and it comes highly recommended, as this type of support rarely exists. Contact Becky (612) 860-6630 for more information..
Community Service/Volunteer Opportunities
The Historical Society is looking for women who have served in the military (any age, any branch, don't have to be combat vets) to be interviewed for a historical display on female veterans they are planning for their South St. Paul Museum site.  The display will capture their experience in uniform, why they chose to serve, how it affected their lives, etc.  The goal is to capture the veteran's entire story and utilize any items they have (uniforms, etc.) for the display. All interested persons can contact, us,
Become an ESGR Volunteer. ESGR Volunteers are trained to assist servicemembers and their employers. Contact Jim Mitchell,, (651) 282-4487, Cell: (651) 308-8294
Minnesota Veterans Home – Hastings. Drivers to transport resident(s) to local AA meetings. For more information, contact Volunteer Services Coordinator Dan Jordan,, (651) 438-6511.
Annual Military Mother/Grandmother Luncheon (11 May) Planning Committee. Meetings start in January. Contact Annette Kuyper, (651) 460-2248.

Leisure and Entertainment
Impro Comedy Games. Black Dirt Theater has aa fun activity planned every Saturday, from 10 a.m. until noon at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. No pre-registration is required. 
Free Veterans Dinner, January 7th (1st Monday of each month until May) A free dinner for all servicemembers and veterans in Farmington.  RSVP at or contact Annette Kuyper, (651) 460-2248.
Parent's Night Out, Jan 28th @ 6:30 – 9 pm, for children ages 10 and younger, evening of games, crafts, snacks, reading, and homework help, First Presbyterian Church, 6th and Vermillion, Hastings, A nominal fee of $2 per child will be charged. One does not need to be a member of First Presbyterian to attend this event, it is open to all. Prior registration for PNO is encouraged, but walk-ins will be permitted until enrollment capacity is reached. Registration may be done on-line through the church's website or or by phone, (651) 437-9656. Registration forms are also available at Hastings Family Services.
Hastings Military and Veteran Valentines Day Social, February 14th 7:00 p.m. at the 2nd Street Deport Bar & Grill, 320 East Second Street, Hastings, MN. You can't beat the prices of ½ price burgers and offered specials with a five (5) dollar discount per servicemember, veteran, and spouse/significant other with proper identification prior to ordering (Military. Veteran services organization membership card, or DD 214 (Military Discharge Certificate). Entertainment by the Hastings High School Music Department. 
Dakota County Historical Society – LeDuc House is a National significant historic property that includes an architecturally outstanding house, outbuildings and historic grounds located at 1629 Vermillion Street (Highway 61) Hastings, Minnesota along the Great River Road Scenic Byway. The estate is open year round for group tours, and private events and is a popular place for anniversary and birthday parties. For additional information, go to:
Dakota County Library System, Pleasant Hill Hastings.  Check out the local library. They have puppet shows; Preschool story time for ages 4,5, and 6; and for grown-ups there are one-act play readings, author talks, book clubs, computer classes and various other discussion or informational groups. All free to the public. You may not even need a library card to participate. Look for all the fun stuff you never knew was at your local library,
Dakota County Parks. Can't find things to do, go to www.dakotacounty,us, or call (952) 892-7000 during business hours Monday to Friday 8 am – 4:30 p.m.
Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center provides a unique opportunity to learn and explore the outdoors. It fosters appreciation and inspires stewardship of the natural thorough quality environmental education, conservation practices, and outdoor experiences for visitors of all ages and capabilities. Admission is free. For more information go to
Hastings Community Education. What are you planning on growing this year? Community connections; a family; career; fuller life? Community Education can help! A life-time of learning. Locally grown. Community Education continues to grow and hopes that you to be more involved with your Hastings community. See what catches your interest; go to or call (651) 480-7670. The new Winter catalog will be in the mail shortly sign up for an opportunity of learning.
City of Hastings, Parks and Recreation, Civic Arena. 2802 Redwing Blvd, Hastings, (651) 480-6195. Public opportunities are available for skating: $4 for public, $5 for Hockey, and skate sharpening at $4, Pro shop supplies and rentals are also available. Schedule is published in the Hastings Star Gazette each week in the Family Section.
Outdoor Ice Skating. During the 2012 – 2013 Outdoor Ice Skating season, the City of Hastings Parks and Recreation operates and maintains three (3) outdoor recreational skating rinks and three (3) outdoor hockey rinks. The rinks are free for the general public to use during posted dates and times. Please see Rink Hours ( Weather permitting; the rinks are open until February 18, 2013. To check on daily opening schedules, please call the hotline (651) 480-2392.
Frosty Frolic.  Grab you skates and don't miss an upcoming evening of family fun at Pioneer Park (16th and Pine). COST FREE! There will be outdoor ice skating, outdoor games, a bonfire, hot chocolate, popcorn, winter crafts and more. Check the city website: or contact Darbie at (651) 480-6179 or with any questions.
Hastings Reads 2013 is a community-wide reading program that seeks to encourage reading and discussion of books and the ways in which they can help us understand the lives and experiences of ourselves and others. Everyone is invited to read the books and participate in the events. Read one or more books chosen for this year's Hastings Reads. Read alone, read aloud, read with others or do all three. Attend any of the Hastings Reads events scheduled throughout February by checking the event schedule. Check for additions and changes in the schedule at the Hastings Reads website:
YMCA in Hastings. We're a Health Movement. At the Y, we're not just building muscles – we're building bridges between people of all ages and backgrounds. Be part of our health movement that gives back to the community. Experience how joining the Y strengthens us all! Stop in or call the YMCA in Hastings, (651) 829-6507 or visit

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