Regional News in Review – July 2009

Family may lose accessible home A family that was given an accessible home in Ramsey is losing that home to […]

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Family may lose accessible home
A family that was given an accessible home in Ramsey is losing that home to foreclosure. The Barb and Larry Arends family has three children with disabilities and won the house in a contest two years ago. But the family found out this spring that the property is in foreclosure and was set for sheriff’s sale in late June.

The organization that sponsored the contest, the now-defunct Independent Luxury Benefit Fund, has blamed the mess on the housing market collapse. It also cites the Arends’ own financial situation. But the Arends are objecting and the City of Ramsey, which helped promote the Hope House contest, has filed a complaint with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

More than 60 businesses donated items for the house and schools helped locate eligible families. Under the original agreement the benefit fund founder was to hold the house’s mortgage in trust for 10 years. Then the house would belong to the family. The family was responsible to pay taxes, utilities and home insurance. One aspect of the dispute is over what expenses and how the much the Arends family was to be paying.

The Arends family is also saying they didn’t know the house had a mortgage when they moved in. The fund organizers are now saying the Arends family is welcome to pay the mortgage on its own. Otherwise, the property goes back to the bank.
[Source: Star Tribune]

Minnesota Senior Federation dissolves
It’s official: The 9,000-member Minnesota Senior Federation has voted to dissolve, citing increased debt and declining membership. Members voted in June to make the dissolution official. It was to go into effect July 1. The 37-year-old agency, once considered a national leader in senior advocacy efforts, is about $200,000 in debt.

MSF officials have been working with MAP for Nonprofits to transfer many Federation programs to other groups. Talks are still underway to see if there are other nonprofits that want to assume other elder advocacy functions. “There definitely will be a vacuum with the Senior Federation gone,” said Jean Wood, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging.

Here is an update on MSF programs that have found new homes:
• Senior Partners Care: Under the program, about 1,700 lowand moderate-income people on Medicare get care from doctors and hospitals that agree to take Medicare as total payment with no co-pay or deductible. It will be transferred by July 1 to Volunteers of America of Minnesota, a broadbased human services agency (612-617-7817).
• Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare: The annual publication is the only one that lists all Medicare related health insurance plans for older and disabled Minnesotans. It will be published this fall by the governor-appointed Minnesota Board on Aging.
• Upper Midwest Pension Rights Project: It provides free pension education, counseling and claims assistance, and is provided with Iowa and Wisconsin groups. It will be taken over Aug. 1 by the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging.
• Senior Rx Care, an Internet link to Canadian and U.S. pharmacies for low-cost drugs, at online at or by phone at 1-877-828-7555. HealthPartners dental insurance plan will continue, but without the 10 percent discount for members (1-877-838-4949). AAA will continue to honor MSF discounts for
membership and insurance (1-888-765-2554).
[Source: Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Minnesota Senior Federation]

Assailant sentenced to 96 months
One of the men involved in an attack against a developmentally disabled Lakeville man was sentenced in June in Dakota County District Court. John Maxwell Maniglia, 20, pleaded guilty in April to kidnapping and violently beating Lakeville resident Justin Hamilton. Maniglia will serve 96 months in prison.

The attack occurred over a period of two nights in October 2008 in a rural area of southern Dakota County. Hamilton was beaten with sticks, burned and kicked. “We are pleased that this defendant has been held responsible for his actions in this violent kidnapping and assault,”

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom stated in a press release. The crime drew widespread attention and prompted an outpouring of support for Hamilton, who suffered permanent physical and emotional injuries. Maniglia was one of four people charged in the assault. The assault was provoked by Maniglia’s then-girlfriend, who falsely claimed that Hamilton had assaulted her.

Four others were charged in the crimes. One, 16-year-old Natasha Dahn, whose false claims of assault by Hamilton led to the violence, was sentenced in juvenile court in November. One more trial in the matter will be held this month. The jury trial for Jonathan Michael Diepold, 22, of Northfield, also charged in the assaults, is scheduled for July 22. Glen Richard Ries, 34 Northfield, and Timothy John Ketterling, 22, Prior Lake, had pre-trial proceedings in June.
[Source: Northfield News]

Radio Talking Book radios delayed
New radios that are to be provided through State Services for the Blind, through the Radio Talking Book Program, have been delayed, the state agency announced in June. The radios are needed to listen to programming provided through the state program.

The radio suppliers have recently identified a problem with parts for the new units. Work is underway to fix those problems. The radios were to have been delivered earlier this year. Now deliver is projected for late September. Access Press publishes highlights of each month’s Radio Talking Book schedule. The newspaper is featured in its news programming. Anyone with questions can contact State Services for the Blind at or 651-642-0885 or 1-800-652-9000.
[Source: State Services for the Blind]

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