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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
  • Sen. Koenen and Rep. Falk discuss recent news items in Montevideo

  • With the legislative session coming up on Feb. 25, Sen. Lyle Koenen and Rep. Andrew Falk spent the day Tuesday traveling around District 17 to meet with constituents, and fill them in on what big issues would be addressed.
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  • With the legislative session coming up on Feb. 25, Sen. Lyle Koenen and Rep. Andrew Falk spent the day Tuesday traveling around District 17 to meet with constituents, and fill them in on what big issues would be addressed.
    The American-News sat down with them at the Chippewa County-Montevideo Library, to talk about issues that had been in the spotlight in Montevideo lately.
    Veterans home
    Last month, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners approved a commitment of $3 million toward the construction of a veterans home in Montevideo, bringing the total local commitment to around $5 million.
    The process of bringing a veterans home to Montevideo has been described as a marathon situation, and Rep. Falk and Sen. Koenen pointed out another possible bump in the road.
    “Both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the governor want to finish the Minneapolis home first,” Falk said. He explained that the home in Minneapolis still needs a number of beds to be completed, and that work on it may take two to three more years.
    “We’re still authoring legislation to support a veterans home (in Montevideo,” Falk said. “But a half a million has been spent per bed in Minneapolis. That’s a lot of money, and (the State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs Committee) is wondering if there is a better use of resources to help veterans.”
    The American-News reached out to the Minnesota Deaprtment of Veterans Affairs about the half a million per bed figure Falk had been given. Their statement was: “That is an inaccurate number and is much more than the cost for each bed, to include construction and campus infrastructure. The final construction phase incorporates a number of infrastructure components that were value engineered out from previous phases. In its totality this is a three-phase project that includes 441 beds, the addition of an Adult Day Center, a renovated infrastructure that supports the campus, and a centralized pharmacy to serve the entire network of Homes.”
    Falk and Koenen said they were both still committed to bringing a home to Montevideo, but said the State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs Committee has offered up a different plan: the construction of  Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans Homes, as opposed to centralized care for veterans.
    These homes would be independent living facilities with a full time case worker on site who helps facilitate contact with veterans clinics, veterans services, job services or whatever else the residents may need from other sites.
    “They’re supposed to be fairly cost effective, and there are other avenues available for funding,” Falk said.
    He said the drawback of the homes is  less of a focus on skilled and centralized care.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It may not be entirely what we envisioned, but it would be a start. We are still trying to find solutions and we may have to be creative,” Falk said.
    Marv Garbe, president of the Montevideo Veterans Home Committee, said the committee does not support the proposed new plan.
    For more on this story and others subscribe or pick up a copy of the Montevideo American-News.
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