Weekly News Summary, November 1-7



Reduced building access due to COVID-19 outbreak

On October 30, Commissioner of Administration Baabiitaw Boyd issued a memorandum to all Mille Lacs Band employees stating that new COVID-19 cases among the workforce would result in the closure of all Band buildings to the public for at least two weeks except by appointment. The closure began on November 2. The Clinic will remain open to Band members with scheduled appointments. Commissioners will continue to encourage remote work for employees whenever possible. For the complete memorandum, see memorandum-building-access-and-remote-work-due-to-covid-19.

Band members are encouraged to apply for General Manager post at Grand Casino Hinckley

Grand Casino Hinckley is looking for a General Manager. Band member and Indian preference apply. Check out this link to the job description and application instructions: https://millelacsband.com/jobs/general-manager-grand-casino-hinckley

Substance Use Disorder Services are still available

As per the memo from Commissioner of Administration – Baabiitaw Boyd many Band employees will be working remotely for the next few weeks. The SUD dept remains committed to providing services via telehealth during this time. Please continue to call us at 320-532-7773 OR via our Department Cell Phone at 320-362-4208, or via email at sudinfo@hhs.millelacsband-nsn.gov.

Child Support office temporarily closed

The Mille Lacs Band's Tribal Child Support Enforcement office is temporarily closed. Office staff can be reached by their phone or e-mail. Here is their contact information:

— Bev Sutton, Child Support Administrative Assistant: 320-532-7755 , mlb.childsupport@millelacsband.com
— Tammy Smith, Financial Specialist, 320-532-7752, tammy.smith@millelacsband.com
— Kristy Leblanc, District I Case Manager, 320-532-7453, kristy.leblanc@millelacsband.com
— Lindsey Reuter, District II, IIA, III and Urban Case Manager, 320-532-7434, lindsey.reuter@millelacsband.com
— Ann Stafford, Inter-Jurisdiction Coordinator, 320-532-7591, ann.stafford@millelacsband.com

HHS updates procedures

Starting Monday, November 9, all patients, community members, and staff will enter the Health and Human Services building through Door A (main door) to be screened. With upcoming colder weather, and need for more physical space to screen both patients and employees, we are updating our screening processes to allow for the safest and most efficient flow of traffic into and out of the building. We thank you for your help as we adjust to better take care of our community.


Band Assembly met on Wednesday, October 27, and Wednesday, November 4. For a summary of the October 27 meeting, click here: legislative-weekly-update-10-30-20-final. Check the web on Monday for a summary of this week's Band Assembly meetings.


Chief Executive's video updates

Monday, November 2 — The recent increase of individuals positive with the coronavirus in the area, including Band members and Mille Lacs Band staff, has resulted in a closure to the public of the Mille Lacs Band Government offices and the schools for a minimum of two weeks. All Band member services will continue; however, please call ahead to make an appointment. Several of the emergency numbers are listed below. Chief Executive Benjamin also reminds you that tomorrow is Election Day in the United States and urges Band members to vote. Miigwech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCYOHj9TPMI

Frequently Needed Phone Numbers:

Health and Human Services
24/7 Nurse Line: 320-630-0855
Clinic and Mental Health Appointments: 320-532-1463 #2
Dental Appointments: 320-532-4163 #4
Circle of Health: 320-532-4163 #5
R25 Assessments: 320-532-7776
Pharmacy: 320-532-4770
Jan Manary, Executive Director of Health Services: 320-674-4086
Lisa Blahosky-Olivarez, Director of Public Health: 320-362-0423
Mark Watters, Substance Use Program Director
Kate Kalk, Family Violence Prevention Program: 320-630-2499
Kevin Pawlitschek, Emergency Services Coordinator: 320-630-2432
Peter Charpentier, Elder Disability Social Worker Supervisor: 320-292-2283
Denise Sargent, Elder Services Coordinator: 320-362-4418
Tabatha Boyd, Director of Family Services: 320-362-4258
Carmen Kalk, Executive Director of Human Services: 320-364-9116
Nicole Anderson, Commissioner of HHS: 320-364-9969
Michelle Beaulieu, Office Manager/Admin to Commissioner: 320-362-1517

Housing Department:
Emergency on call numbers:
Dan Boyd, Housing Director – 320-630-2620
Brian Scheinost, Public Works Director, 320-630-2624
Tony Pike, Roads/ Solid Waste Supervisor – 320-980-5367
Sean Racelo, Waste Water Supervisor – 218-838-8391
Mike Moilanen, Director of Planning – 320-630-2623
Chad Dunkley, Earthworks – 320-630-4763
Priscilla Boyd, Community Development Receptionist 320-532-7448

Tuesday, November 3 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides Band members with updated COVID information including a reminder that beginning Monday, November 9, all patients, Band members, Community members and employees will need to enter the Health and Human Services Building through Door A (main door). This will accommodate for colder weather and social distancing. Chief Executive Benjamin reminds Band members that today is the last day to vote and kindly encourages people to vote today if you haven't already done so. Polls are open until 8 p.m. Every vote counts! She also added information about free food distributions happening in various districts. (See below.) https://youtu.be/5NjFUUaAt0o

Thursday, November 5 — Recent surges in positive COVID-19 cases around the state and locally are resulting in more employees required to work remotely. Please be assured that the staff will continue to work and offer all the services we have available. Maintaining the needs of our Band members is always our top priority. We need to all do our part. Wearing a mask in public places is the best thing you can do to help prevent the spread in our communities.

Family services had the first of many community outreach meetings last night. There was good discussion and feedback. We want the community to be engaged in the process of developing the Mille Lacs model. Be on the lookout for more meetings!

This weekend is the state firearm season opener. For our harvesters out this weekend, be safe while exercising treaty rights. Maps and regulations are available in D1, D2 and D3 as well as on the Band’s website under Title 11. With deer harvesting, there is evidence of an increase of Chronic Wasting disease in some areas near Band lands.

In effort to study the increase in CWD in the region, the Band’s DNR has collaborated with the University of Minnesota and other Bands in Minnesota to take samples from deer that have been harvested. Some of the DNR staff will be trained tomorrow to collect lymph nodes from the deer. We cannot collect samples if we don’t have deer. That’s why we need help from harvesters; please save your deer heads if you can. There will be drop off sites in District I at the main DNR office, District II at the community center and District III at the community center. Analyzing the deer we have harvested from our lands will give us a better understanding of the spread of CWD and the impact it has in our region for the next generations to come.

Reminder to continue applying for the CHAP housing grant for rent/mortage/utilities assistance. Contact any case manager or if Urban area, contact Wahbon Spears.

The Urban office and District II/McGregor office are working remotely due to recommended isolation. They are taking calls and emails and helping Band members get connected to any program or services they might need.


Friday, November 6 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provided a COVID update and discussed a job opening for Grand Casino Hinckley General Manager. She encouraged Band members to apply for the position. Chief Executive Benjamin also briefly talked about the Elder meeting held via Zoom and thanked everyone who joined in on the call. Many questions were asked and all questions that were asked and not answered will have an answer soon. Miigwech! https://youtu.be/jutlsNhmb8A

Narcan Training Video

If you or someone you know is currently taking a prescription opioid such as Percocet or OxyContin or illegal opioids such as heroin, then you should know about accidental, life-threatening overdoses. Narcan (naloxone HCI) nasal spray can save a life until help arrives from trained emergency medical professionals. Please take a few minutes to watch this Narcan use training video message. Knowing what to do can save a life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGdUFMrCRh4


The November issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin, along with many back issues, can be found at https://millelacsband.com/news/inaajimowin-archive.

You can also find web versions of Inaajimowin stories as well as breaking news at https://millelacsband.com/news, including the following:

'You're coming with me!' A love story for the ages

Mary Anne and Glen Bellonger had an interesting start to their 49-year relationship. Read more at https://millelacsband.com/news/you-re-coming-with-me-a-love-story-for-the-ages.

Oliver Benjamin — The real meaning of community service

Adrienne Benjamin shares an inspiring story about her grandfather at https://millelacsband.com/news/the-real-meaning-of-community-service. Do you have a story to tell about your Elders? Write to news@millelacsband.com.

GRA updates DGRs

The Mille Lacs Band Gaming Regulatory Authority (GRA) is an independent regulatory agency of tribal government established to separate the government’s regulatory function from the management function of the Gaming Enterprises. Almost two years ago, the GRA set their sights on updating the form and function of their entire library of detailed gaming regulations (DGRs). With the help of industry experts, they wanted to consider updated regulations to enhance the control environment of the DGRs and explore opportunities for regulatory and operational efficiency and effectiveness of operations. If you have any questions about GRA regulatory rule-making, the pending changes, or rollout plans, reach out to Becky Houle, Executive Director, at 320-532-8194 or bhoule@grcasinos.com. More information and contact numbers can be found on the Band website at http://www.millelacsband.com/government/gaming-regulatory-authority. GRA Board meetings are open to the public. Due to COVID-19, meetings are currently being conducted remotely using Zoom. For details, see https://millelacsband.com/news/detailed-gaming-regulation-revision-project.


Band Member food distribution

There will be Band member food distributions over the next few weeks. Please see the schedule below to find your area and the date and time for the distribution. This service is provided for all Band member community members. District I food distribution was held on November 3.

District 2
Tuesday, November 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the East Lake Community Center Parking Lot

District 2A
Tuesday, November 17, from 1 to 4 p.m at Chiminising Center Parking Lot

Urban Area
November 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Urban Office at 1404 East Franklin Avenue South.

District 3
November 23, from 1 to 4 p.m at Aazhoomog Community Center Parking Lot

Turkey and Pie Giveaway

Due to the ongoing concerns of the pandemic, MLCV is canceling the in-person Fall Feast this year out of the care and concern for this community. In place of an in-person event, each household will receive an MLCV Turkey & Pie coupon to redeem at either Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Grand Casino Hinckley on November 13, 2020. Watch your mailbox for that coupon – exclusively for Band members.

The giveaway will be held Friday, November 13, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley. At Mille Lacs, go to the south side of the Events Center, between Grand Casino Mille Lacs and MLCV Headquarters. In Hinckley, go to the outside of Ballroom Five, near the main hotel entrance.

You won’t need to get out of your vehicles, just drive up to your preferred location and we’ll take care of the rest. Turkey and pies will be given out on a first come, first served basis.

Pet Wellness clinic in District I

Please see the flyer below about an upcoming FREE Pet Wellness Clinic that will be held at the old DI Community Center on Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. Due to COVID, appointments are required! Contact Monte Fronk at 320-362-0435 or email at Monte.fronk@millelacsband.com to schedule an appointment or with any questions.

Join our email list

The Government Affairs Communications Team has been working hard to develop more options for Band members to receive important information from the Band. We would like to add your email to the list. The service is free and you can opt out at any time. To sign up, go to https://millelacsband.com/services/mailing-list.