Meeting Minutes for December, 2012

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UVLC Minutes–Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Call to order - 09:30

  • Prayer
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Present: Secretary of State and Commissioner

Peter for Director Waller:

  • Don Monroe Asst. Director announced retirement effective December 31
    • Begin searching for replacement in mid-December
  • Nationally lost ground on processing vet claims
    • Locally Minnesota is number 1 nationally in handling claims
    • Next big challenge is pension claims
  • National push about PTSD and homelessness. Going back to 2001 to look at PTSD claims and how it relates to homelessness
    • Push to get vets with PTSD in and examined
  • Three people who go out to homeless shelters in Twin Cities and St Cloud to talk with vets

Question: Mentioned a couple months ago that we would stop doing VESS, any update?
Answer: Unsure about that but I will find out and send it out to you and you can email everyone that information. If that’s an issue we will take care of it. Phone number 612-970-5203
            I am not available every other Tuesday
Steve Julius Chief Medical Officer Vison 23:

  • Flu season here; early outbreak this year spread in southern states
    • 70% flu type A
    • 30% flu type B
      • Of type A subtypes 100% have been identified and contained in flu vaccine
  • Contaminated steroid injection:
    • Off market for months but cases continue to rise
    • 541 infections, 13 in Minnesota
    • VA did not purchase contaminated meds anywhere in the country
    • All sister company medications also pulled from market: we purchase from Ameridose (sister company) but have no cases. We have notified all veterans who received med manufactured by Ameridose.
  • A VA facility in South Carolina had adverse outcomes and been investigated for having long waiting list for colonoscopy.
    • Some delays caused cancer in some veterans
    • Every VA system had to look at a cancer registry in 2010 and 2011 to identify effected group of patients. Find out if there was a delay of 60 days in processing
    • Once identified, reviewers looked at whether the delay caused damage to the patient
    • Completed review. There were very few cases that were delayed in Minnesota. In most, the delay was not long
    • Notifying vets whose delay caused harm and working with them

Question: Ads for chicken pox virus. Can shingles vaccination be received at a clinic?
Answer: Go through your Primary Care Provider. This vaccine is frozen. It has to be thawed and injected within a few hours of the thaw so some lead time is needed.
Question: Do you need an appointment to go to the VA for a flu shot?
Answer: no

  • Nominations for Director Position are forwarded out.
    • A new director in 4-6 months
  • Dr. Kristen Nicol new Director of Primary Care
  • Continuing to search for Director of Specialty Care
  • Maple Grove opening is pushed to mid-February
  • CBOC in Hibbing and Chippewa Falls are now out for solicitations
  • Still no update on new parking lot

Cheryl - Associate Director in St. Cloud:

  • Access is really good right now
    • Less than 2% of specialty are waiting more than 14 days
  • Growth leveled due to Northeast Metro CBOC
    • Looking to expand CBOC to Alexandria and Brainerd
  • Widening area of consideration for a drop-in center for homeless.
    • Going out for bids to find location
  • Homeless housing project is progressing.
    • Working with a contractor and hoping to do a press release soon
  • Wind Turbine still not working. Contactor nearing default. Trying to problem solve
  • Construction update:
    • Dental and Audiology expansions progressing well.
  • Expanding ventilator capacity including facility upgrades and staff

Brad- Fort Snelling:

  • November: 427 bringing total for 2 months fiscal year to 891
  • 6 females
  • Rifle Squad 193 honor services
  • Total 61,959 honor service
  • Utility companies done with piping
  • Race Across America December 15th at 11am
    • Key Note Speaker Dr. Petzel
    • Should be on Malin Drive
  • Memorial wall has contract issues will restart in the spring

Dave C. Assistant Director for Veterans Employment and Training:

  • Nothing new to report for this period

Chuck Spore Team Leader New Brighton Vet Center:

  • Triple Bypass surgery the last day of May and took 4 months off
  • Posting 2 positions:
    • Marriage and Family Therapist
    • Re-Adjustment Counselor
    • If you know veterans who want to work with veterans send them to me: 651-644-4022
    • If you have veterans in need of services, send them as well.

Senator Klobuchar office General said he was going to the Cold Spring officer’s funeral today.
November 10th held interviews for 16 candidates.
Chaz Johnson - Congressman Kline:

  • National Guard with PDRMA issues have started receiving their letters
  • Service Academy day last Saturday 36 outstanding individuals
  • Still concerned with sequestration

Speaker for Congressman Paulson:

  • Academy interviews last Saturday with 23 applicants
  • Congressman signed on two delegation letters:
    • Budget dispute that could have affected military funding 5 million re-allocated to ensure this did not happen
    • Request more F16’s for Duluth Air Base
  • Congressman Paulson and Congressman Kline are working together on Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to ensure two veteran’s housing projects in St. Cloud and Minneapolis are completed.

Connie- Congresswoman McCullum:

  • Academy interviews Saturday. There were 25 applicants interviewed
  • Congresswoman will continue to serve on House Appropriations sub-committees have not been chosen
  • In transition to new district

Mike - Congressman Ellison:

  • Calls from veterans and folks in military about sequestration
    • Recommend watching C-Span
  • 16 Academy interviews a week from Saturday and still accepting applications
  • Exactly 5 million allocated for military funeral honors

Jessica- Congresswoman Bachman:

  • Funeral for Officer Decker is today
  • Academy interviews complete - 22 students interviewed
  • Do not have much to say about sequestration
  • District 113th losing part of Washington County
    • Everything south of Hugo
    • Western Stearns County
  • Gaining Carver County

Question: Different congressional appointment: How many does each congress person get?
Answer: Nicole handles that. I believe it is 10 slots for each office. Each Academy has one slot. For that one slot, you can nominate up to 10 individuals. Each congress person only gets one per year.

  • Each member of Congress can nominate up to 10 kids but the Academy themselves, if they want those outstanding kids, they will charge them to another area of the school. They may take more from the district, but only one per Congress, the Academy chooses the others. But they have to have nominations to get to Academy

Have not heard from Representative Nolan’s office - will get in touch with them
Secretary of State -

  • Military systems group has been working with DOT and other agencies to do more about getting veteran owned businesses connected with opportunities
    • A survey using database in our office and had 1500 business responses
    • Farmer Transportation wants to offer 32 regional workshops across the state.
  • We should be encouraging veterans to open their own businesses
  • Budget coming up so everyone will be working together on that with billion dollar shortfall.
  • Re-dedicating veteran’s graves; Finding soldiers graves that may be worn out or lost and working with VA to get new stone and organizing public event and using as a pivot to talk about the battle they were in. We are getting letters from families who were inspired to look for their loved ones’ graves.
  • This was the first Veteran’s Day when we did not have a living WWI veteran
    • We will continue to think about this through the Civil War
  • A lot of activities here for Gettysburg
    • A lot activities July 1 and 2 in Gettysburg
    • Trying to get the Governor to Gettysburg as well
  • Have Civil War round tables throughout the state
  • Our WWII round table is the largest in the country
  • This month’s edition of the American Legion had interview with the last presenter Heckler (96). He was Secretary of State in WV for many years

Larry Commissioner of Veteran’s Affairs

  • In the process of submitting agenda to the Governor
    • Duane is Chair of County Veterans Service Organization Officers. We do not know what will happen on federal level.
  • If you study post WWI military was training with wooden rifles. It was not until Reagan years that federal funding went to military to build military. With Gulf War it was the greatest military of all time.
  • Fear that with sequestration the American public is going to wipe their hands with the war and military.
  • Veterans are the quietest working people.
  • We want to build a program with the 5 million for military funerals so we can maintain stability
  • Douglas County is getting about 11 million in economic impact due to Veterans Services. Looked at sheet and saw 19 million dollars. The difference is a CBOC. Half of the veterans love CBOC the other half love it but they miss the ride with their buddies to St. Cloud
  • Grown 300 million dollars of federal VA benefits coming back to the state due to the work of our veteran service officers.

Sandy Best - Major General Nash:

  • Major General Nash is at Duluth Air Base
  • Beyond Yellow Ribbon:
    • General Mills and TC Habitat for Humanities
  • This Friday will recognize Sauk Center, Morris, Le Que Parlais County and Appleton as Yellow Ribbon communities and counties
  • 133 Airlift wing at International airport, the Civil Support team responsible for chemical, radiological activity in Twin Cities held an open house because of renovation and expansion.
  • Camp Ripley museum, recommend touring museum
  • November 27th Commissioner Dolan from Department of Public Safety toured Camp Ripley
  • November 29th Department of Public Safety held ribbon cutting ceremony for emergency vehicle operation course for emergency training
  • Past Sunday at 148th fighter wing for welcome home ceremony. Welcomed home almost 300 airmen that were in Afghanistan
  • Yesterday held state legislator orientation for new members
  • Today held congressional staff breakfast at 133 airlift wing. Talked about soldier and airmen care. Talked about the national attention hearing on suicide and sexual assault as well as job and employment needs of veterans and what the MN National Guard is doing about that.
  • This Friday if anyone is a member of National Guard Association in there will be a holiday party at Fort Snelling Colonel Eric Allness as guest speaker talking about deployment on Agricultural Development team in Afghanistan. If want to attend, contact me.
  • This Saturday holding a recognition ceremony at 133rd wing to recognize states outstanding airmen
  • Also on Saturday 134th Brigade Support Battalion holding ceremony honoring retired Sgt. Jesse Lund who is receiving Purple Heart for combat injuries suffered June 29, 2006 in Iraq
  • PDMRA affected many outside Minnesota. Should have allowed soldiers downtime to transition when they returned, It will result in money to soldiers for the time they were not able to take. The first 187 people that were admitted, there are probably 800 just in MN affected. 155 soldiers received initial payment. MN delegation worked hard on this legislation, after it was passed, our members deployed and they changed the policy meaning some of them were earning 2-4 days and was going to 1-2 days. 
  • Congress trying to make an amendment to allow corrections to the legislature for PDMRA

Question: Can soldiers and airmen get Purple Heart for traumatic brain injuries?
Answer: Change happened so they can get recognized with PTSD
Question: Anything happening with the Air Force reserve base being closed and the Guard taking it over?
Answer: Active duty Air Force will impact cuts to National Guard and Reserves. Discussions continue - 934th will lose aircraft but unknown what else that means they will lose
Kathy - Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans:

  • What we do at MACV increases when people come home.
  • Our funding level from the state got cut 50%
  • Every year I go back to get more to do what we need to do in one-time funding
  • Last year we got 100000 of one-time funding so we will be putting a bill in to get additional one-time funding to meet this need
  • Our open house is Friday from 12-4 Building 47 Open House
  • Set date on new transitional home open house on Wed December 19th from 2-4 909 St Anthony Ave in St. Paul
  • Interviewing women for that home. Sometime in December anticipate having someone living in it
  • Collecting Coats for Coat Drive


  • Pearl Harbor event tomorrow at 9am 5th Floor
  • Working with MN DOT to facilitate veteran owned businesses
  • Want to be sure these legislative initiatives stay relevant
  • MN DOT is trying to replace retiring veterans with new veterans
  • Next MAG meeting on December 18th at 10am @ 300 North
    • Looking for input from veterans

Question: About a month ago Dean sent out an email about how score cards are a big deal right now and I was a little dismayed that MN did not do well in comparison to other states by way of veteran friendliness. They can’t forget the veterans.
Answer: I agree we are forgotten. We are a minority. We make up .8% of national population, lower than it has ever been

  • Thank Army Ambassadors: send an email about all the programs that veterans can use
  • I was a guest speaker at the first SGU Veteran’s Day ceremony. I was the only American veteran service member there out of 300 people.
  • Set up rosters within organizations so information can get out quickly for events
  • Bob Erickson’s testimonial in April at Officers Club on the 6th of April
  • January meeting we will elect first vice and secretary
  • Need a transcriber

Business Meeting:

  • Treasurers report:
    • November balance 4426.44
    • No deposits for the month of November
    • Expenses - parking at Capitol for Jerry and Ralph
    • Copying expense from Ralph for 3.04
    • Bank account expense September and October of 6.00
      • Bank started charging for printing statement and checks we write. Since gone to e-statement to avoid the charge.
    • Balance as of December 1 is 4387.26
    • Three organizations not paid for last year:
      • Tiger Base
        • Drop them
  • Old business:
    • Next meeting must elect first vice and secretary, Interested in running, please let us know
  • New Business:
    • Move that we hire a transcriber from a school
      • Motion made and seconded
      • We were paying $115 per meeting
      • May be able to have an Admin Assistant for a meeting or two
      • If you consider making a donation to MACV for what you would pay someone to transcribe, I can bring my Admin Asst. You cannot pay her because I already pay her.
  • Put together phone tree
  • Keep checking MN Legislative webpage when they come out with new committee chairs
  • Toys for Tots through the month. Channel 11 is doing it