Meeting Minutes for November, 2012

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UVLC Minutes–Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Call to order -

Introduction of Glen Bloomingstrom retired colonel chaplain airborne Special Forces - 2 sons in the military Chaplain 30 years will serve all religious groups

Invocation by Glen Bloomington

Pledge of Allegiance

Introduction of New Commanders: Mark

      Mike Mike McElhiney - MDVA

  • DFL took back House and Senate in MN (Senate 39 seats DFL 28 GOP and House 73 DFL and 61 GOP)
  • Lost Congressional District MR. Nolan took 54% of vote
  • Word still out on 6th district. Looks like Michelle Bachman but could be challenged
  • Neither marriage or ID amendment passed
  • Brought copy of new legislators
  • Dept. submits its budget initiatives not public: Session scheduled to begin January 8th
  • By January 22 the Governor must submit budget to Legislature
    • Will wait until after February forecast to get closer look at deficit
  • Unknown where MDVA will fall out in House and Senate
  • All old room numbers and phone number for legislature will change
    • GOP majority move back downstairs in state office building
    • DFL back to capitol
    • Keep posted on changes

      Col Best unable to attend:
            Announcements for Best:         

  • Yellow Ribbon:
    • General Mills declared on November 8
    • Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity confirmed November 13
    • City of Willmar on December 7
  • 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth MN
    • December will bring welcome home ceremony in coordination with Annual Rewards and Retirement Ceremony
    • Marked return of most of the airmen base 148 fighter wing deployed to Kandahar in Afghanistan
    • 148th wing deployed F16 aircraft and personnel to support coalition ground forces
  • Contact Best with any questions

Kathy Vitalis MN Assistance Counsel for Veterans:

  • Building 47 Open House on December 7th
    • Flyers available
  • Next legal clinic November 13th at Minneapolis VA
  • Mankato stand down November 14th at Verizon Wireless Center
    • Last stand down of the year
  • Women’s Sill House ready within the month
    • Looking for veteran mother and children to occupy the home
    • Open house date and time pending
    • Transitional housing in St. Paul
  • Pending - mobile home in Duluth area (good condition) trying to acquire to use for women veterans in Duluth area
  • Looking at any opportunity to get a footprint in remote areas
  • MacV gets base funding but one time funding of $100000 is June 30th
    • Looking for additional funding to support prevention work through the legislature

Comment: Bob Erickson

  • November 1st through 30th coat drive for MACV

Announcement: St. Mary’s third year donating $1000 to MACV fir Veteran’s Day
Mike:

  • Thank you to everyone that showed up to WWII
  • Thank you for voting

Announcements:

  • 800th WWII Veteran out of Twin Cities
    • Next is April 27th
    • October after that
    • Meeting on Tuesday at 11am at 500 North to discuss changes in legislature
      • Objective to support MDVA and Military Affairs: Grassroots input
  • Christopher Dewaforest  Fair Vote MN
    • Trying to pass legislation for instant run-off voting
      • Pick primary and second and third choice which eliminates need for primary
      • Eliminates need for deployed military to fill out two ballots
      • Some states offer this just for the military
      • There was concerns that deployed military would not receive ballots on time sparking three senators to push for a fix
      • Fair vote is requesting support. Bill on 2013 legislative session; need backing

Question: Will instant run off voting be used on presidential, governor, or legislator elections?
Answer: Bill refers only to local elections. It is important to take baby steps.
Question: Not happy with results of run off voting in St. Paul and believe that the system favors the incumbent. I do not like the way it is set up and I do not want to see it anywhere else.
Answer: Rank Choice voting is the way non incumbents have a voice. Elections have become polarizing. This gives everyone a chance to nominate someone for second place. It curves the need for voters to focus on negative ads.
Peter Panos VA Regional Office

  • Director Waller on assignment in DC for extended time (30 days or longer)
    • Mr. Monroe is acting director right now
  • VWRAP vet education program for vets over 35 who are unemployed
    • Goal was 54000 new veterans signed up by March
    • Already at 21000 since re-open in October
    • Pending 40000 applications
    • Provides additional 12 months of education
    • Legislature interested in keeping this funded
  • VA is transforming
    • Began aligning teams that are specialist in certain claims
    • Work one file at a time
    • St. Paul started this process October 29 and transformation is complete
  • Veterans Service Center rated over 9100 claims
  • 95% of all restricted claims in St. Paul back from Colorado
  • 460 outreach events
  • 6 stand out programs
  • Dewey and Stanley go to all homeless shelters in the cities
  • Transformation vet building is on track and on budget

Questions: Teams are focused on type of claim, is there a team that focuses specifically on homeless?
Answer: There is not a specific team just for homeless. If that comes up we move claims up if there is an immediate need.
Comment: Some of our homeless veterans are registered in VWRAP it’s a great program
Response: Many vets use their education benefits when they are young and now they need to further education and they are out of funds. The program provides funds for that continued education. It is hard to get employment once people are 40 so we are providing them the education they need to be competitive.
Carl Hemsley (Ms. Murphy)

  • Newsletter been handed out
  • Moved network office to Eagan for VA medical center to use old building
  • Minneapolis announced Diabetes Prevention Program: 22% of vets have Type II Diabetes
  • VA Black Hills expanded Dialysis Unit in Hot Springs
    • From 20 to 28 beds
    • Can now handle more than 2800 visits per years
  • Flu vaccine: Urge to get the vaccine no concern with running out of vaccine
  • Fungal Meningitis: VA did not administer any medication that was affected
  • Drug disposal:
    • VA not allowed to take back medications once they have been dispensed
    • To rid of extra medications, find a take-back program in the state.
  • VA looking at a pilot program to provide pre-paid envelopes to vets so they can send unwanted meds to a disposal company
  • Flu vaccines are available at the VA now

Ralph Public Affairs Officer Minneapolis VA:

  • New Director has been named but not released yet
    • 4-6 month process in replacing director
  • New associate director 90 days ago
  • 46% of veterans get primary care through CBOC
    • Just announced that planning is underway for clinic number 12. This clinic will open in late 2013 or early 2014. Unsure where it will be but looks like southern border.
    • Renewed facility in Maplewood - Under construction and will re-open in January 2013
    • Superior Outpatient Clinic: Three stage process
      • Stage I is complete
      • Spring 2013 will open
  • Check arrived for new parking garage on Friday. Check for 9.1 million plus design.
    • Put off plans to begin construction in Fall has been pushed to Spring
    • Large construction zone
    • Surface parking will lose 233 spots
    • Handicap parking moving to staff parking
    • Employees are using alternative parking
    • Ground level walkway to the center will be heated

Barb St. Cloud VA:

  • Construction updates:
    • Plan a kitchen update but delayed because over budget of 10 million dollar cap
    • Intermediary Psych building construction should start in fall; bids were accepted
    • Placement of MRI expected operational next spring
    • Expanding dental projects well underway
    • Geothermal connecting to buildings should be connected by winter
    • Remodeling extended care building
    • Working on parking lots
    • Wind Turbine marginally operational and in hands of national contracting company
    • Increasing ventilator unit: 10 beds to 15 beds
  • Montevideo CBOC celebrated 10 year anniversary
  • Budget for facility this year is fine
  • Upcoming events:
    • Veterans Day ceremony Sunday November 11th @ 1:30 in auditorium building 8 hosted by St Cloud Metro Veterans Counsel and includes remarks from Operation Enduring Freedom OEFOIF veteran Captain Jeremy Degure. Public welcome to attend
    • Veterans Day parade Sunday November 11th at 3pm. Parking on VA ground or Apollo High School
    • Medical facility closed Monday November 12 but Urgent Care will still be open
    • Public Affairs Officer: Wed. November 14th Voices for Veterans radio show on WJON am. Anyone wanting to promote vet group or inform public can call Barry @ 320-255-6381
    • One man play, Accidental Hero on November 17th at 2pm in building 8 auditorium.
    • Shot clinic December 1 from 10-2 enter through building 1 main entrance

      Question: Is there an update on common bond project on campus?
      Answer: Not sure what that is. It is moving forward but not much recent discussion
      Brad Butler Fort Snelling:

  • 464 veterans, 12 were female
  • 201480 current as of end of October
  • 220 services rifle squad
  • Total 61766 since reception 30 years ago
  • Memorial wall being constructed having contract issues; put on hold until spring
  • Excel and Center point still doing pipeline fitting continue through end of December
  • Not having a veterans day ceremony
  • Race across America done on December 8th
    • Will have a small ceremony; information to come

Dave C. for Scott Mills:

  • Recently approved to move office location 1st bank building in downtown ST. Paul, moving to 13th floor for security
  • No appeals to process VWRAP

Carlson will be at meeting next month he had bypass surgery but will be present next month
Linda Bordereau for John Kline:

  • Committed to fighting sequestration

Connie Handlin for Betty McCullum:

  • Looking forward to learning about other posts in eastern Washington County
  • Will be present at the veterans event on Sunday in Inver Grove Heights
  • Completed academy nomination application deadline. Interviews on December 1, 2012

Jessica for Michelle Bachman:

  • Academy deadline completed have 24 candidates; interviews on Saturday
  • Lamedoc session focus on sequestration and tax rates. Top priorities on sequestration for Bachman.
  • Bachman a member of veterans job caucus
  • Supports GI Bill signed by President Bush
  • Veterans Skills to Jobs Act support
  • Biennial budget bill support

Brian Gordon for Chip Cravaac:

  • Sequestration focus
  • Military nominations; 25 applicants, 15 completed
  • Transition with new congressman; will bring updates to meetings.

MAG:

  • Next MAG meeting will be critical, please try to attend

Question: How many voters were there yesterday?
Answer: 2.912613. That doesn’t count random precincts so about 2.91 million
Adjourned for business meeting

Business Meeting:

  • Meeting on Tuesday SOV Building 11am to talk about changes
  • Need input about what we should work on next year. Need to start working on new projects now
  • Also need new ideas for MAG
    • General mentioned for retirement pay that there are exemptions for tax, I would like to see something like that put into writing
    • Military department of Veteran Affairs explained that MN is not even employer in people coming back to the state that are retired after 20 years because of the tax situations. There is pushback from the Governor but he is listening to Military Affairs because retention is important. There may be some openings there.
    • $750 tax credit if you fall almost below the poverty line
    • Everything in tax omnivous bill was vetoed
    • Wisconsin gets millions more than MN in retiree benefits because they are tax exempt
    • We continue to show that we need to fix taxes to bring retirees back to MN
      • Of 18000 retirees last year only 200 came to MN
  • County Veterans Service Officer provided a list of phone numbers for different counties to call for people throughout the state of MN

Adjourned