Meeting Minutes for August 2013

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Announcements - Ralph Donais, Chairman

US Representative Kline

  • A lot going on not a lot getting done
  • HR1971 Keep Faith with Tricare Prime act passed in House
  • Change Dept. regulations
  • Klobachar picked up in Senate
  • HR2076 Service Member medical evaluations act passed House
  • Legislation restoring pdmra passed into law
  • HR2216 FY14 Military construction of veteran affairs appropriation act passed house
  • HR2397 FY14 Dept. of Defense appropriation act
  • HR258 Stolen Valor act passed House
  • Illegal to knowingly misrepresent military making profit on wearing medals not earned
  • HR803 Skills act work training bill passed House
  • HR588 Vietnam Veterans Donor Acknowledgment act passed House
  • HR241 Veterans Timely Access to Healthcare act passed House
  • HR231, HR231, HJres47, HR679, HR1132, HR235
    • Not passed into law yet

MN Representative Dettmer

  • Going to look at number of beds we have in veterans homes
  • Late session we were able to pass phase three legislation for veterans home

1. State Agencies and MN Veteran Assistance Organizations
MN Military Affairs - COL Sandy Best - Annette Kyper

  • Tomorrow 40 labor and religious leaders from MN at 133 airlift wing and taking a bus to Camp Ripley for religious event
  • Joint Force Headquarters doing annual training at Camp Ripley and tomorrow is distinguished visitor event for a variety of community leaders
  • Aug. 16th 133 airlift wing commander will be retiring from technician position and be pinning on a star promoted to Brig. General
  • Aug. 17th 133 airlift wing hosting Family Day
  • Aug. 18th Change of Command to Col. Jim Johnson
  • Aug. 23th Arden Hills Training Facility will host Open House
  • Aug. 27th Women’s Equality Day hosted by EOO
  • Aug. 28th MN State Fair Military Appreciation Day
    • Discounted tickets for military members, spouses, and children.
    • Information on State Fair website
    • Veterans Welcome Home Parade at 1030
  • General Nash announced he has selected Brig. General Neil Loydalt as next Commanding General of 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls replacing Major General David Elasario on October 5
  • 347th regional support group new commander Col. Joanna Kliborn on Sept. 7
    • In Roseville, MN
  • Congressional members, Sept. 4 congressional staff breakfast. Invite will be sent with details
  • Sept. 15th Camp Ripley Community Appreciation Day
    • Heroes of the Home front theme
  • October 17th General Grass Chief of National Guard Bureau coming to be honored as Alumni of the Year
  • Next 2 Yellow Ribbons
    • Big Stone County - City of Ortonville on August 17th at 1900
    • August 22 Yellow Ribbon Company - Allions Life Insurance Company of North America
  • Approved action plan for Bloomington and Normandy College for Yellow Ribbon
    • Celebration coming this fall
  • June, US Bank hosted a Yellow Ribbon seminar
  • Department of Natural Resources hosting next Yellow Ribbon Company seminar - date to come
  • Close to meeting our goal. Only seven cities left to become Yellow Ribbon communities

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie

  • Busses of people went to Gettysburg to rededicate
  • Only state who organized delegations
  • Alan Duff was recognized as veterans business advocate of the year

MN Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) - Kathy Vitalis

  • 650 veterans for yesterday’s stand down
  • VA healthcare system got 13 new patients yesterday
  • VBA volunteers doing registration is part of the flow and control of yesterday’s stand down
  • Fundraising dinner Sept 20 at Hotel Sofitel
  • Virginia and Duluth stand downs at end of August. Dates on website

Military Action Group (MAG) - Ralph Donais

  • Need input of things you need to see in MN
  • Carried over from last year
    • Tax credit for employers hiring veterans carried over from last year
    • More military retirees to come to MN; losing millions of dollars a year to Wisconsin who has tax free for veterans
    • Veterans homes discussion about fixing Minneapolis veterans home when we can build them in other places

2. Federal Agencies

VA Regional Office - Director Antione Waller

  • Continue to help neighboring states on backlog of claims
  • Managing about 9000 out of state claims
  • Effective Aug. 6 we will now grant up to one year of retro-active disability compensation for all original claims filed which are fully developed
  • Holding workshops at newly renovated regional office on Sept. 16 - more information to come
  • First floor of federal building will be open in next couple of weeks

VISN 23 - Judith Johnson-Mekota

  • Final stages of review and approval of FY14 budget
    • Strategic initiatives
      • Set aside dollars to build innovative and creative programs for veterans
      • Looking at patient centered proactive initiatives with strategic dollars in FY14
  • Veterans will receive letters from VA business office regarding affordable care act
    • Have access to VA website
    • Links on 3rd page of handout for how and where to apply

VAHCS Mpls - Erik Stalhandske

  • Clinics
    • July rededicated community based outreach clinics
    • Give over 50% of primary care through clinics
    • July 12th celebrated renovation of Twin Ports outpatient clinic in Superior Wisconsin
    • July 26th dedication events for clinics in Hibbing and Ely.
    • Ely clinic is new - only open Tuesday and Thursday
    • Southwest Metro and southern border CVOCs nothing new to report - evaluating vendors
  • Parking garage is making great progress
    • May be complete early - originally an 18 months project
  • First Impressions project in the Atrium
    • Tearing out planters so it will be the initial entry point with kiosks
    • Increase presence by adding business office
    • Beginning in just a couple weeks and will be a 6 month project

VAHCS St Cloud VA Medical Center - Trish Aljets

  • Clinic staff
    • Announcing new members: Oral surgeon, two dentists, two pediatrists, in Sept. we will have a laryngologist
  • Developing new pain clinic - more in the new future
  • Veterans rendezvous last Saturday
    • Outreach event bordering on a stand down
    • 1500 people attended
  • Continue rollout of electronic funds transfer

Ft Snelling Cemetery - Brad Butler Assistant Director

  • Memorial wall project almost complete done by end of summer
  • Exterior fence painting project
  • 34th avenue construction project still going on
  • Thursday evening eastbound on ramp supposed to re-open and closing west bound ramp
  • 482 interments
    • 4 female
    • 216 rifle squad honors
    • Army 111
    • Navy 61
    • Air force 31
    • Marine Corp 12
    • Coast Guard 1
  • Back gate is still open from 8-430

Vets Employment & Training Service [VETS] - David Seay

  • How to apply for a stand down
    • First come first serve competitive grant - information on website dol.gov/vets
    • 2 day event is $10k, 1 day event is $7k

3. Federal Congressional Representatives and Senators

Senator Amy Klobuchar - Greg Swanholm

  • Early in July Senator chaired joint economic committee on examining trends in veterans deployment and hosted CEO of Excel Energy and their effective strategies
  • Senator presented Purple Heart to family of Vietnam veteran injured in 1968. Due to paperwork errors he never received it and contacted us because he was terminal.

Senator Al Franken - Nicole Ly

  • MN veterans workforce center last month had job and resource fair
  • Disabled American Veterans put on annual event
  • Rural Veterans Healthcare Act dropped last week w/ cosponsor from Arkansas
  • Senator Franken wants to be sure MN claims are not being put on hold to process other state claims. He will be sending out a letter in that regard.

4th District Representative - Betty McCollum - Connie Haddeland

  • Hand out list of bills
  • Coauthor of HR20D6
  • Eight entered service academy - have completed packets and contacts with young individuals getting ready to apply

6th District Representation - Michele Bachmann - Jessica Faust

  • Bill to establish a committee on POW and MIA affairs - has 33 cosponsors HR231
  • Cosponsored HR2016
  • Voted for 2014 Defense appropriations bill

4. Announcements -

Law Enforcement Training -Wayne Cornelius

  • Upper Midwest committee of policing institute
  • Provide training and technical assistance to law enforcement
  • Completing an 18 month project funded by justice department
    • Traveled cross country training police on de-escalation tactics on veterans in crisis.
    • Free 8 hour course to law enforcement, fire, and EMT if interested
    • Would like CVSO present at each training session in MN

Bob Smith - In July 18th St Paul paper there is an editorial on supporting veterans in MN

www.facebook.com/pages/United-Veterans-Legislative-Council/305460522812395. We are also on Twitter

5. Meeting in Recess for 10 minutes

6. Business Meeting

  • Treasurer’s report:
    • Membership dues - two more have paid
    • Total of 38 organizations - 20 of 30 have paid up
    • $4833.04 July 1st
    • Deposit of $200
    • Transcription $120
    • Parking $29.75
    • End balance of $4883.29
  • Need to get input about what we want to bring forth in next session
  • New Business
    • 133 airlift wing military parking concerns - now all veterans can park there
  • Adjournment/ Next Meeting 9:30 AM - Wednesday 4 September, 2013