Meeting Minutes for May 2013

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Call to order - 09:30, Invocation - Pledge of Allegiance -


Monday Feb. 26, 1968 first ULVC meeting in Governor’s office

  • Visitation for Al is 2-8pm at St. Cloud City Hall today. Funeral tomorrow at 11am at St. Anthony  Catholic Church located at 2405 1st St. in St. Cloud
  • Saturday May 4 is Grand Day for residents of Veteran’s Home in Minneapolis. Putting the Trout tank out and fishing starts at 8:45 am. 126th year for the veteran’s home.
    • Contact Tom Keith for information 612-925-1109
  • Representatives

Secretary of State Mark Richie:  

  • Rededicating a grave for veterans who battled. This Saturday at 10am at Grove Cemetery in Minnetonka is the next dedication
  • Noon on Saturday there are programs at the MN Historical Society part of lead up to what they will be during around the Gettysburg event
    • There is still room on the bus to Gettysburg with the MN delegation
    • Governor will fly out but there will be 2 busloads leaving the morning of June 30 and back July 4th in the afternoon
  • Visit last month from War college
    • Impressed with interactions in MN
  • Effort by Dept. of Transportation to get with veteran owned businesses
    • A lot of business people are excited about this at several commerce meetings

Senator Franken - Nicole

  • Rural vets bills still priority
  • Want to hear from folks about veteran owned businesses
  • Last weekend Franken presented a POW medal to Mr. Dwayne Brotten
    • Members of both MN Korean war veterans and MN former POW members attended
  • Just wrapped up poetry contest
    • Some winners came from parent of member of the National Guard, the 934th and a Navy reservist

1st District - email from Shawn

  • Read email from Shawn
    • Email Shawn any feedback from the email

2nd District Representative - John Kline - Chaz Johnson

  • Congressman sent a letter to the President regarding the VA and making certain that promises made are followed through
  • Signed on HR24 - changing from the department of Navy to the Department of Navy and Marine Corp
  • War Memorial Protection Act - no bill number yet
    • Protects religious symbols on all federal property commemorating services of our armed forces
  • Controversy last meeting with the distinguished warfare medals for drone pilots - got letter from secretary Hagel saying it will be a device and not a medal
    • They have 90 days to work it out and have it in for approval

4th District Representative - Betty McCollum - Connie Haddeland

  • Visit to new CVOC in Maplewood
    • Beautiful space and staffed with committed individuals
  • From Washington on house appropriations and events subcommittee - still receiving presentations from different parts of military and different agencies
  • Successful academy information meeting over 110 people at Mounds View;
    • 53 students attended from 37 different communities
    • Both Senators offices were represented

6th District Representation - Michele Bachmann - Nicole Pelzer -

  • Left new business cards in the back
    • Trouble with new email address so let us know if the emails get kicked back
  • May 13 congresswoman is holding veterans issues symposium covering healthcare, housing, and jobs at Ramsey Government Center in Ramsey, MN from 1pm - 4pm
    • Open to all veterans and veterans groups
  • New legislative director Javier Sanches (veteran with Marine Corp)
    • Now two vets in DC for congresswoman
    • Both Javier and Jason will be here for the symposium
  • Congresswoman is pushing Tricare HR42 to prohibit increased healthcare costs and benefits for armed forces retirees and dependents
    • Still looking for cosponsors
  • Workshops on academy late summer

2. State Agencies and MN Veteran Assistance Organizations

MN National Guard - Col. Sandy Bess:

  • Have MN National Guard Annual Report available on table in back
    • Page 3 and 4 talks about priorities
    • Discusses key events from the year
    • Page 21 and 22 economic impact
    • Page 23 and 24 covers legislative accomplishments from 2012 and 2013 objectives
  • Last weekend National Guard Assoc. of MN conference in St. Cloud
  • Franken’s office is holding poetry contest reception that ran in April
  • 148th Fighter Wing
    • Aerospace Control Alert mission will end June 15th - decision made by Dept. of Defense
    • Congressional action named active associate and active duty personnel will arrive this fall – approx. 50 members.
  • Holding a congressional staff breakfast on June 5th - topic on domestic response
  • Organizing a labor religious leader trip sponsored by retired General Seban in July
  • General Grass will be recognized for Alumni of the year through Metro State University
  • Priorities for MN National Guard
    • Military construction
      • Budget allow for new armory in Stillwater in fiscal 14
      • Division headquarters in 17 going up in Arden Hills: Was a 63 million dollar project. Process takes years and was started in 2004
      • Continue looking for active associate for 133rd airlift wing
      • Looking for cyber mission
      • Sequestration has attention
      • Thank Congressman Kline and other congressional offices who reached out on medical evaluation board case backlog
    • With the construction there is a process for hiring veteran owned businesses
      • Will bring an update on that next meeting

MN Military Affairs - Yellow Ribbon Annette Kuyper:

  • Seven summits for Yellow Ribbon across the state
  • Saturday will be the 6th of 7 in Duluth and last one in St. Cloud June 1st from 9-2 at SCSU campus
  • Have identified 2 things yellow ribbon networks need:
    • Connected to military families and veterans - they can help volunteer and also get support
    • Point of contact list for all networks is on site and is updated
  • Tonight (May 1) kick-off in city of Rogers at Community Center at 7pm
  • Added two Yellow Ribbon companies: Prudential Insurance and the Dept. of Natural Resources they will be recognized at Camp Ripley on June 19th 3pm
  • July 10th Maple Grove will be names a Yellow Ribbon city held during Jazz concert at 7pm
  • Partnering with DEED, Dept. of Labor, and DVA to present a seminar called Leaders in Veteran Employment
    • Able to educate HR community and hiring managers on the benefit of hiring veterans
    • Hosted by BBB on May 14th from 12:30 - 4:30 in Burnsville you can register on BBB web site
    • National Assoc. of Workforce professionals invited us to their national conference in a couple weeks.
  • Minneapolis Yellow Ribbon - held an action plan. Each subcommittee is working on action plans. Hope to be named this fall

MN Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) - Kathy Vitalis

  • Celebrated 12th anniversary with MACV
  • Had Detroit Lakes stand down this week
    • 193 veterans in attendance
  • This Sunday is 5k at U of M hosted by Air Force ROTC
  • Next legal clinic is May 14 at Minneapolis VA from 9am to 2pm
  • Legion ride on May 18th from 12pm to 3pm
    • Ride will end at building 47
  • Going with staff at end of May to National Coalition for Homeless Veteran conference in DC
    • Opportunity to talk to congressional reps
  • Annual dinner is locked in for September 20th - information on that to come
  • Chosen as National best practice in two different organizations for our work with Department of labor, Homeless veteran reintegration program
    • Evaluate what you do and the outcomes of work
    • Look for innovation
    • Chosen for employment piece
  • Just finished our annual audit done by Mahony, Albertson, and Christianson out of St. Paul (private auditor since a non-profit organization)
    • Auditors were on site for 1 week
    • Did not find anything that needed changes

Military Action Group (MAG) - Jerry Kyser (Ralph Donais)

  • Next MAG meeting is May 14th at 10am
    • Will discuss inclusion of Dept of Veterans affairs requests to get buildings fixed
  • Minneapolis VA provided 66 wheelchairs for honor flight
    • Took 162 people; 86 veterans
    • Had to replace 52 veterans from the flight who have passed or are sick
    • Over 350 people in attendance
  • Summit of veterans organizations at the Capitol on April 19th
    • Not making headway on Minneapolis veterans home
    • Unsure if it is going to be funded
    • Stuck in stage II because of contracts and funding for stage III
      • We lost the funding for both phases so had to go back in to request that
    • Assigned a committee to look into veterans homes issues throughout the state of MN
    • Some legislatures are wondering why we do not build other homes outside Minneapolis instead of spending money on one home in Minneapolis but this is where it is needed. We are fighting against that
      • 450 veterans on the waiting list in metro area
  • There have been about 150 veterans bills through the House and Senate and so far only about 5 or 6 have passed
    • One for MACV money, one for CVSO’s and the other two were not financial
    • Others still hung up in committees
    • Tax credit for veteran business is in the omnibus tax bill
  • Senate file 1589 - home bonding conference meeting this Thursday
    • Nick will forward that email
  • Presented idea to Governor for a veteran’s omnibus bill only for veteran’s issues and would prevent delays - this is not going to happen this year
  • The tax exempt requirement was put into the omnibus tax bill
  • The other issue in the tax bill is for businesses hiring veterans in various stages
    • Initial was a tax credit of 3000 but was knocked down to 1500

Alan Duff -

  • Just completed veteran MNDOT outreach program about a month ago
    • Michael Johnson from MNDOT is in attendance today
    • We were hired a year ago to find and connect with veteran owned businesses in MN
    • MNDOT had 29 veteran owned businesses and wanted to grow that number
  • Flattering national article published last month about MN and the MNDOT outreach program
  • MN is now ranked number 5 as state with veteran owned businesses per veteran population
    • Hand out showing statistics
    • Added 15 more veteran owned businesses since March 28th
  • Review process to get veteran owned business verified takes 6 to 18 months
    • The requirement is that 51% or more of business is veteran owned

MN Veterans 2010 Legislative Info - Mike McElhiney

  • Mr. Gould is retiring May 17 - current deputy secretary for veterans affairs
    • Been in position for 4 years
    • Almost 40 years in federal service
    • A replacement has not been announced
  • April 19th a letter and policy came out that provisional decisions will be made on oldest claims
    • Most older claims are waiting for information from the vet
      • If delay is for a medical evaluation we will move them to front of list for evaluation
    • They will take what we have and give a rating - allowing the vet 1 year to provide the information needed to complete
    • If that information is not provided within the year the decision will be permanent
    • Still have 1 year after that to appeal the decision
    • This will give the veteran some compensation immediately
    • This will not change process time for emergency issues
    • Average days to complete claims will go up for approx. 6 months until back log is cleared
      • Current average for comp claim is 98 days, homeless claims average 33 days
    • Will find out if over pay has to be paid back if we give a higher rating than veteran is supposed to have - but do not believe that is the case
  • Currently 115000 VWRAP applications; 99000 approved and 44000 in training
    • Getting approved for grant but veterans are not starting the training
    • Almost two thirds have the money but are not using it
    • Program scheduled to end in March 2014 but usually gets extended
  • National Guard conference this year - speaker was President of Becker Furniture World. He talked about a non-profit the business has
    • Hires veterans but the veterans are not able to do the job they are hired for because they have medical issues and are in pain
    • Take care of medical issues preventing them from doing the job first
    • Resumes are not great and unsure if they would qualify for jobs based on resumes so they need help developing resumes
    • Could be a good non-profit to tie in with MACV
  • Federal Agencies

VA Regional Office - Peter Panos, PAO

VISN 23 - Judy

  • Handout left outside room
  • April 23rd the VA launched the women’s veterans hotline to reach out to women veterans
    • 1 855 VA WOMEN
    • Hoping to increase women’s knowledge on VA services
    • Since 200 the number of women veterans served has doubled
  • Annual survey of enrolled veterans started April 14th and will be ongoing for 16 weeks
    • 2000 veterans selected in each network
    • Link on the handout where you can go and look up past survey results
  • Retirement of Deputy Secretary Gould will cause shifts in leadership
  • Online resource to help with stress for vets who do not want to visit the hospital
    • Called moving forward and link is on the handout
    • Provides education and life coaching skills
    • Open to anyone - no veteran status is required

VAHCS Mpls.  Judy -

  • Moving forward on parking ramp
    • Do hourly checks on parking spaces available to check for peak times
    • Tuesday and Thursday are the busiest days
    • Winter will be a challenge
    • Addressing issues with busses not knowing where to drop people off
    • Contractor of parking ramp is a veteran owned business
  • Clinic changes - clinic in Cook is moving to Ely and planned opening is sometime in July, 2013
  • Establishing a pain center at Mpls VA and will be the VISN hub.
    • Will have 15 to 20 employees right away
    • Will focus on traditional and alternative methods
  • Friday May 17th is VA research day held in auditorium at noon
    • Researcher will be talking about prosthetics
  • VA 2k walk is on May 15th donations go to the homeless programs
    • Third year and runs nationwide

VAHCS St Cloud VA Medical Center - Patricia

  • Last Wednesday was ground breaking for psychiatry center in st. cloud located east of building 8
    • Replacing the parking lot that was there
    • 17000 sq ft
    • 20 psychiatry beds
    • Restructuring - End up adding 23 residential treatments and consolidating some services
  • Law clinic dates are in the handouts
    • May 7, 17, and 21 are being sponsored by St Cloud
    • First two in building 8 on campus and last in Montevideo at the CVOC
  • This Saturday will be first Saturday extended care clinic from 8-12
    • This will reoccur
    • Also extended Tuesday evenings
    • Will not replace urgent care which runs 7 days a week 8am to 6pm
  • Annual evaluation this week
    • They will look at key processes to ready us for next joint commission survey which we expect this year
  • Last week held turkey hunt for veterans with disabilities
    • 34 veterans participated
    • 12 turkeys were harvested
  • Parade of colors starts at 10:30 am on Memorial day and is open to anybody
  • Windmill is waiting on a replacement gear box - not running

Ft Snelling Cemetery - Brad Butler

  • Do not have actual numbers until the third working day of the month so these are preliminary:
    • 411 interments; 9 females
    • Rifle Squad performed 209 honors
    • fiscal year 1310
    • Total 62887
  • Memorial Day celebration at 10am - speaker is Lt Col. Mark Weber Director of Strategic Communications of Joint Force Headquarters of MN National Guard
    • VIP guests enter through gate 3 - there will be parking
  • Memorial Wall construction has resumed do not have completion date

Dept of Labor - Assistant to Scott Mills -

  • Have not processed any appeals for anyone denied this month
  • Time of year when open for people to apply for solicitation for grant application for competitive grants
    • Common - veterans workforce investment programs
    • Incarcerated veterans training program
    • Hoping to get another grant or two awarded because it enhances services
    • Going to DC for 10 days at end of month as part of competitive grant reviews
  • Announcements -
  • Nick - On Memorial Day afternoon the Minneapolis veterans home event will begin at 1:30pm
  • Reach out if you want Memorial Day events publicized, notify the morning show
  • Vicki Lofgren BBB - Touch base on Get in Line, Help Veterans Shine
    • May 14th from 12:30pm - 4:30pm
    • On calendar of event on and you can register there.
    • Will send Ralph the flyer to forward
  • United Healthcare took over for TriCare in April
    • For information you can go to
    • Lists doctors in your city
    • All doctors have to sign up, they are not just accepted
    • Mayo Clinic is not on the list
    • Reservists can sign up for coverage and it will begin when they are off active duty
    • Anyone who has contacts for United Healthcare please share we want to expand their contracts with veteran owned businesses
    • Have not heard if they have a program for veteran owned businesses
    • They do not have an office in the metro area or even in the state at this time
  • Senator Franken cannot participate in Memorial Day this year because he is expecting a grandchild that day

5. Meeting in Recess for 5 minutes  

Business Meeting:

  • Reminder to sign the card for Al
  • Balance of accounts
    • Mr. Rask is having knee surgery again
    • Balance of $5346.29
      • Expenses for printing MAG brochure, parking at MN Dept. of Veteran Affairs building and 2 months of transcription
    • Balance accepted
  • Old business
    • Constant need of people at the Capitol talking to representatives
  • New Business
    • Think about one or two projects where we can donate funds
      • Used to give 2500 to emergence fund which helps people at building 10. That fund deflated two years ago
      • Suggest purchasing ipads or new technologies for UVLC
      • Move to set aside up to 2500 for IT equipment for the organization
        • Seconded
        • Approved
    • PA system cannot be adjusted - If there are concerns with being able to hear speakers at podium please advise or ask them to speak up
    • Jerry still doing informationals twice a year for CVSO’s
      • Grandview once a year
      • The one here is more populated
    • Will forward the write-up on Al

Adjournment/ Next Meeting 9:30 AM -, 2013