Meeting Minutes for December 2014

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Meeting Minutes - December 3, 2014

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

  • Greetings: Recognition of visitors and guests -
  • Announcements - Ralph Donais, Chairman - Jerry Kyser, Vice Chairman.    

John Knapp, new director of Fort Snelling cemetery, was called up - Presentation of picture to Fort Snelling.

Ralph Donais - UVLC

  • Reminder  that the Armed Forces Service Center at the Airport needs volunteers.

Ron Wollerie - VA Regional Office

  • Reminder, Monday, Ms. Kim Graves will officially be taking over for the St. Paul Regional office.
  • They will be hosting a Town Hall in Rochester on 12/11, along with the Medical Center at the armory in Rochester.

Michael Rosencranz - VISN 23/VA HCS

  • Hot topic obviously is the Veteran’s Choice Act, signed by the President August 7th.
  • New Chippewa Valley dedication on November 21st.
  • Lots of construction going on.
  • Flag Atrium is complete!

Atlas Anagnos - Administrative Officer to Barry Bahl/St. Cloud VA HCS

  • VA has officially terminated the contractor on the windmill.
  • Veteran’s Choice Act,  staff is working on becoming knowledgeable.
  • We had a scheduled visit from the OIG, Office of Inspector General, went extremely well.
  • Also having a townhall, December 10th in Buffalo.

John Knapp - Director of Fort Snelling Cemetery

  • We are trying to dispel the rumor that Fort Snelling is running out of room, that is not correct. At the current rate of internments, we have enough room to go to 2050.
  • On 13 of December at 11:00 we are hosting Wreaths Across America, laying approximately 2,700 wreaths.
  • We are one of the commemorative partners for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam war and over the next two years we will be commemorating the Vietnam war.
  • October:  461 Internments
    • 211,603 population
    • 8 female Veterans
    • By war periods:
      • 113  WW2 vets
      • 61 Korea vets
      • 83 Vietnam vets
  • Memorial Rifle Squad performed 215 services for October, with a total of   64,230 since their inception.

Tim Cossalter - Senator Klobuchar’s office

In August the Senator had a meeting with a number of the veteran’s groups, and went through a number of the issues.  They accumulated a list of to-dos, and on the 18th Senator Klobuchar met with the new secretary of the VA in covering those issues.  They included investigation of the VA in providing services and/or appointments.  Also included discussion of electronic processing of disability claims, GI bill/tuition reimbursement.

Alex Shuler - Senator Franken’s office

  • Senator Franken attended the MN Dept of Affairs Veteran’s Day event.
  • Senator Franken wrote a letter to authorize SDSO’s to be able to request funeral headstones.
  • Academy nominations went off smoothly, had 130 applicants that were interviewed.

Chaz Johnson - 2nd District Representative - John Kline

  • NDAA was filed and should come to a floor vote tomorrow, Yellow Ribbon funding will be in there, along with TriCare Prime concerns, the National Guard protection for victims of sexual assault in reserves also.  There is language in there for bringing accountability to the Pentagon.
  • Service academy interviews on Saturday, 32 young men and women.

John Paul Yates - 3rd District Representative - Eric Paulson

  • Also following the NDAA and its provisions.
  • Academy interviews were two weeks ago, on pace with last year.
  • Two months ago Congressman Paulson held a meeting of his veteran’s advisory committee, topics were VA overhaul, veteran’s employment, and suicide prevention.

Ben Peterson - 4th District Representative - Betty McCollum

  • Academy interviews are Saturday.

Nicole Pelzer - 6th District Representative - Michelle Bachmann

  • Mr. Emmer will taking office in January and his representative will be here next month.
  • Academy nominations are also down, they had five applicants.

Meg  Louwagie - 7th District Representative - Collin Peterson

  • Congressman went with Senator Klobuchar to the Fargo VA and hosted Women’s Veteran’s Appreciation Day.
  • Stand down in Lyon County, very well attended.
  • SMSU became a Yellow Ribbon campus.
  • 15 Academy nominations.

Rick Olseen - 8th District Representative - Rick Nolan

  • We are interviewing Academy applicants at this time.
  • Representative Nolan and State Senator David Thomas Sony had a meeting with workers that had quit from Hibbing clinic to hear reasons for quitting.
  • Our district has many veterans who qualify for the Veteran’s Choice cards, and have been working with a number of them.

Shawn Schoesser - 1st District Representative - Tim Walz

  • Congressman sits on the VA committee.
  • Congressman is working on a piece, Veteran’s Toxic Wounds Research Act.  The research they are looking for not only covers the veterans during their military service, but also the effects on their children and grandchildren.
  • Passing out a handout, contact information is also on that.

Kathy Vitalis - MN Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)

  • Metro Legal Clinic, 12/9 at VA in Minneapolis in flag atrium, and a 12/16 St. Cloud clinic.
  • Holiday open house at Bldg 47, 12/5, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m, 724 Madison Avenue.  Duluth open house, 12/19 at Duluth Veteran’s Place.
  • They try to attend one stand down in the nation somewhere.  We make ours better if we look at what people are doing.  

Mike McElhiney - Legislative Director, Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs

  • Thank you to all who attended Veteran’s Day program in Inver Grove Heights.  Next year the plan is to move the program to a bigger venue.
  • 12/7 Pearl Harbor rememberance day at the Veteran’s Service Building, 5th floor, 9:00 a.m.
    • There are some flyers in back.
  • Representative Dettmer’s committee will convene 12:30 to 2:15 on Mondays.
  • Brad Lindsey gave “the”definition of a veteran:
    • Federal law, what are you seeking and here are the specific service requirements for that benefit.
    • State is much different.  1st, are you a veteran, and if you are then there are additional requirements.
    • Minnesota Statute, basically three parts to be a veteran.
    • Served on active duty, which does not include active duty for training, 181 days,  separated under honorable conditions;
    • If you were discharged from military due to disability incurred;
    • You have met the minimum active duty requirements under 38 code of federal regulations section 3.12A.

LTC Joseph Sharkey - Department of Military Affairs

  • Quarterly congressional staff breakfast this morning.
  • 34th Infantry division has been notified that division headquarters will be mobilized to support humanitarian relief as part of Operation United Assistance in West Africa, spring of 2015, potentially 700 members of the 34th to be mobilized.
  • One initiative for the Army National Guard, proposal to add cyber protection team, ten states, Minnesota being one of them.
  • 14 January the Minneapolis Community Technical College will be proclaimed as Yellow Ribbon company.

 Jerry Kyser - Military Action Group (MAG)

  • Thanks to all the Minnesota sports teams that have honored the military.
  • Working on an omnibus bill, one bill and then governor can line item things that won’t work.
  • Really hoping to get the veteran owned businesses to be involved with the Department of Military Affairs.
  • The Military Action Group is an opportunity for us to work together with the legislators who are right there in the room to put forth ideas.
  • Former Representative Severson is pushing to allow electronic ballots for people that are deployed, to allow them to vote via electronic.

Announcements -

Armed Forces Service Center needs volunteers, they are open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Meeting in Recess for 10 minutes   

Business Meeting

Treasurer’s report:

  • Total is: $4,433.92
    • Zero deposits
      • $37.19 dollars in parking
    • Total expenses $277.19
  • $4,276.73  is ending balance


Elections for 1st Vice and Secretary will be held ay January meeting.  Currently Jerry Kyser nominated for 1st Vice and Mike Rivard for Secretary.
Motion to adjourn.

Next meeting 7 January, 2015