Meeting Minutes for February 2015

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Meeting Minutes - February 4, 2015

  • Call to order - 09:30, Invocation - Pledge of Allegiance -
  • Greetings: Recognition of visitors and guests -
  • Announcements - Ralph Donais, Chairman - Jerry Kyser, Vice Chairman.    
Armed Forces Services Center in probably June will allow retirees and wounded warriors to use the facility.

No meeting March 4th, supporting Veteran’s day at the Capitol.

Mike McElhiney - Minnesota Veterans 2015 Legislative Info

  • Veteran’s Day on the hill, starting at 10:00, March 4th.
  • This is a budget year, the Governor has submitted his budget to the legislature.  There’s a number of military bills that have been presented.

LTC Joseph Sharkey - Department of Military Affairs

  • Dept of Defense announced on 23 January that Minnesota National Guard 34th Infantry Division, originally set for deployment, deployment has been cancelled.
  • Major General Rick Nash is out visiting congressional delegation in Washington, DC.

Annette Kuyper - Minnesota Department of Military Affairs

  • Final action plan review to make Hibbing Community and Technical College to become a Yellow Ribbon Company.
  • Mayo Clinic proclamation to be done when their board of trustees is in the state in May to come a Yellow Ribbon company.
  • March 25th will be next clergy training event, held in Lakeville.
  • March 6, semi annual coming together of Yellow Ribbon companies.
  • Full sustainment mode for Yellow Ribbon program.  95 networks across the state.
  • April they will be adding 3 Vista volunteers.

Kathy Vitalis - MN Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)

  • 2014 activity, assisted over 1800 veterans and their families with direct assistance; 25,000 contacts come into their offices in outreach people; 34 legal clinics statewide that assisted close to 1400 veterans; 8 stand downs that served over 2500 veterans; served 170 homeless veterans.
  • This month we are 25 years strong.
  • Anoka legal clinic is February 10th.
  • MACV metro holiday party is December 4th.

Jerry Kyser - Military Action Group (MAG)

  • Working on tax credit for hiring veterans. 
  • Working very hard trying to get veterans hired.

Ron Woolery - St. Paul Regional Office

  • Focus nationwide is on no claim pending on over  125,000.  Employees have gone back on mandatory monthly overtime of 20 hours.
  • They have been chosen to pilot a new initiative; sometime in third quarter of 2015 will be one of the pilots for the national work cue. 

Chris Stromberg - VISN 23/VA HCS 

  • Goals for this year are focusing on improving access; really trying to do is making sure they are providing care within 30 days.
  • VA’s budget was released also.  They are operating on 2.9 percent increase this year, requesting over 7 percent next year.

Curt Thielen - Associate Director of Minneapolis HCS

  • Extensive amount of remodeling going on, over the next few years.
  • Eye clinic will be reopening in May. 
  • Continue to refer veterans who are over 30 days to veteran’s choice list.

Barry Venable - St. Cloud VA

  • Introduced Dave Hentgen, new business manager.
  • They do have some wait times over 30 days, but are in the process of hiring, trying to get wait times down.
  • They have lots of construction going on also.
  • New mental health building is almost done!
  • For four years there's been a project underway for enhanced use lease for homeless veterans housing, there have been some delays on the developer's side, there is some progress underway.

Bob Raeser - Fort Snelling Cemetery

  • January:  393 Interments
    • 72  WW2 vets
    • 54 Korea vets
    • 55 Vietnam vets
    • 2 Persian Gulf vets
    • 15 peacetime vets
    • one active duty, soldier found in Korea
    • 194 dependents
    • Rifle Squad performed 173 of services for January, with a total of 736 year to date.
    • Doing wreath clean up currently.

Alex Schueler - Senator Franken's office

  • Clay Hunt act passed the senate unanimously.
  • Starting to hear back from academies.

Chaz Johnson - 2nd District Representative - John Kline

  • 23 of 26 nominees met for a meet and greet last week. 
  • Working on reintroducing bill for Tricare Prime with reduced mileage radius.

John Paul Yates - 3rd District Representative - Erik Paulsen

  • Congressman met with General Nash yesterday, and was a co-sponsor for the Clay Hunt act, so very happy with the outcome.
  • 7 students so far receive appointments to academies.
  • WW2 veteran has been inducted into the French Legion of Honor from our district.

Ben Peterson & Connie Hadlund - 4th District Representative - Betty McCollum

  • Congresswoman participated in homecoming ceremony for 934th Airlift Wing.
  • Four individuals received nominations for academies.
  • April 14th their office will be hosting service academy information evening at Moundsview High School.

Zack Freimark - 6th District Representative - Tom Emmer

  • Attended departure ceremony for Charlie Co., 171st medical evacuation.

Meg Louwagie - 7th District Representative - Collin Peterson

  • Congressman is once again co-chair military veteran’s caucus, and will also be chairing the rural veteran's caucus.

Rick Olseen - 8th District Representative - Rick Nolan

  • Hibbing clinic is still investigating issues.
  • 13 nominations and 2 acceptances so far to the academy.
  • Veteran's Choice is a huge issue in their district as so many of their vets are more than 40 miles from a clinic.

Announcements –

  • One bill that will be heard on Monday, make it a permanent tax exemption for widows and widowers of people who are 100% disabled, to make property tax exemption permanent until they either remarry, pass away or sell the land.  Currently it is good for 8 years, trying to make permanent.
  • If you can volunteer 4 hours a month to volunteer at the Servicemen's center at the airport, please visit website and let them know you want to volunteer!

 Meeting in Recess for 10 minutes   

Business Meeting -

Treasurer’s report

-Total is:                                                                   $3,956.69
- Deposits -                                                             $   900.00
- Parking                                  $    37.19
- Postage & Supplies           $    16.82
- MAG Legislative Fliers     $  168.64
- Transcription (Jan&Feb) $  240.00
- Total expenses                                                   $   462.65
- Ending balance                                                   $4,394.04

Old Business -       

  • Need to get people to pay attention to what’s going on and get to the committee meetings.  Lots of bills are getting to initial committee last week and this next week.  If a person goes to Minnesota Legislative website you can pull all those bills and get all the verbiage on the bills.

New Business -

  • Motion made and seconded to authorize UVLC to craft a letter to the congressional people of Minnesota to end the sequesting of the funds for the DOD.  Motion carries.
  • Remember, no meeting for March.
  • Veterans on the Lake goes up north in April.

Motion to adjourn.           
Next meeting 1 April, 2015