Meeting Minutes for January 2015

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Meeting Minutes - January 7, 2015

  • Call to order - 09:30, Invocation - Pledge of Allegiance -
  • Greetings: Recognition of visitors and guests -
  • Announcements - Ralph Donais, Chairman - Jerry Kyser, Vice Chairman.

Tim Cossalter - Senator Klobuchar’s office

  • The Senator is co-sponsoring a bill with John McCain the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention bill.
  • Also introducing the Veterans to Paramedics, help veterans who come back and they’re not being given credit for all the training they’ve had.
  • Next Friday there will be a conference call with the VA regarding claims processing.

Chaz Johnson - 2nd District Representative - John Kline

  • Congressman sent a letter requesting imminent danger pay for our National Guard men as they go over to Liberia.
  • Last night the Hire More Heroes act passed 410-0.
  • 32 young men and women applied for the Service Academy, 26 of those individuals received nominations, five letters of assurance and one letter of encouragement have been received.

Connie Hadlund - 4th District Representative - Betty McCollum

  • Congresswoman was sworn in for her 8th term.
  •  They are also finalizing their academy nominations.

Rick Olseen - 8th District Representative - Rick Nolan

  • Minnesota delegation going to Washington next week for a work session.
  • Congressman has met with staff and veterans at the Hibbing clinic to hear about service to veterans.
  • They are still working on academy nominations also.
  • Many of their veterans are receiving their Veteran’s Choice cards and working with trying to get the veterans able to go to the doctor closer to home.

Mike McElhiney - Minnesota National Guard

  • There will be some bills dropped tomorrow.
  • Legislative reviews will be online next Friday.

LTC Joseph Sharkey - Department of Military Affairs

  • Major General Rick Nash promoting chief of staff Colonel John Jensen to Brigadier General.
  • Major General Judd Lyons, acting director of Army National Guard, making chief warrant officer 5 Peter Panos next command chief warrant officer for the National Guard, leaving Minnesota and heading to DC.

Annette Kuyper - Minnesota Department of Military Affairs

  • We are in sustainment mode of our Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program.
    • Community capacity building, how do we synchronize efforts.
    • How do we take our networks in the community that are working and bring them together in addition to our company networks.
  • January 14 Minneapolis Community and Technical College will become a Yellow Ribbon Company and in final stages with Mayo Clinic working to become a Yellow Ribbon company.
  • City of Northfield, January 28 will be holding their kickoff to become a Yellow Ribbon community.
  • March 6, semiannual coming together of Yellow Ribbon companies.
  • Save the date, joining community forces events, bring together service providers and yellow ribbon networks to share best practices, build relationships.  April to May, they will be hold them in Albert Lea, Alexandria, Willmar, Cloquet and Bloomington.
  • They are seeking three Ameri Core Vista volunteers, looking for three great people to join the team.

Kathy Vitalis - MN Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)

  • Metro Legal Clinics, today in Duluth, 1/13 at VA in Minneapolis and February 10th in Anoka.
  • We have added a second attorney, taking on certain cases, expanding pro bono relationships.
  • Metro stand down, August 4th and 5th.  Boy Scout base camp, flyers coming soon. 

 Jerry Kyser - Military Action Group (MAG)

  • Only put three or four legislative items out there.
    • Working on tax credit for hiring veterans, extension on the widow’s property tax.  Funding for veteran owned businesses.   Retiree pension exemption, making Minnesota more vet friendly.
  • Senator Anderson came up with the process of doing a resolution to put up the honor remember flag.
  • There are not many veteran owned businesses who are able to bid on the Vikings stadium.
    • Only 2 percent of the contracts are veteran contracts
  •  Next meeting January 26.
  • Charitable gambling is being talked about.

Kim Graves - VA Regional Office

  • Ms. Graves introduced herself, gave a little bit of her background.
  • We are moving toward electronic claims processing. 

Chris Stromberg -VISN 23/VA HCS

  • Network includes health care includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.
  • Mr. Robert McDonald is new secretary, announcing a new initiative, to improve customer service through VA.  Designed regionally to address concerns people are having through the health care system.
  • We are working very hard to improve access and reduce any waiting times out there for services.
  • We are also working on the no show appointments!
  • We are very busy, we are hiring people, lots of construction going on.

Ralph Houston - Minneapolis VA

  • They are monitoring the Hibbing VA, there is an OIG investigation ongoing.  Since Sterling took over the clinic a year and a half ago the numbers are significantly higher than under the previous vendor.
  • Veteran’s Choice, asking Kurt Thielen, business manager, to attend the next meeting.
  • Mankato CBOC is being renamed, Legislation was signed into law, it is the Lyle Pierson Community based outpatient clinic.
  • Tele ICU, we opened up under VISN, 15 clinics are in the medical center and can view patients in medical clinics as a second set of eyes.
  • Wi-fi will be completed by the end of the month in the VA, so you will be able to connect to wi-fi.
  • Town hall meetings, in Minneapolis in March.  September in Minneapolis, Rochester in December.

Patricia Elgetts - St. Cloud VA HCS

  • Town hall meeting in Monticello, robust discussion about dental services and eligibility for services, looking for convenient locations and focus on transportation for getting vets to appointments.
  • Next town hall is in Alexandria on March 11th.
  • We’ve had a few leadership changes, Mary Hauge is retiring at the end of the month.  David Hentjum has been selected as new business office manager, John Triffles, chief of police has retired and Mike Teratolla is replacing him.
  • St. Cloud has also gone wi-fi compatible.
  • We do have a very robust outreach schedule.

John Knapp - Director of Fort Snelling Cemetery

  • Still remain fourth busiest cemetery in the national cemetery association.
  • Only 17 percent of eligible veterans are utilizing the cemeteries.
  • December:  396 Interments
    • over 212,000 population
    • of December’s interments 46% were dependents
      • 18%  WW2 vets
      • 14% Korea vets
      • 16% Vietnam vets
      • one active duty Marine
    • Memorial Rifle Squad performed 181 of services for December, with a total of   over 67,000 since their inception.
  • Laid over 3,000 wreaths in December, over 20,000 wreaths have been placed and will be removed by Boy Scouts in February.

Announcements -
As was brought up, veterans outside of 40 miles are having trouble getting trouble getting to appointments, and we need to get doctors to accept the Veteran’s Choice.

 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
Discussion held on bills before the Legislature.
Jerry Kyser nominated for 1st Vice and Mike Rivard nominated for Secretary, both were elected to those positions.       
Motion to adjourn.           
Next meeting 4 February, 2015