Veterans for Peace, Chapter 001
Meeting Minutes
31 August, 2006
Lewiston Auburn College, Lewiston, Maine

Prior to meeting the film “Two Interviews exposing 9/11 Lies” was shown at 5:45pm, followed by a discussion led by Dr. Bruce Henry, Professor Emeritus from Worcester State College. The discussion was lively with many well-informed voices participating. Estimated attendance: 35 people. The discussion ended at 7:45pm.

Secretary’s report from June 2006 meeting was approved.

Treasurer’s report —we have $4,666. Members can start paying their 2007 dues starting on September 1, 2006. A letter requesting dues payment will be sent out before the end of September. Dues are still coming in and the 2007 dues will start arriving after Sept. 1. Chapter dues are $15 and National dues are $25.

Last year the chapter contributed to National VFP to assist them w/ a financial crisis. The National Organization is now on solid financial ground (see the national convention report on our website for further information about the budget).

The chapter will receive its next Maine Share payment in January 2007. That payment will be about $2000 as the chapter receives approximately $4500 a year from Maine Share.

Jack & Faye Bussell were the first to pay their 2007 dues.

Tom Sturtevant reported that Sunday, Sept. 17 the Hike & Bike to support Maine Share will occur. Tom is accepting pledges and encourages others to ride and get pledges. It was moved by Doug & seconded by Peggy that the chapter give a pledge of $200 to Tom. It was unanimously approved. It was noted that Bob Dale founded the Hike & Bike event to benefit Maine Share. Individual pledges can still be sent directly to Tom

Past events: July 28-30 Maine Social Forum in Lewiston. Jack, Doug & Dud set up a table and participated in a forum. It was a good event, however very lightly attended.

July 29-30 New England Summit meeting held in Vermont to discuss impeachment resolutions. Bruce Gagnon, Rob Shetterly and Dud Hendricks spoke. This event was organized by Dan DeWalt, a selectman in Newfane, Vermont. Jack said that besides Vermont, the states of Illinois and California have passed impeachment resolutions. Dud is pursuing a resolution in Deer Isle. Jack is looking into Portland.

August 5—Peace Fair in Brunswick. VFP was well represented with the Cost of War display, the helicopter display and an information table. Bob Dale, Tom Sturtevant, Stan Lofchie, Richard Clement, Bruce Gagnon & Bob Lezer participated. The organizers of the day singled out our display as the best one there.

Kennebunkport march.—to protest George Bush and his war mongering policies. VFP participated and funded 2 of the 3 porta-toilets. (yeah) Bob Lezer reported excellent relationships with the Kennebunkport police. Over 600 people marched and there was coverage by 160 newspapers world wide with Jack Bussell and Richard Clements holding the Abolish War banner at the head of the march. Great job.

New Business:

*Bruce Gagnon, in absentia, requests $800 for a radio ad that speaks about the importance of NOT supporting any pro-war candidate in the coming election. Moved by Stan, seconded by Peggy—approved by all present. Jack Bussell will record the ad.

*National VFP convention in Seattle—Doug spoke briefly about the convention and noted that he has extensive notes on the web-site about the convention. It was great. The treasurer’s report from the National convention was very good. Membership is increasing as are donations. The 2007 convention will be in St. Louis in either July or August.

*Portland public schools now have the opt-out choice on the emergency response card. As a result, people choosing to opt-out have increased from 2% to 60%. Equal access, same as recruiters, is to be presented to the school policy committee this fall. Four of the nine members are Greens and another member is sympathetic, so we are hoping for approval.

*Jack reports that Maine National Guard Adventure Programs involve 7th grade middle school students. Thirty-seven schools are participating this year. It is funded through the Drug Demand Reduction Program. We have sent 88 letters to schools and have received 5 replies so far. This is a work in progress. Tom reports that Alyssa Savage, a teacher of the Skowhegan middle school, resigned over this issue. Stan suggested we write letters to the editor about this subject.

*Doug said that there is a Youth Activist Training program offered by Washington state chapters that is partially funded by a grant from the A.J. Muste Institute that he would like to see us model in 2007. It would entail paying high school students to attend a hands-on “peace institute” during the summer. He envisions four or five interns each year if members are interested. It would take a great deal of planning and a fair amount of commitment from the chapter for the program to be a success.

*The play “Songbird” will be put on 9/16 in Brunswick at the Brunswick Theater Project—proceeds go to VFP. VFP will also have a table at the event. Last spring, the play raised over $900 for VFP. It portrays the story of a young American soldier and his struggles with being sent to Iraq. Farmington, Maine playwright Jayne Decker, who wrote and directs the play, will be in attendance. Members are encouraged to attend. Tickets will be $10 at the door.

*Sept. 27-28—Dahr Jamail is returning to Maine. The independent journalist who has spent extensive time in Iraq and now Lebanon will be speaking at USM on the 27th and at U-Maine Orono on the 28th, co-hosted by Maine Veterans for Peace. Kate Harris is organizing. Kate is looking for someone to accompany Jamail around the state. She is also looking for VFP members to be with Jamail during his teleconference: Dud and Eric Hoerter plan to be those individuals if at all possible.

*Adopt a Flag for Portland—flags will go on light posts with a plaque dedicated to a person or group at major parades in the city. It was suggested and approved that VFP pay the $100 and have a plaque dedicated to an Iraqi family or to innocent civilians. The VFP dedication reads: “In memory of Waad Ahmed, a one month old Iraqi male, killed by bombs dropped by U.S. forces, in the village of Nakr al-Deeb, Iraq, May 19th 2004.” Most other dedications are to U.S. soldiers.

* MOFGA Fair—Sept 22 —24. Theme will be counter-recruitment. Helicopter display will be there. It was agreed that VFP members Kamilewicz and Slavick will be allowed to use the speaker’s slot on Sat. morning. Note: we have found out since the meeting that VFP does not have a speaker’s slot on Saturday, so neither Dexter nor Bill will be speaking. Volunteers for the days are…..Friday—Doug, Richard, Dan, Stan, Bob Lezer & Victor. Sat.—Doug, Peggy, Bob Dale, Stan, Dan & Bill Slavic. Sunday—Stan, Richard, Eric, Tom & Dan .

*Doug suggested that perhaps VFP could develop school calendars, perhaps featuring Rob Shetterly’s work, with various days set aside for historical peace events, to be distributed to teachers prior to school starting next fall. The calendars would either replace or supplement the VFP book covers we’ve distributed in the past. Doug will ask Rob Shetterly if he’s interested in this idea. Peggy said she has more book covers and will leave them for people to pick up.

*Dexter’s campaign has requested the use of our mailing list. It was voted not to share our mailing list due to confidentiality reasons. This is a policy we’ve maintained in the past.

*Michael Uhl is running for the national VFP board. He’d like to be one of the 4 new members. The chapter will support his candidacy. His statement can be read on the chapter’s web site. Ballots from the national office will soon be forthcoming.

*The Bangor chapter is looking for ideas and support for an event on Sept. 30. Please see the announcement on our website. Al Larsen is looking for help. The rally and march to Senator Snowe’s office will begin at 1:00pm on Saturday, September 30th. Chapter 001 VFP members are encouraged to join with the Bangor chapter to make this a successful event.

* Other business: Peggy introduced Linda Viggo, the daughter of a WWII veteran who works with Peggy at the homeless shelter.
Bill Slavick noted that Kathy Kelly will not be able to come to Maine to speak; however the new director of Peace Action Maine may be able to.
Jack reminded everybody that Sat. Sept 16th at 9 a.m. there will be a demonstration at BIW regarding the launching of the USS Sampson, another Aegis destroyer.
Bruce Gagnon requested that people participate in the Fast for Peace beginning 9/11—ending on 9/21. Participants will meet from 12-1 each day at the Brunswick Mall for support and to distribute literature.
Dan Ellis announced that the Gandhi film will be shown at the Evening Star Cinema at 7pm on 9/11. Purchase tickets in advance—50% of ticket sales go to VFP.
It was suggest that VFP organize a candidates’ forum for all candidates.
Stan noted that UNH Professor Woodward), a tenured professor, may be fired for his views regarding 9/11. It was agreed that Maine VFP would send a letter of support to UNH supporting the professor’s right to his opinion. Since the meeting Stan has been in contact with the professor, who recommends that we send letters to his congressional representatives and not to the university, which has been solidly behind him.
Dud asked that we support a declaration of peace calling for civil disobedience on 9/21. If interested call Bangor Peace Action.
Bill Slavick said that the progressive caucus is trying to organize an Oct.13-15 Ploughshare retreat.
Victor Skorapa said he had a call from a woman from Bangor trying to have all government agencies workers wear uniforms made by union workers.
Jim Nesbit has the DVD “Loose Change—second edition.” See him at end of meeting or contact Doug if you’re interested in getting a copy.
Eric mentioned a group called Vet-Pac, which supports progressive Veteran candidates. He also said he’s working on a series of films speaking about the war using interviews that are 1/2 hour long w/ veterans. He’s also working with Bruce on Bruce’s Star-Wars project. Eric said he’s trying to get community access stations involved.
Doug announced that prior to the October meeting in Portland, VFP will be showing the video “Reveille! Reveille!” a brief history of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Richard said it would be a good idea to have some of these interviews shown on a TV at our booth at the Common Ground Fair.

We all finally ran out of things to say to the group, so we dispersed. Thanks again to Jim Nesbitt and Stan Lofchie for arranging the pre-meeting discussion and film.

Meeting ended at 9:15 pm.

NEXT MEETING: SEPTEMBER 28TH IN BRUNSWICK AT THE SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER. MEETING WILL BEGIN AT 7:00PM.






Address:
Maine Veterans For Peace
Chapter 001
13 Soper Road
Chesterville, Me 04938


e-mail:
rawlings@maine.edu


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