VETERANS FOR PEACE MEETING
MINUTES 23 FEBRUARY 2006


The documentary film “Voices in Wartime” shown before meeting.

Date: February 23, 2006
Location: Buker School in Augusta , Maine
Time begun: 7:11 PM

Introductions.

The film “Voices in Wartime” that was viewed prior to the meeting was briefly discussed. It was proposed that we purchase a discussion guide, cost $149, to use in high schools and college settings. There was comment that the film is too long for regular classroom settings. Perhaps could be presented as a special event. It was noted that there is a shorter seventy four minute version. Michael said we could loan to a school and it would be up to the school to show with the option of VFP present. Dud, said that “Beyond Viet Nam”, a 53 min. film, is another good teaching tool. Stan mentioned a movie about Iraqi veterans home on leave who seek asylum in Canada. It was suggested that a VFP film library be created. It was questioned if VFP could afford. Arthur, our Treasurer, said Yes we could afford. Dud moved that we purchase the film. Stan seconded. No objections.

Review of January 27 minutes.

Correction: the spelling of Hilde Lipson.

Arthur moved minutes be accepted as corrected. Seconded by Michael. No objections. Tom reported that representative Farrington’s bill was defeated in committee. The Commissioner of Education to put in writing to all school principals asking that schools put Opt Out on the emergency data card. Doug will write a letter to Representative Farrington thanking him for his efforts and to the State Commissioner of Education regarding the Opt Out policy.

Dan Ellis was congratulated on his fine work with our web site. Great Job!!!!

Treasurer’s report:
Arthur reported that we have $7,327.54. Of this $2,000 is committed to the PTSD program and $1,000 has been received for the program. $85 in payments made for expenses. The next Maine Share payment will be received in June. We receive $5,000 per year from Maine Share. Please send checks for the PTSD Symposium to Doug.

January/February action update:
Representative Michaud’s Town Hall meetings were attended. The ERU media was present. The Bangor Daily News did not carry nor were they at the event. It was stated that Maureen Block had contacted them in hopes that they would editorialize in support of Senators Snow and Collins holding Town Hall meetings. Why will they not? The managing editor, Julie Harris, has indicated how over-burdened they are and unaware of alternative news sources. Ted Benoit is the editor. Jerry Olsen, Bangor VFP Chapter, is organizing a town hall meeting with or without the Senators. Senator Collins held a teleconference with Dud and seven others. The Senator found some of Dud’s remarks insulting.

The Frequent Visitors Program founded by Dud, Bruce and others, continues to be a success. There have been eight occupations of our elected Federal representatives to date. Please continue to visit their offices in small groups regularly.

Arthur inquired if we will continue to fund the Bangor Chapter. We have been giving them $500 a year. It was agreed we would. They are an active chapter and involved in the community.

We agreed to give $100 to the Peace and Justice Center’s operating budget.

After Michaud went to Allen – Allen spoke to each person in turn. Tried to avoid Bruce and others. He did respond to questions. Bruce prefaced his question speaking of Lindsey Graham saying he agreed with Hillary Clinton that we would be in Iraq for a long time.

O’Naturals in Portland, donated percentage of their proceeds from February 13 to VFP, resulting in about $40.00.

BIW, on February 13, thirty (30) people protested the launching of another Aegis destroyer in Bath.

Bruce stated that at his Boothbay appearance a young lady who was a Navy Lieutenant and was driving an Aegis Destroyer when the “Shock and Awe” began in Iraq is now transitioning with a great deal of mixed emotions. A difficult time.

PTSD Conference: Saturday, March 25 from 2:00PM to 5:00PM at the Senator Inn in Augusta. We needed $5000 and have raised $7,120 in cash and pledges. $2,000 of that is from VFP. The State of Maine, Pax Christi and the Southern Maine Labor Council are all sponsoring. We need to advertise more as we would like to have 150 people attend the conference. The Department of Human Services will cover expenses to $3,500. Thanks to the work of Don Hardin. 1,000 brochures have been printed and are being distributed. Press releases are out. The first press conference was today at the Portland Holiday Inn. No Press present. Don Hardin will be contacting all Mental Health Agencies, Homeless Shelters, and the university of Maine and Southern Maine Nursing programs.

Tom states that he has found the National Guard to be supportive of this conference. The University of New England will also be contacted. Sending Michael Uhl’s remarks in print will be sent to the Veterans Centers via Roy Driver. The media black out is a particular problem for our movement. It’s particularly troubling as it negatively affects the PTSD program which is a valuable and vital service to veterans, families and care givers alike. The media should be on top of this rather than resisting. This period is vastly different from the Vietnam Era when we were an “item”. Michael thought that the Public Radio announcement was useless (Doug disagreed). Charlotte Albright has been contacted. The Lewiston Sun Journal may be supportive if you send a personal message. Carol says the Sun Journal has been receptive. VFP is Anti war and is also Educational and a Public Service organization. PTSD should not be politicized – we’re offering a hands on training to support professionals and families.

In May at USM a huge symposium on PTSD is being planned with nationally known Charles Flegling speaking. Doug reviewed the PTSD Conference schedule. Don Hardin is checking on CEU’s for the Symposium. Many thanks to Susan for designing the PTSD brochure and Tom, Tim and Don for all of your efforts on this project. Tom noted we need to recognize MaineShare. Arthur inquired if the speakers are spending the night of the 24th at the Senator Inn.

Brunswick Memorial Day Parade:
Memorial Day Parade will be on May 29 with a theme of “Remembering Viet Nam War Veterans.” Michael Uhl suggests a float about Hugh Thompson who saved civilians at great risk to his own life. Float 10’ X12’. Perhaps Rob Shetterly would do a portrait of Hugh Thompson.

March 16 — Panel discussion at USM Law School. Richard and Brian Clement to be on the panel

March 25 — Real Security Hearing at 12:15PM at UMO. Richard and Rita Clement will be the keynote speakers. Political candidates invited. Information will be posted on the list serve.

March 18 — a chain of concern being conducted in Bangor.

March 18 — 9AM to 7PM Sustainable Maine Conference at University of Maine in Farmington. Bruce Gagnon is a presenter.

Suzanne Hedrick is representing VFP #001 at the School of the Americas protest at Fort Benning.

Support the VFP Korea Peace campaign. The goal is to remove the 40,000 US troops from Korea.

“Songbird” April 13 thru the 15th at 7:30PM at UMaine Farmington, directed by Jayne Decker. All proceeds go to VFP. Children put a human face on the War in Iraq. VFP members are urged to attend. We’ll set up a table of information and will also be invited to speak after the play.

We agreed to give $100 to Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Moved by Stan, 2nd by Dud. All approval.

Victor Skorapa spoke about the Maine Fair Trade Campaign and its efforts to take on Wal-Mart. VFP gave $50.00. Would like $100.00 this year.To give $100.00 moved by Michael Uhl and 2nd by Stan Lofchie. All agreed.

Michael Uhl stated that the AFLCIO has taken a position against the war. He asks that we donate. Moved by Arthur 2nd by Bob. All agreed.

Maine Social Forum, July 28 to July 30

Maine VFP has been asked to cosponsor this event which deals with social and political issues around peace and economics. Jack suggests does not support the war. Jack Bussell is willing to be a representative. Bruce gives endorsement and asks that we remind them of our interest in Peace and that we have not heard back.

Michael Uhl, host of PTSD conference March 16 and 17 in Washington ,DC . A conference on returning veterans. PTSD is a Political issue. One that the Pentagon wants to have go away. PTSD is a normal response to trauma. PTSD need must be explored. WE need to make sure that PTSD is thoroughly addressed. $300.00 to cover expenses. Moved by Stan, 2nd by Dud. All approved.

We have 501(3(C )status. We do not have tax exempt status as we have not completed the paper work. But we can use the national’s status as such.

March 6 Edward Little High School: Jack and Art will work with a student participating in a debate about war.

Annie O’Brien, Perry’s mom, is part of the march from Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans. The March is bringing together the Iraq War and the post Katrina issues. Bringing people home to New Orleans and Bringing the Troops Home From Iraq. Moved and 2nd that we donate $50.00. All approved.

Michael mentioned there is a march from Tijuana to San Francisco from March 12 to March 27. Tom noted that the New York Times, on the front page, that recruiters are targeting Hispanics.

National VFP Conference in August of 2006 will be in Seattle Washington. We encourage Bruce to attend and present.

We wonder if the 2007 VFP convention might be in Maine. It would mean a lot of work.

Dud noted that Bruce is speaking at U Maine Orono, March 1st.

The VFP sponsored ads running on Air America 560AM urging Senators Snow and Collins to hold Town Hall meetings are running and are great.

It was noted that those arrested in Bangor at Senator Collins office have received Community Service hours that must be served in 6 months but NOT with Peace organizations.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM

Next meeting: March 30th at Lewiston/Auburn College 6:00PM for showing of “Sir! No Sir!” Regular business meeting to follow.

     March 30 at Lewiston/Auburn College
     Room 105
     Westminster Street
     Lewiston


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


e-mail:
rawlings@maine.edu


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