Meeting opened by new president Doug Rawlings at 7pm

Members present: Regis Tremblay, John Morris, Dan Ellis, Bob Lezer, Rita Clement, Richard Clement, Bruce Gagnon, Peter Woodruff, Bud Buzzell, Patrick DeBoard, Peggy Akers, Clarence Smith, Peter Morgan, Robin Spencer, Doug Rawlings. Also in attendance: Kate Goddard, Caleb Roebuck.

Richard was presented with a jacket and a framed photo (from the weekly protests in Augusta) by the membership along with sincere thanks and gratitude for his five years of outstanding service as chapter president.

Secretary’s report of the Dec. meeting was accepted as read.

Kate Goddard, representing #Take a Knee in Prayer, spoke about the event planned for Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Portland Jetport to show support for all brothers and sisters who suffer injustice and oppression because of the color of their skin. All VFP members are invited to attend and to wear black (with VFP identification). The event will be held in the baggage claim area from 4:30 to 5:30pm. VFP members will be reimbursed for parking.

Treasurer’s report (Dan). He received a semi-annual check from Maineshare for $3,491.96. Balance as of 1/25/2018 was $3,820.52.

Membership report (Dan). 99 total, 86 paid-up members.

Education/Outreach/Media: Peggy Akers and Rob Shetterly spoke at the Women’s Rally in Augusta on Jan. 20th.

Doug provided copies of the winter 2018 issue of Peace in Our Times for distribution. He also asked anyone with ideas for chapter postcards to forward them to him.

Doug reported that calendars were given out at the Women’s Rally and resulted in $120 in donations.

Discussion was held concerning the purchase or rental of a new sound system.Dan reported that a new one would cost approximately $800 and would be a distinct improvement over the current system. He will provide more details at the next meeting. Bruce offered to store the system at his house in Bath.

A motion to provide Dan Ellis with $1000 for his work for the chapter for 2017 was passed unanimously.

A thank you note from Carolyn Coe for the chapter’s $500 contribution to her Honduras project was received and read.

It was agreed that the chapter would co-sponsor War Tax Resistance Day in Portland on April 17. This was at the request of Ginny Schneider.

Doug requested that members send cards to Ahed Tamimi, the 16 year old Palestinian girl imprisoned by Israel for standing up to the injustices perpetrated on her family by the Israeli Defense Forces. Members present at the meeting did so and anyone who was not at the meeting is encouraged to send her a note of encouragement and support. Cards may be sent to:

Ahed Tamimi

HaSharon Prison

Ben Yahuda, P O Box 7

40330 Israel

Bruce Gagnon spoke about LD 1781, the bill in the Maine legislature that would give Bath Iron Works a $60 million tax rebate spread over the next 20 years and provided background information on the bill. Members are encouraged to write letters opposing this legislation to their local newspaper and to contact their senator and representative as well. More information and examples of letters already submitted are on line at the listserv.

It was agreed that the chapter would have a table (cost $300) at the Hearts for Human Rights fundraiser to benefit the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine on Feb. 7th in Freeport.

Discussion was held about asking members to assume responsibility for various events throughout the year (Common Ground Fair, Brunswick Peace Fair, Veterans Day, etc.) in order to distribute the work load for these events. Discussion will be continued at the next meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8:50pm. Next meeting Feb. 22 in Augusta. Robin will secure venue (Holocaust Center at UMA).