Meeting opened at 7pm
Attendance: Doug Rawlings, Seth Berner, Larry Gilbert, Peggy Akers, Lynn Ellis, Suzanne Hedrick, Dan Ellis, Don Kimball, Peter Morgan, Richard Clement, Sally Chappell, Tom Whitney, Martha Spiess, Dave Larsen, John Morris, and guest Kathleen Coughlan.
Inspiration: Video “Rise Up” by The Parachute Club (provided by Seth)
Secretary’s Report: November minutes approved as written (no meeting in December)
Treasurer’s Report: Treasury balance (balance available upon request).
End of year report for 2022: (balances available upon request).
Yearly dues may be paid at any time (reminders will be sent out in May)
A yearly stipend of $500 will be given to the Treasurer (Lynn).
Homeless in Portland: Don reported that he is providing food and clothing every Saturday at 11am in Deering Oaks Park to those in need and welcomes any assistance and/or donations. Discussion was held on possible additional actions the chapter might take but Don said that the homeless community does not want their plight publicized for fear that it would lead to increased harassment and possible eviction from their encampments.He also said that 25% of homeless people are not in shelters. Seth said that Maine state government is not providing assistance and characterized their apparent indifference as a war on the poor.
Doug reported that the rally for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison was well attended and well received and that Dud Hendrick delivered one of several impassioned speeches supporting closure of the prison.Thirty four “detainees” are currently incarcerated at Guantanamo, many of whom have never been charged with criminal activity.
Golden Rule: Doug emphasized the necessity of planning for the arrival of the boat in Maine in June. A committee was formed consisting of Peter, Martha, Peggy, and Doug work on this and they will report at the February chapter meeting. The Golden Rule website is www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org.
Samantha Smith: A bill (LD21,SP13) has been introduced by Sen. Carney (Cumberland) to designate the Turnpike Approach Road in South Portland as Samantha Smith Way. No opposition to the bill is expected
Motions were made, seconded, and passed to donate money to the following organizations:
$500 to the School of Americas Watch
$500 to the Maine Gun Safety Coalition
$300 to Compassionate Choices (end of life assistance) in memory of Herb Hoffman.
Doug reported on the recent VFP Board meeting. National VFP is solvent and is now in a much better financial position than previously. The new Treasurer is Mike Tork from Cape Cod ( and a fellow protester at Bath Iron Works ).
Bath Iron Works Lenten Vigils: 11:30am – 12:30pm at the BIW Administration Building on Washington Street in Bath beginning Wednesday, February 22 and every Saturday until Easter. All are invited.
Peter reported that he represented VFP at a recent Planned Parenthood meeting. Peter was also elected (unanimously) to fill the vacant three year term on the Chapter Board.
artha reported that Third Act Maine (Third Act is an organization founded by environmental activist Bill McKibben to pressure big American banks to stop funding corporate fossil fuel projects) is sponsoring a rally at 3pm on February 21 at Monument Square in Portland as part of a National Day of Action to raise awareness of the destructive role that these banks play in environmental degradation. Citizen participation is encouraged at the event.The website is www.thirdact.org.
Dan asked if there is still interest in holding live meetings instead of the current Zoom meetings. The question will be revisited later in the year when the weather is more favorable. Dan also suggested the possibility of holding all meetings at the Curtis Library in Brunswick. Doug suggested a $100 contribution to the Library for the use of the facility and this was agreed to by all.
Short discussion on the war in Ukraine ended the meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm. Next meeting February 23rd (Zoom) at 7pm.