Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
September 27, 2012
Buker Community Center
Augusta, Maine

Attending: Bob Lezer, Dud Hendrick, Richard Clement, Rita Clement, Dan Ellis, Dovey Balsam, Clarence Smith, Peggy Akers, Herb Hoffman, Tom Whitney, Nicole Moreau, Margy Burns Knight, Bruce Gagnon

Chapter President: The chapter approved Richard Clement as the next president.

Chapter V-P: The chapter approved Doug Rawlings as the next vice-president.

Secretary report: Minutes from the last meeting were approved with no changes.

Peace Pole in Tom’s Name: Margy Knight from Winthrop told us of plans to create a granite peace pole that would be placed in the ground at the Inch by Inch gardens where Tom had volunteered. They are looking at a September 2013 date. The chapter had already sent $100 to a nursery for a tree to be planted in Tom’s name in Winthrop but that plan appears to have been changed. Chapter agreed to shift the $100 to the peace pole (Margy will make those arrangements) with the understanding that if more $$ is needed to complete the project we can help.

Treasurer report: Dovey reported treasury balance (including Common Ground Fair proceeds). Dovey also reported that transferring our bank account from TD North to a local credit union was more complicated than expected. Chapter decided to leave it in current bank for now and revisit the issue when/if needed. Dovey (who is time strapped) can make the transfer to a credit union or local bank if she is able. Peggy reminded us that our original intention to move the money came from solidarity with Occupy’s call to get $$ out of big banks. Chapter also agreed to send $100 to Ethan McCord (from Wiki Leaks fame who pulled the kid out of the van in Iraq). He is currently having a hard time. Dovey wrote a check to Bruce who will get a $100 money order. Nicole will send Bruce Ethan’s address. Lastly the Tom Sturtevant fund ($150) will be merged with the Justin Crowley-Smilek Fund ($325). The McCord donation will come out of this fund.

MaineShare: Richard reported that the director of Maine Share was moving on after 16 years of service.

Nominating Committee: The following are currently listed as Board of Directors: Dave Crowley, Bob Dale, Peggy Akers, Richard Clement, Clarence Smith. Are we in compliance with our By-Laws? No one is certain where copy of By-Laws is. Several are now checking in files they have on hand. Was suggested we could rewrite our By-Laws and just would need to advertise the new draft to membership before a future meeting that then approved them.

Membership: Dan reported that we currently have 156 members in the chapter – only 92 of them have currently paid their dues. It was agreed that we should do a reprint of our new membership brochure since we are nearly out of them. Dan will send a special email welcome to those who signed up at Common Ground Fair to get on our list.

Education Committee: Working with Rosalie Tyler Paul from the AFSC a letter was sent to the ACLU and to several newspapers (as Letters to Editor) about FERPA (privacy) violations across the state. Much positive feedback has come from the new button maker that was used at the Common Ground Fair and Peace Fair. Kids loved making buttons.

Outreach Committee: This committee (Tim, Bob Dale, Dan, Bruce & Carol Huntington) organized the Thunderbirds protest that drew just over 50 people. On the Sunday 14 people went inside the airshow and spent 90 minutes walking our banner through the crowd and handing out leaflets. No arrests were threatened. Newsclips from Times Record and Forecaster coverage of the protest were passed around the meeting. Also a Forecaster story with a photo of napalm being exploded on the runway at the Brunswick airshow. The MRRA (authority that now runs Brunswick Landing) has already announced that they will do another airshow next year.

Media Committee: Our proposed Foreign Policy Forum has been cancelled due to fact that only Cynthia Dill agreed to come. A news release has been sent out to Maine media and activist emails lists explaining all the details.

Marriage Equality: Nicole thanked the chapter for endorsing the Marriage Equality amendment that is on Nov 6 ballot. Herb suggested we send a message to our email list telling our membership that we endorsed. All agreed.

Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign: Bruce thanked the chapter for sharing table space with the campaign at the Common Ground Fair. T-shirts were sold for $5 each and about $320 was made from T-shirts and bumperstickers with Bring Our War $$ Home message.

PTSD/Tri-County Mental Health: Recent event in Farmington went well and Doug gave good visibility for VFP with his participation. Doug also has sent word that he proposes we organize another PTSD symposium next May. Doug suggests Paula Kaplan as keynote speaker. He will take the lead. Bob Lezer, Dan, Dud and Richard will serve on a committee to help.

Our Listserve: Peggy & Rita asked why Doug has sole discretion on which emails get sent out? Tom suggested we have a procedure. Is there a list of criteria? Was suggested that each current president should also have the capability to send emails directly to the chapter list serve. No decisions until Doug can be part of the discussion.

Hike and Bike: We are going to do a Maine Share Hike and Bike on Oct 20 from 9:00-11:00 am in Tom Sturtevant’s memory. His family will also be participating. We will meet in Augusta at the end of the rail trail (Maine State Housing Authority parking lot). It’s a 6.5 mile ride. Lemonade and finger food at the end. You can download a sponsor sheet at will help you raise funds for Maine Share.

Paul Chappell: Chapter approved $300 for Chappell speaking tour that will include Belfast, Orono, and Farmington. He was an Army officer in Iraq and now speaks and writes against war.

Veterans Day: Peggy has written and asked Mayor Brennan in Portland to make it possible for our chapter to have a speaker at Veterans Day parade. Folks are not excited about being in the parade again. On Nov 11 in Belfast at Waterfall Arts there will be another Draw-a-thon led by artist Kenny Cole and they are inviting veterans to come be part of that event.

Donation to Penobscot Nation Museum: Chapter will send $100 in honor of Arnie Neptune.

Dud’s Bits: Dud announced that the Peace & Justice Center in Bangor will honor Robert Shetterly on Oct 13 and encouraged people to attend. He also shared that the Sierra Club wants to partner with veterans groups to sponsor hikes on the Appalachian Trail. Lastly he reported that earlier this week he was in New York for a meeting between VFP leaders and Iran’s President Ahmadinejad where they discussed nuclear weapons and Israel. VFP national president Leah Bolger did a good job speaking and you can read her words here.

Attracting Members: Bruce asked that the chapter consider an internal discussion about how we organize our monthly meetings. He suggested that few new people are likely to want to come and sit through two hours of business each month. He urged that we instead consider a new meeting model that allows us to have more social and/or educational events at the monthly meetings and use our revised and possibly expanded Board of Directors to handle more of the day-to-day business. He will write up a draft proposal with some suggestions.

VFP in Action: Some of our recent work includes:

  • Tri-County Mental Health Conference which Doug helped set up
  • Veterans Poetry reading in Brunswick where Doug read five poems
  • Common Ground Fair and Brunswick Peace Fair (August) where VFP had tables and the popular button maker
  • Tree planting at the Common Ground Fair and received Tom Sturevant’s 70-year old drum which now has our logo on it and the words “and the beat goes on”
  • Thunderbirds airshow protests
  • The Welcome film in Brunswick

Next Meeting: Next meeting will be held on October 25 in Brunswick at 7:00 pm.