Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
September 26, 2013
Buker Community Center
Augusta, Maine

PRESENT: Bud Buzzell, Clarence Smith, Regis Tremblay, Richard Clement, Peter Woodruff, Bruce Gagnon, Robin Spencer, Dan Ellis, Peggy Akers Meeting Minutes: Minutes of our last meeting were approved with one correction – Clarence Smith was listed present but was not at the meeting.

Treasurer Report: Dovey was sick and not present. The chapter made $434 in sales/donations at the Common Ground Fair, excepting fees for table.

MaineShare: At a future meeting Richard wants to review how we get our 15 points to stay qualified for MaineShare. He does not want to be the only one in the chapter involved in dealing with MaineShare.

Membership: No change from last month. Currently have 162 members with 84 of them paid-up in dues. Waiting until after our By-Laws meeting to do dues reminders in the event we make any changes to membership rules.

Maine Drone Peace Walk: Jim Freeman is loaning us his mini-bus for the walk to transport people. We will submit receipts (mostly for gas) to the chapter for reimbursement (up to approved amount of $1,000). Smitty will get two VFP flags to Bruce for the walk. Need some sleeping tents at walk night spot in Belgrade on Oct 17. Call Bruce if you can help. Looks like we’ll have 20 people to start with more coming and going throughout the walk, especially on weekends. Bruce thanked Dan for his big help on the walk. Dan posted information on web sites and made leaflets. Dud will drive the mini-bus the first few days of the walk but needs someone to take that responsibility after he has to leave. Kathy Kelly and Tarak Kauff (VFP) will join the walk the last couple of days. A news release has gone out and coverage has already happened from WERU and Common Dreams.

Tom’s Peace Pole/Hike & Bike/By-Laws: Peggy suggests we combine all three of these events into one day. Right now they are set for Nov 2 and 3rd. Richard will check on a meeting place. More info to come soon.

BIW Oct 19 Christening: This demo, sponsored by VFP, will be held from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Bath police department has agreed to close Hinckley St at Washington St for us to use as a rally site just across from where people line up to enter the ceremony. Dan and Peggy will bring the sound system. Smitty will bring our remaining VFP flags for this protest. The new Zumwalt “stealth” destroyer will be used to sneak up on China as part of the US “pivot” into the Asia-Pacific.

Common Ground Fair: It was a good weekend and reinforces the importance of us having our VFP table there. Gave out all membership flyers we had on hand. Richard bought four tables and two chairs for $180. Saturday was estimated to be 27,000 people. Robin said someone at the fair asked what alternatives we have to offer to those who avoid military service. She suggested we need to do more to offer options to the public. Dan stated that we have links to such resources on our web site. A War Resisters League person brought some new brochures on this topic to us during the fair. Thanks to all who worked the tables.

Visit with Congressional Staffs: Several of our members met with staffers from King, Collins and Michaud in Augusta and Bangor recently about the Syria bombing issue. Collins and Michaud eventually declared no bombing. King and Pingree never fully indicated a position. We should do more of these meetings in the future.

National Confab: Regis said he was getting lots of support to show his Jeju film from VFP chapters across the country following the convention. His only frustration was too many workshops scheduled at once. Dan, who also was there, said you can’t avoid packed convention schedules since it is the only chance for many chapters to present what they are working on.

BIW TIF: Bruce reported that he is working with some new people in Bath to oppose BIW latest TIF request. Since the late 90’s BIW (General Dynamics) has received $197 million from the state and city in tax breaks largely using them to mechanize the operation. Employment has dropped in that same period from almost 8,000 to a present 5,500. The Bath Tax Assessor recently told one resident that the city council is hearing “overwhelmingly” from residents in opposition to another tax break for BIW.

Iraqi Refugee School Fund: At our last meeting member Tim Blanchette submitted a request for a donation to help send two Iraqi refugee children to Catholic school in Portland. In a letter that Richard read Tim spelled out that the two kids each have a $6,000 scholarship but are $2,500 short of total needed. Chapter approved a donation of $200.

White Cane Walk: Budd asked if the chapter would support him and Josie to walk in the coming White Cane Awareness walk in Portland. Chapter approved $100.

Next Meeting: We will meet Oct 24 (Thursday) in Brunswick at 7:00 pm at McLellan Multipurpose Room, 85 Union Street.