Veterans Commission Levels for Levy
By Michael McAllister
The Story Room at the Drake Community Library hosted an adult nonfiction narrative as Grinnell’s Veterans Memorial Commission met in regular session at 5:15 p.m., Monday, October 9.
All four commission members were present: (above, from left) Marie Andrews, Gwen Rieck, Leo Lease, and George Fowler.
Twelve people made up the audience.
Upon calling the meeting to order, Commission Chair Lease moved quickly through the routine business of roll call, perfecting and approving the agenda, and approving the previous meeting’s minutes.
The monthly budget report from Nicole Brua-Behrens cited the sum of $26,000 in the Veterans Memorial Commission Building Campaign as of August 31, 2017. Financial reports for September are not quite finalized, she noted.
(Documents available as part of the meeting agenda packet place the exact fund balance as of August 31 at $26,078.80)
There were no bills to approve.
Under the topic of upcoming fundraising events, Lease asked about the monthly Pizza Ranch fundraiser.
“I think we’ll do one more of those…the third Thursday of the month,” stated Randy Hotchkin from the audience. He noted that the establishment has reduced the amount of contribution from 10% to 3%, yet the event is still valuable “to get the word out.”
Lease then addressed the November levy vote.
“When people discover or think that things are a done deal, then they choose to not participate.” He stressed the importance of voting in the November election or earlier, at one of the sites established for early voting. These sites are, on Wednesday, October 18, at St. Francis Manor from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and at Seeland Park from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. A second early voting date is one week later, on Wednesday, October 23, at the Rosenfield Center on the Grinnell College Campus.
The November 7 vote will take place between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Elks Lodge at 720 Third Avenue.
Lease spoke of the importance of “convey[ing] a sense of urgency” about the vote. He also commented on the Prairie Star Residency proposal being a fitting tribute to veterans and a way of improving and maintaining the Veterans Memorial building.
Randy Hotchkin (above) responded to Lease’s invitation to update the commission and the audience about his committee’s efforts.
Hotchkin reported that he and associates have been working on a direct mail and door-to-door campaign. He will be speaking on KGRN’s “Let’s Talk” on the mornings of October 18 and November 6. He sees the levy vote as a statement from the community. If the community votes in favor of the levy, that statement will facilitate additional fundraising measures on a state-wide level by “an all-star group of people” that Tom Lacina has put together.
People can promote the campaign, Hotchkin noted, by writing letters to the editor of the Grinnell Herald-Register—“short and to the point,” simple expressions of support for maintaining the Veterans Memorial building through an artist residency program emphasizing veterans.
Tom Lacina reported that the major fundraising portion of the program is “poised right now” and will act if the levy vote is favorable. He mentioned that retired Senator Tom Harkin has joined the state-wide fundraising committee and that retired Congressman Leonard Boswell was already a member. The committee is at work contacting potential donors but will defer major efforts until after the November vote.
Discussion about promotional brochures and posters followed.
As the meeting neared adjournment, Lease stressed the importance of voting in the coming election and urged those in attendance to encourage people to make their feelings known on November 7 or at one of the early voting stations.
By the time the Veterans Memorial Commission meets again—on November 13, 2017, at 5:15 p.m., in the Community Room at the Drake Library—an important question will have been answered.