Vets Commission Elects Officers, Welcomes New Member

Vets Commission Elects Officers, Welcomes New Member

By Michael McAllister

In its regular monthly meeting at the Drake Community Library on April 9, 2018, Grinnell’s Veterans Memorial Commission maintained its chairperson and its five-member strength.

The commission elected Leo Lease (second from right above) to continue as its chair, Randy Hotchkin (far right) as its vice-chair, and Marie Andrews (far left) to continue as recording secretary.

Routine business included approval of an amended agenda, approval of February’s meeting minutes (the commission did not meet in March due to lack of a quorum), and bills as follows: Amperage Marketing ($12,150.00); Alliant Energy ($86.41, paid in March); Alliant Energy ($63.14, paid in April).

Under the topic of “Communications,” Tom Lacina reported that two meetings have been held with Amperage and that a third will occur in two weeks. The goal at present is to assemble names for interviews that will be useful in Amperage Marketing’s assessment of fundraising possibilities.  A total of 61 names “from Grinnell and around the country” are on file, with more to be added, Lacina said.

The interviews will be intensive, one-on-one sessions, and the people to be interviewed represent a mix of potential donors and individuals with “a rich perspective on the community and what might be appropriate.”

The list of interviewees should be completed by May 1.  The interview process will take approximately two months.  The Amperage report will follow.

“And that will give us some guidance on how we’ll be proceeding … with the other fundraising part of this project,” Lacina explained, adding that the local individuals involved thus far represent “a great group, a very diverse group.”

Lacina further recommended that the commission be considering leadership for the fundraising committee.

No figure was cited under the agenda item of “Monthly budget report” or under the topic of “Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation Monthly Balance Report.”

The topic of building access came up, prompted in part by an April 2 request from Sharon Mealy, representing the Grinnell Community Band, for permission to enter the Veterans Memorial Building because chairs that the band uses for performances in Central Park are stored there.

The Building Access Resolution states, “Whereas it is in the best interests of the City and the Commission that both have reasonable access to the Veterans Memorial Building for emergencies and for the purpose of assessing the condition of the building and creating engineering, architectural, and other decisions related to renovation of the building, therefore it is resolved that the City Manager or other city official as designated by the City Council and the Chair of the Veterans Memorial Commission should each possess a key to the building and have the right to permit entry into the building for the purposes stated above.”

In the discussion that followed, one member of the audience noted that in the past the band director has had a key to permit access.  Tom Lacina suggested that the resolution might be revised slightly to widen its effect by inserting a phrase such as “for reasonable use as determined by the City.” In the past—“four or five years ago”–, he noted, there was a perception that access was strictly limited, but the enactment of the resolution under discussion will serve as “clearing the path and saying…’Everybody has access here as reasonably necessary.’”

Proposed in the form of an amendment to the resolution, the addition of suggested wording was approved, and in a subsequent vote the resolution was approved as well.

Another topic discussed involved the publishing of a public notice calling for Requests for Quotations (RFQs) from architectural firms regarding building renovation.  This step begins the process of receiving bids and negotiating.  A question arose, however, as to how long such a public notice must be published before a deadline for RFQs can be set.  The issue will be discussed with City Manager Russ Behrens because he is experienced in such matters.

Commission members voted in favor of the draft notice with a deadline date to be added.

Before moving to the inquiry section of the meeting, Randy Hotchkin suggested that Terry Stringfellow, the newest member of the Veterans Memorial Commission, introduce himself.

Stringfellow, a veteran of both the Navy and the Army, grew up near What Cheer and joined the service shortly after high school.  He spent seven years in the Navy and fourteen in the Army, retiring in 2012 and moving back to the area.  He works as a security supervisor at the hospital.

“We’re happy to have you here,” said Leo Lease.

There were no inquiries, and the meeting adjourned at 5:40 p.m.

The commission will meet next on Monday, May 14, at 5:15 p.m., in the Community Room of the Drake Community Library.

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