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01-23-1996 VETERANS AFFAIRS ADVISORY BOARD CITY OF LAS CRUCES P.O. DRAINER CLC LAS CRUCES, BEET MEXICO 88004 Minutes of the 23 January 1996 Meeting The board convened at 1:08 p. m. in the Board Room, Branigan Memorial Library. Roll call of members: Mannie Evaro, Chairman Present; Joe Heintz, Vice Chair Present; Warren Rogers, DAV Present; Elsa Baker, VVA Present; Gaston Mungia, American Legion Present; Fred Frank, VFW member Present. Noel Cooley, AMVETS Absent. This constituted a quorum. Mel Barlow was present as a visitor. The minutes of the November meeting were approved as presented. Old Business: Elsa Baker, Veterans Memorial Park subcommittee, reported that she contacted Joni Gutierrez (City of Las Cruces Landscape Designer) . MS Gutierrez has been working on the plan for the Veterans Park and has turned it over to Lance Hartke of the Greenhouse, Inc. , to work on the landscape details. Elsa was invited to talk with Lance to see his progress. She spoke with him and he explained that since the Greenhouse is doing this at no cost to the city, he doing the work by coming in early and using his free time. He estimates the value of his effort at $4000. He hopes to be done by 26 January. He will then show Elsa the completed plan. At present, the plan provides for the gazebo, parking lot, sidewalks, a platform for ceremonies, an amphitheater done by terracing the sloping bank and an underground irrigation system. No static displays are included because of the hazards to children and potential liability claims against the city. Restroom plans are deferred at this time because of cost and will be included in a later phase. The City has set up an account to collect donations for the park. Checks should be made out to: City of Las Cruces Fund #018-000-310098 (Veterans Park) . Donations may be taken to the City Cashier at City Hall. Donations are needed to fund organizational plaques to be placed on the gazebo around the top circumference of the wall. Design is not yet in sufficient detail to make a cost estimate. The gazebo will be in a Greek Revival style as used in the Washington D.C. monuments. This was further discussed. Mel Barlow requested that the proposed amphitheater be located as far to the west of Roadrunner Parkway as possible to minimize interference from traffic noise. The status of the resolution concerning authorization of a National Cemetery in Southern New Mexico was discussed. Since a recent announcement concerning the expansion of the Fort Bliss National Cemetery was recently put out, the resolution might have to be rewritten. Mannie Evaro, Mel Barlow and Gaston Mungia are to visit Fort Bliss Cemetery to get latest information on this. It was announced by Fred Frank, Chairman of the 1996 Veterans Day Parade Committee that the first meeting of the committee had been held 18 January and that 10:00 a. m. Saturday, 9 November 1996 had been selected as the time and date for this event. Letters are being sent to the various organiza- tions who are expected to participate so that they may reserve this date on their calendar of events. New Business: At the 9 January WC meeting it was proposed that a veterans committee be established to centralize the processing of requests for aid and assistance by needy veterans passing through Las Cruces. It is planned to have one central point of contact so that veterans organizations are not hit individually for handouts. Member organizations of the WC are to consider this and report their ideas at the March WC meeting so that a plan may be drafted. Besides the problems where full time vagrants try to milk these veteran and other organizations for undeserved handouts, there is also the problem of the full time beggars standing at highway intersections claiming to be veterans, handicapped or homeless persons needing work or assistance. Offers of work are generally refused because they lose their choice corners if they leave to take a job. Begging is their full time job. It is far more profitable than working. In El Paso, this problem was essentially eliminated by requiring these beggars to get a city license. The VAAB recommended that this be done in Las Cruces. The WC is also working on setting up a burial detail of a seven man rifle squad and a bugler for military funerals of veterans since Fort Bliss now only provides this service for deceased active duty or retired members of the armed forces. Some veteran organizations do this for their own members only. It would be excellent if this could be done for all veterans buried in Las Cruces cemeteries. Mel Barlow suggested that a monthly newsletter be published to announce activities and items of interest to all veterans in the area. This would consolidate the newsletters of the twenty- two organizations in the local area. This is to be further explored. Motion was made to adjourn at 2:20 p. m. and passed. Next meeting is 27 February. Warren Rogers Acting Secretary