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This link may be of help to those wishing to begin a business:

https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/ny/syracuse/resources/operation-start-grow

Commander’s Message:

As you know this winter has not been kind to all of us but spring is not that far away.

I hope all will take advantage of the upcoming activities and events in the coming months. Lenten Fish Fry Dinners will be already started by the time you get your newsletter. Feb. 20th – April 3rd are the dates for the dinners. Take outs are available – call 865-9921. Help is always needed on Friday for prep and clean-up. Our youth organizations will be working some of our dinners, so let’s show our support for them as well as the legion.

It’s is election time again. If you would like to run for an office or the Executive Board, please notify the Post Nominating Committee. Bob Leahy or Ray Doucette, no later than March 9th. If you do not submit a letter of intention prior to the membership meeting, you can still be put on the ballot by being nominated off the floor at the meeting, but you must be present and accept the nomination. Elections will take place on April 14th at the Legion meeting. Installation of officers will be on May 9th Sat. 2015.

On March 14th, Sat., the Post will be having its upcoming 96th Legion Birthday Observance. Cocktails at 6 pm; Dinner at 7pm. A sign- up sheet will be in the bar area for those attending. Bring a dish to pass as we celebrate the Legions birthday. Also attending will be students who attended Boy’s State and will speak of their week long experiences at Boy’s state. So come and enjoy good food and support our youth programs.

I just want to take time and thank Roberts Post for letting our members attend “Mid – Winter” in Albany, NY on January 23rd & 24th.

Helpful information was learned at the meetings, which we brought back to our Posts. Ten members from our Legion, Auxiliary, and SAL attended the meetings. Next year we hope to have more!

A reminder to those who go south for the winter or go out of state for a while, you can get your newsletter by e-mail. Just send you E-mail address to robertspost161@gmail.com and Tom Waters will receive them and send your newsletter to you. This will cut our cost in mailing and the cost of getting letters back with the wrong addresses.

March & April dates to remember:

· County Meeting at Roberts Post# 161, March 16th 7 p.m. ( Let’s show our support from Roberts Post)

· Heart- Run & Walk, March 7th, Sat. (Roberts Post will have a table for the runners at the Adirondack Bank at 7:30 am in Holland Patent. Come and support these people who run for a good cause!)

· Veteran’s Victory Bowl, Sunday, March 22, 2015 @ 1:00 p.m. Vista Lanes ( Roberts Post will have a team to Benefit Sitrin’s Star & Stripes.)

In closing, my second year as commander is drawing to a close and there are so many people I would like to thank. Thanks to this community for all the support that you’ve given us so we can do our job in giving back to the veterans who made this county what it is. Remember our servicemen and women around the world who defend our freedom and pray for their safe return to us and their families.

Veterans Serving Veterans,

Richard Roberts, Commander


Ladies Auxiliary:

Hope you have been handling this winter pretty well but I am so looking forward to spring as I am sure you are also.

In January some of us went to mid-winter conference in Albany. It was very informative and we are going to try to do more things for our veterans, active military, their families, and our community in the future.

Before our monthly meetings begin at 7:00 pm on the first Monday of each month, we are going to have a ½ hour leadership meeting. This should help answer some questions about how and why we do things. The more knowledge and information will make us a more successful Auxiliary unit than we are now. And we are pretty darn good!

We are still doing the Lions dinners as a way to raise funds for programs that need additional help. To help make a little more profit on these dinners we are asking the members to make the desserts for them. You can get in touch with Alice Shaler or me if you would like to help.

Fish fries are here and the list of volunteers is set unless someone can’t do their shift, in which case, you might get a call asking for your help. In February we held a Valentine’s basket raffle and the winner was me. During Lent we will be having another raffle with the winning ticket drawn on Good Friday, April 3, 2015, at the Post. On April 11, 2015, from 10:00 ‘til 3:00, at the Post, there will be a Craft and Vendor show with light luncheon foods available to buy. There is a great need by veterans, active military, their families, and others for help. Unit 161 is going to be there for them because that is what we are all about.

The March meeting will be the election of officers for the 2015-2016 year. Here is the list: Deb Roberts – president; Alice Shaler – 1st vice; Sheila Piseck – 2nd vice; Mary Lou Herringshaw – 3rd vice; Roberta “Bobbie” Owen – secretary; Sue Wedgewood – treasurer; Kathy Lemieux – chaplain; Marion Clarke – sgt-at-arms; and Kathy Lemieux – historian. We are all doing our best to make our Auxiliary team as good as possible and I know we are succeeding because our members are # 1. March will also see us holding our Easter Party for the children. I will post more info about it on FB and in the STAR.

Empire Girls State is the end of June and Unit 161 has picked Julia Rabbia as our girl to attend. We will be anxious o find out about what she did, learned, and other experiences she had while there. We are hoping to get more girls interested in this program in the upcoming years.

February was Chapel of the Four Chaplains month for the Auxiliary, and if you don’t know what that is about, please look it up. I am sure you will be very glad you did. April is our Children and Youth month with special attention being placed on them and their programs.

Hopefully most of us are in fairly good health but we have a few members who could be better. A thinking of you card would probably be appreciated by Karen McMahon, Ursula Walker, Mary Shaw, and Sylvia Davis. If you need an address, please get in touch with me.

Alice is doing a great job with membership but she can’t do it by herself. We are thinking of having a tea and open house for ladies who might be interested in joining but aren’t sure what we are about. There will be more details about this in the months to come.

I am proud of Unit 161 and I want to say thank you to all members who are always able to help when needed.

Yours in service,

Debbie Roberts


Sons of the American Legion:

Pete and I attended the Midwinter conference in Albany and went to several information sessions. Remember that county SAL meetings are the second Sunday of each month. Everybody is welcome to attend.

My thanks to all those members who work Post functions like dinners. Please continue to help with Fish Fries. Check your membership card and make sure your card says 2015. If not, your dues are past due so please pay them promptly.

For God and Country,

Commander John Bieksza


Legion Membership:

We are currently 91% of quota and need 19 more to put us over the top. Please make sure you have paid your 2015 dues. Thank you.

Gary Wedgewood, Membership

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HappyNewYear

Commander’s Message:

With 2014 closing fast, 2015 is just around the corner. I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year. Another successful year at Roberts Post has gone by with December being one of our busiest months for banquets, parties and luncheons. Our thanks again go out to all the volunteers who do so much to make our year such a success. Again our Auxiliary and SAL have done a great job in doing whatever it takes to make sure the job gets done.

My thanks go out to the Auxiliary for our Christmas Basket Project. Ten baskets this year will be delivered. Thanks also to all that donated to help these veterans and to those who are in need. Great job ladies!

Our annual Red Cross Blood Drive which was held on Dec.15th was a great success. Our quota this year was 21 units, we did 25 units. Good job Roberts Post! Also I would like to thank Sue Wedgewood for working at the front door and Alice Shaler and Bev Siefried for their volunteer hours.

Just a reminder, that Mid-Winter in Albany is Jan 23rd & 24th. Anyone interested call me at the Post. Those of us who are attending hopefully will bring back helpful information about our veterans and active military.

Remember the start of Lenten Fish Dinners is on February 20th 2015, help is always needed to make this successful.

Important Dates: January 18th Foothills Wine Tasting (Great Event) 3-5pm; February 1st Super Bowl at the Legion; February 14th Team Aaron Valentine’s Dance (Bring your sweetheart to a fun evening).

If you haven’t paid your 2015 dues yet, make it your New Year’s resolution and be proud of your Legion! Again we are asking anyone if they have a change of address to let us know. We are getting back a lot of newsletters with incorrect mailing addresses. Call us anytime and let us know of any change. It will make our job a lot easier. Please call 865-9921 or 865-5756. Thank you again!

In closing, I would like to thank everyone for your hard work and dedication to make Roberts Post a place that our community can be proud of and most of all our veterans will need us throughout this coming year. God bless America and our service men &women who protect our freedom every day!

Veterans Serving Veterans

Richard Roberts Commander


Ladies Auxiliary:

Happy 2015, I hope your Thanksgiving and Christmas brought you warm moments with family, filled with love and good times.

The Auxiliary was busy in November and December. We finished the Fall fish fries , made Christmas cards for veterans in Oneida Co. nursing homes, worked dinners and funeral luncheons, decorated the Legion for Christmas, delivered poinsettias to people in the community, collected Toys for Tots, worked a Blood Drive, and did Sunshine baskets for community members. Thank you, Sue, for your help with the poinsettias and sunshine baskets.

I would like to thank Diane Money for the great job she did on the fundraiser for the Auxiliary and a “thank you” to all the ladies who sold the tickets for that. I also want to thank Carol Fallon for the good work she does for the Auxiliary by working so hard on the Lions Club dinners which is a monthly fundraiser for us. Thank you to all who help Carol with these dinners. It is amazing how effortless you all make these dinners seem.

January will again find us making Valentine cards for veterans in Oneida Co. nursing homes. This will be

on Sat., Jan. 31, 2015, at 10:00am at Roberts Post in H.P. We will supply a lot of the crafting supplies but you are more than welcome to bring your own.

We will have snacks and if you could help with that, it would be most appreciated. Please try to come it is so rewarding to do something for our men and women who served.

In February the Lenten fish fries will start the Friday after Ash Wednesday. Be ready for calls to work and to help in other ways.

January will also find some of us going to Mid-Winter conference. I am looking forward to this so I can learn more about how to be the kind of president and committee chairperson you all need and deserve.

I am so proud of our Bobbie Owen. She is doing a great job as 5th District president and we should all be proud of her. It is not an easy task.

Alice is doing such a good job with membership. We have new members coming in on almost a regular basis. It is rewarding to see so many members at a meeting. Words cannot convey how proud I am of our unit!!

There are many little things we can all do to help so many others. The Auxiliary is collecting Campbell soup labels and box tops for education, “plastic” twist off caps from bottles or jars for “Caps of Love”, and cancelled postage stamps on envelopes. Do not trim the stamps just tear the corner of the envelope off with the stamp still on it. We also will be taking pull tabs from all sorts of cans. Any of these items can be turned in at the Legion where a box will be set up in the bar.

At our last meeting, I sent our little blue piggy bank around to collect change. This will be done at each meeting right up to April with the money collected being used for the Auxiliary April’s Children and Youth project.

For God and Country,

Yours in Service,

Debbie Roberts, President


Legion Membership:

The Post currently has 87% of our quota of members paid for 2015. I ask everyone to look at your Legion card. If it says 2015, thank you for renewing promptly. If it says 2014, it has an expiration date of 12/31/2014. Please pay your dues as soon as possible. Encourage others to do the same. Thank you for your continued support of Roberts Post.

Gary Wedgewood, Membership


Sons of the American Legion:

SAL membership: Only 33 of our 87 members are paid for 2015. To keep our Squadron strong we need to encourage all our members to pay their dues. We are always open to new members so invite your friends to join.

NFL Sunday’s have been a success. I wish to thank all of our members who participated in the food sales. Thank you also to all of our members who have stepped up to help with fish fries and dinners at the Post.

Remember our Military Members wherever they are serving. I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year.

For God and Country,

Commander John Bieksza

Search the Veterans Job Bank:

https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/jobs

Recent New York State Laws & Initiatives

– Driver’s License Fees – NYS Department of Motor Vehicles now cannot require any payments for the duplication or alteration of an existing driver’s license or non-driver’s ID card prior to its renewal date, if the purpose of asking for the duplication or alteration is solely to add the distinguishing Veteran’s mark on the card. This law became effective on December 7th.

– Property Tax Exemption – New law increases the real property tax exemption from $5,000 to $7,500 for Veterans buying real estate with "eligible funds." "Eligible funds" under this law means money from a pension, bonus, or insurance (or dividends or refunds on an insurance policy), or payments received from the Federal government as POW compensation. This law goes into effect on July 1, 2015.

– Temporary Hiring List – For temporary employment in public service positions in NYS, NYS must hire a qualified Veteran from a "Veterans Temporary Employment List" rather than going through a temporary employment agency. NYS Department of Civil Service must maintain this list of Veterans seeking temporary employment in a State public service position. This law is effective now.

– Tax "Check-Off" For Homeless Veterans – NYS taxpayers can elect to contribute a monetary gift to a new "homeless Veterans assistance fund" when paying their State taxes. This gift is purely a gift, in that it does not reduce in any way the amount of State taxes that an individual owes. This law becomes effective with the taxable year beginning January 1, 2015.

– Supplemental Burial Allowance Changes – Previously, under the law governing the NYS Supplemental Burial Allowance program, a qualifying death had to actually occur inside the combat zone for the surviving family members to qualify for the benefit. Under the amended law, however, a service member who dies of wounds incurred in combat will be a "qualifying death" for the benefit, even if the actual death occurs outside of the combat zone. The new application is available on DVA’s website by following this link: http://veterans.ny.gov/…/new-york-state-supplemental-burial… <http://veterans.ny.gov/content/new-york-state-supplemental-burial-allowance> . This law goes into effect on February 14, 2015.

– In-State Tuition For G.I. Bill Recipients – Anyone who is not a NYS resident and is attending a State University of New York or City University of New York college using the G.I. Bill shall receive the in-state tuition rate, even though they are not NYS residents. This allows them to maximize their G.I. Bill benefits, and not have to pay the extra costs that would come from being charged the out-of-state rate. This law is effective now.

– Professional Licenses For Military Spouses/Domestic Partners – The spouse or domestic partner of a service member who is licensed in another state to practice as a real estate broker or real estate salesperson, or to obtain a barber, esthetics, cosmetology, natural hair styling, or nail specialty license, and who moves to New York State with the service member, can receive the same professional license in NYS without re-applying. This law is effective now.

Of course, there are several other NYS programs that recognize a Veteran’s MOS or out-of-state professional license without making that Veteran jump through any more hoops to be licensed in NYS. For the current list of MOS and license programs granted recognition by the NYS "Experience Counts" initiative, see: http://veterans.ny.gov/content/experience-counts <http://veterans.ny.gov/content/experience-counts> .

– Lifetime Liberty Pass – Veterans with a service-connected disability of 40% or higher can receive a pass for free admission to NYS parks and other State outdoor facilities for fishing, hunting, camping, etc. The Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation administers this program. The full guidelines and application form for this pass is available at this link: http://nysparks.com/admission/lifetime-liberty-pass.aspx <http://nysparks.com/admission/lifetime-liberty-pass.aspx> . This program is effective now.

– Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act – NYS established a goal of awarding 6% of State governments to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses. This program is being administered by a brand-new NYS Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development, operated by the NYS Office of General Services. If a business owner wants to apply as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, the application is available at this link:http://ogs.ny.gov/Co…/Docs/SDVOBCertificationApplication.pdf&#160; <http://ogs.ny.gov/Core/Docs/SDVOBCertificationApplication.pdf> . Applications are being accepted now.

– Veteran Liaison Officers – Each NYS agency has appointed a "Veterans Liaison Officer" to coordinate initiatives affecting Veterans, service members, and military families. This program is effective now.

– No Income Limit For Gold Star Annuitants – Previously, NYS required an income cap for Gold Star Annuity Program eligibility. Now, there is no income requirement for Gold Star Parents to receive this Annuity from NYS. Gold Star Annuity application form is available at this link: http://veterans.ny.gov/con…/gold-star-parent-annuity-program <http://veterans.ny.gov/content/gold-star-parent-annuity-program> . This law is effective now.

CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE…

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