Good Friday

Posted on April 17th, 2014

In observation of Good Friday and Easter the Department Headquarters will be closed Friday, April 18th, the Department Staff wishes everyone a safe and happy Easter Weekend.



Legion to Congress: Hold VA accountable for preventable deaths

Posted on April 9th, 2014

WASHINGTON (April 9, 2014) –The American Legion’s national commander, Daniel M. Dellinger, told Congress at a hearing today that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leaders must be held accountable for mistakes that result in needless deaths at its medical facilities.

“Patient deaths are tragic — preventable deaths are unacceptable,” Dellinger told the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “But failure to disclose safety information — or worse — to cover up mistakes, is unforgivable, and The American Legion will not sit quietly by while some VA employees cover up the truth – and the VA shouldn’t, either.”

Dellinger recalled the deaths of six patients from an outbreak of Legionella bacteria at the Pittsburgh VA medical center. When a team from the Legion’s System Worth Saving (SWS) Task Force visited the facility last November, administrators claimed the outbreak was caused by equipment failure. E-mails and internal memos indicate human error, however.

At the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Dellinger testified, “two veterans died of an overdose, and one committed suicide, that was attributed to mismanagement and an inability to get the mental health care they needed in a timely manner.

“Veteran suicides continue to plague our nation at 22 per day, with no clear strategy from VA on addressing suicides proactively.”

“We all need to continue to ask the hard questions,” Dellinger told the committee. “What is VA doing to fix these problems, and are they concerned about keeping me informed? How is VA holding their leaders accountable for these errors?

“The American Legion will not stop asking the hard questions, and we hope you won’t, either.”

Reports issued by the Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force on VA medical centers nationwide are available online at www.legion.org.



ARE YOU READY FOR SOME BASEBALL?

Posted on March 27th, 2014

It is baseball time in Texas.  We need you to support American Legion baseball in your posts, districts, division and department.  As of January 1, registration began for team registration.  You can registrar your team at http://baseball.legion.org/.

Sponsoring a team is easy; you can take an existing team that meets the requirements and have a post, or district sponsor the team with a legionnaire as the team administrator.  Or you can form a team with in your area.

The state tournament will be held in Raymondville starting July 30 through August 3.  This is an opportunity for you to come out and see quality baseball.  The Department of Texas has had players who have gone on to play Major League Ball.

This is an opportunity to influence the young men in your community, and get great community involvement.  When people see an organization doing things in the community, they want to be part of that organization.

WE CHANGE PEOPLES LIVES



ESPNU to broadcast American Legion World Series championship in Shelby

Posted on March 14th, 2014

Nearly 80 million viewers nationwide will be able to watch the championship game of the 2014 American Legion World Series on television.

This year, the World Series baseball games will broadcast on Internet service ESPN3, with the championship game set for TV network ESPNU, said Eddie Holbrook, co-chairman of the ALWS executive committee.

“This has been a dream that we have had since the beginning,” Holbrook said of the Legion World Series having a presence on TV. “We had no idea that it could be done by year four.”

The past two years, the American Legion World Series was broadcasted via ESPN3.

As the contract with ESPN3 was up for renewal this spring, the Legion board wanted to look at how to get the games live on TV.

In the 2014 event, the World Series will be broadcasted via ESPN3 through the semifinal games.

The championship game will be televised on ESPNU, with a potential viewership of 80 million.

There may be a few minor stadium changes at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium to accommodate the new TV presence, Holbrook said.

“I don’t think they will be major, but we will have to have the fiber and additional power sources to supply satellite dishes,” he said. “We will have to have more camera locations. ESPN3 only had three or four, while ESPNU will need six to eight cameras at minimum.”

Any stadium changes will be decided in early April, Holbrook said.

‘Changes the entire format’

The tournament schedule will also change to accommodate the TV coverage.

“It changes the entire format of the tournament,” Holbrook said. “It just used to be a double elimination tournament, but going to ESPNU required a change of format.”

Broadcasting the games live makes it necessary to change the format of the World Series from a double elimination tournament to pool play.

“ESPNU needs to know the exact time each game will be played. There can’t be any ‘what-ifs,’” Holbrook said. “In double elimination, you have what-ifs with the championship game.”

With pool play, every team knows exactly what time they are playing and every team gets a day off, because there will always be two teams that won’t be playing.

Each team is also assured up to three games, where in the past they may not have played more than two.

To switch to pool play, the board had to get permission from the national Legion headquarters.

Teams will also arrive a day earlier for the tournament, Holbrook said.

‘Contributing to travel tourism’

Holbrook said the new World Series format will mean teams will be in town longer, which will mean more opportunities for those visitors to spend money that will help the local economy.

“Under the present format, every team will be playing through Sunday. Their teams and parents will stay in town a day or two longer,” Holbrook said. “This gives them a better feel for the events. People will be staying here longer and also contributing to travel tourism.”

The 2013 ALWS pumped $15.8 million into the local economy, according to a report from the Cleveland County travel/tourism department.

Part of the agreement with ESPNU is also to have 30-second advertising spots during the World Series to promote and advertise the county, Holbrook said.

“This provides the county and city the ability to showcase things like the stadium, the Scruggs Center, the Don Gibson, gateway trails and our wineries,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to promote this area and shoot them across the nation.”

2014 American Legion World Series

* Aug. 14-19

* For more information, follow @AL_WorldSeries on Twitter, “like” The Shelby Star on Facebook or visit www.legion.org/baseball.

* Follow The Star in the coming months for more information on the ALWS concerts, festival, baseball games and more.



Annual Post Data Reports

Posted on February 26th, 2014

The Annual Post Data Reports have been sent to the Posts. The forms must be completed and returned to the Department Headquarters no later than April 15, 2014. Failure to meet this deadline may cause the 2015 Renewal Notices to be mailed with the incorrect information (post dues amount and the post dues mailing address).

The information on the Post Data Form is what is used for the National Post Locator, MyLegion.org and the Department Bluebook.

Please make sure information is correct and legible.



Urgent IRS Notice

Posted on February 25th, 2014

Just this week, the National Headquarters was learned that the IRS has a new form required for EVERY enterprise with an EIN.  That means all corporations, incorporated and non incorporated posts and tax exempt organizations.  Whenever there is a change of address or change in the person in charge, the new person in charge must now file the IRS Form 8822-B.  This is a basic form that looks like a “Change of Address” form.  What they really want to know is the NAME of the “RESPONSIBLE PARTY.”  This could be the post commander or adjutant or treasurer, or whoever has a level of control over the funds.

This form must be filed by MARCH 1, 2014, if you have not told the IRS the identity of the Responsible Party and then again within 60-days of whenever your Responsible Party changes.

Click on the following link to access IRS Form 8822-B http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8822b.pdf



American Legion Centennial Celebration Website

Posted on February 3rd, 2014

The American Legion National Headquarters has created a Centennial Celebration http://centennial.legion.org. All Posts are asked to go to the webpage and register your Post to the site. The Department of Texas currently only has 9 Posts registered.

The American Legion Centennial Celebration is not only about honoring the past 100 years of our history, but also preparing to continue our legacy of service. Events and activities at posts all around the world will showcase The American Legion “Still Serving America.”



Legion efforts influenced IRS DD-214 revision

Posted on December 13th, 2013

American Legion efforts recently were successful in getting the Internal Revenue Service to revise section 501(c)19 of the Internal Revenue Code requiring Legion posts to keep records on file of its members’ DD-214s – the separation document given by the military to prove honorable service.

The IRS had been fining Legion posts up to $1,000 per day for not keeping records of veterans’ DD-214s or other valid documentation. The Legion felt it was being wrongly targeted, resulting in the passing of three resolutions during its 2013 National Convention in Houston last summer that called upon Congress to look into the IRS’ field investigations into Legion posts, while lawmakers wrote letters to the IRS asking why inspectors were asking posts to provide discharge papers or service records during reviews of their tax-exempt statuses.

Earlier this month, Legion staff and legal representation met with four IRS officials – the only veterans service organization (VSO) to do so – during which time the Legion asked that the IRS agree to change its internal regulations and guidance to comply with the above three resolutions. The Legion explained that while it preferred to fix this issue administratively, rather than legislatively, both options are available to the organization.

The IRS complied. Effective immediately, DD-214s are only required if an agent “possesses information that contradicts documentary information provided (by the veterans service organization) or if the organization fails to satisfy a reasonable request…” If an agent requires proof of membership eligibility, he or she will first request four sets of documents before requesting DD-214s or other discharge documents.

The American Legion also requested that the IRS create a new position within the agency – an ombudsman serving as a resource for VSOs – and agree to appoint a VSO liaison in each district that will agree to attend Legion department conventions to provide training and personal assistance to any department that needs it. Types of assistance can include Form 990 completion, initial requests for nonprofit status, compliance measures, and any other IRS compliance or relationship matter with which posts or departments may need assistance.

Read the revised IRS guidelines – http://www.legion.org/documents/legion/pdf/dd214irs.pdf



IRS revises position on DD-214 requirement

Posted on December 11th, 2013

The American Legion recently reported that the Internal Revenue Service was fining Legion posts – up to $1,000 per day – for not keeping records of veterans’ DD-214s, the separation document given by the military to prove honorable service, or other valid documentation. The Legion felt it was being wrongly targeted, resulting in the passing of three resolutions during the organization’s national convention in Houston that called upon Congress to look into the IRS’ field investigations into Legion posts, while lawmakers wrote letters to the IRS asking why inspectors were asking posts to provide discharge papers or service records during reviews of their tax-exempt statuses.

The IRS has now revised its position on the DD-214 requirement in section 501(c)19 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Effective immediately, DD-214s are only required if an agent “possesses information that contradicts documentary information provided (by the veterans service organization) or if the organization fails to satisfy a reasonable request…”

If an agent requires proof of membership eligibility, he or she will first request four sets of documents before requesting DD-214s or other discharge documents.

Read the revised guidelines at www.legion.org/documents/legion/pdf/dd214irs.pdf



M1 Garand Ammunition Safety Message

Posted on May 31st, 2013

Please take a second to read this

A mishap occurred during the first week of May 2013 in which two M1 Garand Rifles blew apart. This occurred during the rendering of funeral honors at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. As a result of this mishap two American Legion Members received serious injuries. This mishap was caused by the inadvertent use of .30 Caliber Grenade Cartridges instead of the .30 Caliber Blank Cartridges. The grenade cartridge generates more pressure than the blank cartridge and is not designed or intended to be fired with a blank firing adapter. The significant physical difference between the Blank Cartridge and the Grenade Cartridge is that the Blank Cartridge has 6 Crimps and the Grenade Cartridge has 5 crimps.

WARNING

• Do not fire .30 Caliber Grenade Cartridge in the M1 Garand Rifle
• Only .30 Caliber Blank Ammunition Received from the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command should be fired
• If an Organization’s Ammunition Source is unknown that ammunition should be inspected for the presence of Grenade Cartridges
If you have questions, please direct them to Mr. Robert Weissman, U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Center- (973) 724-3056, or robert.j.weissman.civ@mail.mil