Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Women At War video blocked

Taking a couple of days off and just checked my email. Looks like YouTube has just blocked another video. Women At War will no longer be available. Over 11,000 hits and now they block it. This is the email I received. Guess that if you have Creative Commons and do this all for free to help women with PTSD find the support and understanding they need, it doesn't matter to anyone anymore. This is just one more example of why I am so frustrated with doing these videos. If anyone wants to see the video still, it's on my web site at
It will stay up there until I receive word to pull it down, but they will have to explain to me what the problem is. You cannot talk to YouTube or Google and get them to explain how a video like this bothers the artist.

Dear NamGuardianAngel,

Video Disabled

A copyright owner has claimed it owns some or all of the audio content in your video Women At War and PTSD. The audio content identified in your video is In My Life by Bette Midler. We regret to inform you that your video has been blocked from playback due to a music rights issue.

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Women At War and PTSD
We forget how many women go into combat and have since wars first began. They die. They get wounded bodies and minds. They also suffer beyond what is "normal" conditions for men because of their gender. This is for all the women who serve in the military.

Added: December 03, 2006, 04:06 PMTime: 08:02
Views: 11,501Rating: Comments: 35Responses: 0Broadcast: Public

11,501 hits and 35 comments for a video on PTSD for women veterans at a time when women veterans need it the most and they block the video! Nice work pulling something like this but it's not the first video of mine they've done this to.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking a few days off

I've been going nonstop this year, except for when my brother passed away in October. I posted the other day that I'm burnt out. You really have to top that one off with bummed out as well. This has been a very hard year and I'm very happy to see it end. Between losing my job in January and trying to figure out how to get from one day to the next without a paycheck, somehow we survived. Donations didn't even cover what it cost me to operate this year, never mind traveling and becoming a Chaplain. It's just stuff I have to deal with. Don't feel sorry for me at all. It was my choice to go into this as many hours as I have been. It was my choice because as bad as my own problems are, there are far too many with bigger problems.

In all of this, just a reminder, I do what I do because I remember what it was like to have no one understanding what PTSD was like for my husband or our family. I remember searching for help and answers, as well as some kind of support for me. What I do, is because I fell in love with a Vietnam veteran 26 years ago and I know I would want someone to do the same for him if I wasn't there.

I'm very hopeful that with the new president along with the New Year, hope will be restored to our veterans, along with the rest of us. Too many conversations about President Elect Obama and having to address the disinformation out there about what he plans to do have left too many apprehensive about his administration. First and foremost, he understands the needs of veterans. He proved that when he had the choice to serve on any committee he wanted to but against advice from some of his colleagues, he said his heart was called to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. He also understands PTSD. He made a trip to the Montana National Guard to find out what they were doing. He also promised to replicated it across the nation. Their program is fantastic. It began because of the suicide of Chris Dana.

There is a lot to be hopeful for in the coming year. We just have to keep fighting to make sure that what can be done, is done. For now the fight has gone out of me and I really need a break.

While I've received far more support this year than I ever expected from service groups, there are many more that never responded. To them I have a message.

If you really want to address the problem of PTSD and really take care of the veterans, then understand that you are not doing them any good by acting as if you are competing against others who have been doing this work a lot longer than you have. There is much you have to learn especially if you don't want to waste time doing what's already been done. All you are doing is making the mistakes that have already been made, but the veteran pay the price because ego has gotten in the way. Stop ignoring the people that can get your group to where it should be so that you can really serve the veterans instead of your own ego! Join forces, not with me, but with other groups. No group will really be a success as long as we still have veterans falling thru the cracks.

I've contacted groups over the last five years, maybe their intentions were good in the beginning, but for whatever reason, they didn't want help from me and that's a real shame. They know who they are and as far as I'm concerned they will really not be successful. They are playing games, trying to make a name for themselves instead of doing the work they claim came first. I've been doing this since before most of these "genius" wannabe's were born. It isn't just me they are ignoring. There were a lot of us ignored instead of appreciated and most of them gave up. Tragic shame considering some of them were doing this even before I was.

So here's to next year. I wish all of you a Blessed New Year filled with love, hope and compassion in your hearts. I'll be back online on January 3rd.

Soldiers Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Also Fight for Child Custody

Soldiers Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Also Fight for Child Custody

Ann Scott Tyson

Washington Post

Dec 30, 2008
December 30, 2008, Fort Lee, Virginia - Army Sgt. Stephanie Greer was serving with a vehicle-maintenance unit in the volatile Iraqi city of Ramadi, part of President Bush's "surge" strategy to stabilize the country, when she learned of a far-off and most unexpected battle: Her estranged husband was going to fight her for custody of their daughter.

Greer had temporary custody of Mackenzie when she began her second deployment to Iraq in early 2007. Her husband was to care for the 7-year-old while Greer was overseas, but soon he challenged that arrangement in divorce proceedings. "He said I was unstable because I was deployed or training too much," she said.

As a result, throughout her 15-month combat tour, Greer had to mount from 4,000 miles away a legal campaign to keep her daughter.

"If I had not deployed, I know I never would have faced this situation," said Greer, 39. "I don't think it should be held against you, and I don't think my time away, or me deploying, affects my ability to be a mother or provide for my kids."

If she expected support in that position from the military, she was disappointed. Instead, the message she said she received from her superiors was: Deal with it.
click link above for more

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lawsuit on religion in military expanded

They all serve equally. They all wear the same uniform, serve under the same commander, the same flag but we forget that while they act as a unit, a family, they are also very different. Different backgrounds, different lives and different thoughts. Along with their individuality, there is also different beliefs. They need to be treated as their faith is a private matter just as if they marry or not is a private matter. It has nothing to do with their duty or their skills. No one should ever decide the faith of someone else or force it upon them. When they do, especially when it comes to the men and women serving this nation, it deludes the reason they serve. Religious freedom should be held highly but too many find no problem with this line being crossed.
Lawsuit on religion in military expanded
By John Hanna - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Dec 29, 2008 18:29:13 EST

TOPEKA, Kan. — A newly expanded federal lawsuit alleged Monday that the military doesn’t take complaints of religious discrimination seriously enough and allows personnel to try to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan to Christianity.

The Military Religions Freedom Foundation and a Fort Riley, Kan., soldier suing Defense Secretary Robert Gates now allege that a bias toward evangelical Christianity pervades even the Army’s suicide prevention manual and the Air Force’s sponsorship of an evangelical motocross ministry.

The Defense Department said complaints about religious discrimination are relatively few and pointed to military policies against endorsing any religious view.

Spc. Dustin Chalker and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed their amended lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. They filed the original lawsuit in September.

Chalker, a combat medic, is an atheist whose original complaints included being forced to attend military formations where Christian prayers were given. The foundation, based in Albuquerque, N.M., says it represents about 11,000 military personnel, almost all of them Christians upset about what they view as discrimination by more conservative and evangelical personnel. click link above for more

Court: DoD violated veterans hiring preferences

Court: DoD violated veterans hiring preferences
By Elise Castelli - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Dec 29, 2008 17:21:11 EST

The Defense Department violated the rights of a veteran who was seeking an entry-level, civilian auditing job when it decided to hire two nonveteran candidates instead, a federal court has ruled.

In a Dec. 24 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that an Office of Personnel Management authority that allowed Defense to bypass traditional competitive hiring procedures for entry-level positions was invalid because the regulation conflicted with statutory requirements.

Congress required that OPM give permission to DoD to pass over a veteran or other preferred candidate for a job, but in this case Defense made that decision on its own when it passed over veteran Stephen Gingery for a job at the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

Defense used a special authority to hire candidates through the Federal Career Intern Program, which under OPM’s regulation allowed the department to decide whether to give preference to the veteran. In exercising this hiring authority, the department denied Gingery, who has a 30 percent or greater disability, his preference rights, Judge Kimberly Moore wrote in the decision.

click link above for more

The VA released this

To view and download VA news release, please visit the following
Internet address:

VA Ramps Up Job Search for Injured Vets

WASHINGTON (Dec. 30, 2008) - Thirty percent of employees of the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are veterans - the second highest
ranking among cabinet departments after the Department of Defense -- and
nearly 8 percent of VA employees are service-connected disabled
veterans. But the VA intends to increase the number of disabled
veterans who obtain employment in its workforce.

"I am proud of this effort," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr.
James B. Peake. "VA knows the true quality of our men and women, and we
should be a leader in employing them."

Peake said all severely injured veterans of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan will be contacted by VA's Veterans Employment Coordination
Service to determine their interest in -- and qualifications for -- VA
jobs. So far, that office has identified 2,300 severely injured
veterans of those wars, of whom 600 expressed interest in VA employment.

The coordination service was established a year ago to recruit veterans
into VA, especially those seriously injured in the current wars. It has
nine regional coordinators working with local facility human resources
offices across the country not only to reach out to potential job
candidates but to ensure that local managers know about special
authorities available to hire veterans. For example, qualified disabled
veterans rated by the Defense Department or VA as having a 30 percent or
more service-connected disability can be hired non-competitively.

"Our team is spreading the message that VA is hiring, and we want to
hire disabled veterans," said Dennis O. May, director of VA's Veterans
Employment Coordination Service.

VA coordinators participate in military career fairs and transition
briefings, and partner with veterans organizations, the Department of
Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service, as well as VA's
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service, the Marine Corps'
Wounded Warrior Regiment and the Army's Warrior Transition Units.

Ex-aides say Bush never recovered from Katrina

I remember trying to simply get people to open their eyes about President Bush. People I normally would have gotten along with fine, were so defensive of Bush they would not open their ears, or even think about what was being said. Most of them were normally reasonable people until 9-11, then it was almost as if they regarded Bush as America. No matter what he did, they defended him, even if it meant they would have to suffer for it. Most of us did suffer for what he did and what he did not do. The people of New Orleans suffering was too much for even the media to tolerate.

Ex-aides say Bush never recovered from Katrina
Monday, December 29, 2008

(12-29) 18:41 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --

Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government's poor handling of the natural disaster.

"Katrina to me was the tipping point," said Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. "The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn't matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn't matter. P.R.? It didn't matter. Travel? It didn't matter."

Dan Bartlett, former White House communications director and later counselor to the president, said: "Politically, it was the final nail in the coffin."
click link above for more

Online Prozac sale leads to trial after suicide

Online Prozac sale leads to trial after suicide
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, December 29, 2008

(12-29) 17:50 PST SAN FRANCSICO -- In August 2005, John McKay, a 19-year-old Stanford student and former high school debate champion, committed suicide by rolling up the windows in a car at his mother's Menlo Park home and piping in exhaust fumes.

In the next few weeks, a Colorado doctor who had prescribed a generic form of Prozac for McKay after receiving his request over the Internet, without ever seeing or examining him, will go on trial in Redwood City on possibly precedent-setting charges of practicing medicine in California without a license.

A conviction of Dr. Christian Hageseth, 67, "would send a clear message to those individuals who are blindly writing prescriptions to patients they know nothing about," said the youth's father, David McKay, a former Stanford professor now living in Colorado. They would have to ask themselves, he said, "whether quick and easy money is worth the risk of a criminal conviction and permanent loss of their medical license."

Hageseth's lawyer, Carleton Briggs, sees the issue differently. The case may determine, he said, whether California can reach across state lines to prosecute practitioners of "telemedicine," an increasingly common source of health care.

"A lot of medication is prescribed over the Internet," Briggs said. "Can California regulate it in this fashion? ... No out-of-state telemedicine provider has ever been jailed for practicing medicine in California."

So far, though, courts have rejected Briggs' attempts to get the charge dismissed, including a civil suit claiming the prosecution is an unconstitutional attempt by California to regulate interstate commerce. A San Mateo County Superior Court judge threw the suit out Dec. 17, but Briggs said he'll raise the issue in an appeal if Hageseth is convicted.
click link above for more

Workman's comp comes two days too late to save a life

Suicide Victim's Estate Sues Over Insurance Claim
By Joe Wojtas
Published on 12/29/2008

Stonington — Derek Berube of Pawcatuck had begun his apprenticeship as a custom sailmaker at Halsey-Lidgard Sailmakers in Old Mystic in 2005 when a sail tack came loose and embedded in his left eye.

The 21-year-old Berube was temporarily blinded and needed two surgeries to restore some of his sight. He was left with two-thirds of the vision in the eye and a blind spot in the center of it.

Because of the surgery, Berube's physician stopped the immunosuppressive medication he took to control his Crohn's disease. The Crohn's symptoms returned and Berube had to spend 19 days in the hospital where portions of his small intestine and bowels were removed. He also had a temporary ileostomy, a surgical procedure in which a portion of small intestine is connected to an external pouch.

The temporary blindness left Berube, who graduated with high honors from the American School for the Deaf in 2001, unable to read lips, which was his primary means of communication.

These factors caused him to suffer from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He filed a workers' compensation claim, but the insurer, Hartford Fire Insurance Co., better known as The Hartford, denied his claim. On June 5, 2007, Berube committed suicide at his home. He was 24 years old.

Two days later the state Workers' Compensation Commission found that Berube was entitled to workers' compensation and that the insurance company had unreasonably contested his claim of psychological injury.

click above for more

Jennifer Ellis-Seitz, Florida reporter missing at sea

Details emerge about Winter Haven woman who went overboard on cruise ship
Sun Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel Staff Reports
4:22 PM EST, December 29, 2008

MIAMI - The family of the Winter Haven woman who fell off a cruise ship last week suspects she committed suicide.

A statement released today by Jennifer Ellis-Seitz's family shows she had "emotional issues" in the past."She was excited about starting a new job and her future career with a local newspaper. She and her husband had been talking about starting their family," her family wrote in the statement. But the family "suspects that Jennifer chose an unfortunate ending to her life. She was a beautiful and caring person and will be truly missed by all who love her."The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search this afternoon for the 36-year-old woman who plunged off the 15-deck cruise ship and into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday night.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen said search efforts for Ellis-Seitz were hampered by the gap between her fall from the Miami-based Norwegian Pearl and the start of the Coast Guard's rescue effort. U.S. Coast Guard officials said they were told about the woman's disappearance more than 11 hours after she had fallen from the deck of the cruise ship.

Videotape surveillance captured Ellis-Seitz falling overboard about 8 p.m. Thursday, as the vessel sailed 15 miles east of Cancun, Mexico. Her husband, Raymond Seitz, didn't report her missing until 5 a.m. the following day, a Coast Guard official said.

Ameen said that videotape has been "crucial'' to the Coast Guard efforts because its time and date stamp allows the Coast Guard to pinpoint the ship's exact location of where she went overboard.

FBI agents are analyzing the tape to determine whether Ellis-Seitz accidentally fell of the ship, jumped or was pushed.

Ellis-Seitz had worked as a reporter for several Florida newspapers, including the Ledger, Tampa Tribune and Florida Today, according to a biography on her personal Web site.

She runs NewsHound Communications, which does writing, editing, proofreading, training and advertising, The Tampa Tribune said.
click link above for more

Stress seen hitting female police most

Stress seen hitting female police most
Buffalo News - NY, United States
UB study also notes tension affects males
By Aaron Besecker

Female police officers suffer more from the stress of their jobs than their male counterparts, though male officers aren’t getting off easy, according to research led by the University at Buffalo.

One out of every four female officers assigned to a shift has thought about suicide, according to a study led by UB research associate professor John M. Violanti. Women also report greater instances of post traumatic stress disorder and symptoms of depression, a recent study has found.

At the same time, male officers report suicidal thoughts at nearly the same rate as female officers and, like women, show more symptoms of depression than is seen in the general population.

The work is part of an ongoing study into the health effects of stress on police officers, something Violanti has been looking at for more than a decade.

His experience as a state trooper gives Violanti an insight into the heads of officers and the mental and physical hardships of the job.

“Sometimes it’s more dangerous than being shot at,” Violanti said, “because stress can kill you, too.”

Researchers are in the fourth year of a five-year study looking at how stress relates to disease.

So far, more than 430 Buffalo police officers have participated.
click link above for more

Two Bronze Stars later PTSD and Suicide

After returning from his time overseas in Afghanistan, friends say, Brian Norman suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Handout photo / December 26, 2008)

After war, teacher's life unraveled
Baltimore Sun - United States
1 2 next Those who served with Brian Norman agree that he was an exceptional soldier - capable, meticulous and brave. He had two combat tours, one in Afghanistan, the other in Iraq, and was awarded two Bronze Stars.

He was also known as a singular teacher, one who demanded a great deal from students but also inspired and encouraged them. He helped with college applications, went to school football games, and even took students drag racing.

But this fall, his life unraveled.

On Nov. 12, he was arrested for allegedly slapping the buttocks of a 16-year-old girl, a junior in one of his classes at North Harford High School in Pylesville. Norman, a history and social studies teacher, was suspended with pay.
click link above for more

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Divers search for Pfc. Jamie Wagner Sengvanhpheng

Divers searching for missing Bragg soldierMcALLEN, Texas — Searchers continued combing a South Texas bay Sunday for a soldier who authorities believe drove his car off the end of a pier the day after Christmas.

Pfc. Jamie Wagner Sengvanhpheng, 21, was home on leave from Fort Bragg, N.C. and visiting family in Rockport when he disappeared after hanging out with friends at a bar late Christmas night.

His 2004 Acura was found submerged in Copano Bay Friday, but Sengvanhpheng was not inside.

A body had not been recovered so the search continued, a dispatcher with the Aransas County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday.

Older brother James Sengvanhpheng said there were no developments and declined to say more while his brother remained missing.

Read More

American Liver Foundation’s Nurse Martha Shea Shines

This is the type of person working for the VA. Shea is a volunteer with the American Liver Foundation. When I have a complaint about the VA, it's with the people making the rules and running it, but over 26 years, I could count the number of times there has been anything to complain about when it comes to the people working with the veterans at the VA. The problem is, because people at the top forgot why they went to work for the VA, nothing will be fixed until they remember, it was to serve the veterans that gave so much to all of us.

Giving Back
‘You Feel Like You’re Talking to an Angel’

Published: December 22, 2008

AS a nurse who deals with liver disease — a particularly trying medical field with a steady drumbeat of dispiriting news — Martha Shea does everything but get away from it after hours.

“I’m just passionate about what I do,” said Ms. Shea, 57, on a recent weekend in a moment of rare repose at her home in Wallingford.

Ms. Shea is described as tough but compassionate by patients she has seen over the years at the Veterans Affairs hospital in West Haven. She has worked there since 1979, first running a hepatology research lab and since 1987, as a nurse — now the nurse-manager of the hepatitis C resource center.

After 25 years in the Air Force Reserve, Ms. Shea retired in 2001 and has been a diligent volunteer with the American Liver Foundation’s Connecticut chapter in North Haven ever since.

“She’s sort of a whirling dervish,” said JoAnn Thompson, the chapter’s executive director. As chairwoman of the chapter’s annual Liver Life Walk the last two years, Ms. Shea raised record amounts of money: $110,000 in 2007, then $142,000 in 2008.

But there’s more. “Whatever we need her for, she finds time to come in and help us out,” Ms. Thompson said.

That can mean stuffing envelopes or decorating the office for the holidays, as Ms. Shea recently did. But more often, she uses the medical skills honed on the front lines of liver disease research and care, volunteering at a half-dozen health fairs a year — usually opting to work a whole day rather than a single shift. And she volunteers with the foundation’s treatment choices initiative — an educational program aimed at those at high risk for contracting hepatitis C.

“I just saw the need and how important it was and how it helped the patients,” Ms. Shea said, explaining why she volunteers on top of her regular job, which includes a hepatitis support group at the V.A. hospital that she runs on her own time. “My feeling for my patients — it’s not just sitting there at the V.A. I advocate for them. I’ll go to congresspeople. I’ll help them write letters. I’ll help them find a place at the shelter. It’s not just ‘come into the clinic, get your shot, here’s your pill.’ ”
click link above for more

Iraq War veteran arrested after two-hour standoff with police

First thought on this is that I bet it turns out he needed help and thought the only way to get it was if he was arrested first.
Iraq War veteran arrested after two-hour standoff with police in Mansfield Township
Iraq War veteran arrested after two-hour standoff with police
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The Express-Times
MANSFIELD TWP. A mentally disturbed Iraq War veteran who dialed 911 Friday morning claiming he'd shot two people kept officers at bay during an ensuing two-hour standoff, police said.

Richard Toth, 30, made the 911 call -- determined to be a fabrication -- at 9:53 a.m. from his second-floor Mansfield Village apartment, township police Detective Sgt. Robert Emery said.

Police responded and evacuated the building and neighboring apartments in the sprawling complex off Route 57 and established a security perimeter.

The Warren County Tactical Response Team also responded and township Patrolman Jeffrey Conklin, who had had past contact with Toth, talked to him via telephone during negotiations that led to his noontime surrender, Emery said.

Toth allegedly threatened to shoot police and take his own life during phone conversations with a 911 operator.

Police said they did not recover any weapons except for a large kitchen knife Toth held when tactical response officers entered Toth's apartment to arrest him.

Toth did not threaten the officers with the knife, police said.

Authorities had no details immediately available on Toth's military service. Efforts failed to reach family for comment.
click link above for more

PTSD veterans gain strength from eagle's broken wing

Isaiah 40
29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Vet saved on the wings of an eagle
written by: Joe Fryer, KARE 11 News,

MINNEAPOLIS - To many veterans, the original copy of the Declaration of Independence, on display at the Minnesota History Center over the summer, is more than a piece of paper.

"It's a document that goes right down into the heart," said former Marine Mark Lauer. "It just reminds me of why I served and why I was proud to do it."

To vets like Lauer, it's a symbol of freedom - like an American flag, or a bald eagle.

So when Bob Snitgen actually brought an eagle to the History Center, you can imagine the reaction.

Of course, to Bob, Harriet the eagle is more than a symbol of freedom.

"To me, she's a lifesaver," Snitgen said with a smile.

As a young man in the early 1960s, Snitgen joined the Navy. He spent two years on riverboats in Vietnam.

Those two years haunted him for many decades. Like so many vets, Snitgen suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"I would lay there crying because I couldn't get my husband to even talk to me," said Liz Snitgen, Bob's wife. "He would stay hidden in a room."

It was so bad seven years ago, doctors at the V.A. Medical Center in Minneapolis labeled him "homicidal/suicidal," and locked him up for months.

After Snitgen left the hospital, a friend suggested taking him to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. click above for more

Homeless man beaten to death "was a veteran"

A homeless man sleeping on a bench, wakes up, looks at another man, "the wrong way" and then is beaten to death. Turns out that man on the bench, the man not worth living after looking at Singleton "the wrong way" was also a man that served his country and was willing to die for the sake of his country.
No Bond For Suspect In Homeless Beating Death
Police Say Murder Weapon Was A Tire Iron
Police: Suspect Beat Homeless Man Over 'The Wrong Way' He Looked At Him

A Miami man, charged with beating a homeless man to death, was denied bond Saturday on first-degree murder charges, one day after the fatal beating.

Sedrek A. Singleton, 29, was charged on Friday with the first-degree murder of Todd Hill after police stopped him in the area with blood stains on his shirt. Singleton allegedly confessed to beating Hill to death because he didn't like the way he 'looked' at him.

According to Miami police, Hill, 41, was sleeping on a park bench behind the River Park Hotel in downtown Miami at SE 88th Avenue and 4th Street Friday morning when he was attacked around 4:00 a.m. Police said that Singleton confessed to the beating, admitting he was angered over "the wrong way" that Todd Hill looked at him.

The police report said the weapon used was an iron bar.

Woodard says Hill was a veteran who had been living on the streets for at least three years.

click link for more

Woodard is Hill's friend.

Police: Man shot over noise during movie

Police: Man shot over noise during movie
Assailant allegedly told the family to be quiet, then threw popcorn
updated 9:21 p.m. ET, Sat., Dec. 27, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - A man enraged by a noisy family sitting near him in a movie theater on Christmas night shot the father of the family in the arm, police said.

James Joseph Cialella, 29, of Philadelphia, told the man's family to be quiet, then threw popcorn at the man's son, police said. The victim told police that Cialella was walking toward his family when he stood up and was shot.

Detectives called to the United Artists Riverview Stadium theater in South Philadelphia found Cialella carrying the weapon, a .380-caliber handgun, in his waistband, police said.
click above for more

Who turned the VA into Veteran's Adversary?

Was it President Bush, or Nicholson or the congress? Someone turned the VA into Veteran's Adversary instead of being there for them.

VA grapples with veterans' mental traumas
Washington Times - Washington,DC,USA
Audrey Hudson
Sunday, December 28, 2008

Service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq increasingly are suffering from mental trauma that dampens their homecomings, hobbles their re-entry into civilian life and imperils their continued military service - a situation the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has sought to address with treatment, counseling and even drug experimentation.

But even as the VA has worked to provide quality health care for millions of veterans at its facilities across the country, it has endured a series of failures - from not notifying test subjects about new drug warnings to ignoring safeguards during experiments. Those failures have damaged the reputation of the agency charged with supporting vulnerable veterans.

But it also has compromised the speedy recovery of those vets.

President-elect Barack Obama, who has named retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki as incoming VA secretary, will have to deal with those long-standing discrepancies in the agency, as well as seek out new solutions to remedy the mental health problems plaguing an ever-growing population of veterans.

"Wars are supposed to end when the last shots are fired, but some of our new veterans will unfortunately have to cope with internal demons that may last their lifetime," said Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Mr. Obama, Mr. Filner and other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called for an investigation into a smoking cessation study, which Mr. Peake immediately initiated.

The experiment tracked 240 veterans taking the drug Chantix to examine which forms of counseling were more beneficiary - smoking clinics or through a separate counselor. James Elliott, an Army infantryman who was wounded in Iraq, says the drug caused him to experience a mental breakdown and a showdown with police who used a Taser to subdue him in February.

Mr. Elliott said the VA didn't warn him about new FDA concerns that Chantix was linked to psychotic behavior and nearly 40 suicides until nearly a month after his disturbing incident occurred earlier this year.

The internal investigation confirmed that Mr. Elliott was not alone. It took medical professionals involved in the study anywhere from 16 to 134 days to notify participants taking Chantix about the new warnings.

In addition, an experiment using 40 Gulf War veterans recruited from the Bronx Veterans Medical Research Foundation is testing the drug mifepristone, also known as RU-486, to treat chronic multisymptom illness. The drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to induce abortions by blocking progesterone that is needed to sustain pregnancies.

Diagnosis problem
Aimee Fitzgerald took her 74-year-old husband Joe to the VA hospital in the Bronx last year for diagnosis and treatment after he suddenly started losing motor skills. He was immediately admitted to the hospital, underwent some tests and was told that if he enrolled in a clinical study of Alzheimer's study he could be diagnosed quicker. When he declined, Mrs. Fitzgerald says her husband was immediately dismissed from the hospital without a diagnosis or treatment.
Less than a month later, Mr. Fitzgerald died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of mad cow disease.
After a review of the Fitzgerald case this year, the VA denied that the study recruitment efforts had anything to do with Mr. Fitzgerald's dismissal from the VA hospital.
However, Mr. Peake apologized to the family in an Aug. 26 letter to the editor at The Times.

No consent for tests
The VA halted all new experiments involving human subjects at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System in Little Rock this summer after an investigation by its inspector general.

Rampant violations in human experiments were uncovered, including missing consent forms, clandestine HIV testing and failure to report more than 100 deaths of veterans participating in various studies.

Entire consent forms were missing or signatures missing and research officials failed to obtain witness signatures in one study using veterans with dementia. Patients were tested for AIDS without their knowledge or permission.

In a review of several cancer studies involving 1,400 veterans, investigators randomly sampled the files of 105 patients and could only find 20 consent forms.

In West Virginia, several families of Iraq War veterans demanded a congressional investigation after their loved ones died at home in their sleep. All were taking medication for drugs described for post-traumatic stress disorder. click link above for the rest

Story of Eric Hall number five story of Jeffersonville paper

Clark County’s top stories of 2008
Evening News and Tribune - Jeffersonville,IN,USA


The plight of Eric Hall, a Marine from Clark County who went missing near a relative’s home in Florida last winter, dealt a sad blow to the community in 2008.

Hall had been injured by a roadside blast while serving in Iraq in 2005. A fellow Marine was killed in the same blast.

Hall, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, moved from Jeffersonville to Florida upon his retirement to stay with relatives and get a fresh start.

However, shortly after he got there he began to experience war flashbacks and hallucinations. And one afternoon, he disappeared into a nearby woods.

For weeks, thousands helped search for the Marine, hoping to find him alive.

The 24-year-old’s body was later found in early March, badly decomposed, inside of a drainage culvert where he’d likely sought shelter.

His family organized a fundraiser in the summer to help raise money to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

— Compiled and written by Staff Writers David A. Mann and Matt Thacker and Editor Shea Van Hoy. Voted on by the staff of The Evening News.

His story came in behind


If you want to read more about Eric Hall, just click the search on his name and find them on this blog.

Tragedies don't stop for the holidays

I haven't been posting very much over the last few days. It's not that trauma stops over the holiday's or that I've been too busy outside of the house. It's more that I've entered into yet another burned out stage. I can't come close to remembering how many times this has happened over the years. Covering trauma, suicide, murders, tragedies along with PTSD, is very stressful. This is not including the emails flying back and forth while I try to get people to understand what PTSD is. Not to worry because every time I get burnt out, God has an endless supply of matches. I'll be back up to speed in a few days.

Yesterday I received a phone call telling me my ex-husband passed away on Christmas Eve. We were married less than two years when I was too young and stupid to know any better. He was a part of my life I wanted to forget. It ended very badly. The strange thing is, when I became engaged to Jack, my ex-husband walked over to him, shook his hand and told Jack, "Congratulations. (sarcastically) You're marring my wife." We knew he must have still been following me. But my ex-husband was fully of surprises. I had to get the marriage annulled so that Jack and I could get married in the Greek Church. My ex-husband signed the papers without any trouble at all and apologized for all that went wrong. I totally forgave him but it was still a part of my life that hurts whenever I think about him.

Today I'm wondering how I'm supposed to feel about his passing. It's hard to get it through my head there is no right or wrong in this. I'll admit I did feel a little guilty when I heard the words. It was as if a weight had come off my shoulders. I know the next time I travel back home, I won't have to be looking over my shoulders wondering if he'll pop up. He hadn't done it in years but there was a nagging feeling from the first few years when we ended and he was always somehow right behind me.

It's hard to think he ended up alone. According to the obituary, he did not leave behind a wife or children. I always thought he would have remarried. Now I wonder if he ever forgave himself.

Whenever you meet someone, there is there past you are meeting as well. We all come with a history or our lives. We do things that hurt other people. Our actions today go into their tomorrows just as their actions go into our's. No matter how hard we try to forget, move on, the time we share with someone else is always with us for better or worse. We all keep secrets. There were several reports over the last few days showing that things in our lives do not take a break over the holidays.

A famous man committed suicide but no one knows why John Costelloe committed suicide.

"He didn't seem like the kind of guy who would reach out," Neu said. "There couldn't have been a more supportive and friendly group. If he wanted to reach out to people, we were right in front of him. I wish he did."


The Brooklyn actor who played Johnny Cakes - the gay-fireman lover of a mob capo on "The Sopranos" - killed himself in a holiday tragedy that has stunned family and friends.

The front door to John Costelloe's Sunset Park home was still sealed with police stickers yesterday, more than a week after the rugged 47-year-old actor committed suicide.

Costelloe, a former FDNY firefighter, shot himself in the head in his basement bedroom on Dec. 16, cops and pals said.

"It's beyond me. This is too much for me to handle right now," the actor's dad, Michael Costelloe, 77, said yesterday.

Firefighter and former colleague Matt Dwyer couldn't believe his friend was gone. click the link above for more

A woman killed her 8 year old son and then tried to kill herself.

Police: Florida Woman Murdered 8-Year-Old Son on Christmas
Friday, December 26, 2008

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Police have charged a 31-year-old Florida woman with murder after she allegedly smothered her 8-year-old son to death on Christmas.

Police said Eryn Allegra, of Port St. Lucie, gave the boy eight Advil pills to put him to sleep, then early Thursday morning suffocated him with a pillow in a hotel room. Allegra then allegedly tried to slit her wrists, but the blade she used was too dull. Police said she dialed 911 and was taken to a local hospital.

Allegra told investigators she had been having financial problems since August 2007.

It was unclear if Allegra had an attorney.

Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, dressed up like Santa, had cash to start a new life but decided that he would end the lives of people in his life first. He walked away from another child and his mother to start a new life with the woman he would end up killing along with her family.
Santa shooter carried secret guilt, attorney says
Story Highlights
Bruce Pardo's son from previous relationship was brain damaged, attorney says
Secret of boy's existence was factor in divorce, newspaper reports
Police are looking for car Pardo might have rented
Authorities release information on those unaccounted for after fire
From Stan Wilson

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The man who police say dressed as Santa Claus and killed nine people at a Christmas Eve party lived with guilt from an incident that left his son from a previous relationship a paraplegic, according to an attorney who once represented the woman in that relationship.

Prime suspect Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, who police said committed suicide hours after he went on a shooting rampage and started a raging house fire in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina, had a son who sustained severe brain damage several years ago in an apparent swimming pool accident while he was in Pardo's care, according to attorney Jeffrey Alvirez.

Police have said Pardo targeted his rampage at his former wife, Sylvia Ortega Pardo, and her family at the family's Christmas Eve party.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Pardo had kept his son's existence and condition a secret from his wife. When she found out, her anger over the situation and also finding out that Pardo had claimed the child as a tax dependent for several years became a major factor in divorce proceedings, the paper said, quoting an unidentified source close to the investigation.

Can we stop any of these stories from happening? Could anyone have stopped Pardo? Or Allegra? Or Costelloe? Where were the people who may have helped Allegra and her son with financial problems? Maybe they cared the way Costelloe's friends did but they couldn't do anything to help. What we can do is to do whatever is in our own power to help people in need. We can just do the best we can. At least that way when these things happen, we can always know we did the best we could to prevent it. No matter what we do, we also have to understand there will always be that question of what could we have done differently? All too often that question can only be answered by the other people.

My ex wanted what he wanted and didn't want to save our marriage unless it was under his terms. Then he couldn't let it go easily. Too many times we see only what we want and what we don't have instead of what we ourselves could have done differently.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Former Guardsman to receive Silver Star award

Former Guardsman to receive Silver Star award
The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Dec 26, 2008 16:26:26 EST

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A former Guardsman is being honored with an award for heroism in Iraq more than three years ago.

Jason Harrington, of Lancaster, Pa., will receive the Silver Star during a ceremony Saturday in Harrisburg.

It’s the third-highest decoration for members of the U.S. armed forces.

His actions were credited with saving the lives of fellow soldiers during an incident in Iraq in September 2005.

Harrington finished his Guard service in 2006.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Military Struggles With Response To PTSD

Military Struggles With Response To PTSD
CBS News - New York,NY,USA

CBS Evening News: Beneath A Brave Solider's Suicide, Cracks In the Mental Health System

Dec. 26, 2008

(CBS) The Pentagon says 1 in 5 service members who come home from Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress.

Some find their experiences too much to bear. There were 115 military suicides last year, and 93 through just August of this year.

The biggest obstacle to getting those numbers down may be the military culture itself, reports CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier.

First Sergeant Jeff McKinney was a model soldier, a newlywed, and a new father.

Now, his family says, he's a casualty of war. Two wars really: the war in Iraq, where he served honorably, and the war within the military over how to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

On July 11, 2007, McKinney, serving on his second tour, killed himself in front of his men. He had endured months of sleeplessness, nightmares and guilt over losing so many of the soldiers he commanded.

"I think he felt like he couldn't send one more broken body home, one more dead person home," Jeff McKinney's father, Charles McKinney, said.

McKinney's personal battle mirrors the war within the U.S. Army, between those who call combat stress a killer, and those who call it an excuse.

In McKinney's case, there had been troubling signs, but he hadn't been taking the medication given to help him cope -- and his captain feared taking him off duty would destroy his career.

Commanders like First Sergeant McKinney are often the hardest to convince they need help.

"We've got a rough and tough, sort of macho culture that says none of that soft squishy touchy feely stuff," said Brigadeer General Loree Sutton, director of the military's Center for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. "Well, we need to bring the brain out of what has been a black box." PTSD Victims Casualties Of War

Often overlooked within the military, more and more U.S. soldiers have suffered the painful effects of posttraumatic stress disorder. Kimberly Dozier reports from Dallas, Texas.

click link above for more

PTSD:BattleMind advice 60 days too late!

PTSD:BattleMind advice 60 days too late!
by Chaplain Kathie

This comment was left on my blog for a post I did on 1st Sgt. Jeff McCkinney.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The tragic story of 1st Sgt. Jeff McKinney": Hello. I read your article about the 1st Sgt. that recently committed suicide. I wanted to tell you my story. My husband was in the 278th TN National Guard and he committed suicide on May 16, 2008. Here is my story:,Tracy Eiswert
Please, help me spread the word about veteran suicides! Send this link to everyone you know. P.S. The VA has denied all my appeals for a 100% rating................

Well, I watched the video in horror. At first as I listened to Tracy, I started to cry because she said, "no one told her" about PTSD. That's been the problem since Vietnam. People like me are hard to find. Let's face it, there is nothing glamorous or Google worthy when it comes to PTSD or trauma for that matter. Most of the people that need to know about all of this, need to know it well in advance of it coming into their family, but considering two thirds of the American people do not know what PTSD means, they are not about to go looking for information on it. I know what I know because my life depended on it when I met my husband 26 years ago.

Tracy's story was just one more reminder I didn't need that no matter how many hours I spend doing this, no matter how many videos, Power Points or posts I do, it does no good if people like Tracy have no idea what's available to help. Most of the emails I get come in the middle of the night from a veteran or a spouse after finding me by accident, either by a post or because of one of my videos. Yet if they were searching for sexy videos or comedies, they'd find what they were looking for right away. No matter what you Google, you can find it, but what you can't find is the miracle you're looking for when a life is on the line.

Let's face it, when it comes to PTSD, the government, as others have put it in the past, suck at what they do.

Watching the video on PBS I am even more convinced that Battle Mind is not only bad, it's dangerous. There is a Chaplain talking to a bunch of soldiers talking about getting angry, nightmares and flashbacks. His advice, based on Battle Mind, is to wait 90 days. Imagine that? After all, all the experts I've read over the last 26 years all seem to agree that if the symptoms of PTSD do not begin to fade in 30 days, they need to seek help. It appears the VA is 60 days too late along with everything else. (Is there any wonder why they won't hire me to work for them anymore?)

James Peak is also in this video. He denies that the rise in suicides is tied to combat. Isn't that remarkable considering that the news accounts of some of these suicidal veterans all have one thing in common. They all experienced combat and ended up with flashbacks, nightmares, along with all the other symptoms of PTSD but when Peak tries to tie it into nothing more than relationship problems and financial ones setting off depression, it's easy to hide it. Simply because PTSD ends up setting off depression and relationship problems and financial problems as well.

Battle Mind does not work and gives bogus advice. If it worked you'd see the number of attempted suicides and successful ones go down instead of up every year. Peak also denied that the redeployments increased the risk even though the report was released by the Army a couple of years ago, stating categorically that the risk of PTSD increased by 50% for each redeployment. At least there is a VA psychiatrist in this video saying that it has increased the risk.

As bad as we are treating the regular military, we are even worse at treating the National Guards men and women. They come home and are expected to just get back to normal life when there is nothing normal about life in combat for any of them.

The question is, how can people like me be paid attention to by the people in charge? It's impossible. Letters sent to congress go unanswered or they answer with a form letter. Even service organizations that are sent my videos ignore them. It's all backed up by research, news reports and living with it everyday plus doing the outreach work and listening to them very carefully. Some service organizations are using them and they are helping, which is a good thing, but how many accidental finds are out there searching for help right now?

The other point is that the local communities aren't paying attention either. If they think they have budget problems now, wait until they see family after family have to bury another National Guards man or woman because they didn't get the help they needed. Wait until yet another church holds a funeral for one that took their own life because the church refused to get involved in a family falling apart and a combat veteran suffered.

Service groups across the country are falling all over themselves trying to increase membership to stay active and pay their bills, but do they think of getting active when it comes to what the new generation of veterans need? Hell no! That would be too beneficial to their communities. I know. I've tried to get them to pay attention and have been ignored. It's not that I don't know people with the power to change all of this, they just won't listen.

Go to the link below and watch the video on what happened to Tracy's husband and know that everyday there are 18 more of them. We are losing over 6,000 a year to suicide and that number is expect to go up because the VA yet again is late but the veterans, well they were expected to show up on time to be sent into combat or they had to go to jail. Nice. Isn't it?

Posted on November 11, 2008
Military Sees Rise in Troop Suicides
The army reports that suicides among active duty personnel have doubled in recent years. With low recruitment levels and wars continuing in both Iraq and Afghanistan, many soldiers have had to deploy multiple times, which might be contributing to the increase.
This report tells one family's story of battling with the mental effects of going to war and struggling to get adequate therapy and tools to deal with post traumatic stress. The NewsHour's Betty Ann Bowser also talks to the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs about how they are responding to the rise, and to veterans' advocates fighting for better mental health services.
The Army has started several programs aimed at reaching soldiers suffering from depression; including hiring more mental health workers and starting a suicide hotline, but some advocates say it is not enough.

Boy, 12, Given Military Burial

Boy, 12, Given Military Burial

December 23, 2008
Knight Ridder

MILLERSPORT, Ohio -- The Soldiers flanked the casket, solemn and precise, and folded the American flag with a yank-and-flip motion. On one knee, a sergeant presented the flag to a grieving mother.

Around them, mourners with red eyes and heaving shoulders testified, silently, to the mark Dennis Channel Jr. left on each of them.

Seven Soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard raised their rifles and fired three rounds. A lone bugler sounded taps, a haunting call that wafted over the nearby graves of veterans.

Dennis, known to all as "Bubba," was buried Monday with full military honors.

He was 12 years old.

The Millersport boy was too young to be a Soldier or a veteran, for whom such an honor is generally reserved.

Sgt. Maj. Rebecca Herzog had never led an honor guard at a funeral for anyone out of uniform, except a member of Congress, in 10 years on the job. But Dennis deserved it, the Guard decided.

He was his own kind of warrior. He waged a battle with brain cancer, diagnosed when he was just 5 years old. He was a brave Soldier, all agreed, one who changed the world for the better.

Dennis died, holding his parents' hands, shortly after 3 a.m. Friday, Dec. 19.
click link for more

Military families turn to more resources to cope

As number of deployments rises, military families turn to more resources to cope

08:24 PM PST on Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Press-Enterprise

Reports in recent months on the state of the military family have not been encouraging.

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that military documents showed a 12percent increase in the divorce rate among Marines in the past year. Recent studies, including at least one conducted by the military, show an elevated risk of domestic violence among military personnel and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Cases of post-traumatic stress are on the rise.

The strain placed on relationships by military deployments is never easy. But the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought an unprecedented number of repeated deployments that experts say put even more demands upon individual soldiers and their families.


But Marianne Espinoza knows that other couples struggle. She deals with them on a daily basis. So does Peter Morris, program manager for Family Advocacy at the Marine base in Twentynine Palms

"Of the people we're seeing, it seems that multiple deployments are complicating their lives," Morris said.

Although the number of Marines seeking counseling in his program hasn't risen significantly in the past year, he said, the percentage of those seeking help with anger management has nearly doubled. In fiscal year 2007, Morris said, his program saw 77 clients for anger management out of a total of 535. For 2008, the total number of clients rose slightly to 560, but anger management cases jumped to 144.

Morris attributes part of the increase to better promotion of his program's services and an increased effort to identify and treat Marines who may be having problems.

But, he said, "I think the doubling may also reflect that for some individuals the stress is telling."

This part is wrong. Too bad the reporter did not know the facts. The 300,000 is the number the RAND Corp. released in a study on PTSD. They also used another 350,000 for their TBI figures. There have been over 1.8 million deployed between Iraq and Afghanistan, just to clear the record up on this report.


Helga West is president and CEO of Witness Justice, a Maryland-based organization that advocates for victims of violent crime and, more recently, military personnel. A voluntary Web-based survey conducted by Witness Justice showed the trauma of the battlefield being transferred to the home front.

West admits that the 248 survey participants are "not very representative" of the military as a whole. More than 300,000 have served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Nonetheless, she believes the results should raise concerns. She points to the fact that 60 percent of the respondents said their family relationships had changed after deployment. Fifty-five percent said that family life was challenging after their return.
go here for more

Missing Flordia Baby turns out to be hoax

The people of Florida, along with most of the nation, just went thru 6 months of heart tugging, heart breaking news of Caylee Anthony, then comes this story. This woman lied about a missing baby to her boyfriend. Supposedly her boyfriend was about to meet his son for the first time. There was a picture on the Internet the woman used to pretend it was her son. Instead of being honest, she lied about the baby she didn't have, then turned around lying even more that he had been abducted. Story ends there? Hardly. It wasn't bad enough she lied to this poor man causing him to think he had a son and then making him think his son had just been kidnapped but then she lied to the police. Think about all the law enforcement officers trying to find this non-existent baby after what they went through with Caylee Anthony. Did she ever think of them?

Dec 25, 2008 5:50 pm US/Eastern

Police: Missing Florida Boy May Be In Mass. Car

The search for a missing toddler in Florida has ties to Massachusetts.

6-month-old Riley Buchness was last seen by his parents December 23 in Miami.

Police did not offer details of his disappearance, other than he was with a woman by the name of "Camille."

Riley, who is white and about a foot tall was last seen wearing a white onesie with blue jeans.

His hair is in a mohawk style, he has one tooth, and a fake tattoo of an anchor on his left arm.

He's believed to be with a 20-to-30 year old woman named "Camille." Her last name is not known. She speaks with a heavy French accent. She is white, 5-feet-5 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds, with very long brown hair, brown eyes, and a gap between her teeth.

Police say Riley and Camille are possibly traveling in a red Acura, possibly with a Massachusetts license plate.

Investigators are asking anyone who sees the child or the car to contact their local police department immediately.

Police: Missing Baby Story Was A Hoax


Megan McCormick, in police custody, has been charged with filing a false police report for lying about the disappearance of her baby

The search in Florida for a missing toddler with ties to Massachusetts has been called off - because it was a hoax.

Miami police had been looking for help in their search for 6-month-old Riley Buchness, who was last seen by his mother December 23 in Miami.


Police had very few details of the boy's disappearance when they first asked for the public's help Thursday.

However, they did release a photo of him, saying he was with a woman by the name of "Camille."

"Camille" was allegedly the boy's nanny and she was possibly traveling in a red Acura, possibly with a Massachusetts license plate.

The mother and father are said to be from Massachusetts.


It turns out there is no Camille and there is no Riley.

Miami police said Friday that the whole story was fabricated by the woman who claimed to be the missing child's mother.

That woman, Megan McCormick, has now been charged with filing a false police report. click link for more of this

Thursday, December 25, 2008

For guardsmen, deployment upends Christmas

For guardsmen, deployment upends Christmas
HAMLET, N.C. — It was still October when Jennifer Guinn hung her family’s stockings — six red ones with the owner’s name printed across each white cuff.

There was a Christmas wreath on the front door to greet Halloween trick-or-treaters, and the Guinns’ four kids helped trim the tree with sparkling white lights — two full months before Santa was due.

With her husband, Staff Sgt. Ryan Guinn, due to spend most of December training with his National Guard unit for an upcoming yearlong deployment to Iraq, celebrating the season as a family meant celebrating on the military’s timeline.

“We knew that once he left he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the tree for long,” Jennifer Guinn said. “He wanted time to be able to enjoy all the lights ... while he was here.”

For the 76 soldiers of E Company who will deploy to Iraq in April, and their families, this year’s Christmas is a holiday upended by pre-deployment training. Instead of spending time with family and friends, they practiced gunnery at Fort Stewart, Ga.

The Associated Press is chronicling the company, their families, and Hamlet, the town they’re leaving behind, as the North Carolina National Guard’s 30th Brigade Combat Team leaves for a 12-month tour in Iraq. The empty seats at Hamlet’s dinner tables and church pews as Christmas approached served as a preview of what awaits.

click link for more

Read More

Vehicle crashes into Hanukkah celebration

Vehicle crashes into Hanukkah celebration

Story Highlights
14 people hospitalized after elderly man loses control of his vehicle

Vehicle crashed into a Long Island building holding a Hanukkah festival

Some of the injuries were severe, police said

(CNN) -- Fourteen people were hospitalized Thursday after an elderly man lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a Long Island building where a Hanukkah festival was under way, police told CNN.

Rescue workers at the scene after a car plowed into a storefront where a Hannukah celebration was taking place.

Some of the injuries were severe, Nassau County Police Officer Patricia Tanksley said. Police said the 78-year-old man's vehicle crashed into a Woodmere, New York, storefront where Chabad of Five Towns was holding its Hanukkah Wonderland event.

Police said the driver, who hit a parked car before going through the storefront, is among the injured. There were no details available for the others.

Hospitals in the vicinity reported receiving adults and children, including two children listed in serious condition.

The event included menorah- and dreidel-making activities for children, according to the Chabad of Five Towns Web site.

Heshey Jacob, president of the Hatzolah Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, said the vehicle went through a play tent in the front of the building where children were playing and into the back of the store. Watch footage of the accident site »

Thirteen victims were initially transported to hospitals, he said, including one medevaced to Nassau County Medical Center. Another child, traumatized by the accident, was taken to a hospital later.

Other than the driver, the injured range in age from 18 months to 40 years old, police said.
click link for more

Do you know what freedom really means?

Catholics have statues in their churches. Greeks have icons. Presbyterians have banners. Christians cannot agree on everything. They never did and they never will. Some denominations believe we are all saints and we are already chosen to enter into Heaven. Others believe it comes from simply accepting Christ into their lives and never having to do another thing. Some actually believe that lying is not a sin for them, but one for other people. Others believe that we are to live our own lives according to the teachings of Christ and doing all we can to follow how He said to treat others. (This happens to be the one I belong to.)

When it comes to the government, many in this country find it unacceptable that they are supposed to be representing all people, of all faiths equally. No one is above or below the law, or at least that's the way it's supposed to be. We are all supposed to be able to walk into a VA clinic, since the government runs them, and know our faith is equally honored as anyone else's no matter what the faith is or even if they have no faith at all. The government is supposed to stay out of it.

When it comes to the military, we need to remember that they are just like the rest of us when it comes to their own private choice of faith. A VA chapel is supposed to be there for all veterans seeking a place to pray as they see fit, not as some well meaning person chooses to have surrounding them when they do.

If Bible's are supplied, then which ones are chosen? We do not all follow the same Bible. There are many different versions of it and we cannot even all agree on the Apostle's Creed. Who gets to decide? Who gets to decide if any other religious book is there for the Jewish veterans? Or the Muslim veterans? Or the Buddhists? Or the Hindus? Any idea? Do they supply the Rosary beads for Catholics and the worry beads for Greek Orthodox people using them to calm down? Do they supply crosses with Christ on them for the faiths that do hold that image of Him, or do they supply the Celtic cross with the holes or the other plan ones with no Christ on them? Who decides that? What about the saints? Do they use the word "saint" when talking about the heroes of the Bible or do they use just the names as some faiths do?

Not so simple when you actually think about it instead of just using gut instinct. Our faiths are just as complicated as we are. We make the choice of what faith to practice or practice none at all. We decide it all freely. So do the troops and the veterans.

When I read this article, I read the words;
Wieters says he has not been able to find out who is behind the suit, but he is adamant that the floor is no place for the Bible and the cross. So he has decided to fight the policy and stand up for the freedom that millions of veterans have fought for over the years.

and wondered if he actually thought about what those words mean.

Does he understand the freedom to choose our own faith as Americans is one of those freedoms they were defending? Does he understand that the freedom of religion and the free expression of it means that one cannot be regarded as holy while dismissing all others?

I have been in synagogues and respected their faith. When you think of walking into a VA chapel and seeing Christian images, you need to know they would feel uncomfortable. All others would feel uncomfortable in a place where they are supposed to be able to sit and pray as their own faith dictates or simply to touch their own spirit communicating with God or their Higher Power. This is not a matter of Christianity being pushed out but one of not having other faiths pushed away.

I am a Chaplain. I don't work for the VA but I work with veterans. I take care of them no matter what faith they have or even if they have no faith at all equally. I carry a Bible in my car in case someone needs it and Holy water along with a Rosary even though I'm Greek Orthodox and do not use a Rosary. I do not pull these things out unless someone asks for them. So what would be wrong with having them there in the Chapel out of view and pulling them out if someone asks for them? Otherwise they are acting as if they have the power to judge non-Christians. It also means that the government is supporting one branch of Christianity over other dominations.

As I said, Mr. Wieters seems well meaning but he is not thinking about how other veterans can feel about what he thinks is a good thing to do.

Bible, cross bumped from altars
OneNewsNow - Tupelo,MS,USA
Chad Groening - OneNewsNow - 12/24/2008

It's not acceptable, says a retired employee of the Veterans Administration, that Bibles and crosses are no longer being placed on the altars of VA facilities across the country.

Bob Wieters is a Vietnam veteran who retired from the VA in 1996 after more than 32 years of federal civil service. The Pineville, Louisiana, man was appalled when he learned what happened to a fellow veteran at a VA facility in North Carolina.

"He was arrested because he...kept placing the Bible and the cross back on the altar at the VA in North Carolina," Weiters relates. "[S]o when I heard that, I went to our local VA here -- and sure enough, I found the Bible and the cross on the floor next to the altar."

Wieters says he learned that the VA is apparently giving in to the demands of someone who does not want the Christian items displayed at VA chapels.

"There was a lawsuit that was filed against the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it is currently in some sort of court litigation," says the war veteran. "But in the interim...the VA as a whole [has decided] to remove the cross and the Bible from all altars at the VA nationwide, which I think is completely wrong." click link above for more

What Day Means the Most of 12 Days of Christmas to You?

The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…"

The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, but it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. i.e. the Church.

1st Day: The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them.

The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.

2nd Day: The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.

3rd Day: The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).

4th Day: The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5th Day: The "five golden rings" represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

6th Day: The "six geese a-laying" is the six days of creation.

7th Day: The "seven swans a-swimming" refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

8th Day: The "eight maids a milking " reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

9th Day: The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

10th Day: The "ten lords a-leaping" represents the Ten Commandments

11th Day: The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

12th Day: The ‘twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.

For me it's the 9th day. It is what I hope to be but never manage to get there. To me, being able to be all of that, would be bliss. While I have these "fruits" at times in my life, I never manage to hang onto all of the at once.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Teen's plea for homeless brings season's bounty

Teen's plea for homeless brings season's bounty

Mark Pino Sentinel Staff Writer
December 24, 2008
Will Webster's idea seemed modest: leave fliers and bags with 200 of his Heathrow neighbors with a holiday plea for food and toys for the homeless.

His neighbors' generosity exceeded the 13-year-old's expectations.

Tuesday he delivered about 400 pounds of food and $500 worth of toys to the Rescue Outreach Mission of Sanford, which is a block away from Sanford Middle School, where he is an eighth-grader.

"I was pretty overwhelmed," he said. "It says a lot. This is going to make a huge difference. I feel like it will make a lot of kids and families happy for Christmas."
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Merry Christmas to Wounded Times Blog Readers

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

King James, Luke 2;
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Thank you to all my readers for your comments and above all for trying to make a difference in this country for the sake of the people we count on the most. Because you've been interested, this blog hit over 100,000 visits.

Woman buried in snow for 3 days found alive

Woman buried in snow for 3 days found alive
Story Highlights
Donna Molnar went missing after she left her home to go grocery shopping

Housewife had been buried in snow for 72 hours when a rescue dog found her

She's in serious condition, being treated for hypothermia, severe frostbite

Dog, who had been rescued himself, will be rewarded with a T-bone steak

By Ashley Fantz

(CNN) -- No one expected to find Donna Molnar alive.

Searchers had combed the brutal backcountry of rural Ontario for the housewife from the city of Hamilton, who had left her home three days earlier in the middle of a blizzard to grocery shop.

Alongside his search-and-rescue dog Ace, Ray Lau on Monday tramped through the thick, ice-covered brush of a farmer's field, not far from where Molnar's van had been found a day earlier.

He kept thinking: Negative-20 winds? This is a search for a body.

"Then, oh, all of a sudden, Ace bolted off," said Lau. "He stooped and looked down at the snow and just barked, barked, barked."

Lau rushed to his Dutch shepherd's side.

"There she was, there was Donna, her face was almost totally covered except for one eye staring back at me!" he said. "That was, 'Wow!' There was a thousand thoughts going through my head. It was over the top."

With one ungloved hand near her neck, Molnar, 55, mumbled and tried to scream as Lau yelled to other rescuers. Dressed in a leather coat, sweater, slacks and winter boots, Molnar was carefully extracted from a 3-foot-deep mound of snow that had apparently helped to insulate her.
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GI returns to see her once-stricken daughter walk

Soldier mom's miracle 1:33
One mom comes home from Iraq to see her daughter do something doctors said she never would. WSVN's Rene Marsh reports.

GI returns to see once-stricken daughter walk
By Kelli Kennedy - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Dec 23, 2008 22:05:32 EST

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — On Tuesday morning, little Cheyenne Leslie entered the Ocean Medical Center and ran purposefully into the arms of her physical therapist, to the smiles and cheers of staff workers, the girl seemingly unhindered by her arm and leg brace. It was a dress rehearsal of sorts.

A few hours later, the 4-year-old diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant — who doctors once said would likely be confined to a wheelchair for life — ran through the airport terminal to greet a mother who has never even seen her child walk.

Cyd Leslie, an Army specialist who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other posts abroad for the past year and-a-half, has only seen her daughter’s steps on video.

The last time Leslie saw Cheyenne in person, she would take a few tentative steps and stumble.

So to finally see her walking, much less running, is nothing short of a miracle, a taste of everything her little girl will be able to accomplish in life.

For years, 24-year-old Cyd has been hoping “kids don’t tease” Cheyenne and “wondering if she’s going to have a boyfriend.”

But when Cheyenne bounded into her arms Tuesday night, she thought, “I’ll never forget this feeling.”

“I looked at her and said, ‘I know what the doctors say, but we believe in God and miracles do happen,’” Grandma Leslie said.
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President Elect Obama on the beach gives dangerous image

While it seems everyone was focused on the shape of President Elect Obama on the beach, it also seems to have not entered into their mind this picture comes with a dangerous image. If a photographer could shoot a picture without security protecting Obama, then what would have stopped someone with a gun instead? This really frightened me for him. How can people get that close in unprotected moments they are able to take a picture? Wouldn't you think he would have had a lot more protection that no one would be able to get that close? I'm really surprised the media is not more up in arms over this fact than the fact Obama is a celebrity. He happens to be a lot more than that. He's our next president for Heaven's sake!!! Where was the Secret Service that is supposed to be thinking of these things?

President Elect Obama on the beach
Celebrity in chief 2:55
Obama caught on camera in a bathing suit. Star coverage, or a new kind of news coverage? CNN's Joe Johns reports.

War-bound single mom reaches out to troops, and gets help herself

Brad Vest / P-IJoy Mack shares a moment with her daughter, Megan Fitzgerald, 6, at the Crossroad Economy Studios Extended Stay America hotel in Puyallup. The American Legion is paying for their stay because their home's heater isn't working properly.

War-bound single mom reaches out to troops, and gets help herself
Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA

Like a lot of people, Joy Mack is struggling.

A single mom with two young daughters, at times Mack sometimes nets only $78 every two weeks after the bills are paid and the family needs met. She owns an older car that barely functions and is working to bring her house in Puyallup out of bankruptcy and fix some serious problems with it.

"A good house but with idiosyncrasies," Mack, 39, says of the home, which has old wiring and a faulty furnace that causes her children to wrap themselves in blankets to eat breakfast before setting off to school.

Getting the house repaired takes on more urgency for Mack than for most. After the New Year, Mack, 39, heads off to war.

A member of the Washington National Guard's 741st Explosives Ordnance Disposal Battalion, Mack leaves for training Jan. 3, then to Afghanistan sometime in February. She won't be home until 2010.

But Mack, who previously served in the Army from 1987 to 1991 with the 10th Mountain Division, is not complaining. She has sought no special treatment, no hardship exemptions.
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Illness claims Coweta soldier who was eager to serve

Illness claims Coweta soldier who was eager to serve
Tulsa World - Tulsa,OK,USA
By MANNY GAMALLO World Staff Writer
Published: 12/23/2008 2:28 AM
Last Modified: 12/23/2008 3:10 AM

A young soldier from Coweta who wanted to serve the country "so my family can sleep in peace at night" died Saturday in Germany from a noncombat illness, officials said.

The Department of Defense on Monday identified the soldier as Army Pfc. Coleman Wayne Hinkefent, 19.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Baumholder, Germany.

Hinkefent had been serving in Iraq until recently, when he became ill and was flown to Hamburg, Germany, for treatment, according to his family.

His death was brought on by liver failure, and he was also undergoing treatment for acute leukemia, the family said.

Hinkefent's parents, Eric and Belinda Hinkefent, flew to Germany to be at his bedside and updated friends daily on their son's condition through the Facebook Web site.
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The young soldier's father was with him when he died.

Returning Soldier's Son Critically Burned

This family really needs our prayers.
Returning Soldier's Son Critically Burned
WYFF - Greenville,SC,USA
POSTED: 11:40 am EST December 23, 2008
TEGA CAY, S.C. -- A soldier returning to see his family for the holidays is instead by the bedside of his son, who was accidentally burned over most of his body over the weekend.

George McKemey is on active duty in Iraq and was on a flight home on Sunday when a fire in an outdoor fireplace got out of control, burning McKemey's 13-year-old son, Connor. McKemey's wife, Karin, was burned on her hands as she tried to help Connor. click link above for more

Newlywed, newly widow at Fort Campbell

101st soldier who died in Iraq had just married
Clarksville Leaf Chronicle - Clarksville,TN,USA
Submitted by Chris Smith • December 23, 2008

(AP) — A Fort Campbell soldier who died Saturday in Iraq had just celebrated his wedding to another soldier earlier this month in Alabama, his family said.

The Defense Department said Monday that 25-year-old Staff Sgt. Jonathan W. Dean of Henagar, Ala., died of injuries suffered in a noncombat related incident in Tikrit, Iraq.

He was assigned to the 561st Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. The military says the circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.

Pam Dean, his stepmother, said Tuesday that the family had just dropped him off at the airport to return to Iraq on Dec. 14 and he had only been in Iraq three days before his death.

Dean and his wife, Staff Sgt. Anne M. Dore, were married on Dec. 6 in Alabama. His wife, who is also assigned to Fort Campbell, was also deployed, but has returned for the funeral service.
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