Charles Simmins

Charles Simmins

Charles Simmins is a native Western New Yorker with nearly thirty years of experience at senior level accounting positions in non-profit and for profit organizations. He was a volunteer firefighter, and a volunteer EMT for fourteen years.

Currently he is a freelance writer and publishes an on-line magazine, America's North Shore Journal. He is a long time participant in the Defense Department's bloggers' outreach program.

He is married and is presently owned by four cats.

Twitter: @CharlesSimmins
Facebook: /chuck.simmins
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  • Chikungunya Continues to Spread in the Americas
    Confirmed and suspected cases of chikungunya now total over 267,000 in the Western Hemisphere. The mosquito borne illness was first detected in early Dec. 2013 and has spread across the Caribbean and to Latin America in seven months.
  • What Does the Chikungunya Outbreak Mean for the U.S.?
    As the number of chikungunya cases soars in the Caribbean, many Americans wonder what it means for this country. What is chikungunya and can it be prevented?
  • Second MERS Case Found in United States
    The CDC heald a teleconference today to discuss a second confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the U.S. This patient is hospitalized in Orlando, FL. The first case was in a patient visiting Indiana at the beginning of May.
  • Miley Cyrus Still Being Treated for Severe Allergic Reaction
    Miley Cyrus remains hospitalized five days after being admitted to a Kansas City, MO, hospital with a severe allergic reaction to a prescribed antibiotic. Her concert schedule has been cleared until the start of her European tour on May 2.
  • National Guard Responds to Washington Landslide
    Early in the morning of March 22 a mudslide took place near Oso, WA. Called the State Route 530 slide (SR 530 slide), it has claimed the lives of at least 16. Washington National Guard troops are heavily involved in search and recovery efforts.
  • NOAA Poisons Captive Fish to Claim Deepwater Oil Spill Damages
    Research into the effects of the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill sent Federal researchers to tuna farms in Australia and Panama. Tuna embryos and larvae were poisoned with crude oil for study purposes. The claim the spill did the same damage.
  • Sinkhole Swallows Part of National Corvette Museum
    Before dawn on Feb. 12, the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY, suffered a significant loss. A sinkhole opened under the Skydome and eight cars on display fell into the hole. Six were museum owned and two were on loan from GM.
  • Be on the Lookout for These Diseases
    Medicine rarely issues a BOLO, which stands for “Be On the Lookout”. The next 12 months will see new illnesses being diagnosed in regions where they will be unexpected and unanticipated. This is a BOLO for chikungunya, dengue and Valley Fever.
  • National Guard Responds to Winter Storm Across the South
    From Louisiana to North Carolina, National Guard troops are deployed this morning and are assisting local authorities with winter weather relief efforts. The Guard is providing food for stranded motorists, sanding highways and rescuing school children.
  • New Illness Spreading Throughout Eastern Caribbean
    Until early Dec., chikungunya had not been locally acquired anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. Since then, an outbreak of the mosquito-borne illness has spread rapidly in the eastern Caribbean.
  • National Guard Aids with West Virginia Water Woes
    The West Virginia National Guard has 116 soldiers and airmen working to aid civilian authorities after a chemical spill on Thursday contaminated the drinking water for hundreds of thousands. The spill into the Elk River affects nine WV counties.
  • Texas Sets Whooping Cough Record
    Texas experienced a whooping cough epidemic in 2013. By year end, the state reported 3,637 cases of the contagious respiratory illness, breaking the 2009 record of 3,358. There have been five related deaths.
  • Affordable Care Act Forcing Changes, Not Choices
    Health insurance plan cancellations are forcing individuals into coverages that they do not want or cannot afford. The decisions have been taken out of their hands. What are some of the results?
  • Beginning 2014 Without Health Insurance
    New York was one of several states that set up their own healthcare exchange rather than rely upon the Federal exchange provided by the Affordable Healthcare Act. For one applicant, three months of efforts have left him without insurance and without an ex
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients May Have Some Hope
    Rheumatoid arthritis patients suffer daily with pain and limitations in their physical activities. Current treatments are assisting them by reducing or eliminating RA symptoms. Future research holds even more promise.
  • More Military and More Nations Provide Philippine Typhoon Aid
    The number of countries providing assistance to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan continues to grow. So does both the number of troops and the number of militaries involved in the devastated nation. Help is arriving from around the world.
  • U.S. Military Impact on Philippine Typhoon Relief
    The United States has committed a significant portion of its naval and Marine Corps assets to typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. The level of support may exceed the 2004 Indonesian tsunami relief effort and make it the largest in history.
  • U.S. Military Aids Typhoon Stricken Philippines
    The USS George Washington interupted a port visit to Hong Kong and set sail for the Philippine yesterday. There it will be joined by a number of other Navy vessels. The U.S. Marines have dispatched troops and aircraft to the typhoon disaster from Okinawa.
  • Philippine Military Response to Philippine Typhoon
    The Philippine military is heavily involved in the response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, which cut a swath through the heart of that island nation. Over 9 million people are depending on the relief efforts of their government and their military.
  • Super Typhoon to Strike Central Philippines Within Hours
    The central islands of the Philippines are bracing for the impact of a super typhoon within the next several hours. The storm is expected to bring winds of 140 mph and gusts as high as 162 mph to most of the region.
  • U.S. Malaria Cases Set Record - Two Years Ago
    The CDC announced on Oct. 31 that it had finalized the number of malaria cases found in the U.S. in 2011. The 1,925 cases diagnosed set a 40 year high for the parasitic disease. The vast majority of the illnesses were contracted overseas.
  • Texas Whooping Cough Epidemic and Vaccinations
    The Texas Department of State Health Services has released preliminary data from August on the vaccination status of whooping cough patients during the 2013 epidemic. Vaccine status may play little part in the outbreak, based upon this data.
  • New Definitions for Length of Pregnancy
    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued new definitions for the various lengths of pregnancy. Research has shown the longer that delivery can be delayed, the better the outcome for the baby. "Full term" now begins at 39 weeks.
  • No Product Recall in Salmonella Outbreak
    Friday saw new numbers released for the salmonella illness outbreak tied to Foster Farms raw chicken. The Centers for Disease Control report that they now have 317 reports of illness from 20 states. No product recalls have been issued.
  • Cyclone Phailin Threatens Millions in India
    The eastern coast of India is facing its fiercest storm in over a decade as Cyclone Phailin approaches a Saturday evening landfall. The storm may set a new record, with winds gusting over 200 mph and 39 inches of rainfall predicted.
  • Current Salmonella Outbreak Dates to 2004
    Foster Farms, a large producer of raw chicken for the consumer market, has been identified as the source of the current Salmonella illness outbreak in California and 17 other states. The company has been tracked as a source since 2004.
  • The Mystery of Obamacare
    I have no health insurance as of Jan. 1. My coverage was cancelled and I was referred to the NY State of Health marketplace created for Obamacare. The lack of facts at the site is adding to my health care anxiety.
  • Texas Whooping Cough Epidemic Driven by Low Vaccination Rates
    The whooping cough epidemic in Texas continues. As of Sept. 23, the state reports 2,369 cases of pertussis. The Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex has reported over 42 percent of the cases in Texas for 2013.
  • Colorado Flooding Damage Includes Oil Spills
    The recent flooding in Colorado struck the heart of oil country. As the state begins to dry out, the damages are mounting. A number of oil spills were caused by the raging water. Mitigation depends upon lower water levels and access to cut off sites.
  • Can Your Cat Make You Crazy?
    A study published yesterday found that mice infected with a strain of Toxoplasma gondii, a cat parasite, lost their fear of cats. Infected mice lost their fear of areas marked with bobcat urine, behavior that runs counter to survival.
  • Colorado Flood Rescues Continue
    Four are dead and 172 are unaccounted for as the massive flooding in Colorado continues. The region remain under threat with potential storms this afternoon and evening.
  • Whooping Cough Epidemic in Texas
    Texas has alerted health care providers that whooping cough has become wide spread in the state. The state has seen 1,935 pertussis cases through the end of August. Experts believe the final total for 2013 may be the highest in 50 years.
  • Military Aircraft Fighting Spreading Wildfire Near Yosemite
    The Rim fire, which began Aug. 17, continues to grow and threaten Yosemite National Park. National Guard and Air Force Reserve aircraft are attacking the fire from the air by water drops and spreading fire retardant.
  • Dengue Fever Reappears in South Florida
    Locally acquired dengue fever is becoming a worry in South Florida as more cases of the mosquito carried illness surface in Dade and St. Marin counties. The last outbreak of the illness in Florida was in 2009 and 2010.
  • Twenty Measles Cases in Texas Tied to Copeland Ministry
    Twenty cases of measles in two counties have Texas officials concerned. All twenty have been traced to a visitor to the Eagle Mountain International Church, home of televangelist Kenneth Copeland's ministry. Copeland has been a critic of vaccinations.
  • Chicago's Murder Rate Means Dead Children
    Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. For the children of the Windy City, that does not mean very much. Children are being murdered in Chicago out of proportion to their numbers.
  • American Troops in the Middle of Egyptian Violence
    The United States has nearly seven hundred troops deployed at several locations in the city of Cairo and in the Sinai desert due to decades old treaty obligations. The current violence in Egypt places these soldiers and sailors uncomfortably close to the
  • Deployments Have No Effect on Military Suicide Rates
    A just released study of military suicides from 2001 to 2008 has found that there is no correlation between deployments and suicide. Military suicides have factors in common with civilian suicides, alcohol abuse and depression.
  • Details Released on Sex Slave Captivity in Upstate New York
    Brandon Todd, of rural Prattsburgh, N.Y., is under arrest on Federal kidnapping charges. The FBI, in a detailed affidavit, revealed the 23 day ordeal of a Florida girl who was taken prisoner in San Diego and held in a rural home in upstate New York.
  • West Nile Illnesses Are Tip of Iceberg
    Over 60 mosquito species carry the West Nile virus in the U.S. Many of those same species can carry other, deadlier illnesses. West Nile is a sign of vulnerability to mosquito borne illnesses.
  • New Challenges in Marine Corps's Future in the Pacific
    The United States Marine Corps, as part of the "pivot to the Pacific", will be stocking up on new equipment and moving to some new homes in the next several years. The Corps remains positioned to aid our allies in war and assist the stricken in peace.
  • Marine Corps Pivot to the Pacific
    The announced policy of the United States is to pivot its military to recognize the importance of the Pacific rim nations to the 21st century. The U.S. Marine Corps continues its engagement in the region which dates to 1813.
  • Colorado Wildfire Claims Two Lives
    The Black Forest wildfire has claimed two lives. The El Paso county coroner is on scene with criminal investigators at a burned house in a very heavily burned area. The deaths appear to have happened within hours of the fire's start.
  • Wildfire Scorches Colorado Springs for Second Year
    Colorado Springs is fighting a large wildfire to its north, known as the Black Forest Fire. The fire began about 1 pm MDT on Tuesday. Over 7,300 people have been evacuated. It is zero percent contained.
  • Drownings During Hurricane Sandy Preventable?
    The Centers for Disease Control release a study today that provides information about most of the deaths due to superstorm Hurricane Sandy last Fall. Significantly, 90 percent of those who drowned in their home in NYC were in the evacuation zone.
  • Sequestration to Affect Schooling for Military Children
    In a telephone interview today, Marilee Fitzgerald, Director of the Department of Defense Education Activity, discussed the notice of potential furloughs given teachers in the DoD system today. 84,000 students in 194 schools will be affected.
  • North Dakota Dam Forces Evacuations
    The North Dakota community of Cavalier, home to 1,300 people, was evacuated yesterday as rising water threatened the Renwick Dam on the Tongue River. Rising water also endangers other northeastern ND communities such as Grafton.
  • Military Responds to Oklahoma Tornado
    The Oklahoma National Guard, joined by Air Force personnel, are on location in Moore, OK, following an EF4 tornado that struck the community yesterday. At least 250 Army and Air National Guard soldiers and airmen have been dispatched.
  • So.California Wildfire at 28,000 Acres
    The Springs fire, currently burning in Ventura County, Cal., has consumed 28,000 acres as of 6 am local time. Yesterday, firefighters and military personnel prevented the fire from damaging the billion dollar communications facilities on Laguna Peak.
  • Is Slave Labor Filling Fargo Sandbags?
    Outspoken commentator Ed Shultz took a swipe at the people of Fargo, ND, yesterday. Noting reports that middle school students had volunteered to fill sandbags in advance of flooding, he termed their efforts "slave labor" on behalf of the wealthy.
  • Uniting the Two Koreas is a Bad Idea
    Both North and South Korea maintain that their eventual goal is the unification of the two countries. The world appears to support that goal in principle. There are many reasons that unification may be a bad idea.
  • The Case for Not Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy
    New York and New Jersey face the problem of rebuilding the infrastructure and the buildings that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Should everything be restored to the way it was? Or, should we recognize that we cannot fool Mother Nature?
  • FEMA is Not at Fault
    Victims of the Hurricane Sandy superstorm have been complaining for weeks about the activities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA is doing its job and those complaints are misdirected.
  • Hurricane Sandy Makes Cory Booker the Next "America's Mayor"
    Shortly after September 11, 2001, Oprah Winfrey dubbed New York mayor Rudy Giuliani "America's mayor" for his leadership after the terrorist attacks that day. His ownership of that title is being challenged by the mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker.
  • How Far Have Race Relations Come?
    In 1896, race relations were very different in the United States. Looking a a newspaper from that era provides a few examples of the progress society has made.
  • Whooping Cough Cases Top 12,000 in United States
    Whooping cough, pertussis, case counts continue to mount in much of the United States. Washington, Wisconsin and New York have reported 40 percent of the national total. Twenty-four states have seen 100 cases or more this year.
  • Minnesota Whooping Cough Cases Jump
    Minnesota continues to see a growing number of whooping cough cases in 2012. The current total is 815, an increase of 145 pertussis cases since mid May. The outbreak is centered on the capital region, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
  • Whooping Cough Cases Top 10,000 Nationally
    The CDC released the latest numbers on whooping cough cases in the United States today. With over 932 new cases reported last week nationally, the outbreak appears most severe in Washington and Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin and Washington Lead Nation in Whooping Cough Cases
    The CDC's latest numbers show that the whooping cough outbreak continues to spread across the nation. Only Minnesota has had no cases in 2012. Wisconsin and Washington lead in case counts again this week.
  • Vaccine Exemptions Fueling Whooping Cough Outbreaks
    Every state allows some sort of exemption from mandated childhood immunizations. Twenty states allow an exemption based upon the parents' personal or philosophical objection to immunization. Those exemptions are fueling the pertussis outbreaks.
  • Health Risk at London Olympics
    England and Wales continue to see high case counts for vaccine preventable illnesses as the London Olympics approaches. With 84 days remaining until the opening ceremony, measles mumps and pertussis (whooping cough) case counts continue to increase.
  • Whooping Cough Cases Surge Nationally
    The CDC reports that cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, surged in the third week of April. 334 new cases were reported. Only two states have zero cases in 2012.
  • Beef Bans After Mad Cow Scare are Political, Not Safety Issue
    The discovery of a dairy cow suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopathy, mad cow disease, prompted several nations to ban beef imports from the United States. Dairy cattle are not used for beef. The bans are more political than safety oriented.
  • Drought Conditions Declared for Long Island
    The National Weather Service has declared parts of New York State to be in severe or moderate drought conditions. The worst of the drought is affecting Long Island, including Suffolk and Nassau counties.
  • Whooping Cough Cases Climb Nationally
    Whooping cough case counts continue to climb nationally and at least one state has declared an epidemic outbreak. Seven of the top nine states allow parents to refuse to immunize their children based on a personal belief.
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  • Grandpa was a Serial Bigamist
    My father had always known that his father had a first wife. He never learned the secret that his mother took to her grave. His father's first wife was alive and not divorced when he married my father's mother.
  • Tsunami Ghost Ship Sunk by Naval Gunfire
    Late yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Anacapa sank the Ryou-Un Maru. The Japanese fishing vessel earned its notoriety by drifting unmanned across the Pacific following the March 2010 tsunami. Maritime officials deemed it a hazard to navigation.
  • Whooping Cough Epidemic in Washington State
    The State of Washington has declared that pertussis, or whooping cough, is now epidemic in the state. The last state epidemic of this illness was in California in 2010. 640 cases of whooping cough have been diagnosed.
  • Operators Struggle at Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site
    One year after the earthquake and tsunami that created the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, operators are struggling with the result. A water leak and high radiation levels in one reactor were discovered yesterday.
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  • American Troops Besieged in Egypt Protest
    The main camp of the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO), which oversees the Sinai provisions of the Israeli/Egyptian peace treaty, has been besieged by armed Bedouin. About 80 Americans are believed to be in the camp.
  • Tsunami Debris Still Coming, Researcher Warns
    The International Pacific Research Center's Nikolai Maximenko warned on Friday that the debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami is still moving towards the U.S. He predicts that Hawaii will see the greatest impact.
  • February Unemployment Rate Unchanged
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February 2012 unemployment numbers today. Despite non-farm job gains of 227,000, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3 percent.
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  • Royal Danish Navy Frees Pirate Captives
    The Royal Danish Navy ship Absalon has freed sixteen Iranian and Pakistani sailors being held captive aboard a pirated cargo ship off the coast of Somalia. Two captives were killed in the naval action.
  • Jerry Sandusky Cleared for Grandchildren Visits
    Accused child molester and former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky had the terms of his bail arrangement changed on Monday. A judge will permit him to visit with most of his grandchildren.
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  • Radioactive Gravel from Japanese Nuke Disaster Used in Buildings
    Gravel stockpiled near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site has been shipped throughout Japan. That gravel was contaminated by radioactive materials and should not have been used.
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  • Fuel Supplies Reach Nome
    As the crews of the US CGC Healy and TV Renda wait for the broken ice around their ships to refreeze, the people of Nome, Alaska, anticipate the delivery of need fuel. That process could begin as early as Sunday, January 15.
  • Fuel Convoy Reaches Nome
    The Coast Guard polar icebreaker Healy and the Russian tanker Renda are 8 nautical miles off the Alaskan coast as they wait for daylight. Slow and careful maneuvering this afternoon will move the tanker as close to Nome's harbor as possible.
  • Russians Sail to Rescue of Ice Bound Alaska Community
    Braving 250 miles of ice pack, the Russian tanker Renda is slowly making its way toward the western Alaska town of Nome. Cut off by ice, the town will run out of fuel oil and gasoline without Renda's supplies.
  • Pope Embraces Anglicans in U.S. with New Ordinariate
    On New Year's Day 2012, Pope Benedict XVI established the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This allows Episcopalians and Anglicans in the United States to rejoin the Catholic Church.
  • Nebraska Nuke Plant Placed on Special Inspection Status
    Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant had been scheduled to resume operations in January. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has placed those plans on hold by placing the plant onto special inspection status.
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  • Radioactive Water Leaks at Japanese Nuke Site
    The efforts to control the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant suffered another setback over the weekend as thousands of gallons of radioactive water flooded a treatment building. A small amount ran off into the nearby ocean.
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  • Japan Damaged Nuke Plants Still Not Under Control
    The fight to control the meltdowns in three of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors continues. Nearly 10 months after Japan suffered a historic earthquake and tsunami, the melted uranium continues to generate radiation and heat.
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  • Fewer Children Receiving Vaccines in U.S
    The Associated Press has released its study of exemptions to school vaccine schedules nationally. Exemptions for required immunizations to enter public school are up. The increase in illnesses like whooping cough are one result.
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  • Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS Tonight
    CBS hosts the seventeenth annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show tonight at 10 pm EST. One of the highlights of the show will be model Miranda Kerr modeling a $2.5 million jeweled bra.
  • All U.S. Troops Out of Iraq by Christmas
    Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker, Deputy Commanding General (Support) for United States Division – Center, told reporters today that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by Christmas. Nearly all will be home for the holiday.
  • Va Nuke Plant Restarts After Quake
    On November 11, Dominion Virginia Power began the process of restarting the two nuclear reactors at the North Anna power plant. Both reactors had been shut down after the earthquake of August 23, 2011.
  • Alaska Being Pounded by Winter Super Storm
    A record storm is pounding the west coast of Alaska, bringing hurricane force winds, heavy snow and a massive storm surge. The many, small coastal communities are bracing for the worst.
  • Air Force Wraps Up Iraqi Deployment
    MG Russ Handy spoke with reporters today about the U.S. Air Force's role in the withdrawal from Iraq. He also talked about the structure and preparedness of the Iraqi Air Force.
  • U.S. Navy Fires Railgun for 1000th Time
    The railgun has been a staple of many of the stories written by science fiction writers because of its enormous potential. The U.S. Navy is turning that fiction into fact.
  • U.S. Tests Nationwide Alert System November 9
    At 2 pm on November 9 the Emergency Alert System, formerly the Emergency Broadcast System, will be tested nationwide in the U.S. While the system has regular tests at state and local levels, this is the first national test.
  • Manhattan Mosquitoes Are Biting
    The Upper West Side of Manhattan is beset by biting swarms of mosquitoes that are coming out of the sewers. Current control programs by New York City seem ineffective.
  • Obama Sends US Troops to Central Africa
    President Obama has followed up on months of effort to support Central Africa in their fight against the cult-like Lord's Resistance Army. On Oct. 12, the first of 100 U.S. military were sent to Uganda to "provide information, advice, and assistance."
  • More Computer Virus Issues for U.S. Military
    The Air Force's computer systems that allow pilots to remotely fly drones all over the planet has become infected with a computer virus. Eradicating the virus is proving difficult.
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  • Air Force Returns to Attack Texas Wildfires
    The drought and related wildfires continue in Texas. A national shortage of civilian air tankers has resulted in the return of Air Force aircraft and crews to fly fire retardant drops.
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  • Bahrain Votes as Protests Continue
    Bahrain held parliamentary elections on Saturday to fill 14 seats in the lower house left empty by the walkout of a Shia backed political party. The walkout protested security measures taken after "Arab Spring" demonstrations in February and March.
  • Minot Sees Recovery After Record Flood
    When the water of the Mouse River overtopped the levees in Minot on June 22, ten thousand people were evacuated. As the water receded, thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Now, the community sees some signs of recovery.
  • Travis Tritt Cancels Joplin Appearance Over Use of Recovery Funds
    Travis Tritt was scheduled to appear at a free concert in Joplin, Missouri this Sunday. He has canceled, citing the City's use of donated recovery funds to pay concert expenses. He does not feel it is appropriate.
  • How Sub Base New London Coped with Hurricane Irene
    Naval Submarine Base New London met Hurricane Irene head on August 28. Pre-planning and preparation were the keys to the experience and the base survived.
  • 18 Months After Earthquake, Haiti Still Struggles
    Haiti continues to struggle with recovery after the January 2010 earthquake. Many Haitians remain in refugee camps. Cholera is still epidemic. The continuing role of U.N. peacekeepers is being questioned.
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  • More Dead in Texas Wildfires
    The Bastrop County, Texas, fire has claimed two victims, according to media reports. This brings the death toll for the three days to four. Hundreds of homes have burned and tens of thousands of acres of land.
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