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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  • Six Months After Hurricane Sandy, Much Still to Do
    It has been six months since superstorm "Hurricane" Sandy came ashore and devastated Long Island and the City of New York. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been spent, recovery results are mixed.
  • Spring Flooding Calls for Military Assistance
    As the 2013 flood season begins in the upper Midwest, National Guard and Coast Guard units are already responding. In Illinois, Missouri and North Dakota, the military is assisting local governments where flooding is occurring or about to occur.
  • Making Sense of Military Suicide Statistics is Difficult
    Suicide prevention is one of the military's top priorities, according to the Pentagon. The data is less than convincing, and mostly confusing. How large is the problem?
  • North Korea Can Mount Nuke on Missile, Representative Reveals
    Rep. Doug Lamborn created a stir in Washington yesterday when he read two lines of a Defense Intelligence Agency report out loud in a Congressional hearing. The unclassified excerpt stated that North Korea could mount a nuclear weapon on a missile.
  • Anthony Weiner to Run for New York City Mayor?
    As New York state and city officials are rounded up by the FBI for all types of crimes, a non-criminal is considering a run for mayor. Anthony Weiner, forced from Congress in a juicy sexting scandal, may seek redemption by running.
  • President to Award Medal of Honor to Catholic Priest
    President Obama will present a posthumous Medal of Honor to the relatives of Captain Emil Kapaun today at the White House. Kapaun, a Roman Catholic priest, will be honored for his valor during the Korean War as a prisoner of war.
  • Navy to Deploy Laser Weapon to Persian Gulf
    The U.S. Navy announced Monday that it plans to deploy a solid-state laser for use as a weapon. The intent is to place the new system on the U.S.S. Ponce, deployed in the Persian Gulf, sometime after Oct. 1.
  • Cookie Monster to Be Banned from New York City Streets
    After a recent allegation that a street performer dressed as the Cookie Monster pushed a toddler, NYC Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. wants to ban performers in costume. He has introduced two local laws to ban or regulate appearing in costume in public.
  • Tense Week Begins in Korea as North May Test Missile and Nuke
    As tensions continue to increase on the Korean peninsula, both U.S. and South Korean intelligence is suggesting that the North will test a medium range missile this week. Some signs are also pointing to a fourth test of an atomic bomb by the North soon.
  • U.S. Deploys Sea-Based X-Band Radar into Pacific
    The sea-based X-Band radar that has been stationed in Hawaii has put to sea. While the Pentagon says the move of the radar is "a semi-annual systems check and is underway for trials", speculation is that it will be headed towards Korea.
  • North Korea to Restart Reactor as U.S. Adds New Forces
    The U.S.S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer homeported in Japan, has been moved to the coast of South Korea to provide a ballistic missile shield for the region. This follows a week of threats from North Korea and their rocket forces going to alert stat
  • FBI Busts N.Y. Politicos for Bribery and Corruption
    FBI agents are rounding up six prominent New York politicians today as news breaks of bribery and election rigging. US Attorney calls the scheme "a corridor of corruption" from Queens to Albany.
  • Navy Ship Removed from Philippine Reef
    The U.S.Navy has announced that salvage operations on the U.S.S. Guardian were completed on March 30. The mine countermeasures vessel ran aground on Jan. 17, on Tubbataha Reef, a World Heritage site. The U.S. faces fines for damage caused to the reef.
  • U.S. Sends Stealth Bombers Over Korea
    Two stealth bombers were dispatched on a training mission over South Korea today. The B-2 bombers flew round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and participated in an on-going military exercise, Foal Eagle.
  • Tensions Continue on Korean Peninsula
    Tensions continue to grow on the Korean peninsula as a cyber attack on Internet-connected servers in the South cripples a large number of businesses. Banks and news media outlets were among those struck.
  • Tensions Grow in Korea as Annual Military Exercise Kicks Off
    The annual Key Resolve military exercise between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea began today as tensions rose on the divided peninsula. North Korean media state that the government of Kim Jong-un has canceled the armistice that ended the Korean War.
  • February Unemployment Data for Veterans Little Changed
    The BLS data on employment and unemployment among veterans released today for February 2013 showed little change from the Fen. 2012 data. 772,000 veterans were unemployed last month. The youngest veterans had the highest unemployment rate.
  • Weather Slows Navy Salvage Operation in Philippines
    The USS Guardian remains aground on a coral reef in the Sulu Sea, in a Philippine national park and World Heritage Site. The ship is being cut into pieces and lifted free of the reef. Heavy weather is now slowing salvage operations.
  • Homeless in New York City Reach Record High
    The Coalition for the Homeless released its annual report yesterday on the homeless in New York City and was sharply critical of the Bloomberg administration. Over 50,000 people are staying nightly in municipal shelters, a modern record.
  • Next Pope Should Continue the Work of Benedict XVI
    The next Pope has some big shoes to fill. The Shoes of the Fisherman ask an ordinary man to step forward and lead a billion Catholics. The last Pope has given us an example to follow.
  • Flu Epidemic Still Hitting New York
    Influenza illnesses are slowing but not stopping in New York. The Empire State continues to have widespread flu activity and illness levels remain above average. Nine children have died from influenza since Oct. 1.
  • PTSD Risk Linked to Genetics
    Calling it a "combat gene", U.S. researchers has found a connection between variants of a serotonin transporter gene and PTSD. Anxiety in peaceful situations results in normal combat responses.
  • New Yorkers Have Seen Blizzards Before
    As the nor'easter that some care naming Nemo moves up the Atlantic coast and across New York and into New England, past storms are worth recalling. New York always copes with the snow and wind.
  • Media Misleads on Military Veterans Suicide Study
    A 59 page study was released at the end of January that examined the number of suicides among military veterans in select states. Media reports fail to quote the findings accurately.
  • New York Flu Epidemic Continues
    New York's latest flu report shows that a decline in cases may have stalled. More New Yorker's went to the doctor last week. Two more children died from the flu.
  • U.S. Military Little Affected by Flu Epidemic
    With extremely high flu vaccination rates, the United State military seems to have avoided the disruptions it experienced during the pandemic flu outbreak of 2009-2010. Little impact has been seen on operations.
  • Women Warriors Talk About the Lifting of the Ban on Direct Combat Roles
    With the lifting of the ban on women being assigned to direct combat roles about to be lifted in the U.S. military, some current and former female soldiers give their opinions.
  • Panetta to Announce End of Direct Combat Exclusion for Women
    The Department of Defense announced on Wednesday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have directed the lifting of the long standing ban on women serving in direct combat roles.
  • U.S. Navy Minesweeper Still Grounded on World Heritage Site Reef
    The USS Guardian remains aground and unmanned on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea as Philippine authorities prepare legal action. The US Navy has assigned Rear Adm. Thomas Carney as on-scene commander of the recovery operation.
  • No End in Sight for New York Flu Epidemic
    Widespread flu activity in New York, coupled with continued high hospital admissions for the illness, suggest that the end of the influenza epidemic has not yet arrived. One more pediatric death from the flu was reported.
  • New York Struggles with Severe Flu Outbreak
    New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told a press conference on Jan. 10 that influenza was epidemic in all five boroughs of the city. This follows a similar announcement in Boston the day before.
  • Whooping Cough Cases Set Record in New York in 2012
    New York set a modern record in 2012 by reporting 3,065 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, to the Centers for Disease Control. The outbreak began in 2011 and new cases continue to be reported in 2013. The reason for the high number of illnesses remain
  • Private Donations for Hurricane Sandy Relief Fall Short
    It may be the poor economy. It may be the time of year. But the amount of money donated for Hurricane Sandy relief by individuals and companies is only 23 percent of what was donated for Hurricane Katrina relief by day 44.
  • Coast Guard Sailor Killed During Sea Chase
    One Coast Guard sailor was killed and another injured Sunday morning when their boat was rammed by another boat they had been attempting to stop. The pursuit was taking place in the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast.
  • Bellevue Hospital Partially Reopens After Hurricane Sandy
    New York City's famous Bellevue Hospital has partially reopened, for non-emergency patient care, after being evacuated during Hurricane Sandy. Other New York hospitals also remain affected by the storm.
  • Public Health Service Aids Hurricane Sandy Relief
    The U.S. Public Heath Service is part of the federal response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. A Rapid Deployment Force is operating a medical special needs shelter at a hospital in Brooklyn.
  • Military Enters Colorado Wildfire Fight
    Specialized aircraft from the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve have been called to duty in the fight against two dangerous Colorado wildfires. Four C-130 aircraft equipped with MAFFS are being added as both fires continue to expand.
  • Why Vaccinate for Whooping Cough?
    Many parents are choosing to defer or delay recommended childhood vaccines. Their decision is often based on the impression that the vaccine is worse than the illness. Whooping cough data shows that it is not true.
  • Whooping Cough is Not Cyclical
    Public health authorities throughout the U.S. frequently explain outbreaks of whooping cough as part of the disease's cycle. The data on where pertussis appears contradicts that belief. Accepting the illness as routine is not acceptable.
  • Crime in New York in 2011
    The FBI has released its latest annual report on crime in the United States. New York City ranks as the eighth most violent city in America but three other New York State cities are more violent.
  • Cuomo Seeks to Ease Marijuana Possession Laws in New York
    Current New York law makes possessing marijuana in public a misdemeanor. New York's governor wants to make it conform with the law for non-public possession, making it a violation. Smoking marijuana in public would remain a misdemeanor.
  • Whooping Cough Cases in New York Grow
    Whooping cough cases continue to appear in New York. The outbreak places the state third nationally in the number of pertussis cases reported in 2012. 45 new cases were reported last week.
  • Pacific Partnership 2012 Ready to Set Sail
    The hospital ship USNS Mercy will begin the seventh year of Pacific Partnership on May 1 when it sails from San Diego. Host nations this year for the annual humanitarian mission are Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • Fire Weather Warning for New York
    New York State had a very dry winter and spring. The lack of snow and spring rain combined with extreme drought conditions on Long Island is creating the potential for serious wildfires.
  • 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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  • Airman Barry F. Crawford Jr. to Receive Air Force Cross
    Captain Barry F. Crawford Jr. will be presented with the Air Force Cross at a ceremony at the Pentagon today. Crawford earned his award by his valor in combat in a May 2010 battle in Afghanistan.
  • Two Mega Millions Tickets Turned In
    Two winning tickets for the record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot of March 30 have now been turned in. A pooled win in Maryland has made three people millionaires. An individual winner in Kansas is also a new millionaire.
  • New York Tops in Illness Outbreaks
    Two outbreaks of Salmonella and an outbreak of whooping cough have New Yorkers under the weather and near the top in case numbers. Four different strains of Salmonella have sickened dozens and nearly 600 have caught pertussis, or whooping cough.
  • Mega Millions Mystery -- Who Won?
    Three winning tickets were sold for last Friday's record setting Mega Millions lottery drawing. Only one person has come forward, claiming to have a winning ticket. Doubts surround that person's story, however.
  • Public Health Officials to Focus on Autism During April
    Autism spectrum disorders are the focus of a United Nations resolution and a sustained public education campaign this month. With increased numbers of patients being diagnosed, the causes and treatments are in the spotlight.
  • America in 1940 -- The View from the Census
    The Federal government took a nation census for the sixteenth time in 1940. Those records have been made public today. Historians and genealogists - take note!
  • Kentucky Legislature Passes Amish Buggy Bill
    Kentucky's legislature has agreed to allow buggies operated by Amish believers to be marked in a different manner than other highway vehicles. The Amish objected to the standard reflective triangle.
  • Mega Millions Jackpot Now Half a Billion Dollars
    Six numbers could make someone half a billion dollars on Friday. The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has reached a record level with no winner on Tuesday.
  • 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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  • Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot Estimated at $363 Million
    The multi-state Mega Millions lottery jackpot is now an estimated $363 million. Tonight's drawing will be for the third highest payout in game history.
  • Huge Rats Menace Florida Keys
    Grassy Key, one of the Florida Keys, has become the home of an unwanted visitor to the U.S. The Gambian pouch rat has established a breeding population despite the best efforts to trap or poison the monster rats.
  • Pope Visits Communist Cuba
    Pope Benedict XVI has departed Mexico and has arrived in Cuba on the final leg of his apostolic visit to these two Latin American nations. In Mexico, he prayed for those suffering from violence.
  • Palace Renovations Offer Window on British Royals
    Twelve million pounds of renovations have refurbished the newly re-opened Kensington Palace in London. The Palace still houses a number of the British royal family and its historic residents include Queen Victoria and Lady Diana.
  • King of Tonga Dies Suddenly
    King George Tupou V of Tonga passed away March 18 during a visit to Hong Kong. His reign was marked by his surrender of absolute power to an elected government.
  • 6-Year-Old Heads to National Spelling Bee
    A home schooled girl, Lori Anne Madison, won a regional competition in Prince William County, Virginia, to advance to the national level of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. At age 6, she is believed to be the youngest national competitor ever.
  • 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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  • Super Tuesday to Decide Republican Nominee -- or Not
    Ten states will vote on a Republican nominee for President tomorrow, 2012's Super Tuesday. One candidate could take a commanding lead. The voters may also continue to support several candidates, making a brokered convention possible.
  • Honduras Prison Fire Kills Hundreds
    Honduras is dealing with the aftereffects of a deadly prison blaze. Hundreds are believed to have died in the smokey fire in the Comayagua prison. Authorities are struggling to cope with family members who have gathered at the facility looking for news.
  • New Breeds Appear at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
    Breed judging begins today with group and best in show judging set for tomorrow at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This is the 136th annual show.
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  • 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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  • Joplin Visitors Bureau Denies Tornado Tourism Claim
    Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau is denying press reports that they are promoting "tornado tourism". Citizens of the Missouri city are outraged that the idea was even discussed.
  • Don Cornelius, 'Soul Train' Creator, Dead at 75
    Don Cornelius, the creator of the long running dance show Soul Train, has died at the age of 75. The LA County coroner lists the cause of death as suicide by gunshot.
  • Kenyan Election Violence Determined to Be Crimes Against Humanity
    Four Kenyans, prominent in the political affairs of the African nation of Kenya, have been charged by the International Criminal Court. During a period of political violence in Kenya in 2008, the court found that crimes against humanity were committed.
  • Joe Paterno Dies, but the Legend Lives
    With the death of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno on Sunday, college sports has lost another of those men that created and defined their sport.
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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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  • Piracy Crackdown Off Somalia
    The United States Navy and the other forces engaged in anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia have had significant success in the last two weeks. Several vessels and their crews have been freed and at least 68 suspected pirates detained.
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  • Relief Nears Nome as U.S. Icebreaker Opens Sea Lane
    The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy is clearing a path today for the MV Renda. The Russian tanker is bringing badly needed fuel to the ice bound community of Nome, Alaska.
  • Defense Cuts Are Based Upon Strategic Guidance
    Pentagon officials briefed reporters by telephone on Thursday about President Obama's newly announced defense strategy and its implementation over the next decade.
  • German Volcano Could Devastate Europe
    The inactive Laacher See volcano is making news since it has the potential to bury much of western Europe under feet of volcanic ash. It is not the only geological danger we face.
  • Santa's Gifts for (Mostly Naughty) Politicians
    Throughout 2011 American politicians demonstrated that they needed some help with their lives and their careers. Santa came early with some gifts for the naughty and nice.
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  • New York Condo Goes for $88 Million
    Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has bought his 22 year old daughter a nice Christmas present. Ekaterina is reported to be the proud owner of a 6,700-sq-ft condo on Central Park West in New York City. Daddy's generosity? $88 million.
  • Tropical Storm Sendong Kills Over 600 in Philippines
    Tropical storm Sendong lingered over the southern Philippines for nearly three days last week. With rainfall rates of as much as two inches per hours, flash floods and river flooding brought death and destruction to the region.
  • Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
    The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight but the nearly full moon will present a viewing challenge. While the best show is to be seen in regions north of the equator, the Southern Hemisphere will also see the annual shower of space debris.
  • U.S. Spy Drone Crashes in Seychelles
    An Air Force Reaper drone crashed on landing at the international airport in the Seychelles capital of Mahe Tuesday morning. The MQ-9 drone was part of operations in the Somalia region of Africa.
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  • 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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  • Police Officer Wounds Self Unloading Pistol at Hartsfield Airport
    TSA agents at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport discovered a .22 caliber pistol in a passenger's carry on bag this weekend. A police officer was wounded while unloading the gun.
  • Michelle Obama Helps Break World Record
    Guinness World Records announced today that First Lady Michelle Obama was part of a world record in October. She led a group of 400 joining the effort from the South Lawn of the White House on October 11.
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  • Obama Calls for New Nationalism in Heartland
    Speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas, President Barack Obama used the memory of Teddy Roosevelt to call for "fair play, a fair shot, and a fair share" for the American middle-class. It was a call for a "new nationalism".
  • Japan Crash Turns Luxury Cars into Scrap
    Bad weather may have been the cause of a chain reaction accident in Japan Sunday that injured ten. Nearly four million dollars worth of cars, 14 in all, were damaged or totaled.
  • Bishop Eddie Long to Take Sabbatical
    Bishop Eddie Long has announced that he will be taking a sabbatical from his duties at Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. He is just the latest television evangelist caught in a sex scandal.
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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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  • U.S. Marines Headed to Australia
    President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard have issued a joint announcement that U.S. Marines will be deploying to northern Australia for a continuing training mission.
  • Fire Island Resort Businesses Burn
    The heart of the Fire Island Pines business district was ravaged by fire overnight. The Pavilion and the LaFountaine Building were gutted. Multiple fire departments fought the blaze in the popular summer resort.
  • Suicide in America's Military and Veterans
    A survey of the data on suicide in America's veteran and military populations.
  • Serious Illness Outbreaks in New York
    New York residents have not escaped a number of illness outbreaks that public health authorities are monitoring. Both food borne illnesses and contagious diseases are being seen locally as well as nationally.
  • Andy Rooney Seriously Ill
    92 year old television icon Andy Rooney is hospitalized after serious complications from minor surgery. The Sixty Minutes fixture retired from his weekly commentary just three weeks ago.
  • 200 Years After the War of 1812
    Few nations survive the capture and burning of their capital. The United States did, during the War of 1812. The bicentennial anniversary of that war is just three months away.
  • Moving Home from Iraq, by the Numbers
    MG Thomas Spoehr spoke with reporters on Thursday and discussed the on-going transition of bases and equipment to Iraqis from U.S. control. The December 31 deadline to leave is approaching.
  • How Will the United States Punish Iran for Murder Plot?
    With the discovery of a plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. by bombing his favorite Washington restaurant, the Obama administration has to decide what to do about Iran.
  • 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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  • Veterans Treatment Courts Divert Troubled Vets from Path to Jail
    U.S. military veterans can become involved with the criminal justice system due to substance abuse or mental health issues. Veterans Treatment Courts offer a way for these vets to avoid imprisonment and turn their lives around.
  • New York Trembles when Kodak Stumbles
    Kodak, a former industrial giant, is based in Rochester, NY. As it struggles to transition from film making to a digital future, the company has experienced serious financial woes.
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