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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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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  • 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.
  • 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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  • 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.
  • 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.
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