Two soldiers from Lowville have been killed while serving in Iraq. Seamus Davey, 25, and Kelly Cannan, 21. Two more lives lost, two more families damaged. The son’s and daughters of the rich and powerful are avoiding the military like the plague and Iraqi veterans are suffering from plagues of their own.
Some facts from the last Gulf War according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (as of March 1, 2001):
696,661 U.S. troops served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and July 31, 1991 — these are considered “Gulf War Conflict” veterans by the VA
Of the 696,628, 504,047 are separated from service and eligible for benefits through the VA
As of December 1999, more than 263,000 sought medical care at the VA
Of the 504,047 eligible veterans, 185,780 (36%) filed claims against the VA for service-related medical disabilities
Of the 171,878 VA claims actually processed, 149,094 (80%) were approved in part (note — most claims are made up of multiple issues, if any one issue is granted, VA considers it approved)
Of the 504,047 eligible for VA benefits, 149,094 (29%) are now considered disabled by the VA eleven since the start of the Gulf War; and
Another 13,902 claims against the VA still pending.
More than 9,600 Gulf War veterans have died.
Conflict veterans are 51% more likely to have their claims denied than “theater” veterans (those who served in the Gulf since August 1, 1991)
When the first soldier from the North Country to die in Iraq was buried two years ago there was a lot of talk in the Adirondacks about whether or not his life was wasted on a immoral and illegal war waged for the rich with the lives of the working class. Now the widow of Kevin Kimmerly is finally speaking out against the war that took her husband and son’s father. Some excerpts:
“Why did we start a war with Iraq? President Bush had no proof of weapons of mass destruction, although he said he did. It was so obvious to other countries the weapons didn’t exist.”
She said the U.S. government should have allowed NATO more time to inspect for the weapons.
“It makes me so mad … not just for the loss of my own husband. No good is coming from the war, and it’s not getting any better,” she said. “Every day it goes on, and there’s just more pain and suffering. Every time they report that another soldier has died, I know what the soldier’s family is going through.”
Kevin Kimmerly had been deployed to Iraq in April 2003, soon after President Bush announced confidently that the war was “over,” she said… Kimmerly was mortally wounded just two weeks before he was due to return to the United States to be stationed in Kansas.
…as a self-described “news junkie,” [Mrs. Kimmerly] dreams of a career in law or politics. Through the latter, she said, perhaps make changes in the world. “I’d like to change so many things in government and politics that don’t make any sense,” she said.
The day Kevin Kimmerly was buried a local pub was filled with people defending the war and swearing he didn’t die in vain… that somehow, we’d see it was all worth his life… how easy it was for them then, how quickly they’ve forgotten Kevin Kimmerly and the nearly 2,000 others… now, the war is never mentioned, unless someone argues that it’s a waste – then the big mouths, moving to the edge of their seats, start in with their ignorance.
C&S Wholesale Grocers of Keene, N.H., has agreed to buy the two Tops Markets stores in Saranac Lake and the stores in Elizabethtown, Bolton Landing, AuSable Forks, Schroon Lake, Peru, North Creek, Corinth, Warrensburg and Chestertown.
Now we can only hope they actually do something worthwhile with these stores instead of just using them to exploit locals without other supermarket options.
Environmental Advocates have released their annual voters guide and once again the representatives in the Adirondack region have some of the worst scores in the state. Our representatives Betty Little and Teresa Sayward definately need to go. Little is currently working to get all of the RV campgrounds in the Adirondacks put under the control of the Health Department after successfully spreading a large volume of mis-information regarding proposed APA rules for newly built campgrounds that would require them to undergo strict review of their often seriously underdesigned sewage systems. These campgrounds, which provide little by way of tourism dollars, are toxic wastelands waiting to be “discovered.” Full time residents of the park can only hope they are not the ones to discover them after its too late and their drinking water, swimming hole, or favorite fishing spot is contaminated.
The number of homes being built in the Adirondacks is getting out of control. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is understaffed and the local economy is increasingly dependent on new construction. The Glens Falls Post Star recently reported that home sales in Warren County are up 38 percent from 2004. More alarming is the fact that the median selling price of those homes, jumped nearly 20 percent in just one month — from $165,500 in July 2005 to $197,900 in August 2005.
This month’s issue of Adirondack Life has a large feature piece devoted to housing prices and related issues. Unfortunately, their webpage has taken a turn for the worst and they have exactly no content.
It’s clear that in our parts of the park the only real opportunity for young people is to become a part of the housing boom and work as laborers building houses. Local companies have continuous ads for workers and we see more and more workers from out of state. This summer we saw home construction workers from Montana and Alabama among others.
A recent post over at Friends of Rural New York is just the ticket to replace the we are losing throughout the region. The Community, Food, and Agriculture Program (CFAP) at Cornell University will be submitting a proposal to the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NE SARE) to start community cooperative farm stores. In short:
Europeans have been successfully proliferating the concept of farmer-owned cooperative grocery stores for the last 15 years. The Rhône-Alpes region of Southwest France, with a population similar to the state of Indiana, has a network of 20 stores that are owned, supplied, and operated by farmers. Typically, 10 to 12 farm families own the store, each providing one or two specialties: meats, poultry, eggs, cheeses and other dairy products, wine, juices, canned goods, baked goods, fruits, and vegetables. The hallmark of the stores is real food that is sustainably produced, and one of the farmer-owners must be in the store at all times to answer customers’ questions about production and processing methods.
They need up to 5 farm organizations, businesses, or cooperatives in the Northeast if you know someone contact project coordinator Duncan Hilchey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 255-4413.
NYCO offers the latest on this winter’s chances for a big, big, big, snow and Baloghblog is taking steps toward that end. And now “AccuWeather.com meteorologist Ken Reeves is predicts “a very cold winter” for New York – after average winter temperatures last year – contributing to an estimated 50% increase in winter heating oil charges.” Storm Digest has some not so friendly things to say about our coming weather situation. The Post Star, as usual, waffles.
We ordered a new exterior door, are closing up our drafts, and buying some extra socks.
It looks like it’s a good time to buy more Zone 4 Hardy Perennials.
Adirondack native Alice Green has been getting some good press lately. Capital News 9 reports that she is opposing a new corporate giveaway convention center and Times Union recently gave her good placement on her plan for a criminal justice center. The popular Albany political blog Democracy in Albany has been giving her generally good marks all around.
Closer to home – the Glens Falls Post Star, which we suggested should be required to register as a PAC, has been busy ignoring independent candidates. Matt, of Matt’s Angry Letters, has finally cancelled his subscription and Brian the Fairly Young Contrarian has been giving them hell as well. Meanwhile… the local Glens Falls Democrats have had a webpage since the campaigns began that offers NOTHING, that’s not a rhetorical nothing, that’s an absolute nothing – apparently that’s their plan for the city.
The question is – what will the independent candidates do about it? How about filing a complaint with election officials? Demonstrating at their offices? Something! Anything! Clearly the Post Star is out of control, undemocratic, and illegally promoting certain candidates.
Right-wingnuts from Long Island who have moved from immigrating to the Adirondacks to organizing vigilantes to keep others out are having a tough time of it. “The project’s co-founder recently said the project was having trouble recruiting residents near the Canadian border.” Gee, no kidding – downstaters are having trouble telling the locals what to do? Imagine that.