Extra Extra : Military

Iowa state senator’s National Guard service not the only reason she missed votes

United States Senate candidate and state senator Joni Ernst has cited her National Guard duty to rebuff criticism for missing more than half of the votes in the Iowa Senate this year.

In a WHO-TV interview posted on April 7, the Red Oak Republican acknowledged that National Guard service wasn’t the only reason she’s missed votes, but she said that only “a few of those votes were due to other activities.”

However, a review by The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) shows very little overlap between Iowa Senate votes and her National Guard service.

Read the story here.

VA pays out $200 million for nearly 1,000 veterans’ wrongful deaths

In the decade after 9/11, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $200 million to nearly 1,000 families in wrongful death cases, according to VA data obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting.

In that time, CIR found the agency made wrongful death payments to nearly 1,000 grieving families, ranging from decorated Iraq War veterans who shot or hanged themselves after being turned away from mental health treatment, to Vietnam veterans whose cancerous tumors were identified but allowed to grow, to missed diagnoses, botched surgeries and fatal neglect of elderly veterans.

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Navy base killer given security access despite crimes

The Virginian-Pilot reports that investigators are trying to figure out how Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, a 35-year-old truck driver with a violent criminal record, accessed the Navy’s largest base.

Savage Monday night climbed aboard the guided missile destroyer Mahan, disarmed a guard and used the weapon to kill a sailor who tried to intervene.

According to the Pilot:

“Savage had a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential, commonly known as a TWIC card. The TWIC program was created by the Department of Homeland Security primarily to ensure security at civilian marine terminals, but the government ID can also be used to ...

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More Marines from Calif. base have died back home than in the war-torn Middle East

Since 2007, 28 Marines from the base in Twentynine Palms in southern San Bernardino County, Calif. have died in off-duty vehicle accidents, a rate higher than at other Marine Corps bases.

The Desert Sun examined each of these deaths during a yearlong investigation of non-hostile military fatalities in the desert. The paper analyzed thousands of pages of accident reports, autopsies and internal military reports, interviewed combat veterans, police and sheriff's deputies, scientists and doctors, and dozens of the many Marines and their families based at Twentynine Palms.

The story is part of a three-day series. Part two focuses on ...

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Pentagon slow to identify remains of missing service members

The Pentagon spends about $100 million a year to find men like World War II POW Arthur “Bud” Kelder, following the ethos of “leave no man behind," ProPublica reports. Yet it solves surprisingly few cases, hobbled by overlapping bureaucracy and a stubborn refusal to seize the full potential of modern forensic science. Last year, the military identified just 60 service members out of the about 83,000 Americans missing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, around 45,000 of whom are considered recoverable.

Read the full story. View the records.

Extra Extra Monday: Assisted living centers, GPS ankle monitors, and the greyhound racing industry

Assisted living facility ordered to close after abuse, unsafe conditions found | Green Bay (Wisc.) Press Gazette

The state has ordered a Suamico assisted living facility to close after inspectors found physical and mental abuse of residents at the hands of the facility administrator, a registered sex offender.

Former Longview Terrace Administrator Jason Tegge is accused of taunting and hitting residents, many of whom are mentally ill or struggling with addiction, during his tenure at the facility, according to inspection records obtained by Press-Gazette Media from the state Department of Health Services Division of Quality Assurance.

Project | VideoInspection Records

 

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Virginia Beach Public Works Director keeps job while on military leave

The head of Virginia Beach’s second-largest department hasn’t been to work in nearly three years and keeps volunteering for military service instead of returning to his $150,000-a-year job.

Since deploying in June 2011 – days after a city auditor’s report recommended that he be fired – Public Works Director Jason Cosby has become vested in the city’s pension plan and still collects more than $35,000 a year in benefits, although his salary is on hold. Cosby’s mandatory service ended in 2012, but he took assignments around the world that kept him on active duty, according ...

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Email shows effort to shield bin Laden photos

According to the Associated Press, "A newly-released email shows that 11 days after the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, the U.S. military's top special operations officer ordered subordinates to destroy any photographs of the al-Qaida founder's corpse or turn them over to the CIA."

When the AP initially asked for emails to and from Adm. William McRaven, the document ordering the removal or destruction of the bin Laden photos was not included. The conservative legal group Judicial Watch recently received the email under a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Extra Extra Monday: Heroin reaches the suburbs, feds slash gas explosion fines, casinos use hardball tactics to collect debts

Heroin reaching into the suburbs | The (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

Heroin, long a scourge of inner cities, has infiltrated suburbia and rural towns and is claiming the lives of an increasingly younger, middle-class and white male clientele at an alarming rate.

But new statistics compiled for the Democrat and Chronicle by the office, which investigates suspected drug-related deaths across the region, show that more often than not the victims resided outside the city of Rochester.

 

Cancer-causing chemical PCE contaminates Colorado soil, water and homes | The Denver Post

Spills releasing PCE, the cancer-causing chemical used in dry cleaning and ...

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Military inconsistent with handling of service members accused of sexual assault

The Associated Press originally sought the records for U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan after attacks against Japanese women raised political tensions there. They might now give weight to members of Congress who want to strip senior officers of their authority to decide whether serious crimes, including sexual assault cases, go to trial.

The AP analysis found the handling of allegations verged on the chaotic, with seemingly strong cases often reduced to lesser charges. In two rape cases, commanders overruled recommendations to court-martial and dropped the charges instead.