The hidden cost of war

Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 5:45 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 5:45 PM

Torrey Shannon's husband John, a U.S. Army sniper, was shot in the face during a 2004 gun fight in Iraq. Torrey and her three young sons left for 
Walter Reed Medical Center and were there for three years.

"Everyday you wake up and it's a new battle," said Shannon. "All of my care was going toward him and the children and I put myself last."

Financial, physical and emotional stress left Torrey desperate and pushed to the edge. 

"I did lose hope," Shannon said. "It's like being in an ocean and you can't come up for air. "

Not just once, but twice she tried to commit suicide. 

"Who messes up trying to kill themselves? I couldn't even do that right," Shannon said. 

Military support groups say Torrey is among thousands of military family members buckling under the same pressure of two wars.

>>RESOURCE: How to get help with PTSD if you are a veteran, family member or friend

The Pentagon tracks suicides among service members and veterans, but not their families. Now, Congress is asking the Pentagon what it will take to track suicides of spouses, siblings and parents? It would take about two years, $600,000 and then a half a million dollars a year thereafter to compile suicide statistics.

California Congresswoman Jackie Speier said a new look at suicide would reveal what support military families need that they are not getting. 

"As civilians we have no clue as to what it is we put the service member and the family through as they get deployed five, six, seven times," said Speier, a Democrat. 

Torrey Shannon is her husband's full-time caregiver. She is helping him through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury and a list of other medical issues.

Her fight to help others crawl out of the darkness of depression continues. 

Shannon said, "We've been screaming from the rooftops saying we need help."

Torrey and other military support officials say tracking the suicides of family members will show the real toll of war. 

Oakwood business district to be disrupted by timber wall repairs

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 2:32 PM


            The area around Shops of Oakwood on Far Hills Avenue will receive repairs to the timber wall. Work will continue for two to three months. CHRIS STEWARD/STAFF
            Chris Stewart

The city of Oakwood will soon begin repairs to rehab the timber wall in the Far Hills Business District, according to a release by Assistant City Manager Jay Weiskiercher.

The work includes replacing rotted or warped wood, sanding the wall as necessary and applying fresh coats of paint. Crews will be working on one block at a time, and traffic on the adjacent cruise lane will be maintained.

MORE: Oakwood receives state financial award

During the repairs, there will be brief periods when parking near the wall is restricted. Crews will begin work at the southeast corner of the district and proceed north before crossing over to the west side of Far Hills and working south.

The project should be completed by late August or early September. For more information, contact Weiskiercher at 937-294-0411.

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Fire chief: Unknown substance mailed to Islamic Center in West Chester

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 12:40 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 2:26 PM

UPDATE @ 2:20 p.m.:

West Chester Twp. Fire Chief Rick Prinz said a white, powdery substance mailed to the Islamic Center in West Chester Twp. has been determined to be non-hazardous.

It is unknown what the substance is, according to Prinz.

MORE: Protesters square off at Islamic Center in Butler County

West Chester police will continue investigating the criminal aspect of the letter that was sent with a threat.

UPDATE @ 1:10 p.m.:

According to Barb Wilson, crews are still conducting tests on the substance because initial tests were inconclusive.

The building was not evacuated, but a children’s camp was moved to another part of the campus.

INITIAL BURST:

The West Chester Twp. Hazmat Team and police and fire are at the Islamic Center now investigating a letter containing white powder that arrived in the mail at around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

RELATED: Five things to know about the Islamic Center

Township spokeswoman Barb Wilson said they have not evacuated the center at this time, it will depend what they determine the powder is.

Senate will not vote on health care this week

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 2:18 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 2:19 PM

Prescription bottle with pills

Facing rebellion in his ranks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will send GOP senators home for the July 4 recess without having them vote on a bill replacing the 2010 health care law known as Obamacare.

RELATED: American Medical Association poll: Ohioans don’t want cuts to Medicaid

McConnell made the announcement during a caucus lunch of Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon. Senators including Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine were among a handful of Republican senators who balked at the Senate’s version of the bill to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

RELATED: Short on votes, Senate delays vote on health care

The last-minute decision to pull the bill before an expected vote mirrors how the House earlier this year had to pull its initial bill repealing Obamacare before later narrowly passing a bill to replace to 2010 health care law in May. It came even as the White House began a full-throated push to get GOP senators aboard, inviting all Senate Republicans to the White House at 4 p.m. today.

Among those who had expressed concern about the bill were Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. But Portman did not say he planned to vote against the bill. He did, however, express concerns that the Senate bill would roll back a Medicaid expansion that allowed Ohio Gov. John Kasich to insure 700,000 more Ohioans. Portman worries such a roll-back would cause the state’s drug-addicted population to lose coverage.

RELATED: Gov. Kasich urges Sen. Portman to fight health care bill

Kasich, in D.C. for a board meeting with Siemans, told reporters at the National Press Club that he does not support the Senate bill as written. He said he had urged Portman not to accept “a few billion” to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic in exchange for drastic cuts to Medicaid, saying that the former would be “like spitting in the ocean.”

Kasich said he last spoke to Portman, who may be a key swing vote on the Senate health-care vote that could be taken on as early as this week, few weeks back.

“He knows what my concerns are,” he said, but cautioned “I don’t cast his vote.”

A Congressional Budget Office report Monday that found some 22 million would lose health-care coverage over the next decade under the Senate bill.

Kasich — who was already scheduled to be in town for a meeting with the board of directors of Siemens — has long expressed concern about House and Senate Republicans’ plans to roll back a Medicaid expansion from the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

RELATED: Kasich calls for bipartisan talks on health care in Congress

Kasich — who also objected to the House bill that passed in May — said the current bill is “unacceptable” and lacks the resources to cover the mentally ill, addicted and working poor. He supports making mental health and addiction services “essential benefits” that states are required to offer, but is more concerned that the drastic cuts in expenditures will leave people without coverage.

“If they don’t want to improve this bill, I’m not for this bill,” he said.

A survey released Tuesday shows that just 14 percent of registered voters in Ohio want Congress to scale back federal dollars for Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that Gov. John Kasich used to extend health coverage to more than 700,000 low-income people in the state.

The survey, sponsored by the American Medical Association and conducted by the Republican polling firm of Public Opinion Strategies, strongly suggests voters in Ohio are sharply opposed to many of the features of the health-care bill on the Senate floor backed to Republican leaders and President Donald Trump.

The poll shows that 47 percent of Ohio voters say federal and state spending for Medicaid should remain the same while 32 percent want to see spending increased. The poll also shows that 59 percent of Ohio voters approve of the Medicaid program in the state as it now exists.

High school referee, ex-con accused of raping juvenile in Troy

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 1:49 PM

A Troy man accused of raping a juvenile is no longer eligible to officiate after the Ohio High School Athletic Association suspended his license after his arrest earlier this month, an OHSAA spokesman said Tuesday. 

Henry Lucas Jr., 52, was arrested June 5 after he turned himself in to Troy police, according to an affidavit filed in Miami County Municipal Court. Lucas is charged with a felony count of rape, and he made an initial appearance in court June 6, where his bond was set at $400,000, according to court records. The victim is known to Lucas. 

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Lucas’ license was previously suspended in 2011 after he was convicted on a felony drug charge and sentenced to prison in September 2010, the OHSAA said. 

The OHSAA initially approved Lucas’ officiating license in 2001, and he was listed as having an active license until Aug. 1, 2011, when the athletic association first suspended it, said Ben Ferree, assistant director of officiating and sport management for OHSAA. 

“We do not believe he was officiating after his September 2010 conviction,” Ferree said. 

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On Sept. 2, 2010, Lucas was convicted for using deception to obtain an illegal drug and was sentenced to a year in the London Correctional Institution, according to court records. 

Lucas was released from prison on Aug. 26, 2011, according to a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. 

Ferree said Lucas, who officiated football and basketball, appealed the suspension of his license following his drug conviction. 

According to the OHSAA handbook for officials, an officiating permit will not be issued or reinstated for anyone convicted in regard to any felony offense unless/until such offense has been reversed by proper authority. 

Ferree said, “People with convictions on their record that would be denied per the Handbook can appeal to obtain a license.” 

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Lucas’ permit was reinstated in October 2012 based on an appeal to the OHSAA board of directors, Ferree said. “The board approved his appeal based on multiple letters of recommendation from school personnel and community members in the Dayton area.” 

This news organization inquired about the letters of recommendations OHSAA said they received, however, Ferree said, “I do not have copies in his file.” OHSAA also said they don’t share personnel files of officials. 

“Additionally, everyone in the officiating department from that time has since retired. Since 2012 we have a new Director of Officiating, and all new support staff for that department. We do not know where the letters came from as we have never seen them personally,” Ferree said in an email to reporter Sean Cudahy. 

Lucas waived a preliminary hearing in his felony rape case on June 17, and his case is pending a decision from a Miami County Grand Jury, according to court records. 

The 52-year-old remained in the Miami County Jail Tuesday morning on a $400,000 bond. 

A call to his lawyer seeking comments has not been returned.