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Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 10:56 AM
For their sacrifice and what they’ve endured in the loss of their loved one, Gold Star families deserve a monument in every state, says the last surviving Marine who was awarded a Medal of Honor during World War II.
Hershel “Woody” Williams, Gold Star families and others gathered the afternoon of Sept. 28 for a symbolic groundbreaking for a Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in the Memorial Garden at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation is sponsoring the installation with the support of other organizations like the Marine Corps League, Young Marines, Navy League and Gold Star families.
“We stand here as a result of and in recognition of the sacrifices of our fellow Americans – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard who gave their very life in defense of our nation,” said Naval LTJG Matthew Previtts, the event’s narrator. “Today, we pledge their gift to us and the price paid by their families will be forever remembered.”
He defined a Gold Star family member as any father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter or relative who has lost a loved one in service to the nation.
“That is what will be constructed here, a monument memorial to their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their loved one,” Previtts said.
Gold Star father Jim Groves thanked Williams and his foundation for his vision in creating the monument.
“As Gold Star parents, we know all too well that this country was founded one folded flag at a time,” he said. “It is a national debt that can never be repaid.”
The monument will be one of two dozen across the United States, and 51 other monuments under way in 37 states. Honoring Gold Star families is very personal to Williams.
Before joining the Marine Corps, he delivered death notices to families during WWII. In the Battle of Iwo Jima, Williams was said to have displayed “valiant devotion to duty” and service above self as he “enabled his company to reach its objective.” His actions, commitment to his fellow service members and heroism were recognized on Oct. 5, 1945, when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman.
After his 20 years of service in the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserves, he worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 33 years.
“It is you that we honor,” Williams remarked to the Gold Star families present. “Your presence speaks louder than any words. It says that you are an American in the very truest sense. Your presence says to those who lost a loved one serving America that they are the true heroes of our country, and the monument will say, ‘They will not be forgotten.’”
He also said he hoped today’s youth will visit the monument and perhaps, for the first time, gain some realization of “the sacrifices that are necessary to keep us a free people” and the gift that is freedom.
“As time goes by, untold young and old will look upon this memorial and in some sense, be aware that it took sacrifices of those who were loved to keep us a free people and in many communities, give all they had so we could be blessed,” Williams said. “We will not forget. We never will.”
He was joined by the Gold Star family members to symbolically break ground, including Lucy and David Luff of Hamilton, whose son, U.S. Army Sgt. David Luff, died in Tikrit, Iraq, in 2010. Sgt.
“I don’t want anybody to forget it,” Lucy Luff said.
Rita Kreitzer, Army survivor outreach services support coordinator, said, “I think (the memorial) is priceless for our Gold Star families. … The families who are dealing with sacrifice and dealing with their grief, things like this will absolutely help them heal. Although that healing never completes, this certainly helps.”
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 7:27 PM
— Wright State University’s board of trustees voted to fire its former provost who has been on paid leave in a faculty position for more than three years.
Six of the board’s nine members voted this evening to fire Sundaram Narayanan effective June 30. Three board members were absent from the closed-door meeting Wednesday when trustees met with Narayanan and his attorney Ted Copetas.
“At the end of the day, Dr. Narayanan was a decision-maker at the highest levels of the university at a time that resulted in millions of dollars in losses and the board feels there needs to be accountability from our administrators … and I think in the end that’s what it came down to,” board chairman Doug Fecher said after the vote.
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Following the private meeting, trustees returned to public session and voted to accept president Cheryl Schrader’s recommendation to terminate Narayanan’s employment.
Narayanan was placed on paid leave in May 2015 when a federal investigation was launched possible violation of immigration laws at WSU.
There was nothing “happy or satisfying” about the decision trustees made Wednesday, Fecher said. Fecher said he hopes that the decision helps the university move on from the visa scandal.
How WSU trustees voted on Narayanan’s termination
Doug Fecher: Yes
Bruce Langos: Yes
Bill Montgomery: Yes
Stephanie Green: Yes
Grace Ramos: Yes
Anuj Goyal: Yes
Michael Bridges: Absent
C.D. Moore: Absent
Sean Fitzpatrick: Absent
“This was not easy. There’s nothing to be happy about,” Fecher said. “This was hopefully the end of a very long and difficult chapter in the university’s history and I’m hoping we can all begin to put this behind us and move on and learn what lessons need to be learned and put the university on the path to the success that it deserves.”
After Narayanan and Copetas met with trustees behind closed doors, the former provost declined to comment on the then-pending decision. But, before trustees voted to fire Narayanan, Copetas said he thought the meeting “went very well.”
Copetas said on Thursday that he and Narayanan would ask the faculty union to take the case to arbitration.
“If the university thought it had grounds to fire Dr. Narayanan from his faculty position, why didn’t it do so three years ago? The answer, is that it didn’t have grounds to then, and it didn’t have grounds to (Wednesday),” Copetas said via email. “In the end, (Wednesday’s) vote was merely about giving the board someone to blame.”
Narayanan was one of four university administrators initially suspended in May 2015 because of the federal probe, which a Dayton Daily News investigation revealed was related to the university’s use of H-1B temporary work visas to secure employees for an area IT staffing firm.
University researcher Phani Kidambi, who was also suspended since May 2015 because of the federal probe, resigned from the university in August, records show.
The two others were university chief general counsel Gwen Mattison and senior advisor to the provost Ryan Fendley. Mattison was forced to retire in August 2015 with a $301,331 separation payment.
Fendley was fired in August 2015, but then filed two lawsuits against the university. A breach of contract suit was settled with Wright State Applied Research Corporation paying him $13,209. A wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Fendley in the Ohio Court of Claims was decided in Wright State’s favor in September.
Copetas has not said whether he and Narayanan would file a lawsuit if the university terminated the former provost.
“We’ll have to evaluate our options after the board of trustees makes that decision,” Copetas told ;this news organization last week.
While Fecher said he hopes another lawsuit isn’t in the university’s future, he said Wright State’s leaders would handle one if it’s filed.
“That’s always a possibility,” Fecher said. “We’ll handle that if it comes. But, I don’t know that you can let that type of thing affect the kinds of decisions that you feel need to be made.”
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Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:10 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:10 PM
MCALLEN, Texas — First lady Melania Trump made an unannounced visit to Texas on Thursday, one day after her husband signed an executive order ending his administration’s controversial policy of separating migrant children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Update 3:10 p.m. EDT June 21: Trump was criticized for the coat she chose to wear while boarding the plane en route to McAllen on Thursday morning.
Her spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that the first lady wore an olive green jacket that said on the back "I really don't care. Do U?"
FLOTUS spox confirms Mrs. Trump wore a jacket to visit border kids that reads: "I really don't care. Do you?" Spox says: "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe." pic.twitter.com/Bp4Z8n455G— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 21, 2018
"It's a jacket. There was no hidden message," Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, told reporters. "After today's important visit to Texas, I hope this isn't what the media is going to choose to focus on."
Original report: The first lady toured a pair of facilities for migrant children, including the Upbring New Hope Children's Center. The facility is holding 55 children, officials said.
Mrs Trump being briefed by caregivers at Upbring New Hope children’s center in McAllen, Texas pic.twitter.com/AnMxREBaam— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) June 21, 2018
Trump thanked employees of the children’s center and said she wanted to “help to get these children reunited with their families as quickly as possible.”
First lady Melania Trump speaks at an immigration detention center in Texas during an unannounced visit: I’d like to ask how I can help to get these children reunited with their families as quickly as possible https://t.co/22A10ihSJu pic.twitter.com/tRPUTYxhe6— CNN (@CNN) June 21, 2018
In a statement released Thursday, the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said Trump was visiting a customs and border patrol processing center and a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the U.S. illegally.
“Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social service providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families,” Grisham said.
Trump previously said in a statement through Grisham that she “hates to see children separated from their families.”
"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart," Grisham said, according to CNN.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:07 PM
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A Wyoming family was reunited with a dog who went missing in Idaho nearly three years ago.
KSFY reported that the George family’s dog, Ginger, went missing in Burlington, Iowa, in August 2015.
Jennifer George, of Ucross, Wyoming, was visiting her husband BJ while he was on a business trip in Iowa and took their family dog with her to avoid leaving her in a kennel when Ginger got loose and went missing.
George stayed behind after the trip to look for Ginger, who originally belonged to her late mother. Despite spending hundreds of dollars on ads and signs, she came up with nothing.
Three years later, Des Moines County Humane Society director Kandi Glick responded to calls about a loose dog near a car wash.
“We started getting a lot of calls saying there was a dog running loose in town,” Glick told KSFY. “People said they saw a deceased dog, so I’d go to the spot where they'd say it was, and it wouldn't be there.”
Glick set up a trap on June 8 and, according to a Facebook post, was able to rescue the red heeler.
“This is really funny to say, but McDonald's saved her life. People dumped food at the car wash and its McDonald's, its Taco Bell, its Burger King and she was digging every night in the trash,” Glick said. “The water that people washed their cars with, it’s just amazing she survived. We don’t know how she did it.
“Just for the record, the shelter does not have anything to do with the trapping of animals. This is something that I do on my own to help animals and people outside of my job at the Des Moines County Humane Society. I featured the post on our page more as an informational piece so people knew that this dog was finally caught. She has been spotted hundreds of times over the last three years.”
The dog, who Glick named Hope, was photographed and posted on missing pets sites. Word got around, and some people recalled a dog that went missing in the area three years ago. Glick was able to contact the Georges and send them footage of Ginger.
“Her undercoat had grown out, she was twice as big as she is now, she had a lot of matting on her and of course, after three years her face has aged, so it just didn't look like the same dog,” Glick said.
A good wash and haircut revealed the purple and lime green collar Ginger had on when she went missing. Although faded, it was recognizable. They new it was Ginger.
Jennifer George and her 10-year-old daughter, Samantha, drove through a hail storm to meet Glick and Ginger halfway in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to reunite.
Although she was confused at first, Ginger soon recognized Samantha and cozied up to Jennifer George.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 3:04 PM
Struggling to find consensus on immigration reform, the House on Thursday rejected a more conservative Republican immigration reform bill, and then in a bid to salvage the effort, GOP leaders delayed action on a second immigration reform measure until Friday.
41 House Republicans voted against the first GOP bill, which was defeated on a vote of 231-193, as the plan received more votes than most GOP lawmakers had expected.
The Republicans who voted against the first GOP bill were a mixture of the Republican Party’s different flanks, featuring more conservative lawmakers who wanted to do more, and moderates who felt it went too far.
“This is a difficult issue,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), who voted for this bill, but wouldn’t tell reporters whether he would support a second measure on Friday.
“Any jot or tittle one way or the other, you lose people because of the complexities, because of the sensitivities, and the emotions in this particular piece of legislation,” Meadows said.
Here is the list of the 41 Republicans who voted “No.”
One of the reasons more moderate Republicans voted against the first bill was because of the lack of a path to citizenship for younger illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. by their parents.
While that is in the bill to be voted on Friday, those provisions then could cause some other Republicans to vote against it, arguing it is nothing but amnesty.
“I’m a big fat no, capital letters” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), after the first vote.
“It doesn’t do anything to stop illegal immigration,” Barletta added.
In debate on the House floor, Democrats focused mainly on the more recent immigration battle over the separation of illegal immigrant families, blaming President Donald Trump for doing little to seek compromise.
“On this issue, God is going to judge you as well,” said Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) said to Republicans who were backing the President’s get-tough effort on the border.