[Vision2020] News Items of Interest

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Mon May 14 11:41:54 PDT 2007

Of particular human interest is the lead-off article "Bringing 'Hero' Home"
obtained from the News Briefs section of the May 21, 2007 edition of the
Army Times.

It took a bit of searching, but I managed to find the photo referenced in
the article.  I'm glad I did.


- Bringing 'hero' home

SPC Justin Rollins and Hero

Spc. Justin Rollins was one of a group of 82nd Airborne Division soldiers
who found a litter of newborn puppies outside an Iraqi police station one
night in March. 

The soldiers held the puppies and took pictures of each other. The photo of
Rollins nuzzling a puppy will be a final memory for his family.

The next day Rollins died in a roadside bomb blast in Samarra.

Rollins' fiance, Brittney Murray, and his family want to preserve that
memory by bringing the puppy in the photo, named "Hero," to New Hampshire.

But there were obstacles. For one, the soldiers were not allowed to keep the
animal in their barracks.

The family learned May 8 that U.S. Central Command has approved the puppy's
transfer to the U.S.

"We are cautiously optimistic," said Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., who helped the
family obtain the necessary approval. "Hero still has a long way to go.
Given the sacrifice that the Rollins' made for our country, the least we can
do for them is cut some red tape and provide them with this bit of comfort."


- Economy, not security?

It seems like simple cause and effect: Six thousand National Guard troops
descend on the U.S.-Mexico border and apprehensions of undocumented
immigrants drop by 27 percent in a year.

But economists say the main factor driving down illegal immigration is a
slowing economy, especially in the construction industry, which employs many
undocumented workers. Security plays a lesser role.

Dawn McLaren, a research economist at Arizona State University, has studied
the relationship between the economy and Border Patrol apprehensions for

When the U.S. economy is strong, she found, apprehensions tend to go up.
When the economy takes a nosedive, so do Border Patrol apprehensions. Other
economists agree.

That raises questions about President Bush's enforcement strategy at the
border. He wants to add 6,000 more agents by the end of 2008, with Guard
troops filling the gap through Operation Jump Start until new agents arrive.


- Visit brings Wee bit of cheer

A miniature donkey from Indiana will make a cross-country trip to try to
cheer up soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jerry Cosgray, 72, plan to drive Nicodemus and two other donkeys from his
farm to San Antonio in late May to visit several veterans' facilities,
including Fort Sam Houston.

"We just hope to make some people happy down there," Cosgray said.

Nicodemus has been featured on the Animal Planet cable network and has
visited nursing homes, elementary schools and a rehab center.

Retired Army veterinarian Sherman Mathey asked Cosgray to bring Nicodemus to
Texas after reading about the 3-foot-tall donkey in a magazine called "Rural

"Animals represent something that's nonthreatening, an unconditional
affection," he said. "People reach out to them. ... It relieves anxiety."


- Long-distance graduation

Capt. Joel Parker sat in a military camp outside Baghdad on May 5 and
watched his graduation ceremony from Regis University in Denver via the

A virtual graduation was fitting for Parker, since he completed his master's
of business administration degree online while fighting on the front lines.

"It's a great feeling," said Parker in a telephone interview from Iraq. "It
feels like a mission accomplished."

His father, Leedell Parker, stood in his 36-year-old son's place, donning a
black cap and gown and striding across the Regis stage to accept the diploma
to a standing ovation. 

The 69-year-old had never worn a graduation gown before. He grabbed the
diploma, shook hands and smiled for the cameras.

In Iraq, Parker beamed at the image over the Internet of his father
accepting his diploma.


- 2 of 3 recruit goals missed

The active Army was the only component to meet or exceed its recruiting
goals in April, according to information released May 10 by the Defense

April was the 23rd straight successful recruiting month for the Army, with
5,804 recruits, or 107 percent, of its goal of 5,400.

The Army National Guard reported 5,746 accessions, 89 percent of its goal of

The Army Reserve recruited 1,888 people, 81 percent of its goal of 2,336.

- Library vies for makeover

A Fort Wainwright, Alaska, elementary school is one of four finalists for a
$15,000 library makeover in a national contest sponsored by the nonprofit
group Reading is Fundamental.

At http://www.literacyforlife.com, Internet voters will determine the
winning school.

Arctic Light Elementary School was nominated because of its programs
promoting family learning and student involvement in the community.

Librarian Donna Morrow said receiving the grand prize, which includes $5,000
in cash and $10,000 in new books, would be a boon to Arctic Light's aging
library collection.

The three other finalists are located in Flint, Mich., Dallas and Miami. The
contest ends May 31.


- 'War' to add more Hispanics

Documentary maker Ken Burns said May 10 he will edit his upcoming PBS series
about World War II to add stories about Hispanic soldiers in response to
protests over their exclusion.

A day after meeting with two Hispanic advocacy groups, Burns released a
statement saying he has collected interviews with Hispanic veterans that he
considers powerful and now will incorporate them, along with the veterans'
personal documents, into "The War," a 14-hour series slated to air on PBS in

"The role of Hispanic American veterans in WWII is one that lends itself to
the universality of this film and merits being included in my film," Burns'
statement said. 

Burns initially resisted changes to the completed documentary. 

The film, made over six years, tells the story of World War II through
people from four communities: Waterbury, Conn., Mobile, Ala., Sacramento,
Calif., and Luverne, Minn. 


Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil
and steady dedication of a lifetime." 
--Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

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