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We will never forget the horror of Sept. 11

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 — Who among us can forget the events of Sept. 11, 2001?

While the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 remains what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called “a date which will live in infamy,” Americans also remember the horror wreaked by 15 terrorists armed with box cutters who hijacked three commercial jetliners full of civilians and flew them into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

Other terrorists who apparently intended to make the U.S. Capitol building their target also hijacked a fourth plane, but the passengers confronted them and all 44 souls were lost and four hijackers killed when the plane crashed short of its target in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Just before the crash, passenger Todd Beamer famously asked several passengers who sought to regain control of the jet liner, “Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”

City needs to regulate medical marijuana gardens

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 — It’s been nearly 20 years since 56 percent of California voters approved Proposition 215, known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and the state legislature passed Senate Bill 240 — the two state laws that regulate medical marijuana in California.

Since California became the first state to adopt medical marijuana, 23 other states, nearly half the nation, and the District of Columbia, have joined the party. According to California state guidelines, medical marijuana users may possess up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana and may grow six mature plants or 12 immature plants.

VA offers a variety of financial benefits for veterans

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 — Compensation is one of the main categories of benefits provided by the Veteran Administration.

The primary VA benefit is a service-connected compensation commonly called disability compensation. This tax-free benefit is paid to veterans with disabilities resulting from a disease or injury experienced or aggravated during active military service. In 2013, Lassen County veterans were paid $5.1 million in disability compensation. That’s tax-free money that goes directly into the pockets of our veterans and their families.

Ice bucket challenge brings awareness

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 — Like many Facebook users, my wall has been inundated with the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket challenge these past couple of weeks.

The purpose of the ice bucket challenge is to raise awareness and funds for the disease. Participants are challenged to donate money to the cause, dump a bucket of ice on their heads, or both. They post a photo or video on social media challenging others to do it.

Meeting with the new Veteran’s Affairs secretary

Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 — On Tuesday, Aug. 19, I was invited to meet new Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald at the regional office in Reno. McDonald, a former Procter and Gamble chief executive, Airborne Ranger and 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, was President Obama’s nomination to replace Eric Shinseki.

McDonald acknowledged VA is currently incompetent but said he plans to change that in the coming months. He said he plans to use $16 billion Congress appropriated to hire more doctors and nurses to care for the increasing number of veterans returning home from war.


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