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OT
18:42:18 Thu
Jun 19 2008

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

thanks for posting that, cc............for those that don't know, pfc Molitor is from the same hometown as me.......makes me proud to be a Minnesotan and a former resident of Little Falls.

Bless her lutefisk eating heart!



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"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceived veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."

George Washington

 
 
CC1
19:51:52 Sun
Jul 27 2008

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

I'm just assuming this is a great site...

http://www.zacbrowser.com/

The site is specifically set up for children with autism. I don't know if the number of births of autism is growing, but I've heard that autism is more common among women who give birth in later years, and it seems to me that many women are doing just that. Waiting to have babies.

one of our chatters knows a child with autism, who's made remarkable improvements with medicine. Must be such a blessing for him and his family.

Glad zacbrowser's up and running.



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 
CC1
19:19:18 Tue
Nov 18 2008

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

I got this email from my flaming liberal fruitcake cousin today. Even if you're like us and rarely shop at Sears or K-Mart, think again ... especially over the holidays too. Gifts for pps , or giftcards:

Sears - Christmas shopping this year.

I know I needed this reminder, since Sears isn't always my first choice. It's amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and Sears hasn't withdrawn from their commitment. Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year?

How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up for active duty.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears at least once, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement & feedback it well deserves.

Pass it on.

I decided to check this before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e-mail to the Sears Customer Service Department:

I received this e-mail and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your company. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item, even if it's cheaper at that store.

This is their answer to my e-mail:


Dear Customer:

Thank you for contacting Sears.The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback.
Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care
webcenter@sears.com <mailto:webcenter@sears.com>
1-800-349-4358

http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/sears.asp <http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/sears.asp



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 
CC1
00:17:09 Tue
Nov 25 2008

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

Thanks ATV, for this site. We all can say "Thank you to the troops":

http://www.letssaythanks.com/Home.html



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 
CC1
12:28:28 Fri
Jan 2 2009

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

Marines buy cows for Iraqi widows


Tony Perry / Los Angeles Times/January 2, 2009




Cows graze in the Ramadi area of Iraq. The U.S. Marine Corps bought 50 cows for 50 Iraqi widows as a small step toward reviving the economy


The program, suggested by an Iraqi women's group, is part of an effort to reestablish the country's once-thriving dairy industry as well as a way to help impoverished women and children.

Reporting from Anbar Province, Iraq -- As American forces work to revive Iraq's tattered farming economy, they seem to have found an effective new weapon.

Cows.

At the suggestion of an Iraqi women's group, the Marine Corps recently bought 50 cows for 50 Iraqi widows in the farm belt around Fallouja, once the insurgent capital of war-torn Anbar province.

The cow purchase is seen as a small step toward reestablishing Iraq's once-thriving dairy industry, as well as a way to help women and children hurt by the frequent failure of the Iraqi government to provide the pensions that Iraqi law promises to widows.

The early sign is that the program is working. Widows, many with no other income, have a marketable item to sell, as well as milk for their children. Although Iraqis, particularly women, are often reluctant to participate in an American effort, the cows were immediately popular.

"It was an easy sell," said Maj. Meredith Brown, assigned to the Marines' outreach program for Iraqi women.

The idea, proposed by members of the Women's Cultural Center in Fallouja, at first met with resistance from U.S. military officers and civilian officials involved in aid programs for Anbar. Nothing in their training provided guidance in haggling for livestock.

But those objections quickly evaporated when Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the top Marine in Iraq, signaled his support, Brown said. The Iraqis now refer to their animals as Kelly's Cows.

Though Kelly's support may have been based on gut instinct, the need to beef up Iraq's badly broken dairy industry was argued in a Nov. 25 report by Land O'Lakes Inc.

The Minnesota cheese-and-butter company was hired by the Marine Corps to examine the Iraqi dairy industry. Its 38-page report, based on field research in the fall by two Land O'Lakes dairy specialists, concluded that there was enormous growth potential for the industry in a milk-drinking, cheese-eating nation that can locally produce enough milk to satisfy only 5% of the demand.

The study also pointed out that, even in Iraqi farm families with able-bodied adult males, much of the work is left to women: "Women milk the cows, bring feed and fodder to the animals and are supported by their children."

Though Americans know Land O'Lakes best from its products in the dairy case, the company has been involved in 150 development projects in 70 countries in recent decades. Among them was a dairy project in Afghanistan after the Taliban was toppled in the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Its report cited a litany of woes besetting the Iraqi dairy industry: facilities damaged by war, looting or neglect; a lack of good feed; a dearth of veterinarians and the initiative-numbing effect of three decades of centralized planning under Saddam Hussein.

"Every link in the value chain was broken, but we found that every link is fixable," said Zaheer Baber, regional director for Asia and the Middle East for Land O'Lakes' international development division.

The report suggested several construction projects for U.S. military and civilian officials to consider funding, possibly with the Iraqi government.

One idea was for a new dairy owned and operated by the Women's Cultural Center, which would be a bold move in a male-dominated society. As a first phase, Marines and Land O'Lakes specialists are discussing a milk-collection facility run by the women to help them learn accounting, marketing and other skills.

The cows-for-widows program is just the latest of several initiatives by the U.S. to help Iraq's dairy and beef industries. Some efforts have been individual, such as buying a replacement cow in 2004 for a farmer near Ramadi who complained that his animal was killed in the crossfire between Marines and insurgents. Other initiatives have been larger in scale, such as inspections of herds by Army veterinarians.

Also, the U.S. is taking the lead in the rehabilitation of a milk-collection center in Fallouja. And Army personnel and advisors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture met this year with farmers at a dairy in the Wehida region south of Baghdad that once had 8,000 cows but now can barely handle a fraction.

In Anbar, two factors drew the Marines to the cow purchase: It was small-scale and it was suggested by the Iraqis. The Marines have learned that big-ticket projects, or those imposed by the U.S. on the Iraqis without local support, start with two strikes.

The Marines began buying cows in November at a livestock market at Saqlawiyah. Of the 50 cows, 35 were pregnant and 10 already had calves, which went along with their mothers. The five others were taken to a laboratory for artificial insemination. Brown put the program cost so far at $58,000.

To qualify for a free cow, each widow had to sign an agreement not to slaughter or sell the animal and instead to use the milk as a marketable item or for the family.

The project is not entirely altruistic. The Marines believe that widows with at least some economic resources are less likely to join Al Qaeda to carry out suicide attacks in exchange for a promise that their children will be cared for after the women are gone.

"If she's desperate enough, she just might put on that [suicide] vest or drive that truck" full of explosives, Maj. Brown said.



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 
CC1
15:29:32 Thu
Dec 17 2009

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

What One Best Friend Can Teach Us All:

thx for sharing, OT.

This is not only a great inspiration for our disabled vets, but so inspiring for us all! Be sure to watch the video, too:

http://faiththedog.info/



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 
CC1
18:02:18 Sat
Apr 9 2011

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

if ya don't care for her political views (few and far between)... check out the rest of this...I'd love Betty to be a member of our yaya sistah-hood. follow this url...read the page:

http://whatgives365.wordpress.com/how-this-all-began/

then go to her archives, scroll all the way down... and start at the beginning of her sweet journey.

Enjoy!



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 
CC1
13:34:30 Sun
Sep 18 2011

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:

Kona Donkey Airlift to new Tehachapi Home:
Catherine Saillant, LA Times
For many years, a ranch in Kern County has been a refuge for unwanted donkeys.
September 18, 2011

Reporting from Tehachapi— Mark Meyers hasn't slept for more than a day and his back is killing him, but he still has to wrangle a donkey who refuses to exit its horse trailer after a 2,500-mile flight from Kona, Hawaii. Dozens more wait behind it.

So Meyers pops an 800-milligram ibuprofen and gets down to work. First he starts pushing, but then he tries sweet-talking the beast. "Come on, girl!" he says. "Come and see your new home!"

Finally the jenny clambers down. She lifts her gray head and begins braying loudly. Immediately, hundreds of other donkeys join in, creating a discordant chorus that breaks the morning stillness in this scrubby mountain valley.

"That's it!" Meyers booms. "Way to be a leader."

In all, Meyers and his crew unloaded 120 donkeys flown from the Big Island to their new quarters at the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, off a rural road north of Tehachapi. Saturday's airlift marks a new chapter in the nearly two-century history of the Hawaiian donkeys and a new challenge for Meyers and his crew.

Once used to ferry sugar cane, coffee and other crops, the donkeys have lived wild for decades and now overpopulate the area. Meyers' nonprofit rescue group agreed to take some.

What started as an act of compassion has become a calling for Meyers, 48, and his wife, Amy, 37.

Their life changed 12 years ago when he bought a donkey as a companion for Amy's horse. They were taken by Izzy's loving and friendly personality.

Soon, Meyers noticed other wandering donkeys that looked skinny or abandoned and took them in. Some were starved or abused, but Meyers said he learned that if he took his time, even the saddest cases would come around.

He remembers one badly abused jack that shook violently whenever the rancher approached. Each day Meyers sat in a corner of a stall quietly talking to the animal, moving closer with each visit. Finally, the donkey allowed him to feed it a carrot, and eventually, to stroke its back.

When his stalls began filling, Meyers set off to find adoptive homes for the animals. Next came contracts with state and federal wildlife agencies to take on wild donkeys that were being rounded up on federal lands.

Finally, the 6-foot, 4-inch electrical contractor threw himself into the donkey rescue business full time and created his nonprofit. Today the group works with adoption facilities in 22 states, supervising the rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of 2,000 donkeys nationwide. At any one time, there are as many as 325 donkeys at the ranch.

"It started to make [more] sense to stay here and talk to donkeys than to hop on [California Highway] 14 to Los Angeles," he said.

In 2008, he heard that Texas authorities were shooting donkeys along the Rio Grande, the beast of burden now judged to be little more than a nuisance. He hired Tracy Miller to manage the California haven and moved his wife and children to Texas and opened a second rescue facility, this one on 260 acres of scrub.

Their efforts in the Lone Star state became crucial this year as prolonged drought drove up the price of hay and water, and ranchers began abandoning their animals.

Meyers estimates he's rescued 500 donkeys in Texas since March alone. "People are loading them up on trucks and driving two or three counties over and just letting them go along some highway," he said. "Someone will wake up and come out and see a dozen donkeys in their frontyard."

The Hawaiian transport was a more complicated affair.

Working with the Humane Society of the United States and Kona veterinarian Brady Bergin, crews captured and castrated the males to prepare them for the journey. Hawaiian volunteers trucked the bristle-haired beasts to the airport, where they were loaded into the belly of a 747 cargo jet for the flight to Los Angeles.

Another crew met them at the airport and loaded the animals onto six trailers early Saturday for the rumbling 120-mile journey north to Tehachapi. Meyers declared the transfer a success. The public can adopt the animals for $200 each at an Oct. 29 open house at the Tehachapi ranch.

"This is a good bunch," he said as the donkeys began munching piles of hay.

Donkeys have been part of the Big Island's history for nearly two centuries. Introduced by the British, the strong, sure-footed creatures were used by Kona coffee bean growers to carry bulging bags from mountain farms to coastal ports. Every farm family had one, said Fred Duerr, who managed the nearby Kona Village Resort for 38 years.

At night the social animals would grow lonely and bray to one another, filling the Hawaiian night air with a cacophony of song, he said. Locals dubbed them the Kona Nightingales. When World War II ended, farmers switched to the sudden surplus of Jeeps and turned their donkeys loose on the lava flows, Duerr said.

They thrived in the wild until the Kona Coast began to erupt with hotels and golf courses. The donkeys were eating landscaping, breaking fences and sometimes being hit by cars as they descended Kona's slopes to lick salt off of the sea rocks.

Eventually most of them were resettled in Waikoloa, where they roamed free until, once again, they became a nuisance, breaking down barriers and foraging close to roads and residential areas.

Meyers and his wife oversaw the airlift, flying from Texas to Hawaii and then to Los Angeles. Meyers said he wanted to make sure things were done right. He personally loaded most of the animals in Hawaii, he said.

You might say Meyers is as stubborn as his donkeys — but don't say it to his face.

He doesn't like the stereotype of a donkey as a dumb, recalcitrant animal. It is not only inaccurate, he says, but a disservice to a breed that helped build America in its first century.

"People tend to admire determination in other humans, but not at all in donkeys," Meyers writes on the group's website. "When donkeys show the tenacity that kept them alive in the wild, people call them stubborn. But if you think about it, being 'stubborn' is not always a bad thing."


http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2011/09/17/video-over-100-waikoloa-donkeys-board-plane-for-california/



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 
CC1
13:58:55 Fri
Nov 25 2011

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Re: It's a Good Thing News:



Marine, dog to reunite after hard journey for both
SF Chronicle/Peter Fimrite/Thanksgiving2011


Marine, dog to reunite after hard journey for both

Ward Van Alstine is a tough U.S. Marine who, after a somewhat troubled life growing up in Santa Rosa, developed a sense of purpose amid the gunfire, bone-rattling explosions and death in Afghanistan.

The 22-year-old corporal said he became a man during two tours of duty in the war, but it took a starving, battered dog to help him through the worst of it.

One day, as he prepared to go on patrol, a dirty, sad-eyed mutt walked up and touched something in him. The shy, brown-and-white pooch, with a dark patch around the nose, was something precious and good surrounded by poverty, hatred and war. The two of them formed an inseparable bond.

The dog, named Chloe, is one of 14 stray dogs and one cat that were rescued from Afghanistan this month by the Nowzad Dogs charity and brought back to the United States to live with the soldiers who adopted them.

Van Alstine and Chloe will be reunited in Santa Barbara today after a long separation and, in many ways, an agonizingly stressful journey.

"Honestly, it is kind of unclear who rescued whom," Van Alstine said. "Dogs aren't respected in Afghanistan like they are here. They are not man's best friend there, but she truly is my best friend. She spent most of that tour with me."


Two troubled souls

The story of Chloe is actually a tale about two troubled souls finding each other in an unlikely place. Van Alstine was born in Sacramento, but his mother died when he was a child and his father ended up in Iowa. He was raised by his aunt in Santa Rosa and went to Maria Carrillo High School, but he said something was missing in his life as a teenager and he began to get into trouble.

In an attempt to find himself, he moved in with his father, an Army veteran who had fought in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the "Black Hawk Down" incident. Van Alstine had been arrested for misdemeanor crimes he prefers not to talk about, but a judge agreed to suspend his sentence in exchange for serving in the military.

That is why Van Alstine enlisted in the Marines in January 2008. He served in Afghanistan from February to August 2010 and then from March to late October 2011.


Friendship begins

It was late in August during the second tour when Chloe, apparently spooked by something at the front gate, ran onto the base at Marjah in Helmand province.

"I had all my gear on and was about to go on a patrol with 12 other Marines when she just came up," Van Alstine said. "I looked at her, and she looked at me. I pulled a Clif Bar out and set some down. After that it was like we were attached at the hip."

Afghans generally consider dogs filthy animals and will use them to guard their homes, but they don't treat them the way Americans treat pets, according to many soldiers. There are hundreds of stray animals that must hunt for scraps of food, endure the scorching desert sun and freezing winters, and generally live by their wits. Van Alstine took Chloe into his tent, groomed her daily and fed her his own rations. She was always by his side on the base and walked next to him on every foot patrol.

"She couldn't come on the vehicles, but when we left she would sit right behind where the trucks park and lie down," he said. "She'd still be lying in the same area when we came back, sometimes as long as 18 hours later."


Comforting soldiers

Chloe began to guard the base and protect the troops, barking when strangers came near.
"She was basically like the mascot, the morale booster," he said. "She slept in my tent, but we all fed her."

Nobody from his platoon was killed, but there were casualties all around and the stress of combat sometimes affected him and other soldiers.

"Not everybody does well in those types of situations," Van Alstine said. "I think all dogs have that sixth sense. She'd just sit there with us the entire time and, if anyone wasn't doing well, she'd put her head on them and just close her eyes. She was the one thing that no matter how bad the day was she was our best friend."

Van Alstine began looking into adopting Chloe in September, about six weeks before he was scheduled to leave Afghanistan. He had heard stories about Taliban fighters shooting dogs that Americans had befriended and said the idea of leaving her behind was horrifying.

Nowzad Dogs was formed in 2007 by Pen Farthing, a commando in the British Royal Marines for two decades. Sgt. Farthing had adopted a stray dog in the war-torn town of Now Zad in Helmand province of Afghanistan in November 2006. He named the dog Nowzad and put him and several other adopted strays through a harrowing experience in cars and taxis trying to get out of the country.

"I know what my dog 'Nowzad' meant to me - I could not leave him behind - he was my comfort during those dark cold nights in Afghanistan where normality did not exist," Farthing wrote on his website.


Leaving Chloe

Determined to make adoption easier, he formed the Nowzad charity, a volunteer organization dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in Afghanistan.
Van Alstine made dozens of calls and finally secured a spot for Chloe in the Nowzad kennel in Kabul just as he was leaving the country. He had to leave Chloe at the base and hope she would stick around long enough to be rescued. It was one of the most difficult times of his life, he said.

"I got up extra early and just hung out with her for about two or three hours," he said. "It was a sad day because I was really worried that something was going to happen after I left. She definitely knew something was up. She put her head in my lap and just laid there with me. When I got in the truck, she just went right back to her spot and looked at me. It was hard."


Cousin helping out

American Airlines flew the 15 animals newly adopted by U.S. soldiers to the United States on Nov. 16, free of charge. Chloe was picked up in San Francisco by cousin Christmas Collins because Van Alstine, who is stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, does not get out of the service until December. His immediate plan is to travel the country with his dog.

He said he can't wait for the Thanksgiving reunion.

"I think it's going to be very emotional," he said. "She knows exactly what I went through. We can relate that way. Not everybody made it home in my mind until she makes it back home with me."

Complete picture gallery:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2011/11/24/MN401M0JGJ.DTL&object=



---

"Nothing is so sweet as to return from sea listen to the raindrops on the roof of home." ~ Ancient Greek poem

 
 

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