Tag Archives: Dangerous Environment

Our Heroes Should Be Focused On Job

.jpg photo of America, home of the Free and the Brave graphic
America, home of the Free and the Brave

Army Secretary apologizes to military
families living in dangerous housing
conditions

The Pentagon  –  Secretary of the Army Mark Esper on Friday apologized to thousands of families living in dangerous conditions in military housing, which has long been maintained not by the military but by private contractors.

Families like that of Jana Wanner, who testified before Congress Wednesday.

“Mold was growing out of the wall of our shower,” Wanner said.  “They told us, and this is a direct quote, let the mold just fall out.”

Other major problems:  lead in the water, asbestos, leaking ceilings, roaches, mice and rats.

“I am infuriated by what I’m hearing today,” said Sen. Martha McSally.  “This is disgusting.”

Esper said he wants to renegotiate contracts with property management companies to give tenants more power, including “a clear bill of rights for our families — for our soldiers and our families.”

“So they know what they can do what their rights are that they can bring to the chain of command if they feel that the contractors are not meeting their needs,” Esper said.

One change would hit those companies right where it hurts.

“If a family isn’t getting the service they want then I think they should have the ability to withhold their basic allowance for housing payments,” Esper said.

Sgt. Major of the Army Daniel Dailey worries contractors’ neglect could affect recruiting and mission success.  If soldiers are worried about how their family is surviving in the U.S. with mold and rats, how can they do their job overseas?

“We need our soldiers focused on doing their job fighting and winning our nation’s wars,” Dailey said.

Wanner, whose family lives at Fort Meade in Maryland, is encouraged by the new focus on military housing conditions but worries if it will last.

“I don’t want the steam to be lost and I want to keep moving forward and I want that change made and I want families to be heard,” Wanner said.

Just four years ago, the Pentagon investigated military family housing and found “pervasive health and safety hazards” — but the conditions continued to fester.  CBS News asked Esper if that might happen again, and he said no.  This time, he vowed, “we’re going to get it right.”

Military Families Testify About Housing Conditions

Military families testify about ‘slum-like’
conditions in some private housing facilities

Feb. 13, 2019 – 3:48 – Shepard Smith, Fox News

Survey:  Conditions at Private Military Housing Facilities are not unique to specific companies.

Some military families find mold, lead paint, rats and roaches in privatized base housing.

The Families testified that some private based housing done by contractors, is full of lead, mold, rats and roaches.

That’s according to a survey by a non-profit Family advisory network.

A Family in Maryland that participated in that survey say a rainstorm caused flooding and that exposed Lead paint that made them sick.

They reached out to the Housing Company, Corvias.

A spokesman said Providing housing for our armed service members is a privilege and Corvias is making change necessary to meet the “gold standard” level of service both we and our residents expect.

Military Families haven’t gotten gold level service.

Some Military Families are testifying about their experiences; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon.

MILITARY HOUSING SURVEY

More than half (55.53%) of respondents had a negative or very negative experience with privatized military housing.

Military Family Advisory Network

TX State And County “Posse” Roundup And Put Away Sex Trafficker

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General Office Logo
Texas Attorney General’s Office Logo

AG’s Office, Jefferson County DA Bob Wortham Obtain Conviction, 60-Year Prison Sentence in Sex Trafficking Case Involving Women and Underage Victims

AUSTIN, TX  –  As a result of a joint effort by his office and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a jury found Johnny Ray Matlock guilty on charges of continuous trafficking of persons, a first-degree felony.  Matlock waived his right to appeal and accepted a 60-year prison sentence, which is the equivalent of a life sentence in Texas.

 Attorney General Paxton’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, led by Deputy Criminal Chief Kirsta Melton, was invited by District Attorney Wortham to partner with his office on Jefferson County’s first human trafficking case.  Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Pipkin worked with Melton on the trial.

“This collaboration between my office and the district attorney’s office in Jefferson County is an outstanding example of how we’re fighting to ensure that justice is served upon those who commit the despicable crime of sex trafficking,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “I want to thank the prosecutors and law enforcement agents for their efforts on this investigation to put away a despicable human trafficker.”

Last March, a grand jury indicted Matlock, of Silsbee, on charges he used social media and apps to recruit two underage girls and two women, causing them to be victims of sex trafficking.  In court today, Matlock also agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of possession of a firearm.  A 10-year sentence for that will run concurrently with his sentence on human trafficking.

In July, a joint effort by the attorney general’s human trafficking unit, the Travis County District Attorney’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety culminated in a 40-year prison sentence for the trafficker of a 14-year-old girl.

Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority.  Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, which prosecutes human traffickers across the state.  In April, the section’s prosecution of Backpage.com resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas and its CEO, Carl Ferrer, pleading guilty to money laundering.  The attorney general’s office also assisted the U.S. Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website, which was considered the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Paxton unveiled a powerful training video to teach Texans how to spot and report suspected human trafficking activity. “Be the One in the Fight Against Human Trafficking” is available for viewing online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/human-trafficking

CHILD SAFETY IS A FULL TIME JOB

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Teach Children To Recognize Tricks.

Going To And From School More Safely

by NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN®

Millions of kids ride a bike, take the bus or walk to school every day.  Help get them to and from school more safely by following this checklist.

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Wait With Younger Children.

Review the four rules of personal safety with your children.  Remind them to:

  1. Check first with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
  2. Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
  3. Tell people “NO” if they try to touch you or hurt you.  It’s OK for you to stand up for yourself.
  4. Tell a trusted adult if anything makes you feel sad, scared or confused.

Walk the route to and from school with them pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they need help.  Tell them not to take shortcuts and to stay in well-lit areas.

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Take A Friend.

If your younger children take the bus, wait with them or make sure they’re supervised by someone you trust at the bus stop.

Teach your children to recognize the tricks someone may use to abduct them such as asking for help or offering them a ride.  Tell them to never approach a car without getting your permission first.

Encourage your children to kick, scream and make a scene if anyone tries to take them.

Instruct your children to get away as quickly as possible if someone is following them.  If they are being followed by someone in a car, teach them to walk in the opposite direction from the one in which the car is driving.

Be sure your children’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information.  Learn about their pick-up procedures so only those you’ve authorized can pick up your children.

Make sure your children know how to contact you in case of an emergency.

For more information about child safety, visit MissingKids.com

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
CyberTipline

KS Steps Up For Children In Hot Vehicles

.jpg photo of director of kidsandcars.org shows how to break glass and save child from hot vehicle
Amber Rollins, director of KidsAndCars.org, demonstrates how to safely break a window using a device, the Resqme emergency window breaker and seat belt cutter.

Kansas removes lawsuit fear for rescuers of
children, pets trapped in hot cars

Beginning Sunday, good Samaritans in Kansas won’t have to think about getting sued for busting out the window of a hot car to save a child or pet trapped inside.

A new state law underscores that lives are more important than property when it comes to hot cars.  Kansas joins 18 states — including Missouri — in giving rescuers legal immunity when they believe a person or a pet is in imminent danger.  Two additional states have laws protecting pets only.

Amber Rollins, director of the non-profit Kids and Cars, on Monday demonstrated how a simple device can in seconds shatter the window of a locked vehicle, making rescue possible.  Rollins used a disabled SUV at the 129 Auto Parts salvage lot in Spring Hill, Kansas.

A hand-held, spring-loaded device called “resqme” was the only tool she needed.  It must be used on a side window because windshields and rear windows are made to not shatter.  The device, which shoots a metal pin at the glass, should be applied to a corner of a side window.  Applying it to the center of the window will not work.

The tool “resqme” can be ordered from kidsandcars.org for $7.50.

Regular nail punches available at hardware stores can also be used.  In fact, Johnson County MedAct units each carry nail punches. A crowbar or stone or any other implement also can be used.

Some things to consider when busting out a window:

  • First check to see if the vehicle is locked. Obviously, if it is not the window does not need to be broken.
  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Use appropriate force against a side window furthest away from the child or animal inside as the glass can fly.
  • Get the victim to a cool place, remove clothing and apply water.
  • Stay until emergency responders arrive.

In addition to Kids and Cars, the Kansas law was championed by Safe Kids Kansas and the Humane Society Legislative Fund of Kansas.

Although Kids and Cars is not aware of any case in which a rescuer was later sued for causing property damage to a vehicle, Rollins pointed to a New Mexico hot-car death in which two witnesses told police they saw the victim in distress but did not act.

Rollins keeps two resqmes handy.  One is attached to the driver’s seat belt of her car so it will be immediately available to use in escaping if the vehicle becomes submerged in water.  The resqme also has a blade to cut the seat belt if necessary.

Rollins keeps her other resqme on her key ring in case she notices a vulnerable child or pet in a hot car.

“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult,” said Cherie Sage, state coordinator for Safe Kids Kansas.  “Their developing bodies are not as efficient at regulating their temperature.  When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees major organs begin to shut down.  And when that child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees that child can die.”

During Monday’s demonstration, the outside temperature was in the low 80s but the temperature inside the SUV was over 100 degrees.  The air inside a vehicle can jump that much in a matter of minutes, even if the windows are partially open, because the windshield has a greenhouse effect.

There have been 18 child deaths in hot cars in the United States so far this year, about par with the average of 37 a year.  But there are three other suspected cases this year awaiting autopsy results.

In most cases the parent did not know or simply forgot that their child was in the back seat.

Kids and Cars suggests that parents make a habit of putting their smart phones in the back seat so they will have to go there to retrieve them.  Another idea is to keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and move it to the front seat when a child is strapped in to serve as a visible reminder for the parent.