The Curse of Static Elevators

 The Espier
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  Elevators are such a convenient service – when they’re working, which for Warner Hall on the Midtown Campus, seems to be a few hours each week before it runs out of steam and wears one of these many signs for the rest of the week. Ah, another fine Oddity of the University.

 This has happened not only once, but at least three or four times this past month, meaning that nearly every week of the month of October into November the elevator was broken at some point.

 What’s going on?

 My assumption is that the elevator is simply old and is in need of new parts and tender loving care, but it’s not getting the attention it needs. Poor thing.

 To be frank, it’s become quite an issue. Warner has only one elevator, and for people who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities, they need the elevator to be running. Once or twice a semester is forgivable, but this is a chronic issue. Why hasn’t the University come to grips with the problem then? Is there only one elevator technician who can’t seem to get around to fixing the elevator properly? I have more questions than I do answers, but I do know this is a recurring problem, not only in Warner Hall but across both campuses.

 In the past few years, Berkshire Hall’s elevator was not working nearly every other week.1d7358_ca84cad910dd404bad40ac8896ff5226

 The elevator in Grasso Hall likes to hold people captive a few times a week and then work the rest of the time, although it did break once or twice.

 I’m fairly certain the second elevator in White Hall hasn’t been working for some time, near the wheelchair ramp on the third floor.

 And let’s not forget the glass elevator in the middle of the Haas Library that was broken for nearly two months from September to October of this year.

 Why are elevators such an issue at this University?

 I set out initially to document the trials of the Warner Hall elevator, but soon came to realize that this was a much larger issue, and one that seems to have been ongoing for some time. But why?

 I’ll pay attention to any more static elevators, but in the meantime, let me know what you think of this problem. Should this be something the University should pay closer attention to?

 Keep your eyes open.

Stamford man scales White House fence on Thanksgiving with suicide mission

Jordan A. Sprogis
Editor-in-Chief

Photo courtesy of Victoria Pena / Hartford Courant

As the Obama family was celebrating Thanksgiving, a Stamford man scaled the White House fence on Thanksgiving Day while wearing an American flag as a cape, prompting a lockdown.  

Secret Service spokesperson Robert Hoback said in an email on Friday that Joseph Caputo, 22, was charged with unlawful entry, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. He did not enter a plea during his appearance in District of Columbia Superior Court on Friday afternoon.  

The judge released him to the custody of the Secret Service for the sake of an emergency psychological evaluation, says the Associated Press.  

Caputo jumped the north fence around 2:45 p.m. on Thursday and landed with his hands up in the air while carrying a binder, according to witnesses.  

Witness Victoria Peña was visiting Washington, D.C. when she saw Caputo take off his sweatshirt and wrap an American flag around his body. She remembered him saying, “All right, let’s do this,” before running.  

“Then he just ran through us, jumped over the first barricade and went over the fence,” Peña told the Hartford Courant. “Right when he landed, he threw his arms in the air and went to his knees.”  

After jumping the fence, Caputo waited for the Secret Service to arrive, who then took him into custody. He reportedly told them, “I love my country” and “I knew I would be locked up.” 

Caputo’s mother provided the Secret Service with her son’s “last will and testament” that he had written and played an audio message where he says that something will happen and she may not see him again, according to the Associated Press.  

Josh Bleggi, a family friend of the Caputos, said that he wasn’t sure what drove his friend to jump the fence.  

“I feel Joe did have a message he wanted to give to the American public and his jumping the fence was to get their attention,” Bleggi told the Courant. “I don’t know what his message actually was.”  

Caputo is expected to appear in federal court on Monday. 

Heroin addiction doesn’t start with heroin

Emilia Dabrowski
Staff Writer

Today, too many families and communities are being touched by the silent epidemic of heroin-related overdoses, as many originate from a prescription for an opioid medication.

In Connecticut alone, there were over 300 heroin-related deaths in 2014, according to the state medical examiner’s records.

“Heroin is derived from morphine. At first, one feels euphoria or they feel almost numb, but it all fades away very quickly. That is when they realize the more they need to feel that same high,” says Mariel McDonnell, a pharmacist at CVS in Danbury.

Now, it is popular among users to mix heroin with other potent drugs, like fentanyl.

From 2002 to 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, cited the Center for Disease Control.

In order to stop emergency room visits due to drug overdoses, like with heroin, police departments and EMT programs are considering training their officers and students to use Narcan, an opiate antidote. Many EMTs now carry overdose kits with them as well.

“We are not trained, but there is training in small portions at this time,” says Lieutenant Vencluaskas of the Torrington Police Department.

A big part of the heroin epidemic stems from prescription (opioid) painkillers. They are usually used for moderate to severe pain after a surgery or injury, or to manage pain with cancer or at end of life. They are also prescribed for back pain and osteoarthritis.

However, it only takes one prescription to become dependent on a drug.

People are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin if they abuse opioid painkillers, concluded a study done by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health between 2011 to 2013.

In the last three decades, there has been a shift on how doctors (in the United States) treat pain. In the late 1980s, physicians wanted to treat pain more effectively, and with this they began to prescribe opioids more generously.

“In other countries, physicians usually give patients ibuprofen at the most. In the United States, most likely a physician will prescribe Percocet or something stronger,” says McDonnell.

In 2010, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult every four hours for one month according to cdc.gov.

Today, the United States consumes more than half of the world’s opioid supply.

With the rising costs of prescription drugs, people are turning to heroin because it is cheaper and can have similar effects to opioid pain medications like Oxycontin and Vicodin. It is being used to manage pain without much cost.

Today, heroin can run as low as $5 a bag, which is cheaper than prescription drugs, marijuana, cigarettes, and a six-pack of beer.

“There are some pharmacies that sell syringes without a prescription. I am against it because I feel like I could be possibly contributing to someone’s drug addiction,” says Julie Touch, a pharmacy technician at CVS.

Opioid painkillers are helpful for many, but can also prove to be the exact opposite by helping start drug addiction.

Nowadays, where heroin is more accessible than alcohol and is present in suburban and rural communities, it does not require a lot of effort to at the least have access to it. To conclude, it only takes one prescription for an opioid painkiller to open the door to illicit drugs like heroin.

Why it is important to look good, even in college

Emilia Dabrowski
Staff Writer

Unless you go to an art or fashion based school, you are most likely in a school where many students do not make the effort to look nice for class.

url.jpgI’m not trying to be overly critical, but in reality, you are making an impression of yourself to your professors every day you walk into class as a student or even as a future employee. Professors naturally admire students who are not only dedicated to his or her studies, but also present him or herself well. They are not trying to be judgmental; it is human nature-looks are a first impression.

 To add on to that, in college there are days where you might go to a job fair, make a presentation in class, or an interview for a job after graduation. These all require you to look your best, and employable.

 Looking good also means feeling good. Everyone has his or her own personal style and what he or she likes and dislikes, however, dressing your part can also give you confidence in the classroom, increase your productivity, a boost in self-esteem, and even attention without asking for it.

 Now, with how much fashion has evolved that everyday styles are more mainstream than suits and evening gowns, you do not even have to even sacrifice comfort to look good, because now you can look good and comfortable. This means dressing up nice is not only defined by wearing something fancy; it could simply mean wearing clothes that flatter you and your body, and/or something that represents you.

 I understand that all us have bad days, go through rough patches in life, and/or go through serious issues. But, maybe we should treat college like it’s a dream job, and regardless of what you are going through, you still have to present yourself well everyday to customers, students, patients, or clients.

There is not one way or one style that everyone has to follow to “look good”.  It could plainly mean putting in an extra few minutes in the morning (or afternoon) before heading off to class.

Addressing the “what about the vets?” argument

Jordan A. Sprogis
Editor-in-Chief

 


Before last week, nobody seemed to care about the homeless veterans and I can’t help but wonder what caused the sudden change of heart.

Now, there are exceptions – I can’t generalize, it wouldn’t be fair. But a lot of people who say “what about the vets?” seem to be hopping on a political bandwagon, have never mentioned a single thing about homeless vets before Obama’s announcement, and/or don’t do anything to help, yet expect other people to.
Helping refugees has an established process while veteran homelessness is a complex issue. Saying that we can’t help one unless we help the other is ignorant and illogical because the US isn’t taking in refugees because they’re homeless – we’re taking them in because people are trying to murder them.
The worst part about making this argument is that it can be applied to any other government-funded agency. Why are we funding the postal service if there are still homeless vets? I mean, homelessness is more important than receiving your copy of the newspaper on your doorstep every morning, right? Shall we boycott USPS now? 
Okay, you say, but why are there still so many homeless vets?MXLLSMaster Sergeant Joseph Kuhn USMC Retired, photo courtesy of Joe Kuhn
 
There isn’t a simple answer.
I decided to speak with Master Sergeant Joseph Kuhn USMC Retired, who served for 22 years from 1978 to 2000. Joe, who also happens to be my (step) uncle, has worked with veterans as part of community outreach programs and is familiar with the difficult transitioning period after returning home.
 
After speaking with him, it looks like there’s a common theme: veterans have difficulty reaching out for help and finding the right resources.
Possibility #1: The VA isn’t all that great
The US Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for administering programs of benefits for veterans, their families and survivors, but many vets don’t agree with how it’s run.
(Seriously, go check out how many politicial cartoons there are about the VA.)
SMXLL

On April 30, 2014, 40 US Armed Forces veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Health Administration facilities. A few months later, an internal VA audit found that more than 120,000 veterans were left waiting or never got care. Schedulers were pressured to use unofficial lists to make waiting times seem less lengthy.
Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff reported “significant and chronic system failures” and a “corrosive culture” inside the Veterans Health Administration.
Then, in February 2015, CBS News found thousands of vets’ benefit claims discarded.
The VA hasn’t exactly had the best reputation and they don’t seem to be redeeming themselves too well. Joe spoke firsthand about his own experiences with the agency.  
When he returned home in 2000, he had two discs removed in his cervical spine and two artificial discs were put in place. At this point, the doctors said his disability rate was at 60%. In 2006, he filed some paperwork to the VA to schedule a second surgery since the first one didn’t heal correctly. had to get a second surgery in 2006 because the first one didn’t heal correctly. The VA said they had to re-evaluate him for his disability.
MLXLSA recent picture of Joe as he awaits for his fourth surgery in January 2016 They rated him at around 50% this time — lower than before, so he appealed the decision. The VA just sent him back to the same doctors. During this time, Joe’s back was in excruciating pain and he could barely lift his arms.
18 months later, Joe eventually was bumped up to a disability rating of 80% and received the pay he deserved.
“It’s another overblown government agency that lost sight of what their mission is and what they’re supposed to be doing,” Joe says. “It’s a pain, but it’s worth going through. You have to take advantage of the benefits you have.”
Possibility #2: PTSD stops people from reaching out for help
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can occur after a traumatic event where one thinks that their life or others’ lives are in danger. During the event, the person may not feel that they have control over what is happening. Much of it has to do with the fear of their safety being compromised. 
“[My friend] did two tours overseas, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan before he got out. He’s gone through three jobs, he’s got four kids, but he refused to get help,” Joe says. “He kept losing his jobs because of PTSD, depression and anxiety. He was afraid that there was going to be a stigma attached to it.”
According to Veterans and PTSD, there common problems associated with PTSD are drinking and substance abuse, feeling shame and hopelessness, employment difficulties, and relationship adjustment problems. Untreated PTSD could lead to increased drug use, suicide, or potential homelessness. 
Possibility #3: There is no pay after discharge unless you were injured
Unless you were injured in some way during your deployment, you do not receive any sort of pay after you come home. The only source of income after is disability pay.SXLLM
You have to be at least 10% injured to receive disability, according to the Veterans Benefits Association.
 
If you are 10% injured and single without children or dependents, you can receive up to $133.17 per month. The disability money is meant to help cover extra living costs, such as making homes more accessible for people with wheelchairs.
“Get rated for any injuries or anything you suffered. Even if you get rated a zero, if it gets worse a few years later, you can get re-rated and start getting paid disability,” Joe advises.
Possibility #4: The transition back to civilian life is difficult
“Being in the military is a different world,” Joe explains. “There are no gray areas. Everything is cut and dry – rules and regulations are put in place so you know exactly what you can and cannot do. In a way, it’s helpful.”
Possibility #5: Many become victims of alcohol and/or substance abuse
According to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, 70% of veterans have substance abuse problems. Substance abuse may be a result of PTSD as aforementioned. 
Possibility #6: There aren’t as many homeless vets as you may think
The NCHV admits that it’s hard to measure how many homeless vets there are in the US, and even though they can estimate that there are about 50,000 are homeless people every night, it is possible that some may be using the veteran title to gain more sympathy from passersby.
SLXLM
Possibility #7: Important legislature gets denied
 
Here, I just compiled some denied bills that didn’t even make it out of the House and Senate. These would have benefitted homeless veterans directly. I can only hope that they will be reintroduced soon.
– February 2014: Legislation that would have expanded federal healthcare and education programs for veterans got blocked, claiming that the $24 billion bill would exceed the budget.
– September 2012: The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 that would have spent $1 billion over five years to put veterans to work tending to federal lands and in the nation’s police and fire departments.
– September 2012: VA announced that at least one senator was holding up a bill which would provide a cost of living adjustment (COLA) on benefits for disabled veterans and the spouses and children of deceased veterans.
– February 2011: Blocked funding on 10,000 new housing vouchers for homeless veterans this fiscal year. Congress has passed this every year since 2008.
– June 2009: Wounded Veteran Job Security Act got blocked, which would have provided job security for veterans who are receiving medical treatment for injuries suffered while fighting in defense of the US, also prohibiting employers from terminating employees who miss work to receive treatment.
– July 2009: Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act would have increased the amount paid by the VA to disabled veterans for the necessary home structural improvements. For example, if a veteran lost the use of his legs during combat, the US would pay for the wheelchair ramp so that he can live at home. The cost of this bill would have been $20 million, estimated to be about 25 cents per family of four.
Solutions
“I worked with the Wounded Warriors for about three years, and I’ll tell you – they were well-adjusted because they did seek attention,” Joe says. “People who get out and aren’t going home aren’t reaching out.”
The biggest problem is that people aren’t reaching out and taking advantage of their benefits, or have dealt with programs that aren’t very helpful.SLXLM
However, there are non-governmental agencies, organizations and programs that are designed to help. Veterans Inc. is the largest provider and only emergency, drug- and alcohol-free shelter for veterans and families in New England with more than 250 beds. They offer housing, counseling, employment services, job training, family programs, transportation, food services, and childcare services.
“If you get out and can’t find a job, go to school,” Joe says, referring to the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
The bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits, generally payable for 15 years following one’s release from active duty. Monthly housing allowance and annual books and supplies stipend may also be included. This way, you could get your Bachelor’s degree in whatever you want and take time to save money and find a career. 
Thank you, Willy Wonka! SLXLM

If you want to help the homeless veterans, then volunteer and spread awareness about the programs that aim to help. Maybe reach out to a veteran or deployed person you know and make sure they’re doing OK. Especially educate yourself on whom you’re voting for, because politicians have a lot to say about available programs. 
Last week, we didn’t want to take in Syrian refugees because Syrians = ISIS, even though we’ve had thousands of refugees in the US (but people conveniently don’t address that). This week, it’s about helping our own, though I could swear that a week ago, people didn’t preach about the homeless as often as they are now.
It seems that people are reaching for any excuse they can think of because they are afraid to admit that there is no real reason. 
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Democratic Debate: Bernie Sanders

 

Shiny S. Patel
General Sections Editor

Bernie Sanders’ initial opening remark of the Democratic Debate on Nov. 14 was patriotic and heroic in talking about the need to eradicate the world of ISIS, but he immediately moved to talk about the economy, which is undoubtedly his strong suit. One of the first topics that was discussed was how the invasion of Iraq was one of the worst blunders in American history. That was not the first time that he said that, but I completely agree with that statement. Then going on to the number of refugees, he said that America should do its job in taking them in but there was uncertainty regarding the quantity.

After the first break, the topic shifted towards domestic policy, and Sanders was asked specifically about how he intends on covering the expansion of social security and free college, as well as social programs. With a shock, he immediately shot right to the wealthy and big business. He was not too certain of how he would do it yet, which concerned me. Because though I agree that the wealthy need to give back to our society, I think without a plan, it will be harder to convince those same wealthy people to be on board. As far as minimum wage is concerned, he wants to raise it to $15/ hour within the next few years.

The next issue was Wall Street. Sanders attacked Clinton’s plan and said that it was simply not good enough. He did not like that she took campaign contributions from Wall Street and that would lead to her being too nice to them.
He insisted on breaking up the big banks. I think that is crucial so that the banks do not continue having a large monopoly.
I appreciate Sanders as a candidate and it’s partly because he is blunt about the problems that the media chooses to cover. He was not afraid to talk about how Clinton’s emails are unnecessary and how he does not care about them. He went on to elaborate how the media needs to cover topics that concern the problems that the middle class face. I wholeheartedly agree because society needs to care about the people at large rather than speculation that is less relevant to the people of America.
Afterwards, they talked about free college, which I am extremely passionate about. He supports free public college and believes that it is a great investment for our country and I think that is a noble and fundamental belief. Education is the bane of our existence and the stem to our future. Education should be readily available and more people should be allowed to access it. Education, as well as healthcare is a basic human right. I think single-payer healthcare is a phenomenal idea because people are allowed to live and not have to struggle with sickness just because of their socio-economic position.
To close, he brought up the issues of inequality, campaign finance, childhood poverty, paid family and medical leave, and how they all call for a political revolution. This term, “political revolution,” has been used frequently during the time Sanders has been running for president and I think this calling is actually working.  I think that for the next debate, he should have a plan with specifics about how he wants to tax the rich and keep talking about the role of youth on society. In comparison to the last debate, I think he did just as well. When you speak so boldly and preach about social injustice in American society, it is hard to not have a positive reaction.

WCSU Nursing Student receives Scholarship recognizing Military Service | Robert Taylor

Senior Airman Kathleen Cass, a nursing student at Western Connecticut State University, has received a scholarship from the Exchange Club of Danbury in recognition of her service with the U.S. Air Force on active duty in Alaska, Texas and Ohio.

 Cass, a Seymour resident currently in her second year of studies at WCSU, received the scholarship award at the Exchange Club of Danbury Veterans Day dinner on Nov. 12.

 The $2,000 grant for the 2015-16 academic year honors a full-time WCSU student who is a current member or veteran of the U.S. armed forces and maintains a grade point average of 2.5 or higher.

Cass expressed gratitude to the Exchange Club for her recognition, and noted that her goal upon completion of her WCSU education is to return to Air Force duty as a commissioned second lieutenant. In the essay on “true patriotism” submitted with her scholarship application, she observed that service to the nation can take many forms to achieve the common goal of caring for neighbors and lifting up the community.

 “That sense drove me to nursing school,” she observed. “Nursing is an opportunity to continue my mission in patriotism, finding a niche to help my neighbors. One day I hope to go back to active duty as a commissioned nurse, but today I can help locally, from blood drives to hospitals. No matter where I am ‘stationed,’ I continue to serve because true patriotism is part of who I am.”

 Cass’s longest assignment during her active duty was with the Pacific Command deployment section in Alaska, where she worked 12-hour shifts for the largest food and facility program in the Air Force. “There were many long days,” she wrote in her essay. “Yet what makes a true patriot is knowing your work matters, enjoying the long days just for the fact that you are protecting the people you love.”

 Cass observed that her military training has provided a solid foundation for entering the nursing profession. “The military gave me a lot of responsibility at a young age, making just about everything else I face in life seem much easier,” she said.

 For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

WCSU Receives Grant To Reduce Sexual Assault, Dating Violence

 

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In an effort to educate bystanders more, the Avon Foundation for Women recently gave Western Connecticut State University a $10,000 grant.

 The grant was given through Avon’s “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” initiative. It will be used to fund WCSU’s Bystander Intervention initiatives, specifically the “Where Do You Stand?” campaign and training to reduce stalking, dating abuse, and sexual assault.

 WCSU, in alliance with the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, will teach participants how bystander intervention theory works. Participants will also learn different strategies for healthy intervention.

 This is the first time that WCSU has received funding through the Avon Foundation. Since 1955, it has grown to become the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy to focus on women’s issues. Avon has contributed over $1 billion in over 50 countries to try to reduce domestic and gender violence, as well as funding breast cancer research and advancing access to quality care.

 WCSU is one of 25 colleges that the Avon Foundation has given grants to. $250,000 has been awarded total for preventative education programs centered on dating abuse and violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Healthy relationships are promoted in the program, and local resources are made available for anyone who needs them.

 The grant also supports educator training, materials and support sessions about healthy relationships.

“We believe that all students should have the skills necessary to intervene in problematic situations and create a culture on campus of engagement, activism, and responsibility,” said Ann Rodwell-Lawton, program manager of education and outreach, The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury.

 For more information on “Where Do You Stand?”, contact Sharon Guck at gucks@wcsu.edu or Rayna Havelock from the Women’s Center at havalockr@wcsu.edu, rayna.h@wcogd.org.

Home of the Scared: Let’s not do to the Syrians what we did to the Jews

Jordan A. Sprogis
Editor-in-Chief

 

I’m starting to wonder whether people forgot that the photos they shared of the families who drowned in the Mediterranean were Syrians, or if they’ve just become rather xenophobic since then.

After Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that Connecticut would continue allowing Syrian refugees into the state, the decision sparked a statewide argument over whether or not it was the right thing to do. Since the Paris attacks, many worry that terrorists will sneak into the US among the refugees.

 “You want to let refugees in this state and endanger my kids? I don’t think so,” says Gary Pellini from Stamford of Malloy. 

 Instead of being concerned about the 142 US school shootings that have occurred since Sandy Hook in 2012, you’re worried about refugees escaping war…

 The Economist says that more than 750,000 refugees have been resettled in America since 9/11, and not one has been arrested on domestic terrorism charges.

“I don’t see other countries taking in the Syrian refugees,” says Mary Johnson* on a CT community page. “Why does the US have to?”

 More than 2.1 million Syrians registered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) are in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. The UK government also promises to accept up to 1,000 refugees by Christmas. 

 Similar questions were asked leading up to World War II. Two polls from 1938 and 1939 have resurfaced, reflecting the American people’s thoughts on taking in refugees – and it seems that we’ve always been sticklers.

 
In 1938, Americans were asked what they thought about the US taking in German and Austrian refugees. 67.4 percent of voters said, “We should try to keep them out.”

 In 1939, Americans were asked whether or not the government should permit 10,000 Jewish refugees (mostly children) into the US. 61 percent of voters said, “No.”

 About 40 years later, the Refugee Act of 1980 was founded. And according to the act, it is our duty to take in the vulnerable. It recognizes that the US must respond to the urgent needs of people subject to persecution in their homelands and to provide assistance, asylum, and resettlement opportunities.

 Earlier this month, Donald Trump said that letting Syrians into the US could easily result as “one of the great Trojan horses” because the US is “the worst when it comes to paperwork.”

 If Trump says this, that must mean that we can’t trust our government to screen properly, right?

Don’t worry, Don: the screening process to become a refugee is a long and detailed one. Applications typically take 12 to 18 months, but take longer for Syrians due to security concerns:

  1. Potential refugees have to apply for asylum through UNHCR. The organization decides who is considered a refugee based on the Refugee Convention of 1951.
  2. If the refugee meets the conditions, then the applicant may be referred for resettlement in a third country, such as the US.
  3. If they are referred to the US, the application is processed by a federally funded resettlement support center, which gathers information about the candidate to prepare for a screening process, including an interview and a medical evaluation, aimed to ensure that the refugee does not pose a threat to the US.
  4. A second interview from the Department of Homeland Security is used for Iraqi and Syrian refugees.
  5. A security screening is run by several security agencies such as the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the FBI.
  6. Once the process is completed at least 12-18 months later, the individual is placed with a resettlement agency in the US. The agency will help with language and finding employment.  

 
Someone asked me, “Well, are you letting any refugees into your home?”

 No, because you do not have to take Syrians into your home. You can if you want to, but that’s what resettlement organizations are for. 

 The State Department works with non-profit placement agencies and local communities to find new homes for refugees. First and foremost, they try to place them with friends and family, but if they do not have any, then they will be placed randomly across the US.



“Randomly placed” sounds pretty vague, so the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration have provided a 35-page directory listing all of the refugee centers in the US, complete with locations, phone numbers, and names of organizations.

 Malloy is taking a lot of criticism for sticking to the Refugee Act, but by doing so without being pushed, it shows that he understands it is not only our legal duty but also our moral duty to help people who are in dire situations.

 “Let’s let the government continue to vet the refugees,” says Tracie Bell Nixon of New Milford. “They have a good success record. Let’s welcome our neighbors.”

 Last time we didn’t, a guy named Adolf Hitler committed a mass genocide.

 * Name was changed to keep anonymity. 

 

Germantown Volunteer Fire Department hosts its first open house

20151108_130001Sunlight danced on the bright red trucks as a cordial young man, decked out in his Class A uniform, welcomed children and their families to the Germantown Volunteer Fire Department’s first open house since 1912. The firehouse opened its doors on Nov. 8 to invite community members to take a tour of the firehouse and firetrucks, meet the volunteers, eat, socialize and take home souvenirs.

justin DotyJustin Doty, 20, became a volunteer because he wanted to help out in the community as much as possible. He said the department provides an education that he would never learn anywhere else. Doty is training to be a firemedic, and volunteering teaches valuable skills in the fields of technology and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Danbury consists of seven paid and 12 volunteer fire departments. According to a report from the NewsTimes, the infrastructure is in need of an estimated $63 million makeover. The report recommends setting up an entity for collecting funds to aggressively seek possible grants.

Fire Chief Anthony Rongetti said the department is always looking for volunteers so he decided to go out on a limb, and plan an open house to earn trust and establish a relationship with the community.

The team holds at least four donation drives each year. The next drive will start after Thanksgiving. Community members are invited stop by the department, buy a Christmas tree, and see what the department is doing for the community.

According to Assistant Chief John Cole, anybody who wants to volunteer can stop by the firehouse on Mondays at 7 p.m., see what they do, and fill out an application for a $5 fee. On the first Thursday of every month, applicants come in and decide what services they want to provide. The team then votes to accept or deny the applicant. Beers stated that he’s never seen a person get denied.

“We work together like a family,” said First Lieutenant Mike Beers, “Nobody is better than anybody else… There is a chain of command, but we’re all good friends.”