Friday, September 28, 2018

How the Farm Bill Could Keep You from Banning Roundup at Your Kid’s Playground

When Julie Taddeo moved to Takoma Park, Maryland, a progressive suburb outside of Washington D.C., and saw ubiquitous yellow flags marking the places where pesticide had recently been sprayed, she was surprised. “Everyone’s a treehugger here in, the Berkeley of the East,” she says. The warnings, which swarmed the lawns of homes and apartment buildings, playing fields, public parks, hospital grounds—and even school bus stops, seemed incongruous.

Concerned about her young daughter and the emerging science linking childhood pesticide exposure to pediatric cancer, asthma, and behavioral problems, Taddeo teamed up with a neighbor whose son suffered from asthma. The two began working with city council members to craft a law restricting the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns on public and private property.
Modeled on an Ontario law, Takoma Park’s Safe Grow Act passed in 2013, and it spurred an outpouring of interest across Montgomery County. “Moms started reaching out to us with their stories,” recalls Taddeo. “One said, ‘My son has a brain tumor and his doctor is convinced that this particular tumor was caused by over exposure to certain pesticides.’”
A group of residents founded Safe Grow Montgomery, an umbrella organization that quickly mushroomed to more than 40 environmental and health organizations, and worked to pass the 2015 Healthy Lawns Act, a county-wide version of Takoma Park’s law. It was the first such law in the nation to restrict pesticides for non-essential use at the county level. (Non-essential means exemptions are allowed for control of invasive pests or human health risks.)
But victory was short-lived. “When one town does it, it’s not a big deal,” says Taddeo. “But when a county tries to do it and you’re a million people, this is when the big guns come out and try to squash it.”

Support for Caregivers

Support for Caregivers
Caregivers play an important role in the health and well-being of Veterans. The Caregiver Support Program offers training, educational resources, and multiple tools to help you succeed. Please contact our Caregiver Support Line for advice on being a caregiver. 
Care for Caregivers
·        Caregiver Support Line
·        Peer Support Mentoring
·        Building Better Caregivers
·        Caring for Post-9/11 Veterans
·        Adult Day Health Care Centers
·        Home-Based Primary Care
·        Skilled Home Care
·        Homemaker & Home Health Aides
·        Alzheimer’s Disease
·        Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
·        Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
·        Parkinson’s Disease
·        Peer Support Mentoring
·        Caregiver Support Coordinator
·        Caregiver Support Line Monthly Calls
·        Caregiver Stories
·        Managing Medicines
·        Talking with Providers
·        Caring for Oneself
·        Plan Ahead for Disasters
·        Seriously Injured Post-9/11 Veterans
·        Understanding Diagnoses
·        Managing Demands, Stress & Emotions
·        Maintaining Relationships

Mary Ann Clark: The challenges of living with Parkinson’s disease

What do Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond and Alan Alda have in common? They are just a few of the celebrities diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease who increased awareness of this progressive, neurodegenerative brain disease for which there is no known cure.
In Parkinson’s disease (PD) there is a decrease in the amount of dopamine in the brain that helps regulate movement and emotional responses. The average age of diagnosis is 62.
Michael J. Fox was 29 and working on his movie, “Doc Hollywood,” in Micanopy in 1991 when he noticed a twitch in his little finger. It turned out to be the first sign of early-onset PD. Although he did not make his diagnosis public for several years, Fox went on in 2000 to establish the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has raised over $1 billion for research and programs to find a cure. He has provided inspiration and information for so many.
In January 2012 a neurologist uttered these life-changing words to me after conducting an exam, “Mary Ann, you have early stage, mild symptom Parkinson’s disease.” Although I had researched neurological symptoms such as toe curling, decreased dexterity in my hand and an arm that didn’t swing, my first fleeting thought was, “The best part of my life is over!” I was 62.
Quickly, I started to develop a more positive mindset. I was the same person I had been and had much about life to continue to enjoy. I had several close friends/colleagues who had received this diagnosis within a two-year period.
Parkinson’s is a boutique disease. There may be a range and variety of symptoms manifested as well as rate of progression. There is no one test or scan that can confirm a diagnosis, though usually an MRI of the brain is performed to rule out other possibilities.
No exact cause has been pinpointed. Genetic factors can play a role, but account for a small percentage of cases. Environmental factors such as where you live, and chemical exposure, may be part of the picture. Some research suggests links between PD and chemicals used in farming, factories or Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. But there is no one profile that proves causality.

Raymore mom battles with VA over crucial care for daughter with spina bifida

RAYMORE, Mo. -- Jocelyn Janes is living proof that Agent Orange, the chemical sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam, did more than expose American soldiers to harm. It also affected their children.
Janes, 34, is one of an estimated 8,000 children of Vietnam veterans born with spina bifida. Her father served there as a Marine.
“It was discovered that spina bifida was the most frequent birth defect among Vietnam veterans' (children),” said Donna Wallis, Jocelyn’s mom.
So many children were born with the defect that in 1966 Congress passed legislation guaranteeing those children health care for life through the Veterans Administration.
That law has been a lifesaver for Jocelyn, paying for dozens of surgeries and home health care -- until now.
For the last four months, Wallis has been fighting with the VA to pay for her daughter’s care, which is now needed around the clock.
 “They don't understand their own policies,” said Wallis, referring to the VA’s spina bifida claims office in Denver.
The VA’s own regulations states that 24/7 care is available for spina bifida patients who have a doctor’s authorization. Because Jocelyn has that, the VA promised she would receive the benefit.
“We started the paperwork very early in 2018,” Wallis said.
A home health company called BrightStar Care begin providing round-the-clock services for Jocelyn in May. But four months later, the VA hasn’t cut a single check to reimburse BrightStar for more than $100,000 in services.

New VA Chief Declares Agency is ‘Headed in the Right Direction’

Secretary Wilkie says he is still learning about the agency

“The state of VA is better— I didn’t say good or excellent,” Wilkie told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. 

Blue Water Navy Supporters Pressure Isakson, Target VA Secretary's Hardline

Every major veterans' group and most military associations have urged the Senate to move forward with a bill that would provide health care and compensation for veterans impacted by Agent Orange. The bill is being delayed due to the VA Secretary's opposition to extending VA health care and compensation to tens of thousands of former 'Blue Water' Sailors and Marines with Agent Orange-associated ailments.

RIP Jane Newton

By Hank Campbell — September 24, 2018
I am writing today about a woman you may never have heard of - but she was a hero of science, and I want to share her story.
Professor Mike Newton worked at Oregon State University for 58 years, published almost 400 papers, and was, in his words, a very healthy guinea pig after voluminous and nearly continuous exposure to compounds like Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, which the science community calls TCDD and activists simply call "dioxin" in their fundraising campaigns.
I got to know him(1) after we published a piece on continual dioxin hype in our Priorities magazine and he read it and wrote me a nice email about his studies on human skin absorption of 2,4,5-T and the half-life of 2,4,5-T acid in the body (23 hours, I learned). He told me he evaluated the concentration of TCDD in wildlife (Aplodontia rufa, the mountain beaver, and Odocoileus hemionis, the blacktailed deer) whose habitats were sprayed at operational rates used in forest weed control.  No symptoms from 2,4,5-T or TCDD were detected, he noted. All fine science, but that dioxin horse is not going back in the barn, statisticians beat scientists there.(2)
Then an email told me something really fascinating. In 1972, he was asked by the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the effects of herbicides in Vietnam. Most of you know now they were talking about Agent Orange (and White - Picloram/2,4-D). He was the field guy and created hundreds of sprayed plots at various rates including the 3 gallons per acre rate of the undiluted defoliants. With a backpack sprayer connected to a spray boom, he experimented in vegetable gardens, rice paddies, mangrove wetlands, forests, inland and coastal areas, you name it, anything that might have been exposed to the chemicals.
Then he wrote the report.
He literally wrote the book on Agent Orange, I realized.(3) Why didn't he lead with that? That is the nature of scientists, of course. Most are too humble.(4)
But he was passionate about one thing. His wife Jane. In our correspondence and phone conversation she came up numerous times.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Veterans and Parkinson’s disease - RESOURCES FOR VETERANS

Veterans may be at an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) because of their service. Evidence suggests that one cause of Parkinson’s disease may be exposure to pesticides or herbicides. During the Vietnam War, many veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, a mix of herbicides that was used by the US military to defoliate trees and remove concealment for the enemy. There are other causes of Parkinson’s disease as well, and most people who develop Parkinson’s disease were never exposed to high levels of pesticides or herbicides.

For more information, call the PADRECC/Consortium Hotline at 800-949-1001, x5769 or visit their website

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) established six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers or “PADRECCs”. Each PADRECC delivers state-of-the-art clinical care, conducts innovative research, and offers outreach and educational programs to all veterans currently enrolled in the VA Healthcare System. Eligible veterans include those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and those who have just started to notice PD-like symptoms.
PADRECCs also treat veterans diagnosed with other movement disorders, like essential tremor. PADRECCs are located in Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Philadelphia, PA; Richmond, VA; and San Francisco, CA.
For veterans who cannot travel to a PADRECC, the VA more than 51 Consortium Centers—VA clinics that offer specialized Parkinson’s disease and movement-disorder specialty care. These Centers are staffed by movement disorder specialists or clinicians with vast experience and interest in the field of movement disorders. These VA Consortium Centers work collaboratively with the six PADRECCs to ensure the highest level of care for all veterans.
Agent Orange
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during military service may be eligible for a free Agent Orange Health Registry Exam. Registry health examination, healthcare benefits, and disability compensation. Vietnam veterans with Parkinson’s disease or other diseases possibly associated with Agent Orange may claim benefits without having to prove that their conditions are due to Agent Orange exposure.

Former VA secretaries spar over ‘blue water’ Navy benefits

WASHINGTON — The fight over extending benefits to “blue water” veterans who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam is now pitting former Veterans Affairs secretaries against each other, adding to the confusion over Congress’ next steps.
Last week, four former VA secretaries — Anthony Principi, Jim Nicholson, James Peake and Bob McDonald — wrote to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee urging lawmakers not to grant presumptive illness status to roughly 90,000 blue water veterans who claim exposure to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, saying there is insufficient proof for their cases.
“(This legislation) is based on what we believe to be inconclusive evidence to verify that these crews experience exposure to Agent Orange while their vessels were underway,” the group wrote. “We urge the committee to defer action … until such a study is completed and scientific evidence is established to expand presumptions to those at sea.”
The recommendation is in line with arguments laid out by current VA Secretary Robert Wilkie earlier this month. Department officials have argued that granting the presumptive status to veterans could upend the system by establishing new, non-scientific criteria for awarding benefits.
But advocates for the Vietnam veterans have argued that scientific proof of exposure is impossible given that proper sampling was not done decades ago, as the ships patrolled the waters around the South China Sea.
They say rare cancers and other unusual illnesses clustering among the blue water veterans should be enough to spur action from Congress.
Earlier this year, members of the House agreed. They overwhelmingly passed legislation that would require VA officials to automatically assume those veterans were exposed to Agent Orange for benefits purposes, the same status granted to troops who served on the ground in Vietnam or on ships traveling upon inland rivers.
Under current department rules, the blue water veterans can receive medical care for their illnesses through VA but must prove toxic exposure while on duty to receive compensation for the ailments. Advocates have argued that VA officials are systematically denying those claims.
In a letters to Wilkie and the committee this week, John Wells — counsel to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association — blasted the department’s stance as unfair and inhumane.
“Whether (the opposition) is due to bureaucratic intransigence or incompetence I do not know,” he wrote. “The bottom line, however, is that they have misrepresented and ‘cherry picked’ evidence to support their flawed position. That is a stain on the national honor.”

Save the VA. Veterans' lives depend on it | Opinion

By Jersey Journal Guest Columnist
By Joseph Hirsch
In May of 1968 I was sent to Vietnam, where I translated intercepted communiques during the war. The horrors of war I witnessed changed me forever. Since I returned home, I have worked to end war and for social justice.
In Vietnam, I, like millions of Vietnamese and many other American soldiers, was exposed to Agent Orange.  Decades later, the VA linked that exposure to my diabetes.
Right now there is a push to get vets out of the VA system and into the private sector medical industry. But the private sector is not prepared to care for vets. Private sector doctors do not understand the unique medical needs of vets, including war trauma, battle induced hearing loss or toxin exposure such as Agent Orange.
A recent RAND study of New York doctors showed only 16 percent asked about occupational or military exposures such as Agent Orange. The same report found just 20 percent of doctors even asked their patients if they had spent time in the military.
While I may suffer from chronic diabetes because of Agent Orange, I am one of the luckier ones. Many people exposed to Agent Orange ended with Parkinson's disease, devastating cancers or they saw their children born with birth defects.

Monday, September 17, 2018


We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

September 22, 2018
Chillicothe, Ohio
Contact: Thomas Estes
740- 279-8717

September 29, 2018
Kalispell , Montana
Contact: Willa Burgess 406-857-3609           

October 13, 2018
Oxford, Michigan
Contact: Richard Lash

October 28,  2018
Fargo, North Dakota
Becky Bergman 701-200-7193
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402
Dan Stenvold 701-331-2104

Sucker-punched, blind-sided and betrayed

Vietnam War Navy veterans claim the new head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, stabbed them in the back by promising to meet with them and instead, fired off a letter trying to kill a bill that grants them Agent Orange benefits.
Wilkie sent a letter to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R)-Georgia claiming, "science does not support extending Agent Orange benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans."
"When I met with Secretary Wilkie at his confirmation hearing, he promised me a meeting on this subject," said John Wells, Executive Director of Military Veterans Advocacy, Inc. 
Instead of a face-to-face, John Wells accuses Robert Wilke of betrayal. 
Wilkie sent the letter to Isakson, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, which is now considering the legislation. 
The letter claims the bill will cost more than anticipated and create a bigger claims backlog.
According to John Wells, Wilkie is distorting the facts.
"He's come out with inaccurate and inflammatory material designed to convince Senate Chairman Johnny Isakson to not move this bill forward," Wells said.
For years, the VA opposed extending benefits to veterans who served on ships in the harbors, bays and territorial waters of Vietnam.
In June, the house unanimously passed the bill granting them benefits long denied.
Blue Water Navy veterans contend Agent Orange seeped from rivers and streams into harbors, bays and territorial waters.
Ships unknowingly pulled in contaminated water, desalinating it for drinking, bathing and cooking.

Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is a program that was created for disability and non-disability military retirees with combat-related disabilities.  It is a tax free entitlement that you will be paid each month along with any retired pay you may already be receiving.
To qualify for CRSC you must:
                be entitled to and/or receiving military retired pay
                be rated at least 10 percent  by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA)
                waive your VA pay from your retired pay
                file a CRSC application with your Branch of Service
Disabilities that may be considered combat related include injuries incurred as a direct result of:
                Armed Conflict
                Hazardous Duty
                An Instrumentality of War
                Simulated War
Retroactive Payment:
In addition to monthly CRSC payments, you may be eligible for a retroactive payment.  DFAS will audit your account to determine whether or not you are due retroactive payment. An audit of your account requires researching pay information from both DFAS and VA.
If you are due any money from DFAS, you will receive it within 30-60 days of receipt of your first CRSC monthly payment. If DFAS finds that you are also due a retroactive payment from the VA, we will forward an audit to the VA. They are responsible for paying any money they may owe you.

Burn Pit act passes in House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban burn pits on military bases. It's a bill that local Congressman, Dr. Raul Ruiz, also a co-sponsor, has been advocating for a year and a half.
The 'Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act' would create burn pit resource centers for veterans. It renames the "airborne hazards centers of excellence" and adds $5 million in additional funding for burn pit study and research.
Burn pits have been used on military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to burn all waste on the base. Such items would include plastics, aerosol cans, electronic equipment, human waste, metal containers, tires, and batteries. Many service members have complained about health issues including cancer, neurological and reproductive problems, and trouble breathing.
The bill passed with 377 voting yes and 20 no.
A little over a year ago, in an I-Team investigation, John White brought you the story of Jennifer Kepner, a Cathedral City resident who served in the Air Force in Iraq. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and blamed her cancer on exposure to burn pits. Kepner was an advocate for awareness and putting a stop to the use of burn pits.

Mohawk Tannery talks continue

NASHUA – Potentially radioactive barium, as well as carcinogenic dioxin and arsenic, found at the former Mohawk Tannery led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to classify it a Superfund site.
At least one real estate developer, Bernie Plante, believes he can successfully contain the toxic sludge and construct new apartments and condominiums at the site, which is located along the Nashua River.
Meanwhile, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess is hoping to gain as much public input as possible regarding how the city and its partners should address the tannery property. Thursday at Amherst Street Elementary School, he met with several residents regarding the ongoing efforts to remediate the property.
“I’ve always said we want to hear from the neighborhood as to how they think we should proceed,” Mayor Donchess said. “People have lived with the tannery for a long, long time. Everybody knows that there’s been various committees and the like from the neighborhood that have examined the site over time.”
The property was home to a facility that tanned hides for leather from 1924 to 1984. The EPA hosted two previous public meetings in the city earlier this year on July 25 and August 29, during which officials recommended treating and capping the contaminated soil on site. This method would not result in contractors actually removing the contaminants from the site.
The EPA wants to partner with Plante to turn the site into a 40-acre development, while Plante has said his company would put forth the funds for the majority of the cleanup.

Veterans betrayed again by their government

Susie Belanger of Gansevoort, a tireless fighter for Vietnam veterans denied benefits by the U.S. government, was shocked and frustrated.
After a decade of work, the veterans had in June won a rousing victory in Congress — a 382-0 vote for legislation that would restore benefits to “blue water” Navy veterans of Vietnam. Now all they needed was approval in the Senate, and a majority of senators had pledged support.
But then on Sept. 6, the new secretary of Veterans Affairs — Robert Wilkie, a man who had said he was on their side — turned his back on Belanger and the thousands of veterans she fights for. In a letter, Wilkie brought up arguments that Belanger has been countering for years — arguments about the science behind the legislation and the cost of it — and he sent that letter to Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Now the legislation could stall in committee. Isakson might seek a new study, even though studies have been done and redone. The process could drag out to the end of another Congress at the end of this year, and Belanger and her compatriots could be forced to start over.
“I am shocked,” Belanger said of Wilkie’s turnaround. “After listening to him speak at the confirmation hearing, I went up to shake his hand.”
She recalled the support blue water veterans had gotten from the previous Veterans Affairs secretary, David Shulkin.
“Shulkin was totally behind us. He’s a doctor. He knows what the science says,” she said.
Belanger is a positive person who intimidates the powerful with relentless cheerfulness and a sly sense of humor. But she sounded deflated over Wilkie’s letter.
“It’s such a long haul. I saw that and I wanted to …” her voice trailed off. “I did cry,” she said.
Belanger has been working all these years by the side of John Wells, a retired Navy commander who is the director of Military Veterans Advocacy, which works for veterans’ rights through litigation, advocacy, training and education.

Settlement In Lawsuit Over Cancer-Causing Dioxin Runoff From PG&E Utility Poles

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An eight-year-old lawsuit filed against PG&E Co. for alleged releases of dioxin from stored utility poles into San Francisco Bay and Humboldt Bay has been settled, according to the environmental group that filed the lawsuit.
The Ecological Rights Foundation, based in Garberville (Humboldt County), alleged in its 2010 lawsuit that dioxin, a chemical that causes cancer and birth defects, was carried by storm water runoff from treated wooden utility poles, sawdust and wood waste into the two bays.
The settlement was signed by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco on Friday and announced by the foundation on Monday.
Under the agreement, which will remain in effect through 2026, PG&E will identify storage yards containing treated poles and will test and implement technologies for reducing dioxin runoff to levels that pose lower risk to human health and wildlife.
The technologies could include storage improvements, such as covering poles or keeping them indoors; improvements in storm water treatment; and possibly the use of different materials, such as cement or steel, for utility poles, according to foundation attorney Fredric Evenson.
Evenson said, “Dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals known to science.

Many farmers ignorant of herbicide dangers as calls for banning glyphosate intensify

Monsanto, a global agro-giant acquired by German company Bayer for about $63 billion in June this year, is soiled in a renew call globally for the ban of the glyphosate, a major ingredient in its Roundupweed-killer.
This started few weeks ago when a landmark US court ruling in San Francisco  awarded $289 million to a man they declared got cancer from Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
According to Reuters, “Monsanto faces 8,000 lawsuits’ over its product glyphosate (Roundup weedkiller) adding that the company could face difficult years ahead.
Radio France International (rfi) has quoted the French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot saying that the verdict marked “the beginning of a war” noting that banning glyphosate within the next three years is one of its “clear engagements.”
The government of Vietnam is renewing call for Monsanto to pay damages to over one million victims of Monsanto and Dow Chemical, which produced the deadly herbicide Agent Orange for the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
Also, Brazil, one of the largest consumers of Monsanto herbicides is also having a running legal battle over the acceptability of glyphosate.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wheeler to shape massive cleanup linked to ex-clients

Hidden beneath the Passaic River and Newark Bay near New York City is a notorious toxic dump that EPA believes was polluted by more than 100 companies.
One of those polluters is bankrolling a yearslong study to implement the cleanup plan approved by the Obama EPA for the so-called Diamond Alkali Superfund site.
But two corporations with ties to acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler are strongly disputing their responsibilities for the nearly $1.4 billion effort, according to financial reports and lobbying disclosures.
Thanks to new powers granted to EPA chiefs by ex-Administrator Scott Pruitt, Superfund experts say Wheeler is now in a strong position to pressure polluters fighting about their shares of the cleanup costs to go easy on his former clients — meat-processing company Darling Ingredients Inc. and chemical maker Celanese Corp. Or he could potentially cut the overall price tag of the massive cleanup, which could benefit all of the companies' bottom lines but lessen protections for the millions of people who live around the Diamond Alkali site.
"If Andrew Wheeler represented clients who are expected to pick up part of the bill of the Passaic River cleanup, that's extremely problematic," said Judith Enck, who oversaw the Diamond Alkali site for seven years as the Obama administration's administrator of the EPA region that includes New York and New Jersey.
"Even if he is fair and objective, it's going to create an opportunity for the other companies that are on the hook for Passaic River pollution to question the EPA decisionmaking and slow down the process even further," she warned.
Any delay would leave more fish and crabs — as well as the animals and people who eat them — vulnerable to the dangers posed by dioxins, PCBs, DDT, mercury, lead and other harmful substances found in the poisoned waters.
Efforts to turn around the Diamond Alkali site have been protracted, even for a program infamous for its drawn-out cleanups.

Veteran demands action on Agent Orange

A United States veteran called for more testing to determine if toxic chemical Agent Orange was burnt at the Kindley Field Air Force Base, Bermuda.
Ronald Slater, from Washington, said outcry in the United States about the use of “burn pits” has given him hope that his claims will be investigated further.
Mr Slater, 75, said: “I’m asking for the sake of the people of Bermuda, particularly the people in St David’s who were exposed to and braved that smoke.
“The smoke was so black and thick I could barely find my way from the truck to the machinery. We are not talking about burning trees and landscaping debris.
“Someone needs to take the initiative and take a drill sample at least 20 feet, and they need to know where the pits actually were. I would be happy to put together a map.”
Mr Slater, a former US Air Force serviceman, first went public with his claims in 2007 that about 200 barrels of waste — including dangerous defoliant Agent Orange — were burnt on the Kindley Field Air Force Base and bulldozed into the sea between 1965 and 1967.
He has said the chemicals, together with the toxic smoke caused by the fires, caused him and fellow veterans serious medical problems.

City of Otsego anxiously waits for new water test results amid dioxin fears

OTSEGO, Mich. — Just one week after tests revealed the presence of dioxins in 16 private wells just outside of the city of Otsego, city officials are in the process of conducting new water tests looking for dioxins in the water supply.
Initial tests performed back in April indicated the city's water supply was in the clear in terms of dioxins, but shortly after more sophisticated tests showed the presence of dioxins in water wells just outside the city, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recommended new tests for the city's water supply.
"They [DEQ] said 'here's a standard dioxin drinking water test,'" recalled Otsego City Manager Aaron Mitchell, referring to the initial tests recommended by the DEQ. "I thought we were good because we tested and it came back negative...but then I was informed that it was for a different type of dioxin not tested for," he added, referring to the latest test results done on water outside the city.
According to the Allegan County Health Department, wells outside city limits tested positive for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran. A news release from the health department indicated those chemicals may have been created during paper manufacturing, once a main industry in and around Otsego.
Dioxins are chemical compounds that are widely known to be linked to disease and several cancers.Although much of West Michigan is rightfully concerned about the presence of PFAs in water supplies, environmental engineer Michael Pinto says there's plenty of evidence to suggest the presence of dioxins could prove to be even more damaging to humans.

Protesters want director at Bay Pines gone, not transferred

BAY PINES, Fla. (WFLA) - With her husband Lonnie's flag box in her arms, Sheila Kilpatrick joined a small group protesting the VA appointing Bay Pines Director Suzanne Klinker as a Regional Deputy Director for an area that extends from south Georgia to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"She doesn't deserve it, she needs to be fired," said Kilpatrick.
For several years, Bay Pines treated veteran Lonnie Kilpatrick.
"Lonnie was given terrible treatment here," explained Kilpatrick.
His severe back pain, VA doctors claimed was caused by osteoarthritis.
"We begged and begged to see oncologists and better doctors," stated Kilpatrick.
Rushed to a civilian hospital in agony, doctors in February discovered Lonnie Kilpatrick had stage 4 kidney cancer.
"I went from having osteoarthritis to having metastasized bone cancer all over my body," Lonnie Kilpatrick said in a February interview. "How the hell do you do that, you know?"
Lonnie Kilpatrick's health issues began in the 70s on Guam, where he was stationed during the Vietnam war and exposed to the toxic weed killer Agent Orange.
The VA initially denied him Agent Orange benefits.
As 8 On Your Side worked with Congressman Gus Bilirakis to secure those benefits, we also chronicled Lonnie's steady decline. 
His daughter Kassie recorded some of her father's last words about his struggle with the VA and his impending death.
"Make something out of it," he whispered. "Make it count."
"This place killed Lonnie Kilpatrick as far as I'm concerned," Marine veteran and protester Brian Moyer said, pointing at Bay Pines.