DNA Identifies 1641st Victim of 9/11 Terror Attack on World Trade Center

DNA testing has identified the 1,641st victim of the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center, according to Melissa Quinn at the Washington Examiner. The identity is being withheld out of respect for the family’s request for privacy.

On September 11, 2001, 2,753 were killed when terrorists flew airplanes into the Twin Towers and, 16 years later, there are still 1,112 who remain unidentified.

March 2015 was the last time a victim was identified. As new DNA testing methods are discovered, remains are tested again and again in hopes of bringing closure to families.

The Guardian further explained that the procedure included more sensitive DNA technology used by the medical examiner’s office, with some bone fragments tested over and over, sometimes almost a dozen times, hoping to produce an answer to the identity. Their methods and tenacity are amazing and encouraging, as explained in this expanded description of poring over the remains.

The sixteenth anniversary of the tragic 9/11 attacks is in four weeks, a time when the nation pauses to remember the loss of 3,000 innocent lives on American soil. Never forget.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

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Jenna Bush Hager to Keynote Fundraiser for Virginia Women’s Monument in RVA

Adèle Goodman Clark’s name is not well known but a monument honoring her as well as other groundbreaking women will be the recipient of a September fundraiser featuring Jenna Bush Hager as the keynote speaker.

Located in Capitol Square, the Virginia Women’s Monument, subtitled Voices from the Garden, is the first of its kind in the nation recognizing the full range of Virginia women’s achievements, from the first president of a bank, to the chief of the Pamunkeys, to women’s sufferage, to a 1700s newspaper publisher. The monument recognizes and honors their achievements.

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Stuarts Draft Company Adds Jobs for Augusta County

Stuarts Draft sits at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southern Augusta County, a flattened out plain that is an ancient river bed, that is divided by the South River that floods during heavy downpours. “Draft” probably refers to the winds whistling down the mountain slopes.

Its main claim to fame is mountain man John Colter, born in the vicinity sometime in the mid-1770s. When his family moved further west, his skills in the outdoors help him become a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and to explore western lands where he was the first white man to enter the Yellowstone and Grand Tetons areas.

This is the manufacturing center of Augusta County, long ago agreed on by supervisors as the area to locate factories like Target, Hershey, McKee Foods, and Hollister. They like its proximity to a ready work force as well as the east-west I-64 and north-south I-77.

And it is in that area that Virginia’s governor made the announcement Tuesday about new jobs.

Draftco, Inc, a machine and fabrication shop, settled there in 1965, as a fully equipped precision job shop with highly skilled craftsmen who have the capabilities to meet most any need involving conventional machine work, Computer Numerical Control machine work, welding and fabrication work, sheet metal fabrication, and machine and equipment building.

The announcement that the company will invest $450,000 to expand its manufacturing operation and create 16 new jobs was good news for the local economy.

Tracy Pyles (I-Pastures District), Chairman of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, noted that local jobs are always welcomed. “With a rich history vested in Augusta County, Draftco, Inc. has served as a leading machine and fabrication shop since the mid-1960s,” he said. “Having the chance to have home-grown jobs harvested by our eager and well-prepared young people brings a great since of pride to the County Board.”

“Draftco exemplifies a long-standing community business that provides skilled manufacturing jobs, good stable pay, and economic growth opportunities for our area,” said Senator Emmett Hanger (R-24th Senate District). He continued, “I am pleased the Commonwealth can assist with this expansion and insure the company’s vitality for another 50 years of business.”

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Joe Manchin Shows Backbone

In the world of politics, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has always been his own man. In today’s toxic political climate, he continues that path but his latest exchange showed he definitely belongs in the Backbone Club that consists of those not swayed by polls, bullied by fringe groups, or ruled by reelection fears.

Talking with the Charleston Gazette, Manchin was emphatic about standing up for what was important for West Virginians:

“I don’t give a s–t, you understand? I just don’t give a s–t,” he said. “Don’t care if I get elected, don’t care if I get defeated, how about that. If they think because I’m up for election, that I can be wrangled into voting for s–t that I don’t like and can’t explain, they’re all crazy.”

“I’m not scared of an election, let’s put it that way. Elections do not bother me or scare me. I’m going to continue to do the same thing I’ve always done, extremely independent.”

The Backbone Club is populated with other elected representatives who have taken a principled stand and not backed down: Sen. John McCain, Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. Ben Sasse, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Barbara Comstock, and Gov. John Kasich. There may be others who deserve to be added to this list.

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Tourism: Night Sky Festival and Eclipse at Shenandoah National Park

Celebrate the night sky in Shenandoah National Park by attending the Second Annual Night Sky Festival. Join in the fun Friday, August 18, through Monday, August 21, at various locations along Skyline Drive:

– Guest presentations by astronomy experts
– Ranger programs
– Constellation tours
– Solar scope viewing
– Telescope viewing
– Junior Ranger programs
– Audio-visual presentations
– Hands-on activities

The weekend will culminate on Monday, August 21, with the 2017 solar eclipse that will cross the continental United States, the first since 1979. While Shenandoah National Park will only experience 80-85% coverage of the sun at approximately 2:40 pm, and will not experience a total eclipse, it is still a great place to join a Ranger to learn about why a solar eclipse happens, what to expect, and how to view it safely. Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6) AND Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51)

Below are workshops and events available throughout the weekend:

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Failure to Repeal Obamacare Results in Lawsuit in Virginia Against RNC, RPV, Blackwell, Dunbar, Whitbeck

Claiming that the GOP “has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats,” Virginia Beach attorney Bob Heghmann, 70, has filed a lawsuit against the Republican National Committee, Republican Party of Virginia, National Committeeman Morton Blackwell, National Committeewoman Cynthia Dunbar, and RPV Chairman John Whitbeck.

The 24-page lawsuit (see copy here) is dated August 3.

It appears Mr. Heghmann is angry that the GOP was unable to overturn Obamacare and claims GOP representatives dangled the repeal as a means to fundraise while supposedly knowing a repeal and replace law would never be passed.

In the lawsuit it notes that “[t]his commitment to Repeal and Replace Obamacare was stated not only in campaign and fund raising literature but in the Republican Party Platform such as the one adopted at the Republican Party Convention in 2016 which clearly stated, “We agree with the four dissenting judges ofthe Supreme Court: “In our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.” It must be removed and replaced with an approach based on genuine competition, patient choice, excellent care, wellness, and timely access to treatment. To that end, a Republican president, on the first day in office, will use legitimate waiver authority under the law to halt its advance and then, with the unanimous support ofCongressional Republicans, will sign its repeal.” 2016 Republican Party Platform at p. 36.”

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UVa’s Bob Gibson to Moderate Lieutenant Governor Debate With Vogel, Fairfax

Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidates Jill Holtzman Vogel and Justin Fairfax are set to participate in a Lieutenant Governor debate on Wednesday, August 9, at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Bob Gibson of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service will moderate the debate that is sponsored by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia and PVCC. The event is open to the public, and will include questions submitted by the audience.

Republican Vogel, 46, and Democrat Fairfax, 38, won their respective party primaries in June. Vogel would be Virginia’s first woman to hold the position. Fairfax would be the second African American lieutenant governor, following Democrat Doug Wilder who won in 1986 and then went on to become Virginia’s first African American governor in 1990.  Both Vogel and Fairfax are attorneys.

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2 U.S. Soldiers Killed by Suicide Bomber in Afghanistan

Two American soldiers were killed Wednesday in a suicide attack on troops in Afghanistan. There was no word how many others may have been injured.

Time Magazine reported:

A suicide bombing attack on a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday left two American service members dead, a Pentagon spokesman said, despite repeated refusals by the U.S. military in Afghanistan to say whether there were any deaths in the assault claimed by the Taliban.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis confirmed the casualties in the attack near Kandahar city. The Pentagon’s decision to release the figures seemed to contradict orders issued two months ago by Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, barring information about U.S. combat deaths until days after the incident.

The Taliban, taking credit for the attack, said a small pickup truck packed with explosives was used to ram into the NATO caravan in Kandahar.

The Americans were part of the 8,700 American troops who continue to work with NATO in support of the Afghanistan security forces.

We pause in remembrance of those who were willing to sacrifice it all, and to their families, friends, and fellow soldiers who are left behind to mourn.

“Freedom is not free.”

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

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Virginia Sales Tax Holiday Is August 4-6

Virginia’s sales tax holiday will take place this weekend, August 4-6, an opportunity to save a little while buying qualified products for back to school, emergency preparedness, and energy saving products.

From the Sales Tax Holiday website:

What items are eligible?

  • School supplies, clothing, and footwear 

    • Qualified school supplies – $20 or less per item
    • Qualified clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item
  • Hurricane and emergency preparedness products  

    • Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
    • Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item
    • Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item
    • Other specified hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item
  • Energy Star™ and WaterSense™​ products 

    • Qualifying Energy Star™ or WaterSense™ products purchased for noncommercial home or personal use – $2,500 or less per item

The sales tax holiday ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Hatteras, Ocracoke Closed Until Further Notice

Hatteras and Ocracoke islands unexpectedly shut down for business Thursday after power went out to everyone at 4:30 a.m.

Construction on the Bonner Bridge appears to have been the cause when a steel casing was driven into the electrical cable.

I guess someone forgot to call Miss Utility.

Damage depends on whether the cable was merely “nicked,” or if it was severed, something the experts will determine over the next few days. Depending on the findings, repairs could take anywhere from a few days to weeks.

Not good for the Outer Banks in July, the height of summer vacation season. Scrolling through Facebook, I saw where folks I knew had been part of this week’s mandatory evacuation and had their vacations cut short by two or three days.

A family I know, good friends from the Valley, are supposed to head to their favorite spot on Hatteras Sunday for their annual family renewal on the sands of the Atlantic. Since their grown children are scattered from New York City down the East Coast and out in two western states, this week of play is a tradition that began while the kids were young. It continues as an opportunity to draw them from their current locations back to the familiar salt water and sea air for R&R and a family reunion all rolled into one on North Carolina’s sandy beaches.

But not this year.

And while it’s sad to think of all the eagerly anticipated vacations that are being disrupted, I was brought back to reality by a high school friend who works as a home health and hospice RN and lives on the unaffected northern end of the Outer Banks around Kill Devil Hills.

“My poor patients on Hatteras,” she wrote. “These are strong people and they will survive cause that is what they do. PS Vacationers can buy insurance and revisit.”

Indeed, there are thousands who make Hatteras and Ocracoke their permanent homes so, instead of a one-week inconvenience, they face an unknown amount of time without electricity in their day-to-day lives.

There are surely to be permanents who earn their livelihood from the tourism industry who are now unemployed because those restaurants, rental homes, hotels, fishing businesses are closed.

Some restaurants that fired up their generators found themselves ready to serve but missing customers who had been forced to leave.

But perhaps saddest of all are the permanent residents dealing with illness who have now found their lives further complicated.

Let’s hope that cable is merely nicked.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

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U.S. House Schedule for Friday, July 28, 2017

FRIDAY, JULY 28TH
On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Last votes expected: TBD.

One Minute Speeches

S. 114 – A bill to authorize appropriations for the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes, as amended (Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate) (Sponsored by Sen. Dean Heller / Veterans Affairs Committee)

H.R. 3180 – Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, as amended (Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate) (Sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes / Permanent Select Intelligence Committee)

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Gillespie, Northam Campaigns Regroup After Homestead Debate

Here we are again in a place we’ve been before as we find ourselves in a bellwether election, this time to test the nation’s temperament for the man in the White House. November’s results could give insight into the 2018 mid-term elections.

There are only two gubernatorial races in the country this year. Republicans are not expected to prevail in New Jersey so all eyes are on Virginia’s Governor race between 55-year-old Republican Ed Gillespie and 57-year-old Democrat Ralph Northam. That includes their respective political parties who are eager for a win.

Email boxes have been filled with the tiresome but obligatory chest-thumping emails as both sides point fingers at their opponent to expose their “big money” campaign contributions when, in reality, the money-dumping is happening on both sides.
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U.S. House Schedule for Thursday, July 27, 2017

From Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office….

THURSDAY, JULY 27TH
On Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

One Minute Speeches

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U.S. House Schedule for Wednesday, July 26, 2017

From Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office….

WEDNESDAY, JULY 26TH
On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

One Minute Speeches

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

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John McCain’s Emotional Remarks From Senate Floor, ‘Stop Listening to Radio, TV, Internet Loudmouths’

“Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.”

“Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the president’s subordinates. We are his equal.” -Senator John McCain, 7-25-2017

Senator John McCain returned to D.C. Tuesday after last week’s diagnosis for brain cancer and, with a healing surgical wound over his left eye, participated in a Senate vote to advance the debate to repeal and replace Obamacare.

After the vote passed, the Arizona Republican took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to address his fellow Senators in spirited remarks that were peppered with applause:

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