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Stand down, roadside clean-up and "forget me not" campaign all upcoming for area veterans

Comrade Citizens - First, my apologies for getting the phone # wrong last issue for people hoping to volunteer at the coming stand-down. The correct one is (208) 263-5419 and the person answering will probably be the lovely and talented Russ Fankell or you could simply swing by any monthly meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America (Chapter #890); they are held at Sandpoint’s VFW Hall (corner of Pine and Division) on the second Tuesday of every month at 6 pm.

This will be the first ever stand-down for Bonner County and it’s a chance to re-pay our local Veterans for their service in the form of surplus Army gear such as field jackets, combat boots, sleeping bags, free medical exams, employment info and much, much more. It’s scheduled for Saturday, July 12 all day long at the Bonner County Fairgrounds and we’ll need scores of volunteers to help unload the trucks the night before, set up the distribution site, pass out free items, and help straighten up afterwards. Even if you’re not a vet, please stop by and help and show your appreciation.

The semi-annual roadside clean-up by the members of the V.V.A. is set for Saturday, May 3 at 9 am (they’re sleeping in this year) and volunteers are asked to meet at milepost #24 outside of Dover that day (across from the gravel pit). Another firewood project work party has also been set for Saturday, May 31, also at 9 am, and volunteers are asked to meet at the Essex Road work site. This work party cuts firewood for distribution throughout the winter to the needy and disabled and is one of many such contributions made during the year by the members of the V.V.A.

I’d like to briefly thank those members of the community who’ve volunteered to drive the local DAV Van and its passengers to and from their appointments at Spokane’s VAMC. If you see the following citizens please take a moment to shake their hand and thank them for helping make Bonner County such a nice place to live in: Robert Able of Noxon; Lewis Beebe of Clark Fork; Gene Groseclose of Kootenai; Keith Nickisch of Sandpoint; Harvey Hallenbeck of Laclede; Don Carr of Priest River; and our newest driver, Mike Santino of Colburn. More Sugar to y’all! If you can help just one day a month, please call or stop by and see Don Carr at the Veterans Service Office in Ponderay and pick up an application.

Speaking of the van, if you’d like to see where much of your DAV contributions go to the new van will be parked at Wal-Mart again this Memorial Day (Monday, May 26) so c’mon and check it out! An early thank you goes out to our Memorial Day "Forget-Me-Not" Drive helpers who’ve already volunteered; Mayors Gretchen Hellar (Sandpoint) and Larry Keith (Hope) as well as TRJ’s Trish Gannon, Blue Sky Broadcasting’s David Broughton; KPND’s deejays Jonny Knight and Glenn LaFey and K-102’s Denck Walker.

I’m sure most of you know by now that the new VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic is up and running in Coeur d’Alene at 2177 Ironwood Center Drive and for information you can call either (208) 655-1700 or (208) 665-1701.

Be sure and mark your calendars for a Disabled Veterans Benefit Yard Sale the first weekend in May (weather permitting) at 619 Railroad Ave. in Dover. If you’d like to donate items please drop them off the Friday beforehand, call 265-9881 for info. This is not to be confused with the monster V.V.A. Rummage Sale coming up in August, though anything you donate that doesn’t sell at the DAV one will end up there!

Finally, I note that Tomas Young, a paralyzed Iraq War Veteran (subject of a new documentary "Body of War") has put together a collection of songs driving Iraq soldiers (much as the Animals "We Gotta’ Get Outta’ This Place" and the Doors "Strange Days" or "White Rabbit" drove my generation) and has gotten contributions from Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Roger Waters and more, a 30 track collection of songs and all proceeds of the album’s sales go to Iraq Veterans Against the War. Tomas enlisted the day after 9-11 but feels he’d been lied to, he never volunteered for Iraq, which he feels was (and is) an unnecessary, needless war. He says he hopes the songs "will light a fire in the belly and brain and get people involved in the process of change. I want my buddies to be brought home." Amen brother! Ask for the CD "Body of War" at your local record store.

‘til next time, smoke ‘em if ya’ got ‘em and All Homage to Xena!

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Jody Forest Jody Forest When he's not hidden behind the palatial gates of his Dover estate, Casa de Bozo, Jody is out using outdated and corny pickup lines on various gullible women.

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