On Memorial Day Weekend, Americans honor those who served when duty called and gave their lives for this country. We gather across the nation to pay our respects to our fallen heroes and mourn the loss of those brave soldiers who fought in defense of liberty. Equally important is remembering and honoring the veterans who are with us today, as well as praying for safe return of the young men and women of our Armed Forces currently in harm's way.
Nevada is home to approximately 300,000 veterans, about 16 percent of our population. More than 84,000 of our state's veterans live in Nevada's Second Congressional District. Congress should remember our country's promises made to this nation's veterans, and do everything we can to fulfill them.
One of the most pressing issues for veterans in Nevada is the cost of travel to VA Medical Centers for treatment of injuries suffered during their service. Many veterans throughout the United States are traveling more than an hour and over great distances in poor health in order to receive primary health care.
Because I am extremely concerned about the costs to our veterans who must travel long distances for medical care, I authored H.R. 5737, the Veterans Travel Tax Relief Act. This legislation would allow a veteran who lives more than 25 miles from the nearest VA Medical Center to receive up to $400 in tax deductions that will help compensate for travel expenses when receiving treatment for their service-connected disability.
Many veterans living in Nevada fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and the Global War on Terror, and they are suffering from medical conditions that make traveling any distance extremely difficult and expensive. Current law only reimburses veterans a mere 28 cents per mile to cover only fuel costs. My bill would allow our veterans to take tax deductions for fuel, food, lodging and ambulance service.
Additionally, I also co-authored the HEALTHY Vets Act (H.R. 315) to allow veterans in areas significantly far enough from the nearest VA medical facility to contract with a local doctor on a fee basis. Veterans could instead receive primary care in their own community.
I continue to work in Reno for a new veterans' home to supply 90 beds for nursing and assisted living. This joint effort by the state and federal governments will provide services for 80,000 veterans in the area.
As Congress conducts its business this year, I will continue fighting for veterans' benefits and supporting our men and women in uniform, whether they bravely served in World War II or are in Afghanistan or Iraq. From the Middle East to Fallon Naval Air Station and Nellis Air Force Base, our troops are doing an excellent job protecting Americans from new threats and saving lives. There is no better to way to honor those who have given their lives for our country than to fulfill our country's promises to our troops, their families, and our nation's veterans.
Congressman Dean Heller
The community needs you to be a safe driver
For years my students and I have worked on driving awareness projects for the Carson City community. We have made videos, held community fairs for the entire community, posted yard signs saying "Slow Down, Our Kids Matter" and various other projects to raise the awareness. Yet I consistently read in the letters to the editor how rude the driving habits in the community are getting.
In the fall I was riding my bicycle to work and at least twice saw cars go through a red light on Highway 50 at Saliman. There were students in the crosswalk and these cars didn't think twice.
What will it take to raise the awareness to a point that people become more aware? Recently I was northbound on Edmonds - waiting for traffic to clear so that I could turn left onto Colorado - in my rearview mirror I saw a car coming fast up on me, with a few cars behind him. That's the last thing that I remember. He hit me with pretty much full force (estimated at about 40 mph.!)
His car went into the ditch, my car ended up on Colorado. Not one single car pulled over to see if we were OK. There were skid marks from at least two other vehicles. They just left the scene without any regard for the guy in the ditch or the guy who got hit so hard.
I suffered a traumatic brain injury and soft tissue damage. My car was totaled. The accident was seven weeks ago and I've still not been able to go back to work. The brain injury has affected my speech, my memory, my ability to concentrate and multitask, as well as some physical pain and difficulties. That's a busy road and yet not one single car pulled over to see if we were OK or to be a witness.
Seriously, it's not the Indy 500 out there people. Slow down, stop and take care with your community because, trust me, one accident can turn your whole life upside-down.
A different view on Congressman Heller's accomplishments
It's Sunday afternoon and it is a wonderful and sunny day outside yet I sit indoors penning a response to Mary Moline. Why bother? For starters just perhaps one more letter written in response to blind idolatry could be the turning point to enlightenment. Let's hope. How easy it is for parties to point fingers at one another. I am not about to play that game, I will ask readers to simply put two and two together to form an intelligent conclusion. Basically said, there is not much difference in political candidates for I have come to believe that they will say and do anything to get elected and once in office will hit the go button on their own agendas.
Two letters are published back to back and 180 degrees apart in opinion. Which letter is more indicative of factual comment? Let the readers decide. I for one have established my opinions long ago regarding who should and could be the better governor for this state and it was not Mr. Gibbons, who has under marital discord, moved out of the Governor's Mansion. It would be insensitive to comment further but even his wife cannot stand him. On to the wondrous leader of country who takes the time during his last White House Correspondence Dinner to poke fun at all the presidential candidates. Too bad he did not include himself as his reign of folly is hilarious or, better stated, pathetic, with one disastrous decision after another. On this note let me ask the reader how my $300 "Stimulus Check" will turn the economy around. I think I am going to frame mine as a daily reminder of how inept one administration can be.
With respect to Dean Heller versus Jill Derby, which one will make the better candidate? For starters I know which had not been. I have loved reading the recent letters addressing Congressman Heller's concepts on fiscal responsibility.
The nerve of writer Moline to advise "Jill Derby get a clue!" So you love how Congressman Heller has guided and helped you to reaffirm your Nevada roots and conservative ideals. Isn't that just special? Your comment about imported drugs from China really had me tugging at my gut in laughter. Please inform me and others as to what positives Heller had brought to this state? He is nothing more than a Bush puppet.
OK Big Box shopper, please tell me how many consumer goods you can purchase that are not made in China or other foreign countries? To revere Congressman Heller puts me in suspect of your intellectual acumen.
In closing, I am shocked to read that you consider Heller to be "rock star" material and "presidential timber." What rock star? Like those you see and read about on American Idol? And by timber, I would assume deadwood?
Why don't Americans learn second languages?
Last October we were riding on a train from Bucharest, Romania, to Arad, Romania. In our train compartment was a very nice couple from Wales. We talked for the whole trip and I told him that during our trip to Europe we found very few people who could not speak English and how nice that was for us.
I then said to our new friends from Wales that it was so sad that most Americans cannot speak another language. And he said, "Most people from the UK and the U.S. are too lazy to learn another language." I had never thought about it that way. We want everyone to learn English but WE don't want to learn another language.
Are we too lazy, too ignorant or just too arrogant?
Governor, first lady untrue to their own words
The recent actions of Nevada Gov. Jim and First Lady Dawn Gibbons seem outright deceitful in light of their past claims.
In 2006, when Dawn Gibbons ran for the Congressional seat being vacated by Jim Gibbons, who was running for governor, she was asked how she could carry out the duties of a first lady should both win their races. As I recall, she stated she was certain she could easily balance Congressional duties with those of the first lady. Now she insists that she must reside in the Governor's Mansion (or at least on its premises) to effectively carry out her duties as first lady.
Jim and Dawn Gibbons agree that Reno is their permanent address(es), and therefore their divorce case should be heard in Washoe County. This backs my long-held suspicion that the governorship of Nevada is just another entry in Jim Gibbons' résumé. But I don't understand why Dawn refuses to back up her assertion that home means Reno by living there.
Incidentally, thousands of people commute between Carson City and Reno - as well as various communities that are more than 30 minutes away - each day. They are able to balance their work and home lives effectively. Why can't Dawn? The governor can, which is, in turn, an amazing change of heart for a man who insisted on a secret swearing-in ceremony on the basis that the state's security might be compromised.
Jim and Dawn claim they deserve respect and privacy in their divorce proceedings. Maybe they would get some if they would stop putting their personal ambitions - and enmities - ahead of the dignity of Nevada and its constituents.