New Website Informs Ft. McClellan Veterans of Possible Toxic Exposure

 ========= Old Image Removed =========Array
(
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
        (
            [0] => 2015/05/Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014.jpg
        )

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:300;s:4:"file";s:54:"2015/05/Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014.jpg";s:5:"sizes";a:5:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:54:"Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014-336x168.jpg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:168;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:54:"Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014-140x140.jpg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:52:"Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014-80x80.jpg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:54:"Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014-470x235.jpg";s:5:"width";i:470;s:6:"height";i:235;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:54:"Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014-125x125.jpg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:0:"";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:0:"";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}
        )

    [_media_credit] => Array
        (
            [0] => Chris Pruitt
        )

    [_navis_media_credit_org] => Array
        (
            [0] => Wikimedia Commons
        )

    [_navis_media_can_distribute] => Array
        (
            [0] => 
        )

    [_imagify_optimization_level] => Array
        (
            [0] => 1
        )

    [_imagify_data] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:2:{s:5:"stats";a:3:{s:13:"original_size";i:129171;s:14:"optimized_size";i:89442;s:7:"percent";d:30.760000000000002;}s:5:"sizes";a:8:{s:4:"full";a:5:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:8:"file_url";s:82:"https://news.wbhm.org/media/2015/05/Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014.jpg";s:13:"original_size";i:68128;s:14:"optimized_size";i:44933;s:7:"percent";d:34.049999999999997;}s:9:"thumbnail";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:6:"medium";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:5:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:8:"file_url";s:90:"https://news.wbhm.org/media/2015/05/Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014-300x300.jpg";s:13:"original_size";i:26771;s:14:"optimized_size";i:19246;s:7:"percent";d:28.109999999999999;}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:5:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:8:"file_url";s:90:"https://news.wbhm.org/media/2015/05/Stanley_Barracks_Fort_McClellan_April_2014-470x235.jpg";s:13:"original_size";i:34272;s:14:"optimized_size";i:25263;s:7:"percent";d:26.289999999999999;}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}}}
        )

    [_imagify_status] => Array
        (
            [0] => success
        )

)
1626820365 
1432040869

For decades Anniston’s now closed Ft. McClellan was home to the Army Chemical School and housed substances including sarin gas and nerve agent. The company Monsanto also released toxic chemicals into the environment around the area.  Some veterans say exposure to these substances while at Ft. McClellan caused them an array of health problems and have called for compensation from the federal government.

Those activists can now claim a small victory.

Ft. McClellan veteran Sue Frasier has been working on this issue for 12 years.  Back in February she met with Veterans Affairs Department administrators and they asked what they could do to help.  She told them she wanted a way to notify veterans.

“One way to start that would be to have an official government webpage that spoke directly to this situation,” said Frasier.

As of April, they got their website.

“[It’s] just exactly what I had envisioned for and hoped for at the meeting,” said Frasier.

The website lists the chemicals service members may have been exposed to at Ft. McClellan, although it notes there’s no evidence they were exposed at a high enough level to cause health problems.  It also includes a link for veterans to file individual compensation claims.  The VA’s acting chief consultant for post-deployment health, Dr. Ralph Erickson, says they don’t do this in every case, but with Ft. McClellan it made sense.

“This would be a very effective way of reaching in a short period of time a rather large group of people and their families with good information,” said Erickson.

New York Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko believes the website is a good first step but more should be done.  He plans to reintroduce a bill mandating the VA create a registry of every veteran who served at Ft. McClellan from 1935 to its closure in 1999, potentially tens of thousands of people.  The department would reach out to veterans about the effects of the toxic exposure and offer health exams.

“If we can put this language into law, then we know that we have a response that will be predictable and full in scope,” said Tonko.

Sue Frasier’s activism spurred that proposed legislation but she says she no longer supports it.  She says negotiating directly with the VA is more fruitful.   While individual compensation claims are possible, Frasier wants the Ft. McClellan veterans to be treated as a group.  She’ll meet with Veterans Affairs leaders again this week.

 

The UAW’s union dreams seemed unstoppable. Then came the realities of the South

After a historic victory in Tennessee, the United Auto Workers southern campaign is still recovering from a big rejection in Alabama. How will it recover?

Exhibit shows the ‘real people’ around the Civil Rights Movement

The Temple Beth El Civil Rights Experience is a guided tour that allows visitors to explore the lives of Jewish people during the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit highlighted Jews who were passionate activists and Jews who didn’t do much for the cause.

Alabama executes man convicted of killing delivery driver during a 1998 robbery attempt

Keith Edmund Gavin was pronounced dead at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in southwest Alabama, authorities said. He was convicted of capital murder in the shooting death of courier service driver William Clayton Jr. in Cherokee County.

Thousands of Dollar General stores now sell fresh produce. Could it improve rural food access?

The discount store chain has added fresh fruits and vegetables at more than 5,400 stores. Grocery store advocates say the move could hurt mom-and-pop grocers.

2 shootings in Birmingham kill 7 people, including young child, Alabama police say

Four people died in a shooting at a Birmingham nightclub late Saturday, while an earlier shooting outside a home in the city killed three people, including a young child, authorities in Alabama said.

Shooting at Trump rally is being investigated as assassination attempt, AP sources say

Donald Trump appeared to be the target of an assassination attempt as he spoke during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, law enforcement officials said. The former president, his ear covered in blood from what he said was a gunshot, was quickly pulled away by Secret Service agents and his campaign said he was “fine.”

More Front Page Coverage