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Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

The Mini-Cassia Veterans Service Office will hold a Suicide Awareness Expo in September. It’s the first of its kind in the area, according to veterans service officer Chuck Driscoll.

The link between veterans and suicide is well-known by now, but the numbers are still shocking. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said in its June National Suicide Data Report that 20 veterans die by suicide per day, and that rate is increasing faster for veterans who have not recently used VA health care.

This is a problem that, despite increased awareness, is not improving. Solving the issue will likely require an overhaul in the way we talk about and treat mental health. The first step in changing attitudes and legislation is bringing awareness to the problem, and considering the stagnant suicide rate among veterans, there is apparently still more awareness that needs to be spread.

Kudos to the Mini-Cassia Veterans Service Office for highlighting this urgent problem.

Jeer

Longtime Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, died last weekend. But until Monday afternoon, visitors to the Idaho statehouse wouldn’t have concluded that the state and the country were in mourning.

That’s because, for almost three full days, the statehouse flag remained at full-staff. The reason? Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter was waiting for a directive for President Trump, who was finally pressured into lowering the White House flag to half-staff Monday afternoon.

Honoring a legislator in death is not about political or personal grievances. It’s about respecting the sacrifices that person made for the betterment of the country. And regardless of your opinion on McCain’s politics, you would be hard-pressed to find a legislator more dedicated to serving his country. Oh, and McCain won 61.5 percent of Idaho votes in the 2008 presidential election, more than Trump won in 2016. It’s not like Idahoans don’t recognize McCain’s service.

Still, Otter felt McCain’s death did not warrant respect at Idaho’s Capitol building, at least not without first checking with the boss man. Despite all of Otter’s lip service toward state’s rights, Idaho apparently still takes its marching orders from Washington D.C., even on something as obscene as refusing to honor a war hero and a public servant. That’s politics at its worst.

Cheer

Cassia Regional Hospital’s volunteers and employees will host Mini-Cassia’s first Sleep in Heavenly Peace build day in late September.

Volunteers will gather Sept. 29 to build 20 beds for kids in Mini-Cassia. The Twin Falls-based nonprofit has 100 chapters in 36 states, and grew rapidly after appearing on a Facebook series hosted by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame.

Scott Butler, president of Twin Falls’ Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter and a paramedic at Cassia Regional Hospital, summed up why volunteers feel compelled to pitch in: “A lot of people don’t think about the need that’s out there. But once you know about it, it’s hard to turn your back on it.”

This is a wonderful program to help out kids in need, and volunteers can help out with physical service or by donating money for materials.

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