News of the Force: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Page 2

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                                                 NEWS OF THE FORCE: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Page 2


U.S. Air Force
     A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber has dropped a record number of precision guided bombs on the Taliban over the past 24 hours in northern Afghanistan, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said. The bombing was part of a 96-hour air campaign that struck training facilities and sources of revenue like narcotics.
     The U.S. Air Force is looking to diversify its satellite constellations by buying smaller, cheaper spacecraft, part of a plan to better protect its space assets from Russian and Chinese interference, military officials say.
     The United States Air Force will continue with a light-attack development program that could eventually lead to a major aircraft purchase, but only one of two locally built Textron Aviation made the final cut.
     The MQ-9 Reapers the Air Force recently shifted to Afghanistan from an undisclosed location where they were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve were flown to Kandahar Airfield, rather than boxed up and shipped, marking a first for the U.S. Central Command.
     T
he U.S. Air Force is intermittently jamming its own GPS signals over southern Nevada and Utah this week and next, as part of a massive air-to-air combat training exercise, Red Flag 18-1, based out of Nellis Air Force Base.
     The Boeing Co. posted an image today of a Louisiana Air National Guard F-15C wearing a pair of conformal fuel tanks (CFTs). The tanks are part of a new initiative to give the F-15C fleet more gas and weapons carrying capability in order to execute what the Air National Guard calls future "persistent air operations."
     The 115th Fighter Wing, of the Wisconsin Air National Guard is conducting nighttime training. The training began on Monday and ends on Thursday.
     The Lower Bucks Composite Squadron 101 of the Civil Air Patrol's Pennsylvania Wing, recently underwent a change of command. Brent Teal, a captain in the Civil Air Patrol, officially took command today at the annual group conference in Philadelphia.
     California's Sun Valley Airport's EAA Chapter 1558 is offering free airplane rides for children ages 8 to 17 during its fifth annual Young Eagles event on Saturday at Sun Valley Airport. Katie Hamiel, 20, credits flight experience through the Young Eagles and the Civil Air Patrol as inspiration to earn her pilot's license.
     In Muskogee, Okla., the local Civil Air Patrol squadron has received a $101,000 grant from the City of Muskogee Foundation to pay for the renovation of its building.
     And Gary Smith, the justice of the peace for Baxter County, Ark.’s District 1, has announced his intention to run for re-election in 2018. Smith, a Republican, will be seeking his seventh term as justice of the peace. "As the county entered the recession of 2008, and Baxter County soon after experienced a reduction in revenue, it became very tempting to raise taxes or the millage - without a vote from the public - to make up for the deficit. I am extremely proud of my associates on the Quorum Court to resist this temptation and instead demand that the county live within our means," Smith said. "We have cut, saved and skimped for more than eight years, often at the expense of infrastructure upgrades, employee raises and additional county services," he added. "Now that revenues appear to be on the increase, we are finally in a position to slowly upgrade our vehicle fleet, perform needed renovations on aged county buildings and are attempting to pay county employees a more competitive salary." Smith served 22 years in the United States Marine Corps, being honorably discharged as a lieutenant colonel. He is a member of the Twin Lakes Gun Club, the Twin Lakes Marines, the Civil Air Patrol, the North Arkansas Retired Military Club, the North Arkansas Woodcarvers Club and the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. He is president of the Baxter County Republican Men’s Club and a member of the Baxter County Republican Committee. "My pledge, as from the beginning of my incumbency, is to spend tax dollars cautiously and only on items that are essential," Smith said. "I look forward to continuing to serve the fine folks of District 1." Smith lives in Lakeview with his wife, Sandy. The couple have been married for 40 years. Smith will be a candidate in the May 22 Republican primary. Filing for the May primaries opens on Feb. 22nd.

U.S. Coast Guard
      In Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard has offloaded nearly two tons of cocaine, worth more tha $46 million, that was seized in the Caribbean Sea over a two-day period.
     Since the North Coast commercial crab season opened last Saturday, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay, Calif., has conducted two search-and-rescue missions near the bay - including one where a crabber fell overboard and has yet to be found.
     Three boaters were rescued near the St. Helena Sound after their boat was disabled and began taking on water. U.S. Coast Guard Sector Charleston's Command Center received notification that a 41-foot vessel, My Gal Sal, was taking on water.
     The U.S. Coast Guard posted a list of vessels that are prohibited from entering the navigable waters of the U.S. or transferring cargo in the U.S., absent a specific determination from the U.S. Secretary of State or other limited provisional entry allowed by law.
     A maritime communications technology developed by General Dynamics' mission systems business has supported search-and-rescue missions of the U.S. Coast Guard since 2006. The service branch uses the company-built Rescue 21 Coastal system for command, control and direction-finding.
     The fishing vessels Dinah Jane and Nemesis, both out of New Bedford, Mass., sunk at their mooring in Homer's Warf on Monday. The Coast Guard is coordinating containment and cleanup efforts, and will be investigating the cause of the sinking.
     And local members of the U.S. Coast Guard Employee Support of Guard and Reserve will sail tomorrow on USCGC Mobile Bay. The one-day excursion will follow the ice-breaking track and include the Port of Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay, Wis., according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The parting shots
     A ruling in favor of a California baker who refused to design a wedding cake for a gay couple produced a potentially significant distinction that could impact future similar cases. Kern County Judge David Lampe ruled that the state could not force Cathy Miller, the owner of Tastries Bakery, to bake a cake that would go against her beliefs. "For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment," the judge said in the ruling. A key factor in the decision was that the cake being requested by the couple was a custom job that was not regularly sold by the bakery. The implication is that if the couple had requested a cake that was on display and routinely sold to other customers, it would be discriminatory to refuse to sell it to a gay couple on the basis of religious beliefs. Here’s more from the ruling: "A wedding cake is not just a wedding cake in Free Speech analysis. It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as centerpiece in the celebration of marriage. There could not be greater form of expressive conduct." The judge also noted that Miller recommended the couple go to a competitor to get their cake. "Furthermore, here the State minimizes the fact that Miller has provided for an alternative means for potential customers to receive the product they desire through the services of another talent. The fact that Rodriguez-Del Rios (the couple) feel they will suffer indignity from Miller’s choice is not sufficient to deny constitutional protection," the judge wrote. "Our bakery and our family feel very blessed that the judge ruled in our favor," Miller said. "Not to say that we want to be discriminatory, but we do need to stand up for our religious freedom and our freedom of speech." The couple that sued Miller has not released a statement yet, but their attorney claimed to not be surprised by the ruling. "This is only the beginning. It is just one battle in the war against discrimination," the couple’s attorney said.
     A Houston, Texas-area couple wants their vacation house returned to them. Jo and Lonnie Harrison said someone stole their entire home off their property in Madisonville, Texas. They bought the 10-acre property with a prefab home on site last year. It’s a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home with a green roof and wood siding. They visit the area to escape from the busy city. They last drove up to the property in early November. Lonnie Harrison returned Friday only to discover the end structure gone. "Nothing. Nothing that I wanted to see. I didn’t see the house," said Harrison. "All I saw were blocks and pipes sticking out. The whole house gone. Everything except the blocks."
     For a few days in January, Bouchaib Gadir, a senior professor of practice in the Tulane University School of Liberal Arts, served as an Arabic instructor to an entirely different student body - the cast of the popular TV series NCIS: New Orleans.
     The life of actress Diane Neal just got a little bit busier, and not because of a new role she's landed or a return to NCIS or Law & Order: SVU. Instead, she is running for a seat in Congress. In a new report via The Daily Freeman out of the area, Neal is running as an Independent for a seat in New York's 19th Congressional District.
     And Medical Marijuana, Inc., the first publicly traded cannabis company in the United States, today announced that its subsidiary HempMeds® garnered national news coverage with a feature story in the leading hemp industry publication Hemp Magazine.

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