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2013 Run for your Lungs 5K



Caption This


Military Crisis Line saves lives BY TERRI MOON CRONK


When someone is in crisis and feeling despondent, reaching out for help is a stronger step to take than doing nothing, which can lead to a worsening state, a Military Crisis Line responder told American Forces Press Service Sept. 10. Tricia Lucchesi of Canandaigua, N.Y., said she encourages service members, families, veterans and friends to feel comfortable calling the crisis line. She said people contact the crisis line to discuss a variety of issues, from feeling suicidal, depressed or anxious to feeling pressure from finances or relationships, among a wealth of other concerns. “I want to encourage people to reach out, day or night, any day of the year,” Lucchesi said. “Our veterans and service members that do the best are the ones who make those calls.” To reach skilled responders who are knowledgeable of military culture, dial 1-800-273-8255 and press No. 1. The crisis line also is available by cellphone text by dialing 838255, or through online chat at Lucchesi said callers can expect a live person and not an electronic menu to answer their calls. People can call the crisis line to speak with trained professionals about their problem safely, anonymously and confidentially, “which is really important,” Lucchesi said. “We stay on the phone for as long as it takes,” she added. “We’ll do whatever we need to do to get that person the help that he needs,” she added. Callers receive a follow-up call from a suicide prevention coordinator the next

day, or another professional who’s linked into the crisis line team. A “compassionate callback,” follows about 10 days afterward, Lucchesi said, to make sure the callers connected with the services they needed, and so responders can make sure callers are feeling better. While some service members hesitate to seek help because they fear it will negatively impact their military career, Lucchesi advises them to make the call to the crisis line before matters worsen. “Military people do worry about [career impact], but if they’re getting to the point where they’re so much in crisis, they need to call us,” she said. “It becomes imperative for us to get them help, [and] if they don’t call, their military career could be at risk.” The Military Crisis Line, also known as the Veterans Crisis Line at the same phone and text numbers, is a joint effort between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments. It provides worldwide services for active duty troops, veterans, family members and concerned friends of those in crisis, Lucchesi said. “Suicide has become such a prominent issue, the [departments] are working closely together to create a system to assist our members without them having to worry about their careers or confidentiality,” she said. As the nation observes Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, Lucchesi said, she wants people to know they will find a welcoming environment of helpful responders who will stay on the phone with a caller until a “safety plan” is in place. A safety plan varies by individual, she explained, but can typically involve callers committing to seeking suggested help and various resources, and taking other actions such as

see CRISIS LINE, page 7

JBA Buzz

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 | VOL. 2 NO. 35

DOGGIE DIVE-IN MAKES A SPLASH The Allentown Splash, Tennis and Fitness Park held its first Doggie Dive-In event for Fort Washington residents Sept. 6. Although the outdoor facilities were closed for the summer, local residents were invited to take a dip with their dogs before sanitizing the pool for the season. The ASTFP also provided donated doggie treats and drinking water for the furry, four-legged friends.

see DIVE-IN, page 8


A Temple Hills resident takes a dip with her dog, Nickle.

A four-legged guest dives into the pool in pursuit of a tennis ball thrown by her owner.

89th Airlift Wing Prince George’s County welcomes new commander Fair a 172-year tradition BY MAJ. JOEL HARPER

Since 1842, Prince George’s County residents and visitors have enjoyed the annual County Fair. Times have changed, and our county has grown, but the week after Labor Day is still known for the simple pleasures


The home of Air Force One has a new commander. Colonel David L. Almand took command of the 89th Airlift Wing from Col. Mike Minihan in a ceremony Sept. 6 at Joint Base Andrews. “Thank you for placing this sacred trust upon me. This is the greatest day of my Air Force career, and it is a privilege for us to join the SAM Fox family,” said Almand. Both former and new commanders agreed that the wing’s successes are made possible by its most valuable resource--its people. “You are the best and brightest Mobility Airmen in the world,” said Almand. “This ceremony today allows us to celebrate the awesome responsibility that we have. We will ensure the standard of perfection prevails.” Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew, commander of 18th Air Force, presided over the ceremony and presented Minihan the Legion of Merit, awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct. Minihan moves to Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam, Hawaii, where he will serve as deputy director of operations. “Thank you to the members of the 89th Airlift Wing. It’s simply humbling to watch you in action. You will always occupy the position of honor and have my eternal respect and gratitude,” said Minihan.

of thrill rides, live music, agricultural and 4-H competitions, baby contests, carnival games and once-a-year comfort foods at the fairgrounds in Upper Marlboro, Md.

see FAIR, page 3


Col. David L. Almand, right, assumes command of the 89th Airlift Wing from Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew at the 89th Airlift Wing Change of Command on Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 6, 2013. McDew, the commander of the 18th Air Force presided of the ceremony.

Almand, a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, comes to the 89th after serving as the commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. A command pilot with more than 4,100 flight hours, Almand has flown the C-141B, C-17A and KC-135R aircraft in support of multiple operations in Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The 89th Airlift Wing is responsible for worldwide special air mission airlift, logistics, aerial port and communications support for the President, Vice President, cabinet members, combatant commanders and other senior military and elected leaders as tasked by the White House, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Air Mobility Command.


A family is all smiles at the annual Prince George’s County Fair in Upper Marlboro Sept. 7.

Civilians must create eOPF account to access records BY GLORIA KWIZERA


Air Force Personnel Center officials are reminding Air Force civilian employees that they need to create their Office of Personnel Management electronic Official Personnel Folder account in order to access their personnel records. The OPM eOPF application, which replaced the Air Force Civilian Electronic

OPF, is a secure, electronic personnel folder which contains civilian personnel documents, such as notifications of personnel actions for federal appointment, awards, promotions, and the recent furlough notice. It also includes documentation of benefits elections, such as Thrift Savings Plan contributions, life insurance, and health benefits. “This is an important tool in managing your career and ensuring your records

are correct,” said Chuck Zedek, eOPF program manager. “We highly urge employees to set up their new eOPF accounts and view their records sooner than later, because if there are delays or issues we can get them resolved now rather than at the last moment when an individual needs to have the information.” This self-service tool enables employees to electronically view and print OPF documents, and to update emer-

gency data. Civilian employees will be prompted to change their password every 60 days. For guidance on how to create an eOPF account, visit the myPers website at For additional assistance, contact the OPM eOPF help desk at 866-275-8518 or email eopf_hd@ Employees with questions concerning specific personnel actions or documents should contact their servicing personnel representative.


Andrews Gazette


Around Town September 13

Desert Storm Veterans Association Golf Tournament Meadows Farms Golf Course, 4300 Flat Run Road, Locust Grove, Va. 9 a.m. Enjoy golf, lunch and drinks while you support the VII Corps DSVA Scholarship fund. For information contact

September 13 - 14

Defenders’ Day Celebration Maryland Historical Society and Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md. Events all day at each location on both days See a recreation of the 30 x 42 ft. flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write about our Star-Spangled Banner, living history encampments featuring military drills, cooking demonstrations, musket and cannon firing, dress parade, fife and drum music and a children’s program featuring authors and local historians. Enjoy a patriotic concert including the 1812 Overture, complete with cannon fire and fireworks. For information visit

September 14

Prince George’s County Master Gardeners Gardening Expo and Fall Festival 6707 Groveton Drive, Clinton, Md. Noon - 5 pm. Bring the family to shop for plants, get your plant problems diagnosed, see presentations, take a garden tour or participate in a garden art workshop. For information visit

see HOT TICKETS, page 7


Andrews Gazette is published by Comprint Military Publications, 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, Md., a private firm in no way connected with the U.S. Air Force or any branch of the United States military. The appearance of advertising in these publications, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense, the Department of the Air Force or the products and services advertised. Everything advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, martial status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other non merit factor of the purchases, user or patron.

Maxine Minar, president John Rives, publisher

Chris Basham, editor Lorraine Walker, page design Bobby Jones, photographer


Friday, September 13, 2013


Fly, be broke, be free! BY CHRIS BASHAM STAFF WRITER

This week, my son did something some people tell him he can’t do. A newly minted 20-year-old, he moved out, to share a house with friends. The neighborhood is a little sketchy, but not more than he can handle with diplomacy and wit. The rent is reasonable, mostly because of the aforementioned sketchiness. When he announced a few months ago that he had lined up a place to live, he described it to me in such a way that made it clear that he knew exactly what he was doing and how to make it work. He’s got my admiration. Sometimes, though, when he mentioned his plan, or now that he’s moved out, people have said that he shouldn’t take the risk. He shouldn’t “waste” his hard-earned money on a place to stay,

when he already had a room in his childhood home, right down the street from where he works. People tell him he doesn’t know how hard it will be, or that he’s foolish to not rely on his parents to provide for his every need for as long as they’re willing. And that, folks, is the problem with America today. When I graduated high school, fully intending to go to college and never return, my parents gave me something just as important as three years’ college tuition. They handed me a new set of luggage. The message? As my mother would put it, “Go, and God bless you, but go.” No parents do everything right, but looking back I think this was one of the best things my parents did. They let me know, quietly and with generosity, that I was no longer a child. I was free to move on, and build

a life for myself beyond the familiar confines of my childhood home. There have been times that my parents have been less than pleased with the choices I have made, and times when they felt the safest thing for me and my children was to come home, at least for a little while, but I always thought back to that set of luggage and remembered: I have left that life behind. When my actions have consequences that seem too heavy to carry, I need to just pack them in my suitcases and keep moving, forward. I asked my son if he needed anything for the new house. He smiled at me, a confident, sparkling grin, and said, “Nah, I’m good.” And you know what? He is. He’s making a life, exactly the way he wants to, and he’s doing it whether or

etery, call the cemetery scheduling office at 800-535-1117. For information about interments at Arlington National Cemetery call 877 907-8585.

to improve … [and] expand our network of providers. I think we have one of the most robust networks available,” he added.

Autism program expands

DFAS phone menu changes

see COMMENTARY, page 5


Funeral directors have online tools The Department of Veterans Affairs has an online funeral directors resource kit. Funeral directors may use the kit when helping veterans and their families make burial arrangements in VA national cemeteries or in Arlington National Cemetery, operated by the Department of the Army. The website helps families plan burials and apply for VA memorial benefits. Videos are available in English and Spanish. The website is available at funeraldirector.asp. VA maintains 3.2 million grave sites in 131 VA national cemeteries. More than 118,000 veterans and family members were interred in fiscal year 2012. Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from or by calling VA at 800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at a VA national cem-

A congressionally mandated pilot program enhances existing Defense Department care and treatment for military children with autism. An estimated 8,500 children of active duty military families have a form of autism. Expanded services through the autism pilot program will also allow retirees and their families to receive ASD benefits. There is no change in benefits to anyone enrolled in the basic medical program that began last year. The pilot program was developed by crafting requirements through consulting with experts in the field and advocacy groups to find validated tests and the best strategy for the right care at the right time. There is “an expanding need and recognition” of military families with children who have autism, according to a spokesman. “We continually try

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Cleveland has altered its telephone menu options. If you need help with your military retired or annuity pay, choose option 1 after dialing either 800-321-1080 or 888332-7411. If inquiring about myPay, choose option 5. The Retiree Activities Office is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit the office in Building 1604 at California and Colorado Avenues or call us at 301-981-2726. Our e-mail address is Call the office before your visit to ensure a volunteer is on duty. The RAO has a website at; Under “Helpful Links” click on “Retirees Activity Office” for information on retiree subjects, including past copies of “Retiree Corner.”


Andrews Gazette

Friday, September 13, 2013

FAIR, from page 1

Vendors offer everything from classic funnel cakes to cotton candy to Italian and Polish sausages.

Upper Marlboro residents Addison Sellman, 4, left, and her sister Morgan, 2, display a little swagger and butterfly face paintings at the Prince George’s County Fair Sept. 7.

Children spin through the night air in a Chairoplane ride.

“Grupo Esmerado” is one of several musical acts to entertain the crowd.

Colorful lights from a drop tower and Ferris wheel light up the skyline in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Fairgoers scream with joy as they plunge down a 100-foot drop on the Super Shot.

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Andrews Gazette

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cody on new TA rules: Education is the ‘force multiplier’ for Air Force BY JEFF SCHOGOL AIR FORCE TIMES

Changes starting Oct. 1: - Supervisors must approve tuition assistance requests Substandard performers cannot take classes until they improve No TA for two degrees of the same type What’s the same: - TA up to $4,500 per year or up to $250 per semester hour No restrictions on types of classes toward new type of degree No changes in eligibility rules for good performers Under new rules, both enlisted Airmen and officers will need to get approval from their supervisors before the Air Force will offer tuition assistance for classes. The rules are effective Oct. 1, according to the Air Force, which is the first service to announce its tuition assistance plan for fiscal 2014. Requiring approval for tuition assistance allows supervisors to manage their force better, said Kimberly Yates, chief of Air Force voluntary education. If supervisors know that mission needs will take up most of an Airman’s time, they can tell that Airman that now is not the right time to take classes, Yates said in an Aug. 29 interview. The change also allows supervisors to become more involved in their Airmen’s professional development, she said. “It provides an opportunity for mentoring, so when those requests come in, it gives the opportunity for the supervisor to reach out to that Airman and talk about what their goals are,” Yates said. “We also want to make sure that our Airmen can be successful in the courses that they take. We don’t want them to get involved in courses they may not be able to finish because the mission is going to take so much of their time.”


For clarity’s sake, the term “supervisor” refers to whoever rates you, Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Erika Yepsen said. “Supervisors are expected to exercise good judgment and work together with their Airmen to build a degree plan that is manageable for the Airman and balances the Airman’s education goals with the mission,” Yepsen said in an email. Some Airmen told Air Force Times they have concerns about the new policy. One Airman stationed in the southeast U.S. is worried that supervisors could block education benefits for Airmen that they want to force out of the service. “If people view you as a bad Airman, say they want you out of the Air Force, they can deny you the education that the Air Force guarantees you and that’s going to look bad on an EPR [enlisted performance report], which eventually is going to force you out of the military,” said Kim, who asked that her last name and rank not be used in the story. “If you don’t have good EPRs, you don’t get promoted.” Another issue is that Airmen may not meet school deadlines if they have to wait for their supervisors’ approval before taking classes, she said. “If your supervisor sits on your paperwork and your college starts classes, they’re not going to just let you in,” Kim said. But the supervisor’s role is to see if you meet the criteria for tuition assistance, not to decide if you are worthy of it, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody said. “The supervisor can’t just arbitrarily slow roll it and do that,” Cody said in an Aug. 29 interview. “We’re professionals. That’s not what we’re about. If that happens, that supervisor has a

supervisor and Airmen always have a recourse.” What the supervisor is supposed to do is make sure there is no administrative action pending against an Airman for failing to meet standards before approving tuition assistance, Cody said. “There is no provision in there for supervisors to just arbitrarily decide, ‘Hey, I don’t think you should be able to do it,’ ” he said. “There are certain conditions where Airmen are not eligible to be able to use TA. That’s what a supervisor is to apply that against, not a personal feeling about something to the degree where it would seem like it’s personal, not professional.” No TA for poor performers While the Air Force has not changed who is eligible for tuition assistance, Airmen who have been cited for substandard performance cannot take classes until the action against them has been resolved, officials said. That includes Airmen who have received a referral, failed a physical fitness test or are on a control roster. “Airmen may be in a situation where it’s just not right for them to take a class because of other constraints on them, so in order to manage better, the management controls were put on,” Yates said. Being on a control roster means going through six months of observation, evaluation and rehabilitation, Yepsen said. “You cannot be put on the control roster as a substitute for more appropriate administrative, judicial or nonjudicial action,” she said. “If you have been on the control roster for six consecutive months and you are not rehabilitated, more severe action must be initiated. While on the control roster, you may not be permitted to PCS, be promoted or re-enlist.”

Staff Sgt. Lisa Wright told Air Force Times that she does not think it’s fair to deny tuition assistance to Airmen who are trying to rehabilitate themselves. “They can’t better themselves if you’re going to deny them education,” said Wright, who is stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla. “An A1C [airman first class] typically can’t afford education on an A1C’s pay so if you’re going to take that asset away from them, how are they going to better themselves on a rehabilitative tool?” Once Airmen come off the control roster, they can take classes through the normal process, Yates said. When asked if fewer Airmen will be eligible for tuition assistance under the new rules, she said: “I think it’s too early tell that.” There are no changes to how much money Airmen receive in tuition assistance, Yates said. You can still get up to $4,500 per year or up to $250 per semester hour. The Air Force has also not put any restrictions on which classes you can take, so you are still allowed to take classes that do not relate directly to your career field, she said. “As long as it’s on their approved degree plan, they can take it, and that approved degree plan can be of their choosing,” Yates said. The new rules prohibit Airmen from getting two of the same type of degree, so if you already have one bachelor’s degree, you can’t pursue another one, she said. “There are a couple of exceptions to that and that would be for example a Community College of the Air Force degree,” Yates said. “We also have a list of members who will change their AFSCs [Air Force Specialty Codes] and they would be eligible for a second degree.”

If you want to take a language class, the Air Force encourages you to take one in a language for which the service has a shortage of linguists, Yates said. You can discuss which language you want to take when you set your education goals with your supervisor. “They would be working with their education counselor when they talk about programs that they are interested in taking,” she said. “There’s also a list on the Air Force portal [website] that lets them know what the shortage languages are so they can refer to that.” When budget cuts took effect in March, the Air Force briefly suspended tuition assistance, then Congress stepped in. It required the Air Force and other services to offer tuition assistance, but lawmakers did not provide any money to pay for it. That meant money went to tuition assistance that could have been used to keep two squadrons in the air, Cody told Airmen at Joint Base Andrews in April. At the time, the Air Force had exhausted most of the money for tuition assistance, so it had to take from elsewhere to fund the program for the rest of the fiscal year, Cody said in his most recent interview. For fiscal 2014, the service believes it has budgeted enough money to meet demand, so there shouldn’t be any tradeoffs. “We want that opportunity to remain available to our Airmen,” he said. “We know how important it is to them. It’s important to our Air Force. It’s certainly a force multiplier when our Air Force is more educated. So that is something we valued before, we value today and we will continue to value in the future. When we suspended it earlier in the year, it wasn’t because we didn’t value

see TA RULES, page 5

Moscow Hotline at Fort Detrick commemorates 50 years BY LANESSA HILL


Fort Detrick hosted a 50-year commemoration of the Direct Communications Link, widely known as the Washington-Moscow Hotline, Aug. 29. The link was first established by the U.S. and Soviet governments Aug. 1963 via undersea cable, in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. A special earth station was built at Fort Detrick to operate over the Russian satellite system; after an extended test period in August of 1978, the Detrick Earth Station became part of the “Hotline” system. In addition to the Direct Communication Link between the American and Russian presidents, the Detrick Earth Station provides communication links with the Russian Federation in support of the State Department’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, a special link connecting the U.S. Secretary of State with their counterpart in Moscow and circuits for the White House Communications Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “The system is very robust, as you might imagine,” said Craig Bouma, civilian executive officer of the Detrick Earth Station. Workers at Detrick have daily electronic interactions with their Russian counterparts. Roald Sagdeev, former director of the Soviet space exploration program, said the system still is critical. “It’s very important to make sure we can keep this, especially at the time of what’s happening in Syria,” Sagdeev said.

Military spouses: Be heard

MOAA and IVMF launch milspouse employment survey SUSAN STALDER

Alexandria, Va. (Sept. 9, 2013) — The Military Officers Association of America and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families will launch The Military Spouse Employment Survey Sept. 16. This anonymous, voluntary survey provides a platform for all military spouses to share their challenges of employment while on active duty. Its results will enable MOAA and the IVMF to better understand military spouse unemployment and underemployment. The survey takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and will be available at through Oct. 16. This study will focus on the employment pattern of all military spouses, especially related to their long-term career trajectories. All active duty, National Guard and Reserve, veteran, and surviving spouses who are 18 years and older are encouraged to participate by sharing their stories, experiences and lessons learned. According to the 2010 Department of Defense Manpower Data Center, there are 725,877 spouses of active duty service members and 413,295 spouses of Reserve and Guard members. An estimated 15 million veterans’

COMMENTARY, from page 2 not anyone else approves or demonstrates confidence in his ability to pull it off. When I look up at my tall, tall son, I am proud to see him striding on those long legs in the direction of his own choosing. And if you think he can’t do it, you can just sit down and shut up about that, because I’ve known him for 20 years, and the son I know is a man who does exactly what he sets out to do, no matter whether anyone else thinks it is worthwhile or achievable. I’m almost in awe. And then he leans down for a hug, and I can see on his face the truth of it all: He is not a child, anymore. But I will always be his Mom.

TA RULES, from page 4 it, it was because we didn’t have the money to pay for it.” But the Air Force is budgeting less money for tuition assistance. The service initially budgeted $128 million for tuition assistance this fiscal year; however, demand was so high that it needed another $90 million to fund the program for the year, Air Force officials said. For fiscal 2014, the Air Force has budgeted $102 million for tuition assistance, roughly half of this fiscal year’s requirement. Reprinted with permission from Air Force Times

For more news from other bases around the Washington, D.C. area,




Andrews Gazette

Friday, September 13, 2013


spouses and more than 5.8 million surviving spouses live in the U.S. “MOAA has been a leader in identifying and addressing issues related to spouse employment and this effort will allow us to further our work in this area,” MOAA President Vice Adm. Norb Ryan said. “We believe the data from this survey will shed light upon challenges spouses face with their employment goals so we can better address their issues.” “We believe this research will provide insight into both employment and career barriers and opportunities for military spouses, including career progression,” said Mike Haynie, IMVF executive director. “Further understanding of these issues will also contribute to our ability to provide support as military families transition to being veteran families. We look forward to working with MOAA to identify important policy issues and practices related to military spouse employment that will impact both the military and veterans communities.” To encourage as much participation as possible, please share the #MilSpouseSurvey with other military spouse communities. Survey results will be released in the spring of 2014.


Andrews Gazette

2013 Run for your Lungs 5K draws 102

The 2013 Run for your Lungs 5K attracted 102 runners Sept. 6, and raised awareness of the benefits of smoking cessation and exercise on lung health. Dustin Konba ran the 3.25 mile race in 19 minutes, 57 seconds, for the fastest time. The fastest female, Mary Kay Robinson, finished in 23 minutes, 11 seconds. West Fitness Center Fitness and Operations Specialist Sabine Lopez said that the next race challenge, the Zombie Apocalypse Freaky Fun Trail, will be held 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the MPF Track. The event will include a mile sprint for adults, a miniature obstacle course for children and a half-mile walk for families around the track to collect candy from several stations. Costumes are welcome.

Friday, September 13, 2013



Sabine Martinez. West Fitness Center fitness and operations specialist, gives safety instructions to runners at the beginning of a “Run for Your Lungs” 5K held Sept. 6. Send your silly captions for this week’s photo to The funniest ones will be used in a future edition of The Andrews Gazette.

2014 Christmas in April deadline nears


Runners start the “Run for Your Lungs” near the West Fitness Center on Joint Base Andrews.


Low-income Prince George’s County homeowners who are elderly or disabled and unable to do necessary work to maintain their home may apply for assistance through Christmas in April Prince George’s County. The next work day is scheduled for April 26, 2014. All work is done at no cost to the homeowner. Applications for next year’s renovation day are due by Nov. 1, 2013. For information and applications, or to volunteer, contact Executive Director Mary Kucharski at 301-868-0937,, or by mail at Christmas in April Prince George’s County, 7915 Malcolm Road, Suite 102, Clinton, Md. 20735.


Andrews Gazette

Friday, September 13, 2013

JBA Buzz

If I were five years younger or older, I would...

Baker selects Prince George’s ethics director BY SOPHIE PETIT

THE PRINCE GEORGE’S GAZETTE “If I was five years younger I would change my health condition by exercising a little more, participate in more outdoors activities and spend less time on the computer.”

Edward Lilly DECCA cashier, Joint Base Andrews Commissary

“If I was five years older I would be studying for Master Sergeant. That’s where I see myself.”

Senior Airman Cherrelle Rojas 11th Security Forces Group Visitors Control Center customer service clerk

“If I was five years younger I would have graduated from Bowie State University with my nursing degree.”

Reprina Morton Bowie State University Nursing program student

HOT TICKETS, from page 2 September 15

Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963 Family Theatre, 1333 H. Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 6 p.m. Hear a staged reading of the play, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. For informa-

“If I was five years younger I would finish my Masters degree in Business Management.”

David Logan National Gallery of Art special police officer, Washington, D.C.

tion visit

September 15

Rusticway Chamber Group Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalisty Church, 7400 Temple Hill Road, Camp Springs, Md. 6:30 p.m. The Davies Concert Series presents the “Trout Quintet” by Franz Shubert and teh D Minor Piano Trio by Felix Mendelssohn. For information visit

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) announced his choice Tuesday for the head of a newly formed accountability office that will investigate ethics complaints against county officials and employees. Robin Barnes-Shell, a former lawyer within the Prince George’s County Public Schools system, will serve as acting executive director of the county’s Office of Ethics and Accountability, an independent agency that will investigate accusations of unethical conduct and refer cases to the county Office of the State’s Attorney as needed. Barnes-Shell, 51, of Glenn Dale now awaits confirmation of her selection by the County Council, said Baker spokesman Scott Peterson.

CRISIS LINE, from page 1 securing weapons and pills that could be used to take one’s life. “Just agreeing with somebody that they can do that, and knowing they’re going to get some help, takes away some of the hopeless feelings they have,” she said. “Isolation is an issue for many of our veterans, service members and their families. We’re here 24/7, and we never want anyone to feel alone. They don’t have to sit in emotional turmoil all by themselves.” Responders don’t want veterans or military personnel to become suicidal, Lucchesi said. “We much prefer that they call us when they’re in crisis so we can point them to services. We don’t want to risk losing any of them,” she added. “Any person who calls the crisis line has the choice about how much information they want to share”. The only time an anonymous call could require more identifying information is when the need for help delves further, but only when the caller gives permission to link to such resources, Lucchesi noted. DoD leadership has for several years worked to remove the perceived stigma attached to seeking mental health help.



Barnes-Shell will essentially be laying the foundation for the office, which Baker established in 2012 to fulfill his initial campaign pledge to make government more transparent, Peterson said. A corruption probe found that Baker’s predecessor, Jack B. Johnson (D), took more than $400,000 in bribes in exchange for favors extended to developers and he was sentenced in 2011 to more than seven years in prison. Johnson’s wife, Leslie Johnson, a former county councilwoman, was sentenced to more than a year in prison for her role in the pay-to-play scheme. Among Barnes-Shell’s immediate priorities is hiring three staff members, and beginning training and educating county government employees so they know the policies they are expected to follow, Barnes-

see ETHICS, page 8 Lucchesi said she hopes a reduced stigma is why the crisis line has produced an increase in calls, chats and texts. Yet, there are other reasons why contacting the crisis line has increased, she said. “People who have used the line learned we’re not just going to send rescue out to them. They can call here for all kinds of reasons, and if they can [set up a] safety plan, they don’t have to worry about a policeman or emergency services showing up at their door,” Lucchesi said. “We’re very aware that [such actions] can cause a financial burden, increase stigma, and be a problem for some people,” she added, but noted that if crisis line responders are concerned someone is about to take his or her life, emergency services might be necessary. Lucchesi emphasized the importance of contacting the crisis line - by calling, texting or chatting, whichever is more comfortable for a person in crisis. “Someone could call here totally hopeless and have no reason at all to live,” she said. “And if we’re doing our job well, by the time that call ends, they’re feeling differently.” This article originally appeared on www.


Andrews Gazette

Friday, September 13, 2013

DIVE-IN, from page 1

A guest swimmer tries to retrieve a pair of tennis balls from the pool.

Bruges, a Belgian Shepherd, departs the pool after retrieving a bite toy for his owner.

Allentown Splash, Tennis and Fitness Park staff members provided doggie treats.

ETHICS, from page 7

Annemarie Moskala-Jarman of Burtonsville dries off her dog after a cool dip in the pool.

Shell said. “I accepted the opportunity of starting up the office because I have a strong background of starting up offices and putting in place processes and procedures,” she said. “[County residents] can expect we will get the office up and running, and roll out the education and training phase.” From 2008 to 2012, Barnes-Shell oversaw Prince George’s County Public Schools staff complaints and student discipline, an experience she said will help her in her new position. The office will also provide whistleblower protection, meaning people will be able to call in anonymously and report abuse without fear of retaliation, Peterson said. “It’s not just about finding corruption, it’s about education so that all [county] employees understand all the rules and training,” Peterson said. “It’s not just a reactive office, it’s a very proactive office.” Peterson said an announcement would be made when the whistleblower hotline would be live. “The opening of our new Office of Ethics and Accountability is an important

step forward for Prince George’s County. I knew this office would need a leader with experience building a concept or idea into a reality,” Baker said in a statement. “I am confident that [Barnes-Shell] will create an effective and efficient office that will ensure our government and its employees are held to the highest ethical standards.” Phil Joyce, a professor of public policy and government accountability at the University of Maryland, College Park, said the office represents Baker’s continued effort to increase government transparency, although he cautioned against expecting immediate results as that has not always been the county’s culture. “From everything that I have seen, County Executive Baker actually does care about government accountability and performance, but it’s a difficult thing to pull off,” Joyce said. “It’s a good thing because it suggests there’s an appreciation at the highest level for government accountability. I’ve been impressed with what they’re trying to do, but they’re trying to turn the direction of a battleship.” Prince George’s Gazette staff writer Jeffrey Lyles contributed to this article. This story originally appeared in the Sept. 10, 2013 edition of The Prince George’s Gazette.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Andrews Gazette



Andrews Gazette

Friday, September 13, 2013

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