Mothers in uniform get room on base to nurse young

Nursing women at a major Army headquarters in South Carolina don’t have to hide in a rest room if they want to breast-feed their babies or express milk for their young. Women soldiers and civilian employees as well as spouses visiting the headquarters are celebrating the very low-tech room. This $100 million command center now has a room set up exclusively to support nursing mothers, just as moms everywhere celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday. Army spouse Dianna Troyer says she’s excited the Army installation has allowed a lactation room, which she can use when attending family support dinners and events. Troyer thinks the room will encourage more women to nurse their infants. Continue Reading

Is there a morale crisis in the US nuclear force?

Beyond the Air Force’s embarrassing suspension of 17 nuclear missile launch officers lie two broader questions. Do those entrusted with the world’s most destructive weapons feel stuck in a dead-end career field, given the momentum toward more nuclear arms reductions? And is there a morale crisis among these officers? This matters because the missiles — 450 of them standing in below-ground silos, ready for launch at a moment’s notice — form a critical part of America’s nuclear defenses. There is little room for error. Continue Reading

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Man with Multiple Hostages Holed Up in Jersey House

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Police say an armed man with multiple hostages is barricaded inside a Trenton home in a standoff that has lasted approximately 12 hours.  

Trenton Police Lt. Stephen Varn said a man has been holed up in a house in South Trenton since late Friday afternoon with “multiple hostages.” Varn declined to give any details on the number of people being held, their ages or relationship to the armed man. He said shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday that negotiations continued between police and the man. Earlier, authorities said police were called to the home mid-afternoon Friday on reports of a barricaded suspect. Continue Reading

Leaving Afghanistan: The Devil’s in the Details

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A top U.S. diplomat has begun meetings in Kabul today to hammer out the details on a key pact governing the future of the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, signed a year ago.  

The talks between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Afghanistan’s foreign minister are the second round of negotiations over the provisions of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, a set of principles and general commitments signed in May 2012 by President Barak Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Delegates met in Washington in October. The agreement defines Washington’s commitment to Afghanistan over the next 10 years as well as its expectations of Kabul, including free and fair presidential elections next year. Sticking points may include the amount of funds the U.S. provides to Afghan security forces. Continue Reading

President Uses Radio Address to Call for More Refinancing

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says Congress must give more homeowners the chance to refinance their mortgages to save money.  

Obama says more than 2 million people are saving about $3,000 a year after restructuring their loans under his administration but that more deserve the same chance. In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama also calls on the Senate to confirm “without delay” his choice of Democratic Rep. Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees government-controlled mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama says the North Carolina congressman helped enact rules to protect consumers from dishonest lenders. In the Republican address, Alabama Rep. Martha Roby discusses legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House to give private-sector workers the right to trade overtime pay for additional time off. Continue Reading

IL Bank Robbery Ends in Death, Arrests of Suspects

RICHMOND, Ill. (AP) — A shootout between FBI agents and three suspects allegedly intending to rob a northern Illinois bank ended with the death of one suspect and the arrest of two others.  

The shootout occurred Friday outside an Associated Bank branch in Richmond, a small town near the Illinois-Wisconsin state line. Joan Hyde, a special agent in the FBI’s Chicago office, says agents were in Richmond as part of an ongoing investigation. She said agents stopped the suspected robbers before they entered the bank. Continue Reading

Two Iowa Rivers Record Record Nitrate Levels

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Last year’s drought combined with the wettest April in Iowa in more than 140 years is causing a significant washing out of fertilizer from farmland and it’s ending up in the rivers used by many cities for drinking water.  

The Des Moines Register reports the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers have reached record nitrate levels forcing the city Water Works to switch on its $4 million nitrate removal equipment for the first time since 2007. The Environmental Protection Agency allows up to 10 milligrams per liter in drinking water. Untreated, the Raccoon River is running at 24 and the Des Moines River at 18. The problem is worse because drought-stunted crops absorbed less nitrogen fertilizer last fall leaving it in soil. Continue Reading

Newtown panel: Tear down Sandy Hook, rebuild

A task force of elected officials in Newtown on Friday recommended tearing down Sandy Hook Elementary School, the school where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in December, and rebuilding on the same site. The group of 28 town elected officials voted unanimously in favor of a plan that would construct a new building in the same location. The proposal now goes to the local school board, which has final authority. The panel had narrowed a list of choices to renovating or rebuilding on the school site or building a new school on property down the street. Each would cost between about $48 million and $60 million. Continue Reading

Cops: Mom checked medical website after son shot

A Southeast Texas woman is facing a felony charge for allegedly delaying hospital treatment of her teenage son’s gunshot wound until she researched treatment options online. The incident happened Tuesday evening at the family’s home in Santa Fe, about 30 miles southeast of Houston. Police say a friend of the 14-year-old son was playing with a handgun and pointed it at him when it went off, wounding the boy in the thigh. Police say the boy and his mother, Deborah Tagle, delayed seeking hospital treatment for hours until she researched gunshot wounds on the WebMD website. He’s now stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Continue Reading