Headley Court – poor show by locals

David‘s been signing petitions again, and would like anyone so-inclined to support this cause.

Here’s a message from a serving British soldier:

Hi everyone, just thought I’d bring this to your attention. But for luck or the grace of God many of us could be in Headley Court. It seems the inhabitants of Surrey don’t think much of injured soldiers “lowering” the tone of their area. So please get on to the Government site and vote for this to go ahead.

And here’s an article from the Daily Mail, reprinted in full below as well.

Nimby neighbours’ war with wounded soldiers’ families
By MATTHEW HICKLEY and DANIEL BATES – Last updated at 20:39pm on 15th July 2007

It is often the first port of call for servicemen and women returning home after being wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Soldiers who may have lost limbs or suffered severe trauma spend months rebuilding their lives at Headley Court military rehabilitation centre.

But when an Armed Forces charity decided to buy a £ 1.7million six-bedroom house nearby so visiting relatives would have somewhere to stay, the well-heeled neighbours in Ashtead, Surrey, launched their own offensive.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, which has applied to the local council to to make some alterations at the property, including installing a wheelchair ramp, had been hoping for no objections.

After all, Headley Court had been part of the area for more than 60 years.

But residents apparently do mind. They have flooded the council with almost 100 letters of protest, raising every conceivable objection to the new property being used to house families visiting soldiers.

They claimed ‘additional noise’ and ‘huge amount of additional traffic’ would ruin the peace of the private lane and warned that the value of their multi-million-pound properties would plummet.

The families ‘would not be welcome’, they said, and their arrival could ‘destroy the character’ of the area.

One resident even objected on security grounds, claiming the house could become a terrorist target, while another suggested wheelchairs would present a fire hazard.

Planners at Mole Valley District Council will consider the case on August 1 but last night serving soldiers made their views clear.

One Army officer recently returned from Iraq told the Mail: “They make me sick. It’s just staggeringly selfish.

“Perhaps these people would care to come out to the field hospital in Basra and tell some young soldier having his leg amputated after a [bomb] attack exactly why his family isn’t worthy to rub shoulders with this bunch in their Surrey village.

“Who do they think they are? Do they have the slightest clue about the sacrifices-young soldiers make on their behalf every day? Shame on them.”

SSAFA spokesman Athol Hendry said: “These people should be ashamed of themselves. This level of hostility is incredibly disappointing and frankly astonishing.

“If you’ve just got back from risking your life in Iraq, you’ve lost two legs and you learn your young family are not welcome near the hospital where you’re being treated – what kind of a message is that?”

When the Mail tried to speak to residents, none would be quoted.

Residents’ association chairman Malcolm Webb, a 58-year-old oil executive, denied residents were ‘nimbys’.

“This is just the wrong place and the wrong property,” he said. “Some are concerned – in these awful days when these ghastly terrorists go after the softest targets – about the security situation.”

Lion killer

Well, I was feeling all fuzzy about the Daily Mail spread. Now I read that Houston billionaire Dan Duncan is in trouble for shooting a moose and a sheep from a helicopter in Russia. What strange things people do for fun.

The part I can’t bear about the story is the picture of the man with his other “trophies.” How could he kill those beautiful lions? And there’s even a cheetah back there if you look carefully.


Teacher Training (Part Ten)

The first thing I did after passing my physical back in June was to book my flight to Honolulu. Unfortunately the only nonstop flight was with Continental for $1,300. I decided to go with Southwest Airlines (changing in Phoenix on the way there and Las Vegas on the way home) and got a nonrefundable fare for $632.

Glad I made the move back then. Today the same trip is up to $919!

The Nguyens lose

There’s been a large 3,100-plant marijuana bust in our Montrose neighbourhood.

Check out this part of the Houston Chronicle article:

The men arrested are identified as Tan Khac Nguyen, 31; Thien Quang Nguyen, 35; Minh Nguyen, 34; Tuan The Nguyen, 38 and Van Dung Nguyen, 55.

Police said the suspects are not related. Each has been charged with felony marijuana possession.

The suspects are not related? How can that be?

Early morning stuff

The 6 o’clock class was packed this morning. I counted about 40 people. Usually there are about 20.

Unfortunately Mike’s started talking again about moving the class to 5:30 a.m. Several people are always leaving early to get to work and he’s concerned that they miss out on the final breathing exercise.

I don’t like the idea of getting up half an hour earlier, but will live with it if he does make the shift.