Lt. Col. Robert McLean Inducted to Veterans Hall of Fame

David J. Valesky

July 25, 2014

This week, it was my honor to induct Lieutenant Colonel Robert McLean (USMC Ret.) into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame in honor of his service to the nation and his work on behalf of veterans after leaving active service.

Lieutenant Colonel McLean participated in combat support operations against communist forces in Southeast Asia, while serving as a member of VMFA-232, a Marine F-4 Phantom Squadron, in Thailand in 1973. Later in his career, Lieutenant Colonel McLean was director of public affairs at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, and Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. Since his retirement from the military, Lieutenant Colonel McLean has served as the director of the Onondaga County Veterans Service Agency and, in August 2012, he was appointed to the position of public affairs officer at the Syracuse Veterans Administration Medical Center. More information about Lieutenant Colonel McLean is available on my website.           

Senate Passes “Protect Our Children Act”

Also, this week, the Senate passed bill S.1721, which I co-sponsor, legislation that would strengthen the penalties for murder of a child, abuse of a child, and other offenses. Under current law, some serious forms of child abuse are not adequately covered. In addition, many existing statutes are so overly complicated they are ineffective, or carry disproportionately low punishments.

Madison County TV and Computer Monitor Collection a Success

The Madison County recycling program collected 26.775 tons of e-waste during its recent series of collection events. Residents started coming at 7 a.m. sharp at all the events and there was a steady stream of cars throughout each day. People brought TV's they found in ditches and woods and those they had stored for years in the basement. Didn’t have a chance to drop off your e-waste? LoJo Technologies on Farrier Ave. in Oneida collects e-waste Monday – Thursday from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Questions about e-waste drop off at LoJo's? Call 363-3014. 

New York has a Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife App

The state Department of Environmental Conservation, in partnership with ParksByNature Network®, offers a New York Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife app for iPhone and Android. This free app gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women up-to-date information to identify and locate New York's many hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching sites. They will also gain immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permits and licensing details. Download the app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or by going to the Pocket Ranger website.

Help for Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) organization offers a Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) to connect New York State’s veterans and their families to the best-in-class service providers to help smooth the transition back to civilian life. With so many different resources and the red tape of bureaucracy, it’s easy to get confused and feel lost. The RRRP case managers help connect veterans with the right resources to help them live healthy lives and achieve their goals.

Veterans Can Get a Lifetime Liberty Pass to Parks

The Lifetime Liberty Pass permits qualified disabled veterans discounted use of state parks, historic sites, and recreational facilities operated by the Office Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The pass benefits includes free vehicle entry to State Parks and DEC-operated day-use areas, as well as numerous state boat launch sites, historic sites, arboretums and park preserves; free golf at 28 state park golf courses; free swimming pool entrance at 36 state park pools, and discounted camping and cabin rentals at all 119 state park and DEC campgrounds.

Visit the state parks website for more information and an application.