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Inside the Beltway: Campers alert

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Brandon Parker, the son of Afghanistan War veteran Clifford Parker, is one of many children of disabled or wounded military service members who has attended Camp Corral, a free weeklong summer camp sponsored by the Golden Corral restaurant chain. (Camp Corral)

The summer breeze calls: Children of disabled or wounded military service members still have time to sign up for Camp Corral, a free weeklong summer camp sponsored by the Golden Corral restaurant chain, for ages 8 to 15. This is the good old traditional stuff: We’re talking water and target sports, canoeing, horseback riding, crafts, and campfire stories.

The fully accredited camps are located in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Kansas, Texas and Colorado, and the sessions are scheduled for July and August, a spokeswoman tells Inside the Beltway. See details and registration information at campcorral.org.

WHITE HOUSE MOMENT

“May God bless the souls of the venerable warriors we have lost, and may He watch over the men and women who serve us now. Today, tomorrow, and in perpetuity, let us give thanks to them by remaining true to the values and virtues for which they fight.

“In honor of all of our fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace … I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I also ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.”

- President Obama’s official proclamation for Memorial Day

COME HOME, BE EMPLOYED

“We owe it to our service members to do everything we can to ensure they come home to a strong, growing economy that creates jobs and opportunities. Unfortunately, roughly 22 million of our fellow citizens are struggling to find a good-paying full-time job in President Obama’s economy. … On Memorial Day, as we consider the sacrifices our service members and their families have made, we are reminded to never squander the blessings of liberty. That is why helping to create jobs and grow our economy will continue to be Republicans’ focus in the weeks and months ahead.”

- Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, in the Republican weekly address.

VETS FOR MITT

New to the campaign trail, and at the ready to support presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney: It’s Veterans for Romney, a newly formed group under the chairmanship of J. Thomas Burch, president of the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation and a former U.S. Army special forces officer who did time in Vietnam in the late 1960s. The mission?

“The reason we’re here is simple. The current commander-in-chief has done nothing to address prisoner of war and missing in action issues, or ensuring the fair health care and promised benefits to our vets and retirees,” Mr. Burch tells Inside the Beltway.

“And if he’s not going to take care of these things, then we plan to find someone else who will. It’s as simple as that.”

24 KARAT POLITICS

In 1960, he-man crooner Johnny Horton sang “North to Alaska” describing the Klondike gold rush with lyrics that advised: “Where the river is winding, big nuggets they’re finding. North to Alaska, they’re going North, the rush is on.”

There’s another gold rush on, and locals wonder if they can handle a boom fueled by high gold prices and reality TV coverage. The planned Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay — with 7.5 billion metric tons of ore deposits — has Alaskans fretting over the environmental effects. According to recent press reports, another 75 mines have been proposed, while 500 tons of mining equipment is now en route to Nome by barge.

The Alaska Miners Association also reports mining companies paid $165 million in fees and taxes to state and local governments.

“The question Alaskans — and our elected officials — have to ask as we enter our ‘second gold rush’ is whether it is worth it. People passionately opposed to the Pebble Mine are making a strong push to stop that project, but at the same time, dozens more mines are being considered in the same region,” says Carey Restino, editor of the Bristol Bay Times, a newspaper near Dillingham, some 300 miles southwest of Anchorage.

“Will the same response be warranted for those? And is the state setting itself up to handle all this new mining activity in the best interests of its residents? … Alaska has always been a state built on its natural resources — from oil to salmon. Mining is no exception, but mineral prices are catapulting mining activity into a new realm,” Mr. Restino observes.

“The trick here is going to be taking in the bigger picture — beyond, perhaps, the proposed Pebble Mine — and making sure we are prepared to handle this boom.”

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About the Author

Jennifer Harper

To read Jennifer Harper’s Inside the Beltway columns, click here. Contact her at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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