Local children donate to Kazakh Cancer Center

Published 10:28 am Monday, September 24, 2007

By By Jo Bonner
Last week I had the honor of presenting the ambassador of Kazakhstan, Erlan A. Idrissov, with $2,400 raised by students at Mobile's Dodge Elementary School.
In an effort the students named "Coins for Cancer," students at Dodge Elementary School collected coins for three years to donate to the Semipalatinsk Oncology Center in Kazakhstan.
Students donated their snack money, parents sent in contributions, and a school-wide art contest was held with a $1 entry fee – all to help provide medical assistance to the people now suffering from radiation-related diseases from the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
In August, Janet Leffard, teacher and 'Coins for Cancer' coordinator at Dodge Elementary, Victoria Roughsedge, fifth grader at Dodge, and Christopher Roughsedge, former Dodge student, presented their donation to me in my Mobile office. Last week, I was able to present their check to the ambassador to be given to the cancer center in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan was one of the 15 new states to emerge from the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991. For 42 years, the Soviet Union tested 456 nuclear and thermonuclear weapons at Semipalatinsk.
Cancer rates in the region are now twice that of the world rate. Many suffer physical deformities, mental underdevelopment, and heart disease. The Kazakh government has estimated that a total of 1.2 million people have been affected by the nuclear testing.
The ambassador has expressed his desire to travel to Mobile and personally express his gratitude to the students, teachers, and parents at Dodge Elementary School. Through these schoolchildren, we have formed the beginning of a lasting friendship between southwest Alabama and the country of Kazakhstan.
Tanker Press Briefing
As the competition to build the Air Force's new air refueling tanker moves forward, I was pleased to join Northrop Grumman last week in updating the media on their offering for the tanker.
Refueling tankers are basically flying gas stations – allowing our military to fly anywhere and everywhere around the world without landing – refueling in the air. The average age of these planes is 45 years old – many were started when President Truman was in office.
The Air Force is expected to award a contract to replace 179 of about 530 KC-135 tankers in the current fleet which is worth between $30 and $40 billion over the next 15 years. This contract will be the first phase of a multi-phase program that will ultimately replace the entire KC-135 fleet.
As you know by now, Northrop Grumman selected Mobile as the site to produce its KC-30 advanced tanker. The KC-30 production center will bring hundreds of high quality, high paying jobs to Mobile and establishes Mobile as an aerospace hub.
Northrop Grumman has teamed with EADS North America to compete to be the prime contractor for the U.S. Air Force next generation Air Refueling Tanker.
The Mobile production center will convert aircraft coming from the EADS A330 final assembly line into the Northrop Grumman KC-30 advanced tanker.
New Mobile Office
My staff and I are preparing to move to our new office in the RSA Battle House Tower, and we are looking forward to being a part of revitalized downtown Mobile.
We are also pleased this new office will provide greater access to public transportation as well as show our support for the resurging downtown business community.
Please note the change in our office location. Effective Nov. 1, our new address will be 11 North Water Street, Suite 15290, Mobile, Alabama, 36602.
We expect minimal downtime during the move, and our telephone number, (251) 690-2811, will remain the same.
We will continue to provide the level of constituent service you have come to expect, and I look forward to seeing you in our new office in the near future.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website http://bonner.house.gov.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox