Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Veteran collapses after learning value of Rolex

West Fargo, North Dakota, USA (January 29, 2020) VRI — The “Antiques Roadshow” guest kept his cool as an appraiser said his watch, snagged decades ago in the Air Force, was no ordinary Rolex. Informed that it was a lot like a model once worn by Paul Newman that auctions for $200,000, the camouflage-bandanna-clad owner just nodded.

David on Antiques Roadshow

Then the appraiser noted the tiny word “Oyster” inscribed on the clock’s face. That made the trinket “extremely, extremely rare,” the kind of watch that sells for $400,000.

The man toppled backward to the ground with enough force that his feet flew up into the air.

There was laughter and a mildly concerned “You OK?” — but also more good news to come. The Rolex was also in nearly perfect condition, the grinning watch-owner heard next. The discount purchase that set him back $345.97 in 1974 — in the range of a month’s military salary — was now worth between $500,000 and $700,000.

Appraiser Peter Planes declared it one of the greatest watches he’d ever seen on “Antiques Roadshow.” The moment, filmed on tour in a North Dakota pioneer town, would top the season’s finds and would delight staff who said they’ve never seen a guest literally floored, even on a TV show that thrives on stunning people with the value of objects often tucked away for years.

“It’s one of the rarest Paul Newman models, and in this condition, I don’t think there’s a better one in the world,” Planes said in Monday’s kickoff for the program’s 24th season.

The watch’s owner, whom “Antiques Roadshow” has identified only as David, greeted the final dollar estimate with closed eyes and a word that was bleeped out.

David explained on Monday’s show that he became interested in a Rolex while stationed in Thailand in the 1970's, working to clear roads of land mines and to clean up munition storage spots. He noticed that airline pilots seemed to wear the watches — but they were out of his price range.

A fan of scuba diving, he said, he eventually decided to spring for a watch that could survive under water and ordered a Rolex through his base exchange at a 10% discount. But when the fancy accessory arrived, he ended up locking it away in a safety deposit box.

“I looked at it and I said, ‘you know, this is really too nice to take down in the salty water, ” David said.

He claims he only took it out two or three times until the summer that “Antiques Roadshow” came to the Fargo area’s historic Bonanzaville. That’s part of what makes this particular Oyster Cosmography, also known as a Daytona, so valuable, said Planes, of Luxe Auctioneers. The numbered foil sticker on its back, normally the first thing to wear off, was still intact.

Also a boon, he said: the fact that Newman popularized the Daytona Rolex in the 1969 drama “Winning.” The watch became intertwined with the actor and race car driver’s image, as Travis Andrews reported for The Washington Post:

“The mechanical watch radiated coolness, much like its owner. It was a constant companion to Newman’s left wrist in magazine shoots, paparazzi photos and while he was speeding around in his racecars. The model, which was ‘made famous by him thanks to this very timepiece,’ was eventually nicknamed the ‘Paul Newman Daytona,’ Phillips Auction House said in a news release.”

Newman’s actual watch was auctioned off in 2017 for a world-record-breaking $17,752,500 after 12 minutes of bidding.

The “Antiques Roadshow” guest’s watch might not have graced a star’s wrist, but it’s actually more special than the model Newman wore, Planes told David. The word Oyster indicates that this accessory had a particularly water-resistant case, he said.

And with the immaculate condition and the saved paperwork to boot — the blank warranty paper alone is probably worth about $2,000, Planes guessed — the watch was a season highlight.

“Unbelievable,” David said on the show.

Friday, January 17, 2020

VFW leader set up hidden camera to record minor

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA (January 17, 2020) VRI —The state adjutant for Indiana’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is facing federal charges.

Authorities say Steven McDanield, 55, secretly recorded a minor in the bathroom of his Carmel home. He’s facing seven counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of possession of child pornography.

In addition to his job as state adjutant, McDanield also serves as director of operations for the VFW state headquarters. He previously served as the commander for VFW Post 10003 in Carmel and is currently listed as a Trustee on the Post’s website.

In December of 2019, someone spotted a camera in his bathroom and alerted Carmel police. That bathroom was primarily used by a minor. It was suspected that McDanield was able to use his phone to access the camera, because it was observed that he would use his phone when someone was in that bathroom.

According to a federal complaint, when McDanield was confronted about the device, he claimed it was a WiFi network extender. Shortly after the confrontation, “McDanield locked himself in the bathroom for approximately one hour. After exiting the bathroom, the device was no longer there,” according to court documents.

Police interviewed McDanield on Jan. 13. He allegedly admitted to having captured photos of the minor using the hidden camera. Federal officials say he also admitted to being sexually attracted to teenagers, as well as seeking and possessing child abuse material from online sources including darknet sites.

McDanield admitted to taking photos while having sexual contact with the minor, according to court documents.

While executing a search warrant, authorities found a hard drive with abuse images of the victim. Some of the pictures were taken while the victim “appears to be unconscious,” according to court documents. The hard drive was locked with the password, “8675309.”

David Capshaw, Interim State Commander for VFW of Indiana, issued this statement:

“We were shocked and frankly disgusted to hear of the cause for the investigation of one of our state level leaders. While this remains a fluid situation, this individual ha been prohibited from participating in all VFW activity. We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities during their investigation.”


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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Veteran Homelessness increases in Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA (November 14, 2019) VRI — Number of homeless vets in Indiana increases 6.1% since last year but declines by 25.4% since 2010.

Veteran homelessness in the U.S. continues to decline according to a new national estimate announced by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson. HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report finds the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2019 decreased 2.1 percent since last year.

“Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and now it’s our duty to make certain they have a home to call their own,” said Secretary Carson. “We’ve made great progress in our efforts to end veteran homelessness, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure our heroes have access to affordable housing.”

“In Indiana, the increase in veterans experiencing homelessness indicates that our collaborative efforts are helping us to more readily find and assist veterans experiencing homelessness,” said HUD Midwest Regional Administrator Joseph P. Galvan. “We can do better for those who put their lives on the line so we that we could remain the land of the free and home of the brave.”

Each year, thousands of local communities around the country conduct one-night “Point-in-Time” estimates of the number of persons experiencing homelessness—in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered locations. This year’s estimate finds 37,085 veterans experienced homelessness in January 2019, compared to 37,878 reported in January 2018.

HUD estimates among the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2019, 22,740 veterans were found in sheltered settings while volunteers counted 14,345 veterans living in places not meant for human habitation. View local estimates of veteran homelessness.

SOURCE: Hud Exchange

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New veterans outreach coordinator unites military students

Bloomington, Indiana, USA (November 14, 2019) VRI — Sarah Bassett spent seven years serving in the U.S. Army. Now, she dedicates her time to creating a supportive community for women veterans on campus.

Bassett started her role as IU’s first women veterans outreach coordinator in September. IU Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council funded this position through a $10,000 grant.

Sarah Bassett stands Nov. 12 on the front porch of the Center for Veteran and Military Students. Bassett is the new outreach coordinator for female veterans. IZZY MYSZAK

“We were really fortunate that they saw a need for women veterans to come together and support each other,” Bassett said.

Bassett works at the Center for Veteran and Military Students to mentor and connect women veterans with each other. She said she hopes to create a community where they can be vulnerable and express any struggles they face.

“The military mindset is ‘suck it up and drive on,’ and I want to break that down because in the civilian world, without the backing of the military, it can be a lot harder,” she said.

Bassett joined the U.S. Army in 2005, before graduating high school in 2006. She was first stationed in South Korea for a year. She then volunteered for deployment from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division. After re-enlisting in 2008, she was later deployed from Hawaii to Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry Division.

Bassett graduated from IU last May with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. She said she frequently visited the Center for Veteran and Military Students during her time as a student, and it allowed her to meet other women veterans.

“When you walk into a room of male veterans, sometimes you don’t feel like you necessarily fit in,” she said. “Having other female veterans in the room made me feel like I belonged.”

John Summerlot, director of the center for veteran and military students, said one concern is that women veterans at IU graduate at a lower rate than their male counterparts.

“Our women veterans are not graduating at the same rate that male veterans are,” he said. “Sarah is researching the reason for that gap and seeing what we can do to fix this.”

Bassett meets with women veterans to address academic concerns or ways to adjust to college life.

“She’s been able to provide input to me about how we can ensure that our programs, outreach and efforts meet the needs of women veterans as much as male veterans,” Summerlot said.

Bassett serves as a source of information and guidance for women veterans. She said one of the challenges of connecting with these women is finding them.

“Sometimes women are less likely to identify as veterans because the world doesn’t really see them as a veteran,” Bassett said. “I’m just trying to reach out, and find them.”

Summerlot said Bassett’s role is important because she’s the first woman veteran on the center’s staff.

“Since we hired her, I have seen and interacted with more female veterans than I have in the last couple of years,” Summerlot said.


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