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Local News

January 19, 2013

Invaders are no strangers to our area


With the Pentagon’s participation in Afghanistan winding down, expect to see more UAVs in U.S. skies in coming years, as drone manufacturers seek domestic sales.

Tucked away in the $63 billion FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which was signed into law last February after years of debate about non-drone elements, Congress ordered the Federal Aviation Administration come up with a streamlined process for granting permits to operate drones in U.S. airspace.

Several UAS (unmanned aerial systems) contractors already are based in and around Syracuse, and the Air Force’s 174th Fighter Wing, based at Hancock Field in Syracuse, is a control center for Reaper drone flights in Afghanistan.

Reapers are larger versions of the Predator A, which started out as a purely reconnaissance drone and first gained prominence in the Gulf War. In Afghanistan, Reapers carry a variety of ordnance, including Hellfire air-to-ground missiles.

Reapers also are operated by the CIA, the Navy and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, among others.

Active or proposed uses for drones in U.S. airspace include law enforcement, such as drug detection and interdiction, aerial mapping and scientific surveys.


Health care officials warn the public, year after year, month after month, to get an annual flu vaccine shot. It’s bad enough that a substantial portion of the population ignores that advice.

But it’s unforgivable when a reporter who has written extensively about those warnings and about potential consequences of contracting influenza fails to heed them.

A lost and miserable Christmas, indeed a lost and miserable week, apparently is what’s necessary to make such warnings stick. Not to mention weeks of congestion and hoarseness.

And if you think, “I’ve had the flu, and it wasn’t so bad,” then you haven’t had the flu. Maybe you had what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes as an “influenza-like illness” or just a cold, but you haven’t had a full-blown case of it. You’d know it if you had.

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