Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country 8-18-09


What’s Inside Today’s Local News for Veterans

1. Some Vietnam Vets Get Their Due.
2. Military Enthusiasts Begin Re-Enacting Vietnam War.
3. Veterans Tap New GI Bill Tuition Break. 
4. Omaha VAMC Said To Be In Need Of Upgrades, Renovations.  
5. CBO: VA’s Quality Improvement Attempts May Be Useful To US Healthcare System.  
6. US Army To Institute Mandatory Mental Health Training Program.  
7. Iraq Vet Participating In "Horses For Heroes" program.  
8. Two New Cats Now Part Of Spokane VAMC’s Pet Therapy Program.  
9. VA Officials To Present Check At Cemetery Groundbreaking.  
10. Medals Awarded To More Than 200 Louisiana Veterans. 


1.      Some Vietnam Vets Get Their Due.   The NPR (8/17) website.

 2.      Military Enthusiasts Begin Re-Enacting Vietnam War.   The AP (8/18, Armas).   

3.      Veterans Tap New GI Bill Tuition Break.   The Gary (IN) Post-Tribune (8/18, Kostanczuk). 

4.      Omaha VAMC Said To Be In Need Of Upgrades, Renovations.   In a front page story, the Omaha (NE) World-Herald (8/17, Morton) reports, "The aging Omaha VA Medical Center needs hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades, renovations and new construction to address a long list of problems, according" to a study "released Monday." The study was requested by US Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), who "said he has suggested for years that the Omaha facility needs work and that the study results are not surprising." Nelson also "said that he has met with US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and that the secretary has agreed to work on addressing problems in Omaha." The AP (8/18), meanwhile, reports Nelson "believes the study will help the hospital get the funding it needs for repairs." 

5.      CBO: VA’s Quality Improvement Attempts May Be Useful To US Healthcare System.   Government Health IT (8/18, Mosquera) reports, "Efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve healthcare quality, even in the face of increasing numbers of veterans entering its system from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, may have lessons for the overall US healthcare system, according to a recent report" from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The VA "has strengthened its efforts to track performance measures, expand the use of health information technology, manage chronic diseases, coordinate care by different providers and use evidence-based medical practices, the CBO said in the report published Aug. 13." Government Health IT adds, "VA should make widely available the lessons it learned from VistA, the report suggested." 

 6.      US Army To Institute Mandatory Mental Health Training Program.   In a front page story, the New York Times (8/18, A1, Carey, 1.06M) reports the US Army "plans to require that all 1.1 million of its soldiers take intensive training in emotional resiliency, military officials say. The training, the first of its kind in the military, is meant to improve performance in combat and head off the mental health problems, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide, that plague about one-fifth of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq." The $117 million program, "which will also be available" to soldiers’ "family members and to civilian employees," is "to be introduced at two bases in October and phased in gradually throughout the service, starting in basic training." 

7.      Iraq Vet Participating In "Horses For Heroes" program.   Texas’ Fort Bend Sun (8/18, Tezeno) reports, "Fort Bend county resident Steven Schulz," a veteran who suffered traumatic brain injury in Iraq, "recently began taking part in the ‘Horses for Heroes’ program," which was "inspired by two nurses" from the DeBakey Veterans Affairs Hospital. The program "was recently launched in Fort Bend County by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association through SIRE, a therapeutic riding program."  

8.      Two New Cats Now Part Of Spokane VAMC’s Pet Therapy Program.   On its website, KHQ-TV Spokane, WA (8/17) said the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center welcomed Simon and Alvin, "two new feline residents," to "its Community Living Center and Hospice last week." The cats, which "were donated by a local Spokane family," are "part of a new Pet Therapy program to help Veterans coping with pain or involved with rehabilitation." KHQ added that while other VA hospitals "across the country have similar programs," Spokane "is setting the bar with live-in cats for residents, whereas most facilities have pets who visit" veterans "on a weekly or monthly basis."

 9.      VA Officials To Present Check At Cemetery Groundbreaking.   In continuing coverage, the Portsmouth (OH) Daily Times (8/17, Piatt) noted that on September 18th, Veterans Affairs "officials from Washington will present Kentucky with a $7.3 million ceremonial check at an upcoming groundbreaking for the first phase of a huge veterans cemetery to be built in Greenup County." The Daily Times added, "All local veterans and their families are invited to attend, said state Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore," who also "said the contractor, Roberts Construction Co. of Somerset, has a 500-day contract with the state to complete the project, but company officials have told her they expect to have it ready to dedicate by September 2010." The WSAZ-TV Charleston, WV (8/17) website noted that the $7.3 million is a grant from the VA to "cover…construction and equipment costs."  

10.    Medals Awarded To More Than 200 Louisiana Veterans.   The Monroe (LA) News Star (8/18, Hilburn) reports "more than 200 Louisiana veterans" were recently "awarded the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal by Gov. Bobby Jindal at the Ruston Civic Center." Jindal, who "was joined" at the medal ceremony "by Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Lane Carson and Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, adjutant general" of the Louisiana National Guard, "signed legislation in 2008 creating the Veterans Honor Medal Program to recognize all of Louisiana’s veterans."



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