Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country 1-6-10


What’s Inside Today’s Local News for Veterans

1. VA, Kaiser To Launch Electronic Medical-Data Exchange Program.
2. Grant Allows Elks Lodge To Give Veterans Christmas Baskets.
3. Schwarzenegger To Launch Veterans Outreach Program.
4. New Jersey Honors War Veterans.
5. Civil War Battle Flag Preservation Jeopardized By State Budget Battles.
6. Thanks To All For Remembering Vets.
7. Iraq Vet Receives Assistance Following Robbery.
8. Help With VA Benefits Doesn’t Cost A Thing.
9. Getting The Word Out.
10. Seminole Behavioral Lands $49,000 Grant.


1.      VA, Kaiser To Launch Electronic Medical-Data Exchange Program. The San Diego Union-Tribune (1/6, Darcé, 278K) notes that on Wednesday, Kaiser Permanente and the US Department of Veterans Affairs "will launch an electronic medical-data exchange program in San Diego that could become the seed for the much touted but equally elusive national health records system. The collaboration, which will be detailed at a news conference in La Jolla, marks the first time a computerized patient-records system operated" by a Federal "agency has been linked to one operated by a private organization." But, while the "pilot program has stirred interest among experts on electronic medical records, some of them doubt it will mean much to the thousands of smaller physician groups and hospital networks that make up most of the nation’s highly fractured health infrastructure."  

2.      Grant Allows Elks Lodge To Give Veterans Christmas Baskets. The Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer (1/6, Young, 20K) reports, "Battle Creek Elks Lodge #131 received an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant," which allowed the lodge "to provide Christmas baskets to the Jesse House" veterans. The "Jesse House Program is a partnership between the city of Battle Creek and Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) to provide housing opportunities for veterans leaving the VAMC who are re-entering the local community." 

3.      Schwarzenegger To Launch Veterans Outreach Program. On its front page, the San Diego Union-Tribune (1/5, A1, Gardner, 278K) reported, "Touched by troops fighting wars overseas and convinced that the state should do more when they return," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger "will launch the Operation Welcome Home outreach campaign" on Wednesday. His "initiative will set aside $20 million in one-time special funds to hire 325 combat veterans who will personally connect with newly discharged service members in need of job assistance." Schwarzenegger "also envisions recruiting 1,000 volunteers as part of a new, ongoing CalVet Corps to expand outreach for housing, health care and other services for veterans."  

4.      New Jersey Honors War Veterans. The Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier-Post (1/6, Roh, 61K) reports, "Area veterans of wars dating to World War II gathered Tuesday at the Cherry Hill Mall to receive honors from the state." The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs "held the ceremony to give local veterans their due and to kick off a three-day informational stint at the mall." The Courier-Post notes that those attending the ceremony included US Rep. John Adler (D-NJ), who "last week called for a progress report" on the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs hospital, "where an investigation found the majority of cancer procedures were botched."

5.      Civil War Battle Flag Preservation Jeopardized By State Budget Battles. According to the AP (1/6), "many of the Civil War battle flags sitting in the nation’s state-owned collections might not survive the budget battles being waged in some statehouses. Preservation work on deteriorating banners carried in some of the war’s bloodiest battles has been eliminated, scaled back or ignored by state budget planners focused on finding money for basics such as education, health care and transportation." The "lack of funding for flag preservation could hurt efforts to promote the 150th anniversary of the Civil War."  

6.      Thanks To All For Remembering Vets. In a letter to the editor of the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer (1/6, 20K), Suzanne M. Klinker, director of the Veterans Affairs hospital in Battle Creek, says VA hospitals "across the country build strong ties with their communities, but few can match the longevity of community support created by the Battle Creek Enquirer’s Remember-A-Vet Campaign," which benefits Klinker’s facility. She adds, "On behalf of the veterans and staff, please accept my sincere appreciation to those who contributed to the more than $32,000 donated this year and for your continued support in remembering in a special way the veterans we proudly serve." 

7.      Iraq Vet Receives Assistance Following Robbery. On its website, KMBC-TV Kansas City, MO (1/5) reported, "A local veteran of the Iraq war" named Austin Ellis, who has "been receiving continuing care" from a Veterans Affairs hospital, "said he’s thankful for the generous people who have helped him after his apartment was cleaned out by burglars over Christmas." After noting that the VA’s help, Ellis "said, has been great," KMBC noted that following the robbery, Kansas City residents have donated items like socks and an alarm clock to Ellis. 

8.      Help With VA Benefits Doesn’t Cost A Thing. A letter to the editor of the Jacksonville (NC) Daily News (1/5). 

9.      Getting The Word Out. In the New York Times‘ (1/6) "Home Fires" blog, Iraq veteran Dan Clare, who "serves as Assistant National Director of Communications for the non-profit Disabled American Veterans (D.A.V.)" writes, "The D.A.V. is an established organization, but to many people my age and younger, that means ‘old.’ We’re trying to turn that perception around and to motivate more veterans to get involved in our cause." 

10.    Seminole Behavioral Lands $49,000 Grant. The Orlando Business Journal (1/6).


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