Top 10 Veterans News From Around the Country

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Find out What’s Inside Today’s Local News for Veterans

  1. Filing Deadline Arrives For Filipino WW II Vets.
  2. Woman Lobbying For Gold Star Mothers Monument.
  3. Some Asking States, Cities For Vietnam Veterans Day.
  4. Black Hills VA Healthcare Hosts Women’s Retreat On PTSD.
  5. Connecticut Lawmakers Concerned About Tuition Waiver Program.
  6. Virtual Reality Experience May Help Reduce Wounded Vets’ Pain Levels.
  7. Specialists Look To Kaiser, VA For Help On Colorectal Cancer Screening
  8. Study Advises That Veterans’ Mental Health May Be Helped By Talking About Killing.
  9. As Pfizer Backed Healthcare Reform Bill, Former VA Head Principi Left Top Lobby Post.
  10. Iraq Vet’s Suicide Stirs Mauldin’s Son To OK Willie And Joe T-Shirts For Soldiers Project.

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1.   Filing Deadline Arrives For Filipino WW II Vets. The Philippine Daily Inquirer (2/16) reports, “Today is the last day for filing by Filipino World War II veterans of their application for a one-time lump-sum payment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to Jon Skelly, director of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.” The law, “signed by US President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009, authorized the release of a one-time payment to eligible Filipino veterans to be made through” the US VA “from a $198-million appropriation established for this purpose.” The Daily Inquirer adds, “In a video message posted on the US embassy website, Skelly encouraged relatives of ailing veterans to help them meet the deadline for the filing of claims.” The Manila Bulletin (2/16, Sabater), another Philippines-based paper, also notes the deadline.

2.   Woman Lobbying For Gold Star Mothers Monument. CQ Weekly (2/15, Zeller) reports, “Judith Young, who lost her son, Marine Sgt. Jeffrey D. Young, in the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, is trying to persuade Congress to commemorate gold star mothers by authorizing a monument to them in Washington.” Congress “periodically passes bills to memorialize people, groups and events, but few make it into stone and bronze.” Young, however, “says she’s visited every Senate office and 250 House offices to lobby for the bill.”

3.   Some Asking States, Cities For Vietnam Veterans Day. USA Today (2/15, Keen, 2.11M) reported, “Some Vietnam War veterans are fighting for a day of their own. They have persuaded several state legislatures and dozens of cities to designate Vietnam Veterans Day and are lobbying others for a symbol of the gratitude and respect they believe they were denied when they came home from an unpopular war.” After noting that the vets are not “seeking a national holiday that gives federal workers the day off,” USA Today added, “In September, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation making March 30 Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.”

4.   Black Hills VA Healthcare Hosts Women’s Retreat On PTSD. The Rapid City (SD) Journal (2/13) reports, “The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder clinical team at the Department of Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health Care System will host its semiannual Women’s Retreat from April 23-25 at the Fort Meade VA Medical Center. The program is intended for women veterans and “collaterals” –- including wives, domestic partners, mothers and adult daughters — of male veterans traumatized by experiences during their military service.”

5.   Connecticut Lawmakers Concerned About College Tuition Waiver Program. The AP (2/15) reports, “Some Connecticut lawmakers say the definition of veteran needs to be changed to make sure members of the military and National Guard benefit from a college tuition waiver program. Rep. Ted Graziani says there’s a policy at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London that allows cadets enrolled for at least 90 days to be considered veterans, eligible for benefits designed to help combat veterans and National Guard members earn degrees.” Members “of the legislature’s veterans committee say they’re working on a bill that would adjust the current law.”

6.  Study: Virtual Reality Experience May Help Reduce Wounded Vets’ Pain Levels. Medscape (2/15, Collins) reported, “A virtual-reality experience helped reduce pain levels in veterans with combat-associated burns during wound care treatment, according” to a study presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s 26th annual meeting. Meanwhile, “in a separate presentation, researchers said that the use of low-dose ketamine (120 μg/kg per hour), continuously administered intravenously, helped control severe pain from combat injuries due to improvised explosive devices, gunshots, and other causes.”

7.      Specialists Look To Kaiser, VA For Help On Colorectal Cancer Screening . The AP (2/16, Neergaard) reports, “The dreaded colonoscopy may get the most attention but a cheap, old-fashioned stool test works” as well when it comes to screening “for the nation’s No. 2 cancer killer – colorectal cancer.” And, “when California health care giant Kaiser Permanente started mailing those tests to patients due for a colon check, its screening rates jumped well above the national average. Now specialists are looking to Kaiser and the Veterans Affairs health system, another program that stresses stool-tests, for clues to what might encourage more people to get screened for a cancer that can be prevented, not just treated, if only early signs of trouble are spotted in time.”

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8.   Study Advises That Veterans’ Mental Health May Be Helped By Talking About Killing. The New York Times (2/14, A21, Dao, 1.09M) reports that “a new study of Iraq war veterans by researchers in San Francisco suggests that more discussion of killing may help veterans cope with an array of mental health problems stemming from war. The study, published last week in The Journal of Traumatic Stress, found that soldiers who reported having killed in combat, or who gave orders that led to killing, were more likely to report the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, anger and relationship problems.” The principal investigator for the study, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center psychologist Shira Maguen, “said the results suggested that mental health professionals need to incorporate killing more explicitly into their assessments and treatment plans for veterans.”

9.  As Pfizer Backed Healthcare Reform Bill, Former VA Head Principi Left Top Lobby Post. The Wall Street Journal (2/12, Strassel, 2.08M), in an opinion article headlined “Pfizer’s Bad Political Bet,” details how Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler came to support for the Obama administration’s healthcare proposal, and assesses how that may now boomerang on the company. It reports that after Obama’s election, Kindler “heeded congressional threats that companies would do well to have more Democrat-heavy lobby shops. Many of Pfizer’s free-market government hands have retired or been fired. In December, Mr. Kindler sent an internal memo noting the latest changes: Tony Principi, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs and now Pfizer’s senior vice president for government affairs, would soon ‘transition’ out of that role.”

10. Iraq Vet’s Suicide Stirs Mauldin’s Son To OK Willie And Joe T-Shirts For Soldiers Project. “Weekend Edition” on NPR (2/13, Simon) interviews the son of famed World War II Stars and Stripes cartoonist Bill Mauldin, who has authorized his father’s Willie and Joe GIs to appear on t-shirts being sold to aid The Soldiers Project, a non-profit offering free psychological treatment to military service members and their families. Sam Mauldin says that he was prompted by “reading a New York Times article back in August about a sergeant named Jacob Baylock, who had a very traumatic experience during his service in the Iraq conflict, and after he got out of the war, he was very psychologically troubled and the VA wasn’t very helpful to him. Be it understaffing or underfunding, they let him down and couldn’t give him the psychological treatment that he needed and that led him to commit suicide.” Noting that the uncaptioned t-shirts will meet military regs, Mauldin adds, “That would be something that would bring a big smile to my dad’s face, that people on active duty can wear Willie and Joe.”

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