Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

From the VA:

Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

1.      Shinseki Addresses WWII Veterans At Pearl Harbor. Japan’s Kyodo News (9/4) reports, “Gathered on a battleship in Pearl Harbor, some 800 veterans on Thursday marked the 65th anniversary of Japan’s formal surrender ending World War II. ‘All great leaders know the mightiest undertakings succeed because of the strength and courage, determination and sacrifice, of men and women whose names will never be recorded in history books or memorialized in museums,’ said US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, a retired US Army four-star general and third-generation Japanese-American born in Hawaii.”

2.      Shinseki Addresses Rural Veterans’ Concerns In Minnesota. The Minneapolis Star Tribune (9/4, Brunswick) reports, “US Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki traveled to Mankato earlier this week to tour facilities dedicated to rural veterans’ healthcare and homelessness prevention. Accompanied by First District US Rep. Tim Walz, Shinseki stopped at the VA’s Mankato Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, which currently does not provide primary care services to veterans. The VA is trying to expand the clinic to include those services. Right now, the Mankato clinic provides only mental healthcare. Veterans seeking primary medical care still need to make the 90-minute drive to the Minneapolis VA, which is difficult for older vets struggling with mobility and for younger vets juggling work, school and families.”

3.      Connecticut Veterans Commissioner Touts Stand Down. The Bristol (CT) Press (9/3, Whipple) reports, “To State Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Linda S. Schwartz, ‘Stand Down’ is a special event. This year’s Stand Down is Sept. 10. The event is a day-long program of support services to help Connecticut’s homeless and needy veterans regain their independence in the community. … ‘We want to get the word out to veterans, their friends and families who may be in need,’ Schwartz said.”

 4.      Michigan Troops Care Package Effort Noted. The Detroit Free Press (9/4, Brintley) reports, “White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery and Michigan Military Moms are working together to provide ‘a little bit of home and comfort’ to overseas military troops. The organizations will be conducting a drive to collect items for care packages that provide entertainment and hard-to-get snacks that troops might ordinarily find in their homes back in Michigan.”

 5.      Event Spreads Information On West Virginia Veterans Services. The Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail (9/4, Umstead) reports, “Between 1,200 and 1,500 West Virginia National Guard members are helping with the Thunder Over the Blue Ridge Open House and Air Show this weekend at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport, spokesman Lt. Col. Michael O. Cadle said. From traffic control to parking and security, Cadle said Friday that uniformed guard members with the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing and 200 to 300 Army National Guard members from units elsewhere in the state were assigned to help with the event. … The static display surrounds about 30 information booths about veterans’ services as part of the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s 2010 Welcome Home American Heroes Celebration.”

 6.      Boy Scout Cleans Up Connecticut Veterans Cemetery. The Hartford (CT) Courant (9/4, Drury) reports, “Nick Chapman is just 14 but he has the instincts of a seasoned professional for the art of marketing. A member of Boy Scout Troop 203, Nick learned that many of the weathered marble headstones at the Windsor Veterans Memorial Cemetery needed sprucing up. So the Eagle Scout candidate started recruiting Windsor High School classmates, family, friends and other volunteers to spend a day cleaning the headstones.”

 7.      New Mexico Groups Help Veterans Transition To Workforce. KOAT-TV Albuquerque, NM (9/3) reports on its website, “Now that combat operations have ended in Iraq, soldiers are returning home in large numbers. Several organizations in New Mexico want to make sure returning soliders don’t fall through the cracks. … Capt. Michael Kozeliski with Marine for Life said a new program will help returning soldiers get job training and mentoring, as well as find a job. ‘What we’ve found is that a lot of Marines and military that are transitioning out, over 60 percent of the employers are saying they cannot write a resume, have trouble interviewing, need basic computer training,’ Kozeliski said.”

8.      New Veterans Treatment Court Established In Texas. The San Antonio Business Journal (9/3) reports, “Bexar County officials will establish a Veterans Treatment Court that will hear misdemeanor criminal cases that will take into account the mental health needs of combat veterans. The Texas Legislature authorized county commissioners throughout the state to establish Veterans Treatment Courts. … The Veterans Treatment Court will have the support of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Benefits Administration, the Bexar County Veterans Services Office and veterans family support organizations.”
     The San Antonio (TX) Express-News (9/4) adds, “As officials prepare today to announce plans for a veterans court in Bexar County, the statewide Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans legal services program is already thriving in San Antonio, State Bar of Texas President Terry Tottenham said.”

 9.      VA CIO Touts New GI Bill Processing System. Nextgov (9/3, Brewin) reports, “The Veterans Affairs Department has deployed a fully automated system to process benefits for veterans attending college under the 2008 GI bill just in time to manage the enrollment for the 2010 fall semester, top VA officials said during a press briefing on Thursday. Roger Baker, chief information officer at VA, said the new system, developed in partnership with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, went live on Aug. 23 and relies on rules engine software to increase the number of claims an examiner can process from 2,000 a day to 10,000.”
     Federal Computer Week (9/3, Lipowicz) adds, “The VA now is processing about 10,000 GI Bill claims per day, compared with 2,000 claims per day a year ago, Keith Wilson, VA’s education service director, said in a recent conference call with reporters. … The VA is gearing up for an anticipated surge in enrollments under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, from 157,000 last year to 206,000 so far in 2010, Wilson said.”

10.    Massachusetts Veterans’ Advocate Defends VA Medical Care. The Walpole (MA) Times (9/4, Wagner) reports, “Shortly after his discharge from the US Marine Corps in 1965 and early on in his business career, Stan Spear of Wellesley remembers how local veterans of World War II went out of their way to help him. Now, he is returning the favor as the new veterans agent for the town of Weston. … Addressing the sometimes shocking reports of healthcare lapses in the Veterans Administration’s medical facilities, Spear said that the VA system is ‘one of the best in the world as I understand it. When you hear about problems with soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I think they mostly stem from the backlog of trying to get them into the pipeline. At one point, that backlog was allowed to grow, and it’s hard to catch up. Right now, Eric Shinseki, secretary of Veterans Affairs, has made this issue a priority. It will take time, of course, and money, but he’s committed to the goal.'”

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