Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today's News

From the VA:

1.      Shinseki Tours Livermore VA Hospital With Lawmakers Hoping To Keep It Open. The San Jose (CA) Mercury News (10/19, Benca) reports, “Local political leaders made a pitch Monday” to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for the “continued operation of the Livermore VA hospital. While no firm decision has been made regarding the future of that facility, congressmen Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, who along with a number of local veterans led Shinseki on a tour of the campus, said they hope it can remain open in some capacity. ‘I was very pleased about how it went,’ McNerney said of the meeting with Shinseki.” The Walnut Creek, California-based Contra Costa Times (10/19, 175K) runs the same story.

     The Pleasanton (CA) Weekly (10/19, Ciardelli) notes, “The Veterans Administration plans to open a new medical facility in the San Joaquin Valley, said McNerney.” The Weekly also points out that VA is “still deciding what to do with the 113-acre facility on Arroyo Road in rural Livermore. ‘Secretary Shinseki wants to keep flexibility,'” stated McNerney, who has “said the 113 acres on Arroyo Road would make an excellent setting for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.”
     While At Hospital, Secretary Meets With Vet Groups, Hears Their Concerns. The KCBS-TV San Francisco, CA (10/18) website said Shinseki “paid a visit Monday to two dozen veterans in the East Bay to hear their concerns,” during “roundtable discussions” that “took place at the Livermore VA Hospital.” Shinseki “told the group he wanted to improve access to services, reduce the backlog of paperwork and end homelessness among veterans,” a point that “struck a chord with veteran Cary Martin,” who stated, “There are a hell of a lot of vets who are suffering” on the streets. KCBS added, “The younger vets wanted to impress upon Shinseki that student veteran groups in the community college system can help direct vets to services and programs, but financing is needed.”

 2.      Fed Says VA Fee Schedule Can Be Relied On When Meeting Appraisal Requirement. American Banker (10/19, Muolo, 10K) reports, “The Federal Reserve Board on Monday afternoon issued its much anticipated interim rules on appraisals, declaring that refusing to pay appraisers a ‘customary and reasonable’ fee will violate the agency’s new guidelines.” According to American Banker, the Fed said lenders and appraisal management companies could rely on the fee schedule the Department of Veterans Affairs uses for its panel of approved appraisers.

 3.      Virginia Company Wins IT Services Contract From VA. The Washington Post (10/19, Mizell, 605K) reports, “Innovative Management Concepts of Sterling won a $1.5 million contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs” to provide “information technology services, including telecommunications services.”

 4.      Discovery Of Plane’s Wreckage Solves Mystery For WWII Vet’s Family. CNN Newsroom (10/18, 10:49 a.m. ET) broadcast that the discovery in the Philippines of wreckage from a World War II vet’s plane “solves a mystery that haunted” Arthur Parkhurst’s “family for decades.” CNN showed members of Parkhurst’s family reminiscing about the vet and expressing satisfaction about knowing what happened to him.

 5.      Vietnam Vet’s Remains Identified. The Greater Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin (10/19, Stern) says 42 years after “being missing in action,” Vietnam vet Douglas Glover of Cortland, New York, will “get his own burial with full military honors after the Department of Defense announced over the weekend his remains were identified” Glover’s family “expects a funeral service to take place at Arlington National Cemetery in March or April.”

 6.      Veteran To Be Honored With Library In Vietnam. The Seattle Times (10/18, Bartley, 273K) reported, “Since the Vietnam War,” decorated veteran Chuck Meadows has “made more than 30 trips back, most often to organize retrieval efforts of unexploded ordnance, sometimes to build kindergartens or libraries,” and most recently, to lead other “veterans on tours to places they knew.” The Times added, “Many of Meadows’ men have raised money for a library in Quang Tri province to honor him.” The facility, “expected to be complete in March,” will “serve as a community gathering place and education center” and will “offer information to locals about land mines and other ordnance that, even 40 years after the war, still cause deaths and injuries.”

 7.      Vietnam Vet Receives Purple Heart 42 Years After Being Injured. The Omaha (NE) World Herald (10/18, Hammel) said that 42 “years ago in Vietnam, a young medevac” helicopter pilot named John Wood “suffered two minor gunshot wounds that should have qualified him for the Purple Heart.” Instead, Wood was “patched up and back on duty the next day, and his wounds were forgotten in the fog of battle. That oversight was finally righted Monday in a State Capitol ceremony led by a fellow Army vet,” Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman.
     VA Hospital Notified Vet Of Eligibility. According to the KETV-TV Omaha, NE (10/18) website, Woods “said he never thought about the Purple Heart medal until three years ago when he went” to a Veterans Affairs hospital “because of complications from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. The staff discovered his record and notified him,” after which time Woods applied for the medal.

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 8.      VA Using Mass Transit Campaign To Advertise Suicide Prevention Hotline. KOAT-TV Albuquerque, NM (10/18, 10:52 p.m. MT) aired a report on a “message of hope from the Department of Veterans Affairs,” which is “advertising its suicide prevention hotline with a mass transit campaign.” After noting that the campaign involves putting the 1-800-273-TALK hotline “number up on buses and shelters across the country from now until 2011,” KOAT said the hotline has “helped more than 180,000 veterans and their loved ones since it started in 2007.”

9.      VFW PAC’s Future Uncertain. In continuing coverage, the Weekly Standard (10/19, Warren, 83K) notes in its “The Blog” that “Blackfive reports…Richard Eubank, commander-in-chief” of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), has “announced a proposal to dissolve VFW’s political action committee to quiet outcry over some of the PAC’s endorsements of liberal, anti-war Democrats over Republicans, many of whom are actual foreign war veterans.”
     The “Washington Wire” blog for the Wall Street Journal (10/19, Carlton, 2.09M), meanwhile, says the PAC has largely shut down its operations amid a post-congressional endorsement backlash. According to the Journal, Eubank removed all board directors of the PAC after they would not comply with a request from him and other VFW leaders to rescind their endorsements.

10.    IG: Marion VA Hospital’s Quality Control Has Improved. The AP (10/19, Suhr) reports, “A southern Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital has made ‘substantial improvement’ in quality control since major surgeries were suspended more than three years ago in the wake of several patient deaths, a VA inspector general’s report has concluded.” The findings, however, which were “based on an unannounced, three-day inspection of the Marion VA” conducted in August, “critiqued the medical center’s procedures — not actual quality of care — and came with no recommendations, still leaving unclear when major surgeries could resume there.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (10/19, 238K) publishes a similar story, while WSIL-TV Carterville, IL (10/18, 10:03 p.m. CT) broadcast that in the IG report, the Marion VA received “high marks for patient care and safety, organization, and management.”
     Hospital Officials Help Dedicate Two New DAV Vehicles. The Carbondale-based Southern Illinoisan (10/19, Barker, 27K) notes that patients “may soon find it a little easier to catch a ride” to the VA hospital in Marion, because the “Ford Motor Co. recently donated two new vehicles for use in the Disabled American Veterans’ volunteer transportation network.” On Monday, officials from VA, “local Ford dealers and statewide DAV chapters gathered at Marion Ford in Marion and Vogler Ford in Carbondale…to dedicate two new vehicles donated to the program, which regularly serves about a quarter of the patients at the Marion VAMC. ‘We’re more than happy to provide the health care, but it’s a lot more than that,’ said” the VA hospital’s director, Paul Bockelman, who added that partnerships with “organizations like DAV” help “take care of our veterans.”

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