Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

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1.      Thousands Of Vets From Current Wars Homeless. In continuing coverage, ABC’s This Week (12/26, 10:00 a.m. ET) broadcast that many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are “finding their transition to civilian life overwhelming, sometimes complicated by post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, unemployment, and difficulty adjusting to ordinary life after the extreme environment of combat. Thousands of veterans have been left homeless,” said ABC, which did note that the Department of Veterans Affairs has teamed up with New York City’s “Department of Homeless Services to help identify and house veterans in need.” Bob Woodruff, who covered this story for ABC , said at the end of his report that while the “government is doing a lot” to help homeless vets, “all these holes” in assistance have to be filled “in the private world, as well.”
     Shriver Praised For Assisting Homeless Vets. The Santa Monica (CA) Daily Press (12/27, Bauer) reports, “It’s time to bestow the Annual Sammies – figurative awards to deserving local folks who blew it big time, fell on their face or grabbed the golden ring. Let’s begin with outstanding accomplishments,” which include securing “housing for homeless veterans.” City Councilman Bobby Shriver has “worked for expanding housing and related services at the Veterans Administration in Westwood for years,” and “last June, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki committed $20 million to renovate and rehabilitate one of three buildings earmarked by Shriver and others for housing and services.”
     Military Using Special Programs To Assist Wounded Vets. ABC’s This Week (12/26, 10:11 a.m. ET) spoke to “Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the vice chief of staff” of the US Army, who said, “One of the things that we’re trying to do — all the services are doing” — is to use a Wounded Warrior Program for “soldiers who are wounded most seriously” and “ensure that they get the help that they need,” while also “ensuring” that they wind up in the “VA system” as they transition to civilian life.
     Chiarelli: Disability Claims Evaluation System Needs To Be Fixed. Chiarelli later spoke with ABC’s This Week about a backlog of VA claims, stating, “The partnership we have with VA today is better than it’s ever been before, and I say a lot of that’s because” of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. But Chiarelli said the disability evaluation system needs to be fixed because it “is a World War II relic” that was not designed for an “all-volunteer force.”
     Shinseki Aiming To Reduce Claims Backlog. Federal News Radio (12/27, Miller) reports, “Facing a strict timeline and under orders from its secretary, the Veterans Affairs Department on average hired 3,000 new employees in 67 days. The agency created a tiger-team to ensure the hiring process hit few, if any, speed bumps.” John Sepúlveda, the agency’s “assistant secretary for human resources and administration, said Secretary Eric Shinseki wanted the average time reduced to bring on new employees to help reduce the backlog of disability claims and to implement the provisions of the new GI bill.”
     First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden Urging Americans To Reach Out To Vets. Later on during its “This Week” program, ABC (12/26, 10:23 a.m. ET) said, “Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama are challenging all Americans to…find ways to support and engage” military families. The show played video of Dr. Biden saying, “One-quarter of all those men and women serving in Afghanistan” are in the National Guard, so “there has to be someone” like that “in your community. … And so reach out, take over a pie that you’ve baked or just stick a note” of thanks in a veteran’s mailbox. A UPI (12/27) story run by at least 14 publications notes the story on vets run by “ABC’s This Week.” The WWLP-TV Springfield, MA (12/26, Perry) website took similar note of ABC’s story.
     Obamas, Bidens Visit With Military Families On Christmas. CNN Sunday Morning (12/26, 8:36 a.m. ET, 100K), meanwhile, said that Dr. Biden and her husband, the Vice President, “spent part of their Christmas…with troops and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.” Also on Christmas, according to CNN, President Obama and the First Lady visited the “Marine Corps base in Honolulu,” where they extended “holiday wishes to the military families who are there.” CNN pointed out that the President and Mrs. Obama have “stopped by to visit the same base during some previous Christmas vacations.”
     ABC World News (12/26, story 5, 1:00, Harris, 8.2M) and NBC Nightly News (12/26, story 7, 0:35, Holt, 8.37M) also briefly took note of the base visit, near the end of larger reports on the Obama Christmas vacation. The CBS Evening News (12/26, story 7, 0:15, Mitchell, 6.1M) aired a short report that focused solely on the base visit, pointing out that this was the “third Christmas in a row” that President Obama and the First Lady “have gone to the base.” 

2.      Obama To Shut Down Federal Career Intern Program.  The Washington Post (12/26, 9:33 PM, Davidson) reports that President Obama plans to issue an executive order, perhaps as early as this week, ending a federal internship program that critics say circumvents proper hiring practices. Since it began in 2001, the Federal Career Intern Program has been used to hire more than 100,000 people — few of them interns as traditionally understood and many of them border and customs officers who later became full-time federal employees. The program has drawn fire from federal employee unions and from the government board that oversees federal hiring practices, which ruled in November that the program undermined the rights of veterans, in particular, who were seeking federal work.” The Post noted several cases in which the Merit Systems Protection Board had ruled against the program, including one in which plaintiff Larry Evans “said the Veterans Affairs Department violated his veterans’ preference when it used the intern program to fill all nine openings for service representatives in its Columbia, S.C., facility.” 

3.      State To Review 4 Proposals To Build A Military Veterans Home In Eastern SD. The Chicago Tribune /AP (12/24) reports that four written proposals “to build a 50-bed nursing home for military veterans in eastern South Dakota have been submitted to the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.” State legislation authorizing a second veterans’ home sets a June 30, 2013 deadline for the start of construction. 

4.      ‘Shrine Status’ Awarded To Location.  The website of West Hawaii Today (12/24, Lucas-Zenk) reports, “It’s hard to overlook the serene beauty of the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery, which has been touted as the ‘Arlington of the Pacific.’ The 62-acre cemetery in Kailua-Kona received a boon this month when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded it ‘shrine status,’ a designation three state-owned veterans cemeteries nationwide have achieved.”

5.      2010 Legislative Summary: Military Construction-VA Appropriations.  CQ Weekly (12/27) reports, “The spending bill for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was one of only two fiscal 2011 appropriations bills that passed in the House.” The Senate Appropriations Committee “approved a version of the bill, but the measure stopped there. Programs under the bill are funded mostly at fiscal 2010 levels through March 4, 2011, under a continuing resolution (HR 3082 – PL 111-322).” 

6.      House Ranking Members In 112th Congress.  At the end of an article listing the ranking members of the House in the 112th Congress, CQ Weekly (12/27) says US Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) will be the ranking members on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. 

7.      2010 Legislative Summary: War Supplemental Appropriations.  CQ Weekly (12/27) notes, “With Republicans tipping the balance, the House in July cleared a $58.8 billion fiscal 2010 supplemental spending bill devoted primarily to paying for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Among other things, the bill, which the President signed on July 29th, “included…$13.4 billion in mandatory funding for the Veterans Affairs Department to cover claims by Vietnam War veterans exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange.”
     Decision To Expand Agent Orange Coverage Significantly Increases VBA Claims. CQ Weekly (12/27, Carter, Young) also says that with “time running out, lawmakers last week agreed to freeze funding for most” Federal programs “at fiscal 2010 levels for the next two and a half months.” After stating that the “decision was largely a victory for Republicans, who want a chance to shape government operations more to their liking early next year,” CQ points out that the bill “provides $2.1 billion” for the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), an “increase of $460 million over the fiscal 2010 level, in order to prevent layoffs of claims processors and to support efforts to reduce the processing times of disability claims.” The VBA is “facing a significant backlog of claims, and” a VA “decision to expand coverage for exposure to Agent Orange,” which “has increased claims…by more than 50 percent.”   The fourth item in Paul Croteau’s column for the Keene (NH) Sentinel (12/26, 11K) said VA “recently began paying disability compensation to Vietnam veterans who qualify under the three new presumptive illnesses associated with Agent Orange exposure – B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease – but providing initial payments or increases to existing payments to the estimated 200,000 veterans who now qualify could take several months.” Croteau noted that officials with VA “encourage all Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffer from one of the three diseases to make sure their applications have been submitted by calling 800-827-1000 or going online to www.fasttrack.va.gov.” 

8.      Fewer Than Half Of Eligible Vets Have Applied For Stop Loss Compensations. The CBS Evening News (12/26, story 8, 2:40, Mitchell, 6.1M) broadcast, “Thousands of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan may be leaving money from Uncle Sam on the table.” While troops “whose tours of duty were extended in a program called ‘stop loss’ are owed special” pay under the Stop Loss Compensation Act, “fewer than half those eligible” for such compensation have applied, “despite what the Pentagon calls its best efforts” to have them do so. This month, however, Congress “extended the filing date” for eligible vets to apply for stop loss compensation. The KTVN-TV Reno, NV (12/27, Szesciorka) website publishes a similar story. 





9.      Veterans’ Education Benefits Expanded To Include Tuition Reimbursements For Trade Schools.  CQ Weekly (12/27, Symes) reports, “Legislation to expand education benefits available under the GI Bill for veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001, has been cleared by the House” and the Senate. The measure “would expand the post-Sept. 11 GI Bill…to include tuition reimbursements for vocational and trade schools and an annual book allowance for individuals in non-degree programs. It also would pay benefits for on-the-job and vocational training, as well as flight training and correspondence courses.” 

10.    The Effects Of Spirituality In Alcoholics Anonymous On Alcohol Dependence. Medical News Today (12/25) reports that new research “shows that attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may increase spirituality and help decrease frequency and intensity of alcohol use.” In one interesting finding, the research determined that the same amount of recovery is seen in agnostics and atheists in AA programs, indicating they must have additional mechanisms beyond spirituality for behavioral change. Keith Humphreys, a Career Research Scientist with the Veterans Health Administration and Stanford psychiatry professor, commented that “alcoholic patients with little or no interest in spirituality attended AA and seemed to change even more than did those who had a pre-existing, strong sense of spirituality.” The study, with lead author associate professor Harvard Medical School John F. Kelly, will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 


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OTHER NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY

11.    Fort Carson Sees Progress In Mental Health Battle As Suicides Drop.  The Colorado Springs Gazette (12/24, Philipps) reports, “The murder rate for Fort Carson troops is dropping. The suicide rate is too. So is the rate of soldiers locked in the local mental hospital for suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Army officials say it is because changes made in the last few years are finally taking hold. And when Army brass come to tour Fort Carson looking for the keys to the success, they often stop in the office of a friendly, young psychologist named Captain Katie Kopp.” In one of the changes the Army has made to deal better with mental health issues, behavioral health officer Kopp was “basically a combat shrink” who, unlike the previous practice, stayed with the troops during their Afghanistan deployment. In addition, the service has boosted mental health staff, rotated combat brigade leaders less frequently and worked to build understanding of post-trauma stress disorder and remove the stigma on seeking treatment. 

12.    Review of Combat Stress in Women Veterans Receiving VA Health Care and Disability Benefits. Docuticker (12/23) posts a Congressionally-ordered VA Inspector General’s report reviewing the agency’s handling of combat stress-related healthcare and disability claims by female veterans. Looking at nearly 500,000 veterans discharged from active duty between July 2005 and September 2006, the report found that the VA “generally diagnosed higher proportions of female veterans with mental health conditions after separation, but lower proportions were diagnosed with the specific mental health condition of PTSD and with TBI.” It found no evidence that claims processors applied VBA policies and procedures differently when evaluating male and female disability claims. Evaluating VA training and testing of VBA evaluators of military sexual trauma claims, the report recommended additional training, as well as an analysis of the volume of those claims and how consistently they are evaluated.

13.    Together, a Holiday Spent Battling Double Demons From Combat.  The New York Times (12/24, A17, Haberman) profiles two veterans, one who served in Vietnam, the other in Iraq, who “have formed a bond living for the past half-year at Samaritan Village, an addiction-treatment residence” in New York City, as each works to overcome post-trauma stress disorder and substance abuse. The group’s Manhattan facility houses 48 “combat veterans, double-bunked eight to a room, almost as if they were in boot camp.” In addition to that and a similar residence in Queens, the group plans to open a third residence for female veterans, “some of whom have endured sexual assaults while serving their country.” 

14.    Seeking To Heal, Wounded Warriors Return To Iraq.  NPR (12/24, Amos) reports on the return to Iraq of a retired Marine corporal who in fighting there “sustained traumatic injuries that left him mute for two years. He and six other wounded vets are revisiting the battlefield in an unprecedented experimental program called Operation Proper Exit,” a program “designed to heal the deepest wounds by providing veterans with a week in Iraq, which includes a visit to the place where they sustained the injuries that dramatically changed their lives.” 

15.    University Develops Software for Disabled Veterans. Techzone360 (12/23, Rudra) reports that the State University of New York at Buffalo recently “announced the development of a new software program that helps disabled veterans gain independence in the way of typing letters, surfing the Web, listening to music and playing computer games with a single button or switch.” The program was developed last spring by four classmates in a computer engineering course. Local technology firm Applied Sciences Group. working under a $270,000 VA contract to develop an augmented communications network for veterans with spinal cord injury at the Haley VAMC in Tampa, is working with the students to refine their OmniSwitch program, which includes speech-generating software which will let nonverbal veterans use computers to communicate with each other and with caregivers, send emails and text messages, make calls via Skype and control lights and TV.

 UPI (12/24) similarly reports that University of Buffalo classmates say they developed software enabling quadriplegics and others to type, surf the Web, listen to music and play computer games.” 

16.    Humility Of Mary Shelter Wins National Award. The Quad-City Times (12/24, Wellner) reports that the Humility of Mary Shelter in Davenport, Iowa on Friday received the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Award. “Barry Sharp, director of the Iowa City VA Medical Center, handed the award to Cindi Gramenz, Humility of Mary program director, and Cathy Jordan, the shelter’s veteran program service coordinator. Sarah Oliver, VA homeless coordinator for the Veterans Outreach Center of Rock Island, nominated Humility of Mary for the award.”

17.    Use Of Web-Based Tools Raises Privacy, Security Concerns. In continuing coverage, InformationWeek (12/23, Hoover) reports, “The Obama administration might be pushing federal agencies to adopt cloud computing, but federal workers are already ahead of the curve, as the Department of Veterans Affairs recently discovered when it found out hospital employees were using Web-based tools from companies like Google and Yahoo on the job.” VA CIO Roger Baker told a monthly cybersecurity conference call that the government “can’t keep up with Google, Apple, Yahoo, and others who are creating grey apps for healthcare usage.” He added that the agency was treating the unauthorized tools as a security concern and blocking access to them when they are discovered.
    VA Facilities Violate Prohibition On Using Online Tools To Share Patient Data. Infosecurity Magazine, US Edition (12/23) reports that a number of VA facilities “have violated the Department of Veterans Affairs prohibition on using online tools to share patients’ information among facilities,” noting that VA’s monthly report to Congress disclosed the posting of patient information on Yahoo Calendar by the Chicago Health Care System’s Orthopedics Department. It adds that Baker “said that the VA is looking at ways to bring online tools inside the firewall.” 

18.    Veteran Struggles With Constant Pain.  The Chicago Tribune (12/26, Black) reports that more veterans are complaining about complex regional pain syndrome, an illness that “can cause lifelong medical nightmares for some adults and even children, usually after a mild trauma inflames the nerves, causing pain that never shuts off — even after the original injury heals.” They believe it stems from injuries suffered in the service,” even thought VA doesn’t recognize the condition. Thomas Pamperin, VA’s deputy undersecretary for disability assistance, argues that the agency in fact compensates veterans for injuries linked to complex regional pain syndrome, and that it’s unnecessary to assign a code to every disability. He maintains that “our ratings schedule is flexible enough to evaluate any recognized condition.” The Board of Veterans’ Appeals says it has about 500 cases this year related to the syndrome, which was formerly known as “reflex sympathetic dystrophy.” A former Marine from Crystal Lake, Illinois says that he sought help at the North Chicago VA Medical Center, but was treated so badly there that he complained to his Congressman, Rep. Don Manzullo, R-IL. 

19.    Agent Orange Compensation Eligibility Expanded. Canadian Government Broadens Eligibility, Extends Application Deadline Through June 2011. CBC News (12/22) reports that Canada’s federal government “is expanding its compensation program for Agent Orange exposure at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown to include those who died of a related illness before Feb. 6, 2006. Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn announced the new criteria for the program, which was originally designed for people who were exposed to the herbicide at the New Brunswick base in the 1960s. The government estimates that more than 1,000 additional people whose loved one died of an Agent Orange-related illness before the previous 2006 cutoff date will now be able to apply for the one-time, $20,000 ex gratia payment. The eligibility expansion is estimated to cost $24 million, Blackburn said.”
     Ottawa Makes It Easier To Qualify For Agent Orange Compensation. The St. John Telegraph-Journal/CanadaEast News Service (12/23, A6, Staples) adds that the compensation program is dropping a requirement that applicants who were being looked after by primary caregivers had to have been alive on Feb. 6, 2006, enabling claims by survivors of those who died before that date. Survivors’ groups, including Widows on a War Path and the Agent Orange Association of Canada Inc. welcomed the changes, but some said that they would continue to press for a full inquiry into spraying at the Gagetown base. One veteran took strong exception to a statement from Veterans Affairs Canada that “the best research available has confirmed there were no harmful long-term effects from the testing of Agent Orange.”
     Feds Lauded For Expanding Agent Orange Payment Eligibility. The Canadian Press (12/23) adds that the Canadian program requires that applicants have been diagnosed with a medical condition listed in the US National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine 2004 update and worked, trained, were posted to or lived within five kilometers of the Gagetown base when Agent Orange was tested in 1966 and 1967. 

20.    WWII Veteran, Once Believed Dead, Receives Medal.  The Los Angeles Times (12/25, Rosenberg, Mazzei) reports, “Cornelius Reagan, shot down over Indonesia during World War II, survived on his wits, tropical fruit and the raw flesh of animals. Then Japanese forces found him and imprisoned him in internment camps for more than three years. This week, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Miami honored his sacrifice by awarding the U.S. Army Air Corps second lieutenant, now 95, the Prisoner of War Medal — 65 years after he was released by the Japanese weighing just 92 pounds.” At the ceremony, Reagan noted that he had been honored previously, with a presidential citation and a Purple Heart for having been killed in action. VA associate director Japhet Rivera responded that Reagan’s record has now been set straight, and his story “would be great for a movie.” 

21.    Veteran Gives Home To Fellow Vet For Christmas.  Alton (IL) Telegraph (12/24, Bassett) reports, “A Vietnam veteran is spending Christmas in the first home he ever has owned, thanks to the generosity of a fellow soldier from that war. Retired Army Sgt. First Class Frederick Evanik, who is dying from lung cancer, decided to deed his trailer home to another veteran of the conflict, Steve Brown, who had been renting a room in a nearby trailer at Oak Ridge Trailer Park for several years.” 

22.    Christmas Ceremony Honors Port Chester’s Vietnam War dead. The Westchester (NY) Journal News (12/25, Valenti) reports, “Many ceremonies honor those who fell in war on Memorial Day but, in Port Chester, a growing group of veterans and others turn out each year to celebrate Christmas with servicemen from the village who died in the Vietnam War.”

23.    Celebrity Airman To Marry San Angelo Native. Triple Amputee Iraq Vet, Girl Friend Will Wed. The San Angelo (TX) Standard-Times (12/23, Sankey) reports that a triple amputee airman injured in Iraq who has been featured in cable and network news stories on rehabilitation and his girl friend “recently announced their plans to marry Memorial Day weekend.” Brian Kolfage Jr. says that he views his injuries “as a little bump in the road. I think what makes it easier is having the support of the military. They take pretty good care of me. Pretty much anything I need medical, they take care of. They take care of my school and my books. I get a disability check. It makes it easier not to have to worry about everything a normal person would have to worry about today.” 

24.    Ire Erupts As County OKs Vets Chapel.  The Vineland (NJ) Daily Journal (12/25, Smith) reports, “Goodwill to men was pulled from the agenda at the last Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting of 2010. Harsh words and hard feelings erupted Thursday night over allocating $500,000 to build a chapel at the county Veterans Cemetery in Hopewell. Freeholders approved the money on a 6-1 vote, with Democrats in support and the only Republican member opposing. The vote followed an unusually lengthy public hearing, with pointed remarks from every quarter, including the board.” Despite the contentious vote, the county spending on the chapel may not be a sure thing, as several board members noted that a further vote to begin work would be influenced by the county’s financial health next year. 

25.    Virginia Puts Homeowners On Fast Track To Foreclosure.  In a Washington Post (12/24, Hilzenrath) article on Virginia laws “making it easier for lenders to defend themselves when accused of giving homeowners too little warning of impending foreclosures” gives the example of Army veteran Scott Neff and his family, who “spent Thanksgiving packing their possessions and loading a U-Haul, staying up late in a painful rush to comply with an eviction order.” After his wife lost her job, Neff had applied for a modification “and they were awaiting an answer when the foreclosure notice arrived.” 

26.    A Warm Coat For A Veteran, Who’s Been Out In The Cold. AMVETS Store Stages Shopping Spree For Homeless Vets. The San Diego Union-Tribune (12/23, Steele) reports, “A Christmas shopping spree of a different kind happened Thursday in the early morning hours, in an industrial area with cars whizzing past on the highway. … This year, for the first time, AMVETS – short for the American Veterans Department of California Service Foundation — decided to have homeless veterans over to its store for a shopping trip,” inciting residents of the Veterans Village of San Diego winter homeless shelter to shop free of charge. 

27.    Legion Helps Vets Along Road To Recovery.  The Macomb (MI) Daily (12/25) reports that the American Legion “teamed up with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes for last week’s sixth annual Road to Recovery Conference and Tribute at Walt Disney World’s Swan Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The CSAH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping severely wounded troops from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. More than 400 guests, including more than 100 veterans who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, attended the free educational and motivational sessions over the five-day event, of which the American Legion was a co-presenter.” The conference provided seminars, workshops and panel sessions on benefits, services, insurance, health care and family issues; the VA provided counseling.

28.    Bobby Collins Honored For Service To Vets.  The Monroe (LA) News Star (12/25, Hilburn) reports that Bobby Collins has been received Louisiana’s Veterans Assistance Counselor of the Year Award for 2010. A Korean War veteran, Collins, 75, is the service officer for Franklin and Richland parishes. 

29.    Mount Hebron High Collects Gifts For Soldiers At Walter Reed. The Baltimore Sun (12/26, Burris, Sun) reports that students at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City, Maryland ” staged the fourth annual Operation Remembering Our Troops for soldiers recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda.” 

30.    NH Company Giving the Gift Of A Voice To Military Families This Christmas. In a PRWeb release (12/23) reports that online portal The Voice Library “a gift that keeps on giving to military families all over the country this Christmas season.” The Exeter-based company, whose service facilitates the recording of phone and computer conversations, is giving two-hour/two-year gift accounts to any member of the Blue Star Mothers of America. 

31.    WPost: Improvement Still Needed At Arlington National Cemetery. In an editorial headlined “Bringing Arlington National Cemetery Into The 21st Century,” the Washington Post (12/27, 605K) says, “Six months ago Arlington National Cemetery was in turmoil” as, among other things, “reports surfaced of mismarked graves.” While Arlington has “made headway in improving operations” since then, continues the Post, it must still move “forward with improved technology for accurate recordkeeping and scheduling, sufficient training, and established areas of responsibility.” The Post adds, “This process demands…continued oversight.” 

32.    VA Self-Puffery. In continuing coverage, an editorial in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (12/26, 175K) said, “Every tax dollar that the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Healthcare System spends on self-promotion is a tax dollar misspent — because it’s not spent on helping” veterans. The Tribune-Review said records “show that” such “self-puffery” exceeds “$1 million a year – what…VA’s local 17-member public relations staff earns in salaries and bonuses.” 

33.    VA Leads The World In Primary Health Care. An op-ed in the Pensacola (FL) News Journal (12/26) by Roger Gilmore, a “primary care provider for the VA Patient Aligned Care Team at the Joint Ambulatory Care Clinic in Pensacola.” 

34.    Coordination Key To Health Care In, Out Of VA System. A column in the Durango (CO) Herald (12/25, Schleeter). 

35.    For-Profit Schools Challenged On Recruiting Of Veterans. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (12/27, Malloy). 

36.    Neighbors Outside VA Footprint Face Dangerous Conditions. The WVUE-TV New Orleans, LA (12/27, Brown) website. 

37.    Works In Progress: Baptist Tower, VA Clinic And More. The Jacksonville-based Florida Times-Union (12/27, Bull). 

38.    Model Train Show At VA This Week. The Tucson-based Arizona Daily Star (12/27). 

39.    Audit Shows Losses At Rifle Veterans Nursing Home. The AP (12/27). 

40.    Volunteers Driven To Serve Veterans. The Hazleton (PA) Standard Speaker (12/27, Whalen). 

41.    Retired US Navy Traffic Controller Is 2010 Presidential Awardee. The Manila-based Philippine Daily Inquirer (12/27).

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