Top 10 Veterans Stories in Todays News – May 23, 2011

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Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources

We encourage you to browse our list so that you can take what you want and keep what you need

 

1. HBO’s ‘Treme’ explained: ‘Slip Away. NOLA.com Liguori appears to draw for Nelson the footprint of a planned medical complex to be shared by Louisiana State University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs — its boundaries: Tulane to Canal, Claiborne to South Rocheblave. …

2. Community project gets dozens of Hollywood’s homeless off the streets. Los Angeles Times A 20-member team, including members of homeless service groups, the county Department of Mental Health, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the police and business improvement district security, has been meeting every two weeks to get all 413 people …

3. Veteran Outreach Event | Cattaraugus County. Veteran Outreach Event. News from Procurement Technical Assistance Center, … colleges, universities and the Veterans Administration will present to help … to be knowledgeable in federal, state and local laws pertaining to veterans. …

4. State justice praises Montco veterans court. Montgomery County’s fledgling veterans’ treatment court … services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs while receiving …

5. Fighting never ends for soldiers. Berkshire Eagle In 2009 alone, the US Department of Veterans Affairs treated 143530 vets for the condition. “I couldn’t turn the TV off in my head — certain smells would trigger flashbacks of where I was, and I could not turn it off for a year or two,” Jones said. …

6. Groups help heal vets’ inner wounds. Berkshire Eagle The US Department of Veterans Affairs hosts Yellow Ribbon events in 30-day increments for three months after veterans come home. The events are designed to help vets understand their benefits and check in with the VA if they have any difficulties …

7. Returning Middle East soldiers cope with stress disorder. Burlington Times News – The US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as 95 percent of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have some form of PTSD. The extent of their condition varies greatly — many show milder symptoms of lasting anxiety, …

8. $60 million in outside help: the cost of human suffering. Park Rapids Enterprise To a lesser degree the US Department of Veterans Affairs compensates vets for education, insurance and burial services. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs paid Hubbard County vets more than $26000 in state soldier assistance …

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9. VA, state vets groups have new websites. The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched its new Returning Veterans … Information on services in local areas across Texas can also be accessed by …

10. Town hall connects veterans to resources. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health … so the VA has partnered with many local governments and organizations to … The department has developed partnerships with other state agencies and …

HAVE YOU HEARD?

Did you know that last year the President honored 13 outstanding Americans with the nation’s second-highest civilian honor, the Presidential Citizens Medal. The individuals who received this award were Americans who set out to improve their country and their communities through extraordinary service outside of their day to day jobs. In 2010, President Obama asked Americans to participate in the nomination process and this year we are proud to ask for your help once again.

For the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal we are asking you to look into your communities and nominate those everyday heroes who have performed exemplary deeds of service, including those who have demonstrated commitment to service in their own communities or in communities farther from home, who have helped their country or their fellow citizens through one or more extraordinary acts, whose service relates to a long-term problem, or whose service has had a sustained impact on others’ lives and provided inspiration for others to serve. Last year over 6,000 incredible leaders were nominated for their service, which often times goes unrecognized. The Presidential Citizens Medal offers a chance to thank those extraordinary stewards of service from across the United States.

For more information on the Citizens Medal as well how nominate an outstanding citizen, please read this letter from the President below and visit WhiteHouse.gov/citizensmedal<http://www.whitehouse.gov/citizensmedal> to watch the announcement video.

To nominate someone for the 2011 Citizens Medal, please review the criteria for this year’s medal<http://www.whitehouse.gov/citizensmedal/criteria>. Additional awardees may be selected outside of the public nomination process. In order for the individual to be considered for the Medal:

 *   Nominees must be citizens of the United States
 *   The nominee’s service must have been performed outside of his or her regular job.
 *   Nominations must be received by Monday, May 30, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

More Veterans News

 

11. Glimpse of Greencastle with Janice Wene. Chambersburg Public Opinion According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs: Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to …

12. VA Chief To Attend Clinic Dedication. Pacific (Guam) Daily News Secretary Shinseki “will attend the dedication of the new Agana Heights Community-Based Outpatient Clinic on Tuesday. The event begins at 10 a.m.” The article also notes that the 6,000-square-foot facility nearly doubles the size of the previous clinic.

13. Congressman Presses Navy To Name Next Ship After Fallen Marine. FOX News “A California congressman who blasted the Navy this week for naming a new cargo ship after labor activist Cesar Chavez is now preparing to file legislation that will direct the Navy to name the next available ship after a military war hero. Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, wants the next ship to be named after Marine Corps. Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who died in 2004 and was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Iraq.”

14. Vietnam Vet Graduates From Law School 35 Years Later.WCAU-TVPhiladelphia (5/20, Shimell, 5:42 p.m. EDT) reports on the belated law school graduation of a disabled Vietnam veteran who says he withdrew from school due to the anti-war protests of the early 1970s. After running for Congress and advising presidents on veterans issues, David Christian eventually graduated from Rutgers Law School 35 years later.

15. New Veterans Caregiver Program. WDTV-TV The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center’s new Caregiver Program “aims to keep veterans in their own homes, even if they need full time care,” by compensating “family members to stay home and take care of post 9/11 veterans that need 24 hour care.” Such “caregivers must undergo training with the VA.”

16. Senate Proposal Requires Outgoing Service Members To Take Skills Training. Northwest Florida Daily News Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, currently under consideration by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee “would require job-skills training for all service members before they separate from the military.” Currently the Transition Assistance Program is usually optional. The bill also “would allow service members to start the federal employment hiring process before they separate” and “the Department of Veterans Affairs would also be required to check on veterans periodically.”

17. WSU Tri-Cities Pledges Veterans Support. Tri-City (WA) Herald “Washington State University Tri-Cities on Wednesday became one of 20 college campuses in the state to pledge to be a Veteran Supportive Campus.” The pledges are “part of a statewide effort by the governor’s office, veterans administration officials and higher-ed agencies” that seeks “to make university staff more aware of veterans’ needs, to create veteran-specific orientations and to improve veterans’ use of the G.I. Bill.” WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Vicky Carwein also announced that “a new university committee for veterans affairs is being formed.”

18. Veterans Office Not Meeting Needs, Speakers Say. Navajo Times At a town hall, attended by Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, residents complained about the Department of Navajo Veterans Affairs. At the meeting, DNVA Manager David Nez “reported that his agency is continuing to develop a Navajo Nation veterans’ cemetery,” which “did not sit well with some in the audience,” many of whom would prefer money to go towards creating a VA medical center. Have one “close to home would eliminate the need to travel to centers in Prescott, Phoenix and Albuquerque.” However, Nez said “that money remains an issue for the department and there might be liability issues in renovating existing structures” into clinics “because they might be ‘unstable.'” Nez “also defended the department’s policy of limiting medical transportation assistance to once a year,” as “helping with each appointment would be costly and would take away from assisting other veterans.”

19. Caregiver, Veterans Services Available. Craig (CO) Daily Press Veterans service officer Ed Wilkinson notes that family caregivers and veterans “can apply for services authorized under a Veterans Affairs interim final rule that was published May 5. Eligible family caregivers of eligible post-9/11 veterans will receive comprehensive training developed by Easter Seals in collaboration with VA clinical experts. It is part of a package of new services that also include a monthly stipend, mental health services, and access to medical care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA, if the primary family caregiver is not entitled to care of services under a health plan contract.”

20. Lone Star College–CyFair Partners With The Texas Veterans Commission, Will Open New Veterans Affairs Center. In the fall Lone Star College–CyFair “will open a Veterans Affairs Center with both educational and counseling services in the new Center for Academic and Student Affairs building.” It already offers “career and counseling services for student veterans with” the he Texas Veterans Commission. Claudia Greenhaw, certifying official and advisor to veterans throughout the LSC system, said, “Veteran students have different needs than regular students, and we have to make sure their needs are met appropriately.” The school’s “new partnership with TVC allows it to offer specialty career services to veterans this summer.”

21. Kitzhaber And Military Funerals: Ted Kulongoski Is A Tough Act To Follow As Commander Of The Oregon Guard. The Oregonian No Oregon governor “ever has given more of his time or showed more compassion and respect to servicemen and women, and their families” than former Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Marine veteran who “was a fixture at scores of military funerals, deployments and welcome home ceremonies.” His successor, Gov. John Kitzhaber, “is facing criticism for failing to show up at either of the two military funerals that have taken place in Oregon since he took office in January.” While noting that it is “unrealistic and unfair to demand that Kitzhaber match Kulongoski’s extraordinary commitment,” the editors still “urge Kitzhaber to do whatever he can, even given his myriad responsibilities, to attend them, or at least privately and personally extend his condolences to the families.”

22. Louisiana Legislators Consider 20% Cut In State DVA Funds. KALB-TVLouisiana lawmakers “are voting to cut more than 20% of the Department of Veterans Affairs funding, which will directly affect more than 300,000 servicemen and women in the state.” One member of the Disabled American Veterans says that his group is lobbying legislators, and state DVA Secretary Lane Carson says the proposed cut of more than $800,000 would force the closing of 22 veterans service offices and stop work on a new cemetery at Fort Polk. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) had not requested the DVA funding cuts.

23. USFK Investigating Vets’ Claims They Buried Agent Orange On Base In ’70s. Stars And Stripes “US Forces Korea is investigating whether Agent Orange is buried at Camp Carroll, following claims from veterans who say they buried the toxic herbicide while stationed there in the late 1970s, a military spokesman said Friday.” Three former soldiers who were stationed there “recently told a Phoenix television station that they helped bury the chemical at Camp Carroll. According to a transcript of the report, Phoenix-area resident Steve House said he was ordered in 1978 to dig a ditch nearly a city block long that was used for burying 55-gallon drums, some with the words ‘Province of Vietnam, Compound Orange’ written on them.”

24. Women On War Front More Likely To Get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Than Men, Study Finds. Los Angeles Times Researchers, led by the Department of Veterans Affairs-New Jersey Health Care System, reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association that “women deployed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are emerging as a group especially vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder,” with 18.7% of women meeting the criteria for PTSD after returning home, compared with 8.7% of men. Researchers found that “the women were much less likely to feel well-prepared for combat before deployment and were more likely to report a lack of unit cohesion during deployment.” The study’s authors suggested that “training regimens may nevertheless fail to adequately address physiological differences between men and women, leaving women feeling less prepared for deployment to combat zones.”

25. Troop Morale Down, Mental Problems Up In Afghanistan. AP “Grim statistics in a new Army report released Thursday dramatize the psychological cost” of the war in Afghanistan. About 20 percent of troops reported “they had suffered a psychological problem such as anxiety, severe stress or depression.” Although “troops said they were receiving better training in suicide prevention and other coping strategies and that mental health treatment was easier to get at the warfront,” about half the soldiers surveyed “said they believe getting professional help for their problems would make them appear weak.”

26. Army Remains Committed To Health Of Troops.USA Today Dr. Lisa Zacher, a pulmonary consultant in the Army Office of the Surgeon General, writes that the article on how dust in Iraq and Afghanistan may be hurting troops through heavy metals, bacteria, and fungi “omits current and past investigations conducted by military researchers into the possible relationship between dust inhalational in Southwest Asia and clinical disease in deployed personnel.” The US Army Public Health Command concluded that the dust “had a similar composition to other desert regions.” Published peer-reviewed research by Army infectious disease experts did not find “a connection between bacteria in the soil and infections in servicemembers.” Zacher concluded, “The health of our servicemembers has been and remains a top priority for the Army Medical Department and our Department of Defense colleagues.”

27. Smart-Phone App For Vets With PTSD Hits 5,000 Downloads. Government Computer News A new smart-phone app developed for the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments that offers “support to veterans and service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has hit 5,000 downloads.” The app provides “a self-assessment for PTSD, support and treatment options, and tools for managing stress from the condition.”

28. Veterans Return To High Unemployment, Tight Job Market. Orlando Sentinel “Unemployment among…recent veterans is higher than among the rest of the population and among military veterans overall.” Military officials say that jobs “are harder to come by these days at defense contractors, historically big employers of veterans.” Furthermore, that gap “could widen later this year if the US military, as scheduled, pulls its remaining troops out of Iraq and begins its ‘drawdown’ of personnel in Afghanistan.”

29. Health Program Receives Award. St. Cloud (MN) Times The St. Cloud VA Healthcare System Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program “recently was awarded the VA Midwest Healthcare Network Mental Health Team of the Year award at the annual Mental Health Conference in Sioux Falls, S.D.”

30. Soldiers’ Burn Pit Exposure Scrutinized.WFLA-TVTwo US senators “want action to protect our servicemen and women from this: Burn Pits.” Army sergeant William McKenna, died from cancer believe to be cause by his work at a burn pit. His wife, Deana, “fought with the Department of Veterans Affairs to get her husband 100% disability.” After the station aired a segment on her flight, the VA granted him 100% total and permanent disability. “McKenna says her battle with the Department of Veterans affairs is far from over. In fact, she says she’ll continue to fight for other veterans that were exposed to the burn pits. … Dina McKenna also says that the VA needs to move more quickly to help troops that have already been exposed to the toxic fumes. … Because of complaints from veterans and pressure from lawmakers, the VA is now funding a study on the possible effects of burn pit exposure.”

31. Council Pushes Feds To Back St. Albans VA.New York Post New York’s City Council “unanimously passed a resolution Monday that asks the Veterans Administration to fully renovate” the St. Albans Veterans Center instead of tearing “down the hospital and renovate 30 acres for a new hospital while leasing the rest of the space for private development.” Veterans and elected officials have also called for the VA to reconsider its plans. “A representative from the VA said the agency has seen the resolution and continues to evaluate the development plan.”

32. Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center To Host Job Fair. WJBF-TV On June 9, “the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center’s Seamless Transition Center will host a Job Fair…for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) Veterans and their family members.” It will include “representatives from the Medical Center’s Human Resources Office, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Columbia County Sheriff’s Department and Northrop Grumman.”

33. VA’s Rural Health Team Makes Two Area Visits Next Week. WWAY-TV VA’s Rural Health Team is stopping twice in the Wilmington, North Carolina, “area to enroll veterans in the system, and provide health screenings and information.” At the stops, there will be “nurses who will be conducting health education, a nurse educator who can provide materials and discuss such issues as diabetes management and tips on controlling hypertension and cholesterol levels…pharmacists who can answer pharmacy related questions and review medications with individuals,” as well as “an eligibility and enrollment specialist will be on-hand to discuss VA health benefits and accept veterans’ enrollments on the spot.”

34. Couple Painted Murals Together. Dayton Daily News Henri and Nelda Franceus. The two ran a painting studio, and around 2000 the Dayton VA hopsital asked them to paint several murals. Henri said, “We started the VA mural project in late 2001 and worked through 2003.” It included three 9-foot by 20-foot murals and five 8-foot by 9-foot canvases of historical scenes for the restaurant.

35. In Interview, Dentist Says He’s Central Figure In Ohio VA Scare And Is Insulted By Claims. AP Dr. Dwight Pemberton, a dentist who is accused of failing “for years to change gloves or sterilize instruments between patients while working at” the Dayton VA Medical Center in Ohio, “says he’s insulted” by the allegations and believe the complaints “were leveled against him by co-workers whose ultimate target was his boss.” He also “accuses the VA of ignoring possible employees who would have testified in his favor.” Pemberton “said no patients were put at risk and that the VA had ‘aroused suspicions and doubts and fears’ by offering testing.” VA spokesman Todd Sledge said the department “cannot say whether Pemberton is the dentist accused of violating sanitation procedures.”

36. Bedford VA Counselor Charged With Selling Veterans Illegal Drugs.Walpole (MA) Times Patrick M. McNulty “was arrested Tuesday on a criminal complaint charging him with distributing cocaine at the VA Medical Center in Bedford,” where he supervised veterans undergoing substance abuse treatment. “According to the affidavit, a VA patient came forward in November 2010 to complain that McNulty was selling cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy to patients.” McNulty could receive 20 years incarceration, up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a $1 million fine.

37. Syracuse VA Medical Center Visits County Jails, Searches For Military Veterans Who Need Assistance. The Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard Syracuse VAMC “is visiting county jails in search of military veterans who need housing, treatment for drug and alcohol addictions, job training and other services. Veterans Justice Outreach is a new national program, part of the VA’s efforts to reduce homelessness among veterans.” Like other VAMCs, the Syracuse hospital has hired a coordinator to reach out to veterans incarcerated in local jails. Kynna Murphy, formerly forensic coordinator at Hutchings Psychiatric Center and a psychiatric social worker at the Onondaga County Justice Center, runs the Syracuse VAMC’s program. She will “work with unsentenced, incarcerated veterans in the 14 counties served by the Syracuse VA.”

38. VA Walk Promotes Wellness. Danville (IL) Commercial News The Veterans Affairs Illiana Healthcare System “will host a 2K walk and roll event June 2 in support of employee wellness month.” The paper notes that the local event “is just one of many 2Ks taking place that day at other VA facilities across the country,” promoting VA’s “WIN” (Wellness is Now) employee wellness program.

39. The VA is A-OK. Westside Today (CA) A volunteer at the West LA VAMC takes issue with earlier criticism by an ACLU official over outside groups being allowed to use parts of its campus, charging that the ACLU “goes out of its way to slam a terrific facility. Ask those who use its services.” He also argues that revenue from those groups is “used for VA needs, not all of which are provided by our government.”

40. Interest Grows In Navy SEALs And Their National Museum Located On The Treasure Coast. Treasure Coast Palm Since the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs, the director of the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce “said calls, letters and post cards have been arriving from throughout the world.” The museum, the only one of its type, also expects to see increased attendance at a Memorial Day service there open to the public.

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