Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – June 13, 2011

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

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1. Celebrating Victory Memorial Drive.  Twin Cities Planet  Remarks were also heard from other local elected officials and distinguished guests including Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson and Robert Petzel from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Petzel, a Minnesota native appointed as Under …

2. Veterans housing project benefits vets and the VA.  MPNnow.com  The VA wants to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2014. The endeavor also serves as a model for the redevelopment of more buildings on the Canandaigua campus — an important consideration for a facility that was slated for closure by the federal …

3. Region’s job outlook brightens.  Omaha World-Herald  Were it not for a $376 monthly benefits check from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, food stamps and a federal housing voucher, he doesn’t know how he could have gotten by. But the north Omaha resident recently landed a new job doing maintenance …

4. American Legion post wants veterans registered for VA benefits.  Times-Georgian…Post 143 will offer a free clinic this month, providing the registration forms and educating veterans about benefits offered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The clinic will assist veterans by explaining the process, but it will be up to the …

5. Soldiers mental health can’t be treated by VA alone, expert says in Missoula.  The Missoulian  Marks and others spent the day outlining the scope of the challenges faced by America’s new generation of veterans, who, for reasons that relate to the nature of today’s combat, the culture of the military and the state of veteran health care in …

6. Scorecard: tackles shameful politicians, a gutsy citizen and theater festival.  Winston-Salem Journal  The winners can choose to fly a flag displaying symbols approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, as the Journal’s John Hinton reported. Or they can choose not to have a flag flown, as Becker did. That seems an appropriate choice, …

7. Letter: Learn the code of etiquette of our flag.  TCPalm  The US Department of Veterans Affairs “Guidelines for display of the Flag” contains illustrations of the proper way to display the flag. Public Law 94-344, the Federal Flag Code, contains rules for handling and displaying the flag. …

8. Ivy Tech Freezes Tuition For Veterans, Guard Members.  nwitimes.com  Ivy Tech’s Veterans Affairs Office serves as a liaison between students who are veterans, their dependents and the US Department of Veteran Affairs. The Ivy Tech office assists students with veteran status and dependents of service members who are …

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9. Veterans job fair slated for June 17 in Escondido.  SignOnSanDiego.com  More than 28000 recent veterans live in San Diego County, the highest count in the nation, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Attendees should “dress for success” and bring many resumes.

10. U of L Proteomics Core Wins $375K from VA to Add Mass Spec. Proteo Monitor  By Adam Bonislawski The University of Louisville’s Proteomics Biomarkers Discovery Core laboratory said this week it has been awarded $375000 by the US Department of Veterans Affairs for the purchase of a new mass spectrometer. According to Jon Klein, …

 

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  • After fighting for his country, Iraq veteran now fights for a job.  Bend Bulletin  After tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, US Navy veteran Eric Smith has had difficulty finding full-time employment, and his VA disability check is too small to cover expenses, forcing him to move back in with his parents. His story is echoed by thousands …
  • Golden K gets update on Vietnam Memorial ‘Moving Wall’ visit.  Newnan Times-Herald…Times-Herald reporter Alex McRae spoke briefly to the club about The Times-Herald’s efforts and gave special thanks to members of the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs, which is organizing and managing the Veterans Muster. McRae also applauded the …

  • Veterans Home Residents Upset That Michigan Budget Cuts Are Targeting Their Caregivers. Grand Rapids (MI) Press “Don Slocum sought relief from the heat in the shade of tall trees outside the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans as he pondered losing people he considers his family. The Korean War veteran and three-year resident of the state-owned home is unsettled by a plan to privatize the jobs of 171 resident care aides at the 758-bed retirement and nursing facility.” Contracting with a private company to replace state employees “would save the state $4.2 million, according to budget documents. In fact, privatization is the largest single budget reduction for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in the new fiscal year.”

  • Give Federal CIOs The Authority They Need. InformationWeek Discussions at a recent White House meeting of private- and public-sector CIOs show that, rather than technical competence, “the real question is whether agency CIOs have the clout and support they need to get it all done.” It offers two instances of agencies where the CIO has the needed authority: the FBI, where director Robert Mueller “has given CIO Chad Fulgham the support he needed to upgrade the agency’s IT infrastructure and to seize control of the bureau’s floundering Sentinel project from Lockheed Martin. And Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has teamed with CIO Roger Baker to pull the plug on troubled IT projects and make other, in Baker’s words, ‘hard decisions.'”
  • Help On The Way For Female Combat Veterans. DVIDS Hub Female combat veterans are “forming an all-female counseling and transition support group here at Camp Pendleton. The first meeting is scheduled for July 15 to help female service members cope with combat stress and common challenges they may face as they transition home.” The group “will be open to all combat veterans, including those who served on the Iraq Lioness program, female corpsmen who treated combat wounded and the countless veterans stemming from Vietnam to Desert Storm who served during a time when combat stress was an all-male issue.”

  • Norris City Woman Will Be Honored Next Week. Carmi (IL) Times A local Army veteran “is among Illinois women veterans being honored June 18, during the dedication of a statue on the grounds of Brehm Memorial Library in Mt. Vernon.” The bronze life-size statute depicts Revolution War icon Molly Pitcher and Iraq helicopter pilot Major Tammy Duckworth. Formerly director of the Illinois DVA and now a senior VA official, Duckworth will take part in the unveiling ceremony.

  • Despite Seoul’s Assurances, Local Governments Testing For Contamination Near US Bases. Stars And Stripes “As fears over possible contamination at US installations continue to grow, a number of local governments in South Korea have begun testing for chemicals around bases in an effort to dispel public concern about tainted soil and drinking water. Seoul became the latest city to do so, testing underground water near US Army Garrison-Yongsan this week for dioxin and other pollutants. The testing follows allegations made last month by three US veterans who said they buried drums of Agent Orange at Camp Carroll in 1978.” While the South Korean Ministry of Environment “has no plans to check underground water for chemicals or oil near bases across the peninsula, though some local governments may decide to do so, a ministry official said.”

  • Study: Sleep Disorders Normal For Post-Combat Troops. Stars And Stripes “Sleeping disorders reported by troops returning from the war zone may be a normal result of time in combat rather than a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, according to a study to be published this summer in the peer-reviewed journal Military Medicine. “Sleep Disruption Among Returning Combat Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan,” presented during last month’s American Psychiatric Association annual meeting, examines the sleep patterns of 69 servicemembers who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan between 2006 and 2008.”
  • Games Lawyers Play With History In Los Angeles. Forbes,  Santa Monica resident Carolina Winston Barrie as an individual plaintiff, in addition to the four homeless veterans, in the lawsuit challenging the VA’s renting out of a West Los Angeles given the government over a century ago. Described in the lawsuit as “a direct descendant” of Arcadia Bandini Stearns de Baker, who in 1888 co-signed the deed over for construction of a “national home for disabled volunteer soldiers,” plaintiff Barrie is, one ACLU attorney admitted, “the great-grandchild of one of de Baker’s sisters.” In fact, Forbes writes, de Baker “died without a will and without children or other ‘direct descendants.'”

  • ABC’s “Persons Of The Week” Are Volunteers Helping Military Families During Deployment. ABC World News On a trip to visit troops in Afghanistan with Defense Secretary Gates earlier in the week, “we kept hearing them over and over again worry about their families back home and long for the little things,” and noted Gates’ “‘request for Americans back home,” that they show by volunteering their help “that you care about their service.” In fact, the broadcast said, “all over the country, we found people trying to help. Summer camps, all volunteer, and all free around the country, for the children the troops left back home. A mattress company donating new beds so that mom and the kids can get a better night’s rest. And the families we spoke to said you have no idea what a difference a small thing can make.” So the segment “chose the army of kind strangers helping with little things on the homefront.”

  • Former US Marine Raising Money For Sentinels Of Freedom. Baltimore Sun “Terry Mahoney, a lifelong hiker and a bit of a military historian, will spend Flag Day this year trekking 18 miles past the sites that played roles in the Battle of Baltimore nearly 200 years ago. The 41-year-old veteran, who served six years in the Marine Corps, is walking to raise awareness and funds for severely injured veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All pledges to his effort will go to Sentinels of Freedom, a California-based organization that helps veterans who have survived devastating injuries get on the road to recovery.”

  • Couple Celebrates New Home, Wedding On Same Day. WDVM-TV  Army veteran who lost both legs serving in Iraq “has just moved into a brand new house built specifically for his needs” by Homes for Our Troops. And as the housewarming ceremony was going on, Sergeant Jude Rodriguez has planned a surprise for his wife Chris, who doesn’t know that the day will also be her wedding day. When the couple tours the home, “when they get to the master bedroom, she’ll see that her wedding dress is right here on the wall.” The account also notes that the Rodriguez home “is the 101st home built by Homes for Our Troops.”

  • Staten Island War Hero Enters New Home. NY1 Quadruple amputee Iraq veteran from Staten Island “moved into a custom built handicapped accessible home Saturday: A home funded entirely by donations.” Brendan Marrocco, after 26 months rehabilitation at Walter Reed, moved into the fully accessible $850,000 home built for him by the Stephen Siller Foundation and Homes for Heroes.

  • Fearless Victory Pairs Traumatized Mustangs And Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Boulder (CO) Daily Camera Medicine Horse Program, a Boulder non-profit which uses wild mustangs to deliver therapy to 500 clients yearly, including through its Fearless Victory Project that “focuses specifically on veterans suffering from PTSD.” The program’s executive director says that veterans “form relationships with wild mustangs who have also faced their own trauma of being torn from their families, chased by helicopters and trapped in holding pens. When veterans help us train the horses, the horses act as therapists to the vets, and reciprocal healing occurs.” Another program executive notes that Veterans Affairs “is also starting to send referral clients to the program.”

  • Veterans Mount Letter-Writing Campaign In Bid For VA Hospital In South Texas. KGBT-TV  A letter-writing campaign by area veterans in an attempt to persuade Congress to create a full-service in-patient VA hospital. The report notes that “three Congressional sessions have passed, and S 936 “hasn’t had much momentum.” Two organizers say they have already sent over 700 letters to Senate Veterans Affairs leaders, and note that the absence of a local hospital forces area veterans to travel to San Antonio for care.

  • Temple VAMC Hosts Ready Reserve Muster. KCEN-TV The Ready Reserve Muster hosted by the Temple VAMC. Iraq veteran Crystal Kepler relates some of her experiences and says that the session will “let me know about my VA benefits.” The reporter notes that VA program manager Denise Ryals “says many vets miss out on five free years of healthcare if they have a combat-related injury like post traumatic stress.” She appears on-camera as she tells a group of reservists that they should “at least get enrolled so if things do start to happen, if they do, you’ll have a point of contact, you will know who to call.” At the end of the segment, the anchor tells any viewing veterans who haven’t enrolled with the VA healthcare system to “contact your local veterans affairs office.”

  • Clinic For Vets To Open In Fall. Keene Sentinel “The opening of the Keene veterans outpatient clinic and mental health center has been delayed due to design and contracting complications. Originally scheduled to be completed this spring, the new clinic in the Curran Building on Route 101 is slated to open in September, according to Andrew LaCasse, the White River Junction (Vt.) VA Medical Center public affairs officer.”

  • Ribbon Cutting, Health Fair At VA Clinic June 30. Missourian “A ribbon cutting and grand opening for the new community based outpatient clinic (CBOC) for veterans in Washington will be held Thursday, June 30, at 9 a.m.” A health fair hosted by the clinic will follow. Operated by St. Louis VAMC, the clinic had a soft opening on May 31.

  • Cadets Raise Funds For Fisher House. Murfreesboro (TN) Daily News Journal “Two JROTC programs recently held fundraisers to benefit families of veterans receiving medical treatment at the York VA Medical Center. Cadets at Siegel High raised $500 during a bake sale at the school, while the Riverdale High battalion raised the same amount collecting aluminum cans. Both schools donated all proceeds to the Fisher House effort.” Their efforts are part of a local campaign to raise $3 million to build a Fisher House at the York VAMC to serve as a “home away from home” for families of patients at the Murfreesboro or Nashville VA hospitals.

  • Property Tax Exemption Available To Members Of Military. St. Petersburg (FL) Times A property tax exemption “is now available to military service members who were deployed during the preceding calendar year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska or Hawaii in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn.” Deployed veterans are advised to submit proof from the VA or a military branch, and to consult the county appraiser’s office for further information.

  • Team Semper Fi Helps Wounded Warriors Compete In Athletics. Oklahoman “If not for Team Semper Fi, injured Marine veteran Dan Govier says he probably would just be sitting in the basement of his Wisconsin home. Instead, Govier, who was wounded in Iraq in 2003, competes in archery at Paralympic events across the country, including this weekend’s Endeavor Games in Edmond.” Started seven years ago, the Semper Fi Fund has raised over $50 million to help injured Marines and sailors, or other military personnel injured while supporting Marine or Navy operations. It helps “pay their mortgages, modify their homes and provide financial assistance where needed,” and aids not only those injured in combat, but also those hurt in civilian accidents or facing serious illnesses.

  • Procedures At Arlington Cemetery Improving Under New Management. WROC-TV One year after the investigation began into a breakdown in accountability and record-keeping at Arlington National Cemetery, the new management says it is making some progress. According to Army National Cemeteries Program executive director Kathryn Condon, an early priority was “to digitally record the front and back of each grave marker. The cemetery’s 624 acres were then digitally mapped to allow comparison with paper records for accuracy.” Improved scheduling allows Arlington National to conduct as many as 30 military funerals each day.

  • Maine Military Museum Opens In South Portland. WGME-TV A grand opening of the Maine Military Museum, attended by Gov, Paul LePage and Secretary of State Charlie Summers. Maine veterans who were POWs in World War II and the Vietnam War were present, and the Museum was given a flag which flew over the US embassy in Baghdad.
  • Veterans Use Fishing In Easing Recovery Process From Injuries. All Headline News “Veterans from Battle Creek VA Hospital will be hitting the water for a day of kayak fishing” to aid their recuperation, as the non-profit Heroes on the Water stages an outing for the second straight year.

  • Wounded Warriors Dive At The Aquarium. WMAR-TV “Nine wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center were able to live a dream and dive into the Aquarium as part of their rehabilitation programs. The National Aquarium, together with the United States Coast Guard and Soldiers Undertaking Disable Scuba (SUDS), welcomed the nine wounded warriors to the Aquarium for a special dive experience.” Dive professionals from the Aquarium accompanied the soldiers in the water.

  • Kick-Off Planned For Sept. Homeless Vets Event. Access North Georgia “Community leaders have been invited to a meeting next week in Gainesville for a briefing on a two-day event planned for September benefiting homeless veterans.” The September 24-25 Veterans Stand Down will provide a “supermarket” of services for homeless veterans and will be held in Oakwood, Georgia at a location to be determined.

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