Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – June 17, 2011


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

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1. Next step in vets nursing home pored over.  Clarksville Leaf Chronicle  Tim Barnes said in a separate interview that the state actually deemed the proposed site acceptable, but it drew scrutiny from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which had a different set of standards. The site rejection was just the latest setback …

2. Construction Company Owner Charged with Lying About Military Record to Get …  The contracts were awarded to Parker’s Silver Star Construction, LLC, under the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Program. The indictment alleges that in documents submitted to the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs in support of Silver …

3. Kognito Interactive & VA of NY/NJ Present Case Study on Simulation. PR Newswire / — Kognito Interactive, a NYC developer of online role-playing training simulations for behavioral health, in conjunction with the US Department of Veterans Affairs of NY/NJ (VISN3), …

4. HUD, VA to Provide Permanent Housing, Case Management. This is the fourth and final round of the FY 2010 Veterans Affairs … will work with state and local agreements to confront the root causes of homelessness, … People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and …

5. State wants to count how many veterans live here.  Tulsa World  Oklahoma will soon launch a campaign to determine how many veterans live in the state, said retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, Oklahoma’s secretary of military and veterans affairs. About 276000 veterans in …

6. Housing for homeless veterans.  WOAI  Almost $160000 has been awarded to San Antonio to help 25 veterans receive housing. We talked with one local veteran who said if it were not for this program he’d be homeless. With the help of a federal government grant, the local veterans affairs …

7. Iraq War veteran with PTSD could have charges dropped in police standoff.  Lansing State Journal  Navigating the Army and Veterans Affairs bureaucracies to get to this point, Reynolds said, “has been a nightmare.” But Reynolds added: “My whole focus has been – he needs to get treatment.” Eifert served two combat tours in Iraq, in 2003 and 2006. ..

8. Find site for local vets home.  Clarksville Leaf Chronicle…Now, however, the US Department of Veterans Affairs has rejected the site during its environmental study phase, at least partly because it was too close to Outlaw Field. It’s too back the VA didn’t figure this out long ago so that an alternate site …

9. Fired Veterans Affairs shelter director files suit.  Charleston Post Courier  Following the published reports, the US Department of Veterans Affairs decided to conduct an audit of the center, also called the North Charleston Community Interfaith Shelter. An employee who answered the phone there Wednesday said a new executive …

10. Nancy Cook focus of Veterans Affairs inquiry.  Charleston Post Courier  The US Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating whether the former director of a North Charleston veterans’ homeless shelter broke federal laws by using taxpayer-funded grants to bankroll her own lifestyle. …

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VA Expands Housing for Homeless Vets

VA is continuing to develop housing opportunities for homeless and at–risk Veterans by adding 34 VA locations across the country, which will increase the Department’s available beds by over 5,000. Learn more

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  • Obama’s Veterans Jobs Effort Has Modest Success. Army Times “The Obama administration’s big push to find jobs for veterans in the federal government has had modest success, a report from the Office of Personnel Management shows. In fiscal year 2010, the federal government hired 72,133 veterans, a significant number at a time when the unemployment rate for veterans of all generations hovered around 8.7 percent -and 11.7 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.” In discussing the report, OPM Director John Berry said that while Obama’s veterans hiring initiative “accomplished a lot in the first year, too many veterans are still unemployed and we’re going to keep pushing to do even better going forward.”

  • President Obama Increases VA Funding Request For 2012 And 2013. Healthcare Finance News “President Barack Obama requested $54.9 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) for fiscal year 2012 and $56.7 billion for fiscal year 2013, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office this week.” Officials with VA “said the new budget estimate was increased overall by about $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2012 and $1.3 billion for fiscal year 2013 to support healthcare-related initiatives proposed by the Obama administration, such as expanding homeless veterans programs, opening new healthcare facilities, offering additional services for caregivers and providing benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.”

  • Gates Warns Lawmakers Against Erecting “Fortress America.” CQ “Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly warned against a ‘Fortress America’ mentality amid mounting congressional calls for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, cutting aid to Pakistan and downsizing the US military presence in other parts of the world.” While testifying Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Gates also acknowledged the toll that America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken on veterans, who face issues such as mental health problems and homelessness. CQ adds, “In outlining plans to assess the best way to accomplish $400 billion in cuts that President Obama has proposed to security spending over the next 12 years, Gates said family support programs to address some of these issues, as well as military training, would be off the table.”

  • Ala. Veterans Cemetery Gets Preliminary Approval. AP State “officials say Alabama’s first state veterans cemetery has won preliminary federal approval and should get the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ formal sanction and $7 million in grant funding” in July. Alabama Veterans Affairs Commissioner W. Clyde Marsh recently “told Baldwin County commissioners that the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery project will be submitted for final approval on July 15.”

  • Health Tech, Broadband Key To Rural Development. InformationWeek “An Obama administration effort to coordinate federal programs for rural America is counting on healthcare technology and broadband Internet to help improve access to care and support economic development for people in rural areas.” The President recently issued an executive order creating the White House Rural Council, which will be chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The “heads of at least 25 additional federal departments and agencies, including Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki, also will serve on the council.”
  • Homeless Veterans: America Will Not Abandon Them. Wall Street Journal A lawsuit filed recently against Veterans Affairs “for inappropriate use of its West Los Angeles VA Campus.” Advocate Mike Day says VA’s “cadre of bureaucrats” offer “no real assistance” to vets in need of shelter. But Washington resident Craig Lindsay says there “are enough red flags in the cast of characters” suing VA “to make one think that suffering war veterans are being used as pawns by left-wing, antimilitary social reformers.” California resident Anthony J. Tarquinto says those who brought the lawsuit against VA “would do more good” by, among other things, “lobbying the president and Congress to cut draconian corporate tax rates.” This, he adds, would help to bring “high-paying jobs back to America, which the brave men and women in our armed forces truly deserve to come home to.”

  • Homelessness Dips In LA Country, But More Vets Are Winding Up On Street. Santa Monica (CA) Daily Press “Homelessness across Los Angeles County experienced a slight decline, but the percentage of homeless that served in the military is on the rise, according to a report released Tuesday” by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Last week, the “American Civil Liberties Union, in partnership with Santa Monica City Councilmember Bobby Shriver and various other parties, filed a lawsuit alleging that the Department of Veterans Affairs was not doing enough to combat homelessness amongst veterans in the area.” But, between 2008 and 2011, “LAHSA helped house 1,039 veterans into apartments using Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers.”

  • SAHA Awarded New Round Of Funding To Help Homeless Vets. San Antonio Business Journal The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has “awarded the San Antonio Housing Authority $157,476 to provide housing and case management services for 25 homeless veterans. Meanwhile, the Houston Housing Authority” has “received $358,242 to support 50 homeless veterans and the Austin Housing Authority received $199,179 to help 25 homeless veterans.” The funding, which is part of an Administration plan to end veteran homelessness, comes from a program coordinated by HUD, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, “and local housing authorities.”

  • Civilians Lead Charge To Help Hudson Valley Veterans. FOX News More “veterans than ever are seeking help” from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Outside VA, the “Committee for the Families of Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans, a grass-roots organization in New York’s Hudson Valley, is working to help local veterans who need assistance getting back on their feet with jobs, bills and housing.”
  • Tiny Amounts Of Toxic Chemical Found Near US Base. AP “South Korea says tiny amounts of a toxic element found in Agent Orange have been discovered in three streams near a US military base.” Some US veterans “claim they buried Agent Orange at Camp Carroll in southern South Korea in the 1970s.” But in commenting on preliminary results of a joint investigation it began last month with the US, South Korea “says the amount of dioxin is too small to cause health problems.”

  • Fido Rules. Government Executive On Thursday, Veterans Affairs will “publish a 26-page proposed rule that broadens and clarifies current regulations related to providing service dogs to eligible veterans.” Currently, VA “regulations recognize only ‘guide dogs’ and not ‘service dogs;’ the proposed rule expands that definition. ‘This rule would provide the same benefit to all eligible veterans, so it is unnecessary to distinguish dogs by the services they provide,’ the draft rule stated.”

  • Bartenders Can Be Combat Veterans’ First Line Of Defense. Los Angeles Times Keith Anderson, an assistant professor of social work at Ohio State University, is the “lead author of ‘The Healing Tonic,’ a pilot study that explored the family-like relationships between bartenders and veterans” at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) “canteens across the state. The study’s results suggest that with some simple training, the women behind the bar – and most of them happen to be women – could be an untapped resource in identifying veterans in crisis and steering them toward professional help.” Anderson has “approached the VFW and the VA about preparing a brief online training video for bartenders at 3,500 canteens across the country.”

  • Marine Vet: Tie Psych Help To Disability Pay. Army Times 27-year-old combat veteran Daniel J. Hanson “said he might have received…help” prior to a mental breakdown he suffered if his disability pay had been contingent upon his getting treatment. Hanson made his comments on Tuesday, while testifying before the House Veterans Affairs Committee. The Times noted that at Veterans Affairs, Hanson “did receive some help but said the program ‘lacked any sort of discipline.'” Also testifying before the committee was Antonette Zeiss, VA’s acting deputy patient care services officer for mental health, who said that VA treatment is improving but “cautioned that ‘not everyone with PTSD who receives evidence-based treatment is likely to have a favorable response.'”

  • Benefits For VA Caregivers. Government Executive “The Veterans Affairs Department already has processed more than 1,000 applications for new benefits that would provide a monthly stipend for caregivers of severely disabled veterans,

  • Ribbon Cut At East End Veterans Clinic In Riverhead. Long Island Business News “East End Veterans Clinic has opened and is up and running at the County Center in Riverhead, giving veterans a new place to obtain health care on Eastern Long Island.” The clinic was “created to help local veterans cut down on trips to the Northport VA Medical Center, the region’s only full-service veterans hospital.” The “clinic opened in May, but members of the Riverhead American Legion Post 273 joined legislators at a grand opening on June 3.”

  • Medal Of Honor Returns To Vietnam. NBC Nightly News “There are 84 men alive today who are recipients of the Medal of Honor,” including retired Col. Jack Jacobs, who is NBC News’ military analyst. Jacobs recently returned to the Mekong Delta, “where his actions saved so many lives and where he nearly died four decades ago.” After NBC showed footage of Jacobs making that journey, Jacobs said that when he thinks about the Vietnam War, he thinks about friends “who didn’t come back,” friends “who got badly wounded,” and people he “served with and fought with and that’s what matters most.”

  • CDC To Survey Marines, Civilians About Possible Exposure To Contaminants. Fayetteville (NC) Observer “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to survey more than 300,000 Marines and civilians who lived or worked at two military bases to collect information about their possible exposure to contaminants. The survey will target those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune and at Camp Pendleton in California before 1986.” The survey will “collect information about health conditions possibly related to contaminants on the military bases.”

  • About More Than Just Medals. Durham (NC) Herald Sun A “team of…veterans who receive their medical care at the Veterans Affairs” hospital in Durham recently competed in the National Veterans Golden Age Games. The “Bull Durham VA Sports Team brought home 10 medals.” The Sun quoted James Walker, a member of the team, who stated, “The experience was wonderful. If you won a medal, that was gravy.”
  • One Big Honor For A Longtime Legionnaire John Napoleon.Greece (NY) Messenger Post “John Napoleon couldn’t have been more delighted with all the company Tuesday. ‘I’ll never forget this,’ said the Canandaigua VA Medical Center resident, clutching a plaque recognizing his 65th anniversary of membership in the American Legion.” The 94-year-old received the plaque at the hospital, whose director, Craig Howard, was there to help honor Napoleon.

  • VA Hosts “Veterans Appreciation Day.” Putnam County (NY) Courier “The Veterans Administration Hudson Valley Health Care System will hold a ‘Veterans Appreciation Day’ at the Carmel Community Outpatient Clinic at 1875 Route 6 in Carmel, on Saturday, June 18, from 11am to 3 pm.”

  • The SF VA Medical Center At The City College Of SF. Huffington Post “There’s a lot of good stuff happening for veterans everywhere in the US, and a whole bunch happening in San Francisco,” which has a “great” Veterans Affairs hospital. The facility has developed a “Veterans Outreach Program (VOP) that provides a ‘one-stop shopping’ experience at a convenient location” on the campus of the City College of San Francisco. The program’s director, Keith Armstrong, said VA hopes to replicate the program at other local colleges, as well colleges in other parts of the country.

  • Amarillo VA Brick Laying Ceremony Honors Veterans. KVII-TV Earlier this week, sounds of “patriotism filled the air…during a brick laying ceremony to honor and remember veterans. Family members gathered at the Amarillo VA Health Care System to lay these 101 bricks engraved with the names of their loved ones.” There are now “more than 1,200 bricks making up the ‘Patio of Honor'” at the Amarillo VA, whose director, Andrew Welch, said the project is a way to honor veterans and keep connected with their families.

  • Eaton To Provide Energy Distribution Systems For US Medical Center. Energy Business Review “US-based diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton has been selected to provide energy distribution system products” for a new $665 million Veterans Affairs hospital in Florida. The hospital is “currently under construction and is financed by the federal government.”

  • VA Gives Good Care. Alexandria (LA) Town Talk (
  • VA Hospital Went Above And Beyond. Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune Sheryl A. Book, the daughter of recently deceased veteran, praised the Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital, in part because of the facility’s “24/7 visiting policy.” Because of that policy, writes Book, her family was able to be with the veteran throughout his stay at the hospital. Book concluded by saying Truman is a “top-notch facility with top-notch employees providing the quality of care we as Americans would find befitting of those who served our county.”
  • Arlington Back On Track.San Antonio Express-News
  • Iraq War Veteran Treks Across US To Assist Service Members. Roanoke Times “Every undertaking has to start somewhere, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Trujillo is launching an effort to support his fellow servicemen and -women with an almost 3,000-mile trek across the United States. Trujillo said he is walking across America to get the word out about One Soldiers Dream, the organization he founded last year to aid deployed soldiers and their families.” The trip, which began in California and will end in Washington, DC, brought Trujillo “to the Roanoke Valley on Wednesday.”
  • Victim’s Friend Blames PTSD.Dothan (AL) Eagle


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