Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – June 27, 2011


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. PH seeks US help for vets.  Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has asked the US Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to reconsider the cases of Filipino World War II (WWII) veterans who were denied benefits under a recently passed US law.

    2. Easy rider.  Boston Globe  If last year’s ride is any indication, an unofficial national “biker network” will have local clubs turning out to join in sections of the ride and for VA visits. When she gets home, Lister will be putting the finishing touches on the 4th annual JJ

      3. A review of major benefits available to veterans.  The Durango Herald  Colorado also has several state veterans nursing homes. Eligibility for some of these benefits may depend upon residency, military component and the veteran’s disability rating. To find out more about state benefits check with your local veterans

        4. Was military record exaggerated? Worcester Telegram  American Legion officials have launched an investigation into allegations that William R. Barbour Jr. of Auburn, a former state commander of the Legion and veterans affairs official

          5. Brown Applauds Groundbreaking of Valor Home in Akron.  In March 2010, Brown wrote a letter to the US Department of Veterans Affairs in support of the Valor Home project to help secure vital federal funding. “The Valor Home will be more than just a housing facility for veterans—it will be a lifeline for

            6. ‘Stand Down’ provides services to Wagner-area vets.  Daily Republic  Friday’s event was meant to focus on homeless veterans and getting them any help they need, but any veteran could receive help at the event. Milo Bartunek is a veteran of the Korean War and has used the Wagner Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic for …

              7. VA fraud case draws McCaskill’s attention.  Blue Springs Examiner  McCaskill sent a letter of concern to Eric K. Shinseki, secretary of Veterans Affairs, in which she and others requested corrective action – specifically the way in which the department screens and approves applicants for its Service Disabled Veteran …

                8. Disabled American Veterans’ mobile service offers services locally.  Republican & Herald   George Sinkovich doesn’t agree with the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ decision to deny a claim he filed. To appeal it, the Pottsville Vietnam veteran would need to travel almost two hours …

                  9. From Crazy Horse to the GI Bill.  Family Security Matters  According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, “Before the war, college and homeownership were, for the most part, unreachable dreams for the average American.” “Millions who would have flooded the job market instead opted for education. …

                    10. Grave marker stolen from veteran’s grave.  Salisbury Post  The Rockwell family has ordered a permanent marker from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to honor him. One part already has arrived, and now they’re just waiting on the base. But until then, the grave of Ken Whitley won’t bear his name. …


                    Have You Heard?

                    Today is National HIV Testing Day. Why is HIV testing so important? Diagnosing HIV early greatly improves medical outcomes. VA is the largest single provider of HIV care in the United States, providing care to more than 24,000 Veterans with HIV in 2010 alone. Yet less than 15 percent of Veterans in VA care have ever been tested for HIV. VA’s policy on HIV testing changed in August 2009, when VA eliminated the requirement for written consent and scripted pre- and post-test counseling. VA HIV testing is still voluntary and Veterans must provide verbal consent prior to a test. Also, Veterans should be provided with educational material and given the opportunity to have any questions answered. All Veterans in VA care should be tested for HIV at least once in their lives, and those at risk should be offered testing at least every year. For more information, go to



                    More Veteran News


                        • Udall, Bingaman push Ft. Bayard as VA trauma center.  The state’s two US Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, both Democrats, are co-sponsoring legislation calling for a feasibility study of a polytrauma center in the region. They asked the US Department of Veterans Affairs to examine whether Ft. Bayard …
                            • Plymouth Career Center Employee Honored for Helping Veterans.  JobNet has also focused on providing job training opportunities for those veterans who have become disabled while serving their country. Through a long-standing collaboration with the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vocational and Rehabilitation …

                                • As Navy Inquiry Widens, Ohio Prosecutors Get First Guilty Plea. St. Petersburg (FL) Times “In the first successful prosecution in an expanding investigation of the US Navy Veterans Association,” Blanca Contreras “pleaded guilty Wednesday to a series of charges linking her to a multistate scam that fleeced millions from donors who thought they were contributing to veteran causes.” She will be “sentenced Aug. 3 and faces from three to 25 years in prison.”

                                    • VA Nurse Accused Of Stealing From Disabled Veteran. WHEC-TV Nurse Heather Pospiech, who is “accused of cleaning out the bank account of a disabled veteran who was in her care,” is facing Federal charges. She was a nurse at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Bath, but it “appears Pospiech is no longer employed there.”

                                        • Illinois DVA Slates Helping Hometown Heroes Session. WMAQ-TV The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs “reaches out to vets in Berwyn today. Helping Hometown Heroes brought together a number of state, federal and local agencies to one place to answer vets’ concerns. Twenty different agencies were on hand today to talk about the benefits and opportunities available to our men and women in uniform.”

                                            • Veterans Need To Learn More About Their Benefits. Dalton (GA) Daily Citizen Georgia Commissioner for Veterans Affairs Pete Wheeler says that the American Legion and other veterans groups are working to educate veterans on the benefits to which they are entitled. Speaking to the state’s American Legion convention, Wheeler said that the various veterans organizations “work as a team together” to educate and assist the state’s more than 700,000 veterans.

                                                • Khobar Towers Victims Remembered On 15th Anniversary. Shreveport (LA) Times Armed service member gathered at Eglin Air Force Base Friday “to remember 19 brave warriors and 12 valiant 33rd Fighter Wing Airmen on the 15th anniversary of the Khobar Towers bombing.” The June 25, 1996 terrorist attack at Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia produced 400 casualties among military and civilian personnel.
                                                  • Homecoming Planned For Corey Kent. Cape Coral (FL) Daily Breeze Corey Kent will be coming home to Cape Coral on July 9, for the first time since sustaining severe injuries in Afghanistan. He will “also be coming home to a groundbreaking for a new addition to his home that will give him independence and freedom when he finally comes back home for good.” A local contractor is donating the materials and labor, and the city has waived permit fees for the home. After about a month home, Kent will then return to Walter Reed for further rehabilitation work.

                                                      • One-Armed Veteran Michael Kacer Catches Foul Ball In Hat. Larry Brown Sports Video of Michael Kacer, an Afghan veteran who lost an arm in a rocket attack there, neatly catching a foul ball in his baseball cap while attending a Yankees-Rockies baseball game Friday night “as part of Achilles International, ‘a New York-nonprofit providing mainstream athletic opportunities for people with disabilities.'”

                                                          • After Years Of Groundwork, Ground Is Broken For Veterans Home. WQOW-TV After around a decade of groundwork, on Friday government officials and veterans “broke ground for a new nursing facility at the Northern Center Grounds in Chippewa County.” The $20 million nursing facility will provde housing for around 72 veterans in western and northern Wisconsin; construction is expected to be completed by August 2012.
                                                              • Montana, Veterans Affairs Committee Lack Agreed Agenda For Interim Session. KTVH-TV The state administration and Veterans Affairs Committee “met at the Capitol today. No interim study bills for the committee were passed during session, leaving the members to decide for themselves what to look into during the interim.”

                                                                  • VA Updates List Of Vessels Exposed To Agent Orange In Vietnam. Las Vegas Review-Journal The Fleet Reserve Association says Veterans Affairs has updated a list it keeps of ships and other vessels that may have been exposed to Agent Orange herbicides during the Vietnam War. The release quotes Chris Slawinski, the association’s national veterans service officer, who said, “Thousands of Navy and Coast Guard veterans who served aboard ships during the Vietnam conflict experience health problems related to herbicide exposure, but their illnesses and disabilities are not automatically considered service-connected in the eyes of the VA. Each addition to the VA’s list of exposed vessels will make it easier for these veterans to prove exposure and will hopefully facilitate more timely determination of benefits.”

                                                                      • Investigation Has Yet To Find Evidence Agent Orange Was Buried At Base In South Korea. Wall Street Journal On Thursday, it was revealed that a joint US-South Korea investigation has so far found no evidence to support veterans’ claims that Agent Orange was buried in 1978 at Camp Carroll, a US military base in South Korea. Similar coverage appears in a Reuters (6/24, Kim) story run by at least 16 publications, in Stars And Stripes (6/24, Rowland), and on the NPR (6/23) website.

                                                                          • PTSD Will No Longer Be ‘Invisible’ In The Military. WUSA-TV “The organizers of ‘Honor for All; Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds’ are hoping to bring the debilitating effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injuries to the forefront.” The rally Saturday, organized by Vietnam veteran Tom Mahany, who lost his brother-in-law, a fellow vet, to suicide, was intended to shed light upon the affliction affecting thousands of Iraq and Afghan veterans. A virtual reality immersion therapy experiment run by an Emory University psychologist involves 90 veterans with PTSD and “helps them revisit and ‘work through’ what has happened to them.”

                                                                              • PTSD Awareness. Macomb (MI) Daily The VA has “declared Monday to be PTSD Awareness Day. VA Medical Centers, such as the John D. Dingell VAMC in Detroit, have PTSD specialists who provide treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.” The VA’s PTSD program “serves veterans from World War II to the present including National Guard members and Reservists who have completed a federal deployment to a combat zone. Those who have experienced sexual trauma, harassment, and bereavement may also apply for help by calling 1-800-905-4675.”

                                                                                  • Georgia Researchers Develop Parkinson’s IPhone App. CMIO Georgia Tech Research Institute researchers “have developed iTrem, an app that lets those with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions use their iPhone to collect data on hand and arm tremors and relay the results to clinicians.” They add that it has the potential to replace currently used subjective tests of tremor severity, this allowing more frequent and accurate patient monitoring. Inclusion of other Parkinson’s-related tests and gait analysis are planned with the University of South Florida and the James A. Haley VAMC in Tampa.

                                                                                      • Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center Full Accreditation Re-Established. WJBF-TV The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center’s full accreditation “was re-established after The Joint Commission revisited the medical center June 21st to conduct a focused, one-day survey associated with the existing conditional accreditation.”

                                                                                          • VA Programs Wonderful. Altoona (PA) Mirror A veteran writes glowingly of the healthcare he’s received at the Van Zandt VAMC, noting that he was “in awe of its many positive aspects. The medical staff is absolutely outstanding.” After praising the staff’s friendliness, the fitness program, pharmacy services and counseling for families on medical decisions, he concludes that “I cannot put into words how grateful I am to be able to use this service, and how very fortunate we soldiers are to have this facility in our area.”

                                                                                              • Area Advocates For Homeless People See Growing Need. Glens Falls (NY) Post-Star “Homelessness continues to rise in the region, giving service providers a greater imperative to cast a wider safety net to help those in need.” On Thursday, “officials with the Saratoga Rural Preservation Co. held a ribbon-cutting at a new homeless shelter in Ballston that will be dedicated exclusively to female veterans.” A.C. Mazurek, the “executive director of the Rural Preservation Co., said a few applications had already been submitted, and that more referrals were expected when the home opened and referrals began to arrive” from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

                                                                                                  • DHA Applies For Homeless Veteran Vouchers. Danville (IL) Commercial News “Twenty-five more homeless veteran housing choice vouchers will be coming to the city” of Danville. The Danville Housing Authority (DHA) has “applied for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers at the invitation” of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Commercial-News adds, “DHA works in partnership with the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System to administer the vouchers.”

                                                                                                      • Wagner Event Offers Outreach To Veterans. Yankton Press & Dakotan “In military terms, ‘stand down’ means a respite, or break, from combat. On Friday, veterans will receive a ‘stand down’ of another sort – a respite from hardships and homelessness” – during an event held form noon to 3 p.m. at the Wagner National Guard Armory. The Press & Dakotan added, “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is sponsoring the event to reach all veterans, according to Sioux Falls VA spokeswoman Shirley Redmond,” who pointed out that the event is part of VA’s commitment to ending veteran homelessness.

                                                                                                          • Military Vet Faces Prospect Of 10 Years In Prison For Passport Fraud. CNN “Days after photographing scenes at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, a US Navy veteran found himself behind bars — where he could remain for a decade — for alleged passport fraud. Former US Petty Officer 2nd Class Elisha Leo Dawkins was arrested in April, spending Friday like many others in a federal detention center in Miami. A federal indictment says Dawkins’ failed to acknowledged that he’d once applied for a passport when filling out a new application, something his lawyer Clark Mervis calls an innocent oversight — albeit one punishable by up to 10 years in prison, if he’s convicted.” Dawkins’ supporters have begin a letter-writing and online campaign, and are trying to raise $10,000 for bail. Dawkins has served in the military since graduating from high school, including one tour in Iraq.
                                                                                                              • VA Developing New Mental Health And Research Complex. Seattle Daily Journal Of Commerce The US Department of Veterans Affairs is “developing a new mental health and research complex at its campus on Beacon Hill.” This will be a “key facility in a new nationwide VA program that provides state-of-the-art service to 21st-century war-injured veterans and conducts advanced research on new diagnostics and cures for these emerging types of injuries.”

                                                                                                                  • VA: PTSD Has Wide-Ranging Impact On Vets’ Bodies. San Francisco Chronicle “Combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to have dementia, cardiac problems and structural changes in the brain as they get older than veterans without PTSD, according to new research. The findings, which for the most part resulted from research at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, raise concerns about the overall health of aging veterans, but hold promise for the potential of helping to treat these diseases.” The “impact of combat on the brain as it ages” was to “be at the center of the fourth annual ‘Brain at War’ conference Thursday at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco,”

                                                                                                                      • NBC, US Chamber, New England Facility Helping Vets Find Employment. NBC Nightly News “NBC, in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce, is launching a major effort to put vets to work.” The partnership plans to conduct 100 “job fairs in this country” in the coming months, like the one held “onboard the retired aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York Harbor” on Thursday. After noting that 108 employers and 1,500 vets were on hand for Thursday’s fair, NBC profiled the “innovative” training school at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, which has “placed more than 1,000 veterans in new jobs” by teaching them “how to manage money and how to market themselves.”

                                                                                                                          • Alabama-Based Organization Lobbying Corporations, Employers To Hire Vets. WHNT-TV With “all the talk about US troops coming back from the Afghanistan, a new problem suddenly springs up — are there enough jobs available for returning soldiers? This problem is the priority for organizations such as Still Serving Veterans, located in Huntsville.” The organization “lobbies for corporations and employers to hire veterans.”

                                                                                                                              • National Guard Doing More To Assist Vets Looking For Work. KTHV-TV “New data from the Department of Labor reveals veterans are facing a higher unemployment rate than the civilian population in many states including Arkansas.” The station noted that it “spoke with the Arkansas National Guard and representatives at Little Rock Air Force Base. They tell us, there’s a lot of work being put into support programs for returning vets; the National Guard recently expanded its program.”

                                                                                                                                  • Gates Notes His Attempts To Assist Military Families, Deployed Soldiers. PBS’ Newshour  Robert Gates was asked about his time as Defense secretary, which is drawing to a close. Gates said that he, along with the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden, has been trying to get the American people to help military families, “particularly the families of those who are deployed.” Gates went on to say he is “proudest of…what” he has “been able to do for our troops. Giving them these heavily armored vehicles,” one “hour medivac or less in Afghanistan,” and “more reconnaissance capabilities to prevent them from being attacked. Trying to do whatever was necessary to help them accomplish their mission and come home safely.”
                                                                                                                                    • Veteran Of Iraq War Now Fights His Own Deportation. New York Times An Iraq War veteran “has spent the last month in federal lockup” in Miami “because the government wants to deport him.” Prosecutors say Elisha L. Dawkins is not a US citizen and lied on a passport application, the Times reports. Dawkins’ lawyer “hopes prosecutors will agree to a pretrial diversion program so he can avoid a conviction.”

                                                                                                                                        • VA Open Source Award Based On “Best Value.” NextGov Veterans Affairs Chief Information Officer Roger Baker “said the department awarded its key open source software contract to The Informatics Applications Group based on ‘best value’ criteria as defined in the solicitation.” NextGov added, “Evaluation factors, Baker said, included technical aspects, price, past performance and veteran involvement. Baker added the fact that The Informatics Applications Group is a small, woman-owned business played no role in the award.”

                                                                                                                                            • Army Veteran Pleads In Westboro Stalking Case. AP Disabled Afghanistan veteran Ryan Newell, after being “charged with stalking and conspiring to harm members of a controversial Topeka” church, “pleaded guilty to lesser charges. An attorney for…Newell says his client pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of false impersonation of an officer, which are misdemeanors.” The AP points out that members of the Westboro Baptist Church are “known for protesting at military funerals.”

                                                                                                                                                • Military Minds. National Journal Daily Chiarelli has “become an advocate for soldiers suffering from the invisible wounds of war.” He is “hopeful that the Army is making the necessary cultural changes-and that the military is taking the lead on innovative solutions-to deal with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.” The National Journal discusses the matter with Chiarelli, who said there is “a lot of wonderful, very important research going on. The problem is if you’re an operator like me who likes to fix things quickly. It takes a long time.”

                                                                                                                                                    • Arlington Records Find Prompts Investigation. AP Criminal investigators with the US Army are “investigating the discovery of 69 boxes of burial records from Arlington National Cemetery found in a commercial storage facility.” On Thursday, Arlington official Kathryn Condon “told a congressional panel that cemetery officials called Army investigators to report the records had been discovered earlier this month. She says personally identifying details were in the records, but there’s not a security risk because the individuals are deceased.”

                                                                                                                                                        • Korean War Veterans Remember The Forgotten War With Weeklong Stay In South Korea. Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail On the eve of the 61st anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, 34 US veterans of that war “were treated to a weeklong stay in South Korea. The free trip was sponsored by members of the New Eden Church in Seoul to thank the veterans for coming to the country’s rescue after communist forces from North Korea invaded in 1950.”

                                                                                                                                                            • Junior ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ To Lay Wreath At National Cemetery. Centreville (VA) Patch “A Centreville group dedicated to the memory of former slaves who filled the ranks of the Buffalo Soldier regiments, will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony on June 25 at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony is meant to honor both the Buffalo Soldiers — the all-African American 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments who served on the post-Civil War frontier — and the freed slaves who fought on the side of the Union, said Keith Jarman, head of the Junior Buffalo Soldiers & the Rough Riders Association.”

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