Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – July 05, 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. VA: ‘God’ Allowed at Cemetery. MyFox Houston  HOUSTON – The US Department of Veterans Affairs is responding for the first time to complaints the Houston National Cemetery director has gone rogue. Three separate organizations have come forward complaining the director and other government officials …

2. Veterans take to heart ultimate rites.  Abilene Recorder Chronicle According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, the haunting bugle call “Taps” originated during the Civil War. Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield composed the music in July 1862 and asked the brigade bugler, Oliver W. Norton, …

3. Post-9/11, a security blanket for a wounded nation.  USA Today  — Brian Tolstyka stood at the edge of a giant American flag spread across several tables in the Veterans Affairs hospital gym. Wearing a leather vest with a flag patch and a hat with a flag pin, Tolstyka was about to stitch …

4. Veterans Affairs Department to Seek Small Business Contractor. Guam Buildup News– The US Department of Veterans Affairs will be seeking a small business contractor to provide air ambulance services for beneficiaries within the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, which includes Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Saipan, …

5. Opportunities grow for veteran-owned businesses.  Baltimore Sun  “We as a state and as a country need to take care of them because they took care of us,” said Jerry Boden, chief of staff for the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. Statistics released this spring by the Census Bureau offered the first-ever …

6. Couple run state’s first VA medical foster home.  Kansas.com  Since mid-May, the 43-year-old Army veteran has lived with a Wichita family, Darrell and Gail Hacker, in the first Veterans Affairs medical foster care home in Kansas. The program is designed to give vets who need extended care an alternative to a …

7. Groups try to preserve oral histories of WWII vets before the generation vanishes.  Capital Times (blog)  The US Department of Veterans Affairs projects there will be 32185 Wisconsin World War II veterans alive on Sept. 30, down from 37257 a year earlier. The national estimate shows a drop from 1.98 million to 1.71 million over the same 12 months. …

8. Area female veterans connect through regional organization.  The Herald-Mail  The group was started in 1988, as a local unit in Martinsburg, W.Va., said President Teresa Spruill. Veteran Su Carroll drummed up membership by placing ads at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, as well as in local newspapers, …

9. Student veterans’ art, poetry exhibit.  PCC Courier  Veteran student music and poetry will also be showcased at the gallery on July 6 at 7 pm, she said. The exhibit was the brainchild of Arnold, veterans’ advocate and case manager at the Downtown Los Angeles US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). …

10. Musicians show gratitude to vets by offering free music lessons.  Grand Junction Free Press  He teaches guitar at the Wine Country Inn and the Methodist Church, both in Palisade, to veterans of the Desert Storm, Iraq and Vietnam wars. Midgley was a student at Mesa State College when he heard through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center about …

Have You Heard?

Update from the Office of Rural Health

VA’s Office of Rural Health has been working hard to improve the quality of care for Veterans living in rural areas. If you’re a rural Veteran, learn the latest at VAntage Point.

In Other News

 

  • New state laws benefit veterans.  Cannon Connections  Nine state laws and benefits aimed at military veterans take effect Friday, including disabled veteran license plates, enrollment priority for military children and tax exemptions for veterans service organizations. The laws were enacted during the …
  • Veteran designation to appear on Ark. driver’s license.  Paragould Daily Press  The designation was created by “The Nick Bacon Remembrance Act” in memory of the former Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs director and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who passed away in 2010. The bill was introduced by State Representative …
  • Western Neb. VA home gets perfect score on review.  Greenwich Time  The state Department of Health and Human Services says it’s the second year in a row the Scottsbluff facility received no deficiencies in its annual survey by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Home administrator Lonnie Starks credited his staff …
  • Returning vets hit hard by economy.  Sauk Prairie Eagle  With the help of the Sauk County Veterans Service Office, Ray eventually reached a settlement in which the US Department of Veterans Affairs paid 100 percent of his disability benefits. But there’s a wide gap, he said, between the benefits he qualifies …
  • Opportunities, challenges with homeless veterans.  Scranton Times-Tribune  Mr. Confer, 60 – who said he worked a variety of jobs throughout his life but had trouble keeping work because of his depression – began to change his life last year when he sought help through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. …
  • 20 Most Patriotic States.  msnbc.com  As well, we compared the percentage of the adult population that is a veteran and the state’s spend per veteran in 2010 according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The total adult population per state is according to the most recent Census …
  • 21 World War II veterans awarded French Legion of Honor.  Sun-Sentinel  The French government works with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to locate eligible war veterans who demonstrated exceptional military or civil conduct during the war. Edward Bergman joined the Army at 18. He is glad that he lived to …
  • Local woman forming group for children of Vietnam vets.  York Daily Record  Looking into the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ information, Murray, 28, of York, discovered a close correlation between some of the health conditions she’s been plagued with and female veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange. …
  • State elevating veterans agency, adding new laws Friday.  Charleston Gazette  The aging of that population had spurred veterans and their supporters to lobby for a Cabinet-level agency for several years. At least 28 states have department-level agencies for veterans, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. …
  • Officials eye employment for veterans.  Coeur d’Alene Press  The panel, which spoke before representatives of 19 states and three territories at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, included spokespersons from federal and state veterans services, and the nonprofit sector. Jim Nicholson, former secretary of Veterans Affairs …
  • Senate committee approves legislation to help Lejeune vets.  News & Observer  Patty Murray of Washington state. The two were seen on the Senate floor in the moments before the vote, presumably discussing last-minute details of the legislation. Although Burr’s bill had the Department of Veterans Affairs paying for health care, …
  • Study: Yoga improves fall risk after stroke.  McKnight’s Long Term Care News  The study was funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Statistics show that having a stroke quadruples a person’s chances of falling and increases the chances of breaking a hip. Additionally, about 80% of stroke victims have difficulties with …

  • Senate Panel OKs VA Appropriations Bill Similar to House-Passed Version. CQ Weekly Senate appropriators “last week approved a $142 billion spending measure for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs” The first FY 2012 appropriations bill cleared by the panel, HR 2055 won unanimous backing in subcommittee and full committee and provides $72.5 billion, $69.5 billion of that for mandatory VA benefits. Like the House-passed version, the Senate panel’s bill includes advance funding for health care so that funding will be available at the start of FY 2013, whether or not an appropriations bill has been cleared. The measure also includes $4.9 billion for health care and social programs for chronically and temporarily homeless veterans, a priority for VA Secretary Shinseki.

  • America’s Forgotten Prisoners Of War. Wall Street Journal “Ahmed Altaie and Bowe Bergdahl — one born 1965 in Baghdad, the other two decades later in Hailey, Idaho — wouldn’t seem to have much in common,” but “share a unique, practically unknown bond: They are the only two US soldiers currently held captive as prisoners of war.” Captured by the Taliban in June 2009 while serving in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bergdahl has been featured in several propaganda videos, while Staff Sgt. Altaie, an Iraqi-American serving as a translator, was abducted over four years ago in Baghdad and has not been heard from since.

  • A Tranquil Garden. Carbondale (IL) Southern A “new sensory garden unveiled Tuesday at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Anna will provide a safe and soothing environment for veterans who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.” The acting facility administrator says the “sensory garden” project offers colors, sounds and textures designed to stimulate and soothe patients and allow easy travel.

  • Wisconsin DVA Hosts “Supermarket Of Benefits” Event. WISN-TV The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs “is hosting a ‘Supermarket of Benefits’ tomorrow at the Milwaukee County Zoo.” Brian Jones of the DVA briefly discusses the services available, and notes the VA’s participation in the event.

  • Western Nebraska Veterans Home Gets Perfect Score On Federal Review For 2nd Year In Row. Greenfield (IN) Daily Reporter Western Nebraska Veterans’ Home “has gotten a perfect score on its annual review. The state Department of Health and Human Services says it’s the second year in a row the Scottsbluff facility received no deficiencies in its annual survey by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.”

  • An Update On Two Vets Struggling To Put The War Behind Them. Los Angeles Times Greg Valentini, who’s in the veterans recovery program at the VOA Veterans Center on Sunset Boulevard, and reports the unlikely bond he formed with program manager Jim Zenner. The two “both went to war, both struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, and both know what it’s like to be hooked on meth.” Zenner, a novice social worker, got his master’s degree; Valentini, doing a year in the residential recovery program in lieu of jail time, wants to move on, even though Zenner thinks he should stay another year, but Valentini is “convinced he’s ready, thanks in part to help from Zenner, who in some ways has become his role model. And Zenner thinks his friend will be OK, and make a great social worker.” After 11 months together, Zenner says that Valentini “was the biggest handful and at the same time, the biggest help.”

  • Copper Could Be A Key Player For Fighting Hospital Infections. Emax Health Researchers on July 1 told the World Health Organization’s First International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control in Geneva that “copper can kill 97 percent of infections that commonly occur in the hospital and lead to infection.” The study, conducted at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC, tested copper in frequently-touched areas of the ICU, including patient call bells, food tray tables and IV poles. Copper objects “resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the number of infections contracted by patients treated in those rooms.”

  • Naples-Trained Service Dog Helps Wounded Tampa Soldier Find Independence. Naples Daily News The training of Cody Bear, the golden retriever service dog that Naples-based dog trainer Jeannie Bates, founder of the PAWS for Love Assistance Dogs program, donated to Marine Lt. Col. Ty Edwards, who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan. The article, accompanied by an extensive slideshow, follows the trainer’s work with the animal over two years, as it receives obedience and assistance training, and accompanies Edwards in public settings and during his rehab sessions at Haley VAMC. There, Dr. Steven Scott, head of the multiple trauma unit, says that lately service dogs are more common. “More and more patients are asking for these dogs and more and more we see the benefits,” Scott says. The article ends with Bates leaving Cody Bear in the Edwards home, and picking up some new puppies she will begin to train.

  • Marion VAMC Uses Service Dog To Treat PTSD, Other Mental Health Challenges. KFVS-TV  Marion VAMC’s use of a service animal as part of therapy for PTSD and other mental health conditions. Teddy, a golden retriever donated by the This Able Veteran non-profit, has regular training in recognizing and dealing with PTSD, traumatic brain injury , depression and other mental health conditions, and lives at the VAMC at the new facility.

  • Valley Sees Increase In Women Veterans. Harlingen (TX) Valley Morning Star Area military population is now 12% women, the fastest-growing segment of veterans as they return to civilian life. “To respond to the Valley’s growing number of female veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ recently-established local system hired its first women veteran program manager. Junius Dural, who is the first male to head a program for female veterans in the country,” says that the current enrollment of 1,700 female veterans enrolled in the VA’s South Texas system is expected to double by 2015. He’s a 20-year Navy nurse practitioner who served in Iraq, before being hired last year to lead the program at the new Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System.

  • Mixing Guns And Mental Illness. New York Times Since 2008, over 20 states have created procedures for persons who lost their firearms rights on mental health grounds to petition for their restoration, due to a law “actually meant to make it harder for people with mental illness to get guns.” The Times says “an examination of restoration procedures across the country, along with dozens of cases, shows” the determination “is governed in many places by vague standards and few specific requirements.” One example: a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD and depression. A judge restored the veteran’s rights, without knowing that the “local Veterans Affairs hospital had placed a ‘red flag'” on him, barring him from its grounds as a perceived threat to VA personnel. The VA has already received over such 100 applications from persons found incompetent to manage their finances, it notes.

  • Fourth Of July Victory: Vet Can Fly Flag. ABC News “An embattled US Army vet in Macedonia, Ohio, has won the right to fly Old Glory from his home’s flagpole. Fred Quigley, 77, who lives in the Villas at Taramina, served with honor as a US Army chaplain in Korea and in Vietnam.” The homeowners association “decided to stand down and to let Quigley run Old Glory up his pole. Its decision came in the form of a letter hand-delivered to Quigley Thursday night.”

  • Former Marine Overcomes Injury To Run For The Troops. News On 6 Former Marine Lance Corporal William Ely “is spending his 4th of July weekend braving the heat — and overcoming injury — to support service men and women back on the front lines. Ely injured his back and legs during training and was unable to follow his unit as they were deployed to Afghanistan.” After collecting packages from the Blue Star Mothers going to members of his former unit, Ely has a 20-mile fundraiser for donations for additional packages to be sent to his outfit overseas.

  • Jailed Military Photographer Spurns Pretrial Deal. Sacramento Bee A veteran of Iraq and Guantanamo has “spurned a government offer of pretrial probation and instead faced the prospect of the Fourth of July in a Miami lockup while awaiting a federal passport fraud trial later this month. Navy Reserves Petty Officer 2nd Class Elisha Leo Dawkins, 26, has been confined to the downtown federal detention center since soon after he returned from the Guantanamo detention center earlier this year.” Dawkins served there as a Navy photographer, and previously enlisted in the Army and served in Iraq. US immigration authorities are seeking to deport him for failing, in a 2006 passport application that he had started applying for a passport three years earlier. Dawkins’ immigration status is unclear; he had apparently been ordered deported with the Bahamian mother when he was eight years old.

  • Dr. Andrew D’Errico Recognized At National Jefferson Awards In Washington, DC. Treasure Coast Palm Dr. Andrew D’Errico, medical director for Honor Flight of Southeast Florida, “usually makes the trip overseeing the medical team that assists World War II veterans as they make the expense-paid trip to the World War II Memorial.” But on his most recent trip, he “was recognized at the National Jefferson Awards ceremony as the Jefferson Award winner for the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County.”

  • Veteran Honors Other Vets With Museum. WAFB-TV Korean War veteran Bob Font Sr. and other area veterans “have donated and loaned items from various wars the US has fought in,” including a 250-pound bomb, for a military exhibit at the Walker Museum, which opened in 2009 as part of the centennial celebration of Walker, Louisiana.

  • Sinise Unveils Foundation To Honor Armed Forces. Houston Chronicle At the National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C. Thursday, actor Gary Sinise “unveiled plans for his new Gary Sinise Foundation, which is designed ‘to honor the nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.'” Sinise has already made over 150 appearances at US military installations on about 40 USO tours, along with the Lt. Dan Band, named after the injured Vietnam War veteran character he played in Forest Gump. That activity will be the focus of a new pay-per-view internet documentary, “Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good.” Sinise also told the Press Club event that he thought federal agencies need to “cut through all the red tape and get down to business” to help US veterans.

  • Vets Commission Reaches Out To Heroes. Chicago Sun-Times The Oak Forest Veterans Commission wants to “find every veteran in Oak Forest.” Members of the four-year-old group “hold events and meetings to honor local military members, past and present.” Activities volunteering at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood and at Hines VA Hospital.

  • Group Reaches Out To Veterans Through Fishing. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Project Healing Waters, which takes veterans from the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee on fishing outings, accompanied by volunteers with Southeast Wisconsin Trout Unlimited. It adds that, “Unlike many outdoors-related programs, Project Healing Waters is ongoing. Local volunteers tie flies with the vets at Zablocki twice a week year-round” and takes them on periodic outings.

  • Group Focuses On Helping Veterans. KTRK-TV Non-profit Impact Player Partners has “raised more than $800,000 a year with its Impact A Hero weekend, which includes a 5K run and gala that recognizes wounded soldiers,” providing financial or emotional support to as many as 700 families yearly.

  • More Money To Support Operation Open Doors. WSAV-TV Operation Open Doors, a Goodwill Industries program helping homeless veterans return to work, by providing job training and placement assistance. It adds that the program, which has helped 132 area veterans, finding jobs for 46 and moving 94 from homelessness, recently received $192,000 in federal aid.

  • Clothing And Donation Drive For Our Troops. KJCT-TV The start of Operation: Care and Comfort, a clothing and donation drive for troops, sponsored by the Blue Star Mothers of America and the Old Navy clothing chain, which will give discounts to persons making donations.

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