Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – July 11, 2011


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


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1. Homeless veterans: Trying to find help and hope.  CBS News  The chance at that miracle came with over 3000 volunteers who helped the vets check into VA (US Department of Veterans Affairs) benefits and look into jobs. There was medical care, dental care and even a temporary municipal court where they could clear …

2. Hospitals target infection rates with better sanitary methods, practices. US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, also in Northampton, is among 152 veterans’ medical centers nationwide that took part in a 2007-2010 effort to reduce infections of methicillin-resistant staph aureus, or MRSA, a drug-resistant …

3. Merlene Davis: Veterans’ Outreach works to close gaps in social service.  Lexington Herald Leader  She was in the midst of securing funds for a young veteran who had come to Lexington for an appointment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center but didn’t have enough money to get back to his home 3½ hours away. “He got stranded,” she said. …

4. Secretary Shinseki discusses issues with veterans.  Great Falls Tribune  Jon Tester, joined by US Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, heard Thursday from representatives of multiple veterans about issues affecting rural and female veterans in the state. The a roundtable discussion at the Montana …

5. Pilot program in Caribou to provide Aroostook County veterans easier access. Bangor Daily News  — A US Department of Veterans Affairs program that was championed by US Rep. Mike Michaud is going to provide Aroostook County veterans access to health care closer to home. In 2008, Michaud helped pass legislation that …

6. Veterans Affairs to add 85 with Wachovia Center expansion.  The US Department of Veterans Affairs will be adding 85 positions this year as it moves into 80000 square feet of space in Wachovia Center in downtown Winston-Salem. The department signed a lease for four more floors of space within Wachovia Center …

7. Driver’s license honoring vets could diffuse tense situations.  Deseret News  Veterans from all eras can use the new license to get discounts from retailers, and it could potentially save lives as well. That’s one reason state VA officials pushed legislators to pass the law. A handful of vets have gotten into confrontations with …

8. Guest commentary: Vets’ well-being under attack by government here.  Detroit Free Press  As the minority vice chairman on the state Senate Appropriations Military and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, I fought hard against these budget cuts, which will have an undue and inordinate impact on Michigan’s veterans of all ages. …

9. Drop-in Shelter Part Of National Effort To Curb Homelessness Among Veterans. Fargo (ND) Forum VA Secretary Shinseki “visited the front lines Friday in his effort to end homelessness among veterans when he stopped by a new drop-in center.” Accompanied by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Shinseki “toured the new Gladys Ray Veterans Drop-In Center,” which the VA pays so vets can have a place “to stop by for respite from the weather, take a shower, do their laundry, have access to a meal, and receive referrals to other services.” Shinseki, who has the goal of ending veteran homelessness in five years, called the shelter innovative and “a good program for us.” The VA estimates the number of homeless veterans nationwide has dropped from 131,000 to 76,000 today, and Shinseki’s goal is to bring it down to 60,000 next year. He also visited the Fargo VAMC.

10. VA Launches Healthcare Initiative For Women Veterans. Washington Examiner On July 7, the Department of Veterans Affairs “announced that it had embarked on a major initiative to reach out to women veterans.” Representatives at the VA’s Health Resource Center “are placing calls to women veterans nationwide, asking them to share their experiences with the VA and suggest potential enhancements that will further the VA’s mission to provide the best care anywhere.” The HRC, which began placing calls on June 1, is contacting women veterans who have enrolled, but have not begun using VA services., informing women Veterans about VA services connects them with appropriate departments or, to deal with complaints about the VA, to Veterans who have complaints about VA are connected to a patient advocate.


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More Veteran News

  • GI Bill Pay Delay Threat Eases. Hanford (WA) Sentinel “As Congress moves closer to protecting veterans at private colleges in seven states from a sharp drop in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs has softened its warning that the relief move will cause significant payment delays for many thousands of GI Bill users this fall.” Changes Congress made to the Post 9/11 GI Bill in January replaced a previous ceiling on benefits, which had varied from state to state depending on local tuition levels, with a uniform $17,500 annual cap, but private college enrollees in seven states faced sharp drops in their payments. While the director of VA’s education service earlier testified that VA would have to process manually payments for up to 30,000 eligible students, which might cause delays, it now says that a relief bill now in Congress would only affect about 6,000 students.

  • Sixteen More Organizations Become Part Of AW2 Community Support Network. AW2 16 “newest organizations in the AW2 Community Support Network.” These organizations, which include “Vet Center,,” are now “part of the 236 AW2 Community Support Network organizations that help better the lives of AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families.” The blog says the network was “created based on direct requests from severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and Families.”

  • VA Reaches Out To Female Vets Across Nation. Army Times “The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched an effort to find out why female vets often don’t turn to VA for their health care needs.” Last month, VA “representatives began calling the nation’s 1.8 million female veterans, starting with those who have enrolled in VA but are not using its health care facilities or programs. The department hopes the women will share their impressions of VA and make suggestions to enhance care.”

  • UCLA, VA Hospitals Say They’re Ready For “Carmageddon.” Los Angeles Daily News UCLA hospitals in Santa Monica and Westwood and the Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles medical center “are prepared for next week’s shutdown of the San Diego (405) Freeway, officials with the hospitals said today. The VA center, located adjacent to the San Diego Freeway off Wilshire Boulevard, plans to offer overnight accommodations to employees in order to ensure the medical center is fully staffed.” It has also sent letters to 72,000 veterans alerting them to the road closing, and posted signs and website notices. Large parts of the San Diego Freeway will be closed for several days to allow demolition of the south side of the Mulholland Bridge as part of the widening of the San Diego Freeway. During the shutdown, transportation officials are warning of severe gridlock and warning drivers to avoid the Westside.
  • Shinseki Listens To Concerns Of Vets in Montana. Billings (MT) Gazette Shinseki and US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) heard stories of “both progress and challenges in the Department of Veterans Affairs operations in Montana,” during a roundtable discussion held in the state.

  • Modesto Clinic To Add Services For Vets. Modesto Bee “A new Veterans Affairs medical clinic will be built at 1115 Oakdale Road in Modesto, creating an estimated 100 construction jobs and expanding outpatient services to former members of the armed forces. ‘The new clinic will provide state-of-the-art medical services to the veterans of the Central Valley,’ Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said when announcing the project Wednesday.” According to the Bee, the “23,250-square-foot clinic will be more than twice the size of the current VA clinic on McHenry Avenue.”

  • Families Of Military Suicide Victims Call For Widened Condolence Policy. Washington Post “The White House this week reversed its policy against extending official condolences to the families of military personnel who kill themselves, but the change applies only to those who commit suicide in officially designated combat zones.” Approximately “two-thirds of military suicides take place outside combat zones, and many of these suicides are related” to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “or other combat-related stresses. Advocates for military families argue that the treatment of the next of kin should not depend on where the suicide occurred.”

  • Study: Deployment Length Impacts Mental Health Of Service Members’ Children. MedPage Today The “longer parents were deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, the greater the likelihood their children would suffer mental health problems, a study has found.” The study was “published online in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.” MedPage Today added, “‘The US military often deploys its forces to areas of high volatility and instability. As troops face dynamic and evolving threats (e.g., an increasingly sophisticated array of roadside explosive devices), the need to anticipate the psychological consequences for their children and to offer timely intervention becomes increasingly important,’ the authors wrote.”

  • Ground Broken For Wichita’s World War II Memorial. Wichita (KS) Eagle “Phil Blake’s decade-long drive to honor his comrades took a big step forward Saturday morning. So did the dreams of a handful of surviving World War II veterans when organizers broke ground for a World War II monument, along with a nearby Revolutionary War monument, during an emotional ceremony.” Blake, an 87-year-old World War II veteran, estimates that in the past decade, he has raised $1 million for monuments.

  • US Ignores Vet Graves In Philippines. AP US veterans “who collect funds to care” for the Philippines-based Clark Veterans Cemetery have “renewed their calls for Washington to fund and take charge of the work.” The AP adds, “Dashing the hopes” of such vets, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, “which manages 131 US mainland cemeteries through an agency, both said Clark was outside their mandate. ‘Whether the US government should take on responsibility for maintaining such a foreign, private cemetery is a veterans’ benefits issue outside the scope of our authority,’ ABMC public affairs director Michael Conley told the AP in an e-mailed reply to questions.”

  • Federal Jobs Will Move To Spotsy. Fredericksburg (MD) Free Lance-Star The US Department of Veterans Affairs is “bringing 156 jobs to Spotsylvania County.” This week, VA “confirmed…that it will occupy 20,000 square feet of space at a four-story office building at 10300 Spotsylvania Ave. in the Lee’s Hill area of Spotsylvania.” The agency is opening a “‘Strategic Acquisition Center’ there.”

  • Legion Survey Reveals VA Claims Frustration. American Legion “Results of an online survey conducted last winter by The American Legion reveal just how frustrated veterans are with backlog-choked” Veterans Affairs regional offices “across the country.” The “survey was conducted to establish a foundation of understanding before American Legion Regional Office Action Review (ROAR) teams began visiting the offices to see where the problems are and what might be done to correct them.” The Legion said it is “sharing results of the survey with VA Central Office.”

  • Greg Walden Lauds Reform For Veterans Access To Benefits Website. KBND-AM Veterans Affairs is “taking steps to simplify access to its eBenefits website following Rep. Greg Walden’s efforts to highlight the hurdles that veterans in rural Oregon face in signing up for the helpful new website. ‘The VA is doing the right thing in increasing veterans’ access to eBenefits,’ Rep. Walden said,” adding, “With all that our veterans have done for us, making them travel great distances to sign up for this service just doesn’t make sense to me. That’s why I brought the signup effort directly to rural veterans in a series of office hours throughout central, southern, and eastern Oregon.” KBND said VA has “announced that it is now taking steps to simplify its signup process by launching a pilot program to allow some veterans to sign up for the website via telephone.”

  • A Place Called Home. Russellville (AR) Courier The non-profit group Homes for out Troops is building its first home in Arkansas for Sgt. Marco Robledo Jr. of Russellville, who lost part of an arm and a leg fighting in Iraq in 2007. Before a presentation ceremony, “a parade of builders, volunteers and a car” with Robledo “made its way down State Highway 21, Clarksville citizens lined the street to greet the injured soldier, proudly displaying American flags.”

  • Operation: Corporal Punishment Chili Cook-Off. San Jose Mercury News The International Chili Society and two sponsoring auto groups will use proceeds from the finals championship qualifier chili cook-off and a car show to benefit Strumming for Vets, a non-profit that works with the VA to offer music therapy as a treatment for PTSD.

  • South Coast Hospice Honoring Veterans. Coos Bay (OR) World The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization “in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs is pioneering a campaign to help provide care and support to reflect the important contributions made by service personnel. South Coast Hospice and Palliative Care will implement veteran-centered education for its staff and volunteers to help better understand and serve veterans; work more effectively with VA medical facilities; accompany and guide them and their families toward a more peaceful ending.”

  • Portrait Of General Pulaski Unveiled. WIVB-TV “The VA Hospital in Buffalo unveiled an official portrait of General Casimir Pulaski on Saturday.” A Revolutionary War leader from Poland “died in 1779 several days after being critically injured during the Battle of Savannah.”
  • Iraq Veteran From Texas Sues Citigroup Unit Over Foreclosure. Bloomberg News An Iraq war veteran from Texas “sued a Citigroup unit Friday, claiming the lender illegally foreclosed on his home while he was on active duty. Army Sgt. Jorge Rodriguez said in a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan that he was in training for deployment to Iraq in 2006 when CitiMortgage filed a foreclosure suit against his home in Del Valle, on the outskirts of Austin. CitiMortgage lawyers falsely said in an affidavit that Rodriguez wasn’t on active service at the time, depriving him of protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, according to the complaint.” The lawsuit says that the false statement “was not an isolated incident” and seeks unspecified damages and an order restoring to service members properties foreclosed in violation of the SCRA.

  • Seminar Alerts Vets, Spouses To “Aid An Attendance” Benefits. WSPA-TV  A  seminar was held to educate wartime veterans and their surviving spouses on their potential eligibility for “aid and attendance” tax-free payments of nearly $2000 a month.

  • Sioux Falls VA Hosts Show And Shine July 20. Yankton (SD) Press & Dakotan The Sioux Falls Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System will hold its 10th annual VA Show and Shine on July 20. At the event, car and motorcycle owners will cruise to the VA Medical Center, where trophies will be awarded for vehicle categories.

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