Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – July 18, 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. Veterans Affairs reaching out to women veterans.  The Keene Sentinel  In an effort to make health care even better for the female veteran, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun a major initiative to reach out to female veterans to get their input on ways to improve health care services which the VA …
2.  Veteran’s clinic forms a triad.  Plattsburgh Press Republican  More advanced treatment has always been available at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, an almost three-hour trip one way. Now with three clinics in the northeast portion of New York state, our local veterans, who number around 4500 regionally, …
3.  Grant supports second vets’ educational summit.  Hometownlife.com  The forum targets veteran advocates who work with veterans to obtain benefits, as well as veterans and their families to learn about the VA’s programs. The 2010 summit narrowed the gap in Michigan’s lack of continuing legal education required of …
4. Serving in Afghanistan turned a tough guy into a nervous wreck.  DesMoinesRegister.com  He went to therapy at the US Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Des Moines, but the non-intensive counseling – appointments were 30 days apart – didn’t help. One night in spring 2010, Luke polished off a 12-pack. He argued with his wife. …
5. ‘Jobless veterans, US national disgrace’.  Press TV  According to data published by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of US veterans, homeless on any given night as of June this year, stands at a staggering 75700. The unemployment rate among American young veterans stood at …

6.  Veterans find opportunities at job fair at Beloit armory.  Beloit Daily News  “Getting anybody into a job is a hard thing right now,” said Ron Stigler, a regional supervisor with the state’s department of Workforce Development veterans affairs services. “The focus is veterans and we want to promote their qualities as a fine, …

7.   VSO in N.J. offers Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans many services.  newjerseynewsroom.com  The VSO helps veterans and their dependents apply for service-connected compensation and pension benefits — and other earned entitlements — through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Each NJ county office serves as a full-service agency, …

8. HUD-VA to combat vet homelessness.  The Warner Robins Patriot  The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Department of Veterans Affairs are collaborating to supply permanent housing and case management for 6790 homeless veterans across the nation. According to news releases from HUD …

9. Veteran’s Nursing Home Matching Funds Period Extended Two Weeks.  KCSG The US Department of Veterans Affairs’ (DVA) deadline of July 15 for matching funds for the planned Veterans Nursing Home in Ivins, was extended another two weeks, providing the opportunity to raise more donations. Bill Toole, Chair of the Veteran’s …

10.Federal Contracts Awarded to Companies in New Jersey. TMC Net  $2.2 Million Federal Contract Awarded to Cherokee 8A Group WASHINGTON, July 16 — Cherokee 8A Group Inc., Newark, NJ, won a $2201374 federal contract from the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Medical and Regional Office Center, Wilmington, Del., …

Have You Heard?

Vets Find Solace in Companion Dogs

VA announced a new pilot program that will emphasize dogs’ therapeutic potential for Veterans. Fourteen Vets will interact with dogs while they receive residential treatment for PTSD and TBI. Read more at VAntage Point

 

 





More Veteran News

 

  • Vet court praised by Delco pols.  Delaware County Daily Times  The county’s Veterans Justice Initiative would connect veterans with treatment and support services offered through public and private programs, which include the County Office of Human Services and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. …

  • Jill Biden Interviewed On Families Of Deployed Reservists. NBC Nightly News Dr. Jill Biden “has spent much of this year rallying” on behalf of… families of US military members who pay their own price in service to the country.” It notes that she and Michelle Obama “are leading a White House effort called ‘Joining Forces’, which promotes acts of kindness to military families by individuals, non-profit and companies.” She particularly suggests that the needs of deployed National Reservists need greater recognition. She tells NBC News, “People don’t know that you have someone deployed and here you are trying to hold the family together. Take care of everything for the kids. Take them to games, ballet, whatever and you’re doing it all by yourself.” She adds that response to “Joining Forces” has been strong because “Americans really want to support the military and now, they’re finding ways of how to do it.”
  • Program Helps Veterans In College. Tuscaloosa (AL) News “More veterans who are returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are choosing to go back to college or get a graduate degree.” But the transition from military life to student life can be difficult. “A lot of these veterans who are coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan are not your typical students,” says Damon Stevenson, a spokesman for the Tuscaloosa VAMC spokesman, which with the University of Alabama, “is starting a program that will better assist veteran students to stay in school and have a successful academic experience.” It is one of only five VA facilities in the nation to be chosen to host the veteran-student academic and wellness program, which will begin this fall.

  • Vowing To Act For Veterans. The Hill The Veteran Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (HR 2433).  The “VOW Act” the “most comprehensive solution to address the range of impediments to reducing veteran unemployment” and adds that we “must also recognize that America’s small businesses, many of which are veteran-owned, are suffering more today than other companies.” So to complement the VOW Act’s provisions, Also noted was legislation to “provide small businesses with a tax credit toward the purchase of capital equipment for every unemployed veteran they hire.”

  • Groups Praise Miller’s Jobs Bill For Veterans. Air Force Times A comprehensive veterans’ employment bill, the “Veterans Opportunity to Work Act” (HR 2433), sponsored by House Veterans’ Affairs chairman Jeff Miller “won some key endorsements Friday — but a vocal opponent also surfaced.” The measure won the endorsement of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which said the bill would take “significant steps” to increase veterans’ employment by improving transition programs and civilian certification procedures. The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars also support Rep. Miller’s bill. But the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Bob Filner, said that Miller’s proposal is a “retraining bill,” and “not a jobs bill where veterans can go get a job.” Filner criticized some parts of the bill, and its cancelation of a proposed reduction in veterans’ home loan fees as funding mechanism for skill training and other benefits for jobless veterans.

  • VA Launches Childcare Pilot. Business Wire Secretary Shinseki “announced the VA’s launch of a free, drop-in childcare service centers at three VA medical centers to an audience of more than 700 participants attending the Fifth National Summit on Women Veterans’ Issues July 15-17 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.” He said that, “We know that many Veterans, particularly women Veterans, are the primary care takers of young children,” adding that “We want these Veterans to have the opportunity to access the high-quality health care that VA offers, and we believe that these childcare centers will make it easier for Veteran caregivers to visit VA.” Congress included the childcare initiative in the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. The three sites for the pilot program will be Northport, NY; Tacoma, WA and Buffalo, NY.

  • Women Vets To Benefit From New Childcare At American Lake VA. Tacoma News Tribune The new service, “intended to make sure that women veterans don’t skip doctor visits because they’re tied up with their children. Men can use the childcare services, too.” It adds that the VA “estimates that women make up 10 percent of the veteran population and 9.5 percent of VA patients” and credits its Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group with developing the initiative

  • VA’s New Director Of Office Of Patient-Centered Care Named As One Of Top 25 Women In Healthcare. Business Wire Dr. Tracy Gaudet, Director of the VA’s newly established Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation “has been selected as one of the top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine for her leadership in serving Veterans.” VA’s Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert A. Petzel said the award “reflects VA’s commitment to excellence by hiring the best clinicians and medical professionals available to serve our Nation’s Veterans.”

  • VA Launches Contest To Expand Blue Button. Government Health IT The VA “will launch a developers’ competition to expand the deployment and use of its Blue Button functionality that enables patients to download their health information to all veterans who receive care from providers outside of the VA.” The competition, for a $50,000 first prize, begins July 18, with the winner announced three months later.

  • Army Treats Brain Injuries In Field. AP A US military “effort to better treat and track brain injuries that have become a signature affliction” of the war in Afghanistan. Medical “officers in Afghanistan say the new approach, which required opening seven new rehabilitation centers called Level II clinics throughout Afghanistan, is allowing more soldiers to go back to their units rather than be evacuated for treatment. Soldiers who are sent home for treatment generally don’t come back.”

  • Veterans Wait Too Long For Mental Health Services, Reports Say. Washington Post “Veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues often face ‘unconscionable’ waits for treatment that leave them at risk of suicide, according to testimony at a Senate hearing Thursday” and a new report from Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General that found several VA mental health clinics in Atlanta had “unacceptably high patient wait times.” During Thursday’s hearing, veteran Daniel Williams “described continued struggles battling red tape, waiting for appointments and trying to get attention at VA facilities” for his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Williams told the hearing that the “VA system makes you want to give up and try something else.” The Post points out that George Arana, VA’s acting assistant deputy undersecretary for clinical operations and management, apologized to Williams at the hearing.

  • The VA Tries to Get Beyond Its Culture of No. New York Times The Department of Veterans Affairs “says that it is not only making strides in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries and in preventing suicides, but is also upending its reputation for bureaucratic delays and unresponsiveness.” A national phone and internet service for veterans in crisis at the Canandaigua, NY VA hospital, with a staff of 120, “has the relentlessness of battlefield medicine, with pleas for help coming from all sides.” It aims to be “radically open and welcoming,” which the editorial notes, “for the V.A., would be a sea change.” A nearby independent veterans outreach center which offers troubled veterans therapy and services “is another part of the solution.” Its director, a retired Army colonel, “praises the V.A. for having skilled professionals and expert care, but says it needs to do a much better job of working with community-based programs.”

  • Art Being Used As Therapy For Traumatized Vets. Alexandria (VA) Times “When combat-induced trauma threatens to scar an identity, break family bonds or sink a soldier into depression, a community of psychologists believes art is the way to fight back.” During a recent presentation “sponsored by the American Art Therapy Association, guests” at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Virginia “learned how art doubles as therapy for military veterans.”

  • VA Urges Troubled Vets To Undergo Evaluation. KCCO-TV PTSD is “something experienced by more than 25 percent of the nation’s veterans.” A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, “can also play a silent role in a veterans behavior.” KCCO noted that VA “urges any veteran who is having mental health issues to undergo an evaluation.”
  • Purple Heart Vets Live Longer, VA Study Finds. Air Force Times “A study of aging World War II and Korean War-era veterans showed that those who earned the Purple Heart died at a much slower rate over the course of a decade than those who didn’t receive the medal.” However, researchers with Veterans Affairs’ Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System “stop short of suggesting that a combat injury is one key to long life.” The Times quoted researcher Dr. Jeffrey Pyne, who stated, “What this study does is point to the fact that there may be some ways to identify particularly resilient groups of veterans, and future studies of these identified populations could help us identify factors for resilience.”

  • Anticipating DADT Repeal, Gay Advocates Shift Focus To Equal Benefits In Military. New York Times With the “military’s ban on openly gay troops expected to end this fall, advocates for gay and lesbian service members are already looking ahead to the next battle: winning equal benefits for same-sex married couples.” The Times points out that “under current law…the Pentagon is prohibited from giving federally financed benefits to same-sex married couples” such as “housing…health insurance, certain death benefits, legal counseling and access to base commissaries and other stores.” However, “with the final repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in the coming months…many advocates expect the number of gay and lesbian married couples in the military to rise significantly. As those numbers grow, unequal treatment of same-sex married couples will become a source of resentment and poor morale, advocates for gay troops assert.”

  • Veteran’s Widow Fighting To Keep Home Because Of Missing Benefits. WXIN-TV “The widow of a Vietnam veteran has been forced out of one home and she could get kicked out again.” Judy Julius “said it’s because the Veteran’s Administration is taking so long to pay the benefits owed to her following her husband’s death.” Julius has been “told the check is in the mail, but she said she’ll believe it when she sees it.”

  • Homeless Veteran Numbers Drop By 55,000: VA. Reuters The VA said Friday that the number of homeless veterans of any given night has fallen to 55,000, attributing the decrease in part to the VA Supportive Housing program, for which $46.2 million in grants were announced Thursday to provide permanent housing for 6,790 homeless veterans. VA Deputy Press Secretary Drew Brookie said the number of veterans estimated to be homeless each night had decreased from 131,000 in 2009 to 75,700 as of this June. He also said that the housing programs were “reducing the time it takes to get veterans into homes.”
  • Foreclosed Property Gets New Life As Veterans Housing. North Andover (MA) Eagle Tribune A “development company that specializes in energy-efficiency retrofits is turning a foreclosed and dilapidated single-family home at 134 Cedar St. into a two-unit apartment for homeless military veterans.” John Ratka, “director of the Haverhill-based Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, which owns the property, said the apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy in September. He said any homeless veteran is eligible for a lottery to select the tenants.” The “center already offers a campus in Haverhill for people sent directly from Veterans Administration hospitals and a single-room occupancy home known as the mansion.” Both facilities are subsidized by VA.

  • St. Cloud VA Selected For Homeless Housing Program. St. Cloud (MN) Times The St. Cloud VA Healthcare System “has been selected as a site for development of a new building for homeless or at-risk veterans and their families through public-private partnerships and VA’s enhanced-use lease program.” Part of a VA initiative to develop housing opportunities for homeless and at-risk veterans, the project could start in 2012; a public hearing will be held July 27 at the St. Cloud VAMC.

  • Petry: Military Training Helped Him Stay In Fight After Losing Hand. Comedy Central’s The Daily Show  In an interview with Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, who was “awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama on Tuesday.” Petry explained that he earned his medal by trying to throw a grenade away from himself and his fellow soldiers after it had been hurled their way by the enemy in Afghanistan. That action cost Petry a hand, but he told Jon Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show,” that his prosthetic hand is “amazing” because it is “designed to conform to different objects.” Petry noted that when his hand was lost in battle, he was able to turn to his military training, apply his own tourniquet, get on the radio, and continue telling those in charge of the operation “what was going on.”

  • SC Company Gives Log Cabin To NC Homeless Vets. AP “A log cabin donated by a South Carolina company will become a new shelter for homeless female veterans” in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Blue Ridge Log Cabins “of Campobello, S.C., announced Thursday the home it donated to the ABC show ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ will be used by the Jubilee House. Fifteen-year Navy veteran Barbara Summey Marshall founded the charity, which provides shelter and help to homeless female veterans.”

  • Formerly Homeless Vet Says VA Referral Saved His Life. KNWA-TV VA sent veteran Raphael Macias to the 7 Hills Homeless Center, “one of the only programs to put the homeless under a permanent roof, which has proven to be a salvation for some.” KFTA added, “Seven Hills plans to build 22 new units for veterans in 2011, but the need continues to outpace what they can afford to supply. So, without new programs and additional funding, only a select few veterans will have the second chance Raphael Macias said saved his life.”

  • Mother Of Fallen Soldier Involved With Homeless Vets Assistance Event. KGTV-TV Jill Millard is the “clothes coordinator for the annual Stand Down event in Balboa Park for homeless veterans. It’s a task she took on three years ago — a year after her youngest son, Gregory, was killed in Iraq.” Veterans Village of San Diego hosts the three-day event, and before it is over, “more than 900 veterans will come through the clothing tent and come away with a set of clothes and jackets and shoes.”

  • Extreme Makeover Demolishes Old Vet House. WTVD-TV “Homeless female veterans in Fayetteville are getting the help they need thanks to Ty Pennington and the hit ABC TV show ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition.’ On Thursday afternoon, Pennington knocked on Barbara Marshall’s door on Langdon Street and told her she’s getting a brand new log home from Blue Ridge Log Cabins built from the ground up in just one week.” Marshall, a former Navy officer and chaplain, was fixing up the Langdon Street home so that it could serve as a shelter for homeless women veterans.

  • Stand Down Events Aim To Help Homeless Veterans. Los Angeles Times “Stand Down season has begun — the effort by government agencies, nonprofits and others to help homeless and hard-luck veterans. In San Diego, the three-day Stand Down began Friday and was expected to draw nearly 1,000 veterans. And in Long Beach, a Stand Down was held exclusively for women.” While VA studies “suggest that a high percentage of the long-term homeless population suffers from substance abuse and/or mental health conditions, neither issue being amenable to quick solutions,” the Yet the Stand Down approach “offers a temporary respite from the streets, a supportive atmosphere and a chance for the VA and others to enroll veterans for follow-up care and possibly for housing vouchers.” It also notes that the number of homeless veterans in San Diego County fell from 2,100 last year to 1,650 this year, “possibly due to the voucher program, which comes with follow-up treatment.”

  • Families Of Iraq And Afghan War Dead Come To Arlington National’s Section 60. CBS Evening News  Section 60 of the Arlington National Cemetery, “where the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan lie buried. Nikki Bunting brings her sons Connor and Cooper here every Sunday.” The segment speaks with three widows of veterans of those wars who regularly bring their young children to the cemetery. It concludes that while Section 60 “is surely the most solemn place in America,” still “children do belong here.”

  • Wounded Warriors Become Surf Warriors At Huguenot Park Camp. Florida Times-Union “A half dozen injured Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans became warriors of the waves Friday at Huguenot Memorial Park. Hoots and howls echoed near the north jetty area of the park off Heckscher Drive when the vets rode thigh-high waves.Florida Surfing Association President Paul West organized the surf camp for the Wounded Warrior Project based in Jacksonville.”

 

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