Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – August 01, 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. Prescription Pill Overuse by Military Drawing More Attention.  But you don’t want to see a veteran go into a VA hospital and get a prescription drug filled for painkillers and then go down the street to a private doctor or private pharmacy and get another prescription pill when there’s a database that could …
  2. CCSU, Veterans Affairs Team Up in ‘Call for Photos’.  Their names are among the more than 58000 listed on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC Central Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs are teaming up to put faces with those names. On Friday July 29,
  3. Families in Crisis aids vet families dealing with homelessness.  Killeen Daily Herald
    In late July, the US Department of Veterans Affairs awarded Families in Crisis $358096 as a part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, a national initiative to award nearly $60 million to 85 nonprofit community agencies in 40 states
  4. Rochester veteran looks to future.  Beaver County Times  He’s the man veterans in this region see for new wheelchairs. He’s also a coach in charge of recruiting athletes for the annual games, which are sponsored by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. …
  5. VA spurns requests for documents.  Charleston Post Courier  Not only did the US Department of Veterans Affairs fail for years to adequately oversee finances at the Good Neighbor Center, but it also has delayed for more than eight months in providing The Post and Courier with public documents …
  6. Veterans Affairs approves Maine Media Workshops for GI Bill funds.  — The US Department of Veterans Affairs has approved many of Maine Media Workshops’ one-, two- and four-week classes as education programs for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Maine Media College’s Professional Certificate and MFA degree programs …
  7. Veterans find hope through chaplain training graduates.  Deseret News  A letter arrived at the chaplain’s office at the Veterans Affairs hospital addressed from Martin Wilson, a distressed veteran in the county jail on March 2010. Wayne Hull, then a new student of the Utah Clinical Pastoral …
  8. Minimum of 1400 small businesses receiving false VA benefits.  After an investigation, the US Department of Veterans Affairs found major problems with small businesses claiming to be owned by veterans, according to the Navy Times. The news source said VA officials found 76 percent of businesses …
  9. Access to care is the focus of Veterans Services secretary visit.  Silver City Sun News
    But getting local care for local veterans is the bigger issue and continues to be a huge hurdle for veterans, particularly aging World War II vets who have to get up at midnight to take the 1 am van from Silver City to Albuquerque to the VA hospital …
  10. Veterans Affairs administration to grant $600K to Mobile social services. Press-Register – (blog)  — The US Department of Veterans Affairs this week announced a $600000 grant to a Mobile social services organization that serves the homeless. Housing First Inc., which serves the homeless and marginally …

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VA Funds Solar Energy Projects

To promote innovation and create jobs, VA has awarded $56.7 million in contracts to build solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in support of ongoing energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. Learn more

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  • VA Grounds Not For Politics. Houston Chronicle Responding to threats by an area Congressman to use an appropriations bill to eliminate the job of the director of the VA cemetery in Houston, because of her allegedly anti-religious practices, a pastor and veteran who says he has performed many funerals there says that “no one has ever tried to censor my speech.” Noting that standard military honors “are not in themselves religious,” he adds that families desiring religious ceremonies can receive them on request. He also notes that a funeral “is not the place for volunteers to inject their own beliefs when these are not requested by the family. The VA is doing the right thing here. Please, leave politics — and politicized religion — out if it.”
  • White House Names Members Of New Effort On Waste, Fraud. Washington Post “The Obama administration is launching a Government Accountability and Transparency Board, which the White House says is designed to ‘enhance transparency in federal spending and root out and stop waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs.'” The deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, W. Scott Gould, is on the board, which “will recommend strategies to make spending data more reliable and accessible across the government.”

  • Florida Drops Veterans Hall Of Fame List Prepared by DVA. WFTV-TV The state of Florida “is getting rid of its list of possible inductees for the new Veterans Hall of Fame, after critics said it lacked diversity. Twenty-two people were on the veterans list. They were all white men and former governors with military service, including Gov. Rick Scott. If the list had been approved, Hall of Fame members would have been formally inducted on Veterans Day and honored with a plaque at the capitol. The Department of Veterans Affairs came up with the list.”

  • Connecticut DVA Seeks Photos Of Veterans Who Died In Vietnam War. WFSB-TV  The state’s Department of Veterans Affairs “is working with Central Connecticut State University to collect photos of veterans of died in the Vietnam War, for a virtual memorial in Washington, DC. The virtual memorial will be displayed near the memorial wall; the goal is to attach faces to the more than 58,000 names listed on the Wall.”

  • North Dakota Will Issue Driver’s Licenses Noting Veterans Status. KXMC-TV  North Dakota veterans will “soon be able to get new licenses–which will give them recognition for their service. Starting August 1, veterans will be able add the letter ‘V’ on their licenses.” Besides offering recognition for their service, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs notes that having the symbol of their driver’s license may make it easier for veterans to prove their eligibility for veteran’s discounts.

  • Veterans Can Learn About Benefits At Supermarket In Madison. Wausau (WI) Daily Herald A two-day Supermarket of Veterans Benefits in Madison on August 5-6, hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, will bring together dozens of service providers, “including the federal VA, state agencies, County Veterans Service Officers, veterans service organizations, education centers and more. Veterans along with family members of veterans and deployed service members are encouraged to come to the Supermarket to learn about federal VA health care, employment, and other information.”

  • VA Grilled On Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. Army Times “The Veterans Affairs Department was in the hot seat Thursday after an audit found it had awarded at least 1,400 contracts intended for veteran-owned companies to ineligible businesses. The contracts were specifically set aside for veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, but because companies can self-identify, many falsely identified themselves as veteran-owned.” Thomas Leney, the executive director of small and veteran business programs at VA, told the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s oversight panel that his job is to “fix verification and make sure it stays fixed.” Leney “will update the subcommittee in 90 to 120 days on further progress.”

  • Labor Official Resigns After Findings That He Gave Work To Favored Contractors. McClatchy “A top Labor Department official in charge of helping veterans find jobs resigned this week amid findings that he had steered work to favored contractors.” Raymond Jefferson “oversaw the department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, known as VETS, a federal effort to help veterans find jobs and protect their employment rights. It was geared to the veterans who couldn’t get job assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs, whose employment and training programs are directed toward former service members with disabilities related to their military service.”

  • New VA Contractor Registration Process Brings Delays. Washington (DC) Business Journal The VA “recently put in place new registration requirements for service-disabled veteran owned businesses, which can tack on a lot of time to the process. Contractors should expect a delay in certification — and their ability to bid on set-aside contracts.”

  • Panel OKs Email For VA Claims Notifications. Air Force Times Legislation allowing email to be used as the primary means of notifying veterans about the status of pending disability benefits claims was approved Thursday by a House subcommittee after a few changes were made to ensure veterans could not be inadvertently hurt by electronic rather than paper notifications.” The House Veterans Affairs Committee’s “oversight and investigations panel also approved a bill requiring the Labor Department to post information on its website about the number of veterans hired by federal contractors.” The full Veterans Affairs Committee will take up by the two bills in August, as “part of a package of legislation that the panel wants to pass before Congress takes its summer break.”

  • VAMC Takes Care Of Women Patients. Lebanon (PA) Daily News (

  • More Serious Innovation From Veterans Affairs. Huffington Post Craigslist founder Craig Newmark writes, “Over the last two years or so, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been doing some seriously innovative work on behalf of the troops.” Now the agency has “announced a competition to get the vets’ Blue Button installed on doctors systems. The Blue Button works with a vet’s health records, and the competition is about building personal health records and getting them installed in doctors’ systems.”

  • Vets With PTSD, Government Reach Settlement. AP Over a thousand Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder “would be given lifetime disability retirement benefits such as military health insurance under the terms of a settlement reached between the government and the veterans. Attorneys for the veterans, the Justice Department and the military jointly filed a motion on Thursday that spelled out the terms.” Another thousand veterans who already had lifetime retirement benefits would receive a higher disability rating, potentially resulting in larger disability compensation payments. The settlement, which must be approved by a judge before becoming final, stems from a 2008 class-action lawsuit filed in the US Court of Claims by veterans claiming that, because they were unable to continue serving due to an anxiety disorder, they were being wrongfully denied benefits.

  • Remains Of 12 WWII Servicemen Identified. AP “The Pentagon has identified the remains of 12 World War II servicemen. The military said Thursday they died in a plane crash in Papua New Guinea on Oct 27, 1943.” According to the AP, the remains of the servicemen “will be buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.”

  • Walter Reed Operations To Be Moved To Facilities In Maryland, Virginia. CBS Early Show  “From presidents to privates, Walter Reed Army Medical Center has treated the sick and the injured for more than a century, but its facility is closing as the Pentagon tries to consolidate hospital care and save money. On Wednesday, Walter Reed held a ceremony to close its mission.” Walter Reed’s “operations are being moved to new and upgraded facilities at the National Naval Medical Center In Bethesda, Maryland, and to another Army medical facility at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.”
  • Walter Reed Doctors Concerned About Readiness Of New Operating Rooms. Washington (DC) Examiner “Doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center fear that two new military hospitals won’t be ready to properly treat wounded soldiers, retired veterans and other military patients by the time the District’s Army hospital is closed in September.” Vice Adm. John Mateczun, “commander of the Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical, said last week that the combined operating room capabilities at Bethesda and Fort Belvoir would be capable of handling treatment of all those now at Walter Reed. But neither of the new hospitals will be fully functional by the deadline, according to sources familiar with the plans.”

  • Solar Energy Project Slated For VA Medical Centers In West Los Angeles. Beverly Hills Courier “Veterans Administration medical centers in West Los Angeles and Loma Linda could have working solar energy systems in place by next summer, it was announced” this week. The Courier said VA “awarded $56.7 million in contracts to install the renewable energy systems at VA hospitals in Los Angeles, Loma Linda and three other locations.” In a news release, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “With these investments in clean energy and other renewable energy projects, we are marching forward with the president’s initiative to expand innovation in the federal government and create new jobs.”

  • El Monte Gets Vet Hunters Off To Promising Start For Trip. San Gabriel Valley Tribune On Wednesday, a “group of 10 hearty souls, known as ‘The Vet Hunters,’ gathered in preparation for a bike ride” to St. Louis. Sometime “between Aug. 4 to Aug. 7, the group will arrive in St. Louis for the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans’ annual Stand Down event. They will tell Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki just how desperate it is on the streets for veterans” who “can’t find a decent place to spend the night.”

  • House Panel Approves Measure To Curb Sexual Assaults In VA Medical Facilities. CQ “Responding to reports of high numbers of sexual assault incidents within the Department of Veterans Affairs,” the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health approved “legislation Thursday that would require the department to take steps to drive those numbers down.” According to CQ, HR 2074 is the “first bill of its kind that would require the department to develop an official policy to prevent sexual assaults in its medical facilities, and to change the process by which such assaults are reported.” Also on Thursday, the subcommittee approved a “bill (HR 1154) that would bar the VA secretary from prohibiting service dogs in any VA facility or VA-owned property.”
  • Pit Bull Puppy Saves Air Force Veteran From Committing Suicide. New York Daily News “Air Force veteran Dave Sharpe survived two near-death experiences serving in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – but it was his six-month-old pit bull puppy that saved his life. His dog, Cheyenne, licked his ear and brought a suicidal Sharpe back from the brink when he had put his service pistol in his mouth.

  • VAMC Builds Program To Help Vets With PTSD. Muskogee (OK) Phoenix “As the number of military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder increases, local help is being emphasized.” The Jack C. Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center is “building a program to serve personnel with PTSD from military conflicts. Dr. Beth Jeffries, PTSD team supervisor, said the medical center is offering a variety of services,” including “evidence-based psychotherapy, which has been re-tooled to better fit combat veterans.”

  • Ways To Better Treat Injured Vets Devised. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review “With more controversial and sweeping changes in military medical care put off until next year, the Recovering Warrior Task Force moved steadily Wednesday to shore up problems dogging wounded, sick and injured military personnel and their families. ‘I was very happy with the progress we made today, and I’m very hopeful,’ task force co-chair Suzanne Crockett-Jones, the wife of a severely wounded soldier, told the Tribune-Review.” She added, “I think that we’re finally getting to the actual issues” that need to be addressed by the Pentagon or the US Department of Veterans Affairs should address.

  • Documentary Focuses On Returning Veterans. Medford (OR) Mail Tribune “A documentary film focusing on the healing journey for war veterans and their families will be shown today, July 28, at the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City. ‘The Welcome’ will be shown at 6 p.m. at the SORCC’s theater, 8495 Crater Lake Highway, White City. All veterans and their families are invited to the free showing” of a film that aims to “help traumatized veterans and their families, including troops returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

  • Veterans Invited To Focus Group. Muskogee (OK) Phoenix Jack C. Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center “would like to welcome all Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn (post-combat phase in Iraq) veterans to a focus group opportunity at 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at Southern Hills Baptist Church, 5590 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa.” During the event, there “will be a presentation by ‘Folds of Honor’ on college scholarships for children of combat veterans. There will also be information booths on services available to veterans.”

  • Resources For Post-Combat Trauma. KWWL-TV “New research out of Vanderbilt University shows soldiers serving in the Middle East may be at risk for a lung disease called constrictive bronchiolitis,” which experts say may result from exposure to sulfur fires and burn pits. KWWL continued, “In addition to lung diseases, service members face a variety of possible pains, according to Janann Anderson,” the program director for Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn at the Iowa City VA Health Care System. KWWL added, “Veterans can get treatment at VA hospitals and active duty service members can call the number on their TRICARE Health Care card to find a nearby eligible facility.”

  • VA Will Renovate, Expand Roseburg Facility. AP Veterans Affairs “says the Roseburg veterans’ hospital will stay open and expand.” Local vets had “feared the VA would reduce the facility to a clinic.” Earlier this week, VA “said…it plans to keep the hospital open with a $55 million renovation and the addition of cardiology and ophthalmology services.”

  • Virtual Care Veterans Clinic Will Soon Open In Holbrook. Holbrook (AZ) Journal “Within two weeks, area veterans will be able to receive medical care closer to home, with the opening in early August of a veterans’ clinic in Holbrook, offering telehealthcare. The Department of Veterans Affairs is equipping the new facility, located at 33 W. Vista Drive, with telemedicine technology to serve veterans from Winslow, Holbrook, Navajo and Hopi reservation communities, and the surrounding area, up to the New Mexico border.” Ame Callahan, who is the “public affairs officer for the Northern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System, explains the clinic will use videoconferencing to allow patients to interact with a physician based in the Prescott regional Veterans Affairs facility.”

  • Residents Want Log Home At Veterans Cemetery Saved. Burlington County Times An “old log home” is “one of two historic buildings constructed in the early 19th century” that is located at the federally owned Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Upper Makefield. Local residents who attended a meeting this week on the future of the buildings “made it clear” to Veterans Affairs “and its consultants that they want the properties to be rehabilitated and maintained.” The Times adds, “While demolition is possible, the VA is willing to lease the Scott Farm if someone commits to funding and rehabilitating it, according to Jason Vendetti, vice president of A.D. Marble & Co., the environmental consultant working on the project.”

  • Agent Orange And Vietnam Ending A Fifty Year Legacy. Gilmer (TX) Mirror A recent trip to Vietnam led by Edgar, for the Ford Foundation, which has a major project to alleviate damage from Agent Orange herbicide. Noting that the US “now compensates Vietnam-era vets for 15 serious health conditions and one birth defect related to exposure to the dioxin that was part of those herbicides,” but says that less than 10% of Vietnam’s rehabilitation needs have been met. The article notes optimistic signs, including inclusion of $18.5 million in 2011 appropriations and an already-begun AID remediation project for the Da Nang airport. It also recommends that the US adopt “a long-term action plan like that drawn up by the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin.”



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