Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – August 26, 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.    Gov. Walker Appoints John Scocos as New Secretary of the Wisconsin Department. WMTV  … next Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. As Deputy Secretary, the Governor has chosen Jason Johns. “I consulted with many veteran organizations throughout the state in choosing the next WDVA Secretary,” said Governor Walker. …
2.    Veteran’s Affairs officials to visit Carroll in October.  1380 KCIM  For the past three years the state has allocated $10000 to all 99 counties to be used for administrative purposes and not for direct assistance to veterans. State law requires that each county have a veteran’s affairs office in a county owned building …
3.    Lead contamination broader than Grafton Ridge.  Baltimore Sun (blog)  The couple who was purchasing it, Davis said Monday, had a loan through the US Department of Veteran Affairs, which required a lead test before purchase. “Thank God that discovered the problem,” she said. When she discovered the lead, Davis said, …
4.    Warsaw Man Named to Military and Veterans Commission.  Times-Union Newspaper
Senator David C. Long, President Pro Tempore of the Indiana Senate, appointed Jerry Hogan of Warsaw to the Commission on Military and Veterans Affairs. Hogan is a Marine Corps veteran and member of American Legion Post 49, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post …
5.    Muskegon Heights VFW Post 9338 to host recruiting banquet.  Muskegon Chronicle –  One of the most immediate is information about benefits and programs available to veterans. Steven C. Pruitt, a field service officer from the US Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Grand Rapids, will be the guest speaker at Saturday
6.    CT Stand Down Scheduled For 9/9. Hartford Courant  The Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs “expects 1,000 homeless and needy veterans to come to Stand Down 2011, a one-stop social services annual event now in its 16th year, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at the department at 287 West Street in Rocky Hill.” At Stand Down 2010, “1,300 veterans showed up for free medical care, hair cuts, and license renewals, among other services.”
7.    Returning Philadelphia Veterans Face Hardship In Motherhood. WHYY-FM Disabled Gulf War veteran Louise Hawthorne is “part of a growing class action lawsuit filed in Virginia Federal court on behalf or active duty and veteran victims of sexual trauma.” Hawthorne receives treatment at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Philadelphia, which “doesn’t have childcare.” Marsha Four, the executive director of the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center, “says the VA is working hard to provide better services for women, and things have improved.”
8.    Widow: Ranger Killed Self To Avoid Another Tour.  AP   “Army Ranger Jared Hagemann had served at least six combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, with another deployment to Afghanistan looming. But the 25-year-old staff sergeant,” who suffered from PTSD, “dreaded the prospect” of another tour. After noting that Hagemann was found dead earlier this summer with a gunshot wound to his head, Hagemann’s wife, Ashley Joppa-Hagemann, said he found the “pressures of another deployment so overwhelming” and threatened repeatedly “to take his own life.” Joppa-Hagemann, who is “convinced it was suicide,” is quoted as stating, “He wanted out, they should have let him out.”
9.    Lung Problems Found In Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans. Reuters  A study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that shortness of breath and reduced fitness in some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may be due to lung damage from breathing in airborne toxins, combat smoke, or dust storms during deployment. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Robert Miller of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are “exposed to burning solid waste, burning human waste (particularly in Iraq), and consistently exposed to fine particulate matter that’s easily inhaled deep into the lungs at a level that’s above what’s desirable.”

10. Army Veteran Who Lost Legs In Afghanistan Rolls Forward On New Wheels In North Bethesda. Gaithersburg (MD) Gazette  US Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Holbert “lost both his legs when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was investigating an explosion outside his base in Afghanistan in August 2010.” Operation One Voice Wounded Warrior Bike Program gave Holbert the “opportunity to ride alongside his daughter, who received her first bike for her birthday Aug. 15. The program, which provides road, tandem and hand-crank bikes to Special Operations Service members to aid in the operator’s rehab and quality of life, arranged for officers from the Rockville City Police Department to award Mark Holbert with a customized bike Monday outside his apartment complex” in Bethesda.

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More Veteran News


  •  Veterans Affairs Medical Centers Now Releasing Outcome Data On Patient Care.  Willoughby (OH) News-Leader  Veterans Affairs hospitals are “now included in the Centers for Medicaid and hospital quality based on what matters most to patients — the outcomes of care.” The agency’s secretary, Eric Shinseki, commented on the matter, stating, “VA is committed to providing veterans and their family members with a transparent accounting of the quality and safety of its health care system. In collaborating with CMS, we show our determination to be open and accountable to veterans and their families.”
  • VA Social Media Policy Outlines Interaction, Patient Privacy Protection Practices.  FierceHealthIT  The US Department of Veterans Affairs has “formalized its burgeoning social media empire by announcing a policy on how VA employees should use these online platforms.” The “new policy explains how employees may apply to create a social media site, describes the proper modes of interaction with veterans, and provides guidance on how to protect the privacy of patient data.” In a press release, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “Veterans should have consistent and convenient access to reliable VA information real time using social media–whether on a smartphone or a computer. They also should be able to communicate directly with appropriate VA employees electronically.”
  •  Hearing On VA Homeless Plan Attracts Crowd. Fort Wayne (IN) News-Sentinel On Wednesday, approximately “40 people, including government officials and potential developers, attended a public hearing…to explain the Department of Veterans Affairs’ plan to build housing for homeless and potentially homeless veterans and their families on 4.4 acres near Fort Wayne’s VA Medical Center.” According to the News-Sentinel, VA’s “Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) program has already awarded 60 projects designed to improve underutilized land and facilities, with 65 under development. The VA will now seek proposals from interested developers and hopes to select a project and sign a lease by the end of the year.”
  •  UPS Worker Pleads Guilty To Larceny, Drug Charges In Lowell. Lowell (MA) Sun  “A 28-year-old former United Parcel Service worker admitted to stealing prescription drugs sent in packages from Veterans Administration hospital pharmacies to area veterans to feed his opiate addiction. In Lowell District Court” this week, “Robert T. French, of 84 Andover St., Wilmington, pleaded guilty to a charge of larceny from a building and admitted to sufficient facts to possession of a Class B drug as part of a plea deal.” Because French is in a drug-treatment program, Judge Lynn Rooney “agreed to sentence French to two years of probation for the larceny charge and had the drug-possession charge continued without a finding for two years, after which the charge will be dismissed.”
  • VA Officials Launch Disabled Veterans Paralympic Website. San Antonio Express-News “Department of Veterans Affairs officials have launched a Paralympic Program website as part of the VA’s ongoing commitment to support the rehabilitation and recovery of disabled veterans through participation in adaptive sports. One of the highlights of the new website is the ‘Success Stories’ page, which features disabled veterans and their stories of how participating in adaptive sports has positively impacted their lives.” The Express-News adds, “Visit the website at or send an email to [email protected].”
  • Mortgage Applications Fall. Washington (DC) Business Journal  “Applications for mortgages to buy a house or to refinance an existing loan fell last week, even though mortgage rates are at all-time lows.” The Washington, DC-based “Mortgage Bankers Association said overall applications fell 2.4 percent last week, and purchase applications decreased 5.7 percent, the lowest level since December 1996.” The Business Journal adds, “Applications for government housing programs -including those from the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture Department – fell 8.2 percent.”
  • For Anguished Vets, Yoga Brings Peace. WTVT-TV  Some veterans at the James Haley Veterans Hospital are “dealing with amputations, head injuries and” post-traumatic stress-disorder. But “they’ve finally found something to help them deal with the pain: yoga. They are taking part in a program called ‘Exalted Warrior.'”
  • Women Are Heroes, Too.  Time  “Battleland” blog, veteran Darlene Iskra writes about what US Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown did to earn the “Silver Star for combat in Afghanistan.” Iskra add, “Over 140 military women have given their lives for their country in the last 10 years.” One “of the most famous wounded warriors” is disabled Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth, “who went on to serve as an assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
  • VA Database Could Benefit Every Consumer. South Bend (IN) Tribune Veterans Affairs is “now offering an online tool for comparing hospitals that could be a major help for all consumers if it were to be extended throughout the American healthcare industry.” Last November, the Department began “posting hospital-specific information on patient outcomes at the nation’s 152 VA medical facilities. The program allows veterans to compare such things as hospitals’ surgical death rates, rates of infection from intravenous lines and re-admission due to medical complications.” In addition, the VA has “committed to ordering improvements in medical protocol or dismissing doctors at hospitals that fall into the bottom 10 percent on national ratings.” The Tribune suggests that the Department of Health and Human Services “keep an eye on the VA data system as a possible model for the country as a whole.”
  •  Veteran Paralyzed In Fall Competes In Art And Athletics Again. WDTV-TV Willie Mardos, who was paralyzed while serving in the US Air Force in 1984, is “participating in art competitions and athletic events.” Last year, he won an art competition at the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center. This year, he took part in the National veterans Wheelchair Games, something he plans to do again next year. He “liked the feeling of being able to compete again.” WDTV added, “The VA will be honoring Mardos at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center on Friday.”
  • Band Spruces Up Grounds At Homeless Vets Assistance Organization. KTBC-TV  Members of the band 3 Doors Down “picked up a paint brush to help homeless vets.” The band members “helped brighten the grounds” of New Directions, a “non-profit that re-unites homeless vets with their families.” The “organization runs a program” at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs “center that helps homeless vets get back on track.”
  •  Duluth’s Veterans StandDown Helping Troops. KJBR-TV  “Northland veterans received special treatment” on Wednesday during the “17th annual Duluth Veterans’ StandDown. The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans headed up the event giving onsite assistance for Veterans in need.” Veterans who attended the event said they “are grateful” for efforts like StandDown. “What you give up for your country, it’s nice that it’s being recognized by the community,” said Gary Parker, an “Army Vietnam Veteran.”
  • Event Planned To Honor Veterans. San Angelo (TX) Standard-Times  “Beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, West Texas VA Health Care System and the Tom Green County Veterans Service Office will hold a Welcome Home event at Fort Concho National Historic Landmark for military veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.” The event will include a “barbecue dinner and information about veterans programs. ‘There’s going to be information on how to enroll in VA healthcare services,’ said Jill Johansen, a program manager for West Texas VA Health Care System, based in Big Spring.”


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