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


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


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1.   Office space volunteered for VA clinic.  Kennebec Journal  Bruce Manzer is not a veteran,and he does not live in town, but he said on Friday he is willing to give part of a building he owns on Main Street to the US Department of Veterans Affairs so it can run a medical clinic and continue to provide care to …
2.   Company looks to honor veterans.  Evening News and Tribune  11, 2001, attacks, one Jeffersonville business is making sure older veterans are thanked as well. Amedisys — a provider of home health and hospice care that has an office in Jeffersonville — is partnering with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to …
3.   State veterans homes get VA grant.  Houston Chronicle  The US Department of Veterans Affairs has approved two grants totaling $1.35 million for improvements to the Mississippi Veterans Homes in Jackson and Collins. US Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., says the VA is contributing $924000 to support …
4.   Disabled Amherst veteran finds a way forward.  Lynchburg News and Advance  Of those, 1.4 million veterans have become eligible for services from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. A third of those veterans, like Jones, now receive disability payments from the VA. At 33, Jones is the average age of retired, active-duty …
5.   Student Veterans and Sept. 11.  Inside Higher Ed  Chief among them is a lack of communication between the federal Department of Veterans Affairs – which distributes the benefits to colleges and students – and institutions, recipients and the US Education Department, causing botched payments to …
6.   VA hospital celebrating 60th anniversary.  Arizona Republic  When the US Department of Veterans Affairs began providing care to veterans in Phoenix in 1946, it did so at what the Chicago Tribune called the “smallest, ugliest” temporary hospital in the VA system – a converted prisoner-of-war camp …
7.   VA to break ground on Wilmington clinic Sept. 19.  The US Department of Veterans Affairs plans to break ground on the much-delayed Wilmington veterans clinic this month. The department will hold a groundbreaking event at 1 pm Sept. 19 and will likely open the clinic two years later …
8.   Rehabilitation for veterans, not punishment, key to new docket of Cleveland.  Plain Dealer (blog)  They also are referred to in-court representatives of local rehabilitative resources, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission, and are required to return to court for compliance reports. …
9.   TRICARE Contractor Settles Suit For $10 Million. Army Times TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the nation’s “largest TRICARE regional contractor, has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a suit alleging that it negotiated discounts with service providers and then submitted claims at higher rates to the Defense Department’s TRICARE Management Agency,” the Justice Department announced Friday. Under the settlement, TriWest, which manages the military healthcare program in “21 western states, will pay $8.3 million to the federal government and $1.7 million to the four whistleblowers who filed the lawsuit.” Meanwhile, TriWest released a statement attributing the error to a “processing glitch” in its automated system, which “inadvertently caused the company to bill TRICARE at the normal rate rather than the lower negotiated rate.”
10. Bill Would Expand Disabled Vets’ Job Rights. Army Times Under a proposal, the “Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act would be amended to protect wounded veterans from workplace discrimination if they need time off for treatment of war-related injuries or disabilities.” The bill, “called the Wounded Veterans Job Security Act,” would allow “leave for treatment of medical-related conditions; require employers to treat the disabled veteran they same as they would a nonveteran employee who is on furlough or leave of absence; and prevent a veteran from losing seniority or any other rights and benefits because they are taking time off for treatment.” The measure has been “referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for consideration.”

Have You Heard?

Remembering September 11, 2001

On this 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, we remember and honor those lost in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania—and all who have served in the decade since. Read Secretary Shinseki’s message

More Veteran News


  • Military Suicides Not Just A Number To 1 Lawmaker. AP  “A House Armed Services hearing Friday on the status of suicide prevention programs” gave military leaders a “chance to answer lawmakers’ questions about identifying service members at risk.” Towards the end of the “hour-long session,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) talked about her nephew, Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, a “high-spirited Marine who shot and killed himself in an Afghanistan fox hole after hours of beatings.” Witnesses discussed “steps by the department to get to zero suicides — from sharing information with Veterans Affairs and working with the National Institutes of Health to focusing on peer-to-peer mentoring.” Meanwhile, subcommittee member Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) “offered the sobering numbers for 2010 — 37 Marines committed suicide, 39 sailors, 56 members of the Air Force and 300 in the Army.”
  • Congress Moving Forward With Veterans Jobs Initiatives. Stars And Stripes The “ambitious jobs plan outlined” by President Obama on Thursday “may be a tough sell in Congress, but lawmakers appear on the verge of advancing at least one piece of unemployment legislation in the near future: A new veterans jobs bill. Just hours before the speech, members of the House Veterans Affairs committee approved a measure offering new training programs to veterans looking for jobs and tax incentives to companies that hire them. … ‘A million veterans out of work is not acceptable,'” said the bill’s sponsor, Committee Chair Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), just before Thursday’s vote. A similar measure is under consideration in the Senate; and “members of both parties say they expect to find compromise…possibly before Veterans Day.”
  •  New Review For Michigan Affirmative Action Ban-Appeals Court. Reuters A majority of judges in the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday to rehear a case that overturned Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions and government hiring. Civil rights and other groups had argued that the law prevented racial and ethnic minorities from obtaining the same admission considerations universities were granting to military veterans and to applicants within certain geographical locations or particular income brackets. Reuters quotes Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who requested the rehearing, as saying it is “absurd to conclude that banning racial discrimination somehow perpetuates racial discrimination.”
  • Formerly Homeless Vets Show Off Apartments. Las Vegas Review-Journal That since 2009, the number of homeless veterans in the Las Vegas Valley has fallen more than 40 percent. Notably, a three-year HUD grant has helped The Radcliff, a 25-unit apartment complex near Las Vegas Boulevard, provide shelter for as many as 240 veterans. Meanwhile, according to the Veterans Affairs Department, the number of homeless veterans across the nation has also declined — from 150,000 in 2009 to 75,000 in 2011.
  • Veterans To Be Honored In Mud Bowl Parade Saturday. Conway (NH) Daily Sun “On this 10th anniversary 9/11 weekend, Maj. Frank McCarthy (US Marine Corps-Ret.) and his fellow veterans will be honored by serving as grand marshals of Saturday’s 29th annual Tournament of Mud Parade — but they will also be saluting their fallen brothers and sisters in arms who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. ‘I think of the people I served with, and all who have served this country, not just on September 11th, but also on Memorial Day and Veterans Day,'” said McCarthy, a Vietnam veteran and a “state Republican representative.” He will be “part of the group that will lead” North Conway’s parade on Saturday.
  • Annual Serv-A-Palooza Benefits Veterans Center. York County (ME) Coast Star  “The sound of power saws buzzed through the air at the Veteran’s Center for Disabled American Veterans as part of a community service kick-off led by Timberland Co. and its partners.” More than “650 New Hampshire volunteers participated in Timberland’s 14th annual Serv-a-palooza Thursday, working on six different projects throughout New Hampshire. The Veterans Affairs project brought a team of 70 volunteers comprised of Timberland employees and members of their service partner AmeriCorps program City Year, as well as volunteers from the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in Hampton.”
  • Governor Jindal Awards 118 Veterans From East Baton Rouge Parish With The LA Veterans Honor Medal. KATC-TV  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal “awarded 118 veterans from East Baton Rouge Parish with the Louisiana Veterans’ Honor Medal at Covenant Community Church.” Gov. Jindal was joined by “Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) Secretary Lane Carson and Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard, to award the state’s veterans with a special medal in honor of their service in the Armed Forces.” In 2008, Jindal signed a measure to “create the Veterans’ Honor Medal Program in order to recognize and honor all of Louisiana’s veterans.”
  •  VA, DOD Choose Open Source To Combine EHRs. Information Week The Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments officially launched their Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent Aug. 30, reports that OSEHRA “now has its own website and is ready to accept contributions from the private sector.” Meanwhile, the VA is planning to “make the source code” for its VistA EHR “available to the community.” VA Chief Technology Officer Peter Levin, told InformationWeek that the two departments “want to use an open-source community to develop their new unified system for several reasons,” including that it is a “fairer acquisition strategy” in that it levels the vendor “playing field.” Also, the approach will “help identify and fix software ‘bugs’ more quickly and provide better security”; and it will “be more effective for tax payers,” Levin explained.
  • Vet Org, Nonprofit Settle Purple Heart Dispute.  AP Tonganoxie, Kansas-based Purple Hearts Veterans Foundation “agreed to stop using the term ‘Purple Heart’ and will pay a national organization $5,000.” The lawsuit (pdf) by the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, which is based in Virginia, accused the Kansas group of “trademark infringement,” alleging that “donors to the Kansas group might falsely believe that it was aligned with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which helps veterans who received the military honor.”
  • VA Adds Lifetime-EHR Test Sites. Modern Healthcare The VA announced it will “more than double the number of pilot sites” as part of its Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record initiative. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said the pilots are “an initial step toward a larger capability which will become available” throughout the VA. Notably, all 11 VLER expansion sites are “scheduled to be operational this fall.” They include Grand Junction (CO) VA Medical Center, and multiple rural Utah exchange hospitals; Asheville (NC) VA Medical Center and WNC Health Network; VA Western New York Healthcare System in Buffalo and Buffalo-area HEALTHeLINK hospitals; Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston (SC) and Charleston-area exchange hospitals; Minneapolis VA Health Care System and Minnesota exchange hospitals; and VA Puget Sound Health Care System (WA) and MultiCare
  • Many Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans Served Multiple Tours. Record and Herald News Since “9/11, less than 1 percent of Americans have been doing the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan”; and of the “more than 2 million soldiers who have served in those war zones, nearly 800,000 have been deployed more than once,” according to Defense Department data. Veteran Cleveland Atwater who spent his “first tour in Iraq leading a Marine fire team” said he “never thought about statistics. … ‘All the guys that went over there…wanted to be there.'” Meanwhile, veterans of “past wars, especially Vietnam veterans who recall their shabby treatment upon returning home,” are giving these latest veterans “a big salute.” They are “‘truly the heart and soul of America,’ said Neil Van Ess, a Vietnam veteran and state commander of the New Jersey Military Order of the Purple Heart.”
  • Traces Of Agent Orange Found At US Army Base. Korea Herald  “Traces of a toxic defoliant were found in groundwater in Camp Carroll, a US military camp in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province, where three American veterans claimed they dumped drums containing chemicals presumed to be Agent Orange in 1978,” investigators said Friday. Officials on the “Korea-US joint probe team found 0.161 micrograms of the defoliant substance 2,4,5-T per liter in five groundwater wells within Sector 41 of the base.” The team said the amount is “not harmful to humans as the World Health Organization allows up to 9 micrograms per liter in potable water.” South Korean investigators also “tested wells outside of Camp Carroll, and found a ‘very small amount'” of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, but the investigation team said no evidence of either chemical was found “during a retest.
  • Physician Discusses VA Efforts To Improve PTSD Treatment. WWLP-TV Dr. Jack Fanston of Bay State Medical discussed PTSD experienced by survivors of the 9/11 attacks. As for veterans who have PTSD, Dr. Fanston said the military has “continued to progress in its approach to ‘destigmatization’ and recognition and they put in active screening programs for enlisted officers who are returning to the communities. … The military has done a nice job putting services in place thorough the VA. We have clinics here in Springfield and there is the [Northampton VA Medical] center in Leeds.”
  • Hidden Wounds Seeks To Raise Awareness Of Veterans’ Suicides. Augusta (SC) Chronicle  On Friday, Anne Bigham was “at Fort Gordon to give a presentation about her experience as a survivor of a suicide victim and the peer counseling network she’s founded called Hidden Wounds.” Bigham recognized the signs of her brother, former Marine lance corporal Mills Palmer Bigham’s “pending suicide.” Although he would sometimes “check into the local Veterans Affairs hospital” for help, there was “no 24-hour psychiatric counseling and his sister couldn’t find the resources he needed.” Anne found the Columbia-based nonprofit to raise “awareness about suicide among returning veterans and provides an outlet for veterans to express their feelings.” Her second presentation, which is “part of September’s National Suicide Prevention Month, is Monday.”
  • Man Who Joined US Marines After 9/11 Made Sacrifice. Reuters The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks inspirited veteran Jordan Towers, who was a 17-year-old high school student at the time, to enlist in the US Marine Corps. Towers, who was deployed to Iraq in 2007, is presently in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
  •  Pennsylvania VAMC Holds Annual Suicide-Prevention Awareness Walk. WJET-TV  “The Erie VA medical Center hosted its Second Annual Suicide-Prevention Awareness Walk. … Participants joined together for a moment of silence, followed by a walk around the VA grounds.” The Erie VAMC has a “suicide prevention program specifically designed to help veterans and help them cope with emotional or physical stress.”
  • Federal Government Approves Plan To Convert Fort McPherson To VA Clinic Site. WAGA-TV  “The feds have given the green light for a master plan to convert Fort McPherson to a complex of homes, a Veterans Affairs clinic and other uses. The fort is scheduled to close this month and the site will be redeveloped and feature more than 1,700 residential units and a 30-acre event and festival space.” It will also include “21 acres for the VA clinics”; and officials say the “three commercial buildings will offer more than 750,000 square feet of space for occupancy as early as this fall.”
  •  Legion To Recognize World War II Vets. Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal The “Stone Smart Post No. 82 American Legion invites all World War II veterans to a ceremony recognizing the sacrifice they gave during that war.” The ceremony will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, at the American Legion Post “in Norway”; and a representative from the “Maine Department of Veterans Affairs will be on hand to provide a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ from the people of the state of Maine.”
  • Technology Helps Reconnect Local 103-Year-Old Man With His Brother After More Than A Decade.  KSBY-TV  A 103-year-old San Luis Obispo-resident John Woodford “went to the VA facility in San Luis Obispo Friday afternoon to use their equipment” and after some “trial and error,” he connected with his younger brother, Ivan, who he has not seen “in almost 12 years.” The WWII veteran is the “oldest patient at the VA Medical Center in Reno, Nevada” and had just turned “101 years old.” So as a “belated birthday surprise, the VA Medical Center in Reno used its video conference system to reconnect the two brothers.”


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