Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – September 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.   Texas and region.  Several veterans groups who had sued the US Department of Veterans Affairs over claims of religious discrimination by Houston VA officials have agreed to settle their lawsuit, according to court documents filed Thursday. …
2.   State VA hosting veterans outreach day at Dyersburg armory.  State Gazette  Veterans participate in Veterans Day activities last year. The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are over 500000 veterans in the state of Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs (TDVA) is inviting veterans, …
3.   Eugene hopes to land $40 million VA clinic.  Houston Chronicle  The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs is looking for 13 acres in the Eugene area to build a facility, and two cities are vying for the right to host the $40 million clinic.
4.   Social media bridging gap between troubled vets and treatment.  While they shouldn’t be viewed as replacements for actual clinical treatment, sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s ‘Community of Veterans’ are providing veterans and their families an outlet for referrals, advice and helpful programs, according to the experts
5.   Rigors of war leave troops battling arthritis at a young age.  Staff Sgt. Thomas Wenzke would sit for hours, hunched over the five-ton truck’s window, scanning for hints of bombs along Iraq’s garbage-lined roadways. The truck ‘ reinforced with heavy armored plates that had ruined its suspension ‘ motored over crater-sized potholes, and Wenzke’s spine would feel every jolt. His body armor, weighing 50 to 60 pounds, added to the strain.
6.   Calls for Improvements to Disability Claim Process for Veterans.
DAV volunteer and Vietnam veteran Jim Sursely at the beside of a wounded soldier in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Disabled American Veterans. US Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-Bayside, is calling on the US Department of Veterans Affairs to …
7.   Hundreds of veterans gather in Painesville.  An estimated 600 to 700 veterans of several wars have visited the event in each of its four years, said Tammy J. Stennis, clinic administrator for the West Jackson Street outpatient clinic of US Department of Veterans Affairs. The clinic joins together …
8.   Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing. Middle East North Africa Financial Network  Section 202(b) of the Dr. James Allen Veteran Vision Equity Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-157) authorizes VA under the State Cemetery Grant Program to provide additional federal assistance to states for the operation and maintenance of state veterans …
9.   Salem State University named military-friendly school by GI Jobs.  Boston Globe
To help student veterans find the right school, GI Jobs this year incorporated a survey of student veterans for the first time when preparing its list. The feedback, which provides prospective military students insight into the student veteran …
10. Christie announces $195000 to help vets land construction jobs.  Asbury Park Press
Helmets to Hardhats is a national program jointly created by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. New Jersey Helmets to Hardhats has placed more than 275 military veterans into …

Have You Heard?

The Veterans Day National Committee recently selected the National Veterans Day poster for 2011 designed by John Magine, a Vietnam Veteran who works as a visual information specialist at the VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.  It is the second time the committee has selected his artwork for the national poster – his previous design won the 2008 contest.  “It was a great honor to have my work selected again as this year’s winning poster design. I attempted to create a design that reflected not only the unique year, month and day of the 2011 celebration, but the National pride, courage and sacrifice our Veterans represent:  the guardians of our freedom and liberty,” said Magine. Use this opportunity to display the posters at VA facilities and remind Veterans that we appreciate their service and sacrifice on our behalf. The poster was shipped to VA facilities nationwide Friday, and can also be viewed and downloaded in a variety of formats from the Veterans Day Web site:

More Veteran News



  • Avastin faces greater scrutiny over eye disease use.  InPharm  The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a national body that provides patient care and federal benefits to military veterans, has said it will no longer allow the off-label use of Avastin (bevacizumab) for wet age-related macular oedema. …
  • Harris’ Winning Spree Continues.  Recently won a contract worth $9.6 million from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve the financial and administrative legacy systems within the Veterans Health Administration Harris will deliver and support the …
  •  Retroactive Traumatic Injury Benefits No Longer Just For Operations Enduring, Iraqi Freedom Injuries. Lake County (CA) News   Veterans Affairs Department is “extending retroactive traumatic injury benefits to servicemembers who suffered qualifying injuries during the period Oct. 7, 2001, to Nov. 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where the injuries occurred. ‘Now all of our nation’s servicemembers who suffered severe traumatic injuries while serving their country can receive the same traumatic injury benefits,'” said VA Secretary Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. As of Oct. 1, the “Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Traumatic Injury Protection benefit, known as TSGLI, will be payable for all qualifying injuries incurred during this period.” Notably, the retrospective benefit is payable regardless of whether a “servicemember had SGLI coverage at the time of the injury.”
  • Attorney: Soldier Faked Injuries. Omaha World-Herald  A “Nebraska man must repay $22,148.53 in disability benefits after pleading guilty to defrauding the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Dustin J. Douglass, 27, of Scottsbluff was sentenced this week in US District Court.”  AP In addition to repaying the money he received from the VA, a federal judge also sentenced Douglass to “three months in prison and three months’ house arrest for faking combat injuries to get disability pay,” according to the US Attorney’s Office in Omaha. Douglass was “indicted in February on two counts of making false claims to Veterans Affairs.”
  •  VA Automating Its Benefits Form. Bucyrus (OH) Telegraph Forum  As “part of its ongoing effort to ongoing effort to streamline access to benefits,” the Veterans Affairs Department has “automated its online Health Benefits Renewal (10-10EZR) form (pdf).” Previously, veterans who filled out the 10-10EZR online were “required to print a copy, sign it and send it to their local medical center.” Additional information regarding eligibility is available on the VA’s website.
  •  Veterans Affairs Money To Add Palo Alto Jobs. Palo Alto (CA) Weekly, “The expansion of the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System on Miranda Avenue will add 2,500 construction and technical jobs in Palo Alto over the next few years, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said recently.” During a groundbreaking ceremony “at the Palo Alto campus last Friday (Sept. 16),” Shinseki “said the VA has committed $1.6 billion to replace Palo Alto’s aging facilities, which include a new ambulatory care building, rehabilitation center, recreation therapy and research facilities.” The Weekly adds, “Palo Alto’s facilities are among the most advanced in the nation, taking in veterans with traumatic brain injuries wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Shinseki said.”
  •  WWII POW Tells His Tale At Coatesville VA.  West Chester (PA) Daily Local News “After an inspiring” POW/MIA Recognition Day service at the Veterans Affairs hospital “in Coatesville, William ‘Bill’ Giambrone took center stage in the center’s spacious cafeteria. He was all smiles as he sat down to tell his story about being a prisoner of war in World War II.”
  • Michelle Obama: Move That Bus!. Politico Michelle Obama “will appear on the season premiere of ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ on Sunday, but don’t expect much heavy lifting” from the First Lady. In an interview with People magazine, Mrs. Obama said, “I’d like to say I put up the drywall, but my handy skills are limited. But I did help screw in some plaques as a part of a fabulous design project that paid tribute to all of the female veterans who have passed through” Barbara Marshall’s “home. I also lent a hand with the garden greenhouse by arranging the potted plants.” After noting that the magazine hits newsstands on Friday, Politico said the First Lady “joined in the effort to help…Marshall, a Navy vet who runs a homeless shelter in North Carolina, over the summer.”
  •  Female Veterans Tormented By Combat And Sexual Trauma. BBC News “Research with US veterans (male and female) from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan suggests that 19-42% have mental health conditions.” But women “serving in the armed forces also face the risk of military sexual trauma, or MST, which can lead” to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With the number of female veterans continuing to increase, the “healthcare system run by the US Department of Veterans Affairs has had” to adapt so that such women can be properly cared for.  BBC News Video of a female veteran named June Moss talking about how she received help from the Palo Alto VA women’s clinic for her PTSD. She said the clinic is “very helpful, because it’s all women and they understand…what to expect.” The staff there listens and is “there for us,” she added.
  •   Consumption Of Fatty Acids Linked To Decreased Suicide Risk In US Soldiers.  CNN American Morning  “We all know that omega-3 fatty acids are good for us, but a new study out suggests there’s actually a powerful psychiatric benefit” to consuming fish oil, which contains such acids. Researchers “looked at the levels of omega-3s in our military men and women and they found that active duty men with low levels were more than 60%” more “likely to commit suicide.”
  • Report: A Third Of Military Suicides Told Their Plans To Another Person.  AP According to the 250-page 2010 Department of Defense Suicide Event Report released on Sept. 21, “a third of military personnel who committed suicide last year had told at least one person they planned to take their own lives.” Almost “half went to see medical personnel, behavioral health specialists, chaplains or other service providers sometime in the 90 days before they died,” the report found. However, “that doesn’t necessarily reflect a failure in the Defense Department suicide prevention program, said Richard McKeon, chief of the Suicide Prevention Branch at the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.”
  •  Harris Upgrades Systems At VA’s Veterans Health Administration. Washington Technology  “Harris Corp. has won a $9.6 million contract to provide systems enhancements to the Veterans Affairs Department. The award calls for Harris to upgrade the following six core financial and administrative legacy systems in the Veterans Health Administration: X12, Fee Basis Purchased Care, Credentialing and Privileging Enhancements, ICD-10 Encounter Forms, Occupational Health & Safety Management Information System, and Revenue Operations, according to a Sept. 22 Harris announcement.” Washington Technology adds, “The program is part of the VA’s Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) contract vehicle, which covers services designed to streamline and modernize VA operations, including patient care delivery at more than 150 VA hospitals.”
  •  Many US Black Men Short On Vitamin D.  UPI  “Black men living in US areas where there is low sunlight are more than three times more likely than white men to have vitamin D deficiency, researchers say.” The “findings were presented at the American Association of Cancer Researchers Health Disparities Conference in Washington.” According to UPI, Dr. Adam Murphy, a physician at the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center, “said vitamin D deficiency causes brittle bones and has been linked to prostate cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”
  •  House Panel Holds Hearing On Arlington Cemetery.  AP “The top officials at Arlington National Cemetery are scheduled to update a House subcommittee” today “on their efforts to reform management practices following reports of misplaced graves and other problems. Cemetery Executive Director Kathryn Condon and Superintendent Patrick Hallinan will testify at a House Armed Services subcommittee Friday at 10 a.m. An officer from the Army’s Office of Inspector General, which recently completed an audit of the cemetery, will also testify.”
  • Veterans Vent On Possible Health Fee Increase.  Charleston (SC) Post & Courier Some “veterans around the Low Country and nation are reacting negatively to a White House proposal to increase pharmacy co-pays for military and their families, and to also increase medical coverage fees among military retirees as part of a $3 trillion deficit reduction plan.” Leaders of “service groups who represent veterans nationally have already gone on record as opposing the increases and alterations unless there is an offset increase for cost-of-living and pensions.” Republicans “in Congress have already voiced opposition to Obama’s overall plan.”
  •  For-Profit Colleges Getting More GI Bill Dollars. AP   “The new Post 9/11 G.I. bill, which substantially boosted education benefits for veterans, has been a windfall for large chains of for-profit colleges, according to figures released Thursday by Senate Democrats arguing for tighter regulation of the sector.” On Thursday, a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs met “for a hearing on improving educational outcomes for the military and veterans.” In a statement it issued on the matter, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it “‘understands the demand, especially among Veterans, for non-traditional forms of education’ but also wants to protect their right to the best education possible.”
  •  Funding For Homeless Vets A Step Closer To Reality. Santa Monica (CA) Daily Press Funding to “rehabilitate the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus to help house homeless vets got one step closer to approval Tuesday when a bill to release” $20 million for that purpose “sailed through the House of Representatives.” The money, authorized in the Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011, “will go to restoring” a building on the West LA campus that would be used to “provide long-term therapeutic housing for chronically homeless veterans.” The bill “came up just months after the American Civil Liberties Union, along” with Santa Monica City Councilmember Bobby Shriver, “filed a lawsuit against the VA, accusing them of misusing the 390-acre plot of land that was meant to house homeless veterans.”


  1. 28.               Veterans Center In Shalimar Proves Popular. Northwest Florida Daily News “A new veterans center is serving the rising number of troops who have returned to the area. With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more troops are returning home with post-traumatic stress and other issues that the Okaloosa County Vet Center can help with, said Clifford Harris, team leader at the center at 6 11th Ave. in Shalimar.” Harris “said he didn’t know the exactly how many people the new Shalimar center has served, but more people are coming in every day as word spreads.”



  1. 29.               Postal Worker Sentenced In Maine For Drug Thefts.  AP Joseph Skehan, a longtime US Postal Service employee, is “going to jail for 30 days for stealing prescription drugs that were being mailed to veterans in Maine.” Skehan was “sentenced Wednesday in Aroostook County Superior Court.” Officials “said Skehan took hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller, from packages that the Veterans Health Administration had mailed to veterans in the Houlton area.”



  1. 30.               Cemetery Among Stops In Civil War Book. Winston-Salem Journal  Lisa O’Donnell wrote, “To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, I’ve been reading about local sites,” which is why the Salisbury National Cemetery “appealed to me. Here, you can tread upon the same ground as the horse and wagons that carried the dead from the nearby prison to the knoll where the bodies were dumped. I walked among the rows of marble headstones, an exercise that brings the war more to life than reading the text of…historical markers.”
  • Maine Airman, WWII Veteran, Flying High Again. Portland (ME) Press Herald   “Residents may have heard a loud plane coming in for a landing at Biddeford Municipal Airport this afternoon, but what Jim Sheppard heard was a piece of his past.” Texas Flying Legends President Chris Griffith “arranged to surprise the 87-year-old former Tuskegee Airman” Saturday afternoon with a “Redtail P-51 C Mustang. The World War II aircraft, now part of the Commemorative Air Force Redtail Squadron, was similar to ones Sheppard worked on as a crew chief in the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II.”
  •  One Final Mission: Pilot, 90, Relives Glory As Military Pilot. Houston Chronicle “It was déjà vu for Lt. Col. Ted Wolfram III as he dusted off his old Air Force uniform Saturday morning and headed down to History Flight in South Houston. The retired World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veteran, two months after his 90th birthday, was on his way to fly a T-6 Texan, the same plane he taught cadets on…more than 60 years ago.” As Wolfram’s “doting family played paparazzi” on the tarmac, the nonagenarian waved goodbye and flew took the vintage plane “five miles away from the airport to practice his old maneuvers and learn some new ones.” Wolfram landed “just as he had taken off”: Smiling and “waving to his family…’I feel like a million bucks,'” he said.
  • Missouri Paintball Event Raises Funds For Disabled Veterans. KOLR-TV Springfield, MO (9/24, 6:13 p.m. CT) reported, “Veterans and patriots came out today to play paintball for the 5th Annual Operation Paintball Warrior to raise money for the DAV, which assists 200 to 300 veterans a month.” Program Director Nick Reed was shown saying, “All funds go to the Disabled American Veterans, an organization that’s made up of veterans that relies solely on donations. … For veterans who have to get to a VA hospital that aren’t able to due to a disability or aren’t financially able to, they’re able to give them rides.” KOLR added, “The DAV offers other services for military veterans, including a homeless veteran outreach program.”
  •  Ford Given Freedom Award For Support Of National Guard And Reserves.  Mustang  Ford Motor Company on Saturday “received the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in recognition of the support it provides its National Guard and Reserve employees.”
  •   Webb Questions Backing Of Vietnamese MIA Project. Norfolk (VA) Virginian-Pilot
  •  The Audit: Admissions Problems At Ill. Veterans’ Home.  AP
  •  Vets Invited To Share Stories; Histories To Be Part Of Library Of Congress Project.  McAllen (TX) Monitor

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