Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – October 17, 2011


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


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1.    Middletown developing ‘Veterans Court’.  Middletown Journal  Ohio is sixth in the nation in states serving the largest population of veterans with 890340, according to the most recent numbers available through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Only California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York have

2.    VA Launches Outreach … – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.   – As part of its drive to end homelessness among Veterans by … “ Working with our partners in state and local government, the non-profit and the … People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and …
3.    GI Bill gold rush: Can predatory schools be stopped?  Montgomery Advertiser  During the 2010-11 academic year, the US Department of Veterans Affairs disbursed $4.4 billion Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to nearly 6000 institutions. Almost one quarter of those dollars — $1.02 billion — was paid to just eight for-profit companies. …
4.    New Record Center Opens In St. Louis.  KPLR 11  ‘I`m awestruck to think about the millions of patriots whose stories now live here,’ said Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Some of the patriots are well known and some are not. …
5.    Serving fellow vets to the last.  Eagle Tribune  But as much as Urena tried to make it a veteran’s night out affair, the tributes drenched the city’s favorite veteran like the raindrops outside. The biggest one may have come from state Secretary of Veterans Services Coleman Nee. …
6.    Strong bonds link military dogs, handlersHe was a go-getter, an athletic, high-speed soldier with an incredible drive. Young, dark and handsome, he was often playful and humorous.
7.    Government Contractor Pleads Guilty to Providing False Information.  TMC Net
… General – Washington Regional Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; the Office of Inspector General for the US General Services Administration; and the Office of Inspector General for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. …
8.    McCain Open To Changes In Mil Benefits, Retirement.  AP  “The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee is recommending that a special committee searching for ways to slash the deficit consider” some of President Obama’s “proposed changes to health and retirement benefits for the military.” In a letter to the bipartisan panel, Arizona Sen. John McCain “signaled he was open to cost-saving steps in military benefits, a move certain to send shock waves through Congress and among powerful groups of retired officers and veterans resistant to change.” McCain said he would “support establishing an annual enrollment fee for TRICARE for Life, the healthcare program that has no fee for participation. Obama had proposed an initial annual fee of $200.”  CQ   McCain’s recommendations are “largely in line with a separate proposal submitted to the joint committee Oct. 14” by Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI). Levin recommended, “tying any increases in an enrollment fee to the same benchmark index used for TRICARE Prime, the military healthcare option with the lowest out-of-pocket expenses. ‘Whichever benchmark is ultimately agreed upon, annual fee increases for retirees over the age of 65 should be the same as annual fee increases for working-age retirees,'” he wrote. Meanwhile, McCain also “said he wants to ensure that the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments negotiate lower prescription costs and pass them on to TRICARE recipients.”
9.    New Mexico Veterans’ Services Department, Integration Center Co-Host Stand Down. KOB-TV  “New Mexico’s homeless veterans are now getting more help. The New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services and the Veterans’ Integration Center hosted a ‘Stand Down For Veterans’ event today. … They gave out free clothes and flu shots. There was also job training, and medical check-ups.” According to VA estimates, “there are about 7,000 homeless veterans in New Mexico.”
10. Former Stand Down Participant Praises Program At Tuscaloosa Event. WIAT-TV The Tuscaloosa Stand Down on Friday, “homeless veterans crowded the event eager for a free meal, a haircut and some clothes. But former Stand Down participant Ronnie Drew believes the most important thing a vet can take away is the assistance of the medical center.” Drew was shown saying, “They helped me with the struggle of depression. They helped me with the struggle of trying to get back into the community, to know my family again.” WIAT added, “The VA offers dozens of programs to help homeless and struggling vets find jobs and housing.”


Have You Heard?

VA Urges Breast Cancer Awareness

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October by asking all female Veterans to talk with their health care providers about appropriate breast cancer screenings, such as regular mammograms. More information

More Veteran News


  • VA Outreach Helps 108 Homeless Veterans.  Fayetteville (NC) Observer  “More than 100 veterans got help at a homeless outreach this week hosted by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville.” On Friday, VA officials “released the tally of veterans helped: 108. They received clothing and hygiene products, in addition to a combined 42 flu shots, 80 vision or dental screenings and 47 health screenings. … In all, about 400 people participated, including veterans.”
  •    A War Injury With A Big Impact: The Plain Old Headache.  New York Times  “Ask anyone about the signature wounds of the current wars and the list is likely to include lost limbs, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, back strains and knee pains. But a new study from Johns Hopkins University says the plain old headache has been a leading cause of attrition in units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.” The study, published in Cephalalgia, the journal of the International Headache Society, found that “neurological illness was among the top three causes of noncombat related evacuations from the war zones, and that headaches were the most common neurological complaint for those evacuees.” The most common diagnoses were for “post-concussive headaches, 34 percent; migraines, 30 percent; and tension, 11 percent.”
  •   Proposal Seeks To Protect Agencies’ Private InformationFederal Computer Week “With a blended workforce and the need to share more sensitive information across boundaries, the Obama administration wants contractors to know how to protect an agency’s information and to take their obligation seriously.” Contractors would have to “complete training that addresses the privacy protections in the law and how to handle and safeguard of personally identifiable information, according to a proposed rule published in the Federal Register Oct. 14.”
  •   Bill Caps Veterans Affairs Bonuses.  Government Executive  “The House has approved a bill that would limit the amount of money the Veterans Affairs Department can pay in performance awards to senior employees during the next four years.” The measure sponsored by Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ) “caps the amount of performance awards to senior staff to $2 million per year from 2012 to 2016. VA paid out about $3.3 million in performance awards payments in 2010, according to a fact sheet posted on” The 2011 Veterans Benefits Act also “directs VA to establish a pilot program at five regional offices to test how well benefits claims processing personnel do their jobs and submit an annual report to Congress.”
  • Veterans And Dogs Bill: Shelter Dogs To Live With Soldiers.  Global Animal  Michael Markarian of the Humane Society Legislative Fund notes the House on Friday “passed a package of veterans’ healthcare legislation (HR 2074),” which included in the “Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act (HR 198),” introduced by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), a “Marine combat veteran from Operation Desert Storm.” The measure would “create a pilot program” to train dogs for therapeutic treatment of veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions. Notably, it directs the VA Secretary [Eric K. Shinseki] to “consider dogs residing in animal shelters” for the program. The Senate should “swiftly pass this important” measure, which would “support the men and women who served our country,” save tax dollars as “purpose-bred” dogs costs about $50,000 each, and save some shelter animals from being euthanized.
  •   VA Rolls Makes Bold Move To End Veteran Homelessness By 2015.  Huffington Post  VA Mortgage Center Director Chris Birk writes that under the “‘Make the Call’ campaign,” nearly 30 cities across the US will “host awareness initiatives this fall aimed at highlighting local services available to veterans mired in or on the brink of homelessness.” The campaign is part of the VA’s “push to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015.” According to “recent homeless count” surveys, more than “75,000 veterans are on the streets on a given night, and about 135,000 spent at least one night in a shelter. … ‘Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope,’ VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said in a news release. ‘Working with our partners in state and local government, the nonprofit and the private sectors, we can restore our homeless veterans and their families to the lives of dignity they’ve earned.'”
  •   Helping A Homeless Veteran Only A Phone Call Away.  American Veteran The American Veteran Magazine, reports VA’s “Homeless Veterans Program Office is on a mission to ensure that everyone from VA employees, to first responders and civilian personnel know who and where to call should they encounter a homeless Veteran or a Veteran at-risk of becoming homeless. A major homeless outreach and awareness campaign is under way in 28 cities across the nation as part of VA’s commitment to eliminate Veteran homelessness by 2015.” The initial phase of the “massive outreach effort is designed to inform and educate those in frequent contact with homeless Veterans have them serve as messengers b directing Veterans to three primary channels: the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (1-877-424-3838); the VA Homeless Veterans Website at;and local VA medical centers.”
  • Beyond The Battlefield: As Wounded Veterans Struggle To Recover, Caregivers Share The Pain.  Huffington Post  “No one, a decade ago, anticipated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would produce more than 50,000 battle casualties, among them some 16,000 young Americans so badly injured — ‘ripped out of the hands of death’ by advanced trauma care, as a Navy surgeon put it — that many of them would require lifetime care.” However, despite “all the training and preparation lavished on combat-bound military personnel, there is no training for managing the realities of being severely wounded.” Caring for a “severely wounded or disabled soldier” can be extremely stressful and medical professionals say some caregivers “eventually feel that suicide is their only way to escape lives that have become traps.”
  • Fighting for Homeless Vets Who Fought for Us.  Huffington Post   VA Homeless Veterans Initiatives Deputy Director Stacy Vasquez wrote, “The risk factors that lead to homelessness are universal…buy they can be particularly acute for veterans who have made sacrifices in order to fulfill their military duties. My own father, who served in the Navy in Vietnam, suffered from severe PTSD.” Although he eventually connected with “Veterans Affairs for help,” he never “saw his children again. … We need to spread the word that veterans are eligible for assistance, through VA, with healthcare, employment, job training, access to education and housing.”
  •   Wounded Ahwatukee Warrior Finds Role Aiding Other Veterans.  Arizona Republic “It was July 21, 2008, when Desert Vista High School 2000 alumnus Anthony Ameen’s life changed forever.” In Afghanistan, Ameen was “running to aid a wounded Marine during heavy fighting when he stepped on an improvised explosive device, severing his left foot and badly injuring both legs and left hand.” But his “years of recovery haven’t ended Ameen’s service to his country or his fellow warriors. In March, he launched Wings for Warriors,” a volunteer-driven non-profit that offers wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans “guidance and counseling in dealing with military and governmental entities. … ‘Everything that rubbed me wrong during my recovery process, I hope in time will be eliminated,’ Ameen said, citing examples of veterans being denied Social Security or other disability claims even with signed medical documentation.”
  • Post-9/11 Vets More Likely To Seek Mental-Health Help From VA Than Older Vets. Time  The “share of post-9/11 veterans receiving mental-healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs — as part of the total number of veterans — is slowly but steadily rising.” According to data in a GAO report released Friday, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans represented “4% of total VA mental-health visits in 2006, a number that tripled to 12% last year.” Troops who fought in the current wars also are more likely to “seek mental-health help from the VA than veterans of earlier wars. … ‘Specifically, 38 percent of all OEF/OIF veterans and 28 percent of all other veterans receiving any healthcare during this time period received mental healthcare,'” the GAO noted.
  •   Legacies Of Chemical Warfare In Vietnam.  WNYC-FM  Vietnam War scholar Fred Wilcox discussing the “legacy of chemical warfare in Vietnam” on the Leonard Lopate Show. “Even today, more than 3 million people — including 500,000 children — are sick and dying from birth defects, cancer, and other illnesses that can be directly traced to Agent Orange/dioxin exposure,” said Wilcox, the author of “‘Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam,’ the first book to examine long-term consequences of chemical warfare there, and the effects on future generations.”
  •  Texas A&M System Researchers Sought For Agent Orange Remediation.  “It’s been almost 50 years since Agent Orange was spread as a jungle defoliant across parts of Vietnam in a conflict that has since healed, but the same may not be true for the land, according to Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Research officials who are being sought out for some answers.” The partnership has been “identified as a key strategic project by the US Embassy in Vietnam.” Potential research activities include “microbial genetics, microbial activity and community shifts, surface water monitoring, water filtration, ecophysiology, crop rotations, residue analysis of biomass and fertility programs.”
  •  Small Strides for Federal Agencies.  CQ Weekly Managing government agencies “more efficiently would certainly help Congress and the Obama Administration save the $1.2 trillion that they’ve promised to wring from the budget over the next 10 years.” However, the Government Accountability Office reported late last month that although it found some promising agency “initiatives, it couldn’t verify whether they were any good because most of the efforts are too new.” The GAO noted, for example, that the Veterans Affairs Department has “launched an ‘operational management review’ to examine how well it carries out major initiatives, such as its goal of eliminating homelessness among veterans.” But the VA has not yet attempted to determine “how much savings, if any, the process yields.”
  • Arbor Heights Army Veteran, Single Father Of Two, Readjusts, Networks With Other Area Vets.  West Seattle (WA) Herald  “Army veteran Ryan Shannon, a West Seattle resident of Arbor Heights, says he is back on track with his life. He attends South Seattle Community College where he is organizing a veterans club and support group, and is assisted by the Washington State Veterans Innovations Program, or VIP.” The Iraq and Afghanistan veteran said he “feels fortunate relative to many other vets, as he has settled into a ‘normal’ routine of attending school, South Seattle Community College, where he is organizing a veterans club to help others, while renting a house, thanks to the GI Bill.”


Spell Check: Kit Helps Put Curse on Office Woes.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News March 22, 1999 | Wolfson, Bernard J. go to site online spell check

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Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Mar. 23 — Mad at your boss, your computer or an insufferable colleague?

Nothing “Voodoo Lou’s Office Voodoo Kit” can’t cure. The kit from Running Press contains a manual of spells, pins and a two-sided voodoo doll — one side male, the other female.

To cast a spell, secure something personal from your victim: a strand of hair, a pen, a cup. Now you’re ready to work magic.

For example, twist the doll’s arm, shout “fore,” and your boss loses his golf swing for a week. Rub the doll’s ear with tin foil and the office bean counter’s car phone fills with static. in our site online spell check

Voodoo Lou warns that you, too, can be a target. If so, the best thing to do is “stop being such a jerk,” he says. Or, attach a mirror to your doll, add a strand of your hair, and “hope against hope that the spell cast against you is deflected.” FILED BY THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Wolfson, Bernard J.

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