Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – November 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.    Palm Beach County fire chief to escort dad, other veterans on DC trip.  Palm Beach Post  Florida has more than 160000 World War II veterans, more than any other state, according to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. And, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, about 800 World War II veterans die every day. …
2.    Veterans Affairs picks HP for contract.  Hewlett-Packard Co . said Monday the US Department of Veterans Affairs picked HP Enterprise Services as a prime contractor for its VA Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology or T4 program. HP is expected to support the VA’s modernization plans …
3.    Site near Kernersville hospital appears to be choice for VA center.  Winston-Salem Journal  Stuart Parks, the manager of PM Development LLC, said the US Department of Veterans Affairs told him his company’s land off NC 66 and Old Salem Road was not chosen as the site of a VA outpatient center. Two other Winston-Salem sites had been ruled out …
4.    Data Lacking to Blame Trash Pits for Soldiers’ Ills.  Wall Street Journal   A much-anticipated report commissioned by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to examine possible health effects from pits of burning trash at military bases around the Middle East concludes that there is insufficient evidence to …
5.    One wounded Afghanistan veteran’s quest for recognition. C-Ville Weekly  Additionally, the local Veterans Affairs office helps veterans process claims and access a range of veteran benefits. The Charlottesville Field Office for the Department of Veterans Services is located at 2211 Hydraulic Rd., or can be reached by phone …
6.    Burn pit study inconclusive on health effects. Researchers studying troops’ respiratory problems released findings Monday that suggested poor air quality in Iraq and Afghanistan may be a bigger threat to servicemembers’ long-term health than exposure to toxic smoke from burn pits. But they caution that their work still leaves many questions unanswered.
7.    Pentagon: U.S will have a Gulf presence, but troop numbers uncertain.  No decisions have been made on how many U.S. troops will remain in the Persian Gulf region as the Pentagon prepares a final push to get the nearly 40,000 servicemembers still in Iraq out of the country by New Year’s Eve.
8.    GAO report shows VA’s mental health caseload climbing.  The report shows that from 2006 through 2010, more than 2 million veterans received mental health care from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accounted for an increasing proportion of those veterans – from 4 percent …
9.    City To Begin Offering Veterans Treatment Court.  Jamestown Post Journal  The Veterans Treatment Court is another aspect of the drug court system which is specially designed to deal with a certain segment of the population that comes into the court system. As its name states, Veteran Treatment Courts are for service members …
10.  Vets Views: Homeless vets continue to be issue for service providers.  Park Rapids Enterprise  As always the purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, …


Have You Heard?

Did you know that November is National Family Caregiver Month?  VA is honoring our partners in caring for those “who have borne the battle” by encouraging every VA employee to identify and recognize Family Caregivers at their facility.  A Family Caregiver’s devotion to their loved one allows a Veteran to stay in the home and community they defended with the loved ones they fought for.  VA’s Family Caregivers take on a daily burden to provide care for some of the most ill or severely injured Veterans who have served our Nation. This selfless sacrifice deserves our respect and recognition.  To learn more about Caregivers and how VA is working to enhance our services for them, visit

More Veteran News


  •   Summit: VA Needs Outreach For Women Veterans.  New London (CT) Day  On Thursday, a conference was held “at the VA Connecticut Homeless Veteran Summit Thursday for service providers and veterans. The conference, at the VA’s Errera Community Care Center in West Haven, focused on services for female veterans.” Jane Sarja, women’s program manager for VA Connecticut, “said the VA is ‘committed to working very hard’ to convince women that they should take advantage of its services.”
  •   “Occupy” Movement Puts Police In Quandary.  USA Today  “The chaotic street scene in Oakland where police clashed with Occupy Wall Street demonstrators last week was exactly the image law enforcement had hoped to avoid. As a wounded protester was wheeled away, the demonstrators – who have gathered in cities around the country to voice their opposition to the political influence wielded by big banks and major corporations – added allegations of police brutality to their list of societal ills.” The Oakland Police Department, meanwhile, “has launched an investigation into how Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, 24, was critically injured during an altercation between police and demonstrators.”
  •  Injured Iraq Veteran Tells Bruce Braley His War Story.  Waterloo And Cedar Falls (IA) Courier   Ian Ralston, a US Army medic who was “paralyzed from the neck down by a roadside bomb blast more than two years ago in Iraq,” Ralston “hopes his story inspires others to do extraordinary things.” Before their “interview, Braley presented Ralston with a US flag that flew over the Capitol and a plaque thanking him for his service. Braley also said a bill he introduced to double the amount of funding — $28,000 — to help injured veterans remodel their homes to make them more handicap accessible is moving through Congress.”
  • Agent Orange’s Effect Still Felt.  Delmarva Now   When Fry “enlisted in the US Air Force during his senior year of high school” in 1960, he was a “sheltered 18-year-old teenager from a small Pennsylvania town.” Fry was in Vietnam while Agent Orange was being sprayed as part of Operation Ranch Hand; and he was exposed to it for “70 days. … ‘Nobody ever said, ‘This stuff is dangerous,'” Fry said. In 2009, he “developed ischemic heart disease,” which is now on the list of “18 diseases” linked to Agent Orange. His brother, now deceased, who also served during the Vietnam war had similar ailments. Today, Fry “considers the Vietnam War ‘a national tragedy'”; and he says the Iraq war “was a mistake. Nobody has learned anything from Vietnam.”
  •   California Mayor Sorry Over Iraq Veteran Injured In Protest.  AFP  “A California mayor has apologised after an Iraq war veteran was injured when police fired tear gas to clear an anti-Wall Street protest camp, but the ex-marine’s colleagues voiced anger. … ‘I am deeply saddened about the outcome on Tuesday. It was not what anyone hoped for, ultimately it was my responsibility, and I apologize for what happened,’ said Oakland mayor Jean Quan in a statement.” She said she visited Scott Olsen and “his parents on Friday ‘because I was concerned about his recovery.'”
  • Sepulveda VA Housing Advances Despite Opposition.  Los Angeles Daily News “Despite seven years of community opposition, developers plan to soon break ground at the Sepulveda VA on apartments for homeless and disabled veterans. In January, builders plan to convert two vacant medical buildings at the Sepulveda Veterans Affairs in North Hills into 149 studio units for veterans and support staff.” Opponents “include local and state veterans groups, San Fernando Valley elected officials and 15 neighborhood councils who fear housing would further erode VA health care services.” But Wileen Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the Veterans Affairs of Greater Los Angeles, said the project is “in line with our Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, who said he wants to end homelessness among veterans by 2015.”
  •  Gupta Investigates Veterans’ Homelessness In Los Angeles.  CNN News Magazine  Dr. Sanjay Gupta noted that the “ACLU has filed suit to try and force the VA to build housing on 400 acres of land that it was given in 1888.” Los Angeles VA Healthcare System Chief of Staff Dr. Dean Norman said, “We’ve added 700 emergency housing and transitional housing beds.” Gupta continued, “This year, Dr. Norman says the Los Angeles VA has given out 2,000 [rent vouchers]. That’s 2,000 vouchers for more than 8,000 homeless veterans. … Meanwhile, the VA will say, ‘We are going to end homelessness by 2015.'” ACLU Attorney Mark Rosenbaum said, “They’ve been saying that for decades, but the most interesting thing is that the lawyer for the VA walked into a federal courtroom and said, ‘We think this case should be thrown out of court.'”
  •   Vietnam Vet Among Los Angeles’ “Skid Row” Residents.  AP  “Everything from toasters to typewriters is piled high on a Skid Row sidewalk under the watchful eye of a woman who calls herself Mercedes Benz. … Since a federal judge ordered the city four months ago to stop seizing property from Skid Row streets, sidewalks already teeming with people are now crammed with stuff. ‘We know there’s a court order. The city can’t take it,’ said Benz, a Vietnam veteran, who sleeps on the pavement amid the mish-mash.” Benz, who said she “receives disability for Agent Orange exposure, lost all her belongings in a street sweep earlier this year while she used the bathroom at a mission.”
  •     Arizona Veterans Centers Helping Soldiers, Families Cope.  Arizona Republic  “The West Valley center, which opened earlier this year, is an outpatient mental-health clinic that helps combat veterans work through a litany of issues – post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, readjustment to family life.” The “number of mental-health centers for veterans in the United States has increased by nearly a third over five years. By the end of the year, there will be 300 centers, bringing help closer to veterans across the country.”
  • What Meditation Did For Me: A War Vet’s Story.  Huffington Post   Leila Levinson took note of the “staggering numbers of service members who will need mental health care” because of their service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Levinson asked, “If the Veterans Administration is already overwhelmed, how will these veterans recover from their trauma?” Levinson suggests that help can come from the “community of practitioners of transcendental meditation, which has enabled many veterans to heal from their invisible wounds.”
  •  Jobless US Vets Say Military Experience Not Valued.  Reuters  There is a disconnect between credentials and certificates obtained though military training and the private sector’s perception of an employment candidate’s educational background. Experts believe this disconnect may be exacerbating veterans unemployment rate. They note that companies expect veterans with mechanical or technical training will adapt their knowledge to civilian jobs but military certificates in other fields do seem to garner much weight in the corporate world. Moreover, many potential veteran employees do not know how to translate their jobs titles, which used military jargon, to civilian terms.
  •  Madaras Home Officially Opens Its Doors.  Fairfield (CT) Sun  “On what would have been his 25th birthday, the Pfc. Nicholas A. Madaras Home for homeless female veterans was officially dedicated in memory of the fallen Wilton soldier. ‘What a gift!’ said his mother, Shalini Madaras, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, looking out at a crowd of approximately 250.” A veterans’ “honor guard bearing American flags lined the sidewalk, and the road was blocked off by Bridgeport police. … ‘We cannot sufficiently express how honored and grateful we are that Homes for the Brave has chosen to name this home after our son,'” said Madaras, whose initiative, “Female Soldiers, Forgotten Heroes, allied with Homes for the Brave.” Pfc. Madaras died in Iraq from an “IED explosion” in 2006.
  •  Madison Veteran Helps Comrades Find Jobs.  New Haven (CT) Register   “After serving four years in the Army and coming home to a different economy, Madison resident Ryan Suerth,” a lawyer, has been working to “encourage businesses to hire veterans.” Recently, he discovered the “Errera Community Care Center in West Haven, which offers vocational training to vets and helps them find work. ‘I’m not sure that a lot of veterans returning now'” know such options are available, he said. Notably, Juliet Taylor, who served 10 years in the Army, and Anthony Dozier, a “former sergeant in Operation Desert Storm,” did not know about vocational training and “ended up homeless.” Now, both Taylor and Dozier work as “vocational rehabilitation” specialists at the center. Director Mary Sperrazza said more than “50 percent of veterans in the supported employment division got a job” last year.
  • Bath Nurse Pleads Guilty To Taking Patient’s Money.  Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle  A Steuben County nurse has “pleaded guilty to bank larceny. Heather Pospiech, 38, of Bath, pleaded guilty before US Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson, according to the office of US Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.” Assistant US Attorney Craig R. Gestring “said in a statement that while Pospiech was employed as a licensed practical nurse with the VA Medical Center in Bath,” she used a debit card “belonging to a patient” under her care, without the patient’s “permission or authorization, to withdraw money from an HSBC Bank account.”
  • Afghanistan Veteran Uses Art To Mourn Brother.  AP  Former Army Sgt. Stephen Ewens, who paints “what he can’t say about the war in Afghanistan.” When he returned to Lewis, Washington, last year, he “had trouble sleeping” and a therapist suggested he try “expressing himself through art.” One painting shows a “sniper lining up a shot on a dark night”; another depicts a “shadowy angel clutching a rifle”; and then there’s the American flag with “bleeding red stripes. ‘Everyone who’s sacrificed anything for this country knows what I mean’ about the bloody flag,” Ewens said. The “26-year-old who lost a brother in Afghanistan five years ago,” is now working to set up an art show with “10 new paintings,” which he plans to call “The Afghanistan Project.”
  •  Soldier Returns To A Remodeled Home.  WLS-TV  “Master Sgt. Chris Winling got a rousing welcome home Friday afternoon after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The 16-year military veteran got a surprise escort to his home” in Round Lake Beach, which had undergone a “massive $50,000 renovation his wife, Jill, won from a letter-writing contest sponsored by WLS radio.” The Warrior Watch Riders also gave Winling a “string of beads, an honorary token of appreciation, and had him sign a banner.” Winling was “wounded in Iraq, and just finished a tour in Afghanistan.”
  •   Two Wounded Warriors Practice True “Semper Fi” In Marine Corps Marathon.  Washington Post  Carlos Evans, who became disabled serving in Afghanistan, and Jimmy King, who became disabled serving in Iraq, both competed Sunday in the Marine Corps Marathon. They were “part of a team supported by the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, a nonprofit organization.” Dozens of other wounded warriors also competed in the marathon, reports the Post.
  • Homeless Veterans Get Healthcare At Stand Down Event.  Waterville (ME) Morning Sentinel  The Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus on Saturday, “more than 70 other homeless veterans from around the state” attended the 14th annual Maine Homeless Veterans Stand Down. Hospital spokesman James Doherty “said Homeless stand-downs are a unique opportunity to gather together for a day in a safe, secure location and bring a wide-range of essential services to homeless veterans while enhancing their morale and motivation. ‘It’s a hand-up not a hand-out,’ Doherty said.”
  •  VA Finds Beds, Treatment For NC Homeless Vets.  AP   Veterans Affairs “effort to get hundreds of homeless veterans off the streets and into treatment. The Fayetteville Veterans Affairs Medical Center announced in August that it had contracted with Myrover-Reese Fellowship Homes and the Salvation Army to provide 23 short-term beds specifically for homeless veterans.” Myrover-Reese “provides help to addicts who want to put their lives back together.”
  •  Recession Takes Toll On Health-Care Industry.  Augusta (GA) Chronicle   “Between patients delaying surgeries or cutting back on preventative care to avoid co-pays, and with major reforms in health care, private medical practices and hospitals are taking a major hit.” In the “last two or three years, Augusta has lost several internal medicine physicians who have gone into other medical systems, particularly the VA Hospital, ‘rather than having to scuffle to make ends meet,’ he said.”
  • Five Vietnam War Veterans Haven’t Let Their Memories Of Combat Control Their Lives.  Fayetteville (NC) Observer
  •  Legion Is Mum Over Resolution Of Fake Marine.  Wenatchee (WA) World   American Legion Post 10 in Wenatchee has decided not to reveal whether George ‘Gunny’ was kicked out of the organization for lying about his military record. Lauve, an 84-year-old US Navy veteran who served from 1944 to 1946, fabricated stories about serving in the US Marine Corps, and about receiving numerous combat medals. His lies came to light after Lauve in August told the Shelby (NC) Star “that he finished his military career as a Marine Corps sergeant major after earning five Purple Hearts, a Navy Cross and several other medals.” An official at the American Legion’s Indianapolis headquarters “said it didn’t take long for them to determine Lauve did not earn at least some of those medals, and that he never served in the Marines.”
  • AMVETS Dedicate Carillon At Great Lakes National Cemetery In Holly. Saginaw (MI) News
  • American Legion Thriving In Prison.  Pharos (IN) Tribune



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