Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – November 23, 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.       Honoring Sustainability.  Biomass Power and Thermal  The US Department of Veterans Affairs is elevating its reliance on renewable energy by investing in combined-heat-and-power projects nationwide. By Matt Soberg | November 22, 2011 The US Department of Veterans Affairs understands the need for national …

2.       Brown Announces Plans for More Than 600 New Veterans Housing Units in Dayton.  RealEstateRama  Sherrod Brown today announced that veterans in the Dayton and Chillicothe regions will have access to more than 600 new housing units. The units will be built on US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) land and provide housing for homeless Veterans, …
3.       Care packages for IED dogs headed to Afghanistan. is sending two dozen care packages to military mutts serving in Afghanistan, in an effort to show appreciation for the work they and their handlers perform in the war effort.
4.       Debt failure leaves Pentagon budget in limbo.  As lawmakers squabble over whether to allow $600 billion in mandated defense funding cuts move ahead, Pentagon planners are left with the unenviable task of figuring out how to piece together a fiscal 2013 budget with little idea how much money they’ll have available.
5.       DOD to release post-quake radiation estimates for Japan basesThe Defense Department is preparing to release estimates of the amount of radiation that penetrated 14 areas in mainland Japan following damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant this spring, military officials announced.
6.       Navy to kick out 28 sailors from USS Ronald Reagan for using SpiceA month after kicking out 64 sailors for using synthetic marijuana, the Navy announced Monday that another 28 are getting the boot for similar infractions.
7.       Vet could be eligible for compensation because of Agent Orange.  Washington Times
The Committee on Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity recently held two field hearings to discuss the employment problems facing veterans in local communities and how to solve those issues. The two hearings led by Subcommittee …
8.       Department of Military and Veterans Affairs partnering with U of M.  Heritage Newspapers  Michigan DMVA is conducting public outreach to veterans and their families to inform them of changes to benefits and connect them to veteran counselors across the state. Veteran counselors can assist in determining eligibility for a variety of programs …
9.       Darien’s Phillip Kraft Named to CT Vets Hall of Fame.  Nancy Wyman and Linda Schwartz, commissioner of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, announced the awards Monday afternoon. “It’s an honor,” said Kraft, who leads the National Veterans Services Fund, an organization with three other employees and …
10.  Student veterans lounge slated for spring opening.  The Oracle  Kiera Coote, a graduate student studying criminal justice administration and an army veteran, said veterans still feel the need to mingle. “I’d really like to see the lounge become a place where veterans can kind of come together, especially the ones …


More Veteran News


  •   Legion Scolds Supercommittee.  American Legion  “American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong says he is ‘profoundly disappointed’ that the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the so-called ‘supercommittee’) failed to reach an agreement to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade.” The website added, “‘Even if VA is OK, that doesn’t mean all veterans’ support programs are necessarily protected, because not all of them are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs,’ American Legion Legislative Division Deputy Director Ian de Planque explained.” Tim Tetz, director of the Legion’s Legislative Division, added, “Restricting Labor and Housing and Urban Development efforts on behalf of veterans could really damage VA Secretary (Eric) Shinseki’s efforts to end homelessness among veterans, and even the president’s work to curtail veteran joblessness.”
  • President Obama Signs Bipartisan Bill To Help Jobless Vets. AP  “Heralding a rare moment of bipartisan agreement, President Barack Obama signed into law Monday legislation aimed at helping unemployed veterans find work while putting more cash in the hands of companies with government contracts. The legislation, which creates tax breaks for companies that hire jobless veterans, marks the first proposal from Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill to be signed into law.” The tax credits “would be financed mostly by extending a fee the Veterans Affairs Department charges to back mortgages.”  New York Times  “The ‘VOW to Hire Heroes Act’ will provide tax credits of up to $2,400 for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks; up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months; and up to $9,600 for businesses that hire veterans who have service-connected disabilities and have been unemployed longer than 6 months.” The Times adds, “On a White House blog, a Marine Corps veteran, Justin Constantine, wrote on Monday that the tax credits were not ‘an overall panacea to our veterans’ unemployment problems,’ but when combined with other measures, might at least make a dent in the unemployment rate.”
  •    Federal Leaders Plan To Fight Same-Sex Couple’s Challenge To Military Benefits.  York County (ME) Coast Star  “A bipartisan group of high-ranking US officials, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, is prepared to fight legal efforts to obtain equal military benefits for same-sex couples. Rye residents Charlie Morgan and her wife, Karen, are two of 16 plaintiffs named in a federal lawsuit seeking ‘the same recognition, family support and benefits’ for same-sex couples that the US military provides for heterosexual couples.” The Coast Star adds, “Named as defendants in the federal suit are US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, US Attorney General Eric Holder and US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.”
  •  Local Man Gets State Post.  North County Times   “Lee Gutierrez of Temecula has been appointed deputy secretary of minority veterans at the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs…announced” California Gov. Jerry Brown. After noting that the announcement came on Monday, the Times adds, “Gutierrez’s new position does not require Senate confirmation.”
  • Wyoming Needs State Nursing Home For Veterans.  Casper (WY) Star-Tribune “Wyoming is at a crossroads concerning how it will treat future generations of veterans who have different types of physical and mental issues than observed in previous generations, according to a legislative report issued last week.” The report “concluded a state-financed nursing home for veterans is necessary.” The Star-Tribune added, “The Wyoming Veterans Commission is proposing construction of two ‘Green House’-style homes in Sheridan to serve as a state-run veterans’ nursing home.”
  •  Dedication Of New Veterans Cemetery Delayed.  WBIR-TV  “Some holes that have been plaguing the new home of the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery are finally getting filled in, but not soon enough for a dedication this year.” Because “of the delay, the earliest a dedication ceremony would happen is sometime next spring.”
  •    Homeless Veteran Program Coming To Fort Monmouth.  The Hub  When “Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry learned about Soldier On, a program focused on helping homeless veterans, she took action to bring the program to Fort Monmouth.” It “could take up to a year to see the program become active at Fort Monmouth, depending on whether new facilities or rehabilitation of existing facilities would be involved. According to Burry, 75 percent of the funding would come through the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which works directly with Soldier On.”
  •  Pittsfield Apartment Complex Becomes National Model For Helping Homeless Vets.  WRGB-TV  “One year ago 39 homeless veterans who had fallen on hard times were selected to move into” the Gordon Mansfield Veterans Community, a “new $6 million housing complex in Pittsfield. Today, as many as 7 states have expressed interest in using state and federal funds to build a similar facility. The Gordon Mansfield Veterans Community was designed by Soldier On an organization that helps veterans find work and provides veterans’ services on-site to residents of the apartment complex.”
  •    New Strategy Gives Agencies A “Springboard” For Increasing Diversity.  Federal News Radio  “Agencies have four months to develop diversity and inclusion plans under a broad, brief governmentwide strategy released last week.” The “recommendations in the guidance are old hat for many agencies. For example,” Veterans Affairs’ John Sepulveda “said the VA already evaluates SES members on diversity metrics.”
  •  Proposal To Help Dying Vets Slow To Pass.  KING-TV  “In 2008 the government officially recognized there is definitely a connection between military service” and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because “of that determination, the Veteran’s Administration (VA) offers many benefits” to veterans like Rich Knapton, who has complained about not getting enough help from VA. KING quoted Jeri Rowe, VA Puget Sound Health Care System Public Affairs Director, who said, “Stock items are provided immediately, special order items that require customization could be anywhere from 3 days to several weeks.” KING added that it has spoken to many disabled veterans, some of whom “say they’re receiving supplies and equipment from the VA in a timely and efficient manner.”
  •   Advancing Learning To Reinforce Veterans Services.  Chief Learning Officer Magazine   “As the chancellor of the VA Acquisition Academy, 2011” Chief Learning Officer (CLO) “of the Year Lisa Doyle’s fundamental mission is to create productive employees to support veterans.” The magazine adds, “The Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy was established in 2008 and aims to grow, train and retain the acquisition workforce. Doyle was selected in July 2008 as the first chancellor of the academy with the challenge to quickly align a program to support the president’s transformational goals and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki’s ADVANCE initiative, a strategic goal to transform the agency by providing the tools, training and support necessary to advance careers and improve the services provided for the nation’s veterans by building the academy from the ground up.”
  •   Digital Badges For Vets Contest.  NextGov   Veterans “can have a hard time translating skills learned in the military into a neat summary on a resume, so the Veterans Affairs Department, with help from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, has kicked off a contest to develop digital badges. The badges are online records of achievements that allow recipients to display skills obtained through non-traditional learning, such as work-related training and online courses.” According to Brewin, VA “wants to develop badges that ‘make it easy for employers to see veterans for who they are: highly qualified individuals in any job applicant pool,’ VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said.”
  • Complement Cascade Leads To OA Damage.  Medscape  “The cartilage damage associated with osteoarthritis (OA) is in part a result of dysregulation of the complement system, Qian Wang, MD, PhD, and colleagues reported in an article published online November 6 in Nature Medicine.” A senior author of the study is William H. Robinson, MD, PhD, “who is associate professor of immunology and rheumatology at Stanford University and a staff physician with the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in California.” He “described the findings as ‘a paradigm change.'” Robinson added, “OA has been viewed for decades to simply arise from ‘wear and tear’ of the cartilage. We have discovered that the complement system, one of the major arms of the immune system, plays a central role in the development of OA. We show that complement is activated in human OA joints, and that it is stimulating production of inflammatory mediators and degradative enzymes in human OA cartilage.”
  •  Day Before He Was Shot By Police, Troubled Veteran Ordered To Seek Help.  Bangor (ME) Daily News  “For those who knew him best and loved him most, balancing their memories of the 18-year-old Justin Crowley-Smilek who went off to fight for his country with the 28-year-old knife-wielding man who was shot and killed Saturday by a Farmington police officer is a struggle.” After noting that Crowley-Smilek had been ordered by a judge to undergo a psychological exam prior to his death, the Daily News said Charlie Bennett, district adjutant for the American Legion and Vietnam vet who suffered from PTSD, “said it took him several years to finally seek help from the Veterans Administration Clinic at Togus. ‘They know what they’re doing there at Togus and other VA hospitals,’ Bennett said,” adding, “But the hardest thing for a vet to do is ask for help.”
  • Invisible Wounds.  Wilkes Barre (PA) Times-Leader  Thousands of US “soldiers, particularly those who saw combat, are expected to return with mental health issues related to their service, including depression, anxiety and, in more severe cases, post-traumatic stress disorder.” Patrick Bellon, “executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a nonprofit organization that advocates for improvements in veterans” healthcare, “said there’s a growing concern among veterans groups whether the VA, which Bellon contends is already overwhelmed, will be able to handle the influx of cases once the Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers return home.” Dr. Antonette Zeiss, “chief consultant for the VA’s Office of Mental Health in Washington, DC, said she’s aware of the concerns that have been raised, but believes the VA – which saw more than 1.28 million veterans for mental health issues in 2010 — provides exceptional care.”


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