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1. VA takes heat for suicide prevention struggles. The Department of Veterans Affairs is sincerely trying to prevent suicides among veterans, but it’s just not succeeding, according to military advocates.
2. Push for veterans TV channel gets a boost. SouthtownStar Sides told senators the country loses 18 veterans every day to suicide, more than are lost in combat. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has cited the same figures. “Obviously, some serious work needs to be done to get them the right help,” Sides …
3. Clallam County veterans coordinator honored as ‘go-to person’. Peninsula Daily Mike Gregoire, first gentleman and Vietnam veteran, talks with Army veteran Mary Scanlon in Forks on Tuesday afternoon during a tour of Sarge’s Place along with John Lee, state director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (out of frame), a consistent …
4. Project creates housing veterans need. Baltimore Sun A number of misconceptions have been circulated regarding the community being created at the Fort Howard Veterans Affairs campus in eastern Baltimore County. I would like to set the record straight. I am honored that the Department of …
5. For Vets, Life Away From War Can Be a Battle. Patch.com This week, Patch takes a look at the lives of Morris County’s service members and veterans, for our special report, Morris and the Military. The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a division of the US Department of Veteran Affairs, …
6. Women veterans get their due at VA. Saipan Tribune The US Department of Veterans Affairs is now putting “major emphasis” on women veterans, a group where the agency “failed in the past,” according to Dr. James E. Hastings. Hastings, director of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care …
7. Postal worker pleads guilty. Zanesville Times Recorder Smitley said it was the first time the carrier had brought a package up to his house since his medicine began disappearing. The US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General also assisted in the investigation.
8. US Military Salutes Iraq Veteran Turned Dance Champ. AFP J.R. Martinez, a “US army veteran wounded in the Iraq” war, recently “danced his way to fame in a television contest.” On Thursday, he was “hailed as a hero…when he paid a visit to the Pentagon” and met with the “US military’s highest-ranking officer, General Martin Dempsey,” and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Martinez, “who suffered severe burns in a roadside bombing, was crowned the winner of ABC television’s popular ‘Dancing with the Stars’ last week,” which led Secretary Panetta to invite Martinez to Washington so that he could be congratulated on his victory. A statement from Doug Wilson, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, noted that while meeting with Secretary Panetta, Martinez “stressed his intention to assist Panetta and Dempsey in any way possible in helping their efforts to better connect the American public with America’s military veterans — particularly wounded warriors.”
9. Arlington Cemetery Begins Major Expansion. Federal News Radio In January, “construction will begin on a new 20,000-niche columbarium” at the Arlington National Cemetery. The project is “scheduled to be complete in 2013. Meanwhile, cemetery officials plan to expand the cemetery’s grounds on two sides by another 70 acres.”
10. VA Urged To “Develop Clearer And More Comprehensive Small-Business Contracting Policies.” American Legion The Legion has “given members of Congress a list of recommendations designed to strengthen ‘well-intentioned but ineffective’ government programs that are supposed to assure the proper award of government contracts to veteran-owned small businesses. In written testimony submitted to a House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on Nov. 30,” the Legion recommended that “VA and the Small Business Administration should develop a comprehensive partnership to assist veterans who are interested in participating in federal procurement (and) VA should develop clearer and more comprehensive small-business contracting policies.”
More Veteran News
- Recent Veterans Find Higher Jobless Rates On Return. NPR audio “Many veterans say they face a tougher job market than civilians.” Tom Tarantino, a legislative advocate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, “says he hopes the recently enacted Hire Heroes Act will provide more counseling and vocational training.” But David Loughran, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation, “says tax credits won’t likely make much of a difference” and that history shows that in the long run, vets “in fact they have lower unemployment” than civilians.
- As Veterans Return From War, Community Colleges Want To Be There For Them. San Diego Union-Tribune “California’s 112 community colleges have taken a budgetary hit in recent years that has resulted in program and student cuts but there is one growth area in the future: military veterans.” Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, who oversees California’s 112 community colleges, is “currently on a dual mission — to make the schools more accessible to veterans and to meet any special needs they may have transitioning from a war zone to a college campus. Scott was speaking Thursday from the Amtrak Surfliner train, en route to San Diego where he is presiding over a summit conference focusing on the needs of community college student veterans.”
- Price Of Freedom: Sheridan VA Helps Vets Readjust To Workforce. KOTA-TV Wyoming’s “unemployment rate among” veterans is “three points higher than the state as a whole. ‘Veterans coming back from combat have some major issues,’ said Terry Parsley,” who added that “stress is a big one.” Parsley “manages the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Program at the Sheridan VA Medical Center.” Parsley said CWT is a “psychosocial rehabilitation program for veterans to get them back in the workforce.”
- VA Hospitals Deal With Flood Of PTSD. WKBT-TV 40,000 combat veterans suffering” from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “surged into VA hospitals this year. The VA recently hired more than 3,500 mental health professionals across the nation to meet soldiers’ increasing needs. The Tomah VA Medical Center is no exception,” increasing “their psychiatric staff by nearly 25 percent.” The Tomah VA’s Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health, Dr. Dave Skripka, said, “So far we’re more than keeping up, but it’s a constant challenge.”
- Mpls. Vets Home Cashier Suspected Of Stealing. Minneapolis Star Tribune “A cashier may have stolen $6,800 or more from at least 20 residents at the state-owned Minneapolis Veterans Home over 18 months, the Minnesota legislative auditor said on Thursday in a special report.” The “home, which now says it has tight controls in place, sought the special audit on July 6, a day after relatives of a resident notified the home of an apparent discrepancy in the resident’s account. The audit covered January 2010 through June 2011.”
- Snyder Targets Developing Michigan’s Workforce With Web-Based Tools. Detroit News During a speech at Delta College on Thursday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder “laid out a plan he believes will better align the needs of the state’s employers with the skills and availability of its workers.” After noting that the plan involves a job website that offers training and education, the News says that in a “letter to the Legislature released in conjunction with the speech,” Snyder wrote, “Today, I am directing the Veterans’ Service Division of the Workforce Development Agency to partner with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create a seamless delivery system for veterans benefits and employment services. We will better coordinate with federal and local partners to connect veterans with education and employment opportunities.”
- Ivins Breaks Ground On Veterans Home. St. George (UT) Spectrum “Southern Utah veterans and area dignitaries broke ground Thursday on the campus for the Southern Utah Veterans Home, launching the $17 million construction phase of the project that will provide a staffed nursing home for retired military personnel in Ivins.” Jeff Beecher “of Layton Construction, the general contractor for the project, said the designs still have to go through an approval process, but the company expects to start construction following a March 20 review, and expects the project to take about a year to complete. The Ivins facility was the third Veterans Home to be approved in the state, but a fourth in Payson will be built by Layton at the same time, using the same design, he said.”
- Stress Response In Police Officers May Indicate Risk For PTSD. Medical News Today “In an investigation led by Dr. Charles Marmar, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center in collaboration with the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco, the researchers examined police recruits during academy training prior to critical incident exposure.” Medical News Today, “According to the study results, recruits with the greatest increase of the stress hormone cortisol after awakening were more likely to display acute stress symptoms in response to trauma years later as police officers.” The study, “published in the December, 2011 issue of Biological Psychiatry,” is “one of the largest to identify a potential technique for predicting vulnerability to stress either during or following a traumatic experience.”
- Oregon Vets Struggle To Find Work. KGW-TV “Oregon National Guard soldiers returning from deployments to Iraq face higher unemployment rates than the general public.” But a “re-integration program started by the Oregon National Guard” is now being “copied nationally. It tries to match soldiers with jobs.”
- Mary Ellen’s Place Helping Valley Women Veterans. KTVK-TV “In five years, the Department of Veterans Affairs wants no veteran to be homeless.” In Phoenix, a nonprofit called Veterans First “along with Community Housing Partnership have collaborated to provide affordable housing for women veterans at Mary Ellen’s Place.”
- Location Of VA Rehabilitation Facility Draws Controversy. San Diego News Room “The Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System of San Diego is continuing to come under fire due to its proposed location for a Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program (DRRTP). The facility, which would have 40 beds and provide treatment for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are impacted by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mild to moderate brain injuries and possible substance abuse issues, has been pitched to open at 2121 San Diego Avenue in Old Town.” Those who are opposed to the facility worry that it would be too close to a local school, but VA “maintains that the heightened concerns are unnecessary, pointing out the DRRTP will be staffed 24/7, will have an implemented curfew for patients and will screen patients to ensure they meet eligibility requirements.”
- Olympic Grant Helps Wounded Vets. Idaho Mountain Express “The Wood River Ability Program has been awarded an $18,000 grant from US Paralympics, a division of the US Olympic Committee, to help wounded veterans train in Sun Valley.” The Express adds, “Much of the money will be used to host a camp for wounded veterans through the Boise VA in January…said” Wood River Ability Program Executive Director Marc Mast.
- Housing Project For Vets Moves Ahead. Danville (IL) Commercial News “Plans are in the works to build 65 housing units for veterans on the former golf course at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System. Mercy Housing, based in Chicago, is developing the project, and expects to have all the agreements in place by the end of the year.” Dave Lyon, regional director of housing development with Mercy, “and others were in Danville on Thursday to meet with VA and city officials about the project, which will be built on 15 acres south of the new veterans’ village.”
- Homelessness Can Be Deadly For Veterans. Montville Patch “A US military veteran who becomes homeless is more likely to remain that way longer, and has a greater chance of dying on the streets, than a homeless non-veteran, according to recently a recent report” from 100,000 Homes Campaign, which is trying to “place 100,000 homeless in shelter by 2013.” The Patch adds, “Community Hope, Inc. of Parsippany, since 2004 has operated the Hope for Veterans transitional housing program at Veterans Affairs New Jersey Healthcare Campus at Lyons, which has helped 520 veterans end homelessness.” Community Hope “was also given a $1 million grant by the US Department of Veteran Affairs to take part in a new program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families.”
- Data Analytics Helps Agencies Make Better Decisions, Says Study. Federal Computer Week “Although virtually every federal agency collects data, many grapple with how to best turn it into useful information to improve mission performance and effectiveness, write the authors of a new report from the Partnership for Public Service and IBM’s Business Analytics & Optimization practice. ‘From Data to Decisions: The Power of Analytics’ surveyed a number of federal agencies to identify best practices in data analytics and performance management.” The “Veterans Affairs Department’s veteran housing program” was “found to be among the examples of how to best use data analytics to drive decision-making and performance.”
- Son Failed To Care For Father, Sold His Painkillers, Charges State. Deseret (UT) Morning News “A Glendale man faces felony abuse and drug charges after police say he failed to properly care for his 72-year-old father – leading to the man’s death – and sold the man’s prescribed painkillers for extra cash The 72-year-old man had several bedsores, was severely dehydrated and covered in dried feces when he was admitted to the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center on July 15, according to charges filed Thursday in 3rd District Court.” The Morning News adds, “Alphonso Patrick Moya Jr., the man’s 49-year-old son, was his primary caregiver” and is the one facing charges.
- Construction At Denver VAMC Set To Begin. American Legion Construction “of a new Denver VA Medical Center is finally set to begin after more than a decade of delays that have contributed to the near tripling of the price tag.” Veterans Affairs “awarded a $580.2 million construction contract to Kiewit-Turner Joint Venture on Nov. 17, four days before veterans and US Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., planned to hold a protest if the long over-due contract wasn’t finalized.” The website adds, “The new Denver VA Medical Center will have 182 beds, including a 30-bed spinal cord injury/disorder center.”
- Too Many Veterans Suffer From Stress, Illness. Indianapolis Star
- Native American Heritage Month Celebrated At VA. Salisbury (NC) Post
- Civil War Vet Gets New Marker. Pryor (OK) Daily Times