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1. Area briefs: USOC announces Veterans grants. Colorado Springs Gazette The US Olympic Committee announced that more than $4.4 million in funds from the US Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded to 95 community-based organizations in support of Paralympic sport and physical activity programs for disabled Veterans …
2. CSVC gets high marks from VA. Monte Vista Journal For the second year in a row, the Colorado State Veterans Center at Homelake received the highest possible score on the annual survey conducted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In both 2010 and 2011, the VA reported that …
3. Topsham woman accused of fraudulently using relative’s veteran benefits. Bangor Daily News Marsha Jacobs, 64, was appointed in 2003 the fiduciary of benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to her brother-in-law. She allegedly used the money to build a $106000 addition to her home in Nobleboro, pay for vacations to Florida and Las …
4. Filipino vets in NV appeal Gov. Sandoval for help. Asianjournal.com The petition letter, sent through the White House Initiative on Asians and Pacific Islanders, had requested President Obama to issue an emergency executive order to the US Department of Veterans Affairs and National Records Center in Missouri. …
5. As troops come home, VA reaches out to those suffering stress of war. Philadelphia Inquirer The influx has strained the resources of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which is hiring more mental-health professionals to meet the growing need. Nearly 300 were added over the last quarter, from July 1 to Sept. 30. Last month, about 200 area …
6. Study: Female vets more critical of Iraq, Afghanistan wars. Female veterans are more likely to be critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than their male counterparts, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center
7. Linked by trauma, officer seeks recognition for soldier he never knew. Separated by rank, role and age, two soldiers never met, but both returned from war with psychological wounds. One sought help and recovered. The other was abandoned by the Army and hanged himself. Now the survivor is fighting one last battle for the one who didn’t make it.
8. Veteran Owned Business Wins Multi-Million Dollar Federal Government Contract. openPR … veteran-owned small business announced today that is was awarded a federal government contract in the amount of $14.6 million to provide the “L1berty UDB901 Urine Collection” bags to the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) facilities nationwide. …
9. Army units preparing to lead new Afghan training-and-advisory mission. The Pentagon has tapped elements of four brigade combat teams to lead the mission shift this spring, according to the Army. Thousands of soldiers will begin deploying around May as Security Force Assistance Teams, with more to follow in the fall. Such deployments will continue until it’s the predominant mission in the country, the Army said.
10. ‘No sadness’ as U.S. troops leave Iraq. With little fanfare, the last U.S. troops in Iraq rolled through an open gate at the Kuwaiti border Sunday, officially marking the end of the Iraq war. Multiple convoys mostly carrying soldiers with the 1st Calvary Division’s 3rd Brigade began rolling through the Khabari crossing in the early hours Sunday after a journey from Contingency Operating Base Adder in southern Dhi Qar province, the last U.S. military installation to close its gates in Iraq. Some trucks honked, most were met with cheers from the U.S. troops at the border. It was a decidedly low-key end to the nearly nine-year war, one that took nearly 4,500 American lives and that of an estimated 100,000 Iraqis as well.
More Veteran News
- US Agency Expands Facebook Presence For Veterans. AllFacebook US armed service members returning from active duty can stay connected to local government health services on Facebook, thanks to a new social media strategy deployed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The federal agency launched 152 individual …
- Rate of suicide in military sounds an alarm. TheDay.com The US Department of Veterans Affairs launched a program this year called “Coaching Into Care,” which helps veterans’ relatives figure out what to say so their loved one will get the help he or she needs. The National Guard also offers a variety of …
- VA-DOD Development Of Joint Electronic Medical Record Wins Full Funding In Fiscal 2012 Budget. Federal Computer Week “Congressional lawmakers approved $100 million to fund Veterans Affairs and Defense efforts to jointly develop a digital medical record system-even though the departments missed a deadline for requesting the funding. The spending allocation was part of the fiscal 2012 omnibus budget bill passed by Congress on Dec. 17 as part of the $3.11 billion” approved “for the VA’s Office of Information and Technology. The office’s total spending allotment was $118 million above the fiscal 2011 enacted level, according to a Dec. 16 statement from the Senate Appropriations Committee.”
- IG: VA Structured $133 Million Security Contract To Favor Incumbent. NextGov “The Veterans Affairs Department structured the requirements for a 2010 information security contract to give the incumbent a leg up, VA’s inspector general found in a report released Wednesday. The Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction used a technical evaluation process for the Sept. 28, 2010, award that favored ‘the incumbent, Booz Allen Hamilton, based on its performance as the VA’s Information Assurance and Information Technology contractor,’ the IG said.” NextGov adds, “Glenn Haggstrom, executive director of VA’s Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction, said in a reply to the IG report that Booz Allen was selected for the contract because it received an ‘outstanding’ rating on its technical proposals, which justified the price premium.”
- Doc Wounded In Iraq Speaks Out About Combat Trauma. AP While serving in Iraq, a bomb blast left Dr. Ken Lee, the Wisconsin National Guard’s chief medical officer, “with a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder so severe that the slightest provocation sent him into a furniture-smashing rage – even as he worked to diagnose and heal fellow veterans back home.” Lee, who “eventually learned to live with his nightmares,” is “using his unique experience – as a doctor, patient and combat veteran – to wage a new battle to call attention to the effects of combat trauma that will be with veterans for years to come.” According to the AP, Lee works as a spinal cord specialist at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- As Troops Come Home, VA Reaches Out To Those Suffering Stress Of War. Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer Veterans Affairs is reaching out to vets with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “through its ‘Make the Connection’ campaign,” which links vets with “peers and help them and their families find VA services, said Sonja Batten, the VA’s deputy chief consultant for specialty mental health.” Earlier this month, meanwhile, the “Defense Department announced the national launch of Vets4Warriors, a program begun in 2005 by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to provide military peer-to-peer counseling to national guardsmen and reservists. It provides 24-hour toll-free help (1-855-VET-TALK and vets4warriors.com), where vets can air their concerns.”
- Asian Americans Press Army On Race Bias In Private’s Death. McClatchy “The Army filed charges Wednesday against eight Alaska-based soldiers in the death of a 19-year-old Army private, in a sign that the military is investigating whether racial harassment could have led him to commit suicide. Pvt. Danny Chen’s body was found in a guard tower in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province in October,” with an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.” After noting that Asian American organizations have been pressing the Pentagon about what led to Chen’s death, McClatchy adds, “Though the military does have high-profile Asian American leaders, such as Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki, a retired general, a March report by the Military Leadership Diversity Commission found a low representation of minorities in military leadership posts.”
- OEF / OIF Veterans Face Increasing VA Claim Delays. Daily Kos “Even though the challenges” to the Veterans Affairs “benefits system were recognized at least two years ago, and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki vowed to ‘break the back of the claims backlog this year’ in a speech to the annual American Legion Convention in 2010, the numbers of both new and backlogged VA claims continue to skyrocket.” Cranium concluded that the Obama Administration “must keep the government’s promise to all veterans who have served during a time of war, regardless of the theater. At this moment in history, the bulk of that promise needs to be focused on a true commitment to aggressively resolving the government’s apparent inability (or unwillingness) to respond to the needs of veterans in a timely manner.”
- VA Rules In Favor Of Local Vet In VocRehab Suit. WVEC-TV “After a six year battle with the Department of Veterans Affairs,” James Graves “will be paid the benefits he’s owed as a former participant in the vocational rehabilitation and employment program. VocRehab’s purpose is to help veterans with service-related disabilities ‘prepare for, find and keep suitable jobs.'” In his ruling for the Board of Veterans Appeals, “veteran’s law judge Ronald Scholz states, ‘The board cannot believe that a rehabilitation plan to obtain a certificate to become a high school teacher does not contemplate the needs to take the education courses and certification tests necessary to obtain a permanent teaching license.'”
- Craig Veterans Telehealth Clinic Holds Open House. AP “The Craig Veterans TeleHealth Clinic serving northwest Colorado and southeast Wyoming is looking for more patients. Paul Sweeney of the VA Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colo., says an open house at the clinic Thursday was intended to not only inform veterans of the services available but also to boost patient numbers.” The AP adds, “The telehealth clinic in Craig uses technology that allows patients there to be examined remotely by doctors and specialists in Grand Junction.”
- VA Medical Center Plans Second Job Fair For Vets. Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard “About 500 veterans flocked to the Syracuse VA Medical Center’s first job fair in October, creating a traffic jam in the university hill area.” The Post-Standard adds, “The big turnout illustrated the tremendous need for jobs among veterans, said Gordon Sclar, a VA Medical Center spokesman. To help address that need, the VA is teaming up with CNY Works, Onondaga County, the state Labor Department and other organizations to put on another job fair for veterans – ‘Operation: Hired’ – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 31 at the SRC Arena and Events Center at Onondaga Community College.”
- Students Perform At Hampton VA. WVEC-TV “Students from the Achievable Dream Academy in Newport News paid a visit to the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center,” where they “entertained the vets and staff.” The students sang Christmas carols and performed “choreographed step dances.” WVEC added, “VA patients tell us they enjoy it when visitors come to the hospital to perform for them, especially during this time of year.”
- Consider Refinancing Into A VA Loan. NASDAQ
- From Vets To Moms, Iraq War Leaves Mark On Town. AP
- Kerrville Puts Out Welcome Mat For VA Apartments. San Antonio Express-News
- Minnesota Vet’s Complaint Sparks Better Business Bureau Warning About Possible Scam. McClatchy
- Amid Battered US Economy, Veterans Turn To Start-Ups. CNBC
- VA Employees Pack Holiday Food Boxes For Needy Veterans. La Jolla (CA) Light
- Elks Club Takes Holiday To VA Patients. Ironton (OH) Tribune
- Police Academy Cadets Go On A Jog To Learn About Homelessness. WWMT-TV