Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – January 05, 2012


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.    Navy testing long-range drone that tracks suspicious vessels.  The Navy is testing a long-range drone that hovers 70,000 feet above aircraft carriers and allows fleet commanders to track suspicious vessels across vast expanses of sea.
2.    Air Force continuing to trim workforce with second round of buyouts.  The Air Force is offering a second round of buyouts and early retirement options to civilian employees as it continues to trim its workforce in compliance with a Defense Department requirement to keep civilian funding at fiscal 2010 levels.
3.    Farber delivers on $3M VA contract, wins $54 million in new biz.
One of the 20 mobile counseling centers that Farber Specialty Vehicles produced for the US Department of Veterans Affairs under a $3.1 million contract. As 20 mobile counseling centers were launched from the company’s east Columbus headquarters under a …
4.    Ohio veterans tour Mobile Vet Centers.  Columbus Dispatch  Williams, who served during the Vietnam era, joined several area veterans and government officials on a tour of Farber Specialty Vehicles, a Reynoldsburg company that designed and built the 20 vehicles for the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs. …
5.    Veterans Only.  Inside Higher Ed  At Cleveland State University, for instance, where the model for many institutions’ veterans-only classes developed, the courses have been done away with (that structure, called Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran, is still in place at a …
6.    Budget Cuts Could Slash $1B From Vets Health Care.  Army Times  “As veterans groups face…possible automatic across-the-board cuts” in Federal spending that “could begin in 2013, fear of the unknown is strong.” The Times quotes Disabled Autry of the group Disabled American Veterans, who said, “We have not heard any specifics, only vague references that earlier pledges not to cut” Veterans Affairs “health care or benefits may not be honored by Congress. That is worrisome.” The Times also notes that in a statement, the group Veterans of Foreign Wars said, “We must all work hard to protect” VA “health, benefits and cemetery administrations, as well as all military quality of life programs for the troops, their families and military retirees.
7.    DeBakey VA Medical Center Is First To Implant New Innovative Heart Valve. Ultimate West U  The Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center is the “first VA center to make use of an innovative new heart valve that was recently approved by the FDA. The Sapien heart valve is not installed through open heart surgery but with a catheter,” which “benefits patients with inoperable aortic valve stenosis disease.”
8.    Buckeye Wellness Center Crucial Fitness Resource For People With Spinal Cord Injuries. Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer  Disabled veteran Christopher Wynn owns the “Buckeye Wellness Center in Valley View,” where people with spinal cord injuries work out. Wynn “applied for grants to start the wellness center, landing a total of $85,000 in March from the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Ohio’s Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. Wynn used the grants, plus $7,500 of his own cash, to purchase equipment and renovate the center on Granger Road.”
9.    Sexual Satisfaction Highest In Oldest, Youngest Women, Study Says. Los Angeles Times  “A woman’s sexual satisfaction does not require high levels of sexual desire–and in fact, does not require sexual activity at all, according to a new study that finds rates of sexual satisfaction highest among the youngest and oldest women it surveyed.” Researchers “based at UC San Diego and Veterans Affairs of San Diego” conducted the study, which was “published Tuesday in the American Journal of Medicine.”
10.   Lack Of Resources Barrier To Vets’ Weight-Management Plan.  HealthDay “Successful implementation of the MOVE! weight-management program in Veterans Health Administration medical facilities depends upon organizational readiness and an innovation champion, according to a study published in the January issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.” HealthDay adds, “Management support and resource availability were barriers to implementation, though the barriers did not necessarily prevent facilities from implementing MOVE!” HealthDay points out that study authors said, “Instituting powerful, mutually reinforcing organizational policies and practices may be necessary for consistent, high-quality implementation” of “clinical weight-management programs” in healthcare facilities.


More Veteran News

  •   New Performance System Could Lead To General Schedule Overhaul.  Federal Times  “Early steps toward overhauling the six-decade-old General Schedule pay system for federal employees are being taken now at six agencies. The agencies – the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Labor departments, the Coast Guard and the Office of Personnel Management – are pilot testing a new way to manage employee performance that could serve as a template for other agencies.” The “agencies will report on how those pilot projects are doing at a Jan. 18 meeting of top union and administration officials called the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations.”
  •    Ohio Company Builds Mobile Units For Veterans Care.  AP  An Ohio-based “company is building vehicles used as mobile centers to expand veterans’ access to counseling” and healthcare. The US Department of Veterans Affairs “says Farber Specialty Vehicles will add 20 more so-called Mobile Vet Centers to a fleet of 50 it has built to be used in underserved or rural areas. Lawmakers and VA officials were on hand Wednesday to send off the first of those 20 new vehicles and announced where the new centers will be headed”
  • VA Seeks New Patient Scheduling System.  NextGov  “The Veterans Affairs Department has kicked off the contracting process to develop its new patient scheduling system, a follow-up to a nine year, $167 million project that collapsed in March 2009 and led VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to call for a review of all the department’s information technology projects by February 2012.” NextGov noted that the “new scheduling system will be built on the department’s Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture. It will be open source software, according to VA, and will be delivered in increments.”
  •  Mt. Rainier Killing Sparks Concern For War Veterans.  Washington Post  “Over the weekend, the usually idyllic vacation spot of Mount Rainier National Park was engulfed in a nightmarish killing” of a park ranger and a manhunt for 24-year-old Iraq veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes, who likely died from “exposure to the cold.” After noting that Barnes may have had post-traumatic stress disorder, the Post says the death of Barnes and the park ranger “come as the Department of Veterans Affairs is stepping up its outreach programs to veterans who are battling with rising suicide rates, homelessness rates and aggressive behavior.”
  • Shooting Suspect Likely Was Eligible For VA Benefits.  Tacoma (WA) News Tribune  “The former soldier who allegedly killed a ranger at Mount Rainier National Park Sunday likely was eligible for veterans benefits, according to documents that explain how soldiers with misconduct discharges like him can obtain services” at VA hospitals. Shooting “suspect Benjamin Colton Barnes was given a ‘general, under honorable discharge’ for misconduct in September 2009. That kind of discharge qualifies for VA benefits, according to this summary.”
  •   UT Researchers Bringing Custom Prosthetics To War Amputees.  Austin (TX) American Statesman  “Prosthetic ankles are part of new research” that University of Texas (UT) researchers hope will “result in custom limbs for amputees returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Researchers are “developing the prosthetic feet, legs and ankles in collaboration with the Center for the Intrepid at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, a rehabilitation center for active-duty service members and veterans, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering in Seattle. The research largely focuses on ankle-foot prostheses and the so-called strut, which acts as the device’s muscle.”
  • Vets Want Misspelled Name Corrected On Vietnam Wall.  USA Today   “On Deadline” blog reports that the first name of Sgt. Stephen Hiett Phillips is misspelled “on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC.” Two “soldiers from Phillips’ regiment are trying to get it fixed, but have come away frustrated after bouts with a variety of federal agencies and non-profits.” Phillips is “buried at the Springfield National Cemetery,” where the name on his “headstone is spelled correctly.”
  •  Marine Seeks Help For Fellow Homeless Veterans.  Washington Times  “Sgt. Shat” column, a veteran said, “I believe that the version of the ‘Housing First’ model implemented” by the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Pennsylvania is “very different than the effective national model” and that this will “result in frustrated and disillusioned veterans back on the streets.” The column printed a statement from “Lisa M. Thomas, Ph.D., FACHE [Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives] at Coatesville.” She said the hospital’s program follows the principles of VA’s national Housing First initiative, which “reflects evidenced based research that has demonstrated provision of permanent housing is a major factor in achieving real change in the status of homeless Veterans.”
  • Returning Vets Need Jobs.  KBND-AM  “Gary Hunter, the Director of the Bend Vets Center says a lot of his time is helping” returning veterans “find work in Central Oregon.” Hunter “says many of the veterans have luck finding work as mechanics or truck drivers.”
  • Veterans Try To Encourage People To Return To Tough Baltimore Neighborhood. ABC World News  Earl Johnson, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has “joined with other veterans and concerned citizens to turn around one of the toughest neighborhoods in Baltimore.” The goal of the “6th Branch, a volunteer network run by veterans,” is to have a “veteran living on every block, working with residents and in schools to build leadership and respect for their community. It’s all to encourage people who used to live here to come home.”
  • Military’s Gold Star Families Often Feel Disconnected.  USA Today  “National leaders and advocacy groups say they see a widening rift between a military at war and a public at peace, distracted by a sputtering economy and weary of hearing about Iraq and Afghanistan.” USA Today does note, however, that there are “initiatives to build specially adapted homes for the severely wounded” and “campaigns to encourage hiring veterans.” USA Today focuses, though, on a widow named Jane Horton, who indicates that the meaning of the Gold Star she wears in her husband’s honor does not resonate with many Americans, a sentiment which First Lady Michelle Obama recognized when she unveiled a Gold Star Christmas tree at the White House.
  •   Naperville Man Wins Veteran Of The Month Honor.  Chicago Tribune  Jack Amberg, the senior director of veterans programs at the McCormick Foundation, has “turned his focus to helping…young returning veterans.” The “Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs recently honored Amberg as its Illinois Veteran of the Month.” Amberg “received his Veteran of the Month Award at a special ceremony at the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago.”
  •  How Does PTS Make It Difficult For Soldiers Adjusting To Civilian Life?  KCWY-TV


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