Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – January 17, 2012

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Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources

 

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1.    As technology evolves, military wrestles with preserving vital engineering dataEngineers and computer scientists across the Defense Department are struggling to solve, once and for all, the issue of preserving electronic data for the long haul, keeping it accessible when needed and free of potentially disastrous inconsistencies.
2.    A soldier’s fatal burden.  Sydney Morning Herald (blog)  According to preliminary research by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, among those returning from America’s wars the suicide rate climbs steeply to a point where one former soldier dies by his own hand every 80 minutes. Look up from your breakfast …
3.    Hospitalized patients are very accepting of nurse-delivered.  Medical Xpress  Broyles and her colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey of 355 (342 males, 13 females) hospitalized medical-surgical patients at a large university-affiliated medical center that is part of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. …
4.    Smart grid customers: three developments.  Intelligent Utility  The notion of simplified, universal access is modeled on the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ popular “Blue Button,” which provides veterans with access to their health records. Apparently, a number of applications will be available to help consumers …
5.    Veterans to get more mobile help.  Weatherford Democrat  In fiscal year 2011, Mobile Vet Centers participated in more than 3600 federal, state and locally sponsored veteran related events. The VA contract for the 20 Mobile Vet Centers totals $3.1 million. Also, 230 emergency shuttle vehicles are planned over …
6.    National Ski Tour Announced for Athletes with Disabilities.  First Tracks  SkiTour will again be supported by US Paralympics, a division of the US Olympic Committee, through funding provided US Department of Veterans Affairs. Their support will help provide enhanced sport programming for severely wounded military service …
7.    Lehigh County Mentor Program Works To Get Struggling Veterans On Track.  Lehigh Valley (PA) Express Times  “Carolyn Debuque, a master sergeant in the Air Force, served three tours in the Middle East” and knows how “difficult it can be to transition back to civilian life.” She now works as a volunteer for the Lehigh County Veterans’ Mentor Program, which pairs veterans “who are flourishing with those who struggled and ended up facing criminal charges.” Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Debbie Garlicki said thus far, about “11 volunteer mentors have received training and are working” with veterans; and another “five to eight” potential mentor will attend a “Jan. 24 training session.”
8.    Veteran Reflects On Iraq War.  Morganton (NC) News Herald  National Guardsman Jeff Barrett. “It’s been a few years since he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq,” but he says he would “ship out again if his country asks. ‘I believed in what we were doing in Iraq,'” Barrett said. He said he had “mixed emotions” upon hearing President Obama’s “announcement that all US troops would withdraw from Iraq at the end of December. … ‘I think maybe that we’ve built a foundation that their government can work from, that their military can work from,’ Barrett said. But he believes special forces and civil affairs troops should still be in Iraq.”
9.    US General Fights Alcoholism After Public Collapse.  AP  Retired Brigadier General Stanley Cherrie’s long Army career, which included losing a “leg to a landmine” and directing “tanks against Iraqi forces.” Although his “years of hard drinking had grown into alcoholism that nearly killed him,” Cherrie’s breakdown “in front of his comrades” at a 20th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm event, “triggered his turn to rehabilitation.” Now the man who “commanded troops in Kuwait and Bosnia despite the prosthetic leg he got in Vietnam, is sharing his story, in part as an example for a new cohort of soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
10.  Houston Mental Health Expert Does His Part To Help Veterans.  Houston Chronicle American Psychiatric Association President Dr. John Oldham, who is Chief Of Staff at the Menninger Clinic, which partners with the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston. Last week, Oldham participated in a “roundtable discussion at the White House on raising awareness among civilian healthcare providers of combat-related mental health conditions, and to better coordinate care among civilian, military and veterans'” healthcare systems. Dr. Oldham discussed the national effort that is underway to “reduce the stigma surrounding” PTSD and TBI injuries, and to help troops and their families “transition smoothly to civilian life.” He said the Jan. 10 discussion was connected to the Joining Forces initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.

 

More Veteran News

 

  •   Soldiering On: New Methods For Battling PTSD.  Seattle Magazine  “Beyond two locked security doors on the seventh floor of Seattle’s Veterans Affairs hospital (VA) on Beacon Hill, patients are treated for some of the more severe cases” of PTSD. But local practitioners are “pioneering fresh ways to fight back against the devastating enemy” with therapies that include everything “from mobile apps to meditation.” Among the popular recreational treatments is the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing club. The national nonprofit was founded to aid “disabled active-duty personnel and veterans…to relearn fine motor skills and connect with other veterans, simply by learning the art of fly-fishing.” Some participants are in “wheelchairs, missing limbs or just struggling with the transition to civilian life”; and now the Healing Waters program is proving beneficial to those suffering from PTSD as well.
  •  Veterans With Post-traumatic Stress Disorder To Receive Healthcare For Life.  Fresno Bee   “A federal judge has quietly approved a settlement that will deliver better benefits to nearly 2,100 veterans who’ve been medically discharged since 2002 with post-traumatic stress disorder.” Under the settlement, veterans “discharged with PTSD will get lifetime healthcare and post-exchange privileges.” Previously, veterans suffering from PTSD were “discharged with disability ratings that were too low to receive such benefits.” The settlement provides “lifetime disability retirement benefits to 1,029 veterans with PTSD who’d been denied aid previously”; and an additional 1,066 veterans will “have their disability benefits increased.”
  • Brain Scans For PTSD.  KFSN-TV  Psychologist Brian Engdahl is overseeing a two-year “study on Magnetoencephalography, or MEG to see PTSD. ‘That brain pattern is so different that it allows us to identify them from people who don’t have PTSD,'” explained Dr. Engdahl, who works at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center’s Brain Sciences Center. The researchers are using MEG to see “patterns of miscommunication that identify” veterans with PTSD. Another new study “testing vets with the imaging system asks them to do different tasks while in an MEG.” The primary goal is to “define PTSD bio-markers to diagnose it, treat it quickly and track” treatment responses.
  • Historic Fort Harrison Buildings May Be Saved.  Billings (MT) Gazette  A “group of 11 historic buildings at the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center” may avoid being demolished “thanks to a Georgia-based veterans’ services organization” with a plan to “rehabilitate the structures and provide 34 units of low-income housing for veterans and their families.” Communities for Veterans has “signed a lease — subject to various conditions — and aims to bring the buildings up to modern codes and maintain them for some 46 years.” Communities for Veterans Manager Craig Taylor, who is a Vietnam veteran, “said there are between 300 and 600 homeless veterans in Montana.” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has “said it’s his goal to eliminate homelessness among veterans by 2015. … ‘We want to be part of the solution,'” Taylor said.
  •  Despite Being Shot In The Head In 2008, Lt. Col. Ty Edwards Gets Out And Exercises Every Day.  WFTS-TV  Marine veteran Ty Edwards. On Oct. 20, 2008, his life and his family’s “life changed. ‘I was on an imbedded training team in Afghanistan…and we were ambushed,'” Edwards said. He was “shot in the head, and in the years ahead would undergo surgeries and intense therapy” at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. “I’ve come a long way since then,” Edwards said. The “lieutenant colonel also has help from his dog, Cody Bear, along with his wife Anna, son Mason, and daughter Alaina. ‘My family motivates me,'” he said. The website includes a video of Edwards exercising with his family.
  • Palm Coast Unites With Chamber To Help Area Vets In “Hire A Hero” Program.  Daytona Beach News-Journal  The Palm Coast Business Assistance Center and the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates announced “plans Friday to offer job transition, search and placement assistance for local military veterans” under the “Hire a Hero” program. Honorably discharged veterans can obtain “assistance with their job searches from SCORE and the Business Assistance Center.” Chamber President Doug Baxter “said it was an easy decision for the business group to be involved in the program. … ‘I had 60 to 70 business owners at a business after hours and when I explained to them what we were trying to do, I got a huge round of applause,'” he said.
  •   Lawmaker Wants Veteran Hiring.  AP   A plan to introduce legislation that would provide tax credits to Alaska businesses that hire military veterans.  The proposal is said to be a “winning proposition both for struggling businesses and for veterans, who would have an increased chance of finding work.  It is believed the measure would “provide a $2,000 tax credit for each veteran hired who works at least 1,560 hours within a year, or roughly 30 hours a week.”
  • Family’s Bittersweet Tribute For Lost POW.  Albany Times Union  Private Harold Stevens, 21, “died in a German POW camp in France on Aug. 22, 1944.” In recent years, Stevens’ “niece, Barbara Hefter of Saratoga Springs, researched dozens of letters her uncle penned from the front lines. She shared his story with the Saratoga County Veterans’ Service Agency.” And on Tuesday, about “35 of Stevens’ relatives, including most of his brothers and sisters, will meet at a flagpole outside the county office building in Ballston Spa to honor the soldier 66 years after his death. Officials will dedicate a flag to Stevens, which they will fly until Feb. 21, when it will be given to the family.”
  •     Korean War Vets To Inaugurate Local Group.  Vancouver (WA) Columbian  The newly formed Vancouver chapter of the Korean War Veterans of America will “hold its first meeting Wednesday in Hazel Dell.” Jerry Keesee said he and “fellow Korean War veteran Richard Quatier came up with the idea after an August recognition event. About 120 former service members received medals in a ceremony held in conjunction with the Korean Society of Vancouver and a South Korean consulate official. ‘We lost Richard on Labor Day. I picked up the ball and decided to do it — and do it now,’ since most Korean War veterans are more than 80 years old,” he said. Keesee invited 16 veterans from August medal event “to a December meeting. … ‘We voted the chapter into existence with a show of hands,'” he said.

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