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1. Panetta announces new measures to combat sexual assault. The U.S. military won’t tolerate sexual assault, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday as he announced new Defense Department measures designed to -reduce what has been an increasingly reported crime.
2. Veterans lash out against idea that incidents mark a trend. CNN and the Christian Science Monitor had separate stories Wednesday chronicling the growing problem of PTSD and unchecked violent tendencies among returning veterans. Both pieces hinge on a pair of recent stories involving veterans from Iraq who committed shocking killings, and may have been suffering from war-related mental trauma. But two incidents don’t necessarily equal a trend, at least in the eyes of veterans who lashed out at the stories over social media.
3. Third veteran to leave Wisconsin’s VA board. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel A third veteran has resigned from a state board in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s moves to gain greater control of the Department of Veterans Affairs, including his decision to appoint John Scocos as agency …
4. Tax credits critical to VA housing project in Kerrville. San Antonio Express The Hill Country Veterans Council already has told the state agency it backs the local project, which is part of a nationwide VA initiative to end veteran homelessness by 2015. If the project proceeds, he said it should generate 80 to 100 construction …
5. Real Estate Sales Manager Indicted on Federal Bribery Charges. Housing Predictor
The former real estate sales manager of a property management company and two fellow workers were indicted by a US grand jury in connection with a housing repair scheme for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The 10-count indictment …
6. ‘Green button’ key to making sense of smart meters. San Francisco Chronicle The idea was partly inspired by a “blue button” already used by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to let veterans access and share their health information. Chopra and the utility executives joining him emphasized that individual consumers will …
7. Volunteer For Veterans Gets To Meet Obama. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Jeremy Carr, who does volunteer work with the Beaver County chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, recently met President Obama in the Oval Office at the White House. Obama “thanked Jeremy again for his volunteerism.” The “meeting lasted about 10 minutes, after which they were escorted out of the White House, across Lafayette Square and into the Veterans Affairs building to meet VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.”
8. Marine Corps Ends 2011 With Record Number Of Suicide Attempts. North County Times The US Marine Corps “ended 2011 with 175 suicide attempts among its active-duty troops, the highest number ever recorded.” Officials “have not been able to fully explain the increase other than to point to stress from multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
9. UI Carver College Of Medicine Joins Campaign To Increase Vet Healthcare. Daily Iowan “The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine has joined a new effort led by the Obama administration to devote more resources to research and education about post-traumatic stress disorder. More than 100 other medical schools across the country are participating in the project.” John Mikelson, the Veterans Center coordinator for the University of Iowa, “said he is glad medical schools are joining the campaign to help veterans.” He added that the school and Veterans Affairs “have had a long tradition of working very closely together for a very long time. It’s a team effort.”
10. Kan. Panel Hears About Mental Health Of Veterans. AP “Funding cuts are making it difficult to meet the increasing needs of veterans with mental health issues, mental health providers and agencies for veterans in Kansas told lawmakers on Tuesday. Advocates told the House Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee that an increase in such needs is leading more veterans to commit suicide.” The AP adds, “Committee Chairman Mario Goico, a Wichita Republican and Kansas Air National Guard veteran, urged the committee to write to the Kansas congressional delegation to discuss changes in…provisions to give veterans access to more care by recognizing more substance abuse treatment providers.”
Have You Heard?
Edward Derwinski, First VA Secretary Passes Away
The Department of Veterans Affairs mourns the passing of its first Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Edward Joseph Derwinski, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and served America’s Veterans from March 15, 1989 to September 26, 1992. Read about Mr. Derwinski’s service below.
More Veteran News
- Aid Means Fewer Vets Homeless – For Now. Minneapolis Star Tribune “From 2010 to 2011, the number of homeless veterans in Hennepin County dropped by 33 percent,” which “compares to a national drop of 12 percent. The numbers are based on a one-day shelter and street census taken in January by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).” The Start Tribune adds, “The VA has housed more than 33,000 veterans in the past 2 1/2 years by expanding who is eligible for vouchers that qualify them for Section 8 housing.”
- Batavia VA Center For Women With Post-Traumatic Stress To Be Improved. Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle The Batavia Veterans Affairs facility is “one of 10 nationally that treats and houses female veterans dealing with PTSD, and it soon will be new and improved. Ground was broken last month on a 9,000-square-foot building that will be handicapped-accessible and include 12 private bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.” The project is being funded “by a women’s health initiative from the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
- VA Widens Health Coverage For Female Vets’ Newborns. Army Times “Final rules for providing Veterans Affairs Department care for newborn children of female veterans take a liberal approach to eligibility. Care is limited by law to newborns of female veterans who are receiving maternity care from VA or a VA contractor, but the seven calendar days of coverage after birth will apply even in cases where the newborn is put up for adoption because the mother is unable or unwilling to raise the child.” Officials with VA “said their eligibility rules are the ‘broadest reasonable interpretation’ of newborn care provided by Congress as part of the 2010 Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.”
- Operation Jump-Start Helps Veterans Find Civilian Careers. Federal News Radio “The federal contracting community is getting ready for this year’s Operation Jump-Start event,” which will be “held Jan. 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Army Navy Club in Arlington, Va.” This “is the 8th annual event that helps troops coming back from active duty, get ready for a civilian career.”
- Honolulu Mayor Urges Businesses To Hire Veterans, Declares “Hire Our Heroes Day.” AP “Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle is proclaiming Wednesday ‘Hire Our Heroes Day’ to encourage businesses to hire veterans and military spouses.” The initiative, which was started by the US Chamber of Commerce, “will be a focus of a job fair at Neil Blaisdell Center in Honolulu on Wednesday. The job fair will include recruiters from over 125 businesses, organizations, military services, and government agencies.
- Cheyenne VA Ready For Returning Iraq Vets. KGWN-TV “With the return of troops from Iraq, the Cheyenne Veterans Administration says it’s ready to care for more vets.” The “VA in Cheyenne says it’s keeping up with the demand by adding several programs and expanding its out-patient clinic. Its budget for the 2011 fiscal year was $100,000,000, up from the previous three years.”
- World War II Vet Honored For Saving Ship In 1945. ABC World News On Tuesday, 95-year-old Carl Clark was “given what may be possibly the last combat medal awarded to a living veteran of World War II.” On a ship stationed near Okinawa in 1945, Clark single-handedly kept fires caused by Japanese air attack from reaching the ship’s big guns, saving it from exploding. Clark was not honored for bravery back then because he is black. But on Tuesday, the Navy “finally set that right.”
- Valentines For Vets. Carroll County (MD) Times “The Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System, Help Hospitalized Veterans, and FOX 45 will welcome musical legends ‘The Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards’ for a free Valentines For Veterans Concert at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Tickets are required and can be obtained through the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Box Office at 410-783-8000.” The Times adds, “For more information about the concert or to learn about volunteer opportunities throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, please visit www.maryland.va.gov.”
- New Army Of Volunteers. Charleston (SC) Post & Courier Veterans “in South Carolina and nationally are enlisting in a new kind of service: donating blood samples so genetic researchers can study them.” The Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Charleston “began drawing samples about six months ago.” The US VA “will link patients’ genetic samples with their clinical medical records to create a repository that researchers will use in coming years to study the links between DNA and disease.”
- Anderson County Veteran Gets Back Payment For Agent Orange Exposure. Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel
- UPS Offers Program For Veterans. Lebanon (PA) Daily News
- After Decades Of Untreated Rage, Vietnam Veteran Finds Peace. Gaylord (MI) Herald Times
- Veterans Speak To National American Legion Representatives. Hot Springs (SD) Star
- Break Down All Barriers To Health Information Exchange. FierceHealthIT
- Military Chaplains: Meeting The Spiritual Needs Of Vets. US Navy Seals