Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – January 20, 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.    As technology evolves, military wrestles with preserving vital engineering data.  Engineers 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. The constant need to transfer data on ships, aircraft and other systems into the latest design program opens a window through which errors can creep in. A part might suddenly disappear. Even more dangerous, the position of a weld might shift subtly, something only perceptible when a part fails, potentially catastrophic. The heart of the problem is the passage of time.
2.    Still struggling with suicide, Army sees uptick in sex crimes, domestic violence.  Soldiers are increasingly struggling with the fallout of a decade at war, a new Army report released Thursday showed. Suicides among active-duty troops ticked up slightly to a new high in 2011, while multi-year trends showed major increases in domestic violence, child abuse and sex crimes, according to the study, a follow-up to a 2010 study on health and suicide risks.
3.    New law boosts veteran-owned businesses.  Shore News Today  Treasury will now monitor policies, practices, and programs in consultation with the Economic Development Authority and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to further the state’s efforts in encouraging opportunities for veteran-owned …
4.    Veteran has entrepreneurial mission.  Meriden Record-Journal  “We know that this is a big problem, especially with the economic crisis,” said state Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz. But she said the state is working on getting businesses to sign an agreement where they would grant veteran applicants …
5.    Health records access expanded for federal employees.  Developed by the US Veterans Affairs Department, Blue Button allows users to download PHR data in plain-text format and facilitates data transfer, according to an Office of Personnel Management news release. “All health plans already have claims and …
6.    Former Employee and Contractors of Florida Property Management Company.   IEWY News  A Rockford, Ill., grand jury today indicted a former residential sales manager and two former contractors of a Florida property management company in connection with housing repair contracts for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), …
7.    US veterans face new battle in civilian job market.  Economic Times  “And I’d say yes, it’s been really tough,” he added Wednesday, surrounded by hundreds of ex-servicemen at the Walter E Washington Convention Center, the first such fair organized by the US government’s Department of Veteran Affairs. …
8.    Edward Derwinski, 1st Veterans Affairs Sec’y, Dies.  AP   “Edward Derwinski, who represented Chicago’s south side and adjoining suburbs in Congress for nearly a quarter-century before becoming the nation’s first secretary of veterans affairs, has died” at the age of 85. Then “President George H. W. Bush picked him in 1989 to head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which had just been elevated to Cabinet status. His three-year tenure proved rocky.”  Washington Post (1/19, Shapiro, 553K), which says that as VA secretary, one of Derwinski’s “first decisions involved Vietnam veterans seeking disability benefits for exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange.” Siding with veterans, “Derwinski reversed the government’s position and authorized payments to some veterans who had suffered from a rare form of cancer linked to Agent Orange.” But in “1992, an election year, Mr. Derwinski resigned from his post after concern was raised among White House and campaign aides that the president would not receive an endorsement from the Veterans of Foreign Wars if the secretary stayed on.”
9.    Thousands Of Veterans Line Up In Washington For Job Fair.  Washington Post  “Even before the doors officially opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday for an enormous veterans job fair at the Washington Convention Center, hundreds of job-seekers had shown up and were going through security, getting in lines and signing up for interviews. ‘It was already packed,’ said John Sepulveda, assistant secretary for human resources and administration for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” which hosted the Veteran Career Fair and Expo. John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel and Management, visited the event and said, “The whole federal government is stepping up here. It’s a phenomenal response – all the agencies are here.” The Post adds, “VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said more job fairs will be held.” Shinseki said his agency will “take lessons from” Wednesday’s fair and “go to other regions.”
10. Miller: VA Must Act Quickly On Jobs Programs.  Army Times  “Helping unemployed veterans and preparing for a possible flood of new veterans created by looming cuts in the active-duty force will be the top priorities of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee…said” the panel’s chairman, US Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL). During an interview with the Times, “Miller said he has a good working relationship with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and expects to work closely with him on ways to improve” what Miller sees as problem areas at VA, including an “unacceptable” claims backlog. Miller “said he’ll closely watch how VA implements the Vow to Hire Heroes Act,” which is “designed to cut the ranks of jobless veterans.” Miller added, “If this is not implemented in a timely fashion, it’s not going to achieve the positive results we all expect. I’m worried because of the bureaucracy of VA that takes forever to implement something.”


Have You Heard?

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center was recently selected as a Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network Member Site by the Department of Veterans Affairs. “We believe our participation in the VA Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network will result in improved health and health care for our women Veterans,” said Rola El-Serag, M.D., Women’s Health Center medical director. “This population needs more recognition and attention; women now comprise more than 13 percent of the total U.S. Armed Forces.” Women are the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Women Veterans Health Care addresses the health care needs of women Veterans and works to ensure that timely, equitable, high-quality, comprehensive health care services are provided in a sensitive and safe environment at VA health facilities nationwide. VA strives to be a national leader in the provision of health care for women, thereby raising the standard of care for all women. To fulfill this mission, Women Veterans Health Care works to make certain that all eligible women Veterans requesting VA care are assured of comprehensive primary care by a proficient and interested primary care provider with privacy, safety, dignity, and equal to that provided to male Veterans.


More Veteran News


  •  Hahn Asks Veterans Affairs To Hold Job Fair In L.A.  San Jose Mercury News  US Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA) on Wednesday asked VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to hold a job fair in Los Angeles after “similar events recently held in New Orleans, San Antonio, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, have drawn millions of former service men and women who are seeking jobs.” In a letter to Shinseki, Hahn noted that “nearly 2 million veterans live in California, with the highest concentration living in Los Angeles County,” and a job fair “is one way we can help connect veterans to the employers and resources they need to transition smoothly into civilian life.”
  •   VA Blogger Concerned About Coverage Of the Mount Rainier Shooting.  Stars And Stripes  “CNN and the Christian Science Monitor had separate stories…chronicling the growing problem of post-traumatic stress disorder 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.” One of the vets is Ocampo and the other killed a park ranger in Mount Rainier. Stars And Stripes adds, “Earlier this month, VA blogger Alex Horton lamented the unfair characterization of combat veterans in the initial coverage of the Mount Rainier shooting story: While violence is undoubtedly a potential consequence of war-related trauma, highly publicized crimes by active duty members and Veterans cast the overwhelming majority of law abiding vets in a horrifying – and typically unfair – light.”
  • VA Trying To Help Vets Who Get In Trouble With The Law.  AP  A  re-entry program at Camp Pendleton, where Ocampo was based when he was still in the military, is “just one of many that the military created as it tries to address the emotional toll of war, a focus that is getting renewed attention as veterans struggling to adjust back home are accused of violent crimes, including murder.” The AP adds, “While Veterans Affairs and Department of Justice have said veterans don’t commit more crimes per capita than others, the VA has launched efforts to help veterans in trouble with the law receive help rather than just be locked up. Since 2009, the VA has had a legal team review cases to see if the best remedy is treatment instead of incarceration.”
  •  Federal Health Plans To Offer Blue Button Digital Health-Record Access.  Federal News Radio  “All health insurance options in federal health plans will soon allow members to download a digital version of their health records using a technology called Blue Button, the Office of Personnel Management announced.” According to Federal News Radio, the “Blue Button technology, whose use was spearheaded by the Veterans Affairs Department, will make it easer to share digital records with family members and physicians.” Federal News Radio adds, “Since being adopted by VA, Blue Button has also made inroads into the private-sector,” with some in that sector viewing “wider adoption of Blue Button adoption as a way to encourage providers to finally make the switch from paper-based records to digital.”
  •   VA Plans To Deploy Mobile Vet Center.  Tri-Town (NJ) News  Veterans Affairs “is deploying a Mobile Vet Center (MVC)” to Lakewood, New Jersey, “to ensure that underserved New Jersey veterans and their families have better access to counseling, employment assistance and other services.” According to the News, VA “has 300 Vet Centers like the one in Lakewood.”
  •  Meningococcal Serogroup B Vaccine Is Effective In Chile.  Medscape  “An adolescent 4-component meningococcal (4CMenB) vaccine appears to be effective when administered on a schedule of 2 doses from 1 to 6 months apart, according to a new” study that was “published online January 18 in the Lancet.” In an “accompanying editorial, David S. Stephens, MD from Emory University School of Medicine and the VA Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia, questions whether additional booster doses would be needed to maintain protection, and whether the vaccine could be targeted to infants and young children – a major group at risk for serogroup B disease. ‘Data are also needed for concurrent administration of 4CMenB with other vaccines,’ Dr. Stephens states, adding that answers to all of these questions ‘are crucial to widespread use and population-specific recommendations.'”
  • Video Consults With Dermatologists Aid Treatment.  Reuters  According to a new study conducted by researchers in California, live video consults with dermatologists may benefit people who live in remote areas. Dr. Erin Warshaw, chief of dermatology at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, commented on the study, stating, “Across the board, most people would say that of course an in-person exam is going to be better than any kind of telederm. But for those people in rural areas, the real question is whether telederm is better than no derm, or than derm provided by a primary care doctor.” Reuters pointed out that Dr. Warshaw was not involved with the aforementioned study.
  •   Med School Links With Lovell Center To Aid Vets.  Lake County (IL) News-Sun  A “new White House-led effort to better serve veterans struggling with the effects” of  traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “has found support in Lake County. The Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, in partnership with the Lovell Federal Health Care Center, has signed-on with the Joining Forces initiative, a national effort aimed at mobilizing all sectors of society to offer more resources and opportunities to service members and their families.” The News-Sun added, “‘As the nation’s first federal health-care center – which combines the personnel and resources from the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense – we could not be more pleased to take another groundbreaking step with our educational partner Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science,’ said Patrick Sullivan, Lovell Center director.”
  •  Double Amputee Gets New High-Tech Legs.  CNN International  Iraq veteran Derrick Hurt, a double leg amputee, will soon receive new lightweight leg sockets from an Iowa-based company called Clark & Associates. Hurt “will be the first veteran to test” the sockets. KCRG-TV  “Lighter, stronger, faster sum up what the new walking sockets will mean” for Hurt “and others who’ve lost limbs.” Waterloo’s “Clark and Associates has one of two machines in the entire world that make this prosthetic.” Hurt “and the prosthetic team from Clark and Associates will travel…to Walter Reed Hospital in a couple months to officially introduce the product to other veterans.”
  •  Military Amputees Inspire Through Softball.  AP  The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is made up of a “barnstorming bunch of Army and Marine combat veterans, most of whom rely on prosthetic limbs. Corporate sponsorships have allowed the team to travel around the country playing local teams for charity, amassing a 14-13 record going into a game Sunday against a team of first responders in Orange County, Calif.” The AP adds, “At Wounded Warrior games, kids ask for their autographs, women hug them and veterans pump their hands in gratitude.”


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