Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – January 24, 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.    Some sailors chosen for separation might be eligible for retirement benefitsA small number of sailors chosen for separation from the Navy by the enlisted retention board could receive a lifeline in the form of retirement benefits after all, Navy officials have announced.
2.    After war, a new fight begins.  Houma Courier  An estimated 1 million veterans nationwide will be looking for work over the next five years, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The number of military veterans in the US shrank from 27 million in 2000 to 25 million in 2009,
3.    Grant to fund new behavioral health center for veterans, families.  … a behavioral health center for military veterans and their families in Bay Shore, NY Working in collaboration with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the program will ensure service members, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, …
4.    New Treatment Can Help Veterans With Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  MarketWatch Ventus Medical, maker of Provent Therapy, today announced the US Department of Veterans Affairs has granted a multi-year, Federal Supply Schedule contract that would expand access to Provent Therapy among veterans. It’s estimated more than four million …
5.    Is The VA Mental Health Scheduling System Gamed? Senators Seek Audit.  US Medicine “Frustrated by the numerous reports of veterans unable to receive timely mental healthcare” at Veterans Affairs “facilities, legislators have called for the VA Office of the Inspector General to conduct a formal audit of wait times. In a letter to the VA IG, Sen. Patty Murray, (D-WA) chairwoman of the Senate VA Committee and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the committee’s ranking Republican, raised issues that have emerged in recent hearings.” US Medicine notes that Antonette Zeiss, PhD, VA’s mental health chief, has said VA “will ‘aggressively follow all the data’ to ensure they have effective predictions of how much funding and staffing is needed” to provide adequate mental healthcare.
6.    Bringing Suicide Into The Light.  Charleston (SC) Post & Courier  “Veterans are at increasing risk for suicide, especially as two Middle East wars come to an end, returning more and more members of the military to civilian life, VA officials say. Adding to the concern of health care providers and VA administrators are recent budget cuts to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, along with the impact of extended recession, joblessness and financial hardship among a growing number of American families.” The Post & Courier adds, “The VA operates a veterans’ crisis hotline, trains police, emergency responders, college officials and the staff of community organizations to recognize the signs of suicide and learn how best to intervene…said” Mark DeSantis, suicide prevention coordinator for the Ralph Johnson VA Center in Charleston.
7.    State Raffle For Veterans Falls Short Of Goal.  Tacoma (WA) News Tribune “Veterans will receive some money from a state raffle held in their honor, but much less than was predicted before extra advertising ate into the raffle’s profits.” Lawmakers in the state of Washington “created the annual game last year and directed proceeds to the Veterans Innovations Program, which hands out small cash grants to help veterans returning home with rent, gas, school and other expenses.” The News Tribune adds, “Officials are looking at what to do differently this year.”
8.    Veterans Agency Knew Of Improper Buying Under McKesson Contract.  Washington Post  “The Department of Veterans Affairs violated federal regulations by making unauthorized purchases through McKesson Corp.’s multibillion-dollar drug contract, Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a letter to a congressman. The agency discussed the violations internally as early as March 2011 but did not bar employees from buying items that were not covered by the contract until Nov. 10, according to the Dec. 20 letter” to US Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), who is a member of the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on investigations. In his letter, Shinseki added, “No veterans were put at risk” because of the contract situation. The Post notes, “High-level agency officials were aware of the practice, Josh Taylor, a VA spokesman, said” in an email on January 11th.
9.    Federal Rule Would Ease Access For Face, Hand Transplants.  American Medical News  Face “transplants are expected to become more common, especially in the treatment of veterans wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, federal officials and surgeons say. The federal government is preparing for future demand with a proposed rule that would make it easier to match donors with recipients and ensure that needed tissues are allocated fairly and safely for all patients, said Jim Bowman, MD, medical director of the Health Resources and Services Administration Division of Transplantation.” The American Medical News points out that Dr. William Gunnar, “national director of surgery for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, said it’s impossible to predict future demand for the transplants.”
10.   Digital Badges Threaten Colleges’ Monopoly On Credentials.  US News & World Report  The growing profile of “digital badges,” noting that the “John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) have created a $2 million Digital Media and Learning Competition to encourage the development of digital badges that recognize lifelong learners’ knowledge and skills. … One of the winners, Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, will develop a series of badges for computer science teachers.” The piece noted that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has praised the concept, and “has offered a $25,000 prize for the best badge concept serving veterans seeking skilled jobs.” Veterans could collect badges reflecting their skills instead of seeking college credit.

Have You Heard?

VA Trains Vets on Federal Acquisitions

On January 19, VA held a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch a special internship program to prepare newly-returned Veterans to become federal contract specialists. View photos


More Veteran News


  • Unemployment High For Young US Military Veterans.  Voice Of America  “While members of the military make up a tiny fraction of the US population, the unemployment rate for America’s military veterans far exceeds the national average.” But “America Works has offices in several American cities and one of its specialties is placing veterans. The service is supported financially by local, state and federal governments.”
  •   Documentary Examines How Toxic Water At The Nation’s Largest Marine Base Damaged Lives.  Washington Post  A documentary called “Semper Fi: Always Faithful,” is “about the men, women and children affected over three decades by contaminated water at the nation’s largest Marine base,” Camp Lejeune. The “film made the short list of 15 documentary features being considered for an Oscar; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will cut the list to five Tuesday.”
  • VA Expands Benefits For Veterans With Genitourinary Injuries.  US Medicine Veterans Affairs has “expanded traumatic injury benefits to include servicemembers who suffered injuries in the genitourinary organs during their service.” Such “servicemembers will now be eligible for Servicemember Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI). According to VA, military physicians report seeing an increase in these types of injuries” suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • VA Gears Services To Returning Vets.  AP  Returning “service men and women can find all they need to know about benefits and services” Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) office of the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System. Brittany Trabaris, “program manager, said the office has grown in the last few years. In 2010, 2,486 combat vets were treated at the Danville VA and its five community-based clinics, and in 2011, 2,663 were treated.” Trabaris added, “We have a pretty good system in place to handle the units coming back.”
  •   Functional Gourd Art.  South Bend (IN) Tribune  Korean War veteran Harold Harris, who is “becoming well known for his gourd art not only in southwest Michigan but regionally and nationally.” Harris “recently won a national art competition sponsored by the Veterans Administration. He won first- and second-place medals at the annual National Veterans Creative Arts Festival held last fall in Arkansas.” Harris said he will “never forget” doing well at the “fabulous” festival.
  •   Need To Know For Sunday, Jan 22.  Fayetteville (NC) Observer  Representatives of the Veterans Affairs hospital in Fayetteville “will travel the region this week to meet with veterans in rural areas. Rural health teams will be in Whiteville on Wednesday and in Carthage on Thursday.” The rural health teams “include a nurse educator and an eligibility and enrollment specialist.”
  •  Mobile Vets Center Visits Area Feb. 17.  Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times-Leader  “The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Mobile Veterans Center will be at the Dallas Shopping Center, Memorial Highway, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.” Services “provided at the center include individual, group, family and bereavement counseling, medical referrals, assistance in applying for VA benefits, employment counseling, guidance and referrals, alcohol and drug assessments. Appointments for mobile veterans center services are not required.”
  •  County Starts Program For Veterans In Trouble.  Martinsville (IN) Reporter-Times “Morgan County is taking the lead when it comes to helping veterans who become involved in the county’s criminal justice system. Created by Morgan County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Hanson, with help from prosecutor Steve Sonnega, chief deputy prosecutor Robert Cline and Mark Mayhew,” of the Richard Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in “Indianapolis, the county’s Helping American Veterans – HAVE – program is designed to help veterans who are involved in the legal system get the benefits they are entitled to.” The HAVE “program began Jan. 1.”
  •   “Save The VA Campaign” Holds Informational Meeting.  Hot Springs (SD) Star “Nearly a month to the day after organizing at a Dec. 21 meeting, the separate committees that make up the Save the VA Campaign shared information with the public and each other Friday night at the Mueller Civic Center. Pat Russell, one of the organizers of the group, said the Friday meeting was to outline steps that should be taken to ‘return our Hot Springs VA to what it was 20 years ago.'” Veteran “and organizer Don Ackerman closed the meeting by announcing that on Saturday, Feb. 25, a peaceful march is planned, from the Hot Springs American Legion to the VA campus, to deliver the Save the VA Campaign’s ‘list of demands.'”
  •   Woman Creates Burial Boxes For Fellow Vets.  Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald  Veteran Denis Davis, a “former student in the commercial/residential maintenance program” at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC), with “help from MGCCC instructor Buddy Naramore,” built thee “wooden boxes to contain cremated remains” at the Biloxi National Cemetery. Naramore “intends for each of his students to build boxes as part of a final project. Maggie Ayers, Biloxi National Cemetery director, said the cemetery has used one box so far.” Ayers added, “The boxes are so much better than a little plastic box. It is a nice way to remember our veterans who have done so much for us.”
  •  Homeless Heroes: Agencies Aim To Curb Growing Problem Among Area Vets.  Northwest Herald  “With more veterans coming home to unemployment and facing foreclosure, local agencies are working to help keep local vets from becoming homeless. Financial assistance, temporary housing and support services are being sought by an increasing number of veterans, said Michael Iwanicki, superintendent of the McHenry County Veterans Assistance Commission.” The Herald added, “The veterans commission provides emergency financial assistance for housing for veterans, serves as an advocate for veterans’ claims in regard to war-related injury and illness, and provides transportation to the VA Medical Center.”
  •  Home Foreclosure: 81-Year-Old Army Vet Loses His House.  Orlando Sentinel
  •  Old Soldier Accepts One Last Mission.  Port Huron (MI) Times Herald
  •  Four Decades Later, Fort Worth Man Remembers The Day He Stepped On A Mine.  Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram
  •    Norton And Gray Oppose Effort To Nationalize DC War Memorial.  Washington (DC) Examiner

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