Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News April 03, 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.    Cyberattack suspected as al-Qaida Web sites go dark for 11 days.  Al-Qaida’s main Web forums have been offline for the past 11 days in what experts say is the longest sustained outage of the sites since they began operating eight years ago. No one has publicly claimed responsibility for disabling the sites, but the breadth and the duration of the outages have prompted some experts to conclude the forums have been taken down in a cyberattack.
2.    Remains of soldier missing since Korean War finally laid to restThe body of a U.S. soldier missing in action during the Korean War has been laid to rest, more than a decade after his remains were recovered by a U.S. team.
3.    OPM: Reservists can’t be denied their civilian jobs.  The White House’s personnel chief is calling on senior federal executives to ensure that National Guard and Reserve troops returning to their civilian federal jobs are not penalized for their military service.
4.    The argument for keeping the Feres doctrineVictims’ rights groups for decades have blasted the Feres doctrine as misguided and unjust. But from the military’s perspective, the legal precedent is essential to making sure all troops are treated fairly.
5.    Veterans Affairs difficult to navigate in Ottawa County.  Light said the Holland VFW Post and American Legion have helped, but he said they don’t have someone who knows the ins and outs of the US Department of Veterans Affairs and its protocol for disability and health care. “You still have to fight.
6.    Vets hear long-awaited message: ‘You are not forgotten’.  Napa Valley Register  “The reason we wanted to do that today is so they don’t wait 35 or 40 years like the Vietnam veterans had to wait to get a welcome home in a public place by a city or town,” said Almon Bundy, president of the local Vietnam Veterans of America.
7.    W.Va. military credit issue stymies lawmakers.  Marietta Times  West Virginia lawmakers have so far been unable to revisit a state policy that rewards public employees for their military service by enhancing their pensions. State law counts additional years toward the retirement of …
8.    Ohio congressmen back veterans’ burial bill.  Springfield News Sun  The bill would have the VA cover the burial cost if the remains are determined to be that of an eligible veteran who doesn’t have a next of kin and there are no available resources to cover burial and funeral expenses. It also calls on the VA to …
9.    Benefits counselor to help veterans.  Auburn Citizen  “Our purpose and goal is to connect vets and their family members to benefits, both federal and state,” said Sue Doan, senior veterans counselor for the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs. “In talking to the college, we realized a lot of vets, …
10.     Scotsman Guide Releases Top Originators 2011 Rankings.  Virtual-Strategy Magazine
Top entrants ranked by US Department of Veterans Affairs and US Department of Agriculture loan volumes are listed, as well. To be eligible for initial consideration in Scotsman Guide’s Top Originators rankings, originators must have had at least $30 …


Have You Heard?

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which provides VA an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to supporting Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma (MST). This year’s national theme is “Military Sexual Trauma: Healing Starts with Knowing the Facts,” highlighting the importance of VA staff being informed about MST.  Some key facts:  About one in five women and one in a hundred men seen in VA medical facilities report they experienced MST, defined as a sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service.  MST can affect veterans’ physical and mental health for many years afterwards. VA offers a variety of services designed to assist veterans who have experienced MST. For example, treatment for physical and mental health conditions related to MST is available at every VA facility and is provided to veterans free of charge, regardless of service-connection status. Every VA facility has an MST coordinator; however, it’s important to remember that every VA employee has the power to help by responding sensitively to inquiries about MST and remaining knowledgeable about VA’s MST-related services. For more information, contact your facility’s MST Coordinator or visit the MST Resource homepage at

More Veteran News


  •   Bills Help Military Vets Find Work After Service.  Wausau (WI) Daily Herald  The Wisconsin Legislature “recently passed a set of bills designed to help veterans find work and get trained” for jobs. One bill, signed recently by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, “makes it easier for veterans to get civilian credentials for certifications they’ve earned in the military. Another bill, sponsored by several state legislators will give employers a tax credit for hiring disabled veterans.”


  • Bill Would Provide For Burial Of US Veterans. Columbus (OH) Dispatch  “A bill introduced in the House by Republican Reps. Pat Tiberi of Genoa Township and Steve Stivers of Upper Arlington to help give unidentified or abandoned remains of veterans proper military burials now has champions in the Senate. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Mark Begich, D-Ark., last week introduced the Veterans Missing in America Act,” which “would enable the Department of Veterans Affairs to work with veterans groups to help determine whether unidentified or abandoned remains are those of veterans who are eligible for burial at a national cemetery.” If such vets are eligible, the bill would “have the VA cover the burial cost if…there are no available resources” which can.
  •  Women Veterans Draw Strength In Numbers. Salem (OR) Statesman Journal This past weekend, the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs “hosted the 2012 Oregon Women’s Veterans Conference. The event saw hundreds of female veterans visit the Salem Conference Center to network, participate in workshops, sample several dozen vendors and attend a Fallen Women Warriors Memorial Ceremony.” The Statesman Journal added, “Many of the exhibit booths catered to those needs as well, such as Vet Center of Salem, which offers among its services free counseling to veterans and their family.”
  •  Harris Wins VA Contract For Electronic Records.  Federal Times  “The Veterans Affairs Department has selected Harris Corp. to manage a critical portion of its electronic health record (iEHR), after canceling an earlier award to Fairfax, Va.-based ASM Research Inc. The five-year, $80.3 million contract awarded to Harris on March 20 is $22.3 million less than the $102.6 million contract first awarded to ASM Research in January, said VA spokeswoman Jo Schuda.” The Times adds, “VA’s Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said last week that a scaled-down version of the iEHR will be launched at medical facilities in San Antonio and Hampton Roads, Va., within the next two years.”
  •   Improving Medication Alerts In Electronic Medical Record Systems. Medical News Today  “A study by Regenstrief Institute and US Department of Veterans Affairs investigators provides the first in-depth look at how health care providers react to medication alerts generated by electronic medical record systems.” Researchers working on the study “plan to use this information to improve the design of medication alerts and diminish the phenomenon known as alert fatigue, where providers can become desensitized and may start unintentionally ignoring some important warnings. For this study, the researchers observed providers as they treated patients to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of medication alerts.”
  • Veterans Lay Their Unclaimed Brethren To Rest. San Bernardino (CA) Sun  “Every Wednesday morning, Veterans Without Family gathers” at the Riverside National Cemetery “to give full military honors to deceased veterans who were left unclaimed. Now in its fourth year, the group” Veterans Without Family “has honored more than 1,500 veterans who otherwise would have been buried without recognition.”
  •     Organizers Of “Stand Down” Event Say Number Of Homeless Veterans Unknown In Fox Cities.  Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent  On Saturday, a “‘Stand Down for Homeless Veterans’ event” was held at the National Guard Armory in Appleton. At the event, volunteers like Rocky Childress “were prepared to help veterans with housing, job assistance or medical referrals.” Childress is a “formerly homeless man” who is “in the process of getting an apartment through the HUD/VASH (Housing and Urban Development/Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program and signing up for courses at Fox Valley Technical College.” The Post-Crescent quoted Molly, Miller, an organizer of Saturday’s event, who said, “We don’t really know how many” homeless veterans “there are. That’s why we’re doing these kinds of things. To find that number.”
  •  Vet Explains Struggle To Fit Into Workplace. MSNBC
  •   Campaign For Civil War Veterans’ Headstones Halfway To Goal. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  •    Documentary Shows How Program Gives Veterans An Outlet For Healing. Great Falls (MT) Tribune
  •    Military Credit Issue Stymies W.Va. Lawmakers.  AP
  • Austin Group Helps Female Veterans Find Jobs. KVUE-TV
  •  “It’s Changed My Life”: Combat Vets Praise New Program. KOMO-TV
  •  Finding Homes: Donated Furniture Helps Vets Settle In With New Digs. Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer


The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) August 4, 2007 Byline: Robert A. Baker, Suzanne M. Ellis and Aaron Gifford Staff writers A fire Friday morning in Eastwood was intentionally set, Syracuse police said.

Firefighters were called to 743 Teall Ave., a seven-apartment building across from Transfiguration Church, at 8:43 a.m., said Lt. Joe Galloway, an investigator for the Syracuse Fire Department.

A bedroom in the rear of a second-floor apartment was in flames when firefighters arrived. The fire was quickly put out, Galloway said.

No one was injured. Only four of the seven apartments were occupied and all the residents were able to return to their apartments, Galloway said.

Investigators determined the fire was intentionally started, city police Lt. Joe Cecile said. No arrests have been made.

Funeral fund established A fund has been established to help with the funeral costs for two brothers killed Thursday in a house fire at 1113 Carbon St., Syracuse.

Andres Austin, 11, and Carl Austin IV, 12, both died in the early morning fire at their home. The fire also killed family friend Amber Pirong, 20.

Funeral director Jan Maloff set up a fund through his DeWitt Memorial Funeral Home to help pay funeral costs for the boys, which will be a little less than $6,000. Any money collected above funeral and cemetery costs will be put toward a headstone, Maloff said. here 2003 ford focus

Checks may be made out to DeWitt Memorial Home, and mailed to 4901 Jamesville Road, Jamesville, NY 13078. Credit cards may be used by calling the funeral home at 446-7570.

Raising funds, as opposed to going through the county for assistance, will allow the children to be buried in a cemetery near where their mother lives, Maloff said.

Calling hours for the boys are 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Services are 10 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Troopers probe fatal crash State police in Hastings and Fulton are continuing their investigation into a car crash Thursday that claimed the life of Timothy D. Schwalm, 20, of 794 U.S. Route 11, Central Square.

Schwalm was driving west on state Route 49 in West Monroe, near Whig Hill and Toad Harbor roads, when he attempted to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone, troopers said.

That vehicle, a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, was driven by Brandon A. Manning, of North Syracuse, troopers said. Manning’s age and address were not available.

Schwalm’s vehicle, a 2003 Ford Focus, struck the driver’s mirror of an oncoming car and then hit the driver’s side of another westbound vehicle as he attempted to get back into the westbound lane of Route 49. website 2003 ford focus

Schwalm’s vehicle then swerved into the eastbound lane and struck a fourth vehicle head-on.

The driver of that vehicle, a 2006 GMC pickup truck, was Scott P. Bartkowiak, 45, of 102 Willowwood Lane, Camillus.

Bartkowiak was hurt, troopers said, but his injuries were not life-threatening. He was treated at University Hospital and released, troopers said.

After the crash, which occurred about 5 p.m., Schwalm was taken by SOVAC ambulance to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Schwalm was a 2004 graduate of Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square. He would have celebrated his 21st birthday on Aug. 20.

Lightning ignites trailer No injuries were reported Friday morning after lightning ignited a West Edmeston residential trailer, firefighters said.

The blaze was reported about 7:40 after a severe thunderstorm with heavy rain and hail rolled through the southeastern corner of Madison County.

The lightning struck a metal chimney at 11358 Skaneateles Turnpike, sending sparks through wiring along the trailer’s roof and ceiling, said county Fire Coordinator Joe DeFrancisco.

The fire was contained to one corner of the single-wide structure, and most of the family’s belongings were safely removed. The home is salvageable.

Firefighters said the occupants, the Land family, will stay with relatives until the damage is repaired.

About 30 volunteer firefighters from Brookfield, North Brookfield, Leonardsville, Hubbardsville, Bridgewater and West Winfield responded, as did West Winfield ambulance crews.

The trailer sits on top of a hill. Brookfield firefighters said lightning strikes are a common occurrence in high elevations this time of year.

“We just had one the other day,” said Dennis Johnson, first assistant chief for the Brookfield volunteer fire department. “It’s not unusual.” CAPTION(S):

PHOTO David Lassman/Staff photographer SYRACUSE FIREFIGHTERS wrap up operations after knocking down a fire on Teall Avenue in Eastwood. Police believe the fire was intentionally set.

David Lassman/Staff photographer COOLING OFF after fighting a fire on Syracuse’s Teall Avenue are firefighters Matt Scialdone (left) and Ray Sinda.


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