Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – August 01, 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.   Iowa AG sues telemarketer, says solicitors posed as disabled veteransA for-profit telemarketer based in Arizona was enjoined Tuesday from engaging in a variety of misleading sales practices that included making false claims by its solicitors that they were military veterans with physical disabilities, while none of the proceeds went to help homeless or disabled soldiers, according to the Iowa Attorney General’s office.
 

2.   Army to expand training periods for Guard, Reserve troopsThe end of fighting in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan will not mean a return to a peacetime schedule of drilling one weekend a month and two weeks a year for the 550,000 citizen soldiers of the Army’s National Guard and Reserve, according to the Army’s top general.
 
3.   N. Africa becomes central focus in war on terrorism, officials say.  The Obama administration no longer sees the greatest terrorist threats in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Instead, U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly focused on a broad swath of northern Africa.
 
4.   Top Oklahoma veterans affairs officials out amid neglect, abuse investigationsNearly three months after an 85-year-old veteran died after being scalded in a whirlpool bath at the Claremore Veterans Center, the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs has retired and the administrator of the center abruptly resigned.
 
5.   July deadliest month in nearly a year for CoalitionCoalition casualties in July hit the highest monthly total in nearly a year, a reminder that even as international militaries head for the exit, the insurgency is far from vanquished.
 
6.   For-profit school officials strike back at critical reportAs the negative press surrounding for-profit universities and underserved student veterans mounts, officials from those schools are pushing back to defend their business model as a valuable and unfairly maligned option for nontraditional students.

7.   US House committee investigating Haley VA’s use of covert camera.  Tampabay.com  Jeff Miller, chairman of the committee, said he was outraged by the camera’s use at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Tampa and the VA’s release of misleading information about the camera to the media and public. “This is unacceptable …

8.   Veterans’ benefits focus of workshop Tuesday at VFW.  Palladium-Item  The workshop will address U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ health care, service-connected disability compensation, VA income-based pensions and widow/widower benefits. It will be directed by an ILS attorney who served 22 years in the military and …
 
9.   SGT Barksdale’s return to Georgia. http://www.macon.com/2012/07/21/2102675/sugar-boy-is-finally-coming-hom The name of Korean War U. S. Army SGT Thomas Jefferson Barksdale of Macon is inscribed on the “Courts of the Missing” at the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii.  However, as a recent headline in the Macon Telegraph (7/21/2012) announced, ‘Sugar Boy’ is Finally Coming Home.  Georgia’s Army National Guard will conduct Burial with Full Military Honors for SGT Barksdale this coming Friday, August 3rd at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Milledgeville at 2:30 p.m.  Funeral services and “Welcome Home” will take place at the Jones Brothers Eastlawn Memorial Chapel on Millerfield Road in Macon beginning at 12 noon.  A procession lead by the Patriot Guard Riders will escort SGT Thomas to GVMC – Milledgeville.

10.   Veteran with Lou Gehrig’s disease finally gets benefits for spouse.  Washington Times  I am a veteran with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease). My award of VA … The winning entry in each age group will receive a $50 Visa gift card and a chance to compete for the grand prize: their graphic on the side of a local U-Haul truck, and an unveiling party for their friends and family. After World War II, there existed the … Officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs applauded a decision by the attorneys general of several states to give VA the rights to use the GIBill.Com website, after the …

 

Have You Heard?

National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, is a time to celebrate the history, achievements, traditions and contributions of Hispanic Americans to our nation. Each year, activities, ceremonies, and programs are planned to commemorate the immeasurable impact that Hispanics have made in all aspects of American life, to include military service, public service, entrepreneurship, the arts, the health sciences, education and many other fields. This year‘s theme is ”Diversity United, Building America‘s Future Today.” The ODI Website offers resources to assist in planning special emphasis programs. Visit http://www.diversity.va.gov/tools/event-planning.aspx.

 

More Veteran News

 

  •    Vet Center helps with adjusting to civilian life.  Clarksville Leaf Chronicle  Vet Centers are community-based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; however they are stand-alone and not part of either the VA healthcare or disability systems. The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of …
  •  Text To Prevent Suicide For Veterans.  CBS Local  It got to the point where he couldn’t handle it anymore,” said Brad Beasley, who is now trying to make a difference by helping expand on a program the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs started five years ago, a crisis hotline. Those struggling could …
  •  US House To Vote On Providing Medical Care For Those Sickened By Tainted Camp Lejeune Water.  AP  The US House of Representatives scheduled a vote yesterday on “legislation that would provide medical care for Camp Lejeune Marines and their relatives who could have been sickened by drinking water contaminated with toxins linked to cancers and organ damage.” The US Senate “has already approved the bill, which would cover those who lived or worked at Lejeune from 1957 to 1987.”
  • Bill Would Have VA Care For Vets Who Were Affected By Camp Lejeune Water Contamination.  Jacksonville (NC) Daily News  “The bill that could potentially provide healthcare to thousands of sick Camp Lejeune veterans and their families will travel to the House this week. The Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2012 passed the Senate by unanimous consent on July 18, and the bill is scheduled to be presented to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 31, said Heather Parsons, Deputy Chief of Staff” for US Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC). The Daily News adds, “Should the bill pass and be signed into law by the president, up to 750,000 sick Marine veterans and their families who were affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident from Nov. 1957 to Feb. 1987 will receive hospital care, medical services and nursing home care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
  • VA, DoD Leaders Tout Joint Transition Efforts, But Results Lag. Army Times “The top officials at the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department are facing renewed criticism from Congress for the many problems that continue to hammer a smooth transition to civilian life for separating service members.” While appearing before a recent joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “expressed their commitment to long-promised improvements, especially for veterans with service-connected disabilities and health problems – but noted big changes can take a long time to put in place.” According to the Times, a “prime example of a program that hasn’t panned out is the VA-DoD Integrated Disability Evaluation Systems.”
  •  Afghanistan Veterans With Genital Wounds Receive Little Help From Pentagon.  Huffington Post  For Mark Litynski and a “growing number of soldiers and Marines whose genitals are damaged or destroyed by blasts from improvised explosive devices while in combat, the Pentagon has decided it will not provide some critical reproductive health benefits.” For “these wounded warriors, the compensation policies of the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs can be infuriating. For instance, the VA pays up to $100,000 to the severely wounded like…Litynski to compensate for loss of income and to help finance adapting their home to wheelchairs and other needs.” But because Litynski reached that $100,000 cap, he could not afford fertilization procedures or adoption. The Post does add, however, that last year, VA said it would pay as much as $50,000 to veterans who incurred genital damage during combat.
  •    Record Number Of Veterans Expected To Use New GI Bill For Higher Education.  Dallas Morning News  “Like thousands of military veterans,” Texas resident Jeff Hensley, who served two tours in Iraq, “found financial help in the Post-9/11 GI Bill.” This “fall, with more American troops returning from the Middle East, a record 590,000 veterans are expected to be enrolled in universities and two-year colleges under the new bill. In 2011, Texas trailed only California in the bill’s use, with 49,938 veterans enrolled, according to…surveys” conducted by the US Veterans Affairs Department.
  •   Senate Report Slams Major For-Profit Schools. Military Times The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions “released a blistering 5,194-page report on Monday detailing its findings from a two-year investigation of the for-profit education industry, including its use and abuse of Post-9/11 GI Bill and military tuition assistance funding.” In a Monday news conference, US Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) “advocated new laws that would prevent schools from using federal aid, including GI Bill funds, for marketing or lobbying, and argued that the Education Department should track all students, not only first-time, full-time students as it does now.” But Steve Gunderson, who heads the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, “called the report a case of ‘ideology overriding reality’ and accused Harkin of being involved in ‘nothing more than political attacks.'”  CQ  “Culminating a two-year probe of for-profit colleges, Sen. Tom Harkin said Monday that he plans to push to regulate the industry during next year’s reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.” At a Monday news conference, Harkin released a report which “found that the industry engages in aggressive and ‘deceptive’ marketing and recruiting practices while its students are plagued by low graduation rates and heavy debt burdens.” Harkin “vowed to find a way to monitor the progress of students and former students at for-profit colleges, in which taxpayers are investing $32 billion a year through federal student loans, Pell grants and post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, according to his report.”
  •    Tens Of Thousands Of Ohio Veterans Cash In On Veterans’ Bonus.  Dayton (OH) Daily News  “The state of Ohio has paid more than $48.5 million in voter-approved, tax-free bonuses to wartime veterans since August 2010, but the amount awarded dropped by two-thirds within the last year, state figures show.” Michael McKinney, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs, said, “As with any other veterans’ benefit, it’s a challenge in reaching everybody because there’s always somebody who hasn’t heard about it.” According to the Daily News, McKinney “expects payouts to climb upward when more Ohio troops return from overseas, such as the 2,500 Ohio Army National Guard soldiers in the…37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan.”

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