CalVet Newswatch brings you the latest veteran news from California and beyond, delivered weekly to your inbox and updated daily on CalVet Connect. Scroll down to view highlights of this week’s top articles, or click here to visit our site.
USA TODAY — Dan Martin is chief engineer for Veterans Affairs hospitals in northern Indiana, but he hasn’t done much engineering for almost a year — or much of anything for that matter. After he reported concerns about possible contracting improprieties at the hospitals, managers stripped him of his duties last March, alleging he had been mean and used inappropriate language with his employees. They isolated him in an out-of the-way office in Marion, Ind., his lawyers say, and in December, moved to fire him.
WASHINGTON POST — The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will not conduct research into whether medical marijuana could help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, as veterans groups are pushing for the use of the drug as an alternative to opioids and anti-depressants. In a letter to U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said VA’s ability to research medical marijuana is hampered by the fact that the drug is illegal federally.
STARS AND STRIPES — Despite pleas from congressmen, veterans and the country’s largest veterans service organization asking for research into medical marijuana, the Department of Veterans Affairs won’t initiate a study into the drug’s effects on post-traumatic stress disorder, VA Secretary David Shulkin wrote in a letter to House Democrats.
MILITARY TIMES — The military is only the first career stop for most service members. After serving honorably for 20 or so years, slipping into a pair of slacks, buttoning up a dress shirt and cinching up a tie every day becomes the norm. There are a lot of jobs that are well-suited for veterans. Some veterans decide to go back to school and become health care providers, educators, information technology experts or business leaders. Others stay connected to federal service by becoming government contractors or civil servants in career fields similar to what they did on active duty. And some become politicians.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR — On behalf of all Californians, Governor Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Staff Sgt. Eric C. Schenck, who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The governor and first lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time. In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol. Staff Sgt. Schenck’s family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.
SIERRA SUN TIMES — Veterans make great employees. Military service provides a wealth of experience and specialized training. It also reinforces soft skills, like being dependable, reporting to work on time and following instructions. But when it’s time to transition from the service to the workforce, how do you know which types of jobs might be a good fit for your particular skills? The State of California has made it easier, with a new online military skills translator tool. Just enter your military job title, select your branch of service and click search. It’s that simple.
KPCC — About 20 veterans kill themselves every day in the U.S. The VA says the annual veteran suicide rate in California is around 39 per 100,000 people. That’s significantly higher than the suicide rate for the state population as a whole: 14 per 100,000. Since taking the top job at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary David Shulkin has pledged to bring the number of veteran suicides down. President Trump helped boost this effort with an executive order signed last week. It guarantees one year of mental healthcare to all troops separating from the military.
CBS NEWS — Native American veterans will have a memorial at the National Mall, on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian. The memorial will acknowledge the military sacrifice of Native Americans, who served in the U.S. military at a higher per capita rate than any other ethnic group in the 20th century, the Washington Post reported. Native Americans have served since the Revolutionary War and currently, according to the Post, over 31,000 are on active duty, in addition to the 140,000 veterans who identify as Native Americans or Alaska Natives.
LAKE COUNTY NEWS — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced a major milestone, that 100 percent of its more than 1,000 medical facilities across the country now offer same-day services for urgent primary and mental health-care needs. Same-day services means a veteran with an urgent need for primary care and mental health-care receives services that may include: a face-to-face visit with a clinician; advice provided during a call with a nurse; a telehealth or video care visit; an appointment made with a specialist; or a prescription filled the same day, depending upon what best meets the needs of the veteran.