Newswatch

Take a look at the latest veteran news from California and beyond. 

THURSDAY

Long Walk to Barstow‘It won’t be long’: The ‘Long Walk’ for vets continues in Barstow

VVDAILYPRESS — The shouts of a U.S. Army cadence echoed from the Harvey House to the dark iron beams of the First Avenue Bridge. Soldiers were on the march along the streets of Barstow. … Outside the Veterans Home, more than three miles across town, the patient crowd of veterans, staff, police officers, local dignitaries and resident Barstonians was much larger. The masses cheered as the 11th marched down the home stretch along an American flag-festooned Veterans Parkway.

The VA actually spent money — and years — on a scientific study to tell us daily drinking is unhealthy

MILITARY TIMES — In 1664, Sir Isaac Newton ascertained that the force drawing objects toward each other was gravity, helping to elucidate why planets orbit around our solar system’s star. In 1823, Jan Evangelista Purkinje observed that fingerprints are unique to each individual and are left behind on items people touch, thus transforming the efficiency of law enforcement investigations. In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, drastically altering the medical landscape and how bacterial infections are treated. And in 2018, a groundbreaking scientific study by the Veterans Affairs Department revealed that daily alcohol use isn’t great for your health.

First female Marine students arrive at SOI-WRisk of dementia increased among female veterans with TBI, PTSD, depression

MEDICAL XPRESS — Female military veterans who have traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression long after their service may be more likely to later develop dementia than female veterans without those conditions, according to a study published in the December 12, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “Previous studies have shown that male veterans with these conditions may be at higher risk of dementia, but few studies have included female veterans,” said study author Kristine Yaffe, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Some schools punish GI Bill users for VA’s delays. Congress may be about to stop that.

REBOOT CAMP — The House of Representatives this week overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill that would protect student veterans from being penalized for late GI Bill payments, a move that advocates say could have helped avoid some of the chaos of the past semester. The bill now moves back to the Senate, which already passed a very similar version of the measure and is expected to consider the House bill in coming days. Senate passage — and President Donald Trump’s signature — would mean an end to the late fees, dropped classes and other punishments school sometimes impose on veterans as a result of Veterans Affairs Department processing delays. If schools don’t agree to the new rules, they won’t be allowed to keep enrolling students using the GI Bill.

cali-fire-relief.pngColorado nonprofit preparing to depart for California to help wildfire victims

CBS DENVER — Veterans in Colorado are packing donations that they will soon deliver to the victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. For five years, the nonprofit “Boots 66” has traveled all over the country, bringing supplies to people and places struck by disaster.

Tuskegee Airman aircraft technician dies at 100

WASHINGTON POST — A New York City man who served as an aircraft technician with the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen died Saturday at age 100. Police say a home health aide found Wilfred DeFour unconscious and unresponsive inside his Harlem apartment at about 9 a.m. DeFour was pronounced dead by Emergency Medical Service workers. Police say he appears to have died from natural causes but the medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy. DeFour was honored just last month at a ceremony to rename a Manhattan post office after the Tuskegee Airmen.

Team RubiconVolunteerism honored at Disabled American Veterans’ holiday party

VVDAILYPRESS.COM — Rev. Dr. James Steele was honored Monday for his volunteerism in the local community, but — in the spirit of that work — he used the spotlight to help others. To accompany the President’s Volunteer Service Award he received from the White House in March, Steele earned a certificate from San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood that recognized his “continued dedication and commitment to the Veterans and Seniors in our High Desert communities.” Lovingood couldn’t attend Monday’s ceremony — held during the Disabled American Veterans Bill Kinnard Chapter 92 holiday party — so Steele worked with Chapter 92 Commander Dan Floyd to tap San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs Director Frank Guevara for the event.

Military units to reunite for mental health support in new VA pilot to prevent suicide

MILITARY TIMES — Mental health professionals in the past have touted the benefits of veterans meeting with peers for counseling sessions to discuss trauma and prevent suicide. Now, Veterans Affairs officials are readying to take that idea one step further: Bringing whole military units back together for treatment. The Veterans Health Administration this week announced a new pilot program with the advocacy group The Independence Fund which will reunite troops who experienced some of the toughest combat conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan for group therapy sessions, with the hopes of using those common bonds to better work through individual post-military struggles.

Vietnam VetsWWII vet on mission to publicize dwindling number of vets

THE FRESNO BEE — A World War II veteran is on a mission to travel to all 50 states as part of an effort to raise awareness about the dwindling number of veterans from that war who are still alive. Sidney Walton, of San Diego, met Tuesday with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards at the Commander’s Palace restaurant. The 99-year-old Walton started his tour in March. As he visits each state, he’s been meeting with governors — 17 so far — and regular people. His son, Paul, who is traveling with him, says his dad always regretted missing an opportunity when he was younger to meet a group of the last surviving Civil War veterans.

Honorary service held for veteran

THE MADERA TRIBUNE — A flag-draped casket helped a Madera family welcome their loved one home from World War II. More than 200 people gathered to commemorate the life and death of Marine Corps. Pfc. Alva Jackson “Jack,” Cremean on Friday. The full military honor service occurred in The Arbor of Arbor Vitae Cemetery with a 21-gun salute, bagpiper and ceremonies officiated by Chaplain Lt. Janet Clarke, U.S. Navy, of Lemoore Naval Station. Earl Meyers provided the a capella singing of the Marine Corps anthem in honor of his service. Just prior to the service, a pair of vintage P17 Stearman bi-planes piloted by Bill Hoffrage and Tim Hawkins flew a salute over the cemetery.

Ribbons on trees tie in issues around campus

THE CALIFORNIA AGGIE — A big, perfect bow tied on a tree in the Quad flutters softly in the wind. It’s a vibrant purple and a small white card sits next to it, informing passersby about Domestic Violence Awareness month and the resources available to students at the The Women’s Resources and Research Center. Different organizations around campus can contact Grounds and Landscape Services to reserve a time to hang ribbons on the trees around the Quad to raise awareness about different issues and causes, explained the associate director of Grounds and Landscape Services Cary Avery. “The ribbons on the trees around the quad are organized by different campus departments/units depending on what the ribbon signifies,” said Memorial Union Director Janna Tolla.

I CareMiss the deadline to sign up for Tricare, dental or vision coverage? Now there’s a little more time

MILITARY TIMES — Did you miss the Dec. 10 deadline to sign up for dental and vision benefits for 2019 under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program? Did you miss the deadline to switch Tricare plans for 2019? You’ve been given a very short reprieve, as the deadlines have been extended. But sign up as soon as possible. The deadline to switch or enroll in Tricare plans has been extended to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Dec. 31.

Deported to Mexico, an Army veteran finally returns home in death

TASK AND PURPOSE — For nearly a decade, Carlos Jaime Torres dreamed of being allowed to return to the United States, the place he called home since he was an infant and the nation he served for four years during the Vietnam War. Since his 2010 deportation following a conviction on marijuana possession and delivery charges, Torres had lived in a small concrete home in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the border city of Reynosa, across the Rio Grande from McAllen. His cramped bedroom was decorated with photos from his time in the U.S. Army, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and a large black POW/MIA flag. He scraped by as a security guard, called his mother every morning at 8:30 and tried to avoid the violence that often erupted in the troubled city.

TUESDAY

Liberty VillageLINC Housing opens affordable housing community for veterans

AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE — LINC Housing’s new community in Beaumont, Calif., is prioritizing affordable housing with supportive services for veterans, many of whom had been formerly homeless. The nonprofit developer’s 38-unit Liberty Village is a vital resource for Riverside County, which has been committed to ending veterans homelessness over the past five years. In 2013, the county launched an initiative to find permanent housing for every homeless veteran. This initiative led to it becoming the nation’s first large county to reach “functional zero,” a federal benchmark for making permanent housing available for homeless veterans who seek assistance.

VA national cemeteries and scheduling office: Open on December 5th

VA NATIONAL CEMETERY ADMINISTRATION — President Donald J. Trump declared December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning in honor of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States who died November 30, 2018. While many federal government offices will be closed, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries and the National Cemetery Scheduling Office will be open. VA national cemeteries will conduct burial and committal services as scheduled on December 5, 2018.

USDVA‘To Care For Him’: Female veterans ask VA to include them in its motto

CAPITAL PUBLIC RADIO — On a recent chilly day in Manhattan, a group of veterans marched a dozen miles up the island — from the historic Fraunces Tavern to the spot where the first woman pensioned by the United States Army fired her cannon at British redcoats. Her name was Margaret Corbin — and now there’s a bill in Congress to name the Manhattan VA for her. It’s part of another movement, to change the motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs so that it reflects that women do — and have always — served in the armed forces.

VA blasts ‘misleading’ report on not reimbursing underpaid GI Bill students

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Department of Veterans Affairs is pushing back on a Wednesday NBC News report about how the agency said it would not reimburse veterans who were underpaid in delayed or incorrect GI Bill payments. “The NBC report is misleading and gives the false impression that some veterans on the GI Bill will not be made whole with respect to their housing payments based on an announcement VA made yesterday,” VA press secretary Curt Cashour told the Washington Examiner in an email on Thursday. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Vietnam VetsMore veterans are becoming obese. Are stressful military transitions to blame?

ARMY TIMES — The number of disabled veterans is rising. And so, too, is their weight. A new study, based on a survey of more than 33,000 post-9/11 service members and veterans, found that 51.7 percent of wounded warriors have a body mass index that qualifies them as obese — up from 48.6 percent two years ago. Of those, 6.2 percent are morbidly obese. Even more grim? The percentage of vets who are overweight in 2018 is nearly seven times greater than the percentage of those who are not, according to the study released today by Wounded Warrior Project and the nonprofit’s research partner, Westat.

Vets aren’t eating their veggies, study says

MILITARY TIMES — An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but veterans don’t seem to be buying the advice. A comprehensive Wounded Warrior Project survey of more than 33,000 veterans and service members, released today, shows a vast majority of vets aren’t eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day — and could be missing out on key health benefits as a result. “It’s widely recognized that a healthy eating plan is critical for good health and for mitigating the effects of chronic disease,” said Melanie Mousseau, metrics director for the Wounded Warrior Project.

SullySully, President Bush’s service dog, has new mission to serve wounded troops

MILITARY TIMES — Sully, the service dog that has been companion and helper to former President George H.W. Bush, now has a new mission to serve military service members. The Labrador retriever will join Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the late president’s son, former President George W. Bush, said in an Instagram post.

VA announces fully capable tele-counseling service within its Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program

LAKE COUNTY NEWS — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program announced the ability for Veterans nationwide to meet with more than 1,000 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors via “tele-counseling,” or virtual communication. Tele-counseling, which is accessible on any device with a webcam and microphone, increases VA’s responsiveness to veterans’ needs, reduces travel costs and time for both veterans and VRCs, and improves veterans’ access to necessary Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, or VR&E, services.

Ex-naval officer to open resale store for East Bay veterans, others

MERCURY NEWS — The poorly dressed older woman did not give her name, but when she came in on a recent rainy night to the yet-to-open Antioch New To You Vets Resale store, volunteers immediately gave her some new clothes and a fresh, dry blanket. The woman found a bright royal blue sequin dress and pulled it on over her clothes, smiling and swirling all around to admire her reflection in a store window. The dress made her feel pretty, and she danced about and sang to herself for a bit. But instead of going to a fancy dinner or dance, the rain-soaked woman walked away with her new clothes and clean blanket to find a dry place nearby to sleep for the night.

Women veteransVeteran turned Intuit executive officer offers insight into making a successful transition

TASK & PURPOSE — Some service members struggle when they first join the military as they try to adapt to the rules and requirements of the military culture. For Tina Muller, an Air Force veteran, the opposite was true: she grew up in a military family and knew nothing except military life. Muller joined ROTC because it felt like serving was the natural next step after college. But when illness led to a sudden medical discharge, she struggled with her transition as she realized she had no idea what people do for “regular jobs.” Her job search included a number of roles early on, specifically at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which was a major stepping stone to her role today as the Director of Program Management in Intuit’s Consumer Group.

One place to find post-active duty meaning: In the Guard or Reserves

TASK & PURPOSE — “I think us Reserve Component types (guardsman myself) may have a different take on purpose outside/after service because most of our lives are spent outside Big Army (Navy/Air Force/Marines) apart from federal deployments. I recently returned from my second go-around in Afghanistan (two-pump chump as some may say) and it has been a learning experience to witness some of my friends’ transition from a period where they exerted significant influence (as advisors and in the CJOC) back to the 8 to 6 grind.

homeStatus update: VA mortgages up 57 percent across Inland Empire

THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE — Home mortgage loans backed by the U.S. Veterans Administration have increased 42 percent in the last five years in California, with loan traffic in the Inland Empire outpacing the state’s growth, according to a statement from a financial company that provides these deals. Veterans United, which financed more than $10.2 billion in loans for veterans last year, reports that in the 2018 fiscal year, VA-backed loans have increased 42 percent in California in a five-year span. The increase was heavier in the Inland Empire, where the number of loans is up 57 percent over the period. Only the Modesto area, at 109 percent, and Sacramento, at 55 percent, were higher. The VA does not break down its volume of home loans by region. That statistical analysis was done by Veterans United, according to the company statement.

MONDAY

Student VetLawmakers and veterans to the VA: Shut up and pay up

TASK & PURPOSE — The VA has a message for veterans: We will absolutely make you whole again. “Each and every post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiary will be made 100 percent whole – retroactively if need be – for their housing benefits for this academic year based on Forever GI Bill rates, not on post-9/11 GI Bill rates,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement on Thursday, following sharp questions from lawmakers regarding late payments to veterans on everything from college tuition to housing payments.

11th annual Lake County Wreaths Across America event planned

LAKE COUNTY NEWS — Local organizers are once again planning and raising funds for the annual “Wreaths Across America” event this holiday season. National Wreaths Across America Day will take place this year on Saturday, Dec. 15. Each year, millions of Americans come together to remember the fallen, honor those that serve and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom.

military women on the front linesReview praises ‘Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan’

MILITARY TIMES — In “Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan,” former Army linguist and USA Today editor Eileen Rivers profiles three military women and two of their Afghan counterparts to showcase the development and significance of the U.S. military’s female engagement efforts in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2014. The book will please both casual readers and those seeking a deeper understanding of American efforts in Central Asia.

Preston Sharp visit to HawaiiCalifornia teen honors veterans nationwide

HOOKELE NEWS — It is early morning at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Preston Sharp plants a small American flag into the earth near a veteran’s grave, and thanks that veteran by name. “A veteran’s name not said out loud is that veteran forgotten,” Preston said. Members of the Pyramid Rock Young Marines, the Jeep I. Joe club, the Pacific Bowfin Submarine Veterans and other supporters joined Preston, 13, to place red carnations and American flags at the Punchbowl graves, Nov. 23.

100-year-old bugler Albert Madden, who played taps at countless military funerals, is laid to rest

STARS AND STRIPES — Albert Madden played taps countless times at military funerals during the past century. On Friday afternoon, the solemn melody was played for him during a funeral with full military honors and a three-volley salute at Massachusetts National Cemetery. Madden, 100, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, died at his Hyannis home on Sunday.

student veteran gardeningUCLA student veterans bring VA garden back to life

UCLA NEWSROOM — The first time UCLA student Nick Gunnett visited the Veterans Garden on the VA campus near the university, his friends had convinced him to tag along for a monthly get-together and garden cleanup. After a couple of hours gardening with veterans from both campuses, Gunnet was hooked. That was in spring. Now, the Navy veteran is one of the organizers.

Iraqi troops seek tattoos to cover their scars of war

MILITARY TIMES — The tattoos across Saad Khudeir’s body conceal the Iraqi soldier’s scars and reveal his unseen wounds. The face of his fiancee, who was killed in a car bomb blast near his Baghdad home in 2008, looks up from his right arm. Four years later, a suicide bomber rammed his army convoy in Fallujah, leaving burns across 70 percent of his body. He survived both bombings, but was left with gruesome scars.

Damaged carDrunk driving among veterans is up nearly 60 percent since 2014, study finds

MILITARY TIMES — Drunk driving and binge drinking among the American veteran population has spiked considerably in recent years, a recent study by the American Addiction Centers found. Observing behavioral risk factor data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the AAC took a closer look at the rising occurrence “of binge drinking among veterans, drunk driving incidents, and the emotional and physical trauma that could be leading to this substance misuse among” the military population, the authors wrote.

Free art programs in Roseville for female veterans

ROSEVILLE TODAY — With support from the California Arts Council, Blue Line Arts will partner with the Women Veterans Alliance to host a series of free art workshops for veterans. The women veterans’ community will be invited to explore emotions connected to their time in the service through the creation of ceramic masks. Expressive art therapist Gloria Rill will engage with participants during the workshops, which will be taught by ceramic artist Tony Natsoulas.

WEDNESDAY

Student Veteran GI Bill paymentVA delays Forever GI Bill housing stipend fix. Again.

REBOOT CAMP — After blowing through the initial deadline to bring its GI Bill housing stipends in line with the Forever GI Bill law, Veterans Affairs Department officials said Wednesday that they will not be able to implement the fix until December 2019. The big delay comes after months of technology hiccups that have plagued the agency, which failed to meet the original Aug. 1 deadline to put the changes in place. These problems have contributed to a large backlog of claims for veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend school this fall, and the agency has come under fire as thousands of student veterans have had to wait longer than usual for their tuition and housing payments.

VA announces new plan to fix GI Bill payment problems

STARS AND STRIPES — At a congressional hearing earlier this month, lawmakers pleaded with Department of Veterans Affairs officials to give them a date when a severe technology problem that caused payment delays and incorrect payments to thousands of student veterans would be fixed. On Wednesday, they gave one: Dec. 1, 2019.

Dr. Ann KVA researchers named most influential people in health care by TIME magazine

MILITARY TIMES — Dr. Ann McKee studies the effects of traumatic brain injuries as chief of neuropathology at the the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Boston. Tony Wyss-Coray uses mice to test his theories on aging and memory loss as a VA research scientist in northern California. The two doctors — one of medicine, the other of philosophy — have been named to TIME magazine’s 2018 Health Care 50 list, topping the charts along with 48 other major influential industry leaders.

Connecticut VA opens its doors to ‘bad paper’ veterans

NPR — For an estimated 500,000 veterans, being put out of the military with an other than honorable discharge is a source of shame and an obstacle to employment. “Bad paper,” in most cases, means no benefits or health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs — even when the problems that got them kicked out were linked to PTSD, traumatic brain injury or military sexual assault. But last month, Connecticut opened state VA resources to vets who can show that one of those conditions is linked to their discharge. For veterans like Thomas Burke, now a youth minister at Norfield Congregational Church, it’s part of a long path to recovery.

USDVA sealGAO to look into whether Mar-a-Lago trio inappropriately influenced VA

CNN — The Government Accountability Office will investigate whether individuals connected to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida have had inappropriate influence over the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a letter sent to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The GAO’s investigation comes after a ProPublica story in August raised questions about three people with ties to Mar-a-Lago, Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, Palm Beach-area doctor Bruce Moskowitz and attorney Marc Sherman — all private citizens with no official government roles — and whether they were affecting decisions at the department.

Report calls on government to track health problems in children of Gulf War, post-9/11 vets

STARS AND STRIPES — The National Academies of Sciences called on federal agencies Wednesday to launch a new, coordinated effort to monitor and research the health of Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans affected by toxic exposures, as well as track the health of their living and future children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The recommendation came in a new report from the Committee on Gulf War and Health, which was tasked by the Department of Veterans Affairs with reviewing existing scientific research on toxic exposures to find areas that need more study.

Three U.S. TroopsThree US troops killed, three others wounded in IED blast in Afghanistan

MILITARY TIMES — Three U.S. service members were killed and three more were wounded by an improvised explosive device Tuesday in Afghanistan, according to officials with the NATO mission to the country. One American contractor was also wounded when the IED detonated, officials said in a press release. The attack took place near Ghazni city, in the eastern Afghan province of the same name. The wounded service members and contractor were evacuated and are receiving medical care.

Congress should enhance reproductive health care for women veterans

THE HILL — The incoming 116th Congress will contain not only the highest ever number of women, but also a record number of women veterans. As they consider what issues to take on, expanding reproductive health care access for women veterans should be a priority: currently, women veterans do not receive equitable care on multiple fronts. Increasing their coverage goes beyond symbolic moves to change VA’s motto by providing tangible benefits.

Burn pits photoHundreds brave the cold to honor Vietnam veteran who died with few known family members

OMAHA WORLD HERALD — Hundreds of people stood in the chilly air of Omaha National Cemetery on Tuesday to honor a Vietnam veteran who died seemingly alone. A line of cars stretched from the cemetery along Highway 50 to Interstate 80 at 2 p.m. Tuesday, the scheduled start time for the interment. People in military fatigues, Vietnam veteran jackets and civilian attire packed the hillside, waiting in near silence to honor a 73-year-old veteran they did not know.

Congressional hearings sought into San Diego VA human research

KPBS — Rep. Scott Peters on Monday requested a congressional hearing into allegations of dangerous human research at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, as detailed in an inewsource investigation last week. If Peters’ request is granted, Congress will investigate the allegations of two whistleblowers — Martina Buck and Mario Chojkier — who said former San Diego VA division chief Dr. Samuel Ho performed unapproved liver research on alcoholic veterans without their consent, putting their lives at risk. They also alleged violations of privacy laws, abuse of authority and a “substantial and specific danger to public health” at the San Diego VA, according to a federal report sent this month to Congress and President Donald Trump.

Sailors, other vets deliver Thanksgiving meals

NEVADA APPEAL — Navy A02 Diedre Williams made this year’s volunteerism on Thanksgiving Day a family affair with her mother and sister who were visiting for the holidays from California. Williams, along with about 30 sailors from Naval Air Station Fallon and other veterans and residents, volunteered to package Thanksgiving meals and then deliver them to the county’s senior citizens as part of the Meals on Wheels program. Every year, American Legion Post 16 prepares about 116 holiday meals and then has volunteers deliver the meals within the city and to almost every part of the county.

Women Veterans (back)Addressing rising suicide rates among women veterans

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY — Earlier this morning, I came across a social media post addressing suicide among female military veterans that immediately captured my attention, and rightfully so. When I started sifting through the literature, it quickly became apparent that there is extraordinarily little in the way of research specifically addressing suicide among female military veterans, especially given that suicide rate among women veterans has increased far more dramatically than for male veterans.

TUESDAY

60-unit Windsor Veterans Village project gets $10M push into construction

NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL — Next year about this time, dozens of veterans who have been making progress away from homelessness will have a new place to live with their families, thanks to a $30 million project set to be built next year in Windsor. Newly announced $9.9 million in state money is propelling Windsor Veterans Village into construction, set to start in April. On completion, expect by late 2019, the project will have 60 one- and two-bedroom apartments in six residential buildings in a complex on the west side of the tracks. The project also will have a community room, service center and outdoor recreation space.

Tuskegee Airman‘One of a kind’: Tuskegee Airman receives Congressional Gold Medal

STARS AND STRIPES — More than seven years after her death, Artishia Mae Conaway Stephens finally has her Tuskegee Airman wings. And they are golden. Conaway Stephens — who served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and U.S. Air Force from 1945 to 1949 and died at 87 in 2011— posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest distinguished civilian award, during a luncheon ceremony Saturday at the CHEER Community Center.

Here’s how troops, veterans could be affected by the latest government shutdown threat

MILITARY TIMES — Lawmakers will face yet another threat of a partial government shutdown when they return to Capitol Hill next week, but this one carries much less significance for military families and veterans than many of the last showdowns. Both Republicans and Democrats have downplayed the possibility of a shutdown in recent days, saying they believe the two sides can agree on final details of seven still unresolved full-year spending deals for federal agencies. Before the mid-term elections, Congress extended their budgets until Dec. 7.

Yolo county VSOYolo County veterans services offices hosts veterans benefits presentation

THE CALIFORNIA AGGIE — In the spirit of Veterans Day, the Yolo County Veterans Services Offices hosted a veterans benefit presentation at the Davis Senior Center on Thursday, Nov. 8. This presentation provided information for Yolo County veterans on benefits sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a federal agency that provides compensation for disabilities resulting from military service. “The military recognizes that veterans will deal with disabilities from service for the rest of their lives,” said Salvador Torres, the veterans services officer for the Yolo County VSO. “We are trying to help the process of continuing veterans’ lives.” The Yolo County VSO is an office established by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. The VSO is committed to assisting veterans, their dependents and survivors in accessing benefits from the various agencies in the VA.

Community celebrates public lands at Juniper flats event

DAILY PRESS — Local veterans, their families and members of the High Desert community came together Nov. 3 at Juniper Flats to celebrate the gift of their local desert lands. The event participants came away both as graduates of a wilderness survival course, and as advocates on the issues affecting public lands in the California desert. The event, hosted by Vet Voice Foundation, in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association and Friends of Juniper Flats, included a hike to the Arrastre Canyon Waterfall in Juniper Flats. There, the hikers explored the extraordinary rock formations and deep water-filled canyons that make up these 50,000 acres of public land.

Dogs helping vetsCarbondale group pairs veterans with PTSD service dogs

WSIL TV — Veterans from around the country came to southern Illinois on Monday to meet their new Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) service dogs. … One participant is California resident, Carissa Rawson, who served in the Air Force for seven years and was deployed to Jordan for six months. She looked into service dog programs after talking with her therapist and has been paired up with Britt.

Irvine veterans cemetery plans moving forward with great park golf course site under consideration

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER — Discussions about building a veterans cemetery in Irvine are ramping up again, this time focused on land planned for a golf course in the Great Park in addition to the original site considered on the park’s northern border. Whichever location city officials choose, a cemetery likely wouldn’t be open until 2025 – the original site would require a clean-up project and a design would need to be drafted for the golf course property, according to city reports. And more funding would be needed.

Community celebrates public lands at Juniper Flats event

VICTORVILLE DAILY PRESS — Local veterans, their families and members of the High Desert community came together Nov. 3 at Juniper Flats to celebrate the gift of their local desert lands. The event participants came away both as graduates of a wilderness survival course, and as advocates on the issues affecting public lands in the California desert.

MONDAY

We became warriors again: Why World War I was a surprisingly pivotal moment for American Indian history

TIME — When Congress in 2008 declared the Friday after Thanksgiving to be Native American Heritage Day, the resolution made only passing mention of why that timing made sense. It would “underscore the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Native American governments,” presumably due to the longstanding national myth of a first Thanksgiving marked by a peaceful alliance between European colonists and American Indians.

Wildfire firemenUnique firefighting crew has common trait: Military service

THE SEATTLE TIMES — After being in firefights in Afghanistan and Iraq, members of one of America’s newest elite wildfire crews are tasked with fighting fires in rugged country back home. On the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s only hotshot crew focused on recruiting veterans, members have traded assault rifles and other weapons of war for chain saws and shovels. But, like in the military, they have camaraderie, structure and chain of command. And the occasional adrenaline rush.

Help available for more than 400 veterans among the Camp Fire evacuees

ENTERPRISE-RECORD — Days after the Camp Fire slammed the Paradise ridge, it was Veterans Day. Hundreds of veterans felt slammed again. Being a pleasant retirement community, Paradise and elsewhere on the ridge attracted those looking for a simpler and quieter lifestyle. Prices were a little cheaper; life a little slower. There were at least 440 veterans who lived in the area ordered evacuated, according to Will Martin, public affairs officer for the Veterans Administration Northern California Health Care System.

Veterans saluteVSO news: Full-time office assistant joins the team

RED BLUFF DAILY NEWS — The Tehama County Veteran Service Office would like to notify our veterans that our Red Bluff Office will now be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Recently, the Tehama County Board of Supervisors approved a full-time office assistant position in order to provide greater availability of services to our veterans in Tehama County. After a lengthy hiring process, Kersti Hemming was selected for the position. Hemming has been working part-time in the Veteran Service Office since September 2016 and we look forward to her full-time service helping veterans. We would also like to sincerely thank the Tehama County Board of Supervisors for their support of Tehama County Veteran Services.

After the military, I found meaning in volunteering – not in my job

TASK & PURPOSE — “My primary occupation is in the federal government as a civil servant, so in a way that keeps me in the fold, but one that may not connect with most who have found work elsewhere outside government employment. What really has helped was volunteerism. When my two sons were of age I was an Assistant Scoutmaster, and after that a full Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts. With it brought structure, a purpose, and a sense of higher calling. After that, I volunteered on one of my church’s committees, and currently work as a hunter safety instructor for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

THURSDAY

Pearl Harbor Survivor Ray ChavezSan Diego veteran who was nation’s oldest Pearl Harbor survivor has died at 106

SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE — Ray Chavez, the nation’s oldest surviving veteran of the attack on Pearl Harbor, died Wednesday at the age of 106. Kathleen Chavez, who had been her father’s live-in caregiver for more than 20 years, said he passed away peacefully in his sleep between 3 and 6 a.m. Wednesday. His health had declined in recent months and he was on hospice care when he passed. Memorial services are pending. Kathleen said her father wished to be buried at Miramar National Cemetery.

VA picks developer to put 900 homes for veterans on West LA campus

LA CURBED — West L.A. Veterans Collective has been selected to undertake a long-awaited revamp of the sprawling Veterans Affairs campus in West Los Angeles. The collective will build at least 900 of the 1,200 supportive housing units that the VA has agreed to put on the 400-acre campus along Wilshire Boulevard. “We look forward to breaking ground on what will be the largest housing facility for homeless and low-income veterans in America,” says U.S. Vets president and CEO Stephen Peck. The collective is a partnership among Century Housing Corporation, U.S. Vets, and Thomas Safran and Associates.

VA’s Benefits Delivery at Discharge program improves service to veterans

LAKE COUNTY NEWS — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Benefits Delivery at Discharge, or BDD, program has made significant improvements in disability claim processing over the past year, with most service members who submitted claims through the program receiving decisions within 30 days of discharge. BDD allows service members to file a claim for disability between 90 and 180 days prior to discharge from active duty, which provides time for paperwork review and medical exams prior to leaving. “This is an important program for our service members as they transition to Veteran status,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The faster we can connect our Veterans with the benefits they deserve, the smoother their transition.”

VA Secretary and CIOConfirmation of new Veterans Affairs CIO takes new urgency in light of recent GI Bill benefits problems

MILITARY TIMES — A key remaining piece of business for the Senate in the final weeks of the 115th Congress will be confirming a new head of technology issues for Veterans Affairs, a post that has come under greater scrutiny with the ongoing problems processing GI Bill benefits this fall. A vote on the nomination of James Paul Gfrerer, picked to be the next chief information officer for the department, could come as early as next week, when the Senate returns from Thanksgiving break.

Veterans will play key role in House Democratic leadership race

MILITARY TIMES — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s bid to retake the role of speaker of the House could hinge on Democrats’ newly strengthened veterans membership. On Monday, nine incumbent Democratic House members who served in the military released a letter backing Pelosi’s bid to lead the chamber at the start of the next Congress, pointing to her past advocacy work on issues like expansion of GI Bill benefits, veterans transition assistance programs and anti-terrorism legislation.

iPhone healthVets would be able to have their health records on their iPhones

NEXTGOV — Veterans Affairs Department officials are working with Apple to build software that gives vets easier access to their electronic health records, the Wall Street Journal reported. Under the program, the tech giant would create a tool that allows vets to download health records directly to their iPhones, according to a report published Tuesday. Ultimately, vets would link those records to other apps that track prescriptions and provide different health-related services, agency officials told the Journal.

Cleveland APL urges end to ‘painful’ dog experiments at Cleveland VA Medical Center

FOX 8 CLEVELAND — Animal advocates say they are working to shed light on a controversial and often deadly form of dog experimentation and testing conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs. “There’s a national advocacy group that got in touch with us and indicated that our local VA was conducting painful experiments on dogs; which involved planting electrodes in their spinal cords, severing their spinal cord, conducting research and then killing them,” said Sharon Harvey, the President and CEO of the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Vietnam VetsVeterans memorial district honors local military

CALAVERAS ENTERPRISE — The Ebbetts Pass Veterans Memorial District is a special district formed in the 1950s under the provisions of the military veterans code of the state of California. The purpose of the district is to honor those who have honorably served in any of the five branches of the U.S. military. The district’s board of directors consists of five members, who are all veterans. The directors serve without compensation and meet monthly at the veteran’s hall in Murphys.

Holiday gift idea: A&W launches centennial book to benefit disabled vets

AP NEWS — Just in time for Cyber Monday and holiday gift giving, A&W Restaurants continues its long tradition of supporting America’s veterans with a new book commemorating its approaching centennial. Entitled “100 Years of A&W Restaurants,” the 150-page, coffee table book is a compilation of memories and photos submitted by the brand’s fans and former employees, as well as dozens of historical images. The book is now on sale at www.awmerchandise.com for $24.95. All profits will be donated to Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

Trinidad3.jpgTrinidad3: Serving the Marines and premium denim

CALIFORNIA APPAREL NEWS — Fashion designer Trinidad Garcia III, a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, believes military-inspired fashion gets it all wrong. Those insignias in fashion, even camouflage patterns and fabrics, don’t have an authentic look. That is why Garcia set out to correct that with his independent denim line Trinidad3—a collection he launched in 2017 with a crisp military style.

TUESDAY

Va nursing home ratings.PNG‘Nothing short of horrifying:’ Veterans’ groups demand fixes at VA nursing homes

USA TODAY — Six veterans’ groups are calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve the quality of care at its nursing homes following a story by USA TODAY and The Boston Globe detailing “blatant disregard for veteran safety” at a VA nursing home in Massachusetts. “Anybody who respects veterans should be angered by this,” American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad said. “America’s veterans deserve better.”

Veterans Affairs unexpectedly canceled overtime work to address GI Bill claim backlog

NBC NEWS — Less than two days after a House committee demanded answers on why computer problems were delaying veterans’ GI Bill payments, the Veterans Benefits Administration unexpectedly canceled its weekend work at three regional processing centers at the last minute on Saturday morning. A VA spokesman said a system update stymied the agency’s attempts to work on its backlog of benefit claims, putting a halt to the mandatory overtime ordered to address the problem. NBC News previously reported that computer problems have caused GI Bill benefit payments that cover education and housing to be delayed or made incorrectly, forcing some veterans to face dire financial circumstances.

Medical appointmentsNew research could lead to disability benefits for Vietnam veterans with high blood pressure

MILITARY TIMES — New research linking veterans’ high blood pressure with wartime exposure to chemical defoliants could dramatically expand federal disability benefits for tens of thousands of Vietnam-era troops. The findings, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, conclude that “sufficient evidence” exists linking hypertension and related illnesses in veterans to Agent Orange and other defoliants used in Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Enzi presses Veterans Affairs for answers

BASINS RADIO — After recent reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) information technology (IT) systems have prevented thousands of veterans from receiving their full GI Bill benefits, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) pressed the agency on what actions it was taking to address this significant problem.  Since August 1, hundreds of thousands of veterans have either not received their monthly housing allowance for the fall 2018 semester or received an incorrect amount. “These problems have forced our veterans to go without money to pay for basic necessities like food and rent, with some facing potential eviction or the prospect of getting kicked out of school,” said Enzi.  “They deserve better.”

Veteran on a phoneSenate Budget Committee also has some questions about those VA software issues

FED SCOOP — The Department of Veterans Affairs is now facing tough questions from the Senate Budget Committee about a software glitch that’s causing delays in GI Bill benefits payments. Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Friday in which he demands answers to questions on how much money the VA has spent to fix the IT issue and when the problem will, finally, be solved.

Charlie Crist doubles down on medical cannabis protections for veterans

FLORIDA POLITICS — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist co-sponsored legislation aimed at reforming Veterans Affairs medical cannabis policies and practices. Crist introduced the legislation last week with U.S. Reps. Seth Moulton, Matt Gaetz, and Lou Correa to coincide with Veterans Day. The Department of Veterans Affairs Policy for Medical Cannabis Use Act amends the VA’s policy to protect a veteran’s benefits if they disclose the use of the controlled substance.

Camp Fire updates – some evacuations lifted

ANEWSCAFE.COM — The latest updates on the Camp Fire, with additional news  as it becomes available.

California wildfires: concern over rain in search efforts

BBC NEWS — Firefighters say rains will aid efforts to contain the blaze but will also turn ash on the ground into a thick sludge. Workers combing through homes and cars will struggle in the mud, and scorched landscapes may see land and mudslides, state wildfire officials warn. Recent wildfires across the state have so far claimed a total of 80 lives.

FEMA DRCFEMA local assistance center opens to begin recovery process

ENTERPRISE-RECORD — Fire survivors looking to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and access other local services to begin their recovery process waited in a long line that started to wrap around the Sears building at the Chico Mall hours before the new Local Assistance Center opened its doors on Friday at 9 a.m. The newly-opened center is a one-stop shop for those looking to access all federal, state and county agencies in one fell swoop. The center expects to be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day until further notice, FEMA officials said.

Finding meaning after the military: Sorting out my PTSD led me to a Ph.D.

TASK & PURPOSE — “Within twenty-four hours of my return from Iraq, a team consisting of therapists, medical professionals, and a chaplain diagnosed me with PTSD. Through a series of bumbles, bureaucratic nightmares, and disinterested VA physicians, I never received treatment for my trauma from the military. I am lucky, though, for I found other means of treatment and support outside of the VA system. In the fall of 2007 I returned to college as an English major. Literature and fiction became a much-needed source of distraction from internal struggles. But the mental demons found me and instead of a divorce from reality I found work with meaning in the field of history.

Pride vetsThis group speaks for the forgotten vets that ‘nobody hears’

MILITARY TIMES — It was one thing to hear members of her veterans organization use offensive language during casual conversations at the local post. But after former American Legion post commander Lindsay Church hosted a leadership meeting at her home in Seattle and heard racial slurs used offhand and in official meeting notes, she decided enough was enough. She resigned her position and in fall 2017 went on to co-found a new group for veterans like her … . Minority Veterans of America, a new national nonprofit headquartered in Seattle, provides a safe, inclusive environment for all former service members, with a specific focus on giving a voice to LGBTQ veterans, veterans of color, religious minorities and women veterans.

Woodburn firefighters recover veteran’s medals from ashes of home in Paradise, California

KVAL — Rob Martell of California thanked firefighters from Woodburn for helping recover his father-in-law’s military medals from his burned-up home. “Taking even five minutes out of your life to help was immensely helpful in our family in the healing process,” Martell told a KATU reporter on Monday. He said the medals meant a lot to his family.

Army VetA brother pays tribute to his older brother at Fresno Veterans Day Parade

VIDA EN EL VALLE — Somewhere inside the country’s largest Veterans Day Parade, a U.S. Army veteran paid tribute to his older brother. José Solorio wasn’t on the grandstands where former Miss Fresno County Valerie Salcedo flawlessly performed a couple of patriotic songs. … Instead, the 71-year-old Solorio walked on the sidewalk with a portrait of Pascual Solorio hung around his neck. It was one brother’s tribute to an older brother who returned from war in Korea and Vietnam not quite the same.

MONDAY

Lawmakers grill VA over GI Bill ‘debacle’

MILITARY TIMES — Nearly four months after the Veterans Affairs Department was supposed to have changed the way it calculates Post-9/11 GI Bill housing stipends, students are still getting the wrong amount each month ― and there’s still no end in sight. At a tense hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, in which members of Congress described the situation as “unacceptable,” a “massive failure” and “debacle,” VA officials were unable to tell lawmakers when they believe the necessary software updates will be complete, though they admitted they’re planning as if they will not be ready in time for the spring semester. These updates were supposed to have launched by Aug. 1 under the new Forever GI Bill law, yet the VA has run into major technical challenges and is still paying student veterans under old rules.

Cole WagenaarVA mobile centers open for vets affected by wildfires

RADIO.COM — The VA Northern California Health Care System has opened clinics in the towns of Chico and Yuba City to help any veterans impacted by the Camp Fire. Mobile Vet Centers are in full operation, including nurses, social workers and pharmacists.  The Chico VA Clinic is also offering telehealth services – online doctor appointments – which you can access through a smartphone, tablet or computer if you can’t get to the clinic itself.

Two House lawmakers launch new effort to make VA motto gender inclusive

STARS AND STRIPES — A pair of House lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to alter the Department of Veterans Affairs motto to be more inclusive of veterans’ families and women who have served. The VA motto, which has been the same for nearly 60 years, is a quote from President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address in 1865: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” Reps. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., and Brian Mast, R-Fla., want to change the motto to read: “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those ‘who shall have borne the battle’ and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

Marine Vet Thousand OaksWhy the link between veterans and mass shootings is more complicated than you think

ABC NEWS — The murder of 12 people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, earlier this month is the latest example of a veteran perpetrating a mass shooting, adding another complicated addition to a growing list of incidents of gun violence in the U.S. Some see the discussion of veteran-involved shootings as promulgating of an inaccurate narrative that service members are prone to violence when they come home from war.

Meditation helps vets with post-traumatic stress disorder: Study

NBC LOS ANGELES — Meditation worked as well as traditional therapy for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder in a small experiment sponsored by the Department of Defense. One method preferred by the Department of Veterans Affairs is exposure therapy, but it doesn’t work for everyone and many can’t handle what it requires: purposely recalling traumatic events and confronting emotions. Meditation could be a better choice for some, the researchers said.

Trump and PerlmutterWhat the state of the VA tells us about Trump’s war on welfare

NEW YORK MAGAZINE — Donald Trump did not go to Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. He was “extremely busy,” he told reporters in a press call on Friday. But his conscience does not appear to trouble him. During a recent visit to the Marine barracks in Washington, he even congratulated himself for his commitment to veterans. “The fact is I’ve done a lot,“ he said. But as is often the case, reality does not exactly comport with Trump’s version of events. The president hasn’t accomplished much for veterans, as a burgeoning scandal within the Department of Veterans Affairs demonstrates.

Cherokee nation honors US Navy and Marine veterans in November

CHEROKEE.ORG — The Cherokee Nation honored three military veterans with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism during the November Tribal Council meeting. Billie Napolitano, 74, of Grove; John Steele, 71, of Claremore; and Jack Highers Jr., 61, of Muskogee, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.

MilitaryVeterans to get some extra perks at local community colleges

THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE — Two grants will allow the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District to expand services and outreach to the schools’ nearly 1,700 veterans and their dependents. Both Grossmont and Cuyamaca have each secured $200,000 in state grants from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to help vets. In addition, both colleges have plans in place to nearly triple the size of their veterans resource centers.

San Joaquin County making progress on housing homeless veterans

RECORDNET.COM — Like virtually every place else in California, the streets and shelters of Stockton and San Joaquin County are populated, in part, by homeless military veterans. But Thursday afternoon, officials gathered in a south Stockton gymnasium to discuss, if not celebrate, a sliver of success in the ongoing struggle to ensure that all of the men and women who served the United States have places to live. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, San Joaquin County’s homeless veteran population decreased 12 percent in the past year. By comparison, the decrease in the United States and California in the past year was only 5 percent.

Flag inside backpackVeteran’s American flag still stands after California wildfire destroys home

CBS AUSTIN — Last Thursday, Chase Bowden made a decision he never thought he would have to make. The Army Combat Veteran and his family left their home and all possessions to escape the raging Camp Fire in Magalia, California. “We made the decision we just had to get out of there. We started driving through people’s yards, driving the wrong way on the street…whatever it took to get out of there,” says Bowden.

San Bernardino Valley College receives $200,000 grant to support student veterans

INLAND EMPIRE COMMUNITY NEWS — San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) has been named the recipient of a Veterans Resource Center Grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. The grant provides just under $200,000 to enhance and expand services of the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) by allowing SBVC to purchase a new, ADA-friendly mobile cart, laptops and wireless access points, update the center’s front-line check-in area and replace worn flags, banners and emblems. “The Veterans Resource Center at San Bernardino Valley College serves as a valuable resource and service hub for our student veterans and their families,” said SBVC President Diana Z. Rodriguez. “Being awarded this grant from the Chancellor’s Office will allow us to make necessary upgrades to our facility and better support our veterans as they strive for success.”

More than 500 veterans receive services at annual ‘Stand Down’ event

LOMPOC RECORD — A total of 530 veterans received a wide range of services — from medical and dental care, to clothing and food, to haircuts and counseling — during the seventh annual Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down. The one-day event, held at the Santa Maria Fairpark on Oct. 20, included providers that offered more than 120 services, according to organizers.

Veterans from Pacific AreaAnnual stand down offers numerous services to veterans

LAKE COUNTY NEWS — The United Veterans Council of Lake County and the VetConnect/Stand Down committee, or VetConnect, would like to give a huge thank you to the service providers and volunteers that made the 2018 Lake/Mendocino County Veteran Resource Fair and Homeless Veteran Stand Down successful.  Over the two days, 163 veterans signed in to receive services, 52 of which were homeless or at risk of homelessness. The One Justice Legal team gave free estate planning to 15 veteran and Lake County Transit provided free bus fare to 25 veterans that would not have been able to attend otherwise.

Veterans honored in solemn ceremonies at Memorial Stadium

UC BERKELEY — UC Berkeley honored and celebrated its veterans Thursday with ceremonies at California Memorial Stadium — an event that was moved indoors because of the smoky air blanketing the Bay Area. Buglers played taps and Chancellor Carol Christ spoke, along with three other speakers who are in active service or are veterans: Scott Shackleton, assistant dean in the College of Engineering, Richard Rhodes, associate dean of undergraduate studies and associate professor of linguistics; and Patrice Wilson, a student in social welfare.

Searching for signs of insurgents in Lutafiyah

Meaning after the military will find you when you least expect it

TASK & PURPOSE — “It has been over 25 years since I left the Army. Plenty of time to have felt the emptiness, to have tried to find meaning in my job, and then, years later, to have found meaning once I stopped looking for it. My journey lasted about a decade. I did not find meaning in college, although I tried twice. I thought politics might bring it back, but interning for a Senator only made the emptiness greater. Living abroad three times, over the decade, did not give me meaning, but did result in hitting financial rock bottom while struggling with culture shock.

Veteran comes to aid of injured motorcyclist on Veteran’s Day

ABC EYEWITNESS NEWS — A veteran re-proved his hero status on Veteran’s Day when he saved a motorcyclist who was hit by a car in front of his home. The accident was all captured on home security video: A car making a left turn collided with a motorcyclist, sending him cartwheeling through the air and causing his shoes to fly off. He landed smack dab in front of George Ramirez’s home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of North Hills.

WEDNESDAY

Vietnam Women VeteransVietnam War nurses celebrate 25 years of representation on National Mall

STARS AND STRIPES — Dozens of former Army nurses from across the country gathered Sunday around the bronze sculpture dedicated to their service in the Vietnam War. While encircling the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, some of the women flipped through old photos from Vietnam or began to cry while remembering servicemembers they treated there. Most of them draped their arms around each other, smiled and snapped photos.

Female veterans honored by American Red Cross

Localdvm.com — According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, nearly 10 percent of all American veterans are female. But those veterans don’t always get the recognition they deserve. That’s why the American Red Cross’ Virginia Region chose to honor female veterans at the Winchester National Cemetery Monday morning.

Purina and vetsHow to create a VA that works for veterans

MILITARY.COM — The veteran population is changing, and rapidly. Almost a quarter of all veterans are now minorities and nearly one in ten veterans is a woman. These demographics reflect just some of the changes that the increasing diversity of military service members present, and underscore the need for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to adapt to these changes through the services it provides to our veterans.

Wilkie says Congress won’t go along with VA budget cuts

FEDERAL NEWS NETWORK — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said he’s not concerned about the president’s request to cut all agencies’ budgets by 5 percent next year. Speaking to the National Press Club on Friday, Wilkie said he thinks members of Congress will remember VA’s mission and will decide to increase the agency’s budget, not cut it. He conceded he has been “asked to offer ideas” on reductions, but declined to discuss what those ideas might look like, noting that he has yet to share them with the president. Congress allocated $209 billion to VA in fiscal 2019, a 6 percent increase over the previous year.

TrumpVA under pressure to deliver Trump reforms

THEHILL.COM —  law overhauling how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) allows patients to seek outside care is falling behind in implementation despite President Trump’s boasts about the reforms. Trump has long touted the law, which makes it easier for veterans to access private or community health-care programs, as essential to improving the beleaguered agency.

Veterans not receiving GI Bill benefits due to ongoing IT Issues at VA

NBCSANDIEGO — The Department of Veterans Affairs is suffering from a series of information technology glitches that has caused GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed or, in some cases, never delivered, NBC News reported. “I’m about to lose everything that I own and become homeless,” said Shelley Roundtree, a U.S. Army veteran and student at Berkeley College in New York. “I don’t want to be that veteran on the street begging for change because I haven’t received what I was promised.”

VA to ban medical professionals from union activities at work

STARS AND STRIPES — More than 400 medical professionals with the Department of Veterans Affairs will no longer be allowed to perform union activities during work hours starting Thursday. The order, issued by the VA last week, ends “official time” status for 430 employees and bars another 100,000 employees from getting involved in union activities during working hours. It applies to all physicians, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, optometrists, registered nurses and physician assistants.

Vietnam VeteransA camp for military veterans in Big Bear offers healing and friendship

KPCC — Wounds caused by military service can stay with troops long after they leave the armed forces. In the great outdoors of Big Bear, CA, veterans from different generations and backgrounds found healing at a camp organized by the non-profit Higher Ground.

California attorney general recovers nearly $8.8 million against corrupt operators of sham charity for wounded veterans

SIERRA SUN TIMES — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Tuesday a jury verdict in favor of the State against individuals who fraudulently solicited xavier becerra california attorney generalcharitable donations under the pretext of assisting wounded veterans and their families and instead illegally enriched themselves with the donated funds. In April 2017, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit alleging that the operators committed fraud against California donors.  Following trial, the jury awarded nearly $8.8 million to the state against defendants Matthew G. Gregory and spouse Danella J. Gregory, their adult children Matthew J. Gregory and Gina D. Gregory, and their business Gregory Motorsports.

TUESDAY

Secretary Wilkie White House Press BriefingVA secretary has begun planning budget cuts requested by Trump

STARS AND STRIPES — Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said Friday that he has begun forming a plan to cut the agency’s budget as President Donald Trump requested during a Cabinet meeting last month. But Wilkie refused to go into specifics about his thoughts on reducing the VA’s budget, saying he had yet to share them with Trump. “I have been asked to offer ideas,” Wilkie said during a lunch-time speech at the National Press Club. “I can’t tell you because I haven’t presented it to the president.”

$18 million for Inland Empire veteran housing developments

INLAND EMPIRE — This Veterans Day, we honor the men and women who fought hard for our country. They should not have to fight another battle for an affordable place to live when they return home. California is home to nearly 1.8 million veterans. More than 11,000 of these vets experience homelessness on any given night, representing almost 30 percent of the nation’s homeless veterans – the highest in the United States.

Homeless veteran - will work for foodState gives $2.4M to fund Napa housing project

NORTHBAY BUSINESS JOURNAL — A plan to build housing targeted for veterans in Napa has received $2.4 million in funding. The state Housing and Community Development department identified Manzanita Family Apartments in Napa as among recipients in a round of $74.7 million in funds distributed. The project, being developed by Berkeley-based Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, is the only North Bay proposal to receive the state funding.

Trump rankles veterans with comments about PTSD and California shooter

THE WASHINGTON POST — Some veterans and mental-health advocates bristled at President Trump’s comments regarding the Thousand Oaks shooter and post-traumatic stress disorder, saying such broad-based remarks risked fueling inaccurate stereotypes about the condition and Americans who have served in combat. Trump began speculating about PTSD on Friday morning when asked about the shooting, in which authorities say 28-year-old Marine veteran Ian David Long opened fire at a country-music bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and killed 12 people. Officers found Long inside an office in the bar, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Trump.PNGTrump says California shooting highlights need to treat veterans with PTSD

TASK & PURPOSE — President Donald Trump has linked the recent mass shooting in California with the need to treat combat veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress. Ex-Marine Ian David Long has reportedly been identified as the gunman who is responsible for the deaths of 12 people in Thousand Oaks California, including Marine veteran Dan Manrique and Navy veteran Telemachus Orfanos.

Don’t let California shooting stigmatize veterans with PTSD

CALLER TIMES — It’s happened again. Another mass shooting, this time in a California bar, takes 13 innocent lives. It’s a heinous act that should have never happened. As the nation grieves for those we lost and does what we can to comfort the loved ones of the victims, we are left trying to put the pieces together and figure out why this happened. What caused the shooter, Ian David Long, to snap, open fire and kill so many people? As we are learning more, we have since found out that Long was a veteran who may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, police confirmed he was an ex-Marine with a history of problems with the law.

depression-suicideSuicide rate for young veterans continues to increase across the country

FOX59 — As the nation paused to honor Veterans Day, a spotlight once again highlighted the rate of veteran suicides nationwide, an issue the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs calls its top priority. A recent report issued by the VA, which analyzed veteran suicide data in all 50 states, found while the total number of veteran suicides slightly decreased from 2015 to 2016, the suicide rate among veterans between the ages of 18 to 34 “increased substantially.”

Backlash over VA secretary’s plan to reauthorize dog experiments

ABC8NEWS — Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie’s decision to rejects calls to end canine research at the Department of Veterans Affairs is drawing a backlash. 8News first reported the new development Friday. “The previous management authorized it. I will reauthorize it,” said Wilkie at a National Press Club event in Washington, DC. The VA Secretary says the VA only has 92 dogs involved in the deadly studies while thousands of dogs are euthanized in the U.S. every day. “My charge is to make life better for those who have borne the battle,” says Wilkie.

New HBO documentary puts a much-needed face to complex veteran struggles with PTSD

MILITARY TIMES — “When I first got back home from Afghanistan, my dad was like, ‘Hey, if you ever want to talk, we’re here for you,'” retired Marine Joe Merritt says in “We Are Not Done Yet,” a new HBO documentary produced by actor Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld,” “Casino Royale,” “Boardwalk Empire”) and directed by Sareen Hairabedian. “But it never made sense to be like, ‘Hey dad, I watched people burn to death. Also, can you pass the mashed potatoes?’ Like, how do I start this conversation?”

Peter O'Rourke picCritics pile on after Trump cancels visit to U.S. military cemetery outside Paris, citing weather

THE WASHINGTON POST — President Trump flew 3,800 miles to this French capital city for ceremonies to honor the military sacrifice in World War I, hoping to take part in the kind of powerful ode to the bravery of the armed forces that he was unable to hold in Washington. But on his first full day here, it rained on his substitute parade weekend. Early Saturday, the White House announced Trump and the first lady had scuttled plans, due to bad weather, for their first stop in the weekend’s remembrance activities — a visit to the solemn Aisne Marne American Cemetery, marking the ferocious Battle of Belleau Wood.

99th Fresno Veterans Day parade, largest in the country

ABC30 ACTION NEWS — The country’s biggest Veterans Day parade took to the streets of downtown Fresno Monday morning. Central Valley veterans got a starring role in the 99th annual Fresno parade honoring veterans. The Air Force got top billing this year, and they embraced the crowd all the way along the route. “You know, everybody comes out to support the veterans. they’re waving flags and they’re taking pictures. We just enjoy it. It’s just very much a lot of fun,” said Air Force National Guard Jerry Gragg.

Student VetConnecting veterans to resources through the library

LOS BANOS ENTERPRISE — It’s been two years since the Los Banos Library’s Veterans Resource Center opened, and all of us at Merced County Library cannot help but reflect on what a privilege it’s been to assist 135-plus servicemen and women! “Libraries are safe spaces where people care and want to provide assistance,” said County Librarian Amy Taylor. “Helping veterans navigate the internet to apply for benefits is a natural fit with the services and mission of Merced County Library.”

Veterans Day: From soldiers to scholars, vets seek next challenge in higher education

DESERT SUN — Tim Castro joined the Marine Corps in 2001, a year after he graduated from Cathedral City High School. After enlisting, he was stationed in bases from San Diego to Japan, Hawaii and then to Texas, where he trained to be a firefighter. He graduated from his firefighter training on Sept. 10, 2001, and spent the next three months working in search and rescue in New York City. Castro, whose charisma and positive outlook was showcased in a graduation speech at Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus in June, described these months as “difficult.” He remembers “the depression in the air, the smoke and the crying.” “That made me realize I didn’t want to see that everyday,” Castro said. From there, he pivoted towards business. But before he could become a leader in the civilian world, he would need an education.

Bad air quality from Camp fire’s smoke forces events in Sacramento to scrap plans

SACRAMENTO BEE — In East Sacramento, youth soccer was called off and outdoor cafes sat empty. Sacramento State canceled its Saturday night football game. Sunday’s Veteran’s Day parade in Sacramento is canceled. Although the Camp Fire started in Paradise – a town roughly 80 miles north of Sacramento – wind has blown smoke and a reddish din into the region, causing air quality to reach dangerous levels for everyone. The Air Quality Index for Sacramento was in the very unhealthy range at 3 p.m. on Saturday, which means there are significant pollutants in the air, according to the Spare The Air website. Everyone should avoid prolonged heavy outdoor exertion.

TOPSHOT-US-FIRE-CALIFORNIACamp fire smoke-related cancellations: Parades, half marathon, park activities

THE MERCURY NEWS — As smoke from the Camp Fire burning near Paradise in Northern California continued to plume, events and activities large and small around the region were canceled Sunday due to poor air quality. … In Antioch, a community luncheon celebration of veterans was scheduled to go on as planned. The Monterey Bay Half Marathon set for Sunday, which snakes through historic areas of the city and courses along the Pacific Grove shoreline, also was canceled due to air quality issues.

Vietnam vet to be awarded high school diploma after county office does what a district won’t

A Vietnam veteran will finally get a high school diploma from an unexpected source after battling the school district where he attended 50 years ago. Ken Weiner, who was awarded the Purple Heart after being shot twice in Vietnam, will accept a diploma from the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools on Tuesday, Nov. 13 in a ceremony called “Operation Recognition.”

Where veterans can turn for assistance, services

THE PRESS — According to the California Department of Veteran Affairs (CalVet), California is home to 1.8 million veterans, representing roughly 8 percent of the total U.S. veteran population. Not surprisingly, California also has the highest demand for benefits and services for veterans from discharge through the aging process.

FRIDAY

Dan ManriqueNavy, Marine Corps veterans among victims killed in California bar attack

STARS AND STRIPES — One was a veteran police officer who didn’t hesitate to run toward danger. Another was an art student who worked with children at her church. Others were a Navy veteran, an a cappella singer who worked as a caregiver, and a security guard with a “big personality” who was known for making sure everyone got home safely. They were among a dozen people killed in a shooting at a country music bar in Southern California. Authorities believe the gunman , Ian David Long, ultimately killed himself.

VA’s Wilkie defends using dogs in medical research

STARS AND STRIPES — Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie on Friday defended the VA’s continued use of dogs in medical research. Canine research at the agency has sparked outrage among some lawmakers and veterans groups that have argued during the past year that it’s cruel and an incorrect use of taxpayer money. Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation that requires the VA secretary’s approval before funding the experiments. USA Today reported last week the research was continuing.

USDVAAs more female vets head to Congress, there’s a new push to change VA’s male-focused motto

MILITARY TIMES — After three new female veterans won election in Tuesday’s midterms, two female Democratic lawmakers are again pushing the Department of Veterans Affairs to change its motto to “be more inclusive to women.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Kathleen Rice, both from New York, introduced new legislation Thursday for VA to update the current mission statement from “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” to a less gender-specific phrase.

How Marine Corps training prepared this veteran for a career making children’s toys

MILITARY TIMES | REBOOT CAMP — When Donald Coolidge got out of the Marine Corps Reserve, he imagined he’d end up working in law enforcement or some government job that had a clear correlation to his infantry training. Five years later, he runs a company that makes children’s toys. These aren’t just any children’s toys, though. They’re more like intelligent companions that use voice-based artificial intelligence to educate and interact with their owners.

WWII soldiers get their medalsIn the last hours of World War I, a terrible toll

MILITARY TIMES — Augustin Trebuchon is buried beneath a white lie. His tiny plot is almost on the front line where the guns finally fell silent at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, after a four-year war that had already killed millions. A simple white cross says: “Died for France on Nov. 10, 1918.” Not so.

This 98-year-old Army nurse discusses her World War II service in the Pacific

MILITARY TIMES — WWII Army nurse Edith Petersen shares the story of her travels taking care of soldiers, starting with Australia. She was in Washington for an all-female honor flight from Nebraska in September.

A life of service beyond the battlefield

UCOP.EDU — As an army infantryman in Iraq, Nathan Goncalves saw his share of grueling battles. But none quite prepared him for the transition from military to civilian life. “You come back from combat and you’ve seen and faced atrocious things, but everyone else’s life has gone along as it always has,” said the UCLA alum. “Nothing around you makes sense anymore. Everything just seems so trivial.” Goncalves overcame post-traumatic stress disorder and an addiction to painkillers to graduate from UCLA and earn a law degree from the school last year. He now provides free legal assistance to veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life.

Home DepotHere’s how one company is using $500 million to help vets

MILITARY TIMES | REBOOT CAMP — Over the last seven years, Home Depot has invested millions into helping wounded, homeless and elderly veterans. Now, the nation’s largest hardware retailer is expanding its reach. Home Depot Foundation officials announced from Atlanta Thursday that the company will invest $250 million in veterans causes by 2025, bringing their overall commitment to half a billion dollars. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, and we know that, and so we’re in it for the long haul,” Foundation Executive Director Shannon Gerber said in an interview. “We’re thankful to our service men and women who have dedicated their lives to our country, and we’re proud to serve those who have sacrificed so much.”

Veterans Day: reasons to observe

MILITARY CONNECTION — Veterans Day was originally coined as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. It was a commemoration of the first anniversary of the end of World War 1. It didn’t take long for Congress to recognize the need to make this occasion and annual observance, and legislation was passed in 1926 to formalize that notion. Since then, we have used November 11th to celebrate our Veterans and remember their sacrifices.

Presidio cemetery7 cool SF bay area things to do this Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 9-12

THE MERCURY NEWS — It’s a weekend to thank and honor our military veterans and be grateful for all the fun, beautiful, tasty, even silly things that life in the Bay Area affords us. So here are seven awesome ways to enjoy this holiday weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, from Veteran’s Day freebies to a fabulous light show for kids to a festival devoted to bacon and beer (’nuff said).

Here’s how the Inland Empire will mark Veterans Day 2018

THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE — Parades, displays of flags and speeches will salute veterans across the Inland area this year.

San Jose native Yee to lead Sunday’s Veterans Day Parade

THE MERCURY NEWS — U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee — a San Jose native who served three tours of duty in the Middle East — will be the grand marshal of Sunday’s Veterans Day Parade in San Jose, the city’s 100th celebration of the armistice that ended World War I. Yee calls it a “remarkable honor” to come home to represent both the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense in San Jose’s milestone event. The parade will start at noon at Highway 87 and West Santa Clara Street, following an 11 a.m. ceremony at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The parade route runs east to Market Street and then south past the Tech Museum to San Carlos Street.

THURSDAY

Chef Bob HurleyCelebrity chefs honor Yountville Veterans Home residents with fine dining

NAPA VALLEY REGISTER — Every November, chefs from Napa Valley restaurants thank military veterans for their service as only they can – from appetizer to main course to dessert … Wednesday’s three-course meal was the centerpiece of the 14th annual Celebrity Chefs Luncheon, the brainchild of the longtime Yountville chef-restaurateur Bob Hurley. Since 2005, Hurley and the town’s chamber of commerce have partnered in a banquet he said seeks to bring haute cuisine into a community that can feel farther away from the town’s high-end vacation atmosphere than the short distance suggests.

Veterans Day discounts: Your comprehensive guide to free pizza, farm supplies, desserts, hotel stays and more

MILITARY TIMES — If you map out your discounts right, you could eat free all day on Veterans Day and the day after, in between shopping for some deals and booking some discounted travel. Since Veterans Day falls on Sunday, it’s also observed on Monday, Nov. 12, as a day off for many. So as you make your plans, pay attention to the date the discount or deal is being offered. Also, some are not limited to this weekend. Discounts and freebies are plentiful, and we’ve collected some to get you started. We know that military discounts are not what Veterans Day is really about; most of these businesses say it’s just their way of offering a small token of their appreciation of your service.

kern veteransKern back in business: Putting veterans to work

ABC 23 BAKERSFIELD — In 2015 Kern County started a program to get veterans from active duty transitioned to a civilian career. That program is called Kern Patriot Partnership or KPP.  Amanda Macintosh is a veteran who is using KPP to find a new civilian career. She said she joined the United States Air Force after high school in 2006. Macintosh said, “I was a senior airman in the United States Air Force stationed in Spangdahlem, Germany, then Scott Air Force Base Illinois.”

Honor veterans with local events this weekend

BAKERSFIELD.COM — Whether you are a veteran yourself or just want to thank them for their service, there are several ways to celebrate Veterans Day this weekend. This Friday through Sunday, there is something going on every day, from an art installation, to a parade and many, many meals.

Navy Vet Mikkie SherillThe number of vets in Congress appears headed down again

MILITARY TIMES — After Tuesday’s midterm contests, the number of female veterans and younger veterans in Congress are rising but the overall number of veterans in Congress remains on a steady decline. In a contentious election which saw Democrats take over the House and Republicans add to their majority in the Senate, 77 veterans won elections across the country. Combined with 15 incumbent veterans in the Senate who did not face election, that guarantees at least 92 veterans will be part of the 116th session of Congress in January.

Consumer care: How to protect veterans and active duty military from scams

LAKE COUNTY NEWS — As Veterans Day approaches, your Better Business Bureau, or BBB, urges service members to keep an eye out for scams. It has long been recognized that military families and veterans are at increased risk of being targeted by scammers. The steady paychecks and relative youth of active-duty military personnel may make them particularly vulnerable. Unfortunately, aspects of a service member’s job often make them more vulnerable to scams. Perhaps most importantly, they have a guaranteed and steady income that scammers would love to have access to. They are also frequently deployed and move around often, which makes staying on top of red flags in bills and credit reports more difficult.

Veterans Day discountsHere’s everything you need to know about the new dental coverage for military retirees

MILITARY TIMES — The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or FEDVIP, is a voluntary program that provides supplemental dental and vision benefits to federal civilian employees, retirees, and their families. FEDVIP allows those eligible to buy dental and vision insurance on a group basis with competitive premiums and no pre-existing condition limitations. (Some, but not all, of the dental plans have a waiting period for orthodontics.)

TUESDAY

Women veterans get new professional wardrobe for life after service

ABC10 NEWS — Hundreds of women veterans freshened their professional wardrobes at Operation Dress Code’s one-day pop-up boutique on Saturday. The annual event gives women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and are transitioning into civilian careers the chance to go on a free shopping spree. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., veterans browsed thousands of clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories at the pop-up shop in the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley.

Kirk HawkinsLife after service: Expanded resources for veterans help pave the way toward business ownership

COMSTOCK MAGAZINE — After Kirk Hawkins returned from each combat mission, the F-16 fighter jet pilot sat down in a room with military leaders and his team for the debrief. They reviewed and discussed what worked, what went wrong and how next time could be better. It was standard practice in the military and a practice that Hawkins, CEO of Vacaville-based ICON Aircraft, carried over into his own business.

New museum offers free admission to veterans after criticism

MILITARY TIMES — The new National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Ohio won’t charge U.S. military veterans admission following public criticism of earlier plans to have them pay entrance fees. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the museum in Columbus originally said adult admission was $17, while veterans would pay $12. The decision to charge veterans drew criticism, and officials decided to let them in free.

US Army voting stickerWhat’s at stake for the military on election night

MILITARY TIMES — As voters head to poll stations across the country today, their decisions will have lasting ramifications for the military for years to come. Individual congressional races will decide which voices guide national security debate and how many veterans-turned-lawmakers are participating. Together, the results will determine which party controls the House and Senate, and by extension, how the fiscal 2020 defense budget process unfolds. Here are the defense topics to watch on election night…

Honoring our veterans: List of dining deals this Veterans Day

NBC 7 SAN DIEGO — Veterans Day is reserved for veterans and people who have served in the U.S armed forces, and on the holiday restaurants like to offer special discounted — or even free — meals to those who’ve served. We found restaurants nationwide that are offering delicious and sweet deals to our military.

U.S. Sailor Tand PHow to find meaning after the Military: Grow your own identity

TASK & PURPOSE — Aaron Hostutler writes: “Let me start by saying please never underestimate the weight of a transition out of the military. For years you build your identity, purpose, and tribe around an institution and then all at once all of that disappears. While I’ve found an amazing path now, it was a rough road that included a divorce, homelessness, a struggle to see and provide for my children and of course the scary question: What do I do with my life now?

CA no golden state for veterans

KNEWS RADIO — Veterans Day is Sunday November 11th, and there is bad news for veterans who want to live in California. WalletHub has ranked the top 100 cities in America for veterans, comparing housing costs, health care facilities, and jobs that require skills learned in the military. Only one city in California measured up, and that is Irvine in Orange County. San Bernardino and Fresno are among the worst cities for veterans along with dangerous inner cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit and Newark NJ.

Searching for signs of insurgents in Lutafiyah

How to translate skills from your military experience into a civilian career

TASK & PURPOSE — When some veterans transition to civilian life, they search for a job and seek to build careers that will use the skills they developed during their time in the military. While there are different strategies to translate military experience into a civilian resume, Byron Lambert took his own approach.   After serving in the Army for eight years, which included assignments to Germany and Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, he didn’t know what type of career he wanted next — he did know that he wanted it to be different.

Chico State to honor veterans this week

RED BLUFF DAILY NEWS — In an event recognizing veterans in the campus and greater Chico community, California State University, Chico will hold its annual Honoring Our Veterans celebration on at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7 in Colusa Hall, Room 100A, with doors to open at 10:30 a.m. U.S. Air Force veteran Larry Langwell, coordinator of CSU, Chico’s Office of Veterans Affairs, will be the program’s master of ceremonies. This free event is open to the public and is sponsored by the University’s Office of Veterans Affairs and the Student Veteran Organization.

Veterans Day Pasadena NowTribute to veterans at South Pasadena Woman’s Club

PASADENA NOW — In observance of Veterans Day, the Wednesday, November 7 luncheon meeting at the South Pasadena Woman’s Club will hold a star-spangled musical salute to honor veterans. Highlight of the luncheon will be introduction of four World War II veterans, Korean War and Vietnam veterans. Special guest speakers will be Club member, Joan Moffett, 95, a WWII Army Veteran and Alan Seltzer, President of the local Vietnam Veterans of America association.

MONDAY

Women veterans get new professional wardrobe for life after service

ABC10 NEWS — Hundreds of women veterans freshened their professional wardrobes at Operation Dress Code’s one-day pop-up boutique on Saturday. The annual event gives women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and are transitioning into civilian careers the chance to go on a free shopping spree. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., veterans browsed thousands of clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories at the pop-up shop in the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley.

VC Star Judge Colleen Toy White.jpgJC Oberst: Veterans courtroom will be named for former Judge Colleen Toy White

VC STAR — The Ventura County Veterans Treatment Court recognition ceremony will be special, not only for the veterans who successfully completed the program but also for the judge who played a crucial role in standing up this treatment court. Courtroom 22 will be named the Colleen Toy White Courtroom during the graduation ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in honor of Judge White’s public service and leadership. White served on the bench for 23 years and was the first judge to preside over the Ventura County Veterans Court to ensure veterans received the treatment they needed. No one worked harder or believed in the necessity of establishing this court more than Judge White. Although, in her inimitable style, she could only accept this honor if all those within the system who made this court happen were acknowledged.

U.S. Veterans Affairs Sec. Wilkie visits Ole Miss

THE DAILY MISSISSIPPIAN — U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie visited campus on Friday to attend the University of Mississippi’s inaugural Veterans Alumni Gala hosted by the Ole Miss Veterans Association. Wilkie said the department of VA is striving to offer veterans as many paths for their futures as possible when they are transitioning out of active service, whether that be four-year college, community college or trade school.

Veterans from Pacific AreaVeterans Journal: VA delivers 81,000 appeals’ decisions to veterans in fiscal 2018

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL — On Sept. 14, two weeks ahead of schedule, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) exceeded its goal to deliver 81,000 appeals’ decisions of disability benefits and services to veterans in fiscal year 2018, a total of 28,000 more decisions than the previous year. In doing so, the VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals provided thousands of veterans with life-changing decisions.

California’s best nursing homes: new U.S. News ratings

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT – U.S. News & World Report has released its latest ratings identifying top nursing homes. The ratings for 2018-19 include 139 nursing homes in California designated as a U.S. News “best nursing home.” The homes are given an overall rating as well as a short-stay rehabilitation rating, a new addition to the ratings now in their ninth year. (Refer to list.)

Dress CodeOperation Dress Code aims to help women veterans transition to life after service

CBS 8 SAN DIEGO — Female service members and veterans got the VIP treatment on Saturday in Mission Valley. Operation Dress Code is an annual event that is aimed at helping women in the military transition to the next chapter of their lives by helping them with their resumes, giving them makeup lessons and letting them shop… for free! At Saturday’s event the veterans each got a personal shopper to help them pick out gently used professional clothing that had been donated by members of the community.

FRIDAY

homeless vet_KTVUHUD report shows 5.2 percent drop in veteran homelessness across California

FOX KTVU – Veteran homelessness across California dropped by 5.2 percent since last year, according to a new national estimate announced today by U.S. Housing and Urban Development. HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report found that veteran homelessness dropped by 4.1 percent in San Francisco, 5.3 percent in Marin County, 4.8 percent in San Mateo County, 0.3 percent in Santa Clara County and 0.9 percent in Alameda County. The report found a national drop of 5.4 percent, and a decrease to nearly half the number of homeless veterans reported in 2010.

Canceled operations. Unsterile tools. The V.A. gave this hospital 5 stars.

THE NEW YORK TIMES – When the Department of Veterans Affairs released the annual ratings of its hospitals this fall, the facility in Atlanta dropped to the bottom, while the one in West Haven, Conn., shot to the top. It was something of a mystery as to why. The Atlanta hospital was downgraded to one star from three on the agency’s five-star scale, even though there had been only a “trivial change” in its quality data from the year before, according to the department. The Connecticut hospital climbed to five stars from three, even though numerous operations had to be performed elsewhere or canceled at the last minute because of problems with sterilization of surgical tools, according to an internal assessment and other accounts cited by Senator Richard Blumenthal in a letter to the agency.

Veteran StudentMany student veterans risk eviction for late GI Bill payments. So this city is stepping in.

MILITARY TIMES – Student veterans in New York City who are at risk of being evicted from their homes because of delayed GI Bill payments from Veterans Affairs are getting a little extra help from the city’s government. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced a multi-agency effort this week to streamline emergency rent relief for student veterans who rely on the Post-9/11 GI Bill housing stipend to pay for rent. According to a news release from the mayor’s office, this includes most of the city’s 12,000 student veterans.

Loma Linda VA observes National Day of Praryer and Reflection for veterans

REDLANDS DAILY FACTS — National Day of Prayer and Reflection for Veterans was observed Thursday at the Jerry L. Pettis VA Medical Center in Loma Linda. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs established the first Thursday of November as a Day of Prayer and Reflection for Veterans to honor and recognize the service of men and women in the armed forces.

Homeless counts MTConstruction starts on Placentia Veterans Village, an apartment complex with services to help homeless vets

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER – Orange County community leaders and supporters of homeless veterans are hoping a development of 50 new apartments in Placentia will lead to success stories like that of Danny Sisneros, a former Marine who bounced back from homelessness. Sisneros told his story Thursday, Nov. 1, at a groundbreaking for the Placentia Veterans Village, one of several projects for homeless veterans being developed by Mercy Housing. The nonprofit home-builder also runs a veterans’ apartment complex in El Monte, where Sisneros lives.

Vacaville junk removal business operated by veterans to have grand opening

THE REPORTER – In Vacaville, there exists a business that will not only take away your large unwanted items but keep them out of the landfill by repurposing them or donating them to local organizations. It is called JDog Junk Removal & Hauling. JDog Junk Removal was founded in 2011 by Jerry and Tracy Flanagan, and it operates franchises in 31 states. The business hauls away a large variety of items, including appliances, mattresses, TVs, e-waste, construction debris and scrap metal. What makes it unique from other junk removal services is that all of the franchises are operated locally by veterans and their families. For the Vacaville location, this position is filled by former Marine Rob Baugher.

Farmland in NorCalVeterans who want to be farmers in northern California get support from VA

CAPITAL PUBLIC RADIO – U.S. veterans who want to go into farming face many of the same barriers as civilians, like a lack of capital and land access. But another obstacle is not having knowledge of farming practices. This is according to Marisa Alcorta, who runs the California Farm Academy Apprenticeship Program at the Center For Land-Based Learning in Winters, 40 minutes west of Sacramento. She says farming “is not something they typically get trained for in the military, so many of them need to come back and find a training program to build up skills and knowledge.”

THURSDAY

dog experiments at VAVA: Fatal dog experiments moving ahead despite criticism from Congress, veterans groups

USA TODAY — The Department of Veterans Affairs is pushing forward with invasive and ultimately fatal experiments on dogs as part of the VA’s medical research program, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY. The controversial procedures previously sparked outrage and opposition from some veterans’ advocates and prompted strict restrictions from Congress. The VA says the studies could produce discoveries that may help veterans suffering from spinal cord or breathing problems.

VA celebrates National Veterans and Military Families Month 2018 with events honoring veterans and their families

VA.GOV — Yesterday evening President Donald J. Trump declared November 2018 the second annual National Veterans and Military Families Month to “salute the brave and dedicated patriots who have worn the uniform of the United States, and…celebrate the extraordinary military families whose selfless service and sacrifice make our military the finest in the world.” Beginning in 2017, President Trump proclaimed November Veterans and Military Families Month, marking the first time America celebrated Veterans and military families for the entire month and not just on Veterans Day, in keeping with the President’s strong focus on improving care and benefits to our nation’s heroes.

Marine Veteran - homeless countsOfficials: US veteran homelessness declines five percent

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT — The number of homeless veterans across the U.S. declined more than 5 percent over the past year after a slight rise in 2017, the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs announced Thursday. The decrease shows the federal government is making progress in its nearly decade-long efforts, but the problem poses a challenge in areas such as California where the cost of housing is high, officials said. The number of homeless vets dropped to about 38,000 — about half of those counted in 2010, according to an overall count of the homeless taken in January.

Mendocino College to host 2018 Veterans Resource Fair Nov. 8

LAKE COUNTY NEWS – Mendocino College invites the community to attend a Veterans Resource Fair and free lunch in the Lowery Student Center at the Ukiah campus on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The resource fair will feature college departments and local agencies that support veterans and their families. Participants will include the Employment Development Department, VA Outpatient Clinic, Mendocino County Veterans Services, North Bay Veteran Resource Center, Wreaths Across America, the Mendocino College Disability Resource and Native American Resource Centers, and more.

College veteransCommentary: 5 ways companies can help veterans transition to corporate America

MILITARY TIMES – Change is never easy in life, and one of the toughest transitions anyone can go through is a significant career shift. Not all career changes are created equally, though, and one of the most challenging can be the move from active duty military to corporate America. It’s the same journey that Lucas Group founder Art Lucas took when he left the Army and started this company in 1970 and a process that I began back in 1992 when I decided to transition out of the Air Force. Having now been in the business of helping veterans go through this same process for almost 25 years, I’ve seen what companies do especially well in setting up veterans for success.

Road that plays Marines’ Hymn to be named after veteran and actor R. Lee Ermey

STARS & STRIPES – If you one day hear the Marines’ Hymn while driving between Agena Road and Sierra Highway in Palmdale, Calif., do not fret; your ears are not having a “major malfunction.” That section of road — known as Avenue N — will be named for acclaimed actor and Marine Corps veteran R. Lee Ermey during a ceremony on Nov. 10, the Marine Corps’ birthday, according to a fundraising page linked to Ermey’s family, friends and supporters.

HSM 37 Homecoming

2018 discounts and Veterans Day deals

MILITARY BENEFITS – A list of National 2018 Veterans Day free services or discounts, such as free or discounted hotels, haircuts, car washes and many more deals specifically for veterans, active-duty military personnel, and military dependents. This page is 1 of 3 Veterans Day discount lists. Check out our 2018 list of National Restaurant Veterans Day deals, and Local Area Promotions, categorized by state. Veterans Day 2018 will be on Sunday, November 11th, 2018 and designated as a Federal Holiday on Monday, November 12th, 2018.

Garamendi, Thompson give veterans updates on legislation, services

LAKE COUNTY NEWS — Congressmen John Garamendi and Mike Thompson visited Lakeport on Wednesday to hold a town hall focused on updating local veterans on services available to them and legislative efforts. The two members of Congress, who between them represent Lake County in the House of Representatives, hosted the hour-and-a-half-long event attended by about 60 people at the Lakeport Veterans Museum at 875 11th St. Joining them on a panel were Dedrick Waterford of the Oakland Veterans Administration Regional Headquarters, Mary Ann Nihart of the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center and Nancy Mitchell of the Lake County Veterans Service Office.

Wednesday

Veterans saluteScientists say energy drinks make it harder to treat PTSD

TASK & PURPOSE – Energy drinks like Rip-It and Wild Tiger may be essential fuel for hard-charging U.S. service members, but they’re only exacerbating mental health issues and behavioral issues, according to a new study in Military Medicine.

Ameritech Financial: Many veterans regret high cost, student loan deb of going to for-profit colleges

CISION PR NEWSWIRE – In an educational trend that Ameritech Financial is closely monitoring, many military veterans say they regret their private for-profit college education and the high amount of student loan debt such education incurs. Veterans Education Success has reported that for-profit schools are targeting student veterans. Veterans choose these schools because they advertise themselves as accelerated, focused academic programs that promise dynamic careers. Many veterans leave with no degree or a degree that does not get them the job they want and a large amount of student loan debt. Ameritech Financial, a private company, assists veterans or anyone overwhelmed with student loan debt in applying for and maintaining enrollment in federal programs, such as income-driven repayment plans (IDRs), that can possibly lower monthly payments based on income and family size.

Washington DC MonumentVeterans Day celebration at Veterans Wall of Freedom

INLAND EMPIRE COMMUNITY NEWS – The Veterans Wall of Freedom Organization and the Foundation of Grand Terrace are proud to announce that the Veterans Day Celebration at the Veterans Wall of Freedom will take place on Sunday, November 11, at 3:00 p.m. in the Veterans Freedom, 21950 Pico Street, in Grand Terrace, California. The Veterans Day Celebration will salute veterans who have served or are serving in the United States military. It will also be a celebration of the freedoms we enjoy today because of the service and sacrifice of these veterans.

TUESDAY

Marines field testingThis PTSD program is getting a $160 million boost

MILITARY TIMES – Bill Geiger tried everything to get help for his post-traumatic stress disorder and the panic attacks, anxiety and anger issues that came with it — civilian doctors, Veterans Affairs hospitals, “you name it,” he said in a recent interview. “I was just kind of floundering,” he said. “There was something that just wasn’t working.” Then in 2015, after medically retiring from the Army, he heard about a new program through the Wounded Warrior Project that would provide two to three weeks of intense therapy. He was one of the first ones to try it and was amazed by the results.

Veterans are cutting back on smoking and drinking, but they still face significant health risks

MILITARY TIMES – Veterans remain more likely to report feeling in great medical condition even while they face an increased risk of serious health problems like cancer, arthritis and emotional distress, according to updated survey results from veterans advocates out Tuesday. The report, from United Health Foundation and the Military Officers Association of America, has tracked health issues among former military members since 2011, with the goal of highlighting that the “health care needs of people with military service differ in several important ways from civilians.”

First female Marine students arrive at SOI-W‘Show us your combat ribbon:’ attacks on female veteran candidates

CONNECTINGVETS.COM – The 2018 midterms have seen an influx in veteran candidates, woman candidates and woman veteran candidates. But it’s this last group of candidates that seems to be fending off an increased number of attacks on military records. Maura Sullivan and Lynne Blankenbeker  have both faced accusations of stolen valour — Sullivan of inflating her service record and Blankenbeker over her campaign message “combat proven.”  Critics wanted to see combat ribbons. Neither is still in the running. Amy McGrath has come under similar fire over her role in F-18s, and it certainly didn’t help in her close race against incumbent Andy Barr.

A day in the life of a military caregiver

MILITARY.COM – When your life changes on a dime — as it often can — you tend to remember details. Army wife, best friend and now warrior caregiver Linda Mills relives “that” day every day in vivid color. “June 7, 2012. It was a summer day in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I can remember the exact outfit I had on at work that day: Black slacks, comfortable black high heels, and a mauve colored top. I remember feeling good that day. It was a Thursday — almost the weekend — and although I hadn’t heard from Drew (who was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan), I wasn’t as worried as I normally was.

Military spouse running - flagMilitary spouse runs in Marine Corps marathon to remember fallen heroes

MILITARY.COM – War is hell, as is the aftermath for the loved ones of those who have fallen. But for some, running has charted a course to healing and wholeness. A national movement, wear blue: run to remember, works to honor the fallen and help loved ones heal in the process through organized runs all over America.

Washington veterans are unconvinced a new $10 billion computer system will actually improve VA service

TASK & PURPOSE – Spokane, Washington, will lead the $10 billion effort to revamp the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical records system, but questions remain about what veterans can expect and the computer program selected to make those changes. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, who made the announcement Oct. 17 at Fairchild Air Force Base, said Spokane was selected because it has a perfect mix of both rural and urban veterans, the area has a good technology base and it’s home to Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center.

Bikes - Ohio MuseumNational veterans memorial and museum opens in Columbus to fanfare

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH – Richard Lewis used only his ball cap — the one that tells the world that he was awarded a Bronze Star — to protect his head from the cold and relentless drizzle as he listened to Gen. Colin Powell stand before him Saturday and say that he and veterans like him represent the best of America. That they deserve a nation’s love, admiration and gratitude. That they deserve to have their stories heard.

San Diego’s Filipino vets of WWII finally get their gold medals
INQUIRER.NET — More than 500 family members, community leaders and well-wishers filled the Jacobs Community Hall, Sunday, Oct. 14, as the Congressional Gold Medal were awarded to 61 local Filipino veterans of WWII (or their next of kin) from all branches of the U.S. military. Ten still surviving veterans were present in wheelchairs and with  walkers and one was able to still stand and salute as their names were read off by Retired Maj. General Antonio Taguba and Retired Brigadier General Oscar Hillman who distributed the medals.

MONDAY

HSM 37 HomecomingVFW: VA must fix Forever GI Bill debacle

MILITARY TIMES | REBOOT CAMP – Over the past few weeks, the VFW has heard directly from too many veterans who have yet to receive their tuition and housing payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs for this fall semester, which student veterans rely on to pay rent and other living costs. Unfortunately, VA was not straightforward with student veterans affected by these financial hardships until the VFW called attention to it earlier this month.

Commentary: This recent change by federal officials puts student vets at risk

MILITARY TIMES | REBOOT CAMP – As a combat veteran, I know firsthand how important it is to work together as a team. The same teamwork mentality has led to many great successes on Capitol Hill. As the legislative director of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), I have worked hard to establish a reputation as a consensus builder. I strive to be the type of person who wants to understand both sides of a situation. Recently, EANGUS has been trying to collaborate with the Department of Education (ED) to create an environment of transparency for student veterans to access information about higher education. We firmly believe that information empowers student veterans to make better decisions about their future.

Korean War Veteran return LA TimesComing home: A Korean War veteran who was MIA for decades finally buried on home soil

STARS AND STRIPES — The last memory Charles McDaniel had of his father was as a 3-year-old boy living on an U.S. Army base in Tokyo in 1950. His dad, coming home from work, picked him up and playfully swung him around in the air. For decades, that was pretty much all there was. Sometimes, he would look in the mirror and see a faint resemblance — though he thought his younger brother, Larry, inherited more of their dad’s features. Charles McDaniel thought about this Saturday morning as he stood and saluted before the flag-draped casket that held his father’s remains. The now-71-year-old man’s hand trembled slightly as a cold wind kicked up and a stiffened flag flew at the grave site. He thought about his mother, sitting next to him. He thought about how it had taken 68 years for his dad to return to the United States.

Transgender vet says she didn’t give Donnelly permission to use image in controversial billboard

PALM SPRINGS DESERT SUN – The transgender woman depicted on 8th District congressional candidate Tim Donnelly’s campaign billboard in Twentynine Palms did not consent to Donnelly using her image and the photographer has found an attorney to pursue legal recourse.

Palo Alto’s ‘Defenders Lodge’ gives veterans the care they deserve

YOURCENTRALVALLEY.COM – In Palo Alto, a group is helping veterans get closer to the medical care they need. “I’m not sleeping in my car, i’m not sleeping the in the lobby,” says veteran Billy Bryels. He was hit with grenades while in Vietnam, and has needed medical attention ever since he returned home from war.

Veterans Stand Down in L.A.VA ‘Stand Down’ event brings help to homeless veterans in Los Angeles

KABC 7 NEWS — They’ve sacrificed so much for our country, yet so many veterans face challenges like unemployment and homelessness. To help combat that, the Greater Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration held an event, which for many, is the first step in turning their lives around. Heidi Marston is with the VA Greater Los Angeles and explains what “Stand Down” is all about.

Stand down underway to aid homeless and at-risk veterans

REDDING RECORD SEARCHLIGHT – The 13th annual North Valley Stand Down kicked into high gear Friday as homeless and at-risk veterans sought a variety of free care at the Shasta District Fair grounds in Anderson.

Pets and Vets - Walnut CreekPets and vets graduates 19 rescue dogs

PATCH — Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation announced Saturday that 19 more rescue dogs have graduated from its Pets and Vets program to become service dogs for military veterans. The total is more than double the number of dogs from last year’s graduating class, ARF said on Twitter. The program, launched in 2011, matches veterans with emotional support animals and provides free veterinary wellness clinics. The service dogs aid veterans suffering from such conditions as PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety and depression.

Organization helping veterans make business connections

KCAL9 – The Veterans Business Network is helping Southern California veterans with after-service career development and business networking. Find more information on VIBNETWORK.ORG.

Veteran gun salutePhilanthropy matters: veteran-focused philanthropy

THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN – The needs of veterans and their families are vast and complex. Government departments such as Defense and Veterans Affairs, while providing a tremendous amount of support to veterans and their families, have been challenged in recent years by the enormous increasing needs of this sector. More than 2.7 million U.S. military personnel have been deployed since 2001, the year the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. California is estimated to have the second-largest population of veterans (1.7 million) in the nation with more than 40,000 veterans calling Kern County home.

BC’s Vernon Vnezuela veterans resource center implements change

THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN – A cozy, makeshift haven is tucked away in a corner on the Bakersfield College campus. Near the not-so-up-to-date campus center lies an approximate 750-square foot lounge full of veteran students. Here, they come here to study, socialize and support one another. A single leather couch, along with a 10 or so chairs adorn the floor in the main lounge. The majority, both males and females fill the cramped space, doing homework or talking. The location will change but not the camaraderie.

Transition from militaryVSO news: aid and attendance available to veterans

RED BLUFF DAILY NEWS – Veterans with Service Connected Disabilities and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension and compensation rates; however, they are not paid without eligibility to Pension or Service Connected Compensation.

FRIDAY

Veteran on a phoneVA thinks newest website version improves customer experience

FEDERAL DRIVE – Customer experience for many citizens starts with a federal agency’s website. For agencies, the optimal site is a constantly moving target. But officials at the Veterans Affairs Department think they’ve got it right with the launch of a new and improved version. Barbara Morton, VA’s deputy chief veterans experience officer, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin with the details.

Senate stalls on a bill to help student vets, seen as GI Bill processing delays spike

MILITARY TIMES | REBOOT CAMP – Many student veterans have been waiting longer than normal for their GI Bill benefits this semester, as the Veterans Affairs Department works through a backlog of claims affecting thousands of students. Meanwhile, legislation that could have helped these students is stalled in the Senate, and veteran education advocates, along with some members of Congress, are calling for action.

GI Bill processing delaysVA Debt Management Center reduces average wait times for veterans contacting call center

LAKE COUNTY NEWS – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Debt Management Center, or DMC, reached a recent milestone this July when it reported it had lowered the average wait times for veterans contacting the call center, from over 21 minutes in fiscal year 2016 to under five minutes during FY 2018. “The team at the DMC has enhanced services to our Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It’s our mission to take care of our veterans, no matter what their needs are. DMC is in concert with our priority of improving customer service and will continue to gather customer feedback through direct feedback, surveys and outreach in FY19 to further enhance the veterans’ experience.”

Marine veteran’s K9 pal wears lots of hats

MILITARY.COM – K9 Jester and his handler, Marine Corps veteran Jordan Walker of the El Cajon Police Department in California, like to have fun when they’re not fighting crime. Check out this video of the duo on Military.com.

American Legion - Remembering Fallen fm Calif“Remembering our fallen from California” is on display at AV fairgrounds until Oct. 29

AEROTECH NEWS – Traveling throughout the state, “Remembering Our Fallen from California” is a photographic war tribute that honors California soldiers killed in the War on Terror, 9/11/2001 to present. The exhibit is on display in the Antelope Valley Rural Museum at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds through Oct. 29. The exhibit is sponsored by the Antelope Valley Blue Star Mothers and AV Vets 4 Veterans.

THURSDAY

Disabled Vietnam VetCalifornia Attorney General says Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mulvaney’s failure to protect service members is a disgrace

SIERRA SUN TIMES — On Wednesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a bipartisan multistate coalition criticizing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under Acting Director Mick Mulvaney for its failure to protect military service members. In a multistate letter, the 33 attorneys general condemned CFPB Acting Director Mulvaney for the decision to strip the agency’s oversight of lenders under the Military Lending Act (MLA). This oversight is a vital component of safeguarding service members and their families from unscrupulous lenders and the burden of unaffordable debt. The MLA caps interest rates, bans arbitration, and limits finance charges for consumer loans to individuals in the military and their families. By eliminating oversight of lender compliance, the CFPB puts military service members and their families at risk.

Moreno Valley College named to best for vets by Military Times

INLAND EMPIRE U.S. — Moreno Valley College (MVC) was selected as one of 208 higher education institutions from across the nation as Best for Vets by the Military Times, an independent source for news and information for military members and their families. While this is the ninth year for the rankings, it marks the first time that MVC has been ranked. Norco College (NC), a sister college in the Riverside Community College District, has been ranked previously. MVC was ranked 25th among community colleges across the nation. NC was 12th and the highest ranked community college in California.

Homeless vets in SacramentoThink small? New initiative offers tiny houses to homeless vets.

MILITARY TIMES — When asked how he was doing in a recent interview, Henry Owens didn’t hesitate to answer: “Blessed.” Until recently, the 32-year-old Navy veteran was living on the streets of Kansas City, Missouri, struggling to keep a job and lacking close family members or friends who could lend him a bed to sleep on, or even a couch. “My PTSD just kind of kicked in wholeheartedly,” he said. “I was struggling and dealing with that, and that just kept me in a cycle of not being independent and taking care of myself.”

Opinion: California veterans deserve our support of propositions 1 and 2

TIMES OF SAN DIEGO — Far too many of our military vets, who put their lives on the line for our country, find that when they return their lives are again at risk because they can’t afford a safe and stable home. Many are even forced to live on the street. Is this really how we show our appreciation for all they’ve sacrificed? Many vets also return home and struggle to re-integrate to civilian life. According to the California Department of Veteran Affairs, 55 percent of homeless veterans suffer from mental health issues and 70 percent have substance or alcohol abuse problems.

Moreno Valley CollegeBest for vets colleges: The best schools for military students in 2019

MILITARY TIMES — In the market for a good school where you can use your education benefits? We surveyed hundreds of colleges across the country and used their answers, combined with federal data, to rank them in the areas of university culture, academic quality and outcomes, policies, student support and costs and financial aid. Read about our top finishers below and check out the full list of schools in the charts to help inform your decision.

Purple Heart recipient armed with gift of sight

PATCH — When Leonard Vigil, 37, lost consciousness from a roadside bomb while serving in Ramadi, Iraq, for the U.S. Marines from 2001-05, he didn’t realize he would lose much of his vision too. “I was completely out. (When I came to), there was a lot of smoke and everything was blurry,” the San Jose resident said. The moment during a four-year deployment with the Corps changed his life physically and emotionally. He only had one year left in his term — but it didn’t end soon enough to escape sustaining a traumatic brain injury that dramatically affected his vision. He also mentally dealt with losing 32 soldiers in his battalion.

Troops in the grassThe hardest part of transitioning out of the military: Finding meaning along the way

TASK & PURPOSE — It’s that time again. I’m in an appointed position, working for an elected official, and the job is going away and I have to start thinking about what ‘next’ is going to look like. Although salary and benefits are marginally important in my next position, my biggest concern is how I will find something that approximates the feeling of accomplishment and purpose that my service in the military left me with. I can’t just go sit in some office building and move numbers around on a spreadsheet — I don’t care how much they want to pay me.

Art deepens connection with veterans

SISKIYOU DAILY — An opening reception for “Fragments: An Archeology of Memory” featuring the works of Kendall Johnson and Dennis Smith will be held at Liberty Arts in Yreka this Friday, Oct. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. Liberty Arts collaborated with the Siskiyou County Arts Council to bring southern California artist Johnson to Siskiyou County to share his Vietnam series of paintings and writings. Also featured in this exhibition are sculptures by Dennis Smith, creator of the sculptures featured at the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden ion Highway 97 near Weed.

Veterans at ARCVeterans can get benefits through resources at ARC

ARC CURRENT — Every fall, American River College’s Veterans Resource Center hosts A Hero’s Welcome in collaboration with the the Department of Veteran Affairs. This year’s event took place Sept. 20. It is geared toward veterans who haven’t received medical benefits, who are in need of housing, need assistance, are having a hard time getting help or simply don’t know how to get the aid they need. The event brought together many of the different enrollment services the VA has to offer.

Dignitaries visit LGBTQ Veterans Memorial

KESQ — Dignitaries visited the Coachella Valley Wednesday to see the country’s first LGBTQ Veterans Memorial. “It’s the only monument dedicated to gays and lesbians and transgenders who gave their lives on the battlefields of war,” said World War II veteran Daryl James. “We had a battle to get it going,” James said of the monument. Today, James gathered with others at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City to visit the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial.

MONDAY

Blue Water BillHouse to Senate: Pass ‘Blue Water’ Navy bill already

CONNECTINGVETS.COM — As tens of thousands of so-called “Blue Water” Navy veterans wait for Congress to act, 45 House Members are calling on the Senate to advance crucial legislation to expand much-needed care to them.  In a letter sent to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and 44 other House lawmakers urged the Senate VA Committee chairman to pass the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, “so that the legislation can be brought to the Senate floor as Ronny Jacksonsoon as possible.”

Trump acknowledges Ronny Jackson might not have been qualified to lead VA

WASHINGTON POST — During a raucous rally in Montana on Thursday night, President Trump made a remarkable admission about the man he nominated earlier this year to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs: He might not have been qualified. Trump went on a long riff about the failed nomination of Ronny L. Jackson, blaming its demise on Sen. Jon Tester, the Democratic senator running for reelection in Montana. “Jon Tester led the Democrat mob in the effort to destroy the reputation of a great man, Admiral Ronny Jackson,” Trump told his crowd in Missoula.

Half of all homeless veterans are in these four states

CONNECTINGVETS.COM — The number of homeless veterans dropped considerably between 2009 and 2017, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a figure, they say, is a “testament to the impactful partnership” between the agency and the VA.  On a single night in January last year, 40,020 veterans were experiencing homelessness. That’s about a 46 percent decline since 2009.  The agency’s annual report on homelessness for 2017 measures homelessness by looking at the overall number of people in shelters over a full year, and by choosing a random day of the year as a “point-in-time” estimate.

Seth MoultonWill the number of veterans in Congress rise next year?

MILITARY TIMES — The number of veterans running for Congress this year isn’t significantly higher than in other recent election cycles. But the number who win in November could be. That’s because more veteran candidates — especially younger ones — are running in up-for-grabs districts with more major party backing than ever before. After decades of seeing the number of lawmakers with military experience in the House and Senate steadily dwindle, analysts believe the coming years may see those figures hold steady or even increase slightly.

US veterans, including many women, seek to serve anew in Congress

ECONOMIC TIMES — America’s military veterans are taking the leap from battlefield to ballot in large numbers in 2018, aiming to bring their discipline, can-do problem-solving, and country-before-party sense of duty to Congress. Washington may well need them. The US Senate and House of Representatives are gridlocked, Donald Trump’s presidency has deepened the partisan divide, and approval ratings for Congress hover at just 19 per cent.

Homeless veteran - will work for foodBerkeley affordable housing organization proposes units for vets

PATCH — A project to build 30 affordable apartment units for veterans in downtown Pittsburg is being revived with some minor changes. On Tuesday, the Pittsburg Planning Commission will hear from officials with Berkeley-based Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, who have submitted a proposal for a three-story apartment building at 901 Los Medanos St., with five parking spaces on site and 25 more across the street.

Sierra High student gives back to veterans

YOUR CENTRAL VALLEY — A Sierra High FFA member is giving back to veterans. 16-year-old Hayden Tarr won top honors at the Big Fresno Fair with two of his hogs. He decided to donate the money from “Sparky’s” sale to the Central Valley Honor Flight. Sparky is a crossbreed, weighing over 250 pounds. He sold for $27 a pound, about $7,000. After the sale, donations started pouring in to support the Honor Flight. At last report, over $39,000 was raised.

FRIDAY

John Canley‘I Like Brave People’: Medal of Honor Bestowed on Vietnam Hero

CBN NEWS — President Donald Trump presented Marine Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley with the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony Wednesday afternoon. The president spoke about how Canley repeatedly risked his life to rescue fellow Marines during the Vietnam War. “On several occasions, despite his own wounds, he rushed across the fire-swept terrain to carry wounded Marines to safety,” President Trump said.

American Legion moves to open up membership eligibility

LEGION.ORG — Membership eligibility in The American Legion is determined by Congress through the establishment of specific dates of declared hostilities in which U.S. military personnel were activated. Since its founding in 1919, membership in The American Legion has been open to veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Lebanon/Grenada, Panama and Gulf War/War on Terrorism.

Kris GoldsmithArmy veteran wages war on social-media disinformation

WALL STREET JOURNAL — Kris Goldsmith’s campaign to get Facebook Inc. to close fake accounts targeting U.S. veterans started with a simple search. He was seeking last year to gauge the popularity of the Facebook page for his employer, Vietnam Veterans of America. The first listing was an impostor account called “Vietnam Vets of America” that had stolen his group’s logo and had more than twice as many followers. Mr. Goldsmith, a 33-year-old Army veteran, sent Facebook what he thought was a straightforward request to take down the bogus page. At first, Facebook told him to try to work it out with the authors of the fake page, whom he was never able to track down. Then, after two months, Facebook deleted it.

Vets group calls on DOD, VA to help stop fake news targeting veterans, troops

STARS AND STRIPES — One year ago, Vietnam Veterans of America discovered a Facebook page was using its name to spread disinformation to nearly 200,000 followers. Facebook disabled the site at VVA’s request, citing violations to intellectual property. The incident sparked an effort at VVA, a congressionally chartered veterans service organization, to find more social media pages that target veterans and servicemembers with sensationalized news and hyper-partisan political content.

Lord of the Rings director making war movie‘Lord of the Rings’ director brings the trenches of WWI to life in stunning new documentary

MILITARY TIMES — Peter Jackson is most known for bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” Middle Earth universe to life in movie franchises that grossed nearly $6 billion in total box office revenue. But now, the director has turned his attention to preserving the fading memories of World War I by using innovative production techniques to enhance and colorize almost 100 hours of original footage Jackson obtained from the Imperial War Museum in England.

California Governor and First Lady Honor Lt. Col. Seth Nehring

SIERRA SUN TIMES — On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor California Air National Guard Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, 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. Lt. Col. Nehring’s family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.

David Shulkin oct 15Fired VA secretary compares presidents: Obama analytic, Trump off-the-cuff

STARS AND STRIPES — Former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Monday that President Donald Trump’s lack of concern over details and signature extemporaneous style enabled him to usher change quickly at the VA during his year in the job. “President Trump doesn’t want to spend a huge amount of time wanting to review the details. He’s someone who reacts according to his belief system,” said Shulkin, who was fired via a Trump tweet in March. “Having a loose management style in the White House was actually something that worked well for me. I came, I presented ideas to the president, and he said, ‘That sounds like a good thing to do for veterans, let’s do it.’”

Searching for signs of insurgents in LutafiyahActors and athletes have agents to help them find work. Now vets with PTSD can too.

MILITARY TIMES — After Bob Simonovich’s post-traumatic stress disorder left him anxious around large groups, loud noises and unpredictable environments, he was unsure what type of career he’d be able to handle in his post-military life. So his therapists lined up a job for him with a baseball team. “I loved baseball my whole life,” said Simonovich, a former Army staff sergeant injured in a bomb blast in Iraq 11 years ago. “But when I got back, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to go to a game again. The crowds, the fireworks, it’s just something I didn’t think I’d be able to do. “When I could go back there, it meant everything to me.”

New book sets the record straight on the VA

BEYOND CHRON — As a Vietnam veteran who served in the Marines between 1968 and 1972, I am all too familiar with the wounds of war Suzanne Gordon describes in her excellent new book.  Like so many people who served in Vietnam, I live with PTSD, health issues from Agent Orange exposure, the skeletal wear and tear from lugging heavy packs in the jungle for 18 months, and hearing loss—much luckier than many, unluckier than some. I know how hard it was to get Congress and the VA to recognize these—and other—wounds of war.  Thanks to veterans’ efforts over many decades, veterans have benefited from what the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has done to address them.

Formerly homeless vet helps SF vetsFormerly homeless soldier helping others veterans in San Francisco

KRON 4 NEWS — It’s an organization committed to helping homeless veterans in San Francisco for the past 40 years. After receiving that help, one formerly homeless soldier is now back on the street, but this time, he is helping others. Sixty-year-old Winston Nicholas is playing his five-piece drum set inside of his studio apartment at the veterans commons building in San Francisco. As a young man in his early 20s, he took a break from serving up drum beats to join up and serve his country.

Wilkie won’t share documents that could reveal extent of Mar-a-Lago influence on VA

STARS AND STRIPES — Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie has yet to share documentation that some lawmakers suspect could link agency officials to three members of President Donald Trump’s club in Palm Beach, Fla., who were reported to have major influence over veterans policies. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, requested the information following a ProPublica investigation in August that revealed a trio of wealthy Mar-a-Lago members with no U.S. military experience were effectively running the VA in secret. The report prompted widespread outcry from Democrats and veterans organizations.

Netflix SeriesNetflix just announced a ‘Medal Of Honor’ series that recreates some of the most incredible acts of valor from WWII to Post-9/11

TASK & PURPOSE — Netflix’s upcoming Medal of Honor, set to debut on Nov. 9, chronicles the extraordinary lives and deeds of eight service members awarded the nation’s highest commendation for valor. At first glance, it looks like a gut-punch of a documentary series, replete with visceral combat scenes and war stories recalled in painful detail. But the show seems to be just as much about the men who earned the medal as it is the medal itself.

400-mile bike ride to benefit wounded vets, first responders ends in Ventura

VENTURA COUNTY STAR — More than 50 wounded veterans and supporters will be ending their 400-mile ride from Santa Cruz to Ventura on Friday. The five-day ride, called the UnitedHealthcare California Challenge, benefits Project Hero, a nonprofit that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The event is designed to show how cycling can benefit rehabilitation efforts.

Bikes200 miles down, 200 more to go: Wounded vets stop on Central Coast during California bike ride

KSBY 6 — Participants of the California Coastal Challenge rode their bikes through San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach on Wednesday as a part of a “Project Hero Campaign.” Everyone cycling is either a veteran or a first responder who is currently going through therapy or mentoring. One of the reasons the veterans participate in the bicycling challenge is to show that support is always available for those who need it.

Nearly $300,000 for veteran housing subsidy coming to Redding, Shasta County

REDDING RECORD SEARCHLIGHT — Nearly $300,00 to help 60 veterans in Redding and Shasta County pay their rent has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That’s an increase from last year for both regions. The two federal agencies provide the rental assistance under the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH). Under the partnership, HUD provides rental assistance, while the VA provides veterans with clinical and case management and support services.

VA releases data on vacancies as required under MISSION Act

VA.ORG — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released its figures on employment vacancies as of June 30, as mandated each quarter under the recently passed MISSION Act.  VA reported the following vacancies: 45,239 overall vacancies at the department, out of a total of 419,353 full-time authorized and budgeted positions.

WEDNESDAY

Advocates call for a renewed national conversation on veteran suicide

MILITARY TIMES — Melissa Bryant said the 5,520 flags placed along the National Mall Wednesday to illustrate the toll of veteran suicide this year alone were more than just a visual reminder of the scope of the problem. “When we came out here this morning to plant these flags, every one of us had a friend or family member in mind,” said Bryant, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “Some of us standing here could have been one of these flags, but for an intervention.”

President Trump visits 10th Mountain Division (LI) to sign NDAATrump donates salary for vet entrepreneurship

MILITARY TIMES REBOOT CAMP — President Donald Trump on Wednesday donated his second quarter salary to a new Small Business Administration initiative to help veteran entrepreneurs, the second time this year he has given money to federal veterans initiatives, according to the White House. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced the donation at a White House briefing on Wednesday. Linda McMahon, head of the Small Business Administration, accepted the $100,000 check, saying the funds “would be put to good use.”

VA releases 2018 performance ratings for its hospitals

STARS AND STRIPES — The Department of Veterans Affairs released the newest performance ratings Wednesday for each of its 146 hospitals, citing improvements in the past year at some of its lowest-performing facilities. The fiscal 2018 ratings include nine one-star hospitals, the lowest possible, down from 14 hospitals that received one-star ratings in 2017. The ratings indicate each hospital’s quality of care and are based on data such as death rates, patient satisfaction and efficiency. In years past, the VA had withheld the data from the public. In 2016, the performance ratings were released under pressure that followed a USA Today investigation.

Dr. Joe JacobsTriWest takes over VA community care programs nationwide

MILITARY TIMES — Veterans Affairs officials announced Tuesday that TriWest Health Care Alliance will take over nationwide operations for the department’s main community care programs despite concerns raised last month about overpayments to the company. For the last five years, operations for the department’s primary two outside care programs — Patient-Centered Community Care and Veterans Choice Program — had been operated by TriWest and Health Net Federal Services.

Allan Hancock Community College receives grant money to expand services for student veterans

KEYT 3 NEWS — The Veteran Success Center at Allan Hancock Community College is receiving nearly $200,000 in grant money through the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. The college was one of 29 community colleges in the state to receive a total of $4.9 million in funding for veterans centers. Student veterans are excited about getting an extra hand.

Shuklin in New JerseyShulkin shares challenges of his time at VA with N.J. audience

ROI-NJ — Former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin returned to New Jersey on Tuesday evening to discuss his work at the VA, and commend New Jersey on some of its efforts in the health care space. He was the keynote speaker, preceded by his former White House colleague and now commissioner of health in New Jersey, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, at an event hosted by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey in Woodbridge. One of the most notable things Shulkin achieved during his time in the VA was an attempt to compromise between the wants of those screaming for privatization and those that believed in a single-payer system.

‘I knew something was not right’: Mass cancellations of diagnostic test orders at VA hospitals draw scrutiny

USA TODAY — Radiology technologist Jeff Dettbarn said he knew something was wrong at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, when a patient arrived in February 2017 for a CT scan, but the doctor’s order for it had been canceled. “To have a patient show up for a scan and not have an order – you’re like, ‘What the heck is going on?’ ” he told USA TODAY in an interview.

 

 

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