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White House defends its North Korea strategy. The Obama administration on Monday defended its decision to negotiate with North Korea as the reclusive regime prepared for a long-range rocket launch and a possible nuclear bomb test — two actions that fly in the face of the deal the United States struck recently with leaders there.

Alleged 9/11 conspirators to be arraigned May 5 at Guantanamo. The chief war court judge, Army Col. James Pohl, has assigned himself to preside at the death-penalty trial of the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks and has set a provisional arraignment date for May 5 at Guantanamo, The Miami Herald has learned.

Nursing groups promise PTSD, TBI training. A coalition of nursing schools and medical organizations will train more than 3 million nurses in coming years on dealing with the invisible wounds of war.

VA secretary visits NH, cites agency The head of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday a new computerized system should greatly reduce the time it takes for the agency to process disability claims.

AMVETS ‘Because We Care Day’ recognizes Vets in ScrantonGo Lackawanna AMVETS volunteers are out in force at VA medical facilities and Veteran Homes across the country to recognize and support sick and hospitalized veterans for “Because We Care Day.” “Because We Care Day,” which was officially April 4, is a decades-old …

VA official studies region’s Dr. James Wells’ biggest priority as the new chief of staff at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville is to understand the needs of local veterans. “To do that, I will be walking around the facility and talking …

Health Care Available For Vietnam Vets Exposed To Agent OrangeWISC Madison They endured the horrors of war but now aging Vietnam War veterans are fighting an ongoing battle against deadly diseases and illnesses linked to a chemical they were exposed to during war. The state Department of Veterans Affairs is urging an …

Programs to help veterans get More than 2.8 million men and women have served Afghanistan and Iraq wars, according to the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs, with many of them returning to the workforce following the end of the Iraq war last December and the downsizing of the …

State assists returning soldiers, their familiesEdmond Sun Edmond resident Rita Aragon, a retired major general, is the first female and the fourth Oklahoma secretary of veterans affairs, a cabinet-level position appointed by the governor. The secretary is the chief adviser to the governor on veterans’ health …

Meeting kicks off VA’s effort to expand Kingman servicesKingman Daily Miner The US Department of Veterans Affairs is holding an industry day from 10 am to noon today at the Kingman Branch of the County Library, 3269 N. Burbank, for those interested in offering or building office space for lease to the department.

Western Michigan University, community colleges announce VetSuccess programThe Republic Upton says the US Department of Veterans Affairs will locate a VetSuccess campus program in southwestern Michigan. Details of the program are being announced Tuesday on the Western Michigan University campus. Upton says the VetSuccess program gives …

Caution needed when curbing overuse of healthcare resources, study suggestsMedical Xpress Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the study, which appears today in the April issue of Health Affairs, examines the potential impact of policies to …

Mrs. Obama: Nation Must “Step Up Forever” For Military Families. American Forces Press Service “As First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden mark the first anniversary of their ‘Joining Forces’ campaign this week, the two say they will continue to solidify its successes so a structured effort to help military families is a permanent part of American culture.” AFPS said it recently interviewed the two women, and that Mrs. Obama “said she expects the campaign to endure indefinitely.” She added, “I know” that President Obama and Vice President Biden are working with VA and the Defense Department “to set up a structure to ensure this continues, regardless of who’s in office.”

Free Veterans’ Workshop Focuses On Starting, Expanding A Business. New Mexico Business Weekly “A free workshop in Las Cruces on April 12 will help veterans and active-duty military personnel with starting a business or expanding an existing operation. The Veteran Business Outreach Center of the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services is teaming with the New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network to present the workshop from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces.” The event will include “presentations on how to determine the feasibility of a business idea, how to successfully bid on government contracts and how to create a business plan and market a business.”

Efforts Made To Help Vets Find Jobs. Bloomberg News’ Bottom Line “Unemployment among American veterans was an astounding 12.1% last year.” Companies “across the country like JP Morgan Chase, Delta Airlines, Verizon, and others have pledged to hire 100,000 veterans in total by 2020, but that’s easier said than done.” When it comes to finding jobs for vets, there are “many programs designed to help – transition classes from the military, government tax credits to companies that hire vets — but matching a civilian job with someone’s skills honed in combat isn’t easy.”

1,500 Veterans Have Been Hired Through Missouri Program. AP “The jobless rate for veterans remains high, but a Missouri program is working to help.” The program, which began in 2010, is called Show-Me Heroes. Southeast Missourian reports that 1,500 veterans have been hired, and 1,834 companies have agreed to participate in the program.”

VA Ready To Waive Telehealth Co-Pays. Health Data Management “Unless there are significant adverse comments on rules published in March, the Department of Veterans Affairs in May will eliminate co-payments for in-home video telehealth sessions.” The agency “published a proposed rule on March 6 to waive co-payments with a 30-day comment period that has expired. ‘This would remove a barrier that may have previously discouraged veterans from choosing to use in-home video telehealth as a viable medical care option,’ according to the rule.”

VA Reaches Out To Growing Number Of Vets Who Were Sexually Assaulted Or Harassed In The Military. Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard The Veterans Affairs hospital in Syracuse is “seeing a steady increase in the number of veterans who say they were sexually assaulted or harassed while serving in the military.” The Post-Standard adds, “The VA is focusing attention on the issue during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” On Tuesday, the Syracuse VA is “hosting a ‘Clothesline Project'” of “T-shirts designed by veterans who are MST survivors.”

Eye Tremors May Aid Early Diagnosis Of Parkinson’s: Study. HealthDay A “published online April 9 in the journal Archives of Neurology” found that persistent “eye tremors…in people with Parkinson’s disease” affect “eye stability while tracking moving objects.” HealthDay adds, “The findings suggest that testing eyeball movement – ‘oculomotor testing’ — could help provide an early marker for diagnosing the nervous-system disease, the researchers said.” HealthDay notes that George Gitchel with the Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, helped conduct the study.

DoD Awarding Vet-Owned Contracts To Ineligible Firms, IG Finds. Federal News Radio “The Defense Department’s inspector general found the department is awarding service-disabled veteran-owned small business contracts to ineligible businesses.” According to Federal News Radio, Veterans Affairs has “its own verification process for veteran-owned contractors,” and the DoD’s report recommended that a similar process be adopted by the DoD. But lawyer Devon Hewitt, who belongs to the American Legion’s Small Business Task Force, said that “if you ask veterans, I think they would say the Veterans Administration is not doing a better job” than the DoD is doing.

IG Report Uncovers 15,000 Security Holes At VA. Federal News Radio “Security problems are racking up for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The inspector general’s office there said it found more than 15,000 security holes” having to do with Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) compliance issues.

Mo. Contract Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Program. AP “A Kansas City-area contractor pleaded guilty Monday in Kansas to defrauding” the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, a Federal “government program designed to steer projects to companies owned by disabled veterans.” In his plea, the 70-year-old Warren Parker “admitted that he falsely claimed to be a disabled vet, helping his company, Silver Star Construction LLC, land roughly $7.5 million in contacts it wasn’t eligible to receive.” Parker “faces up to 30 years in federal prison without parole when he is sentenced at an undetermined date.”

DC Delegation Coming To Hot Springs. Hot Springs (SD) Star “All three South Dakota congressional representatives” – US Sens. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and John Thune (R-SD), as well as US Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) — will “host a public one-hour VA information-gathering session, beginning at 11 a.m., at the Hot Springs American Legion, on Thursday, April 12.” The lawmakers will “tour the VA Black Hills Health Care Medical Center and Domiciliary that morning and will also have a short meeting with BHHCS director Steve DiStasio. They will then move to the Legion, where they will hear presentations from group leaders, highlighting the Save the VA Campaign’s efforts to retain health care services for veterans at the longtime facility in Hot Springs.”

Legion Testifies At Hearing On Vet Centers. American Legion “The American Legion shared its concerns about the effectiveness of VA-ran Vet Centers at an April 5 field hearing before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health in Modesto, Calif.” The website adds, “Chiefly, the Legion voiced concern that there are substantially fewer counselors who are veterans at the Vet Centers, which are community-based facilities funded and operated by VA to provide counseling, outreach and referral services. The Legion wants VA to hire more veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to serve as qualified peer counselors.”

Amputee Softball Players Beat Odds, Other Team. Army Times Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, which was founded by David Van Sleet. Van Sleet “served in the Army for two years, then went on to a 30-career working with prosthetics for the Veterans Affairs Department.” The team, “composed of current and former Marines and soldiers who have lost limbs, played against a field of Washington celebrities at Nationals Field on April 3, winning 17-4.”

VA Hospital Offers Public A Chance To Meet American Heroes. KOLD-TV At the VA hospital in Tucson on Monday, the “community was invited to meet with former” prisoners of war (POWs), including one who served in World War II, during an event that offered a “first hand look into the personal sacrifices these veterans went through.” This was “part of EX-POW Recognition Day,” which was co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.

VCU Artists Sketch Disabled Veterans. Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch On Monday, students in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Painting and Printmaking “visited the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where disabled veterans became their subjects.” One of the students, Emily Bolin, “sketched as she talked with veteran Ronald Richardson and watched him practice for the upcoming National Veterans Wheelchair Games.” The Times-Dispatch adds, “More than 600 veterans will travel from all over the country to participate in the Richmond event, which is free and open to the public.”

Four Comedians To Headline Show At Arena. Danville (IL) Commercial-News “A comedy show benefiting a program for homeless veterans was so successful last year that it’s coming back. Operation Comedy, featuring four comedians, will start at 8 p.m. Saturday at the David S. Palmer Arena, 100 W. Main St.” A “portion of the proceeds” from Operation Comedy, which was founded by comedian Jon Stites, will “go to the Homeless Veterans Program at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System.” In the article, Stites, who is one of the four comedians performing at Saturday’s show, praised the program and its director, Jennifer Gerrib, who, according to Stites, “never drops the ball on anything.”

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