1. North Korea highly likely to stage nuke test after missile launch, expert says. It is highly likely that North Korea is preparing for an underground nuclear test in another apparent snub of the international community, a South Korean spokesman said.
2. Military career skills program for spouses under scrutiny. My Career Advancement Account has proved wildly popular: More than 147,000 spouses have participated since it began in 2009, and demand was so high the military briefly suspended the program, retooled it to apply only to the spouses of junior service members and reduced the maximum benefit from $6,000 to $4,000.
3. Afghan forces to lead special operations under agreement with US. All special military operations in Afghanistan – including night raids – will be led by Afghan security forces under a deal signed Sunday between the United States and Afghanistan.
4. Prosthetics get the personal touch. Prosthetics long have focused on function. But the same design sensibility that has come to influence practical items like smartphones is turning synthetic limbs into a platform for self-expression. As Scott Summit helps fulfill that desire, he is influencing what it means to live with a disability.
5. Vet Affairs not a money-making assignment . Watchdog group puts the House Veterans Affairs Committee among the worst for congressional fundraising efforts
6. Lessons learned in Libya. When Operation Odyssey Dawn launched in March 2011, AFRICOM found itself in an unlikely role: leading a kinetic military operation on the African continent. While the no-fly zone mission over Libya eventually proved to be a success, AFRICOM’s unique structure complicated U.S. efforts, particularly during the early stages of the mission, according to an article in the March edition of PRISM, a National Defense University security studies journal.
7. P-Noy bares more medical benefits for war veterans. Philippine Star Leslie Bassett, deputy chief of mission of the US embassy, said the US Department of Veterans Affairs celebrated 90 years of service to veterans in the Philippines this year. “Every month we are honored to distribute over $8 million in benefits to …
8. Homeless veterans need our help. Rapid City Journal Thanks to a public-private partnership in our state, Scott now has a roof over his head while he gets back on track. The Berakhah House in Sioux Falls and similar facilities around our state are showing veterans like Scott how much we care about them.
9. Veterans sign petitions for East Tennessee VA hospital. Chattanooga Times Free Press WBIR-TV reports that veterans gave the petitions to elected leaders during a meeting Saturday in the hope of enticing them to vote in favor of a plan that would create a veteran’s facility from an old hospital in the city of Harriman.
10. Tougher citizenship requirements nearly kept Lacey Army veteran from 6-figure. TheNewsTribune.com The couple has struggled to pay their bills with his Army retirement pay and his wife’s salary as a nurse at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Lakewood. Rhonda Phillips’ niece had drug problems, and the state placed the niece’s three children, …
11. More women vets are homeless, but housing scarce. CBS News A new report from the VA inspector general examining veteran housing that receive VA grants found bedrooms and bathrooms without locks, poorly lit hallways and women housed in facilities approved for men only. Nearly a third of the 26 facilities …
12. For-Profit Schools Under Fire For Targeting Veterans. North Country Public Radio Lawmakers have even asked the US Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark terms like “GI Bill,” so commercial sites cannot use the words to gain veterans’ trust. Jim Sweizer is vice president for military programs at the American Public University …
13. For-Profit Schools Under Fire For Targeting Veterans. NPR Some “members of Congress are worried” about for-profit schools “ripping off the government by luring students” with Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits “into programs that seldom lead to good jobs. Lawmakers have even asked the US Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark terms like ‘G.I. Bill,’ so commercial sites cannot use the words to gain veterans’ trust.” Jim Sweizer, vice president for military programs at the American Public University System, “says he would like to see the VA become the ultimate college guidance counselor to vets.” NPR points out that VA already offers lots of advice on its website to vets who want to attend college.
14. Official Touts VA Efforts To Care For Women Vets. WSOC-TV An interview with Veterans Affairs’ Shinseki Williams-Johnson, who spoke about the “quality healthcare that the VA provides for…women.” For example, she said, VA has “addressed many privacy, security issues that made inpatient and outpatient units safer, not for only women veterans, but for all of our veterans.”
15. VA Offering Assistance To Vets With PTSD. KFBB-TV “Many combat veterans find themselves dealing with a condition known” as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to KFBB, Veterans Affairs offers treatment to help such vets “through the constant uphill struggle” that is PTSD.
16. Tightening The Lid On Pain Prescriptions. New York Times “Data suggests that hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide may be on potentially dangerous dosages” of powerful painkillers like OxyContin. The “Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are trying new programs to reduce use among active-duty troops and veterans. Various states are experimenting with restrictions.”
17. VA Seeks To Eliminate Copay For In-Home Video Health Care. CQ “As Medicare is experimenting with plans for more extensive in-home health care it could look to the Veterans Affairs Department, which has had a similar program in place for three decades, one the VA is proposing to make even easier to use.” According to a “proposed rule posted on the Federal Register,” VA “wants to do away with copayments for video telehealth care that veterans get in their homes, a kind of video ‘house call.’” CQ adds, “The comment period for the proposed rule ended Friday and the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, a group of home health care providers, praised the VA for doing away with the copay.”
18. Advocates Of The Plain Writing Act Prod Federal Agencies To Keep It Simple. Washington Post “Federal agencies must report their progress this week in complying with the Plain Writing Act, a new decree that government officials communicate more conversationally with the public. Speaking plainly, they ain’t there yet.,” although “law professor Joseph Kimble, author of a forthcoming book on the benefits of plain language,” has taken note of an effort by Veterans Affairs to improve in this area. According to Kimble, calls to one regional VA center went from approximately 1,100 a year to approximately 200 calls a year after VA revised one of the letters it sends out. The Post adds, however, that at a “January meeting of the Plain Language Information & Action Network,” Meredith Weberg, an editor at VA’s inspector general’s office, “described how she butted up against an ‘obstinate’ boss” who would not let change the words “‘concur’ and ‘not concur’ to ‘agree’ and ‘disagree.’”
19. Program Could Help Oklahoma City Homeless Veterans. Oklahoman “A federal program credited with decreasing Oklahoma City’s population of homeless veterans stands to grow. Forty homeless Oklahoma City veterans will be eligible for housing vouchers after an injection of cash from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.” The “housing assistance is provided through the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, which is administered by HUD, the VA and local public housing agencies across the country.”
20. Group Of Retired Vets Stands Fast In Fight For Homeless. Santa Monica (CA) Daily Press 70-year-old veteran Bob Rosebrock is part of a group of veterans who want land on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus to be used to shelter “homeless veterans who are physically disabled or suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the alcoholism and drug addiction that so often comes from self medicating.” But officials “with the West L.A. VA said they have a number of programs to help veterans,” including one that uses vouchers to help homeless vets make rent payments. That, however, is not enough for Rosebrock or the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which has filed a “lawsuit on behalf of four homeless veterans with PTSD that challenges the VA to provide permanent supportive housing at the West L.A. campus.”
21. Hospice Honored For Veterans Care. Rapid City Journal The Rapid City Regional Hospital’s Hospice of the Hills program has been “awarded Level One status by the We Honor Veterans Partner Program for their end-of-life care to veterans. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs launched We Honor Veterans, a campaign to help improve the care veterans receive from hospice and palliative care providers.” The City Journal quotes Marcia Taylor, director of Hospice of the Hills, who said, “We have the honor of being able to hear amazing stories, honor the sacrifices our veterans have made, and help them reflect on their experiences in a healing way.”
22. Tri-State Open House Planned For Vets. Sioux City Journal “An outreach initiative to provide rural-area Veterans information and counseling about benefits and services is planned for Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28.” The US Department of Veterans Affairs is “partnering with the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, service agencies, county service officers and military transition assistance advisors to bring information and services at the Veterans of the Armed Forces Open House.”
23. VA Nurse Recipient Of TB Hero Award. Brockton (MA) Enterprise “Nancy O’Neil, of the VA Boston Healthcare System, was recognized with the TB Hero Award at the 2012 ‘World No TB Day’ event at the State House on March 27. The Medical Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, a group of physicians and other TB experts held the event,” which was “attended by state legislators, Department of Public Health officials, physicians, nurses and community members. O’Neil, a licensed practical nurse, was selected as the TB Hero for Massachusetts ;because of her tireless work at the VA Boston Healthcare System,; according to a VA press release.”
24. Veterans Sign Petitions For New VA Hospital. AP “Hundreds of veterans have signed petitions in support of a new” Veterans Affairs “hospital in East Tennessee.
25. Brockton VA Outreach Coordinator Working To Get More Veterans In The Door. Brockton (MA) Enterprise David Hencke, a “lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard, became VA Boston Healthcare System’s outreach coordinator this year. One of his key goals is getting the current generation of veterans – Iraq and Afghanistan service members – to start using the Veterans Affairs’ services.” The Enterprise adds, “Helping veterans sooner, Hencke added, can help prevent future health issues.”
26. Ike’s Memorial. Washington Post “Recent weeks have seen an escalation of passions surrounding architect Frank Gehry’s design for the $112 million” Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial “planned for land just south of the Mall near the National Air and Space Museum.” The “House subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands held an unusual hearing in which there were calls to scrap the plans.” But the Post concludes that the “bipartisan commission” behind the current plans “has undertaken a meticulous, public process that took pains to include the Eisenhower family,” and “should not be deterred in its efforts to break ground.”
27. Veterans And Their Families Get Help To Become Homeowners. Kansas City (MO) Star
28. Japanese-American Soldier: Japanese-American Soldier Proud Of Congressional Gold Medal. Orlando Sentinel
29. Bataan’s Survivors Are Almost Gone. San Antonio Express-News
30. Golf Tournament To Benefit Semper Fi Fund. Riverside (CA) Press Enterprise
31. Tougher Citizenship Requirements Nearly Kept Lacey Army Veteran From 6-Figure Overseas Job. Tacoma (WA) News Tribune
32. Tim Tuttle And Other Volunteer Drivers Give The Gift Of Transportation. Muncie (IN) Star Press
33. 500 Missouri Veterans Have Been Hired Under State’s Show-Me Heroes Program. Southeast Missourian
34. US VETS Helps Homeless Veterans Become Self Sufficient. Prescott (AZ) Daily Courier
35. Helping Area Veterans Find Their Place In The Working World. Windsor (CO) Beacon
36. Veterans Group Works To Engage Female Students. Columbia Spectator
37. Resource For Troops With PTSD Could Run Out Of Money. KCNC-TV