Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – December 12, 2012

Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources


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1.   Intel report sees US losing superpower status by 2030A report by the National Intelligence Council predicts the United States will lose its superpower status by 2030, but that no country – including China – will be a hegemonic power.

 2.   In ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ she’s the hero; in real life, CIA agent’s career is more complicatedShe was a real-life heroine of the CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden, a headstrong young operative whose work tracking the al-Qaeda leader serves as the dramatic core of a Hollywood film set to premiere next week. Her CIA career has followed a more problematic script, however, since bin Laden was killed.

3.   Veteran’s family gets a home fit for a hero in Harnett County, N.C.Richie Chavis’ dream home came with a nightmare cost. Two years ago in Afghanistan, an explosion ripped away the Marine lance corporal’s legs above the knees – and nearly took his life. On Monday, the 22-year-old Robeson County native and his family unlocked a specially built home in Lexington Plantation, just off N.C. 87 in western Harnett County.

Family of Pittsburgh VA Legionnaires’ victim sues US Veterans Affairs Department.  Pittsburgh Post Gazette  The family of a Hampton man who died last month after contracting Legionnaires’ disease at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs’ hospital in Oakland filed a civil claim against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs today. At a press conference this …
5.   Actor, Korean War Veteran James McEachin Soldiers On For Veterans.  San Gabriel Valley (CA) Tribune “James McEachin has worked beside such legends as John Wayne, Bette Davis and Sidney Poitier. … But despite having more than 150 film and television credits to his name, McEachin – a decorated Army veteran who fought in the Korean War – would much rather be remembered as a soldier than an actor.” The piece notes, “A recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service in Korea, McEachin is among the six Korean War veterans slated to ride on the Department of Defense’s Rose Parade float on Jan. 1. The float will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that halted the hostilities.”
6.   Native American Veterans Get New Access To Local Health Care.  KUOW-FM “American Indian and Alaska Native veterans can now see local Indian Health Service providers for care that is covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Under the agreement the VA will now reimburse local Indian Health Service doctors for providing things like mental health care, pharmacy services, and diagnostic testing.”

7.   Time Running Out For Veterans’ Fertility Bill.  Military Times  “The clock is running on a $568 million Senate bill that would expand infertility treatment for veterans, including vitro fertilization treatments at an estimated cost of $15,000 per user. If the bill doesn’t pass the Senate and House by year’s end, it will vanish on Jan. 3 when a new session of Congress convenes. … The Women Veterans’ and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2012, passed by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in September and awaiting a vote by the full Senate, would break new ground in providing fertility assistance in cases where a veteran has suffered service-connected injuries that make natural reproduction difficult or impossible.”
8.   Number Of Chronically Homeless, Including Veterans, Drops In U.S.  Los Angeles Times  ”The number of chronically homeless people and homeless veterans has dropped significantly in recent years, but the Obama administration still faces challenges in its effort to completely eradicate homelessness by 2020.” That is the conclusion of HUD’s annual report on homelessness. The data revealed there were about 633,782 homeless people in the US in January. The figure is 5.7% lower compared to 2007, but only 0.4% lower than the 2011 number. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan “said the continuing downward trend ‘represents a real accomplishment when you consider this country is still recovering from the worst economic downturn since the great depression.’” Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said the government has been making progress towards its goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. He added, “We’ve learned that…grants are one of our most effective tools: quick, agile, precise, timely and decisive in stopping downward slides for veterans and families.”  Washington Post “The decrease in the homeless veterans population is largely attributable to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing(HUD-VASH) program that provides permanent housing to homeless veterans. More than 37,000 veterans have been housed using HUD Section 8 housing vouchers, which are coupled with support from case managers and access to VA health care. … Meanwhile, the VA is tripling the amount of grant money available to Supportive Services for Veterans Families,” which “is expected to serve 70,000 veterans and family members at risk of homelessness, according to the VA.” Notably, “Shinseki said that the VA is on track to reach ‘functional zero’ in 2015, a goal that would mean getting all chronically homeless veterans off the street. But short-term homelessness among veterans will still exist, he said.”  Denver Post In Colorado, the number of homeless people increased nearly 11 percent, although the situation of homeless vets is improving. Linda Barringer, a MDHI board member who praised the VA-HUD partnership, remarked, “We’ve seen a lot of effort and a lot of money going into housing vets.”

9.   VA Proposing New Illnesses For Service-Connected Brain Injury Definition; Eric Shinseki Comments.  ExecutiveGov “The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing a new regulation in the Federal Register that would increase the number of illnesses connected to traumatic brain injury suffered while in service. he VA said the proposed regulation would add Parkinson’s disease, unprovoked seizures, some dementias, depression and hormone deficiency diseases related to several glands as secondary illnesses to service-connected TBI.” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “We must always decide veterans’ disability claims based on the best science available and we will. Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence that ensure they receive benefits earned through their service to the country.”

10.   Fundraising For PTSD Therapy.  KURL-TV “A local business owner is doing her part to help veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Connie Pacheco is a former nurse and current owner of TootieScrubs on Grand Avenue. … To help, she’ll be donating a portion of her sales until Christmas to the VA’s Recreation Therapy Program.”


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