veterans

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

Veterans Administration hospitals have avoided a shutdown, thanks to legislation passed by Congress.

All the members of New Hampshire’s House and Senate delegations voted this week to authorize the use of $3.3 billion in Veterans Choice funds to plug a hole in the VA’s budget.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

President Obama signed into law Tuesday a bill that would make it easier for veterans to start businesses with loans from the Small Business Administration.

The bill would waive fees for veterans starting up new businesses with SBA loans—which New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen says will help veterans get started.

"This is bipartisan legislation," Shaheen says. "I introduced it in the last Congress and we reintroduced it. It got support in the House. And I’m very happy the President signed it quickly into law."

Thomas Fearon

Officials in Lebanon are gearing up to launch New Hampshire’s second veterans court.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

New Hampshire US Senator Jeanne Shaheen is cosponsoring a bill that would review the service records of those who were discharged from the military for being gay or lesbian. 

Shaheen is one of 22 Senators that signed on last week to the bill from Hawaii Democrat Brian Schatz. It would require the Defense Department to establish processes for reviewing records and reclassifying discharges that were based on, or refer to, an individual's sexual orientation. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services plans to add 11 positions to help community mental health centers understand military culture. But these eleven workers can’t start until a new state budget is in place—something that has been delayed by partisan fighting.

These workers will be called “community mental health center military culture liaisons.” Ten of them will work part-time at mental health centers throughout the state. The eleventh will work statewide.

Thomas Fearon

 

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services is launching several new initiatives to help New Hampshire veterans, service members and their families receive medical and mental health treatment.

Commissioner Nick Toumpas will be joined by Department of Veterans Affairs officials, New Hampshire National Guard leaders and others from the civilian sector to describe the programs on Wednesday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law a $271 million capital budget that includes money for 50 new beds at the state veterans' home for dementia care and for a new Merrimack County courthouse.

It doesn't include $4 million Hassan wanted for further study of a plan to bring commuter rail from Boston into Nashua and Manchester. She says it is critical for economic development and bringing young people into the state. Opponents say the benefits are overstated and the state will need to spend money subsidizing the project.

File Photo / NHPR

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is one of a dozen lawmakers from both parties calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide benefits to members of the military who survived mustard gas testing during World War II.

Recently NPR reported that the Department of Defense tested mustard gas on 60,000 US troops, often grouping them by race or ethnicity. Many survivors have been rejected for health care and other VA benefits.

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire and Vermont officials are attending the grand opening of the new location of the White River Junction Vet Center.

The Vet Center provides readjustment counseling for combat veterans and military sexual trauma victims as well as bereavement issues.

The White River Junction Vet Center has moved to a new 5,000-square-foot, handicap accessible facility that officials say better meets the needs of its veterans.

Russell Sellers / Flickr Creative Commons

There are more than 113,000 military veterans in the state of New Hampshire. That’s about 8.5 percent of the total population. According to the Spring Granite State Poll, more than half of those may vote in the GOP Primary, rather than the Democratic Primary. For more on how veterans may vote in New Hampshire’s primary elections, we turn to Andrew Smith. He’s the director of the UNH Survey Center. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.
 

Your poll found that nearly 54 percent of veterans planned on voting in the GOP primary. Was this surprising to you?

Kelly Swann

For the last few months students from The Center for Cartooning Studies have been meeting with veterans at the VA Hospital in White River Junction.  The hope is that a collection of veterans stories can be turned into an anthology of visual stories - comic strips based on the veterans' experiences. 

wooleywonderworks / Flickr Creative Commons

Advocates for veterans in the North Country are working with state and local law enforcement agencies and the court system to create a court diversion program for veterans. 

The diversion program will attempt to keep some veterans accused of non-violent crimes from going to jail. It’s designed to help veterans treat the underlying problems that cause them to have run-ins with police. 

Dave Canter is co-chair of Vet-to-Vet, a peer support program for veterans in Gorham. He says this is not a "get out of jail free" card.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Representatives from local and national veterans' organizations gathered in Concord Friday to explore ways to help veterans entering the justice system.

The groups are encouraging police officers and other service providers to ask people they encounter if they’ve ever served in the military. If the answer is “yes,” then these service providers could steer the veteran to customized services.

ronmerk / Morguefile

 

New Hampshire is holding its first conference focused on the needs of veterans who end up involved in the judicial system.

Friday's "Justice Involved Veterans Conference" in Concord is organized by the New Hampshire Justice Involved Veterans Task Force and sponsored by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Discussions will be held on post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and active-duty military; judges addressing how veterans are served; and hearing veterans' voices.

iamnotpablo / Morguefile

The White River Junction VA Clinic has been selected as one of three such clinics nationwide to participate in a new pilot program that attempts to streamline eye and ear care for veterans. 

The name is kind of a mouthful: The Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Pilot Program.

Simply put, it shortens the path veterans need to follow to get care for their eyes or ears.

ronmerk / Morguefile

A program designed to teach doctors, police officers, and other caregivers about military culture is set to launch in New Hampshire this summer.

The Portsmouth-based Dare Mighty Things will run the courses. They've been running similar courses for years in other states. 

A survey of New Hampshire veterans last year found that veterans often report feeling misunderstood by civilian doctors, police officers, and school officials—and that creates a barrier to care and services.

Jacqueline Bessette of Dare Mighty Things says these courses attempt to change that.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

 

U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen are inviting New Hampshire veterans to attend a forum at Saint Anselm College to discuss the Veterans Choice Card program.

The card provides "backup" care if a veteran cannot be seen by a Veterans Affairs facility in 30 days or if the VA's closest medical facility is challenging to access. In situations like this, Veterans are eligible to receive care outside of the VA.

5.25.15: Happy Memorial Day

May 25, 2015
Peter Miller via flickr Creative Commons| / flic.kr/p/aezcJU

Each Memorial Day, the country comes together to remember the fallen – but history hasn’t always been so kind. When President Lincoln was assassinated, many people publically celebrated his death, and not just in the south. On today’s show, the myth of a country united in mourning. Plus, a look at why some important historical events go altogether unremembered – like the sinking of The Sultana, America’s deadliest maritime disaster. And a Vietnam veteran says thank you to the comrade who saved him – not from bullets, but from himself.

Iraq War Veterans: Stories From The Homefront

May 25, 2015
Kansas City Public Library / Flickr/CC

We're talking with Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel about his work covering the lives of Iraq War veterans -- their experiences in war and returning home, where they often face what Finkel calls the "after-war."

www.shaheen.senate.gov

 

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that makes sure death benefits paid to families of public safety officer who are killed in the line of duty are not subject to federal income tax.

U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen introduced the bill and say it's now headed to the president for his signature.

Federal survivor benefits are not subject to federal taxation but Ayotte's office says New Hampshire law enforcement personnel were concerned about an ambiguity in the law regarding the tax treatment of state-based survivor benefits programs.

Courtesy of VPR

New Hampshire veterans may not have to travel so far to receive services.

That’s after the Department of Veterans Affairs changed its policy to driving distance rather than straight line distance when calculating eligibility for its choice program.

Director of the medical center Deborah Amdur said about 800 more Granite Staters will now be able to get care in their community on the V.A. ‘s dime. The policy change, which effects anyone who lives 20 miles or more from a V.A. hospital, will take effect immediately. 

Thomas Fearon

The Manchester VA Hospital must pay $21 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

According to the federal judge who heard the case, a 60-year-old veteran in Bennington suffered a horrific ordeal that left him trapped inside his own body – and the event was entirely preventable.

After Michael Farley suffered a stroke in 2010, VA doctors failed to give him the proper medications to prevent a second stroke.  Medical staff also poorly coordinated Farley's care.

www.whiteriver.va.gov

The number of female veterans receiving care at VA facilities has doubled in the past decade.

That figure is expected to grow, with close to 200,000 women having served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That growth means the need to offer specialized care for female veterans is more pressing than ever.

Carey Russ was recently named manager of the Women Veterans Program at the White River Junction VA Medical Center.

She joined Morning Edition to talk about her new role.

Jack Rodolico

Last April, the news broke that 40 veterans had died while waiting for medical care from a VA Hospital in Arizona. That provoked a national outcry at long wait times for sick vets.

Congress passed a $16.3 billion law to overhaul the Veterans Affairs Administration, and a crucial aspect of that law is now unfolding in New Hampshire. The idea is for the VA to pay for medical treatment outside the VA system.

Homelessness In New Hampshire

Jan 12, 2015
ashleigh290 / Flickr/CC

A recent report shows that the overall population is down, but the problem persists and has even increased among certain groups including veterans.  Now, with diverse efforts across the state to help the homeless, there is active discussion, and some disagreement, within communities about the best approach.

GUESTS:

Jack Rodolico

Ceremonies were held around the state Tuesday in honor of Veteran’s Day. Governor Maggie Hassan and most of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation paid their respects at an event at the State Veteran’s Cemetery in Boscawen.

About 2,000 people were in attendance for the morning ceremony. Veterans with leather vests and chest-length beards stood alongside trim soldiers on horseback; they and their families listened to top state officials express gratitude for their patriotic service.

There’s a non-profit organization in Portsmouth with the aim of bringing veterans from all branches of the U.S. Military into the performing arts, both on and off the stage.  Jonathan Rockwood Hoar is the Artistic Director of Veterans In Performing Arts. He spoke with Morning Edition about how it started and what it has meant for those who participate.

Chris Jensen

Veterans in the North Country should soon find it easier to get medical care with a VA medical clinic in Littleton moving into a larger facility next spring and a new center opening this year in Colebrook.

A 10,000-square foot facility now under construction at the Mt. Eustis Commons on Cottage Street will be about twice as big as the clinic’s current home.

Purple Heart
mattscoggin / Flickr Creative Commons

The family of a World War I veteran from New Hampshire has been presented with some long-overdue service medals.   Frank Silva's son, Cmdr. Frank Silva, and daughter, Kathleen Talley, received the Purple Heart and other medals on Friday at the American Legion, Post 37 in Hooksett.   Sen. Jeanne Shaheen presented the medals.   Silva served in France after enlisting in the Army in July 1917. Silva was originally assigned to the Yankee Division, which would later become the 101st Field Artillery Unit. During his time in the Army, Mr.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

A group of veterans gathered in Concord Monday to throw their support behind re-electing New Hampshire U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Several of the veterans endorsing the former New Hampshire governor pointed to her political experience in the Granite State.

Retired US Air Force Colonel Gail Prince of Bedford says Shaheen has been supporting veterans’ issues in New Hampshire going back to her time as a state Senator.

“She knows who to reach out to here in the state to get New Hampshire’s position, the people’s position, on an issue.”

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