Transitionnews 12/31/13

Transitionnews for Tuesday, December 31st 2013:

Good news story of the day

Fifth Third Bank Chicago Holiday Cheer Benefits Local Military Families & Veterans  (PR Newswire)  Fifth Third Bank (Chicago) today announced that it has contributed in a number of ways, over the holiday season, to help local soldiers, their families, and veterans


Enlisted retention board to convene in June  (Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs)  An enlisted retention board will convene here in June to consider eligible senior airmen through senior master sergeants for retention, Air Force Personnel Center officials said.

Military members master public speaking as group  (42d Air Base Public Affairs)  “Some people just have the gift and ability to speak,” said Senior Airman Bryce Bellmore, an Air University knowledge operations manager. “I don’t have that, but I’m learning.”

Force cuts, eval changes and more: 15 things you should know for 2014  (Air Force Times)  Budget cuts and events worldwide and close to home mean many changes for airmen in 2014.


Bonadio CEO donates to veteran care program  (Accounting Today)  Thomas Bonadio, CEO and managing partner of New York Top 100 firm The Bonadio Group, recently presented a $25,000 check to CDS Monarch in Webster to benefit the nonprofit organization’s Warrior Salute program.

Veterans want boxed dog tag artwork back on display  (Los Angeles Times)  In the basement of Chicago’s National Veterans Art Museum, there are 200 tall, sturdy cardboard boxes in straight rows, lined up like soldiers in formation.

New Year’s Resolution, cut the military and veterans suicide rate  (  Today, the Army released the suicide data for the month of November 2013.

Wounded Warriors’ park coming to Whitby  (Durham Region)  Peace and tranquility were not familiar concepts to Daimian Boyne when he left the military in 2006.

Operation Homefront racks up December donations for 115 family needs  (San Antonio Business Journal)  San Antonio-based Operation Homefront, which offers assistance to military families and wounded warriors, says individual donors helped it meet 115 individual needs posted on its website.

Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs reduces disability claims backlog by one third since March  (PBS)  The Obama administration’s secretary of veterans affairs, Eric Shinseki, said the agency’s made progress with its initiative to eliminate the disability backlog by 2015.

Veterans’ housing project expected to be complete in 2014  (Santa Clarita Valley Signal)  Officials hope to soon cut the ribbon on a project that demonstrates a new level of commitment to America’s veterans: a low-cost housing development allowing vets and their families to own their own homes in the Santa Clarita Valley.


Soldier Pushes for Change to GI Bill  (  In August 2010, Sgt. 1st Class Angela Dees sent her stepson off to college, a move made possible because she transferred her benefits to him under the GI Bill.

Younger military veterans are angered by budget cuts to their pension benefits  (The Washington Post)  After 25 years of service, including combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lt. Col. Stephen Preston retired from the Army and began collecting a pension of nearly $55,000 a year.

States Differ on Retiree Tax Burden  (Kiplinger)  Click on any state in the map below for a detailed summary of taxes on retirement income, property and purchases, as well as special tax breaks for seniors.

Jackson County veterans to benefit from state law exempting disabled veterans from property taxes  (  They fought for freedom and ended up completely disabled as a result.

Many services are available to veterans, the disabled and seniors  (Regal Courier)  Washington County’s veterans’ services coordinator Kimberly Douthit brought a wealth of information to a group of seniors at Royal Villas when she was the featured speaker at its Nov. 23 breakfast in the Clubhouse.

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Transitionnews 12/30/13

Transitionnews for Monday, December 30th 2013:

Good news story of the day

Southbridge home a beacon of hope, solace for war veterans  (  After Grace House, a five-bedroom family homeless shelter at 11 Sayles St., closed in 2011, citing financial difficulties, it didn’t take long for Terry J. and Pamela Parker to step in and find a use.

His mission: Build mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans  (Los Angeles Times)  In World War II, Bill Criswell served his country with the Seabees, the U.S. Navy’s construction battalion, which has built military bases, hospitals, bridges and roads around the world.


Thompson: Military Transition Telemedicine Amendment Signed into Law  (  President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

Retired Marines transition to civilian work with TWEAC program  (The State)  After 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Rodney Neal retired Oct. 31 at 38.

Making a smooth transition to a post-military career  (Granada Star)  Leaving the military is like leaving home for the first time. Upon discharge, service members are faced with the question of: “What’s next?”

Deanna Wharwood and Associates Presents “How to Transition from Military Life to a Small Business That You Love”  (  From February 3 to February 12, 2014, Deanna Wharwood and Associates will host a FREE Webinar Series ( for active duty, veterans, military retirees and their spouses who want to start their own small businesses.

5 BCTs set to inactivate this year; MEBs also going away  (Army Times)  The Army has identified new units for inactivation as part of a sweeping reorganization that will cut 10 brigade combat teams and affect as many as 740 units across the force.


South Dakota Sailor Walking 50 Miles For Wounded Warrior Project  (  A man is using his time off from his Naval Base in California to make a difference here in South Dakota.

Veterans band together in effort to acquire armory  (Republican Herald)  Local veterans are working to form a nonprofit organization in an effort to buy the state armory in the borough’s downtown and turn it into a community center.

Collins, King seek study of Agent Orange link to ill veterans  (Portland Press Herald)  Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have proposed legislation that would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate whether some veterans’ health problems are linked to a Canadian military base that was treated with the toxic herbicide Agent Orange.

Veterans warned of scams targeting their benefits  (Great Falls Tribune)  One scam targeting veterans has mostly been quashed in Montana, but another is picking up steam.

At a gun range, combat veterans share their best shots for charity  (Los Angeles Times)  Haley Koko shouldered an AK-47 and aimed uncertainly at the human silhouette on a paper target 25 yards away.

Veterans tap healing power of music in Hampton  (  “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.”

VA under fire after prohibiting school children from distributing religious Christmas cards  (All Alabama)  The Department of Veterans Affairs has found itself in hot water after it prohibited a group of school children from distributing holiday cards because they contained the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

Veterans group shifts focus to the southern Brevard and beyond  (Asbury Park Press)  After helping more than 600 veterans this year, many of them homeless in the northern half of the county, George Taylor wants his force of volunteers to concentrate on areas in south Brevard and beyond.

Therapy – from one wounded warrior to another  (Statesman Journal)  There are four wounded, ill and injured warriors living in the Voris household. One of them is human; the other three are cats.


Obama Signs Bipartisan Budget Slashing Military Benefits for Veterans  (Breitbart)  Rounding out a tough and frustrating year, President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan budget deal Thursday easing spending cuts and a defense bill cracking down on sexual assault in the military, as the president and Congress began pivoting to the midterm election year ahead.

Ohio veterans face Tuesday deadline for bonuses  (  Military veterans who served during the Persian Gulf War era have until Tuesday to claim Ohio bonuses of up to $1,500.

Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA leaves big changes for same-sex military couples  (Stars and Stripes)  The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 26 to strike down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act ushered in a huge victory for gay rights that was particularly significant and life-changing for same-sex military couples, long denied many of the most basic benefits extended to military families.

FROM THE STATE HOUSE: Nearly half of Maine veterans don’t qualify for health care through VA  (Morning Sentinel)  Not having access to health care is problem our returning veterans shouldn’t encounter, but we’ve heard stories that cause us great concern.

Congress could reconsider military pension cut in January  (The Washington Post)  A cut to military retirement pay in the budget signed Thursday by President Obama has already triggered such a backlash that Congress may vote in January to toss it out.

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Transitionnews 12/27/13

Transitionnews for Friday, December 27th 2013:

Good news story of the day

Donations fly loved ones to wounded warriors  (Press of Atlantic City)  The charity Luke’s Wings helps family and friends of wounded service members fly to their bedsides during their recovery — and this year, donations were made to the group in the names of Atlantic City’s public safety departments.

Williston volunteer helps seniors, veterans  (The Bismarck Tribune)  Sandy Hampton’s name has become synonymous with volunteering around Williston.


Group helps vets ease transition to civilian life  (Times Beacon Record)  The transition from military to civilian life is not a seamless one.

100k Jobs Mission Profile: Lockheed Martin  (  Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.


Obamas Thank Military Families in Weekly Address  (The Wall Street Journal)  In their holiday address, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama thanked U.S. troops and their families for their service and sacrifice.

Veterans recall Christmases For some, it was just another day; others recall how wartime affected their outlook  (The Reporter Herald)  Not until his second time serving his country did Keith Aschebrock experience being homesick during Christmas.

Mass. veterans look to treatment court for help  (The Boston Globe)  Ed Cowen is a big, tough-looking Marine veteran — 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, with tattoos covering his arms and piercings in his ears, lip, and cheek.

Northport veterans post reveals new $1.17 million look  (Long Island News Day)  Several older veterans are saluting the newly renovated Northport American Legion Post 694, saying it is now more accessible to them.

Veterans honored for volunteered hours  (The Daily Herald)  The Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County recently recognized Lake County military veterans for 132,090 hours of volunteer service to the Lovell Federal Health Care Center and their communities during an event at the Dover Straits restaurant in Mundelein.

Faces of 2013: Elgin’s Jacob Zimmerman, Kane VAC work to improve lot for veterans  (The Courier News)  In March, Jacob Zimmerman started his job as superintendent of the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission, with a top priority making sure those who served are aware of any aid that might be available to them and running an office that works to make sure any claims are expedited and processed in a relatively timely manner.

Veterans Affairs

One step closer: Metairie firm chosen to design Richland Parish veterans cemetery  (The News Star)  Meyer Engineers of Metairie has been selected to design the new Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Richland Parish near Rayville.

Vets’ housing report draws immediate fire  (Finance & Commerce)  The Select Committee on Veterans Housing owes its origin to a bit of troubling math.


For military, benefits and reform are challenge  (The Washington Post)   The Pentagon’s top civilian says it’s time to tame burgeoning military personnel costs, but he’s facing a test of wills with the nation’s powerful veterans groups, which don’t want their benefits cut.

Hagel, Ryan defend retiree COLA caps, except for disabled  (Stars and Stripes)  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, appear to be in sync in defending the controversial cap that Congress has imposed on cost-of-living adjustments for “working age” military retirees starting in January 2016.

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Transitionnews 12/26/13

Transitionnews for Thursday, December 26th 2013:

Good news story of the day

Coats for homeless veterans being collected in Joliet, New Lenox  (Southtown Star)  After faithfully serving their country, veterans should not be living under bridges and viaducts.


VA assists w/transitioning to prepare for job market  (  As part of the revamped Transition Assistance Program (TAP), the Department of Veterans Affairs’ new VA Benefits I and II briefings are now available at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter.

Veterans urged to file discharge papers locally  (  They are some of the most important papers you’ll ever receive, and one county official is offering local veterans a way to protect them.


Ohio veterans could be eligible for funds  (  Some Ohio military veterans eligible for state-funded bonuses of up to $1,500 are running out of time to apply for the funds, and officials are concerned that many may not make the deadline.

N.Y. Guard to render final honors for 10,000 veterans by end of 2013  (  The New York Military Forces Honor Guard expects to have provided funeral services for just over 10,000 families in 2013 by the time 2014 arrives at midnight Dec. 31.

Veterans Cafe in SC a combination eatery, museum and hangout for those who have served America  (Associated Press)  There’s a red white and blue sign in the window of the Veteran’s Cafe and Grille that says simply “Welcome Home.”

Veterans Affairs

Shinseki Says VA on Track to End Backlog  (  Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says the agency made progress this year in reducing the claims backlog that has regularly caused heat from some veterans groups and lawmakers.

Vets’ housing report draws immediate fire  (Politics in Minnesota)  The Select Committee on Veterans Housing owes its origin to a bit of troubling math.

VA, HUD Offering Veterans Housing Help  (NBC News)  Veterans seeking help with housing after being discharged from the military may be able to turn to a new program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA quiet on employee discipline in Legionnaires’ disease outbreak  (TribLive)  A month since they demanded transparency, Pennsylvania congressmen are waiting for the Department of Veterans Affairs to reveal how it will hold workers accountable for a Pittsburgh disease outbreak blamed for five deaths.

ANN ARBOR: WCC to receive $250,000 from Masco to benefit Veterans Center  (Ann Arbor Journal)  The Masco Corporation Foundation has made a corporate gift of $250,000 to Washtenaw Community College, the largest corporate gift the college has received to date.


Cuts to military pensions in doubt, but future changes to troop pay, benefits likely  (Associated Press)  The Pentagon’s top civilian says it’s time to tame burgeoning military personnel costs, but he’s facing a test of wills with the nation’s powerful veterans groups, which want no cut in their benefits.

About the loss of the Early Bird, which spurred the creation of Transitionnews:  With demise of Pentagon’s ‘Early Bird,’ military readers hunt bootleg copies of ‘Morning News’  (The Washington Times)  The Defense Department has terminated its daily compilation of military-related news reports and opinion articles — called the Early Bird — in favor of a more restrictive press-clipping service for only the top brass.

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Transitionnews 12/24/13

Transitionnews for Tuesday, December 24th 2013:

Good news story of the day

Hundreds of strangers give veteran’s ashes trip of lifetime  (Fox News)  For 3 ½ years, a black stone urn of C.J. Twomey’s ashes has sat on a shelf in his parents’ Maine home, not far from the door he walked out of one beautiful April day shortly before shooting himself.


Nonprofit: Group helps veterans find temporary housing  (Missoulian)  A group of nine Billings residents are the first to join the Fort Knox Warrior in Transition Association (FK WTA), a nonprofit organization established in March 2013. According to the FK WTA’s president Dr. Pete Trzop, under the current administration there is no government funding available to provide temporary housing for the soldiers and their families of the Warrior in Transition Battalion (WTB).

Eligible officers, enlisted members offered early retirement  (Air Force Personnel Center)  Staff through senior master sergeants and captains through lieutenant colonels in certain Air Force specialty codes may apply to retire with fewer than 20 years of active service under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

Norwalk Community College Launches Program To Help Veterans  (Fairfield Daily Voice)  Norwalk Community College is making it easier for returning veterans to succeed in college and get back in the workforce by launching a new program just for them.

State Officials Celebrate “Mission: Veteran 2 Entrepreneurs”  (The Times Weekly)  As many veterans struggle to find a job or start a career, the administration of Governor Pat Quinn hosted more than 100 veterans at the College of DuPage to learn about starting or growing their own businesses as part of the state’s “Mission: Veteran 2 Entrepreneurs” (MV2E) program.

Airmen facing Quality Force Review Board to be notified Jan. 6  (Air Force Times)  Airmen will be told Jan. 6 if they will be considered by the Air Force’s first Quality Force Review Board that will convene May 5 to 16, according to a Dec. 19 memo obtained by Air Force Times.


Penske Truck Rental Donation Brightens Holidays for Paralyzed Veterans of America  (Business Wire)  Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today announced that Penske Truck Rental, one of the leading consumer and commercial truck rental providers in North America, donated $255,157 to benefit Paralyzed Veterans’ Mission: ABLE campaign.

Winning Veterans’ Trust, and Profiting From It  (The New York Times)  With every slip and fall, every bruise and ache, the reality set in: Henry Schaffer, 86, could no longer live on his own. So his daughter, Kristi, began searching for a retirement home — and the money to pay for it.

Local Charity Helps Disabled Military Veteran  (  Breaking the cycle of poverty isn’t easy. That’s why one organization prides itself on helping people before they fall into poverty.

Medal of Honor recipient Hernandez dies at 82  (Military Times)  Cpl. Rudy Hernandez, who fought in the Korean War and was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1952, has died at Womack Army Medical Center. He was 82.

Veterans return to streets to make inroads with chronically homeless vets  (Fox News)  Not far from where the Boston Massacre helped sow the seeds for the Revolutionary War, David Dyer points toward the underpass where he’d score crack cocaine by day and the train depot where he’d sleep some nights.

Village Grande at Little Mill residents give $2,400 to Wounded Warrior Project  (Press of Atlantic City)  At this giving time of year, the residents of the Village Grande at Little Mill adult housing community in Egg Harbor Township wanted to do something to make life easier for those who don’t get much recognition.

Veterans Affairs

Grand Island group’s plan for veterans home ready  (  A Grand Island group opposing construction of a new veterans home in Kearney has finished drawing up plans for an $80 million project at the existing Grand Island facility.

Oklahoma City VA Medical Center patients get holiday cards  (NewsOK)  Cards collected during the Holiday Mail for Heroes program were given to patients at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Friday.

Veterans Affairs supervisor indicted, accused of stealing government property  (  A supervisor at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been arrested, according to Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.


1 percent pay raise latest pinch for troops, veterans struggling to pay bills  (Fox News)  President Obama on Monday signed an executive order giving military personnel and civilian federal workers a 1 percent pay raise, the first raise for civilians in four years. But for military families, it was another hit.

Cuts to military pensions in doubt, but future changes to troop pay, benefits likely  (Associated Press)  The Pentagon’s top civilian says it’s time to tame burgeoning military personnel costs, but he’s facing a test of wills with the nation’s powerful veterans groups, which want no cut in their benefits.

Lawmakers to Address Unemployment and Military Benefits  (  More than 1 million people are set to be cut off of federal unemployment benefits just three days after Christmas.

Veterans groups vow to fight cuts in military pensions  (Fox News)  The Pentagon’s top civilian says it’s time to tame burgeoning military personnel costs, but he’s facing a test of wills with the nation’s powerful veterans groups, which want no cut in their benefits.

Paul Ryan: Retirement pay can’t take over defense budget  (USA Today)

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Transitionnews 12/23/13

Transitionnews for Monday, December 23th 2013:

Good news story of the day

There’s no place like a home in Burrillville for wounded warrior / Gallery  (Providence Journal)  “It takes hands to build a house, but it takes hearts to build a home,” a dress-uniformed Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jonathan Braca told a crowd Saturday.


Making a smooth transition to a post-military career  (Huron Daily Review)  Leaving the military is like leaving home for the first time. Upon discharge, service members are faced with the question of: “What’s next?”

AT&T hiring in Tennessee; Military Veterans Sought  (Clarksville Online)  AT&T* has announced that the company is seeking applicants to fill more than 130 jobs in the Tennessee, including nearly 50 new jobs.

Firms step up efforts to hire veterans  (The Detroit News)  It took Francisco “Frank” Miranda, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, about three years to find a job in the civilian world that was a good fit. Since August, Miranda has been working at Home Depot in Totowa, N.J., where he and two fellow vet employees refer to each other by their former military ranks.

JBLM: DOL Awards $5.5 Million for Transitioning Servicemembers at JBLM   (  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor of a $5,586,385 National Emergency Grant (NEG) to assist approximately 900 transitioning military personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM).


New VA dental program could benefit thousands of Gaston vets  (Gaston Gazette)  For all the virtues of the Veterans Affairs health care system, its approach to dental services has caused many people to grind their teeth.

ANN ARBOR: WCC to receive $250,000 from Masco to benefit Veterans Center  (Ann Arbor Journal)  The Masco Corporation Foundation has made a corporate gift of $250,000 to Washtenaw Community College, the largest corporate gift the college has received to date.

A misunderstood statistic: 22 military veteran suicides a day  (The Los Angeles Times)  In most discussions of suicide and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — including the online buzz that followed publication of a Times analysis on how young California veterans die — one statistic gets repeated most: 22 veterans kill themselves each day.

Phoenix: No more homeless veterans  (The Denver Post)  Phoenix says it has eradicated chronic veteran homelessness.

Burial Space In Demand For Veterans  (The Wall Street Journal)  As interments of veterans and their dependents climb to a record level, the Department of Veterans Affairs is rushing to add burial space at the fastest rate since the Civil War.

Veterans Affairs

VA Is Pressed on Lobotomies  (The Wall Street Journal)  Senior House lawmakers are pressing the Veterans Administration to track down veterans still living who underwent lobotomies at VA hospitals during and after World War II.

Audit faults Michigan on handling of veterans’ benefits  (the Detroit News)  Michigan’s department overseeing veterans’ benefits — reorganized this year — did a poor job choosing people to run its programs during the prior decade, according to a new state audit.

New VA dental program could benefit thousands of Gaston vets  (The Gaston Gazette)  For all the virtues of the Veterans Affairs health care system, its approach to dental services has caused many people to grind their teeth.

Blount County Veterans Affairs Office bring cheer to local vets  (The Daily Times)  The Blount County Veterans Affairs Office has helped bring a little Christmas cheer to local vets by giving them holiday cards from across the nation and world.

Audit: Michigan veterans department lacked accountability, failed to ensure vets receive maximum benefits  (Michigan Live)  For nearly two decades the Michigan military and veterans affairs department has failed to track performance or spending by organizations receiving state grants to help vets access benefits and other assistance.

McAuliffe names retired Adm. John C. Harvey Jr. to be veterans affairs secretary  (The Washington Post)  Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe continued to fill out his Cabinet on Friday, nominating a retired four-star Navy admiral to serve as secretary of veterans affairs and homeland security.


Hagel Promises More Military Pay, Benefits Cuts  (  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pledged Thursday to continue efforts to cut the growth rate of military pay and benefits despite deals in Congress that eased the Pentagon’s budget crunch.

Lawmakers renew push to prevent military pension cuts  (Fox News)  A group of Republican lawmakers has renewed an effort to undo pension cuts to military retirees included in the recently passed budget agreement and offset the costs by reining in an IRS credit that illegal immigrants have claimed.

For troops, commissaries are still a valued benefit  (Army Times)   Even with the increasing encroachment of low-cost “big box” stores, commissaries remain a highly valued benefit for active-duty members — especially enlisted troops — and their shopping habits bear that out, according to a subscriber survey conducted by Military Times.

Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts  (The Washington Times)  Former members of U.S. special operations forces on Thursday demanded President Obama veto the budget bill Congress just passed, saying that the cuts to military retirement benefits — which even the bill’s authors now admit were a partial mistake — are an insult to veterans.

Benishek bill would help protect military retirees’pensions  (The Mining Journal)  U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, helped introduce legislation last week that would repeal a section of the recently passed bipartisan Ryan-Murray budget deal affecting military retirees.

Finnegan’s veterans assistance program continues to grow  (The Washington Post)  There are not many things that copyright law and veterans’ benefits have in common — but Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner is one of them.

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Transitionnews 12/20/13

Transitionnews for Friday, December 13th 2013:

Good news story of the day

Support system lifts Mo. vet out of homelessness  (AP)  James Snorgrass stood at the corner of a Columbia intersection, waiting for the bus to arrive at 7:10 a.m. A knee-length parka was wrapped around his slender frame. An insulated hat covered his salt and pepper hair.


AT&T Continues Hiring Drive In Tennessee; More Than 130 Jobs Currently Available; Military Veterans Sought   (The Wall Street Journal)  AT&T* today announced that the company is seeking applicants to fill more than 130 jobs in the Tennessee, including nearly 50 new jobs. The positions will be primarily focused on customer service, retail and technician positions and are a result of AT&T’s continued investment in Tennessee.

Pa. State Police to military vets: come on board, your experience will count  (  State police hope to entice active military personnel, veterans and full-time cops to join its ranks by allowing them to replace college credits with work experience.

Ecotech Institute Selected as a Top Military-Friendly School in Military Advanced Education’s 2014 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities  (MarketWired)   Military Advanced Education (MAE) has awarded Ecotech Institute the designation of a Top Military-Friendly College in its 2014 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities. The guide is available in print and online at

Air Force envisions smaller force to preserve readiness  (  Discussing upcoming budgetary variables during a Pentagon news conference recently, the Air Force’s top civilian leader for the past six months addressed the inevitability of a smaller force.


Veterans in legal trouble celebrate completion of special court program  (Ventura County Star)  Carolin Maples was overcome with emotion as she stood Thursday in front of a packed Ventura courtroom.

Veterans council formed in Ruidoso  (Ruidoso News)  At the urging of resident and veteran Vic Currier and following the lead of the city of Alamogordo, Ruidoso village councilors approved forming a Ruidoso Veterans Advisory Council to provide leadership in the community, to advise on issues involving the military, to sponsor events and programs, and to continue to foster a closer relationship with all branches of the armed forces.

Veterans Healthcare Expansion  (  The Department of Veterans Affairs approved new regulations making it easier for veterans to receive health care and compensation for certain illnesses that are linked to traumatic brain injury, like Parkinson Disease, Dementia, Depression, seizures and Hormone deficiency.

Disabled veterans get more time to apply for property tax exemption  (  Disabled veterans across the state got an early Christmas present this week, announced Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director Jeff Barnes.

Veterans receive keys to new homes in Islandia  (  Six military veterans were handed keys Thursday to new homes built just for them in Islandia through a joint effort of area home builders and a local technology company.

Veterans group fights to keep cross at Mt. Soledad Memorial  (  The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA), represented by Liberty Institute and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, has filed notice of appeal of a district court’s order requiring the removal of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross.

Marine Corps veteran’s bid for pardon  (  Marine Corps combat veteran Eric Pizer of Madison has commendations and medals, but feels his professional future hinges on something that’s out of his grasp, so far: a pardon from Governor Walker.

Jimmy Harding, Business Strategist, Urges Entrepreneurs Support Wounded Warrior Project  (  Wildly successful business growth strategist Jimmy Harding challenges entrepreneurs to understand the importance of giving generously to nonprofit organizations – especially during the holiday season.

Veterans Affairs

VA cyber saga continues as audit shows continued holes in network security  (Federal News Radio)  As the Veterans Affairs Department tries to reassure and explain to House lawmakers the steps it’s taking to protect veterans’ data and agency networks, a new audit shows long-standing holes in the network continue to put veterans’ data at risk.

Conway Jones to Head County Veteran Affairs Commission  (The Post News Group)  Retired Air Force Colonel Conway Jones has been elected chairman of the Alameda County Veterans Affairs Commission.

Iraq veterans find the war at home is with red tape  (Los Angeles Times)  Glenda Flowers stood at the edge of a crowd of angry veterans at San Francisco’s War Memorial building. They had been waiting months, even years, to hear whether they would receive disability benefits, and they were tired of excuses.


Veterans Affairs offers dental insurance program  (Char-Koosta News)  The Department of Veterans Affairs is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance.

Paul Ryan Mum on Proposal to Fund Veterans’ Pensions by Cutting Illegal Alien Tax Benefits  (Breitbart)  Reps. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have introduced a legislative plan to protect veterans’ pension benefits from the slashes they would receive if cuts from the recently-passed budget deal ever materialized.

Veterans groups say military cuts should prompt Obama budget veto  (The Washington Times)  Two veterans groups demanded Thursday that President Obama veto the budget bill Congress passed earlier this week, saying that the cuts to military retirement benefits — which even the bill’s authors now admit were a partial mistake — are an insult to former troops.

Military Retirement Restoration Act Protects Benefits, Closes Corporate Tax Loophole  ( U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (PA-13) today joined her colleagues in introducing the Military Retirement Restoration Act to protect military retirees from cuts to cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that were included in the recent bipartisan budget agreement.

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Transitionnews 12/19/13

Transitionnews for Thursday, December 19th 2013:

Good news story of the day

Man donates $10,000 to help cheated veterans  (  A man has stepped forward to donate $10,000 to veterans who said they were cheated out of their wages.

Volunteers renovate Springfield house for veterans  (  Dozens of Western Massachusetts volunteers from Home Depot helped renovate a Springfield house for homeless veterans.


Marine Corps: Guaranteed careers for staff sergeants at risk  (Navy Times)  Staff sergeants may no longer be guaranteed a 20-year career and full retirement benefits, according to Manpower & Reserve Affairs officials.

Pennsylvania State Police Changing Cadet Eligibility Requirements  (PR Newswire)  In an effort to entice active-duty military members and veterans and those with full-time law enforcement experience, the Pennsylvania State Police announced today they are changing cadet admission eligibility requirements, effective immediately.

Labor Dept. grants funds to support JBLM transitions   (Business Examiner)  The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of a $5,586,385 National Emergency Grant to assist approximately 900 transitioning military personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Chris Sorenson on Triple Canopy’s Intl Contracts and His Transition From the Military to Private Industry  (Executive Biz)  Chris Sorenson serves as COO of Reston, Va.-based mission support, security, training and advisory services company Triple Canopy.

Service members are assisted with transition  (Davis-Monthan Air Force  Base News)  So you’re getting out of the military and you’re trying to figure what’s next for your life. The initial thought that comes to most people’s mind is what am I going to do first.

AF announces additional force management programs to reduce force size  (Holloman Air Force Base News)  Air Force leaders announced force management programs Dec. 11 designed to reduce the force by thousands of Airmen over the next five years as a result of sequestration.

Veteran and Spouse Transition Workshop  (KIROTv.Com)  The Veteran Transition Workshop is available to our veterans and spouses whether they are currently going through their Transition Assistance Program (TAP) or have been out of the military for some time.


Veterans Group Appeals In Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Fight After Court Orders Cross Removal  (The Sacramento Bee)  Liberty Institute, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association Fight to Preserve Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross and the Symbol of Selfless Sacrifice It Represents

Building free homes for wounded vets  (CNN)  Alexander Reyes’ boyhood dream of a military career ended when he was hit by an improvised explosive device during a patrol a few years ago in Baghdad.

Impart exhibition at Torpedo Factory: Ceramics offers hands-on healing for veterans  (The Washington Post)  From the sculpture at the Art League’s Impart ceramics exhibition, twisted, chunky plumes of dark clay emerge from the top of a man’s head. The face grimaces in torment; the shapes are swirling, grotesque.

College campuses help centralize veteran services  (  Montgomery County is looking to its public colleges to link to military veteran services, on and off their campuses.

Whitman School Announces M.B.A. for Veterans Program  (Syracuse University News)  In the post-9/11 environment, many talented young people who entered military service find limited supports when re-entering the civilian community.

Veterans One-Stop Center shows success  (  Many of the men and women or the U.S. Armed Forces come back to civilian life with unique struggles.

Veterans Affairs

VA decreases benefits backlog nationally; St. Paul office part of solution  (  Far fewer veterans are facing long waits for disability compensation after the Department of Veterans Affairs spent six months focusing on the backlog, including mandating case worker overtime and rolling out a new computer system.

Veterans Affairs director visits Veterans Home  (Quincy Journal)  Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren visited the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy Wednesday morning.

Malone veterans’ clinic will close  (Press Republican)  Congressman Bill Owens says nothing can save the veterans outpatient clinic in Malone from closing in a few months.

VA says claims backlog down 36 percent since March  (Government Health IT)  Department of Veterans Affairs’ Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey says the Veterans Benefits Administration is putting a big dent in the backlog of Veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims.


Budget pact survives military-retiree fight  (Market Watch)  It’s a quarrel that’ll be remembered as only a minor footnote to the passage of the new two-year budget compromise, which cleared the Senate today by a 64-36 vote.

Senators want to restore military benefits  (  Sen. Mark Warner has proposed legislation to restore military retirement benefits that would be cut in the Bipartisan Budget Act.

Patty Murray: ‘Technical error’ that cuts disabled veterans benefits will be fixed  (Washington Examiner)  Sen. Patty Murray said a “technical error” in the bipartisan budget deal accidentally would cut pension benefits for retired disabled military veterans, but vowed the problem will be fixed immediately.

Average 2014 Housing Allowance Will Rise 5 Percent  (  The Defense Department on Tuesday said housing benefits will increase by an average of 5 percent next year.

Social Security Disability, Veterans Benefits to Increase in January with COLA, Allsup Reports  (Insurance News Net)  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program participants and other Social Security and veterans beneficiaries will see a slight increase of 1.5 percent in January when the annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, takes effect, according to Allsup.

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Transitionnews 12/18/13

Transitionnews for Wednesday, December 18th 2013:

Good news story of the day

Disabled Veterans National Foundation and G.I. Joe Coffee Team Up to Help Aspiring Veteran Entrepreneurs  (PR Newswire)  The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (, a nonprofit veterans service organization that focuses on helping men and women who serve and return home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom, is pleased to announce G.I. Joe Coffee as a new sponsor. G.I. Joe Coffee, an Arizona-based company that is Veteran-owned and Veteran-operated, is a new startup that aims to use its profits to benefit those who have served in the military.


Labor Department Provides Grant for 900 Transitioning Troops  (American Forces Press Service)  The Labor Department today announced a $5,586,385 national emergency grant to assist about 900 transitioning military personnel from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., the largest military base on the West Coast.

Air Force announces rollbacks to speed separations  (Military  Times)  The Air Force on Tuesday is releasing a list of more than 90 enlisted airmen who will be separated by the end of May — as much as a year early — through date-of-separation rollbacks.

Army Cutting Nearly 4000 Captains and Majors  (Outside the Beltway)  As we transition to a peacetime force, the Army is going to force some 4000 mid-career officers to retire early.


Cuyahoga Community College Will Offer $500 Scholarships to Veterans  (NPR)  Cuyahoga County this summer set aside unused veterans service dollars to go back to veterans.

EGSC to open Military Student Resource Center  (The Forest Blade)  East Georgia State College is opening a new Military Student Resource Center in January. The  center is dedicated to providing active duty, reserve service members, veterans and dependents of service members with convenient high quality services.

Veterans sleep outside to raise awareness for homeless  (WLS Chicago)  Despite our cold weather, more than 20 veterans are sleeping outside Monday night to raise awareness of homeless veterans and to raise funds.

‘Saddles For Soldiers’ Program Finds Success Treating PTSD In Veterans Through Horse Bonding  (CBS Los Angeles)  It is estimated that at least 22 war veterans, returned from duty, are killing themselves each day in the U.S. according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Cavalry at Home: A soldier’s wounds and a will to live  (The News Tribune)  Spc. David Matakaiongo can’t shed the feeling that he’s still in Afghanistan.

Veterans Affairs

Limtiaco Working With Veterans Affairs Office to Help Vets Process Claims  (Pacific News Center)  Senator Limtiaco is working with the Veterans Affairs Office to set up satellite kiosks in senatorial offices to assist with Veterans Benefits Claims processing.

2 Florida Men Sentenced in Fraud Scheme Targeting Veterans Affairs  (NBC Miami)  A former repair contractor with a Florida property management company has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in defrauding a Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage program.


Goodwill® Aligns With The VA To Help Veterans Access Benefits  (The Sacramento Bee)  Web portal helps military veterans and their families manage benefits and claims online.

Budget Bill Clears Senate Test, Cuts Military  (Fox News)  A two-year budget deal cleared a key Senate test vote on Tuesday, despite last-ditch efforts by Republicans to strip a provision that cuts into military retiree benefits, setting up a final vote in the Senate no later than Wednesday.

Year-end agreement: Budget heads to final passage  (Associated Press)  Year-end legislation to ease Congress’ chronic budget brinkmanship and soften across-the-board spending cuts moved to the cusp of final passage Tuesday, a rare display of Senate bipartisanship that masked deep Republican misgivings about slicing military retirement benefits.

Medical retirees included in COLA reductions  (Military Times)  Military personnel who are medically retired — those with combat or service-related injuries so severe they were offered full military retirement pay and benefits — would see their retired pay cut as a result of the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said Tuesday.

Budget deal cuts benefits for disabled veterans, says top Senate Budget Republican  (Washington Examiner)  Disabled military veterans will see their retirement benefits cut under the budget deal passed in the House of Representatives and pending in the Senate, according to the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

Senate GOP fails in final bid to restore military pension cuts to budget bill  (Fox News)  A final effort by Senate Republicans to halt cuts to pensions of military retirees failed late Tuesday, after Democrats blocked an amendment to the controversial budget bill.

Senate Votes Down Plan To Restore Veterans Benefits  (National Journal)  The Senate on Tuesday blocked a Republican-led effort to preserve approximately $6 billion in benefits to working-age military retirees, ensuring the cuts will remain a part of Congress’ broader budget deal.

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