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By JULIE SCHARPER and JULIE SCHARPER,SUN REPORTER | June 19, 2006
Eighteen months after she enlisted in the Army, Wanda Porter fell from a 50-foot tower, shattering her feet and ending her military career. Today, after three surgeries, a year in a veterans hospital, a failed marriage, bouts of depression and 17 years of therapy, Porter is taking classes at Baltimore County Community College and planning to complete a degree in psychology. She credits Veterans Affairs with helping her recover and was eager to attend a networking fair especially for women veterans at the Baltimore VA Medical Center on Saturday.
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NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2014
In Iraq, Lauren Augustine operated unmanned aircraft on surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the Army's storied 1st Infantry Division. In Washington last week, Augustine and her fellow veterans stormed Capitol Hill for comrades they say are being left behind. The 26-year-old Army veteran was one of more than 30 former service members who spent the week visiting lawmakers to call attention to the persistence of suicide among veterans. In a time of fiscal constraint, when the Pentagon is shrinking the military and other departments are reining in spending, the veterans are asking Congress and the White House to devote more resources to mental health for former troops.
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NEWS
By MATTHEW DOLAN and MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER | May 23, 2006
Personal information about tens of millions of veterans might have fallen into criminal hands when someone stole the electronic data stored at the Maryland home of a federal government employee, officials announced yesterday. The burglary earlier this month could mark one of the largest thefts of data that can be used to steal someone's identity, electronic privacy experts said. The missing information contained names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | March 10, 2014
Christian Rojas has a plan. The Iraq War veteran wants to get his paralegal certificate. Then, he figures, he'll go into business for himself, helping people write their wills and file motions in court. He dreams of earning a law degree eventually and practicing law. First, though, he has to get out of prison. Rojas, 33, is at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover in Somerset County, where he is serving seven years for holding up a couple of fast-food restaurants in Severn in 2011.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | February 5, 2012
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for a few good men and women to volunteer for a battle it's waging at home — against disease. Actually, more than a few are needed. Officials overseeing health care for the nation's veterans are undertaking what may be the largest effort of its kind in the nation, to collect medical records and blood samples from a million former service members for a bank of genetic information. The idea is to give researchers enough DNA and other data to link specific genes to mental and physical maladies, from post-traumatic stress disorder to heart disease, and eventually develop new preventive measures or treatments.
NEWS
December 9, 2008
Maryland veterans who have been forced to travel long distances and wait for care at heavily used Veterans Affairs medical facilities in the state are going to get some relief. The department is planning two new outpatient clinics here - one at Fort Meade and another in northern Montgomery County. The Montgomery clinic will serve more than 4,000 veterans, while the Fort Meade facility will assist 2,500 who otherwise might have to travel to Baltimore, Perry Point or Washington for primary care, mental health services and other medical specialties.
HEALTH
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2013
Shortages of beds, doctors and nurses in the Baltimore VA Medical Center's emergency room resulted in nearly half of a sample of patients spending more than 6 hours at the facility, including one who waited more than 24 hours, according to a critical inspection report released this month. In that case, a 59-year-old woman who reported a racing and pounding heartbeat waited 24 hours, 8 minutes before being admitted to a unit where her heartbeat could be continuously monitored. In another example, a 52-year-old man with schizophrenia who expressed desires to kill himself or others waited 22 hours until he was transferred to a non-VA hospital for treatment.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | November 8, 2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs is approving claims for post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from military sexual assault or harassment at rates that are "significantly lower" than those for PTSD from combat and other causes, advocacy groups said Thursday. The advocates said the lower rates mean women - who are more likely than men to file claims for PTSD related to sexual trauma - are denied compensation for PTSD disproportionately. But when men do file claims for PTSD related to sexual trauma, they said, they are approved at rates lower than those for women.
NEWS
By Dan Rodricks, The Baltimore Sun | September 28, 2013
The U.S. National World War II Memorial opened on the Mall in Washington in 2004 - too late for most of the war's veterans. At the time of the memorial's dedication, it was estimated that only a quarter of the 16 million Americans who served in the war were still alive. Today, 68 years after the war's end, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 600 World War II veterans die each day. Which is why three Southwest Airlines chartered flights, bearing 200 veterans from New England and New York, arrived at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport early Saturday.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | January 26, 2013
The Baltimore office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is the slowest in the country in processing disability claims for servicemen and servicewomen - averaging about a year - and makes more mistakes than any other office. The failures locally are a symptom of a national breakdown: Across the country, more than 900,000 veterans wait an average of nine months for the agency to determine whether they qualify for disability benefits, according to the VA. Even as the VA says it is working to fix problems in Baltimore and nationwide, Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, calls the situation "shameful.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | January 26, 2014
The Baltimore office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is the slowest in the country in processing disability claims for servicemen and servicewomen - averaging about a year - and makes more mistakes than any other office. The failures locally are a symptom of a national breakdown: Across the country, more than 900,000 veterans wait an average of nine months for the agency to determine whether they qualify for disability benefits, according to the VA. Even as the VA says it is working to fix problems in Baltimore and nationwide, Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, calls the situation "shameful.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun | November 8, 2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs is approving claims for post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from military sexual assault or harassment at rates that are "significantly lower" than those for PTSD from combat and other causes, advocacy groups said Thursday. The advocates said the lower rates mean women - who are more likely than men to file claims for PTSD related to sexual trauma - are denied compensation for PTSD disproportionately. But when men do file claims for PTSD related to sexual trauma, they said, they are approved at rates lower than those for women.
NEWS
November 4, 2013
Where was coverage in The Sun about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hearings going on in D.C.? Oh, since another former Obama administration official invoked the Fifth Amendment with regard to another example of waste and abuse in this government culture without a "tone from the top," we can't be let in on that. Shame on you. Lyle Rescott, Marriottsville
NEWS
By Dan Rodricks, The Baltimore Sun | September 28, 2013
The U.S. National World War II Memorial opened on the Mall in Washington in 2004 - too late for most of the war's veterans. At the time of the memorial's dedication, it was estimated that only a quarter of the 16 million Americans who served in the war were still alive. Today, 68 years after the war's end, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 600 World War II veterans die each day. Which is why three Southwest Airlines chartered flights, bearing 200 veterans from New England and New York, arrived at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport early Saturday.
HEALTH
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2013
Shortages of beds, doctors and nurses in the Baltimore VA Medical Center's emergency room resulted in nearly half of a sample of patients spending more than 6 hours at the facility, including one who waited more than 24 hours, according to a critical inspection report released this month. In that case, a 59-year-old woman who reported a racing and pounding heartbeat waited 24 hours, 8 minutes before being admitted to a unit where her heartbeat could be continuously monitored. In another example, a 52-year-old man with schizophrenia who expressed desires to kill himself or others waited 22 hours until he was transferred to a non-VA hospital for treatment.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | September 16, 2013
In a letter sent Monday to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Maryland's senior senator called on the VA's Baltimore office to develop an action plan within 10 days to improve its "lackluster" approach to an initiative designed to speed up the time it takes to process disability claims. Democrat Barbara A. Mikulski asked Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to provide a schedule for additional training between the Baltimore office leadership and service organizations, such as the American Legion, that work to expedite fully developed claims.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2013
A former high-ranking official at the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs has been accused of running a kickback scheme from his state office, allegedly fabricating military achievements and disability claims in exchange for a cut of the resulting government payouts. According to a federal indictment made public Wednesday, David Clark secured $1.4 million in fraudulent payouts over 16 years. An Army veteran, Clark rose to deputy chief of claims at the state agency before retiring in 2011.
NEWS
August 18, 2002
Jesse Brown 58, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War who led the nation's second-largest Cabinet agency, died in Washington on Thursday after a long illness. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Brown liked to call himself the secretary "for" veterans affairs and said he had won several battles with Congress because "we hold the high moral ground." Mr. Brown suffered from lower motor neuron syndrome, which attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Mr. Brown enlisted in the Marines in 1963.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun | September 15, 2013
Sometimes it's the simplest ideas that have the biggest impact, and Dan Simon is hoping his will prevent the hearing damage suffered by thousands of military personnel - the top reported service disability in the war on terror. Simon, an engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, and several of his colleagues have modified a generic set of rubbery, orange earplugs to develop an inexpensive "Anti-Blast Earplug. " Simon says the device, which the team has tentatively named the ABLE, allows wearers to hear normally until there's an explosion, such as those created by an improvised explosive device, or IED, the signature weapon of the enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq.
NEWS
By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun | July 21, 2013
Honorably discharged decades ago, a former Marine was living in a Baltimore homeless shelter, surviving with the help of $255 a month for a disability he suffered while in the service. Then he met Rochelle Richardson. Richardson, an attorney who works with the Homeless Persons Representation Project to provide indigent veterans free legal counsel, learned that the man had an outstanding claim for post-traumatic stress disorder. Richardson untangled his claim and submitted others for other unreported disabilities the former Marine sustained while he was in the corps.
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