VAA Dispatch
Sep. 23, 2014

Group says it gave hundreds of veterans free pot
The Associated Press via ABC News
Hundreds of military veterans received free marijuana during a special giveaway in Denver designed to show that pot can help ease their pain. Members of Operation Grow4Vets said the event aimed to offer veterans an alternative to prescription drugs to help with anxiety, pain and other problems. The organization also says it gave out 400 bags of marijuana-infused products at the Denver Cannabis Giveaway.More

Obama's new jobs plan helps veterans and the environment
Now here's a plan that makes sense: the Obama administration has revealed a new jobs initiative that teaches Americans how to install solar energy panels. Better still, the initiative will specifically target veterans, who often have trouble finding careers back at home. Helping the environment and veterans to support themselves? Talk about killing two birds with one stone. More

Tactical veteran: Apprenticeships can be path to solid career
Navy Times
Founder of Steven Maieli writes: In my last column, I talked a bit about "blue-collar" occupations and broke down some of the pathways into those careers. In this column, I'd like to talk in a bit of detail about another such potential pathway: apprenticeships.More

VA announces proposed increase in pay ranges for VA physicians, dentists to recruit best, brightest to serve veterans
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will publish a notification in the Federal Register, which increases the maximum rates of annual pay for incoming Veterans Health Administration physicians and dentists, as part of VA Secretary Robert McDonald's nationwide recruitment initiative to hire more clinicians and expand veterans' access to care.More

GAO: VA underestimated demand for caregiver program, causing delays, limited resources
Stars and Stripes
The Department of Veterans Affairs significantly underestimated demand for a caregiver program for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, overtaxing already stretched resources and limiting services to veterans and their loved ones, an independent federal watchdog has found. As a result, some VA medical centers have had difficulty managing the workload, and caregivers have experienced long delays in getting their applications approved and receiving program benefits, according to a Government Accountability Office report.More

Debate over veteran deaths could affect VA claims
Stars and Stripes
Although it seems certain that VA hospitals offered substandard care to veterans, some of whom died while waiting months for treatment, getting compensation in court is likely to prove a tough fight for the stream of veterans and survivors expected to sue the government in the coming months.More

Veterans benefit with new consumer innovation search
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
When veterans own or lead companies and small businesses, income inequality shrinks. Why? Because most veterans who have led teams understand that leaders eat last. Edison Nation, a company that offers multiple go-to-market strategies to get product ideas on store shelves, and Ride2Recovery, a program of Fitness Challenge, a (501C3) in partnership with the Military and VA Volunteer Service Office to benefit mental and physical rehabilitation programs for our country's wounded veterans and healing heroes, have teamed up to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.More

Mission family: Transition help open to spouses, too
Military Times
When a service member leaves the military, it affects the entire family. How a family prepares for that transition can make a huge difference. By law, service members must participate in the Transition Assistance Program before separating from the military. But spouses also are welcome to attend and participate. In the same vein, part of the Transition Assistance Program involves registering for the Veterans Affairs Department's eBenefits and getting information on VA home loans, health benefits, prescription benefits and GI Bill transferability. The Defense Department, VA, the Labor Department, Small Business Administration and other agencies provide this transition program.More

Louisiana: Special deer hunting season for honorably discharged vets
Outdoor News Daily
Honorably discharged, Louisiana resident veterans will have extra hunting dates on private lands during the 2014-15 Louisiana deer hunting season. Legislative action initiated by Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, during the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, and signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal as Act 678, provides a special deer season for Louisiana residents who are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.More

Many veterans adapt to a strange world; one with walls
The New York Times
For 30 years after Vietnam, Art Harmon's address was a dry wash under the 210 freeway, where he tried to forget his tour as a 19-year-old helicopter gunner. Today, Harmon has a one-bedroom apartment in nearby Sun Valley, California, thanks to what is being described as the largest campaign in history to stamp out homelessness among military veterans, who have constituted as much as a quarter of the nation's homeless population.More