Veteran Policy Update: Senator King’s press releases & co-sponsored legislation; many events; funding opportunities

May 6, 2019 Hi everyone,Press Releases from Senator King’s office:King Honors 102-Year-Old Women’s Army Corps Veteran with World War II Service MedalsMay 3, 2019OGUNQUIT, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today presented Dr. Ruth Endicott with four long overdue medals recognizing her service to the United States during World War II. Dr. Endicott, now 102 years old, served in the Women’s Army Corps in Europe before returning to Maine to complete an education and work as a family physician in Ogunquit. During a ceremony at Dr. Endicott’s home in Ogunquit, Senator King presented her with the Women’s Army Corps Ribbon, the European-African-Middle… Continue Reading »King Reintroduces Legislation to Overcome “Broadband Black Hole” and Study Economic ImpactsMay 3, 2019KITTERY, ME –U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus, have reintroduced the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act. While the federal government measures the economic impact of many industries, it does not produce current, reliable statistics on the economic impact of broadband on the U.S. economy – despite a national outcry for information that can inform state and federal policymakers. The… Continue Reading »Stockholm Native and WWII Veteran Receives American Flag Flown Over U.S. CapitolMay 2, 2019Stockholm, ME — Representatives from U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ and Representative Jared Golden’s Aroostook County offices recently presented John C. Sodergren, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, with an American… Continue Reading »Senator King in the news:Senator King’s takeaways from recent CODEL to IraqAppreciate the Morning Joe team having me on to discuss the findings of my recent CODEL to Iraq – in particular, the ongoing threat that ISIS poses to security, both regionally and internationally. Our military alliance accomplished a great deal in destroying the caliphate, but ISIS is evolving into a global threat without a territory. We must deal with this new danger strategically and combat not only the fighters, but the ideology.Senator King co-sponsored (links to Congress.gov for more details): S. 164 – TRICARE Reserve Improvement ActS. 514 – Deborah Sampson ActS. 1289 – A bill to require the Secretary of Commerce to conduct an assessment and analysis of the effects of broadband deployment and adoption on the economy of the United States, and for other purposes.   ICYMI(Links to the following news and research items are offered in the spirit of outreach and public education. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Senator or his staff.) Need to connect someone with the Veterans Crisis Line?  With an iPhone you can simply say, “Hey Siri, call the veterans crisis line,” and it will do so automatically, even if you do not have the number already saved in your contacts (1-800-273-8255).  With Android phones say “OK Google, call the veterans crisis line”.  I tried it both ways – it works! —VA launches digital campaign encouraging mental health conversations, VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, May 1, 2019Website features more than 600 stories of Veteran resilience and recoveryWASHINGTON — In recognition of Mental Health Month in May, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is launching “The Moment When” campaign, a nationwide effort starting May 1 that will feature Veterans’ personal experiences with mental health treatment and recovery. The campaign aims to demystify mental health treatment, build awareness of available mental health resources, and encourage family members and friends to start the conversation with a Veteran going through a hard time.  —VA, Lawmakers Focus on Veteran Suicides, by Laura Clason, CQ.com, April 30, 2019Lawmakers are turning their attention to the rising rate of veteran suicides as the Department of Veterans Affairs asks for more funding to address the issue. The attention comes as four veterans in the past week took their lives at VA facilities. The department estimates that 20 veterans commit suicide every day, 14 of whom have not seen a VA provider in the past two years. While the VA’s mental health budget has more than doubled since 2009, growing from $3.9 billion to $8.9 billion in 2019, the number of suicides continues to rise. The department is requesting $9.4 billion for 2020. A House appropriations bill released Tuesday meets that request, in addition to providing $222 million in suicide prevention outreach.—VA and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services join to strengthen safety surveillance for medications issued to Veterans, VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, April 30, 2019 WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced an agreement that greatly improves drug safety monitoring of prescriptions, including opioids. The agreement, which was formalized March 21, will give VA the ability to monitor medical prescriptions issued outside the VA through Medicare Part D.  —VA celebrates Women’s Health Week with events at medical centers, VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, April 30, 2019 VA Maine Healthcare System’s Open House is Thursday, May 16!  See below.WASHINGTON — In celebration of National Women’s Health Week, May 12-18, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the country will host events to support women Veterans and connect them with VA’s health care services. —VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION: Past Performance System Recommendations Have Not Been Implemented, GAO Report, April 30, 2019 Highlights Page: The Veterans Health Administration ranks medical centers on overall quality from 1 star to 5 stars. We found that these rankings are based on a performance measurement system that may not effectively measure quality of care.  Two previous reviews of VHA’s system—one internal VHA review and one review from a private consulting organization—recommended that VHA make significant changes to it, but it has neither assessed those recommendations nor implemented them. In this report, we recommended that VHA use those previous reviews to improve their system.—Veterans Benefit Administration press release, Monday, April 29We hope you tuned in to the Managing VBA Performance & Results: Q2 webcast with Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D., Under Secretary for Benefits. If you missed the presentation, watch the replayand download the presentation to learn how VBA performed in Q2 of FY19. You will also get the latest updates on appeals modernization, tele-counseling services, and the 75th Anniversary of the GI Bill. Watch this and future webcasts to stay up-to-date on VBA’s efforts to provide Veterans, Service members, and their families with seamless access to the benefits they’ve earned. — United Farmer Veterans of Maine press release, Sunday, April 28Positively Maine will be airing [their] show on the subject of Veterans at 1100 today. We will post the link as soon as it is available for those outside the Portland Radio Station.  Tory Ryden created Positively Maine in response to the explosion of negative, troubling and worry-inducing news stories that infiltrate all air waves. The show is an hour-long and features no vitriolic arguments–rather, inspirational, informative stories that motivate and, the goal is, uplift.  The topic of the show will be veterans. Agrability, UFVM and Maine Bureau of Veterans will be on the show. (You can listen HERE.)—VA publishes Code of Integrity ethical standards for its Health Care Administration employees, VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, April 26, 2019 The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently published a Code of Integrity, which sets the ethical standards and obligations of every employee in VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA).Centered upon VA’s I CARE values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence, the VHA Code of Integrity, which was published April 22, makes VA among the first handful of federal departments or agencies to implement such an action.The Friends of the National World War II Memorial is calling on all World War II veterans to join us at the National World War II Memorial this year as we continue with our four-year WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration, marking the 75th anniversary of every battle and campaign during World War II. 

Let us Honor You, Recognize You, and Thank You at the World War II Memorial! 

Friends is the only organization hosting a four-year 75th anniversary commemoration, marking every battle in which American troops participated during World War II. Since the beginning of the 75th anniversary commemoration on Pearl Harbor Day 2016, Friends has hosted twenty 75th anniversary ceremonies at the Memorial. The Friends of the National World War II Memorial WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration still has two more years full of ceremonies left, as it will continue through the 75th anniversary of V-J Day on September 2, 2020.

Among the battles whose 75th anniversaries Friends will be marking over the course of 2019 are the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings at Normandy, France on D-Day on June 6, 2019 and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge on December 16, 2019.  In order to honor, remember, and celebrate the Greatest Generation, we want to be joined by as many of our World War II Veterans as possible. But even if our veterans can’t make it in person or if they’ve left us too soon, they can still be honored!  If you are a WWII veteran or you know of one, please be sure to sign up to be remembered today!CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2019 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS75th Anniversary of the GI Bill, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, visited March 7, 2019 Since 1944 the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill, has impacted the lives of millions of Veterans and their families. The law provided a wide range of benefits to Veterans returning from World War II, including low-cost home loans, education and vocational training, unemployment payments, and an expansion of Veterans’ health care. As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the GI Bill, we will tell the story of how this legislation has impacted Veterans and their families for generations. How has the GI Bill impacted your life? Share your story!Share your story by submitting a video any time between March 1 and June 22, 2019. Whether your story involves getting an education, buying a house, or other VA benefits that impacted your life. Your story may appear on our YouTube page, highlighted on this page, or other VA materials. We’ll be featuring stories from March through June as VA celebrates this important milestone.—Webinars and other events:  Community and Connections:Stress and Suicide Prevention Skills for First RespondersSaturday, May 11th, 20198:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.Gray New Gloucester High School10 Libby Hill Rd, Gray, MainePlease RSVP by clicking HERE.Partners including Gray Fire Rescue, the Cumberland County Sherriff’s Office, Team Rubicon, the VA Suicide Prevention Program, Harpswell Department of Safety/Emergency Services, and Maine CDC’s Cumberland District Liaison are teaming up to provide information, skills, best practices and support for first responders around PTSD and suicide prevention. Some of our engaging speakers are: Jeremy LeClair of Team Rubicon and Pete O’Donnell from the VA, who will speak about PTSD related stress. Tracy Charette, RN from the VA Maine Healthcare System (HCS) Suicide Prevention Team will share statistics, signs/symptoms, myths and resources regarding the sensitive topic of suicide and share examples of peer-to-peer support models designed to help prevent suicide in Maine and nationally.  This is a free event.  Participants will be eligible for CEHs. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.  For more information contact Kristine Jenkins, Cumberland District Public Health Liaison, Maine CDC, 207-485-0541, Kristine.L.Jenkins@Maine.gov and stay tuned for updates!  Please share this message with others who may be interested in attending.— VA Maine Healthcare System Proudly Hosts Women Veterans Open House!Stop by the Women’s Primary Care ClinicThursday, May 16th2pm-3pmBuilding 205, Togus Learn about the health care services for women Veterans, meet the staff, and help celebrate the clinic’s 5th year anniversary of being open! For more information contact; LaRhonda Harris (207) 623-8411 x4017. By the way, note these additional VA claims clinics:  2nd Tuesday of the Month, 9 am, Walk inClinic @ VA CBOC, 655 Main ST,Saco, ME~3rd Wednesday of the Month, 9 am, Walk inClinic @ VA CBOC, 15 Challenger DR,Lewiston, ME~4th Tuesday of the Month, 9 am, Walk inClinic @VA CBOC, 144 Fore St,Portland, METhe Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee’s next meeting isMonday, May 6th, 2019, 6PMMaine Veterans’ Homes Central Office460 Civic Center DriveAugusta, Maine The Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee is established as a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian organization for the purpose of serving the State’s congressional delegation, the Legislature, local governments and the general public as a clearinghouse of information and suggested legislation regarding veterans’ issues at local, state and federal levels.  MVCC meetings are the first Monday of the month, September – June. All are welcome.  FMI: David Patch,dapatch@roadrunner.comVA Town HallThursday, May 9th – 5:00 PMLewiston CBOC15 Challenger Drive, Lewiston, MEVolunteers of America of Northern New England invites you to tourCabin in The Woods!May 10, 201911:00 – 2:00Eagle Drive (on Togus Campus)Chelsea, Maine The tour will highlight our programs including veteran services, senior services, and adults with disabilities. During the tour you will meet our CEO and learn about what we do, how we do it, and why we do what we do.  Hot dogs and hamburgers provided.  FMI: info@voanne.org or call 207-373-1140 x 206— Wills for HeroesA pro bono event providingFREE BASIC ESTATE PLANNING SERVICESfor veterans and their spousesThursday, May 23, 20193:00-7:00 p.m.Bangor Vet Center  Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the Maine State Bar Association have coordinated several attorney volunteers to prepare wills, and related basic estate planning instruments free of charge for low income veterans living in our community.  We are honored to provide this service to the heroes who have sacrificed so much for this country and community. We hope to see you at one of our clinics! Interested veterans and their spouses should make an appointment by contacting us atveterans@ptla.org or (207) 400-3229. A member of our staff will return messages and provide necessary intake documents which must be returned to a Pine Tree office no later than May 17th. There is limited opportunity for services, and preference will be given to those registered in advance. Next:  Portland – June 13, 2019, 3:00-7:00 p.m. at University of Southern Maine Adult Mental Health First Aid for Veterans and Their Families 
June 11th, 2019
8:30 – 4:30 pm
Bangor Savings Bank
5 Senator Way
Augusta, Maine 04330 
Mental Health First Aid is a national best-practice, evidenced-based certification course that is 8 hours in length and leads to a 3 year certification issued by the National Council on Behavioral Health.  This training is only for Veterans, their families and friends. Mental Health First Aid for Military Members, Veterans and their Families teaches people how to notice and respond to signs of mental health and addiction challenges with a specific focus on the cultural factors related to military life. Register Here: https://www.namimaine.org/events/EventDetails.aspx…FMI: Cecilia Natale, mhfa@namimaine.org, 207-622-5767—VATown Hall
Wednesday, June 12th – 5:00 PM
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church23 Church Street, Calais, ME— Honor Flight Maine could use your help!Honor Flight Maine is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s Veterans for all their service and sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to tour, experience and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to our most frail veterans – terminally ill veterans of all conflicts and World War II survivors. Korean and Vietnam Veterans are also transported on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis. The next flight is June 28, 29, 30 – All flights leave/arrive at PWM (with welcome home events on the Sunday of their return).  Honor Flight is looking for WW II veterans who would like to go on this trip! Call 207-370-7210 or go visit their website for more info.  Notices of Funding, Proposals, Recognition:   VA offers $15 million in grant funding to support adaptive sports for disabled Veterans, VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, March 26, 2019 The deadline for applications to be submitted is May 14.WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the availability of up to approximately $15 million in grants for community organizations that provide adaptive sports, including therapeutic recreational opportunities for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the armed forces. VA awards grants to qualifying organizations to plan, develop, manage and implement programs serving Veterans…Details of the Notice of Funding Availability, including how to apply, can be viewed under the “Grant Program” tab online at VA Adaptive Sports Grant Program. All submissions will be accepted online at www.grants.gov. —DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Funding Availability: Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Register, March 21, 2019.Applications for case management grants under the GPD Program must be received by the GPD National Program Office by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, May 20, 2019.…The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing the availability of funds to eligible entities to provide time-limited case management services to improve the retention of housing by Veterans who were previously homeless and are transitioning to permanent housing from programs such as VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program or VA’s Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Contracted Residential Services (CRS) Program. — Are you ready to solve a problem?  Check out 100&Change – from the MacArthur Foundation The competition launched on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. You must register by Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Central. Applications are due no later than Tuesday August 6, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Central.100&Change is a MacArthur Foundation competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant problem. Proposals focused on any critical issue are welcome… No sector or field is out of bounds for this competition. All proposals, however, must propose a serious solution to a significant problem that has a charitable purpose. Proposals must then pass through a rigorous application process and meet the requirements of being impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable.—As always, I am eager to hear from you. Thank you for all that you are doing! Please feel free to call or write.  Best Regards,

Teague Morris
Outreach Director | Senator Angus S. King, Jr., Maine
4 Gabriel Drive, Suite 3 | Augusta, ME 04330
Tel: 207-622-8292 | Tel:1-800-432-1599| Cell: 207-252-8997
Fax: 207-621-0286 |teague_morris@king.senate.gov
 

Post expires at 11:55am on Thursday May 30th, 2019

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