Musical Equipment Stolen From Veterans Organization

By Meredith Yeomans

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information relating to a burglary in Plano earlier this week.

Someone stole about $20,000 worth of musical equipment belonging to a veterans organization, the group’s founder says.

Matthew JC says he received a call Monday morning that his trailer was broken into while parked outside a rehearsal studio in Plano.

JC is the founder of the organization Operation Rock the Troops, which started 14 years ago and gives back to veterans through music performances and lessons.

 Read more at NBC DFW

No More ‘Collateral Damage’: Christian Project Rescues Vets from Suicide ‘By the Glory of God’

By Mark Martin

Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury take more veterans’ lives than combat.

That’s according to the organization, “Collateral Damage Project,” a non-profit hoping to prevent veterans from committing suicide by providing treatment free of charge.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Timothy Barclay is a busy guy. In addition to teaching psychology to the next generation at Liberty University, Barclay also helps patients at a private practice.

Prior to this life, Barclay was all about the military and law enforcement. He served in the Army and then 20 years as a police officer.

In all walks, he seeks to save, and now that passion is rescuing veterans on the verge of ending it all.

Read more at CBN News

VA secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff retiring amid travel report findings

By Donovan Slack

WASHINGTON — The third most senior official at the Department of Veterans Affairs is stepping down amid findings she misled ethics officials to secure approval for VA Secretary David Shulkin’s wife to accompany him on taxpayer-funded trip to Europe.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, Shulkin’s chief of staff, told colleagues Friday morning that she is retiring after 32 years at the agency and more than two years as Shulkin’s most senior aide.

The announcement came two days after the VA inspector general released recommendations that she be disciplined for doctoring an email to an ethics lawyer to show Shulkin was getting special recognition or an award during the trip to Denmark and London last year, the criteria for clearing his wife’s flights on the public’s dime.

Read more at USA Today

VA Secretary David Shulkin expresses regret after IG report on European trip

By David Sherfinski

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said Thursday he regrets reported ethical lapses stemming from a 2017 European trip to a conference in London, and that he’s taking steps to reimburse the government for associated costs.

“This is a big deal, getting the resources right for our veterans. I do regret the decisions that have been made that have taken the focus off of that important work,” Mr. Shulkin said at a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on President Trump’s 2019 budget plan.

An investigation into the $122,000 trip revealed “serious derelictions” by VA personnel, according to an inspector general’s report released Wednesday.

“To keep the attention focused on the important things … I’ve made the decision to reimburse the Treasury to follow the IG recommendations and I’m committed to doing what we have to do to focus on veterans and make things better,” he said.

Read more at The Washington Times

Trump wants to fund veterans cemetery in Queens

By Marisa Schultz

WASHINGTON – Tucked into President Trump’s budget is funding to construct a cemetery in Queens for at least 50,000 veterans as part of a new effort to expand burial options in densely populated cities for families of service members.

Unlike a traditional cemetery, the site in St. Albans would be an outdoor columbarium only for the cremated remains of New York City-area service members and their spouses.

Certain traditional VA cemeteries have columbaria, such as the one added in 2005 to the Long Island National Cemetery that had been at capacity. But the Queens construction would be among the first wave of columbaria-only veterans cemeteries in the United States.

Read more at The New York Post

How predatory lending practices targeting veterans affect thousands of home buyers

By Kenneth R. Harney

Could predatory lending practices affecting veterans also be inflating interest rates paid by thousands of unsuspecting home buyers using FHA loans?

The answer appears to be yes — and the underlying abuses in home loans to veterans are prompting action by federal authorities and legislation on Capitol Hill.

Here’s what’s happening: According to officials, some lenders active in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home-mortgage program have been inducing borrowers to refinance their loans frequently to generate fat fees for the lenders themselves, rather than benefiting veterans with lower costs or better loan terms.

Read more at The Washington Post

Basketball fans throw socks to help veterans, troops, homeless

By Abigail Young

Along with popcorn and drinks, fans bought socks as they watched the Rock Bridge varsity boys basketball team continue its successful season against Northeast High School on Wednesday night.

Then, at halftime, socks flew from both sides of the bleachers into buckets on the court; fans were trying to sink shots of their own.

Rock Bridge High School’s cheer and basketball teams worked together to organize Sock it to the Court, an event meant to alleviate sock shortages among homeless people, veterans and troops.

Read more at the Missourian

SF settles with landlord who rented ‘substandard housing’ to veterans

By J.K. Dineen

A Bayview district landlord accused by City Attorney Dennis Herrera of banking millions of dollars by squeezing formerly homeless veterans into cramped illegal dwelling units has agreed to pay the city a $2 million fine and bring all the buildings she owns into compliance with the law.

The terms of the settlement, which was reached last week on the eve of a trial of a city lawsuit, requires husband-and-wife landlords Judy Wu and Trent Zhu to bring 12 properties up to San Francisco building, fire and planning codes.

In a statement, Herrera said that Wu and Zhu “trafficked in substandard housing that endangered their residents and neighbors alike.”

Read more at SF Gate

Veteran Starts Pavement Company to Help Others Like Him

By Adam Urquhart

AMHERST, N.H. (AP) — A Bedford-based company launched a unique initiative this week that caters specifically to veterans.

Jack Child, of Amherst, said his company – G-FORCE – specializes in pavement maintenance and parking lot striping. In August 2017, he created an opportunity available exclusively for veterans, active guard or reserve members to work for and own a G-FORCE franchise.

“We really built the brand and imagery around today’s returning veterans, something they can take pride in ownership of,” Child said.

As a veteran himself, having been in the Army for three years and being involved in the Air Force for seven years, he knows what it’s like to make that transition back home.

Read more at US News and World Report