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http://vets.umich.edu/prospective-students/vetcore/

A University of Michigan program wants to prepare military veterans for college life. It’s called VetCoRe. It stands for "veteran college readiness."

Annie Spratt / Unsplash

 

Today on Stateside, Attorney General Dana Nessel clashes with the Republican-led legislature on a law that would change the rules on petition drives. Plus, an invasive insect could make its way to Michigan and wreak havoc on crops.

 

 

James Russo / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

A service has been held at a Michigan cemetery for the cremated remains of about 20 military veterans found in a closed Detroit funeral home.

A police escort on Monday led hearses bearing the remains from the Detroit area to Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit. They were given a 21-gun salute and taps was played.

World War II veterans, Art Holst and Guy Stern.
Isabella Isaacs / Michigan Radio

 

Today, we'll talk about the race that will fill two seats on Michigan's State Board of Education. Plus, as Veterans Day approaches, Stateside is taking the opportunity to sit down with a couple of America's longest-living veterans and talk about their experiences in WWII and beyond. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

State Representative Jason Wentworth (R) testifying before the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee in February.
Michigan House Republicans

Republican State Representative Jason Wentworth serves Michigan's 97th district and is the chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. He served in the United States Army, and before he was elected to the state House, he was a regional coordinator for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA).

Earlier this year, he worked to get a bill signed into law that will — for the first time — make state funds available for county governments to help veterans apply for federal VA benefits.

Harold Becker (left) and Sean Tracy (right) in the Stateside studio.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

When it comes to thanking the nation's veterans, some would say we can never do it enough.

Sean Tracy has taken that gratitude to a whole new level.

He travels throughout the Midwest recording veterans’ oral histories and crafting tribute walls at Independence Village and StoryPoint, senior living communities where he serves as the Veteran Project coordinator.

Rendering of the memorial
Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial Board

 

Governor Snyder has signed a new tax law that offers assistance to a proposed World War Two memorial in Oakland County.

The law adds the Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial to the list of organizations you'll be able to donate to through your state income tax return.

Deb Hollis is the president of the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial Board. She joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to discuss the current status of the Memorial and effect of this new law. 

Brittany ⎈ Colette / Unsplash

For many people Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. But its official purpose is to remember and honor those who gave their lives while serving in the military.

Michigan is one of many states that lays claim to being the birthplace of the national holiday. However, like so many things in our nation’s past, Memorial Day stirred up controversy when it was created after the Civil War. 

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Veterans in Michigan will now have an easier time purchasing and financing single-family homes using Veterans Association mortgage assistance.

Since 1978, the majority of new single-family homes in Michigan have actually been classified as "site condominiums."

This classification allows developers to build neighborhoods faster and more efficiently. However, because of certain VA regulations on condos, it also creates significant barriers for veterans who want to use VA loans to purchase a home.

Courtesy of Michael Hyacinthe and Kevin Kammeraad

You can help kids read books. And you can help as they draw pictures. But an app created in West Michigan blends the two together. It’s called Wimage, from the combination of “words” and “image.”

It’s being taken into classrooms where students are able to combine their imaginations with the app’s technology. And it’s also being used in art therapy, to help wounded veterans heal through art.

US capital building
Kevin Harber / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Americans are disillusioned and disappointed with Congress. The rock-bottom approval ratings confirm that.

With that in mind, what would you think about a candidate who promises to return or donate to charity any campaign contributions from sources that “taint" the candidate's integrity?

Who refuses to do anything that attacks the character of his or her opponent?

Wikicommons

What is the best way to keep a soldier’s morale up? This was a serious question for government officials during World War II.

America’s soldiers were experiencing the most traumatic events of their lives, away from their families and surrounded by the horrors of war.

Officials concluded that perhaps the best way to keep soldiers happy was the power of music.

Courtesy of Kathy Hay

One of the most profound and moving ways to observe Veteran's Day is to hear veterans share their stories.

That’s happening Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium as part of Stories of Service: An Evening With Veterans. During the event, six veterans will share stories of service ranging from World War II to Afghanistan. It’s a celebration of vets, their families, and their friends.

Kathy Hay will share her story on Wednesday. She served stateside in the Air Force during the Vietnam War era and then became one of the first uniformed female officers in the Ann Arbor Police Department.

a veteran medal
RAY TYLER IMAGES / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the country's largest integrated health system. Nearly nine million of America’s veterans get medical care from the VA.

Ninety-six years ago today, the precursor to what we now know as the VA began with a stroke of President Warren G. Harding’s pen.

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans
michigan.gov

The state will pay out $825,000 to settle a lawsuit over the death of a resident at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

The death happened more than five years ago. Andrew Ball suffered from dementia, and he often would wander at night. One night, in April of 2012, he wandered into the room of another resident, and that resident, who also suffered from dementia, beat him. Ball died from his wounds.

Michael J. Carden / public domain

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport once again is working with the Patriot Guard Riders of West Michigan to welcome returning military service members and veterans on the day before Thanksgiving.

Grand Rapids airport volunteers, therapy dogs and members of the troop-supporting motorcycle organization will participate Wednesday in "Operation Handshake."

As in the past, they’ll staff both concourses throughout the day and thank active and retired soldiers and sailors for their service.

Flickr user Presidio of Monterey / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In recent years, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has been taken a lot more seriously. But, the general public is often not aware of the struggles returning veterans have with the disorder.

Stephanie Shannon is a veteran of Desert Storm and Desert Shield operations during the first Gulf War. She’s the founder and CEO of Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment and she joined Stateside to talk about how women who fight for our country deserve more recognition for their service. 

Courtesy of Deborah Trimble

Kevin Trimble’s life changed forever on September 18, 2011. A private in the army, his unit was sweeping a village in Afghanistan for IEDs when, as he puts it, they found one the hard way. Specialist Ryan James Cook, the soldier who stepped on the IED, died immediately. Kevin was standing eleven feet away and lost both legs and his left arm.

Minutes later, on the other side of the ocean, his sister, Deborah Trimble, answered her phone. A military police officer with the Air Force, she was her brother’s emergency contact, and she tried to understand what the sergeant at the other end of the line was telling her. Her brother was still on his way to the hospital, and the extent of his injuries was not yet clear.

Buddy-to-Buddy sends volunteer veterans to help other veterans or servicemembers
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Who can understand the problems, fears and worries of veterans and military service members better than someone who has served?

That's the idea behind Buddy-to-Buddy. It's the only program of its kind in Michigan, focused on peer support. Veterans who can help other vets and service members. 

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles
Jodie Westrick / Michigan Radio

Next Monday, the nation will say thank you to 86-year-old Charles Kettles.

President Obama will present the Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot with the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award, for a courageous rescue mission in the heat of ferocious combat.

Courtesy of Save the Flags

When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Michigan was one of the states to quickly answer the call for volunteers. 

In fact, when the 1st Michigan Infantry marched into Washington that May, Abraham Lincoln reportedly exclaimed, "Thank God for Michigan!"

This coming Saturday, July 9, we're all invited to the State Capitol to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the return of the Civil War Volunteers and their battle flags, as well as the 25th anniversary of Save The Flags, the effort to preserve and display battle flags carried by Michigan troops in the Civil War.

Flickr user RAY TYLER IMAGES/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

While personnel are still in the military, the doctors they see understand their experiences in combat, or in other situations, might mean they have certain healthcare issues.

Once veterans are out of the military, though, their private physicians might not even think to ask if they’ve served. That’s an oversight one doctor is working to correct.

Website of Tom Barrett for State Representative

State Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, and state Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, are two Iraq War veterans who were “heartbroken and outraged” when a recent audit revealed the poor quality of care being given to military veterans at a state facility.

Barrett and Knezek decided to fight for the veterans.

A recent audit of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans revealed the state facility was understaffed, that the workers were mishandling complaints of abuse and neglect, and that they were not conducting mandated safety checks. 

user anonymonous / Flickr

Like many of us, the folks at Washtenaw County have something on their Christmas wish list: 17 apartments to house 17 homeless veterans.

Andrea Plevek is with the county's Office of Community and Economic Development.

If she were writing a letter to Santa, "I think that we would ask Santa Claus to open the hearts and minds of the landlord community here in Washtenaw County," says Plevek.

The county hopes to reach its goal of zero homeless veterans by the end of 2015, but Plevek says the county can't do it alone.

University of Michigan Health System

Michigan veterans would be eligible for grants to help them earn a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math under a new bipartisan bill in the state House.

If the bill becomes law, eligible veterans could receive up to $5,000 a year toward a STEM degree at a public university or community college in Michigan.

Neal Steeno

When soldiers are sent into war, they often leave a chunk of their hearts and souls on the battlefield.

They may make it home, but part of them remains tied to that far-off battleground.

Tim Keenan of Traverse City lived with that hole in his heart and soul for more than 40 years. He was a 20-year-old infantryman in the fall of 1967 when he was dropped into the frontline fighting in Vietnam at Dak To.

Death
flickr user abarndweller / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It's impossible to know just how many homeless veterans are on America's streets.

The federal government estimates that there are nearly 50,000 vets who are homeless on any given night.

The National Coalition on Homeless Veterans tells us they've served in every conflict from World War II right up to Iraq and Afghanistan, although nearly half of homeless veterans served in Vietnam.

The reasons they are homeless are many: lack of affordable housing, inability to make a livable income, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

Remembering greatness on V-J day

Aug 14, 2015

Seventy years ago today, the people of Japan heard their emperor’s voice on the radio for the first time. In perhaps history’s best example of euphemism, he told them, “Circumstances in the world conflict have proceeded in a manner not necessarily to our advantage.”

World War II, the greatest war in history, was over. Sixteen million Americans had served, hundreds of thousands from Michigan. Nearly thirteen thousand Michiganders died. I was born less than seven years after it ended, and growing up, most kids’ daddies had been in the war. They had souvenir Lugers and helmets and battle flags.

Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

A  veterans fair in Washtenaw County today offered one-stop shopping for employment, counseling, health, and other services. About 20 groups participated in the event at Scio Township Hall. Michigan U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg and Debbie Dingell hosted the event. 

Organizations on hand to offer help included the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, the VFW Department of Michigan Service Office, the Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs, Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program, Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors, and many more. 

Two Iraq War vets are now serving in the State Legislature
flickr user cedarbenddrive / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

There are two Iraq war veterans now serving in the state Legislature.

Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, and Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, both took their seats in November 2014, and they’re working hard toward a goal of improving veterans’ affairs here in Michigan.

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