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Morning Muster: 1/20/2015: VA denies Agent Orange claims; female vets need recognition; VSOs lay out VA needs

U.S. Army Spc. John Gilbert, left, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Christopher Bentley, center, commander of Train, Advise, Assist Command East, and U.S. Army 1st Lt. Steven Sanders depart a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province Jan. 6. Gilbert and Sanders are assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Train, Advise, Assist Command East. (U.S. Army/Capt. Jarrod Morris)

U.S. Army Spc. John Gilbert, left, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Christopher Bentley, center, commander of Train, Advise, Assist Command East, and U.S. Army 1st Lt. Steven Sanders depart a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province Jan. 6. Gilbert and Sanders are assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Train, Advise, Assist Command East. (U.S. Army/Capt. Jarrod Morris)

Duckworth may run for Senate; VA denied Agent Orange on planes for years; VA police need staff, equipment; female vets joining women’s vet organizations; VA lacks resources for women; female vet gets nasty note for using vets’ parking spot; portraits portray children who lost parents in war; town sees 91% increase in vets’ claims; $400,000 VA brag book delayed; vet sits in on SOTU; VA looking into Aurora hospital morass; reporter takes closer look at Independent Budget; docs describe ‘honeycomb’ structure of TBI; vets march on Washington; Crisis Line doc nominated for Academy Award; Texas man accused of stealing $30,000 from DAV; VA develops stand-up wheelchair

Iraq War vet Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said she may run for Senate against Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, reports Crain’s Chicago.

An IOM report stating that vets serving on planes used to spray Agent Orange during the Vietnam war after the war ended may face health issues comes after years of denials from Veterans Affairs, reports Military TimesPatricia Kime.

Veterans Affairs police say they need staff, training and better equipment—including radios that aren’t broken—and that they weren’t surprised about the shooting at the El Paso VA clinic this month, reports the Washington Post’s Emily Wax-Thibodeaux.

More female vets may be joining organizations just for them, such as the Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association, as their numbers continue to increase, reports the Killeen Daily Herald’s David A Bryant. Women make up 12 percent of the veterans population.

In the meantime, Disabled American Veterans’ executive director Garry Augustine writes in the Kennebec Journal that while 250,000 women served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,  only one-third of VA clinics have doctors for them, including gynecologists or therapists who specialize in military sexual trauma. DAV has 27 recommendations for VA.

And, A female Air Force veteran who served in Kuwait said she parked in a “veterans only” parking spot at a grocery store only to receive a nasty note from someone who assumed she was not a veteran, reports WNCN news. About 12 percent of veterans are women.

The Washington Post presents a series of portraits of American children who lost their mothers or fathers in the war in Afghanistan.

A small town in Colorado saw a 91 percent increase in veterans’ claims after it digitized its records, reports the Cortez Journal’s Jessica Gonzalez.

A $400,000 history-book project about Veterans Affairs, designed to memorialize the improved health care for vets, was postponed one month into the VA care scandal, reports the Arizona Republic’s Dennis Wagner.

A vet, Steve Buchanan, who works to get jobs for other vets will sit in on the State-of-the-Union address Tuesday night, reports McClatchy’s Rob Hotakainen.

VA has formed a board to look into the “unacceptable” handling of construction of a hospital in Aurora, Colorado, reports The Denver Post’s Anthony Cotton.

Military TimesLeo Shane takes a close look at the veterans’ service organizations’ Independent Budget. The groups say they want more money for hiring and clinic space, as well as better oversight.

The Washington Post’s Amy Ellis Nutt interviews the Johns Hopkins researchers who found a honeycomb pattern in the brains of service members who experienced traumatic brain injuries from explosions.

Veterans worried about exposure to toxic chemicals at Fort McClellan marched on Washington Saturday, reports The Washington TimesAlex Swoyer.

A documentary highlighting VA’s Crisis Line has been nominated for an Academy Award, reports the Finger Lakes Times’ Mike Hibbard.

A Texas man stands accused of embezzling $31,000 from Disabled American Veterans, reports the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

The Minneapolis VA hospital has developed a prototype for a standing wheelchair, reports WCCO’s Reg Chapman. The chair would allow veterans to shoot hoops, reach a top shelf or stand with friends at a party.

Bergmann & Moore, LLC, is a national law firm dedicated to serving the needs of veterans in compensation claims before and against the Department of Veterans Affairs. The firm’s partners are former VA attorneys who are very familiar with the VA system. Bergmann & Moore handles all kinds of cases, but has a concentration in claims involving PTSD, military sexual trauma, Gulf War illness and complex medical issues, such as brain cancer or degenerative issues, veterans exposed to Agent Orange often face. For more information, to submit news or to sign up for an email version of this blog, contact Kelly Kennedy at kkennedy@vetlawyers.com

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