veterans

The end is near for a veteran-owned medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Olympia. It’s a casualty of the state merging recreational and medical marijuana.

Marine veteran Jack Kegley and UW Assistant Professor Jeremy Watson enjoy the new healing garden built by UW students.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

A dull empty space outside Puget Sound VA’s emergency room has been transformed into a serene space for sitting.

When clinical psychiatrist Cher Morrow-Bradley and other health care providers call the Veterans Choice program, they are greeted with a recorded, 90-second "thank you" from Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald.

It's not having the intended effect.

"Why don't you make this easier? The process is so cumbersome, and I have to listen to you thanking me for spending all this time and then I get put on hold," says Morrow-Bradley, adding that she hasn't figured out how to skip the message.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday it will subsidize more housing for homeless veterans in Oregon and Washington.

The department is giving housing agencies in the states an additional $2 million, which it said will provide housing vouchers for nearly 300 more veterans in the Northwest.

According to HUD, the agency already provides vouchers for some 4,000 homeless veterans in the two states.

Lee Jones, a spokesman for HUD, said homeless veterans are referred to housing agencies by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

At least $1.9 million of the donations to veterans groups that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reported on Tuesday came in last week, after Trump began responding to intense media scrutiny of his earlier claims about raising in excess of $6 million for veterans. Trump said on Tuesday that his efforts raised a total of $5.6 million.

Many veterans are still waiting to see a doctor.

An initiative at several veterans hospitals adds something new to patients' medical records: their life stories.

Families of service members missing in action gather at the Bellevue Marriott to hear how the Department of Defense is trying to match them with recovered remains.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

On a recent Saturday, the mood at the Marriott in Bellevue was lively considering the reason that people gathered there. From 7:30 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening, families packed into a ballroom to be briefed on what the federal government is doing to recover the remains of their loved ones.  

The fix is broken.

Two years ago Congress created the Veterans Choice Program after scandals revealed that some veterans were waiting months to get essential medical care. The $10 billion program was designed to get veterans care quickly by letting them choose a doctor outside the VA system. Now Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are pushing through new legislation to fix the program.

Theresa Larson developed an eating disorder while in the Marine Corps.
Courtesy of Theresa Larson

Marine Lt. Theresa Larson was forcing herself to vomit as many as five times a day when she was medically evacuated out of Fallujah, Iraq.

The problem had started back at Camp Pendleton in California, but Larson was doing her job and keeping it together, so the very few people who knew about it backed her up.

Soldiers place their hats on rack just inside the mess hall doors before eating breakfast in the controlled monitoring area at JBLM.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

A federal law caps the interest rates that lenders can charge military service members, but a new report says lenders don't always follow that law.

The report released today from the U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general suggests more service members are paying too much for their loans than the government had previously revealed.

An animated film is up for best documentary short at the Oscars this year. It's only the second time an animated film has been in the running since the category was established in the 1940s. Last Day of Freedom is the story of Bill Babbitt, a man who turns his brother in for murder, hoping the police will help his brother get the care he needs for PTSD.

The Babbitts' story is told through more than 30,000 drawings, most of them in black and white. They were created by Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, two Northern California-based artists.

Recent government sanctions against predatory for-profit colleges that preyed on veterans by using inflated job promises have opened the window on the wider challenges of helping veterans transition from service to higher education.

Clay Hull has a stubborn sense of justice.

After an improvised explosive device blast in Iraq ended his time in the military, he fought the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs over the amount of compensation they awarded him for his injuries.

"If I'm in the wrong, I'll admit it. But I'm not going to let somebody just push me around, especially the VA," he says.

It was complicated and drawn out, but Hull now gets the maximum the VA pays for disability.

Officers of 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 'Ready First' 1st Armored Division, participate in an urban combat exercise at a training facility on Fort Bliss, Texas in 2011.
Flickr Photo/DVIDSHUB (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1njNs6z

William Kerby was exposed to repeated blasts when he was deployed to Iraq as a Marine infantryman.

“For instance, we were setting off a charge on a door or a gate to blow it open, and there’s nowhere really to go, so you basically turn away from it within a few feet,” Kerby said. “You can feel that kind of concussion, that shockwave, as it goes through your body.”

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