The Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act would create a center of excellence within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to better understand the health effects associated with burn pits and treat veterans who become sick after exposure.
The Press did a story last March on a 36-year-old Air National Guard member, Amie Muller, who died of pancreatic cancer she and her family attributed to exposure to toxic burn pits during two tours in Iraq. Her mother-in-law, Sandy Muller, lives in Mahtomedi.
from The Buffalo News
An Alden company used a figurehead to qualify for contracts set aside for disabled veteran-owned small businesses and on Tuesday agreed to pay $3 million to settle a whistleblower’s lawsuit, according to federal prosecutors.
The monetary settlement ends a civil suit that accused Zoladz Construction Company, Arsenal Contracting LLC and Alliance Contracting, all of Alden, of recruiting a service-disabled veteran to serve as a front for Arsenal, a sham company controlled by two other individuals.
Those two men, John Zoladz of Darien and David Lyons of Grand Island, also were named in the suit and in the agreement settling allegations that they violated the federal False Claims Act. Neither Zoladz nor Lyons is a service-disabled veteran.
The government, in its suit, claimed Arsenal was a front company that had few employees of its own and relied almost exclusively on Zoladz Construction and Alliance to operate.
from National Small Business Association — Greenbot
Critical & Vital Apps; You Need To Know About!
If you want to keep prying eyes away from your conversations, then these are the apps that you need to get.
By Derek Walter
There is a growing consciousness about the desire to keep one’s messages private. Some are concerned about hackers, or worry about foreign or domestic government surveillance, but most people just agree with the general principle that what you say in your chat conversations ought to stay between you and the people you chat with.
It’s not a pleasant idea to think that your messages could be archived for perpetuity on a large company’s server or analyzed by some algorithm. The quest for privacy has birthed a whole generation of apps that promise to give you exactly that. Services like Telegram and Signal have turned the phrase “end-to-end encryption” into a popular discussion. We’re here to help you figure out what this is all about and which apps to try.
VA publicizes Shulkin’s travel schedule amid scrutiny over Cabinet spending
WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs made moves Friday to publicize Secretary David Shulkin’s travel schedule, following scrutiny over the cost of government-funded travel by other Cabinet members.
The VA announced it will post Shulkin’s itineraries of international and domestic trips, as well as who accompanies him and whether he uses private or government aircraft. On Friday, the information was online at the VA’s new “Secretary’s Travel” page.
“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know about my official travel as secretary, and posting this information online for all to see will do just that,” Shulkin said in a prepared statement.
The announcement came two days after the House Oversight Committee initiated an investigation into the travel of President Donald Trump’s administration.
VA watchdog reviewing Shulkin’s 10-day trip to Europe
By HOPE YEN | Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Veterans Affairs Department’s watchdog said Tuesday it is reviewing Secretary David Shulkin’s 10-day trip to Europe with his wife that mixed business meetings with sightseeing.
Shulkin disclosed last week he traveled to Denmark and England to discuss veterans’ health issues. Travel records released by VA show four days of the trip were spent on personal activities, including attending a Wimbledon tennis match and a cruise on the Thames River. The VA said Shulkin traveled on a commercial airline, and that his wife’s airfare and meals were paid for by the government as part of “temporary duty” expenses.
A spokesman for VA inspector general Michael Missal described the review as “preliminary.”
Small Business Cyberattack Protection Bill Gets Senate OK
Many times big business gains the spotlight while small business can’t seem to get attention. But Congress is working to ensure that small business gets a starring role on the cybersecurity stage.
Recent large-scale cyberattacks, such as the hack of Equifax Inc. that breached the personal data of 145 million consumers, have struck at the core of large corporations. Cybersecurity risks have gained high profile status when it comes to big companies. But small businesses are also tempting targets for hackers and they long for much needed cybersecurity resources. The Senate has moved legislation to plug that need.
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy– something numerous members of Congress said in a segment on recent episode of HBO Inc.’s ‘Last Week Tonight.’ There are approximately 28.2 million small businesses in the U.S.that employ half of all workers in the country, according to the Small Business Administration.
Sanders-led law hasn’t cured veterans health care issues
In the spring of 2014, a scandal at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix rocked the federal agency that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., had long defended and now as chair of a key committee was tasked with overseeing.
Hospital employees were logging inaccurate scheduling data as part of a widespread effort to cover up wait times for care that averaged 115 days.
Reports suggested dozens died waiting for care in Phoenix, while other VA hospitals were also allegedly cooking the books. After aggregating government investigations and media reports, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., alleged that 1,000 veterans had died in the previous 10 years because of poor VA care.
Sanders, then the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, suddenly was under a national spotlight. He quickly worked to calm the storm, scheduling committee hearings and seeking a legislative fix.
Missouri governor calls for new veterans hiring law
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he wants lawmakers to send him a bill to protect private employers from legal challenges if they give preference to veterans in hiring and promotions.
The proposed policy change is part of Greitens’ larger push to, as he describes it, “make this the best state in the country for veterans.” Greitens campaigned heavily on his military experience as a Navy SEAL and pledged to help other former service members.