Metro-East News

Roger That: Report finds veterans still waiting too long for VA appointments

Mike Fitzgerald
Mike Fitzgerald

Appointment wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs are not getting better, according to a recent story broadcast on the Cable News Network.

Despite billions of extra dollars poured into the agency in the last year and numerous reforms intended to improve veterans’ access to care, whistleblowers and internal documents obtained by CNN reveal some VA facilities continue to grapple with appointment wait times of months or more.

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William Shakespeare’s words from more than 400 years ago are proving to be a balm for modern-day veterans, according to the Washington Post.

A group of Milwaukee-area actors started workshops in which veterans depict conflict-heavy scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, aimed at helping the former service members deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and reintegration issues, and mental health problems.

“One of the reasons that the Shakespeare works so well is . . . it’s this language that just holds big emotion,” said actress and project director Nancy Smith-Watson.

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Canada’s prime minister-elect Justin Trudeau said Tuesday he told U.S. President Barack Obama that Canadian fighter jets would withdraw from fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, according to Military Times.

But he gave no timeline.

While Canada remains “a strong member of the coalition against ISIL,” Trudeau said he made clear to the U.S. leader “the commitments I have made around ending the combat mission.”

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The Iraqi Security Forces and their Shiite militia allies have reported major successes after launching an operation to recapture the central Iraqi city of Baiji last week,. The Islamic State is said to be holed up in just a pocket of the city after the Iraqi forces retook the Baiji oil refinery, the city center and several districts, according to Reuters.

Just two days after launching the assault, the Iraqi forces reported recapturing 60 percent of the city. A day later, the nearby oil refinery, which has been contested for well over a year, was also reported to have been cleared of Islamic State fighters.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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