Week Round-up (May 15-19)
Some of the top stories circulating the veteran community.
Colorado vets fighting for college credit. Several Colorado veterans are arguing the point that the years of experience and overseas learning should result in credit as learning outside the classroom and in a professional setting.
“You can’t tell me that someone who has served overseas and learned to speak two languages is not qualified enough to earn college credits toward a political science degree,” University of Colorado law student and Army veteran Travis Weiner argued. “ It doesn’t make sense.”
Weiner goes on to explain that the reason some veterans quit college is because they are stuck taking classes over subjects they already have knowledge about. Currently, House Bill 1004, which requires institutions to use the American Council on Education’s recommendation when assigning credit the student veterans, has unanimously passed through Colorado’s State House, and is on it’s way to the State Senate.
“Our goal is to make Colorado the best place in the country for a veteran to come home and get some value for their training,” explained Michaelson Jenet, an original co-sponsor of the bill. “ We need to recognize and honor the knowledge and experience these veterans picked up in the military and the sacrifice they made for our country.”
1-800-Hoodwinked. Scammers plagued the veteran community with an alternate Veterans Choice Program phone line that is robbing veterans of their credit card information. The 1-800 number (opposite to the true 1-866 Choice Program line) will not provide information on eligibility or benefits, but offers a $100 rebate for personal bank account numbers. The alternate number will begin the call stating the caller has reached the “Veterans Choice Program,” whereas the valid phone line will state the caller has reached the “U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.”
The Office of the Inspector General is currently working to shut the scam line down.
The VA accountability bill faces obstacles. The Department of Justice expressed concern over the weekend on whether firing policies in the new legislation to increase VA accountability is deemed unconstitutional. The opposition to the legislation argues similarities to a VA employee’s firing only months ago that was also deemed unconstitutional.
“We are very happy with the aims of it,” said acting VA general counsel Meghan Flanz. “We did over the weekend receive some concerns from our colleagues in the DOJ with a couple of minor edits to avoid constitutional issues.”
NightWare overcoming night terrors. AMVETS conducted an interview with Tyler Skluzacek, creator of NightWare, a revolutionary smart watch app that helps combat PTSD, May 4. Tyler created NightWare when his father (an Army soldier) came back from Iraq with PTSD. The app, which helps combat traumatic nightmares, has made a huge impact in Sgt. Skluzacek’s life, and the lives of several other veterans here in Minnesota. The app helps those with traumatic nightmares, as it monitors a person’s sleep, and uses machine learning to pinpoint the onset point of a person’s traumatic nightmare from sensor data. The app then intervenes in the nightmare by sending feedback to the watch to wake the sleeper out of a nightmare without waking them up. Since utilizing a prototype of the app over the past year, Sgt. Patrick Skluzacek has gone from one to two nightmares a night and waking up every night, to having no traumatic nightmares. The watches are currently going through clinical trials and the anticipated release period is Fall of 2017.