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7 Counties ‘Granted’ Opportunity To Better Connect Veterans, Benefits

LANSING, Mich. – More than 22,000 veterans in seven counties will find it easier to file a federal benefits claim with an accredited county veterans service officer, thanks to County Incentive Grants awarded by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA).

This is MVAA’s second round of one-time grants, and funds awarded include:

· $10,000 for Clare County Veterans Services to increase the accredited county veterans counselor to a full-time position.

· $20,000 for Crawford County to establish a county department of veterans affairs and hire a full-time accredited county veterans counselor.

· $10,000 for Dickinson County Office of Veterans’ Affairs to hire an additional part-time accredited county veterans counselor.

· $20,000 for the Lapeer County Department of Veterans Affairs to hire a full-time accredited county veterans counselor and upgrade existing equipment.

· $20,000 for Montcalm County to establish a county department of veterans affairs and hire a full-time accredited county veterans counselor.

· $20,000 for Osceola County to establish a county department of veterans affairs and hire a full-time accredited county veterans counselor.

· $15,000 for the Schoolcraft County of Veterans Administration to increase the accredited county veterans counselor to a full-time position and purchase office technology.

“Many Michigan veterans simply aren’t accessing the federal benefits they’ve earned, either because of past experiences with the VA or because they aren’t aware of changes to benefits eligibility,” MVAA Director Jeff Barnes. “Whether you’re a WWII-era veteran, just returning from overseas or served anywhere in between, MVAA and our county partners can help you navigate the federal claims process and get the pension, disability and other benefits you earned while in uniform.”

Created under Public Act 252 of 2014, the County Incentive Grant program is administered by MVAA and provides $250,000 in grant funding to Michigan counties looking to fund new county departments of veterans affairs, hire additional accredited county veteran counselors or upgrade or invest in new technology. To date in fiscal year 2015, $210,000 has been distributed to a total of 14 county veterans service offices, covering 16 counties.

“Through the County Incentive Grant program, we are partnering with counties throughout Michigan to better serve the state’s veterans,” said Rob Price, MVAA acting director for targeted outreach. “There are veterans in every county in Michigan, and we want to make it as convenient as possible for each of them to apply for their federal benefits. It can be a complicated process, but county veterans counselors are trained to help veterans through it.”

Counties interested in applying for the County Incentive Grant program are encouraged to email Price at pricer5@michigan.gov or visit the members area of the Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors website.

Veterans can find their nearest benefits counselor by visiting MichiganVeterans.com or calling 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).

Senator Stabenow Statement on Confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow issued the following statement regarding the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as the next Attorney General of the United States:
‘Today history was made as the Senate voted to confirm Loretta Lynch to be the first African American woman to serve our country as U.S. Attorney General. Ms. Lynch’s experience as a prosecutor and a U.S. attorney with a long-standing history of defending the law makes her eminently qualified to lead the Justice Department and enforce the rule of law. It took Senate Republicans over five months to put politics aside and bring Loretta Lynch’s historic vote to the Senate floor, even though she has been ready for the job since day one.’

Read more here:: Senator Stabenow Statement on Confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General

Senator Stabenow Statement on Finance Committee Passage of Trade Promotion Authority

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow issued the following statement regarding the Senate Finance Committee passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation:
‘The United States is in a global marketplace and it’s up to us to decide whether America is leading the race to the top, or if we’re racing to the bottom. Workers in Michigan have seen what happens when bad trade deals get fast-tracked that hurt our manufacturers and drive down wages. Michigan families simply cannot afford to take home smaller paychecks or watch their good-paying jobs go overseas. Without strong, enforceable language that keeps countries from cheating on currency, labor, and environmental standards, we risk exporting our jobs instead of our products. ‘Instead of fast-tracking trade, we need to fast-track the middle class by putting policies in place that will allow our businesses and workers to compete on a level playing field, spur job growth here at home, and strengthen opportunities for American working families.’

Read more here:: Senator Stabenow Statement on Finance Committee Passage of Trade Promotion Authority

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NASA Unveils Celestial Fireworks as Official Image for Hubble 25th Anniversary

The brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life resemble a glittering fireworks display in the 25th anniversary NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the solar system and beyond since its launch on April 24, 1990.

Read more here:: NASA Unveils Celestial Fireworks as Official Image for Hubble 25th Anniversary

Army works toward common fire control across weapons platforms

Nothing is more basic to a warfighter than aiming and firing a weapon and coordinating that task with others – a process known as fire control. But ever since weapons systems became computerized, there is not been a common fire control system across the various Army weapons platforms.

Read more here:: Army works toward common fire control across weapons platforms

New Army technologies support in-flight communications, expeditionary command posts

The Army is delivering new technologies to the Global Response Force that will help transform the concept of a command post from a stationary, tented shelter to a mobile enabler for expeditionary mission command – including during operations in flight and early entry into developing situations.

Read more here:: New Army technologies support in-flight communications, expeditionary command posts

Dailey sets sights on military education

The importance of improving military education while continually improving the Army profession were two topics Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey shared with members of the Fort Carson community, April 20-21.

Read more here:: Dailey sets sights on military education

Army works toward common fires control across weapons platforms

Nothing is more basic to a warfighter than aiming and firing a weapon and coordinating that task with others – a process known as fires control. But ever since weapons systems became computerized, there is not been a common fires control system across the various Army weapons platforms.

Read more here:: Army works toward common fires control across weapons platforms

Senator Stabenow Statement on Senate Passage of Legislation to Stop Human Trafficking

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow issued the following statement regarding Senate passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015: ‘There are more than 20 million human trafficking victims across the world, including millions of women and children in our own country. I am pleased that my Republican colleagues finally agreed to put an end to the partisan gridlock that has kept this bill from being passed for weeks. Once this legislation is signed into law, law enforcement officials will have the tools they need to stop these horrific crimes from happening and help victims of human trafficking rebuild their lives.’

Read more here:: Senator Stabenow Statement on Senate Passage of Legislation to Stop Human Trafficking

Senators Stabenow, Peters Announce Support for Mackinac Island Fire Department

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today announced $20,477 for the Mackinac Island Fire Department. This grant comes through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and the Fire Prevention and Safety Program.
‘Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep our families, homes, and communities safe,’ said Stabenow. ‘These new resources will help the Mackinac Island Fire Department buy the equipment they need to safely protect their community.’
‘It is critical that our firefighters have the tools they need to stay safe while they work to protect our communities,’ Peters said. ‘First-responders on Mackinac Island brave incredibly dangerous situations, and this support from the Department of Homeland Security will improve their ability to effectively manage these hazards.’
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These competitive grants will help fund professional training programs, update equipment and facilities, and provide new supplies to help first-responders handle hazards efficiently and effectively. More information about the grant can be found at http://www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program.

Read more here:: Senators Stabenow, Peters Announce Support for Mackinac Island Fire Department

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