Showing posts with label Denver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Denver. Show all posts

Friday, September 21, 2018

Taking advantage of veterans is a crime

Denver Veterans Affairs Official Charged With Taking Bribes
By Jean Lotus, Patch Staff
Sep 20, 2018
A small business official and two vendors were accused of attempted bid-rigging on federal contracts with the VA.
DENVER, CO – A Denver-based U.S. Veterans Administration official and two business owners were arrested Wednesday as part of an investigation into bribes and bid-rigging at the VA's Colorado Network Contracting Office in Glendale.

VA official Dwane Nevins, 54, of Denver, and business associates Robert Revis, 59, and Anthony Bueno, 43, were indicted by a grand jury for allegedly paying and receiving bribes to manipulate federal contracts between September of 2014 through April of 2016, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Nevins was also charged with trying to extort $10,000 from an undercover FBI agent posing as the owner of a service-disabled-veteran-owned small business.

The indictment alleges that Revis and Bueno, through a partnership with Nevins, created a company called Auxilious allegedly to help service-disabled veteran business owners navigate the VA's federal procurement set-aside system. Prosecutors allege the three conspired to alter and manipulate federal contracts for two medical procurements: A contract for LC bead particle embolization products for a Salt Lake City VA hospital and a contract for other medical products for VA hospitals throughout the region.
read more here

Veterans charity collects $6.5 million, still MIA
By: Steve Andrews
Posted: Sep 20, 2018
According to Campbell's own admission, VetMade Industries hasn't helped any veterans in at least 5 years, yet it's collected millions and kept its doors closed.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Tax records obtained by 8 On Your Side reveal a local charity collected more than $6.5 million to help veterans, but kept its doors closed, helping no one.

VetMade Industries received the money from generous people donating their cars to help train unemployed and disabled vets.

VetMade paid most of the money from those donations to a professional fundraiser.

Earlier this month, we disclosed that according to its tax records, VetMade Industries took in $5.5 million from 2014-2016.

IRS records from 2010 to 2013 show it took in another $1.07 million and veterans got nothing.

The sign on its door still says, "VetMade Industries is closed."

The charity's mission is to put unemployed, disabled veterans back to work.

"We do partner and have partnered with the Veterans Administration, the Office of Compensated Work Therapy Program. They're out of James Haley," VetMade founder John Campbell said.

Not according to an email from Haley Public Affairs Specialist Karen Collins, who wrote, "We don't have an existing partnership."
read more here

Monday, October 23, 2017

Homeless Navy Veteran Has Dream Wedding

Local group organizes wedding for homeless veteran and give newlyweds temporary home

Alasyn Zimmerman
October 22, 2017
Todd and Shelly Wibeto have known they've wanted to get married for awhile, but there were several things in their way. 

Both Todd and Shelly were homeless, they met at a shelter in Denver and became friends, and it blossomed into something more. 
Homeless and not sure where to turn next, they both hoped for the best as they sought local resources for help. 
Todd Wibeto served in the Navy and when we found out about the El Paso County Homeless Veteran's Coalition 'Stand Down' event, he decided to stop by. 
The event gives homeless veterans several resources including haircuts, new clothes, health screenings, and opportunities to learn about jobs and housing. 
In addition to the actual event, about 25 people or a few families are selected for a Transitional Housing Initiative (THI) where they stay in a hotel for a month and by the end of it, many of the participants find permanent homes. 
When Todd went to the event, he was unsure what we would walk away with, 'I said if we get lunch, that will be good enough,' said Wibeto. 
Turns out, the selection committee had something bigger in mind. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

SWAT Raided Special Forces Veteran's Home For Legal Pot?

Special forces soldier sues Fountain SWAT after legal pot grow raid
Denver Post
Kirk Mitchell
August 17, 2017

A former special forces infantryman, who was awarded the Bronze Star and uses marijuana to treat PTSD after tours to Iraq and Bosnia, has sued the Fountain police SWAT team after officers raided his legal marijuana greenhouse.

Eli Olivas and his girlfriend Marisela Chavez sued the city of Fountain and Fountain police Sgt. Matthew Racine, claiming the city failed to properly train its police to investigate pot cases in a state where it’s legal to grow marijuana.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Denver by attorney Terrence Johnson. Olivas and Chavez seek compensatory damages of more than $100,000. Olivas, a paramedic, also wants his guns returned: an AK-47 rifle, a 5.56 millimeter Sig Sauer rifle and a Glock 17, court records show Police confiscated the weapons but haven’t returned them, the lawsuit says.

Fountain Police Chief Chris Heberer said the department had a valid search warrant signed by a judge.
Olivas is a former U.S. Army Special Forces staff sergeant, infantryman, medic and combat veteran. Besides the Bronze Star, he earned numerous other service medals. He also was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder linked to combat.

Olivas is a registered medical marijuana patient with a permit to grow up to 99 marijuana plants for his own treatment of PTSD. He was growing 18 marijuana plants behind a locked, 6-foot privacy fence. The plants were further enclosed in a greenhouse walled with opaque glass.
read more here

Friday, June 30, 2017

Homeless Veteran Died Saving Teenagers

Army Veteran Dies in Fatal Beating After Saving Teens From a Homeless Man’s Attack
Milwaukee Community Journal
JUNE 29, 2017
"Apparently Farmer was living out of his car so that he could save money and move back to Seattle with his fiancee. They were planning to buy a home together."
Being labeled a hero doesn’t necessary mean you wear a cape and a mask and save the world. Some of the most honorable heroes are completely visible and use no super powers. 

As for 62-year-old James Farmer Jr., he will go down in history for his selfless act of saving two teenage boys from a homeless man’s attack. 

James Farmer, an Army veteran, was sleeping in his car when he woke up and saw two teens being attacked by 28-year-old, DeJuan Stamps, a homeless man in downtown Denver. 

Approaching the violent man, he then took the attention from the teenage boys, making himself the target. This eventually ended up in the veteran losing his life. read more here

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Vietnam Veterans of America honored 19 forgotten veterans

Vietnam Veterans honor forgotten, unclaimed remains with special ceremony at Fort Logan Cemetery

The Denver Channel 
Lance Hernandez 
Jun 23, 2017

DENVER – The Colorado Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America honored 19 forgotten veterans with a solemn ceremony at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

They were honors that the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines had earned, but never received.

“Our guiding principal was and is that never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another,” said Lt. Col. David Steiner, USAF (Retired)
Chapter member Jim Topkoff said they discovered that there were literally thousands of unclaimed remains spread around the country that had never been recognized and never been given a proper military funeral.
He said members of Chapter 1071 took on the Honors Burial Program a year and a half ago, because of the way they were treated when they left the military.
read more here

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Iraq Veteran Killed in Police Standoff

Police kill Eagle River veteran after standoff near Denver
Chugiak Eagle River Star
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A former Eagle River resident and Marine reservist was shot and killed by police after a standoff near Denver on Friday.
According to the Denver Post, police in Englewood, Colorado were called Friday afternoon for a report that an armed man was barricaded inside a home holding several hostages. During the incident, police fatally shot Michael Kocher, 32, in the torso.

Kocher was profiled in a 2009 story in the Alaska Star in which he talked about a recent seven-month tour of duty in Iraq. In the story, Lance Cpl. Kocher is described as having worked in intelligence and communications while deployed with Delta Company, 4th Anti-Terrorism Battalion. He shared fond memories of sharing candy with Iraqi children while deployed with the Marines.

“All the convoys would take candy to toss to the kids,” he said, according to the profile written by Jill Fankhauser. “I’d always read that there were groups that would send over shipments of soccer balls and things like that to handout.”

Kocher told the Star he enlisted the help of his mother in Eagle River, who got donations of soccer balls, candy and stuffed animals for her son to give away to kids in Iraq. He also mused about missing home while deployed near the Syrian border and said he wasn’t a supporter of the war but wanted to serve despite his misgivings.

“Even when the war started, I didn’t particularly agree with the war,” he told the Star. “I knew other people my age there, so I figured I ought to be with them.”

According to the article, the 6-foot-8 Kocher studied political science at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he was the first person to win a designated on-campus parking spot, the university reported in 2009.
read more here

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Veteran Suicide Triple Crisis Counting Congress

Coffman: The twin crisis of veterans' mental health and suicide
Denver Post
By Mike Coffman
Guest Commentary

In April 1991, I returned home from serving as a light armored infantry officer with the U.S. Marine Corps in the first Gulf War. The unit was the first battalion to engage Iraqi forces inside of Kuwait. We did so for three days prior to the main ground attack on Feb. 24, 1991.
Mike Coffman Denver Post

For us, the stress of being on the front lines waiting for combat turned out to be worse than the actual combat phase itself because the Iraqi army had been severely degraded in a punishing bombing campaign that preceded the ground attack.

While preparing to go home after the war ended, I attended an out-briefing by Navy psychologists about some of the psychological challenges that we would likely face. What I remember most was his warning that we had become members of a highly interdependent ground combat team that had been together for months and that after we were separated and alone for the first time, we were likely to experience depression.

Many troops used to the stresses of combat and the interdependent bonds of their fellow soldiers have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life and come home feeling isolated and alone. 

In fact, many find themselves needing help that too often just isn't there.

It is absolutely vital that we as a nation address the twin crisis of veteran suicide and mental health issues.

Today, thousands of servicemen and women and recent military veterans have seen combat. Many have seen their buddies killed or witnessed death up close. Many have also been wounded and had to endure extended and frequently painful and difficult recoveries. These are types of events that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other types of mental illness.
read more here

I left this comment.
While I applaud you talking about all this, it is troubling to see the "22 a day" used when it is not true. Sorry, but you are on the Committee and should know better. The CDC reports there are more than 40,000 suicides in America. At the same time, states are reporting veterans are committing suicide double the civilian population rate. That means there are over 26,000 veterans ending their lives after risking them for the sake of others. The VA study was an average from 21 states with limited data.

Gulf War veterans have been forgotten about but so have Vietnam veterans. They are the majority of the suicide demographic yet no one is talking about that fact. They are not talking about families like mine even though Vietnam veterans are the ones who came home and fought for all the research done on PTSD. Had Congress asked any of us, we could have helped these young veterans everyone is talking about.

By the way, all the Bills Congress passed did not work. OEF and OIF veteran suicides are triple their peer rate after they had been trained to be "resilient" even though researchers knew it would make the problem worse. All the Bills coming out of Congress are repeats of "doing something" instead of doing the right thing.
Looks more like there is a triple crisis for veterans when members of Congress haven't even taken the time to find out what is true and what is false.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Congress Inaction Always Harms Veterans

This weekend in Orlando the new Lake Nona VA Hospital is finally opening. I went to the groundbreaking back in 2008. This was the news back then. Orlando VA Medical Center Awards Final Contract For New Medical Center
The $665 million medical campus, located on a 65-acre campus in southeast Orange County, is expected to open in late 2012. In addition to the hospital providing acute care, complex specialty care and advanced diagnostic services, the facility will also have a large multispecialty outpatient clinic, 134-inpatient beds, 120-community living center beds, a 60-bed domiciliary and administrative and support services.
As you can see, building a VA hospital is never quick or easy or cheap. The point is, that years pass from the time Congress gets around to approving plans, accepting bids, and getting the land to build it on. A lot happens in between the time Congress approves it and it actually happens.

Congress has the responsibility to oversee everything so when things don't happen, they are supposed to take action to make sure it does. So why didn't they?
VA chief rips Congress for ‘inaction’ on Denver hospital
The Hill
By Martin Matishak
The authorization for the project, which began more than a decade ago, expires this weekend.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald is warning lawmakers that, unless they act soon, construction on a delay-plagued VA hospital outside of Denver will come “grinding to a halt.”

“I have provided multiple proposals to the Congressional authorizing committee as to how we can complete this campus for veterans. The options were rejected and the result has been inaction. Our veterans deserve better than that,” McDonald said Wednesday in a statement.

He said that, “without immediate Congressional action prior to returning home for the Memorial Day holiday recess, construction on the Denver Replacement Medical Center in Aurora will shut down Sunday, grinding to a halt as Kiewit Turner demobilizes its team of contractors and sub-contractors.”

Earlier this week, the agency chief sent a memo to the leaders of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and other lawmakers, asking for a $200 million increase in the funding limit for the facility being built in Aurora, Colo., for a new total of $1 billion.
“Let me be clear. Inaction by Congress will punish the nearly 400,000 Colorado veterans and families that Aurora will serve,” he added.
read more here

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Denver VA Hospital Sign Historical Reminder

Like most states, no one thought about veterans ahead of time. When this hospital was built, troops were in fighting in Korea for about a year. "Almost 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, and more than 100,000 were wounded."
Unlike World War II and Vietnam, the Korean War did not get much media attention in the United States. The most famous representation of the war in popular culture is the television series “M*A*S*H,” which was set in a field hospital in South Korea. The series ran from 1972 until 1983, and its final episode was the most-watched in television history.
No one was talking about what was happening to them when they came home either. Understandable to assume that what were read in the newspapers today is all new since no one knew what was going on other than the veterans and their families.
"The main building of the Denver hospital, built in 1951 and renovated in 1986, is showing incurable signs of age. As many as three patients are crowded into single rooms."

The 80th Congressional session would have planned and funded the hospital before troops were sent into Korea. Construction began during the 81st. It is easy to assume they did not change the plans as more wounded were coming home from Korea since the renovations did not start until over ten years after troops were out of Vietnam.

When no one plans for what wars do, veterans suffer. This has been repeated throughout our history and shows no sign of changing.

When Congress approved of sending troops into Afghanistan, there were already veterans waiting for care in long lines and for claims to be approved. When they approved of sending troops into Iraq, the lines were longer, waits were longer. What did not grow proportionately preparing for the newly wounded and disabled was the VA.

No political party has taken responsibility for any of this. No politician has been held accountable. The only people found responsible by the public were the heads of the VA during the time when reporters actually cared to report on what was happening to our veterans at the time. God forbid they actually looked back to see how it got this bad or how long it had been going on.

So when you read the rest of this, understand that Congress doomed veterans to history being repeated generations after generations.

Baffled, angry: Veterans share views on current VA hospital conditions
The Denver Post
By David Olinger
Some ask how many more veterans will die
before the new hospital opens.
Darrell Myers, 69, served in the Army but has had problems with his care at the VA Hospital in Denver after a colonoscopy in March. Myers has no complaints about the treatment he gets as a VA patient. "I get very good care from my doctors," he said. But he cannot say the same about the hospital conditions that veterans endure while the VA struggles to finish its new state-of-the-art facility.
(Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post
Darrell Myers praises his Department of Veterans Affairs doctors and relies exclusively on the VA for medical care. But last month, a routine colonoscopy at the VA's aging Denver medical center morphed into a massive bleeding episode, a four-day hospital admission and a blood test mix-up. While he was there, an electrical fire erupted on his floor, and his bathroom door was taped shut.

Ralph Bozella arrived early at the Denver hospital last month for a cancer test. He and other patients ended up sitting in hospital gowns in a hallway because the biopsy room had been commandeered for something more urgent.

"If anybody thinks we don't need a new hospital," he said, "come on down and check yourself in."

Last month, a new price estimate for a medical campus being built in Aurora sent shock waves through Congress.

The VA originally estimated the Aurora hospital could be built for $328 million. Construction began three years ago with a $600 million budget, and Congress has authorized spending up to $800 million. But after the Army Corps of Engineers stepped in to investigate its status and end a stalemate with the construction contractor, the VA issued a stunning new estimate: $1.73 billion.
read more here

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Veteran Education Benefits Cut Then VA Sends List of Homeless Shelters?

Disabled vet says VA cancelled vocational education rehab plan, sent him list of homeless shelters
ABC 7 Denver
Lance Hernandez
Feb 16, 2015

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - Jeremy McVay says he couldn't believe it when the VA in Montgomery Alabama sent him an email suggesting he reach out to homeless shelters in Colorado.

The disabled veteran, who was stationed at Langley Air Force Base during 9/11 as a ground equipment technician, moved to Broomfield in late January after his case worker signed off on a vocational education rehabilitation plan.

He started a gunsmith class last Monday at the Colorado School of Trades in Lakewood.

Shortly afterwards, the VA notified him that his plan had been cancelled.

He said they told him that because his educational plan involved guns, the caseworker’s supervisor needed to sign off on it, but no one told him that before he moved to Colorado and started taking his class.
read more here

Monday, January 20, 2014

Massachusetts Veteran Marine sends Fort Carson Soldier to Pats game

Fort Carson soldier Gary Petro and his family were enjoying a night at Katie Mullen's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Denver where Pikes Peak Pats were celebrating.

Marine Veteran Brian Miller was there too from Massachusetts. He thanked Gary for his service, then told him that he bought Gary and his family tickets to the game!

Patriots fan gives Ft. Carson family game day gift. 9NEWS Colorado 1/18/14

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Denver police arrest man after Fort Carson soldier killed

Man, 22, arrested in July killing of soldier near motel
The Denver Post

Denver police have arrested a man suspected of shooting and killing a Fort Carson soldier near his motel in July.

At 8:55 p.m. on Thursday, Ricky Scott, 22, was arrested in the 1600 block of West 37th Avenue, on suspicion of first-degree murder, according to a news release from the Denver Police Department.
Details about the arrests and possible motivation behind the shooting were not released.
read more here

Fort Carson soldier shot and killed

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Investigators reveal sex trysts among government oil brokers, energy employees

"This all shows the oil industry holds shocking sway over the administration and even key federal employees," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "This is why we must not allow big oil's agenda to be jammed through Congress."

Investigators reveal sex trysts among government oil brokers, energy employees
By DINA CAPPIELLO | Associated Press Writer
3:08 PM EDT, September 10, 2008
WASHINGTON - Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.

The alleged transgressions involve 13 Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Their alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants, and having sexual relationships with _ and accepting golf and ski trips and dinners from _ oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department's inspector general.

The investigations reveal a "culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" by a small group of individuals "wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards," wrote Inspector General Earl E. Devaney.

The reports describe a fraternity house atmosphere inside the Denver Minerals Management Service office responsible for marketing the oil and gas that energy companies barter to the government instead of making cash royalty payments for drilling on federal lands. The government received $4.3 billion in such Royalty-in-Kind payments last year. The oil is then resold to energy companies or put in the nation's emergency stockpile.
click post title for more

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Michelle Obama supporting the troops when it counts, not just with words

CNN exclusive: Michelle Obama 4:02
Michelle Obama talks one-on-one with American Morning's John Roberts.

For more of this story go here
DENVER - AUGUST 27: Michelle Obama, wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama,, and Jill Biden wife of Barack Obama's running mate, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and Colorado first lady Jeannie Ritter help kick off the 2008 Democratic National Convention's Delegate Service Day by assembling care packages for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan at Curtis Park on August 27, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. Obama will be officially be nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president on the last day of the four-day convention.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cpl. Michael D. Hirsch-Collins

It is odd that I can find no report on CNN or about his death.

Cpl. Michael D. Hirsch-Collins
CPL MICHAEL D. HIRSCH-COLLINS was born in Denver, Colorado on the 20th of February, 1985. He leaves behind his beloved mother, Colleen Thigpen, step-father, Maverick Thigpen, two brothers, Maverick II and Matthew. Michael was predeceased by his father. Michael loved being a soldier in the US Army. After much searching he finally found his true calling thus leaving behind a platoon of 35 soldiers who loved him like a brother. CPL Hirsch-Collins could often be found in a field with a dirt bike and his friends, in his barrack's room playing video games and debating with anyone anywhere about any topic. Michael grew up in Denton, Texas. He attended Denton High before joining the Army in August of 2006. Michael loved music. Sanitaria by Sublime was his favorite song. As a child Michael loved to read and was an avid cub-scout earning the highest award possible, the Arrow of Light. Among his favorite books were the Animorphs and Goosebumps series. Michael graduated at 23:03 on the 17th of February 2008 while riding his motorcycle at Ft. Hood, Texas, just two days before his 23rd birthday. His passing was quick and painless. Cpl Hirsch-Collins touched many lives during his short stay on earth. His jesterish swagger walk, infectious smile and perfectly delivered sarcasm will always be remembered warmly in our hearts. Cpl Hirsch-Collins was a loyal friend and a leader amongst his peers. His legacy will live on through the lives that he touched. Visitation will be held from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Thursday, February 28, 2008 and from 11:30 A.M. to service time at 1:00 P.M. Friday, February 29, 2008 at American Heritage Funeral Home.
Published in the Houston Chronicle on 2/28/2008.