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Walsh County Press
Park River , North Dakota
February 11, 2015     Walsh County Press
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February 11, 2015

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THE WALSH COUNTY PRESS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY I I, 2015 Pae 3 Walsh County Spotlight  4 The merchants below are / / proud to PRVFD Sweetheart of a Breakfast, Park River The Park River Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a fire department fundraiser "Sweetheart" of a Breakfast from 10 a.m. to I p.m. on Sunday Feb. 15. It will be held at the Park River Fire Hall. Interested in becoming a spotlight sponsor? Contact the Press at 701-284-6333 COUNTY ESS Park River PO Box 49 284-6333 ,3111al-ita.n : " S(i(,:n .... Px RzvE Park River 301. County Road 12B 284-7115 l  Park River Implement 284-6316 %1 kRST UNITED --" Bank & Insurance Park River ~ 284-7244 Adams ~ 944-2231 Grafton ~ 352-3668 Michigan ~ 259-2112 Hoop-le ~ 894-6123 Crystal ~ 657-2168 \\;A \\; 110 4th St, E Park River 284-7221 Jim's Super Valu 284-6433 101 3rd St. W Park River For all your dinner needs! Elek-00r/ "Where Quality is Standard" RESIDENTIAL & COMMUOAL NEw WOeK oe REMODEt EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE tall I0t-33 IL,-t 519 Scott Wedel, Owner s aelectric. 14@g mail .corn Veterans Ave. S,Park River, ND Card!l! 12 mo. Lease  ,.PARK COURT Park River, ND 1 and 2 Bedroom *Income ALL Utilities Paid No Steps Laundry on Site FOR THE TROOPS -Walsh County Veterans Service Office [ Veterans adv00. Stop the VA The effort to clear a massive backlog of veteran disability claims is hurting efforts to address a sim- ilar backlog in appeals of denied claims, say advocates demanding reforms to an onerous "hamster wheel" system that leaves veterans languishing for years. A congressional subcommittee hearing Thursday focused on the appeals process, noting that the De- partment of Veterans Affairs has about 350,000 pending appeals of denied service-connected dis- ability claims. "I am aware that the [VA] chose to prioritize certain initial claims in recent years, but I must say that when veterans in my district share that they waited six, eight, 10 years to resolve a meritorious ap- peal of a service-connected dis- ability claim, I just fred that alarm- ing and unacceptable," Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., said. Veterans wait an average 31A years to get an initial decision and often years longer for the VA to finalize that decision. There are almost 510,000 original dis- ability claims pending, with more than 240,000 deemed "back- logged" -- meaning the veteran has been awaiting a decision for at least 125 days. When veterans' disability claims are denied, they face another lengthy process involving multi- step appeals in which their cases often ping-pong between national and regional offices for years. VA officials have said they are aggressively working to clear the appeals backlog, but they are ham- strung in part by a complex system they are legally required to uphold. "VA recognizes that under the framework established by current law, veterans are waiting too long for final resolution of appeals," veterans by formalizing the claims and appeals processes to the point where benefits are unfairly re- stricted," Jim Vale, director of the Vietnam Veterans of America vet- erans benet program, said in submitted testimony. A statement submitted to the hearing by Gerald Manar, deputy director of Veterans of Foreign Wars, called on the VA to stop ig- noring appeals in favor of the ini- tial claims backlog and increase staffing on the appeals board. The Veterans Board of Appeals "has neglected large segments of other work in order to give the il- lusion that it is making progress on reducing its 'workload'-- self-de- fined as disability compensation and pension claims -- and its 'backlog'-- again, only disabili- ty and compensation and pension claims," according to his testi- mony. In submitted testimony, Bart Stichman, a prominent veterans at- torney and joint executive director of the nonprofit National Veterans Legal Services Program, decried the "hamster wheel" that veterans get caught in, even after their ap- peals appear to have been re- solved. "There's a duty to assist the vet- eran but not a duty to sabotage the claim," he said. He laid out a five-point plan to re- form the process, including pro- hibiting the Board of Veterans' Ap- peals and VA regional offices from pursuing negative evidence against a claim after veterans have shown sufficient evidence to support their claims. Lawmakers at Thursday's hear- ing said the VA and Congress must act now. "We need to take action so we don't get too far behind so we're Laura Eskenazi, vice chairwoman not having this exact same hearing , two ears from now," Re Dina of the VA Board of Veterans Ap- . Y . P. Titus, D Nev, said peals, said in written testimony If o hav" " " submi,ed to a House suhcom-, ..... y u e any questmns or con- mittee. VA cannot fully transform ceres feel free to contact the Walsh the appeals process without stake- County Veterans Service Office at holder support and legislative re- forn, l. ' Veterans groups and advocates lined up to blast the VA appeals system at Thursday's hearing in front of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs subcommittee on disability assistance and me- morial affairs. "It appears the mission for some VA bureaucrats is to limit the gov- ernment's liability to our nation's 701-352-5030 or stop by for a vis- it at 638 Cooper Avenue Suite 5 Grafton, ND 58237. Appoint- ments are highly encouraged. Thank you for your service. Source: Federal Veterans News By Heath Druzin Stars and Stripes Chris Kratochvil * Walsh Coun- ty Veterans Service Officer Administrative Building, 638 Cooper Ave Ste 5, Grafion By Jim Miller Kaste honored for volunteer service GRAND FORKS, N.D. I Ryan Kaste is the Grand Forks Senior Cehter's February "Volun- teer of the Month." Ryan has vol- unteered fortwo years for bingo and as a polka music DJ for Fan- tastic Fridays. At age 16, Ryan went to his first polka dance and was hooked. He realizes that not many young people are into that type of music but he wants to keep its tradition alive. He would love to learn to play accordion, but for now he en- joys playing recorded polka and waltz music at the Senior Center and Listen Drop In Center. Ryan enjoys volunteering, say- ing "It makes me feel good, it's a call of duty. It's nice coming here, everyone knows my name. Seeing people have fun and dancing, I enjoy it more than words can say. It puts the biggest smile on my face." He was inspired to give his time by his late grandmother, "I know seeing me help people would make Grandma proud." Ryan is not only a standout volun- teer at the Senior Center; while volunteering for the nursing home in his hometown of Park River, N.D., he was named Volunteer of the Year in 2000. When he's not volunteering, he likes playing bingo, bowling league, and spending time with his family and dogs. A very patriotic person, Ryan serves as the Second Vice Com- mander for the Sons of American Legion Post #147. He is also a member of the Park River Volun- teer Fire Department. He said of his grandfather, a Korea War vet- eran, "! can't thank my grandpa enough for his service." And we can't thank Ryan enough for the service of smiles he gives to everyone at the Senior Center. In loving memory of Virginia Gillespie To the family and many friends of Virginia, we wish to extend our sincere thanks for the support and condolences we have received. We also send our appreciation to Father Tim Schroeder, Reverend Byron Cox, Reverend Tim Carlson and the Grafton Ministerial Association for their" thoughtful service and to the Life Skills and Transition Center for the beautiful angel given in Virginia's memory. The many prayers and acts of kindness continue to provide comfort to the family. With gratitude, Vernon Gillespie and family Dear Savvy Senior, Is there a good rule of thumb on who should buy a long-term care in- surance policy? My wife and I have a few assets we'd like toprotect but we hate the idea of paying expensive monthly premiums for a policy we may never use. Planning Ahead Dear Planning, There are two key factors your financial situation and health histo- ry - you need to mull over that can help you decide if buying a long- term care (LTC) insurance policy is a wise decision for you and/or your wife. Currently, only around 8 mil- lion Americans own a policy. Here's what you should know. LTC Insurance? As the cost of LTC (which in- cludes nursing home, assisted living and in-home care) continues to sky- rocket, it's important to know that most people pay for LTC either from personal savings or Medicaid when their savings is depleted, or through a LTC insurance policy. National median average costs for nursing home care today is over $87,000 per year, while assisted living averages $42,000/year. While national statistics show that about 70 percent of Americans 65 and older will need some kind of LTC, most people do not need to purchase a LTC insurance policy. In fact, according to a recent study at the Boston College Center for Retirement Research only 19 per- cent of men and 31 percent of women should actually get one. The reasons stem from a range of District 10 Democratic NPL Reorganizational Meeting Saturday, Feb. 14, 1:00 pm Cedar Inn Steak House, Cavalier For more information contact Bob Nowatzki District Chairman at 701-256-0674 factors, including the fact that rela- tively few people have enough wealth to protect to make purchas- ing a policy worthwhile. Seniors with limited financial resources who need LTC turn to Medicaid to pick up the tab after they run out of money. Another important factor is that most seniors who need LTC only need it for a short period of time for example, when they're recov- ering from surgery. For those Savvy Cont page 6_ Fr'ofessi00ai Prescr'ipLion Service We offer Mail-Out Prescriptions, Delivery Service, Blood Pressure Screening. Photo Kiosk. 10% off Sr. Citizen Discount. Zoovio Video Dealer, Gifts, Hallmark Cards, Drive-up Window Ye Olde Medicine Center Drayton Drug Park River. 701-284-7676 Drayton