8:23 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Tomas Young, Wounded Iraq War Vet And Antiwar Activist, Dies

Tomas Young and his wife Claudia Cuellar at home in Kansas City last year.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR

Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran from Kansas City, Mo., who became a symbol of the anti-war movement, died peacefully in his sleep early Monday morning. He was 34.

Young joined the Army right after 9/11, wanting to take revenge on the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was shipped instead to Iraq, and within a week of landing there, he was shot in the spine and paralyzed below the chest. 

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1:59 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Missouri Leaders Thank Veterans At World War I Museum Ceremony

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill offers her remarks at a Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War I Museum Tuesday.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill offered her condolences to an Iraq war veteran who died this week while speaking at a Veterans Day event at the National World War I Museum Tuesday morning.

Tomas Young, 34, who was paralyzed after being shot by a sniper in 2004, died from health complications Monday. He was an anti-war activist and  former Kansas City resident.

"He, along with many others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, are certainly deserving of our affection and  respect and deference on this day and every other day of the year," McCaskill says.

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Arts & Culture
8:17 am
Wed October 22, 2014

For Kansas City Veteran And Singer, 'God Bless America' Stirs Up Pride In City, Country

Richard Gibson stopped by the KCUR studios for a preview of his rendition of "God Bless America."
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

Richard Gibson, 33, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps just after high school and was stationed in Iraq. When his service ended in 2003, and he returned to Kansas City, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

With a love for singing and performance, Gibson turned to opera. For the past eight years, he's been a member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City chorus. He's also taking on a new role, as conductor of a Veteran's Chorus

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1:17 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Voter Guide To Missouri Amendment 8, The 'Veteran's Lottery Ticket'

Credit via Flickr/MBK (Marjie)

Missouri  Constitutional Amendment 8 is on the ballot Aug. 5 and would create a new lottery ticket that would allocate 25 cents of every dollar spent to fund the Missouri Veterans Commission.

Ballot language:

“A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket." This amendment further provides that the revenue from the sale of these tickets will be used for projects and services related to veterans.
A "no" vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket."

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Up To Date
3:14 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Death of Kansas City Veteran Emphasizes Need For Timely PTSD Treatment

Army Specialist Isaac Sims seen here in a holiday greeting sent from Ramadi, Iraq in 2009.
Credit 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs/US Army

The death last month of 26-year old Army veteran Isaac Sims in a confrontation with Kansas City, Missouri police raised many questions including whether this loss of life could have been prevented.

On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske brings together a panel to look at the events leading up to Sims' death, the special municipal court that works with veterans facing criminal charges, and a therapy program treating military PTSD sufferers while they are still on active duty.


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Heartland Health Monitor
11:18 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Some Veterans May Lose Needed Health Care If VA Pilot Program In Kansas Ends

Hugh Steadman, a World War II veteran who lives in Great Bend, Kan., used to have to drive two hours to the Veterans Affairs medical center in Wichita, pictured here. That commute shortened to 10 minutes when a pilot program paid for him to see a doctor in Great Bend.
Credit Wikimedia -- CC


A pilot program in Kansas allowing veterans who live far from Veterans Affairs hospitals to get care from local doctors may end, threatening veterans like Hugh Steadman with the cutoff of needed medical care.

Steadman, who flew combat missions over Germany as a bombardier during World War II, lives in Great Bend. He used to have to drive two hours to the VA medical center in Wichita, a trip that was getting more difficult for him to make.

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Up to Date
11:02 am
Wed June 25, 2014

St. Michael's Gives Homeless Vets Transitional Housing, Counseling

St. Michael's Veterans Center provides transitional living quarters for homeless veterans.
Credit Jonathan Greenwald / Flickr-CC

It's difficult to go from living on the street to living in what most of us consider to be normal housing. That's a real challenge many homeless vets face.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the St. Michael Center and how it's helping veterans make that difficult life transition.


  • Eric Verzola, director of Veterans Services Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph
  • Art Fillmore, St. Michael’s Veterans Center Board Member
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Heartland Health Monitor
8:38 am
Tue June 17, 2014

VA Rural Health Care Pilot Under The Gun In Kansas

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says a Veterans Administration pilot program offering timely quality health care to rural veterans is being allowed to expire in a few months, even though VA officials tell members of Congress no decision has been made.

Moran and four of his colleagues sent a letter to the VA Secretary seeking an explanation. 

The pilot program, called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH, is offered through five pilot sites across the country, including one in Pratt, Kan.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:22 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Lawmakers: Vets Complain Topeka VA Canceled Or Rescheduled Appointments

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran
Credit file photo

The Topeka Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center has not been implicated in the waiting-list scandal unfolding across the country.

But on Friday, two Republican members of the Kansas congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, said their offices have fielded numerous complaints from veterans in recent months about long-standing appointments being canceled or rescheduled at the last minute.

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Heartland Health Monitor
2:12 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Hospital Association Execs: Medicaid Expansion Would Aid Thousands Of Vets

Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

The chief executives of  the Missouri and Kansas hospital associations say thousands of uninsured veterans would be eligible for coverage if Medicaid were expanded in those states. 

In an opinion piece that ran in The Kansas City Star on Tuesday, they estimated that more than 37,000 veterans in Missouri and Kansas would qualify for Medicaid coverage under expansion.

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9:16 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Veterans Say Long Wait Times Are Just Part Of The Problem At VA

VFW Adjunct General John Hamilton, center, speaks at a town hall meeting convened to discuss issues with veterans' care.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

For months, Kansas City resident Cherie Fishback has been writing letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of her boyfriend, Lee Murphy, who last year had to have emergency gallbladder surgery.

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Heartland Health Monitor
3:00 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Sen. Blunt: Kansas City VA Medical Center Kept Unauthorized Cardiology Waiting List

Kansas City VA Medical Center
Credit File / U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Update, 4:45 p.m.:

The Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center says its cardiology clinic never kept a secret waiting list, but "a serious clerical mistake" delayed several veterans waiting for follow-up care.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt flagged the facility Thursday in a growing scandal over long wait times for veterans. He told reporters he planned to press the hospital for more information "based on my firm belief the Kansas City Medical Center is likely to be found to be one of those hospitals that has a secret waiting list."

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Heartland Health Monitor
9:45 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Wichita VA Hospital Had Secret Waiting List For Patients

The director of the VA hospital in Wichita said Friday that they kept a secret waiting list for patients.
Credit Jeffery Beall / CC

Despite assurances to the contrary, the VA hospital in Wichita kept a secret waiting list for patients. The hospital's director revealed that information Friday in a message to Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.

Roberts told the Wichita Eagle he was not happy to see that message just hours after he’d met with officials of the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center, who assured him the hospital was doing just fine. But one patient of the Wichita VA facility says the news is no surprise.

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Heartland Health Monitor
6:58 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Blunt: Death Of Combat Veteran Points To Deficiencies In V.A. Care

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (center), R-MO, spoke at a roundtable discussion at Truman Medical Centers' Behavioral Health Services. Joining Blunt at the head table were Charlie Shields (left), chief operating officer of Truman's Lakewood facility, and John Bluford, president and CEO of the Truman system.
Credit Mike Sherry / The Hale Center for Journalism

The weekend shooting death of a former Army paratrooper in Kansas City highlights deficiencies in the care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said during a visit to to Kansas City on Thursday.

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Heartland Health Monitor
8:31 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Father Favors Kansas Diversion Bill For Mentally Ill Combat Veterans

Jim Brann, a retired telecommunications executive from Overland Park, testified Wednesday in favor of a bill aimed at providing treatment to mentally ill veterans who have committed crimes.
Credit Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

The father of a combat veteran who says that mental illness played a role in his son’s bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps is asking Kansas legislators to introduce a bill aimed at reducing the likelihood that a mentally ill veteran would spend time in jail or prison instead of being treated.

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Veterans Affairs
4:29 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Rep. Yoder Says Veterans Need More Flexibility In Receiving Care

Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder visited the VA Medical Center Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., to check on local wait times.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder says it's time for a change in national leadership at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Yoder, an Overland Park Republican, visited the VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday amid growing concern over long wait times for veterans. 

"Many of my constituents are lacking confidence in the response to what's occurred in Phoenix and across the nation," says Yoder. "They would like to see a new secretary and new leadership."

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8:09 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Brownback Proposes More Services For Kansas Vets

Gov. Sam Brownback has a plan to beef up veterans' services in Kansas. The proposal would include improvements at two facilities and new workers aimed at helping veterans.

The plan would include a $1.4 million renovation of a veterans' home in southwest Kansas. It would also add 40 new beds for long-term care services to a veterans' facility in Winfield.

Gregg Burden, executive director of the Kansas Commission on Veterans' Affairs, says under the proposal they'll also be looking to hire four new staff members to help veterans access the benefits they've earned.

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Up to Date
11:32 am
Mon November 11, 2013

VFW Adapts To Changing Veteran Needs

The Veterans of Foreign Wars have chapters all across the United States.
Credit Pete Zarria/Flickr-CC

Today's recent veterans are finishing their service with different experiences than previous generations, and Veterans of Foreign Wars groups across the country are trying to figure out how to adapt.

On Monday's Up to Date, Adjutant General John Hamilton joins Steve Kraske to talk about the changing needs of veterans.


  • Adjutant General John Hamilton recently finished his term as the commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
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KC Currents
10:06 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Check Out The Vast Veteran Portrait Gallery At An Overland Park Post Office

A group of photos decorate the manager's office door at the Brookridge Post Office.
Beth Lipoff KCUR

Although veterans are commonly remembered and celebrated on Veterans Day, there’s a post office in Overland Park, Kan., that honors them all year long.

The Brookridge Post Office at 97th and Antioch Road has displayed photos of veterans from local families on its walls for years. The photos show members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard  and go back to the Civil War.

"This is a good kind of picture to have in a post office," says retired postal worker Shirley Worley. "You know they used to have the wanted ones, years ago. They don’t do that anymore."

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9:02 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Gov. Nixon Signs New Laws For Veterans

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon signed seven bills into law on Wednesday to support veterans and their families.
Credit Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed several pieces of legislation on Wednesday aimed to benefit veterans and their families on a tour that included stops at Cape Giardeau and Springfield.  

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Central Standard
6:22 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Program Helps Vets Get STEM Education

Credit "Veteran in transition" Cailey McClurken /

They've mastered advanced battlefield operations planning. They’ve navigated years of overseas intricacies and family complexities. But now, can they master trigonometry?

The Veteran in STEM program seeks to support veterans in acquiring the education they need to pursue jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields.  While the process of retooling your education to focus on math or science might seem daunting to anybody, only half of STEM jobs require a bachelors degree or higher level of education, the other half typically require associate degrees or specific trade training.  Dean Kevin Truman of the School of Computing and Engineering and Alexis Petri, Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director of the KC BANCS program guide us through the unique supports and programing they've put together to help veterans advance their education and careers.

8:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Signs Off With 'Last Letter'

Tomas Young and Claudy Cuellar at home
Frank Morris KCUR

Nearly two million active duty U.S. servicemen and women are due back home by the end of this year. Many have struggled to reintegrate, but few more profoundly, or more publicly, than Tomas Young of Kansas City.   Young now says he’s ready to take his own life, but not before making one more stand against the war that wrecked his body. 

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Up To Date
4:36 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

A Unique Approach To Serving Homeless Veterans

Atecia Robinson

Arthur Fillmore has spent more than thirty years closing the deal in corporate mergers and acquisitions in his professional life as an attorney. But for two decades he’s been unsuccessful in realizing the wish he’s held as a military veteran . . . until now.

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Up to Date
9:25 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Afghanistan: The Forgotten War

In Afghanistan, the U.S. military disposes of garbage—computers, motorbikes, TVs, shoes, even human feces—in open burn pits. Are toxic clouds from these sites making everyone sick?
Malcolm Garcia

President Obama has called for the complete removal of American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. In the meantime, the U.S. is moving onto other concerns - like the presidential election.

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Up to Date
10:08 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Hotels, Hospitals & Jails

With the success of his memoir Jarhead, author Anthony Swofford found fame and fortune.   In the ensuing years he went through a lot of cash, women and drugs all the while striving to reconcile his relationship with his father.

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Missouri Statehouse
7:24 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Nixon Wants Money For Vets’ Homes, Blind Pensions

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is urging lawmakers to fund veterans’ homes, pensions for the blind and other specific needs in the still-unfinished state budget. 

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Up to Date
11:31 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Journalist Lee Woodruff On Care For Returning Soldiers

Lee Woodruff
Photo: Stefan Radke

Lee Woodruff's life was profoundly changed starting in 2006 when her husband, reporter Bob Woodruff, took over for Peter Jennings as co-anchor of ABC's World News Tonight.  But the events of a month later changed her - and Bob's life - forever.

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2:25 am
Mon April 9, 2012

For-Profit Schools Under Fire For Targeting Veterans

Iraq war veteran Paul Rieckhoff (right), with Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington, introduces the GI benefit watchdog bill in Washington. Some lawmakers say for-profit schools are taking advantage of veterans and their educational benefits.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 12:27 pm

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 GI Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

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7:31 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Top Of The Morning News: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

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11:06 am
Mon November 8, 2010

Veterans Affairs Scrambles To Serve Female Veterans

Kansas City, MO –


The number of women serving in the military has mushroomed in recent decades to more than 200,000 active duty, not counting National Guard and reservists. This growing population faces many of the same problems as men but also health and mental issues that are unique to female veterans.

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