Veterans qualify for burial, marker at national cemeteries

Capital News Service
LANSING — More than 640,000 veterans live in Michigan, and nearly all are entitled to a benefit reserved for them — burial at a national cemetery with military honors. But many Michigan veterans are unaware of that benefit or many others available to them. In Michigan, burials are provided at two national cemeteries operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

● The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township, about 15 miles south of Flint. ● The Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, about 6 miles west of Battle Creek. At both cemeteries, burials as well as headstones or markers are offered at no charge to veterans and their spouses.

Tax break for veterans faces resistance from local governments

Capital News Service
LANSING- A bill to increase the number of disabled veterans receiving property tax exemptions faces cautious resistance from local governments that would lose revenue if it passes . And representatives of some veterans groups sympathize with their position. The bill would broaden the exemption to include unmarried surviving spouses of veterans and residential or agricultural real property used as a homestead by the veteran or the surviving spouse. As it stands, even wealthy individuals qualify. Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, co-sponsor of the bill, said it shows veterans respect.

State grants give vets more counselors, faster service

Capital News Service
LANSING – Almost $200,000 in state money is on its way to veterans’ services offices in 19 counties, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency said. Another $50,000 could be awarded before the year ends, part of a $250,000 allocation from theLegislature, according to the veterans affairs agency. Most of the county offices will use the grants for new technology and to hire more counselors. Wexford County will establish a new office. Rob Price, director of targeted outreach at the Michigan Veterans Affairs Office, said by the end of the year, only seven of Michigan’s 83 counties will be without a county veterans office.

Few Access Problems For Vets, VA Center In Detroit, Ann Arbor Say

Capital News Service
LANSING — Nationally, a majority of veterans may wait more than 30 days for their appointments with doctors, according to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, more than 90 percent of veterans in Michigan can complete their appointments within 30 days, according to VA centers in Ann Arbor and Detroit. According to Lauren DeVol, a public information officer at the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, Michigan has more than 660,000 veterans, the 11th highest in the United States. Of them, more than 220,000 — or 33.5 — percent live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, DeVol said. For the VA center in Detroit, the access problem is not that serious, an official said.

Veteran-home volunteers hold hands, listen, comfort

Capital News Service
LANSING — In 1994, Pam Jackovich of Marquette turned to volunteering to add meaning to her life after the death of her husband, a Vietnam War veteran. Jackovich visited the D.J. Jacobetti State Veterans Home in Marquette and immediately enjoyed the conversations she had with veterans there. “I started visiting with the residents and I really started learning more about history,” Jackovich said. In April, Jackovich was honored for volunteering more than 9,000 service hours at the home in the last 20 years — an average of seven hours a week. Volunteers who socialize with veterans and run home activities are considered necessary for state veteran homes in Marquette and Grand Rapids, according to Jim Dunn, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency deputy director, who oversees both homes.