Friday, November 30, 2012

Calling for Help: Please Help this Imprisoned Veteran

This is a general call for help. If you are reading this blog, we need your help in dealing with a situation that has gone on long enough. Contact your local VA, your Local Veterans representatives, your congressman both state and federal, anyone who will listen and try to help these guys.

Both Mac and myself have posted on this blog about 2 different cases of veterans who live at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Fred Plicta, and Richard Ware.

We call for the investigation of the activities of Cynthia Thornbury, a guardian who has a history of abusing veterans by her incompetence.

Richard Ware, who has been fighting  her almost since the day she was assigned to him, is at his wits ends. He feels imprisoned  and has taken on a fighting attitude towards anything Thornbury does.

Thornbury is guilty of trying to force Richard into a divorce he did not want. Of selling his car without his permission and not accounting for the proceeds. For twice letting his ID get stolen and used by other people. For almost financially ruining his wife, and 2 children. For denying him the right to go to his son's own graduation. For using his personal funds to pay for health care that is supposed to be covered by the VA, because Richard is 100 percent service related disabled. Amongst other charges.

I will not go into the charges for Fred Plicta's case.

Now I am told that Richard has had to make a choice - Either take Behavioral altering drugs, or be forced to leave the home, as they are saying he is becoming violent.  This means putting him into a private nursing home which is what he DOES NOT NEED, and it means he will have to pay for it all out of pocket, leaving nothing for his wife and children.  Again Thornbury is trying to destroy Richards family and isolate him from them. Richard is not getting violent, he is very upset and not cooperating with staff that keep making mistakes with his medications amongst other things. Richard has MS.

Well, when you get woken up at 4am and asked if you were sleeping, wouldn't you get upset? When you are forced to watch yourself and family be victimized by someone, wouldn't you be upset? If you felt imprisoned with no way out, wouldn't you be upset? Richard is very very upset and no one is listening to him. Others have tried including a lawyer who represented Mrs.Ware at a hearing. Judge Murkowski apparently went beyond the authority of a judge and held the lawyer in contempt and fined him for doing his job - representing Mrs. Ware's interest in all of this.

Maybe Murkowski is another Judge Post who is currently facing disbarment charges.

It is high time to get rid of Thornbury and to demand her license to be a guardian permanently revoked. and if possible, bring her up on criminal charges as well.

I will update this post as information becomes available. In the mean time, Here is come contact information that I hope will help.

 Honorable David M. Murkowski, Chief Probate Judge, (616) 632-5428    

Michigan Probate Court.
180 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 2500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 632-5440
Fax: (616) 632-5430
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday
Filings accepted from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cynthia Thornbury     No Photo Available.
National Certified Guardian
Grand Rapids, MI
Phone: (616) 459-9247
Date to Recertify: 10/31/2013

The Center for Probate Litigation, located in metro Detroit Michigan, Call them at 248-641-7070 for a free consultation.  This article is not intended to substitute for proper legal advice and is based entirely on Michigan laws.

Michigan Department of Attorney General

Lansing Office
G. Mennen Williams Building, 7th Floor
525 W. Ottawa St.
P.O. Box 30212
Lansing, MI 48909
Main Number (517) 373-1110

Facsimile (517) 373-3042

 Grand Rapids Office
State Office Building, Suite 4C
350 Ottawa NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 356-0400
Facsimile (616) 356-0411

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, eliminating the Dormitory unit?

I remind people that the very existence of the Michigan Home for Veterans, located in Grand Rapids Michigan, was the result of the state being ashamed that so many Civil war veterans were living in poverty in flop houses and in the street. So the state gave these honored hero's some place to go. Yet today we still have veterans forced to live in some of the "modern day" flop houses, like the ones downtown on Division, which are ran by charity organizations like the Mel Trotter Missions, and Goodwill.. Call it what you want, a flop house is a flop house.

The current Michigan home for veterans doesn't have that same idea driving it that caused its original creation. Instead it appears the current home thinks its a privilege for the men and women who put on the uniform of this country, those who put their lives on the line for this country, to be able to go and stay at the veterans home even when many of them pay for it. And those who are 100 percent service connected disabled? The state gets paid by the Federal government to house and care for the Veterans. So that is not a privilege at all.

But the Dormitory unit, now that has become a horse of a different color. The Dorm unit has changed over the years. And in the last 5 many many changes have occurred. The 2 or 3 counselors whose job we still do not know, used to be able to have veterans discharged for being abusive, for behavior problems, or for rule violations. That power was taken from them, and they are pretty much useless now. - But they are still costing taxpayers over 150,000 tax dollars per year in costs to keep them in that job!  I know that 2 of them basically just walk around the place, and are seen taking breaks every day but other than that, none of the veterans seem to know what they do anymore.

Usually about this time of year when the weather turns cold, they start filling in the place, pulling veterans off the street.. At one time there was over 200 veterans there on the dorm unit, which is the top 2 floors of the Rankin building. Last count there were about 50.

Maybe they are going to shut down part of the Dorm unit without telling the Board of Managers, the way  (according to local media reports on Channel 8 and 17), they shut down the 4th floor in the Mann building?
They said that was for renovating.. yet a year later nothing has been done to it.

Several veterans have expressed their concern that they think the dorm unit is being shut down, as part of the states continual effort to save money and trim the budget.   And many of those guys are there because they have nothing left, are homeless and penniless, (the very reason the home for veterans was created in the first place), due to the continual on going economic recession that Michigan has been in for the last decade.

People in the Dorm unit are not being informed of anything. Most have stopped going to the monthly member council meetings because they feel they have no voice, and that the meetings are nothing but glorified bitch sessions, and where the staff communicates threats of expulsion to veterans for things the staff knows other people from other units are doing.  So why bother going? Also these veterans feel they are imprisoned, because of the administrations attitude that its a privilege for them (the veterans) to be there, and that most are lazy and are there only because they want a handout.

A few months ago, a new Member handbook was printed out.. it was not ISSUED to members. In stead members (veterans) where encouraged to come to a member council meeting and after SIGNING THEIR NAME, they could get one.  Humm.. if its not important, why did they have to sign their name acknowledging they got a copy of it?

Also, no veteran is getting any help or information about housing, low income housing,  Section 8 vouchers, etc.. they have to go off campus to obtain that information.

Yet the original goal of the Dorm unit was to give them a time out and get them straightened out then back into society.  Apparently someone forgot the part about getting BACK into Society!

So, are they closing down the Dorm unit, or what is happening with it? Why aren't the people in Dorm being given the help they need, and the information they need?

You decide.. is this a good use of your tax dollars?

Vets Home Under investigation.

I cannot keep this to myself any longer.

Due to this blog and several other postings on various other websites, I have been contacted by no less than 4 different government organizations in the past 72 hours. 3 of these are directly involved in investigations of things going on at the veterans home. Two of these are federal and one is State. The 4th one was a general inquiry due to this blog and was from a federal congressional representatives office.

Some of the information has been passed on to other veterans at the home, and veterans who were at the home.

While I cannot tell you exactly what exactly is being investigated, I can tell you the basic nature of the investigations.

One deals with the health care being given or not being given to veterans who need it. This includes mental as well as physical health.

Another deals with members and their financial situations.

And another deals with lack of critical information being given to the veterans, which would allow them to make informed decisions.

Two of the investigations involve possible criminal charges, the third one may involve civil charges being brought.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, are you doing anything to solve this problem?

"Two years ago when I was taking office, we looked at how our veterans were being treated in the state, and it was simply unacceptable," Governor Snyder said. "We weren't doing the job we needed to do in terms of helping our veterans find jobs, in terms of educational opportunities, and in terms of health care benefits. Our veterans have earned it, and we need to deliver, and we are going to deliver."
 From the monthly email newsletter from the Governors office, called "Re-inventing Michigan"   November 12, 2012 edition.

Well Rick, all I can say is WHAT IS TAKING YOU SO LONG?!!  What have you done to help the veterans at the Veterans home in Grand Rapids?  Why aren't the veterans in the Dormitory unit getting the help they need? Why have you allowed Sara Dunne to turn it into a glorified FLOP HOUSE that kicks out veterans who need help but aren't getting it?
You say that how veterans are being treated is unacceptable? Well when are you going to get off your tail end and do something about it?  Health care is both physical and mental for these guys. And many of them at the Veterans home are not getting what they need, if they get any at all!
So lets see what Rick says next time.  Maybe then he will have something to show us.. Because if the way things are at the Grand Rapids Veterans home is an example of his idea of "taking proper care of our veterans", then Michigan will go down in history as the second state that doesn't give a damn about its veterans.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fund Raiser by Guitars for Veterans at American Legion Hall is a success.

I had a great time at the Neal E. Fonger  American Legion post 179 in Grandville, Mich.

The founder and another official from Guitars 4 Vets, from Milwaukee Wisconsin came to accept a special guitar that was made to remember flight 93, from the 911 incident. Remember flight 93 was the one where the passengers tried to retake the plane from the terrorists and instead crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

2 guitar builders,  T.W. Felty and Don Bremer created the special guitar and it was given to G4V.

The 2 fellows from G4V HQ were Patrick Nettesheim (founder) and Eric Weinstein (executive director).
It was good to meet them.

I had a chance to talk to Patrick about the G4V t-shirts and suggested we find a way to add status to the shirts, indicating the person wearing the shirt was a student, graduate, and/or instructor. Patrick thought the idea was a darned good one.

I found out only 25 G4v Chapters are currently in existence, with the number to double by end of next year.
I told Patrick that I would continue to support this group as it defiantly had helped me.

Also, a number of veterans from the home came. Sonya brought Dave who is not a guitar participating member but one who enjoys the sing alongs. She also brought guitar members Randy and Joe.

The Veterans home also sent a buss and Bob Thompson, Eldon Frank, Rich Samson, Clair Birman and Charl Schwass.

Thanks to all who particpated and hope to see you all again next year.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Guardians embezzeling veterans banks accounts at Veterans Home?

What is this news I am hearing?

I had medical over at the VA clinic the other day, and afterwards I stopped in and talked with a few of the guys at the Vets home.  It was nice to see them again.

I was not surprised to hear that once again, Cynthia Thornberry and other guardians are violating the rights of these veterans.

100 percent service connected disabled veterans do not have to pay medical costs out of their own pockets, yet this appears to be what is happening. I was told by 2 veterans that Cyntha was using their private bank accounts to pay for services that are supposed to be covered by the VA. One fellow said his bank account which used to be in the Thousands of dollars, now has a balance of - $19.00.  This is not right.

Michigans guardian laws are long overdue for an overhaul and several attempts have been made.

IF you or a loved one has been abused by a guardian, or you think the guardian is stealing from you, or misappropriating  funds, or using funds the wrong way, you can write to the Attorney Generals office and ask them to investigate it for fraud, as that is what it is.

I am trying to find websites to help those who need help with abusive guardians. When I find them, I will post them here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chears to Spartan Stores for Hosting a Pizza Bingo

Spartan Stores came to the Veterans home today and hosted a Bingo and served Pizza. After the bingo, they served over 50 pizza's to the veterans.

Thank you Spartan Stores!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vets Home finally disposes flags properly.

I got a call yesterday about an ongoing issue at the Veterans home, about how they are disposing of used Federal Flags. Apparently they are not disposing them or caring for them properly. Members (veterans) have caught them at this dastardly deed, and the Home's response seems to be making the areas where the flags are being stored to be off limits for members. The area is in the maintenance department building.

I don't have all the details yet, but will be getting them soon, and will post an update here.

Ok an update.

Apparently there is this big HUGE flag that flys between two trees on the south wast corner of the main entrance area. These flags are like 20 by 15 feet or so, (not sure of the dimensions of them). Well, 2 of the veterans found some of these used flags just piled up in a pile in the maintenance shack.  They also saw one of them piled on one of the Gator trucks used by the lawn staff. One even took pictures of it.

Well, they got angry and took the problem to Gary Davis, head of Dept of Veteran Affairs at the home.

The good news is the flags have been properly disposed at a local crematorium, and they are now holding flag raising and lowering ceremonies. The flags will be properly disposed of in the future.

Thanks to the vigilance of 2 of the veterans. 

Update: They tried to Kill Billy Ray.

This is an update to an earlier post.. See:
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Death Awaits this Veteran.

This is Billy Ray, a power wheel chair person.A catheter that was damaged by the staff here at the Home, and which was later removed, almost caused the death of this man.

For months he tried to get help, as fluids built up inside his body.  Recently Billy Ray was transferred to a Federal VA hospital, where they drew out 7 liters of fluid from his abdominal area.  Fluid which, would have killed him, if the pocket it was in, had broken open internally. Just 10 min's worth of exposure of that stuff to his insides and he would have died in agony.

The fact that the GR home for Veterans did NOTHING to help this person, other than to offer him hospice, is proof that they no longer care about Veterans.

7 liters of fluid people.. that is almost 2 full gallons. And yet Sara Dunne says she cares about Veterans? Not if this is an example of how she cares.

Their lack of action almost got this man Killed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update: Appeals Hearing for Mac.

Mac, aka Greg from the Dom unit, who started this blog for me, called me yesterday. I just got back from my trip to Ann Arbor, and talked with him this morning.

As many know, he got kicked out of the home on 10 Oct 2012, because he thought they were intending to steal his car by using the impound laws, so he lost his temper and blew up - first time in the 2 years he was at the home. And the only trouble he had been in, during that 2 year period.

His appeal hearing with the Board of managers is scheduled for Wednesday the 14th of November, at 9:15am, in the Boardroom of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Supporters are encouraged to meet him at 9am, and attend the hearing. 

He also said that he will be at the Clinic this next Thursday, the 8th of November, in the afternoon.. so about 3 to 5 pm he will be over by the clinic woods area..

He jokingly said he is not parking his car anywhere in the home area, and will only park it in the clinic area.