Friday, December 26, 2014

Murder by Drugs at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.


MURDER BY DRUGS AT THE GRAND RAPIDS HOME FOR VETERANS

Fred Edward Ayers III is not another statistic. He was a Veteran.

This past summer, Fred Edward Ayers III, an Army veteran, was admitted to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Suffering from dementia, his children had no choice but to place him there. With a brand new $300 wardrobe, Fred had settled in at the Home.

The first thing the doctors did for Fred was stop all medicine he currently was on. In place of these meds, they started him on other psychiatric meds. One of the drugs was Depakote. With all that I have heard about this drug, I think it needs to be renamed the killer drug, not to mention the drug of choice for most veterans at the Home. Anyways. Back to Fred. The change in Fred was very obvious. He had trouble sleeping so they gave him shots of Ativan. One morning, his family found him crawling on the floor, hallucinating and not able to recognize his loved ones. The family went to the medical staff, begging them to stop these injections. When they talked with the doctor who prescribed this, they discovered that he had never seen Fred. HOW DOES A DOCTOR LICENSED IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN PRESCRIBE DRUGS TO A MAN THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN?


It gets worse. Despite the begging of Fred's loved ones, the Ativan injections continued. The Home now realizes they might have goofed and they send Fred to the VA Hospital in Battle Creek. When he arrived at the Battle Crek facility, a concerned and compassionate doctor asked one of Fred’s daughters, “What happened to this man?“ He was very upset, raising his voice to one of Fred’s daughters. It was clear to this doctor that something was very wrong. I have to wonder if he knew that what happened to Fred, happened under the care and auspices of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Once in Battle Creek, he was strapped to a bed, for days, in the Psychiatric Unit, where things didn't get better. Some doctor down in Battle Creek thought it might be a good idea to place Fred on his original medications in an attempt to level him out. A great idea but it came too late. Fred now developed Head Drop Syndrome. He had to wear a neck brace to eat. He lost all abilities. You need to know that prior to being given the shots of Ativan, Fred was able eat, drink, play his harmonica, use the bathroom, throw a football, recognize his loved ones and carry on a conversation. All that was wrong with Fred when he was admitted to the Home was dementia. THATS IT.

With the loss of all his abilities, breathing became an issue. Fred no longer was able to tolerate emergency care. He was eating and drinking less and less. The last week or so of his life, the family was confronted by hospital and hospice staff and a DNR Order (Do Not Resuscitate) was wrote up. Fred gave the ultimate sacrifice on December 11, 2014.

You would think at this point that the suffereing would be over for Fred’s family. Several times that the family visited their father when he was at the Home, Fred was wearing clown like clothes that were not his. The Home had lost the wardrobe that his children had bought for him. When his family attempted to recover Fred’s belongings, they had all magically disappeared. I am told it was a circus when Fred’s family wanted to retrieve his personal items. The Home said they were lost. I don’t thinkso. I believe they were stolen. Don’t you? We won’t even discuss the side effects of dressing a man who already has a mental health issue in clothes that aren’t his OR making him look like a clown in the process. It makes me wonder WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!!

This writer did a little research on Ativan. Not knowing what other drugs the doctors at the Home had him on, my research was limited. Ativan affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety. It is used to treat anxiety disorders. It is in the benzodiazephine family. My research showed that this family of drugs can cause a higher risk of dementia in the elderly. Further research on the interaction between Ativan and Depakote informs me that it should be generally avoided. NOW, if I find this out after a short research, what is wrong with the doctors at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans? Of course, we must remember that the doctors never physically visited Fred. I do know this. Any patient who is seen crawling on the floor, hallucinating and not able to recognize his loved ones should NOT be given thess drugs. WOULDN'T‘T YOU AGREE?

Fred’s children are consumed with guilt. They admitted their much loved father to an institution that resulted in a very premature death. In my opinion, a wrongful death. Prior to his admission, Fred’s family thought the Home was a place where their veteran father would be cared for and treated for the issues they faced. By the sounds of this family, they treated this veteran with demential with drugs that killed him. If I remember correctly, there have been other cases where the Home’s versioin of drug therapy has resulted in the death of a veteran. WHEN IS THIS GOING TO STOP?

Fred was born January 16, 1954 and died December 11, 2014. The look of fear in his eyes the last few days of his life is haunting his children. It haunts me. Fred is now with many other veterans the Home has had a part in the termination of their life. I know. Tough words. WHEN will I be able to report that the Home has saved a life and enhanced the life of our much loved veterans.

Rest in peace Fred. Your fears are now subsided as you stand with other veterans with the loving arms of our precious savior around you. The suffering and torture you were forced to endure at the hands of the incapable medical staff at the Grand Rapids Home for Vetreans will be rewarded with love and tenderness from our Heavenly Father.

After writing this article, I would like to take the opportunity to make some comments. I was told that the doctor that admitted Fred to the Battle Creek VA Medical Facility was appalled by what he was seeing in Fred. He went so far as to yell at one of Fred’s daughters, “What happened to this man?” It makes me wonder. Did this doctor follow up on any of this? Did he make contact with the Home to find out exactly what happened to Fred? What scares the hell out of me is how much more of this is going on that I don‘t know about. How many veterans are transferred to Battle Creek or Ann Arbor showing signs of malpractice like Fred was? If this was not followed up on by the Battle Creek facility, it raises the question ... Why the cover up?

This story isn’t over with this article. I have been assured that the names of doctors and health care workers can be made available to me. I have requested them and I have no problem publishing them and letting the whole world know the poor quality and mistreatment veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans are receiving.

I don’t want Fred’s death to be in vain. Lets make his suffering count for something.



Ed Note added 30 Jan 2015. There have been 410 reads of this post. And not one comment. None here nor on the facebook page.  This is why the veterans continue to suffer.  

Out of sight, out of mind.   

Shame on Michigan. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Veterans treated as Guinea pigs for Doctor at Grand Rapids Veterans Home.

http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/12/join_gov_rick_snyder_for_a_liv.html

In the comments section, a person claims Doctor Bates is unlicensed to prescribe medications in Michigan yet does so daily at the home. And this is not the first time we have heard about this.

This makes our veterans Guinea pigs for this doctor. Why hasn't this issue been addressed by the Board or by the Administration?

Something is not right here.

Dr. Bates was the Doctor for a number of veterans who appeared to have passed early from this life.
In the case of Richard Ware, both Bates and the state imposed Conservator Cynthia Thornbury seem to be the 2 parties responsible for Richards early death by forcing him to take a physo drug that he did not need, leading to is developing C.Diff, which killed him. 

Are our Veterans at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home being used as Guinea pigs? If this doctor does not have a proper license to be prescribing medication and is doing so, it would indicate that the veterans are.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Hand Grenades donated to the Vets home.

It was reported on Mlive.com that someone made a clothing donation to the home and part of the package contained 4 or 5 practice grenades. Bomb squad was called, and this time they reacted in proper time, and professionally. Further investigation has caused the police to believe the practice grenades were not intended to be donated to the home. The bomb squad took them and destroyed them.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bomb Scare at the Vets home.


I can't think of anything more scary than this. Let me tell you what happened.

On November 24, 2014, around 6:30 in the evening, a suspicious package was discovered in the parking lot at the Home. Security and staff acted appropriately and took all steps necessary to insure the safety of the veterans and the staff. The actions of the staff at the Home were very appropriate and on behalf of the veterans and the families of the veterans, I want to thank the staff for keeping the safety of everybody their paramount concern.

Part of the protocol for this type of situation is to make a phone call to the Grand Rapids Police Department. If you aren't angry yet, this will send you over the top. It took the police 45 minutes to arrive. You read it correctly. 45 MINUTES for a bomb threat. A member of the security staff at the Home took a picture of the box and contents and when he showed the police officers that responded the picture, they decided to call in the bomb squad. It took at least, an additional 45 minutes for them to show up. UNBELIEVABLE.

The veterans are forced to stay in their rooms for at least 90 minutes while the police figure out what to do. I have no doubt that staff members were also frightened. I would be if I was working there that night.

Now. What to do about the men and women in blue who work for the Grand Rapids Police Department. Their actions combined with their response time was deplorable. Do they need more training? If this bomb threat was at a school, municipal building or hospital, you can bet their response time would hae been much less. It makes me wonder why the police consider the safety of our veterans less important than they consider the safety of our children, judges or patients in a hospital. The more I think about this, the angrier I get. How about you?

Just so you know, the suspicious packaged turned out to contain an empty gas can and a set of battery cables. Apparently, somebody had car trouble while visiting at the Home and left these items behind. The Home did not over-react. They did what they were suppose to do. The Grand Rapids Police should be ashamed of themselves for treating our veterans and the men and women who take care of them in such a haphazard way. They are people, no less or no more important than the children in our schools or the judges in our courtrooms. You all know this. Why don't the police feel this way?


The following is a memo written to the staff and members of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Sara Dunne encourages you to call her with questions. I have a few for her. Why has this been such a hush hush matter for one. There has been nothing in the news about this. Another question I have for her is what is she going to do with the Grand Rapids Police who dragged their feet in what could have been a tragedy?
Don't get me wrong. I thank God this was nothing. The Grand Rapids Police Department has lost my respect because of how they handled this. Over 90 minutes of putting our veterans thru fear and hell doesn't deserve anybody's respect.









J2S meeting with Veterans, Opportunity or a Facade?

At the Home, there is a Members Council. It consists of officers and delegates which represents different areas of the Home. This Friday, December 5 at 1:30 pm, the Members Council will be meeting. At that time, they are requesting that the veterans present to their delegates, questions for J2S. On Wednesday, December 10 at 1:00 pm, J2S will be at the regular monthly meeting and will be answering these questions, provided they are approved of by the officers and delegates of the Council. All veterans are encouraged to be at these two meetings. This is the first time J2S has shown this kind of interest in the concerns and complaints filed by the veterans. We need to capitalize on this. Lets ask the source why they can't give our veterans better care.

Let us see how this turns out. Will it answer questions, or will it just be another meeting where veterans are served a dish of misinformation and bullsh*t.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Some have things to be thankful for, others still still suffer this Thanksgiving.

I've said it before on this blog. Michigan under Governor Snyder has disgraced the veterans at the Veterans home.

It is really a sad day in this great state, when state workers can cause the untimely death of veterans and get immunity for doing so.

When workers are directly responsible for causing an early death of a veteran and those in power threaten legal teams, or individuals who demand justice, we have another black mark on Michigan's record of how it treats its Veterans.

It should not take an act of God Almighty to be able to get justice for any reason, for any cause, for any damage, inflicted upon the families of Veterans by state workers.

While some people may have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season, many others are still suffering from the loss of loved ones who were sent to their graves early by the actions of state workers.

Shame on Michigan.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Privatization Care Givers Quit in Protest at Veterans Home.

I am getting reports from several Veterans and a number of J2S workers, about this.
 
It has not yet been confirmed, but I keep hearing that 17 J2S health care workers (care givers) quit this week in protest of working conditions, bad management, and low pay; leaving the home short staffed with RN's having to do 1 on 1 care for veterans. Which for many, is something they have not had to do in years. 

The complaints I hear are having to do overtime when ever its demanded with little or no prior notice; difficult to do when you are a single parent and need to arrange extended child care. 

Another is poor management and supervision.

One J2s worker got written up for getting a lady veteran a drink of water because the RN's wanted the lady to do it herself. 

Another one said half the time they are told to do stuff they have not been trained to do, or told not to do the things they were trained to do. Many said that the frustration level is very high and that many of the workers are now saying it is not worth the low pay they are getting to put up with poor management and difficult veterans when they have a bad day. 

Many said they do not expect to be with J2S for more than 1 year.

This is NOT what James Dunn Deputy Director Michigan Veteran Affairs, keeps telling our state legislature. He keeps telling them that our guys are getting top quality care. This is not possible, if they have 17 people quitting at the same time for the same reasons. Privatization of the health care workers is NOT working. Our vets deserve better.



 








ANY former J2S worker who would like to come forward anonymously is encouraged to drop us a private note and tell us why they quit, and what their complaints are.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Managers board announces new location for November meeting.

Apparently someone at the veterans home, or in this case,  one of the board members, Earnest Meyers who is a proven liar, is contacting people about attending this special board of managers meeting.

The message being sent to people reads:

The State of Michigan Veterans Homes (Grand Rapids & Marquette) Board of Managers Meeting will be held at a Special Location on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 1:30 p. m. at the Mayflowere-Lt. Gamble VFW Post 6695 located at 1426 S. Mill Street in Plymouth, MI.  Phone 734-459-6700.

ALL Veteran Organizations and Auxiliaries are invited to attend to attend this very important meeting to learn about (1) the operational functions of the two Veterans Homes, (2) learn about Veteran entitlements and eligibility on becoming a resident and (3) learn about opportunities for individuals and businesses to support the homes.  Please forward this email to your own directories, so everyone can mark their calendars for this November 19th Meeting at 1:30 p.m.

Thank You
Ernie Meyers, Sr
Board Member 

No why would anyone want to go to this meeting?  We already know about the operational functions of the two Vets Homes ran  by the state of Michigan.  And any vet can go to any number of vet related locations and learn about their benefits and entitlements.  And who in the right mind would want to become a resident of the home considering what has happened to the GR home since 2010? I mean I understand a lot of them have no where else to go, and that is a shame.  Michigan is the first state to do such a dishonor to its Veterans. The home is a prison to many, where they will wither and die. And right now it's not even fit for a dog to die in. Heck, one dog even refused to eat the food offered to the Veterans, instead it cocked its leg on the bowel containing the main meal for that day.


And what is this learning about how individuals and businesses can support the home?   Sorry but isn't that what we are paying tax money for?  Or is this just yet another attempt to get more money for projects that are already funded, so that you can siphon off the funds to use elsewhere?

Either way, I don't like this. Something doesn't feel right about this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

THIS IS SERIOUS: The Care Giver’s Cheat Sheet - HIPAA law violation at its best.


In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. We know it better as HIPAA. One of the guarantees of HIPAA is that it requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information. It is a good thing.

Unfortunately, the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans doesn’t believe in this. They created the Care Givers Cheat Sheet. Under Sara Dunn’s orders, these cheat sheets are given to the care givers and contains some of the most private personal and health information about the veteran the care giver is responsible for. All fine and dandy. These cheat sheets are to be turned in to the nursing station at the end of each care giver’s shift. So. Why are these cheat sheets found laying around the cafeteria, Kozy Korners, hallway floors, front lobby or in the various bathrooms at the Home?

You read it correctly. Anybody and everybody can pick up one of these cheat sheets and know more than they need to know about their fellow veteran living at the home. They can read about their bathroom and bathing habits. They can read about their behavior and what triggers bad behavior. EVERYTHING.

A veteran residing at the home discovered that his personal cheat sheet was found laying around and is mortified. He doesn’t know if he can ever face his other veteran friends again. I can’t blame him. I think about my presonal visits to my doctor. Would I want that information placed on a piece of paper for everybody to read. I think not.

This was brought to the attention of Sara Dunn earlier this year and she made the assurance that this would not be happening again. Well Sara, guess what? It is. As recent as the first of October, 2014, cheat sheets were found laying around. This puts you in direct violation of the law. Should any of these veterans have a court appointed guardian, did you notify the guardian that you were allowing everybody to know the most personal intricate details of their ward?

Sara, you goofed ..... again! Not only does this action show your total disregard of the veteran, it also shows that you have total disregard for the law. With these cheat sheets in the hands of everybody and his brother, it is no wonder you are now requiring confidentiality agreements with the workers and volunteers who are around the veterans.

To the loved ones of our veterans. I am sorry to be the one informing you of this. I can’t imagine your anger in knowing that everybody at the Home now has the possibility of knowing when your family member has an accident in his pants or what kind of protection he needs when going out for a smoke. For the stripping of his dignity, know that I still hold him in the highest regard. He is a veteran. He is MY veteran.

- Angry Family Member. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gregs objection and overview of the kitchen department at the Veterans home.


Guys, post this letter in its entirety, as I have written it.

I have your email draft, and have read the draft article about the continual substandard meals being served at the veterans home, and I am raising an objection to it.

You fail to consider all the factors involved.

First, let us look at the main dining hall, which is what your post focused on. The meals sent up to the various units are handled differently than those served in the main dining hall. Many of those meals are specific to a veterans needs, and are not the common meal served in the dining room. They require extra time to prepare and this eats up a lot of the kitchen staffs time.

The dining hall has its problems. It always has had some problems and probably will continue until our government reinstates the budget that the kitchen department once had when Sara Dunne was running it. But since then the State has reduced the kitchen budget here at the home just as it is doing to all the state run institutions (meaning the prisons and jails).

Second, is the style of eating the veterans are being given. Meaning the European style of meals where the midday meal is the large meal, and the evening meal is a smaller meal. The problem the home has is that in Europe, the midday meal is served around 1pm and the evening meal around 9pm just before many of them go to bed. You can't do that at the veterans home, because so many of the vets on the nursing units go to bed before 8pm.

And due to budget cuts, the kitchen department just doesn't have the staff to manage a proper European style way of eating for all the units and the main dining hall.  In fact that issue was brought up when I was at the home at one of the Dom Unit council meetings. Under the current budget reductions there are 2 shifts of kitchen personnel. One comes in for the early morning hours and does breakfast and lunch, the midday meal. The 2nd group comes in and helps out with the lunch or midday meal and stays and does dinner (the last meal). by 8pm all but a few have gone home for the day.

There isn't enough staff to have meals done the American way where lunch is a quick meal, and the largest meal is the last one of the day at 6pm.  This is how it should be done because the current way leaves the guys feeling hungry around 9pm or so, and its almost 12 hours between dinner and breakfast for many of the guys. So they reach for whatever they can to munch on, which usually means junk food. And for guys with diabetes this is not good.

The kitchen also serves way to many carb's, and combined with the junk food the guys are eating, is what I believe is a leading cause of the guys developing type 2 diabetes.

Also, due to a lack of enough personnel the kitchens are limited as to what they can serve as what ever it is has to be prepared by a limited kitchen staff. The fact that they manage to serve fried eggs on Tuesdays is amazing considering how many they have to do, and how long it takes. It would not surprise me to find out that the kitchen crew gets them pre-cooked  and stacked up, from Gordons and all they really do is heat them up for serving.

Limited staff also means more complicated "normal" foods cannot be served, not even in the main dining hall. Even if the main dining hall served "normal food", the number of meals served at each time, would require the staff to have an additional 8-20 people working in the kitchen just to prepare the stuff for the dining hall.

You have to figure that if there are 500 residents at the home, the kitchen is making about 600 to 900 servings per mealtime. The extra 300 meals are for staff, guests, and veterans who eat in the main dining hall and then run to their units and get a second helping from the meal that is served to them there. This is especially true on days when pizza or one of the other popular meals are served. I remember a few guys that would Get a meal in the dining hall, run to their units and eat there, then come back down to the dining hall for 2nds there. That's 3 meals, and one of the reasons some times guys from the Dom unit who got to the main dining hall late in the meal time, found out the kitchen ran out of food.  And it was one of the biggest complaints about the Dining hall, from the Dom unit counsel meetings.

And mind you while I object to beans being put into my Sloppy Joe sandwich, the fact is the home has to do that to increase the protein value of the meal and to make that highly refined stuff they call meat, go a little further as that meat is a big expense and a major part of their monthly budget.

Now I agree with you about the food being served cold. It was when we were there, remember? The VA came in and our biggest complaint was it was cold. That and if we got behind a slow person in a power wheel chair, our food got cold by the time we were able to exit the line. This is because the chow line is in a little room, without enough room to get around some of those bigger people in the larger chairs or scooters.

 The VA tested the food being served and said yes, the food was below proper serving temperature.  The homes solution: heat up the plates.  NO, not a solution in my opinion and from what I am told, they are still doing this. Again, I believe it is due to budget shortfalls. I have to get reports from the guys because I am not allowed to visit the guys nor roam the property yet; I can only go to guitars for veterans at the APR room (or where ever it is being held that night) on Wednesday nights. So I have no idea whats really happening at the dining hall.

And the problems with the Salad Bar. We have all seen guys skip the line and head straight to the salad bar with big bowels that they fill up with salad and other items on the bar. Then there are the guys in the power wheel chairs who don't sit high enough to get access to the items that make a mess of things. We even had one guy who was picking things out of his salad and tossing them back into the main salad dish. Also the guys in the power chairs as they turn, they forget to leave room, and they end up knocking over the salad bar, or pushing it out of their way, when other people are trying to get their stuff, causing a big problem. I guess that's why the staff finally had a guy sit there to monitor it, and to clean up the messes.  This could have been avoided if the salad bar was inside the chow line itself. But that area is limited in size.

I won't even go into the reports of Mice in the room heaters near the windows.

But guys do tell me that the meals themselves have not improved much. And that the kitchen staff is trying new items, and different combinations for meals - but its still the same old Big meal at lunch and soup and a sandwich for dinner.  Things defiantly need to improve.

And I ask how can it, without proper funding? The more I look into things at the home the more I see how that 4.2 million dollar shortfall for the last 4 years has really hurt the home and the veterans. Not just in the kitchen department, but in all departments of the home. Just last week I was told by 4 different guys that the home had a test of the emergency generators and only 1 building had power during the test. Not good if its true. Again, budget shortfall means less maintenance is being done that needs to be done.

Now as you will remember back when Dom unit had its own counsel meetings, the guys there made suggestions to the administration about how to save money. But those suggestions fell on deaf ears, or so the guys believed. That is one of the reasons the guys stopped going to the meetings. Why listen to people complaining and nothing gets done about the registered complaints? Why bother making suggestions to the staff, if the staff is not listening? I think we agree that such is seen by the veterans now as it was then, as a failure of the staff and a failure of the administration. Perhaps that is why there is no more Dom unit meetings and now they are part of the Nursing unit counsel meetings, which the Dom guys tell me is just another glorified gripe session.

Bottom line here: You cannot put all the blame on the Administration or the kitchen staff. The majority of the problem lies with Lansing, and our congress, and Rick Snyder, who has decreased the homes budget.  Right now our state is still suffering a 2 decades long recession that was worsened by Granholms decade of tax increases, and deficit spending. The State has higher priorities now, than a few hundred veterans. Our roads and bridges are in dismal shape, our schools are suffering. Every town, city, village and county government is running on slim budgets, due to revenue shortfalls from the lost manufacturing revenue that once was the staple of the states budget. The home is relying on donations from non state sources, and federal money.

There is only one way to fix the problems at the home. All of us, in and out of the home must work towards getting that budget restored. Only then will we start to see some positive changes for the veterans.

- Greg M.

I thought about this since I've posted it. And Greg, I disagree with you. The home could be providing better meals to those guys. I am not accepting their excuse for why things are the way they are in the kitchen department. I do not accept their excuse for cold meals, for skimpy meals, for having a piece of bread with a slice of cheeses as the alternate to a main meal item, nor do I find acceptable their excuses for beans in the Sloppy Joe sandwiches and for using highly refined ground beef that is so ground up,  it's more like it's half vegetable mix than real meat at all.

Nor do I find it acceptable that there are Mice in the main dining room. It was my understanding the home has a no pet policy.

-Angry
















Face it: Privatization of the healthcare givers is not working.

Let us face the facts.
The fact is Michigan is dead broke. It lost its revenue base when we lost our manufacturing base. Granholms constant tax raises and overspending when she should have been cutting spending, worsened the effects of manufacturing leaving Michigan.

This created a budget problem for government which resulted in 2 major blunders for the Veterans home. First was the 4.2 million dollar budget cut by Snyder. Second was the privatization of the healthcare workers.

State Senator Vincent Gregory (Dem) said we didn't privatize our prisons so why should we it for our veterans?  Well, Senator Gregory got it partially correct. Snyder did in fact privatize part of the prison system. He privatized the food service part. And look at that disaster. The company responsible for it is in the news for serving substandard and sometimes plain rotten food to the prisoner population. I would call that a failure.

At the Veterans home we have J2S, a private care giver company that is also a failure. There is a high turnover rate of the workers many of whom are forced by contract to work double shifts for several days at a time without a break in the double shifts. And they work for just over minimum wage. Then there is the way the home deals with problem care givers. Instead of eliminating them, the home shuffles them around. Care givers are not allowed to get to know their patients and never learn the needs of specific veterans, making things more difficult and stressful for both the care givers and the Veterans.

Jim Dunn, Deputy Director of Michigan Veterans Affairs, says our veterans get the best care. How can he say that when the home is having the problems it has with the J2S workers? 

Many veterans are afraid to speak up about problems, fearing retaliation and of being kicked out of the home. And for many, it is the only home they have other than the street, so they do not speak up, out of fear of being kicked out.

Both James Dunn and Sara Dunne, (acting administrator) claim the problems with J2S is due to their being new, and adjustments are being made. Well, its been 2 years going on 3, and many of the problems still exist. I would like to know how many J2S workers have cycled thru the doors at the home in just this past year? 20? 50? 100? Every time I go to the home to visit the guys, I see new workers and when I do see someone that I know from when I was at the home, its one of the volunteers or a staff member. 

Just how is that "giving our veterans the best care"?

Lets face it: Privatization of the caregivers may have saved the state some money, but the state did so on the backs of the veterans they are supposed to be serving. The Veterans Administration would do better to pull its funding of the home and move these veterans to other locations.  The J2S experiment is a failure.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

When a Veteran becomes a Victim.


It is the object of every advocate to help the veterans and/or their families. I have been very busy doing that. Sometimes though, you run into a problem where the veteran can’t be helped because the family is more interested in the financial resources of the veteran.

This is what I have encountered recently. There is a veteran at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans that is in a great deal of trouble. He wants things a certain way, which in my opinion, are reasonable wishes. Unfortunately, his wife wants them another way and it is clear to me, this is not what the veterans wants nor is what she is doing in the best interest of the veteran.

This veteran has gone so far as to remove his wife as his guardian some years previously and now the Home wants to have a court appointed guardian put in place. The Home also wants a court appointed conservator. As much as I dislike this court appointed system, in this case, I have very mixed feelings.

We were approached by the wife of this veteran. Many things didn’t make sense when talking with her. We asked her permission to contact her husband. She had no problem with that. Unfortunately, her husband was clueless as he has heard nothing from nobody. Now, this wife has gone so far as to ask that the advocates stay away from her husband as we are supposedly, upsetting him. Her attorney has suggested that she talk to nobody about what is going on. Where does this leave the Veteran? He is clearly upset but I believe it is due to lack of knowledge. He is totally clueless what his wife and family has done. He has expressed to his visitor what his desires and wishes are and unfortunately, none of these can materialize as his family has already mortgaged off the assets.

As a long term resident of the Home, the veteran has seen many changes in the care he is receiving. Much of this is not good. However. In defense of the system, cooperation is needed from the veteran. We all know that having a shower at 2:00 in the afternoon can be a major inconvenience but with a full crew of veterans and a limited number of health care workers, showers are scheduled when they can be fit in. Our veterans need to work within this system if they want a shower. This is easily understood.

In the same nature, if a bandage needs to be changed, it is best for the veteran to do it when it is scheduled, not when it is convenient. I don’t believe that any health care veteran needs to beg a veteran to do what is in the best interest of the veteran. If the veteran repeatedly refuses to be cooperative, steps need to be taken to insure that he gets the best possible care, even if it is something he doesn‘t want at that time.

My prayers go out to this veteran as now, he is left with a court battle between the Home and his family. With no concern for what the veteran wants, he is now a victim. A victim with nobody in his corner.

Veteran Widow

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Word of another Outsider Veteran about the Veterans Home in Grand Rapids.


From the Ionia Sentinal:

In his letter to the Ionia Setinel, Louis Dudeck from Lowell Michigan  writes as part of the article entitled  "Lynn Mason will do right for seniors, students", 



I am not a political activist. I am not a confirmed and anointed Republican or Democrat. I am however, a combat disabled former U.S. Marine (Vietnam Era), long time retired Principal of both Runicman Riverside and Bushnell Elementary Schools, and by that admission , you also know I am a Senior Citizen.

Being a Veteran, I receive services at the V.A. Clinic in Grand Rapids (glasses,hearing aids, medications and the like) as do many of my fellow Veterans. I have also had the opportunity to visit and speak with Veterans who are residents at the Grand Rapids Home For Veterans located at the same facility. If you want to know how some of your most needy Heroes spend their declining years, I would urge you to take the time for a short visit and bring cookies, lots and lots of cookies. Colonel Sam Yeiter, one of Lowell’s most respected and admired WW II Heroes, was called home from there not too long ago. Did you know that, in an effort to balance the State budget, our Governor cut 4.2 million dollars in funding from the Grand Rapids Home For Veterans. Our local Legislator, Lisa Lyons, voted to approve this measure. She must think a leaner V.A. Home is a better V.A. Home. That’s why I said bring lots of cookies if you visit. The real reason for the funding cut, as I see it, was to break the union which provided caregivers for the Vets.  







Sunday, October 12, 2014

Double team the Veteran and impose a guardian on him/her, this is SOP at Michigan Veterans Home.

One of the major issues at the Michigan Veterans home in Grand Rapids Michigan, is the way the Administration attempts to impose a Guardian or Conservator (henceforth G/C) on a Veteran who is living at the home.

We have reported 3 cases about this subject, on this blog.
The Guardianship imposed on now deceased Veteran Richard Ware, the Conservator imposed on Fred, and the homes year long attempt to impose a Guardian on Ron because he would not take a drug he did not need.

Today I spent 2 hours on the phone with yet another family being forced to go thru this nightmare. And this time the Veteran already had a guardian, a family member who was unknown to the home, or the home just didn't bother to check their records.

Veterans and their families need to know their rights which are not being told to them by the home's administration. This is an abuse of the Veteran by withholding critical information.

The home is telling veterans that they cannot have anyone with them when they see the doctor who decides if the veteran has lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves. This is not true.

An advocate or a family member can be present.

Here are 2 links for your information.
Details VA Fiduciary - how to, who, rights, etc. <Click here>

You right to have caregiver/rep in room during appointments. <click here>

The process usually involves a Doctor and 2nd person interviewing the Veteran. Without an advocate or witness, this can lead to abuse of the Veteran. The veteran is double teamed, and has little if any recourse unless there is backup in the form of an advocate or witness to the proceedings.


Veterans need to stand up for the rights to prevent the abuse by the Veterans home of having an unnecessary G/C  imposed upon them by the Veterans Homes pet Judge in the Michigan family court, David Murkowski.  Karen Fugi, Social worker at the home is also involved in a lot of these cases.

Also, this Tuesday, 14 Oct 2014, the VA will be holding Fiduciary meetings at the veterans home to inform veterans of their rights to a VA Fiduciary. Please let the guys know about this important meeting. EVERY veteran at the home  need a VA Fiduciary. There is a difference between a VA Fiduciary and a Court appointed Conservator. Veterans and their families need to know the difference.


It is very important that Veterans and their families know about this. It is the G/C program that allows the Veterans home to take control over a veterans money, to force veterans to take drugs they may not want or need, and causes a lot of unnecessary stress on a Veteran and their families.








Friday, October 10, 2014

Smoking Tent is UP for Veterans at Vets Home, State Exemption still not approved.

I had to go to the VA clinic today, and stopped in to the Vets Home to say hello to the guys.

I see they put the smoking tent up and found it even had the Heat on already, before the first snow fall. Amazing that someone even bothered.

For all who wonder what this is, here is a map and 2 pictures taken. The vets are blocked out for privacy reasons and due to Home Rules and regulations covering photos taken at the home.

This Pic shows the location of the Smoking tent, near Kozy Corners.





These 2 photos shows the smoking tent, and 1 of the 2 heaters used to keep it warm. Also shown is one of 2 of the "plastic flap" doors to the tent.

Since the Administration has not pushed for, nor the state legislature pushed for the exemption for the veterans like any other retirement home has, the guys and gals here are forced to have to go outside and go to this tent to have their smokes.

Now you may or may not approve of smoking, but many of these guys have done it for most of their lives and deserve to be treated better.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rick Snyder Dishonors veterans a 4th time.

From Mlive.com:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder took questions from a friendly crowd Wednesday night at a town hall campaign event at Noto’s restaurant in Grand Rapids.
It was the third stop on Snyder’s town hall tour. His campaign invited undecided voters but had the final say on the guest list.  I am told 3 non union advocates for the veterans at theVeterans home in Grand Rapids, were on the invite list and attended but were told that the veterans issue is a social issue and that Snyder would not be addressing social issues. Also one of the Veterans from the home was there.

Such a comment makes me think that Snyder needs to take his head out. Every issue is a social issue. Funding for roads, schools, etc., are all social issues. Funding for our veterans and the administration that abuses them is a social issue.

3 times the Governor of Michigan was asked to meet with a small group of Veteran advocates and Veterans from the Grand Rapids home for Veterans and 3 times he has refused.


And while we find that talking to groups of people such as the event at Noto's restaurant and reading to kids at a Kentwood school is a good thing (also reported on Mlive.com), meeting with Veterans who vote, should not be over looked.

It is becoming clear, that problems at the Veterans home are not just limited to the local administration, but the causes of these problem lie with the Republican partys administration in Lansing and perhaps, directly to Governor Rick Snyder himself.

Recent attempts by public employees and officials of the government to silence the voices of the dissidents and advocates for the veterans,  are starting to look like standard operating procedure for this administration.

Recently the Administration told one advocate, that they did not want politicians coming to the home to do politicking, yet let Republican Candidate for US Senate Terry Land come to the homes yearly carnival and do just that. Now who authorized that, the Homes administration or someone in Lansing?


Advocates are being threatened to keep their noses out of the veterans affairs. It no longer matters that the veterans are forced to go to the advocates as they are not getting answers or relief from the VA directly. They have no choice but to go to a third party and beg for help. It makes you wonder why the VA and the State of Michigan doesn't want these advocates involved. Is it because the advocacy might work to the advantage of the veteran. This makes this writer wonder if all the State of Michigan and the VA facilities located in this State are wanting is the unnecessary death of the veteran. After all. A dead veteran can tell no tales.

Local news sources are refusing to cover any stories that question the administration or its policies at the home. Dissidents and Advocates who make comments on News websites are finding their accounts banned, canceled or their comments being moderated or blocked. Since when did Michigan become the 2nd North Korea?

Veterans at the home are afraid of speaking out because of established policies of targeting said veterans for removal from the home, either by means of discharge or by transfers.

And the home relies on Federal US tax dollars to operate.  The State gets thousands of dollars for each veteran assigned to one of the nursing units, from the Federal government of from the veterans own insurances. Many are now saying that Rick Snyder balanced the states budget in part, on the backs of Veterans.

What used to be a healthy Dorm unit of 150 homeless and income less veterans, is now down to about 50, and most have some kind of monthly income of which the veteran is allowed to keep only 100 dollars per month for their own use. Many veterans who could benefit from being in the Dorm unit for a period of time are being denied admission.

As stated before, the Dorm unit costs per Veteran starts at 2100 a month for a 10x8 foot area for a bed, dresser and small table, in a room that holds 4, each separated only by a curtain. All other areas are "common areas" used by all veterans. They also have a 3x3.5x7 foot lockable closet. And a shared toilet in each room.  At one time the Michigan Veterans Trust fund, paid for the veterans who had no income, but now the home is all but refusing admission to those who do not have an income.

The original reason for establishing the home was to give homeless civil war veterans a place to live.

By refusing to meet with Veterans and talk with them Rick Snyder is dishonoring those who put their lives on the line for this country. Without them, we would not be here today, enjoying rights and privileges that only the USA guarantees to its people.

And this is why many veterans have said they would rather live on the street than be forced to live in a place like the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans which has been turned into a prison for veterans without bars on the doors and windows. In many cases, prisoners in our state prisons get better treatment than the veterans at the Vets Home. Shame on you Michigan, Shame on you Rick Snyder.

Monday, October 6, 2014

State imposed Guardians ad/or Conservatives charge Veterans outrageous fees.


I have in my hands, PROOF of State appointed Guardians stripping veterans of their assets with outrageous charges. In this case the particular Guardian is Cynthia Thornbury.  The very same State appointed guardian who stripped Richard of all of his assets that Richards wife could not protect from Thornbury's greedy hands. I won't even go into the criminal charges that Thornbury should be facing over her accessory to Richards early and untimely death.


Well this bill deals with someone else. And in the past I have told you the reader, about how the Veterans Home has the state impose a Conservator or Guardian on people. And then how these State Appointed people systematically strip the assets from their ward. I have told you the public, several times on this blog, about a number of veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans who were being cheated by these State appointed people who are supposed to be looking out for the veterans, not stealing from them. And I have reported that many do this with the approval of the biggest crook of them all, State Employee David Murkowski, who works as a Judge in the State Family courts.

I am told that when Murkowski found out about this blog, he got angry and yelled in his court that hes trying to help veterans. Apparently this is what Murkowski calls helping veterans.

Lets look at the billing that Cynthia Thornbury gave just one veteran for one (1) months service:

Guardian Ad Litem Fee                          595.00        (Ad litem (Latin: "for the suit")
Lawyer fees (names withheld)                988.00
US Postal Service                                       8.80
Court Appointed Atty Fee                      115.50
Bond                                                       462.00
Conservator fee                                     2997.41
 (what this conservator fee is, I have no idea)

Total:                                                     5167.61

This veterans VA benefits for the month were just under 10,000.00 and she just billed him for over half of that money.. I guess the home gets the other 4.850k for the care of the veteran, right?

And what was this suit for? The suit for imposing this conservator upon the veteran? So now the court appears to be forcing the veteran to pay for his own screwing over.   (Financial rape by the system itself).  Sure looks that way to me. And it is all LEGAL. Legalized theft. Started by the Veterans Home, in this case probably the so called Counselor by the name of Karen Fugi who seems to have a lot of veterans under her care, who have Thornbury imposed on them as either a Guardian or a Conservator.



THEN on  another page I find even more billing! She charged him    

Monthly service charge of 90 dollars a month for services rendered
for 5 months worth of services:                                                            450.00
Other services and contacts                                                                    65.00
Attended court 1.5 hours                                                                        94.50
picked up bond 1.5 hours                                                                       94.50 
Dropped off bond .50                                                                       no charge
met with ward 1.5 hours         billed at 63 dollars an hour                     94.50
Met with wards SW 1.hour                                                                     63.00
Attended court meeting for Conservatorship  1.5 hours                         94.50
Met with Ward and others  1 hour                                                          63.00
Met with bank to open up accounts 1 hour                                            63.00
Met with ward at VA 1 hour                                                                   63.00
Shopping for ward 2 hours                                                               no charge
Met with ward at VA  1 hour                                                                   63.00
 
Totals                                            this is for 5 months                         1216.38

This person gets 63 dollars an hour for visiting a veteran? LAWYERS don't get that much money an hour.

And this is not seen as theft?!!

And this woman charges 63 dollars for every veteran at the home that she visits.  63 dollars an hour.. my lord that is CEO pay for some major corporation, not some petty conservator.

To me, this document serves as proof that the Conservator/Guardian laws in Michigan need to be challenged..

What is worse, is if this Veteran challenges the state to impose this conservator upon him, the conservator has the legal right to take money from the veteran to pay for his/her (the conservators) legal fees and lawyers to defend against being removed.

In other words the veteran has to suffer thru getting screwed by having to pay for the conservators legal fees. This is insane.


In the case of Richard this same so called Conservator spent thousands of dollars of Richards money on attorney fees for a divorce that neither Richard nor his wife wanted. Yet Richard or his wife have no recourse to hold the crooked guardian accountable for it.


Richard had to pay even more attorney fees and other fees because he tried to get rid of the Guardian, and challenged the Guardian/conservator in Murkowski's court  and again his money was paid to provide the Guardian with an attorney.  Also his wife was threatened by Murkowski, and her lawyer sanctioned by him.

Richard could not use his own money for his own attorney! His wife had to provide that for him.
See the slavery here???

This is what these crooks can do to a Veteran, and its all "legal". I call it abuse.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Local Media turns its head on atroceties going on at the Veterans home.


Ed Note: I believe This Catherine Buckley is the commander of the Neil Fonger VFW post 179 in Walker over on Wilson Ave, just west of the Grand River. Very near Grandville. (west end of 28th st).

From: "Catherine Buckley"
 To: hannasaunders@wzzm13.com, news@fox17online.com, news@woodradio.com, news@wxmi.com, news@wzzm13.com,


It is time to take a stand for these veterans. They are scare to say much for being thrown out. Last Feb. one was thrown out for drinking. He froze to death.
The mail is read before they receive it. Vote is hindered. Jim Dunn and Sara Dunne tell us what we want to hear. 
Their Representatives forbidden for address them or let them speak their minds. They have a room call the Court Yard where you are locked up for miner infraction.

My question is WHY? Why treat these wonderful people like this. Why can't their voices be heard.Why can't someone help?

I'm looking to you the voices of American to step up to the plate and help these veterans. Yes they have issues. They were in wars, seen things you don't want to know. Did things you don't want to know. But they have to live with it daily. WWII vets didn't receive the help they needed back then. Vietnam Veterans were treated so poorly when they came home and they didn't get the help they needed back then.
Now in the last few years help has come but for some it is to late so they live at the home and treat like outcast. Are you willing to help?
-Catherine Buckley

Ed note: So far the silence is Deafening. Traditionally, the Local news has refused to air any articles that draws into question the validity of the current administration or its actions towards the veterans. 

Advocates as well as members of the home have contacted the local media in the past, including Billie Ray who was interviewed on camera so he could tell his story of abuse. That abuse by the home eventually caused his death. This was taken to WZZM channel 13, and nothing came of it.  

We do not expect the local media to report the real news anymore. 

Updated 29 Sept 2014


Friday, September 26, 2014

There isn't any US Mail Delivery to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, so how do Residents get their mail?

If a Veteran in residence at the Michigan veterans home in Grand Rapids, Michigan,  goes on line to order something from Amazon or Ebay, and they type in the address of the Grand Rapids home for Veterans,  (3000 Monroe NW, GR MI 49504) they will find the address is NOT a valid address.

The US post office does not have it listed as a residence. Nor a business. We are not even sure if its listed as a State government address.

This is because no mail is delivered to the veterans home. 

That is correct. The US post office does not deliver mail to the Veterans home. They pick up mail from the outgoing mail box located just outside the main entrance, but they do not deliver mail to the home.

Someone from the home has to drive to the down town post office and pick up the mail.. Now how the Post office is releasing all that mail to one person, I have no idea. but they do.

What happens between that time and the time a Veteran gets his or her mail, is anybodies guess.

But we have an idea based on reports from the residents themselves.

The mail is picked up at the post office by one of the Vet Homes employees. Then it is taken to one of two locations, either the office of record keeping located in the west hall of the administration section of the McKlish building, or to a small room at the other end of that hall, located around the corner, between the west side elevators, and the volunteer office.

There the mail is sorted, and OPENED by staff members. Even Veterans who have written "DO NOT OPEN" mail notices on file, find their mail opened by staff members.

The reason for the mail being opened, is that when a "member" applies at the home, they sign a waiver allowing the home to open their mail for things related to billing and such.. This is NOT a blanket waiver allowing them to open all mail. And how the home handles this open mail is just another major problem in itself.  In 99 percent of the cases, if they take any paperwork out of the incoming mail they do not leave a courtesy photo copy of the document(s) they take.  This leaves veterans wondering what they were supposed to get, or be informed of. The veteran then has to track down information that he or she, may have little or no knowledge of because of the missing paperwork.

Then, when its all sorted and done, one of the Veterans from Dorm unit, takes the mail and delivers it to all the Veterans in the home, Monday thru Friday.  - There is no Saturday mail here. 

3 years ago in 2011, Veterans were given the option to "opt out" and sign a DO NOT OPEN form, after which their mail would not be opened without them being present. Yet the veterans who signed the form still had their mail opened, and it continues to this day. How many mistakes have to happen before someone understands that there is still a problem with this?


Now we hear of Voting materials not being delivered to veterans, or being thrown in the trash? What other mail has been thrown in the trash without veterans being informed?


It is now time for the Veterans home to step into the 21 century. And get a MAIL ROOM with specific mail handling policies that are approved of by the US Post Master General, and specific employees empowered by the Post Master, to handle the Mails.

Just like the Mail Clerks in the service, Specific people will be required to have an "authorization card", to be the ones to sort thru the mail,  to open what needs to be opened, and process the mail accordingly. And also deliver it to veterans.

Also, The mail opening policies at the home need to be written, and made public.  And accountability must be imposed on the home.. No more stealing peoples checks and rubber stamping them.  No more taking peoples paper work and leaving them in the dark.


The Poor handling of the US Mail, amongst other incidents at the home, is a direct reflection of the poor performance and leadership abilities of the current administration. The Buck stops at Sara's office - Or does it Rick Snyder?







Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gov' Rick Snyder snubbs Veterans for the 3rd time.

I made a third and last request for the Governor to speak with our vets.  He and his staff have once again refused to do so.  Pushing us off until the end of the year and at that time it will likely be declined again.

Clearly, he has time to meet with the Chinese, lunch with pals on Mackinaw Island, at taxpayers expense.  But he has NO time for the vets and citizens he is supposed to serve.

Hi, ---------

Thank you so much for the invitation. We will keep your offer in mind as we move closer to the end of the year. I have copied Kaitlin, Manager of our Constituent Relations office, she is an excellent resource for information regarding the State’s policies and information related to both veterans and seniors. Please do not hesitate to contact our office, if we can ever be of assistance.

Thank you, again, for the invitation.

Sincerely,

Morgan

 

Local veterans  and their advocates are interested in a Town Hall or meeting with the Governor. Your team refused to meet with them at the Home for Veterans.
So, we have been holding our own meetings off-site.

We have heard through the media the Governor is scheduling Town Halls across the State of Michigan.  Would the Governor be willing to meet with them and seniors at a site other than the Home?  I have held a series of "Meet Your Rep" meetings in Wyoming, MI  over the past three years.  We have had a wide range of guests from both parties, all levels, and others.  Congressman Huizenga held his first Town Hall meeting here when he took over this district and works well with veterans and advocates on veteran issues.   Mark Schauer accepted an invitation and did speak here a few weeks ago.  We would like to hear your side about veteran issues, the Home for veterans, senior issues and such.  What are your plans to take veteran services from the bottom?  What are your plans to improve service with J2S and so on.  Typically we have a main speaker who talks about who he is, what he does, and where he is going.  Usually, that speaker then takes questions from the audience, which is quite amicable.  We are across the street from the newer Metro Hospital, off M-6,  and across from the new Veterans Outpatient Clinic which will open Nov. 14, 2014.  We hope you will reconsider.  

For the record, I have been a veteran and patient advocate for decades. No one pays me.  I am bi-partisan.  My life has been dedicated to improving lives and giving voters a chance to meet and get to know the people they are electing to offices.



Hi, ------------

Unfortunately, we do not have any openings in the governor’s schedule. We will keep your request in mind should something change. We appreciate your flexibility as the governor has an extremely aggressive calendar in the coming months.

Best,
Morgan

 

Thank you for taking time to respond.

Is there a different date that we could work around?  The veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans would really like to have the Governor visit the home to talk with them about state and veteran issues.  They will gladly work around his schedule.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerly ---------------
 

Dear
Thank you for the invitation for Governor Rick Snyder to participate in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Town Hall.  We respectfully decline this invitation as the governor is unable to participate attend.

Sincerely,

Morgan Bedan
Scheduling Office
govscheduling@michigan.gov



 Ed's Note:  We all know that Rick Snyder is balancing the states budget off the backs of Veterans. And he continues to snub veterans just as he has for his his entire time in office. He is begging the Federal government for money, and using it for other things. The Veterans are a cash cow to Snyder and his administration lead by the Dunn and Dunne team.
 




 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Are State Officials Actively Silencing Veterans Rights to free speech?

Have the Deputy Director of Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency and Top Administrator at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans violated constitutional rights and civil rights of Veterans?



One of the biggest crimes being committed against Veterans at the Michigan Veterans Home in Grand Rapids, Mich, is the way the US Mail is being handled, while their legal rights are under attack and laws are ignored.  See article: Item Number 7, Mail Handling - Issues the Administration will not address. 


Recently this issue has come to light again, because it appears that Veterans rights are now actively obstructed by State officials;  the Deputy Director of the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency Mr. James Dunn and the Top Administrator at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, (one of the 2 veterans homes in Michigan), Sara Dunne.

I am now being told that it was James Dunn who said that it was HIS job to talk to legislators about the Veterans at the home and not the veterans' or their advocates'.  And that he tried to intimidate a visitor to the veterans' Home by telling that person what could or could not be talked about with legislators. 

That included not speaking to legislators about the Home or the perceived high number of deaths last year (of 430 residents, he said about 150 died, a little more than a third) and medical misdiagnoses at the Home.  This is a direct attempt to tell someone they can not exercise their freedom of speech. This act is a clear violation of the Constitution of both Michigan and the United States of America.

Home residents arranged a meeting with legislators this summer hoping to learn what was really happening at the VA, what their current benefits are, how to apply for transitional grants and training and things like that.  It has been widely discussed that Admin canceled that and one other meeting without prior notice to those who scheduled the meetings.  At one meeting, over 70 veterans and family members were gathering, waiting to hear answers Dunne and Dunn had for questions.  The "21 questions" were given to them prior to the meeting so they could be prepared with honest, factual data and the meeting could be amicable. 

Those gathered were told to leave by the very Home "advocate" Lino Pretto , (Member of the Board of Managers) who is supposed to represent them.  Given a chance to talk with the people he claims to represent, he told them to leave.    He claimed the meeting being was canceled by Dunn, who refused to meet with more than a handful of people.
James Dunn apparently failed to comprehend that he is accountable for 430 people, not a handful.  Lino Pretto demonstrated to many he cannot  wear the hat of advocate and Board member at the same time -- do we see a conflict of interests yet?  And Gary Davis, Social Services, who is also supposed to help them. Well, when told they needed the APR  room to accommodate vets with disabilities, Davis said in front of dozens of veterans "that does not matter!"   Oh, but it does matter because they needed that room to accommodate those vets with disabilities and that violates veteran rights under ADA. Canceling the meeting with their legislators violated the veterans' rights to free speech, assembly and representation.  Pretty serious stuff.  When will they learn, those things DO matter?
  
It is reported that Sara Dunne later stated they could not meet with legislators because  State laws prohibited "politicking" or "campaigning" on State Home property.  She was reportedly informed this was a meeting with reps, not a campaign session. She held fast to that meeting was not going to happen.  How shocking to many when she did not stop Terri Land from campaigning at the Veterans' yearly Carnival held on the Homes Property in July!!!  Land is reported to have handed out stickers and campaign material before she posed with veterans.  Then, without their consent, posted those photos to her social media sites, creating the false appearance veterans all supported her. 

Talk about an injustice!!!

Denying  the Veterans their rights but allowing her partner in politics to campaign at an event various veteran groups planned so those Veterans would have a fun, happy day and then using veterans to further their own political agenda was the equivalent as multiple slaps to faces of our fellow veterans.

And, on top of it all, up popped the mail problem yet again. Home residents have an ongoing problem with staff opening mail, money missing from cards, documents, checks -- even after they signed "DO NOT OPEN" forms that should prohibit staff from opening their private, US  protected mail.  But this time, the tampering was with the veterans' rights to be heard by the government via the election process.  Reports are that election related material that arrives for veterans via the USPS Mail is being withheld from the veterans. Some of the Veterans are complaining that their Absentee ballots are not being delivered to them. 

This must end, and it must end now. In all cases, the veterans voices are being quashed by State Employees, both Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency and the Veterans Homes Administration. Men who put their lives on the line for this State and Country should not have one of our most basic and cherished rights violated by tyrannical state employees in offices of public trust.

Attention Veterans: how to apply for an absentee ballot for this years Mid Term Elections.

We are running out of time.. You the veteran have a right to vote via absentee ballot in this years mid-term elections, on Federal, State, and local levels.

1. Get registered to vote in your home district. Get a voter registration form (the home has some) and send it to the Clerk of your home city/town or county, depending on where your official residence is.

2. Mail it back to the clerk, and request a "Absentee Ballot Application".
You must do this 1 (one) time each year to participate in that years elections, no matter when they are held in that year.

3. Requests for "Absentee Ballot Applications" must be in the office of your clerk by October 6th. Mail them no later than October 1st to be sure they get them in time.

4. Your absentee ballot will be sent to you at the home.

5. Veterans with Court appointed Guardians, will be required to contact their guardian, as the guardian will be required to assist you with filling out the absentee ballot, and will have to sign it to make the ballot lawful.

6. Check with the mail handlers and Gary Davis's office to make sure your Voting related mail is getting to you.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Congress woman kicked out of Vets Home announces new security Measures for the home.

Michigan Congresswoman Winnie Brinks, who was escorted off the Veterans home property at the orders of the Administration, (the home is in her district), has made the announcement in her newsletter that the home is getting new security measures.


New Security Measures for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans
The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans will soon be getting a facility-wide video surveillance system after the State Administrative Board awarded Parkway Electric and Communications a $909,089 contract. The home already has numerous cameras inside and out, but this would expand it into a full-fledged system. The project would also include installing a new door access control system, replacing the manual door hardware with electrically operated hardware, and would include a “patient elopement system” for the dementia and Alzheimer’s wards with alarm signals to both the nurses’ station and security office. I will continue to work to ensure the overall safety and security of our veterans.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Contact info? Not directly.

"Do you have any contact information you can give us? I have some information in regards to the Veterans Millage coming up in November that taxpayers and the general public need to know before they vote in the name of the veterans, because the money will not be going to support the cause they say it will."

All comments are moderated. We see what is in them before they get posted.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Stinky, aka Herman J update - another veteran needing mental help, living on the streets.

Have you seen this man in Grand Rapids, Mi, lately? He has been spotted around the veterans home according to several sources. 

 Herman J, has grey hair and a grey full beard. He wears the same clothing constantly. He is not a threat to anyone, he just has a very foul order to him.

As a man who was kicked out of the Veterans home, he is not allowed on the property, apparently according to the rules set up by the administration and the Board of Managers.

After he was kicked out of the home, reports placed him with relatives down in Chicago Ill. But I am now told that recently he has been seen on the Veterans Homes property, in violation of its decree that he remain off the property.

I was also told that he was escorted out of one of the buildings and off the property recently.

As it turns out, Herman is afraid of water. He will not bathe or take a shower. He needs mental help but refuses to participate in it when it is offered to him.  That is why the home discharged him. 



He was also a hoarder, and kept piles of junk mail in his living area creating a fire hazzard.

If you see this man on the Veterans home property please contact security.

He is allowed on the Clinic property, which is the clinic building and its parking lot, and the public street that goes thru the homes property connecting Monroe Avenue and Coit street, at the north end of the Veterans home complex. (This is the street that runs along the duck pond.)






Veteran N. on left, Herman on right.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Family of Andy Ball, allowed to sue the Veterans home.

Click here to read the Mlive news story

Family of elderly veteran beaten to death at the Home for Veterans can sue the state, court says

 

The Michigan Court of Claims found that while the government is immune from lawsuits when it is engaging in governmental functions, this lawsuit arises from the claim that the employees at the home were medically and otherwise negligent in caring for Ball.


Two of three Michigan Court of Appeals judges affirmed the lower court decision, but appeals Judge Joel Hoekstra dissented, saying that because the lawsuit is not about medical malpractice, but the general actions of government employees, the immunity should stand.



Blog Ed's note..

Even the General Actions of State of Michigan Government employees should be subject to possible suit, and accountability if said actions result in a death or serious damage to a Citizen.   Judge Hoekstra wants to create a total state of immunity for wrong doing government workers. And that just isn't right. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Impregnable wall of silence surrounds Michigan Veterans home while abuse continues without any oversight.

Something is wrong with the State of Michigans veterans home in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Local media refuse to publish stories on complaints made by veterans. Local police refuse to take complaints by veterans and/or family members.

State Legislatures are ordered off the facility grounds by the Administration and are refused access to talk to veterans without a staff member being present; which reminds me of the political officers of the KGB in the USSR.

State legislatures refusal to provide an independent ombudsman for veterans while people in Michigans Prisons have them.

Numerous deaths occurred at the home over the last 5 years due to a number of  situations that should be investigated as wrongful deaths.

Deaths related to veterans being forced to go outside in cold weather to have a smoke, instead of the legislature giving the home an exemption for smoking rooms for winter time; as many retirement homes have.

Deaths related to the over drugging of veterans.

Deaths related to the use of psychotic  drugs, without qualified personnel being present to over see their usage,  as required by law.

Deaths related to poor meals, and the increase of diabetes in veterans due to poor diet of high carbohydrates.

Theft of Veterans personal property by staff members as punishments, this could also be seen as abuse of the elderly.

Just to name a few charges that need to be investigated.  

Misuse of donated funds, misuse of federal funds.

Abuse of veterans by State imposed guardians or conservators.

Abuse of veterans who dare to stand up and speak out - they get targeted for reprisals from the staff and/or discharged from the home.

Volunteers who speak up are banned from the property. Workers who speak up are fired.

The systematic taking of veterans assets while at the home, by State imposed Guardians or Conservators.

For the last 5 years several groups have tried to bring these problems to the attention of the public, and our government and our police forces when justified.. All have stood and remained silent on the issue claiming they are internal issues to the home.

Yet the home exists on Federal dollars. Without the influx of that money the home would most likely  be forced to shut down, because the state of Michigan does not want to have to fund it.

The wall of silence about what is happening to veterans at that facility must be broken down.

And to make matters worse, members of VFW, AMVets, Am Legion, and other Veterans organizations, don't want to get involved.