January 29, 2014 20:29 by Admin
Nevada Appeal Article
Lately, I get a lot of questions regarding the Governor’s drive to build a Veterans Nursing Home in Northern Nevada. Let me share with you the status of this initiative. During the 2013 Legislative Session, Governor Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 505, which appropriated funding for the design through construction documents phase for a Northern Nevada Veterans Home. This design will tell us exactly what we need to seek for construction in the next legislative session. We have a grant application in with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that would cover two-thirds of the cost, with Nevada funding the remaining one third of the costs. If approved, construction could occur as early as January 2016, but more likely in 2017.
So, why build a Veterans Nursing home in Northern Nevada? There are over 80,000 veterans in Northern Nevada and many are in need of skilled nursing care or will need such care in the future. A state veterans home provides high quality care at lower than average costs. While we do have a Veterans Nursing Home in Boulder City, there is no corresponding facility to serve veterans living in Northern Nevada. Of note, Nevada state law required that after the Veterans Home in Boulder City was built, the next home to be built would be located in Northern Nevada.
The concept calls for a 96 bed facility, providing 24-hour skilled nursing care to veterans and their spouses. The campus would create a residential atmosphere with small community groupings. When searching for potential sites, we considered the following criteria; the home must serve the greatest number of veterans possible, be close to a VA hospital to minimize stress associated with travel to medical appointments, be close to recreational activities, be close to the homes of family and friends, and have a strong local community support base. With these criteria in mind, we are considering placing this facility at the Northern end of the Northern Nevada Mental Health Campus, bordered by Kietzke Lane and Galletti Way in Reno. There were also great site possibilities in Carson City but the need to place the facility in proximity of a VA Hospital to best support medical needs became the overriding factor.
The Nevada State Public Works Division released a request for proposal for a construction manager to assist with design and future construction. The submission deadline was 3 February and many quality proposals were received and are under consideration. To make sure that a future facility meets the needs of veterans in Northern Nevada, Director Caleb Cage of the Governor’s Office of Military and Veterans Policy held two public convenings in January to solicit public input regarding specific nursing home needs. This input will help the project architect, Van Woert Biggotti Architects of Reno, design the facility.
When we build this home, our veterans will have a state-of-the-art skilled nursing facility that they can truly call “home,” a place where they can live with other patriots with whom they share a common identity and sense of community.
The AP is reporting that the federal Supreme Court is taking up the issue of Stolen Valor today. We testified about this law for Nevada during this last legislative session, so it will be interesting to see what they decide.
The Nevada Office of Veterans Services extends its deepest sympathy for the individuals whom lost their lives in a tragic act in Carson City on September 6, 2011. Five of the 11 victims shot were uniformed National Guardsmen and three of them have died as a result of their injuries. According to investigators, it appears this was a random act by one individual and though the uniformed service men and women were apparently not targeted, that fact cannot not lessen the emptiness the families of these victims feel today.
The Nevada Office of Veterans Services extends its condolences and support to the families of these service men and women left to cope with this tragic event. We join everyone in our community as we pray for all of the victims and their families in this time of grief.
We are in the final week of the holiday season here in Nevada, and there is so much to be grateful for. Most of us have had a chance to relax with friends and family; gifts were given, and not just between family but also gifts of service to our community and our veterans and service members. As I’ve covered here in the last week or two, we’ve seen service members be able to return home from the front lines to be with their families, in person and in video. We’ve seen stories of local Nevadans taking it upon themselves to serve our troops, and also to serve our veterans through volunteer programs. We’ve offered congratulations, and we’ve celebrated the return to Nevada of a hero. We announced the Veterans Legislative Summit, which has received a wide response to date. We also announced the release of Battle Born: Nevada War Stories, through the office of the Lieutenant Governor on these pages. It has been selling well since the release, which is good: not only does it tell the stories of 35 Nevada veterans, but the proceeds also go to a great cause. It’s been a good close to a good year. Thanks for supporting our veterans.
Last week, Carole Turner, the Deputy Director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, spoke to the hosts of The Forgotten Promise radio program. The Forgotten Promise show was created by veterans for veterans, and is geared toward educating our veterans about benefits, how to receive them, and various other issues impacting all veterans. The show is heard live on the Las Vegas area on KDWN (AM720). You can listen to it streaming here. If you know Carole, you know that her knowledge of veterans’ issues and policies is only matched by the heart she puts into her work. Both her knowledge and her dedication to the veterans of Nevada come through in this very insightful interview. Listen to the whole thing here and you’ll be sure to learn a lot. I know I did.