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Veterans Benefits Information

Day 2 World Series: Comebacks, eliminations

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The second round of The American Legion World Series got under way with warm temperatures that turned into a severe thunderstorm by early evening. However, kids found entertainment outside Keeter Stadium with the rock-climbing wall, flying swings and bounce houses, while Legion Baseball fans enjoyed games filled with home runs, tough defense and exciting comebacks.

Game 5: Eden Prairie, Minn., 10, Waipahu, H.I., 2
Saturday morning Eden Prairie showed their opponents they were not ready to go home. After losing to Midland, Mich., Friday, Eden Prairie came back full swing with a 10-2 win.

Eden Prairie scored in all but one of the seven innings, seeing back-to-back home runs from right fielder Lance Thonvold and first baseman Tyler Peterson, his second of the Series.

"Making the comeback is all about confidence," Peterson said. "We came out swinging and pitching well, and we knew we could win it."

Eden Prairie pitcher Tyler Ruemmele picked up the win on the mound, going seven innings with six strikeouts. Short stop Blake Schmit and third baseman Ryan Maenke each went 2-4 RBI doubles.

With its tight defense, Eden Prairie kept Waipahu on its heels, enabling the team to advance to Game 10 today. And even though they took a hard loss, the Hawaii team is not going home immediately. They are staying to enjoy the remainder of the World Series games and tour the many sites Cleveland County has to offer.

Eden Prairie (39-8) had 17 hits and one error. Waipahu (24-7) had eight hits and three errors.

Game 6: Las Vegas 11, Bedford, N.H., 0
Las Vegas triumphed in a 10-run rule-shortened game Saturday afternoon , eliminating Bedford from the tournament.

Las Vegas scored its first run in the third inning and kept the momentum going, stealing five bases and making direct contact with the bat. The fifth home run of the Series came from left fielder AJ VanMeetren, who went 1-3 with three RBIs; third baseman TJ White and second baseman Justin Jones added runs to the board with RBI doubles.

Picking up the win on the mound was Las Vegas pitcher Jerrel Latham, who threw a three-hitter with three strikeouts. Bedford got hits from Michael Skilton, Patrick Parker and Justin Walsh.

Las Vegas (48-9) had 10 hits and zero errors. Bedford (23-7) had three hits and three errors.

Game 7: Midland, Mich., 8, Brooklawn, N.J., 4
After a three-hour rain delay, New Jersey and Michigan players took the field for the presentation of the sportsmanship code, given by Sgt. George "Gunny" Lauve in his World War II dress uniform. Gunny is a highly decorated Marine Corps gunnery sergeant and veteran from World War II, serving in combat at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima, and the Korean War, serving in combat at the Chosen Reservoir. He's been awarded the Navy Cross (the second highest medal for Marine and Navy personnel), Silver Star, Bronze Star and five Purple Hearts.

Once the crowds' applause for Gunny's appearance settled down, Michigan fans were in for a good game-ending surprise.

The score was 4-4 heading in to the bottom of the eighth inning, but Midland center fielder Larsen Cronkright broke the tie with a two-run double to help the Great Lakes regional champions capture an 8-4 victory.

Heading into the sixth inning and trailing 4-1, Midland began to rally when designated hitter Alex Rapanos hit a home run. Teammate Brent Precour then tied the game with a two-run single up the middle.

"This isn't the first time we've had to come back and win like this," Midland second baseman Alex Albrecht said. "We had to do it three times in the regionals against good teams like (Brooklawn). There are nine innings on a scoreboard and we are not going to give up. We are going to play all nine."

Midland pitcher Colton Loomis owned the mound with nine strikeouts while allowing five walks and 10 hits. And while Brooklawn pitcher Andrew Schorr took the loss on the mound, there is still a chance for him and his team to make a comeback Sunday against Las Vegas.

Midland (46-7) had eight hits and zero errors. Brooklawn (45-5) had 10 hits and three errors.

Game 8: Gaffney, S.C. vs. Tupelo, Miss.
Due to the unexpected rain delay, the game between Michigan and New Jersey didn't get under way until after 8 p.m. and surpassed 11 p.m., which is the cut-off time for another game to start. South Carolina and Mississippi will play at 10 a.m. (EDT) today.

Sunday World Series games (all-games EDT):
Game 8: 10 a.m. Gaffney, S.C. vs. Tupelo, Miss.
Game 9: 1 p.m. Las Vegas vs. Brooklawn, N.J.
Game 10: 5 p.m. Eden Prairie, Minn. vs. Loser game 8
Game 11: 8 p.m. Midland, Mich. vs. Winner game 8

For photos highlighting Saturday's three games, click here.



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World Series Day 1: 4 teams claim victories

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American Legion Baseball World Series games swung into action Friday at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C. Nearly 6,000 baseball fans filled the stands for all four games and were enamored with the state-of-the-art field, which received a complete overhaul in preparation for the 2011 World Series. One feature that had the fans and players in amazement was the 1,200 square-foot scoreboard with message center and video, a donation by Frank Stewart, president of Ultra. Ultra is a full-service armor fabrication that aims to protect civilians and military personnel.

Each game got under way with a special recognition of fallen heroes from each of the eight regions, followed by a dignitary throwing the first pitch. A rain storm rolled through in the morning but the skies cleared by noon and the sun beamed on the playing field.

Game 1: Midland, Mich., 14, Eden Prairie, Minn., 3

Heading in to top of the third Midland, Mich., scored its first six runs and kept going. Midland pitcher Kenton San Miguel didn't allow a single hit in the final four innings while left fielder Alex Goodwin went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, helping lead Midland to a victory in an eight-inning 10-run rule-shortened game.

The 53-minute rain delay in the bottom of the fourth didn't halter Midland's game prowess, as they went on to pick up seven more runs and break a record. Designated hitter Alex Rapanos added a sacrifice fly to help Midland set an American Legion World Series record with four sacrifice flies.

"The third and fourth innings we slowed down with the bats but the rain delay gave us a chance to relax a little more and help keep the momentum going," Midland shortstop Adam Pijaszek ssaid. "The win is a good start, it gives us a confidence boost and hopefully we carry it in to tomorrow."

Even though runs and hits were limited for Eden Prairie, returning to the Legion Baseball World Series after being 2010 runners-up in Spokane, Wash., increases their confidence in making a comeback.

"We didn't come out ready to play and Midland did," Eden Prairie first baseman Tyler Peterson said. "And the rain delay didn't help us because we didn't stay mentally focused. But it's special to be in the World Series again so we are real proud of that. We are down one, but we've got the pitching and the hitting and we know we can do this, we are confident."

Midland (45-7) had 12 hits and zero errors. Eden Prairie (38-8) had seven hits and four errors.

Game 2: Tupelo, Miss. 6, Las Vegas 3
Tupelo trailed Las Vegas until pitcher Will Cox hit a two-run single to center field and tied the game. By the seventh inning, Tupelo put four more runs on the board to claim the win

Following in Cox's footsteps was third baseman/pitcher Brandon Woodruff ,who was recently drafted by the Texas Rangers but may choose college over the pros. Woodruff hit an RBI single to center and picked up the win on the mound.

For a team that hit 15 homeruns during mid-south regionals, Tupelo delivered solid pitching and tough defense against a returning champion. Las Vegas won the 2008 Legion Baseball World Series in Shelby.

Las Vegas left fielder AJ Van Meetren went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, scoring the teams only two runs. But strong offense also came from third baseman TJ White, catcher Erik Van Meetren, right fielder Jerrel Latham and second baseman Justin Jones, who all added two hits apiece.

Tupelo (30-9) had 12 hits and two errors. Las Vegas (47-9) had 11 hits and one error.

Game 3: Brooklawn, N.J., 3, Waipahu, H.I., 2
Legion Baseball World Series opening ceremonies got under way before the start of Game 3. The eight regional teams stood alongside field bases for recognition, American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster threw out the first pitch and fireworks lit up the sky. Afterward, the crowd looked toward the sky as two Shelby native skydivers landed on the field, one of them carrying a 1,200-foot American flag.

As Brooklawn headed into the bottom of the eighth inning trailing 2-0, the undiscouraged players scored three runs to lift the team to a comeback victory.

Down two runs with two outs, Brooklawn pitcher Cody Brown to deliver an RBI single. Teammate Steve Wilgus later followed with a run to tie the game, putting Brooklawn players, coaches and fans on their feet cheering for a comeback. Second baseman Joe Brooks gave his team what it needed and took the bottom of the ninth to the next level. With the bases loaded, Brooks hammered a single RBI for the winning hit

"I was trying to put something in play and get a run across," Brooks said. "Cody threw an awesome game, and I was trying to get him some runs and a win. It's the greatest feeling to know that we can come from behind and end up winning the ball game. It just shows you that we are going to play hard every game."

But for a team that traveled 4,824 miles to get to Shelby for the World Series, it was a hard loss, especially for Hawaii starting pitcher Chevas Numata. Over eight innings Numata struck out five Brooklawn players, and neither of the two runs scored against him were earned.

Brooklawn (45-4) had eight hits and three errors. Waipahu (24-6) had six hits and three errors.

Game 4: Gaffney, S.C., 12, Bedford, N.H., 1
Sixty-six years ago Shelby Legion Post 82's baseball team won the World Series. And as Shelby celebrated Day 1 of the 2011 World Series, surviving members of the 1945 championship team stood on the batting mound as a record-breaking crowd of nearly 6,100 gave them a standing ovation. Afterward, it was time to play ball.

Gaffney wanted to show the standing-room-only crowd that they earned their spot in the World Series. And that they did. The South Carolina team led the entire way in topping Bedford in a seven-inning, 10-run rule-shortened game.

During the second inning Gaffney put four runs on the board and added four more in the top of the seventh with help from third baseman Colby Painter. Painter slammed a three-run home run, his third since the state tournament.

"I had two strikeouts earlier in the game, and I was looking to put in a play," Painter said. "We have all these fans here, and we can't let them down. We have to win it for them and that's what we came here to do."

Also contributing to Gaffney's was first baseman Bryon Munsterman, who went 3-for-3 and left fielder Dillon Palencia, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Bedford short stop Ian Urquhart scored the team's only run, which was unearned.

Gaffney (25-5-1) had 17 hits and three errors. Bedford (44-5) had four hits and three errors.

The final game ended at 12:30 a.m. Saturday with fireworks and excitement from the Carolina team's major win.

Saturday's game schedule (all-games EDT):
Game 5: 10 a.m. Eden Prairie, Minn. vs. Waipahu, H.I.
Game 6: 1 p.m. Las Vegas vs. Bedford, N.H.
Game 7: 5 p.m. Midland, Mich. vs. Brooklawn, N.J.
Game 8: 8 p.m. Tupelo, Miss. vs. Gaffney, S.C.

View photos of all four games by clicking here.


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Audit of VA’s Implementation of Executive Order 13520, “Reducing Improper Payments” (8/12/2011)

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To evaluate VA’s implementation of Executive Order 13520, we determined if VA’s FY 2010 First Quarter High-Dollar Overpayments Report was complete and the process to identify susceptible programs was adequate. The President signed the Order in the interest of reducing payment errors and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in Federal programs. nrnrWe found VA’s FY 2010 First Quarter High Dollar Overpayments Report was incomplete primarily because VBA misinterpreted reporting guidance. We identified 143 high-dollar overpayments totaling $623,434 that VBA did not report. VBA also did not adequately consider including an additional 39,208 potential high-dollar overpayments totaling $213 million. VBA made adjustments after the first quarter to improve the compliance with reporting guidance, but VBA’s process still did not fully follow guidance for identifying the high-dollar overpayments. We also found VHA’s FY 2009 risk assessment did not adequately assess the level of risk associated with their programs. VHA relied upon a self-assessment process that consisted of a checklist. However, the process did not adequately address all payment components.nrnrWe recommended the Under Secretary for Benefits report prior period overpayments and administrative errors as required; and the Under Secretary for Health implement planned improvements to risk assessments. nr

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VA Names Finalists for 2011 Employee Innovation Competition

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Twelve finalists have been selected for the latest Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Innovation Initiative (VAi2) competition, which sought new ideas to help service-disabled Veterans obtain meaningful employment.

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VA Names Finalists for 2011 Employee Innovation Competition

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Twelve finalists have been selected for the latest Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Innovation Initiative (VAi2) competition, which sought new ideas to help service-disabled Veterans obtain meaningful employment.

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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.