DENVER | More than 1,600 new patients had to wait 90 days or longer for appointments at eastern Colorado Veterans Affairs medical centers, according to a department audit released Monday.The report also showed that as many as 115 patients faced the prolonged waits at western Colorado facilities — despite the department’s stated 14-day goal.Veterans make their way to various appointments Nov. 7 at the Denver VA Medical Center. Federal VA officials say wait periods for treatment is among the highest in the nation. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)The findings were based on an audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics nationwide on a single day in May. A total of more than 57,000 patients faced delays of 90 days or longer, the report said. The review also indicated that 13 percent of schedulers reported being told by supervisors to falsify appointment schedules to make patient waits appear shorter.VA officials now say the 14-day target was unattainable given existing resources and growing demand.Colorado officials blamed delays on rapid growth in the number of new veterans enrolling in the system and periodic shortages of doctors and other providers.“We’re one of the fastest-growing VAs in the United States,” said eastern Colorado VA system spokesman Paul Warvi.He said the 1,600 patients on the 90-day-plus list represent only 2.5 percent of the more than 66,000 appointments scheduled that day but said it was still a significant number.The western Colorado system was short-staffed on the day of the audit but has been aggressively recruiting more providers, spokesman Paul Sweeney said.The eastern Colorado system includes a medical center in Denver and 10 satellite clinics. The western Colorado system includes a Grand Junction medical center and five clinics.The Grand Junction hospital and an outpatient clinic in Colorado Springs will get follow-up reviews based on the findings of inspections in May, the report said.The Colorado Springs review was prompted by three anonymous reports that staffers were pressured to alter records of wait times, Warvi said.Grand Junction VA officials haven’t been told the reason for the follow-up, Sweeney said.A VA clinic in Fort Collins was not listed for a follow-up review, even though investigators have said employees there were instructed to falsify appointment records.However, the Fort Collins facility reports to the VA hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and that hospital is in line for a follow-up review.Cheyenne VA spokeswoman Patricia Hill said she couldn’t comment without reviewing the findings.More than 700 patients never got appointments at the eastern Colorado facilities after enrolling and requesting them.Warvi said VA officials are looking into the reasons. Some might have been soldiers from Fort Carson who asked for appointments as they were leaving the Army but then moved to another state, he said.The report said 26 patients never got appointments in the western Colorado system, the report said.Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called the audit results unacceptable. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said he will co-sponsor a bipartisan measure to expand veterans’ access to medical care and make it easier to fire employees for mismanagement. Udall serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.___Follow Dan Elliott at https://twitter.com/DanElliottAP
AUSTIN, Texas | A former contestant on “The Bachelorette” has died after police found him unresponsive at a South Austin residence.An Austin Police Department spokeswoman says officers were sent to the residence at 2:10 a.m. Monday in reference to a reported unresponsive man and found 31-year-old Michael Nance unconscious. He was pronounced dead shortly before 3 a.m.Spokeswoman Anna Sabana says the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office will have to determine what caused Nance’s death, but investigators do not consider the death suspicious.Nance was a contestant in the eighth season of “The Bachelorette” in 2012 but was eliminated in the fourth of the season’s 10 weeks.
In an article published in last week’s Pattaya Mail relating to the Pattaya Sports Club’s 130th monthly golf tournament we erroneously credited a hole in one to Barry Oats when in fact this should of course have been Mick Beresford. We apologize to Mick and offer our congratulations to him on achieving this rare feat in golf. Mick celebrated his ‘Ace’ by making a donation to charity rather than the usual bell ring back at the bar. Well done Mick!Hole in one for Mick Beresford.
By KATHRYN BERMINGHAM VICTORIA’S hot and windy weather has already caused issues this morning, with brigades called out to two…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
Qatar Airways said on Sunday it has signed a sponsorship deal with FIFA to be the official partner and airline of the next two World Cups, in Russia and Qatar.The state-owned carrier did not disclose the value of the deal, which it said would cover the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.Rival Middle East carrier Emirates was a FIFA sponsor until 2014 when it said it would not renew its contract following months of calls for sponsors to respond robustly to allegations of bribery to secure the 2022 World Cup for Qatar.Dubai-based Emirates said in 2015 it could be interested in renewing a deal to sponsor the World Cup in the future.Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter was banned in 2015 for six years by FIFA’s own ethics committee at the height of a scandal engulfing soccer’s governing body.Several dozen soccer officials, including some from FIFA, were indicted in the United States in 2015 on corruption-related chances. Blatter was not among them.Qatar Airways is a major sponsor of Spanish football team Barcelona, and sponsors other sporting teams and events.
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With only nine hours to spare before the deadline, the federal government on Friday approved a long-awaited funding waiver that will allow Los Angeles County’s child-protective system to use a large chunk of its budget on innovative services to keep families together. “This is revolutionary,” county Department of Children and Family Services Director David Sanders said. “This is the first (large waiver) in the country. It’s absolutely huge. It completely changes the financial incentives within the child-welfare system for the state and county.” The state of California, at the request of DCFS, first sought the flexible funding waiver in mid-2004 following a Daily News series that revealed that government and private contractors profit from foster children. DCFS officials admitted that up to half the children in foster and adoptive homes were needlessly placed in a system that is often more dangerous than their homes. Officials said state and federal laws had created incentives for placing children in foster care since the county and its contractors receive $30,000 to $150,000 annually for each child. Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va., said the waiver “takes away the cruel incentive to needlessly throw children in foster care” to obtain federal reimbursements. “Now, potentially, the money can be shifted to safe, proven programs to keep children out of foster care,” Wexler said. “Not only will that help these children, it will also free up social workers’ time to find the children in real danger so fewer of these cases are likely to be missed.” As negotiations between the state and federal government wore on for nearly two years, Sanders and other child-welfare experts worried that recent improvements made in the system were in jeopardy. Since Sanders took over the department in March 2003, the number of children in foster homes has dropped from 30,000 to 22,300 now, the percentage of children abused in foster and relative caregiver homes has dropped 30 percent and the average length of time children spend in foster care has dropped from 1,100 days to 636. At the same time, the percentage of children abused in the community dropped 6 percent. Janis Spire, executive director of the Alliance for Children’s Rights, said the waiver approval is a “great vote of confidence” in the reforms made under Sanders. “While there is no sure fix for child welfare, to create flexibility in funding is the most optimistic approach we have to attend to the needs of the children and families most at risk,” Spire said. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who called U.S. Reps. David Drier and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon on Thursday to urge Horn to sign the waiver, said the reforms were made under the existing “rigid federal fiscal constraints.” “This is going to support those abused and neglected children in finding stable homes, which they need to grow up in a healthy environment,” Antonovich said. “Children are a gift from God, but assembly is required. It means having healthy families and good community and spiritual support.” The waiver California submitted was based on a proposal made by President George W. Bush that allowed states to receive capped child-welfare funding in return for flexibility on how a large portion of those funds are spent. The negotiations bogged down after the state asked to exclude some costs from the capped funding. Horn said there were a number of very complicated issues that had to be resolved, including ensuring that it didn’t end up costing taxpayers more money. In the past decade, 18 states have implemented 26 child-welfare waivers to test innovative programs and services, including subsidized guardianship, flexible funding, substance-abuse services and intensive preventive services. But Sanders said the county’s waiver is the largest and broadest. “We are essentially saying we want to re-create the entire system.” If the waiver is successful in California, Horn said, officials hope to expand it nationwide. “The waiver is an interim Band-Aid of the broader problem of how we fund foster care to begin with,” said Miriam Krinsky, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles. “There has been ongoing efforts in Congress and the critical work by the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care to encourage those reform efforts. There is a growing recognition in Congress that the time is upon us to embrace these new approaches and recommendations.” Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event The waiver, for which up to 20 counties in the state can opt to participate, will allow DCFS to use $360 million to $400 million of its $1.4 billion budget on services to prevent the placement of children in foster care. Currently, nearly the entire DCFS budget must be spent on administrative expenses and the costs of maintaining children in foster and group homes. Many child-welfare experts argue that this inflexibility is one of the major flaws in the existing funding system. Under the waiver, the department will have a large pool of money that can be spent to help families improve parenting skills, control their anger, obtain mental health services and overcome addictions and homelessness. “The idea is to allow California to use those federal foster care funds in a variety of new ways with the hope that this will result in fewer kids being abused and neglected, less children needing foster care and for those that do go into foster care, speedier reunification or speedier adoptions,” said Wade F. Horn, U.S. Health & Human Services Department assistant secretary for children and families.
1 Klopp believes his side can be ‘successful’ this season Jurgen Klopp believes his Liverpool side can be ‘successful’ if they produce the same work ethic they displayed in thrashing Porto 5-0 on Wednesday night.The Reds swept the Portuguese champions aside with consummate ease at the Estadio do Dragao in the first leg of the round-of-16 Champions League tie.Sadio Mane scored a terrific hat-trick with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino also scoring for the visitors.However, it was the defensive work on display which pleased Klopp the most and gives him confidence for the remainder of the season.He said: “We scored the goals and they didn’t score, I think we had much more chances in the first half because we defended well.“My moment of the first half, and I told the boys this in the dressing room, was when Mo [Salah] came from behind and had this counter-pressing situation and win the ball back.“That’s what we needed tonight.“Only if we work like that, we can be successful.”Klopp will take his troops on a warm-weather training camp to Marbella owing to their absence from this weekend’s round of FA Cup fixtures.The face West Ham at home in the Premier League on Saturday week as they continue their pursuit of Champions League football for next season.
Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? REVEALED They looked like they were going to earn a valiant point in what would have been their first away draw of the season until Ake headed home an injury-time corner for the Cherries.Son had earlier walked for pushing Jefferson Lerma and Foyth was sent off three minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute for a reckless tackle.It means Spurs are likely to have to beat Everton in their final game next Sunday to be guaranteed a fourth successive year of Champions League football, unless Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all lose this weekend. The Bluebirds responded brilliantly and their efforts paid dividends when Martin Kelly clumsily turned the ball into his own net but Michy Batshuayi restored Palace’s lead.Neil Warnock’s men came out fighting in the second-half and came closest to equalising when Kenneth Zohore could not divert his shot past Vicente Guaita in a one-on-one.Andros Townsend all but sealed Cardiff’s fate on the 70 minute mark after firing a low strike against the post and into the net, with Bobby Reid’s fine effort in added time a mere consolation for the Welsh outfit. Spurs players rated and slated REVEALED The penultimate round of fixtures began on Friday night with Everton securing a 2-0 win over Burnley at Goodison Park.And although there are only five fixtures on Saturday, they have produced plenty of excitement so far.BOURNEMOUTH 1-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPURTottenham’s Premier League top-four fate will go down to the final day after they suffered a late 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth having had two men sent off. 6 Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won 6 6 WOLVES 1-0 FULHAMLeander Dendocker’s late strike kept Wolves’ European dreams alive after a 1-0 win over Fulham.Watched by WWE wrestler Sin Cara, a friend of striker Raul Jimenez, Dendoncker landed the knockout blow against the doomed Cottagers. huge blow Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Arnautovic celebrates with Hammers captain Mark Noble Cardiff have been relegated in their first season back in the top flight since 2014 Spurs would have guaranteed Champions League football next season had they won on the south coast but red cards for Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth killed their chances of that as they fell to Nathan Ake’s late goal. Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move 6 6 ADVICE Klopp’s side have ensured the title race will go to the wire Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury no dice REPLY Ake headed home from close range to give Bournemouth the dramatic win Diogo Jota had earlier wasted three fine openings and Dendoncker hit the bar before his winner at Molineux.Relegated Fulham were left to rue Aleksandar Mitrovic’s second-half miss as they slipped to a 25th Premier League defeat of the campaign.Wolves sit seventh ahead of next weekend’s season finale which would book them a Europa League qualifying spot if Watford lose the FA Cup final to Manchester City.CARDIFF CITY 2-3 CRYSTAL PALACECardiff have been relegated to the Championship following a 3-2 defeat at home to Crystal Palace.The Eagles took the lead just before the half hour mark thanks to a neat finish from Wilfried Zaha, who slotted home his tenth goal of the season. Dendoncker celebrates his goal with his team-mates Juan Foyth and Heung-min Son were sent off at the Vitality Stadium WEST HAM 3-0 SOUTHAMPTONMarko Arnautovic scored his first goals since January as West Ham swept aside Southampton 3-0.The Austrian, whose form had deserted him since a lucrative move to China failed to materialise during the transfer window, found the net twice to sink the Saints.Ryan Fredericks hit the third as West Ham secured their biggest home win of the season in their final outing at the London Stadium. 6 shining His misfortune came during a breathless 3-2 victory at St James’ Park which leaves the Reds two points clear of Manchester City, who play Leicester on Monday evening, and ensured that the race for the title will go to the final day of the season.The Magpies levelled twice as Christian Atsu and Salomon Rondon cancelled out goals from Virgil Van Dijk and Salah, but it was Origi, whose late intervention clinched the derby victory over Everton earlier this season, who came to the rescue with just four minutes remaining. Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card NEWCASTLE 2-3 LIVERPOOLMohamed Salah was carried from the pitch on a stretcher as substitute Divock Origi kept Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes alive with a last-gasp winner at Newcastle.The Egypt international was hurt in a collision with Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka 68 minutes into a pulsating encounter at St James’ Park to leave his participation in Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final second-leg clash with Barcelona in doubt. BEST OF Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’
After scoping out the area I had worked up a thirst. Time to try one of the new Mako themed specialty cocktails! As I browsed the menu I was a little disappointed to see that every drink would be very sweet. I wavered back and forth on which one to go with. In the end the Ocean Lava because of the Guy Harvey Spiced Rum. The remaining ingredients make this a very sweet drink, too sweet for me, creme de banana, peach schnapps, apricot brandy, mango puree, and lemonade.Three of the four drinks are served on the rocks, the Mako Colada is frozen since it is a pina colada swirled with blue curacao. My neighboring bar mates ordered the Mako Colada and the Mako Mojito. Both remarked on how much they enjoyed their beverages. All four drinks are $14.99 each and include a Mako glass. A brand new packaged glass is presented to you with your check.After relaxing at the bar and taking another stroll through the park it was time to leave. I was sad to leave so quickly, but I had two dates waiting for me at Universal Orlando. So it was a quick hop onto toll road 528, pass my favorite traffic sign in Orlando (go right for Universal or left for Disney – choose wisely!).Universal OrlandoThe weather was holding up so I enjoyed a stroll through CityWalk with a great visit to Margaritaville.I met up with a new friend at Backwater Bar. This bar is a favorite among Universal Orlando Annual Passholders, though it’s not my favorite bar at Universal. Still, it is a great gathering place and I enjoyed sipping on a very spicy bloody Mary and engaging in fun conversation.I was soon joined by another friend and we daringly decided to scope out the potential for a Skull Island Reign of Kong soft opening. Alas, when we arrived the line was into Toon Lagoon and the weather was taking a turn. As a cool front moved in, we decided to move out.Although my visits to SeaWorld and Universal Orlando were both quick, I still enjoyed being out in the theme parks. Being surrounded by smiling faces and fantastic sights brought me joy. Hitting five theme parks in 24 hours reminded me why Orlando is the best place ever! The Royal Sommerhus is one of the first areas you’ll encounter if you are strolling World Showcase starting in Mexico. This new building is a welcoming, cozy wood building meant to represent Anna and Elsa’s summer home, a place they used to visit when they were very young children. Upon arrival the posted wait time was 25 minutes, so after admiring the new buildings and the colorful flowers and landscaping I entered the queue. Past the 25-30 minute mark an overflow queue is utilized and it is entirely outside. Something to keep in mind if you visit on a busy day. I had a precise mission and wanted to stay on target, and on schedule. I arrived shortly after 11:00 AM and headed to the Mako area. No, I wasn’t going to go on Orlando’s tallest, longest, and fastest roller coaster, I’m not far enough along in my thrill ride conquering journey. But I did want to check out the area and visit one of my favorite theme park bars, the Shark bar at Sharks Underwater Grill.I love the new modern look of the area surround Mako. I do wish that Sharks Underwater Grill got a little refurb and a menu makeover, but it’s forgivable. The new color scheme and design of the area is pretty sleek. I was also impressed and how quiet Mako is, expecting lots of roars from the coaster and screams from the guests, instead I heard cheers and excitement. I had just over an hour until my first FastPass+ time to visit the Princess Fairy Tale Hall at Magic Kingdom. I decided to make my way out of Epcot and utilize the monorail to get to Epcot. I could have taken my car, but by the time I would park, get on the parking tram, get to the Ticket and Transportation Center, and then use either the Ferryboat or monorail to get across the Seven Seas Lagoon it is typically more convenient to use the monorail from Epcot.Magic KingdomI arrived at the Magic Kingdom a little after 3:00 PM which meant I was greeted by the Festival of Fantasy Parade arriving on Main Street USA. I opted to use the “backstage bypass.” This was actually my first time using this bypass now that they’ve spruced it up. I used to be strongly opposed to this bypass when it was still clearly a backstage area just with a wall of plants hiding the cars parked behind Main Street. In fact, I loathed the idea since I was once a Cast Member and a believer in the concepts of “good show / bad show.” Now that permanent decor has been added it is mildly acceptable and certainly makes for easier travels when Main Street is congested. Share This!After one of the most emotional and trying weeks Orlando has ever encountered it is time to slowly get back into the habits that make us happy. Everyone grieves and heals in a different way. Personally, I wanted to get back into the swing of things and enjoy the life that I love. This is of course doesn’t mean that I’ve completely moved on or forgotten about the tragedy. But to me one of the ways to honor those that are no longer with us is to go enjoy life while we can, making each day the best we can make it. With that in mind, and with a bunch of new things to see at Walt Disney World and SeaWorld, I had a jam packed 24 hours spread across five Orlando theme parks.EpcotI took a half day off from work so I could get out to Walt Disney World and cover some of the new experiences that debuted on June 17, 2016. Originally my plan was to get to Magic Kingdom and then head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, Anna and Elsa’s new meet and greet location inside Epcot, the Royal Sommerhus, opened a little unexpectedly. I couldn’t just let it go, and besides that weather had gone from rainy in the morning to pretty stunning in the afternoon, might as well make the most of it. The more themes parks, the merrier.When I arrived at Epcot I felt a sense of joy that I hadn’t felt in nearly a week. As I set my eyes on Spaceship Earth I smiled for the first time in days. I couldn’t linger though, royalty waits for no one. I quickly made my way to World Showcase and straight to the Norway pavilion. As I approached I noticed a whole clan of Norwegian Cast Members gathered throughout the pavilion, more than I’ve ever seen. The parade had passed by and it was not quite yet time for the new castle stage show, Mickey’s Friendship Faire, which meant the walkway through Cinderella Castle was open! I passed through the regal archway of the castle and out into Fantasyland. It was time to find out who Cinderella’s new visiting princess would be now that Anna and Elsa moved back to Epcot and Rapunzel moved across the castle to her own meet and greet (plus visiting princess). Cinderella is now joined by Sleeping Beauty / Aurora, a perfect classic princess pairing. And Rapunzel is welcoming guests with Princess Tiana, a modern princess pairing. It’d be hard for me to choose which pair I like more. It’s just great to see the princesses take back the castle and now that Anna and Elsa have their place in Epcot.I had one more FastPass+ booked and had some time to kill. I craved a little more protein, it seems two and a half later the Norwegian sandwich was not enough. I headed to one of my favorite counter service locations, Columbia Harbor House. A kids meal of chicken and fish ($7.44 with tax) consisted of two chicken nuggets and one long piece of fish, plus two sides (I went healthy with broccoli and grapes) and a beverage. I of course had to sit upstairs, and at the far right side along the overhang overlooking Liberty Square on one side and Fantasyland on the other. The spot is one of pure bliss for me. It was time to head off to Neverland! My FastPass+ was for 5:55 PM and I entered the line at 6:05 PM. It took about ten minutes to get my own pirate ship and visit Peter and the Lost Boys. Peter Pan’s Flight is a classic attraction. Sadly it has a really low occupancy and is a popular ride to boot, so wait times for standby tend to stay around the 60 minute or more mark. I enjoyed my trip to Neverland and was ready for the next destination in my line-up: Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After exiting into the merchandise shop, naturally, I felt a hunger befitting a Viking and headed to Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. This quick service location is adored by many Epcot loyalists mostly because of school bread, a traditional treat in Norway. There have been quite a few new menu items added recently including sandwich, salads, and of course Frozen themed cupcakes. The ham, cheese, and apple sandwich caught my eye. Priced at $7.98 with tax it’s not a bad deal.What was bad, however, was the bread. Incredibly stale, I guess I should be thankful because I ended up pinching most of it off and thus reduced my carb intact considerably. The ham itself is nothing spectacular but the double slices of cheese, one slice Gouda and the other slice Jalsberg, made the sandwich rich and buttery. Thinly sliced green apple topped one side of the sandwich and sweet, golden apple chutney topped the other, this elevated the sandwich beyond a plain ham and cheese, though the chutney is very sweet. Disney’s Hollywood StudiosAfter riding aboard to monorail system back to Epcot, I drove over to Hollywood Studios. With it being the opening night of “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” the parking lot was pretty full. Once inside I observed the streets were busy and there was lots and lots of fellow Star Wars fans showing their pride with apparel and such.I met up with a group of friends and grabbed a drink at the Tune-In Lounge. It was about 8:00 PM and every seat at the bar was taken and the line was out the door! Proof that with Hollywood Studios could use another bar.We gathered around Echo Lake and chatted. The sun began to set and we discussed from where we wanted to view the Galactic Spectacular. We decided to go with Hollywood Blvd since we had heard the show uses a lot of projection technology and other effects. Suffice it to say, I absolutely loved this show. I was blown away. Now, I am a big Star Wars fan and I appreciate multiple layers to a show, not just fireworks. So this show more than met my criteria. Check out my full review, including a spoiler-free version.After being blown away by the show, we headed out and dealt with the traffic jam of exiting Hollywood Studios. That night I kept thinking about the show, but it was time for bed because tomorrow brings more fun in the theme parks.SeaWorldOne of my favorite Orlando theme parks is SeaWorld. It is the second oldest theme park in Orlando and thus has design and decor that is nostalgic for me. Plus the landscaping is lush and grown in. It truly is one of the most beautiful parks in Central Florida. Once inside the level of detail and decoration impressed me. The Royal Sommerhus does feel like a cozy, residential space. The meet and greet itself of Anna and Elsa is a great experience for families and fans of Frozen. I enjoyed that these characters now have a space that really represents their story. For more info about this experience check out this blog post.