Radcliff Veterans Center

Radcliff Veterans Center

The opening day has been set for the new Radcliff Veterans Center.  On Feb. 15, the first three residents will arrive at what’s been designed as a showplace for skilled nursing care for those who have served our country.

Preparations for opening day are in high gear, including a job fair to be held on-site Jan. 5. The Radcliff Veterans Center already has a staff of 49 and it's growing every day. When fully staffed, the center will have 260 employees.

Israel Ray is administrator of the Radcliff Veterans Center. He says, in a way, the opening day will be a welcome home for those first three residents.

Louisville VA Medical Center

Veterans living in and around Hardin County are being asked to voice their support for a VA hospital in Radcliff.  A public meeting will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Colvin Community Center in Radcliff.

Radcliff Mayor and retired Army Colonel Mike Weaver argues that Hardin County would be the most easily accessible location for a new veterans medical center.  The city has offered to donate 50 acres of land for the project that would replace the aging Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville.

Currently, the only approved site for the hospital is near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway in Louisville.  Weaver says the proposed Jefferson County site brings traffic and parking challenges just like the current facility.

"I'm a veteran myself and I've been using the VA medical care system for over 20 years.  I know how difficult it is to get from where I live to the VA hospital where it currently is," Weaver told WKU Public Radio.  "For instance, I have an appointment tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.  Because of traffic, I plan to leave the house at 6:00 a.m. for a 45 minute drive just so I can be on time."

A VA spokesperson said last week that plans are proceeding for the Louisville site and no other locations are being considered. 

The public comment period runs until January 11.  The VA will review the comments before issuing a final version of an impact study.

Rhonda J Miller

A Kentucky barn dance-style program for military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury has been approved for a research study at a Connecticut university.

Deborah Denenfeld is a dance educator and leader who launched "Dancing Well: The Soldier Project" five years ago at Fort Knox, and since then has held sessions in Louisville. She said data collectors will survey the veterans on non-medical factors that play an important role in their daily lives.

“We’re going to be looking at measures of optimism and hope, feelings of connectedness, trauma symptoms, and how much people avoid participating in events and projects that have been meaningful to them in the past,” said Denenfeld, who is executive director of Dancing Well.

Louisville VA Medical Center

An offer by the city of Radcliff to donate 50 acres of land for a new Veterans Affairs medical center has apparently been rejected. 

Radcliff Mayor and retired Army Colonel Mike Weaver made a pitch to the VA last week in hopes of snagging the $1 billion veterans medical center that’s expected to bring with it nearly 2,000 jobs. Weaver offered 50 acres in Millpond Business Center off Kentucky Route 313 that already has utilities in place and direct access to Interstate 65.

However, the VA already has plans to replace the aging Robley Rex Medical Center in Louisville with a new complex in the city on Brownsboro Road off the Watterson Expressway. 

The News-Enterprise reports a VA spokesperson said plans are proceeding for the Brownsboro Road site and no other locations are being considered.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and some residents have expressed environmental and traffic concerns about the Jefferson County site.

The VA has published an Environmental Impact Statement on the project, which you can read here. The public comment period runs through Jan. 11. 

Radcliff Veterans Center

The new Radcliff Veterans Center that’s promising to be a national showplace for skilled nursing care is staffing up for its July opening.

Six members of the executive team are already working and the next phase of hiring was launched Feb. 22.

Administrator Israel Ray says five new leadership positions are posted.

“The director of nursing, which is called the nurse executive. And staff development, which will be listed as a registered nurse. The director of dining services. Our activities director and our housekeeping supervisor,” says Ray.

The veterans center is also looking for a medical director.

Construction is progressing at the new center, which is located on 192 park-like acres donated by Fort Knox.

A group of central Kentucky residents is planning a tribute for veterans at a center under construction near Fort Knox.

Clint Meshew, Gary Broadway, Jerry Howard and Greg Barnes formed a nonprofit to raise money and create a tribute outside the Radcliff Veterans Center, which is expected to open next year.

Two displays on either side of the center's administrative building are planned. One will depict an elderly veteran with a shadow background of him as a soldier. The other will depict the family of a soldier welcoming him home.

Howard said the tribute is meant to show veterans that they are honored and respected.

The center is expected to begin accepting veterans in March 2016. Barnes said they hope to unveil the tribute later in the year.

Kevin Willis

Some retired military veterans are asking Kentucky lawmakers to commit funding for a new long-term care facility for veterans that would be located in Bowling Green.

The commonwealth currently has only three such facilities, with a fourth veterans nursing home scheduled to open next summer in Hardin County.

Dr. Ray Biggerstaff served in Vietnam as a Captain with the 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell. He told state lawmakers in Frankfort that the number of veterans in the south-central Kentucky region makes Warren County a logical location for a long-term care operation.

“When we take a look at the demographic data for Bowling Green and the Barren River Area Development District, we’re looking at a total of 20,000 veterans in that particular area. Surrounding the area, we have an additional 22,000 veterans that are in the perimeter,” said Biggerstaff.

Biggerstaff said he also thought a long-term care facility for veterans in southern Kentucky could attract veterans who live in northern Tennessee.

In testimony before a joint committee on State Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection, Biggerstaff said backers of the proposed veteran’s nursing home in Warren County have identified a 30-acre site off I-65 near the Kentucky Transpark as a possible location for the facility.

The nursing home being built in Hardin County will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department, and feature a dozen ten-person homes providing full nursing services to 120 veterans. It’s scheduled to open next June.

Kentucky’s three nursing homes for veterans currently in operation are in Hopkins, Jessamine, and Perry counties.

Kentucky’s Veterans Affairs Commissioner is stepping down to oversee the construction of the state’s new long-term care facility for veterans in Hardin County.

Governor Steve Beshear announced Friday that Ken Lucas is leaving the post, and being replaced by Heather French Henry.

Lucas is a former U.S. Congressman from Kentucky’s Fourth House District and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard. Beshear appointed him head of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs in 2009.

He’ll now oversee the construction of what will be the state’s fourth veterans nursing home. The Radcliff Veterans Center is scheduled to open in September of 2015, and will provide 120 beds to veterans in the Hardin County region. Featuring a dozen ten-person homes, the facility will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Taking over as head of the Veterans Affairs Department on July 1 will be Heather French Henry.  She began the Heather French Foundation for Veterans in 1999, shortly after she was crowned Miss America.

Kevin Willis

A new veterans center planned for Hardin County will be just the fourth such facility in the state, and will offer long-term care in a region known for its close ties to the military.

State and local leaders were in Radcliff Wednesday to honor the official groundbreaking for the center that has been seven years in the making. With a planned opening in June, 2015, the project will feature a dozen ten-person homes, and will provide full nursing services to 120 veterans.

Those who helped design the Hardin County facility say it will offer residents a degree of autonomy not often found in nursing homes.

“They will be able to design their own rooms as far as how they decorate the room,” said Gilda Hill, Executive Director of the Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers. “They are welcome to bring their own furniture if they like, if that will make them feel more at home. They will tell us when they want to eat breakfast, when they want to bathe, and when they want to go out of the building for visits.”

The Radcliff Veterans Center will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department.

Speaking at Wednesday’s ceremony, Governor Steve Beshear pointed out there is a great need for the kinds of services that be provided at the Radcliff Veterans Center.