Resource for VA Benefits Information

Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of benefits and services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Some of these benefits may be utilized while on active duty. These benefits are codified in Title 38 of the United States Code.

For years the VA has printed benefit booklets and distributed them to the bases for Transition Workshops. Within the last couple of years they have stopped providing the booklets, but you can download the current print version online.

2016_federal_benefits_for_veterans_coverThis booklet contains a summary of these benefits. Click on the image at left to download a PDF copy of the 2016 version of the Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors. You can also view the online version by going to http://www1.va.gov/OPA/publications/benefits_book.asp.

For additional information, visit www.va.gov.

Things You Can Control in Your Relationship

012413-Unmarried-Couple-600You can’t control your partner’s actions, but you can control your own.

Focus on the things that are within your power.

Here is short list of some of the things that are withing your power when it comes to your relationship:

  • Your Attitude
  • Your Thoughts
  • How kind you are
  • How well you listen
  • How honest you are
  • How often you say “thank you”
  • Who you spend your time with
  • How you express your feelings
  • The amount of effort you put forth
  • How much time you spend worrying
  • Whether or not you try again after a setback

The 2018 Blended Retirement System Explained

Looking for information on the new blended retirement system?

Click on the image below to view a Frequently Asked Questions page created by Military OneSource and a video from the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System.

blended-retirment-pic

Sources:

Military OneSource (http://www.militaryonesource.mil/footer?content_id=290760)
DVIDS (https://www.dvidshub.net/video/449935/2018-blended-retirement-system-explained)

Are you Ready for a Taste of South Dakota Winter?

101201-f-5924c-076It looks like we may finally get a taste of winter later this week with the possibility of accumulating snow. This would be a good time to ensure your home, car and you are ready!

PREPARE YOURSELF & HOME

Listen to the weather forecasts as they can provide you with good notice of an approaching storm. Ensure you have easy access to your snow clearing equipment, (shovels and/or snow blower). Ensure that your heat sources at home are working and you have fuel (pellets or wood) on hand, if needed.

Have a plan in place on how you would handle a power outage. Depending on your home, this may affect food preparation and storage, heating sources, and information resources.

PREPARE YOUR CAR

If you haven’t done so already, get your car winterized and have a winter storm kit in it. According to the Pennington County Emergency Management Office the kit should contain:

“sleeping bags or blankets, matches and candles, winter clothing, food, first-aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight and radio with extra batteries for each, a bag of sand and shovel, tire chains and tools, windshield scraper, battery jumper cables, and two coffee cans. Small supplies can be kept in the coffee cans and when you are stranded, one can be used for personal sanitation needs and the other to burn the candles in for heat. When burning a candle, leave a down-wind window slightly open for air circulation and ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen without the victim being aware of it until it’s too late.”

KNOW THE ROAD CONDITIONS BEFORE YOU GO

First and foremost, if you don’t have to go, DON’T! Driving any direction out of the Rapid City area can be dangerous once you are on the plains or in the Black Hills.

If you do have to be driving, be able to see and be seen. Clean snow off all windows, mirrors, lights and reflectors. You can be ticketed if your view is obstructed by snow. know the road conditions.

Check the road conditions before you go. For South Dakota roads, you can visit http://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/ to view road conditions around the state.

For Ellsworth AFB travel, accurate and timely information about road and reporting conditions can be viewed via the official Ellsworth Facebook page or by calling (605) 385-ROAD.

Below is a breakdown of the color coded road conditions for the base from the Ellsworth AFB official web site:

greenroadsGREEN:

Normal installation speed limits and traffic rules are in effect.

yellowroadsYELLOW:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph below the posted speed limit. The speed limit for parking areas is 5 mph. The vehicle will be operated in such a manner that ensures complete control of the vehicle at all times. Vehicle operators are cautioned to remain a safe distance away from snow removal equipment, with the understanding that the snow removal equipment operator may be operating at an increased rate of speed and with visibility limitations.

redroadsRED:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph on general roadways, and 5 mph in military family housing areas and parking areas. Travel is restricted to essential travel only (i.e. military personnel who have not been instructed to remain away from duty, family members traveling to and from their place of employment, etc.). Persons found to be in violation of this traffic instruction (i.e. recreational driving, non-emergency visitation, etc.) are subject to being cited in accordance with this traffic code, and to points being assessed on their driving record accordingly. Travel during Road Condition Red is at the vehicle operator’s own risk. During Road Condition Red, the vehicle operator assumes all liability for vehicle damage should the vehicle become immovable due to weather or road conditions, such as damage from passing snow removal equipment, damage from exposure to severe weather, or any other damage which may occur.

Bottom line: Being stuck or stranded in a South Dakota winter storm can become a question of survival. It’s serious business and you and your vehicle must be prepared.

Daylight Saving Time 2016: Time to Fall Back!

fallbackDaylight saving time will end with a “fall back” to standard time on Sunday, November 6, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to turn you clocks back on Saturday night before you go to bed so that you can enjoy the extra hour on Sunday morning.

  • Turns out, people tend to have more heart attacks on the Monday following the “spring forward” switch to daylight saving time. Researchers reporting in 2014 in the journal Open Heart, found that heart attacks increased 24 percent on that Monday, compared with the daily average number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
  • Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which anyplace could or could not observe DST, leading to chaos. For instance, if one took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, he or she would pass through no fewer than seven time changes, according to Prerau. At some point, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks.
  • A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychologyshowed that during the week following the “spring forward” into DST, mine workers got 40 minutes less sleep and had 5.7 percent more workplace injuries than they did during any other days of the year.
  • Pets notice the time change, as well. Since humans set the routines for their fluffy loved ones, dogs and cats living indoors and even cows are disrupted when, say, you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual, according to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, an Australia-based research and development organization.
  • The fact that the time changes at 2 a.m. at least in the U.S., may have to do with practicality. For instance, it’s late enough that most people are home from outings and setting the clock back an hour won’t switch the date to “yesterday.” In addition, it’s early enough not to affect early shift workers and early churchgoers, according to the WebExhibits, an online museum.

Empathy vs Sympathy

Empathy is listening, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of “You’re not alone.”

Ever wondered what the difference is between empathy and sympathy? Brené Brown explains it best.