Gov. Nixon outlines plan for veterans home improvements

3 years 9 hours 32 minutes ago Friday, July 17 2015 Jul 17, 2015 Friday, July 17, 2015 1:35:00 PM CDT July 17, 2015 in News
By: Katie Grunik, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

ST. JAMES - Gov. Jay Nixon outlined Friday a plan to improve a Missouri veterans home, using $33 million allocated by bills he signed in June.

Nixon spoke at veteran's home in St. James, Mo. which is one of 7 homes from Missouri veterans in the state. Improvement projects at the St. James location will include renovations costing more than $6.9 million. Projects include replacing the nurse call and fire alarm systems. 

"We need to ensure our veterans receive the best care we can provide, and today I am here to deliver on our promise to them," Gov. Nixon said. "This past January, I called on legislators to finish the job they started last year by passing the necessary bills to get these projects underway, and I appreciate the bi-partisan action that accomplished this. The men and women who have bravely served in our nation's defense deserve both our thanks and our continued commitment honoring their service."

The improvement projects at the other veterans homes around the state include: 

  • Cameron Veterans' Home- Replace sprinkler pipe systems, chiller, water softeners, cooling tower, boilers and exterior doors and make electrical upgrades
  • Cape Girardeau Veterans' Home - Renovate nurses' stations, kitchenette and restrooms, and replace nurse call and fire alarm systems, boilers, water heaters, sump pump and hot water circulating pumps and exterior doors
  • Mexico Veterans' Home - Renovate bariatric shower rooms, and replace nurse call and fire alarm systems, chillers, water softener, cooling tower and flooring
  • Mount Vernon Veterans' Home - Renovate kitchen hood and system, and replace hot water circulating pumps, pool pack, water heaters, chillers, cooling tower, back flow preventers, pump pack, sprinkler system and boilers
  •  St. Louis Veterans' Home - Renovate the front entrance and lobby, construct storage building, upgrade lighting, and replace air handlers, water heaters and anti-scald devices
  • Warrensburg Veterans' Home - Replace nurse call and fire alarm systems, sprinkler pipe systems, exterior doors, chillers, boilers and water softeners, and make electrical upgrades

Nixon gave credit to the bi-partisan funding legislation for making the funding possible for the improvement projects. According to the Governor's office, Missouri is home to more than 494,000 veterans. The state serves older and disabled veterans with facilities in Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Mexico, Mount Vernon, St. James, St. Louis and Warrensburg. 

The governor also said around $700,000 will be available for improving veterans' cemeteries in Jacksonville, St. James and Springfield. Nixon signed four other laws that offer aid to veterans. 

Senate Bill 34 will help ensure that military and certain overseas voters wanting to vote in Missouri elections are able to vote in state, as well as federal, elections. The bill also provides safeguards for domestic violence victims participating in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program administered by the Missouri Secretary of State by permitting them to vote by absentee ballot.

Senate Bill 116 will help provide continuity to school-age children of military members who are stationed outside Missouri by allowing those children to remain in the school district where they live with another family member, without having to pay non-resident tuition.

House Bill 179 will make it easier for veterans to obtain a veteran's designation on their driver's license or ID card by allowing them to use a alternative form of documentation, the DD Form 2, to prove their status as a veteran. Currently, veterans have to present another set of discharge documents, the DD Form 214, for that designation; this form can be more difficult to obtain than the DD Form 2.

House Bill 1070 will establish the Office of Military Advocate within the Missouri Department of Economic Development to advocate for military services and the preservation of military bases in Missouri. The state is home to Whiteman Air Force Base and the Army's Fort Leonard Wood, as well as facilities such as Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.

The advocate, who will be appointed by the Governor, would serve as the liaison between state and federal branches of government. The office also would provide enhanced communication to Missouri government leaders and base communities in order to increase early awareness on base realignment actions and potential downsizing.

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