Nikki Wentling covers veterans for Stars and Stripes and is based in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor of science in news and information.
Wentling previously covered local government for the Lawrence Journal-World in Lawrence, Kan. and military and veterans for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, Ark.
Email: email@example.com | Phone: (202) 761-0865 | Twitter: @nikkiwentling
Rolling Thunder to end annual Memorial Day ride in DC after 2019
The nearly 32-year-old tradition of a Memorial Day motorcycle ride through Washington, D.C. is ending because of escalating costs and a lack of cooperation from the Pentagon and metropolitan police departments, according to a letter shared by Artie Muller, a Vietnam veteran and founder of Rolling Thunder.
VA announces new plan to fix GI Bill payment problems
At a congressional hearing earlier this month, lawmakers pleaded with VA officials to give them a date when a severe technology problem that caused payment delays and incorrect payments to thousands of student veterans would be fixed. On Wednesday, they gave one: Dec. 1, 2019.
Trump spends Veterans Day in France, honors WWI dead
President Donald Trump spent Veterans Day in Paris, marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I with a speech honoring the American servicemembers who died and those who returned home “bearing the lasting scars of war.”
Tales of service and sacrifice
Everywhere you look inside the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum, there are stories. Here are three from veterans featured there.
VA's Wilkie defends using dogs in medical research
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie on Friday defended the VA’s continued use of dogs in medical research. Wilkie argued the research was necessary for medical breakthroughs that could help veterans.
Veterans fueled edge for Democratic takeover of House
The more than 200 veterans who ran for seats in the House and Senate was an uptick of former servicemembers seeking office, according to With Honor, a new “cross-partisan” group focused on electing candidates with military service to public office.
HUD reports drop to 37,878 homeless veterans in 2018
The number of homeless veterans across the U.S. declined more than 5 percent over the past year after a slight rise in 2017, the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs announced Thursday.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum opens in Ohio
The new National Veterans Memorial and Museum officially opened to the public Saturday with a ceremony featuring Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie and former Secretary of State retired Gen. Colin Powell.
VA appoints new director for embattled DC hospital
The Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday appointed a new director to lead its troubled flagship hospital in Washington, which was recently designated among the agency’s lowest-performing facilities after officials deemed conditions deteriorated to a critical level.
Marine veteran among those killed in New York limo crash
Michael Ukaj, a former combat engineer in the Marine Corps, is being remembered as an honest and caring individual always ready to give advice to his friends and family. He was one of 20 people killed when a limo sped through a stop sign and slammed into a parked SUV in Schoharie, N.Y., on Saturday.
VA releases 2018 performance ratings for its hospitals
The fiscal 2018 ratings include nine one-star hospitals, the lowest possible, down from 14 hospitals that received one-star ratings in 2017. The ratings indicate each hospital’s quality of care and are based on data such as death rates, patient satisfaction and efficiency.
Mission Act gets funding under historically high VA budget agreement
After a dispute delayed negotiations on the Department of Veterans Affairs budget for fiscal 2019, lawmakers came to an agreement Monday for more than $200 billion for the agency that includes funding for the new VA Mission Act – legislation that expands private-sector medical care for veterans.
Wilkie opposes bill that would extend Agent Orange benefits to 'Blue Water' veterans
New Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie urged senators in a letter Friday to reject legislation that would make health care and disability compensation available to approximately 90,000 “Blue Water” Navy veterans – those sailors aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships who contend they were exposed to Agent Orange.
Inspector general finds VA claims backlog greater than reported
The VA considers backlogged claims to be veterans’ claims for benefits that take longer than 125 days to approve or deny. The VA Inspector General’s Office reported officials omitted 63,600 backlogged claims from its count during the first half of 2016, creating a misrepresentation of how many claims were delayed.
Pence: Trump is a 'champion,' 'ally' to veterans
Speaking to hundreds of American Legion members on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence lauded President Donald Trump as a champion to veterans and listed off a series of what he described as major achievements under his administration.
VA considers ending ban on transgender surgeries for disabled vets
Since 1999, the VA has excluded “gender alterations” from its medical benefits package. For another two weeks, the VA is taking comments about a proposal to remove that ban for veterans who have a high enough disability rating to qualify them for comprehensive medical care from the VA.
Forging ahead: Bladesmithing gives troops, vets and caregivers a chance to bond, heal
“If these men and women are having a bad day, they can come in here, rant, rave, curse, scream, holler – you name it – and we all understand,” Donna Porras said. “We might not have been in their shoes, but we understand.”
Veterans group sues VA over ‘Mar-a-Lago Crowd’
VoteVets, a liberal advocacy group, filed a lawsuit Thursday aimed at preventing three wealthy members of President Donald Trump’s private club in Florida from influencing decisions at Veterans Affairs. The suit is a response to a news report that revealed the three were exerting major influence over the VA and secretly shaping Trump’s veterans policies.