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Veterans Affairs Notes: The VA has awarded $1.8 million to improve the veterans' home in Boulder City, Nev. The grant, announced by VA Secretary James Peake in a May 13 release, covers about 65 percent of the nearly $2.8 million projected for new construction and renovation of the home’s dining facility. VA Secretary Peake has formed a special advisory panel to focus on issues unique to veterans of Operation Desert Shield/Storm, the 1990-91 war in the Persian Gulf. According to a May 13 release, the 14-member, independent panel will advise Peake and the VA on the "full range of health care and benefits needs of those who served in the conflict," holding its first meeting in mid-June in Washington, D.C. Chairing the panel, which has a life expectancy of 18 months, will be retired Navy Capt. Charles Cragin. The other members are to include Gulf War veterans. A panel created in 2002 will continue to focus on research covering veterans of that war, stated the release.