veterans http://wesa.fm en Plan For Statewide Veterans Courts Met With Some Skepticism http://wesa.fm/post/plan-statewide-veterans-courts-met-some-skepticism <p>Veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse could ping-pong through the criminal justice system for years without a support system that recognizes common problems facing former members of the military.<br /><br />That’s the premise of Pennsylvania’s veterans treatment courts, which started as county initiatives several years ago to help the state’s veteran population — the fifth largest in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. &nbsp;<br /> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 11:48:04 +0000 Mary Wilson 31123 at http://wesa.fm Checkpoint - Where Military Meets Community http://wesa.fm/post/checkpoint-where-military-meets-community <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Southwest Pennsylvania is home to 220,000 Veterans, with 97,000 alone living in </span><a href="http://www.va.gov/vetdata/veteran_population.asp" style="line-height: 1.5;">Allegheny County</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. After returning from active duty, all Veterans, whether injured or uninjured, are in need of resources such as employment, physical and mental health care, job training, and housing.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Until recently, Pittsburgh-area veterans did not have a centralized, dedicated place to find these kinds of resources. This problem was solved when Pittsburgh resident and Iraq War veteran Jared </span>Souder<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> founded </span><a href="http://www.thecheckpoint.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Checkpoint</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans find the resources they need to help resume their lives as civilians.</span></p><p>Checkpoint was created out of necessity, said Souder.</p><p>“I’m supposed to be a subject matter expert, and I would still run into walls, I would run into sort of confusing things, and just see the complexity of it and really saw the need for some way to help vets navigate and reduce complexity and just get better information into their hands so they can make more informed decisions to what they can connect with and what they can benefit from.”</p><p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 21:34:41 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 30991 at http://wesa.fm Checkpoint - Where Military Meets Community Rep. Murphy: Disciplinary Action at Pittsburgh VA Doesn't Go Far Enough http://wesa.fm/post/rep-murphy-disciplinary-action-pittsburgh-va-doesnt-go-far-enough <p>More than 10 months after <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/congressman-murphy-wants-veterans-affairs-rescind-pa-staff-bonuses">U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy wrote</a> to former Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Eric Shinseki asking what disciplinary action would be taken in the wake a Legionella outbreak at a Pittsburgh hospital, he has gotten an answer of sorts.</p><p>On Friday, the VA announced that Pittsburgh Healthcare System director and CEO Terry Wolf was placed on administrative leave, “pending the completion of administrative actions related to the Legionella outbreak.”</p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 16:54:44 +0000 Liz Reid 31000 at http://wesa.fm Rep. Murphy: Disciplinary Action at Pittsburgh VA Doesn't Go Far Enough Head of Pittsburgh VA Hospitals Placed on Administrative Leave http://wesa.fm/post/head-pittsburgh-va-hospitals-placed-administrative-leave <p>The head of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System has been put on administrative leave, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.</p><p>System Director Terry Gerigk Wolf oversaw the healthcare facilities during the <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/congressional-hearing-scrutinizes-preventable-deaths-va-hospitals">Legionella outbreak</a> of 2011 and 2012, which resulted in the deaths of at least six people and sickened more than twenty others.</p> Sun, 15 Jun 2014 15:22:17 +0000 Liz Reid 30955 at http://wesa.fm Funding Helps Veteran Homeowners With Costly Repairs http://wesa.fm/post/funding-helps-veteran-homeowners-costly-repairs <p>The Home Depot Foundation has given $200,000&nbsp; toward repairing the homes of 28 veterans in the Pittsburgh region. Without the repairs, some of the vets could end up homeless.</p><p>There are currently tens of thousands of homeless veterans in the U.S. and thousands more are at risk of becoming homeless. For those who are homeowners, security is not always a guarantee — many are one stop from becoming homeless.</p> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:34:25 +0000 Deanna Garcia 30736 at http://wesa.fm Funding Helps Veteran Homeowners With Costly Repairs Pittsburgh Area Vets Honored for Their D-Day Service http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-area-vets-honored-their-d-day-service <p>“All I know is we wanted to get off that beach which we did because there was a lot of casualties,” recalls Ralph Russo of New Castle about the D-Day landing at Normandy 70 years ago today.</p><p>There where thousands of casualties—9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded including 6,600 Americans.</p><p>96-year old Mike Vernillo of Pittsburgh served with the US 227<sup>th</sup> Field Artillery Battalion on June 6, 1944.</p><p>“It was very difficult; you can’t stop to help nobody, you have to just keep running.”</p> Fri, 06 Jun 2014 12:00:14 +0000 Kevin Gavin 30455 at http://wesa.fm Peduto Part of Group of Mayors Battling Homelessness Among Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/peduto-part-group-mayors-battling-homelessness-among-veterans <p>Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is one of a group of more than 75 Mayors and county officials who’ve signed on to a nation-wide plan to end homelessness among those who’ve served in the military. First Lady Michelle Obama this week kicked off the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.</p><p>“It really is a call to mayors and other elected officials to focus their attention on veterans who are homeless in our communities,” said Jane Vincent, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Philadelphia.</p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:13:14 +0000 Deanna Garcia 30472 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh To Host 'Navy Week' http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-host-navy-week <p>The U.S. Navy is coming to the Steel City, but don’t expect to see any aircraft carriers floating in the Mon.</p><p>During Navy Week (June 2 – June 8) sailors will be stationed throughout the city hosting events, providing musical entertainment and answering any questions about Navy life.</p><p>Navy spokesman Gary Ross said Navy Week is not a recruitment effort, but an educational event.</p><p>“We are not there to recruit,” he said. “We are there to create awareness and understanding about what our Navy does for our nation.”</p> Thu, 29 May 2014 16:32:34 +0000 Michael Lynch 29743 at http://wesa.fm Soldiers and Sailors Hosts Memorial Day Celebration http://wesa.fm/post/soldiers-and-sailors-hosts-memorial-day-celebration <p>At Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Memorial Day is more than just hotdogs and hamburgers.</p><p>“Over the years, as we had more and more conflicts, the building became a symbol representative of a memorial for all veterans of all branches of service. The only one like it of its kind in the nation,” said Soldiers and Sailors President and CEO John McCabe.</p><p>According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 995,000 veterans living in Pennsylvania.</p> Mon, 26 May 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Michael Lynch 29670 at http://wesa.fm New Housing Units For Women Veterans Open In Millvale http://wesa.fm/post/new-housing-units-women-veterans-open-millvale <p>There are about 1,200 veterans in Allegheny County who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Over the last year or so there has been an increase in the number of women and women with children who are in need of emergency housing.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:56:17 +0000 Deanna Garcia 27728 at http://wesa.fm New Housing Units For Women Veterans Open In Millvale Proposed Property Tax Break for Disabled Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/proposed-property-tax-break-disabled-veterans <p>A Pennsylvania state lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would allow disabled veterans to receive a real estate tax exemption regardless of the severity of their disability.</p><p>Currently, Pennsylvania offers an “all-or-nothing” program, where veterans who are 100 percent disabled receive a complete property tax exemption and those who are 80 or 90 percent disabled get nothing.</p><p>State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) said the tax exemption should be proportional to the percentage of disability.</p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:00:49 +0000 Michael Lynch 27341 at http://wesa.fm 'Project 22' Releases Official Trailer http://wesa.fm/post/project-22-releases-official-trailer <p>The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs released a report last year stating that an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day.</p><p>That number hit home for Marine Sgt. Daniel Egbert and Army Sgt. Matt King; both of whom served in Iraq. The two set out on a 22-day road trip from Los Angeles to Ground Zero in New York, producing a documentary focused on raising awareness about veteran suicide.</p><p>That documentary is "Project 22."</p> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Michael Lynch 25856 at http://wesa.fm Under the Keystone: A Veteran's Progress http://wesa.fm/post/under-keystone-veterans-progress <p>Earl Granville, of Scranton, Pa., is the second person featured in Under the Keystone, a new collaborative series from our content partner <strong><a href="http://publicsource.org/">PublicSource</a></strong>. A veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan and lost a brother to PTSD, Granville is now studying mental health counseling so he can help veterans and others who have come through difficult situations.</p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:26:31 +0000 Jake Danna Stevens | Scranton Times-Tribune 25734 at http://wesa.fm Under the Keystone: A Veteran's Progress Legislation to Shrink VA Backlog Introduced; No Cost Estimate Filed http://wesa.fm/post/legislation-shrink-va-backlog-introduced-no-cost-estimate-filed <p>On average, a veteran in the Pittsburgh areas has to wait one day shy of a year between the time they apply for disability benefits and the day they are approved.</p><p>Though the backlog has been shrinking, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey says it is not falling fast enough, and in an effort to fix the situation, he and bipartisan group of six senators have introduced legislation aimed at fixing the system.</p><p>The Veterans Administration deems a claim to be backlogged after it has been in the system for more than 125 days. By its own admission, there are nearly 400,000 cases on that list.</p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:01:51 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 25447 at http://wesa.fm Veterans Marker Now Available on Driver’s Licenses http://wesa.fm/post/veterans-marker-now-available-driver-s-licenses <p>Pennsylvania’s military veterans can now have their service noted on their driver’s licenses.<br /><br />The new designation is free, though the costs of renewing the license apply.<br /><br />At a roll-out news conference Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) said the designation helps identify veterans so people can simply show respect.<br /><br />“And it will come in handy in the worst of times when a veteran may find him or herself in a dangerous situation,” Baker said. “This designation is something our veterans have asked for, and worked for, for a very long time.”<br /> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 12:57:11 +0000 Mary Wilson 25420 at http://wesa.fm VA Honors Veteran Patients with 'National Salute' Events http://wesa.fm/post/va-honors-veteran-patients-national-salute-events <p>The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System is celebrating its annual "National Salute to Veteran Patients," a week-long series of events that applaud veterans' sacrifices and draws attention to those receiving medical care.</p><p>In Pittsburgh, the VA will hold events at both its <a href="http://www.pittsburgh.va.gov/university_drive.asp">University Drive campus</a> in Oakland and <a href="http://www.pittsburgh.va.gov/HJ_Heinz.asp">H.J. Heinz campus</a> in O'Hara Township.</p> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Larkin Page-Jacobs 24009 at http://wesa.fm Cold Hands and Warm Hearts at Pittsburgh's Veterans Day Parade http://wesa.fm/post/cold-hands-and-warm-hearts-pittsburghs-veterans-day-parade <p>Thousands of people converged on downtown Pittsburgh Monday for the annual Veterans Day parade. Many of them were watching, and even more were marching.</p><p>Dozens of high school bands provided entertainment while veterans from every generation marched down the length of Smithfield Street.</p><p>Onlookers greeted the vets with cheers and applause, shouting “Thank you!”</p><p>Paul Kennedy, western vice commander for the Pennsylvania American Legion, lives in the North Hills and said it was great to see so many people come out for the parade.</p> Mon, 11 Nov 2013 20:01:56 +0000 Liz Reid 19627 at http://wesa.fm Cold Hands and Warm Hearts at Pittsburgh's Veterans Day Parade Pittsburgh Honors Veterans with 94th Annual Veterans Day Parade http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-honors-veterans-94th-annual-veterans-day-parade <p>The city of Pittsburgh will hold its 94<sup>th</sup> annual Veterans Day parade on Monday.</p><p>Tony Filardi of Overbrook served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and has been the chair of the Veterans Day parade committee since 1990.</p><p>Filardi said the parade is an important tradition that pays tribute both to veterans and to active duty military.</p><p>“It’s to honor all the veterans who served in the service and also the military people who are serving currently,” Filardi said. “After all, without them, our nation would not be free, because freedom is not free.”</p> Mon, 11 Nov 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Liz Reid 19387 at http://wesa.fm Sen. Casey Pushes Health Care Bill For Retired Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/sen-casey-pushes-health-care-bill-retired-veterans <p>Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is co-sponsoring a bill to help more than 4,000 retired Pennsylvania veterans keep their health care plans.</p><p>On Oct. 1, a new policy from the Department of Defense will force some retired veterans off of TRICARE Prime, the most affordable option in the Military Health System for people under 65.</p><p>According to the new policy, only veterans living within 100 miles of a Military Treatment Facility or a BRAC site will be able to stay on TRICARE Prime. Now, more than 171,000 people nationally are at risk of losing the military health care.</p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 20:13:35 +0000 Michael Lynch 16905 at http://wesa.fm Meet Julia Parsons, Pittsburgh Native and WWII Code Breaker http://wesa.fm/post/meet-julia-parsons-pittsburgh-native-and-wwii-code-breaker <p>Imagine your mom, or your grandmother, maybe even your great-grandmother, with a secret past. Perhaps you know that she’s lived through some major historical events like World War II.</p><p>Now imagine finding out she not only lived through it – but was an integral part of secret military operations during the war.</p><p>That is part of Pittsburgh native Julia Parsons’ story. She was part of an all-women’s German code-breaking team.</p> Thu, 19 Sep 2013 11:45:21 +0000 Deanna Garcia 16629 at http://wesa.fm Meet Julia Parsons, Pittsburgh Native and WWII Code Breaker Patriotic Cabs Provide Jobs for Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/patriotic-cabs-provide-jobs-veterans <p><a href="http://www.startransportationgroup.com/veterans/index.html">VETaxi</a> is the most patriotic ride on the road. The Pittsburgh-based company owned by Vietnam veteran Robert Delucia hires American military veteran drivers, transports customers in American-built vehicles and uses solely <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/12/18/pros-and-cons-natural-gas-vehicles/">American-sourced fuel</a>.&nbsp; As a branch of the Star Transportation Group, VETaxi aims to provide jobs to veterans where they are then given the opportunity to own and operate their own cab.</p><p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 21:26:46 +0000 Katherine Blackley 13670 at http://wesa.fm Patriotic Cabs Provide Jobs for Veterans Bill Could Make Free Counseling More Available to Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/bill-could-make-free-counseling-more-available-veterans <p>The state House is advancing a proposal to make it easier for military veterans to receive free mental health counseling in less formal settings.<br><br>The bill would change licensing rules to allow retired mental health professionals to volunteer their services through approved groups serving veterans and their families, as well as military personnel.<br> Thu, 20 Jun 2013 20:02:43 +0000 Mary Wilson 11826 at http://wesa.fm VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Hires More Mental Health Professionals http://wesa.fm/post/va-pittsburgh-healthcare-system-hires-more-mental-health-professionals <p>As part of a national mandate from President Obama to hire 1,600 new mental health professionals in the veterans’ health system, the VA Pittsburgh Health System has hired 30 new mental health professionals plus an additional 14 to fill existing vacancies.</p><p>“I think it’s obvious that if we have more people offering service, then more people could obtain services and obtain them quicker,” said Jeffrey Peters, associate chief of staff for behavior health at the VA Pittsburgh.</p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Deanna Garcia 11457 at http://wesa.fm Pittsburgh Symposium Focuses on Returning Female Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-symposium-focuses-returning-female-veterans <p>Chris Cieslak, a lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserves, returned from Kabul, Afghanistan in 2012 after a year’s duty there.</p><p>Cieslak went through what she described as a "minor depression," and only now does she feel she’s made the transition from military to civilian life. She considers herself lucky — she had a good support system in place. Not all women veterans can say the same.</p> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 18:09:01 +0000 Deanna Garcia 11207 at http://wesa.fm Casey Reintroduces Tax Credit Bill for Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/casey-reintroduces-tax-credit-bill-veterans <p>Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. senator is taking another whack at knocking down the unemployment rate among military veterans with a proposed tax credit.<br><br>Sen. Bob Casey said Wednesday the tax credit would help veterans or their spouses purchase franchises. They would be able to write off 25 percent of the franchise fee, or up to $100,000.<br><br>In a conference call with reporters, Casey likened the tax credit to the GI bill funding veterans' college education, saying it's another way to help veterans establish themselves as civilians.<br> Thu, 23 May 2013 10:32:51 +0000 Mary Wilson 10054 at http://wesa.fm