veterans

Community
2:56 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

New Housing Units For Women Veterans Open In Millvale

Khrystal Brown (right) and another veteran cut the ribbon on the newest housing units for women vets.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

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.

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Veterans
2:00 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Proposed Property Tax Break for Disabled Veterans

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.

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.

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) said the tax exemption should be proportional to the percentage of disability.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

'Project 22' Releases Official Trailer

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs released a report last year stating that an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

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.

That documentary is "Project 22."

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Pennsylvania
12:26 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Under the Keystone: A Veteran's Progress

Earl Granville and his twin brother Joseph enlisted in the National Guard in 2000 and were deployed to Bosnia and Iraq together. In 2008, on Earl's third deployment to Afghanistan, a truck he was riding in hit a roadside bomb. His legs were blown apart.
Jake Danna Stevens Scranton Times-Tribune, via PublicSource

Earl Granville, of Scranton, Pa., is the second person featured in Under the Keystone, a new collaborative series from our content partner PublicSource. 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.

Government & Politics
8:01 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Legislation to Shrink VA Backlog Introduced; No Cost Estimate Filed

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.

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.

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.

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Government & Politics
7:57 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Veterans Marker Now Available on Driver’s Licenses

Pennsylvania’s military veterans can now have their service noted on their driver’s licenses.

The new designation is free, though the costs of renewing the license apply.

At a roll-out news conference Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) said the designation helps identify veterans so people can simply show respect.

“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.”

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Veterans
3:30 am
Mon February 10, 2014

VA Honors Veteran Patients with 'National Salute' Events

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.

In Pittsburgh, the VA will hold events at both its University Drive campus in Oakland and H.J. Heinz campus in O'Hara Township.

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Community
3:01 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Cold Hands and Warm Hearts at Pittsburgh's Veterans Day Parade

Members of the West View VFW march in Monday's parade.
Liz Reid 90.5 WESA

Thousands of people converged on downtown Pittsburgh Monday for the annual Veterans Day parade. Many of them were watching, and even more were marching.

Dozens of high school bands provided entertainment while veterans from every generation marched down the length of Smithfield Street.

Onlookers greeted the vets with cheers and applause, shouting “Thank you!”

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.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Honors Veterans with 94th Annual Veterans Day Parade

The city of Pittsburgh will hold its 94th annual Veterans Day parade on Monday.

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.

Filardi said the parade is an important tradition that pays tribute both to veterans and to active duty military.

“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.”

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Government & Politics
4:13 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Sen. Casey Pushes Health Care Bill For Retired Veterans

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is co-sponsoring a bill to help more than 4,000 retired Pennsylvania veterans keep their health care plans.

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.

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.

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History
7:45 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Meet Julia Parsons, Pittsburgh Native and WWII Code Breaker

During World War II, Julia Parsons was a member of an all-women’s German code-breaking team. It would be years before the Pittsburgh native would share the details of her experience with her family.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

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.

Now imagine finding out she not only lived through it – but was an integral part of secret military operations during the war.

That is part of Pittsburgh native Julia Parsons’ story. She was part of an all-women’s German code-breaking team.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:26 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Patriotic Cabs Provide Jobs for Veterans

Veteran's Taxi vehicles are all handicap accessible and run on American Natural Gas.
Credit Star Transportation Group

VETaxi 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 American-sourced fuel.  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.

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Veterans
4:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Bill Could Make Free Counseling More Available to Veterans

The state House is advancing a proposal to make it easier for military veterans to receive free mental health counseling in less formal settings.

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.

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Veterans
3:30 am
Mon June 17, 2013

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Hires More Mental Health Professionals

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.

“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.

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Veterans
2:09 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Symposium Focuses on Returning Female Veterans

Chris Cieslak, a lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserves, returned from Kabul, Afghanistan in 2012 after a year’s duty there.

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.

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Veterans
6:32 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Casey Reintroduces Tax Credit Bill for Veterans

Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. senator is taking another whack at knocking down the unemployment rate among military veterans with a proposed tax credit.

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.

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.

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Transportation
3:30 am
Mon May 6, 2013

New License Plates Honor Airborne and Merchant Marine Veterans

U.S. Airborne Unit and Merchant Marine veterans are now able to display pride in their service on their cars.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has added two new designs to its list of military license plates.

PennDOT spokeswoman Jan McKnight said the plates are the result of bills passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature and “are there to recognize the challenges faced by these service members.”

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VA Legionnaires' Outbreak
12:26 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Investigation Reveals Failures of Pittsburgh VA Hospital in Legionnaires' Outbreak

Southwestern Pennsylvania officials are expressing outrage after learning the details of a Veterans Affairs investigation into the deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak at the VA’s Pittsburgh facilities.

According to VA Office of Inspector General, the VA Pittsburgh Health System failed to follow its own rules during an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that left five veterans dead from early 2011 to late 2012.

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Veterans Affairs
6:45 am
Thu April 4, 2013

At a House Inside the VA, Injured Vets Prepare to Return Home

Ron Dambrosia, 68, of East McKeesport, was in the Army for 11 years. Dambrosia developed a subdural hematoma, or a brain lesion, a few months ago and underwent surgery twice. While at MyHome, he worked with therapists to practice daily living tasks like making coffee.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

There is a house inside a building at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affair’s Aspinwall campus.

The house has everything one would expect – a doorbell, cable, flatware, a bedroom. There’s even a garage (but with half of a car).

The 1,100 square foot house, called MyHome, is a part of the VA’s Community Living Center, and it's designed to help patients recovering from physical or mental injuries transition safely back to their homes.

But that transition takes practice, according to VA Pittsburgh Rehab Site Supervisor Jason Fay.

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Veterans Affairs
4:32 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

VA Systems Would be Required to Report Instances of Legionella under New Casey Bill

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey will introduce a bill that would require VA facilities to report incidents of Legionnaires' disease.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is introducing a bill that would require any Veterans Affairs health system to report an incident of Legionnaires ’ disease and detection of the Legionella bacteria within 24 hours.

“To be blunt about this, we shouldn’t have to legislate this,” Casey said. “This should be standard practice at the VA, but it isn’t. Therefore we have to legislate and provide a measure of accountability.”

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Economy & Business
4:00 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Advocacy Group For Homeless Veterans Asking Government For More Help

Monday, June 25, 2012

An estimated 150,000 American veterans are homeless or become homeless upon returning from overseas, and an advocacy group said the government is not doing enough to alleviate the issue. The Circle of Friends for American Veterans (COFAV) reported 150,000 are without shelter with only 1/10 of 1% of the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) $130 billion budget supporting homeless veterans.

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Behavioral Health
3:59 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

VA To Hire More Mental Health Workers

Monday, June 18, 2012

In the next few months, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare system will be hiring approximately 42 new mental healthcare workers.

The VA will be bringing on clinicians and support staff to assist the ever-growing number of veterans who seek and require mental health help.

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Health
3:57 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

New VA Facility to Streamline Services

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In a space that was until recently a parking lot now stands the newest addition to the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

It took more than a decade for it to come together, but the new facility in Oakland is being touted as the future of veteran-centered health care.

New features include 78 private beds for psychiatric care in the same building as an outpatient primary-care center that providers hope will streamline services.

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Economy & Business
3:56 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Panel Gathers to Explore Veteran Transition

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Veterans and veterans’ advocates gathered Wednesday night to hash out some of the issues facing GI’s as they return from combat zones and try to assimilate back into stateside life. The discussion repeatedly returned to finding and keeping a job.

The jobs just haven’t been there for the last few years, said Pennsylvania Careerlink Mon Valley office Veterans’ Representative John Bittner. But it’s getting better.

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Economy & Business
3:54 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Allegheny County Gets Housing Vouchers For Homeless Veterans

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When many U.S. military personnel leave the service to return home, they might not have a home to return to or they wind up in the streets eventually.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says there are more than 10,000 homeless veterans nationwide, including those in southwestern Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest veterans per capita rates in the country.

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