Casey Unveils Report on
PITTSBURGH, PA— U.S.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Joint Economic
Committee (JEC), released a
JEC report today detailing the high
unemployment rate among Post-9/11 veterans and examining
ways to help veterans bridge the gap between military
service and civilian employment.
“The unemployment rate
among veterans is unacceptably high, especially among those
who served our country after 9/11 and have returned to
civilian life,” said Senator Casey. “This report underscores
the need to improve and strengthen programs designed to
guide our servicemembers toward successful careers after
their brave service in the Armed Forces.”
Senator Casey unveiled the
Meeting the Needs of Veterans in Today’s Labor Force,
at the Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania Workforce
Development Center in Pittsburgh. He was joined by
representatives from the Veterans Leadership Program of
Western Pennsylvania, Three Rivers Workforce Investment
Board and Community College of Allegheny County.
The report found that the
unemployment rate among Post-9/11 veterans in April was 10.9
percent, compared to the overall veteran-unemployment rate
of 7.7 percent.
According to the report,
nearly 2.5 million men and women have left active duty in
the Armed Forces since September 2001. Of the Post-9/11
veterans who are employed, over two-thirds work in the
private sector. Skills and experiences these veterans
receive while on active duty make them good matches for
employment in industries that experienced significant drops
in employment during the Great Recession, including the
mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation and
utilities, information and professional and business
Work is needed to improve
the several federal programs currently helping
servicemembers transition to the civilian workforce, the
Two bills currently in
Congress would expand and strengthen the government’s
ability to help veterans find work. Senator Casey introduced
legislation last week to modernize the Department of Labor’s
Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DoL-VETS)
Earlier this month,
Senator Casey cosponsored the Hiring Heroes Act to
provide new job skill training to all servicemembers and
create a new direct hiring authority so that more
servicemembers have jobs waiting for them when they leave
Casey Introduces Bill to
Help Veterans Find Jobs
DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced
legislation to modernize the U.S. Department of Labor’s
Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DoL-VETS) program
to help servicemembers transition into the civilian
“It is our duty to honor
the sacrifice of our servicemembers and their families by
ensuring that programs designed to assist them are effective
and meeting their goals,” said Senator Casey. “It should not
have taken the Department of Labor nearly two decades to
modernize this program. This bill will empower the
Department of Labor to continue to support our veterans in
navigating the civilian workforce and preparing them for the
jobs of today and the future by ensuring unbiased analysis
informs future programming updates.”
According to the
Department of Labor, more than one in five Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans were unemployed last year. Senator
Casey’s Transition Assistance Program Audit Act
(S.1104) calls for an independent third party audit of the
DoL-VETS program every three years to ensure that it is
providing services that are up-to-date and useful in
matching veterans to employers.
The legislation has been
endorsed by the National Guard Association of the United
States (NGAUS), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
and the Reserve Officers Association (ROA).
“NGAUS strongly supports
the Veterans Transition assistance audit bill. It is
critical to monitor the strength and efficiency of the
transition assistance bridge between our returning veterans
and the VA services available to them their families in
order to maximize the leveraging of VA assets in the
reintegration process,” NGAUS said in a statement of
"IAVA strongly supports
the TAP Audit Bill, as introduced by Senator Casey. We thank
Senator Casey for his commitment and leadership on this
issue,” Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American said. “If
passed, this bill will be instrumental in ensuring
separating service members are prepared and ready for the
civilian workforce. As it stands now, over 200,000 Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans are unemployed. And yet the military’s
current Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is not mandatory
for separating service members, not streamlined across
bases, and has been described by our members as ‘archaic’
and ‘a waste of time.’ This is unacceptable. TAP must be
relevant and effective – our brave men and women in uniform
deserve nothing less. This bill would legalize the auditing
of TAP every three years by a non-government agency, thus
ensuring the program’s relevancy is keeping up with the
demands of the current job market."
“Since the veteran
Transition Assistance Program varies from state to state the
Reserve Officers Association believes its important and
necessary to have a regular audits to ensure that the
program becomes more standardized and effective across the
nation,” the Reserve Officers Association said.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate
Deadline Extended, Causer Says
HARRISBURG – Area residents
eligible for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program now have until Dec. 31
to apply for the 2010 program, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) announced
Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or
property taxes paid in 2010. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who
are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years
or older with disabilities.
Eligibility income limits for homeowners are set at the following levels,
excluding 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and
Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits:
$0 to $8,000, maximum $650 rebate (Homeowners and renters)
$8,001 to $15,000, maximum $500 rebate (Homeowners and renters)
$15,001 to $18,000, maximum $300 rebate (Homeowners only)
$18,001 to $35,000, maximum $250 rebate (Homeowners only)
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is one of many initiatives supported by the
Pennsylvania Lottery, which dedicates its proceeds to support programs for older
Pennsylvanians. Since the program began in 1971, more than $4 billion has
been paid to qualified applicants.
Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or
rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms are available at Causer’s local offices: 78
Main St., First Floor, in Bradford (814-362-4400) and 107 S. Main St. in
Coudersport (814-274-9769). Forms are also available online at
Boxer Urge Secretary Geithner to Back 'No Budget, No Pay' Bill as House Prepares
to Vote on Debt Limit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Casey
(D-PA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent a letter to
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner expressing their
strong view that Members of Congress should not be paid if
the United States defaults on its obligations because
lawmakers fail to increase the debt limit. The House is
expected to vote on a debt limit increase later today.
In the letter, the
Senators point out that their legislation – S. 388, which
prevents lawmakers from being paid during a government
shutdown or if the government defaults on its debts – was
unanimously approved by the Senate months ago, but has since
been blocked by House Republicans.
The Senators wrote, “There
is no reason that Members of Congress and the President
should be free from the pain that would be felt by our
nation if the government were to default on its obligations,
and if we cannot do our jobs and protect the full faith and
credit of the United States, we should not get paid.”
In the House, Rep. Jim
Moran (D-VA) has introduced a similar bill. Prior to the
1995 government shutdown, Congressman Boehner expressed his
support for this same legislation.
The Senators' Letter Can Be
Bridgeport Academy Holds Grand (Re)Opening
By Martha Knight
There were Beacon Light staff and
officials on hand last Thursday afternoon when an open house was held at
Bridgeport Academy, 717 East Mill Street, to show off the facility’s nearly
completed expansion and renovation. Also on hand was a representative of a major
benefactor that had helped fund the year-long project.
Inside, new quarters were
completed and equipped, and older portions of the structure had been
reconfigured and transformed. In fact, students had been brought back to BA in
recent weeks, after spending most of the school year in rented quarters in the
former North Penn Building downtown.
Outside, sidewalks were still
being paved, and lawn areas were still muddy and rutted, awaiting grading and
According to owner Beacon Light
Behavioral Health Systems, headquartered in Bradford, “the Bridgeport Academy
program is designed to meet the educational and treatment needs of school-aged
youth who, for a variety of reasons, need more support in order to make academic
A Beacon Light spokesperson
explained that in the past, when students were discharged back to the sending
school districts, they were provided with limited aftercare or follow-up. The
expansion of BA enables the program to add psychiatric follow-up and therapy
“Through the addition of various
community-based programs, the site will operate as a ‘clinical home’ from which
students will be able to transition back into the community and local school
districts will have the necessary supports to succeed,” a BL announcement
Beacon Light president and CEO
Richard Seager said, “Our newly renovated location will allow us to provide many
of the services people need in one convenient location.”
The community-based programming
now provided include outpatient services, multi-systemic therapy (MST) and
family-based mental health care.
Instrumental in the expansion and
renovation project was the George and Margaret Mee Charitable Foundation, based
in Binghamton, N.Y., whose contribution of more than $200,000 helped fund the
undertaking. Its president, John T. Rogers, was on hand for the open house, and
accepted a plaque from Beacon Light in recognition if its pivotal assistance.
Other stepping stones to the
expansion included purchasing an additional four-tenths of an acre, and
acquiring title of the original site and facility from IU9. Also, last summer
Beacon Light sought and received approval of a conditional use for its operation
of a school in what the local zoning ordinance defines as a residential zone.
(Health treatment facilities are not permitted, conditional or special uses in
Beacon Light has been operating an
alternative education facility at that location for more than a dozen years,
with IU9 owning the property. Last year the corporation bought that property and
an additional four tenths of an acre needed to meet permitting requirements. The
site now extends nearly to the southern bank of Lillibridge Creek.
The extra land enabled Beacon
Light to build a 2,500-square foot addition on the back of the original
structure, which had been built as a modular home and modified.
The local alt ed program served 10
students initially, but now serves 25. For the past several years Beacon Light
has called the alt ed facility and program Bridgeport Academy. The Beacon Light
spokespersons at the conditional use hearing stated that there were no plans to
expand enrollment beyond 25.
According to the written
application for the conditional use, “The current building is very cramped for
the current enrollment. The new space will allow for larger classrooms, a
computer lab and a kitchen/home ec. classroom.”
Since 1999 the facility had
operated under an informal and temporary permission from the borough. The change
in ownership and lot size and the enlargement of the structure raised the issue
Regular permitted uses listed for
the R-2 zone do not include schools, but “Public and private schools” is listed
among conditional uses. The difference between permitted and conditional uses,
in the borough zoning ordinance, is that permitted uses are those allowed
without any special permission or provisos, while conditional ones are allowed
but the borough may attach conditions.
A property owner planning a
conditional use must apply for it, to give the borough an opportunity to attach
conditions to that use if it sees a need.
A condition the planning
commission voted to recommend was that there be screening (preferably some kind
of fence) along the west property line, between the academy and that neighbor.
Also, the planning commission made
its recommendation contingent on Beacon Light acquiring the needed additional
land, and on its applying for an extension of time, allowing up to 60 days for
the necessary transactions to be completed.
The Port Allegany Borough Council
then voted unanimously to accept the planning commission’s recommendation,
granting the conditional use.
Another stepping stone on the path
to the expansion was a change in the agreements between Beacon Light and the
sending school districts. Previous agreements had been one year in length, but
last year BL requested and received five-year agreements from the sending
districts. The school districts pay tuition for each student enrolled in
Major revenues to the program
include medical reimbursements or fees for the treatment components of the
program. The sending schools are not responsible for those costs, which are
covered by Medicaid, private insurance and families.
Port Allegany, Otto-Eldred and
Smethport school districts utilize Bridgeport Academy for provision of
alternative education. The students are still considered to be enrolled at their
home school districts.
Issue Casting Calls
A Broadway musical revue to be
performed this September is soon to be cast, according to the Potter-McKean
Those interested in participating
in “Broadway on the Allegheny” are invited to audition beginning at 6 p.m.
Monday, June 6, at the Port Allegany United Methodist Church at 307 North Main
Street, or 6 p.m. Monday, June 13 at the Coudersport Episcopal Church.
Vocalists including soloists are
being sought, as are actors for scenes from Broadway shows. An accompanist will
The combined Potter-McKean Players
group was formed earlier this year because of the response to last fall’s
“Moments to Remember” production.
The proceeds from the upcoming
production will benefit the swimming pool rehabilitations in Port Allegany and
Call Joel Anderson at 642-9900
Pa. Conservation Corps $$ cut,
Potter group forming
By Martha Knight
COUDERSPORT—Governor Tom Corbett
and the legislature may be prepared to eliminate funding for the Pennsylvania
Conservation Corps. Not so, Potter County officials say.
And, ironically and coincidentally
enough, a regional instance of the Civilian Conservation Corps legacy
organization is gearing up even now. And organizational meeting will be held at
11 a.m. Saturday, June 4, at the Renovo Fire Hall.
As to the possible defunding of
the PCC, Potter County Commissioners are adamantly opposed to that provision, or
non-provision, of the state budget for fiscal 2012, in its current form.
According to Commissioner Paul
Heimel, “Our Board of Commissioners strongly supports the Pennsylvania
Conservation Corps…We can fully appreciate the need to reduce state spending,
but eliminating such a worthwhile program would have a disproportionately
negative effect on rural areas such as Potter County, where the PCC makes such a
difference to cash-starved institutions.”
Heimel points out that some of
those local institutions are the state’s own facilities, including state parks,
state forest land and the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum.
One community organization dear to
Heimel’s heart is the Austin Dam Memorial Association. The local author’s latest
book, “1911, the Austin Flood,” is about to be released. And of course, the
Austin Community and the Austin Dam Memorial Association are coming up on their
centennial observance of the devastating dam failure and resulting flood, the
state’s second worst such disaster and the nation’s sixth in rank.
Also on the list Heimel mentioned
are the Potter County Fair Board, and area municipalities including Coudersport
and Galeton boroughs, which have benefited from PCC.
In human terms, Heimel notes, PCC
has helped equip area young men and women with skills, self-confidence and “some
direction in life, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be productive
citizens, rather than becoming dependent on public institutions.”
“The ‘return on investment’ of
state funds in the PCC is well documented and does not even take into account
some of the cost avoidance factors that would come into play as PCC members
progress through adulthood,” Heimel points out.
The commissioners report that they
have received affirmations of support for the PCC from State Senator Stewart
Greenleaf and State Representative Martin Causer. “We have sent letters and made
phone calls to all members of the Senate and House Appropriations and Labor and
Industry committees, as well as the Governor, urging the continued state support
of the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps,” according to Heimel.
PCC provides members with
temporary employment, job training and career guidance, while members contribute
valuable public service work.
As for the long defunct federal
program that first coupled the terms “Conservation” and “Corps,” its
accomplishments dot the area landscape, surviving in existing as well as
vestigial roads and bridges, campground facilities and even forests planted by
The proposed new Civilian
Conservation Corps Heritage chapter would take in 15 counties: Potter, McKean,
Cameron, Elk, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Forest, Clinton, Cambria, Lycoming,
Indiana, Jefferson, Tioga and Warren.
Conceived as part of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s program for recovery from the Great Depression, the CCC
employed thousands of otherwise jobless men. Beginning in 1937, numerous CCC
camps were active in what has since been defined as Pennsylvania’s Lumber
Heritage region. Susquehannock State Forest alone had 10.
CCC teams helped create Cherry
Springs State Park, and Lyman Run had a camp as well.
Many of the young men who had
served their country in the CCC went on to serve in the armed forces, after the
United States entered World War II.
Those planning to attend the proposed chapter’s organizational meeting are asked
to call 814-486-0213 or send an email to Mike Wennin at
Services - Harry Niece is pictured dropping flower petals
into the river during a Memorial Day Service held on the Brooklynside
Bridge. Also participating in Port Allegany Memorial Day services were
Mike Hadden, Commander of the American Legion, Chuck Smith, Commander of
the Veterans of Joe Knell, Sargent of Arms, Chaplin Eugene Lewis and
Honor Guard Members Mike Hardes, Smiley Kio, Kenneth McKervey, Russell
Main, Dek Kanally, Harry Niece and Larry Seybert. Those ceremonies were
held on the Town Square and at the Port Allegany Cemetery. More photos
from Memorial Day Services will appear on this week's picture page.
Our Veterans - Memorial Day Services were held on the Brooklynside
Bridge, the Town Square and at the Port Allegany Cemetery. Music for the
Town Square Ceremony was provided by the Port Allegany High School Marching
Band under the direction of Brad Stewart.
Mike Hadden, Commander of the American
Legion, served as Master of Ceremonies.
Guest speaker was Don Martin. His
message, in part, was as follows, "We hear those terms like "they gave their
life for their country" and "they gave their all" and we call them heroes
and they are, but did you ever stop to think what they really gave? They
gave all the things we enjoy in this life, all their future and all the
happiness we enjoy in this great country.
They gave all that and much more of life
in return for those freedoms we sometimes seem to forget the price that has
been paid for them."..."When you lose a comrade in war it never goes away
and is never far from your heart. Even after 40 or 60 years, it seems like
yesterday. And for all their families, the hurt never goes away completely.
That's the price of freedom"..."What all of you are doing today is one way
of reminding those families and those of us who have seen our comrades die
that they are not forgotten and never will be. When you take this time to
remember and thank them you are showing them the honor and respect they
deserve. And, I for one, am proud of each and every one of you here today."
The Supreme Sacrifice Honor Roll was read
as follows: World War I - Frank G. Burt, Charles Burch, Orlo Chafee,
William F. Dunn, Fay Fessenden, Gregg Green, Glenn Henderson, Edwin Johnson,
Hilding Johnson, Eldredge King, Collins Thomas, Charles Lambert, Lawrence
Meacham, Harold O'Connor, Flloyd Main, Arthur L. Nelson, Thomas Smith,
Eldwood Wicks; World War II - Roand B. Johnson, Lt. Flloyd E. Card, Staff
Sgt. Nelson McCloskey, Staff Sgt. George Modski, Pfc. Harold Jackson, Pvt.
Max Chilson, Virgil Kinney, Pfc. George Papageorgio, Sgt. Fred Brockel, Lt.
James McMahon, Walter Vanscooter, Pvt. Paul Connor, Lt. James Shevak, Pvt.
Donald Gustafson, Pfc. Jack Ness, S2C. Gail Chapin, Pvt. William Haglund,
Daniel Reed, Pvt. Herbert Dolaway, Cpl. Eldene Bosworth, Pfc Charles Tully;
Vietnam - Floyd Studer, Gerrith Kibbe, Albert C. Bachman, Jr; Afghanistan -
Lt. Col. Richard Berrettini; and Peacetime - Austin P. Duffy, Robert Razey,
Theodore Ireland, Joel Gamble, George Luce, Wesley VanDorn, Jerry Thomas and
Lt. William Daisley, Jr.
Wreathes were placed at the Memorials on
the Town Square by Chuck Smith, Dek Kanally and Mike Hardes.
Taps was played by Jacob Stehle and the
drum roll was played by Dylan Bowers.
Following the ceremony on the square, the
Honor Guard went to the Port Allegany Cemetery for a short service before
traveling to the Veterans Memorial Building for a luncheon provided by the
Sunday - The top four students at Port Allegany High School will
speak at this year's commencement exercises to be held Sunday, June 5 at 2:00
p.m. in the high school auditorium. Those students are (pictured left to right)
Carli Johnston, Kenneth Kysor, Bryanna Evens and Brock Bricker.
Unsung Hero - Harold Barnard (second from right) is pictured with his
son-in-law and daughter, Jim and Marion Grove and son, Michael, following the
announcement of the UMC SS May Unsung Hero Award. The presentation was made May
29 during the morning worship service at the Port Allegany United Methodist
Unsung Hero Named - Harold Barnard was named as the United Methodist
Church Sunday School Unsung Hero for May 2011. The presentation was made
during the morning worship service by Adult Sunday School teacher, Susan Roboski who read the following, "It is the last Sunday of the month and time
to once again name an Unsung Hero. Today’s recipient was actually nominated
some time ago. We had hoped to surprise him, but instead he surprised us by
not being in church that Sunday. It all worked out for the best, however,
because as a veteran of the United States Navy, it seems fitting to honor
him on Memorial Day Weekend.
The Unsung Hero for May 2011 was nominated for his years of
service as the Sunday School Treasurer as well as serving on other committees
such as Pastor Parish and the Board of Trustees.
He’s also been associated with the Allegheny Mountain Engine and
Implement Association serving as Treasurer and Head Groundskeeper and is still a
member of the board of directors.
As a member of the Adult Sunday School Class, he was known as one
of the best coffee makers around.
Our May recipient is Harold Barnard".
To nominate an Unsung Hero in your life, contact Pam Fischer at