April 17, 2015 |
For nearly a year, hints of the problems plaguing Philadelphia's Veterans Affairs benefits office had seeped out. On Wednesday, the agency's own inspectors finally confirmed nearly all the allegations - and added new ones - in a searing report that painted the most damaging portrait to date of dysfunction at the Germantown office. The VA inspector general's 10-month probe found more than 31,000 veteran inquiries had languished, on average, for almost a year. Sorters had stamped as "unidentifiable" thousands of pieces of mail from veterans, ignoring phone numbers or other information that would have made many easy to track.
April 4, 2015 |
A nasty, antibiotic-resistant bug struck at least 243 people in the United States during the 10-month period ending in February, including six patients in Philadelphia and 12 elsewhere in Pennsylvania, federal and state health officials said Thursday. Though they rarely die, people infected with Shigella bacteria can suffer bloody diarrhea and intense abdominal pain for up to a week. The best defense is hand-washing, as the microbe is commonly spread when an infected person touches other people or prepares food for them, said Bennett Lorber, professor at the Temple University School of Medicine.
April 3, 2015
IF WE Philadelphians have a fault, it's that we put our blinders on when it comes to the rest of the state. That's a mistake. We are the state's largest county, but there are 66 more. We are all in the same boat called the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our fate locally is linked to the state's. Gov. Wolf understands this. His budget proposal doesn't target one area over another. He wants to create a rising tide for everyone, regardless of whether they live on Venango Street or in Venango County.
March 27, 2015 |
Area congressmen Wednesday urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue its long-awaited report on mismanagement and misconduct at the Philadelphia regional office, after results of the probe began to seep out and stir new questions and accusations. A top VA official visited the office Wednesday and said the agency had already implemented many of the recommendations expected within a week from the department's Office of Inspector General. But leaks this week of portions of its report, and of material gathered by a congressional committee, have rekindled the focus on the Germantown-based facility.
March 26, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Veterans Affairs office should implement widespread policy changes, arrange new training, and hold managers and staffers accountable for altering records and mishandling claims, government investigators say. After a nine-month probe, the VA's Office of Inspector General made 35 recommendations to address shoddy record-keeping, bungled claims, inadequate security, and poor working conditions at the Philadelphia office. The Inquirer obtained a draft of its recommendations Tuesday.
March 20, 2015 |
Bravo Group, a Harrisburg public relations and lobbying firm with a stable of big energy industry clients, has hired a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection executive to lead its energy and environmental practice. Jeffrey M. Logan, who has worked in various state agencies for 20 years, most recently served as DEP executive deputy secretary during the Corbett administration. Bravo's energy clients include Sunoco, Sunoco Logistics, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Southwestern Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, Dow Chemical and the Pennsylvania Steel Alliance.
March 11, 2015 |
The ghost hunters and the Ivy League professors were 40 minutes into their investigation at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology when Projit B. Mukharji felt something. The rest of the group had fanned out across the darkened Harrison Auditorium, a spacious art deco room with a coffered dome. The paranormal sleuths were training their temperature guns and "electromagnetic frequency meters" - tools that, in theory, register changes should a spirit be present.
March 8, 2015 |
When a sensational dancer first steps onstage, it's as exciting for me as for an astronomer discovering a nova. Zachary Hench gave such a moment when he flashed his star quality stepping out as Prince Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon's production of Swan Lake in 2004. Newly commissioned by Pennsylvania Ballet, it was a million-dollar gamble I hope has paid off in real money as much as it does in artistic quality and innovation. I reviewed that premiere, but looking back on it, I did not fully appreciate its value.
March 7, 2015 |
David Gray, who has been serving as interim executive director of the Pennsylvania Ballet since last summer, has had his interim status removed and will manage the company going forward, ballet board chair David Hoffman announced Thursday. Hoffman touted Gray's "strong leadership style and breadth of experience in ballet, nonprofit, and financial communities" in making the announcement. Gray, 55, who began in the press office of the New York City Ballet and then became a certified financial planner and consultant to many nonprofits facing change, has also been executive director of the American Repertory Ballet, New Jersey's largest dance organization.
March 6, 2015 |
Two public-policy centers in the Philadelphia region are joining forces with the goal of improving civics education in schools. The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, created in 2013 in collaboration with the National Constitution Center, has relocated from Arcadia University in Glenside to the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the institutions announced Wednesday. The Rendell Center, a nonprofit led by Judge Marjorie O. Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, develops civics lessons for lower grades, while the Annenberg Center has worked with middle and high schools.