Friday, November 19, 2010

Grucela Bill For Vietnam War Vets Becomes Law in His Final Days as State Rep

Nearly two years ago, I told you about State Rep. Rich Grucela's effort to get high school diplomas for veterans of the Vietnam War who were unable to complete high school because of their military service. It is now law.

Grucela, who did not seek re-election this year, said it was one of the best retirement gifts he could ask for.

"I have worked for many years to see that these veterans receive their high school diplomas," said Grucela, who was first elected in 1998. "It's a high note for me personally to leave on. We talk a lot about the sacrifices members of the military make, and as a former teacher, I understand the significance of a high school diploma, even if a person doesn't need it for their career anymore."

Although the House and Senate passed Grucela's measure back in October s part of an omnibus school code bill. Governor Rendell vetoed the Bill on an unrelated matter, and the legislature voted to override Rendell's veto this week.

"It's been close to 60 years since the Vietnam War began, and the time to give those men and women a high school diploma was well overdue," Grucela said. "A high school diploma is a mile marker in life, and that sense of accomplishment should not be denied because a man or woman served their country."

Grucela explained that some veterans may have felt uncomfortable returning to school at a later age, were injured or ill, or simply needed to work full time to support themselves following the war.

"I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for supporting our Vietnam veterans and putting Pennsylvania among the ranks of the many other states that already have a similar program," he added.

Grucela's measure authorizes school boards to establish a program known as Operation Recognition for Vietnam veterans. The program has been used in the past for World War II and Korean War veterans.

Any honorably discharged veteran who served in the U.S. military in the Vietnam War between Feb. 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975, is eligible for a diploma. The veteran must have attended high school between 1958 and 1975 and have been a member of a graduation class between the years 1961 and 1975, but did not graduate because of entry into the military.

Additionally, a school board is able to award a diploma posthumously to an eligible veteran.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of State Rep's, will you post about your buddy Brennan. Sounds like he is on the sauce again. Or will you protect him like you do all the guys you like.

If this were Callahan or Pawlowski you would have seven threads by now. Admit it???

Anonymous said...

Typical unfunded mandate...way to go Rich. Let the local property tax payers pick it up

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have not written about what happened to Joe bc I knew nothing about it until I read it in the newspaper. If this were Callahan or Pawlowski, there would be no story from me either and I'll tell you why.

Pawlowski and Callahan both did have recent motor vehicles accidents with city-owned property. I wrote nothing about either of them, even though there were all kinds of juicy rumors. To me, those are not by themselves newsworthy or even blogworthy. Accidents happen. Even to elected officials.

Now I can see why Brennan's accident is such a big deal. He
parked his car and waited for police inside a bar, where he apparently consumed 1/4 of a glass of beer.

Get the pitchforks.

About six months ago, I was on my way home after watching my grandson. It was very late and I was very tired. I apparently went thru a red light. A cop followed me for at least a mile before i even realized it. He cited me, as he should have, although he gave me a break and made it a non-point offense. But if someone were suspicious, he could claim I'm on the sauce. He could claim the cop gave me "special" treatment. He could demand to know why I wasn't taken in for a blood test.

I know Joe pretty well. I have not spoken to him about this, and have no intention of speaking to him about this. I know what he is like, and know he is deeply embarrassed. I also know he is a loving father, and spends every minute he can with his sons. He spent many a night with a son playing T-ball this summer. Fathers "on the sauce" don't do that.

I know.

I had one.

If you want to convict Joe based on a shitty driving record, then convict me, too. I have a gazillion parking tickets. But isn't this all just a little silly?

Anonymous said...

Bernie it is still strange behavior to park your car and run into a tavern for a beer and burger, when you know the cops will be there shortly. At the very least very, very poor judgement. I find it just like the mayor's brother in law that the police tend to not bother with DUI tests when influential people are involved.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Facially, it seems bizarre. But would Joe just walk into a bar? Isn't it more likely that he told people he'd be waiting inside that pub? Maybe the drivers in the other car were upset with him and he figured he better stay away from them. We don't really know enough to draw any conclusion. It's not like he tooled off. He pulled over and parked. And I find it telling that it's a beer AND a burger.

As an alkie and the son of an alkie, I can tell you flat out that if someone is "on the sauce," he does not order the burger.

And I would not compare this to Dino. There was no big story about Dino until 3 years later, while Joe's accident was covered right away. They even managed to fit in a summary offense for tailgating.

Also, I find it interesting that, although the ET certainly must know about this accident, they have no story. They are probably making their own difficult decisions about whether this is really newsworthy and are doing some digging of their own.

Should the public know every time an elected official is in an accident? I think most would say no. If there are unusual circumstances, like waiting for police in a bar or failing to report the accident, I can see why TMC wrote a story. But we really don't know much.

I keep thinking back to my own situation some months ago. It was after midnight. I had been watching my grandson. I was very tired. I completely ignored a police officer and fortunately did not kill anyone when I went thru a red light. I have a history as an alcoholic. I am sure my eyes were bloodshot.

Couldn't someone say that I was out drinking and that story about my grandson is just bullshit? Couldn't they say that I got a "special" favor from the cop for whatever reason? If you read enough comments here, you'll see people make all kinds of outrageous claims, although nobody ever talks about my stunning good looks.

I don't know what to say, except that I don't know what to say and that is why I have not written.

I do like Joe. He is my friend. He is also a good dad. He is a decent guy. Unlike many of the other state rep races, he and Dave Molony stayed classy with each other. Having hit someone in an accident, I am sure he feels mortified, not just because of the adverse publicity, but because he unintentionally hurt another person.

I am not protecting him and could not if I wanted to do so. The story is already out there, as I think it should be. But it does not prove Joe is "on the sauce."

Anonymous said...

To the topic, good parting gift from Grucela for vets. Bravo!

"And I find it telling that it's a beer AND a burger."

He had to be inside for 20 mins to get a burger. This wasn't "cops are on the way" situation. Between the accident, sorting things out and getting the food prepped, this probably was close to 30-45 mins of waiting. It may have been lackin in class, but this wasn't a case of him just walking away from the accident.

Anonymous said...

Unfunded mandates are the work of disingenuous politicians. Thank God we're rid of this one.

Anonymous said...

The "immediately-consume-alcohol-post-crash-but-prior-to-breathalyzer-to-create-a-legal-gray-area" is a very heady, useful tactic for drunk drivers, and not widely known.

Another effective tactic is to safely leave your vehicle at the scene of a non-injury accident before police arrive, call in the accident report from another location, and refuse to talk for 24 hours (in order to sober up).

I'm not saying Brennan was loaded, but his actions are consistent with someone who was and is familiar with how to get away with it.

Clem said...


The FIRST thing someone who wasn't drinking would do, if he hadn't been drinking, would be to go in and get the booze on his breath and create the possibility that the cops might think that he had been drinking.

Although, if they are Bethlehem cops and you are a sitting, pro-union, unaccomplished D -rep like smilin' Joe, not much to worry about either way.

He's either a liar or the biggest doofus the legislature has ever seen.

3:21 has this nailed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rich.

My father often talked about being drafted out of HS during WWII and how he always regretted not being able to get his diploma. At age 16, he was hauling coal to support his family. During his draft interview, he expressed an interest in caring for his sick, widowed mother and two younger brothers. They told him they were taking married men next and a waiver was not an option. Few of us can imagine getting yanked out of HS and many of our classmates not returning alive.

He served on an ammunition ship off the coast of Japan. He learned from a shipmate that his mother died and was given two weeks leave to return home and arrange for care of his two younger brothers. During that time, the A-bomb was dropped and he only made it back to Sacramento, before his transfer back to ship was placed on hold because the War was about to end. He is alive today and always felt it was the grace of God that he was not on ship when the A-bomb was dropped as many of his hometown shipmates passed away at an early age.

Sixty years after WWII, I secured his official diploma for which he was very proud of. My only regret was not arranging to have him accept it at the in-school Memorial Day program.

My father is not a wealthy man, but always helped a person in need. He buried more then one neighbor that did not have any close family. One of them was a WWII Silver Star recipient. I believe he will eventually be rewarded for his life of good deeds.

I wish more people would take the time and attend a local Memorial Day program.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your father is a hero, and I'm glad to hear you got him his diploma.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Joe B get arrested for shoplifting also? Or just changing the price tags.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gee, what I recall is that he was arrested and the charges were thrown out because they were complete BULLSHIT. Joe sure doesn't get any special treatment.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think Gracedale's ratings have gone up, but the fact remains that private nursing homes provide the best care, at least if you go by the star system. I have seen a rating for Gracedale on bed sores. It did very bad, but I have not used it bc it is about 4 years old..