Steve Austin, a facilitator of Philadelphia's participatory defense program, talks about tapping the resources of the community that knows defendants.
Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

It was an early autumn afternoon in 1975 — a moment that Steve Austin wishes he could take back.

Recalling that day recently, Austin took a deep breath, as if he were about to plunge into a deep, dark place.

“I killed a person. I took a person’s life,” he said. “It’s hard for me to talk about.”

Austin, 16 at the time, was selling ice cream at a street stand in his North Philadelphia neighborhood. That afternoon, he and a customer got into a heated exchange over a transaction.

BookMark: "My Favorite Thing Is Monsters" By Emil Ferris

Oct 4, 2018

Emil Ferris’s 2017 graphic novel “My Favorite Thing is Monsters” is at turns beautiful, haunting and heart wrenching––and it took the comics world by storm. It won 3 Eisner awards in 2018 for best writer/artist, best new graphic album and best coloring. It was also nominated for 3 Ignatz awards in 2017 and a Hugo Award for “Best Graphic Story” in 2018. It may come as no surprise, then, that the Pennsylvania Center for the Book unanimously selected this book for the 2018 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize.

Shirley Pechter, who performed at age 8 with the ensemble that later became the Altoona Symphony, looks at the orchestra's 90th anniversary program.
Teresa Cheung / Altoona Symphony

This Saturday, the Altoona Symphony Orchestra will officially open its 90th anniversary season with a concert at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona.

And there is a woman who was there at the start back in 1928. Shirley Pechter, now 97 years old, was part of the Altoona Symphony at the very beginning, when it was just a small group of musicians. Pechter spoke with WPSU's Story Corps in Altoona in 2013. 

"Russell Gerhart was the violin maestro in Altoona," Pechter said.  "And he started what he called an ensemble, which was a group of six of his students."

The Blair County Courthouse sits on Allegheny Street in Hollidaysburg, PA. Private funding for the District Attorney Office and local law enforcement has put immense pressure on the county's public defenders.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Michael Fiore, 56, remembered, growing up, he never had to worry about drugs in his neighborhood or the violence that they sometimes inflict. He said, back then, his community in Blair County, home to Altoona and Hollidaysburg, was safe.

But as he got older, with the rise of the opioid crisis, he saw things change. 

Shawnray Byrd has been represented by the Allegheny County Public Defenders Office four times since 2001.
An-Li Herring / Keystone Crossroads

On a humid summer day, Shawnray Byrd works a new job renovating a home just outside Pittsburgh. During a break, he says he’s grateful to be employed and free.

“It’s like everything is just going uphill now,” he said.

The 37-year-old spent six months in jail after being charged with attempted homicide in 2017.  He said his public defender was crucial to his acquittal in March.

Pennsylvania Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, one of the most prominent voices for reforming Pennsylvania's public defense system, in his office in Montgomery County.
Emma Lee / WHYY

If you hunt hard enough around Harrisburg, it is possible to find lawmakers who are on board with allocating state money for the public defense of the poor.

Possible, but not easy.

One of the most prominent voices on the issue is State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf. The 78-year-old lawmaker, whose Harrisburg tenure dates back nearly four decades, has an issue with Pennsylvania’s system of public defense that is rooted in the U.S. Constitution.

Photo: AP (Chris Pizzello/Invision/File Photo)

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Democratic governor and his Republican challenger are about to face off in what will be the fall race's only formal debate-style forum.
Gov. Tom Wolf and GOP nominee Scott Wagner are scheduled to take the stage Monday night in Hershey at the event moderated by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.
Wagner wants more debates, but Wolf is leading in polls and fundraising and has agreed to take part in just one head-to-head encounter.

Crystal Weimer was arrested in 2004 for third degree murder, a crime she didn’t commit. She spent nearly 12 years in prison and was exonerated on June 27, 2016, and all charges were dropped with prejudice.
Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY

Crystal Weimer’s nightmare began in 2004, when she was arrested for a crime she didn’t commit.

“When you go to jail, your whole family goes to jail,” Weimer said. “It’s just like a ripple effect — it’s just not you.”

She was charged with the murder of Curtis Haith, a 21-year-old who dreamed of becoming a chef.  Haith was shot in the face and beaten to death in front of his home in Fayette County, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Lou Barletta shaking hands
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Several hundred people, including Bikers for Trump, were at a get-out-the-vote rally in Wilkes-Barre Sunday night. One of the messages at the event was that voters should support Representative Lou Barletta, the Republican trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

 

Oliver North, the retired Lieutenant Colonel and NRA president, and U.S. Representative Tom Marino were among those who spoke at the rally. The message: get and out and vote or face the possibility of a Democratic takeover.

 

womeninrock.com

An archive recording for the WPSU Jazz show as aired on September 29, 2018 and hosted by Max Spiegel. 

In the first hour, hear tracks from Rich Gallagher, The Black Keys, The Four Blazes, Speckled Red, Canned Heat, Blind Willie McTell, Cathy Jean, Charlie Musselwhite, Memphis Slim, Big Bill Bronzy, The Yardbirds, and more.

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NPR Stories

As the student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Seth Frotman watched as the Department of Education became one of the biggest banks in the country. It has lent out more than a trillion dollars to student borrowers. The problem is, the Department of Education wasn't really built to be a bank.

Companies know that when they screw up big time they need to issue an immediate and comprehensive apology. But what about the smaller stuff? If a company gets your order wrong or sends you a faulty product, what should they do? That's the topic of a new paper on the economics of apologies. A group of economists partnered with the ride-sharing app Uber to try and figure out the most effective way for a company to apologize to a wronged customer.

Letters recently sent from two female inmates at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville describe their growing desperation as their basic hygienic supplies disappeared.

"I ran out on Saturday 9/30," one wrote, "and although I continually asked for [toilet paper], was told they were out. They did have pads that I used as [toilet paper] until Monday 10/1 when they ran out. I then had to use a wash rag until Wed morn."

In 2014, Cohen surprised the Manhattan audience of a closed listening session of Popular Problems, his newest album at the time, by popping in not to sing, but simply say hello and look at everyone like they were aliens. At the time, I remember thinking that everything seemed to be a Very Serious Lark to Leonard.

Two years later, Cohen died. But just before that, he had put the finishing touches on a final book, The Flame, which was released on Oct. 2. It comes with an audio version of the works inside it, read by stars of film and literature.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The Fight Over Voting Rights Ahead Of Midterms

With  David Folkenflik Some lawmakers seek to prevent many people from voting ahead of this fall’s midterms. Those efforts don’t show up in polls, but could affect the results. Guests Wendy Weiser ,  director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. She founded the program’s Voting Rights and Elections Project. ( @WendyRWeiser ) Dale Ho , director of the ACLUs Voting Rights Project. ( @dale_e_ho ) John Merrill , Alabama secretary of state.   ( ...

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'You Look Perfect:' Princess Eugenie Of York Marries In Another Royal Wedding

Princess Eugenie of York, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, walked down the aisle Friday to wed Jack Brooksbank. The royal wedding comes nearly five months after the nuptials of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle drew more than 100,000 spectators to Windsor (and about 50 million viewers in the United States and Britain). For all the pomp, circumstance and media hype of British royal weddings, the ceremony for Eugenie and Brooksbank was simultaneously a smaller-scale yet still...

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Georgia Republican Candidate Sued, Accused Of Jeopardizing Minority Voters

Less a month from the midterm elections, one of the candidates in Georgias hotly contested Governors race has been hit with a federal lawsuit. Republican Brian Kemp, Georgias secretary of state, was sued Thursday by groups that say his office is jeopardizing the votes of tens of thousands of minority Georgians. Kemps campaign denies wrongdoing. Here & Now s Peter ODowd speaks with  Jonathan Brater   ( @JonathanBrater ) , counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program....

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Saudi Economic Summit Suffers Exodus Of Guests After Journalist's Disappearance

At this time last year Riyadh was gearing up to host a raft of leading figures from the world of business and banking at its inaugural Future Investment Initiative . Dubbed "Davos in the Desert" — in a nod to the yearly global economic forum and the kingdom's own lofty ambitions — the conference in the Saudi capital suggested a new era of openness and innovation under the young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The event is set to return in just a week and a half, but this time around, it...

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Same-Sex Penguin Couple Fosters An Egg In Sydney

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zXVi0TgQko In the penguin habitat at an aquarium in Sydney, love is in the air. The newest penguin couple here are named Sphen and Magic, and the two males are about to take the leap into parenthood. Sea Life Sydney Aquarium said they became inseparable before breeding season, "constantly seen waddling around and going for swims together." There's a reason gentoo penguins have been called "one of the more romantic seabirds in the animal kingdom," as Oceana...

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Café Tacvba: Tiny Desk Concert

It's appropriate that the pioneering Mexican band Café Tacvba (Tacuba) start its set with "Olita del Altamar" ("Waves from the High Seas") from the group's 2012 album El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco . It's essentially an incantation of the magic that transpired during their performance behind Bob Boilen's desk. The lyrics sing of the comings and goings of waves, symbolic of the passage of time and fueled by the Mexican folk rhythm son jarocho, a favorite of the band's since their start almost...

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'The Romanoffs' Feels Like A Short Story Collection Made For The Screen

The rollout plan for the new TV series The Romanoffs is unusual for Amazon — just as the drama series itself is an unusual experiment for the show's creator, Matthew Weiner . Instead of making the entire season of The Romanoffs available at once, as it does with so many of its exclusive TV series, Amazon Prime Video presents only the first two episodes on the night the series premieres. Subsequent installments will be doled out weekly, as they are on broadcast TV. And unlike the past two...

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Commerce Secretary Now Recalls Discussing Citizenship Question With Steve Bannon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDWiAiSWgNU Updated 8:50 p.m. ET Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross now recalls speaking with a White House official about the possibility of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census . That's according to a new court document from the administration's attorneys that confirms conversations between senior officials during the early months of the Trump administration. This disclosure backtracks Ross' congressional testimony in March. As the head of the...

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GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, Under Indictment, Launches False Attacks On Opponent

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou3mUSQuvrY A Republican congressman who should have waltzed to re-election is now in the fight of his career. Duncan Hunter, who has represented an inland Southern California district for a decade, was indicted in August on charges of using a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses. As the race grows tighter, Hunter is attacking his Democratic challenger for his Palestinian heritage. A controversial television ad accuses Ammar...

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'The Oath': A House Divided Against Itself, A Family You Cannot Stand

The second Civil War will be fought over Thanksgiving. That's the devilish concept at the heart of The Oath , the new dark comedy from Ike Barinholtz that imagines families tearing at each other's throats over the latest machinations of the U.S. government. It doesn't have to imagine too hard. Written and filmed in a white-hot rage over the last year, The Oath barely bothers to mask the inspiration for its dystopia. The film's chief fantastical ingredient is a Stalinist "loyalty oath" to the...

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Congress Really Can Demand, And Get, Trump's Tax Returns. Here's How

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi vowed this week to demand President Trump's tax returns if Democrats win control of the House of Representatives next month. Pelosi, seeking to regain her gavel as House speaker after elections in November, told The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that the move "is one of the first things we'd do — that's the easiest thing in the world. That's nothing." Trump, unlike other presidents in recent decades, has refused to make his returns public. He...

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Rate Of C-Sections Is Rising At An 'Alarming' Rate, Report Says

The rate of cesarean sections around the world is increasing at an "alarming" rate, reported an international team of doctors and scientists on Thursday. Since 1990, C-sections have more than tripled from about 6 percent of all births to 21 percent, three studies report in The Lancet . And there are no "signs of slowing down," the researchers write in a commentary about the studies. C-sections now outnumber vaginal deliveries in parts of southeast Europe, Latin America and China. Even in poor...

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'This Is A War Zone': Hurricane Michael Leaves Deadly Trail Through Southeast

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Goats And Sheep (Indirectly) Fight Fires In Heartwarming BBC Video

Goats (and sheep) have been recruited in the effort to fight wildfires. Northern Spain has a "Fire Flocks" project, in which dozens and dozens of the ruminants chip in by doing what they do so well: eat. A new video from BBC World Hacks , which highlights "brilliant solutions to the world's problems," tells the story. It was published on October 11. "They eat what is the fuel for fires," says Sergi Nuss, who runs the project, which is based in Girona, an area where there were recurrent...

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Chazelle's 'First Man' Chronicles Personal Losses Behind Armstrong's 'Giant Leap'

On July 20, 1969, an estimated 530 million people watched on live television as Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first human to step upon the surface of the moon. Nearly 50 years later, Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle revisits Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind" — but with a more intimate lens. First Man , starring Ryan Gosling, focuses on the personal sacrifices behind Armstrong's monumental step. Chazelle, whose previous films include La La Land and Whiplash ,...

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WPSU's Fall Fundraising 2nd Pre-Drive Challenge!

Many thanks to everyone who helped WPSU make our first cake & icing challenge! Now a 2nd challenge is in effect: we raise another $10,000, it's capped with $5,000 by 3 anonymous donors!

WPSU's Candidate Interviews

Election day is November 6th, and WPSU is talking with candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 12th, 13th & 15th districts. Click below for the radio & TV schedule.

The NPR Politics Show: Saturdays At Noon, Through Midterms Week

The Politics Show is the definitive guide to the 2018 midterms: a one-hour roundtable discussion airing for nine weeks that presents a deep dive on the major races & issues.

Get your NPR News Fix This Weekend!

Listen to the latest from NPR News this weekend on Weekend Edition, Saturday & Sunday mornings, 8:00-10:00am; and All Things Considered, Saturday & Sunday evenings, 5:00-6:00pm on WPSU-FM.

It's Folk Season

The Folk Show is back on WPSU-FM Saturday afternoons from 1-5pm, now through December, when the Metropolitain Opera Radio Season begins again.

NPR's "Planet Money/How I Built This"

Saturdays at 7:00am: “Planet Money” and “How I Built This” are two half-hour shows that together make a one-hour weekly program on business and entrepreneurship from NPR.

The Great American Read

PBS asked Americans to name their best-loved novel, and they've compiled a list of the top 100. Hear WPSU listeners make a case for their favorites, then vote for yours at pbs.org/greatamericanread.

Add your voice!

Write an essay for WPSU's This I Believe or BookMark.

Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival? explores the urgent challenges pressing upon Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a contributing station.

Listen to Morning Edition, weekdays from 5:00am to 9:00am & Weekend Edition, Saturday & Sunday from 8:00am to 10:00am on WPSU-FM.

Get The Free WPSU App!

Take public media anywhere you go with the WPSU mobile app available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Amazon devices.

Turn Your Old Car into Public Radio!

Got an old car? The Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program will take it off your hands & turn it into great public radio on WPSU-FM. To donate your car, visit the link below or call 1-866-789-8627. Thanks!

WPSU's Community Calendar

Find out what's happening in Central & Northern PA on WPSU's Community Calendar! Submit your group's event at least 2 weeks in advance, and you might hear it announced on WPSU-FM.

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