Participants rappel down the 12-story Fraser Center.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

'Edgers' Rappel Down 12-Story State College Building For Charity

Rappelling down a 12-story building isn’t a typical way to spend a Thursday afternoon—unless it’s for a good cause. “Oh my gosh, that was crazy. Yeah, I guess I’m not as afraid of heights as I thought I was,” Wendy Vinhage said. Vinhage—now at ground level—is director of the nonprofit organization, Interfaith Human Services. Her group, along with the FaithCentre, hosted “Over the Edge.” The event raised money for each group's mission to provide resources for Centre County residents in need....

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Shaun Dougherty, left, urged Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman to pass SB261, which would open a two-year retroactive civil lawsuit window.
Min Xian / WPSU

The state House passed a bill last week to help protect victims of child sex abuse, which victims and advocates are urging the state Senate to support.

Shaun Dougherty, a survivor of child sex abuse, said the current laws in Pennsylvania did not protect him after he was abused.

On Friday, Dougherty delivered a request to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman at his office in Bellefonte, along with the Senator’s Democratic opponent in the midterm election, Ezra Nanes.

The opioid epidemic has been described as the worst public health crisis in Pennsylvania.

Jason Snyder has both professional and personal experience with the battle against addiction. He is currently the regional director of outpatient services in Eastern Pennsylvania for Pinnacle Treatment Centers. Snyder previously served in the Wolf administration, where he oversaw the Governor’s Centers of Excellence.

This interview is a part of the statewide Battling Opioids project.

In July, Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna hosted a town hall in Philipsburg addressing the prevention and treatment on opioid addiction.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

Drug-related overdose deaths continue to climb nationwide. Pennsylvania declared the opioid epidemic a state of emergency at the beginning of this year.

 

In Elk County, in March 2017, Kaitlyn Buerk, 24, bought five bags of drugs from her sister Allison Miller and her cousin Theresa Sample, who had just gone to Pittsburgh and bought 20 bags of what they thought was heroin.

 

This essay originally aired on December 21, 2017.  

My paternal grandmother, Helen, was a frugal and reserved woman with dyed-red curly hair. She always wore a 1960s-style house coat, even into the 1990s. We visited occasionally and I played with a few antique toys in the sunroom while the grown-ups talked in the den.

Helen enjoyed drinking tea and, I’m told, favored a weak brew. When I began drinking tea in the fourth grade, my parents compared the sweet, weak liquid I sipped to Helen’s. She passed away that spring, almost a year after her husband.

Group of walkers on a path
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Runners and walkers were cheered across the finish line at a recent charity run in South Williamsport. The goal was not only to win a half-marathon or 10K, but to raise money and awareness to counter addiction.

Among those cheering at the finish line was Dylan. He’ll have been sober for two years in November.

“Drug court changed my life. It saved my life,” he said.

Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 in Washington. Her attorney's Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich watch.
Win McNamee / Pool Image via AP

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Watch the proceeding live.

Advocates for changing the statute of limitations for child sex crimes embraced.
Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it easier for victims of child sexual abuse to hold abusers accountable.

The measure’s fate now rests with the state Senate, whose leaders say they have no intention of passing it without significant changes.

Both chambers agree on the proposal’s basic features.

It would get rid of criminal statute of limitations on all child sex abuse cases and extend the cap for victims to file civil suits against institutions.

 

Best-selling author Mohsin Hamid spoke at Penn State Altoona on Tuesday as part of their Distinguished Speaker Series. His most recent novel, “Exit West,” was selected as Penn State Altoona’s Common Read for this year.

“Exit West” tells the story of two refugees, Nadia and Saeed, who flee a nameless country on the brink of civil war. During his keynote address, Hamid talked about the connection he sees between migrating and growing old. He tried to focus on this commonality in the novel, rather than on the ways refugees are different.

Monday about 30 men and women gathered outside Penn State’s Allen Street Gates in State College to show solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Rally participants chanted and took turns brandishing a megaphone to share their own stories.

Justine Andronici, a lawyer who works with victims of sexual assault, spoke about being drugged and raped when she was in college. Like Ford, she chose not to report. She believes Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Fair Districts PA organizer Pam Short shows a participant in the "Gerry Meander" walk which district they are standing in. The 2.5 miles participants walked covers three Pennsylvania House Districts and two U.S. House Districts.
Min Xian / WPSU

Fair Districts PA hosted a “Gerry Meander” walk on Saturday. Participants walked through the Park Forest neighborhood in the State College area where three state House districts and two U.S. House districts meet.

Organizer Debbie Trudeau said Pennsylvania’s new congressional districts were a Band-Aid to the state’s gerrymandering problem.

“These lines go through people’s homes now, so this was not a good solution," Trudeau said. 

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NPR Stories

At least 11 people have died from Hurricane Michael, which slammed into Florida's Panhandle with 155-mph winds on Wednesday. The storm hacked a trail of catastrophic destruction in Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia before finally heading back out over water.

Five deaths were reported in Virginia, in addition to four in Florida, one in Georgia and one in North Carolina.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hacking The Law.

About Vivek Maru's TED Talk

Often, people who don't understand the law or can't pay for lawyers end up being mistreated. Lawyer and social entrepreneur Vivek Maru calls for a global community of paralegals to place the law on the side of the people.

About Vivek Maru

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hacking The Law.

About Brett Hennig's TED Talk

Brett Hennig says democracy — and the process of voting — is broken. To fix it, he has a radical suggestion: replacing politicians with a demographically representative selection of random citizens.

About Brett Hennig

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hacking The Law.

About Steven Wise's TED Talk

Animals like chimpanzees are autonomous beings with rich emotional lives, says animal rights lawyer Steven Wise. He's working to get courts to recognize them as "legal persons" and grant them rights.

About Steven Wise

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

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