Pennsylvania Prisons Locked Down After Staff Exposed To Suspected Tainted Drugs

Pennsylvania ordered a lockdown Wednesday of its entire state prison system after a number of staffers became ill from suspected exposure to tainted synthetic drugs, an incident that comes as five inmates have died from overdoses in Arkansas and dozens were sickened in Ohio under similar circumstances. State Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said the cautionary move was aimed at ensuring the "safety and security of our employees" after multiple illnesses among prison staff in recent weeks. ...

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Today marks 149 years since Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, just over a month before the end of the Civil War. WPSU's Kate Lao Shaffner talks with historian, author, and Centre Hall native Jeffry Wert about why the speech has lasting significance.

Looking for an older WPSU's Story Corps interview? Find them among our story archives.

State College Homeless Shelter
Kate Lao Shaffner

Yesterday, WPSU's Kate Lao Shaffner talked to folks with Centre County's Out of the Cold and Hearts for the Homeless programs, which seek to provide respite for the homeless during the winter months. Here's the second part of the series, about the broader issues of homelessness in the Centre region.

Whitney Hunsinger is sitting in the living room of Centre House, a homeless shelter in downtown State College. Her daughters, who are two and four, are coloring and watching TV. Hunsinger is nine months pregnant.

Yesterday, WPSU's Kate Lao Shaffner reported on Centre County's Out of the Cold and Hearts for the Homeless programs. Today, we'll hear about the year-round reality of homelessness in State College, a town where many might assume homelessness isn't a concern.

Cot with quilt
Kate Lao Shaffner

For many of our listeners, the worst thing a colder-than-usual winter can bring is a higher heating bill.  But for the homeless, the frigid temperatures could be a matter of life and death.  How do Centre County residents who don’t have a home get out of the cold?

For many of our listeners, the worst a colder-than-usual winter can bring is an expensive heating bill. But for the homeless, the frigid temperatures could be a matter of life or death. WPSU's Kate Lao Shaffner talks with Centre County residents about how those without homes get out of the cold.  

John Gaudlip in front of field with sprinklers.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

    

This week WPSU is taking a look at water issues in central Pennsylvania. Today, WPSU’s Emily Reddy explores the massive task of supplying and cleaning the water used by students, faculty, staff and visitors at Penn State University. 

Hearts for the Homeless, a drop-in day center located in downtown State College, opened its doors for the first time yesterday. WPSU's Kate Lao Shaffner reports.  

I was born weighing 2 pounds and 4 ounces. I was small, even for a newborn in a big world. While in the womb, the doctor gave my brother and me a low chance of survival because the umbilical cord was struggling to support us both. Despite this, we were born with no severe handicaps. By the time I was nine, however, I realized I was different from other kids my age.

At school, while other kids talked and played, I stayed at my desk. I struggled to understand what was being taught, and I was too afraid to ask for help. My mom wondered if something was wrong with me.

Joel Rubin is the Director of Policy and Government Affairs at Ploughshares Fund, a foundation dedicated preventing the use and spread of nuclear weapons. We'll talk with him about the recent Iran nuclear weapons deal and why Americans should be concerned about the state of nuclear weapons today.

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Pennsylvania Prisons Locked Down After Staff Exposed To Suspected Tainted Drugs

Pennsylvania ordered a lockdown Wednesday of its entire state prison system after a number of staffers became ill from suspected exposure to tainted synthetic drugs, an incident that comes as five inmates have died from overdoses in Arkansas and dozens were sickened in Ohio under similar circumstances. State Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said the cautionary move was aimed at ensuring the "safety and security of our employees" after multiple illnesses among prison staff in recent weeks. ...

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Texas Officer Who Fatally Shot Black Teen Is Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

A jury in Texas sentenced former police officer Roy Oliver to 15 years in prison for the murder last year of an unarmed black teenager. Oliver was a police officer in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs when the shooting took place in April of last year. He and his partner responded to reports of underage drinking. Oliver fired his weapon five times at a moving vehicle. Jordan Edwards, 15, in the front passenger seat, was shot in the head and killed. Oliver, who was dismissed by the department...

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Reggaetón And The Search For Identity After Hurricane María

It's not easy packing your bags and saying goodbye to your family after a Category 5 hurricane has wiped out what you call home, leaving so many places — tied so closely with childhood memories and routine — bare and unusable. Around 179,000 Puerto Ricans fled the island in the months following Hurricane María, with 69,000 moving to Florida alone . Nearly all power on the island has now been restored , but the aging electric grid is still suffering from abrupt outages . FEMA is already...

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Here's What Keeps The Democratic Party's Technology Boss Awake At Night

The 2016 campaign was a nightmare for Democrats. So Democratic National Committee Chief Technology Officer Raffi Krikorian was brought in to the DNC in 2017 to make sure embarrassing breaches — and the subsequent leak of internal communications — weren't repeated. But with fewer than 70 days to go until the midterm elections, there's still a lot of room for improvement, he acknowledged, both inside and outside the organization. "We all still have work to do. And we're not getting the support...

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How To Stream — And Fully Appreciate — Aretha Franklin's Funeral

Watch or listen to the funeral live on Friday morning at 10 a.m. via NPR.org . Since Aretha Franklin's death on Aug. 16, the world has memorialized the soul icon in fitting fashion — as a Queen. Her voice "captured the experience of living through profound change and showed how to preserve integrity in its wake," as Ann Powers wrote , an example that can feel desperately absent in these times of turmoil, but one that remains just a memory away. Franklin is on the cusp of being honored as...

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McCain's Death Marks The Near-Extinction Of Bipartisanship

The death of John McCain represents something more than the death of a U.S. senator and an American military hero. In this hotly partisan era, it also symbolizes the near-extinction of lawmakers who believe in seeking bipartisanship to tackle big problems. "[O]ur arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all," McCain said in July 2017 , with a cut over his eye from treatment for brain cancer, speaking of Senate rules. "The most revered...

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Former Colleagues, Friends, Athletes To Serve As McCain's Pallbearers

The late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be laid to rest this week after a series of memorials and ceremonies in Arizona and Washington, D.C. A public service is set to take place Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix. Former Vice President Joe Biden will deliver a tribute, and two of McCain's children, son Andrew and daughter Bridget, will offer readings from Scripture. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. — who became friends with McCain after his NFL career...

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'The Shadow President' A Missed Opportunity To Better Understand Mike Pence

The word "nice" is a persistent problem for journalists Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner in their new, hostile biography of Mike Pence, The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence. The truth about Pence, according to them, is that he is a sinister zealot, an opportunist, and a "Christian supremacist" biding his time until he can take over the presidency from Donald Trump. But here's the problem: Sources keep calling Pence things like "nice." Luckily, D'Antonio and Eisner have a...

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Hard At Work At 84, Artist Sam Gilliam Has 'Never Felt Better'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjHpTmzGg4o Sam Gilliam found inspiration for his signature artworks in an unlikely place — a clothesline. In a Washington, D.C., studio that was once a drive-through gas station, the 84-year-old artist works surrounded by yards of vividly-painted fabric, hung like laundry from a line. The sheer, silky polyester puddles to the floor, catching light on the way down. The idea, he explains, is "to develop the idea of movement into shapes." Over the decades,...

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Russia Prepares 300,000 Troops For Its Largest War Games In Nearly 4 Decades

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRbo0zPgfQ0 Amid mounting acrimony with NATO, Russia's military has announced plans to hold its "biggest exercises since 1981." The country's defense ministry says the massive exercise next month will involve some 300,000 Russian troops, more than 1,000 aircraft and the participation of some Chinese and Mongolian military units. The military drills, known as Vostok-2018 or East-2018, are expected to commence Sept. 11 and last five days near Russia's eastern...

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In A Reversal, Wisconsin To Cover State Workers Seeking Transgender Treatment

In a surprising reversal, a Wisconsin board has voted to again offer insurance coverage to transgender state employees seeking hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgery. Members of the Group Insurance Board, which manages the insurance program for Wisconsin's public workers and retirees, last week voted 5-4 to overturn its current policy barring treatments and procedures "related to gender reassignment or sexual transformation." The change will take effect Jan. 1, allowing insurance to...

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Hurricane Maria Caused 2,975 Deaths In Puerto Rico, Independent Study Estimates

Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET Puerto Rico's governor updated the island's official death toll for victims of Hurricane Maria on Tuesday, hours after independent researchers from George Washington University released a study estimating the hurricane caused 2,975 deaths in the six months following the storm. The researchers' findings had been long-awaited. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló commissioned the independent study in February, after months of public pressure over his administration's...

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With Vatican In Turmoil Over Abuse Allegations, Questions Remain About What Pope Knew

For centuries, the words "Vatican" and "intrigue" have gone hand in hand. But the Holy See's centuries-old code of secrecy ensured that scandals and conspiracies usually remained hidden behind the tall and sturdy Renaissance walls of the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, unbeknownst to the faithful masses around the world. Now, in the era of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, mudslinging between rival church factions is being waged out in the open. "It's as if the Borgias and...

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Mourning From The Ground Up: Aretha's Funeral Is Part Of A Joyful American Tradition

The Detroit Free Press issued a stern directive to fans and would-be Instagram influencers gathering this week to commemorate Aretha Franklin in her hometown. "Remember," admonished staffer (and occasional NPR contributor) Rochelle Riley in her Tuesday column , "We will treat this like church." No selfies are allowed with Franklin's gold-plated coffin, as she lay in repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and no amateurs posting to YouTube will be admitted to her...

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The Eddie Severn Quartet will play Thursday September 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art. Tickets are free, but limited. So reserve yours now at the link below!

The Great American Read

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

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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!

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.

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