Washington State Strikes Down Death Penalty, Citing Racial Bias

The Washington Supreme Court has struck down the state's death penalty, saying that it is imposed arbitrarily and with racial bias. "We are confident that the association between race and the death penalty is not attributed to random chance," the justices wrote in a majority opinion. Gov. Jay Inslee issued a moratorium on the death penalty in Washington in 2014, and on Thursday he called the opinion a "hugely important moment in our pursuit for equal and fair application of justice." Thursday...

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Mark Seliger / Verve Records

An archive recording of the WPSU Jazz Show as broadcast on September 21, 2018, and hosted by Greg Petersen. The program features two tracks from the new album by Tony Bennett and Diana Krall, “Love is Here to Stay.”  

Marisa Vicere is the founder of the Jana Marie Foundation.
Shawn Henfling / Captured Chaos

After losing her sister to suicide in 2011, Marisa Vicere founded the Jana Marie Foundation in her sister’s honor.

The State College-based non-profit aims to educate and empower young people in the Centre County region and to build awareness about mental well-being and suicide prevention.

Vicere talked with WPSU during National Suicide Prevention Month about the foundation and her sister. 

BookMark: "The Handmaid's Tale" By Margaret Atwood

Sep 20, 2018

I’m not sure I can really explain how much “The Handmaid’s Tale” means to me. (To clarify: I mean the book. Always the book.) I certainly wasn’t able to explain its significance a few years ago, when I met Margaret Atwood during her visit to Penn State. All I was able to get out was “Thank you. This is my favorite book,” and I knew that was inadequate.

Woman speaking at podium
Nabil Mark

As WPSU’s Anne Danahy reports, the change means Centre County residents will now speak with someone familiar with local services.

Some people who call the local Centre Helps hotline are considering suicide. Others are struggling financially.

Leanne Lenz is executive director of the agency, which runs that hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She said Centre Helps not only offers a nonjudgmental listening ear. It also acts as a hub, connecting people with resources.

Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Penn., sponsored or co-sponsored four provisions to the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The U. S. Senate passed sweeping legislation intended to combat the nation’s opioid crisis in a 99-1 vote on Monday evening.

The wide-ranging package known as the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 rolls up 70 bills that will advance research, treatment, awareness and recovery efforts related to opioid abuse that will be backed by about $5 billion in funding.

The Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Jeff Bartos, held a town hall at Penn State on Monday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Jeff Bartos, held a town hall at Penn State on Monday.  

Dozens of students attended and raised questions on balancing the state budget and lowering taxes while maintaining social welfare programs. They also touched on issues including free speech on college campuses and sanctuary cities. The Q&A lasted about an hour.  

image: Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy filed a lawsuit Monday against Pennsylvania's eight dioceses and their bishops asking a judge to compel them to release information about abuse allegations.
The lawsuit filed Monday in Pittsburgh comes a month after a statewide grand jury report detailed sexual abuse allegations against more than 300 priests over decades in six of the state's dioceses. The lawsuit alleges the dioceses haven't met their obligations to report child sexual abusers under state law.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called out the nation’s universities Monday in a talk about campus free speech and the First Amendment.

DeVos said “precious few” campuses could be described as “free and open,” and said a rising tide of censorship could be traced back to a “relativistic culture” in which truth is subjective.

Over two dozen attendees met at the Philipsburg-Osceola Middle School for a school safety discussion on Friday, September 14, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

The state senate majority policy committee hosted a school safety discussion on Friday in Philipsburg. It’s the seventh out of ten sessions planned regarding the allocation of $60 million in state funding for schools. 

Over two dozen attendees met at the Philipsburg-Osceola Middle School, including representatives from eight school districts in Central Pennsylvania.

Dr. John Zesiger is the superintendent of the Moshannon Valley School District. He said the school district will most likely use the funding to improve their mental health resources.

Penn State Outing Club Can Go Outside Again. But Not Too Far.

Sep 14, 2018
Christina Platt is president of the Penn State Outing Club.
Christina Platt

In April, a university review deemed the Penn State Outing Club's activities -- hiking and backpacking to name a few -- too dangerous. Campus recreation disbanded the club.

But now, the group has changed its designation from a club sport to a recognized student organization. They can go on outings again, but there are still limitations: No hiking farther than 50 miles from State College and no more overnight backpacking trips.

Club President Christina Platt said they’re making the best of the changes.

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James Allison won the Nobel Prize for his landmark work on the immune system and cancer treatment. We’ll talk with him and other top researchers on where we are in the search for a cure.

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James Allison, chair of the Department of Immunology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in cancer immunotherapy.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Conservative luminary Max Boot explains why he left the Republican Party and is urging people to vote against the modern GOP.

For those that don't know their Latin music history as well as they should, it's easy to write off José Feliciano as just the guy who wrote and sang that Christmas song "Feliz Navidad." Maybe they'd be aware that he also wrote and performed the theme song to 1970's NBC sitcom Chico and the Man.

Billy McFarland, a co-founder of the schadenfreude-rich, hospitality-poor debacle known as the Fyre Festival, has been sentenced to six years in prison and three years on probation; he also will have to pay restitution of just more than $26 million. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald presided over McFarland's sentencing in the U.S. Southern District Court in Manhattan on Thursday.

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Human Retinas Grown In A Dish Reveal Origin Of Color Vision

In order to see the red of a sunset or the green of spring leaves, developing human eyes need to get the right hormone at the right time. That's the finding of a team of scientists who studied how color vision develops using hundreds of human retinas grown in the lab. The discovery, published Thursday in the journal Science , could help accelerate current efforts to cure colorblindness. It could also lead to new treatments for diseases including macular degeneration, the leading cause of...

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Michael Weakens After Historic Slam Into Florida Panhandle

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Thursday Tropical Storm Michael is weakening as it churns across south-central Georgia. On Wednesday, Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. in more than a quarter-century, according to the National Hurricane Center . At least one person has died from complications related to the storm. Gadsden County, Fla., Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower told NPR the man was killed after a tree fell through the roof of his home. In...

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Easy DNA Identifications With Genealogy Databases Raise Privacy Concerns

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A Woman's Rage: Songs About Being Fed Up

Some anniversaries are hard to celebrate. How should we greet the arrival of October, a year after the stories broke initiating the reckoning that soon became known as #MeToo? Since The New York Times and The New Yorker published their exposés — on Oct. 5 and Oct. 10 of last year, respectively — of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's long career as an alleged serial rapist, a new nationwide discussion has formed about sexual assault, abuse and harassment. Often, this ongoing reckoning feels...

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FACT CHECK: Trump's False Claims On 'Medicare For All'

USA Today published an opinion column by President Trump Wednesday in which the president falsely accused Democrats of trying to "eviscerate" Medicare, while defending his own record of protecting health care coverage for seniors and others. The column — published just weeks ahead of the midterm elections — underscores the political power of health care to energize voters. But it makes a number of unsubstantiated claims. Here are 5 points to know 1. The political context: Health care has...

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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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Father-Daughter Pilots Take To The Sky For Albuquerque's Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

One of the most iconic and colorful festivals of the Southwest is underway this week in New Mexico. Each year, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta draws hundreds of hot air balloons from around the world, and for some like pilots Troy and Savannah Bradley its a family affair. Here & Now s Peter ODowd speaks with the father-daughter duo about the event. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Democrats Enter Campaign's Final Stretch Flush With Cash

Not so long ago — the administration of President George W. Bush — $1 million could get you elected to Congress. Now, four weeks from Election Day, Democrats say 60 of their candidates raised that much or more , just in the last three months. Fueled by an energetic base of small donors, Democrats are going into the final stretch of the election with a substantial financial advantage, erasing Republicans' typical fundraising edge. The money is flowing to unlikely districts and is frequently...

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Three Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historians Aim To Put American Politics In Context

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Light And Dark, Characters Shine In 'Blanca & Roja'

Sisters Blanca and Roja del Cisne have always known that one of them is doomed to become a swan. It's been this way for generations and generations of their family — there is always a "good" sister who will live out her human life, and the other, darker sister, who will fly away, never to see her family again. The strange and magical nature of their family keeps them apart from the rest of the town where they live, and it's so difficult for them to assimilate that their parents eventually...

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Emotional Support Squirrel A No-Go On Frontier Flight

Jokes aside about flying squirrels, nuts served on planes and bushy-tailed passengers, squirrels and planes do not actually mix. At least not on Tuesday at Orlando International Airport, where an unidentified passenger hadn't gotten the memo. She boarded her Cleveland-bound Frontier Airlines flight toting a cage containing the furry occupant. She did her due diligence by noting on her reservation that she would be bringing an emotional support animal, Frontier said in a statement. She even...

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'Florida,' 'Heartland' Among National Book Awards Finalists

The selections were winnowed down from 1,637 books. On Wednesday, the National Book Foundation announced the 25 books that remain in the running for the National Book Awards, now in its 69th year. The writers come from such places as Pittsburgh, Norway, Iran and Poland, and many of them have delved into some of the most pressing conversations of our time: racism, masculinity, addiction, the destruction of indigenous culture, class divides and corporations. And for the first time since the...

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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!

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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

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Reasons To Stay

In case you missed WPSU's Regional Murrow Award-winning series, "Reasons to Stay," which explores what keeps people in central Pa, check it out at the link below.