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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Poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf and photojournalist Steven Rubin spent five years documenting Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania. The project became their new book, "Shale Play."
Zsuzsanna Nagy

Poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf and photojournalist Steven Rubin spent five years documenting Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania. The project became their new book, "Shale Play." 

We talked to them about what they’ve witnessed and how they decided to blend poetry and photography.

Obama To Stump For Democrats In Philadelphia Rally

Sep 14, 2018
AP Photo/David Dermer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former President Barack Obama's stops on the mid-term campaign trail will run through Philadelphia.
The state Democratic Party said Obama will headline a Sept. 21 rally in Philadelphia to boost the re-election campaigns of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, but also other down-ballot races that Democrats are contesting.
In the Philadelphia area alone, Democrats are hoping to flip four U.S. House seats and more than a dozen state legislative seats that will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballots.

This I Believe: I Believe In Libraries

Sep 13, 2018

I believe in libraries.

I was born in Colombia, a country where books were luxury items, public libraries were few and bookworms were considered arrogant. I grew up being shuffled from aunt to aunt and town to town while my mother was in the U.S., working to support us from a distance.

Photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

An American and a Russian vie for the World Chess Championship on stage as FUSE Productions presents the musical, "Chess," Thursday through Saturday, September 13-15,  at Penn State's Schwab Auditorium. WPSU's Kristine Allen reports the story blends intrigue, romance, a score that incorporates several musical genres, and of course, chess.

Rep. Tom Marino
Photo provided

Susan Werner, chair of the Centre County League of Women Voters candidates’ night, is disappointed. She said she reached out to U.S. Rep. Tom Marino’s office about scheduling a forum with him and his Democratic opponent, Marc Friedenberg, but couldn’t get a commitment.

“I think that candidates’ night is a great opportunity for the public to come and ask questions that they want answers to, and he seems to be avoiding that,” Werner said.

The League of Women Voters in the Lewisburg area faced a similar situation.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is marking 17 years since the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil by visiting the Pennsylvania field that became a Sept. 11 memorial.
Trump and his wife, Melania, were participating in Tuesday's somber remembrance in Shanksville. It's where a California-bound commercial airliner crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, after the 40 passengers and crew members learned what was happening and attempted to regain control of the aircraft. Everyone on board was killed.

Road closed sign
Kelly Tunney / WPSU

Dozens of roads are closed across southwestern and northcentral Pennsylvania due to heavy rainfall and flooding. The state Department of Transportation said more closures may be expected on Tuesday.

In five counties in the southwestern part of the state, the closures impacted roads including U.S. 22, which connects Blair and Huntingdon Counties. But PennDOT press officer Tara Callahan-Henry said the majority of the roads closed are not major arteries.

Bellefonte Area High School history teacher Matthew Maris points to one of the Bellefonte Governor's papers now accessible online at powerlibrary.org.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

One of Bellefonte’s claims to fame is that it’s the birthplace of seven governors–five who served Pennsylvania, one California, the other Kansas.

But until recently, their handwritten letters, inaugural addresses and speech transcripts, among other documents, have been sitting in a box.  

Tower Memorial Dedicated At Flight 93 Crash Site

Sep 9, 2018
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on the dedication of the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 memorial in western Pennsylvania (all times local):
2 p.m.
A tower that honors the passengers and crew killed when a hijacked plane was crashed into a rural Pennsylvania field is now in place, the final major feature of a 2,200-acre memorial.
The Tower of Voices was dedicated Sunday, with remarks from former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and the park's superintendent.

Evelyn and Jim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Jim and Evelyn Piazza ignited a national conversation about the dangers of hazing on college campuses after the death of their son Timothy in 2017.

The 19-year-old died from injuries sustained during alcohol hazing at the Penn State chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

The couple has turned their tragedy into action, starting a foundation in their son’s honor, advocating for stricter legislation and penalties for hazing, and calling for increased oversight and rule enforcement for fraternities and sororities.  

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NPR Stories

Lisa Spinelli loves small children — their innocence, their enthusiasm, above all their promise. But The Kindergarten Teacher's protagonist, achingly played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, knows that most 5-year-olds don't grow up to be particularly creative or even interesting. Exhibit A: herself.

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.

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."

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

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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

Police in California made headlines this spring when they charged a former police officer with being the Golden State Killer, a man who allegedly committed a series of notorious rapes and murders in the 1970s and '80s. Authorities revealed they used DNA from a publicly available genealogy website to crack the case. Since then, police around the country have started doing the same sort of thing to solve other cold cases. That prompted Yaniv Erlich, the chief science officer at the Israeli...

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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

It's hard to make time for history books when there is so much history crashing down on us every single day — and especially when that history is divisive, aggressive and seemingly never-ending. Case in point: This book review was due a week ago. Rather than finish this assignment, I spent the week in Senate hallways and hearing rooms, watching in real time as the most contentious Supreme Court confirmation in a generation turned into a national flashpoint on sexual assault and gender...

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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!

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

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.

Get The New Free WPSU App!

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

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 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.

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

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

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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.