Anne Danahy

Reporter

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities. 

She earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a master's degree in media studies from Penn State.

Before joining WPSU, she worked as a writer and editor at Strategic Communications at Penn State and with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute before that.

She hosts a Q&A program for Centre County's government and education access station and teaches a news writing and reporting class at Penn State.  

Ways to Connect

the Rathskeller
Anne Danahy / WPSU

One of the many pictures decorating the walls at the Rathskeller is a photograph of Timothy Leary, the psychologist who told people to “turn on, tune in and drop out.”

Leary went to the Skeller many years ago after debating G. Gordon Liddy, of Watergate fame, at Penn State. Bar owner Duke Gastiger said Leary collected Americana and wanted to buy one of the bar’s tables that was chiseled with customers’ names.

Leary didn’t get to leave with a table, but Gastiger said they’d send him one.

The Toll Brothers are planning to build a luxury student housing complex on Blue Course and Whitehall in State College's Ferguson township. Concerned citizens believe building the complex could threaten the town's drinking water.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

The Nittany Valley Water Coalition is hoping Penn State agrees to sell land on West College Avenue to the developer Toll Brothers.

Kelli Hoover, with the coalition, said time is running out for that idea. The sale of the original property is scheduled to close Dec. 27.

“We’re still trying to do what we can to encourage Penn State to come to the table," Hoover said. "Toll Brothers has been quite serious about wanting to buy an alternate location and not build on Whitehall, and Penn State seems pretty noncooperative.”

apartment building
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Aviva Franz, a sophomore at Penn State, is leaving her apartment in the Metropolitan on a breezy fall day. She moved into the new, upscale building in downtown State College at the end of August.

“It definitely offers more, but there are tradeoffs," Franz said. "Like, it’s definitely more expensive than some of the other places. We do have a gym in the building, even though it’s small, and we do have a study lounge.”

A staff writer for the New Yorker and a professor of journalism at Columbia University, Jelani Cobb writes about politics, culture and race. He brings both historical insight and an eloquent writing style to topics ranging from football players kneeling during the national anthem to political battles over bathrooms. His writing has won awards and appeared in a number of publications, and he is the author of several books, including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.” He is also known for his appearances on national television and radio programs.

protest
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Penn State faculty, grad students and supporters rallied at the Allen Street gates in State College Wednesday. They were protesting a tax hike for graduate students included in the GOP House tax plan. 

One member of the group, Margarita Hernandez, is in her first year working toward a PhD in anthropology.

“We already get paid enough to live or so. But, that extra tax is going to make that so it’s not feasible anymore,” Hernandez said.

Adriana Rizzo, a first year PhD student in geosciences, said the change would be an economic hardship for a lot of students.

U.S. Capitol
AP

On Nov. 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Republican tax plan. It would make changes including counting graduate scholarships and tuition discounts as taxable income. That has raised concerns for some, including the administration at Penn State.

Sheila West, a professor of biobehavioral health and nutrition at Penn State, is also the parent of a college student. Her son is in his first year at Penn State. He wants to become an architect.

vaccine
AP

For the first time, Penn State is not letting students register for classes until they’ve shown they have received required vaccines. 

Mindy Krause, with University Health Services, said Penn State’s immunization policy didn’t change this year. What’s new is students who didn’t submit the required information had a hold placed on spring 2018 class registration.

She said at this point in the year, they’re ahead of last year.

woman giving tour
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Children who visit Penn State’s new Center for Healthy Children participate in art projects, science demonstrations and learning. As they’re doing that, researchers are trying to figure out what will improve their lives down the road.

Jennie Noll, director of the center, said during an open house Friday that researchers want to learn more about the health consequences of abuse and neglect.

intersection aerial view
PennDOT

The public will have a chance to learn about plans for improving the intersection of routes 26 and 45 at a meeting Monday.

The intersection of state routes 26 and 45 near Pine Grove Mills has been the site of enough crashes that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has been studying what can be done to improve it.

Project Manager Leigh Woolridge said PennDOT has narrowed it down to three options. Two of those include installing a traffic light. The other would mean a two-lane roundabout.

protest
Anne Danahy / Penn State

Penn State and the developer slated to build student housing on Whitehall Road may have come closer to agreeing to a new site for the project. 

Protestors of a proposed student housing project say they’re pleased Toll Brothers and Penn State met Tuesday to discuss the possible site at West College Avenue and Blue Course Drive. They’re hoping Penn State is on board with the idea.

grazing elk
Anne Danahy / WPSU

It’s dusk on a beautiful fall day in northcentral Pennsylvania and scores of visitors are on the search. The goal: Seeing — and hearing — elk.

The male or bull can weigh more than 800 pounds and have antlers that are four and a half feet long. But, along with seeing the animals, visitors want to hear them.

It doesn’t take long before cars pulling over on the side of the road tip other tourists off. And sure enough, a few dozen elk are grazing in a grass field beside the road.

Beta Theta Pi fraternity building
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Rush. It’s that time of year when students looking to join a fraternity or sorority go through pledging events that are part of Greek life on college campuses.

At Penn State, the administration is tightening the controls on pledging and how it will be monitored, after student Timothy Piazza died in February at Beta Theta Pi’s bid acceptance night. President Eric Barron spoke about those changes and the university’s response to fraternity hazing and drinking earlier this year.

Old Main
WPSU

Penn State will finally be getting its funding from the state. On Wednesday night, the General Assembly ended its budget impasse, including approving appropriations for Penn State and the other state-related universities. 

State funding for Penn State had been in limbo since the start of the fiscal year in July. So much so, the university suggested students might get a bigger tuition bill midyear.

That waiting game ended when the General Assembly approved funding for Penn State. The budget means a mid-year tuition bump for students is off the table.

Telling Penn State students that their votes matter, Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd recounted how, several years ago, a statewide Democratic judge lost by 48 votes.

“I think that really lets you know how important every vote is," Todd said.

Todd was speaking to a roomful of college Democrats. The visit was just one of the stops she’s making before Pennsylvania’s Nov. 7 vote. She said elder justice, veterans courts and prevention of child abuse are three of the issues important to her.

Todd encouraged the students to stay involved.

Medical marijuana and how it’s being implemented in Pennsylvania was the focus of the main morning session Tuesday during the annual conference of Pennsylvania planners. 

There are many unsettled questions surrounding the new arena of legal medical pot in Pennsylvania.

Who reviewed the medical marijuana applications. What will happen to growers who aren’t up and running in six months. And will businesses be able to get financial backing from banks.

In August, Penn State unveiled the design for a commemorative sculpture next to Old Main that would celebrate diversity and inclusion. 

The piece was going to be installed in spring 2018. It was meant to call to mind a forest and draw visitors in to reflect on themselves and others.

But, Penn State confirmed it is shelving the project — at least for now.

University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said “it has become clear that many student leaders would like to reconsider the commemorative” project.

About 600 planners from across the state are expected in State College for the 2017 conference of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association. Hot topics will include medical marijuana, transportation planning and protecting water quality.

Ed LeClear, planning director for State College, is one of those involved in getting ready for the conference.

“The focus for this conference, I think, is really adaptability and innovation. We’re dealing with everything from climate change to fiscal distress in many of our communities, and how do we adapt to that.”

Jerry Sandusky entering courthouse with paperwork
AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar

A judge denied convicted sex offender Jerry Sandusky’s motion for a new trial on Wednesday. His lawyers had argued that Sandusky should get a new trial because of mistakes his previous attorneys had made.

Calling the bulk of Sandusky’s claims meritless, Judge John Foradora dismissed a long list of complaints from the one-time Penn State assistant football coach.

Sandusky had argued his former attorney, Joe Amendola, had been ineffective or made bad decisions throughout the trial.

State College mayoral candidates Democrat Don Hahn, Republican Michael Black and Independent Ron Madrid fielded questions for 90 minutes Tuesday  at the State Theatre. 

Hahn, an attorney who has served on the State College Borough Council and its planning commission, said neighborhood sustainability is key. He said students are a great contribution to the community, but he wants to keep non-students too. 

“I think we need to maintain a balance," Hahn said.

Hahn beat Black in the Democratic primary. But Black won the Republican nomination with write-in votes. 

The concealed carry seminar wasn’t scheduled to take place until Nov. 2, but the mailings for it arrived the same week as a mass shooting in Las Vegas left nearly 60 people dead.

Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for state Sen. Jake Corman, said there was pushback on social media about the event. She said there was concern that the educational focus of the seminar would be lost, so the seminar was postponed.

Penn State

Jury selection in the trial of two people accused in the murder of a Penn State faculty member was scheduled to begin Thursday. But a judge is allowing one of the defendants to receive a mental competency evaluation, delaying the trial indefinitely.

George Ishler is accused of pushing Ronald Bettig into a quarry where the Penn State faculty member died in August 2016. Police later found Bettig’s body in the quarry.

Min Xian

For Jim Krape, from Lock Haven, visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, was about healing.

Krape served in the U.S. Marine Corps including in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966. On Wednesday, he was the road captain for the Traveling Wall.

“For years, I had a lot flashbacks and so forth, but once I got my hand on the wall, that seemed to go away. It’s a healing process, that we know that our guys are here and they’re safe. We are going to watch over them.”

Rob Cooper, director of energy and engineering at Penn State, said the latest round of water quality testing is good news.

“We sampled 60 locations, and we had zero exceedances over the 15 parts per billion action level.”

Cooper has been part of the university’s team monitoring the lead levels in water in university buildings.

Lead is a metal that can get into water through pipes. It is linked to major health problems, particularly for children and pregnant women. The university has emphasized that it doesn’t use lead piping on campus.

No smoking symbol
AP

Smokers who live, work or study on any Penn State campus may soon have to find somewhere else to light up.

Pointing to the health of the university community, the Penn State Smoke Free/Tobacco Free Task Force made the recommendation that the University become tobacco-free.

“We hope to see a healthier Penn State because of it. That was the impetus for the recommendations from the taskforce, and that really was the foremost thought in the process. We would really love to see everyone associated with Penn State be a little healthier because of it.”

When you have a question about voting, polling places or legislative districts in Centre County, a good place to start is the Elections Office. So, that’s where I began my quest to find the place in the State College area where three state legislative districts come together.

After rolling out a detailed map, Joyce McKinley, director of elections in Centre County, tries to pinpoint the spot.

“The 81st legislative district. It’s surrounded by the 77th and the 171st. That’s Zurich Road and Knob Hill Road, and this is Circleville Road.”

It’s a weekday morning on North Atherton Street in State College. For David Reitter, a Penn State faculty member, and others commuting on that road, it usually means one thing.

“Just like everybody else, I get stuck in traffic.”

A gas line relocation project means torn up roads on North Atherton in advance of a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation roadway project. Drivers there dutifully merge from two lanes into one, sometimes well in advance of road work.

milk jug sign in a field
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Deb Nardone, executive director of ClearWater Conservancy, says the Slab Cabin Run initiative is important for the community’s drinking water and the water quality of the Slab Cabin stream that runs through the land. It’s also an opportunity to preserve 300 acres of farmland.

“We have a community and decision-makers and the public who have come forward and have supported an initiative that helped help protect the place that we love,” Nardone says.

If the term “automated vehicles” makes you think of the distant future, you might be in for a surprise. The future of AVs was the focus of a statewide summit Monday in State College.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards said AVs offer opportunities for boosting safety and the economy. That includes reducing traffic deaths.

“With 94 percent of those fatalities being attributed to human distraction, we know that AV and connected vehicle technology is going to allow us to reduce that number in a big way, many think to zero,” Richards said.

Old Main building at Penn State
WPSU

Whether graduate assistants at Penn State can vote on unionizing has been the focus of hearings the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board is holding in State College. The hearings are scheduled to end Wednesday.

Liana Glew is a graduate assistant in the English Department at Penn State and record keeper for the Coalition of Graduate Employees. She wants to make the university a better place for all graduate employees.