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

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.”

Penn State employees remove canopies belonging to members of the Nittany Valley Watershed Coalition from the site the university has sold to Toll Brothers for a student housing development.
Nittany Valley Watershed Coalition

Penn State has followed through on its warning to protestors of a proposed housing development on Whitehall Road in State College. The university evicted the group Wednesday morning.

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.

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