Eleanor Klibanoff

Keystone Crossroads Reporter

Eleanor Klibanoff was WPSU's reporter for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide reporting collaboration that covers the problems and solutions facing Pennsylvania's cities. Previously, Eleanor was a Kroc Fellow at NPR in DC. She worked on the global health blog and Weekend Edition, reported for the National desk and spent three months at member station KCUR in Kansas City. Before that, she covered abortion politics in Nicaragua and El Salvador, two of the seven countries in the world that completely ban the procedure. She's written for Atlanta Magazine, The Nicaragua Dispatch and Radio Free Europe. 

Eleanor lived outside Philadelphia until the age of 11, when she moved to Atlanta. She graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in Political Communication. 

Gillian Kratzner / Blair Dems

 At last week's mayoral debate in downtown Altoona, the two candidates had to do something unusual: explain the position they were running for. Altoona is electing it's first full-time mayor since 1989 and many voters still aren't sure what the difference will mean to them. 

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

 

The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) fund is about to get a lot bigger. For the past four years, PHARE funds have been collected as part of the impact fee assessed on each gas well in the Marcellus Shale. Those funds, totaling $34 million over four years, have been distributed to counties in the Shale region to increase housing affordability and accessibility.

Vlad / Flickr

 

Most people associate fall foliage with Vermont, New Hampshire, maybe even Massachusetts. But if you're a leaf peeper — the technical term for foliage lovers — you'd be wise to put Pennsylvania on your list.

"Our friends to the north have a number of trees and beautiful foliage," says Michael Chapaloney, the executive director of VisitPA. "But we have nearly double the number of species of trees, so you're going to see a greater variety in Pennsylvania."

Hazleton, Pa., was just another struggling coal city until a wave of Latino immigrants came to town in 2006. It was a dark time: A wave of violent crime swept across the city. People were afraid to walk around downtown.

Some of those crimes were committed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally, leading to an unprecedented crackdown on the Latino community. Then-Mayor Lou Barletta tried to bar the door.

"We want people to know that Hazleton is probably the strictest city in the United States for illegal aliens," he said at the time.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

 

The Marcellus Shale runs under 60 percent of Pennsylvania. But the areas where drilling takes place feel the economic effects more than most. On Thursday, those counties received $8.1 million in state funding to support 44 local projects that address housing availability, community development and rental assistance.

Wikimedia

 

Breezewood, Pennsylvania has been called the "town of motels," the "travelers' oasis," and, most colorfully, "an Emerald City to the Pennsylvania Turnpike's yellow brick road." Most people greet this town-turned-rest-stop after driving through the spectacular beauty of Pennsylvania's mountains, and it's a jarring sight. There are gas stations, truck stops, hotels, motels and a single church. The town exists to serve motorists.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

Recently, in Lancaster County, an Urban Outfitters store opened near a Gap, creating jobs for dozens of people. The problem?

"There's no housing in that area," says Ray D'Agostino, the executive director of the Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership. "So, they'll build transit to bring people in from the surrounding areas, including outside the county."

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

 

Building codes seem simple enough: build buildings that are safe to live in. To keep up with changing technology, most states update those codes every three years.

But Pennsylvania has gone six years without updates as the state wrestles with a law that creates an unusually high bar to approve changes. Each individual update must be voted on by the Review and Advisory Council and passed with a two-thirds majority. The council has one year to read and vote on close to 2,000 changes.

Act 1

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

In case you hadn't heard, the Pope is coming to Philadelphia and the whole city is a bit on edge.

Mayor Michael Nutter has said that "this will be the largest event in the city of Philadelphia in modern history."

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

 

Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, is hundreds of miles from the boardwalk and the beach, but mere steps from the Susquehanna River. And while no one has made a reality show about this sleepy town yet, they do share one similarity with their namesake: flooding.

So when Michael and Lurie Portanova bought a strip of buildings downtown in 2012, they weren't surprised to learn that they'd have to buy flood insurance, for about $3,000 a year.

But no one told them about a recently-passed law called the Biggert-Waters Act.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

  It's been a good couple of years for Lancaster. The city was featured in The New York Times this summer, ranked as the 'sexiest small city in America'and deemed an e-city by our Internet overlords at Google.

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

 

It's Sunday night in Lock Haven, Pa., which means it's time for another free outdoor concert in the J. Doyle Corman Amphitheater. This week, it's a country band, and there are close to a hundred people in the audience. But city planner Leonora Hannagan says this is nothing compared to some weekends.

"When we had the Eagles [tribute band], people called me at the beginning of the summer, asking for hotel and restaurant information," she says. "They come and make a whole weekend out of it."

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Across the state, students are wrapping up internships and summer jobs, signing up for fall classes and preparing for another school year at one of Pennsylvania's 200+ colleges and universities.

But once they graduate, how many of those students will stay in the area where they were educated?

She fights for the rights of women by telling stories about heroic men.

"The struggle to end violence against women has always been carried out by women activists," says Samar Minallah Khan, who makes documentaries about gender-based violence in her native Pakistan.

At most churches, it's embarrassing to show up late. But if you arrive early at Greg Stultz's church, you might interrupt the hosts' last-minute preparations as they put away homework or toss shoes up the stairs.

Stultz and his family are part of a house church. They typically meet on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, though the week that I visited they were meeting in Dover, Del. Each week, their small group crowds into a private living room for dinner and fellowship — and their church is no rarity.

Maya Weinstein is now a happy, bubbly junior at the George Washington University. But she says that two years ago, just a few weeks after she arrived on campus as a freshman, she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student.

"It was one of those 'acquaintance rape' things that people forget about, even though they are way more common," she says.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

When you step into the bright red barn at Claybrooke Farm in Louisa, Va., it instantly feels like Christmas. A pot of hot cider bubbles on the stove. Friends, neighbors and extended family make wreaths while owner John Carroll hauls in wood for the fire. It's gray outside, but the barn is full of holiday cheer.

"The dog ate my homework?" Try, "I was protesting a grand jury decision," instead.

Students at some top law schools want exam extensions for what they are calling the trauma of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions. But other law students are wondering what message that sends to future employers.

Last month, American aid worker Peter Kassig was executed in Syria by the Islamic State militant group. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician had worked in hospitals, clinics and refugee camps throughout the region for more than two years. He was known for treating anyone who needed him, regardless of political affiliation. In a country like Syria, that kind of openness is both a statement of integrity and a huge personal risk.

Looking for a stylish sweater for the holidays? Forget cashmere. Instead, go for the light-up, dancing Santa.

This season, holiday shoppers are demanding the ugliest, gaudiest, tackiest sweaters out there. They need them for ugly sweater parties, ugly sweater fun runs — even an ugly sweater party cruise.

All that demand has had an impact on stores large and small. On the national level, Wal-Mart, Kohl's and Target all sell vintage-looking sweaters with all the bells and tinsel you could want.

What's your temperature?

That's the question of the hour. The Ebola virus has made taking your temperature part of everyday conversation. People in West Africa are doing it. People returning from the region are doing it. And so are the overly paranoid in the United States.

For anyone who's been exposed to the virus, a body temperatures of 100.4 or higher has been deemed the point of concern. The goal, of course, is that magic number: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Except 98.6 degrees isn't so magical after all. In fact, that might not be your normal temperature.

You have to go. You know, um, go potty.

You are in a foreign country. And things are certainly looking a bit foreign.

Do you sit or squat? Can you toss toilet paper down the bowl or hole?

Let the signs guide you.

That is, if you can understand them.

Last week, 13 women died in India after undergoing sterilization procedures in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, possibly because of tainted pills administered after the surgery. This tragedy has cast a negative light on sterilization.

When Rebecca "Mama" Barclay died in the summer of 2011, hundreds gathered for her funeral at a small Baptist church a few miles outside Liberia's capital, Monrovia. Men came in suits, women in black outfits or church robes and children in white to honor the 69-year-old woman, who was a respected community leader.

If you're one of the billions of people who use Facebook and Google on a daily basis, you may have noticed some new messaging coming from the websites themselves. Both companies have launched Ebola relief fundraising campaigns in the past week, calling on their massive user logs (translation for nonsocial-media experts: all the people who waste time on these websites every day) to donate money to the cause.

When Tom Magliozzi, cohost of NPR's Car Talk, died this week from complications of Alzheimer's disease, he left behind a fan base that extended far beyond the United States. Tom and Ray, his younger brother, took calls from and gave advice to people all over the world.

Pages