Min Xian

Reporter

Min Xian is a reporter for WPSU and Keystone Crossroads, covering news and public affairs in Central and Northern Pennsylvania. She reports on issues facing Central PA cities and rural communities, involving infrastructure, education, immigration and more. Before joining as a staff reporter, Min was a news intern for WPSU for a year.

Previously Min worked as a part-time videographer and photographer for Penn State College of Engineering. She was also a contributing writer and freelance photographer for the Centre Daily Times. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Penn State University.

A native speaker of Mandarin and Cantonese, Min spends a lot of time coming up with headlines and puns.

Ways to Connect

A new report out of Penn State University says corn production in the Southeastern part of the state could be especially vulnerable in the coming decades.
Photo provided by Greg Roth/Penn State

Last month, Pennsylvania saw the most recorded rainfall in a July. For many farmers in the state, the intense precipitation is part of a pattern of weather changes they are trying to adapt to.

A new report out of Penn State University says corn production in the Southeastern part of the state could be especially vulnerable in the coming decades.

The new Bellefonte Waterfront Development is located along Spring Creek between Lamb Street and High Street. It will include a six- or seven-story hotel, restaurants, stores and apartments.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Borough of Bellefonte has entered a sales agreement with developers on the waterfront project.

The new Bellefonte Waterfront Development is located along Spring Creek between Lamb Street and High Street. The lot has been vacant since the historic Bush House Hotel burned down in 2006.

Details of the sales agreement are still under negotiation, but the 4-acre project will include a six- or seven-story hotel, restaurants, stores and apartments. The hotel would be about 17,800 square feet, including about 80 guest rooms.

Philip Masorti (second from right) spoke to reporters outside the courthouse after the sentencing of his client, Ryan Burke (right), on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The first and, so far, only former Penn State fraternity member who pleaded guilty in the hazing death of Timothy Piazza was sentenced on Tuesday.

Ryan Burke, the “rush chair” who was in charge of recruitment for Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity, was sentenced to three months of house arrest, over two years of probation, 100 hours of community service and fines.

He pleaded guilty to nine counts of charges in hazing and alcohol violations, including giving vodka to 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, who died after a night of hazing in 2017.

Seattle’s Duwamish River has been heavily polluted since the 1900s. As part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio project, WPSU’s Min Xian talked to a man who has spent 30 years cleaning it up.
Illustration by Sylvia Li

Seattle’s Duwamish River has been heavily polluted since the 1900s. As part of NPR’s Next Generation Radio project, WPSU’s Min Xian talked to a man who has spent 30 years cleaning it up.

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James Rasmussen hasn’t spent the past 30 years cleaning Seattle’s Duwamish River because he’s an advocate. He does it because he calls the river his home.

But the Duwamish, which runs from Elliott Bay to Tukwila, is almost invisible to most of the city.

In State College, some residents worry about the upticks in urbanization, while others welcome the growth. Keystone Crossroads talked to residents about how they feel about their rapidly evolving community.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Home to Penn State University’s main campus, State College and the larger Centre County area have been steadily growing in terms of population and economy. In recent years, the town has experienced an uptick in urbanization, with new high rises offering luxurious student housing. At the same time, a handful of local establishments have closed as more chain stores have arrived.

Some residents worry about those changes, while some others welcome the growth.

Bob Poole (right), one of the developers of the Patton Crossing project, spoke to the Township Supervisors at a public hearing in May.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Patton Township Board of Supervisors has approved the rezoning of the proposed Patton Crossing development project. Developers will now move forward to create a master plan.

Unanimously approved by the board, the 28-acre project was rezoned with a new mixed-use development zoning code. The code would allow a grocery store, a hotel and both commercial and residential buildings in Patton Crossing’s concept plan.

One of the developers, Bob Poole, said the next step is to create a more detailed master plan.

Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna (middle) hosted a town hall in Philipsburg Tuesday night to address opioid addiction in the area. Cathy Arbogast (left) and Karlene Shugars (right) gave presentations as well.
Min Xian / WPSU

Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna hosted a town hall in Philipsburg Tuesday night to address opioid addiction in the area. Cantorna and other presenters want to remove the stigma surrounding addiction and provide resources for help.

“Someone has asked, ‘How as a family member do I help someone to get help?’’ Cantorna read and answered questions on index cards near the end of the town hall.

He said it’s important to engage the community when it comes to combating the opioid crisis, because the issue often has ripple effects.

In his office on Penn State’s main campus, Sascha Meinrath, a professor of telecommunications, tested his internet speed.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

In his office on Penn State’s main campus, Sascha Meinrath, a professor of telecommunications, tested his internet speed.

With an upload speed of 200 megabits and a download speed of 80 megabits per second, it blew past the federal definition of broadband.

“That’s way over the FCC definition,” said Meinrath.

But many in Pennsylvania aren’t so lucky.

In this file photo, a welder fabricates anchor bolts for roads and bridges at the custom manufacturer in Pennsylvania.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

A study by Bucknell University’s Institute For Public Policy counts Pennsylvania as one of the states where residents are most skeptical of free trade agreements.

The study found especially negative attitudes in states where voters supported President Barack Obama in 2012 and flipped to President Donald Trump in 2016: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.

Tamar London, chair of the Centre LGBTQ Support Network, said the rainbow crosswalks meant a tremendous amount.
Min Xian / WPSU

Four crosswalks in downtown State College have been painted the colors of a rainbow in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month.

The Borough of State College and Penn State’s University Park Undergraduate Association teamed up to create the rainbow crosswalks to show a welcoming message toward the LGBTQ community.

At the intersection of South Allen Street and Calder Way, Rebecca Lundin watched her two sons, Alex and Cam, play on the rainbow crosswalks.

Lundin said she talks to her young sons about what the rainbow symbolizes.

Vincent Tedesco brings a wreath to the Traveling Wall.
MIN XIAN / WPSU

These stories made up WPSU's submission for the Public Radio News Directors Inc. award for Best Multimedia Presentation. WPSU won first place in PRNDI's Division C for stations with 1-to-3 full-time news staff members.  

Motorcycles Escort Vietnam Memorial Wall to Penn State

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

These stories made up WPSU's submission for the Public Radio News Directors Inc. award for Continuing Coverage. WPSU won second place in PRNDI's Division C for stations with 1-to-3 full-time news staff members.

Fraternity Charter Revoked Following Student Death

Penn State Fraternity And 18 Members Charged In Student's Death

Boaz Dvir spoke to the crowd at the rough cut screening of his upcoming documentary film, Cojot, on Penn State's University Park campus in April. He was joined by actor Judd Nelson, who narrated the film.
Min Xian / WPSU

Boaz Dvir is an American-Israeli award-winning filmmaker. His upcoming documentary, “Cojot,” tells the unknown story of Michel Cojot, a French man who played a pivotal role in a 1976 hostage rescue mission.

Previously, Dvir was a journalist and editor based in Florida. He now teaches documentary filmmaking and multimedia storytelling at Penn State’s College of Communications. WPSU's Min Xian talked to him about finding all the pieces to tell a story and the importance of passing down memories of the Holocaust.

An aerial photo shows damage to a Barnes & Noble Booksellers after Wednesday's severe weather system passed through Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa.
(AP Photo/Jimmy May)

The National Weather Service confirmed on Thursday that a tornado touched down in Wilkes-Barre Township on Wednesday night, damaging local businesses.

The National Weather Service sent a storm survey team from its Binghamton, New York office to assess the damage.

The team determined a tornado touched down near the Wyoming Valley Mall near Interstate 81 at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. It traveled about half a mile before dissipating about an hour later.

Ambulance providers in Pennsylvania are enthusiastic about a bill advancing in the state legislature that would require insurance companies to reimburse EMS for calls that don’t end in a hospital trip.
VBaleha/BigStock

Ambulance providers in Pennsylvania are enthusiastic about a bill advancing in the state legislature that would require insurance companies to reimburse EMS for calls that don’t end in a hospital trip.

Currently, insurance companies aren’t required to pick up that cost.

“Even if we’re paid by the insurance companies, the insurance companies do not usually pay in full,” said Scott Rawson,  executive director of Centre LifeLink, an EMS provider in Centre County. “And their fee structure — it doesn’t cover our cost to provide the service.”

Ryan Burke, one of the former fraternity members charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

One of the former fraternity members charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza formally entered a guilty plea on Wednesday. It’s the first guilty plea in the case.

Appearing in the Centre County courthouse for the first time in this case, Ryan Burke pleaded guilty to all nine charges against him.

The Patton Township Board of Supervisors made changes to a proposed zoning code that would encourage affordable housing and allow more density. They heard public input on May 9th during a public hearing.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Patton Township Board of Supervisors made changes to a proposed zoning code that could apply to the Patton Crossing project on North Atherton Street in the State College area. The new version of the code encourages developers to build more affordable housing units while allowing more density.

 

Alisha Risser owns and runs a dairy farm in Lebanon county. Having been in the business for 17 years, Risser said consistently low milk prices in recent years have been really hard for farmers.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Along stretches of farmland on South Lincoln Avenue in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, you will notice yard signs with bright orange letters that read, “SAVE OUR LOCAL DAIRY FARMS.”

Alisha Risser owns one of those dairy farms.

Seventeen years ago, Risser and her husband started a contract with Swiss Premium, a brand of the national distributor Dean Foods. In those days, Risser said business was good.

Tara Hutchingame is a senior at State College Area High School. For the last few months, she has dedicated a lot of energy to helping her fellow students register to vote.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

The voter turnout rate among 18- to 29-year-olds is historically lower than any other age group nationwide. In State College, high school students who led the local protests against gun violence also worked to encourage young voters to go to the polls.

Tara Hutchingame is a senior at State College Area High School. For the last few months, she has dedicated a lot of energy to helping her fellow students register to vote.

Although low turnout is generally expected for midterm primary elections, more voters in Blair County were motivated to go to the polls on Tuesday’s primary in Pennsylvania because of how competitive some races are.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

Although low turnout is generally expected for midterm primary elections, more voters were motivated to go to the polls during Tuesday’s primary in Pennsylvania because of how competitive some races are. 

By 11 a.m. on Tuesday, 120 ballots were cast at Mount Nittany United Methodist Church in Lemont. Judge of Elections Laurel Zydney said she expected low turnout for this midterm primary, because people may not want to have a party affiliation and there’s a lack of contested races. 

Developers of the Patton Crossing project, (from left) Ara Kervandjian, Bob Poole and Heidi Nicholas, attended the public hearing on Wednesday. The board voted against the rezoning so they could reconsider some details of the zoning guidelines.
Min Xian / WPSU

Split opinions on whether to pass a new zoning code for a Patton township development project have left the future of the potential development uncertain. 

After nearly three hours of hearing public input and discussing among themselves, the Patton Township Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against passing the new zoning code on Wednesday. 

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

A judge has dismissed the more severe charges against a second group of defendants in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. With the ruling issued, a set of 25 former Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers will head to trial. 

Among this group of 12 defendants, five of the brothers, Joshua Kurczewski, Ryan Burke, Jonathan Kanzler, Bohan Song and Aiden O’Brien, were each charged with reckless endangerment, which is a second degree misdemeanor. 

A bicyclist rides past Pennsylvania State University's shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity house Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in State College, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

The three-day preliminary hearing for 12 defendants charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza completed on Friday. District judge Steve Lachman said he will announce on Monday whether the charges will go to trial.

These 12 defendants are the second group of former Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in the criminal investigation into the death of Piazza. 

State College police detective David Scicchitano left the courthouse in Bellefonte on Thursday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The preliminary hearing for 12 defendants charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza continued in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte on Thursday. 

Prosecutors continued their effort in building the case against the former fraternity brothers, who face charges ranging from reckless endangerment to hazing and furnishing. The charges were filed based on security footage of the basement of the fraternity house. The FBI recovered it after it was allegedly deleted.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Zarallo spoke about the hazing case during a press conference in Harrisburg on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Prosecutors from the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General began on Wednesday to build the case against 12 defendants for charges in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza. A new judge is presiding over the preliminary hearing and will decide whether the defendants will go to trial for charges including reckless endangerment, hazing and furnishing. 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had asked that involuntary manslaughter charges be reinstated against fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday about the prosecution of fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza. Shapiro detailed why, after completing an “independent and comprehensive” review, his office is fighting to reinstate involuntary manslaughter charges against five defendants and drop those charges against some others.

An Altoona community project, StART Here, aims to support and promote local art. Residents participated in painting a mural as part of the event.
Min Xian / WPSU

ArtsAltoona, a local organization hosted a community event, StART Here, on Saturday, aiming to support and promote local art. Event organ­­izers say they want to use art to encourage growth in the community.

Pamela Snyder Etters, the creator of a 35-foot-wide community mural on the North 4th Street, was busy climbing on and off a mechanic lift to draw the outline of the mural as well as directing volunteers to hand out burshes and paint.

The Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office is appealing the dismissal of some charges in the case of the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza.

The attorney general’s office is fighting to reinstate charges against eight defendants, including involuntary manslaughter charges faced by five former fraternity members.

President of the now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Brendan Young, and pledge master, Daniel Casey, are among those who had involuntary manslaughter charges cleared, but they both will go to trial on charges of conspiracy to commit hazing.

On April 20th, 1999, 12 students and one teacher were killed at the Columbine High School in Colorado. On this day 19 years later, a school walkout in protest against gun violence spread across the nation. 

“We’re all post-Columbine kids,” said State College Area High School senior Kayla Fatemi. “I think, for us, [school shooting] is just something that we have to grow up with.”

State College's parking ordinance restricts street parking from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., but the borough informally waive that rule for Penn State football home games and the Arts Fest. That's expected to change this fall.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

For a long time, Penn State football fans have parked overnight in the State College borough for free during home game weekends, because the borough informally makes an exception for its parking prohibition from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.

But that will change this fall.

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