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

NextGen America, progressive advocacy group, says State College is one of the highest performing areas in terms of numbers of registered young voters. The group has been working to get young people to register and vote.
Photo courtesy of NextGen America

 

Since the Parkland shooting in February, there have been movements nationwide to energize young people to vote in this November’s midterm elections.

 

Jessica Maggio is a part of that movement. Recently, she stood outside of the HUB Robeson Center on Penn State’s University Park campus, attempting to strike up conversations with students streaming into and out of the building.

The Blair County Courthouse sits on Allegheny Street in Hollidaysburg, PA. Private funding for the District Attorney Office and local law enforcement has put immense pressure on the county's public defenders.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Michael Fiore, 56, remembered, growing up, he never had to worry about drugs in his neighborhood or the violence that they sometimes inflict. He said, back then, his community in Blair County, home to Altoona and Hollidaysburg, was safe.

But as he got older, with the rise of the opioid crisis, he saw things change. 

Shaun Dougherty, left, urged Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman to pass SB261, which would open a two-year retroactive civil lawsuit window.
Min Xian / WPSU

The state House passed a bill last week to help protect victims of child sex abuse, which victims and advocates are urging the state Senate to support.

Shaun Dougherty, a survivor of child sex abuse, said the current laws in Pennsylvania did not protect him after he was abused.

On Friday, Dougherty delivered a request to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman at his office in Bellefonte, along with the Senator’s Democratic opponent in the midterm election, Ezra Nanes.

In July, Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna hosted a town hall in Philipsburg addressing the prevention and treatment on opioid addiction.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

Drug-related overdose deaths continue to climb nationwide. Pennsylvania declared the opioid epidemic a state of emergency at the beginning of this year.

 

In Elk County, in March 2017, Kaitlyn Buerk, 24, bought five bags of drugs from her sister Allison Miller and her cousin Theresa Sample, who had just gone to Pittsburgh and bought 20 bags of what they thought was heroin.

 

Fair Districts PA organizer Pam Short shows a participant in the "Gerry Meander" walk which district they are standing in. The 2.5 miles participants walked covers three Pennsylvania House Districts and two U.S. House Districts.
Min Xian / WPSU

Fair Districts PA hosted a “Gerry Meander” walk on Saturday. Participants walked through the Park Forest neighborhood in the State College area where three state House districts and two U.S. House districts meet.

Organizer Debbie Trudeau said Pennsylvania’s new congressional districts were a Band-Aid to the state’s gerrymandering problem.

“These lines go through people’s homes now, so this was not a good solution," Trudeau said. 

The Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Jeff Bartos, held a town hall at Penn State on Monday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Jeff Bartos, held a town hall at Penn State on Monday.  

Dozens of students attended and raised questions on balancing the state budget and lowering taxes while maintaining social welfare programs. They also touched on issues including free speech on college campuses and sanctuary cities. The Q&A lasted about an hour.  

Over two dozen attendees met at the Philipsburg-Osceola Middle School for a school safety discussion on Friday, September 14, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

The state senate majority policy committee hosted a school safety discussion on Friday in Philipsburg. It’s the seventh out of ten sessions planned regarding the allocation of $60 million in state funding for schools. 

Over two dozen attendees met at the Philipsburg-Osceola Middle School, including representatives from eight school districts in Central Pennsylvania.

Dr. John Zesiger is the superintendent of the Moshannon Valley School District. He said the school district will most likely use the funding to improve their mental health resources.

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.

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.

In this file photo, Jim Piazza spoke at a press conference regarding the case on the hazing death of his son Tim. The Piazzas and national Beta Theta Pi reached a settlement on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The parents of Tim Piazza, who died after a night of hazing and drinking at Penn State's Beta Theta Pi chapter, have settled with the national fraternity, according to their lawyer.

The amount for which Jim and Evelyn Piazza settled with Beta Theta Pi is undisclosed, family attorney Thomas Kline said.

Beta Theta Pi has also agreed to a 17-point program to make chapters safer and penalize groups for hazing, he said, reforms that will "help establish a baseline for the new norm" of fraternity life.

The Piazzas at press conference
Min Xian / WPSU

Jim and Evelyn Piazza, the parents of Tim Piazza, gave an anti-hazing presentation to fraternity and sorority members at Penn State on Wednesday. They said their goal is to end the culture of hazing.

The Piazzas named their presentation, “Love, Mom & Dad.” They asked their audience in HUB Robeson Center's Freeman auditorium to imagine the painful loss of a child, as they recounted the details of how Tim was hazed and fatally injured in 2017.

State Representative Scott Conklin, D-Centre, introduced two new bills on Monday, which would demand greater accountability from religious organizations.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Following the grand jury report on the alleged widespread clergy abuse in Pennsylvania’s Catholic Church, state lawmakers are pushing for reforms. State Representative Scott Conklin, D-Centre, introduced two new bills on Monday, which would demand greater accountability from religious organizations.

Jim and Evelyn Piazza left the courthouse with their lawyers on Tuesday, after hearing closing statements for the second preliminary hearing for the hazing case resulting in the death of their son, Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Magisterial District Judge Carmine Prestia has dismissed all involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges that the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office tried to reinstate against six defendants in the February 2017 death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza. 

Brendan Young, Daniel Casey and Jonah Neuman all faced involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges in the preliminary hearing that took place earlier this week.  In his ruling on Friday, Prestia wrote that the evidence “is insufficient to support the charges.”

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

Both sides gave closing statements on Wednesday in the fourth preliminary hearing of the Penn State hazing case. All seven defendants face charges that had been dismissed by two districts judges earlier this year.

The charges were refiled by the attorney general’s office. Prosecutors allege these former fraternity brothers conspired and committed hazing, resulting in the death of pledge Tim Piazza.

In their closing arguments, defense attorneys said their clients had limited interaction with Piazza and had no knowledge of his injuries on bid acceptance night.

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

Update: 5:20 p.m.

A fourth preliminary hearing is underway in the case of the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. A Centre County district judge will hear the prosecution's case and decide whether to send seven defendants to trial with new charges including involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

A Republican state senate policy committee hosted a roundtable discussion about school safety in Williamsport on August 16, 2018.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

A Republican state senate policy committee hosted a roundtable discussion about school safety in Williamsport on Thursday. Much of the discussion centered around ways to allocate the $60 million lawmakers reserved for it this year.  

There were nearly a dozen school districts from Central Pennsylvania at the roundtable. Lawmakers and school officials agreed the school safety needs of different school districts can vary greatly.

Harold Shapiro

This interview originally aired on Feb. 9, 2018. Since then, the book won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction.  

"Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America" is a book that looks at how African American leaders–with the best intentions–made choices that eventually helped create mass incarceration.

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.

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