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

County Commissioners and advocates spoke in front of county courthouse in Lock Haven
Min Xian / WPSU

Advocacy group Fair Districts PA announced on Thursday that Clinton County is the first in the state to get all of its municipalities and county commissioners to pass resolutions in support of redistricting reform. The group believes momentum to end gerrymandering is growing.

The resolutions demand a fair way to draw legislative district lines and to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. Twenty-nine municipalities as well as the county commissioners supported reform.

John Fetterman speaking
Min Xian / WPSU

John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania and lieutenant governor hopeful, made an appearance at Webster's Bookstore Cafe in State College just hours after he received an endorsement from former governor and Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell.

"He revitalized the downtown, reduced the crime rate. Braddock hasn't had a homicide in five and a half years - an extraordinary record," Rendell said. "Most of all, he brought hope back to a fine heritage Pennsylvania city in Braddock."

Fetterman said it’s nice to have the recognition.

Richard Cho speaking at summit
Min Xian / WPSU

A nationwide initiative to reduce imprisonment of people with mental illness is hosting a two-day summit in State College on Monday and Tuesday. The Pennsylvania Stepping Up Summit calls for better practices in evaluating and treating mental illness.

Christian Leinbach is chairman of the Berks County Commissioners and has been working on the Stepping Up initiative since before it was launched in 2015. Leinbach said his county jail has about 1,000 people on a daily average. Over half of that population faces mental illness.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

In the wake of recent high-profile sexual harassment allegations coming to light, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are proposing to reform how state government handles allegations concerning legislators.

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D-Delaware) plans to  introduce the MeToo Pennsylvania State House Act, which would ban non-disclosure agreements and prohibit use of taxpayer money for settling claims in sexual harassment or assault cases that involve lawmakers.

 

Bernie Cantorna at a campaign event.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Centre County District Attorney-elect Bernie Cantorna announced Tuesday that he will recuse himself from the Penn State hazing death case and has asked Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro to take over.

In a statement, Cantorna cited conflicts of interest.

“Because I previously served as counsel to some of those involved in these cases, I sought the advice of the State Bar Ethics Committee about how to handle these matters going forward,” Cantorna said of his decision. “I have done that so these cases can move forward in an efficient, timely and above board manner.”

Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

A widely-shared Politico article used Johnstown, Pennsylvania as a lens to showcase the loyalty of President Trump’s supporters one year after his election. But local residents are balking at the portrait of Johnstown that emerged from the story. 

The story depicted Johnstown as a “depressed former steel town” facing massive population loss and an opioid epidemic, filled with residents happy to give Trump a pass no matter his actions or unfulfilled promises.

DA at press conference
Min Xian / WPSU

New criminal charges have been filed against Penn State fraternity members in relation to the hazing death of pledge Timothy Piazza. The FBI recovered surveillance footage, which Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller said was deleted by a fraternity member. 

The DA’s office said the video was deleted after brothers were made aware that an investigation into Tim Piazza’s death was underway.

This year's Rockefeller Christmas tree
Min Xian / WPSU

This year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is getting ready to leave its root in State College and is headed to New York City. On Thursday morning, Rockefeller Center's gardeners and staff cut the 75-foot-tall Norway Spruce from its home on Pikeview Road. The 12-ton giant was carefully lifted and placed on a truck, waiting to begin its journey.

a voter at a voting booth
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Williamsport residents voted to form a government study commission for the city on Tuesday. The commission will help the city decide if they will adopt a home rule charter.

Fifty-eight percent of the city's voters said “yes” to forming the commission and electing seven commissioners. The commission will look at the current form of government in Williamsport and recommend whether or not to adopt a home rule charter.

In Pennsylvania, home rule municipalities can govern themselves except where specifically limited by state laws. 

Protestors held signs that read "stand up for DACA"
Min Xian / WPSU

State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, Penn State Law Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia and campus Pastor Ben Wideman urged support on Wednesday for a DREAM act to secure the future for recipients of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The group asked Congressman Glenn Thompson to take action through a conference call with the media.

Mayor Goreham urged Thompson to pass a DREAM act by the end of the year.

Fair District PA volunteer spoke outside Corman's office
Min Xian / WPSU

Fair Districts PA delivered postcards collected from constituents to State Senator Jake Corman’s office in Bellefonte on Thursday, urging the Republican majority leader to to pass legislation to reform the redistricting process in Pennsylvania.

About 25 members and supporters of Fair Districts PA gathered in the parking lot outside Corman’s office with over 500 postcards stapled onto a giant board.

“The districting process in Pennsylvania is rigged and we need to stop that,” said Toby Short, a volunteer for the advocacy group.

Fire Director Steve Bair stands in front of a fire truck
Min Xian / WPSU

The Alpha Fire Company in State College is proposing a huge increase in its annual stipend for volunteer firefighters. The proposal underlines the difficulty in recruiting volunteer firefighters across the state.

The 96 volunteer firefighters at Alpha earn a stipend of about $560 a year when they work a minimum requirement.

Fire Director Steve Bair proposes an increase in that stipend. If approved, the volunteers would get about $1,000 next year and around $5,000 a few years from now. The funding will come from local taxpayers.

The Traveling Wall in State College
Min Xian / WPSU

Many Vietnam veterans have only seen their service recognized in recent years. But a traveling version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in State College gave them a chance to share their stories and heal. 

The names of more than 58,000 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War are listed and honored on the Traveling Wall.

Rex Johnson is an active duty national guard member from Milesburg. He rode among the Motorcycle Honor Escort last Wednesday, delivering the Traveling Wall from Bellefonte to Innovation Park.

The Traveling Wall in State College
MIN XIAN / WPSU

Over a hundred people attended the opening ceremony for the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall at Innovation Park on Thursday. 

Ryan McCombie shared the story of returning to the U.S. from Vietnam, saying that the first thing everyone did was to change into civilian clothing. A retired U.S. Navy Captain who served for 26 years and a Vietnam veteran, he said the country did not welcome the men in uniforms when they returned.

“Today, we welcome home again, all of our veterans,” McCombie said. A standing ovation followed.

Steven McKnight poses for a photo
Min Xian / WPSU

For those born and raised in struggling Rust Belt cities, it’s common to move away for job opportunities or a different lifestyle. The city of Altoona has steadily lost population since its height in the 1930s. But for some Altoona natives who have returned to the area, there are many appeals to working and living back home.

Steven McKnight is one of those people. He called himself a “boomeranger.”

“I’m actually a double boomeranger,” McKnight said.

Min Xian / WPSU

The city of Altoona officially came out of Act 47 on Wednesday, bringing an end to its distressed city status. Altoona's successful exit is a big win for its local government and their collaboration with the state.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin officially announced the rescission in Altoona's downtown Devorris Center. 

“On behalf of Governor Tom Wolf and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I’m officially signing the order which allows the city of Altoona to exit Act 47 today,” Davin said.  

Timothy Piazza's parents as they entered the courthouse this morning in Bellefonte.
Min Xian / WPSU

A judge has dropped all involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges for the 18 Penn State fraternity members charged in the death of pledge Timothy Piazza. Some defendants are going to trial for lesser charges. 

The most serious charges of the case have been dismissed by Judge Allen Sinclair, but 14 defendants are still going to trial for hazing and furnishing. Seven also face reckless endangerment charges. 

Defense attorney Michael Engle says his client, Gary DiBileo, knows there’s no winner in the case.