State College

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.

Monday about 30 men and women gathered outside Penn State’s Allen Street Gates in State College to show solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Rally participants chanted and took turns brandishing a megaphone to share their own stories.

Justine Andronici, a lawyer who works with victims of sexual assault, spoke about being drugged and raped when she was in college. Like Ford, she chose not to report. She believes Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

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. 

State College Hosts First Multicultural Unity Fair

Sep 24, 2018
State College Mayor Don Hahn accepts a dreamcatcher from Emelie Jeffries and Patrick Littlewolf Brooks.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

State College community members filled the municipal building for the first ever Multicultural Unity Fair Saturday.

More than 200 people gathered to hear speeches and singing, see dance performances and taste a variety of international cuisines.

Sharon Barney is a member of the Community Diversity Group who helped organize the event.

“Certainly, with the climate, with our own experiences within the Community Diversity Group, we thought it was a good time to show unity and acceptance of all the members in our community,” Barney said.

Anne Ard is the executive director of the Centre County Women's Resource Center, which will become Centre Safe in October.
Maddie Biertempfel / WPSU

The Centre County Women’s Resource Center is changing its name to Centre Safe this October to better reflect its services, which aren’t just for women.    

Executive Director Anne Ard said the decision has been years in the making.

“We first started thinking about it, frankly, right after the Sandusky scandal because it became really clear to us that there were male survivors in the community of both sexual and domestic violence who might be inhibited from coming to us by our name,” Ard said. 

This I Believe: I Believe In Libraries

Sep 13, 2018

I believe in libraries.

I was born in Colombia, a country where books were luxury items, public libraries were few and bookworms were considered arrogant. I grew up being shuffled from aunt to aunt and town to town while my mother was in the U.S., working to support us from a distance.

Rep. Tom Marino
Photo provided

Susan Werner, chair of the Centre County League of Women Voters candidates’ night, is disappointed. She said she reached out to U.S. Rep. Tom Marino’s office about scheduling a forum with him and his Democratic opponent, Marc Friedenberg, but couldn’t get a commitment.

“I think that candidates’ night is a great opportunity for the public to come and ask questions that they want answers to, and he seems to be avoiding that,” Werner said.

The League of Women Voters in the Lewisburg area faced a similar situation.

BookMark: "Moby Dick" By Herman Melville

Sep 6, 2018

In my first teaching interview, I was asked what book I’d most like to teach. Without hesitation, I replied, “Moby Dick.” The interviewer probably thought I was trying to impress him, but it was true. I began teaching “Moby Dick” four years ago, and I hope I’ll be able to continue to teach it for the rest of my career.

State College Commemorates 1963 March On Washington

Aug 28, 2018
Min Xian / WPSU

Dozens of State College community members gathered Tuesday to commemorate the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. 

Speeches, music and dancing filled the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on Fraser Street where participants paid homage to the march's contribution to the civil rights movement.

State College Mayor Don Hahn said the march -- officially the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom -- marked a key turning point in history. 

The State College Area School District had begun the process that could have led to the shut-down of Wonderland Charter School. But before a hearing could be scheduled, Wonderland announced it was closing.

The school district’s attorney, Scott Etter, said the school district had begun the process of revoking the school’s charter because of what he described as “systemic, institutionalized and long-standing” failures, particularly in special education.

State College borough planning director Ed LeClear in front of one of the houses sold through the Neighborhood Sustainability Program.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

It’s just a short walk from the municipal building in downtown State College where Ed LeClear works as borough planning director to a two-story brick house on Foster Avenue with a “For Sale” sign out front. The blocks surrounding it are full of apartment buildings and fraternities, but this block is mostly single-family homes.

The State College Borough’s Redevelopment Authority bought this house, removed the permit that allowed owners to rent it to students and is reselling it as a part of the Neighborhood Sustainability Program.

building construction
Min Xian / WPSU

The development going on in State College right now is expected to increase the number of housing units in the borough by about 20 percent. And largely they’ll be downtown student rentals.

While many Pennsylvania municipalities struggle to sustain their downtowns and shrinking populations, the State College area faces a different set of challenges. The place that’s home to Penn State is seeing growth. But not everyone thinks it’s the right kind.

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.

The waiting room at Nature's Medicines in State College
Tyler Olson / WPSU

As medical marijuana dispensaries continue to open up across Pennsylvania, many first-time patients still don’t know what to expect from the process, and are anxious as they go through it.

“I was a little nervous because I just don’t know how it’ll work,” said Stephanie Darpino after purchasing medical marijuana for the first time at Nature’s Medicines in State College. “But everyone was so nice and it wasn’t … I don’t know like it’s a 'drug' kind of thing. Which I wasn’t sure if that’s how it would feel, but it didn’t feel like that at all.”

Danielle Dormer at the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

This episode of Take Note is part of "State of Emergency: Searching for solutions to Pennsylvania’s opioids epidemic." State of Emergency is a combined effort of newsrooms across the state to draw attention to programs, therapies and strategies that are actually showing promise in the fight against this public health crisis.

Crews excavated ground from around a sinkhole that opened up on College Avenue near the Nittany Mall.
Tyler Olson / WPSU

Drivers on part of East College Avenue outside of State College are being forced to take a detour thanks to a sinkhole that opened up over the weekend.

A sinkhole about one and a half feet wide was discovered Saturday afternoon on East College Avenue near the Nittany Mall. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation immediately closed the stretch between Benner Pike and Shiloh Road for repairs. For now, drivers are taking a short detour.

"Eat First, Cry Later" author Mimi Brash Coppersmith.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

In State College in the late 1950s, she was a rarity: a progressive, a business owner, and a woman.

Mimi Barash Coppersmith celebrates her 85th birthday with a newly published memoir, "Eat First, Cry Later: The Life Lessons Of A First-Generation College Graduate, Penn State Alumna and a Female CEO." It recounts 48 life lessons drawn from an exceptional life brimming with triumphs and tragedies. She talked with Patty Satalia for WPSU's Take Note. 

What SCASD Schools Are Doing To Keep Students Safe

Jun 7, 2018
More than 2,000 students walked into State College Area High School's new south building for the first time on January 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

As the school year draws to a close in State College, teachers and school officials are thinking about the recent school shootings in other cities, and how to keep students here safe. Cindy Simmons talked to some of them for WPSU.   

State College Area School District will no longer provide straws in cafeterias.
AP Photo

The State College Area School District has decided to phase out plastic straws in an effort to reduce waste. Megan Schaper, the district’s director of food service, was making the menu for Earth Day when she came up with the idea to get rid of plastic straws in the new State High cafeteria.

“It’s just a little that I think we can do –  that everybody can do – to help with the plastic pollution problem,” Schaper said.  “Plastic straws are not recyclable. There’s nothing that happens to them other than they go into the landfill and plastic takes at least 500 years to break down.”

Trailhead founder Spud Marshall stands in his living room with his dog, Bodi, surrounded by post-it notes from various project planning meetings.
Sarah Paez / WPSU

A new group in State College called "Trailhead" is working to make Centre County a more vibrant, interesting place to live.

Spud Marshall, a local entrepreneur who wears many different hats, was hiking with his dog, Bodi, at Rothrock State Forest when he got the idea for Trailhead. He realized there was no place in Centre County that acted as a guide for community engagement and change, like a trailhead sign guides a hiker to a trail.

Through his work with the community, he said people often tell him they don’t feel connected.

The Outing Club is one of three student-run clubs that have been disbanded by Penn State. The president of the club meets with the university Wednesday to negotiate.

Outing Club president Richard Waltz found the club his first year at Penn State. He says it was a pivotal moment for him.

“Freshman year that first trip to Shenandoah just absolutely changed the course of my college career,” Waltz said. “It was a defining moment for me.”

As Alyce Ritti sat in the recliner in her bedroom, Camille-Yvette Welsch shared a poem she wrote inspired by Ritti’s life (see poem below).

Welsch met Ritti 15 years earlier, when she was writing an article about Ritti’s art. Poems from Life brought them back together.

“Oh, I have tears of joy,” Ritti cried after hearing Welsch’s poem.

Welsch laughed. “I’m glad. I’m glad.”

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.

State College Borough Council Approves HARB

Dec 21, 2017

After months of public meetings and workshops, State College will have a Historical and Architectural Review Board, or HARB.

State College Borough Council members voted six to one in favor of a HARB Monday night.

More than one-thousand houses in the Holmes-Foster, Highlands and College Heights historical districts will be subject to the review board.

The State College HARB will recommend to the borough council whether to approve or deny property renovations and alterations.

A house in the Holmes-Foster Historic District, which will be under the proposed HARB.
Sarah Paez / WPSU

  

A Historical and Architectural Review Board, or HARB, could be coming to State College soon.

At a series of HARB community workshops and public meetings hosted by the borough of State College, homeowners and residents voiced their opinions about having a board come to the borough.

The State College HARB would be an advisory board to protect the architectural heritage of the historic districts of College Heights, Holmes-Foster and Highlands. The HARB would recommend to the borough council whether to approve or deny property alterations.

Russell Frank is a professor of journalism at Penn State, a contributor to StateCollege.com and a former columnist for the “Centre Daily Times.” He has compiled a selection of his columns from the past 20 years into a book, “Among the Woo People,” which comes out on Sunday. WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Russell Frank about his book.

AG: Thanks for joining me.

RF: My pleasure.

Chelsea Clinton visits her mother's campaign headquarters in downtown State College on September 7, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Chelsea Clinton spoke to a packed room of volunteers and thanked them for their support of her mother, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. 

She spoke about her grandfather, who graduated from Penn State in 1935, and her grandmother who wished she was able to finish college as he did. 

She also stressed the need to register young people in Pennsylvania to vote in the coming election. 

The State College borough council meeting on August 1, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

The State College borough council voted to reduce simple marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a summary offense. 

State College police chief Tom King says this will likely not have a big impact on the borough’s police force. He said, “It will be used very infrequently because we have very few cases that are only small amounts of marijuana.”

In a video released yesterday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty said she supports the ordinance. 

The State College borough council at their meeting on May 2, 2016.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

At a State College borough council meeting in May, Mill Creek resident Christy Billett made an emotional appeal to the board, telling them how getting charged with marijuana possession derailed her life. 

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