Anne Danahy

Reporter

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities. 

She earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a master's degree in media studies from Penn State.

Before joining WPSU, she worked as a writer and editor at Strategic Communications at Penn State and with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute before that.

She hosts a Q&A program for Centre County's government and education access station and teaches a news writing and reporting class at Penn State.  

Ways to Connect

Students outside of State College Area High School on Jan. 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

Starting this fall, students and staff in the State College Area School District who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 will not have to wear masks inside, while those who have not been vaccinated will, under a plan approved by the school board Monday night.

 

The 7-2 vote followed a lengthy discussion by the board and a contentious public comment period, with some parents booing during the meeting. Other parents spoke in support of the board, with some asking the district to go further and require everyone to wear a mask.

 

Scott Weidensaul holding a snowy owl
Chris DeSorbo

Scott Weidensaul is a naturalist and writer, the author of about 30 books, including one out in March of this year, “A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds.” In the book, Weidensaul takes readers across the word to see the incredible feats of migrating birds. We learn that some birds travel thousands of miles at a time and many of them make those treks in the darkness of night. Weidensaul also writes about the added challenges birds are facing from loss of habitat and climate change.

Old Main, the administration building, on Penn State's University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

As Penn State continues to encourage — not require — students and employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before the fall semester, one factor it has to contend with is politics.

 

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf recently vetoed Republican-backed legislation that, among other things, would have prohibited universities and colleges that get state funding from requiring vaccines.

 

Slot machines could be part of a proposed casino.
Associated Press

Members of the public will have a chance to weigh in on the casino a company wants to run in the Nittany Mall, in College Township, Centre County, during a hearing the state Gaming Control Board has scheduled for 4 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Penn Stater Conference Center.

In 2017, municipalities in Pennsylvania could decide whether they wanted to allow mini-casinos in their borders. College Township did not opt out.

Periodical cicadas on flower leaves.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

 

It can be hard to grasp that as many as 1.5 million cicadas can turn up on one acre of land. That is, until you hear them.

 

“They get so loud, you can hear them over the sound of the mower,” said Bret Satzler, referring to the sound coming from the periodical cicadas filling the trees in his yard, the wooded area behind it and just about everywhere you can think of.

 

Gypsy moths in moth phase with egg masses on a tree
Donald Eggen / DCNR

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is hoping to bring down a boom in the gypsy moth population, spraying for the invasive species of caterpillar in 19 counties in south central, central, north central and northwest Pennsylvania. 

Gypsy moths like to eat the leaves off oaks, along with apples and aspens. They’ll also feed on many other trees like hemlocks and pines.  

Woman standing in a grassy research field pointing to a plant.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

The need to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change is well known, but scientists at Penn State say actually removing heat-trapping gases from the air has to be a part of the strategy too.

Tom Richard, director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment and an organizer of its recent “Energy Days 2021” conference, said reducing emissions is important, but not enough.

Close-up of a cicada
Carolyn Kaster / AP

As many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre is what parts of southcentral and eastern Pennsylvania and other states could be experiencing soon. WPSU’s Anne Danahy spoke with Tom Ford, a horticulture educator with Penn State Extension in Cambria County, about the Brood X cicadas, and what you should expect to see — and hear.

Here's the interview:

Anne Danahy

Tom Ford, tell us about the Brood X cicadas that we're starting to actually see and hear in parts of Pennsylvania.

Tom Ford

An array of solar panels in a field against a blue sky
Anne Danahy / WPSU

President Biden's climate plans have been called the most ambitious in history.

What do you want to know about the infrastructure plans and the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy? 

StateImpact Pennsylvania and The Allegheny Front are assembling a group of experts to answer your questions about the energy transition on topics like clean energy, climate change, labor economics, what to do about fossil fuel workers, electrifying the vehicle fleet, decarbonizing the electric grid, and more. You can submit a question in the form below.

Township manager Adam Pribulka standing in the road in front of a house pointing to snow melting into a drain pipe.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

David Pribulka, manager of Ferguson Township in Centre County, stood on a suburban street in late February, as snow melted and ran down a drain. The township recently adopted a stormwater fee, and he was pointing to one of the projects the fee will help pay for: a badly needed improvement to a drainage way. 

A person walks across an empty mall on Penn State main campus
Min Xian / WPSU

After a year of largely remote classes and jobs, Penn State plans to move faculty and staff back to in-person work this fall as COVID-19 vaccines become widely available, according to an announcement from the university giving an overview of return-to-work plans.

In making the announcement, the university said the availability of vaccines factors into “an optimistic outlook for summer and a full, on-campus experience for students at all campuses in fall 2021.”

Head shots of State College mayoral candidates Ezra Nanes and Jim Leous
Photos provided

Two Democrats — and no Republicans — are on the ballot in this year’s primary race for State College mayor. Ezra Nanes is director of business development at AccuWeather. He previously ran for state Senate and tried for a seat on the State College Borough Council, and he's a member of the Centre County Democratic Committee. Jim Leous leads the emerging technologies group for Penn State's Information Technology Services. He’s also a member of the State College Area school board and adviser to the Penn State College Democrats.

A flier from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission reminding those in the 814 area that they'll need to start using the area code on April 3, 2021.
Pennsylvania PUC

 

Starting Saturday, callers in Pennsylvania’s 814-area code need to dial 10 digits, not just seven, as the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission gets ready to add a second area code to the region.

 

 

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission press secretary Nils Hagen-Frederiksen said 814 is one of the original Pennsylvania area codes established in 1947. It’s the only region that hasn’t already gotten another area code added to it, and it stretches from Johnstown to State College to Erie.

 

Solar panels in a field
Anne Danahy / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s targets for renewable energy are set to max out this year unless the General Assembly takes action, and Republican leaders seem ready to leave increasing goals for green energy up to the private sector.

The state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards require utilities to buy certain amounts of power from renewable sources. For example, utilities now have to get 8% of their power from “Tier 1” energy sources like wind and solar.

A tented device to play back natural gas compressor noise in between two bluebird boxes in a field
Julian Avery / Penn State

A study by Penn State researchers found that songbirds nesting near the sound of natural gas compressors had fewer hatched eggs.  

Researchers set up 80 bird boxes at Penn State's Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Rock Springs in central Pennsylvania, to attract bluebirds and tree swallows. Half were in quiet areas, and half where researchers played audio recordings from a compressor station. They also outfitted the boxes with mini-cameras.

What they found was in some ways surprising.

A a technician sitting above a manhole next to a red cone installs a flow meter into the university's sewage network.
Michael Shreve / Penn State

A team of Penn State researchers is using wastewater testing to track the rise and fall of the COVID-19 virus in the State College area. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Andrew Read, director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, about the project. Here's their conversation. 

Anne Danahy 

Andrew Read, thank you for talking with us.

Andrew Read 

Sure.

Anne Danahy 

Every year, the Governor of Pennsylvania and the General Assembly have to agree on budget. But this year, lawmakers are also tackling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Added to that are hot button issues including the outcome of the presidential election and legislative redistricting. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with two elected leaders from Centre County: Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff.

TRANSCRIPT

A male voter at a voting booth with a "Vote" sign
Alex Brandon / AP

 

The U.S. Census Bureau said Friday that it will get redistricting data to the states by the end of September, not the end of March as originally planned, a hold up that Pennsylvania Republican leaders say could lead to a delay in next year’s primary.

 

“When you’re making decisions in life, it’s always good to have information as early as you can," said Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, who is one of the Republicans who will serve on the state’s redistricting commission.

 

State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman sitting in the WPSU radio studio
Min Xian / WPSU

A proposed amendment to Pennsylvania’s Constitution that would change how Supreme Court and appeals court judges are elected could have been on the state ballot as early as May, but Senate President Pro Tem Jake Corman said he expects there to be greater review of the issue first.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the proposal in the 2019-20 session. A Constitutional Amendment has to pass in two consecutive sessions before it goes to voters as a referendum. 

 

File photo of a mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State students will return to in-person classes next Monday, as the country is bracing for a faster-spreading COVID-19 variant to become dominant.

 

The B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus -- also known as the U.K. variant -- has already been detected in more than 30 states, including Pennsylvania. The Centers for Disease Control expects it to become the dominant variant in March.

 

Cory Miller, executive director of the University Area Joint Authority, stands in front of one phase of the authority's solar array project.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

If you’re thinking about getting solar panels on your home or business, the local wastewater authority is probably not the first place you would call. But a wastewater agency in Centre County that’s looking to help more people go solar might be a good place to start.

The gym at SCI Huntingdon has been converted to an infirmary that houses inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

As a COVID-19 outbreak at a state prison in Forest County continues, the sparsely populated county in northwestern Pennsylvania now has the highest rate of coronavirus cases in the state by far. 

As of Thursday, there were 1,245 known cases in Forest County. That’s about 17% of the county’s entire population.

 

It’s also more than double the number in the county just a week before.

Emily Shearer, a registered nurse in critical care services at Mount Nittany Medical Center, receives the COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, from Dr. Upendra Thaker.
Mount Nittany Health

Mount Nittany Health announced that starting Friday of next week community members who meet the state's eligibility guidelines will be able to go online to

The gym at SCI Huntingdon has been converted to an infirmary that houses inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Until now, Forest County in northwestern Pennsylvania had seen relatively few cases of COVID-19, but that changed when cases at a state prison spiked.

The daily COVID-19 count from the state showed cases in Forest County increasing by 33% — jumping from 430 to 571 on Wednesday.

Head shot of climate scientist Michael Mann
Joshua Yospyn

Well-known climate scientist and Penn State professor Michael Mann argues in a new book that there are many tools for addressing climate change and transitioning to green energy.

Mann’s book, "The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet," comes as the country’s climate policy is expected to change with the Biden administration.

Mann said he thinks the U.S. is in a position to re-establish its global leadership on this issue, and that Joe Biden has indicated he will do that as president.

The sign for Centre Crest Nursing Home outside the Bellefonte building.
Emily Reddy

 

  

 

 

 

Chip Minemyer’s mother, Marjorie, was born in the Bald Eagle Valley. Minemyer said she was sweet and full of life and loved the area. He lost his mother to COVID-19 on Thanksgiving day.

“She was 92, a lifelong Centre County resident," Minemyer said.

 

Nationally, about a third of COVID-19 deaths are from nursing and personal care homes. In Pennsylvania, it’s more than half.

 

People walking on the sidewalk in downtown State College
Min Xian / WPSU

Prompted by COVID-19, State College is looking into creating a health department, which would give the borough more control when responding to future pandemics and other public health issues.

Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said having a health department would let the borough be more agile when responding to situations like the significant population fluctuations that happened this year during the pandemic. State College saw most Penn State students leave in March then return in the fall.

Jennifer Granholm at a podium speaking
Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

As governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm helped lead efforts to bail out the auto industry, including offering government incentives to invest in electric vehicle technology. 

Now that President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Granholm to be secretary of Energy, the reaction from the academic and environmental sectors has been positive.

Susan Brantley, a distinguished professor of geosciences at Penn State, said Granholm has a track record when it comes to energy policies. 

Head and shoulder shot of Eric Barron
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State President Eric Barron said he’s looking forward to environmental issues getting more attention — and possibly funding — under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. 

He said environmental issues have taken a “back seat” at the national level in recent years — from the government removing some climate change terminology to cuts in funding. 

Emily Shearer, a registered nurse in critical care services at Mount Nittany Medical Center, receives the COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, from Dr. Upendra Thaker.
Mount Nittany Health

Mount Nittany Medical Center received its first shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines this week — 975 doses — and began administering them to frontline hospital staff Friday. WPSU’s Anne Danahy talked with Chief Medical Officer Nirmal Joshi about getting the vaccines while case numbers continue to climb.

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