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

The State College Area School District is switching to entirely remote learning after Thanksgiving through Dec. 14, as it faces staff absences due to COVID-19 and the expectation of an increase in cases after Thanksgiving.

The school district made the announcement Thursday, saying it has reached a "tipping point."

“For weeks, we have been struggling with staffing due to absences related to COVID-19 in addition to usual illnesses,” the message from Superintendent Bob O’Donnell reads.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health's COVID-19 map of Pennsylvania shows daily caseloads by county. Cambria County had reached 2,663 cases as of Nov. 19, 2020.
Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pennsylvania continues to set new daily records for COVID-19 cases, and those increases aren’t just happening in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and State College. Counties in the center of the state are seeing spikes and asking everyone to follow social distancing guidelines over the holidays.

Dr. Elizabeth Dunmore is chief medical officer at Conemaugh Health System, which serves Cambria and surrounding counties.

She said their message now is the same that it has been: wear a mask, social distance, practice good hand hygiene, and stay home if you could be sick.

Brick exterior shot of The Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School
The Hollidaysburg Area School District

  

A growing number of school districts in central and northcentral Pennsylvania are switching schools to remote learning, even if temporarily, as COVID-19 case numbers in that part of the state increase sharply.

Brick exterior shot of The Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School
The Hollidaysburg Area School District

The Hollidaysburg Area School District in Blair County is moving its junior and senior high to totally virtual learning Monday as COVID-19 cases in the community increase.

 

The plan is to return to school Dec. 1.

Outside of Mount Nittany Medical Center showing sign.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Centre County has been going down recently, but at the same time, hospitalizations are up.

 

Nirmal Joshi, chief medical officer at Mount Nittany Health, said that throughout October, Mount Nittany Medical Center saw a significant increase in hospitalized patients.

Recently, the hospital has has 15, 16 or even 19 COVID patients at one time. That is up from two or three at a time.

 

Centre County dairy farmer Ron Reese says he's only been affected "on the margins" by climate change.
Anne Danahy / StateImpact PA

For Ron Reese, a dairy farmer in western Centre County, a tour of the farm on a warm fall day includes a short history lesson. 

After World War II, the family bought stalls for dairy cows from Sears and Roebuck, and started shipping whole milk.

“In 1946, Sears and Roebuck was the Amazon of the world,” Reese said.

 The property where Reese and his wife, Jane, live is about 650 acres. That includes about 400 acres that’s farmed, along with picturesque rolling hillsides and forested land.

Old Main, the Penn State administrations building on the University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Twice a week, Penn State updates a public website that lists the number of COVID-19 cases on its campuses, but one thing Penn State does not include is information about whether any of those students are hospitalized.

While Penn State offers general information about the number of COVID cases among students and employees, it does not include hospitalizations. Instead, a spokeswoman said, that would be “up to the hospital.”

Donald Trump speaking to a large crowd outside with flags in the background.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

President Donald Trump held a rally at the Altoona-Blair County Airport in Martinsburg Monday, slamming his opponent Joe Biden and promising a booming economy and a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

“A vote for Biden is a vote to off-shore your jobs, ban fracking and deliver economic ruin to Pennsylvania and to your families,” Trump said. “In 2016, Pennsylvania voted to fire this corrupt far-left political establishment and you elected an outsider as president who is finally putting America first.”

Head shot of Todd Rowley with American flag in the background
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for the U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy interviewed Todd Rowley, the Democratic challenger in the race for the 13th Congressional district. Incumbent Republican John Joyce’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. The district covers several counties in southcentral Pennsylvania, including Blair and Huntingdon counties and parts of Cambria and Westmoreland counties. 

Head and shoulders shot of Lee Griffin standing outside
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for the U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy interviewed Lee Griffin, the Democratic challenger in the race for U.S. House, 12th Congressional district. Yesterday, we heard from the incumbent, Republican Fred Keller. The district stretches from Perry County in the south, up to Potter and Susquehanna counties, including Clinton County and part of southern and eastern Centre County.

Head and shoulders shot of U.S. Rep. Fred Keller standing outside
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy spoke with Fred Keller, the Republican incumbent in the race for U.S. House, 12th Congressional district. Tomorrow, we’ll hear from the Democratic candidate, Lee Griffin. The district stretches from Perry County in the south, up to Potter and Susquehanna counties, including Clinton County and part of southern and eastern Centre County. Keller has represented the district since winning the seat in a special election in May 2019.

Robert Williams, of Clearfield County, is the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House, 15th Congressional District.
Robert Williams

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for the U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania.

As part of that, WPSU’s Anne Danahy interviewed Robert Williams, the Democratic candidate in the race for the 15th Congressional district.

The district includes northern and western Centre County, and stretches north and west to cover a large part of the WPSU listening area including Clearfield, Cameron, Elk McKean, Warren and Forest Counties.

WPSU also spoke with Republican incumbent Glenn Thompson.

TRANSCRIPT

Head shot of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson with a flag in the background.
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy interviewed Republican incumbent Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, who is running for reelection in the 15th congressional district seat, which includes part of Centre County, and stretches north and west to cover a large part of the WPSU listening area including Clearfield, Cameron, Elk McKean, Warren and Forest Counties. WPSU also spoke with Thompson's Democratic challenger Robert Williams

TRANSCRIPT

In this file photo from summer 2020, a sign in front of the Mount Nittany Medical Center asks visitors to see a staff member if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 at Mount Nittany Medical Center grew to 13 Friday, an increase in patients that comes from both long-term care facilities and the community, according to a hospital announcement.

That’s about double the recent average of six to eight patients over the past two weeks.

Head shots of Michael Berkman and Candis Watts Smith
The McCourtney Institute

The Presidential election is about a month away. Mail-in ballots, whether people will trust the election results, and the role of local politics are a few of the issues factoring into the race. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke about those topics and more with Michael Berkman and Candis Watts Smith from The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. 

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

The number of Penn State students at University Park who have tested positive for COVID-19 has increased by 458 — a 28% jump — since the numbers were updated Tuesday, according to the latest data from the university.

Penn State student Kaitlyn Harris did an asymptomatic saliva test at a mobile testing site in August.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

 

Penn State is reporting a 294-case increase of COVID-19 among students at University Park since it last updated its coronavirus dashboard on Friday.

 

It brings the total number of cases to 1,665 students at University Park. The dashboard lists 23 cases among students at Penn State Altoona, with 17 still active. There are 33 students in quarantine at that campus.

 

Gates to Beaver Stadium on Penn State's University Park campus in summer 2020.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State will have a football season this year after all, and despite precautions the university says it will take, concerns remain in the community about whether home games could contribute to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Penn State and other Big Ten universities voted unanimously to have a football season this fall, starting the weekend of Oct. 23.

In its announcement, the Big Ten outlined various precautions it says schools will take. Student-athletes will be tested daily, as will coaches and trainers.

Barry Reeger / Associated Press

Leaders of the Big Ten universities voted unanimously to have a football season this fall, starting the weekend of Oct. 23, according to a news release Wednesday morning.

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

Three students in the State College Area School District — one high school student and two elementary students — have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email from the district superintendent to families Monday evening.

The email said the high school student has not been in any district building this school year. The other two are Mount Nittany Elementary students. The email said “contact tracing showed there were no close contacts by these students connected to district schools.”

The College Township municipal building
College Township

The wrestling tournament that College Township in Centre County had tried to stop, saying it would violate COVID-19 restrictions, did take place this weekend, drawing an estimated 2,700 people and leading the township and police to issue citations.

According to a news release from the township, the municipality worked with the State College Police, the borough Health Department and Centre Region Code Administration. They issued more than 30 citations totaling about $10,000 over the course of the three-day event to the organizers and hosts.

The sign outside the municipal building of College Township, Centre County
College Township

Saying a wrestling tournament violates the state’s COVID-19 rules for gatherings and has the potential to be a “super spreader” event, College Township in Centre County is trying to stop the tournament from happening this weekend.

 

Olympic Club Duals is holding the event in the C3 Sports Complex off the Benner Pike. The tournament was scheduled to start Friday afternoon and continue through Sunday.

 

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

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Centre County shot up by 184 Wednesday, in a spike that overshadows all previous increases and will likely raise questions in the community about whether Penn State can contain the spread among students.

According to the state Department of Health, there are 870 known cases of the COVID-19 in Centre County Wednesday, up from 686 Tuesday. That’s more than a 25% increase in one day. The previous largest single-day increase in Centre County was 47 cases.

 

The county cases include:

Outside of the newly renovated Spring Creek Elementary School.
Brittany Krugel / WPSU

Calling it an “extremely disappointing turn of events,” the State College Area School District announced Friday it will move all of its schools to remote learning next week, an announcement that came the same day Penn State’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 174 more cases in the past week. 

In a letter to parents and guardians, Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said recent positives mean the district reached the state Department of Health’s “substantial level” of COVID-19 transmission and the recommendation at that point is “full remote learning.”

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

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase sharply in Centre County, particularly at Penn State and in the neighboring State College area.

There are 578 confirmed and probable cases in Centre County, up from 538 Wednesday, according to the state Department of Health. Thursday’s 40-case increase is second only to the 47-case spike Wednesday, the largest seen in the county since the pandemic began. 

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

The State College Area school board voted 5 to 4 Wednesday night to close schools and take a day off this Friday, giving the district time to review new COVID-19 data.

 

The meeting came the same day Centre County saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, leading to concerns about whether the growing number of cases in Penn State students will spread to the community at large.

Signage for a COVID-19 collection site in State College, Pa.
Min Xian / WPSU

Centre County COVID-19 cases increased by 47 Wednesday, its largest single-day spike since the pandemic began, according to state Department of Health data.

The county has 538 cases — 491 confirmed and 47 probable — up from a total of 491 Tuesday. The jump comes as the State College Area School District has been grappling with if and when to move to remote learning — even temporarily.

The county’s numbers by zip code include:

Carrie Jackson and Dawn Maguire, with the Holmes Foster Neighborhood Association, standing in front of a house.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

 

Penn State classes start this week, and as the campus with the largest student body in Pennsylvania kicks off the fall semester, many in State College are concerned that the arrival of tens of thousands of students could mean outbreaks of COVID-19.

 

"Keep Your Distance" sign with lion's paw print
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State had to break up a large gathering of unmasked students apparently partying outside of dorms on the University Park campus Wednesday night, raising concerns in the community about the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks.

The get-togethers, documented on social media, defy the university’s rules requiring everyone to wear masks while in public spaces on campus and not to gather in groups. And, they came before classes start on Monday.

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

The State College Area School board voted 7 to 2 Monday night against a motion to switch entirely to online learning after two weeks in anticipation of an upswing in COVID-19 cases after the return of Penn State students and in-person classes.

 

The vote followed more than five hours of discussion and public comments during an online meeting attended by more than 700 people.

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