Anne Danahy


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

The new Pennsylvania congressional map.
image: PA Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new map for the state’s Congressional districts. That means new boundaries for U.S. House districts, including those in central and northern Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy reports that some candidates who were running in the primary are moving ahead, while others say they haven’t decided.

For starters, forget the old numbers for Congressional districts in Pennsylvania. The new map from the state Supreme Court completely shifts those districts around.  

Grad student rally
Anne Danahy / WPSU

"What do we want? Unions! When do we want it? Now."

That chant was part of the demonstration Penn State graduate student employees who want to unionize held Wednesday in front of Old Main, the university administration building. 

Among those clapping and cheering at a pro-union rally were faculty, employees and politicians.

Derek Fox, an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics, said graduate students have voted to unionize at other institutions and the sky hasn’t fallen.

biker in traffic
Emma Lee / Newsworks

PennDOT is updating its statewide bicycle and pedestrian master plan. That includes a 22-question survey that will help regional and state planners.

Roy Gothie is PennDOT’s statewide bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. He said part of PennDOT’s job is to support riding and walking as transportation.

cyberscam keyboard

Penn State is launching its first “self-phishing” campaign today as part of its cybersecurity efforts. University faculty and staff across the state should expect to get emails testing their ability to avoid being scammed.

Holly Swires, chief privacy officer at Penn State, said the university wants to educate faculty and staff about malicious cyber-tactics.

John Griffiths and A.J. Dereume, co-handlers of Punxsutawney Phil, stand with the famous groundhog
Anne Danahy / WPSU

John Griffiths is chopping up vegetables for Phil’s lunch. The groundhog dines in style. 

“I’m cutting up sweet potatoes,” he explains.

Every year thousands of people travel to Punxsutawney to witness Punxsutawney Phil’s weather forecast. If he sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter. If not, we get an early spring. 

Griffiths is a handler in what’s known as Punxsutawney Phil’s Inner Circle. His duties include everything from preparing lunch for the famous groundhog to handling him on Groundhog Day.

medical marijuana clinic
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Bradford is a historic town on the northern Pennsylvania border. An empty storefront will soon be one of the state’s medical marijuana clinics.

“It’s right in the heart of our downtown on Main Street,” said Tom Riel, mayor of Bradford. He was standing in front of the future clinic, surrounded by shops and apartments in an old-fashioned downtown.  To Riel, the clinic will be the same as a new pharmacy opening up.

Cresco Yeltrah

Diana Briggs gives her son, Ryan, a very small dose of medical marijuana every night — carefully putting a coconut oil in his feeding tube.

“All right Ryan, it’s time for your special medicine.”

Ryan suffered from a lack of oxygen at birth that injured his brain. It left him with many challenges, including seizures — some days in the hundreds.

“My son had never slept. I can look back at Facebook posts from years ago where I was praying and begging people to pray that Ryan would sleep. He was seizing 72 hours straight with no break,” Diana Briggs said.

Anne Danahy / WPSU

Hundreds of people turned out for the Central Pennsylvania Women’s March in State College Saturday. The event was one of many held across the country.  

Among those rallying was Libby Gage, there with her 16-year-old daughter.

Gage's message: “That we’ve had enough, and that we really really need a big wave in 2018.”

Protestors waved signs, chanted and cheered. They made their way from the gates of Penn State to the State College borough building. There, speakers advocated for women’s rights, racial equality, believing victims of abuse and protecting children. 

Medical marijuana
Cresco Yeltrah

Medical marijuana has been legalized in Pennsylvania. With the changes come new rules and regulations. 

Pennsylvania Safe Access held an information session in the State College Borough Building Thursday evening. Organization founder Christy Billett was there to answer questions.

“Really, it’s just about talking about it. Letting people realize the face to the patient, and that maybe cannabis is better than some of the pharmaceuticals that they’re taking,” Billett said.

Candidates debate
Anne Danahy / WPSU

The four candidates competing for the Republican nomination to be Pennsylvania’s governor answered questions Thursday during a forum hosted by the Blair County Republican Committee.

Republican governor hopefuls had a chance to weigh in on issues including the state budget, education standards and responding to the opioid epidemic.

State Senator Scott Wagner, from York County, said he ran a write-in campaign for his seat because he was fed up with government. He called the Senate “completely dysfunctional.”

Kayleigh Powell pins her resolution to the Burning Man as part of First Night State College.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Ice sculptures, bell ringing and new year’s resolutions were part of First Night State College when families and visitors rang in the new year Sunday.

“We’re here to try the ice slide for the first time," said Megan Orient, who was there with her 3-year-old son, Michael. They were among those braving the chilly temperatures to enjoy the features of First Night State College. There was a windchill advisory for central and northern Pennsylvania Sunday night.

Net Neutrality 'Wake Up Call'
Associated Press

Imagine you’re a student taking a class online and you’re going to watch an educational video.

Now picture yourself inching along on the internet highway in the slow lane.

“If you’re not in the fast lane, that experience is going to be choppy video, low-quality video, and that’s going to be really distracting for you,” said Chris Millet, director of learning design at Penn State World Campus.

The Federal Communications Commission voted last week to repeal  net neutrality rules. Millet is worried what the FCC’s recent decision to end net neutrality could mean.

Protect Our Water sign
Anne Danahy / WPSU

This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 21, 2017.  

The possibility that a student housing development slated for Whitehall Road could get moved to West College Avenue is off the table.

Penn State says the West College land is “strategically important to the long-range health and growth of the university.”

In a statement, the university said:

Undeveloped land
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

The group that has been protesting Penn State’s sale of land along Whitehall Road to a developer said that it will file a lawsuit if that transaction takes place.

The Nittany Valley Water Coalition, which is being incorporated as the nonprofit Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition, said Tuesday that the suit will ask the court to find that Penn State is a “Commonwealth trustee.” As a state agency, the coalition says, Penn State would be required to protect public natural resources under the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment.

slot machines

If the State College area gets a mini-casino, one of the only places it could end up is at the Nittany Mall.

Ferguson, Harris and Patton townships voted to opt out of having mini-casinos, as did State College. But College Township did not.

“The potential for redevelopment of that area in College Township was significant if something like that were to happen,” said Township Manager Adam Brumbaugh.

He said the township’s zoning ordinances mean there are very few places a casino could go.

Democrat Kerith Strano Taylor made a stop in State College Thursday to announce that she’s running for the U.S. House of Representatives.

She said winning the 5th Congressional district won’t be easy, but that’s different than impossible. She also took aim at Republicans and Rep. Glenn Thompson, who currently holds the seat.

“I think our government is broken, and it’s my obligation as a citizen to try to fix it,” said Strano Taylor to a room full of supporters in the State College borough building.

the Rathskeller
Anne Danahy / WPSU

One of the many pictures decorating the walls at the Rathskeller is a photograph of Timothy Leary, the psychologist who told people to “turn on, tune in and drop out.”

Leary went to the Skeller many years ago after debating G. Gordon Liddy, of Watergate fame, at Penn State. Bar owner Duke Gastiger said Leary collected Americana and wanted to buy one of the bar’s tables that was chiseled with customers’ names.

Leary didn’t get to leave with a table, but Gastiger said they’d send him one.

Undeveloped land
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

The Nittany Valley Water Coalition is hoping Penn State agrees to sell land on West College Avenue to the developer Toll Brothers.

Kelli Hoover, with the coalition, said time is running out for that idea. The sale of the original property is scheduled to close Dec. 27.

“We’re still trying to do what we can to encourage Penn State to come to the table," Hoover said. "Toll Brothers has been quite serious about wanting to buy an alternate location and not build on Whitehall, and Penn State seems pretty noncooperative.”

apartment building
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Aviva Franz, a sophomore at Penn State, is leaving her apartment in the Metropolitan on a breezy fall day. She moved into the new, upscale building in downtown State College at the end of August.

“It definitely offers more, but there are tradeoffs," Franz said. "Like, it’s definitely more expensive than some of the other places. We do have a gym in the building, even though it’s small, and we do have a study lounge.”

A staff writer for the New Yorker and a professor of journalism at Columbia University, Jelani Cobb writes about politics, culture and race. He brings both historical insight and an eloquent writing style to topics ranging from football players kneeling during the national anthem to political battles over bathrooms. His writing has won awards and appeared in a number of publications, and he is the author of several books, including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.” He is also known for his appearances on national television and radio programs.

Anne Danahy / WPSU

Penn State faculty, grad students and supporters rallied at the Allen Street gates in State College Wednesday. They were protesting a tax hike for graduate students included in the GOP House tax plan. 

One member of the group, Margarita Hernandez, is in her first year working toward a PhD in anthropology.

“We already get paid enough to live or so. But, that extra tax is going to make that so it’s not feasible anymore,” Hernandez said.

Adriana Rizzo, a first year PhD student in geosciences, said the change would be an economic hardship for a lot of students.

U.S. Capitol

On Nov. 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Republican tax plan. It would make changes including counting graduate scholarships and tuition discounts as taxable income. That has raised concerns for some, including the administration at Penn State.

Sheila West, a professor of biobehavioral health and nutrition at Penn State, is also the parent of a college student. Her son is in his first year at Penn State. He wants to become an architect.


For the first time, Penn State is not letting students register for classes until they’ve shown they have received required vaccines. 

Mindy Krause, with University Health Services, said Penn State’s immunization policy didn’t change this year. What’s new is students who didn’t submit the required information had a hold placed on spring 2018 class registration.

She said at this point in the year, they’re ahead of last year.

woman giving tour
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Children who visit Penn State’s new Center for Healthy Children participate in art projects, science demonstrations and learning. As they’re doing that, researchers are trying to figure out what will improve their lives down the road.

Jennie Noll, director of the center, said during an open house Friday that researchers want to learn more about the health consequences of abuse and neglect.

intersection aerial view

The public will have a chance to learn about plans for improving the intersection of routes 26 and 45 at a meeting Monday.

The intersection of state routes 26 and 45 near Pine Grove Mills has been the site of enough crashes that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has been studying what can be done to improve it.

Project Manager Leigh Woolridge said PennDOT has narrowed it down to three options. Two of those include installing a traffic light. The other would mean a two-lane roundabout.

Anne Danahy / Penn State

Penn State and the developer slated to build student housing on Whitehall Road may have come closer to agreeing to a new site for the project. 

Protestors of a proposed student housing project say they’re pleased Toll Brothers and Penn State met Tuesday to discuss the possible site at West College Avenue and Blue Course Drive. They’re hoping Penn State is on board with the idea.

grazing elk
Anne Danahy / WPSU

It’s dusk on a beautiful fall day in northcentral Pennsylvania and scores of visitors are on the search. The goal: Seeing — and hearing — elk.

The male or bull can weigh more than 800 pounds and have antlers that are four and a half feet long. But, along with seeing the animals, visitors want to hear them.

It doesn’t take long before cars pulling over on the side of the road tip other tourists off. And sure enough, a few dozen elk are grazing in a grass field beside the road.

Old Main

Penn State will finally be getting its funding from the state. On Wednesday night, the General Assembly ended its budget impasse, including approving appropriations for Penn State and the other state-related universities. 

State funding for Penn State had been in limbo since the start of the fiscal year in July. So much so, the university suggested students might get a bigger tuition bill midyear.

That waiting game ended when the General Assembly approved funding for Penn State. The budget means a mid-year tuition bump for students is off the table.

Beta Theta Pi fraternity building
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Rush. It’s that time of year when students looking to join a fraternity or sorority go through pledging events that are part of Greek life on college campuses.

At Penn State, the administration is tightening the controls on pledging and how it will be monitored, after student Timothy Piazza died in February at Beta Theta Pi’s bid acceptance night. President Eric Barron spoke about those changes and the university’s response to fraternity hazing and drinking earlier this year.

Telling Penn State students that their votes matter, Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd recounted how, several years ago, a statewide Democratic judge lost by 48 votes.

“I think that really lets you know how important every vote is," Todd said.

Todd was speaking to a roomful of college Democrats. The visit was just one of the stops she’s making before Pennsylvania’s Nov. 7 vote. She said elder justice, veterans courts and prevention of child abuse are three of the issues important to her.

Todd encouraged the students to stay involved.