Centre County

This I Believe: I Believe In Thank You Notes

Aug 15, 2019
Essayist Stacie Chandler.
Curt Chandler

I believe in thank you notes. I believe in sending them and in receiving them. Absolutely for gifts – every gift REQUIRES written acknowledgement – but also for random acts of kindness or thoughtful behavior and for hospitality.

Ask anyone, “Hey, how are you doing?” and they will most likely respond, “Busy. I am SOOO busy. There is just too much going on.”

People are busy. Everyone is busy. 

Work. Play. Shopping. Recreation. Family. Cooking. Errands. Laundry. School. Housework. 

Social commitments. Yard work. Commuting. Volunteering.

Russell Schaufler analyzing slides at the Weaver Building.
Evan Beebe / WPSU

 

Russell Schaufler never had a job he enjoyed, that was until he found the ACRES project. At ACRES Schaufler was paired with a job at the Penn State Egyptology Department digitizing 50-year-old research slides for professors. Schaufler says he’s excited to go to work now.

“It’s very friendly for an autistic person because I don’t have to work with a lot of people, so it kind of helped ease me back into the work environment, which for most of my life has been pretty toxic. So this is kind of helping me bring back a little confidence,” Schaufler said.

A new bill allows Pennsylvania youth in the foster care system to attend any college or university in the state tuition free.
Steph Krane / WPSU

Starting with the fall 2020 semester, Pennsylvania youth who have been in foster care will be able to attend any college or university in Pennsylvania tuition free thanks to a waiver program signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf this June.

Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State Jennie Noll says the waivers will benefit a population that often has bad outcomes.

History makes a great story when it’s told well. And who can resist a good story? I certainly can’t. Having been a history major in undergrad, I may be particularly susceptible. So when I came across Matthew Kneale’s new book, “Rome: A History In Seven Sackings” in the leisure reading collection at Pattee Library, I had to check it out.

Flavia Barger serving food at the Golden Basket opening round.
Evan Beebe / WPSU

A local cooking competition is underway across Centre County. The Golden Basket’s first qualifying round was on Saturday at the North Atherton Farmers Market, and the competition hopes to bring attention to locally grown food in Central Pennsylvania. 

Nancy VanLandingham

Saturday, July 20th is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface.

Nancy VanLandingham of Warrior’s Mark was 14 years old in 1969.

“To me, it felt like it was pretty much the most important thing that had happened in my lifetime,” VanLandingham said.

As she remembers it, everyone back then was focused on space travel.

Kristine Allen / WPSU

On Tuesday, July 16, the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium at Penn State invited the public to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. They held a rocket launch event at the Ag Progress Days sight in Pennsylvania Furnace.

With a drone buzzing overhead to film the event, they launched 24 model rockets at 9:32am – the exact time of the Apollo launch 50 years ago.

Taproot Kitchen sold food made with vegetables started at the Penn State Student Farm during the farm's Summer Solstice Celebration.
Steph Krane / WPSU

It's not every day you hear people get excited over tofu. But tonight’s tofu dish, served by Taproot Kitchen, comes with a side of vegetables grown at Penn State’s Student Farm. 

Taproot Kitchen is a nonprofit catering company that employs adults with autism and intellectual disabilities to cook and serve quality local food, something customers at this year’s Summer Solstice Celebration found out for themselves as they ate everything from flatbreads topped with vegetables to sweet chili tofu with a side salad. 

This I Believe: I Believe In High Heels

Jun 20, 2019

I believe in high heels.

I can still remember prancing around the living room of my childhood apartment in my mother’s white satin stiletto sling backs. They were a gift from my father and she wore them for special occasions. When my mother took an afternoon nap, I quietly removed the shoes from their box, slid them over my small feet and stepped out across the parquet floor. I felt great. I couldn’t wait to grow up and wear heels every single day.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills, banning the procedure on or beyond eight weeks of pregnancy, Friday, May 24, 2019 in Jefferson City, Mo.
Summer Balentine / AP Photo

There aren’t many students in Penn State’s HUB-Robeson Student Union this time of year, but the community members and students who are there have mixed thoughts about the abortion laws passed by almost a dozen states in recent months.

Aman Kaur from State College said women should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to ending a pregnancy.

Charles Fergus' "A Stranger Here Below" is set in Pennsylvania in the 1830s, but draws from the author's real-world experiences.
Charles Fergus

A writer and native of central Pennsylvania, Charles Fergus is best known for his books and articles about nature and wildlife. But, his latest book is a mystery novel and period piece.

Set in Pennsylvania in the 1830s, “A Stranger Here Below” is the story of Sheriff Gideon Stoltz trying to understand what would lead the local judge to kill himself. The book draws on Fergus’s expertise as a nature writer and his personal experience with murder. 

U.S.G.S

A minor earthquake hit Central Pennsylvania Wednesday night. The U.S. Geological Survey reports the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 3.4, struck at around 8:31 p.m. The epicenter was located in Juniata county, Pa., about 11 miles south/southwest of Mifflintown. Reports of mild shaking came in to the U.S.G.S website from Altoona to Lancaster, and from State College to Hagerstown, Md.

Corl Street Elementary, in State College, is receiving extensive renovations, all done with safety in mind.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

This story originally aired on March 21, 2019.

Martha Sherman has two kids at Mount Nittany Elementary School in State College. On a recent morning when she was dropping them off, office staff wouldn’t let her go beyond the front office. She wanted to walk her son Zane to his kindergarten class, but his school, like many others, has a safety policy that says parents can’t do that.

Kristine Allen / WPSU

Rick Lombardo is the new is the Director of the School of Theatre at Penn State, hired last summer.

WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with Lombardo about bringing back the professional summer season of Penn State Centre Stage  in the summer of 2019 and about how his college pre-med plans were thwarted by theatre.  (Listen to the interview at the link above.)

You'll find more information on the Penn State Centre Stage summer season here.

John Lovett, a retired police officer and the Saint Marys School District's school safety and security coordinator, reviews the school security cameras. They're one of the measures the school district has in place.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

This story originally aired on March 20, 2019.  

John Lovett is a retired police officer and the school safety and security coordinator at the Saint Marys Area School District.

It's a typical day at the high school in Elk County, Pennsylvania, and students stream down the halls during a break.

Lovett's job is helping keep the students safe. As part of that, he carries a taser and a gun. And he helps train the schools on what to do in an emergency, including a possible intruder.

Karen Muir, front, Becker's attorney, walked out of the Centre County Courthouse on Thursday, after the jury rendered a verdict for Becker.
Min Xian / WPSU

A Centre County jury found Braxton Becker, the house manager of Penn State’s now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity, guilty on one of the three misdemeanor charges he faced on Thursday.

After five hours of deliberation, the jury rendered a verdict that Becker, a former Beta Theta Pi brother, was guilty of hindering apprehension and not guilty of tampering with evidence or obstructing justice.

Jurors will listen to closing arguments before beginning deliberation on Thursday, the third day of the trial for Braxton Becker in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
Min Xian / WPSU

After hearing the cross-examination of State College Police Detective David Scicchitano and three additional witnesses on Wednesday, jurors will listen to closing arguments before beginning deliberation on Thursday, the third day of the trial for Braxton Becker.

Tiffany Myers reads a children's book out loud to a class of about 20 fifth graders. She said the idea is to teach the basics of mental wellbeing just like other school subjects.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

This story originally aired on March 19, 2019.  

On a recent school day at Mount Nittany Elementary School in State College, Tiffany Myers read a children's book out loud to a class of about 20 fifth graders.

“The story we’re going to read today is called, ‘Red: A Crayon’s Story.’ Just right off the bat, what are you noticing about this crayon that make it different than what you might expect?” Myers, a school counselor, asked.

Braxton Becker, left, left the Centre County Courthouse during the first day of the jury trial on his alleged deletion of security footage in relation to the case of the hazing death of Tim Piazza in 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

The jury trial for Braxton Becker, a former member and the house manager of Penn State’s now defunct Beta Theta Pi fraternity, began Tuesday. It’s the first jury trial in the case related to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza in 2017. Becker allegedly deleted security camera footage of the fraternity house basement.

A voter feeding election ballot into the voting machine.
Min Xian / WPSU

Centre County voters who cast a ballot Tuesday were using one of the new systems approved by the state. The county was one of nine in Pennsylvania to to use a new system in the primary, and the switch appeared to go smoothly.

“They’ll just feed it straight in to here, and then it will say: Thank you. Your vote has been cast,” explained Hayden Davidson, judge of elections in Harris Township East, Centre County. 

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Michael Pipe said the transition from the old system to the new one appeared to be “seamless.”

John Zesiger, superintendent at the Moshannon Vally School District, says he makes drills more realistic by getting rid of the orderly lines and having some students not where they're supposed to be.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

This story originally aired on March 18, 2019.  

Moshannon Vally School District Superintendent John Zesiger said to make intruder drills more realistic they’ve added some complications. 

“We block exits,” Zesiger said. “We have some students who are not where they're supposed to be. So that the staff and the students have to kind of think on their feet and say, ‘Geez, here’s where I'm supposed to go out, but I can't get out that way.’ And they look for the next best option.”

State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine gave a presentation on creating best practices for collaboration between universities and local communities at Penn State on Monday, May 20.
Min Xian / WPSU

In college towns, the large student population can complicate relations between universities and local communities. This week, the 2019 International Town and Gown Association Conference is at Penn State talking about how the two can coexist.

The conference is hosted by Penn State and the Borough of State College and features topics like Greek life reform, public safety and diversity.

Kristine Allen / WPSU

On opening day of Millheim’s outdoor farmers market, held under a pavilion on the grounds of the American Legion, Bill Callahan of Mifflinburg sold beef, pork and chickens. He is owner of a farm with the tongue-in-cheek name, “COW-a-HEN.”  He’s been farming for 38 years.

“And I’ve been doing the markets – farmers markets – for approximately 20 of those years,” Callahan said. He has seen the farmers market trend expand over the past couple of decades.

In this file photo, Luke Visser, left, arrived for his preliminary hearing on charges related to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza in 2017. He was resentenced to house arrest on Wednesday.
Chris Knight / AP Photo

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — A judge is letting another former Penn State fraternity member serve his sentence on home confinement instead of in jail in the 2017 death of a pledge.

Former Beta Theta Pi member Luke Visser was resentenced Wednesday to 45 days of home confinement and six months of probation, instead of two months to six months in jail. 

Centre County Judge Brian Marshall resentenced two other former Beta Theta Pi members last month, changing their jail sentences to home confinement.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman
Min Xian / WPSU

The lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, has been crisscrossing the state to hear what people have to say about legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. The “listening tour” follows Fetterman’s election as lieutenant governor. Before that, he had begun to serve in his fourth term as mayor of Braddock. Fetterman is known for his unconventional approach to politics, winning his first term as mayor by one vote. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with Fetterman about legalizing marijuana, Gov.

File Photo: Former Penn State President Graham Spanier departs after his sentencing hearing at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, June 2, 2017.
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge will consider ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier's argument that his conviction should be thrown out, a week before he's due to report to jail.

The hearing Thursday concerns Spanier's argument he was wrongly convicted in Pennsylvania state court for mishandling a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky under a version of the law that wasn't in place at that time.

He also argues the statute of limitations wasn't properly applied.

Panelists discussed potential solutions to the rural broadband crisis as a part of the Influencers Project hosted by the Centre Daily Times at the State Theatre on April 24, 2019.
Min Xian / WPSU

A variety of potential solutions exist to address the widespread lack of broadband internet access, such as community cooperatives and “white space” technology, which delivers internet similar to that of 4G, according to 14 panelists who participated in discussions of the rural broadband crisis on Wednesday. The “Influencers Project” was hosted by the Centre Daily Times at the State Theatre in downtown State College.

Paul Perreault was guest speaker at the March 12 Penn State Forum.
Patrick Mansell / Penn State

Paul Perreault, the CEO of one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies visited Penn State University Park recently. He talked with WPSU’s Carolyn Donaldson about the work of his company, CSL Behring. The company focuses on developing drugs to treat rare diseases, improving existing drugs and advancing the field of gene therapy.   

Debby and Ken Iwaniec
Anne Danahy / WPSU

In 2008, Kenton Iwaniec was driving home from his job as a state police trooper in Chester County when an impaired driver’s vehicle crashed into his. The driver had a blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit and had taken Oxycodone illegally. Penn State University Police & Public Safety is sponsoring a talk by the Iwaniec family, “An Empty Seat at the Table,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, in the HUB-Robeson Center at University Park. WPSU’s Anne Danahy talked with Kenton’s parents, Ken and Debby Iwaniec.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (second from right) polled the audience during his listening tour on recreational marijuana in State College on April 16, 2019.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s listening tour on recreational marijuana made its stop in Centre County Tuesday. The overwhelming majority of those who spoke supported legalization of recreational marijuana.

A retired state police officer said he believes marijuana doesn’t make people violent and that prosecution of pot related crimes is too harsh.

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