Rural Pennsylvania

Attendants watch the showcase of a live video conference during an open house event at the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College in Warren, Pa.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Kathy Wells started her career early. She didn’t get a chance to go to college after graduating high school in rural, Northwestern Pennsylvania.

In her words, she grew up in a “large family, small area.

“Basically, you work,” Wells laughed. “You don’t go to school.”

Now 48, Wells is an administrative assistant for the Forest Area School District in Forest County — one of the most remote and scarcely populated areas in the state.

In this file photo, Tony Pouliot demonstrates the goCrop app on his mobile photo in the cab of his combine on his farm in Westford, Vt.
Toby Talbot / AP

A group representing rural Pennsylvanians says expanding high speed broadband internet access in the state needs to be a priority this year, but acknowledges funding for infrastructure upgrades continues to be a challenge.

 

 

The most recent federal spending bill passed in March 2018 included a $600 million boost to efforts to improve high-speed internet access.

 

 

Ann Tickamyer, professor of sociology at Penn State, was one of the presenters at the 26th National Symposium on Family Issues. She says there's a lack of good policy for rural families and communities.
Min Xian / WPSU

Nearly three and a half million Pennsylvanians live in rural parts of the state. In many ways, rural areas face challenges different than those in urban areas. Researchers gathered on Monday for the 26th National Symposium on Family Issues at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Inn, with a focus this year on rural families and communities.

 

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania hosted a public hearing in Tioga County on Thursday, hearing from providers and consumers about the lack of broadband access in rural areas.
Min Xian / WPSU

Dr. Robert Gillio is in charge of telemedicine at J.C. Blair Hospital in Huntingdon county.

But he has no internet access at home.

“I can’t get Comcast at my house, two miles from the hospital,” Gillio said. “I want to log in at home and help? I got to drive to the damn hospital to log in to help my patient with telemedicine.”

Farmland on the outskirts of the Titusville School District (Kevin McCorry/WHYY)
Kevin McCorry / Keystone Crossroads

They contorted their faces in a howl. With eyes bulging, mouths twisted, veins popping, the Titusville High School senior class, cheerleaders screeching out orders, filled the gymnasium with frenzied intensity as they bellowed out the name of their school mascot, letter by letter — rattling the grandstands and reaching for their maximum decibel.

“What’s that spell?” a girl screamed.

“Rockets!” the seniors answered. “Rockets! Rockets!”