Page 1

Fun!Raiser MARCH 19th

Gerrymandering Redistricting update PAGE 6 Chris Lee opinion piece PAGE 28 VOICES OF CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA

MARCH 2012

Can we trust the Trustees? Penn State’s Board faces calls for reform PA G E 1 6

POLITICS Liquor privatization bill stalls in Assembly pg 3 Independent News Since 1993

COMMUNITY Asset test will deprive many of food stamps ART John Mangan invokes Ireland

ENVIRONMENT The pitfalls of natural gas drilling leases UNIVERSITY Local initiatives focus on sex abuse victims

Thoughtful. Fearless. Free.


March 2012 Thoughtful. Fearless. Free. © 2012 Voices of Central Pennsylvania, Inc.

March 2012 ΄ BOARD OF EDITORS contact the managing editor at Managing Editor Lucy Bryan Green Politics and Economics Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell Community and Lifestyles Andrea Rochat University Open Environment Sean Flynn Arts and Entertainment Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell Opinion William Saas Webmaster Bill Eichman

ART and DESIGN Marisa Eichman, Cover Design Kay Shamalla, Cover Design Katherine Rodriguez, Cover Photo Mali Campbell, Graphics

CIRCULATION Kevin Handwerk


BOARD OF DIRECTORS president Bill Eichman vice president Pamela Monk secretary Elaine Meder-Wilgus treasurer Julia Hix Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. Mike McGough

Supporting our community Last month, I encouraged you to continue to ask the hard questions about the sex abuse scandal that has shaken our community. One of those questions was: What institutional factors contributed to this tragedy? This month’s cover story highlights individuals and groups that are questioning the powerful institution that oversees Penn State University: the enigmatic Board of Trustees. I am not suggesting that the Board of Trustees is responsible for the crimes that Jerry Sandusky allegedly committed. But I do think it’s worth asking whether the LETTERS POLICY Voices encourages letters and opinions commenting on local issues. Letters should be a maximum of 250 words, opinion pieces 600 to 800 words. Include phone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and to reject those deemed beyond the limits of good taste. Due to space limitations, we cannot guarantee publication of all letters. Letters become the property of Voices of Central Pennsylvania. E-mail to ADVERTISING POLICY Write to for rate information. Voices reserves the right to refuse any advertising deemed incompatible with a socially responsible publication. Only publication signifies acceptance of an ad by Voices. Publication of an ad does not imply endorsement or recommendation by Voices of any product or service. Deadline to reserve space is the 15th of the month. Cancellation of an ad by the customer after the 15th incurs full charge. Voices accepts advertisements from all political candidates regardless of their party or viewpoint. Rates are standard for all ads. Inquiries to Voices of Central Pennsylvania Calder Square, P.O. Box 10066 State College, PA 16805 (814) 234-1699 Voices of Central Pennsylvania is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and volunteer organization. Donations and bequests will ensure the future of the free press in Centre County. Donate at or contact for details.

from the desk of managing editor

Lucy Bryan Green tremendous power they wield could be used to prevent such crimes in the future. If this quake revealed fractures in the structure of the institution, then we have a unique opportunity to build a stronger structure, one with greater integrity. In the coming months, VOICES will undergo some shifts of its own. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as managing editor over the past year, but other obligations prevent me from doing so beyond the July/August issue. Please refer to the job description on page 6, if you (or anyone you know) might be interested in applying for the managing editor position. I look forward to training the next editor in VOICES’ long line of dedicated editors and to watching it continue to thrive in the coming years. I feel confident that it will, because I am confident in this community and in the thousands of people who support VOICES by reading, writing, copy editing, distributing papers, sending us story ideas, serving

on our board and Voices Advisory advisory council, Council advertising with Nick Brink us and making Jamie Campbell financial contriJane Childs butions. John Dickison You are one of Ann Glaser those supporters, Elizabeth Kirchner and I invite you Bonnie Marshall to celebrate Curt Marshall VOICES with Bob Potter me and other Diane Prosser defenders of Bonnie K. Smeltzer thoughtful, fearSusan Squier less, free news at Maria Sweet our annual Kim Tait Fun!Raiser on Mary Watson Sue Werner March 19 at 5:30 Greg Woodman p.m. at the India Lakshman Yapa Pavilion. As always, you are welcome to join our Wednesday night staff meetings, which will continue to be held at 6:45 p.m. at Irvings Bagels until Webster’s reopens. I also join our Opinion editor, William Saas, in asking you to write and tell us what Voices means to you. See “Lend us your voices” on page 30 for more details.

Top Stories in This Issue POLITICS and ECONOMICS

pages 3-6

Alcohol sales reform stalls in Assembly by Alanna Pawlowski..........................................3


pages 7-10

Department of Welfare to reinstate asset test by Sierra Dole.............................................7


pages 11-15

PASA speaker tackles Marcellus leases by Sean Flynn.................................................11


pages 16-22

Unraveling the Sandusky scandal by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell with Alanna Pawlowski....16


pages 23-26

Mangan’s works evoke spirit of nature by Rachel Camaerei.........................................23


pages 27-31

Candidate calls for reform in Harrisburg by Chris Lee..................................................28


March 2012

Alcohol sales reform stalls in Assembly by Alanna Pawlowski

Despite pressure from the governor, attempts by state legislators to change alcohol sales laws in Pennsylvania have stalled. When Tom Corbett took office as governor, he made the privatization of the state liquor system one of his goals, but those for and against privatization have been at a virtual stalemate for a year. The debate centers around what system will create more state revenue, maintain more jobs, be more convenient for customers and—especially in Centre County—mitigate more social problems. The amended liquor privatization bill, H.B. 11, drafted by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), no longer calls for full-scale privatization of the state’s wine and liquor stores. The original text of the bill sent to committee in September 2011 called for just that, but still retained the liquor control board’s power to issue liquor sales licenses. Instead the current proposed bill is a tentative hybrid of state and private control. The bill was recommended to the state House by the Liquor Control Committee in December, making it the first bill related to liquor privatization to leave committee. Under H.B. 11, wholesale licenses would be available to new sellers and existing beer distributors. The cost of a first-time license is a one-time fee of $100 million, plus a $10,000 application fee. Given that the PLCB had $1.78 billion in sales last year, even selling a couple of the $100 million licenses would represent a significant portion of their yearly revenue. Each of the approximately 1,200 beer distributors in the state would be able to upgrade their licenses to sell wine for a one-time fee of $50,000, with an annual renewal fee of $15,000. Regardless of the fees involved, however, some local

beer distributors are not interested in obtaining the license. “It’s not about finances,” said John Hardy, owner of Happy Valley Refreshment in Boalsburg. “We’re not set up to support a business like that.” Critics of the bill argue that it would make alcohol more widely available. Under the proposed bill, beer distributors could sell beer or malt beverages in quantities less than a case; they are currently limited to a minimum volume of one case per sale. Small beer shops in restaurants, at which there is currently a limit of 192 ounces per sale, would be able to sell cases, just as large beer distributors currently can. “I don’t think our state has looked into this appropriately,” said Hardy of allowing small beer shops to sell cases of beer. “We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for our current license; we have a current workable license system. And with all the talk of binge drinking, our state is only concerned with money.” Issues related to problem drinking are the main reason State Representative Scott Conklin (D-Centre County) opposes the current bill, said Tor Michaels, chief of staff for Conklin. “The overarching issue he has is that he represents a town that has an alcohol problem, and that has been dealing with it for years and years now,” Michaels said. “[State College Police] Chief Tom King has been very clear that he believes any changes would exacerbate the problem.” Centre County is currently home to six state Wine and Spirits stores. The only store within walking distance of downtown State College and the Penn State campus is the Hamilton Square location off of South Atherton. This store ranks 40 in sales out of more than 620 stores state-wide. That is at least twice as high as any other store in the area. Michaels said because all the bills pro-

posed thus far would increase alcohol availability, Conklin does not support any of them. However, if there were a proposal to help local wineries, he would be more than welcome to hear that. For local wineries, the prospect of wine sale privatization is a complex issue. Mt. Nittany Winery and Vineyard has been selling its wine through the state store system for over 15 years, said Linda Carroll Weaver, media coordinator for the winery, in an email response. Weaver stated that the potential issue arising from private wine wholesalers is that because of the high cost of licenses, it’s likely that large wholesalers will obtain most of them. In that situation, “the small, local wine producer might not be price competitive with nationally-recognized brands produced at lower cost that would provide these wholesalers with a higher profit margin,” she wrote. In addition to selling its wine in stateowned stores, Mt. Nittany Winery sells wine offsite at the Boalsburg Chocolate Company by using one of five permits to operate extensions of premises, Weaver said. Other area wineries that utilize these permits are Oak Spring Winery and Evergreen Valley Winery, both of whose wines are sold in Reflections in downtown State College, and the Winery at Wilcox, which sells wines in the Nittany Mall. While stores like these give customers some more locations at which to buy wine, the PLCB has made some recent attempts to further increase wine availability in the face of privatization. One of the changes allows individuals to buy wine from other states and have it shipped to their homes for a transportation fee of $14. Previously, all wine ordered online had to be picked up instore. The purchase is still done through the PLBC from only out-of-state distributors

Photo by Alanna Pawlowski Shoppers walk out of the Wine & Spirits shop in Hamilton Square Wednesday after waiting in a long check-out line. The Hamilton Square location is one of six in Centre County and ranked fortieth in sales last year out of over 620 stores state-wide, according to a report by the PLCB.

that have been licensed by the board. The wine must not be available at Wine andSpirits stores. The past year saw the end to another PLCB program aimed at improving customer convenience with wine. The wine kiosks program placed wine vending kiosks in select grocery stores throughout the state starting in 2010. The kiosks scanned the customers’ photo ID and required the customer to blow into a breathalyzer before a sale could be completed to ensure they were not intoxicated. However, after technical problems with the machines, the program was terminated in September. These attempts at change by the PLCB reflect the discussion throughout the state over what is best for customers and state revenue. For now, the proposed hybrid bill sits on the table in the House of Representatives.


March 2012

Fees may fail to cover drilling emergencies by Sean Flynn On Feb. 14, Governor Corbett signed the first law in Pennsylvania to levy fees on natural gas drilling companies, but the fees may do little to mitigate the impact of drilling. The bill establishes impact fees on “unconventional wells” hydraulically fractured Marcellus Shale wells, either vertically or horizontally drilled. But only a few wells in Centre County would be subject to fees. In November 2011, County Commissioner John Eich stated during a Centre County Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordinating Committee meeting that only 12 of the wells in Centre County would qualify for the impact fee. The resulting $360,000 would be then split between the county and its municipalities. Limited impact fee revenue in Centre County means that this money is unlikely to provide any significant assistance to Centre County first responders. First responders not only respond to ordinary emergencies, they also provide emergency assistance at drilling accidents. Alpha Fire Company provides fire protection for the State College area. It is a non-profit volunteer fire department primarily funded by the Centre Region Council of Governments (CRCOG). According to the proposed 2012 CRCOG budget, basic facility repairs

and upkeep at Alpha Fire Company fire houses will cost more than $107,000 in 2012. The CRCOG is partially funding those improvements, but Alpha Fire Company volunteers are still footing part of the bill. There is no mention of any benefit from Marcellus Shale impact fees. The impact fees fund a number of different programs before counties and municipalities receive percentages of the remaining share. The largest single amount goes to the Natural Gas Energy Development Program, which will receive $20 million over the next three years. That program will provide grants and incentives for businesses converting their vehicle fleets to natural gas, according to the legislation. By contrast, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management agency is provided with only $750,000 per year for “emergency response planning, training and coordination” related to hydraulically fractured wells. The Office of the State Fire Commissioner is provided a similar distribution: $750,000 for training, grants and equipment related to hydraulically fractured well emergencies. That distribution is less than the yearly budget of the volunteer Alpha Fire Company. Counties must also overcome political obstacles to receive their share of the

Photo by Danyel Woodring

Only 12 of the wells drilled in Snowshoe and throughout the northwest of Centre County would be assessed for impact fees.

impact fees. Under the new law, each county must adopt its own ordinance authorizing the fee, or the county and its municipalities will be ineligible to receive impact fee revenue. If a county fails to pass such an ordinance, municipalities may force the imposition of the impact fee. To do this, half the municipalities in the county (either by number or by population) must

pass resolutions authorizing the fee. If neither the county nor sufficient municipalities adopt impact fee resolutions, they will not receive the revenue. The new legislation also changes the legal landscape in which municipalities and counties operate. Under the new law, the state will be the


Drilling, pg. 6


March 2012

Deutschworks: Do it yourself or do yourself in? by Steve Deutsch Steve Deutsch is a regular satire columnist for VOICES. By the time Smokey’s second engine seized up, she had already saved $138.17 by pumping her own gas. Her car seized up on the Van Wyck Expressway at 4:45 PM on Wednesday. Do you know the Van Wyck? It runs through Queens, in NYC, more or less connecting JFK and LaGuardia. It wasn’t until the following Sunday morning that anyone, including the passenger, me, knew that the car had permanently stopped moving. Americans have been pumping their own gas for some time now. They bag their own groceries. But they are doing so much more than that. They are putting in kitchens and bathrooms and decks. There are at least 60 TV shows on obscure networks promoting DIY (do it yourself). The movement has caught fire in America, and I, as a true blue American would like to ask a simple question. Are you all nuts? Do you remember the pimply faced teen with red hair that spent all of high school reading Popular Mechanics Magazines? Yes, the one who in tenth grade knew enough about electricity to build the midget Ouidin Tesla coil that had every girls’ hair standing straight up. You are not that guy. Remember Orr in

Catch-22? He patiently took apart and put back together a stove that seemed to have a million parts so that Yossarian would be warm in the winter. You are not Orr either. Perhaps some numbers might help. Nearly half of all Americans with DIY decks have no way to get to them. Another forty one percent report feeling sea-sick after spending more than 20 minutes on their deck. Bathrooms? Most DIY bathrooms have been constructed without a drain pipe to sewer or septic. When asked, most Americans will simply shrug and talk evasively of invasive government regulations. Kitchens? Forget diets, DIY kitchens have the only significant correlation with the obesity epidemic, as those who build them about 400 times more likely to eat fast food three times a day. Finally, because of do-it-yourself projects, Americans are twice as likely as the rest of the world to have their last word be “oops.” But you ain’t heard nothing yet. The future of DIY is in the medical industry. Doctors and researchers have been talking about patient specific medicine for years. Think about it. No two spleens are alike, and who better to treat your very specific body part than you. We predict a huge expansion of Lowe’s and Home Depot in the very near future. Other new DIY superstores with names

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28 601 W College Ave, State College Specializing in: Mercedes Benz, Porsche, BMW, Volvo, VW, Audi, and Complete European Auto Repair Bosch Car Service

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Photo by Steve Deutsch

Steve Deutsch in his original native habitat of New York City.

like Shots-R-Us and Scalpel City are already in the works... Confused? The Less-intelligent-than-average American Guide series presents “Cut Here,” the future of DIY. In LAG you will learn that: If you have an infection, culturing your own bacteria and creating your very own antibiotic is child’s play. Remember that Alexander Fleming found penicillin by accident. How hard could that be? Get the

equipment you need at SpoorsGaloresStores. If you have a toothache, you will find that doing your own dentistry is mostly a matter of having the right equipment—- a battery powered high rpm drill, some stainless steel probes in odd and evil looking shapes, and a reclining chair that can move in 18 directions simultaneously. Remember that dentists are just people who couldn’t make it in medical school. How smart do you need to be to flunk out of school? My brother did it six times and he was not that smart. Get your dental supplies at DrillandFillLDT. Need a knee or hip replacement? Your neighbor’s large dog has four of them. Not for you? PartingwithParts will sell you a knee or hip in plastic, hard wood or titanium as a kit that you mold, whittle or weld. You make it fit the old fashioned way, by trial and error. Need some minor surgery. Child’s play! No. We really mean you should have your children do it. What better way for them to becomes the medical self-help DIY’ers of the future? It will keep them off the streets and away from the TV as well. And think what they will be able to share at show and tell. Tools are available at TheCutandPasteShoppe. Squeamish about major surgery? Who wouldn’t be, what with the long trip to the


Deutschworks, pg. 6



March 2012

Drilling, pg. 4

sole source of drilling regulation. Local municipalities cannot regulate natural gas activity within their boundaries, and all current prohibitions on drilling will be thrown out. The impact fee structure is set on a sliding scale based on the price of natural gas, with annual adjustments for inflation and additional charges for horizontally drilled wells, which represent the bulk of Marcellus Shale gas production and 70 percent of active Marcellus Shale wells. But the impact fee does not scale with well production, road traffic, or local impact. The ten largest-producing Marcellus Shale wells produce an average of 4.4 million mcf yearly according to Pennsylvania DEP data, but incur impact fees identical to less active wells. The bill will take effect sixty days after signing — April 14, 2012.


Deutschworks, pg. 5

medical center, the wait in an uncomfortable gown among sick people, the blinking lights and endless beeping, the high paid doctors and nurses all creepy in white? Instead, have your friends over, order some pizzas and a case of beer and make a weekend over abdominal or brain surgery. You can get your detailed cancer surgery instructions online at OutDamnSpotInc or instructions on removing an appendix at CuthereNotThere. There is so much more in the guide. You will learn, for example, just where to buy your “gently used” essential medical equipment. How to put 911 on looped auto dial. Or how to make the emergency responders actually believe you did “that” to yourself. When it comes to health care, DIY.

Update by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell On Jan. 25, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court struck down the general assembly’s new redistricting plan for house and state senate districts. The Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Plan (New Plan) was the product of a bipartisan commission. The commission was charged with the responsibility to redraw voting districts in response to population shifts discovered during the 2010 census. According to the court’s opinion, the plan must “respect the integrity of political subdivisions.” The commission must redesign the districts by the April 24 primary election. Chris Lee wrote the VOICES February 2011 cover story on redistricting and a follow up in the December 2011/January 2012 edition.

Graphic provided by Democracy Rising PA

These are borders of State House district 161 Delaware County in 2002 after redistricting.

Managing Editor Voices of Central Pennsylvania invites applications for a Managing Editor to begin in or before June 2012. This is a part-time compensated opportunity to lead community volunteers and student interns in producing the State College area’s monthly alternative publication. Voices is a 501c3 non-profit organization entering its third decade of excellence in community journalism. The Managing Editor position requires an understanding of journalistic principles, publication production, organizational leadership, and basic fiscal management. Editorial experience is appreciated.

Contact immediately to be considered for this outstanding opportunity. Please indicate “Managing Editor Position” in the subject line.


March 2012

Department of Welfare to reinstate asset test by Sierra Dole This May, Pennsylvania plans to assess eligibility for food stamps based on a household’s savings and assets such as cash, checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, second vehicles and boats. While the reinstatement of the asset test— which was last implemented in 2008—is intended to ensure that only those who most need the help will receive it, many believe that it will only hurt people who are already struggling to get by. State College resident, Naomi Smith, her husband and their two children will find themselves ineligible for food stamps once the asset test takes effect. Smith is a stay-at-home mother whose husband is a graduate student. Under the current system, her family qualifies for food stamp benefits, meaning the household’s monthly income, before taxes, is lower than $2,422. However, Smith states that she still finds ways to put

some money into savings for a down payment on a house. Because of this, her family will no longer be eligible for food stamps when the asset test is reestablished in May. “What food stamps enabled us to do is break even,” Smith said. “We haven’t been able to save any money while my husband is in graduate school, but we also haven’t had to deplete what savings we did have either. We’re really grateful for the benefits we’ve been given and it will be really inconvenient to no longer receive benefits and have to dip into our down-payment savings.” According to Anne Bale, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Welfare, the asset test will be reinstated due to the increase of people receiving food stamps—from 1.2 million in 2008 to 1.8 million currently. According to Bale, too many people are eligible for food stamps based on income alone, which makes the program costly. The asset test

“We plan to strike that balance to ensure those most in need get the benefits they need... When those who have assets to turn to don’t use them, we see it as government waste.” --Anne Bale will control costs by limiting the number of people receiving benefits. “We plan to strike that balance to ensure those most in need get the benefits they need and that those with assets are using those first before turning to the government,” Bale said. “When those who have assets to turn to don’t use them, we see it as government waste.” When it was officially announced in late December 2011 that the asset test would be reinstated, the Department of Public Welfare planned to pick up where they left off in 2008 with the limit at $2,000 for those under 60 years old and $3,250 for those over 60 or with a disability. After

careful reconsideration, Bale said the department chose as of Feb. 1 to officially raise the limit to $5,500 for those under 60 and $9,000 for those over 60 or with a disability to account for the cost of living and inflation. After the asset test has been officially implemented, Bale said the department estimates that about 2,506 older adults and people with disabilities will become ineligible as well as 1,400 younger households. The majority of those affected will be disabled seniors and people who have


Asset Test, pg. 8

Reclaiming domesticity from a consumer culture by Lucy Bryan Green Shannon Hayes, author of “Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture,” was one of the featured speakers at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture conference in February. After earning a PhD at Cornell University, Hayes rejected a career in academia in order to raise her family on a farm in upstate New York. Her book reviews the history of domesticity and feminism, critiques America’s cultural and economic systems and examines the lives of men and women across the country who have also made the decision to become “radical homemakers.” She sat down with VOICES on Feb. 3 to discuss radical homemaking. VOICES: Your book delves into the

lives of a fairly diverse bunch of people in terms of background, age, sex, geographical location and living situation. What makes them all “radical homemakers”? Hayes: These people are all living by four tenets: ecological sustainability, social justice, family and community. And they’re not allowing the conventional pressures of our culture to bully them out of these tenets. … If you’re choosing to live by those ideals, you may not have as much money coming in. [Radical homemakers] make up for any shortfall by reclaiming domestic skills that enable them to live on a single income or less. VOICES: Can you describe the process of becoming a radical homemaker? Hayes: I noticed that everyone who [became a radical homemaker] went through these three different stages. … Basically the renouncing phase is they go

through this period where they question everything around them: Why am I doing this? Why am I working this way? Am I happy? Am I not happy? Is this what I set out to do and is this my greatest purpose on earth? And am I making a change with what I’m doing. … And then they hit the reclaiming phase. …They take the plunge and they either start building skills so that they’re secure enough to quit their job, or they quit their job or lose their job and start scurrying to

build those skills… They balance what they need to do economically and physically to live, then if they continue to be happy they turn to this rebuilding phase. That is where they take what their talents are and they put them back out into the world in a way that is in terms with those tenets and their deepest held values. What I’ve found is if they didn’t honor that—that inner calling that we all have… whether you are a painter or a carpenter or you’re a really good community organizer or a writer or a teacher—if you don’t go back and honor whatever that innate gift is, you will suffer from “housewife syndrome.” [Radical homemaking] is not a complete retreat from society. It’s pulling back, reclaiming enough skills to give you the


Homemakers, pg. 8



March 2012

Asset Test, pg. 7

recently lost their jobs—the two groups most likely to be living off savings. However, Carrie Morgan, executive director of Coalition Against Hunger in Philadelphia, states that assets are very important if the government wants people to take care of themselves instead of relying on government-funded benefits for support. “We all hope that those accessing food stamps are accessing them in a time of need, but that they won’t need [the benefits] forever,” Morgan said. “How are you ever going to be self-sufficient if you don’t have the ability to put back savings? It’s been shown that SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] actually helps keep families afloat and keeps them out of poverty, so to punish people for


Homemakers, pg. 7

power to take your greatest gift and use it toward your greatest aims… VOICES: What fears most hinder people from embracing the “radical homemakers” way of life? Hayes: Sometimes it’s a fear of not having health insurance, and different people have different ways of working around that—and that’s talked about in the book. Another fear is the loss of status, because our society doesn’t regard homemaking and a commitment to family and community as socially valuable. So they’re surrendering any kind of identity that might have come from having a career, even if the career was requiring that they regularly condone pollution and social abuses. They still lose that status when they give it up, and there has to be a shedding of the ego to step into this lifestyle. VOICES: As you point out in your book, many Americans base their choices on a desire for security—particularly financial security. Can you explain why you think our capitalist economy gives the illusion of security? Hayes: “Security” comes in a number of ways in this country. We think in terms of

“We all hope that those accessing food stamps are accessing them in a time of need, but that they won’t need [the benefits] forever. How are you ever going to be self-sufficient if you don’t have the ability to put back savings?” --Carrie Morgan

saving is really counterintuitive.” Morgan also believes that while the Department of Public Welfare intends to save the state money with the asset test, it will actually be more costly because the food stamp program gives back to the community—every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.73 in economic activity. “People on SNAP benefits are generally in dire need of help,” Morgan said. “They spend the benefits right away, which goes back into the local economy. Because the

“[The rebuilind phase] is where [radical homemakers] take what their talents are and they put them back out into the world in a way that is in terms with their deepest held values.” --Shannon Hayes

health insurance… job security…and status. … When you make this switch to this lifestyle, the first thing you realize is that you build skills. Instead of having an economic portfolio, you have a wellbeing portfolio. You realize you need to be well and happy in this world, and economics plays a part, but it’s only a part…Health insurance does not keep you healthy. Living a life that thrills you keeps you healthy. … We tend to think that relationships are separate from economics, but relationships in a wellbeing portfolio are part of how


Homemakers, pg. 10

benefits are being spent in the local economy, it provides more business to local stores, which in turn creates more jobs. The [food stamp] program has been proven to be the best economic stimulus in the country. Cost-wise, this asset test doesn’t make sense at all.” According to Hugh Daly, executive director of Central Pennsylvania Community Action, 5.9% of Centre County’s population receives food stamps. That percentage is equivalent to

4,044 households and 8,680 people. 131 of those households receive cash assistance as well as food stamps while the other 3,913 households receive only food stamps. “Some of the things the government does, you have to wonder,” Daly said. “A lot of it is anti-poor people. They expect people to be able to pull themselves up by their boot strings, but the kind of people we see, they’ve done all the pulling they can do. It’s always the people who try to make the best of their situation who get hurt the most.” According to Daly, the Department of Public Welfare’s reinstitution of the assetbased eligibility requirement represents poor awareness of the kind of strain caused by current economic conditions. “It’s insensitivity to people who are just getting by,” Daly said. “No one wants you to get ahead anymore.”


March 2012

Developing a healthy inner dialogue by Matthew Hertert For the last few months we’ve been talking about the most familiar area of health and self-care—the physical body. But we are complex beings with physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social selves who need maintenance as well. Just as with a car, a company’s budget, or our physical body, if we only pay attention to one part of the system, dysfunction will set in, or at very least time and energy will be wasted. Now we cross a border into tricky territory: the mind. The mind is so highly complex that we still understand very little about how it works, where specific functions happen, or what the relationship between the brain-organ and our brain-consciousness is. Not only is the mind susceptible to many types of dysfunction and illness, it is the source of the ego, and gives us a sense of control through trying to “figure things out.” And it rarely operates alone; the mind and emotions are intertwined. Our thoughts trigger our emotions, so the mind is where most of our feelings begin. These two are so inextricable it can present a real challenge to determining where inside ourselves an upset is originating. In addition to our individual mental complexity, we live in a highly cerebral society which operates under the general


Health Talk premise that it is best to turn the emotions off, use the mind to devise plans for safety or success and then use the body to exert and execute that plan. This even occurs in simple daily situations like receiving negative feedback at work, and telling oneself, “Oh he doesn’t like me, I’ll just ignore him and the hurt feelings I experienced because of him, and buckle down on my work. That will show him.” Despite all this complexity, looking at simple, common mental patterns can be a profound way to maintain mental hygiene and increase peacefulness. Any casual search of literature will also speak to the physical benefits of mental hygiene in the form of hundreds of books, from MDs and specialists alike, on the mind body continuum and its profundity. Let’s look at a couple that I see all the time in practice (and that I am no stranger to). The two most common unhelpful mental practices I have seen in my clients over the last twenty years have to do with the way we talk to ourselves, and with “the rules” we follow. We all engage in self-talk. It has been extensively studied, and it is widely addressed in both clinical psychology

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and in “self-help” literature. We all have an inner dialogue going with ourselves most of the time, and the reason it is so often unhelpful is that most of the time we speak unkindly to ourselves. Some people are more aware of this within themselves, and some people have a deeper challenge with it. Most of us have had a friend at one point in life who was constantly berating him or herself, commenting out loud on how stupid or ugly he or she was. If this was their external monologue, imagine how unpleasant it must be on the inside! The truth is that most of us have this kind of discourse with ourselves, and pretty steadily (unless you’ve never said to yourself, “That was stupid.”) There are a few problems with this behavior. First, this is not a healthy way to change your behavior if that is your motivation. Numbers of studies have found negative self-talk to promote low self-esteem and produce significantly more stress hormones and toxic biochemicals. Second, all parts of your consciousness hear what you say, and parts of you may learn to take your statements literally, reinforcing your negative self-image. Third, this unconstructive inner dialogue simply adds negativity into your being and into your day. And honestly who needs more of that? If you had a “friend” who talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you’d boot them to the curb. This is worth observing and correcting in yourself, especially if you’re already inclined towards being self-critical. When you catch yourself doing this, just say, “Thanks for sharing,” to that part of you that is criticizing, and go back to what you were doing. If you’re interested in deep healing, praise yourself at that point, if only for releasing the cruel dialogue. The other widespread unhelpful mental practice has to do with “The rules.” “The rules” are what I call all the little expectations, assumptions and beliefs

we hold about how the world should operate. They are not a bad thing, in fact they are what help us navigate the world by defining our ethics. The problem is that many of our rules aren’t actually ours. They are rules we picked up from teachers, pastors, parents, or from ourselves at an earlier stage of life when our circumstances and priorities were totally different. Preconscious rules like, “Good people always send thank you notes,” can place you in unnecessary tension with family members who violate your expectations, and you may not even believe the rule— you just absorbed it from Aunt Sally and never gave it a second thought! We all have thousands of these rules, and they not only help us navigate the world but more importantly they keep us from seeing situations objectively or accurately, what opportunities we might be missing, or from experiencing more joy. Start paying attention to your rules, and simply ask yourself who you got them from, and most importantly if they work for you. If so, that’s great, good rule! But if not, reprogram yourself. Choose a new rule congruent with your real values. I am all about inner freedom. I don’t want anyone in control of my consciousness, regardless if it’s Aunt Sally, my fourth grade English teacher or a 20year-old part of myself… especially if they’re mean to me. Be well (and free, and kind to yourself) until next time. Correction: The February article “Websters to reopen” misspelled the name of The Creative Oasis founder, David R. Neumann.



March 2012

Homemakers, pg. 8

you survive. Maybe you don’t need to own your own house. Maybe you can cohouse. Maybe multiple generations can be living under one roof. Maybe your relationships empower you to trade skills with other people so that you can get some of your other needs met. So, all of that goes into the wellbeing portfolio, so that your needs are being met in myriad ways. VOICES: For those who may be considering this way of life for the first time, can you suggest some first steps in moving toward radical homemaking? Hayes: Start with what comes forward in your heart first, and what speaks to your passion most… or what you can do easiest. I often tell people start with the laundry, because we all have it, and it’s a simple act to hang your laundry out. When you slow down, then your mind is suddenly open to the other things. And before you know it, you’re going to be making your own Christmas presents, you’re going to have your own compost pile, you’re going to have a garden… Maybe it starts with taking the clothes that you’re going to discard and saying, “Well I can just mend these.” Maybe it is with a garden. Maybe it’s learning how to change the oil in your car, or teaching yourself to play a musical instrument rather than buying music all of the time… What matters is that it’s something that speaks to you, because then you learn it… You figure how to fit it in with your life, and then room opens up for the next thing that can become part of your life rhythm. VOICES: This way of life probably draws a range of reactions from outsiders—everything from confusion to skepticism to anger. How can radical homemakers avoid alienating and being alienated by people who aren’t like them? Hayes: The most animosity that I experienced was through the internet [after the book came out]. People were very angry with me. My choice of life was an affront to them, even though I didn’t say, “You are wrong in your way of life.”

“If these ideals mean something to you—ecological sustainability, social justice, familly and community ...[and] if the work you are doing does not permit either have to push hard to change it, or you need to leave.” --Shannon Hayes

…By living your beliefs, you are challenging theirs. So you need to know that about yourself, and you need to accept that, and when the criticisms come, you just need to remember that’s their insecurity, not yours. VOICES: Many in the Centre County community work for Penn State University. Can people live radical lives and still work in higher education? Hayes: It comes back to those four tenets. I cannot answer for the individual person. … If these ideals mean something to you—ecological sustainability, social justice, family and community…[and] if the work you are doing does not permit that… you either have to push hard to change it, or you need to leave. As long as we tolerate a system that makes us be who we are not, then it’s a false system, and it’s not supporting us. If you don’t have the time to take care of your kids… be engaged in your community…feed your family well, or if you’re being forced to take shortcuts that you know are polluting water and destroying the soil—then it’s only a matter of time that we’re all ruined… [Academia] is not doing the job right now. One of the reasons I ended up on my path is… I made a list of every female professor that I had ever had from my undergraduate years starting at the age of 16 all the way up until I finished my PhD. I wrote down the name of every single female college professor and I made a chart across the top of the page— got married, stayed married, had children and got tenure—because those were

Photo by Terrie Currie

Hayes holding one of her chickens.

four things that I wanted. There wasn’t a single professor in my career that got all those things.

So, I know that academia is supposed to be the bastion of open-minded thinking, but as far as I can tell, it’s one of the worst… It’s time to stop being accepting of this. VOICES:What do you love most about the radical homemaker way of life? Hayes: The best part of my life is that my biggest stress is deciding among competing joys… I’m homeschooling my kids. I’m cooking food that I love. I have a million and one little micro ventures—I’m an entrepreneurial junkie. And I’m a writer—and I only write about what I want to write about. I have a family farm. And I’m selling meat. And I love all of it. The biggest pressure is making the time for everything that I love to do. So, when I realize that that’s the biggest stress in my life, it’s really extraordinary. Sometimes I just take a nap because I can’t decide.


March 2012

PASA speaker tackles Marcellus leases by Sean Flynn

Property owners who lease their land for Marcellus shale drilling face any number of practical concerns — allegations of poisoned water and air are abundant — but getting ripped off by the gas company can add insult to injury. Professor Ross Pifer spoke to a packed room about the legal issues surrounding natural gas leasing in a presentation about the legal issues related to natural gas drilling at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) Farming for the Future conference in February. Pifer is the director of Penn State's Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center, which provides the public with information and resources on agricultural law and policy issues. Without knowing how to conduct informed negotiation, he said, landowners can miss valuable opportunities. For instance, gas companies are sometimes willing to issue payments at various stages of the drilling process beyond standard royalty payments.

“If [the gas company] is only paying you for the Marcellus Shale, why grant them anything more than that?” --Professor Ross Pifer

He also warned that if they're not careful, landowners can unwittingly sign away the rights to minerals for which the gas company has no obligation to pay. “This is something you need to think about,” Pifer said. “If [the gas company] is only paying you for the Marcellus Shale, why grant them anything more than that?” He pointed out that land owners often do not own the rights to the oil and gas beneath their land. As a result, they can have little say in the operations on their property by mineral rights owners—like gas companies.

Land can be sold as the combined surface and mineral estate or as separate estates. When the surface estate and mineral estate of the same property are owned by different parties, they are considered “severed.” Pifer said that’s when things get complicated. There are multiple ways estates can be severed, according to Pifer. “This can be done either in a reservation, when somebody conveys [sells] the real estate and they hold back the rights to the oil and natural gas, or it can be done separately,” he explained. “If you own the entire estate, you can just convey out the natural gas rights.” Mineral rights are dominant over surface rights, Pifer said, meaning the surface owner of a severed estate will likely have “no ability to influence the terms” of a lease agreement between a gas company and the mineral estate owner. Thus, landowners who do not own mineral rights on their land often suffer the negative effects of drilling and mining without any financial benefits or protections.

As an example, Pifer spoke about the 2009 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case Belden B l a k e Corporation v. Commonwealth o f Pennsylvania. Gas company Belden & Blake Professor Ross Pifer owned the min- Photo courtesy Penn State eral estate in the Oil Creek State Park and intended to drill there. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which held the surface estate, insisted that Belden & Blake pay for the lost timber and that the company financially guarantee the success of their wells. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled


Leaseholders, pg. 12

PSU prof talks climate controversy at Forum Series by Catherine Jampel Despite controversy preceding the event, climate scientist and Penn State professor Michael Mann delivered his planned talk “Confronting the Climate Change Challenge,” at the Penn State Forum Speaker Series on February 9. In the days preceding the lecture, The Common Sense Movement, an organization sponsored by the Secure Energy for America Political Action Committee (SEAPAC), demanded that Penn State cancel Mann's lecture. SEAPAC, a group largely funded by oil and gas industry executives, sent form letters to area newspapers in advance of the event, one of which was published in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call.

Despite external pressure, Penn State did not cancel Mann's talk. “Ironically, we thank the coal industry for the free advertising of today’s lecture,” said moderator Patty Satalia. No members of The Common Sense Movement were visibly present at the event. No one was observed handing out leaflets, holding up posters, or conducting any other visible protests, but Penn State took no chances. “In terms of our audience, I don’t think there was a marked difference from any of our other events, with the exception of some members of the media,” wrote Lindsey Whissel, Forum Speaker Series Coordinator, in an email. The Forum typically plans for about 350 attendees and 373 people attended

this event, wrote Whissel. “Due to the potential for disturbance at this Forum, we had additional security on site as a precaution,” wrote Whissel. The Common Sense Movement declined repeated requests for an interview, and instead provided a written statement. “Regardless of the outcome of any university-led investigation into the legitimacy of Mann’s academic work, Penn State should carefully consider providing a pedestal to an employee who so plainly cannot distinguish between his scientific and extreme political views,” the statement read. Mann called the controversy over his appearance at the Penn State Forum Speaker Series “entirely manufactured.”

“This coal-industry front group ran radio ads to try to intimidate Penn State into not letting me lecture. They hired a PR firm to try to manufacture something that would have the appearance of a grass roots campaign against my talk. It’s unfortunate that this coal group feels so insecure that they have to resort to these sorts of tactics to smear scientists and intimidate universities,” Mann said. According to Penn State geosciences professor Lee Kump, Mann is no stranger to manufactured controversy. “The fact of the matter is that Mike, more than any other colleague I have, has been dragged through the coals on


Controversy, pg. 13



March 2012

Leaseholders, pg. 11

that the DCNR’s insistence on payment and insurance constituted “unreasonable restrictions� on Belden & Blake, which had the right to the “reasonable use� of their mineral estate. That case directly impacts the rights of

surface estate owners, Pifer said. “As a private landowner, if you own [only] the surface estate, the burden is on you to prove that [the gas company] is going beyond ‘reasonable use.’� he explained. “The burden is not on them to prove that their use is reasonable.� Pifer said that owners of a severed surface estate can attempt to protect them-

selves by negotiating a surface use agreement with the gas company. While such agreements will not stop drilling, they might address problematic drilling locations and change access road routes Pifer said. Still, gas companies are under no obligation to negotiate a surface use agreement. Litigation is the only sure way to force

Photo Essay: Evensong for the Earth

Photo by Lindsay Lipovich

Parishoner Donald Hopkins sings during St. Andrew's Episcopal Church's "Evensong for the Earth" in State College. The Reverend William Thwing gave the sermon at this event, which was a religious prayer service to benefit the Earth and its wellness. Thwing is a founding member and board member of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, whose mission is "responding to climate changes as a moral issue through advocacy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of clean renewable energy."

Photo by Lindsay Lipovich

Reverend William Thwing delivers his sermon at the Service of Choral Evensong at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in State College on Feb. 9. The prayer service focused on the Earth and its wellness.

the gas company to stop drilling while the landowner attempts to force the gas company to agree to a surface use agreement, said Pifer. But suing a gas company might be risky for a land owner. A member of the audience told Pifer about a surface estate owner who sued a gas company to establish a surface use agreement. According to the audience member, the landowner lost the case and was counter-sued by the gas company for lost income from the idled drilling rig. Pifer said that while such things might happen, litigation is still the only way for a surface estate owner to stop drilling. “The only way that you’re going to be able to stop activity is by going to court and getting a judge to grant some type of injunction to stop the activity,� he said. “As a condition of granting that injunction, they may require you to post a bond,� covering the potential costs and losses of the gas company. “If you win, that’s fine, you keep it—if you lose, you are going to have to compensate [the gas company] for their time,� said Pifer. While legislation has been proposed to enhance the rights of surface estate owners, those efforts have so far been unsuccessful. In 2009, Pennsylvania Representative Camille George of Clearfield County introduced H.B. 1155, entitled “Surface


Leaseholders, pg. 14


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March 2012


Controversy, pg. 11

charges brought against him that have no basis in fact,” said Kump. Professor Mann was involved in the socalled “Climategate” incident, in which more than a thousand emails from Mann and other climate change scientists were stolen from the Climactic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and published on the Internet. Climate change critics claimed the emails exposed worldwide collusion between scientists to fabricate data supporting human-caused climate change, a charge which the media watchdog group called “unfounded.” Mann was cleared of any misconduct by two Penn State investigative committees and an independent investigation by the National Science Foundation. Other

members of the Climate Research Unit were cleared of wrongdoing by similar investigations. Mann's presentation focused on the content of his new book, The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, which describes his experience as a public figure in the center of a larger debate about climate change. Mann emphasized the scientific case for the “reality of human causes of climate change” and posed a question: “If [climate change] science is that clear, why has there been no substantial action taken to combat it?” He described himself as a “reluctant warrior in the climate wars,” in which people with vested interests in fossil fuels have “taken from the playbook of the tobacco industry.” “It was so amazing to hear a calm voice, a voice of reason. I appreciate it,”

said Sandy Zaremba, Ann Arbor, Mich. resident and frequent Penn State visitor. “I like the fact that he showed pictures of different people and gave credit to people on both sides of the aisle who were supportive. It shouldn’t be a political issue,” said Zaremba. Mann mentioned his colleague Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, as an example of a Republican working on climate change. Alley’s research has shown that environmental changes can be abrupt, and sets the stage for a more rapid response to global warming. Alley recently received a Heinz Award for his leadership in climate and polar ice studies. The Heinz Awards are named for the late U.S. Senator John Heinz, a Republican. Following the talk, Mann responded to

anonymous questions read by the moderator. He touched on his life and role at Penn State, the political party split, and his own climate-change-fighting actions. “I thought the Q & A was the best part,” said David DeGroote of State College. “I don’t talk to many people about this issue in State College, except with my family. They are global warming deniers, and so I’m looking for better ways to discuss the issue with them,” he said. “Communicating about climate change can be intrinsically quite technical,” said Mann, “but even more difficult is that we are not communicating in a vacuum and we are trying to do this against the fierce headwind of this manufactured campaign to confuse the public.” Mann is now traveling to promote his book on the “climate change wars.” “This is a story whose ending hasn’t truly taken place,” he said.

Birdwatch: It’s snowing geese by Joe Verica It's March. Although it's technically still winter, the lengthening days and moderate temperatures hint that spring is just around the corner. Adding credibility to the rumors of spring is the fact that spring migration is well underway. Among those at the vanguard of early migrants are the Snow Geese. Snow Geese are stocky, short-necked geese, and are slightly larger than Mallard Ducks. There are two color morphs, a

white morph and a blue morph. The white geese are mostly pure white with black feathers on the tips of their wings. Their legs are pink. Their bill is also pink and somewhat stubby relative to that of the more familiar Canada Goose. The cutting edges of the bill are dark, as if the goose were wearing lipstick. Blue morph geese have dark grayish-brown bodies and mostly white heads. Along the Atlantic seaboard, the white morphs outnumber dark morphs by about 100:1. In the eastern half of North America,

Snow Geese spend the winter in two main concentrations. Those that migrate along the Atlantic Coast winter from the Chesapeake Bay area down through North Carolina. Those that migrate along the

Central Flyway are more widely spread, wintering from Wisconsin and Indiana, south to the Gulf Coast. With the coming of spring, the geese begin moving north to their nesting grounds in the arctic. The main factor triggering spring migration appears to be the weather. As temperatures begin to warm and ice begins to thaw, the geese begin their journey north.


Birdwatch, pg. 14



March 2012

Birdwatch, pg. 13

In most years, Snow Geese make their first appearance in Pennsylvania at the end of February, and peak in early March. Like most waterfowl, Snow Geese travel in flocks. They also appear to have favored stopover points where many flocks congregate. One such point is right here in Central Pennsylvania, at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon and Lancaster counties. At the peak of migration in early March, as many as 100,000 Snow Geese can be observed here! Anyone interested in seeing the geese should make the trip down the Middle Creek during the first two weeks of March when numbers are at their highest. During the day, the geese are scattered about the corn fields of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties feeding. In the late afternoon, as sunset approaches, the geese begin returning to the lake. The first few waves start arriving about an hour or so before sunset, flying in their standard echelon or 'V' formation. They announce their arrival with a raucous honking that sounds similar to that of the Canada Goose, except that it is harsher and somewhat nasal in quality. As the geese continue to gather, those that are already assembled on the lake become quite agitated and vocal. Before long, the previously placid lake is literally carpeted with white. The real spectacle occurs when, almost


Leaseholders, pg. 12

Owners’ Protection Rights.” That bill died in committee, and equivalent legislation has not been passed. The rapid expansion of Marcellus Shale drilling took place in a legal framework designed for coal and older natural gas drilling, Pifer said. “Our regulatory framework was largely based on historic production, so it was based on the techniques that were being utilized at that time,” said Pifer. According to Pifer, there were only 34

simultaneously, 100,000 geese erupt from the lake. The noise from the honking and 200,000 wings flapping will shake you. The birds will wheel around the lake a few times, sometimes passing directly overhead. It is one of the most exciting experiences you will encounter. Eventually, calm returns and the geese settle down on the lake once more. Where do all these geese come from? It may seem hard to believe, but the Snow Goose population was once in jeopardy. Since the early 1970s, the Snow Goose population has exploded, growing over 300 percent. Ornithologists estimate that the current Snow Goose population is about 5 million. Although several factors have contributed to their population growth, the main cause appears to be an increase in the availability of food. Traditionally, migrating Snow Geese fed on grasses, sedges and aquatic plants. With the expansion of agriculture, their diet began to shift to waste grains. The abundance of these waste grains led to increases in winter survival and reproductive success. The population increase has also led to problems. On the arctic breeding grounds, the large geese populations have led to habitat destruction in a region that is also important to other wildlife. How nature deals with these problems remains to be seen. In the meantime, we can enjoy watching the geese. Questions or comments? Joe Verica can be reached at natural gas wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale in 2007. By 2010 that number rose by 1,400 additional wells. “I think we’re really in the early stages of refining the legal framework based on the activities that are occurring now, and recognizing that this activity is different from the historic activity that we’ve seen in western Pennsylvania,” Pifer said. PASA conference attendees received more help from Pifer and the Penn State Law Rural Economic Development Clinic, which offered pro bono legal advice to conference attendees.

Photo by Simon Pierre Barrette.

A pair of Snow Geese wing their way across the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area in Quebec, Canada.


March 2012

Winter sends native plant lovers to the library By Elizabeth Goreham & Sally McMurray

In mid-winter, when it’s hard to get into the garden, our thoughts turn to books and other sources of information on native plants. This month we offer our recommended picks for off-season reading about native plants. 1) Ann Rhoads and Timothy A. Block, The Plants of Pennsylvania: an Illustrated Manual. Second edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Ann Fowler Rhoads is Senior Scientist of the Pennsylvania Flora Project at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, and Timothy A. Block is the University of Pennsylvania’s Director of Botany. Anna Anisko provided illustrations.

They have teamed up to produce a manual that has been called “authoritative” and “indispensable.” More than 1,000 pages, it’s weighty in more ways than one. Rhoads and her colleagues are the undisputed experts on Pennsylvania’s plants. The manual covers both native and naturalized plants, but since (as the authors point out) 2/3 of the state’s 3,400 species are native, these plants take up most of the attention. The second edition represents a significant reorganization to reflect recent reclassifications. DNA sequencing has revolutionized botany, prompting a reconceptualization of the old Linnean classification schemes. The identification key relies on conventional botanical terminology regarding

plant description. A glossary helps with botanical terms. 2) At a recent panel discussion “How Green is Happy Valley? Saving the Planet Begins at Home” sponsored by the League of Women Voters, panelists especially recommended two intriguing books. The first is Thomas Christopher, ed., The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening. This book contains essays by wellknown authorities addressing such questions as how to steward the of thousands of square miles of valuable topsoil in home gardens, nurture oxygen-enriching plant life and provide habitat for wildlife. Rick Darke suggests strategies for balancing natives and exotics in the garden. Doug Tallamy has an essay on gardening for wildlife; Eric Toensmeier writes on the sustainable edible garden. Other essays concern issues equally important to native plant enthusiasts, including climate change, soil health, pests and disease, green roofs, water conservation and “whole system garden design.” A further description can be found at The second book recommended at the symposium was Ke Chung Kim and Robert D. Weaver’s Biodiversity and Landscapes. This book contains more than twenty thoughtful essays on what biodiversity means to humanity and how it is expressed in the landscapes we construct. It is a wonderful complement to Douglas Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home, which was discussed in an earlier Native Plants column. Read more at 3) Donald Leopold, Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation. Portland and London: Timber Press, 2005. Leopold is another respected authority, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair, Syracuse University Department of Environmental and Forest Biology. Like

Tallamy, Leopold has a passion for native trees and other species. His book will attract gardeners because it contains descriptive sections with lists of flowers, trees and shrubs. The entries are organized by Latin species name (along with data on their range in USDA zones), soil requirements, light requirements, attributes, propagation, “notes” and their “natural range.” Another plus is lists of species adapted to specific conditions, for example “Plants that Tolerate Wet Soil” or “Plants with Fruits that Attract Birds.” 4) William Cullina, Wildflowers: A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America (Houghton Mifflin, 2000), and Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Woody Plants (Houghton Mifflin, 2002). Cullina is the Director of Horticulture/Plant Curator for The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine. His well-regarded books combine serious horticultural and native-plant knowledge with a folksy, conversational writing style. Like Leopold’s book, Cullina’s have short introductions with topics like “Ecological Gardening,” but the meat of the book is the plant listings with attractive photos, brief descriptions and information about tolerances and requirements. 5) Penn State Extension offers a broad range of information for gardening, farming, habitat management, etc.; you may wish to explore their website for specific issues. Their website contains more than a dozen pamphlets covering many of the basic interests of native plant enthusiasts and birders in our part of Pennsylvania. The site is at 6) Last, a hopeful message for the new gardening season. This 5-minute YouTube video of environmentalist and author Paul Hawken will put you in an upbeat, positive state about your native plant gardening activities:


March 2012

Board of Trustees faces calls for reform by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell with Alanna Pawlowski

Before November 2011, Penn State’s Board of Trustees exercised their powers of governance with little fanfare. They publicly met six times a year to discuss the university’s budget and to listen to reports from the president and Board committees. Then former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of children, and two Penn State administrators were charged with perjury. In the week preceding the Nittany Lions’ last home football game, the Board made a pair of fateful decisions that thrust them into the national spotlight: they dismissed Penn State’s president Graham Spanier and football coach Joseph Paterno. Many Board members have since spoken out about the careful consideration they said went into those decisions. Board member Keith Eckel told Voices that the Board “made a decision not based on legalities but our responsibilities and came to the conclusion that the president could not lead through this situation.” According to other Board members, the same care and deliberateness was applied to Paterno’s dismissal. “The same decision was made about Joe Paterno [as made about Spanier],” explained Board member Keith Masser. “We couldn’t have the team focused on the Sandusky case when they were not involved in it.” This decision set off a firestorm of controversy among students, alumni and the larger Penn State community. The night Paterno was dismissed, students rioted in the streets, overturning a news van and damaging public and private property. However, the response of alumni who have called for reform of the Board of Trustees may ultimately be more farreaching. Trustee elections Every year, Penn State alumni elect

three trustees to the Board. Ballots are mailed to all alumni who have been members of the alumni association for the previous two years or who have specifically requested one from the Board’s office. Of the 32 trustees, nine of them are Penn State alumni elected to serve three year terms by fellow alumni. Five members of the Board are members by virtue of position in Pennsylvania or university government, such as the governor and president of the university. Six trustees are appointed by the governor (including the student trustee), six are selected by agricultural societies across the state and six are selected by the Board to represent business and industry. In the past few years, these elections have received little attention. In 2011, alumni re-elected long-serving trustee Joel Myers along with other incumbents H. Jesse Arnelle and Marianne Ellis Alexander. Six people ran for the three positions. The year before that, seven people ran for the three positions. Two incumbents were re-elected and one incumbent was unseated. This year, more than 30 alumni have announced candidacies. Three of these candidates—Mark Connolly, Barbara Doran and Anthony Lubrano—are endorsed by the reform group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS). Also in the crowded field are former trustee Ben Novak and Vincent J. Tedesco, Jr., a State College resident. David Jones, who has been on the Board for 15 years, decided not to seek reelection prior to the scandal. Each candidate collected 50 nominations by Feb. 25 in order to be listed on the ballot. All the candidates’ names will be listed on the ballot in positions selected by random draw and mailed to alumni in April. Some candidates have called for a complete reorganization of the Board’s makeup to create more alumni-elected positions. “We need the Board to reflect 2012, not

Photo by Sean Flynn

John Surma (right), vice chair and spokesman for the Board of Trustees, announces the firings of Coach Joe Paterno and President Graham Spanier on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. Steve Garban, 2010-2011 chair of the Board, sits to his left.

the 1800s or 1900s,” said Vince Tedesco, who said he wants more alumni trustees. Robert L. Horst, a former trustee, outlined an even more specific plan in a Patriot-News op-ed piece. “Given the governance missteps at Penn State, I propose that university by-laws be changed to eliminate the six business and industry trustee seats that have been the core of the Board for many years,” wrote Horst. “Ideally, those six would be replaced with more alumni trustees who

are elected in a transparent process.” Outgoing trustee David Jones pointed out that Penn State is unusual not in having so few alumni trustees but so many. “To say that alumni aren’t represented is ridiculous,” said Jones, who pointed out that twenty members—nine in alumnielected slots, and 11 in appointed positions—are alumni. “I think it is unusual


Trustees, pg. 17


March 2012

Trustees, pg. 16

for a Board to have alumni-elected members. I think it is also unusual to have a student representative.” A study authored by Merrill P. Schwarz, director of research at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and released by the American Association of Governing Boards, proves Jones to be partly correct. About half of public college boards had one student voting member, but only five percent of boards were elected. The majority of board members (77 percent) of public college and university boards are appointed by state governors, while only 15 percent employ a mixture of appointment by governor or legislature and election. Among the other large Pennsylvania

universities, Penn State represents a middle ground with respect to its Board. University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees elects the six alumni trustees on that 36-member Board. Alumni of the University of Pennsylvania elect thirteen trustees to the university’s Board of 57 trustees. Jones also pointed out that a Board comprised solely of alumni would have disadvantages, such as eliminating many talented people from the possible trustee pool. “I think that there is a good bit to be said for having nine [elected] alumni on the Board, to give a different perspective,” said Jones. “If all were alumni, it would create a certain bias in perspective that you can avoid if some are not alumni. Having trustees who aren’t alumni gives [the Board] a bit more objective view of the university.”

The unelected—industrial and emeritus trustees Business/industrial and agricultural trustees encompass 12 of the 32 trustees. These are the trustees that Tedesco referred to as resembling a Board from a previous century, since Penn State’s original charter required that the state’s agricultural societies elect nine trustees to the Board of Trustees. In 1875, the charter was amended so that mining and manufacturing interests also elected trustees. There has not been any public debate about the agricultural trustees, but former alumni trustees have questioned including business and industry trustees on Penn State’s Board. “The election of emeritus trustees and industrial trustees, it is strange that those who are not elected or appointed are still participants,” said Ben Novak. “Industrial trustees used to be appointed by engineer-


ing associations that existed throughout the state, but those have largely become not… functional.” By 1996, according to former trustee Michael Horst, the delegates who met to elect the industrial trustees were for the most part affiliated with the Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association and were residents of Centre County. At that time, he sought an industrial trustee seat. Six years later, the Board curtailed the election system for business/industrial trustees, and the Board gave itself the power to select those trustees. Horst said the problem with the business and industry trustees is not the manner in which they are elected or chosen, but that they tend to work closely with the


Trustees, pg. 19

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March 2012

Local initiatives focus on sex abuse victims by David Amerman In the weeks following the surfacing of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the outpouring of support for victims took many forms—thousands attended a candlelight vigil, hundreds joined Facebook groups like “Help the Victims of Jerry Sandusky at Penn State University” and national organizations like the Let Peace Come In Foundation established funds to help pay for victims’ counseling. Although such responses have seemingly tapered, several recent efforts show a commitment to supporting the recovery of victims, helping the broader community process the scandal and preventing future abuse. The Centre County Women’s Resource Center (CCWRC) hosted a screening and discussion of the documentary In A Town This Size at the State Theatre on Jan. 29. The documentary included interviews with the victims of a sex abuse scandal that involved a pediatrician in a small Oklahoma town and also told the story of the filmmaker, who was a victim of sex abuse. According to Mary Faulkner, the CCWRC’s director of counseling services and advocacy services, the CCWRC wanted to host an event that focused on the experiences and needs of survivors. “Unless someone works in victim services or in the court system, it is rare to hear from survivors about how the abuse affected them,” said Faulkner. “The documentary presents first-hand accounts for survivors and offers some important parallels to the Sandusky indictment. It’s very humanizing in terms of demonstrating that survivors are our neighbors, our co-workers and our friends.” The 283 people who attended the screening also sat in on a panel with the filmmaker Patrick Brown, survivors featured in the documentary and experts in the field of sexual abuse prevention. “The level of accessibility of the story is very high,” said Faulkner. “At first,

people seemed hesitant to ask questions and concerned about saying things the right way. But there were many people who wanted to speak and spoke from very personal places.” One branch of university is offering its own response. The Children, Youth and Families Consortium (CYFC) a part of Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, has announced a $15,000 faculty fellows program to support two social sciences faculty members interested in extending their research into the domain of child maltreatment. “At Penn State, faculty members’ children, youth and family expertise lies primarily in research on how to prevent problems in child and family adjustment and development,” said CYFC director Susan McHale. “[This means] that the university’s investments have primarily been in faculty whose expertise involves finding ways to promote positive family and youth development and adjustment rather than waiting till after problems have occurred and fixing them.” According to McHale, the CYFC’s preventative approach has stemmed from a desire to make the most difference with a limited budget, but that this strategy has its limitations. “Unfortunately, this means we just don’t have the faculty here who are knowledgeable about what to do for children for whom prevention hasn’t worked,” McHale said. “Our recent CYFC initiatives like the fellowship program are aimed at developing such capacity within our faculty.” Faulkner said that though publicized initiatives in support of Sandusky’s alleged victims seem to have waned, this isn’t an indicator that they have stopped. According to Mary Faulkner, support for the victims can be separated into two stages: short-term and long-term. She said that when the news broke, supportive initiatives occurred because people felt the urgency to do something. Now, she added, the community is in a stage

where a lot of community organizations are getting together and trying to create sustainable long-term initiatives. “There has been a lot of coordination between the local YMCA and the Centre County Youth Service Bureau along with some of the judges from the Courts of Common Pleas in Bellefonte and Mayor Elizabeth Goreham,” said Faulkner. “What they’re trying to do is look long term and decide what needs to be in place to help protect children and to help increase safety for the children in the community.” These long-term initiatives will come in the form of increased coordination to provide safe places where children can go if need be, according to Faulkner. “We’ve been working to make sure we have the right stakeholders in the room for those conversations so that you don’t have a lot of individual initiatives popping up independent of one another, but really to get people joined in one collaborative conversation,” she said. According to Faulkner, a great deal of this conversation has focused on prevention—specifically how State College can be a place where something like this won’t happen again. She said systems also need to be in place to enable victims to come forward and get the kinds of services they need. Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, many events will take place on campus and in State

This documentary, about the victims of a small town sex abuse scandal, screened at the State Theatre Jan. 29. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss the topic of sexual abuse with the filmmaker and several of the survivors who were featured in the documentary.

College to raise awareness of general issues of sexual violence, according to Faulkner. In addition to initiatives about sexual assault as it pertains to women at Penn State, there will also be a movement to define sexual violence more broadly and to look at sexual assault in terms of all the different populations it affects.


March 2012


Trustees, pg. 17

Board’s elected officers in decision-making and that the rest of the Board simply accepts it. Novak referred to a “power group” and “praetorian guard” as the real power in the Board in his “Reflections of a Former Trustee,” a three day series that ran in the Centre Daily Times in January. Novak’s and Horst’s terms as trustees overlapped. Members of the current Board do not discuss the decision-making process or power structure of the Board, but the officer breakdown of the Board supports Horst’s viewpoint. Recently elected Chair of the Board Karen Peetz is a business and industry trustee, while current Vice Chair Keith Masser is an agricultural trustee. All six business and industry trustees serve on the nine-member executive committee of the Board of Trustees as elected in January. According to the Board of Trustees’ corporate by-laws, the executive committee carries out all “necessary business” of the Board that arises between regularly scheduled Board meetings. Peetz is an ex-officio member of the executive committee, meaning member by virtue of her office. The only three exceptions to the business bloc are Penn State’s president Rodney Erickson, who is an ex-officio member, governor appointee Michael DiBerardinis and Masser. There are no alumni trustees on the executive committee. That most of the members of the execu-

Photos provided by Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship

Mark Connolly (left) and Barbara Doran (right) are running for alumni-elected Board of Trustees seats and are endorsed by the reform group Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship.

tive committee are business and industry trustees selected by the Board has repercussions. “Traditionally, executive committees act on behalf of the Board in between Board meetings, reviewing major issues facing the organization and making preliminary decisions that will be ratified by the Board as a whole at the actual Board meeting,” wrote PS4RS Board candidate Barbara Doran via email. Business trustees also make up a significant portion of the trustees emeritus.

Emeritus trustees, unlike business and industry trustees, play no formal role in the Board’s decision-making process, but the process of becoming an emeritus trustee is not well defined. Standing order XI of the Board of Trustees’ by-laws and standing orders outlines how a trustee becomes an emeritus trustee: “The status of Trustee Emeritus shall be reserved for any living former member of the Board of Trustees who has served as a Board member for 12 years or more with distinction.” “With distinction” is not defined. If a Board member is to become a Trustee Emeritus, the president of the Board requests a review at his/her retirement. Reviewers take into account offices held, participation, attendance, length of service and other contributions. But there are no definitions of “emeritus worthy” participation or how many meetings a trustee must attend or how many offices a trustee must have held to earn the title “emeritus.” Novak, who served on the Board for 12 years, said he was not offered emeritus status. There are also trustees emeriti on the

University of Pennsylvania’s Board, but the process as defined by their own articles is clear. Charter trustees—trustees who have served for five years or more and then were elected to serve until retirement— and trustees elected to serve two or five year terms become trustees emeriti when they reach the age of 70, though charter trustees can become emeriti at the age of 65. These trustees emeriti are not subject to review. Of the 16 Penn State trustees emeriti, only four noted in their online biographies that they were alumni-elected trustees. Five were business and industry representatives, two were agricultural representatives, four were governor appointments and one does not list this information in his biography. Oversight of and relationship to the university Board members admit that the Sandusky scandal took them by surprise. “It wasn’t until the presentment [that I


Trustees, pg. 20



March 2012

Trustees, pg. 19

found out]‌â€? said Board member Keith Eckel. “Someone sent me a copy of that at 3:30 in the afternoon. I read it and was appalled‌From my own personal perspective, I believe that more information should have been provided to me sooner.â€? Keith Masser said that he and other Board members were generally not aware of the Patriot-News article that referred to an alleged event of abuse that occurred on campus in 1998 but that perhaps they should have had that information. At the May 2011 meeting of the Board of Trustees, then university president Graham Spanier and legal counsel Cynthia Baldwin briefed the Board on the grand jury investigation into Sandusky’s alleged sex abuse of children, but neither Spanier nor Baldwin indicated that Penn State had any liability or exposure. Novak pointed out that what the Sandusky scandal demonstrated about the Board of Trustees is that their failure to oversee the administration fed into the crisis that followed what he called a “total administration breakdown.â€? “[The Board] didn’t have any oversight,â€? said Novak. “It relied solely on what the president told it. It didn’t have any oversight on the direction that the administration was taking.â€? Other Board candidates agreed that the crisis was a product of a breakdown of not just administrative leadership but Board governance.

Photo by Katherine Rodriguez

John P. Surma answers questions after announcing the terminations of Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier on Nov. 9, 2011.

“What happened with the firing of Spanier and Paterno seems to have been the culmination of a long-running and systematic breakdown of the university and Board governance and leadership that had evolved over many years,� said Barbara Doran. Board and soon to be ex-Board members are not in agreement as to what the Board should do to prevent crises like this from happening again, or even if they should increase university oversight. “I’m sure the Board is examining the way it operates and looking for ways it can do it better,� said outgoing trustee




David Jones. “[The scandal] has prompted the Board to reexamine the way the Board functions.â€? Members of the Board, however, have stated that they are not so much planning to increase their oversight of the administration but to balance their oversight against too much university involvement. “It’s a delicate balance that we as a Board need to find,â€? said Masser. “We‌ must not be delegating our full authority to the Board, and on the other hand, not micromanaging.â€? Eckel warned against the danger of too much involvement, which he admitted was a strange answer in these circumstances. Both he and Masser stated that the appointment of President Erickson effectively righted the balance of power between the Board of Trustees and university president because the familiarity and complete trust they had in Spanier is not there. Eckel said that the governance processes of the Board will be reviewed and strengthened and that Board members would consider adopting changes suggested by Judge Louis Freeh at the end of the investigation of the university that he is undertaking on the Board’s behalf.

One of the means of enhancing the Board’s role in university governance, according to Novak, is for the Board to improve the relationship with the university community. Part of his promise to the Penn State community as presented on his candidate website is that he will engage students, faculty and the broader community through traditional media and the internet. Other candidates also support a stronger relationship with the university and call for more means of getting input from the Penn State community. “Board members should have their [email addresses] posted online so that anyone can reach them anytime,� suggested Doran. “An interactive blog should be established on the BoT website, so that all may participate.� Mark Connolly, another PS4RS candidate, noted that as per meetings, the Board of Trustees relies on information only gained through the “established channel� of the university president, a policy determined by standing order IX of the Board of Trustees. He said that this must end. “I believe that [standing order IX] has been used as a crutch to avoid the input of the university stakeholders (the students, faculty, alumni, State College residents and general Pa public),� wrote Connolly. But current Board members have emphasized that they are very connected to the university community, particularly to the students. Student trustee Peter Khoury pointed out that the Board was meeting with the student body presidents, and alumni trustee Anne Riley noted that she had been invited to speak to student groups. Novak questioned the efficacy of even these interactions, calling them “dog and pony presentations.� People interested in contacting Board members outside of these speaking engagements or meetings will have to do some digging, as no contact information is currently listed on the Board of Trustees’ website.


Trustees, pg. 22


March 2012

Sipping coffee and speaking for freedom by Jamie Campbell I have had my cup of coffee—not coffee in the traditional sense, but coffee all the same. Allow me to me explain: At the beginning of Martin Luther King Jr.’s career as a civil rights leader, after one of the many bombings of his home, he sat down at his kitchen table to have a cup of coffee. As he sat there, coffee at the ready, with the weight of the world on his shoulders, he prayed. It was not the typical prayer for allies, foes, and health of family. It was one of those, you know, “How did I get myself into this situation?” prayers. Can I lead these people? Am I doing the right thing? Will the masses see that this cause is just? And then it happened.

He had that moment of clarity that so many of us long to have. He got an answer. King heard a voice answering his prayers. He told others later that that voice told him to stand up to injustice. The voice put him in a fantastic mental and spiritual state, a state of mind that let him know that he would not be taking his perilous journey alone. Why two months after his holiday, are we talking about MLK? Because we tend to forget, forget that we should be living up to this type of

ideal—speaking out against wrongs that are being done, questioning those that are in power, not just because they have power, but because they are not using their power correctly. We remember King on his day, but do we remember what he was trying to accomplish? Recently, the poor have come under attack again. We cannot seem to realize that people who are poor do not just want handouts—they want help! People who live in impoverished areas do not want hear they are dragging down society; they want to hear solutions. Trust me, they already know that their areas aren’t the best, but they know and want to know that things can be better. We have to do better. We have to come up with solutions to help these communities. These communities are important to the American dream. If they can make it, we can as well. As the communities grow, we need to make sure that we speak out for families as well. If we are going to demand that women use an aspirin for protection, we’d better be ready to provide for “byproducts” when that aspirin dissolves. We cannot stop funding birth control,

Head Start programs, or training programs for single parents or for both parents. It never ceases to amaze me that males (old males) continue to tell young women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. These same men say that they are “Christian” and are being persecuted because of their faith. Yet they call anyone who does not agree with their beliefs un-Christian, un-Patriotic, and un-whatever-else they can think of. I only hope that these males realize that women have been making good decisions for themselves for years before one of their family members has their choices taken away from them. We must speak out for freedom—from who to marry to what one does behind closed doors. Everyone deserves a right to make their own decisions, and not be judged for those choices. Now that the warm and fuzzy has fallen off of the King holiday, what are you prepared to do? Me, I am going to have that second cup of coffee.



March 2012

Trustees, pg. 20

Transparency and Accountability Intimately linked to the Board’s relationship with the Penn State community are transparency and accountability. These two ideas have become the rallying cry for those who seek to reform the Board of Trustees and the source of a painful admission by Board members. “I think that we could have been more transparent,” said Jones. “I think that is always a challenge for large institutions…What we’ve learned from the Sandusky affair will result in greater transparency.” David Jones also put a caveat on full Board disclosure. “There are always things you cannot discuss in public—personnel, legal issues—that would be damaging to the university’s interest to discuss…publicly,” said Jones. Maintaining this closed-meeting for sensitive issues policy would not have changed the way that the Board met to determine the fates of Spanier and Paterno. Even Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act—the act that ensures the right of the public to be present at meetings of government agencies that can take official action, but also the boards of schools and public universities—provides an exception for that meeting because of the terminations of employment it involved. Both Doran and Connolly admitted that

this was the case and that it is a reasonable policy, but Connolly said that the Board should have proceeded differently from the initial closed deliberation meeting. “I do know that the same sub-section [of order VIII] specifies that ‘Official action on discussions held in executive session shall be taken at open meeting,’” wrote Connolly. “This suggests to me that a formal public session should have been held in which the Board stated its intended path forward, solicited public input, then eachmember vote ‘for the record.’” Anthony Lubrano, major Penn State donor and outspoken candidate, deemed accountability and transparency to be even more important. “In order to implement a policy of transparency and accountability, meetings must be open to the public,” wrote Lubrano via email. “This would include emergency meetings such as the one where Dr. Spanier and Coach Paterno were relieved of their respective duties.” Whether Lubrano would have pressed for the Board’s deliberations to be public as well is unclear. He has stated that he supports a public comment period at all Board of Trustees’ meetings. Currently, the Board of Trustees does not allow public participation at their meetings, something that according to Maribeth Schmidt, spokesperson for PS4RS, is not determined by corporate by-law but by the Board’s choice. Still, greater public participation does not necessarily ensure greater accountability. If a public comment period is

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Thursday, March 15, 7:30 PM

State College Municipal Building, 243 S. Allen Street, Room 201

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This documentary focuses on the growing "wealth gap" in America, as seen through the eyes of filmmaker Jamie Johnson, a 27-year-old heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. The film explores the political, moral and emotional rationale that enables the one percent to control nearly half the wealth of the entire United States. Includes interviews with Nicole Buffett, Bill Gates Sr., Adnan Khashoggi, Milton Friedman, Robert Reich, Ralph Nader and other luminaries. (80 minutes)

scheduled after voting takes place at Board meetings, then this period becomes an opportunity to speak for or against a policy but without any influence on a vote. Currently, the public is permitted to attend (but not participate in) the six Board meetings scheduled at the beginning of the year. According to the standing orders of the Board, it must give annual notice of those meetings in all newspapers of daily circulation in Centre County and in one daily newspaper in general circulation in Pennsylvania. Then prior to each meeting, notice must be given in those publications. General locations for the year’s upcoming meetings are also listed on the Board of Trustees’ website, though no specifics are given. As of deadline, the agenda for the 15-16 March meeting was not available. No plan has been put forth to change this method of disseminating information. Even if comment periods were held before the Board voted on matters, and even if locations and contact information for trustees were available to the public, greater accountability would not necessarily result. Only nine members are directly accountable via election to the voting alumni of Penn State. Even these trustees are not accountable to students or faculty. One member of the Board is a student, but he is appointed by the governor and does not answer to a student constituency. Barbara Doran has stated that she sup-

ports a Board of independent directors with “real diversity in background and viewpoint” but gave no means of selecting these independent directors or explanation of how they would be accountable to the university community. Can reform happen? Alumni will elect three Board members by commencement week in a rolling election that will begin April 1. Members of PS4RS say that the results of that election can start reform of the Penn State Board of Trustees resulting in greater accountability, transparency and better governance. Ben Novak, however, expressed his doubts about the possibility of reform. “I’m afraid that the word ‘reform’ has gotten overused,” said Novak. “[The Board members] don’t look at what the real problem was, they look at what they can reform. It’s going with slogans, rather than what the real problem is.” According to Novak, the Board’s issues revolve around their lack of involvement in Penn State’s affairs, as well as the breakdown of shared governance with faculty and the students. He recalled a time when the student government dealt with and ruled on student codes of conduct and violations of them and when teaching faculty were a community. Still, the ideals of greater communication with an empowered student government and faculty community would not necessarily create transparency or accountability that so many are seeking from the Board of Trustees.


March 2012

Mangan’s works evoke spirit of nature by Rachel Camaerei If art is a lens, then the one fashioned by John Mangan captures his cultural and personal relationship to nature in both his ancestral Ireland and the rural scenery of Central Pennsylvania. Mangan does this with a profound sensitivity to the ancient spirit guides of his landscapes. But Mangan’s artistic career almost didn’t happen. Not yet feeling the steady pull of his artist muse and doubting his creative skill, Mangan first pursued a career in print making. After interning with a print company, Mangan soon found out it was the “last thing I wanted to do.” Mangan experienced the true temperament of the work and found himself mired in a commercial atmosphere with little creativity and danger to health concerns. After a colleague was diagnosed with cancer, Mangan finished his internship and left the profession of logography behind. Mangan returned to school and received his Masters in Fine Arts at Penn State. Around this time, the artist planted the seed that would germinate into his art; his burgeoning love for the natural world became entwined with his artistic skills. He took up painting, a medium where he could express his encounters with nature rooted in his ancestral County Kerry Ireland. In County Kerry Ireland, the ancient, religious depictions of “the raw spirit of nature” are presented through the Green Man, a vegetative deity that represents rebirth. The Green Man, also called the derg corra or “the man in the tree” is depicted on churches and cathedrals all over Europe, but especially Ireland. In Mangan’s work, this ancient figure represents both his love for the natural world and his cultural inheritance. “In my imagery, he connects me to my

Irish ancestors and the life they led connected to the soil and their animals,” Mangan said. Mangan frequently travels to Ireland, and could not help but notice the stark contrast between the lush, Ireland countryside and the concrete jungle that was his hometown in the Bronx. “It [the green man] is a symbol of wildness in nature and our place and connection in it,” Mangan said. Being first generation Irish, Mangan says he was intrigued by the close ties he shares with the Green Man embodiment of the natural world. But the Green Man is not Mangan’s only depiction of Ireland’s ancient spiritual heritage. Mangan also captures the Coomassig Mountain of Ireland in his artwork. The Coomassig Mountain is a local Kerry County name for a mountain on the popular hiking trail the Kerry Ring. But Mangan also paints the black bear, which is no stranger to Central Pennsylvania. This creature invokes the “pure, savage beauty” that he feels within, portrayed in his work. The artist works in acrylics, done completely on reused and recyclable canvas. Mangan’s work is currently displayed in Nola’s Joint and the ION Gallery in Downtown State College. “It is a wonderful resource for the town,” he said. “I hope the community will embrace it.” With little representation for artists here, the love and support from others is what Mangan sees as the benefit to artists from having these local places. Jody Harrington, owner of the ION Gallery, said Mangan simply “lives, breathes, and eats art.” He added that Mangan is a people’s artist, and will continue his work regardless of the notoriety and fame many of the other artists he’s met seek. Harrington has known and been friends with Mangan for over 20 years, and he confessed Mangan provided “the gateway for me to start art.”

Photo by Rachel Camaerei The landscape portrayed through Mangan’s paintings reflects his annual, personal travels to Ireland. Here the Coomassig Mountain is represented as part of the beauty of untamed lush land, and a flowing waterfall.

Harrington also stated that Mangan’s positive attitude towards life make him an extraordinary person to work with. “This is John Mangan’s life, and we are lucky to view it on his canvas,” said Harrington. The artist himself is humble about his work and instead sees himself as the lucky one.

“We should look at the blessings we see every day, the beauty of Pennsylvania and maintain an attitude of gratitude,” Mangan said. Mangan has an upcoming show at the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County from April 1 through 29. The museum is open Friday to Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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March 2012

Tibbetts takes listeners “Out on the town” by Shawn Christ

State College singer-songwriter Stacy Glen Tibbetts recently released his third album of original songs “Out On The Town.” The album is a mix of jazz tunes and musical theatre numbers that Tibbetts scored. But Tibbetts isn’t worried about mainstream success. “You could call this thing [the album] a big indulgence because I don’t think it’s too commercial,” he said. Tibbetts’ assessment is accurate, but “Out on the Town” is still a great listen. Especially for those who value the spirit of jazz and swing. “What do you do if you know how to write a swing tune? It’s a rock and roll world. It’s not even a rock and roll world; it’s a rap world,” he said. “Snowbound” opens the album with a relaxing melody accompanied by a swinging backbeat. Catherine Dupuis’s voice hits all the right notes and immediately enchants the listener. “It was thrilling to work with Catherine Dupuis. She is an amazing singer,” Tibbetts said. Dupuis’s vocal work graces 8 of the tracks on “Out On The Town.” Most notable is the upbeat, sultry third track, “Little Black Thing.” “My little black thing,/it clings like a lover./My little black thing,/it’s barely a dress,” Dupuis teases as she sings about the art of looking good for a night “out

on the town.” State College jazz group, The Hirsch Jazz Quartet, keeps the rhythm jumping on the track while the leader of the band, Rick Hirsch, shows off his skills on the saxophone. Tracks 4-9 and 13 are from two musicals that Tibbetts wrote lyrics and music for entitled “Dialing for Donna” and “Bella Sicilia: The Gourmet Musical.” While the performances on the tracks from the musicals are a bit out of context, it is Tibbetts’ ability to blur the line between swing music and theatre numbers that proves impressive. “I’m very open to music theatre collaborations,” Tibbetts said. “Music theatre has always seemed to me like a place where, traditionally, there is still that swing style.” “New York in the Spring,” from “Bella Sicilia: The Gourmet Musical,” is one of the tracks not to skip. Dupuis sings about the subtle beauties of springtime in the Big Apple while Tibbetts offers a jazzy strum on his acoustic guitar. The standout moment for Tibbetts comes on track 10, “Staring at the Stars.” He sings a simple love song accompanied only by a soft piano. His vocals don’t shine like Dupuis’s, but they are charming nonetheless. “More!” (track 13) allows all of the musicians to show off their skills through an instrumental jam. Even the laziest listener will want to grab a partner and swing a bit during “More!”

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“Out On The Town” is a contemporary take on timeless genres. Tibbetts shows that even classic genres like swing and jazz can sound fresh with the right kind of arrangement and attitude. “Above all, I think music has to be emotional in some way,” Tibbetts said. “And where does that come from? I think it could be any genre.” In addition to his solo work, Tibbetts also promotes the joys of swing music through the local “hot-swing” group Sizzle Sticks. Tibbetts, the leader of the band, said performing with Sizzle Sticks “is a kick.” “I worked with a lot of great singers and great people, but it was a very different experience then actually performing myself,” he said. “I missed it. So, I joined this swing group…it’s a lot of fun.” As far as future music plans, Tibbetts

is seeking musical theatre collaborators for a new project. “The topic is one of great local interest, although I don’t want to reveal it at the moment,” he said. “I’d like to do the bulk of the writing on that show this coming summer and co-produce it thereafter, likely at a local venue.” Tibbetts is also considering producing a cabaret of his show music this summer, which would feature some performers with local ties. In light of his busy schedule and future projects, Tibbetts said he would be “taking a bit of a break” in the near future as he and his wife, Gina, were expecting their first child on February 25, a girl they intend to name Johanna. Even though Tibbetts realizes that there is a specific market for people who may enjoy “Out On The Town,” he still isn’t worried about impressing everyone. “At a very extreme level, when you look at people who are commercially successful, they have such a machine and such a focus on themselves,” he said. “It’s like you wouldn’t have friends, you’d have fans only,” he added. “Mixing up that relationship has never worked well for me. I love my friends, I love my family and I don’t intend to hustle every person I meet.” Visit to learn more about the artist and to purchase “Out On The Town.”

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March 2012

Artist captures rural landscape on canvas by Veronica Winters

In the studio


Barbara Pennypacker is a passionate and dedicated oil painter. Her colorful stylized artwork captures the beauty of Central Pennsylvania. Her landscapes feature rustic lifestyle of countrymen, weathered barns, and vast views of mountains, skies and fields. “I spent my career working in agriculture and came to love being on farms. When I retired, I became aware of how many farms were being sold for development and the wonderful, old barns were being razed. I think of old barns as windows into the lives of our ancestors,” she said. Pennypacker is fascinated with history. So when she began painting the artist wanted to recreate “portraits” of barns. Soon Pennypacker became interested in situating the barns in their respective landscapes. Gradually the importance of barns diminished, giving way to painting landscapes. “I love being able to interpret the landscape that my camera records. I can rearrange and delete things to make stronger compositions. I find a wonderful inner peace when painting landscapes and farmscapes,” she said. After a terrible car accident Pennypacker could no longer conduct field experiments

Photo by Barbara Pennypacker

“Autumn, the year’s last loveliest smile,” 10x30” oil, 2010.

for the school of agriculture at Penn State. Soon after she retired on disability. She recovered by rediscovering herself through art. “My first influence was my drawing teacher, Taha Belal, who, at the time, had just graduated from Penn State with a BFA,” she said. “Taha gave me an intense, month-long, total-immersion drawing course.” Their studio was a farm with a falling down barn. He taught her how to put on paper what her eyes were seeing and insisted on working on large 18 x 24” paper. “My first painting experience was doing plein air watercolors with Russian artistGalina Pavlova,” she said. For three years, Pavlova and Pennypacker painted outdoors. It was dur-





The artist learned of the organization back in 2006, while painting on George Moellenbach’s farm in Penns Valley. The organization is associated with the Centre County Farmland Trust. The trust purchases development rights on farms, preserving the farm from being sold for development. The FPA donates a portion of proceeds to the Farmland Trust, thus helping preserve the farmland. “I was excited to find there was an organization of painters who shared my love of painting farms,” she said. She organized FPA’s participation in the Farm Tour in 2009 and 2010 and plans to participate in the show at the Tait Farm Summer Solstice festival next June. Pennypacker can be reached at 814278-7749 or via e-mail:



ing this period Pennypacker developed interest in painting old barns. Pennypacker’s favorite places to paint are close to State College. “I love painting in Penns Valley,” she said. Sometimes Pennypacker accepts commissions. One of her latest paintings was commissioned by a farmer who wanted to preserve his farmland for future familygenerations through painting. In fact, farmland preservation is one of the most important topics this artist touches upon. “I’m part of the Farmland Preservation Artists of Central Pennsylvania and exhibit my work through their shows and fundraising events. I’m a co-chair of our exhibit in this year’s PASA conference at the Penn Stater,” the artist said.







March 2012

Zeropoint Band rocks the American Ale House by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell Once a month, the American Ale House in Toftrees becomes the stage for Zeropoint Big Band. Zeropoint is a 16 piece jazz band based out of Centre County, but it’s more than that. It’s also the local supergroup, made up of some of the most talented and long-playing musicians that live in the area. “If you like jazz, you are in for a treat,” said Cathy Loewen. Based on the packed roadside parking, other local music fans seem to agree. But inside the dining room of the Ale House the atmosphere was relaxed, the crowd ready to hear some effortlessly good big band music. “We rehearse once a month, this is it,” said Mike Loewen, bass trombonist. “We had one [formal, non-performing] rehearsal, about three years ago.” Clearly the lack of rehearsals hasn’t hurt the band’s ability to get gigs. Since that “one rehearsal,” Zeropoint has had a regular monthly gig at the American Ale House, but has also played at the Central Pennsylvania Festival for the Arts and the Elk Creek Café.

The magic that carries the band through are the solid performances by proven musicians. “We usually play three or more new tunes a night. Everyone is a professional,” said Loewen. Many of the musicians have degrees in music and are involved in other music groups. Loewen holds a degree in music education, and plays with Trombone Chowder. Dan Yoder (saxophone), one of the two band leaders, is the director of jazz studies for Penn State. The other band leader is Rick Hirsch (saxophone), local composer/musician/music educator extraordinaire. Jay Vonada (trombone) released the album “Red Pajamas” in January. Trumpeter Eddie Severn is a former Scottish National Jazz Orchestra lead trumpet. “It’s a pretty high level group,” said Yoder. “As a whole we did pretty well [at the gig].” The band members’ professionalism shined through on Rick Hirsch’s “world premiere sight-read.” Hirsch passed out sheet music that he had just written for Bucknell University’s jazz band. He then placed a recorder on a table near the per-

Photo by Elizabeth Timberlake-Newell

Zeropoint Big Band plays the American Ale House once a month.

formance area, and announced they were making a practice tape for the jazz band. But Zeropoint is not just a working band; the group will also release an album—currently called +17—this spring. Jazz musician James Witherite composed or arranged all the music for +17. One of the songs the band played at the February Ale House gig is an original by Witherite called “Father John,” for which he was the trumpet soloist while Yoder was the sax soloist. “When I was starting the album, I was thinking about where to find a 16 piece orchestra. At first I thought of Duquesne, where I met Rick Hirsch. A few years later, after we met, he tells me he’s got this band and they were up for doing this project, so here we are.” This album is not the first for Witherite. In 2006, he composed the album “West by

Northwest” while he was studying at Duquesne University. The title track of that album will be on the Zeropoint album, along with a few originals and new arrangements of old standards. The musical selections on the upcoming album represent a mix much like those played at the regular gigs. In addition to the pieces composed by Witherite and Hirsch, Zeropoint also played old favorites like Blue Daniel and Dear Old Stockholm, and a new arrangement of “Soaring.” While the band and the performances are high level, the band members enjoy the opportunity to play. “The band is so much fun to play with,” said Mike Loewen. Zeropoint Big Band plays the first Tuesdays of every month at the American Ale House from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.


March 2012

Letters Please send letters to Dear Voices, I must say I find offense in the article by Toby Carlson, February 2012, “The Frightening Trend of Racial Code Words”. I am Tea Party. I am highly educated, Catholic, and a historian. Mr. Carlson's assumptions are absolutely incorrect. He points to urban vs. rural, old vs. new, and takes class or station in life as his premise. It is obvious that he has not studied history or been paying attention to current events. As a Tea Party member, I and others only want the country to be what is founded on: personal responsibilty with limited government. Our Constitution is the greastest document in the world, and our founders' vision was not just for their time, but for all time. This administration has shredded that document beyond belief (i.e. Obamacare, school lunch policy, spending without consent, class warfare, higher taxes, avoiding the checks and balances of the system.) It is time to put the country back on track by ending extended entitlements and putting people back to work, by securing our border, by allowing only legal immigration, and by letting the individual decide what is right for them. Socialism doesn't work. History has proven that over and over again. Let our Contitutional Republic be as intended, and America will be the shining star as it should be to the rest of the world. John L. Flickinger State College [Ed. Because we love a good debate between friends, we extended an invitation to Mr. Carlson to reply to Mr. Flickinger. The response is found below.]

Dear Voices, Voting habits of urban-liberal versus rural-conservative are well documented. Take Pennsylvania, for example: 16 of the most populous counties, plus cosmopolitan Centre County, voted for Obama in 2008. The remaining 50 or so counties, predominantly rural, voted for Mc Cain. This pattern was evident to me locally during 2008 when I counted the number of Obama versus McCain signs on people’s lawns while driving from State College to rural Millheim. Mr. Flickinger, like the Tea Party folks, expresses nostalgia for a lost America, the once and future “city on the hill.” But when was this golden age? Before the Civil War, when slavery existed? Before the 1920s, when women could not vote? Before Social Security was created in the 1930s? Before the Civil Rights bills were passed in the 1950s? Before Medicare was instituted in the 1960s?  Before the clean water and clean air acts were passed by President Nixon in the 1970s? Are we to now assume that because President Obama wanted 40 million more Americans to have better health care that this country has slipped into decline? What kind of morality is this? The Tea Party may sense a decline in this country but I feel that the United States is a better country now than it was a century or even a generation ago. I think, moreover, that the Tea Party people tend to use the word “socialism” to refer to things they do not like or approve of. The Oxford dictionary definition hardly applies to contemporary America, let alone Europe. Toby Carlson State College

ASK Cosmo

Dear Cosmo, Have you noticed the increase of ads for internet dating services? They’ve got them for regular people, and senior citizens, and now there are ones especially for religious people. There’s for Christians and J-Date for Jews. I don’t know about Muslims. Are people more lonely today, or is this just another hi-tech industry hunting for people with computers? Do these things actually even work? Signed, Possible Player Dear Playing With Matches, First off, religious people qualify as regular people, don’t they? So do Muslims (on both counts). And by the way, there are plenty of Muslim dating sites. In addition to the subsets in the major franchises like,, and, there are individual sites such as or Wouldn’t it be awesome if their site music was “Girl from Ipanima” played on an Oud? Interestingly enough, ChristianMingle and J-Date are both operated by, who proudly proclaims, “Combining the power of technology with our deep commitment to your happiness, our specialized Web sites aim to

Campus and Culture from the Canine Perspective

provide a fun and convenient meeting point for millions of singles each year.” So no, they’re not merely hunting for people with computers. They’re looking for specific people with specific demographics who want to hook up with folks of the same demographics. Apparently, the lonely devout are not meeting one another at church, temple or mosque, so why not—in the name of their happiness—sell them the ability to peek under the wimple, veil or burka on the intra-faith internet. A small sample of’s lofty cruising zones includes the following dotcoms: AdventistSingles, AsianSingles, BlackSingles and BlackChristianSingles, CanadianPersonals, CatholicMingle, DeafSingles, GreekSingles, LatinSingles, MilitarySingles, InterracialSingles, LDSSingles (for the Mormons) and even the IndianMatrimonynetwork (perhaps to arrange a marriage the modern way). Unlike their many heathen counterparts, Spark sites like do not offer drop-down menus for men seeking men, or women seeking women. These folks have to drop down to the a la carte sites, of which there is no shortage. However, persons on such sites may not be what they appear to be. “HotTeen16” might be a 45 year-old man, “Little Lovely” might be a female Sumo, and “Ready4U” might be an NBC Dateline reporter casting an episode of “To Catch a Predator.” And “Sad Bachelor” might be some married dude sniffing around the fencerows to do a little extracurricular hoodwinking.


Cosmo, pg. 31


March 2012

Candidate calls for reform in Harrisburg by Christopher Lee I am running for the State House of Representatives to restore to Harrisburg the local values of our residents –Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. If you’ve ever visited the Boal Mansion Museum in Boalsburg, you know that I have glorious ancestors, but the glory is theirs. These ancestors founded Boalsburg, Penn State, the Republican Party and America. They established principles that today we call American values. In Harrisburg last year the legislature voted twice to rig elections and more recently to rig our laws to favor gas companies over the land-use regulation of our local municipalities. Like my ancestor Richard Henry Lee who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, I find it is time to stand up for our American values that have been abandoned in Harrisburg. The incumbent in the 171st district voted for the Congressional gerrymandering—or what we now call “Kerrymandering” and what political analyst Terry Madonna called “the worst gerrymander in modern Pennsylvania history.” Gerrymandering redraws legislative district boundaries to create one-party “safe districts” in which the incumbent of the dominant party can take his voters for granted, ignoring them and their values to pay attention instead to what the lobbyists want from him. That’s why lobbyists like the out-of-state American Legislative Exchange Council write our laws such as the voter suppression bill that the incumbent in the 171st District voted for last year which bars from voting the elderly, the poor and students who don’t have photo identification. I know I am running in the minority party in a one-party gerrymandered district, but my ancestor Frank Blair founded the Republican Party in Pittsburgh in 1856 so I know that Republicans in the 171st District from Boalsburg to

Gerrymandering redraws legislative district boundaries to create one-party “safe districts” in which the incumbent of the dominant party can take his voters for granted, ignoring them and their values to pay attention instead to what the lobbyists want from him.

Bellefonte and from Centre Hall to Millheim come from a long, honorable tradition that includes Abraham Lincoln who invested in transportation infrastructure, Teddy Roosevelt who protected natural areas and was a trust-buster and Dwight Eisenhower who warned us of the military-industrial complex. If Republican voters in the 171st District become aware that their incumbent no longer represents their values of conservation, fair elections and responsive government that invests in the future but instead has voted against all of these in the last year, they can justifiably vote for a moderate Democrat who shares their values and will represent their values more truly in Harrisburg. The incumbent also voted for House Bill 1950 about Marcellus shale gas wells which strips from our local municipalities the right to regulate gas wells which by this new law can be placed in residential zones without local regulation. The 171st current representative in Harrisburg didn’t just vote for HB 1950, he led the fight to pass it as chair of the House Finance Committee. While I am certainly in favor of American energy and cheap energy, I would not sacrifice our local quality of life to get it. However, gas and oil and energy companies from Texas and Oklahoma have donated thousands of

dollars to the incumbent in the 171st District who has been described by Democracy Rising Executive Director Tim Potts as “pro-choice on corruption”

for his “let it be” approach to reforming political corruption in the legislature. My experience in local government includes serving as Chairman of the Centre Region Council of Governments, Metropolitan Planning organization and Regional Planning Commission as well as chair of the Harris Township Board of Supervisors. I also serve on the Chamber of Business and Industry’s Government Affairs committee and Infrastructure Committee here in Centre County. I am a practical moderate who will look to govern from the middle, not from the ideological extremes. I run a small historic heritage site which helped me learn decades ago what


Candidate, pg. 29

Teamsters Local 8 Proudly Supports Local Youth Activities The Men and Women of Teamsters Local 8 Encourage Supporting Local Youth Activities


March 2012


Candidate, pg. 28

they still haven’t learned today in Harrisburg—how to accomplish your mission while balancing expenditures and revenues. How things happen in Harrisburg determines what things happen. I will be a strong and tireless advocate, not a lip-service advocate, of real reform, including ending the gerrymandering that leaves the voters out in the cold and lets in lobbyists to get quick action on their agendas such as gambling and gas wells. Friends have warned me that by standing up I risk being put down with personal attacks, but these times call for someone to stand up for our shared American values, just as my ancestors did when their times called for it. If the media and the voters of the 171st

can focus their attention on what government actions they want their representative to take for them—and not personalities or personal favors done—then they will recognize the radical positions taken by the incumbent who has voted to rig elections and to tilt the rules to favor producers over consumers—positions that do not respect the values of voters of any party in the American tradition. If the media and the voters of the 171st can focus their attention on what government actions they want their representative to take for them, then they will see the value in the vision for our government offered them by my candidacy for State House of Representatives from the 171st District.

Whitey Blue on the Tea Party by David M. Silverman I was talking the other day to Whitey Blue, longtime Centre Area resident and hard-nose. Whitey, any thoughts about the Republican group that named themselves “The Tea Party”? “You bet! They finally have adopted a

true American stance and name.” The original Tea Party was the group that favored throwing British trading ships’ cargo into the sea rather than pay taxes on it. Where’s the similarity? “The modern Tea Party wants to stop throwing our tax money into the pockets of the under-achieving masses.”


[Editor’s note: VOICES does not endorse political candidates, but we may run opinion pieces by those running for office.]

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Instructions: Fill in the grid so every row, every column and every three-by-three box contains the digits 1 through 9. There is no math involved. You solve the puzzle with reason and logic. The solution to this month’s puzzle can be found on page 35 of this issue. By Peter Morris


March 2012

Continuing the fight for equal rights by Michele Hamilton “The world we want is the world we need.” Those were the words of Angela Davis, a feminist and civil rights leader, and they are particularly powerful now. I reflect on her words regularly for inspiration, as affirmation, and as the fuel to counsel and advocate—especially as I write this article. February was Black History Month. March is Women’s History Month. Both are times to reflect on the past and plan for the future. They are two months for reflecting on the lives of Dorothy Heights, Patricia Stephens, June Jordan, Audre Lorde and Loretta Ross. Each of these leaders fought for equality, both as women and as people of color. These are also months of frustration. Recently, I was at a local National

Organization for Women (NOW) chapter meeting, and discussion lingered over cuts to Planned Parenthood, potential PA voter-ID requirements, attempts to shame people who receive public benefits (especially African-Americans) and the fact that homicide is still the number one killer of women in the United States. The frustration was palpable. Didn’t we “solve” these issues 20 years ago? In many ways it can feel like we are Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain, only to watch it roll down, over and over again. This is when the words of Ms. Davis are most helpful. As an activist, I work to create, in my little part of the world, increased opportunity, which requires safety and equality. Every person engaged in progressive work—and it is work—whether paid or

Lend us your voices by William Saas At a recent meeting, the VOICES editorial staff huddled around the following question:  What, exactly, is VOICES? The result was two-hours-plus of enthusiastic give-and-take. There was talk of demographics (who reads us?), distribution (where can people find us?) and the future (where are we going?). Each question begat productive tangents, each tangent begat deeper questions. To stay sharp, we drank lots of coffee. I come to State College via Las Vegas, and, as I shared with the editorial staff, I had no idea what VOICES was when I first picked it up in Fall 2010. It certainly wasn’t the kind of weekly I’d grown used to back home (as another editor duly pointed out, we don’t advertise “escorts” in our backpages). Not that that’s a bad thing. Point is, my concept of what VOICES is and can be is not fixed yet. I’m still in the flirty getting-to-know-you phase.

Still, as I sit writing this late Thursday evening in the VOICES office, deep in the bowels of the soon-to-reopen Webster’s cafe, I wonder if the editors’ discussion was not a bit misguided (if also with its heart squarely in the right place). Perhaps a better approach would be to ask, here and now:  What is VOICES to you, the reader? Of course, you know that we are a nonprofit monthly news and culture magazine. You know that we are mostly volunteerrun (and that you can attend our weekly open writer meetings). And you know, we hope, that we offer a unique and distinctive voice in the midst of a largely one-sided media scene. These are all, in a sense, the givens. So what else is there? You tell us. In coming months we’d like to field and publish your thoughts on VOICES in the opinion section. What is VOICES to you? What would you like to see in the future? Lend us your voices! E-mail with your thoughts.

unpaid, ponders the different avenues that can be used to build a stronger, more affirming and equal society. I do this through my own work, within my faith community and through my volunteer opportunities. But what matters most is observing and listening to what is needed in our community. Who’s voices are not being heard in discourses on the direction of our county, state and nation? What innovative ways can we reach, inform, and motivate greater participation in politics—especially among women and people of color? How can people working on becoming anti-racist and anti-sexist engage a wider audience and show how these two issues intersect with disability rights, LGBTQ equality, economic and environmental justice and healthcare? As a woman of color, I stand in solidar-

ity with others who want to bring about social justice. I do not have to provide all the answers. That’s not my role. I am part of a long line of freedom fighters (organized and not, paid or volunteer) from Sojourner Truth to Andrea Smith, Elaine Brown and the many unnamed and unknown women. I am also part of a current group of innovators including Vinika Porwal, Jasmin Rakestraw and Shani Robin. As a feminist, my role through the local NOW chapter, Ni-at-nee NOW, is the creation of a safer space for residents of Central Pennsylvania to engage in social and political issues on a local, state and national level. I invite you to join me in this process. Ni-at-nee NOW meets the first Thursday of every month. To contact Michele, e-mail:


March 2012


Cosmo, pg. 27

Certainly these sites with overtly high moral profiles are completely free of fetishists, married people, adulterers, thieves, tax cheats, blasphemers, Democrats or similar sinners. I’m surprised, though, that their customer base appears to have given up on prayer, and has resorted to more worldly technology to mine for soulmates. I do enjoy the TV ads for, where they say “Some people say they’ll wait for God to find them their match, when God is telling you to act now,” displayed with their trademarked tagline, “Find God’s match for you.TM” Nice pitch, and you can barely smell the brimstone from that mortal whopper they just told. It’s one thing to allege that whomever

It’s one thing to allege that whomever their server serves up is God’s match for you, unless GOD is the acronym for their compatibility algorithm. But it’s quite another to claim definitively that God is telling you to act now.

their server serves up is God’s match for you, unless GOD is the acronym for their compatibility algorithm. But it’s quite another to claim definitively that God is telling you to act now. Supposedly, that’s what Son of Sam’s dog was telling him, too. Bad dog! God dab! Is that a palindrome, or do I just got a code id by doze.

Maybe it’s both—backwards AND tasteless. The Old Testament is full of stories about the Almighty speaking specifically to His chosen people, and telling them what to do. So that must mean that today’s chosen tribe includes every viewer within earshot during the timeslots these spots air throughout the day, throughout the land. I can only assume that the folks running these websites hold God in high regard, since they’ve enlisted Him as their Spokesdeity. They wouldn’t dream of claiming in front of the FCC and everyone that “God is telling you to act now,” if it weren’t the gospel truth. After all, it says right on our currency, “In God We Trust.” Now that’s totally an endorsement the folks can get behind. As their website boasts, “On Valentine’s Day 2006, Spark Networks shares began trading on the American

Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘LOV.’” Lemmings Offer Volume? That much LOV does the ticker good, doesn’t it? I don’t know whether these dating sites actually work or not. They are, after all, being propagated on a medium that also supplies pop-ups with photos of “local hotties looking for sex in your area,” showing someone with a name like “Krystal” who is located in a nearby place like “Altoona.” Although you might want to keep “Krystal” away from your “area” unless you’re completely cootie-proofed. Believe it or not, there are actually sites specializing in bestiality dating – not that I checked, but I checked. I wouldn’t tell you something if it weren’t true. And I definitely wouldn’t tell you to act now. That’s simply not my place. But I do wonder what the drop-down menus are like on those sites: “man seeking animals” and “animal seeking perverts?” I do know that the point of all this sanctimonious cyber foreplay on the righteous sites is to eventually get “up close and personal,” and that’s when people get to find out whether these sites work or not. Someone may talk a good game online, but they still have to pass the sniff test in person. And to do that, they’re right back where we dogs start off in the first place—using our noses to obtain a second form of ID.

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Voices Of Central Pa March 2012  

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