Here are the stories for this week’s Pennsylvania Member Exchange package. If you have any questions, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133.
For use anytime:
Editorials from around Pennsylvania.
For Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018:
EXCHANGE-CENTURY OF SERVING
ALLENTOWN — The restaurant business is not for the faint of heart. Grueling hours, finicky customers and high overhead expenses are a few of the challenges facing restaurant owners. How tough is the industry? An Ohio State University study found 26 percent of restaurants close within their first year and 60 percent shutter over three years. The Lehigh Valley is no exception, with eateries coming and going like overzealous servers looking to snatch dinner plates while you’re still nibbling. Some Lehigh Valley restaurants, on the other hand, have achieved landmark status by pulling in customers for more than 100 years. Owners of three restaurants open for more than a century explain how they’ve stood the test of time. Ryan Kneller, The (Allentown) Morning Call.
YORK — If Sue and Ron Witman dream of ever having a normal, suburban life, they keep those dreams to themselves. On Jan. 6, 2019, their son, Zach, now 35, is eligible for his first parole hearing. By then, he will have served 15 years and 230 days in a county jail and then a state correctional institution in Pennsylvania for the murder of his younger brother, Greg, 13, a popular student at Southern Middle School and an avid soccer player. In February, after maintaining his innocence for more than 19 years, Zach accepted an offer from the prosecution to plead guilty to third-degree murder. For the first time since his arrest, he admitted to committing the crime. “Yes, I can say I killed my brother by stabbing,” he said at his plea hearing. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the gruesome murder that shocked and horrified the people of New Freedom, a quiet and idyllic bedroom community of about 4,500 in southern York County. Rick Lee, Teresa Boeckel and Dylan Segelbaum, York Daily Record.
PITTSBURGH — In 2011, a conductor with bipolar disorder who grew up in Pittsburgh founded an orchestra of musicians with mental illnesses. Seven years later, his Me2/Orchestra — no relation to the movement against sexual harassment and assault — has grown to nearly 60 members in the flagship ensemble in Burlington, Vt., and has branched out with affiliate ensembles in Boston, Atlanta and Portland, Ore., with Pittsburgh poised to start its own chapter in the coming months. “All too often that initial diagnosis can wreck a person,” said Caroline Whiddon, executive director of Me2/. “They have preconceived notions about what being diagnosed with, say, bipolar disorder means. We’re working to reframe that, both in society and in ourselves.” Jeremy Reynolds, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
LEBANON — STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) became education’s most popular buzzword in the past decade, and with education resources going to STEM, it left some arts advocates out in the cold. Now, educators are slipping the arts back in by emphasizing the importance of creativity in science and engineering. They call it STEAM - STEM with “Arts” added. The concept has its detractors, both among science advocates and “art for art’s sake” purists. But in Lebanon County, it’s opened up exciting new opportunities for real-world education, from cleaning up Lebanon to creating working guitars. “We got so focused on basics in education that we forgot kids need to be creative and innovative,” said Kathleen Bouch, a Pennsylvania STEM ambassador and a Lebanon Valley College education, math and science methods instructor. Daniel Walmer, Lebanon Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — Nathan Hancock picked his way last week along a no-man’s land about half a mile from where the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers meet in southwest Philadelphia. A feral cat pounced into thick brush as Hancock, a waterways conservation officer, moved along a dirt path, past a discarded hot tub, and stopped at a huge pile of tires plopped along a stream that flows into the Schuylkill. “It’s sad and very frustrating when you can’t figure out where they’re all coming from,” Hancock said. His partner that day, Officer Mike Blair, nodded in agreement. “There are thousands and thousands of tires dumped along the rivers,” Hancock said. “And they are breeding grounds for thousands and thousands of mosquitoes.” As he spoke, a swarm of mosquitoes rose up from the tires. Frank Kummer, The Philadelphia Inquirer.