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, Sept. 22, 2018:
CARLISLE -- Outside The Bon-Ton, a clerk takes a few last drags of his cigarette on the second-to-last day he’ll serve customers here. “Take 95 percent off,” reads one sign, above a rack of women’s sweaters. “Was $44.00. You pay $2.20.” The Bon-Ton is among the final holdouts of The Point at Carlisle Plaza, built in 1964 amid a nationwide retail boom that drew commerce away from downtowns and closer to a rising suburban middle class. Over the past two decades, the once-bustling mall shed one anchor, Kmart, and then another, JCPenney, and finally The Bon-Ton, too. The rest of the mall, part of which was demolished to make way for a Lowe’s, is largely vacant. “When you see a mall and wonder ‘Why did they build one here?‘, it’s because back then it was a big deal,” said Greg Maloney, who developed countless malls during the boom years of the ’80s and ’90s. “It was a town hall. They had events there--car shows, boat shows. It’s where everyone went for Christmas and holidays.” Wallace McKelvey, PennLive.com.
PITTSBURGH — At 86 years old, Bill Priatko jump-starts every workday with a vigorous three-mile walk and 155 Marine-style pushups, getting energized for another five-hour shift working the soda fountain at Kennywood Park. “I don’t call it work,” he said. “Really, it’s like a hobby. I come over here every morning, five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just enough for me to enjoy it. And I can’t wait to see the kids and work with them.” He starts the shift with a ritual that Rodgers and Hammerstein might appreciate and that his young co-workers seem to enjoy. “I sing this little ditty to them: ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I’ve got a wonderful feeling. Everything’s going our way.’” And they all go “Yeah!” For Mr. Priatko, a former Pittsburgh Steeler, the job at the West Mifflin amusement park is a retirement gig. He is part of a fast-growing segment of workers who remain in the workplace well past the traditional retirement age. Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
ARNOLD — Mackinly “Mack” Adams avoids the sun at all costs. He never leaves his Arnold home without gear that covers most of his body. A baseball hat and long black UV resistant sleeves, which he slides up over both arms, go on first. Those are followed by a special pair of polarized sunglasses, which he hangs from the neck of his T-shirt. He attaches a hood to the back of his hat, which falls down to cover his neck and his ears, and completes the outfit by placing a pair of black, fingerless gloves on his hands. The process may seem rigorous, but to Adams it’s just normal. At age 10 he was diagnosed with a rare skin condition known as Actinic Prurigo. Any exposure to the sun or fluorescent lights could make him very sick. Madasyn Czebiniak, Tribune-Review.
PHILADELPHIA — Shanin Specter, who met his wife playing squash, said his late father loved the racket sport so much that he often joked that nothing on his crowded U.S. Senate schedule was as significant as his daily hour on the court. “He played for most of his life, nearly every day,” Specter said. “When he was in the Senate he liked to say, ‘I used to say squash was the most important thing I do every day. Now I say squash is the only important thing I do every day.’ ” Now, six years after his death, the politician’s name has been affixed to a $40 million project that supporters say not only will make Philadelphia the capital of American squash but will help democratize what traditionally has been an aristocratically-flavored pursuit. On Drexel University’s rapidly changing campus, a historic armory is being transformed into the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center. The goal is an October 2020 opening, in time to host that year’s national championships. Frank Fitzpatrick, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
EXCHANGE-VIRTUAL GUN RANGE
FORTY FORT — Customers entering REDCON Tactical Simulation Training in Forty Fort never know what to expect when they walk through the door. They might encounter a bank robbery and hostage situation, home invasion, carjacking or argument between a man and woman that suddenly turns violent. In a split second they have to decide: Should they pull out their pistol and fire? The scenes are among more than 200 live-action scenarios that play out on a wall-size simulator screen at the recently opened virtual gun range. The crimes depicted are fiction, but the dangers portrayed are very real, said owners Sean Blinn,41, and Tom Husband, 61, both of Forty Fort. “We put you in the shoes of a police officer and some of the things they have to deal with when making a split-second decision,” Blinn said. “It is essentially a sandbox where you can increase your marksmanship training as well as have fun doing it.” Terrie Morgan-Besecker, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune.