Jul. 24, 2018
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, July 28, 2018:
EXCHANGE-BAIL SYSTEM CHANGES
ALLENTOWN— John Z. Murphy Jr. spent 42 days in Northampton County Jail on misdemeanor charges because he couldn't come up with $800 in bail money. In fact, the 34-year-old Allentown man would still be in prison awaiting his unresolved case, if not for an initiative the county court recently implemented. Frustrated that too many defendants were languishing behind bars for lack of bail, Northampton County in late April launched a long-planned effort to make it easier for people charged with minor crimes to stay out of jail before trial. It seeks to avoid incarcerations like that of Murphy, who was freed in June by a judge who granted him unsecured bail on his simple assault case, allowing him to be released without having to post any money. The push is part of a national conversation around bail reform, as advocates question whether it is appropriate to imprison defendants before they have been convicted merely because they lack financial means. Riley Yates and Peter Hall, The (Allentown) Morning Call.
EXCHANGE-TEACHER'S FIRST YEAR
PHILADELPHIA — Everybody wanted Quamiir Trice — even before he stepped foot into his own classroom. Trice, who was locked up for selling crack at age 16, had turned his life around, and excelled at Community College of Philadelphia and at Howard University. He met President Barack Obama and attracted offers from multiple schools eager to land a rare educational commodity: a black male teacher. He chose his hometown school system, accepting a pitch from Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. in 2017 and signing up to teach fourth graders at Bethune Elementary in North Philadelphia. "This all feels like a fairy tale," he said last summer. The reality proved to be different. Kristen A. Graham, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
SCRANTON — Steamtown National Historic Site historian Patrick McKnight donned a pair of archivist gloves and delicately turned the pages of the aged journal in front of him. The book is already in two pieces, its front cover detached. The gloves and the care are to avoid more damage. Recorded inside are the corporate minutes of the Liget's Gap Railroad Co. from 1849 to 1853. Better known today by its modern spelling, the Leggett's Gap was the earliest precursor of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad and hauled iron rails produced in what would later become Scranton to points north. Six years after Steamtown acquired the Liget's Gap volume and millions of other 19th and early 20th century corporate records of the DL&W and Erie railroads from Syracuse University, the massive collection's untold stories are slowly revealing themselves, thanks to often painstaking work by McKnight and teams of volunteers. "Every day is an adventure," McKnight, 60, said. David Singleton, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune.
DOYLESTOWN — When Carmen Sapara and her husband moved to the Central Bucks area last year, she had few connections. "I knew two people, a friend and my real estate agent; that's it," said Sapara, who moved to Plumstead from East Windsor, New Jersey. She turned to the Doylestown Community Facebook group, a virtual forum that introduced her to local doctors, landscapers and a social network that has gone beyond answering simple requests for referrals. Her husband, Greg Sapara, is now awaiting news about a job that he learned through a contact on the site. Such online community groups have redefined what it means to be neighbors, expanding business networks, raising money for people in need, sparking friendships and serving as a real-time source of emergency information that gels people together who might otherwise never meet, community members say. Joan Hellyer and Marion Callahan, The (Doylestown) Intelligencer.
EXCHANGE-GOBS OF TRADITION
JOHNSTOWN— JR Harris' uncle told an employee a story about the origins of the gob. He said a worker for his family's bakery was on break. They were permitted to make and eat anything they wanted to at the bakery. "He had two small chocolate cakes and put icing in between," Harris said. "And then the company saw what he had done and started doing what he did with the gob cake." The term gob was trademarked in 1927 by the Harris-Boyer bakery. Gobs are inherently part of the fabric of Pennsylvania's culinary landscape. They are also part of New England's food history, but the dessert is known as a Whoopie Pie there. The true origin of the treat may never fully be known, but the historical debate over it is fascinating. Johnstown's claim to its creation resides with the Harris-Boyer bakery, which began with one oven on Boyer Street in Coopersdale in 1894. Cody McDevitt, (Somerset) Daily American.