Aug. 07, 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, Aug. 11, 2018:
EXCHANGE-POLICE TRAINING-DEADLY FORCE
BETHLEHEM — The woman in the park with the gun wouldn't stop talking. Hopping nervously from foot to foot, she ignored the police officer's barked orders to drop the pistol and insisted, "No, it's fine, it's cool, it's no big deal." Holding his gun steady, the officer shouted commands over the woman's voice while keeping a close watch on her hands. The second she began to raise the one with the gun, he fired three shots into her midsection. She fell, lifeless, behind a shrub. As her body lay frozen on the projector screen behind him, Richard Vona, a former Warwick, Bucks County, police sergeant who trains officers in the use of deadly force calmly discussed his decision to shoot the woman — an actress in an interactive training video. The woman's refusal to comply with his simple commands, combined with her body language, told Vona she was a danger to him and others. Once she began to raise the weapon, he felt he had to act quickly. "There's got to be a point in time where you make the decision to take the next step, otherwise you lose all ability to control the situation," said Vona, director of Bucks County's Public Safety Training Center. The validity of the use of deadly force by a police officer was raised again last week after an incident near Dorney Park. Laurie Mason Schroeder and Peter Hall, The (Allentown) Morning Call.
EXCHANGE-SUBURBAN WILDLIFE TENDER
KING OF PRUSSIA — The Cooper's hawk, a juvenile, was skinny and dehydrated. He'd spent the morning in a box, where the dark and quiet might soothe him. As Rick Schubert, 47, pulled him out on a recent Tuesday, the bird became agitated, biting at the foreign hands now prodding at his mouth, searching for signs of disease or parasites. Michele Wellard, 47, slipped a small mask over the bird's face, administering anesthesia. Soon the bird lay still, and Schubert began feeling his way across the hawk's skeleton, searching for fractured bones and damaged tissue. In the next room, Wellard ushered in Bob Gallagher, 62, an instructor at a nearby summer camp holding a Canada goose he'd spotted limping around the grounds. This was a typical 10 minutes in the life of the Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center, which treats sick and injured wild animals from Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties - all in a King of Prussia apartment. Anya van Wagtendonk, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
EXCHANGE-FEMALE HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLER
GETTYSBURG — About 30 goats were born this year at the DeLawder's family farm alongside the Gettysburg battlefield. The babies tend to come during the winter, and the family delivers them, sometimes in the middle of the night, according to 15-year-old Montana DeLawder. Montana has to get up about every four hours to feed the newborn goats. "So that's fun during school," she said, dripping with sarcasm. "You're out there in the freezing cold at like 3 a.m. delivering babies, and then you have to come back in and feed them and go to school," she said before pausing to include the other time-consuming passion in her life. "And wrestling." Farm work and wrestling might appear to be vastly different interests, but the same tenets of discipline and a considerable work ethic apply. Montana, entering her sophomore year at Gettysburg Area High School, is rapidly advancing as a wrestler, earning two All-American honors and being invited on an exclusive trip to train in Japan in October. Dustin B Levy, (Hanover) Evening Sun.
EXCHANGE-MINE DISASTER FOLK OPERA
HAZLETON — Nearly 55 years ago Jim Broyles' father was serving his country with the Navy on the Japanese island, Okinawa. The military family traveled around a lot and the yearlong assignment in Asia brought the stateside family members to Allentown, where they could be closer to relatives. It was around that time, in August 1963, that the story of three miners trapped underground in Sheppton and the subsequent rescue of two of them captured the world's attention. Broyles was young but aware of the tense situation unfolding so close to his mother's hometown of Oneida, where his grandmother, Anna Barna, still lived. Broyles, now 67 and of Denver, Colorado, wanted to expand his hobby of singer/songwriter, writing songs around a central theme. An idea came to him in the spring of 2016 — the miraculous story of the Sheppton Mine Disaster he remembered from his childhood had so many storytelling facets to work with. Amanda Christman, The (Hazleton) Standard-Speaker.
ERIE MUSHROOM FARMERS
ERIE — Pennsylvania is far and away the largest producer of mushrooms in the U.S., mostly the white "button" variety, grown on 68 farms mostly in the Philadelphia region. That's been true for generations. Now, for many reasons — Americans' widening interest for food grown and produced locally, a focus on low-carb diets, and encouragement of farmers by the USDA to monetize their forests — exotic mushrooms are sprouting up in this neck of the woods. Harry Leslie, former manager of Presque Isle State Park, retired to his family farm in Conneaut Lake in 2015. The farm includes 40 acres of commercial crops, such as corn and soybeans, and 60 acres of forest. "I knew I was retiring, and my son and I went to a workshop at (Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio) on sustainable forest farming," Leslie said. "I wanted to know what I could do with the woods." Jennie Geisler, Erie Times-News.