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, June 16, 2018:
ALTOONA — When Altoona native Darlie Lynn Routier was convicted by a Texas jury in February 1997 of stabbing to death her young son, Damon, 5, and by implication, her other son, Devon, 6, she reportedly cried out, “I did not kill my babies.” Both boys were murdered on June 6, 1996, as they were sleeping with their mother in the downstairs television room of the family’s Rowlett, Texas, home, while her husband, Darin, was in an upstairs bedroom with their 18-month-old son Drake. Routier, then in her 20s, also suffered grievous injuries that night. On death row, Routier has for the past 22 years maintained she didn’t commit the murders. Despite the passage of time, the Routier case continues to gain national attention and will be the premiere case in a new series called “The Last Defense,” a seven-week docu-series exploring the flaws in the American justice system through the Routier case and that of another death row inmate, Julius Jones, who was convicted of a car-jacking murder in Oklahoma. Phil Ray, The (Altoona) Mirror.
EXCHANGE-PHILADELPHIA PROM SENDOFF
PHILADELPHIA — Prom sendoffs are the party before the party. The basic premise — an opportunity for relatives and family friends to fawn over the prom-goers — goes way back. These days, however, in Philly’s black community in particular, the prom send-off can be much bigger than the prom itself. Last year, a North Philly mom made national headlines after dropping $25,000 for a prom sendoff. You might remember the camel she hired for the Dubai-themed bash she threw for her son. Many families have journeyed past the living room photo ops with trays of light bites. It is common now to see black mothers ordering custom photo backdrops and enlisting DJs and photographers. We’ve witnessed a James Bond-theme production where a lucky couple traveled by helicopter. Who needs to borrow Mom and Dad’s wheels when one can rent a Rolls? Cassie Owens, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
EXCHANGE-PITTSBURGH NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORIAN
PITTSBURGH — Stand on any street corner in Hazelwood and it’s likely JaQuay Edward Carter knows something about its history. “This is the John Woods house, possibly the oldest building in Pittsburgh,” he explained, passing by an old cottage overrun by weeds and tall grass. “It’s from 1792, built in vernacular style, which means the stones came from a nearby quarry.” A few hundred yards up the road, he pointed to a flight of stairs. “Right there, as high school students, my parents kissed,” he said, smiling. “And now I’m here.” Carter is the 34-year-old founder and president of the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh and Cultural Center. There are major plans for renewal in Hazelwood. The Hazelwood Green, the former site of LTV Steel, likely will be redeveloped as a hub for high-tech companies and sustainable housing, and perhaps Amazon’s second headquarters. As the community finds itself on the cusp of change, Carter wants to make sure the neighborhood does not forget its past. Jake Leffew, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
EXCHANGE-PARALYZED RIDER RECOVERS
GLENVILLE — It was inevitable that Mark Frahn would grow up riding dirt bikes. It started when the now 22-year-old was just 6 or 7 — maybe younger. On a February afternoon in his Codorus Township home, Frahn’s father, Bill, brought out a photo of his son as a child standing on a hill next to his dirt bike. That little XR 50 eventually grew into a JR 80. Then a CR 80 Expert - a racing bike. When Frahn was 13, he got an XR 200, and at 16, he got an YZ450F. He started racing competitively in 2017. Frahn says riding is the only time he can stop worrying about what’s bothering him, whether it’s school, relationships or work. “It’s the only time I feel myself,” he said. Until he didn’t feel at all. Maddie Crocenzi, York Daily Record.
EXCHANGE-COUPLE NEARS CENTURY MARK
BEAVER FALLS — They sit side by side on a love seat in their well-appointed condominium in Chippewa Township. Their eyes meet. He reaches for her nail-polished hand and cups it tenderly in his. They smile. She loves sweets. He knows it. He wooed her with chocolates when courting. He takes a maple-nut Danish — her favorite — from a box filled with fresh-baked pastries and breaks it in half. He feeds a bite to her; she feeds a bite to him. You’d think Ralph and Mary Veon are newlyweds. Far from it. But this poignant interaction bears witness that true love endures. And theirs has. For 78 years. Marsha Keefer, Beaver County Times.