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Bellefonte definition of ‘crazy,’ locals say

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Caption: A Fox News satellite truck pulls in front of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte on Monday, December 12, 2011. Christopher Weddle 

BY ED MAHON

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011

BELLEFONTE — A dozen satellite vans lined Allegheny and High streets Monday evening outside the Centre County Courthouse, and police officers were guiding more to spots. Residents walked downtown to see the spectacle, snapping pictures with their phones. And nearby business owners hung up signs, promoting one-day specials.

“Crazy,” said Leondardo Saavedra, describing the scene outside Brother’s Pizza where he works.

The source of the commotion in downtown Bellefonte was the preliminary hearing of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. His case — which involves more than 50 counts of alleged child sex abuse against 10 boys — has drawn national media attention.

On Monday evening, trucks for Fox News, NBC, and CNN all sat in Bellefonte.“This is a small town,” said Megan Youells. “So it’s definitely bringing some commotion.”

Youells, 22, and her friend Jessica Austin, 23, live about three blocks from the courthouse. They’re both accountants, and in between taking pictures, they discussed alternate routes for their morning commute.

“Getting onto 80 is going to be crazy,” Youells said referring to the nearby interstate, which she takes to get to work in Lock Haven.

Austin usually drives down High Street on her way to State College, but she figured she would loop around it today.

“Hopefully, I can,” she said.The Bellefonte YMCA planned to close its main office and annex, both on High Street, because of the closed streets. But other business owners saw the increased traffic as an opportunity.

“Special Hours Tuesday, December 13th,” read a sign outside Dairy Queen. “Opening at 6:30 a.m.”

Brother’s Pizza, where Saavedra works, plans to open at 7 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. Workers there will be serving coffee and breakfast pizza.

“We normally don’t sell breakfast pizza. It’s only for (Tuesday),” he said. “It’s like pizza dough, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham.”

At 7 p.m., about 10 volunteers and workers waited inside the Bellefonte Faith Centre for the food bank and thrift store’s annual Toy for Tots sorting night, which happened to be scheduled for the eve of the preliminary hearing. The nonprofit planned to package 1,700 toys for 413 children.

“What happens is the toys come in on the fire truck, which is really fun and spectacular. And they’re just hauled in in these large bags. They’re already wrapped,” said Nicole Summers, executive director of the nonprofit. “And we have a large army of people who sort through them.”

The Faith Centre received special permission from the borough to let the fire truck drive up High Street, which was closed to most other traffic, and volunteers had to park farther away than usual.

“So logistics are a little bit challenging, but the spirit is really high,” Summers said. “It hasn’t compromised the number of people that are coming in to help or the level of enthusiasm.”

Ed Mahon can be reached at 231-4619.

Read more here: Bellefonte definition of ‘crazy,’ locals say.

Ailing Second Mile to cut jobs

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2011

BY ED MAHON

The charity at the center of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal informed some of its employees Wednesday that they will be laid off.

“Based on the current donor level of contributions and in order to continue programs, we have notified some of the staff that they would be leaving the organization starting next year,” said David Woodle, the vice chairman of The Second Mile’s board who is directing day-to-day operations. “All planned programs are continuing.”

Woodle said the nonprofit has about 20 employees. He declined to say how many will be laid off. The Second Mile also has about $2.47 million in annual expenses and total assets of about $9.54 million, according to its latest IRS tax filings.

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Laws governing conflicts weak

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2011

BY ED MAHON

Legal experts have debated whether District Judge Leslie Dutchcot should have set bail in the Jerry Sandusky case despite having ties to the charity he founded.

State rules governing standards of conduct for magisterial district judges say that judges should disqualify themselves from a proceeding in which “their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

But that decision is ultimately up to the judge.

“It’s a very gray standard,” said Louise Hill, a professor at Widener University School of Law.

Biographical information posted on the website of her law firm previously listed The Second Mile as an organization for which Dutchcot had volunteered, and Second Mile material lists her and her husband as among the donors who gave between $500 and $999 to the charity in 2009.

The chairman of the board of the nonprofit, Bob Poole, held two fundraisers in 2007 that brought in $2,400 for her district judge campaign.

Dutchcot and the Attorney General’s Office have declined to comment on whether she should have recused herself.

“Judges should be mindful of whether or not their impartiality might appear to be questioned, or whether there is the appearance of impropriety,” Eddie Ohlbaum, a professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law. He added: “It’s part of the foundation of our system, whether you’re sitting on the magistrate level or you’re sitting on the Supreme Court. You have to be above and beyond reproach.”

Read more: Laws governing conflicts weak.

Penn State, Second Mile ties far-reaching

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Caption: Bruce Heim, right, of State College, putts as Ryan McCombie, left, of State College, and Brian Gelzheiser, a member of the 1994 Penn State football team, watch during theSecond Mile Golf Tournament on Friday, June 24, 2011. CDT/Christopher Weddle 

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2011

BY ED MAHON

Every summer, coaches and athletes with Penn State ties returned to State College and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for The Second Mile.

Lenny Moore, a pro football Hall of Famer, served as honorary chairman of the nonprofit’s celebrity golf tournament one year. So did Kyle Brady, who helped lead Penn State to an undefeated season in 1994, a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl victory.

The Suhey brothers — who the university has called members of “the first family of Penn State football” — also made regular appearances on the Blue and White golf courses.

“There’s no doubt that The Second Mile golf tournament was the social event of the season,” said Jerry Fisher, a former board member of The Second Mile and Penn State sports radio host. “It was a three-day event that everybody wanted to be a part of.”

Both The Second Mile and Penn State have been embroiled in a national scandal the past two weeks, since former Penn State coach and The Second Mile founder Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing eight children over 15 years.

From the moment that Sandusky founded the charity in 1977, it was inextricably intertwined with Penn State football, a connection that fueled its growth into a nonprofit with about $9.5 million in assets and that served thousands of children across the state.

“Since it grew out of Centre County, many people who were Penn State alumni were exposed to it,” said state Sen. Jake Corman, a Penn State graduate who joined The Second Mile board in 2010. “And the mission of helping children is a mission that a lot of people want to be involved with.”

Read more: Penn State, Second Mile ties far-reaching.

After scandal, PSU plays on

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Caption: A child in the stands holds a sign supporting Joe Paterno. Penn State lost to Nebraska 14-17 November 12, 2011. Nabil K. Mark

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2011

BY CURTIS TATE, MIKE DAWSON AND ED MAHON

UNIVERSITY PARK — A clear, sunny afternoon brightened the somber mood Saturday at Beaver Stadium, as Penn State played Nebraska in the last home game of the season — and the first in 46 years without Joe Paterno as head football coach.

While mixed feelings prevailed about the circumstances that led to Paterno’s absence, one sentiment was universal: Justice for the alleged victims of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is more important than the university’s football program or its reputation.

“Penn State is about more than football, Joe Paterno and this scandal,” said Cliff Plank, who graduated from the university’s architecture program in 2010.

While hardly any of Beaver Stadium’s 107,000 seats sat empty, the week-old scandal that resulted in the dismissal of Paterno and President Graham Spanier hung over the game. Penn State students wore blue shirts to call attention to child sexual abuse.

Sandusky been has charged with sexually abusing at least eight boys over a 15-year period, and a grand jury presentment shows that many people had direct or indirect knowledge of it but failed to report it, including Paterno, university officials and others.

Tailgater Chris Cherinka, of Dunmore, said the focus shouldn’t be on Paterno.

“We’re worried more about Paterno than who the real criminal is,” he said.

Several victims’ rights advocacy groups rallied at Beaver Stadium before and during the game. A few students, including Adam Lloyd, sold blue bracelets for $1, with proceeds going toward the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

“We just want to support the victims,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s why we’re here. Everything else is trivial compared to what happened to them.”
Read more: After scandal, PSU plays on.

Man’s protest of PSU game draws mixed reactions

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2011

BY ED MAHON

UNIVERSITY PARK — John Matko put black tape over his cap’s Penn State logo.

He carried two hand-written signs that, at different points Saturday, prompted mockery, anger and sympathy from some of the thousands of fans who walked by him.

“The kids are what this day is about … not who wins or loses, or who lost their jobs and how!” Matko wrote on one of the signs. “Honor the abused kids by canceling the game and season now!”

Matko, 34, graduated from Penn State in 2000 and now lives in Pittsburgh where he does physical therapy work at a chiropractor’s office. He left his Pittsburgh home at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

By noon, Matko said one fan spilled beer on him and some others had knocked down his signs. One tried to debate Matko and called him an idiot when Matko walked away.

But some had compliments.

“Very nice,” one woman said after reading the sign for a minute. Another gave him a high five, and another shook his hand, saying he was an educator and appreciated the message.

Read more: Man’s protest of PSU game draws mixed reactions.

Second Mile, PSU had land deal in 2002

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Caption: There is no construction Monday, November 14, 2011 at the site of the new Second Mile learning center in Patton Township. Nabil K. Mark 

PUBLISHED IN THE CENTRE DAILY TIMES

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2011

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BY ED MAHON

STATE COLLEGE — Penn State sold about 40.7 acres of undeveloped land to The Second Mile for $168,500 in April 2002.

The price is what Penn State says it paid for the land in August 1999 — and about $151,500 less than what a Pittsburgh man paid for it in 1990.

Penn State originally purchased the 40.7 acres of land as part of a much larger purchase.

“The property was acquired by the university to provide the opportunity for university use, but if the property was considered not of strategic importance to the university, other community uses were definite possibilities,” Daniel Sieminski, Penn State’s associate vice president for finance and business, said in an email Tuesday.

The land sale is another example of the close relationship between the two organizations, which are both embroiled in a child sex abuse scandal because of allegations against former Penn State assistant football coach and The Second Mile founder Jerry Sandusky.

Athletes and coaches with ties to Penn State were frequently the featured players at the annual Second Mile Celebrity Golf Classic. The event was the largest annual fundraiser for The Second Mile, and it raised $240,000 in 2009, according to IRS tax forms.

In the nonprofit’s 2009 annual report, the Penn State Altoona campus and the Penn State Professional Management Association donated between $2,000 and $4,999 to The Second Mile.

The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center donated between $1,000 and $1,999.

Several of the nonprofit’s major individual donors have ties to the university. For example, Lloyd Huck, a Penn State trustee emeritus, and his wife, Dorothy, are listed as members of the Arthur C. and Evelyn M. Sandusky Society, a designation for honored Second Mile donors.