The Latest Edition of Voices of Central Pa


Voices of Central Pennsylvania September 2015
In This Issue: September Public Meetings Calendar | Moral Hazard and Big 10 Climate Commitments | Superlatives overtake the airwaves | Yemen a hotspot in US-Iran power struggle | LAGuide to PetEuphoria | Jewelweed - A Gem in the Marsh | Poet of the Month ~ Julia Spicher Kasdorf | Musician Profile: Tyne Palazzi | Winter Outlook | Local Home-Scale Photovoltaic Solar | Finding Made-in-USA products | An Uncommon Fall Visitor | Advice to agripreneurs | PSU Should Apply Whole Systems-thinking | A Tale of Two Nittany Theatres | Ways Ferguson Township Can Protect Water

Doomcasting and the snowstorm that wasn’t

Graphic courtesy Jay Searles

Through the weekend before the snowstorm was scheduled to hit, The Weather Channel was still forecasting six inches of snow for a large portion of the state.


The Maker Movement comes to State College

Photo by MARGARET COOK// VOICES Staff Writer

John Stitzinger, founder of The Make Space, carefully removes a plastic creation from the RepRap 3D printer in the workspace.


The Maker Movement, a growing community of tech-inspired DIYers, has made its way to State College and found a home at The Make Space, one of the many hackerspaces popping up all over the US.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “hackerspace” as a place in which people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge.

People who gather at hackerspaces are known as hackers, but eschew the Webster’s definition of “who illegally gain access to and sometimes tamper with information in a computer system.” In his Make magazine blog article “Is it a Hackerspace, Makerspace, TechShop, or FabLab?” Gui Cavalcanti explains that the popular definition of hacker is transforming to mean someone “who makes existing objects do something unexpected.” Other labels for frequenters of hackerspaces include makers, DIYers and tinkerers, although subtle distinctions do exist among them. Read more »

History ablaze: saving Centre County's historic buildings from fires


The Centre Furnace Mansion in State College, Pa., is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building has been restored to its original condition and decorated in the style of its 19th-century times, and now serves as the headquarters for the Centre County Historical Society. It’s one of the buildings in Centre County that Alpha Fire Director Steve Bair believes may be at risk for a fire. Photo by Chelsea Labar Voices Community editor.


Visiting a historic building is like taking a step back in time. Unfortunately, the historic buildings in Centre County may have a bleak future if they continue to rely solely on the fire department, in the case of an unanticipated blaze, instead of installing sprinkler systems.


Owners, or towns that historic buildings reside in, don’t want to install sprinkler systems because of water damage and cost concerns. The problem is they’ll come to regret that decision when a fire does occur and the building is beyond repair.


“It does take a lot of money to make improvements and people don’t want to tell elected officials to spend more money.”

Erin Hammerstedt PreservationPA Read more »

CentrePeace offers some a second chance

Almost every driver who enters or leaves Bellefonte on the Benner Pike has seen the sign for CentrePeace. On fair weather days, its rambling structure is surrounded by sofas, chairs, and tables available for sale. Some folks are tempted to stop there and look for bargains. They are likely to notice that some of its workers wear orange suits—inmates from the Centre County Prison who are brought there by a staff member every morning and taken back to their cells every afternoon. 

Marijuana legalization in Centre County a long way off



The marijuana debate has galvanized the country and grabbed headlines in the last couple years, partially because of the large swing in public opinion and in state law.

  Read more »

Variable-rate electric bills shock customers in Central Pennsylvania

Variable Rate Electric Bills in Pennsylvania



Managing Editor


Pennsylvania customers hoping to catch a break on their electric bill were stunned to find variable-rate energy provider IDT Energy had tripled their prices without warning. Read more »

EDITORIAL: Grad students give more than they get

It's time to consider a different model.