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The Latest Edition of Voices of Central Pa

September 2009 issue of VOICES is out - the future of the West End.

Woman Yells Heil Hitler at Jewish Man at Las Vegas Town Hall

Israeli man is praising the national health care system that Israel provides all it's citizens, and is attacked for his trouble. The end of the video is especially revealing - waaah waaah, she tauts, when he is amazed that two hours in an american emergency room cost him $8000. Notice she's wearing an Israeli Defense Forces t-shirt?

Bill Cahir, '08 Dem candidate for congress, killed in Afghanistan

We are saddened to report that Bill Cahir, a local democrat who ran in the primary for the 5th district congressional seat last year, has been killed in Afghanistan. "Cahir, a Penn State graduate who joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 2003, died in the Helmand River valley, the friend said. He was 40. ... In January 2008, Cahir, a Bellefonte, Pa., native, left the Newhouse News Service, where he'd worked since 1999, to run for the 5th Congressional District's Democratic nomination. He lost the hotly contested primary to Mark McCracken, a Clearfield County commissioner." Ex-congressional candidate Cahir dies in Afghanistan Bill left this video, from his primary race, on youtube.

Local farmers trying to grow hops for breweries

Local Hops
Hops vines reach for the sky at Mike Byers’ Potters Mills farm, Demeter’s Garden. Photo by Andrew Beam

by Andy Gabriel

Imagine taking a seat at a local pub and enjoying a frosty beer brewed with hops grown right here in Centre County. Thanks to two area farmers, that dream may soon become a reality.

Mike Byers, of Potters Mills, and Scott Case, of Aaronsburg, began growing hops last year just to see if it could be done. Both farmers are expecting their first harvest in August, and plan to sell their hops to Elk Creek Café and Aleworks in Millheim.

Tim Yarrington, head brewer at the café, confirmed that the company is interested in buying hops from both Byers and Case. Hops provide bitterness, flavor and aroma to a beer and are essential to the brewing process.

The two farmers could be the first to grow hops commercially in the area.

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture membership director Michelle Gauger said there are no hops farms that belong to PASA and she is not aware of any that exist in Centre County.

Yarrington did not know of any local hops farms until Byers and Case began planting last year.

The two hops farms are the newest addition to a growing movement that emphasizes locally grown foods.

Elk Creek Café already supports the “buy local” trend in other ways. It boasts that most of the food it serves is raised or grown locally, and that its beers are brewed on-site.

Yarrington said there are many advantages to buying local ingredients, and hops would be no exception. He said having a relationship with farmers is an advantage, since it allows him to know exactly what he is buying – what goes into the hops and, more importantly, what stays out.

Both farmers said they are growing their hops organically.

State parks to stay open—at least for now

Whipples Dam
Whipple Dam had been one of the targeted parks in the initial information about park closures. Photo by Jill Gomez

by Jill Gomez 

The fate of Whipple Dam State Park was hanging in the balance in early June, and environmentalists across central Pennsylvania were up in arms about it.

Pennsylvania’s House Appropriations Committee was debating Senate Bill 850, sponsored by Senate Republicans in response to Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed budget and passed by the Senate on May 6.

If passed by the House as well, some 50 of Pennsylvania’s 117 parks would have faced the threat of a shutdown, nine of which rim the Mid State Trail in the state’s central region forests. Read more »

Free music from local band Atlas Soundtrack

 Atlas Soundtrack
From left to right: Kenny Heron, bass; Mani Cowan, rapper; Josh Parker, drums; Drew Jackson, rapper; Matt Savereno, guitar/singer; Kyle Dornich, percussion. Photo by Rupesh R. Kariyat

"The likely demise of Atlas’ Soundtrack is sad. The group began playing music for fun in a basement in the winter of 2007. The following year it won best-of-the-bands competitions and regularly performed at clubs downtown and at Penn State’s HUB. By 2009 the group had performed in New York and the Poconos and had produced recorded songs, Which are available at" Enjoy these soon to be collectors items mp3s, as promised in the Arts and Entertainment section of the latest issue of voices!

 Root Block  Freak On
 PBG This Man's Story

Read more »

The good old days of only 8.9% - just last week.

Graduation Gloom
Tom Baker 2009

The 2009 Central Pennsylvania Farm Tour

Centre County Farm Tour: Saturday, August 8th, 2009
Saturday, August 8th from 12:30 to 5:00pm
$10 per car, $3 per bike - pay at the first farm you visit.

The 2009 Central Pennsylvania Farm Tour Guide

Sponsored by PASA - The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. View the PASA Farm Tour page here. You can also get more details from the Centre County Farm Tour google maps page.

View Centre County Farm Tour: Saturday, August 8th, 2009 in a larger map
Get more info at Buy Local Pa:


Food safety regs: A risk to local farms?

Food safety regs: A risk to local farms?

The Downtown Farmer’s Market of State College features locally grown produce such as these apples from Patchwork Farms in Aaronsburg. Photo by Erica Wallace

by Jennifer Chesworth

This past spring, just as farmers in Pennsylvania were preparing their fields for the season, dark clouds that had been looming overhead for years broke into a media storm: Big Brother was going to make farming illegal.

The attack came in the form of a bipartisan U.S. Senate Bill HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Farmers, who are always concerned when new laws affecting agriculture come into play, furrowed their brows and kept on working in their fields, but the blogosphere—that indoor, blue-screened world that never sees a corn seed sprout—suddenly filled with a flurry of alarms and accusations.

HR 875 was taking Chicken Little out of the hen house altogether and letting the giant corporate fox take over. According to one blogger, “the food police [were] criminalizing organic farming and the backyard gardener.” Another wrote that it was “the death of farmers’ markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and local foods.” Read more »

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by Dr. Radut