February 25, 2022
 
Inside this week's edition: Pa.'s many claims to musical fame, things to do, why Schuylkill County shouts 'Hoodie Hoo,' and a taste of Puerto Rico.

If you like what you read today, forward this edition to a friend, or show us a little love and make a gift to keep the good times rolling.
Think you know Pennsylvania? Let's find out: Pennsylvania was the first state to put a web address on this state-made, must-have item. What is it? 

(We'll have a real stumper in this space each week. You'll find the answer at the bottom, but don't miss all the good stuff in between.) 
A Central Pennsylvania Music Awards show, the "Local Grammys," hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall of Fame. (Courtesy of the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall of Fame)
HALL OF FAME

Taylor Swift is not in the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall of Fame, at least not yet. 

That was my first question for Brandon Valentine, the nonprofit’s president and founder, and he answered it before I had a chance to ask. 

But I had more: What are the eligibility rules (A$AP Rocky once lived in Harrisburg; Junior Vasquez hails from Lancaster; Lil Peep was born in Allentown)? What about Polka King John “Stanky” Stankovic? Or Scranton’s Andy Bernard?

Ahead of next month’s inductions, Valentine patiently explained the process. We also discussed Pennsylvania's fuzzy regional boundaries, who’s in the class of 2022, and when Taylor Swift of Wyomissing will next appear on a ballot.

The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. 

PA LOCAL: I’ve been in and out of Pennsylvania my whole life and I still don’t know exactly what “central Pennsylvania” means. How does the Hall define it? 

VALENTINE: We do have actual borders. Largely it goes from the Maryland border to the New York border, as far east as say Reading or Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and as far west as Altoona. Basically everything outside of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Allentown, and Erie. 

We have the eligibility rules posted on the site, but the long and short of it is we consider acts that were either born in central Pennsylvania or accomplished a large portion of their musical success in this area.

PA LOCAL: How do nominations work? 

VALENTINE: We’re adding an official nominating form to our website soon, but we get emails all the time. They come in and get evaluated by our board and advisory committee to see if the act should be placed on the ballot and, ultimately, if they should be voted in.

PA LOCAL: Who’s getting inducted this year? 

VALENTINE: Les Brown (Reinerton), The Emperors (Harrisburg), LIVE (York), The Del McCoury Band (York), The Pixies Three (Hanover), Third Stream (Hershey). Find the full 2022 ballot here.

PA LOCAL: Admittedly, I didn’t realize so many musicians were connected to Pennsylvania and central Pennsylvania. 

VALENTINE: I think each of us on the board and advisory committee could say the same. 

We had 20 acts on our first ballot and we had 72 eligible candidates this year. Six will be inducted, and that leaves 66 eligible acts we will vote on next year. Taylor Swift is one of them.

Colin Deppen, Spotlight PA

"... as the inventors of scrapple they have conferred upon Philadelphia and the rest of the world a priceless boon."

— Dr. David Rittenhouse Bingham praising the Pennsylvania Dutch and their culinary creation in a 1905 essay for the New York Sun newspaper
» Friday, Feb. 25: Chop it up with world-class ice sculptors at the first Erie Winter Carnival in Perry Square. Admission is free.

» Friday, Feb. 25: Learn about the pre-pandemic history of humans wearing masks in a free panel at the Penn State Borland Project Space. 

» Saturday, Feb. 26: Prep for this year's Oscars by watching the short-film nominees at Pittsburgh's Row House Cinema. Tickets are $11 each.

» Saturday, Feb. 26: The Psychedelic Expo drops with music and makers at The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art. Tickets are $15.

» Sunday, Feb. 27: Get ready for Fat Tuesday by eating a fastnacht on a train ride from Reading to Jim Thorpe. Tickets are $39 from Reading.
Tell us about a Pennsylvania business that deserves a turn in the spotlight and we'll share your suggestion here.

Reader Mary G. shouts out the Frosty Hollow Bed and Breakfast in Coudersport, saying: "It was great! Especially the charcuterie board we ordered and breakfast. They have a neat gift shop, too!"
Winter at Petroleum Center Bridge in Oil Creek State Park, courtesy of  @johnmcculloughphotography. Send us your Pa. pics by email here, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

» One thing we learned this week: Each year the older adults of Schuylkill County try to banish Old Man Winter on "Hoodie Hoo Day."

» One thing that made us smile: A working 90s-era, Star Wars-themed Pepsi machine is drawing tourists in Pittsburgh, per the Post-Gazette.

» One thing we want to try: The Pennsylvania pawpaw, a member of the tropical fruit family that's somehow native to this very untropical state.

» One thing to know: Pennsylvania's large Ukrainian-American population is watching the Russian invasion closely. Here’s how to help.

» One place to visit: Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County has some of the darkest skies (and best stargazing) around, per Atlas Obscura.

» COVID-19 UPDATE: Keep up with our coronavirus tracker, or find where to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

» Pa. medical marijuana companies mislead with opioid claims

» How we investigated misleading claims on Pa. cannabis websites

» Major shakeup unlikely with Pa.'s newly chosen congressional map

» Election 2022: Tell Spotlight PA what coverage matters to you

» Watch a free virtual panel on the future of Pa.’s mail voting law

» You’re invited! A free virtual panel on Pa.’s redistricting legal cases
Besitos de coco in the works. (Elizabeth Robertson / Philadelphia Inquirer)
Done right, besitos de coco, or little coconut kisses, will come out of the oven caramelized and crisp on the outside, much like macaroons. 

Here's a recipe from The Inquirer's 2020 roundup of recipes from parts of Africa, the U.S., and the Caribbean shared by chefs and home cooks.

Note: Makes 16 to 20 cookies
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lime's worth of zest
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups of shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine flour, eggs, brown sugar, butter, salt, vanilla and lime until well combined. Add coconut flakes by hand until evenly distributed.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Let us know how yours turn out. Photographic evidence is welcome here.

In 1999, Pennsylvania boasted it was the first state in the nation to include an official web address on its license plates.

According to CNN, then-Gov. Tom Ridge called the move both symbolic and functional, illustrating the state's high-tech leadership.

Thanks for reading PA Local! We'll see you back here next week. But first ... send us your feedback. What did you like? What didn't you like? What do you want to see more of? Or, tell us your secret recipes!
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