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Meet our new rural affairs reporter

Plus: Don't miss our free virtual panel on how Penn State handles misconduct

This is Talk of the Town, a free weekly newsletter delivering top news from State College and the surrounding region.

August 31, 2023
⭐ Support local investigative journalism! If each Talk of the Town subscriber gives just $15/month, we will meet our fundraising goal for Spotlight PA’s State College regional bureau this year! Contribute now.
Inside this edition: Meet our new rural affairs reporter, a free event on how Penn State handles misconduct, and a former Penn State ethics officer intends to sue the university.

I’m Marley Parish, the new rural affairs reporter for Spotlight PA’s State College regional bureau.

I’m excited to call Centre County home again after spending two years in Harrisburg.

I grew up in rural western Pennsylvania and fell in love with journalism at Allegheny College. The student-run paper there taught me every step of the process: pitching story ideas, reporting, editing, designing, and delivering copies to newsracks.

After graduating, my career kicked off at the Centre Daily Times. As a community reporter, I wrote about local government and K-12 schools, covering everything from a local girl’s efforts to reverse a township’s ordinance that barred chicken-keeping to the Bellefonte Area School District reevaluating its nickname and logo. I also monitored elected officials’ decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, writing stories about how and why the Centre County Board of Commissioners could meet privately to discuss reopening the county without public input.

Most recently, I worked for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star in Harrisburg, where I wrote about state government, politics, education, health, and elections. I received statewide recognition for my coverage of the 2020 post-election review conducted by state Senate Republicans and my reporting on an unauthorized review in Fulton County. I also examined what more restrictive reproductive health policies could mean for Pennsylvanians after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

I love that journalism takes me to different communities. If I weren't a reporter, my knowledge of Pennsylvania would probably be limited to where I've lived. But through attending public hearings, filing open records requests to a range of state agencies, and talking to people across the commonwealth, I've developed a nifty map of Pennsylvania and its people. And that intimacy informs all my work. No matter the assignment, I always want to report the truth, elevate underrepresented voices, and maintain a solutions-based approach.

It’s essential to be present in the communities I’m covering, so I hope you’ll reach out to talk about what kinds of stories you want to see. I’m eager to dive deep into stories about agriculture, the environment, and community development, and monitor how government spending and state-level policies impact north-central Pennsylvania.

Outside of journalism, my favorite role is being an aunt. When I’m not working on a story, you can find me shopping small at a boutique or drinking at a local coffee shop.

Let’s chat. You can reach me at mparish@spotlightpa.org.

—Marley Parish

“I haven’t become cynical and jaded. If that does end up happening … I will try to do something else, where I can be positive, where I can be uplifting. And try to help people. But I’m not there yet.”

—State Rep. Justin Fleming (D., Dauphin) said of his first term in office
» MISSED CONDUCT: Join us TONIGHT from 6-7 p.m. on Zoom for a free panel discussion on Penn State’s post-Sandusky misconduct policies, transparency in higher education, and how universities can keep students and employees safe. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

» Scandals, power struggles and policy: 3 new state reps weather a wild 1st session 

» Gov. Shapiro refuses to intervene on Pa. police officer data disclosure

» Obstacles abound as Pa. plans for surge of federal broadband funding
A timber rattlesnake photographed by Joel DeSerio.

Want to be featured here? Send your best local pics to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org.
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» WJAC: Former PSU ethics officer planning to sue university
» Lock Haven Express: Bucktail CEO warns of financial struggles

» CDT: Bellefonte has suspended its Climate Action Plan
» Courier Express: Motion to fire DuBois city manager fails
» CDT: Centre County’s first LGBTQ+ center set to open soon
» WPSU: Child predator hunter group in central Pa. faces legal pushback
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Sept. 2: The Blair County Antique Auto Club’s cruise-in rolls into downtown Altoona.

» Sept. 2: The Flickerwood Fall Festival in Kane features music, axe throwing, and more.

» Sept. 3: The Penns Valley Conservation Association hosts its 20th annual Crickfest watershed celebration.

» Sept. 3: The Canyon Pilots Association hosts an all-you-can-eat fly-in breakfast in Wellsboro.

» Sept. 3-4: Shooting events, a sporting flea market, and more highlight the Ox Roast Festival in Altoona.
An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, “spotlight” also forms “stoplight.”

Decode the anagram and send your answer to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org. We’ll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.

Good luck!

Last week’s answer: Slipper

There were no new winners this week. Send this newsletter to your friends so they get a shot at receiving Spotlight PA State College swag! Those who answered correctly: Elizabeth B., Susan N., Leslie B., Don H., Jeffrey F., and Tish M.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
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