Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

How we've made an impact in north-central PA

Plus: Abuse and neglect investigations woefully slow, missed budget deadline, and ADHD patients struggle with ongoing med shortage

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

July 4, 2024
Inside this edition: Abuse and neglect investigations of aging Pennsylvanians are woefully slow, Pa. missed its budget deadline, and celebrating two years since the State College bureau launch ⭐
Two years ago, Spotlight PA launched its first regional bureau — based in State College and covering north-central Pennsylvania — to revitalize investigative and public-service journalism in the region. In the time since, our local team of professional journalists has produced unmatched coverage, and become a model for a second bureau, planned for Berks County.

Here’s just some of what we have accomplished together in the past year:

» Investigative Reporter Wyatt Massey published a yearlong investigation in July 2023 — in collaboration with the Centre Daily Times — into Penn State’s efforts to prevent misconduct and harassment that found deep-rooted flaws in the system largely created following the Jerry Sandusky scandal. 
  • IMPACT: Penn State redesigned its internal misconduct website to encourage more reporting of potential wrongdoing. The university pledged greater transparency for its internal oversight offices. In November, it published an accountability report and a website disclosing data on student and employee demographics, educational outcomes, and endowment spending. In March, Penn State released misconduct reporting data for the first time in six years.
» In November 2023, Local Accountability Reporter Min Xian, with Investigative Reporter Angela Couloumbis, reported how the manager of DuBois landed at the center of one of the most sweeping political corruption cases in Pennsylvania in recent years. » In December, Spotlight PA sued Penn State’s Board of Trustees for alleged violations of the open meetings law. The case is ongoing in county court.
  • IMPACT: Massey’s reporting on the Penn State trustees has prompted editorials from multiple Pennsylvania news outlets, calling for increased transparency. 
» In early June, a four-month investigation by Rural Affairs Reporter Marley Parish revealed that Ferguson Township residents served by Rock Spring Water Company, which is private, have endured years of persistent outages and boil water advisories. The investigation found customers served by Rock Spring have been failed not only by the company but also state regulators and elected officials.
  • IMPACT: Since the story was published, one Rock Spring customer reported the company has started sending more consistent written communications about boil water advisories and outages.
» Just weeks ago, Massey and Investigative Reporter Charlotte Keith reported that a top surgeon at Penn State Health had warned at least two top officials of problems in the liver and kidney transplant programs. Then he was let go.
  • IMPACT: The story offered patients an important look at what occurred before the transplant units were shuttered and was widely read and shared on social media. In a newsletter, a Penn State University trustee, referencing the story, wrote: “The problems exposed by concerned doctors, faculty, and medical staff appear to be caused by systemic senior administrative failures that have put patient lives at risk. … This situation must be immediately and publicly addressed by the Board and every effort made to ensure it is corrected.”
Upcoming events:
  • Parish is moderating a live, virtual panel discussion on Thursday, July 18 from 6-7 p.m. ET about Pennsylvania’s private water industry, how it is regulated, and how communities are affected when service is subpar. RSVP for free here.
  • Xian plans to host a live, virtual conversation in late August about the struggles facing local governments. Keep an eye out for details.
  • We’re hosting our second annual Clink & Think Quiz Bash Fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Axemann Brewery in Bellefonte. Test your Pennsylvania knowledge with a quiz hosted by Penn State play-by-play announcer Steve Jones. Learn more or buy tickets here.
We’re honored to serve our communities by providing fact-based, independent investigative and public-service journalism. We’re looking forward to continuing that mission in the year ahead. If you want to support our efforts, you can make a gift in support of Spotlight PA’s coverage and until 11:59 p.m. Saturday, it will be DOUBLED as part of our Independence Day Member Drive.
Spotlight PA's special light-roast coffee, Headline Brews. Order yours today.
Spotlight PA’s special light roast coffee, “Headline Brews,” is available for pre-order.

Start your day with Spotlight PA and help brew a brighter, more informed Pennsylvania. Pairs perfectly with the exclusive Spotlight PA mug + all proceeds benefit our journalism.

Shop the store now »

» Abuse and neglect investigations of aging Pennsylvanians are woefully slow. The results can be devastating.

» ADHD patients in Pa. struggle to find medication and maintain normalcy amid ongoing shortage

» Pa. missed its budget deadline. What’s next?

» Which version of Medicare is best: traditional coverage or Medicare Advantage?

» More funding could be coming to a Pa. affordable housing program

» School vouchers may make it into Pennsylvania’s budget. What would they really do?

» ROCKY WATERS: Join us Thursday, July 18 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a live panel on Pennsylvania’s private water industry, how it is regulated, and how communities are affected when service is subpar. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
A float in the Union County Veterans’ 4th of July parade in Lewisburg, via Michelle Mertz, of Spotlight PA

Have a north-central Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
» WPSU: PSU, Teamsters reach deal on new contract
» CDT: ‘Relief’ coming with expanded property tax, rent rebates program
» SC: Centre County man sues Geisinger over data breach
» Sun-Gazette: Williamsport airport receives $1.14M in federal funds
» WPSU: Penn State pay raises on hold until Pa. passes budget
» NCPA: New PA Wilds conservation shops open
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» July 4: Community activities, live music, a car show, and a fireworks celebration highlight Central PA 4th Fest in Centre County.

» July 4: Celebrate Independence Day at DelGrosso’s Park & Laguna Splash in Blair County at its Summer Thunder event.

» July 5: The walkways of downtown Lewisburg become an “open-air gallery for the annual Sidewalk Chalk Festival in Union County.

» July 10: Browse the works of budding artists at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts’ Children and Youth Day in Centre County.

» July 10-20: Originating in 1870, the Lycoming County Fair continues to honor its agricultural tradition.
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: Dawn

Congrats to Carol S., who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag. Others who answered correctly: Thomas S., Don H., Susan N., Kevin M., Bill L., Rick W., Michael T., Lillian G., Amy Z., and M. E.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
Love north-central Pennsylvania? Subscribe to Talk of the Town!

Have a friend who would like our work? Share our newsletter!

Our State College bureau depends on your support.

Help us power investigative journalism in our communities that gets results by becoming a member now.

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

Copyright © Spotlight PA. All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You’re receiving this email because you’ve subscribed to updates from our State College regional bureau covering North-Central PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select “Opt out of Fundraising.”

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.