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DuBois-Sandy consolidation exposes flaws in PA

Plus: Liver transplants halted at Penn State Health as national oversight body reviews the program

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

May 2, 2024
Inside this edition: Clearfield County municipal consolidation exposes flaws in Pa., Penn State halts liver transplants as national oversight body reviews its program, and plan released for historic public defense money. Happy May 🌼
Illustration of a piece of land fitting into another like a puzzle with various icons around it.
Dan Nott / For Spotlight PA
Real quick: The ongoing consolidation between DuBois and Sandy Township is only the second one in Pennsylvania after lawmakers standardized the process. It has shown the limits of state law, Spotlight PA’s Min Xian reports.

A little more: In a little under two years, the place Cheryl Shenkle has called home for most of her adult life, Sandy Township, will cease to exist.

The rural community of almost 12,000 people in Clearfield County, an 80-minute drive northwest of State College, surrounds the City of DuBois. And on Jan. 5, 2026, the municipalities will consolidate into a new city, still called DuBois.

Shenkle feels uneasy about that future.

A lack of concrete plans from local officials fuels her anxiety, and she’s not alone, she said. Low- and fixed-income families in what she calls the more “country” part of Sandy Township are afraid that changes in taxes, utilities, or land use could put them in a bad financial position after the consolidation.

That’s not the goal of the union, of course. Municipal consolidations and mergers offer a way to increase government efficiency, reduce costs, and grow economies. For some communities, combining resources is necessary for survival. For others, it’s an opportunity to prosper.

A Spotlight PA analysis of mergers and consolidations in Pennsylvania since 1994 found that successful unions tend to have the backing of voters and government officials from the communities involved ahead of the final decision. These elements were lacking in the DuBois-Sandy Township consolidation process.

Plus, the creation of the new city — a rare occurrence in Pennsylvania — is also plagued by an extraordinary hurdle.

The full story: Read more here.
Mark your calendar for May 8-9! Spotlight PA’s State College bureau is participating in Centre Gives for the second year! Centre Gives is Centre County’s 36-hour online giving event, hosted by Centre Foundation.

We were blown away by your generosity last year, and we hope you will consider supporting our vital journalism again this year.

Help us get a head start on fundraising by posting a selfie or photo on your Facebook or Instagram and tell Centre Foundation why you support Spotlight PA! Use the hashtags #CentreGives and #IGiveWhereILive, and we’ll be entered to win the randomly selected $1,000 #IGiveWhereILive prize!

Learn how else you can spread the word by emailing Michelle Mertz at michelle@spotlightpa.org.
» Records obtained by Spotlight PA and WESA reveal how Pa. counties used tens of millions in opioid settlement dollars

» Penn State Health halts liver transplants as national oversight body reviews program

» State advisory committee releases plan for historic public defense money

» Snyder County’s new election director survived Pa.’s 2024 primary. The big test comes in November.

» In low-turnout Pa. primary, location and luck may have mattered more than policy
Cold weather and rain didn’t dampen the spirits of attendees at the Lewisburg Arts Festival, via Connie H.

Have a north-central Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
Our brand new ‘Now Brewing the Truth’ coffee/latte mugs are here! Matte black with white inside, perfect for every day use or as a gift! Proceeds from the Spotlight PA store benefit our nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. 

Please allow 1-2 weeks for shipping. Have an idea for a product you'd like to see? Send us a note at membership@spotlightpa.org

» CDT: State Police defend violent arrest
» WTAJ: Concerns about police chief unheard after meeting in Ridgway
» Mirror: Blair County fires HR chief without explanation

» WPSU: Penn State hosts Q&A ahead of $54M budget cut for campuses
» SC: Woman wins $20.5M in lawsuit against State College area business
» Daily Item: DCNR to begin spraying forests against spongy moth
» Spirit: Name suggestions wanted for Punxsutawney Phil’s babies
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» May 2: The Community Arts Center in Williamsport, Lycoming County, presents Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon.

» May 3-4: Dancing, music, a parade, children’s activities, and more highlight the 56th annual Potter Tioga Maple Festival Weekend in Coudersport.

» May 4: Ready your garden for spring at the Central Pennsylvania Native Plant Festival at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in Centre County.

» May 4: The Tyrone Improvement Group hosts its first Food Truck & Vendor Festival of the season in Blair County.

» May 4: Bring your used fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books to the book exchange at Kane Mercantile in McKean County.
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: Gardener

Congrats to J. D., who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag! Others who answered correctly: Leann T., Leslie B., Don H., and Rick W.
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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