Here are the stories for this week's Pennsylvania Member Exchange package. If you have stories to submit, please email them to Matt Moore at mmoore(at)ap.org. If you have any questions, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133.
For use anytime:
Editorials from around Pennsylvania.
For Saturday, Feb. 2, and thereafter:
MEMBER EXCHANGE-KEYSTONE EXTRA
PITTSBURGH — Jonah Fite can still remember the day the "switch got flipped" in his brain. It was 1998, and he was a 20-year-old sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University. He had spent three straight days staying up and partying, taking several doses of LSD. He walked out of his fraternity house, got on a city bus and told the driver he didn't need to pay because he was "on a mission" and needed to "see the man." It marked the beginning of his journey into schizophrenia. Jonah, now a 35-year-old South Side resident who takes a cocktail of medications, doesn't expect to ever find his way back through that portal. Jonah is one of an estimated 3.1 million people in the United States believed to have schizophrenia — roughly 1 percent of the population. By Mark Roth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 3,316 words.
PORTAGE — Randy Moyer hasn't been able to work in 14 months. He's seen more than 40 doctors, has 10 prescriptions to his name and no less than eight inhalers stationed around his apartment. Moyer said he began transporting brine, the wastewater from gas wells that have been hydraulically fractured, for a small hauling company in August 2011. In November, he was too ill to work. He suffered from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, and a fiery red rash that covered about 50 percent of his body. Today, he has a box brimming with doctors' bills but still no diagnosis. Moyer believes he's sick from the chemicals in fracking fluid and the ensuing wastewater -- and from radiation exposure. And he may be right. By Rachel Morgan, Beaver County Times. 1,546 words.
PHILADELPHIA — It happened so fast. In February 2011, Joan Brown seemed to be in perfect health. In March, she began feeling tired and listless. In April, an ultrasound of her abdomen found a tumor on an ovary. In May, she had surgery to remove both ovaries as well as her uterus. On Aug. 1, 2011, she died, at age 58, another victim of the "silent disease," so called because its symptoms are so varied and subtle. Her husband, Dave, was devastated. He and Joan had planned to go hiking in northwestern Pennsylvania before she fell ill. Brown decided to walk those same paths, partly to relieve his grief, partly in memory of Joan. Now, Brown, 61, has another walk in mind, a very long walk, again in honor of his late wife. By Art Carney, The Philadelphia Inquirer. 916 words.
YORK — A sign hangs on a former feed store along the Northern Central Railway tracks in New Freedom, announcing the home of "Steam Into History." Renovations have been under way in the building at 2 W. Main St. as the nonprofit gears up to start a train excursion in June that will take travelers back in time to the Civil War era. The opening is scheduled to be in time for the 150th anniversary of the Confederate invasion of York in late June and the Battle of Gettysburg in early July. That was one of the goals of the late William H. Simpson, said Robert Gotwols, chief operating officer for Steam Into History Inc. By By Teresa Ann Boeckel, York Daily Record. 560 words.
EASTON — The springtime death of Lafayette College freshman Everett Glenn could lead the college to make major reforms in policies dealing with underground fraternities. Glenn, 19, died in his dorm room after drinking alcohol supplied to him by people who, in the words of Easton police Lt. Matt Gerould, "were formerly of on-campus fraternities that were not on campus anymore." According to a Dec. 5 memo to Lafayette College faculty, several "underground selective membership organizations" exist in violation of campus policies, and the members of an unrecognized organization were involved in Glenn's May 5 birthday death during All-College Day celebrations. By Zach Lindsey, The (Easton) Express-Times. 1,133 words.