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, March 16, and thereafter:
MEMBER EXCHANGE-KEYSTONE EXTRA
LANCASTER — When the Village Vista Manor nursing home was closed by the state in 2010, Susan Minnich of Manor Township had to scramble. Her mother lived in the nursing home, and Minnich knew how tough it would be to find Mom another bed. "I had worked for the (state Public) Welfare Department for many years," Minnich said. "I knew the bureaucracy involved of getting in a nursing home, of finding an available bed." And so when she identified another home with a single empty bed, she pursued the nursing home administrator relentlessly, calling, cajoling — and snagged the bed for her mom. In Lancaster County, where the population of elderly residents has soared, the number of nursing home beds has fallen. By Gil Smart, (Lancaster) Sunday News. About 1,775 words.
ALTOONA — Lisa Hagerich, who is blind, does not let her visual impairment slow her down. The active 46-year-old hiker from Mineral Point, who also runs, has gone skydiving, white-water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, and broke her own horse at age 16. The physical therapist assistant's goal is to run a full marathon some day and her latest endeavor has her taking to the slopes at Blue Knob All Seasons Resort. Hagerich, who likes to promote an active lifestyle "and to experience life," is helping develop an adaptive program for the visually impaired at the resort. By Amanda Gabeletto, The (Altoona) Mirror. About 965 words.
PHILADELPHIA — For the last five months, six middle-age, out-of-work parents have been cramming their brains with information about medical billing, patient privacy, hardware, software and customer service. If all goes according to plan, they will graduate in May with four industry certifications and a job offer from one of the many Montgomery County companies in need of their newfound skills — NextGen, Teva Pharmaceuticals, SunGard, Unisys, etc. "If I could just get my foot in the door, I feel like I could show off my talents and work my way up," said Stuart Novey, 48, of Ambler. Novey and his classmates spend 25 hours a week at Montgomery County Community College's Pottstown campus as part of a $2 billion U.S. Labor Department effort to get the nation's displaced workers back on their feet. By Jessica Parks, The Philadelphia Inquirer. About 890 words.
PITTSBURGH — While their parents likely remember the days of protecting lunch money from school bullies, today's students have little reason to carry cash to school, they say. The prevalence of Personal Identification Number, or PIN, systems and online ordering has taken a burden off staff who handle transactions for everything from lunch purchases to yearbook orders. "Rarely do kids need cash, if ever," said Michael Sable, principal of West Mifflin Area Middle School. As is true at many western Pennsylvania schools, students in the district don't need cash to get through the lunch line. Students simply punch their PIN into a keypad, and the cost of the meal is subtracted from an account their parents can monitor and replenish online. By Rachel Weaver, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. About 520 words.
CONNEAUT LAKE — Conneaut Lake Park is showing its age. Sidewalks and pavement along the midway of the 121-year-old park have been lifted and cracked by tree roots, and there's a foot-long hole at the foundation of the gift shop. A building at one end of the midway has crumbled; only its facade still stands. Behind the midway is an assortment of construction debris visible from park walkways and rides. The condition of the park, opened as Exposition Park in 1892, is at the center of a debate about who should restore it. By Valerie Myers, Erie Times-News. About 1,025 words.