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BC-PA--Exchange, Advisory, PA

January 15, 2019

Here are the stories for this week’s Pennsylvania Member Exchange package. If you have any questions, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133.

For use anytime:


Editorials from around Pennsylvania.

For Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019:


RANKIN _ The smell of barbecue, the chef’s hat on James “Cube” Weems’ head, the earnestness on his son Jaden’s face as he passes out samples of steaming meat — it all conspires to give a festive feel to Rankin Borough Council, where the mood is sometimes darkened by talk of the creep of coyotes into the overgrown lots of this old mill town. Weems, 45, and Jaden, 14, have come with meat, and with a plan: They’ll pour the father’s entrepreneurial experience and the family’s energy into the long-disused concession stand down by the borough’s weedy baseball field. It could become Cube’s Chop House, Mr. Weems says, passing out a black business card featuring the pitch: “Delivering exactly what your CHOPS want.” Rankin is starving for business, for revenue, for a reason to believe that, after 30 years as a pocket of poverty, there will be something here for the kids who make up nearly a third of its population. Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


ALLENTOWN _ In 2014, Larry Bartram, a software company founder and archaeologist, was at C.F. Martin & Co. in Nazareth to have a guitar repaired. While waiting, he strolled into the factory museum. Tucked among the many displays, Bartram found a nondescript little ukulele covered with autographs. Bartram found it stunning that recognizable among the signatures was that of one of his college teachers, the late Laurence Gould, a professor of glacial geology who inspired him. When Bartram returned to collect his guitar a couple months later, he met with Martin archivist Dick Boak, who explained the ukulele belonged to Richard Konter, an integral part of the team of famed explorer Adm. Richard Byrd when he became the first to reach by air both the North Pole in 1926 and, later, the South Pole. John J. Moser, The (Allentown) Morning Call.


YORK _ On a recent Monday afternoon, Joie Henney walked into the Glatfelter Community Center at the Village, an assisted-living development north of York, with his emotional support animal on a leash. He walked by an elderly woman reading, who glanced up from her book, took a look at Joie’s emotional support animal, shrugged and went back to her book. Which seemed kind of unusual. Joie’s emotional support animal is a four-and-a-half foot alligator. Residents and staff gathered in a semi-circle, an air of curiosity mixed with the terror of seeing a huge reptile, its sharp teeth visible inside its powerful jaws, and kept their distance. Joie said it was all right. Wally – that’s the gator’s name – wouldn’t hurt them. He’s a pretty mellow reptile, and he likes people in the companionship way, not the potential food way. Mike Argento, York Daily Record.


PHILADELPHIA _ Constraints, they say, breed creativity. At the least, they explain the advent of the prison ravioli sandwich — a pile of homemade, ricotta-filled pasta, doused in red gravy and wedged unceremoniously between two slices of bread. “You were allowed to take in one sandwich per visitor,” explained Marcie Marra, 53, who would lovingly tote such concoctions to the prison where her brother, Richie, was then incarcerated. It was just one chapter in the evolution of prisoners’ access to one of the most basic and universal human impulses: to break bread with loved ones. But vending machine sandwiches have been offline at most Pennsylvania prisons after a crackdown that also includes the diversion of postal mail to a Florida processor for scan and digitally forwarding and the delivery of books to a central processing facility. Samantha Melamed, The Philadelphia Inquirer.


VENANGO — In September 2016, Mark and Tracey Olenick were raising a family of four children near Lancaster. Mark Olenick, an electrical engineer and project manager, made pickled vegetables on the side. Now the whole family lives above Venango General Store, a restaurant they own in Crawford County’s Venango Borough where everyone pitches in running the business, serving hand-cut New York strip steaks and craft beer by night, omelets and Belgian waffles by day. Between the family’s savings and local incentives, Mark Olenick, 53, said they’ve put about $500,000 into the business. “I guess you could say this is my midlife crisis,” he said. He really had a passion for cooking and pickling. He wanted a place to do more of both, as well as a place that his investment could help a struggling community. Jennie Geisler, Erie Times-News.