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BC-PA--Exchange, Advisory, PA

March 12, 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, March 16, 2019:


WILLOW GROVE _ The distraught voice on the phone didn’t sound like her grandson. But the man who called 80-year-old Elfriede Flavin claiming to be her grandson’s attorney explained why: Her grandson had broken his nose in a car accident that also landed him in a Tennessee jail. He needed $10,000 for bail, but the exchange had to be secret because of a “court-ordered gag order.” The money would be returned once the case was settled, Flavin and her husband were assured. They wired the money, but then another complication surfaced: The person injured in the crash was a pregnant woman who lost her baby as a result, they were told. Bail was upped to $50,000. After sending $80,544 to different addresses to free their grandson, the Flavins finally called family. “Their grandson was exactly where he was supposed to be ... studying at his college in Buffalo,” said Erika Flavin, who testified in January before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on behalf of her parents, who lost their savings in the scam. Marion Callahan, Bucks County Courier Times.


BEAVER FALLS _ The fragile, yellowed, woodblock manuscript is in relatively good condition, remarkable considering its age and the location where it was found: in a dark, dank storage closet in the Beaver Falls Historical Museum. It’s garnered worldwide attention, especially in the Chinese community, as it’s considered to be a masterpiece of Chinese literature — on par with Shakespeare in the West. “The Story of the Stone/A Dream of Red Mansions,” written by Cao Xueqin in the mid-18th century during the Qing dynasty, still is required reading for all Chinese. How the manuscript on rice paper, estimated to be at least 175, possibly 200, years old, came to Beaver Falls is fascinating history. But equally so is the story of its discovery in the historical museum. Marsha Keefer, Beaver County Times.


PHILADELPHIA _ On the edge of a vast national forest, in one of Pennsylvania’s most rural counties, Joe Carlton was browsing for laughs on a Friday night. The smell of buttered popcorn and candy lingered in the aisles while he scanned through movie titles. Carlton, 35, picked up Spaceballs, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Step Brothers, and the cult classic Office Space, then walked to the counter of Family Video on Pennsylvania Avenue and rented the DVDs, something many Americans haven’t done in nearly a decade. “There is something about physically touching the movies, about flipping it over and reading the back,” Carlton said. When the digital age, specifically Netflix, came for the brick-and-mortar movie rental business, the decline was rapid. That’s why the Family Video of Warren County in northwest Pennsylvania feels so nostalgic, at least for someone who lives east of Altoona. For the western third of the state, however, from the New York border south to West Virginia, picking out new releases in Family Video just feels like a Friday night. By Jason Nark, The Philadelphia Inquirer.


ALLENTOWN _ Can you donate your kidney? Scott Bedics, who has kidney failure, asks everyone this question: his family, his friends, the people at his church, his nurse, his doctor, the reporter writing this story. But word of mouth won’t reach everyone, so he uses Facebook to expand his reach. It’s a path many are taking, as social media becomes ubiquitous and the wait for a deceased organ donor remains stubbornly long. People who don’t find a kidney match in a relative or friend typically wait three to five years for a donation from a deceased person because the demand is so high, according to the National Kidney Foundation. And many die waiting. For a tiny fraction of people, social media campaigns have yielded results, giving hope to those desperate for a chance at survival. Binghui Huang, The (Allentown) Morning Call.\\


CHESWICK _ Nick Bartoszewicz routinely finds himself working around the clock as a part-time police officer. On a recent Wednesday, Bartoszewicz, 26, started an eight-hour shift with the West Deer Police Department at 8 a.m. After going home for dinner and a few hours of sleep, he was back on the clock by 11 p.m. for another eight-hour shift, this one with the Indiana Township Police Department. He was scheduled to go back on the clock again late Thursday. “It’s tough, definitely tough,” Bartoszewicz said of the routine. “But I enjoy it.” Bartoszewicz’s grind isn’t uncommon for many part-time police officers in western Pennsylvania, who work for multiple departments to make ends meet. Departments across the region are increasingly relying on part-time officers as tightening budgets limit how many full-timers can be hired. Emily Balser, Tribune-Review.

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