NCAA Hands Down Penn State Sanctions

On Monday, July 23, 2012 NCAA President NCAA President Mark Emmert made the announcement that the Penn State football program will face a four year postseason ban. Additionally they must pay a $60 million fine to be used to create an endowment to support causes that fight child sexual abuse. The school will also be forced to cut 10 scholarships for this season and 20 scholarships for the following four years. Finally the school will be forced to vacate all wins from 1998-2011, a total of 112 victories, and serve five years of probation. The loss of victories means Joe Paterno is no longer college football’s winningest coach, moving Bobby Bowden into the top slot as the winningest coach.

Penn State President, Rodney Erickson released the following statement regarding the NCAA consent decree.

“The tragedy of child sexual abuse that occurred at our University altered the lives of innocent children. Today, as every day, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims of Mr. Sandusky and all other victims of child abuse.

Against this backdrop, Penn State accepts the penalties and corrective actions announced today by the NCAA. With today’s announcement and the action it requires of us, the University takes a significant step forward.
The NCAA ruling holds the University accountable for the failure of those in power to protect children and insists that all areas of the University community are held to the same high standards of honesty and integrity.
The NCAA also mandates that Penn State become a national leader to help victims of child sexual assault and to promote awareness across our nation. Specifically, the University will pay $12 million a year for the next five years into a special endowment created to fund programs for the detection, prevention and treatment of child abuse. This total of $60 million can never reduce the pain suffered by victims, but will help provide them hope and healing.

The NCAA penalty will also affect the football program. There is a four-year ban on all post-season games, including bowl games and the Big Ten Championship game, and a future reduction in the number of football scholarships that can be granted. We are grateful that the current student athletes are not prevented from participation because of the failures of leadership that occurred. Additionally the NCAA has vacated all wins of Penn State football from 1998-2011.

We also welcome the Athletics Integrity Agreement and the third-party monitor, who will be drilling into compliance and culture issues in intercollegiate athletics, in conjunction with the recommendations of the Freeh Report. Lastly a probationary period of five years will be imposed.

It is important to know we are entering a new chapter at Penn State and making necessary changes. We must create a culture in which people are not afraid to speak up, management is not compartmentalized, all are expected to demonstrate the highest ethical standards, and the operating philosophy is open, collegial, and collaborative.

Since receiving Judge Freeh’s preliminary recommendations in January, the University has instituted several reforms. Today we accept the terms of the consent decree imposed by the NCAA. As Penn State embarks upon change and progress, this announcement helps to further define our course. It is with this compass that we will strive for a better tomorrow.

Penn State will move forward with a renewed sense of commitment to excellence and integrity in all aspects of our University. We continue to recognize the important role that intercollegiate athletics provides for our student athletes and the wider University community as we strive to appropriately balance academic and athletic accomplishments. Penn State will continue to be a world-class educational institution of which our students, faculty, staff and alumni can be justifiably proud.”

Update: Statement by Coach Bill O’Brien

“Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as Head Coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence. I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.

I was then and I remain convinced that our student athletes are the best in the country. I could not be more proud to lead this team and these courageous and humble young men into the upcoming 2012 season. Together we are committed to building a better athletic program and university.”

[box type=”shadow”]Photo credit, Cole Camplese.[/box]

Opinion: In Defense of Parks

I’m writing in defense of Pennsylvania’s great park system. Our numerous state and local parks are incredibly valuable to Pennsylvanians. For example, the local Bloomsburg Town Park is known for its summer concert series, picnic areas, and recreational activities.

I’m writing to voice my disappointment with efforts underway in Harrisburg, proposed by Gov. Corbett, to dissolve funding for one of Pennsylvania’s great conservation programs, the Keystone Fund. It is one of the state’s most important programs when it comes to restoring and protecting parks and other critical outdoor areas all over Pennsylvania. For example, it has allowed for a great deal of recent development in nearby Bloomsburg Park, enhancing and supporting people’s enjoyment of this lovely area.

After decades of saving the places that make Pennsylvania great, it’s time for every-day Pennsylvanians to save the Keystone Fund. I hope that people who enjoy our great outdoors will call and write to our local politicians and make sure that they will do whatever is necessary to protect the Keystone Fund, before the final budget passes.

[box type=”shadow”]Kyra Reumann-Moore is a Penn Environment Intern. Penn Environment is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization with roughly 80,000 members and activist, including many in Columbia County.[/box]

Photo via Flickr.

The View from Here: Signs of Spring

We asked The Bloomsburg Daily’s photographer, Bob Rush to set out to capture evidence of Spring in Bloomsburg. He came back with some lovely images to share with us that proves the mild winter has certainly lead to a very early Spring. While it is still clear that the area has a ways to go to fully recover from the flood last Fall, the return of color to Bloomsburg is a much needed boost.

How many of the locations can you name in Bob’s photo essay? Any of these jump out as your favorites? I know I have mine!

Opinion: Are the Budget Cuts Affecting You?

In the wake of this week’s budget proposal from Governor Corbett, where it was proposed that the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) should take a 20% ($82.5 million) cut in funding; I found myself reading the Op/Ed entitled “Shuttle Bus Stressers: Long Lines Leave Students Stranded” in the Voice. Some of you may remember that last year Governor Corbett proposed a 54% cut to PASSHE and that several dedicated APSCUF faculty, including myself, were out on campus attempting to make students aware of the impact such a cut could have on their education. APSCUF asked students to write postcards to their PA representatives and senators to emphasize how a 54% cut would affect them. Over 1500 postcards were sent from Bloomsburg’s campus and over 11,000 from all the PASSHE Universities. The final budget saw PASSHE absorb an 18% (~92.5 million) cut which resulted directly in a 7.5% increase in tuition across the system.

In my opinion, the above mentioned article addresses another direct result of the 18% cut in PASSHE’s budget. The author, Joe Fisher states that “… more buses need to be added to routes that have shown to be extremely busy.” He also states that “Every Bloomsburg University student pays $35 for a Transportation Fee.” Let’s think about the issue for a moment. More buses ($$) means more drivers ($$) and more fuel ($$). If we have already lost nearly $92.5 million and we are positioned to lose another $82.5 million where will the money for more buses come from? That’s right, from the students.

As I’ve stood at table after table trying to encourage students to write a postcard to their PA representatives, senators, and governor, as recent as last week, many students walk by stating “it doesn’t affect me.” If you are student here at Bloomsburg it does affect you. Maybe you have to stand in a long line in the hopes of getting on a bus. Maybe you have to hope that you can get into a class that you need. Maybe, you hope to get a physical seat in a class you are enrolled in as one of my students said to me. “I need to leave lab as early as possible so that I can get to my (_____) class to get a seat. There are more students than seats, but it is assumed that not everyone will show up to every class so there should be enough seats for those that do show up.” I’m sure there are many other stories being told by students that can be directly related to the lack of funding for the PASSHE system. Come out over the next few weeks and help APSCUF tell Governor Corbett and the PA legislature that education is important and it should be funded.

If you are an employee at Bloomsburg University from President Soltz on down I’m sure you have felt the effects of the budget cuts. Maybe you had to wait several weeks to have your office painted, to have a simple electrical or carpentry repair completed; or you’re a staff member looking at a “to do” list that is becoming unmanageable. Maybe you’ve seen your classes get larger or your advisee list grow faster than your salary. Again, I’m sure there are many other stories being told by employees that can be directly related to the lack of funding for the PASSHE System. Come out over the next few weeks and help APSCUF tell Governor Corbett and the PA legislature that education is important and it should be funded.

While we appreciate that our local representative David Millard and Senator John Gordner supported Bloomsburg University in making sure the 54% proposed cut was reduced to 18%; we request all readers to encourage them to not sign another budget that cuts the Bloomsburg University budget.

[box type=”shadow”]Eric Hawrelak is an Associate Professor, Inorganic/Organometallic Chemistry at Bloomsburg University.[/box]

BTE Offers Student Specials

BTE is offering special matinees of Julius Caesar for area students.

Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble is proud to continue its tradition of offering special matinees for area students in this, its 34th season. BTE begins the new year with its fourteenth Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar. Three special school matinees are scheduled on January 25, 26, and 27 at 10:00 a.m.

Like the highly acclaimed Hamlet and Macbeth before it, Julius Caesar is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts Shakespeare In American Communities Grant. For an unprecedented third year, BTE has received this grant as part of the Shakespeare For A New Generation program.

What better Shakespeare play than Julius Caesar to initiate discussion among high school students about leadership, enfranchisement, freedom, tyranny, citizen outrage, and political opportunity. According to Syreeta CombsCannaday, BTE Communications Director,

Seventeen schools are experiencing Julius Caesar this year, either through the matinees at the AKT or on tour at their school, thanks to the Shakespeare in American Communities grant. Their experience includes one or two workshops conducted by our professional actors, a fully researched study guide (available online), and of course, the performance of Julius Caesar, featuring five members of the Ensemble! The students get really into it; they loved last year’s Macbeth. Maybe it’s the fast-paced cutting; maybe it’s seeing just how seriously the cast takes this show. Maybe it’s the post-performance talkback where they get to interact with the performers. Whatever it is, Page to Stage is succeeding in its goal to bring Shakespeare to life for local high school students.

BTE’s production, directed by Ensemble member James Goode, tells in a compelling way Shakespeare’s version of a war hero whose rise to power threatens a ruling class, the convergence of the threatened class’s diverse motives for his assassination, and the destructive fallout from their conspiracy.

Ticket price for these special student matinees is $9.00 per person for all audience members.

Julius Caesar is part of BTE’s Page To Stage Program which includes the full production of Julius Caesar and a “TalkBack” with the cast following the performance. A Study Guide, play script, and play synopsis are all available as downloads from BTE’s website: In addition to the performance, schools may book a Julius Caesar workshop in their school at no additional charge. Workshop descriptions are also available on the website.

All matinees are held at the Alvina Krause Theatre in downtown Bloomsburg. Matinees for Julius Caesar are filling fast; school representatives are urged to book soon. For more information about all of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s programs for students, contact Paula Henry, BTE’s School Programs Director at (570) 458-4075, email or visit

The View from Here: Tail Waggin’ Tutors

Last week, while The Bloomsburg Daily editorial staff was on winter break, Bob Rush set out to capture images of the Tail Waggin’ Tutors in action. The Tail Waggin’ Tutors program is offered through Therapy Dogs International (TDI). In this program, certified therapy dogs and their trainers were brought to Lisa Keller’s 6th grade at Bloomsburg Middle School so her students can read to them. It proved to be an excellent way to encourage students to read and to show them that reading can be fun. The dogs are non-judgmental so the kids can feel comfortable to build a relationship with the trainers who serve as tutors, snuggle up with the dogs, and practice reading all at the same time.

One of the students actually told Ms. Keller about the program based on her participation in it at the Catawissa Lutheran Church. To have them come to her class, all she had to do was email TDI, and the volunteers came out of the woodwork!

She is now offering the program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the rest of the school year. The tutors are available at different times each week, and some can only come in once or twice a month. All of Ms. Keller’s Title I students in 6-8 grades are participating in the program, as well as the entire 6th grade class. All students need to do is get a permission slip signed by their parents to participate in the program.

Park Place Associates

Park Place Associates has been a part of the Bloomsburg University housing community for over 30 years. They have owned and managed properties all over town, including the original Sesame Street Apartments (by the way, they built it!) and most of the houses on Lightstreet Road, 3rd Street, and everywhere in between. They maintain a large selection of housing for both students and professionals. If you are looking for the nicest, most affordable housing in Bloomsburg, then an apartment or house managed by Park Place Associates is the answer.

From the brand new College Place Apartments, to the townhouses at Park Place we can help you find the place that will suit your needs. Owned and managed by Kay and Donald Camplese, Park Place Associates should be your first choice when it comes to your housing needs and are inspected and approved annually by the Town of Bloomsburg. Park Place Associates has maintenance staff on call waiting to help you with any of your issues.

[box type=”shadow”]Visit Park Place Associates on the web at, via phone at 570-784-8031 or
570-956-7870, or by email at[/box]

The View from Here: Lee Homecoming

Last week we shared a story of homecoming for our lifelong friend, Shelly Lee’s Mother. Shelly’s Mother, Janet Lee, tried to get as much of her belongings up and out of the way of the approaching waters from Tropical Storm Lee in September. She moved as much of her things she could up a few feet off the floor not expecting anything like what actually happened. Shelly Lee shared this as an addition to The Bloomsburg Daily Flood Map project:

The house was purchased by my parents, Sheldon and Janet Lee in July 2006 after the previous flood. However, they desperately needed to get out of their large home in the historical district and into a home on one floor due to my Dad’s failing health. My mom not only wanted one floor, but newer construction and it had to be in town. She got it all. Plus, to be right by the school for her grandsons was an added bonus. My Dad did love it there for almost two years. Glad he wasn’t alive to witness this, absolutely devastating. We will assess the situation and hope to re-build and move on since you know, ‘once a townie, always a townie’

Unfortunately the early forecasts didn’t predict the historic nature of the flooding. Mrs. Lee’s home (which is all on one level) was inundated with four and a half feet of water destroying nearly everything in its path. The house was gutted to the studs and for months the clean-up and rebuilding ensued. After sharing her story of coming home with us last week, she invited The Bloomsburg Daily to be part of an open house dinner that saw over 40 people come and enjoy her freshly renovated house. The Bloomsburg Daily would like to welcome Janet Lee home and thank her for sharing her story with us!

[box type=”shadow”]Photos and details for this story come The Bloomsburg Daily’s own, William Todd Heiss.[/box]

Fracking the Earth and Pennsylvania

Perhaps the most alarming fact about hydraulic fracturing-fracking is that it’s still going on at all despite the enormity of the evidence against it.

Fracking is a Variety of Environmental Rape Abetted by the Law: Governor Corbett’s Pennsylvania, Inc.
By: Wendy Lynne Lee

Perhaps the most alarming fact about hydraulic fracturing, fracking, is that it’s still going on at all despite the enormity of the evidence against it. Chesapeake CEO Aubry McClendon must think there’s a special god just for frackers, one who not only turns a blind eye to the poisoning of life-essentials like water, but who rewards CEOs like himself with salaries that convince us there’s a special place in heaven for the masters of calculative reason without the burdens of conscience. As it must surely seem to McClendon, the prayers of corporate persons like Cabot, Chesapeake, Williams Production Appalachia, Range Resources, and Chief are being answered right here on earth, right now in the milk-and-honey land of coal and petroleum and natural gas.

And what hopeful prayers they are. What was a mistress hard-tamed by ordinary vertical drilling is, as the inimitable and perverse Frances Bacon might put it, made pliant by the horizontal fracturing of her ligaments and bones. What secreted geological and zoological history Mother Earth had refused to give up to dated technology, she can now be made to expel via the chemical abortafacients imploding inside her belly. What’s otherwise the gory expulsion of carcinogens and un-reclaimable lubricants, friction-reducers, surfactants, and biocides are magically transformed into the manna of the fracking god: money—money and all it can buy or bribe or terrorize into submission. The earth is fracked, and there is little wonder the industry would prefer to use another word; fraced sounds less like rape.

Disturbing images to be sure. But what makes such images apt is that they capture not merely the fracking process itself, but the unholy alliance being formed between the fracking industry and the state. A state that permits the irretrievable pillage of its waterways, the effective seizure of its citizens’ private properties, and the destruction of its roads, bridges, and communities for the sake of its profiteering partnership with an industry is corrupt. Even more disquieting is a state that crafts legislation forcing the forfeiture of the decision-making authority of its townships and municipalities to an agency of the government—the Attorney General’s Office. We might be tempted to call this fascist, but in Pennsylvania’s case the fascist is also the perverse: by trying to disguise such preemption in the corporate-propaganda of jobs, energy security, and free market capitalism, our current administration is rightly described not merely as fascist, but as a profiteering predator. Indeed, if the fracking god was going to reward a governor for terrorizing his citizens into believing that the state’s coffers were in such dire straights that only the deep pockets of the industry that financed his campaign could save them from economic ruin—and that a good patriot wouldn’t hesitate to open her heart (or lift her skirts) to the good folks at Cabot, Chesapeake, et. al., who were all for America, apple pie and freedom—it’s Tom Corbett, CEO of Pennsylvania, Inc.

And this brings us back to rape — and hype. For however much “friends of natural gas” like Corbett and his Big Energy Industry appointments (say, Alan C. Walker) dress themselves up as job-bearing, America-n-freedom-loving sheep, they are wolves whose actions prove beyond doubt that when bribery falters, force is sure to follow, or that when old-fashioned patriotic guilt-mongering doesn’t do the trick, a shiny-new law wrapped up in the flag will.

Enter House Bill (HB) 1950 and its twin Senate Bill (SB) 1100 (, These bills would establish an impact fee on producing gas wells. In exchange, municipalities forfeit zoning powers granted to them under the Pennsylvania Municipality Planning Code (MPC). Any local government that has an ordinance that is as permissive or more so than the state’s standardized zoning ordinance gets revenue from the impact fee; more producing wells, bigger fee (note that fracked but non-producing wells net precisely nothing other than whatever potential environmental damage they leave behind). Any local government whose ordinances are less permissive doesn’t see a dime even if its municipality is home to multiple wells, compressor stations, transmission lines, or processing plants ( The bill, in other words, effectively exempts the natural gas and oil industry from municipality-imposed zoning ordinances, and while we might hope that the state’s standardized zoning code would offer protection from at least the most egregious of industry abuses, “lax” doesn’t remotely describe Pennsylvania’s current oversight of the industry. In fact, we might rightly see HB 1950 and SB 1100 as a bribe to look the other way.

If you think all the action is going on at Dimock where the state has liberated Cabot from having to truck in water to replace what its well blowout contaminated forever, think again. Just for starters, from the December 10th, 2011 edition of the Philly Daily News:

A veteran welder, now an organizer for a national pipeline union, happened upon the line and tried to blow the whistle on what he considered substandard work. But there was no one to call. Pennsylvania’s regulators don’t handle those pipelines, and acknowledge they don’t even know where they are. And when he reported what he saw to a federal oversight agency, an inspector told him there was nothing he could do, either. Because the line was in a rural area, no safety rules applied.

Sound like a state invested in the public good? Hold on. A municipality’s date with the frackers only gets better. According to Protecting Our Waters, a water conservation group, these bills “would…strip local municipalities right to stop drilling in flood plains or to stop massive water withdraws from residential neighborhoods.” HB 1950/SB 1100 can, in effect, eradicate entire neighborhoods, and replace them with industrial zones by transferring to the state decisions about where gas wells can be located—including decisions about distance from essential community assets such as schools, churches, forests, wetlands, and waterways. Why should Range Resources have to go to all the trouble to sue South Fayette Township over an ordinance that requires a $5000.00 permit to frack a well and respect buffer zones around schools and hospitals when HB 1950/SB 1100 can simply preempt the township? According to Range Resources, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act already bars townships from this sort of intrusion on their frack-plans—but if that’s not a guarantee, the new law will clear it right up in favor of the corporation.

How about a little noise with your church? Maybe a little truck “fraffic” with your quiet-time? Or at your kid’s school crossing? “Local ordinances would not be allowed to restrict the hours of gas drilling operations at all. No restrictions on light, noise, or height could be imposed…no restrictions on the vehicular access of routes for the heavy trucks could be implemented.”

And just to add insult to injury, the state plans to permit the use of frack fluids as Winter de-icer; perhaps school buses can just follow the frack trucks. The upshot: if this legislation passes, municipalities in Pennsylvania will effectively exist at the pleasure of the natural gas corporations. Whether you’re a private property owner (thanks to forced pooling and public takings) or a municipality, the romantic notion that you have a say about fracking is nothing more than a pretext to get you to lease your land or sell out your fellow township board members voluntarily. Easier for the frackers that way. But no matter. Go ahead. Resist.

Imagine a dialogue between Ms. Municipality and Mr. Fracker:

Ms. Municipality: Mr. Fracker, I really appreciate your offering us an impact fee and all, but, well, if there’s a big fracking accident—like that blow-out from the faulty casings in Dimock—that money is going to get itself spent real quick. And besides that, my folks just aren’t real comfortable with the prospect of all those trucks on our two lane roads, compressor stations next the elementary school, rising cancer rates, the prospect of radioactive waste, and that flaring all night. I mean at first, it was kind of pretty—but honestly, the allure has worn off. So, thanks for the offer, but no thanks.

Mr. Fracker: Ms. Municipality, I understand your concerns, but frankly you’re just in my way. The law assures me I don’t have to give a fracking-fuck. I thought if I took you on this nice date with the impact fee flowers and all, you’d make it easy. But here you are calling it fracking. I prefer fracing. But whatever. Here’s your choice: You can survive or you can die. I can’t help it if the first choice feels like prostitution, and the second’s unthinkable. This is Pennsylvania, Inc., and there’s money to be made.

The only real difference between the fracking of a well and that of a municipality is that the latter comes dressed like sheep on a date, offering little niceties with pretty names like “impact fees.” But, fracking-god forbid, the municipality turns down a suitor from, say, Cabot. As the overwhelming evidence makes clear, “no” means nothing but “frack me, and frack me hard.” Indeed, should the municipality protest with antiquated notions of “rightness” and “wrongness,” should its citizens appeal to starry-eyed ideas like “health,” “community integrity,” or “property rights,” well, thanks to SB 1100 and HB 1950 (not to mention a long history of coal and oil friendly law), such moral simpletons can now be made every bit as compliant as the chunk of Marcellus Shale formation blowing its gas out along faulty transmission lines into their aquifers and streams (thanks to fractivist Dean Marshall for reminding me the value of plain references to “right” and “wrong”). Folks who refuse to sign leases “had in coming.” They “asked for it” by buying frackable land. They could have made some cash by allowing a little frack-action, a little drilling-down—you know they really wanted it—but the industry-wolves are getting tired of dating. Thank the fracking god the law’s come to the rescue.

The moral of my story: If you think the horror of fracking ends at the drill site, you just don’t know what environmental rape really is. And if you think that to deploy language reserved to the violence of sexual assault doesn’t describe what’s coming to our municipalities, our communities, our properties and homes, you’re not paying attention. A government beholden only to those whose aims are the manufacture of profits is one for whom the public good becomes naught but the cynical propaganda of the enterprises it calls bedfellow. Fracking becomes the patriot’s concession to national security. “Clean and Abundant” promises to make us safe and sound all the while it fracks us over. The name of this government is corporate fascism, and as it’s willing to deploy any weapon to consolidate its prerogative, it should come as no surprise that the consequences of fracking for the environment, for human and nonhuman animal health, and for the communities in which we live are of as little concern to it as they are to the frackers themselves. Such is the nature of calculative reason without conscience. For it rape is but a tool to the ends of profiteering.

[box type=”shadow”]Wendy Lynne Lee is a writer and a professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in philosophy of mind and language, feminist theory and environmental philosophy. She can be contacted at[/box]

Photo via flickr.

The View from Here: North Pole Express

North Pole Express“I see it!”, “Look Mom, there’s the train!” Everywhere there are small voices echoing with excitement and wonder. A reminder that even in the most challenging times, magic is still here if you take the time to see it. The North Pole Express train ride offered just that opportunity for yound and old. A time to forget about the stress of every day and of the difficult task of rebuilding lives for those who lost so much in this year’s flood.

“All aboard!” The conductor announced and it was time to sit back and enjoy the trip down the rails. As the train traveled towards Catawissa, a sad reminder of the devastation this area experienced a few months ago was visable. Ponding water, debris in the trees, and more all still there. So much left to do, but for this hour it was a time to feel the magic of the season and watch the faces of wonder on all the assembled children when the “Big Guy” himself arrived.

The North Pole Express is truly a wonderful ride, a wonderful collection of people, and a time to enjoy family and new friends. Most importantly however, a time to remember to hear those bells ring. From all of us at The Bloomsburg Daily, we hope you always hear the silver bell ring.

A special thanks to Bob Rush for not only enjoying the ride, but for taking the pictures and writing the story.