Big Spring Distillery Soft Opening Helps Prepare For Grander Version In Bellefonte

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The distillery movement is really starting to take off in Pennsylvania.  I keep running across these popping up around our great state.

Vana Dainty sat down with Kevin Lloyd to help him coordinate the final details of the grand opening for his Bellefonte distillery in two weeks.

Dainty, the borough’s Keystone Community development coordinator, said the Match Factory distillery, named Big Spring Spirits, will be good for the borough.

“Kevin has been a delight to work with, and this should really be a great part of Bellefonte that brings in new tourists and a part of the turning point for our economy,” Dainty said. “It’s different than anything else in Centre County.”

Lloyd said he has seen the value of a helping hand not only from Dainty, but from dozens of others as he opens his new business.

State College Borough Council OKs Neighborhood Plan

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

— Council unanimously voted Monday to approve the borough’s neighborhood plan, bringing almost two years of work and planning to a successful conclusion.

The plan was presented to the board by borough planner Meagan Tuttle. Tuttle had previously presented the plan to the board during the July 14 work session.

She explained that following board feedback, the planning staff looked into the borough’s role in realizing several of the goals presented. Some changes were made from the version presented on July 14 that moved the borough to a leadership position, and the council would see those changes on the final draft.

Red Alert For A Green Thumb: Volunteer Needed To Help Maintain State College Community Garden

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — The community garden on East College Avenue at University Drive has gone untouched this summer as the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy struggles to find a volunteer for its upkeep.

With only seven staff members and 132 gardens to monitor, the conservancy relies on volunteers to make the gardens possible.

“Our office is in Pittsburgh, and we have some gardens that are far away in Erie, North Huntingdon, Altoona, State College and even farther away in Harrisburg,” said Lynne McGuire-Olzack, the conservancy’s volunteer coordinator. “This is the first time we don’t have a volunteer in State College.”

Tax Increase Set For State College Area School District Residents

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — Taxpayers in the State College Area School District will see a 1.95 percent tax increase after the district school board adopted its final general fund budget Monday.

Board members unanimously approved, with no discussion, a real estate tax increase from 38.75 mills to 39.5056 mills, with each mill representing $3.95 per $100 of assessed value.

Under the budget of $126,791,664 for the fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2015, the median district homeowner will pay an additional $54, according to the district.

The district projects that the tax increase will add $1.56 million in revenue, while assessed value growth will provide another $1.2 million.

Feds Raid Asian Restaurants In State College For Undocumented Workers

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Local, state and federal law enforcement are raiding a number of Asian restaurants Thursday in State College, and at least 13 people have been detained in what one federal official says is an investigation of undocumented workers.

Investigators at one scene said the activity is part of a targeted federal investigation, but declined further comment.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security truck is at the State College police department and officials there referred questions to immigration and customs enforcement investigators.

State Attorney General’s office investigators are also reported to be involved.

Program Helps Centre County Residents Get Green Thumb

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — The area behind the Food Bank of State College on South Atherton Street looked more like a miniature farm Friday than a parking lot.

It was full of broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, lettuce, tomato, squash and herb plants for food bank clients to plant in their own gardens.

Members of Penn State Master Gardeners, Centre County Office of Adult Services and Nutrition Links teamed up with the food bank for the annual Home Grown Project.

For the past five years, the event has helped a few hundred local families better understand the food they consume, master gardener Norman Knaub said.

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Man Who Plunged From Building On South Allen Street Identified

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — Police have identified the 33-year-old man who plunged to his death Thursday afternoon from a seventh-floor balcony on South Allen Street.

Beau Rodgers Griffis died in the fall, State College police said in a brief statement Friday morning.

Police released no other new details in the statement, and said an investigation continues.

Griffis lived in a seventh-floor unit in the building at 310 S. Allen St.

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State College Residents Looking To Put Up New Statue Of Joe Paterno

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s approaching two years since Penn State, in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, took down the Joe Paterno statue and carted the likeness of the legendary football coach off into nearby Beaver Stadium.

The university has been tight-lipped since then about what became of the statue, and hasn’t said much more than that publicly about how it plans to treat Paterno’s legacy moving forward.

Tired of waiting, several State College residents say they are moving forward with plans to bring their own statue of the man to downtown State College.

“This is something we can do on our own schedule,” said Ted Sebastianelli, a candidate for the Penn State board of trustees and one of the locals behind an effort to create a new Paterno statue. “We don’t have to wait.”

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Thousands Share In American Indian Culture At Final Powwow

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — To his knowledge, John Sanchez is the only American Indian faculty member at Penn State and when his kids were in the elementary and high school system, they were the only American Indian students.

Though he loves his job, Sanchez uses the annual traditional American Indian powwow as a way to recharge his batteries and interact with other Indians.

After this year, he will have to have to find another way to do that.

The 11th annual event took place at Mount Nittany Middle School on Saturday and Sunday, but Sanchez, the event coordinator, said it will be the last. Moving closer to retirement, Sanchez said the event planning takes too much time on top of his job teaching media ethics in the College of Communications and his distinguished professorship with the Schreyer Honors College.

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Patton Township Woman Charged With Heroin Distribution

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Patton Township woman was arrested Friday on heroin distribution charges.

Tiffany Ingram, 33, of Fredericksburg Court, was charged by the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, according to a news release.

Ingram was charged along with Landare Hines, 37, after a search of his Harrisburg home, according to the news release. The bust was part of an ongoing investigation into the distribution of heroin in central Pennsylvania.

At the residence, agents seized 71 bags of heroin packaged for delivery and 11 grams of heroin not yet packaged for delivery, with a total street value of $12,420, according to the AG. They also seized approximately $1,600 in cash.

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State College Police: Criminal Activity Down Again On State Patty’s Day

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STATE COLLEGE, PA — Police activity on the Penn State student-created drinking holiday State Patty’s Day was down for the third consecutive year, State College police Lt. Bradley Smail said Sunday.

Police said late Sunday that initial numbers indicate total crime was down 47 percent and arrests decreased 61 percent. Smail said the activity was more in line with a typical football weekend than the normally damaging day of drinking.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of destructive behavior,” Smail said anecdotally, in comparison to previous years.

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Pennsylvania Heroin Ring Bust Nets 10

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police arrested 10 people for drug possession and distribution offenses, marking the second phase in the dismantling of a heroin ring operating in Centre and Lycoming counties, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Thursday.

Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged drug network was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges.

The grand jury found a New York heroin and cocaine source was living in Pleasant Gap and using residents to make drug deliveries in the State College and Williamsport areas, according to prosecutors. Investigators said agents used court-ordered wiretaps to determine area users and dealers were also getting heroin from contacts in Philadelphia and Williamsport.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/Alleged_heroin_ring_bust_nets_10.html#oA5Wd1EHG1HqFzOj.99

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It’s Official: Penn State Hires James Franklin As Football Coach

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new Penn State football coach is coming home, in a sense.

James Franklin, who grew up in the Philly suburbs, will be leading the Nittany Lions when they open their 2014 season in Ireland’s Croke Park.

A news release on Penn State’s athletics website indicates that Franklin, who has led a stunning building project at Vanderbilt, will be announced today as the Lions’ 16th head coach in program history. (Technically, he is the fifth since November of 2011 when counting interim leaders).

Franklin, who turns 42 next month, also is the first permanent African-American head football ever at Penn State.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/sports/20140111/its-official-penn-state-hires-james-franklin-as-football-coach

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Penn State Football: Assistant Coach Larry Johnson To Oversee Nittany Lions During Search For Bill O’Brien’s Replacement

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State assistant coach Larry Johnson has agreed to oversee the team as the university searches for Bill O’Brien’s successor, the Centre Daily Times has learned.

A Penn State source said Johnson, who coaches defensive linemen, will work with the players currently on the roster and will maintain contact with recruits, and said the university will move quickly to name the next Nittany Lions head coach.

Santa Express Brings A Little Christmas Magic To Bellefonte

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BELLEFONTE, PA — Dressed as Rudolph this weekend, Mike Hawbaker made his way through the train cars of the Santa Express.

During one of the 11 trips, Hawbaker approached a small child, who gave the costume-clad volunteer a small piece of paper. The child had hand drawn a little picture of the reindeer and wanted to give it to the red-nosed Christmas staple.

“That’s why we do this,” Hawbaker said, smiling as he looked at the drawing.

The annual event is a joint effort among the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority, the Nittany and Bald Eagle Railroad and the Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society, train owner Jeff Pontius said. He also organizes similar events in Williamsport, Bloomsburg and Sunbury.

State College Council To Vote Monday On Budget, Proposed Tax Hike

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The average State College homeowner, with a property value of $200,000, would pay $7 more per month….

State College Borough Council will decide Monday whether to go along with one member’s last-minute push to avoid a tax increase in 2014.

Council is expected to vote Monday on a proposed budget that carries a property tax increase of 1.5 mills. But Councilman Jim Rosenberger suggested last week that he would make a motion instead to put off the increase and dig deeper into reserve funds to balance the spending plan.

Rosenberger said he hadn’t seen enough at a series of budget discussions to be convinced that the borough needs to raises taxes in 2014.

Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said that the budget could be modified to include no tax increase and still be passed Monday. Council wouldn’t have to start the process over or hold additional meetings.

Penn State Reports 16-Percent Increase In Applications From Prospective Students

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Penn State is seeing a boom in the number of undergraduate applications for admission in the next academic year.

As of Monday, the university had received almost 46,000 applications from prospective baccalaureate students, a figure that is more than 7,500 ahead of the number of applications received at this time last year. The count is more in line with the number of applications received at this time in 2010 and 2011.

From this applicant pool, the university has made 11,000 offers.

Bellefonte Victorian Christmas A Holiday Wonderland

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Step into the holiday wonderland of the 32nd Annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas, but watch out for some of its characters.

They may be stepping around you.

Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Cratchet and the Fezziwigs will return to Bellefonte in all their festive sartorial splendor to stroll around and greet visitors during the Dec. 12-15 celebration.

They’re among the many attractions scheduled for the traditional holiday extravaganza organized by the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association. Carolers, arts and crafts vendors, concerts, horse-drawn carriage rides, gingerbread houses, visits with Santa and more await to put even the biggest Scrooge in a holiday mood.