FBI and NYPD investigators hammered away at the foundation of 127B Prince Street in hopes of closing the 33-year-old case of the missing EtanPatz, one of the first children to be featured in a ‘missing child’ ad on the side of a milk carton.
Mid-afternoon in downtown New York, onlookers watched from their Prince Street apartments as investigators tore at a building on their streets.
Patz went missing on May 25, 1979 at the age of six on his way to the school bus stop. His case was recently reopened for the first time since 2000 in lieu of new evidence, according to an article in the New York Times.
In the preceding weeks, investigators had taken cadaver dogs to the basement of the building, which once housed the Leslie/Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. The building is only one block from the bus stop where Patz had gone missing, according to the article.
The investigation was quite the spectacle in its location in New York’s famous SOHO district. The area, famous for its art scene in the ‘60s and ‘70s, was overwhelmed with the scene of the building’s removal.
Ralph Ristenbatt, senior research assistant and instructor in forensic science at Penn State, commented on the forensics of the case as investigators searched for blood and Patz’ remains in the drywall.
“If they find it in the concrete, drywalls, or other similar places, it obviously puts a wrench in the situation,” he said. “I’m not quite sure what they’re dealing with up there. The child’s body is there; hopefully they’ll be able to find it.”
Missing children reports are not uncommon. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 797,500 children went missing in one year. Only 115 cases involved “stereotypical kidnapping,” according to the DOJ. Stereotypical kidnappings involve someone who does not know the child and takes him or her.
There are currently 61 cases similar to that of Etan Patz.
What began in ancient Rome, Valentine’s Day is now celebrated as the “lover’s” holiday. With chocolates, teddy bears, even stars are renamed in an effort to say howdy-do and “I love you.”
Over 1 billion Valentine Cards are sent each year according to the History Channel.
“I’ll send to cards to my mom and grandmother, to my aunt and boyfriend,” said Emily Sabo, sophomore (Spanish-education). Sabo sat on a bench in the HUB-Robeson Center with her legs across her boyfriend Brad Bauer (senior-microbiology).
She said she also plans to spend time with Bauer.
The couple plans to keep Valentine’s Day casual, she said. We’ll probably stay in and celebrate with a home-cooked meal.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal, I’ll post-like three Facebook updates about it,” Bauer said.
They both agree that it’s best to be on the same page, because it makes for a better Valentine’s Day. Sabo said that she did mark her calendar with little hearts.
Bauer said he also values the holiday.
“I feel it’s like a mini-Thanksgiving, a chance to appreciate your loved ones,” Bauer said.
Many businesses and restaurants are busy preparing for the holiday.
Rotelli, 250 E. Calder Way, has introduced new dinner specials and is accepting reservations for Valentine’s Day.
David Krauth, Rotelli owner, said some new entrees are lobster ravioli and penne prosciutto.
Krauth said for more casual couples, the restaurant, will have caramelized onion and sausage pizza to compliment the 10 selections of wine. The restaurant will still be open for patrons of all ages.
But Valentine’s Day has its long-standing tradition of a candlelight dinner. McDonald’s, 442 E. College Ave., caters to younger couples on a budget.
The whole place will be dimmed and all tables will have tablecloths, roses on the tables, and hourly prizes given through a raffle, manager Kirsty LaRizzio, 21, , said. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“It’s a place to go that’s cheap. Last year the grand prize was free McDonald’s for a year,” LaRizzio said.
Woodrings Floral Garden, 145 S. Allen St., offers itself as a “one-stop Valentine’s Day shop.”
“Lots of thing are available including stuffed animals, chocolate,” Mike Albright, manager, said. “We have pre-made bouquets, carnations, tulips but they’re not as popular as roses.”
The long-standing tradition of goofy, pun-related buttons on Penn State football game days courtesy of Citizens Bank, may be a thing of the past.
Most notably the “Much Ado About Nuttin’” Ohio State University button and the “Brie ‘em to their Knees”
University of Wisconsin button were pulled from circulation before the games in order to avoid “double meanings,” following the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
“After each year, we evaluate the success of the button program and see whether we’ll do it again,” said Pam Wigley, a public relations official from Citizens Bank.
But a special bowl-game button was printed for the Penn State-Houston Ticket City bowl game. The button has simple, blue letters and reads “Go Nittany Lions!” The white background features two helmets crashing together.
The future of the buttons next season is uncertain.
The buttons are more than jabs at Penn State’s opponents; they have become collectors’ items after nearly 40 years of existence. First printed in 1972, the slogan buttons became an annual tradition as Penn State football gained popularity under the leadership of then-coach Joe Paterno. The buttons have been printed annually ever since, according to a press release issued by Citizens Bank.
Every spring, Lions fans can submit and vote on the best slogans for each opponent Penn State faces the following fall. “Undue Purdue” was printed for the game against Purdue University, and “The Tides Out” for the game against the University of Alabama. The buttons are printed and distributed to the 13 Citizens Bank branches in the State College area, according to the press release.
Wigley said every year, a notice is sent out and people are able to submit ideas for slogans. The company then chooses the most “clever” of the suggestions.
Historically, the buttons have been associated with the football program but have been printed for other winter sports as well.
Toward the top of the list was a familiar name: Penn State alumnus Kenneth C. Frazier, the CEO of Merck & Co., major pharmaceutical company. Frazier's also the man who will head the Penn State Board of Trustees special investigative committee looking into "the circumstances that gave rise to the grand jury report" connected to child sex abuse charges against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and perjury and failure to report abuse charges against former Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, now on administrative leave.
Frazier’s job history is, to say the least, extensive. According to his Forbes business profile, he was the President of Merck before he was the CEO; before he was President, he served as the Executive Vice President and President of Global Human Health at the company. All the while, he held positions on the Board of Directors for Exxon Mobil, Cornerstone Christian Academy in Philadelphia, and Penn State. He also served as a member of the Council of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association. Whew.
According to the list, Frazier made the cut because he successfully continued massive spending on pharmaceutical research while other companies made significant cuts and "vowed to protect his company's labs from the deep cutbacks that rivals like Pfizer Inc. were embracing."
Pertinent is this fact, included in the Wall Street Journal’s list: while at Merck, Frazier also successfully defended the company against a wave of lawsuits after one of its drugs was linked to heart attacks. Penn State is facing several civil suits connected to the charges against Sandusky.
The "art of the foot and fist" is fighting its way to first place with the Tae Kwon Do club at Penn State.
According to last weekend's event results form for the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference MIT Tournament, the Penn State Tae Kwon Do club won the Division III title with 156 sparring points.
In one match, the team even beat 2010 National Collegiate Taekwondo Association Champion and 2011 ECTC Host, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, though they are Division I.
This was also the first time the team has scored any team points in an ECTC tournament.
The Tae Kwon Do club's men's A1 blackbelt team alone won 128 points with a record of 13-2 -- the largest win percentage for a Big Ten school in the history of the tournament's A division, Club Competition Chair Colin Cameron said.
In most divisions, there are three people to a sparring team and each person competes individually against the same weight class from the other team. Whichever team wins two matches moves on with the win, Cameron (sophomore-security and risk analysis) said.
Tae Kwon Do Club President Mike Sybert went 5-0, with three technical knockouts in his individual matches.
Cameron explained that technical knockouts mean that the opponent decided not to continue the match.
"You could see on [Sybert's] face he knew he was going to win and his opponent knew," Cameron said.
Marcos Duarte, a freshman also on the A1 blackbelt team, won a bronze medal in 2008 in the bantamweight division at the Amateur Athletic Union National Championship and went to AAU National team trials. He now competes for Penn State in the featherweight division.
"The whole thing was just really intense," Duarte (freshman-aerospace engineering) said, "It's always about the next match."
The team now ranks between fourth and sixth overall in the Eastern league and is in the top ten nationally, according to the ECTC. The definite ranks are difficult to determine because there are three divisions, Cameron said.
With 27 club members participating, the team competed against 23 colleges from the ECTC.
Next weekend, the team will compete in another ECTC tournament, this time at Cornell University.
From about 10 members in 2009, Sybert (senior-biology) said, the club now has about 80 members. Last year, the team competed in eight tournaments and this year, they hope to compete in as many as 12, including the U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships.
General membership is open, Sybert said, but there are tryouts to determine team seating. No one is cut from competing and the club purposely goes to smaller tournaments for beginners.
"It's basically a great way to build self-discipline and mental discipline," he said.
The club is also planning two more self-defense seminars with University Park Undergraduate Association over the course of the year with the next one planned for the second weekend in November.
After months of work and collaboration, a group of students have pulled together a Penn State chapter of the organization UNICEF and will be hosting events throughout the week.
UNICEF Chapter President Joanna Reissman said the group has been working toward officially having a branch at Penn State since the start of the summer and as of October, more than 70 members have joined.
The group meets in 205 Ferguson on Mondays at 7 p.m.
The kick-off week for the group is titled "Week Zero" in honor of one of United Nations Children's Fund's goals: to bring the number of children dying from preventable causes each day to zero.
On Monday, the group focused on spreading information about the Horn of Africa drought and about the start of the UNICEF club. Members sold water bottles and passed out pamphlets, raising more than $100 in one afternoon.
From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. today, the organization will host a tape walk where the word "UNICEF" will be spelled out in blue duct tape on poster boards.
Those passing by the Allen Street Gates are encouraged to give loose change to stick along the surface.
On Wednesday, participants will walk from Redifer Commons to the HUB, starting at 12:15 p.m., with buckets of water on their heads.
Anyone with a bucket and a towel is welcome to join.
The event scheduled for Thursday has been postponed to November, but an official date has not been chosen.
The week will close with Friday's all-day fast, in honor of the struggles in the Horn of Africa. UNICEF members will wear tags, denoting that they are involved in the fast.
Reissman (senior-elementary education) urged the importance of getting involved this week, even with something as simple as dropping a coin on tape.
"The Horn of Africa, the drought there, is the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world right now and the ones suffering the most are the children," she said.
Have you ever stopped to think about how essential food and water are for life? Jon Crisafi has.
Crisafi (graduate-transportation engineering) is the president of Engineering Students for International Outreach, a group dedicated to providing food, water and shelter to many underprivileged regions of the world in various ways.
Their approach is broken down three-fold, beginning with the Sustainable Structures Initiative. This focuses on two specific projects: funding, designing and implementing a schoolhouse in Cambodia and a Solar Water Wall in Morocco.
The schoolhouse was the first project when Brian Cantalupi, Class of 2007, founded the group as a class project during his senior year. His original goal was to design a sustainable schoolhouse and raise $15,000 to pay for it. He quickly discovered that it was against university policy to allow fundraising outside of student organizations.
"I was thrilled with [Cantalupi], thinking that an organization like this was necessary," said group advisor Rick Schuhman, the Walter L. Robb director of Engineering Leadership Development.
They are still working out the logistics of funding the school because it is difficult to commission a project without enough contacts on-location, Crisafi said.
Prototypes are currently underway for the Solar Water Wall, which is meant to be a wall constructed entirely out of used water bottles, refilled with water to collect sunlight and give off heat at night.
The second tier of the program is the Water Resources Engineering Initiative. It is centered around work with "passive chlorinators" and "rain water harvesters," Crisafi said. Passive chlorinators are small-scale water purifiers that will be produced for about $20 each to provide underdeveloped areas with a plausible way to have clean water.
Rain water harvesters, on the other hand, are intended to increase water quantity in Mexico City and the club is hoping to travel there this summer to help install some of them.
The final tier is the Food Security Engineering Initiative. The main focus with this is to increase the production of the cash crop Baobab in the Republic of Togo, Mozambique and hopefully Ghana by building a machine that harvests them quickly and easily, Crisafi said.
They are also a pilot distributor for Integrated People, an organization dedicated to reducing pollution in Pakistan by collecting plastic bags and making them into new things, such as roofs, tarps, ropes and even bracelets. While the other products are intended for use in Pakistan, the bracelets are sent here and sold by ESIO to raise money for other projects.
The bracelets are sold on Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. in front of The Corner Room.
For students who want to be involved, the group welcomes members from any major and always needs extra help in communicating with donors or selling the bracelets. They are also currently searching for someone to manage their web site.
Above all, Crisafi said, "There is no reason, with everything that we have in the world, that there should be anyone without food, water and a house."
Tie-dye cupcakes and determined young Americans are changing the scope of girls' education in the developing world, and Penn State is about to become part of it.
In November 2009, Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt embarked on a journey to launch She's the First, a non-profit that sponsors girls in underprivileged countries to go to school.
The name of the organization comes from the idea that the young girls being aided by the program may be the first in their families to go to school, much like Tibbetts was the first in her family to graduate from college.
According to research compiled by She's the First, "of the 130 million uneducated youth, 70 percent of those out of school are girls"; "one in seven [girls] are wed before age 15 in the developing world"; and "the leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is pregnancy."
With this in mind, and Nicholas Kristof's book, "Half the Sky," in hand, they set out to change an issue that was now close to their hearts.
"I was inspired to start She's the First by my passion for education, especially in the developing world, where the majority of girls don't have the opportunity to graduate from high school, and my belief that my generation could be contributing to the cause by raising our voices, acting creatively and using social media," said Tibbetts.
Now, She's the First has sponsor schools in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, with host branches in New York and Los Angeles, as well as 12 college branches, soon to include Penn State. To get involved, individuals can donate money through the site, visit sponsor schools, or plan a fundraiser.
According to the website, the most popular, and now "iconic," She's the First fundraiser is the tie-dye cupcake sale. It was started by Lindsay Brown, a student at Notre Dame, but this year it will be the company's national fundraising event from Nov. 1 through the 8, officially titled the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off.
Tibbetts said this is an easy and successful fundraiser.
"Who's going to resist a cupcake? And you can tell them what it's for when they ask you why your cupcakes are tie-dye," she said.
Finally Tibbetts added, "She's the First is a wonderful platform for any college student, male or female...to really celebrate what they're the first to do" and "to pay it forward while...[giving] a girl the opportunity to go to school that otherwise, without our help, she might not have had."
The Penn State branch is hoping to be confirmed as an official club at the university by next week, said branch founder Jaclyn McKay (junior-graphic design). The group is planning to take part in the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off and a date will be released when the event is confirmed. The group is also planning to partner up on the event with Her Campus Penn State, said the publication's president Kelsey Lester (senior-journalism).
For more information on getting involved in the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off, please visit: http://www.shesthefirst.org/cupcakes/
You spend all day in your College of Communications classes, all afternoon at College of Communications organizations and every night hanging out with your friends, all of whom are in the same college.
You love your comm friends, but you’re looking to meet a single engineering student. Or perhaps a soulful art student. Need some help expanding your circle of possible dates?
DateMySchool.com thinks they’ve found the solution: a free, online dating site exclusively for college students. You can filter schools or departments in a specific geographic region to see others students’ profiles, Director of Public Relations Melanie Wallner said. And if you don’t want your friends at Penn State to know you’re looking for love online, you can hide your profile from all of Penn State, Wallner said.
Columbia University MBA classmates, Balazs Alexa and Jean Meyer, founded DateMySchool, last fall. The website launched at Penn State last week.
Wallner said it’s better than Facebook because it expands your circle of friends and more pertinent to 20-somethings than an average dating website.
“DateMySchool is all these people you don’t know, but you can trust because you’re on campus with them or a campus nearby,” she said.
After reading article after article, after seeing headline after headline, I’ve realized that an entirely objective media is not always the best form of media.
Media bias is simply not always an issue because sometimes there is a right and wrong. It is not the media’s job to only tell you facts — it is the job of reporters to take a stand, and to find out what is really going on during the political games.
Economist and columnist Paul Krugman recently attacked mainstream journalists for their “cult of balance”. Krugman said, “Writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior”.
The American public needs to be told hard facts, numbers, and statistics. But there comes a point in time where a “fair” and “balanced” media ignores the bigger picture and the real problem.
According to Jeff Cohen of truth-out.org, mainstream reporters are missing the point in trying to become too centrist. Cohen compares the two political parties like teams on a football field. Today the U.S. media is about positioning itself “equidistant between the two opposing [political] teams.” He says that when reporters are down on the “field” they don’t want to irritate either side “or you might hurt yourself.”
But reporting isn’t about standing on the sidelines. The reporter shouldn’t even be on the field or in the game. The reporter should be looking down from the skybox with an elevated and well-informed view.
In Krugman’s article “The Centrist Cop-Out” he says, “ I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.’ ”
Krugman’s takeaway is this: “Wisdom doesn’t necessarily reside in the middle of the road, and I want leaders who do the right thing, not the centrist thing.”