Posts filed under ‘State College’

A Night of Basketball in Happy Valley

Photo via Mark Selders

Photo via Mark Selders

For Penn State basketball, Wednesday night was all about the kids.

No, it wasn’t about the Nittany Lions’ highly-regarded recruiting class. Rather, it was about the children who participated in Growing the Game, the youth outdoor basketball league that formed because of a partnership between Penn State basketball and Centre Region Parks and Recreation.

The entire team made its way to Circleville Park on Wednesday for the boys championship games and wanted to get a message across to those in attendance.

“We’re here,” junior guard Shep Garner said. “We like coming out and supporting the community and let the little kids know that we’re fans, too. It’s not that they’re just our fans, we’re their fans, too. We want to come out and support as much as we can.”

Wednesday night resonated on a personal level with head coach Pat Chambers. He played basketball in environments like this when he was younger – outdoor courts on hot summer days – so this made him feel nostalgic.

“This is the way I learned how to play, in the parks,” Chambers said. “It taught me how to be tough, it taught me how to grow up like a man.”

Of course, there was some talk of the 2016-17 Nittany Lions. There is a ton of hype around the program, partly because of the returning talent it possesses (Garner was 14th in the Big Ten in scoring last year and ended the season on fire, while sophomore guard Josh Reaves established himself as one of the league’s peskiest defenders), and partly because of the guys who will suit up in the blue and white for the first time this fall.

There are the freshmen – Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, Joe Hampton, and Nazeer Bostick. The foursome makes up the best recruiting class in school history and the fourth-best class in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports. While they haven’t been on campus for long, Garner praised them for “meshing” and “buying in.”

Photo via Mark Selders

Photo via Mark Selders

There’s also a pair of players who were with the program last year but didn’t get the chance to play. Mike Watkins, a center out of Philadelphia, took an academic redshirt, while redshirt junior point guard Terrence Samuel sat out after transferring from UConn.

Neither guy has played a competitive basketball game since 2014, which is something that Chambers notices in the way they’ve played this summer.

“They just cannot wait to get on the floor and put that Penn State uniform on,” Chambers said. “Terrence worked really hard, Mike worked really hard, and they wanna see where their hard work is gonna take them and take this team.”

But on Wednesday, the future of Penn State hoops took a backseat to being a part of the community. Chambers mentioned that programs like this show that there is “a hunger for good basketball” in Happy Valley, while Garner was just excited to be around people playing the game.

“Any time you see a whole bunch of kids playing basketball,” Garner said, “I want to be a part of it.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 25, 2016 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

Golden Anniversary


The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts rolls into town this week. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the annual summer celebration of people, music, food, and, of course, art.

Our July/August 2016 issue featured a retrospective on the commemorative posters that have come to symbolize the spirit of the festival and the man who has been designing them continuously since 1974: Lanny Sommese, professor emeritus of graphic design in the College of Arts and Architecture. This year’s poster, pictured above, is only the third time in his 42 years of working with the festival that Sommese chose a horizontal design, and for the first time, it will be made available in black and white so people can color their own poster and post it to social media.

“Oh my god! Everybody loves it,” Sommese said when we caught up with him this week. “It’s what the people like and that’s important. I think I made the right choice in doing it.”

As for how long he thinks he’ll continue designing the poster, the 73-year-old Sommese doesn’t have an answer for that. “I certainly plan on doing it this coming year,” he says. “People ask me that all the time and I say I have no idea. It’ll be when I’m too old, I can’t do it, or I run out of ideas, which I never do.”

How long would he like to keep doing it? “As long as I can. I love doing it.”

The 2016 Arts Festival runs July 14-17. For more on Sommese and his posters, see our July/August 2016 issue.

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

July 14, 2016 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

Happy Valley Goes Broadway

bowman wiggins

It’s not every day that you get to see Broadway performers do their thing outside of New York City. Fortunately for those of us in Happy Valley, we’re going to get that chance on Jan. 18, when the State Theatre hosts “We Are…On Broadway!”

Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture is putting on the event. It will feature four Nittany Lion alumni who perform all over the country, along with musical theatre students and local middle and high school students. The four alumni are Nathan Lucrezio ’09, Laurie Veldheer ’10, Alan Wiggins ’10, and Caroline Bowman ’10 – we featured Wiggins and Bowman in our Sept./Oct. 15 issue.

The performance will be directed by John Simpkins and Dan Riddle will direct the music. Simpkins is the head of Penn State’s musical theatre program, while Riddle is the school of theatre’s music director. If you’d like to attend and want to order tickets, click here for more information.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

January 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

Meet Your New Favorite Penn State Poster

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.52.58 PMSome time last week, I was notified about a new Twitter follower called School Street Posters. It caught my attention for a few reasons: First, no one follows me on Twitter. Second, it’s got a pretty cool street map of State College. And, finally, I already owned two similar posters, but for cities where I used to live, Philadelphia and Boston. Here was a graphic designer with a similar conceptbut instead of city neighborhoods he’s diagramming the street maps of college towns. Smart. Although Eric Strand launched School Street Posters just last year, he’s already created screen prints for the entire Big Ten and Big 12 conferences, plus plenty of other schools. As for State College, they’re available in several colors, but we’re partial to the classic navy and white version. I’m thinking a campus map like this is much more accurateand way prettier to look atthan the one I drew up for my dorm room my freshman year.

Amy Downey, senior editor

October 6, 2015 at 1:26 pm 1 comment

George Etzweiler Won’t Stop Running

GQ published a short-but-remarkable feature on alumnus George Etzweiler, a former engineering professor who still resides in State College. Now 95 years old, Etzweiler ’49 is a runner who has covered more than 10,000 miles in his life. He ran the New York Marathon for the first and only time when he was 67, and says he now runs five miles up and down a mountain three times a week.

Here’s what Etzweiler had to say about how long he plans on running:

I won’t stop until I’m forced to. My plans are to run Mount Washington when I’m 100, and drop dead when I cross the finish line. I figured that’d be a nice age to die at, and a nice place to die.

You can read more on Etzweiler—including his daily diet, and what goes through his mind when he runs—right here.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

September 15, 2015 at 10:00 am 2 comments

Different Digs Downtown

It’s that first—if not fleeting—moment when alumni step foot back on campus: What’s new downtown? What’s still here? The Cafe better still be here. (Oh, phew, The Cafe is still here.) And while every year alumni brace themselves for maybe one or two things different than they last remembered, those making the trek back this fall are in store for some big changes to the businesses downtown. Here are just a few.

  • Damon’s Bar & Grill, a fixture on East College Avenue for over 20 years, is now LETTERMANS sports bar and restaurant. Decked out in blue-and-white decor, LETTERMANS will also be the home to the Thursday night radio shows with Patrick Chambers and James Franklin.
  • Another mainstay on College Avenue, Mr. Charles, closed after three decades. The women’s clothing store was replaced by Anthym Running this spring, which will offer workout gear and accessories, plus fitness-related events for the community. 
  • Sheetz is inching closer to campus and is setting up (another) shop within what was formerly Duo Nightclub (which was formerly Tony’s Big Easy) on South Pugh Street. Students, rejoice: In true Sheetz form, this one will also be open 24/7. The 5,000 square foot space, which includes a take-out “beer cave,” should be ready for the fall.
  • The owners of The Deli and The Saloon opened up Liberty Craft House on prime real estate (College Avenue near the corner of Hiester Street) and with positive reviews for those looking for a non-college, college bar with a big craft beer selection.
  • Finally, Chili’s on South Allen Street closed its doors in May after 21 years of business. Champs Sports Grill—yes, that Champs—has plans to turn that space into its third location.

Amy Downey, senior editor

August 17, 2015 at 10:00 am 6 comments

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