While I was out of town for the holidays the snow in State College had accumulated to about 8 inches. When I rolled out of bed this morning and opened the shades the snow was coming down again and there was three fresh inches of fluff added to the piles. I bundled up and headed out for some snowy features.
The news of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday shook the nation. I had been out during the morning hours and when I refreshed my twitter feed around noon to see the news I was in shock, as was most the country. Last night Penn State students banded together to honor the victims and show support for the families and the community of the Newtown.
A group of students who grew up in Newtown spoke about their small town, that had only been known for their creation of Scrabble till the tragic shooting. One spoke of her younger brother, who was in Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday morning hiding in a closet for safety.
Then a young man stepped up to speak. He is a Penn State senior whose 6 year old cousin was among the victims and Sandy Hook Elementary. He spoke about his cousin and how he’d be traveling to Connecticut as soon as he completed his finals to be with his family. He reminded everyone to spend time with their families and to hug them as often as possible.
When I arrived at the office today and checked the schedule it looked like a quiet day. My co worker was out on an assignment and I was sorting through some images when a commotion started on the scanner. A female was attacked on the bike trail, one that I frequently travel. I quickly ran through the newsroom trying to locate an editor and reporter to let them know as I headed out towards the trail. By the time I arrived on scene all available units were called as a man hunt started for the suspect who was running through the fields and woods surrounding the area. Helicopters circled the area as a reporter and myself tried to stay close the police commands and location changes.
As the night sky set in the police chief gave a brief media update about incident and the ongoing search.
I spent the night by the scanner waiting for an update, but the search was canceled for the evening due to the dark and cold temperatures.
The day has taken a toll on the feeling of safety in this college town as the trail is used by many students and community members on a daily basis.
Today was a Sunday full of Penn State record breakers. I started out at the Lady Lions game where Maggie Lucas dominated the first half of the game. By the second half she broke her personal record of points in a single game.
From the Bryce Jordan Center I jumped over to Rec Hall to cover Penn State wrestlings’ first Big Ten match. The match was a blowout with 6 pins, beating Indiana 52-0. The win was the largest margin victory over a Big Ten opponent for Penn State.
Today the 18th Annual Festival of Trees kicked off in it’s new location. After covering the event last year in the Penn State Ag Arena, which was a very large space with poor light, I enjoyed the new warm and homey feeling at CPI. With a smaller venue, the trees were closer together which made the experience, and photographs more overwhelming. As I wondered the rows of trees decorated by local organizations and business’s I watched for people expressions to light up as the holiday cheer spread.
Examining all of the ornaments is what brought many visitors in. People of all ages had a hand in creating the decorations, including preschoolers for a Red Fish, Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss themed tree, and middle school students for dog and cat ornaments on the Centre County PAWS tree.