409 Is Back

The fall out from the Sandusky Scandal have been going on for years.  With many lawsuits and twists and turns there are always articles and news involving the issue.  Today there was a sigh of relief as news came from the NCAA to reverse some of the sanctions they placed on Penn State, including the return of Joe Paterno’s wins.

The vote went unanimously at the Penn State Board of Trustees meeting and led to excitement around town.
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JoePa Vigil

It’s been two years since legendary football coach Joe Paterno passed away.  He passed away on a Sunday morning and I remember that weekend unfolding and the week long honoring of him that followed.  A lot has changed in the community since that cold January, but here on a bitterly cold January night some gathered to remember JoePa.  Luminaries with hand written messages lined the sidewalk to the Catholic center that he and Sue donated towards, as a group hummed Penn State songs and reflected.

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Paterno Statue Removed

Last night on my way home from the office I took a few photos of the illuminated Joe Paterno statue and the things fans had been leaving in support.

This morning my alarm went off at 4:30 am and I was up and out of bed right away.  It was an early start after a late night at the office, but rumor swirling that the Paterno statue would be taken down this morning had me heading to Beaver Stadium.

When I arrived at the statue it looked as it had when I stopped on my way home last night, it was dark out, and just the lights illuminated Joe, the players on the wall and the season plaques that surrond him.  There were several students lingering and a few comfortable in lawn chairs.
As the sun started to rise there was a sudden commotion.  Doors from the stadium opened and out poured several dozen police officers. As they walked towards the statue trucks started to round the corner and and approach the area.  The cops informed everyone to cross the street and students took their last embrace of the statue.
The cops lined the street as they started to build barricades and then fences around the area.  Two dump trucks blocked the road in one direction, and two trash trucks in the other.
From the fences the crew hung no trespassing signs and danger signs, before cover the wire with blue tarps.
A fork lift was brought out of the stadium as crews wrapped the statue in plastic and blankets.
Then came the jackhammering.  The noise droned on for about 45 minutes as the dust rose in the air.
I was also creating a video of the process so have video as they lifted the statue just enough to swing it down and walk it to the stadium.  As the garage door of the stadium closed a “We Are… Penn State” chant echoed along the street.
After a decent amount of time the crew returned, and started sawing and prying everything off the walls that homed the statue.  Paterno’s name, a quote he had said and the season plaques were taken down, letter by letter, one by one.
By this point it was getting later in the morning and the crowds of people started to grow to see for themselves what was happening.  As I stood perched on the top of a ladder to see over the fences I noticed people taking photos of a sign on the light post.  The sign read, “15 Min. Patero Statue Visitor Parking Only.”
The large players running off the wall behind the statue were stubborn and the crews battled to find a way to pull them down.  After several failed attempts they hung a tarp so viewers couldn’t see.
People stopped by as the day went on and looked to the site where the statue had stood proudly for several years.

Joe Paterno Statue

The Freeh report about Penn State’s involvement in the Jerry Sandusky scandal was released late last week and has caused a great amount turmoil and negative attention for Penn State and late legendary coach Joe Paterno.  Blame has fallen on the shoulders of Joe Paterno and a great deal of comotion has risen about the statue that stands outside Beaver Stadium.  Earlier in the week a plane circled campus with a banner stating, “take down the statue or we will.”  Many have been flocking to the statue incase something does happen, and I have spent the last two afternoons there chatting with people and photographing.

I’ve photographed fans at the statue many times in the last year including when the scandal first broke in November, when Joe passed away in January, and during graduation weeks.  I was looking for new angles and decided to do some details of statue.  

Today the crowd was larger and a line formed take photos.  Cars would drive by and yell in disgust, or shout “We Are” in support as people took their turns.