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A backlash grows against the Amish TV boom

According to NPR, locals in Lancaster County are fighting back against what they call "Amish exploitation."

It's no secret many "reality" TV shows bear little resemblance to actual reality. Discovery Channel's hit show Amish Mafia is a vivid example. The show portrays Amish youth in rebellion, racing buggies and carrying guns. Amish characters appear on screen and describe for the camera how the "mafia" operates outside of Amish law.

In reality, the Amish don't like to be photographed, and rarely speak out publicly...

Amish Mafia is set and filmed in Lancaster County, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where the Amish community plays a big part in agriculture and tourism — two of the region's biggest industries. With the show's success, others followed, including Breaking Amish and Return to Amish.

Earlier this summer, when Lancaster filmmaker Mary Haverstick heard there would be another new show, called Amish Haunting, she got fed up and started a Facebook page called "Respect Amish" to oppose the shows.

"And I kind of put out there the opinion that I think so many Lancastrians are thinking," she says, "which is, 'What in the world are these shows doing?' "


Original source: NPR
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PA ranked among top beer states in the nation

Thrillist ranked all 50 states by their beer -- PA came in at number eight:

Tröegs, Stoudt’s, Yards, Victory, Voodoo, Sly Fox, Weyerbacher: all always fantastic. Iron City: one of the world’s most lovable crappy beers. Yuengling: maybe not what craft-heads crave, but it’s the country’s oldest brewery (wait, you haven’t had someone drinking Yuengling tell you that?!?), and the very stuff that splashed out of dance-floor Solo cups all night at my cousin’s wedding in a barn on a PA sheep farm. Part of William Penn’s ‘’Great Treaty” to secure his land involved giving up a barrel of beer; we all got plenty back in return.

Original source: Thrillist
Read the complete list here.

Philly Little League star Mo'ne Davis snags the cover of Sports Illustrated

Taney Dragons star Mo'ne Davis continues her global takeover, nabbing the coveted cover of 'Sports Illustrated.' (Check out Keystone Edge's top five reasons to head to Williamsport.)

Original source: Sports Illustrated

Uber presents testimony in front of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission judges

Uber continues to make its case in Pennsylvania, arguing for a permanent place on the transportation landscape.

During a hearing in Pittsburgh on Monday, the local attorney for Uber instructed a witness not to answer questions about the number of rides the company has provided while under a cease-and-desist order, despite a court order compelling the company to reveal the information.

It was the most contentious point of the daylong hearing, which allowed Uber to present testimony before Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission administrative law judges. Under consideration is Uber’s application to begin permanent, experimental service in Allegheny County and other points in Pennsylvania. The application was met with protests by several dozen taxi companies, including Ambridge-based JB Taxi...

To comply with the emergency temporary authority, the ride-sharing companies were required to show their insurance policies provide primary coverage when drivers are conducting ride-sharing business, and that the policies meet PUC standards. The PUC issued a certificate of public convenience good for 60 days to Lyft last week. Uber’s temporary application is pending review of documents submitted, according to a PUC spokeswoman
.

Original source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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Historic property where George Washington camped up for sale

A 9-acre property where George Washington and his troops are said to have camped during the Revolutionary War is available for $14 million.

The property is located on Lewis Lane in Whitpain Township, about 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia. It includes a six-bedroom, five-bathroom house built in 1913 but extensively renovated and restored, according to owner Steven Korman, founder of Korman Communities, a Pennsylvania-based developer of hotels and apartments. Mr. Korman said he added about 9,000 square feet to the original 5,000-square-foot house, incorporating a century-old stone wall that had been in the garden and adding modern touches like a movie theater, gym, wine cellar, saltwater pool and elevator. Between buying the house and the renovation, he said he spent about $13 million. The house is being sold fully furnished.

Washington's troops camped in the Lewis Lane area in 1777 after the Battle of Germantown, on their way to Valley Forge, according to Marie Goldkamp, president of the Historical Society of Whitpain.

A self-described "history buff," Mr. Korman said the history of the property, which had been owned by the same family from the 1700s until Mr. Korman bought it more than four years ago, was "a huge thing for me." He added that one room in the house displays his collection of letters written by U.S. presidents, including Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson. These aren't included in the sale price.


Original source: The Wall Street Journal
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Philadelphia eatery named No. 2 new restaurant in the country

High Street on Market, in Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood, was named the number two new restaurant on Bon Appetit's highly anticipated national list.

I dare anyone who has jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon (without a doctor’s note) to eat at High Street on Market and still call himself gluten-intolerant. You don’t stand a chance. Know why? Because chef Eli Kulp basically built this restaurant around head baker Alex Bois’s superstar bread program.

Let’s start with the breakfast sandwiches, specifically the Forager: seared king oyster mushrooms, braised kale, fried egg, Swiss cheese, and black trumpet mushroom mayo piled on one of Bois’s cloudlike kaiser rolls. Hell, put a tofu burger and vegan “cheese” on one of those things and I would still—greedily!—order it again. The black squid-ink bialy stuffed with smoked whitefish may sound questionable, but I promise it will be something you crave for weeks afterward.

Abstinence won’t be any easier at lunch. The “Best Grilled Cheese Ever,” served on house-made roasted potato bread, delivers on its inflated claim. And no dinner here would be complete without more of Bois’s signature loaves: levain with vegetable ash, anadama miche (made with molasses and cracked corn), and buckwheat cherry, to name a few. If, at this point, you are wondering if the No. 2 restaurant on this year’s list got here on its dough alone, the answer is -- unequivocally and emphatically -- a very carby yes.


Original source: Bon Appetit
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Exercise equipment arrives at Philadelphia International Airport

As Flying Kite witnessed on a recent trip out west, Philadelphia International Airport is now home to exercise equipment for antsy travelers. When we walked through, many of the stationary bikes were occupied.

Sitting on an exercise bike in Terminal D on a recent morning, Ms. Donofree was cycling at a leisurely pace, wearing jeans and checking her phone as jets taxied outside.

Without becoming sweaty, changing her clothes or paying fees to an airport gym, she was able to exercise while remaining near her departure gate, thanks to a set of newly installed workout machines.

In late June, the airport became the first in the United States to provide three types of low-impact stationary bikes for travelers to use in the terminal, free of charge, while waiting for their flights.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

PA's RJ Metrics moves into larger space, extolls lean startup principles in New York Times

Robert J. Moore, founder and CEO of Philadelphia's RJ Metrics, wrote about his company's move to a bigger office on the New York Times' 'You're the Boss' blog, reflecting on lean startup principles. 

We had learned years ago that company culture isn’t about perks. Ping-Pong tables, funny posters, and free lunches are outputs of culture, not inputs to it. If any of our team members ever say they work at RJMetrics because of the chairs, I should be fired.
I admire those bigger companies that have been true to their lean roots during periods of extreme growth. Amazon famously provided employees with desks made of old doors, even as its headcount grew into the hundreds. To this day, Wal-Mart has its traveling executives sleep two to a room at budget hotels.

Just like the perks, however, these lean-minded policies are only healthy if they are the outputs of culture, not inputs meant to shape it. A team that is aligned on a core mission and values will wear them as a badge of honor. A team that isn’t will go work somewhere else.

As we grow, the balancing act of “lean success” will only get more complex. After all, being lean is not the same as being cheap, and separating these two can be hard when you’re in uncharted territory. We will invest heavily in building an inspired and empowered team – but we will check our egos at the door. Easier said than done? Definitely.


Original source: The New York Times
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Pennsylvania team cruises into Little League World Series

Behind the arm of phenom Mo'Ne Davis, Philadelphia's Little League team triumphed; they're heading to the Little League World Series in Williamsport.

It’s a truism in baseball that, in the postseason, the team with the best pitching usually wins. So it was on Sunday in Bristol, Conn., when Mo’Ne Davis hurled a three-hitter to lead Taney Youth Baseball Association Little League of Philadelphia past Newark National Little League of Delaware, 8-0. The win secured a spot for Davis’s squad, representing the Mid-Atlantic Region, in the Little League World series. That tournament starts Thursday, and Davis will have a chance to win it all in her home state, as it will be played in Williamsport, Pa.?..

She became the 18th girl to appear in the LLWS, joining Emma March, whose South Vancouver squad won the right to represent Canada on the same day.

Davis and March will become the third pair of girls in the same LLWS since the tournament began admitting girls in 1974. In addition to being the 40th anniversary of that change in policy, it is also the 75th anniversary of the tournament.


Original source: The Washington Post
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Commonwealth institutes new scholarship program

This year, the Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program will be available for college students attending private and public schools in Pennsylvania.

The state has allocated $5 million in the budget for the merit-based scholarship, and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which is administrating the program, expects about 3,600 students will receive an award this year. Colleges can't start nominating students until Friday, but because the awards will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, East Stroudsburg plans to get all the work out of the way now so as many as possible can receive a scholarship.

"We definitely want to apply for this program," said Kizzy Morris, registrar and director of the student enrollment center. "As many students as we can find to qualify for this we will nominate." To qualify, students must have completed their freshman year, have at least a 3.25 GPA and family income cannot exceed $110,000. Students who receive needs-based scholarships are eligible as well. There is no limit for how many students a school can nominate, PHEAA spokesman Keith New said.


Original source: The Morning Call
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Wegmans plans new store in Pennsylvania

Wegmans, the beloved grocery chain, is planning a new Pennsylvania location in Concordville, PA.

Each year, thousands of people who have visited our store for the first time, or moved to a place without Wegmans, write asking that we build a store in their town. Since we open just two or three new stores each year, it would be impossible to oblige every request. 

Today, we have stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.  You’ll see from our list of future projects that our new store growth is concentrated in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, though we will continue to upgrade or replace older stores in our more mature markets, like New York.  There are other sites we are working on, but are not at liberty to disclose as yet.


Original source: Wegmans.com
Read the complete story list here.

It's a go for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Southern Beltway extension

A $666 million project to extend the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Southern Beltway between Interstate 79 and Route 22 in Washington County received unanimous support on Monday.

"We need to think bigger as a region. We need to be aspirational, or we'll get what we've always gotten," said Steve Craig, chairman of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and a Lawrence County commissioner.

The turnpike project is part of a larger, $4.7 billion proposal to address Western Pennsylvania's transportation needs during the next four years, starting on Oct. 1. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a 10-county planning agency, unanimously approved it.

Increased state funding from Pennsylvania's new transportation law beefed up the SPC's four-year plan. Approved every two years, the plan adopted in 2012 was $3.1 billion, down from $3.6 billion in 2010 and $4.2 billion in 2012.


Building the Southern Beltway will become the turnpike's biggest single project, said Brad Heigel, the agency's chief engineer. Construction of the 19-mile section of highway is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2016 and end in 2019.

Original source: PennLive
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T Magazine shines a light on food halls, including Philly's legendary Reading Terminal Market

Food halls -- like the wildly-popular Eataly in New York -- are a growing trend. Philadelphia's own Reading Terminal is undergoing a renaissance.

After a $3.6 million renovation to this historic indoor market in a former train station last year, its longtime merchants, including Pennsylvania Dutch farmers, have returned. The 80 vendors include 34 restaurants. Post-renovation newcomers include Wursthaus Schmitz, a German grocery and sausage stand that serves sandwiches ($9-11); the Head Nut, which offers spices, teas, nuts and candy; and the Tubby Olive, a gourmet olive oil ($16-31 a bottle) and vinegar shop.?

Original source: T Magazine
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Sprawling PA farmhouse featured in the New York Times

A charming stone house in Elverson, PA with seven bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms was featured in the New York Times' "What You Get For..." column.

This house is on more than 22 acres, neighboring a farm and a 535-acre county park. Horse and walking trails lead directly from the property into the park. Closer to the center of town is a historic district with residential and commercial buildings dating to the 18th and 19th centuries, in styles including Craftsman, Gothic and Queen Anne...Original features include some hardwood floors, molding, trim and exposed wood ceiling beams. The living room is about 630 square feet, with a fireplace. French doors open to a screened-in porch with views of magnolia and Kentucky coffeetrees. The fireplace in the dining room is almost large enough to walk into. Off the kitchen is an octagonal sunroom with five large arched windows overlooking a pond...The spring-fed pond is suitable for swimming and skating. There is a nine-stall barn with an apartment upstairs.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Penn State researchers tackle 'precrastinators'

Apparently there are some folks out there who, instead of putting things off, race to finish them. Penn State researchers took a look at this phenomenon of "precrastination."

"There is an overwhelming tendency to precrastinate," according to a paper published in May in the journal Psychological Science. The behavior might include answering trivial emails, for example, or paying bills far ahead of time. “It’s an irrational choice,” the paper said, but it also reflects the significant trade-offs people make to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

The paper described an experiment at Pennsylvania State University that was meant to explore decision-making when it comes to physical effort. Students were asked to carry a beach bucket down an alley. They were given a choice: They could pick up a bucket near the start of the alley and carry it to the end, or they could pick up a different bucket that was closer to the end of the alley, walk a few steps and put it down.

The researchers assumed that most of the subjects would choose the bucket that required the least amount of lifting time. Instead, most picked up the bucket that was closer to them, a decision that forced them to carry it longer than necessary. In other words, they gave themselves extra work for no apparent benefit.

"We couldn’t figure out what on earth was going on," said the lead researcher, David Rosenbaum, a professor of psychology at Penn State. "We thought maybe we made a mistake with the instructions..."

Through the experiments, the researchers homed in on a hypothesis: People appear wired to incur a significant physical cost to eliminate a mental burden.



Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.
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