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Letter from the Editor: Extraordinary, But Typical

by on April 30, 2020 1:36 PM

There’s nothing typical about this issue of Town&Gown, just as there’s nothing typical about this time in which we are living.

As I write this, I haven’t set foot in our South Allen Street offices in about three weeks. The mess of papers on my desk undoubtedly remains untouched.

Instead, most of us at T&G are doing our jobs from home, communicating mostly via email and phone amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We know many people – those fortunate enough to still be working – are in the same boat.

Spare bedrooms are now offices with laptops and printers/scanners squeezed in amongst the night tables and pillows, with papers strewn on the bed. At least that’s what mine is like.

Many who had barely heard of Zoom a month ago are now regular users of the online video-conferencing platform in their professional and personal lives.

For the first time since debuting in January 1996, the Lunch with Mimi interview that appears in this month’s edition was conducted remotely. It started as a Zoom session with T&G founder Mimi Barash Coppersmith and Chris Buchignani, president of the State College Area School District Education Foundation. After a glitch on our end, Chris put his technical skills to work (he’s a host of the The Obligatory PSU Podcast, among other things) and the interview was completed and recorded via a conference call.

But not all of our work can be done remotely. Writer Vincent Corso, who also reports for our sister publication, The Centre County Gazette, and photographer Darren Weimert continue to cover stories in the community while taking every precaution.

This issue is atypical in another respect. The print version is smaller – 72 pages instead of the usual 112 to 128 – a reflection of the challenges faced both internally and by our loyal advertisers. A number of our regular “departments” – such as What’s Happening and Taste of the Month – aren’t included because of the widespread cancelation of events and the temporary halt to dine-in service at restaurants, still in effect at press time.

But there are still great stories to tell, of the many Centre County residents who have stepped up to help their neighbors in a time of need. We’re proud to present an issue that focuses primarily on their work.

And those efforts to help others represent one thing that is typical: While the contributions of so many who are doing so much are truly extraordinary, they surprise no one who lives in Happy Valley.



Mark Brackenbury

Editorial Director

[email protected]


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