State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University Columns—Best of 2010: Part II

by on January 01, 2011 7:25 AM

Today we continue our year-end Best Of list. If you missed Part I, you can find it here.

Jay Paterno

In "Broken Promises, Useless Contracts: The Current State of Coaching," Jay Paterno reflects on how much the job of a college football coach has changed since his father accepted a position that paid $20,000 a year. Exhibit A, writes Paterno, is the University of Tennessee. In 2008 the school took a chance on a young coach, Lane Kiffin, spending more than $7 million on the hire ($5 million in salary plus several million to buy out the previous coach’s contract). After just one season Kiffin bolted for USC, leaving Tennessee right where it started.

Paterno isn’t suggesting that coaches “should take a vow of poverty,” but he questions the ethics of spending millions on the position at a time when families are fighting for jobs and college students are struggling with rising tuition costs. “We are starting to look as arrogant as the Wall Street bankers raking in seven-figure bonuses.”

Mike the Mailman

As Big Ten fans reacted to the addition of the University of Nebraska to its conference, Mike the Mailman addressed what he believed was an overlooked variable in the debate. From Nebraska’s Cornhuskers (“A good name to play around with for upcoming football button contests”) to Northwestern’s purple Wildcats (“I’m not sure any real wildcat would be caught wearing this color”), he reviews the mascots in Penn State's conference.

Meanwhile, in a piece featuring another one of Mike the Mailman's favorite topics--THON--he opened a love letter to "Happy Valley's biggest dance of the year" with this sentence: "Before everyone across the country begins March Madness, we have right here, right now, February Fabness."

Joe Bastardi

In June 2010 Joe Bastardi writes about three headline-grabbing weather seasons, saying that the chance to forecast a “triple crown of weather extremes” will never come again.

Why not? The global temperature will go down, not up, he says. “And less heat over such a large area means less potential for the fight-backs that occur to cause the extreme in such a prolonged focused manner.”

Aware of his iconoclast status, Bastardi points out that he is not against alternative energy; he simply disagrees with the global warming forecast. When we checked in with him recently, he reported that he hasn’t budged from that position: “No changes, no retreat, no surrender,” he says. (Keep an eye out for Bastardi’s next column, where he'll further explain his take on the global warming forecast.)

Judy Loy and Dan Nestlerode

The business columns that most interested readers raised concerns about their financial health. In “Retirement: Will You Be Living the Dream—or in Poverty?” Judy Loy points out that, without Social Security, nearly 50 percent of American senior citizens would be broke. She suggests running a retirement calculator on a regular basis to keep tabs of your nest egg. Where, exactly, should you put your money? Investing today is not a continuation of the past 60 years, Nestlerode writes in “What the Government’s Spending Spree Means for Investors.” Simply put, now is not the time to let those financial statements go unopened. “Financial security comes from paying attention,” he says.

Michele Marchetti

In one of my first columns for, I interviewed Andrew Monk, who runs the “Sustainable Kitchen” food truck. Using ingredients from local farmers, Monk serves up delicious, hearty meals that you don’t have to feel guilty about. In "Changing Lives with a Cheeseburger," I explain his quixotic dream of parlaying the operation into a more ambitious enterprise that will employ at-risk youth in for-profit trade schools. This winter Monk is also running his supper-of-the-month club, which will feature local meals, packaged to go. Stay tuned for more reports from the eat-local movement—fortunately, people seem to love reading about food as much as I love writing about it.

Have a column idea for Write us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

Michele Marchetti is a freelance writer and the former managing editor of Prior to moving to State College, she spent more than 10 years writing for national magazines. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Glamour, U.S. News & World Report, Runner's World, Good Housekeeping, Working Mother, Yoga Life and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Follow her on Twitter at or contact her at [email protected]
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Penn State Football: For Coaches after Outback Bowl, Meyer Is Out and Paterno Is Back
December 31, 2010 6:19 PM
by Matt Fortuna
Penn State Football: For Coaches after Outback Bowl, Meyer Is Out and Paterno Is Back
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