Ashley McCallum's J237 Blog

Mayor crashes vehicle, and career

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the November 10th, 2014

Kittatinny mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz was arrested Saturday afternoon after his involvement in a car accident at the intersection of State Highway 117 and Fonebone Road in Frontenac that left one injured victim.

Petykiewicz’s blood alcohol content was .14, almost double the legal limit, when he was found conscious behind the wheel of his 2006 Ford Explorer. He did not receive any injuries as a result of the accident.

When asked if he had been drinking, the mayor responded to police in a slur with “You’d be drinking, too, if you were me. Do you think we can just keep this quiet? I’m the mayor of Kittatinny.”

Victim Robert Doane, age 41, of Kittatinny was flown to Northeast Pennsylvania Hospital and Trauma Center in Wilkes-Barre. Doane suffered from broken ribs, a broken jaw and various abrasions and contusions to the head, chest and abdominal area.

Petykiewicz was released from Schuykill County Jail to the custody of his wife Gloria Petykiewicz, who posted her husband’s cash bail of $500, an hour after his arrest.

If proven guilty, the mayor faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison with the charge of causing great bodily harm by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday in Schuykill County District Court.

Alice Magarian, age 33, witnessed the collision while trailing Doane’s 1997 Buick Le Sabre on State Highway 117. She was able to stop and pull over in order to avoid being involved in the accident. She said Doane was driving approximately 55 mph when Petykiewicz hesitated at the stop sign on Fonebone Road. Petykiewicz continued into the intersection and collided with Boane’s Buick on its driver side.

Petykiewicz was not wearing a seat belt when found in the driver’s seat, Boane was wearing his. An opened, half-empty bottle of vodka sat next to Petykiewicz in the passenger seat of his vehicle.

Both vehicles were inoperable and towed from the scene. The Ford received damage to its front end and the Buick received heavier damage to its driver side.

The accident occurred soon after 1 p.m. Deputy Gordon Slivovitz responded to the accident. Paramedics arrived at 1:23 p.m., Boane was flown to the hospital at 2 p.m. and Petykiewicz was arrested and released by 3:02 p.m.

At the time of the arrest, Petykiewicz remained silent and did not request the services of an attorney. The mayor has not made himself available for questioning at this time.

Violence in college community on the rise

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the November 10th, 2014

       Safety may not be the first concern in a college student’s mind, but when a string of violent incidents occur in one college community in the span of one month,  it can be questioned whether students need to take extra safety precautions.

Since the Fall 2014 term began in September, three violent incidents have occurred in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater community. In each incident, announcements were sent via email to inform students of what occurred.

On Sept. 16, students were informed of a battery that occurred on Sept. 10 in the area of Maine and Prairie streets where a victim was attacked by two unidentified males. A knife was allegedly pulled during the incident.

On Oct. 3, UW-W student Jordan Gittens was attacked by four males on Maine Street outside of the Theta House after one of the four attackers referred to him as a “faggot.” Gittens fell to the ground after receiving a punch to the mouth and continued to receive kicks and punches after he fell.

Six days later, one person in a group of four walking in the Fox Meadows Apartments parking lot said something to the driver and passenger of a silver Pontiac. Two males emerged from the vehicle and pushed one of the people in the group of four to the ground and punched them three times in the face. Another member of the group was also punched three times in the face.

In all three incidents, the Whitewater City Police and UW-Whitewater Police were informed and involved in investigating the attacks.

“When I get those alerts I am usually caught off guard a little because Whitewater isn’t a violent place,” Lauren Hagemann, sophomore and campus assistant at UW-W said. “I don’t usually take any extra precautions because a lot of those times those incidents seem as though they weren’t a random happening.”

As a campus assistant, Hagemann gives tours of the UW-W campus to students who are considering attending the university and their parents. She said that one of the questions she gets asked most frequently is if the campus is safe.

“I usually just explain to them what things our campus police offer for students and share with them that I have never felt unsafe myself,” Hagemann said. “Our campus police who are here 24/7, 365 [days a year] are great people.”

Campus police provide multiple services to ensure safety of students on campus. Safety towers are positioned throughout campus where students can push a button and campus police will arrive immediately. Students also can call campus police to ask to be escorted home or on campus regardless of time or situation. Police officers patrol streets and sidewalks regularly as well.

“We do everything you would expect a police officer to do plus a little more,” Chief of UW-Whitewater Police, Matthew Kiederlen said.

Chancellor Richard Telfer addressed the student body in an announcement sent to students via email with his concerns on the safety of campus and the community, assuring students he understands it is only a few people ruining the community’s safe reputation for the many.

“Let me be clear: This sort of behavior will not be tolerated,” Telfer said in his announcement. “I believe that the UW-Whitewater community will take a stand against violence of any sort.”

In two of the emails regarding violent incidents, a link to the university’s crime-prevention web page was provided so students could take necessary precautions to keep themselves safe on and off campus. The emails also stated that the city police department takes anonymous tips for when incidents like these occur.

Gittens talked to the Royal Purple newspaper after his attack and explained that if it was not for the support he received from the Whitewater community, he would have questioned not returning to campus.

“I saw the support I received from the people on campus,” Gittens said. “That made me realize I can’t think badly of the entire campus from the action of four guys.”

Entrepreneur inspires grads

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the November 10th, 2014

     Three stories, that is all Steve Jobs had to share with the graduates at Stanford University when he delivered the commencement address on June 12, 2005. Those three stories were just enough to illustrate adversities and successes Jobs experienced in his life.

Jobs began the commencement speech with the story of his adoption. He shared with the crowd that his birth mother would not agree to sign his adoption papers to a couple with no college degrees until they promised her that Jobs would eventually go to college. Jobs stood at the podium 50 years later without a college degree.

His adoptive parents did not break their promise. Jobs shared about his short-lived experience at Reed College. After six months at the college, Jobs dropped out but remained attending classes for another year and a half. His unique college experience exemplified what Jobs referred to as “connecting the dots.”

After dropping out of college, Jobs sat in on many different classes including a calligraphy class that eventually lent a hand in developing the typeface for the Macintosh computer. That calligraphy class was a dot that he eventually connected to his future success.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” Jobs said. “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

The second story Jobs shared with the graduates revolved around love and loss. He shared that he was lucky enough to find what he loved earlier in life. Jobs started Apple Computer Inc. with friend and co-founder Steve Wozniak at the ripe age of 20 in his parent’s garage. Ten years later, the garage endeavours turned into a $2 billion company.

Ten years of admirable work was suddenly ripped from Jobs’ hands when he was fired by a man he referred to as “someone who I thought was very talented.” That man was Apple’s then CEO John Sculley. At age 30, Jobs was jobless.

While his job was missing, his love for technology was still there, and still growing. After being fired, Jobs founded NeXT computer company, Pixar animations and fell in love with his soon to be wife, Laurene Powell.

After five years, Apple bought NeXT and allowed Jobs to return to the company he created. Pixar became the largest animation studio in the world and Jobs and Laurene started a family.

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick,” Jobs said. “Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.”

Jobs advised the graduates to find what they love and never settle for anything less in either their professional careers or personal lives. His story about being fired from Apple showed that love can get through some of the toughest losses.

The last story Jobs shared to the graduates was about death. A year prior to the speech, a tumor was found on Jobs’ pancreas. After that he was given a life expectancy of three to six months. The same evening, Jobs went in for a biopsy where he learned that the pancreatic cancer he had was a rare form and could be treated with surgery. Jobs stood at the podium a year later and admitted that he was “fine now.”

After his near death experience, Jobs saw first hand how short life is. His experience taught him how important it is to live without fearing what other’s think and to be a true individual.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” Jobs said. “Because almost everything— all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important”

After sharing his three stories, Jobs left the class of 2005 with four words from “The Whole Earth Catalog” that he kept near to his heart.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish,” Jobs said. “And I had always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

Alumni return to assist current students

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the October 14th, 2014

Seven UW-Whitewater alumni returned to their alma mater to share knowledge they gained in their line of work to 44 current students at the first annual Journalism and Electronic Media Student Seminar that took place Oct. 5.

Students had the opportunity to attend a variety of sessions taught by UW-W alumni and faculty that covered real-life-applicable skills from video editing to what it takes to get an internship.

“[I benefited the most from] the Chroma Key workshop largely because that was one of the things I really had zero experience with,” Electronic Media major Brian Schanen said. “Being able to start from zero and at least get a little bit of foundation is a good thing.”

Eleven different break-out sessions were offered and students could attend five sessions total.

“Anything I can do to help people who want to be in our field is really important to me,” UW-W alumni and on-air talent for 104.5 WSLD-FM Radio Andy Tretow said. “You hear a lot about the doom and gloom of the business and I really think it needs a better rap than it has.”

UWW-TV Director Jim Mead and UWW-TV Program Director Eric Stelter developed the seminar with the goal to create an educational opportunity that complimented what students learn in the classroom. Their idea was to let students that are serious about having a career in media learn from people who are already working in the business. With help in funding from UW-W Residence Life, the idea became a reality.

“There is only so much you can learn in a classroom sometimes even when you spend the whole semester,” Mead said. “This seminar gave the opportunity for students to come on their own time where we could have uninterrupted time to basically give knowledge.”

Networking and creating connections with fellow students, professors and colleagues made the seminar unique from a traditional classroom setting. Networking was emphasized by alumni presenters Tretow, Amanda Skrzypchak of WSJV-TV- Fox 28 and Lane Kimble of WDJT-TV-CBS 58. These alumni advised students not to burn bridges with anybody they meet in their educational experience and said that coming back to speak at the seminar was a way of thanking the people at UW-W that helped them along the way.

“Jim [Mead] really had a huge impact on my time here at Whitewater and really pushed me to want to do what I do and to just be a better journalist,” Skrzypchak said. “When Jim gave me the opportunity I was like ‘I’m only four hours away, that’s not that far. You helped me with so much that I’m going to come back’.”

Some students gained knowledge that will not only benefit themselves, but younger students as well. Multiple UWW-TV student staff members took part in the seminar and are better equipped to help students in beginning level journalism and electronic media classes.

The seminar was free of charge for the student participants and included a continental breakfast and lunch. Mead says he hopes that this will become recurring event for current and future students to get a leg up in the competitive media market.

“I think that there’s a lot of great schools out there with broadcast journalism and electronic media,” Mead said. “I think that what Whitewater has is we do our best to really provide the opportunity for a student to leave this university and go work almost anywhere.”

Mayor proposes little protection for big savings

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the October 5th, 2014

The mayor’s proposed budget for 2015 was released Monday morning and revealed the possibility of major changes for the city.

    “I come to you with a heavy heart,” Mayor Gustavus Petykiewicz said. “These are not actions I take lightly. We are facing a financial emergency in Kittatinny.”

    Kittatinny is looking at a $99,044 drop in income for 2015 due largely in part to the decommissioning of Sasquehanna Steel Corporation that went into effect this past August.

    To make up for the lost income, the mayor has proposed a city tax increase of .3 mills. This would cause the average Kittatinny home, valued at $100,000, to see a $30 increase on property taxes which the mayor sees as a “modest figure.”

    In addition to a tax increase, Petykiewicz has proposed to reduce spending on police wages by over $100,000 by laying off two full-time Kittatinny police officers. The layoffs would go along with the elimination of the current 4 a.m. to noon shift by Kittatinny police. The early shift would then be taken care of by Schuylkill County sheriff deputies.

    “I cannot stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of regular police protection for one-third of the day,” Chief of Police Roman Hruska said.

   Kruska and Petykiewicz agreed on spending for a new police cruiser this upcoming year but the agreement was short lived. Kruska voiced strong opposition for the proposal to cut police services and challenged city officials to take a 10 percent pay cut with him in an effort to balance the budget.

    Opposition for the proposed police cuts was also voiced by Kittatinny City Council President Denelda Penoyer who believes the proposal “absolutely has to change.” Penoyer suggested a larger tax increase from four to five mills which would result in a $100 increase in property tax for the average Kittatinny home. Bjarne Westhoff, president of Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34 supported the idea of a larger tax increase.

    Other possible changes for the city that would result from the current proposal include garbage fees getting taken off the tax levy and made visible on city water bills, saving the city over $180,000, and the layoff of two AFSCME Local 644 personnel. Parking fees would also increase slightly from 10 to 25 cents per hour and from $65 to $75 for annual parking permits.

    The proposed budget has been taken from the mayor’s hands to be revised by City Council. Petykiewicz and the council need to come to an agreement on the final 2015 budget before Dec. 1. All final changes for the city will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

     Petykiewicz encourages members of the community to voice their opinions on the proposed budget to city council or to him via email. The full proposed budget can be found at

     “I want to talk to people and we will get through this together,” Petykiewicz said.


Number one fan gets to work with favorite band

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the September 22nd, 2014

Six years ago, Hailey Hanson discovered a love for her new favorite band. At the time she had no clue that the same band would eventually give her an opportunity she could never pass up.

The Maine started in 2007 as a pop-punk band with an upbeat tone signed with Fearless Records. Hanson heard their song “The Way We Talk” on a friend’s Myspace profile  and fell in love instantly. She saw them live for the first time in 2009.

“ I don’t really know how to describe it,” Hanson said. “It kind of felt unreal because I had been looking forward to this for the longest time. I saw them and I cried when I went home.”

Hanson learned that they had a street team via Twitter this past year. Bands use street teams to do online and on-site promoting during their shows. Hanson sent her email to apply and received confirmation shortly after.

As a member of the street team, Hanson receives online missions that involve getting the word out about their beloved band using social media. When the band comes to a venue near them, they are asked to pass out flyers and sell their albums.

Upon completing a mission, members earn points that can be cashed in for merchandise or other special opportunities. Member can also get professional letters of recommendation from the band’s press woman Chelsea Duinstall and have guest list privileges to their shows all over the country.

“When you talk to people on the street about a band they don’t know about its either hit or miss,” Hanson said.” “They’re either super into it or they’ll walk away and throw it on the ground. It’s fun, I like it a lot.”

While working for the street team this summer in Milwaukee for Warped Tour, Hanson talked to the band and received face to face thanks from all the members including drummer Pat Kirch who was most sincere of them all.

She hopes to find a career in the music business after graduating college, or even sooner if possible.

“I want to do the whole music thing like this,” Hanson said. “It gives you a preview of what you would be getting in to. It’s frustrating sometimes like I imagine it would be if I had a career in this. It’s basically a preview of what to expect.”


Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the September 9th, 2014

Hello and welcome to my blog for Journalism 237 with Dr. Kates. Here I will be publishing various assignments for this course and giving you a taste of my ever-expanding skills in journalism.

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Mccallum on the September 8th, 2014

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