Eleanor Klibanoff

You are in a foreign country. And things are certainly looking a bit foreign.

Do you sit or squat? Can you toss toilet paper down the bowl or hole?

Let the signs guide you.

That is, if you can understand them.

Doug Lansky, author of the Signspotting series of books, knows how toilet etiquette signs can be mysterious, misleading and hilarious. His books include all types of funny warning and advice signs, but the topic of toilets is especially popular.

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Summer Chambers, a chubby cheeked five-month-old died of starvation and dehydration in her crib, four days after her parents died from drug overdoses in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. 

Zyair Worrell, a two-year-old boy in Philadelphia, was killed by his mother's boyfriend. He was found unresponsive with lacerations, abrasions, bruising and THC in his system.

Emma Lee/WHYY

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - There are millions of Americans out there who don't have much of an opinion about their local convenience store brand. They'll stop at a 7-Eleven for a snack, a Shell station for gas and any old truck stop to use the bathroom. They're not likely to describe their relationship with a convenience store as "love." 

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - President Donald Trump, a Republican, won Pennsylvania by a narrow margin of 68,000 votes. The state has about 900,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans.  

Keystone Crossroads

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - Ever wonder about something you see or hear about where you live that you wish our reporters would explore? Here's your chance! You ask the questions, you vote on the questions you're most curious about, and we answer. Submit a question for us to investigate.  

This week, former Penn State University president Graham Spanier is in court for his role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. This trial is one of the final chapters in a legal saga that has stretched since Sandusky was arrested in 2011. 

Tom Magnarelli, WRVO

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump released his "skinny budget," an outline of his proposed federal funding allocations. As promised, it was skinny in every sense of the word — Trump hopes to scale federal funding way back, cutting programs and positions across the board.

  

BC Transit

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - Each year, the American Society of Civil Engineers releases an "infrastructure report card." This year, the nation's public transportation systems earned a D-, the lowest grade of any form of infrastructure in the country. 

Maguis & David / flickr

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - The Department of Community and Economic Development oversees a wide array of state programs, from business and workforce development to tourism to Main Street improvements. DCED is also responsible for Act 47, the state's distressed cities program. 

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Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Tom Wolf gave the Trump administration a tip of the hat at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. 

Eleanor Klibanoff/WPSU

Keystone Crossroads - Brian Davis is well-known around campus, and not just because the Penn State junior is always wearing a suit. He's triple majoring and double minoring, is actively involved in organizations across campus and has the ear of the University's president. 

On the day before President Trump's inauguration, the outgoing Obama administration passed a last-minute directive banning the use of lead ammunition and fishing sinkers on federal land.

Recently, the deteriorating health of a bald eagle showed the effects of lead poisoning. Obama's regulation is intended to protect wildlife from exactly that.

But hunters are hoping Trump will soon overturn it.

Last week, an officer from the Pennsylvania Game Commission brought a bald eagle to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Jessica Kourkounis for Keystone Crossroads

(Keystone Crossroads) Walk around the offices of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, and you'll find plans to do good behind every door. There's a food bank, a land bank, a work skills class, and programs to assist with affordable housing.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on immigration. The first called for a "large physical barrier" between Mexico and the United States. The other announces plans to remove federal funding from sanctuary cities. 

AP Photo/Mel Evans

(Keystone Crossroads) In the weeks since the November election, Pennsylvania has been the subject of much discussion. Buoyed by the bright blue cities on either side, the state had voted Democrat in every presidential election since 1986. This year, it was one of the states that swung red and pushed Donald Trump into the White House. 

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

Matt Pacifico doesn't look like a typical mayor. He's young and hip, with an earring, and a stormtrooper helmet behind his desk. When Pacifico first ran for mayor of Altoona four years ago, he'd never held elected office, though he did have experience running a successful family business — "except I did it before Donald Trump made it cool."  

Across the United States generally, and Pennsylvania cities specifically, there's a constant, gnawing issue that worries elected leaders, social service agencies and the poor alike. There's not enough affordable housing and it often feels like there never will be. 

Once the largest U.S. rail company, the Pennsylvania Railroad ceased operations nearly half a century ago. But volunteers are researching and protecting that history at the station in Lewiston, Pa.

Eleanor Klibanoff is a reporter for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania cities.

Keystone Crossroads

The last eight years were pretty good for the relationship between Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania's major cities. President Obama made visits to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the Democratic leadership in both cities worked closely with his administration. Sure, there's always room for more funding and more cooperation, but their progressive policies met little resistance from the Commander in Chief. 

(Keystone Crossroads) The traditional narrative goes like this: After World War II, upper and middle class white families fled the inner cities for the suburbs. They were chasing the "American Dream" of white picket fences, two car garages and shopping centers you could drive to. The children of those Baby Boomers grew up, fought back and now, are moving back to the cities.  

The holiday season came a little early this year for community development organizations that got a piece of $7 billlion in tax credits allocated by the Department of the Treasury last week. The New Market Tax Credits program helps low-income or economically distressed cities attract investors in commercial projects. 

Eleanor Klibanoff/WPSU

(Keystone Crossroads) Linda Straub never thought she'd be so invested in a presidential election that she would attend a watch party on election night. But there she was, at Zach's Sports Bar in Altoona with the Blair County Republicans, cheering Donald Trump as he took Iowa. 

Eleanor Klibanoff/WPSU

Over the course of the last year, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence have made a number of stops in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Most of the supporters waiting in line outside the Lackawanna College Student Union on Monday afternoon knew the routine. 

(Keystone Crossroads) After more than two years of contentious legal battles, Uber and Lyft may operate legally in Pennsylvania. On Monday, the Senate voted 47-1 to allow ride-hailing services to operate in the state — and to begin regulating them as their own transportation entity. Governor Tom Wolf plans to sign the legislation.  

The U.S Advisory Council on Human Trafficking issued its first-ever report on Tuesday. This group was founded last year when President Obama appointed 11 people, all of whom are survivors of human trafficking themselves, to run the council.

Eleanor Klibanoff/WPSU

(Keystone Crossroads) Driving into Allentown, you're likely to spend at least some time on Seventh Street, one of the city's main drags. The street's shops, businesses and restaurants are diverse, but there's a distinctly Latin flair to the area. That's not surprising, considering about half of city residents are Hispanic.  

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti hard, devastating the southern end of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

It's hard to look at the photos coming out of Haiti and not be moved to action. But if you're thinking now is the time to hop on a plane and get involved in disaster relief work, groups working on the ground have one piece of advice: pump the brakes.

(Keystone Crossroads) Over the past few years, in the economic development world, there has been some whispering. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank caught wind of a growing suspicion that donations and grants from foundations were being funneled into just the largest, most well-off cities in the country. Small and mid-sized cities, as well as those deemed economically distressed, were getting ignored by these large, national money-givers. 

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(Keystone Crossroads) Usually, inadequate representation lawsuits go like this: your lawyer does a bad job defending your case, you're found guilty, and then you seek a new trial on the grounds of insufficient counsel. It's a single response to a single instance of misrepresentation. 

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