Visit the Governor’s Residence…Without Leaving Home

The Governor’s residence sits along the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, but not many Pennsylvanians get the chance to drop in for a visit. That’s why First Lady Susan Corbett is taking part in a virtual tour of the residence.

Mrs. Corbett says the online experience will ensure “that more Pennsylvanians will have an opportunity to see and learn about this important state treasure.” Viewers will learn about featured art and artifacts on display in the public areas of the residence. The tour is available at

There are also a host of in-person open house events at the residence throughout the year.

PA Preferred

Farm Show Epitomizes “PA Preferred”

Walking through the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show, it’s hard not to notice the vivid blue and gold signs boasting “PA Preferred” products.  From blue ribbon-winning veggies to the pork barbeque being served up for lunch, PA Preferred products are all around you.  When you see that logo, you know you’re purchasing a product that was made or grown in the Keystone State.    

“When you purchase local products, you’re helping strengthen our economy,” explains PA Preferred Coordinator Bryan Keister.  “If every household in Pennsylvania spent $10-dollars a week on PA Preferred products, $2.9-billion dollars could be reinvested back into the state.” 

First Lady Susan Corbett – a familiar face at the Farm Show this week – was slicing up some Pennsylvania mushrooms on the Culinary Connection stage, as she and Governor’s Residence Chef Barry Crumlich prepared tarts at one of 50-different cooking demonstrations on the schedule.  “I strongly feel that it’s best if we buy fresh, buy local,” Crumlich told the Farm Show visitors who crowded in for a better view.

Each day is themed at the popular PA Preferred Culinary Connection, located in the Farm Show’s Main Hall.  Thursday is Apple Day, as PA is the fourth biggest apple producing state (439-million pounds), and Friday is 3-Every Day of Dairy, as PA ranks fifth in the nation for milk production (1.2-billion gallons).

Changes Coming to Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting

There’s a renewed focus on family for this year’s lighting of the state Capitol Christmas Tree, as the ceremony is being moved outside and to the evening hours to allow for greater public participation.  Among the activities slated for the capitol steps in Harrisburg: Christmas caroling. 

Governor Tom Corbett says this year’s events will capture the true essence of the holiday – bringing families together.  He and First Lady Susan Corbett hope to make this year’s event fun, festive and more family-oriented. 

It’s happening at 5pm on Tuesday December 4th.  There will be free parking throughout the Capitol Complex for anyone who wants to attend. 

Next week also marks the start of the 2012 holiday tour season at the Governor’s Residence on Front Street in Harrisburg.  The tours are free, and First Lady Susan Corbett says they’re again partnering with the American Red Cross for a “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program, which invites guests to send holiday messages to servicemen and women.

First Lady Helps Turn Capitol Fountain Pink


First Lady Susan Corbett

First Lady Suan Corbett

Pink is the Color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the pink fountain is a visual reminder of the importance of mammograms and early detection.  “When you see the pink fountain outside, I hope you all remember that we can beat this disease if we take the time to have that early screening,” says First Lady Susan Corbett, who shared her own mother’s breast cancer survival story.  “So I’m going to ask each of you to be that person who takes someone by the hand and encourages them to have a mammogram.” 

The numbers drive home Mrs. Corbett’s point that early detection is the best way to fight the disease.  “When breast cancer is found at its earliest stages – which it can be with a mammogram – the survival rate is 95 – 98%,” PA Breast Cancer Coalition executive director Heather Hibshman explained in an interview with Radio PA. 

Every day 32 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Pennsylvania.  “It blows me away,” Hibshman says.  “Everybody seems to know somebody with breast cancer, and with numbers like that I believe it.  We need to get that number down to zero.” 

Pennsylvania is home to 140,000 breast cancer survivors who will be marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Meet the “First Pets”

Meet "Harry," the male Airedale Terrier. His name is short for "Harrisburg"

Meet "Harry," the male Airedale Terrier. His name is short for "Harrisburg"

Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett introduced the new “First Pets” today.  The Corbetts received hundreds of suggested names from children across the Keystone State. 


"Penny," the female Airedale Terrier decided to untie the governor's shoe. Her name is short for "Pennsylvania."

37-children submitted the name “Penny.”  4-children submitted the name “Harry.”  Each of them will receive an autographed picture of the First Family — complete with the “First Pets.” 

In all, the Corbetts received 548-suggestions from kids in 47-counties.  First Lady Susan Corbett says there’s already a noticeable difference at the residence.  “This is a beautiful house, but I think having kids or dogs makes it a home.” 

Airedale Terrier

Governor, First Lady to Welcome “First Pets”

Governor Tom Corbett and his wife Susan can hardly wait to hear the pitter-patter of little paws at the Governor’s Residence.  “We have two Airedale puppies coming.  We’ve had Airedales, three of them so far.  Right now I call them four and five,” Governor Tom Corbett tells us.  Without names for the pups, the Corbetts are turning to the children of Pennsylvania for some assistance.  “We’ve received a number of entries so far.  There are some cute entries, and then there are some adults writing in as kids,” Corbett quipped. 

Suggestions can be made online or mailed, but must be received by next Monday, July 25th.  The two kids who submit the winning puppy names will receive an autographed photo of the Governor, First Lady and “First Pets.” 

Governor Corbett says there are a few names that are already out of the running:  “Maggie was the first Airedale, Fergie was the second Airedale, and Daisy was the one that we had as Attorney General.  She lived to be about ten and a half, and she died back in November of 2009.”

Appearing on “Ask the Governor,” Corbett discussed his dogs, both new and old.  “It’s the largest terrier of the terrier breed.  They’re black and tan.  Right now, as puppies, they look like little black bears,” Corbett said of the Airedales.  “They were messengers in World War I, they’re police dogs in England.  They are great dogs; very loyal,” Corbett explained. 

Airedales are also known as skilled hunters.  “There won’t be any groundhogs at the Governor’s Residence, I can guarantee you that,” Corbett joked.  

(Photo credit: Mary Bloom, copyright AKC)


Arts Funding Dodges Significant Budget Cuts

Funded at $8.1-million dollars in the new state budget, the “Grants to the Arts” line item represents a tiny fraction of the $27.15-billion dollar spending plan.  But, supporters say that small investment brings back a huge return.  “If you include all arts related spending, about 62,000 full-time equivalent jobs are created annually,” says Jenny Hershour, managing director of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania.  “It also generates economic activity around $2-billion dollars a year… so it’s an economic generator,” Hershour tells us.

While funding is still down slightly from last year’s $8.4-million dollar appropriation, it’s a vast improvement from the more than 70% cuts that House Republicans called for in their first budget counterproposal.  Hershour credits grassroots advocacy with preserving the funding:  “I think the General Assembly understands the importance of these very small grants that go to arts organizations, and the very large impact that it has on their constituents.”

First Lady Susan Corbett

First Lady Susan Corbett with Governor Tom Corbett

Pennsylvania’s First Lady Susan Corbett chairs the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  She has served on the council since 1999.  When asked about arts funding on Radio PA’s monthly “Ask the Governor” program (prior to the final budget) Governor Tom Corbett quickly sided with his wife over the House Republican budget plan.  “There is a significant return on investment… in tourism dollars, in growing art in Pennsylvania; whether it be in the community, in the schools or wherever,” Corbett said. 

The arts grants are used for a variety of programs in all 67-counties.