From the Editors
Erie goes back to school
It's been said offhand that Erie is nothing more than just "one big college town." This is, of course, not true. State College is one big college town. It's right there in the name.
Hyperbolic conclusions like this aren't totally unfounded, however. If we were to tally the latest enrollment numbers from the four major higher education spots located in Erie and compare them to the latest census data, we'd see that students make up about 15 percent of our population (that's just over 15,000 from Gannon, Mercyhurst, Penn State Behrend, and LECOM out of a city of roughly 97,000). Compare that to the aforementioned State College, or an even smaller town like Edinboro, where, in both cases, the students actually outnumber the population, and the proportionality becomes even more disparate. Factor in the actuality that most students don't typically claim residence in their school's city, and the statistic reduces much further.
Either way, it's "back to school" time for Erie. That means a lot of things to us. To Liz Allen, it means coming back to the idea of a local community college. Taking a tour of Butler County Community College (BC3), she focuses on what they've learned and how they arrived at their present state. She traces the ongoing discussion our community leaders and non-profit organizations have been having — a ping-ponging back and forth between a few options.
To many Erieites, this time of year also means one of the most obvious things: Our college population is coming back to town. Matt Swanseger looks at this from behind the bar, getting a drink purveyor's take on what makes a college bar a college bar. He also ventures eastward, over to Elmira, N.Y. to look at the recent expansion of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). The school, anchored in Erie, is now the largest medical school in the country, with additional campuses in Greensburg, Pa. and Bradenton, Fla.
In addition to LECOM, other Erie businesses continue to grow. Lavery Brewing Co. recently opened their second location in Titusville, Pa. Ben Speggen recently made his way down to sample a few of their wares. Housed in the former location of the Blue Canoe Brewery, the Lavery Brewing Lager Haus has plenty of room and a menu filled with a bounty of delicious handcrafted food and beer options.
Then there's the newly opened Underdog BBQ — future focus of the Discovery Channel's Undercover Billionaire, as Nick Warren takes a look at the premier episode, as well as the packed schedule for this year's installment of Celebrate Erie.
So, whether you're a college student or not, there's still more than enough to see, do, and celebrate this August before classes start.