The Centre County seat served as a superb host for one of the darkest periods in our region’s history.
The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial had national media in Bellefonte for three weeks — some staying a few days past his guilty verdict late Friday on 45 of 48 counts.
White media trucks sporting satellite dishes surrounded the courthouse throughout the Sandusky proceedings, which began with jury selection on June 5.
Some reporting teams spilled into nearby buildings, including the famed Brockerhoff Hotel.
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And the media were impressed with Bellefonte’s historic beauty and the kindness and respect showed by its residents during the Sandusky trial invasion.
Comments heard around the courthouse from media in from New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and beyond included:
“This is a great town. What a fantastic view (from behind the courthouse on High Street).”
“Everyone has been so nice.”
“There are some great restaurants in this town.”
Some visiting media members took in Bellefonte’s bed-and- breakfast options.
Reporters set up shop in eateries around the courthouse and voiced their appreciation for available Wi-Fi services along with nice dining choices.
And they were impressed with the borough’s dedication to pedestrian safety.
Especially at and around the intersection of High and Allegheny streets, motorists regularly stopped to allow people to cross the street unharmed.
Oftentimes, those crossing the streets were reporters moving from the courthouse to rented offices or popular work spots such as Dairy Queen or Cool Beans.
Perhaps it was the huge police presence in town for the Sandusky trial and the robbery trial next door that had folks — including the media — seemingly on their best behavior.
We are convinced the protective, courteous approach also was a reflection of the town’s long-held commitment to the safety of those moving along its streets.
Bellefonte merchants and residents are likely glad that the media vans have moved on — replaced Wednesday by a farmers market in front of the courthouse.
But some said the historic community had an opportunity to shine in the spotlight of a national news moment — albeit one with very troubling themes.
“The media has been nice,” Diamond Deli owner Arlene Milton said midway through the trial. “They’re appreciating Bellefonte.”
She added: “All in all, this has put Bellefonte before the world.”
And before the world, Bellefonte was at its best.