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Coronavirus cases are spiking to highest count in months


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Jordan Wolman
October 12, 2020
Court rejects Trump's Pa. fraud claims, COVID-19 cases are spiking, utility shutoffs begin, and fall apple recipes. Welcome back — it's Monday.

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has rejected a lawsuit brought by President Donald Trump's campaign, finding that it failed to prove that fraud is likely to occur here on Nov. 3. 

The suit targeted satellite drop boxes that are being used in counties across the state, as well as a provision that prevents partisan poll watchers from observing polling places outside of their home county. 

The Trump campaign plans to appeal at least the drop-box portion of the ruling.

The Context: In his ruling, U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan — a Trump appointee — wrote the president's campaign "must at least prove that such fraud is ‘certainly impending.' They haven’t met that burden."

The ruling was celebrated by elected Democrats in the state. 

“We told the Trump campaign and the president, ‘Put up or shut up’ to his claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro told The Associated Press.

With just 22 days until Nov. 3, just how the presidential election will run is still up in the air — though the picture is getting clearer. 

On Friday, a Common Pleas judge rejected another Trump lawsuit that sought to allow poll watchers inside Philadelphia's satellite election offices. And on the same day, state House Republicans dropped an effort to create an "election integrity" panel that Democrats feared could be weaponized to impound ballots and delay Pennsylvania’s election results.

One crucial issue is still unresolved here in Pennsylvania. Counties are still lobbying the legislature to change the election code so that they may process mail-in ballots prior to Election Day. Officials say such a change is key to a timely vote tally. 


"If they are not in my susu, they are in somebody’s susu. We stand very strong.”

–– Musa Barry, president of the Woodland Avenue Business Association, on how informal loan clubs have helped Philadelphia’s African business community survive the pandemic
POST IT: Thanks, @blusole, for this shot of Pittsburgh (with a bonus orb!). Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
ALARM BELLS: The state health department reported more than 1,700 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. The number represents the highest single-day case count in months. Hospitalizations are up, too. A total of 35 counties show a rising trend over the past two weeks.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: A Morning Call investigation found the chair of the state House Insurance Committee had the most cash on hand prior to this year's primary out of any House member. That's in large part due to big contributions from the insurance industry she helps regulate.

NO COMMENT: That was the response from Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace when asked about the city's police chief resigning. An LNP | Lancaster Online report found the chief's resignation occurred around the same time as his wife posted a pro-Trump post on Facebook.

IN THE DARK: Pa.'s public utility companies can now cut off non-paying customers after months of not being able to do so due to COVID-19. The poorest customers remain protected, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

MARK THE DAY: Today has long been known in the U.S. as Columbus Day, but there is a growing movement across the country to change it to Indigenous Peoples' Day in recognition of the violence faced by Native American people at the hands of European explorers, and in celebration of Native American culture, both pre- and post-colonization.

» YOU'RE INVITED: Register now for our upcoming live interview with Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar on ensuring a fair and accurate election in Pennsylvania. You can also submit your questions.

KEYSTONE SHOWDOWN (spoiler alert): No, not Trump and Biden, the Steelers and Eagles! A Pittsburgh rookie might be the next wide receiving star after stealing the show (and helping move the team to 4-0). It was also the first game with fans back inside Heinz Stadium.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: You're not really from Western Pennsylvania if you don't have this famous Pirates event burned in the back of your mind. I'm talking about the 1960 World Series. Hear from Bill Mazeroski himself and relive the day they beat them Yanks.

FROM SCRATCH: If you're feeling the fall spirit, you've probably already made a visit to an apple orchard to pick your own fruit. Are you now wondering what to do with that bounty? Here are some sweet recipes sorted by type of apple that should be used.

TAKE A DRIVE: Feeling cooped up inside? Go see something new. Follow this guide to visit the state's 15 best small towns.

ROSE-COLORED GLASSES: One Berks County man picked up a hobby after his disability prevented him from working. Now, he's won a $15,000 grant from Amazon to support his budding business: Ron's Roses.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Friday's answer: Procrastinate 

Congrats to our weekly winner: Tracey C. 

Congrats to our Friday winners: Thomas B., Theodore W., Craig W., Dianne K., Alex L., Gail H., Chris W., John C., Ron P., Carol D., Karen W., Patricia R., Irene R., Lynne E., and Tracey C. 
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