Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Pa. House lawmaker dies of brain aneurysm

A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Sarah Anne Hughes
January 4, 2020
Lawmaker dies of aneurysm, a looming Senate showdown, 21 hours in a COVID-slammed hospital, escaping through Zillow, and dating during the pandemic. Welcome back. It's the first Monday of 2021.

A member of Pennsylvania's House of Representatives died Saturday after suffering an apparent brain aneurysm.

Rep. Mike Reese, a Republican who represented Westmoreland and Somerset Counties, was 42 and the father of three children, PennLive reports. He had recently been elected by his colleagues to serve as caucus chair. 

He was genuine," House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R., Centre) said. "What you saw is what you got: wasn’t pretentious, wasn’t caught up in titles. He ascended into a leadership role in 12 years. It was impressive.”

THE CONTEXT: Reese had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in early December and said his symptoms were mild. It is unclear if the coronavirus played a role in Reese's death.

While there is still much we don't know about the virus, initial studies indicate it heightens the risk for blood clots and strokes

Gov. Tom Wolf today will lift a temporary ban on indoor dining and school sports as the state's daily cases begin to fall. Still, the number of new infections reported each day is significantly higher than seen this spring.


"We’ve lost faith, unfortunately, as an industry, in much of the data that’s been collected, reproduced, and distributed on a state or federal website."

— Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Healthcare Association, on ongoing issues with the quality of COVID-19 data from nursing homes

POST IT: A stunning shot of Lebo Vista in Lycoming County. Thanks, @mark_in_pa, for the submission! Send us your hidden gems use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
'GROUNDED LEADERSHIP': Dick Thornburgh, an effective and respected two-term governor of Pennsylvania who later served as U.S. attorney general under Presidents Reagan and Bush, died Thursday at age 88. Spotlight PA and The Inquirer report that Thornburgh's family did not confirm a cause of death.

LOOMING SHOWDOWN: A Republican candidate is asking leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate to seat her instead of the state-certified winner, TribLIVE reports. Nicole Ziccarelli is challenging a state Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Allegheny County Board of Elections to count more than 2,300 ballots that were not dated in accordance with the Election Code, giving incumbent Jim Brewster the lead.

OPPOSITION: Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is one of a handful of Republicans who plan to oppose a GOP effort to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win, The Hill reports. The "evidence is overwhelming that Joe Biden won this election," Toomey said in a statement.

21 HOURS: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spent a day at Uniontown Hospital as health-care workers struggled to keep up with a flood of COVID-19 patients. Three days before the reporters arrived, the hospital's morgue reached capacity when three ICU patients died in a 3.5-hour period.

SIGNIFICANTLY 'MISHANDLED': Investigators commissioned by Gov. Tom Wolf found managers of the state-run Southeastern Veterans’ Center made critical errors that "contributed tragically to the heartrending events that occurred there." The Inquirer first reported this spring that dozens of the nursing home's residents had died of COVID-19 as their families were kept in the dark.

VIRTUAL REALITY: Instead of Doomscrolling, Pittsburghers instead escaped 2020 by browsing the home-buying website Zillow. It's also one of my favorite forms of virtual escapism, and I've leaned on this tip to use the keyword "unique" to find really unique places. 

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID: My former colleague Max Marin swiped right on 4,000 (!) people on Tinder to find out how people are dating during the pandemic. His dispatch is full of delightful quotes, including, "I did a fair amount of peeing in bushes while strangers kept a lookout."

DATA DIFFICULTIES: In Pennsylvania, people are asked, but not required, to provide their racial identification when they register to vote. This lack of data makes it challenging for policymakers and organizers to find and address disparities, Sojourner Ahebee writes for Poynter.  

THE FIRST: At just 23, Philadelphia's Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander became the first Black woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate degree in economics. "Racism and sexism prevented her from finding work as an economist," Teen Vogue reports, so she became a lawyer to fight for civil rights.

CREATIVE REUSE: Two pro-cannabis organizations are repurposing newspaper boxes in Montgomery County to distribute applications for pardons of marijuana convictions. The groups have already served 800 people.

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

Thursday's answer: Countdown

Congrats to our weekly winner: Heidi B.

Congrats to our daily winners: Art W., Neal W., David I.. Irene R., Chris W., Chip K., Mary Ellen T., Patricia M., Deb L., John C., Jill G., Mark O., Theodore W., Jeff M., Bob R., Beth T., Deb N., Joel S., Patricia R., Susan R., Janet T., Chris M., Bette G., John H., Lance L., Kim C., Dianne K., Tracey C., Karen W., Anne G., Gail H., Carol D., Jarrod B., George S., David W., Laura M., John A., Kathleen M., Tish M., and Bruce B.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Chip in to support local journalism.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
225 Market St., Suite 502A
Harrisburg, PA 17101

You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, which has combined with Spotlight PA to create Pennsylvania's largest statewide newsroom dedicated to accountability journalism.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.