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Pa. election official calls for end to ‘lies’


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Sarah Anne Hughes and Ed Mahon
January 22, 2021
Election hearing, limited supply, unequal treatment, Pa. pardons, pandemic vocab, a mystery box of wine, and comfort food. It's Friday.

Pennsylvania’s top election official spent nearly three hours Thursday defending her handling of the 2020 presidential election and calling for an end to the "lies that have been proven again and again to be false," Spotlight PA and Votebeat report.

Kathy Boockvar, secretary of the commonwealth, appeared virtually Thursday at the first of 14 election-related hearings Republicans said are intended to educate voters on how the elections were run, and provide legislators with recommendations for how they can improve the state’s election law.

Democrats have launched a counter-offensive, a series of “Defending Democracy” hearings, which they said will “address the lies” being spread.

“The attack on our Capitol was the direct result of disinformation and lies — lies that were intentionally spread to subvert the free and fair election and undermine people’s faith in our democracy,” Boockvar said during the hearing.

THE CONTEXT: The meeting of the House State Government Committee centered on what in any other election would have been mundane — guidance to counties on how to handle certain problems with mail ballots. But with intense national focus on Pennsylvania, that guidance became a flashpoint.

After the election, GOP leadership seized on Boockvar’s actions to cast doubt on the results. The top Republicans in the Senate called for her resignation, while leaders from both chambers asked Congress to reject the state’s electors for President Joe Biden. 


"I don't think you can just walk away from Trump."

—Tom McGarrigle, the GOP chairman in the Philadelphia suburb of Delaware County, on the future of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania
POST IT: A very exclusive gem in Huntingdon County. Thanks, James G., for the submission! Send us your hidden gems use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
LIMITED SUPPLY: Despite new guidelines from the state Department of Health that expand the criteria of who is eligible for coronavirus vaccines, two western Pennsylvania medical systems say they still have a limited supply, WESA reports. Meanwhile, Lehigh Valley Health Network plans to use Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom as a mass vaccination site. And PennLive says lots of people are running into vaccine dead ends.
UNEQUAL: An 18-page report from the Department of Human Services, which serves more than 3 million low-income Pennsylvanians, describes racial disparities in several state-run or state-funded programs, including for public assistance benefits, early childhood education, child welfare, and juvenile justice, the USA TODAY Network's PA Capitol Bureau reports.
WHO GOT PARDONED: Before he left office, former President Donald Trump pardoned more than 70 people, including Gary Hendler, who lives in Ardmore and has spent nearly 40 years helping people recover from addiction, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Hendler, who said he didn't vote for Trump, was surprised to see his name on the last-minute list.

ANOTHER COVID CASE: Tommy Tomlinson, a Republican state senator from Bucks County, said he tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing mild flu-like symptoms, Patch reports. More than a dozen state lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
EXPENSIVE CLEANUP: Facing pressure from state regulators, city leaders, and community members, the operators of a coke plant in Erie shut down in late 2019. But removing hazardous wastes and preparing the bayfront property for future use will likely cost more than $7 million, and the company only provided $1 million, GoErie reports.
MYSTERY WINE: If you have trouble making decisions or if you like discounts, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has an offer for you. The state's online wine and spirits store is offering mystery boxes of red, white, and rosé wines. Warning: No substitutes or returns (unless a bottle breaks during delivery).

PANDEMIC VOCAB: The Angry Grammarian at The Philadelphia Inquirer provides some useful words to know as we all adjust to life during the coronavirus. My personal favorite on this list is Blursday. Turns out, that one dates back to at least 1988.

NOT SORRY, MR. JACKSON: In the Oval Office, President Joe Biden replaced the portrait of Andrew Jackson, a Tennessean and the seventh president, with one of Benjamin Franklin. Although he was born in Boston (boo!), Franklin became a successful printer, famous writer, inventor, founding father, and many other things after moving to Philadelphia.

BETTER THAN BUFFALO: And by "better" we mean "snowier," which, uh, maybe isn't better. GoErie reports that the city in northwestern Pennsylvania ranks as the No. 1 snowiest large city in the United States this winter, ahead of Anchorage, Alaska. Pittsburgh makes the top 10 list, as well.

COMFORT FOOD: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recommends this recipe for banana bread brownies with peanut butter and chocolate. "You can’t help but feel loved when biting into a piece," writes Gretchen McKay. She also notes that, during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, banana bread was one of the most-searched recipes online.
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.

Yesterday's answer: Obfuscate

Congrats to our daily winners: Bob R., Theresa T., David I., Becky C., Jill G., Linda E., John L., Mary Ellen T., Neal W., Craig W., Jarrod B., Theodore W., Steve D., Irene R., Bill C., Jim G., Mark O., Patricia R., Susan D., George S., Kim C., Sandra S., Robin F., David W., Joel S., John C., Carol D., Beth T., and Jessica K. 
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