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Half of Pa.'s nursing home staff aren't vaccinated


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
April 19, 2021
Questions and answers, troops deployed, public opinion, unvaccinated staff, Fetterman's conundrum, and stopping the presses. Good Monday to you.
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All Pennsylvania voters — yes, independents and minor-party members, too — will be asked to consider four ballot questions on May 18.

Two are about as non-controversial as possible: whether to enshrine race-based protections in the state constitution and whether to give fire departments with paid personnel access to a state-run loan program. 

The other two? That's a different story. Spotlight PA has a handy breakdown of the questions here, along with what they'd do, who is in favor, and who isn't.

THE CONTEXT: Two proposed constitutional amendments will ask voters if they favor limiting a governor's executive power in a declared disaster, like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voters will be asked if they support giving the General Assembly the ability to terminate disaster declarations without the governor’s consent — only a governor can end them now — and the final say on whether to continue declarations after 21 days. (How this might affect future emergency responses is very much up for debate.) 

The questions were written by the Wolf administration, and the GOP argues the language is prejudicial and likely to sway voters away from reining in a governor's executive reach. And GOP lawmakers aren’t the only ones who think so.

Berwood Yost, director of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, said the questions use “loaded terminology," lack context, and fail to give voters "information they need to make an informed decision."

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"I am very sorry this happened." 

—DHS Secretary Teresa Miller on a flaw in Pennsylvania's system that mistakenly flagged people for using food stamps improperly
VACCINE UPDATE: Dr. Anthony Fauci says he expects U.S. health regulators will end the temporary pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccines as soon as Friday, possibly with some kind of "warning or restriction or risk assessment" attached. For vaccine providers, check Spotlight PA's map and county-by-county listing.
» FIGHTING MISINFORMATION: Join Spotlight PA at 5 p.m. April 20 for a conversation and reader Q&A about how partisan groups are masquerading as local news in Pennsylvania and undermining public trust. RSVP FOR FREE

POST IT: As the warmer weather sets in, McConnells Mill State Park is definitely getting added to our "must visit" lists. Thanks, @brodiebardSend us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us at @spotlightpennsylvania.
GUARD TROOPS: More than 1,000 Pennsylvania National Guard members have been deployed to Philadelphia ahead of a possible verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial this week, PhillyVoice reports. Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which touched off mass demonstrations in Philly and beyond last summer. 

LAST EXIT: In Canonsburg, "one of the most patriotic towns in the country," the New York Times found a range of responses to President Joe Biden's plan to pull the last remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan and end America's "forever war." Some were relieved, some pessimistic, and some surprised to learn the end was in sight after 20 years.

HIGH HESITANCY: Half of Pennsylvania's skilled-nursing facility workers still aren't COVID-19 vaccinated, according to a state survey, prompting concerns about asymptomatic spread inside vulnerable long-term care homes. Those surveyed weren't asked why they declined, but officials said some wanted to see others get vaccinated first, per WESA.

FEDERAL CASE: The former dean of Temple's Fox School of Business has been indicted on conspiracy and wire fraud charges for allegedly manipulating data to push the school's online MBA program to the top of an influential U.S. ranking. The federal indictment against Moshe Porat names two other Temple administrators as well, via NBC10.

MONEY MAN: John Fetterman leads the early fundraising pack in the Democratic race for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's seat, raising $3.9 million between Jan. 1 and March 31. A new profile in Politico Magazine touches on the complicated crosswinds around his bid and the lone-wolf criticisms from within his own party

-30-: A poignant video details the "hellish cacophony" of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Schuylkill Printing Plant and the generations of workers idled with the mammoth, historic asset now up for sale.

TIL: Milton S. Hershey, founder of the namesake chocolate company, had a ticket for the ill-fated Titanic but climbed aboard a different ocean liner instead, per PennLive. The Titanic sank days later.

PHLUENT: Kate Winslet's Philadelphia accent in HBO's "Mare of Easttown" is a risk most actors won't touch, Slate reports, which reminds us of that time actor and city native Bradley Cooper *tried* pronouncing Lancaster.

COLD OPEN: The 2005 disappearance of Centre County DA Ray Gricar is the subject of a new true-crime podcast hosted by a magazine publisher who claims to have a copy of the entire State Police file on the case, WTAJ reports.

BUG OFF: Summer must be close because Pennsylvania Twitter is full of Great Spotted Lanternfly War recruiting pitches, as Billy Penn details. Silver lining? Per Lancaster Farming, the reviled bug still hasn't made it to Pennsylvania’s "fruit heartland."

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.

Friday's answer: Identical

Congrats to our weekly winner: Becky C.

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Susan D., David I., Dixie S., Sandy M., Irene R., Jill A., James B., Meg M., Mike B., Dennis M., George S., Elaine C., Kerri G., Daniel M., Dianne K., Ron P., Carol D., Mary Kay M., Karen W., Bob R., Christopher R., Dixie R., Rick D., Anne R., Bill C., David W., Elizabeth W., Patricia R., and Beth T.
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