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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
December 15, 2021
2020 vision, Confederate markers, shot block, cyber attacks, class-action suit, Krasner's mea culpa, and Shapiro's likely running mate. It's Wednesday.
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'VIRTUALLY NONEXISTENT'
NOTABLE / QUOTABLE

"The opioid epidemic is something that did not get the priority it should have, and we're moving back to that."

—Gov. Tom Wolf in a wide-ranging interview with Pittsburgh public radio station WESA as he looks ahead to his final year in office
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💉 COVID-19 NEWS
» ONE YEAR: It's been a year since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Pennsylvania. Roughly 70% of residents age 18 and older are now fully vaccinated, but misinformation has been a persistent hurdle.

» IVERMECTIN SUIT: A York County man whose wife sued UPMC Memorial over the hospital's refusal to treat him with ivermectin has died one week after receiving his first dose, York Daily Record reports.

» NO VACANCY: The AP reports a statewide nursing home staff shortage is adding to capacity issues at Pennsylvania hospitals jammed with COVID-19 cases. Some nursing homes are no longer accepting new patients.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine, use the federal government's online tool, call 1-800-232-0233, or text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).
📅 UPCOMING EVENTS
» LAWFUL VS. AWFUL: Join us Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. EST via Zoom for a free panel discussion on why killings by police often are ruled justified and who oversees the process. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
📷 POST IT
Watching the sunset in Lancaster County. Thanks, Pete B.Send us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
DAILY RUNDOWN
'OUTDATED REFERENCES': After removing a trio of Confederate historical markers an hour west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania officials have replaced two with significant revisions that view Confederate milestones through a more critical lens, Spotlight PA reports. A plaque placed by a neo-Confederate group in Pittsburgh and most recently located inside an eagle cage at the city's National Aviary is also due for an update.

VETO-BOUND: Gov. Tom Wolf opposes a bill that would bar Pennsylvania schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations in order to attend classes, City & State reports. The bill passed the GOP-controlled Senate on Monday. Neither the state nor school districts plan to levy such a mandate, and critics note Pennsylvania students are already required to receive a range of vaccinations under state law.

HIDDEN ATTACKS: FBI data had Pennsylvania leading all other states in ransomware losses in 2020, with roughly $5 million extorted from more than 116 victims — a likely undercount. But the Post-Gazette found that Pennsylvania has no law requiring victims to report such an attack to regulators, which means many are kept secret, which experts say ultimately makes them harder to stop

CLASS ACTION: More than 45 people currently or formerly imprisoned by York County are suing over the local prison's use of a controversial contractor who's been accused of leading inmate abuses. York Daily Record reports the class action suit says the contractor, C-SAU Senior Team Leader Joseph Garcia, created "a toxic culture where excessive and unjustified terror and violence is perpetrated with impunity."

GUN VIOLENCE: Progressive DA Larry Krasner has apologized for saying Philadelphia doesn't have a violence crisis amid a record-setting year for homicides there, WHYY reports. Krasner said he failed to acknowledge "the pain and suffering that disproportionately affects people of color and poor people." Hours later, gunfire injured one man and damaged NAACP and state Senator Sharif Street's offices in Nicetown
IN OTHER NEWS
RUNNING MATE: Attorney General Josh Shapiro is running for governor in 2022 and wants state Rep. Austin Davis (D., Allegheny) to join him on the ballot, KDKA-TV reports. "I’m excited that he’s taking steps toward running for lieutenant governor," Shapiro said. An announcement is expected next month.

EXPLOSIVE TESTIMONY: Pennsylvania's House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees will hold a joint hearing at 9 a.m. today to discuss recreational fireworks regulations that have become a perpetual source of summertime scorn and safety concerns. Follow along here

PLAY SCALE: A New York Times article about loosened compensation rules for college athletes begins with Duquesne University lacrosse player Emelie Curtis, who's seeing relatively small but still valued paydays. "The biggest misconception was it was only going to help out the big names," Curtis said.

SHELL SHOCK: A large African tortoise found roaming the streets of Washington County over the weekend is not a species that's native to Pennsylvania, or even North America, and had to be an escaped pet, a waterways conservation officer concluded, via McClatchy.

GRADE A: Meet Elizabeth Raff, Pennsylvania's 2022 Teacher of the Year. "Kids know when you're in it or when you're not," the Pequea Elementary School educator told LancasterOnline. “I really believe teaching is a work of art."
THE SCRAMBLER
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.
 
L I S A I T L C N
 
Yesterday's answer: Incomprehensible

Congrats to our daily winners: Elaine C., Susan F., Becky C., Neal W., Craig E., Ted W., Judith D., Susan D., Al M., Susan N., George S., Don H., David W., Kimberly S., Craig W., Vicki U., James B., Elizabeth W., Karen W., Kim C., Bill S.
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