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Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA Staff
December 22, 2021
Redistricting tool, final stretch, fireworks fizzle, rooftop rink, colossal cabbage, McClosures, and delicious non-carcinogenic beverages. It’s Wednesday.
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Dear reader, 

We're blown away: Two generous local donors and Spotlight PA members, Jim Friedlich and Melissa Stern, just reached out with a big offer, and we need your help to prove to them we can do it

They pledged $10,000 today to encourage you to join them and make a gift to Spotlight PA before Dec. 31. If you donate now, they will match your gift, dollar-for-dollar.

As a reader, you know how important Spotlight PA’s coverage is to upholding democracy in our state. I hope those of you who are still on the fence will consider making a donation today to help to ensure this essential work continues.

Spotlight PA is in the final stretch of its most important membership drive of the year, and every dollar counts. Please give now.

Onwards together,

—Christopher Baxter, Editor in Chief
YOUR DISTRICTS
NOTABLE / QUOTABLE

"Our medical system is complicated enough. The primary concern following major medical procedures should be recovery, not worry over medical billing."

—Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, speaking in support of the No Surprises Act, which is set to go into effect in 2022
CHALLENGE EXTENDED
Two generous local donors just extended our challenge. Jim Friedlich and Melissa Stern believe so strongly in Spotlight PA's mission, they've just pledged an additional $10,000 in matching dollars. That means they will match every dollar you give before Dec. 31. Contribute now.
💉 COVID-19 NEWS
» ALARM BELLS: The CDC released alarming predictions about omicron’s possible spread in the coming weeks, noting danger posed by the variant’s increased transmissibility and ability to infect inoculated people.

» BIG IMPROVEMENT: Few nursing home residents are being hospitalized for COVID-19, and UPMC is attributing the victory to the vaccine

» UPDATED: We've updated our post on what you need to know about the omicron variant.

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).
📷 POST IT
'Tis the season at one Spotlight PA staffer's home. Send us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
DAILY RUNDOWN
THROWN OUT: An amendment that would enshrine rights for crime victims in the state constitution cannot go into effect, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled this week. As the Capital-Star explains, the court found the single question presented to voters contained too many changes that should have been considered separately.

FINAL STRETCH: Gov. Tom Wolf plans to begin his last year in office addressing the state’s long-term strategy for COVID-19, the York Daily Record reports in an interview that also touches on his agenda for 2022 as well as his plans for life as a private citizen.

BOOM BOOERS: Despite widespread public support for a curb on access to potent fireworks, state lawmakers have not made progress toward restricting the incendiaries, reports The Morning Call. A 2017 law removed a prohibition on lighting and selling firecrackers, Roman candles, and bottle rockets, igniting a statewide sales boom.

STRIKE, THROUGH: A two-month strike at Kellogg’s plants in five states including Pennsylvania ended with a new contract between the company and workers. "This agreement makes gains and does not include any concessions," said the president of the union representing the workers, who went on strike over concerns with payments and benefits.

PANEL PROBE: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) has rejected an interview request from the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, calling the panel illegitimate, per NPR. Lawmakers want to know about Perry's communications with Trump officials before Jan. 6.
IN OTHER NEWS
CABBAGE KING: An East Pennsboro elementary student won the national 2021 Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage program for a plant that weighed 10 pounds. Trust me, you wanna click to see the photo.

SKY SKATE: Pittsburgh’s Kaufmann’s Grand, the new retail and residential space that formerly housed the iconic department store Kaufmann’s, now features a rooftop ice rink.

MC-MORIAL: On the eve of UPenn announcing plans to close a campus McDonald’s, Billy Penn remembers the other Philadelphia arches that have disappeared from the city in recent years, noting how redevelopment interests often drive such closures.

ODD BALL: Recent 76ers signee Myles Powell met head coach Doc Rivers only days before his first NBA game, the latest twist for the team amid injuries, COVID-mandated isolations, and postponed games.

BEYOND BOOZE: In response to pandemic-induced alcohol fatigue and sobering studies about the health risks of alcohol, some Philadelphia-area restaurants and bars are adding non-alcoholic offerings to their menus.
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.
 
X R H C A E O Y T E A P R
 
Monday's answer: Paramecium

Congrats to our daily winners: Susan F., Neal W., Craig W., Susan D., Don H., Craig E., Susan Z., Doris T., George S., David W., Myles M., James B., Kimberly S., Bill S., Mike B., and Vicki U.
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