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Some counties are running out of rent relief...

... while others are sitting on millions in unused aid.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
December 8, 2021
Housing crunch, omicron updates, police force, at odds, preschool discipline, off label, and Jason Isbell headbangs with Krampus. Hello! It's Wednesday.
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Dear reader, 

Hey, it's Colin, your PA Post editor, and we just raised the bar...

We only have a few weeks left to raise $70,000 to sustain Spotlight PA's vital investigative journalism in 2022. We need your help, and here's the kicker: For a limited time, every single dollar will be TRIPLED.

Vital to the health of our state will be your direct participation in protecting and supporting investigative journalism. This is no time to sit on the sidelines. Please give today and join this special effort.

We provide PA Post as a public service. If you value it, I'm asking you to help keep it going with a tax-deductible gift now. Your support means a lot to me personally and to our entire team.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


"Anybody can run for anything. They just might not be qualified to take the position."

—Lehigh County Chief Elections Clerk Tim Benyo on an Allentown constable candidate whose extensive criminal history might not affect his eligibility
We don't want to fall behind our goal of raising $70,000 by the end of the year in order to unlock a massive $70,000 matching gift. Give now to ensure we can meet this goal and continue our vital investigative journalism.

Don't miss this chance to have your contribution TRIPLED. The future of Spotlight PA depends on your support, and we can't afford to lose this critical journalism. Make a tax-deductible gift right now and help us keep it going.
» POLL RESULTS: Fifty percent of Pennsylvanians are against employee vaccine mandates, a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll found.

» RATE HIKE: Pennsylvania's positive test rate was recently more than triple that considered evidence of significant COVID-19 spread, per PennLive.

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).
» 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
A gorgeous fall day hiking and taking pics at Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County!  Thanks for the photo, Don H.Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
OMICRON EXPLAINER: The U.S. government has classified omicron as a COVID-19 "variant of concern." Spotlight PA rounds up what you should know about the strain, details Pennsylvania's first confirmed case, and explains the COVID-19 situation in hospitals statewide.

UNDER REVIEW: Pennsylvania's Supreme Court is set to weigh in on the constitutionality of the state's use-of-force law, which Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner says wrongly applies a lower standard for police than that prescribed by the highest court in the land

IN CONFLICT: Philadelphia opposes state legislation that would restrict the ability of municipalities to rein in fossil fuels and, in turn, their ability to combat climate change. But StateImpact reports that emails show a city-owned gas utility has been a driving force behind the bill.

PA BACKSLIDE: While suspensions and expulsions of preschoolers have dropped in Pennsylvania, Chalkbeat reports some education experts worry that progress is in jeopardy — and a pandemic-era rise in behavioral problems is fueling their concerns.

BLOCK PARTY: The Democratic race for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania could inform the party's new swing state playbook, Politico reports, with President Joe Biden and U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) playing outsize but distant roles.

GUV DEBATE: GOP candidates for governor will crowd into Dickinson College in Carlisle on Jan. 5 for the first debate of the campaign. State Sen. Dan Laughlin of Erie won't be on the stage — he recently decided against running — but state Sen. Scott Martin of Lancaster County might be

PRIMETIME: Disgraced and fired CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is being replaced in his former 9 p.m. time slot this week by Doylestown native and former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Michael Smerconish. "The entire saga is sad on many levels," Smerconish told radio listeners on Monday. 

KRAMPUS KROWD: For anyone confused by musician Jason Isbell's tweet about running into a bunch of "Krampuses playing heavy metal covers with Christmas lyrics" in Pittsburgh, City Paper explains the tradition.

ON CALL: A new 835 area code is coming to southeastern Pennsylvania where old area codes are stretched too thin. The Inquirer reports the new code will not require dialing changes and won't affect existing phone numbers.

RESCUE CAT: A cat pulled from a serious house fire in Stroudsburg over the weekend is lucky to be alive but maybe didn't realize it right away, judging by this glowering Pocono Record photo from the scene

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: Pugnacious

Congrats to our daily winners: Susan F., Craig W., Susan N., Vicki U., Pamela M., Neal W., Joanne C., Don H., Michelle T., Craig E., Kim C., Judith D., Heidi B., Jessica K., Elaine C., Becky C., Beth T., Marty M., Kimberly S., Dianne K., George S., Bruce B., James B., Keith F., Bill S., Elizabeth W., John P., Susan D., Joel S., Lex M., and David W.
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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.

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