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Wolf's last budget address to focus on his legacy

Plus, SCOPA eyes congressional map intervention.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
February 1, 2022
The news gets a bit heavy (and the winter a bit cold). So this February, we're giving you the chance to tell the entire state of Pennsylvania about someone (or something) you love. That's right — share the love.

We're launching our first-annual Share the Love event. Here's how it works: Make a contribution to Spotlight PA for $50 or more using this special link (yay vital journalism ❤️) and type your shoutout in the "I am contributing because..." box on the donation page.

We'll then include your message in a special section of PA Post we've set aside for the entire month of February to feature nothing but love, appreciation, gratitude, fuzzy feelings, butterflies ... you get the idea.

The floor is yours — get started now. Together, we’ll make February feel a little warmer. 

— Colin Deppen, PA Post editor
Last budget, redistricting roles, impossible choice, bridge update, smoke stops, and cocktails-to-go. It's Tuesday. Happy Lunar New Year.
Want to see your message here? Contact us about sponsoring PA Post.

"A minor glitch ... meant that some votes were recorded but did not make it into the final tally at the meeting. We are conducting a full audit of the system."

—Brendan Welch of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party on an error in Saturday's U.S. Senate endorsement vote; the outcome won't be affected
We all have a lot of love to give. So for all of February, we at Spotlight PA are giving you the chance to share a message of love, gratitude, or appreciation with absolutely anyone. And we'll feature it here, for the entire state to see.

Here's how it works: Make a donation of $50 or more to Spotlight PA using this special link, put your shoutout in the "I am contributing because..." box, and we’ll include it in a special section of our PA Post newsletter. 
Send some love to a Pennsylvania business, a person, an animal, an animal that reminds you of a person, or your favorite reporters (👋). Make someone feel good, brighten a day, and support Spotlight PA at the same time.
» JOB STRAIN: TribLIVE spent days inside a Pleasant Hills hospital with frontline workers who have faced anxiety, exhaustion, and nightmares during COVID-19's onslaught but who keep coming back to help.

» FULL APPROVAL: Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is the second COVID-19 shot to earn full FDA approval. The milestone comes more than a year after Moderna's offering was authorized for emergency use.

» STRIKE TEAM: A state strike team has been dispatched to Crozer Health facilities in the southeast part of the state. The strike team is separate from federal strike teams aiding hospitals in Scranton and York.

» EXTRA BEDS: Overflow units will open at four Pennsylvania nursing homes to allow patients to be discharged more quickly from hospitals that are struggling to make room for new COVID-19 patients, The Inquirer reports.

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).
The one and only Mister Ed's Elephant & Candy Emporium in Orrtanna, courtesy of @lora_exploresSend us your gems. Use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
COURT SWAP: With primaries fast approaching, Pennsylvania's Democrat-led Supreme Court is set to consider whether it should take over the state's congressional redistricting process, the AP reports. While the high court prepares to hear arguments on the matter, it has paused an intervention by the GOP-led Commonwealth Court, which took over after the governor and lawmakers failed to make a deal.

UNPAID LEAVE: In a viral and tearful TikTok video, a Pennsylvania mom named Rebecca Shumard explains how she returned to work days after giving birth to her daughter prematurely. Shumard needed to save days off for when Eden was finally discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit, an impossible choice that has renewed debate around paid family leave laws, which the U.S. and Pennsylvania lack.

BRIDGE BRIEFS: PennDOT officials say a Pittsburgh bridge that collapsed last week showed signs of deterioration in September but wasn't in bad enough shape to require its closure. In related news: A bus was hoisted from the wreckage on Monday; the park where the bridge fell has reopened to the public; and an observation area has been set up for people who want to survey the damage firsthand.

BAD GRADES: The American Lung Association is not impressed with Pennsylvania's efforts to curb tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. Beaver County Times reports the ALA gave Pennsylvania failing grades on tobacco taxes, flavored product limits, and prevention funding. The CDC wants Pennsylvania to spend $140 million on prevention efforts, but the ALA says the state has only used 12% of that.

COCKTAIL HOUR: Cocktails-to-go could make a permanent comeback under a new legislative proposal from state senators Dan Laughlin (R., Erie) and John Yudichak (I., Luzerne). The pandemic-era business lifeline was cut off with Gov. Wolf's COVID-19 emergency declaration, and attempts to resurrect it have been caught up in what the Capital-Star describes as a "bizarre confluence of factors" ever since.
NEW YEAR: The Year of the Tiger is here, and restaurants from Philly to Pittsburgh will be serving up celebratory specialties. You can also learn to make your own. Events are on, but pandemic adjustments continue.

BLACK HISTORY: February is Black History Month. Today we're spotlighting Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson: devoted chronicler of the Black experience and staunch defender of the Black Arts Movement.

PHIL UP: Groundhog Day is Wednesday and it might get its own winter storm this year. Snow and ice are possible from Texas to New England between Tuesday and Friday. Punxsutawney Phil is ready no matter what.

BAR SONG: Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves sang Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" at a Gayborhood Bar before her recent show at the Wells Fargo Center — site of this very impressive (and exhausting) time lapse

CRUNCH TIME: When American corporations want old work phones and computers kept safe from data thieves, they turn to a Pennsylvania firm that turns them into high-tech confetti, The Inquirer reports. 
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.

*This week's theme: Words that start with the letter "B"

Yesterday's answer: Bacchanalia

Congrats to our daily winners: Michelle T., Bonnie R., Suzanne O., Doris T., Joel B., Mike B., Kevin M., Kim C., Susan N.-Z., Beth T., Kimberly B., Judith D., Kenneth J., Craig W., Carol C., Deb N., Don H., Al M., Susan D., Kimberly S., Heidi B., Bruce B., Joel S., James B., John F., Dianne K., Vicki U., William S., George S., Starr B., Bill S., Rachel K., David W., John P., Elaine C., Suzanne S., Cindy G., Eddy Z., John H., Karen W., Keith F., and Elizabeth W.
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