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Taxpayers on hook for city’s corruption case

Plus, is medical pot effective for anxiety?

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Friday, January 5, 2024
Today: Corruption case costs, medical marijuana findings, Biden in Valley Forge, 'historic' homicide declines, and the dog ate their money. 

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DuBois has spent at least $274,000 in taxpayer money to cover the legal bills of former City Manager Herm Suplizio — who is accused of stealing roughly double that amount.

Another $32,000 was spent on legal costs for other people — all associated with the city — who were interviewed as part of the corruption probe.

Suplizio was first charged by state prosecutors in March 2023, but federal authorities took over the case in November. Suplizio pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.

Matt Creme, a municipal lawyer, told Spotlight PA that providing legal representation at the city’s expense for witnesses is much different than providing it for an employee who is under investigation for wrongdoing.

Jill Nagy, who practices Pennsylvania municipal law as well, said it's also "highly unusual" for the city to cover Suplizio’s legal defense costs given the charges he's facing.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: DuBois paid more than $307K in legal fees related to city manager corruption investigation, records show.

“Having new Americans come in and settle here is very, very important.”

—Erie Mayor Joe Schember, one of two Democratic Pennsylvania mayors seeking "immigrants to help reinvigorate their cities," PennLive reports

The moon over Harrisburg, via @yatsko. Have a Pennsylvania photo you want to share with the whole commonwealth? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

The dome of the state Capitol silhouetted against the moon.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.HIGH ANXIETY: Anxiety disorders accounted for nearly 40% of medical marijuana prescriptions in Pennsylvania in 2021, more than any other qualifying condition by far. Spotlight PA reports research that cannabis is an effective treatment remains limited and mixed.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.FAIR FUNDING: With Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro under pressure to address what a court deemed Pennsylvania's unconstitutional public school funding system, advocates on Thursday laid out their proposed fix and said they'll go back to court if they have to

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
CAPITOL BRIEFS: The son of state Sen. Sharif Street (D., Philadelphia) is charged with an assault at Philly Mayor Cherelle Parker's inauguration; and felony counts related to an eviction have been refiled against former state Rep. Rick Mirabito (D., Lycoming).
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.JAN. 6 SPEECH: President Joe Biden has moved his Jan. 6 attack-focused stump speech in Valley Forge up a day from Saturday to today. ABC News reports this weekend's impending winter storm was the reason given. The speech was previewed with this ad.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.CRIME DATA: Allegheny County recorded 102 homicides in 2023, the lowest number since 2019, reflecting a national trend. Business Insider reports a projected 13% drop in the national murder rate is historic and challenging anecdotal perceptions of rising crime.
Support vital journalism for Pennsylvania by donating to Spotlight PA today. The future of local news is in your hands.
🏆 NEXT QUESTION: Stay on top of the news this week? Prove it with the latest edition of The Great PA News Quiz: 2024 anxiety, minimum wage wave, 14th Amendment, and state lawmakers get a raise.
BIG BUTTER: This year's 1,000-pound Farm Show butter sculpture was unveiled Thursday. WGAL's Barbara Barr shared some snapshots.

SHAKE UP: Reminder, via Lancaster Farming, that the famous “Farm Show Milkshake” has spawned an ongoing three-way legal battle

TOLL HIKE: Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls go up this weekend for the 16th straight year. NBC10 breaks down the 5% hike.

WINTER WATCH: A winter storm will reach Pennsylvania this weekend. The heaviest snow is expected in the northeastern part of the state.

BAD DOG: Whatever your dog does wrong today, at least it didn't eat $4,000 in cash like this goldendoodle in Pittsburgh, via CNN.
Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Jan 13: 10 a.m.-noon at Exeter Public Library | Register Here
Jan 23: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Fleetwood Public Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
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. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.
Yesterday's answer: Deviation

Congrats to our daily winners: Vicki U., Bob C., Don H., Jane R., Barbara F., Jodi R., Keith W., Elaine C., Jon W., Marty M., Richard A., Beth H., Kimberly D., Dennis M., Rick W., Kim C., Jeannine P., Lynne E., Susan N.-Z., Alan B., Craig E., Stacy S., Stanley J., William Z., Carol S., Jody A., Wendy A., John P., Tom M., and Daniel M.
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