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|10 more years, private equity fail, park opposition grows, drug warnings, vaccines approved, criminal charges, and lanternfly damage.|
Pennsylvania is one of 11 states that uses retention elections to confirm a new judicial term, and depending on where they live, voters may be asked to cast at least two judicial retention votes Nov. 7.
Read Spotlight PA's full guide to the candidates up for Superior Court retention, the process, and why Pennsylvania voters have only ever rejected one appellate judge’s request for another 10-year term.
THE CONTEXT: Some voters will see county-level retention votes in this election (see if you're one of them here), while all voters statewide will be asked to consider additional 10-year terms for two people who sit on Superior Court: President Judge Jack Panella, elected as a Democrat in 2003, and Judge Vic Stabile, elected as a Republican in 2013.
On their records, Spotlight PA reports:
Recent opinions from Panella include one that upheld a more than thousand-year sentence against a man convicted of long-term child molestation whose attorneys argued he had dementia; one that found people who steal money from nonprofits aren’t shielded from restitution orders; and one that vacated gun and drug charges against rapper Meek Mill.
Stabile's recent decisions include one that reinstated charges against an engineer in a deadly Amtrak crash on procedural grounds; dissented in a decision that found Uber had not met the legal bar for requiring users to waive jury trials (also on procedural grounds); and wrote an opinion upholding a misdemeanor child endangerment conviction for former Penn State President Graham Spanier in relation to Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse.
|NOTABLE / QUOTABLE|
"Oh my god, really?! ... Please don't do it. Oh no. Oh no."
—U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) mocking the House GOP's opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden
|With a big election coming up and huge stakes in 2024, we can't afford a future in Pennsylvania without Spotlight PA. And we urgently need your help to make sure our vital investigative and public-service reporting can continue.|
The first 500 gifts of any amount made during our Fall Member Drive will be DOUBLED by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. This is a huge opportunity to leverage your gift and unlock HUGE matching support for Spotlight PA.
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|» Pa. delegation reacts to Biden impeachment push, via PoliticsPA|
» 911 call centers urge Pa. lawmakers to renew funding, via Capital-Star
» Who’s running for Pennsylvania attorney general?, via City & State
» Solomon undecided on Pa. House reelection, via @StephenJ_Caruso
» AIPAC ready to back Summer Lee challenger, via Jewish Insider
» Could you win in 2024? Play this campaign manager game, via Politico
|» CRIMINAL SOLUTION: Join Spotlight PA, the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and experts Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6-7:30 p.m. ET at Point Park University for a live discussion on how a Pennsylvania law traps people with mental health issues in jail. RSVP now; seating is limited. |
» STORY FEST: Spotlight PA is participating in Philly Story Fest, a first-of-its-kind festival that brings together storytellers from across the city on one stage. Join us Thursday, Oct. 5 from 7-10 p.m. at the Bok building in South Philadelphia (1901 South 9th St.). Tickets are $25 and available here.
» PATH TO EQUITY: Join Spotlight PA for its first in-person summit on Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg. Spotlight PA is co-presenting this event with Color & Culture, a Pennsylvania marketing firm. Tickets are on sale at this link until sold out.
|CAUTIONARY TALE: A private equity deal for a Pennsylvania hospital did not work out as planned. Seven years after a controversial California-based firm bought Delaware County Memorial Hospital, promising to right the cash-strapped ship, Bloomberg reports the hospital is closed, the firm is indebted, a lawsuit is looming, and private equity appears an increasingly unreliable last resort.|PARK PROBLEM: DRUG DEATHS: There have been nearly two dozen drug overdoses in Harrisburg since Friday, per WGAL, seven of them fatal. A suspected source is fentanyl-contaminated crack cocaine, but it's unclear what testing officials have done. Authorities are threatening homicide charges against dealers, though advocates say such charges instead deter people from calling for help when a companion overdoses.
A prime sponsor of the push to create Pennsylvania's first national park at the Delaware Water Gap has dropped out amid questions about indigenous representation
in the planning process and the potential mineral rights motives of the man spearheading the push, New Jersey's Sparta Independent newspaper reports.
COUNCILOR CHARGED: Luzerne County Councilor Stephen J. Urban is charged with misdemeanor counts of simple assault after allegedly chasing a 12-year-old in Kingston with a baseball bat, Times Leader reports. Urban is also charged with soliciting someone to alter, destroy, or conceal a record related to the pending investigation.
|NAZI MONUMENT: A 30-year-old monument to Nazis in Montgomery County will be covered up, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. The Ukrainian Catholic Church will temporarily cover up the tribute to Ukrainian soldiers who fought for Nazis and continue discussions with the community.|
POLICE SEARCH: Police on Tuesday defended their strategy in the ongoing search for Danelo Cavalcante, who was held at Chester County Prison on a murder conviction before escaping last month. Cavalcante remains at large, reportedly with a stolen rifle. Authorities have authorized lethal force.
PEGULA SUIT: A new lawsuit alleges Buffalo Bills owner and Penn State alumnus, trustee, and donor Terry Pegula used racist language while discussing Black players in the NFL with a reporter in 2020, via ESPN. Pegula has denied making the comment, calling the claim "absolutely false."
BAG RULES: Pittsburgh's ban on single-use plastic bags takes effect Oct. 14 after a six-month delay. WESA explains how it will work, what paper bags will cost, and where the only exceptions will be made.
BALLOON BAN: With Pittsburgh's bag ban in mind, Plum resident Susan Stone wants polluting balloon releases barred statewide next, KDKA-TV reports, reminding us of the real Mistake by the Lake in 1986.
Unscramble and send your answer to email@example.com. 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
L I A M N E I P Y R RYesterday's answer: Planetarium
Congrats to our daily winners: Becky C., Stacy S., Richard A., Jon W., Kimberly D., Barbara F., Don H., Elaine C., John E., Susan N.-Z., David W., Craig E., Dennis M., Joel S., and Wendy A.