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A $5.6M plan to get more dairy farmers risk insurance

Plus, Shapiro's all-of-the-above energy approach.

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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

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Today: Slim margins, Shapiro's energy approach, East Palestine whistleblower, McCormick pledge, financial aid crisis, and from pet shelter to Westminster.

The dairy business is a tough one, and Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro wants millions of dollars in funding to help farmers mitigate the risk. 

Shapiro's latest budget pitch includes $5.6 million to create a state subsidy that would lessen sign-up costs for a federal program that gives farmers direct payments to help them deal with volatile milk and feed prices.

Pennsylvania has 4,940 dairy farms. Of those, 1,778 are enrolled in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Protection Program, which made $102 million in payments statewide last year.

Butler County dairy farmer William Thiele said some farmers don’t want government support, while others might not know the program exists.

Pennsylvania state Reps. Emily Kinkead (D., Allegheny) and Marci Mustello (R., Butler) are looking to Minnesota as a model for legislation that would enable Shapiro's ask. But while agriculture investments have received bipartisan support in Harrisburg, total spending is already raising hackles.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Pa. dairy farmers could see financial boost from Shapiro’s proposed subsidy program.


"I will tell you very candidly that parent was me acting as a disgusted father."

—Matthew Gelazela, president of York County's South Western School Board, revealing himself as the true source of a complaint that led to a book ban
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Near the King's Gap Environmental Education Center in Cumberland County, via Tim P. Have a photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
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Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
ALL OF THE ABOVE: Gov. Shapiro's approach to energy policy aims to win over environmentalists and organized labor. “It is a false choice to say we have to choose between protecting our planet and protecting our jobs,” he's fond of saying. Politico reports success could be pivotal for his party's ambitions and certainly his own.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.FLIGHT DELAY: A whistleblower tells the AP that a high-tech federal plane could have prevented last year's controlled burn at the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, steps from the Pennsylvania border, but it only arrived a day after the operation. The whistleblower says officials then asked for the flight plans to be backdated.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
SENATE STOP: GOP U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick, who is narrowly trailing incumbent Democrat Bob Casey in the polls, was in Lancaster County on Tuesday, where he vowed to serve no more than two six-year terms if elected and called for the Department of Energy to be relocated from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
FAFSA CRISIS: This year's federal college aid crisis has prompted the ouster of a Biden administration official and deep uncertainty among graduating Pennsylvania high schoolers. PublicSource reports 15,000 fewer students here completed applications by the end of April, a shift with implications for them and enrollment figures.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
J6 SENTENCE: One of the longest sentences for a Jan. 6 defendant is being sought for a Lebanon County man prosecutors say was involved in more U.S. Capitol breaches than almost anyone else that day. PennLive reports prosecutors are seeking nearly 12 years in prison for Leo Brent Bozell IV when he's sentenced Friday.
UNDER ARREST: A man accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Gettysburg College student in 2013 and taunting her with a message reading "So I raped you" has been detained in France after a three-year search, the AP reports. Extradition proceedings are pending for Ian Thomas Cleary, 31.

SUDDEN CANCELLATION: Pittsburgh's Sudden Little Thrills music festival is suddenly over. Organizers say the event won't happen this year due to "circumstances beyond our control." Refunds are being issued.

UNFAIR CATCH: @tdhagerty recalls the story of B.F. Hicks, who during a baseball game between Pittsburgh-area railroad workers in 1906 managed to catch a fly ball despite being hit and killed by a train in the process. 

MIGHTY EIGHTH: World War II veteran John Homan of State College has a new book about his time with "the Mighty Eighth Air Force." It also covers his strong feelings about the U.S. Capitol siege 80 years after.

MR. MILES: A rescue dog that sat unwanted in an Erie County animal shelter is a star of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show's agility competition this year, The New York Times reports, via Yahoo.
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