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Secret Pa. rally drew noted white supremacists

Plus, ACLU challenges ICE deal for rural Pa. prison.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Sponsored by Gamut Theatre
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

November 1, 2021
White nationalists, election prep, swing counties, job loss, private business, and a close call with a SEPTA strike. It's Monday. Welcome to November.
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"Mayor Doss' actions ... were extremely unprofessional, dangerous, rude, and did not represent the City of Farrell and the City of Farrell employees."

—A letter from a police union criticizing Farrell Mayor Kimberly Doss' actions at the scene of a July active shooter call involving her nephew
Today, we're kicking off our biggest challenge in Spotlight PA history.

If we raise $70,000 by the end of this year, a handful of local supporters have pledged to DOUBLE it. That means if you contribute to Spotlight PA now, it will be matched dollar for dollar, powering our vital journalism into 2022.

Make a tax-deductible gift and start this campaign with a bang »

Next year will be pivotal to the state's future, beginning with the high-stakes race for governor. We need Spotlight PA's independent, nonpartisan journalists standing guard to cut through the lies and spin and deliver the truth.

Our end-of-year fundraising campaign is our most important of the year, and we want to prove how much Pennsylvanians value Spotlight PA's work. Make a gift now and don't miss this special opportunity to double your impact.
» A COMPLETE GUIDE to the Nov. 2 election in Pennsylvania, including how to find your polling place, mail ballot details, who's on the ballot, and more.

» A SPECIAL GUIDE to who's running in the state Supreme Court election and other significant appellate court races

» A BASIC GUIDE to vetting your local candidates in Pennsylvania's 2021 school board elections, which are receiving renewed attention this year.

» A FREE PANEL on the election and why it matters — watch it here.
» CHILD SHOTS: Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 now has emergency authorization from the FDA, and if the CDC gives final clearance this week, shots could roll out almost immediately. 

» FALSE REPORT: Two Lancaster police officers were fired for submitting forged COVID-19 vaccination cards, LancasterOnline reports. The city does not mandate vaccines for employees but strongly encourages them.

» GAME RULES: Philadelphia School District students playing interscholastic sports will need to be fully vaccinated unless approved for medical or religious exemptions, CBS3 reports.

» COVID-19 COMPLICATIONS: GOP candidate for Allegheny County Council Joe Wise died from COVID-19 complications days before the election, City Paper reports. Wise's name will still appear on ballots.

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).
» CANNABIS CONUNDRUM: Join us Thursday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. EST via Zoom for a free Q&A on cannabis as a treatment for opioid use disorder, the debate in the medical community, and a look at what the research says. Register here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
All aboard the Fall Foliage Express in picturesque Jim Thorpe, Carbon County. Thanks for tagging us, @pabucketlist! Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
ELECTION EVE: Tomorrow is Election Day in Pennsylvania. Polls will be open. The stakes will be high. Get ready quickly with help from Spotlight PA's last-minute guide. It has tips on browsing your ballot in advance and casting it. It also has handy breakdowns of the races for key posts on Pennsylvania's high courts — and the money pouring in.

BELLWETHER REPORT: The Inquirer says some of tomorrow's local elections in Pennsylvania may hold national clues for Democrats and Republicans ahead of 2022's midterms. The paper singles out contests in Northampton and Erie Counties, the only two in the state that voted twice for Obama, flipped to Trump, and then back to Biden.

LAYOFF NOTICE: Twenty-five professors at two Pennsylvania state universities slated for consolidation received notice that their jobs are in jeopardy. The Express reports the layoff notices went out to faculty at Lock Haven and Mansfield universities. Lock Haven University officials say they're looking for alternatives and fallback openings at the school.

PRISON PLAN: A plan to turn a former prison near Philipsburg into a migrant detention facility for ICE has drawn a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union. Centre Daily Times reports the ACLU accuses Clearfield County commissioners of violating the Sunshine Act in their bid to repurpose the former Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility.

DRUG CHARGE: A California man charged with supplying the drugs that killed Pittsburgh native and musician Mac Miller is expected to plead guilty and earn up to a 17-year prison sentence, NBC News reports. Such charges have become increasingly common and controversial. Last year, WESA reported Pennsylvania levied them more than any other state.
SEPTA DEAL: A strike by some 5,000 unionized SEPTA workers has been narrowly avoided with a tentative agreement announced Friday, WHYY reports. A SEPTA spokesperson said wage gains, a one-time pandemic payment, and paid parental leave are all in the deal.

IN MEMORIAM: Jean Twardzik, one half of the couple behind the famed Mrs. T's pierogi brand, has died in Pottsville at the age of 90, her obituary confirms. Jean's husband, Theodore Twardzik, died in 2016. Their son, state Rep. Tim Twardzik (R., Schuylkill), said "she will be deeply missed." 

POPULAR VOTE: The "2021 Gray Invitational" results are in and Pittsburgh is a better city than Philly — winning a head-to-head matchup by 22 votes out of 5,479 cast. Pittsburgh remains a "Best City in America" contender. 

CLOUT CHASE: Pennsylvania's Voter Hall of Fame honors thousands of people who have voted in every November election for at least 50 straight cycles. You could be one of them. Keep the streak going tomorrow.

TREE TRIP: When President Joe Biden lights the National Christmas Tree near the White House this year, he'll be lighting a 28-and-a-half-foot, three-decade-old tree from Snyder County, WBRE/WYOU report.
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: Transportation
Friday's answer: Smorgasbord

Congrats to our weekly winner: Bruce T.

Congrats to our daily winners: Neal W., Wendy A., Barbara F., Michelle T., Doris T., Joel S., Susan D., David I., Susan N., Don H., Irene R., Susan F., Becky C., Vicki U., Eric E., Kim C., Kimberly S., Mark C., George S., Dianne K., Craig W., David W., Elaine C., Tim B., James B., Brandie K., Bill S., Rick D., Lynne E., Judith D., James B., Bridget C., Elizabeth W., Daniel M., and Helen M.
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