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Teen in crisis had hands up when killed by police

Plus, Pa.'s highly paid lawmakers are getting a raise.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
November 18, 2021
Unredacted video, pay hikes, 'forever chemicals,' bail business, sworn oath, smallpox scare, and Lake Erie's 100-year parasite war. It's Thursday. 
Hey, it's Colin, your PA Post editor...

Today we have a new Spotlight PA investigation examining the killing of a teenager in crisis by Pennsylvania State Police. This story by my colleague Gary Harki took months of reporting and cost thousands of dollars to produce. What vital story will YOU help power next?

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We provide PA Post as a public service. If you value it, I'm asking you to help keep it going with a tax-deductible gift now. Your support means a lot to me personally and to our entire team.

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"This was a real lesson in Philadelphia civics and how Philadelphia government works — and it was appalling."

—A juror from the federal bribery trial of City Councilman Bobby Henon and labor leader John Dougherty that ended with convictions this week

We built Spotlight PA on the premise that Pennsylvanians will pay for unique, high-quality investigative and accountability journalism that holds our elected officials to account, keeps tabs on our tax dollars, and calls out wrongdoing.

Now, as 2021 comes to a close, we need your help to continue our work in 2022. Make a gift of any amount right now and as a special bonus, your contribution will be DOUBLED. Now is the time to join the fight for the truth.
» OPEN CALL: The FDA and CDC could authorize Pfizer booster shots for all adults as soon as this week, clearing the way for open eligibility in Pennsylvania, The New York Times reports.   

» COURT REVIEW: A Cincinatti court, chosen at random with ping-pong balls, will consider the fate of President Joe Biden's mandate that larger employers require worker vaccinations, the AP reports.

» NEW MEANING: The U.K. is planning to change its definition of "fully vaccinated" to include only those people who have received a booster shot. The U.S. is not expected to follow suit, Axios 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).
A fall morning in Boalsburg, Centre County. Thank you for the amazing art, Charlie D.! Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
PAY RAISE: Pennsylvania state lawmakers, judges, and top executive branch officials are due for big, inflation-driven pay hikes in 2022. For many of the positions, this is the biggest increase in three decades, the AP reports. The highest paid role, chief justice of the state Supreme Court, will get a salary bump of more than $12,000 to almost $234,000. The pay increase applies to more than 1,300 positions in total.

CHEMICAL CAPS: A Wolf administration push to further limit two forms of highly toxic "forever chemicals" in drinking water cleared a key regulatory hurdle this week, StateImpact reports. Approved by the state's Environmental Quality Board, the proposal would significantly lower the acceptable limit for two forms of toxic PFAS in all 3,117 of the state's water systems. Another regulatory board still needs to sign off.

BAIL BUSTERS: A fast-moving bill in Harrisburg would "virtually destroy" community bail funds in Pennsylvania by requiring licenses and fixed locations for the nonprofit groups. City Paper reports there are eight nonprofit bail funds statewide, with the ACLU warning all would essentially be eliminated if House Bill 2046 becomes law. Capital-Star reports a top bail industry advocate is lobbying lawmakers to pass the measure.

MILITIA MEN: WITF spoke to some of the dozens of Pennsylvania police officers and state constables who joined the far-right Oath Keepers militia. One, a Berks County constable, defended the group, which came under heightened scrutiny after the U.S. Capitol siege. Others, including Middlesex Township Police Officer Joseph Hallisey, gave their reasons for leaving. Hallisey said leadership "started going off the rails."

VIRAL LOAD: Frozen vials labeled "smallpox" — the deadly virus eradicated through mass vaccinations 40 years ago — were discovered by a Montgomery County lab worker in a vaccine research facility's freezer, CNN reports. The CDC says the vials appear intact and "there is no indication anyone was exposed." The CDC and FBI are investigating. 

HAZING 'TRIALS': Multiple students have been suspended and at least one expelled following a reported hazing incident at Tamaqua Area High School. WNEP reports the school board is expecting disciplinary hearings for the football players, who would "go on trial" before board members

SEA CHANGE: It's been 100 years since the parasitic invaders known as sea lamprey made their way into the Great Lakes, decimating fish populations for decades before scientists figured out how to stop the predators from spawning, TribLIVE reports.

BOARD WARS: Episode Two of The Daily's Bucks County-based school board wars coverage examines what's actually happening in classrooms as parents fight over COVID-19 rules and teachings on race.

HIGH TECH: The 71st annual meeting of Pennsylvania's Farm Bureau included a look at augmented reality technology that can be used to monitor crops, livestock, pests, and productivity, FOX43 reports.

OWN GOAL: The owner of the Boston Red Sox is in advanced talks to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, per multiple reports. The current owner, Penguins great Mario Lemieux, bought the franchise out of bankruptcy in 1999.

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.
Yesterday's answer: Unabashed

Congrats to our daily winners: Becky C., Susan N., Elaine C., Joyce O., Vicki U., Patricia M., Doris T., Kevin H., Don H., Craig E., Ted W., Michelle T., Irene R., Marty M., Mike B., Bruce T., Neal W., Kimberly S., Susan F., Beth T., Dan W., David I., Eddy Z., Heidi B., George S., Dianne K., Ronnee G., James B., Myles M., John F., Tim B., Jessica K., Bill S., David W., Johnny C., Elizabeth W., Bridget C., Steve D., John H., Kim C., and Laura B.
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