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Plus, Pa. lawmaker named in 'slush fund' complaint.


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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

November 2, 2021
Voter prep, Senate stipend, unanswered questions, ethics complaint, and Four Seasons Total Landscaping: The Movie. It's Tuesday and Election Day.
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"It just got worse and worse."

—Laurie Snell, estranged wife of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sean Parnell, alleging he was physically and verbally abusive. Parnell denies the claims.
Good morning reader,

Every year, Election Day is a reminder of the importance of fact-based, nonpartisan journalism to inform, equip and empower voters.

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— Christopher Baxter, Editor in Chief
» 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.
» PTO: The Wolf administration is offering five days of paid leave to state employees who get fully vaccinated by the end of the year, the AP reports. 

» MUST-HAVES: Pittsburgh will require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 22, WESA reports, while the University of Pittsburgh will require vaccines for all students and staff by Dec. 6.

» DATA REPORTS: Pennsylvania nursing homes are no longer required to report COVID-19 case and death numbers to the state, WPXI reports, ending a troubled data collection program and defaulting to the federal government's.

» 'FIRST TO WORST': Neighboring West Virginia's vaccine effort has gone from first in the nation to worst in the nation. The AP explains how.

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
The cloudy skies in Slippery Rock finally let up, highlighting these beautiful fall leaves! Thanks for the photo, John S. Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
CAMPAIGN CASH: State Sen. David Argall (R., Schuylkill) is heading up the influential Senate Republican Campaign Committee and earning a $1,000 monthly stipend in the process. The Caucus explains why one watchdog group is calling the deal "untoward and unjustifiable."

PROBE FINDS: Questions remain about who authorized a probe of 2020 election results in rural Fulton County and who paid for it. Capital-Star reports on records confirming the involvement of two state Republican lawmakers, but says further revelations might be decided in court.

'SLUSH FUNDS': U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Butler) is one of three federal lawmakers hit with an ethics complaint over spending habits that experts say circumvent legal limits, the Post-Gazette reports. Meanwhile, a stock buy by Kelly's wife has spurred an ethics probe of its own.

EVICTION BAN: Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has denied a bid to extend a now-expired eviction moratorium in Allegheny County amid a slow-moving local rent relief program, WESA reports. The high court extended Philadelphia's eviction diversion program one week ago.

CRISIS CONTROL: Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle has settled lawsuits brought by Ohio counties that blame the grocery/pharmacy chain for fueling the opioid epidemic. Giant Eagle denied causing the crisis but acknowledged its severity. Settlement terms weren't released. 

TEAM RULES: November is Native American Heritage Month and state Rep. Chris Rabb (D., Philadelphia) plans to introduce a bill banning Native American mascots in Pennsylvania schools, telling CBS21 there are roughly 60 schools here still using related names, imagery, and even epithets.

MISSING PERSON: Intense media attention around the death and disappearance of Gaby Petito, a white woman, stood in sharp relief to similar cases involving women of color. City Paper reports Pittsburgh artist Tonee Turner, who has been missing since 2019, is yet another example. 

JOB STARTER: An "alternative gasoline company" is looking to build a plant in Luzerne County that they say would create 4,000 new jobs. Per PennLive, state Senator John Yudichak (I., Luzerne) noted: "We have not seen that kind of investment in northeastern Pennsylvania. It's historic."

COMPANY TOWN: Following the September death of John Rigas, the formerly imprisoned CEO whose cable empire in rural Potter County imploded under a federal fraud case, it's worth revisiting a pre-pandemic report by WGRZ on Coudersport's reckoning with its "Adelphia scars."  

GARDEN CLIP: If you're Philadelphia's Four Seasons Total Landscaping, you dress up as the Four Seasons Hotel for Halloween. You also get a documentary about that time the Trump campaign famously mistook the two (or did it?). That film is set to premiere this week, per PhillyVoice.

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
Yesterday's answer: Funicular (aka inclines, like those in Pittsburgh and Johnstown; see also: Pavarotti's favorite mode of transit)

Congrats to our daily winners: Joel B., Neal W., Doris T., Irene R., Judith D., Becky C., Gail D., Jessica K., Craig W., Keith F., Beth T., Mike B., Susan D., G. Andev, Susan N., Michelle T., Barbara O., Doris B., Elaine C., Kim C., Lynne E., Patricia M., Heidi B., Linda D., Gina L., Janet C., Don H., Kimberly S., Joel S., Wendy A., Elizabeth W., Laura W., David W., Evann G., Kimberly B., James B., Fred O., Diane P., Dianne K., Alan V., Sandra S., Lewis M., Sherri G., George S., Eddy Z., Bill S., Dan W., Ann E., John F., John A., Vicki U., Cathy S., and Myles M.
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