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Child care staffing crisis has parents scrambling

Plus, GOP candidate concedes Commonwealth Court race.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
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Your Postmaster: Stephen Kearse

November 24, 2021
Child care crunch, court winner, record homicides, autumn awe, potty maps,  wholesale heist, and 5-star Harrisburg vacations. Welcome to Wednesday.
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“I urge our folks at the state level to come to some sort of agreement to allow people to vote easily, provide the election integrity of the election process they want, but to give us tools.”

Allegheny County Board of Elections member Sam DeMarco, assessing the county’s election system
It's Thanksgiving week, and we want to know what you're thankful for this year. Tell us your reasons here and we'll share some of our favorite responses in the Thanksgiving Day edition of this newsletter. 'Tis the season.
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» DATA CRUNCH: Staffing shortages and outdated technology continue to hamper the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracking, The Inquirer reports.

» DARK DAY: As of early Tuesday, Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 33,000 people, PennLIVE 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).
More glorious fall foliage shot along the Eshenour Trail in Derry Township. Thanks for the photo, Robert N.  Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
FINAL WINNER: Republican Drew Crompton conceded the race for an open seat on Commonwealth Court to Democrat Lori Dumas as a mandatory recount wrapped up, the AP reports. As Spotlight PA previously reported, Dumas — currently a Common Pleas judge — will be one of two people of color serving on the state's appellate benches

BALLOT BLUNDER: In Berks County, Daniel Boone School Board candidate Caroline Brown didn’t find out she lost the seat she was running for until she emailed her presumed boss. The Reading Eagle reports how multiple mistakes by the Berks County Board of Elections produced the misleading result.

BIG PAYBACK: Threatening and unclear language in the Department of Labor and Industry’s accidental overpayment notices is intimidating Pennsylvanians who received unemployment benefits during the pandemic. WESA reports frustration and confusion among beneficiaries and their advocates.

ARPA AIMS: Officials in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton are weighing public input and fiscal priorities as they decide the future of funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. The Morning Call details the different ways the Lehigh Valley cities are considering putting the federal dollars to use, from expanding broadband to plugging budget holes.

DEATH WATCH: As the end of the year approaches, Philadelphia is on track to exceed 500 homicides, The Inquirer reports. The last time the grim tally was this high was in 1990, at the height of the crack-cocaine epidemic.
PENGUIN PROMISE: As negotiations continue on the pending Pittsburgh Penguins sale, Mayor Bill Peduto assured residents that the ownership change wouldn’t affect the hockey team’s legal commitments to the Hill District.

PA BOUNTY: Due to our state's robust local markets for Christmas trees, mushrooms, holiday spirits, and other goods, some shortages will likely be avoided this holiday season, the Pocono Record reports.

FOOD FRAUDSTER: Caesar DiCrecchio was sentenced to 10-plus years in federal prison for stealing $8 million from the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. The Inquirer reports prosecutors said the pilfered money went toward the former CEO's relatives, a summer home, and horse boarding.

TRIP TREND: For the first time, a Pennsylvania city has landed a coveted spot on vacation rental site Vrbo’s annual Travel Trend Report. Can you guess which? Hint: It’s home to an award-winning newsroom.

GOTTA GO: A Philadelphia data analyst has released Where2Go, an IOS app that maps public restrooms in the city and allows users to rate them. Roughly 200 people have downloaded it so far, Billy Penn reports.
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.
E T E L L I A L A T G 
Monday's answer: Mitochondrial

Congrats to our daily winners: Susan Z., Becky C., Craig, W., Neal W., Michelle T., Susan D., Keith F., Jessica K., Art W., Susan F., Vicki Y., Barbara O., Elaine, C., Christine M., Kim C., Myles M., Bill S., David I., Lynne E., Suzanne S., Jill A.-S., Joel S., and Craig E.
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