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Town helped by Harrisburg after years of hardship

Plus, GOP lawmakers want probe of harassment complaint in governor's office.

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Friday, October 13, 2023
In today's edition: united cause, inquiry calls, probation loophole, increased benefits, city appeal, and U Penn criticism. It's finally the weekend!

Republican state Sen. Cris Dush and Democratic state Rep. Paul Takac have found common ground in serving Snow Shoe, a rural community that has lost its only grocery store, pharmacy, and medical center in recent years.

According to local officials, Harrisburg didn’t offer much support in the past. But the new attention has them hopeful that longstanding problems can finally be addressed.

Read Spotlight PA’s full report: Rural Pa. town gets help from Harrisburg after years of hardship.

THE CONTEXT: Dush and Takac became responsible for Snow Shoe following the latest redrawing of political maps, which happens once a decade. The community previously was represented by state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, a Republican who now represents Clinton and Union Counties, and former Republican state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman.

Local officials say the change in representation is already reaping rewards in the form of help securing grants for development and funding for local infrastructure projects.

Takac hopes to tackle more issues and show residents they have an advocate.

“This is an enormous opportunity and a privilege to be able to show that there are people who are interested in wanting to help, that there are programs, there is funding, there are opportunities to improve the quality of life for the residents in those areas," the first-term lawmaker told Spotlight PA. 


“We have had enough blood, enough tears, enough killing, enough crying. There are children under that rubble. There is suffering and pain. Don’t dehumanize it.”

Nagi Latefa of Philly on the Israel-Gaza war, in which his cousin was killed; The Inquirer heard from residents with loved ones caught in the conflict
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The American Treasure Tour Museum in Oaks, Pa., via Amy Z. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

mini figurines piled on top of each other in a display
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.RESIGNATION REVIEW: Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers want an investigation of the Shapiro administration’s handling of sexual harassment claims involving Mike Vereb, a former top aide, KDKA reports. One lawmaker accused Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro of knowing about the situation and not addressing it. Spotlight PA reported on the resignation and the accusations last month. 

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.ON PROBATION: When restitution is a condition of probation, failing to pay can be considered a violation and lead to probation being extended. PublicSource reports how one Allegheny County man was able to avoid an extension under a 2022 state court ruling that found an outstanding restitution balance does not necessarily amount to a violation. But advocates say Allegheny County doesn’t always follow the precedent.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.SPORTS TAX: A court case examining whether a Pittsburgh tax on athletes is constitutional kicked off this week in Commonwealth Court, TribLIVE reports. The fee imposes a 3% tax on professional athletes and entertainers performing in publicly funded facilities. Multiple players associations filed a lawsuit contesting the tax in 2019, and an Allegheny County court ruled in their favor, but the city appealed.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.BENEFIT CHANGES: Following an annual evaluation, Pennsylvanians will see changes in SNAP benefits and income limits, WTAJ reports. The changes raise the maximum gross monthly income limit and the maximum Thrifty Food Plan benefit amount, which are determined by household size and other factors. An estimated 1.88 million Pennsylvanians receive SNAP, according to the Department of Human Services.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.OPEN LETTER: Apollo CEO and Wharton board chair Marc Rowan wants two University of Pennsylvania officials to resign for not taking a stronger stance against antisemitism following Israel being attacked by Hamas, Insider reports. Rowan’s letter criticized the school’s hosting of the Palestine Writes Literature Festival and asked major donors to donate $1 rather than their usual contribution. The festival has said it does not embrace antisemitism.
🏆 SEVEN FOR THE WEEK: Did you stay on top of Pennsylvania news this week? Prove it by answering seven questions in the latest edition of the Great PA News Quiz: Shapiro's climate quandary, election FAQs, and Stoneman Willie's name.
SHOOTING UPDATE: State Police confirmed a confrontation preceded the gunshots that killed one person and injured eight people at a party inside an Indiana County community center on Sunday, the AP reports. 

MAIL MISHAP: Lancaster County acknowledged that it sent out faulty instructions for mail ballots last week and clarified how the ballots should be returned, via LNP. The error could have resulted in ballots not being counted.

MOVIE MILESTONE: Philly-based org Reelblack, which celebrates and archives rare Black films, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Billy Penn details the group’s origins and impact.

LATE NIGHT: U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently to discuss his mental health journey, disability advocacy, and the updated Senate dress code. 

CONCERT FILM: Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift’s iconic Eras Tour premiered on the big screen last night, and the reviews are glowing
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