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Everything you need to know to vote in November

Plus, fires and destruction inside Philly’s troubled jails.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 18, 2021
Election plan, 'ongoing crisis,' in custody, split vote, money race, forced relocations, and Biden's graffiti highway. It's Monday. Welcome to the week.

"Although it occurred long ago, I still live with the fear, pain, and shame every day of my life."

—Lili Bernard filing a civil suit against Bill Cosby for an alleged 1990 rape months after Pennsylvania's Supreme Court freed him from prison
COVID-19 NEWS: An FDA panel has recommended both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots; a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's state prison guard vaccine mandate has been tossed; Penn State research says a simple saliva test could predict COVID-19 severity in kids; pandemic-induced demand is straining UPMC therapists; and Geisinger hospitals won't perform transplants on the unvaccinated. 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).
» THE JUDICIAL VOTE: Join us Thursday, Oct. 21 at noon EST via Zoom for a free breakdown and Q&A on who will be on the ballot this November and how voters will decide the future of Pennsylvania's courts. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
Serenity now, via Swatara Falls in Schuylkill County. Thanks for the moment of zen, @yatskoSend us your zen gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
JAIL BREAK: Log entries from inside a Philadelphia prison, obtained by The Inquirer, describe the runup to what officials say was a riot involving almost 90 incarcerated men who broke out of their cells and took over a housing unit. The paper calls it the latest in a series of disturbances inside city jails this year and a "manifestation of an ongoing crisis."

FATAL CONTACT: The death of a man in Pittsburgh police custody last week has prompted protests, vigils, and an ongoing use-of-force inquiry, WTAE reports. Police shocked Jim Rogers, a 54-year-old Black man, with a Taser while responding to a reported bicycle theft. Police say Rogers was "noncompliant," but witnesses disagree. 

VOTE OUT: The group representing Pennsylvania school boards is ditching its national counterpart over a request for federal help to address threats against members, Keystone Crossroads reports. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association took issue with the national organization's ask, saying it cast parents as "domestic terrorists."

DONOR CLASS: Sean Parnell is the only candidate for U.S. senator from Pennsylvania with former President Donald Trump's backing. But he isn't the top fundraiser in the GOP primary, the AP reports, raising questions about Trump's sway. Elsewhere, WESA looks at how many donations in the race actually belong to the voters who will decide it.

EMINENT DOMAIN: An estimated 200 residents and businesses could be impacted by PennDOT's widening of I-83 in York County, with some losing a strip of land and others forced to relocate entirely, York Daily Record reports. Construction is due to start in 2023. Owners will receive fair market value for their properties, officials say.
ROAD RAGE: Vulgar graffiti directed at President Joe Biden was scrawled along a Lackawanna County highway recently named in the Scranton native's honor, per The Morning Call. PennDOT quickly painted over it.

BAD NEWS: The Atlantic's deep-dive into Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund known for gutting U.S. newsrooms, includes cautionary tales from Pennsylvania where resistance was mounted and overcome.

THE CALLING: Happy birthday to Madeline Buchek, a 103-year-old from Greensburg who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and served as a telephone switchboard operator until its end, TribLIVE reports.

COUNT DOWN: Pennsylvania placed the northern goshawk — a reclusive forest dweller — on its list of endangered species last month. But The Inquirer reports one "self-professed rebel of the falconry world" is pushing back.

STRIKE WATCH: A strike that would have halted film and television shoots in places like Pittsburgh nationwide has been averted with the union representing some 60,000 industry workers announcing a last-minute deal.

Update: A Pittsburgh City Paper article about anti-eviction activist and candidate for constable Jacob Klinger, shared in this space on Friday, has been updated to note an ongoing criminal case against him.

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.
Friday's answer: Proselytize 

Congrats to our weekly winner: Bill S.

Congrats to our daily winners: Susan F., Barbara F., Neal W., Doris T., Michelle T., Don H., Ted W., Irene R., Al M., Heidi B., Susan D., Elizabeth W., George S., John F., Becky C. (left off Friday's list), Elaine C., Tim B., John P., Tish M., Bridget C., Judith D., Dianne K., Kimberly S., Eddy Z., Kyle C., Craig E., David W., and Myles M.
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