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Gun reform urged on three-year mark of Pa. massacre

Plus, lawsuit claims Pa. county is ‘illegally jailing’ people.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 27, 2021
Tree of Life, donor guide, marathon meetings, sign language, probation pains, taxpayer-funded, and Pennsylvania versus the nation. It's Wednesday.

"That's great news. I feel I was treated unequally because I had a record."

—Joseph Sobolewski on the dismissal of a felony charge filed against him by Pennsylvania State Police after he underpaid 43 cents for a Mountain Dew
» 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.

If you value these voter resources, please make a tax-deductible contribution to Spotlight PA so we can keep them free and available to all every election season.
» SIGNED OFF: The FDA has greenlit Pfizer's vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, setting it up for final approval by the CDC as soon as next week, NPR reports.

» FACT-CHECK: USA Today fact-checkers say supply chain issues aren't being caused by vaccine mandates, despite what you may have seen on social media.

» MASK RULE: A group of parents and state Rep. Eric Nelson (R., Hempfield) have filed a lawsuit against several Westmoreland County school districts for complying with the state's mask mandate, per TribLIVE.

» MUSICAL CHAIRS: Some Pittsburgh Symphony musicians who haven't complied with the orchestra's vaccine mandate are being placed on leave, per the Post-Gazette.

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 oldest hemlock trees in Pa. as found in the Hammersley Wild Area of the Susquehannock State Forest. "We hiked there a few weeks ago. Heaven!" said PA Poster Kimberly D. Thanks for sharing! Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
MONEY TRAIL: Millions of dollars from special interests and political groups are pouring into the 2021 Pennsylvania Supreme Court election, a clear sign of the importance of the race and the potential future decisions that could hang in the balance. Here's a list of the donors who have given the most money to the candidates, via Spotlight PA.

NO DELIVERY: What was essentially a 14-day, 55-hour public hearing on a contested Amazon distribution center in Churchill has concluded, giving local officials 45 days to make their decision, TribLIVE reports. The project has been opposed by a vocal group of residents — some of whom are seeking elected office to thwart the retail giant's bid.

TRIGGER WARNING: A bystander who intervened during a shooting at Lancaster's Park City Center with a legal handgun of his own did so despite the mall's posted no-weapons policy. LancasterOnline took a look at the reach of such signs and found they have no real legal weight unless they're on property that is specifically off-limits under state law

PROBATION REFORM: An ACLU lawsuit accuses Montgomery County of illegally jailing people for months without hearings, often for minor probation violations, The Inquirer reports. The ACLU also weighed in on an unrelated push to overhaul Pennsylvania's probation system, saying a pending bill could actually make matters worse, per PennLive. 

BALLOT BLITZ: Johnstown used taxpayer money to urge "yes" votes on city-focused ballot questions going before voters on Nov. 2. Experts say it's unclear whether any violation occurred, but the move has critics — mostly along partisan lines, the Tribune-Democrat reports. 

FACEBOOK FILES: A monumental journalistic effort is underway as 17 competing news outlets team up to dissect thousands of pages of damning internal Facebook documents. It's an incredibly important (and incredibly large) public interest story. Poynter has an early roadmap.

COLA WARS: Philadelphia saw a 15% drop in teen soda drinking after the city's controversial tax on sugary drinks went into effect in 2017, a new study found. Billy Penn says some demographics saw even bigger drops.

BIRD'S EYE: Nesting season starts next month and the livestreamed eagles at Hanover's Codorus State Park will look crisper than before thanks to the installation of new, higher-def eagle cams, FOX 43 reports.  

PUT 'EM UP: Freddie Lenn — aka "Pittsburgh's Fighting Marine" — learned boxing from a South Side priest and went on to coach hundreds of boxers, including Muhammad Ali. KDKA-TV reports on his new history center nod.

VERSUS: Twitter's "2021 Gray Invitational" will crown a by-no-means-definitive "Best City in the U.S." and inevitably tear Pennsylvania apart

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:
 Food and drink
Yesterday's answer: Radicchio 

Congrats to our daily winners: Neal W., Becky C., Irene R., Susan N., Doris T., Elaine C., Wendy A., Michelle T., Myles M., Susan D., Judith D., Kevin M., Susan F., Patricia M., Cris S., Kimberly S., Kim C., Lynne E., George S., Don H., David W., Brandie K., James B., Elizabeth W., Dianne K., Craig E., Bill S., Tim B., Catherine J., Mike B., Skip B., David I., Bridget C., and Ann E.
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