Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Broad support for school masks as challenges mount

Plus, Pa. Supreme Court attack ad gets a last-minute edit.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 29, 2021
Mask fans, attack ads, Dem divide, truancy push, TikTok time, court ruling, and Pennsylvania's own 'Whozeewhatzit.' It's Friday. Happy Halloweekend.

"Juvenile delinquents don't get to hug their parents goodbye." 

—A quote attributed to former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, a key player in the "Kids for Cash" scandal, during his ongoing civil damages trial

» 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.
» HIGHER RISK: The CDC has linked mental health conditions, including depression and schizophrenia, to more severe COVID-19 risks, increasing the number of people eligible for booster shots, Cox Media Group reports.

» HOME CARE: Three states — New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts — will limit nursing home profits in an effort to improve care after the pandemic revealed a host of problems in such facilities, KHN reports.

» GENERIC AID: A cheap antidepressant may reduce severe COVID-19 disease, CNN reports, citing a trial involving roughly 1,500 people in Brazil.

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).
A gorgeous autumn day at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Thanks for the photo, Roger C.! Send us your gems, use the hashtag #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
AD SWITCH: GOP Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate Kevin Brobson has edited an attack ad against his Democratic opponent that drew a stern rebuke from the state bar association's Judicial Campaign Advertising Committee. Democrat Maria McLaughlin's campaign says that the ad — even in its revised form — is a "baseless attack."

CLIMATE SHIFT: Attorney General and Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro appears lukewarm on a cornerstone of the current Democratic governor's climate change plan: the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Capital-Star says union-backed Shapiro isn't embracing the push, but it's unclear what might happen if he's elected.

TRUANCY CASES: Pittsburgh Public Schools sent nearly 1,000 students to truancy court during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as lawmakers and experts urged leniency, PublicSource reports. District officials describe a complex "balancing act," while student advocates describe a system with built-in biases exacerbated by pandemic disruptions.

TIK-TALK: Pennsylvania's beleaguered state-run university system is turning to TikTok in a bid to communicate with students about big changes coming to the 14-school network, including contested mergers that are now underway. The Post-Gazette called the announcement a "whimsical aside" in an otherwise grim state legislative hearing.

SUSPENDED: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has suspended the law license of Somerset County District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas one month after Thomas was charged with sexually assaulting a woman in her Windber home. The Tribune-Democrat reports the temporary ruling does not remove Thomas from office or impact his $185,000 annual salary.
LINGO LOW: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), whose last mention of Pittsburgh revealed a county executive's double life, has again incurred the region's online wrath — this time for misusing a Pittsburghese pronoun while lampooning pronoun guidance from the region's largest university.

KEYSTONE KANDY: Fill that trick-or-treat bowl with Pennsylvania-made confections this year. Pittsburgh City Paper has 25 options, including the delicious-sounding and phonetically challenging "Whozeewhatzit." 

LIGHT UP: Scranton's "Electric City" sign is electrified once again. The owner said he couldn't afford the bill and the sign went dark. Then a local bank offered to pick up the tab for a year, WNEP reports.

PIC TRICK: Harrisburg looks ... different in this photo of the Pennsylvania State Capitol shared by NPR's Scott Detrow. Spoiler: It's actually the Vatican, where Detrow is reporting on President Joe Biden's visit.

SPOT ON: Who wore it better: State Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) or a spotted lanternfly? You be the judge.
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: Absinthe

Congrats to our daily winners: Susan F., Michelle T., Al M., Becky C., Lynne E., Barbara F., Bridget C., Susan D., Neal W., Don H., Doris T., Vicki U., Craig W., Diane P., Elaine C., Myles M., Carol D., Heidi B., Kimberly S., Kim C., James B., George S., Joel S., Dianne K., Brandie K., Tim B., Michael H., Bill S., Susan N., David W., Beth T., Craig E., Jill A., and Elizabeth W.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Chip in to support local journalism.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
225 Market St., Suite 502A
Harrisburg, PA 17101

You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, which has combined with Spotlight PA to create Pennsylvania's largest statewide newsroom dedicated to accountability journalism.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.