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Pa. city manager stole $620k in public funds, AG says

Plus, a complete guide to the Pa. Supreme Court candidates.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
SCOPA seat, under questioning, tech giants, official charges, self-identified, big spending, and a dry Pennsylvania debate. Thanks for checking in.
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During Pennsylvania’s primary election in May, Democrats and Republicans will choose their parties’ nominees to fill a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Democrats will have two candidates to choose between. Deborah Kunselman and Daniel McCaffery both serve on Superior Court — another appellate bench — and are both highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Republicans will also see two names on their ballots. Carolyn Carluccio is a Common Pleas judge who is highly recommended by the bar association. Patricia McCullough, a Commonwealth Court judge, was not recommended by the group during her 2021 run and has not responded to a questionnaire this time around.

Read the full report: A complete guide to the candidates for state Supreme Court.

THE CONTEXT: Pennsylvania elects its Supreme Court justices in statewide partisan contests. The winners of the May 16 primary will compete during the Nov. 7 general election.

The state’s primaries are closed, meaning only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote for candidates during these spring contests. (Unaffiliated and third-party voters can, however, vote on ballot questions and other referendums during a primary.)

In the coming weeks, Spotlight PA will also publish a guide to the races for Commonwealth and Superior courts. We will also let you know how to vet other candidates, request a mail ballot, and more. 


"There are some surprising things in this report ... the story is so often what we are not doing (right) but this is what we are doing."

—State Sen. Art Haywood (D., Philadelphia), whose State of Black Pennsylvania Report found higher median incomes and educational attainment but also declines in homeownership and an uptick in hate crimes
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UNEQUAL ELECTIONS: Join us and a panel of election experts on Thursday, March 30 from 6-7 p.m. on Zoom for a free discussion on unequal voting policies in the state, how they impact voters, and possible solutions. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
First day of spring in Sunbury, via Kimberly F. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
Pink tree blossoms against a pink brick wall.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.CEO QUESTIONS: Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw appeared before a Pennsylvania state Senate committee on Monday to answer questions about last month's train derailment in eastern Ohio and the "controlled release" of toxic chemicals that followed. PennLive reports Shaw's answers left legislators frustrated. State Sen. Katie Muth (D., Montgomery) said of the testimony: "We got nothing, no information."

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.SOCIAL SUITS: Bucks County is suing the world's biggest social media apps over worsening teen mental health. The suit, filed last week in California, follows a similar one from two Seattle-area school districts. Pittsburgh Public Schools plans to do the same. On Monday, state Rep. Rob Mercuri (R., Allegheny) announced an unrelated push to let parents request the deletion of a child's account.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.FRAUD CASE: DuBois City Manager John "Herm" Suplizio has been arrested for using $620,815 from city bank accounts and the United Way to pay his credit card bills, make political donations, and gamble, per the Pennsylvania AG's Office. Suplizio, who ran for former state Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati's seat in 2020 with Scarnati's blessing, is also accused of benefiting from city contracts.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.ID CRISIS: A rising star in Philadelphia advocacy circles, Raquel Evita Saraswati told everyone she was of Latino, Arab, and/or South Asian descent. The Inquirer (paywall) reports Saraswati's colleagues at a Quaker organization are challenging the claim, shaking her supporters. Saraswati's biological mother, Carol Perone, told the Intercept last month: "I’m as white as the driven snow and so is she." 

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.DEFENSE FEES: The Central Bucks School District has spent at least $250,000 since May on public relation and law firms amid a deluge of criticism and legal challenges involving anti-LGBTQ policies, WHYY reports. The station says the full amount is likely much higher. Some of the billable work started before related contracts were voted on during public meetings, raising public interest concerns.

17 YEARS LATER: Han Woo Lee had only been in the U.S. a few months when he was shot during a store robbery in Harrisburg in 2005. On Saturday, after 17 years in a resulting coma, he died, PennLive (paywall) reports.

NO QUARTER: Mike Strausbaugh has been living on the streets of Red Lion off and on for a decade. YDR (paywall) reports the town's mayor is removing benches and hanging signs to discourage people from helping him

SINKHOLE SOS: State Rep. Scott Conklin (D., Centre) says $180,000 in state grants will help those impacted by a Christmastime sinkhole in Patton Township that left residents facing a mountain of unexpected costs.

LAST OF US: Congratulations to Pennsylvania for having some of the best malls in the country to ride out a zombie apocalypse in

IT'S A LOCK? @ettingermentum posted a Twitter poll asking "Is Pennsylvania landlocked?" The result was razor thin and the replies extra-combative

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. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Mercurial

Congrats to our daily winners: Vicki U., Ted W., Jody A., Kimberly D., Richard A., Ada M., Daniel M., Jane R., Eric F., Craig W., Jon W., Fran B., Wendy A., Carol S., Dan A., Susan N.-Z., Michelle T., Tracy S., Marty M., Don H., Starr B., Elaine C., Susan D., John F., Kim C., John P., Patricia R., Dennis M., James B., Lisa H., Dianne K., Barbara F., Myles M., Bill S., Karen W., Michael P., Carolyn R., David W., and William Z.
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