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Why unreliable water is plaguing this PA township

Plus, bellwether voters weigh in on Trump verdict.

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Monday, June 3, 2024
Today: Bad water, voters on the verdict, reduced rejections, free lunches, and the city Shapiro's tourism blitz forgot. Thanks for checking in.
A water utility company in rural Centre County continues to operate despite leaks, outages, low pressure, lengthy boil advisories, and crumbling infrastructure. 
A four-month Spotlight PA investigation found customers served by Rock Spring Water Company’s roughly 20-mile system have been failed by the company, state regulators, and elected officials. 
But customers fear a takeover of the shaky system would lead to significantly higher bills, and Spotlight PA reports that anxiety is not unfounded: A 2016 Pennsylvania law empowered private utility companies to pass acquisition costs to customers, resulting in major rate increases across the state.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: On any given day, this Pa. community might not have running water. Residents are at a loss.

“If it was the Bass Pro Shops outdoor show, it would still have the same impact on those businesses. And it would not be a lobbying agency that we’re giving money to.” 
—Democratic Dauphin County Commissioner Justin Douglas on his vote against putting $110,000 in county money toward the Great American Outdoor Show, $50,000 of which will go to the NRA; Douglas says the county has given the NRA and its consultants more than $1 million since 2014.
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Spotlight PA will soon launch a new weekly newsletter focused on caregiving and caregivers across Pennsylvania. Every Tuesday, "How We Care" will feature original reporting and perspectives on how we care for one another at all stages of life, the huge economic and policy questions ahead, and how it's affecting the lives of millions of people across the state. You can sign up for How We Care here.
Beltzville Lake, Carbon County, via Karen A. Have a photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
a person on a boat floats along a blue lake with green tree leaves framing the shot
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
POST-VERDICT: A dozen Republican-leaning women voters in bellwether Northampton County spoke to Reuters about whether former President Donald Trump’s hush-money conviction will affect their decision in November. Two said it made them rethink their choices for president. The rest called the trial a political witch hunt. Polling showed women were more likely than men to be swayed by the case.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
BALLOT ERRORS: Fewer Pennsylvania mail ballots were rejected in this primary following a redesign, but Votebeat and Spotlight PA report a new error is cropping up, and how counties respond could yield new litigation ahead of November. Some voters who dated the new envelopes left the year only partially filled in. Some counties rejected those ballots, while others, heeding state advice, accepted them.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
'FALSE REPORTS': The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, alleging the student aid organization illegally collects money borrowers do not owe and sends false information to credit reporting companies. The bureau says its lawsuit “seeks a stop to alleged unlawful conduct, redress for affected consumers," a civil monetary penalty, and more.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
FREE LUNCH: Activists are looking to relieve public school lunch debt in the district of state Sen. Lisa Boscola (D., Lehigh), the only Democrat in the upper chamber who didn’t co-sponsor a bill that sought to create a universal school meal program and cancel existing meal debt statewide, Lehigh Valley News reports. Boscola remains opposed: “My dad taught me long ago that there is no such thing as a free lunch."
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
LIVE HIT: A CNN Türk journalist says he was attacked while reporting live outside the Monroe County home of Turkish scholar and preacher Fethullah Gülen, who has been living in Pennsylvania in self-imposed exile since 1999, per The Guardian. Video of the incident was shared online Saturday. State police are investigating. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayip Erdogan, blamed Gülen for a failed coup in 2016.
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🤔 NEXT QUESTION: Are you on top of the news? Prove it with the latest edition of the Great PA News Quiz: Shapiro’s RV road trip, pronatalist politics, and ‘monopoly’ money.
DEMOLITION DELAY: Penn State University agreed to a one-month pause on demolition plans for a historic barn in Centre County to explore alternative solutions, the Centre Daily Times reports, via AOL.com. 
SCHOOL STATUS: In a surprise announcement, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts says it will close for good on Friday, WPVI reports. The art school had already admitted a new freshman class. Lots of questions remain. 
OFF THE MAP: The state Capitol was not on Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro’s 50-stop RV tour as he promoted Pennsylvania’s new tourism campaign and slogan, PennLive (paywall) reports. Neither was the capital city.
RIVER RESCUE: In an effort to clean up Philly rivers, local scientists are making their own mussels. A discovery has allowed them to double production of the natural filters, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.
DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES: The New York Times (paywall) profiled Bhutanese Americans in Pittsburgh, who gave their thoughts on the complexity of being labeled Asian Americans.
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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 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Friday's answer: Symphony

Congrats to our weekly winner: MaryLou P.

Congrats to our daily winners: Eric F., Beth H., Beth T., Bob C.,  mamba.lynxes0r., Helen N., Mark G., Susan R., Tracy S., Benjamin M., Sherri A., Mike B., Marc G., Jane R., Cynthia M., Gerry L., Susan H., Judith D., Kathleen B., Cecilia W., David T., Bruce B., Richard A., Ted W., Lynne E.,  Daniel M., Barbara F., Vicki U., Stacy S., Joyce C., Don H., Barbara G., Nan S., Jon W., Connie A. O., Karen K., Leslie B., Ellen G., Ada M., Georgann J., Marla C., Geoffrey M., Rick W., Kevin M., Cynthia B., Adrien M., Tom O., Jody A., Amelia M., Michael T., Theresa C., Elaine C., Deb W., Dan A., Mike H., Karen W., Linda G., Daniel S., David W., Stanley J., Elizabeth R., Mary S., Marie B., Wendy A., Craig E., Leann T., Karyl S., James D., Susan N.-Z., Tish M., Annette I., Richard P., Connie K., Ronnee G., Timothy A., Tom M., John P., Alan B., Peter K., Johnny C., David M., Jeffrey F., Sue87521., and Perry H..
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