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

PA drug law hinders opioid recovery efforts

Plus, a viral cheesesteak fanatic from Tokyo visits Philly

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

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

Monday, February 5, 2024
Today: Legal struggles, fundraising report, addiction settlement, tax promise, presidential polling, the brotherly bop, and cheesesteak tourism. 

Pennsylvania is among the states receiving billions of settlement dollars from drug companies that allegedly fueled the opioid epidemic. Some of that money is meant to go toward expanding syringe services, but Pennsylvania’s drug paraphernalia law is hindering that effort.

Kim Botteicher, who supports syringe services, and runs a nonprofit that helps people in addiction and recovery find long-term treatment and housing, is feeling that crunch. 

She was expecting $150,000 in opioid settlement funding from Westmoreland County officials for her nonprofit, but the money was pulled because of concerns about the state law. She’s now left to fill the funding hole and is calling on lawmakers to update the statute. 

Read Spotlight PA's full report: PA opioid settlement money: Syringes lead to $150K cut


“It’s really difficult for a community that’s always been told, ‘This is what money smells like.”
Clairton resident Melanie Meade on the long history of grassroots monitoring of pollution from Clairton Coke Works, which has been repeatedly fined for air quality violations.
Shop the Spotlight PA store for exclusive Pennsylvania gear and apparel.

ON SALE: Our Exclusive PA Tote Bag

Designed by a Pennsylvania artist just for Spotlight PA and printed by a local business.

Plus, get exclusive Spotlight PA apparel and accessories. SHOP NOW >

Morning fog lifting along the Allegheny river in Kennerdell, via Ed G.  Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

trees masked behind a mist of fog by a river
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.CAMPAIGN CASH: As the April primary approaches, candidates for Pennsylvania attorney general are fundraising big dollars, the Capital-Star reports. State Rep. Jared Solomon of Philadelphia led the four Democratic candidates, with $1 million on hand as of late 2023. Other Democrats in the race reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in their war chests, while the two Republicans had amounts in the ten-thousands.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.CASE UPDATE: A settlement agreement in a lawsuit over addiction treatment bans in Pennsylvania courts does not include an admission of guilt but does call for a policy solution that courts statewide are urged to follow, via @edmahonreporter. Backstory here.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
WAIT AND SEE: Property owners in Allegheny County are watching to see if Executive Sara Innamorato will pursue tax reassessments, a plank of her campaign. PublicSource breaks down the political and monetary costs amid an existing wave of appeals.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.SLOW PROGRESS: Train safety has not significantly improved since the East Palestine derailment near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border a year ago. Federal data show the number of train accidents over the first 11 months of last year worsened, the AP reports.  A trade group says new safety protocols are not reflected in the data because they were implemented late last year, but railroad unions argue deeper problems remain unaddressed. 

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.LATEST POLLING: F&M College polling released last week has U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) growing his lead over Republican Dave McCormick. The race for president had much smaller margins, with Trump vs. Biden matchup a "statistical tie."
🤔 NEXT QUESTION: Are you on top of the news? Prove it with the latest edition of The Great PA News Quiz: budget season, abortion ruling, election plans, and 2024’s river of the year.

MALL CASE: The owners of the Century III Mall near Pittsburgh have been criminally charged for letting the property rot. Officials elsewhere in Pennsylvania are looking to crack down on "zombie" malls too.

COFFEE QUESTIONS: Why did a popular Pittsburgh coffee chain suddenly close last month? The owner of Adda Coffee & Tea House cites financial reasons, but laid-off staff suspect union-busting, per PublicSource.

DANCE, DANCE: Do you know Philadelphia’s unofficial dance? For over 20 years, a couple has been keeping the Philly Bop alive by traveling across the country to teach lessons, via BillyPenn.

LEASE-TO-OWN: A Lehigh Valley landlord is combating the competitive housing market by offering tenants the option to buy their leased homes, the Morning Call reports. His work inspired a state lawmaker to push related legislation. 

BIG CHEESE: The owner of Tokyo’s internet-famous Philly-themed cheesesteak restaurant visited the City of Brotherly Love recently and ate cheesesteaks for every meal, The Inquirer (paywall) reports.

Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
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.

Yesterday's answer: Unfettered

Congrats to our weekly winner: Elizabeth R.

Congrats to our daily winners:  James E., Beth H., Ted W., Bob C., Barbara F., Jane R., Bruce B., Connie A., Eric F., David T., Stacy S., Vicki U., Kim C., Don H., Carol S., Dan A., Elaine C., Tracy S., Richard A., Jon W., Susan N., Starr B., Daniel S., Mary S., Mike H., Beth T., Jody A., Daniel M., Stanley J., Amelia M., Fran C., Craig E., Alan B., William Z., James S., John P., Tom M., Tish M., Judith D., Sylvia R., Wendy A., Lynne E., Karen W., Marie B., and Eddy Z. 
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

For sponsorship inquiries, email membership@spotlightpa.org.

Copyright © Spotlight PA, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.