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Opioid cash denied for Kensington support

Plus, East Palestine findings.

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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



Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Today: Opioid cash approvals, derailment findings, pharmacy legislation, energy sources, federal elections, and data leak.
CASH RULES
A state oversight board approved opioid settlement spending for coroner offices, syringe services, and media campaigns but rejected funding to support residents of the Kensington area and at least two programs related to probation and parole.
 
One trust member acknowledged the influence the oversight board’s decisions could have for years to come.
 
“We’re being looked at as we’re setting a precedent,” Kevin Boozel, a Butler County commissioner, told Spotlight PA.
 
Here’s what you need to know about some of the more controversial, scrutinized, and debated spending issues.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: The final decisions made by the Opioid Settlement Trust on county spending plans.
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NOTABLE / QUOTABLE
 
"But you will leave today, or you will not be found Monday, senator."
 
An online threat against state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin) that prompted federal charges against Richard Little, 49, of Chambersburg; Little, a registered Republican, remained in federal custody Tuesday
BERKS STUDY
A woman in Berks County shares what local news coverage she wants to read as part of a Spotlight PA study
Berks County residents are extremely frustrated with the diminished capacity of the local newspaper and they are concerned about a lack of access to trustworthy information in their community, according to a groundbreaking study released today by Spotlight PA.

In response to the findings, Spotlight PA is planning to launch a new regional reporting bureau in Berks County to be supported primarily by people living and working in the region. Read the full story, and then support the effort »
 
📷 POST IT
Sunset behind the Pittsburgh skyline from the Monongahela River, as seen by your postmaster. Have a photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
an orange blue sunset behind a city skyline and a body of water
DAILY RUNDOWN
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
FLAWED DECISION: Norfolk Southern and its contractors mishandled a decision to blow open five vinyl chloride tank cars after last year’s East Palestine, Ohio train derailment, federal regulators said at a public hearing Tuesday. The AP reports that the National Transportation Safety Board also found trackside detectors failed to alert on an overheated bearing on one of the train cars for more than 20 miles.
 
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
RX REFORM: As more independent pharmacies close, citing costs imposed by third-party pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), Capital-Star reports the state’s attempt to regulate the industry middlemen has never been properly enforced. The GOP co-sponsor of a PBM reform bill now moving through the Pennsylvania House believes one part of the legislation could be easily carried out and have an impact.
 
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
FUEL FRUSTRATIONS: President Joe Biden promised support for Indiana County residents to help them navigate the transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. But residents feel forgotten as the community struggles to replace jobs lost from shuttered coal mines and plants, WaPo (gift link) reports, and some are once again looking to former President Trump — even as he courts oil and gas competitors.
 
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
VOTING BILL: U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D., Pa.) has introduced legislation that would give Americans the power to challenge in court any policy that "unduly restricts" their ability to cast a ballot in a federal election, Capital-Star reports. The Right To Vote Act would ban state and local governments from restricting access in federal elections and create a statutory right to vote in them. The bill also has a U.S. Senate version.
 
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
INFO BREACH: Personal information may have been leaked for more than a million Geisinger patients, the Daily Item reports. Federal charging documents allege a fired employee of an outside vendor “obtained information from a protected computer, and the value of the information obtained exceeded $5,000.” The information exposed includes date of birth, address, medical record number, and more. 
Support vital journalism for Pennsylvania. Donate to Spotlight PA today.
IN OTHER NEWS
OVERSEAS THREAT: The emailed threats that canceled a drag queen story hour at a Lancaster library in March were traced back to Nigeria, LNP reports via sister site WITF. But that’s as far as the investigation will go. 
 
BEAVER AID: As flooding slammed the midwest this week, a Susquehanna University professor offered insight in Minnesota on lessons learned from a Pennsylvania beaver dam project, via Courthouse News Service.
 
SHAM SHOW: Concertgoers turning out for an orchestra concert in Pittsburgh featuring the music of late hip-hop icons Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur found nothing there. WTAE was told it may have been a “widespread scam carried out by an overseas entity.”
 
SHIP FATE: The SS United States in Philly has several options if it does not find a new home in 90 days, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. Two involve its destruction. A fundraising effort has launched to raise half a million dollars to help cover moving expenses.
 
ICE CHAMPS: After securing their 13th Calder Cup championship, the Hershey Bears want to celebrate with fans at 6 p.m. today at the Giant Center, WGAL reports. 
SCRAMBLER
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 countedPlease include your first name and last initial.

E A E L B X P N E D

Yesterday's answer: Breathable

Congrats to our daily winners: Eric F., Elaine C., Jody A., Beth H., Bob C., Barbara F., Mike B., Don H., Ada M., Kimberly D., Vicki U., Jane R., Richard A., Daniel S., Jon W., Galleys-m., Stacy S., Marie B., Lynne E., Patricia E., Stanley J., Nan S., Rick S., Wendy A., Perry H., Amelia M., James D., Annette I., William Z., Elizabeth R., John A., Karen W., Timothy A., Morgan B., Tom M., Susan N., Tish M.,  Daniel M., Craig E., Jeffrey F., and Matthew A.
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