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Pa. study links childhood cancer risk to fracking

Plus, the long-awaited end to diverting road dollars to Pa. State Police is on the horizon.

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Tax dollars, fracking risks, wrong information, legal proceedings, labor dispute, explosive devices, and a championship mullet. Happy Thursday.

Pennsylvania has used money meant to pay for the construction of roads and bridges to instead fund the State Police for at least 50 years — a move that has diverted $8 billion from road improvement in the past decade alone.

Lawmakers are hopeful a main budget item passed by the divided Pennsylvania General Assembly and signed by Gov. Josh Shapiro is a step toward ending those transfers. 

The spending plan gives the 6,600-person law enforcement agency an almost 8% budget bump up to $1.6 billion, including paying for almost 400 new troopers. Where those dollars come from has shifted.

Read Spotlight PA’s full report: A plan to stop diverting road dollars to Pa. State Police could be a final piece of this year’s budget

THE CONTEXT: From Spotlight PA: 

In his March budget proposal, Shapiro pitched eliminating the transfers entirely within five years, an idea that has appeared to garner support in legislature.

In an email, Jason Thompson, spokesperson for state Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Scott Martin (R., Lancaster), said that “an additional $125 million phase-down is planned each year for the next three years.”

“We would hope and expect it would take no more than five years to get to zero,” Wagner told Spotlight PA. “But we still have to wait and see what the fiscal code language is going to be to fully be confident that is what is going to happen.”


“We need people in the ranks to understand what our needs are as a community, and also, how we can plug in and have an impact on the police.” 

Sue Kerr, a local LGBTQ advocate and founder of the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents blog, on the appointment of Pittsburgh’s first openly gay police chief

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» What to know about the candidates running for mayor of Philadelphia, via The Inquirer.
» Why Pennsylvania and some of its Trump supporters are named in the Georgia indictment, via PennLive
» A Pennsylvania lawmaker proposes a 4-day work week, via ABC27.
» More college students in Pennsylvania may be eligible for SNAP benefits, via WGAL.
» Pennsylvania bill aims to help those in long-term substance abuse recovery, via WTAJ.

Geese on Leaser Lake in Lehigh County, courtesy of Tracy S. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

several geese swimming in a lake decorated with trees on the side
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania. FRACKING STUDY: Children in western Pennsylvania who lived within a mile of a natural gas well site had five to seven times the chance of developing lymphoma compared to those who lived 5 miles or farther, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh report in a new study. A former director of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project called the findings the “tip of the toxic iceberg,” the AP reports.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.POLICE SHOOTING: Philadelphia police gave out incorrect information about the events that led to the fatal police shooting of 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry and offered a new narrative Tuesday. The Inquirer (paywall) reports the department said he did not lunge at police with a weapon or flee from the traffic stop, as police stated at the scene Monday, and he was seated in his car when an officer shot him. 

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
NEW CHARGES: During a Wednesday court appearance, a representative from the Office of Attorney General said new charges will be filed against Herm Supluzio, the suspended City of DuBois official accused of stealing more than $600,000 in taxpayer and nonprofit funds. A spokesperson told Spotlight PA the office did not have additional details to share.

RELATED: DuBois City Council approves 'buyout' of suspended city manager Herm Suplizio, via WJAC

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.STRIKE FUTURE: Members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America are two months into their strike outside the Wabtec plant in Lawrence Park Township. The Erie Times-News dives into the impact of the labor dispute and what the future holds for the plant

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.BOMB CHARGES: A man arrested on Aug. 4 for a suspected bomb plot targetting Bethlehem’s Musikfest was also charged in connection with at least four other bombings in Pennsylvania, authorities say. The AP reports the suspect, Robert L. Bowen Jr., has been charged with possession of weapons of mass destruction. 
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SPLIT VOTE: In a 3-1 vote, the York City Council passed an ordinance banning conversion therapy for youths, the York Dispatch reports. 

JERSEY HONOR: The Steelers plan to unveil a jersey display honoring the late football legend Franco Harris, who died last December, before their preseason game Saturday against the Bills. 

MULLET CHAMP: Pennsylvania now holds the coveted top spot for mullets sported by children. A six-year-old Montgomery County kid and his mullet, nicknamed Cheddar Wiz, were crowned winner of the Kids Mullet Championships.

BARGE WATCH: Pittsburgh City Paper regularly posts about river barges that pass by its office on social media, but where do they come from? The paper has the answer.

TRAIN RESTORATION: All aboard! A refurbished 1955 Plymouth Locomotive in North Whitehall Township, near the Ironton Rail Trail, was revealed Wednesday.
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: Copacetic

Congrats to our daily winners: John E., Barbara F., Stacy S., Richard A., Don H., Jon W., Kimberly D., Susan N., Eddy Z., Georgann J., Jane R., Ed R., Stanley J., Jennifer C., Elaine C., Susan D., James B., Ted W., Patricia R., Becky C., Dennis M., Doug W., Ada M., David W., William Z., Vicki U., Tom M., Keith W., and David T.
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