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Economic growth agency isn't subject to RTK Law, judge says

Plus: Join us tonight for a free virtual panel on how to hold your local elected officials accountable

This is Talk of the Town, a free weekly newsletter delivering top news from State College and the surrounding region.


August 3, 2023
⭐ Support local investigative journalism! If each Talk of the Town subscriber gives just $15/month, we will meet our fundraising goal for Spotlight PA’s State College regional bureau this year! Contribute now.
Inside this edition: A county judge rules that a regional economic development agency is not subject to Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law, a free virtual event on holding local elected officials accountable, and a struggling state program leaves Pa. homeowners in limbo.
RECORDS RULING
A Blair County judge recently ruled that a regional economic development agency that is mostly made up of county commissioners is exempt from the Pennsylvania’s open records law, the Altoona Mirror reports.

The Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission serves Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset Counties. 

The decision reverses an order by the state Office of Open Records in February 2022 that the commission must release “records associated with one broadband internet project to the Hollidaysburg Community Watchdog organization,” the Mirror reports. 

» A fight over public records could threaten novel approach to broadband in rural Pennsylvania

“It’s a terrible assault on the public’s interest,” Watchdog President Richard Latker told the Mirror. “It means tens of thousands of (federal and state grant) dollars can be moved around without public scrutiny.”

Latker’s organization filed a notice of appeal with Commonwealth Court, according to the Mirror.
NOTABLE / QUOTABLE
“You would think after serving for a lifetime you would be able to enjoy these final few years, but you can’t.”

Retired Venango County elementary school principal Robert McVay
📝 FROM SPOTLIGHT PA
» HOW LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKS: Join us TONIGHT from 6-7:15 p.m. ET on Zoom for a free panel on oversight issues in local governments, how to hold elected officials accountable, and where you can turn to address issues with municipal services. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

» NEW INVESTIGATION: ‘It shouldn’t be this difficult:’ Pa. homeowners desperate as mortgage aid struggles drag on

» Proposed relief for child sex abuse survivors won’t reach Pa. ballot in 2023


» Pa. counties face uncertainty as they grapple with how to spend opioid settlement funds

» Why Trump’s ‘fake electors’ in Pennsylvania are likely to avoid prosecution

» Pa. begins to miss education, human services payments as budget impasse continues


» How Pa. counties spent the first-ever election grants from the state

» Democrats say stalled Pa. budget leaves behind adult mental health patients

» Many Pennsylvania state retirees say they can’t afford inflation on their stagnant pensions
VISIT THE PENN STATE TRANSPARENCY TRACKER
📷 LOCAL GEM
“‘Oh, hello.’ A quizzical hummingbird pauses from a drink at a backyard feeder in Boalsburg, Centre County,” via Charlie D.

Want to be featured here? Send your best local pics to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org.
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📰 IN OTHER NEWS
» WPSU: Spotlight PA on covering PSU’s handling of misconduct reports
» Collegian: PSU student newspaper to receive 100% funding cut
» CDT: College Township works toward $3 million bike path

» SC: Coroner identifies bicyclist killed in Atherton Street crash
» WPSU: State College man sentenced for role in Jan. 6 attack
📅 EVENTS
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Aug. 4-6: MycoFest is an annual mushroom and arts festival in State College.

» Aug. 5: Don’t miss Ice Cream Fest in downtown State College.

» Aug. 5-12: The Mifflin County Youth Fair hosts a variety of events including a livestock sale.

» Aug. 6-12: The 98th annual Union County West End Fair shares “an appreciation for the agricultural heritage of central Pennsylvania.”

» Aug. 6-12: The Cameron County Fair features a chili cook-off, beautiful baby contest, celebrity goat milking competition, and more.


» Aug. 6-12: Check out the farm museum at the Huntingdon County Fair.

» Aug. 7-12: Rides, games, live performances, exhibits, food, and demo derby highlight the 57th annual Tioga County Fair.
🧩 THE PUZZLER
An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, “spotlight” also forms “stoplight.”

Decode the anagram and send your answer to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org. We’ll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.

 
S T A L K
 
Good luck!

Last week’s answer: Agrees

Congrats to Coache, who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag. Others who answered correctly: Martina M., Daniel M., Kate B., Don H., Jeffrey F., Jay G., Kevin M., and Tish M.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
 
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