Our investigation into the Mariner East pipelines running through Pennsylvania found that many people are in the dark about what to do if something goes wrong.
And with just 19 days between now and Election Day, Democratic surrogates are promoting voting by mail hard to encourage turnout.
Plus, Pennsylvania is on the brink of “a fall resurgence” of the coronavirus, as Secretary of Health Rachel Levine put it. So far, it’s too early for a concrete timetable to tell us when the majority of students in the Philadelphia School District will go back to in-person school.
As many as 345,000 people live close enough to the Mariner East pipeline system that they could be affected by a leak or serious explosion. Spotlight PA interviewed more than 80 residents, firefighters, school officials, and emergency responders who don’t have the crucial information they need about the volatile chemicals flowing through these pipelines — and what to do if things go wrong. Through court documents, violation records, and risk assessments, our investigation found pipeline operators have withheld this critical safety information from the public with little oversight by the state.
President Donald Trump’s baseless attacks on mail ballots as being vulnerable to fraud appear to have turned off some Republicans who put far fewer ballot requests in than Democrats have. And this week, Democrat surrogates are mobilizing their efforts to drum up turnout by making sure people know how to vote.
“The president has purposely orchestrated an effort to sow doubt in our democracy and sow doubt in our election system, and make it harder for Pennsylvanians to vote,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “He has quite literally sued us here in Pennsylvania multiple times, to try and make it harder for people to participate in our democracy.”
Judges rejected many of these lawsuits from Trump’s campaign and Republican leaders, including the arguments that Pennsylvania should prohibit drop boxes and allow poll watchers to observe satellite election offices. But not all. See: the state Supreme Court ruling that those so-called naked ballots will not count.
Whomever you vote for, here’s how to avoid a naked ballot issue: Put your ballot in the inner secrecy envelope before you put it in your mailing envelope, and then complete and sign the back of that outside envelope.
Starting Nov. 30, the city school district kicks off its phased plan with 32,000 children in prekindergarten through second grade getting back to business in person for two days a week.
Next up, they’ll admit students who receive services for special needs in January, with ninth graders and students in career programs back in the mix by early February.
But it’s still unclear when the 120,000 remaining students bringing up the rear will be able to return, per Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. The district plans to make that call based on COVID numbers and recommendations from health officials, Kristen A. Graham reports.
What you need to know today
Pennsylvania state police investigators have identified the woman who can be seen on video calling Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the state’s second lady, the N-word in a grocery store parking lot.
This week’s housing oversight agreement between Philly and the encampment on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway could be an unprecedented step a toward better way to work with people experiencing homelessness, experts say.
A recent report bolsters mounting evidence that people can be reinfected with the coronavirus and fall sicker than the first time.
This Philly nonprofit sets people up with benefits like slashed prescription costs and access to food that they may not know they’re eligible for.
People are buying houses in the middle market quicker now, but as for the luxury ones? They aren’t selling as well.
Pennsylvania’s highest court will take up the question of whether counties should count mail-in ballots in the event that a voter’s signature doesn’t match the one on his or her registration.
Through your eyes | #OurPhilly
We just love this dog getting into the spirit of the season by doing some casual pumpkin shopping. Thanks for sharing, @muttropolitan_philly!
Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!
🧀 Are we “doing cheese” all wrong? A Philadelphia cheese expert can tell you about the one common mistake you might be making.
🖼️ This Philly artist who put a wall-mounted television on a movable metal arm won a big national fellowship for artists with disabilities.
👂 A surgeon reflects on how he discovers unexpected stories about his patients by allowing himself to be curious.
🍹 Steady yourself for a wild ride this fall with one of these cocktail recipes with flavors like pumpkin, apple, and brown butter. Bonus: how to “fat wash” like the pros.
🚀 Spending Election Day in outer space 254 miles above Earth will not stop this astronaut from voting with a secure electronic ballot. It’s a process.
🧠 Quarantini, covidot, Zoom fatigue. Are you fluent in Coronaspeak? A microscopic germ had sizable impact on our daily speech.
🎤 Here’s what to do to get the floor back when you get interrupted.
“Right here in Philadelphia, the city voted to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza, which I visited on Monday. Why would today’s children endeavor for greatness or struggle to create positive change in the world, if posterity will simply demonize them for their flaws? Our history, while imperfect, is a story of hope, progress, and the creation of the most free and equal society in the history of the world." — writes Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney.
Loree D. Jones, the chief executive officer of Philabundance, and Sister Mary Scullion, president and executive director of Project HOME, write to call on the federal government to join communities in the fight to transform the lives of those battling food insecurity.
Florence Momplaisir, MD, MSHP, FACP, and a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, writes that a vaccine that people don’t want or won’t get can’t be effective, but it has the potential to reduce racial disparities in health outcomes.
What we’re reading
Your Daily Dose of | Service
“The last pandemic couldn’t shut us down, and neither will this one,” Carver W. Reed & Co. pawnshop company owner Tod Gordon reassured his customers when the pandemic hit. Founded in 1860, the company that lends cash against jewelry and sells new and used items has survived plenty, including the Spanish flu. It recently dropped big anniversary party plans in light of the climate, which still hasn’t come for their staying power. Why? In his interview with us, the owner chalks it up to treatment. “You treat people with dignity and give them respectful, professional service.”