Beaver Area School District names new superintendent

Beaver County Radio News Staff. Published July 19, 2024 1:57 P.M.

(Beaver, Pa) The Beaver Area School District made an announcement Friday that they have found a new superintendent. Dr. Sean Aiken was selected for the job. Dr. Aiken will begin his 5-year contract on August 1, 2024.

 

Firefighter killed at Trump rally honored with bagpipes, gun salute and a bugle sounding taps

Merri Cambo, left, of Saxonburg, Pa., and her friend, Jane Wesolosky, of Buffalo, Pa., react as the funeral procession for Corey Comperatore passes by, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Sarver, Pa. Comperatore, a former fire chief, was shot and killed while attending a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

CABOT, Pa. (AP) — The keen of bagpipes, a three-volley gun salute and a bugle sounding taps pierced the air of a small Pennsylvania town on Friday as hundreds gathered to honor an ex-fire chief who was shot and killed at a rally for former President Donald Trump.

Following funeral services for Corey Comperatore, large crowds of mourners waiting outside the Cabot Methodist Church fell silent as firefighters loaded his flag-draped casket onto a fire truck draped in black bunting. Three firefighters stood sentry on the back of the truck as a parade of vehicles lined up behind it.

A sharpshooter team mounted on a nearby rooftop served as a reminder of last weekend’s bloodshed. Officials have said that Comperatore spent his final moments shielding his wife and daughter from gunfire at Trump’s rally last Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Trump, who suffered an ear injury in the shooting but was not seriously hurt, is not going to the funeral because of Secret Service concerns, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Annette Locke, a member of the West Deer Township Volunteer Fire Department, stood across the road from the church and lightly touched her heart as she spoke about the horrific toll from the “totally senseless” shooting.

“He was with his family on a beautiful sunny day, and now he’s gone,” Locke said.

Joe and Jen Brose stood at the edge of their driveway with their three young boys, all dressed in T-shirts celebrating the USA, watching the long procession of fire and emergency trucks go by.

“The community comes together at times like this,” Joe Brose said.

“I thought it was very heartwarming, it was very humbling to see it,” said Jen Brose, whose sister had attended the Trump rally.

Trump honored Comperatore during his speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. He displayed Comperatore’s firefighting gear on the convention stage, kissing his helmet and heralding the ex-chief as “an unbelievable person.”

Mike Drane, who lives near the church where the funeral was held, said he was overwhelmed by Trump’s tribute.

“Trump knew that that bullet was for him, not for Corey,” Drane said.

Nancy Macurdy, who lives across the street from the church, was away camping when the shooting happened but wanted to be back home for the funeral.

“We’re a very close community here,” she said.

Comperatore, 50, worked as a project and tooling engineer, was an Army reservist and spent many years as a volunteer firefighter after serving as chief, according to his obituary. He and his family attended the Cabot Methodist Church, where their pastor, Jonathan Fehl, presided over the funeral services. Comperatore was to be buried in the city of Freeport, where he grew up.

On Thursday, thousands of mourners filed into a banquet hall to pay their respects to Comperatore and his family. Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday at a vigil for him at an auto racing track.

Guests at Thursday’s visitation for Comperatore saw a slideshow of photos from his life — his wedding, a recent 50th birthday party, time with his daughters, firefighting, fishing, and palling around with his Dobermans. Also on display was a framed copy of a note to Comperatore’s wife signed by Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.

“Corey will forever be remembered as a True American Hero,” the Trumps wrote.

A statement issued Thursday by Comperatore’s family described him as a “beloved father and husband, and a friend to so many throughout the Butler region.”

“Our family is finding comfort and peace through the heartfelt messages of encouragement from people around the world, through the support of our church and community, and most of all through the strength of God,” the statement said.

Two other people were wounded at Trump’s rally: David Dutch, 57, of New Kensington, and James Copenhaver, 74, of Moon Township. As of Wednesday night, both had been upgraded to serious but stable condition, according to a spokesperson with Allegheny Health Network.

Over 3 million steam cleaners are under recall because they can spew hot water and cause burns

This photo provided by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows the Bissell Steam Shot Handheld Steam Cleaner. Some 3.3 million steam cleaners are being recalled across North America due to a burn hazard that has resulted in more than 150 injuries reported by consumers. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, Thursday, July 18, 2024, select models of Bissell-branded “Steam Shot Handheld Steam Cleaners” can spew hot water or steam while the products are in use or being heated. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Some 3.3 million steam cleaners are being recalled across North America due to a burn hazard that has resulted in consumers reporting more than 150 injuries.

Select models of Bissell-branded “Steam Shot Handheld Steam Cleaners” can spew hot water or steam while the products are in use or being heated up, according to notices Thursday from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada. That poses a risk of burns to users.

Bissell has received a 183 reports of hot water or steam expelling from the products. That includes 157 reports of minor burns, the regulators noted, with 145 injuries reported in the U.S. and 12 in Canada as of June 4, according to Health Canada.

Consumers are urged to immediately stop using the now-recalled steam cleaners and contact Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Bissell for a refund or store credit. Impacted customers will have a choice between $60 (CA$82) in store credit or a $40 (CA$55) refund for each.

The recalled steam cleaners, which were made in China, can be identified by model numbers — listed on Bissell’s website. There, consumers can also find more information about registering for the recall and follow instructions for cutting the products’ cord and uploading photos.

On its site, Bissell said that “safety is our top priority,” later adding that the company chose to voluntarily recall these steam cleaners “out of an abundance of caution.”

The Bissell steam cleaners under recall were sold at major retailers including Target and Walmart, as well as online at sites like www.bissell.com and Amazon, from August 2008 through May 2024.

An estimated 3.2 million were purchased in the U.S. Nearly 355,000 were sold in Canada.

Majority of Democrats think Kamala Harris would make a good president, AP-NORC poll shows

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives for an Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote Town Hall, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Joe Biden faces a growing drumbeat of pressure to drop his reelection bid, a majority of Democrats think his vice president would make a good president herself.

A new poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 6 in 10 Democrats believe Kamala Harris would do a good job in the top slot. About 2 in 10 Democrats don’t believe she would, and another 2 in 10 say they don’t know enough to say.

Since Biden’s debate debacle on June 27, many Democrats have privately and even openly looked to Harris to step in and succeed Biden as the party’s presidential nominee, believing she has a better chance against GOP nominee Donald Trump. For her part, Harris has remained completely loyal to Biden, being one of his toughest defenders in the aftermath of the disastrous debate performance.

Oakley Graham, a Democrat in Greenwood, Missouri, said while he is “pretty happy” with Biden’s accomplishments in office, he felt that he would be more excited to support Harris at the top of the ticket and that it was “about time” a woman becomes president.

“I know he’s got unfinished business,” Graham, 30, said of Biden. “But it would be nice to see a person of color, a woman, somebody younger to step up and to lead that charge. I would hope that that would inspire a younger generation to be more engaged.”

Black adults –- a key contingent of the Democrats’ coalition and a group that remains relatively more favorable to Biden than others — are more likely than Americans overall to say that Harris would do well.

As for Americans more broadly, they are more skeptical of how Harris would perform in the Oval Office. Only about 3 in 10 U.S. adults overall say Harris would do well as president. About half say Harris would not do a good job in the role, and 2 in 10 say they don’t know enough to say.

Harris’ favorability rating is similar to Biden’s, but the share of Americans who have an unfavorable opinion of her is somewhat lower. The poll showed that about 4 in 10 U.S. adults have a favorable opinion of Harris, while about half have an unfavorable opinion. There are more Americans with a negative view of Biden: approximately 6 in 10. About 1 in 10 Americans say they don’t know enough to have an opinion of Harris, whereas nearly everyone has an opinion on Biden.

About three-quarters of Democrats have a positive view of Harris, which is in line with how Democrats view Biden. Seven in 10 have a favorable view of him.

Shannon Bailey, a Democrat who lives in Tampa, praised Biden’s accomplishments as president –- particularly with his infrastructure law and efforts to tame inflation — and said he’ll be “remembered fondly.” But she had a more favorable view of Harris than she does the incumbent president because, in Bailey’s view, the vice president appears more “capable of handling the taxing nature of the job.”

“It’s not just the physical stamina part, but also the cognitive reasoning part right now,” said Bailey, 34. “It’s important to be able to concisely and persuasively get the message across that is the Democratic platform right now.”

Bailey said the Democratic Party needs Harris and a running mate “who can really motivate people to go out to the polls” — a task that she’s skeptical Biden can do as effectively.

Harris’s position as the administration’s lead messenger on abortion also has endeared her to many Democrats.

“I think she would be a very strong advocate for abortion, has been and would continue to be,” said Thomas Mattman, a Democrat from Chico, California. “The Republicans have gone with white men as their ticket, and both of them have said some pretty specific things about being opposed to abortion so I think that would be a very strong argument.”

Mattman, 59, said he believes Biden will not be able to defeat Republican nominee Donald Trump — a prospect that leaves Mattman “very distraught.” Harris would be a much more effective candidate because Biden is unable to “put pressure” on his opponent and exploit his weaknesses, Mattman said.

Harris is more popular among Black Americans than she is among white or Hispanic adults. She is more disliked by men than she is by women.

Other prominent Democrats who have been floated as potential replacements are less known than Harris is. About 4 in 10 U.S. adults don’t have an opinion of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and half are unfamiliar with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Newsom is seen, overall, slightly more negatively than positively. Americans are divided about evenly on Whitmer: 24% have a favorable view and 22% have an unfavorable view.

More Democrats see Harris rather than Newsom or Whitmer as someone who would make a good president, though that’s partly because they’re relative unknowns. About one-third of Democrats say Newsom would make a good president, and half don’t know enough to say. About one-quarter of Democrats say Whitmer would do well, and about two-thirds don’t know enough to say.

Trump’s running mate, Senator JD Vance of Ohio, is unknown to most Americans. In the AP-NORC poll, which was conducted before Trump made Vance his vice presidential choice, 6 in 10 Americans don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. About 2 in 10 U.S. adults have a favorable view of Vance, and about 2 in 10 view him negatively. Among Republicans, 61% don’t know enough to have an opinion of Vance. About one-quarter have a positive view of him, and roughly 1 in 10 have a negative view.

___

The poll of 1,253 adults was conducted July 11-15, 2024, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Biden pushes party unity as he resists calls to step aside, says he’ll return to campaign next week

President Joe Biden attends a church service at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Philadelphia (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday appealed for party unity to take on former President Donald Trump’s “dark vision,” working to hold off pressure from Democrats at the highest levels for him to bow out of the 2024 election to make way for a new nominee and avoid widespread losses.

As more Democratic members of Congress called for him to drop out Friday — bringing the total since his disastrous debate against Trump to at least 30 — Biden remained isolated at his beach house in Delaware after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The president, who has insisted he can beat Trump, was huddling with family and relying on a few longtime aides as he tries to resist efforts to shove him aside.

Biden said Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention showcased a “dark vision for the future.” The president, seeking to move the political conversation away from his fate and onto his rival’s agenda, said Friday he was planning to return to the campaign trail next week and insisted he has a path to victory over Trump, despite the worries of some of his party’s most eminent members.

“Together, as a party and as a country, we can and will defeat him at the ballot box,” Biden said. “The stakes are high, and the choice is clear. Together, we will win.”

Earlier in the day, his campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillion, acknowledged “slippage” in support for the president but insisted he’s “absolutely” remaining in the race and the campaign sees “multiple paths” to beating Trump.

“We have a lot of work to do to reassure the American people that, yes, he’s old, but he can win,” she told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. But she said voters concerned about Biden’s fitness to lead aren’t switching to vote for Trump.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee’s rulemaking arm held a meeting Friday, pressing ahead with plans for a virtual roll call before Aug. 7 to nominate the presidential pick, ahead of the party’s convention later in the month in Chicago.

“President Biden deserves the respect to have important family conversations with members of the caucus and colleagues in the House and Senate and Democratic leadership and not be battling leaks and press statements,” Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Biden’s closest friend in Congress and his campaign co-chair, told The Associated Press.

It’s a pivotal few days for the president and his party: Trump has wrapped up an enthusiastic Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Thursday. And Democrats, racing time, are considering the extraordinary possibility of Biden stepping aside for a new presidential nominee before their own convention.

Among the democrats expressing worries to allies about Biden’s chances were former President Barack Obama and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, who has privately told Biden the party could lose the ability to seize control of the House if he doesn’t step aside.

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich called on Biden to exit the race, making him the third Senate Democrat to do so.

“By passing the torch, he would secure his legacy as one of our nation’s greatest leaders and allow us to unite behind a candidate who can best defeat Donald Trump and safeguard the future of our democracy,” said Heinrich, who’s up for reelection.

And Reps. Jared Huffman, Mark Veasey, Chuy Garcia and Mark Pocan, representing a wide swath of the caucus, together called on Biden to step aside.

“We must defeat Donald Trump to save our democracy,” they wrote.

Separately, Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois wrote in an op-ed that with “a heavy heart and much personal reflection” he, too, was calling on Biden to “pass the torch to a new generation.”

Campaign officials said Biden was even more committed to staying in the race. And senior West Wing aides have had no internal discussions or conversations with the president about dropping out.

On Friday, Biden picked up a key endorsement from the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. CHC BOLD PAC said the Biden administration has shown “unwavering commitment” to Latinos and “the stakes couldn’t be higher” in this election.

But there is also time to reconsider. Biden has been told the campaign is having trouble raising money, and key Democrats see an opportunity as he is away from the campaign for a few days to encourage his exit. Among his Cabinet, some are resigned to the likelihood of him losing in November.

The reporting in this story is based in part on information from almost a dozen people who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive private deliberations. The Washington Post first reported on Obama’s involvement.

Biden, 81, tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling in Las Vegas earlier this week and is experiencing “mild symptoms” including “general malaise” from the infection, the White House said.

The president himself, in a radio interview taped just before he tested positive, dismissed the idea it was too late for him to recover politically, telling Univision’s Luis Sandoval that many people don’t focus on the November election until September.

“All the talk about who’s leading and where and how, is kind of, you know — everything so far between Trump and me has been basically even,” he said in an excerpt of the interview released Thursday.

But in Congress, Democratic lawmakers have begun having private conversations about lining up behind Harris as an alternative. One lawmaker said Biden’s own advisers are unable to reach a unanimous recommendation about what he should do. More in Congress are considering joining the others who have called for Biden to drop out. Some prefer an open process for choosing a new presidential nominee.

“It’s clear the issue won’t go away,” said Vermont Sen. Peter Welch, the other Senate Democrat who has publicly said Biden should exit the race. Welch said the current state of party angst — with lawmakers panicking and donors revolting — was “not sustainable.”

However, influential Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries are sending signals of concern.

“There is of course work to be done, and that in fact is the case because we are an evenly divided country,” Jeffries said in an interview on WNYC radio Friday.

But he also said, “The ticket that exists right now is the ticket that we can win on. … It’s his decision to make.”

To be sure, many want Biden to stay in the race. But among Democrats nationwide, nearly two-thirds say Biden should step aside and let his party nominate a different candidate, according to an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. That sharply undercuts Biden’s post-debate claim that “average Democrats” are still with him.

Amid the turmoil, a majority of Democrats think Vice President Kamala Harris would make a good president herself.

poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 6 in 10 Democrats believe Harris would do a good job in the top slot. About 2 in 10 Democrats don’t believe she would, and another 2 in 10 say they don’t know enough to say.

___

Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, Ellen Knickmeyer in Aspen, Colorado, Steve Peoples in Milwaukee, and Josh Boak, Will Weissert, Mary Clare Jalonick, Seung Min Kim and Stephen Groves in Washington contributed to this report.

A massive tech outage is causing worldwide disruptions. Here’s what we know

The logo for CrowdStrike and a Spirit Airlines webpage are shown on a computer screen and mobile phone screen, in New York, Friday, July 19, 2024. A global technology outage grounded flights, knocked banks offline and media outlets off air after a faulty software update disrupted companies and services around the world and highlighted their dependence on just a handful of providers. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Much of the world faced online disarray Friday as a widespread technology outage affected companies and services across industries — grounding flights, knocking banks and hospital systems offline and media outlets off air.

At the heart of the massive disruption is CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm that provides software to scores of companies worldwide. The company says the problem occurred when it deployed a faulty update to computers running Microsoft Windows, noting that the issue behind the outage was not a security incident or cyberattack.

CrowdStrike has said a fix is on the way. Still, chaos deepened hours after the problem was first detected.

Here’s what you need to know.

How did Friday’s global outage happen?

Friday’s disruptions began when a faulty update was pushed out from CrowdStrike for one of its tools, “Falcon.” In a statement about the ongoing situation, the company said the defect was found “in a single content update for Windows hosts” — noting that Mac and Linux systems were not impacted.

But, because scores of companies rely on CrowdStrike for their security needs with Windows as their operating system, the consequences of this kind of technical problem have been far-reaching.

Long lines formed at airports in the U.S., Europe and Asia as airlines lost access to check-in and booking services during peak summer travel — disrupting thousands of flights. Banks in South Africa and New Zealand reported outages impacting payments and online services. Some news stations, particuarly in Australia, were unable to broadcast for hours. And hospitals had problems with their appointment systems, leading to delays and sometimes cancelations for critical care, while officials in some U.S. states warned of 911 problems in their areas.

Elsewhere, people experienced more minor inconveniences, including trouble ordering ahead at Starbucks, causing long lines at some of the coffee chain’s stores. Some billboards in New York City’s famous Times Square also went dark.

Experts stress that Friday’s disruptions underscore the vulnerability of worldwide dependence on software that comes from only a handful of providers.

“It is an ‘all our eggs are in one basket’ situation,” Craig Shue, professor and computer science department head at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said in emailed commentary. “This lets us make sure our ‘basket’ is high quality: the software provider tries to identify threats and respond to them quickly. But at the same time, if anything goes wrong and the basket fails, we have a lot of broken eggs.”

What is CrowdStrike?

CrowdStrike is a U.S. cybersecurity company that provides software to companies around the world and across industries. It bills itself as being the globe’s most advanced cloud-based security technology provider.

“We stop breaches,” the cybersecurity firm writes on its website.

According to the company’s website, CrowdStrike was founded in 2011 and launched in early 2012. CrowdStrike listed on the Nasdaq exchange five years ago. Last month, the Austin, Texas company reported that its revenue rose 33% in the latest quarter from the same quarter a year earlier — logging a net profit of $42.8 million, up from $491,000 in the first quarter of last year.

CrowdStrike has a partnership with Amazon Web Services and its “Falcon for Defender” security technology is designed to supplement Microsoft Defender to prevent attacks.

Is there a fix?

Disruptions on Friday have continued hours after CrowdStrike first identified the issue. But both the company and Microsoft say that they’re working to get systems back online.

In an emailed statement, Crowdstrike said that it was “actively working with customers impacted by a defect found in a single content update for Windows hosts” — adding that a fix “had been deployed” for the identified issue.

Microsoft 365 posted on social media platform X that the company was “working on rerouting the impacted traffic to alternate systems to alleviate impact” and that they were “observing a positive trend in service availability.”

Spokesperson Frank X. Shaw later added that the company was “actively supporting customers to assist in their recovery.” Both CrowdStrike and Microsoft are also appearing to engage IT personnel on official online channels, such as Reddit.

While the problem is fixable, it requires some expertise. Some cybersecurity experts warn of bad actors who may reach out claiming they can help. Smaller companies or organizations with less IT resources are particularly at risk.

Gartner analyst Eric Grenier noted that those impacted should make sure they’re talking to trusted organizations as they work towards recovery. “Attackers will definitely prey on organizations as a result of this,” he said.

From a media perspective, it was a tale of two Trump speeches — and long enough for both

Republican presidential candidate and former president, Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

From a media perspective, Donald Trump failed to stick the landing at the Republican convention that nominated him as its presidential candidate for a third time.

His acceptance speech, which exceeded 90 minutes and stretched past midnight Eastern time into Friday, won him wide praise for its vivid recounting of last weekend’s assassination attempt yet switched gears into something resembling what most of his supporters see regularly on the campaign trail.

“The ‘new’ Donald Trump soothed and silenced the nation for 28 minutes last night,” Axios’ Zachary Basu wrote on Friday. “Then the old Trump returned and bellowed, barked and bored America for 64 minutes more.”

The convention was received as a well-run display of unity surrounding the Republican ticket of Trump and vice presidential candidate JD Vance. Conservative media figure Tucker Carlson may be biased — he spoke from the convention stage on Thursday — but he was giddy and giggly about what he had seen. “I’ve never been to a more fun convention or a convention with better vibes,” he said.

A speech that pivoted

Trump began in subdued tones as he talked about a bullet slamming into his ear at a political rally in Pennsylvania. He indulged in dramatic political theater: walking over to kiss the helmet on a displayed uniform of retired firefighter Corey Comperatore, who was killed by the assassin’s bullet intended for the former president.

Trump’s speech had been billed as a call to unity where President Joe Biden’s name wasn’t going to be mentioned, but instead the Democrat’s name came up twice after Trump switched gears. Vanity Fair said the address “gave America whiplash.”

NBC News reporter Garrett Haake, stationed on the convention floor, reported that “in the first half I saw a lot of wet eyes. In the second half I saw a lot of closed eyes.”

The New York Times said in a headline Friday that Trump had struggled to turn the page on “American carnage,” the attention-getting phrase from his 2017 inaugural as president. “On the last night of the GOP convention on Thursday, Donald J. Trump promised to bridge political divides, and then returned to delighting in deepening them.”

Similarly, the Washington Post’s Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey wrote that Trump had wrapped “a fresh gesture toward unity around the same dark view of American decline and loathing for political opponents and immigrants that have defined his nine-year political career and transformed the GOP.”

The “Fox & Friends” morning show on Friday opened with a lengthy clip of Trump, who wore a bandage on his right ear, speaking about the shooting.

“I thought it was a magical moment … it was a great speech,” said “Fox & Friends” host Lawrence Jones. Yet Fox News analyst Karl Rove, while praising how the convention was run, said shortly after Trump had left the stage that there was “weakness” during the middle of a speech that began and ended well.

Comments about how long it went on

On other networks, commentators took note of its length and rambling nature. Jen Psaki, Biden’s former press secretary and now an MSNBC analyst, said it was “longer than most American baseball games.”

Others sensed an opening for Democrats, who have been bathed in pessimism about Biden’s hopes — if he even remains a candidate. Trump “dodged a bullet last Saturday and Democrats dodged a bullet tonight,” said CNN’s Van Jones.

“They still have to figure out what to do about Joe Biden,” said ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. “There’s still that movement to replace Joe Biden. But they believe, looking at this, this is the candidate that (they feel) they can beat.”

While the portion that resembled Trump’s stump speech was familiar to his fans, those are rarely seen at length outside of networks like Fox and Newsmax that appeal to conservative viewers. A much larger chunk of America was watching Thursday. While television ratings were not immediately available, the Nielsen company said 18 million people watched the convention the night before, most concentrated in the hour where Vance — and Trump the next night — spoke.

With the balloons being cleared from the convention hall in Milwaukee, the attention of the political press will quickly turn to who Democrats nominate to oppose Trump. The subject line in Friday morning’s influential Politico Playbook? “Biden world seethes as Dems move to dump him.”

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Reports Record Tax Revenue Achieved in 2023/2024

HARRISBURG, PA:  The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (“PGCB”) today reported that tax revenue generated during the combined Fiscal Year 2023/2024 reached a record level of $2.54 billion.

 

This tax figure is the result of a record combined revenue generation of over $5.89 billion from casino slot machines and table games, iGaming, sports wagering, video gaming terminals (VGTs) and fantasy sports contests. The previous high for gaming revenue and tax revenue in a fiscal year was during 2022/2023 with $5.5 billion and $2.36 billion respectively. The estimated amounts for revenue and taxes being reported are prior to any possible adjustments by the PA Department of Revenue.

Tax revenue from the various forms of gaming regulated by the PGCB is returned to Pennsylvanians in a number of ways.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • school property tax reduction on an owner’s primary residence;
  • state, county, and local economic development, safety and recreational projects;
  • support of the agricultural industry through support of horse racing; and,
  • revenue toward the Commonwealth’s General Fund.

(In)Accessible: ‘When vanlife meets abortion access ‘

Pennsylvania Department of Health data from 2020 shows a high safety profile for abortions, with only 239 complications reported out of 32,123 procedures performed. (Longfin Media/Adobe Stock)
Danielle Smith – Keystone State News Service

In Pennsylvania, a unique mobile van brings reproductive resources to communities across Western Pennsylvania. A new podcast, called “(In)Accessible,” explores the challenges people have in finding reproductive healthcare, including abortion, in the state.

Podcast host Rebecca Susman, communications and development director for the Keystone Progress Education Fund, said it features guests doing innovative work to address these barriers, with topics like fertility treatments and menopause care. Susman describes one of the conversations.

“I spoke with Alecia Ott from The Auto(nomous) Body Shop or the ‘auto body shop,’ which is an amazing mutual aid van, where she brings it all over the place, to universities, to events. And she gives out information about birth control and emergency contraception – as well as harm reduction, such as Narcan,” she said.

In Pennsylvania, abortion remains legal until 24 weeks of pregnancy, and it’s one of the closest locations to receive care for people living in many nearby states with abortion bans.

In the podcast, Alecia Ott explains that when she parks the van, she puts out a chalkboard inviting people to stop by for free information and contraception. The eye-catching orange van often sparks curiosity.

“You’d be surprised at how quickly somebody is telling me a story about how they accessed care, or they had to help somebody else find a place to have an abortion or emergency contraception or, you know, fertility help. People are sharing really intimate stories very quickly,” Ott said.

Ott points to a few resources, like the Steel City Access Network in Pittsburgh, that provide transportation for abortion seekers, while the Western PA Fund for Choice offers financial assistance. She also envisions a collaborative network of mobile units to strengthen her advocacy.

Susman said the podcast also has covered the impact of the Dobbs decision, and the confusion people may have about their options, with ever-changing legal challenges in nearby states. She sees Pennsylvania’s current abortion access as the result of strong political leadership, but acknowledges it could be under threat.

“Every single seat in the House, the Pennsylvania House, is up for grabs this fall. And we have another state Supreme Court election as well. This could all change. And these decisions happen because of who we elect into office and who they appoint, so it’s very, very important that we all show up this November,” Susman explained.

Matzie: Nearly $700,000 secured to expand Beaver County adult literacy resources

AMBRIDGE, July 18 – Beaver County residents will benefit from expanded adult literacy resources thanks to new grant funding of $659,046 to Literacy Pittsburgh, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today.

 

“The ability to get a good-paying job, benefit from career training, tap into community resources and even successfully navigate life in the community – all depend on basic literacy skills,” Matzie said. “But for some residents – particularly those who speak English as a second language – the lack of those skills is still a major barrier.

 

“This new funding will allow Literacy Pittsburgh to train and support additional instructors and tutors so they can bring these essential tools to more folks in our region.”