WEATHER: Philadelphia: cloudy, high of 78; Harrisburg: partly cloudy, high of 79; Pittsburgh: partly cloudy, high of 76.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* Among the prominent men accused of sexual abuse in a cache of recently unsealed court documents tied to financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged trafficking of underage girls, one name stood out to clergy sex-abuse victims in Philadelphia: George J. Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader who led the board overseeing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s compensation fund for those abused by priests, the Inquirer writes.
* Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that the state will spend $3.8 million to help defray the cost of treating water tainted with hazardous chemicals in Bucks and Montgomery counties, the Inquirer reports.
* In June, Gov. Wolf trumpeted near-majority support in the General Assembly for his Restore Pennsylvania plan, a $4.5 billion, four-year infrastructure investment spree funded by 20 years’ worth of natural gas tax-backed bonds – a plan concerning enough to some environmentalists that they are now lobbying against it, the Capital-Star writes.
* A Democratic consultant who bungled a number of political campaigns this year is now in line to become first deputy to the city’s incoming Register of Wills, while some soon-to-be councilmembers have tapped campaign managers to serve as their top aides, sources tell Billy Penn.
* Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. doesn’t think a countywide civilian police review board will be effective unless it’s given broader powers than those granted by a current proposal that’s being considered by county council, the Post-Gazette reports.
* Scott Timko, a former Air Force pilot and small business owner, became the first GOP candidate to announce a run against Democratic incumbent Conor Lamb for the PA-17 seat representing the Pittsburgh suburbs, Politics PA reports.
* The union workers laid off by the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery won’t get severance pay or extended medical benefits after Sunday, according to a collective-bargaining agreement union leaders reached with the company on Wednesday, WHYY reports.
* A tiny community near Philadelphia that managed to save the oldest surviving quarantine station in the Western Hemisphere from the wrecking ball is now transforming the 18th-century structure into township offices, the Tribune reports.
* The Citizens’ Voice backs Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order crafted to reduce gun violence, writing that it should be the first tangible step of many made in the Capitol.
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KICKER: “I think it’s a phony argument to say we need to put on another tax and institutionalize fracking in the process. No one will get rid of fracking if it’s funding pet programs.” – Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth, an anti-fracking group opposed to any tax on natural gas production. From the Capital-Star.