Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Who’s up and who’s down this week?
There may be some animosity between the state’s two biggest cities, but for this week, you can argue Philadelphia is turning into Pits-burg. Thanks to a surplus shipment of avocados, it’s ‘Avogeddon’ in the City of Brotherly Love, where truckloads of the green, pitted fruit are being brought in and given away. Whether or not you’re a fan of avocado toast, no one can argue with free food. But we’re still convinced it’s somehow a voter registration event for millennials.
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Bob Mensch & Kim Ward -
State Sens. Bob Mensch and Kim Ward scored major legislative wins this week when the state Senate unanimously approved their two bills – both designed to improve access to breast cancer screenings. Mensch’s bill would cover the cost of one supplemental breast screening each year for patients at a higher risk for breast cancer, while Ward’s bill would require that insurance covers genetic counseling and testing for genetic mutations that put people at a higher risk. There’s no better way to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month than improving access to live-saving care.
Yvonne Saadi -
We need all hands on deck for the November election. Yvonne Saadi is now at the helm in western Pennsylvania. Saadi, assistant U.S. attorney, was appointed to serve as the Election Officer for the Western District of Pennsylvania this year to oversee complaints of voting rights concerns, threats of violence and election fraud. Hats off to those who make our elections run smoothly, no cap.
P. Gabrielle Foreman -
Penn State University Professor P. Gabrielle Foreman was recently named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, an honor which provides her with an $800,000 “genius grant.” The grants are awarded to people with “outstanding talent” so they can “pursue their own creative, intellectual and professional inclinations,” according to the foundation. Foreman is a co-director of the Colored Conventions Project, a research project dedicated to highlighting the history of nineteenth-century Black organizing, and is a professor of African American studies and history.
Robert Vargo -
Not only have Pennsylvanians been tied to a large number of Jan. 6-related crimes, they’re now beginning to be charged with Jan. 6 committee-related crimes, too. Robert Vargo, a 25-year-old from Berwick, was indicted this week for threatening to kill President Joe Biden and the chair of the congressional committee investigating the riots. Vargo, who once escaped Luzerne County jail, allegedly sent a threatening letter and white powder to the office of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson and faces up to 25 years in prison. You could say there’s officially an embargo on Vargo.
Charles & Theresa Kuhar -
A pair of Philadelphia anti-abortion activists can’t stop the City of Philadelphia’s $500,000 donation to a group that funds abortion. Charles and Theresa Kuhar, who sued the city in August after Mayor Jim Kenney announced a donation to the Abortion Liberation Fund of PA, had their request to stop the donation denied by a judge this week. Their case argued the city was violating state and federal law that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion care, but Philadelphia has no particular ordinance and they were unable to prove the disbursed funds were taxpayer dollars.
Ronald Karasek -
Ain’t no sunshine when … government business doesn’t see the light of day. This week, Upper Mount Bethel Solicitor Ronald Karasek reportedly urged township supervisors to amend a meeting agenda without giving the public ample time to review it. The agenda change, and the action that followed, raised questions from community activists about whether the township violated the state’s Sunshine Act. Karasek, for his part, defended the move, saying the township complied with the law, but this whole snafu could likely have been avoided had the township provided a little more transparency.