Pennsylvania’s own Bam Margera is backintheheadlines, political endorsements are flying around every which way in the commonwealth’slargestcities and state lawmakers returned to Harrisburg for a busy session week. And we haven’t even touched on bipartisanship, a Pennsylvania podcaster’s new world record and a claim of “fake news” levied by a leader of one of the state’s top universities.
Keep reading for more winners and losers!
Kim Ward -
The first bill has made its way out of the commonwealth’s 207th legislative session – the first session helmed by female leaders – and to Gov. Shapiro’s desk. State Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, a breast cancer survivor, championed a bill to require insurers to cover the entire cost of annual preventative screenings for MRIs and testing for people at high risk of breast cancer. The bipartisan group of lawmakers plastered in pink ribbons and boasting the bill was a sight for sore eyes in Harrisburg.
Michael Lamb -
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald finally waded into the race to choose his successor this week – and that was good news for Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb. Fitzgerald said Lamb is the only candidate with the “qualifications, track record, honesty and integrity” to lead the county, and his endorsement gives Lamb a big boost heading into the Democratic primary on May 16.
Rob Oliver -
If you haven’t heard Rob Oliver’s “Perspectives on Healthcare” podcast yet, you’ll soon have plenty of material to choose from. That’s because the Pittsburgh-area podcaster was just recognized for a Guinness World Record for conducting the longest interviewing marathon – a feat that came after Oliver recorded a 37-hour podcast with 137 interviews, per United Press International. The interviews will be released as 15-minute episodes, so you won’t have to listen to the whole thing in one sitting.
Neeli Bendapudi -
Amid contentious discussions regarding layoffs at Penn State, President Neeli Bendapudi took aim at local news coverage during a town hall, even referring to “fake news.” Bendapudi, echoing the university’s strategic communications office, said “there is no truth” to a Spotlight PA story regarding potential staff layoffs at Penn State, despite Spotlight PA standing behind its reporting. Based on the fate of Trump University, taking the “fake news” page out of the former president’s playbook may not have been the best choice.
Allentown Parking Authority -
No one is ever a fan of parking authorities, but in the Lehigh Valley, increased community complaints have led to changes to a city’s parking laws. After months of complaints from residents about overzealous enforcement and excessive ticketing, things boiled over in Allentown after its parking authority issued tickets to several people waiting in line at a food distribution center. That led to Mayor Matt Tuerk calling for change and the authority ending its 24-hour patrols, among other considerations.
A controversial Shell Polymers plant in Monaca, Beaver County has faced pushback from members of the community since it began operations last November, and now Shell is halting operations to work on its flare and wastewater treatment systems, according to a WPXI report, which reveals that the pause comes after the facility received seven violation notices from the state and experienced 13 malfunctions. Sounds like a good time to do some Shellf-reflection.