Ag officials urge residents to trap invasive Spotted Lanternflies | Five for the Weekend

45 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are in the Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Area

By: - April 9, 2022 6:30 am

Department of Agriculture Highlights Safe, Effective Spotted Lanternfly Trap (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

Happy weekend, all. 

If you can’t squash ’em, trap ’em.

That’s the approach Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture officials highlighted this week on a visit to the Indiana County Conservation District where state officials and researchers demonstrated how to use a circle trap to eliminate large numbers of spotted lanternflies without harming beneficial pollinators or small animals.

“If you live in a quarantine zone for the spotted lanternfly, you know well by now that they’re a nuisance to outdoor life and are destructive to plant life,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said this week. “Through research, public-private partnerships, and boots-on-the-ground efforts we have learned more about this pest and how farmers, business-owners, homeowners, and communities can best manage it.”

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Around this time of year, Spotted Lanternflies begin laying masses of eggs in putty-like coatings on trees and other outdoor surfaces.

The department is encouraging Pennsylvanians to “destroy these egg masses now to prevent large populations this season.”

“There are no easy answers when it comes to the spotted lanternfly, and we understand that’s hard for people to hear,” Rick Roush, dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences said in a statement. “Good research takes time — and funding — but we are making discoveries every day and are sharing those findings with the public and key stakeholders.

For right now, Roush recommends that people who have Spotted Lanternflies on their property either squish them of trap them.

Penn State Extension’s website includes instructions on how to make traps, from common household items, for those interested.

As always, the top five stories from this week are below. 

Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, speaks with attendees on the Capitol steps of a rally for gun rights on September 29, 2020. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Now a defender of personal freedom, Mastriano wanted to lift privacy rules in pandemic’s early days

In March 2020, Doug Mastriano was a back-bench Republican state senator who was a year into his first term after winning a central Pennsylvania special election.

That month, COVID-19 lockdowns swept the nation. By late April, Mastriano, of Franklin County, arose as a powerful voice opposing Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s use of executive power.

In nightly live videos, he spoke to people’s sense of frustration and anger with business closures and mask orders, and the isolation of being locked up at home amid the turmoil.

Now, Mastriano is running for governor largely on the brand he built in those early days of the pandemic, telling his supporters to “walk as free people,” downplaying the risk of COVID-19, and vocally opposing vaccine mandates, among other positions.

At-Large Philadelphia City Councilmember Alan Domb
“In a city where so many families live in poverty and struggle to pay their bills or put food on their tables, money from these tax refund programs has the potential to make a real difference,” says At-large Councilmember Allan Domb ((Philadelphia Tribune photo).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Philly City Councilmember Allan Domb tries to spread word about unclaimed money

Eligible Philadelphians are currently leaving over $600 million on the table in unclaimed federal and state benefits. And at-large City Councilmember Alan Domb has one question: “How can I help get this money into the hands of the people who needed it the most?”

According to the Benefits Data Trust, 40,000 eligible Philadelphians left over $100 million in unclaimed Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) money in 2016. While the latest data available is 6 years old, Domb expects that the number of people who are eligible for the credits has increased by thousands.

The EITC is a federal tax refund for working people who filed a tax return are eligible. According to the city of Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue, qualifying people can receive up to $6,728. All reimbursements are based on marital status and the number of children the tax filer claims.

(Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pa. students who lobbied to make the Hershey’s Kiss the official state candy see progress in Harrisburg

What started as a classroom project to learn about the legislative process is making its way through the Republican-controlled General Assembly, with a Senate committee advancing a proposal to declare the Hershey’s Kiss Pennsylvania’s official candy.

The 11-member Senate State Government Committee voted 10-1 to send a bill authored by Sen. Maria Collett, D-Montgomery, to the full chamber for consideration. The three-page bill touts the Hershey Company’s Pennsylvania roots and the candy’s distinctive shape.

“It’s evident that Hershey Kisses have a deep influence on the story of the commonwealth,” Collett said. “That’s why it’s only fitting that this sweet treat becomes our official state candy.”

Fulton County Commissioner Stuart Ulsh swears an oath before continuing remarks during a Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee hearing on Sept. 9, 2021. (Screenshot)

4. Fulton County commissioner ‘clarifies’ response to Senate committee investigating Pa. elections

More than a month after appearing before the Pennsylvania Senate committee that’s investigating past elections, Fulton County Commissioner Stuart Ulsh signed an affidavit to “clarify” statements he made during a September hearing.

During the Sept. 9, 2021, meeting on guidance issued by the Department of State ahead of the 2020 election, Sen. Steven Santarsiero, D-Bucks, who sits on the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, asked if “any member of the General Assembly or any staff person” talked to Ulsh about the hearing.

Ulsh, a Republican, replied: “Not about the hearing, other than just if I was available to come down to testify.” He specified that he spoke to the chief-of-staff for Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, who chairs the committee, about his availability to appear before the panel.

(Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Lehigh DA: Hundreds illegally dropped off more than one ballot in drop boxes; No prosecutions planned

An investigation by the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office found that there were “likely hundreds of instances” where people deposited more than one ballot in a voting drop box last fall – a violation of state election law.

But District Attorney Jim Martin said there will be no prosecutions because it is impossible to determine the identity of most of the violators.

“… to prosecute those few whose identity can be proven would be unfair and unjust given the much larger numbers who cannot be identified and who also deposited multiple ballots,” Martin said in a press release issued Monday.

Martin said the investigation confirmed a Jan. 20 complaint from Joe Vichot, chairperson of the Lehigh County Republican Committee.

During an appearance before a Pennsylvania Senate committee last week, Vichot screened a video that appeared to show a man dropping off multiple ballots.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.

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