Visiting the Pa. Farm Show? Consider COVID risk, Pa. Ag. Sect’y says | Tuesday Morning Coffee

‘For individuals who are concerned about their personal health or have family members or colleagues who are particularly vulnerable, this is not the year to attend,’ Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said during a Monday briefing

January 4, 2022 7:04 am

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Pa. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding unveiled the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show butter sculpture. It was carved from a half-ton of butter (Commonwealth Media Services photo)

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Thinking about attending the first, in-person Pennsylvania Farm Show in two years when it kicks off this weekend in Harrisburg?

With the omicron variant of COVID-19 raging, you might want to think twice, Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said during a briefing with journalists on Monday.

“For individuals who are concerned about their personal health or have family members or colleagues who are particularly vulnerable, this is not the year to attend,” Redding said, according to PennLive.

The annual agriculture spectacular, which includes a food court of grown-in-Pennsylvania delicacies and, of course, the now-ubiquitous Farm Show milkshake, runs from Jan. 8 to Jan. 15 at the cavernous expo complex on the edge of Harrisburg.

Tens of thousands of people, often packed shoulder-to-shoulder, spend the week meandering past live animal exhibits, or sitting next to each other at tractor pulls and other competitions.

But, as PennLive reports, with the Keystone State experiencing one of the highest positivity rates of the pandemic, that’s prompted some warnings and second thoughts.

One vendor, PennAg Industries, announced two weeks ago that it was taking a pass on the Farm Show because of health concerns for its volunteers, PennLive reported.

On Monday, LancasterOnline’s Mickayla Miller reported that the state Health Department will be at the Farm Show, where it will be administering first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as booster shots for anyone who wants one.

In addition to PennAg Industries, “several commercial vendors,” also have dropped out of this year’s show, Miller reported, citing Farm Show Complex Executive Director Sharon Altland. Many of those vendors have been replaced, Miller also reported.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Redding said masks are encouraged, but not required, during the Farm ShowPennLive reported.

“It’s important individuals take the time to think about, is this the year to be here with those concerns of COVID around us,” Redding said, according to PennLive.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
As it looked to build Democratic support for a regional cap-and-trade initiative, the Wolf administration turned to one of the oldest carrot-and-stick tricks in the book, dangling the lure of state grant money in exchange for votes, Stephen Caruso reports.

Despite pleas from advocates and a recent request from the governor, a bill that would open a two-year window for child sex abuse survivors to pursue civil lawsuits against their abusers is unlikely to see a floor vote as the Pennsylvania Senate returns to session this month. Marley Parish has the details.

flowering fruit tree will join a list of more than two-dozen banned plants in the commonwealth in February, the state Department of Agriculture has announced, Cassie Miller reports.

With Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s last budget address just about a month away, the state has collected $22.6 billion for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, the state Department of Revenue announced Monday. Details from me.

Veteran Pittsburgh blogger Sue Kerr has launched a new LGBTQ-oriented nonprofitCorrespondent Frank Pizzoli reports.

Louisiana federal judge has put a hold on President Joe Biden’s mandate that Head Start workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jacob Fischler writes.

As the Republican nominating fight for U.S. Senate fills up with out-of-towners, GOP hopeful Jeff Bartos has teed-off on ‘carpet baggers’ in the campaign, our partners at City & State Pa. report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Ray E. Landis runs down the three things the Legislature did to help older Pennsylvanians in 2021. And if you’re a pol who’s posing with guns because you think it makes you look strong, give it a rest, it just makes you look weakQuentin Miller, of our sibling site, Colorado Newsline, writes.

(Photo via The Philadelphia Tribune)

The Inquirer explains why Philadelphia is seeing a wave of resignations among its correctional workers.

New Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey promised a city ‘for all,’ as he took office on Monday, the Post-Gazette reports.

PennLive runs down how proposed redistricting maps will affect your neighborhood (subscriber-only).

Fourteen people died by homicide in Lancaster County last year. LancasterOnline runs down the cases.

WellSpan York Hospital will get help from one of FEMA’s COVID-19 strike teams, the York Daily Record reports.

New Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, the city’s first Latino chief executive, took the oath of office on MondayThe Morning Call has the details.

A retired school counselor is the newest member of the Scranton school board, the Times-Tribune reports.

Seventy-seven Philadelphia schools are going to virtual instruction because of omicron-related absences, WHYY-FM reports.

Spotlight PA explains how you can make your voice heard on the proposed legislative maps (via WITF-FM).

A loud boom, the equivalent of 30 tons of dynamite, heard over southwestern Pennsylvania on New Year’s Day was the sound of a meteor explodingGoErie reports, citing NASA.

More Americans can use SNAP benefits for restaurant meals and prepared dinners, reports.

Leading defense contractors bankrolled the re-election campaigns of election objectors, Roll Call reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:


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What Goes On
It’s a customary First Tuesday non-voting day for the state House and Senate. The very brief business gets underway around noontime.
4 p.m., Wexford, Pa: House Majority Policy Committee

Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s a 1990s alt.rock gem from Dishwalla that came up as I was putting this newsletter together. Here’s ‘Counting Blue Cars.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
The New York Rangers skated past the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on Monday in the only NHL game that didn’t get hit by pandemic cancellations. It was the Oilers’ fourth straight loss.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.