Remembering 9/11 and where we go next | Five for the Weekend

Tokens and tributes line the perimeter wall of the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pa. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Greetings,

The picture kicking off today’s newsletter was taken by me on a visit to Shanksville, Pa. where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field on Sept. 11, 2001.

Tokens and tributes line the perimeter walls all year long, but especially Friday, when we stopped to remember the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 and the nearly 3,000 souls lost 19 years ago.

Before you begin your weekend, please take a moment to remember those who were lost, those who answered the calls for help, and those who are still missing a loved one.

For those who are able and willing, Charity Navigator has a list of 9/11-related charities to support.

As always, the week’s top stories are below.

Have a good weekend,

Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. GOP sees voter reg surge as fall campaign begins | Analysis

Mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania go out on Sept. 14, and Republicans are seeing continued growth in voter registration, a Capital-Star analysis has found.

While it was a disappointing summer for the GOP in national polls, they made impressive voter registration gains throughout the commonwealth. It now seems quite likely that the differing partisan responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are responsible for this dynamic. After all, if you’re taking social distancing seriously, you’re less likely to knock on doors and approach strangers.

A month ago, the Democratic margin statewide was 783,116. It currently stands at 758,854. Altogether, that’s 4,121,353 Democrats, 3,362,499 Republicans and 1,241,714 others for a grand total of 8,725,566 registered voters.

2. Trump inflates Pennsylvania nat.gas job figures by 3500 percent | Fact Check

On Thursday, President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pa., just an hour east of Pittsburgh. There, he lobbed many insults and made many false claims, but arguably none more egregious than one about jobs in Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry.

According to WESA-FM Editor Chris Potter, Trump claimed during his speech that there are currently 940,000 natural gas jobs in Pennsylvania. That’s a gross exaggeration. The industry is frequently referred to as the “fracking” industry, a reference to hydraulic fracturing, the process that’s used to extract natural gas from solid rock.

According to multiple analysis and data from state and federal labor departments, there are around 26,000 jobs in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industries. Trump inflated the amount of jobs in Pennsylvania by more than 3500 percent.

3.Trump campaign cites Republican candidate as proof of mail-in voter fraud in Pa.

President Donald Trump has spent months falsely claiming in Tweets and at rallies that mail-in balloting is ripe for fraud; fraud that would then allow Democrats to steal the 2020 election.

But searching for evidence to back up the claims in a federal court challenge to Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot law, his campaign is instead using a Republican state House candidate as evidence of wrongdoing.

The candidate, Ralph Shicatano, said he’s done nothing wrong by voting in person after requesting a mail-in ballot. But the campaign included his circumstance in a document, referenced in a campaign official’s deposition, as “evidence of duplicitous voting that occurred or was attempted during the primary election.”

The deposition was delivered in a civil rights lawsuit, Trump vs. Boockvar, filed in the U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania by the president’s reelection campaign against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who administers the commonwealth’s elections. Pennsylvania’s 67 counties also are named as defendants.

4. These are the 10 most popular Pennsylvania state parks

Pennsylvania is home to 121 state parks, spread across the commonwealth’s 67 counties. Think you know which ones cracked the top ten of Pennsylvania’s most visited parks?

Take a look at this list, based on data from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’s Bureau of State Parks.

5. House Repubs again snuff out Wolf’s calls for recreational cannabis legalization

With millions of dollars in potential tax revenue on the line, and multi-billion dollar hole in the state’s finances, Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday upped the pressure on the Republican-controlled General Assembly to legalize recreational cannabis.

“Now, more than ever, especially right in the middle of this pandemic, we have a desperate need for the economic boost that cannabis can provide,” Wolf said during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters in suburban Harrisburg.

“The Legislature has failed to find the time,” to move a trio of legalization bills out of committee and to hold votes, Wolf said Thursday. “This is something that affects millions of Pennsylvanians. And it can provide revenue at a time when we desperately need revenue.”

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

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 has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She 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.