Sports, maybe? | Five for Your Weekend

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Happy weekend, everyone!

Was it just me, or did it feel like every sports fan in America was holding their breath, waiting to see what would happen as Major League Baseball returned from a 4-month-long pause?

Not going to lie, I missed sports more than I thought. Right now, in a normal year, I would start feeling the draw and excitement for the upcoming college football season. This year though, I’m just wondering if we have a season, what it will look like.

As a former sports reporter, the idea of not having local fall sports to cover is … well, strange.

That said, my only “plan B” in the event the fall season is cancelled, is watching vintage hockey games and “Miracle.”

Here’s to hoping sports return this fall! … And if they don’t, here’s to hoping your “plan b” is better than mine.

As always, the top five stories from this week’s news are below to help you stay current.

Cheers to a leisurely weekend,

Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. Health Secretary Levine explains why Pa. ordered restaurants to limit capacity, but still won’t show the data to back it up

Pennsylvania’s top health official said Thursday that data collected by state contract tracers, and guidance issued by the White House, influenced Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent decision to limit business at bars, restaurants and nightclubs as Pennsylvania tries to curb a spike in COVID-19 cases.

But state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has so far declined to make public the state data that guided the new mitigation effort, even though media outlets and restaurant industry leaders have asked to see it.

2. Former Gov./DHS boss Ridge: ‘It’d be a cold day in hell’ before he’d let ‘uninvited’ federal agents into Pa.

The nation’s first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security had sharp words for his former agency Tuesday, condemning the Trump administration’s decision to send federal officers into the streets of Portland, Ore. to quell protests, saying it was “counterproductive,” and that it was not the agency’s mission to act as domestic law enforcement.

“The department was established to protect America from the ever-present threat of global terrorism. It was not established to be the president’s personal militia,” ex-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said during an interview with Sirius XM host Michael Smerconish.

Ridge, the former two-term Republican Pennsylvania governor, who was tapped by President George W. Bush to lead the domestic security agency two decades ago, said “it would be a cold day in hell before I would consent to an uninvited, unilateral intervention into one of my cities.”

3. How a Supreme Court ruling on an Uber driver could remake Pennsylvania’s gig economy

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled late last week that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but instead, “as a matter of law,” are controlled by the tech giant.

The ruling does not make every app-directed worker a full employee overnight. But to labor advocates and attorneys, the ruling does the next best thing: It builds the legal scaffolding for lawsuits and regulatory actions to expand gig workers’ workplace protections and access to the social safety net.

“Very few courts have been able to address this straight on like the Supreme Court did here,” Julia Simon-Mishel, the attorney for Philadelphia Legal Assistance who won the case, told the Capital-Star.

4. School officials tell Pa. Senate panel they need to be shielded from lawsuits to reopen safely

Since Pennsylvania reported its first two cases of COVID-19 in March, lawmakers have tried to protect everyone from business owners to medical equipment manufacturers from lawsuits that hold them liable for spreading the disease.

Healthcare providers got broad immunity from civil lawsuits in May, under an executive order signed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

School leaders told state lawmakers on Tuesday that they need those same protections if students and staff are going to return to classrooms this fall.

5. How will Pennsylvania schools reopen this fall? Your questions, answered

After a historic shutdown that kept 1.7 million school children at home for three months, schools across Pennsylvania are racing against the clock to safely open their doors this fall.

Administrators are stockpiling hand sanitizer, masks and infrared thermometers. Teachers are plowing through professional development programs to improve online instruction. And local school boards are logging marathon meetings as they try to balance budgets and adopt safety plans for the upcoming school year.

Schools in Pennsylvania are technically allowed to open their doors this month.

But with barely eight weeks until Labor Day marks the end of summer, and messages from state and federal leaders changing every day, many schools still have not completed their plans for how they’ll operate during the 2020-2021 school year.

And that’s the week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. We’ll see you all back here on 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.