New contract provisions aim to help Pa. parks reduce plastic waste | Five for the Weekend

The new provisions will prevent the use of plastic bags, straws and cutlery at state park concession stands

By: - November 6, 2021 6:30 am

(C) Sandra Burm –

Happy weekend, all.
Pennsylvania’s state parks are taking measures to reduce plastic waste, state officials announced Thursday.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said this week that it would implement new provisions in its contracts with food providers at state park concession stands to reduce plastic waste generated at Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks. 

The new provisions will prevent the use of plastic bags, straws and cutlery at state park concession stands, calling for them to be replaced with “compostable, paper, wood, or plant fiber alternatives, according to a statement from DCNR.

“As the state’s conservation leader, DCNR strives to model practices that conserve and sustain our natural resources, and we are now extending that to the concessions that provide snacks at our state parks,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Ann Dunn said Thursday. “This step will help to reduce the emissions generated through plastic production and eliminate the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills.”

The provisions are already in place at Beltzville, Frances Slocum, Keystone, Marsh Creek, Presque Isle, and Sizerville state parks. The contracts that will be updated in 2022 are Bald Eagle, Black Moshannon, Caledonia, Codorus, Gifford Pinchot, Hickory Run, Locust Lake, Mt. Pisgah, Pine Grove Furnace, Point, Prince Gallitzin, Ricketts Glen, and Yellow Creek state parks.

As always, the top 5 stories from this week are below. 

Voters line up at a polling place on Election Day. Source: Wikimedia Commons.











1. MAP: Here’s an (unofficial) look at the 2021 Election Day turnout rates in Pa. counties

As results continue to trickle in from Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, unofficial results provide a preliminary glimpse at voter turnout rate in each county.

Note: This data is compiled from unofficial county election results and could change. 

From unofficial county results reported as of 3:09 p.m. Wednesday, the voter turnout rate for the Nov. 2 General Election varies from as low as 16.88 percent to as high as 40.3 percent.

The Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg (Capital-Star file)

2. Your statewide voters guide for the 2021 general election in Pennsylvania

Every year is an election year in Pennsylvania, and that includes 2021.

In this election, there aren’t any trickily-worded ballot questions or presidential electors at stake. But that doesn’t make it any less important. Besides school boards, county commissioners, and mayoral races, voters must fill four open seats on the statewide bench when they go to the polls Nov. 2

Before we get into that, if you have questions about how to vote, and if you can, check out our other guide here. You have until Oct. 18 to register to cast a ballot this year, and you can register online here.

(Capital-Star file)

3. LIVE COVERAGE: The 2021 General Election in Pennsylvania

All day this Election Day, the Capital-Star will bring you the very latest on the 2021 primary election. Keep checking back here today for continuous updates from our staff, social media posts from the campaigns, material submitted by readers, and other stuff that catches our eye.

There are a lot of important races on the ballot today, and you can read all about them in our Voters Guide. And if you’re headed out to vote in person, you can find your polling place here.

Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona senate, June 9, 2021, at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona.

4. ‘An unprecedented situation’: Loose ends remain in Fulton County election review

In December 2020, a Republican state senator approached Fulton County Elections Director Patti Hess about conducting an election review.

Days later, Wake Technology Services, Inc. — a West Chester-based company with no experience auditing elections — spent an afternoon in the rural county recounting 954 mail-in ballots and reviewing data from voting machines.

“They just got done. They will send us a report. Everything seemed to go well,” Hess wrote in a Dec. 31 group text to the county commissioners and chief clerk.

“Who did that?” Paula Shives, the lone Democrat on the board of commissioners, asked.

“Sent by [state] Senator [Doug] Mastriano [R-Franklin] all counties are to do this or be subpoena[ed] to prove votes,” Hess replied, including contact information for Wake TSI co-founder Gene Kern.

Many people are using Bible verses to justify their stance against vaccines (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images/The Conversation).

5. Mysterious texts discouraging voters befuddle politicos in Harrisburg mayoral race

A mysterious text message campaign claiming to be from a Harrisburg mayoral candidate has sparked last minute confusion in a contentious municipal election.

Numerous Harrisburg residents, including a Capital-Star reporter, have received texts in recent days from an individual who claims to be from Democratic mayoral candidate Wanda Williams’ campaign.

The texter, who often uses a number with an out-of-state area code, asks the recipient if they will vote for Williams. However, according to two examples reviewed by the Capital-Star, if the recipient has a hesitant response, they are told not to vote for her.

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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.