Stargazers, rejoice: Look up this weekend! | Five for the weekend

(c) ohishiftl - Stock.Adobe.com starry night sky fully with the stars

Happy weekend, everyone!

This weekend star gazers and amateur astronomers will have the opportunity to see two celestial events!

The first is the NEOWISE comet, which is visible worldwide this month. It can be seen best at sunrise and sunset with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars.

In addition to the comet, several planets will be visible with binoculars at various times over the weekend. 

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

Happy star gazing!

Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. ‘We are already at a tipping point,’ Wolf says, as Pa. imposes new health restrictions on bars and restaurants

Issuing a grave warning about the potential for a serious surge of COVID-19, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a new set of restrictions on Pennsylvania’s bars, restaurants, nightclubs and workplaces that will take effect Thursday – steps he said are necessary to protect children and staff returning to school in September.

The order, which calls for most bars and nightclubs to close, and for restaurants to further limit indoor dining, comes as Pennsylvania tries to beat back a month-long climb in COVID-19 cases.

“Medical experts looking at our current trajectory are projecting that [the] new surge that we are seeing now could be worse than before,” Wolf said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters in suburban Harrisburg. “We’re already at a tipping point.”

2. 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.

There’s a lot we still don’t know about what school in Pennsylvania will look like this fall. The Capital-Star has reviewed news reports, read research published by state agencies and educators, and spoke with experts to answer some of the biggest questions about school reopening across the state.

3. The problem with passing real police reform is … | Editorial Cartoon
4. Wolf says he opposes open records bill, despite unanimous support

Despite winning the support of all 253 members of the General Assembly, Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday he would not sign a bill requiring the state to process open records requests during a state of emergency.

During a press conference Wednesday, Wolf said the bill “had some flaws,” but did not elaborate on what they were.

“I am for transparency and I will stack my record of transparency against the members of the General Assembly any day of the week,” Wolf said.

The bill, which would prevent any governor from suspending or delaying open records requests indefinitely due to a state of emergency, passed the state Senate unanimously Wednesday.

5. COVID-19 outbreak in Pa.: What’s open and what’s closed

This story will be updated with the latest COVID-related re-openings. Last update: Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

Updated: With all 67 Pennsylvania counties now fully, or partially, reopened, the Wolf administration has issued updated guidance for a host of outdoor-related businesses, from miniature golf courses and paintball ranges, to horseback riding businesses and tennis clubs.

“As summer quickly approaches and all 67 counties are in either yellow or green phases of reopening, it was important to provide businesses with the guidance necessary to safely reopen or plan for reopening as they reach the green phase,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement issued by his office. “I want all Pennsylvanians to remain active and to enjoy all the recreation the commonwealth has to offer, but we must do so safely and with social distancing top of mind.”

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.