Some spring planting tips | Five for the Weekend

By: - March 20, 2021 6:30 am

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Happy Weekend, all.

I write to you from the cold recesses of my cold, semi-finished basement office where, tucked in a heated blanket, I’m pleading with Mother Nature to send temperatures, just a few degrees warmer, our way.

I’m especially eager to get planting. Each year I plant a small garden, and while I’m most definitely an amateur at the practice, this winter has given me time to research my strategies a little more.

A few helpful sources I’ve found:

This vegetable planting calendar
There’s also this guide to planting and transplanting 
How to keep animal intruders away from your garden
And lastly, this spring prep check list

Of course, planting and harvest season varies by where you are in the commonwealth, but I hope these help you plan your spring prep with a little more ease.

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

Cheers to a leisurely weekend,

Cassie Miller, Associate Editor

1. In the Pa. Senate, an object lesson in how not to respond to a national tragedy | Thursday Morning Coffee

There were any number of ways that state Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, could have responded to a murderous rampage in Georgia on Tuesday night that left eight people dead, six of them Asian-American women.

But a digressive lecture accusing the chamber’s only Asian-American member of engaging in politically divisive behavior, highlighted by a defense of the former president, that failed to make note of the dead, was not one of them.

But that’s the hand that Dush, a conservative freshly elected to the seat formerly held by ex-Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, decided to play, turning what could have been a teachable moment about the changing face of an increasingly diverse commonwealth into just another lame, partisan sparring match.

2. Four of Pennsylvania’s legislative redistricting commissioners are confirmed. The fifth will decide who wins and loses

The Pennsylvania House and Senate okayed the start of legislative redistricting this week, sparking a six-week-long race to find a tie-breaking voice agreeable to Democrats and Republicans.

If they don’t agree, the choice fall to the state Supreme Court, in Democratic hands for the first time in recent memory, and giving them a long sought after trump card in negotiations.

In a press release Tuesday, the Republican-controlled chambers’ top officers, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, and House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, appointed the General Assembly’s four floor leaders to the state’s legislative redistricting commission.

3. Redistricting, explained: What it is, how it works, and how Pa. politicians get to draw their own maps

It’s a year ending in one, so politicians across America are once again busting out their sharpies and spreadsheets to divide up voters in the once-a-decade redrawing of Pennsylvania’s congressional and legislative boundaries.

Redistricting and its cousin, gerrymandering, are more common terms to hear in recent years. But don’t be worried if you haven’t heard of them before.

Understand them, and you will better understand the next decade of American, and Pennsylvania, politics. Here’s our best shot at telling you what you need to know.

4. How I got the coronavirus vaccine in Pennsylvania | Opinion

Since March 2020, the world has waited for a vaccine or two that would curb or halt the coronavirus menace that has consumed so many lives, ravaged so many bodies and devastated so many families and communities.

Now that three vaccines are being produced, everyone is waiting anxiously for how they will be distributed in their states. Meanwhile, remote working and remote learning have become the norm. Millions have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet.

Like so many Americans, I wanted to learn what phase of the rollout I fit into. In Pennsylvania, we have quite a few phases.

On March 7, I took a chance, answered some questions and discovered that my turn had come up!

Dear readers, this column describes the process I experienced to receive the vaccine. I realize many people will not be vaccinated, but for those who are curious about the enrollment process, the following information should offer some practical help and hopefully ease some of your concerns.

5. What the federal stimulus package means for Pa.’s local governments

When COVID-19 shutdowns led Pennsylvania businesses to shed more than a million jobs last spring, elected officials braced for the worst.

Local leaders feared that the job losses would make it impossible to balance budgets that rely largely on income taxes. Municipalities that levy hefty sales taxes or parking fees doubly winced, fearing that slow foot traffic in business districts would tamp down those revenue sources, too.

One year after the pandemic began, municipal finance experts in Pennsylvania say the blow COVID-19 dealt to local governments hasn’t been as severe as they feared.

But the federal stimulus that the U.S. House is expected to send to President Joe Biden this week still could offer local governments a lifeline, those experts say, especially as they brace for ripple effects and pay for deferred expenditures in 2021.

And that’s the week. Enjoy the weekend, and we’ll see you back here next week. 

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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.