Memorial Day 2020: Observing the holiday in the middle of COVID-19 | Five for your weekend

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    Happy weekend, everyone!

    Before we sign off for the holiday weekend, we wanted to take a minute to share the election guide for the rapidly approaching June 2 primary.

    If you’re not sure what races will be on the ballot or the candidates for each race, take a look at our primary guide to help you make an informed decision on election day.

    Pennsylvania Primary 2020: Your guide to the June 2 presidential and statewide elections

    The Capital-Star will continue to work hard, bringing you the news you need about COVID-19 and the key issues that affect your lives. At a time of trial, the need for clear, concise reporting is more important than ever. And we’re going to deliver it to you. If you have questions or want to pass along story tips, email us at [email protected].

    As for our usual disclaimer: Continue self-isolating, stay informed and follow the advice and precautions laid out by state health officials.

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

    All the best,
    Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

    1. COVID-19 outbreak in Pa.: What’s open and what’s closedThis story will be updated with the latest COVID-related re-openings. Last update: Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

    Updated: The Pa. Liquor Control Board announced Wednesday that limited, walk-in sales will resume at 155 more state-run liquor stores starting Friday, for a total of 232 stores in 36 of 67 counties.

    Updated: Twenty-four Pennsylvania counties emerge from lockdown on Friday morning, going from the “red zone,” to the “yellow zone,” in the Wolf administration’s color-coded reopening scheme. The move allows for the reopening of most businesses, with social distancing and other public health restrictions still in place. Meanwhile, the administration extended its stay at home order for the rest of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties until June 4.

    Updated: On a call with journalists on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf had this to say about the next steps in the state’s ongoing reopening effort: “I think the southwest is doing a phenomenal job. And again, we’ll be making another announcement soon. And the hope is that we can move quickly there, wherever else in Pennsylvania. We’re making good progress as we make good progress with this disease to open up and keep people safe.”

    2. And then there were six | Your guide to Pennsylvania’s auditor general primaryWith Pennsylvania’s June 2 primary just three weeks away, the race to fill the seat of term-limited Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is hotly contested.

    DePasquale, a Democrat, meanwhile, is running for the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat now held by GOP U.S. Rep.Scott Perry.

    With one Republican and six Democrats all vying for the chance to be the state’s top fiscal watchdog, the June 2 Democratic primary offers a variety of options for auditor general position.

    3. Levine’s policies are fair game for criticism. Attacking her identity is vile bigotryOn Tuesday afternoon, we published a short story about Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s run in with Pittsburgh radio host Marty Griffin, where Levine, a transgender woman, admonished the talk radio personality for repeatedly calling her “sir” during a conference call with journalists.

    Social media being the cesspool of incivility that it tends to be, I expected some pushback from noisy bigots who’d find our coverage and use it as an excuse to attack Levine for her gender identity. What I did not expect was to spend the next three days repeatedly scrubbing the Capital-Star’s Facebook feed of the most vile bigotry.

    Once or twice an hour, I’d head over to our page, and find new comments that had popped up like contaminated dandelions to replace the ones that I’d hidden or deleted earlier in the day.

    4. COVID-19 in Pennsylvania: Tracking the outbreak with maps and graphsThe staff at the Capital-Star is working round-the-clock to keep you updated on the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania. Our continually updated graphics use state Department of Health data to show you the latest in testing data, total case counts, and the geographic spread of the virus.

    First, our county-level map shows how many cases have been confirmed in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. We’re currently updating this at least once a day with information from the Department of Health’s noon-time press releases.

    This map only uses data from the state Department of Health, so it may not include new cases that you’ve seen reported in local media outlets. Local hospitals and health officials report their cases to the state, and we’re relying on state data to make sure we’re not over-counting patients.

    5. Pa. House panel moves to end Wolf’s executive powers amid pandemic

    (*This story was updated at 1:18 pm and 2:34 pm on 5/21/20, with additional information) A state House panel approved ending Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 disaster declaration outright in a near-party line vote Thursday morning.

    The vote comes hours after the Republican-controlled House failed to muster the votes to overturn Wolf’s veto of a bill that would have allowed hundreds of businesses across the commonwealth to reopen.

    The legislative cancellation, authorized by the same state law that Wolf cited to begin his pandemic response, must now pass the whole House.

    It would then require the Senate’s approval to officially end Wolf’s legal decree, which his administration has used to justify everything from providing liability protection to health professionals to shutting down businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

    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.