It’s August. So it’s Shark Week | Five for Your Weekend

    a school of ten sharks swimming in shallow water, silhouetted against sunbeams shining through the water. (c) cbpix - Stock.Adobe.com

    Happy weekend, everyone!

    Sharks aren’t a top concern in landlocked Pennsylvania, but for those visiting East Coast beaches and shores during Shark Week this year, the fear is real.

    For the last 32 years, Discovery Channel has had us on the edge our seats for one solid week in August to catch stories and footage of these powerful sea creatures.

    Thankfully, Shark Week is still happening this year, kicking off this Sunday, Aug. 9. 

    Here’s the lineup for those of you planning to watch!

    Cheers to a leisurely weekend,

    Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

    1. Post-primary, Pa. Republicans notch some voter reg. gains | AnalysisIt’s been a bright few months for the Democratic Party.

    National and battleground state polls currently show that Joe Biden is favored to kick Donald Trump out of the White House and with potentially large enough coattails to flip the Senate too.

    As a result, you might’ve expected those trends to show up in the voter registration totals both in Pennsylvania and nationwide. That has not been the case.

    It appears the pandemic is deflating Democratic efforts to register new voters while the GOP makes up some ground.

    Two months ago, the Democratic margin throughout the commonwealth was 803,427. Now it stands at 783,116. All told, that’s 4,101,080 Democrats, 3,317,964 Republicans and 1,223,971 others for a grand total of 8,643,015 registered voters.

    Now let’s dive in.

    2. Republican lawmaker calls police after ‘aggressive and belligerent’ call with Democratic colleague over LGBTQ billA Philadelphia suburban Republican called the police to his home after a Democratic colleague launched into a late-night, curse-filled tirade against him in a phone call on Monday.

    In a statement released Tuesday, Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery, claimed that Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, told him in the call that Sims would “ruin” Murt and that Murt was “finished.”

    Murt, a seven-term lawmaker, is not running for reelection.

    Murt said what sparked the call was unclear, but he speculated it was over a proposal he released this week for an LGBTQ bill of rights.

    3. Pennsylvania got $104M from the feds to expand internet access to students. Much of it is still unspent This spring, as Pennsylvania schools struggled to complete a historic school year entirely online, state officials secured $104 million in federal funding to improve internet connectivity for K-12 and college students statewide.

    Now, with less than a month until the school year traditionally starts, most of the money still hasn’t been spent – even though districts are increasingly accepting that remote instruction will be the reality for hundreds of thousands of school children this fall.

    Gov. Tom Wolf has total authority to allocate the grant that Pennsylvania received from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, a pot of money created in the federal CARES Act, and controlled by the U.S. Department of Education.

    So far, he’s distributed just one-third of Pennsylvania’s award, giving $3 million to preschool programs and $28 million to colleges and universities.

    But his administration can’t say when they’ll release the remaining $73 million to K-12 schools or how they’ll decide to dole it out.

    4. These are the 10 most popular Pennsylvania state parks

    Pennsylvania is home to 121 state parks, spread across the commonwealth’s 67 counties. Think you know which ones cracked the top ten of Pennsylvania’s most visited parks?Take a look at this list, based on data from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’s Bureau of State Parks.

    5. Break quarantine, risk legal action, Pa. warns people exposed to COVID-19The Pennsylvania Department of Health is warning some Pennsylvanians who have been exposed to COVID-19 of legal action if they violate quarantine.

    The warning comes in a three-page letter, sent to potentially thousands of Pennsylvanians, who were in close contact with someone who was positive for the coronavirus.

    The letter advises recipients to stay indoors for 14 days since their last contact with the positive individual, to take their temperature twice daily, and to cooperate with the department. The warning comes in the second to last paragraph.

    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.