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BC-PA--Exchange, Advisory, PA

May 28, 2019

Here are the stories for this week’s Pennsylvania Member Exchange package. If you have any questions, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133.

For use anytime:


Editorials from around Pennsylvania.

For Saturday, June 1, 2019


ALLENTOWN _ In some Pennsylvania communities, alcohol is still the devil’s drink and bars are an unnecessary evil. But with Election Day came an opportunity to turn on the taps in those towns — and many of them seized it. Voters in 20 municipalities considered referendums Tuesday to flip their towns from dry to wet — opening the possibility of alcohol sales. Of that group, 19 were successful, according to media reports collected by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Dry laws, a relic of the Prohibition era, are almost foreign to the Lehigh Valley. But for a large swath of the midstate and even a few Philadelphia suburbs, dry municipalities remain plentiful. As of January, there were still 683 Pennsylvania municipalities that were at least partially dry — about a quarter of the 2,571 municipalities in the state. Emily Opilio and Peter Hall, The (Allentown) Morning Call.


PHILADELPHIA _ It was late in a listless Eagles exhibition game on the cool and cloudy night of Aug. 23, 1984. In Veterans Stadium’s notorious 700 Level, the blood-alcohol level was as elevated as the vantage point. The home team, 5-11 the previous year, was displaying little improvement. Rowdy and restless, fans booed lustily after Philadelphia rookie Evan Cooper’s fumble, after two Ron Jaworski interceptions, after backup QB Joe Pisarcik was sacked twice. So when the giant PhanaVision screen suddenly flashed the image of two men in skimpy shorts and sleeveless, satin T-shirts, the crowd’s reaction was as predictable as the 6-9-1 Eagles season that was to follow. Time, attitudes, and stadiums have changed. When the Eagles open their 2019 season, the debut of Kyle Tanguay, their first male cheerleader since then, figures to pass with little note. But 35 years ago, that first bracing glimpse of Paul Kramer and Mark Merschen, who that year joined 30 female counterparts on the Eagles’ Liberty Belles, drew a decidedly negative response. Frank Fitzpatrick, The Philadelphia Inquirer.


PITTSBURGH _ Church leaders pulled Kay aside one Sunday and told her she was excommunicated for failing to forgive her husband. Her conservative Mennonite church demanded that she take a registered sex offender back into her home, that she forgive and forget what he had done to their 1-month-old baby and her sibling who followed. But Kay had tried that blind forgiveness before, and she couldn’t do it again. And so she didn’t welcome him back, despite pressure from the church and his family. And then, on that fall day in 2007, she was kicked out of the only community she’d ever known, suddenly facing a future as a single mother of four because she wouldn’t let an abuser raise her children. The Sunday after Kay was excommunicated, her husband was welcomed back into their Lancaster County church, Kay, now 47, said in a February interview.“Everyone just turned their backs on us,” she said. Shelly Bradbury and Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


CLARKS SUMMIT _ Lizzie Pettinato didn’t want to feel left out. As she scrolled through her phone one night earlier this month, the 14-year-old saw her friends had downloaded a new app, YOLO, which lets its users send anonymous messages to each other. Within minutes, notifications popped up on her screen. For hours, the Abington Heights eighth grader received messages that were mean, vulgar, even threatening. “I told myself to stop reading them, but I didn’t,” she said. She cried for hours and stayed home from school the next day. When she returned, she visited the school’s social worker. Although the school offered her support, there was no way to determine who harassed her. Weeks later, the messages still hurt. “Kids take their life from bullying,” said Lizzie, who wants to provide a voice for children harassed and bullied online. “I think that everything being done anonymously should be put to an end. It’s childish. It’s hurtful.” Sarah Hofius Hall, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune.


MONESSEN _ Under the fluorescent lights of the Monessen Fire Department Social Hall, Jason Zubovic’s bright orange shawl and high, curly wig rivet the eye. Add to that a floor-length gown, oversized jewelry and full makeup, and the 6-foot-4-inch tall man in heels, going by the name Miss Thea Trix, is a striking Roman candle of a man in drag. The 44-year-old Fayette County native was just kicking off the season for drag queen bingo, an event that raises money for different fundraisers and organizations. Miss Thea’s Drag Queen Bingo, started in 2016, raises thousands of dollars each year for groups such as Relay for Life, animal rescue leagues, school programs and independent funds for people who need surgery. Last year, the group of five glitter-and-glam drag queens raised almost $500,000 for charity. Megan Tomasic, Tribune-Review.