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Ups and Downs

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It’s party time in Hershey … as well as Philadelphia. For completely different reasons. The Bears are bringing the Calder Cup back to the region for a Saturday celebration at the Giant Center. Laborers are bringing a gift to the residents of the Delaware Valley, too, as lanes of I-95 are expected to open Friday. All of our Ups and Downs are right here.

Up arrowThe Forward Party. Andrew Yang’s newly established party has signed up two new Pennsylvania affiliates. Longtime Democratic state Sens. Lisa Boscola and Anthony H. Williams will remain registered Democrats and signed the pledge that prioritizes “bottom-up” solutions, diverse thinking, collaboration, grace and tolerance and election reforms, according to the party.

Up arrowLatika Davis-Jones and Nancy Walker. The pair were confirmed by the state Senate for the positions of Secretaries of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Labor and Industry, respectively. That brings the number of confirmations of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s Cabinet nominations to 11.

Up arrowRep. Mike Kelly. Kelly (R-16) announced his intention to run for an eighth term in Congress. Kelly, who was first elected in 2010, defeated challenger Dan Pastore by 19 points in the 2022 election cycle. He presently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Subcommittee on Tax Policy and the Subcommittee on Health.

Up arrowRich Fitzgerald. The term-limited Allegheny County Executive had a veto overridden on a minimum wage for county employees. It is just the second time in his 11+ years that has occurred. And the Tribune-Review says it’s a good thing, noting Council members should feel free to vote their conscience regardless of party. A county executive should be able to take a stand based on concerns about the process more than the politics. Elected officials are put in office to listen to those arguments and then make decisions. That’s what happened, and everyone should applaud it.

Up arrowRenee Cohn Jubelirer. The Commonwealth Court judge rejected an attempt by Republican lawmakers to overturn her ruling that Pennsylvania’s school funding model was unconstitutional. Jubelirer said children in lower-wealth districts “have the same right or expectation to a thorough and efficient system of public education as those students who attend schools in a wealthier school district.”

Up arrowThe Live Cam. The hottest thing on streaming right now does not reside on Netflix nor any traditional service. Rather, it lives at pacast.com/live/I95 and is the livestream of the ongoing construction on I-95. In taverns with multiple screens, the I-95 reconstruction has been playing right beside the Phillies and other major sporting events of the day. It’s seized the social media imagination and become a part of our daily discourse.

Up arrowFrank J. Ruggiero. Gov. Josh Shapiro has nominated the Lackawanna County solicitor to fill a vacant county judgeship until January. Ruggiero is already running for election to a full 10-year term for the same vacancy, and won the Democratic and Republican nominations in the primary. He is unopposed in the Nov. 7 election. Assuming the state Senate confirms the nomination, Ruggiero could only serve until January. He would begin the full term right after that if he’s elected.

Up arrowPocono Raceway Officials. In a race to the finish line of the bridge repair of Interstate 95, officials found one more way to speed up the project: the use of the Pocono Raceway jet dryer. The apparatus usually used to push water off the racetrack was taken to Philadelphia early Thursday, Pocono Raceway President Ben May said in a phone call Thursday morning. It will be used to help dry the asphalt after paving, and in drying new lines painted on the roadway

Up arrowJosh Shapiro. The governor’s star continues to rise on the national stage with his announcement that “traffic will be flowing on I-95 this weekend.” Original projections stated that the roadway could be closed for months. “We have worked around the clock to get this done, and we’ve completed each phase safely and ahead of schedule”

Down arrowWill Parker. The unsuccessful candidate for Allegheny County Executive faces a preliminary hearing after Pittsburgh police charged him with assaulting an officer while trying to accost Mayor Ed Gainey during the Grand Jubilee Juneteenth Parade. Police said Parker tried to shake hands with Gainey and when the mayor did not, Parker screamed at him that he would “show up” at Gainey’s house, referred to him as a “clown” and “Mayor Goofy,” and shouted obscenities, according to the complaint.

Down arrowUniversity of Pittsburgh. More than a dozen University of Pittsburgh students walked across the stage this spring only to learn they didn’t meet graduation requirements months later. The students were notified by email that the university was withholding their diplomas because they didn’t meet graduation requirements. Pitt is requiring those students to complete the missing undergraduate courses in order to get their diplomas.

Up arrowHershey Bears. The American Hockey League’s oldest team defeated its newest team in an overtime Game 7 thriller to win the Calder Cup, symbolic of the league championship. It is the 12th time that the Bears’ organization has claimed the AHL title and first since 2010.

Down arrowThieves. A Pennsylvania-based ring of thieves is believed to be behind the theft of five trophies from the National Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs nearly a decade ago.

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