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, Sept. 29, 2018:
EXCHANGE-SMOKING BAN 10 YEARS LATER
PITTSBURGH — On a hot, hazy August afternoon, the lunch crowd at the Rosecliff Tavern in Monroeville is winding down. A sign on the door warns in bold white letters: “No one under 18 years old” is allowed to enter. Inside — where a cigarette machine and the smell of stale smoke greet patrons — the haze turns thicker. Customers dot the U-shaped bar, a few enjoying a smoke at the end of their meals. Monroeville resident Joe Dipietro, 74, visits the neighborhood bar a couple of days a week to chat with friends and he isn’t bothered by the smoke even though he’s trying to quit the habit. Dipietro’s friend, Bill Montgomery, is a regular at the Rosecliff, too. “It’s handy to where I live, and I needed a place where I could smoke,” said Montgomery, 75. It’s been 10 years this month since Pennsylvania banned smoking in most workplaces and public venues. Smoke continues to linger in roughly 2,000 workplaces across the state, notably certain bars and up to half the gaming floors at all 12 of Pennsylvania’s casinos. Patricia Sabatini, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
EXCHANGE-DRUG OFFENSES-SUSPENDED LICENSES
YORK — Mike Autry was walking and shopping with his girlfriend when a police officer recognized him. Autry had a warrant out for his arrest because he’d failed to show up to a court hearing about owing money on older cases. Police arrested him. Law enforcement eventually spotted what was left of a blunt behind his ear and slapped him with additional charges. Later, Autry pleaded guilty to possession of a small amount of marijuana and got probation — but he was also hit with a one-year driver’s license suspension — even though he hadn’t been anywhere near a vehicle. Pennsylvania is one of 12 states that still impose mandatory driver’s license suspensions for certain drug offenses, regardless of whether the crime has anything to do with driving. Civil rights and liberties organizations describe these automatic suspensions as a relic of what they call the failed war on drugs, arguing that they disproportionately affect poor people and minority communities and prevent individuals who’ve already paid their debt to society from successfully reintegrating into it. Dylan Segelbaum, York Daily Record.
EXCHANGE-DANIEL DAE KIM-DIVERSITY
ALLENTOWN — From the start of his career in Hollywood, Daniel Dae Kim didn’t see roadblocks. He saw opportunities. Despite a lack of Asian characters in television and film, the Freedom High School graduate persevered, landing leading roles in TV hits “Lost” and “Hawaii 5-0.” He later fought for pay equal to his white co-stars’ on “Hawaii 5-0” and ultimately left the show over the issue. Kim — who two years ago said “diversity is more than just a buzzword to me. It’s my life” — founded a production company because he wanted to have more say in what was being shown on TV and movie screens. He found almost immediate success last fall with the TV series “The Good Doctor,” about a young surgeon with autism. Featuring one of the most diverse casts on network TV, it became a monster hit on ABC. Jennifer Sheehan, The (Allentown) Morning Call.
NORTH HUNTINGDON — Charlene Weyels-Price wasn’t looking for love. But there was this guy. He was a little older, and they enjoyed hitting the dance floor. “Our love of music is what brought us together, and he liked the way I danced,” Weyels-Price said. Fast-forward two years to the couple’s wedding in North Huntingdon — the bride wearing a tiara and sparkly, barely-pink gown and Robert E. Price Sr. looking dapper in a matching bow tie along with his black sportcoat and pants. Love was in the air Sept. 14 when the couple’s retirement community, Redstone Highlands, hosted its first wedding at that location. She’s 71. He is 84. “Age doesn’t matter to me,” Price said. “I feel like I’m much younger.” Renatta Signorini, Tribune-Review.
CHAMBERSBURG — Tobacco cigarettes’ popularity is going up in smoke as a new smoking trending gains traction among America’s youth. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vapes, are battery-powered devices that heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor, USA Today said. This liquid can also be flavored, making it more appealing and taste better than regular cigarettes. This type of device is becoming one of the more popular tobacco products among teens. Federal law prohibits selling them to anyone under 18 years old - just like cigarettes - but data from the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey show about 12 percent of high school students and 3 percent of middle school students had used them in the past 30 days. Ashley Books, Chambersburg Public Opinion