In case you missed it: this week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

     The Keystone Colorworks paint factory near Codorus Creek shuttered in 2006. Developers have proposed to turn the building into 29 luxury apartments. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    The Keystone Colorworks paint factory near Codorus Creek shuttered in 2006. Developers have proposed to turn the building into 29 luxury apartments. (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    Happy Friday! Here’s our roundup of this week’s recommended reading:

    Pensions

    Have you checked out our series on Pennsylvania municipal pensions?

    Capitol recap: lawmakers are proposing a fix for the worst-funded city pension plans. Think of it as the state’s Act 47 recovery law for distressed communities – but for municipal pensions.

    Here’s a cheat sheet of pension facts and terms.

    And here’s a map of municipalities with distressed pension plans. 

    Is it fair to spike your pension? (Fair or not, it costs: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the city paid more than $17.8 million in firefighter ‘premium pay’ in 2013.)

    Our reporting on pensions is certainly not over. Think we’ve missed something? We’d love to hear from you.

    Guns

    Remember the new law that allows groups like the NRA to sue municipalities over local gun ordinances? Well, some say the new law is unconstitutional. The Commonwealth Court will decide.

    A proposed bill would eliminate state gun background check systemThe Sentinel

    Cost of living

    Here’s one byproduct of development: Allentown is doubling parking rates around its new arena. Lehigh Valley Live

    Casinos’ record revenue in Pa. means lower property taxes. Lehigh Valley Live

    Want to live in luxury? You should move to… York? York Daily Record

    Giant Food Stores join other big retailers to raise minimum wage Reading Eagle

    Bad news for renters. Associated Press via The Patriot-News

    Braddock’s doing some spring cleaning: volunteers will be fanning out this weekend to board up blighted properties. WESA

    Education

    Here’s a deep dive into where Philly’s mayoral candidates stand on key education issuesNewsworks

    Pa. kids are, on average, improving in math and reading… but some say statewide numbers don’t tell the whole story because the state school finance system is so inequitable. Altoona Mirror (firewall)

    The York Dispatch launched a series on the turbulent York City School District. This installment takes readers into a kindergarten classroom. 

    Food

    Will Heinz’s new move cut the mustard? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

    Investment program shows significant progress in eradicating Philly food deserts. (Next City)

    Manheim Township is the first municipalitiy in Pa. to own and run a restaurant. You’re probably wondering… why? (Lancaster Online)

    Etc.

    Two hours after I sweep, it’s right back.” Here’s the second in the series of election-year visits to Brewerytown, a Philadelphia neighborhood in flux. (Here’s the first story.

    Pittsburgh’s IT reinvention means changing the technology culture. Route Fifty

    Scranton’s hopping on the bandwagon…er, bicycle. The city’s free bike share program is launching this month. 

    “I like to say that we think of rust somewhere between cholesterol and hemorrhoids.” We interviewed the author of “Rust: The Longest War.” 

    The idea of turning Philly into an “energy hub” is something that keeps coming up in Philly’s mayoral race. But what does that even mean? Newsworks

    “The US spends more than four times as much on homeowner subsidies as it does on affordable housing for those most in need.” City Lab

    A thought experiement from Citified: How long before Philly’s Center City is as dense as Manhattan? 

    For fun

    Not to be outdone by Lancaster, Allentown is also hosting a giant water slide this summerThe Express-Times

    In response to an anti-bacon billboard, the Lehigh Valley iron pigs introduced a new item to their menu: deep fried, cheddar and bacon coated broccoli bites. The Express-Times

    Penn Live did an impressive feature on the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Allegheny Mountain tunnels. (Up for an adventure this weekend? Here’s how to find those tunnels.)

     

    Have a great weekend.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.