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The Post  
Judge Rules Gov Wolf's Orders Unconstitutional; Bucks Cold Case Sentence; Central Bucks School Plans
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 09/14/20 11:43 pm | updated: 09/14/20 11:43 pm
A federal judge has ruled that many of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's administration's coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were unconstitutional. Those restrictions include the stay-at-home orders, closure of 'non-essential' businesses, and the limitations of indoor/outdoor gathering size. The first two have been eased since the spring, however, 25 indoor/250 outdoor limits on gatherings are still being enforced. This suit did not touch on the mandatory mask order or restrictions on restaurants. U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV wrote, "There is no question that this country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment." Wolf's actions "were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency. But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered," Stickman wrote. "The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a 'new normal' where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures." This suit was brought by various businesses and lawmakers.

Wolf's spokesperson, Lyndsay Kensinger, released a statement, "The administration is disappointed with the result and will seek a stay of the decision and file an appeal. The actions taken by the administration were mirrored by governors across the country and saved, and continue to save lives in the absence of federal action. This decision is especially worrying as Pennsylvania and the rest of the country are likely to face a challenging time with the possible resurgence of COVID-19 and the flu in the fall and winter. Today's court ruling is limited to the business closure order and the stay at home orders issue in March and were later suspended, as well as the indoor and outdoor gathering limitations."

A Bucks County man was sentenced on Monday, 9/14, for the murder of his roommate back in 2004. 37-year-old Daman Andrew Smoot was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree murder in the death of Adam Brundage. Smoot and Brundage were only roommates at Glen Meadow Court in Quakertown for a few weeks at the time. Smoot killed Brundage at a quarry in Hilltown Township after an argument and buried the body there. He told prosecutors where to find the body as part of a plea deal. "It was an impossible situation. We never would've found Adam Brundage, I'm sad to say, had we not had the defendant's cooperation. The mystery of his disappearance has finally been solved. Now Adam Brundage has been returned to his family, he has been properly laid to rest," Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said.

Central Bucks School District has released an updated plan for the return to in-person classes for elementary, middle, and high school students. The school district has resolved staff shortages that had previously made them decide to start the new school year all virtual. Elementary school students enrolled in the 5-day in-person model will go back to school in person on Wednesday, September 30. High School and Middle Schools students will return to school in person on either Thursday, October 1 or Monday, October 5 depending on if they are on the 'Hybrid 1' or Hybrid 2' schedule. See the links below for more details. Hybrid 1 students attend in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays while Hybrid 2 students attend Thursdays and Fridays. Students participate in class from home online the other days. Elementary students can also opt in to a hybrid model. The district asks that students stay on their chosen schedule until the first marking period in November.

SEE: Elementary Schools Update
SEE: Butler Elementary Update
SEE: Secondary Schools Update

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