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Smart Talk 02/11/2016: Penn State research into bipolar disorder; Resetting presidential campaigns

Almost six million adults in the U.S. are living with bipolar disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We've seen the movies and know the stereotypes, but what is bipolar disorder? How does it impact the lives of those diagnosed and their families? Most importantly, do we know what causes bipolar disorder and how to treat it? That's the focus of Thursday's Smart Talk. Appearing on the program is Dr. Erika Saunders, Associate Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Saunders has been working on understanding the importance and impacts of certain omega-3 fatty acids in the brains of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She'll discuss what her findings could mean for the future understanding and treatment of bipolar disorder. Also, the presidential candidates have left conservative Iowa and moderate and independent New Hampshire and are on their way to South Carolina for a primary a week from Saturday. Who's out? Who's in? Will it matter? Is the slugfest going to drag on long enough that Pennsylvania comes into play like it did in 2008? Will there be a candidate around whom the religious right will coalesce? Will Bernie Sanders be able to cut into Hillary Clinton's lead among non-white voters in South Carolina and Nevada? Dickinson College political science professor and author Dr. David O'Connell tells us on Smart Talk.

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Smart Talk 02/10/2016: Legislators talk Wolf's budget

Gov. Tom Wolf's Budget Address Tuesday before a joint session of the legislature was unique in several ways. It was the first time in Pennsylvania's history that a governor was proposing the next fiscal year's spending plan while the budget for the current fiscal year isn't completed. Wolf's tone and criticism of House Republicans in particular was different and resulted in Republicans loudly booing and groaning. Wolf accused House Republicans of adjourning before Christmas without finishing a budget. Republicans countered that they completed a budget — just not the one the governor wanted. The governor is proposing a budget of more than $33 billion that includes spending increases for K-12 education, higher education, human services and programs for drug and alcohol treatment. Wolf is looking for $2.7 billion in tax increases and new taxes to pay for additional spending. Under Wolf's plan, the personal income tax would go from 3.07 to 3.4%, an extraction tax would be imposed on natural gas drillers and the sales tax would include a few items not previously taxed. Republicans, who hold majorities in both the House and Senate, are critical of the governor's proposal, after shooting down his plans to generate new revenue for the past seven months. We'll hear from both sides on Wednesday's Smart Talk. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa and House Majority Leader Dave Reed join us.

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Smart Talk 02/9/2016: Few protection orders issued in York County; Wolf budget preview

A protection from abuse order is designed to restrict a person who has caused harm or could jeopardize the safety of a spouse, family member or partner. A PFA is signed by a judge and tells the alleged abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims. There are three types of PFAs - emergency, temporary and final protection from abuse orders. An investigation and subsequent stories by the York Daily Record found that York County judges are issuing temporary PFAs far less often than the state average. York Daily Record reporters Brandie Kessler and Ed Mahon explain on Tuesday's Smart Talk. Also, Gov. Tom Wolf outlines his 2016-17 budget proposal Tuesday. For the first time in the state's history, a governor will be proposing a new state budget before the current budget has been enacted. Since the beginning of the current fiscal year July 1, Wolf and Republican legislative leaders have haggled over a spending plan with taxes being the big holdup. Political analyst Dr. G. Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College joins us with a budget preview.

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Smart Talk 02/8/2016: PA county 2016 priorities

During the six month state budget impasse when no money was flowing from Harrisburg to Pennsylvania's 67 counties, county commissioners sometimes complained that state lawmakers didn't understand the needs of counties and that included the responsibilities counties are mandated to perform. Gov. Tom Wolf signed a partial state budget in late December that got some money moving. However, at the same time, he used his line-item veto power to blue line some $7 billion of the state spending plan sent to him by the House and Senate where Republicans hold majorities. Even without a complete budget for the current fiscal year, the governor proposes next year's budget Tuesday. Counties will be watching closely. At the same time, counties have listed their priorities for 2016. They include budget and human service funding from the state as well as diversifying counties' tax bases and improving the child welfare system. Monday's Smart Talk focuses on county priorities with Doug Hill the Executive Director and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas, the president of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.

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Smart Talk 02/05/2016: Zika in PA? Super Bowl commercials

Spread of the Zika virus in Brazil and other Latin American countries has raised concern in the United States. Florida Gov. Rock Scott declared emergencies in four counties in his state after nine people were found to have the virus. All are thought to have contracted the virus outside the U.S. Those with the Zika virus present with flu-like symptoms most often and can recover quickly. However, pregnant women who have the virus have delivered babies with birth defects. The virus is spread by a certain type of mosquito. Could Zika make its way beyond Florida into the United States and maybe even into Pennsylvania? Dr. John Wallace, a medical entomologist and Pofessor of Biology at Millersville University tells us on Friday's Smart Talk. Also, many of you will be watching the telecast of Sunday's Super Bowl for the commercials. Since the broadcast typically has the largest audience of the year, advertisers run their best commercials during the game. What makes a successful or memorable Super Bowl commercial? Messiah College professors Keith Quesenberry and David Hagenbuch lay out their theories on Friday's program. Finally, WITF's Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson provides insight into Gov. Wolf's request for an additional $200 million in education spending in next year's budget. That's on top of the $400 million Wolf asked for in the budget that wasn't completed this year.

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Smart Talk 02/04/2016: Taking politicians out of redistricting; Early childhood education ...

We live in a partisan society politically. Some say the Congress is as polarized along party lines as any time in our history. How did we get that way? Many point to Congressional reapportionment practices by states like Pennsylvania as one of the culprits. Using U.S. Census population statistics that are collected every 10 years, the state legislature in Pennsylvania gets to draw the state legislative and Congressional district boundaries. The majority party in the legislature wields a lot of power over what those final maps will look like. Often, the districts are developed or gerrymandered in a way that would make it easier for candidates from the majority party to be elected or re-elected to office. Democratic State Senator John Wozniak is proposing taking redistricting out of the hands of lawmakers and setting up a commission to draw the district lines. Wozniak describes his plan on Thursday's Smart Talk. We often hear that early childhood education - learning in a structured setting before a child enters kindergarten - is one of the keys to a child growing up to be a good student. Research also indicates early children education is especially important for children living in poverty. The Joshua Group is a non-profit that operates a program for kids in Harrisburg's Allison Hill. Kirk Hallett, founder and director of the Joshua Group joins us on Thursday's program

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Smart Talk 02/03/2016: Researcher explains bee decline

The decline of the nation's bee population was a great mystery for a long time — so much so that a presidential order was issued in June of 2014 to investigate the state of bees. It's important because much of our food supply depends on the pollination of bees. We've heard that honey bees are in danger, and it turns out they aren't alone. In recent years, wild bees, another type of pollinating bee, have also faced a plight of population decline. A study, co-published by a Franklin and Marshall professor, maps the decline of wild bee populations. The study, which is the largest of its kind, tracked the status, trend and impact of wild bees across the United States. How large was the population loss, and what could it mean for the future of the food supply chain, honeybees and human life? Dr. Eric Lonsdorf, co-publisher of the wild bee study and Franklin and Marshall professor of ecology and Clair Kauffman, Orchard Manager at Kauffman's Fruit Farm & Market in Lancaster appear on Wednesday's Smart Talk to discuss why wild bees are important, why they're disappearing and how farmers and homeowners can help combat the population decline and destruction of wild bee habitats.

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Smart Talk 02/02/2016: The history of medicine

In a historical hotspot like Pennsylvania, many pride themselves on local and national history knowledge; but what do you know about the history of medicine? Moreover, what do you know about the history of medicine specific to Central Pennsylvania? This is type of history you won't find in typical textbooks. We'll learn more about this history of medicine and focus on its relationship to Central Pennsylvania on Tuesday's Smart Talk. The Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation was founded in 1982 in Lancaster. Since then, it has been studying, cataloguing and curating historical artifacts. The foundation, which also has a virtual museum, has focused on medical history as a whole, but has specifically targeted its surrounding Lancaster County, preserving priceless historical artifacts for years to come. Joining us on Thursday's Smart Talk are Donna Mann, the museum's curator, and Dr. Nikitas Zervanos, the president of the Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation, to discuss the history and taking questions about the past and future of medicine.

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Smart Talk 02/01/2016: Kids' dental health; Iowa Caucus report

Actual voters will begin choosing presidential candidates tonight at the Iowa Caucuses. It's the first in the country after months of debates, campaigning in small town diners and a campaign like we've never seen. No more polls — only the numbers that count. NPR political reporter Scott Detrow has spent weeks in Iowa leading up to the Caucuses and joins on Monday's Smart Talk. February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Monday's program answers questions about dental health and not just for kids and provides tips on how to make sure children grow up with healthy teeth and gums. Appearing on the show are Philip Goropoulos, president of Catholic Health Initiative's CHI St. Joseph Children's Health in Lancaster County and dental hygienist Laura Myers.

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Smart Talk 01/29/2016: Impact of juveniles sent to prison for life getting sentences reviewed

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-to-3 decision that juveniles sentenced to life in prison as teenagers must be retroactively granted the opportunity to argue that they should be released from prison. The ruling an expansion of the 2012 Supreme Court decision that eliminated mandatory life terms without parole for juveniles, What does that ruling mean for Pennsylvania — a state with about 500 inmates who could be affected — the most of any state in the country? It is the focus of Friday's Smart Talk. Appearing on the program are David Arnold, Lebanon County District Attorney and President of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association, Pennsylvania's Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm, an attorney from the Juvenile Law Center, the sister of a teenager murder by her 15-year-old boyfriend and Cindy Sanford, a woman who befriended Kenneth Carl Crawford, an inmate at the State Correction Institution in Greene County, who was convicted for his involvement in a double murder in Luzerne County in 1999 when he was 15.

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