Smart Talk WITF's Daily Public Affairs program
Smart Talk

Smart Talk

From WITF

WITF's Daily Public Affairs program

Most Recent Episodes

Smart Talk: Will sexual abuse survivors finally get window to sue?

Last week, The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a bill establishing a two-year window for victims of sexual abuse to file civil claims. The legislation now goes before the Senate so it still has some hurdles to clear. Giving abuse victims an opportunity for justice has been a passion for Democratic State Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County – an abuse survivor himself. Rep. Rozzi appears on Monday's Smart Talk to discuss the two-year window and whether Pennsylvania's Constitution will ever address the issue. Majority of Americans accept climate change is caused by humans A recent national poll finds that three quarters of Americans are confident that temperatures have risen on Earth over the past four decades. However, those polled seemed to be less certain about the causes. Nearly six in 10 identify human activity as the reason temperatures are rising but almost half point to a combination of human activity and the natural cycle of the Earth's environment. The National Surveys on Energy and Environment was conducted by Muhlenberg College's Institute of Public Opinion. Christopher Borick, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion joins us on Monday's Smart Talk. [box] Pa. Republican lawmakers and the U.S. Capitol attack As part of WITF's commitment to standing with facts, and because the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attempt to overthrow representative democracy in America, we are marking elected officials' connections to the insurrection. Read more about this commitment. In stories, we will use language that identifies lawmakers who took at least one of these actions: signed on to a Texas lawsuit aimed at invalidating Pennsylvania's election; signed on to a state House or a state Senate letter urging Congressional representatives to object to or delay certification; and voted against certification. Those actions supported President Donald Trump's election-fraud lie, causing many of his supporters to believe incorrectly that the election had been stolen, and that led to an assault on the U.S. Capitol. The list of lawmakers is here. [/box]

Smart Talk: The Move Over Law puts drivers on notice

If you can't move over, you must slow down — way down. Effective April 27, 2021, the Move Over Law in Pennsylvania will require drivers take immediate action when approaching an emergency response area along any roadway. If able, drivers should merge into a lane further away from the "response area," but if that isn't possible they are required to slow to at least 20 mph less than the posted speed limit. An emergency response area is where an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing, or where road crews or emergency responders have lighted flares, posted signs, or try to warn travelers. Barbara L. Zortman, is the Director of the Center for Traffic Safety and she appears on Smart Talk Friday to discuss the new law and the increased penalties for failing to comply. Noise pollution and the impact on health Everyday, we are exposed to noise in varying intensity. Excessive noise is linked a long list of physical conditions and a negative impact on mental health, and the problem is only getting worse. Ted Rueter, Director of Noise Free America joins Smart Talk Friday to share what can be done to affect the noise problem. To protect yourself from the harms of noise, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends: • Wear ear protectors (such as custom-made ear plugs) • Limit periods of exposure to noise ("Don't sit next to the speakers at concerts, discos, or auditoriums.") • Pump down the volume! ("When using stereo headsets or listening to amplified music in a confined place like a car, turn down the volume.") • Educate yourself about the damaging effects of noise. • Educate others and take action! • Be a responsible consumer ("Look for a noise rating when buying recreational equipment, children's toys, household appliances, and power tools.") • Inspect your child's toys for noise danger. • Have your hearing tested by an audiologist. • Be aware of the noise in your environment and take control of it. [box] Pa. Republican lawmakers and the U.S. Capitol attack As part of WITF's commitment to standing with facts, and because the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attempt to overthrow representative democracy in America, we are marking elected officials' connections to the insurrection. Read more about this commitment. In stories, we will use language that identifies lawmakers who took at least one of these actions: signed on to a Texas lawsuit aimed at invalidating Pennsylvania's election; signed on to a state House or a state Senate letter urging Congressional representatives to object to or delay certification; and voted against certification. Those actions supported President Donald Trump's election-fraud lie, causing many of his supporters to believe incorrectly that the election had been stolen, and that led to an assault on the U.S. Capitol. The list of lawmakers is here. [/box]

Smart Talk: Antibody treatments successful in preventing serious COVID outcomes

Listen to Smart Talk every weekday at 9am and 7pm on WITF 89.5 & 93.3. You can also stream WITF radio live on our website or ask your smart speaker to "Play WITF Radio." Soon after former President Donald Trump tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, he received and credited a little-known antibody treatment for making him feel better almost immediately. The treatment has been called transformative in the fight against the disease, as it is shown to cut the risk of death or hospitalization by nearly 70-percent. In 2020, the FDA authorized the treatment for emergency use and UPMC began offering Monoclonal antibody infusions to eligible patients with significant results. Dr. Richard Wadas, M.D., Emergency Medicine Physician and co-lead of UPMC monoclonal antibody efforts appears on Smart Talk Thursday to discuss eligibility and efficacy of the treatment. Smart Talk is also joined by Dr. John Goldman, M.D., Infectious Disease specialist, with UPMC to offer insight to other COVID issues and treatments, and will answer vaccine questions. For more information on Monoclonal Antibody treatment call the UPMC Pinnacle Nurse Advice team at 1-866-9-NURSE1 (1-866-968-7731) or 717-988-T0074.

Smart Talk: Antibody treatments successful in preventing serious COVID outcomes

'Common agenda' needed to combat gun violence -Making Daylight Savings Time permanent

Americans are numb to the statistics: Every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and more than 230 are shot and wounded. These numbers reflect everyday gun violence, accentuated periodically by events that stand out by the number of lives lost. The number of mass shootings in 2021 is staggering: The United States has witnessed 103 mass shootings in 29 different states (and Washington D.C.) in the 82 days of 2021. Where do we go from here? Adam Garber, executive director of CeaseFirePA, which describes itself as the commonwealth's statewide gun violence prevention advocacy group, says the only way is to establish a common agenda for change. He joins Smart Talk Wednesday. Making Daylight Savings Time permanent Spring forward or fall back — an easy way to remember which way to move clocks twice a year when daylight savings reminders roll around. Daylight savings began during World War I as an energy saving measure; set clocks forward by one hour when there is longer daylight during day, then set clocks back again six months later when the time and light adjustment no longer matters. Now, there is a nationwide movement to make DST the standard time all year. Republican state Senator Scott Martin of Lancaster County appears on Smart Talk Wednesday to lay out the argument for a permanent change in Pennsylvania.

'Common agenda' needed to combat gun violence -Making Daylight Savings Time permanent

Smart Talk: Millions of Americans affected by ringing in the ears

Millions of Americans experience a common and sometimes debilitating condition called tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Many people call the noise a ringing sound, but for others it can vary from a ringing sound to buzzing, clicking or rushing noises. It can be constant or intermittent, steady or variable, and in one or both ears. For some, the noise is so deafening that it can be life changing. There are many causes for tinnitus, some treatments, but often no cure. Dr. Mark Whitaker, MD, Otolaryngologist, Penn State Health and Dr. Jill S. McClelland, Au.D., CCC-A, Managing Audiologist, Penn State Health, appear on Smart Talk Tuesday to discuss this common, and often frustrating, condition. *Lister contributed organization that promotes quiet*

Smart Talk: Vaccine distribution in Pa., what happens next?

More than three and a half million Pennsylvanians have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, all teachers and school staff that want a shot have received one, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans who are fully vaccinated can travel. The supply of vaccines in Pennsylvania has increased and appointments to get shots are becoming less troublesome. That's not to say all the news is good. The number of people testing positive for the virus has risen over the past few weeks and there are warnings of a fourth surge nationally. Monday's Smart Talk addresses those issues and more with Pennsylvania's Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam and vaccine task force member Republican Senator Ryan Aument of Lancaster County. For individuals having problems scheduling a vaccine call 1-877-PA health The "Sunshine Vitamin" and Health Vitamin D is known to many as the vitamin that added to milk and other beverages because it works synergistically with calcium to strengthen bones. Adding Vitamin D to milk began in the United States in the 1930's to help reduce rickets and bone deformities in children. Health professionals now understand that the "sunshine vitamin" actually serves other important functions in the body, to include offering improved resistance to certain diseases and regulating mood. Smart Talk Monday is joined by Dr. Meena Venigalla, MD, Endocrinologist with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health to offer more information about this important vitamin.

Child abuse reports way down, raising concern for kids

Children's advocates are raising concerns about the sharp drop in child-abuse reports during the last year. As schools and care-settings closed doors because of the pandemic, child-abuse reports dropped significantly. This has been attributed to kids spending more time at home and away from teachers and caregivers, who are often the first people to note potential problems and make the reports. Are there other factors that could cause abuse case numbers to drop? Smart Talk Friday is joined by Jon Rubin, Deputy Secretary for the Human Services Department's Office of Children, Youth and Families and Angela Liddle, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance who will share their insight to this issue. To report suspected abuse, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. Local woman to swim English Channel Jeannie Zappe on-board a support boat during an English Channel relay swim in 2017. Photo provided by Jeannie Zappe Which is easier, running a marathon or swimming one? The answer is neither! Both are elite sporting events that require months of training, preparation and mental perseverance. Open water marathon swimmer Jeannie Zappe, of Mechanicsburg, is no stranger to long-distance swims, having completed three of the top open water challenges as part of a relay. Now, she is training to solo swim the English Channel; considered by many to be the ultimate long distance challenge. Zappe appears on Smart Talk Friday to share what it takes to prepare for the 21-mile swim from England to France.

Smart Talk: Celebrating 50 years of WITF radio

WITF-FM radio went on-the-air for the first time April 1, 1971. Fifty years ago, the station was a companion to WITF-TV Channel 33, that had been broadcasting since 1964. At the time, WITF-FM's mission was stated as, "to provide an alternative FM radio service, broadcasting the best in music, drama, public affairs, information and light entertainment." That included a classical music format with some jazz and folk mixed in. Over the years, the station grew and could be quite eclectic. There was the weekly Metropolitan Opera and even a Grateful Dead hour. WITF-FM was treasured in the arts community. After becoming an affiliate of National Public Radio and ramping up the station's regional and state news coverage, WITF-FM became the area's most trusted news source on the radio dial. Several current and former WITF managers, on-air hosts and journalists appear on Thursday's Smart Talk to remember how the station has evolved over the past 50 years. They include current President and CEO Ron Hetrick, WITF Board Chair Susan Eckert, former Executive Vice President Mike Ziegler, former Vice President of Programming, Traffic Director and classical music host Mitzi Trostle, three former news directors Ed Arke, Damon Boughamer and Scott Gilbert along with current Multimedia News Director Tim Lambert. Read more about WITF-FM's 50th anniversary here.

Smart Talk: Pa Attorney General targets illegal guns and who can get them

Two mass shootings and the momentum behind the new Biden administration are reviving the debate on gun control in the United States. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wasted no time jumping into the issue by announcing an agreement reached with one of the state's largest gun show promoters to halt the sale of 'ghost gun' kits at their gun shows. Shapiro took the issue one step further by leading a coalition of 18 states that are requesting U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland close a loophole in the interpretation of the federal Gun Control Act. The loophole allows people who are prohibited from purchasing firearms to buy 'ghost guns,' which are then assembled into untraceable weapons. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro appears on Smart Talk Wednesday to discuss this initiative, along with a call for expanded background checks. Changes coming to Minor League Baseball At one time, minor league and semi-pro baseball teams could be found in almost every town in America. Semi-pro teams that often played "barnstorming" Major League clubs went away decades ago. And this year, Minor League baseball is undergoing perhaps its biggest change ever. Five levels of Minor League baseball are being whittled down to four. Whole leagues are being disbanded and 43 teams will not be affiliated with the Major Leagues, including the State College Spikes and Williamsport Crosscutters in Pennsylvania. Andrew Linker, author, blogger and former beat reporter for the Patriot-News covering baseball appears on Smart Talk Wednesday with insight on the upcoming baseball season and changes to Minor League teams.

Smart Talk: Pa Attorney General targets illegal guns and who can get them

Smart Talk: Solar power initiatives highlight industry growth

The Wolf administration recently announced a commitment to solar energy by agreeing to buy power from seven new solar projects in the state. This purchase agreement amounts to about half of the state government's electricity and fulfills part of the Governor's 2019 executive order on climate change. Patrick McDonnell is the Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and he appears on Smart Talk Tuesday, along with Julien F. Gaudion, Deputy Secretary for Property and Asset Management, Pennsylvania Department of General Services, to discuss details of the recent announcement. Solar options expanding for Pennsylvania business's and schools Industry advocates say that while the state is living up to its pledge to move to more renewable energy sources, they are also encouraging solar development in Pennsylvania. Executive orders by Governor Wolf can only take the initiatives so far, though. To move Pennsylvania toward more renewable energy options it will require legislation and a commitment from the state legislature. Joining Smart Talk Tuesday to discuss expanding solar power access is Katie Rever, Director of Legislative Affairs, IGS Energy and member of the coalition of the PA Chapter of Solar Energy Industries Association. Also on Smart Talk Tuesday are Doug Neidich, CEO of GreenWorks Development and Rick Musselman, Superintendent Midd-West School District, Middleburg, Pa., to talk about how schools can also benefit from solar energy initiatives.

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