Cutting edge horticulture for charter school / Stop Overdoses PA

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CCA students, Gabe Longenecker (Susquehanna Twp., PA, left) and Nathaniel Saxe (Springettsbury Twp., PA, right), examine the progress herbs have made in an aquaponic media bed at AgWorks at CCA.

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, December 11, 2018:

A state-of-the-art horticultural growing and learning facility is open for business for charter school students in Harrisburg.

The Commonwealth Charter Academy is offering hands-on education in aquaponics, hydroponics and aeroponics. The program is called AgWorks, and students will learn about every facet of agriculture, from cultivating plants and fish to taking the products to market. Aquaponics uses the waste from fish (or other aquatic life) to produce plants. The AgWorks facility is the largest of its kind in the country. See video

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss the program are Dr. Maurice Flurie, CEO of CCA and Samantha Johnson, director of aquaponics programs at CCA.

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Samantha Johnson and Dr. Maurice Flurie

Also, Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week is a statewide initiative to distribute naloxone and get help for residents suffering from the disease of opioid-use disorder. (Visit the opioid data dashboard for information)

The marquis event is a ‘Naloxone Day’ on Thursday, December 13, where the life-saving drug will be available for free at locations across the state.

Joining us on Smart Talk to discuss the initiative are Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, and Ellen DiDomenico, Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

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Ellen DiDomenico and Dr. Rachel Levine

Pennsylvania infrastructure not making the grade



What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, December 10, 2018:

Report cards are out and Pennsylvania is on notice.

The American Society of Civil Engineers released the Pennsylvania 2018 Infrastructure Report Card and gave the state an overall GPA of C-. Seven of the state’s 18 critical infrastructure categories earned below average marks.

Drinking water is one of the categories with a D grade because of an estimated $14.2 billion in infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. There are other categories with equally alarming projected resource demands.

The American Society of Civil Engineers are self-described advocates for the care of the nation’s infrastructure. They release the report card every four years to examine current infrastructure conditions, assign grades, and make recommendations for improvements. The most recent national report card was released in 2017.

What can Pennsylvania do to raise the grade?

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss the report card and Pennsylvania’s infrastructure are Stephanie Slocum, ASCE Central Pennsylvania representative, Kirk Stoner, Cumberland County planning director, and PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary Leo Bagley.

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Kirk Stoner and Dep. Sec. Leo Bagley

Smart Talk Road Trip visits the Governor’s Residence


What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, December 7, 2018:

The last Smart Talk Road Trip of the year takes us to the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg. Inside the Front Street home, we’ll discuss Governor Tom Wolf’s recent re-election and his plans and priorities for the next four years. Will Wolf push for more money for education as he has in his first four years in office? What about a tax on natural gas drilling that has failed to make it through the legislature each year? Other issues that may be discussed are what the state will do, if anything, with regards to reducing emissions that contribute to climate change and how Congressional district boundaries will be drawn in the future.

First Lady Frances Wolf also joins the conversation to talk about the initiatives and platforms where she is focusing her attention. Those include the arts and education.

The holiday season is a great time to visit the Governor’s Residence that is decked out with holiday decorations. We’ll have photographs on this site after the show.

The Governor’s Residence is almost 50 years old and has a history of its own. Smart Talk explores that history and the art in the residence with Juli Bossert, Executive Residence Manager.

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Scott LaMar and Gov. Tom Wolf

Drawing new Pennsylvania maps / end-of-year tax tips


What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, December 6, 2018:

It’s wasn’t long ago that if the word gerrymander was used in public, eyes would quickly glaze over. It just wasn’t a topic that generated a lot of passion. That is not the case today – gerrymandering or a majority party drawing legislative boundaries to favor their party’s candidates – is one of the most high profile political issues the nation and Pennsylvania faces.

A new organization called Draw the Lines PA is addressing the gerrymandering issue head on and doing it in a way that involves Pennsylvanians in a meaningful way. It is back to the drawing board, in a manner of speaking.

Appearing on Smart Talk today to lay out the challenge are David Thornburgh, Draw the Lines PA managing director and president and CEO of the Good Government group the Committee of 70, along with Chris Satullo, Draw the Lines PA project director.

Also, while preparing for holiday celebrations, don’t forget to plan for year-end financial tasks and the coming tax season.

Joining Smart Talk with year-end tips and “don’t-forget-to’s” is Jean M. Zahurak, CPA, and senior manager with McKonly & Asbury in Camp Hill and Eric MacCollum, CPA, and principal with Hudak & Company in Lemoyne.

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Eric MacCollum and Jean Zahurak

Human contact improves asthma?/Rep. Bryan Cutler prepares for House leadership role


What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, December 5, 2018:

More than 26 million Americans suffer from asthma. About 1.7 million seek treatment for asthma at hospital emergency rooms each year.

It disproportionately affects poor people.

Asthma is a condition in which airways narrow, swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled.

A new study conducted by the Medicaid managed care company AmeriHealth Caritas — based in Philadelphia — found that asthma patients responded better to treatment and weren’t readmitted to the hospital as often if the patient engaged with a healthcare professional more often after being discharged from the hospital.

What makes this unique?

We’ll find out on Wednesday’s Smart Talk from Dr. Andrea Gelzer, the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Registered Nurse Karen Michael — both of AmeriHealth Caritas.

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Dr. Andrea Gelzer and Karen Michael

Also, Republican State Representative Bryan Cutler is the newly-elected Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. Cutler is the first House Leader from Lancaster County in almost a century.

The majority leader manages the daily operations of the majority party — Republicans in Pennsylvania’s case — on the state House floor. The majority leader acts as a spokesperson for the party’s policy positions, schedules the daily calendar, and helps direct the party’s overall legislative agenda.

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler joins us on Smart Talk Wednesday to discuss his new role and priorities.


State Representative Bryan Cutler

Auditor General aims to reduce gun deaths/Sunday hunting in PA?


What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, November 29, 2018:

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is taking aim at gun safety and has made a dozen recommendations that he thinks will reduce crimes committed with firearms and suicides. In 2016 more than 1,500 Pennsylvanians were killed by guns.

DePasquale says over the last decade, firearm-related injuries cost Pennsylvania taxpayers about $1.5 billion in health care costs.

The Auditor General is calling for a “community approach” to saving lives from firearms. He says his recommendations will not infringe on anyone’s rights to own a firearm

General DePasquale appears on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss the plan.

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Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale

Also, hunting on Sundays in Pennsylvania is currently limited to only crows, coyotes and fox. This is considered a substantial restriction, especially for a state with one of the highest densities of licensed hunters per square mile.

Some hunters and advocates want to see restrictions lifted to allow hunting on Sundays.

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss the issue are Republican State Senator Dan Laughlin, Bryan Burhans, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Mark O’Neill, director of strategic communications with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and Joe Neville, executive director, Keystone Trails Association.

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Mark O’Neill, Bryan Burhans, and Joe Neville


Senator Dan Laughlin

2018 books-as-gifts guide


What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, December 3, 2018:

A Smart Talk holiday tradition is back! One of our favorite shows of the year — the annual books-as-gifts guide.

Everyone enjoys a well-thought gift, especially when it is a good book. Whether it is fiction, a novel, non-fiction, poetry, a how-to book, or one of the classics — books make great gifts.

On Monday’s Smart Talk, we discuss the books that would make great gifts with guests who know their books.

Joining us is Catherine Lawrence, co-owner of the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg and a writer herself, Dr. Travis Kurowski, an assistant professor of creative writing at York College of Pennsylvania and Brian Frailey, owner of DogStar Books in Lancaster.

We’d like to hear your suggestions, as well. What books do you like and think your friends or loved-ones would enjoy? What is on your wish list this year?

Click here to view Catherine Lawrence’s recommendations

Click here to view Brian Frailey’s recommendations

Click here to view Dr. Travis Kurowski’s recommendations

See comments section below for our listeners recommendations.

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Brian Frailey, Catherine Lawrence, and Travis Kurowski

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