40th anniversary of Three Mile Island accident

TMI spectators.jpg

What to look for on Smart Talk March 28, 2019:

Thursday marks the 40th anniversary of the accident at Three Mile Island. It is still the worst accident at a commercial nuclear plant in the nation’s history.

A combination of plant design, an equipment malfunction and human error led to a loss of cooling water that resulted in the partial meltdown of TMI’s Unit 2 reactor. But it wasn’t until years later that the full scope of damage at the plant was known. At the time in March 1979, there were many guesses, estimates and unknowns.

There was also a lot of fear. Thousands of central Pennsylvanians living near Three Mile Island left the area. No official evacuation was ordered but then Gov. Dick Thornburgh suggested that pregnant women and families with young children leave.

Radiation was released after the accident but up to a dozen studies showed no negative health effects from the accident. Research from 2017 at Penn State Hershey seemed to contradict those studies. There are many people who blame their illnesses or poor health on TMI.

Thursday’s Smart Talk takes a look back at what happened at TMI and behind the scenes with William Dornsife, a nuclear engineer with the state at the time of the accident. We’ll also hear and discuss the results of a Franklin and Marshall College Poll and how Pennsylvanians feel about nuclear power today and going forward. Berwood Yost, Director of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College and StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Marie Cusick join us.

Untitled design - 2019-03-28T091429.253.png

William Dornsife

Heart condition strikes the young and traveling exhibit highlights LGBTQ+ struggle

Peyton 3.png

Peyton Walker (L), The Peyton Walker Foundation has donated over 60 AEDs to schools, athletic organizations, nonprofit public venues, and police departments. Photos courtesy of The Peyton Walker Foundation.

What to look for on Smart Talk on Wednesday, March 27, 2019:

Young people and young athletes are dying every day from a little-known threat; Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is not a heart attack. It is the sudden onset of an abnormal and potentially fatal heart rhythm that causes the heart to beat ineffectively or not at all.

The most frightening aspect of SCA is that it will often happen without warning, and usually causes death if not treated within minutes.

The Walker family knows the devastation of SCA, firsthand. They lost daughter Peyton Walker in 2013 at the age of 19 due to SCA.

Sadly, their experience is not uncommon. There have been three reported deaths of young people from central Pennsylvania in the past two months, alone.

The Walker family hopes to save lives and save other families the devastation of this condition through the Peyton Walker Foundation.

Appearing on Smart Talk Wednesday to talk about their efforts is Julie Walker, Peyton’s mom and executive director of The Peyton Walker Foundation and Dr. Mike Bosak, Interventional Cardiologist and UPMC Pinnacle Director of Cardiovascular Quality Assurance.

screening 1.png

The Peyton Walker Foundation hosts free heart screenings for students ages 12-19 years old throughout the Central Pennsylvania area. Students receive a vitals check, get checked for heart murmurs and also receive an electrocardiogram (EKG). Photo courtesy of The Peyton Walker Foundation.

Screening 2.png

The Peyton Walker Foundation conducts training on how to perform adult and child CPR, use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), and basic first aid. Photo courtesy of The Peyton Walker Foundation.

Untitled design - 2019-03-27T091407.907.png

Dr. Mike Bosak, Interventional Cardiologist and UPMC Pinnacle Director of Cardiovascular Quality Assurance, and Julie Walker, Peyton’s mom and executive director of the Peyton Walker Foundation.

Also, 50 years ago the LGBTQ+ community experienced a seminal event in their progress toward equality. Police in NYC raided a Greenwich Village neighborhood bar called the Stonewall Inn. The bar was frequented by members of the LGBTQ community and in the days that followed there were a succession of violent demonstrations challenging the police action. The “Stonewall Riots” are widely considered the flashpoint to the gay rights movement.

A traveling history exhibit highlighting this, and the efforts of activists, is now showing throughout Pennsylvania. The Long Road to LGBTQ+ Equality in Pennsylvania is sponsored by the PA LGBT History Network.

Joining Smart Talk to discuss the exhibit and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots are Barry Loveland, Chair, LGBT History Project and Mary Nancarrow, LGBT Community Activist who helped to pass the Harrisburg non-discrimination ordinance.


Untitled design - 2019-03-27T094807.138.png

Barry Loveland, Chair, LGBT History Project and Mary Nancarrow, LGBT Community Activist.

Franklin & Marshall College President

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, March 26, 2019:

WITF’s Smart Talk program often introduces newly appointed college and university presidents to the central Pennsylvania community soon after they are appointed or take office.

On Tuesday’s Smart Talk, we meet Barbara Altmann, who became the 16th president at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster last summer. Altmann is the first woman to serve as president in the school’s history. She joins several other universities and colleges across Pennsylvania with female presidents.

We’ll talk with President Altmann about her vision for F&M, liberal arts education in today’s world, how students are being prepared for today’s (and tomorrow’s) workforce and college affordability. Franklin and Marshall has historically taken a leadership role in the Lancaster community and we’ll discuss that topic with Dr. Altmann, as well.

Altmann has helped F&M launch the “Now to Next” campaign, which plans to raise $200 million by 2021 to fund student aid, research, and the construction of a new visual arts center.

Dickinson College’s slavery connection and solving food insecurity, one garden at a time

What to look for on Smart Talk, Friday, March 22, 2019:

Dickinson College’s relationship to slavery is a complicated one. Even before emancipation, students enrolled at Dickinson came from both Southern and Northern states. This made for a vigorous debate that reflected the opinions of the country.

Today, Dickinson College is using their history to frame a discussion on the Civil War and Reconstruction for other classrooms.

It’s called The House Divided Project and one exhibit shines a light on Dickinson’s personal link to slavery.

“Dickinson and Slavery” examines the College’s connection to slavery, before the Civil War and after, through the stories of founders and former slaves who have impacted the school.
Appearing on Smart Talk Friday to discuss the stories of former slaves who helped shape Dickinson College are Matthew Pinsker, History professor, and Director of House Divided Project, Cooper Wingert, junior History major and Amanda Donoghue, senior History major.
Also, do you know when your next meal will come?

Food insecurity means living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to lead an active life. There are millions of people living with this reality in America today.

Bucknell and Susquehanna Universities are collaborating on a project to draw attention to the problem and offer a local solution, one garden at a time.

Joining us on Smart Talk to discuss the “Sowing Change” project are Pam Frontino, Assistant Director of Civic Engagement at Susquehanna University, and Kyle Bray, Assistant Director of Service-Learning at Bucknell University.

Tickborne illness on the rise and is the drinking water safe in schools?

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, March 25, 2019:
The reported cases of tickborne disease in the United States are on the rise.

Illnesses like Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Lyme Disease are becoming more prevalent. So, the Department of Health is acting to assess the risk across Pennsylvania.

The survey began in July 2018 and is taking place in every county in Pennsylvania. The surveillance is happening during all four seasons of the year in order to collect data from ticks throughout their life-cycle.

The survey tracks habitats, their life stages and activity levels. They will also test for human pathogenic diseases, like Lyme.

Lyme is by far the most prevalent tickborne disease with more than forty-thousand cases reported in the U.S. in 2017. Most new cases occur in the Upper Midwest and Northeast, including Pennsylvania.

Common Lyme indicators include flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and often a ring-shaped rash. (CDC reference manual)

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss the surveillance program is Matt Helwig, water program specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Also, how safe is the drinking water in Pennsylvania schools?

PennEnvironment is issuing a report on Tuesday at the Capitol that they say highlights the need for legislative action.

Joining Smart Talk to discuss drinking water safety in our schools is Pennsylvania Stephanie Wein, Clean Water & Conservation Advocate, PennEnvironment.

The billion dollar art theft market and Bosnian War crimes


Nura Mustafic, one of the Mothers of Srebrenica and other Bosnian organizations, wipes away tears as she reacts to the verdict which the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal, ICTY, handed down in the genocide trial against former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday Nov. 22, 2017. A U.N. court convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life in prison for atrocities perpetrated during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, March 21, 2019:

It has been said that stealing art is relatively easy, but finding a buyer is almost impossible. If this is true, why do thieves continue to target art and cultural property?

The FBI estimates losses from theft, fraud and art trafficking in the billions of dollars annually. In 2004, the FBI established an Art Crime Team to respond to thefts and recover the items.

How successful are they?

Appearing on Smart Talk Thursday is Robert Wittman, the FBI’s Art Crime Team founder who helped track down more than $225 million worth of stolen art and cultural property. Wittman is also the author of Priceless; How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures.

Untitled design - 2019-03-21T092448.727.png

Robert Wittman (photo courtesy of Bucknell University)

Also, the phrase “ethnic cleansing” became widely used in the 1990’s to describe a conflict unfolding in the Balkans. Long-simmering ethnic tensions rose to a crisis point after the country of Yugoslavia disintegrated, and the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence. Bosnian Serb forces began a campaign to expel all Bosnian Muslims and Croatian civilians, resulting in the murder and disappearance of thousands of individuals, mostly men and boys.

In the years after the war, an International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) was established to adjudicate Bosnian war crimes. One particular trial continues to make headlines when PBS Frontline produced a documentary on the notorious general accused of genocide and war crimes: The Trial of Ratko Mladic

Joining Smart Talk to discuss the trial is the lead prosecutor for the ICTY, Penn State Dickinson School of Law professor Dermot Groome.

Untitled design - 2019-03-21T094249.158.png

Prof. Dermot Groome

Preventing child abuse and PA property taxes explained


What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, March 20, 2019:

Child abuse is a preventable, public health crisis.

Everyday in America, children are exposed to abuse and neglect. In most cases, the abuse is committed by a parent, caregiver or someone in a trusted position.

The numbers are heartbreaking. Government sources estimate that about one in seven children experienced abuse and neglect in the last year, and they admit this may be an underestimate.

The Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance strives to make Pennsylvania safe for children. To do this, the Alliance is hosting the 2019 PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids event.

A ‘champion’ is someone who plays a role to recognize and report suspected cases of child abuse.

Appearing on Smart Talk Wednesday to discuss the campaign and what we can do to keep kids safe is Angela Liddle, President and CEO, PA Family Support Alliance.

Untitled design - 2019-03-20T090815.710.png

Angela Liddle, President and CEO of PA Family Support Alliance.

Also, it seems fitting that the quote ‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,’ is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, a famous Pennsylvanian. It would seem more appropriate if the quote specified property taxes, because these taxes seem to get the most attention.

PAPost.org’s The Listening Post takes on a reader’s question, “what keeps these taxes in force.”

PaPost reporter Ed Mahon joins Smart Talk to discuss why school property taxes are so hard to kill.

Untitled design - 2019-03-20T094417.931.png

Ed Mahon, PA Post reporter

Car insurance rates hold steady and Community theater hits milestone

Untitled design (16).png

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, March 15, 2019:

There is good news and bad news when it comes to car insurance.

First the bad news. You must have it to drive a car and it can be expensive.

The good news? While rates in the U.S. are at an all-time high, rates in the Harrisburg and Lancaster areas are holding steady this year.

There are many factors that determine auto insurance rates, including how much coverage you want, a drivers personal driving record, and the myriad of options offered by insurance companies.

So, how do you know if you are getting the best deal and coverage?

Appearing on Smart Talk Friday to discuss car insurance rates in our area and how they are determined are Alyssa Connolly, author of the 2019 State of Auto Insurance Report, with The Zebra, a national car insurance comparison search engine, and Alison Beam, Chief of Staff, Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

Alison Beam.png

Alison Beam

Also, The Carlisle Theater is celebrating its 80th birthday this year.

Traveling through Carlisle on any given evening may feel like you have journeyed back in time. There are always pedestrians enjoying the walk-able downtown, that features quaint store fronts. The extensive number of bars, restaurants, and breweries are a big draw, too, especially on the weekends.

But one of icons in the area is The Carlisle Theater. The marquee lights draw attention to special events and movies and remind visitors of a time when a single venue in town provided the only entertainment option.

Joining us on Friday’s Smart Talk to discuss the importance of the historic building to the community is J. Esch McCombie, Carlisle Theatre board member and Kristin Rowe, director of marketing with the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau.

Rowe and McCombie.png

Kristin Rowe and J. Esch McCombie

Untitled design (19).png
Untitled design (15).png

All photos courtesy of The Carlisle Theater

Smart Talk Road Trip marks Hershey Company 125th birthday

Milton Hershey 2 600 x 340.jpg

What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, March 19, 2019:

It’s a Smart Talk Road Trip to the Hershey Theatre in Hershey Tuesday marking the 125th birthday of The Hershey Company.

Smart Talk broadcasts live from the historic theatre where we discuss founder Milton Hershey’s life and accomplishments, how the Lancaster Caramel Company became the Hershey Chocolate Company, how the brand became one of the world’s favorite treats and flavors, Hershey becoming the ultimate company town, the beginnings of what is now the Milton Hershey School, and Hershey’s contribution to America’s soldiers fighting in World War II.

We’ll also talk about the 10th anniversary of The Hershey Story Museum that has an exhibit on display today focusing on Milton Hershey the man.

The Hershey Theatre itself is a fabulous setting for the broadcast. It was built during the “Great Building Campaign” that came as the country suffered through the Great Depression. The Hershey Theatre has hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment over the past 80 years and also was WITF’s first home in 1964.

Appearing on Tuesday’s program are Leigh Horner, Vice President, Corporate Communications, The Hershey Company; Amy Bischof, Senior Director, The Hershey Story Museum; Valerie Seiber, Senior Manager, Historical Collections and Exhibits, The Hershey Story Museum; and Jennifer Henderson, Archivist at the Hershey Theatre.

Why are mothers still dying from childbirth?


What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, March 18, 2019:

Giving birth to a child is one of the most significant events in a woman’s life. It is also one of the most dangerous.

It is difficult to believe that in a modern medical era women still die from childbirth complications. In fact, while maternal mortality in the world has declined, rates in the U.S have increased.

Approximately 700 women die each year in the U.S. as a result of pregnancy or pregnancy‚Äźrelated complications. For every woman that dies, dozens more experience severe complications.

For minority women, the risk is even greater. Black women are dying at three to four times the rate of white women after childbirth.

What is killing these mothers? Are these deaths preventable?

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss factors affecting maternal mortality are Dr. Rebecca Sieber, M.D., OB-GYN, Lancaster Physicians for Women, Lancaster General Hospital, Dr. Jason Baxter, M.D., Associate Professor, OB-GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and member of the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, and Dolores Smith, mission director maternal and child health, March of Dimes in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and South Jersey.


Dr. Rebecca Sieber, OB/GYN