Millersville University president discusses goals

When Dr. Daniel Wubah, PhD, took the helm at Millersville University last year he did not come in with a preconceived idea about the direction he would take the Lancaster County state school.  

Wubah said that instead he would start by working with the community, staff and alumni before setting goals and a vision into action. 

He did, however, identify a few priorities tfocus onincluding reaccreditation and improving graduation and retention rates. 

While the majority of the other 14 Pennsylvania state-owned universities have grappled with declining enrollment, Millersville University and West Chester are holding steady.   

One-year into his termPresident Daniel Wubah joins Smart Talk to discuss the school’s progress and how they plan to buck the declining enrollment trend.  

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Justin Kocis

Dr. Daniel Wubah, President of Millersville University, August 30, 2019.

Also, 10 years ago the Pennsylvania legislature cut the state’s general subsidy for library funding by 20 percent. Library dollars were an easy target for lawmakers when they were making tough decisions during the 2009 recession.  

At the time, then-Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell said he intended to restore funding as soon as the economy and revenues improved. That never happened and the state still provides less money to libraries than it did 10 years ago.  

Libraries cope with funding shortfalls throughout their operations, but mainly through staff cuts and facility hours. Lawmakers are hoping to restore funding in the 2022-23 budget, but that may not happen soon enough.  

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss how libraries are dealing with the funding shortfalls are PaPost reporter Ed MahonPenny Talbert, Executive Director of the Ephrata Public Library, and Republican state representative Stan Saylor of York Countychairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 

The 2020 Census preparations are underway

The U.S. Census has been called one of the most logistically complex operations ever conducted by the federal government.

Counting the entire population of the country, estimated at nearly 330 million people, is a massive undertaking and involves years of planning and preparation.

The Constitution requires a decennial census take place every 10 years and the stakes are high to make sure it is done right.

The first census was a “simple” count of approximately 3.9 million people for purposes of apportioning the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, in addition to apportioning state representation, census data will be used to make decisions affecting legislation and spending on housing, highways, hospitals, schools, and assistance programs.

There is more than $800 Billion in annual federal funding that is allocated based on population numbers in each state, so accuracy matters. The last census in 2010 resulted in Pennsylvania receiving more than $39 Billion through 55 federal spending programs.

As the 2020 census approaches, the first step involves an invitation to participate. Households will receive an invitation in the mail by April 1, 2020, and as long as they respond by mail or online, no census workers will knock on the door. This is the first time ever that Americans can respond to the census online.

So, what information is collected by the census?

Joining Smart Talk to address this and other questions are Norman Bristol Colon, executive director of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission and David R. Brinton, MPA, Local Government Policy Manager, PA Department of Community & Economic Development, Governor’s Center for Local Government Services.

Finding your family’s military roots


What to look for on Smart Talk, Friday, August 23, 2019:

More Americans are researching their family histories than ever before. Often, they want to learn about an ancestor’s military service.

Where did they serve and for how long? What units did they fight with and, perhaps, were they awarded any commendations or medals for their service?

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle is one of the best resources in the country for researching military history. Authors of widely read books on military history have researched their work in the USAHEC archives.

The archives include over 400,000 books, featuring strategic leadership, landpower, and military history. There are also unit histories from the U.S. and from several nations in both world wars, which can be quite helpful when researching a family members military service.

The USAHEC also is home to an artifact collection totaling 70,000 objects, including over 40,000 that are searchable online, with more being added daily.

On Friday’s Smart Talk the guests will use the example of Corporal Clarence Patton – a relative of Smart Talk host Scott LaMar — to demonstrate the type of information and sources USAHEC can provide. Corporal Patton served with the 25th Reconnaissance Squadron, 4th Armored Division during World War II. Corporal Patton was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross – the nation’s second highest military honor for actions he took in battle, but was killed two weeks later.

Joining Smart Talk to reveal their research findings are Geoffrey Mangelsdorf, the USAHEC Director, Richard Baker, senior research historian, USAHEC, and Lindsay Strehl, USAHEC outreach coordinator.

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Clarence Patton and brother Paul Howett

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Richard Baker, Lindsay Strehl, and Geoffrey Mangelsdorf

Planning for end-of-life and HippoCamp for writers

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What to look for on Smart Talk, Thursday, August 22, 2019:

Talking about death and dying is difficult. It becomes exponentially more difficult when death is near, and decisions need to be made during a very emotional and stressful time.

Planning for end-of-life care is about deciding now how you want to be cared for during the final hours or days of life. Or in the case of a terminal illness, how that care should proceed as the disease progresses and you are unable to convey your wishes.

To clearly, and legally, establish wishes for end-of-life care there are advance directives. These are legal documents that define who will speak for you and is entrusted to make health care decisions when you cannot make them yourself. A Living Will describes the kind of life-sustaining treatment you do or don’t want in case you unable to tell a doctor yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney for health care allows you to name a person who will make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.

The best way to plan for the end-of-life it to have the difficult conversations before they are medically necessary.

Appearing on Smart Talk to share a new planning tool for end-of-life decisions are Dr. Vipul Bhatia, MD, Wellspan Health Medical Director, Continuing Care Services, Roberta Geidner, Horizon/Advance Care Planning Coordinator, WellSpan Health and Mac Brillhart, Esq., Stock and Leader Attorneys at Law and York County Bar Association member.

Resources mentioned by our guests include: Your Life Wishes, WellSpan Horizon Planning, and The Conversation Project.

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Mac Brillhart, Dr. Vipul Bhatia, and Roberta Geidner

Also, Journalist Jacki Lyden has seen mental illness, war, the destruction caused by terrorism and fashion up close. She’s written and reported on all those topics and much more throughout her 40-year career at NPR. Lyden served as a foreign correspondent for NPR in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other places overseas.

Her 1999 memoir — Daughter of the Queen of Sheba — describes growing up with her bipolar mother.

Jacki Lyden will appear at Lancaster-based Hippocampus Magazine’s Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers this weekend where she’ll talk about journalism and nonfiction writing at a time when journalist are often under fire.

Lyden joins us on Smart Talk Thursday to share her experiences at NPR and as a writer and storyteller.

Hippocampus Magazine is an online publication written for writers, by writers. Each issue features memoir excerpts, personal essays, and reviews by creative nonfiction writers.

For a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare, check out WITF’s Transforming Health, a partnership of WITF, WellSpan Health and Capital Blue Cross.

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NPR journalist Jacki Lyden (Doby Photography/NPR)

Is PA’s parole system working?/Kids and the Battle of Gettysburg

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What to look for on Smart Talk, Wednesday, August 21, 2019:

Five men paroled from Pennsylvania prisons are accused of killing six people during a two-month period earlier this year. Two of the murders involved children. None of the cases are related.

A state correction officer association is calling on the state legislature to investigate the parole system that freed the inmates accused of the murders. They believe the parole system has problems, mainly caused by changes made by the Department of Corrections.

The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole usually decides whether an inmate is released after serving at least a minimum sentence. However, once released, agents from the Department of Corrections supervise the parolees.

At the same time, bipartisan legislation has been introduced that would shorten probation terms and limit punishments for probation violations. Under probation, a person found guilty of a crime is released from custody. But that person must be supervised by a probation officer and comply with court-ordered rules. Requirements can include attending meetings with a probation officer, passing drug tests, or getting treated for substance use. Probationers can go to jail if they break a rule.

Appearing on Wednesday’s Smart Talk to discuss these issues is Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Corrections, John Wetzel.

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Secretary John Wetzel

Also, when author Gregory Christianson realized his son didn’t understand much about local civil war history, he decided that needed to change.

He wrote the book “Gettysburg: Kids Who Did the Impossible!” to educate young people, like his son, about  kids who played a role in the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg.

Christianson joins  us on Wednesday’s Smart Talk  to discuss children during the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Greg Christianson

Pennsylvania’s war with invasive species

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Northern Snakehead. Photo courtesy of the PA Fish and Boat Commission (Joe Perillo, Philadelphia Water Department)

What to look for on Smart Talk, Tuesday, August 20, 2019:

Pennsylvania is at war against invasive species.

Animals with names like the Asian Carp, Northern Snakehead and the Spotted Lanternfly are in the crosshairs. In large numbers they cause enormous amounts of damage, both financially and biologically.

In fact, the U.S. spends more than $120 billion on invasive species every year. Pennsylvania is fighting a significant number of invasive species, in and along waterways and agricultural sites.

Aquatic invasive species, like Zebra Mussels and the New Zealand Mudsnail, are animals that have been introduced into waterways in which they don’t live naturally. Their presence can have a harmful effect on not just the ecosystem, but on the animals that live there.

The Spotted Lanternfly is native to parts of Asia and it was identified for the first time in the United States in Berks County, Pa, in 2014. Since then, the pest has spread to a multicounty area in southeastern Pennsylvania, and is threatening forest and agricultural crops.

Can Pennsylvania win the fight against invasive species, or is this a losing battle? (See information about Pennsylvania’s endangered species)

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss safeguarding the state’s waterways and agricultural interests are Tim Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Chris Urban, Chief, Natural Diversity Section, of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and Heather Leach, Penn State Extension, Spotted Lanternfly associate.

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Chris Urban and Tim Schaeffer

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Heather Leach

Helping the economically fragile / Pain and politics in America


What to look for on Smart Talk, Monday, August 19, 2019:

A strong economy is characterized by steady growth, low unemployment and little inflation.

Everyone benefits during a strong economy, right?

Not everyone, according to top economic leaders. The trickle down of current economic prosperity has not reached all Americans. There are plenty who fall into the category of “Economically Fragile People” – individuals who, while employed, may not enjoy access to life’s basic necessities.

A local business leader believes that recruiting and retaining these individuals is critical for any organization to succeed.

In fact, she says there is a clear economic benefit for employers who care about the quality of life of the economically fragile and establish policies to reinforce this.

Appearing on Smart Talk is Teresa D. Miller, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, and author Sharon Ryan, CEO of Dasher Services, Inc. Ryan co-wrote a book with Cynthia Tolsma called, The Talent Pool: How to Find and Keep Dedicated People While Making a Lasting Impact. David Black of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber also appears on the program to discuss the benefit their approach yields for employers.

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Sharon Ryan and David Black

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Secretary Teresa Miller

Also, the American dream is the ideal that opportunity is available to every American and prosperity and success are achieved through hard work.

Sociologist and author Jennifer Silva believes the dream’s promise is “withering away.” That addiction, joblessness and family dysfunction are the reason.

Jennifer Silva joins Smart Talk to discuss her book We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America, and how race and class are colliding in rural America.

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Jennifer Silva

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children/The Violence Project

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Children focus on a learning activity at the WITF “Back to School Bash” event on August 11, 2019, at the Clipper Magazine Stadium, Lancaster, Pa. Photo by Joanne Cassaro. A Ready, Set, Explore educational event is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, 2019, in Harrisburg, Pa. RSVP to “Explore the Magic of Learning with Princess Presto.”

What to look for on Smart Talk, Thursday, August 15, 2019:

The needs of each child are unique and vary based on factors like home life, household income and education level.

Programs across the state are working to identify and address the unique needs of Pennsylvania’s kids.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is a statewide, independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization. It works to advocate for the health, education and well-being of children in the commonwealth.

For example, PPC encouraged state legislators to make kids a top priority in their latest budget. Governor Wolf signed the 2019-20 budget into law on June 28 and it includes increases for early learning, K-12 educations and health care programs that benefit children.

Joining Smart Talk to discuss their advocacy and programs serving PA kids is Kari King, president and CEO of PPC.

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Kari King

Also, mass shooters from the past 50 years all have four commonalities. That’s according to The Violence Project — a think tank that has assembled comprehensive research on mass shootings in America. The project is partially funded by the National Institute of Justice and includes a thorough database of more than 150 mass shootings dating back to 1966.

What shooters have in common are they all experienced childhood trauma, had an identifible crisis point before the shooting, studied the actions of other shooters and had a means to carry out their plans.

Researchers examine not only the background of the shooter but every aspect of their personal history, relationships, the community, and the social climate where the events occurred. Their findings are then disseminated and evaluated for policies and prevention strategies.

Appearing on Thursday’s Smart Talk to talk about what the data shows about mass shooters is Dr. Jillian Peterson, PhD, co-founder of The Violence Project and a psychologist and professor of criminology at Hamline University in Minnesota.

Smart Talk road trip to the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival

The Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival takes the stage this weekend in beautiful Adams County. The festival is well-known among music lovers for presenting top-notch Bluegrass music and as a place featuring entertainment for the entire family.

Smart Talk broadcasts from the Granite Hill Camping resort for a look at Pennsylvania’s long legacy of musical storytelling and Bluegrass tradition. There is also a discussion and preview of the new Ken Burns Country Music series.

In the series, PBS filmmaker Ken Burns explores the history of a uniquely American Art form: country music. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, Burns highlights how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become “America’s music.” Burn’s series premieres on WITF TV September 15 at 8pm.

Stryker Combat Team Iraq anniversary and Stop blaming mental illness for mass shootings

Pennsylvania’s 28th Infantry Division of the National Guard has a long and storied past. The Division battle lineage dates to military campaigns during the Civil War and to the present-day conflict in Iraq.

The “Iron Division” was also the first, and only, National Guard unit to field the Stryker Combat Vehicle as part of the Army’s reorganization in the early 2000’s.

Ten years ago, the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 28th Infantry Division deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. WITF went along with a journalist embedded in the unit to file reports from the field.

Appearing on Smart Talk is former WITF journalist Scott Detrow to reflect on the anniversary and experience. Detrow is currently a political correspondent for NPR. He covers the 2020 presidential campaign and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.

Retired Col. Marc Ferraro, Former 56th Stryker Brigade Commander, and Maj. Lois Mendoza, Commander 1st Battalion, 108th Field Artillery Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team are also in the studio to share their perspective on the historic deployment.

Also, the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas have renewed calls for greater attention on individuals with mental illnesses. Some Pennsylvania lawmakers say that any new gun control efforts must include an investment in mental health treatment and screening.

Mental health professionals, however, say that people with mental illness are being unfairly cast as the perpetrators. They point out that a history of violence and substance abuse are much more accurate predictors of future violence than a mental health diagnosis.

Joining Smart Talk to discuss the issue are Transforming Health reporter Brett Sholtis and Dr. John “Jack” Rozel, MD, Medical Director, Resolve Crisis Services and President, American Association for Emergency Psychiatry.

For more on mental health screening plus a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare–check out WITF’s Transforming Health. A partnership of WITF, WellSpan Health and Capital Blue Cross.