Franklin & Marshall poll gauges voter satisfaction

The most recent Franklin and Marshall College poll finds that Pennsylvania voters are generally satisfied with how things are going in the state, and their personal lives.

Keystone voters also agree on several key issues; overhaul the state tax framework and get rid of the current property tax system. They also agree on how and who should pay for community police coverage.

Contrast this with how the electorate feels about the direction of the country and there is a little less optimism. The sentiment is split along party lines.

There are a few surprises in the poll results, as well. Like, the approval ratings for President Trump and which Democratic candidates top the survey.

Franklin and Marshall College political analyst and pollster Dr. G. Terry Madonna appears on Monday’s Smart Talk to discuss the poll results and provide perspective.

Election coverage on WITF is supported by the law firm of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

Americans are going broke getting an education


What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, August 9, 2019:

College student debt in the U.S. has been labeled a crisis, as the amount of outstanding loan balances exceed $1.5 trillion.

Solving the crisis, however, is not so simple.

A few of the presidential candidates advocate for the cancellation of all student debt and free college for everyone. Others offer a more measured approach that target specific demographics.

The one thing they all agree on is that something needs to be done to lift the crushing weight of financial burden from the backs of a generation of Americans.

Pennsylvania college graduates have an average of debt when they leave school of more than $36,000 — the highest in the country. More than two-thirds — 67% — of students leaving Pennsylvania schools have student debt. That’s the fifth highest total in the nation.

How can student debt be managed? Why is a college education so expensive and are Americans getting their money’s worth?

Appearing on Friday’s Smart Talk to put the issues into perspective are Dr. Eric Barron, the President of Penn State University, Dr. John Sygielski, President of Harrisburg Area Community College, Kim Kenawell-Hoffecker, Avantra Family Wealth and Rory McPhillips, 2017 Drexel University graduate.

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Dr. John Sygielski and Kim Kenawell-Hoffecker

Bullying in the Age of Smart Phones and Bras Across the Bridge


What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, August 8, 2019:

Bullying, like many things, is increasingly more complicated in the digital era. It used to be that kids could find respite from bullying behavior at home or once school let out.

Now, because of social media and pervasive smart phone use, there is often no rest from the harassment.

Cyber bullying can range from posting mean or hurtful images to online threats. There are even extreme examples of encouraging suicide and violence.

What can be done to safeguard kids from bullying in the era of smart phones?

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly mandated the creation of an anonymous reporting system to give students a way to report signs of classmates who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others. This system is called Safe2Say Something and it has garnered more than 23,000 tips since it began in January.

Appearing on Smart Talk to talk about research findings on this topic is Deputy National Editor Beth Dalbey.

Also, five years ago, the Feel Your Boobies Foundation came up with a unique idea to create maximum visual impact in their mission to promote breast health.

The Bras Across the Bridge event in Harrisburg is a fundraiser to promote both college and minority outreach. The fifth annual event is Saturday, August 10.

Joining Smart Talk is Leigh Hurst, Founder and Executive Director of the Feel Your Boobies Foundation to talk about the event and the organizations efforts to reach young women.

What advancements are being made in HIV treatments?/Proposed law on Amish horses

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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, August 7, 2019:

More than one million Americans are living with the HIV virus. Thirty-six thousand of them are Pennsylvanians. There are about a thousand new HIV diagnoses every year in Pennsylvania.

Not everyone who contracts the HIV virus develops AIDS and AIDS is no longer always fatal as it once was.

That’s due to the treatments developed over the years through research.

That research has progressed to the point where there’s the potential for HIV virus to be eliminated from the body completely. In other words — a cure.

However, one out of seven people living with HIV don’t know they are infected with the HIV virus. That’s why testing is important so those people can be treated.

On Wednesday’s Smart Talk, we discuss advancements in HIV treatment and HIV awareness with our guests Patricia Fonzi, President and CEO at the Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania and Dr. Adam Lake, a family physician at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.

Also, a proposed ordinance that would require horses to wear a device to collect manure and rubber horseshoes when pulling the buggies of Old Order Amish has been been put on hold for the time being in Washington Township, Lycoming County. Township supervisers say they had gotten complaints about manure on roads presenting a health hazard and that normal metal horseshoes damaged roads.

The attorney representing the Amish — Clifford Rieders — appears on Wednesday’s Smart Talk.

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Dr. Adam Lake and Patricia Fonzi

After weekend shootings: Gun restrictions-what works?/Hate crimes in PA

Many Americans and lawmakers are demanding that something be done to prevent mass shootings like the ones in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend. Thirty-one people died in those two incidents and dozens of others were wounded and injured.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf released a statement saying he supports the U.S. Congress to vote and pass legislation that would require universal background checks on all commercial firearm purchases. The bill was approved by the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives earlier this year but hasn’t been voted on in the Republican majority Senate. Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey blames Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for holding up the vote.

Wolf also said he would like to see a ban on assault-style weapons and more attention paid to white nationalists.

The alleged shooter in El Paso reportedly said he wanted to shoot Latinos.

On Tuesday’s Smart Talk, we’re joined by Dr. Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and Chad Lassiter, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

Senator Bob Casey and Online Casino Gambling Launches in PA

Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey joins Smart Talk to share his thoughts on the two mass shootings that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend. Casey is calling for the Senate to be called back into session to, at the very least, address proposed legislation that would require universal background checks on all commercial gun purchases.
Also, people across the state can now gamble online from home.

Pennsylvania began offering online casino-style gambling on July 15 after months of product testing by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Parx Casino outside Philadelphia and Penn National’s Hollywood Casino near Hershey launched their online gambling sites in July as part of a three-day test monitored by state regulators.

Online gambling may reach audiences that don’t typically visit casinos. Online gaming is similar to video games that younger generations are accustomed to using at home, so it may attract a new audience.

Pennsylvania joins only three other states in legalizing online casino gambling: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

Other states with online gambling have seen increased overall gambling revenue, but the majority of that revenue still comes from brick-and-mortar casinos.

Pennsylvania is already second in the country for commercial casino revenue, behind Nevada, at $3.2 billion last year, according to the American Gaming Association.

This gambling expansion raises concerns, however. How will gambling addicts be affected by online casinos? Who will benefit from the revenue? How will brick-and-mortar casino businesses be affected?

Joining Smart Talk to discuss how online gambling will affect Pennsylvania’s casino industry are Eric Raskin, managing editor of USBets, Brett Smiley, sports better and editor of SportsHandle, and Doug Harbach, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

If you or someone you know is experiencing problematic gambling, call the PA Gambling Addiction 24-hour hotline at 1-800-GAMBLER. You can also search online for a gambling addiction participating provider, text or chat with CCGP’s 24-hour chatline, or request voluntary self exclusion from gaming activities.

Smart Talk Road Trip to the Susquehanna Art Museum


Picasso: A Life in Print at the Susquehanna Art Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Susquehanna Art Museum, Twitter)

What to look for on Smart Talk, Thursday, August 1, 2019:

Smart Talk travels to the Susquehanna Art Museum to discuss the museum‘s new exhibit, PICASSO: A Life in Print.

The exhibit of prints spans Pablo Picasso’s prolific career, with work from 1904-1970. Though Picasso never received formal training in printmaking, he practiced working with the medium to develop his distinctive ideas.

A Life in Print includes pieces from the historic Suite des Saltimbanques, Picasso’s first major body of work in printmaking; Suite Vollard, a group of one hundred prints commissioned by famed art dealer Ambroise Vollard; and the Caisse à Remords, prized by collectors because they represent an intimate view of the artist’s personal vision.

The Picasso exhibit includes pieces from the John Szoke Gallery in New York City. Established in 1974, the gallery specializes in works on paper with a focus on prints by Pablo Picasso and Edvard Munch.

Joining Smart Talk is John Szoke, art collector and director of the John Szoke Gallery.

PICASSO: A Life in Print is on view at the Susquehanna Art Museum through September 22.

This Smart Talk Road Trip is supported by Roof Advisory Group.