Insulin – Hiking with diabetes – Culinary apprenticeships

Diabetes as a medical disorder was recognized hundreds of years ago. It is a dangerous disease and treatment is imperative to stave off long-term complications. The earlier a patient can access treatment, the better.

Treatments have ranged from starvation to strict diet therapies, but the discovery of insulin in 1921 transformed diabetes from a death sentence to a chronic condition.

What causes diabetes and what are the treatment options for people living with the disorder? Dr. Mark Schutta, MD, Medical Director of the Penn Rodebaugh Diabetes Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, joins Smart Talk Thursday to answer those questions.

Also on Smart Talk Thursday is Richard Humphreys, who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 14 years old. Now 78, he is making an attempt to hike from Lancaster to Camp Ho Mita Koda in Ohio. It’s the oldest camp for children living with diabetes and Humphreys is hoping to raise money for the camp where he was a counselor years ago.

For more on public health issues plus a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare, check out Transforming Health, a partnership of WITF, WellSpan Health and Capital Blue Cross.

Tech school and industry form partnership to find a recipe for success

The restaurant business is tough. There are long hours and staffing challenges and last year, out of nowhere, a pandemic hit.

Finding trained and willing staff to work in local high-end restaurants and even fast-food outlets is proving difficult. Two area organizations are taking the challenge in stride and remaining focused on a partnership that benefits both of them.

The Hotel Hershey at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company has teamed up with the Lebanon County Career & Technology Center to train and educate the next generation of culinary and pastry apprentices.

Joining Smart Talk to share details of the collaboration are Chef Nicholas Arnold, Executive Chef, Hotel Hershey at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, Chef Robert Corle, Chef Instructor with the Lebanon County Career & Technology Center, and Connor Woodburn, culinary apprentice with the Lebanon County Career & Technology Center.

Understanding grief through Mary Todd Lincoln’s life and experience

The pain of losing a loved one can be overwhelming. The grief is often centered on the person’s emotional response, but loss has other dimensions, too, that can affect the physical, social, and spiritual facets of a person.

“Reflections on grief and child loss” through the lens of Mary Todd Lincoln, is an exhibit at President Lincoln’s Cottage, a museum and historic site in Washington D.C. The exhibit posits that the first lady, who is often thought to have suffered from mental illness, may have actually been living with grief and doing so in a way that was not customary at that time. In any case, it is clear that Mary Todd Lincoln suffered greatly following the murder of her husband and deaths of three of her four children.

Callie Hawkins is the interim Executive Director and Director of Programming at President Lincoln’s Cottage and her own grief journey has given her insight into Mary Todd Lincoln’s experience. She appears on Smart Talk Wednesday, along with Julia Dunn, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Program Director at Olivia’s House, a grief and loss center for children.

First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln


“Reflections on Grief and Child Loss,” an exhibit at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington D.C.


Cannabis laws and Pennsylvania purchasers

Using marijuana for medical purposes is legal in Pennsylvania and in 32 other states. There are now 16 states where recreational weed is legal, with a growing movement to decriminalize cannabis here, as well as approve it for recreational use.

On the federal level, though, all marijuana remains illegal. So, with laws changing and differing state by state, how do they apply to Pennsylvanians?

Melissa Chapaska, Esq., is with Cannabis Law PA and a Legal Committee member of NORML and she joins Smart Talk Wednesday with what would-be purchasers need to know.

Pa. families seek ways to help as coronavirus surges in India; Author Kevin J. Weddle on his book “The Compleat Victory: Saratoga and the American Revolution”

The vaccination program in the United States is ushering in a return to normalcy. Perhaps not completely, but the pandemic may be solidly behind us not far in the future.

Still, lockdowns remain in place and infection rates are climbing in many parts of the world. India, in particular, is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 infections that has thrown the country into a health emergency.

Central Pennsylvania is home to many Indian American families who are struggling to find accurate information. They are seeking ways to help loved ones living in India.

Deep Gupta, board chair of the Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania organization will appear on Smart Talk Tuesday, along with board member Dr. Deepankar Tewari, DVM, to share how families are working to help.

Local author writes of Battle of Saratoga’s significance in American Revolution

Most historical accounts of the American Revolution tend to focus on the main Continental Army led by Commander-in-Chief George Washington. Local author Kevin Weddle, Ph.D., who teaches at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, has written about the American army and militias that overcame superior forces and several defeats to rally and then change the course of the war in New York State.

Weddle is on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss The Compleat Victory — Saratoga and the American Revolution.

Voters to decide how the state will respond to future emergencies

Voters in the May 18 primary will have a unique opportunity to decide how Pennsylvania will respond to state-wide emergencies in the future.

Two ballot measures are seen as a response to the Wolf administration’s mitigation measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Republican legislators are frustrated with having no input to the blanket state-wide shutdowns that paralyzed some businesses and led to wide-spread unemployment.

Currently, the governor gets 90 days to mobilize the state’s resources, adjust regulations, and get federal help under an emergency declaration. Governor Wolf has extended the declaration combatting COVID-19 four times.

If the two ballot measures are approved by voters, the Governor’s response would be limited to three weeks before having to take further actions to state lawmakers to weigh-in. Support for both ballot measures are split down party lines.

Pennsylvania Speaker of the House, Representative Bryan Cutler, a Republican serving Lancaster County and Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, a Democrat representing Allegheny County, appear on Smart Talk Monday to lay out their case to voters.

Pennsylvania Question 1, Legislative Resolution to Extend or Terminate Emergency Declaration Amendment: Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?

Pennsylvania Question 2, Emergency Declarations Amendment: Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management?

Legal action may force Harrisburg to take action against sewage flowing into Susquehanna River

The Harrisburg city’s water authority has allowed human waste to flow into the Susquehanna River for decades.

Now, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper and Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project are seeking to join a legal process that requiring Capital Region Water to take action.

Brett Sholtis is a WITF’s Transforming Health reporter and he’ll appear on Smart Talk Monday to talk about the legal action and other efforts to curb river pollution.

Author Susan Orlean on her book and the important role libraries played in her life

It’s not an exaggeration to say writers like books. Reading led to writing. But best-selling author and New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean really likes books, and the public library in her Ohio hometown is where her love grew.

In fact, one of Orlean’s most popular books was 2018’s The Library Book, about a fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986. It’s a book about how reading and the library influenced her life, the fire, history and it is also filled with great characters.

Susan Orlean joins us on Friday’s Smart Talk.

Orlean will also be speaking with NPR’s Scott Detrow in a virtual event with the Dauphin County Library System this Saturday at 7pm.

Pennsylvania’s libraries represent an important part of quality of life

We’ll also hear about the Dauphin County Library System’s plans to expand the McCormick Riverfront Library and the restoration of the adjacent Haldeman Haly House in Harrisburg. Andy Enders, immediate past board chair Dauphin County Library System, is with us.

Free speech case involving Pa. cheerleader goes to Supreme Court

A Pennsylvania high school cheerleader’s tirade on social media landed her in hot water with her coaches and into the national spotlight.

The teen was suspended from the squad after uploading a profanity-laced post on Snapchat, venting frustration for not making the varsity cheer squad.

Nearly five years later, a lawsuit questioning the authority of school officials to discipline her for the speech conducted after school hours has made its way to the US Supreme Court; the biggest case involving student speech to land before the high court in 50 years.

Michael R. Dimino is a Professor of Law with Widener University Commonwealth Law School and he’ll appear on Smart Talk Wednesday to outline the case. We’ll also look into the possibility the Biden administration will attempt to change the number of justices on the court, also known as “packing the court.”

Pennsylvania’s population growth lagging

The 2020 Census preliminary results are in and the count showed that Pennsylvania’s population growth is not keeping track with other states, and the US as a whole.

While Pennsylvania is still the fifth most populous, other states grew faster and matched the U.S. growth of 7.4%. Pennsylvania is far behind at 3.4% growth.

What is behind this trend and what do the numbers indicate for the state’s future?

Hans-Peter Kohler, Ph.D., is a social and economic demographer with the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania and he will join Smart Talk Wednesday to offer a perspective.

Biden takes infrastructure and safety net plans public: a look at the cost and details of the proposal

President Joe Biden made his case for multi-trillion dollar infrastructure and safety net plans to Congress and the American people last week, to mixed response.

Democrats hail the history-making spending proposal as a boost to working Americans, while Republicans say the plan is less about traditional infrastructure and more about big government programs. Both sides agree it is going to cost a lot of money.

The infrastructure plan addresses upgrades to roads and bridges, ports, water systems and broadband internet expansion.

But it also includes spending for what many Republicans say is not infrastructure.

Biden’s safety net proposal includes $1 trillion in spending on education, childcare over 10 years and $800 billion in tax credits aimed at middle- and low-income families.

The plan also includes $200 billion for free, universal preschool and $109 billion for two years of free community college regardless of income.

Heather Long is an economics correspondent with The Washington Post and she joins Smart Talk Tuesday to provide an analysis of what the plan will and won’t accomplish and how Biden plans to pay for it.

Inflation making a comeback?

If you are thinking about shopping for a new or existing home, prepare for some sticker shock.

Home price gains are accelerating at an alarming pace, fueled by Covid pandemic-related inflation. Nationally, prices had the largest annual gain in nearly 15 years.

Grocery and gas prices are also on the rise and critics say that the Federal government is not paying enough attention to the issue.

Maria Ivanova Reyes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor/Economist, Gettysburg College appears on Smart Talk Tuesday to break down the factors causing the inflation and what the Fed can do about it.

Pennsylvania to lose a congressional – The rise in vaping – Pennsylvania reopening historic sites and museums

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.”

Pennsylvania will have one fewer electoral vote to offer presidential candidates in the next election. Census counts have consequences and the most recent count showed that the state’s population growth is not keeping track with other states.

While Pennsylvania is still the fifth most populous, other states grew faster and matched the U.S. growth of 7.4%. Pennsylvania is far behind at 3.4% growth.

The lagging population growth also means one less congressional seat, and will likely result in a reduction in federal dollars for programs like Medicaid and infrastructure.

Terry Madonna, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow in Residence with Millersville University and will join us to analyze the implications.

The rise in vaping among young people

High school students are still vaping at an alarming rate. One in four Pennsylvania students report vaping in the past month.

While many kids believe that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, health experts warn they are more addictive by delivering higher concentrations of nicotine.

Appearing on Smart Talk Monday to draw attention to the problem are Dr. Christopher Russo, MD, Director of Pediatrics, Women & Children Services, Medical Director for Quality and Innovation, WellSpan Health, along with Brandy Shealer, School Social Worker, Red Lion Area Senior High School and Nikki Maurer, Executive Director, Community Health Council of Lebanon County.

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

Pennsylvania reopening historic sites and museums

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission facilities are open for business again.

Beginning Friday, April 30, visitors are now able to visit Pennsylvania ‘s state-owned historic sites and museums.

Andrea Lowery, Executive Director, The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission appears on Smart Talk to discuss what visitors may find with the reopening.