Penn State study says Pa. could see more flooding due to climate change

WITF’s StateImpact Pennsylvania reports most communities across Pennsylvania will likely face higher flood risks by the end of the century due to climate change. That’s according to research from Penn State.

The state’s latest Climate Impacts Assessment expects Pennsylvania to face more extreme rainfall and flooding by 2050 because of climate change.

The top three cities with the highest projected flood hazards were Lock Haven, Williamsport, and Sunbury, all situated along the West Branch Susquehanna River. However, the potential for flooding isn’t far behind in York.

StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Rachel McDevitt has more details on Wednesday’s Smart Talk.

Crisis in Sudan grows

The African nation of Sudan appeared to be on track toward a civilian-led democratic government after the fall of a dictator in April 2019.

It came crashing down last October when the military staged a coup and arrested prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The military allowed Hamdok to return to limited power a month later.

Hamdok resigned this past Sunday throwing the country into chaos. Since the coup, there has been a large protest movement and the military and a paramilitary group have tried to quell the protest violently. More than 50 protestors have died and women and girls raped.

Hagir Elsheikh is a native of Sudan who is an author, TV host, registered nurse, electrical engineer and now a political analyst and activist who lives in Central Pennsylvania. She is on Wednesday’s Smart Talk with her insights into the volatile situation in Sudan.

Are checks and balances in place to stop another insurrection?

Thursday, January 6th – is the one year anniversary of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol where supporters of former President Donald Trump attempted to stop of the certification of votes cast in November 2020 for Joe Biden as President.

Twelve months later, hundreds who breached the capitol, including some who violently attacked Capitol police officers, have been arrested and face criminal charges.

In the 12 months since that day, there’s an ongoing Congressional investigation, several books have documented what happened at the Capitol and behind the scenes and we’ve learned more about one of the darkest days in American history.

There are checks and balances in the Constitution and elsewhere to protect against corruption or unlawful or unethical acts in government. Recently, Dr. Fletcher McClellan, a professor of political science at Elizabethtown College compared the nation’s biggest political scandal – Watergate – to the insurrection at the capitol. He joins us on Wednesday’s Smart Talk.

What are Pennsylvania municipalities’ priorities in 2022?

Even though today’s news often focuses on what’s happening on the state and federal levels, local government may have the most significant impact on many Pennsylvanians. Just think about police and fire protection, roads and streets, sewer systems, social programs and more.

However, what the state’s cities, boroughs, and townships can do or not do is limited by law.

So, what are municipalities’ priorities in 2022?

The newly appointed Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Municipal League John Brenner explains on Tuesday’s Smart Talk.

Pa. has a shortage of snowplow drivers

Snow fell on areas of Pennsylvania Monday for the first time this winter. The first snowfall always is a bit of a challenge as drivers get acclimated to driving on slippery roads again and state and local governments coordinate snow removal efforts.

In an ongoing theme of shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation doesn’t have a full complement of snow plow operators or drivers. In fact, there are almost 60% fewer drivers than in a normal winter.

Among the reasons for the shortage are that drivers have to have commercial licenses to operate a snow plow, there’s competition for truck drivers in other industries where there are also shortages and the ongoing pandemic.

Will it mean roads won’t be cleared as quickly if more drivers aren’t hired this winter?

PennDot District 8 Safety Officer Fritzi Schreffler is on Tuesday’s Smart Talk with more information.

Voting and election-related bills taken up in 2022 by Pa. Legislature

Voting and election-related legislation will be amongst the proposals getting top billing when Pennsylvania lawmakers return to session.

There are deadlines that have to be met for the state’s new Congressional and state legislative districts. Redistricting has become a high-profile exercise — especially in today’s highly charged political atmosphere. Republicans and Democrats want to make sure the opposing party doesn’t have an advantage while the state Constitution dictates fairness and equality.

Also, a Republican sponsored voting reform bill will be taken up. Under that legislation, the deadlines to register to vote and apply for a mail-in ballot would be earlier than they are now: new voters or those whose information has changed would have to register with their county at least a month before an election, instead of 15 days before. Mail ballot applications would need to be turned in at least 15 days ahead of time, replacing the current seven-day deadline.

WITF’s Capitol Bureau Chief Sam Dunklau is on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to provide details of these and other issues.

What the Amish can teach us

You might be one of those people who think of the Amish as a simple, peculiar people who choose to live without modern technology and abide by a 19th Century lifestyle. A new book, What the Amish Can Teach Us in so-many words advises don’t underestimate the Amish and possibly learn from them.

The book also answers questions the “English” have about Amish like why don’t Amish own or drive cars but do ride as passengers when someone else is operating the vehicle or why there aren’t telephones in Amish homes but some Amish use mobile phones?

Renowned Amish expert Donald Kraybill, the author of What the Amish Can Teach Us and Senior Fellow Emeritus, Young Center at Elizabethtown College is on Monday’s Smart Talk to discuss the book.

Infamous Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court case explained

Homer Plessy will be pardoned by the state of Louisiana 130 years after his “crime.” The state’s Board of Pardons recommended the pardon for Plessy and Gov. John Bel Edwards has committed to approving it.

In 1892, the 29-year-old African-American bought a first class train ticket, but was told to retire to the train car designated for Blacks. When he refused he was arrested.

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Plessy and affirmed “separate but equal” segregation that was finally struck down by the Court in  1954 when the Court decided Brown vs. Board of Education.

Plessy vs. Ferguson is considered one of the worst decisions ever made by the Supreme Court.

Widener University Commonwealth Law School Professor of Law Michael Dimino is on Monday’s Smart Talk to discuss the significance of Plessy vs. Ferguson.

Is 5-day COVID quarantine good guidance?

More than 260,000 people are testing positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. each day. Until last Monday, a positive test meant you should stay home for 10 days to avoid infecting others. Now, those who don’t have symptoms after five days can go back to their regular activities as long as they wear a mask, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are critics of the new recommendations, especially at a time when the Omicron variant of the virus is infecting so many people. So far, it appears that Omicron doesn’t make those it infects as sick as other forms of the virus. However, some hospitals across the country are overwhelmed with patients.

COVID testing is lagging too. Home antigen test kits are hard to find because so many people are buying them and there’s even some question about their accuracy.

Joining us on Monday’s Smart Talk to provide some context is UPMC Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. John Goldman.

Midstate towns on the list of safest from crime

Several Pennsylvania cities and small towns made the list of the Safest Small Towns in America and Safest Cities in America in research conducted by — a home security company. Using FBI crime statistics, the company ranked towns and cities based on the number of violent crimes and property crimes per 1,000 people.

Luzerne Township in Fayette County was tied for first in the small town rankings with no crimes reported. Other safe small towns in the top 100 include Millcreek Township in Lebanon County and West Cocalico Township in Lancaster County. On the list of municipalities with larger populations, Manor Township in Lancaster County was counted as one of the safest.

Rebecca Edwards is a Security Expert, Safety and Technology Reporter for and she appears on Smart Talk Wednesday to investigate the trends.


The number of murders increased by almost 30% nationwide in 2020 according to a recent report from the FBI. Meanwhile, homicides spiked in 29 major cities through September of this year, including in Philadelphia where 500 murders have been reported in 2021.

The big question is why there are more murders and what can be done about it?

Joining us on Monday’s Smart Talk are Jeff Asher, data consultant with AH Datalytics, who studies crime and former Pennsylvania secretary of Corrections John Wetzel.