Stolen Margaret Keane painting recovered after 50 years

Artist Margaret Keane enjoys great fame around the world for her works featuring subjects with large eyes, a style that ignited a movement and earned great commercial success.

Fifty years ago, one of Keane’s paintings was stolen from the lobby of a Dentist who commissioned the piece. The painting is titled “Eyes Upon You” and while the theft was investigated and reported in the media, it was never recovered.

That is until the original owner’s family discovered the painting recently sold through an auction house. The family contacted retired FBI agent Robert K. Wittman, an art security specialist for his help and were finally able to recover the painting with the assistance of the Heritage Auctions.

Robert Wittman appears on Smart Talk Tuesday to share the story of the stolen painting and the efforts to return the property to the rightful owners.

Auditor General investigation finds flaws and irregularities in the pandemic business shutdown

The Pennsylvania Auditor General released the results of a performance audit more than 18 months after the Wolf administration enacted COVID mitigation protocols and business closures.

The closures and waiver process were met with a great deal of criticism by business owners and Republican legislators who complained the process was fraught with inequities and problems.

Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor’s report agrees with the complainants by saying “the process was hastily assembled on the fly, unevenly administered and should be reformed before anything like it is ever used again.”

Auditor General Republican Timothy L. DeFoor appears on Smart Talk Tuesday with the report findings.

Pennsylvania Center for the Book, promoting literacy and libraries throughout the Commonwealth

There are 470 public libraries in Pennsylvania, each an important part of their community.

Books and libraries are so important that an Act of Congress established the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in 1977, to serve as a focal point for celebrating the legacy of books and to advocate for libraries.

Today there are affiliated centers for the book in Pennsylvania and in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Pennsylvania Center for the Book is located on the the University Park campus of Penn State University and they work to promote literacy and libraries throughout the Commonwealth.

Appearing on Smart Talk Monday to share insight into their role promoting community libraries is Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Associate Director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

Also on the program is Bernadette A. Lear, Behavioral Sciences and Education Librarian at the Penn State Harrisburg Library. She is the author of Made Free and Thrown Open to the Public, a book that charts the history of public libraries and librarianship in Pennsylvania.

Poll workers are hard to recruit and retain, impacting future elections

Elections are complicated and labor intensive events. Preparation for an election and staffing on the actual day relies on volunteer poll workers to fulfill a majority of the tasks.

The Pennsylvania Department of State is actively encouraging citizens who are interested in learning more about elections to get involved at the polls. Is it hard to attract volunteers after the most recent, and contentious election cycle?

Jonathan Marks, is the Deputy Secretary of Elections and Administration and he will join Smart Talk Monday to offer details about the important role of poll workers and how to get involved. Lisa Schaefer, Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, is also on the program to talk about the challenges at the county level managing election issues.

World-class musicians to play for the organization that helped them get their start

The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) celebrates their centennial this month; supporting the philanthropic activities of donors wanting to positively impact communities.

Scholarships are a big part of TFEC initiatives, as they offer a proverbial “leg-up” to those with ambition, but with limited resources.

As part of the Centennial event TFEC will host a free concert at the Whitaker Center on Saturday, September 18 at 5pm., to honor past Joseph L. and Vivian E. Steele Music Scholarship recipients. The concert will feature five musicians playing individually, then a piece commissioned by TFEC and composed by Jeremy Gill, a freelance composer, conductor and pianist based in New York City.

Appearing on Smart Talk Friday to discuss the collaboration and TFEC are Janice Black, President and CEO, The Foundation for Enhancing Communities; Jeremy Gill, freelance composer, conductor and pianist and ToniMarie Marchioni, DMA, an oboist originally from Mechanicsburg.

The invasive Spotted Lanternfly infestation moves throughout the state

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species to the United States that was first discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. Now, nearly half of the state is experiencing an infestation of the pest, to include most of the WITF listening area.

The insect is known to feed on over 70 species of plants so the potential economic and environmental impact could be severe. While the ultimate consequence of the infestation is not yet known, entomologists and agricultural agencies are monitoring the situation closely.

Julie Urban, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Professor with the Department of Entomology at Penn State University, and she joins Smart Talk Friday to talk about containment efforts and what residents can do.

For more information on the Spotted Lanternfly or to report a sighting visit or call 1-888-422-3359.

Art exhibit will present versions of Jesus Christ’s image that don’t reflect colonial influence

To many North American Christians, familiar depictions of Jesus Christ often reflect their own ethnicity: light skin tone, Caucasian hair and facial features.

Pantocrator in Black and Brown by Brian Behm, winner of Best in Show.

But is this really what Jesus would look like? As a Palestinian Jewish man, he would likely have a darker complexion and different facial features than are typically conveyed in Western art.

A local group is hosting a juried visual arts exhibit called De-Colonizing the Christ, to explore the identity of Jesus in art that may better reflect his ethnicity.

Riverfront Gallery, in the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen on Front Street in Harrisburg, PA, will host the exhibit from September through December 2021.

Joining Smart Talk Thursday to share details are the Rev. Mack Granderson, exhibit chair; the Very Rev. Dr. Amy D Welin, dean of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral; and Carrie Wissler Thomas, president of the Art Association of Harrisburg and an exhibit committee member.

The life and legend of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali is one of the best-known sports and cultural figures of the 20th century.

He was a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated millions of fans throughout the world with his athletic power in the ring, and personality outside of it.

On Sunday, September 19, WITF-TV will air a four-part PBS documentary film series by Ken Burns on the life and legend of Muhammed Ali.

Gregory Kaliss, Ph.D., is a visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies at Franklin & Marshall University and he has written extensively about the boxer. Professor Kaliss joins Smart Talk Thursday to share his perspective.


Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation gains new leadership

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.”

The Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation has a new director.

Derek Eberly is the newly assigned Director of Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation. He appears on Smart Talk Wednesday to discuss the council’s responsibilities, how important conservation is to the future of Pennsylvania and the economic impact of hunting and fishing to the state.

Are China and the US entering a second Cold War?

Today’s leading news stories focus on the global pandemic and the chaotic security situation in Afghanistan.

Richard Tofel, the President of ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit investigative newsroom, believes that while other world events demand our attention not enough awareness is focused on the heightening worldwide contest between the United States and China.

He likens the situation to the media’s coverage of the Cold War between the US and the then Soviet Union, which he believes can offer a guidepost to how the media covers the current situation. Richard Tofel appears on Smart Talk Tuesday to offer his perspective.