Last year, WITF’s Transforming Health reporter Brett Sholtis told the story of then 27-year-old Kimberly Stringer — a Bucks County woman who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in high school, but was refusing to take medication or see a therapist — claiming she wasn’t mentally ill. Kim lived a metal shed even though she had an apartment, drank water from streams rather than from the tap or a bottle and scoured garbage dumps collecting items in a shopping cart. Brett’s story provided details on Kim’s parents’ numerous efforts to get treatment for their daughter even if it mean having her committed to a treatment facility involuntarily.
Last week, Brett began receiving collect phone calls from inmates at the Bucks County Jail — telling him that Kimberly has been confined to a bare cell, “completely naked,” with only a soiled blanket and a smock given to patients who are on suicide watch, which she rarely wears.
She urinates and defecates on the floor and on herself.
She has gone without a mattress at times and has no books or possessions.
She is covered with bruises, and at times has hit her head or punched herself.
Kimberly Stringer’s experiences provide a sad example of what happens when someone living with mental illness goes to jail instead and the difficulty of getting treatment for someone who doesn’t want it.
The Black Lives Matter demonstrations over the past three weeks and subsequent attention on discrimination, inequality and violence toward African-Americans may re-open a conversation that up until now has not gained widespread national support — reparations for the descendants of enslaved people in America.
There is near universal agreement today that kidnapping Africans and enslaving them was wrong and immoral. But there never has been agreement on how to or even to apologize for slavery. Over the years, there have been rare occasions when an institution or company offered reparations to descendants of enslaved people. But fewer people have supported providing monetary reparations to the descendants of the enslaved.
Beyond questions of actually whether to provide reparations, logistics arise like how does one prove their enslaved ancestry and where would the money come from?
Also, statues and memorials commemorating Civil War Confederate soldiers, slave owners and others who are thought to have played a role in the nation’s racist past are being removed either by protestors or local and state governments.
Those who oppose eliminating the memorials or the Confederate battle flag often say they honor their heritage or history.
At the beginning of every summer, Smart Talk produces a program that focuses on books to read on the beach or during vacation. This year is different. During the coronavirus pandemic, many people are home — either not working or not going on a getaway vacation.
Many people haven’t used the opportunity at home to read more books so this summer’s program will have suggestions for books to read while you’re at home or if you do go on a vacation.
Smart Talkwelcomes a panel of area wordsmiths to share their summer book recommendations, from popular new releases to literary classics, even pandemic fiction and racial nonfiction. These books will keep you entertained for the summer to come.
We’d also like to hear about a few of the books you’re reading this summer. Call the program at 1-800-729-7532 or email us at email@example.com.
African Americans are more likely to encounter the coronavirus, less likely to be tested for it, and more likely to die from it. They are also less likely to have jobs that allow them to work from home, to have high-speed internet to access telemedicine and online education, and to live in the types of low-density residential environments most conducive to social distancing.
These realities are fueled by what panelists at a state Senate hearing last week said is a pandemic of racism that has afflicted American public policy for decades in areas from education and employment to housing and health care. As a result, these experts say, African Americans face a disproportionate risk both to contract the virus and to have underlying health conditions that exacerbate its effect.
Republican lawmakers say the declaration has damaged the Pennsylvania economy unnecessarily because restrictions were placed over the entire state, rather than in counties with large outbreaks. Wolf did extend the emergency declaration earlier this month, and while Republicans have conceded that the declaration was warranted in the early days of the crisis, it is not any longer. They are demanding an immediate repeal, but Wolf plans to extend the state of emergency, along with dozens of emergency executive orders that came after.
Since Pennsylvania schools closed their physical buildings last March due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been speculation about whether classes would begin on time in August and September and, if so, how they would be different.
Plans are being made for a fall opening of classes with dozens of guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Among the many issues that schools will have to address are transportation to and from school while maintaining social distancing, monitoring the health of students and staff, limiting the number of students and staff in a classroom, extracurricular activities like sports and band and attendance.
Also, we’ll examine a new report by Self Financial that pinpoints how many hours of work it takes in order to pay rent in Central Pennsylvania’s metro areas.
Pennsylvania is the 28th least affordable state according to the survey. A person making the median income of $39,490 a year would have to work 34.9 hours to afford a one-bedroom apartment and 43 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom. Self Financial’s Vice President Jeff Smith is on Smart Talk with more details.
High School baseball and softball players who missed their senior years due to the COVID-19 pandemic are being invited to play in an invitational this summer at People’sBank Park in York. York Revolution President Eric Menzer joins us to explain.
The danger is in the aerosols that are created in the treatment room. Dental equipment generates aerosols because of the high-speed rotation that is part of certain procedures. An aerosol is a tiny liquid particle that is suspended in the air for anywhere from seconds to hours. Dental patients, as well as providers, are then at risk of inhaling the contaminated air particles.
Routine teeth cleaning also stopped when dental providers closed their doors in March. Regular cleanings are just one component of oral health and advocates point out that not everyone has equal access to dental care in Pennsylvania, let alone regular cleanings.
Dauphin County may have had at least ten times more COVID-19 cases than reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. That’s one of the findings of tests being conducted on sewage by an MIT research firm — Biobot Analytics.
The virus can be detected in human waste and that includes those who may have contracted the coronavirus but didn’t show any symptoms. The first two samples from Dauphin County in May indicated infection rates of 4.5% and 5.6% — ten times higher than those being reported by the state.
The data collected may help identify hotspots for the disease.
Also on Tuesday’s Smart Talk, rural real estate sales are booming in Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic as more people are looking to rent short-term, buy second homes, or relocate altogether to somewhere with a smaller population.
The proposals include barring the use of choke holds by police officers, allowing access to body-camera video under the state’s right-to-know law and establishing an independent review process after a civilian has been injured or killed by police.
Also, last month Republican Rep. Andrew Lewis of Dauphin County announced he had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, but Democrats who may have come into contact with Lewis said they weren’t notified. A spokesman for House Republicans responded that medical privacy laws kept him from identifying other legislators who may have been exposed.