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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.


Chambersburg, PA






Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.




“Freedom Readers” seek to educate on banned or challenged books

Many school boards across the country – including in central Pennsylvania – have been called on to take certain books out of school libraries. Often, the complaints are that the books are obscene with too much sex, the books contain stories of same-sex relationships or that they promote racial stereotypes or are critical of a race. Some of the books that are called into question are considered classics. When the book Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was challenged in Elizabethtown, a group of...


Obesity is a health epidemic

So many illnesses and health conditions were neglected or didn’t get a lot of attention in the past two years during the covid-19 pandemic. In a country where obesity was common before the pandemic, it has increased even more. Obesity is a condition that can negatively affect health in several ways, including heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. What changes do we have to make to maintain a healthy weight and why is it so important? Appearing on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss the...


York County’s Pappus House provides unique end-of-life care

Pappus House in York County is unique in Pennsylvania. It describes itself as “a warm, safe, reassuring, family-centered place to live… a home exclusively dedicated to care for dying people and their families.” What it isn’t is a hospice, although residents can select an outside hospice agency. Pappus House provides meals, bathing, grooming, personal safety, ambulatory assistance and light housekeeping who may not have a family, a home or caregiver. We’ll learn more about Pappus House on...


Fentanyl behind rise in drug overdose deaths

More than 107,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. last year. That’s a 50% increase over 2019, which indicates the COVID-19 pandemic was deadly in more ways than one. Those statistics come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Pennsylvania, 5,162 people died of drug overdoses in 2020 and the incomplete numbers from 2021 show 5,224 were killed by overdoses. Most of the overdose deaths were linked to fentanyl — the synthetic opioid that 50 times more powerful than...


More focus on mental health since the pandemic

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Thursday is National Mental Health Action Day. Experts estimate one in five Americans experience a mental illness each year. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased anxiety, stress, loneliness, panic attacks and more. As a result, more people have focused on their mental health and perhaps that has lessened some of the stigma attached to mental health. That stigma has often kept those suffering from mental illness from seeking treatment or getting...


Three new women pilots graduate from EMU Lancaster

Less than 10 percent of airplane pilots are women. If you discount student pilots, about six percent of pilots are women. The average pilot today is a white man in his early 60s. Boeing's workforce outlook says 612,000 new pilots will be needed in commercial aviation alone over the next 20 years. That’s why it’s notable that three women pilots graduated last week from Eastern Mennonite University’s Lancaster campus with Bachelor of Science degrees in Leadership and Organizational Management...


New book about JFK dives into day-to-day of Kennedy White House (encore)

Almost 60 years after his death, President John F. Kennedy continues to fascinate and be looked upon with admiration and even reverence. Kennedy’s personal traits have to be one reason – his youth, oratory skills, ability to inspire and family all contribute to how he is remembered. Myths about Kennedy have grown throughout the last six decades as well. A new book – Incomparable Grace – JFK in the Presidency by presidential historian Mark Updegrove takes a deeper look into Kennedy as...


Four mass shootings this past weekend: What do we know about mass shooters?

Ten people were killed in a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York Saturday. The victims were Black and investigators say the shooter was motivated by racial hatred. The Buffalo shooting was one of four nationwide this past weekend. For many years, criminologists Jillian Peterson, Ph.D., and James Densley, Ph.D., have studied mass shootings and the people who carry them out. Their research has shown and they point out in their 2021 book THE VIOLENCE PROJECT: How to Stop a Mass...


988 crisis hotline scheduled to be widespread soon -- faces challenges

Almost all Americans should be able to able to dial 9-8-8 on their phones in the future if they are someone close to them is in a crisis. The 988 hotline is scheduled to go live in mid-July and for many mobile phone users, it's live already and calls are coming into crisis intervention centers. However, they're facing challenges in getting 988 up and running. That includes people to staff intervention centers and answer the phones, paying for 988 hotlines and just the infrastructure needed....


Primaries and money

This primary will be unique in Pennsylvania, considering how much money several candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate have spent to represent their parties in the November general election and we’ve been seeing those TV commercial since January. In several ways, primaries are different than general elections anyway. Voter turnout usually isn't high, the counties where the candidates hail from may influence voters as can the ballot position of candidates. Appearing on the program is...


Is Pennsylvania ready for tomorrow’s primary and what should voters know at the last minute?

Tuesday is the long-awaited primary election in Pennsylvania. Long awaited because the campaigns seemed to have been in full force since the New Year. Also, Pennsylvania is such an important state in the nation’s political landscape that what voters decide may have ramifications nationally. It also is the first big election since former President Donald Trump and allies sowed doubt and a lack of confidence in the 2020 election. Is Pennsylvania ready for tomorrow’s primary and what should...


Iconic West Shore Theatre reopens to fanfare

It was a sad day for many central Pennsylvanians when the West Shore Theatre in New Cumberland closed it's doors in 2017. The theatre was one of the region's small-town entertainment meccas since it opened in 1940. The West Shore Theatre was such an icon that many people wouldn't give up on it and accept that the theatre was a thing of the past. A non-profit group calling itself Friends of the West Shore Theatre formed a year after the theatre closed to raise money to reopen it. The Friends...


Muhlenberg survey finds most Americans say they've felt the effects of climate change

More than three quarters of Americans say that the temperatures on Earth have risen over the past four decades and almost 60 percent believe its due to human activity. That’s according to the latest National Surveys on Energy and Environment conducted by the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. The survey also shows that a majority of those polled think climate change is a public health emergency and mitigation should be prioritized as a climate policy. Christopher Borick,...


Central Pennsylvania organization aiding Ukrainian refugees living with disabilities

Keystone Human Services, which was born in Central Pennsylvania 50 years ago, has worked to support people living with disabilities, autism and mental health conditions. Now the organization is helping Ukrainian refugees with disabilities. Keystone Human Services has a branch office in Moldova -- just across the border from Ukraine, where its employees heard bombs exploding in Ukraine. More than 420,000 Ukrainians have fled to Moldova since the war started in late February. Many of them are...


Pennsylvania counties: "We need more money for mental health services"

Pennsylvania’s counties provide mental health services such as crisis intervention, treatment, day services and prevention. This comes at a time when mental health and mental illness are getting more attention. The COVID-19 pandemic increased anxiety and more mental health challenges over the past two plus years and today there is additional focus on mental health in the criminal justice system. In many cases, counties will be involved in any kind of treatment or intervention. However, while...


Pennsylvanians have a year to get REAL ID

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Pennsylvanians were either in the process of obtaining a REAL ID or asking whether they should or needed one. It actually was a hot topic. More than two years later, REAL ID is back and the state has set a deadline to get one. May 3, 2023 is that date. Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to improve national security standards for state-issued identification. Next May, REAL IDs will be required to board domestic and foreign flights and enter a military...


Dickinson's "Knowledge for Freedom" seminar aims to give HS seniors timely lessons through history

Dickinson College's House Divided Project, which examines the Civil War and Reconstruction, is hosting a college-level seminar for high school seniors to explore questions of freedom, democracy and self-government. The free, three-week program is called Knowledge for Freedom and includes trips to Washington D.C., Gettysburg and the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. It's aimed at low-income and first generation college-bound students. Applications for the July seminar are being...


Food writer Kim O'Donnel helps feed Ukrainian refugees in Poland

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, millions of Ukrainians have been displaced. In fact, 5.7 million have left Ukraine and gone to other countries as refugees. Poland has taken in the most Ukrainian refugees -- about 3.1 million. The images Americans see of the refugees are heartbreaking. Many have few possessions and may not not know where their next meal s coming from. Kim O'Donnel is a former food writer for LNP in Lancaster and the Washington Post, cookbook author and cook....


Millersville exhibit brings attention to missing and murdered indigenous women

Murder is the third leading cause of death of Native American women. Native women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the general population. More than eight in ten Indigenous women and men experience violence in their lifetimes. Missing and murdered indigenous women is a crisis that most Americans aren't aware of. A new exhibit has opened at Millersville University in Lancaster County to bring attention to missing and murdered indigenous women. It features a simple red dress that...


Smart Talk Road Trip to York County School of Technology Extended Conversation

Many employers require a four-year college degree for perspective employees. But just as many don’t. However, those employers do seek workers who have the skills and training needed to perform the jobs they have available. That shortage of skilled w... Support WITF: See for privacy information.