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Smart Talk


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.




Company that plans for Christmas decorations now

It’s August – temperatures have been in the 90s for the past week. Schools haven’t opened yet and the football season and crisp fall weather are a few weeks away. But there’s a local business that wants their customers to start thinking about the holidays and specifically Christmas decorations. It’s called simply enough – Christmas décor of Harrisburg and we’re joined today by the company’s owner – Nikos Phelps. Support WITF: See...


COVID-19 caused students to struggle, here's how they can get back on track

As kids go back to school this year the are confronted with challenges like readjusting to in person learning, making new friends, and a new bedtime schedule after the summer. But a major challenge that some will face, due to COVID-19, is catching up academically to perform on their grade level. According to a study by McKinsey and Company, the impact of the pandemic on K through 12 student learning was significant, leaving students about five months behind in mathematics and four months...


Philly students talk about ending gun violence

More than 300 people have been shot to death in Philadelphia in 2022. 497 were killed in shootings last year. The numbers are rising too. A group of students from Philadelphia descended on the state capitol this week demanding action on gun violence in Pennsylvania. We’re joined by two of them today – Emely Seda and Danay McNeill, along with Hillary Do, Executive Director of the organization, PhillyBOLT. Support WITF: See for...


Grocery store eliminates food dessert in Reading neighborhood

Ideal Food Basket, a fresh produce grocery store, opened last Tuesday; with the long-anticipated snipping of their red ribbon a neighborhood food desert in Reading was eliminated. The family-owned grocery store provided the first 100 shoppers with a complimentary grab bag stuffed with free groceries and a $10 coupon for their next visit. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 10 percent of the approximately 65,000 census tracts in the United...


Beagle rescue and other animal welfare issues

Last month, some four-thousand beagles – puppies and adults – were rescued from a facility in Cumberland, Virginia where they were being bred to be used in medical research. They are now on their way to being adopted from shelters and partners across the country, including at least seven here in Pennsylvania. The Humane Society of the United States is helping to coordinate the rescues and adoptions. It’s just one of the animal welfare issues we’ll discuss today with Kristen Tullo, Executive...


Writers' camp and what we can learn about storytelling

HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers is an annual event produced by independent/volunteer-run Hippocampus Magazine. It will take place this weekend, August 12-14, in Lancaster. Storytelling is a big part of writing and today, we’ll learning a little bit about how to tell or write a story. On Wednesday's Smart Talk Donna Talarico, founder, Hippocampus Magazine & Books and Jamie Beth Cohen, Author and Storyteller (Best Storyteller in Lancaster, 2021). Support WITF:...


A Lancaster County art school brings Art Recess back

When thinking about recess most think about children, but the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design’s Center for Creative Exploration has given recess a new twist. Art Recess, which started in 2019 prior to a brief hiatus due to COVID-19, provides adults with two and a half hours to work an art project of their own or an assigned art project while enjoying their packed lunch. The college of art and design believes this opportunity gives adults something better to do than “doom scrolling at...


America's changing media consumption

How and what kind of media Americans consume has changed a great deal in the last decade. The time spent watching TV, listening to radio, reading newspapers and magazines are all down while the use of mobile devices is up by 250%. At the same time, with so many choices for content, a polarized nation often goes to the media where they hear news or opinions that agree with their own – increasing the polarization. With us today's Smart Talk to discuss these changes and their impact is...


Outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania is serious business

One of the bright spots of the COVID-19 pandemic is that more Pennsylvanians went outdoors for recreation. There's no reason to believe they'll stop either. At a time when many were home from work and didn't want to be stuck indoors, adults and children visited state parks, hiked on trails, camped, swam or explored. And they spent money according to the U.S. Department of Commerce -- almost $12 billion on outdoor recreational activities. State government took notice and hired the state's...


How to stay safe from lightning

Three people were killed and a fourth critically injured when lightning struck a tree they were standing under last week in Washington D.C. Fatalities from lightning strikes don’t happen often – sometimes up to two dozen people a year are killed and multiple fatalities are even more rare. Scientists say there could be more lightning strikes as the climate changes. Chris Vagasky, Meteorologist, Lightning Data and Safety Specialist, National Lightning Safety Council. Support WITF:...


How can millennials and others relieve themselves from back pain?

Most would assume that back pain is an issue that older people deal with but back pain in young people has been very common due to poor posture, heavy back packs, exercising improperly, technology habits, and more. According to the good body, 30% of children and young people experience back pain, beginning in childhood.Dr. Andrie Joseph, primary care sports medicine physician at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, joins us today to provide us with some insight on the...


Why the cancellations and delays in air travel this summer?

2022 – but especially the summer of 2022 – has been marked by major disruptions in air travel. More than 120,000 flights have been cancelled since Memorial Day and one in five flights have been delayed. There are several reasons for the problems and other air travel topics that we’ll discuss today with Tim Edwards, Executive Director at Harrisburg International Airport Support WITF: See for privacy information.


STEM connector event at LVC shines spotlight on STEM education

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM. In today’s economy and especially with a view toward the future, STEM is and will be much more important and even essential for the jobs and careers that will make up what is now the information economy. STEM Learning Ecosystems brings together several partners from education, business and others to improve STEM opportunities. There will be a STEM workforce development connector event tomorrow at Lebanon Valley College. STEM Outreach...


How can you protect yourself from Monkeypox and prevent transmission?

January 2020 was the last time the United States declared a public health emergency and that to Covid-19. Now there’s a new virus on the scene, Monkeypox, that has caused the United States to have the largest outbreak in the world. At the end of last month, the Biden Administration declared Monkeypox to be a public health emergency, as there are more than 6,600 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in 48 states as of June 28th, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus...


Baseball card collecting makes a comeback

A rare 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card from the superstar’s rookie season is expected to sell for more than $10 million at auction later this month. It would be the top price ever paid for a card. 20 years ago, there were a lot of people who dreamed of getting rich from the cards they collected. The market was flooded with cards and card collecting as a hobby seemed to lose its popularity. But it has made a comeback. Tomorrow is Tops National Baseball Card Collectors Day. Chris...


Remains of Revolutionary War soldiers unearthed along Delaware River

245 years after the Battle of Red Bank, along the Delaware River in New Jersey, remains of soldiers from the Revolutionary War have been found. So, the skeletal remains of up to 12 believed to be German Hessian soldiers have been uncovered. To tell us more about this unusual find is Dr. Jan Janofsky, Red Bank Battlefield Park Director Support WITF: See for privacy information.


What is Featl Alcohol Syndrome and is it under diganosed?

Pregnant women are warned not to drink alcohol or smoke because it may harm their babies. Unfortunately, there are too many that don’t heed the warnings or drink when they don’t know they’re pregnant. Sometimes, it does have an impact on the baby’s brain and development. Drinking can result in fetal alcohol syndrome. It’s estimated that up to five percent of the babies born are on the fetal alcohol syndrome spectrum. Some medical professionals say it is underdiagnosed. Others have gone as...


Chocolate Chip Cookie

Did you know that there is a popular myth that America’s favorite dessert, the chocolate chip cookie, was invented and became popular on accident? In the 1930s Ruth Wakefield invited the Chocolate Crunch Cookie recipe in the Toll House Inn, which was a popular restaurant in Massachusetts that she owned with her husband. There are popular myths from Wakefield unexpectedly ran out of bakers’ chocolate or nuts for a regular ice-cream cookie recipe and, in desperation, replaced them with chunks...


Social Justice Quilt

A class of Harrisburg third grade students created a social justice quilt last year with hopes to bring awareness and make a change. This year the quilt, which was created by St. Stephen’s Episcopal School students, has been displayed at the MLK City Government Center in Harrisburg. The quilt consists of fabric squares, where each child depicted themes around identity and social justice. JoAnn Baldwin, a third grade teacher at the Episcopal school, called the class who participated in...


How to take care of plants, flowers and lawn during heat wave

We’re in the middle of a heat wave and high temperatures could be in the 90s for the next week or so. The grass is brown, leaves are falling off the trees, flowers are wilting and gardens are dry. So, how do you take care of what’s growing in the ground during the middle of summer? Erica Shafer is Support WITF: See for privacy information.