Take Note

Fridays at 1pm and Sundays at 7am

Listen to conversations about issues that matter. WPSU’s weekly community affairs radio program features in-depth interviews with central Pennsylvania newsmakers.

Since the United Nations Volunteers program began in 1971, more than 50,000 volunteers have been mobilized around the world. Volunteers help organize and run local and national elections and support a large number of peacekeeping and humanitarian projects.  What does it take to become a volunteer—and are volunteers making a real difference?  WPSU's Patty Satalia talks about that and more with Jennifer Stapper, Communications Chief for the United Nations Volunteers program.

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, more individuals with mental illness are in America’s jails and prisons than in residential mental health care facilities.  Many are  there for nonviolent offenses.  Why is the criminal justice system becoming our de facto mental health care provider?  And how can we improve the outcomes when law enforcement and other first responders encounter individuals with mental illness who are in crisis?  Tracy Small answers those questions and more.  She's program coordinator of the Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT, for the Centre Region.

Americans of all stripes increasingly say our political system is in a state of crisis.  They point to intense partisanship, lack of civility, and the inability of government to get things done.  Just how dire are things?  How did we get into this fix?  More importantly, what can we do about it?  Christopher Beem, the managing director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State, and the author of "Democratic Humility," says part of the problem is that we are all hardwired with "confirmation bias," and that we are too quick to reject any information that goes against our belief

Why can it be so difficult to get kids to behave?  Our guest has the answer to that question, and advice on rediscovering the joy of parenting.  Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the author of “If I Have to Tell You One More Time...The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.”  She’s also a Penn State graduate.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell is the co-author of the landmark book, The China Study. A professor emeritus of Cornell University, he did his undergraduate work at Penn State. WPSU's Patty Satalia talks with him about the health benefits of plant-based nutrition, about his most famous convert, Bill Clinton, and about why so many Americans consider a plant-based diet so radical. 

 

Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley is a gifted poet, scholar, public speaker and human rights activist.  Her powerful poems are a tribute to the dead and an appeal to the living. Wesley teaches English and Creative Writing at Penn State-Altoona and is the author of four widely acclaimed volumes of poetry.  We talked with her about surviving Liberia's civil war and her new memoir, about how education saved her, and about going home.

Lewis Goldstein
Penn State/Flickr

    

Editor's Note
Jan. 7, 2016

We originally said organic food is grown without the use of pesticides. Organic farmers can use pesticides from a restricted list approved by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). 



Sandra Fluke was a third-year law student at Georgetown University in 2012, when she was invited by Democrats to speak at Congress’ contraceptive mandates hearing.  Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh stunned the country when he called her a "slut" and a "prostitute" because of her testimony.   In 2014, she narrowly lost her bid for a state senate seat in California.

In his latest work, renowned photographer and researcher Richard Ross opens our eyes to the harsh realities of America's juvenile justice system.  

For his book, “Juvenile In Justice,” Ross photographed and interviewed more than a thousand youths over a five-year period in juvenile detention facilities around the country.  The result is powerful and haunting. 

A distinguished professor of art at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Ross has received numerous grants and awards and his works have been exhibited in museums worldwide.  

If you’re like most people, you’ve given only limited thought to the fluoride in your tap water.  That is, unless you live in Bellefonte, where the issue is now being hotly debated.  The Bellefonte Water Authority has voted to end the practice; some area dentists and residents want the authority to reconsider and continue to add fluoride to the water system.  Why is this long-standing practice still so controversial?  What are the benefits—and risks—of fluoridating drinking water?  WPSU's Patty Satalia talks about that with Dr.

He’s been called Mr. Pinto.  Denny Gioia was the Ford Motor Company’s Recall Coordinator in the early 1970s when a field report about one of the company’s top-selling cars landed on his desk.  It was one of more than a hundred case files. At issue was whether the Ford Pinto’s fuel tank posed a serious fire hazard if struck from behind. The case would result in a series of devastating lawsuits against Ford, a recall of 1.5 million vehicles and charges of reckless homicide.

Farnoosh Torabi is an award-winning personal finance expert, TV personality and best-selling author.  She’s also a Penn State graduate and Schreyer Honors Scholar.  WPSU's Patty Satalia talks with her about her money philosophy, about having it all, but not doing it all, and about what it really means when she makes more than him.

As longtime Centre County Court of Common Pleas Judge Bradley Lunsford prepares to retire, two State College attorneys have been selected to run for the open ten-year-term on the bench. Republican Ron McLaughlin and Democrat Katie Oliver will appear on the November 3rd ballot with precious little time to campaign. WPSU's Patty Satalia talks with both candidates.  McLaughlin is a shareholder in the State College law firm Stover McLaughlin; Oliver is a shareholder in the State College law firm McQuaide Blasko.

Russell Gold
Joel Salcido

Russell Gold is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the author of “The Boom.” The book covers the history of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the United States and the characters who made it what it is today. Gold spoke about the evolving technology of fracking, which has included the use of everything from napalm to nuclear bombs; the controversy about assigning “The Boom” to Penn State freshmen; and Gold’s parents’ story about leasing their land in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.   

This past August, President Obama announced his Clean Power Plan. It’s the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants, the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S. What does this mean for Pennsylvania?  What role will the public play in crafting PA’s plan?   DEP’s Secretary John Quigley is our guest. 

Carol Reardon is a Professor of American History at Penn State and this year’s Penn State Laureate. A noted expert on the American Civil War, one of her best-known books is Pickett’s Charge: In History and Memory. It provides a fascinating assessment of the facts—and fiction—surrounding the single most famous military battle of the   Civil War.

  Joe Valente is a self-identified superhero; he’s using the proverbial pen to fight the good fight by spreading a simple message: deaf people are not disabled. Valente is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Penn State and co-Director of Penn State’s Center for Disability Studies. Deaf since infancy, he was “mainstreamed” as a child and didn't have the opportunity to spend time with deaf peers, which is why he finds his research work with schools for the deaf so fulfilling.

As a young bi-racial violinist, Aaron Dworkin knew first hand how little diversity existed in the concert hall. In 1996, during his senior year of college, he established the Sphinx Organization to address the stark under-representation of people of color in classical music. Each year, Sphinx awards more than one million dollars in prizes and scholarships, impacting the lives of more than a hundred thousand students.

Shoba Wadhia, author of "Beyond Deportation"
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Under U.S. immigration law, one of the most widely used but misunderstood concepts is prosecutorial discretion. Simply put, that’s the influence immigration officials have on the outcome of a deportation case. It allows authorities to grant “non-priority” status to some illegal immigrants – hoping to use their limited resources to target the more dangerous individuals.

Getting through the physical and emotional hurdles of cancer is hard enough--but then there’s the financial burden.  The Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund was started in 2006 to help local cancer patients struggling to pay their bills during their treatment. The fund has distributed more than $1 million dollars and lightened the load for more than 1,000 local families battling cancer in Blair, Centre, Clearfield and Huntingdon Counties.  To find our more, we’ve asked Doreen Perks to join us.  She started the Fund in honor of her late husband. 

High on the list of collaborations that have to work if a film is to be successful is that of director and cinematographer.  It’s the lucky director who finds the perfect partner to realize his ideas visually - through color, composition, lighting and camera movement.  We talked with two young filmmakers who made it work.  Josef Wladyka is the director of “Manos Sucias”, a film that won him the Best New Narrative Director award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival.  And Alan Blanco is the man who shot it.  Alan graduated from Penn State in 2005 with a degree in film and video.

Paula Kerger is president and CEO of PBS.  She's been included on the Hollywood Reporters Women in Entertainment Power 100 List for the past eight years.  We talked with her about the latest developments at PBS, about the importance of the PBS mission in our communities, and about PBS after Downton Abbey.

Cathy Willis Spraetz is President & CEO of Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana. We talked with her about our long history of exploitation of chimpanzees, about major changes in the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research, and about why these great apes, who have given so much to humans, deserve to retire in comfort and freedom. 

HEAR MORE OF THIS INTERVIEW:

The Canadian author Margaret Atwood is considered to be one of the most important and influential writers alive today. She has more than 50 books to her credit, including poetry, short stories, children’s fiction, and 14 novels. The best known works are The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin. We'll talk with her about her life as a writer, the difference between speculative fiction and science fiction, and about the manuscript she wrote for the Future Library Project; readers won't see the book for 100 years!  

jakecorman.com

WPSU’s Greg Petersen interviewers Pennsylvania State Senator and Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre County) who talks about the prospects for an on-time budget, pension reform, state liquor reform, his support for a higher minimum wage in the Commonwealth, and work to close a tax loophole that currently allows hundreds of Marcellus Shale companies to avoid taxes by registering in Delaware.
 

This past March, Take Note went on the road, to Penn State's HUB Robeson Center's Freeman Auditorium, to talk with New York Times' bestselling author, Jess Walter.  His 2012 masterpiece Beautiful Ruins was this year's Centre County Reads selection.  NPR's Fresh Air called the book "A literary miracle." Salon called it "Damn near perfect."

You may not know the name Alan Blanco, but something tells me you soon will!  This young filmmaker and Penn State graduate is making a name for himself.  His debut feature film, Manos Sucias, with first-time director Josef Wladyka has made the film festival rounds to critical acclaim.  Blanco co-wrote and shot the film, which was executive produced by Spike Lee. The deeply affecting story is set, and shot, in a part of the world we rarely see on screen: the drug underworld of Buenaventura, Columbia. 

LINKS WITH MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ALAN BLANCO:

Carol Sanford
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Carol Sanford is a business consultant who has worked with organizations from Google to DuPont to Colgate Palmolive. She’s the author of “The Responsible Business” and, most recently, “The Responsible Entrepreneur.” She spoke with WPSU about what it means to be a responsible entrepreneur and how that’s actually better for business. 

Ai-Jen Poo is interested in the work that makes all other work possible.   We’re talking about nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly who go into other people’s homes every day to make it possible for them to go out into the world and do what they do.  Her goal is to bring dignity and respect to that work.  Poo is director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of Caring Across Generations. Her new book is The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America

Megan Maas is a certified sexuality educator and doctoral student at Penn State. Her research ranges from sexual socialization to teen dating violence prevention to adolescent pornography use. She works with parents, teachers, and other education professionals to help them navigate the changing landscape of sexual health and culture among teens and young adults.

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