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.

Subscribe to the Take Note podcast.

Scientists agree that climate change is happening here and now--and that the sooner we act, the lower the risks and costs of catastrophic climate impacts. The documentary "Managing Risks in a Changing Climate," examines how scientists advised the Louisiana coastal region's decision-makers and citizen-stakeholders to create an action plan--something proactive cities across the globe are undertaking as well.

The fabulous, Mike McGrath, host of WHYY’s gardening show, You Bet Your Garden, shares his knowledge on everything gardening. McGrath launched his hit radio program in 1998. He was editor-in-chief of Organic Gardening magazine from 1991 to 1997, and is the author of many books, including The Kitchen Garden Box and Mike McGrath’s Book of Compost.

"Dub" Lawrence at one of the SWAT crime scenes with strings marking bullet paths.
COURTESY "PEACE OFFICER" FILM

William “Dub” Lawrence served as sheriff of Davis County just north of Salt Lake City in Utah in the 70s. While he was sheriff, he formed the SWAT team that 30 years later ended up killing his son-in-law. Lawrence talked with WPSU’s Emily Reddy about his story and about the increased militarization of police.

Dr. Holmes Morton
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Dr. Holmes Morton is a Harvard-trained doctor and McArthur “genius award” winner. He has dedicated his life to working with the Pennsylvania “Plain” people and is working to build a new clinic in Belleville, Pennsylvania. This largely Amish and Mennonite community about 40 minutes southeast of State College deals with a number of genetic diseases that are Dr. Morton’s specialty. Dr.

Fake news stories are posted and relayed on social media—sometimes reaching audiences that rival major news outlets.  A recent Pew Research Center study reveals that fake news stories caused “a great deal of confusion” in the 2016 election. What’s more, many people who see fake-news stories report that they believe them.  Did “fake news” influence the outcome of the presidential election?  And what impact do false or misleading stories have on our democracy?  We’ll discuss that with fake-news expert Craig Silverman, Media Editor of Buzzfeed News.    

When the brain is harmed by injury or disease, neurons die or degenerate.  A Penn State researcher has developed an innovative technology for regenerating functional neurons—-that may help victims of traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurologic disorders.

NOTE:  This interview was recorded on March 2nd, prior to release of the Republican Plan to replace the affordable care act, therefore there’s no discussion of what’s in that newly proposed legislation.  In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump once again called Obamacare “a disaster,” and called on Democrats to work with Republicans to repeal and replace the health care law.

Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent than ever and obesity is epidemic. Today’s guest makes a compelling case that the root cause of these, and other society-wide illnesses, is sugar, which he calls uniquely toxic. We’ll talk with award-winning science writer, Gary Taubes, author of The Case Against Sugar. 

Are Pennsylvania’s minimum wage earners likely to see a pay increase? What of Governor Tom Wolf’s current budget will make it through the Pennsylvania House—what won’t?   WPSU’s Greg Petersen talks about the next state budget with Democrat Mike Hanna, the house minority whip who represents Pennsylvania’s 76th district.    

WPSU’s Greg Petersen talks with Republican Pennsylvania Senator Jake Corman about Governor Tom Wolf’s just-released state budget.  Corman represents the 34th Senatorial District, which includes all of Centre, Mifflin, and Juniata Counties and part of Huntingdon County.  Senator Corman serves as the majority leader in the State Senate.   

Hannah Smith-Brubaker in front of a farm
Albert Yee

After 15 years, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, or PASA, has a new executive director. Hannah Smith-Brubaker left the job of Deputy Secretary of Agriculture for Pennsylvania to lead this local, but nationally-known organization, which promotes sustainable farming. She also helps manage Village Acres, a farm in Juniata County. Smith-Brubaker talked with WPSU’s Emily Reddy about her plans for PASA.

So what does an undocumented immigrant look like—and how do they get here?  Julissa Arce comes out of the shadows in her new book, My (Underground) American Dream.  In it she describes her journey from an undocumented immigrant to becoming a Wall Street executive, complete with a six-figure salary—and why she gave it all up to become an immigration advocate.  Julissa Arce, thank you so much for joining us.   

As technology becomes cheaper and more advanced so do concerns about privacy. Everything we do online leaves digital breadcrumbs that make it easy for a marketer, a criminal, or our government  to determine who we are, where we are, and what we like. How do we balance the increased convenience and security that technology offers against our loss of privacy? And in today’s world of high-tech surveillance, how much privacy can we reasonably expect?

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.

Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans recognize the urgency of acting on human-induced climate change. Why then haven't we done more as a nation to address the problem?  Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann says politicians are doing the bidding of powerful fossil fuel interests while ignoring the long-term good of the people they’re supposed to represent.

Tom Vilsack
USDA.gov

Tom Vilsack has been the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture throughout President Obama’s two terms in the White House. He talked with WPSU’s Emily Reddy while he was in town for a first-ever series of “White House Rural Forums.”

The conversation took place before the election, but Vilsack was already planning to move on from the position with the end of Obama’s presidency. He actually considered leaving about a year ago, but Obama convinced him to stay by giving him an important new assignment: combating the opioid crisis.

The good news is that average Americans are talking about the dangers of climate change more than ever before, even if our elected officials are not.  And because climate change affects some more than others, it is increasingly seen as one of the most pressing moral issues of our day.  How does framing climate change as an ethical issue change the conversation—and what we do about it?  Patty Satalia talks about climate justice with a budding leader in the world of environmental justice and philanthropy. Dr.

The Arava Institute in Israel works to help Israel, Palestine and Jordan extend and share the scarce water resources in the area. The group’s ultimate agenda is to use the environment to promote peace. WPSU’s Emily Reddy talked with Clive Lipchin, the director of the Center for Transboundary Water Management at the Arava Institute, about managing water resources among nations in political conflict. 

A 35-year process of defunding public universities has coincided with soaring tuition costs and skyrocketing student debt.  The documentary Starving the Beast looks at both sides of the debate, which some say is one of the nation's most important and least understood fights.  Our guests are Bill Banowsky, producer of the film, and Matt Jordan, a professor of Media Studies at Penn State.

The elections are almost here - and Pennsylvania's Senate race is one of the country's most closely watched races. Republican Senator Pat Toomey and his Democratic challenger, Katie McGinty, are in a neck-in-neck contest - the outcome of which could play a pivotal role in which party controls the Senate next year.

Senator Toomey declined the invitation to be interviewed. 

Republican incumbent Glenn Thompson is seeking a 5th term in  Congress, representing Pennsylvania's 5th Congressional District.  The former health care administrator is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation & Forestry. He also serves on the House Natural Resources Commitee and the House Education & Workforce Commitee.  

His Democratic challenger is Brookville Attorney, Kerith Strano Taylor, who is running against Rep. Thompson for the second time.  

This week, Patty Satalia talks with the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 5th congressional district, Kerith Strano-Taylor. 

She’s an attorney from Brookville, Pennsylvania. She called her first congressional bid in 2014 a “dry run.” She’s owner of the Taylor law firm and director of her local school board. She’s running against incumbent Republican Glenn Thompson, who first won his seat in 2008.   

Eleanor Klibanoff in front of the city of Scranton.
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

In this special broadcast of Take Note on WPSU, you’ll hear excerpts from a new show from Keystone Crossroads. It's called “Grapple,” and it gives voice to people living and working in distressed communities across Pennsylvania. You’ll hear conversations that help tell the story of America’s profound economic and social changes. Including how places have changed over time to what distressed communities are grappling with today. 

Brooke Gladstone joins us from her studio at WNYC, where On The Media is produced, to help us make sense of the information environment we live in.  She’ll also talk about media bias—it turns out, there are lots of different kinds—and we’ll ponder the often-asked question: Did the media create the Trump candidacy?

Republican Bob Inglis, a former South Carolina Congressman, lost his bid for reelection in 2010 for what many of his colleagues considered heresy: saying publicly that not only is climate change real, but that it's our duty to do something about it.  Slate magazine says his about-face on climate change makes him, "America's best hope for near-term climate action."  In 2012, Inglis launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, which promotes conservative and free-enterprise solutions--not subsidies and government regulations--to address climate change. 

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. 

 

Denny Gioia, Kline Professor of Business and Chair of Business Management in Penn State's Smeal College of Business.
Penn State Smeal College of Business

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.

Today's program with best-selling author Karen Abbott, was recorded live at the HUB-Robeson Center at Penn State back in March.  Abbott's visit was sponsored by Centre County Reads, "one community reading one book."  The chosen book for this year's event was Abbott's 2014 book of creative non-fiction, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Undercover Women in the Civil War.  Abbott, who has been called the pioneer of "sizzle history," interweaves the true stories of four women who risked everything on behalf of Union or Confederate sides.
 

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