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.

Kristine Allen / WPSU

 Peter Laurence, author of Becoming Jane Jacobs, examines the life of Jane Jacobs, a pioneering urban thinker of the 1950s and 60s. Jacobs is best known as the author of Death and Life of Great American Cities. Laurence digs into her work before that, as an activist protesting eminent domain and urban renewal. 

Then, Kristine Allen talks to Carrie Anne Noble of Lycoming County. Noble won Amazon's Breakthrough Novel of the Year contest in 2014 in the young adult category for her debut novel, The Mermaid's Sister.

Art Halvorson is a real estate developer and a former career Coast Guard pilot. He’s also a Tea Party-backed candidate taking a second crack at unseating eight-term Republican Congressman Bill Shuster in the April 26th primary. What got Halvorson into the race for Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District, what does he stand for, and what are his chances?  WPSU's Patty Satalia talks with the candidate.

U.S. Senate Democratic hopeful Joseph Vodvarka
JoeVodvarka.com

Pennsylvania’s primary is April 26th. Four Democratic candidates are vying for a primary win and a chance to take Republican Senator Pat Toomey's U.S. Senate seat. Who are the candidates and what do they stand for? We’ll talk with all four candidates. This week our guest is small business owner Joseph Vodvarka. 

Pennsylvania’s primary is April 26th. WPSU is talking with the Democratic candidates vying for a primary win and a chance to take Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's U.S. Senate seat. Who are the candidates and what do they stand for? We’ll talk with all of the candidates. This week our guest is Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.

Katie McGinty
Katie McGinty

Pennsylvania’s primary is April 26th.   Four Democratic candidates are vying for a primary win and a chance to take Republican Senator Pat Toomey's U.S. Senate seat. Who are the candidates and what do they stand for? We’ll talk with all four candidates. This week our guest is former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Ed Rendell, Katie McGinty.

Admiral Joe Sestak
JoeSestak.com

Pennsylvania’s primary is April 26th.   Four Democratic candidates are vying for a primary win and a chance to take Republican Senator Pat Toomey's U.S. Senate seat. Who are the candidates and what do they stand for? We’ll talk with all four candidates. This week our guest is retired 3-star Admiral and former U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak, who ran against Senator Toomey in 2010 and lost by a slim margin. 

About half of America’s farmland is planted with genetically engineered crops—principally corn, cotton and soybeans. Genetic engineering allows scientists to change the genes in some farm animals and food crops to make them grow faster or bigger and be more resistant to bugs, weeds and disease. Proponents say the technique holds the key to feeding an ever-increasing population in the most environmentally conservative way. Opponents say the science of biotechnology is moving too quickly with neither adequate study nor precaution and that we tinker with nature at our own peril.

  Lead poisoning may seem to be an issue of the past. But earlier this year, residents of Flint, Michigan were reminded just how common — and dangerous — lead still is. The city switched water supplies, causing the lead pipes to leach toxins into the water. Scores of children have been diagnosed with lead poisoning, which can cause developmental delays and medical complications. But Flint isn't the only city in the country that has lead infrastructure. 

Edible waterbug on plate
Sevda Eris / KQED

Montana State University Professor Florence Dunkle has been an entomologist for nearly 50 years. But it wasn’t until a trip to Rwanda in 1985 that she began studying insects for their nutritional value. Now one of the world’s leading entomophagists, she warns against unsustainable food practices and the detrimental effects of Western cultural bias.  She also champions the low-cost, high-protein benefits of eating insects.

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

    

How is organic food changing the landscape of food production? We talk with the vice president of brand marketing for Organic Valley, Lewis Goldstein, about his unique company and why they think everyone should know what’s in their food.  

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.

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

  

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.

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