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.

original photo: Paul M. Howey

B.J. Leiderman wrote the theme music for many public radio shows, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Marketplace and Science Friday. After decades in the music business, as a composer and performer, Leiderman has finally released his very first album of songs.  On Take Note, BJ Leiderman talks with WPSU’s Kristine Allen about his album, his obsession with the Beatles, and how to write catchy theme music. We also hear a bit of music from the album.

DON'T MISS more of our conversation with potter Roberto Lugo.  He talks about his early graffiti career, the popularity of his work today,  and about how his early experiences influence his work.  

  SEE Roberto Lugo's work. 

Intact America executive director Georganne Chapin.
Intact America

Millions of parents decide to circumcise their newborn sons for any number of reasons—religion, hygiene, family tradition—but there's a vocal anti-circumcision movement growing in the United States. Georganne Chapin, director of Intact America, says parents should wait until their child is old enough to decide for himself.

Hear Rebecca Strzelec's perspective on the future of Arts Funding under this new administration.

Rebecca Strzelec finds inspiration in what other people throw away.  A professor of Visual Arts at Penn State-Altoona, and the 2016-2017 Penn State Laureate, she describes herself as a "rescuer of objects that are underappreciated."  Her sculptural jewelry, which is fueld by yard sales and made using 3-D printing, is prized on and off the body.

Welcome to Take Note on WPSU, I’m Patty Satalia. Longtime NPR sports commentator Frank Deford died on Sunday. WPSU talked with him in 2007. Among the most celebrated and versatile writers in the country, Deford's work appeared in virtually every medium.

Stacey Lee writes historical fiction for young adults. Her novel, Under A Painted Sky, was the Centre County Reads selection this year. It follows a Chinese girl and a runaway slave as they seek freedom on the Oregon Trail — masquerading as boys. Lee discussed the book, writing diverse characters and growing up Asian-American with WPSU's Eleanor Klibanoff at the Nittany Lion Inn in March. 

Hear questions from the audience below. 

Map of Pennsylvania's current U.S. Congressional Districts
Fair Districts PA

In Pennsylvania, and around the country, voters don't choose their elected officials; instead, politicians choose their voters.  The process that allows politicians to redraw district boundaries in their political favor is known as gerrymandering--and angry voters nationwide are demanding change.  What will it take to end gerrymandering?  And what's at stake?  Steve Zarit is a distinguished professor emeritus at Penn State and coordinator of the Centre County branch of Fair Districts PA.  Debbie Trudeau is a member of the Centre County leadership team for Fair Districts PA.

Thirty-one million Americans experience lower back pain. What’s the secret for long-term back health? We’ll talk with a classically trained spine surgeon who advises back- and neck-pain sufferers not to rush to surgery. What’s the secret to long-term back health? We’ll talk about that with Dr. Kamshad (Raiszadeh, author of Take Back Control: A Surgeon’s Guide to Healing Your Spine Without Medications or Surgery.

 

(photo: NASA.gov)

In the last 15 years, thousands of planets have been discovered, outside of our own solar system.  They’re known as exoplanets. The pace of exoplanet discoveries has increased dramatically in recent years, and there have been some very exciting discoveries in the past few months.

WPSU's Kristine Allen speaks with Angie Wolfgang, a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State University. Dr. Wolfgang studies a special class of exoplanets called “super-Earths.” 

Nationally, immigration is a contentious issue. But behind the politics are real people — undocumented immigrants worried about a crackdown, Latino families dealing with racism and long-time residents watching their hometowns change. Grapple, a new podcast from Keystone Crossroads, introduces us to some of the people grappling with immigration issues across the state of Pennsylvania.

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.

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