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.

Seth Miller is the Executive Director of The Innocence Project of Florida, a non-profit that aims to free wrongfully convicted and incarcerated people. He is also President of the Innocence Network, a collection of more than 70 innocence organizations around the world. Miller discusses what it takes to free wrongfully convicted people from behind bars and how he works to reform the criminal justice system.

photo: courtesy of Scott Sackett & Paul Lamont

On Thursday, January 4 at 8:00pm, WPSU-TV will broadcast the PBS documentary, “Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua Dam” about the history of the Kinzua Dam in Warren County, Pennsylvania. 

This interview originally aired Sept. 25, 2015.

Tina Williams Brewer with a collection of her story quilts.
Mark Stitzer / WPSU

Tina Williams Brewer is a Pittsburgh-based fiber artist who specializes in making story quilts. Her work has been displayed in more than 50 major venues in the U.S. and at international venues such as the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. Known for her artistic exploration of African-American history, her quilts often focus on family, women and children, and spirituality. Brewer is one of four artists profiled in the WPSU-TV program “Pennsylvania Folklore: Woven Together,” which airs on WPSU on Thursday, Dec.

Take Note: Aija Mayrock On How To Survive Teen Bullying

Dec 14, 2017
Carolyn Donaldson with Aija Mayrock, the author of “The Survival Guide to Bullying.”
WPSU

As the victim of bullying since childhood, Aija Mayrock fought back writing “The Survival Guide to Bullying” in her teens.  As she says today at 22, “I realized that I had to create a little, yet powerful survival guide that any kid could use as a life-saving device when they were being bullied in the gym, the cafeteria, the locker room, the class room, the hallways — anywhere.  A guide that could be a road map, a flashlight, or a friend. So here it is. This book is my gift to you.”  WPSU’s Carolyn Donaldson talked with Mayrock for “Take Note.” 

A staff writer for the New Yorker and a professor of journalism at Columbia University, Jelani Cobb writes about politics, culture and race. He brings both historical insight and an eloquent writing style to topics ranging from football players kneeling during the national anthem to political battles over bathrooms. His writing has won awards and appeared in a number of publications, and he is the author of several books, including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.” He is also known for his appearances on national television and radio programs.

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.

Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch is the founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bunch's career in museums spans nearly thirty years. Prior to his current position, Bunch worked at the National Museum of American History, the California African American Museum and the National Air and Space Museum. WPSU's Cheraine Stanford talked with Bunch about the ten years it took to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its importance to the American story.

This interview originally aired May 27, 2016.

The State College Area School District has proposed changes to the school day. The elementary school day would be longer, and middle and high school would start later.

To talk about these proposed changes and some of the research behind these recommendations, I’m joined in the studio by superintendent Bob O’Donnell, and Penn State researchers Dr. Anne-Marie Chang, who studies the effects of sleep on cognitive performance, and Dr. Ed Fuller, who’s Director of the Penn State Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis.    

Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist whose work appears in the New York Times, National Geographic and TIME Magazine. She’s covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, the Congo and Libya. In 2009, she was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant and the Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer was as a part of a New York Times team for coverage of areas of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Addario’s book “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War” was the 2017 Penn State Reads selection. WPSU's Emily Reddy talked with her in front of an audience at Schlow Library in State College. 

images: courtesy of John Pielmeier

Actor, Broadway playwright, movie scriptwriter and now novelist John Pielmeier grew up in Altoona and got his MFA at Penn State.  He has recently published his debut novel, titled “Hook’s Tale.” The book is a fresh take on the familiar pirate, Captain Hook, and other characters created by J.M. Barrie.

photo: courtesy of NASA & Zena Cardman

In the spring of 2017, Zena Cardman was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Penn State, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology and a Masters Degree in marine sciences.  Then  she was one of 12 Astronaut Candidates selected by NASA out of more than 18,000 applicants. She is now training to become an astronaut.

Cardman talks about her interest in creative writing, studying microbes, working in the Antarctic (where she played in a band), sailing on a tall ship, how she feels about going to Mars, and what the chance to fly in space means to her.

Savannah Zayas pushes her daughter Layla on a swing.
Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

“Schooled” is a new podcast from Keystone Crossroads that takes listeners inside public schools. Season 1 follows Savannah Zayas, a teen mom in a tough area of Philadelphia who is determined to get a diploma. Kevin McCorry, WHYY’s Keystone Crossroads education reporter, interviewed Savannah over the course of more than a year in order to make the podcast. WPSU's Emily Reddy talked with McCorry and Zayas about "Schooled.  

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.

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. 

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