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22 minutes | Dec 7, 2022
Pennsylvania artist sheds a light on health care system challenges and hair discrimination experienced by people of color
Maria James-Thiaw, award-winning poet, performer, and playwright, has nearly 20 years of experience as a professor of writing and community teaching artist. She has a passion for using her art to bring light to the experiences that people of color have with the healthcare system and hair. Thiaw had a personal battle with a chronic illness that fueled her passion to create art about the healthcare system challenges that people of color face. According to the CDC, racial and ethnic minority groups within the country experience higher rates of illness and death, when compared to their White counterparts and the life expectancy of people of color is four years lower than that of White Americans. Maria joined us on The Spark Wednesday to tell her story and provide some insight on her work as an artist to help tackle these issues. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | Dec 7, 2022
Central Pennsylvania Pearl Harbor survivor reminisces in 2013 interview
December 7th, 1941. On this day, 81 years ago, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to bring the United States into World War II. More than 2,400 U.S. Navy, Army, Marines and civilians were killed in the attack. Henry “Hank” Heim of New Cumberland was 22 years of age and stationed at Hickham Airfield at Pearl Harbor that day. He told his heroic story on WITF in 2013 and was joined by retired Brigidier General Harold Nelson, who was the former U.S. Army’s Chief of Military History. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | Dec 6, 2022
Craft in America PBS series highlights Pennsylvania artists in upcoming season
A PBS award-winning series, Craft in America, is preparing for the PBS Broadcast premiere of its 14th season that will take place on Friday, December 16. The show discovers the beauty, significance, and relevance of handmade objects and the artists who create them. On The Spark Tuesday, Carol Sauvion, executive director of Craft in America joined us to provide some insight on the show and Pennsylvania natives, featured in the show’s new season, Helen Drutt English, an art historian known as the godmother of craft, and Syd Carpenter, an artist who specializes on telling stories of African American culture. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11 minutes | Dec 6, 2022
Dauphin County libraries among those no longer charging late fees
Benjamin Franklin is often credited with founding the first free library in the country in Philadelphia where books could be borrowed and returned. But according to the Free Library of Philadelphia, that’s actually not true – members had to pay a subscription fee that covered the expenses to buy books and materials. Fees, including late fees or fines, have been used for a long time by libraries to ensure books and materials that are borrowed are returned on time so others can borrow them too. But there’s a growing movement across the country for libraries to not levy fines for late returns. The Dauphin County Library System and Hershey Public Library are two of the latest to adopt the policy. Joining us today on The Spark is Karen Cullings, executive Director of the Dauphin County Library System. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11 minutes | Dec 6, 2022
New location for Lancaster Medical Heritage Museum that has a wealth of history
The Lancaster Medical Heritage Museum will open at a new location – 410 North Lime Street in Lancaster – this Saturday, December 10th. The museum will have an emphasis on Lancaster County healthcare and medical history, but medicine in Pennsylvania gets attention too. Actually, geography is not the main focus of the museum. It’s history. With us today on The Spark is Kim Jovinelli, Executive Director of the Lancaster Medical heritage Museum. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12 minutes | Dec 5, 2022
How has Lancaster Airport become the third busiest airport in Pennsylvania?
The third busiest airport in Pennsylvania is probably not the one you think. More than 97,000 planes departed and arrived from Lancaster Airport last year – almost 40,000 more than at Harrisburg International Airport and just about 11,000 fewer than at Pittsburgh International Airport. As a result, there are plans to grow Lancaster Airport – even though the growth may not be able to keep up with the demand. We’re joined by Ed Foster, Lancaster Airport director. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
11 minutes | Dec 5, 2022
What to know about increasing number of deer-vehicle collisions in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania motorists have a one-in-57 chance of being involved in a crash with an animal – that’s according to State Farm Insurance. That puts Pennsylvania sixth in the country for animal related crashes. The animal crashes that usually cost the most to repair and are most dangerous are with deer. There were 57 hundred deer-vehicle collisions in Pennsylvania in 2021, resulting in 1,255 injuries and 13 fatalities. That’s right -- people killed by colliding with a deer. How can these crashes be avoided and what to do if you do hit a deer? With us on The Spark today are Pennsylvania’s Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys and Lt. Adam Reed, Director for the Communications Office for the Pennsylvania State Police. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | Dec 5, 2022
Film about the power of thought premiers in Pennsylvania
The Power of Thought -Live Ready award-winning film that premiers tomorrow at Central Penn College aims to inform people about the power of thought and motivate people to live their best life. During this interview, we discuss the documentary, the power of thought and its impact on our guests’ lives. Don Boyer, Author and Speaker, and Dr. Tracey Jones, Author, Publisher, and Speaker, who are a part of the documentary, join us to provide some insight. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
12 minutes | Dec 2, 2022
Ask Me Anything with Scott and Aniya
Friday's "Ask Me Anything" segment on The Spark features co-hosts Scott LaMar and Aniya Faulcon quizzing one another on their lives to learn more about each other and to spark conversation of a multitude of topics. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
31 minutes | Dec 2, 2022
Weekly Pennsylvania Journalist Roundtable
It’s Friday when The Spark invites Pennsylvania journalists into our studio to provide some context and insight into the news of the day. Joining us Friday were Marc Levy, covers Pennsylvania politics and government for the Associated Press, and WITF’s News Director Randy Parker. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
Kathleen Bentley retires after 50+ year career in public service
Kathleen Bentley, Executive Director for The Perry County Literacy Council is retiring after a more than 50-year career of public service. Throughout her career she’s received recognition and awards for her ability to reduce the barriers that individuals face in the public sector and provide a clear path for employment and self sufficiency for people across the region. To discuss Kathleen’s story and her impactful career in public service, Leslie Heimbaugh, Kathleen’s successor and Development Officer for the Perry County Literacy Council joins us on today’s program. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
World AIDS Day -- what challenges do we face in testing and treating HIV/AIDS?
Today is World AIDS Day. Since 1988, December 1st has been designated as a day to unite to end AIDS and remember those who have been lost to AIDS and HIV illnesses. Since the first AIDS cases were diagnosed in the early 1980s, we’ve come a long way – in education and knowledge of the HIV virus but especially of the treatment options for those infected with the virus. AIDS no longer results in certain death. But there still are challenges. Getting more people tested for one and the stigma that still exist. On The Spark Friday, Nikki Buchanan, Case Manager Supervisor at Family First Health said there was a drop-off of testing during the COVID pandemic but more people should get tested for HIV,"The best that we can do is educate the community to let them know that it's okay to get tested. There are ways that you can get tested where you don't have to go into a medical facility. You can actually get a free HIV test. I get my HIV test gets delivered to your door because some individuals don't they just don't feel comfortable being out in a medical facility and getting tested again. It goes back to the stigma of HIV and that automatic thought that that's a death sentence. But we do try to really educate, that it's not a death sentence. We've come such a far way since the 1980s what people thought of HIV and AIDS. So in 2022, we have made so many advances that we just want to want to educate the community that it's okay to get tested, it's okay to talk about your your situation and your personal life. And we don't think of you any differently." Dr. Jarrett Sell, a family physician who specializes in HIV treatment and prevention at Penn State Hershey Medical Center was also on The Spark. He indicated treating AIDS has progressed significantly,"I think the complex regimens of medications that folks had to take 20, 30 years ago, you know, that often caused a lot of side effects and were, you know, multiple 20 or 30 pills a day was very difficult. I think anybody would have a hard time sort of adhering to a regimen like that. Today, treatment is much simpler. So not only do we have very effective treatments, but most of the folks that I treat, you know, are taking a single pill once a day, which is often very well tolerated. So, you know, it ends up being HIV treatment can end up being similar to high blood pressure treatment or diabetes treatment or in some cases even simpler than some of those other chronic diseases that we see very, very commonly. And I think where the difficulty lies is really, you know, many of us have other things going on in our lives." Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23 minutes | Nov 30, 2022
New book examines the families of Black Civil War soldiers
Most books written about African-Americans in the Civil War focus on battles and the hardships and discrimination the soldiers faced. Historian and author Holly A Pinheiro Jr. has written a book about the soldiers and their families. It's called The Families' Civil War -- Black Soldiers and the Fight for Racial Justice. Dr. Pinheiro is an Assistant Professor of African American History in the Department of History at Furman University. He has also started preliminary work for a new monograph that will examine all Pennsylvania born soldiers who trained at Camp William Penn. He’s also been interviewed by the History Channel, Curiosity Streams, the Washington Post, and New York Times. He’s also a Senior Editor for Black Perspectives. Pinheiro recently spoke with The Spark's Scott LaMar as part of the Dauphin County Library System's Hari Jones Hidden Histories Collection. Part of that conversation aired on The Spark Wednesday. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | Nov 29, 2022
Pennsylvania is the #2 state to most likely experience holiday burglaries, here's why and ways to prevent them
In a recent report by porch.com on Holiday burglaries, Pennsylvania ranked as the second highest state to most likely experience burglaries during the holiday season versus any other time of year. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Data Explorer, 83,000 burglaries occurred during the holiday period last year and crimes during holidays account for over 8% of all crimes committed throughout the year. Miranda Marquit, Spokesperson for Porch.com, joins us to provide some insight on this data and discuss why holiday burglaries are spiking in Pennsylvania and ways to prevent them. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
21 minutes | Nov 29, 2022
Why are only half as many kids getting flu shots compared to last year?
About 128 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed this year compared to 140 million at this time last year and 156 million the year before. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of children getting vaccinated against the flu is way down too. In the UPMC system, more than 49,000 kids have been vaccinated against the flu so far. In 2021, 109,000 had gotten shots at this point and in 2020, almost 127,000 had been vaccinated. All this comes at a time when we’re dealing with an increase in RSV cases and COVID is still infecting thousands across the country. Why are many fewer kids getting flu shots and what impact will it have? Appearing on The Spark Tuesday, Dr. John Goldman, an infectious disease specialist at UPMC in Central Pennsylvania said it's not just children who aren't getting flu shots but fewer people overall. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
9 minutes | Nov 28, 2022
Leola six-time game show contestant wins the opportunity to host a game show podcast
Christian Carrion, local six-time game show contestant, who’s appeared on ABC’s Match Game in 2019, received his dream opportunity to host and produce a Strong National Museum of Play podcast, Tell Us About Yourself: Conversations with Game Show Contestants, which will be a part of their National Archives of Game Show History. Carrion joined us 0n The Spark Monday to discuss his career as an award-winning game show contestant and new podcast host and producer. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
21 minutes | Nov 28, 2022
Club Q shooting is another example of growing violence against LGBTQ community
Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado was described as a “safe space” for patrons no matter what their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression is or was. That safe space was shattered last weekend when a gunman burst into the club and shot and killed five people and wounded at least 17 others. It was the latest mass shooting where LGBTQ people were targeted. Violence and harassment against the LGBTQ community is not uncommon. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports 47 known transgender people have been killed since November of 2021 and that's just transgender people. Why are LGBTQ people targeted and what can be done to stop the violence? It’s the focus of our program today. Joining us are Amanda Arbour, Executive Director of the LGBT Center of Central PA and Tesla Taliaferro, President of the Rainbow Rose Center in York. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
23 minutes | Nov 23, 2022
Have questions about Pennsylvania's traffic laws and protocols?
More people travel this weekend than any other of the year. Families getting together for Thanksgiving make up the bulk of the travelers, but there’s college students coming home from school and in Pennsylvania – deer hunters on their way to camp for the start of the firearm deer season. The night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest party nights of the year too so there may be more intoxicated drivers on the road too. Wednesday's The Spark is one of the programs we present every year to answer questions about rules of the road. We’re joined by Lt. Adam Reed, Director of the Communications Office for the Pennsylvania State Police and David Thompson, District 8 Press Officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
22 minutes | Nov 23, 2022
What's going on at the Capitol with election over?
The midterm election is history and now those who have been elected look ahead to governing – which doesn’t get near as much attention. Speaking of which, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and while there may be many more important things to be grateful for – some Pennsylvanians may be thankful that TV commercials for political candidates are gone for the time being. It’s been quiet after the election but WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Sam Dunklau is still busy every day and joins us on The Spark Wednesday. Support WITF: https://www.witf.org/support/give-now/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
43 minutes | Nov 22, 2022
What are the books that would make great holiday gifts this year?
Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow and then Black Friday -- when attention turns to finding the perfect holiday gift. A book or two or three would fit that description of the perfect gift. On today’s program, we look to “spark” ideas about the books that would make great holiday gifts this year. It has become a tradition on WITF to assemble our panel for book recommendations and ask you about your favorites too. On The Spark Tuesday are [caption id="attachment_222207" align="alignleft" width="504"] Travis Kurowski, Catherine Lawrence, Carolyn Blatchley and Scott LaMar[/caption] Catherine Lawrence, co-owner of the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg Travis Kurowski, Ph.D, assistant professor of creative writing at York College of Pennsylvania Carolyn Blatchley, Executive Director of Cumberland County Library System. Send your recommendation or questions about books to firstname.lastname@example.org Catherine Lawrence recommendations: ESSAYS Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto, by Tricia Hershey The Philosophy of Modern Song, by Bob Dylan HISTORY African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals, by David Hackett Fischer Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe, by David Maraniss NOVELS Demon Copperhead: A Novel, by Barbara Kingsolver Dickens for the Modern-day Sea of Tranquility: A Novel, by Emily St. John Mandel Speculative, Literary Fiction Tread of Angels, by Rebecca Roanhorse Epic Fantasy Meets the American West CHILDREN’S Our Friend Hedgehog: A Place To Call Home, by Harrisburg’s Lauren Castillo For early readers + Signed copies available at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore A Bird Will Soar, by Pennsylvania’s Alison Green Myers For middle-grade readers + Free CRAFT ACTIVITY with the author at the Midtown Scholar, Sat. Nov 26th, 12pm Llama Rocks the Cradle of Chaos, by Central PA’s Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Heather Fox For picture-book readers + Free LIVE ILLUSTRATION and STORYTIME at the Midtown Scholar, Sat. Nov 26th, 10am Carolyn Blatchley recommendations: Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions by Steve Martin In this illustrated memoir of his forty years in the movie biz, the Academy Award-winning actor, using his unparalleled wit, shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films, bringing readers directly into his world, capturing the everyday moments that make up a movie stars life. The Magic Kingdom by Russell Banks In 1971, a property speculator records his life story, reflecting on his time in a community of Shakers in Florida, which saved his family from complete ruin, and meditating on youth, belief, betrayal, Florida’s everchanging landscape and the search for an American utopia. Marie Kondo's Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life by Marie Kondō Inspired by the Japanese concept of kurashi, or way of life, the #1 best-selling sensation and Netflix star, in this beautiful guide, empowers you to embrace what you love about your life and then reflect it in your home, activities and relationships. 100 Countries, 5000 Ideas: Where to go, When to go, What to see, What to do by National Geographic Society (U.S.) An updated guide to help globetrotters plan their next adventure includes 5,000 ideas for things to see and do in 100 countries from paddling Ha Long Bay in Vietnam to Visiting Dinan, France’s only walled city. Also Recommended: Lonely Planet Offbeat: 100 Great Places Away From the Tourist Trail Books as Holiday Gifts - Preview at Your Public Library! November 2022 The Art of the Board: Fun & Fancy Snack Boards, Recipes & Ideas for Entertaining All Year by Olivia Carney Features 75 fun and fancy seasonally inspired snack boards and recipes, and is packed with step-by-step how-tos, handy tips, and festive ideas to help even the most hopeless host elevate their entertaining all year long. Not sure where to start? No problem! The in-depth introduction will walk you through all the important facts when it comes to equipment and ingredients. The LEGO Story: How a Little Toy Sparked the World's Imagination by Jens Andersen Through interviews with the founding family that still owns the company and with access to the vast LEGO archive this definitive story behind one of the most beloved brands on the planet doubles as a cultural history of changing generations view of childhood and the importance of play. A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny Chief Inspector Gamache investigates after a 150-year-old letter points to the discovery and opening of a bricked-up room in an attic that's filled with curiosities, in the 18th novel of the series following The Madness of Crowds. Books as Holiday Gifts - Preview at Your Public Library! November 2022 The Librarian Always Rings Twice by Marty Wingate The curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s collection of Golden Age of Mystery Writers first editions, Hayley Burke must protect her late benefactor’s legacy when a strange man arrives, claiming to be her grandson, which leads to murder and scandal. The Hike to Home by Jessica M. Rinker Stuck in Newbridge, New Jersey, for the summer, Lin Moser, who lives on the road with her house-flipping parents, learns of an ancient ruined castle in the woods that no one has been able to find and embarks on her biggest adventure yet. The Lights That Dance in the Night by Yuval Zommer In this wonderfully festive picture book, the author cleverly imagines the Northern Lights' fleeting journey from space to Earth and how they weave a special magic for the animals and people living in the frozen lands below. Books as Holiday Gifts - Preview at Your Public Library! November 2022 Night Lunch by Eric Fan Inside this elegant, horse-drawn establishment, a feathery cook works the grill, serving up tasty dishes for shift-workers and operagoers alike...As the evening's service winds down, weary Owl spots trembling Mouse. Has he found his own night lunch, or will he invite this small sweeper inside for a midnight feast for two? Little Tractor and the Christmas tree by Natalie Quintart Sharing an environmental message, this Christmas story finds Little Tractor searching for the perfect tree to decorate, but when he finds it, he discovers the young fir might not want to be a Christmas tree after all. Illustrations. Travis Kurowski recommendations: NONFICTION Strangers to Ourselves, by Rachel Aviv (2022). Rachel Aviv’s fascinating new book puts into language a lot of the complexities and complications surrounding how we think and talk about identity when it comes to mental health and mental illness. From publisher: “The acclaimed, award-winning New Yorker writer Rachel Aviv offers a groundbreaking exploration of mental illness and the mind, and illuminates the startling connections between diagnosis and identity.” Gods of Soccer, by Men in Blazers (Roger Bennett, Michael Davies, Miranda Davis, and Nate Kitch) (2022). This past Sunday kicked off the politically-divisive but nonetheless sporting enthralling 2022 World Cup, the biggest sporting event on the planet. The great soccer show Men in Blazers have put out a book about our favorites in soccer to celebrate. From the publisher: “From the hosts of the popular podcast and tv show Men in Blazers, comes their completely scientific, 100% definitive, defend-to-the-death list of the greatest soccer players of all time.” Inciting Joy, by Ross Gay (2022). In 2019, a student and myself saw Ross Gay read at Midtown Scholar from his then new book, Book of Delights, a masterful collection of essays about things that brought Gay joy. This is his follow up, describing the way things bring joy into our lives, from basketball to gardening. From publisher: “In these gorgeously written and timely pieces, prizewinning poet and author Ross Gay considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life’s inevitable hardships.” COMICS Acting Class, by Nick Drnaso (2022). Nick Dranso’s second book, Sabrina, was the fist comic book finalist for the Booker Prize, the most esteemed English language literary prize. Acting Class is his follow up, using the incredibly powerful intimate and vulnerable imaginative energies of an acting class to follow a cast of characters as they try to connect and disconnect, get lost and find one another. From publisher: “Ten strangers are brought together under the tutelage of John Smith, a mysterious and morally questionable leader. The group of social misfits and restless searchers have one thing in common: they are out of step with their surroundings and desperate for change.” Ducks, by Kate Beaton (2022). Some of the most powerful personal stories take on the most important shared stories humans are trying to tell, solve, and set down. Kate Beaton’s first fulllength graphic novel takes narrates her own story working in the oil sands, and also our shared economic and climate story. From publisher: “Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people.” The Complete Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (2007). It is painful watching the news in Iran about protests that emerged in response to heinous violence, and which are then responded to with more violence. I am reminded of Marjane Satrapi’s masterful graphic memoir Persepolis, an account of her young life growing up 40 years ago during a different revolution in Iran. From publisher: “Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval.” POETRY Frank: Sonnets, by Diane Seuss (2021). Hands down one of the most brilliant and moving books of poetry I’ve read in years, so I was not shocked this book won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and many other awards. Sonnets in the loosest sense, in the poems in 14 lines sense, in the tradition of art stretching back centuries. Accessible in the way a sunrise is accessible. From publisher:
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