Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: DEP criticized in gas audit; Burial planning

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 22, 2014 3:03 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, July 23, 2014:

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection failed to adequately track and respond to public complaints about water issues related to natural gas development, according to a report from State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

That was one of the findings that were critical of DEP’s regulation of the gas industry.

DEP responded by saying the audit covered the years 2009 through 2012 and is outdated.

StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Marie Cusick and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Laura Legere appear on Smart Talk Wednesday with more of what the audit says. 

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Marie Cusick, StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter

Unlike other lifecycle events such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations, funeral planning is sometimes regarded as unimportant or depressing, resulting with many people leaving it to be dealt with at the last minute by their loved ones.

On Wednesday’s Smart Talk, we will examine the burial planning process, its emotional and financial advantages, and how it can impact our future and our families.

Joining us in the studio to discuss the pre-planning process and how to get the conversation started will be Charles Miller, Central Pennsylvania Area Director for StoneMor Partners L.P.

For more information, go to

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Charles Miller, Central Pennsylvania Area Director for StoneMor Partners L.P.

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  • Robert D Colgan img 2014-07-23 08:32

    I call bullshit.

    Not to the auditor general's report, but to the relative insufficiency of the DEP to respond effectively to the invasion of the drillers.
    I, and others campaigned from the getgo urging the DEP to implement a Statewide Environmental Impact Study to see what the effects of multiple gas wells would be on the areas most afflicted and the ecosystem of the State as a whole.
    They had every possibility of doing such an investigation-----and delaying drilling permitting until the study was completed.

    But they didn't.

    And the reason is a simple one: too much infusion of money to legislators, too much promise of future money.

    Greed overwhelmed commonsense, science, and the public well being.

    I think that the dependence of the DEP on the executive/legislature is the problem-----they are largely at the mercy of the Governor and the State Congress.
    The DEP should be fully independent.
    The DEP should be able to protect the environment without being told what they can and cannot do to protect the environment...without having their hands tied.
    They should be able to make decisions that override the legislature and governor --- the power to protect the environment is their mandate according to the PA Constitution (Article 1 Section 27)---nothing should be allowed to interfere with that mandate.

    And the money coming from the industrialization of the countryside should NOT be influential to the task of protecting the environment-----but once again, greed has triumphed in PA.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-23 08:41

    Manuel emails:

    I am currently 45 years old, and have had my funereal plans laid out, from my clothes (kilt and a t-shirt), to the music to be played (fun and upbeat party music), and food and drink to be served (including an open bar), and even letters for my kids to read as my pseudo-eulogy. I laid these plans out… when I was 21 and had first child, since then, every year, when we get together for a summer barbecue, we review the plan and have fun discussing it. This planning doesn’t have to be macabre.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-07-23 08:45

    David in Liverpool writes:

    In addition to being emotionally devastating, suicides tend to be unexpected. Families who experience the death of a loved one through suicide are unlikely to have any preparations in place. What type of resources are available for families who have to plan a funeral after a suicide? What would be helpful for caregivers (such as pastors) to be aware of in these situations? Thank you!