Smart Talk Thursday: Record gun purchases in Pa.; School bus industry hurting; Drought watch expanded

Pennsylvania's school bus industry raise concerns about the future of school transportation

A surge in gun sales and background checks across the state are getting a lot of attention.  

In the past three months alone, a record-breaking 406,151 background checks were conducted through the firearm background check system.  Some gun stores report increased sales and subsequent shortages in items ranging from hunting weapons to handguns. Ammunition is also difficult to keep in stock.   

This is happening while Philadelphia is grappling with a 40% increase in homicides over last year’s total and city leaders are calling for action to address the problem.  

Appearing on Smart Talk Thursday is Ryan Tarkowski, Communications Director with the Pennsylvania State Police, to talk about the increase in numbers and what is behind the trend.  

Most public school districts in Pennsylvania are using a hybrid teaching model to protect students and staff from the coronavirus. That means that kids are either learning from home or going to school on alternate days to reduce the number of students in the buildings.  

Once they go back to a full-time mode, getting students to the schools may be another problem to manage.  

The Pennsylvania school bus industry warns the state is in danger of losing its school bus drivers and the businesses that employ them unless action is taken by the state.  

Joining Smart Talk to offer context to this problem are Mike Berk, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association and Denille Girardat-Myers, school bus contractor and president of Pennsylvania School Bus Association.  

Finally, the state Department of Environmental Protection has expanded drought warning to three northern tier counties and drought watches to 29 counties including Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder and Union Counties. Deb Klenotic is the Deputy Communications director with the DEP and she joins Smart Talk to detail what factors influence the alerts.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Smart Talk

Smart Talk Wednesday: Libertarian president candidate Jo Jorgensen; Pa. oral health plan