"The Epidemic: A Collision of Power, Privilege and Public Health" By David DeKok

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It was one of those times and one of those places where people were so focused on their own desires, plans and accomplishments that it was easy to disregard simple, basic needs.  In 1903, Ithaca, NY — already a major academic center noted for its scenic beauty and progressive spirit — became the site of a horrific outbreak of typhoid fever. More than a thousand Ithaca residents fell ill.  The disease did not respect position or status.  Nearly eighty people died, including 29 students at Cornell University.  The entire community lived in fear and suffered in mourning.  Until now, the entire story of the epidemic of 1903 has not been told, but in “The Epidemic: A Collision of Power, Privilege and Public Health”, historian and investigative journalist David DeKok, with access to documents previously unavailable, examines the medical and social dimensions of the epidemic with attention both to broad trends and microbial detail. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-963051.mp3

At the time, Ithaca had the distinction of more physicians per capita than any other city in New York State. Cornell University was striving to be an egalitarian institution but, as Mr. DeKok points out, major decisions were made by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, “a small, often parochial group of Ithaca businessmen” who sought to advance their personal interests through the university.  The need to improve the Ithaca water system opened a business opportunity for members of the Treman family and William T. Morris to add the Ithaca Water Works to their ownership of Ithaca Gas Light Company.  With financial help from Cornell trustees, the Water Works began construction of a large dam on Six Mile Creek.  The site did not provide proper sanitary facilities for the work crews and soon human waste was polluting Ithaca’s drinking water. Typhoid is an especially cruel disease and DeKok points out that although a cure for the illness would have to wait for the development of antibiotics half a century later, through the work of Dr. Robert Koch in Germany by 1903 the causes for the spread of typhoid and methods of control had already been developed.  But in a time of slower communication and reluctance to adopt practices already common in Europe such as water filtration, Ithaca unknowingly put itself at risk.

Fritz's Polka Band, Show Two

Fritz’s Polka Band returns to WSKG with another episode of great polka music. This band’s German style features two electric guitars to go along with bandleader Fritz Scherz’s accordion. This group really puts the party back into polka with songs like, ‘There’s a Party’ and ‘It’s Jager Time’. Fritz is joined on-stage by Gabe Vaccaro (bass guitar), Frank Nelson (guitar/vocals), Mike Faraino (drums) and Tom Campbell (guitar/vocals). Bill Flynn hosts.

The Magic Flute

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A handsome adventurer on a quest to rescue the kidnapped daughter of royalty finds himself in a supernatural land filled with mythical characters and embroiled in a plot so complex he questions who is god… and who is evil. Will he lose the battle… or just his heart? Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a fun-filled fantasy for the entire family. Music Director John Mario Di Costanzo and director Chuck Hudson describe the plot as excerpts are sung by cast members from Tri-Cities Opera’s production of The Magic Flute by Mozart. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-1010551.mp3

Papagena: Kathleen Jasinskas
Tamino: Kirk Dougherty
Papageno: Charles Hyland
The Queen: Christina Kompar
Pamina: Victoria Cannizzo
Sarastro: William Roberts
Monostatos: Richard G. Leonberger

Accompanist: John Isenberg

"When Truth Lies" by Terry Garahan

Writing of the mental illness called schizophrenia can allow a novelist to open many themes and characterizations.  For one thing, the cause for disorder itself is a mystery, so there is an evasive culprit who could attack at any time.  The victims are frequently young, their promising lives distorted and confused.  The world becomes bizarre and unmanageable; those who could help are often fearful and frustrated.  Uncertainty spreads, complications abound and neat conclusions are rarely apparent.  The hallucinations that are common in schizophrenia also can make for powerful descriptive prose, as the author draws the reader into the mind of someone losing a grip on reality. What Kevin noticed was the red flannel shirt on a man sitting at the end of the bar.  Other reds in the room began to glimmer — the cigarette packs on the tables, the labels on bottles behind the bar, the red lines in the eyes of the man standing next to him.  It was as if all red had a light behind it, causing the color to glow.  Then the colors exploded in the way a white light does in a photo flash, turning the back of his eyelids red when he closed them.   — from “When Truth Lies”

If the unreality experienced by Kevin rings true it could be because author Terry Garahan — now an instructor of mental health counseling at Ithaca College — spent many years thinking about and working on “When Truth Lies”, years also spent running outpatient mental health services in Ithaca, NY.  He is a licensed clinical social worker and developed in Tompkins County “a proactive approach to working with emotionally disturbed persons and those with mental illness”, which received national attention.  Garahan is also an FBI-trained hostage negotiator. “When Truth Lies” is subtitled “A Journey with Schizophrenia” and opens in 1967, at the emergence of a counter-culture that could feed anyone’s disorientation.  We follow Kevin from his home in the community of Laketon, NY — a fictional college town clearly inspired by Ithaca — through mental health institutions and wandering around the country in a Dantesque descent through settings of Hell, Purgatory and at least an implication of Paradise. Terry Garahan joins Bill Jaker on OFF THE PAGE to discuss the life challenges of persons dealing with mental illness.

National Poetry Month 2012

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It’s possible, with a little imagination, to already sense lines and reams of wonderful words floating above New York’s Southern Tier and Finger Lakes and northeast Pennsylvania, perfect profundities or doggerel ditties, in flowing rhyme or electric meter, sentimental or silly or both at the same time. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-1008587.mp3

For some people writing a poem is a rare personal experience, while others enjoy the opportunity for self-expression that comes from wrioting about everyday or extraordinary moments. And then there are those exceptional persons whose poetry may be inspired by other existing poetical works. Martin Bidney is a critic, translator and among the best of today’s “dialogic poets”. He is Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Binghamton University.