Bridget Armstrong | WYPR

Bridget Armstrong

Producer, Midday

Bridget Armstrong is a producer for Midday hosted by Tom Hall. She joined the WYPR team as a producer of Maryland Morning in March 2016. Before coming to WYPR, she worked for SiriusXM and prior to that, at NPR.  While at NPR, Bridget worked on the 2014 Elections Desk and Tell Me More hosted by Michel Martin, where she produced discussions addressing race, gender and pop-culture.  A true lover of conversation, Bridget also hosted and produced a roundtable podcast. Bridget is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, an Historically Black College.

We continue our Focus on the Counties series with Howard County executive Alan Kittleman, In 2014, he won election as a Republican in a place where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one. Howard County is diverse and multi-cultural, and it’s one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the country. As the town of Columbia prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, will fewer people be able to afford to live there? Can Columbia continue to be a model for sustainable, diverse communities nationwide? Alan Kittleman on what’s next for Baltimore’s neighbor to the south. 

Then, from Howard County to The Bridges of Madison County. Theater Critic J.Wynn Rousuck joins Tom to talk about the musical production of the Kleenex classic at the Kennedy Center.

In another installment of Focus on the Counties, Tom speaks with Howard County executive Allan Kittleman

Kittleman was elected in 2014, before that he represented the 9th District in the Maryland Senate for 10 years. 

Over the last 15 years, Howard County’s population has grown by 26 percent. Kittleman discusses how the county is addressing transit and education concerns brought on by the influx of people. He also talks about new business and affordable housing initiatives being rolled out in Columbia. 

Kittleman, who is a Republican,  weighs in on the future of the Republican party, why he won't attend the Convention this time around, and his decision  not to endorse Donald Trump. 

Baltimore City Council

Today is the first day of the new fiscal year for the City of Baltimore. The City Council beat their deadline to approve a budget by 10 days this year, but not without considerable acrimony. City Council president Jack Young and Budget Committee Chairwoman Helen Holton threatened to shut down city government if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake didn’t restore funding for youth programs. Helen Holton (District 8) joins me, along with Councilman Brandon Scott (District 2) to talk about the Council, the Mayor and the budget.

Plus, movie mavens, Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, offer some alternatives to the big Hollywood blockbusters that are unleashed every season around the fourth of July.  

Baltimore City Council

The new fiscal year in Baltimore City begins today. After weeks of contention with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the City Council voted to approve the budget on June 20th. 

Council members, including the City Council president Jack Young and Helen Holton, who represents the 8th district and chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee, threatened to shut down the city government by not approving the budget if $4.2 million for after-school programs was not restored in the budget. While the mayor eventually decided to put the money back, funding cuts had to made in areas of infrastructure, anti-litter programs and to the Enoch Pratt Library.

Brandon Scott, who represents the District 2 on the council, and Helen Holton join Tom in-studio to discuss the budget approval process and the city council’s collaboration with the mayor. 

Photo by Rob Sivak

 This week, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation has convened two groups of emerging arts leaders for workshops around the idea of Undoing Racism. Trainers from The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond explore how institutional racism has come to be so firmly ensconced in American culture, and what it will take to get rid of it. Tom speaks with Kimberley Richards and Rachael Ibrahim, trainers from The People’s Institute, and A. Adar Ayira, a local artist and poet who is on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action.  

Then, author Jessica Anya Blau joins Tom to discuss her new novel The Trouble with Lexie.

Jessica Anya Blau

Just in time for the summer, Jessica Anya Blau is back with a new book The Trouble with Lexie. Lexie, the book’s protagonist, is a counselor at an elite private school in New England. Things get wild when her search for happiness lands her in some unexpected trouble. 

Jessica joins Tom in-studio to talk about The Trouble with Lexie, her writing process and seeing herself in her characters. 


We begin this morning with another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. Retiring Executive Director Christopher Leighton, Catholic Scholar Heather Miller Rubens, Islamic Scholar Homayra Ziad, and Jewish Scholar Benjamin Sax from The Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies all join Tom in-studio to discuss leadership transition in the organization, as well as what it will take for the voices of tolerance to be heard in the din of bigotry that has taken over much of the public discourse in this unprecedented political year.

J. Wynn Rousuck reviews EVITAwhich is currently playing at Olney Theater through July 24.

The Baltimore African-American Festival is celebrating 40 years. To mark the occasion festival organizers are bringing in  some big names like Common, Vivica Fox, Estelle and Mary Mary. 

There will also be interactive activities focusing on health and wellness, financial literacy and police-community relations.

Shelonda Stokes, president and CEO of greiBO entertainment, and Joe Maye, singer from The Voice on NBC, both join Tom in-studio to discuss the festival. greiBo was hired by the city to plan the events. 

Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun

Officer Caesar Goodson, one of the six Baltimore city police officers indicted in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, was acquitted Thursday of second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) and reckless endangerment. In December, Officer William G. Porter's trial ended with a hung jury and last month Officer Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges including reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. 

Judge Barry Williams issued his verdict in the Goodson trial on Thursday morning. Maryland Morning host Tom Hall anchored special live coverage of the verdict. He was joined in-studio by lawyer F. Michael Higginbotham of University of Baltimore Law School and Ray Kelly, president of the No Boundaries Coalition. WYPR reporters P. Kenneth Burns and Rachel Baye provided live coverage from the city courthouse. 

Dave Wetty, Cloud Prime Photography

Dr. Carol Anderson, author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, joins Tom in-studio to discuss the reasons behind the racial divide in America. While some argue that the Uprising in Baltimore was a result black anger bubbling over after years of systemic and institutionalized racism, Anderson argues that the chasm between whites and people of color has been animated, throughout American history, by white reaction and opposition to any and all progress towards equality made by minorities.  To support her argument, Anderson points to the white southern reaction to reconstruction efforts following the Civil War, Supreme Court decisions in the 1970s that undermined Brown v. Board of Education, the war on drugs and ongoing voter suppression efforts. 

Then, Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagel, and Evan Lutz, founder of Hungry Harvest join Tom to discuss efforts to end food waste. Hungry Harvest "recovers" discarded produce from local farms, food wholesalers, and packing houses and boxes and delivers it to paying subscribers. For every box purchased, the program also delivers fresh produce to a family in need.