Jonna McKone | WYPR

Jonna McKone


Jonna covers education, youth and housing for WYPR.   She's also a documentarian, media artist and educator. Her stories and audio documentaries have been broadcast on All Things Considered, Here and Now, Marketplace, The World, Living on Earth, WAMU and Virginia Public Radio.  In 2014 Jonna was awarded an Equal Voice Journalism Fellowship.  A Maryland native, Jonna is a graduate of Bowdoin College and holds an MFA from Duke University.

The deadline to sign up for health insurance  under Obamacare is Sunday night. We take a step back from the sign-up rush to explore how the Affordable Care Act is affecting doctors and patients.

Then – How is something as tangible as our sense of touch connected to something as intangible as our emotions? Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David Linden explores just that question in his new book "Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind". He talks about it with Tom Hall.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Creative Commons

When is a budget cut a budget cut? That’s a question that Republicans and Democrats in Maryland are wrangling over as Governor Larry Hogan’s budget undergoes scrutiny. Regardless of where you stand on that point, grade schools in the state will get about $144 million less than they thought next year. Roy Meyers, Professor of Political Science and Affiliate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County is back with us in the studio to talk about the proposed education budget.  

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  The Oscars are a little more than two weeks away, Maryland Morning movie mavens-- Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday, Washington Post film critic, talk with host Tom Hall about their top picks.

Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

You may have noticed a friend or coworker who used to smoke cigarettes  now puffing on an electronic-cigarette, a small battery-operated device that looks a lot like a cigarette holder. E-cigarettes deliver a dose of nicotine – at levels lower than the harmful toxins and carcinogens that come with smoking traditional cigarettes.

thinkretail / Creative Commons

“Sustainainable” is such a buzzword these days – sustainable agriculture, sustainable sources of energy. It may seem challenging in an area as fickle and ephemeral as fashion, but there is a sustainability movement in the fashion world. More and more customers are conscious of how their clothes are made, how much energy and water go into their looks – and what working conditions are like in the countries of manufacture.

We talk about the issue with our resident fashionista, Zoey Washington, a fashion editor and CEO of the company LITTLEbird, a fashion consulting service for teens and tweens.

In Baltimore recently, President Obama spoke in support of making employers pay for up to seven days when workers stay home sick.  More than 700,000 workers in Maryland don’t get paid sick leave -- we get differing views on a bill in the General Assembly to change that.

Then – How can telling a story shape health policy? Tom Hall talks with the editor of a new book about the power of a doctor’s story… and with a prostate-cancer survivor who’s writing about his experience.

Valerie Hinojosa / Flickr

The week before last, in his State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted paid family and sick leave as part of his Healthy Families Act.  That was just after he paid a visit to Charmington’s – just up the street from WYPR’s studios – to promote his efforts. Millions of Americans don’t have sick leave -- about 40 percent of all workers.  In Maryland it’s estimated that 700,000 workers lack paid sick leave, and half of them earn less than $35,000 per year.

Here in Maryland Senate Majority leader Kathy Pugh of Baltimore has proposed a bill similar to the president’s plan to mandate that full and part-time employees could earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of paid work. The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the bill tomorrow.

Opponents say businesses should get to decide their own benefits policies. Advocates think this bill will help working families, especially low wage earners.   We’ve asked someone on each side to discuss it with us.

Cheeni / Creative Commons

The new historical drama called Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain based on the actual Bhopal disaster came out in late in 2014.  The film dramatizes the massive chemical leak that 30 years ago caused thousands of immediate deaths and, over the coming years, thousands more premature deaths Bhopal, a city in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain will be screened tomorrow afternoon in Hodson Hall at Johns Hopkins University.  The film has incited fresh dialog about Bhopal and is a reminder that the ripple effects of that day in 1984 are still being felt.

Credit Centennial PH/Creative Commons

If you follow the news in Maryland, you’ve been hearing about budget cuts – not just since last week, when Gov. Hogan presented his budget the day after he was inaugurated, but three weeks ago, when outgoing Democratic Gov. O’Malley shepherded a set of budget cuts through the Board of Public Works, to take effect immediately.

This morning we 're looking in-depth at one particular area --mental health.  About 160,000 adults and children in Maryland use public mental-health services, a number that’s increased by more than half in the last decade, especially with the advent of Obamacare, which requires most health insurance plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder services.

David Simpson

We stroll along the banks of Loch Raven reservoir – one of the three primary sources of drinking water to Baltimore City and Baltimore County, listening to wildlife and author and photographer David Simpson's story of creating a children's book inspired by this place. His book, called The Swan at Loch Raven, is designed for beginning readers.

The book is available at Greetings & Readings, The Ivy Bookshop, and Amazon. David will be reading from the book at a National Reading Month event at Loch Raven United Methodist Church on March 3rd.