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.

Sam Bermas-Dawes / Creative Commons

Every year cities and counties around the country have annual homeless counts to assess needs, trends and changes in homelessness. It’s also a federal requirement that local governments conduct a count at least every other year. Over the course of several days, thousands of volunteers, service providers and government officials collect information on the need.  The homeless count, called Point In Time, is not only a snapshot of the situation – it’s an effort to engage people where they are on the streets and in shelters.  Thousands of people are homeless in Baltimore City, most between age 40 and 60.  This year the count will focus on several difficult to reach populations. Adrienne Breidenstine, Executive Director of The Journey Home, part of the Mayor’s office of Human Services joins Sheilah Kast to discuss the count and the plan to end the city's homeless problem. 

Waqas Bhatti / Creative Commons

  The General Assembly is likely to debate how police officers are disciplined – a debate that may echo parts of the national conversation that triggered by protests in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, New York of police officers allegedly using excessive force against suspects.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and several delegates representing the city are calling for changes in the 40-year-old state law known as the ‘Police Officers Bill of Rights,’ which sets out the disciplinary procedures of police departments in Maryland.

Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech

Despite being in their mid twenties, artist and musicians Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle have pursued more traditional avenues of folk singing. The duo will be performing ballads and old time tunes at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore's Highland Town neighborhood on Saturday evening. They also make crankies, a scrolling panorama popularized in the mid 1800s. Their crankies along with panoramas made by other Baltimore artists will accompany their musical performance at Creative Alliance.  Roberts-Gevalt and LaPrelle join Tom Hall in studio. 

University of Maryland School of Medicine

From researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine we get a set of insights into how the brain reacts to traumatic injury and whether science has been paying too little attention to the impact of inflammation in the brain. Joining us by phone is Dr. Alan Faden, a neurologist and professor of anesthesiology. He and his colleague David Loane, assistant professor of anesthesiology, published research on this issue last week.

In this edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, a conversation about the non-violence movement with one of the founders of Jonah House, a community whose pillars are non-violence, resistance and community. Jonah House was founded in 1973 by Elizabeth McAlister, a former Catholic Nun, and her husband, Philip Berrigan, a former Catholic Priest, who was a member of the Baltimore Four and the Catonsville Nine.

1199 SEIU Photo Archive

Fifty years ago, in the mid-1960s, Martin Luther King Junior was drawing his movement’s attention from civil rights to economic justice. The rights of the working poor cut across racial divides for King, and for his wife Coretta Scott King. They saw the civil rights movement as intertwined with the work of unions to raise wages and improve working conditions. In the 1960s African Americans were moving into cities as jobs and factories were moving elsewhere. 

Courtesy of the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum.

  In 1816, about 40 years into the nascent American experiment, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be.”

Tomorrow afternoon, on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday weekend, the Benjamin Banneker Museum in Catonsville, Md. is presenting a panel discussion on the role of citizenship in preserving American freedom.  Two members of that panel join us in the studio.  Judge Robert M. Bell is the former Chief Judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals.  He served in that position from 1996-2013, culminating a nearly 40 year career on the bench.  Dr. Jean Baker is an historian and the author of many books on 19th century American History.  She taught at Goucher College for many years on their Towson campus, and she continues to teach in Goucher’s Prison Education Program.  

Katie Brady /Creative Commons

  Cruising along Route 50 down the Eastern Shore, it’s easy to see rows of chicken houses that stretch back from road hundreds of feet. All together these farms raise six times more chickens than there are people in Maryland. It’s a big business, accounting for just under a billion dollars and 40 percent of Maryland’s total cash farm income.


Maryland’s incoming governor, Republican Larry Hogan, will take office in less than two weeks. He’s named several cabinet secretaries, but not a budget secretary, and he’s due to present his budget plan to the General Assembly just two days after he’s sworn in as governor on January 21. Hogan's campaign platform centered on cutting taxes, which he says are driving people and businesses out of the state. Hogan has indicated that state agencies and Baltimore city should brace for a change. At a press conference in mid-December, criticizing the budget performance of the O’Malley administration he said, "They drained our checking and savings and retirement accounts. They maxed out every credit card. They tapped into the Christmas fund, the college tuition funds; they even broke into every one of the kids' piggy banks. And we still don’t have enough to pay the bills." How will a Republican governor work with a Democratic legislature to balance the budget?

Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

The early read on retail sales for holiday season is that they were up by more than 5 percent – perhaps the best season for retailers in three years. MasterCard reported that sales of women’s apparel and restaurant meals showed the most increase. Behind the numbers are some shifts in how young people are shopping. Zoey Washington, fashion editor and CEO of the company LITTLEbird, a fashion consulting service for teens and tweens, talks about youth fashion and whether major retailers are responding quickly enough to shifting fashion trends and global influences.