Melissa Gerr | WYPR

Melissa Gerr

Producer

Melissa Gerr is a producer for On the Record.  She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks."  Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is filled with dozens of life-size, lifelike wax figures that illustrate the accomplishments of African American notables--historical and contemporary. Saturday, July 14, history will extend beyond the museum walls for the Voices of History street fair. Museum co-founder and director, Dr. Joanne Martin gives us highlights of the fair, and discusses why she and her late husband started the museum 35 years ago.

Shindana Cooper tells her Stoop Story about an ill-fated cruise with the Middle Passage Monument Project. You can hear her story and others at stoop storytelling dot com.

So many inspiring activities this weekend! If drumlines get your blood pumping, don’t miss the Baltimore Christian Warriors 30th Anniversary. They’re hosting the Tri-state Drumline Competition and Showcase tomorrow at Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue. It starts at noon, tickets at the door.

And at the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, you can attend the Maryland Humanities 2018 Chautauqua, titled: ‘Seeking Justice.’ Actors dressed as historic figures describe their character’s contribution to the pursuit of justice: Frederick Douglass at 7 pm tonight, Eleanor Roosevelt at 7 pm tomorrow and Thurgood Marshall at 7 pm Sunday -- all at the Center for the Arts Theatre, 800 S. Rolling Road.

Larry Canner/JHU

About two million people in the U.S. have lost an arm, a hand, a leg or other limb. Many opt to use a prosthesis -- a fabricated upper or lower limb. Luke Osborn, a graduate student in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, tells us about an electronic skin that can create the sensation of touch for the user of an upper-limb prosthesis. And George Levay, a research participant who lost his arms to meningitis, describes what it was like using the electronic skin on his prosthetic hand.

Amy Webb / Future Today Institute

Summer means a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. But when you choose those juicy plums or ripe tomatoes from your favorite grocery produce section … do you stop to question where and how they were grown? Amy Webb, founder of the ‘Future Today Institute’, has some answers. She talks about the future of farming, from genetic editing to collaborative robots to urban indoor warehouse farms. She also offers some perspective about the sci-fi feel of agricultural technology developments.

Webb suggests the online magazine, Modern Farmer, as a good, accessible source to stay informed on future farming developments.

Brenda Sanders / Thrive Baltimore

After a holiday week when grills have been ablaze for hot dogs, burgers and ribs, we’re going to shift focus -- and diet -- to learn about some delicious vegan options for summer meals. We talk with Brenda Sanders, co-founder and CEO of Thrive Baltimore. Thrive Baltimore provides education and resources to those seeking to adopt a vegan diet and lifestyle. Tomorrow, July 7, from noon to 6pm they’re hosting the second annual Vegan Marketplace, at 6 E. Lafayette Ave. Free Admission!

Here's a Stoop Story from 'Cafeteria Man' Tony Geraci about how working in school kitchens steered him to his passion. Geraci led efforts in Baltimore and in Memphis to make public school lunches more nutritious. Now, he works as a consultant to create healthier meals for children across the U.S. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling dot com.

Melissa Gerr

We’re about a decade in to single-stream recycling in Maryland --how is the system working? And how are we doing? Is the process cost effective? Is recycling worthwhile? We ask Robert Murrow, recycling coordinator at Baltimore City Department of Public Works, about the business of recycling. Plus, DPW recycling collection employee Roland Weeks Jr. describes realities of the work and his colleague Welford Lee Johnson Jr. offers advice to aspirational recyclers.

Library of Congress, 1899

Harry Houdini is known for grand illusions and death-defying escapes. But what lies behind the curtain of Houdini as a performer? Why were some uses of trickery reviled by the master of magic? A new exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland called ‘Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini’ reveals answers to those questions and more. We hear from Marvin Pinkert, the museum’s executive director and David London, magician, performer and curator of the exhibit.

Information for the grand opening street festival and other events available at this link.

JHU Press

We talk with Dr. W. Daniel Hale and Dr. Panagis Galiasatos about the Johns Hopkins Healthy Community Partnership. The program promotes patient education by drawing on the familiarity and trust developed in faith communities -- and they wrote a book about it, called Building Healthy Communities through Medical-Religious Partnerships. We also meet Antoinette Joyner, the commissioner for healthcare ministry at St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church about how the program has made an impact on her congregation.

Todd Marcus

The line blurs between art and activism for bass clarinetist and jazz composer Todd Marcus. He perceives music as a way to build community and nuture healing. He joins us to talk about his latest CD, "On These Streets: A Baltimore Story." The songs are inspired by two decades of living and working alongside his neighbors in West Baltimore with the non-profit, ‘Intersection of Change.’

The Todd Marcus Quintet's CD release party is June 16 at Center Stage. More information here.

Here’s Renee Watkins’ Stoop Story about coming out to her parents … that begins with a road trip she’ll never forget. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

It's Pride Weekend! Find information for all of the events at this link.

AP Images

We’ve interviewed the eight Democrats running for their party’s nomination to face off against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall and asked how each proposes to address the opioid overdose epidemic, and guns and public safety. With us to share perspective and insight is the Baltimore editor of the Afro newspaper, Sean Yoes.

Melissa Gerr / WYPR radio/Baltimore

An end-of-life doula offers compassion and companionship to the dying and the people who love them. We talk with Debbie Geffen-Jones, bereavement program manager at Gilchrist, about what it takes to assume the doula role. And Kay Berney, who has volunteered in bereavement services for more than a decade, tells us what’s she’s learned as an end-of-life doula … and how it differs from the stereotype some people might expect. For more information about becoming a Gilchrist volunteer, visit this link.

Hedwig Storch/Wikimedia Commons

It’s estimated that more than fifty million voice-assisted devices -- like smartphones and smartspeakers -- are currently in use in the U.S.

From a usability perspective, voice-assisted technology, or artificial intelligence, has made it easier for millions of people to perform daily activities and access information. But are there dangers that lie in that scenario? We ask that question to Amy Webb, founder of the the ‘Future Today Institute,’ which researches emerging technologies as they move from the fringe to the mainstream.

Joseph Trucano

What makes some music hot--or not--and how does business enable the artistry? That’s the topic of the next Great Talk” discussion, a series that describes itself as ‘Conversations with a Purpose.’ It’s also our cue to question one of the next Great Talk presenters, classical pianist Susan Zhang. She’s co-owner of The Concert Truck, a mobile recital hall that delivers free classical music concerts to audiences in unexpected locations--from parks, to public squares to community center parking lots.

Here's improv performer Will Hines, telling his Stoop Story about the time he and his co-host Connor recorded their podcast from Abbey Road studios in London. You can hear his story and many others at Stoopstorytelling dot com.

AP Images

On the Record has spoken with all nine Democratic gubernatiorial candidates about why they’re running, what issues they think are most important and how they would address them and what they think sets each of them apart--why voters should pick them to be the Democrats’ standard bearer against incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Today our expert analyst and commentator is Mileah Kromer, associate professor of political science at Goucher College. She directors the Sarah T. Hughes Field politics center  and is the force behind the respected Goucher Poll.

Think again if you’ve been assuming curiosity is constant, like gravity. We talk to astrophysicist Mario Livio about his book, "Why: What Makes us Curious". Not only are some people more curious than others, and curious about different questions, but homo sapiens’ capacity for curiosity grew as its brain evolved. For all its variations, Livio deems curiosity an unstoppable drive.

Mario Livio will be speaking about his book tomorrow, 7 pm at the Ivy Bookshop on Falls Road. Information here.

Courtesy Donte Small

The Goucher College Prison Education Partnership gives about 100 Maryland inmates access to college courses and professors and the opportunity to work toward a degree. We talk with director Amy Roza to hear about the effect it has on lives even beyond the prison walls. We also meet Donte Small, the first alumnus of the prison education partnership to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Here's Sylvia Parks, at an all-audience Stoop event at the Wind Up Space, with the theme: “My Secret Weapon: Talents, Flairs, and Skills No One Knows About.” Feel free to sing along if you’d like! You can hear this and other Stoop stories at stoopstorytelling.com.

In the spirit of Memorial Day, we meet writer, educator and veteran marine Dario DiBattista, who shares his thoughts about military service and his experience writing and teaching writing to war veterans as a form of post-trauma therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Then we visit the Freedom Hills Therapeutic Riding program in Cecil County, and participant Don Koss, a Vietnam vet, to learn how just being near horses can have a calming effect.

Courtesy Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

We're looking at the 50th anniversary of another of 1968’s tragedies: the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in early June, as he campaigned for president. We’ll talk to his eldest daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor of Maryland about what kind of father he was, what issues he was campaigning on and why she thinks he was able to reach across class and race boundaries in a way that many Democrats today find a challenge.

The link to the Indianapolis speech can be found here.

The link to Cleveland City Club speech can be found here.

Goodreads

Laura Lippman’s latest mystery is called Sunburn -- but it’s not sunny; it’s noir. In the tradition of James M. Cain --The Postman Always Rings Twice -- Lippman brings us lovers who don’t trust each other, each hiding secrets that spin into more violent mystery. Original airdate 2/20/18

Melissa Gerr

Warming weather is a great excuse to get outside. The Natural History Society of Maryland offers hands-on opportunities for lay people and experts to observe nature’s wonders --shoulder-to-shoulder -- out in the field. We meet educator and master gardener Judy Fulton, who hosts bi-monthly workshops that focus on identification of native and non-native plants and invasives. And naturalist and entomologist Nick Spero tells us about ‘fossil-hunting meet ups,’ opportunities to raise moths and butterflies at home and the many resources available to the public. NHSM is hosting their fundraising gala Cabinet of Curiosities on May 19. For information about all of the programs, visit the NHSM site here.

Baltimore Rock Opera Society

The Baltimore Rock Opera Society, or BROS, is fueled by the passion and dedication of a small army of volunteers who swear by ‘big and loud’ when it comes to theater. The newest show, ‘Incredibly Dead,’ is a gore-infused B-horror romp filled with surprising twists and turns. We get a preview from co-director Sarah Doccolo and executive director Aran Keating. More info at the BROS site.

John Marra, a member of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society artistic council, tells a Stoop Story about the magic of community theater and the importance of believing in yourself, always. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

National Aquarium

The National Aquarium in Baltimore’s inner harbor is home to more than 20,000 animals– in air, water and on land. So, what does it take to keep the place afloat?

Melissa Gerr

Women are the fastest-growing group of veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. And about half the country’s two million female veterans are of childbearing age. We meet Dr. Catherine Staropoli, medical director of women’s health at the VA and Zelda McCormick, a nurse and the program manager for the Women’s Clinic. They tailor the care veterans receive at the women’s clinic inside the Baltimore VA medical center.

We also visit a baby shower honoring new and expecting veteran moms.

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