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?'

Project Bridge

YouTube

More than 300 million people across the globe don’t see the world with what is considered normal color vision. Today we meet glass scientist Dr. Donald McPherson, who accidentally discovered he could help those people. He’s the mind behind Enchroma glasses, designed to unlock color vision for those with color-deficient sight. We also capture the moment when local illustrator and art educator Jonathon Scott Fuqua tries the glasses for the first time. It changed the way he was used to seeing the world.

United Way of Central Maryland Project Homeless Connect

A show about the power of human connections ... Scott Gottbreht of United Way of Central Maryland tells us how ‘Project Homeless Connect’  breaks barriers and provides urgently needed medical and dental care, and other services for the homeless and poor. It’s a two-day event at the Convention Center this week. 

MedSchool Maryland Productions

Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Susan Hadary, from MedSchool Maryland Productions, talks about connecting with the six teens from the University of Maryland, Baltimore CURE program (Continuing the Umbrella for Research Experiences) in her documentary “From West Baltimore.” Also joining us is Shakeer Franklin, who reflects on life in his neighborhood.

Brion McCarthy Photography LLC

The Stoop Storytelling Series has been delighting Baltimore audiences with true, hilarious and heartbreaking tales from ordinary people, since 2006. Stoop founders and hosts, Jessica Myles Henkin and Laura Wexler, join us to talk about themes for the new season. They include senatorial roasts, freaky families, the 1980s and excursions into the unknown. Find more details here!

Here's a Stoop Story from Dr. Ethel Weld, about a memorable first encounter during an excruciatingly long ER shift, back when she was a first-year medical resident. You can listen to her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Miss Veteran America

Nearly 40,000 U.S. veterans are homeless, and within that group, the number of homeless female veterans is growing fastest. In many cases they are women with children. We talk with Veterans Affairs social workers Christopher Buser and Jackie Adams to learn how the VA is attacking the homeless vet problem in Maryland. First Major Jaspen Boothe, founder of Final Salute, Inc., and The Miss Veteran America competition, tells us why she’s dedicated to raising awareness about women vets who are homeless … and filling the gap of support available to them.

Amazon website

Baltimore is home to one of the country’s largest Jewish communities, and beginning tonight they’ll observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish year. So today we look inside Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community, through the words of author Eli W. Schlossberg. He talks about his new book, “My Shtetl Baltimore, Stories and Recollections by a Native Son," a compilation of anecdotes about a lifetime in Baltimore.

Here’s a Stoop story from the indie-mom of comedy, MEshelle, about her childhood move to a Jewish neighborhood and the cultural exchanges that ensued. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

pixcooler.com

Caring for patients with memory loss or dementia can be challenging for even the most attentive, well-meaning caregiver. We meet Jay Newton-Small, a journalist whose new business aims to improve the lives of seniors with a new online resource called MemoryWell; in it, writers tell the stories of those who can’t tell their own. We also hear from Bertina Hanna, head of a caregiving team that uses MemoryWell, about the impact it can have on working with patients.

baltimorecraftbeerfestival.com

In most states you can add beer or wine to your grocery list, and buy it when you pick up milk, bread and eggs. In Maryland, for the most part, you can’t--for decades only liquor stores can sell beer and wine. Some people argue that changing that would save customers money; others contend it would hurt small businesses. We talk with Adam Borden, president of “Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws,” about the roots of the law -- dating back to prohibition -- and how the laws might change.

Oh, Rats!

Sep 21, 2017
Theo Anthony

Where there are people, there is debris, and where there is debris, there are rats … We meet Theo Anthony, the creator of “Rat Film,” a documentary that investigates Baltimore’s rat infestation, juxtaposed with its history of racist urban planning. And we talk with Karen Houppert, a journalist who documents the abundant rat carcasses she encounters in her Charles Village neighborhood. You can see "Rat Film" and attend a public health discussion afterwards on Sept. 21 at the Parkway Theater.

Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts

At the 22nd Baltimore Book Festival this coming weekend at the Inner Harbor writers will have a chance to get a professional critique of their work, readers a chance to meet and interact with hundreds of published authors and everyone a chance to enjoy some live music. We speak with Kathy Hornig, festivals directors for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, novelist Jen Michalski of the “Starts Here” writers’ readings and Carla Du Pree, executive director of City Lit Project, to hear about festival history and highlights.

Melissa Gerr / WYPR radio/Baltimore

Beyond the cacophony of bass drums, cymbals and snares, we hear about why participation in The Christian Warriors, a marching band in West Baltimore, means so much more than making music together. We meet the band’s assistant director, James Parker, who played in the drumline as a young teen. Founder and director Reverend Ernest King tells us about the legacy of dedication and community support that has held it all together. Watch a video of their rehearsal here.

Here’s a Stoop Story -- or rather a confession -- from Katy K., about her life lesson in marching-band hierarchy, and her brush with the dark side of her psyche. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Jamyla Krempel

Food insecurity -- the inability to provide, or have access to adequate nutritional meals -- has been a decades long challenge in Maryland, and in fact 1 in 9 people in the state report as food insecure, according to the Maryland Food Bank. We talk with Lynne Kahn, founder of the Baltimore Hunger Project--a non-profit dedicated to making sure school kids have enough to eat on weekends. Seniors are a target of healthy food iniatives too, and we meet Laura Flamm, director of healthy eating and active living for Baltimore City’s Health Department, who oversees Baltimarket, a suite of food programs to assist in healthy eating and Glenn Smith, a neighborhood food advocate at his senior residence in West Baltimore and a volunteer for a ‘virtual supermarket’ program.

Courtesy Ivy Bookshop

It was a tragedy that Chester Arthur became president. Not only the tragedy of his predecessor’s assassination in 1881, but the perceived tragedy by many that Vice President Arthur, a Republican party hack from New York, would bring his machine politics into the Oval Office. He had consistently opposed cleaning up the corrupt spoils system of federal jobs. But Arthur was inspired ... by letters of conscience from a stranger. We learn about those letters and Arthur's surprising legacy from biographer Scott Greenberger, who asserts Chester Arthur is worth remembering. 

Courtesy The Peale Center

The historic building near City Hall that houses the Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture has a rich and varied past. It was once a fine arts space, a temporary City Hall, the first African American school, and even housed the water bureau. So it’s no surprise The Peale is being re-imagined as a production center for storytelling. We talk with Nancy Proctor, the Peale's director, and Michael Burns, founder of the The Omnimuseum Project, about their upcoming collaborative effort, Be Here: EDU, a storytelling workshop all are invited to attend.

Tim Bouwer, Flickr - Creative Commons

Thousands of children in Maryland--including about one of every six kids in Baltimore--are being raised by their grandparents. The opioid epidemic, crime and incarceration are reshaping many families. We talk with the city’s deputy commissioner for aging Heong Tan about the supports offered by the Grandparents as Parents program. We also meet one of its participants, Donnaniece Carroll, who is raising her 11-year-old grandson. Also on the program is multimedia specialist Rich Polt, owner of acKNOWledge MEdia, who shares tips for a meaningful conversation this Sunday, Grandparents’ Day!

Adelante Latina FaceBook page

What does it take to keep a girl in high school from being sidelined by financial challenges, language barriers or distractions? We focus on mentors making a difference and talk with Leonor Blum, founder of Adelante Latina in Baltimore City, and Debbi Weinberg founder of the Girls Empowerment Mission (GEM) in the county. We also meet two participants from the programs, Ashley Ruano and Shakira Bradshaw, who is now giving back as a mentor herself.

We meet author and illustrator Jonathan Scott Fuqua, who watched scores of students graduate with college degrees in art -- along with so much debt that paying it down crippled their ability to start art careers. Fuqua and his co-founders, Alex Fine and Greg Houston, set out to offer a much cheaper school alternative, = offering classes more like an apprenticeship, instead of degree-based. Thus, The Baltimore Academy of Illustration opened in 2015. It’s taught about 250 students, including Jim Zimmerman, a full-time electrician -- he tells us how he's reviving his artistic skills and interests, making a dream come true.

Bill Barry

Before there were Labor Day barbecues and Labor Day sales, there was Labor--workers in the 19th century pushing for an eight-hour day and safe conditions as the U.S. economy was transforming itself from one of small enterprises to one dominated by industrial corporations. Labor historian Bill Barry tells us the roots of the holiday, still reflected when people gather for Labor Day picnics and parades. Follow this link to information about Labor Day events in Maryland, and watch this History Channel video for another quick lesson about US worker history.

Stoop Story teller Megann Shutt talks about moving back to Baltimore, and her job that began as a labor of love, then took a turn for the worse. Such is life ... as a duck! You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

Courtesy BrainFutures

The human brain and new ways to understand, support and work with it will be the focus when scores of researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs gather in Maryland next week for the second BrainFutures conference. Today we’ll speak with researcher and entrepreneur Cori Lathan, co-founder and CEO of AnthroTronix, whose app helps medics track the brain health of deployed soldiers and Dr. Naomi Steiner, a clinical associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine who uses neurofeedback to help students overcome attention challenges. Plus, we ask Professor Michelle Carlson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about her studies of senior citizens who tutor young kids. 

Courtesy CHANA website

There are more senior citizens every year, and more are victims of elder abuse -- last year 6, 300 cases were investigated in Maryland. The abuse can be financial, physical, sexual, emotional--or just neglect. We talk to Valarie Colmore, of Adult Protective Services are the Maryland Department of Human Resources and Nancy Aiken, executive director of the domestic-violence resource CHANA about who commits elder abuse, who should report it and how and what might prevent it. The toll-free state hotline to report elder abuse is 1-800-917-7323 and CHANA’s number is 410-234-0030. This program originally aired 6/12/17.

Courtesy Joseph Young

Have you ever wandered through a place and thought, if these walls could talk … ? Artist and author Joseph Young has given life-- fictional life at least--to this concept, with his latest installation, “Microfiction Rowhouse.” We talk to him about the stories he's written that will cover the walls, doors, and ceilings of his home, invoked by the spirits of a fictional family living there. Young would like visitors to come away with a sense of who the characters are, but he also leaves room for imagination ...

Transplant coordinator Kate Pratt shares her Stoop Story about experiencing the power of spirit during a night at the morgue that she'll never forget. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Courtesy Baltimore/Washington Cricket Crawl

Armed with curiosity, patience, and all the right apps loaded onto a smartphone, anyone can become a citizen scientist. We talk with Anna Scott, a climate scientist who’s counting on Baltimoreans to help her measure air quality throughout the city with her project, Baltimore Open Air. And we also hear from USGS wildlife biologist Sam Droege, who tells us about the annual Baltimore/Washington Cricket Crawl count and how anyone can be a powerful asset in helping science collect big data.

The tiniest creature with the deadliest of bites … Professor Chris Potter's lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is working to understand why mosquitoes are attracted to humans, in order to quell diseases such as malaria and Zika, both transmitted by mosquito bite. By studying its sense of smell, Potter hopes to alter the way mosquitoes perceive human scent and flavor--in an effort to make us less appealing as a meal. Want to see what happens when a mosquito stops for a bite? Watch this. To see all that Potter's lab is up to visit his site. This is a rebroadcast, original airdate was 6/27/17.

Stoop Storyteller Joel Green, astronomy scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, shares how his obsession with science fiction led him to study the formation, birth and destruction of planets. You can hear more stories at stoopstorytelling.com.

Pages