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?'

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.

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