Rob Sivak

Senior Producer, Maryland Morning

Rob Sivak joins the WYPR Maryland Morning team as Senior Producer after a 36-year career at the congressionally funded global broadcaster, Voice of America, where he honed his skills as a news and feature reporter, producer, editor and program host.

After reporting stints at VOA's New York City, United Nations and Los Angeles bureaus, Rob spent two decades covering international food, farming and nutrition issues for VOA's 180-million worldwide listeners, and created and hosted several popular VOA science magazines, including the still-running Science World.  At Maryland Morning, he continues to pursue his passion for radio and his abiding interests in science, health, technology and politics.  Rob grew up as an ex-pat "oil brat" on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, and studied and traveled widely in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  He attended Hofstra University in New York and Boston University's School of Public Communications.  Rob and his wife, Caroline Barnes, live in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they've raised three daughters.

Poster Design by Post Typography

  

The 18th Annual Maryland Film Festival (May 4-8) kicked off Wednesday night with a program of short films.  The festival continues until Sunday night with the closing film, Hunter Gatherer, and between now and then, there are a whole lot of movies to choose from, and if you go you're going to have to make some tough choices.  This morning, our special edition of the Maryland Morning Movie Mayhem is designed for folks who want a few ideas on what to see. Joining us, as they do every month, are Jed Dietz, the Festival's executive director, who's with Tom in the studio, and Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, with us by phone from her DC office. 

During the second and third segments of today's special edition, we’ll be joined in the studio by three of the film makers whose work is being screened this weekend:  Lauren Wolkstein, Zach Clark and Marilyn Ness.  

For the full Maryland Film Festival program guide, with information on screening times and venues, click here.

Poster Design by Post Typography

The 18th Annual Maryland Film Festival (May 4-8) kicked off Wednesday night with a program of short films.  The festival continues until Sunday night with the closing film, Hunter Gatherer, and between now and then, there are a whole lot of movies to choose from, and if you go you're going to have to make some tough choices.  This morning, our special edition of the Maryland Morning Movie Mayhem is designed for folks who want a few ideas on what to see. Joining us, as they do every month, are Jed Dietz, the Festival's executive director, who's with Tom in the studio, and Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, with us by phone from her DC office. 

During the second and third segments of today's special one-hour edition, we’ll be joined in the studio by three of the film makers and producers whose work is being screened this weekend: Lauren Wolkstein, Zach Clark and Marilyn Ness.  

For the full Maryland Film Festival program guide, with information on screening times and venues, click here.

sarbanes.house.gov

This year, Wednesday means politics on Maryland Morning, and we begin today with a conversation with Congressman John Sarbanes, who has represented MD’s third Congressional District for the past nine years.  Last week, he garnered 87% of the vote in the Democratic Primary.  He’ll face Republican Challenger Mark Plaster in the November election.  This morning, he joins Tom to comment on the tumultuous presidential campaign, and to talk about his efforts to achieve campaign finance reform and  to curb the national epidemic of opioid addiction.    

Then we'll take a closer look at the surprise ouster Tuesday of Baltimore City School Board CEO Gregory Thornton, and the controversially secretive selection of his replacement, former city schools administrator Sonja Santelises. Tom is joined on the phone by Baltimore Sun education reporter Erica Green.

Plus, we’ll meet the newly-appointed director of the Baltimore Museum of Art.  In August, Christopher Bedford will leave the Rose Museum at Brandeis University to take over the BMA as it begins its second century housing some of the world’s great artistic treasures. He joins Tom on the phone from New York City.

Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun

    

On Tuesday, the Baltimore City School Board announced that current CEO Gregory Thornton will be replaced by Sonja Santelises, a former city school administrator. The decision comes less than two years into Thornton's four year contract. He will step down this Friday and Tammy Turner, the chief legal counsel for the school system, will serve as interim CEO until July 1st, when Santelises officially assumes the office. 

Erica Green covers the city's education system for the Baltimore Sun. She joins Tom in the studio to talk about Thornton's sudden departure, and the prospects for school system reform under the new leadership of Sonja Santelises.

Baltimore Museum of Art

The Baltimore Museum of Art has named its next director. On Monday night, the Board of the BMA announced that Christopher Bedford will take the reins of the internationally acclaimed museum, which celebrated its 100th anniversary two years ago. Mr. Bedford is currently the director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, outside of Boston. On August 1st, he will become the 10th director of the BMA, succeeding Doreen Bolger, who retired last year. Christopher Bedford joins us this morning on the phone from New York City.

Russell Sage Foundation

What’s your identity project?  The thing that puts a skip in your step when you wake up every day?  Maybe it’s the instrument you play, or the poems you’re writing.  For a lot of kids living in Baltimore’s most impoverished neighborhoods, their identity project can be their ticket out of economic hardship.  Stefanie DeLuca spent 10 years studying kids in Baltimore’s public housing, and how some are able to break the cycle of poverty.   Her new book is Coming of Age in the Other America (published by Russell Sage Foundation).

Then, to mark the end of its 25th anniversary season, the Everyman Theater is presenting not one, but two American classics.  Directors Vincent Lancisi and Derek Goldman on Everyman's simultaneous productions of Tennessee Williams'  A Streetcar Named Desire and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Plus, the 2016 Maryland Poetry Out Loud champ, Sharese Acheampong, is in the studio sharing the verse that propelled the 17-year-old Owings Mills high school senior into the National Finals, which begin in DC on May 2nd, with a top prize of $20,000.

Russell Sage Foundation

  

Stefanie DeLuca's new book  Coming of Age in the Other America (published by the Russell Sage Foundation), explores the lengths to which young people, born to impoverished families, must go in order to escape the cycle of poverty. The book was created after DeLuca and her colleagues, Susan Clampet-Lundquist and Kathryn Edin, spent 10 years studying children growing up in Baltimore's public housing system. Their research shows how neighborhoods can affect families, and how those who are able to move to better neighborhoods often succeed. DeLuca is a researcher and sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. She joins Tom in the studio.

Rob Sivak-WYPR

We’ve been talking today to people who’ve used the power of the written word to bring compelling stories to their readers and theater-goers. Our next guest is a young woman who discovered the power, and the joy, of writing at a very early age. Sharese Acheampong is a 17-year-old senior at New Town High School in Owings Mills. She says she's been writing poetry and short stories practically since she first learned how to wield a pen. Last month, she placed first in the 2016 Maryland Poetry Out Loud competition, a poetry-reading and writing contest sponsored by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. More than 9,000 students from across the state vied for the $200 prize and the chance to compete in the National Finals in Washington DC, May 2-4. To see and hear Sharese Acheampong reading her winning original poem, The Morrison House, click here. She joins Tom in the studio.

brioxy.com

The 2016 Maryland primary election is history.  Today, State Senator Catherine Pugh is a big step closer to her dream of becoming Charm City’s next Mayor, and Chris Van Hollen and Kathy Szeliga will go head to head to replace Barbara Mikulski in the Senate. A host of other city and state-wide races were decided after months of an unusually crowded primary campaign season.  Award-winning Investigative Reporter Jayne Miller from WBAL TV on what this historic election means.

Then, taking stock, one year after the violence that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray.  Entrepreneurs B. Cole and Aisha Pew moved to Baltimore from Oakland, CA, established a business and invested in real estate; they’re working through a novel organization they've created called Brioxy to connect African American businesses across the country.  Why the Dovecote Café, just blocks from Penn and North, could be part of a bright future for post-Uprising Baltimore. 

And the poet, activist and scholar, Kaye Wise Whitehead, joins the conversation about Baltimore's future with B.Cole and Aisha Pew.  She also reads a poem from her new collection, RaceBrave, inspired by the Uprising.

Baltimore Sun

This morning, almost one year after last April’s violence:  Justice, from legal, religious, artistic and environmental perspectives. 

More than 500 people were arrested during and in the days following the violence that erupted after Freddie Gray’s funeral.  Tricia Bishop of the Baltimore Sun tells us that very few of those arrested were ever charged, and, that many had their charges dropped, but not before some spent weeks and even months in jail.  Justice in the wake of the Uprising.

Then, an acclaimed Muslim scholar, Najeeba Syeed, talks about how Islam Imagines Justice in Baltimore, and how to build trust between communities of color and law enforcement.

Plus, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews Detroit 67, running at Center Stage's transitional home in Towson University's Center for the Arts, now through May 8th.

And Amanda Cunningham from the Baltimore Tree Trust, on the need for blighted neighborhoods to have a robust tree canopy and all of the good things that trees create.

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