Sheilah Kast

Host, Midday

Sheilah Kast is the host of Midday, Monday-Friday 12-1 pm.  Originally, she hosted WYPR's  Dupont-Columbia University award-winning Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast from 2006 - October 2015.  She began her career at The Washington Star, where she covered the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, utilities, energy and taxes, as well as financial and banking regulation.  She learned the craft of broadcasting at ABC News; as a Washington correspondent for fifteen years, she covered the White House, Congress, and the 1991 Moscow coup that signaled the end of the Soviet empire.  Sheilah has been a substitute host on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Diane Rehm Show.  She has launched and hosted two weekly interview shows on public TV, one about business and one about challenges facing older people.

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Maryland County Executives Copy Each Other

Oct 2, 2015
Baltimore County Government


Just shy of half of Maryland’s population is packed into its three biggest counties – Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Baltimore Counties. Now the chief executives of those jurisdictions have decided they’re pretty smart about some aspects of government, and could get smarter by copying each other. ‘Smarter’ translates into more cost-effective, and less pressure to raise taxes or fees.

So right now, as we’re starting this show, Baltimore County’s executive and a few handful of his top staffers are sitting down in Rockville with the Montgomery County executive and top staffers to talk information technology, and how to do it smarter. Sheilah sat down with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz yesterday.

Andrew Bardwell // Flickr Creative Commons

About a third of all Americans have a criminal record; less than 5 percent for violent crimes. Those of us who don’t have records are probably aware of some of the consequences, like fines, probation, jail time and parole. We may not be aware of collateral consequences that affect employment, public assistance, housing and voting rights. For example, ex-felons earn about 40 percent less annually than non- felons.

Several new laws take effect tomorrow that could allow Marylanders with criminal records to expunge or shield from public view certain parts of them. One of the new laws would also allow actions that are no longer crimes, like possession of small amounts of marijuana, to be removed from peoples’ records.

With Sheilah to talk more about the new laws is Caryn Aslan, Senior Policy Advocate at the non-profit Job Opportunities Task Force. She’s spent years lobbying in Annapolis to adopt laws to make it possible for people with a record to remove those marks. Joining them is Danielle. She’s 37, has 7 children and a criminal record for an arrest that resulted in no trial and no conviction. The offense occurred during a domestic violence dispute in 2002. 

Michael Newman // Flickr Creative Commons

The Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the Pratt Library are inviting the public to a discussion tomorrow evening about bias in how the media covers communities of Baltimore, reminding us again that public radio brings something different to the table. The way public radio covered the riot and uprising in Baltimore this spring is not the way cable TV covered it. But, let’s be realistic: society is probably shaped more by commercial media than non-profit media in the way it frames race, crime, poverty and inequality. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics says the duty of journalists is to “seek truth and provide a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” When it comes to reporting on issues of race, have the media met that standard? To what extent are media unaware of their own bias?

Journalist Stacey Patton is one of the panelists who will be addressing those questions tomorrow at the Pratt. She’s a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She is now a columnist, writing about race for Dame Magazine, which describes itself as “For Women Who Know Better.” She’s also working on two books for Beacon Press. Sheilah reached her Friday, when she called from Atlanta, where she was moderating a panel for the centennial celebration of the ‘Association for the Life and Study of African American History.’


  About one of every six public school students in Baltimore attends a charter school, but tensions between the charters and the school district are high. The ongoing dispute over what share of public school money should go to charters led five operators of charters to file suit against city schools three weeks ago. This week Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake asked former Mayor Kurt Schmoke to facilitate discussions between the two sides and schools CEO Gregory Thornton withdrew his latest funding plan for charters.

Bobbi MacDonald, Executive Director of City Neighbors Foundation joins Sheilah to talk about the concerns of charter schools. City Neighbors Foundation operates three independent charter schools in Northeast Baltimore and is one of the five Charter School operators filing a lawsuit against the school system.

jiadoldol // Flickr Creative Commons

Now we’re going to discuss superconducting magnetic levitation, commonly called “maglev.”  This is the technology that might move you from downtown Baltimore to BWI in 5 minutes. And on to downtown Washington in another 10 minutes. On trains that move faster than 300 miles an hour not with wheels rolling on steel tracks, but cars that would float—or, levitate - inside concrete pathways.  

If it sounds like science fiction, maybe that's part of its appeal. When The North East Maglev project threw itself a party this week to celebrate opening its Baltimore office, city and state leaders seemed almost starry-eyed in their support.  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who is on the project's advisory board, said: "I love big. I love blowing people’s minds. Let's build this thing!”

But, as futuristic as it seems, maglev has been trying to get started in Maryland for more a couple of decades. A previous proposal hit legislative snags a dozen years ago, and there's always been a big price tag. Now It's estimated building the first leg of a northeast system--the line from Baltimore to DC--would cost $12 billion.