Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast

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This program aired with Sheilah Kast as host until 10/2/15.  Find out more about us, check out shows that aired prior to February 2014, listen to our series, and listen to each day's show.


  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.

Baltimore Book Festival: Who's At The Kids' Stage?

Sep 25, 2015

  The Baltimore Book Festival begins today in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. There are a variety of stages set up along the waterfront promenade including the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Children’s Stage. Among those gracing that stage tomorrow are actress, storyteller, teacher and dancer, Maria Broom, who can now add author to her list of jobs. Her book for children is called The Village Bully.  Also at the Children's Stage is  Laurel Snyder, author of five novels for children, and two volumes of poetry.  Her latest picture book is called Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova.

Danny Greenwald - Glassine


   Now we take a listen to the Baltimore-based musician Danny Greenwald. His one-man band is called Glassine and the new album, No Stairway, is comprised solely of manipulated field recordings captured inside of a Guitar Center in Brooklyn, New York and in Baltimore.  Jonna McKone produced this audio postcard. 

The album was released on the record label, Patient Sounds. We’re looking for more musicians to profile on the show – send us a note to with your suggestions.  

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.

American Public Media's Marketplace

Amy Scott is Tom's guest this morning. Her voice is familiar to anyone who is a regular NPR listener because she’s the Education Correspondent for Marketplace. Amy is based here in Baltimore; her office is downstairs from Tom's here at WYPR.

During the 2012-13 school year, Amy did a series of stories for Marketplace called “One Year, One School,” in which she reported on a community school in Cincinnati, OH called Oyler. Tomorrow night at MICA, she will screen her new documentary film that came out of that experience. Oyler is also the title of the film, that Scott produced and directed.

Lisa Vega at Clarion HMH Books & Sebastian Skrobol

Ronald Smith, who lives in Baltimore, had a career of a couple of decades writing ad copy. His book writing, his fiction, was off to the side until he found himself rediscovering books he’d loved as a child.

He’s just published his first book, called Hoodoo, and Ronald Smith is with Sheilah in the studio to talk about it. He’ll be speaking about it this weekend at the Baltimore Book Festival, Friday afternoon at 1:30, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Children's Stage. Two weeks later, Friday Oct. 9, he’ll speak at KidLitCon on the “Middle Grade Horror” panel at the Hyatt Place in Baltimore.

Imagen Evangelicas via flickr Creative Commons

For the first five years he worked on the Howard County police force, Detective Josh Mouton said he wasn't looking for situations in which women had been forced into the sex trade against their will. But now Howard County Police have tougher state laws to work with, in particular,  a 2013 law that lets the state seize assets of someone convicted of trafficking.

Joining Sheilah to discuss Howard County's tough approach against human trafficking is County Executive Allan Kittleman, who finalized the order to create a fund to provide services to human trafficking victims, and Denene Yates, Executive Director of Safe House of Hope, a non-profit based in Howard County that provides education, training and support to victims of human trafficking.

Penguin Random House


Tom's guest this morning is Scott Shane, a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun who has covered national security for the New York Times since 2004. His latest book is about how a Muslim cleric named Anwar al-Awlaki, evolved from a moderate imam who denounced the 9/11 attacks, into one of the most celebrated and influential figures in the cause of violent jihad. In 2009, he helped plan an unsuccessful attack on a plane headed for Detroit. He was influential to the perpetrators of attacks at Ft. Hood in Texas, and at the Boston Marathon. By 2010, the US government considered only Osama bin Laden to be more powerful and influential than Awlaki as fomenter of violence against Americans. The effort to locate and kill him was dubbed, “Objective Troy.”

Scott Shane’s fascinating and assiduously reported book tells the story of that operation, and elucidates the complexities and geo-political ramifications of that mission to American foreign policy in the Middle East, and to the essential moral fundaments of our democracy. It’s a great read. It’s called Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone. Scott Shane will be speaking about the book tonight at the Enoch Pratt library at 6:30

Stan Barouh


Designer Timothy R. Mackabee’s set for “An Inspector Calls,” is so inviting, you’ll wish you were a guest in this elegant dining room.

But then you notice that some things about this dining room are a bit off. In Everyman Theatre’s smart, stylish production, the room sits on a platform, disconnected from its surroundings. And the fleur de lis designs on the wallpaper are oddly oversized and covered in thick Plexiglas.

The action, set in 1912, begins normally enough in this British play by J. B. Priestley. The Birlings, an upper middle class Yorkshire family, are celebrating daughter Sheila’s engagement to aristocratic Gerald Croft. They couldn’t be happier. Then the doorbell rings. 

Spotlighters Theatre

In the theater, some names are inextricably linked. Rogers and Hammerstein. Lerner and Lowe. Gilbert and Sullivan. Tom now looks to a show at the Spotlighters Theatre that gives us a glimpse of Gilbert, before Sullivan became his creative partner. The librettist W.S. Gilbert wrote "A Sensation Novel" nearly a year before he began penning his magnum opus of iconic musicals with Arthur Sullivan. As far as anyone can tell, it’s never been performed in the United States, until now.

The Audrey Herman Spotlighter’s Theatre is presenting "A Sensation Novel" in a new edition created by Tom's guest this morning, who has also directed this production. Michael Blum joins Tom today live in the studio.