Midday | WYPR


Monday-Friday from noon-1:00, Tom Hall and his guests are talking about what’s on your mind, and what matters most to Marylanders:  the latest news, local and national politics, education and the environment, popular culture and the arts, sports and science, race and religion, movies and medicine.  We welcome your questions and comments. E-mail us at midday@wypr.org, tweet us: @middaytomhall, or call us at 410-662-8780.
Listen to our series
Talking With The Candidates
Living Questions


Subscribe to this podcast in iTunes
Subscribe to this podcast on Google Play
Meet the Midday team

Midday programs with Sheilah Kast as host ended on September 16, 2016

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

Aggression, insomnia, headaches, and even seizures. A traumatic brain injury can have life-altering consequences for individuals and their families. Today we’ll hear from Dr. Sandeep Vaishnavi, a neuropsychiatrist at Duke University Medical Center and the co-author of "The Traumatized Brain: A Family Guide to Understanding Mood, Memory, and Behavior after Brain Injury," published by John Hopkins University Press.

Food Insecurity During the Holidays

Dec 21, 2015
Getty Images via HuffingtonPost.com

  For many of us, the holidays means family gatherings with more food than we know what to do with. But for 1 in 8 Marylanders, this is still a time when they may not know where their next meal is coming from. Making matters more difficult: one third of those who report food insecurity earn too much to qualify for government aid. In this hour of Midday we'll discuss hunger, it’s surprising prevalence, and why it needs to be addressed year round - not only during the holidays. 

Our guests are Wes Moore, Deborah Flateman,  president and CEO of the Maryland Food Bank, Michael J. Wilson the director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, and John Gaddis the superintendent of Somerset County Public Schools, which now serves free meals to all students.

Friday News Round-Up

Dec 18, 2015
Christopher Connelly

Justice Reinvestment; Declining Abortion Rates; Power Plant Protests; Police Reform Coalition

Last year Maryland taxpayers spent $1.3 billion dollars to incarcerate more than 20 thousand offenders -- most of them convicted of non-violent crimes. We talk to Chris Shank, executive director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and Del. Kathleen Dumais (D- Mont. Co), members of a bipartisan panel that just recommended shorter drug sentences, more predictable parole and and other changes that could save taxpayers nearly a quarter billion dollars over the next decade.

Plus, America’s abortion rate hits a record low. Dr. Amina Chaudhry, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Maryland, provides a breakdown of the data. And protests against an incinerator planned for South Baltimore ended in arrests this week. Fern Shen of the Baltimore Brew gives us the details.

Then, Reverend S. Todd Yeary, co-chair of the Maryland NAACP, urges residents to channel outrage constructively, by working for structural reform of the Baltimore Police Department. All this on Midday's Friday news round-up.

Hung Jury Follow Up: What's Next?

Dec 17, 2015
Rachel Baye

Baltimore is reacting to the mistrial in the trial of Police Officer William Porter. The jury told Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams it could not reach a verdict on any of the four charges against him. In this hour we’ll get the latest on whether prosecutors plan to try Porter again. We’ll analyze what took place over the last three weeks with law professors J. Amy Dillard and Doug Colbert. Ericka Alston of the Penn-North Community Resource Center and founder of the Penn North Kids Safe Zone joins us to gauge her community’s reaction to the mistrial. 

Smart Transitions

  The Millennial Generation is now even more numerous than Baby Boomers. People think of millennials as confident, tech savvy, and team-oriented, but across the country, millions of the youngest millennials also fit the definition of disconnected: 16 to 24 years old, out of school and out of work.

Maryland estimates that one out of ten of its young people, 94 thousand, are disconnected. Today we’ll learn what’s behind this sad social trend and who is most affected. We’ll talk with Mark Mittelman, the executive director of New Pathways; Susan Emfinger the director of business and community relations for Hope-Forward; and Jamal C. a formerly disconnected youth and alumnus of New Pathways who is now seeing better days.

Meet East Baltimore Midway's Stakeholders

Dec 15, 2015
Connor Graham

Baltimore citizens and city leaders have long called for stronger investments in inner city communities, especially after the unrest in the spring. But what happens when there are competing plans for improvements?

In this hour of Midday, we’ll speak to stakeholders from the East Baltimore Midway neighborhood: Cheryl Carmona and Patrick Baron, Founder and  Manager and Development Coordinator of the Boone Street Farm; and Tamir Ezzat, a young architect based in Howard County, who hopes to turn blighted neighborhoods back into thriving communities. The problem is, they're in competition for the same lots.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is here to take your questions. We’ll talk about the re-development of Sparrows Point and what kind of jobs might materialize there, the repeal of the rain tax and what impact that will have other items in the budget, and Kamenetz’s disputes with Republican Gov. Hogan and with Democratic Comptroller Franchot over money for schools. We’ll also get his thoughts about public housing, how the region is recovering from the riot and protests in April, and what role county residents should play in that recovery.

P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

It’s two weeks down - and supposedly- less than one to go in the trial of Officer William Porter. What have we learned from this week’s testimony? How will competing timelines of when Gray was injured impact the jury? University of Baltimore law professor J. Amy Dillard offers her analysis.

We welcome State Senator Catherine Pugh to Midday, as we continue our conversations with Baltimore’s 2016 mayoral candidates. We'll talk about education - Pugh helped found the Baltimore Design School in Station North - and reducing violent crime - she’s co-chair of the General Assembly’s Public Safety and Policing Work Group. Plus, how will she work to grow Baltimore's business sector? Join the conversation with your questions and calls for Senator Catherine Pugh.

University of Maryland’s president has recommended the renaming of College Park's football venue, Byrd Stadium. To many Harry Cliftion Byrd is a home state hero; for others he is an outspoken racist. Is the change is warranted, or simply political correctness run amok?

Today we'll hear from Bonnie Thorton Dill, Dean of University of Maryland's College of Arts and Humanities; University of Maryland sophomore and journalist for the Diamondback, Andrew Dunn; University of Maryland senior and student activist, Colin Byrd; and Ken Lawson, the Mayor of Crisfield, MD, " Curley" Byrd's hometown.

Of the 322 murder victims this year in Baltimore City about 90 percent were African American. For the family and friends left behind, losing a loved one to homicide can color the grieving process with shame, blame, and stigma. Survivors may be reluctant to share what happened, fearing that people will assume the deceased was involved in criminal activity. But bottling up feelings of anger and sadness can lead to symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and other health problems.

2015 has been a tough year for Baltimore City. The world saw the city in flames in April, following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, and by mid-November the surge in violent crime claimed its 300th homicide victim. But in a new report measuring 50 U.S. cities’ commitment to Black Male Achievement, Baltimore ranked fifth. A representative from the Campaign for Black Male Achievement will join us to analyze the data. Then: an interview with 2016 Mayoral candidate Elizabeth Embry. We’ll ask her what her experience as a public servant - not a politician - can bring to the city.

  On today's Friday News Roundup: The first week of the trial of Officer William Porter draws to a close. WYPR reporter Kenneth Burns gives us an update. Then, an East Baltimore neighborhood calls for an end to violent crime. We hear from Marques Dent, an organizer for an event tonight called "Peace in our Streets," about the community’s grief and frustration. Plus, new cases of diabetes are on the decline in the U.S. Dr. David M. Nathan, the Director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital will tell us what more can be done to prevent the disease. Rick Seltzer of the Baltimore Business Journal will catch us up on business headlines from the Port of Baltimore to McCormick Spice Company, and take a look at whether April’s unrest impacted hiring in the city. And Annie Howe of the Charm City Craft Mafia gives us a head’s up about an upcoming holiday market.

We live in a world of internet-based technology, like social media, cloud storage, and instantaneous messaging. We also live in the midst of war with extremists, terrorism and very real threats to our safety.

In this hour of Midday, we’re going to talk about the overlap of those two worlds: Sean Gallagher, the Baltimore-based IT editor of Ars Technica, joins us to talk about ISIS propaganda on social media and “hacktivist” twitter accounts that aim to bring them down. Also, deck the halls with holly and drones: How did drones become one of this Holiday season’s most popular requests, and how much are we paying for them?

It’s one of the most fundamental and indispensable skills: the ability to read. Low reading scores on recent standardized tests in Maryland public schools shocked some parents – both fourth-graders and eighth-graders showed a drop in reading. As a result, education experts are asking whether teachers are being adequately prepared for the classroom.

On today’s show: what’s the best way to teach reading? We’ll talk about the debate over phonics versus whole-language. We’ll hear from Karen Robertson, associate dean in the College of Education at Towson University; Walter Dunson executive director of Cardinal Reading Strategies; Steve Buettner, the head of the Baltimore Lab School; and Donald Bolger, associate professor in the Department of Human Development & Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland.

For many of us, ‘tis the season for shopping, and holiday glee. But for high school seniors, it’s the time of year where their thoughts turn to college and where they’ll be next fall. Unfortunately for most graduates of Baltimore City public schools who enter college there is the need to take remedial courses before they start on college-level work. A new report from the Fund For Educational Excellence finds that students also need sharper understanding of independence, time management and finances.

In this hour of Midday, we’ll talk to Cassie Motz of the College Bound Foundation, Joe Fisher of First Generation College Bound, and hear from students they’ve worked with including Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, and Neyesia Lawrence, a junior at Towson University.

Arash Azizzada / Flickr via creative commons

A new survey finds that a large majority of Marylanders believe that police in their neighborhoods are doing a good job of fighting crime. On the other hand, many also believe that officers do not treating blacks and other minorities the same as whites. We speak to Ann Cotten, director of the University of Baltimore's Schaefer Center for Public Policy, about the results and how perceptions differ between residents in Baltimore City versus the rest of Maryland.

Plus, the trial of the first Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray began this morning. Meanwhile, the release of dash-cam video of a Chicago police officer shooting an unarmed African American teen has triggered protests in the city. Is there a connection between the deaths of black men in police custody and the surge in homicides in Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee and some other big cities? With police-involved shootings under scrutiny, how are cops reacting? Some blame the crime spike on less proactive policing. Are cops pulling back? Are they worried about being filmed doing their jobs?

Now that holiday shopping can be done with the click of a button, why do people still line-up as early as Thanksgiving afternoon to get a start on big box store sales? In this Black Friday edition of Midday, we’ll take a look at consumer psychology, and hear what’s on many shopping lists this holiday season. Philippe Duverger is a professor of Marketing at Towson University. Barry Meyers is the founder and president of Get Geeked Media, a New York-based tech-marketing company.

Is The G.O.P. Too Polarized To Function?

Nov 25, 2015

  From filibusters and threats to shut down the government, to outsider presidential candidates and vows to keep out Syrian refugees, the Republican party is in a peculiar and "unprecedented" place. Is the G.O.P. too polarized to function?

In this hour of Midday, we take a  historical look at political insurgencies from the past: from the democratic Watergate Babies in the seventies, to the Tea Party and Freedom Caucus of today. Our guests: Barry Rascovar from the Maryland Reporter; Laura Blessing, the Senior Fellow Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University and Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of ‘Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party.'

  Today we’ll dive deeper into Baltimore’s Vacants to Value effort. A recent report from the nonprofit Abell Foundation concluded that the successes of the Vacants to Value program had been overstated by about 40 percent. Two deputy city housing commissioners are here to respond to the report. Who decides whether a vacant should be demolished or rehabbed? What influence can the neighborhood have? 

In 2010 Baltimore unveiled Vacants to Value, an effort to rehab abandoned properties and eliminate blight across the city. But, while officials have boasted that more than 1,500 houses have been renovated and occupied through the program, a recent investigation found that the real number is closer to just 900 homes.

European Commission DG ECHO / Flickr via Creative Commons

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, along with governors in more than half of US states, is asking for the resettlement of Syrian refugees to cease until the federal government addresses concerns about potential terrorist threats. We discuss the screening process for refugees with Ruben Chandrasekar, the executive director of Baltimore's arm of the International Rescue Committee.

Student Activism, Race & Free Speech

Nov 18, 2015
Nick Schnelle/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP

The University of Missouri, Yale University, University of South Carolina, Occidental College, University of Kansas, Claremont McKenna College. The list goes on. College students across the country are leading protests and demonstrations to call attention to the issue of racial tolerance, diversity, and in some cases, the resignation of professors and high-ranking administrators. In this hour of Midday we'll view this topic through national and local lenses, and hear the points of view of academic reporters, students, a college administrator and a free speech advocate. 

Our guests: Scott Jaschik,editor and one of the founders of Inside Higher Ed; Julia Joseph, a sophomore and student journalist at Loyola University; Lisa Gray, assistant director of Student Life for Cultural and Spiritual Diversity at UMBC; Tyana Warren, a junior at Johns Hopkins University; and Robert Shibley, the executive director of Foundation of Individual Rights in Education. 

A 79-page analysis of the performance of the Baltimore Police Department during April's unrest was released yesterday. the report was compiled by a Washington, DC-based law enforcement think take. The report is available here.

In this hour, a look at the report's findings and recommendations. Plus, how does the BPD's handling of protests and rioting compare to other that of cities?

Can being black be bad for your health? In his memoir "Black Man in a White Coat," Maryland native Dr. Damon Tweedy reveals - through personal reflections and hard statistics - the disparities between blacks and whites in the world of medicine.

Tom Carmony / Flickr via Creative Commons

From in-home daycare and child care centers to nannies and babysitters, parents often see their budgets strained by the high cost of child care. While the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that families spend no more than 10 percent, a recent study by the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, found that very few people live in areas where child care costs are at all close to that threshold.

What impact does your childhood have on your health as an adult? For those who experienced abuse or neglect, trauma can push their brain’s fight-or-flight response into overdrive, leading to both mental and physical illnesses in adulthood. In Donna Jackson Nakazawa's new book, "Childhood Disrupted," she breaks down the research on "adverse childhood experiences" and their effect on health outcomes.

Erning Zhang / Creative Commons via Flickr

On this Veteran's Day Sheilah Kast speaks to Lieutenant Kawika Segundo, a Purple Heart recipient and bone marrow donor. We'll hear about his donation experience and find out why the matching process is so difficult for some patients. If you would like to become a donor, information from the National Marrow Donor Program is available here.

Smart Streets and Urban Transformation

Nov 10, 2015

  “An urban transformation is underway, and smart streets are at the heart of it.” These are the words of Samuel Schwartz, a man who spent two decades as New York City’s traffic commissioner and managed to walk away from the experience an optimist. He’s just written a book titled, “Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars,” and he joins us this hour with a look back at how city streets were taken over by cars… and how those streets are beginning to get reclaimed by pedestrians and bicyclists. Also joining us this hour: urban planner and architect Klaus Philipsen, for a look at transportation possibilities and problems here in Maryland. Our state just got a grade of D on its transportation report card and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance's Brian O'Malley tells us why. 

Urbanite returns with a special issue on Baltimore's uprising, "Truth, Reconciliation, and Baltimore". Print issues hit the streets today, and the digital version is available here. We'll hear from Tracy Ward, the magazine's publisher; Lionel Foster, a former staff writer and editor of the special issue; and former editor Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson.