Midday | WYPR

Midday

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: @MiddayWYPR, or call us at 410-662-8780.
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Meet the Midday team

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

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

CAFOD Photo Library / Flickr via Creative Commons

  Last week marked a grim anniversary: five years of conflict in Syria. Nearly half the population has been displaced in that time, around 11 million people. Some have fled to other parts of the Middle East or to Europe. Many more have relocated within Syria. Nearly all require humanitarian aid, and despite peace talks and a shaky cease fire, the conflict is unlikely to end anytime soon. Meanwhile the European Union just announced they would send nearly all migrants arriving in Greece back to Turkey. What is the situation like on the ground? And how is the global community responding to the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II?

Have you had a cup of coffee today? A piece of fruit? You can thank a bee. In fact, most of the plants that provide our food require pollinators. That’s also true of most of the flowers we enjoy. Yet many bees, butterflies, and other pollinator species are in decline. Pesticide use and habitat loss are among the reasons. So what can the average Marylander do? Garden with pollinators in mind! Master gardener Patricia Foster, executive director of the Cylburn Arboretum Association, and Vincent Vizachero, manager for Herring Run Nursery, a non-profit nursery that specializes in native plants, are here to give advice and take your questions.

Karim Corban/Flickr via Creative Commons

 

Six years ago the federal government embarked on a plan to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. This goal is yet to be achieved, but the  number of homeless vets in the U.S. has been cut by more than a third. Last year, Montgomery County announced it had hit what experts call “functional zero” – that is, the county is able to house the six military veterans who become homeless in an average month. How did Montgomery County accomplish this feat? Can lessons learned there be applied to other places, or other homeless populations? We look at efforts across Maryland to make homelessness rare and brief, and to provide permanent homes for veterans. 

A Baltimore school police officer was filmed hitting and kicking a teenager early this month while another officer watched. The video went viral, and the school system moved quickly to suspend the officers and press criminal charges. The chief was also put on leave. Critics say this is not an isolated incident. Baltimore City is the only jurisdiction in Maryland with its own school police force, separate from the police department. Child advocates say that force needs a complete overhaul; they say it doesn’t hire or manage well, and officers tend to arrest kids for run-of-the-mill misbehavior. What’s happening that is not caught on camera? Are cops in Baltimore schools doing more harm than good? 

Courtesy of @port_covington / Twitter

Billionaire Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is asking Baltimore City for $535 million to help fund redevelopment in Port Covington. The city would borrow against future property tax revenue to pay for streets, utilities, and other infrastructure related to the project. If approved, it would be the largest tax increment financing, or TIF, deal in city history. TIF is a common development tool across the country; the city of Baltimore has OK’d eleven deals since 2003. But tax increment financing is controversial. Supporters say it attracts private investment to blighted areas. Critics say it enriches developers at public expense. Our guests: Greg LeRoy, Executive Director of Good Jobs First, and Toby Rittner, President and CEO of the Council of Development Finance Agencies

Dan Reed / Flickr via Creative Commons

Online sales rose 15 percent last year, according to the US Commerce Department. About 9 cents of every dollar spent at retail is now spent online. In this hour, how do you decide when to shop online and when to shop in a brick-and-mortar store? Are there certain items that you have to see in-person before you make a purchase? Sylvia Long-Tolbert, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, gives us insight into consumer behavior … and how stores are fighting to hold our attention. Plus, how are malls adapting to the rise of online shopping? Melody Simmons, of the Baltimore Business Journal, updates us on development in our region, including the trend to open-air plazas.

Understanding Animal Research/Flickr via Creative Commons

Millions of animals are used in research every year. Cosmetics, pesticides, pharmaceuticals: Half of every dollar we spend on products is for something that was tested on animals. Animal-rights advocates condemn animal testing, but many scientists say it is vital. Can technology solve this problem?  Dr. Thomas Hartung, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, believes it can go a long way. His own lab at the Bloomberg School of Public Health has just developed a tiny replica of the brain using human skin cells. This mini-brain could replace hundreds of thousands of animals now used in neurology labs.

Runs With Scissors/Flickr via Creative Commons

The Maryland Department of Education says during the last school year nearly half the state’s children were eligible for free or reduced meals. And according to Census Bureau data, more than a third of children in the city of Baltimore live below the poverty line. For families who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from, schools and community groups fill the gaps. Today, Melissa Moore of Family League of Baltimore and Michael J. Wilson of Maryland Hunger Solutions discuss efforts to provide healthy meals. These include a federal program that aims to bypass stigma by offering free meals to all students and a new push to serve breakfast after the school bell.

For info on summer meals and enrichment programs in Baltimore City, click here.

Check out this story on free breakfast by WYPR's Jonna McKone.

heipei / Flickr via Creative Commons

A green lawn is as American as apple pie, and for many of us, just as comforting. But as more people move to urban areas, lawns and other manicured spaces are beginning to dominate the landscape. Lawns already cover more land in the United States than any other irrigated crop, and a lawn in Phoenix looks much like a lawn in Boston. Why do we love lawns so? How do they impact the environment? And what could we do differently? Soil scientist and urban ecologist Peter Groffman joins us to discuss. Groffman has studied the ecology of Baltimore and other cities for decades, including their lawns. 

Breaking news in the police trials related to Freddie Gray’s death. We’ll start with an update from WYPR reporter Kenneth Burns. Then: the three men vying to be the Green Party nominee for mayor of Baltimore. The Green Party will hold its own primary just after the one in late April for Democrats and Republicans. Joshua Harris is an activist and organizer. Until recently he was running as a Democrat. Emanuel McCray is a community organizer and Army veteran; this is his second bid for mayor. And David Marriott, former police officer and Marine, is running for the first time. We’ll discuss housing, jobs, police reform, schools, and other issues.

A new report by national nonprofit, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, finds that more than half of Baltimore families are “financially vulnerable.” This means a sudden job loss or medical emergency could knock them below the poverty line. Furthermore, half of the city’s households struggle to borrow money affordably, so they risk becoming trapped in debt by high interest rates. Arohi Pathek from CFED helps us compare this snapshot of Baltimore to Maryland’s overall picture. Plus, Sara Johnson, director of the Baltimore CASH Campaign, lays out policies with the potential to help low-income families - including ways to give them recognition for paying their bills on time.

Elizabeth Manning / Flickr via Creative Commons

A proposal to combine the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore is before the General Assembly once again. Supporters of the move say it wouldn’t be a full-out merger, but a way to strengthen the formal partnership between the schools established five years ago. That generated applied research, joint-faculty appointments, and tech companies that now raise the question -- why not bring College Park and Baltimore even closer? Opponents fear it would be a takeover of UMB by College Park. A key question: should the joined schools be governed by one president or two? We’ll discuss it with James Brady, a member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, and Barry Rascovar of the blog Political Maryland.

Mark Goebel/Flickr via Creative Commons

  

Twelve million gallons. That’s how much sewage Baltimore’s Department of Public Works estimates was dumped into the Inner Harbor last week after heavy rains overwhelmed the city’s dilapidated sewer system.This news comes on the heels of Baltimore missing the January 1 deadline imposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of the Environment to eliminate overflows and spills. Halle Van der Gaag, Director of Blue Water Baltimore and Mark Reutter of The Baltimore Brew, join us to discuss the city’s response to this massive discharge, as well as the impact of sewage releases on our trails and waterways, and on public health.

Elisa Paolini / Flickr via Creative Commons

    

"Memento," "The Bourne Identity," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." Amnesia is a Hollywood staple. Even the true stories often seem fantastical. Just last month an Ontario man named Edgar Latulip recovered his memory after 30 years. He’d been missing and presumed dead, despite living 80 miles from home. Acute memory loss fascinates us, probably because in many ways, we are our memories. What triggers amnesia? What happens to your sense of self when your memory is gone? What can amnesia teach us about memory? Dr. Jason Brandt, a neuropsychologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who specializes in memory and memory disorders, joins us in studio to explore these questions.

Also: Dr. Brandt is currently looking for older patients with mild memory impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease to take part in a clinical trial on dietary intervention. If you'd like to take part, call: 410-955-1647.

Courtesy of Red Emma's Facebook page

The Great Recession fueled new interest in worker-owned cooperatives, in which employees double as business owners. Though rare, worker-owned co-ops are on the rise. Advocates say when employees are in control, workers benefit and businesses are more stable. But worker co-ops have to function in a capitalist world. Can they really compete? We’ll talk with Melissa Young, co-producer of "Shift Change," a documentary that goes behind the scenes at several worker-owned cooperatives. And we’ll talk with John Duda, communications coordinator for the Democracy Collaborative, a policy research institute that has helped launch several large co-ops. Duda is also co-founder of Red Emma’s, a worker-owned coffee shop in Baltimore.

WOTS Baltimore/Flickr via Creative Commons

Earlier this month, after public pressure from lawmakers, Governor Hogan asked that they direct $18 million intended for designing a new Baltimore jail towards construction projects at state universities. Some have lauded the decision, while others ask, can a new jail wait? Bryan Searsof the Daily Record and Debra Gardner, legal director of the Public Justice Center, update us on conditions at the Baltimore City Detention Center since the closure of the men’s jail last summer. Where were detainees moved? The complex has faced lawsuits dating back to the 1970s over squalid conditions. What is being done to upgrade facilities and improve medical care?

Jason Mrachina / Flickr via Creative Commons

Thirteen dead bald eagles were found on the Eastern Shore last weekend. Wildlife advocates are offering a $25,000 reward for information. Yet there is no shortage of bald eagles in the region. Our national bird was once endangered, but there are now more bald eagles on the Chesapeake Bay than there have been since Colonial times. Today we talk with eagle expert Bryan Watts and legendary Virginia conservationist Mitchell Byrd. The pair will fly out over the lower Chesapeake Bay in a prop plane next week, with a former fighter pilot who calls himself Captain Fuzzzo at the helm. It is the three-man team's 25th year scouting for nests together.

Courtesy of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave, a gifted author and orator, and a champion of emancipation and civil rights. But here’s something you may not know: he was passionate about photography. In fact, Frederick Douglass was the 19th century’s most photographed man. Why was a man who devoted his life to ending slavery and racism so in love with photography? A new book called “Picturing Frederick Douglass” explores that question. We’ll talk with John Stauffer, who co-authored the book. And we’ll meet Kenneth Morris, Jr., a Frederick Douglass descendant who is himself a modern-day abolitionist. Morris grew up surrounded by some of the 160 photos featured in the book.

Lucélia Ribeiro / Flickr via Creative Commons

 

Kik. Whisper. Yik Yak. Social media apps like these help teens and tweens connect in a digital world. Social media can broaden horizons, and help young people develop social skills. But the Internet has a darker side, especially for kids. The anonymity of the online experience allows easy access for sexual predators and cyberbullies. Plus, a frivolous social media post can live online … and damage future job and college prospects. How can parents stay informed about an ever-changing Internet landscape? How can they help their kids safely navigate that landscape? Adam Rosenberg and Drew Fidler of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center discuss the perils of the Internet for teens and tweens, and share tips for parents.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana all allow terminally ill patients to seek aid in dying. The practice will take effect in California in a few months. New Mexico’s highest court is expected to rule on the issue this year. Here in Maryland, “end of life” legislation is once again before the General Assembly.

Today, a look at both sides of the “right to die” debate. Some call it "death with dignity," others see it as "physician-assisted suicide." We’ll talk to Dr. Michael Strauss, a board-certified internist and volunteer with Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit that supports expanding end-of life choices, as well as forensic psychiatrist Dr. Annette Hanson, who opposes the bill. Should aid in dying be legal? What are the implications for the elderly and disabled?

How do you grab a jury’s attention? How do you deal with a witness’s prior inconsistent statements? Today, inside the mind of a lawyer. Veteran attorney Paul Mark Sandler has practiced law for four decades, trying scores of jury trials across the country. Named by Baltimore Magazine one of Maryland’s top ten lawyers of 2015, he has written several books on trial technique, including “The 12 Secrets of Persuasive Argument.” Paul Mark Sandler joins Midday today for a primer on the ins and outs of practicing law - from crafting an opening statement to conquering juror bias to closing with confidence.

Imagine you had to call into work every morning to find out if you were on the schedule. How would you arrange child-care? What if you were juggling a second job? Or what if you arrived at work only to find you weren’t needed? This is reality for many low-wage part-time employees. Maryland is one of at least ten states considering legislation to make scheduling more predictable. But employers say a one-size-fits-all mandate will place an unnecessary burden on businesses. Economics and labor-employment relations researcher Lonnie Golden joins us to discuss so-called just-in-time scheduling. We’ll also hear from Mike O’Halloran, Maryland State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Today, we talk about what kind of jobs will drive the next economy. Alec Ross, a distinguished visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins, has written the book he wishes someone had put in his hands when he was growing up in West Virginia three decades ago. "Industries of the Future" draws on his four years of travels as Secretary of State Clinton’s Senior Advisor on Innovation, a half-million miles observing developments in 41 countries. Parts of it are breathlessly gee-whiz, look-what’s-just-around-the-corner, and parts of it tell a cautionary tale for middle-class workers in developed economies like the United States.

maryland.gov

Should Maryland farms and waste water facilities be able to trade credits to offset nitrogen or phosphorus pollution? Supporters say it’s innovative, but skeptics say it’s nothing more than paying to pollute. Today on Midday, Nutrient Trading, lead in the environment, the incinerator in Curtis Bay, and sensible redevelopment along Baltimore’s waterfront are just a few of the many topics we’ll cover in a conversation with the Maryland Secretary of the Environment, Ben Grumbles.  

brads651/Flicker via Creative Commons

Each year, more than six thousand Baltimore renters are evicted. Landlords can start eviction proceedings the day the rent is overdue, and landlords take about a hundred and fifty thousand tenants to court. Tenant advocates say the system favors landlords and creates a “frictionless” path toward eviction. Representatives of property owners argue the process is already slowed by the volume of cases, and that slowing it further would place an unfair burden on landlords. Jessica Lewis, of the Right to Housing Alliance, and Kathy Kelly Howard, of Maryland Multi-Housing Association, take us through the eviction process, from both points of view, and to debate the merits of reforms proposed in the General Assembly.

Photo courtesy of candidate website

Today we welcome Deray Mckessoncontinuing our conversations with Baltimore’s 2016 mayoral candidates. The Black Lives Matter activist and former school administrator entered the Democratic primary minutes before the filing deadline. We’ll discuss the changes in policing and education Mckesson is calling for, and take your questions.

But first: Controversy at a Catholic university in western Maryland. Mount St. Mary’s student newspaper recently revealed a  plan to improve retention rates by weeding out struggling freshmen. Two faculty members critical of the plan were fired...and then reinstated. The faculty is calling for the president’s resignation. Scott Jaschik, founder of Inside Higher Ed, brings us the latest.

Darren Tunnicliff / Flickr via Creative Commons

How do eating disorders affect the brain? What role do genetics play in determining who is at risk? Dr. Harry Brandt, co-director of the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, takes us inside the mind of a patient. We’ll find out what parts of the brain are involved in how we feel about food and how we perceive our bodies.

Right now, nearly 4,000 Marylanders are waiting for an organ donation. Some will die waiting. Who should be first in line? What obligation do family members have to become living donors? Should it be legal to buy an organ? How can we be certain donors are giving their organs for the right reasons?

http://401kcalculator.org/Flickr via Creative Commons

If you had no bank account, how would you deposit your paycheck? If you had no credit history, how would you rent an apartment or buy a car? The agency that insures banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) says about 40 percent of Baltimore households are unbanked or underbanked. That means they use check-cashing outlets, money orders, and payday or auto title loans, instead of formal banking services. These alternative services can come with high fees and a reputation for predatory practices.

Kenneth Burns / WYPR

A sea change is coming to the Baltimore City Council: Nearly half the members are not seeking reelection this year. Three of the 15 are retiring, two are vacating their seats to run for mayor, and another is pursuing a judgeship. Luke Broadwater of The Baltimore Sun and WYPR news analyst Fraser Smith join us to discuss the implications.

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