On The Record | WYPR

On The Record

Weekdays, 9:30 to 10:00 am

Catch On the Record, hosted by Sheilah Kast, weekdays from 9:30 to 10:00 am, following NPR’s Morning Edition. We’ll discuss the issues that affect your life and bring you thoughtful and lively conversations with the people who shape those issues -- business people, public officials, scholars, artists, authors, and journalists who can take us inside the story. If you want to share a comment, question, or an idea for an interview you’d like to hear, email us at ontherecord@wypr.org.

Theme music created by Jon Ehrens.  Logo designed by Louis Umerlik.

Ways to Connect

Maryland Legal Aid

Lawyer in the Library, a partnership between Maryland Legal Aid and the Enoch Pratt Free Library, grew out of the civil unrest in Baltimore City after Freddie Gray died from injuries received in police custody. Lawyer in the Library gives convenient access to free legal advice right in the neighborhood. Amy Petkovsek from Maryland Legal Aid and her client Shannon Powell, along with Melanie Townsend Diggs, former manager of the Pennsylvania Avenue Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, talk about the genesis of the free legal assistance program and the difference its made in thousands of people's lives. 

Derek Bruff / Flickr via Creative Commons

The debts attached to nearly five thousand homes in Baltimore are up for tax sale next month as the city moves to recoup unpaid fees, taxes and water charges. While overdue water bills can no longer be only item that sets a property up for a tax sale, they do count toward the overall debt.

Margaret Henn of the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland says that’s a problem because of leaks and billing disputes with the Department of Public Works.

The Pro Bono Resource Center's last free legal clinic runs from 2 to 6 pm tomorrow, at the Zeta Center for Healthy and Active Aging on Reisterstown Road. You can register by phone at 443-703-3052. More info here.

Take a listen to this Stoop story from teacher and poet Azya Maxton about the power of poetry. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

How can writing and reading poetry be a lifeline in times of trouble?

Ahead of a visit this weekend to Baltimore, poet and professor Gregory Orr tells us how he came to poetry after the tragic death of his younger brother in a hunting accident. He shares how poetry rescued him from overwhelming guilt and grief, and helped him regain an awareness of life’s beauty.

Gregory Orr will be at the Joshua Ringel Memorial Reading on Sunday, April 22 at Hodson Hall on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus. The event is starts at 5 pm. More information here.

The Choice Program at UMBC Facebook page

The nonprofit Choice Program has worked for three decades to mentor young people in Maryland. With the help of AmeriCorps fellows, Choice works to keep families together, prevent repeat crimes by young people in the justice system, and provide educational and vocational opportunities.

We hear from director LaMar Davis about their strategy. We also spoke with current AmeriCorps fellow Shanelle Grier and former participant - later fellow - Latoya Felder.

The Choice Program at UMBC is celebrating its 30th anniversary with events this weekend, including a happy hour and trivia night. Information here.

Amazon

She’s known as the ‘First Lady of Song’ and the ‘Queen of Jazz.’ Ella Jane Fitzgerald overcame poverty, abuse and racism to build an international career that spanned seven decades and a charitable foundation in her name. We talk with Geoffrey Mark, performer and author of ‘Ella: A Biography of the Legendary Ella Fitzgerald,’ who walks us through the story behind the music. To purchase tickets for Mr. Mark's performance at Germano's Piattini Cabaret at 6pm on April 25, Ella's 101st birthday, visit this link.

Flyer for the Course/Jessica Marie Johnson

‘Knowledge is Power’ is a familiar adage. In our digital age, perhaps a more relevant aphorism and one exemplified by our guests today is ‘Knowledge is Access.’ Case in point: access to the syllabus for ‘Black Womanhood,’ a graduate course at Johns Hopkins University, has been made available online ... and has spread like wildfire. The course is co-taught by Professor Martha S. Jones, the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, and Professor of History, at Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Professor Jessica Marie Johnson, Assistant Professor in the Center for Africana Studies and Department of History at Hopkins. They discuss why access to knowledge can be so powerful and how online engagement affects curriculum.

You can access the Black Womanhood course syllabus here.

At the Strong City Baltimore Stoop Storytelling show two months ago, Sophia Garber shared her experience about coming to Baltimore, making friends, and sticking with it against all odds.

Check out the Stoop podcast and info about Stoop events here.

Baltimore Department of Planning

The nonprofit Strong City Baltimore is offering dozens of workshops tomorrow, where hundreds of activists can network and learn skills for a better community. Rev. Eric Lee is the primary organizer of the 11th annual Neighborhood Institute. He tells us about the opportunities for community organizers to build their skills.

Plus, some panels draw on the experience of young leaders. We hear from Mercedes Thompson and Claire Wayner, who co-founded the “Baltimore Beyond Plastics” movement.

Baltimore Department of Planning

Baltimore is pockmarked by thousands of abandoned homes and empty lots. What effect do vacant properties have on health? What can the city do to transform blight into inviting outdoor spaces?

Former state secretary of health, Joshua Sharfstein, points to research that measures how blight raises stress levels.

And Stephanie Smith, Assistant Director for Equity, Engagement, and Communications for the city Planning Department, describes a plan to turn vacant properties into parks, playgrounds, and trails.

City Lit Project

The 15th annual City Lit Festival Saturday, April 14, will include scores of sessions for writers and for readers. City Lit Project director Carla Du Pree gives highlights, which range from stories about motherhood and racial, gender and socioeconomic “passing” to one-on-one editing sessions with established writers and a master class with poet Yrsa Daley-Ward about fearlessly writing your truth.  Then keynote speaker Phillip Gourevitch talks about his upcoming book on what the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide teaches about memory, forgetting and hiding.

Charm City Bluegrass Festival

Bluegrass music is often described as an amalgam of Appalachian mountain music, folk music, country music and even jazz. It turns out that Baltimore’s music scene played prominently in the birth of bluegrass.  We meet Phil Chorney, CEO and Founder of the ‘Charm City Bluegrass Festival’ and Baltimore Management Agency and Adam Kirr, the festival’s chief marketing officer to give us highlights of the event.

Also, Tim Newby, author of the book: “Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin' Sound and Its Legacy” explains bluegrass music's deep roots in Baltimore.

For information about the Charm City Bluegrass Festival, check out this link.

To view the festival documentary, visit this link.

Smythe Richbourg/Creative Commons

The General Assembly has a little more 14 hours to solve some thorny legislative issues that have eluded compromise for months. For example, the crushing wave of homicides in Baltimore, or the new industry being created around medical marijuana. And, is the state legislature going to demand changes in safety features in public schools? We find out how this last day looks to two political analysts who have kept their eyes on the legislature for years. Barry Rascovar writes for the blog Political Maryland. Charles Robinson is a political reporter for State Circle on Maryland Public Television. 

Here’s a Stoop Story from Jen Matsumoto about going hiking after Maryland’s 2010 'snowmaggedon'.

You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Rails to Trails Conservancy Facebook page

Dust off your bicycle, pull on your hiking boots! Tomorrow the nonprofit Rails to Trails Conservancy is hosting its annual ‘Opening Day for Trails,’ a chance for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the Jones Falls trail and celebrate nature.

**Due to weather, the walking and bike tours have been postponed. The gathering at Union Brewery at noon is still on.**

Jim Brown, manager of trail development, tells us about the festivities planned and describes how a coalition of community groups and city agencies are working to create a loop of easily accessible trails around Baltimore. The goal: to bridge the gaps between neighborhoods and to re-purpose abandoned land.

Learn about the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network here.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr via Creative Commons

Fifty million dollars: that’s how much Baltimore will pay police officers this year in overtime. Mark Reutter, reporter for The Baltimore Brew, delved into the records and found that police overtime soared by two-thirds from 2012 to 2017. Examining individual salaries revealed thousands of dollars in overtime pay to officers who do little street patrol or work desk jobs in specialized units.

Read the series, "Overtime Abuse at the BPD" here.

Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report collection at the US Library of Congress

Fifty years ago today the landscape of race relations in America changed in a single tragic instant, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Rev. Stephen Tillett, president of the Anne Arundel branch of the NAACP and pastor at Asbury-Broadneck United Methodist Church and Rev. Lauren Jones of Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, discuss why Dr. King’s last months focused on economic justice and why his Poor People’s Campaign is still painfully relevant today.

Find information about Tillett's book, "Stop Falling for the Okey Doke" here.

Read Jones' blog Throw Up and Theology, here.

Learn more about today's Poor People's Campaign, here.

Ann Froschauer / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Bats get a bad rap, but they play a pivotal role in nature---they devour insects and their furry bodies can spread pollen. Bats make up one fourth of all mammal species.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources ecologist Daniel Feller tells us about the devastation caused by the fungal disease White Nose Syndrome, which has killed millions of bats in North America. How is this disease spread?

Read more about White Nose Syndrome here:

DNR Bats and Diseases page
M
aryland's Bat Caves

And Dr. Kirsten Bohn, researcher at Johns Hopkins’ “Bat Communication Lab,” decodes the sounds bats make. You can hear more from Dr. Bohn at Bat Night! at Patapsco State Valley Park on April 21st. 

Pixabay MabelAmber/1928 Images

There’s a lot of evidence that social isolation hurts the elderly. Zach Leverenz, vice president of Impact Areas at the AARP Foundation, talks with us about a pilot program using voice-activated technology to combat loneliness for seniors. We also meet Lisa Budlow, vice president of aging in community at The Associated’s Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc. CHAI'S clients are testing out the technology, and Weinberg Woods resident Edith Yankelov, 87, talks about her experience taking part in the project.

Johns Hopkins University - Sheridan Library website

‘Devouring a book’ takes on new meaning at the International Edible Book Festivals taking place around town. We meet organizers Heidi Herr , a librarian at Johns Hopkins University and Aaron Blickenstaff, Access Services Manager at MICA’s Decker Library. 

You can learn more about MICA's Edible Book Festival here.

Johns Hopkins Edible Book Festival information is here.

Towson University Book Festival information is here.

Johns Hopkins University website

Johns Hopkins University's quest for authority to set up a police force of sworn, armed officers is getting the attention of civic leaders, students and neighbors. JHU president Ronald Daniels tells us why he considers it urgent and  Andrea Fraser, a Hopkins graduate student calls it premature. David Tedjeske, from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and director of public safety at Villanova University in Pennsylvana, weighs in on national campus security trends.

AP Photo by Wilfredo Lee

Since the Columbine school shooting 19 years ago, tens of thousands of other students have cringed in corners or cowered in closets during other shootings or drills. What traumas do they carry? How should parents talk to them? After the fatal shooting in St. Mary’s County, the Mental Health Association of Maryland posted talking points to help that communication. We hear about those talking points from Senior Program Officer Lea Ann Browning-McNee. We also hear from Loyola University Maryland clinical professor Gayle Cicero, of the School of Education, about the changing skills school counselors need.

You can find the link to MHAMD talking points for parents, here.

Jason Ramirez attended a new school almost every year of his childhood. Bouncing around from apartments to shelters to the homes of relatives because his parents - both addicted to heroin - could not give him and his sisters a stable home. But, once he set his sights on becoming a doctor, he was locked onto that dream.

Today Dr. Jason Ramirez is a family-medicine physician and faculty member at the University of Maryland medical school. In his memoir, “The Hard Way: A Doctor’s Fight Against Addiction, Poverty, and Depression". He explains how witnessing his parents’ drug use taught him to empathize with patients who struggle with addiction.

Carrie Wells / MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

Between 10 and 20 percent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Yet, many families feel they have to grieve silently.

We hear from two women working to comfort families mourning a baby. Maria Mosca--who lost her daughter, Lucia May, last spring--tells us where she turned for support.

And nurse Terri Zeman, who started the perinatal bereavement program at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center decades ago, tells us how the hospital helps families grieve the baby they didn’t get to take home.

marylandday.org

A knowledge of history leads to a better understanding of the present and, perhaps, insight into the future. Our guests today understand the power in that. We talk with Phoebe Stein, executive director of Maryland Humanities to learn about Maryland History Day, a statewide competition for middle- and high-school students to bring a favorite history lesson to life. And we also meet David Armenti, director of education at the Maryland Historical Society, who tells us why it’s worth our time to remember Maryland Day, this Sunday, March 25.

For information on Maryland Day events around the state, check out this link.

Interested in being a judge for Maryland History Day? Visit this link.

Here's a Stoop story from Hannah Feldman, about her encounters of the 'Merlin' kind. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com or on the Stoop podcast.

Target

There are many ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Maryland … from mountains to ocean, and from forest to stream. Our guest today is dedicated to helping enthusiasts discover new adventures and learn more about the geography, flora and fauna that await. Biologist and naturalist Bryan MacKay walks us through his three new guidebooks: Cycle Maryland, Hike Maryland and Paddle Maryland. Whether you’re novice or seasoned, MacKay urges you to get out of the car and go into the wild.

Patrick Daniels

Baltimore City College, the third oldest public school in the country, is also home to a venerable debate team. Alumnus Gil Sandler, class of ‘41, describes how the art of debate has changed since his time on the team.

Cassie Doyle-Hines

There’s a revolution afoot, and it’s being fueled by high school students across the country who are discovering the power of political engagement. Galvanized by the tragedy in Parkville, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead last month, students across the country have staged rallies and walkouts demanding stricter gun laws and an end to gun violence. Saturday, March 24, is a focus of much of the organizing--the ‘March for Our Lives’ in Washington DC. Hundreds of thousands of young people and families from all parts of the US are expected -- demanding their voices be heard.

We talk with Park School of Baltimore Freshman Liza Sheehy, senior class president Mahey Gheis and Rommel Loria director of civic engagement and service learning about what students in their school are doing to engage politically.

We also meet Ericka Alston Buck, founder of Kids Safe Zone, who will travel to the march in D.C. with a fleet of buses full of high school students, organized by Mayor Catherine Pugh. Finally, we speak with Michaela Hoenig, a senior at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, who has organized lodging for hundreds of students and families attending the March For Our Lives.

To sign up for FREE bus rides to the rally from Baltimore, visit this link: Baltimore and Beyond March for Our Lives Rally Tickets.

Pages