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

A new program offers a twist on traditional teacher mentoring groups. The Teacher Exchange pairs new teachers with the ultimate critics - students. Dr. LaMarr Darnell Shields is a recipient of a 2016 Open Society Institute Baltimore community fellowship. For the next year and a half he will be working on his project at Coppin Academy, a public charter high school in Baltimore.

Maryland Book Bank

Kids from low-income families tend to grow up in homes with fewer books than their middle-class peers. And that difference can undermine how well they read, and what they can achieve in school. The non-profit Maryland Book Bank aims to remedy this imbalance by collecting and distributing free books. Founder Mark Fiering fills us in on efforts to put books in the hands of eager readers. 

Thousands of Baltimore City residents have outstanding warrants for failing to appear for court dates on misdemeanor charges. A partnership between Baltimore City and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law is offering people a second chance to appear in court. We speak to Doug Colbert, professor of Law at the University of Maryland and director of the law school’s Access to Justice clinic, about who is eligible for a second chance, and how to proceed.

Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr via Creative Commons

The 2017 General Assembly convenes on this day, facing many environmental issues -- from fracking to pollution trading, tax credits for electric cars to cleaning up the Bay. Tim Wheeler, managing editor and project writer for the Bay Journal, joins us with a preview of the session’s anticipated environmental agenda.

Steven Depolo/Flickr via Creative Commons

Today we’re talking about cancer, and a surprising rise in oral cancer. A recent analysis found that insurance claims for oral cancer have skyrocketed over the last five years, particularly among men. What explains this rise, why do men appear to be more vulnerable than women, and what can be done to prevent cancer of the mouth, tongue, tonsils, and throat? Dr. Gypsyamber D'Souza, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, joins us in studio.

The​ decade-long ​legal​ ​struggle​ ​between​ ​Maryland​ ​and​ advocates for ​its historically​ black​ ​​universities​ ​and​ ​​colleges​ ​is​ ​back​ ​in​ ​federal​ ​court. The​ ​HBCU coalition alleges​ ​Maryland​ ​has​ ​underfunded​ ​its​ ​historically​ ​black​ ​institutions and​ ​allowed​ ​other​ ​state​ ​schools​ ​to​ ​duplicate​ ​their​ ​programs, draining​ ​students​ ​away​ ​and keeping HBCUs from achieving racial diversity. “Frankly what happens is that white students will not go to the HBCU. They’ll go to the traditionally white institution if both schools offer the same programs," says our guest, Jon Greenbaum of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He is one of the lawyers representing the coalition. We hear a different view from commentator Laslo Boyd, former acting state secretary of higher education.

Time for the next installment in our weekly feature from the Stoop Storytelling Series. Mario Rolando Diaz recounts his escape from El Salvador during the country’s Civil War. His story has been edited for brevity. The full version is available here.

You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at stoopstorytelling.com.

Instagram: @ShareaBabyMD / ShareBaby Baby Pantry

Babies go through dozens of diapers each week - an expensive but necessary purchase to keep infants healthy. But when families can’t make ends meet, they may resort to stretching out their supply. Social worker Eliseba Osore saw first hand the need for free diapers. Osore tells us how, as an Open Society Institute Community Fellow, she plans to expand her diaper bank into a free baby pantry - with clothing, furniture, and other supplies.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Creative Commons

In a little over two weeks, President-elect Donald Trump will become President Trump. As he ascends to the nation’s highest office, the media is doing a lot of navel gazing. Why did the press fail to predict his win? Is the media elitist, as many Trump supporters contend? And how should journalists deal with the rise of fake news? With us to discuss such questions is writer and cultural critic Lee Siegel. He is the winner of a National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism, and a regular contributor to the Columbia Journalism Review, where he’s written numerous articles about media in the age of Trump. He joins us from a studio at Montclair State University in New Jersey. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Even before the Maryland General Assembly convenes a week from today, some lines of conflict are clear: will Democrats override Republican Governor Hogan’s veto of legislation requiring more electricity to be generated by renewables, with a surcharge on customers’ bills? What spending cuts will Hogan propose to close the $400 million-dollar budget shortfall? Who will win the face off over how to choose which transportation projects get funded?

WYPR’s statehouse reporter, Rachel Baye, and The Daily Record’s government reporter, Bryan Sears, tell us how they think the session will shape up, and what may come of it.

A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds depression growing among adolescents in the United States, particularly girls. From 2004 to 2014, the number of young people who experienced an episode of depression grew by 30 percent, with 1 in 6 girls reporting a bout of depression in the past year. Study leader and professor of mental health, Dr. Ramin Mojtabai says more research is needed. Then, preventing and spotting depression in teens. Hopkins psychologist Tamar Mendelson tells us what behavioral changes parents and teachers should look for.

Start with racism and sexism. Mix in religion, politics, and money. Then add a room full of strangers. That may sound like a dicey recipe for open and honest conversation, but JC Faulk has crafted a thoughtful way to approach these hard subjects. It’s called Circle of Voices. Since January, about 2,000 people from across Baltimore have participated in conversations facilitated by Circles of Voices. Now, JC Faulk has been named one of this year’s Open Society Institute Baltimore’fellows. Like the nine other fellows, he’ll will receive $60,000 over the next 18 months to fund a local project. The nonprofit Open Society Institute focuses on addressing the needs of Baltimore’s underserved communities and supporting innovative solutions to longstanding problems. 

Deborah Ramsey didn’t fit the profile of the typical applicant when she joined the Baltimore Police Department decades ago. She was in her 30s, a mother. Deborah knew she loved Baltimore. her hometown, and that she was a people-person. She approached her police job with these strengths in mind. Working as a patrol officer and later a detective, she saw people in both their worst and best moments, dealing with the sudden death of a family member, or celebrating the return of a missing child. Now Deborah Ramsey has been awarded one of this year’s ten Open Society Institute Baltimore fellowships. Each fellow will receive $60,000 over the next 18 months to fund a local project. The Open Society Institute is a nonprofit that supports efforts to address problems in Baltimore's underserved communities, from mentoring young people to criminal justice reform. 

Painting, poetry, photography, sewing, even songwriting. These are some of the arts activities that Gianna Rodriguez and the organization Baltimore Youth Arts bring to young people across Baltimore.

  

Time for the next installment in our weekly feature from the Stoop Storytelling Series. In 2009, comedian Jim Meyer told the story of an unusual job he once had. Hint: it involves a crown and scepter. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at stoopstorytelling.com

Courtesy of Holistic Life Foundation

A nonprofit called the Holistic Life Foundation has been bringing mindfulness, yoga, and meditation into Baltimore public schools for nearly 15 years. Suspensions and detentions appear to have dropped as a result, and some kids have really taken the practice to heart. We hear from the co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, a student who has since become a teacher in the program, and a researcher who studies school-based mindfulness programs.

The priest who would become Pope Francis impressed his Jesuit superiors in Argentina from early on, taking on more responsibilities, sure of himself - until it became apparent that he had divided the Jesuit community - and he was sent away to a kind of internal exile that lasted two years. Mark Shriver, nephew of President John F. Kennedy, head of an international lobby network for children, former Maryland state legislator, discusses his new biography of the 266th pope. It's titled, “Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis.”

Children in foster care may bounce around to different placements and different schools. But some of Maryland’s 4,700 foster children can count on a court-appointed volunteer to be a dependable presence in their lives. How does that work? We’ll hear from a volunteer, a mother whose son she worked with, and Ross DiEdoardo, executive director of the nonprofit CASA of Harford County

Javier Romero Otero/Flickr via Creative Commons

What does our newfound ability to handle vast amounts of data mean for the future of medicine? Healthcare is likely to become more tailored to the individual. This has become known as ‘precision medicine.’ What will it mean for our health? We talk to the head of a Johns Hopkins University precision medicine initiative. Original air date: Oct. 31, 2016

The civil war in Syria has been raging now for five years. In that time, more than 450,000 Syrians have been killed. Half the country’s population has been displaced. The Syrian government officially reclaimed the city of Aleppo from rebel forces last week. The world watched as desperate civilians in the city pleaded for help on social media. The final round of evacuations appear to be underway now but the effort has been halting and the future is uncertain even for those who have escaped Aleppo. What has it been like for Syrians outside the country to watch the suffering there? Do the images we see in the media square with the place they know? Civil rights lawyer and journalist Alia Malek joins us. She was born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrants, and she lived in Damascus for several years at the start of the civil war. Her memoir about the history of her ancestral home in Syria will be published in February, with the title "The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria." 

Airman Magazine/Flickr via Creative Commons

More than 900 people were shot in Baltimore last year, 301 of them fatally--the deadliest year in the city’s history. The violence has barely abated. So far this year, more than 260 people have been fatally shot in Baltimore. The vast majority of the victims are young black men, and many of them end up at the University of Maryland’s R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. What if there were a way to save more of their lives? A surgeon at Shock Trauma thinks he has found a way. But the technique is both controversial and ethically fraught. Freelance writer Nicola Twilley recently wrote about it for The New Yorker Magazine, in an article titled “Can Hypothermia Save Gunshot Victims?” She joins us. Then, Harriet Washington, a medical ethicist and the author of “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” shares her thoughts on the new technique. 

Maryland Department of Agriculture / Flickr via Creative Commons

Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises announced last week that the school system faces a $129 million deficit in next fiscal year's budget. What might this mean for filling vacancies or upgrading facilities? How might the school board approach a budget deficit of this magnitude? We speak to two former city school board members, David Stone and Kalman “Buzzy” Hettleman.

Jermaine Bell says he found a power in art that he didn’t feel in words. After studying graphic design at the Community College of Baltimore County, and graduating from the Maryland College Institute of Art, Bell entered the world of advertising. Then a few years ago, he turned his sights on a different line of work: supporting Baltimore artists - particularly artists of color - and the institutions that showcase their work. Now Jermaine Bell has been awarded one of this year’s 10 Open Society Institute Baltimore fellowships. Each fellow will receive $60,000 over the next 18 months to fund a local project. The Open Society Institute is a nonprofit that supports efforts to address problems in Baltimore's underserved communities, from violence prevention to food access. You can find Jermaine Bell on Instagram and Twitter at @jtbeezwax.

watch4u/Flickr via Creative Commons

Fire has been in the news recently, and none of that news has been good. Gatlinburg, Tenn., Oakland, Calif. and even here in Maryland. A spate of smaller home fires in our state has claimed the lives of at least 9 people in recent weeks. Today we’re going to talk about what caused those fires, what we can do to prevent home fires, and what to do if a fire does strike. Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch joins us.

We listen to an edited version of a story from Robert Pelrine about his Aunt Jane, a cat named Fluffy, and a catastrophic Christmas. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at stoopstorytelling.com.

Jennifer Will Thapa, one of this year’s Open Society Institute Community Fellows, has seen teens struggle to find something productive to do in their free time. That’s why she’s creating The Common Ground Youth Farm Project, to give young people real responsibilities on a working farm. They’ll make decisions about preparing flower beds, planting seeds, mulching, showing up on time, getting along with coworkers, solving conflicts -- and they’ll get paid for their work.

James Stuby

Maryland has laid out a bold goal of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent in the next decade and a half. One tool to get there is participating in the Regional Greenhouse-Gas Initiative, a compact of nine northeastern states that require companies that generate electricity to pay for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit. Maryland joined the compact in 2008.  Over that period of time, carbon dioxide emissions have reduced about 37 percent across the region, the equivalent of taking around three-quarters of a million cars off the road. Professor Sara Via from Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Maryland Energy Secretary Ben Grumbles join us to talk about cleaning up Maryland’s air.

How do you create a path of upward mobility for Latinos in the food industry? How do you encourage corner stores -- those either owned by Latinos or serving mostly Latino customers -- to offer healthier choices? We hear from Katie Miller, who will address these issues as one of this year’s ten Open Society Institute community fellows.

Bright and early on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, you can find Isa Olufemi running with students from East Baltimore’s Dunbar High School. His mission isn’t just to promote physical fitness; he wants to instill lessons that his students can take with them after graduation and give them a dose of college advising. We hear about Isa Olufemi’s goals with the Poet Pride Run Club, as a newly selected Open Society Institute Community Fellow.

50,000 visitors streamed into MGM National Harbor, the newest casino in Maryland, during its first weekend. Awestruck seemed to be the word that described visitors who spoke with reporters -- “Vegas on the Potomac,” is how one woman described the new $1.4 billion-dollar resort and casino. What does this new arrival mean for the five casinos already operating in Maryland, and for the hefty stream of revenue the state has come to count on? We ask Washington Post reporter Michael Rosenwald  and Harford Community College Professor James Karmel: Is there a glut of casinos in Maryland?

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