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

  

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?

A week from today, the members of the Electoral College will cast their ballots for president. A Hail Mary effort is underway to persuade electors from red states not to vote for Donald Trump. If it works--and it’s a real long shot--the choice would go to the Republican House of Representatives. The House could end up choosing a different Republican candidate. Former Baltimore County Executive Ted Venetoulis, a Democrat and author of a book about times the House has picked the president, says the electoral college was designed as a safeguard. “This is what the framers wanted," he says. "They wanted a couple of firewalls between the public, essentially, who they wanted to vote, and the ultimate decision, because they did not trust a pure democracy.” We also hear from Republican Richard Painter, who was chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush.

Chrissy Ferrara tells the 2009 tale of her love affair with Starbucks. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at stoopstorytelling.com

An elegant young woman with a giant teacup. A man holding a whale puppet. Baltimore artist Amy Sherald paints vibrant oil portraits of African-Americans, like characters from a fairy tale. She says she creates an imaginary world for marginalized people who have not always had the luxury of imagination. “There’s places in this world where fantasy just doesn't exist and it doesn't exist in the minds of the people who live in those spaces,” she says. Amy Sherald tells us about her near-death experience, the years of effort, and the major prize she won last spring from the National Portrait Gallery. A show of her work goes up in Baltimore this weekend.

Matt Sherberg / Flickr via Creative Commons

Credit cards, student loans, housing and car payments. Facing a mountain of debt is scary, and something that the local nonprofit Guidewell Financial Solutions believes you don't have to face alone. We meet Devon Hyde, of Guidewell, and Dr. Christine Callahan, a research assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. They’re the social workers behind a new counseling program that aims to address the links between financial and emotional health. We also meet a woman who climbed out from under $50,000 of debt.

Courtesy of Brien Haigley and Rich Polt

  

75 years ago, December 7, 1941, Americans were stunned by a Japanese aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 2,400 Americans were killed. The next day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan, propelling America into World War II. We’ll hear from two men who lived through it - one a boy who lived near the naval station, one a young man in Baltimore. And we hear from the son of a World War II soldier who has made it his mission to keep survivors’ stories alive.

In 1989, the environmental activist Bill McKibben wrote a bestseller called “The End of Nature.” It painted an apocalyptic picture of the state of the planet. Nearly three decades later, we take a look at a book of essays by the generation that grew up after McKibben laid out his vision. “They’re the first generation that learned the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle from Sesame Street. They’re the first generation to see really tangible evidence of changes in the environment from garbage islands floating to ice caps melting,” says Susan Cohen, co-editor of “Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet.” She joins us, along with two young writers who contributed essays to the book, James Orbesen and Emily Schosid

Baltimorecity.gov

Today is Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s last as mayor of Baltimore City. We take a look back at her 7-year tenure with two reporters who have covered her for years. From one of the worst snowstorms in city history to the unrest of April 2015 and the violent crime that surged afterwards, we discuss how Rawlings-Blake fared. Her accomplishments, her failures and her personal style, which some critics came to see as a liability.  A report card on the mayor, with Baltimore Brew reporter Mark Reutter and former Baltimore Sun reporter Julie Scharper.

Today we hear story from Prescott Gaylord, told first in 2012, about growing up as a Scientologist and how this affected his relationship with his father. His story has been edited for brevity. 

Nearly a dozen cities across the country issue municipal identification cards. They’re meant for those who have trouble getting other forms of government-issued ID: Undocumented immigrants or the homeless, for example. But given how easy they are to obtain, how useful are such ID cards? It turns out that in some cities, banks, buses, and law enforcement accept municipal IDs. Could it happen in Baltimore? City Councilman Brandon Scott hopes so. He’s sponsoring legislation to create a municipal ID here.

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.”

Jacob Stewart/Flickr via Creative Commons

When you cannot sleep, the middle of the night can be a harrowing spot. Insomnia is all too familiar for many of us. Dr. Emerson Wickwire, director of the insomnia program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, joins us to talk about the causes of this maddening affliction and how best to summon the snooze.

Gage Skidmore and DBKing / Flickr via Creative Commons

Since Justice Antonin Scalia died last February, the Supreme Court has operated with only eight justices; President Obama nominated a replacement, and Senate Republicans refused to consider him. What’s been the impact of this lasting vacancy? We speak to University of Baltimore law professor Michael Meyerson about the future of the Supreme Court under President Trump, and how extreme political polarization has shaped Americans’ view of the Court. Plus, a preview of some upcoming cases, including one that involves the death penalty -- and one that could involve the Washington Redskins.

JIMMIE / Flickr via Creative Commons

Fall is here and the school year is well under way. But some parents don’t have to worry about packing a lunch or getting their kids to the bus stop on time. They are homeschoolers, and nationwide, they’re a growing demographic. In Maryland, there are about 27,000 homeschooled kids. What motivates parents to homeschool? Is homeschooling possible in households with working parents? What are the benefits, and the challenges? 

Time for the next installment in our weekly feature from the Stoop Storytelling Series! Bridget Cavaiola shares a story about nuns, a dead bird, and the value of neighbors. Her story has been edited for brevity. The full version is available here

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