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

Adelante Latina FaceBook page

What does it take to keep a girl in high school from being sidelined by financial challenges, language barriers or distractions? We focus on mentors making a difference and talk with Leonor Blum, founder of Adelante Latina in Baltimore City, and Debbi Weinberg founder of the Girls Empowerment Mission (GEM) in the county. We also meet two participants from the programs, Ashley Ruano and Shakira Bradshaw, who is now giving back as a mentor herself.

We meet author and illustrator Jonathan Scott Fuqua, who watched scores of students graduate with college degrees in art -- along with so much debt that paying it down crippled their ability to start art careers. Fuqua and his co-founders, Alex Fine and Greg Houston, set out to offer a much cheaper school alternative, = offering classes more like an apprenticeship, instead of degree-based. Thus, The Baltimore Academy of Illustration opened in 2015. It’s taught about 250 students, including Jim Zimmerman, a full-time electrician -- he tells us how he's reviving his artistic skills and interests, making a dream come true.

Bill Barry

Before there were Labor Day barbecues and Labor Day sales, there was Labor--workers in the 19th century pushing for an eight-hour day and safe conditions as the U.S. economy was transforming itself from one of small enterprises to one dominated by industrial corporations. Labor historian Bill Barry tells us the roots of the holiday, still reflected when people gather for Labor Day picnics and parades. Follow this link to information about Labor Day events in Maryland, and watch this History Channel video for another quick lesson about US worker history.

Stoop Story teller Megann Shutt talks about moving back to Baltimore, and her job that began as a labor of love, then took a turn for the worse. Such is life ... as a duck! You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

Courtesy BrainFutures

The human brain and new ways to understand, support and work with it will be the focus when scores of researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs gather in Maryland next week for the second BrainFutures conference. Today we’ll speak with researcher and entrepreneur Cori Lathan, co-founder and CEO of AnthroTronix, whose app helps medics track the brain health of deployed soldiers and Dr. Naomi Steiner, a clinical associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine who uses neurofeedback to help students overcome attention challenges. Plus, we ask Professor Michelle Carlson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about her studies of senior citizens who tutor young kids. 

Courtesy CHANA website

There are more senior citizens every year, and more are victims of elder abuse -- last year 6, 300 cases were investigated in Maryland. The abuse can be financial, physical, sexual, emotional--or just neglect. We talk to Valarie Colmore, of Adult Protective Services are the Maryland Department of Human Resources and Nancy Aiken, executive director of the domestic-violence resource CHANA about who commits elder abuse, who should report it and how and what might prevent it. The toll-free state hotline to report elder abuse is 1-800-917-7323 and CHANA’s number is 410-234-0030. This program originally aired 6/12/17.

Whether it’s repairing defects, growing tissue, or customizing cell patterns, new technology is boosting the potential of regenerative medicine. We speak to Professor John P. Fisher, chair of the University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering, about the school’s new Center for Engineering Complex Tissue.

MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

As opioid overdoses continue to surge, the top prosecutor in St. Mary’s County is taking a new get-tough approach: second-degree murder indictments when drug dealing leads to an overdose. We talk with State’s Attorney Richard Fritz, who argues that people who distribute lethal drugs show such disregard for life, they should pay a high price, and University of Maryland Law professor Renee Hutchins, who contends it’s often an addict, not the dealer who packaged the drugs, who gets caught.

Courtesy Joseph Young

Have you ever wandered through a place and thought, if these walls could talk … ? Artist and author Joseph Young has given life-- fictional life at least--to this concept, with his latest installation, “Microfiction Rowhouse.” We talk to him about the stories he's written that will cover the walls, doors, and ceilings of his home, invoked by the spirits of a fictional family living there. Young would like visitors to come away with a sense of who the characters are, but he also leaves room for imagination ...

Transplant coordinator Kate Pratt shares her Stoop Story about experiencing the power of spirit during a night at the morgue that she'll never forget. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Courtesy Baltimore/Washington Cricket Crawl

Armed with curiosity, patience, and all the right apps loaded onto a smartphone, anyone can become a citizen scientist. We talk with Anna Scott, a climate scientist who’s counting on Baltimoreans to help her measure air quality throughout the city with her project, Baltimore Open Air. And we also hear from USGS wildlife biologist Sam Droege, who tells us about the annual Baltimore/Washington Cricket Crawl count and how anyone can be a powerful asset in helping science collect big data.

Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr via Creative Commons

Millions of tons of sediment are trapped behind the Conowingo Dam. It can’t hold more, so Governor Hogan has called for a test of dredging some of the sediment. Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles explains how the state plans to work with Chesapeake watershed partners --and Exelon which operates the dam--to pay for the project, while finding new uses for the sediment. 

The tiniest creature with the deadliest of bites … Professor Chris Potter's lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is working to understand why mosquitoes are attracted to humans, in order to quell diseases such as malaria and Zika, both transmitted by mosquito bite. By studying its sense of smell, Potter hopes to alter the way mosquitoes perceive human scent and flavor--in an effort to make us less appealing as a meal. Want to see what happens when a mosquito stops for a bite? Watch this. To see all that Potter's lab is up to visit his site. This is a rebroadcast, original airdate was 6/27/17.

Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement Facebook page

One of the criticisms of last year’s US Department of Justice investigation into the Baltimore Police Department - the city’s Civilian Review Board was severely hampered by a lack of both resources and cooperation from the department. Jill Carter, director of Baltimore’s Office of Civil Rights & Wage Enforcement and former state delegate, tells us how things have changed. And Bridal Pearson, civilian chair of the Civilian Review Board and representative for the Northern District, explains how the board investigates complaints.

Stoop Storyteller Joel Green, astronomy scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, shares how his obsession with science fiction led him to study the formation, birth and destruction of planets. You can hear more stories at stoopstorytelling.com.

A new exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, “From Digital to Damask”, weaves together technology, fish fossils, and 17th-century portraits! Inspired by sewing circles in her native Netherlands, Annet Couwenberg creates art with a fresh take on form and fabric.

Courtesy ProPublica website

Even advocates of removing Baltimore’s four Confederate statues didn’t expect them all to disappear so swiftly. They were symbols of an ideology now repudiated by most Americans. We ask Baltimore Bloc organizer and Morgan State University Professor Lawrence Brown what forces he thinks speeded their departure … and what difference it makes now. Plus we talk to Rachel Glickhouse, a journalist at Pro Publica, the online investigative news source, about their efforts to aggregate hate crimes being reported, in order to develop a database with a clearer picture of how widespread they are. It’s called “Documenting Hate.” And if you've experienced or witnessed a hate crime in Maryland, please document it here to add your information to the national database.

We're joined by Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, (C) a Johns Hopkins Bayview doctor who co-founded Medicine for the Greater Good -- the organization partners with communities and extends medical personnel into communities to share health literacy and make medical information and resources more available. We also speak with Reverend Ernest King (L) and Imam Hassan Amin, (R) two community leaders who have helped forged the non-profit’s deep connections with people in neighborhoods so they can better understand how medicine works and doctors can understand how their lives work. 

Sound Comparisons

More than seven thousand languages are spoken around the globe, but researchers have picked up on a curious fact: as you move from the Earth’s poles toward the equator, more and more languages are spoken. Why are there so many more languages spoken in the tropics? Dr. Michael Gavin, associate professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, describes his investigation of language diversity.

Chris Brueckner / Flickr via Creative Commons

Since February, Baltimore has been testing a program that offers individuals stopped for minor drug offenses social services, including mental health and drug treatment, in place of arrest. Baltimore Police Captain James Rhoden of the Central District and Crista Taylor, president of the nonprofit Behavioral Health System Baltimore, describe the preliminary impact of LEAD, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion.

Mystery writer and former Baltimore Sun reporter Laura Lippman shares a bittersweet tale of how failure played out--and paid out--in her professional life. You can listen to more stories and learn about Stoop shows here.

UnknownNet Photography / Flickr via Creative Commons

What do you get when you mix science, business, and a passion for ice cream? Ice Cream University! TIC Gums, which manufactures ingredients for the food and beverage industry, offers this program to Harford County high school students each spring. Tim Andon, TIC Business Development Manager, and Whitney LaRoche, who participated in Ice Cream University and is now studying food science, tell us about developing flavors that appeal to customers’ taste buds.

Courtesy B'More Clubhouse website

One of the most powerful impacts of mental illness is isolation, but a local nonprofit is fighting against stigma and encouraging people to leave their diagnosis at the door. Jason Woody, executive director of B’More Clubhouse, and member Tanya Phillips, tell us how the organization builds relationships and gives members a purpose. Plus, Professor William Eaton of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains the impact of B’More Clubhouse on health care costs. Original air date: May 23

Courtesy NASA website

For decades, the public has been anticipating the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. Millions of people are expected to travel to the Path of Totality -- a 70 mile wide swath across the U.S. -- hoping to witness it.  We ask NASA Research Space Scientist Noah Petro, James Webb telescope engineer Nikita Gokhale and local street astronomy #popscope  group organizer Ariel Hicks why it's such a big deal --  and how an event so brief can inspire such awe. Here are some links to view safely and to watch it live above the clouds on the day of the eclipse, as well as how to participate in collecting and sharing data!

Baltimore’s tangled history, firmly in the shadow of Annapolis, has given it an inferiority complex. So says Johns Hopkins professor emeritus of political science Matthew Crenson, whose new book is: Baltimore: A Political History. We ask him why early town fathers didn’t have the power to keep pigs from wandering the streets, how investing in the first interstate railroad left the city too debt-burdened to pay for police and schools, and why he thinks Baltimore has tried to deal with race issues by not talking about them.

A book launch will be held tonight, August 8th, at 4 pm, at the Baltimore City Archives, 2615 Matthews St. 

We talk with award-winning journalist Mary Otto about her new book “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.” It chronicles the rise of cosmetic dentistry and the marketing of the coveted ‘Hollywood Smile,’ contrasted with decades of deficient access to oral healthcare for many Americans--a gap that still pervades and challenges the system. Otto’s book was spurred by the tragedy of Deamonte Driver in Prince George’s County, who died at age 12 from infection from an abscessed tooth. Otto will be speaking about her book and signing copies for sale at the Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, an event co-sponsored with the Public Justice Center and Health Care for the Homeless. You can find out more about the event here, and you can purchase the book here. This is a rebroadcast of the original program from May 22, 2017.

Listen to a Stoop Story from Richard Messick about his matrimonial trip to Niagara Falls that had an unexpected 'dark' ending. You can hear more stories at Stoopstorytelling.com.

Just Married!

Aug 7, 2017
Courtesy Jewish Museum of Maryland

A wedding ceremony may be the union of two souls, but the day represents so much more--encompassing families, cultures and communities. Tracie Guy-Decker, Jewish Museum of Maryland associate director talks about what we can read into dresses, documents, chuppas and cake-toppers -- some of what's featured in the new JMM exhibit, "Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland." This is a rebroadcast of the original program, which aired on June 22, 2017.

Courtesy NY Public Library collection

During decades of Jim Crow, African-American travelers couldn’t be sure what they’d face at a strange restaurant, a hotel, even a gas station. Would the door be slammed in their face, or worse? The Green Book, an annual listing of establishments welcoming black customers, started in the late ‘30s. We speak with Anne Bruder, a State Highway Administration historian who is researching Green Book businesses in Maryland. We also talk with Traci Wright of the Park School, who discusses the Green Book with students from several high schools on an annual Civil Rights trip and also with civil-rights icon Dr. Helena Hicks, who recalls using the guide when she traveled for her work. 

Anne Bruder will speak about her research Aug. 5 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. You can find more information on her talk here.

David Cook / Flickr via Creative Commons

From the shape of the nests birds build to the color of their feathers, technology is turning theories dating back to Darwin on their head. Biologist Jordan Price, of St Mary’s College of Maryland, has mapped the genes of both ancient and more recently derived bird species. He tells us why domed bird nests evolved into the widespread bowl shape, why the color of feathers might be more about camouflage than attraction, and what scientists got wrong when studying the differences between female and male birds. Original air date: May 17, 2017.

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