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

Diapers, bottles, onesies, pacifiers: Babies need a lot of things, including a safe place to sleep. For some families, the cost of a crib may be out of reach. For others, the birth may have come sooner than expected. And, if the baby spends the night away from home, a safe place to sleep is needed because cribs aren’t very portable.

It can be a matter of life and death. This year, 12 infants in the city died while sleeping -- a frightening increase compared with 7 deaths in 2016.

In May we spoke to Shantell Roberts, executive director of the nonprofit ‘Touching Young Lives’. She's now been named an Open Society Institute Baltimore Community Fellow.

Fresh produce can be hard to come by in the city’s Sandtown neighborhood. That’s why chef Ausar Daniels has created a farm - to grow fruits and vegetables for the community and educate kids about plant science. He tells us about his plans to expand "The Greater Mondawmin Empowerment Project" into a food co-op and biocellar.

OSI fellow Matt Burke is a volunteer who runs Food Rescue -- a project of the Baltimore Free Farm, through which unwanted but nutritious food is distributed. Part of mission: rescue some of the nearly 40 percent of the country’s food that goes to waste simply because it’s imperfect. Check out more information - including how to get involved -  here.

Because music transcends language barriers and evokes emotion, it’s the tool one of this year’s ‘Open Society Institute Baltimore’ fellows intends has singled out: Amy Tenney plans to harness music’s therapeutic potential with her project, ‘Healing and Community Integration through Music for Refugees and Immigrants.’

Think again if you’ve been assuming curiosity is constant, like gravity. We talk to astrophysicist Mario Livio about his book, "Why: What Makes us Curious". Not only are some people more curious than others, and curious about different questions, but homo sapiens’ capacity for curiosity grew as its brain evolved. For all its variations, Livio deems curiosity an unstoppable drive. Original air date: July 11, 2017.

Creative Commons/Wikimedia

Nonprofits typically benefit from a flood of holiday donations … in dollars, gifts or time. We meet two women who take a more do-it-yourself approach to giving … by creating their own events to benefit those in need in Baltimore. Shannon Dixon will host her first  “Cookies and Hot Cocoa for the Homeless” event that will take place Sunday, on Christmas Eve from 6pm to 9pm. And Mary England is preparing for her second annual “Scarf Abandonment Project.” She talks about why promoting kindness is a worthy cause all year round.

Here's a Stoop Story from Taya Dunn Johnson about how being a rebellious fourth grader directly affected her Christmas that year -- a lesson that has stayed with her always. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Drivers know all too well the frustration of clogged roads. Experts at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Transportation Technology are diving in the ‘why’ --so deep into the data about traffic that about half the states turn to them for tools to manage congestion. CATT’s director Michael Pack says they can not only pinpoint the worst bottlenecks, but identify what caused them, how long the backups are, and how much they cost. Plus, Victor Henry and Ed Stylc, chief traffic-congestion management experts at the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, tell us how they use data to make recommendations to the state. 

This holiday season, while you’re baking cookies and cakes, note that line “baking powder” in some recipes. In the final product, it is invisible and tasteless, but what does baking powder do? And how has it shaped American cooking?

Food historian Linda Civitello’s new book is “Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking”.

A portrait of a president, an probe of Southern cuisine, a reboot of the Black Panther comic books. We’ve got books suitable for all the readers in your life--young and old, fans of pop and counterculture. These titles are perfect to read over the holidays, to give as gifts, or to share among friends.

Cullen Nawalkowsky of Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse and Deborah Taylor of the Enoch Pratt Free Library share their picks for the best recent books. 

University of Maryland Medical System

Asthma makes it difficult for thousands of Baltimoreans to breathe. Decrepit houses, trash and rodents can trigger asthma flare-ups. Would cleaning up poor housing cost less than frequent trips to the ER? A reporting partnership between Kaiser Health News and the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service looked deeply at where asthma flares up in Baltimore and what hospitals are doing about it.

We hear from Kaiser Health News’ senior correspondent Jay Hancock, and from one of the Capital News Service journalists who took part in that project--now a reporter for The Baltimore Sun--Talia Richardson.

Plus, the Breathmobile is run by the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. We speak to Dr. Mary Beth Bollinger, professor pediatrics, is the Breathmobile’s co-founder, and medical director.

More information at these links:

Kaiser Health News story - Hospitals Find Asthma Hot Spots More Profitable to Neglect Than Fix

Capital News Service package of asthma stories - Home Sick

A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project and the Abell Foundation documents stark difference in asthma hospitalization rates in rich versus poor neighborhoods in Baltimore, and reveals a dramatic drop in the far southern part of the city after a pair of nearby coal-fired power plants installed air pollution control devices in 2009. Asthma hospitalization rates in the zip codes for the Cherry Hill, Brooklyn, and Curtis Bay neighborhoods fell 57 percent between 2009 and 2013 – more than twice the drop citywide. 

Joan Gaither

Warm, cozy--and able to tell a story. We talk with artist and Baltimore native, Joan Gaither, who uses quilts to preserve and document American history. Her quilts are covered with beads, buttons, photos and fabrics of all colors. Now her quilts are on display at the Reginald F Lewis Museum in an exhibit called, “Freedom: Emancipation Quilted & Stitched”. Gaither describes putting her heart, soul, and identity into her quilts: It’s On the Record, after the news.

Ivy Bookshop

We revisit a conversation from July, 2013, with journalist Simeon Saunders Booker Jr. , who chronicled the Civil Rights movement for Jet and Ebony magazines. He died Dec. 10, 2017, at age 99. When he was 95, with his wife Carol McCabe Booker, he published a memoir called, Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement. (A warning: in recounting his travel through the South Booker used a racial slur. We have not censored it.) You can read his NYT obituary here and AFRO obituary here.

Amit Peled

Dedication and hard work really can make childhood dreams come true. We meet international musician Amit Peled. He plays the cello once owned by Pablo Casals, the renowned musician who inspired him as a boy. The book, “A Cello Named Pablo,” tells the story, urging children to pursue their dreams. Then we visit Peled at his studio to learn what it’s like to teach and study at the world famous Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. Information about the book release and free concert on Dec. 17, 2017 at An Die Musik can be found here.

When he first started at Field and Stream, Bill Heavey realized the realm of outdoor writing was overpopulated with experts. What they needed was an amateur, up for any adventure and ready to fail spectacularly. To fill that niche, Heavey has gone deer-hunting in the woods of Kentucky, snowmobiling in the bush of eastern Alaska, and cross-country-skiing in the wilderness of Ontario. He tells about his love for nature, coaxing his daughter to join him outdoors, rethinking what it means to shoot a deer, and his new book, “Should the Tent Be Burning Like That?"

Open Society Institute Baltimore

Living in a food desert -- where fresh, healthy food is not easily accessible -- is reality for one in four Baltimore City residents. We meet Eric Jackson, of the Black Yield Institute, who is working to combat what he calls ‘food apartheid.’  Jackson is a 2017 Open Society Institute Baltimore fellow; he’ll receive $60,000 over the next 18 months to create the ‘Building Black Land and Food Sovereignty Practice.’ Working in the Cherry Hill and Poppleton neighborhoods, Jackson intends to organize community-driven cooperative food ventures to create access to nutritious, affordable foods. We also meet Faith Cunningham, a resident of Cherry Hill, to learn what her grocery options really look like and why she's willing to travel to find healthier foods.

BHLI

Half of people behind bars suffer from addiction, an illness that may be the cause of their legal troubles. We look at two efforts to connect those in jail -- or on their way out -- to treatment.

In Washington County, nonviolent offenders can transition from jail to home detention, and receive addiction treatment in the form of a monthly shot. We speak to Rebecca Hogamier, director of the Washington County Sheriff's Office's Day Reporting Center.

And outside the Baltimore City Detention Center, a mobile clinic awaits the newly released. We speak to Deborah Agus, director of the nonprofit Behavioral Health Leadership Institute, and peer advocate William "JR" Jones.

Here’s a Stoop Story from Julie Hackett about her normal - not perfect - childhood. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com; the Stoop podcast is there, too.

Still lifes and landscapes, watercolors and oils. Artist James Hennessey came to Baltimore in 1965 to teach painting at MICA. Works from his five-decade career go on display at this weekend at the Creative Alliance--an exhibition called “Enduring Concerns”. Click here for information about the show.

Deborah Roffman

The intense reckoning America is experiencing around sexual harassment didn’t come out of nowhere.  We talk with Deborah Roffman, author and human sexuality educator at the Park School of Baltimore, about eye-opening events in the past five years that changed attitudes about taking what you want versus getting permission. Roffman teaches boys and girls as young as 9--fourth graders--and says forming personal boundaries starts with building self-respect.

Vera Institute of Justice

As the Trump Administration bears down on immigration enforcement, what is the recourse of immigrants facing deportation, who are often without funds to enlist a lawyer’s help, or even the basic understanding of what that would mean? We hear from Annie Chen a program director from the Vera Institute of Justice about the SAFE Cities Network initiative. It’s a nationwide effort to bolster access to legal representation for immigrants and also provide education regarding legal rights. Also joining us is Tracy Brown, deputy director of Open Society Institute Baltimore that works with the local immigrant community. We also meet  Val Twanmoh, director of the Catholic Charities Esperanza Center, which will receive some of the SAFE Cities funding, and Heather Benno, managing attorney of immigration legal services at Esperanza Center.

Elementary to Middle School 28 / Flickr via Creative Commons

Maryland and many other states are facing teacher shortages, and yet the teaching profession loses 1 out of 5 teachers by their fifth year in the classroom. Educational researcher Linda Darling Hammond of the Learning Policy Institute says a range of factors, like planning time and access to materials, shape teachers’ decisions.

Check out the LPI map of "Understanding Teacher Shortages," and the report, "A Coming Crisis? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S".

And we hear from two Baltimore principals - Principal Patricia Burrell of North Bend Elementary/Middle School and Principal Marc Martin of Commodore John Rodgers Elementary/Middle School - about how they are supporting their teachers and fostering collaboration at their schools.

Brian Copeland / Flickr via Creative Commons

For neglected and abused children, foster parents offer stability, love, and a safe place to call home. Tawana Nolan, supervisor for out-of-home care in Harford County, talks training and recruiting foster parents. And we speak to Darrow Brown, of Baltimore City, and Tracey Horstmann, of Harford County, about the challenges and rewards of foster parenting.

To get more information about foster parenting, check out these links:

State Department of Health guide to becoming a foster parent

List of local offices for foster care or out-of-home care

Helen Glazer

Artists have always drawn inspiration from nature. The grace of a crashing ocean wave, the warm palette of autumn leaves, the luminescence of a full moon. But … a stark, snow and ice-covered tundra? That’s where photographer and sculptor, Helen Glazer, toured and made images over the course of seven weeks as part of the ‘Antarctic Artists and Writers’ program. She won the grant from the National Science Foundation in 2015. Her exhibit, Walking in Antarctica, is on display through January 12, 2018 at the Rosenberg Gallery at Goucher College.

Here's a Stoop Story by Meg Adams, talking about her travels to Antarctica and finding the warm feeling of home, even in a frozen tundra. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com

Robert Shetterly americanswhotellthetruth.org

Baltimore welcomes a new discussion series that promises ‘conversation with a purpose.' It's called Great Talk. Co-founder Diane Davison gives us an overview, and we meet former National Security Agency executive and whistleblower, Thomas Drake. He will headline the panel for the inaugural event next week, titled: ‘Cyber Wars, the Secrets, the Spies’. A few years into his tenure at the NSA, Drake brought concerns about wasteful spending and questionable surveillance to his superiors, ... but was thwarted, then charged with espionage ... His life hasn't been the same.

Open Society Institute Baltimore

Combining his longtime advocacy for people with disabilities and his criminal law background, 2017 ‘Open Society Institute Baltimore’ fellow, Munib Lohrasbi plans to create the ‘Prisoner Protection and Advocacy Committee.’ Working in partnership with Disability Rights Maryland, Lohrasbi will perform site visits and observe how intake screenings are done; then he’ll compile and disseminate the data. OSI is a nonprofit that focuses on addressing the needs of Baltimore’s underserved communities and supporting innovative solutions to longstanding problems. 

Earrings. Necklaces. Tote bags. T-shirts. Fashionable, locally made, and designed by young people. ‘Youth in Business’ is an arts and business program that teaches young people how to create, market, and sell art products. It operates under the umbrella organization Jubilee Arts, which offers arts programming to the residents of Sandtown-Winchester, Upton, and surrounding neighborhoods.

We talk with Kim Loper, a community artist and former Americorps Fellow with Jubilee Arts. As one of this year’s ‘Open Society Institute Baltimore’ fellows, Kim will be working to expand Youth In Business into a design collective. We also meet Laila Amin, a sophomore at the Islamic Community School in West Baltimore who participates in the project.

The nonprofit Open Society Institute has awarded ten grants for community projects. We hear from one of the fellows, Ryan Flanigan, about the Remington Community Land Trust, an effort to create affordable home-buying access for low-income residents. And Terrell Askew, a resident of Remington and a member of the Greater Remington Improvement Association, shares his thoughts on preserving the neighborhood's character.

Pages