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Maryland Morning

Sagamore Development

The Baltimore City Council is set to deliver the final vote on the Port Covington development project.

On Wednesday the Board of Estimates approved the $100 million community benefits deal. The deal, which includes a commitment to hire 30 percent of all infrastructure construction workers from Baltimore and mandates that 20 percent of housing units built must be affordable, was reached through negotiations between Sagamore and several local community groups. Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) was one of the groups at the table and the organization contends that the community benefits deal will help residents of Baltimore in an unprecedented way. Critics say the deal doesn’t go far enough to ensure equity for Baltimore’s poorest residents, citing loopholes in the affordable housing commitment and low wages for construction workers.  Bishop Douglas Miles is the Pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church and a co-chair emeritus of BUILD. He joins Tom to talk about the community negotiations and the final deal. We’ll also hear from Monisha Cherayil, an attorney with the Public Justice Center. She shares her concerns about the deal, particularly its somewhat conditional promises of affordable housing. 

Photo by Harris for Baltimore

In another installment of our Talking With the Candidates series, Joshua Harris, the Green Party’s nominee for mayor of Baltimore, joins Tom in the Maryland Morning studio.

Mr. Harris is 30 years old and lives in the Hollins Market area of Southwest Baltimore.  He is a community activist and co-founder of Hollins Creative Placemaking.  He is also managing editor of The Sphinx, the magazine of Alpha Phi Alpha, the African-American national fraternity based in Baltimore -- and a former legislative aide for Delegate Charles Sydnor, who represents parts of Baltimore County (Dist 44B).

A Chicago native and a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis,  Mr. Harris moved to Baltimore in 2012.

Harris is running for mayor, he says, because, in the wake of the uprising and riots of 2015, Baltimore needs transformational change, not just -- as he puts it -- tinkering with the status quo.

This week, the relative political newcomer was named “Best Politician” in the City Paper’s annual ‘Best of Baltimore’ issue. 

Mother's Lament

Mother’s Lament: So Many Names Unknown, So Many Sons Lost, a new oratorio being performed at Morgan State University explores the tragic homicide epidemic in Baltimore. Homicide is the national leading cause of death for black males ages 15-34. The piece is in response to last year's uprising and seeks to acknowledge and console the grieving families and communities that have lost sons to violence. Composers James Lee, III and Vincent Dion Stringer join Tom in the studio to talk about Mother's Lament.  Dr. Lee is on the faculty at Morgan State and Mr. Stringer heads the university's Opera Department.

Mother’s Lament: So Many Names Unknown, So Many Sons Lost premieres tomorrow night at the Gilliam Concert Hall in the Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University. Julien Benichou conducts the Mid-Atlantic Orchestra with soprano Marquita Lister, bass-baritone, Robert Cantrell, and the renowned Morgan State University Choir, the Boys Choir of Powhatan, Singing Sensations Youth Choir, and singers from several HBCU choruses.  The concert begins at 8:00pm. For tickets click here.

Georgetown.edu

With the 2016 election just weeks away, Washington Post syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne joins Tom by phone to weigh in on this extraordinary presidential election season.  Among the topics they discuss: how Donald Trump managed to hijack the GOP and change the course of the conservative movement, and how immigration policy has been a central issue in the presidential race. Dionne also considers Hillary Clinton's recent "basket of deplorables" comment castigating Trump supporters, and what impact it might have on her campaign. 

In addition to his work as a syndicated columnist, E.J. Dionne is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a professor at Georgetown University, and the author of several books; his latest is Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism--From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond 

Musicians In Their Words: Deerhoof

Sep 14, 2016
Deerhoof.net

Punk-rock band Deerhoof has charmed audiences for decades with its distinct and evolving sound. Although the group has never made it big or had a major hit, they have enjoyed a large and loyal worldwide fan base. 

Band members Satomi Matzusaki, Ed Rodriguez, John Dietrich and Greg Saunier combine their different backgrounds and perspectives on music to create an original and eclectic mix. 

Freelance producer Max Savage Levenson sat down with Saunier, Deerhoof's founder and drummer (and Maryland native), to get an inside look at how the band works, and how it has managed to keep re-inventing itself for new generations of fans.

For more information on Deerhoof and their current tour schedule, click here.

Today, a look at the controversial issue of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It’s a method of getting at natural gas that involves injecting millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground at high pressures to fracture the underlying rock and release the gas.

Fracking has expanded rapidly across the US in the past decade, mostly in western states. There are also thousands of fracking operations in the East, especially in the area known as the Marcellus Shale… a gas-rich rock formation that runs beneath parts of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland’s two western-most counties.

A Maryland commission-- chaired by Dr. David Vanko, dean of the Fisher School of Science and Marthematics at Towson Universty -- was created in 2011 to study the environmental and health impacts of fracking, as well as its potential economic benefits. Four years and 34 public hearings later, that commission recommended that fracking be allowed to proceed under strict regulations.  But the General Assembly intervened and imposed a two-year moratorium on fracking that expires in October 2017.  

While Maryland’s Department of the Environment may see fracking as a reasonably safe enterprise, public doubts have been fueled by a steady stream of troubling scientific research.  Dr. Brian Schwartz, a professor in the Johns Hopkins-Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health, has co-authored a series of four papers over the past year that suggest fracking operations could be the culprit in a wide range of health problems.  Dr. Schwartz joins Maryland Morning co-host Nathan Sterner in the studio to discuss those findings.  Joining the conversation by phone is State Senator Bobby Zirkin, who first proposed a permanent ban on fracking back in 2014, and plans to do so again in Annapolis next year.

Walden For Mayor

Republican candidate for Mayor of Baltimore City Alan Walden joins Tom in the studio. 

On Election Day  Tuesday, November 8th, Walden will face Democratic nominee Sen. Catherine Pugh and Green Party candidate Joshua Harris on the ballot.  Alan Walden was a morning anchor and commentator at WBAL radio for 16 years. For years before that, he was chief radio correspondent for NBC News worldwide.  He is 80 years old. He lives in Baltimore’s Cross Keys with his wife, Jeannie. They are the parents of two grown children.  Born in Brooklyn, New York, he says he is a “Baltimorean by choice,” having lived in the city since 1988. 

Carol Rosegg

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio to talk about the new Broadway-bound musical, Come From Away, now playing at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.. The musical drama recalls the horrors of 9/11 and the fact that moments after those terrorist attacks, the US government closed US airspace and ordered thousands of airborne jetliners to land immediately at the nearest airports. 

Thirty-eight planes, carrying more than 6,500 passengers, were diverted to Gander, a small town in the Canadian province of Newfoundland, doubling the community's population overnight.  Come From Away tells the story of how Gander residents offered these stranded passengers -- complete strangers -- food, shelter and friendship during the difficult days following 9/11. 

Come From Away is playing through October 16 at the Ford's Theatre in Washington.  For tickets or more information click here

Chris Carlson/AP

Late last month, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a stand and sit during the National Anthem before one his games in protest to racial inequality and injustice in America. Kaepernick has continued his protest, by knelling during the anthem, and says he plans to keep it up until racial inequality is addressed is a meaningful way. 

His actions have prompted a backlash from fans and former players who’ve called him unpatriotic, among other things. He’s also received a flood of support from musicians, fans, current and former athletes and most notably President Obama.  Pulitzer Prize winning author E.R Shipp joins Tom to discuss Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest and the effectiveness of using a platform like the NFL to highlight social justice issues. 

MIRAMAX/ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

Movie mavens Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post and Jed Dietz founder and executive director of the Maryland Film Festival join Tom to discuss the hits and misses of the latest string of movies and what to look for this fall, including Snowdena film about former CIA employee turned whistle blower Edward Snowden.

Large budget films like Suicide Squad and Ben-Hur have been major disappointments. While small breakout films like Southside With You, a fictional depiction of First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama's first date, have done surprisingly well with critics. 

In the sixth and final installment of the Focus on the Counties series, Tom speaks with Kent County Administrator, Shelley Herman Heller. Kent County is one of nine counties in the state that do not have a county executive, instead administrators are appointed by a board of elected commissioners. Heller was appointed County Administrator in July 2015. She is a Kent County native, and was town administrator of her hometown, Betterton, MD, from 2011 -2014, and then the finance officer for the town before taking on the top job in the county. 

Also joining the conversation is Chris Cerino. He’s the mayor of Chestertown, the largest town in Kent County. As a part-time mayor, Cerino makes an annual salary of $7,500 a year. In his other day job, he is Vice President of the Sultana Education Foundation, a local nonprofit that focuses on the history and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay.

With just 20,000 residents, Kent is Maryland’s smallest county and the population is still declining. Heller and Cerino join to discuss the challenges of serving an aging and shrinking population. 

The Chestertown Riverfest takes place from Sept. 23-24 on the shore of the Chester River. The festival features food, crafts, water sports and other family activities. The festival is presented by Chestertown RiverArts, Washington College Center for Environment and Society and SANDBOX. 

Klintz Photos

Joanne Lewis Margolius is the founder and director of the Magical Experiences Arts Company (MEAC), a Baltimore-based arts organization that for 30 years has been presenting workshops and programs for disabled children, using theater arts to address areas of emotional conflict.   This therapeutic theater group works at places like the Maryland School for the Blind, the Delrey School, which works with children suffering from traumatic brain injuries, and the Copper Ridge Center, which works with adults in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Joanne Lewis Margolius joins Tom in the studio to describe the power of Emotional Stimulation Therapy, MEAC's unique, sensory alternative to traditional drama therapy.

Alex Proimos

    

A recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the health journal, BMJ, found that medical errors in hospitals and healthcare facilities in the U.S. account for 250,000 deaths a year. That’s more than other notorious causes like respiratory disease and stroke.  Researchers say medical errors are not counted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because of an oversight in the system hospitals use to record causes of death.

Medical errors include things like misdiagnosis, surgical mishaps and accidental prescription overdoses.

According to the study’s co-author, Dr. Michael Daniel, miscommunication between doctors and patients can lead to many fatal medical errors.

Dr. Daniel joined Tom in the studio to discuss the study’s findings and what can be done to address the issue.

Civil rights activist Gloria Richardson spoke with Tom in January 2016 about her unique but unheralded role in Maryland's civil rights movement.

Richardson was part of the so-called Cambridge Movement in the 1960s on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – an area she has compared to living in the Deep South in terms of the profound and often violent racial divide.  As part of her effort to end racial bigotry and inequity in the region, Richardson helped organize the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee.

Kathy Flann

Joining Tom in the studio is writer Kathy Flann. She's the author of two short-story collections: Get a Gripwhich won the 2014 George Garrett Fiction Prize; and Smoky Ordinary, which earned Flann the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award. She's an associate professor at Goucher College in Towson, where she teaches courses in fiction and creative non-fiction.

Get a Grip, her latest short-story collection, is set mostly in and around Baltimore, and peopled with fascinating and richly textured characters, including two 7-foot-tall Estonian brothers hoping to get admitted to Loyola College, an aspiring writer trying to keep her deadbeat dad at bay, and a guy who finds a meteor in Catonsville. 

Community Healing Network

Racist rhetoric, systematic inequality and discrimination can have lasting effects on the mental psyche of those who are exposed to it, especially people of color. 

Dr. Cheryl Grills is a professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and the former president of the Association of Black Psychologists. Enola Aird is a lawyer, and the founder and president of Community Healing Network. They both participated in a panel earlier this year sponsored by the Black Mental Health Alliance that explored why African-centered approaches to mental health are crucial to addressing the psychological stress felt by many communities of color. 

Gloria Wright/The Post-Standard

Comedian, writer and political satirist Barry Crimmins is the author of Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal and the subject of Call Me Lucky, an award-winning documentary by his friend and fellow comic, Bobcat Goldthwait.

Crimmins joins Tom in the studio to weigh in on the presidential election. He also gets personal and talks about how the sexual abuse he was subjected to as a child has informed his work and purpose.  Barry Crimmins will be featured on an upcoming web release comedy special produced by comedian Louis C.K.

Bridget Armstrong

If you find yourself on the corner of Presstman Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, look up, you might just catch a glimpse of Elder C.W. Harris on the roof of the Harris-Marcus Center

After climbing the fire escape of the four story building, that’s where I found him, sitting under a canopy tent, eating a bag of peanuts, looking out on the city.

Elder Harris is the founder and pastor of Intersection of Change, formerly known as Newborn Holistic Ministries. He’s been living on the roof since last Saturday and he plans to stay there until 500 people from the Sandtown-Winchester community vote.

"In our last election cycle only 257 people voted in the Sandtown Winchester Community. That community has between 12 and 14,000 residents. We only have 2,000 registered voters. We need to change all that."

Elder Harris is a lifelong resident of Sandtown. He says since last year’s uprising following the death of Freddie Gray who was also a Sandtown resident, people are even more disillusioned and disenfranchised with local government. "Things have not gone back to normal as it was before Freddie Gray. Folks are without hope. It is hard for them to believe after so many years of neglect. I don’t hate the players, I hate the game. If they look on the chart and see that there are only a few people from our community who voted why would they listen to us? That’s the game, we have to beat them at their game."

Russell Sage Foundation

Stefanie DeLuca's new book Coming of Age in the Other America (published by the Russell Sage Foundation), explores the lengths to which young people, born to impoverished families, must go in order to escape the cycle of poverty. 

Caroline Cunningham

National Book Award winner James McBride is out with a new biography of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul seeks to tell the “real” story behind one of the most fascinating and influential figures in the history of American music.

Monica Reinagel

The popular reality TV show "The Biggest Loser," has been a hit because audiences love to see those dramatic transformations, as the show's overweight contestants shed as much as 100 pounds in just a few months for a shot at some serious prize money and celebrity. It turns out, however, that those weight-loss victories have been short-lived. 

Goldman Environmental Prize

This morning, we take a look at the successful, multi-year campaign to prevent a massive incinerator from being built in the South Baltimore neighborhood of Curtis Bay, and the young woman who was one of the leaders of that fight.

Destiny Watford was 16 years old when she started organizing against the incinerator that would have been built in her neighborhood and near her school. Destiny, now 20 years old and a student at Towson University, was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her tireless campaign against the incinerator. 

Christopher Myers/Baltimore Magazine

In 1955, civil-rights activist Helena Hicks was a student at Morgan State University. When she decided to enter the then-segregated Read’s Drug store in Baltimore with a group of classmates to escape the cold, she had no idea her actions would lead to the desegregation of the drug store chain a few months later. 

Dr. Hicks went on to participate in other protests and sit-ins, including a protest at the once-segregated Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore. 

 Dr. Hicks also comments on the Black Lives Matter movement and what she sees as the most important issue for people of color today.  Portions of this conversation aired originally on Jan 18, 2016. 

Photo by Joshua McKerrow

Every Monday,  theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck graces the Maryland Morning studio with her reviews of the most noteworthy stage productions in Baltimore and across Maryland.  This morning, she's come with news of a funny and high-spirited production by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company of a three-decades old classic, The Complete Worlds of Shakespeare (Abridged)

The rotating three-actor cast manages to embrace all of the Bard's 37-plays in a hilarious, 90-minute roller-coaster ride of skits, written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield and directed by ASC's Artistic Director, Sally Boyett.  The fast-paced show sends up the Bard's most famous tragedies, comedies, histories and everything in between, and spotlights the talents of both Mr. Shakespeare and the Annapolis troupe.

ASC presents "The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)" in the outdoor Courtyard at Reynolds Tavern, every Tuesday evening, now through September 27th. 

MacArthur Foundation

MacArthur Award-winning dancer and choreographer Liz Lerman is the author of Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer and founder of the Dance Exchange

Lerman is also the creator of the Critical Response Process, a system of feedback that is designed to make artists want to go back and work. She’s dedicated her career to challenging notions of who can be a dancer and what dance can mean. 

Lerman left Baltimore to accept an appointment as a Professor in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Liz Lerman joins Tom in-studio to discuss her work as an artist and her new job at Arizona State University. She also explains why she believes that much of the public response to last year's Uprising has been misguided.  This conversation originally aired on June 17, 2016. 

Baltimore School for the Arts

Donald Hicken -- one of the most admired figures in the Baltimore theater community -- retired in June after a 36-year career heading the Theater Department at the Baltimore School for the Arts.  

He helped plan the school back in the late 1970s, and in the years since, as the school has gained national renown, he’s worked to inspire and cultivate countless young talents. Some of his most well-known students include Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tupac Shakur, Tracie Thoms, and Josh Charles.  But for generations of School for the Arts graduates who landed in careers that didn’t put their names in lights, the experience of studying with Donald Hicken still shines brightly. 

Donald Hicken joins Tom in the studio to reflect on his nearly four decades at the BSFA, and on the creative new projects that lie ahead.

Don Hicken is directing a production of "Wait Until Dark” at the Everyman Theatre. That show begins September 7th and runs through October 9th.

Sharayna Christmas

In July,  14 African-American young people from Baltimore traveled to Havana, Cuba to study dance, Spanish and history. The trip was coordinated by Muse 360 and The African Diaspora Alliance.  According to a study by the Institute of International Education, only five percent of study abroad students are African-American at the college level, for high school students the numbers are even lower.  

To prepare for the two-week excursion students took classes and workshops to facilitate conversations about complex issues like systemic racism, health disparities, and manifestations of self-hate within communities of color. The program is designed to expose students to the world outside of Baltimore City while connecting them with the larger African Diaspora. 

One Year Later: Voices of the Uprising

Aug 24, 2016
Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun

To mark the first anniversary of the funeral of Freddie Gray and the protests and street violence that followed, freelance reporter Mary Wiltenburg produced an audio montage of that tumultuous day and its aftermath.  The narrative surrounding the Baltimore Uprising is still a work in progress.

It's time now for another installment in our monthly series, Living Questions, in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. We’re producing this series in partnership with the Institute for Islamic Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS).

In February, ICJS inaugurated a three-part lecture series on the theme of Imagining Justice in Baltimore. A Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholar each addressed the question of how each religious tradition refracts and understands the notion of justice. In light of the wrenching events in Baltimore last spring, the Institute is hoping to bridge ethnic, socio-economic and religious divides, and deepen and enrich appreciation for the place of justice-seeking in different faith traditions. 

Gary Young Photography

Award winning bass clarinetist Todd Marcus is teamed up with legendary clarinetist Don Byron for a one-night only show at Caton Castle in Baltimore.

In addition to being one of the only prominent bass clarinetists on the modern jazz scene, Todd runs the Baltimore based non-profit Intersection of Change. The organization addresses poverty related issues in Sandtown-Winchester and runs an art program to provide children with positive outlets. 

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