Maryland Morning Podcast

  Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake joins Sheilah to talk about her priorities in her remaining time leading the city, her reflections on the last five years, including her handling of April’s uprising. What is she worried may be left un-done? And how did she decide not to run for another term?

Then – The Lomax Project takes the stage tonight at the Creative Alliance in East Baltimore, playing an eclectic mix of world and folk music. Tom Hall has a preview.

Jonna McKone

We visit Bard High School Early College in East Baltimore where students earn a liberal-arts associate’s degree along with a high-school diplomaa:  At Bard they always say the best way to get ready for college is to do college.  It’s an opportunity for students who really feel they’re ready for the challenge. 11 sec 

Then – Laura Amy Schlitz, winner of a Newbury Medal, talks to Tom Hall about her newest novel: "The Hired Girl" – a teenager whose life moves from a Pennsylvania farm to an elegant home near Druid Hill Park in early 20th-century Baltimore.

Plus: The curtain is rising on a new season of theater in Maryland! Tom gets a preview from our theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck. 

Llana Wurman and the Daily Pennsylvanian


Many Eastern cities, including Washington and New York, have extensive Bikeshare networks where you can pay a small fee, pick up a bicycle, ride it and return it to the same or another station. Baltimore is trying to catch up. We ask two bike advocates whether a small BikeShare can have big results.

Then – D Watkins is a young, fluid writer from East Baltimore. Hie tells us why he named his new book of essays, The Beast Side, and why he wrote about literacy, inequality and barriers of culture between whites and blacks.

Plus: In many cultures tradition includes naturally fermented foods from beer and miso soup to yogurt and sour-dough bread. Sandor Katz, who wrote “The Art of Fermentation,” joins Tom Hall to talk about his workshop and the benefits of bacteria.

 As the number of casinos has risen in Maryland, so has the number of gamblers who can’t control their urge to play. How is the state addressing it? We’ll ask Lori Rugle of the University of Maryland Medical School and Keith Whyte of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Then, Tom Hall visits the Creative Alliance exhibit "Despues de La Frontera", or “After the Border,”about the moral and legal issues of children who have fled Central America in hopes of beginning a new life in Maryland and elsewhere.

Plus: We talk to our fashionista Zoey Washington about iconic American brands falling short of what consumers are looking for – so, what’s the difference between “classic” and “boring”?

Former Maryland Morning producer, Matt Purdy

Analysis last spring found that more people from the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood in West Baltimore are incarcerated in Maryland state prisons … than from any other census tract. We went to see two ex-offenders working to change that. 

Then – Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank is known for his progressive politics and his wit – both evident his memoir. We revisit his conversation with Tom Hall.

Plus: Republicans have lost five of the last six popular elections for president – but the GOP is in charge of both houses of Congress. Why the difference? UMBC political science professor Thomas Schaller says he's got the answer in his book, “The Stronghold.”

And – Critic J. Wynn Rousuck review Fells Point Corner Theatre’s season-opener “Detroit,” about desperation in the suburbs.

  Former Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony Batts broke the silence he’s kept in public since Mayor Rawlings-Blake fired him two months ago. We ask City Councilman Brandon Scott to react to Batts' descriptions of a “love fest” when the City Council reviewed his contract and of police training to deal with bias.

Then –Tom Hall talks about the social, cultural and political history of the gay right movement with author and activist Louise Parker Kelley, whose new book is called LGBT Baltimore and with long time gay activist Curt Decker.

Plus: we kick off the Labor Day weekend with sounds from the Charm City Labor Chorus. Tom talks to its director, Daryl! L.C. Moch, about singing for solidarity.

Paul Schiraldi

Maryland is grappling with what to do about the surge in overdoses of prescription pain pills and heroin.  Governor Hogan’s emergency task force has released its interim report.  We touch base with Baltimore’s health commissioner and a program coordinator on the Eastern Shore about how they’re approaching the epidemic. 

Then –  We speak with David Simon, producer of HBO’s famous depiction of Baltimore street life The Wire about Baltimore’s crime surge and Simon’s latest  HBO miniseries, about on public housing.

Plus: Two student filmmakers tell us about their web show Marylandia, a spoof of the Independent Film Channel hit Portlandia. It puts a comic edge on community issues like police brutality and transgender rights.


On Wednesday a judge is to start hearing lawyers’ arguments in the trial of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.  We ask two criminal-law professors what motions are before the judge, and what impact they might have.

Then – In this month's installment of Living Questions, Tom Hall visits the Carmelite Monastery in Towson, the oldest community of religious women in the U.S. and speaks with Sister Constance Fitzgerald about the impact a life of reflection and prayer can have in a troubled world.


Late last month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch came to the MD Correctional Institute in Jessup to announce that the Obama Administration plans to introduce a pilot program that would allow a limited number of incarcerated people to receive Pell Grants for the college courses they take in prison. Congress banned the use of government grants for prisoners in 1994. The Obama Administration hopes that the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program will be a way of working around that ban to make grants available to some inmates. 

Then, Dr. Ruth Faden is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Co-Principal Investigator of the Global Food Ethics Project.  This is an international team of researchers, ethicists, nutritionists and people who study a wide variety of areas related to food policy, and in particular, the ethical challenges of feeding an ever-growing human population.    In 25 years, there may be more than 9.5 billion people inhabiting this planet, and keeping everyone fed with safe, nutritious food will give rise to many thorny ethical issues, as we attempt to produce enough good food to satisfy that incredible need.  Dr. Faden’s team has just issued a report called the 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Securitywhich suggests seven projects that can be undertaken in the next five years to address the complex issues around global food security.

Also, As a novelist, Laura Lippman keeps a pace like the tempo she set meeting deadlines as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun:  Lippman has published 21 novels in 18 years. But there was a curious gap in her signature series, the mysteries built around reporter-turned-private investigator Tess Monaghan. Until last spring, we hadn’t gotten a peek at Tess since 2011, when she was solving a mystery while on bed rest for a difficult pregnancy.Roughly the same time Tess became a mother, Lippman did, too.  Sheilah sat down with Lippman last February when she published her 12th Tess Monaghan mystery, called “Hush, Hush”.  

Reston Community Center via flickr Creative Commons

The charismatic equal-rights champion, Julian Bond, died ten days ago. He was 75. He served two decades in the Georgia legislature, and taught history for two decades at the University of Virginia – but he was connected to Maryland, also, through the dozen years he served as chair of theNAACP, headquartered here in Baltimore. All that came after the demonstrations and sit-ins of the 1960's, when Bond became a national figure as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. One admirer wrote last week, “SNCC was the #BlackLivesMatter movement before there were hashtags.” 

Also, In 2010, author Wes Moore published a best-selling book, "The Other Wes Moore," which told the story of his childhood and early adulthood, as well as that of another young man, who grew up in Baltimore, in the same neighborhood and, coincidentally, with the same name. Their outcomes, however, couldn’t be more different. One Wes Moore was convicted of murder, and imprisoned for life, while the Wes Moore I spoke with graduated from Johns Hopkins University, went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, became a decorated war veteran, an investment banker, a White House Fellow, an entrepreneur, and television host.

Plus, Jay Gillen was a founding teacher-director of theStadium School in Baltimore City, who is still teaching math in the City Schools, and working closely with the Baltimore Algebra Project.  In a book published last fall, he indicts an educational system that he says is stacked against poor and disadvantaged students. He suggests that we change that by encouraging students to organize and rebel.  The book is called “Educating for Insurgency: The Roles of Young People in Schools of Poverty.”