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Maryland Morning

Photo by Seth Freeman, CATF 2016

For this week's review, our theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck traveled, as she has every year for more than two decades, to Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, host for the annual Contemporary American Theater Festival.  For the Festival's 2016 season, five new plays are being staged in a rotating repertory:   pen/man/ship, by Christina Anderson; Not Medea, by Allison Gregory; The Wedding Gift, by Chisa Hutchinson; 20th Century Blues, by Susan Miller; and The Second Girl, by Ronan Noone.  Notable this year is that four of the five plays are by women playwrights; three of the plays are having their world premieres.  

J. Wynn Rousuck talks with host Tom Hall about some of the standout features of this repertory feast.

[Full disclosure from J. Wynn Rousuck: She and playwright Christina Anderson were fellow students in the graduate playwriting program at Brown University in 2007-2008.]

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Dr. Leana Wen is Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner, and she joins us here on Maryland Morning each month for our Healthwatch segment -- conversations about issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents.

In today's program, Dr. Wen talks with Tom about the national epidemic of gun violence, much of it involving young people, and why her campaign to combat this scourge has become such an urgent public health challenge. Dr. Wen made a similar case in her presentation at last month's 5th National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, held here in Baltimore. 

Dr. Wen  laments US Congressional failure in recent legislation to increase funding for opioid addiction treatment programs.  She also describes the steps the city is taking to protect against the Zika virus.

And with temperatures in Baltimore soaring into the 90s this week, Dr. Wen has some important advice for staying safe during the heat wave.  

Mark Hyman


It's been a big week for the Orioles after five players went to the All-Star Game in San Diego. Over the last five seasons, the Orioles have sent more players to the game than any American League team.

Plus, the Olympics are set to begin on Aug. 5 and big name players are dropping out of the games to avoid threats of the Zika virus. How will it impact this year's competition?

Our resident sports guy, Mark Hyman, joins Tom in-studio to discuss the latest in sports. Mark is on the faculty of George Washington University, and he's the author of several books, including Concussions and Our Kids.

Katie Piper and Karl Ferguson Jr

Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the country, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. This weekend, more than 350,000 festival goers will flood the streets to take in the music, art, theater and fashion presented during the three-day event. 

Grammy-winning artist Wyclef Jean is one of this year’s headliners.  Wyclef joins Tom to talk about his Artscape performance, his upcoming album Carnival III, Road To Clefication and his 2010 presidential run in his native country Haiti. Wyclef also weighs in on the racial tension gripping the country, the Black Lives Matter movement and what he says is an institutional problem within the criminal justice system.

In our occasional series Focus on the Countieswe've been talking with Maryland county executives about how they're addressing the needs and concerns of the region's residents.  In today's program, Tom is joined in the studio by Anne Arundel County Executive Steven R. Schuh.

Schuh  was  sworn  in as Anne Arundel's 9th County Executive on December 1, 2014, after defeating incumbent Laura Neuman in the Republican primary and defeating former three-term Sheriff George Johnson in the General Election.

The 55-year-old Baltimore native and long-time Anne Arundel County resident holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from Dartmouth College. Schuh holds two Master's degrees – a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Education from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University, respectively.  He is the father of two college-age children.

Before his election as County Executive, Schuh served two terms in the Maryland General Assembly as the Republican representative of District 31, which includes Pasadena, and parts of Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Park.

(left) Miriam Berkely

James Magruder's Love Slaves Of Helen Hadley Hall tells the story, through the medium of a ghostly narrator, of a group of reckless Yale graduate students trying to find themselves in the early 1980s. Magruder draws on his own experiences as a grad student at Yale to create characters who are more obsessed with their messy love lives than their graduate studies. 

The book takes place during the 1983-84 school year, just as the HIV/AIDS epidemic was beginning in the United States. Magruder, who is living with HIV, says he wanted to revisit a time of innocence and "unsafety" right before HIV changed the way young people approach their relationships.  Baltimore native James Magruder joins Tom in-studio to discuss Love Slaves Of Helen Hadley Hall.  

David Y. Lee

When people are arrested and brought to jail in the United states, they usually have to pay cash bail in order to be released from detention before their trial. Studies show that more than 3 out of every 5 people arrested remain behind bars – unconvicted – because they can’t raise the often sizeable sums of money needed to pay their bail.

“Punishing the Poor” is the theme of a special photography exhibition organized by the non-profit Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the PreTrial Justice Institute that spotlights the plight of pretrial detainees and the urgent need for reform of the nation's broken cash bail system.  The photo show, which opens with a public reception this Wednesday from 5:30 to 7pm at the Living Well, is called #unconvicted.  You can see some of the photos here.

In the studio with Tom this morning to talk about the exhibition and what’s being done to reform the nation’s cash bail system is Tara Huffman, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice program. Joining them by phone is Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute, or PJI, a Maryland-based advocacy and training agency supported by the Department of Justice and independent foundations to promote reform in local and national pretrial services.

Princeton, Lester Spence

People across the country are trying to make sense of last week's shooting by the police of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, and the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful rally. 

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, who is African-American, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge after police say they received an anonymous call about an unidentified man with a gun outside of a convenience store. Sterling was shot outside the store after an encounter with two officers. The officers can be seen in a video, taken by a bystander, on top of Sterling before shots were fired. Both officers are white. Louisiana is an open carry state and police say Sterling had a gun in his pocket. Witnesses say Sterling never reached for the gun during the encounter. 

On Wednesday, Philando Castile, who is also African-American, was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights during a traffic stop. According to Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, Castile was reaching for his wallet and disclosed to the officer that he had a pistol on him he was licensed to carry. Reynolds says the officer then said, ‘don’t move' and as Castile was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm. Reynolds live streamed a video of the immediate aftermath for 10 minutes. When the video starts, you can see Castile in the driver seat, his shirt covered in blood, with the officer's gun still pointed at him.

Teresa Castracane

The Alexandre Dumas classic, The Three Musketeers, has found new  life in the forests of Ellicott City. The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company puts a fresh spin on the classic tale of runaway D'Artagnan as he ventures through 17th century France with the legendary three musketeers of the King's court: Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in-studio with her review of the live-action outdoor performance.  

And she waxes poetic about how the experience was, truly, tempest-tossed by the vagaries of weather.

In another installment of Focus on the Counties, Tom speaks with Howard County executive Allan Kittleman

Kittleman was elected in 2014, before that he represented the 9th District in the Maryland Senate for 10 years. 

Over the last 15 years, Howard County’s population has grown by 26 percent. Kittleman discusses how the county is addressing transit and education concerns brought on by the influx of people. He also talks about new business and affordable housing initiatives being rolled out in Columbia. 

Kittleman, who is a Republican,  weighs in on the future of the Republican party, why he won't attend the Convention this time around, and his decision  not to endorse Donald Trump.