Midday | WYPR



Ahead of his one man show Dirty Talk at the Modell Performing Arts Center, "dirtiest man on TV" Mike Rowe joins Midday host Tom Hall to talk about rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work in some of the hardest professions on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs and later Somebody’s Gotta Do It which aired on CNN from 2014 until May 2016.

These days Mike has turned his focus to closing the skills gap by providing scholarships through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation for people who want to learn a skill or trade that is in high demand. Mike says the desire to start the foundation came from meeting thousands of skilled workers who make good livings and are passionate about their careers. Many of the folks he shadowed did not have advanced degrees, a point that isn’t missed on Mike. He says as a society we put too much emphasis on obtaining a four-year degree as the only path to success and not enough on obtaining a skill set in a specific vocation that could lead to a successful career. 

Photo by Frank Lennon/Getty Images

She was a warrior for neighborhoods who stopped highways from piercing through lower Manhattan in the 1950s and 60s.  Jane Jacobs was a self-taught city planner whose activism and research helped change the course of American urban development, and redefine what it means for a city to be "great."

We’ll examine the roots and ramifications of Jacobs’ community-centered vision of urbanism with Robert Kanigel, author of “Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs.”  We’ll be joined by Ed Gunts, former architecture critic for the Baltimore Sun who now covers design and development for the online journals Baltimore Brew,  the Baltimore Fishbowl, and ArchitectsNewspaper.  The City Council gave final approval to the bond deal for Port Covington last night.  How will Jane Jacobs’ ideas about cities and the people who live in them inform our understanding of the many ways this massive project will impact the look -- and the life -- of our city?

Baltimore City Public Schools

Dr. Sonja Sontelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, joins Midday host Tom Hall to discuss her vision for the school system. 

Dr. Santelises is no stranger to city schools and the challenges within Baltimore's public schools. She was Chief Academic Officer for the system from 2010 to 2013. Prior to that, she served as Vice President for K-12 policy and practice at The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focused on closing the achievement gap experienced disproportionately by low income families and families of color. 


If you’ve ever planted a flower garden, you know what’s required: planting, watering, maybe adding fertilizer and compost. And then there’s that never-ending task, weeding. But what if there were an easier way to create a beautiful, rewarding garden? There is, according to landscape designer Larry Weaner, author of "Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change." He argues that many traditional gardening practices are not just time-consuming: they’re counterproductive and harmful to the environment. When we plant species that aren’t suited to our local landscape, we set ourselves up for struggle, he says. Instead, the natural processes of native plant communities should guide us. Stop pulling weeds, retire the rototiller, and start a revolution . . . in your garden. Original air date: July 26, 2016.

  (Due to a technical issue, this podcast is missing the first 5 minutes of the show)

During the 2014-2015 school year, more than 70,000 students in Maryland were suspended or expelled from school. Some for serious offenses like fighting or bringing weapons to school, but others for cheating or disrupting class. Minority students are far more likely than whites to be suspended, and being suspended multiple times is more closely linked to dropping out than failing grades. More than six out of ten (62%) Maryland students suspended or expelled during the 2014-2015 school year were African American. Yet African American students were only 35% of enrollment in that same school year. White students made up 41 percent of enrollment and a quarter of suspensions.

Defence Images/Flickr via Creative Commons

Under President Obama, drones have become this country’s weapon of choice in our fight against terrorism. Over half of the pilots now trained by the Air Force are drone pilots. Advocates say drones allow us to find and destroy our adversaries without endangering American lives. They can stay in the air for countless hours, tracking movement below, gathering information, and waiting for a good shot. But critics say drones too often kill civilians and function as a recruiting tool for terrorists. They also charge that drones operate outside the bounds of international law. How have drones changed the face of warfare? What are the ethical implications of this technology?

Thirty-five years ago, Baltimore’s inner-city neighborhoods were struggling. Manufacturing jobs that had sustained families were disappearing. The crack cocaine epidemic was intensifying the drug trade, pulling in younger users, more violent dealers. Housing projects that had offered stable homes were deteriorating. From this desperate setting a remarkable coach at one of the city’s oldest African-American high schools assembled an astonishing array of talent … and drilled them into what some say was the best high-school basketball team ever. In this hour we’ll learn about some of the characters who made it happen: Coach Bob Wade. The inimitable 5-foot-3 point guard Muggsy Bogues, and other players who became N-B-A stars. We’ll talk to Alejandro Danois, author of "The Boys of Dunbar". 

Wonder_Al / Flickr via Creative Commons

Tipping. It’s as American as that slice of apple pie on the menu. But in most states, employers pay their servers well below minimum wage. In Maryland, that means as little as 3 dollars and 63 cents an hour, with tips making up the rest. Tipped employees never know what they’ll earn, unlike the rest of us. Critics say that isn’t fair. They propose abolishing tipping. Restaurants in a few cities have begun to ban the practice in favor of higher pay...and higher prices. What would skipping the tip mean for workers, customers, and the restaurant industry? Are tips a perk of the job or an injustice? Our guests: Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, and Jay Zagorsky, economist and research scientist at The Ohio State University.

Maryland GovPics/Flickr via Creative Commons

The country’s newest and oldest civil-rights organizations are calling for a halt in opening new privately-managed charter schools. The NAACP compared expanding charter schools in poor communities to the sub-prime mortgage disaster, and expressed concerns that charters have increased school segregation rather than encouraging integration. Here in Maryland, charters are non-profits, authorized by local school boards. A third of Maryland’s pupils are African-American, but in charter schools here 4 out of 5 pupils are African American. Is that just because most of the state’s charters are located in Baltimore city? Do those who run charter schools represent public goals and values? We’ll talk to a reporter covering the national debate, a community activist and former charter school principal. 

Jon collier/Flickr via Creative Commons

The Spanish flu of 1918 led to more than 500,000 deaths in this country. What if a pandemic like that were to hit now? Intensive care units are already frequently strained to capacity. If there were a severe pandemic, there wouldn’t be enough resources to go around, like life-saving ventilators. Whose lives should be saved first? Should it be first come, first serve? Should children get priority? Should we remove a ventilator from an ailing patient if a healthier person has a better chance of surviving? Should we treat healthcare workers first? A team of Maryland doctors has asked the public to weigh in on these thorny ethical decisions.