Midday

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Which of Baltimore's neighborhoods are growing and which are shrinking? How do commute times vary across the city? A new report by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance captures thousands of data points on everything from education and workforce development to transportation and the arts. Seema Iyer, associate director of the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, tells us what we can learn from this statistical portrait of city life. But first, we hear about a block party that aims to unite some of those neighborhoods across lines of race and class in Central West Baltimore. 

Courtesy of Thread

How do you take students performing in the bottom 25 percent of their class to walking across the stage at college graduation? The Baltimore non-profit Thread seems to have the answer: follow each student for a decade, provide them with a team of supporters, and do whatever it takes to help kids succeed, from packing lunches to matching students with summer internships. Ninety-two percent of Thread students graduate from high school, and 90 percent are accepted to college. Sarah Hemminger, co-founder of Thread, tells us how Thread is scaling up its efforts. And we hear from a volunteer and from a member of Thread’s first cohort, now a board member with the organization. 

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No income tax cuts for Marylanders, but the aerospace corporation Northrup Grumman will get $37.5 million dollars in tax breaks. These were among the many last minute decisions the General Assembly made before the clock struck midnight last night. We look back at the session and examine which proposals made it to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk and what happened once they arrived. WYPR Statehouse reporter Rachel Baye brings us the latest from Annapolis. Plus: Barry Rascovar of the Political Maryland blog and Baltimore Sun opinion editor Andy Green offer their reflections on the testy relationship between our highly popular Republican governor and a legislature dominated by Democrats.

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Race, policing, inequality. We speak to two Baltimore City public school teachers about how their classroom conversations have changed in the year following the Baltimore Uprising. What have students shared about their perceptions of police? How have the issues raised by Freddie Gray’s arrest and death been incorporated into lesson plans?  One Baltimore class connected with students in Washington state, answering questions about how the riots impacted their neighborhoods. 

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Scientists have been telling us for a while that sea levels are rising as a result of climate change. Then, a few weeks ago, the world got some devastating news. The oceans may be swelling much faster than we thought. One study found that if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at the current rate, a giant ice sheet in the Antarctic could crumble, to devastating effect. Children alive today may witness a sea level increase of five or six feet. That would mean environmental devastation and the disappearance of many coastal communities. What level of sea rise is now inevitable? What can we do to prepare? And what’s in store for Maryland? We speak to John Englander, oceanographer and author of “High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis”. 

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Over the last week and a half, at least five vacant houses in Baltimore City have collapsed. The first, on March 28th, killed a man as he was sitting in his car in a vacant lot next door. The rest tumbled down during high winds last weekend. According to the Baltimore Sun, more than 500 buildings in Baltimore are considered so close to collapse that city inspectors visit them every 10 days. Many of these are row houses, making the risk of collapse extra troubling for neighbors. How common are collapses? Who owns these buildings? What is the city doing to prevent collapses, and what should the city be doing?

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One in three Americans gets less than the recommended bare minimum - 7 hours - of sleep each night. That’s according to a study released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Making due on just a few hours of sleep can lead to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and mood changes...yet, some wear their sleeplessness like a badge of honor. Dr. Emerson Wickwire, director of the Insomnia Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, joins Midday to talk sleep - how much we need, why we aren’t getting enough, and what healthy sleep habits we should adopt.

Courtesy The Arc of Maryland

Thousands of people with developmental disabilities like autism or Down syndrome are on Maryland’s waitlist for services. About 100 people are considered “in crisis.” That means they lack stable housing or may be at risk of physical harm. State funds for even the most urgent cases are in jeopardy each year. What happens when a family can no longer meet the needs of a loved one with a disability? This hour the head of the non-profit Arc of Maryland tells us about past efforts to lock in funds for the developmentally disabled. And we hear from the brother of two young men with developmental disabilities. He worries about their future care. Should funding the crisis waitlist be mandatory? 

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Tens of thousands of Marylanders attend for-profit colleges or private career schools. A recent report by the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition finds they pay more on average for their education, take out larger loans and face higher default rates than students at other institutions. Nationwide, enrollment in for-profit schools is dropping, but they still draw a lot of students. And they attract a disproportionate number of low-income and minority students. The majority of African Americans pursuing a higher education in Maryland are doing so at a for-profit institution. Are for-profit institutions predatory, plain and simple? Or do they have a role to play in our educational system?

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

A mother sold away from her children, a husband and wife torn apart by the slave trade. During and after the Civil War, African American families struggled to find out what happened to their loved ones, hoping to one day be reunited. Their stories have been collected from newspaper ads, letters, and diary entries. We hear from a historian who has learned their stories. We also talk with a genealogist who traced her family lore and discovered a relative who had enlisted with the US Colored Infantry and escaped capture by Confederate troops. 

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