Midday

Revitalization without gentrification: a lot of syllables to describe an elusive goal. In urban neighborhoods, development too often means poor, usually minority residents are priced out. Cities have wrestled with this problem for decades. Now a group of Baltimore housing advocates think they have the answer. They’re asking the city to issue tens of millions of dollars in bonds in support of their plan. What’s the big fix? Community land trusts. This development model has been gaining steam in other cities. Now, as Baltimore seeks to solve the many problems it’s become famous for in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, advocates say community land trusts are key.

MIKE/Flickr via Creative Commons

Shackled and handcuffed. Forced to strip naked in front of a stranger. Advocates are urging the Department of Juvenile Services to end the routine shackling and strip searching of youth, practices they say leave a lasting impact on children who often have histories of trauma. According to the Department of Juvenile Services, two-thirds of youth are in facilities that prohibit mechanical restraints and strip searches. But some young people, deemed low-risk enough to go home for the weekend, are shackled for transportation and face a strip search upon their return. Are these procedures necessary to ensure the safety of both youth and staff? Could alternative methods maintain security without dehumanizing young people?

Has an outfit ever given you the confidence to nail a job interview? Has a good book ever transported you to another world? This month, two local non-profits were hit with fires in the span of two days: Sharp Dressed Man and The Book Thing. Sharp Dressed Man provides professional job-interview attire for men who have been incarcerated or homeless. An electrical fire is forcing the nonprofit to relocate. The Book Thing is a popular free book exchange.

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Murderous cartels, over-incarceration, the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C: Many of our social ills are somehow related to drugs. Hence the War on Drugs. But critics say strict drug laws have done as much harm to society as the substances themselves. Now a high-profile international commission has released a report that says the same. The group of 22 medical experts is recommending the decriminalization of drug use and possession, around the world. This comes just as the United Nations prepares to convene a special session on drug policy that could shape future laws. Is decriminalization the solution? Or are we endangering youth and inviting even higher rates of addiction? Guest: Dr. Chris Beyrer, member of the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Drug Policy and Health, Director of the Johns Hopkins Training Program in HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Science, and President of the International AIDS society. 

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Antibiotics revolutionized medicine. Infections that were once severe, even fatal, can now be treated. But the dark ages could return. The reason? Overuse. We are in an arms race with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and we seem to be losing. Every year, 2 million Americans are infected with these nightmare microorganisms. At least 23,000 people die. The numbers are even more dire in some regions of the world. In fact, modern medicine itself may be in peril. One day not too far off, injuries that become infected could lead to death, as in the days before the discovery of penicillin. Who is to blame? And what’s to be done?

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Is college still a smart investment? Is rhetoric about the danger of student loans overblown? According to the New York Federal Reserve, student loan debt now tops $1.2 trillion dollars, surpassing both auto loans and credit card balances. Beth Akers, an expert on the economics of higher education with the Brookings Institution, explains what’s driving up college costs and why households carrying student debt aren’t actually worse off economically than households without this burden. Plus, do you feel buried under student loans? Nina Heck, Director of Counseling and Client Relations for Guidewell Financial Solutions, demystifies repayment options and offers strategies to square away your finances.

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The General Assembly wraps up its session in less than three weeks. What bills still have a chance to pass? What effect have testy exchanges between the Republican governor and Democratic leaders had on legislation? We talk politics and legislation this hour with commentator Barry Rascovar and WYPR Statehouse reporter Rachel Baye. What will happen to the Justice Reinvestment Act, a bipartisan effort to save money and reduce the state’s prison population? After amendments, some doubt whether the bill accomplishes meaningful reform. And, in the shadow of cancelling Baltimore’s Red Line, who will set and enforce priorities for transportation projects? Plus Maryland’s state song and motto, tax cuts, college scholarships for middle schoolers, and more.

It’s Holy Week. As Christians prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, recounting the New Testament stories of how he suffered and died, it’s worth remembering that his disciples could not read and write. They held what Christ did and said in memory, and shared those memories orally for decades before the gospels were written. In his latest book, controversial New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman applies new scientific understanding of how memory works to the gospels. Ehrman looks at anthropological evidence of how oral traditions change in each retelling, and legal and psychological assessments of whether eyewitness testimony is reliable.

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  Last week marked a grim anniversary: five years of conflict in Syria. Nearly half the population has been displaced in that time, around 11 million people. Some have fled to other parts of the Middle East or to Europe. Many more have relocated within Syria. Nearly all require humanitarian aid, and despite peace talks and a shaky cease fire, the conflict is unlikely to end anytime soon. Meanwhile the European Union just announced they would send nearly all migrants arriving in Greece back to Turkey. What is the situation like on the ground? And how is the global community responding to the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II?

Have you had a cup of coffee today? A piece of fruit? You can thank a bee. In fact, most of the plants that provide our food require pollinators. That’s also true of most of the flowers we enjoy. Yet many bees, butterflies, and other pollinator species are in decline. Pesticide use and habitat loss are among the reasons. So what can the average Marylander do? Garden with pollinators in mind! Master gardener Patricia Foster, executive director of the Cylburn Arboretum Association, and Vincent Vizachero, manager for Herring Run Nursery, a non-profit nursery that specializes in native plants, are here to give advice and take your questions.

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