On the Record | WYPR

On the Record

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We often think of racism as operating solely on a visual level - judgments based on skin color or facial features. But what about sounds? What judgments of intelligence, education, and personality lie behind ideas about sounding ‘white’ or ‘black’?

Jennifer Lynn Stoever is Associate Professor of English at Binghamton University in New York, and Editor-in-Chief of the blog, “Sounding Out!”. She joins us ahead of a talk she’ll give Thursday at the University of Maryland Baltimore County on her book, “The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening”.

Erika Clark/Make Studio

Artists who face challenges -- whether physical, developmental or emotional -- find a welcoming space at Make Studio. This month marks eight years that the nonprofit has been fostering a creative, inclusive community for artists. Make Studio also provides access to materials, studio space and exhibition prospects. We meet Erika Clark, a member-artist for five years, and co-founder Cathy Goucher, who talks about the intangible support Make Studio offers. 

They'll celebrate the anniversary at GO FIGURE: MAKE STUDIO Celebrates Our 8th! More info here.

Rohai Zod tells a stoop story about cultivating a patriotic and parental love, and the sacrifice that comes with it. He told it at last year’s Strong City Stoop event called ‘Live and Learn: The Immigrant Experience.’ This year’s Strong City Stoop Storytelling theme is “Keep Calm and ___” on Feb. 23 at 7pm at the University of Baltimore’s Wright Theater. More info here.

Creative Commons/Flickr

The latest edition of the Goucher Poll shows that none of the eight Democrats running for governor has a commanding lead and that four months ahead of the primary, “undecided” polls higher than all the Democrats combined. Governor Hogan remains popular, the poll finds, but less than half intend to vote to re-elect him. We talk with pollster Mileah Kromer and political reporter Bill Zorzi to decipher what all the numbers mean. You can see all the results for yourself at this link.

Jason Lander / Flickr via Creative Commons

A year ago, Maryland began issuing licenses for direct-entry midwives--someone who is not a nurse, but is trained in the art and science of caring for expectant mothers. Few families choose home birth, but the number who do is on the rise.

Midwife Alexa Richardson walks us through the care midwives provide--before, during, and after birth--to ensure mom and baby are safe and healthy. And Lauren Turner, who had both her children at home and is a doula, describes the visceral experience of birth.

Goodreads

In the first few pages of Sunburnwe learn that its main character has walked out on her family--just left her husband and young daughter on a Delaware beach, and hitchhiked west. As the tale unfolds, we’re treated to the tropes of film noir--slick dialogue as the protagonists circle each other in a mix of distrust and desperate infatuation. We talk to Laura Lippman about the inspirations behind her latest mystery.

Former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan explains why it will take new policies as well as more money to bring Maryland’s K-12 schools to a world-class status.

Here is a Stoop Story from Gwen Mayes about the lessons she’s learned from living with heart disease. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Oregon Ridge Nature Center

Pancakes, waffles, ice cream--they all taste better with a drizzle of maple syrup. While Maryland isn’t known for commercial production of maple syrup, this month, you can get a locally-made taste at Oregon Ridge Nature Center. They tap maple and black walnut trees and turn sap turn into thick sweetness. We hear the ins and outs of making syrup and maple candy from the center’s Jessica Jeanetta.

Creative Commons/Wikimedia

Hemp literally shares roots with the same plant that produces marijuana--they’re both cannabis. But as marijuana laws loosen in most states, the laws surrounding hemp production--including in Maryland--remain rigid. Environmental reporter Rona Kobell explains industrial uses for hemp, and how it could provide farmers with a potentially profitable choice in their crop rotation. And we meet Anna Chaney, a hopeful hemp farmer who talks about how growing it can benefit the soil.

Jason Shellenhamer

Two archeologists and scores of volunteers have been probing, digging, sifting and cataloging to unearth the mysteries hidden under a park in the city’s northeast corner. A big manor house no one knew about, and more. How does it all connect to the power families of old Baltimore? We hear about it from Jason Shellenhamer and Lisa Kraus, who direct the Herring Run Archeology Project. They entice their neighbors to get their hands dirty alongside them, digging up stories that reveal the past. Shellenhamer and Kraus give a talk on the project at the Engineers Club of Baltimore on Sun., Feb. 18 at 2pm. More info here.

DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro / Flickr via Creative Commons

In 2012, an investment company led by Jared Kushner--son-in-law and senior advisor to President Trump--and his father, Charles Kushner, began buying up apartments and townhomes in Baltimore County.

Over time, Kushner Companies’ filed hundreds of suits against tenants, even seeking unpaid rent from people who moved out of the property before Kushner Companies owned it.

Now Baltimore lawmaker Delegate Bilal Ali has introduced the “Jared Kushner Act”, which would prevent tenants from being subject to arrest for failing to pay rent.

We speak to Propublica reporter Alec MacGillis who broke the story last May. You can read the latest on the tenant's class action lawsuit here

Baltimore Police Department

For two-and-a-half weeks, testimony in the federal courtroom shocked some and confirmed the fears of others: witness after witness described an elite unit of the Baltimore police gone rogue, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, drugs, guns and luxury accessories while pretending the seizures were legitimate law enforcement. The trial ended last night with Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor convicted of fraud, robbery and racketeering. WYPR reporter Mary Rose Madden covered the trial, and she’s here in studio.

Baltimore Chinese School

We’re four days away from the new year -- Lunar New Year. The Year of the Dog starts Friday, February 16. We talk with Colleen Oyler of the Walters Art Museum to hear what’s on offer at its celebration of the Lunar New Year this weekend--dances, music and art making and how it connects to the Walters’ famed collection of Asian art. And we ask Professor Wei Sun, principal and co-founder of the Baltimore Chinese School, what he’d like visitors to know about Lunar New Year.

Here’s a Stoop Story from Shindana Cooper about an ill-fated voyage with the Middle Passage Monument Project. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Jack Burkert, senior educator at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, takes us back to the colonial origin of the Port, moving tobacco and then grain, and to the Port’s alliance with the B&O railroad expanding trade to the west. We hear about the human cargo--slaves, ripped from their families and sold to the South--as well as immigrants who passed through the port, seeking a new life in America.

The event at the Baltimore Museum of Industry - in partnership with the Irish Railroad Workers Museum - is this Saturday from 11 am-12 pm. 

MTA Facebook page

High frequency buses, dedicated bus lanes, new routes - BaltimoreLink launched last June, a $135-million-dollar reboot of the city’s transit system. What is ridership like? Are buses running on time?

Kevin Quinn, head of the Maryland Transit Administration, gives us an update on service and technology changes. And transit activist and blogger Danielle Sweeney describes her work tracking no-show buses and fostering rider feedback.

thebaltimorebeat.com

In our monthly pulse-check with the alternative weekly Baltimore Beat, managing editor Brandon Soderberg shares his experience reporting from the robbery-extortion-and fraud trial of two former members of the Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force. Soderberg said it’s affected him more than any trial he’s covered.  And, the Beat has labeled this week its annual sex issue. Editor-in-chief Lisa Snowden-McCray takes us on a visit to the legendary Millstream Inn Gentlemen’s Club. Read the whole issue and more at baltimorebeat.com .

FORECAST / JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health/Bloomberg American Health Initiative

The synthetic opioid fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than the painkiller morphine. Fentanyl has overtaken heroin and cocaine as the driving force behind the epidemic of deaths from opioid overdoses. But not because drug users seek it out. Often users are unaware that fentanyl--or an even stronger tranquilizer for large animals, called carfentanil--has been added to the drugs they buy. Some say knowing fentanyl is present would change how they use drugs. 

Maryland Agricultural Resource Council

The learning curve for beekeeping is steep. How do you make sure your bees are healthy and happy--and that they don’t sting you? Devra Kitterman, pollinator program coordinator for the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council, tells us about their beginning beekeeper course--and her work as a swarm catcher. And managing director Wes Jamison tells us what else you can do on the 150-acre farm park --from hiking and sunflower picking to learning how to back up a horse trailer.

Will Kirk/Homewood Photography

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Until he escaped Maryland--and slavery--at age 20, where did he live? Who did he rub shoulders with? Where did he work? Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Distinguished professor Lawrence Jackson and his students have created an interactive map of the time Douglass spent in Maryland. Jackson tells why exploring the physical environment helps us better understand Douglass’s growth as a black leader, starting as a product of his community.

That was a Stoop Story from Melani Douglass, great, great grandaughter of Frederick Douglass and founder of the nomadic Family Arts Museum. She told of a holiday party that turned ugly ... and setting the record straight with a racist guest. Particularly meaningful as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of Douglass’ birth this month. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com--as well as the Stoop podcast.

Melissa Gerr / WYPR

One of the most powerful forms of healing is peer support -- receiving advice and encouragement from someone who truly understands what you’ve been through because they’ve been through it, too. Our guests today live by that philosophy. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Society, or LEGS, says it provides "resources and emotional peer support for gentlemen who are diversely abled." LEGS co-founder Calvin Mitchell explains the distinction. We also hear from members Bong Delrosario and Derrick Waters.  

Amazon

What do very old people know about being happy that most of us don’t? Can we put their approach into use in our own lives? New York Times journalist John Leland spent a year with six elders and put what he learned in his new book, Happiness Is a Choice You Make -- Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old.

Each day in the U.S. more than 86,000 older adults fall. That’s about one per second, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for the elderly.

We talk with Dr. Kelly Westlake and Dr. Mark Rogers, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who are working to help seniors react faster and stay safer if they take a tumble through innovative balance training.

To participate in the study visit this link or contact Kathleen Simpson at 410-605-7179 or by email at Kathleen.Simpson@va.gov

 

The summer before he starts high school, 14-year-old Miles doesn’t have much to do but get into trouble. He smokes weed; fights with his younger sisters; clashes with his parents, who are divorcing; obsesses over a crush; has few friends; and takes his skateboard anywhere around Baltimore that might pierce his adolescent boredom. We know all this from his diary-- it is the just-published novel "Kill Me Now," by author Timmy Reed.

Reed will be speaking at Atomic Books on February 1 (in conversation with Madison Smartt Bell) and Bird in Hand on February 8th (in conversation with Jane Delury).

Brian Flanagan, who was a Baltimore City firefighter, shares a Stoop Story about his scariest experience on the job. Flanagan passed away last fall.

You can hear his story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Fred Pridham, February 9, 1904 / Wikimedia Commons

One hundred fourteen years ago, flames consumed Baltimore, turning entire city blocks into smoking rubble. How did Baltimore rise from the ashes? We speak to historian Wayne Schaumburg ahead of the fire's anniversary on February 7th. 

Those who escape the clutches of human trafficking often face a hurdle in building a new life: A criminal conviction that stems from the coercion they endured--charges like trespassing or prostitution, can block them from a job--or safe housing or a scholarship.

Lawyers Jessica Emerson and Laurie Culkin from the Human Trafficking Prevention Project - a partnership of the University of Baltimore School of Law and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service -  describe how they help victims clear their criminal records.

Survivor advocate Shamere McKenzie tells us how she came to be trafficked and how charges arising from it have followed her. Shamere McKenzie is the Anti-Trafficking Program Director for the Salvation Army of Central Maryland, which runs a safe haven for victims of trafficking called Catherine’s Cottage.

Courtesy United Way website

We’ve been reporting on the United Way of Central Maryland’s statewide analysis that revealed a staggering statistic: one out of three households in Maryland has income above the federal poverty level … but not enough to cover basic necessities like food and housing. The acronym is ALICE: Assets limited, Income constrained, Employed. Last spring we interviewed two mothers who are ALICES … and wanted to check in with them again. In our conversation, Heather Housand talks candidly about trying to get ahead, and Victoria Cox explained how she’s navigated a job loss and several other obstacles over the past year.

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