On the Record | WYPR

On the Record

Say goodbye to those iconic yellow boxes. The Baltimore Sun Media Group has announced it plans to close a recent acquisition, the Baltimore City Paper. City Paper first hit the presses in 1977. Over four decades, the local paper with an attitude has provided a forum for investigative reporters, writers, cartoonists, and oddballs alike. And every week, without fail, it has appeared on street corners throughout the city, for free. Current editor Brandon Soderberg and long-time City Paper writer Michael Anft join us to reflect on Baltimore’s beloved alt-weekly.

National Renewable Energy Lab / Flickr via Creative Commons

Two wind farms off the coast of Ocean City could be supplying electricity for tens of thousands of Maryland homes in a few years, now that Maryland regulators have OK’d a subsidy through a charge on utility customers’ bills. The projects are required to make big investments in steel fabrication and upgrading the former Sparrows Point shipyard. Advocates predict wind power will create thousands of jobs here, especially if Maryland moves faster than other east-coast states to build an offshore-wind industry. We’ll discuss the prospects with Paul Rich, director of project development for U.S. Wind, and Liz Burdock, executive director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

Historic St. Mary's City's Facebook page

Since the 1970s, archaeologists have sifted through the debris of St. Mary’s City, the capital of colonial Maryland. What have they learned from the bits of pottery and brick they’ve discovered? We ask Historic St. Mary’s City’s Chief Archeologist Travis Parno and ‘field school’ assistant Sarah McCoy. Then, Director of Research Henry Miller shares the mystery of three lead coffins discovered while excavating a chapel in 1990.

Ticket info for Tidewater Archaeology Weekend (July 29-30) is here.

Dennis Wong / Flickr via Creative Commons

Why do some smells repel us more than others … and why do some immediately trigger a memory? How does our sense of smell interact with other senses, like hearing and sight? Why does an older woman, if her sense of smell grows less acute, have a smaller social circle -- but the same is not true of older men? We talk about all that and more with Johan Lundstrom, a cognitive psychologist who does research at the Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Steve Walker shares a Stoop story about a broken drive shaft, a pretty girl, and a large chocolate milkshake. You can listen to more stories and learn about Stoop shows at stoopstorytelling.com.

One scoop or two? Cup or cone? You can’t go wrong with ice cream--whether it’s plain vanilla or an exotic mélange of candy and fudge. From the birth of the ice cream truck to the origin of the root beer float, we get a pop culture history of this delectable dessert from Amy Ettinger, author of the new book, "Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America".

Vital Signs 15 Housing & Community Development Maps / BNIA

Why is it important for each Baltimore neighborhood to understand the dozens of statistics that describe it and its people--where they live, how long it takes them to get work, how many of the homes around them are vacant? We ask Seema Iyer of the University of Baltimore, driving force behind the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, how such data can predict where things are going, not just trace the past. And we ask consultant Alyce Myatt about GeoLoom, a new interactive map that tracks elements of art and culture in every corner of the city.

Whether you are lazing by the pool or passing time at the airport, summer is a great time to get lost in a good book. Deborah Taylor of the Enoch Pratt Free Library shares selections that appeal to adults--thrillers, memoirs, and more. And Jamie Watson of the Baltimore County Public Library has ideas for books to catch the interest of children, teens, and reluctant readers.

Think again if you’ve been assuming curiosity is constant, like gravity. We talk to astrophysicist Mario Livio about his new book, "Why: What Makes us Curious". Not only are some people more curious than others, and curious about different questions, but homo sapiens’ capacity for curiosity grew as its brain evolved. For all its variations, Livio deems curiosity an unstoppable drive.

Hamza Butt / Flickr via Creative Commons

Many families get sticker shock when they look at the cost of college - a number that doesn’t even take into account textbooks or trips home for the holidays. Money magazine senior writer Kim Clark walks us through why the cost of college keeps rising, as well as what to do when a financial aid package doesn’t measure up. Plus, a new ranking looks at which schools do the best job of moving low-income students into the middle class. Which colleges in Maryland made the list?

Now, a Stoop Story from former Baltimore City Councilman Joseph "Jody" Landers, about the constant commotion of growing up in Northeast Baltimore in a family of eight. You can find his story and others at Stoop Storytelling, as well as information about upcoming Stoop events and the show’s podcast.

Open Society Institute-Baltimore is supplying the city’s health department funds for another front in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The $200,000 grant is aimed at saving lives from overdose and reducing stigma around addiction. We speak to OSI director Diana Morris about what activities the grant will fund and how she'll measure the success of this investment.

The impact a crime has upon a victim can be pervasive -- the trauma can affect children, parents, other loved ones and friends. Comprehending the victim’s point of view and the depth of that widespread impact can be a powerful healing tool for both the perpetrator and the victim. We meet Wayne Brewton, convicted of murder at age 17 with a life sentence, and paroled after 38 years, who championed victim awareness efforts inside prison, and Mark Vernarelli, Director of Community Engagement in the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, who witnessed the powerful effects of the efforts first hand.

For 90 years, The League for People with Disabilities has worked to foster independence for those living with physical, cognitive or neurological handicaps. Annually, more than 2-thousand individuals get resources, care and rehabilitation at its multiple facilities. We’ll speak with Peris Bennett, about his experiences as a participant in the League’s workforce development program and David Greenberg, the League's president and CEO. He offers insight behind the enthusiastic response to their monthly nightclub for people with disabilities, Club 1111.

When Union General Oliver Otis Howard was named right after the Civil War to head the Freedman’s Bureau, Howard was creating a new kind of government agency, one that would take an active role in solving the problems of freed slaves and poor whites in the former Confederacy. A dozen years later, with the Freedman’s Bureau disbanded, Howard went west. Aided by a bright young officer from Baltimore, Howard led the fight against Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians in Oregon. In this program, historian Daniel Sharfstein introduces us to those characters, and traces the arc of change in how the U.S. saw its governing role as he discusses his new book, "Thunder in the Mountains". Original air date: May 1, 20172

For nearly four decades BJ Leiderman’s melodies have graced the public airwaves, accompanying radio programs such as Marketplace, Morning Edition, and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! We speak to him about how he got his start, his fear of success, and his debut album, just out, titled BJ. Original air date: May 8, 2017.

What teen isn’t embarrassed by their parents? As we hear in this Stoop Story: For C E Snow, her mother’s intense celebrity obsession was particularly mortifying. You can find this story and others at the Stoop Storytelling site.

Friends of Patterson Park Facebook page

Music groups from around the world will gather for a concert at Patterson Park Sunday, part of a yearlong celebration of the centennial of President John F Kennedy’s birth and one of his signature legacies, the Peace Corps. Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements, who will be performing and where they’re from. And we talk to Katie Long, program director and Hispanic liaison for the Friends of Patterson Park. She notes that Southeast Baltimore is a hub for immigrants, and says that makes this concert especially meaningful.

The International Rescue Committee works with refugees and other immigrants with low incomes who want to put down roots here by buying a home.  We speak with Nahlah Melaih, (center),  who coordinates Individual Development Accounts at the IRC. She explains what immigrants learn about financial terminology, building a credit score, setting up a budget to amass a downpayment and qualifying for matching funds. Then we meet two refugees who have done all that work -- Hamida Ebadi (left) from Afghanistan and Adote Akwei (right),  an asylee and community organizer from Togo, on Africa’s west coast.

More Than Words: Creativity As A Form Of Activism

Jun 28, 2017

For our final More Than Words story, Xavier started out interested in how activists in Baltimore see their work in the city as connected to and inspired by Civil Rights struggles of the past. As he researched and conducted interviews for this piece, he found writing to be an overlooked form of activism and decided to sit down with one of his favorite authors, D. Watkins.

Courtesy Autumn Burton "Mirrors" Facebook page

It’s a rare accomplishment to publish a book before completing high school. Autumn Burton, a new graduate of the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, has done just that, and people are noticing. We speak with her about her book, “Mirrors,” which is a combination of short stories and nonfiction that center on issues of social justice -- topics about which Burton is passionate, and which she believes need more exposure.

Courtesy Johns Hopkins Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience

The tiniest creature with the deadliest of bites … Professor Chris Potter's lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is working to understand why mosquitoes are attracted to humans, in order to quell diseases such as malaria and Zika, both transmitted by mosquito bite. By studying its sense of smell, Potter hopes to alter the way mosquitoes perceive human scent and flavor--in an effort to make us less appealing as a meal. Want to see what happens when a mosquito stops for a bite? Watch this. To see all that Potter's lab is up to visit his site.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr via Creative Commons

Under President Trump the U.S. Justice Department announced it will pursue tougher criminal charges and tighter adherence to mandatory minimum sentences than during the Obama years. We talk to retired federal Judge Alexander Williams Jr. about the life sentence he was required to impose in a drug case in Prince George’s County -- and to the man he sentenced, Evans Ray Jr., now free on clemency from President Obama.

Now, a Stoop Story from Faye Houston, about how a chance encounter while on the hunt for shark teeth took on a new meaning decades later.

You can find more stories, as well as the Stoop podcast and event information at stoopstorytelling.com.

National Press Foundation

Opioid overdoses are claiming more lives in Maryland, up by 70 percent last year over the year before, to an average of five a day. Gov. Hogan declared an emergency in March.

Photo by Amy Berbert

Two years ago Baltimore City homicides soared to nearly one a day -- the city’s deadliest per capita on record. The statistic grabbed national attention and the focus of Amy Berbert, a student at UMBC. To her, the number represented the tragic anonymity of lives lost. In response Berbert conceived her final senior project, “Stains on the Sidewalk,” for which she’s documenting the 318 homicides of 2016. She returns on the one-year anniversary, at the exact time and location where the violence occurred, to make a photograph, and then shares it on social media.

Louis Umerlik

Last week you heard from Deneira, a graduate of Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore. She shared a little bit about her life with her mom and grandmother. Now she’ll give us some insight into her senior year. Deneira says she’s “not the normal teenager.” Who knows if such a thing exists, but those familiar with Deneira will tell you that she is an intelligent, resilient and unique young adult. In her last piece for More than Words, you’ll hear some phone conversations Deneira had with her sister about how they cope with anxiety and depression. More Than Words is supported by a generous grant from the Philip and Beryl Sachs Family Foundation.

Just Married!

Jun 21, 2017
Photo by Will Kirk

A wedding ceremony may be the union of two souls, but the day represents so much more--encompassing families, cultures and communities. Tracie Guy-Decker, Jewish Museum of Maryland associate director talks about what we can read into dresses, documents, chuppas and cake-toppers -- some of what's featured in the new JMM exhibit, "Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland."

Whether it’s repairing defects, growing tissue, or customizing cell patterns, new technology is boosting the potential of regenerative medicine. We speak to Professor John P. Fisher, chair of the University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering, about the school’s new Center for Engineering Complex Tissue. And postdoctoral fellow Laurie Bracaglia describes her work using pericardial tissue, the thin tissue that surrounds the heart, as a graft material, as well as making printable “bio-ink” from this tissue.

Beverly Yuen Thompson / Flickr via Creative Commons

Last fall, fifteen companies won preliminary licenses to grow medical marijuana in Maryland, but the new industry has since been mired in legal challenges. Erin Cox of the Baltimore Sun gets us up to speed. Then, a large-scale study of a compound in cannabis finds it can reduce seizures that don’t respond to typical treatments. We speak to Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center. And Gail Rand, a mother, tells us how her son’s epilepsy prompted her to become an advocate for medical cannabis.

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