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Photo Courtesy Friends of Rushern Baker III

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in Maryland. 

Here's a Stoop Story from WBAL news anchor Jason Newton about his love for his job and his city.

You can hear more stories, as well as the Stoop podcast, stoopstorytelling.com. The next live Stoop event is May 30th at the Creative Alliance

The Baltimore Museum of Industry

Paid or unpaid, a new career or the family profession--Americans spend most of their days working. A new exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Industry asks visitors to share thoughts and feelings about what work means in their lives.

We hear from Gillian Waldo, a graduating senior from Hopkins, who helped curate the exhibit. And from Beth Maloney, director of interpretation at the museum, who led students through this process.

The Baltimore Museum on Industry will be celebrating the 10th year of its farmers' market on Saturday with live music, kids activities, and free admission to the museum. More information here.

Odds Maker

May 18, 2018

On the afternoon of October 22, 1933 something unusual was going on at the Pimlico Race track. It was a Sunday, not a racing day, and not a horse in sight, yet more than 7,000 fans had filled the stands. The crowd was there to see a ghost race, run by ghost horses. And the very first trial of the TOTALISATOR, later to be known as the Tote Board. The Tote Board modernized the way odds were displayed at the track between races, replacing manual displays with electronic displays, and because of it, the bettor was thought by many to have more of a chance at winning. Asked about that point of view, one of the officials said, ”Absolutely not” and gave a surprising explanation!

Photo courtesy Donna Brazile

Tom's guest today is Donna Brazile.  A Democratic political operative for more than 40 years, Ms. Brazile encountered a firestorm of criticism last fall when she published her memoir of the 2016 election, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.  Many of her fellow Democrats read the book as a bitter diatribe from a disgruntled member of the old guard.

But perhaps lost in the scrum of discord were Ms. Brazile’s alarming accounts of Russian interference in the electoral process.  Yesterday, the Republican Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee affirmed the conclusion of multiple intelligence agencies that the Russians did indeed act to support Donald Trump and discredit Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the US presidential election of 2016. 

Maryland Business Roundtable for Education

Youngsters from families where money is tight and education and job opportunities may have been limited often don’t see themselves as headed for college or a career. Enter: Next Generation Scholars, a state effort to tell pupils about college and get them on track.

We meet Nona Carroll, chief strategist for the nonprofit Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, which is working in five counties, and Aundra Anderson, coordinating Next Generation Scholars in Kent County.

Courtesy of Yale University Press

We begin the show today with an update on the resignation of Baltimore City Police Commissioner Daryl DeSousa. WYPR reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi attended Mayor Catherine Pugh’s press conference this morning. She joins Tom in Studio A.

Tom’s guest for most of the hour is David Linden. He’s a professor of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the former editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. Linden writes books about our brains, and in his latest opus, he says the public is “inundated by a fire hose of neuro BS.”

He wrote the new book Think Tank with more than three dozen fellow neuroscientists. It’s a collection of essays about the brain and the biological roots of human experience. The essays address questions such as, “How are children’s brains different from those of adults?” “What can monkey brains teach us about advertising?” And “How do our brains process pain?”

David Linden and a few of the book’s contributors will hold a panel discussion about the book tomorrow, May 17, at 1pm at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Neuroscience, and you can also catch Linden at Greedy Reads in Fells Point on June 4 at 7 pm.

We livestreamed today’s show on the WYPR Facebook page.  If you missed it, catch that video here. 

Photo by Bill Geenan

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom today with her review of the world premiere of Soul: The Stax Musical, now rattling the boards at Baltimore Center Stage.

The production is the directorial swansong of departing artistic director Kwame Kwei Armah, who's stepping down after seven years running the shows at Center Stage. (Check out his May 9 interview here on Midday).

With a book by Matthew Benjamin, choreography by Chase Brock, musical direction by Rahn Coleman and a multi-talented 21-member cast, Soul: the Stax Musical tells the story (with renditions of more than 30 songs) of Memphis-based Stax Records and the recording company's role in launching such legendary artists as Otis Redding, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Booker T & The MG's, Rufus & Carla Thomas, David Porter, Wilson Pickett, Johnnie Taylor, and Eddie Floyd — singers whose iconic work during the 1960s and 70s laid the foundations for American Soul Music. Their story, and the rise and fall of Stax Records, play out against the backdrop of the evolving civil rights struggle and the growing power of R&B music -- still evident today -- to unite a divided nation.   

Soul: The Stax Musical continues at Baltimore's Center Stage through Sunday, June 10.   

Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods

Baltimore City has lost 10,000 people or more since 2015. Meanwhile, the state’s population is growing. Why are people leaving the city, and what can be done to stop the drain? We talk to sociologist Karl Alexander about how adapting schools to parents’ goals might keep middle-class families in the city. And University of Baltimore professor Seema Iyer, head of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, talks about what neighbors can do to hold on to their communities.

Photo Courtesy Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

Few events in recent MD history were as shocking or disruptive to the political landscape as the death of Kevin Kamenetz last week, from a heart attack. The 60 year old Baltimore County Executive was one of the leading contenders in the crowded field of hopefuls vying for the chance to run against incumbent Governor Larry Hogan in November.

With just a month until early voting starts in the primary, candidates are scrambling to assess the new and uncertain dynamics of the race. Will Valerie Ervin, Kamenetz’s running mate in the primary, choose to run herself, and if so, with whom? Will she run at the top of a newly formed ticket, or will she maintain her position in the Lieutenant Governor slot?

Kamenetz’s death also occasions many questions about the future of Baltimore County. Three Democrats and two Republicans are running in their respective primaries to face-off for the County’s top job in the fall. In the meantime, who will the County Council appoint to serve-out the remainder of Kevin Kamenetz’s term?

Today on Midday, Tom explores these and other questions with Pamela Wood, who covers Baltimore County government and politics for the Baltimore Sun; and Bryan Sears , government reporter for the Daily Record.

Hollander photo by Katherine Marmion/Everyman; Hartman photo by Lou Daprile

We turn now to a play that's based on a book by a former journalist whom many Baltimoreans of a certain age will recognize.   After Richard Hollander’s parents were killed in a car accident in the mid-1980s, he discovered in their attic a suitcase full of correspondence that gave him great insight into the fate of his Jewish relatives in German-occupied Poland during the Holocaust.  That discovery led him to write a book, with co-authors Christopher R. Browning and Nechama Tec, which he published in 2007, called “Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland.”  That book, in turn, inspired a play that is currently on stage at the Everyman Theater.  It’s called The Book of Joseph.  It was adapted by Seattle-based playwright Karen Hartman, whose other recent works include Roz and Ray and Project Dawn. She joins us on the phone from Seattle.

Author Rich Hollander was a reporter for the long-defunct Baltimore News American newspaper and later for WBAL Television. He now runs Millbrook Communications, a sports marketing firm in Baltimore.  He joins Tom in Studio A.

Goodreads

Laura Lippman’s latest mystery is called Sunburn -- but it’s not sunny; it’s noir. In the tradition of James M. Cain --The Postman Always Rings Twice -- Lippman brings us lovers who don’t trust each other, each hiding secrets that spin into more violent mystery. Original airdate 2/20/18

AP Photos

Tom's guests today are two longtime politicians, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, who are now working together to try to fix the dysfunction in political Washington.

Former Republican Congresswoman Connie Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District from 1987 until 2003. President George W. Bush appointed her U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a position she held in Paris from 2003 until 2007. She was the first former member of Congress to be named ambassador to the OECD. Ambassador Morella currently serves on American University’s faculty in the Dept of Government and as an Ambassador in Residence at AU’s Women & Politics Institute.

Former Democratic Congressman Tim Roemer represented Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District from 1991 until 2003. From 2002 until 2004, he served on the 9/11 Commission. He was U.S. Ambassador to India during the Obama Administration, from 2009 until 2011. Ambassador Roemer is now a senior counselor at APCO Worldwide, a global consultancy.

Together, they co-chair the Re-Formers Caucus, which includes nearly 200 former governors, cabinet secretaries and members of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats, from all 50 states -- who have banded togethet to work on bi-partisan solutions to the dysfunction in Washington that, they say, threatens American democracy. They join Tom on the line from NPR studios in Washington, DC.

Melissa Gerr

Warming weather is a great excuse to get outside. The Natural History Society of Maryland offers hands-on opportunities for lay people and experts to observe nature’s wonders --shoulder-to-shoulder -- out in the field. We meet educator and master gardener Judy Fulton, who hosts bi-monthly workshops that focus on identification of native and non-native plants and invasives. And naturalist and entomologist Nick Spero tells us about ‘fossil-hunting meet ups,’ opportunities to raise moths and butterflies at home and the many resources available to the public. NHSM is hosting their fundraising gala Cabinet of Curiosities on May 19. For information about all of the programs, visit the NHSM site here.

Photo Courtesy Baltimore Ceasefire 365

Over this past ceasefire weekend, the City saw 72 hours pass with two reported shootings, and one alleged case of first degree child abuse.  The event, which was intentionally scheduled to coincide with Mother’s Day, is the second ceasefire event with no homicides from gun violence. 

Tom is joined  in Studio A by Baltimore Ceasefire 365 Co-Founder, Erricka Bridgeford.   Erricka joined us this past February after the first Ceasefire event with zero homicides.   That ceasefire continued on for a record breaking 12 consecutive days without a murder in Baltimore City.

johnnysbmore/instagram

This week is all about strawberries and whiskey! Strawberry season is here - Chef Cindy " Tony discuss how to prepare this local treat. The second segment is all about whiskey - a primer of sorts.

Public Domain Pictures

Before beginning today's Healthwatch conversation with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, Tom talks with WYPR reporter Mary Rose Madden about the news that Baltimore Police Commissioner Daryl DeSousa has been charged by federal prosecutors with not filing tax returns for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.  DeSousa has admitted to the facts filed in Federal Court yesterday, and he’s apologized.

Following today's Midday broadcast, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced she has suspended Mr. DeSousa with pay until the matter is "resolved." In the meantime, the police chief position will be filled by Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle, a former top-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration official tapped by De Sousa in March to oversee strategic and support services for the City.
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Baltimore Rock Opera Society

The Baltimore Rock Opera Society, or BROS, is fueled by the passion and dedication of a small army of volunteers who swear by ‘big and loud’ when it comes to theater. The newest show, ‘Incredibly Dead,’ is a gore-infused B-horror romp filled with surprising twists and turns. We get a preview from co-director Sarah Doccolo and executive director Aran Keating. More info at the BROS site.

John Marra, a member of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society artistic council, tells a Stoop Story about the magic of community theater and the importance of believing in yourself, always. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Photo Courtesy Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Tonight and this weekend at the Meyerhoff, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is screening Steven Spielberg's classic 1981 adventure film, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and performing  composer John Williams' popular score for it.  Weilding the baton will be BSO Pops conductor, Jack Everly, who joins Tom in the studio with a preview of the BSO's latest Movies with Orchestra event.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, composer John Williams has created a vast catalog of music for screen, stage, symphony and sport.  He's garnered 51 Academy Award nominations for his memorable film scores including the aforementioned Raiders as well as Jaws, Jurassic Park, Superman, Star Wars, three of the Harry Potter films and Schindler's List.  

For this weekend's  Movies with Orchestra ticket information, click on the link below: 

https://www.bsomusic.org/calendar/events/2017-2018-events/movie-with-orchestra-raiders-of-the-lost-ark/

Oriole Cafeterias

May 11, 2018

It is 1960 and you are dining on a starched white linen table cloth with gleaming silverware, enjoying a choice of five appetizers, eight entrees, eleven vegetables, a dozen salads, seven  desserts. From the balcony comes the soft slow dinner music of Jack Lederer’s orchestra. You might think you are dining in one of Baltimore’s most expensive restaurants, but you are dining in a most modesty-priced Oriole cafeteria.  All six Oriole cafeterias closed by 1975 because management said, “the dining community preferred hamburgers and colas and eat and run.” Oriole cafeterias took pride in offering plenty of choice and their customers made one:  fast food over slow music.

Baltimore County Executive's Office

We begin the show today with reflections on the life and career of Kevin Kamenetz, a fixture on the Maryland political scene for more than two decades.

Mr. Kamenetz died early Thursday morning from a heart attack.

He began his career in public service as a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office. He was first elected to the Baltimore County Council in 1994. He served four terms, before being elected as the County Executive in 2010. He was considered a leading candidate in the crowded field of people running for the Democratic nomination for Governor. He is survived by his wife Jill, and their two teenage sons, Karson and Dylan. Our hearts ache for them. Kevin Kamenetz was 60 years old.

Joining Tom on the line to remember Mr. Kamenetz are Donald Mohler III, who was a close friend of Mr. Kamenetz and served as his chief of staff in the County Executive’s Office, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who served as Baltimore County Executive from 1994 to 2002, and Jim Smith, who preceded Kamenetz as Baltimore County Executive. He currently serves as the Chief of Strategic Alliances in the office of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Courtesy of their campaigns

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates, in the run-up to Maryland's June 26th primary elections.

Maryland’s General Assembly District 41 has had more than its share of upheaval in recent years. Sen. Lisa Gladden represented the district for 14 years before retiring in February 2017 for health reasons. Del. Nathaniel Oaks was appointed to fill her seat, and four months later, he was indicted in federal court on nine counts of fraud and bribery. In November, prosecutors added obstruction of justice charges. Oaks denied the charges, remained in the Senate, and registered to run for re-election in the primary next month. In late March, Oaks changed his mind. He resigned from the legislature, pleaded guilty and attempted to remove his name from the primary ballot. Oaks will be sentenced on July 17. He faces 8-10 years in prison. Additional attempts to remove Oaks’s name from the ballot failed; his name will indeed appear on the ballot next to those of two other candidates.

Those two candidates are Tom’s guests today in Studio A.

Until last week, Jill P. Carter served as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement in Baltimore City. Before that, she served for three terms in the House of Delegates representing the 41st District. Carter is 53 years old. A graduate of Western High School, she was born and raised in the city. She lives in the Hunting Ridge neighborhood of District 41.

J.D. Merrill taught at his alma mater, City College High School from 2013 to 2016. He also served for two years as a special assistant to the chief of staff at City Schools headquarters on North Avenue. Merrill  is 27 years old. He and his wife, Grace O’Malley, live in the Wyndhurst neighborhood of District 41, one street over from where he was born and raised. This is the first time he has run for public office.

Melissa Gerr

Women are the fastest-growing group of veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. And about half the country’s two million female veterans are of childbearing age. We meet Dr. Catherine Staropoli, medical director of women’s health at the VA and Zelda McCormick, a nurse and the program manager for the Women’s Clinic. They tailor the care veterans receive at the women’s clinic inside the Baltimore VA medical center.

We also visit a baby shower honoring new and expecting veteran moms.

Courtesy of Baltimore Center Stage

Tom's guest today is the playwright, director and actor, Kwame Kwei Armah, OBE. He has been the artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage since 2011, but he will soon be moving on.  After his final show at Center Stage, which opens tomorrow night, he’s heading home to London, where he has taken the helm of the storied Young Vic Theatre.

During his tenure here in Baltimore, he produced three of the best-selling shows in the theater’s history. As a playwright, Mr. Kwei-Armah premiered several new works here in Charm City, and he made great strides in diversifying the Center Stage audience. He also oversaw a major, $28 million renovation of the theater’s Calvert Street home, and in his spare time, in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II made him an Officer of the British Empire for his service to drama.

His final production at Center Stage is Soul, the STAX Musical -- the world premiere of a work by playwright Matthew Benjamin that Mr. Kwei-Armah is directing. It tells the story of Memphis-based Stax Records, and chronicles the rise of artists like Otis Redding, The Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & The MG’s, Wilson Pickett and others—some of the great and early progenitors of Soul and R&B music. 

Midday's theater critic J Wynn Rousuck joins Kwame Kwei-Armah and Tom Hall in Studio A.  We streamed this conversation live on the WYPR Facebook page.  If you missed that,  click here to check out the video.

Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker

Our theater critic J. Wynn  Rousuck joins Tom for another of her weekly reviews of the region's theater offerings. Today, she's spotlighting the world premiere of an adaptation of the J.M.Barrie classic, Peter Pan, ​now on stage at Baltimore's Single Carrot Theatre.

Billed officially as Peter Pan: Wendy, Peter. Peter, Wendy, the play is a modern re-imagining of Barrie's beloved 1904 stage fantasy (and 1911 novel) about identity, growing up and belonging.  It retains the original's iconic characters, from Peter Pan and Wendy and the Darling family dog Nana, to Captain Hook and Tiger Lily and the Lost Boys.  But playwright Joshua Conkel, working in collaboration with Baltimore’s LGBTQ+ residents and service organizations, has updated the Barrie original (as the Single Carrot program explains) "to include contemporary conversations about gender, sexuality, and performative identity, and to embrace queer culture."  The result is that Barrie's nostalgic Neverland is transformed "from a distant fantasy to a modern safe-haven for those who have been rejected and devalued, a stronghold against normalcy and a place where Peter and his Lost Boys can finally be themselves."

Tristan Powell directs Peter Pan at Single Carrot with a cast that features Tina Canady as Wendy/Peter, and Single Carrot Ensemble member Ben Kleymeyer as Peter/Wendy.

Peter Pan continues at Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, May 20. 

The White House Youtube Channel

What’s next, now that President Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal his predecessor negotiated with Iran? Maryland’s U.S. Senator Ben Cardin says Iran has complied with the deal, and quitting it does not make the world safer. He says Congress must ready to act if Iran supports terrorists or gets close to nuclear weapons. And Skip Auld, who served in the Peace Corps in Iran 45 years ago, worries it could be a step toward war. 

Photo courtesy BCPS

Tom's guest today is the interim superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, Verletta White.  Last month, the County School Board appointed Ms. White as the permanent superintendent, but that decision was overruled last week by the State School Superintendent, Karen Salmon.  Baltimore County is still reeling from the ethics scandal that led to a jail sentence for the previous superintendent.  What are the consequences of the continuing drama surrounding his successor on the state’s third largest school district?  Verletta White joins us today in Studio A to discuss the turmoil over her appointment, and the next steps in her bid to lead Baltimore County schools.

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Plus, there's some drama with the leadership of schools in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, too.  We’ll have analysis of recent developments in both school systems as well as perspectives on Verletta White's situation, in the second half of the show today, from veteran Baltimore Sun education reporter Liz Bowie. 

One of out four Baltimore residents lives in a neighborhood without a grocery store. Why is it so hard hard for some city residents to access to affordable and nutritious food?

Eric Jackson, of the Black Yield Institute, and Madeline Hardy, a senior at Goucher College, explore the issues of food justice in their documentary “Baltimore’s Strange Fruit”. Jackson points to the generational disenfranchisement of African Americans, who were shut out of benefiting from the agricultural economy. 

On Thursday there’s screening of “Baltimore’s Strange Fruit” at the Baltimore Free Farm. Next week, there is a screening on Wednesday at Charm City Farms in Greenmount East and on Thursday, at Cherry Hill Urban Garden.

all photos by Wendel Patrick

The owner of a falafel stand gives a lesson in gratitude, a minimalist overcomes cerebral palsy by sheer force of will, a female boss takes the helm at a men’s barbershop, an apparel entrepreneur reflects on a family tragedy with a silver lining, and a friendly neighborhood barista whips up chai lattes and plays experimental doom metal.

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