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Photo courtesy Bowie State University

It's the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday review of the week's top local, national and international news. This week, as headlines focused on President Trump's first foreign trip, his 2018 budget proposal, and on the continuing investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the nation was stunned by news of the May 20 stabbing death of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III.  The 23 year-old Collins, who had just been commissioned as a US Army lieutenant, was murdered by a University of Maryland/College Park student, who has been identified as a member of a white supremacist hate group on Facebook. How is the community responding to this tragedy, and what are school officials doing to address rising concerns about racially motivated attacks on their campus? Joining Tom on today's NewsWrap panel to discuss these and other issues in the news this week are Kamau High, managing editor of the Afro-American Newspaper and Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland, and the author of “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America.”

Photos courtesy Austin Caughlin, Mikecheck

We close the show today with a little live music to spring us into the Memorial Day weekend. 

Austin Caughlin is a name familiar to listeners of Midday.  Every Friday, we remind you that Austin wrote and recorded the Midday theme music.  Austin is on the composing staff of Clean Cuts, a music production studio here in Baltimore.

On Saturday night, May 27th, Austin hosts a benefit concert  -"Singing in Solidarity" - with other artists and musicians from 7-9 pm at the Four Hour Day Lutherie to raise money for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.  

Austin joins Tom in the studio today with Mikecheck, a local singer and musician who'll also be appearing at the SPLC benefit tomorrow night, along with other performers, including singer Sandy Asirvatham and writer Rion Amilcar Scott.

Monday is Memorial Day, when the nation remembers those who sacrificed their lives for the security of our country. In that spirit, we speak with Dario DiBattista, a writer, educator, and veteran-Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. DiBattista describes his military experience and teaching writing to combat veterans as a form of post-trauma therapy. He says the stories of veterans are transformative not only for them … but for other Americans to understand what democracy costs. You can purchase Retire the Colors, an anthology of those stories, here.

Veteran Catharine Dietch tells her Stoop Story about enlisting in World War II and the travels that ensued. You can find her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com. If you'd like to pledge to #GoSilent, a digital campaign to remember and honor fallen troops with a moment of silence on Monday, Memorial Day, at 3pm local, you can find more information here.

It’s time for another installment of Smart Nutrition here on Midday.

When it comes to nutrition, we’re often faced with information overload and conflicting conclusions from different studies.  For example, if you drink one diet soda per day, do you increase your chances of getting dementia? Maybe. Maybe not. Broccoli is good for you, right?  If you have irritable bowel syndrome, not so much.  Same goes for cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. Good for most people most of the time, but not all people, all of the time.    

How are we to make sense of the steady stream of research about what to eat and what to avoid -- and just how much of a connection is there between what we eat and diseases we may develop?  Should we try to eat well?  Sure, of course.  But a lot of us are confused by what seem to be varying conclusions when it comes to food research. A new study sheds some light on why making the best nutritional choices can be challenging for a lot of us --  and why the sources of our information about nutrition are not always the most reliable.    

To help us sort this all out today, we turn to Monica Reinagel, The Nutrition Diva.  She is an author and a licensed nutritionist who blogs at nutritionovereasy.com.  And she joins us on Midday every other month to discuss the latest trends in food, health and nutrition, and take your calls, emails and tweets.  

First up-Deneira moderated a discussion with her co-reporters about adults’ perceptions of youth. The students had an honest and lively discussion about their experiences being stereotyped and how they feel adults could be more understanding and helpful to young people.

6:55-Xavier shares his connection to an issue all too common in Baltimore City--gun violence.

12:48-Chanel produced and narrated a radio diary about her identity as a gender non-conformist.  Chanel, who also goes by Cory, is committed to dispelling stereotypes about gender identity and expression.

23:40-Miles takes us on a journey through his experience of mentorship.

Photo by Dave Iden

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom for her weekly review of thespian doings.  This week, it's the final production of Baltimore Annex Theater's 2016-17 season: The King of Howard Street is an original play based on the life of the formerly homeless Baltimore writer and housing rights advocate, Anthony Williams, who's portrayed in this production by Joshua Dixon.

For more than two decades, Williams lived in abandoned buildings up and down Howard Street. Several years ago, he began to chronicle his life story and the stories of his friends and family. Last year, Williams approached Annex Theater's Artistic Director, Evan Moritz, outside of the theater and handed him three spiral-bound notebooks filled with drawings and writings, including a draft of his autobiographical play.  Inspired by Williams' story, Moritz commissioned playwright Ren Pepitone and director Roz Cauthen to bring this story to a wider audience, and they've done so with a compelling mix of dance, music, and theater.

The King of Howard Street also features performances by Nathan Couser (Insurrection: Holding History) as Saint Lewis, William's right-hand man; Desirae Butler (The Tempest) as McFly; and Jonathan Jacobs  (Tempest, Master and Margarita) as Randall.  The cast also includes Malcolm Anomanchi, Kristina Szilagyi, Christian Harris, Mary Travis, David Crandall (Annex Company Member), and Elaine Foster. Costumes are by Stylz, Set by Bernard Dred, Lighting by Rick Gerriets (Annex Company Member), Sound by David Crandall, and Video by Rachel Dwiggins (Cook, Thief, Wife, Lover and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman)

Courtesy A Workshop of Our Own website

The phrase ‘women’s work’ rarely conjures images of a woman wielding a mallet and chisel, navigating a jigsaw or gliding a power sander as she puts the finishing touches on a dining table or dresser. But two woodworking professionals are planning to make that image more commonplace. We meet Sarah Marriage, founder of Baltimore's new “A Workshop of Our Own," a cooperative space for women and gender non-conforming furniture makers. We also hear from Nancy Hiller, a nationally known cabinet and furniture maker who has been subverting male dominance of the woodworking field for more than three decades. She recently published a  humorous memoir, “Making Things Work.”   She speaks at A Workshop of Our Own on Friday, May 26 and you can learn more about that event here.

ALICE in Maryland

May 24, 2017
Courtesy United Way website

About one out of three households in Maryland has income above the federal poverty level, but not enough to cover basic necessities like housing, food, child care, health care and transportation. That’s the conclusion of The ALICE Project -- United Way’s statewide analysis which reveals a staggering situation in almost every county. We ask Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland, to help us understand ALICE -- asset-limited, income-constrained, employed. On June 8 United Way of Central Maryland is sponsoring a policy forum to address the challenges of ALICE. You can register for that event here.

Yesterday, President Trump issued a budget plan that proposes dramatic cuts to Medicaid and other programs like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often referred to as food stamps. Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the president wants to reduce Medicaid spending over 10 years by as much as $1.4 trillion according to some estimates. The Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides healthcare support under Medicaid to low income children, would be cut by 20% in the first year alone. This of course comes after House Republicans passed a health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act earlier this month. Some in the Senate have vowed to start over, rather than work with the House bill as they craft their own. 

What could these cuts mean for the most vulnerable folks living in our city who rely on programs like Medicaid and food stamps to survive? Tom is joined by Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of the city of Baltimore, for the Midday Healthwatch. 

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