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After a devastating fire in March 2016, The Book Thing--a free book depot--is back! Founder Russell Wattenberg tells us about the path to rebuilding and how the community stepped up.

The Station North Tool Library Facebook page

Not-so handy around tools? No worries: the Station North Tool Library has tools and classes for every level of workshop experience. Co-founder Piper Watson tells about the 3,000 tools the library has on offer and the wide variety of its members. The first-ever Fix It Fair is October 21st from 11 am - 3 pm at 417 E Oliver St.

Photo courtesy Goucher College.

Elizabeth Strout is Tom's guest for this edition of Midday.  She is the author of six novels and many short stories; her most recent book is a series of linked tales called Anything is PossibleLinking stories together was a structural device that Ms. Strout also employed in what is perhaps her most well-known work, Olive KitteridgeThe book earned her the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction , and Frances McDormand starred in an adaptation of the story for HBO that won eight Emmy Awards.

Strout writes about people with big hearts who often live in small towns:  A disgruntled former school teacher, Somali immigrants, a school janitor, a successful writer who returns to rural Illinois to reunite with her estranged siblings.  We meet these and many, many more complicated and brilliant and flawed and eloquent characters who are powerfully and compellingly portrayed by a writer whose tremendous gifts of observation and explication are imbued with great magnanimity and compassion.

Elizabeth Strout is speaking at Goucher College this afternoon and again this evening.  For more information, click here or contact the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at kratz@goucher.edu

@chefwolf Instagram

Tony and Chef Wolf give some advice on beef braising, cuts, production, plus what to do drink with red meat. And a Chef's Challenge, of course!

Photo by Zach Gross

Tom spends the hour today with Van Jones, a Yale-educated lawyer, former Obama Administration advisor, founder of several social justice organizations, and a commentator and host on CNN.  He's also an author, whose latest book is called 'Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart – How We Come Together'.

In his new book, Jones asserts that even in our current climate of strident bifurcation in the political arena, there are some issues about which voters and leaders of all political stripes can agree.  “Common pain should lead to common purpose,” he writes.  He criticizes both major political parties for letting down America time and again, and he suggests that a rebellion, like the one we witnessed last November, was justified.  A dedicated Democrat, Van Jones just thinks "the wrong rebel won."

He joins us today from NPR studios in Washington, D.C.

Wikimedia Commons

Five hundred years ago this month, the German monk Martin Luther challenged the practices of the Roman Catholic church, sparking the Protestant Reformation and shaping how Christians think and worship.

Bishop Denis Madden, of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Rev. Mark Hanson, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, describe the dialogue aimed at reuniting their denominations.

And we speak to Yu Na Han, who curated an exhibit at the Walters Art Museum about Luther’s life as father, friend, and husband.

Jacob Lawrence is one of the most important and renowned artists of the 20th Century. His paintings and prints offer rich portrayals of black life including his famed Migration Series which captured the mass migration of African Americans from the South to the North and Western US after the first World War, and his Toussaint L'Ouverture series about the famed leader of the Haitian Slave Revolt. 

Now, over 50 of Jacob Lawrence’s paintings and prints are on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture to celebrate what would have been Lawrence’s 100th birthday.  Charles Bethea, the chief curator and Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Lewis Museum, joins Tom to talk about the Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence exhibition.

That was neurosurgeon Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa telling his stoop story about a special patient who, facing his fight against brain cancer, taught the doctor a important lesson about life. The story was part of a special stoop event: “Hopkins Medicine, A World Inside a City,” in May 2012. More stories at stoopstorytelling.com.

Project Bridge

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More than 300 million people across the globe don’t see the world with what is considered normal color vision. Today we meet glass scientist Dr. Donald McPherson, who accidentally discovered he could help those people. He’s the mind behind Enchroma glasses, designed to unlock color vision for those with color-deficient sight. We also capture the moment when local illustrator and art educator Jonathon Scott Fuqua tries the glasses for the first time. It changed the way he was used to seeing the world.

Photos courtesy Asma Uddin, Union Theological Seminary

Welcome to another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Today: a conversation about religious freedom in the United States.  President Donald Trump continues to advocate for restricting access to the US for Muslims from certain countries, and he nominated Sam Brownback, a strict religious conservative, to head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the State Department.  Mr. Brownback, the highly unpopular governor of Kansas, will leave that post with the Kansas economy in tatters, but his appointment to oversee religious freedom world-wide is being hailed by evangelicals - and others - as a good choice.  Perhaps his most well-known involvement with a religious freedom case in the US is his advocacy for a Kansas florist who refused to make an arrangement for a same sex couple’s wedding. What does that portend for America’s posture in other countries where LGBT citizens face discrimination? 

Joining Tom today to discuss "religious freedom" in America today:  The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones. She is the president of the Union Theological Seminary in New York. She is the first woman to head the historic institution.  She also holds the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy at UTS. She is the Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Religion, and she served for 17 years on the faculty of Yale University.  She joins us from Argot Studios in New York.

Asma Uddin joins us as well.  She is the founder and editor-in-chief of altmuslimah.com, and the co-founder of altFem Magazine and altVentures Media, Inc. She is a lawyer and a scholar who speaks frequently about American and international religious liberty.   She speaks to us from NPR Studios in Washington, D.C.

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Photo by Britt Olsen-Ecker

It's Thursday, and that means our peripatetic theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, is back in Studio A with a review of one of the region's many thespian offerings.  This week, Judy joins Tom in a conversation about  Lear, a new production of a 2010 play by Young Jean Lee, now on stage at Single Carrot Theatre.

An artful weave of Elizabethan and modern pop cultures, Lear is a riff, of sorts, on Shakespeare's tragedy, "King Lear," that shows how dysfunctional, selfish and self-absorbed children can still wreak havoc on their elders -- and themselves.  

Lear is directed by Andrew Peters, with costume design by Nicki Siebert.  The play stars Surasree Das as Goneril, Paul Diem as Edgar, Tim German as Edmund, Chloe Mikala as Cordelia, and Elizabeth Ung as Regan.

Lear continues at Single Carrot Theatre through Sunday, October 29th.

AP Photo

Is the 45th president of the United States unfit to serve in the nation's highest office?  More than 64,000 mental health professionals have signed a petition that says that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness and should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

But how could those mental health professionals come to that conclusion without having examined Mr. Trump, and should they share an opinion about him without his consent?   

Dr. John Gartner joined host Tom Hall in studio.  He is a psychologist and the founder of an organization called Duty to Warn.  He taught at the Johns Hopkins Medical School for 28 years and continues to practice in Baltimore.  He has written two books, and he contributed to a book released last week called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

Dr. Allen Dyer joined Tom on the line from NPR in Washington, D.C.  He is an M.D. and holds a Ph.D. in Ethics.  He is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University Medical School. He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Ethics Committee when the so-called Goldwater Rule was written more than 40 years ago.

Macmillan Publishers

Having a successful African-American physician as a father and a white mother who read her the works of Black authors was no barrier against the racism Julie Lythcott-Haims faced growing up in white Wisconsin. In her new book, "Real American: A Memoir", she describes her journey to self-acceptance and insight about what it means to be Black in America.

Julie Lythcott-Haims will be speaking at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, tomorrow at 6:30 pm. Her “opening act,” will be Mohammad Tall, Youth Poet Laureate at Morgan State University, reading from his work.

United Way of Central Maryland Project Homeless Connect

A show about the power of human connections ... Scott Gottbreht of United Way of Central Maryland tells us how ‘Project Homeless Connect’  breaks barriers and provides urgently needed medical and dental care, and other services for the homeless and poor. It’s a two-day event at the Convention Center this week. 

MedSchool Maryland Productions

Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Susan Hadary, from MedSchool Maryland Productions, talks about connecting with the six teens from the University of Maryland, Baltimore CURE program (Continuing the Umbrella for Research Experiences) in her documentary “From West Baltimore.” Also joining us is Shakeer Franklin, who reflects on life in his neighborhood.

Photo by Robert Kniesche/Baltimore Sun

MiddayWYPR and the Baltimore Museum of Industry team up for a special program -- presented as part of BMI's Issues in Industry series -- examining Baltimore's calamitous de-industrialization, the challenge of rebuilding the city's workforce, and the future of work in Baltimore's increasingly dynamic industrial landscape.  Broadcast in front of a live audience at BMI's Communications Gallery, the hour-long discussion features guest panelists Anita Kassof, BMI’s executive director; Dr. Nicole King, associate professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at UMBC;  Phillip J. Pack, a retired Sparrows Point steelworker and union trainer; Lauren Purviance, with Jane Addams Resource Corp., a Baltimore job training firm; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, a labor economist, author, media commentator and CEO of Economic Education, LLC; and Joe Jones, Director, Center for Urban Families, a Baltimore nonprofit.

The panel also addresses emailed and tweeted questions and comments from the audience.

3600 Falls Road, part 1

Oct 10, 2017
all photos by Wendel Patrick

“I think the word we’re dancing around is ‘gentrification.’” So says Benn Ray of Atomic Books at the outset of this episode. What follows is a multidimensional portrait of a neighborhood in flux.  The 3600 block of Falls Road is a mix of longtime rowhome residents, recovering opiate addicts, and a new wave of business owners whose trendy boutiques have come to redefine a neighborhood that’s been in long economic decline.  Who does Hampden belong to?  The answer depends who you ask.

Simon & Schuster

Ever wonder what your favorite authors wrote as kids? Author and creative-writing teacher Elissa Brent Weissman has collected their early writings in a new book titled, "Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids".

Weissman and several other local authors, will discuss their new books on Saturday, 11 a.m. at the Barnes & Nobel in Ellicott City.

This Thursday at 4 pm, Gordon Korman, author of the Swindle series, Schooled, Ungifted, and the Everest series, will be speaking at The Children's Bookstore in Roland Park.

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On this edition of the Midday News Wrap,  we look at President Trump's visit to Puerto Rico and his talk of relief efforts for the US territory in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, issued a statement about "bump stocks," the device that the Las Vegas mass shooter used to increase the carnage he inflicted. “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles," the statement read, "should be subject to additional regulations.”

President Trump is reportedly planning to de-certify the Iran nuclear deal, leaving it to Congress to think about pulling out of the agreement altogether. Reports are that his top advisers are recommending the US stay in.  Last night while posing for a picture with military leaders and their wives, Trump described the moment as the "calm before the storm."  The Commander in Chief did not elaborate further.

And here in Baltimore, a highly respected lawyer from a prominent local law firm has been appointed to serve as the monitor of the Consent Decree between the Police Department and the Department of Justice. 

Tom discusses these and other of the week's top news stories with reporter John Lemire, who covers the White House for the Associated Press; Charles Robinson Political/Business reporter for Maryland Public Television; and Andrew Green, the Opinion Editor of the Baltimore Sun.  

Brion McCarthy Photography LLC

The Stoop Storytelling Series has been delighting Baltimore audiences with true, hilarious and heartbreaking tales from ordinary people, since 2006. Stoop founders and hosts, Jessica Myles Henkin and Laura Wexler, join us to talk about themes for the new season. They include senatorial roasts, freaky families, the 1980s and excursions into the unknown. Find more details here!

Here's a Stoop Story from Dr. Ethel Weld, about a memorable first encounter during an excruciatingly long ER shift, back when she was a first-year medical resident. You can listen to her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

Scott Free Productions

Today, it's another edition of our monthly Midday at the Movies, and movie mavens Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz , founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, are here to help Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak size up some of the new releases hitting local theaters this weekend, including Bladerunner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to director Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic. And we’ll be talking about the trove of independent films making their way through the US and international festival circuit, including the Toronto and the more recent Milwaukee Film Festivals that Ann’s just back from and will tell us more about.

Iron Crow Theatre

It's Thursday and that means Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us to spotlight one of the region's thespian offerings.  Today, she talks with Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak about "The Cradle Will Rock," a 1937 "play in music" written by the late Marc Blitzstein that's getting a spirited revival by Iron Crow Theatre, at the Theatre Project, now until Sunday, October 8th.

Blitzstein’s pro-union, anti-capitalist musical was the first ever shut down by the federal government.  It's an allegorical but in-your-face indictment of capitalism and socio-political corruption -- too-familiar themes in today's headlines.  Even as it attacks the wealthy class and the political power it unjustly wields, it also pays homage to the oppressed and the poor, and those struggling to survive. Brechtian in its bold scope and style, The Cradle Will Rock is considered by many critics to be one of the most historically significant works in American theater.

The Cradle Will Rock revival by Iron Crow Theatre continues at The Theatre Project until Sunday, October 8th.

Jen Pauliukonis / Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence

"No more numbers. Say their names": that’s the motto of a new campaign by the nonprofit Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence.

Behind the Statistics aims to build a personal connection through portraits and essays between the public and those devastated by gun violence. We speak to Jen Pauliukonis, president of the coalition, and Cynthia "KeKe" Collins, a member of Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters, whose 22-year-old son was killed in a shooting.

Then: University of Baltimore law professor Michael Meyerson describes the legal challenge facing Maryland’s assault-style weapons ban.

Miss Veteran America

Nearly 40,000 U.S. veterans are homeless, and within that group, the number of homeless female veterans is growing fastest. In many cases they are women with children. We talk with Veterans Affairs social workers Christopher Buser and Jackie Adams to learn how the VA is attacking the homeless vet problem in Maryland. First Major Jaspen Boothe, founder of Final Salute, Inc., and The Miss Veteran America competition, tells us why she’s dedicated to raising awareness about women vets who are homeless … and filling the gap of support available to them.

Ludovic Bertron

This month, we’re going to hear the story of someone who made a big personal decision, but quite late in life.  Autumn is a 61 year old trans-woman who transitioned just recently, after quietly struggling with her identity for decades…  We’ll hear how Autumn’s transition has impacted her work-life, her family relations, and her marriage.  Autumn’s personal story will also be the springboard for our larger conversation this hour about the unique, and often overlooked, challenges facing LGBT elders.

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

 

We begin with an update on the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 59 dead and more than 500 people injured. Almost immediately after the tragic shooting --which is being characterized as the largest mass shooting in recent U.S history-- Democrats and Republicans began the predictable debate about gun regulation in our country. Unfortunately it’s story we know all too well. Last year, following what is now the second largest mass shooting in recent history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Democrats proposed extended background checks in private gun sales, and banning sales to suspected terrorists. Republicans proposed increased funding for a national background check database; and a judicial review process for people on a terror watch list when they attempted to purchase firearms. None of those bills passed. In 2012, after 20 children and six educators were fatally shot at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown Connecticut, President Obama made an emotional appeal to Congress for tougher gun laws. Obama signed several executive orders relating to gun control, but neither of the two major pieces of gun legislation proposed at the time passed in the Senate. 

UMBC

One-on-one coaching, identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses, providing extra time to review skills. These are some of the tactics that Lakeland Elementary Middle School is employing, with help from University of Maryland-Baltimore County, to boost students’ math skills. We hear about this partnership from Lakeland Principal Najib Jammal, math teacher Katie Poist, and the assistant director of the UMBC Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars, Joshua Michael.

It’s been just over a year since David Cameron resigned from the British government, after six years as UK prime minister, and a decision by British voters to leave the European Union -- the Brexit vote, a shock to many. David Cameron will be in Baltimore this week for the Baltimore Speakers Series presented by Stevenson University.

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