Maryland Morning Podcast | WYPR

Maryland Morning Podcast

Maryland Morning finds the most intelligent and intriguing voices behind the headlines. From the Atlantic to the Appalachians, we probe beyond the regional news headlines, unravel local implications of national news stories, and explore the science, history, arts, and culture of Maryland.

Sagamore Development

After months of public hearings, private meetings, and political maneuvering, a deal to provide Tax Increment Financing to create the infrastructure for the massive Port Covington development appears to be headed for approval by the Baltimore City Council. A final vote is scheduled for Monday night. Tom speaks with 

Bishop Douglas Miles, a co-chair emeritus of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), one of the groups of community activists who negotiated what many are calling an historic agreement.     Then, Joshua Harris is the Green Party candidate for Mayor of Baltimore.  He’ll join me to discuss his vision for the future of Charm City.   And,  Mother’s Lament is a new oratorio composed in response to the Baltimore Uprising by James Lee, III and librettist Vincent Stringer.  They’re here with a preview of tomorrow’s premier at Morgan State.

We’re just about seven weeks away from the election, as one of America’s most divisive and unpredictable presidential campaigns continues to challenge political norms.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton blast each other as unfit for office, as charges of “deplorable” and “racist” and “hateful” fly from both camps.  The tumultuous presidential campaign has led to uncertainty up and down the ballots of both major parties. Washington Post syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne joins Tom to try make sense of the rapidly evolving electoral landscape.

Then, the iconoclastic punk rock band, Deerhoof. Producer Max Savage Levenson sits down with the band’s co-founder, Maryland native Greg Saunier, who’ll explain how a band that’s never had a hit is still going strong after more than two decades on the road. 

We begin with a conversation about the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. There are some who believe that if this type of gas drilling were allowed in Western Maryland, it could generate up to 3,000 jobs and at least $5 million in annual tax revenues. But many have concerns about the impact on the environment and public health. We’ll hear from Dr. David Vanko, the former head of the Maryland Fracking Commission, and co-host Nathan Sterner talks to Dr. Brian Schwartz, a researcher from Johns Hopkins, and Senator Bobby Zirkin, who proposed banning fracking.

Then, Alan Walden, the Republican candidate for Mayor of Baltimore, joins Tom to talk about his vision for the future of Charm City. And theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck has a review of the new show at Ford’s Theater in Washington, Come From Away. The musical tells the true story of the 7000 airline passengers whose planes were diverted to the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, immediately after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and how the tiny community’s embrace of these stranded strangers became an inspirational counterpoint to the horrors that brought them together. 

Chris Carlson/AP

The NFL opened its season last night, amid a controversy surrounding San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has protested inequality in communities of color by refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist ER Shipp joins Tom for a conversation about protests and patriotism.

 Plus, our Movie Mavens, Jed Dietz and Ann Hornaday, on this summer’s epidemic of “sequel-it is” and the Obama effect: how the first family has transformed tinsel town.  

Local Government Insurance Trust

For the finale of our Focus on the Counties series with a look at Kent County. The smallest of Maryland’s 23 jurisdictions, it’s home to Chestertown, a popular destination for retirees, and Washington College. Kent County is one of nine counties in the state that does not have a county executive, instead administrators are appointed by a board of elected commissioners. 

Tom is joined by Kent County Administrator Shelley Herman Heller and Chris Cerino, the mayor of Chestertown, to talk about their efforts to attract new jobs, young families, artists, and more tourists. Then, theater as therapy.  Joanne Lewis Margolius moved to Maryland 30 years ago from her native England to form the Magical Experiences Arts Company, which presents interactive theatrical programs for disabled children and adults to address the often overlooked emotional dimensions of their lives.


Here’s a cheery thought to kick off your holiday:  The first two leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease and cancer.  The third leading cause?  Medical errors.  Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that mistakes in prescribing drugs, miscues in surgery, and miscommunication between care givers leads to an astonishing number of preventable deaths every year.  One of the authors of the study, Dr. Michael Daniel, explains how the medical community is addressing this endemic problem. 

Then, 53 years after the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  led the March on Washington, a conversation with an eyewitness to history: pioneering civil rights activist Gloria Richardson, one of the founders of what came to be called The Cambridge Movement on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

And, local author Kathy Flann on her latest collection of Baltimore-based short stories, Get a Grip.  

Community Healing Network

We revisit a conversation about African centered approaches to mental health with Dr. Cheryl Grills of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and Enola Aird, the founder and president of Community Healing Network. This conversation originally aired on April 15, 2016.

Then, comedian and political satirist Barry Crimmins weighs in on the presidential election and discusses how the abuse he experienced as a child informs his work today. 

Plus, we go up on the roof to hear about one pastor's efforts to get voters to the polls in his community during the 2016 primary season. This conversation originally aired on April 20, 2016. 

Russell Sage Foundation

What’s your identity project? The thing that puts a skip in your step when you wake up every day? Maybe it’s the instrument you play, or the poetry you’ve written. For a lot of kids living in Baltimore’s most impoverished neighborhoods, their identity project can be their ticket out of economic hardship. A Hopkins researcher spent 10 years studying kids in Baltimore’s public housing. Why are some kids able to break the cycle of poverty? Stefanie DeLuca on Coming of Age in the Other America.

Then, National Book Award winner James McBride on Kill 'em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul.

And, Smart Nutrition: Our Nutrition Diva, Monica Reinagle, has some tips about long term weight loss.

Goldman Environmental Prize

Today's podcast begins with our story, first broadcast this past May, on Destiny Watford. She's a winner of the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for her work with Free Your Voice, a grassroots organization that opposed construction of an incinerator in Curtis Bay.  The Goldman Prize is awarded to one person on each of the six inhabited continents.  Ms. Watford, at age 20, is this year’s winner for all of North America.  She joins Tom to talk about lighting a fire for justice in South Baltimore.  (See our full Destiny Watford web article for a statement from the incinerator's intended builder.)

Then: Yesterday marked the 53rd anniversary of the March on Washington, the peaceful demonstration that brought more than 200,000 protesters to the Lincoln Memorial to demand racial and employment equality.  In a conversion she had with Tom this past January, Helena Hicks recalls her role in the 1955 sit-in at the then-racially segregated Read's Drug Store, which took place eight years before Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Washington march.

And an Annapolis troupe of three actors offers The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) in a rollicking 90 minute parade of witty skits inspired by the Bard of AvonTheater critic J Wynn Rousuck has a review.  

MacArthur Foundation


Liz Lerman, a MacArthur award winning dancer and choreographer joins Tom to discuss her new appointment as a Professor in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

Then, Donald Hicken, who retired from the theater department at the Baltimore School of the Arts in June, joins Tom to share his reflections after three and a half decades of changing young lives. 

And, Sharayna Christmas is a dancer, writer and the executive director of Muse 360, an organization that works with youth to cultivate their interests in the arts.  In July, Muse 360 took a  group of young people from Baltimore City to Havana, Cuba where for two weeks they studied history, Spanish and dance. The trip was put together in conjunction with The African Diaspora Alliance and Frederick Douglass High School.   This program originally aired on June 17, 2016.