Andrea Appleton | WYPR

Andrea Appleton

Andrea no longer works for On The Record.

Andrea Appleton is a producer for On The Record. She comes to WYPR with years of experience as a freelance journalist filing stories for newspapers, magazines, and public radio. She has reported on topics ranging from bull riding to bionic fish, with an emphasis on science.  She is also former senior editor of the Baltimore City Paper, and a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism.

She and her husband live in Baltimore with their two young sons.

Maryland GovPics/Flickr via Creative Commons

Maryland’s oyster sanctuaries could shrink by eleven percent if a draft plan from state natural resource officials goes into effect. The Bay’s oyster population is already a tiny fraction of what it once was. What would these changes mean? Tim Wheeler of the Bay Journal joins us to talk about what’s at stake for the Bay’s famous bivalves as well as for the watermen who depend on them.

Courtesy of the World Relief Facebook page

The president’s executive orders on immigration have expanded the rules for considering an undocumented immigrant a priority for deportation. What effect is that having in Maryland? Valerie Twanmoh, head of Catholic Charities' Esperanza Center, an immigrant resource center in Baltimore, joins us. Then we turn to Emily Gray, senior vice president for U.S. ministries for World Relief, a refugee resettlement agency. World Relief is laying off 140 staff and closing five offices, including one in Glen Burnie, as a result of the president’s executive order reducing the number of refugees allowed into the country.

After a long wait, medical marijuana could start being prescribed in Maryland this year. Patients awaiting the drug welcome the roll-out, but it will present a thorny problem for employers. Under federal law, marijuana remains illegal. So what does medical marijuana mean for workplace drug-testing? We hear from Dr. Ryan Vandrey, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who studies marijuana. He explains the science of drug-testing, and the pitfalls. Then Maryland employment lawyer Julie Janofsky joins us to discuss the legal ins and outs of workplace drug-testing now that medical marijuana has been legalized.

Baltimore’s public markets are an enduring feature. The city had some of the earliest public markets in the United States. After visiting Lexington Market, Ralph Waldo Emerson dubbed it “the gastronomic capital of the world.” But in modern times the city’s markets have struggled with vacancies; and in some, the fare tends toward the fast and fried. Renovations are planned for several of the markets, but the city was dealt a setback last week when the developer charged with renovating Cross Street Market on South Charles Street backed out of the deal after years of negotiations. What does the future hold for Baltimore’s storied public markets? Robert Thomas, executive director of the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation, the non-profit organization that administers the markets, joins us. And Baltimore Business Journal reporter Melody Simmons, who has covered recent developments at both Cross Street and Lexington Markets, also joins us. 

Slowly but surely, President Trump’s cabinet picks are coming to a vote, despite fierce opposition by Democrats in some cases. One of those cases is the nomination of Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Early this month Democrats on the Senate committee charged with vetting his nomination boycotted. Republicans suspended committee rules and moved the confirmation on to the full Senate. A vote is likely to come this week. What would Scott Pruitt’s nomination mean for Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay? We hear from Republican Congressman Andy Harris, who represents Maryland’s 1st congressional district, and Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project. He served as director of the EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement from 1997 to 2002. 

Farrah Arnold/Courtesy the International Rescue Committee

The last week and a half has been a rollercoaster for refugees, and the organizations that work with them. First there was President Trump’s executive order on immigration. It immediately suspended entry into the U.S. of people from seven countries, all majority Muslim, for 90 days. The ban also suspended entry of all new refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. Then, last Friday, a federal District Court judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order blocking key elements of the order. Some refugees and other immigrants resumed traveling. The Trump Administration appealed. The federal court of appeals for the western U.S. is set to hear arguments this afternoon

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All eyes have turned to the Supreme Court in the aftermath of President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Gorsuch may be the most important judge Trump will nominate, he is far from the only one. The president also appoints federal appeals court and district court judges. President Trump comes into office with over 100 vacancies waiting to be filled. What is the state of the federal judiciary? How is it likely to change under Trump? 

Time for another installment in our weekly feature from the Stoop Storytelling Series! Nancy Murray tells a story about something that happened to her in 1994 that changed her outlook on life. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at

Some research indicates men may be almost as likely as women to be victims of sexual assault. Yet we rarely think of them in that light. We hear from psychologist Dr. Andrew Smiler, a leading expert on the masculine self and a board member of MaleSurvivor, an advocacy organization for male victims of sexual assault. Then we turn to Kenneth Rogers, Jr., a Baltimore schoolteacher who has written a book about his experience as a victim. It took him two decades to face the abuse he suffered--in part, he says, because of his gender. He will read and discuss his book at the Waverly Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library on Saturday at 3pm. 

You may feel that you’ve heard more about the American working class in the last year than in the previous decade and a half combined. Could be. There have been books--like Nancy Isenberg’s "White Trash" and J.D.Vance’s "Hillbilly Elegy"--explaining attitudes of and about the working class. More pointedly, Donald Trump highlighted the frustration of the working class and harnessed it to build his campaign’s momentum. While much of the public may have been overlooking the working class for years, Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin has been paying it a lot of attention, and drawing links between what’s going on in the economy and what’s going on in families. In 2014 Cherlin, who is the Benjamin H. Griswold III Professor of Public Policy, published “Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America.” 

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The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth has had trouble bringing inner-city kids into its programs. African-American kids from lower socioeconomic backgrounds haven’t done well on the standardized tests the center typically uses. So the Center is looking for new ways to identify bright kids from underserved neighborhoods. The result is the Baltimore Emerging Scholars Program. Program manager Andrew Moss and Amy Lynne Shelton, director of research at the Center and a professor and associate dean for research in the Johns Hopkins School of Education, both join us. We also hear the impressions of 4th-grader Santino Vaughan, who seemed impressed with an astronomy lesson involving a grapefruit and a flashlight. “We saw the phases of the moon," he says. "We saw the crescent moon, we saw the half moon, we saw the gibbous moon, and then we saw the full moon.” 

Comedian and Baltimore native Meshelle shares her story of moving from the city to the suburbs when she was little. Her story has been edited for brevity. 

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Research suggests that the human appetite for seafood could decimate the world’s fisheries in three decades if we don’t change our ways. What can consumers do to be part of the solution? We hear from TJ Tate, director of the National Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Program, about fish you can buy with a clear conscience. Then Beth Lowell of the nonprofit conservation group Oceana joins us to talk about seafood fraud; she shares tips for getting the fish you think you’re getting. For example: “Buy as close to the whole fish as possible. The more processing that’s happened to a piece of fish--like the skin, the fins, the heads all removed--the better opportunity for seafood fraud to happen.” 

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Every day doctors write more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some of those cases, addiction follows. As a result, deaths from prescription opioids have more than quadrupled since 1999. My guest today has a unique vantage point on the problem. Travis Rieder is a bioethicist at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute for Bioethics, and he personally experienced a dependence on opioids. He wrote about it in the January issue of the journal “Health Affairs,” and a portion of that article was excerpted in the Washington Post. He joins Sheilah in studio.

Time now for another Stoop story. This week we hear from a mom with a lot on her plate. Mary Klopcic gives us a snapshot of life with her 13 children. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at

Lawrence OP/Flickr via Creative Commons

Small-muscle athletes. In the medical field, that’s the term for musicians. Musicians are prone to a range of injuries. It’s a pitfall of the profession. But unlike their large-muscle counterparts, musicians don’t get much pro-active attention when it comes to pain. As Dr. Raymond Wittstadt, attending hand surgeon at the Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital puts it, “I mean even at the high school level, most sports teams will have a trainer on the sidelines. There’s nobody in the wings of the BSO saying we practiced too long today, or we repeated that passage too many times.”

Wittstadt has held a monthly musicians’ clinic at the center for more than 15 years. He joins us along with Dr. Scott Brown, chief of the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and LifeBridge Health. For the past decade he has taught a class at the Peabody Institute on injury prevention for musicians.

John Cleese

Jan 17, 2017

The Minister of Silly Walks is coming to Baltimore. Well, he’s not actually the minister, he’s just an hilariously officious bureaucrat. John Cleese, of Monty Python, of "Fawlty Towers," of the movie “A Fish Called Wanda” and much, much more will be in Baltimore Tuesday for the Baltimore Speakers Series presented by Stevenson University. He joins us by phone. 

Courtesy of Rich Shapero

Intricately carved ostrich eggs. A life-size Gummy bear self-portrait. A giant mosaic made of toast. These are just a few examples of the artwork that makes up the current exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum. It’s titled “Yummm! The History, Fantasy, and Future of Food,” and AVAM Director Rebecca Hoffberger is here to tell us about it.

Steven Depolo/Flickr via Creative Commons

Today we’re talking about cancer, and a surprising rise in oral cancer. A recent analysis found that insurance claims for oral cancer have skyrocketed over the last five years, particularly among men. What explains this rise, why do men appear to be more vulnerable than women, and what can be done to prevent cancer of the mouth, tongue, tonsils, and throat? Dr. Gypsyamber D'Souza, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, joins us in studio.

The​ decade-long ​legal​ ​struggle​ ​between​ ​Maryland​ ​and​ advocates for ​its historically​ black​ ​​universities​ ​and​ ​​colleges​ ​is​ ​back​ ​in​ ​federal​ ​court. The​ ​HBCU coalition alleges​ ​Maryland​ ​has​ ​underfunded​ ​its​ ​historically​ ​black​ ​institutions and​ ​allowed​ ​other​ ​state​ ​schools​ ​to​ ​duplicate​ ​their​ ​programs, draining​ ​students​ ​away​ ​and keeping HBCUs from achieving racial diversity. “Frankly what happens is that white students will not go to the HBCU. They’ll go to the traditionally white institution if both schools offer the same programs," says our guest, Jon Greenbaum of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He is one of the lawyers representing the coalition. We hear a different view from commentator Laslo Boyd, former acting state secretary of higher education.

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In a little over two weeks, President-elect Donald Trump will become President Trump. As he ascends to the nation’s highest office, the media is doing a lot of navel gazing. Why did the press fail to predict his win? Is the media elitist, as many Trump supporters contend? And how should journalists deal with the rise of fake news? With us to discuss such questions is writer and cultural critic Lee Siegel. He is the winner of a National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism, and a regular contributor to the Columbia Journalism Review, where he’s written numerous articles about media in the age of Trump. He joins us from a studio at Montclair State University in New Jersey. 


Time for the next installment in our weekly feature from the Stoop Storytelling Series. In 2009, comedian Jim Meyer told the story of an unusual job he once had. Hint: it involves a crown and scepter. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at

Courtesy of Holistic Life Foundation

A nonprofit called the Holistic Life Foundation has been bringing mindfulness, yoga, and meditation into Baltimore public schools for nearly 15 years. Suspensions and detentions appear to have dropped as a result, and some kids have really taken the practice to heart. We hear from the co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, a student who has since become a teacher in the program, and a researcher who studies school-based mindfulness programs.

Javier Romero Otero/Flickr via Creative Commons

What does our newfound ability to handle vast amounts of data mean for the future of medicine? Healthcare is likely to become more tailored to the individual. This has become known as ‘precision medicine.’ What will it mean for our health? We talk to the head of a Johns Hopkins University precision medicine initiative. Original air date: Oct. 31, 2016

The civil war in Syria has been raging now for five years. In that time, more than 450,000 Syrians have been killed. Half the country’s population has been displaced. The Syrian government officially reclaimed the city of Aleppo from rebel forces last week. The world watched as desperate civilians in the city pleaded for help on social media. The final round of evacuations appear to be underway now but the effort has been halting and the future is uncertain even for those who have escaped Aleppo. What has it been like for Syrians outside the country to watch the suffering there? Do the images we see in the media square with the place they know? Civil rights lawyer and journalist Alia Malek joins us. She was born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrants, and she lived in Damascus for several years at the start of the civil war. Her memoir about the history of her ancestral home in Syria will be published in February, with the title "The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria." 

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More than 900 people were shot in Baltimore last year, 301 of them fatally--the deadliest year in the city’s history. The violence has barely abated. So far this year, more than 260 people have been fatally shot in Baltimore. The vast majority of the victims are young black men, and many of them end up at the University of Maryland’s R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. What if there were a way to save more of their lives? A surgeon at Shock Trauma thinks he has found a way. But the technique is both controversial and ethically fraught. Freelance writer Nicola Twilley recently wrote about it for The New Yorker Magazine, in an article titled “Can Hypothermia Save Gunshot Victims?” She joins us. Then, Harriet Washington, a medical ethicist and the author of “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” shares her thoughts on the new technique. 

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Fire has been in the news recently, and none of that news has been good. Gatlinburg, Tenn., Oakland, Calif. and even here in Maryland. A spate of smaller home fires in our state has claimed the lives of at least 9 people in recent weeks. Today we’re going to talk about what caused those fires, what we can do to prevent home fires, and what to do if a fire does strike. Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch joins us.

We listen to an edited version of a story from Robert Pelrine about his Aunt Jane, a cat named Fluffy, and a catastrophic Christmas. You can listen to more stories, and learn about Stoop shows and The Stoop podcast, all at

James Stuby

Maryland has laid out a bold goal of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent in the next decade and a half. One tool to get there is participating in the Regional Greenhouse-Gas Initiative, a compact of nine northeastern states that require companies that generate electricity to pay for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit. Maryland joined the compact in 2008.  Over that period of time, carbon dioxide emissions have reduced about 37 percent across the region, the equivalent of taking around three-quarters of a million cars off the road. Professor Sara Via from Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Maryland Energy Secretary Ben Grumbles join us to talk about cleaning up Maryland’s air.

A week from today, the members of the Electoral College will cast their ballots for president. A Hail Mary effort is underway to persuade electors from red states not to vote for Donald Trump. If it works--and it’s a real long shot--the choice would go to the Republican House of Representatives. The House could end up choosing a different Republican candidate. Former Baltimore County Executive Ted Venetoulis, a Democrat and author of a book about times the House has picked the president, says the electoral college was designed as a safeguard. “This is what the framers wanted," he says. "They wanted a couple of firewalls between the public, essentially, who they wanted to vote, and the ultimate decision, because they did not trust a pure democracy.” We also hear from Republican Richard Painter, who was chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush.