Bridget Armstrong | WYPR

Bridget Armstrong

Bridget no longer works for Midday at WYPR.

Bridget Armstrong is a producer for Midday hosted by Tom Hall. She joined the WYPR team as a producer of Maryland Morning in March 2016. Before coming to WYPR, she worked for SiriusXM and prior to that, at NPR.  While at NPR, Bridget worked on the 2014 Elections Desk and Tell Me More hosted by Michel Martin, where she produced discussions addressing race, gender and pop-culture.  A true lover of conversation, Bridget also hosted and produced a roundtable podcast. Bridget is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, an Historically Black College.

National Press Foundation

Dr. Leana Wen joins us for this month’s edition of Healthwatch.  With an extended Code Red heat alert in effect for the Baltimore region, what precautions must we take to stay safe in 100-degree temperatures? The Zika virus.  What have we learned as we watch the Greater Miami area struggle to contain this sometime fatal disease?  And as opioid overdoses continue to spike, how is the city responding to help addicts find treatment?  And how can the rest of us prepare to lend life-saving assistance when we encounter someone who's overdosing on heroin, fentanyl or other dangerous opioids?  The Health Commissioner talks about efforts to put the overdose antidote drug, Nalaxone, into more people's hands.

Then, unconstitutional conduct by the Baltimore Police Department: Commissioner Kevin Davis responds to the scathing Department of Justice report, Kevin Rector of the Baltimore Sun puts it in context, and Lynh Bui of the Washington Post  describes how the Prince George’s County Police Department's 2004 consent decree with the DOJ has affected day-to-day policing practices.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

 The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture’s latest exhibition is called Now, That’s Cool!  The collection tells the story of the long and varied African-American experience in Maryland, a story that for many decades was defined by slavery, segregation and the legacies of those institutions.  

The exhibit includes more than 40 artifacts collected by the museum over the past 10 years, including a door from the once-segregated Druid Hill Park bathhouses that reads "White Men;" original pictures of abolitionist Frederick Douglass; and a broadside poster from 1802 advertising the capture of two slaves in Frederick, Maryland. 

In this report by producer Bridget Armstrong, museum curator Charles Bethea explains the importance of the exhibition's pieces, and museum visitors share their reactions to the artifacts. 

Now, That's Cool! will be on display at The Reginald F. Lewis museum until December 31. 

Photo by Arash Azizzada

The Department of Justice released a scathing report on the Baltimore Police Department on Wednesday. The report found systematic deficiencies and a pattern of unconstitutional and racially biased behavior in the department. 

The DOJ found that BPD routinely made unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests, used excessive force, retaliated against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression, targeted African-Americans communities, failed to adequately investigate sexual assault allegations, and failed to hold officers accountable for wrongdoing.  Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis joins Tom by phone to respond to the report. 

Photo courtesy Frederick County Government

We continue our Focus on the Counties Series with a conversation with first term Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. Elected in 2014, Ms. Gardner is Frederick’s first County Executive, as they’ve transitioned from a commissioner system to a charter system. A Democrat, Jan Gardner is overseeing one of the fastest growing counties in the state, which is wrestling with the impulse for development in an area with a longstanding agricultural tradition.

Photo courtesy Frederick County Government

In another installment in our Focus on the Counties series, Tom is joined by Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. Ms. Gardner is 59 years old and a native of Northwestern Pennsylvania. She moved to Frederick County in the early 90s, where her husband’s family has resided for six generations. A mother of three adult children, she and her husband now live in the city of Frederick.

Ms. Gardner is a Democrat and Frederick County’s first County Executive.  She holds an M.B.A. from Xavier University. She served as Frederick County Commissioner and the President of Frederick County Commissioners before being elected County Executive in 2014.

According to census data released last year, Frederick County is the fifth fastest-growing county in the state of Maryland.  County Executive Jan Gardner explains how that growth has been affecting life - and governance - in Frederick County.


Today, we continue our Focus on the Counties Series with a conversation with first term Harford County Executive Barry Glassman. He was one of three county executives elected in the Baltimore region in the 2014 Republican wave led by Governor Larry Hogan. Harford County is wrestling with a tenacious problem of opioid addiction, the tensions between rural and suburban land use, environmental contamination, and other issues.  I’ll talk to County Executive Barry Glassman on what’s ahead for Harford County.

 Then, Theater Critic J.Wynn Rousuck reviews "The Lord of Flies", an adaptation at the Annex Theater of William Golding’s chilling 1954 novel of not quite the same name.  

Baltimore City Gov.

We’ll spend the hour with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake. Within 5 months of the violence and uprising that ripped through the city in 2015, the Mayor had announced that she would not seek another term, saying she didn’t want to be distracted by politics while she worked to rebuild the city after that cataclysmic event.  What role will the Port Covington development play in those efforts, and have city officials properly vetted all aspects of this enormous project? What’s the status of the frayed relationship between police and communities of color?  And what does the future hold for a young former mayor, who’s no stranger to the national spotlight? 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

This week, the Democrats gathered in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, aspiring to unify the party, rebuff criticism of Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy, and articulate the dangers of electing Donald Trump. First lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton, and President  Barack Obama were the headliners who all adduced strong arguments for historic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Fairai Chideya of FiveThirtyEight and Michael Fletcher of ESPN’s The Undefeated join Tom to discuss the convention and Sec. Hillary Clinton's Thursday night address. 

 Then, Marilyn Mosby has discontinued the prosecution of the officers indicted in the arrest that led to the death of Freddie Gray.  Our legal eagles, Edward Smith and David Jaros help us understand the ramifications moving forward.  

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Last night, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the DNC to accept the party’s nomination. After she was introduced by her daughter Chelsea Clinton, Sec. Clinton appealed to disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters who find her policies too moderate and working class families who feel forgotten by politicians. 

Jim Young/Reuters

Are the calls for unity at the Democratic National Convention working? Baltimore Sun reporter John Fritze joins Tom by phone from the convention for an update. 

Then, co-host Nathan Sterner speaks with John Racanelli, host of A Blue View on WYPR, about why the National Aquarium has decided to relocate its dolphins to a marine sanctuary. 

Plus, resident foodie Sascha Wolhandler stops by to share some international salad ideas that will spice up your summer. 

Jim Young/Reuters

It’s Day 3 of what has been a contentious Democratic National Convention. After Wikileaks published emails from Democratic National Committee staffers, including DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, showing clear bias for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Wasserman Shultz announced that she would step down as chair at the end of the week. However, after Rep. Wasserman-Shultz was booed at a delegate breakfast on Monday, she relinquished her opening and closing gavel duties to Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who serves as the secretary of the committee. 


The Democratic National Convention kicks off today. Sheri Parks from the University of Maryland and Michael Higginbotham from the University of Baltimore School of law join Tom for a DNC preview. 

Then, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews Spamalot on at Cockpit in Court.   Then, Living Questions continues with Rabbi Jessy Gross, who’s recently been named one of America’s most inspiring Rabbis. She’ll introduce us to the Charm City Tribe, a group of millennials who are practicing religion in a different way.   


The Republican National Convention has come to a close and now it's the Democrats' turn. The Democratic National Convention begins today in Philadelphia and will continue until Thursday. 

After much speculation, Hillary Clinton on Friday evening officially announced that her vice-presidential running mate will be Virginia Senator and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine.

Joining Tom in the studio to discuss what issues -- and controversies -- we can expect to play out at this year's convention are two astute political observers: Sheri Parks is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park. Michael Higginbotham is a professor of law at University of Baltimore School of Law.


Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday night, after a solid majority of delegates from around the country cast their votes for him earlier in the week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

It was a roller-coaster convention. On Monday, party leaders blocked a noisy anti-Trump delegate challenge to the rules binding them to vote for Mr. Trump.  Later that evening,  Mr. Trump's wife, Melania, gave the keynote address. News media were soon abuzz with reports that her address had plagiarized two passages from Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. The Trump Organization released an official statement on Wednesday explaining that speech writer Meredith McIver accidentally incorporated excerpts from Obama's speech into Mrs. Trump's address.

Mickey Welsh

Tomorrow, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture will be hosting Fades and Fellowship. The space has been re-imagined to look like a traditional African-American barbershop where twelve barbers, including Dr. Martin Luther King's barber Nelson Malden, will share the stories and insights they've gleaned from their years working in barbershops.

A longtime staple of the black community, barbershops are places where black men come together to discuss and debate complex issues from racism to relationships.  

Mr. Malden joins Tom in-studio along with Fades and Fellowship co-creator, Darius Wilmore. Darius is the co-creator and creative director of Taharka Brothers Ice Cream. Taharka is releasing a new flavor, "Fly, Fly, Blackbird" in celebration of the event. 


It’s the third day of a Republican National Convention that has been nothing short of eventful. Delegates have convened in Cleveland to set the party’s agenda and declare Donald Trump the official Republican presidential nominee. 

On opening day, delegates who were unhappy with the rules committee’s decision to reject a vote to unbind delegate votes, launched a last effort protest on the convention floor. If that was not enough, Melania Trump, Donald Trump’s wife, is facing allegations that she lifted sections of her RNC speech from a speech Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention. 

The Republican convention gets underway today in Cleveland. Elizabeth Copeland, a Baltimore Republican who is the founder of the Urban Conservative Project, gives a preview.

Liz Copeland


The Republican National Convention kicks off in Cleveland today. After blocking an attempt by anti-Trump insurgents to unbind the delegate votes, party officials will convene to declare Donald Trump the official Republican presidential nominee. Last week, Trump chose Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate.

Earlier this year, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford both said they would not be voting for or endorsing Trump

Liz Copeland is the president and founder of Urban Conservative Project, a self-described "coalition of moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats, and Independents." Copeland was a candidate in the Republican Primary for the First District Baltimore City Council seat. She joins Tom in the studio to talk about the down-ticket implications of a Donald Trump candidacy, and what some political analysts have called the “battle for the soul of the Republican Party.”    

Marian House

There are an estimated 2,500 people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to some advocates for the homeless, that number could go up due to recent funding changes from HUD. 

In May, HUD decided to discontinue grants to 19 of 21 Baltimore-based homeless services providers. The cuts are part of an overall move by HUD to shift support away from transitional housing towards permanent housing solutions.   Marian House is one of the 19 programs affected by the cuts. In addition to providing shelter, the transitional housing program offers rehabilitation services, life skills training, job readiness and employment assistance to women and children experiencing homelessness.  Katie Allston is the Executive Director of Marian House. Jan Mitchell is an alumna of the program. They join Tom in-studio to talk about why transitional housing programs are important and how the recent cuts will impact Marian House. 


Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen joins for another installment of Healthwatch. It’s one thing to call gun violence in America an epidemic. It’s another to actually treat it like a public health crisis, and to employ scientific methods to shape policy and save lives. Leana Wen talks about efforts to combat gun violence in the city. 

Then, sports guru Mark Hyman talks about the Orioles best start in almost 20 years, and how Zika has impacted the upcoming Olympic games.  Plus, Wyclef Jean talks about his new music and Black Lives Matter before kicking off Artscape tonight.

Katie Piper and Karl Ferguson Jr

Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the country, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. This weekend, more than 350,000 festival goers will flood the streets to take in the music, art, theater and fashion presented during the three-day event. 

Grammy-winning artist Wyclef Jean is one of this year’s headliners.  Wyclef joins Tom to talk about his Artscape performance, his upcoming album Carnival III, Road To Clefication and his 2010 presidential run in his native country Haiti. Wyclef also weighs in on the racial tension gripping the country, the Black Lives Matter movement and what he says is an institutional problem within the criminal justice system.

Tom speaks with Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh for the Focus on the Counties series. 

Schuh was one of three county executives elected in the Baltimore region in the Republican wave led by Governor Larry Hogan. When Steve Schuh took office in late 2014, he was the third person to head the county in two years, following the scandal-ridden administration of John Leopold, and the brief tenure of Laura Newman. His working relationship with the county council has not always been smooth; he talks about his plans to streamline government, reduce taxes, and build more schools.   Then, Baltimore author James Magruder on his latest novel "Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall," a tale about the love lives of graduate students in the 1980s.        

(left) Miriam Berkely

James Magruder's Love Slaves Of Helen Hadley Hall tells the story, through the medium of a ghostly narrator, of a group of reckless Yale graduate students trying to find themselves in the early 1980s. Magruder draws on his own experiences as a grad student at Yale to create characters who are more obsessed with their messy love lives than their graduate studies. 

The book takes place during the 1983-84 school year, just as the HIV/AIDS epidemic was beginning in the United States. Magruder, who is living with HIV, says he wanted to revisit a time of innocence and "unsafety" right before HIV changed the way young people approach their relationships.  Baltimore native James Magruder joins Tom in-studio to discuss Love Slaves Of Helen Hadley Hall.  

David Y. Lee

Three out of five people who are arrested are not able to post bail, which means they are incarcerated, sometime for months, until their cases come to trial or are resolved. What are the standards for setting the amount of bail, and do those standards disadvantage the poor? Cherise Fanno Burdeen, the executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute, and Tara Huffman, the director of Open Society Institute-Baltimore Criminal and Juvenile Justice Program join Tom to talk about making bail safer, fairer, and more effective. They also discuss #unconvicted, a photography exhibition organized by OSI-Baltimore the PreTrial Justice Institute that spotlights the plight of pretrial detainees. 

 In the light of events in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas  how has the conversation about police misconduct changed? Dr. Lester Spence, from Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Eddie Glaude from Princeton discuss how we got this point and the way forward.   Plus, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck on the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s  production of The Three Musketeers.  

Princeton, Lester Spence

People across the country are trying to make sense of last week's shooting by the police of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, and the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful rally. 

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, who is African-American, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge after police say they received an anonymous call about an unidentified man with a gun outside of a convenience store. Sterling was shot outside the store after an encounter with two officers. The officers can be seen in a video, taken by a bystander, on top of Sterling before shots were fired. Both officers are white. Louisiana is an open carry state and police say Sterling had a gun in his pocket. Witnesses say Sterling never reached for the gun during the encounter. 

On Wednesday, Philando Castile, who is also African-American, was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights during a traffic stop. According to Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, Castile was reaching for his wallet and disclosed to the officer that he had a pistol on him he was licensed to carry. Reynolds says the officer then said, ‘don’t move' and as Castile was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm. Reynolds live streamed a video of the immediate aftermath for 10 minutes. When the video starts, you can see Castile in the driver seat, his shirt covered in blood, with the officer's gun still pointed at him.

We continue our Focus on the Counties series with Howard County executive Alan Kittleman, In 2014, he won election as a Republican in a place where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one. Howard County is diverse and multi-cultural, and it’s one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the country. As the town of Columbia prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, will fewer people be able to afford to live there? Can Columbia continue to be a model for sustainable, diverse communities nationwide? Alan Kittleman on what’s next for Baltimore’s neighbor to the south. 

Then, from Howard County to The Bridges of Madison County. Theater Critic J.Wynn Rousuck joins Tom to talk about the musical production of the Kleenex classic at the Kennedy Center.

In another installment of Focus on the Counties, Tom speaks with Howard County executive Allan Kittleman

Kittleman was elected in 2014, before that he represented the 9th District in the Maryland Senate for 10 years. 

Over the last 15 years, Howard County’s population has grown by 26 percent. Kittleman discusses how the county is addressing transit and education concerns brought on by the influx of people. He also talks about new business and affordable housing initiatives being rolled out in Columbia. 

Kittleman, who is a Republican,  weighs in on the future of the Republican party, why he won't attend the Convention this time around, and his decision  not to endorse Donald Trump. 

Baltimore City Council

Today is the first day of the new fiscal year for the City of Baltimore. The City Council beat their deadline to approve a budget by 10 days this year, but not without considerable acrimony. City Council president Jack Young and Budget Committee Chairwoman Helen Holton threatened to shut down city government if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake didn’t restore funding for youth programs. Helen Holton (District 8) joins me, along with Councilman Brandon Scott (District 2) to talk about the Council, the Mayor and the budget.

Plus, movie mavens, Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, offer some alternatives to the big Hollywood blockbusters that are unleashed every season around the fourth of July.  

Baltimore City Council

The new fiscal year in Baltimore City begins today. After weeks of contention with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the City Council voted to approve the budget on June 20th. 

Council members, including the City Council president Jack Young and Helen Holton, who represents the 8th district and chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee, threatened to shut down the city government by not approving the budget if $4.2 million for after-school programs was not restored in the budget. While the mayor eventually decided to put the money back, funding cuts had to made in areas of infrastructure, anti-litter programs and to the Enoch Pratt Library.

Brandon Scott, who represents the District 2 on the council, and Helen Holton join Tom in-studio to discuss the budget approval process and the city council’s collaboration with the mayor. 

Photo by Rob Sivak

 This week, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation has convened two groups of emerging arts leaders for workshops around the idea of Undoing Racism. Trainers from The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond explore how institutional racism has come to be so firmly ensconced in American culture, and what it will take to get rid of it. Tom speaks with Kimberley Richards and Rachael Ibrahim, trainers from The People’s Institute, and A. Adar Ayira, a local artist and poet who is on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action.  

Then, author Jessica Anya Blau joins Tom to discuss her new novel The Trouble with Lexie.