Melissa Gerr | WYPR

Melissa Gerr

Producer

Melissa Gerr is a producer for On the Record.  She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks."  Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'

Laura Elizabeth Pohl

Hostilities on the Korean peninsula were suspended 65 years ago, but the war never formally ended. Thousands of North and South Koreans cannot reunite or even communicate with family. Photographer and filmmaker Laura Elizabeth Pohl delves into the trauma in her traveling photo exhibit A Long Separation. Then, photographer Helen Glazer found inspiration in stark snow-covered tundra. She toured as part the ‘Antarctic Artists and Writers’ program of the National Science Foundation. 

This is a special Fall Pledge combination rebroadcast, links to full interviews can be found here, for Pohl and here, for Glazer.

Helen Glazer's instagram images can be found here.

For millions of Americans, higher education just doesn’t work. Of all those who start college each fall, barely more than half graduate with a degree or certificate in six years. And many leave campus saddled with huge debts.

Health Care for the Homeless

For many families, September means back-to-school activities: shopping for notebooks and pens, new clothes, and reuniting with friends after summer break. But for thousands of students--and their parents--experiencing homelessness ... ‘back to school’ means stress and the frustration of navigating enrollment and attendance without the security of a place to call home. We talk with Baltimore City Public Schools homeless-student liaison Allen Blackwell and with Danielle DeShields, a formerly homeless mother of three, and with Healthcare for the Homeless social worker Debbie Wilcox. Visit this link for more information on Health Care for the Homeless.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

One hundred years ago, the Spanish flu marched across the globe, leaving between 50 and 100 million people dead in its wake. An exhibit The 1918 Flu Epidemic and Baltimore: 100 Years Later, at the Frieda O. Weise Gallery on the University of Maryland Baltimore campus, chronicles what was going on in the city. Professor Wilbur Chen, a vaccine development specialist, tells us how the flu spreads, and how to prevent it. And Tara Wink, UMB librarian and archivist, offers takeaways from what she learned in compiling the exhibit. The opening for the exhibit is Thursday, Sept. 13 at 10:30am, RSVP here. The exhibit is in conjunction with "Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World," at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Thread.org

For fourteen years the nonprofit Thread has identified Baltimore students facing academic and personal challenges and created a tapestry of support around each -- powered by hundreds of volunteers who stay by their side for years. Many Thread students have spent their lives being told they’re underperformers or not worthwhile. The commitment of consistent and unconditional acceptance can turn lives around. We meet longtime volunteer Toni Pollin and Thread co-founder and CEO, Sarah Hemminger.

For more information about Thread, visit this link.

UMB CURE

About two dozen sixth-graders from West Baltimore will be diving into an intense agenda, joining 80 current UMB CURE Scholars who are in seventh through ninth grades. Two afternoons a week plus Saturday mornings they’ll focus on building the strong math and science skills they’ll need for careers in medicine or science. Each young scholar is backed by five mentors--students in UMB’s professional schools. Robin Saunders, who leads the CURE Scholars program, says Saturday afternoons are for field trips, lab visits and getting to know specialists in medicine.

Each day in the U.S. more than 86,000 older adults fall. That’s about one per second, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for the elderly. We talk with Dr. Kelly Westlake and Dr. Mark Rogers, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who are working to help seniors react faster and stay safer if they take a tumble through innovative balance training. To participate in the study visit this link or call 410-605-7179. Original air date: 1/30/18

A quiet but mighty revolution is growing in Baltimore. For a group of African American teenage girls, it’s been fueled by the power of the page ... filling their minds with positive images of black women in literature. The co-founder of the non-profit, ‘A Revolutionary Summer,’ Andria Nacina Cole, tells why she chose ‘books’ as the medium of choice. We also meet Constance Ui Seng Francois , who wrote and directed a play based on a book the teens read, "I Dream A World, Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America." Performances happen Aug. 25-26. More information here.

A Stoop Story by Lilly Gibbons, about the power of finding one’s voice, and what good can happen if you don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. You can hear her story and others at Stoopstorytelling.com or on the Stoop podcast.

Wikimedia Commons

Medical cannabis has been available in Maryland about nine months. Who is using it, and where is this budding new industry headed? We check in with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, for an update on regulations for dispensaries and staff. Plus , Brian Sanderoff, general manager at Curio Wellness shares his experience and his client, Rebecca Kliman, talks about her switch from narcotics to medical marijuana to address severe pain.

Flickr Creative Commons

An estimated 20,000 surgeons in the U.S. are over 70--no more immune than the rest of us from weaker vision, slower hand-eye coordination or forgetfulness. Yet there’s not a clear system for telling a doctor it’s time to retire from surgery. Dr. Mark Katlic, chair of surgery at LifeBridge Health Sinai Hospital, has devised a two-day evaluation to test the physical and mental fitness of surgeons. He says a mandatory retirement age is not the answer. We also talk to Dr. Herbert Dardik, who resisted the testing but now thinks it’s needed.

Walters Art Museum

“Taxidermy” conjures images of mounted safari trophies frozen in time, glaring from the fireplace mantels of victors’ dens. But the ‘Baltimore Taxidermy Open’ competition turns that stuffy concept on its head. We talk to judge Greg Hatem, co owner of  curio shop Bazaarand to Hannah Burstein, adult programming coodinator at the Walters Art Museum, which is hosting the event. 

For information on how to submit for the competition go here.

For information on the Baltimore Taxidermy Open event, go here.

Here's a Stoop Story from Robert Marbury, author of ‘Taxidermy Art: A Rogue's Guide to the Work, the Culture, and How to Do It Yourself’.’ Marbury will be a judge for the Baltimore Taxidermy Open competition at the Walters Art Museum on Sept. 6. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling.com or on the stoop podcast.

Melissa Gerr

It’s been thirteen years since the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra ventured overseas to perform. That changes next week, when more than one hundred musicians will head to Scotland, England and Ireland for a series of concerts. They’ll play many works by Leonard Bernstein, who mentored Marin Alsop, the BSO’s music director, and whose birth centennial is being celebrated this summer.  We talk with Alsop and also with principal horn player Phil Munds, just before they head out on tour.

If you’d like to wish the BSO ‘bon voyage,’ show up at 5 pm at City Hall Plaza Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018.  The BSO is offering a free concert by its brass and percussion section, conducted by Associate Conductor Nicholas Hersh, who will lead fanfares and classical favorites.

Amazon

What do very old people know about being happy that most of us don’t? Can we put their approach into use in our own lives? New York Times journalist John Leland spent a year with six elders and put what he learned in his new book, Happiness Is a Choice You Make -- Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old. Original air date: 1/31/18

Ida B's Table

Sharing a meal creates community, and signature dishes give a sense of culture and culinary history. Ida B’s Table in Baltimore shares that philosophy -- it’s behind a series of special dinners that start Sunday. We talk with Chef David K. Thomas of Ida B’s, and Chef BJ Dennis of Charleston South Carolina, who are cooking up the Ancestor’s Dinner. It will feature flavors of the Gullah Geechee cuisine and stories of its people.  For information on the Ancestor's Dinner at Ida B's Table, visit this link.

Other culinary events this weekend:

Off the Chainsaw Cookout at A Workshop of Our Own and The 6th Annual Muslim Food Fest at The Islamic Society of Baltimore. Enjoy!

Here’s a Stoop Story from Gregory Hartzler Miller about going off the grid and finding his truth. You can hear his story and others at stoopstorytelling.com or on the Stoop podcast

Melissa Gerr

Eating nutritious food is an important step toward a healthy lifestyle. For some, making nutritious food is a main ingredient to improving self-confidence and finding a path to gainful employment. We talk with Deborah Haust, director of School of Food, and we visit the social enterprise City Seeds in East Baltimore, to meet chef Aharon Denrich and some of his staff.

For information about cooking classes visit School of Food.

For information about catering, visit City Seeds.

Charles Townley Chapman

One hundred years ago an idea took off--literally--from the grassy airfield in College Park: could these new flying machines move mail between cities faster than trains? Congress okayed a test. Andrea Cochrane Tracey, director of the College Park Aviation Museum, reflects on how basic things were in 1918.

The first flights during sunny August went well. Cydney Shank Wentsel, the granddaughter of Robert Shank, an early pilot, tells us how wintry snow and fog raised the dangers, and pilots pushed for more control over when they’d fly.

For information about events surrounding the airmail anniversary at the College Park Aviation Museum, visit this link.

To view a documentary about Robert Shank, visit this link.

For a look at commemorative stamps for the airmail anniversary, visit this link.

Here’s a Stoop Story from Shaun Adamec. It’s about the extravagant lifestyle that he and his dot-com-boom multimillionaire friend, Chris, briefly enjoyed … which included zipping around in a little Piper Cherokee single prop plane. You can hear his and other stories at stoopstorytelling.com or the Stoop Podcast. This story was edited for length.

Ivy Bookshop

We think of species taking a long time to adapt to changes in their surroundings. Not necessarily, says evolutionary biologist and ecologist Menno Schilthuizen. In his latest book, "Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution," he asserts we don’t have to look far for evidence: Schilthuizen says plants and animals can adapt quickly to survive. Things like mating preferences and diets are in flux when it comes to city living.

National Federation of the Blind

Thousands of blind people travel and commute every day. But they can face challenges, barriers--even discrimination--along the way. Stacey Cervenka, who is blind, tells us about her plans for a Blind Traveler’s Network, a website to provide tips and recommendations for accessible vacation travel. She's a winner of the 2018 Holman Prize for Blind Ambition.

And we meet Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind. He discusses advocacy for equal treatment and access for blind and visually impaired people, and notes that people's perceptions of what it's like to be blind is often the toughest thing to overcome.

Melissa Gerr

It was 289 years ago that the Maryland General Assembly issued Baltimore a town charter -- actually, voted out on July 30, 1729 … but Charm City is celebrating tonight with a party put on by Live Baltimore.

The little settlement on the Patapsco was named for Cecil Calvert, second Baron Baltimore, first proprietor of the Maryland colony. Calvert never visited his colony. But even if he had, it’s safe to say neither he nor any of the succeeding Barons Baltimore would recognize what the city has become. What hopes do those who live here now hold for Baltimore? We asked nearly two dozen denizens -- From Mayor Catherine Pugh ... to film director and author John Waters -- to make a wish and tell us what they most desire for Charm City, on the threshold of its 289th year.

Ivy Bookshop

African-Americans living free in Baltimore before the Civil War were constantly testing whether the law and courts saw them as citizens, with rights to be respected. In her new book, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America, Johns Hopkins Professor Martha Jones argues the free blacks of Baltimore shaped the idea of birthright citizenship that made it into the U.S. constitution and that their struggle still carries meaning for today’s immigrants.

Kara Mae Harris

There’s much more to Maryland cuisine than crabcakes and Old Bay. Have you tasted Peanut Pickle Sandwiches and Baltimore Caramels? Or sipped tomato Wine? Kara Mae Harris has. The Food enthusiast and recipe sleuth is painstakingly preserving Maryland’s culinary heritage across dozens of decades ... one recipe at a time. Harris tests favorites and reports back on her blog, ‘Old Line Plate.’ She’s also created a searchable database of more than 30-thousand recipes and has made some surprising discoveries.

Baltimore Department of Planning

Average citizens--the very people affected by city zoning and development decisions --are often in the dark about how to take part in the discussions that shape their neighborhoods. To help residents have a voice at the table, The Department of Planning is launching the Baltimore Planning Academy. We talk with Stephanie Smith, Assistant Director for ‘Equity, Engagement and Communications … and City Planner Martin French to learn why informed engagement is important.

That was Towanda Carter’s Stoop Story about how it’s possible to rise to life’s challenges when people expect the best of you. You can hear her story and others at stoopstorytelling.com.

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is filled with dozens of life-size, lifelike wax figures that illustrate the accomplishments of African American notables--historical and contemporary. Saturday, July 14, history will extend beyond the museum walls for the Voices of History street fair. Museum co-founder and director, Dr. Joanne Martin gives us highlights of the fair, and discusses why she and her late husband started the museum 35 years ago.

Shindana Cooper tells her Stoop Story about an ill-fated cruise with the Middle Passage Monument Project. You can hear her story and others at stoop storytelling dot com.

So many inspiring activities this weekend! If drumlines get your blood pumping, don’t miss the Baltimore Christian Warriors 30th Anniversary. They’re hosting the Tri-state Drumline Competition and Showcase tomorrow at Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Heights Avenue. It starts at noon, tickets at the door.

And at the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, you can attend the Maryland Humanities 2018 Chautauqua, titled: ‘Seeking Justice.’ Actors dressed as historic figures describe their character’s contribution to the pursuit of justice: Frederick Douglass at 7 pm tonight, Eleanor Roosevelt at 7 pm tomorrow and Thurgood Marshall at 7 pm Sunday -- all at the Center for the Arts Theatre, 800 S. Rolling Road.

Larry Canner/JHU

About two million people in the U.S. have lost an arm, a hand, a leg or other limb. Many opt to use a prosthesis -- a fabricated upper or lower limb. Luke Osborn, a graduate student in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, tells us about an electronic skin that can create the sensation of touch for the user of an upper-limb prosthesis. And George Levay, a research participant who lost his arms to meningitis, describes what it was like using the electronic skin on his prosthetic hand.

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