Midday Podcast | WYPR

Midday Podcast

Photography by Saylor Denney

Tangier Island, Virginia, has been home for eight generations to a unique community of now some 470 hardy souls, many of whom make their living harvesting the region’s prized blue crab. But their island home -- a barely 2-acre sliver of mud and sand and grass in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay -- is fast disappearing beneath the waters.  Whether the culprit is erosion by the Bay’s relentless currents, as most Islanders believe, or the rising sea levels scientists say have been triggered by global climate change, the outlook for Tangier Island and its people is bleak.  

Today, Midday senior producer and guest host Rob Sivak spends the hour with Virginia-based writer Earl Swift, a long-time reporter at the Virginia-Pilot who has spent more than 30 years writing about the Chesapeake region, and who has circumnavigated the Bay in his kayak.  The Chesapeake is the setting of Swift's newest book -- his seventh --  which chronicles the daily lives and hopes of the Tangier Islanders, against a backdrop of environmental and political forces that seem beyond their control. 

The book is called Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island, published by Dey Street Books (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

This program was streamed live on WYPR's Facebook page, and that video can be viewed here.

Photo courtesy Baltimore Sun

Time for another edition of The Midday Newswrap, when we look back at some of the week's important local, national and international developments, and invite perspectives from guest panelists.

In the first segment: Three years after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, a scathing report by the Justice Department and a consent decree, a viral video shows a police officer assaulting a citizen.  The officer has resigned, and been indicted. We’ll have reaction from Baltimore's 2nd District City Councilman Brandon Scott, chair of the Public Safety Committee. 

In the second segment: Paul Manafort awaits a verdict on 18 counts of fraud.  Robert Mueller negotiates conditions for an interview with the President.  Mr. Trump revokes the security clearance of a prominent critic, and a prominent Navy Admiral asks that his be revoked too. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter  Scott Shane of the New York Times DC Bureau looks behind those and other Washington headlines.  

photo courtesy Victoria Vox

And now, a little music from a former Balti-moron who enjoys both a national and international career.  Victoria Vox is an award-winning singer/songwriter who is one of the leading artists on the ukulele scene.  She’s also a fixture on the national folk music scene.  She’s opened for Jackson Browne, Leo Kottke, Cheryl Wheeler and Tom Chapin, among others.  She moved from Baltimore to Costa Mesa, California, a couple of years ago, and she’s back in the area doing some events this weekend.  Victoria is giving a songwriting workshop at the Creative Alliance tomorrow afternoon.  She’s playing in Columbia on Saturday, in Westminster on Sunday afternoon, and in Hagerstown Sunday night. 

Her new album is called Colorful HeartShe’s been kind enough to stop by, with her ukulele…and her inimitable mouth trumpet.  Victoria Vox performs these songs from her new CD, in this order:  Only Time Will TellDaytime Moon; and Sounds of Summer...

Today's performance was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can find the video here.

A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of traveling to Chestertown for a live broadcast of our show from historic Sumner Hall, a building that was for many generations central to the lives of African Americans on the Eastern Shore.  

One of our guests that afternoon was a community activist and former member of the Kent County Historical Society, Airlee Ringgold Johnson.  She told us a little about Legacy Day, an annual celebration of African American history on the Eastern Shore that takes place in Chestertown on Saturday.  This is the fifth Legacy Day celebration in Chestertown.  Every year, there’s a different theme.  This year, Legacy Day will examine the desegregation of Chestertown public schools.  She joins us today from Washington College in Chestertown.

Bill Leary joins us as well.  He is a historian who offered the first course in African American history at the University of Virginia in the late 1960s.  He also worked at the National Archives and on the staff of the National Security Council.  He’s also on the line from Washington College.

And with Tom in Studio A, Vanessa Issacs Ringgold.  A native of Chestertown, she currently lives in Owings Mills.  She was among a group of five students who integrated Chestertown High School in the 1960s.

Kelli Finch Photography

It's Thursday, and that means our theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins us for her weekly review of one of the region's thespian offerings.

Today, she spotlights a show about love and loyalty: ArtsCentric's new production of Aida, on stage at the Motor House on North Avenue in Baltimore.

This Aida is not the famed Verdi opera, but rather the Disney-produced version (with book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang and tunes by Elton John and Tim Rice),  a multiple Tony Award-winning pop musical that premiered on Broadway in 2000 and ran for four years.  Like the opera, it tells the tale of  forbidden love between a Nubian princess named Aida (played by Awa Sal Secka) and an Egyptian soldier, Radames (played by Jo'Nathan Michael). Radames' engagement to the Pharaoh's daughter, Amneris (played by Kanysha Williams), and Aida's loyalty to her people threaten to tear apart their star-crossed romance.

Directed at The Motor House by Kevin S. McAllister, Aida presents a bevy of Elton John/Tim Rice compositions, including "Elaborate Lives" and "The Past Is Another Land," and showcases the work of musical director Cedric D. Lyles and choreographer Shalyce N. Hemby.

ArtsCentric's production of Aida continues at The Motor House through August 26th.

Photo Courtesy Flickr

Today, we’re going to talk about education in Baltimore City.  Tom's guests are teachers in the city school system, who teach at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.  We hear a lot about teachers, but it’s not as often that we hear from teachers.  Their perspective comes from daily interactions with students, parents, and colleagues, and they know better than most the challenges they and their students face.

Karen Ginyard teaches the 3rd grade at The Mt. Washington School.

Tavon McGee teaches 6th grade math at City Springs Elementary/Middle School on the city’s East Side.

And Robert Marinelli teaches Science and chairs the Science Department at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, known for generations as Poly, on Coldspring Lane in North Baltimore.

Today's conversation was Live-Streamed on WYPR's Facebook Page. You can watch the video here.

Boyd Rutherford: Republican for Lt. Governor

Aug 14, 2018

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates: the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Boyd Rutherford, joins Tom in Studio A.

In a Gonzales poll released this morning (08/14), Republican Governor Larry Hogan -- with whom Mr. Rutherford is running for re-election on November 6th --  enjoys a 16 point lead over Democrat Ben Jealous.  If he sustains that lead through November, he’ll be the first Republican Governor to serve a second term since Theodore McKeldin in the 1950s. 

Boyd Rutherford has chaired a task force on Opioid Abuse, worked on Public-Private partnerships, and regulatory reform, among other issues. 

What has the Lt. Governor accomplished in those areas? And will he continue focusing there, or shift  his priorities to other issues, if he and Mr. Hogan are re-elected?

Boyd Rutherford is Tom's guest for the hour;  the conversation is joined in the final segment by the Baltimore Sun’s politics reporter, Luke Broadwater

We're live-streaming today's discussion on WYPR's Facebook  page.

Today, Tom's guest is Rudolph S. Chow, the director of Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works, an agency he has led since 2014. 

One of the DPW's many responsibilities is the water system.  And when it comes to water, the department’s reach extends far beyond the city's   615,000 residents, but actually services 1.8 million people in the region. 

The city’s infrastructure is aging, and fragile.  Water main breaks are commonplace.  Sewage overflows into tributaries and even private homes with regularity.  To pay for repairs to the system, the city has levied fees and increased water rates by nearly 30% over the last three years.  As we discussed here on Midday a couple of weeks ago, those fees and rate hikes have made the cost of water prohibitively high for as many as half of city residents. 

The DPW, for the third consecutive year, is offering a ten-week, small-business development course for women and people of color: DPW Small Business Development Program.

We livestreamed this conversation at the WYPR Facebook page.  To see that video, click here. 

photo by Peter Foley/Bloomberg News

Today on the Friday News Wrap, guest host Nathan Sterner takes a look back at a week of dramatic political news, from the Paul Manafort trial to the arrest of Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York on corruption charges, and a special election in Ohio that’s given Democrats new hope for winning a majority in the House this November.  NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley joins Nathan on the line from NPR studios in Washington to help us make sense of it all...

Today, Tom's guest is Dr. Brit Kirwan, chair of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, better known as the Kirwan Commission.  For the past two years, the commission has been studying the public K-12 education system in our state, and it’s planning to release a series of recommendations as to how the state should re-order its educational priorities, improve accountability, and fund schools. This past January, the commission released a Preliminary Report of its findings.

Dr. Kirwan was the President of the University of Maryland, where he served on the faculty for 34 years, and the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland from 2002-2015.  Prior to that, for four years, he served as the president of Ohio State University. 

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  To catch that video, click here.

Today we begin the hour with another edition of the Midday Healthwatch Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen is here to discuss some of the troubling new data on Maryland’s opioid problem, and some new efforts by Congressman Elijah Cummings and Senator Elizabeth Warren to help address it. She'll explain why the city has joined a lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration’s continuing efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act, and why Baltimore is fighting a White House plan to restrict Title X funding for women’s health programs. Dr. Wen also describes the importance of last week's Breastfeeding Awareness Week...and she takes your questions and comments about public health!

Today's Healthwatch was live-streamed on Facebook; the video is available on WYPR's Facebook page.

Margot Schulman

Today our theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, joins Tom (a day earlier than usual) to share her take on the new political musical, Dave, now playing at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C. 

Directed by Tina Landau (SpongeBob SquarePants) and adapted from the 1993 Oscar-nominated film of the same name, Dave tells the story of Dave Kovic -- played by Drew Gehling (Waitress) -- a high school teacher with an uncanny resemblance to the President of the United States (also played by Gehling).  Dave is recruited by members of the White House staff  to stand in as the President's secret double when the Commander-in-Chief falls into a stroke-induced coma.  As Dave  struggles to manage the complex charade, he realizes that he must also gain the trust of the American people -- and the First Lady, played by Mamie Parris (School of Rock, Cats).

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

Today on Midday, a conversation about what has come to be known as the Black Tax.  It is imposed on people of color, in different ways, and in different places, every day. 

Reports of hate crimes are on the rise, and in 2017, once again, African Americans were targeted more than any other group.

And in the last few months, social media has been rife with example after example of people of color being harassed in public spaces, by white people.  A 7th grader mowing a lawn, a group of Black women playing golf, a former White House staffer moving into his apartment in Manhattan, a graduate student at Yale taking a nap. 

Dr. Kimberly Moffitt is an associate professor of American Studies at UMBC.  She’s also in the departments of Africana Studies and Language, Literacy and Culture.  She studies subjects ranging from Black hair to body politics and Disney movies.

Dr. Lester Spence is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Spence specializes in black politics, racial politics, urban politics, and public opinion.  His latest book is called Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics. 

Photo Courtesy Baltimore Ceasefire

Tom speaks with Erricka Bridgeford, one of the co-founders oBaltimore Ceasefire 365. 

The Baltimore Ceasefire movement celebrated its first anniversary this past weekend with a free concert, workshops and rallies across the city.

The group’s original mission: the cessation of murder for one weekend every quarter.  Now, with Baltimore Ceasefire 365, it hopes to begin building public support for a year-round, daily effort to end murder in the city.  

The Abell Foundation

Recent headlines about juvenile crime being "out of control" seem to capture—and fuel—the perception that the problem is on the rise in Baltimore.  As is so often the case, though, the reality is a bit more complicated.

Researchers at the Abell Foundation set about collecting and analyzing the available data on juvenile crime and arrests in the city to form a clear picture.  The result is a new report called "Fact Check:  A Survey of Available Data on Juvenile Crime in Baltimore City." 

The report finds that overall, juvenile arrests are down in the city -- and down dramatically between 2012 and 2017.  But the report also finds that juvenile arrests for violent crimes are up.   It also asks:  What happens when these juveniles are charged in adult court, compared with juveniles whose cases end up in juvenile court?  How often do these youth reoffend?  And why is there so little publicly available data related to juvenile violent crime, and what should be done about that?

Today, the authors of this new report join Tom in Studio A.   Sheryl Goldstein is vice president of the Abell Foundation.  Katherine McMullen is an analyst and executive assistant to Abell’s senior vice president.

This conversation was livestreamed at the WYPR Facebook page.  To check out the video, click here. 

Photo Courtesy Mildred Muhammad

On today's show, Tom speaks with Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of John Allen Muhammed, the DC sniper who along with an accomplice shot 13 people, killing ten of them at multiple locations throughout the Washington metropolitan area in October 2002.  

Mildred Muhammad has made it her life’s work to help people understand that John Muhammad's murderous rampage was in large part an expression of domestic violence; that he killed other people to disguise his primary intent: to kill his ex-wife.  Mildred  has become an advocate for victims of domestic violence.  She has written five books, the latest of which is called I’m Still Standing: Crawling Out of the Darkness Into the Light.  

Image courtesy Neon

It's another edition of Midday at the Movies, and our favorite movie mavens -- Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post -- join Tom to spotlight film industry trends and some notable new releases.

One of the flicks they talk about today is the new documentary, Three Identical Strangers, by director Tim Wardle.  It tells the remarkable story of three identical triplets who were separated at birth but who find each other coincidentally as young men, and who then discover the dark truth of why they were separated.  

Jed and Ann offer very different takes on the latest Joaquin Phoenix vehicle, director Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on FootThe movie is based on the late cartoonist John Callahan's  titular 1990 memoir of his struggle with alcoholism, the quadraplegia that bound him to a wheelchair after a drunken car wreck, and his efforts to rebuild his shattered life.

And Tom asks Ann and Jed about the latest run of films that explore the Daddy-Daughter relationship, a theme that's been a mainstay of Hollywood movies for decades.

Tom Lauer

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio every week with a review of the one of the region's many thespian productions,  and today she stops by to discuss Cockpit in Court's new production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

Set in an old-style five-and-dime variety store in the small west-Texas town of McCarthy, the play explores the reunion of the "Disciples of James Dean," a fan club obsessively devoted to the brief, stellar career of 1950s film star James Dean, who became a cultural icon after his death in a car crash at the age of 24.  The club members prize their special connection to the moody, handsome actor, recalling their roles as local extras in Dean's final movie, Giant (1956).

Written by Ed Graczyk in 1976, the play became a 1982 film directed by Robert Altman, and now, at Cockpit in Court, the twists and turns of the Disciples' lives again grace the stage, under the direction of Linda Chambers,  

As the Disciples pay tribute to the life of their teenage Hollywood idol , the group is rallied by their ringleader, Mona, (played as a teen by Sarah Jones, as an adult by Regina Rose) as they reminisce about their youth -- and stir up some long-buried passions.

Cockpit in Court's production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean continues through August 5th on the Essex Campus at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Baltimore Sun

Today, a conversation about the consequences of a Supreme Court ruling last May that struck down a 1992 federal law that disallowed most states from being in the business of organized betting on sports.  This opens the door for states to pass sports gambling legislation

Five states had already passed laws allowing sports gambling in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling.  A little later in the program, we’ll talk about the possibilities of that happening in MD.  But first, a conversation with a person whose perspective on this issue is unique. 

Tom McMillan was a basketball star at the University of MD in the 1970s, who played in the NBA for 12 years.  After his pro basketball career, he went on to represent MD’s fourth district in the US Congress.  Today, he is the President and CEO of LEAD1, an association of Athletic Directors at the most prominent NCAA Division One Schools. Tom McMillan joins us on the line from Washington, DC.   

Jeff Barker covers the business of sports and the casino gambling industry, among other beats, for the Baltimore Sun.  He joins us from the studios of NPR in Washington DC.

And, joining us on the line from Boston, Daniel Barbarisi, a journalist and author of book Dueling With Kings: High Stakes, Killer Sharks, and the Get-Rich Promise of Daily Fantasy Sports.   Daniel is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal.  He’s a Senior Editor at the sports website, The Athletic.

Today, a special edition of Midday, live from historic Sumner Hall, in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Sumner Hall was built in 1908.  It served as the meeting place for the Charles Sumner Post #25, a Grand Army of the Republic post founded by African American Union Veterans of the Civil War.   For decades, Sumner Hall was the social and cultural hub of Chestertown’s African American community.  

The theme of our show today is “Embracing Change in a Historic Community,” and over the course of the next hour, Tom and his guests will focus on three examples of that change -- in health care, public education, and race relations -- and its impact on the people of Chestertown and Kent County.

It’s Midday on PoliticsThe general election is November 6th, which is 14 weeks from tomorrow. Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  

Tom's guest is Richmond Davis, the Republican nominee for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland’s 7th District.  He is running against the incumbent, Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, who has served in Congress since 1996. 

Richmond Davis is a lawyer in private practice in Columbia, admitted to the bar in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has an undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center. This is his first run for public office.

Our Conversations with the Candidates series continues now with Liz Matory, the Republican candidate for Congress in the 2nd District.  She’s facing the incumbent Democrat, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who's held the seat since 2003.   

Matory is a Silver Spring-based entrepreneur and business consultant. She’s a former field worker for the Maryland Democratic Party.  She quit the Dems in 2014, and this past June won the Republican primary in the 2nd District.  

This is Liz Matory’s second run for the US Congress. She lost a primary bid to run in the 8th District two years ago. And in 2014, running as a Democrat, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.  She’s the co-author of the 2016 political memoir, Born Again Republican.

Like all our Conversation with the Candidates, this interview was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can find the video here.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

On today’s News Wrap:  Tronc, Inc., the controversial Chicago based media company that owns several newspapers around the country including the Baltimore Sun and The Daily News, is once again making headlines.  This week Tronc made dramatic cuts to the news room at The NY Daily News, laying off over 90 employees.  Politico media reporter, Jason Schwartz is on the line from Arlington, Va. to discuss the implications of those cuts on local journalism in New York City and around the country. 

Later on in the program, AP White House reporter, Darlene Superville speaks with us about some of the big stories in a week that has seen yet another tsunami of headlines from the White House, and various investigations about the Trump administration that are on-going. 

Photo Courtesy Kimberly Reed

Tom's guest is director Kimberly Reed, whose new documentary, Dark Money, chronicles the insidious effects of political donors, both corporate and individual, who go to great lengths to keep their identities hidden. As the documentary shows, the corrosive impact of this well-financed political advocacy is on full display in state houses across the country, in the halls of Congress, in the courts, and in the executive branch of government. 

The documentary is showing at a number of theaters in the region. In Baltimore, it begins a run Friday night at the Parkway.

Johns Hopkins University

It’s another edition of Midday on Ethics, in which we explore some ethical questions pulled straight from the headlines. Guiding us in that exploration is Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He joins Tom in Studio A from time to time to help us examine how ethicists are framing these very complex questions.

We begin with the story of Jahi McMath, a 13-year -old girl in California who was declared dead in late 2013, after a routine surgery went wrong. Then, last month, 4½ years later, she was declared dead, again, in New Jersey. It’s a tragic story that raises issues about end of life that has pitted the medical profession against people with deeply held religious beliefs. Just like there is no consensus on when life begins; there is also a lack of agreement about when life ends. How do we define death? And who gets to define it?

Spotlighters Theatre/Shealyn Jae Photography

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us each week with her review of one of the region's many theatrical productions. Today, she spotlights Judy and the Generalthe new musical comedy on stage at Spotlighters Theatre in Baltimore.

Judy and the General is playwright Rosemary Frisino Toohey's funny, feminist take on the biblical character Judith, and her 1st-century confrontation with the powerful Assyrian general, Holofernes. 

The play (whose book, music and lyrics are all by Ms. Toohey) draws from The Book of Judith, a so-called deuterocanonical book that's included in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian versions of the Old Testament Bible, but excluded from Jewish texts and assigned by Protestants to the Apocrypha.

photo courtesy Better Homes and Gardens

Today, Midday goes Back to the Garden!   Two of our favorite green thumbs join Tom in Studio A again to talk about what to grow and how to grow it, and to answer your questions about gardening.

Carrie Engel is the Greenhouse Manager and a plant specialist for most of the past 50 years at Valley View Farms in Cockeysville, Maryland, where today she’s responsible for the well-being of the family-owned company’s large inventory of herbaceous plants, including annuals, tropicals and vegetables...

Denzel Mitchell is an urban farming pioneer in Baltimore.  The former owner of Five Seeds Farm, Mitchell signed on this past Spring as farm manager at Strength to Love 2 Farm, a 1-½ acre workforce training farm in Sandtown-Winchester for returning ex-offenders, and a Baltimore food resource with produce outlets around the city.  The farm is run by the faith-inspired non-profit development group called Intersection for Change…and it’s a member of the Farm Alliance of Baltimore, a network of producers that’s working to increase the viability of urban farming and improve access to city-grown foods.

Photo by Ron Aira, Creative Services GMU

(A Midday re-broadcast: originally aired June 19, 2018)

Tom’s guest is General Michael Hayden.  In more than 40 years in the Air Force and the Intelligence Community, the retired four-star general served as Director of the National Security Agency from 1999-2005, during the George W. Bush Administration.  He also served for about a year as the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and in 2006, he became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, until President Obama appointed Leon Panetta to that position in 2009.  

The thesis of General Hayden’s latest book is disconcerting and frightening.  Given President Trump’s proclivity to lie about what he knows to be true, and the danger that there are things he should know to be true, but doesn’t, Michael Hayden paints a picture of an intelligence community at risk, whose efficacy is directly affected by the President’s refusal to acknowledge facts, and his harsh and undisciplined rhetoric. 

It’s July, it’s hot, and even with all the recent rain, we’re thirsty.  But for an increasing number of Baltimore households, water -- we’re talking plain old water from the faucet -- is becoming unaffordable. On July 1st, water rates in Baltimore City rose almost 10%, the third big jump in as many years.  In fact, since 2010, the typical Baltimore household’s water and sewer bill has more than doubled. And by 2022, the typical bill is expected to more than triple.  

Some say the steep increases are necessary, because the city MUST invest in expensive infrastructure projects to provide this essential public service.  But an alarming number of families are at risk for losing their homes because they can no longer afford to pay their water bills.

Midday: The Afro Check-In 7.23.18

Jul 23, 2018
Photo by Jay Reed, Baltimore Sun

Kamau High, managing editor of The Afro, joins us for another of our bi-monthly Check-Ins to talk about some of the stories being reported by The Afro's newsroom this week:

A report on a grieving community's preparations for the funeral of Taylor Hayes, the child who was shot July 5 in the rear seat of her mother’s car, and who died July 19.  The police are still searching for suspects in her killing, and few witnesses have come forward so far. 

A profile of soon-to-be-former Democratic State Senator Nathaniel McFadden, who's represented the 45th District -- and also chaired Baltimore's senate delegation in Annapolis -- since he first won office in 1995.  McFadden, a champion of East Baltimore development efforts, lost his seat to Del. Cory McCray in the June 26th Democratic primary. 

And the sentencing of former state senator Nathaniel Oaks to 3-1/2 years in federal prison for accepting $15,000 in bribes and obstructing justice.  Despite his fall from grace, The Afro reports that Oaks' supporters say they have forgiven him and are "ready to join him for the next chapter in his life." 

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