Sheilah Kast | WYPR

Sheilah Kast

Host, On The Record

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.  Originally, she hosted WYPR's  Dupont-Columbia University award-winning Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast from 2006 - October 2015.  She began her career at The Washington Star, where she covered the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, utilities, energy and taxes, as well as financial and banking regulation.  She learned the craft of broadcasting at ABC News; as a Washington correspondent for fifteen years, she covered the White House, Congress, and the 1991 Moscow coup that signaled the end of the Soviet empire.  Sheilah has been a substitute host on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Diane Rehm Show.  She has launched and hosted two weekly interview shows on public TV, one about business and one about challenges facing older people.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a Stoop Story from Rosemary Raun about what it takes for your voice to be heard. Check out more information about the Stoop Storytelling Series and listen to the Stoop podcast.

Asian Development Bank / Flickr Creative Commons

Melissa Gerr

A century from now, what will people remember about life during COVID-19? Allison Tolman of the Maryland Historical Society talks about the new project, ‘Collecting In Quarantine.’ She says it’s important to collect stories ‘in the moment’ to capture the nuances of daily life. Plus, UMBC professor Rebecca Adelman tells why she launched the website ‘Coronavirus Lost and Found: A Pandemic Archive' -- a repository of pandemic experiences from around the world.

Links: Coronvirus Lost and Found, Collecting in Quarantine.

Phalinn Ooi / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a disruptive year for students. The school year dissolved into distance learning, then summer vacation, and now educators are bracing for a bigger than normal “summer slide” when classes resume.

Lydia Thompson (21st Century Fox) for National Geographic

Powerful painkillers can often dispatch acute pain, but using them for chronic, persistent pain carries the risk of addiction. Nearly two million Americans have a substance abuse disorder stemming from prescribed opioids. So scientists are researching ways to treat pain without drugs. We talk with journalist Yudhijit Bhattacharjee who wrote about them in National Geographic in "Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of Pain." And we talk with University of Maryland neurobiologist Dr. Luana Colloca featured in the article. She describes her research using virtual reality to manage chronic pain and her discoveries with the use of placebos. For more information on the National Geographic article, visit this link. For more information on Dr. Luana Colloca's research at the University of Maryland, visit this link.

Anne Ditmeyer / Flickr Creative Commons

"There’s an extraordinary need out there, by any measure. Within the first 24 hours of launching the program on Wednesday we had 1700 applications either in progress or already submitted.” Baltimore Housing Commissioner Michael Braverman describes a need that reflects the desperation of renters.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a spooky summertime Stoop Story from Tom Jub about why 12-year-olds are probably too young to be camp counselors. Check out more Stoop stories and the Stoop podcast here.

Gerard Nova / Flickr

With all its full-service centers open again, the Y in Central Maryland is welcoming members back, after months of essential activity like meal distribution and childcare for frontline workers. President John Hoey describes how the Y has adapted gyms, camps, and preschools to keep patrons safe.

Martin Falbisoner/

People aren’t working as much or buying as many things--which hurts not only their individual economic lives, but the state’s revenues also. The state board with the job of balancing the budget has started reducing spending. We speak with the only member of the board who voted ‘’no”-- State Treasurer Nancy Kopp -- about why she thinks it’s worth taking another month before locking in budget cuts. Plus Sen. Guy Guzzone and Del. Maggie McIntosh, the chairs of two important legislative committees, explain how they’ll approach rewriting next year’s budget.

Here's how The Baltimore Sun and the news site Maryland Matters covered the vote by the Board of Public Works.

Victoria Pickering / Flickr Creative Commons

The Supreme Court recently blocked President Trump’s attempt to end DACA--a program that protects some immigrants who arrived in the US as children from deportation.

Melissa Gerr

Almost everyone can agree that cleaner air and water is good for the planet. But what if you’re being left out of the discussions that determine priorities, processes and goals? Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper, has been working to grow the participation of Black and Brown communities in the environmental groups that serve them. He describes making some headway, but says he knows there’s a long way to go. Plus, we talk with Jenn Aiosa, executive director of Blue Water Baltimore, for a look back at ten years of environmental outreach, education and watershed restoration!

For information about Blue Water Baltimore's Tenth Anniversary events happening June 30, 2020 visit this link.

chimimexx / Flickr Creative Commons

Pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic is uniquely stressful. Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Maryland, describes precautions expectant mothers should take, and how the shift to tele-health is working. And new mom Shanteé Felix talks about giving birth just as Maryland shut down and how the virus has shifted her expectations.

Public health information about the coronavirus can evolve quickly. Two programs in Baltimore City ensure underserved and high-risk populations get their questions answered, and get access to resources when they most need them. We hear from Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, who co-founded Medicine for the Greater Good, a non-profit that promotes health and wellness beyond hospital walls. And Reverend William Johnson is Community Chaplain at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He’s also pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in West Baltimore.

To participate in the COVID-19 Community Calls, dial 888-651-5908 and enter participant code 3569812.

Wikimedia Commons

Zora Neale Hurston was more than a novelist and bright voice of the Harlem Renaissance--she was also an anthropologist and folklorist. She made a name for herself in New York and the Caribbean--and also spent formative years in Baltimore.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Six out of ten people who have died from Covid-19 in Maryland lived or worked in a nursing home, assisted-living facility or group home. Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun’s reporter on the story, reviews how the state has tried to control the pandemic and the implications going forward. Then, how are some nursing homes using the information in patients’ medical charts to gain an edge on the virus? Scott Rifkin runs Real Time Medical Systems in Linthicum, that mines the data.

LifeBridge Health

A public health crisis can create a sea of need--so deep and vast it can be difficult to know where to start. A pandemic is an emergency--no time or resources to waste. Dr. Susan Mani, Chief Population Health Officer of LifeBridge Health, tells us about the statewide ‘Task Force on Vulnerable Populations’ she leads. Its aim is to identify those who are at high risk for COVID-19 to pinpoint where to deploy information and resources.

Spring Dell Center

The pandemic and the safety restrictions to control it have had a big impact on people with disabilities and the organizations that serve them. Some believe that the deep hit state revenues are taking will translate into budget cuts in disabilities support. We hear from several people in the system about how it works and what’s at risk. First: Laura Howell is executive director of a nonprofit association of about 100 nonprofit agencies and organizations that work with people with developmental disabilities, called the Maryland Association of Community Services, MACS. Then we hear from Greg Miller, CEO of Penn-Mar, a private nonprofit company that offers day programs and employment services and operates 30 homes in northern Maryland. Also joining us is Jim Pitts, whose severely disabled adult son lives in a Penn-Mar home.

Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Original airdate 6/13/19

Note: Ms. Anansesemfo is no longer with the National Park Service.

It’s said history is written by the victors. What if the moment arises to correct the narrative? Today we address misperceptions passed down through the years about a monumental period in American history. National Park Ranger Anokwale Anansesemfo unravels the story of Juneteenth, the celebration observed by African Americans to commemorate the proclamation of the end of slavery.

The buildings and facilities are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Hampton National Historic Site in Towson grounds are open to visitors -- both pedestrians and in cars.

More ways to commemorate Juneteenth:

  • The No Boundaries Coalition is hosting a virtual panel discussion called “Celebrating the Afrofuture” today from 11-1 p.m.
  • "Baltimore Juneteenth Freedom Fest and March," will take place today from 3-8 p.m. It begins at Pennsylvania and North Avenues and ends in Druid Hill Park. The event includes Black-owned food trucks, poets, entertainers and speakers.
  • The Hosanna School Museum will host a virtual celebration, “Commemorating 400 Years of Perseverance Through History and Culture.” It begins this evening with a discussion of the film Just Mercy from 5-6 p.m. Then an Artists Showcase from 6-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 20--the ‘Great Mask Giveaway and Sale’ happens, in person, from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. The outdoors-only event will be held at the Hosanna School Museum in Darlington, Maryland. The rain date is next Saturday, June 27.
  • Other Juneteenth events can be found here.

Tony Webster / Flickr Creative Commons

What does defunding the police mean? This morning, three Baltimore perspectives on this call to action.

Mark Gunnery/WYPR

Vesla Weaver has been listening in on long distance conversations between people in heavily policed neighborhoods in six cities. Weaver, associate professor of political science and sociology at Johns Hopkins, talks about the damage to young people and communities from over policing, and why protest movements in the past have seldom made significant police reforms.

Melissa Gerr

It’s challenging enough to rally public interest around making costly improvements to public transportation...let alone during a pandemic and in the middle of civil unrest. But the ‘Central Maryland Regional Transit Plan’ timeline marches on, with a deadline hovering in the fall.

Holly Arnold, Deputy Administrator and Maryland Transit Administration’s Chief Planning, Programming and Engineering Officer, tells us what the plan entails. And transportation advocate Taffy Gwitira, vice chair of the public advisory committee of the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, talks about the equity of access to reliable transit that she feels is lacking in the plan. But she says one must play the long game when it comes to designing transportation around Baltimore.

To live chat with Central Maryland Regional Transit Plan project designers on Tuesday June 16, from 4-6 p.m., and also to leave your comments on the plan, visit this link.  

Melissa Gerr

It’s been months since large gatherings were banned throughout Maryland. The shutdown closed most hotels and all but obliterated tourism. Some restrictions have been eased, but it will take consumer trust to start the cogs moving again. We speak with Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, to learn how local destinations have been impacted. Then Bob Haislip, general manager at Royal Sonesta Harbor Court and Amy Rohrer, president and CEO of the Maryland Hotel Lodging Association, talk about sanitation upgrades in place to welcome back guests, and how the pandemic has nearly hobbled the industry.

For 'Safe Stay,' the sanitation guidelines as they apply to lodging regarding COVID-19, visit this link.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here is a Stoop Story from Dr. Modupe McCraken about putting yourself first. Check out the Stoop Storytelling Series and the Stoop podcast.

Jim Rettig / Flickr Creative Commons

As the Pratt Library moves into phase two of its Road to Reopening, what will it look like? Heidi Daniel, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system, talks about serving patrons during the pandemic.

Morgan State University

Online classes only? A blend of online and on campus? No roommates in the dorms? Maryland colleges are balancing many options, as they decide whether they can afford to re-open this fall--or afford NOT to. The dean of Morgan State University's School of Public Health and Policy, Dr. Kim Dobson Sydnor, explains why the university thinks it is safe to reopen and how it plans to do so. Then we ask Scott Carlson, senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, about the financial thickets universities are wading through as they chart their course for the fall semester and beyond.

You can read Morgan State’s reopening plan here.

Until July 9, 2020, this link will open the open access version Scott Carson’s analysis, “The Plan for College Budgets Next Year? Improvise.”

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Efforts to slow transmission of the coronavirus have affected nearly every walk of life. Two chaplains tell us how they’ve creatively adapted their approaches to offer comfort and care to patients and staff during this time of social distancing. Rabbi Jeffrey Orkin is director of pastoral care at Levindale long-term care facility. And Rev. Denise White is staff chaplain at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Because visitors are are allowed in only a few circumstances during the pandemic, she says the solace she can offer patients is even more urgent.

roddavid / Flickr Creative Commons

Baltimore Racial Justice Action believes there is no easy way to untangle systemic racism’s influence on our thoughts and choices.

We speak with Anthony Newman and Harriet Smith, members of the group's advisory board, about how they lead tough conversations about race and racism.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr

As protests of racial bias by police continue to grip the country, what are the efforts at the state and local levels pushing for change? Has this moment shifted the dynamics of the debate over holding police accountable?

Mark Gunnery/WYPR

The restraint of protestors around Baltimore this week has been striking. The city has seen little of the violence, smashed windows or blazing buildings that have been seen in many cities demonstrating against biased policing. It’s been a relief to officials and businesses in Baltimore--but what does it mean for those in the streets? We’ll ask journalist Brandon Soderberg and Erricka Bridgeford, co-founder of Baltimore Ceasefire 365, who says making change is not all about protests. The other work to be done happens long after the marching and chanting are over.

People's Power Assembly will lead a protest at 1 p.m. Sat. June 6, starting at North Charles and 20th streets. Also on June 6, the ‘March for Black Lives’, led by Morgan State alumni, will meet at 1:30 p.m. at Cold Spring Lane and Hillen Road.

Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr Creative Commons

As water bottles break down and fleece jackets shed fibers in the washing machine, small pieces of plastic enter the ecosystem. What threat does this pollutant pose to the environment?