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.

Lyncconf Games / Flickr

Work, childcare, household chores, helping older relatives--the pressures of the pandemic are pushing many women, especially mothers, to cut back on hours at work or even quit their jobs.

We speak to sociologist Liana Christin Landivar of the Maryland Population Research Center. From promotions and raises to retirement and the wage gap, what long-term effects will the pandemic have on women’s careers? Why aren’t men facing the same pressure?

Public Domain

The story passed down for generations was that the wealthy Quaker merchant Johns Hopkins was also an abolitionist. After he died in 1873, his multi-million-dollar bequest for the university and hospital bearing his name seemed an extension of an enlightened vision. So the discovery of census records that Hopkins owned enslaved people--one in 1840, four a decade later … is shocking. Hopkins president asked Professor Martha S. Jones, an authority on African-American history, to lead continuing research about the founder’s links to slavery. We ask why it’s important.

Links: Jones' Washington Post Op Ed.

With Hanukkah here, and Christmas and Kwanzaa coming, let’s talk about books! Carla DuPree of CityLit Project, who keeps her ear to the ground to discover new literary voices, shares some favorite books for 2020 and some she’s eagerly awaiting in the new year. Plus, some of On the Record’s favorite authors of the year.

On the Record picks: I've Got a Monster, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell that Changed the Course of Medicine, Order from Chaos: The Everyday Grind of Staying Organized with Adult ADHD.

Carla DuPree's picks: American Poetry, 250 Years of Struggling and Song; Black Futures, Places I've Taken My Body, The Vanishing Half, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Hear Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections on Tues. Dec. 15 -- more information at this link.

AP File Photo by Matthew S. Gunby

We are remembering US Senator Paul Sarbanes with a Stoop Story he told in tribute Sen. Barbara Mikulski in 2012. It was organized with the Democratic women’s political group Emerge Maryland. You can hear his story and others at or on the Stoop podcast.

Links: You can find more rememberances of Sen. Sarbanes on NPR and at the Washington Post.

Jeff Roberson / Associated Press

Hospitalization for Covid-19 can have lasting effects, like fatigue, muscle weakness, even depression. These issues overlap with the lingering symptoms known as “long COVID.” How are doctors rehabilitating patients after severe bouts of the virus? What research is needed into consequences of COVID-19?

Dale Cruse / Flickr Creative Commons

Working from home may feel like a whole new thing with its own hashtag in the pandemic, but it’s just the latest turn in the history UMBC assistant professor Elizabeth Patton traces in her new book, "Easy Living: The Rise of the Home Office."

Courtesy CASA

The surge of covid-19 is alarming all across the country--and is especially distressing in the Latinx community. Why are Latinos still being hit harder than their white and Black counterparts? Dr. Kathleen Page, co-director of Centro SOL, talks about the perfect storm of factors exacerbating the problem, especially among immigrants. And Lydia Walther-Rodriguez, regional director of CASA Baltimore and Central Maryland, describes how it has mobilized volunteers and funds to resist the virus--and what it will take to right the situation.

Links: New England Journal of Medicine article, CASA resources, Centro SOL.

Landis Expandis / YouTube

Many Americans are finding the pandemic has reshaped their sleep schedule, for better or worse. GBMC sleep and pulmonary medicine physician Stephanie Wappel details the side effects of both too little or too much sleep. One habit to avoid-- screen time before bed.

Stoop Storytelling Series

When it comes to adding new perspective to the struggle for racial equality, poet Kondwani Fidel is uniquely suited for the job. His latest book is “The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation About Race and Take Action.”

Fidel reflects on his losing friends and family to gun violence in East Baltimore, and on uncovering how poverty and segregation are the intended consequences of embedded racism.

You can catch him tomorrow, Friday, at 7 p.m., at a free digital storytelling event hosted by The Medicine Show. Read his essay, "How a young boy has been decaying in Baltimore since age 10," here.

Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland / Facebook

Hunger and isolation are two devastating side effects of the pandemic. But eager volunteers are stepping up.

Quinton Askew leads 2-1-1 Maryland, the state’s health and human-services hotline. Volunteers have answered 36,000 calls a month, on average, since March. He describes how 2-1-1 helps seniors grocery shop, take their medications, and navigate telehealth appointments.

As hundreds, even thousands, of Maryland residents are diagnosed each day with Covid-19, health workers around the state try to interview them and offer help, ask who they’ve spent stretches of time with recently, and contact those people to warn they may have been exposed. Contact tracing can be a powerful tool to control spread of the virus, but the system is stretched. We hear about it from Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, Anne Arundel County’s health officer and Nurse Kristy Frashure describes the tracing calls. Plus, Stephen Babcock of Baltimore tells us how the MD Covid Alert phone app works.

Public Domain

In the midst of the off-the-charts unpredictability of this year, we turn to Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute. She doesn't predict the future. But she’s spent decades analyzing trends and intuiting signals that help governments and global companies plan for the long range. How is the pandemic opening a market for clothing that doesn’t physically exist? Which huge corporations will emerge stronger? How could Baltimore capitalize on the work-at-home trend? And Webb has advice for the average person looking to ease the panicky feelings 2020 has wrought: “The best that we can do is be more flexible and adaptable everyday. And to keep our eyes on the future, and the future we want to inhabit, and try to get there.”

Links: Books by Amy Webb; Future Today Institute Newsletter.

National Council for the Traditional Arts / YouTube

After World War II hundreds of members of the Lumbee Native American community relocated from North Carolina to Southeast Baltimore, in search of work. Today, the community has dispersed, moving from the city to the county. One tradition that brings them together--chicken and pastry.

Rosie Bowen, of Rose’s Bakery in Northeast Market, has made sure to pass this recipe down to her daughter, Adriana Bowen-Herrera.

Watch a video -- produced by the Maryland State Arts Council, in association with the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and Remsberg Inc. -- of them making chicken and pastry.

Stoop Storytelling Series

John Brighenti / Flickr Creative Commons

Michael Peirce/Flickr Creative Commons

Though meals will be planned, gifts exchanged, and lights kindled, many of our loved ones will be missing from around our tables this holiday season. We ask Dr. Aliya Jones, Maryland’s Deputy Health Secretary, what to watch for regarding emotional wellness during this time and how we can help ourselves and those we care about. Plus, we talk with executive director Rabbi Dena Shaffer and Peer Leadership Fellow Emily Schloss from 4Front, a hub for Jewish teens, to hear how young people are training to help each other through the pandemic.

BHA Links: 2-1-1 press 1, MD Mind Health, Baltimore Co. Crisis Response, Baltimore City Crisis Response, Behavioral Health Administration Maryland, Operation Roll Call 1-877-770-4801, Helping the Helpers, Recovery Support during the pandemic.


When the American republic was only a couple of decades old, and more people were held enslaved in Maryland than all but two other states, enslaved people could petition the courts for freedom--if they could show they were descended from a woman who had been free. Before slaveholders got the laws changed, hundreds of enslaved people in Prince George’s County won their independence. Researching this history for his book “A Question of Freedom,” William G. Thomas III talked to descendants of people enslaved by Jesuit priests in Prince George’s County and learned that his white forebears helped the Jesuits. 

Links: Event via National Archives, event via Prince George's County Memorial Library System, short film "Anna."

Grant Gibson

Before March, part of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s success formula was to place every student in an internship--one day a week in a business or non-profit where they could observe professionals at work as they learned on-the-job behavior themselves. John Busse is in charge of the internships. The students’ work also paid about a third of their tuition. We ask Busse and seniors Delya White and Corey Bowden what happened when the pandemic hit, and in-place learning stopped, and what’s happening now.

Links: Cristo Rey corporate internship program, Cristo Rey step video.

Bea Gaddy Family Centers

Days until Thanksgiving, the coronavirus surging, and good Samaritans stuck at home. There may be fewer volunteers but the work is still getting done, and from a distance. We hear from Bea Gaddy Family Centers director Cynthia Brooks, who has devised new ways to provide thousands of people Thanksgiving dinner.

Visit here to volunteer, visit here to donate.

And Ashley Pressman, from the Jewish Volunteer Connection tells us about the ‘Casserole Challenge’ -- a safe way for people to help others during the holiday. Visit here for more info.  For more info about Jayden Freidman's Thanksgiving Bag Lunch event, email or call 410-356-5865.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

With a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, we look at the practical and ethical issues of rolling out the vaccine.

Epidemiologist Kurt Seetoo leads the Center for Immunization at the Maryland Department of Health. He describes who is likely to be first in line to receive doses, and what’s being done to recruit healthcare workers to administer the vaccine.

Eric Gay / Associated Press

Half of Black business owners in the country have shut down operations during the pandemic, or say they’re likely to do so in the next six months. We talk about the challenges ahead with Debra Keller-Greene, chair of the board of the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce. And Takia Ross, founder of the mobile makeup artistry studio Accessmatized, gives us an on-the ground view.

When crime surged in 2015 after the Freddie Gray protests, Baltimore police were more determined than ever to rack up more arrests and seize more illegal guns from the streets.

The new book, "I Got A Monster," chronicles how that empowered cops on the ‘Gun Trace Task Force’--some of whom had been planting evidence, making illegal arrests and robbing drug dealers for years--to step up their own illicit activities.

Have you ever faced a problem that seems insurmountable, only to have someone come along, view it from a different perspective and find a solution? That is the business model for the IMAGE Center of Maryland. Executive director Michael Bullis explains how the non-profit connects people with disabilities to solutions to help regain independence in their lives.

Plus, we talk with Rhonda Taylor and Shannon Clancy to learn about Volunteers for Medical Engineering -- one-off devices that are tailored to a client’s needs.

Stoop Storytelling Series

Here’s a Stoop Story from Dan Cole about the one that got away. Check out Stoop Storytelling Series' upcoming live events and the Stoop podcast.

Friends of Bill Henry Facebook Page

Bill Henry, who has represented Baltimore’s North and Northeast neighborhoods on the City Council for a dozen years, will be sworn in as comptroller next month.

One of his priorities? Making it easier to track the Board of Estimates, which approves over half a billion dollars in city government contracts each year. We ask about holding city agencies accountable, improving the accuracy of water bills, and his proudest accomplishment as a city councilman.

City Schools TV / YouTube

With coronavirus infections on the rise in Maryland, school systems are reevaluating their plans for in-person learning. 


Today we honor veterans. Serving in the military is one part of that identity, returning to civilian life is another -- one that many grapple with. Dario DiBattista, director at the Military and Veterans Center at Towson University, describes how the space provides community and support for student veterans. And Rachel Duff, a participant at MVC, urges people to see herself and her fellow vets more clearly:

“We all come from different backgrounds, and our service does not define us. We have concerns we have hopes, we have fears, we have values and priorities just like everybody else in our nation”

Plus, we meet Dominus Blue, a former intelligence officer turned sustainable agriculture farmer, and Laverne Harmon, program manager for vocational rehabilitation services at the Veterans Administration Maryland HealthCare System, talking about the VA Farm Training Program. Links: TU Big Give, TALMAR, Military and Veterans Center at Towson University, VA Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

The Maryland Episcopal diocese has made a powerful statement: delegates to the diocesean convention in September voted decisively to commit one million dollars in reparations -- funds to go toward strengthening and expanding programs in African American communities in Baltimore and beyond. The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of the Maryland Episcopal diocese, talks with us about forgiveness and reconciliation and the work this generation must do to dismantle structural racism and correct wrongs of the past. Original airdate 9.22.20

Links: Public Media for All.