Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast (Archive) | WYPR

Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast (Archive)


You can find the archive of Maryland Morning with Tom Hall as host here.

This program aired with Sheilah Kast as host until 10/2/15.  Find out more about us, check out shows that aired prior to February 2014, listen to our series, and listen to each day's show.

Artists And Writers Inspired By Food

Sep 11, 2015

Tonight at the EMP Collective, you’ll have a chance to see how 3 different tastes provided by Blacksauce Kitchen-Smoky, Sweet and Sour- influenced the collaborative art of 9 visual artists paired with 9 writers from the Baltimore/Washington area. The name of the event is Call and Response 5. In the 4 previous years, the event took place in Washington, and tonight the event is brought to Baltimore for the first time. One of the show’s two curators, Kira Wisniewski and one of the 9 visual artists, Juliet Ames join Tom. 

Lou Tickle via flickr Creative Commons

It’s been five years since the first casino opened in Maryland- Hollywood Casino in Perryville . Now five are operating, with a sixth scheduled to open next year. In recent weeks the Washington Post and the CityPaper in Baltimore  have published evidence that the number of problem gamblers has risen with the number of gambling outlets. Evidence like a 30 percent increase in the number of Gamblers Anonymous chapters in Maryland, as well as a reported increase in the number of regular attendees. Evidence like police called to casinos four times in five months this year to respond to children or seniors left alone in cars while their parents or caregivers were inside gambling. Evidence like a steady increase in calls for help to the state’s 1-800-GAMBLER help line, to more than 600 calls this past year. All of which raises the question: Is Maryland doing enough to help people who can’t control the urge to gamble?

"After The Border" At The Creative Alliance

Sep 9, 2015
Edgar Reyes

At the Creative Alliance in East Baltimore there's an exhibition in which eight artists tell the stories of some of the children and young people who fled violence in Central America, made the harrowing journey across the Mexican and US borders and landed here in Baltimore, hoping to begin a new life. Tanya Garcia is an artist who has been a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Fellow at the Creative Alliance for the past year. She curated the exhibition, which is called Después de la Frontera  or After the Border and Maria Aldana is the Manager of Community Arts at the Creative Alliance.

Neff Conner // Flickr Creative Commons

As the fashion landscape constantly shifts, iconic American brands have a hard time staying relevant. Fashion big shops like GAP, J. Crew and American Apparel have all seen decline in revenue in the past few years. We sit down with  Zoey Washington , our regular fashion guide, to discuss whether these quintessential brands are struggling to retain their classic looks while adapting to the latest trends.

Zoey Washington is a fashion editor and CEO of the company LITTLEbird, a fashion consulting service for teens and tweens.

Matt Purdy

According to the Justice Policy Institute and Prison Policy Initiative in a report from February, as of 2010, 458 people from Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood or neighboring Harlem Park were in a Maryland prison. It's the largest number of any census tract in the state.

Sheilah talks about it with Marc Schindler, Executive Director of the Justice Policy Institute. And, we visit two men in Sandtown who have been to prison and back. Antoine Bennett is the director of Men of Valuable Action, or MOVA. Anthony Warren is MOVA’s Community Service Project Coordinator.

Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux Books


We’re going to re-visit a conversation with a former Congressman who has been considered a champion of the labor movement for more than three decades. Barney Frank represented the fourth congressional district in Massachusetts for 31 years until his retirement in 2012, and he was in the middle of the mix during battles over some of the most historic pieces of legislation in recent American history. Issues like Wall Street Reform and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell bear his unique and unquestionable imprint, and in an autobiography he published last spring, we get a glimpse behind the scenes in the capital during his influential tenure. 

Tessa Sollway Blische

Lisa D’Amour calls her 2010 play, Detroit. But she herself has acknowledged that the play is set “in a suburb of what could be any middle American city.”

That is, any middle American city beset with severe financial woes, unemployment, abandoned housing and increasingly desperate members of what was once middle America’s middle class.

That’s the backdrop for this Pulitzer Prize finalist, a play that’s been staged from Chicago to New York to London. Now Fells Point Corner Theatre has produced the play’s well-acted, well-directed Baltimore premiere.

Thomas Schaller

The Republican Party has lost five of the last six popular votes in Presidential elections. But the GOP has found much more success in Congress. In January, already in charge of the U.S. House, they took control of the Senate. Republicans have been well-represented in Congress for the past two decades. Why the discrepancy?

Thomas Schaller answers that question in his latest book, The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress But Surrendered The White House. Schaller is a professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Sheilah spoke with him about his book in January. In it, he asserts that it was because of Republican dominance on Capitol Hill that the party “surrendered” the White House.

Batts Breaks His Silence

Sep 4, 2015
Washington Times

We heard this week from former Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony Batts for the first time since Mayor Rawlings-Blake fired him in July. Batts and two others spoke to nearly 600 students at a panel discussion Wednesday evening about justice in America at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg.

We thought you’d be interested in hearing some of the points Anthony Batts made at the college, and to get the view of a someone with a community perspective on Batts' three years heading Baltimore’s police force. City Councilman Brandon Scott, who represents the second district and is vice chair of the council’s public-safety committee, joins Sheilah by phone. 

A Pictorial History of Gay Rights in Baltimore

Sep 4, 2015
Dorret via flickr Creative Commons


In 2012, Maryland became the first state to pass a same sex marriage bill by voter referendum. Earlier this summer, the tide toward marriage equality shifted decidedly when the Supreme Court ruled that all states must allow gay marriage. Now, a conversation about the history of the gay rights movement in Baltimore in the decades leading up to these major developments.

Local Activists Sing For Labor

Sep 4, 2015
Bill Hughes via flickr Creative Commons

As we begin this Labor Day weekend, we’d like to let you know about a group of local progressive activists who combine their passion for union and community organizing with a love of singing.  The Charm City Labor Chorus was formed seven years ago to sing songs of the labor movement, and to raise awareness about historic and contemporary issues of social justice.  Their director, Darryl! L.C. Moch, joins Tom in the studio. 

Hayley Bouchard // Flickr Creative Commons

Addiction to pain relievers or opioids like oxycodone and morphine as well as heroin, has been an unrelenting problem in the US and throughout the state. Last week Governor Hogan’s office released an interim report on the state’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force’s findings to curb addiction in the state. The report’s recommendations range from police efforts to disrupt groups distributing drugs, to improving treatment centers, to media awareness campaigns.

Joining Sheilah to talk about heroin in Eastern Shore, specifically Talbot County, is Beth Williams, who coordinates the I Wish I Knew Campaign for the county. The campaign recently received federal funds to educate communities about heroin in five counties: Kent, Talbot, Queen Anne's, Caroline and Dorchester. Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Leana Wen is also in the studio to talk about the city’s latest work on the issue.

HBO Mini-Series "Show Me A Hero"

For most of his career David Simon has been digging into the most pressing urban issues we face: race, inequality, crime, and policing. He spent years as a Baltimore Sun reporter, and created both The Wire and Tremé, his HBO series about New Orleans after Katrina.

Now he brings us an HBO miniseries about a racial divide in housing called Show Me a Hero. It takes place in the 1980s in the working-class town of Yonkers, north of New York City. David Simon joins Sheilah in the studio.

Maryland Is Sketch Comedy's Next Target

Sep 2, 2015
Emily Eaglin and Ivan Figgs

Oregon has Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein of the IFC hit Portlandia, a series that spoofs the ways of that Pacific Northwest city. Now Maryland has Emily Eaglin, Ivan Figgs and their new show Marylandia.

They’re two student filmmakers from UMBC, University of Maryland Baltimore County who won a Linehan summer research grant to create the community-focused, sketch comedy web series, Marylandia. The web series looks at social justice issues like police brutality and transgender rights with a comic edge in the vein of Key and Peele, Saturday Night Live, and, of course, the series that inspired it, Portlandia. The creators, both rising juniors, join Sheilah in the studio. The first three episodes can be seen on the YouTube channel “Emily-On-Wishes.”

Hearings in the trial of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray begin Wednesday. Mayor Rawlings-Blake said a few days ago that city officials know that an unpopular ruling by the judge could be a flashpoint for protests, and the city is preparing for that possibility. The pre-trial motions will be argued before Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams in two sessions – on Wednesday, and a week from Thursday, Sept. 10. Among the defense motions is one to move the trial out of Baltimore, and some to remove Baltimore State’s Attorney from prosecuting the case. Judge Williams already has ruled on some motions: last week, he rejected a subpoena by the defense lawyers for the prosecutors to take the witness stand at Wednesday’s hearing. Here to catch us up on what’s at stake on Wednesday is David Jaros, a law professor at the University of Baltimore and Doug Colbert, law professor from University of Maryland.

Baltimore's Long Time Carmelite Community

Aug 31, 2015
The Carmelite Nuns Of Baltimore

Tom Hall joins Sr. Constance Fitzgerald at the Carmelite Monastery on Dulaney Valley Road in Towson. Fitzgerald has been a Carmelite nun for 64 years.  The community of Carmelites who live, work and pray on this beautiful, 26-acre campus have a lineage that extends back 225 years.  Founded in 1790 in Charles County, this site was the first community of religious women in the 13 colonies.  Baltimore Carmel is celebrating their 225th anniversary with a number of events throughout the year, including a seminar that Sr. Constance Fitzgerald will co-lead next month.  We discuss the contemplative life of the Carmelites, and how they balance the values of solitude and personal reflection with the values of community and engagement with the wider world.

Joshua McKerrow

Double-dealing, misunderstandings, disappearing funds, important papers lost or shredded – and a little romance. Could be a typical day at any state capital (give or take the romance).

You can see it all right before your eyes in historic Annapolis thanks to Annapolis Shakespeare Company’s delightful production of the commedia dell’arte classic, “The Servant of Two Masters.”

An 18th century Italian comedy might seem an unusual choice for a Shakespeare company, but this comedy is a good fit for its setting – Annapolis’ Reynolds Tavern, which opened in 1747, a year after Carlo Goldoni wrote “The Servant of Two Masters.”

Can Audio Books Benefit Young Readers?

Aug 31, 2015

Students in Baltimore County have been back to school for a week.  City students begin their school year today.  Paula Willey is Maryland Morning’s resident expert on great books for kids, and she joins me this morning to talk about some books that kids may want to dive into as they say goodbye to summer.  Paula is a librarian at the Parkville-Carney branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.  She’s also a library consultant, and she writes about books at her blog, Unadulterated  and as a columnist for the Baltimore Sun.  

Goucher Prison Education Partnership

Aug 28, 2015

Late last month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch came to the MD Correctional Institute in Jessup to announce that the Obama Administration plans to introduce a pilot program that would allow a limited number of incarcerated people to receive Pell Grants for the college courses they take in prison. Congress banned the use of government grants for prisoners in 1994. The Obama Administration hopes that the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program will be a way of working around that ban to make grants available to some inmates. 

How To Eat In An Ethical Way

Aug 28, 2015
Socially Responsible Agricultural Project


Dr. Ruth Faden is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Co-Principal Investigator of the Global Food Ethics Project.  This is an international team of researchers, ethicists, nutritionists and people who study a wide variety of areas related to food policy, and in particular, the ethical challenges of feeding an ever-growing human population.    In 25 years, there may be more than 9.5 billion people inhabiting this planet, and keeping everyone fed with safe, nutritious food will give rise to many thorny ethical issues, as we attempt to produce enough good food to satisfy that incredible need.  Dr. Faden’s team has just issued a report called the 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Securitywhich suggests seven projects that can be undertaken in the next five years to address the complex issues around global food security.  

HarperCollins Publishers

As a novelist, Laura Lippman keeps a pace like the tempo she set meeting deadlines as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun:  Lippman has published 21 novels in 18 years. But there was a curious gap in her signature series, the mysteries built around reporter-turned-private investigator Tess Monaghan. Until last spring, we hadn’t gotten a peek at Tess since 2011, when she was solving a mystery while on bed rest for a difficult pregnancy.Roughly the same time Tess became a mother, Lippman did, too.  Sheilah sat down with Lippman last February when she published her 12th Tess Monaghan mystery, called “Hush, Hush”.  

Reston Community Center via flickr Creative Commons

The charismatic equal-rights champion, Julian Bond, died ten days ago. He was 75. He served two decades in the Georgia legislature, and taught history for two decades at the University of Virginia – but he was connected to Maryland, also, through the dozen years he served as chair of the NAACP, headquartered here in Baltimore. All that came after the demonstrations and sit-ins of the 1960's, when Bond became a national figure as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. One admirer wrote last week, “SNCC was the #BlackLivesMatter movement before there were hashtags.” 


In 2010, author Wes Moore published a best-selling book, "The Other Wes Moore," which told the story of his childhood and early adulthood, as well as that of another young man, who grew up in Baltimore, in the same neighborhood and, coincidentally, with the same name. Their outcomes, however, couldn’t be more different. One Wes Moore was convicted of murder, and imprisoned for life, while the Wes Moore I spoke with graduated from Johns Hopkins University, went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, became a decorated war veteran, an investment banker, a White House Fellow, an entrepreneur, and television host.

Rebellion as Education

Aug 26, 2015
AK Press

Jay Gillen was a founding teacher-director of the Stadium School in Baltimore City, who is still teaching math in the City Schools, and working closely with the Baltimore Algebra Project.  In a book published last fall, he indicts an educational system that he says is stacked against poor and disadvantaged students. He suggests that we change that by encouraging students to organize and rebel.  The book is called “Educating for Insurgency: The Roles of Young People in Schools of Poverty.” 

No Yellow Buses Here: One Student's MTA Commute

Aug 24, 2015
Creative Commons

For the first day of school this year we’re revisiting a story on how Baltimore City public school students get to school. The yellow bus has long been an icon of public school systems, but in many big cities, tens of thousands of students make their way to and from school without the yellow bus. They navigate public transit. More school systems are switching from the yellow bus to public transit services, but getting those kids to school on time can be difficult, especially because middle and high school students can apply to attend any school in the city regardless of how close it is to where they live.

The Baltimore Attendance Collaborative, the Baltimore Education Research Consortium and the Office of Transportation at Baltimore City Public Schools are collaborating on a research project to analyze the data collected through the new One Card pass that was piloted in a few schools this past spring, after the publication of this story. The results will give City Schools more data to dig into this complex issue. 

"Touch: The Science Of Hand, Heart And Mind"

Aug 24, 2015

David Linden is a neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and the former editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. His first book, The Accidental Mind, explored how our brains evolved over time to make us capable of things like romantic love and belief in God. In a book called The Compass of Pleasure, he argues that we are hard-wired to seek pleasure in a variety of forms. In both of those books, he writes about the inextricable link between our minds and our hearts

David Simpson

We head to Loch Raven Reservoir, just north of Baltimore City, to revisit Nathan’s conversation with photographer David Simpson. We’ll hear about Simpson’s book The Swan at Loch Raven, and the story of how David encountered the majestic bird at the center of the book.


Lawrence Lanahan

This spring, during #BlackLivesMatter protests, during the events that led to the riot in April, and the frightening violence that has strafed some Baltimore neighborhoods since then we’ve thought often of the reporting we did three years ago in our effort to look deep into the roots of inequality in the Baltimore region.  We called that year-long series, “The Lines Between Us.”  This morning we’re bringing you some of its episodes. 

In late 2012 we focused on the wealth gap, which has a big impact on which families get ahead and which families get stuck. Even more than income, wealth adds up all the financial assets families can use to get ahead which plays a big part in economic mobility.

This spring, in March 2015, two public-policy institutes reported that the typical black family has just 6 percent of the wealth of the typical white household – about $7 thousand dollars saved up compared to $111 thousand dollars for a typical white family.  The typical  average Latino household has just slightly more, a little over $8 thousand dollars.

Where does that wealth gap come from? And what does it mean in people’s lives? We started with our then-senior producer Lawrence Lanahan, who had the story of an 88-year-old African-American World War II veteran from West Baltimore.   

Christopher Moore//

We’re listening to some of the reporting of our year-long series from a couple years ago, The Lines Between Us, looking deep into the roots of inequality in the Baltimore region.  We wrapped up the series two years ago with a focus o  n what to do about disparities with a public discussion on what tools  local, state, and federal government have to dismantle structural inequality. Joining us was Lisa Garry is director of system reform projects with the Department of Juvenile Services. She has worked for a long time on the issue of racial disparities in contact with the juvenile justice system.  Also joining the discussion was Lisa Williams, director of the Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency with Baltimore County Public Schools.

We’re going to loop back now to our review of the wealth gap, from our series The Lines Between Us, which focused the causes of racial and class disparities in the Baltimore region. Earlier we heard the story of Isaac Joseph Bacon, an African-American World War II veteran.  In 1950, he bought a house in a nice neighborhood by Druid Hill Park. It’s close to landmarks we heard a lot about this spring, during the riot and protests after Freddie Gray’s funeral.  The house is about two blocks south of Mondawmin Mall, and about six blocks north of Penn North.  Home values did not appreciate in that neighborhood, and as Mr. Bacon grew frail in his late 80s, his family scrambled to pay for assisted living.