Midday | WYPR


Monday-Friday from noon-1:00 pm, Tom Hall and his guests are talking about what’s on your mind, and what matters most to Marylanders:  the latest news, local and national politics, education and the environment, popular culture and the arts, sports and science, race and religion, movies and medicine.  We welcome your questions and comments. Email us at midday@wypr.org, tweet us: @MiddayWYPR, or call us at 410-662-8780.

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Meet the Midday team

Midday programs with Sheilah Kast as host ended on September 16, 2016

Archive prior to October 5, 2015

West Midlands Police / Flickr via Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the Baltimore City Police Department began its pilot body-worn camera program -- 150 officers will be testing models over the next two months. We speak to Commissioner Kevin Davis about the program and the continued uptick in homicides. Then, David Rocah, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of MD, describes concerns regarding the police department's body-camera policy and transparency.

  Today on Midday we’ll hear from a panel of experts including City Councilman, Carl Stokes, and Greg Countess, director of housing advocacy and community economic development at Legal Aid, on the controversy at the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. Residents at some of Baltimore’s public housing developments are dealing with no heat and no water this fall. And yesterday, Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano said a federal investigation is underway over allegations that some housing maintenance workers demanded sex in return for repairs.

At the top of the hour, Baltimore Sun education reporter Erica Green and Chair of the Maryland Alliance of Public Charter Schools, Will McKenna join us to explain the discord over funding between city schools and charter schools.

Justice Reinvestment

Oct 28, 2015
Still Burning / Creative Commons via Flickr

About three out of five people who enter prison in Maryland are sent there for non-violent crimes. But, over the past decade, Maryland has been sentencing even non-violent offenders to more time behind bars. A high-level panel of police chiefs, prison experts, judges, legislators, and others is looking at facts like these to figure out whether Maryland can reduce sentences and do a better job of rehabilitating inmates and supervising them when they get out -- in other words, spending less money, or spending it more wisely, without reducing public safety.

Apprenticeships and Baltimore City Contracts

Oct 27, 2015

On Midday Tuesday, we’ll talk about apprenticeships. They can be a path to upward mobility – young people learn skills and get connected to a job without taking on college debt. But the U.S. has not seen the surge in apprenticeships that have shaped England’s labor force in the last 15 years. Why not? We’ll talk to Del. Cory McCray, D-Baltimore, who apprenticed to become an electrician, and to Tom Bewick, who designed the U.K.’s apprentice system.

Rueters via IBtimes.com

  It’s been six months since the riot in Baltimore beginning in the late afternoon of April 27th, following the funeral of 25 year-old Freddie Gray. The actions from that night affected as many as 400 Baltimore City businesses. While the unrest was short lived, its impacts are still evident for businesses in places like Mondawmin Mall and Fells Point. Today on Midday, we’ll talk to two reporters who wrote about Baltimore's recovery: Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times and Colin Campbell of the Baltimore Sun; and Lance Lucas, the President of the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce to determine the extent of the damage to the city’s businesses and reputation.


Maryland high schools are about to get their first look at results from the PARCC exam – a relatively new standardized test of complex skills. We ask interim state superintendent of schools Jack Smith how the scores will be used. Plus: headlines from the Baltimore Business Journal with Sarah Gantz; Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival on the Parkway Theater’s 100th birthday celebration and local brewer Jon Zerivitz on Baltimore’s craft brewing scene.

How Is The Left Shaping Up For 2016?

Oct 22, 2015
Jason Reed/Reuters, via Landov

  As Joe Biden decides not to run, Jim Webb pulls out and Hillary Moves into the hot seat, we'll discuss how the left is shaping up for the 2016 Presidential race. We’ll look at Republicans on the Hill too. Will Paul Ryan's own party keep him from becoming Speaker of the House?

Our guests are Max Hilaire, chair of the Political Science Department at Morgan State University; John Fritze, Washington correspondent for the Baltimore Sun; and Rebecca Sinderbrand, political editor for the Washington Post. 



 From in-home daycare and child care centers to nannies and babysitters, parents often see their budgets strained by the high cost of child care. While the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that families spend no more than 10 percent, a recent study by the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, found that very few people live in areas where child care costs are at all close to that threshold. In this hour of Midday, EPI's Elise Gould and Maryland Family Network's Margaret Williams join Sheilah to discuss the financial burden placed on American families with young children.

October is breast cancer awareness month, so we want to spend this hour discussing detection, treatment and prevention. We’ll meet Leslie Ries, who learned after her surgery that her family had a history of breast cancer, and talk to her and her daughter about decisions they face. And we’ll learn about this weekend’s Komen Race for the Cure from someone who’s helping organize it. 

Also joining us is Dr. Vered Stearns. She’s co-director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Program, and holds the Breast Cancer Research Chair in Oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

emPower Magazine

The Mental Health Association of Maryland is marking its 100th birthday with a national conference on research and cutting-edge technologies aimed at strengthening your brain. What’s new in what we understand about how the brain works? What needs to be done to put new tools in the hands of professionals AND consumers? Psychiatrist Henry Harbin, past director of Maryland’s state mental-health authority, gives us an overview of the some of the pressing issues in mental health. We also speak to Dr. Michael Knabel about reviewing mental health software. Are customers getting what they pay for? Who’s watching out for patient safety? And neurologist Jay Lombard talks about tests that could lead to better choices of medications for treatment of mental illness.

Midday Friday

Oct 16, 2015
Stephen Melkisethian / Flickr via Creative Commons

  Former NAACP President Ben Jealous today put out a six-point plan to improve police-community relations in Baltimore. Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun tells us more. We’ll also hear from two protesters who were arrested for occupying City Hall this week -- Tre Murphy of Baltimore BLOC and the Baltimore Algebra Project and Makayla Gilliam-Price of City BLOC. Plus, news headlines from Jonathan Munshaw of the Baltimore Business Journal, and Lawrence Brown, assistant professor at Morgan State University, provides some historical perspective on why zoning is a public health issue. And this weekend is the Baltimore Running Festival. We speak to Lee DiPietro, who ran the Baltimore marathon 8 times and came in second twice. She tells us how her love of running gave her strength during difficult times.

Federal prisons are about to release 6,000 inmates ahead of schedule and  about 140 of them will return to Maryland. We’ll learn what it means for those ex-felons, and for the criminal-justice system. Our guests: James Wyda, Maryland's Federal Public Defender; Steve Cook, President of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys; and Jim Sents, Vice-President of the Vice President of Corrections, Veterans and Housing Services For Volunteers for America.

Democratic Debate Debrief

Oct 14, 2015

  We're analyzing the first debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls – former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Virginia Governor Jim Webb, and. Our guests: Political commentator Barry Rascovar of the blog PoliticalMaryland.com and Matthew Crenson, professor emeritus of political science at Johns Hopkins University. Join us for the conversation by sending an email to Midday@wypr.org or calling 410-662-8780.

Democratic Congresswoman and Senatorial candidate Donna Edwards joins Midday to talk about her run to fill the seat that will be left vacant by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s retirement in 2017. We’ll talk gun control, equal pay, investment in STEM education, and her call for six debates with her rival, Rep. Chris Van Hollen.


Today, a look at a troubling situation affecting students nationwide - chronic absenteeism. "Chronic absenteeism" is defined as missing 10% or more of school days in a school year for any reason. New research out of Johns Hopkins estimates that 5 million to 7.5 million students nationwide are chronically absent each year, including 10 percent of kindergartners and first graders. In Baltimore City, more than 40 percent of high school students are chronically absent. Robert Balfranz, research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, joins us to talk about a new White House initiative on the issue.

Baltimore’s homicide count for 2015 is up to 261- eleven just this week. We’ll speak to  community activist Ericka Alston about how West Baltimore neighborhoods are responding to the gun violence, and ask Darrel Stephens, the Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association about nationwide homicide trends. Then, a look at changes to the Charm City Circulator’s route with Kirby Fowler of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. We also talk S.A.T. scores and economic disparity with Timothy Sandoval of the Baltimore Business Journal. We’ll discuss the results of the recent Goucher Poll of Maryland residents with Mileah Kromer.  Plus a preview of a short film playing this weekend at the Baltimore International Black Film Festival.

New Supreme Court Term - Key Cases to Watch

Oct 8, 2015

  The Supreme Court opened its 2015 term this week. We speak with two local law professors about the cases the court is likely to hear -- cases involving hotly debated issues such as affirmative action in college admissions, unions, the death penalty and abortion. Our guests: Mark Graber of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and Garrett Epps of the University of Baltimore School of Law.


  The White House announced last month that 10,000 Syrian refugees will be admitted to the United States over the coming year. Since 2011, when civil war erupted in Syrian, fewer than 2000 displaced Syrians were welcomed into America.

  More than 13,000 people in Baltimore are living with HIV or AIDS, and the city has the sixth highest rate in the country of people newly diagnosed with HIV. Late last month, the Baltimore City Health Department won $20 million in federal grants to target vulnerable populations - gay men and transgender people -- and to build partnerships with community groups. We’ll find out about the city's strategy from Dr. Patrick Chaulk, assistant commissioner for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.  

Midday host Sheilah Kast talks with Sheila Bair, the new president of Washington College, a private liberal arts school on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We’ll cover her background in the field of finance, and get her thoughts on the student loan crisis. Plus, how do you make the transition easier for students from inner-city school? According to President Bair, it’s time for colleges to consider group admission.