On The Record | WYPR

On The Record

Weekdays, 9:30 to 10:00 am

Catch On the Record, hosted by Sheilah Kast, weekdays from 9:30 to 10:00 am, following NPR’s Morning Edition. We’ll discuss the issues that affect your life and bring you thoughtful and lively conversations with the people who shape those issues -- business people, public officials, scholars, artists, authors, and journalists who can take us inside the story. If you want to share a comment, question, or an idea for an interview you’d like to hear, email us at ontherecord@wypr.org.

Theme music created by Jon Ehrens.  Logo designed by Louis Umerlik.

Ways to Connect

Here’s a Stoop Story from Mimi Dietrich about her run-in with rock and roll. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Mimi Dietrich / http://mimidietrich.com

Mimi Dietrich finds it “magical” to make a quilt. She’s in the Quilters Hall of Fame, and the Maryland Historical Society is about to exhibit dozens of her works. We hear how she started quilting and where she draws inspiration.

The opening reception for "Hometown Girl" is tomorrow from 2-5 pm at the Maryland Historical Society.

This is a yearlong exhibition on view during regular museum hours (Wed.-Sat. 10 am-5 pm, Sundays 12 pm-5 pm). Special guided group tours with Mimi Dietrich are available. More information here.

Medecins Sans Frontieres

When you hear the name of the nonprofit “Doctors Without Borders,” you’re usually hearing about a catastrophe--the devastating cyclone that hit Mozambique last week, for example … the ebola epidemic in Congo, or streams of refugees. In more than sixty countries across the globe, Doctors Without Borders works to care for the displaced--medical treatment, food, safety. What’s involved in doing this work? Donna Canali, a nurse and team coordinator, shares the nonprofit’s principles.

Donna Canali will be speaking on Monday March 25 at the Baltimore Museum of Art at 6:30pm. To rsvp, visit this link.

For information on the MSF recruitment event on April 30, visit this link.

An ambassador travels to the capital of a foreign empire, only to discover that her predecessor has died in baffling circumstances. That’s the start of the new novel, “A Memory Called Empire.”

The space opera weaves together the intrigue of a political thriller with the rich intricacies of an alien world. Author Arkady Martine tells guest host Nathan Sterner why she loves the sci-fi genre.

Arkady Martine will speak about her book at the Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Rd, next Tuesday, March 26th at 7 pm. 

Johns Hopkins amassed millions by trying almost anything that promised to make money--investing in liquor, real estate, coal-mining, fertilizer, and more. He never married, and it was only after he’d retired from most of those businesses that the public saw what he intended to do with his fortune: create a university--including a medical school--and a hospital. Author Antero Pietila guides us through his book, “The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins" to show us the man behind the name.

Pietila will be speaking on Sunday Mar. 24 at 2pm at the Engineers Club in Mt. Vernon, more info at this link.

The non-profit Civil Justice believes every citizen deserves his or her day in court. That’s why they line up legal counsel to represent people with low or moderate incomes in non-criminal cases. Executive director Eden Forsythe talks about why there is a direct connection between fair representation in court and restoring faith in democracy and civic engagement. Plus, we meet  Civil Justice lawyer Chelsea Ortega and her client, Renee Spencer to hear about their experience.

For more information about the organization, visit the Civil Justice website here.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Say “Fort McHenry,” and we think of the men who braved “the bombs bursting in air” in 1814 … and the man inspired by the flag that waved … to write the poem that became our national anthem. But women have also shaped the Star Fort’s history. Who made that flag? We talk to Park Ranger Shannon McLucas about her new walking tour “Proprietress, Patriot, Nurse, and Spy: The Unconventional Women of Fort McHenry.” 

That was a Stoop Story from from World War II Women's Army Auxiliary Corps member Catharine Deitch about her whirlwind world tour in the military. You can hear her story and many others at Stoopstorytelling.com, as well as on the Stoop podcast.

Staff photographers / MD GovPics Flickr Creative Commons

$424 million dollars - that’s the estimated price to completely overhaul Pimlico Race Course. What does this ambitious project include? Who would foot the bill?

We discuss the debate over moving the Preakness Stakes from Baltimore’s Pimlico to Laurel Park with Jeff Barker of The Baltimore Sun. How did the owner of both tracks favor Laurel in its spending? And who was watching that happen?

Read Jeff's recent reporting:
Economic impact of Preakness Stakes in Baltimore would top $50 million annually, study says
As Pimlico faded, its owners were pouring money into their Laurel track. Was anyone watching?

Then, Will Hanna of the New Park Heights Community Development Corporation shares his vision.

Strong City Baltimore

The Hoen Lithograph plant, stretched across an entire city block in east Baltimore, has been empty for decades. Now it’s on the verge of becoming a hub for neighborhood innovation--with GED classes, workforce training and more. Karen Stokes, CEO of Strong City Baltimore--the anchor tenant --describes plans for the building … and the broader goal of transforming that part of Baltimore. We also meet Ella Durant, president of the Collington Square Neighborhood Association. She speaks to what the Hoen project means to her neighbors and adjoining communities.

Vehicles for Change / Twitter

A car can be a second chance: that’s the framework of Vehicles for Change, a nonprofit that repairs donated cars and awards them to low-income families at a fraction of their market value. Repairs are completed by participants in Full Circle, a job-training program for people returning from prison.

We hear from founder Marty Schwartz and Perry Spain, who finished the program and is on his way to becoming a master mechanic.

Patient Power / Flickr via Creative Commons

Just eight percent of people with pancreatic cancer live for five years after their diagnosis. Why is this cancer so deadly and where are advances in treatment headed? We speak to Meryle Bemnet, an oncology nurse who lost her sister-in-law to pancreatic cancer less than six months after she was diagnosed. And Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee, deputy director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the future of treating pancreatic cancer. Original airdate: 11/6/18

Here is a Stoop Story from Ian Blumenfeld about adapting to automation. You can hear his story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com, as well as the Stoop podcast.

Maureen Harvie / WYPR

Speeds! Tumbles! The chance to play offense and defense simultaneously! And it's all executed on roller skates. Roller derby is a perfect sport for adventurous athletes. We go behind the scenes with the Charm City Roller Girls, a skater-owned and operated roller derby league headquartered in Dundalk.

The league’s next match-up is between the Hampden Hons and the Dundalk Deviants next weekend--Saturday, March 16th, 7:30 pm, at Skateland North Point in Dundalk.

And you can meet some of the roller girls this evening at Charm City Meadworks’ Trivia Night--7 pm, 400 East Biddle Street in Baltimore. Wanna learn the basics? Find out about the next roller derby boot camp here.

Courtesy Catholic Relief Services

The surge of migrant families crossing the southwest border is twice last year’s level, the U.S. government said this week. Many of them are from Guatemala, pushed by poverty and failing crops. The non-profit Catholic Relief Services works with families in Guatemala … and thinks Lent -- the 40 days leading up to Easter, a time of fasting and penance -- is a good time for Americans to think how to help people in need. Monica Rodriguez, a CRS project manager in Guatemala, talks about the challenges families face … and why some make the tough decision to leave their home.

For information about how to participate in CRS Ricebowl, visit this link.


Pulsing back to life after it was abruptly shuttered a year ago as a print publication, Baltimore Beat returns as an online news source. Managing editor Brandon Soderberg talks about why the Beat’s resurrection is important to local news coverage, and editor-in-chief Lisa Snowden-McCray shares her vision of what the future Beat could provide for Baltimore and for the face of journalism.

Visit this link to become a patron of the Beat, and visit this link to read the latest edition!

CharmTV Citizens' Hub on YouTube

Liquor laws are notoriously complicated, but one attorney is untangling them in the name of transparency. Becky Lundberg Witt of the Community Law Center, is the blogger behind Booze News. She’s attended dozens of Baltimore City Liquor Board hearings, worked with community associations to take on problem bars, and written up the details in easy-to-digest blog posts. 

Eurasia Group

Each year, The Eurasia Group details the biggest threats to peace and prosperity. Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer--in town tomorrow for the Baltimore Speakers Series--points out that countries are less and less able to detect, let alone prevent, a cyber attack. The weaponized hostility between President Trump’s supporters and opponents will persist no matter what happens in next year’s elections. And the rupture in trust between the world’s two largest economies runs deep.


The sitar of India. The bouzouki from Greece. The West African sherkere  … Traditional instruments of all shapes, sounds and sizes help define music from cultures across the globe. But the percussive rhythms of the drum are universal … there is something about the primal beat that echoes the heart and beckons the soul. The Korean Shamanic percussion group, Noreum Machi plays upon that instinct. Using instruments and vocalizations, they perform music known as samul nori. Shawn Choi, founder and director of SORI, a New York City based artist agency that specializes in Korean music, tells us about the group and its music.

For information about Noreum Machi's Creative Alliance performance on Sat. March 3, visit this link.

That was a Stoop Story from W. Courtland Robinson, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, about the power of perseverance and a respect for social customs … under extreme circumstances. You can hear his story and others at StoopStorytelling.com, or on the stoop podcast.

Barry Dale Gilfry / Flickr via Creative Commons

Should Maryland raise its minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour? As lawmakers debate, dozens of business owners and workers have testified about the potential impact of a wage boost.

Lawrence A. Richardson Jr. of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce lays out the concerns of small business owners across the state - will they be forced to cut jobs or hours? Will they relocate to bordering states? - while Alissa Barron-Menza of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage argues that higher wages grow the economy through higher customer spending.

Growing up in East Baltimore, the son of Catholic immigrants, Jim Cabezas felt called to serve and protect. But as a rookie Baltimore City police officer in 1970s, he witnessed rampant racism and abuse by fellow officers.

In his memoir, “Eyes of Justice,” written with Joan Jacobson, Jim Cabezas details his lengthy career in law enforcement, including high-profile investigations of corrupt politicians, all while coping with the creeping loss of his sight.

They will be speaking at the Ivy Bookshop on March 7th from 7-9 pm. Details here.

St. Francis Neighborhood Center

What is the glue that holds a community together? For St. Francis Neighborhood Center, it is the attitude that it takes a village to build a better future.

St. Francis Neighborhood Center is located at Whitelock Street and Linden Avenue in Baltimore’s Reservoir Hill community. Its mission is to end generational poverty through education. To meet that goal, the nonprofit offers free resources for families, from job readiness workshops to financial planning classes.

Tomorrow St. Francis will break ground on a $4 million dollar renovation and expansion, tripling the number of families they can serve. Last August we spoke with Christi Green, who’s been executive director since 2012, as well as Inge Harris, whose four children attend St. Francis, and her son, Emmanuel, who began participating at St. Frances in elementary school.

Here's information about how to donate. Details about how to volunteer here.

courtesy Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The United States is most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth--and the mothers most at risk … are African Americans. This afternoon Johns Hopkins is convening a dozen experts for ideas that could change that picture. The symposium also honors Shalon Irving, an black alumna who worked to eliminate health disparities. Still, three weeks after she gave birth, high blood pressure took her life. We talk with OB-GYN Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, who sees her friend’s death as a call for change. We also meet Dr. Michelle Ogunwole, a primary-care, internal medicine physician at Johns Hopkins and Tanjala Purnell, PhD, associate director for education in Johns Hopkins’ Center for Health Equity, as well as assistant professor of surgery, epidemiology and health behavior. They discuss symposium topics and shed light on this important issue.

Here is a Stoop Story from Sharon Gorenstein about getting her “happily ever after” without the castle. You can hear her story and many others at stoopstorytelling.com.

All kinds of health screenings tomorrow the annual Charm of a Million Hearts Health Fair at Lexington Market, 10 a.m. to 2 pm. --HIV, Hepatitis C, diabetes risk, naloxone training, flu shots! Wishing you a healthy weekend!

Collection of Bernice Steinhardt and Helene McQuade.

Decades after Esther Nisenthal Krinitz lost her family in the Holocaust, she began stitching together childhood memories, using thread and fabric to detail life in their Polish village, and trauma of World War II. It was an avocation she took up while running a clothing store in downtown Frederick.

Now dozens of her embroidered panels are coming to the American Visionary Art Museum, part of an exhibit about genocide and human injustice.

Esther’s daughter, Bernice Steinhardt, describes the message of her mother’s art, "I would love for them to understand the beauty of the world that she lived in, and that she never lost that sense of beauty, and how quickly it was taken from her." Steinhardt co-founded the nonprofit Art and Remembrance to spread her mother's story.

The AVAM exhibition, "Esther and the Dream of One Loving Human Family" opens tomorrow. On Sunday, there is a free panel discussion about the exihibit. Information here.

We all know there’s no place like home. But what ‘home’ looks like ... depends upon our perspective. We get two perspectives today. LaQuida Chancey, founder of Smalltimore Homes, tells us how she hopes to eradicate homelessness by developing ‘micro shelter’ communities. Then, we visit Baltimore’s Inner harbor to learn why people choose to live afloat year round. We hear from Joe Fleischman, Madeleine Schroeher and the Wille family of four!

For information about Smalltimore Homes, visit this link.

Melissa Gerr

What do you have in common with a fish? Dr. Steven Farber, from the Carnegie Institution for Science, has a good idea: turns out, it goes clear down to the genes. He tells us about his research on heart disease using--of all things--the tiny zebrafish. He’s also created a short beginners’ genetics curriculum based on fish development -- called BioEYES. We also visit Mt. Washington School and meet BioEYES outreach educator Terrone Jasper, and science teacher Leaha Charles Pierre, whose students are experiencing BioEYES for the first time. To learn more about BioEYES visit this link.

Mark L. Dennis and Jay L. Baker

As acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison enters his second week on the job, we hear from community leaders David Troy of the group Baltimore City Voters and Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary of Douglas Memorial Community Church about their first impressions. And Fern Shen of the Baltimore Brew tells us what’s expected in his confirmation process.

Jewish Museum of Maryland/Johns Hopkins Press

Does a city shape its inhabitants ... or is it the other way around? And how much does location influence commerce? Deborah Weiner explores these questions in the book she co-wrote: “On Middle Ground: A History of the Jews of Baltimore.” It draws on Baltimore’s unique geography, politics and racial diversity -- not to mention a host of colorful characters -- to walk the reader through the development of Baltimore’s Jewish community.

Find information about Deborah Weiner's Ivy Bookshop event on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 at this link.