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WYPR Features

Tom talks with Midday Producer Kathleen Cahill.

Tom Pelton

On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, at the very end of a long peninsula reaching out into the Chesapeake Bay, is a remote and isolated crabbing town called Deal Island.

The place is so little-known and off the grid that it is often mistaken for the better known town of Deal, Maryland – on the Western Shore. But this is a different place, all the way on the other side of the Bay. And the only way to get to Deal Island is down a long road leading west from Princes Anne through vast and open wetlands and over a narrow bridge.

The town is dominated by a wooden dock, piled with crab pots. A waterman’s bar called “Arby’s”  doubles a general store, and about 20 workboats come and go.

A skipjack called the Somerset is tied up beside the boat ramp, its canvas sails furled and streaks of rust tracing its white wooden hull. It’s a sign of this town’s still-living connections to the Chesapeake’s history, when thousands of these single-masted ships dredged oysters from the bay bottom.

Sauvignon Blancs

Aug 21, 2019

Sauvignon blancs are perfect partners for hot weather dining.

Maryland Hospital Association

The summer of 2019 is flying by. As schoolkids across Maryland prepare to return to their classroom, the hospitals and health systems that serve your communities are helping to make sure your kids start the school year off right. They’re offering check-ups, vaccinations, routine care, sports physicals and more.

As devoted caregivers, it’s the privilege of our doctors and nurses to welcome children into the world and to continue to help them grow and to thrive. And, increasingly, we partner with the community and with local schools to make sure students are healthy – and ready to learn.


A few weeks ago, I was tucked snuggly into my bed, eyes closed, attempting mightily to fall asleep when a loud crash echoed from outside my home. I sat up quickly, listening for more clues about what the sound could have been. I heard nothing. I sighed, knowing that my already vain attempts at sleep were now well and truly dashed. I set my feet on the floor to investigate the noise.

When I arrived downstairs, I grabbed my flashlight and walked out my door. In the dark of the night, the bright light shone on what appeared to be many, many eyes. As my own eyes adjusted to the light, I could see four raccoons staring intently back at me from the area surrounding the trash can they had knocked over. 

The National Aquarium

Henry David Thoreau once said “we can never have enough of nature.” For the Aquarium Conservation Team, this is most certainly true of our work with our partners on behalf of the Atlantic white cedar. Listen in to find out why we’ve worked to plant nearly 40,000 of these special trees over the past ten years.


Aug 20, 2019
Isabelle Boucher/flickr creative commons

This is the season of the tomato avalanche. At markets, grocery stores and in your neighbor's backyard, tomatoes are coming up like nobody's business. Al asked Chef Jerry Pellegrino, 'what are you supposed to do with a paper bag containing 20 red ripe tomatoes?' His answer: make gazpacho.    

Catherine discusses how we can successfully take on a greater role in funding, preparing for and managing retirement savings.

In August, 1776, 400 Marylander s of the “Dandy 5th” Regiment fought bravely to hold the American line in Brooklyn Heights, New York, while George Washington and his troops beat a hasty retreat after a disastrous encounter with the British. 

Knopf (l); Algonquin (r)

What happens when people suddenly disappear, without a trace? On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we look at two new books that address that question. Marion Winik reviews Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips and The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity Maclean.

On the moonless night of February 9, 1947. A shadowy melodrama was being played out on the Lancaster street dock and aboard the ship moored to it. Boys were to be seen loading the ship and with munitions. They were boys from Little Italy and from the Jewish Community Center—recruited off the basketball court of the Jewish Community Center together, at work, not realizing it, founding a country.

Piecing Together Stories In The Chesney Medical Archives

Aug 16, 2019
The Chesney Medical Archives for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health

Natalie Elder read about a simple clothing accessory one day at her job in the Chesney Medical Archives for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. The Curator of Cultural Properties is still on a continuous quest to find it.  What can items like these teach us about a person and an organization’s past? How can medical archives help piece together someone’s story? Elder tells us more.

Perhaps you are set to retire next year. That’s fabulous. But it’s important to note that the year before entering retirement is critical, and there are some items things that you should probably consider. As indicated by writer Kelly LaVigne, among these are one – determine your healthcare coverage needs, two – expand your savings rate during your last year at work, three – assess your investment risk exposure, four – analyze your income needs in retirement, and five – build that bucket list and figure out how much it will cost to check off various items on that list.  None of this is especially simple.  

Anirban tells us why. 

"The Mermaid"

Aug 15, 2019
Flickr/Creative Commons

During the War of Independence, in the spring of 1778, the 28 gun British frigate “Mermaid” chose to surrender to a “nest of pirates” on the Eastern Shore rather than be taken a prize by the notorious French vice admiral Charles Hector D’Estaing.

Parent Cafes

Aug 14, 2019
Maryland Family Network

Wouldn’t you like to get together with other parents to share ideas, learn about resources, and have a dialogue about common challenges? Well, you’re in luck. Parent Cafés provide comfortable, confidential opportunities for parents and caregivers to engage in conversations about maintaining strong families. Listen here to learn more.

D Coetzee/flickr creative commons

President Trump’s official campaign website features a new product for sale: Red plastic drinking straws with the word “Trump” emblazoned on their side.

The price: $15 for a pack of 10. The website advertises them this way: “Liberal paper straws don’t work. STAND WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP.”

Apparently, Trump voters are snapping them up – despite the fact that, at the price of a dollar and a half for each straw, the Trump straws are about 75 times more expensive than biodegradable paper straws. Politico reports that the Trump campaign has already raised almost half-million dollars selling plastic straws.

Now, you might think, well that’s just funny. Trump supporters are gleefully trolling liberals and environmentalists by saying, in effect, “You say the ocean is full of plastic trash?  Your beaches are covered in litter? Stick a Trump straw in your political correctness …and your biodegradable straw mandates.”

Wine In Cans

Aug 14, 2019

The latest craze in wine packaging has a lot going for it. Click the links to purchase Cellar Notes recommendations at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits.

Bowen: The Three Rs of Education

Aug 13, 2019

What does thinking for yourself really mean? Jose Antonio Bowen, former president of Goucher College and self-regulated learner, tells us. 

Navigating Clinical Trials

Aug 13, 2019

Hector gives guidance on searching for and enrolling in clinical trials.  

Lisa Morgan

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we are excited to re-introduce you to Rebecca Makkai's beautiful book, The Great Believers. It is our pick for the next meeting of WYPR's Weekly Reader Book Club on September 12th at 7pm at Bird in Hand. We also look back at book critic Marion Winik's First Comes Love, her memoir of love and loss during the early years of the AIDS crisis.

Monarch butterflies are famous for their southward migration and northward return in summer from here to Mexico. This impressive feat spans three-to-four generations of the butterfly and takes several months.

But it’s not the only incredible fact about monarch butterflies. Yes, monarchs are beautiful and beneficial, but they’re cool right from the start of their lifecycles.

miniQQ/flickr creative commons

It's no secret that our Maryland farmers are cranking out the year's best produce right now. Every time Al visits the market and sees table after table of gorgeous fresh vegetables, he starts ransacking his brain for ideas on how to cook and serve it. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has said that one place to look for inspiration is the Mediterranean, where fresh vegetables are the cornerstone of cooking.

Alexander Jamran

Aug 9, 2019

Walters Art Museum Executive Director Julia Marciari-Alexander chats with Alexander Jamran, Manager of Adult and Community Programs and Contemporary Arts Initiatives at The Walters. Alexander tell us about ART/SOUND/NOW, the acclaimed series that pairs musical performers with art from the Walters collections in order to create unique sound art in the galleries.

Anirban reports on the need for insurance to innovate, the top cities attracting Millenials, the slowdown in business investment and more. 

Something unusual was going on in Baltimore’s Penn station on the afternoon of July 25, 1943.  In the frenetic war years, the station was an around- the-clock scene of soldiers and sailors arriving and departing and loved ones greeting with hugs of welcome or farewell. But today was different—there was a wedding planned! In the station! A wedding like no other in the history of the armed forces of the United States….

The Magic Number

Aug 8, 2019

Anirban tells us the closest thing to the magic number–that is, the number you'll need to retire. 

US Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr/Creative Commons

On July 24, 1868, a great flood swept through the Patapsco River valley, causing great damage and loss of life.

Documenting And Interpreting History Through Quilting

Aug 8, 2019
The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art

How can quilting interpret history and document community identity? Next summer, The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art at Salisbury University will host an exhibit featuring documentary quilts by Dr. Joan Gaither. The Maryland Heritage Award winner will also lead quilting workshops for Eastern Shore residents: the quilts made in these workshops will also be included in the exhibit. Jackson Medel, Curator and Folklorist at The Ward Museum, tells us more.

Knopf (l); St. Martins (r)

On this episode of The Weekly Reader, our book critic Marion Winik reviews Campusland, a satirical debut novel by Scott Johnston, and a new one from an old favorite, Chances Are by Richard Russo.

Changing The Course For A Positive Impact

Aug 7, 2019
Adobe Stock

Adverse experiences in a child’s younger years often have negative impact on that child’s future, but with proper help, there is hope.  

Listen to Dan Hoover share the story of Da’quan who realized that with support and assistance from his foster family and caring therapy from his therapists at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger Institute, he could have a bright future, despite his early traumatic experiences.