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WYPR Features

Glass of red wine in a glass on a wooded surface with sunlight shining in the background
ehpien via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Full flavored, hearty midwinter dinners require the same in wines. Here is a trio of affordable big reds to make any dinner a special occasion.

Uncooked rice grains on a light surface with a dark background
Simone Bosotti via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A lot of the meals that we cook at home end up needing some sort of starch. Potatoes are the default choice, but there are also whole grains like bulgur, barley and even quinoa. But an important alternative is rice. Chef Jerry Pellegrino reminds us that when we speak of rice, we are actually speaking about a lot of different things.

Marco Merrick

18 hours ago

  Tom talks with the founding director of the Community Concert Choir of Baltimore, Marco Merrick.   



Marco is recommending:

Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America by Mamie Till-Mobley (the mother of Emmett Till)



Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue by Neale Donald Walsch (Vol. 1)

theblackdog2071 via (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

At the end of a relationship, it’s typical for one or both parties to take stock, to dust oneself off, as it were, and try to figure out what went wrong towards a goal of making things better the next time.

In some cases, with the passage of time, you might even consider the wisdom of patching things up and trying again.

If you think of the end of an athletic season in the same way you would a relationship, then, in the wake of Saturday’s desultory 17-3 loss to Buffalo in the AFC playoffs, the Ravens are doing a “where did it all fall apart” assessment of the situation.

The Reports: Week of January 18th 2021

COVID-19 Testing: When & Where

Jan 18, 2021

Currently, the United States has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and related deaths in the world. It is important to be vigilant now and in the future, to stop the spread. Joining me is Mihaela Vincze, public health expert for nonprofit Transamerica Institute, here to discuss when and where to get tested for COVID-19.  

Twistin 2021-01-15

Jan 15, 2021

On the night of December 7, 1961, Fire Prevention Chief Michael Horan was making a routine check in the Las Vegas nightclub on Harford Road when he discovered to his considerable discomfort that infractions of the city fire control were out of control. The dancers were dancing the Twist, a body shaking dance sweeping across the country - and on this night blocking the exit aisles of the Las Vegas club in Baltimore. He shut the club down only to see it re-open again - it's aisles jammed with dancers twisting again there was a reason for the way things were going for Chief Horan. This story explains . . . 

Amid the chaos of a pandemic, as well as the lingering shock waves from the recent anti-Democratic riots by Trump followers in Washington D.C., the Maryland General Assembly’s annual legislative session opened today in Annapolis. 

The most important environmental bills being debated in Maryland this year focus on two aspects of the most weighty issue facing our planet: Climate change, and mass transportation as a key strategy for reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

A bill called the “Climate Change Solutions Now Act” would require the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by about half within 10 years and have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The legislation, backed by a coalition of 73 environmental and community groups across the state, would also require the planting of five million trees – many in urban neighborhoods – and the electrification of the state vehicle fleet, among other steps.


Stef via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Reds and whites from Southern Italy are surprisingly good choices for hearty winter meals.


Jan 14, 2021
Ella Olsson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Winter mornings are certainly a time for a hot cup of coffee or tea, and something nice and hot to put in our tummies. Pancakes and waffles drenched with butter and maple syrup come to mind, but if you would like something a little healthier, you can't beat oatmeal. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino knows, oatmeal is not only a wonderful breakfast food, it can be put to a lot of other uses.

Algonquin (l); Doubleday (r)

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, fact and fiction about life in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.

Tom Woodward via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The last nine months or so have been marked with upheaval and a search for what’s familiar and what’s continual. 

Well, in these troubling times, isn’t it good to know that you can always rely on one institution to do the wrong thing when the proper action is called for? 

Indeed, the NCAA, college athletics’ governing body, can always be counted to zig when the moment demands a zag or the opposite.

Crystal Hardy-Flowers

Jan 11, 2021

  Child care workers like Crystal Hardy-Flowers are essential to our families, our economy, and our future. We must protect Maryland providers from COVID-19.  


COVID-19 Communication

Jan 11, 2021

With the significant increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen this winter, it is important for people to be prepared for potential conversations regarding COVID-19 exposure. Open communication is non-judging and leads to trust. When someone reveals that they are positive, or they had an encounter – focus on listening rather than responding quickly.    

The Reports: Week of January 11th 2021

In 1939, Baltimore was known is show-biz circles as a "tryout town."

One of the shows trying out, on the stage of the Hippodrome Theater, was called, Hollywood Stars in Review, MC'd by Louella Parsons, the famous Hollywood gossip columnist.

In the review, trying out in Baltimore was a petite brunette named Jane Wyman - an a handsome, All-American type named Ronald Reagan. As things would work out, Ronald Reagan would go on to Hollywood and political stardom - not withstanding that in his try-out in Baltimore, he bombed.

  Yesterday, the Trump Administration’s EPA Administrator spoke during an online press conference to announce a new regulation that he said would end EPA’s use of “secret science” in federal government decisions to control pollution from industry.

 “Why would anyone want our decisions to be made in secret?” Administrator Andrew Wheeler asked. “In the past, increased transparency strengthened EPA’s credibility among the public.  I continue to pursue that legacy today.”

The new regulation – called the “Strengthening Transparency in Pivotal Science” rule -- prioritizes which public health studies EPA can use as the basis for future pollution control rules. It allows political appointees to de-emphasize or put aside scientific research that does not reveal to industry underlying details such as the names of patients surveyed and their personal medical histories. This kind of disclosure is often impractical or impossible, because medical researchers interview patients under promises of confidentiality.


New From Rioja

Jan 6, 2021
Glass of white wine on a table
Emre Kanik via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Spain's most famous region, Rioja, is a versatile choice for winter reds and whites.

Elliott’s Zeal For Life

Jan 6, 2021
Photo of a young man in a tuxedo
Provided by Kennedy Krieger Institute

Elliott was born with Down syndrome, which has created some difficulties in his life. But this charming, energetic young man has not let that diagnosis stop him. Elliott lives life to the fullest through his participation as a Special Olympics athlete and starring in his many videos. Listen to hear how Ellicott has inspired Dr. Carmen Lopez Arvizu.


On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we review two short books by a favorite author, Jenny Offill. Marion Winik shares her thoughts on The Department of Speculation and Weather. 

Penn State via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

In this season of New Year's resolutions, it might be wise to follow your mother's advice and "remember to eat your greens.” Now of course, finding fresh green vegetables in January isn't quite as easy as July, but if you are willing to keep an open mind about it, Maryland actually manages to produce an abundance of winter greens for us to enjoy. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino has prepared three delicious recipes that feature winter greens.

MGoBlog via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

I want to start 2021 with a confession: I play the lottery.

Now, this isn’t an everyday thing. I don’t jeopardize my retirement or anyone’s college fund and I only play when the jackpots are especially large. But, like a lot of folks, I want to get rich fast.

Of course, I’m going about it all wrong. If I really want to make big bucks in a hurry  for doing nothing, these days I need to become an unemployed big time college football coach. 

Toxic Positivity During the Pandemic

Jan 4, 2021

  Al:  In a year with lots of bad news, social unrest, and economic uncertainty, the pressure to be positive is widespread. Joining me is Mihaela Vincze, public health expert for nonprofit Transamerica Institute here to discuss how this compulsion to be positive can become toxic.

Al: Thanks for joining me.
Mihaela: Thank you for having me.

The Reports: Week of January 4th 2021

In and through the 1960s, the word was out that hostesses of New Year ’s Day parties were serving egg nog that was the talk of the circuit. The secret:  they had made their egg nog using Hendler’s egg-nog ice cream—the only egg nog ice  cream in America made with pure rum. Those were the days. 

A glass of port/red wine
Jason Gessner via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Stoke the fire, open up a good book, and pour yourself a glass of port.

Almost There

Dec 30, 2020

2020 is finally almost over. We can make 2021 the year put in place better supports for parents, children, and child care providers so the next time disaster strikes they will have the help needed to thrive.  


  Kevin Omland, a biology professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, stands below a highway overpass towering above a wooded stream valley in the Patapsco Valley State Park, just southwest of Baltimore.


He aims his binoculars up at a scraggly nest of sticks that ravens built in the steel beams beneath Interstate 195. 


“Give yourself a second and you can see three young,” Omland said. “They are hanging out there quite peacefully. Not flapping, maybe stretching a little bit.”


“Wow!"  I replied. "Three large, black, sinister looking dudes sitting up on their nest under the bridge -- kind of ominous."


“Tom, you’re squinting incorrectly. Those are beautiful creatures,” Omland said. “They are going to have marvelous iridescent plumage in just a few days.”


Common ravens, or Corvus Corax, are – of course – beloved in Baltimore, with their ties to Edgar Allan Poe and our NFL team.  But historically, around the world, ravens have been seen either as harbingers of death – because of their habit of eating dead animals and people – or, alternatively, as godlike tricksters, because of their intelligence, dexterity, and bizarre vocalizations.


dotpolka via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Well, good Marylanders, this miserable year is slipping behind us, and a newer, more hopeful one is on the horizon. With just a couple days left before New Year's Eve, we have just enough time to whip up a few of our most traditional recipes to cheer up our small little get-togethers this year. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino would agree that for many of us, nothing can pick up our spirits during these pandemic times than the prospect of eating oysters plucked fresh from the Bay.

Alan Levine / Flickr/Creative Commons

On January 16, 1920, The Volstead Act ushered in Prohibition, as well as a lot of creative methods for getting around the law in "The Free State of Maryland."