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WYPR Features


Oct 23, 2020
goblinbox via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The other evening as I came in from walking my dog I was eager to put the damp and chill behind me and tuck into something that would warm the old belly. As luck would have it, Vickie had just whipped up a big pot of turkey chili, so all was right with the world. Chef Jerry Pellegrino thinks we have reason to believe that every household across America has its own special recipe for this oh-so-satisfying dish.

Alicia Wilson

Oct 23, 2020

Tom talks with Alicia Wilson, Vice President for Economic Development at the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System

Alicia is recommending:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett



Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dave Pilkey



Oct 23, 2020

The autumn is the perfect season to try out a few hard apple ciders.

In the early afternoon of Thursday, March 9, 1933, in the heart of the Great Depression, the popular department store Hochschild Kohn's and the teachers of Baltimore City Public Schools were facing a crisis. To deal with a severe economic depression President Franklin Roosevelt had closed the banks taken out of the marketplace all available cash.

Gil tells us about a plan to pay the teachers that involved Hochschild Kohn's, City Hall, Walter Sondheim, and a Brinks truck.

The Earth, as we know it, is being threatened by at least two simultaneous environmental crises.

The first is climate change, which is sparking wildfires, droughts, heat waves, and flooding.

The second is a collapse in biodiversity. The clearing of forests and wetlands to accommodate human population growth is destroying wildlife habitat. This has contributed a 68 percent drop in populations of wild animals over the last 50 years.

Fortunately, the solution to the first of these crises could be the same as the solution to the second – and it could be remarkably simple, according to a new report in the journal Nature.

Ecologist Robin Chazdon and colleagues published a report that concludes the answer is allowing just a small portion of farmland around the world to revert to forests, which both absorb carbon dioxide and provide homes for wild animals.

Allowing just 15 percent of agricultural lands to return to tree cover could avoid 60 percent of expected global extinctions, while also sequestering about a third of the carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, according to the study in Nature.


Harper (l); Harper (r)

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we review two novels about the characters and secrets of small towns with big stories: The Cold Millions by Jess Walter, and The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross.


  Building Better Beginnings harnesses the knowledge, talent, and ideas of state and local early childhood agencies and organizations to ensure that every child has an equal path to success. Join us. 

Self-Care During the Pandemic

Oct 19, 2020

Now, dating back every week since late April of this year, roughly a third of Americans have shown symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders according to the National Center for Health Statistics which on the face of it sounds pretty disturbing.

Fortunately- we have Mihaela Vincze, Program Specialist for the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies and she’s joining us today to discuss self-care strategies which can aid & assist us in coping. 

So Mihaela, when we refer to this “self-care” concept, what exactly are we talking about?

isarmstrong via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In recent weeks, baseball fans have seen some of the greatest names in the game’s great history go on to their eternal reward with such notables as Tom Seaver, Lou Brock and Whitey Ford leaving us.

Just last week, we lost Joe Morgan, the centerpiece of the Cincinnati Reds teams that won consecutive World Series in the 70s and was arguably the best second baseman in history.

Though he became a superstar with the Reds, Morgan spent his formative years in a baseball sense, with the Houston Colt 45s, who became the Astros.

Morgan would not likely have recognized the Astros as presently constituted.


The story of the chaotic Baltimore elections of 1856, continued.

Washington State Wines

Oct 15, 2020

Easily overlooked, the wines of Washington State deserve your attention.


Random House (l); Grove (r)

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we travel from Southern California to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and small town Texas with two new collections featuring inter-related stories: Emma Cline's Daddy, and Kelli Jo Ford's Crooked Hallelujah.

Forty minutes northeast of Baltimore, at the Boulevard at Box Hill shopping mall in Harford County, hundreds of empty parking spaces surround a J.C. Penney store. Signs out front proclaim: “CLOSING. Entire store, 75 to 90 percent off. Everything must go!”

J.C. Penney, which is closing 150 stores in malls nationally, is one of several major retail chains going bankrupt or shifting to strictly online selling as the coronavirus recession and competition with Amazon.com have combined to drain mall-based retail.

Veronica Cassilly, a retired environmental science teacher, shakes her head outside of the big box store. She says she’s disgusted, in part because the mall itself is fairly new – but soon to be partly vacant and thrown away, like a giant fast-food container.

“J.C. Penney is a renter, and now they’re done, and the land is wasted – and it happens over and over and over again,” Cassilly said.

According to a recent study by an international investment bank, Barclays, the percentage of U.S. malls with a vacancy rate of more than 20 percent – putting them in danger of failing -- increased to 28 percent in September, up from just 8 percent a year ago.

And yet, despite the acres of vacant mall space opening up in Harford County and elsewhere, not far from the J.C. Penney here, a developer is planning to clear-cut more than 300 acres of old growth forest to build a brand new retail and business project.


Alcohol and Pregnancy

Oct 13, 2020

We know heavy alcohol use while pregnant can cause harm to babies. But women can get mixed messages about whether there's a safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Find out more.  

Wurst And Sausage

Oct 13, 2020
Erik Forsberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

It's fall and the air is filled with footballs which means I am thinking about appropriate food for watching the Ravens play. This time of year I always end up talking to Shane Hughes of Liberty Delight Farm to see if he's got any bratwurst to sell. I'm glad to say he always does. But why stop at bratwurst? As Chef Jerry Pellegrino would say, let's talk sausage.

Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In the midst of the pandemic, Americans have been forced to find forms of entertainment that don’t involve getting in a car and leaving home. 

In the process, many have discovered, or rediscovered, the old fashioned family game and one of the more popular ones is Jenga. You know, the one where kids and their parents test their skill and nerve by trying to slide out wooden blocks without knocking over the whole stack. 

That game has become something of a metaphor for what the NFL is trying to do with its schedule as COVID-19 imposes its will on teams. 

Coping with Stress During the Pandemic

Oct 12, 2020

A recent survey has found that almost 6 in 10 workers say that they have experienced impacts to their employment by the pandemic such as a reduction in work hours, furloughs, and layoffs. Joining me is Mihaela Vincze, the program specialist for nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies to discuss the impacts of this stress on our health.

December 7, 1962: 

Baltimore's City Hall was flag-draped. Outside bands are playing. Inside in the ceremonial room, officials busied themselves. TV cameras hovered. A new mayor was being sworn in though he had not been elected.

His name was Philip Goodman and he took the oath of office as mayor because the elected mayor, J. Harold Grady, had resigned to accept the position as a judge on the Baltimore City Circuit Court. So Goodman, then president of the City Council, automatically became mayor and the history that led him to this moment and the time he would serve in office make up not just a Baltimore story, but an American saga. 


Oct 8, 2020
DBPerko via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

If you're in the market for a great white wine with character and body, Verdicchio is your best bet.

Eli Pousson

Baltimore lived up to the nickname "Mobtown" during the election of 1856.

Little Brown (l); Grove (r)

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, our book critic Marion Winik reviews two new books that seek to illuminate the uncommon lives of American women who are often overshadowed by their male counterparts: Seyward Darby's Sisters in Hate, and Laila Lalami's Conditional Citizens.

Banking Time

Oct 7, 2020

Taking time to be fully present with your child, even for a little while, helps you both reconnect and gives you a well of strength to draw from when life gets hard. 

(Photo by iStock/monkeybusinessimages)  

After months of ridiculing scientific guidance on the use of masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus – and even demanding that his own employees inside the White House not take precautions around him – President Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19.

But it was not just Trump infected. It was much of the leadership of the Republican Party that has mocked and belittled public health protections in the midst of a pandemic. 

After spending time with the super-spreader in chief, Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien was diagnosed with COVID-19. So was Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, presidential advisors Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller, as well as the White House press secretary and three Republican Senators.

Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican political strategist and co-chairman of a pro-Trump super PAC, told the Washington Post: “Now we’re sort of the stupid party.”

Yes, the Republican party’s rejection of science has come home to roost in the White House. This is not just an issue with Covid.  President Trump and the Republican establishment have been equally skeptical and dismissive of the scientific consensus about climate change, which Trump has called a hoax.  


An Inspiration To Young And Old Alike

Oct 7, 2020
Provided by Kennedy Krieger Institute

Maintaining a positive attitude when you are a high school student who has had to endure multiple surgeries, as well as a brain injury, sounds like a difficult challenge. However, for Ronen, being positive and encouraging others is just part of his personality. While undergoing physical therapy at Kennedy Krieger’s Specialized Transition Program after several surgeries to repair injuries to his feet and ankles, Ronen inspired his fellow patients and therapists with his work ethic and enthusiastic attitude.

Isabelle Boucher via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Even though summer is officially gone, we still will have weeks of pleasant warm weather waiting just ahead. It certainly is way too early to pack up the barbecue grill, so to encourage you to keep it fired up, we have a dinner in mind that is easy and fun to make. It's one of Chef Jerry Pellegrino's favorites, that great grilled meat dish, churrasco.

Provided by Milton Kent

While it’s true that the family stands at the core of every success story, in order to truly make a mark, you need someone outside your circle of life to believe in you.

Maybe it’s a neighbor. Perhaps it’s a member of your church or synagogue. Quite often, though, it’s a teacher or a coach, an adult instructor who perhaps sees more in you than you see in yourself.

For two generations of Baltimoreans, that special teacher and coach was Walter Cole, who helped shape and mold the lives of thousands of kids in the classroom and on the track and the playing field. 


Europa Editions (l); Farrar, Strauss and Giroux (r)


On this edition of The Weekly Reader, our book critic Marion Winik reviews new novels by two queens of fiction: Elena Ferrante's The Lying Life of Adults, and Marilynne Robinson's Jack.

It’s the time of year when most companies have benefits enrollment, when you can sign up for or make changes to things such as your health insurance. Amid the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to know about your options and choose wisely. One option that many people have in their benefits package is a Health Savings Account, or HSA.

Today, Catherine Collinson, president of nonprofit Transamerica Institute is here to explain HSAs. Catherine, can you give a bit of background as to what an HSA is?

Candice Breitz

Oct 2, 2020

BMA Director Christopher Bedford and Berlin-based, South African artist Candice Breitz talk about her inspiration for the two works, Love Story, which addresses the worldwide refugee crisis, and  TLDR, a film about the treatment of sex workers in South Africa.  Ms. Breitz’s immersive, multi-media installation, Candice Breitz: Too Long, Didn’t Read, will be on view at the BMA through January 10, 2021.