WYPR Features | WYPR

WYPR Features

In the lead-up to election day in 1856, rival political gangs solidified Baltimore’s reputation as “Mobtown.”  

Wikimedia Commons

Invasive species are often seen as a destructive – almost malign -- force in the natural world. For example, greenish flying beetles from Asia -- the emerald ash borer -- are killing tens of millions of stately ash trees across Maryland and the United States.

Another example:  In Chesapeake Bay wetlands, many landowners perceive invasive reeds from Eurasia – the tall, fringe-topped Phragmites australis – as an enemy because it crowds out native wetlands grasses and birds.

Some homeowners and wildlife managers spend countless hours and thousands of dollars spraying herbicides and setting fires to try to kill off phragmites, although these efforts can have unwanted side-effects

As it turns out, some exotic plants are as much friend as foe.

A new study by researchers at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and allied institutions found that invasive species of plants can help fight climate change. Exotic plants can increase by about 40 percent the amount of carbon dioxide pollution absorbed by wetlands, underwater grass beds, and other coastal areas, according to the research, published in the Journal Global Change Biology.

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we go in search of The American Dream! Marion Winik previews two new memoirs about growing up in the United States under complex circumstances.

Port of Leonardtown

Oct 10, 2018
Port of Leonardtown Winery/Facebook


This small Maryland winery dominated the 2018 Governor's Cup competition, winning 7 gold medals out of 8 entries, an unprecedented triumph. 

Click the links to purchase Cellar Notes recommendations at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits.

Audio coming soon. 

The Power of No

Oct 10, 2018

It’s never too early to teach your child about the power of  the word ”no.” Saying no might not seem like much, but to children it is power, freedom, and practice for the autonomy they will need as adults to be safe and to make good choices. 

Audio coming soon.

Market Report

Oct 9, 2018
Gemma Billings/flickr

What a long strange growing season it's been. Heat, rain, heat, rain all at the wrong time, it makes you wonder how are things going down on the Maryland farm? And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out, it's not hard to get answers if you shop at our local farmers markets. Early October is usually one of the richest market times of the year, but what about this year?

Audio coming soon. 

Maryland Hospital Association

Bob Atlas, the president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, comments on Maryland's new arrangement with the federal government that gives the state more freedom to control how it transforms health care. 

Brian Ralphs/flickr

I consider myself to be an experienced fisherman. I spent most of my childhood with a fishing rod in my hands and I've braved extreme weather in hopes of catching that "legendary" fish. Occasionally, I will take my two children, Jack and Emma, to a nearby lake or pond where we spend all day casting lines. One day during a fishing expedition, we ran into some serious competition. Our challenger had long, skinny legs, a graceful neck, and the ability to grab fish straight out of the water!

It’s unusual for people to have an incredible sense of smell. In the perfume industry, these people are called "noses." But in reality, you don't smell with your nose, you smell with your brain. Our sense of smell increases until we’re about eight years old, then plateaus and declines as we age. Yet even the best "noses" pale in comparison to others in the Animal Kingdom.

Any guess as to whose sense of smell is among the best? Is it the bloodhound? The truffle-hunting pig? The answer may surprise you. To find out, you're going to have to leave the land, grab your scuba gear and get in the water, for the holder of this distinction is the shark, the bloodhound of the sea.

Health Notes

Oct 8, 2018

Managing chronic and pre-existing health conditions can be a burden. Hector discusses Transamerica Center for Health Studies' partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health on a health newsletter focused on common medical conditions.

Mark Bradford

Oct 5, 2018

BMA Director Christopher Bedford interviews the acclaimed artist Mark Bradford who represented the U.S. at the Venice Biennale in 2017. The artist talks about the exhibition he created for Venice, its presentation in Baltimore, and about his work with the Greenmount West Community Center.

Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day is on view at the BMA through March 3, 2019.

Anirban gives us latest news on underwater mortgages, the Federal Reserve's actions to keep interest rates low, and more. 

Baltimore's Love of Poe

Oct 4, 2018

Baltimore’s love of Edgar Allan Poe is no secret. Close to the date of Poe’s death, Marylanders visit Poe’s gravesite to celebrate the writer’s life and work. The free event, called “Poe is Dead,” includes performances, a reading, a wreath-laying ceremony, and more. Jeff Jerome, the man behind the event and the former curator of the Poe House, tells us more about the event and his love of Poe.

Inside Voices

Oct 4, 2018

Put your toys away! Quiet down! Stay in your seat! At some point, most parents lose their patience and speak harshly to their children. Chances are it didn't change your child’s behavior in the long run or make you feel confident as a parent. Yelling is only a release for you. It’s not an effective strategy to engender self-discipline. It is much more effective to speak to children with our inside voices.


Home Values

Oct 4, 2018

Many people think about saving a million dollars for retirement. A considerable body of conventional wisdom suggests that a million dollars makes for a happy retirement, though like all rules of thumbs, this one is imperfect. When discussing savings, people and their advisors often discuss 401ks, 403bs, IRAs, or other financial savings vehicles.  

Anirban has more. 

Cameron Kennedy/flickr



Rioja is Spain's most important red wine, but how did it get started?  Well, the Marques de Riscal had a lot to do with it. Click the links to purchase Cellar Notes recommendations at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits.

On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we preview two debut novels from promising new writers, Rae Del Bianco and Tommy Orange.

Rough Animals, Rae Del Bianco, Arcade


Chesapeake Requiem is a new book about the culturally rich and historically unique community of watermen on Tangier Island in the southern Chesapeake Bay and how sea-level rise may soon wash it all away. That would make Tangiermen some of America’s first climate change refugees.

The author, Earl Swift, produced a complex and beautifully written book by spending 14 months living among the watermen on the tiny, isolated crabbing town just south of the Maryland/Virginia state line. 

But it’s not just a book about Chesapeake culture.  It also raises profound and troubling questions about America: about climate change denialism from the crab shacks on Tangier Island to the White House; and what our country should do about the inundation of a growing number of waterfront communities caused by sea-level rise.

Earl Swift, a former reporter for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, joined famed Chesapeake Bay author Tom Horton and myself in a panel discussion of the Chesapeake and climate change at the Baltimore Book Festival on Sunday.


Jerry is constantly looking for more ways to get more vegetables into his diet. One of the best and most versatile is to start using a wok, or something very much like it. According to Chef Jerry Pellegrino, the wok is a simple tool, but there are some techniques you can learn to make your stir fries go better. Here is some of his advice and a few recipes.

Jose Bowen: Learn to Change your Mind

Oct 2, 2018

Jose Bowen, president of Goucher College comments on the new learning economy, and how technology has changed our relationship to knowledge.  


The end of summer is often announced by the arrival of Goldenrod, the yellow clusters of tall stemmed flowers popping up everywhere. If you’re like me, you dread this change of season not because of the colder weather settling in but because of the dreadful allergies it brings with it. My son and I both suffer from seasonal allergies and this time of year can be the worst. Our sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and itching was thought to be a result of those yellow flowers we’ve seen sprouting up everywhere. However, while Goldenrod does produce pollen, it is falsely accused of your seasonal suffering.



For most fish, the line Dory utters in the popular Disney movie “Finding Nemo” is no exaggeration. Sounds exhausting, right? But you’re unlikely to catch a fish closing its eyes for a quick catnap.

That’s partly due to the fact that most fish don’t have eyelids. But it’s also because fish don’t technically sleep—at least not like we humans do.

Unemployment is at a record low and talent is in high demand. Employers are constantly exploring options to attract talent and remain competitive. Catherine tells us how retirement benefits fit into this picture. 

Kārlis Dambrāns/flickr

If you really want to have some fun in your kitchen, buy a pasta making machine.  They start at about $30, so it's something of an affordable luxury.  Now the thing is you have to decide what to do with all this hand made pasta.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino says, we could tell people to "stuff it"!  Here are some of his thoughts.

Dorothy Lamour

Sep 30, 2018

Famed movie star Dorothy Lamour married no less than a descendant of John Eager Howard and took her place among the city's elite in 1944. Baltimore high society may have laughed, but it was she who had the last laugh: she was perhaps the only former elevator operator ever to make the pages of the Baltimore Society's famed "Blue Book."

Tom Pelton


With the smokestack of Maryland’s largest trash-burning incinerator in the background, dozens of protesters held a rally on Friday in south Baltimore’s Carroll Park to demand either a shutdown or stronger pollution controls on the BRESCO waste-to-energy plant.

The activists gave speeches and waved signs beneath a banner that read, “Burning Trash is Not Clean Energy.” That’s a reference to a 2011 state law that gives the 33-year-old incinerator, operated by the New Hampshire-based Wheelabrator company on contract for the city, millions of dollars in tax breaks as a source of allegedly “green” energy, like solar or wind.

Seven years ago, the city approved a 10-year contract with Wheelabrator to burn 200,000 tons of municipal garbage per year, with the ash dumped in the city’s Quarantine Road landfill.  

That contract runs out in three years. And City Councilman Ed Reisinger, who represents south Baltimore, was among those who spoke out Friday against continuing that contract because of all the air pollution released by the incinerator.

“We don’t want any more incinerators in the city of Baltimore,” Reisinger said. “If I had a magic wand, I’d close BRESCO down tomorrow.”


Heidi Daniel

Sep 28, 2018

Tom talks with Heidi Daniel, the President and CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Heidi recommends:

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Anirban gives us the latest news on the financial impact of hurricanes, the slowdown in the apartment market, the value of an actuarial science major, the limited income gains in some demographics, and the projected job loss to machines. 

"The Monster"

Sep 27, 2018

In the early 18th century, Thomas Cresap, one of Western Maryland's most notorious residents, did things his way along the Maryland - Pennsylvania border.

In a survey of workers from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies featured by CNBC, 56 percent of respondents indicated that they have not fully recovered from the Great Recession. 37 percent say that they have recovered somewhat, but 12 percent say that they have not begun to recover and seven percent suggest that they may never recover.  

Anirban has more.