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WYPR Features

Maple Sugaring

Feb 25, 2020

Over the weekend, my family and I had a great pancake breakfast.

I loaded my plate up with buttermilk goodness and doused each hot cake in warm butter and pure maple syrup. We all used a lot of the sweet stuff. So much so that we emptied the entire jug we’d brought back from our last trip to the Adirondacks.

Watching the last drop dribble out and onto my plate got the whole family talking about just how much work nature does to put delicious maple syrup on our forks and faces.

In the middle of winter, hundreds of intrepid Maryland watermen motor into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries to go fishing for oysters. Nearby oyster farms are currently turning out a record haul, keeping hungry Marylanders well supplied. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino would tell you, of all the wonderful way to eat oysters, none is as famous or mysterious as Oysters Rockefeller.

Through the 1960s, the southeast corner of the tiny island, where Calvert street splits at Fayette, was where Abe Sherman’s famous but ancient newsstand—some called it a “shack”-- was located and very much a part of Baltimore downtown’s scene of bustle and grit. Hundreds of motorists would passing by would flip Abe a dollar or so and he would flip back a newspaper—he knew who got which. But civic forces wanted his old new stand removed and this is the story of the City Hall’s  and the local pigeons’ attack on his shack and how he beat them all!

Coronavirus Outbreaks

Feb 24, 2020

Christopher Wells, the National Program Manager of nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies, talks about disease outbreaks, and in particular the Wuhan 2019 novel coronavirus. 

Abigial Quandt

Feb 21, 2020

This month, Julia Marciari-Alexander has Abigial Quandt, Head of Book and Paper Conservation, in studio to discuss the extraordinary 2 year conservation effort of the St. Francis Missal, on view next month at the Walters Art Museum.

I See You

Feb 20, 2020

Do you see your child? Truly see them? Being present and observing our children with real curiosity helps parents to better know who our kids really are.

Networked Anthropology

Feb 20, 2020

How have smartphones and our constant connectivity changed the way we travel- and the way we relate to one another through the places we visit? Towson University anthropology professors Samuel Collins and Matthew Durington tell us how their research led them to the new idea of “networked anthropology.” You can read more about this idea on their Tumblr. 

Frederick Mueller / Smithsonian Institution

A little known story of one of the brave souls who helped to battle the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.

Public Domain Pictures

Jay Falstad, Executive Director of the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, first became obsessed with balloons a few years ago. He was out strolling with his daughter and noticed some litter.

“My daughter and I found a cluster of balloons here on Unicorn Lake,” Falstad said. “And on those balloons was a note written in Sharpie pen that said, ‘If you find these balloons, call this number. We want to see how far they’ve travelled.’ And so, I called the number and it turned out they originated from Dayton, Ohio, and had been released four days earlier, and travelled almost 500 miles and ended up landing here. It was after that that I began to see balloons everywhere. You’d see them in farm fields, and hanging in trees.”

He was not the only one haunted by balloons…kind of like a character in the movie It based on the Stephen King novel about the sinister clown. But in this case, the victim was the Chesapeake Bay.

Dessert Wines

Feb 19, 2020

You may want to stock up on dessert wines, a wonderful finish to any great meal. Click the links to purchase Cellar Notes recommendations at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits.   


People are living with trauma every single day in Baltimore. They may be survivors of physical or sexual violence, people close to them may have been victims of homicide, they may have been in accidents, had major medical emergencies or shocking and sudden life changes, or experienced any number of traumatic events.

Moffitt: Black History Is Living

Feb 19, 2020
Photo provided by Moffitt

The 1619 Project. When They See Us. Who Killed Malcolm X? All are recent works in media that shed light on the sordid aspects of American history. While thought-provoking and at times disturbing, these media programs also reveal to us that history as a discipline and a lived experience should never be considered static. In fact, it’s living. 

Winter Vegetable Casseroles

Feb 18, 2020
Busy With Chloe/flickr creative commons

During the winter months we often think of whipping up a big pot of stew, laden with succulent chunks of meat. Believe it or not those chunks of beef aren't mandatory. In fact some of the heartiest meals you can have this winter are 100% vegetarian. And there are many ways to make a steaming bowl of cooked vegetables flavorful and appealing. 

Helium balloons have long been used to signify a celebration, but when those balloons settle back down to earth, there’s really nothing to celebrate. Listen in to learn why we’re in favor of a balloon release ban here in Maryland.

One of the more peculiar native animals in our listening area seems like it could have come from the inspired imagination of a Hollywood director.

Just 8 inches long, the spotted salamander is blueish-black with sunny yellow spots. On its underside, this amphibian is a blush shade of pink. Two feet, each with four toes, hang off either side of a snake-like body. And its snout is wide with a smile like a frog’s, with tiny bulging black eyes like a pug.

Hector explains what you need to know about diabetes.

African American History Month In Wicomico County

Feb 14, 2020
Wicomico Public Libraries

How is one Eastern Shore region amplifying its own heroes this African American History Month? What are the connections between jazz and civil rights history? Cheryl Sidwell, Events and Development Manager at Wicomico Public Libraries, tells us more. Read the transcript.

Harley Brinsfield

Feb 14, 2020

In the 1950s, long before there were carry out sub sandwiches at hundreds of places in Baltimore, there were Harley Sandwich Shops, maybe 40 of them, selling what Harley Brinsfeld claimed was the very first submarine sandwich ever. Almost around the clock people stood in line for a Harley Sub sandwich —except for one very popular singing star. This is the story of Harley’s famous sub sandwich, his sandwich carry-out shops, and one privileged guest who never had to stand line for her Harley sub.

Recently, I was posed a question about hypothetical superpowers: would I rather have the ability to fly or be able to make myself invisible. To me, the answer is a no-brainer: of course I'd love to fly. I can only imagine the sheer joy I would experience as the wind rushed over my face. I'd speed through the air, making quick work of my morning commute. Flying would be living the dream. Sadly, until I'm bitten by a mutant spider or am abducted by the government for genetic research, I'll be stuck in rush hour traffic like everyone else. I'll also be jealous of our local flying squirrels, adorable mammals who have this "fly-through-the-air-with-the-greatest-of-ease-thing figured out.

Joleethomp / Flickr/Creative Commons

During the War of 1812, Maryland militiamen, led by Joseph Stewart, captured the long boat belonging to the HMS Dauntless as it lay trapped in ice.

Trafficked Animals

Feb 12, 2020
David Coffey/National Aquarium

International pet trade is a multi-billion dollar business that sees millions of animals transferred from place to place each year, but not all of this trade is legal. So, what happens when illegally traded animals are intercepted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? Listen to learn more.

Harper (l); Ballantine (r)

Want to get away? On this edition of The Weekly Reader, we review two new novels that take us to exotic locales, replete with intriguing characters and plenty of plot twists. Our book critic Marion Winik shares her thoughts on Isabel Allende's A Long Petal of the Sea and Christopher Bollen's A Beautiful Crime.


While many Republicans have been in denial about the realities of climate science – notably the denier-in-chief, President Trump, who falsely labels climate change a “hoax” – Baltimore County State Senator Chris West is what you might call a fact-based Republican.

West, a 69-year-old resident of West Towson, is an attorney and former President of the Bar Association of Baltimore City.

He is co-sponsoring a bill, introduced on Friday in the Maryland senate, that would dramatically reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the state by requiring a gradual shutdown of the state’s six remaining coal-fired power plants between 2023 and 2030.

“I’ll be honest with you,” West said. “I don’t want my grandchildren turning to their dad and saying, ‘You know, we’ve got this terrible environmental problem, and we’re facing daytime temperatures of somewhere between 105 and 110 degrees in the middle of the summer, what did Granddad do about this?’ And I don’t want my son telling my grandchildren, ‘Well, your grandfather – he didn’t believe global warming was real. And he did nothing.’ My feeling is, it’s pretty clear it’s real, and we need to do something.”

According to Al, few grapes reflect their origins better than zinfandel. Here's a look at a pair of fabulous regions. Click the links to purchase Cellar Notes recommendations at Kenilworth Wine & Spirits.   


Feb 12, 2020
Philip Choi/flickr creative commons

Valentine's Day is nearly here, and a lot of folks are looking for novel ways of saying, "I love you".  Last week we talked about how to make your own candy. Today we're going to continue the discussion with some advice on how to throw a little kindling on the fires of romance. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out, history is filled with examples of foods that wishful thinkers claimed would provide a little spark of passion. They are known as aphrodisiacs.

Hutchinson: It’s Time To Come Together For Baltimore

Feb 11, 2020
Photo provided by Visit Baltimore

From Visit Baltimore’s research, we know 54% of visitors traveled to Greater Baltimore to visit friends and relatives. Unfortunately, what some of these visitors are hearing from their hosts is bad news about Baltimore City. After living in the city for three years, I understand just how divided our region is and has been for decades.


Feb 9, 2020

Beans are a great source of nutrition and a versatile element in delicious dishes spanning many cultures and time periods. On this live episode, Tony and Chef Cindy are joined by Joe Yonan, the two-time James Beard Award-winning food and dining editor of The Washington Post. In his newest book Cool Beans, Joe shows how beans can save you from boring dinners, lunches, breakfasts–and even desserts. Joe chats with Tony and Chef Wolf and we take your comments about your favorite bean preperations.

Ellen Lesperance

Feb 7, 2020
Maximilian Franz

Portland, Oregon-based artist Ellen Lesperance talks about her paintings inspired by sweaters worn by activities at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, creative non-violence, and her Congratulations and Celebrations Sweater, which is worn for personal acts of courage and posted on Instagram.  Ellen Lesperance: Velvet Fist is on view at the BMA through June 28, 2020.

"The Jungle"

Feb 7, 2020
Flickr/Creative Commons / LOC / Bain News Service

In 1906, Upton Sinclair causes an uproar when he publishes his book "The Jungle," a shocking expose of the conditions in the meat packing industry.

Heritage And Inclusivity

Feb 7, 2020

How can heritage be a tool for inclusion and acceptance rather than exclusion? Andrew Arvizu of Patapsco Heritage Greenway tells us more: Arvizu is the Heritage Coordinator at the Ellicott City organization.