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The Politics Hour - April 29, 2016

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Kojo reviews Maryland's primary results and what they mean for the region and November's elections. The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Virginia's former governor. And a major funder of youth programs in the District is bankrupt. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

April In Verse: New Collections By Local Poets

Thu, 2016-04-28 12:35

For more than 200 years the D.C. region has served as a haven for some of the finest poets in America. From verses penned by Walt Whitman and Louisa May Alcott during the Civil War, to the more contemporary stanzas of E. Ethelbert Miller and Naomi Ayala, the D.C. poetry scene is alive and thriving. As the 20th annual National Poetry Month comes to a close, Kojo speaks with Miller and the husband-wife poets Hayes Davis and Teri Cross Davis about their new collections and how poetry impacts our lives amid social, political and cultural upheaval.

Maintaining Momentum In The Black Lives Matter Movement

Thu, 2016-04-28 12:06

The Black Lives Matter movement garnered international attention in the wake of stories about police brutality. Locally, it's been a year since protests and riots raged in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, who died from injuries sustained in police custody. The police in that case are set to come to trial soon and many are wondering whether lasting change will come as a result of this and similar cases. We get some historic context for the movement and talk to some of the many people who are invested in effecting lasting change.

Reviving The Chesapeake Scallop

Wed, 2016-04-27 12:40

Oysters, yes. Crabs? Definitely. When it comes to shellfish, the Chesapeake Bay abounds with delicious options to satisfy local seafood cravings. But for more than 80 years, local scallops haven't been a part of the region's offerings. In 1933, a deadly hurricane and disease outbreak decimated the bay's scallop population. Now, a local oyster company is hoping to resurrect the Chesapeake scallop – one harvest at a time. Kojo discusses their efforts.

Breaking Down The Results of Maryland's Primary Elections

Wed, 2016-04-27 12:06

Maryland voters went to the polls Tuesday to choose candidates in a number of high-profile primary races, including a rare open Senate seat and a Congressional contest with record-breaking spending. And in the presidential contest, the battle for delegates is far from over in both the Republican and Democratic contests, making Maryland's 98 delegates potentially consequential. We get results and analysis.

Virginia Restores Felons' Voting Rights

Tue, 2016-04-26 12:32

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order Friday that restored voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons in the commonwealth. While many Virginians are celebrating the end of what they considered a longtime injustice and vestige of the Jim Crow era, others called the move a partisan play to create more Democratic voters ahead of this year's election. Kojo explores what the change means for Virginia.

The McDonnell Case Goes To The Supreme Court

Tue, 2016-04-26 12:06

In 2014 former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell - and his wife Maureen - were convicted in a sensational corruption case. A jury found that the loans, gowns and luxury goods the couple received from businessman Jonnie Williams, Sr. constituted corruption. An appeal court panel agreed, so many legal scholars wonder why the Supreme Court Agreed to hear the case. Ahead of arguments we review the case and the potential effect the forthcoming decision could have on politicians nationwide.

Will Nixing Pesticides Preserve Maryland's Bee Population?

Mon, 2016-04-25 12:30

Maryland's bee colonies are collapsing at a much higher rate than the national average. While experts believe a number of factors have contributed to the staggering loss, Maryland lawmakers are zeroing in on one particular threat: pesticides. In April, the state's General Assembly became the first in the nation to approve a ban on non-commercial use of pesticides with neonicotinoids, which are said to be harmful to bees. As Governor Hogan decides whether to sign the "Pollinator Protection Act" into law, Kojo examines this potential solution with two local experts.

Another Messy Stretch For Metro

Mon, 2016-04-25 12:06

Federal officials are investigating a fire that forced trains to be evacuated on Metro's Red Line over the weekend. The incident preceded another chaotic morning commute that disrupted Monday routines for riders across the area. Kojo gets an update from WAMU 88.5 transportation reporter Martin Di Caro about what investigators are studying and where they fit into the larger issues Metro is trying to fix.

Economic Impact Of An Increasingly Diverse Fairfax County

Mon, 2016-04-25 12:06

Fairfax County is one of America's wealthiest counties, located in one of the regions that best weathered the Great Recession. So why is the county government still being forced to cut budgets? As the area's suburbs have become more diverse, it's changed everything from tax revenue streams to the types of business that set up shop. We talk with experts about the economic impact of shifting demographics in Fairfax County and the Washington region.

The Politics Hour - April 22, 2016

Fri, 2016-04-22 12:06

The D.C. Council bans pot clubs. A federal appeals court in Richmond sides with a transgender high school teen in a high-profile discrimination case. And Maryland's high-profile primary races heat up in the homestretch. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Is Jazz Sustainable In Washington, D.C.?

Thu, 2016-04-21 12:30

Bohemian Caverns stood on U Street under various names for nearly a century. When the historic jazz venue closed, it left regional artists reeling. Now, instead of bemoaning the loss of a local institution, some musicians are organizing with the hopes that the city will subsidize local jazz projects. Will awareness of jazz's shrinking ecosystem in D.C. drive interest in preserving one of the city's best known art forms? Kojo speaks with a jazz musician, historian and club owner about the challenges ahead.

D.C.'s "Cannapreneurs" Are Making Marijuana Their Business

Thu, 2016-04-21 12:06

It's been more than a year since Initiative 71 passed in Washington, D.C., making the city the first on the East Coast to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and its growth in private residences. In that time, a number of entrepreneurial locals, dubbed 'cannarepreneurs', have opened up pot-focused businesses in the District, despite the legal murkiness of local rules. Those businesses range from companies selling cultivation equipment to the locally famous 'Kush Gods,' who gifted marijuana laced goodies in exchange for cash donations-- until police intervened. Kojo looks at the risks and rewards of making weed your business in D.C.

American University President Neil Kerwin

Wed, 2016-04-20 12:30

When Neil Kerwin took the helm of American University in 2005, the president's office was reeling from turmoil. Kerwin's predecessor had been ousted amid embezzlement allegations, AU's board was deeply divided, and protests rippled through campus. A little more than a decade later as Kerwin prepares to step aside, the corner office -- and the campus itself -- is much changed. The school has climbed in the national rankings and upgraded its D.C. footprint, but it's also been affected by fallout from social, cultural and academic storms that have swept campuses nationwide. Kerwin joins Kojo to discuss his tenure, AU's role in our region, and the future of his campus.

The Chesapeake Blue Crab and Health of the Bay

Wed, 2016-04-20 12:06

Feasting on Chesapeake blue crabs is one of the Washington region's annual rites of spring. This season, after several years of below average crab populations, a recent survey shows that the bay's "beautiful swimmers" have rebounded. Chris Moore of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation joins Kojo to discuss the health of the bay and the Chesapeake blue crab.

The Local Effect Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Tue, 2016-04-19 12:30

With one week left to go before Maryland's primary elections, Democratic candidates Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards are in the last stretch of a year-long race to distinguish themselves for the state's open U.S. Senate seat. On trade in particular, both candidates have attempted to position themselves as the best representative of the American worker. Ahead of their face-off Kojo will examine Maryland's economy and this race through the lens of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest trade deal in a generation.

A Guilty Plea From Ex-Fairfax Police Officer In Death Of Unarmed Man

Tue, 2016-04-19 12:06

The ex-police officer in Fairfax who fatally shot an unarmed man in 2013 pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter. The officer, Adam Torres, had been on desk duty and his name kept secret for nearly two years after the shooting. Family members had been given no explanation or information on the case until they filed a wrongful death suit, forcing the Fairfax County Police Department to release the department's internal files. We speak with a Washington Post reporter who's been covering the case.

Local Verizon Workers on Strike

Tue, 2016-04-19 12:06

Last week, nearly 40,000 Verizon workers began to strike as negotiations between the communications giant and their union over a new contract broke down. This means that thousands of workers on the Eastern seaboard, including many in the D.C. region, are out in force protesting for benefits, job security, and fair wages. We discuss the local implications of the Verizon strike and the prospects for resolution of the labor negotiations.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld On Fixing Public Transit In The Nation's Capital

Mon, 2016-04-18 12:06

Public transit in the nation's capital is in a perilous state. Last month, Metro's leadership took the unprecedented step of shutting down rail service for an entire day to conduct safety checks. Meanwhile, recent congressional hearings sparked heated debates over funding and customer service. Now, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is in studio with Kojo and WAMU 88.5's Martin DiCaro to talk about safety, security, reliability and the way forward for a system long besieged by challenges.

The Politics Hour - April 15, 2016

Fri, 2016-04-15 12:06

House Republicans are hostile to helping fund Metro. Maryland lawmakers pass a major crime reform package. And Virginia's governor wants to allow companies making lethal injection drugs to do so anonymously. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.