Each week, WAMU 88.5's Metro Connection reaches across D.C., Maryland and Virginia to gather the sounds and stories that capture the current events, culture and personalities driving the Washington region.
The latest unemployment data show that the jobless rate in the District is now at its highest rate in decades. But that number obscures as much as it reveals. In some neighborhoods, the number of people looking for work is negligible; in other areas, the unemployment rate approaches 25 percent. Sabri Ben-Achour checks in with a local economist for an explanation of this unemployment imbalance and what it means for the city's future.
A new barbering school known as "54th and Cutz" is working with young men in some of Northeast D.C.'s most troubled neighborhoods. The school is housed in the Richardson Dwellings public housing community, and serves teens who've been through the juvenile justice system. Kavitha Cardoza explores the role barbers play in the African-American community and meets some of the apprentices at 54th and Cutz.
[Music: "Barbershop" by Tom Waits from Foreign Affairs]
For many Washingtonians, the daily commute to and from work is the most unpleasant part of the day. But for others, being on the road is how they make a living. Jim Hilgen talks with people who spend a lot of time on the road and hears how they cope with the stress of spending their 9 to 5 behind the wheel.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "Highway to Hell" In the Style of AC-DC by Prosource Karaoke]
Two hundred years ago, town criers played an essential role in America's colonial towns. These days, we've got many other ways to get important information. But the job of town crier still exists in some communities -- and Alexandria is currently on the hunt for the perfect person to fill that role. Sabri Ben-Achour meets one town crier who calls himself "Squire Frederick" and learns more about a job that hearkens back to a very different America.
It might still look and feel like summer, but the first day of school in D.C. is just around the corner. So we're heading back to school, too - and bringing you an hour of stories and interviews all about reading, writing and 'rithmetic in the D.C. region. Pack your lunch, grab your backpack and let's go!
[Music: "Every Little Bit Hurts" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "School Days" by The Benny Goodman Orchestra from A Salute to Benny Goodman]
The gleaming, new H.D. Woodson High School in NE D.C. replaces the 1972 building many knew as the "Tower of Power." The more than $100-million project was part of a $1.8-billion overhaul of some the city’s school buildings. Rebecca Sheir attends the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and learns more about the state-of-the-art facility from Robert Hannan and Renard Alexander: Program Managers with the city's Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization.
The D.C. charter school system recently closed several schools, and more than 700 students and their parents have been scrambling to find new placements. Charter school advocates defend the decision to close ineffective schools… they say it's the charters' "tough-love" approach that makes their test scores outshine those of traditional public schools. But parents say in the short term, these decisions often leave them and their children hanging. Education reporter Kavitha Cardoza has the...
Imagine a boggy, humid region teeming with crocodiles, freshwater sharks and dinosaurs; that's what this area looked like millions of years ago! And you can still find evidence of that era - particularly in a fossil-rich region of Maryland known as "dinosaur alley." Sabri Ben-Achour learns more from Dr. Peter Kranz, a paleontologist who runs a camp for young dinosaur hunters.
[Music: "Walk the Dinosaur" by The Goombas Feat. George Clinton from Super Mario Bros.]
Does the carrot work better than the stick when it comes to maintaining order in public schools? Some D.C. elementary schools are betting it will. They're implementing a model that rewards students for good behavior and supports them if they struggle. Alice Ollstein takes us inside a school that's upending its discipline model, one student at a time.
[Music: "Cheetah" by Orchester Clyde Canderbury from Tanz-Express, Vol. 2]
Next month's Arts on Foot festival marks the debut of NumbersAlive!: a new, local brand of toys, books and films teaching young people how numbers relate to history, art and culture. It's the brainchild of self-professed "math geek" Rebecca Klemm. Rebecca Sheir visits Klemm's studio to learn why Zero is wild about the Hirshhorn Museum... One can't get enough of the Washington Monument... and Seven adores All's Well That Ends Well.
[Music: "NumbersAlive!: It's Cool to be Numerical in...
In 2003, Richard Rubin set out to talk to every American veteran of World War I he could find. With help from the French, he tracked down dozens of centenarian vets and recorded their stories in a new book called The Last of the Doughboys.
Does the kind of charcoal you use really make a difference when it comes to grilling up a tasty steak or other food on the grill? Yes — but deciding which one to use depends on what you're after. Both briquettes and lump charcoal — aka "natural" hardwood charcoal — have their advantages and disadvantages.
The Federal Trade Commission is in the early stages of opening an antitrust probe into how Google runs its online display advertising business, according to a report by Bloomberg News, citing sources who want to remain anonymous because the FTC has not announced the probe.
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