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.
What would you do if you lost a string of big-money breweries to fire? In the case of Christian Heurich, you build the city's first fireproof home. Rebecca Sheir visits the Heurich House, to see how extreme personal pyrophobia resulted in a remarkable 19th century house, which soon could become a National Landmark.
[Music: "Burning Down the House" by Tom Jones & The Cardigans from Reloaded - Greatest Hits]
On a blisteringly hot day, one of the most popular guys in town is the air-conditioning repairman. Emily Friedman tags along with an A.C. crew as they rescue homeowners and businesses from the summer swelter.
[Music: "Cool" by Andre Previn from West Side Story]
The tinkling music of an ice cream truck is an iconic sound of summer. But one local driver is serving up much more than ice cream to some of the District's poorest neighborhoods. Customers call him "Mr. Leigh," and as Lauren Landau finds out, he's something of a legend to the residents who visit the truck for guidance and advice.
[Music: "I Melt With You" by Richard Cheese from Silent Nightclub / "Hot And Cold (In The Style of Katy Perry) [Instrumental Only]" by Keynote Karaoke from...
What do a wooden gavel, a double-tiered baseball trophy and an 80-year-old restaurant menu have in common? They're among the 4,000 artifacts in the U.S. House of Representatives collection. Rebecca Sheir visits the Capitol to talk with the House's very first curator, who's tasked with tracking down, conserving and preserving the artworks and artifacts that give a human face to the federal government's lower legislative body.
[Music: "Dill Pickle Rag" by Flatt and Scruggs from Bluegrass...
Maybe you're trying to conserve energy this summer, and bravely turning off, or turning down, the A.C.? Or trying to save money, and forgoing your daily extra-tall-grande-venti iced coffee? Or thinking about digitizing old photos... bronzing baby shoes... transferring all your old vinyl to mp3? Whatever the case, we'll capture that spirit of Conserving and Preserving on this week's show.
[Music: "Every Little Bit Hurts" by John Davis from Title Tracks]
The National Gallery of Art houses thousands of valuable paintings, all of them susceptible to damage from sunlight, humidity, grime, and natural aging. Kavitha Cardoza talks with the National Gallery's head of conservation about the science behind restoring a painting and why such painstaking effort is worth it.
[Music: "Sentimental Journey" by Juan Garcia Esquivel from Space Age Bachelor Pad Music]
New toll roads are cropping up around our region, and existing toll roads are increasing their fees. Transportation experts say this affects not just long-distance travelers but also commuters and, indirectly, neighborhoods. Transportation reporter David Schultz finds out what's behind this trend and how it could affect your travel budget.
[Music: "From A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "Freeway of Love" by Pepper Mashay from Electro House BOOM BOX]
The Anacostia River is more than eight miles long and supports hundreds of species of birds and fish. But these days, you’re more likely to glimpse a soda bottle in these waters than you are a flying or finned creature. Dottie Yunger says that’s not just a shame... it’s a sin. Jessica Gould goes out on the river to meet a minister on a mission.
[Music: "Down to the River" by Ray LaMontagne from One Lonesome Saddle]
Half of Maryland and most of Northern Virginia are now under a quarantine to prevent the spread of an invasive beetle. The emerald ash borer already has wreaked havoc on ash trees throughout North America, and scientists say the destruction in our region alone could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to address. Environment reporter Sabri Ben-Achour visits a Virginia community affected by this beetle to see what, if anything, can be done to stop it.
Remember taking your chalk and scribbling on the blacktop as a kid? The members of one of the District's newest theater companies sure do. Blacktop Theatre Co. is dedicated to creating boundaries, then erasing them, all the while focusing on the work of local artists. Rebecca Sheir introduces us to the company and its premier production, Pun: (n) A Play On Words, which takes an imaginative look at the struggles to preserve power and status among the dictionary's keywords.
Civil War battlefields in once-rural corners of our region are increasingly being eyed for development. And the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, or CVBT, is working to save much of this "hallowed ground." Courtney Collins heads to Spotsylvania County to visit one of these battlefields, and learn how members of the CVBT work with local developers to preserve historic land.
Kimchi is perhaps Korea's most famous and versatile food. This spicy dish -- most commonly made with cabbage -- is such an important part of the nation's culture that many Koreans, whether in Seoul or here in Washington -- reserve specific refrigerators just for kimchi. Emily Friedman meets with a local chef at D.C.'s Korean Cultural Center to learn the secret behind making this preserved delicacy.
[Music: "The Kimchi Song" by Travel the World with Eric and Grant from Travel the World...
Legend has it a curse was cast on a large, blue diamond after it was stolen from the forehead of an idol in India. Rebecca Sheir visits the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and speaks with curator Jeffrey Post and historian Paul Dickson about the alleged curse, and whether it may have been connected to the ill fortune of the Diamond's last -- and most notorious -- private owner, Evalyn Walsh McLean.
[Music: "Luck Be a Lady" by Bireli Lagrene from Blue Eyes]
Actor James Gandolfini, 51, has reportedly died. Variety magazine reports that he suffered a "sudden stroke." The cause of death is not yet known with certainty, but HBO says the actor may have suffered a heart attack.
The prize is sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture." And this year's winners include Monsanto executive Robert Fraley, a pioneer in genetically engineered crops. If there's a single person who personifies the company's controversial role in American agriculture, it's probably Fraley.
When you give to WAMU, your tax-deductible membership gift helps make possible award-winning programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and other favorites.