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.
Many of our local bridges are in major need of repair. The D.C.-based coalition, Transportation for America, recently ranked the 50 states -- and D.C. -- by the disrepair of their bridges. Rebecca Sheir heads to one of Virginia's most troubled bridges with Jeff Corless, president of Transportation for America, to find out why our bridges are crumbling, and what we can do about it.
[Music: "Stand or Fall (Karaoke Version)" by The Karaoke Channel from Karaoke - In the Style of The Fixx,...
More than 360,000 cars will make the trek over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge this Memorial Day weekend. And among them will be travelers who have an intense fear of bridges, or "gephyrophobia." In fact, so many people fear crossing the Bay Bridge that you can now hire a driver to take you over the span for $25 per trip. Tara Boyle heads to the bridge to investigate this phobia and the short- and long-term solutions for kicking it.
[Music: "Fear (in the Style of Lily Allen)" by Zoom...
Vacationers en route to the beach hate the multi-mile backups on the Bay Bridge. But businesses on the coast have a very different take on those huge traffic jams. Some say they can determine how busy the weekend will be based on the length of the backups. Coastal reporter Bryan Russo talks with Rebecca Sheir about how traffic jams on the Bay Bridge are not only a a welcome sight, but an absolute necessity for people who depend on tourist dollars.
Bread for the City, a nonprofit serving the District's low-income residents, is constructing what's believed to be the city's largest rooftop vegetable garden. Supporters say it's helping bridge the gap between urban residents and their food. It's also building bridges between people of all walks of life, who work together to plant and harvest these urban crops.
[Music: "The Garden" by Guns N'Roses from Use Your Illusion]
Eighty years ago, in a grove of trees on the National Mall, the D.C. War Memorial was dedicated to the 499 District residents who died in World War I. After years of neglect, a local group hopes Congress will re-dedicate the structure as a national memorial, since no national WWI memorial exists on the National Mall. Stimulus dollars are restoring and re-landscaping the memorial right now, and it's scheduled to open to the public next month. Rebecca Sheir pays a visit with Edwin Fountain,...
From our recent look at elders and aging to our story on the "golden age of the bus," we share some recent listener letters.
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[Music: "A Message to You Rudy (Karaoke-Version) As Made Famous By: The Specials" by Charly Karaoke Group from Karaoke World: Here We Go / "59th Street Bridge Song by The Symphonic Orchestra from The Instrumental Sound of Simon and Garfunkel"]
May is Older Washingtonians Month, so this week, we pay tribute to our elders. D.C.'s senior population is on the rise, so to kick off today's show, we hit the streets to hear about the important role elders play in Washingtonians' lives.
[Music: "Every Little Bit Hurts" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "Young at Heart" by Joey DeFrancesco from GoodFellas]
Ninety-three-year-old Therrell Smith started teaching ballet in D.C. in the 1940s and still teaches today, both in D.C. Public Schools and at the Therrell C. Smith School of Dance, which she single-handedly runs in Northeast D.C. But with enrollment down, Therrell is struggling to keep her beloved school open. Rebecca Sheir tags along with Smith to find out what might become of her graceful legacy.
[Music: "Shall We Dance" by Cassandra Wilson from Blue Skies]
For the past four decades, 74-year-old Jill Hinckley has been teaching people how to make handcrafted bowls, tea kettles and more, at Hinckley Pottery, her shop in Adams Morgan. She recently spoke with producer Marc Adams about her career, which, she says, wasn't exactly planned.
[Music: "When i Grow Too Old to Dream by Dizzy Gillespie from Dizzy Atmosphere]
The D.C. Office on Aging predicts the local senior population will "increase exponentially by 2025," and of those seniors, DCOA says 17 percent live at or below the poverty level. Rebecca Sheir visits the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home in Northwest D.C., which caters solely to medically-indigent seniors, to learn how it's helping elders make their "Golden Years" even more golden.
Bob Melvin, 91, fought Ocean City and Worcester County for nearly two years to get door-to-door public transportation for elderly and handicapped residents. Prior to that, residents often spent hours switching buses as they tried to get to doctor's visits and other critical appointments. Coastal reporter Bryan Russo shares Melvin's story with host Rebecca Sheir.
[Music: "Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to" by Benny Goodman from Happy Season]
A few years ago, Metro's SmarTrip cards were on the cutting edge of transit technology. Now they're becoming obsolete, and Metro has to find a replacement soon. David Schultz gives us the scoop on why Metro is facing this problem, and how it might affect commuters.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "I'm Old Fashioned" by Chet Baker from Chet Baker Plays for Lovers]
Principals are often the most senior people walking the hallways of our public schools. But hanging on to a good principal, and getting rid of what might be a not-so-good one, is a difficult process, one that, in D.C. at least, has been overshadowed by the intense focus on evaluating teachers. But as Kavitha Cardoza tells us, that's changing, now that DCPS has created a new evaluation tool for principals.
[Music: "Principal's Office by Young MC from Stone Cold Rhymin']
Hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine recently donated $70 million to the University of Southern California. Many people are applauding their generosity, but some aren't so happy. Host Michel Martin speaks with Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University, about why he thinks an HBCU should have gotten the money.
What's more, when it comes to some nutrients, like vitamin C, canned peaches pack an even bigger punch than fresh, researchers say. The reasons have to do with how the canning process alters the fruit's cell walls. So eat 'em up!
Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge is still relatively new on the block. But she's established herself as the new head of the Congressional Black Congress. In the role, she's already been very vocal about whether the President is doing enough for people of color. Host Michel Martin talks with Congresswomen Fudge about her ideas for America.
A 3-D printer is being credited with helping to save an Ohio baby's life, after doctors "printed" a tube to support a weak airway that caused him to stop breathing. The innovative procedure has allowed Kaiba Gionfriddo, of Youngstown, Ohio, to stay off a ventilator for more than a year.
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