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 if you age, and there's no one following in your footsteps, to take your place? That's a big question when it comes to our local forests, which are unable to replenish themselves, or nurture the next generation, because of too many deer. Environmental reporter Sabri Ben-Achour visits a place where no deer have trod for decades, to get a closer look.
[Music: "A Forest" by The Cure from Seventeen Seconds]
Yvonne Baskerville moved to Washington in 1941, when segregation was still very much a part of life around here. Baskerville is now 74 years old, and she sat down recently with producer Marc Adams, to reflect on growing up as an African-American resident of Washington, D.C.
[Music: "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff from Steppin' Up]
The nation's capital is one of the most competitive cities in the world, according to a ranking by the Global Urban Competitiveness Project. So how does all that rivalry and one-upsmanship affect the way we work and play? We hit the streets to find out, talking with students, businesspeople, actors and other Washingtonians to get their take on our theme for this week.
[Music: "Every Little Bit Hurts" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "The Winner Takes It All (Karaoke Version) by...
The bloody battle between North and South is a key part of our region's history. The city of Alexandria was occupied by federal troops during the war between the states, and it's remembering that time with "Life in Civil War Alexandria," a kick-off for its commemoration of this year's Civil War Sesquicentennial. Rebecca Sheir visits Old Town to learn more about the geographic, political and social role Alexandria played in the Civil War.
D.C. is at odds with the inter-city bus companies that transport people to and from NYC. The District is going to start charging the companies to use its curb space. Bus companies say this will force their prices up and that city officials are using their booming industry as an ATM. David Schultz heads out to the curb to get at the heart of the dispute.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "Last Ride In (Instrumental) by Green Day from Nimrod]
Thousands of realtors are competing to survive in the cutthroat Washington housing market. And the old ways of catching people's attention -- e.g. putting ads in the newspaper and serving cookies at your open house -- no longer cut it. Kavitha Cardoza speaks with a few realtors to see what they're doing to cut through the clutter.
[Music: "Sell Sell Sell" by The Barenaked Ladies from Maroon]
Fairfax County's Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is arguably the best public high school in the country. But some parents and teachers are giving it low marks for its admissions policies, which they say are too subjective. Jonathan Wilson talks with one 8th grader rejected at Thomas Jefferson -- despite displaying the type of mathematical brilliance that educators say should have made her a shoe-in.
[Music: "School of Rock" (Karaoke) by Karoake All Stars from...
Eleven-year-old Donovan Jordan will represent D.C. in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in a few weeks. The competition is held in or near the city every year, but no one from the District has ever won. That's no deterrent to Donovan, who doesn't like to lose -- anything. Emily Friedman watches Donovan get ready for a battle royale and chats with his parents about how he prepares for this incredibly challenging event.
[Music: "Words" (Karaoke Version) (In the Style of the Bee Gees) by...
All along the coast, scores of restaurants claim to have the "best" crabcakes, french fries, ribs, etc. But virtually no restaurant reviewers cover Ocean City and surrounding communities, and chefs basically can claim the title without having to prove their culinary prowess. Bryan Russo talks with Rebecca Sheir about the big claims, and whether tourists can believe they're really eating the "best" of the beach.
[Music: "Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "The Best is Yet to Come...
A rare, endangered orchid inhabits the hollows of Virginia, surviving only in collaboration with a particular type of fungus and a particular type of tree. Scientists want to save the orchid, known as the small-whorled pogonia, but first they have to find it. Sabri Ben-Achour tags along on a rescue mission.
Sibling rivalry stretches all the way back to biblical times, and Theater J is giving the theme a contemporary, comedic twist with its world-premiere play, "The Moscows of Nantucket". Rebecca Sheir visits a rehearsal of the show, and talks with the actors who portray two very different brothers: A down-on-his-luck fiction writer, and an outrageously successful TV producer.
[Music: "You Are So Beautiful" by Al Green from Everything's OK / "Annie Get Your Gun - Anything You Can Do -...
The nation's capital can be a hard place to get by when you're an artist. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the country, making studio space -- seen as an essential by many artists -- a luxury that few can easily afford. Rebecca Sheir talks with local artists at 52 O Street, an artists' space that's holding its 2011 Open Studios this weekend, about what it takes to survive as an artist without sacrificing your passion.
In our regular segment, "On the Coast," Coastal Reporter Bryan Russo takes a look at the rarely-discussed problem of homelessness in Maryland's most famous resort town. We'll learn how one homeless shelter in Ocean City is coping as it faces a rising demand for its services.
[Music: "Homeward Bound" by Zoom Karoake from Zoom Karaoke: Simon and Garfunkel]
The D.C. Department of Transportation thought it might "get ahead" on construction of a pedestrian bridge on the Anacostia River Trail. That was, until a pair of Ospreys decided to make a home on top of their construction crane. Now progress has ground to a halt because they're a protected species. Sabri Ben-Achour explains why these birds are such a big deal and how local officials are responding.
[Music: "Free Bird" by Hayseed Dixie from Pickin' On Lynyrd Skynyrd]
After years trying to conceive, novelist Jennifer Gilmore and her husband decided to adopt. What they thought would be a relatively simple process was instead a long and painful one. In her latest novel, Gilmore channels these autobiographical experiences into fiction.
Activists say the case against Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger is about raw milk — and much more. His supporters have turned the case into a rallying cry for personal food freedom and the rights of farmers and consumers to enter into private contracts without government intervention.
The Chicago school board on Wednesday voted to close dozens of schools, despite community protests that the closings disproportionately affect minority students. The Chicago Teachers Union and community activists plan to show their disapproval by campaigning against elected officials who disagreed with them.
You've probably seen it in your inbox before: Someone who claims to have come into a fortune needs your help. You can share in the profits — if you send along a deposit or your bank account number. Boston Globe correspondent Finn Brunton talks about the history of the "Nigerian prince" or "419" scam, which actually got its start long before email.
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