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.
In a city with more brainpower than almost any other in the world, the push to "get ahead" starts early -- with preschool. Tara Boyle talks with parents about the stress of trying to choose a good program for your child, and finds out why the waiting lists for preschool are so long in the District.
A few weeks ago, we shared the story of a Metro executive-turned-lobbyist who may have violated ethics rules. Now, new documents obtained by WAMU through public records requests show this lobbyist went further than originally thought in trying to set up a meeting with Metro staffers. David Schultz gets us up to date on the latest.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "I Got the Message by Men Without Hats from Greatest Hats]
Most joggers hit the pavement to get a little exercise and stay fit. And then there's the Dojo of Pain -- a group of hyper-competitive runners who meet regularly in D.C. to push each other to their physical limits. Kavitha Cardoza went to Hains Point to meet the members of the dojo, and sent back this audio postcard.
[Music: "Run" by Vampire Weekend from Contra (Bonus Mega Version)]
Imagine hearing your own personal soundtrack playing as you make your way up the National Mall. Ryan and Hayes Holladay -- the Virginia-born brothers who make up the musical duo Bluebrain -- have created just that, with their new, free, "location-aware" iPhone app, The National Mall. Rebecca meets the Holladays on the National Mall to talk about the project - which they describe as a combination of an album... an app... and an "experience"...
Few people remember the riots that ground life to a halt in D.C.'s Mount Pleasant neighborhood twenty years ago. Residents took to the streets after a rookie police officer shot a male Salvadoran immigrant, allegedly for drinking in public. Emily Friedman takes us back to the riots and explores how, through the turmoil, D.C.'s Latino residents found their voice.
[Music: "In a Sentimental Mood" by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane from Duke Ellington & John Coltrane]
There's a lot of debate in Virginia about whether the planned Metro station at Dulles Airport should be above ground or underground. An underground station would be more convenient, but also much more expensive. Local officials are deeply divided on what should be done and are tossing attacks and counterattacks back and forth in the media. We sit down with transportation reporter David Schultz and get to the root of the issue.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads...
Roots play a crucial role in filtering our water and keeping it clean. But what do they get from us in return? Nothing. Sabri Ben-Achour looks into a plan to reward landowners for letting their land remain natural. Virginia's Department of Forestry is paying farmers to plant trees in the hopes they can save money and protect rapidly disappearing forests.
[Music: "What They Do - Instrumental" by The Roots from Instrumental Album - Limited Edition]
What did the nation's capital look like in its early years? That's the question researchers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County are trying to answer. They're digitally re-creating the scene Pierre Charles L'Enfant may have seen when he received orders to lay out the new Federal City. Rebecca Sheir heads to Benjamin Banneker Park and Memorial to talk with Dan Bailey of the "Visualizing D.C." project.
[Music: "Very Early" by Kronos Quartet from Music of Bill Evans]
Food advocates have criticized DCPS cafeterias for serving unhealthy, tasteless food for years. Now, leaders are revamping the menu, serving a different fruit and vegetable each day and cutting out all fried foods. Kavitha Cardoza visits a school cafeteria to see whether kids are actually embracing the new options.
[Music: "All That Meat & No Potatoes" by Fats Waller from Fats Waller]
Can live music turn around a neighborhood? The Rock 'n' Roll Hotel, which turns five this fall, has helped spur development in the once-struggling H Street corridor. Through a steady stream of shows, the club has brought thousands of live music fans to the neighborhood and encouraged restaurant owners to invest there. Sam Sessa heads to H Street to learn more about the role of rock music in revitalization.
[Music: "Ithaca" by Deleted Scenes from Birdseed Shirt]
Whether you're new to the D.C. region or can count with two hands the number of presidents you've seen in the White House, it's hard to know everything about the region. And Washington generates more than its share of mysteries and urban legends. Rebecca Sheir sets out to debunk some of these mysteries in her series, "The Newcomer's Guide To Washington."
Wilson High School is home to the only public school rowing crew in the District. As the team celebrated its 25th year on the water, Kavitha Cardoza spoke with members, coaches, alumni and parents about this long, self-funded tradition on the Potomac.
[Music: "Take Me to the River" by The Talking Heads from Stop Making Sense]
With just 2,500 Giant Pandas living in the wild, zoos are trying to get these animals to breed in captivity. The Smithsonian's National Zoo has one male and one female, and for the latter, mating season comes just one day a year. But mating isn't their strong suit, so Sabri Ben-Achour finds out how Zoo staffers help the couple..."perform."
[Music: "Knockin' Boots" by H-Town from Old School Mix]
China is on a spree to build world-class museums and has opened about 100 of them annually in recent years. Two of the biggest opened on the same day last fall on opposite banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River. But filling these museums — with both art and visitors — is proving more challenging.
Despite its name, the "pot pig" experiment isn't an attempt to develop a new meaty treat for stoners. Instead, a Seattle butcher is feeding marijuana seeds, stems and root bulbs to swine as a cheeky money-saving measure.
People who use Airbnb, the web company that pairs travelers with residents who rent out their homes on a short-term basis, are breaking New York City's laws, according to an administrative law judge. The vacation rental business was found to run afoul of the city's occupancy code.
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