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.
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]
The University of Maryland is trying to attract some of the world's top scientists to work in College Park. But if the Purple Line is routed through campus, the trains' vibrations could affect the work of some of the school's quantum physicists, who rely on sound-proof, vibration-proof environments to monitor the behavior of atoms. David Schultz talks with Rebecca Sheir about what's going on.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads]
Washington, D.C., native and international opera star, Marquita Lister, has performed in the world's great opera houses and has sung "Bess" (in "Porgy and Bess") more than 500 times. In 2006, she became gravely ill, and her meteoric rise was interrupted. But she's worked hard to make a remarkable recovery and now is poised for her comeback. Rebecca Sheir spoke with Lister as she prepared for a recital benefit for her favorite cause: the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation.
"Anacostia -- The Web Series" is a soap opera, home-grown in Southeast D.C. Like most soaps, it's about how we love, hate and get even with one another. But unlike most soap operas, it's about a place that's trying to rebuild its reputation. Emily Friedman gives us the lowdown on this Internet sensation.
[Music: "Welcome to D.C." by Mambo Sauce from Go-Go Mix]
She believes in ghosts, he couldn't care less -- until they took a candlelight ghost tour in historic Willamsburg, Va. Husband and wife Elliott and Arnetia Francis recall his creepy conversion in this restored colonial setting, where it's sometimes hard to tell if actors are real or imagined, and photos of ghosts seem to appear and disappear.
[Music: "Karaoke – Spooky" from Karaoke – Classic Male Pop – Vol. 6]
After the earthquake and tsunami battered Japan last month, University of Maryland Professor Hiroyuki Iseki put his map-making skills to the test. As environmental reporter Sabri Ben-Achour tells us, Iseki has helped develop an online tool to show residents and emergency responders how to find shelter, water and other necessities.
NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Snowflake by Winona Wendth of Lancaster, Mass., and Geometry by Eugenie Montague of Los Angeles.
The grill "is the one and only male-dominated appliance in America," says a researcher who recently crunched the numbers. He found that men are more than twice as likely as women to be the primary grillers at home. One reason? Grilling can feel like a form of recreation.
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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