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.
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']
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...
FBI agents believe they have a credible lead on the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa's body. If they're right, it will solve a longstanding mystery, which will also deflate Hoffa's resonance in popular culture.
There was a time — a time long, long ago — when MySpace dominated the teen social-media world. Not anymore. NPR's Sami Yenigun looks at how teenagers use various social platforms in today's increasingly segmented online universe.
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