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.
It's cherry blossom time, so local eateries are once again offering Cherry Picks: cherry- and cherry-blossom-inspired goodies on their food and drink menus. Rebecca Sheir heads to Ted's Bulletin, in Capitol Hill, to learn the secret behind the restaurant's super-popular, homemade cherry pop tarts.
Coming out to play is what spring is all about, and in the local plant world, one of the first things to emerge come spring is the smelly "skunk cabbage." It simulates death to pollinate itself and can even melt the snow around it! Environmental reporter Sabri Ben-Achour takes a walk to find out this primitive plant's secret.
[Music: "(Love is Like a) Heat Wave (As Made Famous by Martha and the Vandellas) (Karaoke Version)" by Party Tyme Karaoke from Karaoke/Party Tyme Karaoke: Oldies...
Sometimes you shouldn't come out and play...like if you're supposed to be in school. Twenty percent of D.C. school children are truant, so community leaders are coming together to try and reduce that percentage. But as education reporter Kavitha Cardoza tells host Rebecca Sheir, this conversation is the same one they've been having for years. So what's to be done?
[Music: "No Such Thing" by David West from Pickin' On John Mayer]
Washington's professional soccer team, D.C. United, is considered the most successful team in Major League Soccer history. The team just kicked off its season, and thousands of fervent fans turned out to show their support. Soccer aficionado Jerad Walker was there, and brings us this story on the especially die-hard local fans of D.C. United.
[Music: "Kick in the Head" by Dean Martin from Dino: The Essential Dean Martin]
Roller derby is quickly gaining popularity in the country, and the new team in Salisbury, Md., is taking the region by storm. Coastal reporter Bryan Russo introduces us to some of the Salisbury Roller Girls' heavy hitters, including Buster Skull, the 19-year-old founder and coach, who is battling cancer on the sidelines.
[Music: "Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "Roll Out" by Ludacris from Word of Mouf]
A time-honored pastime here in D.C. is the lobbying game, and the multitudes of lobbyists on Capitol Hill play it well. But Congress isn't the only local governmental body that gets lobbied. Lobbyists also have their sights set on Metro. Transportation reporter David Schultz gives us the lowdown on how former chief executives of Metro are lobbying the transit agency.
[Music: "A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "Games People Play (Karaoke Version)" by Stingray Music (...
Active Cultures Theatre Company's newest endeavor is a play about a play. "The Resurrectionist King" takes us back to the 1880s, as the most famous grave robber in D.C. history prepares to put on a one-man show. Rebecca Sheir visits a rehearsal to learn more about this legendary character, and the theater company that's bringing him to life.
[Music: "It's My Life (Karaoke Version)" by Stingray Music (Karaoke) from Karaoke - In the Style of No Doubt - Vol. 2]
Coming out was just the beginning for D.C.'s oldest troupe of performing Drag Kings; today they come out and play their created male characters for a crowd of adoring fans once a month. Yet, as members of the D.C. Kings tell Lauren Hodges, it took practice, and a lot of courage, before they found applause.
[Music: "Sharp Dressed Man (Streetlab Mix)" by ZZ Top from salacioussound.com]
Turns out you can teach an old dog many new tricks: After 25 years of rocking the D.C. music scene, the Cravin' Dogs are coming out with a new CD, an anniversary concert at Wolf Trap and, as Andrew Hiller tells us, some very hot pupusas.
[Music: "I'm Coming Out (As Made Famous By Diana Ross) [Karaoke Version Without Backing Vocals]" by The Original Hit Makers from Sing It Like an Idol: Pure R&B, Vol. 4 (Karaoke Version)]
Montgomery County, Md., launched the nation's first "Weed Warriors" program in the late 1990s: a group of volunteers certified to fight invasive plant species in area parks. Rebecca Sheir heads to Wheaton Regional Park with Weed Warriors founder Carole Bergmann and certified Weed Warrior Kathy Jentz, to hear about the group's latest struggles battling such a tricky foe.
[Music: "Warrior" by Patty Smyth/Scandal from Greatest Hits]
Several of D.C.'s public-school buildings have been renovated recently, but others are just crying out for repairs. The task of maintaining the schools, and preparing them for children and teachers each day, falls to a certain someone who often goes unnoticed: the school custodian.
DCPS has approximately 450 custodians, and education reporter Kavitha Cardoza tells Rebecca Sheir more about these "keepers of the school buildings."
The 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital is presenting a special Chesapeake Bay program, featuring films that highlight preservation and cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay. Rebecca Sheir heads to the water to talk with the artists behind "The Last Boat Out" and "The Runoff Dilemma", as well as the woman who kicked off the festival to begin with.
[Music: "Familiar Ground" by The Cinematic Orchestra from Ma Fleur]
Spring Valley used to be a chemical-warfare testing ground; now it's an upscale neighborhood in Northwest D.C. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is spending $180 million to clean up the community, and has been at it for almost 20 years. But as environmental reporter Sabri Ben-Achour tells us, there's still work to be done.
[Music: "Fields of Gold" by Hank Marvin from Guitar Man]
A cleanup initiative on Delaware's Rehoboth Beach picked up more than 7,000 cigarettes in just one block. Now it's kick-started a campaign to ban smoking altogether in the southern Delaware resort. Coastal reporter Bryan Russo talks with Rebecca Sheir about how resorts up and down the coast are all considering smoking bans in one way or another.
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.
Amid warnings the proposal would shatter support for the measure, Democrats backed away from a provision that would allow gay U.S. citizens to sponsor foreign-born spouses for green cards. Advocates for gay and lesbian immigration rights accused Democrats of caving in to threats.
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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