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.
The National Gallery of Art houses thousands of valuable paintings, all of them susceptible to damage from sunlight, humidity, grime, and natural aging. Kavitha Cardoza talks with the National Gallery's head of conservation about the science behind restoring a painting and why such painstaking effort is worth it.
[Music: "Sentimental Journey" by Juan Garcia Esquivel from Space Age Bachelor Pad Music]
New toll roads are cropping up around our region, and existing toll roads are increasing their fees. Transportation experts say this affects not just long-distance travelers but also commuters and, indirectly, neighborhoods. Transportation reporter David Schultz finds out what's behind this trend and how it could affect your travel budget.
[Music: "From A to B" by The Futureheads from The Futureheads / "Freeway of Love" by Pepper Mashay from Electro House BOOM BOX]
The Anacostia River is more than eight miles long and supports hundreds of species of birds and fish. But these days, you’re more likely to glimpse a soda bottle in these waters than you are a flying or finned creature. Dottie Yunger says that’s not just a shame... it’s a sin. Jessica Gould goes out on the river to meet a minister on a mission.
[Music: "Down to the River" by Ray LaMontagne from One Lonesome Saddle]
Half of Maryland and most of Northern Virginia are now under a quarantine to prevent the spread of an invasive beetle. The emerald ash borer already has wreaked havoc on ash trees throughout North America, and scientists say the destruction in our region alone could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to address. Environment reporter Sabri Ben-Achour visits a Virginia community affected by this beetle to see what, if anything, can be done to stop it.
Remember taking your chalk and scribbling on the blacktop as a kid? The members of one of the District's newest theater companies sure do. Blacktop Theatre Co. is dedicated to creating boundaries, then erasing them, all the while focusing on the work of local artists. Rebecca Sheir introduces us to the company and its premier production, Pun: (n) A Play On Words, which takes an imaginative look at the struggles to preserve power and status among the dictionary's keywords.
Civil War battlefields in once-rural corners of our region are increasingly being eyed for development. And the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, or CVBT, is working to save much of this "hallowed ground." Courtney Collins heads to Spotsylvania County to visit one of these battlefields, and learn how members of the CVBT work with local developers to preserve historic land.
Kimchi is perhaps Korea's most famous and versatile food. This spicy dish -- most commonly made with cabbage -- is such an important part of the nation's culture that many Koreans, whether in Seoul or here in Washington -- reserve specific refrigerators just for kimchi. Emily Friedman meets with a local chef at D.C.'s Korean Cultural Center to learn the secret behind making this preserved delicacy.
[Music: "The Kimchi Song" by Travel the World with Eric and Grant from Travel the World...
Legend has it a curse was cast on a large, blue diamond after it was stolen from the forehead of an idol in India. Rebecca Sheir visits the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and speaks with curator Jeffrey Post and historian Paul Dickson about the alleged curse, and whether it may have been connected to the ill fortune of the Diamond's last -- and most notorious -- private owner, Evalyn Walsh McLean.
[Music: "Luck Be a Lady" by Bireli Lagrene from Blue Eyes]
Home is where the heart is. It's also where the stink bugs live -- crawling out from cracks and crevices and finding their way into your shower or kitchen cupboards. They're a major nuisance to farmers, and the USDA is now experimenting to see if the invasive insects can be brought under control by importing their natural predator, a parasitic Asian wasp. Environment reporter Sabri Ben-Achour takes a look.
[Music: "The Obsession Bug (Instrumental)" by Timewarp Inc. from Funkstramentals...
Meeting your soul mate can be tough for anyone, but for some people with disabilities, it can be hard just to get out and form new friendships. That's why DateAble, Inc. started up in the D.C. area. Rebecca Sheir talks with one couple who found love using the service: Lynn Watson and her husband, Robert, who now runs DateAble, Inc. from their home in Brandywine, Md.
[Music: "Baby We've Got a Date" by Bob Marley from Catch a Fire]
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 / "I Get Around" by A Bluegrass Tribute from Pickin' on the Beach Boys]
The District is at odds with the inter-city bus companies that transport people to and from NYC. The city 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. Transportation reporter 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 / "Only Living Boy in New York" by Zoom Karaoke...
Cheryl A. Lofton's family has been nipping and tucking Washington's attire since the 1930s, when her grandfather opened the first African-American-owned tailoring business in downtown D.C. Cheryl moved the family business to a new spot in Shaw, and just opened a shoe-shine shop next door. Rebecca Sheir visits the operation to hear about the family's professional heritage, and how, in a few short years, Cheryl's business has changed the face of the neighborhood.
Telemundo announced that its telenovelaEl Señor de los Cielos (Lord of the Skies) will be back for an unheard of second season. This is a radical departure from traditional telenovelas, which have a clear beginning and a definitive ending.
In a new poll, parents complain that their children are not getting nearly enough time for a basic school ritual: eating lunch. And that's worrying parents and administrators, given that about one-third of American kids are overweight or obese.
The Washington Post reports that the agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world. One official told the newspaper the NSA is getting vast volumes of location data by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally.
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