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.
Four Wal-Mart stores are scheduled to open in the nation's capital next year. And that's making one coalition of community groups in the District pretty uneasy. Courtney Collins recently attended a rally held by this coalition, which says it wants to make sure the world's largest retailer plays fair.
[Music: "Fight" by The Tragically Hip from Road Apples]
The new president of the Washington Teachers Union came to power on a platform of opposing former DCPS chancellor Michelle Rhee. Education reporter Kavitha Cardoza speaks with Saunders about what he's achieved so far and how he hopes to change the current teacher evaluation system, or IMPACT.
[Music: "Teacher (Karaoke Version)" by Stingray Music (Karaoke) from Karaoke in the Style of Jethro Tull - Vol. 2]
Arrested for espionage during the Civil War, smitten with a Union officer, Southern belle Antonia Ford's story reads almost like a soap opera. Rebecca Sheir visits the old Ford home in Fairfax, Va., and speaks with historian Susan Inskeep Gray, who says while Ford's status as a spy was never verified, her love was tried and true.
[Music: "Always" by Patsy Cline from Definitive Collection]
Sixty-two-year-old Mike Beatty, a.k.a. DJ Batman, is celebrating 30 years as one of the most well-known and well-loved rabble-rousing club and radio DJs in Ocean City's history. Coastal reporter Bryan Russo spends some time with the resort's "night-time mayor," and finds out the method to his self-proclaimed madness.
[Music: "Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "You Got Me Rocking" by Rolling Stones from Voodoo Lounge]
For decades, a ragtag team of revelers has traipsed through the Palisades for the annual Fourth of July parade. The event, replete with dancers, drummers, horses and homemade floats, is a small town tradition that manages to thrive in the big city. In this audio postcard, Jessica Gould finds out what keeps this annual event going strong.
[Music: "Blaze Away" by the Grenadier Guards conducted by Major S.A. Watts from Military Bands 119 Original Hits / "Rebel Rebel (In the Style of David...
Today we bring you stories about how we communicate and, sometimes, fail to communicate. From why deaf students learn differently from hearing students, to what it's like inside the District's secret subculture of graffiti. Plus, we'll visit an island where residents speak an unusual dialect of English, and explore our schools' new approaches to talking about the birds and the bees.
[Music: "Every Little Bit Hurts" by John Davis from Title Tracks]
Want to hear how someone speaks English with an Amazigh accent? How about Kikongo? Or Mortlockese? George Mason University maintains the world's largest online database of English accents. Rebecca Sheir interviews the Speech Accent Archive's founder about where it started, where it's going (hint: iPhone app!), and why it can help everyone from ESL teachers to actors.
[Music: "Stella By Starlight" by Tony Bennett from 40 Years: The Artistry of Tony Bennett]
The unique dialect spoken on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay has fascinated tourists and linguists for decades. Courtney Collins spends a day on Tangier to learn more about the dialect's origins, and to hear some of the "Tangierisms" you'll hear only on the island.
[Music: "Instrumental: Island in the Sun" by Dan McTavish from Only in Dreams: A Tribute to Weezer]
It's been two years since the deadly Red Line train crash near Fort Totten. Many observers of Metro say the transit agency has made huge strides in improving safety since then, yet antipathy among riders is still very high. In our weekly transportation segment, WAMU transportation reporter David Schultz talks with Rebecca Sheir about the message Metro is hoping to convey to improve its image.
Note: For our upcoming "Mysteries, Puzzles and Enigmas" show, we're answering your questions...
We move from the messages Metro is trying to send to the sorts of messages you might see as you're riding Metro, whizzing past those high concrete walls between Silver Spring and Rhode Island Avenue on the Red Line. In other words: graffiti. It's a common, and controversial, method of communication for young people in the District. Reporter Jonna McKone heads out with one young graffiti artist, to investigate this secret subculture.
[Music: "Graffiti" by Stereo MCs from Deep Down and...
It's often said deaf people see better than hearing people, but a new study from Gallaudet University proves that's not the case. It turns out deaf people don't develop enhanced vision; they develop enhanced "visual attention" in their periphery. Rebecca Sheir speaks with hearing and deaf people at Gallaudet's Visual Language and Visual Learning Center, to learn more about the pros and cons of heightened visual attention.
[Music: "Sound and Vision" by David Bowie from Best of Bowie]
Having "The Talk" about the birds and the bees can be tricky for parents, but what about school personnel? WAMU education reporter Kavitha Cardoza talks with Rebecca Sheir about how D.C. Public School officials are working with school personnel on new ways to answer young people's questions about sex.
[Music: "Let's Talk About Sex" by Max Raabe from Super Hits]
What's up with the mysterious signals panda Mei Xiang is sending scientists at the National Zoo? Could she actually have a bun in the oven? In a follow-up to his February story, WAMU environment reporter Sabri Ben-Achour heads back to the Zoo, and brings us this update on Panda Pregnancy Watch 2011.
[Music: "Sexx Laws" by Dr. Lonnie Smith from Boogaloo to Beck]
We share some of the recent messages we've received from our listeners, from a local ecologist applauding a recent story on deer exclosures, to a driver enjoying Virginia's quieter pavement, to a woman trying to kick her fear of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
[Music: "A Message to You Rudy (Karaoke-Version) As Made Famous By: The Specials" by Charly Karaoke Group from Karaoke World: Here We Go / "Express Yourself (Karaoke Version)" by Karaoke #1 Hit Makers from Power of Madonna (in the...
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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