DMV Download from WTOP News

DMV Download is the only daily local news podcast created for Washingtonians. Every weekday afternoon, hosts Megan Cloherty and Luke Garrett go beyond the headlines with WTOP’s team of reporters and sources to bring listeners more on the biggest stories impacting the D.C. region.

Latest Episodes

Md. town ‘held hostage’ by White’s Ferry dispute

It’s been nearly two and a half years since White’s Ferry took cars across a lazy span of the Potomac River — and residents in Poolesville, Maryland, are still counting the days. For the small town in northern Montgomery County, the shuttered ferry means a lot. On the show, Poolesville Commission President Jim Brown and Poolesville Fair Access Committee (FAC) Chairperson Link Hoewing argue the closed ferry is holding their small town hostage.
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Metro CEO remains ‘bullish’ despite looming ‘death spiral’

It’s been nine months since Metro CEO and General Manager Randy Clarke took the helm at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency. During that time, Metro has increased its bus and rail ridership from pandemic lows, and opened six new rail stations along the Silver Line. But challenges remain. The 7000 series rail-cars have yet to fully return to the system, rail ridership still pales in comparison to pre-pandemic levels, and a looming fiscal gap threatens the system’s ability to maintain normal bus and rail frequencies. On the show, Clarke addresses each issue and speaks candidly about the future of the third largest transit agency in the country.
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Climate activists promise ‘spicy action’ this Earth Day

Last year, Extinction Rebellion DC hung a 20-foot banner across the Wilson Building — the seat of the District government. The banner read “NO NEW FOSSIL FUELS.” The Earth Day demonstration protested the planned installation of new natural-gas lines in the city by Washington Gas. This year, we hear from Extinction Rebellion DC organizer Reilly Polka ahead of Earth Day 2023. Polka talks about the organization’s continued fight against Washington Gas, why she wants D.C. to electrify its energy grid and how she deals with the anxiety that often comes with facing a depressing environmental forecast.
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‘It’s a reckoning:’ Md. Attorney General report on child sex abuse by Catholic priests

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown released a nearly 500 page report on the child sexual abuse committed at the hands of priests, coaches and seminarians within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The report documents more than 600 victims of sexual assault by more that 150 Catholic priests between the 1940’s and early 2000’s. On the show, Attorney General Brown walks through the report’s troubling findings on abuse and a cover up scheme within the Catholic church. Brown also explains where current investigations stand and what options his office has to hold abusers accountable.
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‘It’s taking out generations:’ Inside the opioid crisis

The opioid epidemic is hard to understand. Those addicted to opiates and their stories are often limited to headlines. But Angel Traynor — founder and director of Serenity Sistas’ Inc. — understands. She’s a former addict, current recovery coach and mother of an addict. Her organization works with and houses addicts in Annapolis, Maryland. On the show, we talk about the opioid crisis, the lives lost and saved, what it’s like being addicted and why Angel has hope for an end to this epidemic.
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DC Attorney General on Commanders, crime and hidden fees

DC’s top prosecutor has had a busy start as Attorney General between the city’s forsaken criminal code, rising crime rates and the tall stack of pending cases left by his predecessor, Karl Racine. In an exclusive interview with WTOP, DC Attorney General Brain Schwalb talks about his first 90 days in office, where pending lawsuits — such as the suits against the Commanders and January 6 rioters — and how he plans to lead his office.
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Friend or foe: How to live with AI

Artificial Intelligence is getting good — like really good. In the past few months, new versions of AI chatbots have caught a lot of people off guard with how well Artificial Intelligence is doing human things like writing, creating art and even talking. Safe to say it’s time we get to know what AI is and how to live with this new technology. Rama Chellappa — a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering and chief scientist at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy — is a pioneer in artificial intelligence. He is also the author of Can We Trust AI? Professor Chellappa tells the story of AI, its abilities, potential and how we should interact with it.
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Understanding bank runs, failures and delayed paychecks

Compass Coffee baristas kept the caffeine flowing this week, but their paychecks froze after the DC startup’s bank – Silicon Valley Bank – failed on March 10. A spokesman from the local coffee house said all employees got their wages by March 13 after the federal government stepped in to backstop all the money deposited at the failed bank. And while this move by the government gave many a sigh of relief, questions remain about what this bank failure means for the economy. This week, WTOP financial contributor Barry Glassman, President of Glassman Wealth Services, explains what happened to Silicon Valley Bank, why Compass Coffee employees were impacted and how we should react.
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Abandoned graves ignite reckoning over slavery at Md. church

Sacred Heart Chapel in Bowie, Maryland is the birthplace of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. It’s where John Carroll was elected the first bishop in the newly formed country. It’s a history parishioners hold with pride. But there’s also shame. Carroll also ran a tobacco plantation that enslaved African Americans. This year, newly discovered graves – that are believed to be the burial ground of slaves – ignited a reckoning at Sacred Heart Chapel. WTOP’s John Domen takes us to this site and shares the voices of priests, church-goers and descendants — each trying to honor the forgotten and neglected graves. 
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‘Zombie drug’ makes Md. opioid crisis worse

The opioid epidemic in Maryland has entered a new and uncertain phase. Xylazine — also called “tranq” and “zombie drug” — is showing up more and more in the illicit drug supply across the state. While scientists can detect the animal sedative, there’s still a lot doctors don’t know about the drug: how it affects humans and how to best treat it. During an exclusive interview on the “DMV Download” podcast, Maryland’s Special Secretary for Opioid Response Emily Keller and Medical Director at the Center for Harm Reduction Services at Maryland Department of Health Dr. Malik Burnett explain what’s known about this drug, what’s still unknown and how the state plans to combat it.
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