Cindy Han

Maine Calling Producer

Cindy’s first foray into journalism after graduating from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism was to intern with CNN in China in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre. She then worked in print journalism over the decades, as a factchecker, writer and editor, with publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times Magazine to the magazine of the National Zoo—where she walked past the cheetahs on the way to work each morning—to a food trends magazine. 

 

Her broadcast work has included doing radio news in college and in Taiwan, as well as reporting for a TV public affairs program at WQED in Pittsburgh. Cindy began working as a volunteer with Maine Public Radio’s call-in show Maine Calling when it first went on the air and stuck around until she came on board as a full-time producer in 2018. She sometimes fills in to host the show. She is thrilled to be a part of a program that helps inform, engage and connect people across Maine—and beyond.

 

Before moving to Maine with her husband and three kids, Cindy lived in many different places, growing up in Ohio and Maryland, and later living in New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Maryland again. She can’t neglect to mention her family’s dog, Otto, who is shaggy and funny.

Ways to Connect

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused most people more stress and anxiety — and sometimes the emotional and mental toll can be overwhelming. The Centers for Disease Control found that suicidal thoughts and behavior have risen sharply during the pandemic, especially among younger people, essential workers and racial minorities. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and we discuss how to know when someone needs help, and how to connect them to that help.


Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Although Maine is still doing well in terms of COVID-19 cases relative to other states, recent case numbers are on the upswing. We'll hear from Nirav Shah, director, Maine CDC, about the recent surge of cases in York County and how the state is dealing with the pandemic, including contact tracing, enforcement of guidelines, increased testing and more. We'll also discuss how Dr. Shah is planning to stem the spread of the virus through the months ahead. And, as always, he'll take listener questions about the coronavirus and its effects on Mainers.

Portland Museum of Art

This show is part of Maine Calling's ongoing coverage of topics relating to Maine's bicentennial.

Marking the September 25th opening of a major exhibit on artists Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington at the Portland Museum of Art, we examine the significance of Homer's work and his time in Maine. The seminal period in Homer's career spent living and painting on Maine's rocky coast have produced some of the paintings that are considered masterpieces in American art--and defining images of Maine.


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Since the onset of the pandemic, the already prevalent problems of scams have gotten worse, often using some reference to COVID-19 to target people--particularly older people. Some pose as contact tracers to get private information; others claim to offer cures or tests--for a price--to prey on victims. We will learn about the nature of these scams, and what to do to spot them--or to deal with the aftermath if you've fallen for one.   


Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Municipal governments have seen many firsts in recent years, as more people from other countries have stepped up and run for public office. We’ll talk with some of the immigrants who hold elected office in Maine to learn about their backgrounds, why they chose to serve—whether on City Council or School Board—and hear their views on the growing role of immigrants in Maine. We’ll also discuss how their perspectives have forwarded more efforts toward racial justice statewide.


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We check in on how the start of school has been for districts across the state, whether students are attending in-person, remotely, or in some hybrid of the two. We’ll talk to educators, parents, students—and Maine’s DOE Commissioner about the challenges and successes of the first weeks of school, and we’ll hear about some schools that have had to alter their game plans.

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Getting outside while the weather is still good and making the most of Maine's abundant outdoor recreation opportunities is one way to get through the pandemic, and stay distanced from others. We discuss the top-notch outdoor recreation options that can be found in Maine and New England, including different forms of recreation and different places to go. We highlight better known attractions as well as hidden gems, and how to enjoy them safely.


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Guns sales have been on the rise since the start of pandemic, most likely due the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and also due to increased racial tensions nationwide and here in Maine. We'll learn about the demographic makeup of new gun owners, such as more women and minorities, and why societal conditions are causing people to purchase firearms. We'll also discuss the health and safety concerns associated with this surge in gun sales.


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Sea-level rise due to global warming along the coast of Maine is increasing at a rapid pace, with some estimates predicting levels to rise by as much as two feet by 2050. We'll discuss what is causing the waters to rise more quickly, how it will impact coastal communities and structures, and what towns and individuals can do to prepare. We'll also find out how historic buildings can be protected from rising waters.

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Companies and their employees are increasingly seeking ways to embrace socially responsible practices. This trend is growing as Millennials and younger generations have greater expectations for working at places that prioritize social justice and other values, rather than only looking at profit for stakeholders. One term for this is "conscious capitalism." We'll examine this trend and why it is taking hold, and we'll talk with some of the people in Maine whose businesses prioritize these values--some of whom have earned a "benefit corporation" designation for their work in this area.


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Most small businesses in Maine have been struggling due to the pandemic. Governor Mills has announced a $200 million grant program offering financial relief to small businesses and nonprofits, with grant applications due Sept 9th. We'll learn about how small businesses are faring, especially during the summer tourist season, and how they can access relief funds and other aid during these difficult times.


Maine Historical Society

As part of our ongoing coverage of topics related to Maine’s bicentennial, we explore the history of women in Maine. Our state has had a wealth of notable female leaders in diverse fields, from politics to the arts. We discuss some of these women and their legacies, and we look at how movements, such as suffrage, played out in Maine. 


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Loons are a beloved symbol of Maine— Maine has more loons than any other state in the east. We’ll learn about the recent work done by local conservationists to bolster the loon population. They will also discuss ways in which individuals can help with efforts to protect—and appreciate—this iconic species. 


Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Nirav Shah, director, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, joins us for an update on the pandemic and the state’s response. He’ll answer questions about recent outbreaks, face coverings, testing, contact tracing, reopening and more.

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We discuss how to handle the inevitable challenges that students and families will have to deal with as they return to school—whether it’s online or in-person. We’ll address the range of issues, from mental health and anxiety to the effects of mask-wearing and distancing—especially on younger kids and those with special needs.

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