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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Rachel Baye

A state senator says newly released security footage proves her claim earlier this month that a lobbyist groped her at a karaoke event in Annapolis. But the lobbyist says the video exonerates him.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh gave her state of the city address Monday to a gathering of city leaders with a theme of “Baltimore: A City on the Rise.” WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

 

Rachel Baye

Since the first 9-1-1 call was made 50 years ago, not much has changed about how Maryland’s 9-1-1 system functions. As a result, there are times when 9-1-1 doesn’t work.

Ben Spier

The Salvation Army opened its first-ever non-profit grocery store in East Baltimore this week, aiming to provide affordable, healthy food options, especially for low income folks using food stamps. So, WYPR went shopping to see how the prices compared to other, nearby stores. 

John Lee

Former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance Thursday pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury. Prosecutors are recommending Dance serve time in jail.

 

Dance admits he did not disclose nearly $147,000 he earned from consulting jobs while he was running the county schools. Those payments include money he received from a company he helped win a contract from the county.

 

 

Tradepoint Atlantic

Tradepoint Atlantic, the developer that is bringing economic life back to Sparrows Point in eastern Baltimore County, plans to ask the county this year for help to pay infrastructure costs at the site. When that happens, the county will be balancing Tradepoint’s promise of thousands of jobs with a tightening budget and expected opposition from those who might see it as corporate welfare.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City’s Board of Estimates voted to spend $100,000 to provide legal representation for undocumented immigrants Wednesday. The money matches a grant from a non-profit that provides legal aid to immigrants.

Johnathan Lefcheck

The Chesapeake Bay’s grass beds, once devastated, are making a comeback.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy has documented a three-fold increase in the amount of bay bottom and its tributaries covered by the beds.

It’s gone from 7,000 hectares of grass in 1984 to about 25,000 hectares now, said Jonathan Lefcheck, the lead author of the study. That’s enough grass to cover New York City’s Central Park three times over.

Ben Spier

The Salvation Army is set to open its first in the nation non-profit grocery store in East Baltimore Wednesday. WYPR’s Dominique Maria Bonessi caught up with the organizers to see how it will all work.

Rachel Baye

In the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut a little more than five years ago, Maryland passed a law banning “assault weapons” and large-capacity, detachable magazines. The ban includes a long list of semi-automatic handguns and rifles, including AR-15-style rifles, like those used in several mass shootings, including last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Now Republican lawmakers in Annapolis are sponsoring a bill to remove the rifles and other long guns from the ban.

Maryland’s Court of Appeals unanimously agreed at an emergency meeting Tuesday to restore the names of police officers deleted from the online case search data base.

Rachel Baye

It’s legal in Maryland to carry a concealed weapon on private property, with or without a concealed-carry permit, as long as the property owner approves. Legislation under consideration in Annapolis would extend that concept to religious institutions.

Gwenn Seemel/flickr

We begin today with a fairy tale and it goes something like this:

Once upon a time, athletes in the United States competed for nothing more than the human drama of athletic competition and for the glory of God and country.

And they did so in a land populated with unicorns and teddy bears with rivers flowing with chocolate and streams of cherry limeade.

And then we all woke up and got real and professional sports leagues were formed.

John Lee

  

Parents and teachers recently gathered with school administrators and it had the feeling of a classroom exercise. They sat around tables and made T-charts with poster paper and markers. On the left, they listed safety and security problems, on the right possible solutions. Christopher Jakubiak, who has two daughters, one at Dumbarton Middle, the other at West Towson Elementary, wasted no time telling his number one top-of-the-T-chart worry.

 

“What happens when an active shooter or someone who is intent on harming kids shows up at the school grounds?” Jakubiak asked.

 

 

The names of police officers involved in court cases have disappeared from Maryland’s online court data base, setting off protests from both journalists and civil liberties groups.

The disappearance stems from little noticed rules changes proffered last year by the standing committee on rules of practice and procedure. It deleted a section that required that the names of police officers and other government officials involved in court cases be available in the online data base, along with office addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.

Office of the Governor

With the state fighting to cancel its agreement with the developer of State Center, it’s not clear what will eventually replace the current 1950’s-era buildings at the 28-acre state office complex just north of downtown Baltimore. Two competing lawsuits between the state and the developer could take years to wrap up, and until they do, the project is at a standstill.

But when the fight is resolved, members of the surrounding communities want to make sure that they get a vote on what gets built.

Wikimedia Commons

State elected officials are proposing competing tactics to keep Maryland’s public schools safe from a possible gunman.

Speaking with reporters after Thursday's floor session, Senate President Mike Miller said he met with senators that morning about creating a "comprehensive" package of bills aimed at protecting schools. He promised at least four bills, including some boosting school social workers and placing armed security guards at schools.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

In the world of Washington politics it’s hard to rule anything out. But an awkward controversy is developing over President Trump’s desire for military parade.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters recently it would be a salute to the soldiers, sailors and airmen who are serving their country, probably scheduled for Veterans Day.

“I think we are all aware in this country of the president’s affection and respect for the military,” he said at a press briefing.

But an informal recent Military Times poll found that 89 percent of its readers—most of whom are connected to the military—think it’s a waste of money.

Booming chicken industry sparking new regulations

Feb 28, 2018
Pamela D'Angelo

Here’s a little known fact. That booming chicken industry on the Delmarva Peninsula began by accident in 1923. Cecile Steele, the wife of a farmer in Ocean View, Delaware, ordered 50 chicks from a nearby hatchery for egg production. They sent her 500.

She kept them, grew them out to about two pounds each, sold them for a profit and ordered 1,000 more the next year. Five years later she was raising 26,000 chickens and some 500 other farmers had caught on.

Mary Rose Madden / 88.1 wypr

When the heat failed in many of Baltimore’s schools last month, angry families came face to face with CEO Sonja Santelises, complaining not just about their freezing kids, but about curriculum, tests and their inability to get answers from school administrators on a variety of issues.

Santelises said she wanted to build a partnership with families in the school district.

Baltimore County Public Schools

If you want to run for the Baltimore County School board, tick tock. Tuesday night is the deadline to file to be a candidate for the county’s first partially elected school board. 

 

At the last minute and after a plea for candidates, the races are becoming more competitive. 

 

 

Suppose you were on the verge of throwing the year’s biggest party, but you weren’t sure how many guests could stay?

That’s the dilemma before NCAA President Mark Emmert, whose organization is a little more than two weeks away from its annual men’s basketball tournament.

The tournament annually holds the nation in thrall for three weeks as athletes from 68 schools chase a championship in arenas from sea to shining sea.

Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

  

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced his running mate Thursday in his campaign to become Maryland’s next governor. 

 

Kamenetz begins his sprint in a crowded Democratic field when members of his own party are challenging Kamenetz over how he’s handling the county’s finances.

 

 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Last night the executive appointments committee of the Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to confirm Darryl De Sousa as Baltimore’s new police commissioner, but not without some tough questions from committee members and the public. His confirmation is still pending until Monday when the entire city council is set to vote on his nomination, WYPR’s City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner about the hearing.

@KingJames/flickr

Here are four things we know:

One is that Donald Trump is President of the United States.

Two is that, barring some unforeseen occurrence, Donald Trump will be President of the United States until, at least, January 20, 2021.

Third is that something that Trump says or does will draw criticism from significant portions of the American populace.

And fourth is that some of the people who criticize Trump will be athletes.

The Baltimore County School Board heard a passionate plea from its student member last night for support for the student-driven March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C., in response to the mass murder of 17 people at a Broward County, Florida, high school. 

 

The board did not take a stand on whether to support the March 24 demonstration.

 

 

John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board agreed last night to start the process for a nationwide search for a permanent school superintendent.

 

 

A solution to oyster shell shortage?

Feb 20, 2018
Pamela D'Angelo

It’s an old Chesapeake tradition, paving driveways, decorating gardens and the bases of rural mailboxes with oyster shells. But it may give way to a different purpose; helping to restore the Chesapeake’s decimated oyster population. Here’s why.

Oyster shells are just the thing an oyster farmer needs to spread across three or four acres of leased bottom in a Chesapeake tributary to form a bed for baby oysters to attach themselves and grow. But shells are hard to come by (see: tradition and decimated population), and expensive; $3 to $4 a bushel. And that’s where homeowners like Jeff and Lisa Duffy come in.

John Lee

MTA bus 63 pulls up to Tradepoint Atlantic at Sparrows Point in Southeast Baltimore County. This route’s only been running for a couple of weeks and there are no passengers on Angela Davis’s bus. But Davis expects that to change.

“It’s cool that the buses are coming down here to the jobs so people can get to work,” Davis said.

 

 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The month-long shut down of Baltimore’s subway system came after inspections showed a need for emergency track replacements, but rail replacement might just be the tip of the iceberg.

David McClure, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union local that represents MTA workers, told Baltimore’s General Assembly delegation Friday the subway system is in need of a complete overhaul. And has been for some time.

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