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The Baltimore City Board of Estimates Wednesday approved a settlement of $9 million to a man who spent 21 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

At Monday night’s city council meeting President Jack Young introduced  a resolution to hold a hearing with Baltimore City Public Schools on their enrollment task force. City school’s enrollment numbers have been declining faster than the city's population. WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City Council President Jack Young will introduce a resolution at Monday night's city council meeting to hold a hearing on Baltimore City Public School’s Enrollment Taskforce.

@Lj_era8/flickr

Budding journalists are taught that at the heart of every news story are six questions to be answered: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.

The Ravens’ drafting of quarterback Lamar Jackson last Thursday answers four of those six, the who, the what, the when and the where pretty easily.

The how of Jackson’s selection is fairly interesting. The Ravens came into the draft possessing the 16th overall pick in the first round.

While there were rumors that the team would use that pick to take Jackson, general manager Ozzie Newsome and his crew kept their intentions close to the vest.

John Lee

Two Democrats running for Baltimore County Executive are promising to build three new high schools, Dulaney, Lansdowne and Towson. But that promise would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s not clear where they would find the money.

 

 

Oysters and Dead Zones: A New Experiment

Apr 27, 2018
Ben Spier

It’s known that oysters are not only a favorite delicacy, but also incredibly beneficial to their habitats because of their water-purifying powers. In fact, a typical adult oyster can purify up to 50 gallons of water a day.

But now, Maryland scientists wonder whether the bivalves can serve another purpose: to break up oxygen-starved “dead zones” plaguing the Chesapeake. And they’ve started an experiment in the Severn River, just north of the Route 50 bridge to test the idea.

John Lee

Earlier this month, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz delivered his final budget message to the County Council. He reflected on his 24 years in office, 16 years on the council, and the last eight years as county executive.

 

“Over the decades, I probably met with every single resident at least once,” Kamenetz said. “Or maybe it just feels that way.”

 

 

Baltimore City Health Department

A federal judge has ruled that the US Department of Health and Human Services unlawfully cut short a grant to the city’s health department by two years.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Maryland’s General Assembly approved a bill to establish funding for complete streets. Last night Baltimore City Council’s land use and transportation committee met to hear local complete streets legislation proposed by District Three Councilman Ryan Dorsey. WYPR's City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi is on the line now with more.

Karen Hosler

Over the last year or so, the Prince Georges County school system has been tarred by one scandal after another: grade-fixing to boost graduation rates, secret raises for administrative personnel, alleged abuses in the Head Start program.  

Theresa Mitchell-Dudley, president of the county teachers’ union, blames County Executive Rushern Baker, who wrested power from the elected school board five years ago.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

As part of her violence reduction initiative, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been meeting daily with the heads of every city agency. On Tuesday morning, she took another step, a walking tour of one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city.

@WNBA/Twitter

As it has for every summer since it opened for business in 1997, the WNBA showcases the talents of more than 140 of the world’s best women’s basketball players.

And, as it has for seemingly every summer since the league opened, WNBA officials, coaches and players will face questions about the league’s viability and even whether it should exist when the new season opens in just under a month.

Just last week, Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, which operates the WNBA, gave less than full-throated support to the women’s league.

Rachel Baye

A new poll released Tuesday shows that Gov. Larry Hogan is as popular as ever. With the election a little more than six months away, 70 percent of the Maryland residents polled by Goucher College approve of the way he is doing his job.

But the poll also shows that Hogan’s re-election is far from a sure thing. Less than half of likely voters said they would pick Hogan over one of seven Democrats vying to unseat him, and about a quarter said they were undecided.

Measures to be introduced at Monday night’s city council meeting would require local lobbyists to disclose more information and create public financing for city campaigns. The bills come prior to the June primary election.

Baltimore County’s school board voted Tuesday night to remove the word "acting" from Verletta White’s title and make it just Superintendent of Schools.

Now, White, who has been acting superintendent for nearly a year, says it’s time to hit the reset button and begin working to restore people’s faith in the county school system.

John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board Tuesday night decided to delay a decision to renovate Lansdowne High School until its next meeting in May.

Some board members objected to the planned renovation, saying that Lansdowne is considered the high school in the worst shape in the county and should be replaced.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

City Councilman Brandon Scott is to introduce legislation at tonight’s city council meeting requiring each city agency to study whether their policies are discriminatory. This would also require a fund to made.

Scott, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, is proposing two bills to deal with inequity in city agencies. One of which, would create a charter amendment to assure funding.

Yuya Tamai/flickr

The Baltimore County Council is considering tightening up the laws on pet owners to protect animals from extreme weather. 

 

But council members were warned Tuesday that what they were considering might actually do pets harm.

 

 

Rachel Baye

The Maryland General Assembly ended on Monday night after legislators waded through more than 2,500 bills in the 90-day session. 

Here are some of the most notable bills to pass in the session, along with links to the legislation and WYPR's coverage. 

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

The clouds of state and federal felony convictions cleared from Omar Burley’s life Monday as state prosecutors cleared him of all charges against him. Federal prosecutors had cleared Burley of their charges back in December.

Burley, who served seven years of a 15-year sentence in federal prison before he was freed last August, had been framed by Baltimore’s now discredited Gun Trace Task Force.

Joel McCord

The General Assembly wrapped up its 90-day session in Annapolis Monday night with a flurry of activity, passing bills to increase minimum sentences for some repeat offenders, tightening school safety measures and diversifying the medical marijuana industry.

Many lawmakers, including Gov. Larry Hogan, began the legislative session seeking an answer to the recent spike in violent crime in Baltimore. On Monday, the legislature passed what some lawmakers said is part of the solution:  mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders caught illegally carrying a gun.

@Kaepernick7/flickr

The Ravens signed an accomplished African-American quarterback who has been out of football for an extended period to join their roster last week.

But if you thought that signal caller’s name was Colin Kaepernick, you don’t pass go, and you don’t collect $200.

Instead of bringing in Kaepernick, the man who led the San Francisco 49ers to within a whisper of beating the Ravens in Super Bowl 47, the Baltimore brain trust instead signed Robert Griffin III.

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly voted Monday morning to pass a bill designed to open medical marijuana growing to minority-owned businesses, and specifically to African-Americans. The bill was the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus’s top priority in Annapolis this year.

John Lee

Reuben Jordan is grabbing a snack before class at the cafe on The Community College of Baltimore County’s Essex campus. Jordan is 34 and has been going to college off and on for ten years, but keeps getting derailed. Twice family members have died just before he was to take final exams. But now Jordan is back and has his sights set on being trained in respiratory care.

 

“I’m just trying to be successful, get my career under way and hopefully on to bigger and better things,” Jordan said.

 

 

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly voted Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of two school-focused bills. One of these takes oversight of school construction projects away from the Board of Public Works, which Hogan presides over.

Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City school officials are considering moving from their long-time headquarters on North Avenue—the building that once housed Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. But it’s unclear when, or if, that will happen.

Latest Addition to Baltimore's 21st Century Schools

Apr 5, 2018
Jonna McKone

Five years ago a coalition of state and city agencies embarked on an ambitious, $1 billion plan to renovate, replace and combine at least 23 of the most run-down and under-enrolled schools in Baltimore—all by the spring of 2022. Dorothy I. Height Elementary in Reservoir Hill was among two of those new, 21st Century Schools that opened Wednesday.

John Lee

 

 

 

The Baltimore County School Board’s meeting Tuesday night broke out in open warfare, as members grappled with two controversial issues. The board green lighted a $140 million computer contract, and decided to move ahead on a nationwide search for a new school superintendent.  

Dominique Maria Bonessi

About 25 residents gathered at Mount Pleasant Church for the Baltimore City Police Department's consent decree monitoring team's first quarterly community forum Tuesday night. Ironically, that's the same church where the funeral for slain Det. Sean Suiter took place in November. Shantay Guy, one of the monitoring team members and executive director of Baltimore Community Mediation Center, said that was only a coincidence. She wasn't aware the church was the scene of the funeral. 

Revisiting '68: The Fire Last Time'

Apr 4, 2018
AP Photo

In April 2008, 40 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., WYPR aired a special news series "68: The Fire Last Time." The series examined the local civil rights movement and the response to Dr. King's assassination, the Baltimore City riots, and the aftermath. 

The WYPR news team interviewed some of the most notable public figures of that era: Former Governor Marvin Mandel, Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro, III, Reverend Marion Bascom and Morgan State professor Homer Favor. Residents also gave their account of the turbulent time. 

WYPR revisits this series on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death.

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