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News coverage, Series and Commentary from WYPR's award winning news staff.
WYPR Election Coverage

John Lee

  

The Baltimore County Council—Democrats as well as Republicans—are defying County Executive Kevin Kamenetz over his plans to build a new Dulaney High School. Members from both parties sent a letter to Kamenetz Tuesday, putting him on notice they will block the project from getting off the ground this year.

 

 

Rachel Baye

Female inmates at the state prison in Jessup, Maryland — the state’s only women’s prison — say getting feminine hygiene products, like pads and tampons, while they’re incarcerated can be challenging, sometimes even impossible.

JohnLee

  

Governor Larry Hogan is making no commitments as to how much the state will kick in to help Baltimore County pay for a new Dulaney High School, despite concerns about the cost of the project.

 

Two Baltimore police officers were convicted by a federal jury Monday night in a case that laid bare dysfunction within the city police department.

The room was silent as the jury foreman read the verdicts against Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, the only officers of the disbanded Gun Trace Task Force to go to trial. Racketeering, guilty; racketeering conspiracy, guilty; robbery with the use of force, guilty.

mike dupris/flickr

Football builds men. Football builds strength. Football builds character.

Those are mantras uttered as near gospel by virtually every coach, player and official who has been around the game, for as long as the game has been played.

But if certain members of the Maryland General Assembly have their way, some of that gospel will have to change, will have to be preached through a new testament of sorts, one that de-emphasizes violence among young players.

A Baltimore County Councilman is accusing County Executive Kevin Kamenetz of making fiscal decisions that are unsustainable.

 

Last fall, Kamenetz said he’d have to think about building a new Dulaney High School. Last week, he decided to do it. Councilman Tom Quirk is concerned the outgoing county executive is making promises the county won’t be able to keep.

 

 

Mary Rose Madden

For nearly three weeks, former police officers, drug dealers who were granted immunity to testify, a bail bondsman and others have painted a picture of a Baltimore Police Department where officers routinely robbed citizens, planted evidence and falsified time sheets.

Now a jury is deliberating whether to convict two of those officers, members of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force, of federal racketeering, robbery and wire fraud.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore’s acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa announced additional internal changes to the department Friday. The appointment of one deputy commissioner, Thomas Cassella, is being held up.

De Sousa had named Cassella to be Deputy Commissioner for the Operations Bureau, but documents were leaked to the media alleging two disciplinary complaints against him.

AMR Meter by PSNH via flickr

Officials at Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works noticed an error in their system that incorrectly sent out 566 water bills to customers earlier in the week.

The jury in the trial of two former police officers who were part of Baltimore's now-disbanded Gun Trace Task Force has begun its deliberations. This after closing arguments stretched over two days.

Eight officers on that unit were indicted on federal charges of racketeering, robbery and wire fraud for filing false overtime claims. Six have pleaded guilty and four have testified against their former fellow officers.

WYPR's Mary Rose Madden has been following the trial, and gives Nathan Sterner a recap.

Rachel Baye

The state Senate gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill delaying a new law that requires businesses to offer paid sick leave. The legislation pushes the law’s start date from Feb. 11 to July 1.

Businesses were originally supposed to begin offering sick leave this past January, about nine months after the law passed. But just after the 2017 legislative session ended, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, and last month, the legislature overrode the veto.

John Lee

  

The Baltimore County School Board heard last night from the county council chairman, two teachers of the year and others who want Interim School Superintendent Verletta  White to be given the job permanently.

 

That show of support comes as there are calls for both a state audit and an expanded county audit of the county schools’ finances.

 

baltimoreravens.com

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has shared the grand plan for the franchise going forward, or at least, he’s disclosed who will be at the helm.

General manager Ozzie Newsome, the only general manager the franchise has had in 22 years in Baltimore, will take a final lap around the course in 2018 before retiring to a consultant post.

Baltimore City Police Dept/AP

Eight officers on the Baltimore Police Department's now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force have been indicted on federal charges, including racketeering, conspiracy and robbery. Out of the six who have pleaded guilty, four are cooperating with the government and crossing the fabled "blue wall of silence" to testify against their fellow officers.

Michael Pinard, a law professor at the University of Maryland, says their testimony over the last two and a half weeks mirrors the findings of a scathing US Justice Department report a year and a half ago.

Baltimore City Health Department

Some state legislators who represent Baltimore in Annapolis are trying to increase state funding for programs designed to prevent gun violence before it happens.  The officials compared gun violence to a contagious disease at a press conference announcing the legislation Monday in South Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood.

Rob Ferrell/Goucher

Ashley Aylward is a senior at Goucher College in Towson, majoring in political science. She wants to run for office one day. When she opened a Democratic gubernatorial forum at the Ungar Athenaeum at Goucher, Aylward wanted the seven candidates who particiapated to know something about young voters.

 

"Contrary to popular opinion, we do care about issues far greater than the legalization of marijuana,” Aylward said.

 

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan has basal and squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, he announced Thursday. He emphasized that it is both minor and treatable.

Rachel Baye

Maryland Democrats are introducing a ban on bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas shooting in October that enables a semi-automatic gun to fire continuously without repeatedly pulling the trigger, they announced Thursday.


Rachel Baye

 

In the last State of the State Address of his four-year term, Gov. Larry Hogan called for rising above political discord.

“Instead of becoming more like Washington, let’s send a message to Washington by putting the politics aside and coming together for all Marylanders," he said during Wednesday's speech.

But almost everything about the way the speech was received was partisan, down to the applause, which came almost exclusively from Republicans.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

While Republicans praised President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday night, Democrats in Maryland’s Congressional delegation had little good to say about it.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Now that the great evil known as Larry Nassar has been purged from the national consciousness, we move on to the next phase of the Great Gymnastics Scandal of 2018.

It’s the part where everyone puts on the breastplate of righteous indignation and swings the sword of outrage and condemnation.

Anger over offshore rigs

Jan 29, 2018

Most of Maryland’s Congressional lawmakers—along with their colleagues from up and down the East Coast—have been up in arms over the Interior Department’s announcement that it will allow drilling for gas and oil in the Atlantic Ocean.

They were angry enough in December when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the plan. That anger turned to outrage this month when Florida was given a waiver that blocks drilling off the state’s shores.

John Lee

 

Some people who live near Baltimore County’s animal shelter in Baldwin  say the sound of barking dogs is blasting into their neighborhood and dumping on their quality of life. The County Council is considering legislation that would spell out how many barks and yelps could land the pound in the doghouse.

 

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

The pictures of collapsed ceilings and students wearing parkas and gloves in their classroooms earlier this month outraged parents, grandparents and teachers. 

They showed up at a town hall meeting at Dunbar High School Monday and a school board meeting Tuesday to express fears for their children's safety and complain of a lack of communication from school administrators.

People at the town hall meeting held signs that read “warmth is a basic human right” and “no more excuses.” 

Rachel Baye

Maryland residents are expected to save nearly $3 billion on their federal income taxes in 2018 as a result of the new federal tax law, according to a report state Comptroller Peter Franchot released Thursday. But residents will likely lose at least $400 million in state and local income taxes, unless lawmakers act to prevent it.

Franchot’s office estimates that between a quarter and a third of state taxpayers could pay more state and local income taxes.

Rachel Baye

Maryland state income tax bills could grow by more than $400 million under the new federal tax law, according to an analysis Comptroller Peter Franchot released Thursday.

According to the report, between a quarter and a third of Maryland taxpayers could pay more state and local income taxes.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

A group of WYPR members and our program director,  Andy Bienstock, went to Cuba last week for the International Jazz Festival in Havana. And WYPR’s City Hall reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, tagged along in search of her Cuban roots and to try to figure out just what’s the difference between Cuban and American jazz.

statecenter.org

 

A state-commissioned study released Tuesday offers a list of new, alternative uses for State Center in Midtown Baltimore.

The state office complex has been slated for redevelopment for more than a decade. Community members told a state panel Tuesday afternoon that starting over with new plans disregards what they want for their neighborhoods.

Mary Rose Madden

Mayor Catherine Pugh has fired Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and hired Deputy Commissioner Daryll DeSousa as his replacement.

Pugh announced the change Friday morning.

She said Davis worked hard , but that she'd grown "impatient" waiting for crime numbers in Baltimore to drop and wanted to see "new, creative, innovative ways to change what we're seeing here every day". 

Baltimore public schools' heating crisis earlier this month was a "day of reckoning" for the system, the city, and the state said public schools CEO Sonja Santelises. The crisis, she said in an interview with WYPR Wednesday, exposed the truth that Baltimore city school buildings are less than functional.

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