Joel McCord | WYPR

Joel McCord

News Director

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.

He began his reporting career while still a music major at what then was West Chester State College in West Chester, Pa., filing reports for WCSC, the campus radio station. He transferred to the School of Communications and Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he managed to earn a degree in journalism in 1973, despite having spent an inordinate amount of time playing pinochle in the student union.

He worked as a reporter and editor at The Maryland Gazette, America's oldest continuously publishing newspaper, and the Annapolis Capital, where he covered education and county government.  He also spent 23 years as a metro staff reporter and occasional editor at the Baltimore Sun, covering local governments, land use issues, transportation and environment before he became one of the old farts who Tribune Company, the paper’s owners, offered a semi-reasonable amount of money to leave.

McCord worked as a freelance writer and editor until joining WYPR as a reporter, where he has covered the Maryland General Assembly and two governors.  Joel also reprised his role as an environmental reporter, only this time, he used the sounds one hears on God's green earth to help tell the stories of commercial watermen, farmers, hunters and people who are laboring to save the planet.

He became WYPR’s news director in October 2012.

And he still plays the trumpet with your occasional big band or small jazz group, just not as often or as well as he would like.

Maryland’s Board of Elections voted Friday to replace the state’s system of small, precinct-based polling places for the November 3 election with a network of large vote centers that combines high schools throughout the state with existing early voting centers.

The plan reflects one offered by local elections officials concerned about a massive shortage of elections judges and locations that can house polling places.

Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun

Former state Delegate Cheryl Glenn was sentenced to two years in federal prison Wednesday for accepting nearly $34,000 in bribes in exchange for political favors.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake said during a virtual sentencing hearing she had to balance Glenn’s offense with her personal history of accomplishment and the need for deterrence.

Courtesy the Olszewski Campaign

Alarmed by a surge in new COVID-19 cases, the executives of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties took different approaches Tuesday to the problem.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski issued an order requiring residents two and older to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. He said that order, which goes into effect at 9 a.m. Thursday goes beyond an earlier public health order from Gov. Larry Hogan requiring masks in food service and retail establishment.

Earlier this year, the union that represents editorial workers at the Baltimore Sun launched an effort to wrest control of the paper from its owner, Chicago based Tribune Company.

Now, that movement has spread to nine other Tribune-owned papers in six states because the journalists at those papers fear the influence of a New York hedge fund.

Wikimedia Commons

Just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program has pronounced the bay’s blue crab stocks stable, not overfished and not in decline.

The annual Blue Crab Advisory Report released Wednesday by the Bay Program found that the Chesapeake’s crab stock remains healthy despite having dropped by nearly 200 million crabs this year.

Chris Moore, a senior scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says the numbers are within a reasonable range. 

Joel McCord

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that Maryland could move into the final stages of Phase 1of his Covid-19 recovery plan.

Under his new orders, restaurants and social organizations such as American Legions, VFWs and Elks Clubs would be able to open for outdoor dining as of 5 p,m, Friday, provided they follow strict health and safety guidelines.

The same goes for outdoor swimming pools, youth sports activities and day camps.


 Despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s move to ease pandemic-related restrictions beginning Friday, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young says the city cannot safely reopen due to a lack of testing and personal protective equipment.


Meanwhile, the county executives in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties said Thursday they would ease a few restrictions.

Joel McCord

Voters in Maryland’s Seventh Congressional District headed to the polls Tuesday to choose someone to fill the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

But the turn-out was extremely light in an election conducted almost completely by mail-in ballot.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Voters in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District are in for a new first on Tuesday as they choose someone to fill the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. The election will be conducted almost entirely by mail.

Gov. Larry Hogan made the call in March to switch to mail-in ballots to protect voters and poll workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Those ballots must be postmarked on or before April 28 and received by your local election office by 10 a.m. May 8. Postage is paid on the return envelope. View a sample ballot here.


Joel McCord

When Maryland’s General Assembly leaders cut short their 2020 session in March because of the coronavirus threat, they said they’d come back in May for a special session.

Monday, they announced there would be no special session to take care of unfinished business.

Joel McCord

  Maryland’s commercial crab season opened April 1, but those in the business, from watermen to processors, say they’re in uncharted waters because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Normally, there would be as many as 500 seasonal workers, most of them guest workers from Central America, picking crabs in the packing houses of the Eastern Shore this time of year and sending the meat on to restaurants and grocery stores.

The Edward A. Myerberg Center

Passover, the celebration of the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt, normally begins with great family dinners, the seder. But this year, with the coronavirus pandemic raging and stay-at-home orders in place, many Jewish families are turning to virtual seders.

The Edward A. Myerberg Center in Northwest Baltimore put on its own virtual seder earlier this week.

Governor Larry Hogan announced Tuesday several new measures to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Maryland.

Last week, Hogan ordered schools in Maryland closed. Monday, he ordered bars restaurants, movies and gyms to close and Tuesday he said he would cut MARC train commuter service by 50 percent and reduce local bus, light rail, Metro and commuter bus services.

He also said the state would switch to cashless tolls and that he has asked that the deadline for the federal real ID be extended.

Joel McCord

For the first time since the Civil War, Maryland’s General Assembly is going home early. Legislative leaders announced Sunday they are ending the session March 18 because of increasing threats of the novel coronavirus.

In an afternoon news conference Senate President Bill Ferguson said the threat of the virus has become critical.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Two police officers assigned to a U.S. Marshals task force were shot in Northeast Baltimore on Wednesday, officials confirmed.

City police said the officers, one from Baltimore City and one from Baltimore County, are part of a fugitive task force attached to the U.S. Marshals office. They were among a group of officers trying to serve an arrest warrant on a man wanted in a Pennsylvania case about noon in the 5900 Block of Radecke Avenue.

The suspect opened fire, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.


Dec 13, 2019
Courtesy of T. Dan Baker

He’s a public health consultant and the founder of Founder of Green America and Save the Planet – GRASP Inc. – a non-profit focused on environmental causes. The son of a Navy Chaplain and a high school math teacher, he’s a former Peace Corps volunteer and foreign service officer who has served in Afghanistan, Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. He says he’s for the truth, rule of law and a less polarized America regarding: race relations, corporate influence in government, US foreign policy, and climate change.


Dec 13, 2019

Branch has been a member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1995 and the majority whip in that body since 2007.  He has served in a number of leadership positions in the House. He was on the staff of  former U.S. Rep. Parren Mitchell, then the Congressman from the 7th District, from 1984 to 1987.


Dec 13, 2019

No response to requests for information. 

Carter lost a primary race to the late Elijah Cummings in 2018 with 2.5 percent of the vote. He says in a recently posted gofundme page that he was born in Baltimore in 1963 and that it “would be an honor to represent Maryland as United States Congressman. He lists a number of issues, including affordable health care, affordable housing, affordable college education and rent control for seniors.


Dec 13, 2019

Carter is a State Senator from Baltimore’s 41st District. Before that, she represented the district in the House of Delegates for 14 years. She left the General Assembly to take a position in former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s administration, then was appointed in May 2018 to fill the unexpired Senate term of Nathaniel Oaks, who had pleaded guilty to corruption charges. She was elected to the seat that fall.

No response to a request for further information. 

Costley came in fifth in a six-way primary for the House of Delegates in 2018. He posted on his web page for that race, which he listed with the Board of Elections as the web page for this race, that he is “a fighter who has overcome many of the challenges that are facing Marylanders today” and that he prays “that you will give me an OPPORTUNITY to share my SOLUTIONS with other REPRESENTATIVES of the State of Maryland in the next Legislative Session.”

AP/Julio Cortez

She is Elijah Cummings’ widow who had been chair of the Maryland Democratic Party for about a year until she resigned the post to run for her husband’s seat. She founded the Washington consulting firm Global Policy Solutions LLC in 2005 and entered the Democratic primary for governor in the fall of 2017, but dropped out in January 2018, citing her husband’s declining health.


Dec 13, 2019

No response for information. 


Dec 13, 2019

No response for request for information. 


Dec 13, 2019

Gosnell is a pulmonologist with MedStar Health who says on his web site he grew up in a row house in Baltimore and lives in Howard County where he participates in the county fair. He says he would prioritize affordable health care, rational gun control and education.


Dec 13, 2019
Courtesy of Leslie G. Grant

Grant is a dentist who had a practice on Loch Raven Boulevard in Baltimore for more than 20 years before she went to work for the state health department, retiring in 2017. She calls herself a health care advocate. She’s been active with Health Care for the Homeless and traveled to Central American countries on dental missions. She says she’s making her first run for public office “to be a positive voice for the diverse residents of the 7th Congressional District.” Her goal is “to connect our communities around the kitchen table concerns that impact all of us,” including affordable health care and education and training programs, clean water and safe infrastructure. 


Dec 13, 2019

No response to a request for information. 

Higginbotham is the Joseph Curtis Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore Law School where he teaches courses on Constitution law and race and the law. He is the author of Race Law: Cases, Commentary and Questions and Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America.


Dec 12, 2019

Hill is a freshman member of the Maryland House of Delegates delegate from Howard County and a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has practiced in the Baltimore region for almost 30 years. She says on her website she is “uniquely qualified” to represent the district and that her “decades of clinical experience” have made her “an effective listener, problem solver and advocate.”