John Lee | WYPR

John Lee

Reporter, Baltimore County

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.

John has worked in news for more than 20 years. He has been a news director, assistant news director, managing editor, assignment editor and reporter at various radio and television news stations. He’s won numerous awards from The Associated Press, including best news operation, best continuing news story, and best news series.

Before coming to WYPR, John spent more than a decade as a stay-at-home dad. During that time he raised a disabled child. He also listened to WYPR every day thinking, “I’d like to work there.”

In 2013, John did just that. He started as “the world’s oldest intern."

John has both a master’s degree in media management and a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University.

John Lee

On a warm, picture perfect late summer day, Rob Deford, the President of Boordy Vineyards in Baltimore County is pointing out some of his grapes that are almost ready to be picked.

 

“We’re approaching the cabernet franc vineyard, and first you see how beautiful the crop looks,” Deford said.

 

This has been a great year for grape growing in Maryland.  But 2018 was not. Deford said they got 32 inches more rain than usual. It was catastrophic. He lost more than 50 percent of his best red grapes.

 

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

 

 

Baltimore County is looking to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes or any other tobacco product from 18 to 21.

 

Legislation being proposed by County Executive Johnny Olszewski also would ban the sale of e-cigarette devices to anyone in Baltimore County under the age of 21.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said Thursday he has found seed money for two new high schools for Towson and Dulaney. 

 

Even with that, there are no guarantees those schools will be built for years.

John Lee

The joke in Towson is that its town bird is the construction crane. More than a half dozen of them are part of the skyline, as Towson transforms into what one developer said will rival College Park as Maryland’s best college town. 

 

There is excitement about what Towson is becoming, as well as concern about what all of those changes will mean for Baltimore County’s county seat.

 

 

CCBC

The number of students participating in a program that offers free tuition at the Community College of Baltimore County has nearly tripled this year. 

School officials hope even more students will get the College Promise scholarship, which is beginning its second year this month.

John Lee

 

Counties usually stay out of each other’s business, but the Baltimore County Council voted unanimously on Monday night to oppose a Harford County megachurch’s plans to build a wastewater treatment plant.

 

 

John Lee

 

At the Guinness brewery, beer is on the move.

 

Kegs of beer are kept in cold storage, below the bar and its 92 taps. The bartender pulls a tap, and the beer is pumped from the keg through tubing to the tap, then to the glass.

 

 

John Lee

Can You REALLY Be Seen at the MVA in 15 Minutes or Less To Verify Your Real ID? 

 

As the clock starts ticking, WYPR reporter John Lee takes up the challenge. 

 

 

John Lee

Mountain Christian Church has four locations in Harford County. Church leaders estimate that on any given Sunday, about 6,000 people attend services, half of them at the main location in Joppa.

 

 

Graphic courtesy BSO

Despite the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s financial straits, Baltimore County is reducing the amount of money it usually gives to the orchestra. 

 

Nevertheless, County Executive Johnny Olszewski said the BSO still has the county’s full support.

 

 

John Lee

Mountain Christian Church is in Harford County. But it is just over the line from Baltimore County, where officials say they were not properly notified about the church’s plan to build a wastewater treatment plant. The discharge from that plant would make its way into Baltimore County via the Gunpowder River.

 

There is a public hearing on that proposal Tuesday night in Perry Hall. It's being held by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE.) WYPR’s John Lee joined Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner in the studio to talk about it.

 

 

John Lee

At the Maryland Marina on Frogmortar Creek in Middle River, workers were recently moving a lift into place to pull a boat out of the water.

 

“These guys would not be working here if there wasn’t a waterfront,” said Robert Palmer with the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County.

 

 

John Lee

Quick: can you think of three tourist attractions in Baltimore County? 

If not, county officials say it’s because they’ve not done enough to tell you about them. 

 

The county commissioned a study that lays out how it has fallen short on capitalizing on a multi-billion dollar industry, and what it can do about it. 

John Lee

Monday was Darryl Williams’ first day on the job as Baltimore County’s new school superintendent. And right out of the starting gate, he heard from students about problems with bullying and dilapidated schools. 

 

 

John Lee

  

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s first budget takes effect Monday and it includes the first tax increases in the county in a generation. 

 

However, residents won’t feel some of the tax hikes right away.

 

 

John Lee

The murder rate in Eastern Baltimore County is climbing. 

 

And people who live there say crime in general is getting worse in their community. 

 

They gave Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and his new police chief, Melissa Hyatt, an earful about it a public hearing on policing Monday on the executive’s home turf in Dundalk, at the Community College of Baltimore County’s campus there.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County’s next school superintendent is promising a plan of action as he takes over the system July 1st. Darryl Williams was introduced to the public at a special school board meeting Tuesday night. 

 

It was also revealed what the next year will hold for outgoing interim superintendent Verletta White.

 

 

Baltimore County Government

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski recently got together over a table of steamed crabs to look for ways the city and county can work together. The two leaders are expected to make announcements soon on issues ranging from public safety to transportation.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

The Baltimore County School Board has made changes to how it disciplines students. This comes after attorneys who have been monitoring the school system said it was breaking state law.

 

 

Photo courtesy BCPS

The Baltimore County School Board Tuesday night decided again that classes will start after Labor Day this coming school year, and it heard a farewell address from interim school superintendent Verletta White. WYPR’s John Lee was there and talked it over with Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner.

 

 

Baltimore County Government

 

 

Now that taxes are going up in Baltimore County, the pressure is on County Executive Johnny Olszewski to show people they are getting their money’s worth. 

 

That’s on Olszewski’s agenda, as well as presenting controversial affordable housing voucher legislation to the County Council.

@S_Dallas_Dance/Twitter

Dallas Dance resigned in disgrace as Baltimore County’s school superintendent two years ago. But his legacy has remained front and center. In his wake, a fractured school board battled over finding his permanent replacement, and whether the staff Dance left behind could be trusted. 

 

In an interview with WYPR, Dance said he has moved on, but has learned from the mistakes he made.

 

 

Baltimore County

The nominee to be Baltimore County’s next police chief served more than 20 years in the Baltimore Police Department. And it was Melissa Hyatt’s time in a police force rife with corruption that got the most attention from the county council, as it quizzed her Tuesday afternoon about becoming the county’s top cop. 

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

 

There's no way around it. Tax hikes are coming to Baltimore County. But the specifics are still being worked out days before the Baltimore County Council is set to vote on them.

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

 

 

Baltimore County Council meetings are usually civil affairs. But Thursday afternoon’s meeting broke out in to partisan warfare over the proposed county budget. It was a classic fight over tax hikes, new schools and budget cuts.

 

 

John Lee

 

 

Baltimore County has the second highest rate of fatal opioid overdoses in the state. Only Baltimore City has more. The county will begin reaching out to people, especially those who have personally been affected by opioids, to ask them what should be done.

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

The Baltimore County Council has a little more than a week to decide whether to go along with tax increases being proposed by County Executive Johnny Olszewski. The county executive says the money raised is needed to deal with an $81 million shortfall, as well as fund new initiatives. 

 

The Council and Olszewski are considering changes on two proposals: a cell phone tax and impact fees on developers.

 

 

Baltimore County

Baltimore County, facing overcrowded schools and congested roads, is considering charging developers impact fees. It’s a way to raise money to spend on the problems that developments create.

 

The Baltimore County Council is looking at dueling plans that differ on how the money would be spent.

 

 

State of Maryland

The Maryland House of Delegates set two historic precedents Wednesday, when it selected Baltimore County Delegate Adrienne Jones to be Speaker of the House.

Jones is the first woman, and first African American to become speaker, one of the most powerful political positions in the state.

Baltimore County Police Department

A Baltimore County jury Wednesday found a teenager guilty of felony murder in the death last May of police officer Amy Caprio.

Dawnta Harris, who is now 17, was tried as an adult. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

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