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.

Gotham Greens

Lettuces and herbs soon will be growing on an environmental cleanup site in eastern Baltimore County. 

 

The Bethlehem Steel site at Sparrows Point was a toxic wasteland when Tradepoint Atlantic began developing it five years ago. 

 

The company Gotham Greens’ mission is to grow produce where you would least expect it. 

 

 

John Lee

Climate change is real and human activity is driving it. That is the science, and teachers and administrators say it’s being taught that way in Baltimore County schools. 

 

But there are climate change skeptics. 

 

In this way, climate change is like evolution. The teaching of the scientific theory runs afoul of some people’s beliefs.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County will prohibit landlords from rejecting would-be tenants because they use housing vouchers, also known as section 8. 

 

The Baltimore County Council approved the controversial legislation Monday night in a vote that went straight down party lines.The four Democrats on the county council voted for it. The three Republicans voted against. 

 

 

Arbutus. College Town?

Nov 4, 2019
John Lee

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Arbutus are near each other. But when you think about Arbutus, “college town” probably doesn’t come to mind. 

 

A business is opening Monday morning in the southern Baltimore County community that hopes to help change that. 

 

 

John Lee

It was standing room only in the Baltimore County Council Chambers Tuesday afternoon, as the council heard from both sides of the controversial issue of housing vouchers. 

 

Meantime, the odds may be improving that the legislation will pass the county council when it comes up for a vote next week.

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

Housing vouchers, also known as section 8: are they a helping hand for people in need or do they threaten neighborhoods? 

 

The Baltimore County Council has scheduled a public hearing Tuesday afternoon on legislation that would forbid landlords from rejecting would-be tenants because they use the vouchers. 

 

Thousands of people in Baltimore County find themselves on opposite sides of the controversy.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

Former Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden has died. Hayden was county executive from 1990 to1994 and was the last Republican to hold that position. 

 

Hayden also served twice on the county board of education, from 1974 to1987 and again from 2017 until his death. 

 

 

John Lee

Mountain Christian Church, a mega-church in Harford County, has backed off plans to build a wastewater treatment plant that would have released its discharge into a tributary of Little Gunpowder Falls.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

The Baltimore County School Board is deciding whether to start school before or after Labor Day next year.

 

But at a public hearing Tuesday night, the board heard mostly from people who asked it to treat the major religions equally when deciding on religious holidays in the 2020-2021 school calendar. 

 

 

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The General Assembly earlier this year tossed out Governor Larry Hogan’s 2016 executive order forcing school systems to wait until after Labor Day to start classes. 

 

School systems in Maryland now are considering taking advantage of that because they are facing a looming calendar crunch. Labor Day next year comes at its latest possible date, September 7.

 

 

Baltimore County Government

 

The fate of a controversial proposal to ban landlords in Baltimore County from rejecting someone because they are using a housing voucher, commonly called section 8, rests with two members of the Baltimore County Council.

 

WYPR’s John Lee joined Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner in the studio to talk about the two council members whose votes are in play and the political tug of war over this legislation. 

 

 

Howard County Library System via Flickr

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings died early Thursday due to complications from longstanding health challenges, his congressional office said. He was 68.

 

A sharecropper's son, Cummings became the powerful chairman of a U.S. House committee that investigated President Donald Trump, and was a formidable orator who passionately advocated for the poor in his black-majority district, which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore as well as more well-to-do suburbs.

 

 

Stevenson University College Republicans/Facebook

  

What is driving climate change? According to a recent Goucher poll, your answer to that question has a lot to do with whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.

 

You need to look no further than Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District to hear the political divide over the science that humans are mostly to blame for what is happening to the climate.

 

 

Baltimore County

It soon will be legal to play live music in Catonsville and Arbutus.

 

The Baltimore County Council Monday night unanimously approved legislation to allow establishments in those towns to have live music. 

 

 

John Lee

The Baltimore County Council is expected to vote Monday night on whether it will sue Monsanto Company for contaminating the county’s environment with Polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs.

 

WYPR’s Baltimore County reporter John Lee and Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner hashed out the details.

 

 

John Lee

 

 

Controversial legislation that would ban landlords in Baltimore County from rejecting someone because they are using a housing voucher, commonly called section 8, is to be introduced next week at the County Council. 

 

The so-called “source of income discrimination legislation” was soundly defeated when it last went before the council three years ago.

 

 

John Lee

It appears the live music ban in Catonsville and Arbutus will be lifted. 

 

Following a public hearing Tuesday, The Baltimore County Council is poised to make a change in zoning law to let songs fill the air legally in those two towns.

 

 

Dundalk Dynasty

  

This past weekend, congressmen returned home to their districts following a tumultuous week in Washington. 

 

But when Dutch Ruppersberger made his first stop in his congressional district, in Dundalk in Eastern Baltimore County, people he talked to had something other than the impeachment inquiry against President Trump on their minds.

 

 

John Lee

Catonsville in Baltimore County is home to several well-known music stores. The town takes pride in calling itself “Music City Maryland.”  

 

But that moniker falls a bit flat because currently it’s illegal for bars and restaurants along the town’s main drag to have live music.

 

 

John Lee

 

 

Farmers live a gambler’s life. And with climate change, the odds for farmers are changing. The state is trying to help farmers plan for what the changing climate holds for Maryland’s largest commercial industry. 

 

But while some farmers are looking to go on the offensive against climate change, others are just trying to make it to tomorrow.

 

 

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.

 

 

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