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.

Baltimore County

Warning that the toughest challenge yet could be “COVID’s long, dark winter,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski  announced new restrictions Friday.

They are, like those his counterparts in other jurisdictions have announced, more stringent than those Gov. Larry Hogan announced earlier in the week.

Baltimore County Public Schools


The Baltimore County Schools now have a plan on how students from preschool to second grade will be brought back to the classroom.

But with COVID-19 rates worsening, it’s anyone’s guess when that will happen.

Baltimore County

COVID-19 cases are spiking in Baltimore County.

County officials Monday warned that if the numbers don’t improve, new restrictions will need to be put in place, and that a possible vaccine would not be a panacea.

John Lee

Baltimore County voters have approved a charter amendment allowing public money to be used to fund election campaigns in county races.

The charter amendment, which was Question A on the Baltimore County ballot, got more than 55% of the votes cast. 

John Lee

The COVID-19 positivity rate is rising in Baltimore County. For that reason, the school system announced Wednesday it will not open four schools for severely disabled students November 16 as planned. They were going to be the first county schools to reopen since school buildings were closed statewide in March.

This will have a ripple effect across the entire county school system.

Melissa Gerr

It's finally Election Day! Get voting information, resources, and reports from the polls from the WYPR News Team, On the Record, and Midday

John Lee

Teachers at four Baltimore County schools for disabled children were supposed to report to their classrooms Monday morning.

Their return is being delayed one week while the teachers’ union and the school system negotiate how those teachers can return safely.

John Lee

More than one million Marylanders have now cast their ballots by mail.

If you have a mail-in ballot but have not yet sent it in, election officials say you need to take action.

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The Baltimore County school board directed administrators Tuesday night to come up with a plan to bring K-2 students back to classrooms after Thanksgiving. The plan is expected to be presented to the board at its next meeting November 10.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones has given up for now on legislation that would have restricted when police could use no-knock warrants.

Jones withdrew the bill Tuesday. He did not have the votes to get it through the county council, according to council members.

John Lee

Hundreds of people were in line Monday morning before the early voting center at Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall opened at 7 a.m. People waited more than an hour and half in line before being able to vote.  

John Lee

The first students are returning to Baltimore County school buildings next month. They are some of the school system’s most severely disabled children and go to one of four special schools.

This comes as there is a debate over whether all Baltimore County Schools should reopen.

John Lee / WYPR

A steady stream of Baltimore County voters is going to ballot drop off boxes at locations from Arbutus to Hereford with their mail-in ballots in hand.

A breakdown shows that the ones being used the least are in traditionally Republican strongholds.

 As of last Friday, the least used ballot drop box in the county was in Dundalk with a little more than 1,000 ballots cast. According to the county elections board, a close second was the one in Middle River with 1,133 ballots. Both are reliably Republican areas of the county.

John Lee

In Baltimore County, election officials are counting the more than 84,000 mail-in ballots they’ve received.

They are fixing some voters’ mistakes along the way.

John Lee

More than 1.5 million Marylanders have asked for a mail-in ballot for this fall’s election. If you want to vote by mail but haven’t applied to get your ballot, time is rapidly running out.

John Lee

Teachers who work at Baltimore County’s four schools for severely disabled students say it is unsafe to return to class.

John Lee

Residents of an historically African American neighborhood in East Towson are lobbying against plans for an affordable housing development. Those descendants of slaves who once labored at Hampton Plantation in Baltimore County, fear the project threatens the existence of their neighborhood. 

Baltimore County finds itself caught between those residents, and an agreement it has with the federal government to provide additional affordable housing.

County officials say it is also their moral obligation to do so.

John Lee

Baltimore County voters are deciding if the county can use tax money to finance political campaigns. The proposed change to the county charter is Question A on the ballot.

Baltimore County Police Department

Changes are coming to the Baltimore County Police Department.

After months of debate, the county council approved police reform legislation Monday night.

John Lee / WYPR

In Baltimore County, some voters are not taking a chance on long Election Day lines. Hundreds have already voted this week by taking their ballots to drop boxes.  

Baltimore County

The Baltimore County Council is poised to vote on legislation next week that would reform the county police department.

It was nearly two months ago that the council shelved police reform legislation.

Tuesday night, the council held a hearing on a reworked proposal that in its current form has the support of a majority of council members. But possible last minute changes to the bill could make the final vote uncertain.

WYPR’s John Lee listened in on the hearing and joined Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner to talk about it.

John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewsi said Governor Hogan is not communicating with local leaders. Olszewski said that is a missed opportunity for the governor to hear from county executives before making COVID-related decisions, like what to reopen and with what restrictions.

WYPR’s John Lee talked with Olszewski about that, as well as reopening schools and the county’s overall response to the pandemic, now in its seventh month. He joined Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner to talk about what Olszewski had to say.


Nearly 85% of Baltimore County educators surveyed by the teachers union this week said they are anxious or very anxious about returning to classrooms before January.

John Lee

The Baltimore County teachers’ union will survey its members this week to learn what they think about returning to classrooms. This comes as the union calls on school superintendent Darryl Williams to rescind his decision to have teachers report to school buildings October 19.

John Lee

All of Baltimore County’s teachers and some of its students will soon be heading back to school buildings.

That announcement Thursday caught the teachers’ union, school board members and the county executive by surprise.

Baltimore County Public Schools

The Baltimore County Public Schools’ IT help desk was overwhelmed during the days leading up to the start of school, as well as during the first several days of virtual classes.

School administrators told the county school board Tuesday night that from August 30 until September 11, there were more than 8,000 requests for technical support.

Seth Sawyers/flickr

Special education students make up 12 percent of the enrollment in Maryland public schools.

With the school year just getting under way with virtual learning, advocates and parents say many of those students are already at risk of failure.

The Associated Press

Baltimore County’s elections director expects half the people who will vote in the county this fall will do it by mail.

John Lee

Baltimore County lawmakers struck a deal Tuesday to pass police reform legislation.

Last month, the county council shelved controversial reform legislation. Tuesday’s compromise has the support of the county executive, and six of the seven council members.

John Lee

There will be no school buses on the road Tuesday, even though it’s the first day of classes for a number of school systems in Maryland, including Baltimore City, and Baltimore and Howard Counties. Every school district in the state is starting the year with virtual learning.