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 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.

John Lee

 

Taxes, whether to raise them or not, drove Tuesday night’s budget public hearing before the Baltimore County Council.

 

County Executive Johnny Olszewski is proposing a package of tax increases to help deal with an $81 million shortfall and pay for initiatives like a pay raise for teachers. WYPR’s John Lee was there and talked about it with Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

 

Two high-ranking officials in the Baltimore County school system have filed complaints against members of the school board, alleging bullying, intimidation, and a hostile work environment. 

 

 

John Lee

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski wants to create a new cell phone tax. It’s part of a package of tax increases and fees he says is needed to make up a budget shortfall while at the same time provide the money to pay for pressing needs in the county. 

 

The cell phone tax idea is shaping up to be one of Olszewski’s most controversial proposals.

 

 

John Lee

Ben’s Run trickles through the Northwest Crossing Apartments property off Old Court Road in Randallstown. Volunteers on Monday fanned out and picked up all kinds of trash in the run: plastic bags, cups, even a tossed baby stroller. 

Baltimore County Monday launched a two-month attack on litter, to mark the 50th Earth Day.

 

 

John Lee

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski put seed money in his proposed budget for a new Lansdowne High School.

 

That has supporters of new high schools for Dulaney and Towson wondering why they were left high and dry.

 

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Monday proposed raising the county’s income tax rate, taxing cell phone lines, charging developers impact fees, and hiking the county’s hotel tax.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

Audio will be posted Thursday morning.  

The audit of the Baltimore County Schools’ procurement practices, released to the public on Wednesday, shows no evidence of corruption.  But school board chairwoman Kathleen Causey said the investigation into the county school system is not over.

 

 

John Lee

Baltimore County Interim School Superintendent Verletta White said a long-awaited audit that was received by the school board Tuesday night helps to make her case that she should become the county’s permanent superintendent. WYPR’s John Lee was at the board meeting and talked with Morning Edition guest host Matt Tacka about what the audit found. 

 

John Lee

A tax increase in Baltimore County is now a foregone conclusion. That’s according to County Council Chairman Tom Quirk, who said the tax increase has to happen because the General Assembly did not deliver additional school construction money to the county.

 

 

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

 

 

Baltimore County’s school board is struggling to find its way as a newly partially elected, partially appointed board. At the same time, it has come under fire for not releasing a long-anticipated audit, rushing through a permanent school superintendent search and micromanaging Baltimore County’s school administration.

 

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The long-anticipated audit into the Baltimore County School System’s procurement practices will be presented to the school board and made public next week. 

 

That is according to school board’s chairwoman.

 

 

John Lee

 

Construction money for schools in Baltimore County is in trouble in the General Assembly.

 

If the legislation doesn’t pass, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said it likely will be years before any new high schools are built in the county.

 

 

John Lee

Teachers say it’s crunch time. 

The General Assembly session ends in less than one week. In two weeks, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski presents his budget to the county council. 

 

Teachers and their supporters rallied outside the Historic Courthouse in Towson Monday night, calling on the state and the county to come through with money for schools.

 

As several dozen people congregated at the courthouse, most wearing red, a sign of support for teachers, they were joined by Olszewski, who is a former teacher.

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

From a possible tax increase to new high schools, a lot is in play as Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski prepares to present his first budget to the County Council in about two weeks. 

 

Olszewski is receiving high marks for how he’s handled his first four months in office. But this era of good feeling could be tested once Olszewski lays out his budget.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

 

 

The Baltimore County Public School System is suspending students at an increasing rate at the same time it is under pressure to reduce those numbers. The school system is in a balancing act of keeping schools safe while looking for alternatives to suspension.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

 

 

The Baltimore County School System is breaking the law when it comes to how it is disciplining its students. That’s according to attorneys who say they are monitoring the school system and offering to help it get into  compliance. 

 

The allegation is that too many students are being suspended and expelled for the wrong reasons.

 

 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski got blowback from members of the County Council Tuesday over his proposal for an election fund for candidates, paid for by taxpayers.

Council members questioned its cost and the details.

 

 

Baltimore County

 

 

When Larry Hogan ran for governor the first time in 2014, he financed it by tapping a state public campaign fund. 

 

The Baltimore County Council Tuesday will consider a similar fund for county candidates. It will also debate whether to establish an Office of Ethics and Accountability.

 

 

John Lee

When you first see Perry Hall Mansion, you notice something odd. Sean Kief, who is on the board of Historic Perry Hall Mansion, points it out.

 

“You’re looking at basically half a house,” Kief said.

 

More than 200 years after the founding of a new American church within its halls, the bare bones of the Baltimore County mansion remains. 

 

But there are questions about its future

 

 

Seth Sawyers/flickr

Republican Governor Larry Hogan has asked the General Assembly to approve a plan to spend nearly $2 billion in additional school construction money statewide over the next four years. 

 

And Baltimore County’s Executive, Democrat Johnny Olszewski, agrees. 

 

Olszewski painted a dire picture before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Wednesday of what might happen without the money.

 

 

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