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Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun

Former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, III, known locally as “Young Tommy” because he was the son of former Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., passed away Sunday from complications of a stroke. He was 90.

WYPR’s senior news analyst emeritus Fraser Smith returned to our studios today to join news director Joel McCord to talk about “Young Tommy.”

Audio will be added shortly  

No doubt, there are many of you, hundreds, maybe even thousands who are a little conflicted about the latest goings-on in Washington.

No, not that stuff, but the fact that that city’s baseball team, the Nationals are heading for the World Series.

You probably know someone who claims to have gone to a Nationals game. If you work on that end of the Parkway, you might have a colleague who says they’ve backed the Nats since they landed here all those 14 years ago.

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. 

 

 

AP PHOTO Julio cortez

Elijah Cummings’ hometown of Baltimore is mourning.

The 12-term congressman, who passed away in the early hours of Oct. 17, was one of the earliest black leaders in Baltimore to achieve national standing.

AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY

Baltimore, Maryland and the nation are mourning the death of a congressional veteran who became a national leader in the cause of civil rights.

Elijah Cummings lost his months-long fight for life Thursday at the pinnacle of his lengthy political career.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings died early Thursday due to complications from longstanding health challenges. He was 68.

Tributes and remembrances have been pouring in since the news broke that Cummings passed, and WYPR is remembering our interviews with the longtime Democratic congressman. 

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.

 

 

As Climate Changes, Scientists Re-Think Phragmites

Oct 17, 2019
Pamela D'Angelo

If you visit the tiny Virginia town of Saxis, just across Pocomoke Sound from Crisfield, Maryland, you’ll be greeted by fields of bobbing, feathery heads of 10-foot phragmites.

The tall reed launched its invasion of the Chesapeake Bay centuries ago when the plants hitched a ride across the Atlantic with the first European colonists. And for the most part, it’s been seen as a pesky plant that clogged wetlands and waterways, taking over the habitat of native plants.

Pamela D'Angelo

The wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay are nurseries for blue crabs, striped bass, menhaden and other important species. The variety of plants in them absorbs pollutants like nitrogen that run off city streets and farm fields.

And they protect properties from flooding by stabilizing shorelines and absorbing storm water.

Rachel Baye

A state panel has proposed a highly anticipated revamp of the formula Maryland uses to fund public schools. The new formula would facilitate a major overhaul of public education in the state that would eventually increase spending on schools by roughly $4 billion a year.

The formula gradually increases the state’s share of education costs so that in the year 2030, the state would spend an additional $2.8 billion. Local jurisdictions would be on the hook for the remaining $1.2 billion.

AP Photo/Matt Houston

More details emerged Monday night on the campaign to win approval of the $375 million deal to shore up Maryland’s horse racing industry. It would include renovations at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and the track at Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County.

As the clock ran down at the end of last week’s fifth and deciding game of the WNBA Finals, the one that brought a championship to the Washington Mystics for the first time in the 22-year history of the franchise, I got well, a little misty.

With a couple of exceptions, I don’t know any of the players. I didn’t go to any games this year, and I haven’t been to a Mystics game in at least five years.

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.

 

 

Keeping Cuban Music Alive

Oct 11, 2019
Tom Flynn

Tracing the musical history of Santiago and all of eastern Cuba is like finding a treasure chest in which the traditional roots of the music still shine like gold nuggets.

Rodolfo Vaillant, head of the city’s musician’s union, says the traditional music became the source for most of the Latin music that we hear today.

Tom Flynn

Santiago, Cuba, Oriente Province, is five hours by plane from BWI, via Miami, but centuries away in time. Horse carts clop around town and roosters rule from rooftops on every block of the old city.  And there’s music in the streets in late July.

That’s because the folks in this town, the capitol of this Spanish colony since 1522, are getting ready for the traditional summer Carnival. The final parade of the Carnival takes place July 26, the date of Fidel Castro’s attack on the Moncado Barracks that marks the start of the 1953 revolution.

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. 

 

 

Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun

A longtime member of the House of Delegates from Prince George’s County, Tawanna Gaines, has been charged with federal wire fraud. Gaines resigned from the legislature on Friday.

Prosecutors say Gaines collected more than $22,000 from campaign supporters in a PayPal account, then used that money on personal expenses. Gaines did not disclose the PayPal account in state campaign finance records.

There’s an axiom that goes freedom of speech isn’t free. Daryl Morey may learn that lesson the hard way.

Morey, the general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, has, heretofore, been best known for bringing analytics to professional basketball management.

That, and blowing up his roster on occasion when he perceives the need, as in this past offseason, when Morey gambled Houston’s future by dealing away multiple first round picks to Oklahoma City for mercurial guard Russell Westbrook.

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.

 

 

Baltimore City Hall

City Councilwoman Shannon Snead has joined fellow council member Leon Pinkett in the Democratic primary race to be Baltimore’s next City Council President and drive city legislation.

The freshman councilwoman announced her run for the office on Thursday.

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.

 

 

The Orioles began the 2019 season winning two of three against the Toronto Blue Jays. They closed the season winning two of three against the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

In between, they did a whole lot of losing, dropping more than 100 games for a second straight year.

That’s the first time that’s happened in the 65 seasons the club has been here in Baltimore, and there’s precious little we saw this year to suggest that next year won’t be a third.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore City Council’s Taxation, Finance and Economic Development committee approved on Thursday a measure that would create several programs and offices to make low income residents’ water bills more affordable. 

The committee passed the Water Accountability & Equity Act without of the 14 pages of amendments that Department of Public Works Director Rudy Chow submitted less than a half hour before the meeting, which was supposed to be the last committee work session on the bill.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

It’s been months of uncertainty for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and all those who worry about the future of the city's cultural icon. But after a 14-week labor dispute, the musicians and orchestra management announced a one-year contract Monday.

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.

 

 

Hundreds of Baltimore students left class and walked to City Hall on Friday to demand local and national leaders take action to lessen the impact of climate change. 

The protests are part of the Global Climate Strike, a youth-led mobilization to advocate for an end to fossil fuel use ahead of an emergency United Nations climate summit. On Friday, organizers rallied marches in more than 150 countries. More than 800 marches occurred in the U.S.  

 

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

They came in the rain, soaked from head to foot: some with face paint dripping down, some dressed in matching jumpsuits or some,  just in simple t-shirts and shorts. And they came with their toilet bowl race cars - yes, toilet bowl race cars...exquisitely engineered to roll down Chestnut Ave. in Hampden one after another, like a parade displaying Baltimore’s sense of humor.

Twenty-three pilots boarded their homemade toilet bowl vessels and zoomed down the street while crowds dressed in rain gear and carrying umbrellas cheered them on.

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