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Joel McCord

Two days before the first anniversary of the murders in the Annapolis Capital newsroom, federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to authorize a memorial to fallen journalists in the nation’s capital.

The bill, sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, and Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, would allow the privately funded memorial on federal land in the District of Columbia.

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.

 

 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Last fall, Baltimore voters approved a public financing fund for elections throughout the city. Now, the City Council is considering a bill that spells out the rules and regulations for that fund.

It’s been almost seven weeks since a cyberattack crippled Baltimore City’s computer system.

 

Now, as the FBI continues its investigation and the city struggles to put it all back together, members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation are looking at ways to prevent future attacks from creating the same damage.

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.

 

 

Official photograph

Those plastic bags you get at your local supermarket, or just about anywhere you shop in Baltimore City, could be a thing of the past under a measure City Councilman Bill Henry plans to introduce at Monday’s council meeting.

The bill would ban plastic bags altogether and place a surcharge of five cents on other bags — like paper or compostable bags —at the point of sale or during pick up or delivery. 

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.

 

 

Governor Larry Hogan named 11 new members Wednesday to the scandal plagued board of directors of the University of Maryland Medical System.

The announcement came the same day as the UMMS Board elected a new chair and vice chair and released a consultant’s report that found hospital management made business deals with individual board members without informing the rest of the board or an appropriate board committee.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates has approved a $25.9 million contract with the ongoing Charm City Circulator operators to continue overseeing the free bus service for the next three years.

Errands Plus, Inc., which operates the service as RMA Worldwide Services Chauffeured Transportation, took over operations in October of last year after Baltimore sued the former operator, Transdev Services, for allegedly overcharging the city tens of millions of dollars.

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.

 

 

Mary Rose Madden

It’s been 48 hours since Darryll Burrell called an intake counselor and got his childhood friend, Al Jackson, a spot in the drug treatment program Powell Recovery in Fells Point.

But first, Al wants to get his prescription for suboxone - one of the three FDA approved medications that can help block the craving for heroin, filled. 

So, for now, Burrell can only sit and wait and worry. He's in his parked car, outside Maryland General Hospital anticpating Al's phone call.

Emily Sullivan

Danielle McCray was sworn in as the 2nd district city council member by Mayor Jack Young in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon, capping the end of a series of office transitions that began after former mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation.

McCray served as an aide to City Council President Brandon Scott when he represented the Northeast Baltimore district. She spent five years handling constituent and policy issues.

Mary Rose Madden

Al Jackson has been addicted to heroin since he was a young teenager, growing up in South Baltimore. 

These days, he says, it's hard to find heroin that's doesn't have the extremely deadly and cheap opioid, fentanyl mixed in.

And so, at the age of 56, he's desperate to kick his opioid addiction before it takes him under. 

Luckily for him, medicaid patients have more treatment options available. But, the clock is ticking like never before with fentanyl on the streets. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

A new community garden for veterans experiencing homelessness or addiction and Sandtown-Winchester community members opened last week.

The garden spans three formerly vacant lots in the 1600 block of Baker Street. Now, there’s a circle of rocks for group therapy sessions, flowers, trees, and a paved, sloping sidewalk already loved by neighborhood kids on bikes and scooters.

It's Golf Week in Baltimore

Jun 6, 2019
Tom Flynn

It was former Mayor William Donald Schaefer, a well-known city promoter, who created the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation, a non-profit to run the city’s five golf courses, back in 1984. And it was Tom Pierce, the corporation’s marketing director, who came up with the idea of a “golf week” just last year.

“Golf week is exciting,” he said. “One of the main parts is that people can have a chance to win $1 million, or $50,000. But it’s mainly a fundraiser for YouthWorks.”

Emily Sullivan

About a third of Baltimore city employees have regained email access as officials continue their work to restore digital services after the May 7 cyberattack that crippled the city’s computer system.

Around 90 percent of employees are expected to regain online access by the end of this week, and the city has developed two new workarounds to pay traffic tickets and water bills, city officials said during a news conference Tuesday.

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.

 

 

Lexington Market Due for an Overhaul

May 30, 2019
Tom Flynn

Baltimore’s Lexington Market has been around since before George Washington took office as the first President. And it remains one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the world.

But it has fallen on hard times and the city is about to launch a $40 million redevelopment project that would make Lexington Street a pedestrian mall and put a new market building on what is now a parking lot.

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. 

 

 

Baltimore Police Department

Jemell Rayam, a former Baltimore cop caught up in the Gun Trace Task Force scandal, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison Tuesday.

He was the last of eight officers from that disbanded unit to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake.

AP Photo/Steve Ruark

Gov. Larry Hogan has vetoed eight bills passed by the Democratic majority in the General Assembly and will let hundreds of others become law without his signature, his office announced Friday. 

Lauren Watley, Baltimore County Government

“Excruciating,” “trying,” “the most difficult in recent memory” — that’s how Baltimore County Council members described the process of finalizing the $3.43 billion budget they passed Thursday morning.

The budget for the next fiscal year included the first income tax hike in more than a generation and other tax increases in an attempt to close an $81 million county deficit.

Karen Hosler

As the rest of the country obsesses about the 2020 national elections, some folks in Annapolis are facing a more immediately pressing issue; filling the city council seat vacated by Shaneka Henson when she was sworn in to the House of Delegates seat long held by the late Speaker Michael Busch.

City officials have set a special election for July 2, but things aren’t going very well.

A Resilient Chesapeake

May 22, 2019
Creative Commons

Despite record rainfall washing pollution and debris into the Chesapeake Bay last year, the bay’s health continues to improve.

Sure, it took a little dip from its 2017 score, say scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, but it still maintained an overall “C,” which the scientists say is a sign of resilience in the nation’s largest estuary.

After ransomware attacks hit Baltimore City’s computer servers, the city’s lien system became inaccessible and kept prospective homebuyers from closing on properties. This week, the city introduced a “manual workaround” for homebuyers in limbo that involves paper and sworn affidavits.

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.

 

 

Baltimore Teachers Union

The president of the Baltimore Teachers Union has formally challenged the results of this week’s election, which she lost by 62 votes.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Ashley Merson has been scrimping and saving for a house for four years. She paid off her debts, got her credit score up and finally was able to make an offer  on a two-bedroom duplex house in Hampden -- and more than ready to leave her low-income apartment complex, where she, her young son and disabled brother squeeze into a one-bedroom.

But just as she was about to settle on that house, malware attacks on Baltimore City’s computer servers locked up the system, leaving her stuck in the apartment.

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