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,” and is now a freelance reporter.

John has both a master’s degree in media management and a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University.

John Lee

The Baltimore County Council Thursday voted unanimously to make Don Mohler the 13th county executive. Mohler will finish the term of Kevin Kamenetz, who died two weeks ago.

 

 

Baltimore County Police Department

Three more teens have been charged as adults with first-degree murder in the death of a Baltimore County police officer, authorities said Wednesday.

Fifteeen-year-old Darrell Jaymar Ward, 16-year-old Derrick Eugene Matthews, and 17-year-old Eugene Robert Genius IV were charged in the killing of officer Amy Caprio. 

John Lee

Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond Tuesday night took herself out of the running to complete Kevin Kamenetz’s term as county executive. Kamenetz died nearly two weeks ago and his term ends December 3. Almond said no thanks even though she had enough votes on the County Council to land the job.

 

Baltimore County Police Department

A 16-year-old charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the death of a Maryland police officer has been ordered held without bail.

Dawnta Anthony Harris, of Baltimore, has been charged in the death Monday of Baltimore County Officer Amy Caprio. He made his first court appearance by video Tuesday. 

Valerie Ervin for Governor

When Valerie Ervin announced Thursday she would run for governor, she tapped as her running mate former Baltimore County School Board member Marisol Johnson.

 

The campaign hopes Johnson will help them in what is considered a key battleground in the governor’s race.

 

John Lee

Baltimore County school officials are to present their proposed budget to the County Council Thursday. At the same time, they’re working on a five-year strategic plan for the schools. 

 

All this is going on while Interim School Superintendent Verletta White’s future remains in limbo, and her supporters on the school board make another pitch to the state school superintendent to allow them to hire her permanently.

 

 

 

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died suddenly Thursday morning of cardiac arrest. He was 60. 

 

Kamenetz’s death sent shockwaves through the county courthouse.

 

 

John Lee

Two Democrats running for Baltimore County Executive are promising to build three new high schools, Dulaney, Lansdowne and Towson. But that promise would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s not clear where they would find the money.

 

 

John Lee

Earlier this month, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz delivered his final budget message to the County Council. He reflected on his 24 years in office, 16 years on the council, and the last eight years as county executive.

 

“Over the decades, I probably met with every single resident at least once,” Kamenetz said. “Or maybe it just feels that way.”

 

 

Baltimore County’s school board voted Tuesday night to remove the word "acting" from Verletta White’s title and make it just Superintendent of Schools.

Now, White, who has been acting superintendent for nearly a year, says it’s time to hit the reset button and begin working to restore people’s faith in the county school system.

John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board Tuesday night decided to delay a decision to renovate Lansdowne High School until its next meeting in May.

Some board members objected to the planned renovation, saying that Lansdowne is considered the high school in the worst shape in the county and should be replaced.

Yuya Tamai/flickr

The Baltimore County Council is considering tightening up the laws on pet owners to protect animals from extreme weather. 

 

But council members were warned Tuesday that what they were considering might actually do pets harm.

 

 

John Lee

Reuben Jordan is grabbing a snack before class at the cafe on The Community College of Baltimore County’s Essex campus. Jordan is 34 and has been going to college off and on for ten years, but keeps getting derailed. Twice family members have died just before he was to take final exams. But now Jordan is back and has his sights set on being trained in respiratory care.

 

“I’m just trying to be successful, get my career under way and hopefully on to bigger and better things,” Jordan said.

 

 

John Lee

 

 

 

The Baltimore County School Board’s meeting Tuesday night broke out in open warfare, as members grappled with two controversial issues. The board green lighted a $140 million computer contract, and decided to move ahead on a nationwide search for a new school superintendent.  

John Lee

There were calls last night to change the way Baltimore County government conducts itself. 

 

On the same night the county council considered changes to the county charter, protesters demanded an audit, as well as more access to lawmakers and transparency.

 

 

Baltimore County

  

  The Baltimore County Council is deciding whether to ask voters to force the county executive to cough up information when council members demand it. It’s part of a proposed change to the county’s charter.

 

John Lee

A Baltimore County Councilman says the county is ignoring its own zoning laws. Councilman Wade Kach is proposing legislation he said would make the county abide by its own rules when building on county-owned property.

John Lee

  Students walked out Wednesday at thousands of schools across the country, including Perry Hall High School in Baltimore County. They were demanding action on gun violence. 

 

Perry Hall High is in Congressman Andy Harris’s district, and the incumbent congressman is being challenged on his record of being a strong supporter of gun rights.

 

 

John Lee

  

It wasn’t supposed to be about her. But last night’s public hearing by the Baltimore County School Board on the qualifications for the next school superintendent turned into a referendum on interim school superintendent Verletta White.

 

In the lobby of the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, Oakleigh Elementary School Principal Sharon Mason was handing out white carnations to those who came out to support White.

 

“We know her,” Mason said. “We trust her. She’e been a great leader for us in the past year.”

 

John Lee

Former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance Thursday pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury. Prosecutors are recommending Dance serve time in jail.

 

Dance admits he did not disclose nearly $147,000 he earned from consulting jobs while he was running the county schools. Those payments include money he received from a company he helped win a contract from the county.

 

 

Tradepoint Atlantic

Tradepoint Atlantic, the developer that is bringing economic life back to Sparrows Point in eastern Baltimore County, plans to ask the county this year for help to pay infrastructure costs at the site. When that happens, the county will be balancing Tradepoint’s promise of thousands of jobs with a tightening budget and expected opposition from those who might see it as corporate welfare.

John Lee

  

Parents and teachers recently gathered with school administrators and it had the feeling of a classroom exercise. They sat around tables and made T-charts with poster paper and markers. On the left, they listed safety and security problems, on the right possible solutions. Christopher Jakubiak, who has two daughters, one at Dumbarton Middle, the other at West Towson Elementary, wasted no time telling his number one top-of-the-T-chart worry.

 

“What happens when an active shooter or someone who is intent on harming kids shows up at the school grounds?” Jakubiak asked.

 

 

Baltimore County Public Schools

If you want to run for the Baltimore County School board, tick tock. Tuesday night is the deadline to file to be a candidate for the county’s first partially elected school board. 

 

At the last minute and after a plea for candidates, the races are becoming more competitive. 

 

 

Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

  

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced his running mate Thursday in his campaign to become Maryland’s next governor. 

 

Kamenetz begins his sprint in a crowded Democratic field when members of his own party are challenging Kamenetz over how he’s handling the county’s finances.

 

 

The Baltimore County School Board heard a passionate plea from its student member last night for support for the student-driven March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C., in response to the mass murder of 17 people at a Broward County, Florida, high school. 

 

The board did not take a stand on whether to support the March 24 demonstration.

 

 

John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board agreed last night to start the process for a nationwide search for a permanent school superintendent.

 

 

John Lee

MTA bus 63 pulls up to Tradepoint Atlantic at Sparrows Point in Southeast Baltimore County. This route’s only been running for a couple of weeks and there are no passengers on Angela Davis’s bus. But Davis expects that to change.

“It’s cool that the buses are coming down here to the jobs so people can get to work,” Davis said.

 

 

John Lee

  

The Baltimore County Council—Democrats as well as Republicans—are defying County Executive Kevin Kamenetz over his plans to build a new Dulaney High School. Members from both parties sent a letter to Kamenetz Tuesday, putting him on notice they will block the project from getting off the ground this year.

 

 

JohnLee

  

Governor Larry Hogan is making no commitments as to how much the state will kick in to help Baltimore County pay for a new Dulaney High School, despite concerns about the cost of the project.

 

A Baltimore County Councilman is accusing County Executive Kevin Kamenetz of making fiscal decisions that are unsustainable.

 

Last fall, Kamenetz said he’d have to think about building a new Dulaney High School. Last week, he decided to do it. Councilman Tom Quirk is concerned the outgoing county executive is making promises the county won’t be able to keep.

 

 

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