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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Baltimore public schools' heating crisis earlier this month was a "day of reckoning" for the system, the city, and the state said public schools CEO Sonja Santelises. The crisis, she said in an interview with WYPR Wednesday, exposed the truth that Baltimore city school buildings are less than functional.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan is again pushing for Maryland to change how it draws legislative districts.

For the third consecutive year, Hogan is introducing a bill that creates what he says would be a nonpartisan commission to draw the districts, he announced Thursday

For the last two years, Hogan’s redistricting bill has died in committee. Democrats say they don’t want Maryland to give up Democratic seats in Congress without other states giving up Republican seats.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed $17.7 billion operating budget for next fiscal year, released Wednesday, cuts funding for several Democratic priorities.

Rachel Baye

Because of the way Maryland’s tax laws are written, recent changes in federal tax law could lead to sharp increases in state taxpayers’ bills. The governor and leaders of the state legislature all say they plan to look for a way to cushion that blow, and the Democrats in the legislature revealed at a press conference Tuesday how they plan to do that.

AP Photo/David Goldman

January 15, Martin Luther King’s birthday, and, for this year, the day America pays homage to his memory with a national holiday, may not seem like a day to think about sports.

But while the civil rights icon wasn’t an athlete – save for a 1964 photo of him throwing a baseball in the backyard to his son, Marty – King knew the value of sports as an agent for social change.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

America’s fresh water is getting saltier, and has been over the last 50 years. That’s according to new research from the University of Maryland.

You’ve seen those big trucks driving around dumping salt on the roads. University of Maryland scientists say that is just one of the reasons that in the continental U.S. freshwater has become 32 percent more salty, and 90 percent more acidic.

Rachel Baye

Two bills Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed last year are set to become law in 30 days after the state Senate voted Friday to override the vetoes. One bill requires businesses with 15 or more employees to give them paid sick leave, and the other eliminates questions about criminal history from college applications.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is dismissing Governor Hogan's call for an independent investigator general to root out corruption and mismanagement in Maryland schools.

 

Rachel Baye

After more than five years of debate in the General Assembly, a bill requiring Maryland businesses to offer paid leave to their employees is one vote away from becoming law after the House of Delegates voted Thursday to override the governor’s veto on the bill.

The bill applies to businesses with at least 15 employees.

On the floor during Thursday’s debate, several Republican women said the bill forces domestic violence victims to reveal private information when they take a day off.

But several Democrats said that’s an inaccurate interpretation of the legislation.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Two days after Governor Larry Hogan promised $2.5 million for repairs to Baltimore City schools’ troubled heating systems, he met with Mayor Catherine Pugh to talk about the schools and other issues.

Rachel Baye

To mark the start of the General Assembly session Wednesday, the state Legislative Black Caucus announced plans to push for bail reform, money for historically black colleges and universities, and the development of State Center in Baltimore. And the powerful group took a firm stand on medical marijuana.

baltimorehousing.org

The Baltimore Housing Authority is planning to have the Gilmor Homes public housing community partially demolished by 2019. Gilmor Homes is where Freddie Gray once lived. Last night, Housing Authority officials met with Gilmor Homes residents to lay out their plans. WYPR City Hall reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi talks about it with Nathan Sterner.

@Ravens/Twitter

It’s now standard behavior for a team to take out an ad in the local newspaper after their season ends to extend a word of gratitude to the fanbase for the year just completed.

And so it was Sunday as the Ravens posted a full-page advertisement in The Baltimore Sun with pictures of fans under the headline, “Thank You.”

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan is proposing term limits for the 188 members of the General Assembly. At a news conference Tuesday, he said his bill would limit each legislator to two consecutive terms, or eight years, in each chamber.

Hogan described term limits as a way for the voting public to hold elected officials accountable. He blamed the lack of term limits and the rise of career politicians for a litany of woes, including pending corruption charges against Sen. Nathaniel Oaks.

The monitors charged with reforming the Baltimore City Police Department have officially released a draft of their one-year monitoring plan.The plan comes after the monitors met with residents at multiple events throughout the city.

Rachel Baye

As lawmakers prepare to return to Annapolis Wednesday for the start of the General Assembly’s annual 90-day session, they are gearing up for fights on topics such as taxes, health insurance and Baltimore’s record-level of violence.

Baltimore City Public Schools

Governor Larry Hogan promised an emergency $2.5 million for repairs to Baltimore City Schools' troubled heating systems today. And he blamed the problems on mismanagement. Meanwhile, at least eight Baltimore City schools were closed today because of continuing problems with the heating systems and a water main break.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan announced his support Friday for a bill that would allow a woman who gets pregnant after being sexually assaulted or raped to strip her attacker of parental rights. The leaders of both the House of Delegates and the state Senate are co-sponsoring the legislation.

John Lee

 

  

Former Governor Martin O’Malley is taking sides in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County executive.

 

Jonna McKone

Temperatures dipping into the single digits, multiple water-main breaks already this week. And now forecasters are predicting a monster winter storm will slam the entire East Cast tonight and early tomorrow. Public works crews say they are ready for whatever comes their way.

Updated 7:45 a.m. ET Thursday

Baltimore's public schools closed Thursday after parents and educators there complained students were enduring frigid classrooms with plumbing issues — conditions the local teachers union called "inhumane." Four of Baltimore's public schools were closed Wednesday because of facilities problems but the rest had remained open through below freezing temperatures. Some schools hovered around 40 degrees inside.

John Lee

 

The Baltimore County Council elected its first African-American chairman last night. The new chairman, Julian Jones, said he wished the day would come when there would be no more “firsts.”

@Manny_Machado13/Twitter

The new 2018 calendars are hardly in place on the walls, and the New Year’s Eve hangover is barely a memory, and yet, you, the Baltimore sports fandom, are already facing another countdown and a crisis.

The countdown is to July 31 and the crisis is a reference to end of quality Orioles baseball as we’ve known it for the last five seasons or so.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

In December, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh launched her multi-agency initiative to reduce violence in the city. The city’s Department of Recreation and Parks responded by extending their hours and expanding their programs to keep kids off the streets.

WYPR went to Upton Boxing to check out the new programs for another installment in our series “As They Grow: Tracking changes for the next generation.”

Dominique Maria Bonessi

As Baltimore’s homicide rate reached record proportions—343 murders this year—Mayor Catherine Pugh held a candle light vigil for the victims last night at the War Memorial.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The Federal Bureau of Investigation rejected the Baltimore Police Department’s request to take over the investigation of the shooting death of Homicide Detective Sean Suiter. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says the department will go back to square one of the investigation.

Tom Newby/flickr

In millions of American homes, mine included, families are sitting down right about now to enjoy Christmas dinner, with gifts from earlier in the day, nestled under the tree.

But, in the offices of more than a few sports executives, visions of something other than sugarplums are dancing in their heads.

Indeed, according to the USA Today, some of the nation’s biggest college athletic programs will have to make do with a lot less, thanks to the tax reform package passed last week.

Mary Rose Madden / 88.1 WYPR

Ernest Jones lives with his wife, his son, and his son's two children. He comes to 40 West regularly to pick up pantry staples like applesauce and beans, along with fresh fruit and meat. He can't get everything he needs at this food pantry, but it's a big help. Like many who come to this church basement in west Baltimore, he's living on a fixed income, but providing for many. "I was just asking these people if they knew of any jobs for my son, you know?" 

John Lee

 

The names of the 37 homeless people who died this year in Baltimore County were read aloud at a memorial service in Towson Thursday night. It was one of a number of memorial services held for the homeless nationwide on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

Dominique Maria Bonessi / 1992

Baltimore residents are being hit with skyrocketing water bills and many of them are heading to the Department of Public Works’ customer service office looking for some relief.

There was 81-year-old, Mary Duckett, who walked out of the customer service office glaring at her $385 water bill for the last three month.

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