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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Jonna McKone

 

Before the Civil War, it was a crime in some states for an enslaved person to read, write or attend school.

The restored Stanley Institute seeks to capture the initiative black communities took then to establish their own schools, despite the hazards.

Matthias Ripp/flickr

The month-long warning phase for red light cameras has begun. After 30 days, if you get caught running a red light, you'll get a $75 ticket. 

The warning phase for Baltimore City’s speed cameras is over, which means if one of those cameras catches you speeding, you’ll get a $40 ticket.

Click on the image for the current Baltimore City Department of Transportation map of red light and speed cameras.

Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum via AP

We’ve learned two things over the past 71 years since the aphorism “Nice guys finish last” was attributed to former Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher.

The first thing is, Durocher didn’t say it, or at least not in that way. The second thing is, even if he did, it’s not true.

And we don’t have to go further than a baseball stadium to prove that.

Over the weekend, Claire Smith received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Kimberly Mooney/Twitter

Eli McBride shared her story with her classmates, some of whom bullied her the first time she told them she was a girl.

Her next move was to hit a Baltimore City Board of Education meeting and tell the members they needed to do more to help kids like her.

TEDxBaltimore / Flickr / Creative Commons

Evergreen Health is no longer allowed to sell insurance on Maryland’s individual health insurance market as a result of the insurer’s "financially hazardous condition," state Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer said in an administrative order Thursday.

Mary Rose Madden

Eli's mom, Stephanie, says she wasn't shocked when Eli told her she was a girl. There had been signs that Eli was transgender. And even though she knew other people who were transgender, in the beginning, she says, "I did feel like I was scrambling." Stephanie says she and Terry McBride, Eli's father, still had "a ton of questions about it." When they went looking for guidance from the professionals in their lives, they came up short.

Mary Rose Madden

In the past year, various states have taken up the questions transgender kids face when they come out in school. What bathrooms to use, where to get changed for gym class?  Those logistics are not the only things to be taken into account. Is there support for kids coming out as transgender, their classmates, and their teachers?

WYPR’s Mary Rose Madden brings us the series "Eight and Out: Transgender in the Second Grade," which centers around an 8-year-old child who wants to live openly as a transgender girl, so she forged her own path. 

Justice for Tyrone West Facebook Page

The city and state reached a settlement Wednesday in the lawsuit over the death of Tyrone West during a traffic stop in 2013. West’s children are expected to receive $1 million.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

At times the hearing on Mayor Catherine Pugh's proposed gun bill got heated. After two and a half hours, two passed amendments, and two failed amendments, the public comment period opened. Protestors immediately interrupted the proceedings that were recessed for five minutes due to the protests. Two protestors were forcibly removed by police and arrested. 

file photo

Maryland Democrats in Washington are proposing competing bills with the same purpose; overhauling how the nation’s congressional districts are drawn.

Freshman Congressman Jamie Raskin has introduced a bill that would set up independent commissions to draw congressional districts.

"You know if your car isn’t working right, you don’t need a new message, you need a new car," he says. "And if your engine’s not working, you don’t need a new message you need a new engine. And American democracy needs a new engine."

kowarski/flickr

For a number of reasons, the little ditty that Carol Burnett used to sing each Saturday night has occupied a place in my head recently.

The song, “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together,” marked the end of her show and for those of you under the age of 40, this would be a good time to check out Carol Burnett on YouTube.

At any rate, the song has been on my mind, in a baseball context, because there’s a decent chance that an important member of the Orioles nucleus may not be in Baltimore by this time next week.

Zach Britton came up through the Orioles organization, breaking through to the majors in 2011 as a starter, with a record over two seasons that was just above .500.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The Baltimore Teacher's Union President, Marietta English, presented the almost final numbers of the efforts to enroll or re-enroll students Monday.

Two-months ago the Baltimore Teacher's Union and Baltimore City Schools began a door knocking campaign to enroll or re-enroll 1000 students. Efforts came as the school system faced a loss of 1000 students between the 2016 to 2017 school year and the $130 million budget deficit. 

Andrea Appleton

When you think of forests in Baltimore City, you probably think of public parks. But 20 percent of the city’s tree cover lies in forest patches outside of parks, on land that can be bought, sold, and developed.

And that has landed the residents of Glenham-Belhar in a desperate fight to preserve their neighborhood forest.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, about whether or not the gun bill introduced at City Council Monday night would actually reduce gun violence. Bonessi shares her interview with Laura Dugan, professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. Also, listen to more to the research on mandatory-minimums for jail sentences and whether or not they reduce crime.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The mayor's gun bill introduced to city council Monday night would make possession of a gun a mandatory one-year jail sentence. Currently, six city councilmen sit on the fence of the controversial legislation. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is one of those on the fence. Even though the guns are illegal, Baltimore is a tough city and her constituents tell her they’re scared.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration warned the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday that it will sue if the federal agency does not stop coal-fired power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia from contributing pollution to Maryland’s air.

New rules threaten growing blue cat industry

Jul 19, 2017
Pamela D'Angelo

In recent years, Chesapeake watermen and seafood processors have begun developing a market for blue catfish, that invasive species that has exploded in regional waters vacuuming up baby blue crabs, shad, striped bass and other economically important fish.

But new USDA inspection rules that hold foreign imports to U.S. standards could threaten that growing market. And you can blame it all on Mississippi Congressman Thad Cochran, who was trying to protect local catfish farmers who were feeling the pressure of Asian imports.


Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan joined 10 other governors from around the country on Tuesday in opposing the Senate’s latest proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act without immediately replacing it.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to WYPR's City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi on the gun bill dividing Baltimore City Council. Last week Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis proposed a bill that would make possession of a gun in a public place in Baltimore a mandatory sentence of one year. That bill was introduced on the council floor last night with some councilmen, like District Two's, Brandon Scott, saying that it was a "blanket call that would send more people to jail."

Un divertimento de @cromaticom

The changes that have been wrought in the games that we watch in the recent past are relatively nominal compared to what’s happened to the ways in which we receive those games.

Where once our consumption of sports was restricted to the weekends and only three broadcast networks, we have round-the-clock coverage on national and local channels devoted just to fun and games.

And that doesn’t include social media and tablets and phones that take the games out of your living room and into places we would never have dreamed of even 20 years ago.

Karen Hosler

Fair Hill, a horsy hangout on state-owned land in Cecil County, could become the permanent home of an annual international equine competition that could attract as many as eighty thousand visitors for each four-day event.

The equestrian center and a site in Virginia are finalists to win the event, known in horse circles as a "four-star." It includes cross-country racing, dressage and jumping. 

Karen Hosler

Maryland’s horse industry, once thought to be on life support, has rebounded. And at places like the Yearling show in Timonium, where year-old thoroughbreds strut their stuff before a judge who rates their likely racing success based on physical appearance, there’s an air of almost giddy optimism.

"We needed an influx of money and horses and new owners, and I think we are on our way," said long-time trainer Linda Gaudet.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Late last month, most of the kitchen staff at The Boathouse walked off the job after immigration agents asked the Canton restaurant’s management for their immigration documents. Some of them have returned to work, but the incident sent a chill through Baltimore’s restaurant and Latino communities.

Alma Cocina Latina is just a few blocks from The Boathouse in Canton. The restaurant’s owner, Irena Stein, says starting her Venezuelan restaurant in Canton wasn’t easy.

John Lee

This is a tale of two states and their approaches to local brewers.

The folks at the Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are making 450,000 barrels of beer each year and selling 6,000 of those barrels in their tap room, one pint at a time. That works out to about one and a half million pints. No Maryland brewer comes anywhere close to that.

Rachel Baye

Facing record levels of violence, Baltimore officials are grappling with the best way to curb the violence, Mayor Catherine Pugh met with Governor Larry Hogan Monday afternoon to strategize.

At the top of her list, Pugh said she plans to bring in a team from the U.S. Department of Justice next month to help the city strategize.

Daniel X. O'Neil/flickr

The end of the NBA playoffs in June brings within a few weeks the start of the league’s free agency period. And with that comes a string of signings with salary numbers that are akin to Powerball winnings.

Rachel Baye

The Baltimore City Health Department is getting a new $200,000 grant from the Open Society Institute – Baltimore to aid in the fight against opioid overdoses, city Health Commissioner Leana Wen announced Monday. The money is slated to pay for real-time alerts about overdose spikes and new community engagement efforts.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition host, Nathan Sterner, talks with City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, about the competition between 26 law firms vying to be the U.S. Department of Justice consent decree's independent monitors for police accountability. A grassroots coalition, The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs and Baltimore residents met last night at a townhall meeting at Coppin State University to ask tough questions of the monitor applicants. 

Google Maps

Speed cameras are back in Baltimore. An earlier system was shut down in 2013 after it was discovered cameras were issuing speeding tickets to cars that weren’t violating the speed limit. Mayor Catherine Pugh announced the implementation of the new cameras in May and said that she hoped the new camera system would renew Baltimoreans’ confidence and bring revenue to the city.

Below is a map showing where the first seven cameras are. They're all in school zones.

Looking for the Maryland 400's mass grave

Jul 4, 2017
Tom Moore

This is a story about Marylanders fighting and dying in Brooklyn (New York, that is) during the Revolutionary War and the mystery of where their bodies are buried.

Archeologists are looking for evidence of the Maryland 400’s possible mass grave in a part of Brooklyn called Park Slope.

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