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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Joel McCord

A group of anthropology majors from Washington College in Chestertown has spent the summer not at the beach, but as research assistants roaming the Eastern Shore, talking to residents about the risks of flooding and projected sea level rise. They’ve traveled through Talbot, Dorchester and Somerset counties talking to local residents about their communities, changes and their experiences with flooding.

And on a recent trip, Kirsten Webb and Hayley Hartman were visiting Roland and Sheilah Bradshaw at their home on Smith Island. Kirsten was hardly into her opening spiel about community response to flooding when Roland jumped in.

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers plan to introduce legislation requiring the state to get all of its electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by the year 2035. The bill is expected to be introduced when the General Assembly returns to Annapolis in January.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced a plan today for a permanent solution for those homeless people camped out in front of city hall to seek housing. The mayor says she looked to charitable organizations for help. 

Flickr via Creative Commons

I am a Lee from Virginia. I lived in Charlottesville for four years. I lived on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, with its statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and Jeb Stuart. I’m a white, middle aged guy. And until weekend before last, I was on the wrong side of history.

I thought statues of Confederate heroes served a purpose. While I by no means thought the South was justified in leaving the union in order to preserve slavery, I thought those statues were about something else. 

Who was Roger Taney?

Aug 23, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Any discussion of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney inevitably begins with the opinion he published in 1857 in Dred Scott v. Sanford.

William Yeung/flickr

College students are only now starting to report for the new school year, and the first serious athletic competitions are a few weeks away.

But the scene is set for one of the biggest showdowns in college sports history between the NCAA and one of its highest profile member schools.

The outcome may go a long way to defining what a student-athlete is as well as determine whether the organization that governs college athletics can, in fact, play a role in academics.

A statue of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney was removed from the State House grounds early Friday morning, following a key state committee vote, cast by email earlier this week. Taney is best known for writing the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery by ruling that black people could not be US citizens.

But a day after the State House Trust voted, Senate President Mike Miller jumped to Taney’s defense.

Documenting Hate

Aug 16, 2017

Driven by the lack of reliable data on the number of hate crimes that occur in the U.S., ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom recently joined with partners to launch Documenting Hate, an initiative that collects stories about bias incidents and hate crimes. 

National and local data, user-submitted reports, and social media monitoring will allow journalists and civil rights groups to get a more accurate picture of hate crimes and acts of intimidation--in person and online. 

P. Kenneth Burns

Earlier this year, Baltimore entered into a consent decree with the Department of Justice to reform the city police department. As part of the agreement, an independent monitor will keep track of the changes made and report publicly on the progress.

Tuesday night, the city hosted the first of two forums where community members could hear from the four finalists considered for monitors.

WYPR's Matt Tacka and Rachel Baye discuss what happened at the forum and the process for selecting the monitor.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Two weeks ago, state officials gathered in a shopping center parking lot in Dundalk to declare August first Henrietta Lacks Day. Last night, the Baltimore City Council adopted a resolution to follow suit. The resolution honors the woman whose cancer cells, taken by Johns Hopkins doctors in 1951 without her knowledge or consent, led to advances in treatment of polio, cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Lack of patient consent, compounded by a history of mistrust of medical institutions, still reverberates in Baltimore’s gay black community.

Alistair Ross/flickr

We know you’ve been busy lately, what with summer vacations, planning for the eclipse, or checking out sunflowers, so maybe you haven’t been keeping up on the goings-on in the world of sports.

In our never-ending quest to inform and entertain, let’s let you in on a little secret: The Olympics are coming to the United States.

Rachel Baye

Two Maryland doctors have been charged with illegally selling prescriptions for opioid painkillers at so-called “pill mills.” State Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the indictments Thursday together with local and federal officials following an investigation spanning multiple agencies and jurisdictions.

WYPR-Tom Pelton

The Board of Estimates agreed today to changes in a 15-year-old consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency that gives the city more time to fix its troubled sewer system. But, not everyone was happy with it.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, talks to City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, about the Baltimore Police Department's officer vacancies, new hiring strategy, and programs in their pilot phase to bring the department into the 21st century. 

Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh had some sharp words today for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session.

Creative Commons via Flickr

I’m willing to give everyone in the Ravens’ organization the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Colin Kaepernick.

I really believe coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome when they said they had legitimate interest in signing the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. And, unlike some cynics, I really do think that owner Steve Bisciotti gives a hoot about what fans think about having a man in black and purple who wouldn’t stand last year for the red, white and blue, if I might be so simplistic. 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The 72-hour Baltimore ceasefire ended Sunday night, broken four times by shootings over the weekend. Nonetheless, organizers said they hoped to continue their movement going forward.

It began at 5 p.m. Friday with a 12-hour barbecue and resource fair at the corner of Erdman Avenue and Belair Road, one of 40 events scheduled for the weekend. This one was led by Out for Justice, a non-profit that helps people seeking legal advice.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The Baltimore City Council’s Public Safety Committee released a violence reduction strategy today, a day after community organizations pleaded with Mayor Catherine Pugh to release her plan.

Rachel Baye

Maryland Secretary of Health Dennis Schrader and Secretary of Planning Wendi Peters are suing state Treasurer Nancy Kopp after she refused to sign their paychecks. The lawsuit filed Thursday is the latest development in an ongoing dispute between Gov. Larry Hogan and the General Assembly.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The General Assembly created a commission in the spring to protect Marylanders’ health insurance coverage from changes to the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid funding. The commission met for the first time Tuesday, and even though Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed in Congress last week, state lawmakers were far from relieved.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The state of Maryland officially declared today, August 1st, as Henrietta Lacks Day and dedicated the stretch of Broening Highway from the Baltimore city and Baltimore county lines into Turner’s Station to the former resident of that community.

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. 

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