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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.

Edwin Martinez/flickr

It was 241 years ago this week that Thomas Jefferson and a band of brothers unleashed the Declaration of Independence, one of mankind’s greatest documents, upon the Earth.

Did you notice two key words in that previous sentence, namely brothers and mankind?

In the nearly quarter of a millennium since the Declaration was signed, we still haven’t figured out how to incorporate or even recognize the contributions of women into the American fabric.

One of the most noticeable, if not admittedly inconsequential areas where women continually draw short shrift is in athletics.

Jamyla Krempel

Anthony Lloyd is one of those kids who was doing everything right; getting good grades, going to college.

Still, he was shot in the back by a 17-year-old who was trying to steal his scooter. He survived--though, with a bullet lodged in his liver--and recently graduated from Bard High School. He says he wasn't surprised by the attack.

"You know, for me, getting shot it wasn't like, 'Oh my God, I got shot!'" said 18-year-old Anthony in an interview at his summer job at the Middle Branch Park Recreational Center. "It was like this is proof that there is a serious problem. It's proof that there is a serious problem."

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland announced today it has filed two separate suits to overturn gag orders contained in settlements in police brutality cases.

The suits against Baltimore City and its police department and Salisbury and its police department were filed in federal court and in Baltimore Circuit court.

Susan Goering, ACLU Maryland’s executive director, says settlements that impose gag orders on plaintiffs violate their rights.

A bipartisan plea for bay funds

Jun 29, 2017

  

A bipartisan array of state officials went to bat for the Chesapeake Bay yesterday, lobbying their Congressional representatives to restore $73 million in bay restoration funds that was chopped out of the 2018 federal budget.

Dominique Maria Bonessi / 1992

The great Potomac Street bike track controversy appears to be settled.

Mayor Catherine Pugh has a plan to maintain the bike lane, eliminate parallel parking on both sides of the street and allow angle parking on one side.

The whole thing blew up back in May when Pugh said she was going to tear up the $775,000 bike lane because the neighbors feared it would hamper emergency vehicles. The advocacy group Bikemore sued to keep the lane and a circuit judge temporarily blocked the city's plan to destroy it.

Pugh announced her new plan at a news conference Wednesday.

Katie Piekes

More than 60 people gathered on the beach at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, Tuesday to watch the folks from Baltimore’s National Aquarium release a harbor seal they had been treating for more than two months back into the Atlantic Ocean.

Phil—he was named for a fisherman who helped monitor him—had been in a pond in Kent County, Delaware, all winter and came to the aquarium in mid-April with an eye irritation — likely from being in freshwater too long.

Suzanne Thurman, the director of the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute in Delaware, said Phil likely stayed in the pond because he had no competition for food.

Earlier this month, Baltimore City Schools laid off 115 people to help plug a looming budget gap. But at the same time the school system was trying to fill 200 vacancies.

And that has left teachers and their representatives in layoff limbo.

"It’s just a mystery to me why you can’t find a place for these people," fumed Marietta English, president of the Baltimore Teacher’s Union.

Daniel X. O'Neil/flickr

The calendar says late June, and, in a sports context, that, for many, means baseball and the early stages of a pennant race. But, soon enough, the calendar will turn to fall and the American sports attention will  quickly turn to football, assuming it ever leaves football.

And for millions of parents of kids, especially those kids who want to play football for the first time, the changing of the calendar will bring on a decision: whether to let those kids play the game or not.

Once upon a time, say, a generation or so ago, such a decision was a no-brainer.

Dominique Maria Bonessi / 1992

The Baltimore Teachers Union partnered with Baltimore City Schools last week to launch a five-week campaign to enroll 1,000 new students in city schools. 

Using a database of targeted houses provided by the city, groups of teachers and paraprofessionals have gone door knocking to try to talk parents into sending their kids to city schools. But at least one group found that many of the houses where they were told school aged children lived were vacant; one after another, after another, with mail piled up at the threshold. .  

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