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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Frank Deford on WYPR

May 31, 2017
Garrison Forest School

The public radio world and sports fans are mourning the loss of former NPR commentator Frank Deford. He died on May 28 at his home in Key West, Florida. He was 78. 

Deford was born in Baltimore and often spoke of his roots in Charm City. Then Maryland Morning host Tom Hall spoke with Deford in May 2012 when he had just published his eighteenth book Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriterin which he looked back over his long career. 

You can listen to that interview below. 


The politics of sick leave

May 31, 2017

News Director Joel McCord and Rachel Baye, WYPR's state government reporter, discuss the political implications of Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of the General Assembly's paid sick leave bill.

Daniel X. O'Neil/flickr

The debate over one man’s responsibility to another is as old as mankind itself, dating all the way back to Earth’s first sibling rivalry, between Cain and Abel.

In more recent years, that discussion has stretched to sports, where no less a figure than Charles Barkley has declared that he, and by extension other athletes, are not role models.

But can it really be that facile? Can an athlete with national or global visibility simply play their game without pondering the consequence of how they play on others, especially kids?

Mark Dennis, Staff Photographer / Mayor's Office of Communications

With the Baltimore City Police Department under a consent decree to overhaul its operations, Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis, and Mayor Catherine Pugh cut the ribbon on the new Baltimore City Police Museum today.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed on Friday legislation removing questions about criminal history from applications for admission to public colleges.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Hogan expressed alarm that the bill “tips the scales to the detriment of public safety.”

“We should not encourage schools to turn a blind eye to a prospective student’s potentially violent criminal background,” he wrote.

But those fears are misguided, said Caryn York, who fought for the measure as the director of policy and strategic partnerships at the Baltimore-based advocacy group Job Opportunities Task Force.


Rachel Baye

Advocates have pushed state lawmakers for five years to pass a bill requiring businesses to offer paid sick leave. Earlier this year, they finally passed it. But Thursday afternoon, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill and urged lawmakers to develop a new, compromise bill.

In response to the arrest of Jesus Peraza, the Honduran father who was detained after dropping his 8-year-old son off at school, CASA, a Latino community organizing group, held a rally Thursday in front of immigration offices at Hopkins Plaza in downtown Baltimore.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The simple task of dropping off or picking up a child at school became fraught with worry for parents at Hampstead Hill Academy in March when the father of a fourth grader was followed home and arrested by immigration agents. Now, parents, students and teachers at the school at Linwood and Eastern avenues have united behind their Latino parents and students.

"You never know when it is going to happen to you. So you live in fear and you live afraid," said David Rosario, father of a third-grader, in an interview at his office just blocks from the school.

Myron Rolle Twitter

It’s graduation season and, after suffering through mostly meaningless and interminable speeches exhorting them to do good in the world, millions of young people are being turned loose on the nation presumably to do just that.

One of those graduates, Myron Rolle, has heard this speech a few times, and has apparently taken heed of those exhortations.

Rolle joined the ranks of prospective doctors over the weekend and will begin doing his residency at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston next month.

But while the addition of yet another doctor is nothing unusual, Rolle’s path to a stethoscope is quite extraordinary.

The not so co-operative Baltimore Clayworks

May 22, 2017
Brendan Reynolds

The announcement in February that the Baltimore Clayworks’ board of trustees would put its two Mt. Washington buildings up for sale to pay off a $900,000 debt created a sharp divide between members of the artists’ co-op and its administration.

Not only that, it may be hurting fund raising efforts. 

Katie Peikes/Delaware Public Media

Coastal states throughout the nation have come to depend on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant programs for research and education on issues ranging from storm damage, erosion and sea level rise to aquaculture.

But those 33 university based programs face an uncertain future under President Trump’s budget proposal, which would cut the entire sea grant program.

Governor's Office

The buzzword at the first-ever state business summit Thursday morning was “customer service.”

The phrase was a key component of the sales pitch Gov. Larry Hogan and state Commerce Secretary R. Michael Gill made to the hundreds of business and other community leaders who paid to attend the day-long conference in Baltimore.

Baltimore City 2018 FY Budget

 

Parents, administrators, and community activists made their case to city council last night for additional funds for youth, after-school, and additional educational opportunities.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

   

Tucked into a corner off Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, there are Latino-owned restaurants, blacked-owned barbershops, and one small grocery store owned by an immigrant-Nepalese family that opened in 2013.

On Monday night, the majority of the Baltimore City Council voted to confirm five new members of the city's Civilian Review Board, which is charged with examining complaints against police.

Rachel Baye

Several dozen people defended Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act Monday night at a town hall at the Greater Baltimore Urban League. Maryland congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes, both Democrats, listened as person after person shared personal health stories.

Maryland GovPics/flickr

We begin today’s program with a question that is part existential, part practical. Are you the type that largely ignores the check engine light when it flashes on your car’s dashboard?

If you are, then you can understand what appears to be the Orioles’ approach to getting third baseman Manny Machado signed to a long-term, big money contract.

The Birds’ front office seems willing to let Machado enter next season without a deal that would keep him in Baltimore black and orange well into the next decade.

And Machado, on the surface, gives the impression that he’s OK with things as they presently stand, too.

Pamela D'Angelo

The Chesapeake Bay's crab, oyster and bait industry has been losing its American workforce since the late 1980s, as the old hands retire and younger workers seek better paying jobs.

The packing houses turned to foreign, seasonal workers to fill the gaps, but the visa program Congress established for that, dubbed H2B, quickly reaches the 66,000 worker cap. And that’s forcing some seafood processing plants to shut down.

Brendan Reynolds

Chesapeake Bay advocates got a shock when President Donald Trump proposed zeroing EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program out of the federal budget.

Don Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, said efforts to restore the oyster population, are "very heavily dependent on the continued federal investment."

And Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the loss of those funds would hurt economically when it comes to the burgeoning oyster industry in Maryland and Virginia. It wouldn’t be just the watermen who harvest those oysters who would take a hit, but also the "shuckers, wholesalers, retailers, those who move the material, restauranteurs," he said.

Karen Hosler

There was no shortage of enthusiasm from the hardy band of mostly local folk of a certain age in the Pimlico clubhouse last Saturday. They spent Kentucky Derby day watching horse races from around the country on video display terminals and eagerly placing their bets.

But they also had to be wondering what will become of this decrepit old track that has been reduced to a 12-day live racing season that includes the Preakness, the second jewel in the Triple Crown.

Resolutions were a big part of the Baltimore City Council's agenda when it met Monday night. WYPR City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi was at the meeting, and gave Nathan Sterner the details.

A Battle Royale is playing out over a proposed Royal Farms store and gas station in Towson. Opponents claim it’s an example of developers running roughshod in Baltimore County. 

Rachel Baye

  

Redistricting reform is among Gov. Larry Hogan’s priority issues. On numerous occasions, he has called for a nonpartisan process for redrawing the state’s congressional districts, which he says are some of the most gerrymandered in the country.

But at a press conference Monday afternoon, he said the bill the General Assembly passed this year is not what he had in mind.

Tracing The Byway: The Bucktown Store

May 8, 2017

 

Nearly 200 hundred years after Harriet Tubman’s birth, a visitor’s center, byway and state park near her birthplace in Dorchester County, honor her memory and work as an Underground Railroad operative and later, as a spy and nurse during the Civil War. 

 

The Bucktown Village store, at a crossroads of what was a bustling agricultural region in Tubman’s day, is one of dozens of byway sites open to visitors. It had fallen on hard times before Thomas Meredith’s family bought it 20 years ago and began restoring it to its original appearance.

 

"Precious" Hammond

In this Reveal/WYPR collaboration, we look at two cases of running from cops that reveal some truths about the intersection of policing and the courts.

Reporter Mary Rose Madden brings us the story of Jay Cook. He died in 2007 after a foot chase by Baltimore cops. When his parents asked why, they faced a wall of bureaucracy and evasion. 

Click here for a map showing the distance between the sites where Freddie Gray, Greg Butler and Jay Cook ran from police. 

Audio below. 

Baltimore County

Here is one of the things you get to do when you are county executive: show up at groundbreakings for new schools.

That’s what Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz did Wednesday at the site of the new Lansdowne Elementary. And it gave him a chance to tout his plan to spend $1.3 billion on 16 new schools, as well as 19 school additions and renovations.

Rachel Baye

Last month, state legislators passed a bill requiring businesses to offer paid sick leave to employees. But more than three weeks after the General Assembly’s 90-day session ended, it’s still not clear whether Gov. Larry Hogan plans to veto the bill or to allow it to become law.

John Lee

Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell introduced legislation Monday night that would in essence deputize county corrections officers to enforce federal immigration laws.

This is the latest in the ongoing debate in the county on how to deal with people living in this country illegally.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

With just a few weeks before budget hearings at Baltimore City Hall, police officials appeared a public safety meeting Tuesday chaired by Councilman Brandon Scott, to talk about fighting violence in the city. WYPR's Dominique Maria Bonessi was there, and spoke with Nathan Sterner about what happened.

A large blue van with the letter NIBIN, or National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, rolled out in front of city hall today as Mayor Catherine Pugh and local representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms announced the joint efforts partnership.

The mobile unit will be used throughout the city to provide homicide crime scene analysis within four hours of an incident. The vehicle is equipped with computers to match guns with previous homicide offenders.

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