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News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

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.

Dottie Day/flickr

The word hero might be inappropriate for anyone whose name is associated with the idea of reducing the incidents of violence against women.

But Fred Glass, Indiana University’s athletic director, has made himself, if not heroic, at least admirable with two words: No more.

With the approval of the campus faculty athletics committee, Glass announced that, under his leadership, the university’s teams will not accept athletes who are found guilty of sexual violence.

Orchkids

When was the last time you heard a 12-year-old rhapsodizing about Beethoven, Mozart and especially Shostakovich?

Or seriously considering a career in astrophysics.

Or, before the age of 10, seeming to have the makings of an orchestra-level flute player. If you spent any time around the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Orch-kids program you’d hear all that.

Pugh calls on FBI for assistance

Apr 26, 2017
pughformayor.com

This week marks two years since the riots following the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, and Mayor Catherine Pugh called Wednesday on the local Federal Bureau of Investigation office to request more agents and equipment to assist Baltimore police.

The need for more resources from the FBI comes as the city hits 100 homicides before the end of April, surging fatal opioid overdoses and a stubborn 6.6 percent unemployment rate.

John Lee

What with the prospect of Irish beer giant Guinness opening a brewery and tap room in southwestern Baltimore County this fall you might think local craft brewers and bar owners would be worried. You’d be wrong.

In fact, they’re salivating at the prospect, figuring a rising tide of beer will lift all kegs. 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore has recorded 101 homicides this year; at the same time last year, the city had only seen 77. Last night, the City Council debated several measures dealing with public safety and the city's Police Department. WYPR City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi gave Nathan Sterner this update.

Sleep: It's good for what ails you

Apr 25, 2017

April 23-29 is the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Awareness Week. The folks at the foundation want you to know that those who don’t get enough sleep, or work changing shifts and get irregular sleep put themselves at risk for all sorts of health problems.

And Maryland is among the most sleep deprived states in the nation, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Keith Allison/flickr

Some things in life, and in sports, for that matter, make so much sense you wonder why no one thought of it before.

The reported move of Coppin State University to name Juan Dixon as its men’s basketball coach makes so much sense for both sides that some will no doubt ask, why didn’t this happen before?

Governor's office

Lawrence J. Hogan, Senior, father of Maryland’s governor, died Thursday at age 88 after suffering a stroke. But he lived long enough to see his son fulfill his own political dreams.

Former three-term congressman Larry Hogan, senior, had wanted to be governor, but instead he will forever be linked to the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. As the first Republican to call for removing the GOP president, Hogan signaled that Nixon would have no escape except to resign.

Joel McCord, WYPR's news director, and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR news team, discuss the changed political of Chesapeake Bay restoration.

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