News and Commentary from WYPR's award winning newsroom.

Succeeding the speaker?

Jun 7, 2017

Joel McCord and Bryan Sears, of the Daily Record, ponder potential successors for ailing Mike Busch as speaker of the House of Delegates.

CASA de Maryland

Jesus Peraza, the Honduran who was picked up by immigration agents after he dropped off his son at Hampstead Hill Academy last March, will be forced to leave the country. 

The notice came Tuesday in a letter to Jared Jaskot, Peraza's lawyer, from John Alderman, the deputy field director in Baltimore for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Alderman wrote that he could “not find a compelling reason” to allow Peraza, who has been in the U.S. for more than a decade, to stay.  

The Baltimore City Council voted unanimously Monday night to make deep cuts to Mayor Catherine Pugh's budget plan for the coming fiscal year. 

Jamyla Krempel

Baltimore City high school graduates are on track to receive more college scholarships this year than any other year, according to Rudy Ruiz, the Executive Director of College and Career Readiness of Baltimore City Public Schools.

Ruiz says 1600 scholarships have been offered to Baltimore city high school seniors – that’s more than any other year on the books.


This was supposed to be the week where Serena Williams was going to take the next step towards removing Margaret Court from the record books.

Williams needs one more win at a major tennis tournament to match Court, who won 24 Grand Slam tournaments during her 17-year career.

The clay surface at the French Open, the site of this week’s tournament, hasn’t always been kind to Williams, but, as the world’s No.1 ranked player, she would have had a decent chance to tie Court.

That is, until Williams revealed her pregnancy a few weeks ago, which took her out of the French Open as well as Wimbledon and probably the U.S. Open for this year.

But, by the time Williams returns next year, Court may find herself irrelevant for reasons that have nothing to do with the Grand Slam record.

Trump budget eliminates oyster restoration funds

Jun 5, 2017
Pamela D'Angelo


In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order recognizing the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure. That began a federal-state partnership to restore and protect it, including a plan to revive the wild oyster population through sanctuaries on restored reefs in Maryland and Virginia.

But the budget President Trump sent to Congress eliminates funding for that plan. And that has complicated even further an already complicated effort to restore the reefs gutted by a century of overfishing, disease and pollution. 

photo courtesy baltimorecityschools.org

Baltimore City school officials sent layoff notices to 37 teachers, 39 administrators, 26 paraprofessionals and school personnel, 11 support staff, and five district managers Thursday. It was the first round of layoffs in city schools in a decade.

Marietta English, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, denounced the layoffs, wondering why they were necessary when school leaders have said they need to fill 200 vacancies.

Rachel Baye

Former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous has formally announced his plans to run for governor next year.

The 44-year-old Democrat and California native made the announcement Wednesday morning at a rally outside his cousin’s West Baltimore flower shop. His 24-minute speech highlighted his ties to Baltimore and a family legacy of civil rights activism, including his mother’s efforts to desegregate Western High School as a young teen.

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.