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News coverage, Series and Commentary from WYPR's award winning news staff.Series from WYPR Newsroom.

Searching for ghost pots in the Chesapeake

Jan 6, 2017
Pamela D'Angelo

Every year, Chesapeake Bay watermen toss about 600,000 pots overboard to catch one of our favorite delicacies – the blue crab. But inevitably, some of those crab pots disappear. They become "ghost pots," killing millions of crabs and other marine species trapped inside.

It’s estimated there are about 145,000 ghost pots bay-wide. Some 58,000 are lost in Maryland and 87,000 in Virginia. Laid end to end, they'd stretch 53 miles. That’s from Havre de Grace to Tilghman Island in Maryland or from the mouth of the Potomac River to the mouth of the Bay in Virginia.

Fraser Smith and John Lee, of the WYPR reporting team, talk about the upcoming review of Baltimore County's charter and what that could mean for county residents.

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers are gearing up for a fight over a bill requiring the state to generate more electricity from renewable sources.

Fraser Smith and Andy Green, of the Baltimore Sun's editorial board, talk about how Gov. Larry Hogan reacts to the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

A new report from the state attorney general’s office found roughly 3,700 untested sexual assault evidence kits dating back as far as 1981. The Baltimore City Police has the second-highest number of untested kits of any law enforcement agency in the state, with 871 through 2016.

The report released Tuesday recommends several changes to how police handle the evidence collected from sexual assault victims statewide.

P. Kenneth Burns

A man whose murder conviction was recently vacated after his story was at the center of a popular podcast will remain jailed while he awaits a new trial.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin Welch on Wednesday denied Adnan Syed's request to be released from jail primarily because there is a pending appeal from the prosecutor's office.

Graziano turns in “very nice” resignation

Dec 20, 2016

Long-time Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano is leaving after 16 years on the job.

Graziano submitted his resignation to Mayor Catherine Pugh; who accepted it Tuesday.  The mayor said it was a “very nice letter.”

Graziano’s last day as housing commissioner will be January 6.  He will receive $116, 524; the amount of unused vacation and personal days.  Pugh said Deputy Commissioner Michael Braverman will be interim housing commissioner as she conducts a nationwide search to replace him.

Rachel Baye

A few dozen members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees labor union’s Maryland chapter protested Thursday outside Government House, where Gov. Larry Hogan lives. The group was calling attention to problems with the state’s new payroll system that it says has shortchanged several hundred corrections workers.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

A state panel voted Thursday to restrict when and how the Department of Juvenile Services shackles children in its custody while transporting them to and from detention centers. The recommendations will result in changes to department policy and, in some cases, state law.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan plans to introduce legislation repealing a transportation law passed by the General Assembly last spring, he announced at a press conference Wednesday.

Fraser Smith and Kenneth Burns, of the WYPR news team, talk about the Christmas wish list newly inaugurated Mayor Catherine Pugh delivered to President-elect Donald Trump when he was in town for the Army-Navy game.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

State lawmakers voted Tuesday to approve a $20 million incentive for aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman. The money is intended to motivate the company to keep 10,000 jobs in Maryland and spend $100 million on new office space in Linthicum.

Mikulski.Senate.gov

Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski bade farewell to the U.S. Senate recently, concluding 45 years in elective office and projecting the next phase of her life.

"You know when people vote for you, it’s not only that they’re sending you to Washington or City Hall," she said. “They’re giving you a vote of confidence that you will be their voice, that you will be their vote, that you will be at their side and on their side.”

Undocumented immigrants face uncertainty

Dec 12, 2016
Jonna McKone

President-elect Donald Trump promised during his campaign to get tough on immigration.

Among other things, his campaign website promised to build an “impenetrable physical wall” on our southern border and he has promised to terminate President Obama’s program that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.

And that has raised anxiety levels in immigrant communities throughout the country as well as in Baltimore. “It’s very scary right now in our community,” said Nathaly Uribe Robledo, who entered the United States illegally as a child in 1997. “A lot of people are very afraid.  They are not sure what’s going happen.” 

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly reconvenes in Annapolis in just more than a month, and one of the biggest issues facing members will be filling the state budget’s roughly $400 million deficit. On Friday, legislative leaders and a representative from the governor’s office made some predictions about what’s to come at the Maryland Association of Counties conference on the Eastern Shore.

Fraser Smith and John Lee, of the WYPR news team, talk about Congressman Andy Harris' threat to withhold federal money from Baltimore County because of Executive Kevin Kamenetz's immigration stance.

Joel McCord

A recent study from EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program has confirmed that the water quality in the nation’s largest estuary is improving, thanks to a pollution diet for states in the Bay’s watershed.

But there’s one part of one state—the five counties of South Central Pennsylvania—that lags behind in reaching its pollution reduction goals, mostly because of fertilizer that runs off farm fields into Bay tributaries.

Young calls for partners to address city problems

Dec 8, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore 72nd City Council took office Thursday with more than half of its members newly elected.

Council President Jack Young said that the members will focus on reducing crime, reducing the number of vacant properties and increase affordable housing.  And, he said, he wants to partner with the private sector to accomplish those tasks.

John Lee

The inauguration and the parties are over.  And now Baltimore’s new mayor gets down to the business of running the city.

Mayor Catherine Pugh will attend Wednesday her first meeting of the Board of Estimates. This is the spending panel that a mayor can control through two of her appointees; the public works director and the city solicitor.  Each has one vote.

Pugh sent a clear signal that she will be very hands on.

Pugh begins her dream job; mayor of Baltimore

Dec 6, 2016
John Lee

Catherine Elizabeth Pugh became the 50th mayor of Baltimore Tuesday before a standing room only crowd at the War Memorial Building.

Her inauguration attracted not only a who’s who of Baltimore politicians and officials, but a who’s who of state leaders as well; Democrat and Republican.  That included Republican Governor Larry Hogan who said he is optimistic about Mayor’s Pugh’s leadership.

“I have no doubt that she will work tirelessly to address the problems facing Baltimore and to revitalize this great city,” he said.

Fraser Smith

Now in its second year – and recently awarded five more years of funding from the National Cancer Institute -- the CURE scholars program aims to change the lives of 60 or more Southwest Baltimore kids and to literally change the face of medical service and research in Baltimore.

Bikemore

Protected bike lines are cropping up all over Baltimore, and the newest is an especially long stretch of Maryland Avenue, 2.6 miles from 29th Street in Charles Village to Preston Street devoted strictly to non-motorized vehicles.

WYPR's Fraser Smith talks about the change of heart from Prince George's County Sen. Ulysses Currie and the upcoming change in membership as a result of the election with his colleague from The Daily Record, Government Reporter Bryan Sears.

Rachel Baye

A state legislative committee voted Thursday in favor of changes to how and when the Department of Juvenile Services strip searches children and adolescents in its custody. However, the group delayed decisions about new regulations for when and how to shackle youth.

Growing Blackwater

Dec 1, 2016

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is about to grow.

The US Fish and Wildlife service announced Thursday it has acquired 410 acres to add to the 27,000 it already holds on the Eastern Shore.


Rachel Baye / WYPR

A legislative committee is expected to vote Thursday to limit shackling and strip searching children. The proposals will likely lead to new Department of Juvenile Services policies almost immediately.

City ID proposal draws outside criticism

Nov 30, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore City Council is expected to approve a municipal ID program at its next meeting Monday.

The cards are aimed at helping residents who may not have other forms of identification gain access to city buildings and city services.

The idea is an outgrowth of one Councilman Brandon Scott had when he was on the staff for then-City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Fraser Smith and Adam Bednar, who covers real estate for The Daily Record, talk about a residential building boom in downtown Baltimore.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The state agency that oversees services for people with disabilities has for years directed health care providers to overcharge patients, according to a state audit released Tuesday. Residents may have lost millions to the error, and they may not be able to get the money back. 

Who's in? Who's out?

Nov 25, 2016

Fraser Smith and Kenneth Burns, WYPR's City Hall reporter, discuss the transition from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to Mayor-elect Catherine Pugh.

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