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

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City Council nearly unanimously confirmed Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa as the new commissioner last night. WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi talks with Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, about witnessing the vote and other measures that would ban various things in the city.

Baltimore County Public Schools

If you want to run for the Baltimore County School board, tick tock. Tuesday night is the deadline to file to be a candidate for the county’s first partially elected school board. 

 

At the last minute and after a plea for candidates, the races are becoming more competitive. 

 

 

Suppose you were on the verge of throwing the year’s biggest party, but you weren’t sure how many guests could stay?

That’s the dilemma before NCAA President Mark Emmert, whose organization is a little more than two weeks away from its annual men’s basketball tournament.

The tournament annually holds the nation in thrall for three weeks as athletes from 68 schools chase a championship in arenas from sea to shining sea.

Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

  

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced his running mate Thursday in his campaign to become Maryland’s next governor. 

 

Kamenetz begins his sprint in a crowded Democratic field when members of his own party are challenging Kamenetz over how he’s handling the county’s finances.

 

 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Last night the executive appointments committee of the Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to confirm Darryl De Sousa as Baltimore’s new police commissioner, but not without some tough questions from committee members and the public. His confirmation is still pending until Monday when the entire city council is set to vote on his nomination, WYPR’s City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner about the hearing.

@KingJames/flickr

Here are four things we know:

One is that Donald Trump is President of the United States.

Two is that, barring some unforeseen occurrence, Donald Trump will be President of the United States until, at least, January 20, 2021.

Third is that something that Trump says or does will draw criticism from significant portions of the American populace.

And fourth is that some of the people who criticize Trump will be athletes.

The Baltimore County School Board heard a passionate plea from its student member last night for support for the student-driven March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C., in response to the mass murder of 17 people at a Broward County, Florida, high school. 

 

The board did not take a stand on whether to support the March 24 demonstration.

 

 

John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board agreed last night to start the process for a nationwide search for a permanent school superintendent.

 

 

A solution to oyster shell shortage?

Feb 20, 2018
Pamela D'Angelo

It’s an old Chesapeake tradition, paving driveways, decorating gardens and the bases of rural mailboxes with oyster shells. But it may give way to a different purpose; helping to restore the Chesapeake’s decimated oyster population. Here’s why.

Oyster shells are just the thing an oyster farmer needs to spread across three or four acres of leased bottom in a Chesapeake tributary to form a bed for baby oysters to attach themselves and grow. But shells are hard to come by (see: tradition and decimated population), and expensive; $3 to $4 a bushel. And that’s where homeowners like Jeff and Lisa Duffy come in.

John Lee

MTA bus 63 pulls up to Tradepoint Atlantic at Sparrows Point in Southeast Baltimore County. This route’s only been running for a couple of weeks and there are no passengers on Angela Davis’s bus. But Davis expects that to change.

“It’s cool that the buses are coming down here to the jobs so people can get to work,” Davis said.

 

 

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The month-long shut down of Baltimore’s subway system came after inspections showed a need for emergency track replacements, but rail replacement might just be the tip of the iceberg.

David McClure, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union local that represents MTA workers, told Baltimore’s General Assembly delegation Friday the subway system is in need of a complete overhaul. And has been for some time.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County was locked down for about 45 minutes Thursday after one student told administrators another was carrying a weapon.

It turned out to be a 10th grader with a pellet gun. He was taken into custody.

But the incident, coming the day after 17 people died in a shooting at a Florida high school, had a few things running through the head of one 11th grader, who identified himself as Jackson.  

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers on Thursday announced a series of education grants and programs aimed at increased support for low-income students, career and technical education and improved teaching.

The legislation is the result of preliminary recommendations by a state commission chaired by former University System of Maryland Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan, and is the first part of what could be wide-reaching changes to Maryland’s public schools.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Two Baltimore police officers have been convicted of racketeering, robbery and wire fraud. Those officers now face up to 60 years in federal prison. Mary Rose Madden from member station WYPR reports.

Rachel Baye

When Marylanders voted to legalize casinos 10 years ago, it was with the promise that the state’s share of the revenues would bolster school funding. Instead, that money replaced some state money going to schools, freeing up those general fund dollars for other purposes.

Gov. Larry Hogan wants to put those state gambling tax revenues into a “lockbox” to ensure that the money goes to schools and doesn’t supplant other state dollars, he announced at a press conference Wednesday.

WUSA TV-9 via AP

The circumstances surrounding the apparent effort to breach a gate at the National Security Agency on Fort Meade remained cloudy Wednesday afternoon. But the FBI said it wasn’t linked to terrorism.

According to the FBI, an SUV with three males was stopped as it tried to enter the NSA campus through the Canine Gate off Maryland Route 32 around 7 a.m. Wednesday.

John Lee

  

The Baltimore County Council—Democrats as well as Republicans—are defying County Executive Kevin Kamenetz over his plans to build a new Dulaney High School. Members from both parties sent a letter to Kamenetz Tuesday, putting him on notice they will block the project from getting off the ground this year.

 

 

Rachel Baye

Female inmates at the state prison in Jessup, Maryland — the state’s only women’s prison — say getting feminine hygiene products, like pads and tampons, while they’re incarcerated can be challenging, sometimes even impossible.

JohnLee

  

Governor Larry Hogan is making no commitments as to how much the state will kick in to help Baltimore County pay for a new Dulaney High School, despite concerns about the cost of the project.

 

Two Baltimore police officers were convicted by a federal jury Monday night in a case that laid bare dysfunction within the city police department.

The room was silent as the jury foreman read the verdicts against Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor, the only officers of the disbanded Gun Trace Task Force to go to trial. Racketeering, guilty; racketeering conspiracy, guilty; robbery with the use of force, guilty.

mike dupris/flickr

Football builds men. Football builds strength. Football builds character.

Those are mantras uttered as near gospel by virtually every coach, player and official who has been around the game, for as long as the game has been played.

But if certain members of the Maryland General Assembly have their way, some of that gospel will have to change, will have to be preached through a new testament of sorts, one that de-emphasizes violence among young players.

A Baltimore County Councilman is accusing County Executive Kevin Kamenetz of making fiscal decisions that are unsustainable.

 

Last fall, Kamenetz said he’d have to think about building a new Dulaney High School. Last week, he decided to do it. Councilman Tom Quirk is concerned the outgoing county executive is making promises the county won’t be able to keep.

 

 

Mary Rose Madden

For nearly three weeks, former police officers, drug dealers who were granted immunity to testify, a bail bondsman and others have painted a picture of a Baltimore Police Department where officers routinely robbed citizens, planted evidence and falsified time sheets.

Now a jury is deliberating whether to convict two of those officers, members of the now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force, of federal racketeering, robbery and wire fraud.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore’s acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa announced additional internal changes to the department Friday. The appointment of one deputy commissioner, Thomas Cassella, is being held up.

De Sousa had named Cassella to be Deputy Commissioner for the Operations Bureau, but documents were leaked to the media alleging two disciplinary complaints against him.

AMR Meter by PSNH via flickr

Officials at Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works noticed an error in their system that incorrectly sent out 566 water bills to customers earlier in the week.

The jury in the trial of two former police officers who were part of Baltimore's now-disbanded Gun Trace Task Force has begun its deliberations. This after closing arguments stretched over two days.

Eight officers on that unit were indicted on federal charges of racketeering, robbery and wire fraud for filing false overtime claims. Six have pleaded guilty and four have testified against their former fellow officers.

WYPR's Mary Rose Madden has been following the trial, and gives Nathan Sterner a recap.

Rachel Baye

The state Senate gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill delaying a new law that requires businesses to offer paid sick leave. The legislation pushes the law’s start date from Feb. 11 to July 1.

Businesses were originally supposed to begin offering sick leave this past January, about nine months after the law passed. But just after the 2017 legislative session ended, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, and last month, the legislature overrode the veto.

John Lee

  

The Baltimore County School Board heard last night from the county council chairman, two teachers of the year and others who want Interim School Superintendent Verletta  White to be given the job permanently.

 

That show of support comes as there are calls for both a state audit and an expanded county audit of the county schools’ finances.

 

baltimoreravens.com

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has shared the grand plan for the franchise going forward, or at least, he’s disclosed who will be at the helm.

General manager Ozzie Newsome, the only general manager the franchise has had in 22 years in Baltimore, will take a final lap around the course in 2018 before retiring to a consultant post.

Baltimore City Police Dept/AP

Eight officers on the Baltimore Police Department's now disbanded Gun Trace Task Force have been indicted on federal charges, including racketeering, conspiracy and robbery. Out of the six who have pleaded guilty, four are cooperating with the government and crossing the fabled "blue wall of silence" to testify against their fellow officers.

Michael Pinard, a law professor at the University of Maryland, says their testimony over the last two and a half weeks mirrors the findings of a scathing US Justice Department report a year and a half ago.

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