Bret Jaspers

News Producer

Bret worked as an organizer, actor, and New York City waiter before he began his career in radio. He has reported for NPR, WYPR News and The Signal. Past production work has been with WNYC’s On the Media, The Brian Lehrer Show and Soundcheck, as well as Wisconsin Public Radio.

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Thursday headlines from around the region.

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Longshoreman at the Port of Baltimore are on strike. Attorney General Doug Gansler and the Maryland State Police continue their dispute over driving allegations. The federal government shutdown continues to affect Maryland residents. Plus: Baltimore's last video store prepares to close.

In the first of what it calls “regular updates on key metrics and information,” the state’s health insurance exchange announced today that 326 people enrolled in a health insurance plan between the website’s opening on October 1st and midnight on Sunday evening. (Update: a spokesperson for the exchange said in an email that they did not have exact numbers of Medicaid enrollees versus private insurance enrollees). Another 566 people have had their federal tax subsidy determined but have not yet enrolled in a plan.

Update October 1 at 1:49pm: Maryland Health Connection is up but slow. To the right is a tweet sent at about 12:55pm Tuesday.

A shutdown of the federal government may occur on October 1 if Congressional leaders and the White House cannot agree on how to fund it.

Bret Jaspers / WYPR

State officials, including Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein, today unveiled the paid advertising campaign for the Maryland Health Connection, the state’s new online insurance marketplace. 

Zach Quinn / WYPR

In Maryland, the War of 1812’s dominant image is of Francis Scott Key writing down lyrics as bombs burst over Baltimore Harbor. A less-remembered image is that of slave families fleeing plantations for British ships in the middle of the night. Clearly, for Maryland slaves, the War of 1812 was not “America’s second war of independence.” They waited another 50 years before the state constitution abolished slavery.

Free Grunge Textures via Flickr

The success of the Affordable Care Act—here in Maryland and elsewhere—in part hinges on a simple result: the number of uninsured people who actually sign up for health insurance.


Earlier this week, NPR and others reported on CoreLogic’s data release showing an overall 12.1 percent increase in home prices nationally  from April 2012 to April 2013. When Core removed distressed property salessales of houses that were taken back by the banks or sold in a short salefrom the calculation, the year-over-year increase dropped slightly to 11.9 percent.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

6pm update: Officials say that no buildings collapsed and no evacuation is ordered, but they were asking residents to relocate while they treated the two train cars that contained chemicals with water and foam. One of the cars contained terephthalic acid, which can have a volatile reaction when treated with water. Baltimore County Fire Chief John Hohman suggested that nearby residents leave, and the County had transportation and shelter for those that chose to do so temporarily.