STATE DIGEST

THE BALTIMORE SUN

State's wineries get deadline extension

The state comptroller's office will extend the time for Maryland wineries to begin distributing their products through a wholesaler from March 31 to June 1, easing a deadline one vintner had described as "draconian."

Michael Golden, a spokesman for Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, said the extension would be issued today.

Last week, the comptroller ruled that the state's 22 wineries, which for decades have had the right under state law to deal directly with restaurants and retailers, could no longer bypass wholesalers.

Golden said the extension recognizes the difficulty the wineries might have in complying with the ruling within the original 60 days.

Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association, called the extension "a good first step" that will allow the General Assembly to consider proposed bills that would negate the comptroller's ruling.

Michael Dresser

Anne Arundel: Election

Annapolis business owner announces run for Congress

John White, owner of an Annapolis marketing company, announced yesterday that he is running for Congress from Maryland's 3rd District as a Republican.

White, 36, said his campaign will focus on crime and public safety, as well as education and affordable health care.

The 3rd District seat is currently occupied by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a 10-term Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate. The district includes parts of Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard Counties.

david nitkin

Worcester County: Prison killing

Inmate's murder trial to be held on Eastern Shore

The murder trial of a Maryland inmate accused of strangling another inmate aboard a prison bus will be held in Worcester County Circuit Court, according to a court document filed yesterday.

Kevin G. Johns Jr., 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Philip E. Parker Jr., 20. Prosecutors from Baltimore County, who have indicated they will seek the death penalty, will try the case before a Worcester County judge and jury. Defendants in Maryland capital cases have the right to be tried in another jurisdiction.

Parker, of Baltimore, was killed last February as a busload of inmates traveled from Hagerstown to Baltimore.

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Maryland: Governor's race

O'Malley adds 2 people to his campaign staff

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley has added two new aides to his campaign staff in the race for governor.

Dawn Flythe of Prince George's County will be the deputy campaign manager and chief of staff for Anthony Brown, O'Malley's running mate. Flythe was Brown's House of Delegates campaign manager before he joined the O'Malley's ticket, and she worked on Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's campaign for governor.

O'Malley also announced that Hari Sevugan, who worked on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine's campaign, will be the new communications director for the O'Malley-Brown ticket.

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Caroline County: Denton

Town, county in court over attempted annexation

The town of Denton is seeking a dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Caroline County last month that contended that the town had illegally annexed 853 noncontiguous acres along the Choptank River.

The town's response states the land is contiguous, while the county argues a river cannot be considered as part of the city's growth area. The town's response notes a 1998 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that "municipal corporations generally may extend their boundaries across rivers and streams without violating the contiguous land requirement."

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