December 9, 2009

State Roundup, December 9, 2009

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The state has named Montgomery County District Public Defender Paul DeWolfe to Maryland’s top public defender post, Brendan Kearney reports in The Daily Record. He replaces Nancy Forster, who was fired in August. Tricia Bishop in The Baltimore Sun also reports, with a focus on Forster’s ouster.

Ocean Downs in Wicomico County was seen as one of the relatively trouble-free state slots locations, but its planned Memorial Day opening probably won’t happen, according to John Wagner on The Washington Post’s Maryland blog. The owner of the site reports construction issues.

The Sun runs an editorial on the delay in local zoning approval for a proposed slots parlor at Arundel Mills mall, calling the project “pretty much the whole ball of wax” in regard to the state’s slots program.

Maryland plans to get 23 percent of the power it uses for state facilities from renewable energy projects, including a solar plant planned in Frederick, Timothy Wheeler writes in The Sun. The state now spends about $165 million on power per year. The Associated Press has coverage, too.

The state is scaling back its plans for signs to direct motorists to the Intercounty Connector between Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Katherine Shaver reports in The Washington Post. The signs will be smaller, lower to the ground and not electrically lit. The state also bought 18 buses for transit on the highway, at a cost of $9.1 million, Michael Dresser reports in The Sun.

Two Montgomery County lawmakers will push for tougher ignition interlock restrictions for convicted drunk drivers, in the wake of an accident that killed a Johns Hopkins University student in Baltimore. Marcus Moore in the Gazette has the info from Del. Benjamin Kramer and Sen. Jamin Raskin.

Hold it. Here’s another sad casualty of state budget cuts, as reported by the AP: restrooms at some highway rest areas.

State Sen. Andy Harris is looking for a new campaign manager in his quest for a rematch for the 1st District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. His manager, who left quietly according to The Sun’s Paul West, had been seen as an upgrade after he narrowly lost to Democrat Frank Kratovil last year.