State Digest

STATE DIGEST

May 19, 2006

Teachers group set to start process of endorsements

The Maryland State Teachers Association is scheduled to meet tonight in Columbia to begin its two-day political endorsement process for candidates seeking statewide offices.

The group's leadership will vote tonight on which candidates to recommend to the approximately 400 members casting final votes in tomorrow's general meeting.

Several candidates - including the two Democratic contenders for governor, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley - will speak tomorrow to the group.

The organization, which represents 64,000 educators from across the state, except Baltimore, will vote on endorsing candidates for governor, attorney general, comptroller and U.S. Senate.

Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. will not be in contention for the endorsement because he did not participate in the process, said Daniel Kaufman, the association's spokesman. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican candidate for Senate, did participate, but Kaufman did not know whether he would address the organization.

To win the group's endorsement, candidates must win 58 percent of the votes cast.

Doug Donovan

Frederick County: Frederick

Man gets four years for abducting woman

A 28-year-old man from Mexico was sentenced in federal court in Baltimore yesterday to serve four years in prison for kidnapping a woman in Frederick last year.

Jose Francisco Padilla-Colin, of Cuerna Vaca, Morales, Mexico, admitted in an earlier guilty plea that on July 19, he abducted 19-year-old Delmy Beatriz Rivera. A witness observed Padilla-Colin punch the victim in the face and throw her into a dark green sport utility vehicle, according to authorities. The witness advised that another man, later identified as Hugo Arnaldo Aguilar-Mejia, 36, of Palmdale, Calif., was driving the car, court papers say.

The victim's father told authorities that he knew Aguilar-Mejia had come to Maryland to see his daughter, according to prosecutors.

On July 21, police in Memphis, Texas, stopped an SUV for speeding and arrested Aguilar-Mejia, who was the driver. The victim told police she had been abducted from Maryland and taken to Texas against her will. Aguilar-Mejia was later convicted and sentenced to 72 months in prison.

Matthew Dolan

Wicomico County: Salisbury

Woman picking up friend also charged with DUI

A 24-year-old woman who went to pick up a friend charged with drunken driving ended up being charged with the same offense.

Charlene Latoya Terry went to barracks in Salisbury about 5:30 a.m. yesterday to pick up a friend, Maryland State Police said. The friend had been charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. Troopers charged Terry after speaking with her and suspecting she, too, was under the influence of alcohol, police said.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kent County: Poultry plant

Investigators don't know what sickened 8 workers

Health investigators still aren't sure what sickened eight poultry plant workers at Chestertown Foods Inc. on Tuesday.

A chemical leak was first suspected, but that has been ruled out.

A building at the chicken processing plant was evacuated, sending about 250 employees to a temporary shelter. The incident is being investigated by the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health office, said Linda Sherman, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Complaints included faintness and difficulty breathing. Six of the employees were briefly hospitalized.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cecil County: Elkton

Subdivision nears final approval

A subdivision planned for a large tract of open farmland is one step away from final approval. Cecil County's planning commission gave preliminary approval Wednesday for Tradition, a 53-home development planned on 427 acres of current farmland. The property is surrounded by farm preservation districts, a 2,915-acre area supported by $2.6 million of state money. In March, county planning officials rejected a plan by Tradition developers amid traffic concerns, but those concerns have been addressed, said Ken Schmid, a traffic engineer for Annapolis-based consultant Traffic Concepts. Not all are happy the subdivision is nearing approval. "This is the suburbanization of the land-use district," resident Jim Mullin told the Cecil Whig.

Associated Press

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