Obama lists big-name supporters from Md.

STATE DIGEST

December 14, 2007

ANNAPOLIS -- Sen. Barack Obama's campaign released the names of 100 prominent Maryland supporters yesterday as the state activists from both parties ramp up for the Feb. 12 Democratic presidential primary.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign already boasts the support of some of the marquee names in Maryland politics, including Gov. Martin O'Malley and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. But the Obama campaign is claiming that the Illinois senator's list is longer. His state campaign is headed by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and boasts dozens of supporters in the General Assembly and local governments.

Obama's backers include: state Sens. Lisa A. Gladden, Verna L. Jones and Nathaniel J. McFadden of Baltimore; Sens. James Brochin and Delores G. Kelley of Baltimore County; and Sen. James N. Robey of Howard County, as well as several from the Washington region. He also has the support of Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. The full list is available on the Internet at marylandforobama.us.

Former Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced this week that he is supporting New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in the Democratic primary.

Andrew A. Green

Frederick County

Compromise on Taney statue

A sculpture of U.S. Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision affirming slavery, would remain in front of Frederick City Hall under a compromise backed by the local NAACP and the mayor.

A new plaque would describe the Maryland native's career and the landmark 1857 ruling that some historians consider a catalyst for the Civil War.

The wording of the plaque has not been decided, but Guy Djoken, president of the Frederick County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said it will be thorough.

"People will understand the full extent of the role he played in slavery," Djoken told the Frederick News-Post. "People will come and see the bust and decide on it."

Djoken was among a number of local civil rights leaders who urged the city in July to consider removing the statue from the City Hall plaza, where it has stood for 75 years. Taney was born in Calvert County but lived for 20 years in Frederick with his wife, Anne Key, the sister of Francis Scott Key.

Mayor William Jefferson Holtzinger, who sought the compromise, said the plaque "sounds like it could be a reasonable approach" to settling the dispute.

Associated Press

Cecil County

State to protect 743-acre farm

The Board of Public Works agreed Wednesday to pay $14.3 million to protect a 743-acre farm that sits on the Sassafras River in Cecil County.

Known as the Wright Farm, the property is one of the remaining large tracts of land in an increasingly developed part of the state. Cecil County, which straddles the eastern and western shores, is growing rapidly, in part because of commuters who are driving north to work in Philadelphia and Wilmington and south to Baltimore-area jobs.

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources partnered with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy to protect the farm, which includes forestland, agricultural fields and wetlands. The property is also home to several endangered and threatened species, including the puritan tiger beetle and the American lotus flower.

DNR officials say acquisition of the farm will offer the public passive recreation, including a place to launch a kayak or canoe. A DNR spokeswoman said the board agreed to buy the farm for its appraised value.

Rona Kobell

Montgomery Co.

Carr to take Lawton's seat

Kensington town Councilman Alfred Carr will replace Del. Jane E. Lawton in the General Assembly, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee decided this week.

Lawton, a Democrat who had served since 2005, died unexpectedly last month. Carr's name now goes to Gov. Martin O'Malley for a formal appointment.

Carr beat out two other Democrats to represent District 18, which includes Kensington and parts of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Silver Spring and Wheaton.

Andrew A. Green

Deacon charged with incest

Police have charged a Roman Catholic deacon with incest in the alleged abuse of an underage female relative during the 1960s and 1970s.

Dan Paul Stallings has served as deacon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring since 1986. Police say the 71-year-old was arrested Tuesday and charged with 10 counts of incest.

He is being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center in lieu of $250,000 bond.

Police say the abuse took place outside the church. But investigators say they are concerned that Stallings may have abused other children because of his involvement with a Catholic youth organization.

The Washington Archdiocese issued a statement Wednesday saying it is sending letters to parishioners notifying them of the charges and asking anyone with information to contact detectives.

The Associated Press

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