Annapolis notes

February 20, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

A rat in the House might eat the ice cream - or cake

Quiet rumors had been surfacing for weeks. There were tales - or tails - of scurrying critters uprooted by the construction of a new wing on the House office building making stealthy appearances in the offices of various delegates.

But last week, the building went into vermin overload.

There was the rat savoring a Valentine's carnation on an aide's desk, the rat chomping through the ceiling tile, the rat carting the remains of a cake down the Anne Arundel County Delegation's corridor and - perhaps the most graphic - the rat startled by a group of visiting Girl Scouts that darted into the stairwell, fell onto a security guard's desk and finally was put out of its misery by construction workers.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, said the rat that appeared in his former fourth-floor office was as big as a dog.


After a rodent chewed through the ceiling tile in the office of Del. Michael D. Smigiel, R-Caroline/Cecil/Kent/Queen Anne's, Del. Herb McMillan, R-Anne Arundel, decided it was time for action.

During Wednesday's floor session in the House chamber, he rose to his feet. There would be an emergency meeting of the Sportsmen's Caucus in Smigiel's office, he announced, to deal with the animal infestation there.

Tempest in a teacup

Just a week after being honored in both houses of the General Assembly for 50 years of public service, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer drew attention again.

But this time, he placed himself in the line of fire for gawking at a young female aide in Gov. Robert Ehrlich's office who served him tea during last week's meeting of the Board of Public Works, and asking her to come back so he could gawk at her again.

Some defended the former governor and mayor of Baltimore, saying he's always been outrageous. Others called for his retirement, insisting the 84-year-old comptroller was past his sell-by date.

By the end of the week, Schaefer remained unapologetic and blamed the media for making an issue of the incident.

Smile and say 'cheese'

Remember picture day at school?

Maryland legislators donned their best threads Wednesday for their annual panoramic class pictures, ties carefully straightened and hair meticulously combed into place.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch congratulated delegates on looking "magnificent today the highest example of sartorial splendor is displayed here this morning."

"Sartorial," in case you were wondering, refers to tailored clothes, according to Merriam-Webster.

Long time gone

Former House Speaker John Hanson Briscoe stopped by the statehouse last week for a visit, to accolades from both houses of the General Assembly.

Briscoe, who served as speaker from 1973-79 and later became a Circuit Court judge in St. Mary's County, voluntarily stepped down from the speaker's post, noted Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller. "He could've gone on and on," Miller said.

And Miller should know.

Now in his 20th year as Senate president, Miller is one of the longest-serving presiding officers in the country.

Who ya gonna call?

When Washington County officials and members of the local business community met last week with their new lobbyist and Washington County Delegation, Del. LeRoy E. Myers, R-Washington/Allegany, asked a simple question. Since the county had joined three other groups to hire the lobbyist, Myers wanted to know whether the city of Hagerstown were "at the table, too."

"Not financially," answered Art Callaham, executive director of the Greater Hagerstown Committee, "but we do represent the whole community." Myers was then advised to contact the city to remind them.

Given the current vacancy at City Hall, "LeRoy wants to know who to call," quipped Del. Richard B. Weldon, R-Washington/Frederick.

"Yeah, who's the mayor this week?" Myers asked.

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