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Myers was a shoo-in for delegation chair

Annapolis Notes

Annapolis Notes

February 25, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Thursday's Western Maryland delegation meeting had one simple purpose: electing a new chairman.

But members knew going in that the plan was to pick Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany, as chairman and Del. Susan W. Krebs, R-Carroll, as vice chairwoman.

Myers was vice chairman when Robert A. McKee was chairman, but McKee resigned from the legislature this month.

After a minute or two of business, the meeting was done.

That left the floor open for the levity of Del. Kevin Kelly, D-Allegany, who, shall we say, often livens the place up.

Kelly quipped that the delegation was gathered for "the coronation of LeRoy Myers."

"That's the way we used to do it in the old Soviet Union," Kelly joked.

Wait, there's more. With Kelly, there usually is.

"Actually, we called Pete Callas," Kelly said, invoking the name of Washington County's delegation chairman from the late 1980s and early '90s, "and he doesn't want the position."

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As lawmakers filed out, Kelly couldn't resist one more crack about the meeting.

"The most significant thing," he said, "is getting Delegate Shank and Delegate Donoghue in the same room."

He'll be here all session, folks. Try the veal and don't forget to tip your delegate.

A local connection

Some of the most wrenching testimony in Annapolis happens during bill hearings on criminal laws, as victims speak out about acts that might be considered unspeakable.

On Thursday, a Prince George's County, Md., woman whose husband doused her with gasoline at her job and set her on fire spoke in favor of a proposal to make that type of attack a felony. It would carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Yvette Cade described the horror of the 2005 attack and 19 life-threatening surgeries since then.

"For the rest of my life, I will be deformed," she said.

Also testifying in favor of the bill was Richard Miller, a deputy fire marshal in Hagerstown.

He said a man in Hagerstown tried to burn a woman, but the victim later claimed it didn't happen. The state's attorney's office pursued the case, though, and the man was convicted of second-degree assault and sentenced to five years in prison.

Miller played some of the 911 tape of the woman crying out as she spoke to a dispatcher.

In a letter to the committee, Hagerstown Fire Marshal Douglas P. DeHaven said the incident happened Oct. 20, 2006, on McDowell Avenue.

A man threw rubbing alcohol on the woman and ignited a cigarette lighter near her.

There was a flash fire, but the woman suffered only minor burns to her upper chest, face and hair, DeHaven's letter says.

The severity of the attack was "no less than a person who pulled out a gun (the lighter), shot at the victim, but grazed them," DeHaven wrote.

Maybe he got The Call?

As of Sunday evening, Washington County Commissioner James F. Kercheval still hadn't told The Herald-Mail if he applied for a vacant seat in the House of Delegates.

But he gave a playful clue that it was on his mind Wednesday, while in Annapolis with members of Washington County's lobbying coalition.

As the group chatted about the vacancy and who might apply, Kercheval, occupied with his cell phone, joined the conversation just long enough to say that his future depended on a possible call: Republican presidential candidate John McCain offering him the vice presidential slot on the ticket.

Kercheval, a Republican, then floated another possibility: the same VP offer from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a creative shot of campaign momentum.

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