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Reporters' Notebooks

July 21, 2011

"Reporters' Notebooks" is a periodic look between the lines at local government and political news.



From apples to oranges

Washington County Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham was among the passengers on the first Direct Air flight between Hagerstown Regional Airport and Lakeland, Fla., in June.

She seemed to like the trip, based on her July 3 letter to the editor in The Ledger, a Lakeland paper.

"I must say, after four days in Central Florida, I love your oranges," Callaham wrote in her letter. "Not only the luscious fruit, but more so the warm and friendly outpouring of customer-friendly service emanating from everyone we met — those of us from apple country learned a lot."

She invited Lakelanders to visit Hagerstown.

"In tennis vernacular, — the ball is in your court,' so, ya'll come to see our apples," Callaham wrote.



Bartlett wants 11th term

U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., didn't let suspense build over his future plans.

Seven months after winning a 10th, two-year term in Congress, Bartlett has committed to seeking an 11th term in 2012.

Bartlett filed to run again on June 30, about four weeks after his 85th birthday.

Joseph T. Krysztoforski, another Republican, has filed to run, as well. Krysztoforski, 57, lost to Bartlett in GOP primaries in 2006, 2008 and 2010.



A clean audit

The Washington County Register of Wills office has gotten a clean report from the state Office of Legislative Audits, which reviews numerous state offices throughout the year.

The register of wills oversees the administration of estates.

The audit covered the period from Aug. 6, 2008, through March 27, 2011.

"Our audit did not disclose any significant deficiencies in the design or operation of the Office's internal control," the audit report says. "Nor did our audit disclose any significant instances of noncompliance with applicable laws, rules or regulations. A less significant finding was communicated to the Office that did not warrant inclusion in this report."



A new wave of shippers

Wineries are lining up to take advantage of a new state law allowing direct shipment.

As of Thursday, 20 Maryland wineries had applied for a permit. Twelve of the 20, including Knob Hall in Clear Spring, Washington County's only winery, had received their permits.

Another 146 wineries outside Maryland also applied for permits.

Knob Hall owner Dick Seibert said the new permit lets wineries have wine clubs, in which new selections are sent to members every so often, including some only available to the club.

For some wineries, clubs can account for up to 40 percent of their business, Seibert said.

"We should get a significant boost," he said.

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— Andrew Schotz

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