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Local Digest

Saturday, November 28, 2009

MARYLAND

Wine merchants seek change in law

Wine merchants are hoping to put a cork in a Maryland law that prohibits wineries from shipping directly to Maryland consumers.

They're planning a big lobbying effort in Annapolis this coming session, which begins in January.

Maryland has a three-tier regulatory system on the sale of wine. It requires producers to sell to wholesalers, who then distribute wine to retail stores.

Adam Borden, executive director of Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws, said he believes that interest in a change is building.

Opponents of direct sales say it would make it easier for minors to obtain alcohol.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the District and at least 35 states, including Virginia, have passed legislation authorizing direct shipment of wine to consumers.

--Associated Press

VIRGINIA

Arlington fixes water main

Arlington County work crews completed repairs Friday to a water main that ruptured Monday, a job that led to the death of one county employee and seriously injured another.

The crews repressurized the system Friday morning after they finished replacing sections of the water main Thursday, the county said in a news release.

Detours and road closures will remain for several days in the area, near Old Glebe Road between Dittmar Road and North Glebe Road, so crews can complete the backfill and begin repairing the street.

James Bea, 59, a 24-year county employee, was killed Wednesday when he came in contact with a power line while removing a set of temporary lights in an effort to repair the water main.

The injured worker suffered electrical burns and remains in very serious condition, the county said. His name was not released.

Officials had urged residents in the northern part of the county to take short showers, delay doing laundry and generally conserve water over the Thanksgiving holiday, but those restrictions have been lifted.

-- Jerry Markon

Psychiatric hospital's groundbreaking

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will be on hand for Tuesday's groundbreaking for a psychiatric hospital that continues a long Virginia tradition.

A new $125 million, 246-bed Western State Hospital is being built in Staunton by a Fairfax construction firm.

Western State Hospital first opened in 1828, although the campus in use opened in 1950. At its height, the hospital had about 3,300 patients. About 245 patients are treated there today.

The General Assembly has committed $110 million to the project, and the rest will come from the City of Staunton. The facility is being built on a site adjacent to the hospital and is set to open in 2013.

-- Associated Press

THE DISTRICT

Alleged shooter's care tops $55,000

Medical care for the 89-year-old man accused in June's fatal shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has cost more than $55,000.

James W. von Brunn, a white supremacist, was shot once behind the right ear by a museum guard after entering the museum and allegedly shot another guard.

Von Brunn did not appear in court for months because of his injuries. In September, when he did so, he was in a wheelchair. Von Brunn's attorney has said he has trouble hearing and speaking as a result of being shot and is not able to walk.

-- Associated Press

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