Several months of impasse between newspaper vendors and the Town of Upper Marlboro ended recently, when the vendors reluctantly removed newspaper boxes from the sidewalk in front of the county courthouse on Main Street.
"There's not supposed to be any obstruction to the sidewalks," Mayor Mary Wilson said. She said she received many complaints from residents, and "a number of the judges complained about it, too."
"If somebody tears a coat, whoever has those dispensers would be liable," she noted.
The removal of the newspaper racks drew complaints from several courthouse workers, who now must walk to local stores to buy newspapers. But Wilson said town residents are pleased.
The dispute started early last year when the vendors installed the news racks, Wilson said. "I called them when they put them out, but they just ignored me," she said.
The matter was passed on to the town's attorney, who recently ordered the vendors to remove the racks by Friday.
"That's just one of the rules," Wilson said. "We are a small town and only have narrow sidewalks."
The news racks ran afoul of an ordinance forbidding the obstruction of, and vending on, sidewalks, which was passed two years ago to stop fruit and vegetable vendors from selling in front of the courthouse.