Prosecutor Tries Restaurant Trade

After 18 months of expectations, Hagan's Four Courts restaurant, owned in part by Montgomery County State's Attorney Andrew L. Sonner, opened amid great fanfare in downtown Rockville last Friday.

As was expected, the event attracted local political types. Nonetheless, Sonner pointed out in his welcoming speech, more than a few politicians steered clear of the event.

Standing on a chair, taking great care to introduce all elected officials in attendance, Sonner craned his neck and joked, "Is Sid here? I don't see Sid," a reference to County Executive Sidney Kramer, with whom Sonner has had a long public feud. Sonner even considered challenging Kramer in the fall campaign. -- Beth Kaiman

Windows for Schaefer

Windows in the Maryland governor's mansion are being replaced at a cost of $200,000 to taxpayers, a year after a $1 million remodeling.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer and his longtime companion, Hilda Mae Snoops, are replacing all the wooden casement windows in the Georgian-style mansion.

Joe Harrison, a spokesman for the state's Department of General Services, said the ground-floor windows were replaced earlier this year at a cost of $37,000.

Now the upper three floors will get new panes and frames. Bids are expected to range from $150,000 to $160,000, Harrison said. Some of the windows are 30 years old, he said.

Not all lawmakers are happy with the latest Schaefer-Snoops home improvement, however.

"It just boggles the mind how much is being spent on that building . . . . It seems astronomical . . . beyond routine maintenance," said Sen. Julian L. Lapides (D-Baltimore), a frequent critic of the governor.

Lapides compared the improvements at the mansion to a long-running soap opera: "It's a never-ending saga," he said. "It's like the Maryland version of 'As the World Turns.' "

Schaefer and Snoops already have spent more than $1 million in public and private funds for landscaping and interior redecorating at the mansion, although Schaefer rarely sleeps there.

Paul E. Schurick, the governor's press secretary, said many of the windows were cracked and warped and could not be fixed. They will be replaced by new, thermal-pane, energy efficient windows that will look the same. -- Associated Press