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Play to remember — and repay

After Michael Schrodel’s early death in 2001, his family and brothers of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity of Frostburg State University hosted a golf tournament to celebrate his life and memory.

“He wanted to give back to organizations that helped him when he was sick,” says his daughter Carmen, a student at James Madison University. “My dad liked to golf, so we figured a golf tournament would be a good way to bring people together for such a great cause.”

In 15 years, the Michael D. Schrodel Golf Classic has raised more than $100,000. All proceeds from the Classic benefit Calvert Hospice and the Michael D. Schrodel Endowed Scholarship Fund at Frostburg, his alma mater. 

As well as supporting causes dear to Schrodel, it is, his daughter says, “such a fun day, a reunion of new and old friends!”

Friday, July 20, at Compass Pointe Golf Course, Pasadena. Sign up to play or sponsor until July 15: https://birdeasepro.com/Event/Register/8885.

Take care of yourself and the fish

Temperatures flirting with triple digits mean difficult times on the Chesapeake, not only for anglers but also for the fish.

The young and old are the most susceptible to heatstroke, but everyone needs to be aware of the danger, as it can be fatal.

Heatstroke often gives no warning, ­quickly rendering you unconscious. So take special precautions if fishing or paddling solo. Staying hydrated, continually drinking water, is a must when the temperatures go above the 80s. It would be particularly foolish for the solo adventurer not to don a life jacket.

Should you experience confusion, dizziness or unusual weakness during these hot days, immediately seek cooler conditions and slowly ingest cold drinks to lower your core body temperature. If the symptoms persist or the sufferer begins to lose consciousness, seek emergency medical care promptly.

Fish, too, are at risk during high temperatures. Catch-and-release fishing should be avoided once the mercury passes the 80-degree mark. Mortality skyrockets for rockfish (particularly those 24 inches and larger) hooked during these hot weather days, often despite best efforts to quickly release them.

A number of strategies will minimize heat problems for both the fish and you. Targeting the wee hours, from first light until 10am and from 6pm until last light will minimize exposure to the worst of the sun’s effects for both the angler and the game fish. Those hours are also prime times for the best bite.

Nighttime fishing is also an option for the more adventurous — as long as you are completely familiar with areas to be fished and prepared with good communications, extra flashlights, batteries, cold refreshments, a GPS and a fishing plan with specific locations in the hands of someone on shore. Wearing life jackets is also strongly recommended.

Rockfish are particularly active after dark and will often haunt shallower water in search of prey. I can attest that a striped bass will locate and inhale even a black fly or lure fished on a moonless night in three feet of water with no trouble. Your part as an angler is to exercise extreme stealth and silence in your approach.

It is illegal to be in possession of rockfish while angling after midnight and before 5am, rules that apply for shore anglers as well as boaters. Possession of any other legal species, though, is permitted. 

Croaker and seatrout are also very active after dark, often more so than any time during the day, and will move into shallower water and feed more aggressively. Use crab, bloodworm or shrimp as bait. Seatrout are suckers for Assassin-type soft jigs fished slowly near the bottom.

White perch in the larger sizes will likewise remain active in the darker hours. Searching with noise-producing lures such as one-eighth and one-quarter-ounce Rat-L-Traps is particularly productive and can often attract marauding rockfish, a definite challenge if you’re using ultra-light tackle. 

SPCA reprises its two-species Cruise on the Bay

Annapolis is one dog-friendly town, from water bowls and treats outside of Main Street stores to events made just for furry friends.

On July 19, Annapolis further appreciates its dogs when the Anne Arundel Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals partners with Watermark Cruises for its sixth dog Cruise on the Bay.

“A cruise,” says Watermark’s Katie Redmiles “because the dogs can get the breeze from the water and we don’t have to worry about problems with getting them into places.”

Dogs and their people board Watermark’s Harbor Queen boat at City Dock to cruise 6:00 to 7:30pm. Both decks are open air, so the dogs have a lot of room.

Half of the ticket price benefits AASPCA dogs in need.

Liz Herrick of Glen Burnie and her Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix Bodhi and Pomeranian Pippa will be aboard. “My favorite activities are those that contribute to causes that I care about, so this was a perfect choice for my two pups and me,” she said.

Karisa Josephson of Dunkirk is boarding for the first time to help the cause. She is, she says, looking forward to “spending time with my friend [her dog] and the many people who love doing things with their pets as I do.”

Doggie pools afloat with hot dogs add to the fun for pups who can cool off in the water and go bobbing for a snack. 

“I bring my dog every year, and he really loves it,” Redmiles said. “Dogs, believe it or not, like to get out on the water, so I’d say it’s more for the dogs, and they happen to bring their people along.”

Humans will have fun, too, with light food donated by Graul’s Market, an open bar, raffles and silent auction items, the latter two going to the dogs.

Watch for babies and respect elders 

The common snapping turtle’s life history shows extreme longevity and perseverance.

They begin their life by cutting through an eggshell, digging through a half foot of dirt, then crawling up to a half mile to water. Many eggs are eaten by raccoons, and the tiny young are food for many animals, even other turtles. Living on a diet of insects, tadpoles and minnows, the young spend most of their time hiding in dense pond weeds.

The first two years of life are the hardest. Very few, maybe one percent, survive. 

Snapping turtles grow slowly, taking 15 years to reach maturity. Their lifespan is unknown, but some tagged individuals have been over 100 years old and weigh close to 90 pounds. Locally, some have been up to 75 pounds. A large common snapping Turtle may well be older than you.

They are ambush predators, eating almost anything that comes along — and that list is quite long. They have been witnessed killing a raccoon, but generally they eat fish that swim too close to gaping mouths.

Through winter, snappers hibernate under water and frequently under mud.  

In the warm seasons, they mate. The female can store live sperm for several years, waiting until the conditions are right for egg laying. Starting in the late spring, female common snapping turtles laden with up to 75 eggs haul themselves out of the safety of water to find an area suitable for laying eggs. The nesting area can be up to a half-mile from water and uphill.

On their journey, you might see them crossing roads, laying eggs in gardens, hissing at pets and blocking trails. As for human contact, for the most part they are shy, but when cornered they can be very aggressive. Their strong jaws can cause serious damage to hands and feet.

To rescue a large snapping turtle crossing a road, either use a shovel to lift it or toss a towel onto the head and back and pick it up by the sides of the shell. Picking it up by the tail can tear the artery going into the tail and cause the animal to perish. Some people are able to pick them up by the shell at the area where the back legs go in, but there is a risk of getting bitten or scratched. Move the turtle in the direction that the turtle was already going.

Mid to late summer is the time the turtles hatch from their underground nests. They are a little more than an inch long and look like a clump of dirt or a partially smashed acorn. The hatchlings are usually only noticed when they move or are discovered by a pet. If you find a baby turtle, move it to a nearby body of fresh or brackish water. Snappers cannot survive the salinity of the ocean.  

Team Rotary RAAMs Polio raced across America with local support

The race to end polio has stretched farther than Race Across ­America’s 3,000 miles, all around the world. It has lasted longer, 39 years instead of a week. But this year’s race brings the killer closer to eradication. In its third year racing, Team Rotary Race Across America’s Polio raised an all-time high of $1 million to destroy the dread disease in its last strongholds, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Team Rotary RAAMs Polio reached new personal bests in both time and sponsorship. As well as raising more money for polio vaccinations, the four international RAAM racers reached Annapolis less than seven days after setting out from California.

Two racers from Austria, Ruth Brandstaetter and Markus Mayr, and one racer from Germany, Kurt Matzler, joined Tulsa’s Bob McKenzie in the United States for the race. McKenzie has ridden in Race Across America with Rotary for three years running. “I tell the team every year in Oceanside that we’ve already won because we have provided immunization for the kids against polio,” McKenzie says.

Rotary, an international organization, has been focused on eradicating polio since 1979, thanks to John L. Sever. In 1979, the year when the final case of polio was diagnosed in the United States, Sever was both a Rotarian and head of the National Institutes of Health’s infectious diseases branch. Awed by the conquest over smallpox, Rotary International president Clem Renouf challenged Sever to find Rotary an equal task. Sever suggested polio as the Rotary target.

The challenge succeeded. Incidences of polio around the world have decreased by 99.9 percent. As the vice chair of the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee, Sever is after the last of the germ. Low vaccination rates and unexpected occurrences still keep the disease alive. Ukraine, for example, was declared polio-free in 2002 — until two cases were reported there three years ago. Only 50 percent of that nation’s children had been vaccinated against polio. The disease won’t stay down if people are not vaccinated against it.

Local Rotary clubs have supported the campaign since its beginning. For this year’s Race Across America, the Rotary clubs of Parole, Annapolis and North Shore contributed, raising $4,000.

“The club tries to contribute $2,500 to the PolioPlus campaign each year,” said Bob Smith, president of the Parole Rotary Club. This year, the contribution went higher, thanks to the additional efforts of the Annapolis and North Shore Rotary clubs.

It cost $60,000 in equipment and maintenance for Team Rotary RAAMs Polio to compete. In their arduous race, they were able to raise enough money to deliver more than 1.6 million polio vaccines.

“It’s pretty spectacular when you think about it,” Smith says.

This film franchise should go extinct

    The Jurassic World theme park was abandoned after a disastrous security breach left tourists maimed, eaten and heavily inconvenienced. The company went bankrupt, and the island of person-eating dinosaurs (some of which can fly) was ignored by the governments of the world.
    Five years later, the dinosaurs are set to lose their haven. Isla Nublar’s long-dormant volcano is active and about to erupt. When the volcano blows, dinosaurs will go extinct again. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard: Gold), the former manager of Jurassic World, leads a non-profit dedicated to preventing a second extinction.
    Claire is underfunded and fighting a losing battle, but there is hope. Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell: Marshall), John Hammond’s former partner and a founder of the technology that revitalized dinosaurs, has a plan. He wants Claire to help capture a few of every species and transfer them to safety on a new island he’s bought.
    There’s a hitch: The government has decided to allow the dinosaurs to die, making this rescue mission tech­nically off the books.
    To help save the creatures she considers to be a miracle of nature, Claire recruits ex-boyfriend Owen (Chris Pratt: Avengers: Infinity War). He overcomes his reluctance for the sake of rescuing Blue, a dinosaur that once saved his life.
    Will saving dinosaurs from a second extinction throw nature off balance? Is something nefarious lurking behind Lockwood’s plan? Will moviemakers ever stop tainting the memory of Jurassic Park with these terrible sequels?
    This summer blockbuster offers big-budget effects and so little else that it manages to make dinosaurs mundane.
    The one bright spot is the director, J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls), who spices up rote scenes with innovative camera work. Bayona and cinematographer Óscar Faura (A Monster Calls) craft an opening sequence with great tension and pepper the story with original shots.
    But grand camera angles and sweeping pans do not a story make. Plot twists and turns are so telegraphed that they might as well be handed out on a pamphlet before the movie. When humans appear, the film grinds to a halt. Their dialogue is terrible, they fail to understand human interaction and, most troubling, they take precious time away from the dinos.
    Even seasoned performers like Howard, Pratt and Cromwell seem either bored or embarrassed. Pratt and Howard still have negative romantic chemistry, so every scene featuring their banter is painful as well as unnecessary.
    Even diehard Jurassic fans will be disappointed.
Poor Prehistoric Action • PG-13 • 128 mins.
 

Maybe that's because it's what this sparrow eats?

    Many animals are named by the sounds they make or the food that they eat. The grasshopper sparrow is named for both. These little birds live in grasslands from Canada to Florida, where they like to perch on any stick or fence and sing a song that sounds like a flying grasshopper. They also feed on grasshopper and other grasshopper-like insects.
    In the summer, they make nests by clumping grass near the ground. Thus their nests are at risk during hay cutting. Some farmers purposefully put off cutting while the birds are nesting. With fewer open grass fields, more grass cutting and many other reasons, the population has dropped 75 percent since 1968. The Florida sub-species is almost extinct.
    To help protect populations of grass-nesting birds and animals, most states have established large tracts of grasslands that are not cut until after nesting is finished. In Maryland, the largest tracts are at Fair Hill and Soldiers Delight, with a smaller grassland at Sands Road Park.

Join a July 4th Parade

Cape St. Claire Celebration

10am from the Fire Department to the Main Beach for fun from 11am-2pm: tug-of war, sand-castle building contest, water-balloon toss, spoon and egg races, watermelon-eating contest and the Cape’s BBQ ribs and patriotic dessert contest: 410-757-1223; www.cscia.org/cape-st-claire/cape-st-claires-annual-july-4th-celebration

 

Severna Park Parade

10am from St. Martin’s in-the-Field Church, to Severna Park High School, to Evergreen Road to B&A Blvd to Cypress Creek Park: 410-647-3900.

 

Shady Side Parade

10am from Cedarhurst to the Shady Side Community Center on Snug Harbor Road. Roads close to traffic at 9:45am. Eddy Boarman: 443-370-8720.

 

Galesville Parade 

1pm down Main Street, which closes to traffic around 12:45pm. Parking $5/car on the athletic field at Anchors Way and Main St.: [email protected]; 703-328-6669.

 

Annapolis Parade

6:30pm down West Street from Amos Garrett Blvd., around Church Circle, down Main Street, then on Randall Street to Market House: www.annapolis.gov.

They're convenient, can be planted early and give higher yields

    If your soil does not drain well and gardening is in your blood, you should build raised beds. If your land is sloping severely, terraces  will help prevent erosion. Terraces are essentially raised beds using existing soil,  and are quite common in many Asian countries and in South America.
    For beds used exclusively for growing flowers or fruit, the walls can be built of almost any type of material. However, if the raised beds are to be used for growing root crops and greens, avoid using lumber treated with copper chromium arsenate. The arsenate in the wood moves into the soil, where it can be absorbed by roots and translocated into leaves of plants. There is no evidence that it will translocate into fruit or seeds.
    Wood treated only with micronized copper can safely be used for building raised beds. Copper is an essential plant nutrient. Other species of wood that can be used without chemical treatment are redwood and cedar. The fibers in these species are composed primarily of lignins, making them rot-resistant. However, they will rot in time. Lining the inside walls with four- to six-millimeter polyethylene sheeting, to minimize soil contact, will increase their useful life.
    A Bay Weekly reader recently told me he built his raised beds with four- and six-inch-diameter black locust logs. Dry black locust is used by cattle farmers for fence posts because it resists rot for at least 40 years. This reader built his walls three logs deep and secured them by drilling three-quarter-inch-diameter holes and pounding rebar through the logs into the ground.
    Cement board and cement blocks can also be used for building raised beds.
    If the raised beds are to be used for growing flowering plants, greens and small fruit, they need only be eight to 10 inches deep. Root crops need a depth of 14 to 16 inches.
    A common mistake in filling raised beds is using potting mixes. Most potting mixes are extremely high in organic matter, and their volume shrinks rapidly. The cellulose and hemicellulose in the organic matter oxidize and are digested by microorganisms, causing shrinkage. Another drawback of organic matter is its inability to retain water and nutrients, thus making it necessary to water and fertilize frequently.
    Raised beds should be filled only with sandy loam soil. To drain well, the soil should contain a minimum of 60 percent sand and not exceed 15 percent clay. The remaining components will be silt and organic matter. Organic matter can always be added by incorporating compost into the top four to six inches prior to planting.
    If you have a choice, purchase a manufactured soil containing 65 percent sand, 15 percent clay, 12 percent silt and eight percent organic matter. For soil for growing vegetables, flowers and most small fruit such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries specify a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.  For growing blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons, andromeda and the like, specify a pH not to exceed 5.0.
    Raised beds can be planted earlier due to warmer soils and offer higher yields per square foot. It’s also easy to use plastic mulch to control weeds and to conserve moisture in raised beds. Design them three to four feet wide, and the center will accommodate most mulching-grade plastics and can easily be reached from either side. Raised beds will also make you do less bending.

Ask The Bay Gardener your questions at [email protected] Include your name and address.
 

How could losing 147 million sooks be healthy?

    Good news is scarce these days, so I was relieved when I saw Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ results of the 2018 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey.
    But I did a double-take when I read in the report,  “Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Healthy.”
    I was confused. Expecting to see the basis for the claims of health, I came upon the revelation of a 42 percent plunge in spawning female numbers. Wasn’t that seriously unhealthy?
    When, for the first time ever last year, the number of females reached the target level for healthy species reproduction, DNR celebrated. What had changed in a year? Wasn’t female abundance important any more? Aren’t spawning females key to growing and maintaining the overall population? How could losing 147 million sooks be a positive health indicator?
    Next I read that adult crabs were decreasing, too. We’d lost 23 percent — that’s 84 million crabs — in a year. Claims for a healthy crab population seemed to be getting more spurious.
    I was momentarily heartened when I read of a 34 percent increase in juvenile recruitment — until I recalled that last year’s juvenile counts were in the basement. Thirty four percent might not amount to much.
    By now, I suspected not-so-good news was getting a rosy package— not suprisingly as this is an election year.
    I found myself seeing the report as one more troubling signal that the commercial fishery may again be gaining political sway over species consideration. Among earlier troubling signs was the abrupt firing of Brenda Davis, the respected and successful manager of the department’s blue crab program. Rumor was that she had rebuffed a handful of watermen demanding the legal size of blue crabs be lowered by a quarter of an inch.
    That firing sent shock waves through the department ranks, already nervous after the sacking of some effective and popular fisheries program managers the past two years, again allegedly due to commercial displeasure.
    Then came the kicker. As I prepared a final draft of this column, the department published the annual Female Hard Crab Catch Limits for commercial crabbing based on the results of the 2017-2018 Winter Dredge Survey.
    Comparing these limits to last year’s, I hoped to see a reduction in female harvest numbers reflecting the severe winter mortalities. Yet this year’s limits were the same as last year’s — despite that 42 percent population drop. Yes, changes could come later in the season, post October 31 — just at the onset of cold weather, which is never easy on crabs.
    Arguably, but just barely, crabs could absorb another year of these now highly optimistic harvest limits. Unless, that is, we have another poor spawn or another severe winter. In that case, our beloved blue crabs may slip back into crisis, as they so often have. But the elections will be over by then.