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Articles by Mick Blackistone

Photographer Jay Fleming documents life on — and in — the water

Yes, at five-plus pounds, photographer Jay Fleming’s Working the Water makes a beautiful coffee table book. Open it up, and you see it is much more. With breathtaking photos of Chesapeake fisheries and the men and women who work them to earn a living — as the last hunter-gatherers — Fleming takes you on an eye-opening tour of nature and the human spirit from above, under and on the water.
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Captain Preston Hartge keeps Smith Bros. tugboats chugging along

Drive down Galesville Road, and everything seems unassuming and in its proper place. The old churches, the auto shop, the town hall, the post office, the country bungalows and older homes, the boats in yards: the ambiance is old-school and peaceful.
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Growing industry needs more workers

Recreational boating in Maryland is a $2.4 billion industry looking for new employees to meet the demand.
    From as young as 11 to adults, girls and boys, men and women of all educational levels, including college grads, need to look no further for a potential job or career opportunity than on and around the waters of Maryland. And no farther than the 7th Annual Marine and Maritime Career Fair on February 25.
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Oystering takes muscle, hope and political savvy

It’s still dark when I park my car at the public boat ramp in Solomons where I am to meet Ryan Mould, who drives 46 miles from Shady Side each weekday to oyster on a public bar below the Solomons Island bridge. As I walk out on the pier, the lights of four or five boats are hovering over the oyster bars, drifting slowly. At 7:05am I see the lights of Aquaholic approaching the pier to pick me up....

Bayside History Museum

Museums like the Smithsonians we visit in Washington show us the wonders of the world. Little community museums tell us our own stories excavated from the sands of time.
    In North Beach, the Bayside History Museum takes threads of families, activities, and places over the last 130 years and presents them in a wonderful quilt of fun, tradition and culture.
    The story spins out of the place it’s rooted.

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He was ‘good for it’

“I’m the only Jewish redneck captain on the Bay. What could be better?” Captain Bob Slaff liked to say, with a huge smile beneath his signature handlebar mustache. Capt. Bob was an icon in Maryland’s recreational and commercial maritime communities. He was also my good friend, mentor and colleague.
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No. 1 waterman leaves a Chesapeake legacy

Word spread fast across marine radios from New Jersey to North Carolina, via e-mail, telephones and cell phones, Facebook, the Internet and Twitter on March 14. Captain Larry Simns, president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association for 40 years, passed away at age 75. Watermen, environmentalists, seafood processors, politicians, state bureaucrats and many more of us stopped in our tracks....

Lived by Capt. Lawrence William Simns; written by Robert L. Rich Jr.

If anyone should write a book about being a waterman on the Chesapeake Bay, it should be Capt. Larry Simns, who has worked the water for seven decades and has served as president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association for 40 years. His efforts on behalf of commercial watermen, Chesapeake Bay and the seafood industry are all but ­legendary.
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Dear Bay Weekly:
    It seems that your columnist, Dennis Doyle, is once again using your paper as a forum for his advocacy against commercial fishing and for the Coastal Conservation Association and Maryland Saltwater Sport Fishing Association (week of March 13). It is no secret that both of these groups would like to put commercial watermen out of business so that they can have all the fish for themselves. Thus Doyle’s endorsement of a commercial net ban....