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Forensic artist puts images to 200-year-old descriptions
       Lot Bell, who became a free woman in 1816, survived through two centuries of history in a few words written by the man who had claimed her ownership. Granting Lot her freedom in his last will and testament, ­Silbey Bell described her of “pretty dark complexion, long face and high cheek bones … a very remarkable scar on her head on the left side thereof which resembles a mulberry very much.” On the 30-year-old woman’s Certificate of Freedom, those words were the equivalent of her passport photo.
       Now, thanks to the Maryland State Archives’ Faces of Freedom, this forgotten figure in Maryland history — with thousands to follow — is faceless no more.
      “We want to recognize the humanity of all people gripped by the drama of slavery in Maryland,” explains Chris Haley, director of the Archives’ Study of the Legacy of Slavery. “We want to return their voices and faces to them.”
       Haley knows the history of slavery well. Nephew of Roots author Alex Haley, Chris Haley also descends from Kunta Kinte, a slave who arrived at Annapolis’ docks on the slave ship The Lord Ligonier and whose story became famous in the older Haley’s writing and 1977 television miniseries.
       “Our aim is to bring life to the identities of these unknown individuals by using Certificates of Freedom, Manumissions and runaway slave ads,” Haley explains. “We then take it to the next level by using a professional forensic artist, whose expertise is putting a face to words.
       Descriptions from Certificates of Freedom are more detailed than wording from the other documents. The certificate and the description on it were the only evidence formerly enslaved persons had to prove who they were and to vouch for their freedom. Without good descriptions of all of the prominent facial features, a free or freed man or woman was more likely to be arrested and enslaved again.
 
Breathing Life into Words
       Lt. Donald C. Stahl of the criminal investigations division of the Charles County Sheriff’s office was the forensic artist Haley chose to reconstruct the Faces of Freedom. 
        From a Certificate of Freedom, Stahl explains, “I first pull out all of the details.” Lot Bell’s description also noted that she was “rather straight and well made, narrow between her temples, rather flat nose, with a full mouth and thick lips.”
      It’s a process, Stahl explains.
      “Given the description, I first try to form a picture of the face in my mind.”
       As well as Lot Bell, Stahl has reconstructed Samuel Curtis, a 23-year-old freed in 1838. He depicted Curtis with an open mouth because “the certificate stated that ‘his lips are thick and when he laughs shows his upper teeth.’ So I felt that was a distinguishing characteristic.” 
       Then the forensic artist seeks a photographic reference “to provide finer details like lighting and shading.”
      The next step is “research on the era to include a period feel.” Stahl tries to get a feel of what life would have been like back then to avoid making people who lived two centuries ago appear in the image of today.
      There is, however, a degree of artistic license “When we started the project,” Stahl says, “Chris and I agreed there had to be. While a good amount of information is included in the certificate of freedom, every single feature is not described in detail, so I have to develop something to complete the face.”
       The images we now see of Lot Bell and Samuel Curtis are, Stahl says, each a “true composite image made up of several pieces. It’s what we do in law enforcement to take a description and come up with a semblance.”
       Stahl’s participation in the project is a labor of love. Because it’s completed in his spare time, a facial reproduction can take anywhere from a few days to several months.
      “This is a very worthwhile project to be involved in,” he says. “I’m so used to drawing bad guys that it’s refreshing to do it for something good.”
 
Chronicling the Trail of Freedom
       In 2001, the Maryland Archives began organized research on the unsung heroes who fought against enslavement and aided escapes to freedom. Beyond the familiar names Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass were thousands of other unknowns who risked imprisonment to help. Begun with three volunteers, that project, beneath the Underground Railway, gained funding from the National Park Service Network to Freedom Program. It has since spun off the Legacy of Slavery and Faces of Freedom projects.
      Haley spreads his arms in celebration as he walks to the display case holding the reproduction of Lot Bell and a copy of her original Certificate of Freedom. Having learned his ancestry through his uncle’s research and writing, he’s made it a mission to help others exploring family history.
      “Anyone can find their own roots if they dig deeply enough,” he says. “It’s all recorded just waiting to be discovered. All it takes is time and perseverance.”

Dr. Joan Gaither’s quilts document lives and history

      Mention quilts, and people often share memories of grandmothers or great aunts working with needle and thread, joining pieces of fabric with precise stitching.
      Dr. Joan Gaither, who documents history with cloth and thread, describes herself as “a quilter who breaks all the rules.” Her quilts are covered with images, words and objects: buttons, ribbons, pieces of jewelry, shells — anything that can be sewn to fabric and symbolizes an aspect of the story she tells.
       She stitched her first quilt after the death of an aunt whose story and family history she wanted to memorialize. As she added text and photos to represent the lives and careers of seven generations of her family, the quilt grew to an impressive 10-by-12 feet. It includes the colorful and imaginative embellishments that now characterize her work and features brilliant Maryland state flag colors representing her family’s ties to Baltimore.
       That experience 18 years ago launched the Maryland Institute College of Art professor into fiber arts and three-dimensional collage. Gaither has since made over 200 quilts, telling her stories and those of black Americans. Many have themes of identity, racism and social justice. Others honor the lives of individuals who have influenced national politics, education and the arts.
       Through this month, you can see her quilts in Baltimore in the exhibit Freedom: Emancipation Quilted & Stitched at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, which celebrates the contributions and legacies of people of color in Maryland.
       Each image, object, fabric and color, she explains, has symbolism. Most quilts are edged in African mud cloth. A strip of blue stands for the ocean passage. Red, white and blue fabric represents America. Pieces with railroad tracks are the Underground Railway and the flight to freedom. 
      “The strips are often held together by safety pins, some still open,” she explains, “to symbolize the pain of slavery, oppression and injustice.”
       The topics of the quilts on exhibit range from Gaither’s personal history to broad topics of national interest. Laid out in a pattern like the Maryland flag, her Sesquicentennial 1864 Slave Emancipation Quilt has blocks that represent all of the counties in the state, plus Baltimore City. Each block focuses on events and people associated with emancipation. More than 400 people across the state helped in creating this quilt, which will continue its travels throughout Maryland when the exhibit closes at month’s end.
        Collaboration is a hallmark of Gaither’s work. She brings together local communities, school children and church groups to create and construct quilts. One of her largest quilts (10 by 14 feet) depicts the entire Chesapeake Bay and celebrates the lives of its black watermen. That inspiration was, she says, “my discovery that there was very little record of the contributions of African Americans to Bay-oriented industries.” Individuals from towns all around the Bay contributed information, family photographs and objects to make the history come alive.
       No experience required is the message at Gaither’s quilt-making workshops. People come with words, photographs and mementos. She brings ink jet printers, scissors, markers, boxes of embellishments and inspires her quilters to capture memories and stories on fabric. Sewing is done with large needles and simple stitches.
        A group of young children who swarmed into her exhibit the day she and I visited were drawn to details on the quilts, calling out to one another as they noticed yet another fascinating or unusual embellishment: strings of beads, a political button, a plastic crab. She answered some questions, then encouraged the kids to talk with their families and elders: “Ask them questions about their lives,” she said, “about what they remember from when they were young.” 
        “Memory aids, instruction manuals and moral compasses” are our stories, author and journalist Aleks Krotoski says. Gaither’s quilts are just that, capturing history, documenting and honoring lives, describing their lessons about the past and their calls for justice and equality.
       Follow Gaither on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoanMEGaither.

Love stories from Chesapeake Country

When Susan Met Anthony …
Susan and Anthony Nolan
 
Playing Cupid gave me opportunity to talk with him outside work
 
       Newly single in her late 30s, my friend Lisa lamented the absence of single men. “How does anyone find someone?”
      Then it happened. She had met someone, and he was kind, funny, smart and handsome.
      “How did you meet?” I wondered, after all her disappointment.
      “Penitentiary pen-pal program,” she answered.
      Stunned into silence, I did not want to know more.
      But the question stayed with me. 
      IF I were looking for love, where would I find it?
      My mother suggested church. “Single men do not go to church,” I told her — “unless they live with their mothers.”
       Another relative had a bold idea. “You go downtown to that Senate Office Building and introduce yourself to Lindsey Graham. He’s single and he’s a South Carolinian.” I rolled my eyes, remembering Gerald O’Hara telling Scarlett, “It matters not who you marry, daughter. Just as long as he is a southerner and thinks like you.”
        My friend Melissa pulled dating websites up on her computer. “See? See? Hundreds of thousands of available men looking for someone. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t be compatible with at least one of them.”
       I was asking, but I wasn’t looking. I enjoyed being single.
      Yet friends and co-workers kept trying to set me up. Happily married colleague Ed whispered, “Our new assistant division chief is single.” 
       “I am never, ever dating anyone I meet at work. That’s just so inappropriate,” I told him.
      “You have so many other appropriate ways to meet men?”
       I changed the subject. I was getting good at that.
       Cathy, my supervisor, also told me about our new division chief. She came back from a meeting singing his praises. “Anthony’s a good listener. Don’t you find that an unusual and appealing quality in a man?”
      Finally, to prove I would “never, ever date anyone I meet at work,” I plotted to find him another woman.
      Mary seemed a likely candidate. Like Anthony, she was in her 40s, never married, Roman Catholic, with a large extended family including many adored nieces and nephews. They both enjoyed travel and the outdoors. I could introduce them at the art gallery she managed. 
      He agreed. Mary agreed and offered the bonus of inviting a single guy for me to meet. “There’s less pressure in a larger group,” she said.
      It went off beautifully. Everybody liked everybody. But there wasn’t any chemistry.
      I continued my efforts to find a match for our assistant division chief. Playing Cupid gave me opportunity to talk with him outside work. Our friendship grew.    But no matter whom I introduced, Anthony was uninterested.
       Eventually, he explained why.
      One evening after a workshop together, I found the following message on my answering machine:
      “I want you to know I am an intelligent person. I’m well-educated. I’m well-read. I’m well-traveled. Yet when I am in your presence, I am speechless. Why is that?”
       I swooned, realizing I would never find a suitable match for this man because he was smitten with me. It could have been a scene from a Jane Austen novel — had Emma Woodhouse an answering machine.
      Our courtship was brief. We married a few months later. We’ve shared 11 action-packed years in which we have treated the traditional wedding vows of for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health like a to-do list, checking off each item a dozen times over. Our failures and successes have brought us closer together and more in love.
       Friends and family still rib me about how I swore I would “never, ever date someone I meet at work,” and I laugh at how close-minded I once was. Now, I say yes to love wherever you find it — be it at church, a bar, the Senate or an online dating app. 
       As for Lisa and the guy she found via the penitentiary pen-pal program, she was right. He is kind, funny, smart handsome and — fortunately — reformed.    They, too, will be celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary this year.
 

When Elisavietta Met Clyde …
Elisavietta Ritchie and Clyde Farnsworth
 
The wooing of a brilliant loner 
     Dissident Russian artists was my topic toward an M.A. at American University, so when Norton Dodge, professor of Russian economics and collector of Russian dissidents’ paintings, held a conference at his Cremona estate, where several émigré artists and their canvases would be present, I was delighted. 
      Guests included New York Times journalist Clyde Farnsworth, recently back from Paris. Guessing that Clyde had surely met the existentialist novelist Albert Camus, I settled next to him. Conversation revealed that Camus’ The Exile and the Kingdom reflected Clyde’s situation as a brilliant loner.
      He scribbled his phone number on a matchbook. A month later I called: On my own after 24 years of a mostly good marriage, I didn’t suffer for lack of diversion. Nor did Clyde. 
       I could bring an escort to dinner at my father’s friend Dr. George Mishtowt’s. An evening of brilliant conversation and Russian songs, and Clyde was a baritone. He also practiced his violin daily …
       Our respective children asked, “Why don’t you two get married?”
       My answer: “He hasn’t asked me.”
       Summer 1992, on the cusp of his transfer to Canada (I assumed another romance over), I drove him to a knee operation. Afterward I settled him in our guest bed while I slept on the couch, at midnight back to the ER, then home again to his bed of pain. 
       Suddenly at 2am he asked, “Why don’t we mosey down to the Prince Frederick courthouse tomorrow and pick up a license?”
       I phoned Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, my doctor daughter, then a captain at a military hospital in South Korea. Her answer zoomed across the Pacific: “Do so quickly before the anesthesia wears off!”
       Around the world and all these years later, we still have a cottage at Broomes Island and are settling in at Asbury Solomons.

When Amanda Met John …
Amanda Bowen and John Barnett
 
Which of the brothers would it be?
       It was a time in my life where I was in this phase of do I go to college? Do I stick with the job I have? 
      A friend talks me into going with him to hunter safety classes at Meyers Station Nature Park in Odenton.
      In class he leans over and says sorry that I don’t see any guys you would like here. I was a little confused because I didn’t know I was there to pick up a guy. Little did I know I would.
      Night two, in the middle of discussing safety precautions in hunting turkey, I scan the room. In the back are two younger guys, arms folded, sitting low in their chairs. 
      Day three, we are out practicing loading our firearms and shooting at targets. That was my chance to approach the men, who I figured were brothers. Instead, the taller brother introduces himself to me. I’m not going to lie; as we talked, my eyes are elsewhere. Especially because as we talked, he is steadily texting an ex, who, he says, won’t leave him be.
       Ummmmm thanks for the honesty ... moving on from Jeremiah.
       That evening, we’re invited to their house for a bonfire. The shorter brother, John Barnett, is off sitting by himself. I pull up a chair — and the rest is history. 
       Nine years and two beautiful babies later, at 27 we live in Galesville and are still having bonfires and enjoying the few chances we get to hunt together.

 
When Blair Met Jay …
Blair Dawson and Jay Weaver
 
The sandwich that stole my heart
 
       We have been together ever since he posted a picture of a sandwich on Facebook three years ago. 
       In 2014, I lost my parents and decided I was going to live for me for once. I had gastric sleeve surgery, lost a lot of weight, started to go to the gym and enjoy myself. Well, he posted the picture of that sandwich, and I just had to comment on it. We met three days later, and we’ve been together ever since.
      The sandwich is called a Wedgy, and it’s from a little place in Knox, Pennsylvania. We’ve gone and had it three times. It’s one of my favorite things. 
      I am 35, and Jay is 51 and we have been together three years and are now engaged. 
 

When Diana Met Gary …
Diana and Gary Dinsick
 
Sure that our romance was over, I wrote him a formal goodbye
 
      We met at a college dance at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Student Union. Our reasons for being there were as divergent as our personalities. He was an outgoing and focused sophomore preparing for an Army career. I was a starry-eyed 17-year-old, uncertain what I wanted in life but knowing I wanted to share it with someone. 
      At first glance upon meeting him, I saw only brownness. Jeans, sweater, shoes, eyes, hair — everything was brown. Framing his sun-bronzed face were the worst eyeglasses I’d ever seen. Later on, once we knew each other better, he told me he’d hated the pantsuit I was wearing that night.
      From the beginning, ours was a push-pull relationship. I was the student, the introvert; he thrived on running with the guys. Three years later, after his graduation, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the Army and left for a three-year assignment in Germany. Sure that our romance was over, I even wrote him a formal goodbye.
      It was a lonely time, my senior year without him. I got down. Even my sociology professor remarked on the change in me. When I confided my situation, my prof informed me that my soldier would find someone else.
       I know, I whispered back.
       His reply: “Why don’t you find a man and spend your life making him happy?”
       Still, my erstwhile beau kept writing. Nine months later, I married him in beautiful Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Forty-three years, three children and a long Army career later, we’re still together. He’s still my Valentine.
 

When Amy Met Michael …
Amy Stielper and Michael Malone
 
We met when I took his job
 
       During the early 1990s, Michael Malone clerked for a judge in Leonardtown. At the end of the one-year position, the judge hired me, and Michael spent the next few weeks training me. 
       The odds were against us, as he was returning home to Anne Arundel County to practice law, and we both were seeing other people.
      But after two weeks together, poring over law books and dissecting trials, Michael asked me out.
      “No, I’m going shopping with my mother,” I answered — but followed up that lame but true excuse with “I’m free the next night.”
      We married a year later. Now I joke that Michael learned early that his chocolate is mine, his bedcovers are mine and his job was mine.
      The irony? I now work for Michael in his law practice. He is also a delegate representing central Anne Arundel County.
 
 
 
 
 

 
When Esperison Met Gladys …
Marty and Gladys Martinez
 
He had pawned his watch so he could pay for a cab that night
 
       My grandparents, Esperison “Marty” Martinez and Gladys Bradley, met a few weeks before Valentine’s Day on a bitter January night in 1952. At 18 years old, he was a newly capped seaman duce sailor, stationed at Quonset Point Naval Air Station. She was a much more mature 20-year-old, living in a little house with her parents and two younger sisters and working a steady job for an insurance company. 
      Their meeting should have been highly unlikely given that his base was some 20 miles away, he was without a car, and he had very little cash. But that Saturday night brought them together at a Polish community dance hall, a popular spot for locals to dance the polka. 
       She was there with six other girls, sitting at a table having drinks, when he and his friend showed up. He got up the nerve to approach and ask one of the girls for a dance. She said no. Never the type to be easily defeated, he moved on to the next girl, my grandmother. She was also a hard sell; she looked him up and down and said, Well, okay.
      On the dance floor they swayed to Eddie Fisher’s Anytime, and ended up talking late into the night.
       When it was time to leave, he offered to take her home. Earlier he had pawned his watch for the evening’s cash so he had enough to pay for a cab. It must have impressed my grandmother, for they arranged for a second date, which evolved into many more slow dances and a dinner to meet her folks, all before a church wedding on October 11 of that same year.
       Some said their marriage would never last due to the mere nine months of dating, but two kids, four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and 65 years of marriage later, the Annapolitans have given up on the time clock and now do “Whatever it is that may move us to contentment.”
–Ariel Martinez-Brumbaugh
 

When Ariel Met Pat …
Ariel Martinez-Brumbaugh and Patrick Beall
 
At my recommendation, we got friendlier
 
      We were friends of friends first, then just friends and then friends who sometimes kissed under a starry sky when we got caught up in the moment.   Then, one June day in 2006, we made plans to go kayaking with friends, but only Pat and I showed up. We paddled across Herring Bay and then back into a marsh. Sensing that tension in the air that only comes with new romance, we opted for a bit of adventure and tied our boats to a tree in favor of marsh  mucking. We picked around submerged logs and sank up to our knees. We emerged on the shore muddy and laughing. I remember stretching out on a bed of marsh grasses and talking until the sun began to set. 
        A few weeks later, at my recommendation, we went on our first date. In the following years, we endured international separations, moved in and out of apartments together, traveled with friends and have since settled into a world of “I have to work late tonight” and “Whose turn is it to take out the trash?”
       Eleven years after that June day, at my recommendation, Pat proposed.
 

 
When Brad Met Linda …
Brad Wells and Linda Eversfield Wells
 
We shared a room before we fell in love
 
        We met in the Tampa airport in June of 2005. We were both going to a mutual friend’s wedding and the younger sibling Jane convinced us to all share the same room to save money for partying. Everything was PG, and we had a great time. 
       Leaving Tampa was pretty awkward because we both knew the situation was a long shot. The only thing I could think to do was mock her dimples by poking my inflated cheeks and twisting my fingers into them, saying “Bye, Dimples.” Game on point! 
        She claims that she fell for me because I’m a dork.
We remained friends for three years while talking long-distance every day.
Eventually I decided she was never leaving Maryland so decided to pull up my roots from Kentucky and replant on the Bay. Those roots have now grown into a six-year marriage and two beautiful children. 
 

 
When Michelle Met Leisha …
Michelle Farley and Leisha Suggs
 
Coffee with a hint
 
       When I moved to College Park in the fall of 2006 to start graduate school, I quickly fell into a habit of getting coffee at the student union coffee shop on my way to class. One of the baristas always remembered my drink, and we started chatting for a few minutes when it wasn’t too busy. 
      In early November, after I had been gone for a week for a conference, the barista handed me a folded piece of receipt tape with my drink. She had written her social media contact in the giant black crayon they used to mark the cups.
      The first time we hung out, I was swamped with coursework, and she offered to come with me to photograph my assigned site for a paper. That led to more hanging out.
      We’ve now been together for over 11 years, married for almost five. We married the day the law changed in Minnesota, where we moved after I graduated in 2008.
      Leisha was born and raised in Saint Mary’s County, where most of her Suggs family still lives. She taught me the importance of Old Bay seasoning, stuffed ham, and how to properly pick a blue crab. She now works as a therapist to homeless youth and receives a lot of compliments on her Maryland Terrapins lanyard.
 

 
When Jessica Met Steve …
Jessica and Steve Grzybowski 
 
At senior week, I fell for the ­person who drove me absolutely crazy in high school 
 
        Our story starts in first grade at Lothian Elementary, where we went to school together and had numerous classes with one another. Those classes continued through middle and high school. Though we went to the same school, we never really noticed each other. I was a spirited cheerleader, and Steve was an old country boy who couldn’t have cared less about school.
       Our senior year, our good mutual friend’s mom worked in the office, and I was her assistant for one of my classes. Her son and Steve came in to bother me every day, but there was no romance between us. I used to tell her I felt sorry for whatever girl married either one of them.
       After graduation I headed to Ocean City for a week with my girls, while Steve headed to Florida with a buddy. They arrived just before a hurricane, so turned around and drove to Ocean City. As we had mutual friends, Steve ended up at our condo for parties and sorts.
      Back home, I asked a mutual friend for his number because we had had a pretty good time at the beach. After two weeks of him blowing me off, we have been together ever since. We tied the knot on May 16, 2009, at the young ages of 21 and 20. 
      We have three beautiful children and will be married for nine years on our anniversary and together 12 years total in July. We both are South County-born and raised and now raising our own family in South County as well.
Never thought I would go to senior week and find a husband let alone one I’d known all my life.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

When Julia Met Robbo …

Julia and Robert Howes
 
I loved his truck
 
        I knew Robbo through our dads, who both were into classic cars. I had seen him a few times here and there, thought he was cute, but never really considered him like that. In 2012, my mom and I were at 7-Eleven in Deale when he pulled in. He was driving his lifted 1984 Chevy Scottsdale, and I loved the truck. I said hi to him, and we had small talk. I asked him about the two girls in his truck (who turned out to be his cousin and her friend), and he said if I went out with him, he would leave them there. I gave him my number but didn’t go with him.
      Less than a month later we were dating. He was 18, and I was 15. Everyone said we were too young, but we got married anyway and have been married for 121⁄2 years now. We have a beautiful seven-year-old daughter, bought the house he grew up in and his parents built, both work in South County and own a commercial crabbing business.
 
 

 
When Pam Met Billy …
Pamela and Bill Krug
 
A glimpse into the future
       We grew up seven houses apart and have been best friends since fourth grade. We became official when we were 19 years old. 
      When we were little, I was on a bike ride with my dad, and little Billy Krug came peddling up the street and said to my dad, “You know what, Mr. Gunnell? I love your daughter, and I’m going to marry her one day,” and then pedaled off. I was nine or 10 and remember being so embarrassed. 
      We are now 37 and have been married for 13 years but have been together forever. We have three children, ages 14, 11 and 8.
 

 
When Paula Met Ernest …
Paula Taylor Tillich and Ernest Willoughby
 
And vice versa
 
       “Professor Willoughby would swipe the breakfast sweet roll I’d put on the far side of my desk in the corridor of the building where he had his office,” Paula recalls. “I was a graduate student in biology at Syracuse University where he was a biology professor.” 
      Ernest’s retelling of that time at St. Mary’s College is a little different. “She ate a sweet roll every morning for breakfast and began leaving a fresh one on the edge of her desk, knowing I would pass every morning on my way to my office.”
       This mute communication continued until one day …
       Forty-five years later they are retired, having raised three children, living at Asbury Solomons.
 

 
When Jessica Met Michael …
Jessica and Michael Hickman
 
He rolled down the window and hollered … then Love Story
 
       We met at the stoplight in Edgewater on Solomons Island Road by Lee Airport.
       I was 17, and he was 22. I was in my truck, and he was in his. 
       I was sitting at the red light with my hair down and window down, looking all fabulous in my big truck and jamming out. He was turning in by Ledo’s to go to the gas station. 
        As he pulled up to the pump, I decided to show off and rolled down my other window as I pulled in after him. He ran up and asked for my number. Thank God I gave him the right one.
      That was September 2009. We’ve been married for over four years now and have two kiddos and a house in South County. 
 
 

 
When Heather Met Bobby …
Heather and Bobby Lamb
 
Some said we’d never last, and some may not have wanted us to
 
       I was good friends with his sister, and he would be at the house when I would hang out there. 
       One night the three of us were supposed to go to the movies, but she backed out. I wasn’t sure about it but we decided to still go. Glad we did. 
       Things moved kind of fast. He eventually moved in with me, and not long after I became pregnant with our son. There were some that said we’d never last, and some that may not have wanted us to. Now he is 47, I am 46, and we celebrated 21 years of marriage in November. We live in Galesville with our son Justin, 21, and daughter Emily, 19.
 
 
 
 

 
When Tricia Met James …
Tricia and James Huffman
 
Workplace romance works out
      My husband was one of our contractors at work. We’d had friendly conversation and joked around, but he was super shy. One day he insulted me by saying all I do is sit there and look pretty. It went from there.
I am 30, James is 35. We have been married four years and have four kids.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
When Leigh Met Nick …
Leigh Glenn and Nick Beschen
 
A decade of gentle nudges
 
       We met in January of 2008 through his older brother, a cheeky fellow, to whom I free-cycled a couple of gardening books and women’s overalls for his wife. 
       Older brother and younger drove together to a niece’s wedding in Florida in May 2008 and got to talking women. Nick had not been in a relationship for a while and his brother told him he knew “this woman” but wasn’t sure how to connect us. “You can just give me her number,” Nick said.
       We spoke by phone. I loved his voice (Bay Weekly readers who have frequented community theaters may know that voice, too, as Nick has been in many productions over the years). 
      Our first date, he drove to Tysons, and we walked to Clyde’s. The second date, a week later, I drove to Annapolis. We were fortunate that, despite a storm, the power came back on in time to prepare and enjoy scallops, rice and broccoli before heading to Rams Head to hear Last Train Home. After the concert, we talked. All. Night. (Not since college had I stayed up all night talking with anyone.)
      It’s nearly a decade later, and I love him more than ever.
 
 

 
 
When Tracy Met Chris …
Tracy and Chris Roy
 
We found each other on CB radio — twice
 
      We didn’t have internet back in the day. I stole my dad’s CB radio because it fascinated me (and to be in touch with a boyfriend). In my travels and meeting new people on the radio, I hit it off as friends with one guy who was then engaged.
       After his marriage didn’t work out, he came looking for me just as my CB radio fad was coming to a close. We met back up and started hanging out together, and one thing led to another.
      Thirty-two years later we are still friends, married for 25 years this ­September.
 
 
 

 
When Kim Met BJ …
Kim and BJ Welch
 
A match made in a music-lovers chat room
 
      We met in 2004 in a chat room on AOL. He was a musician looking for local support for his band. I was a newly graduated 18-year-old ready to leave my home in Baltimore.  
      We officially started dating on July 2, 2004, and quickly got pregnant (whoops!). We married October 22, 2005, and now have five children. Four boys: Corey, Josh, Billy and Austin. Then our miracle girl Dixie who was born April 2016, at just 27 weeks, weighing one pound. Almost 14 years later, this young marriage is still going strong.

SaveSave

Meet angling legends, acquire knowledge and tackle
      Chesapeake Bay has produced some of the nation’s best-known anglers, starting with Lefty Kreh and including Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, Kevin Josenhans, Steve Silvario, Blane Choklett, Joe Cap and Tony Friedrich. These angling luminaries and many more will be on hand to meet and share information at the 18th Annual Lefty Kreh Tie Fest on February 24 and 25 at the Lowes Annapolis Hotel.
       The event has become so popular that it has expanded to two full days of seminars, expositions and exhibits, all crammed full of angling information and techniques. The focus is fly fishing, but the knowledge to be gained here is invaluable for all types of light-tackle angling and covers a multitude of species and where and how to catch them.
      Striped bass, our beloved rockfish, will be discussed in detail. You’ll also hear about redfish, bluefish, speckled and gray trout, white perch, hickory and white shad as well as any other species that visit our waters. 
      If you’ve got a yen to talk fishing, hear information from the legendary pros or curiosity about fly- or light-tackle fishing, this is the place to be. Chesapeake-area fishing guides and guide services are in attendance and eager to discuss what’s available. Don’t miss this chance to meet and hear the most skilled and creative anglers of our day.
      Fly-tying and -casting demonstrations, rod-building techniques, new equipment and fly and lure components will be on site. There will be many free as well as for-fee seminars. Admission is $10 per day or $15 for both days. Anglers under 16 and active duty military personnel are admitted free of charge. Excellent food and beverages are offered for sale.
     For more information contact Tony Friedrich: 202-744-5013; tieflies@gmail.com or Facebook , leftykrehtiefest). Or search online for Lefty Kreh Tie Fest 2018. 
Other Action
Capt. Tom Hooker Estate Sale, February 9 & 10
        For some great deals on top-grade angling tackle, try the action and prices of this estate sale. The fishing gear and equipment from Capt. Tom Hooker’s Chesapeake Bay Charter operation will be sold this Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm at 3802 Chesapeake Beach Rd., Chesapeake Beach. The sale includes rods, reel, line, lures, hooks, sinkers, coolers and much more. Info: Judy Howard at 410-353p5544.
 
Pasadena Sportfishing Show and Flea Market, February 17 & 18
       The 25th iteration brings lots of exhibits both indoors and out, with food and drink including their famous hot pit barbecue and oysters on the half-shell, sodas and adult beverages. Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company, 161 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park: 410-439-3474.
 
2018 Saltwater Fishing Expo, February 24
        The area’s top charter captains will be in attendance and giving seminars on tactics and tips for the Annapolis Chapter of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association Expo. Tackle, including lures and other equipment, on display and for sale. Delicious hot pit beef sandwiches, oysters, cold beer and other beverages sold. 8am-3pm, Annapolis Elks Lodge, 2517 Solomons Island Rd, Edgewater: $5 w/age discounts: 
http://saltwaterfishingexpo.com.
Welcome to Bay Weekly’s annual Dining Guide, a tour of good eats and good eating.
In this ­special, you’ll visit the many restaurants, delis, groceries and seafood markets whose advertising in our pages brings you Bay Weekly 52 weeks of each year. Most are locally owned, and all are in our neighborhoods.
      Each is unique in its offerings — from fin- and shellfish fresh from the Bay to fine beef to satisfying preparations and presentations whether homestyle or exotics to regionally famous wines and beers to inventive cocktails.
       Read, explore, enjoy — and as you taste your way to new knowledge, please say  I read about you in Bay Weekly.

Angelina’s Italian Kitchen

Angelina’s Italian Kitchen, located on Route 214 in Edgewater, is a small, quaint carryout with four tables should you choose to dine in. Named after the owner’s great-grandmother, Angelina Canestra, who found so much joy in cooking for family and friends, the restaurant prides itself in serving all homemade Italian food daily.   
    Pizza dough, lasagna, meatballs and marinara are all freshly made for you. Delicious desserts, including fresh cannoli, are also homemade.
    Very affordable prices and traditional New York-style pizzas make Angelina’s a great place to order out or the bring the family to eat in.
    This family-owned and -operated small business moved to Edgewater after 15 years in Bowie and was promptly voted Best Pizzeria out of 25 establishments in the Edgewater and Davidsonville area on Patch.com and Yelp.com.
 
Angelina’s Italian Kitchen
827 Central Ave. E., Edgewater; 410-798-0700; 
facebook.com/AngelinasItalianKitchen
Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun.

Annapolis ­Restaurant Week
Foodies of many different tastes are readying their palates for a week of deals and savory dishes during the last week of February.
    With more than 40 establishments in Annapolis participating in the event each year, it’s the perfect opportunity to try that little-known restaurant you’ve been meaning to sample or indulge in local favorites. Fixed-price menus make for an enjoyable tasting of some of the area’s most popular restaurants, without consuming your wallet in the process.
   This year’s Annapolis Restaurant Week (now in its 10th year) is Sunday through Saturday, February 25 to March 3. Forty restaurants in both downtown Annapolis and the greater Annapolis area will be offering two- and three-course fixed-price meal selections. Annapolis has become a dining destination over the years, and this event highlights some of the area’s most popular destinations. 
    For those looking for new experiences, Annapolis has several new restaurants that have opened over the past year, including Flamant and the Light House Bistro. You can also pick restaurants that offer shows or live music after your meal, vegetarian options, waterfront views or that are located in historic buildings. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
    Two-course lunches are $15.95 and three-course dinners $34.95 at all participating restaurants, with restaurants that regularly serve breakfast offering two-course breakfasts for $12.95.
    Participating restaurants: Annapolis Smokehouse, Buddy’s Crabs, Café Normandie, Chevy’s, Fado Irish Pub, Federal House, Flamant, Galway Bay, Gordon Biersch, The Light House Bistro, Luna Blu, The Melting Pot, Middleton Tavern, Miss Shirley’s Café, O’Briens, O’Learys, Paladar, Paul’s Homewood Café, Preserve, Reynolds Tavern, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sam’s on the Waterfront, Severn Inn, Yellowfin. Full details and more restaurants online: www.downtownannapolispartnership.org/restaurant-week.
 
Annapolis Restaurant Week
www.downtownannapolispartnership.org/
restaurant-week
Feb. 25-March 3

Anne Arundel ­County Farmers Market

You’ll find top-quality produce and products at Anne Arundel County Farmers Market, all sold by friendly farmers and producers glad to share their knowledge and answer your questions. Today many of the original farm families are among the 100+ vendors selling all year at the market.
    The Farmers Market was first organized in 1981 by the County Office of Planning and Zoning and sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Farm Preservation Board, Farm Bureau, Co-operative Extension Service and the Department of Agriculture.
    Many things have changed in the 30-plus years since the first market season. One thing that has never changed is our desire to bring all customers the freshest and best that Anne Arundel County and Maryland has to offer. We do this with great pride!
 
Anne Arundel County Farmers Market
Riva Rd. at Harry Truman Pkwy., Annapolis; ­www.aacofarmersmarket.com
Sun. 10am-1pm (year-round)
Tues. 7am-noon (May-Sept.)
Sat. 7am-noon (April-Dec.)

Bread and Butter Kitchen

You go to Bread and Butter Kitchen, chef-owner Monica Alvarado’s new breakfast and lunch café overlooking Spa Creek at the end of Second Avenue, for inspired eating with a view and a relaxed, friendly neighborhood atmosphere. 
    You’ll find a welcome relief from the same-old same-old. On the menu are a variety of classic items, as well as creative and unique dishes, from biscuits and gravy to a Vietnamese inspired Banh Mi turkey burger. Homemade soups and specials rotate throughout the week.
    “We feel honored to work with and use locally sourced ingredients from the farmers and vendors at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market,” Alvarado says. “These ingredients are featured throughout the menu, from bread made locally at Great Harvest Bakery to the milk and yogurt from Nice Farms Creamery.”
    Choose from a variety of meals and snacks, including kid-friendly, vegetarian and gluten free.
    For breakfast, it’s hard to resist a fresh scone made from scratch that morning. Our signature breakfast sandwich is the BBK, which features two fried eggs, red onion, avocado, bacon and garlic aioli on toast from Great Harvest Bakery.
    For lunch, try a Banh Mi burger or perhaps chicken on a biscuit, a fried chicken breast drizzled with sriracha honey on our from-scratch biscuits.
    A reformed corporate rock star, Alvarado left her 22-year career in technology in 2016 to start Bread and Butter Kitchen with the vision of sharing my passion for making amazing food that celebrates local ingredients. I began by creating a weekly menu of prepared to-go meals and selling them at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market.
    “In May of 2017, I opened the cafe and have been smiling ever since,” she says. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is what I was meant to do.”
    Bread and Butter Kitchen feels like home, and when you share a meal there, you join the family.
    We have seating for 10 both inside and out, with plenty of parking available. Furry friends are welcome outdoor customers.
 
Bread and Butter Kitchen
303 Second St., Eastport; 410-202-8680; www.breadandbutterkitchen.com
Daily 7:30am-3pm 

Cakes and ­Confections Bakery Café

We are a full-service bakery with a café serving breakfast and lunch.
    On the bakery side, we specialize in fresh-baked pastries, pies and desserts plus custom-designed cakes for all occasions. Our most popular sweets are our chocolate-coconut macaroons, our key lime pie and fruit medley pie (strawberries, rhubarb, apples, raspberries and blackberries) and our wonderful gluten-free Chocolate Decadence Cake. 
    Sit down among those good smells (or carry out) for breakfast, served all day, and lunch. As well as omelets, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and our popular steak, egg and cheese wrap, we serve grilled paninis, delicious soups and homemade quiche in two varieties, bacon cheddar or our loaded vegetable. Take home a whole quiche with any number of savory ingredients with 24 hours notice. Coffee is brewed fresh all day.
    Pastry chef and co-owner Michael Brown found his career while working in a bake shop in Washington, D.C. “I really enjoyed creating all types of pastries and desserts,” he says, so “I decided to go back to school and get my pastry chef degree at L’Academie de Cuisine.” He worked at several caterers and bakeries before Cakes and Confections, which he bought from its previous owner.
    Michael and Julianne Brown have owned Cakes and Confections for over 15 years creating wonderful cakes, pastries and desserts for customers from all over the area. The business moved to Severna Park from Annapolis in 2013 to add breakfast and lunch.
    Our custom-designed cakes and many types of wonderful confections are known far and wide.
    Our cakes have included a wedding cake modeled on the U.S. Capital, many USNA cake “covers” and a platter of sushi cakes. Challenge us to design a specialty cake for your special occasion! 
 
Cakes and Confections Bakery Café
342 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-757-7100; www.cakesandconfections.com
Mon.-Fri. 7am-6pm, Sat. 8am-4pm

Chesapeake Grille & Deli

In all three of its locations, Chesapeake Grille & Deli is the kind of place you can’t do without. It sustains the modern lifestyle. You can rush in off the road, choose a good meal and carry it out or eat it in. It’s all cooked to order, but service is fast and friendly. So how much time you want to spend is up to you. 
    Food is fast, fresh and satisfying.
    You get what you expect: burgers, barbecue, crab cakes and flatbreads, soups, salads and sandwiches, gyros, reubens and Rachels, melts, wraps and hoagies. 
    You can get what you hope for: meatloaf, chicken potpie (with the addition of a touch of the Bay) and real Smith Island cake for dessert.
    You can get way more than you expect: grilled fresh fish, beer-battered rockfish, seafood skewers with grilled veggies and new potatoes, crabby mac and cheese.
    “Everything we serve has been carefully created, thoughtfully prepared and given the attention and fresh ingredients it deserves,” says manager Chad Wagaman.
    Chesapeake Grille, Deli and Market, across from Herrington Harbour South in Rose Haven, adds the convenience of breakfast and a market where you can pick up quick supplies, including wine, beer and liquor. 
 
• 10092 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 410-286-5939
Lunch and dinner daily
 
• 6786 Race Track Rd., Bowie; 301-262-4441
Lunch and dinner daily
 
• 7150 Lake Shore Dr., North Beach; 410-257-7757
Breakfast, lunch and dinner all day everyday
 
www.eatchesapeake.com

Chesapeake Seafood

Chesapeake Seafood is central Anne Arundel County’s place to go for seafood, though its freshness draws seafood lovers from much farther. 
    Walk in and you’ll see the glass display case filled with seafood, from blue crabs all year long to sushi-grade fish. Some of what you’ll see is so local that Chesapeake Seafood watermen caught it and brought it. Choose your favorite and take it home to cook for dinner.
    You don’t have to wait that long to enjoy Chesapeake Seafood. Much of what’s there can be cooked to order for take-out. Blue crabs are steamed to order whenever you want them. Everything on the extensive carryout menu — including key lime pie — is fresh, homemade and delicious.
 
Chesapeake Seafood
135 Mayo Rd., Edgewater; 410-957-8956; www.chesapeakeseafoodinc.com
Carryout daily 11am-8pm 

Donut Shack

For over 33 years, hand-cut donuts baked on the premises have been our specialty. We are home to the Chopsuey, a mix of apple, cinnamon and coconut with raisins or without, all blended in a yeast-raised dough. We also make other fresh pastries. You’ll find home-made soup, too, along with hot beverages, including fresh coffee, and cold bottled drinks.
    As well as making donuts, we love working with people. “As our customer, you make our business, so we make it our business to take care of you,” says owner Bill Prevezanos.
    We pride ourselves on courtesy, prompt service, cleanliness and fresh products. 
    We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, here for you whenever you want a donut.
    Eat in or carry out by the donut, sack or box.
 
Donut Shack
497 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-544-0278
Open 24/7

En-Tice-Ment Farm-Raised Meats 

Hearty stews and roasts are especially satisfying in winter, and buying from En-tice-ment Farm means you know the pedigree of the meat you’re eating. En-tice-ment Farm is central Chesapeake Country’s No. 1 source for farm-raised meat. That’s beef, pork and lamb plus chicken and eggs, all raised by the Tice family of fourth- and fifth-generation farmers.
    All animals are well cared for on the Tice’s Harwood farm. For their wellbeing and yours, they are grass-fed in a free-range environment with no hormones or steroids. The meat is butchered into convenient cuts, sealed and immediately frozen at family-run USDA-inspected processing facilities.  
    “Customer demand for naturally raised local products started our business,” says Deana Tice. “Now we’ve added a new farm store, a smaller version of a grocery store selling all locally sourced foods.”
    En-tice-ment offers every cut you could want, plus some you may not have tried, as well as weekly meat packages posted on Facebook for ordering ahead. Shop or pick up at our new farm store with longer hours for your convenience or at Anne Arundel County Farmers Market.
    Unsure how to cook these delicious cuts? Ask the Tice family, who has long experience and recipes to tantalize your taste buds. 
Find all En-tice-ment products online and at Facebook.
 
En-Tice-Ment Farm-Raised Meats
231 Polling House Rd., Harwood; 443-336-8492; 
www.enticementfarmraisedmeats.com
En-Tice-Ment Farm store Tues.-Fri. 3-6pm; Sat. 8am-noon. 
AACo. Farmers Market: Sun. winters 10am-1pm.

Evelyn’s

Evelyn’s, a breakfast, brunch and lunch café focused on local and sustainable ingredients, is rounding out its first year in West Annapolis.
    The welcoming, open-kitchen café is a turn in a new direction for owner Brandon Stalker, who was drawn from commercial real estate by “the joy that a great meal can bring.”
    Localism theme runs through every aspect of the business, from ingredients to location — a livable, walkable neighborhood with a thriving commercial strip that exerts a strong pull on visitors — to naming, after the Stalker’s daughter. 
    All Evelyn’s food is prepared from scratch, in-house, and always in small batches to ensure that every day food is clean, wholesome and fresh.
    “We believe that a plant-to-plate mentality allows us to control our recipes to a greater degree than simply buying a finished product from a vendor,” Stalker says. 
    That’s true of meat as well as plant, he adds. “We make our corned beef ourselves. It is moist and flavorful instead of just being put onto a meat slicer out of a bag; you can taste the difference,” he says.
    Thus, Evelyn’s two most popular dishes are corned beef reubens and corned beef hash.
    As well as a taste of quality, local is a philosophy for Stalker. “Locally sourced not only provides our customers with the freshest ingredients but also keeps the money they spend in the pockets of local Maryland businesses,” he says. 
    Evelyn’s has seasonal outdoor, pet-friendly dining (with bacon available for your pooch).
 
Evelyn’s
26 Annapolis St., Annapolis; 410-263-4794; ­www.evelynsannapolis.com
Open 7 days a week, 7:30am-3:30pm

Happy Harbor

Happy Harbor is a comfort center for locals and sightseers from far and wide.
    Come for comfort food, fresh seafood, a good strong Crush or Bloody Mary or a cold beer and a front-row waterfront view. 
    Come to relax. At Happy Harbor, you don’t have to dress up. Come to hang out with the gang. To eat the best burger around, especially at Monday’s $5 special price. Come to watch sports on 14 TVs. April thru September, come for live music on the dock every Friday Saturday and Sunday and local DJs on the second and last Saturday of each month. 
    Come to Happy Harbor to get happy. And in summer, you can do it all outdoors, with your dogs.
 
Happy Harbor
533 Deale Rd., Deale; 410-867-0949; ­www.happyharbordeale.com
Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Sat. & Sun. during winter

Hook & Vine Kitchen & Bar

Hook & Vine is a hunger you can’t yet satisfy.
    “We’re half a season from opening,” says co-owner Monica Phillips, who has been in the restaurant industry for decades. 
    “I love creating a memorable experience through food, drink and service. We both enjoy trying different food and talking to people,” says Monica, whose first job was in an ice cream shop. “I then served and bartended through college.”
    “We have a love for food and people,” says husband Kevin, who moved into hospitality after working in technology and sales management. After working for several large casual dining organizations, holding positions from manager to director of operations overseeing multi-state regions, he decided, he says, “to take the leap.”
    The North Beach location was just the place they’d been looking for. 
    “We have always been a supporter of the small and local business and love the area,” Monica says. “The community needed more dining options and we jumped in and went for it.”
    Hook & Vine promises Southern Coastal cuisine relying on locally sourced ingredients. Dishes — classics with a twist — will be infused with the flavors of bacon, bourbon and wine. 
    Planned signature items include deviled eggs, bourbon glazed pork chops, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, plus a variety of bourbons and wine to quench your thirst.
    The significance of the name? Hook is for fresh fish and seafood, with a coastal flair; vine is for wine and seasonal ingredients. 
    Also promised are family friendly service and Bay views from the deck.
    “We want you to come for the food but get hooked on the Southern hospitality, the atmosphere and family environment,” Monica says.
    With its planned spring opening, Hook & Vine is one more reason to look forward to that season.
 
Hook & Vine
4114 7th St., North Beach; 443-964-5488; ­www.HookandVine.com
Opening Spring 2018, 11am-10pm

The Irish Restaurants

The experience at all three of The Irish Restaurants — Galway Bay in Annapolis, Killarney House in Davidsonville and Brian Boru Irish Pub in Severna Park — is flavored with genuine welcome. That natural, comfortable, person-to-person ambi­ance sets us apart. As soon as you enter, you are sure to have a great time.
    Our traditional food and drink menus reflect the hospitality and flavors of Ireland. Bar staff in all three of our Irish pubs are trained to pour a great pint of Guinness. Our traditional Galway Bay eggnog, made in Ireland from our own recipe with fresh Irish Cream and Irish whiskey, is imported each year and available in our restaurants.
    Our food is based on some of Ireland’s best recipes, recreated with local ingredients as we proudly support local farmers and oystermen when possible. These are complimented by imported Irish products like KerryGold Cheese and butter, custards, flour, relishes and sauces to get as close to the true Irish dining experience as possible.
    Killarney House is introducing new menu items to represent Maryland’s seasons, including fresh shucked oysters, which are also available in the pub Wednesday nights (5:30-8:30pm). Try oysters with a Guinness and see why people in Ireland have enjoyed this tradition for centuries. Or our oven-baked Norwegian salmon, finished with an Irish butter mustard sauce. How about a house-seasoned cold corned beef sandwich with Dubliner cheese on a rustic roll with tarragon and black pepper mayo, with tomato-onion chutney? We also feature cold smoked salmon with pickled red onions and Irish bread. To help stave off the cold weather, we offer beef or lamb stew, shepherd’s pies or delicious pot roast, to name but a few. Maybe an Irish coffee to finish off a great evening: made with Demerara augar, Irish whiskey and fresh homemade whipped cream. Who cares about the weather after that!
    To complement its long-established food menu and dining experience, Galway Bay has developed an excellent offering of nearly 50 Irish whiskeys to address the renewed interest in Irish whiskeys in the U.S. and around the world. Under the superb management of Sean Lynch and Gary Brown, the selection of Irish whiskeys and beer is a great representation of what is available in Ireland’s best pubs. 
    With the demand for Irish whiskey on the rise, plans are on the drawing board for a separate whiskey bar in the front dining room, coming this summer. Our patrons will enjoy the authentic environment conducive to sipping what Irish folklore has called “the Water of Life.”
    On offer with the Irish beers, local beer has strong representation. Galway Bay has a special relationship with RAR Brewing in Cambridge, which contract-brews our Naptown Brown Ale. They also use Galway Bay for their first releases, as well as seasonal rotating taps. “We designed Naptown Brown, our core beer, with a light finish and low ABV to pair with everything,” says assistant manager Gary Brown.
    Also on tap now is RAR’s hoppy Nanticoke Nectar that wants a bold-flavored food like corned beef and cabbage … and D.C. Brau, a nitro-Porter with a nice creamy finish, which pairs well with shepherd’s pie. 
    At Brian Boru in Severna Park, we also feature authentic Irish recipes prepared with produce and proteins from local farmers and fish suppliers. Our home-cooked corned beef is always one of our best, slow-cooked for six hours and served with fresh local cabbage and red potatoes. Fresh shucked oysters are also on the menu, and on Thursday nights Irish singers add atmosphere to the Guinness and fresh shucked oyster night. If you like a great reuben sandwich, our home-cooked corned beef and sauerkraut on rye bread is our best seller. Homemade potato cakes or fried oysters are great choices to start off the dining experience. Shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie and fish and chips are customer favorites and our all-day breakfast featuring Irish bacon, sausages, black and white puddings with tomato and eggs is the way to go.
    Always striving to be part of the community, Brian Boru has had a marvelous role in helping raise money for local charities with its fundraising dinners: three-course menu for $25 per person. Of that amount $10 per person is donated back to the evening’s charity. Heather Saffield, Brian Boru’s general manager, has greatly contributed to the growth of this community giveback. Under her stewardship, we have helped lots of wonderful local people.
    With St Patrick’s day fast approaching, please check our websites for history dinners, concerts and entertainment schedules.
 
Galway Bay Irish Restaurant
63 Maryland Ave., Annapolis; 410-263-8333; www.galwaybaymd.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch
 
Brian Boru Irish Pub
489 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-975-2678; www.brianborupub.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch
 
Killarney House Irish Restaurant
584 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville; 
410-798-8700; www.killarneyhousepub.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch

Jalapeños

Change your state of mind in Jalapeños, where décor and service lead you to believe you’ve just stepped out of the zocalo into a cool, timeless restaurant. You could be in Spain or in Mexico, and Jalapeños’ dishes will satisfy either taste.
    Both styles are authentic to Jalapeños. Owner Gonzalo Fernandez comes from Spain, and owner Alberto Serrano comes from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the source of many of Mexico’s richest moles. Chef Obed Serrano, also from Oaxaca, studied his art in Spain.
    Create your meal to your taste by ordering from the menu of tapas, the original small plates. Four-dozen choices include fish — calamari, mussels, salmon, scallop and shrimp — meat and vegetable.
    Gonzalo’s favorite is Gambas al Ajillo: large shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic, herbs and tomato finished with dry sherry. It is also served as one of two-dozen large plates, many accompanied with beans and rice. 
    Made-to-order guacamole and a margarita or sangria are good starters as you browse the menu that includes, as you’d expect, wide choices of burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and tacos. 
    Bimonthly Flamenco dinners with live dancers, a singer and guitarist are so popular that shows sell out. Watch Jalapeños’ ads for the dates and reserve early.
 
Jalapeños
85 Forest Plaza, Annapolis; 410-266-7580; www.jalapenosonline.com
Lunch Mon.-Sat., nightly dinner and happy hour in the bar starting at 4pm

Jerry’s Place

If you’ve been to Jerry’s, south of Prince Frederick, you know why its shopping strip parking lot is full: fresh and delicious seafood with friendly service. 
    If you haven’t, you’ll want to find out. 
    “We buy only the freshest crabmeat and seafood, says owner Jerry Gainey, a seafood lover with a passion for feeding folks and 48 years in the business. “We prepare our food with simple recipes. Our fresh jumbo lump crabcakes with zero fillers are famous far and wide.”
    Casual and friendly, Jerry’s is so local that community neighbors surround you in the café’s 54 seats and from murals covering the walls. Jerry and Jerry Jr. are there too, with friendly conversation, warm hospitality and often a tasty treat.
 
Jerry’s Place
1541 Solomons Island Rd., Prince Frederick; 410-535-3242; www.Jerrys-Place.com
Thurs.-Sat. Noon-8pm, Sun. 1-7pm

La Bella Italia

Some children know what they want to be when they grow up and never stray from their earliest career plans. This is true of Luca Assante, owner of La Bella Italia in Friendship. 
    Assante studied at a culinary school in his native Naples, Italy before moving to the United States to be near family. Here, he lives his passion by cooking and serving authentic Italian cuisine. One taste of his signature Seafood Linguine and you will understand why it has been featured as a special for years.
    This cozy cafe offers quick and friendly dine-in and take-out service, from individual pizza slices to complete family dinners that include pasta, salad and bread for six. 
    La Bella Italia lives up to its name. When Assante thinks of the name, it reminds him of the good food from his homeland. Stop in and taste for yourself and you will be transported to Beautiful Italy, too.
 
La Bella Italia
• 11 West Friendship Rd., Friendship; 410-257-1062
• 1460 Ritchie Hwy., Arnold; 410-757-3373
• 609-B Taylor Ave., Annapolis; 410-216-6061
• Piazza Italia, 7710 Ritchie Hwy., Glen Burnie; 410-590-4990
Lunch and dinner daily

Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano

Walk or drive on Inner West Street in Annapolis and you can’t miss Luna Blu, with its bright Mediterranean blue and sunshine yellow facade. 
    “I’m very excited to be entering our 17th year of business,” says owner Erin Dryden. “Inner West Street’s continued growth over the years with First Sunday Art Festivals, Dining Under the Stars and The Chocolate Binge Festival has been amazing. I’m proud to be a part of such a great community of local businesses and supportive patrons.” 
    Pulled in by the good vibrations of bright color, you discover a neighborhood place to retreat when you don’t feel like cooking. Yet it’s also a place to celebrate special occasions … or to gather a like-minded group for a wine-pairing dinner to benefit a favorite charity.
    Whatever your reason for coming, whoever you are, Luna Blu welcomes you.
    “I make all dishes to order, so they are fresh and customizable. Whatever your special diet — from gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan or lower in calories — we can accommodate you,” Dryden says.
    Also made in-house are all sauces and desserts plus fresh-baked bread. 
    The range of authentic southern Italian dishes is enormous. You have to try and try again to discover your favorites.
    Luna Blu makes that easy with regular specials. Nightly, choose your antipasto, entre and dessert, served with house salad for $38.
    Monday and Wednesday, bottles of wine are half-price.
    Thursday evenings, try a special pairing of personal pizzas with half bottles of wine.
    Appetizers — the menu runs to a dozen — are half-price Sunday to Wednesday 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-9:30pm.
 
Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano
36 West St., Annapolis; 410-267-9950; ­lunabluofannapolis.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Mamma Lucia

Mamma Lucia is Little Italy for Calvert County. In 1997, Sal and Maria Lubrano pioneered real Italian cuisine when they opened in Dunkirk. In 2007, their second restaurant opened in Prince Frederick and on August 21, 2017, Chesapeake Beach welcomed the opening of their third restaurant: Mamma Lucia by the Bay.
    Bay Weekly readers have repeatedly voted Mamma Lucia the Best Italian Restaurant, and 2017 brought more awards: Best New Bar, Best New Restaurant and Best New Business to Mamma Lucia By The Bay. 
    Bay Weekly readers are not the only ones to recognize Mamma Lucia’s authentic Italian cuisine. In 2016, Sal and Maria traveled to New York City where they became part of an elite group of Italian Restaurant owners who received Ospitalita Italian, an award presented by the Italian Chamber of Commerce to restaurants that distinguish themselves as true Italian food.
    Ambiance is part of the Mamma Lucia recipe for success. The Chesapeake Beach location offers seasonal roof-top and patio dining, a tiki bar and the same exceptional service and exquisite cuisine that you have become accustomed to at the other two locations. If you want Wood Brick Oven Pizza made with authentic Italian ingredients in the Old World Italian tradition, you will have to visit the Chesapeake Beach location. 
    The menu at all three locations offers truly authentic Italian cuisine: antipasti, delize dal mare, polo, vitelli and an extensive wine list. Don’t forget — because Italians love sweets — dolci and espresso to complete your dining experience and put you in a bellavita mood. 
    You’ll find a romantic spot for two and big tables for tutta la famiglia. Mamma Lucia is also the region’s favorite Italian caterer. 
    Find special events including music and wine-tasting dinners on Facebook.
 
Mamma Lucia 
• 862 Costley Way, Prince Frederick; 443-486-4701
• 10136 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 301-812-1240
• 8323 Bayside Rd., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-7700
www.mammaluciarestaurant.com

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot offers the unique experience of fondues, both savory and sweet, made tableside. 
    The unique, interactive experience we provide gives families and friends the opportunity to unplug and interact with each other in a special way.
    The Melting Pot cheese fondue comes from award-winning cheese makers in Wisconsin and is made especially for us. 
    A popular new addition is pretzel bread among our cheese fondue dipper selections. We have added a Cuban Cheese fondue and, for winter, brought back our popular Apple Cider Alpine Cheese Fondue.
    The Melting Pot main course fondues feature premium ingredients such as hormone and antibiotic-free chicken, Certified Black Angus Beef®, all-natural pork tenderloin, fish such as ahi tuna, vegetables and even potstickers for you to cook in broth or oil.
    Our chocolate dessert fondue, served with breads and cakes for dipping, is our most popular item.
    We also serve farm-fresh salads.
    Order separately or in such combinations as our Four-Course Experience.
    We also offer over 50 wines to choose from, as well as an excellent selection of local beers to pair with your cheese fondue. 
    In addition to the classic favorites, seasonal cheese fondues, salads and chocolate fondues provide more variety from visit to visit. 
    Girls’ Night Out on the first and third Monday of each month is one of our more popular events. In addition to drink specials, we offer a four-course dinner for just $30.
    Owners Kevin and Julie Mason, who first worked at The Melting Pot in Arlington, Virginia, are excited to be starting our 16th year serving Anne Arundel County and to be participating in Annapolis Restaurant Week.
    Annapolis Restaurant Week, from February 25-March 3, is a great way to try out what we do while knowing what you will spend.
 
The Melting Pot
2348 Solomons Island Rd., Annapolis; 410-266-8004; www.meltingpot.com/Annapolis
Dinner nightly 5-10pm

Mi Pueblo II

At Mi Pueblo, we say mi casa es tu casa. We are a family-run, independent restaurant offering the most delicious and authentic Mexican dishes in the area with stunning traditional décor and a contemporary atmosphere.
    We offer a great place to meet, eat and socialize for lunch or dinner. You will appreciate all the handmade art and details that make our restaurant a beautiful piece of Mexico in Severna Park.
    Enjoy drinks with mangos and papayas plus many favorites of Mexican cuisine. Try the nachos supreme, fresh guacamole or queso dip, fajitas, grilled shrimp and veggies, quesadillas, pollo poblano, chile Coloardo, and finish off your meal with dessert of tres leches or flan.
    Or come in for margaritas and mixed drinks with appetizers.
    We hope to see you soon, amigos!
 
Mi Pueblo II
554-A Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-544-4101; www.mipueblo2.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Old Stein Inn

A destination since 1982, the new Old Stein Inn draws lovers of Gemütlichkeit from far and wide to the Mayo peninsula. You don’t have to be able to pronounce Gemütlichkeit to love its components: good beer and wine, good food in the German style, good fellowship and good times. But if you can’t, Mike Selinger — son of founders Karl and Ursula — will teach you how to say the word that’s at the root of all you enjoy at The Old Stein.
    Renovated in 2011 after a New Year’s Eve fire, the new Old Stein is a contemporary American fusion of a German lodge and bierstube. Inside, you feel cozy camaraderie. Outside, the Biergarten Bier Bär — heated and covered — brings excitement in winter and rustic charm in summer.
    Friday and Saturday, musicians add to the sense you’ve come someplace special. Some nights feature locals; others traditional German musicians, instruments and flair. 
    Food is, of course, the main attraction. You’ll be eating German cuisine in classic and modern variations, including The Old Stein’s legendary German take on crab soup. A variety of wursts, schnitzels and named specialties including Sauerbraten, Kassler Rippchen or smoked pork chops and Münchner Schweinhaxe, an ample pork shank. Wild game — duck, elk, quail and rabbit — is featured on the winter menu. Many dishes are served as either small or large plates.
    Vegetarians fare surprisingly well in this modern German inn, with salads, potato pancakes and spätzle, braised red cabbage and specialty dishes such as gemüse spätzle with steamed fresh vegetables. Fish is also on this menu. 
    Kids love lots at The Old Stein, including German pretzels, fries and pickles, dill or fried. 
    Drink is part of The Old Stein experience, with 10 craft beers on tap and a library of bottled beers. German wine deserves the reputation it has earned among oenophiles. 
    For weekend live entertainment and the latest news, check The Old Stein Facebook page and website.
 
Old Stein Inn
1143 Central Ave., Edgewater; 410-798-6807; ­www.oldstein-inn.com
Dinner Wed.-Sun. plus Sun. lunch

Petie Greens

”Petie’s strives to be the local place customers can count on for high-end ingredients and consistent quality,” says owner and executive chef Justin Chaney. “We only source local when in season and order higher quality meats for a better tasting dish, including USDA prime beef. We specialize in craft beers which you can’t find in other local spots and a small selection of gorgeous wines.” 
    “We have kept our menu small so that we can focus on fresh and in-season seafood and specialty dishes. I am particularly proud of the variety of dishes with favorites including homemade rockfish bites, succulent turkey legs and fresh roasted chickens, bacon-wrapped scallops, BBQ fried oysters and Boom Boom shrimp,” Chaney says.
    Specials change daily and are featured on the locally famous Daily Specials board.
    Chaney has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years. He started out as a busboy at a locally popular seafood restaurant, Stoney’s, and eventually found his way into managing the kitchen as head chef. He then pursued his passion for business, graduating from Salisbury University with a Business Administration degree.
    Now Chaney uses his experience and love of high quality food and meticulous ingredients to delight you at his own restaurant.
    Petie Greens’ slogan is All’s Good, and the mission is to provide an enjoyable, relaxing atmosphere for local residents to savor consistent, high-quality food that is local to the region.
    “We’re a staple in the community, supporting local talent, residents and all age groups, with a focus on the local area and regulars who live and work in the community.”
    Satisfied customers responded with Best of the Bay awards for New Bar and Best Bang for Your Buck.
    Petie Greens features daily specials, live music weekly, full bar with happy hour 3-6pm (half priced menu items) and outdoor dining in season. 
 
Petie Greens
6103 Drum Point Rd., Deale; 410-867-1488; www.petiegreens.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Pirates Cove

Classic Chesapeake hospitality comes in several styles at Pirates Cove, a waterfront tradition on the West River for decades. In every style, says co-owner Anthony Clarke, “Pirates Cove puts forward an honest commitment to welcome our community with our comfortable ambiance and a friendly service team.”
    For casually upscale dining, remodeling has opened broad vistas on the riverfront throughout the restaurant. With beautiful sunny water views, and the addition of great food from Chef Steve Hardison, Pirates Cove has a lot to offer new guests for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends. The improvement of the banquet rooms has enabled guests to plan for family events such as wedding rehearsals, dinner parties, retirements and community events. 
    Chef Steve’s unique interpretation of local food has produced a seasonal menu of traditional South County favorites with original creations. Included are bluefish, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, fresh oysters, rockfish and special rare delicacies like Alaskan halibut cheeks, blowfish and shad roe. Shrimp Louie salad or roasted beet salad with homemade dressings are likewise healthy and different.
    A relaxed style of hospitality is served at the bar, as welcoming a spot as you’ll find in Chesapeake country. Special offerings are piratical brews, including the famous Pirates Punch, and a wide selection of rums. Enjoy happy hour in the bar weekdays from 3 to 7pm. Arriving early in the bar or main dining room is essential this time of year to get a seat beside one of our two fireplaces. Nothing like the ambiance of a stone fireplace, maybe some Cream of Crab soup (60-year-old recipe) or a hot buttered rum to help you feel warm, comfortable and relaxed.
    All year long, local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights make you want to linger. If you do, you can stay in Pirates Inn — the only lodging for miles — or in your own boat, at Pirates Marina.
 
Pirates Cove Restaurant, Inn & Dock Bar
4817 Riverside Dr., Galesville; 410-867-2300; www.piratescovemd.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch

Plaza Mexico

Plaza Mexico does double duty.
    In North Beach, it’s a favorite neighborhood hangout. For northern Calvert and southern Anne Arundel counties, it’s the best — and only — Mexican restaurant for 12 miles to the south and 24 to the north. 
    It’s got the looks for both jobs. Its central location, big windows on a walkable town, generous dining room and long, popular bar with side tables and televisions draw in locals and the Bayfront town’s many visitors. Touches of Mexico, as well as the menu, earn it its name.
    “The original Plaza Mexico is a famous shopping area in the heart of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico,” says owner Benny Ayala. “We try to bring some flair from Mexico, so our customers enjoy it.”
    As well as the flair, Ayala brings his hometown food to Chesapeake Country. Beyond the traditional tacos, burritos and quesadillas, less familiar dishes such as fajitas and chori-pollo translate seamlessly to American tastes. Guacamole made at the table should start your meal because it’s so good. Mexican beer and margaritas make tasty additions. 
    As the weather warms up, you can enjoy it all outdoors on Plaza Mexico’s large patio.
 
Plaza Mexico
9200 Bay Ave., North Beach; 443-964-6381; ­www.PlazaMexicoMaryland.com
Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.

Rocco’s Pizzeria

Rocco’s Pizzeria is the pizza of choice in Annapolis since 1974. Awards hang in double layers on the wall for display. The Gargano family has owned and operated Rocco’s from the beginning. 
    Walk in and you will be overcome by the aroma of a New York style pizzeria. Customers keep coming back for the fresh-out-of-the oven experience. This local restaurant prides itself on being the place where everyone knows your name and your pizza. What else would you expect after 44 years? 
    It goes without saying that you should order pizza: thin-crusted New York style or the thick-crusted Sicilian. Roccos Pizzeria is all fresh. The dough and sauces are made daily using the family’s own recipes as well as shredding the whole-milk mozzarella. Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!
 
Rocco’s Pizzeria
954 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis; 410-263-9444; www.roccospizzashop.com
Lunch, dinner, carryout and delivery daily

Rogue Pierogies

Pierogies are Eastern Europe’s version of the stuffed dumpling, a food so comforting that many nations have their distinctive varieties, from kreplach to ravioli to samosa to wontons. 
    The small pockets of dough known as pierogies are traditionally stuffed with potatoes, cheese and onions. Though rooted in that tradition, Rogue Pierogies owner Krista Sermon, of Annapolis, is an innovator. Her current list stretches to 15 varieties, from ethnic variations like Kaczenskys, Gandolfinis and two curries to American favorites like Reubens and Buffalo chicken and blue cheese.
    Each little dumpling is handmade from local, fresh ingredients from Maryland farmers and without preservatives or artificial flavors.
Fully cooked and frozen, they are quick and easy to prepare.
    Find Rogue Pierogies at Anne Arundel County Winter Farmers Market (Sundays 10am-1pm), the Kent Island Farmers Market (Thursdays 3:30-6:30pm), Graul’s Markets in Annapolis and Cape St. Claire and Green Valley Marketplace in Arnold. You can also order online. Best of all, buy where they’re made: 1825 George Ave., Suite 1, Annapolis.
 
Rogue Pierogies
1825 George Ave., Suite 1, Annapolis; 410-858-7088; www.roguepierogies.com

Sam’s on the Waterfront

”Everything we serve is made fresh in our kitchen,” says Sam’s owner Andrew Parks.
    Sam’s on the Waterfront is the kind of place that is worth the drive, though the residents of Chesapeake Harbour, the gated marina community where Sam’s makes its home, don’t need to. You can also pull your boat right up to their dock bar and dine there. 
    It’s a scenic destination: cottage-lighthouse-styled with waterfront views wrapping three-quarters around for great views all seasons. You’ll also find cozy corners.

    Food is New American. Expect regional favorites made with local ingredients and inventively re-imagined in dishes that look as good as they taste.
    Parks opened Sam’s — named for his grandfather and daughter — to “bring diversity and creativity to the Annapolis food scene.”

    He recommends a couple of light dishes: Sam’s Famous lobster mac and cheese, award-winning burger or wings or Sam’s seafood pasta with jumbo shrimp, blue bay mussels and sea scallops served over linguini with tomato, spinach and Old Bay in Sam’s house cream sauce.

    Sam’s diverse wine list and liquor are as carefully chosen as the food.

    Nightly specials give you happy hour 3-7pm Tuesdays through Fridays. Local musicians entertain every Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7pm so you don’t have to wait till 10pm to hear great live local music.
    Find daily news, including specials, events like Oyster Fest, Party Gras, Full Moon parties and live entertainment, on the active Sam’s Waterfront Facebook page.
 
Sam’s on the Waterfront
2020 Chesapeake Harbour Dr. East, Annapolis; 
410-263-3600; www.samsonthewaterfront.com
Dinner Tues.-Sun., lunch Tues.-Sat., brunch Sun.

Thai Paradise 

Health, flavor and speed are the unbeatable combination you get from Thai Paradise. Now in its second year, the Severna Park carryout may be the authentic Thai source you’ve been seeking.
    “Variety and complexity best describe the dishes at Thai Paradise. We emphasize lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge,” says Nathan Thiesse, the lucky husband of owner and chef Tanida Thiesse. “We cook like we eat at home.”
    Specialties include Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles and Pad Ga Prow, a stir fry with meat or tofu, basil, bell pepper, Thai chiles and garlic.
    Som Tom is a papaya salad combining green papaya with tomato, Thai chili, garlic peanuts and dressing; it is spicy.
    Most curry items are spicy, but not all. Massaman Curry is like a delicate stew combining potatoes, peanuts and meat or seafood.
    Accomplished Thai chef Tanida Thiesse, who hails from Surin Province, brings to Severna Park the traditional dishes she ate growing up. She uses only dry ingredients imported from Thailand plus the freshest meat, seafood and vegetables. All dishes are made fresh from scratch. Every soup and entrée is cooked fresh to order, using the healthiest natural ingredients. 
    Order online at www.thaiparadisemd.com or call 410-544-7622 for speedy carryout or delivery. 
 
Thai Paradise
57 W. McKinsey Rd., Severna Park; 410-544-7622; www.thaiparadisemd.com
Lunch and dinner, Mon.-Sat.

Thursday’s Bar & Grill

Thursday’s Bar & Grill — a sports bar with 12 TVs, the NFL Ticket and a great happy hour — calls to you as you work your way home, when you want to relax and when there’s a big game. 
    That’s not its only call. 
    Thursday’s Bar & Grill calls you for its $10 lunch menu weekdays 11am to 3pm. “That’s a deal,” says general manager Mitch LeFevre. 
    Evenings and weekends call the family for good casual eating in the dining room.
    Much of the menu is homemade. Burgers are one-half pound fresh, never frozen, beef. Oysters and crabs — including steamed — are always local when in season. Fresh oysters are now in season. Thursday’s best-selling wings are fried in-house and repeatedly voted Best of the Bay by Bay Weekly readers.
 
Thursday’s Bar & Grill
1751 Horace Ward Rd., Owings; 410-286-8695
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. breakfast

Thursday’s Steak & Crab House

Atop an authentic decommissioned steamboat landing, Thursday’s Steak & Crab House offers casual destination dining. Because it’s at the end of the road in Galesville, you won’t find it unless you’re looking for it — or lucky. In summer, it’s a favorite destination by boat as well as by car, cycle or foot. Whatever the season you can’t beat the views — because you’re on top of the water.
    With that location, you’d guess correctly that Chesapeake delicacies top Thursday’s menu. Here fresh, local ingredients mean local oysters in winter and fresh rockfish whenever available. In season, crabs are dropped off at the dock daily. Order them steamed, soft-shell or in gluten-free crabcakes made with only Chesapeake Bay crabmeat and no filler or bread. Ask at other restaurants where your crab comes from, and you’ll see what a rarity this is. 
    This time of year, crab lovers can switch to snow crab legs. Steamed shrimp with a house blend of seasonings are always popular, as is Thursday’s Orange Crush. 
    Come summer, remember Thursday’s tiki bar, 25 boat slips and two dinghy docks. You’ll love it outside, and so will your dog. Thursday’s is so dog friendly that there’s even a doggie menu.
    About the name?
    “We’re where the weekend starts on Thursdays,” says general manager Monique Morgan.
 
Thursday’s Steak & Crab House
4851 Riverside Dr. Galesville; 410-867-7200
Lunch and dinner daily

The Ugly Pig

I really wanted a good ham sandwich — and my pickles are something, says George Williams, owner and operator of the The Ugly Pig. 
     We are mostly a carryout delicatessen, with a few seats outside and a few seats inside. We specialize in charcuterie, and we make everything we sell, from peanut butter to prosciutto, mayonnaise to miso. 
    The Ugly Pig is also a small market where you can pick up eggs, bacon, cuts from the wonderfully raised vaccine-free pigs I use at the store or any of our specialty house-made products to be even more tremendous cooks at home. We also do catering, and we also sell whole pigs.
    I created The Pig because I wanted to be a part of the national conversation about food that is happening right now. I think many of the foods I serve are being lost to modernity in some way or have a carbon footprint that is unnecessarily large. I think the money we spend on food and how we spend it is a way to be politically vocal. As a witness to the growth of the locavore movement, I’ve felt charcuterie was an under-produced niche to which I felt I had something to contribute.
    We source everything we can locally, and we deal face to face with our farmers.
     Because we make everything on the menu, we know for sure things like allergen information and dietary information in a very thorough way. We do not use high fructose corn syrup or any products with high fructose corn syrup. We do not use butter. We do not have a deep fryer. We do not have a microwave. We really like our ingredients and our farmers and want to do them justice. Our prepared dishes have layers of our ingredients — and a lot of effort. 
    Most of the food I sell is drawn from personal travel experiences. So every dish is a signature dish. 
    Flagship products include dry-cured bacon, honey peanut butter, chicken salad, split pea soup, vinegars we ferment to make mustards and all sorts of stuff, bone broth, sandwiches, Italian sausage, fermented foods like sauerkraut, celery and gochujiang, dinner dishes and so much more.
    We happily take orders over the phone. Because we source so much of our food from local farmers, our menu changes every week. For phone orders and for planning, I post the weekly menu on our Facebook page. There you can find everything from the day’s sandwich or dinner offerings to what charcuterie or pickled product is available. 
    Wondering about our name? It is drawn from song lyrics. Our logo, drawn by a local Annapolis High School student, is also inspired by the song’s lyrics.
    As the song goes, a pig offers the protagonist an adventure that is foreign, at times terrifying, but in the end very gratifying. I can’t say more. You’ll have to come in.
 
The Ugly Pig 
1841 St. Margaret’s Rd., Annapolis; 410-571-3060; www.facebook.com/TheUglyPigAnnapolis
Lunch & dinner Tues.-Sun.

Umai Sushi House

Good sushi is where you find it.
    Give yourself the surprise of finding very good sushi in a four-store shopping corner in Deale. If it were summer, you’d get a hint of good to come in the container garden that makes the parking lot a vibrant oasis. In the dead of winter, you enter on hope. Or perhaps you long for a steaming bowl of hot chicken soup.
    Step inside. Behind the sushi bar, the chef slices thin slivers of very fresh fish. Owner Chang Park, your likely waitress, greets you like a long-lost relation. Her warmth makes the 34-seat café hospitable. Much of Umai’s business is carry out, but with a pot of tea, a carafe of saki, a beer or a glass of wine, you may find yourself lingering at a table.
    For good reason. Umai’s authentic Korean dishes you won’t find the likes of for many miles. Less rare nowadays, the Japanese side of Umai’s menu compares favorably with trendier competitors in Annapolis and D.C.
 
Umai Sushi House
657 Deale Rd., Deale; 410-867-4433
Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.
 
 
 
 

I’m buying long rods to fish from shore the windy days of early ­trophy rockfish season

       My latest fishing quest originated in last year’s trophy rockfish season as I was putting in a supply of ice for my skiff’s fish box. Parking near an SUV, I had paused to compare notes with the occupants who were as eager to get into some action as I was, using a different sort of gear.
      They were shore anglers, armed with the long surf-type fishing rods needed to get long casts off the shallow Bayside shorelines of the public areas that have become popular in recent years, especially during the early season.
      I admired the anglers for their zeal even as I pitied them for the endless and fishless hours I suspected they experienced in their pursuit of trophy rockfish from land. Yet the anglers assured me they were doing well.
      Since it was just over a week into the season, I smiled. Many anglers claim they are doing well, particularly if they aren’t. It’s really nobody’s business but their own.
      Just to reassure myself that I wasn’t missing anything, I asked if they had any pictures. Of course they did, and one dived into the SUV to fetch his phone. My jaw dropped at a picture of him and his two buddies with three of the biggest, fattest trophy rock I had seen yet that year. 
      He also confided that those fish weren’t the only ones they’d scored but conceded that they’d already been out four or five days during the trophy season. Plus, they had released some trophy-sized fish during the earlier March and April catch-and-release season. 
      My opinion of the opportunities afforded to shore anglers shifted considerably. I had not yet managed to get my skiff out on the water even once. It wasn’t that I lacked the free time. What I lacked was calm seas. It had been blowing since opening day.
      Weather is one of the biggest drawbacks of boat fishing during the trophy season. It’s not so much a problem if you’ve got a larger craft that can handle a good chop and provide shelter from the chilly winds that blow over the Chesapeake in April. For smaller skiffs like my 17-footer, it’s a showstopper. Getting out even once a week is often a challenge with our cold and windy springtime weather.
     Shoreside angling suddenly began to make a lot more sense. There are publicly accessible sites up and down both sides of the Bay, usually with a lee shore sheltered from the worst of any small craft advisory winds. If I wanted more time on the water, I decided, perhaps I should join the long-rod crowd. But the only long rods I had were fly rods.
      As it takes time (and financial resources) to put together a proper set of tackle, I put it off until the following year, which is now upon me. Doing a bit of research in the meantime, I determined what was needed and have begun to put together a couple of outfits. 
      The most popular surf sticks for shoreside fishing around the Chesapeake are nine- to 11-footers coupled with a 5000- or 6000-series spin reel capable of holding a few hundred yards of 20- to 30-pound monofilament or braid. The extra-capacity reels are necessary because shore-bound anglers often make casts of 150 to 300 feet, then have to contend with the sizeable runs of big fish.
      Right now I’m looking forward to a busy early season beginning in just a few weeks. When it’s too cold and windy to take out my skiff, I’m planning to be along a shoreline in a comfortable beach chair, clad in well insulated clothes and sipping a warm beverage, with an eye on my rods, waiting for trophy rockfish to come by and take my baits.
 
Wish a Fish Foundation Needs Your Extra Gear
      If you’ve got an excess of any kind of fishing equipment that you’re no longer using, the Wish a Fish Foundation could use it (410-913-9043). The Foundation is intending to raise money by selling donated fishing gear at the Pasadena Fishing Flea Market on Feb. 17 and 18 at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Hall, 161 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park.
      Wish A Fish accepts donations on Thursday, Feb. 15, when some afternoon and evening help would be welcome. Volunteers are also needed to help at the tables at the flea market (outside but in a tent) on the 17th and maybe 18th, 7:30am-2pm: 
410-439-3474.
 
 
 
Is cursive an evolutionary dodo?
       Can you sign your name in cursive?
       For much of American history, handwriting was a hallmark of education and character, taught in classrooms as part of the triumvirate of reading, ’riting and ’rithmatic. Students who persevered through eight grades took as much pride in their penmanship as John Hancock, whose graceful cursive on the Declaration of Independence made his name a synonym for signature, as in sign your John Hancock on the dotted line.
      Into the 20th century, handwriting was so foundational a part of the public school curriculum that educators devoted themselves to perfecting a system good for one and all, just as modern educators have with Common Core. From letterforms and linkages standardized in the mid-1800s by bookseller and abolitionist Platt Rogers Spencer — and not so different from many Hancock used — the American cursive handwriting style evolved.
      Spencerian descendants — about whom we’ll have more to say — were so successful that by the mid-20th century, Americans from coast to coast could write — and read — one another’s handwriting, as well as John Hancock’s.
Yet just about then (does Sputnik ring a bell?) states began de-emphasizing handwriting to allow more classroom time for the curriculum we know today as STEM. 
       Does cursive have a future? That’s the question we ask in honor of National Handwriting Day, which falls on January 23, the birthday of the Massachusetts’ patriot John Hancock. No longer can every graduate of our public schools read Hancock’s signature — or, for that matter, the handwritten document itself.
      Can you?
 
A Pillar of Civilization
       Through the four- or five-thousand-year span of recorded history, handwriting has evolved, influenced and reflected every aspect of culture. This art of forming visible, readable characters has evolved in many styles, from cuneiform and hieroglyphics to unconnected block letters to flowing cursive.
      About the time the Egyptians were developing hieroglyphics, Sumerian merchants were codifying their transactions into cuneiform script. Ever since, handwritten documents have recorded births, marriages and deaths but also started and ended wars. They’ve bought and sold land and slaves, and guaranteed — or challenged — our voting rights.
      By about 1500 BCE, the Phoenicians had an alphabet of 22 phonetic symbols. This marvelous invention spread to Greece, Persia, India and Egypt.
      Like any new technology, handwriting brought on tidal waves of change. Socrates feared a written language would destroy memory, according to Anne Trubek, author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. To a degree, he was right; the old oral tradition that gave rise to Homer is obsolete. On the other hand, as French philosopher Jacques Derrida noted, we only know what Socrates thought about anything because someone recorded his ideas.
        In the second century BCE, the Roman Empire conquered Greece, adopting its then 23-letter alphabet. The alphabet spread throughout the Roman empire. More letters were adopted over the centuries until, by the 15th century, the Roman alphabet consisted of 26 letters.
       By then, handwriting had become a specialized skill, practiced by the scribes and monks who saw their livelihood threatened when Gutenberg developed a printing press capable of assembly line-style production of books. Despite their worries, handwriting remained for many centuries the dominant medium for recording and sharing information.
         The Renaissance development of copperplate engraving brought the fanciful flourishes to script writing. This script evolved into the italics from which cursive and basic lowercase letters derive.
        In early America — as in so many cultures over the millennia — handwriting was a skill that could earn a craftsman a living. By the 1700s, master clerks were doing the actual penning of many of our historic documents. The United States Constitution was drafted by James Madison, penned by Jacob Shallus, assistant clerk of the Pennsylvania State Assembly and signed, more or less elegantly, by 56 colonial gentlemen, for whom fine handwriting was a mark of education and cultivation. 
       In 1786, George Fisher published The Instructor, or American Young Man’s Best Companion Containing Spelling, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetick.
         “The capitals must bear the same Proportion one to another,” wrote Fisher. He directed that upstrokes be fine, and downward strokes fuller and blacker. “And when you are in Joining,” he instructed, “take not off the Pen in writing, especially in running or mixed hands.” His words may ring familiar to 60- and 70-somethings who learned Palmer cursive in school. 
        In the mid-18th century Platt Rogers Spencer developed a utilitarian writing system uniting aspects of several popular writing systems. During the late 1880s, the Spencerian method evolved into the Palmer system, which emphasized writing with arm movements rather than with the fingers. With variants, Palmer remained the school standard of penmanship through the 1950s.
        Meanwhile, other technologies were changing the world. As early as 1947, when TIME magazine was already bemoaning the “day of typewriters, shorthand, telephones and Dictaphones,” educators and the media were complaining that schools were neglecting penmanship instruction. In 1955, the Saturday Evening Post pronounced us a “nation of scrawlers.” By the 1980s, some public school students were receiving little or no formal handwriting training.
 
Cursive Uncommon in ­Common Core 
        Since 2010, to many teens and young graduates of Maryland’s public schools, the swirls and twirls of cursive are as unreadable as ancient Sanskrit.
       Trace it back to Maryland’s adoption that year of Common Core State Standards in reading, English/Language Arts and mathematics, known 
as the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards. Later, pre-K standards were added. 
       State education standards have been around since the early 1990s, varying from state to state. In 2009, most states, the District of Columbia and a couple of territories voted to develop Common Core State Standards. Maryland was among the first of many states to adopt the new, voluntary standards. 
       Common Core put our nation “one step closer,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation that bankrolled the initiative, “to supporting effective teaching in every classroom, charting a path to college and careers for all students.” 
       Often Common Core pushed cursive aside for keyboarding and computer skills, math and sciences.
 
How Important are ­Connected Letters?
        Does the loss of our common heritage of handwriting matter? Opinions are divided.
        Juli Folk, 37, is reading handwritten Calvert County Census documents for the Center for the Study of the Legacy of Slavery at the Maryland Archives while studying for her masters degree in Library Information Science at the University of Maryland ISchool. 
       Her volunteer project depends on her ability to read cursive in many hands over many decades. “I had fun learning it in elementary school,” she says.
      Yet for today’s students, she’d be happy to see it “offered as an art class. Or teachers could show students what cursive letters look like, then let them learn it on their own.”
      “What matters,” she says, “is that handwriting, whether printed or cursive, is legible.”
      The American Bar Association seems to agree. Printed signatures are just as legal as are cursive — or electronic ones,” according to University of Missouri law professor David English.
       Other benefits may make cursive fit enough to survive the keyboard era.
       Some researchers say learning cursive benefits brain development and fine motor skills in children, leading to improved writing skills and reading comprehension — skills critical across the Common Core. 
        Dr. William R. Klemm, senior professor of neuroscience at Texas A&M, says learning cursive helps train the brain to function more effectively, increasing hand-eye coordination and reading speed. Thus, he concludes that schools that drop cursive are depriving students of an important developmental tool.
        Whatever learning cursive may do for our hands, eyes and brains, losing it certainly cuts us off from our past. A generation illiterate in cursive will be unable to read historic documents, including Grandma’s letters. 
       “Sending a handwritten letter is becoming such an anomaly,” says actor Steve Carell. “My mom is the only one who still writes me letters. There’s something visceral about opening a letter. I see her in handwriting.”
       At the Maryland State Archives, Emily Oland Squires hears complaints from researchers, especially students, struggling to read with cursive. 
       Archives staff tries to bridge the gap by helping research teachers create lesson plans that include both primary source documents written in cursive and their transcriptions. Online transcriptions have been made of many documents pertaining to state and African American history.
        “Still, we ask teachers to let students try to work from the manuscripts before giving them transcriptions,” says Squires. “It helps them learn.”
 
Does Cursive Have a Future?
         Some states have legislated a future for cursive. In 2016, Alabama and Louisiana — not states earning top educational ratings — became the latest of 14 states that now require cursive in school.
        Maryland does not require cursive be taught. 
        “There are currently no standards for cursive,” says Walter Lee, of the office of the Curriculum Coordinator and Instruction at Anne Arundel County Public Schools. “But Maryland created a framework in which cursive does appear.” 
       Lee explains that Maryland decided to include cursive as part of the framework for interpreting the state standards for the Commonwealth of Maryland. “There are no policies governing cursive,” he says, “but there are practices. It is up to local education agencies.”
        In Anne Arundel County, he says “incorporating cursive into reading time during the school day is a school-based decision, meaning that it is up to the principal.”
      In the bigger picture, it may be, as Trubek says, that the decline in our use of handwriting in our daily lives is only the next stage in the evolution of communication. Where we’ll be next, who knows.
        While we wait to see what the next wave of change brings, we might all heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” He did both.
       In honor of National Handwriting Day, pick up a pen or pencil and put it to use.
 
What is Cursive?
       Cursive derives from the Latin word currere, meaning to run. Cursive writing has a more comfortable flow than early Roman square block printing or the more rounded uncial writing of early Latin literature. In handwriting history, forerunners of cursive appear as far back as ancient Roman times. Due to its speed and efficiency, many languages since the ancients have cursive forms. 
       In America, cursive has subtypes such as ligature, in which letters within words are connected with lines. There’s also cursive italic penmanship, which combines joins and pen lifts within words. Looped cursive is the style taught in American schools since the late 1800s. If you learned cursive, it may well have been this style. 
 

 

 

The season is already underway

      It’s starting now. The yellow perch run is on the way, with the white perch run right behind it. Despite our wildly unpredictable weather this time of year, Maryland’s 2018 fishing season is opening up — whether you’re ready or not.
      Hardier practitioners will reap the first and richest bounties, as always, so don’t be misled by freezing temperatures. The fish may hesitate during periods of extreme cold but not for long. Temperature is not the primary element affecting the coming and going of fish. They’re also driven by the increasing sunlight, lunar phases, tidal flows and the inexorable changes in their bodies. Females are already swelled to bursting from the copious quantities of roe they are producing. Males are overflowing with milt.
       Staging areas are the right places to target, the deeper water up in the tributaries where the schools of fish will build up awaiting whatever secret signal their senses need to start for the headwaters to spawn. Yellow perch prefer 45- to 55-degree water for reproducing. Improbable as it seems, on a sunny, 60-degree day, the shallows of a tributary can easily reach those temperatures, though Bay waters may remain in the 30s.
       If nothing else, it’s the time to break out your spring perch fishing tackle and get it ready for action. Light lines need replacing more frequently than heavier tests, so check yours. If they appear chalky, stiff or in any way suspicious, replace them now. Four- to six-pound test is the way to go this time of year. Each spool refill at a local sports store costs $3 to $4.
        A seven-foot, medium-weight spin rod is adequate for pan fishing. However, maybe this spring is time to invest in a six- to six-and-a-half-foot light- or ultra-light-action rod matched with one of the many 1000-series spin reels. It is far more satisfying to use tackle matched to the fish, and casting the lightweight lures and baits you’ll be using will be far easier. Your accuracy will be vastly improved, and light bites will be far more detectable.
       The best terminal setup is a pair of shad darts about 18 inches below a small weighted casting bobber. You can tip the darts with grass shrimp, minnow, bloodworms, earthworms, butter worms or any combination. 
       You’ll also need some warm clothes: hip waders or high boots if you’re a bank angler, some warm wool gloves (fingerless are best) and a few hand warmers, just in case. If using minnows for bait, don’t forget a small bait net. Nothing will numb your hands faster than having to plunge them repeatedly into your live bucket for baits.
        A five-gallon pail remains the best general tackle container: bait bucket, fish holder and sometime seat for when the bite may be slow. A thermos full of hot beverage can also go a long way to making the cold more bearable.
       Yellow perch must be at least nine inches in length — a 14-incher is a citation — and the possession limit is 10 fish per day. They, like white perch, are best prepared cleaned, rolled in panko crumbs and fried in hot peanut or corn oil until golden brown. Many devotees insist that yellow perch are better than whites, though that argument could be endless.

Fish Finder

Yellow perch are moving up into the tributaries. During the last cold snap, stalwart anglers made some holes through the ice in the upper Magothy and caught a number of yellows and not just a few whites. Spawning is definitely happening, though small males of both species are always the first on station. Pickerel are also up there in the tribs. Their spawn is imminent. Don’t ignore crappie either, as they too are schooling and becoming active in fresher water.
 
Hunting Seasons
Wild turkey: Jan. 18-20
Duck: thru Jan. 27
Ruffed grouse: thru Jan. 31
Whitetail and Sika deer, bow season: thru Jan. 31
Canada goose: thru Feb. 3
Snow goose: thru Feb. 3
Rabbit: thru Feb. 28
Squirrel: thru Feb. 28
http://dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/Documents/Hunting_Seasons_Calendar.pdf
 

Rich or poor, Owensville ­Primary Care turns no one away

Over $10,000. That’s what the average American spent for health care in 2016, and up is where that number is heading.
     “My wife’s health insurance jumped 38.9 percent,” laments a friend recently retired. “My pension is disappearing.”
     Across the age spectrum, you hear endless variationa of the same story.
Last year, 11.9 percent of Anne Arundel County residents couldn’t afford to see a doctor, according to the county’s Report Card of Community Health Indicators. Seventeen percent didn’t have a primary care physician.
     In a culture where health and wealth are inextricably linked, Owensville Primary Care is a haven. It welcomes all with these words: This Health Center serves all patients regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.
     It is an oddly placed haven.
     If you wanted to show off southern Anne Arundel County’s pastoral ideal, you couldn’t do better than take a drive down Owensville Road, the east-west link between Rt. 2 and Galesville. Amid imposing white homes set back on yards rolling into farm fields, the modernistic stucco building might, if noticed, raise a question. 
     Its placement tells a truer story of Southern Maryland life than the scenery. It’s a story in many ways little changed since Owensville Primary Care was founded in 1974 to, in CEO Sylvia Jennings’ words, “address the needs of a very low-income, rural, minority population that did not have access to health care.”
     Over four decades, Jennings has seen need persist and — for many of those years — overseen Owensville Primary Care’s ability to deliver care regardless of race, age or income.
      “We pledge to provide quality health care to our entire, diverse community at a responsible cost,” Jennings says. “That’s our mission.”
     Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, that pledge has included helping people, patients or not, find qualified health care programs. Nowadays, people losing their subsidies are welcome for advice and alternatives.
 
A Melting Pot
     In the utilitarian waiting room, you find yourself in a microcosm of the larger Southern Anne Arundel County community, where homes — and with them wealth — run the full range from mansions to shanties. Here, your neighbors — black and white, young and old, more and less affluent — visit as they wait. You might find — as I did on this day — a kid sucking a lollipop. Two elderly women, black and white. A tattooed hipster with an ear gauge in his lobe. A workingman in an Orioles cap. Yourself.

Owensville Primary Care outgoing CEO Sylvia Jennings, retiring after more than 20 years.

       Owensville Primary Care has become, over the years, an American melting pot. 
     “I came in one morning to find a Jaguar in the parking lot next to a jalopy,” says Jennings, the white-topped dynamo who for two decades has been CEO of this federally qualified Community Health Center, one of 16 in Maryland and some 1,400 nationwide.
      The numbers support the impression of diversity. Of October’s 1,156 patient visits, 38 percent were paid by commercial insurance, 32 percent by Medicare and 28 percent by Medicaid, with two percent self-paid.
 
Walking Into a Nightmare
       Jennings, 82 and days from retirement, works behind the scenes, in an office stocked with tall jars of Hershey’s Kisses. Jolly, direct and demanding, she does not want a visit to her sanctum to feel like “a walk down the hall to the principal.”
      For the office she is now dismantling has been the scene of many hard decisions.
      “I walked into a nightmare,” Jennings recalls.
      In 1981, the well-intentioned, six-year-old South County Family Health had descended into bankruptcy. With $1.5 million owed, court administrators threatened to “nail doors shut and walk away,” Jennings remembers. That’s when she joined the board, deputized by her boss, Virginia Clagett, then South County’s councilwoman.
      Paying off that debt took eight years.
      A second round of troubles in the mid 1990s brought Jennings back on the board to captain “a sinking ship.” First she laughed at entreaties; finally she accepted. That was 1997. She spent the next two years cleaning up the mess.
 
The Team
      Jennings has been the force that kept Owensville Primary Care on track.
      But hers is not the face you’re likely to know if you happen to be one of its 3,400 patients, from birth to geriatrics. 
      First you meet the reception crew, who, Jennings says and experience proves, are “welcoming and treat you not as a stranger but as a friend.” 

photo by Wayne Bierbaum

Back, doctors Thomas Sheesley, Jonathan Hennessee and Wayne Bierbaum. Front, nurse practitioner Nancy Bryan, behavioral health director Dr. Jana Raup and physicians assistant Ann Hendon.

photo by Wayne Bierbaum

Rebecca Woolwine, Judy Bracken, Amber Snay and Billie Aisquith in back row. Keri Mahan and Brittany Galloway, seated.

      Many, like office manager Billie Aisquith, have been here as long as Jennings. Increasingly, they are “cross-trained in multiple functions,” like Vickie Payne, who is also a fire department EMT just certified as a medical assistant through Anne Arundel Community College’s online program.
       “When they expand their skills, they expand their incomes,” Jennings says.
       Next, you enter into the hands of nurses — among them nurse supervisor Vanessa Greenwell, Owensville Primary’s longest serving staffer at over 30 years — who’ll take your weight and height, blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen readings.
       They turn you over to health care providers, who range from doctors to nurse practitioner Nancy Bryan, retired from the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, to physician assistant Ann Hendon.
       At 28 years in, chief medical officer Wayne Bierbaum calls his egalitarian work at Owensville Primary “what I’ve wanted to do since I decided to go into medicine: helping people manage in difficult circumstances.”
       Doctors Jonathan Hennessee and Thomas Sheesley are National Health Service Corps Scholars, who repay their medical education by working in communities with limited access to care, in their cases for a term of five years.
      Behavioral Health Director Jana Raup or Licensed Clinical Social Worker Jen Thornton offer counseling and therapy.
 
Right People for the Job
       From the bottom up and top down, salaries are a priority with Jennings, who brings her medical experience as a nurse along with administrative experience alongside a state legislator.
      “I really focused on getting people a decent wage,” she said. “Even then, $7 an hour for nurses was ridiculous.”
        “The money wasn’t there so it was a long process,” says Sharon Widemann, Jennings’ long-time colleague and now successor as CEO.
      Nowadays, Jennings calls “our salaries very competitive,” good enough to draw expertise from outside South County. 
       “Young physicians fresh out of school are paid a very good entry-level wage that appreciates the fact that family-care physicians are difficult to recruit,” she notes. 
      For five years, Jennings and Widemann, who came on in 1994 as an accountant, “got our hands dirty with work to make sure we had the right hiring.”
        Computerization brought the next challenge. 
      “When IT hit us all with electronic records, we were able to draw the best staff among community health centers, who are doing wonders for our record keeping,” Widemann says.
 
Finding Wherewithal
      Every step took money. 
      Community health centers are backed by tax dollars. Owensville Primary Care has a $4 million budget, with federal funding of about $1.5 million, supplemented by fees for service, donations from citizens and small government grants for targeted programs.
       Federal and private funding supported the construction of the building back in 1976, enabling Owensville Primary to move out of the old Owensville primary school. The building was county property until 2002, when it was surplussed to Owensville Primary. That same year, a state grant of $200,000 and a loan from the county paid for renovation. Later grants paid for better parking. This year, the behavioral health center moved into its own remodeled space, replacing the old post office that shared space with Owensville Primary.
      Grants enabled growth in services. In 2013 federal monies brought on behavioral health case managers, certified application counselors for Affordable Care and expanded Medicare, plus two more physicians. 
      A brand-new grant supports response to the opioid addiction crisis with mental health, public awareness and Narcan training.
      From Jennings’ years with Clagett as both councilwoman and delegate, she understood the levers of government. 
     “She has kept us in the minds of politicians who help our cause,” says chief medical officer Wayne Bierbaum.
      Jennings retires with Owensville Primary Care “in the black.” But not without a touch of uncertainty. Federal funding for community health centers expired September 30, and Congress has yet to reauthorize it.
 
‘A’ For Accountabiliity
     Recovery from a troubled past has made accountability part of each day’s work.
     “We hold ourselves accountable with committees for quality care, insurance and improvement,” Widemann says. “Once a month, a group of clinical and administrative staff review incidents and look at how our patients are doing. If one provider is doing a great job, we see how to share those best practices.”
     Patients have two ways to rate their satisfactions, and a sign on the reception desk invites complaints if you’ve waited more than 20 minutes to be seen. Quality measures are posted on the front door and the website.
      Accountability is one of the hallmarks of Jennings’ tenure, according to Bierbaum who has worked beside her the whole time.
     “Our goals have been continually strengthened through her vision of what we should become, so that everyone knows that we stand for service delivered with compassion, accountability and professionalism, always trying to do better in our mission,” he says.
     On January 2, Jennings passed on title and responsibility to Widemann. She leaves with satisfaction, relief and confidence, in a transition that, she promises, “will be seamless.” Preparing Widemann to continue the mission has been Jennings’ final achievement. 
     That, and revisiting 22 years of history, paper, electronic and human. 
     Amid the sorting, preserving and trashing, there was reflecting.
     Jennings already had reached retirement age when she was persuaded to come to the rescue of Owensville Primary Care.
     “I thought I’d do it a couple years and get it straightened out,” she recalls. 
      But day after day, year after year, she returned.
      “What I do every day of my life is so satisfying that it has allowed me to work till 82,” she says.
 

Outgoing CEO Sylvia Jennings, left, and her successor, Sharon Widemann.

      Now, 20 years in, she allows herself to be “very personally pleased with myself for the job I have done here. Some people will call me smug, but you have to have some personal reward. I’m not talking about money but about feeling I have contributed something to my neighbors and friends.”
      Widemann’s mission is continuing a success she helped create.
     “We have a very fully equipped and functioning federal community health center, a strong executive staff, strong providers and a growing behavioral health component,” the new CEO says.
      Her plan is to reach into the community to bring affordable health care to people still unserved. Growing the behavioral health unit is a particular goal.
      She steps comfortably into Jennings’ big shoes.
     “We’re not a one-woman show anymore,” Widemann says. “We’re a team effort. Plus, I know where Sylvia lives.”

When the cold really sets in, the hardy angler goes fishing

      Bitter cold is not enough to describe the single-digit temperatures that descended on Chesapeake Country in late December and early January.
     In Erie, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, this is what winter is like. This year the small city broke into the news (yet again) for not only low temperatures but also record Christmas snows: over five feet in four days. Weather like that is one of the reasons I moved to Maryland some 50 years ago. But for people thereabouts, it’s no big deal.
      Anglers in that neck of the woods simply make the transition to hard-water fishing. They are quite content to continue the pursuit of yellow perch, walleye, crappie, sunfish, pickerel and Northern pike throughout the winter.
     To do so, they equip themselves with ice augers, snow shovels, pop-up ice tents or small shacks on snow skids, space heaters, some tip-ups or ice rods, a slotted ice spoon for keeping the fish holes clear and some minnows or a handful of grubs or butter worms for bait. 
     Our recent temperatures have been low long enough to create safe ice (four inches or more) on many Maryland freshwater impoundments. Exclude brackish tributaries as the salt content lowers the freezing levels and the tidal currents make ice unsafe.
     Deep Creek, Smithville, Tuckahoe, Unicorn, Urieville and Waterford are among the hundred or so constructed lakes scattered throughout the state. Always keep in mind that sufficient ice is the essential requirement for safe angling. Check with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (www.almanac.com/content/ice-thickness-safety-chart) to be sure that the waters you’re interested in fishing are considered safe. 
     The basic equipment is simple, though, like my home-state ice-fishers, you can dress it up all you want. A boring auger, powered or manual, is a real help in making an ice-fishing hole, but I often used a steel spud or wrecking bar for chipping out access to the depths. Attach a rope to the bar and wrap the end around your arm so that when you break through the ice the tool doesn’t slip from your grasp and go shooting down to the bottom. 
     It is also a great advantage to have fished your chosen waters before they ice up, especially as you will have an idea of where the deeper areas lie. You’ll need at least eight feet of water to have a chance at getting fish. Avoid the areas, no matter how attractive, near any outflow as the moving water creates dangerous and unpredictable ice thicknesses. 
     An inverted five-gallon bucket with some kind of cushion makes a satisfactory seat, and a pop-up tent will break the wind — if you don’t mind cutting a hole in its floor. Space heaters can be a comfort if you are careful with the exhaust gases, always providing adequate ventilation.
    Small 18- to 24-inch rods (with appropriate reels) adapted for kids during the regular season are what you need for ice fishing. For bait, use small minnows, worms, grubs and similar trout baits, both real and synthetic. Add shad darts as an additional attractant. Small jigs and spoons will also work. Hooks up to No. 2 work well. You’ll only need a split shot or two for weight to get down near the bottom.
     Storing caught fish is simple. Dropping them outside on the ice freezes them up quickly. They are then easily handled and carried home in your bucket. The fish will generally resume activity as they thaw, so make allowances on the way to the cleaning table.