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Features (News)

Calvert Marine Museum chips away at 58 million years

Persistence pays off. That’s the case with retired farmer Bernard Kuehn of Accokeek.
    After 30-plus years combing the stream bed running through his farmland for fossilized sharks’ teeth, Kuehn hit the jackpot this month.
    He discovered the soft-shell turtle fossil that lived over 58 million years ago in the Paleocene epoch.
    Heavy rains this spring exposed new layers in the creek bed, revealing the significant paleontological find on Kuehn’s farm, which was under water millions of years ago.
    The reptile would have inhabited fresh water near the ocean.
    Kuehn’s rare find, which he donated to Calvert Marine Museum, is one of only three known specimens of this species.
    Paleontologist Peter Kranz from Dinosaur Park in Laurel investigated the fossil, then asked Calvert Marine Museum for help in quarrying it.
    Joe and Devin Fernandez from Diamond Core Drilling and Sawing Company had the special equipment, a diamond-blade chainsaw, to cut the turtle out of the rock while preserving most of its shell. The turtle was delivered to the museum wearing a coat of rock.
    Unlike a normal turtle’s smooth shell, the fossilized soft-shell turtle’s shell is bumpy from a skin over the living shell.
    The ancient two-by-two-foot reptile appears to be whole.
    The inch-thick hard shell — like a coat of armor — would have protected the turtle from most predators all those millions of years ago.
    It will take many hands — and months — to remove the rock from around the bones as Calvert’s marine paleontologists study the rare specimen.
    Stop by to see the fossil and the work in progress in the Museum’s Prep Lab.

Wild Orchid chef takes over Sam’s kitchen

It’s a new year. With the flip of a calendar comes a chance to renew, refresh and remodel.
    In Annapolis, the new year offers opportunity for two local restaurateurs to help each other.
    Andrew Parks, owner of Sam’s on the Waterfront, has announced his new executive chef, Jim Wilder. Chef Wilder recently closed his Westgate Circle restaurant Wild Orchid after a difficult three-year tenure.
    Timing is everything, so hopes Parks, who has struggled to consistently employ an executive chef in the eight years he has owned the waterfront restaurant built in 1986 by his grandfather, the original Sam.
    Each man endeavors to bring the best of his farm-to-table vision in this new marriage of culinary talents. Each restaurant has — or has had — the green restaurant certification.
    At Sam’s, Parks takes the front-of-house role with Wilder running the kitchen.
    In the past, Wilder has worked both ends of the operation, with 13 years at the helm of his highly regarded Eastport Wild Orchid his pinnacle, to the head-scratching move to the behemoth at the Severn Bank Building — a move that would be his undoing.
    Few understood Wilder’s decision to sell the warm and comfortable 40-seat Eastport café in 2010 and move to the 250-seat former Greystone Grill on the other side of town.
    That decision “was not based on sound business models. I had to keep my mind occupied,” Wilder said, after the untimely death of his and wife Karen’s son, Andrew Wall, from brain cancer in 2009. “It was the bottom. And I deal with depression by keeping busy. Depression drove me.”
    Building a dream kitchen provided a needed distraction from grief. It also afforded access and opportunity to expand Wilder’s Company’s Coming catering business, along with a large floor plan that offered him ideal accessibility for his wheelchair.
    The dream was not meant to be. The restaurant closed in July 2013.
    Parks has his own challenges keeping Sam’s profitable and relevant. Hidden within the gated Chesapeake Harbour Marina community, the restaurant is difficult to find. Warm weather brings boaters out and swells the population of Chesapeake Harbour, where many residents are summer only. Still, Parks estimates that 80 percent of his business comes from outside the community. Getting diners in the door is an ongoing pursuit. Parks hopes hiring a well-known chef will do the trick.
    Chef Wilder brings his most popular dishes to the menu. Butternut squash soup with crab, scallops Napoleon and pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon join Sam’s favorites: lobster mac ’n’ cheese, rockfish and Kobe burgers (half-price on Tuesday).
    The transition has been subtle thus far, though Parks is enthusiastic about a new winter menu and many collaborative surprises to come.

Got a tasty tip for a future’s Dish? Email Lisa Knoll at [email protected]

          Church dinners are a welcoming tradition extending beyond doctrine to bring a community together while raising money for special projects. Among Chesapeake Country churches serving local fare like crab cakes, oysters and ham, Friendship United Methodist Church is an innovator. This year’s feast, now 20-year-old tradition, features shrimp and roast beef.

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      For the first two weeks of October, the U.S. Boat Shows are the hottest ticket in Annapolis. 
If the boat bug has bitten you, taken even a little nibble, you’ll walk the blocks of exhibits and miles of floating dock in awe at the wonders of marine technology. As for boats themselves, you’ll see hundreds, including lots of new design trends and models on display with sellers persuasively explaining the merits of their craft.
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Boating: Its significance in numbers

      Annapolis knows boating like peanut butter knows jelly. Whether you boat for sport or recreation, our capitol is nautically superior. But just how significant is this seafaring activity? 
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2018 Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade: Call for skippers 

      There’s no Christmas tradition more Annapolis than the Eastport Lights Parade. The annual procession attracts thousands to City Dock despite December weather.

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Main Street experiment ends early

      Annapolis’s controversial Main Street bike lane was dismantled at Mayor Gavin Buckley’s request on Monday October 1.
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But no festival in 2019

      You will have to turn elsewhere to get the blues next spring. Chesapeake Bay Events announced that its signature event, the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival will not grace the shores of Sandy Point State Park in 2019 — but will return in 2020.  
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Watercolor club has full calendar
       It’s been a busy season for the Annapolis Watercolor Club. The work of the club members have been on display across the county, with shows just wrapping up at Annapolis City Hall and Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park....

Way Downstream …

        Beer came up so often last week in the Senate Supreme Court drama that television viewers should have been holding drinking contests.
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