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Bay Weekly ­Celebrates 25 Years

1,271 is this week’s magic number

       We’ve done this 1,271 times.
       That’s the clearest measure I can give of what we’ve achieved in the 25 years since our first paper, then called New Bay Times, hit the streets on Thursday, April 22, 1993, the 23rd Earth Day.
      Husband and cofounder Bill Lambrecht and I had driven a rented cargo van through relentless rain to Dundalk to pick up our first load of wire newspaper racks. Son and cofounder Alex Knoll must have driven to Waldorf to load up the first issue, Volume I, No 1, from Newspaper Printers, one of the small printing houses then still flourishing.
      We met in our office in Deale, divided the wealth between two vehicles and delivered that paper, stop by distribution stop, to whoever would read it. Alex and I took the south route in Calvert County. Bill and second son Nathaniel drove the north. The thing I remember most about that first delivery is the rain.
       Twelve hundred and seventy-one repetitions makes us advanced travelers on the road to mastery, a 10,000-hour trip as defined by outlier Malcolm Gladwell. Each one of those issues takes many hours of work multiplied by many people.
      To celebrate this big anniversary we give you the best issue we’re capable of making at this moment in time, Earth Day 48.
      Whether Bay Weekly Vol. XXVI No. 16 could be better at any other moment in our quarter-century of past time, I can’t say. 
      I know for sure, however, that a dedicated, motivated team of collaborators brings you this issue. Drivers Tom Tearman, Jim Lyles and Peggy Traband, Bill Vance, Bill Visnansky and Richard Hackenberg replace Alex, Nat, Bill and me on distribution. Alex runs the whole operation now, and I plan and edit and often write the stories.
      Audrey Broomfield, Donna Day and Susan Nolan sell the value of the paper to our advertisers. For almost as many issues as Alex and I can claim, Betsy Kehne has overseen production, making ads, designing pages, laying out calendar and more.
      Calendar editor Kathy Knotts and brand-new Shelby Conrad are our in-house writers, with many more contributing story by story. Regulars you read every week are Bay Gardener Dr. Frank Gouin; Sporting Life columnist Dennis Doyle; and Moviegoer Diana Beechener.
      Playgoers Jim Reiter and Pam Shilling are both reviewing this week. Photographer Wayne Bierbaum continues his run of smart Creature Features. Special contributors this week are staffer Susan Nolan and Birgit Sharp, an analyst tracking the path of solar power in Anne Arundel County.
      Of course, we’ve had many good and great players and fine teams throughout our 25-year history. Each brought a unique set of skills, just as any year’s Orioles team does. Put all those players and teams together, as we have, and today’s magic number is 1,271.
      That number is so big that it obscures the living moment, the actual week, that was each single paper. To make history real, giving each paper another momentary encounter with a human eye, we spent part of this anniversary week at Bay Weekly having a family reunion of sorts. Today’s team pulled the old volume books out of their closet to page through them. Most of us reviewed four years, going through four weighty volume books. 
      Our task was to choose favorite covers for Alex to make into a historic collage to introduce this week’s anniversary paper. Along the way, new met old and discovered wonderful things. Young Audrey Broomfield, for example, couldn’t resist Bill Burton, legendary outdoors writer who died well into his 80s back in 2009.
      We’re certainly a closer family, and I hope an even better team, for having embraced our past. 
      Combined as 25 years on this week’s cover, those pictures won’t be very big. But I hope they’ll be bright enough to illuminate some memories and spark some curiosity.
     I will be honored if you write and share your Bay Weekly memories with me: [email protected]
     Please enjoy this paper while it’s fresh. Next week we’ll be onto 1,272.