view counter

Letter from the Editor (All)

Killing AA Co's polystyrene ban puts us there

    Here in Chesapeake Country, we spend a lot of time living in the past.
    We celebrate our heritage not just back to 1634, when Lord Baltimore’s colonists sailed in to stay, but all the way back to native times. We love our historic buildings, tracing many back to those heroic days of Independence we celebrate this week. We retrace historic footsteps along the Capt. John Smith and Star-Spangled Banner trails.
    We say we try to preserve what’s best about our past as the foundation on which we build our future.
    We’re even acknowledging the sins of our past. Grappling with the monumental wrong with our slave-holding heritage, we’ve erected new monuments of reconciliation — the Alex Haley Passage — and recognition — the Thurgood Marshall statuary grouping.
    We say we reckon with the mistakes of our past so we can do better in the future.
    So in many ways we’re reckoning with the past rather than living there.
    This week, however, Anne Arundel County pretended that it’s cheaper to live in the past than reckon with the future. County Executive Steve Schuh joined the Anne Arundel County School Board in voting for our right to bury ourselves in an avalanche of polystyrene. That’s the ubiquitous and virtually indestructible synthetic hydrocarbon polymer we love to serve our food and drink in.
    Yuck!
    It’s bad enough that polystyrene makes an unappetizing plate and cup. It’s way worse that the brittle stuff is virtually indestructible except by fire. It breaks down, yes, but into ever-smaller particles that are now omnipresent in human fatty tissue and high-ranking as litter in oceans and on beaches.
    Our counties don’t recycle polystyrene. In other words, almost every bit of it is trash. Yet billions of pounds are produced every year — and that’s in America alone.
    So the Anne Arundel County Council had come down on the right side of environmental history when it banned polystyrene earlier this month. Our Council of seven pretty average Americans — men not too rich or too poor, mostly not flaming liberals or die-hard conservatives — decided by a vote of four to three that we’d contributed enough to the mountains of eternal waste under which we’re burying our beautiful Maryland.
    They voted to ban the use of polystyrene as food containers starting in 2020, giving restaurants and quick stops plenty of time to use up their stock.
    In doing so, they overruled the penny-wise-pound-foolish opposition of business and industry lobbyists, and even our own public schools, who’d argued that they just couldn’t afford to do the right thing.
    Apparently our education leaders don’t trust the students in their charge to be smart or inventive enough to devise a better cup or carry-out container.
    Perhaps the four councilmen on the right side of history had compared, to our disadvantage, our legacy of non-biodegradable white foam to the Indians’ oyster shell middens. Perhaps they were feeling shock waves from China, which has had enough at any price of being the world’s dump. Perhaps they just thought we, who are so proud of our past, can do better by our future than bury it under trash.
    The District of Columbia already made that move in 2015. Baltimore followed this year. Annapolis is considering the same resolution. Juisdictions like those, including many in California, are recognizing that we undercut our future by living short-term on the cheap.
    Now Steve Schuh — a county executive who prides himself on looking out for Anne Arundel’s future — has made just that cut. Instead of leading us into a sustainable future, he has pretended we can still live in a heedless past.
    In terms of managing the waste we make, we’re getting more leadership from Ronald McDonald. ­McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain, will end its use of polystyrene by the end of this year — globally.
    Here at home, maybe you can get your own favorite restaurants to do the same.
    Maybe you can convince Mr. Schuh to move Anne Arundel County from the past into the future. If not, you can send him your message on November 6.


Sandra Olivetti Martin, Editor and publisher
email [email protected], www.sandraolivettimartin.com

As the reasons for marrying change, we just keep doing it

“You had to back then.”

That’s how Bill Burton — the esteemed outdoor writer who retired from Bay Weekly 16 years after retiring from a 30-plus-year career at the Baltimore Evening Sun — answered my inquiry about his many marriages. He allowed the legend of five — culminated by his long and happy marriage to Lois Burton — to stand. In fact it was only three, a truth outed by longtime friend Alan Doelph, appreciating Burton’s life after his death at 82 on August 10, 2009.

Our culture of marriage has changed since Burton’s time. The old reasons that upheld the institution over the ages — intimacy, sex and procreation — no longer apply with the same force. Yet marriage not only survives. It thrives. Nowadays people typically marry because they want to.

Just why is that?

That’s a tantalizing question in this favorite month of brides and grooms, one I married in once myself. All these years later, it’s the month I’ve sought ordination from the Universal Life Church so that I can officiate at my first wedding, the September union of Bay Weekly’s once-upon-a-time junior reporter Ariel Brumbaugh and Patrick Beall. It seems that newspaper editors share that authority with ships’ captains, at least for people who’ve been under their command. 

Bay Weekly’s annual Wedding Guide further sharpens my curiosity. In these pages, you’ll join me in sharing the wedding memories — and charming photos — of a couple of dozen Chesapeake Country couples who accepted our invitation to join us in this week’s paper. Their wedding dates range over 64 years, from 1954 to 2018, and while each memory is different, they all revolve around the theme of love.

Even in the 21st century, when love and marriage are no longer harnessed together like the horse and carriage of the 1955 song, love still runs the show.

That wasn’t always the case. Love of the romantic sort is a relatively recent condition for marriage. Over the millennia, lust has partnered with survival, standing, security, wealth, power and progeny in motivating marriage. But here in America, the general prosperity following World War II empowered love to make many a marriage. 

“I knew the moment I saw Sheila I wanted to marry her,” John Dorr writes of the conclusion of the couple’s long engagement, their marriage in 1959. She, granddaughter Audrey Broomfield tells us, felt the same way. 

Security, too, remains a factor that leads many a couple (even cohabiting couples) to marriage. That was an intangible factor in my eventual marriage (in May, not June) to husband Bill Lambrecht — as it was in Glenda Flores’ August 2017 marriage to Wilmer.

“I remember taking my father’s arm and taking the first steps into the church feeling so secure that at the end of the path I was going to be truly happy,” she wrote. 

We also marry for the fun of it. Twenty-first century weddings give the marrying couple what’s likely to be the biggest party of their lives.

Sixty-four years ago, Phyllis and William Conrad were content with tuna fish sandwiches at a hotel bar on the one night they had together before he returned to his assignment at the Army Security Agency School in Massachusetts and she to her job in the Pentagon.

Nowadays the wedding gives girls their chance to be princesses and guys princes — or at least cool and powerful dudes. And not only for a day, as engagement, bachelor, bachelorette and after parties, plus showers, stretch the celebration into many days. As you’ll see in our wedding directory, modern brides and grooms can get just about anything they want. Marriage is, as the convention goes, the time to make dreams come true.

As we cheer on each couple old or new, we’re hoping in our heart of hearts that another dream comes true for them. We hope that by marrying, each couple forms a more perfect union.

In their place of origin, the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, here’s how those words continue: to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

Not a bad plan for a nation — or for a marriage, is it?

 

Sandra Olivetti Martin

Editor and publisher

email [email protected], www.sandraolivettimartin.com

My Favorite Stories of 2017

Together, we read a lot of stories over the course of a year. Many of them give you a moment’s insight or delight. Others tell you just what you need to know. Some stay in your mind, even after all those words have come between you and them all that time ago. So I can still recount stories we ran four, 14 or 24 years ago.
    Before I close the book on 2017 (yes, I really do have a large, heavy book labeled “2017 • Vol. XXV,” I like to reflect on what we’ve done in the 52 issues of our 25th volume.
    Following the pattern of this Best of the Bay edition, I’m awarding them categorical bests.


Best Bay Weekly Cover of 2016

Get Ready for the Great American Eclipse: Aug. 17