Volume 1 Issue 13 1993
October 7-20

Previously inaccessible archives from 1993-1997 now coming on-line, with more each week! Note that this is working copy (uncorrected text, no photos, including covers).

Put on Your Deck Shoes Daddy, the Boat Shows are Back in Town

Wildthings … What to Do When They Come Too Close

Where to Go When They Come to Harm Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary

Heirs of Grand Pappy Tobaccy | Dock of the Bay | Burton on the Bay | Bay Life | Editorial | Commentary |

Bay Reflections | Who's Here | Politalk | Diversion & Excursion | Sky Facts | Laughing Gourment | Not Just for Kids

to the top

Put on Your Deck Shoes Daddy, the Boat Shows are Back in Town
by Amy Halsted

My father is still amazed. I see the “how’d she do it?” look in his eyes every time we talk. After all, he taught me all I know about seamanship and boating and fishing.

Now I work in the recreational marine industry and spend a lot of time on the road (and precious little on the water), traveling from one boat show to the next. In the midst of all the traveling comes October and Annapolis—a boating mecca where boaters, trade and maritime history meet in a town rich in grace and hospitality to create a memorable event.

This year will be no different. There is, as they say, something for everyone.

Then and Now
The United States Sail Boat Show was created by Jerry Wood, Ed Hartman and Bennett Crain in 1970. Two years later, they followed up with the United States Power Boat Show. These shows laid the foundation for modern boat shows. Worldwide in-water boat shows have successfully followed the example set by Wood, Hartman and Crain, helping to make recreational boating a more popular and attainable dream.

Of course, if you’re a boater or dream of becoming one, you need to know all about gear, equipment and accessories. You’ll also want to know about environment and safety, particularly if you are a boating family. The Annapolis Boat Shows have it all.

The Sail Boat Show runs from October 7 through Columbus Day, October 11. The Power Boat Show runs from October 14 through October 17. Show times are 10am till 6pm on both opening Thursdays (these are “Red Carpet” days; admission is $20) and 10am till 7pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday, October 10. The Shows close at 6pm Monday, October 11 and Sunday, October 17. Standard admission is $9 for adults and $4 for children under 12.

A World-Class Sailboat Exhibition
As many as 200 boats will be on display during the Sail Show, including dozens of new catamarans and trimarans, making the largest fleet of multihulls ever assembled at any boat show in the world. These boats include the 34’ Paralax II, the Scanex Archipelago 400 and 465, the G/Force 36, and PDQ 36 Mark II Long Range Cruiser, the Freeboard 50 and the new trailerable Dragonfly 100.

Many monohulls with household names will also be on display. New monohulls showing are hull #1 of the Royal Passport 44 performance cruiser—designed by Bob Perry for IMS racing and luxury cruising; the Tartan 3800; the reborn Cambria 48 by Cabo Rico; the Island Packet 40; a new Skimmer 25 gaff-rigged trailerable cruiser; and the new Freedom 35 and 40/40.

The show also boasts a vast array of one-design racers, dinghies, inflatables, yacht tenders, rowing shells and other small boats. There are hundreds of displays of equipment, accessories, sails, rigging, electronics, sailing schools and services under exhibit tents.

Special guests will be on hand during the Sail Show. Michael Carr will be aboard his new boat, Imagine, a vessel built mainly of recycled aluminum. Andrew Upjohn will be aboard his new Concordia racer. Readers of Ocean Navigator Magazine will be able to meet members of the editorial staff aboard the schooner, Ocean Star. Long-range cruiser Tony James will be aboard his custom Vagabond 52, built by Contemporary Yachts. Tony will recount his adventures as the official State of Pennsylvania entry in the America 500 race, which retraced Columbus’ first voyage to the New World.

New to the Sail Boat Show this year is a full schedule of sailing seminars presented by North Sails and The Sailing Company, publisher of Sailing World and Cruising World. On Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, October 8 to 11, the daily schedule is: “How to Choose the Right Boat” (10-11:30); “Choosing Gear and Equipment for Serious Sailing” (noon to 1:30); “Understanding Sail Trim for Performance and Comfort” (2-3:30); “Understanding Diesel Engines, Trouble-Shooting and Maintenance” (4-4:30). There are very few tickets available for these seminars, so get to the show early if you’d like to attend.

Bridging the Gap
While it’s no secret that there are differences between sailors and powerboaters, there are some similarities, the most basic being that all boaters share the waterways and their love of the boating lifestyle. To this end, several exhibitors bridge the gap between sail and engine with their displays at both shows.

Chessie Build-a-Boat Programs will be on hand both weekends, both with ground space and aboard Rebecca Ruarke, the 80’ Tilghman Island skipjack which will be moored in the Governor’s slip. The Chessie program is a pioneer in environmental and safety awareness for children. In the six years it has been around, over 1,000 children have participated in the program, building over 500 scows (410/476-3055).

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be displaying their comprehensive approach to environmental protection during the two shops. You can arm yourself with literature on the Bay and pick up totes, T-shirts and hats—if you apply for a CBF credit card.

Northeast Wind Charters is inviting show-goers to get aboard their 72’ wooden schooner, Woodwind, which will be tied up at the Demonstration Dock for harbor and Bay cruises each day of the shows are open to the public. The sailing schedule is 11-12:30; 1:30-3, and 4-5:30 on October 8-11 and 15-17. The $15 cost for show goers includes beverage.

Power Boats on Parade
As soon as the sailboats have cast off for sea and home ports on Monday, October 11, the power boats come streaming into town. The United States Power Boat Show will be looking bigger and better than it has in years, with at least 300 boats on display. There are fishing boats and trawlers, motor yachts and sportfishers, express cruisers and offshore performance boats, jet skis, jet boats and antique boats. No power boater is left out. Neither is any boater’s need for equipment and gear. Engine manufacturers, accessories manufacturing, boating magazines and services galore are on display under the tents.

Fishing boat manufacturers include Albin, Bertram, Bimini, Black Watch, Boston Whaler, Cabo, C-Hawk, Dawson, Eastern, Egg Harbor, Evans, Grady-White, Hatteras, Henriques, Jersey, Luhrs, Mediterranean, Mirage, Ocean, Orca, Performer, Pursuit, Rampage, Regulator, Robalo, Shamrock, Viking and Wahoo. Many of these boat builders have multi-boat displays, some showing every model in their lines.

While fishing boats make up the majority of boat types on display, many other notable boats round out the show. Motor yachts include the Bluewater 42; Fleming 55; H.T. Gozzard 41; Hatteras 42, 48 and 50; four Mainships between 31 and 40 feet; Ocean 42, 44 and 53; Viking 38, 43, 50 and 54; Carri Craft SRS 601; and the Tollycraft 45 and 55.

A few houseboats to board are the Gibson 40, Harbormaster 40 and Holiday Mansion 40. Trawler yachts include the Krogen 42, Grand Banks 42, Island Gypsy 32, Monk 36, Saberline 34, Shannon Voyager 36, Marine Traders and the trailerable Nimble Nomad. “Down-East” yachts (based on the infamous lines of a Maine fishing boat) include the Fortier 33, Nauset 35, Cape Dory 40, Duffy 35 and Dyer 29.

High-powered offshore performance boats have a place of their own at this show. In a distinct section located next to the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel, you’ll see the following fast boats: four from Fountain, four Thundercrafts, Stingrays, Sonics and Checkmates between 24 and 35 feet (all in the water); and land displays from Thorobred, Donzi, Correct Craft, Celebrity and more.

Express cruisers, sport boats and weekenders aren’t left out. Baja, Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Carver, Chaparral, Chris-Craft, Cruiser, Crown Line, Formula, Four Winns, Larson, Maxum, Penn Yan, Pro-Line, Pursuit, Rinker, at least 15 Sea Rays, Silverton, Sunbird and Trojan will be on display.

For boaters who know how all this began, a new section devoted to the heritage of recreational boating will feature reproductions of classic and antique mahogany runabouts and motor yachts. The Garwood 25, Grand Craft 24, Classic Legend 21, Packard 24, and a Costa Brava built by Boesch Motorboote will be on display to round out the show.

Whether you’re a sailor, a fisherman or a powerboater, one thing is certain: you’ll be hungry and probably thirsty when you’ve finished your tour. Should you stop by one of the pubs or restaurants that line Market Square or Main Street, you can be sure you’ll run into members of the trade who are only too willing to swap boating stories over a beer …

Getting to the show is easy. Just take Route 50 to Annapolis/Rowe Blvd. (exit 24), go south and follow signs for nearby parking. A fleet of shuttle buses run on continuous daily schedules. If relatives are flying in, USAir is running discounted fares (call 800/324-8644 and refer to Gold File: #26130007).

As a sailor and fisherwoman first and member of the recreational marine industry second, I can attest that no boat show, no matter what the location, comes close to the camaraderie between buyer and seller of the Annapolis Boat Shows.

If I could get my father (an accomplished sports fisherman and flyfisherman) to a boat show, it’d be Annapolis. He’d have that envious gleam in his eye and he’d definitely be wearing deck shoes.

Need to know anything more? Call the Annapolis Boat Show office: 410/268-8828.

Amy Halsted—owner of The Halsted Agency, a marine consulting group—was a leading voice in the successful effort to repeal the boat luxury tax, which put many boatbuilders out of work.

to the top

Wildthings…What to Do When They Come Too Close
by Laura J. Simon

“Help, there's a skunk in my garage!” says the voice on the other end of the phone. She’s terrified of the little creature and has just learned that local trappers want $75.00 to remove it.

I explain calmly that skunks don’t “let loose'“ unless truly provoked. They’re kind enough to give a warning “stamp” with their front feet, giving the “attacker'“ enough time to back off. And thanks to their terrible eyesight, if you move slowly and quietly, they may not even see you.

The solution? Slowly and quietly, make a path of American cheese pieces leading to the open garage door. Skunks have a terrific sense of smell, and will respond quickly to the aroma of this irresistible delicacy.

Encounters like this are occurring more and more as unchecked human development expands and wildlife habitat shrinks. Here are tips on how to help displaced, injured or orphaned wildlife.

Battening Down the Hatches
Many “nuisance animal” problems can be solved—permanently—by making an exit route for the animal, then closing up all entry holes. Often you can hasten a departure by placing blaring radios, bright lights or bowls of ammonia nearby.

“There's rarely a need to trap an animal,” says Bill Bridgeland, a pest control operator in Baltimore. “Why stress out both the animal and yourself trying to catch it?” Instead Bridgeland builds temporary, one-way hinged doors that can be fitted to attic holes, basement cracks and animal tunnels under porches. Once your squirrel, raccoon or opossum goes out to feed, it can’t get back in your house.

The time to patch entry holes is while the animal is out feeding.

So, determine if you have a nighttime or daytime creature, and do your work accordingly. But be wary of using exclusion devices in the spring, when there may be nesting babies inside your house. Nursing mother raccoons have been known to tear shingles off a house to get back to their young.

Should you find a raccoon family in your chimney, “Don’t panic, just keep the flue closed, and be patient,” says naturalist/writer Dorcas MacClintock. In a few weeks, the family will have moved to an outdoor den site. “Don’t worry about any mess or smell; mother raccoons clean their babies meticulously to avoid attracting predators,” she adds. If you must evict them, use a rope to hang ammonia-soaked rags or a bag of mothballs down the chimney. Raccoons won't tolerate strong smells. Then, run to a hardware store for a pre-made chimney cap to solve the problem permanently.

Bat in the living room? Just open all the windows and doors, and wait until the bat swoops out. “Contrary to popular myth, bats do not attack people’s heads,” assures Guy Hodge of the Humane Society
of the United States.

Wild Babes and Pick-Ups
The phone rings again. “Please help, a baby bird fell out of its nest and I’m afraid the neighborhood cats will get it!” Luckily, the mother bird is still swooping around, feeding her chick. Again contrary to popular myth, birds will not reject their young if humans touch it. Most birds have a terrible sense of smell. I encourage the caller to put the bird back in its nest. If the nest is lost or destroyed, hang a shoebox from a branch, well off the ground, and tie it securely at both ends. Line it with soft materials like pine needles and old tee shirts, then put in the nestling.

It will be protected from cats and other ground predators, and the mother can continue to feed it. If the bird is almost fully feathered and you need to chase it to catch it, it probably doesn’t need your help—it’s simply learning to fly.

Likewise, if you find an undisturbed nest of baby rabbits outside, don’t assume they are orphans. Mother rabbits feed their young twice a day and often rest elsewhere. Fawns, too, are often left for hours while their mother forages. It’s a judgement call—only intervene if a baby animal seems truly abandoned or its mother is found dead.

“Many people don’t realize that one major killer of baby animals is their own adorable, free-roaming cat,” advises Glenn Gauvry of the Delaware-based Tri-State Bird Rescue. Owners should outfit outdoor cats with large-belled collars.

The vast majority of wildlife injuries and deaths are caused by cars—an estimated one million per day, according to Human Society Records. The best cure is an ounce of prevention: Drive slowly on wooded, windy roads. If an animal remains frozen in its tracks, simply turning off your headlights momentarily will help it recover its wits and get moving again.

Wildlife rehabilitation is more than an act of compassion. Since most wild animals are injured or orphaned by human-created toxins, cars, gunshot, leghold traps or litter, we humans should take some
responsibility for undoing some of our own damage.

Laura J. Simon is president of the Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Association. We reprint her articles from E Magazine
Where to Go When They Come to Harm Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary
by Lee Summerall

At newborn time, Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary is pandemonium.

Springtime, the bird trailer, is packed—to the ceiling in places—with caged birds in all stages of growth, from stark naked to ready to fly: bluebirds, chimney swifts, blue jays, cardinals, a few hawks. One at-large duck nibbles every shoelace he can get his beak on.

The newborns are in paper towel-lined plastic baskets, the kind that hold berries in the supermarkets. The babies must be fed every hour from dawn to dusk. Open an incubator lid and more pandemonium breaks out: 50 yellow-lined mouths leap upward and the air is filled with wild “me first!” chirping.

Come fall, squirrel babies are born. Already this year, 200 have been admitted. It’s season, too, for migration injuries.

Month in and month out, the pace barely slows. Ten thousand injured wild animals arrive each year at Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary, the only round-the-clock shock-trauma center for wild animals in the area. Founded as a one-woman effort by advertising executive Dianne Pearce in 1980, the sanctuary now busies 10 permanent staff and over 500 volunteers. Patients come from as far away as Pennsylvania. Recently, a woman from Florida brought in a possum; whether the possum was a Floridian is not known.

Shift Supervisor Erlene Gay is holding, with a practiced grip, a newly arrived flicker. She slips her free hand under the frantically clawing feet, and the bird grips tight to her index finger. “Time to band it,” she says. “We can’t keep track of thousands of birds each year without banding.” The bird disagrees but gets its leg jewelry anyway.

Outside, partly shaded by trees, are a motley collection of flight cages about eight feet tall. Dozens of bluejays practice flying in one, scores of robins in another, doves in yet another, then starlings, cardinals, hundreds of fluttering, trilling, squawking birds. Around the cages flit the escapees, still looking to be fed. One flutters up to volunteer Mary Lynn Parsley’s shoulder, then zips away.

At the duck pens, 30 feet of mallards, geese and other web-footed fowl happily waddle. In the next cage, five turkey buzzards skulk. Twenty yards away, in a newly-updated cage, a pair of hawks rattle about. They’re permanently crippled, one great wing bent and immobile on each, and cannot be released into the wild. But they’ll serve as foster parents for orphans.

Down the hill, the barn recalls tobacco farming days on this 85-acre property. In the cool dimness, the barn is very still. “Owls.” Mary Lynn points. A dark shadow towers, immobile, atop a log. We walk along the passage, peer in another opening, leap back. A gigantic grey Barred Owl stares eerily back. At the other end of the long, carpet-padded beam, another Barred Owl sits.

Deer, farther down the hill, are off limits. Mary Lynn explains: “The deer volunteers can’t even talk around the deers, they imprint so easily. Babies aren’t hand fed; they get cattle bottles on metal brackets. If we hand-fed them, they’d be fearless, and we couldn’t release them into the wild.” Last year 27 deer were released at a western Maryland site. This year, 18 have been freed, with 10 still to go.

Back up to the main house, a 1700s’ relic with the original slave quarters still in the basement, are the animal receiving room; gift shop (with a fabulous collection of T-shirts for gifts); and, behind the scenes, laundry, kitchen, hospital, and surgery—complete with intensive care.

The occupants of this intensive care ward are the creatures we see in our yards and fields—or dead on the roads. Dr. Keith Gold—once a volunteer here and now one of over 50 veterinarians at the sanctuary—consults with two interns about the condition of a pregnant female squirrel wrapped in a flannel receiving blanket. She may recover; many patients here will not.

Busiest of all is the laundry: 10 loads so far today and an equal number of waiting baskets. When the 20 loads are done, there’ll be 20 more waiting.

“Miracles happen here,” says Dianne Pearce, founder and director of Sanctuary. “When a washing machine finally breaks down for good, somebody always appears in a day or two with another one. If we have a really urgent need, we usually get something to fill the gap. People show up here with more than just animals.” A van pulls up; a woman and a young girl get out. Their cat mangled a baby robin. From amidst the nest of paper towels in the shoebox comes a chirp. The barely-feathered head weaves around, searching for food.

“That was the same kind of bird that got me into this business,” Pearce recalls. “I started calling, looking for someone to help but nobody wanted a wild animal. There was no facility in this entire area to care for wounded wildlife. I was frantic! I finally found a woman in northern Virginia and took the robin down there.”

The woman had dozens of cages in her home. “I know the look in your eye,” the rescuer told Dianne, “and you’re hooked. You’ll be in wild animal rescue in no time.”

The mail is delivered: $200 worth of worms. “Just what we need,” Erlene says.

Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary: 17308 Queen Anne Bridge Road (between 214 and Rt. 3) in Bowie (20716). Call 301/390-7010 for info, tours and 24-hour hot line for injured animals.

Oct. 9: Wildlife walk (8 to noon) at Watkins Regional Park to raise money for the Sanctuary. Pledge $1 (or more) a mile or walk yourself. Courses are 2, 5, and 10K.

Tours: the second Saturday of each month (modest fee).

Wish list: office machinery and supplies; unsalted nuts (in shell or shelled); jarred baby meats; volunteers.

to the top

Heirs of Grand Pappy Tobaccy
NBT Staff Report
Ol’ Grand Pappy Tobaccy’s uprooting has left room in Southern Maryland’s sands and clay loams. That’s room relished by farmers, gardners and buyers, who are cultivating novelties right here on home ground.

Mums, Maryland’s newest row crop, are flowering in so many fields that you might think a gifted traveling salesman had passed through. Search a little, and you’ll come on fields of pansies and day lillies, too.

These “alternative” crops are so important to Southern Maryland’s post-tobacco economy that the Cooperative Extension Service and the Tri-County Council are assembling a team to help farmers switch to equally profitably specialties. Flowers fit the bill, potentially bringing in “a couple thousand an acre if you do a halfway decent job,” says the team agent for Charles and Prince Georges Counties, Pam King.

Fields of Flowers For Summer
“A hobby gone wild,” says Mary-Jo Blaine of her fields of daylilies. Husband James sold produce and hay; why shouldn’t I sell my lilies? thought Mary-Jo. James scoffed: no one would ever pay for flowers; people even found it hard to part with the price of a cantaloupe. He finally agreed to put up $400 to prove his point.

Six years later, Blaine’s Daylilies in Sunderland has 6,000 flowers to choose from in 70 delicious looking varieties. This time of year, you’ll choose and plant in hope. Midsummer, in a field surrounded by woods and scented by oaks, to the low of cows and the caw of crows, you might find yourself drawn to the apricot call of Scene Stealer, the tangy daffodil yellow of Cartwheel, the broad copper-orange petals of Egyptian Spice—or any of more than five dozen other elegant and beckoning choices.

Daylilies, with few diseases or insect pests, are easy to grow. They adapt to most soils and tolerate drought admirably. They can be divided and transplanted in virtually any weather and, while preferring full sun, will also grow well in partial shade. Daylily blooms last only for a day but each stem puts out a succession of flowers so that the blooming season lasts and lasts. You can extend that season even more by planting early, mid-season and late varieties.

“My husband still can’t believe it. Customers will choose this one and that one and another one without ever asking a price and will calmly write a check for even $100, while they might refuse to buy a tomato for 25 cents. Sometimes someone will say, ‘I want one of everything but I guess that’s not possible,’” says Mary-Jo Blaine.

“Why not? My wife has one of everything. You can too,” James will reply.
— Sonia Linebaugh

For Autumn
People come from miles around to see Maryland’s newest row crop. Plants big as bushel baskets, sprouted tight as cauliflowers in flowers, stretch in long brilliant rows under the autumnal sun.

To see and buy. Mums are even prettier than tobacco, and they bring in as much money—or more.

“We went into the hole the last two times we planted tobacco,” says Hilda Chaney, whose 3/4-acre field on Rt. 258 glows with 3,000 blooming mums. That’s less tobacco than Hilda and James Chaney grew in their 33 years on the farm, but it makes enough money to pay the taxes.

The salesman traveling in mums came by in 1990, just about the time the Chaneys quit tobacco. He represented Yoder’s, a Florida grower with a big interest in flowers, and he must have been good, because about that time mums began appearing in lots of Southern Maryland fields—and lots more yards and gardens.

“He came by one day and talked me into trying them. He thought we’d do good, since we were on the road.” Hilda remembers. The Chaneys ordered by mail from a full color brochure, and that May they dropped in mum seedlings from their tobacco planter.

They did good. All 500 plants in her first year’s crop went the day she opened for business. Each year she’s steadily increased her planting.

Even so, she can handle her mums without much help. Now, though James’ health had been failing, and he died this year, Hilda can pay her taxes and keep her independence and her farm.

“Mums are lots of work, but we don’t have to hire all the help we did with tobacco,” says Hilda, who hoes all the weeds out of her immaculate, brown sandy rows. A couple of women help, pinching back the buds twice before July 4, and trim up the plants nice and round with scissors.

Hilda and her grown sons dig the fat, round plants and plunk them in cardboard crates, recycled from the local liquor store. Then, year after year, happy families take home Hilda’s mums—and often a couple of her cool, crisp apples—to rejoice in one last burst of color before winter.

— Sandra Martin

For Winter
At Cookie Moreland’s fields in Lothian, mums are disappearing as we watch. Eager buyers search for just the right color and shape, then dig them up and haul happily away.

Moreland, who’s been planting mums for five years or so, recently planted her third cash crop of a colder weather crop, pansies. These mere green specks on the soil will winter over and may even bloom in January if there are several sunny days in a row. But they won’t be sold until next spring when winter’s season of subtle colors has grown old.

Sales are almost entirely to homeowners “three, four, five at a time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Moreland won’t make much money on the pansies, but she doesn’t seem to care.

Customers come back year after year bringing new children or grandchildren. “I like keeping in touch with people.” You can tell she means it as she greets each new carload. “Now that woman was my niece’s fifth grade teacher,” she tells me. “She’s been coming here ever since and my niece is now in ninth grade.”

Like many such businesses, Moreland’s started as a hobby. “It’s the way tobacco used to be,” she explains. “Everyone who had an acre or two grew some. Now they grow mums.”

Like a hobby, Cookie Moreland’s business is satisfying: “The mums are beautiful this year. They’re smaller than usual but their color is wonderful. Then the pansies come in with their bright yellow in the dead of winter. I like what I’m doing.”

— SL

Want your red, blue, purple, yellow and white, pansies now, to freshen winter’s subtle colors? At Windmere Nurseries (Rt. 258), 10 home-grown varieties now in flower are ready to expand in your winter garden.

“Pansies are the up-and-coming fall plant. They’re extremely hardy. I’ve seen flowers sticking right through snow, and they’ll last till heat of summer,” says Windmere’s John Waldrep, who sells his pansies for $9.95 per flat of 50 plants.

to the top

Bets Down: Will Indian Casinos Rise?
In the 1600s, the Piscataways ruled the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Back then, Indians had a practice called counting coup (pronounced coo.) In one variation, they’d storm the enemy on horse or on foot and bop him in the nose with a hammer-like weapon.

The idea was not to kill or hurt anybody, but to make a point … to show who was in control.

Three hundred years later, after losing their land, their identity and most of their ancestors to European invaders, the Piscataways (pronounced pis-CAT-aways) may be on the verge of counting coup—and a whole bunch of money.

The Piscataways’ new plan to build a casino in Southern Maryland has a slew of hurdles to overcome, among them Maryland state officials, who would like to have the final say.

But don’t bet that the Indian casino won’t happen. In fact, forces at work in this country suggest that it will.

“Did anybody stop Donald Trump? Do they stand in the way of the fire departments’ gambling or the Jaycees?” asked Mervin Savoy, chairwoman of the Piscataways, who number 8,000 or so in Southern Maryland.

“We have to look ahead. We just can’t sit around and wait for handouts from the government that don’t come” Savoy said.

Perhaps it was the scope of the Piscataways’ plan that dazed. The proposal of the Piscataway-Conoy Confederacy—disclosed last week by their lawyer—calls not just for a casino but possibly a hotel, theme park, race track, restaurants and stores.

News accounts trumpeted a zillion new jobs—10,000, 20,000, 30,000 or more—making the whole thing seem grandiose, unachieveable.

Is this a bunch of Indians dreaming?

Sure, but don’t underestimate the Indians or the power of millions and millions in gambling proceeds.

Indian gaming is sweeping this country: 76 tribes have approval for some form of gambling operation, and perhaps 70 gaming spots may be operating right now, said Carl Shaw, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Like it or not, gambling has become a surefire method of bailing out distressed communities. And as far as the brewing fight, don’t forget that Indians have friends in high places; Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt supports Indian casinos.

And here’s what President Bill Clinton told Indian Country Today recently: “Gaming has proven a positive economic development tool for Indian tribes ... I’m very aware of the problems on reservations.”

Now, for the really high places: Hillary Clinton has taken a personal interest in Indians and gaming, her spouse observed.

Don’t put a lot of stock in Maryland state officials’ posturing, harrumphing remarks about the whole thing. Don’t let them lecture you about the evils of gambling, either.In blackjack and craps, casino mainstays, the player has far better odds than in Maryland’s Keno game.

And when you see stories about candidates for governor criticizing the casinos, find something meaningful to read.

“What they say doesn’t have a thing to do with us,” asserted Savoy.

If the Indians can reclaim tribal status—a critical step in their casino plan—they’ll be negotiating government-to-government with the United States. The sovereignty that comes with tribal status is a shield against being kicked around any more by the State of Maryland. You don’t see Maryland messing with France or Finland, do you?

Under the Indian Gaming Regulation Act of 1988, states were ordered by Congress to negotiate “in good faith” with tribes to write compacts on gambling. States are squawking about that law, but for now, they must live with it.

But the Piscataways have a heap of work to do to get tribal status, lost over the years in a blur of government shuffling every bit as destructive as the bullets and broken treaties that crushed Indians in the first place.

What must be done first is to prove they’re Indians. Savoy also is a founder of the Piscataway Recognition Project, which has spent years gathering proof of lineages in archives, courthouses and church basements.

Right now, Rebecca Seib-Toup, executive director of the project, is completing an account of the Indians’ history, which will be presented in December to a panel of state-appointed experts. If the history proves valid and the Indians are being told the truth, state and then federal recognition of the tribe will follow. But that could take years.

The Piscataways need no “reservation.” Any land they buy or lease—probably in Charles County or Prince Georges—could be a casino site.

The Piscataways might need to clear up another tricky piece of business along the way: patching up the squabbling among tribal factions. Billy Tayac, another Piscataway leader, claims the role of traditional chief. And Tayac is not one to put up with any hoops and hurdles thrown down by government officials.

So the Piscataways have plenty to do before they have the clout to pull off such a business deal. But once they gain tribal status in the eyes of the federal government, don’t be surprised if the State of Maryland—eyeing a bounty of in economic development—hops on the bus for the ride to the casino.

With or without a sore nose.

Oyster Dawdling?
So how do you reach a balance between preserving Chesapeake Bay oysters for the future and protecting watermen today? Both Maryland and Virginia are taking a stab at it, and we wonder if either are getting the job done.

First, Virginia. Last week, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission ducked a proposal to prohibit oystering this season in badly depleted public grounds.

In a room full of angry watermen, the oyster planners adopted a compromise that: reduces the catch to 6,000 bushels—a-third of last year's take; delayed until Oct. 15 the opening of the season; set a noon curfew for harvesting; limited to 18 feet the maximum length of tongs; and cut by 40 percent the waste in a harvested bushel.

Sounds strict, but some advocates believe that it may have been too little, too late.

“They may have missed the last opportunity to bring back the oyster industry,” asserted Bill Goldsborough, fisheries expert at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

In Maryland, we’re waiting for solutions from the the oyster roundtable of government, industry and advocacy groups. Word is, they’re haggling over a pilot program which would prohibit harvesting in several “oyster restoration areas.”

Part of the aim is controlling MSX and Dermo, the diseases which have decimated Bay oysters, by careful reseeding from unaffected stocks.

Questions also remain about the designs and indeed the value of a non-profit corporation of watermen, oyster experts and environmental advocates that would be given some regulatory powers over oysters.

“Wise-Users” Trot Out Tricks
If you felt troubling vibrations from the west recently, here’s why:

About 400 people from around the country were gathered in Washington for a convention focused on how to slow environmental protection.

In case you’ve missed it, dozens of wholesome-sounding, industry-bankrolled groups have popped up with the aim of crippling environmental rules. They call themselves the ‘‘wise-use” movement, saying we need to wisely use—not lock up—our resources.

(The phrase “wise-use” is a rip-off of something uttered nearly a century ago by Gifford Pinchot, then-President Theodore Roosevelt’s chief forester.)

In Washington, the Alliance for America spent a good deal of its time decrying the invasion of property rights. They were particularly worried that a new federal plan for a National Biological Survey—an effort to identify and protect species—might intrude on private property.

The Alliance also defended Norway’s right to continue harvesting threatened minke whales, saying that the U.S. has no right to order sanctions against Norway for violating international rules...

Bumper Sticker of the Month: “There is no life west of the Chesapeake Bay.”

Way Downstream...
Boomers get ready. The 25th anniversary of Woodstock is set for next August in New York’s Hudson Valley. This time, environmental concerns will be a uniting force...

In Massachusetts, a company called EcoScience thinks it has the solution to your roach problem: a natural pesticide that eats roaches alive.

That’s right, any unsuspecting roach that clambers into the fungus-packed EcoScience Bio-Path Chamber disappears. The product is now being tested for public release...

In the African nation of Ghana, people are finding that gold does more than glitter. It pollutes. The government has encouraged gold mining as a chief means of development. Problem is, mercury (which helps release gold from ore) has been used carelessly and with little supervision by get-rich-quick folks.

Now, the river that provides drinking water in western Ghana is badly polluted with highly toxic mercury. Isn’t this what the United Nations Environmental Program was set up to prevent?...

One of the biggest problems in developing nations is poor people chopping down all the trees for fuel to cook and heat. Can you blame them? Seldom is anything planted in its place, and the result is stripped, desert-like land, changing weather patterns and people with nothing to fall back on.

In Kenya, another the African nation, the American group Earthwatch is pushing a solution: solar ovens for cooking. One village has built 20 of them, providing jobs, not to mention seedlings of a solution to a real mess...

Our Creature Feature this week comes to us from Costa Rica, where Caribbean sea turtles are fighting a twin threat: people and pesticides. Costa Rica is home to hundreds of olive Ridley and leatherback turtles. Leatherbacks, as you may recall from New Bay Times, sometimes migrate up the Chesapeake Bay.

Along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, the leatherbacks are gathering now for arribadas—mass nesting. (Roll your r’s when you say that word.)

Problem is, there are still people around who kill these turtles to sell or eat. Worse yet, the turtles are poisoned by chemicals from banana plantations. While still on the tree, bunches of bananas are covered with plastic coated in pesticides. When the bananas are picked, the plastic blows away, sometimes to be eaten by turtles.

Starting next month, day and night crews on two Costa Rican beaches will keep an eye on nesting turtles, studying them along the way. They’ll use satellite transmitters to track migration.

So who knows, if you happen to spot a huge, friendly leatherback in the Bay, a corresponding light might be might be blinking in space...

Joke of the Week is courtesy of David Letterman, who remarked the other night on the asbestos problems in New York schools.

“Mayor David Dinkins went to many of the schools and reassured them that everything was okay,” Letterman said. “I think that’s what he was saying; he had a gas mask on.”

to the top

The Bay: Being Here
Most editorials rant, give somebody the dickens and do their best to prove to you that their writer knows the score. Not today: here we pause for a moment to comment not on the way things should be … but the way they are.

In case you hadn’t taken time to notice, the Chesapeake Bay is a truly fetching place right now. Gone is the oppressive heat, stagnant water and air that holds you like an old, moist glove. These clear autumn days drape us first in warmth, then suitable nippiness for sleep.

As the days shorten, take the time to partake of the Bay in her splendor. If you’re fortunate enough to live on the water or near it, or if you’re visiting for an afternoon, find a spot where the world can’t pursue you. A beach, a boat, even your car will do. When? Before work, at lunch time or when the sun is slipping away.

Scan the horizon, left to right and back again, and let your cares float away. What’s the wind doing? Where’s the tide? Check the shoreline. Anything new? Look at the trees and the smorgasbord of changing colors. Is that deepening red blush over there gum or dogwood?

Sit a bit. Watch the waves. Take power from the unstoppable current.

You’ll know when it’s time to go. And when you do, we predict that your mind will be freer, your burden a little lighter.

It just may be that there’s no better time than October for being at the Bay. We’ve always been mystified by the attitudes of some after Labor Day: that fun’s-over, back-to-school, store-the-boat mentality that grips many people.

The Bay knows no such barriers to pleasure. When you consider the weather, the still-abundant crabs and the newly open rockfish season that anglers have been dreaming of, you’ve got the makings of the absolute best time on the Bay.

So don’t be fooled. If you live here, look around and pat yourself on the back for your good sense. To others, we invite you during these glorious days to escape to the Bay. To the colors. To the bounty from the water and the fall’s harvest.

But when you do, you must agree to do one thing: sit a spell and look around.

by Sandy Irving

I float lazily downstream
Still, silent morning
diamonds shimmer in unshaded sun,
gulls dive for breakfast and break the calm.

… And on shore …
Lights begin to flicker.
Men and Women rise to face their hectic day.
I gladly drift away
Savoring clear salty air and cool breezes.

Some rise to exhaust fumes and traffic jams
But I rise and float by in a dream
Surrounded by buzzing, splashing, and
an occasional laugh
across the river.

to the top

The Last Hours of the Levin J. Marvel—
An Eyewitness Account
by Vernon R. Gingell

Editor’s Note: Stories of the last hours of the Levin J. Marvel are favorite legends in Owings and Fairhaven Cliffs, where the storytellers recount what they saw firsthand, as “hardy young men frolicking dolphin-like in the storm-ravaged shoal waters off Herring Bay.”

Prompted by New Bay Times’ reconstruction of the 38-year-old disaster (August 12-25,1993), Vern Gingell, one of those storytellers, has agreed to add his memories to the record.

What We Saw
The morning of August 12, 1955, was pretty much the same as any other August morning—except that Connie was approaching the part of the Chesapeake just east of Herring Bay.

This meant that certain precautions must be taken on shore to assure that all small boats were beached and goods secured.

Since sea nettles seem to mysteriously disappear when these types of phenomena occur, several other hardy young men and I decided to swim in the storm-ravaged shoal waters off Herring Bay, just one quarter mile off the beach at Owings Cliffs. The wind was building from the east-northeast, and it was exciting to play dolphin-like in the two to three foot waves.

As this small group of men frolicked in the surf, we noticed, to our surprise, a three-masted ship appearing out of the misty haze just east of Holland Point. She seemed to be under sail (a small sail on her bow quarter), moving northward and parallel to the shore.

Each of the swimmers gazed in awe and puzzlement at the sight. We rationalized that this large sailing craft must have been trying to make port in Deale.

The winds were building and our mystery boat was ever-so-slowly plodding northward in heavy seas (we judged by then the waves where she was were perhaps five to eight feet crest to trough), whereas the waves we were swimming in must have been by then three to six feet.

As she moved very slowly northward, she stopped her forward progress and appeared to lower her sails. By this time, approximately (we judged for we had no time piece) 2pm, the heavy winds were driving rain, which had become downpours at times, to such an extent that our ship vanished from vision.

Our small swimming party, being plummeted by the heavy rains, decided to go ashore. As we gathered on the beach, there was much discussion about what ship we had seen and—above everything else—what was its fate.

The storm raged on and passed through our area. By the next morning, all was peaceful and quiet once again.

What We Thought—and Still Think
Having read your recent article, I was concerned regarding the allusion to the wave height (20 to 25 feet crest to trough), the anchoring in 20 feet of water, and in general the many miscalculations this captain made.

The only real mistake the Levin J. Marvel’s captain made, in my judgment, was departing the Eastern Shore area. Having said that, I believe that once committed to reaching the Western Shore, he was wise to head north, possibly to safe harbor at Deale. Failing that (due no doubt to rain-reduced visibility), to anchor in the shallows of Long Bar and ride out the storm. If anything, the shoals destroyed his plan.

In my judgment, the deep draft of his vessel caused grounding on Long Bar and literally broke the boat apart. A tragic happening, yes. Misjudgments perhaps. But in my view, under these difficult circumstances, the captain did all he could do—once he had committed to the Western Shore and perhaps a safe haven in Rockhold Creek.

to the top

Living on the Corner
Living on the corner washes you in the tide the way waves wash the beach.

But people make the waves we feel on our corner.

On the first wave of morning come the crabbers. Shaking the 5 or 5:30am darkness, they fire up their truck engines. Subliminally, even in the deep of sleep, the departures register, and the sleeper knows who and how many have left the village.

Then, wave after wave, come the schoolbuses, with a woosh of air brakes and folding doors breaking out of their rubber gaskets. Their arrival gathers kids, moms, and dogs to chat and bark beneath my bedroom window. I’ve watched pregnancies advance, new babies appear on the scene, fashions and families come and go and kids transform into skittish adolescents.

Preteen girls preen and turn cartwheels or write their crushes’ names in white rock on the asphalt road, while preteen boys are more likely to kick that rock. Smaller versions of many of these kids wrestled with my puppy, who is now a hundred-pound dog. Now, their moms let them come alone, or with their own dogs, who hang round after one bus leaves, waiting for the next.

Now, a new crop of little kids come with moms who push still littler kids in strollers or ride them piggy-back in backs up the long hill. Other moms, dressed for work, visit a bit until the buses pack up their kids, when they rush away, too.

After the moms and the kids and the buses and even the dogs are gone, a sullen, late-sleeping teenage boy trudges up—too late. His mom will drive him again today.

Down the hill, the waves have washed the beach, tideline after tideline marking its advance and retreat in traces of pebbles, sticks, and bubbles. Some days, the tide leaves behind swarms of ancient, barnacled, wriggling horseshoe crabs; others, a litter of flattened jellyfish, tentacles still rippling the ebb. Some days the tide throws up treasures; some days, trouble. Once, on Valentine’s Day, the tide left a big red dog for us to find and bury. Someday, it will leave me the biggest shark’s tooth I’ve ever seen.

The unexpected is routine uphill at the corner, too. Twice this year, long after midnight, pounding at the door has started my dog barking and my heart pounding. Both times it was teenage boys, too old for schoolbuses, who’d crashed their cars on the winding road. Dazed boys and parents and police crowded the early hours till it was nearly time for the crabbers to wake. Once, after an imagined slight and egged on by girlfriends, the boys came back to the corner armed with pickets they’d torn off a neighbor’s fence. Changeable tides drive the late-night teenage riders, too.

Some mornings, no one stops, but smashed car windows and mailboxes are left along the road, like tidelines.

Before the schoolbuses brought fall, the human tide left another strange deposit on the schoolbus corner: an orange Penzoil box atop the fender of the New Bay Times truck. I saw it from my bedroom window, but I forgot it till a neighbor—whose running is one of the early morning tides—called me out to look inside. There, instead of a forgotten 12 quarts of oil, were five mewling kittens.

On the corner and on the beach, we only think we know the tides.

— Sandra Martin

to the top

The Rules of the Rockfishing Game
Rumors to the contrary, the 1993 Maryland rockfish season opened as scheduled, will continue according to schedule and should close on schedule. Plus the fishing is good.

Ten days before the opener, rumors abounded that the Atlantic Coast Marine Fisheries Commission had decided the state’s proposed season was too lenient and that cutbacks would have to be made. Thankfully, the rumors were unfounded; the liberal quota Maryland proposed of 2.3 million pounds was authorized by the ACMFC.

So fishing is underway, and will continue until the scheduled cutoffs unless either the commercial, charter or recreational fishery catches its quota prematurely. Then the season will be closed for that fishery. It has happened before.

However, this fall no provisions have been made to extend fishing should any fishery fail to catch its quota, which has also happened before. DNR wanted to end confusion among fishermen planning their trips.

With the Chesapeake loaded with rockfish, quotas increased, and fishing days extended—especially for charter fishermen—one would think everyone is happy. But not so, and that’s no rumor.

The outcry would have been deafening had the season been announced a month or so prior to the opening—as was done in the three previous seasons. But DNR's last minute jockeying with a skeptical, stingy and foot-dragging ACMFC continued almost to the wire.

Then there was the necessary approval from the Maryland Administrative Executive Legislative Review Committee, which could have provided more eleventh hour drama had many disgruntled fishermen had their say in the matter. But politicians and bureaucrats prevailed. They took the easy way out, cut off protesters before they could open their mouths, and endorsed without question DNR’s ACMFC-approved proposal.

How Came Rockfish Quotas
Therein lies a story worthy of discussion before we get into the actual fishing and a few notes on fishing. And, no, it’s not a story intended to blame DNR, though the department at some point has to face the issue—or forever there will be a rift between the charter and recreational fishery in rockfish matters.

First it must be appreciated that our post-moratorium rockfish regulations are decided on a quota basis, not only on how many fish Marylanders are allowed but also on how many fishermen are allowed across the Eastern Seaboard. Commercial and recreational fishermen are allowed 421/2 percent of the Maryland quota of 2.3 million pounds; charter fishermen, 15 percent.

Believe it or not—and you must because it is true—that slicing of the rockfish pie was decided through negotiations, not on traditional catch shares prior to the moratorium, which charterboaters probably prefer. Recreational fishermen—the weakest and most browbeaten segment on the original Striped Bass White Paper Committee—let their constituents down.

Back when the moratorium was lifted, the committee first suggested a 50-50 split between commercial and recreational fishermen. But which share would charterboats draw from?

Charterboats are commercial in that they fish for a profit, but they carry recreational fishermen. Capt. Ed Darwin, skipper of the Becky-D, represented charterboaters, suggesting a separate quota. Good idea. But was the resulting compromise of 15 percent of the total Maryland quota reasonable? Better still, was it in keeping with shares based on traditional catches?

To justify the charterboats’ 15 percent, prior to the moratorium, for every three rockfish taken by recreational fishermen, one would have to have been taken on a charterboat. No way. No way did several hundred working charterboats get a bit more than 25 percent of the total non-commercial catch.

Where were the representatives of the recreational fishery when this was decided? Out fishing?

These quotas-within-quotas are bound to inflame sportsfishermen who don’t fully understand the quota system. And to be frank, they’re irritating to those who do understand it.

Maryland’s in-state quota system is to ensure that each segment gets its own quota, there is no way to set definite time periods. Catch rates differ among commercial, recreational and charter fishermen. Yet each segment is entitled to catch its quota and must be given time to do so.

That’s the quota system, so we must live with it.

During one of last year’s seasons, recreational fishermen caught their quota quickly and were shut down. But charter fishermen hadn’t yet reached their quota. They kept on fishing, resulting in the biggest furor on the Chesapeake in modern times. Relations between the two breeds have gone downhill since.

This year, at the offset, charterboats were allowed two additional weeks. Truly, there’s nothing wrong with that if we go by the quota system. But that brings up the validity of the apportioned shares dating back to the White Paper Committee.

Adding to the complexity, charter fishermen are allowed two fish a day; recreational fishermen, one—as it has pretty much been since the beginning. But that’s the way it was outlined to ensure that the charter fishery catch its quota, which brings up a valid question.

If the charter catch was a tad more than 25 percent prior to the moratorium, why does that fishery need so much more time to catch its quota than the recreational fishery? Better still, why extra days, when charter fishermen are allowed twice as many fish a day?

This writer is just one of thousands who would like an answer from DNR, from those who served on the White Paper Committee and from charterboat skippers—with whom I have no argument. They wanted all they could get—without overfishing the resource—and they got it. They claim they need a limit of two because parties won’t pay $300 a day to charter when they can get only one fish.

They also claim the charter fishery is in trouble, which it is, and that a fallen charter fishery would deny many non-boat-owning fishermen access to fishing the Chesapeake. Also true. Things get complex, don’t they?

But there’s another irritant involved. Recreational fishermen are required, in addition to buying their tidewater license, to buy a $2 rockfish stamp. Those who fish on charterboats need neither license nor stamp. The no-license is understandable; charterboats pay a large fee to cover their regular fishermen. But they pay nothing additional to cover those who fish for rockfish—while sportsfishermen pay both ways.

Those who pay charter costs can certainly afford a few buck extra for a rockfish permit. Is something amiss here? If you know the answer, it’s not a question.

Perhaps a fine tuning is needed to make this charter/recreational issue a bit more equitable and soothe some of the differences that play one segment of the sportsfishing public against the other. The last thing we need is infighting among fishing interests.

DNR has the records. Why not run pre-moratorium catch information—sketchy as it might be—through computers to determine who got what back then? Use that for a basis for deciding valid quotas in the future. If charterboats appear to have taken 15 percent of the overall catch—25 percent of the recreational catch before the moratorium—then carry on as we are. If not, make adjustments.

This would answer many of the complaints of recreational fishermen. Still, charter fishermen’s non-payment for a rockfish permit should also be addressed to solve what is an obvious inequity.

Back to the AELR Committee. Some dissatisfied recreational fishermen planned to bring some of this up when it met to approve the rockfish season. Interest flared after Bill Perry, retired DNR sportsfishing specialist, wrote in an Easton daily about the scheduled session. AELR was flooded with calls.

More than 40 phoned to protest the more liberal charterboat regulations, but were told there was nothing different than last year, so no testimony would be taken. Nothing different? Two extra weeks charter fishing at the offset…that’s different. And passed up was a chance to open the Pandora’s box of quotas. Fancy footwork by AELR.

How Is ‘93’s Catch?
Enough on the less enjoyable aspects of the rockfish season. Now the fishing. Through the first few weeks, much of the most productive activity will be in the upper and mid-Chesapeake, then gradually move southward as the fish head down the Bay. Below the Patuxent River, the last couple weeks will be the best.

In the upper Bay, many fish are being caught by drifting live eels. Excellent choices everywhere are trolled medium-size bucktails with pork rind strips or twister tails added. Almost as effective are medium-size spoons. No need to troll deep in the early days; many of the fish work near the surface. Not infrequently they chase baitfishes to the surface where they can be taken by cast plugs, bucktails, jigs or spoons.

Also, blues are mixed in with many schools of rockfish to add both variety and excitement. And some Spanish mackerel remain to add even more options for another week or so. Keep in mind, however, that effective Sept. 27 a minimum size of 14 inches was imposed for macks, as was a creel limit of 10 a day. On this, DNR closed the barn door before the horse was stolen.

Should not it have done so in establishing a quota? Enough said...

— Look for veteran outdoors journalist Bill Burton here every issue in New Bay Times.

to the top

Flight of the Osprey
by Steve Cardano

The osprey is a familiar sight along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, but as summer merges into fall, this Bay resident heads for distant shores.

In late August and early September, our ospreys start their migration southward along the Atlantic Coast to Florida. They fly south along the coast of Florida and out of U.S. territory. Following the straits, they pass the Greater Antilles Islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. That’s their route in both spring and fall migrations. It’s a logical one: if you examine a map of the Caribbean, you’ll see that this route is the most direct to South America, where osprey are purposefully headed. They don’t dawdle in Central America.

In South America, our ospreys winter along the shores of Venezuela and Columbia. A few go as far as Brazil. We know of one that flew as far south as Pampa Hermose, Peru!

The trip from the Chesapeake to South America takes about a month. One young bird hatched on the Patuxent River and banded in July was recovered October 2 from Bolivar, Columbia. Unfortunately, this bird, as well as many other foreign recoveries, had been shot. Fortunately for most of the Bay ospreys, they avoid contact with humans on their wintering grounds and by the next February, they begin their journey north along the same path, to arrive on our shores—where they are better esteemed—by mid-March, usually around St. Patrick’s Day.

But not all osprey return the following year. One-year-old birds stay in South America until their second spring. That year, most of the surviving two-year olds will return to the Chesapeake Bay, but some will wander to new areas. Take for example a couple of two-year olds banded on the Patuxent River: one was found in Galveston, Texas and the other in Birdseye, Indiana.

Survival of osprey from year to year has been better understood through the banding program organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bird Banding Laboratory, in Laurel. With the data compiled from osprey recoveries, we can determine the percentage of osprey that survive to age one, two, three and older. Sixty-three percent of fledglings survive to age one; nearly a third don’t make that difficult first year. Birds fare better after their first birthdays: 82 percent survive to two years, and over 80 percent of those births live another year.

The osprey is a long-lived bird, with some surviving into their twenties. In those years, they accumulate thousands of frequent flier miles between the Chesapeake Bay and South America. I hope we will be able to track the journeys and survival of the Chesapeake fledglings of the ‘80s and ‘90s well into the next century.

Since 1978, Steve Cardano, of Charles County, has banded over 1500 osprey fledglings from nests on the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers. If one of these banded birds dies, its finder is asked (on the bird’s leg band) to notify the Bird Banding Laboratory in Laurel, who relay the finding to Cardano. In this way, banding increases our knowledge of the osprey’s migratory habits.

to the top

Stalking Stripers: Never a Better Time
A Morning Odyssey with the Hexbuster to Fight the Curse of Big Tony

I heard Capt. Rick Blackwell’s GMC rumbling, early as usual. If he tells you he’ll be by at 6am, you’d better be ready at 5:45. By that time, on a fishing morning, Capt. Rick has been up for two hours—tying lures, sorting his tackle box and devising his plan of attack.

Me? Fifteen minutes on a cold, dark morning is two smacks on the snooze button plus 60 seconds, counted one at a time. By the time I usually get out on the water, the big boys are heading home, talkin’ trash on their radios about all the fish in their boxes.

Maybe my hours are why I’m not much of a fishin’ fellow these days. But truth be told, there’s more to it, and that’s why, early this morning in Maryland’s budding rockfish season, Capt. Rick has agreed to help out.

Here’s the deal: About three years ago, I was in the Bahamas on a piece of journalism business too complicated to describe here. An ill-tempered, bug-eyed islander called Big Tony misconstrued my motives and, so I was told in a whispered telephone conversation, aimed some Haitian voodoo at me.

“Watch out, mon,” the caller told me.

Sure, I said. And I thought nothing more about it until I’d been out on the Chesapeake half a season, watching everybody else yank in bluefish. Until my outdrive developed holes the size of pinpricks in a voodoo doll. And until my boat almost sank from an inexplicable split in the hull.

Mind you, these troubles have afflicted me for three boating seasons. And I used to be lucky, the guy on the charter who hooked the whopper. One season in my own boat, I didn't get skunked until September.

One night recently, I worried aloud that Big Tony’s mojo might never fade. I might as well move away from the water, I whined. That’s when Capt. Rick suggested that if we got into rockfish big time, I mean really slayed ‘em, we might bust Big Tony’s hex.

But must we challenge Big Tony on a cold, dark and rainy morning?

Capt. Rick is revving up his big GMC while I’m still pulling together what I will need for this battle: a thermos of drippings from extra-dark beans; a box of Ritz Bits; and the sports sections from three morning papers. Rev, rev. Where's my jacket?.

“Sandra, can I borrow that big purple Gore-Tex jacket of yours?” I yell up the stairs.

“Just don’t get any fish slime on it,” she mumbles from the bed.

Fat chance.

On Capt. Rick’s 23-footer, the wind and rain are smacking us in the face. My teeth are clenched so they don’t chatter. I can barely grip the coffee cup with my gloves. There seems to be no hope in the world for anything.

“What a beautiful day,” Capt. Rick says.

I guess he’s feeling like a lot of folks these days now that rockfish season has arrived. All those big beautiful striped bass, protected for years, there for the taking. And not just in boats. Rockfish hang in the shallows, so you can get ‘em from the shore, especially at high tide. Well, some people can.

We’re nearing one of Capt. Rick’s favorite holes, and so are a few other boats. That’s when I hear about the Frito-Lay Diversion. Capt. Rick, an ethical fisherman, doesn’t use it. But I might sometime.

If the boats are getting too thick in your spot, blaze out a quarter-mile and reach for the chips. Throw a few handfuls in the water and every gull in the area will gather. Soon, the other boats will see gulls diving madly in the water. And thinking they’re missing out on a school of breaking fish, captains speed to the birds.

That’s when you head back to claim your spot.

“We’re just about where we need to be,” Capt. Rick says. I’m just hoping for enough light to crack open the sports page.


“Captain, I’m hung up already,” I say. “You know my luck.”

“Hung up, hell,” Capt. Rick says. “Something’s pullin’ on your line.”

I’m not sure. It’s probably an underwater branch waving back and forth. I start to reel and... it’s kinda hard. Then my line starts to scream and sure enough, something’s back there. I’ve forgotten what to do.

Good thing Capt. Rick was there five minutes later to snatch that rockfish in his net. “That’s a beaut,” he tells me. It’s two feet long, give or take an inch.

Am I still in bed, dreaming?

“Quick, get your line back in the water. They’re thick in here,” Capt. Rick says.

Okay, but I’m busy in the early morning light looking at this fish. This can't be, but yes—it’s head looks like....like Big Tony!

And then my line starts tugging again, and I’ll be darned, I’ve got another one. And I wasn’t finished. In a little more than an hour, I caught five. (I only kept one, of course.) And Capt. Rick hauled in a lunker that made my keeper look like a guppy. And not another soul out there had a bite.

This is unnatural. We’re on our way in well before breakfast and other boats are just heading out.

Rick’s GMC pulls up in front of my house. I grab my stuff, wrapping my fish in the unread newspapers.

“Thanks, Capt. Hexbuster,” I say.

Sandra is in the kitchen. I show her the fish and try to hug her.

“No,” she cries. “You smell—and you’ve got fish slime all over my good Gore-Tex.”

Tell it to Big Tony, I say.

to the top

In the Water
As the mist scoots across the Chesapekae in the rising sun, the creature rises to snatch a feathery jig and then retreats swiftly and powerfully. The battle is on, and with light line—eight-pound test or so—the fight is a fair one.

Rockfish. Rockfish. Rockfish.

They’re all over the Bay, and long-suffering folks are basking in their October fishing pleasures.

“There’s some good size rockfish being taken, along with blues. The only problem is that it’s been kinda rough out there.” That was the report of Capt. George Prenant, one of the Deale charter captains who has been busy of late.

Busy, but not yet fully booked through November 7. You have time…

Hoots Here
In the quiet of a recent moonlit night, my dreams were invaded by strange animals sounds. What an odd dream I thought and awoke to find the sounds were real. They were the soft hooting of an owl, no, two owls singing an evening duet. “Hoo. hoo-hoo, hoooo-hoo,” called the nearest one, perhaps from the walnut tree at the top of the yard. From back in the woods behind the house the other replied, “Hooo. hoo-hoo-hoo, hoooo,hoo.” The soft, carrying sounds were a pleasure to me. A terror to any mouse, bird, skunk, grouse or porcupine within hearing.

to the top

Shared Vision
You could say some residents of Calvert County are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. They’re upset with officials and politicians who are ignoring local environmental laws and regulations.

Members of Calvert Future Vision aren’t just complaining, they’re organizing and taking action. The group’s mission is to “protect the vitality of Calvert County’s natural, social and economic environment through political action and education,” according to organizer Denise Breitburg.

The new group has no party affiliation, so it’s able to criticize and monitor politicians of all stripes. Its goal is to create an environmentally correct county government sensitive to its citizens and natural resources.

Calvert Future Vision members hope to increase their numbers at a meeting on October 18 at the Prince Frederick Library.
Smoggy Mountain Breakdown
Shenandoah National Park is known for its breathtaking views, but rangers warn that that description has become a bit too literal. The staff reports that air pollution is spoiling the Park.

Pollution monitors show that summertime visibility has decreased dramatically since 1948 because of human-made air pollution. Acidic streams are hurting fish, plants and insects. And, some people are feeling lung irritation because of high ozone levels.

The Clean Air Act requires the National Park Service to comment on pending building permits that would threaten the air in Shenandoah. Rangers hope you will help the Park and your neighborhood by speaking out to your elected officials about new sources of air pollution.

Dangerous Drinking Water
Bad news for residents of St. Marys County who like to drink water. Although it’s essential for life, your drinking water may not be good for you.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 99,000 Marylanders are drinking contaminated water. Most of the people live in rural communities or on military bases. Directly affected in our area are 12,325 residents in St. Marys County.

The Washington-based NRDC reports that water in Lexington Park is contaminated with coliform bacteria. The same bacteria was found in excessive levels at the Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center.

Maryland officials contend the environmental group’s report is exaggerated and erroneous. But federal EPA officials agreed with the NRDC report that there should be tougher enforcement and more funding to ensure better quality drinking water for Maryland residents.

What a Concept!
President Clinton’s recent call to reinvent government by cutting out unnecessary and even embarrassing waste included a plan for the Environmental Protection Agency. The idea: Shift the agency’s mission to preventing pollution. What a concept.

Now that may be a novel idea to those inside the Beltway, slogging through a bureaucratic bog each day. But in the Annapolis EPA office, that directive was met with a “what’s new?” reaction.

Peter Marx, the EPA’s communication director in Annapolis says the Chesapeake Bay Program is a leader in pollution prevention. He applauds the White House directive to make the whole agency more proactive.

Marx explains that prevention makes better economic and environmental sense. It’s simply easier and cheaper to prevent pollution damage rather than to clean it up.

Bad Seeds
Maryland farmers may feel like they can’t win for trying.

This winter, farmers who plant a cover crop to reduce nutrient runoff from their land may get more cover than they want. The Maryland Department of Agriculture reports that some of the cover seed is not good.

A recent inspection of cover seed found contamination with 17 different weeds, including Canada thistle, Johnsongrass, corn cockle and wild garlic. “The cost of controlling these weeds could easily exceed the payments for installing the cover crop,” says Robert Walker, Maryland's Secretary of Agriculture. He reminds farmers to use tested or labeled seed which is properly germinated and pure.

Under the new program, the Department of Agriculture helps pay for the cover seed to encourage farmers to plant it. The idea is to keep harmful nutrients out of the Chesapeake Bay. For example, when rye is planted in the winter, its roots use up nitrogen, so the nutrient doesn’t leach or run off into the Bay.

Hundreds of farms are participating in the seed program, which is just two years old. The Department of Agriculture reports that there is a lot of interest among Bay area farmers and that they hope to cultivate more.

Acid Rain Info
Want to know anything about acid rain, the pollutant from the skies that begins with tailpipe and industrial emissions?

Call the EPA on their new Acid Rain Hotline and they’ll send you what you need or put you in touch with somebody who can. (Just tell them to speak English, not jargon.)

That new number is 202/233-9620.

to the top

Forays into Fungi Land
While we’re out looking for mushrooms succululent enough to bite into, mushrooms and molds are quietly chewing up the world.

When Laughing Gourmet decided to cook with wild mushrooms, the first thing we came up against was ignorance. Not only did we know little about edible mushrooms, everyone we talked with knew less.

We finally got ourselves to a Friday evening lecture by Dr. David Farr—a bearded, curly-haired scientist in baggy pants and comfortable shoes, with a permanent laugh in his eyes—who quickly taught us a few basics about edible mushrooms. First, we learned from Dr. Farr that to tell one mushroom from another is “as easy as telling an elm from an oak.” Since most elms died long ago of Dutch elm disease, we were not quite sure what to do with this new knowledge.

We also found out that, just as we suspected, there are a lot of poisonous mushrooms. This did not comfort Robin Furth, who came on our first fungi foray with two daughters, Nicole, 10, and Kyla, 7, because “one of my sons dared the other to bite into a mushroom and he did. I thought I should know more about it.”

We found out more: even one spoonful of broth from a certain kind of mushroom popularly known as Death Angel or Destroying Angel can indeed cause death—not of a pleasant sort. We found out that poisonous mushrooms often grow in something called a “universal veil.” This veil is an egg-shaped structure that acts like an eggshell protecting the young mushroom, which breaks the shell open as it grows. Bits of this thin skin continue to cling to the mushroom throughout its life, helping to identify it as poisonous.

Stumped among the Toadstools
But don’t be fooled. The one Death Angel we found on our mushroom foray had such a little bit of the universal veil stuck on that we were stumped. Dr. Farr admitted that life in the woods is not as simple as life in the sample case.

Fungi—including molds as well as mushrooms—are lately thought to be neither plants nor animals. Formed as a series of long thin threads, they thrive in almost every environment throughout the world. Like people, mushrooms must rely on other living organisms for their nourishment.

While we’re out in the woods on a perfect day, hearing only the crunch of feet on leaves, an occasional airplane, hawks, a solitary woodpecker, our own chatter—while we’re out looking for mushrooms succulent enough to bite into, mushrooms and molds are quietly chewing up the world.

From this first foray at American Chestnut Land Trust in Calvert County, our group of 11 returned with plenty of beggars’ lice clinging to our pants legs—but nothing to add to the dinner table but a single insect-bitten boletus.

A second foray, several rains later—at a location which will remain secret—provided two of us with 17 varieties of mushrooms to identify. We used several books and a consultation with Dr. Farr to confirm that we had two eminently edible kinds: Charcoal Burner (Russula Cyanoxantha) and Ash-Tree Bolete (Boletinellus merulioides), which we originally took for a Chanterelle.

Strange Discoveries
Other edibles include Shaggy Manes—found on lawns; Oyster Mushrooms—named for their looks not their taste; Inky Caps—found around the stumps of trees and mildly poisonous when served with alcohol; and scant-tasting Cup Fungi, a vaselike beauty found on forest floors.

Premier among the edibles is the Morel, best gathered in spring (May in our area). Found in woods and orchards, Morels are so prized that foragers, like fishermen, go to great lengths to guard the secret of their spawning grounds.

Here’s our advice on seeking out your own edible mushrooms. Read books: The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms will do, as will The Mushroom Identifier by David Pegler and Brian Spooner. Consult experts like Dr. David Farr, who now works on microscopic fungi of agricultural interest for the Department of Agriculture in Beltsville.

Farr studied mushrooms at Virginia Polytech and teaches courses on mushrooms at the USDA graduate school, while occasionally lecturing at Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, where we were impressed by his enthusiasm and knowledge.

Compare many mushrooms until you, too, can tell the difference between an elm and an oak—or a Destroying Angel and a Boletus.

And while planning your forage for the perfect addition to your gourmet cuisine, we suggest trying out a few recipes with mushrooms bought at the local grocery store.

Mellowed Mushrooms
1 lb fresh edible mushrooms
1 large red bell pepper
1 small onion
1/2 C butter

Wash mushrooms; cut in half. Wash and seed the pepper, cutting it into bite-sized chunks. Peel and chop the onion. Saute the onion in the melted butter while preparing the sauce.

2 T Dijon mustard with seeds
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T sugar
3/4 C red wine: the better the wine, the better the mellow.
Salt & pepper

Mix together the mustard, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce until smooth. Stir in the wine. Add salt & pepper.

Stir the mushrooms and pepper in with the onions. As the mushrooms brown, add the wine sauce. Lower the heat. Simmer about 30 minutes.

Serve as a wonderful smelling, savory side dish or appetizer.

Great Mushroom Gravy
1 T chicken fat
1 Heaping T flour
1 C chicken broth
1/4 t hot sauce
1 C sautéed mushroom pieces along with a little liquid from the sauté pan

Add the chicken broth gradually to the flour and melted fat whisking furiously.

Add hot sauce & mushroom pieces

Serve hot over rice or potatoes with baked chicken.

Editor’s Note: Learn before you eat! It’s legendary in our family that Great Uncle Punchinello, a respected mushroom hunter and strongman, was fooled by a toadstool and died young.

to the top

The Dippers
In the darkening sky of a clear autumn evening, look for Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, eternally emptying itself out towards Polarus, the Pole Star, which is the end point on the handle of the Little Dipper, Ursa Minor.

Native American legend has it that the autumn colors spill out of the upside-down Little Dipper at this time of year, making the trees bright.

In Greek legends, the Big Dipper was the Great Bear—Ursa Major is her Latin name. She was once a woman, Callisto, who fell in love with the father of the Gods, Zeus, and bore him a son. Her reward was to be turned into a bear. Some say Hera, Zeus’s angry wife, made the change. Some say Zeus himself changed Callisto to protect her from Hera. Others say Artemis, the virgin goddess to whom Callisto was once an attendant, was angry over her fall from virginity and made the change.

When he reached adulthood, Callisto’s son Arcas went out to shoot a bear, unaware that it was his mother. To protect Callisto, Zeus changed Arcas into a bear as well, and carried them both off by their tails to the heavens where they became constellations. The son is, of course, the Little Bear.

Or the Little Dipper, depending on how you see the stars.

to the top

Good Times at Jug Bay
By Benjamin & Augustin Muell, ages 6 & 4
with help from Carol Hafford

On Saturday, October 2, we went to Jug Bay Children’s Day ‘93 with our mother. It was a clear, sunny day and lots of families were there. There were many interesting things to see and do!

First we visited the Live Animal Display. We were amazed to see a black rat snake, but we were not scared because it was in a glass tank. Then we saw two Eastern box turtles. Mom asked, “How can you tell the difference between a male and female turtle?” We learned that a female turtle has a flat-bottomed shell and a male turtle has a concave shell. Male turtles also have brighter eyes.

After the turtle races we began our hike to the River Pier for a canoe ride. On our way, we stopped at the new Marsh Observation Deck and peered through binoculars. We saw the Park Police in a boat, guarding the sanctuary.

When we reached the pier, we put on life preservers and listened to safety instructions about canoeing. It was hard to get into the canoe. You have to be very careful and sit down in the middle or the canoe will tip over and you will go under water. Mom paddled the canoe with our guide, Nelson Laur, who is a Jug Bay volunteer and an environmental science student at the University of Maryland. We glided along the Patuxent River, passing tall marsh reeds. Nelson led us to a beaver dam. It is made of sticks and whittles. Did you know there are four beaver dams at Jug Bay? We also saw some people racing along the river in a speedboat. They are not allowed to do that because it bothers the plants, birds, and animals. The Park Police chased them away.

After our canoe trip we walked back to the Visitors Center along Railroad Bed Trail and Otter Point Trail. We saw white buckets buried in the ground. They are used as traps to catch frogs, toads, and lizards. Inside the buckets we found only sponges used to hold moisture and keep the amphibians and reptiles wet. We found some nuts and leaves along the trail to bring home and identify in our nature books.

We were hungry and thirsty from hiking. During the dedication ceremony for the new McCann Wetlands Study Center, we ate our lunch. Then we joined a group of children who were listening to a Jug Bay volunteer talk about Snook, the one-eyed screech owl. She told us the owl had been hit by a car and broken his wing. Augustin said, “That was sad.” Benjamin said, “I hope he gets his wing fixed.” We petted his soft black feathers carefully with one finger.

Afterwards, we went inside the Visitors Center and looked at wild rice seeds and arrow-wood berries through a microscope. The wild rice looked like a feather! At another table we felt a deer head, snake skins, a turtle shell, and a heavy rock. The deer’s antlers were sharp.

We learned many new things at Jug Bay Wetlands. We want to go back soon and bring our dad for a moonlight walk in the woods.

The 500-acre Jug Bay Sanctuary, on the Patuxent River south of Route 4, is a research and education facility open to the public three days a week by reservation. For a schedule of events or to become a volunteer call 410/741-9330.

to the top

The Secret Garden
You have perhaps a few more weeks to see The Secret Garden. Don’t miss it!

Mary Lennox is an orphaned girl who is sent from India, where she is not loved, to England, where she is not loved. In her unhappy uncle’s English manor, she finds a harsh housekeeper, a talkative young maid who laughs at her and a cousin even more unhappy and more helpless than she.

But then Mary discovers a secret garden and her heart laughs with the joy and secret of it. She finds a friend, then two friends—the first a bird and the second a boy. She learns to make the garden grow. She begins to grow too. Soon her sickly cousin is invited into the garden where he too begins to get well. By the end of the movie, the garden is making even the uncle happy.

At a deeper level, The Secret Garden is about the way our hearts can get walled up and locked tight from lack of love or grief. Caring for our inner secret garden opens our hearts.

Mary tells her cousin Colin a story about an Indian prince: “If you look down the prince’s throat you can see the whole universe,” she says.

“That’s not possible,” Colin protests. “You’re just stupid.”

“It is possible. You just don’t understand. It’s a kind of magic,” Mary insists. Later Colin finds it is true. Like each of us, he holds the power of the entire universe inside.

This movie is not sweet. The children are cranky and fussy. You can see them grow from misery to happiness as their attention moves from themselves to nourishing—first the garden, then themselves and finally each other. As the movie says, “The whole world’s a secret garden if you look at it the right way.”

The Secret Garden is now showing at APEX Annapolis Harbour ,where senior manager, Mark Paepcke, says, “It’s been here for a while. We were regularly sold out at first and we’re still getting about 150 per showing on weekends, which is good. A mixed crowd comes: adults, families. I’m going to see it myself. I hear it’s really well done.”

to the top

Make an Osprey Mask
The Ospreys are gone for the winter, so you’ll have to pretend.

1. On a closed manila folder (or a stiff paper folded in half) draw one half of an osprey face starting at the fold. Use ours as a pattern.

2. Cut out the mask through both thicknesses of paper.

3. Unfold the mask and put it flat. Draw in the second eye. Draw dark feathers across the second side.

4. With a pencil, put two small holes in the mask about this far —————————— from the corner of each eye. Cut two strings about as long as this page and put a knot in the end of each. Put each string through a hole so the knot is on the front of the mask.

5. When you put the mask on, put a string over each ear and tie it at the back of your head.

Enjoy your mask now or save it for Halloween. We’ll show you more great masks next time.

to the top