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Burton on the Bay | Chesapeake Outdoors | Editorial | Letters to the Editor | Bay Reflections
This weeks stories Surfing the Bay | Disptaches from Bicyclists Christian Wagley
Surfing the Bay Chesapeake On Line
Through the World Wide Web, you can explore Chesapeake Country without leaving your computer …
by Kimbra Cutlip
Ten years ago, the World Wide Web was nearly a myth. In this secret land, only computer geeks who talked in technospeak could play. Today the Web is not only reality but, like kudzu, sending its deep roots throughout our own back yard. The Web is everywhere, and in it more and more people are caught.
While they’re there, lots of them visit Chesapeake Country.
"We get people from all walks of life visiting our Web site," said Anthony Burrows, Web page developer at the Department of Natural Resources. "Lately we've been getting a lot of hunters e-mailing us and thanking us for putting up information on seasons and bag limits and license applications." Last month alone, 50,000 people linked up to DNR’s site.
If you’re concerned about Bay ecology … if you want to know the latest update on DNR regulations and size limits … if you need to know the wind conditions before you head out for a sail … or you want to know where the fish were biting yesterday the Web will tell you all this and more.
If you don’t have a computer at home, or you’re not yet caught in the Web, you can try it out at any library in Anne Arundel or Calvert Counties for free.
What is this Web?
Think of the Web as a huge, world-wide phone book or encyclopedia only much better. Say you want to know when rockfish season ends this year, or what the size limit is. Type in Maryland DNR. When a list of home pages pops up, choose Maryland DNR. Zzzzip, DNR’s home page pops up on the screen.
On the home page is a table of contents listing such subjects as • About DNR
• The Bay
• Fishing report
• Parks and land
When you choose fishing, you can find out about regulations, size limits and seasons on any species you want.
Now here’s where the Web gets better than any encyclopedia. While you’re reading about fishing regulations, you see the words “Get License Applications.” It’s highlighted in a different color, which means you can click on it to go to another page. On that new page, you can choose the kind of application you want. Next, you can call it up on the computer, print it out and send it in.
No long frustrating waits while a voice messenger says “If you would like information on reporting a spill, please press one … if you would like information about registering a boat, please press 2 …”
Now that you’re licensed, you’ll want to see what the fishing’s been like this year. Go to fishing reports. That’s where you notice something called “Current Observations at Thomas Point Light.”
Click-Zzzipp. You’re at the National Weather Service Thomas Point Light Station. Here you’ll learn the wind conditions, the wave action, and temperature of the water and the air over the last 24 hours. The most recent data was just loaded in 10 minutes ago.
And so it goes on and on. You could go on forever delving deeper and deeper, jumping from one subject to the next, literally going from one part of the world to another.
That’s one of the big criticisms of the Web. Many people just keep jumping around, never finding anything relevant. It’s true, many Web sites don’t actually offer much information. Some are too simple. Others too complicated. But if you have the patience to learn, there’s some good stuff out there.
Some people have built Web pages to help the rest of us find what we're looking for. Sara Gottlieb is a University of Maryland graduate student who's work revolves around the Bay. "When I used the Web, I found I was searching for the same things over and over again," she said. "So I started to develop a resource list." Eventually Gottlieb found the time to publish the list on the Web.
From Sara Gottlieb's Complete “Links” to Chesapeake Bay Information, you can link to a whole world of research projects going on around the Bay. And not only in Maryland but also in all the states that affect the Bay: Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware. Gottlieb's page also links to beach reports, sailing, fishing and all sorts of Bay related things.
DNR’s Link to the Chesapeake
On Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Web site is Chesapeake information from local ecology to maps of campsites throughout Maryland.
Under “Outside” were Maryland maps showing all of the 38 wildlife Management areas and all 44 state parks. Click on any one location on the map and Zzzip, you go to a page all about that location. You’ll find maps of each park, as well as directions, hours of operation, numbers to call for more information and helpful hints on what to see and do there.
Under the topic “Bay” appeared a “Special Report” on the effects of Hurricane Fran on Bay ecosystems. Oysters may suffer from the stress of so much fresh water running into the Chesapeake. All the run-off is causing high nutrients and high turbidity that could damage struggling submerged aquatic vegetation. But there’s good news too. Shorter, cooler days are helping to keep algae blooms lower than they might have been if Fran had hit earlier in the summer.
Want to Go Sailing?
Take a virtual sailing tour of the Bay. You could, for example look at sailing photos all day on the Web. But photos take time to load, and most of them are scanned in Web by average sailors, not professional photographers. Usually, it’s not worth the effort.
Photos fall under the category of Web Fluff.
The informative sailing pages are usually put on the Web by clubs and sailing associations. Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association has a useful page where you can learn about race courses and schedules, local yacht brokers and services. You can look through classifieds of used boats or even hook up with captains looking for crew.
Just about every racing design boat appears on the Web, too. Look for your favorite boat and pull up design specs, layout, club information.
Check up on Environment & Government
Because universities were among the first groups to use computer technology for exchanging information, there’s a tremendous amount of research data on the Web. Some of it is pretty technical, like actual data from University of Maryland’s observation buoys. There are also Web pages that can help all of us to understand what’s going on in the Bay. Check out Sara Gottlieb's page to find those research sites.
To find out how legislation may affect the environment, search a little farther from home. Peek into the halls of Congress to see what’s up on the Hill. News about all the bills in the House and Senate is available on line. You can read about the bill, find out where it is in the judicial process, who supports it, and who doesn’t. Maryland state legislature doesn’t have that kind of on-line capacity yet, but it will. For now, you can pull up biographies of all the state executive officers and press releases from their offices. And
you can peer all the state agencies on the Web.
Looking for a Home in Chesapeake Country?
Real estate is not as strong on the Web as it is on Saturday morning TV programs, but it has made a showing. Some real estate agents have started using Web pages as a way to show homes to people way outside their local area. There are a few here in Maryland, but some had old listings of homes already sold. Some seemed worth a look but delivered few homes.
But when you do find the perfect home to buy, you can landscape it a Bay-friendly way with help from a page by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Their Bayscapes’ page lists ways to create your home’s surrounding without harming the environment.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
It’s getting so almost everyone has a web page. All sorts of locals are getting into the act, from charter boat captains to restaurateurs to sailors who want to show off their boats.
Creating Web pages is not so hard if you have time and patience. If you don’t advertising companies, will design and create a simple Web page for $50. Some design it for free and then charge anywhere from $30 to $100 to put your site on the Web for three to six months. At a smaller scale, you might run a classified in someone else’s page for even less.
Do sellers get business from the Web? Many local retailers said they got Web pages because it seemed like the thing to do. But response has been slow. “If this were a print ad, I’d have pulled it a long time ago,” said Pam Latvala. She and her husband have two Web pages to advertise Chesapeake Sport Charters, their charter fishing company.
“I’ve had a couple of calls over the last six months,” she told us, “but people have said it takes time. It’s inexpensive enough. I think I’ll just keep it for a while longer.”
That’s what most everybody said. Bill Shermer, who runs the bareboat charter company Blue Goose, said he thinks it’s a good idea, but it doesn’t target a market very well. “I think a lot of people who visit my Web site are just curious. They’re not necessarily boaters.”
That’s why Shermer doesn’t list his e-mail address on his page. “If they have to pick up the phone and make a call,” he said, “Then they’re probably at least a little more serious than if all they had to do was click a button.”
Nor did the local retailers we talked to who advertise on the Web shop the Web. Some don’t even have access. But most seemed pretty satisfied to be on the World Wide Web. They’re connected. Whatever this new medium is going to become, they’re not going to miss it.
Searching for the Bay
If you know the address of the Web page you want to use, you can avoid a long search. If you’re using the library computer, you’ll be using Netscape, the most popular software for accessing the Web. Type in an address at the top of the screen where it says “go to.”
Here’s a sample of Bay-related Web pages to get you started. There are many more.
Type http:// before all addresses.
MD Saltwater Sport Fisherman’s Association
Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing www.eaglenet.com/PAXP/marica
Chesapeake Sport Charters www.barronmall.com/chespeke/chespeke.htm
Capt. Greg Jetton www.thefishernet.com/jetton.htm
Sailing the Web
Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association sailing.org/cbyra/csailinf.html#weather
West River Sailing Club www.paw.com/sail/wrsc/c20.html
Annapolis Sailing School www.usboat.com/annapway
Chesapeake Catalina Yacht Club www.aztec.com/pub/aztec/ccyc/
Blue Goose (trawlers) www.maritime.net/goose.html
Cedar Point Charters (sail)
Go Crabbing on the Web
Order crabs and find recipes:
Chesapeake Crab Company www.web-span.com/crab
Landscape the Bay-Friendly Way
Visit Bay Lighthouses
DNR: Parks to Regulations
Get the scoop on all the state agencies, plus state government officials’ biographies, press releases and much more:
Research on the Bay
Here are just a couple of lists compiled to tell what’s going on in Bay research:
Bouy Weather Data
All over the world www.met.fsu.edu/ ~nws/buoy/
Thomas Point Light
Check out a Library Book
No matter where you live in Maryland, if you have a computer, you will soon be able to access your local library on the Web. Check the catalogue and find out if they have the book you want before you go. You can even put it on hold. Anne Arundel County is already on line; Calvert is scheduled to be soon. web.aacpl.lib.md.us
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Dispatches from Bicyclist Christian Wagley
After 1,800 Miles, Home at Last
This is the final dispatch from correspondent Christian Wagley, who has bicycled from Pensacola, Fla., to his home in Crofton.
From Chincoteague, Va., I began the last leg of my journey.
I was ready to get home and Mother Nature seemed to agree. She ignored the weather forecast of heavy rain and instead gave me a bright blue sky and a strong east wind to push me along. I reveled in the long-deserved fair winds at my back as I sailed along at over 20mph.
Each mile looked more familiar.
I passed through the delightful towns of Snow Hill, Berlin, and Cambridge, and over the Pocomoke, Nanticoke, and Choptank Rivers all places I knew. The fields of corn and soybeans, the chicken houses, and the roadside produce stands felt like home.
I spent my last night on the road on Kent Island. After 1,800 miles, the ride home to Crofton the next day was like a little trip around the block.
Turning down my old street on this glorious Sunday afternoon, I felt it strange feeling to see something so familiar at the end of so many miles of new territory. As I pulled up to the house I saw my mother my biggest fan and supporter waiting anxiously on the front porch. After a warm exchange of hugs and kisses with my family, many of my friends showed up for a welcoming party.
I was mentally and physically tired. That night I stretched out in my old bed, a nice change from the hard ground where I slept about half of my nights. I certainly didn’t miss the aching back and sore ribs from my earthen mattress, or the spiders, ants, and mosquitoes that inevitably made their way into my tent.
Yet my trip had been everything I had wanted and more. It gave me the physical and intellectual challenges I sought and I met them. There were days when my legs hurt so bad and the wind blew so hard against me that I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. But I didn’t. And as I explored our changing coast and its environmental problems, I plotted my own solutions.
While I rode solo on my journey, I was never really alone. Friends and family kept me in their thoughts and prayers. Everywhere I went people opened up their lives and homes to me, often giving me a place to sleep for the night and sending me off in the morning with a full belly.
There is some good news about our coast. Some very wild and beautiful places are still left, such as the Florida Panhandle, much of the Georgia coast, and Virginia’s Eastern Shore. I also found dedicated citizens working very hard to preserve these and other areas.
There is, however, plenty of bad news, too. Suburban sprawl is gobbling up our rural landscape, causing air and water pollution and creating un-neighborly communities. Waterfront development is altering sensitive shoreline areas and denying public access to the beaches and waterways that are public property.
I did find increasing environmental awareness. But most people still believe it’s somebody else, such as industry and developers and not themselves who are responsible for our environmental ills.
My experience has furthered my resolve to work on the issues affecting the coast I love. I want to promote responsible land use that makes our communities more livable and to fight damaging waterfront development. I want to challenge the conventional notion that growth is inevitable. Consider this: No matter how carefully we manage our growth, can the Chesapeake Bay possibly be any better off with the millions of new residents expected to move into the watershed in the coming years?
More than anything else, I want to instill in people an ethic of personal responsibility for the environment and a willingness to live a simpler life that is more in balance with our natural world.
Right now I’m broke, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. And deep in the back of my mind, I’ve already been secretly thinking of my next bike ride. How’s Crofton to Vancouver sound?
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Dock of the Bay
Around and About:
In Southern Anne Arundel, Access is the Word
Roving reporter Ned Killeen, who lives on the trawler yacht Zorra, reports that doors are opening in his newly adopted home town.
Clearly, something is up at the South County Branch of the Anne Arundel County Library.
No, it’s not one more in a series of repairs to the leaks that have plagued the 26 year-old building. This $25,000 remodeling is making the popular library easier to enter for disabled people, as the 1991 Federal Americans with Disabilities Act requires.
A new entryway will replace the old with two automatic doors, permitting easy access for patrons in wheelchairs. The double-door entry is also expected to improve the building’s energy efficiency. At the South County branch one of the last three in the Anne Arundel County 15-branch system to be updated for accessibility remodeling should be finished by the end of September.
Not so obvious is the change in the library’s comuter. Since August 15, the Anne Arundel libraries’ decade-old computer system has gone from black and white text to brilliant, full-color graphics. Access here, too, has been revolutionized. In addition to checking the resources of the Anne Arundel County Public Library System, you can now log onto the Internet and check other library systems worldwide right from one of the six terminals in the Deale library.
Using "search engines” such as YAHOO, LYCOS or ALTA VISTA, the system also lets you check databases and reference books. In other words, not only can you see if the reference book you want is available but you also cam look up what you need via the computer keyboard.
“I think the technology’s terrific,” says branch manager Pat von Schwerdtner.
If you have a home computer and modem, you don’t even have to come into the library. You can log on from home and reach the same services. The library’s internet address is http://web.aacpl. lib.md.us.
A mile or so south on Rt. 256, St. Mark’s Chapel has also become as easy to enter in wheelchair as on foot.
Churches are usually exempted from the Americans with Disabilities Act, but St. James Parish, which includes the tiny, historic Chapel, decided to build a wheelchair ramp anyway.
When some parishioners pointed out that the chapel’s congregation included no one who uses a wheelchair, Father William Ticknor, rector of both churches, paraphrased a now-famous line from the movie, Field of Dreams: “Let’s build it, and perhaps they will come.”
Bell Sounds for Christmas in April
If you have always wanted to help out your less fortunate neighbor with some home repairs or clean up, but thought the job was too much for one person, you may still be able to do something.
The deadline for Christmas in April in Anne Arundel County isn't until October 15. Christmas in April has been helping the county's disabled, aged and low-income homeowners with painting, cleaning and general repairs since 1992.
The non-profit group, named because they only do repairs on the last Saturday in April, worked on 23 homes last year, according to Christmas in April's JoAnne Jackson. That all materials and time are donated only makes that figure more impressive.
James Johnson, of Annapolis, who had some work done in his backyard last year was very pleased with the results. He said: "I can't thank them enough ... I'm very proud of what they're doing."
For applications, call JoAnne Jackson at 410/222-7667.
Farm-Saving Money Comes Our Way
Anne Arundel and Calvert are among five counties in Maryland expecting an early Christmas present: $100,000 each from the federal government to preserve farmlands from development.
Three more counties Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery get the same amount. Maryland's Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation gets $1 million more.
"Maryland places a premium on preserving their green space and this funding will go a long way towards supporting our farmers and protecting farmland throughout the state," Rep. Steny Hoyer said in a release.
The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which routinely lets local members of Congress announce awards.
The money will pay farmers for conservation easements. The farmers, in turn, give up the right to develop their land, though they may live on it, bequeath it to heirs or sell it to a buyer willing to accept the easement’s limitation.
“I think it’s tremendous to have another resource to protect farmland in Maryland,” said Pam Bush of the Maryland Environmental Trust.
Maryland farmland is a resource that needs protection. Since 1981, when 2,800,000 Maryland acres were planted in crops, farmland has been gradually declining. After four years of stabilizaton from 1992 to 1995, another hundred thousand acres have been lost until this year we have 2,100,000 farm acres.
Klocko, In Zoning Ruckus, Gets Prize
When the going gets tough, you can always use a little reinforcement.
Ask County Councilman John J. Klocko III, who incurred the wrath of Anne Arundel churches with a proposal to impose building limits in an effort to preserve rural farmland. But more on that later.
The American Planning Association presented its Maryland APA award to Klocko and the County Department of Planning and Code Enforcement for successful legislation aimed at controlling the spread of cellular phone towers.
Klocko, a Republican, and PACE, engineered a county ordinance that encourages companies to put communications towers next to existing towers rather than scattering them across the landscape.
The American Planning Association is a prestigious national organization headquartered in Chicago. James A. Schmersahl, chairman of the APA Awards Committee, said that legislation like that of Klocko and Pace is important because "every jurisdiction is being inundated" with requests to build towers.
Schmersahl observed that Klocko and Pace said: '"We'll shape the future rather than letting the future shape us'. That's what impressed the awards committee."
Meanwhile, Klocko has been forced to scale back on his new zoning proposal that would rein in rural church expansion. Klocko said original plan "missed the mark. It had more far-reaching consequences than I had intended."
Klocko is representing concerns of people near Davidsonville, where Riverdale Baptist Church plans to move to a 110,000-square-foot building with seven acres of parking in an agricultural area near Rt. 424.
A public hearing on Klocko's newest plan will be held before county council members on Oct. 15 at Southern High School.
Stopping Bug-Killers Dead
One spring day back in the 1980s, Robert Denny, a worker for the State of Maine noticed an odd occurrence. Fish were dying by the hundreds. “Pesticides,” he said, “are not used in March. So I began wondering what was going on.”
Denny, who found out what was going on, now he heads a program funded by the chemical industry to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. “Discarded pesticide containers, filled with snow in the winter, were dumping pesticides right into the water system with the spring thaw,” Denny said.
In 1992, concerned members of the chemical industry formed the Agricultural Container Research Council to find a better way to get rid of empty pesticide containers. Today the Council runs a nationwide program that has helped thousands of farmers in Maryland and 43 other states recycle used plastic pesticide containers.
“In the chemical industry,” Denny said, “there was a very clear understanding that very few states could afford to do this without some sort of financial support.”
Dues companies paid to the Council contribute toward the cost of chipping and transporting millions of pounds of plastic each year.
This year 26 Maryland collection days are scheduled at nine stations throughout the state. Last year, with three fewer sites, over 42,000 empty plastic pesticide containers were inspected, collected and processed.
The plastic is turned into shipping palettes or roadway materials.
Farmers win too, according to Mary Ellen Setting of the Maryland Department of Agriculture: “This program provides farmers with a safe, clean way to get rid of their old containers.”
For collection sites and dates, call Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Section: 410/841-5710.
Only the Deer Can Tell
Marianne Frankhauser of Chesapeake Beach has been feeding the deer at the Naval facility just to the south of the Beaches since she noticed rib bones poking at the deer’s fur.
"I could see all of their ribs,” she explained. “I was getting tired of watching them starve."
The herd of some 40 deer living in rural Calvert County would normally have plenty of food in the wild. However, trapped within the 168-acres of the U.S. Naval Research Lab in Randle Cliff, the deer have no natural predators to keep the herd in check. As the herd has grown, the natural food supply has dwindled.
As a result, concerned neighbors of the base like Frankhauser have stepped in. She feeds the captive deer four to six buckets of corn twice a day .
At first Frankhauser spent only her own money. But recently, neighbors and well-wishers bring money and feed for the deer.
“I took over 100 pounds, just a couple bags,” said Carl Duckworth, of Owings. “But that won’t last very long.”
Which is one of the main problems identified by the Naval Research Lab in a report on the problem, prepared in conjunction with the Department of Natural Resources and released to the press.
“Feeding the deer may appear as a kind thing to do, but doing so actually ads to the problem,” the report explained. Feeding the deer, the report went on, would only increase the size of the herd in an area that already cannot support their numbers.
So what solution does that leave?
Managed hunting, the Navy admits, is the most effective way to manage growing deer herds. But the Lab’s sensitive work in radar research, electronic warfare and the like, pre-empts letting hunters from the general public go after the deer.
Instead, decision-makers at the Naval Research Lab have chosen to allow Navy sharpshooters to thin the herd by roughly one dozen deer. The marksmen will kill only young, antlered deer during Maryland’s firearm deer season. The meat from the animals will be donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
That should solve the problem for now, allowing the remaining herd to survive the winter on the area’s natural vegetation.
But will the Naval Research Lab find itself in the same jam next year?
“In the wild, there would be no problem,” Duckworth said. “You don’t usually see deer with their ribs showing in the wild.”
In Washington, the House passed legislation to prevent the spread in U.S. waterways of such invaders as zebra mussels through the ballast water of ships. It would free up $33 million a year to fight the spread of such nuisances and requires ships to dump ballast at sea before entering the Chesapeake Bay and U.S. waters.
The Chesapeake Research Consortium would get $4.5 million over the next six years to fight our problems. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md., said the bill is important because "we're already aware of more than 100 non-indigenous species present in the Chesapeake..."
In New Orleans, placekicker Doug Brien is showing a smarter side of the NFL. Brien, who minored in resource studies in college, was asked about his proudest achievement after coming to the Saints from San Francisco: "I got the 49ers interested in recycling," he said...
In Spain, officials in the coastal town of Portino are realizing that someone made an awfully big mistake with the town's garbage. A 100,000-ton mountain of fermenting refuse is on the verge of falling into the Mediterranean Sea and causing an ecological diaster. Part of the smelly, shifting mass broke loose last week, burying homes and cars. The town has been evacuated amid arguments about who allowed dumping at such a perilous location...
Our Creature Feature this week comes to us from Massachusetts, where a company called Rent Mother Nature allowed Dr. Tod Foreman to give his sister a cow for Christmas minus the manure.
Foreman's sister, Jill Oberheim, didn't get to see the cow, but she got a photo and updates from the cow herself, named Franny, about the milking and the quality of feed. And then, sister Jill received six wheels of cheese, according to a dispatch from the Associated Press.
Cows aren't the only creatures you can sort of own thanks to the Cambridge company. It leases 21 types of animals, fruits and trees from 15 states and Latin America. Said founder Robert MacArthur, a 71-year-old Harvard business grad: "We educate, we entertain, we amuse."
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Doggone? Labs Getting Drafted For Duty
In the aftermath of the TWA explosion, government scientists were asked for a better bomb detection device.
In this age of Internet, laser technology and genetic engineering, the Federal Aeronautics Administration settled on a singular and potentially foolproof anti-terrorism device.
They’re being ordered now along crates of dog biscuits. For what the FAA is telling the airports of America is get yourself a Labrador retriever.
We don't know enough about explosives to know if they’re right. But we know enough about Labs to worry what this government directive will do to the world's best breed.
A well-known Lab named Max is employed full-time at New Bay Times, sniffing customers and, this season, political candidates. We consulted four or five more Chesapeake labs from selected dog demographic groups. So we are not barking up a tree.
Labs, we were told, crave focused nosework every day: intense sniffing of bushes, lawns, mailboxes and piers. They especially crave the smorgasbord of sensorimotor delights from zooming in the wind in the back of a pick-up or head-hanging from a car. One dog remarked that we humans might liken this experience to a roller coaster ride at the State Fair.
Another Lab wondered if her value would soar with a sudden demand for what she called "airport consultants." We said it might.
But the dogs had questions. Would they would be smelling actual people or just their luggage? Will there be fetching time written into the contracts?
Speaking of contracts, will the Labs be allowed under NLRB rules to form bargaining units to discuss chow grade and cage size? And what about compensation for TAFB Time Away From Bay?
A chocolate Lab wondered if it were possible that the TWA crash was caused by malfunction of the plane and not terrorism, and therefore whether the FAA was growling about nothing.
We can report to you that they reached consensus. Since Labs love people more than people love each other, they will be happy to help out. They're prepared to report for duty on Monday sniffing gunpowder, plastic explosives and even chemicals that might singe those sophisticated sniffers.
Unless, of course, they already are employed at newspapers
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Letters to the Editor
Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:
On Sept. 6,1996, Fran visited Skipper’s Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar. She arrived early in the morning as her waters rose across Herring Bay and Rockhold Creek. By noon, her surf was breaking into Skipper’s parking lot. By early evening, her winds increased, creating relentless waves of water pounding the Tiki Bar and surrounding docks and decking. By late evening, she reached her full force, lifting decks and send them crashing against the pylons.
On Saturday morning, Fran was gone, but evidence of her visit was all around. The Skipper’s Pier parking lot was full of debris, piled high and blocking all entrance to the restaurant. Water lines were broken, sections of decking missing and four inches of water covered the lower dining room. The Dock Bar, under 18 inches of water, was filled with foul smelling silt and debris.
The damage was not severe but would require a monumental clean-up effort to prepare the restaurant for opening. By 7 Saturday morning, many residents of Deale, including many residents of Drum Point Road and Skipper’s employees, were busily working to help us. By 12:30pm, the parking lot was cleared, the plumbing and decks restored, and the dining room clean. Our doors opened just one and a half hours late.
Since Raye and I took over management of Skipper’s Pier this past July, we have received many warm welcomes from the residence and business people. We have experienced first hand the strong sense of community that makes Southern Maryland a great place to live, raise a family and operate a business. We are very grateful to all our friends, neighbors and employees who helped us get through this crisis.
John and Raye Price, Deale
Sign Us Up Again
Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:
I want to thank Bill Burton for sponsoring the New Bay Times fishing trip at Harrison's. My son and I both had a good time. We fish a lot but that was our first charter trip. It is nice being pampered for a change. Sign us up for next year’s trip.
Rick and Dan Horne, Severna Park
Why I Liketh New Bay Times
Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:
I liketh New Bay Times for this main reason: since moving to the Annapolis area in 1986, we are amazed at all the local music, theater and arts. At least once a week, we attend a play, club or concert. It’s hard to catch all that is going on here. However, with your New Bay Times, it is a lot easier to find out where and what and when the best entertainment is in this area.
Our daughters attend the Renaissance Festival every year and love it. It is one happening that my husband and I haven’t attended, yet! We hope that we will be hearing from you.
Diane Boozer, Annapolis
Editor’s note: We couldn’t be more pleased to award Diane Boozer a pair of tickets to the Renaissance Festival. Call for instructions on how you, too, can be NBT’s guest at the Festival.
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Signs of the Times
by M.L. Faunce
When I first moved to south Anne Arundel County, I was charmed and intrigued to occasionally notice small hand-lettered signs hung out like shingles announcing "Dinners" on the road into my neighborhood. When I asked longtime Churchton resident Mollie Holland about the signs, she said people in our area have been selling dinners from their homes for a long time to raise money for their churches. While most dinners are now made and sold from church kitchens, like the delicious meals served by Franklin United Methodist Church, "Dinners" signs still go up to help small churches in the county.
Signs like this along our roadways tell a lot about an area and the people who live there. Like road maps, they tell us where we're going, and sometimes where we've been.
"Summer is Historee," was posted in front of a school I saw while recently traveling in Maine. Presumably, students would learn the correct spelling come fall. "Lobsters in the Rough" sounded a bit hard to swallow, until I remembered a St. Mary's County restaurant banner for "Chicken in the Rough," a carry-out cardboard basket of delicious local poultry.
Local, of course, is the key here. Signs of all shapes and sizes, formal or homemade, posted in haste or planned with care, offer a myriad of goods and services. They promote all things local, occasionally reflecting in their language an idiom or colloquialism peculiar to a region. The signs are a measure of local culture, as well as the local economy, and may be the one thing we neglect to put in a time capsule that mirrors our day to day life.
Roadsigns and yard signs reveal political leanings, display neighborhood pride or rally us around a cause. Lately environmental ones have been popular. Sometimes they go up in a hurry but come down only in the wind and rain. But because they tell our story, we welcome local signs, even as we've grown sensitive to the image of our communities.
If the very existence of local signage is assured by habit (and tolerance), their condition may tell another story. Hand-scrawled "CRABS" on boards and bushel basket tops with a phone number once tacked plentifully to trees and telephone poles in our area now have peeling paint, and drawings of those "beautiful swimmers" are fast fading.
If we are what we eat, we are generally still in good hands in Maryland. Captain Bob Evans, a local Anne Arundel county waterman, touts the bounty of the Bay on a sandwich board listing such local delicacies as fresh fish (like spot and croakers) and muskrat. Improbably, an outsider traveling through might relate more to the muskrat than the names of the other two. They just don't have "spot" and "croakers" north and west of here.
Like appreciating changing seasons, we've come to value how rural life offers up special qualities and unique products that give us our identity and tell our message. Traveling our county roads, we happily tell the seasons and the times by such favorite signs as
• Silver Queen corn (is in the barn!)
• Field grown mums … Pumpkins.
• Boat slips for rent
• Rockfish today
• Sharks teeth
• Save Franklin Point
• Crabs … Crabcakes … Softcrabs
The signs of the times are us.
M.L. Faunce reflects regularly for NBT.
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The World of Fishing’s Becoming a Women’s World
Hey, What's going on in the world of fishing? Is it just me, or are more women getting involved in the sport of catching or trying to catch fish?
When out chasing bass the other day, I spied two women on a bassboat at Loch Raven. It was an all-women crew; no men aboard.
Not long ago on the trout stream of the Gunpowder, two lady fly fishermen (I decline to use the words "fisher" or "fisherwomen") were casting woolly worms and bead-head nymphs, without so much as a man around.
Last week when our New Bay Times’ fishing junket sailed out of Harrison's Chesapeake House at Tilghman Island, about a third of those signed on were women, and they caught their share of rockfish. On this side of the Chesapeake, Capt. Freddy Donovan, dockmaster of Rod 'N’ Reel Docks at Chesapeake Beach, says he sees more of the fair sex climbing aboard both headboats and charter craft.
It's the same at Scheible's Fishing Center at Wynne near the mouth of the Potomac: more women fishermen and not all of them attached to a man who ties the knots and puts the bloodworms and messy cut up menhaden on the hooks. The gals do it themselves. Heck, it's less grungy than changing diapers.
The Fishing Burton Women
I have five daughters, a son, and a wife, six of whom are fishermen. You guessed it: my son Joel is the non-fisher, though for a spell he was fascinated by the sport. Wife Lois is a fairly good angler despite her dislike for foul weather and rough waters and other waters that have snakes swimming around the boat.
Daughter Heather has taken and released rockfish better than 40 pounds, and almost as long as she is tall. Her current angling project is teaching her husband of less than a year how to fish for bass.
Now that's a twist. My marriage was more traditional: I taught bass fishing to Lois, though there were a few embarrassing moments like the year she caught the biggest bass a Burton took.
For a wedding present, I gave her a tackle box loaded with lures sent me by manufacturers to field test (I figured many in the box weren't likely to catch anything). The first thing she did was select one that only the maker could like. I chuckled until...
She flipped it out a few yards to check its action.
There was a loud splash in waters only about a foot deep, and Lois was reeling in a five-pounder. The moral of that experience: "In fishing, never give your wife anything until you've tried it first."
No Gender Bias on Today’s Headboats
Capt. Donovan says he's pleased to see more women going aboard the 60-foot headboat Tom Hooker out of his docks. The same with Capt. Doug Scheible, who sails the headboat Bay King out of Scheible's Fishing Center. Time was and not too long ago when headboats were associated with rough and tumble men carting coolers of beer and more potent beverages aboard. Maybe that's why headboats were commonly referred to as "partyboats."
Headboat fishing has changed. Now it's more a family affair, says Capt. Donovan, and he likes it better that way. Less drinking, more fishing, and probably more fun. "Women sometimes call about headboat trips, and admit they're a bit 'antsy' about them. They're not quite sure what to expect fishing among a bunch of men. But one trip puts such skepticism to rest," says Donovan.
The Tom Hooker leaves the docks daily at 8am these days (a respectable time for those who don't go for the traditional sunrise routine) to chum for rockfish, and everyone aboard including the women usually head home with their limit of two fish, sometimes in only a few hours.
If one is a bit squeamish about putting a stinky slab of menhaden on the hook, there's usually a man along the rail willing to help and do so without a smirk on his face. The cost is $30 for the trip, bait included.
Fishing Women of Renown
Women and fishing: talk of such things goes back centuries. There are some who believe that The Compleat Angler, generally attributed to Izaak Walton, was written by a women and a nun at that. I'm not among the Walton skeptics, though I have known some great women fishermen, some of whom doubled as fishing writers. Among them is Sara Gardner who writes a fine fly fishing column for The Fisherman, a weekly publication, from her headquarters at Pintail Point in Queen Anne’s County.
Then there's the story of Sugar Ferris, indeed an unlikely name for an outdoor writer, but Sugar in the past 20 years has probably done more to promote women in sports fishing than anyone else ever. And it all came about because she caught a pair of small bass.
When Sugar moved back to her home town of Livingston in East Texas, she didn't know anything about outdoor writing, much less bass fishing.
But in need of a job, she noted the classified ad "Outdoor writer needed, no experience necessary." She sheepishly confessed her lack of experience.
The editor shrugged it off, told her all she needed to become an outdoor communicator was experience with the resource. Presto. She started writing for the Polk County Enterprise about outdoor activities thereabouts. Next, she was editor of the Lake Livingston Progress, a job that had her doing everything to promote a resort area.
Laughingly today, she confesses that back in the early '70s she thought a Shimmy Babe was a disco dancer at the local honky-tonk. She learned otherwise fast. Today Ferris is founder and president of Bass'n Gal, which is just what its name implies.
There were snickers at first, but today Bass'n Gal membership is 33,000 in 46 states and still growing. The organization is catching the attention of men on the pro circuit, also sponsors. Sponsors, vital to any sport, see a whole new market developing.
Bass'n Gals didn't come about as quickly as Ferris’ outdoor writing career. First she had to learn how to fish, not just write about it.
She talked a local guide into taking her out on Lake Livingston. "I often wonder what direction my life would have taken if I hadn't caught those two silly bass that day," she told me over the phone from her office in Arlington, Tex. "Soon I was hooked on bass fishing as much as any bass was hooked on what I cast."
Why Fishing Women Are Few
For years, women tried to crack the professional BASS tournament circuit but were rebuffed. President and founder Ray Scott wouldn't hear of it.
Ray, the guru of contemporary pro bass fishing, wasn't against women as such in his tournaments. But there comes the call of nature, a fisherman has to go if you know what I mean. And there are no heads on open bassboats.
Hey, we don't mind; let them go and if we have to go, we'll go too, said the women who tried to crack the big money BASS circuit. But, Scott and many of the fishermen on his tour said it wasn't that easy.
Professional fishing is a highly competitive sport that requires great concentration. Worrying about the time when one has to go can ruin the concentration, argued Scott.
"Most of my fishermen are country boys, family people who would never think of relieving themselves in an open boat. We use 'direct overboard disposal' and that can make things embarrassing.
"To keep our big money tournaments fair and square, we don't allow boats while in competition to go ashore not under any circumstances. Some of these boys would worry more about overboard disposal than catching bass. Some simply wouldn't be able to go. And that wouldn't help their fishing.”
So until the '90s, women were barred from the pro BASS tour. Now they're allowed, but few participate. Viola Reed the wife of prominent pro Charlie Reed of Broken Bow, Okla. was among the pioneer women when the ban was lifted, and in a couple of tournaments she did quite well, once topping her husband's catch. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
A Tournament of Their Own
While attending the American Fishing Manufacturer's Association Trade Show in Dallas in 1976, practically on the spur of the moment, Sugar Ferris announced she was founding a national women's fishing organization, Bass'n Gal.
Her new group was not a protest against BASS and other men's fishing organizations; just a group of women anglers with their own tournaments. The rest is history. Bass'n Gal entry fees are $250; the average payout is $54,000 with the winner taking home $20,000.
Bass'n Gal has its own attractive publication, a network of local chapters somewhat along the lines of BASS, and the opportunity to turn pro. Interested ladies can write Bass'n Gal, PO Box 13925, Arlington, TX 76013.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman
For other women interested in the outdoors, DNR sponsors its second Becoming and Outdoors Woman Workshop Nov. 1 through 3 at Catoctin Mountain National Park near Frederick. Last year's edition was an outstanding success.
The Maryland affair is part of a national program to teach skills for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. The workshop is aimed primarily at women, but available to anyone of 18 years or older.
Students can choose from outdoor cooking, outdoor photography, basic fishing, mountain biking, fly fishing, map and compass reading, hunting whitetail deer, basic firearms safety and handling, turkey calling, backyard wildlife and wildflower gardening, birdwatching, shotgun and rifle skills, archery and basic bowhunting, furbearer trapping and ecology, backpacking, boat trailering, hiking, fly tying, muzzleloader skills, waterfowl ecology. There’s even a fishing trip to catch, clean and cook the catch.
The workshop begins at 11:30am on Nov. 1 and continues through 1pm on Nov. 3. Lodging, meals, instruction and evening entertainment are in a $165 per person package. Call DNR at 410/974-3545.
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It Was a Very Good Summer…
People keep grumbling, “It was certainly an unusual summer. Hardly seemed like summer at all.”
Shortening days, assuring us that summer has come and gone, seem a good time to remember summer’s days.
It was a very good summer … for mold. Mold had grand new propagation beds on leather shoes, felt hats and cook’s aprons; on wood cupboards, wood tables, wood walls; on freshly watered clay pots and clothes in the closet and sheets left just an hour or two in the washer. In fact, mold seemed to grow on everything but the cat.
It was a good summer for cats because it was a bad summer for fleas. Fleas couldn’t get their best hold this summer. We know a dog who managed to take on a colony, but the cat got by with just a few fleas in September.
For me, it was a good summer for chiggers. They left me alone. I’ll long remember last year’s infestation. Unfortunately, this year’s chiggers found neighbor Jack Brumbaugh to torment. They burrow under the skin and eat away. We’re told that only the mouth parts stay to create chiggers’ unique itch, but no one who’s been visited by chiggers will believe it.
It was a bad summer for corn. Too much rain at all the wrong times. Likewise tomatoes. At least mine. They got mushy and rotten right on the vine even before the plant pests moved in. One neighbor had scraggly greens but a medium crop of eating tomatoes. Another claimed a good crop. Spinach, potatoes, red beets, kale, hot peppers, tomatillos and basil flourished. So did wire grass. It’s never a bad year for wire grass… only for gardeners who don’t want it.
Last year, we complained incessantly of parched ground. Not this year. The land soaked in the moisture till it could hold no more. Then on the fringes of Hurricane Fran, the Bayside earth held water slopping around on its lap. Beach sands and part of Fairhaven Road ran off to sea when the high tides retreated. The road has been restored by County crews. The beaches wait a good nor’easter and another cleanup. It was a good year, too, for beach debris with early spring’s extra high waters and again with Fran’s tides.
For rockfish, it was a year of record numbers. Fishers had it even better with rockfish quotas caught and kept. The bad year for sea nettles made it a good year for human Bay swimmers. The traditional Fourth of July nettle-arrival came and went without a single shriek of dismay. Likewise Labor Day. Only with Fran did sea nettles arrive.
Last year’s Columbus weekend hunter moon fired our evenings and our memories of departed friends. This year’s grand eclipse with Saturn standing by went unseen above thick clouds while helicopters flew vigil beneath in search of a wandering neighbor with Alzheimer’s disease.
And It was a good year for county fairs, Fourth of July parades, neighbors helping neighbors and breathing in the sweet Chesapeake air. Nothing unusual about that.
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