|Seeing the Stars:
World-Class Women Play in Annapolis
On Sunday in Annapolis, fans got a sneak peek at the Women's Soccer team that will be competing for a gold medal at the Olympics in Sydney. Before 21,278 fans at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the American women bombarded Russia, winning 7-1.
Just three days earlier, national team head coach April Heinrichs, a former University of Maryland coach, named the much-anticipated 18-woman roster that will travel to Sydney, Australia for the 2000 Olympic Games. Sunday was their debut, and there were plenty of goals.
The first one came early. Just 11 minutes into the match, Shannon MacMillan, known to fans as the "supersub" during this summer's World Cup for her spark off the bench, launched a cross from just outside the penalty area. No longer a sub, she started on Sunday, connecting with Tiffeny Milbrett who headed her arcing cross past a diving Russian goalie.
Julie Foudy scored the second goal, after Brandi Chastain - yes, the one who took off her shirt - crossed the ball across the Russian goal to assist her co-captain Foudy, who headed it home.
The Americans went up 3-0 in the 50th minute on Milbrett's second goal, when she scored off Mia Hamm's pass. The crowd went wild, suspecting that there would be more goals before the afternoon was done.
The Russians scored their lone goal on a breakaway by Natalia Barbashina. She beat American goalie Siri Mullinix, who started in place of Briana Scurry. Scurry, nursing a stress fracture, came in late in the game for some action. The World Cup-saving goalie was met with screams of support as she took the field.
Another World Cup hero missing for most of the game was captain Carla Overbeck, a powerful leader and a presence on defense. After being diagnosed with Graves disease, which affects the thyroid gland, and undergoing knee surgery, Sunday was her first appearance since recovering from her injury.
Mia Hamm made it 4-1 when the Russian goalie bobbled a cross. Hamm rushed the goalie and gained control of the ball, finishing the play with an easy goal. Fans are used to seeing Hamm score; she currently has the record for most goals in international play with 123, the highest of any player in the world, man or woman.
World Cup superstar and soccer icon Michelle Akers was also missing in the first half on Sunday. She has been recovering from a shoulder injury, but she came on in the second half in place of Shannon MacMillan. In the 77th minute, the crowd erupted when Akers rocketed a shot into the back of the net. The goal, her first since returning from injury, sent her sprinting into the American bench, slapping high-fives and hugging her teammates and trainer.
The play of veterans Akers, Scurry and Overbeck was not only appreciated by the crowd. Mia Hamm said after the game that "the important thing about this game was seeing the return of Briana, Carla and Michele."
Cindy Parlow finished up the scoring with two goals, one prior to Akers' emotional goal and one after. Her second goal was one for the highlight reel. Joy Fawcett, one of two "soccer moms" on the team with two children, passed the ball to Parlow, who neatly flicked it with her heel for the game's last goal.
After the game, the defending Olympic and World Cup champions delighted fans by staying on to sign autographs. Little girls wearing Mia Hamm's trademark #9 jersey were everywhere, hoping for a chance to meet arguably the most recognizable female athlete in the United States. The team basked in their fans' glow. Said Hamm: "The crowd was awesome."
Eagles Soar - and Sit - in Bay Country
From an American tragedy, bald eagles have become an American success story. Our national bird heads the millennial list of species that could be reclassified from "endangered" to "threatened" by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. In Chesapeake Country, this year's annual bald eagle survey proved status quo - with seven nesting pairs in Anne Arundel and five in Calvert County, the same number found last year - while total numbers in Maryland reached a record 270 pairs.
"Efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and protect undeveloped shoreline" are factors offered by DNR for the "tremendous recovery" of the bald eagle in Maryland. When the survey began in 1977, only 41 pairs of bald eagles nested in the state.
Theirs is a success story enjoyed by many.
Like clockwork, every day around 4pm, Bernie Loveless of Holland Point in Southern Anne Arundel County picked up his old army field scope. From late winter through early spring, he'd be rewarded with the sight of a bald eagle landing in a snag of a tree near the back of his house, about 200 feet from the bulkhead bordering the Bay. "The eagle would sit there for a half hour, 45 minutes, just looking around, holding his head still for a minute or more, then look in another direction," says Loveless. It wasn't the first eagle Loveless had seen in Bay country. He said, "Past sightings were rare.
Not in 50 years had Loveless' sister, Audrey Mae MacWilliams, seen an eagle, though she lived on the water at Broadwater Creek in Churchton. Not until this summer, when she bought a kayak and paddled forth with friends in nearby Pasture Creek, did MacWilliams see her first eagle soar. "It was gorgeous, she said, "low enough to show its white head."
Glenn Therres, DNR's eagle-eyed expert who performs the annual aerial survey of nesting pairs, says this low-key approach to enjoying the comeback of the species in our own back yard is right on track. "Get out your binoculars, get in your canoe and just enjoy them," he suggests. "Maintain your distance, and don't approach the birds or they will get nervous," he says. "They don't trust us, and if they are approached they'll move on and may not come back."
The seven known pairs in Anne Arundel County nest near the Severn River; south of the Bay Bridge; on the South and West rivers; and in Deale. Eagles favor sites within a half mile of tidal water and tributaries with an abundance of fish and other aquatic animals for prey, advises DNR. These nesting pairs hatched 10 young this year. Population expansion occurs as young mature, which takes about five years, says Therres.
Room for eagles is limited in the northern part of the county due to development, but the south has more room for growth, Therres said in West River for example, and along the Patuxent in Cavert County. Eagles in Calvert County nest at Fishing Creek; Plum Point Creek; Parkers Creek; on the BG&E property; and on the Patuxent near Hall Creek.
The proposed change in classification of the eagle from endangered to threatened won't weaken laws and regulations protecting bald eagles in Maryland, assures DNR, which will continue monitoring the eagle population to ensure it thrives.
Others who monitor the eagles' progress say it's a thrill. Through his army scope, Loveless saw how the wind blew through the eagle's white feathers, "like a towel rustling in the breeze," Loveless said. "You just get charged up seeing that rascal sitting there."
Monarch on Milkweed
On sunny summer days, the black and orange monarch floats on the air, seeking nectar from milkweeds and other flowering plants. Its graceful flight pattern is just one characteristic that distinguishes the monarch from others of its kind. Unlike most butterflies, monarchs are bitter tasting and poisonous to birds that prey on them. They are also North America's only migratory insect.
The midsummer cohort of monarchs are a non-migratory generation. In late summer, their offspring will begin a round-trip journey that is remarkable not just because of the distance they will attempt but also because they are now two or three generations removed from the last migratory generation. Somehow, millions of monarchs will travel hundreds of miles to a single location with no obvious means of navigation.
Monarchs travel on paper-thin wings from as far north as Canada, southward across rivers, mountains and prairies to the Mexican border and beyond to the mountains called Sierra Transvolcanica in the state of Michoacan. Huge numbers, 40 million or more, concentrate there, seeking shelter in the pines from wind and cold, cloaking the trees with their royal colors. In spring, they will retrace their southward journey. Along the way, some females will stop to lay their eggs on the leaves of milkweeds.
The various species of Asclepias, or milkweeds, occur throughout the monarch's range, and these plants are key to both the butterfly's toxicity and migratory nature. Milkweeds are the host plant for monarch caterpillars and the preferred nectar source for the adult butterfly. Milkweed sap contains a heart poison that the caterpillars consume but are immune to, while would-be predators are not. The widespread presence of milkweeds enables monarchs to feed and lay eggs at convenient places along their migratory trail.
Fine Weather for Ducks and Fests
August 2000 has been a precarious time for Chesapeake Country's revelers. So far this month, a thick schedule of festivals and fund-raisers have had to duck a long series of weekend monsoons, and organizers have never been quite sure when the heavens might smite them. Luckily, most such flings found the fleeting sunshine, even if only for a little while. Even those left a little soggier for the effort can boast of success.
Herrington on the Bay's third annual Caribbean-style Goombay Fest on August 5 was a smashing good time. Beautiful weather and an extraordinary performance by Jah Works lured some 1,800 revelers Bayside - a new record for Goombay - under the weekend's only fair skies. "Last year people were pretty much cleared out by 6:30pm. This year we were trying to clear the crowd at 7:30," notes Herrington's very happy Anna Chaney. Partiers' pockets yielded roughly $3,000 to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Monsoons also yielded to August 10's Annapolis Art Walk, as the occasion to watch artists at work drew the curious to 20 galleries across town. "We probably had our biggest turnout ever," says Cynthia McBride of McBride Gallery. Art Walk was a popular trip for families to watch watercolors, oil paintings, woodturning and pottery in the making. It was enough to tempt people to linger. "I can say the galleries were chasing them out the door at 10pm," laughs McBride.
Parole Rotary's Books for International Goodwill Project book sale on August 12 raised $1,200 - enough money to ship 15,000 donated books to developing countries. "We've certainly had more traffic this time than we have in the past," says the Rotary's Steve Frantzich. Some 150 people showed up, both to buy and donate more reading.
Calvert Marine Museum's Cradle of Invasion weekend, August 12 and 13, overcame handicaps of rain and the absence of one Liberty Ship. "It was a good turnout and a lot of fun," reports Calvert Marine Museum's Melissa McCormick. Even without the John W. Brown and beach invasion exercises, living history seekers were enlightened and entertained by flame thrower demos, a World War II camp and a climb into modern tanks. A period fashion show and one retro-styled dinner and dance carried the flame indoors. Only one event - a concert by the Navy Band's Commodores - fell victim to Sunday's rain.
Sharing the weekend was Annapolis' Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival. St. John's College's back campus bristled with African and Afro-Caribbean dance, music and celebration, which continued undaunted by the threat of Sunday rain. Unique among local flings as the biggest ethnic festival around, hundreds gathered to explore African American roots in what organizers call a "great success."
Way Downstream ...
Back home in Maryland after the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md., had this damn-with-faint-praise response to the party's new platform that is not as hard on the environment as in past years: "Lip service is better than no service," he said
In New York, ABC News has reprimanded a television correspondent and suspended a producer for a false report claiming that organic food had as much pesticide residue as conventional foods. The bogus report quoted a study that never took place
In Oregon, Bureau of Land Management officials thought they were being funny when they named a 100-acre timberland being sold along Fawn Creek for clear-cutting "Goldie Fawn." Then they opened an angry letter from Goldie Hawn, the actress, that read: "I must insist that you desist from using my name in association with a destructive proposal." The federal funny boys backed down
Our Creature Feature this week comes from Germany, where bats aren't too happy these days. The government has ordered new building codes that eliminate the "nooks and crannies" that made Berlin the bat capital of Europe, according to the Associated Press. Germany's environmental minister, Juergen Trittin, has encouraged builders to install boxes for the evicted bats.