Dock of the Bay

Vol. 8, No. 9
March 2-8, 2000
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You’re Reading Prize-Winning Writing

New Bay Times~Weekly took home five prizes for excellent writing in the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association’s 1999 Editorial Awards Competition.

• Sandra Martin and Bill Lambrecht, co-publishers, shared a first in Editorial Writing for their June 10 editorial, “After School: Be Cool, Then Kick It.”

“Excellent use of an uncommon editorial format to ostensibly address one group while speaking to all readers,” the judges noted. This year’s competition was judged by writers, editors and photographers of the Oregon Press Association.

• Audrey Y. Scharmen — who has contributed to the paper since its first year, 1993 — took the paper’s other first place prize, Local Column, for “Endangered Species” on February 11.

Scharmen is no stranger to this award. Last year, judged by a different press association, South Carolina, Scharmen also won first place for local column.

“Beautiful recollection of a memorable friendship,” said the judges on Scharmen’s reflection on the flight of youth in the species of swans and grandchildren.

Earning second place awards were three more writers:

• Mary Catherine Ball, for the headline on her June 10 story about the cloning of the now-dead Liberty Tree at St. John’s College — “Bring on the Clones: For Liberty, gene-jockeys go out on a limb.” Ball, 23, has been with the paper a year. This is her first year to enter the competition. She is a senior journalism student at University of Maryland.

• C.D. Dollar, for Chesapeake Outdoors, a weekly column. Winning this year’s sports column award was Dollar’s April 15 column “Spring Fishing.”

“It was a quintessential spring day,” Dollar wrote. “Dogwoods bursting, daffodils arching toward the warm, welcoming sun and a nearly cloudless azure sky opening up to a day of possibilities. It was a day that literally compelled us to go fishing. Not wanting to upset the natural order of things, Will Smiley and I obliged. …”

Dollar works at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, editing the quarterly newsletter, “Save the Bay.”

• Kristin Hagert, for her Sports Feature Story “Lacrosse Dreams,” chronicling through her own experience what it takes to play first division lacrosse. Hagert, 21, was a summer intern at the paper. A junior journalism student and point player in lacrosse at fifth-ranked Loyola University in Baltimore, she is the paper’s first intern to bag a Press Association award.

“All these awards make me as happy as if I had good sense,” said editor Martin, quoting a facetious grandmother. “Prizes tell us we’re not only having a good time in the wonderful work of journalism but also sustaining the craft. And they rev up the writers to their competitive best so we can make a better paper next year. That’s important for a small paper like ours, for we’ve got to do more with less.”

With a circulation of 17,000, the paper competes in Division E, non-dailies circulating between 10,001 and 20,000 papers. Thirty-five papers make up the division, and 16 submitted entries to the 1999 competition.

New Bay Times ranked fifth among 14 prize-winning papers. First in the division was Delaware Coast Press, with five firsts and five seconds.

New Bay Times won’t win a thing in the 2000 competition, but Bay Weekly — the same old paper with a new name — will soar, writers vowed.

“I want one of those plaques. How do you get one?” said Dollar, after claiming his award, his second second-place in three years. Last year, Dollar stepped aside for editor Martin and veteran outdoor writer Bill Burton, who shared second place for Sports Columns.

On learning you had to first win a first, then be judged best in the category regardless of division, Dollar professed himself ready to go up against the likes of The Washington Post’s Angus Phillips (Division A, dailies with circulation above 75,000) and The Capital’s Joe Gross (Division B, dailies with circulation from 30,000 to 75,000).

“Okay,” said Dollar, “I’m going for it.”

Plaques don’t add to a paper’s point score, but they do to the honor of the thing. In each of the six divisions, the paper with the highest point total is named Newspaper of the Year. Firsts get two points and seconds one. From largest to smallest, the six papers of 1999 were The Baltimore Sun; The Capital, of Annapolis; The Daily Times of Salisbury; Howard County Times, of Columbia; Delaware Coast Press, of Rehoboth; and The Record, of Havre de Grace.

Which gives Bay Weekly a nice high sight to aim for.

—Bay Weekly

A Crosswalk for Betty

Five weeks after Betty Sherwood’s death, the busy intersection of Benfield Road with Kensington Avenue will get a crosswalk.

That brings a measure of satisfaction to Jack Sherwood, who blames his wife’s death on the lack of a marked crosswalk.

Betty Sherwood, 65, was struck and thrown to her death by a van as she walked across Benfield Road in Severna Park to retrieve her car on the snow-banked morning of Jan. 28.

The nearest marked crosswalk across a three-lane road “zooming” with “west-bound, bumper-to-bumper morning rush-hour traffic” was a quarter mile away. There was, Sherwood reported, walking in his wife’s footsteps the day after her death, “no safe place for pedestrians to get across, yet the quarter-mile stretch offered 21 exits and entrances to vehicles.”

Demanding a marked crosswalk and flashing lights at this “death trap” became Sherwood’s sworn mission.

The crosswalk was to be striped March 1. But on site with his crew, county traffic engineer James Schroll decided a crosswalk without signs was like a car without brakes. The striping was postponed until March 6, when, weather permitting, six signs will also be raised. Each direction will have three, one to warn drivers as they approach and two at the crosswalk.

At each location, the traditional diamond-shaped warning sign will show a stick figure of a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Those signs will be a new and highly visible color, fluorescent yellow-green. At the crosswalk, that sign will be paired with an arrow pointing down.

The crosswalk will be eight feet wide with white stripes.

“This is an interim step in recognizing there may be a problem there,” said county public works director John Brusnighan. “We’re taking detailed traffic counts. We’ll also look at accident data in that area. Then we’ll consider warranted options with community association representatives and coordinating with the school board.”

Added Andrew Carpenter, spokesman for Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens, “We’ve made a beginning.”


Maryland GOP Opens Booth to Independent Thinking

Judging by recent election returns, the Maryland Republican Party has not been very good at anticipating what’s on people’s minds.

But the party’s decision to open up its presidential primary voting on Tuesday to independents has arrived just in time to give Marylanders the opportunity to validate the surge by Sen. John McCain, a Republican aspirant for president.

Of course, all this means that the open-primary decision may backfire on Maryland Republicans, many of whom are supporting Texas Gov. George W. Bush — once the runaway Republican favorite for the nomination — and many of whom are decidedly more conservative than the anti-tax cut, no-pal-with-the-Christian-Right McCain.

The Republican presidential voting is the most compelling matter on a Maryland ballot that would appear short on hot contests.

Still, contests range from the U.S. Senate — where solidly seated Paul Sarbanes has two challengers in the Democratic primary and eight in the Republican primary — to the school board in Calvert County.

At the top of the ticket on the Democratic side, Vice President Al Gore will be attempting to pad his lead — and perhaps deliver a knock-out punch — to former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey. Unlike McCain, Bradley will not have the luxury of dipping into the pot of over 300,000 independent voters in Maryland because Democrats did not choose to open their primary.

On Tuesday, Maryland voters will choose 68 Democratic and 31 Republican delegates to party nominating conventions later this summer. On many ballots, voters will find an odd, even archaic, division of male and female candidates for delegate.

Maryland’s primary has received little attention because it is one of 16 states to vote that day, the closest the United States has come to holding a national primary election.

Republicans, seeking to attract new voters, voted after a spirited debate at their party convention last spring to open up their primary to independents. A little more than 12 percent of Maryland’s 12.6 million voters are not registered with either major party and therefore would qualify for voting between McCain and Bush.

Maryland Republicans were notified by mail in recent weeks that they have this opportunity. “The message is simple: If you are an independent voter, this is your chance to make your voice heard in Maryland’s Republican presidential primary. We will welcome you on March 7, 2000,” the Maryland Republican Party said in a recent release.

The hope among Republican officials is that it will be worth the risks they are taking if voters feel comfortable enough in the world of Republican politics to return there in November.


Way Downstream …

In California, researchers are perfecting fuel from an unlikely source: pond scum. Teams from the University of California at Berkeley and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced that they have found a way to produce hydrogen from algae and that one day it could provide “an almost limitless” supply of fuel for autos and trucks …

In Utah, people learned that it’s dangerous to look toward the heavens. Human waste has been raining from the sky, splattering homes and cars in the town of Salina and upsetting everyone. Police are blaming jet planes flying above …

In Hungary, Austrian soccer players were pelted with dead fish during a recent match. It was a reminder of the Austrian gold smelter that spilled thousands of gallons of cyanide into Hungary’s Tisza River, killing all the fish …

In Buchanan, N.Y., a tavern situated across the street from that steam-leaking nuclear plant posted this sign in the window: “Special: Nuclear-fried chicken” …

Our Creature Feature comes from England, where a woman named Paula Flight is hoping that an insurance policy will help to diminish her grief over the death of her beloved chicken, a clucker named Violet.

Flight, from the hamlet of Finchingfield, took out a $1.5 million insurance policy on her bird after hearing of a plot to “wring Violet’s neck,” the Associated Press reported. A village counselor was said to be especially upset at Violet for ruining a public garden. Nobody has been formally charged yet, and Flight apparently is protesting the fine print in her policy, which states that she can collect only if the chicken is killed and eaten or abducted by aliens.

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly