Dock of the Bay

 Vol. 9, No. 49
December 6 - 12, 2001 
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Annapolis’ first woman mayor speaks after her inauguration with Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens and others looking on. Also adding clout to the ceremony were Maryland’s two leading political powerhouses Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Annapolis Inaugurates Its Second Mayor Moyer

What a more fitting place for Ellen Moyer to be inaugurated than in an institution she helped create? Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, where she was sworn into office on December 3 as Annapolis’ first female mayor, might never have been without Moyer.

Of course it would be hard to find a spot in Annapolis that didn’t hold history for Moyer, who’s been an active participant in the life of Maryland’s capital city since the 1960s. Throughout her campaign, she spoke of the importance of place:

“Environment from my perspective,” Moyer said at a November debate, “includes the world we live in, zoning, protecting our waterfront from high buildings, bringing cultural things like Maryland Hall into our community. I’ve taken a broad quality-of-life focus, because the natural environment is where we develop our sense of place, which is the thing that establishes us as strong neighborhoods, communities, country.”

Perhaps that is the reason that the community elected her. From her initial beautification efforts in the ’60s — when she was first lady to her former husband mayor Roger ‘Pip’ Moyer — to her recent work as a city councilwoman, Moyer has pushed for recreational facilities, city beautification and the arts. She was the founder of Greenscape and a pioneer in creating Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

She intends to keep her fingers on the pulse of Annapolis.

“We will be active not only in addressing problems, but in seeking opportunities, initiating actions and learning from others,” said Moyer in her remarks to several hundred well-wishers. She cited “positive energy” and “enthusiasm” as ways to accomplish those goals.

All along, Moyer has insisted that Annapolis’ future depends on cooperation. In her closing remarks Monday, she continued that theme, saying that “together we make Annapolis a better place to live, work and raise our families.”

In her campaign she held over 30 “Conversations with Ellen,” where residents voiced their concerns. From those conversations, she compiled a list of 13 action topics, including Market House, parking and transportation, public housing, senior services, violence prevention, environmental and watershed management and Latino and Hispanic concerns.

“Not only did I learn what issues matter most to the thousands of people I encountered, but I discussed ways of addressing them and met a number of citizens who wanted to be a part of the process,” said Moyer in her announcement of action teams to research the concerns and suggest improvements.

Since September 11, security has climbed higher on that list. Last month she introduced a security initiative, appointing Rear Admiral Ronald F. Marryott, former superintendent of the Naval Academy and deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, as the leader of the initiative.

Welcoming Moyer as Annapolis’ first woman mayor was a pioneering and influential sisterhood. Beaming with her on stage were Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the first woman to hold state-wide office in Maryland; Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the state’s first woman lieutenant governor; and Anne Arundel County Executive Janet. S. Owens, the first female county executive.

“What Sally Ride did for space,” Mikulski said, “Maryland and Anne Arundel County is doing for politics.”

As mayor, Moyer also gives the Annapolis city council a first-ever female majority. Four men and four women were elected to the council this November. Presiding over the council, Moyer tips the balance.

Adam O’Neill, a junior journalism major at the University of Maryland, is the founder and editor of Unwind Magazine, a campus arts and entertainment publication.

Sue Mikulski with Maggie, dressed for a day at the park. photo courtesy of AACo. Dept. of Recreation & Parks
Quiet Waters: Going to the Dogs

Quiet Waters Park may want to consider changing its name now that joyous yelps and barks have made the park anything but quiet.

Over 100 dogs and their owners gathered for the opening of Anne Arundel County’s first county-run dog park, giving dogs opportunity to run and play without a leash.

“I think it is good socially for the dogs,” said Sue Mikulski of Annapolis, whose dog Maggie came dressed in a cowboy outfit. Once inside the park, Maggie shelled the outfit and leash, running around blissfully. “You can just see how happy she is, which brings tears to my eyes,” Mikulski said.

The dog park of about an acre contains two fenced areas, one for larger dogs and one for smaller and older dogs. Each compound has trees, benches and plenty of room for the dogs to play.

The county spent $23,000 for the fence and mow strip. Volunteers have raised over $4,000 for such amenities as plastic bags for waste and two cedar mailboxes to hold the bags. Volunteers hope to raise $20,000 more to add a dozen benches and an information kiosk.

“I think it is great,” said Sara Hanan of Annapolis, who came with her border collie, Bonnie. “I’m going to endow one of the benches in honor of my mother and father because they were great dog lovers.”

Joseph Lamp has 10 cats, but he says he has a vested interest in the well-being of all animals, even dogs. As a member of the board of directors of the SPCA and the communications director of the Noah’s Ark Wildlife Center, Lamp came to wish a successful start for the park.

“This gives the dogs an opportunity that they just did not have in Anne Arundel County,” he said. “It’s another example of cooperation between the county and the community.”

Indeed, community effort created this park.

The inspiration was a letter from a citizen to County Executive Janet Owens.

Amelia Mikula, who owns Grateful Pets Pet Sitting service, wrote the letter over a year ago after questions from clients about dog parks.

“All my clients were wondering where a dog park was in Anne Arundel County,” said Mikula. “I wrote the letter. But it was definitely more than a letter that made this happen. It was a lot of hard work by a bunch of people.”

Letter in hand, Owens promptly called for a study of dog parks

“About a year ago, the parks department set up a committee to investigate dog parks,” said John Marshall, the county’s chief of special facilities. “The most interest and support was in Annapolis, so we decided this would be the best site for the park.”

Opening the park December 1, Owens said people laughed when told that she had to leave a dinner party because of an engagement at the dog park. Public response, however, has been anything but laughs.

“The community reaction has been phenomenal,” said Owens. “They will have a place for healthy recreation and exercise for their pets. It is just one more step to meet the diverse needs of people.”

Anne Arundel County plans to build three more dog parks. The next location will be Broadneck Park said Jack Keene, chief of planning and construction for Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks.

“We’ve hired an engineer who is doing some layout work for many facilities in Broadneck Park,” said Keene. “Part of that is planning the location of a dog park, probably at the eastern end of the park. We hope to open it in early summer next year.”

If the reception of Quiet Water’s dog park is any indication, more dog parks will be an idea the community just can’t wait to get its paws on.

Make a contribution? [email protected].

— Adam O’Neill

Bedding Down the Oyster Garden for Winter

As the days shorten and the lights on the Bay multiply, sparkling like so many water-born stars, I have one major year-end chore to complete for my garden of oysters: collecting the data that will help Bay scientists track oyster health as pinpoints of information like mine come from a multitude of rivers and creeks.

I started with 60 pounds of shell and spat, or baby oysters, entrusted to me by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to raise. After nine months of tender loving care, my babies will be transplanted to a sanctuary reef where they can live out their days off limits to oystermen.
Of course, other dangers will persist, most notably the oyster-ravaging diseases dermo and MSX. It is precisely to track the effects of these diseases and other causes of oyster mortality that my data will be used.

Collecting it should be easy enough, I thought: I was supposed to count how many live and dead spat I found on 20 random oyster shells. (The spat are “clutched,” or clinging to pieces of oyster shell. Some shells have several spat on them; other shells have none.) Then I was to measure, in millimeters, the first 50 spat I found, recording their sizes and how many shells it took to count that high.

As it happened, circumstances weren’t the most fortuitous for scientific inquiry: The breeze was gusty; my two black dogs kept racing up the shore; and in the middle of it all, my mostly-potty-trained three-year-old had what we euphemistically call an accident. Still, science must go on, and so my daughter and I persevered.

Equipped with our official Oyster Alliance oyster ruler, we began counting spat. They ranged from the size of my fingernail to a few monsters as big as my thumb. We saw lots of aquatic life: Oyster bars provide habitat for more than 300 Bay species, including ones with such vivid names as skilletfish, hooked mussels, whip mud worms, sea squirts, fan worms, mud crabs and red beard sponges. The investigation of sea squirts in particular was a source of fascination and some anxiety for my daughter, who peered from safety over my shoulder and warned me not to touch them lest they should squirt me.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was measuring my spat correctly. Some were obvious: the mid-sized ones that looked like textbook examples of live spat. It worried me that I saw almost no dead ones. (Then again, my oyster stock is quite new, so perhaps there’d simply been no time for attrition.) But could these tiny, flat shadows on the shells be spat in the making? Or did I have four cages full of duds, and an unusually high proportion of barren shells?

After some correspondence with the Foundation’s self-described “oyster wrangler” and a re-measure, I determined that in fact my cages were stocked with closer to 200 spat than 2,000, meaning my babies would grow up to filter a mere 10,000 — rather than 100,000 — gallons of Bay water each day.

But did the numbers really matter? I had before me a garden of hope for the future, a humble four cages whose contents promised to help restore and purify the Bay.

In this holiday season of magic and miracles, my tiny oyster garden could even offer an unexpected bonus, the gift of glimpsing a heron glide or perch above my cages, hoping to score some of the fish that hang around oyster reefs. As the sun sank to the horizon and holiday lights began to twinkle from across the river, I sat on the dock’s edge with my oyster data sheets and watched for one more of the Bay’s daily miracles.

— April Falcon Doss

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of reports from the oyster garden. The first appeared November 22.

Way Downstream …

In Baltimore, the National Aquarium will have a cool hundred grand for its program to restore fish habitat along the Bay. The money comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and will be used to restore about 20 acres of wetlands …

In Virginia, the loss of forests to sprawl has nearly doubled. Since 1992, about 54,000 acres of forest land have disappeared each year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported this week. In the years leading up to 1992, about 30,000 acres were lost to development …

In Washington, the Libertarian Party declared this week that instead of making a record 734,498 arrests for marijuana use last year, law enforcement officials should have been rooting out “sleeper cells” of terrorists in the United States “that were plotting the greatest mass murder in American history” …

In South Korea, French actress Brigitte Bardot is rankling soccer players with her plea to Koreans to stop their long-time practice of eating dogs. Bardot said she is taking her campaign to the World Cup finals in Seoul next year …

Our Creature Feature comes from Maine where, we hope, a woman named Doreen Beeman was wearing boots and gloves when she was arrested for speeding in her Geo Prism last Friday. For crawling around in that little car of hers were 136 live lobsters that, allegedly, had been taken from a seafood house.

Police found another 50 pounds of lobsters, these cooked, at a residence during their investigation. Among other things, they charged Beeman with driving under the influence of intoxicants, the Bangor Daily News reported. It was her 44th birthday, but she didn’t indicate if the crustaceans were her party guests.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly