Dock of the Bay
Inside the Governors Propaganda Machine
Ehrlich and Steeles image is made for television
No, Gov. Robert Ehrlich and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele complemented by First Lady Kendel Ehrlich havent signed on to replace Kirk, Mark and Lopez as Chesapeake Countrys most popular on-the-air trio. But theyre on the air nearly as often, and thats just how the governors handlers want it.
Weve got a definite bias to electronic, Paul Schurick, the governors communications director, told the Annapolis/Anne Arundel chapter of the Public Relations Society of America over lunch last week. I think of it as playing the hand weve been dealt. The governor and lieutenant governor are thoughtful, attractive and articulate. Theyre made for television and radio.
In the plan to get the administrations message across, newspapers come in a distant third.
They may not be made for print. There, Schurick added, Its harder to get our message across.
So, said Schurick, all things being equal, well go for electronic every time.
In so doing, Ehrlich is following in the footsteps of other conservative politicians who prefer like-minded, friendly and unfiltered talk radio to prying and often critical newspapers to get their messages out.
Back when Schurick helped his boss beat then lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the message was change.
The first theme was to tie the lieutenant governor to Gov. Parris Glendening, even as she was trying to distance herself, said Schurick, who learned his business working for William Donald Schaefer, first when Schaefer was mayor of Baltimore and then governor. After working for Republican Ehrlich six years, Schurick still calls himself a Democrat.
The campaign packaged and presented Ehrlich as a centrist whom even disillusioned Democrats could love.
When the plan worked and money started flowing in more money in a day than we could count before the bank closed, Schurick remembers they spent it on ads, especially radio ads, to hammer their message home. On the visual side, they bought 1,000 eight-foot tall cutouts of Steele to put up at polling places.
Fifty weeks after they played their hand to win, the administration is broadcasting a new message, Schurick said: that were doing just what he campaigned on last year.
As the governor says, Schurick quoted: I mean what I say and I say what I mean. To finish the borrowed Dr. Suess line, Schurick added: an elephants faithful, 100 percent.
First Lady Kendel Ehrlich also says what she means. The habit nearly got her in trouble when, after Madonna and Britney Spears kissed on television, Ehrlich said of Britney Id like to shoot her.
The shot exploded. I typed in Spears and Ehrlich, said Schurick, and I got 6,200 hits on Google.
But with a deft hand, Schurick turned the debate from entertainment to the challenge of raising young children today.
Ehrlich skated through that one on Teflon, ending the week with the perfect 10 announcement of a new pregnancy.
The pregnancy scoop belonged to the Baltimore Sun. But it was news made for television and radio.
If theyll have us, well deliver, said Schurick of the on-the-air media. And we offer a lot.
Spider webs are not just creepy and crawly, although spider critics would disagree. Orb webs, spun outdoors, are not as bothersome as cobwebs. Cobwebs are indoor spider webs, the ones we usually see in the ceiling corners of our basements and attics. Theyre the unsightly, annoying, sticky messes we feel compelled to demolish with brooms and mops.
An orb web, on the other hand, is an artistic creation, more than just a place to trap needful things. The webs can be spun in under an hour but, because the silk is so fragile, they have to be mended or redone nearly every evening. They appear as white, willowy, flat circles that are suspended vertically. Better for trapping flying insects at night.
There are details in these webs. If you take a closer look, you can see a variety of geometric figures. You can locate radial lines, triangles, rectangles and circles. The spiral shape of the web starts at the hub or the center and moves outward. Then, as if making a U-turn, a second spiral returns back to the beginning.
The spiral has three main parts. The first section has the hub which is where the spider eats and relaxes and lurks. The second section is the free zone with no spirals. The third and largest section is the capture area where the prey is caught before being transported back to the hub for devouring.
Such artisan spiders utilize the skills of an architect in constructing clever web patterns. However, they dont take measurements, or use technology to calculate their geometric designs.
Find orb webs sparkling with dew these autumn mornings on shrubbery, fences and trees.
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At Colonial Players, The Show Goes On
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Stand-ins step up after Piano Lesson lead Felipe Harris hospitalized
Seven performances into The Piano Lesson, lead actor Felipe Harris was hospitalized with what was described as a coronary issue, jeopardizing the scheduled 10 remaining performances of the 17-show run. Were community theater, and we dont have the luxury of casting understudies, said Colonial Players spokeswoman Carolyn Sullivan.
Harris played Willie Boy, a Depression-era odd-jobber fighting for the one chance that would open up his world and liberate him. The Piano Lesson, the second play in Colonial Players 2003-2004 season, is the companys second-ever production with an all African American cast.
|photo by R.A.R.E. Photographic
Felipe Harris with Lawrence K. Boyd.
Without a lead, the Thursday, October 30, production of The Piano Lesson was cancelled. But the Players board of directors pulled back from striking the play, instead auctioning three possible stand-ins for Harris high-energy, high-intensity role.
They will carry on, said Sullivan, reopening Friday, October 31.
Illness in the cast challenged the first production this season as well. In Over the River, chemotherapy forced Stan Morrow out of the role of grandfather Frank for two shows. Because many of Marrows scenes were played seated on a couch, a sub sat in, reading his lines from an open playbook. Audiences at each of the two productions were alerted to the problem and solution.
But the mid-run loss of a lead is a first for the 54-year-old Annapolis company. How an actor on 48-hour notice will master the lead role in a play that runs three hours will write a new chapter in the history of Colonial Players.
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Filtered by Shellfish
Can a golden clam clean up Lake Lariat?
Can a golden clam help clean up Lake Lariat?
Yes, said homeowners in Calvert Countys Chesapeake Ranch Estates by a vote of 428 to 15, maybe this clam can help.
When youve got 90 ailing acres of water in the midst of 3,500 homes full of water-loving kids, youve got quite a problem.
But for shellfish entrepreneur Richard Pelz of Circle C Oyster Farm Ranch [Wrangling Oysters Out of Trouble, Vol. XI, No. 2: Jan. 9], Chesapeake Ranch Estates problem is a golden opportunity. Its so good that hes adding clams as a second line to the oysters he raises for food and water purifiers.
Pelz, who has staked his future on shellfishs amazing filtration system, will float thousands of the golden clam an Asian native naturalized in Maryland in the last quarter of the 20th century in Lake Lariat. Five mesh bags of Corbiculla fluminea, as theyre formally known, will be attached to some 100 of Pelzs patented floating reefs. The mesh bags keep the clams just below the waters surface out of the muck.
The Clean Lake Project, as Pelz calls his experiment, will put the golden clam to two tests. On the one hand, hell be testing it as a biological nutrient control to remove nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients that reduce the quality of the lakes water. Pelz holds a patent on that process. The other test is Pelzs pending Infectious Agent Control Patent to remove cryptosporidium from the water.
If Pelz is right, those filtering clams will suck Lake Lariats troubles right up.
The clams have already proved their worth in the lab.
The golden clam has been proven in lab tests to reduce harmful agents, said Circle C Oyster Farm Ranch manager Paul Flynn. One of those toxins is cryptosporidium, which is a single-celled parasite that lives in the intestines of animals and people.
The protozoan cryptosporidium causes cryptosporidiosis, which Pelz tags a nasty, infectious, water-borne disease with no known cure. Cryptosporidium resists conventional water treatment, and even bleach does not kill it.
Its so small, its hard to filter out of the water. If you dont have a good immune system, mortality rates are about 56 percent, says Pelz.
The clams special talent was discovered by Thaddeus Graczyk, a Johns Hopkins research professor and Ronald Fayer, a zoologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Back at Lake Lariat, Pelz expects his tests to run from three to five years. We want to conclude through our tests that Lake Lariat is swimmable, fishable and drinkable, says Pelz, who is now raising the $2 million the project will cost.
But would the non-native species change Lake Lariats ecology as well as its health? That question troubled Calvert County planner David Brownlee. Independent research convinced him the lake was safe.
Now Brownlee is looking at prospects that the lake might, a few years down the line, be a lot safer. Lake Lariat produces the highest levels of mercury in fish tissue in the state, Brownlee said. If the clams can filter like we hope, they will also help to bring down the mercury levels in the water. Those clams would not be edible, of course.
At the next level, the Clean Lake Project could seed a new field of infectious agent control by shellfish. If this works, scientists will be able to match shellfish with other infectious agents to reduce these harmful agents, adds Flynn.
Then, says Pelz, youre looking at shellfish in a whole new way. I say to myself, yes, its good to eat, but it could also save my life and yours.
M.L. Faunce and Kimberly Goode
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Singing for Its Future
At 30, Annapolis Opera wants you to get in on the act
Want to sing like a star on stage, coached by a professional vocal teacher? At the Annapolis Operas 30th Anniversary Gala fund-raiser, Its a Grand Night for Opera on November 8 at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, you might just win your chance to sing and strut your stuff if youre the highest bidder in at the silent auction.
At this silent auction, you can win something grand. In addition to singing lessons, you could win a professional piano tuning or a cooking class for two. Spend all you can afford and more. For in the end, its more than self-enrichment youre buying; youre really funding the next season of shows.
This is a major fundraising event for our next season, said Leah Solat, gala chair for Annapolis Opera. At a smaller fundraiser September 7, the Opera hosted a party at the Hack Mechanical Music Museum. The Opera tries year long to entice people to invest in their organization.
This is the first year well have a big concert with a silent auction, said Solat. In addition to the concert and auction, there will be a wine tasting, art exhibits and dancing. The proceeds from the gala fundraiser help pay for future productions, bankrolling the orchestra, chorus, singers, sets, lights, costumes and space at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
|photo courtesy of Annapolis Opera
Jason Stearns, a baritone with New Yorks Metropolitan Opera, joins Annapolis Opera for its fundraiser.
The Operas 2003-2004 season continues with the Mozart by Candlelight Concert December 7. In 2004, the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition returns. Other productions include The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan; Pasta, Puccini and All That; and the Childrens Opera Concert.
Lending their voices and talent for this concert are both local singers and others who once performed in Annapolis.
We use folks who are past winners of our vocal competition or starred in our operas, said Solat. We also use people who live in the area and are nationally known, like Jason Stearns.
Locals artists will take center stage. Jason Stearns, a baritone, is an Annapolitan who sings for New Yorks Metropolitan Opera. Dominic Cossa, another baritone, is the head of the University of Maryland voice faculty.
Previous winners of the vocal competition returning to sing this concert are sopranos Angela Fout, who won first prize in the 2000 competition, and Lori Hultgren, the second prize winner of the 2001 contest. The Childrens Choir of Annapolis joins the Annapolis Opera Chorus and the Annapolis Opera Orchestra on stage at the fundraiser. Adding another style of music, Anne Arundel Community Colleges Jazz Tones play big band and swing music.
People who know opera will hear favorite singers and music. People not familiar with opera will be amazed at how many melodies they will recognize and know, said Solat.
The 30th Anniversary Gala celebrates the end of the season, but possibly a new beginning for your interest in Annapolis Opera.
See 8 Days a Week for more information about Its a Grand Night for Opera.
In Florida, the Navy is offering to give you a gigantic reef, but youd better hurry if you want it in your waters. The Navy intends to sink the USS Oriskany, an 888-foot, 53-year-old aircraft carrier, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is accepting bids from jurisdictions that want it in their coastal waters
In West Virginia, an alliance of environmental groups last week sued the Army Corps of Engineers in federal court for permitting the destructive practice of filling in streams from mountaintop coal mining. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said that the Corps has failed to protect wetlands by allowing the filling of 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams
In Europe, look for those round, yellow smiley faces before you go swimming even if you think theyre goofy. The European Parliament voted last week to create a system of smileys to tell people if the waters of seas, lakes and rivers are safe enough to jump in
Our Creature Feature comes from Texas, where theres new evidence of why the fish you catch may not fight. Baylor University researchers have found the active ingredient of the antidepressant Prozac in bluegills caught in Texas waters. The researchers explained that when Prozac or other drugs are not fully absorbed into the human body, they pass from people to toilets to wastewater treatment plants, where filters dont catch pharmaceuticals.
Asked what it meant for fish, Baylor toxicologist Bryan Brooks said: Maybe it makes you a happy fish and youre kind of hanging out. But how does that influence your ability to capture prey? Do you instantly become candy for largemouth bass because youre accumulating large amounts of Prozac in your system? These are areas where more research is needed.
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