Volume 12, Issue 12 ~ March 18-24, 2004

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Dock of the Bay

Bay Weekly Scores Triple Win
Writers and staff take three first places at awards ceremony

It’s back-patting time in the newspaper business, a time when journalists gather to compare notes and celebrate good work at the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association’s annual awards banquet.

This year’s competition was judged by writers, editors and photographers in the North Carolina Press Association. Alongside The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and many papers large and small, Bay Weekly captured three first-place prizes in its competition.

Sports features is a category where Bay Weekly excels. Matthew Pugh brought Bay Weekly its third sports first-place with his April, 2003, story “The Zen of Boxing.”

“A unique idea,” wrote the judges of Pugh’s story. “Pulled off first-person approach but kept a strong observer’s slant.”

“It’s nice to know that people are thinking about, responding to and enjoying what I write,” said Pugh.

Past sports-feature winners include editor and co-founder Sandra Martin’s 1998 “Ride ’Em Cowgirl: How I Learned to Take 300 Horses for a Ride on Chesapeake Bay.” In 2000, former intern Amy Mulligan of Annapolis won Bay Weekly its second first-place sports feature for “Pick-Up Is the Name of the Game.”

Former intern Kristin Hagert of Annapolis won a second place in 1999 for “Lacrosse Dreams.”

Longtime Bay Weekly contributor M.L. Faunce won first place in the medical science category for her story “Wrangling Oysters Out of Trouble.”

“Everything I wanted to know … and then some,” wrote the judges of Faunce’s story.

“What a thrill to be recognized for something you’ve written,” said Faunce. “For me, it’s the product of being part of a teaching newspaper that gives you the encouragement to go out in the world, find interesting stories and people and expose them to the light of day.”

Faunce’s wasn’t Bay Weekly’s first award winner in this category, but it was the first top prize.

In 2002, Kathleen Murphy of Deale won second place for her two-part story about a Southern Middle School teacher’s heart transplant.

As a staff, Bay Weekly took a third first place in the special sections category for its summer guide “101 Ways to Have Fun.”

“Awards are not the reason Bay Weekly publishes its paper every week,” said Bill Lambrecht, a political correspondent and environmental reporter in the Washington Bureau of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as well as founder and editorial advisor for Bay Weekly. “But it is good to be recognized by our peers.”

Said editor Martin: “All our writers work hard to tell stories that are both human and whole. Each week, every writer in the paper chalks up a personal best. Recognition like this puts that achievement on the public record. So we’re particularly jubilant that we’ve taken a first for 101 Ways, which is the work of some two-dozen staffers.”

Awards season is also a time when newspapers recommit to their missions. Newspapers attempt to bring order to our world in part by choosing the events they chronicle and the subjects they cover. Some, like Bay Weekly, try to keep our environment clean and give you choices to improve your quality of life while writing stories you read and care about.

With a circulation of 17,500, Bay Weekly competes in Division E, non-dailies circulating between 10,001 and 20,000 papers. About three dozen papers make up that division.

—Louis Llovio

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Ask the Plant & Pest Professor

Q Spring is nearly upon us and I have moved into a new home. What things other than the obvious (cleaning up leaves and removing dead material) can I do to prepare my lawn and flower gardens for the spring? Is it too early to spread mulch? Should I cultivate the flower beds yet?

A Whoa. Avoid walking on your lawn or gardening beds when the soil is soggy. It will compact the soil, shoving particles close together so water and oxygen cannot penetrate. Likewise, cultivating wet soils harms them. In fact, it will set up clayey soils like cement. Wait until severe weather is past before removing leafy debris around the base of shrubs or perennials. It acts as insulation. As weather warms, by all means remove the debris to let sun warm the soil. Mulching now will keep soils cool longer.

Although you’re itching to get out in the yard, now is a good time to analyze gardening needs, peruse catalogs and plan for the coming year.

Ask the Plant and Pest Professor is compiled from questions sent to the website of the Home and Garden Information Center, part of Maryland Cooperative Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland. Ask a home gardening or pest control question and find other help: 800-342-2507 (Mon.-Fri. 8am-1pm) • www.hgic.umd.edu.

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Maryland Heads to the Big Dance
And the governor visits practice

As the Maryland Terrapins celebrated their Atlantic Coast Conference championship the state’s biggest fan, Gov. Robert Ehrlich, paid them a visit at practice.

“I want it known up front,” said Ehrlich, “that I’m not a front runner. This trip was planned for last week.”

Maryland swept through the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament last week, winning an improbable conference championship over perennial champion and rival Duke 95-87 in overtime March 14.

When the governor came calling, the team was preparing to jet off to Denver for the first game of their 11th consecutive NCAA tournament versus the University of Texas, El Paso, March 18.

Ehrlich, who was in Baltimore attending the St. Patrick’s Day parade while the ACC championship game was being played, joked with reporters about making it home just in time to watch the overtime. “We didn’t break any speed laws but somehow made it to Annapolis in 10 minutes,” he said.

Little over a week ago, Maryland desperately needed a win over Virginia just to make it into the NCAA Tournament. Known as the big dance, the tournament is an exhaustive three-week competition whose ultimate winner is crowned champion of college basketball. That victor must win six games in a row against the country’s most elite teams in the sport.

Maryland won the tournament in 2002.

Ehrlich didn’t visit only to talk about winning. He gave players a pep talk as well.

“Winning is great, but it’s not the bottom line,” the governor told the team before practice. “It’s better to be known as a competitor because you can’t always win, but you can always compete.”

Ehrlich, eyes bloodshot and face drawn from the exhausting mix of a new baby and a brutal legislative session, repeatedly complimented Maryland’s players on their comportment on and off the court.

“The culture of winning will continue here with students who conduct themselves the way these kids do,” he said.

For his part, ever-volatile head coach Gary Williams praised his young squad for never quitting, even in the face of one of the toughest seasons in recent memory at College Park.

Of the tournament, Williams — who said he wasn’t satisfied with just one championship — warned his team to be careful of UTEP. “They are a good team that can keep up with anyone in the country,” he said.

With March Madness in full swing, Ehrlich will split time between Government House and his office watching the games. “The citizen’s and taxpayers of Maryland should be proud of these kids,” the governor said.

— Louis Llovio

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U Need a Ride?
Local film takes us for a taxi ride

Annapolis film and video production company Asteros Filmworks premiered their first short feature, U Need a Ride? last week before a crowd of independent film enthusiasts at Crown Eastport Art Cinema.

Anticipation was high and response enthusiastic as many of the local cast and crew had been waiting since filming ended last May to see the result. Others came to see a bit of their city or their friends on the big screen in a short film shot entirely on location in Annapolis.

“I knew someone who had been on the crew for the film, so I went along to the premiere and was pleasantly surprised,” said Robyn Stone of Eastport. “The movie was really funny, and I enjoyed seeing scenes of Annapolis on the big screen.”

U Need a Ride? is a mockumentary, a film that parodies the documentary style. In this case, it’s the life of overzealous cab driver Reggie Jackson. No, this not the baseball player Reggie Jackson. This Reggie Jackson is a poor kid from rural Maryland who dreams of going to the big city of Annapolis to be a cabbie.

Reggie follows his own cabbing philosophy, refusing to wait for passengers to flag him down. Instead, he aggressively seeks out potential patrons, yelling his signature catchphrase, “HEY! You need a ride?” in a loud voice and in usually inopportune places to unlikely patrons such as restaurant customers mid-meal and kayakers mid-kayak.

Never swayed by their shocked reactions, Reggie usually ends up giving them a ride, with hilarious results. When childhood best friend Billy Ray shows up in town down on his luck, Reggie hires him and, after the struggle of trying to instill his aggressive tactics in Billy Ray, both boys realize their childhood dream together.

Local jack-of-all-trades — writer, director, actor, model, personal trainer and former professional baseball player — Ken Arnold is the director, co-writer, and character Billy Ray. You may also recognize Arnold from his latest role of Shane Newhart on the CBS series Hack, several appearances on All My Children or the many local theatre productions.

Kevin Jiggetts, who co-wrote the script with Arnold, plays lead character Reggie Jackson. Jiggetts has been acting for more than 11 years in many film and theatre productions. His last role was in a historical revival of Anna Lucasta at Rep Stage, a theatre company in residence at Howard Community College.

Arnold and Jiggetts met on the mall in D.C. five years ago when both were extras on the set of Random Hearts, a 1999 feature starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas. When the idea for U Need a Ride? crossed their path, the two were working together on The 48 Hour Film Project, an international competition in which the participants have just 48 hours to make a movie from scratch.

“A slightly crazed-looking cab driver cut us off in traffic. He had a baseball cap on, pulled down real low, with dark sunglasses and some crazy shirt. He seemed like he was ready to get down to business. Kevin and I were like Oh my God. Wonder what that guy’s like?

“We kept thinking about it, and the character of Reggie evolved from that,” explains Arnold. “I guess maybe in some way we were also trying to say that if you do what you love, no matter how crazy it is, like Reggie loving to drive his cab so much, that eventually you’ll be happy and reach an acceptable level of success. We also just wanted to make people laugh.”

Producers of U Need a Ride?, Asteros Productions, is a small woman-owned business located on Franklin Street in downtown Annapolis. Asteros has received numerous awards for its work, including three Emmys for coverage of the last three Summer Olympics.

Now, U Need a Ride? has won a place in the Rosebud Film Festival.

“The Rosebud Film Festival is a well-respected regional film festival,” said Maria Triandos of Asteros Productions. “It feels really good to be recognized by our peers and will hopefully give our cast and crew some good exposure in the film community.”

The Rosebud Film Festival showcases filmmakers from Maryland, Virginia and Washington on March 27 and 28 in Arlington. Check out U Need a Ride? or other local talent at www.rosebudact.org.

— Diane Gunter

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Way Downstream …

In Pennsylvania, the state Fish and Boat Commission is trying to stop construction on I-99 north of State College. The aggressive resource agency complains that state transportation officials have steadfastly refused to deal with problems of exposed acidic rock polluting streams with heavy metals …

In Wyoming, folks are wondering if anything is sacred to this federal administration. The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office is among those disturbed that the National Park Service approved an 80-foot-tall cell phone tower that looms over Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park …

Our Creature Feature is a good news yarn from Chesapeake Country at a time when Bay news isn’t always happy. For several years now, we’ve been reading about bald eagles returning to the Bay watershed. How many are there?

Enough to occupy 760 nests: 396 pairs in Virginia, 338 in Maryland, 25 in Pennsylvania and one in the District of Columbia, the Bay Program has tabulated. Long ago, there were probably four times as many. But the recovery since the ban on bird-killing chemicals is remarkable indeed, approaching the restoration of rockfish on the Chesapeake’s short list of world-class wildlife success stories.

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© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last updated March 18, 2004 @ 2:00am.